Morning Ed: United States {2017.05.14.Su}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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66 Responses

  1. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    @will, the second link of the second paragraph (about hillbillies and the Rust Belt) is the same as the first, and it seems as if you didn’t intend that.

    As to the first link, I am fascinated by this, toward the end of the piece:

    I don’t know if Vance is correct. I suspect he is at least partially so. But his perspective isn’t enough to make these kinds of judgments on its own.

    That’s such a mixture of pride and vulnerability, far more than I think the author intended. In some sense, this discussion brings me back to the talk we had in undergrad days of determinism vs. free-will. My current view is that a world where the ills of drug addiction and violence are wreaking havoc are superposed on the world where the mines and the mills have closed and nothing has taken their place. Yes, there are other choices, and the people in these places don’t necessarily have the equipment to make them.

    So they can only respond to descriptions of them with “you have no right to say that”, rather than, “you are wrong because of X or Y”.Report

  2. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Re the first item… I would bet on Texas, I think. The population there is roughly California in the mid-80s. If they continue to grow, there are going to be severe water problems (the urban Democrats and suburban Republicans in the state legislature voted to create a Water Bank a couple years back to fund large water management projects, ie, projects to capture rural water flows and move them to the urban areas). Hispanic backlash. High tech booms in Austin and the north side of Dallas. I’m willing to make my standard ethanol bet that Houston-Dallas high-speed rail gets done before LA-San Francisco (you listening, Burt?). Houston can roll back from rising sea levels easier than Miami (you listening, Kimmi?). A whole bunch of wind turbines but no committed new nukes (when’s the first big West Texas solar farm, J_A?). Thirty years. Big blue progressive Texas.

    Damn, I hate being old enough that I can make a 30-year prediction with the likely outcome I won’t live to see if I’m right.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      The geography of Texas just has nothing going for it. Not a fan of the heat and humidity of Florida, but you have nicer beaches and palm trees and its a place people go to for reasons other than a job.

      I am, of course, assuming there is still a Florida for people to move to.Report

      • Avatar J_A says:

        I lived in a Miami before I lived in Houston

        Miami is pretty to look at, and yes, there’s a beach

        Houston has the third best cultural life in the country, and is one of the cheapest places to live in the USA.

        I fishing love it here. Fell in love on the very first visit (my job interview)Report

    • Avatar J_A says:

      (when’s the first big West Texas solar farm, J_A?).

      I don’t do USA based utilities, but I can tell you that the full EPC price(*) for a utility size (50-100 MW) solar plant in the middle of the Brazilian Nordeast is slightly below $1,000/kW.

      And still falling.

      That’s below combined cycle costs. True, the plant factor is mid 20s % vs 95%, but the operating costs, and the maintenance costs, are practically zero for the next 25 years.

      In layman terms, that’s bloody cheap, dudes

      (*) including all balance of plant, and the high voltage substation Interconnecting the power plant to the grid.Report

  3. Avatar Kazzy says:

    It’s super important we remember that all liberals are in absolute denial about Hillary being anything other than perfection incarnate.


    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      Would you prefer that no one ever write a critique of Hillary which is anything less than flattering?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        I think there are ample accurate, unflattering critiques of Clinton written by liberals that we can stop asking, “Why are liberals in denial about Hillary?”Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I think the problem is multifold. Clinton had a very high unfavorable but when you asked people to actual state what they found distasteful about Hillary Clinton you tended to get answers that sounded out of right wing talk radio to liberals. It was all vague or even conspiratorial sounding stuff like she is corrupt or Whitewater rather than something substantial. For good reason, many liberals thought that all of Clinton’s unfavorable ratings came from a twenty year plus campaign against her by conservatives and media. When you combine this with the fact that she was the first woman to run for the Presidency with a valid shot and very popular among Democratic voting women and people of color, liberals aren’t going to be that well-disposed to many critiques of Hillary Clinton.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        Yeah. Well, Clinton was corrupt.
        You think when I say “she knew where all the bodies were buried.”
        That I’m just making shit up??

        Love A Duck, It’s not like I CARED that Clinton was corrupt (though I sure as hell didn’t want to move back to Washington because of it).

        … but, yes sir, she really was.

