Featured Post

The Magic of Ben Shapiro

Ben Shapiro recently tackled the firing of Kevin Williamson from The Atlantic via a Twitter rant. He expanded on his tweets in a National Review column. Shapiro’s thread made me want to do a deep dive into his archive of writing, which isn’t an easy task given how prolific Shapiro is as a writer. As a disclaimer, I disagree with most of Shapiro’s political views, but the columns I’m going to highlight are ones that stood out in the context of his tweets.

The Magic of Ben Shapiro

The first place I want to start is the very specific question of “How we got Trump” – the latest answer to that question for Shapiro is Kevin Williamson’s firing from The Atlantic. Of course, from now until 2021, anything from Lena Dunham, Antifa, or the campus left will also be the answer to this question for Shapiro. However, can he admit that part of how we got Trump was the “mainstreaming” of him as a serious political candidate? Did anyone do that better than Shapiro v.2011 when he advocated for Trump as the 2012 Republican nominee?

Even more telling than simply advocating for Trump was Shapiro’s justification for his endorsement. He rules out the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney, solely because of his support for RomneyCare in Massachusetts. He argues that “though brilliant, Newt Gingrich is chameleonic and impossible to peg down to principle; therefore, he’s unacceptable to many primary voters.” He rules out the other nominees for various reasons, and ultimately gets to who he thinks is the “ideal” candidate: Donald Trump. Shapiro’s support for Trump doesn’t come in spite of birtherism; in fact, he sees birtherism as a tool that Trump can effectively use in a primary and a general election.

In reality, the birth certificate issue is specifically geared toward certain political ends for Trump. First, it is obviously calculated to attract the most anti-Obama segment of the conservative base — and it has already succeeded, if primary polling is any indicator. Second, it is designed to force Obama into defending his character — Trump has already suggested that at best, Obama refuses to come clean with the American people. Finally, it shows Obama that if Trump is nominated, the campaign will not be a McCain-style hands-off lovefest. It will be a knockdown drag-out brawl. Trump will stop emphasizing the birth certificate issue, to be sure, but not until he’s milked it for all it is worth.

Is Donald Trump the best Republican candidate for president out there? It would be tough to argue otherwise. He’s got all the makings of a breakout star; he’s got bravado and the cash to back it up. If he really runs, he won’t have any trouble finding supporters. And as he puts it, he is the Obama administration’s “worst nightmare.” So far, who can argue with him?

This isn’t surprising – I don’t think Shapiro was ever a birther overtly, but he did think that the conspiracy could be used politically. As late as May 2012, Shapiro was feigning outrage that the media was suppressing an Obama “born in Kenya” story even though Breitbart itself (which published a story about a 1991 bio) didn’t feel like it was evidence that Obama was in fact, born in Kenya.

The Magic of Ben Shapiro

Shapiro did milk Obama’s past in other ways, though. He had no problems dabbling in the “maybe Obama is secretly an Islamist” cesspool. Here is what he wrote about Obama’s childhood and his current political base:

First, they tell us that he always had — and still has — a tremendous love for Islam and radical Muslims. Obama famously described the Islamic call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” Traveling to an Islamist country would scare most people — for Obama, it was like traveling back to his childhood. It’s no wonder that Obama took the opportunity to bash Israel while in Jakarta, Indonesia, this week — that, too, must have brought back nostalgic memories.

Second, Obama’s childhood shows us that he was comfortable with militant homosexuals, black racists and communists/socialists, along with radical Islamists. That’s an odd combination for a child, but Obama had an odd childhood. And that conglomeration of interests — gay rights militants, black racists, socialists and radical Muslims — now form the core of Obama’s idealistic base.

By July 2015, Shapiro was no longer on the Trump bandwagon, and like many other pundits, he believed that Trump no longer had any chance to win a Republican primary. However, he still wrote that the presence of Trump provided a positive opportunity for Republicans. Among the reasons why? He generates attention (he’ll come to regret that one), attacks the media, and channels anger.

Trump Generates Attention. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani recently pointed out, “Trump is in that debate, it’s going to get three times the audience.” That’s exactly right. Primary debates aren’t exclusively designed to help Republicans pick their candidate – the debates are also designed to allow future general election voters to get first impressions of the other candidates. The more direct contact between voters and candidates without the filter of the media, the better. Furthermore, Republicans have been caught in the vice of media malpractice when it comes to issues like illegal immigration: the media won’t cover such issues unless a Republican makes a mistake, in which case the cameras descend en masse. Trump solves that conundrum: he says outrageous things, the media show up, and the other candidates get a chance to speak rationally on topics the media nearly always ignore. Never underestimate the benefit of someone who can bring busloads of media down to Laredo, Texas just to listen to him talk.

Trump Attacks The Media. In 2012, Newt Gingrich played the designated anti-media attack dog. He did it well, and he did it effectively: it moved him to the top of the polls. Trump does the same now. He has rhetorically punched members of the media ranging from CNN’s Anderson Cooper to MSNBC and Telemundo’s Jose Diaz Balart. He seems uncowed by media pressure – in fact, he embraces it. Were Trump not attacking the media, someone else would have to do it. Thankfully, other Republicans like Carly Fiorina have jumped on the anti-media bandwagon, and are punching just as effectively – or even more effectively – than The Donald.

