Morning Ed: Politics {2016.12.29.Th}

So yeah, what’re David Brock and Media Matters gonna do now?

Echelon Insights looks at split-ticket voting in the 2016 election. Early returns suggested there was record low ticket-splitting, but under the hood it looks less certain. I’m really annoyed they don’t work this question into the exit polls.

This is a really good rundown of how conservatives in congress are planning for the Trump Era. Mostly, it seems, by fighting yesterday’s battles against yesterday’s opponents.

Is this what the future of Democratic populism might look like?

It’s starting to look like Montana is never going to get that second congressional district, and if they pass Rhode Island in population will keep their crown as the most underrepresented state in the House.

Meet Crystal, Minnesota, home to our only libertarian government.

For better or worse, this sounds right to me. Even when the shoe fits, it is rarely a good idea to put it on in the middle of a conflict. Unless it’s someone that really values your opinion.

If you support CalExit, you ride with Putin! They’ve already opened an embassy. (See also, Texas)

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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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216 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Politics {2016.12.29.Th}

  1. I agree with the Vox article on racism. Social Justice activists like to engage in tactic I refer to as aggressive truth-telling and the idea seems to be that the victims should be able to tell it as it is and its up the wrong-headed party to change. I can see the appeal of this but it really doesn’t work as a tactic because of human psychology. Nobody likes to be called evil and when you say to somebody your a racist or you did something racist than it sounds like you are accusing them of evil.

    Democratic Populism: Are you sure you linked to the right site? Its an article on a techie site complaining about legal grandstanding by Kamela Harris.


      • From my observations many Social Justice activists who are people of color or LGBT also engage in aggressive truth-telling as a tactic. I’ve observed it a lot for with them than white social justice activists.


          • Jay,
            NOBODY likes the truth. The truth is a lonely, twisted spinster, that never gets asked out on dates. In the night, she transforms into the Vake, and runs around ravaging people.

            Seriously, we’re human beings. We’re a really, really fucked up species with even more fucked up brains (our sentience resembles brain damage better than structured progressive evolution — do you have any IDEA how much sentience costs???)


                • Eh. You’re beside the point. Looks like the original Vox article was spot on, for once.

                  I’m concluding that the original article contains advice that The Democrats ought to have taken to heart in the run-up to the election.

                  (We talked about separate and unequal way back here. The articles talking about so-called “apartheid schools” still appear to stand and the new resegregation taking place seems to be continuing unabated. Something something why Trump won.)


                    • It was intended to be read within the context of the Vox story.

                      Did you immediately go to saying “man, this is unfortunately true for far too many people, given the current state of resegregation going on even in progressive school districts! We, as a society, need to do better!” or did you instead say “he’s saying I’m racist! I’m not racist! I will *PROVE* that I am not racist! Then I will make him say that I am not racist!”

                      Dude. Read the Vox article. Then remember the election.

                      Then remember your immediate, visceral, response to a statement that made some sweeping grandiose morally judgmental claim.

                      Then remember the election again.


                      • I like Jamell Bouie’s comment I saw over at Balloon Juice, about how for a lot of white people, “Racism” is considered to be a vulgar insult, but not something that actually exists.

                        Like, when someone calls someone a “mutherfucker”, they aren’t literally accusing someone of incest, but merely insulting them.

                        I notice also that for a lot of people, mostly on the right but also on the left, “racism” is deployed as some kind of magic incantation, Big Magic that can instantly win an argument or slay an opponent.

                        So thus I see above:

                        “You’re actions are racist”
                        “No they aren’t!”
                        “Why do you resist the truth?”

                        This is like how conservatives love to use the “black folks are the real racist” line, like its some clever inversion.

                        Racism is a real thing, something experienced. It isn’t some mysterious thing that can only be divined by priests and astrologers.

                        When we say that Trump and his followers are either racist or amenable to those who are, this isn’t like asserting they have sex with their mothers; its not a spurious insult.


                        • Ah, but it is *ALSO* an insult.

                          Racism refers to structural racism that results in, among other things, so-called “Apartheid Schools”.

                          It also refers to the vulgar trait of thinking that African-Americans share particular traits that Caucasian-Americans do not also share.

                          Indeed, in recent years, the term has expanded to include negative feelings toward Muslims.

                          One can see how people pivot from this definition to that definition depending on what they’re trying to accomplish in a discussion or depending on what they’re trying to prevent their opponents from accomplishing.

                          I mean, *YOU* benefit from hundreds of years of white supremacy, Chip. Even your very name radiates privilege. Why are *YOU*, of all people, lecturing others on racism unless it’s in service to motives that you’re hiding?

                          Quick, list your anti-racist bona fides. I’ll let you know when you’ve listed sufficient.


                          • Does this apply to all critiques ever? Or only discussions of racism?

                            You aren’t really anti-elite! You’re just hiding your own elite status.

                            You aren’t really anti-terrorism! You’re just hiding your own terrorist actions.

                            You aren’t really anti-murder! You’re just hiding the bodies in your basement.


                            • “I’m not going to talk about what you said! I’m going to talk about your motives for saying it!”

                              This is a tool that can, indeed, apply to every single critique. Ever.

                              I’ll give an example that involves me. Someone had a silly blog post about how the Gillette Fusion had five blades and wasn’t the Mach-3 already overkill? Now, as someone who shaves my head, I have much love for the Fusion and a complicated relationship with the Mach-3 (I tended to have one very bad cut a year with the Mach-3 and have yet to have a very bad cut with the Fusion). I sang the praises of the Fusion and told of my own (good) personal experiences.

                              The following comments had to do with how Gillette must be hiring people to troll blog comment sections now.

                              And what could I possibly do to argue against the accusation that I must not *REALLY* believe what I said, but had some hidden agenda in saying it?

                              So, to answer your question, yes. It applies to all critiques ever.

                              Next time you see someone asking questions about the motivation of the speaker rather than addressing things that the speaker said, you should freak out and say “you’re questioning his motivations instead of addressing what he said!”

                              That said, sometimes corporations *DO* pay people to go into comment sections.

                              It’s a tightrope. But when you see someone questioning motivations rather than addressing points (and *ALWAYS* when the points have some form of data behind them rather than some personal anecdote), you should come back and say “wait, the person’s motivations are irrelevant here. What’s actually happening?”