        “What do you mean you can’t get a passport?”
        “Flight Risk.”Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


          For the love of god, what can be done to rid us of your paranoid delusions.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi says:

            It’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you.
            Please, it’s not like you’ve been up for the past 48hours fixing shit across several continents.Report

      • Avatar pillsy says:

        Also too, many post-election complaints have had a distinct whiff of unclean hands about them, as actors associated with institutions that failed to prevent Trump’s elevation to the Oval Office attempt to deflect all responsibility onto her and her campaign, or are simply engaged in anti-anti-Trumpism.

        Hillary critics, if they want Hillary defenders to take them seriously, really ought to spend more time signaling up front that they aren’t trying to cover for publications like The New York Times, establishment Republicans, or for that matter the Trump Administration itself.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          From the other side it looks more like this: A lot of people are saying the same things about her that they were saying since way before Trump’s ascendance. Things that were routinely ignored and explained away often with “If she’s so bad at this why has she been winning?” And now that she’s lost, a lot of the people who had very little patience for these warnings and complaints persist in arguing that this is hindsight reasoning.

          (I do think that everybody ought to be looking at the role they specifically played in this. Including the media, anti-Trump Republicans and Democrats and the Clinton campaign… this includes not dismissing a lot of the critiques of Clinton as being “haters” or trying to cover for their own sins.)Report

          • Avatar Kimmi says:

            Clinton’s campaign actively tried to get trump nominated for the GOP.Report

          • Avatar pillsy says:

            I will concede that the, “If she’s so bad at this why has she been winning?” argument has been conclusively proven wrong, but at the same time…

            …that proof in and of itself is hindsight!

            Saying something is hindsight doesn’t make it wrong. We don’t say, “Hindsight is 20/20,” because of its complete unreliability. It’s not a defense of everything.

            Frex, at the time I said Clinton’s “deplorables” comments were good. That was, in fact, a stupid thing to say at the time, because you didn’t need hindsight to tell you that it was a stupid thing to say. You just needed to hearken back to Obama’s “cling to guns and religions” comments or Romney’s “47%” comments to realize that she’d blown it big.

            On the other hand, it wasn’t obvious until at least the day after the election that the Clinton campaign’s decision to focus so heavily on Trump’s profound character flaws in an attempt to chase disaffected moderate Republicans was a bust.

            And so on down the line. The complaints that she was failing to connect with white working class voters so badly that she’d lose the election? True!

            Yet you know who else was going to lose by failing to connect with those voters? Barack Obama in 2008.

            You know why people thought that was the case? Because Hillary Clinton did way better with those voters in the ’08 primary than Obama did.Report

            • Avatar Kimmi says:

              And WV went for Jesse Jackson.

              REally, people. It aint’ rocket science.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

                That was 1984 and this is 2016.

                Things change.

                Did you read Hamilton Nolan’s article on West Virginia’s economic and social woes?Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                Bernie won WV.

                WV comes really, really late (AFTER PA for god’s sake!), and WV tends to use it as a protest vote if they’re not going to have any influence.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

                Winning a primary does not equal winning a general election.

                A Democrat also one the West Virginia governorship in 2016 but he is a conservative Democrat proposing the opposite of Sanders.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              On the other hand, it wasn’t obvious until at least the day after the election that the Clinton campaign’s decision to focus so heavily on Trump’s profound character flaws in an attempt to chase disaffected moderate Republicans was a bust.

              To me it was obvious. Once DJT had the primary wrapped up I cautioned HRC – repeatedly, in many many comments here at the OT!!! – to absolutely NOT go negative on Trump’s character for what struck me as an almost trivially obvious reason: apart from her not being good at that type of retail political nonsense, attacking your opponent’s character when your own highest liability is the electorate’s negative perception of your own character is a losing strategy. Surely I wasn’t alone in realizing that. But (as I’ve said before) Hillary has terrible instincts when it comes to retail politics and for some reason (???) she failed to realize how widely distrusted and disliked she actually was.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                She realized how much people hated her. The thought basically drove her mad, but she did realize it.
                When you make that many promises to powerful people, you don’t have the option to back out or not run.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Well, then it’s worse than I thought, kimmie. If she was aware of the extent to which people didn’t like her and yet still chose to reduce to the campaign to “who do you dislike less” then she deserves more blame than even I’ve been heaping on her. (She’s just terrible at politics.)Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                To be perfectly fair, I think the idea of a “Contentless Election” (aka one where the campaigning wasn’t about issues at all) was something the Powers That Be came up with. So, not actually her idea.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Yes, she does have a history of surrounding herself with incompetent people…

                {{OK, that was unfair, even if true. Hah!}}Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                More to the point, she fired the people on her campaign that told her she was going to lose.