Trump Channels Anger. Republicans seem pathologically fearful of the anger of their base. Taught by the media that “angry white men” cannot fuel a party, they instead insist that they will out-compassion the left, a foolhardy proposition given that the left’s only calling card is compassion. Never mind that the left has consistently fueled its campaigns with rage against George W. Bush, “white privilege,” sexism, and other built-up monsters. The right has internalized criticisms that it must never humor the justified anger of its base. Not Trump. Trump embraces the feeling of frustration from the base, and does so in unapologetic fashion. That unapologetic nature is attractive to conservatives who feel as though they have elected Republicans, then watched those same Republicans surrender again and again. Other Republicans should watch Trump’s outrage-channeling and take notes.

By May 2016, Shapiro had now evolved past the “Trump can be useful to us” narrative and published a scathing column that only he could write without any sense of irony: Conservative Leaders Who Back Trump Shouldn’t be Leaders of the Conservative Future. The entire column is a fairly amusing one given Shapiro’s past, but the best part is how he concludes the article:

This is a clarifying election. We’ve learned that certain media members were willing to sell out long-held principles for ratings. We’ve learned that certain conservative voters were willing to let conservatism go by the wayside to hero worship a godking. Now we’re learning that the Republican leadership is everything we thought they were. We will remember their names. It’s time for a new brand of conservative leadership – and those who kowtow to Trump shouldn’t be a part of it.

The Magic of Ben Shapiro

Photo by Gage Skidmore The Magic of Ben Shapiro

Now, defenders of Shapiro will say that he’s not on the Trump bandwagon any longer and to some extent this is true – I regard him as a mostly anti-anti-Trump figure. The real problem I have with Shapiro is that he’s intellectually dishonest, hypocritical, and highly prone to hyperbole.

Nathan Robinson broke this down in his column – Shapiro has never been a free speech absolutist. During the Bush era, when it was the anti-war left triggering conservatives, a 22-year old Shapiro (2nd year Harvard Law at the time) argued for reinstating sedition laws. Part of his argument? We won World War II with internment camps but “during the Vietnam War, the Supreme Court repeatedly upheld the free speech rights of war opponents, whether those opponents distributed leaflets depicting the rape of the Statue of Liberty or wore jackets emblazoned with the slogan F— the Draft. America lost the Vietnam War.

Perhaps this callousness towards Japanese internment helps explain his column where he argued that the Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (specifically, the individual mandate) was the worst ruling since Dred Scott. In his own words, the decision was worse than Plessy vs. Ferguson, Buck vs. Bell, and Korematsu vs. United States. Notably, in this column, he never mentions Roe vs. Wade. An interesting omission, though I would argue a deliberate one. I think even he realized that his readers would be confused about why someone who believes abortion is equal to murder somehow thinks that the ACA decision was worse than Roe vs. Wade (both on moral and legal grounds). This type of hyperbole is incredibly common in Shapiro’s writing. For instance, he argues that the US Preventive Services Task Force standards are somehow going to lead to death panels because he disagreed with their evidenced-based recommendations on prostate and breast cancer screenings.

Another consistent theme in his writing is that the left overuses terms like racist, fascist, Nazi, etc. In fact, in his thread about Williamson, he argues that the left’s use of these words against mainstream conservatives benefits the alt-right. Not too long ago, he also wrote a column criticizing the media for trying to label Trump as a racist.

Perhaps Trump is a racist. Perhaps not. Either way, we can have a productive conversation about whether particular Trump statements or actions are racist. But we can’t have a productive conversation that starts from the premise that Trump is a racist overall, and that every action he takes and every statement he makes is therefore covered with the patina of racism. That conversation is about insults, not truth.

None of this excuses Trump’s idiotic and obscene statements. And none of it means that the media are wrong to criticize those statements. But applying the “racist” tag to Trump as a human being isn’t journalism. It’s laziness and opportunism masquerading as bravery. And it only alienates Americans who would prefer to analyze events and statements with clear eyes, rather than through the prism of Trump’s supposed bigotry.

While I don’t necessarily agree that labeling Trump a racist is out of line, I do agree to an extent that we should judge him on his appointments, his policies, and the bills he signs. Quite frankly, I don’t really care about what is in Trump’s heart. It’s the same reason I don’t care about his private positions on abortion or LGBT rights. I just care about the end product. But Shapiro didn’t have any problems with labels when it came to the Obama administration. While he didn’t explicitly call Obama a racist, he did call his administration racist and argued that Obama was trying to push a race war against whites.

The Obama administration is racist. They are using that racism to let black criminals off the hook, justify illegal immigration, hamstring law enforcement across the country, and push redistribution as a solution to supposed continuing discrimination against “people of color.” The predictable result of this policy will resemble the results of the 1876 election: federal abdication on racial violence, state abdication on racial violence and local abdication on racial violence. The next race war will come not from racist whites, but from racist blacks and Hispanics who feel empowered to act on their racism by an administration that excuses all minority misbehavior.

Based on the paragraph above, I would argue that Shapiro has been wrong for chastising the left and the Black Lives Matter movement for pushing the narrative that systemic racism still exists. At the highest levels of government, including the President and the Department of Justice, systemic racism was happening under Obama… against whites.