                        • The truth about whom? That seems to be the crux.

                          No, it’s *WHICH* truth?

                          Truth A: People do not react well to being called racist and will instead dig in and argue against the accuser and this very dynamic is so powerful that it had an impact on the election

                          Truth B: Something about Kazzy, personally

                          I understand why Truth B is more interesting to you, personally.

                          Could I ask you to step back and look at Truth A again, in context of the election?


                          • Only that isn’t the truth you offered.

                            The truth you offered was that liberals only call others racist so they have cover for sending their kids to lily white schools.

                            That truth is not… true.


                            • Which was, if I read the above correctly, something that you took to be about you, personally.

                              You even proved that your kids go to a diverse school by posting links to their school district diversity numbers.


                              • Which circles back to my point.

                                Your criticism is only true about the people for which it is true about. If it isn’t true about you, nothing to see here.

                                Only, you don’t direct your criticism at anyone in particular. You just fire broadly and take the hits you land.

                                So, let me ask you, who were you referring to with that comment? Who do you think is seeking cover for their all-white school district? Please be specific.


                                • Your criticism is only true about the people for which it is true about. If it isn’t true about you, nothing to see here.

                                  See also: “Trump supporters are racist.”

                                  Is that different, do you think? Different enough that it’s still important to say prior to the election? Important enough of a point to hold on to in the face of swing voters who see a handful of reasons that they find Trump tempting?

                                  I mean, we see how *YOU* responded to “Dems R Da REAL Racists!”

                                  Do you think that Trump voters are significantly different from you in this arena?


                                  • You dodged the question.

                                    I never said, “Trump supporters are racist,” and, as such, I have no interest in defending or taking responsibility for such a position.

                                    I’m asking you to take accountability for your stated position.


                                  • Jaybird,

                                    I see the point you eventually made. Kazzy took offense at a way of describing his position that assumed he was in some cynical way racist. And you’re pointing out that that’s similar to the type of resentment that Trump supporters feel when they’re called racist. That’s a good point.

                                    However, I find it hard to believe you made such a blanket statement (“It’s not about ending racism. It’s about having cover for having even whiter school districts than the people you’re calling “racist”) hoping, on the off chance, that Kazzy or someone else would respond with the type of objection that would lead you to make that point.

                                    Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe that or something like it was your point all along.

                                    At any rate, I don’t blame Kazzy for objecting. Also, I’ve known Kazzy (online at least) long enough to know he’s willing to listen to people–including Trump supporters–whose views differs from his. He mentioned recently talking to a Trump supporter, who explained he (the Trump supporter) voted for Trump for non-racist reasons. If I recall, Kazzy was at least willing to hear that person out. In short, I don’t find Kazzy to be the type of person who says “Trump voters are racist” so the lesson in liberal cluelessness doesn’t apply to him because he’s not clueless. He is, in fact, quite perceptive and open minded, in my view.


                                    • actually, watching this in real time and having seen at work over some years – that’s exactly what he did.

                                      It was performance art.

                                      p.s. No, no one objects to Kazzy objecting; that’s the point.


                                    • However, I find it hard to believe you made such a blanket statement (“It’s not about ending racism. It’s about having cover for having even whiter school districts than the people you’re calling “racist”) hoping, on the off chance, that Kazzy or someone else would respond with the type of objection that would lead you to make that point.

                                      I was thinking that the immediate response would be “man, yeah… I can totally see how someone would respond to something like that by digging in their heels!”

                                      I mean, reading my comment in the context of it responding to Lee saying “Social Justice activists like to engage in tactic I refer to as aggressive truth-telling and the idea seems to be that the victims should be able to tell it as it is and its up the wrong-headed party to change. I can see the appeal of this but it really doesn’t work as a tactic because of human psychology. Nobody likes to be called evil and when you say to somebody your a racist or you did something racist than it sounds like you are accusing them of evil.

                                      If someone didn’t read it in that context, I can see how they might say “I need to find statistics to prove that he’s not right in *MY* case!”


                                      • Well……I guess I’d prefer it if my interlocutor were a little less oblique and less insistent on playing the “guess what I’m really thinking (I might tell you eventually)” game, especially when it becomes clear in conversation that not everyone who read the comment fully understood what the interlocutor was driving at.

                                        But then, I know that’s not your style. I’m not saying that as a criticism, although it does affect my willingness to engage you sometimes (not all the time, mind). You are as you are, and I am as I am–and my own style can be irritating, too. Thanks for clearing up your point, which I now understand and agree with.


                                        • To put it another way, I believe you see things very clearly and are often two or three steps ahead of the rest of us who aren’t you. Sometimes it’s helpful to spell out things more explicitly for those of us who don’t understand fully what point you’re driving at. It’s probably our responsibility to look more closely at contexts, such as the context in which you made your initial comment. But once it becomes clear that someone doesn’t understand, it helps to explain. (And you did explain–and did so before I had intruded into the subthread–but it might have been more helpful to your point to explain a little earlier.)

                                          I mean this mostly as just an observation, mixed with what is unsolicited advice. I don’t blame you if you choose not to follow it, but if you don’t you may find that others will take offense at what you say and not at what you mean.


                                      • People dig their heels in for different reasons: sometimes because they are in stubborn denial and sometimes because they are right.

                                        Calling someone a racist… or saying someone only engages in anti-racism to give cover to their own racism… will likely draw pushback. Once offered that pushback, you can engage with it or not.

                                        You chose not to. Weird.


                        • The truth about whom? That seems to be the crux.

                          In a weird way you’re agreeing with the point I was making up there but for different reasons. You appear to think there are multiple “truths” out there, some of which apply to some people but not others. My point was that what constitutes a “truth” for some people is applied TO others. So we’re in effect saying the same thing, or at least agreeing on the basic structure of the game being played.

                          The difference is that you appear to think there’s a way to win it. :)


    • Practical realities aside, I think the idea that the people holding the majority of political power in this country need to be coddled and kept away from hard truths is going to be a tough sell.


      • Thats something I noticed.