                This would be like in House of Cards, when the Underwoods are using Government Resources to Win The Election, them spontaneously deciding to fire the flunkies doing the work.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                How could it be obvious when, at that point, she was still a pretty strong favorite to win?

                You should take pride in recognizing a mistake that wasn’t obvious to other people!Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Being the “favorite to win” thing doesn’t really play well at the polls. This was my reasoning at the time:

                1) Trump made his hay by taking people down into the negative-retail political weeds and crushing them.
                2) Hillary is widely reviled in the electorate primarily based on a negative perception of her own character.
                3) A battle in the negative trenches? Advantage Trump.

                If she took Michelle Obama’s advice and went high (which, if she could have done that she wouldn’t be Hillary) the whole texture of the election would have been different.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                But the thing is, all evidence we had suggested that she was probably going to win until she lost. Depending on what information you were basing things on, her loss was either surprising or genuinely shocking.

                It’s obvious now that she didn’t pursue a winning strategy because… she lost.

                It was not obvious that she wasn’t pursuing a winning strategy then because… most people thought she was going to win.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Yes, she was “on her way to winning” until events outside of her control upended the smooth path to easy victory. We’ve litigated the last ten days of the election in previous threads.

                My point was merely that at the beginning of the general election going negative against Trump struck at least ME as the strategic option least likely to win the election.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                Yup, and I’m arguing that not only were you right, but that you were unusually right and that’s evidence that you were more perceptive than the rest of us. What you believed then was true, but it’s only now, with the benefit of hindsight, that it’s obvious.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Thanks for saying that. I just wish Hillary, for her own sake if nothing else, woulda taken that advice.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


                I still stand by my thesis that the freak nature of Trump’s win is causing everyone’s analysis to go into overdrive compared with the strong feelings that both Trump and HRC seem to inspire.

                Everyone seems to be treating a freak victory as a mandate that everyone should have seen from day one. They are treating it like Nixon in 1972 or Reagan in 1984.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                That is completely true.

                One reason I think @stillwater ‘s perception good one is that it comports well with some other things we know about the outcome of the election, not least that people who disapproved of both Trump and Clinton broke for Trump, and ended up being a key part of Trump’s (barely) winning coalition.

                I think he kind of has a good point about the Democratic Party being to ready to let Hillary clear the deck of challengers, and recall saying as much at the time. More and healthier competition early on would have been good for the party, and, I think, her campaign.

                Where I differ is that I don’t think Clinton was a bad candidate, just a middling one, not so different from John Kerry, Mitt Romney, or George HW Bush.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

                I agree that she was a middling candidate.

                Still I know lots of people that sincerely liked HRC and found her inspirational and most of these people make up the base of the Democratic Party. That is they are professional women and/or women of color, often in their 30s-50s. So there is a part of me that sees a lot of sexism in HRC hate especially when it comes from men who are upset that their economics only vision is not carrying the day and they have to fight for “women’s issues.”

                I don’t think you can divorce the economic and the social so easily in the United States and I remain unconvinced that Bernie would have led to a tidal wave against Trump. I still suspect that Bernie would have lost more badly to Trump even if it would be amusing to see him debate Trump.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                I tend to agree on Sanders; I think looking at him now and saying, “He would have had an easy time of it,” is like looking at Hillary’s sky-high numbers in 2014 or so and deciding it made her a shoe-in. He has yet to be subjected to the kind of sustained partisan attack that Clinton was. Maybe he’d weather it better than her, but then again, maybe not.

                I also think a healthier Democratic primary process would have meant there were more choices than just Bernie, Clinton, and O’Malley.[1] If we’d had a few more credible candidates in the mix, I think it would have helped substantially even if the final outcome was the same.

                [1] Webb and Chaffee were always joke candidates, and I like both of them!Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

                Another issue I have in politics is that I am inherently suspicious of Messiahism and Trump/Bernie both inspire it in their supporters.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                Shit-stirring isn’t a good trait for a Messiah, no.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I still stand by my thesis that the freak nature of Trump’s win is causing everyone’s analysis to go into overdrive compared with the strong feelings that both Trump and HRC seem to inspire.