The narrative that Obama was cultivating a race war or that he was acting on his anti-colonial instincts made Shapiro turn even trivial decisions (e.g., renaming Mount McKinley) into huge stories – usually by neglecting to provide historical context (either deliberately or because of confirmation bias). He writes:

He did not explain the decision, which frustrated Ohio legislators upset at the slap at President William McKinley’s legacy; he is expected to speak on the topic today in Anchorage. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) thanked Obama, however, stating, “For centuries, Alaskans have known this majestic mountain as the ‘Great One.’ Today we are honored to be able to officially recognize the mountain as Denali.”

Why did Obama choose to change the name now? Presumably because Obama has now solved all the world’s problems, and decided against his second choice, Mt. Trayvon. But more seriously, Obama likely opposes the legacy of President McKinley, given that McKinley led America to victory in the Spanish-American War and rejected inflation by sticking with the gold standard. By the end of McKinley’s tenure, the United States had taken military control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Philippines, and annexed Hawaii.

Assassinated in 1901, McKinley, who presided over an economic boom and massive growth in American power, once stated, “We need Hawaii just as much and a good deal more than we did California. It is manifest destiny.” Regarding the Spanish-American War, McKinley explained that Cuba “ought to be free and independent.” Obama would have opposed both moves.

Shapiro hinted at it with the Murkowski line, but what he fails to mention is that Alaskans had long supported the name change. In 1975, the Governor of Alaska (following a resolution passed by the state legislature) formally requested that the Secretary of the Interior direct the United States Board on Geographic Names to change the name of “Mount McKinley” to “Denali.” Various Republican Congressman over the years have tried sponsoring resolutions in Congress to change the name. When Obama finally did sign the Executive Order, Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan both supported the name change as well as the Independent Alaskan Governor, Bill Walker.

When it came to anti-Semitism, Shapiro wasn’t quite as generous in terms of the way he labeled Obama. Not only were his administration’s actions anti-Israel, Obama himself was an anti-Semite. Just a few notable headlines: The Jew-Hating Obama Administration, The Presidential Anti-Semite Strikes Again, Barack Obama Proves His Anti-Semitism. I guess in this case, applying the “anti-Semite” tag to Obama as a human was “journalism and not laziness masquerading as bravery.” Amusingly, a very common right-wing criticism of the left (and one that I actually agree with) is that Democrats refer to conservative minorities as Uncle Toms. But Shapiro essentially does this exact thing when referring to Jewish people who voted for Obama – to quote him, they are “Jews in Name Only.”

As far as overusing terms, it would be hard to point out every Shapiro article where he labels Obama as one extreme thing or another, but here are just a few instances on Twitter where Shapiro refers to Obama as an anti-Semite, a Marxist, or a fascist.

The Magic of Ben Shapiro

The aforementioned hyperbole is a hallmark of Shapiro’s inability to write with any level of nuance. Here is just another small sample of Shapiro’s headlines:

Why the Left Bears Responsibility for the Arizona Shootings

Why Hillary and Obama Prefer Islam to Christianity

The Right to Try: How the FDA Is Killing Americans

Antonin Scalia’s Death Could Mark End of Constitution

Stephen Colbert’s Vile Political Blackface

What is even more frustrating is that Shapiro never demonstrates any sense of self-reflection or regret. For instance, he missed an opportunity in his column about the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting to cite himself as an example of why you shouldn’t allow teenagers to have national platforms to discuss public policy. He would know best – as an 18-year old nationally syndicated columnist, he wrote a column with the headline: Enemy ‘civilian casualties’ ok by me. He started that column with the following introduction:

I am getting really sick of people who whine about “civilian casualties.” Maybe I’m a hard-hearted guy, but when I see in the newspapers that civilians in Afghanistan or the West Bank were killed by American or Israeli troops, I don’t really care. In fact, I would rather that the good guys use the Air Force to kill the bad guys, even if that means some civilians get killed along the way. One American soldier is worth far more than an Afghan civilian. For the past decade, the United States and Israel have been attempting to prove their moral superiority by attempting to minimize civilian casualties. That’s all well and good. Unfortunately, this policy also means that politicians put our soldiers in harm’s way in order to save “non-combatants.”

The “How we got Trump” point is overplayed, and the real answer is certainly multifactorial, but my contention is that Shapiro and others like him helped cultivate an environment in which Trump could be successful within the conservative movement. The irony is two-fold – first, Shapiro doesn’t seem to realize or care about what he helped build. If you listened to his latest speech at CPAC, almost the entirety of it focused on channeling audience anger towards the left and attacking the media. Second, the very methods he criticizes the left for using, he employs. If you accept his premise that the reactionary right has only emerged because of the left, then you should at least acknowledge the danger of radicalization of the left if you use the very tactics you bemoan.

Finally, Shapiro isn’t going away. He’ll be one of the most influential conservatives of the next 25 years. He’ll have tremendous influence on young conservatives, particularly because of his college campus speeches. His books are bestsellers, and he churns out several columns a week across different outlets, including his own site, The Daily Wire. His podcast is one of the most popular in the country and he just received radio syndication. This is unfortunate, because for a lot of us on the left and hopefully some on the right, we wish people would take Shapiro’s advice: Don’t allow conservatives like him, who once backed Trump, to ever have a future in conservatism.