        A lot of these articles about the “forgotten” white working class speak about them in the same tender pitying condescending tones I remember being used about black people, in the early 70’s;

        “Imagine a black guy who can’t find a job, and saw his sister die from a drug overdose in Harlem…”

        And haven’t we all seen the “aggressive truth telling” of people like Bill Cosby and Thomas Sowell tell black folks to stand up straight, stop breeding babies out of wedlock, and pull up their droopy drawers?

        Somehow that aggressive truth telling was seen as a bracing tonic, an honest bit of tough love.

        Maybe the Blue Collar Comedy guys can do that, go around telling rural white people to stop molesting their sisters and smoking meth, and perhaps learn to write code or form a modern dance troupe or something.

        Or maybe, just maybe, they can stop thinking about their precious white identity for one goddamn minute, and realize that the black truck driver or Hispanic waitress is also having a hard effing time of things.


        • Chip,
          These same folks voted for Obama.
          Nate had quoted some folks down in Washington Pa — you may remember the phrase, I won’t repeat it.

          All they wanted from Hillary was some understanding, and some idea as to how to fix the mess that they’re in.
          What they got was a Trump running on a leftier economic platform than Hillary.

          When economics matters, that’s what you vote for.


        • Or maybe, just maybe, they can stop thinking about their precious white identity for one goddamn minute, and realize that the black truck driver or Hispanic waitress is also having a hard effing time of things.

          The article gets to exactly this point. Do you think aggressive ‘truth’ telling is more or less likely to get this person to empathize with the Hispanic truck driver? The research discussed in the article (and I would say my personal experience and common sense) say no.


        • I think I am somewhere between you and Lee on this issue.

          On your side, a lot of people really do need to learn that there is such a thing as systematic and structural racism and you can have privileges even if it doesn’t feel like it.

          On the other side, we got to win elections and not be subject to technical losses like 2000 and 2016. I can see a future where the Democratic Party keeps winning the popular vote but keeps losing on 2016 like margins in the right states. One thing I learned from 2016 is that there are large sections of the left that are more concerned with maintaining their purity than winning. The Evangelicals might have sold out by voting for Trump but they are great tactical voters! Only Trump would get close to their issues of jam-packing the Judiciary with hard-right judges.

          On the left, we would rather be pure than achieve our goals or we just have tactics that exist in a bubble. Was anyone besides the choir convinced by the Will & Grace and Joss Wheddon videos?

          Also aggressive truth telling is not necessarily universal. At CUNY, there was a protest blaming high tuition on the “Zionist” admin. I am sure the students thought they were speaking truth to power. I dissent. Zionism has nothing to do with aggressive truth telling. That was pure anti-Semitism.


          • I wonder if they have this sort of dialogue going on on their side.

            Gee, do you think that waving the Confederate flag and yelling about Mexican rapists is going to get them to sympathize with our plight here in Rust Belt City?

            Well, no, they don’t.
            And I do get it that they won, and so the argument is how do we win back enough Trump voters to actually win. Got it.

            But here’s the flip side to the “Trump voters are racist” argument.
            They aren’t, really not most of them.
            They are apathetic about racism. They themselves don’t go to Klan rallies or use the N word or spend much of their time at all thinking about black and brown people.
            Racism isn’t disqualifying for them, its not a hard limit.

            But it isn’t a prerequisite either.

            I am convinced a lot of these folks (like those coal miners) voted for a guy who they thought would protect Medicare and use the power of government to shield them from the hard effects of the market.

            And I am convinced that they will be a whole lot more receptive to arguments framed in economic populist terms in 2018, when they are holding their cancellation letter from Blue Cross, and realizing they have nothing but their pathetic IRA for their golden years.

            I am betting that “Vote for me, and we will all say Merry Christmas again” will be a punchline, not an applause line, in 2020.


            • Of course there’s a conversation on the right going on about these things. That’s the topic of the very article that initiated this thread.

              (Edited to correct an error: It was the NR article I was thinking of, not the Vox one, that addresses the subject.)


              • The NR article says nothing about minority outreach, reaching out to the majority of Americans that didn’t vote for Trump or staving off their losses of college educated suburbanites. It was completely internecine and how to balance right wing populism with traditional conservatism. If it’s about broadening the appeal of the party and fixing problems it’s the “we play both types of music, country and western” of the genre.


            • “I am convinced a lot of these folks (like those coal miners) voted for a guy who they thought would protect Medicare and use the power of government to shield them from the hard effects of the market.”

              That sounds vaguely socialist…


        • And haven’t we all seen the “aggressive truth telling” of people like Bill Cosby and Thomas Sowell tell black folks to stand up straight, stop breeding babies out of wedlock, and pull up their droopy drawers?

          I also remember a lot of other people loudly telling Cosby & Sowell that such truth telling was not really helping.

          So, you know, follow your own advice.


          • Oscar,
            Nobody seemed to care (in fact, black folks applauded) when obama said about the same damn thing.
            [Was sowell one of the guys deemed a House Negro on field’s website? damn, hafta go check.]


      • I don’t think the call is for coddling so much as it is for tactics that might convince people with different perspectives to change their minds or at least be willing to work together where there is agreement.


        • I get that, I’m just very pessimistic about how effective it would actually be. Many (most?) people aren’t open to conversations with canvassers to begin with. And then there’s the Drudges, Limbaughs, and O’Reillys of the world constantly stoking the notion that white America and its values are under attack. Not to mention the results of the study may not hold up for other forms of bigotry.

          Yet, I still would like to see more work done in that area.


    • Social Justice activists like to engage in tactic I refer to as aggressive truth-telling …

      This reminds me of something Chomsky used to say about speaking “truth to power”: that if the “truth” you’re speaking is actually true, then people in power already know it and are employing a different calculus to make their decisions. And by corollary, it it’s not true then they’d reject it outright anyway. So the problem (if there is one…) with this tactic is that it’s not really about “the truth” as much as compelling folks to view things more like the speaker.


      • Well, you found something that Chomsky said that I agree with. One of the things that frustrates me about politics is the inability for people to accept the fact that other people really did listen to them but just decided that they were wrong.


        • Lee,
          I’m a little more than frustrated, personally. But that’s because the opposition is actively planning genocides.

          “Build a wall!” the populists said.
          “You can’t build a wall!” the liberals replied.
          “We already did.” the Powers that Be responded.