                “the freak nature of Trump’s win”: what do you mean by that? Without cashing that out you don’t have much of a thesis, certainly not one people could agree or disagree on.

                At a first pass, it seems you think nothing can be learned from the 2016 election cycle other than that Hillary haters are gonna hate.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Everyone seems to be treating a freak victory as a mandate that everyone should have seen from day one.

                Absolutely no one is treating the election like this, Saul. But Hillary did in fact lose in the general, and Trump did in fact win twice to get his seat in the Oval Office. Seems to me there’s a lot more going on here than you’re willing to concede.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                You are not be treating it that way, but lots of people did and still are. I’ve seen numerous entries in the, “Democrats will never win again unless they embrace ${MY_FAVORITE_POLICY},” genre since Trump’s victory.

                And the Administration itself has relied time and again on the “mandate” argument to defend decisions like not releasing Trump’s tax returns, and it played a key role in defending the Gorsuch nom and confirmation.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                We also have anti-anti-Trump and pro-Trump people arguing that Trump really does have a mandate because the election appropriately discounted Clinton’s support from states like New York and California in favor of “Real America”.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                It’s not that we should have seen it from day one. It’s that we should not have laughed and ridiculed everyone who said it was possible.

                And it was a narrow victory, not a freak one.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


      There are very few perfect campaigns. Even Obama made some huge blunders in his very smooth sailing 2008 and 2012 campaigns. Bill Clinton probably did the same in 1992 and 1996. Bush II in 2004, etc.

      But Lee has a strong point that a lot of Clinton haters like to ignore. A lot of the backlash against Clinton is the product of a smear campaign that started in 1992 (against both Clintons) and never really let up. I suspect that a lot of Bernie Sanders supporting millennials absorbed a lot of Clinton hate during their formative years without processing the source and even though they are anti-Trump, the well was poisoned by right-wing media.

      Are there substantive reasons to not like Clinton? Sure just like other politicians but a lot of the reasons given in polls were vague and inchoate and sounded like inchoate ravings instead of substantive policy points or reasons to dislike.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        WHAT were we just fucking saying about paranoid delusions?

        Here, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Bill Clinton gave the eulogy at the funeral of the guy who funded the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy.

        Here, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Richard Mellon Scaife endorsed Hillary Clinton back in 2008.

        I know, I know, you’re a lawyer not a forensic accountant. Still. Do better.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Are there substantive reasons to not like Clinton? Sure just like other politicians but a lot of the reasons given in polls were vague and inchoate and sounded like inchoate ravings instead of substantive policy points or reasons to dislike.

        Perhaps a good plan would be to refine one’s ability to discern between substantive reasons hidden behind fumbling language and inchoate ravings.

        Lest the next time one encounters fumbling language, one flatters oneself by saying “oh, that person is merely raving inchoately. I have nothing to worry about.”Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          A lot of people said they don’t like Hillary Clinton because they thought she was corrupt but when asked about why she is corrupt, they could provide no specific examples besides EMAILZ and speech giving for fees at best. Its the Clinton rules, people who hate the Clintons believe that they are guilty of something and they just need to through stuff at them until something sticks. Look at Kimmi’s thing about the bodies as a good example of this. Most Clinton hatred is less extreme but there is a vague feeling that they know something is up.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi says:

            She’s corrupt because she uses blackmail and armtwisting?
            I’m not sure exactly why this is controversial??
            (Please note: I’m not saying that what she’s doing is illegal. That’s a different kettle of fish, even if it stinks).

            I can point to superdelegates in 2008 endorsing Clinton despite their districts pulling heavy for Obama — that’s because she’s EXTREMELY good at armtwisting, and at making you pay for not backing her.