Guest Author
Twitter 

AdotSad is a coastal elite living in the California bubble of Orange County. He’s a pharmacist by day and a time waster by night. He is on Twitter.

Please do be so kind as to share this post.
Share

183 thoughts on “The Magic of Ben Shapiro

  1. There is a lot to work through in this well written piece that I enjoyed despite disagreeing with parts of. I think its a good thing to raise questions about “star” pundits as it is politicians; if part of the trouble with Trump is his supporters making him an unassailable hero, the same is true of people doing so with their favorite media figures. He is quite right that Shapiro isn’t going anywhere, whatever you think of his beliefs he is very intelligent, media savvy, and has built quite the brand for himself. I don’t think supporting Trump is an unpardonable sin to conservatism, especially people who for whatever reason initially bought in and changed there mind. Doing that makes Trump the decoder ring for what is/isn’t conservative, and while I’m sure many would like that, it is not accurate. People of all beliefs have the ability to change minds, evolve, admit errors. They should be able to explain, its fair to challenge them on it, but it must be allowed.

      Quote  Link

    Report

    • This “how we got Trump” has become a cover-all for a multitude of things, but is far to simplistic, as it how we got Trump. Shapiro’s use here, clearly as device, is typical of what the phrase is.

        Quote  Link

      Report

  2. Here is one thing that I will give the right-wing,
    they are shameless and know how to do chutzpah well.

    IIRC Shapiro was a boy wonder conservative because for some reason the right-wing likes printing their future stars early. In Shapiro’s case, it seemed like he was ten.

    Conservatives will never admit that they built the atmosphere in which Trump could thrive. Especially if they are NeverTrumpers. They will always find a way to blame liberals.

      Quote  Link

    Report

    • Its Murc’s Law: Only liberals have agency. Conservatives are passive victims, sometimes spectators, but are never, ever capable of willful action or decision.

      Its like some extended, unfunny version of Gee Officer Krupke where we discover that conservatives are actually the pitiful victims of society.

        Quote  Link

      Report

      • this is a very valid point. This is a fair criticism of current conservative thought, especially in pundit/chattering class. Having for decades decried the “preying on victimhood” by others, in last few years it is in vogue to play up their own victim status. Quite frankly, this line of thinking is the bridge from what had traditionally been conservative thought/principles to the unmoored populism that now parades the name conservative around.

          Quote  Link

        Report

  3. How We Got Trump:
    60 million voters looked at Trump mocking that reporter, talking about grabbing pussies, ranting about Mexicans, and said “Haw haw, that great!”

    Sorry it isn’t anymore complicated than that.
    Asking “How we got Trump” is itself an perpetuation of white privilege, where the malign actions of white people are ignored in favor of more cosmic, seismic forces that never carry with them the taint of moral failure.

      Quote  Link

    Report

    • I disagree, that is a very broad brush. No 3 people are equally motivated, let alone 60 million. No doubt Trumps behavior brings out the worst in a segment of people, far to large a segment; but there were others, rightly or wrongly, who voted for Trump for an endless amount of reasons. None of those reasons excuse Trumps moral failings, and excusing them for things those folks did like about Trump is a moral failing of its own kind, but there were many that saw him for what he was and calculated accordingly.

        Quote  Link

      Report

          • As if it matters.
            As if their motivations for voting are meaningful.
            As if we are weighing their hearts and souls in some cosmic trial.

            We are saying that actions have consequences. These people looked at Trump and for whatever reason, saw nothing that was disqualifying.

            That’s not a moral judgment, not an opinion, its just cold hard fact.
            Another cold hard fact is that even a year and a half in most would do it again.

            A final cold hard fact is that I can’t change them, I can’t perform some magic voodoo that causes them to love multiculturalism and tolerance, any more than I can reform a drunk.

            If enough American voters enjoy this shitshow, yes, we will have this forever.

              Quote  Link

            Report

            • As a reformed drunk I encourage you to have more faith and optimism. Are not our liberal friends supposed to believe in the inherent goodness of people? Folks are immersed in it, but few are really enjoying it. Trump, in the grand scheme, is a temporary thing.

                Quote  Link

              Report

              • I believe good honorable decent people are capable of the most vile horrific things.

                Especially when they are allowed, or even encouraged to avoid self reflection and honesty.

                I was a Reagan Republican. I didn’t switch sides because liberals mocked and ridiculed him. I didn’t switch sides because liberals lovingly coaxed me to their side, with charts and graphs and soft mood music. In fact, nothing the liberals did or said made any difference to me at all.

                Newt Gingrich, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and that gang of fu*kers did the trick.

                  Quote  Link

                Report

          • My problem is that seemingly anything Democrats, Liberals, the Left, whomever (“DLLW”) says against Trump, it becomes Trump will be President forever:

            DLLW: Trump is corrupt and using the office of the President to enrich himself and his family.

            Your response: Trump will be President forever.

            DLLW: Trump is colluding with Russia.

            Your Response: Trump will be President forever.