          Can you name the most hated ethnic group on earth?


        • One of the things that frustrates me about politics is the inability for people to accept the fact that other people really did listen to them but just decided that they were wrong.

          I hear ya about that, tho I prefer the term “disagree” to “wrong”. It at least allows room for, well, disagreement rather than internecine warfare.


    • Social Justice activists like to engage in tactic I refer to as aggressive truth-telling

      Well, that’s the self-indulgent way they themselves see it. In practice, the “truth” part is hit or miss.


    • I mostly agree with the Vox article, too. I don’t think the phenomenon it describes is solely an attribute of “social justice activists.” We all adopt that style sometimes on our pet issues.

      To the point at hand, I’ll note that preachiness just doesn’t work a lot of the time, or it is less effective than its practitioners believe, or it’s less immediately effective. (That type of preachy activism contributed to my eventually reconsidering my homophobia. It forced me to justify the homophobia to myself and when the justifications proved faulty, I was in a place to better challenge my own views. That took a long time, and the preachiness just as often backfired when activists used it against me.)

      Take something an in-law said in my presence recently, that “a vote for Trump is a vote for racism and misogyny.” She wasn’t calling Trump voters racist or misogyny. In fact, in the context of the conversation, she was saying that even a non-racist Trump voter is actually supporting racism despite themselves. But the tone sounded (to me) so preachy that I wanted to have nothing else to do with the conversation. I felt a bit defensive and even resentful at what I interpreted to be the attacking and self-righteous tone in which the statement was uttered.

      All that with the fact that I believe the statement to be true. It’s why I believed Trump must be opposed. It’s why I voted for Hillary and not Gary Johnson. It’s why I’m bothered by his victory. Still, I don’t like that preachy posture and I find I want to oppose that, too.

      To be clear, I’m not likely to be part of the demographic targeted by Trumpian racism, etc. And I’m responsible for my own actions and decisions.


  2. That National Review rundown was interesting. Pretty much total surrender on social conservative issues (Only a feeble and plaintive “Well can’t we at least defund planned parenthood?”) Also an interesting, dawning realization by the conservative hard liners that they’re basically out on a limb with no leverage. It’ll be interesting to see what happens there.


      • It would but you’ll never get them to actually say “Ya know what, we’re done.” Surrender on those issues would look a lot like what we actually saw happen:
        -A GOP standard bearer marginalizes or pays only cursory lip service to social con issues.
        -The social cons turn out and support them anyhow.
        -The standard bearer wins and makes no effort at all to turn back the clock.
        -The issues just drop out of the conversation.


        • Out of all the members of the LGBT community that I know, your certainly the most blasé about Trump. Many liberals seem to be in the sky is falling mode and believe that we are about to see a full return to racism, sexism, and homophobia non stop. Its kind of embarrassing to see liberal bloggers and writers simultaneously maintain that Trump only one by the margins in the electoral college in one column but than hamper about how racist, sexist, and homophobic the United States still is in another column.

          Trump is going to be a very bad President and his judicial appointments are not going to be great but doing a great reactionary reversal of decades long society trends is possible but extraordinarily hard to achieve, especially if top down. The main way that Trump is going to be bad is through massive corruption and graft coupled with big tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans that end up hurting everybody else.


          • Why shouldn’t I be blasé in that area? Graded on the Republican curve Trump is easily the most gay friendly candidate in my lifetime. It’s not out of some benign fondness for gays (though by all accounts he’s got no personal problem with gays) but simply a towering indifference to the motives and imperatives that make standard GOP candidates so gay-hostile. Left to his own devices Trump seems unlikely to do anything that’d be particularly discomforting to gay people though his Veep and party do bear close watching which is why I found the NRO article so encouraging on that vector.


            • @will-truman

              I am not so sure. Wait until he starts making appointments to the Judiciary. How is he going to find a Republican friendly candidate that is not also anti-LBGTQ? Probable Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not warm and fuzzy on LBGTQ issues.

              I suspect we will see more hate crimes and these will be met with indifference by the DOJ. I also suspect that we will see Congress attempt to pass a “Religious Freedom Defense” Bill and it will be anti-LBGTQ discrimination in disguise. Maybe it won’t pass Congress but if it does, I don’t think Trump will veto it.


              • Unfortunately, you may be right on most of that. The most important way I’m (cautiously) more optimistic than you is judiciary appointments. It’s not a sure bet that he can find the types of nominees who’ll toe the entire socon line. Trump can make overturning Roe v. Wade a litmus test, but a non-trivial number of such candidates won’t reliably want to overturn the ssm decisions.

                At least, I hope so. I’ve been wrong about so much so far that I don’t want to be too cheery about what’ll happen.


              • The Judiciary moves slowly and on the subject of LBGTQ issues it moves especially slowly. Also most of the gains that LBGTQ people have made in the courts would be enormously difficult to reverse. The Supreme Court, for instance, isn’t going to reverse SSM probably ever. To do so they’d first have to replace not one or two but probably 3 justices with rabid anti-SSM justices, then an case regarding SSM would have to wend its way up through the court system and onto the supreme court docket. Finally to get Roberts to go along with flipping on SSM he’d have to think that the public would support such a move and the public very very obviously does not.

                Now this isn’t all roses and puppies; one can expect that any further progress on LBGTQ issues will remain in doubt but there’s an enormous difference between moving forward, stopping and going in reverse. What we’re looking at, and what the NRO article suggests (more by what it elides or ignores than by what it says), is that we’re looking at LBGTQ issues either progressing more slowly or stopping but that reversing doesn’t appear to be on the horizon. That’s a big deal considering that the GOP’s has control of much of the government from the state level up.


                • I agree, North, but it’s worth noting that Roberts dissented from the decision that actually legalized ssm throughout the country. (However, you may have been making the point that Roberts is probably more inclined to respect stare decisis even against his own policy inclinations. If that’s your point, then I agree with you.)


                  • My psychological profile of Chief Justice Roberts says that he cares for the “dignity and reputation” of the court under his watch very highly. As a lifelong appointee, additionally, he can care very little for the opinion of one declining faction of the social con right wing.
                    Based on those understandings the idea that he’d reverse precedent and do so on an issue where he’d be steering the court directly into the teeth of public opinion (and quite literally stripping thousands of gay people of their marriages in front of the entire country) seems ludicrous. We’d be talking like a Roger B. Taney level decision in the eyes of history. I cannot imagine that Roberts would want to drink from that chalice.