            I don’t hate Clinton (Please! she’s not a genocidal maniac, unlike SOME PEOPLE – Abe). I didn’t really mind her corruption.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            I think that criticism works against Clinton supporters more than her detractors. The fact that Clinton had historically high unfavorables going in to the race is consistently dismissed by her supporters and Dem Party apologists. Whether those unfavorables resulted from a 20 year smear campaign or from knowledge of her voting record and political history is irrelevant, seems to me. People didn’t like her. Even Dems.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              Both Republican and Democratic candidates had historically high unfavorable. We would be making the same criticism about Trump but for 80,000 votes. The base of both parties tend to like politicians that are really distasteful to the general electorate. They also tend not to consider the general electorate in primaries to select candidates. Even if Democratic primary voters were prepared to act more strategically, who else could they appoint. Clinton won the popular vote by three million. That suggests that many people do like her better than Trump despite her unfavorable ratings.

              I’m not aware of any political party in any democracy that ever decided not to nominate somebody for office because even though the party membership really likes the person, the general electorate hates them. Corbyn is an example of this in the United Kingdom. Everybody in the recent French Presidential election also seems to be an example of this.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I’m not aware of any political party in any democracy that ever decided not to nominate somebody for office because even though the party membership really likes the person, the general electorate hates them.

                That only works in a closed primary, which is what the Dem Party establishment effectively did. Compare Jeb in the GOP primary to Hillary in the Dem primary.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                We would be making the same criticism about Trump but for 80,000 votes.

                Just reaching the point where we agree that we’re comparing Clinton to Trump rather than to, say, Dubya is a step up.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                This seems to rest on the implicit assumption that Trump was a particularly bad candidate.

                If the outcome of the election should cause us to reconsider basic political assumptions, shouldn’t that one be near the top of the list?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Sure. Let’s run with that.

                We should be able to list what was good about him, right?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I’m not picking on Pillsy with what I’m about to say (since I don’t think it applies to him) but if Democrats/liberals/Hillary supporters cannot identify the reasons 46% of the country voted for Trump then they have literally no idea what they’re up against going forward.

                It’s easy to say that Trump was a statistical aberration and all that, but he convincingly won the Primary over his GOP rivals, and obviously won the Presidency. Seems to me that liberals really need to figure out why that happened, be willing to consider other reasons than “those voters are all racists”.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:


                I’d start with a real and impressive talent for self-promotion and attention-getting. I don’t know how much power that has to explain his victory over Hillary Clinton, but it certainly was an incredible asset during the primaries when he was up against a veritable crowd of more qualified opponents.Report

            • Avatar pillsy says:

              This would be a devastating argument had she lost to Rubio, or Kasich or, you know, someone else who was actually more popular than she was.

              The problem is that she ended up losing to an opponent who was less popular than her.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                My comment applies to the primary. At the time she declared she had massive unfavorables, even within her own party. Yet the DNC and party establishment etc blocked any competition. Who she lost to in the general is sorta beside the point, since her flaws and weaknesses as a candidate were apparent from the beginning.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:

              What do you mean by “dismissed”?

              Do you mean they denied the numbers? I’m not sure anyone denied the numbers.

              Do you mean they insisted that people’s negative perception of Hillary was inconsistent with Hillary’s actual greatness (and perhaps the result of a smear campaign)? Because I saw a lot of that.

              Do you mean they insisted that low favorability didn’t matter? Because, well, it kind of didn’t. Hillary had low favorability but Trump had lower favorability. So the idea that, “You can win despite being deeply unpopular,” was kind of proven true… just about someone else.Report

          • Avatar Pinky says:

            Using Kimmi as an example of common thinking is bad form.Report

  4. Avatar pillsy says:

    Rep. Rodney Freylinghuysen is the snowiest snowflake to ever, um, snow a bunch of flakes:

    The most powerful congressman in New Jersey, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, wrote a fundraising letter in March to a board member of a local bank, warning him that a member of an activist group opposing the Republican worked at his bank.
    “Needless to say, that did cause some issues at work that were difficult to overcome,” said Saily Avelenda of West Caldwell, New Jersey, who was a senior vice president and assistant general counsel at the bank before she resigned. She says the pressure she received over her political involvement was one of several reasons she decided to leave.


    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      The scandal here is what is legal. Most states don’t put political activity and/or lawful out of work activity as protected from employment discrimination except in roundabout ways.

      There is a novel First Amendment question because of the Representatives action and he is a state actor or is he because of the nature of how the info was sent to the bank.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Good news for supporters of Hillary Clinton: she’s launched a new political group.

    Be sure to donate to *THIS* one, rather than the other ones you could be donating to.Report