            DLLW: Trump is a xenophobic racist who turned ICE into his personal deportation thuggery gang.

            Your Response: Trump will be President forever.

            DLLW: Trump has a 40 plus year history of racism and sexism.

            Your response: Trump will be President forever.

            There is seemingly nothing that can be said against Trump without garnering this response from you. I don’t know what to make of it. Do you think DLLWs should just shut up about everything and anything? Do you think we should be subservient to white nationalists run amuck?

              Quote  Link

            Report

            • I think the point is that, while the accusations made by DLLW seem reasonable and supported to you, to many people they don’t. And the persistence in making unreasonable, unfounded accusations is the kind of thing that will continue to inspire Trump supporters. I’m not going to try to convince you that there aren’t 60 million tiki-torchers out there; I’m just going to point out that that sort of accusation doesn’t persuade anyone.

                Quote  Link

              Report

                  • I’ve noticed that when a divisive but popular with the base politician gets accused of corruption, the defense is usually “the crime is getting court.” It becomes like a partisan version of the scene in the Godfather where Michael Corleone calls Kaye naive because she says “Senators don’t get people killed.”

                    The assumption on the right seems to be that all politicians are corrupt and gorging at the trough. The only difference is in degree, not kind. This is not to say that no Democrat is corrupt and we are all saints (cough Sheldon Silver and Rod Blogdaovich cough) but I do think generally that the response in the party bases is asymmetric to political corruption.

                      Quote  Link

                    Report

            • As someone who gets poked at by Jaybird about this probably more than every single person on the board combined (as a spouse, he has a lot more access to me than to you all; on the other hand, he also has an infinitude of compensating qualities), the most annoying thing is that his meta-point, about the unwisdom of the New Yorker being Deeply Disturbed by the supposed “creepy infiltration” of Chick-Fil-A and also expecting to be taken seriously by anyone who doesn’t agree with them about that about *all the very serious and factual* stuff they report on about Trump…. (a style repeated ad infinitum across the very DLLW that I count myself a member of) – that one has some validity.

              I may disagree with how much validity, but then again he was sure Trump was going to win months before the election and I was sure he wasn’t until October.

              But when he makes his hyperbolic points about such things, he is talking about tone/context, rather than about content. The way you framed this objection seems to think the content is what triggers the objection, but it’s really not, it’s the culturally disdainful tone and hyperbole (or appearance of such). He’s mirroring what he sees, tonewise.

              This may not be useful to you, but it sure helps me to contextualize things.

              It also helps me to deal with living in a county where 62.3 percent of voters voted for Donald Trump, and being able to work productively with *most* of my neighbors to improve things, rather than set fire to 62 percent of them and flee to Canada (don’t think I haven’t considered the fleeing, at least, many times).

                Quote  Link

              Report

              • I would also note that when it comes to the so-called culture war, it is sometimes hard for those of us who are very left in our values, living in rightward places, looking at folks living in very leftward places who are so quick to cry for shunning and heightening the contradictions. It’s hard not to feel like “oh, here I am on the ‘front lines’ and you’re where? back home surrounded by people who you can trust mostly agree with you and who would secede/forcibly join Canada before they let the Trump base take over their own lives? telling me how this purported war should be fought??”

                I don’t like that line of argument much, mostly because I don’t like the whole culture war metaphor much in the first place. “whose side are you on?” is a very tricky way to live, a tactic I pull out only when desperate (at times it’s unavoidable, though) – and I think culture war stuff is greatly disrespectful to soldiers and to pacifists, besides having a tendency (at least for me) to lead to self-aggrandizement.

                But if I ever briefly indulge that way of thinking, it’s hard not to see a large swath of the DLLW NYC/California contingent (exceptions cheerfully granted for folks like LeeEsq who are working in areas of practice where they are helping the most affected) as quite similar to those in literal wars who sit comfortably at home writing fiery editorials about how the troops *should* fight, without any intention of ever bestirring themselves to do more than spread propaganda that will help keep the war at fever pitch. Meanwhile some of us are showing up on the battlefield every damn day…. and even trying to obtain local ceasefires to make sure the wounded get what they need.

                So, you know, I’m glad I don’t think that way most of the time.

                  Quote  Link

                Report

                • FWIW I think the Heighten the Contradiction crowd mainly wanted Trump to win because it would fast forward to the socialist revolution.

                  I think these people are idiots.

                  When it comes to tone, yes, I admit at times that I think conservatives are very risible, often contemptible, and often hypocritical. The tone thing is kind of rich considering that the right-wing built a multi-billion dollar industry dedicated to mocking liberals condescendingly.

                  So this does feel more like DLLWs need to argue with one armed tied behind their back and conservatives get full freedom to run wild.

                    Quote  Link

                  Report

                  • If you don’t think tone is part of heightening the contradictions, I worry that the heighten the contradiction crowd is winning and most of us don’t even notice…

                    I don’t disagree with you that the right wing built the multi-billion dollar industry, but the average person in this county *where I live* is not part of that multi-billion dollar industry. The majority of the 62 percent of them who voted for Trump do not use, or even enjoy, that tone most of the time. When they do, it’s because they’re as dang susceptible to propaganda as the rest of us are, and they think they’re “fighting back” just as much as DLLW who use that tone think they’re “fighting back”.