                    And yes, he voted against the pro-SSM decision of the court but he did so knowing full well it’d pass anyhow.


          • I’m ever-reluctant to point out potential silver linings to the Trump presidency, but as far as LGBT goes, I’m actually with North. If that were my primary issue and I didn’t care about anybody or anything else, I’d have wanted him to win the GOP primary if not the presidency (I read some LGBT-favorable Repubs that liked Trump specifically for that reason). He’ll likely move the party towards the center (relatively speaking) on the issue. Not because he’s a great guy, but because he sort of happens to be the right guy in the right place with the right amount of indifference on the topic.


            • The indifference part is the key. My read on Trump is that if he could get ahead by pushing LGBT rights, he’d do that. If he could get ahead by looking the other way while social conservatives round them up, he’d probably do that. I’m getting the impression that social conservatives don’t have much to offer Trump now that he’s elected, so the status quo will probably more or less prevail (with the exception of whatever baggage his judicial nominees bring with them).


                • I also think it’s worth remembering that by the time Obergefell was decided SSM was already legal in 36 states and DC. Even on the slim chance it is ever reversed I think the setback would only be temporary and limited to a handful of ultra red states. It’s not like the court was way out in front of our culture and public policy on the issue.


              • Nope. He has literally waved the gay-rights flag. He invited Peter Thiel to the Convention, and told off Republicans during his acceptance speech (even though they weren’t opposing them). Gay rights may be the only social issue that Trump feels strongly about.


                • He waved that flag because he was given it, which is I think indicative of a lot. He invited Thiel because he likes him and got support from him. His foray into organizational Republican politics was through GOProud, which gave him a platform. His statements have kind of been here and there and mostly non-committal, but the pro-gay contingent of the party embraced him early and it has (so far) paid off.

                  I think the acceptance speech was another case of “the last person he talked to” but that was definitely a high point, as far as all that goes.


                  • Probably worth mentioning that Cruz gave a shout-out to gay rights at the convention, which is possibly more important given he was the so-con candidate, and possible SCOTUS appointee. One can destruct what Cruz said to be somewhat meaningless, but that misses the point — he didn’t have to say anything about gay people, but he choose to say something positive.


                  • Again, I will have to agree with here. Trump says a lot of things and loves a lot of groups (who all love him, BTW), and I’m sure he’ll get right on all of those issues along with building that wall, locking her up, draining the swamp, etc. The winds are blowing in favor of LGBT rights. He has important allies that support them. Being a wealthy New Yorker, I’m fairly certain that absent any other pressure, he’d be in favor of them. But I also have little doubt that if that coalition was the slightest bit inconvenient to him, he’d dump it in a heartbeat.

                    If Barack Obama, who seemed to be pretty principled on social justice, stayed quiet on gay marriage up to the last minutes before social sentiment flipped and he was able to “evolve,” I’m very skeptical that an opportunistic con man like Trump would stand against the wind if it was blowing in the other direction.

                    I’m going to judge Trump primarily by his actions, advisors and appointees to this point, so here’s my prediction: He will appoint judges and other officers who are hostile to LGBT rights as a byproduct of their other conservative roots, but not one-issue crazies or people hostile enough that they overturn major progress or fight hard against the prevailing winds. He also won’t do anything to expand protections. It’s just not an important issue as a political wedge anymore, so it’s going to be tossed aside.


              • The writers at NRO may be waving the white flag on the rainbow flag, but Ted Cruz hasn’t gotten the terms of surrender.

                The so-called First Amendment Defense Act, or FADA, “prohibits the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

                In other words, you can discriminate, but you have to say that you’re discriminating because your religion wants you to.

                Assuming Cruz proceeds with this, Trump may get his chance to show everyone his loyalty to principles.


                • I wouldn’t be too optimistic if I were Cruz. Has to get 60 votes, which I don’t think he has. He may not be able to get 50 if Trump signals that he would rather not sign it. Prior to getting his pick, Trump’s Vice President was best known for buckling on the issue.

                  That said, we’re going to be debating anti-discrimination law for some time, and Trump’s election relative to Clinton is a step back for pro-LGBT folks, though a step forward relative to Cruz.


                  • I think we are in for a drawn out form of Reconstruction or the post-Brown era for civil rights, where even when they lose the topline issue decisively, they keep up a prolonged guerrilla campaign of making gay people into second class citizens where they can, when they can.

                    In places where gays are an unpopular minority, they institute “choice” measures allowing the dominant majority to be free to discriminate. So in Alabama a baker is free to refuse to serve gays.

                    In places where gays and their supporters are in the majority, they champion “freedom” of the minority not to suffer ill effects from majority disapproval. So in San Francisco, the city will be obliged to award contracts to anti-gay bakers when purchasing cakes.

                    Expect the move to terminate taxpayer control over social services, and control be given to religious institutions, as part of a package where the state can be ostensibly neutral, while the real power rests with private (safely anti-gay) hands.


                • 1) The NRO gang is not waving the white flag; one article simply didn’t mention the GOP’s situation with regard to gay rights.

                  2) You’re still complaining when your side has won so thoroughly on the issue that the biggest challenge you can point to is a law protecting bakers from lawsuits?


                • Chip, FADA isn’t re-litigating SSM it is, as Douthat once put it, “negotiating the terms of our surrender”. You don’t push FADA in an environment where you intent to take a run at SSM itself, you push FADA when you have internalized that SSM and other civil rights for LBGTQ are here to stay and you’re trying to carve out special exceptions for your preferred religious sub groups and their institutions.


                  • , do you honestly believe that if say, RBG and Kennedy drop dead before 2020 (or 2024 if Trump gets two terms) that Alabama or Mississippi or some other state won’t pass a law banning gay marriage again just to run it up the flagpole.

                    I’m sorry, you may trust John Roberts, but I don’t.


                    • Trust is a strong word but I think Roberts is relatively predictable in that area. Also, and Burt or another experienced Court watcher can correct me, if Alabama or Mississippi tried to ban SSM in the scenario it’d have trouble even reaching the supreme court since all the lower courts would be like “nope, open shut unconstitutional. Struck down. Appeal denied.’