                    The ONLY way for DLLW who live in non-left-wing majority cities to make progress in those cities is to *win people over*, and it often feels to me like a substantial portion of the left is tying my/our own arm behind my/our own back by acting the way they/we do.

                    We’re not competing directly with the multi-billion-dollar right-wing infotainment machine in a wrestling ring. We are, or could be, walking among the crowd, hands in pockets rather than free OR tied, talking about how we strive to be smarts rather than marks (or better yet smarks), describing what conclusions we’ve drawn as a result, and letting them draw their own conclusions.

                    And that last part is regardless of their political affiliations.

                      Quote  Link

                    Report

                    • I think that many Democratic voters in Democratic areas are out for a fight for several reasons. The more politically aware know that the American electoral system gives more weight to Republican voting areas even though Democratic voting areas contain more people. Hillary Clinton winning the popular by three million but losing the election because of the Electoral College is causing this feeling to spread to the least politically aware.

                      This feeling of the inherent unfairness of the political system combined with a feeling of being under assault and years of abuse from Republican voters just became too much. Now different Democratic voting groups are no longer having it. They don’t trust or even like Republican voters that much. Many of them really don’t believe they have any redeemable qualities if LGM is an accurate gage. The feeling is that it is our time.

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                        • I have about 8 possible interpretations for what you actually meant by this comment and at least 2 of them are uncouth and qualify as deliberately trying to escalate the level of antagonism in the conversation.

                          If either of those two happens to be the correct one, please don’t. If not, please try to be a little easier to understand?

                            Quote  Link

                          Report

                      • Many of them really don’t believe they have any redeemable qualities if LGM is an accurate gage.

                        I read the LGM comment section largely for the entertainment value. I’m out on the lunatic fringe on the subject of partition/secession, in that I think it will happen (and have a story about what I think the real regional difference(s) will be, when it’s likely, and where the basic dividing line will run). When the subject comes up in comment threads over there — and it does, regularly these days — there are some real frothing-at-the-mouth do-it-now folks. Mostly their geographic preference seems to be the “blue archipelago” model, that is, 400 or so counties that voted for Clinton and make up about 60% of GDP production should take off on their own.

                          Quote  Link

                        Report

                        • Mostly their geographic preference seems to be the “blue archipelago” model, that is, 400 or so counties that voted for Clinton and make up about 60% of GDP production should take off on their own.

                          I’m wondering at what point a bunch of blue states with good economies and functional taxation systems don’t start voting in their best interests by creating a state highway funding system that will seamlessly replace the existing Federal funds, with equal income and gas taxes that automatically kick in and whatnot…and then walk into Washington and try to repeal all Federal highway funding.

                          It sure would be interesting to watch red state Freedom Caucus Republicans try to explain what is going on to their voters, especially since it would lower their voter’s taxes and gas prices. (While, of course, completely destroying their infrastructure.)

                          When I get really far out there, I imagine blue states basically tricking the red states into turning highway funding and even social security and whatever into nation-wide self-funded interstate compacts, that states can _leave_ if they want, and the Federal taxes go away for residents of those states (As do the Federal funds.), and then watch as conservative demogagues idiotically primary from the right and the red states leave one by one.

                          Granted, I am _in_ a red state, so this would be pretty sucky for me, but it would be funny as hell.

                          Then again, this sorta already happened WRT Medicare Expansion, but sometimes I feel that hasn’t resulted in enough pain in non-poor people.

                            Quote  Link

                          Report

                          • The problem is I don’t want poor folks living in Alabama to have to pay a $20 toll to use “I-20 brought to you by WalMart”

                            Basically every government service is a giveaway to red states (rural areas pay the same for mail, get military bases, etc.). So ending almost any would be a net positive to most blue states. We still, however, like providing government services to those who need them.

                              Quote  Link

                            Report

                            • The problem is I don’t want poor folks living in Alabama to have to pay a $20 toll to use “I-20 brought to you by WalMart”

                              The theory is that they don’t _either_, and their politicians know it, which means they have to basically say ‘That is a good government program, do not cut it’.

                              When you have some actual fanatics, and a bunch of people pretending to be fanatics to be elected, you can undercut the pretenders by protecting yourself and then saying ‘Hey, yeah, let’s _do_ that fanatical thing.’ and watch things fall apart.

                              Granted, at this particular point, I am not sure the fanatics wouldn’t win. This was really an idea from a decade ago. In fact, the Republicans sorta gave up on being small government fanatics by themselves.

                                Quote  Link

                              Report

                          • Federal highways are something like 1.5% of the federal budget. But if the “blue” states decide to shut down the federal highway program, I think the “red” states would just sit there with their fuel and their food and figure out how to get by.

                              Quote  Link

                            Report

      • An a-historical assertion to put it mildly.
        Looking at the details myself i might say “If W Bush’s astonishingly bad admin produced Obama as a result then how liberal is the Trump backlash gonna be??”
        Or, if you prefer pessimistic takes; will the backlash blow right through the
        liberal spectrum into something illiberal? Personally, i doubt it, but then i would.

          Quote  Link

        Report

        • Well, on the liberal side, I don’t quite know how to interpret Clinton.

          Was Clinton uniquely bad? If so, then there might be a problem with the Democratic Party Leadership being unable to tell that Clinton was uniquely bad. Has the Democratic Party Leadership fixed this perception problem on their part?

          Was Clinton not uniquely bad, but the country just likes to switch from charismatic leader from this party to charismatic leader from that party every 8 years or so? Well, then all the Democrats need to do is find a charismatic person and start grooming them for 2024.

          Has something changed at a fundamental level in the country and what used to work is no longer something that will continue to work? Like, the whole “elite” thing is being replaced by a more “populist” thing? Well… the elites better figure out how to play populist. Flannel shirts do well, I understand. Jeans.

            Quote  Link

          Report

          • Setting aside Comey* I think HRC boils down to Gore. Ya take a wooden candidate, She makes some mistakes, then you add in the standard eight year Liberal complacency and purity politics factor** and that pretty much covers it***. I don’t think it signifies a lot more (but I wouldn’t); November should tell us a lot.

            *because we have rock solid reason to believe the guy threw the election against her ironically while trying to cover his and debatably her ass.
            ** both of which Trump magnified by seeming so unelectable.
            ***all that said it must always be noted that final responsibility for this loss rests on Hillary’s shoulders and always will.

              Quote  Link

            Report

  4. As a disclaimer, I disagree with most of Shapiro’s political views, but the columns I’m going to highlight are ones that stood out in the context of his tweets.

    I always wonder about this sort of thing.
    I suppose there are enough people out there who will say something like “Ben Shapiro! He’s a bad person! Why would someone write about him unless they were bad too?!?”

    Anyway, good post.
    Shapiro is (yet) (another) Conservative who read Alinsky and took him seriously and started using Alinksy’s tools against the left.

    The left always seems to be surprised to find that the tools work no matter who is using them.

      Quote  Link

    Report

    • Honestly, this seems like a cue for a round of wonks vs. hacks. I just went and read the wikipedia entry for “Rules For Radicals”.

      I never want to be a part of something like that. It’s antithetical to how I want to live and engage with others. I see your point about Shapiro and Alinsky.

      Because his entire focus is on mobilizing anger and ridiculing the opposition. Lots of people think that’s how politics is done. It is how you get a small group energized. It isn’t the way to break a pre-existing political gridlock. If you motivate one ally and two enemies, have you made progress?

      I contend that you will never get someone to switch sides by ridiculing them. But you can get really famous and make a lot of money by ridiculing people, for sure, and pretend that’s powerful.

      Shapiro argues that “Kevin Williamson’s firing is how you got Trump”. And Trump is how you will get new gun control laws, and probably lose both houses of Congress next fall, and presidential candidates that are far more radical than Hillary Clinton ever dreamed of being.This really does cut both ways.

      And, as points out, it denies one’s own self of agency. I am capable of stepping back from that, but Shapiro (or whomever) isn’t?

        Quote  Link

      Report

        • I contend that most of his readers benefit if he steps back. He isn’t making them happy. He isn’t changing the things they want changed. He’s just winding them up and making money off of their anger.

          But he won’t benefit. If he “stepped back” he would then be just a schmuck, instead of an “important conservative voice”. So concentrated benefits, diffuse harms. It’s a common pattern.

            Quote  Link

          Report

        • The tenor of your comment, gives me the impression that you think I somehow am less bothered/impressed by the idiocy that I see on the left. But I suppose you don’t get to watch me scroll through all this crap in my social media feed with a frown on my face, looking for something that will actually provide me with new insight or information, or allow me to make a human connection.

          No, most of it is just trolling. Even the sites I think of as pretty high-quality have something like 30 percent trolling.

          This is what the internet, and the “like” button is doing for/to us.

            Quote  Link

          Report

          • Quite honestly, I am fairly unconcerned with whether you’re bothered by the idiocy on the left.

            What interests me is whether you see the idiocy on the left as reinforcing the idiocy on the right (and vice-versa) and whether you see a way to get the people on the right and left to stop defecting against each other in this iterated game.

              Quote  Link

            Report

                • But it isn’t a BSDI situation, despite your implication to the contrary.

                  Like the goals or dislike the goals, the left has people in positions of influence who (1) define a goal; (2) explain how to achieve the goal; (3) create legislation that would, if enacted, achieve the goal; and (4) work on getting it passed. The left also has people that don’t.

                  The right simply doesn’t. Instead, republican politicians are routinely stuck in a combination of being dishonest about their goals (or honest-but-deeply-confused) and incapable of drafting legislation to achieve their announced goals. Which is why they’ve done nothing but enact a tax cut that has failed to achieve any of the benefits for which it was sold to the public, despite total control of government.

                  So while both sides have crazy people on twitter, one side isn’t just memes.

                    Quote  Link

                  Report

                  • One side has loons, the other side has loons RUNNING their whole show. It is perpetually amusing to watch the media heads and libertarian exiles franticly try and act like both sides are the same because the both have loons.

                      Quote  Link

                    Report

                    • Oh?

                      You don’t think the ACA expanded access to healthcare?
                      You don’t think student loan reforms made it easier to repay student loans?
                      You don’t think the cap and trade plan would have reduced emissions?
                      You don’t think Obama’s stimulus helped the economy recover?