                      • Well, let’s see how well those lower courts agree with precedent once they’re staffed with dozens of Federalist Society appointees who Trump signs off on because he doesn’t care that fill up the spots that Obama never got the chance too because of GOP obstructionism.

                        All I’m going to say is I’m sure plenty of liberals would’ve told you, “oh, the Supreme Court would never rip the guts out of the VRA” right after Bush signed the extension of the VRA after it was reauthorized almost unanimously.


                        • It still seems unlikely to me thus assuming they’re going to do it in the absence of concrete actions to do so strikes me as strategically foolish.
                          If they do we’ll see it coming and they’ll pay for it dearly because frankly that’s ground the left and the Dems would prosper fighting on. AND if they do it we’d be a lot more effective fighting them on it if we save our howling for when they do it (if they do it) rather then yelling about it before they do anything.


      • It’s not about policy so much as it intramural teams, though policies are kind of the ball being batted around. The game has changed, but the rivalries are what they were, and along similar lines. I guess that’s largely a function of not knowing where Trump stands in it all yet.


          • Basically, they’re trying to cling to a dynamic that no longer exists. I still see it in terms of yesterday’s battles (tactics, etc) and yesterday’s opponents (Ryan, the establishment, the surrender coalition, etc), but it’s a bit like trying to keep the Cold War coalition going into the 90’s. My sense is that it’s all going to fall apart, but they seem to already be continuing play past the lights turning out and everybody going home. OTOH, the election is less than two months past and maybe this is what that looks like.


      • It doesn’t dig down deep into policies but it does do a high altitude overview of what the GOP with unified governmental control* is talking about doing with it during what is likely to be their period of optimal control. What they’re talking about? A very brief and cursory note about the hottest button socialcon item there is (Abortion) suggesting that little to nothing will be done on it (and in their absence the rest are being consigned to obscurity). Then on economic questions a long meditation on what Trump will want (mostly what the GOP wants in practice) vs what traditional economic conservatives say they want. Following that there’s a realization that the traditional economic conservatives basically have no leverage at all and have come to the shocking realization that their electoral base seems to give not two damns about traditional economic conservatisms stated goals.

        So where, then, do they go? Trump is currently signaling a return to Bush W. era GOP hypocrisy and the NRO writers note with unease that if the GOP goes back to that well -again- that they might as well ditch the pretense of republitarian economic policy altogether and just start hanging up the populist curtains. On the other side the GOP party with Ryan in the lead, is suggesting they’d really like to actually try doing republitarian economic policy though most likely that’s more of a signal of fealty to the 90’s on GOP strategy of doing Bush W policies while insisting that, despite what our lying eyes are telling us, they are actually being principled economic conservatives.
        Option C is actually going small government conservative and the marginalized tribunes of that option are being told that if they cross Trump their own voters will eat them alive and the establishment will take enormous pleasure in lifting not a finger to prevent it.

        All in all, an interesting NRO article and pretty thoughtful by the standards they’ve set as of late.

        *But for the filibuster.


        • I know the election results were barely cold when Paul Ryan started floating “Let’s privatize Medicare” balloons and eyeing SS like it was a particularly nice slab of beef.

          Which seems…an interesting take on the electorate’s mood, to be sure, but very much in keeping when Dubya was riding high (assuming you figure that the anti-gay agenda was always just to get the rubes to the polls).


          • Well sure, and if you have any similarly interviewed, researched and connected to the GOP establishment articles that say that their immediate goals are going to be Abortion, God and Guns or something then throw it up here. Or email it to Trumwill and he’ll put it in tomorrows list of links. Either way we’ll happily talk about it.


  3. On reapportionment… The study summary linked to in the article says that if the short-term trend holds (Montana’s growth stays high, Texas’s slows somewhat), Montana will get its second seat.

    Colorado seems pretty much a lock to get an eighth seat. In some ways that will make redistricting easier (the last two have ended up with the Supreme Court picking from the alternatives). The mostly rural 3rd and 4th districts will probably become a bit more purely rural; the 1st will still be Denver and a few bits; the 5th will still be El Paso County (Colorado Springs) and some surrounding bits; the interesting part will be how they chop up the rest of the Front Range suburbs into four districts.


  4. Media Matters has never been an effective watchdog, precisely because it has a political agenda. It exists to bring a feeling of superiority to one political tribe, not to police the media, or even one medium. I didn’t know about the Clinton-related dust-up, but it seems weird to yell at them for losing sight of their ideology.

    The equivalent organization on the right is Media Research Center. They’ve fallen into a similar trap. They used to provide examples of media bias. Increasingly they’ve become sensationalizers and ideologues.


    • I forget sometimes that Media Matters is actually even theoretically a media watchdog organization. A lot of their stuff seems to go like this:

      “Fox News says that Hillary Clinton’s poop stinks. Let me explain in 1,500 words why, in fact, it smells like daisies.”


      • Will,
        I wonder how much Clinton promised them?
        (I know a guy what runs a “media watchdog”… don’t remember which one it is, though. He’s worked both sides and the middle, though, so it’s bound to be making a pretty penny).


      • Being a media critic should be like shooting fish in a barrel. The media are awful. How come there are so few groups who do it full-time? Maybe, to switch fish metaphors, media stupidity is like water to a fish. We don’t even notice it anymore. Or maybe it’s something you can only make money at if you do it from an angle. You’ve got to please the customer.


        • Pinky,
          To be a media critic requires you to have access to video feeds, or at least to be quick enough to pull someone’s home address when they blatantly lie on national Television.

          Yup, still ticked at that TYT broadcast on election night. Doesn’t exactly take Einstein to hear “and the whole bus clapped” **

          **the name of the rhetorical trope, not the actual words spoken.


  5. Democratic Populism: Like Lee, I think you linked to the wrong article. If you linked to the right article, this is called being a prosecutor and that is where Kamala Harris started her political career. I think Prostitution should be legal but I also think there is never going to be widespread consensus on the issue and it seems to be a hotly debated issue in feminism about whether anyone can willingly be a sex worker or is there always a coercive aspect. The coercive aspect could be economic pressure.*

    National Review article: Trump is more popular than the entire GOP caucus and the House Freedom Caucus knows this as much as anyone. The Democratic take on the folding of the House Freedom Caucus is more bitter and cynical though. We think cries of “Deficits matter” only come up when Democrats control the Presidency and/or Congress. If not, everything goes out the window.

    New Hampshire might also have a libertarian government:

    Of course, that loud protester type is the flavor of Free Stater that tends to get noticed. Democratic State Rep. Tim Smith said he first encountered the group when members protested at one of his Manchester campaign stops by staging a play. “The allegory of the state,” Smith recalled, cast him as “the evil state man locking people in prison for forbidden plants,” even though he actually supported legalizing marijuana.

    “The flavor of Free Stater that exists is the protester rabble-rouser type,” said Smith. “Make no mistake. The ones who decide to get involved in state politics are an entirely disruptive influence.”

    Smith likes to tell the story of a Manchester man with a Free Stater state representative. “He was having some trouble getting his driver’s license renewed because he went through an issue where there was a fire in his home,” Smith told me. “He lost a lot of his documentation, and he was having trouble proving his identity at the DMV. He called his state rep to try and get a little bit of help and was basically told: ‘I don’t think the DMV should exist, because I don’t think the state should license drivers. The road should be privately owned. You’re on your own.’ ”


  6. *Forgot my asterisk,

    There are a few TV shows and movies like The Girlfriend Experience that allegedly show someone enjoying doing sex work. I refuse to watch these shows until they turn the majority of clients into middle-aged men with the various physical issues of middle-aged men like pot bellies, balding, etc. As far as I can tell most of these shows have suspiciously hot and young men as the clients because Hollywood.


    • A show about realistic prostitutes with a realistic clientele wouldn’t be something hot and sexy that sells. The Girlfriend Experience is selling the fantasy of prostitution like Pretty Woman. The fantasy is that all sex in prostitution is amazingly fun rather than something that could get routine or even bad and you get to have sex with hot guys for money. The hot guy thing is part of the fantasy of prostitution for men to because it tells them that they aren’t pathetic by resorting to a prostitute for sex.


  7. Okay, the UN/Israel thing is getting weird.

    The story is going out that the US was the architect of the resolution along with a story about how the US did not want anyone to know that they were the architect of the resolution.

    Apparently, it came out anyway that the US was the architect of the resolution despite assurances from the US government that this was an Egyptian resolution.

    John Kerry apparently met with Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian diplomat. When it was pointed out “Hey! John Kerry met with Saeb Erekat!”, John Kerry denied it, and the denial was met with the whole “why is there a schedule entry for you meeting with Saeb Erekat on your website?” question.

    Whatever the truth is, the narrative is running away.


    • Egypt made a resolution. Egypt is almost as much a client state of America as Israel is.

      Obama’s still a little pissed about Foreign Governments meddling in American Politics. By which we mean Bibi, and three times.


    • There’s no end of nonsense and intriguing wrinkles popping up, for instance Bibi was supremely confident he could count on Russia to veto the resolution which Putin then forgot to do.
      It is almost enough to make one forget how much of a tempest in a teapot, hell not even a teapot- more like a teacup, the matter is.


      • That article is absolute partisan rubbish. It reads like a mishmash of Republican press releases and off the record talking points. And, at no point does it actually provide any actual evidence for it’s core assertion, that the Obama administration drafted or pushed through the resolution.

        The fact that every other country on the security counsel voted for it (except us) and would have voted for it at any point in the last 5-10 years is conveniently ignored. That Netanyahu and his Republican backers are putting out this story has basically nothing to do with whether it is actually accurate.

        ed. Oops, misthreaded that. You’re also exactly right on the relative importance of this UN resolution.


      • From all the shouting, I guess the UK and New Zealand might have to switch columns now. I’ve been assured that only Israel hate could justify the situation, so clearly if NZ and the UK are on the side, by the transitive property they must hate Israel.


        • Israel did break diplomatic relations with NZ. I don’t think an invasion is imminent.

          Also, from the article you linked:

          But in a sign that the international pressure may be being felt by the Netanyahu administration, scheduled plans to consider for approval 600 new settlement houses in occupied east Jerusalem were abruptly removed from the agenda of the city’s municipality on Wednesday.


        • It appears that Netanyahu told New Zealand that voting yes on this would be considered a declaration of war.

          Given the resolution at hand, that sort of hyperbole is….kinda tin-pot dictator level.

          Then again, there was the famous shoe pounding incident with Russia so maybe it’s common for UN votes.


        • You need to consider this in terms of internal Israeli politics over everything else. Bibi is a nakedly right wing politician from the pov of anyone not living in Israel but within Israel he’s more of a moderate right wing nakedly cynical politician who’s primary and predominant interest is maintaining his personal power and influence. There is a very strong portion of Likud situated to Bibi’s right who can make his life extremely difficult and forestalling them is where a lot of this sturm und drang is coming from.


          • Whatever the internal politics, it seems like Israel making itself a partisan issue in the only country that it can usually count on for support (in general and specifically in the Security Council) was a result that probably won’t be good for Israel in the long run. Then again, maybe getting rid of its big enabler will be better for it in the long run.


          • I think the politics are pretty simple. According to Pew polls:

            A plurality of Israeli Jews (42%) say the settlements help the security of Israel, compared with 30% who say the settlements actually hurt Israel’s security and 25% who say building settlements does not make a difference either way.

            As long as the subject is settlements, Bibi is in the center. That is, unless Kerry convinced a lot of Israelis through his speech that their interests are different than they previously thought.


    • I don’t suppose you’d listen to yet another round of commentary from me and whichever of the Lee / Saul brothers is the immigration lawyer as to why you are AGAIN misunderstanding the law.

      Diplomats are “expelled”. Their visas are revoked and they are ordered to leave the country.

      Removable immigrants are “deported”. (And back in the early 90s when I was learning this stuff, certain immigrants who never “entered” the country were “excluded”.)

      Expulsion, deportation and (historically) exclusion all result in the removal of an alien. But the terms are not synonymous.


        • You know, if I were a smarter person I’d be able to make a wonderfully snarky quip about how you criticized folks for reducing words to political tools only a few minutes ago while you’re invoking that trick now.


          • Well, I realize that I failed in my “what the hell”ishness because I find myself saying “WHY IN THE HELL IS OBAMA GETTING INTO SOME WEIRD SPY BRINKMANSHIP WITH TRUMP THREE WEEKS BEFORE THE INAUGURATION?!?” and wanted to explore that and, instead, I find myself floating down the rabbit hole of the importance of defending Obama from outsized immigration claims.

            I blame myself. I handled this poorly.


            • No worries. I’ve found, in my own case, especially as I get older, that the reach overextends the grasp.

              To your main point – which I think is VERY interesting – it IS surprising that Obama’s gonna ramp up “retributions” that’ll expire in the blink of a political eye.

              So I wonder what the H he thinks he’s doing (or what the Establishment or PTB or whoever think they’re doing, since they seem to back him on this) as well. It’s really weird.


                • Ahh, yes. That could be what’s going on. Politicize the To Russia With Love stuff and make him own it in a hyperpolitical context, one where each move is scrutinized.

                  I don’t know the extent of the sanctions, but from what I gathered Obama stated more might be coming. If both parties and the non-political deep state types are on board, this could be a shot across the bow. Or, well, a lot more than that, really. More like actual institutional obstructionism.


                  • If both parties and the non-political deep state types are on board, this could be a shot across the bow. Or, well, a lot more than that, really. More like actual institutional obstructionism.

                    So this might not have anything to do with Putin at all. It’s the Deep State vs. Trump.

                    Guys, it’s time for some game theory.


                    • Okay.

                      So Donald Trump knows that the Deep State is against him now. Okay. We knew that that was going to happen. The main question that I had was whether they were going to pointedly ignore the hell out of each other or if they were go at it hammer and tongs.

                      Looks like hammer and tongs.

                      I don’t know that Trump has the toolkit necessary to even get started against the Deep State.

                      I suppose I ought to be wondering “how long until President Pence?”


              • Adding to that: given the apparent univocality regarding the measures implemented, it’s also a signal that what those folks think Russia did was pretty damn egregious. Insulting, even.


                • If Obama is convinced that Russia hacked various groups with the intent of interfering with the election, what would you have him do? Ignore all that because Trump?

                  You guys treat everything as a move in a chess match. Isn’t it sometimes just appropriate to do the right thing? Failing to respond to Russia’s actions sets us up for further such actions. We should be appalled by Russia’s behavior, regardless of how influential it was or which side you root for.

                  If Trump thinks Obama is wrong, he’ll have every opportunity to undo his actions or blaze a different course.


                  • Ideally, he would let the incoming administration deal with it, or work with the incoming administration on it. Maybe he did, but it doesn’t seem like it.

                    The expulsions in particular raise eyebrows (it reads to me like we may have given up an operation to do that).

                    The thing is, I suspect he would have if it had been Rubio or Jeb or maybe Cruz. Which is to say I think it comes back to a mistrust of Trump to do the right thing so he had to act while he could. Given that I share the mistrust of Trump, I find it hard to criticize. But if it had been someone else, I’d probably be criticizing.


                    • But, if it was someone else, he probably behaves differently.

                      Also, this is a bed that the GOP made. They had a year to work with Democrats on selecting a SCOTUS judge. They refused. “Let the election decide. Let the people decide.”

                      Well, Obama is still POTUS for a few more weeks. The people decided that. So any whining that he shouldn’t be acting as such by the GOP is going to fall on deaf ears for me. You can’t play hard ball and then get mad when you catch a heater in the temple.

                      Now, it could be argued that Trump had nothing to do with the GOP’s actions over the past 12 months/4 years/8 years. But he chose to hitch his wagon to that party in pursuit of the Presidency so dems da breaks.

                      I mean… seriously… the Republicans are crying over a lack of cooperation? A lack of trust? Cry me a frickin’ river.

                      I recognize the importance of building bridges with my fellow Americans and better understanding those who live differently than I. But that does not mean I owe one iota of good faith to a party that has undermined our government’s functioning for their own self-interests for almost a decade now. Not one damn bit.


                      • That first bit is what I meant by

                        But, if it was someone else, he probably behaves differently.

                        The “would have” being (an unclear) reference to working with the incoming administration on the matter. It’s possible that things went sideways enough that it would have gone this way no matter who the Republican was, but that’s not how I see it. (Especially Rubio, who has been critical of the hack since Day One. Or Mitt, who plainly doesn’t like the Russians and so would be reliable on this issue.)


                  • You guys treat everything as a move in a chess match. Isn’t it sometimes just appropriate to do the right thing?

                    Imagine this argument:

                    Obama isn’t playing this game thinking “what are the likely 2nd order effects of this move? Is there enough history for us to make guesses at likely 2nd order effects? If so, do we have reasonable guesses at 3rd order effects?”

                    Instead, Obama sees this situation, is morally outraged and disgusted by it, and responds by doing the right thing, no matter what the 2nd order effects are. Because he’s just that good of a person, deep down. He’s just that much of a patriot.

                    Do you find that argument more persuasive than an argument that says: “Obama knows damn well what the 2nd order effects are (and has a guess at the 3rd order effects) and makes his moves with those not only in mind, but with those as his goals. (On top of that, he has the added bonus of his response being one of the right things to do in response in its own right.)”

                    Personally, I find the latter more persuasive on its face.

                    It’s because I find the latter more persuasive on its face that I am interested in what seem to me to be the 2nd order effects.


                    • There is a difference between saying he is considering the 2nd and 3rd order effects and saying he is motivated primarily by them.

                      You and Stillwater seem convinced that his actions were primarily about Trump as opposed to being primarily about Russia.


                      • This is where I get confused. If I say that I think that Obama’s main concerns are 2nd and 3rd (and 4th?) order effects (rather than the 1st ones), this isn’t me impugning him. It’s me giving him credit.

                        If I thought that his primary drivers were *NOT* 2nd or 3rd (or 4th?) order effects, than that would be, for me, the equivalent of thinking him stupid and/or petty.


      • THe funny thing is, Jay’s link uses the proper terminology but since that didn’t serve his Point!, he simply ignored it and swapped in the language more convenient to his Point! And when called upon it, rather than own it, he acts as if the words are the problem.

        Yep… truth.


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