                      And, even if you take any of those views (for which I would love to see evidence), can you at least concede that any issues are different in kind from selling a tax cut for a few thousand rich folks as somehow directly benefiting the middle class, then bragging about savings of <$100/year?

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                      • Oh, I agree with you that the Republicans suck at #3!

                        I’m not saying that they’re good at it!

                        I merely disagree with how well the Democrats are at achieving #3.

                        It’s like arguing that Prohibition reduced drunkenness. On one level… sure. It did.

                        On another… that wasn’t the only benefit promised and the additional costs imposed were not taken into account (and it kinda created pockets of really intense drunkenness).

                          Quote  Link

                        Report

                        • So you’re declining to answer any questions, defining “good” as some standard above anyone, and (if I’m parsing the Jaybird-ese correctly) agreeing that Democrats are better at this than Republicans?

                          Do I have that right? If so, do you agree it undermines your BSDI posture?

                            Quote  Link

                          Report

                          • There’s a big difference between “this series of actions is causing a positive feedback loop and one side seems far more likely than the other to be able to stop doing it” and “BSDI”.

                            It looks to me like Jaybird is insisting (rather irritatingly, at times, I will concede and have noted elsethread) on the former, and people are parsing it as at the latter.

                            It might be more productive to respond to what he’s saying, rather than a simplification of what he’s saying. Or to ignore him.

                            This is just me talking, nothing you said is something I’d moderate, but I can see you guys aren’t really getting anywhere, and that frustration levels are rising for everyone involved…

                              Quote  Link

                            Report

                            • I’m not frustrated. I’m just making the point that we are either in BSDI land or in the “my standards are higher than what the democrats do, so both sides are bad” purity posture.

                              It’s worth noting when it arises, particularly as I suspect that would answer my questions in the way that supports my point were he to engage with them.

                                Quote  Link

                              Report

                              • I presumed that you are frustrated because to me that was the simplest explanation for why something that to me is obviously
                                ““this series of actions is causing a positive feedback loop and one side [the Democrats] seems far more likely than the other to be able to stop doing it”

                                gets read by you as something that is BSDI or a purity posture.

                                I apologize for misreading your emotions. I will try to read your comments as coming from a place of non-frustration henceforth.

                                  Quote  Link

                                Report

                                • No apology necessary. I think Jay often adopts either a BSDI or a purity posture, supported primarily by his desire to take that posture and refuted by the facts in front of him. I’m sure I also read his comments less charitably than you do.

                                  (I also honestly can’t see how a comment that trying to talk policy would just be a both-sides-equal meme-off was actually ““this series of actions is causing a positive feedback loop and one side [the Democrats] seems far more likely than the other to be able to stop doing it” but I defer to your understanding of Jay’s thought processes)

                                  I may never be able to change that in him, but I hope testing it (as we are now doing) is of some value to him and/or other readers who share that inclination.

                                    Quote  Link

                                  Report

                                  • From my perspective, it’s mostly super-stressful and often ends up resulting in one or the other person involved in that conversation being moderated or threatened with such, because the bounds of civility end up getting crossed about 80 percent of the time (historically speaking). I have thus been trying to get him to be kinder about understanding that people really sincerely think he’s doing that even when I have no plausible understanding of why that’s what they (y’all) think, and thus not to respond as if someone is jousting with him (which he tends to think because he thinks what he is saying is fairly obvious, not obscure/indirect).

                                    It would be a great benefit to *me* if when you see him in that position you *don’t* try and test him, given that criticizing him for it seems to be mostly a matter of criticizing *him* (the word “purity” is a big giveaway there) and not a matter of criticizing his arguments.

                                    And that’s not really good for anybody.

                                    I’m not putting the moderator tag on this because I am not, in fact, moderating you, but it is as a moderator, rather than as a spouse, that I find these exchanges supremely frustrating.

                                      Quote  Link

                                    Report

                                    • I’ll admit that I don’t understand the problem here, and I don’t see how this site works if we can’t drill down on political issues in an explicitly political post (fwiw, I think conservative voters’ self-definition as “not-democrat” instead of “pro-___” is how we got trump, and that’s an easier self-definition to maintain if you can say “sure Republican’s can’t make policy, but neither can Democrats” (sub-caveat: I’m not saying THAT is Jay, but he sure pushes the supporting point hard, including here)).

                                      As to the rest, I think you’d acknowledge we are at least quasi-moderating. Which is your prerogative, I guess, but surprising here. (and, for the record, “purity” is a common thing, not a Jay-is-bad thing. Damon, for example, revels in it).

                                        Quote  Link

                                      Report

                                      • Sure, call it quasi-moderating if that makes you more comfortable, it’s probably more accurate by my definitions anyway. A lot of people seem to think “moderating” means “I am under some threat of punishment at this moment” which a discussion like the one we are having right now does not, at all, mean. I was just trying to be clear that that was not the case, that I wasn’t warning you off in some “or else” way. I have been asked by multiple commenters to be clearer about that distinction so I was trying to be.

                                        And it’s not that you can’t drill down on political issues, it’s that you aren’t meant to drill down on commenters personally, and I don’t see a way to talk about people as “adopting a purity stance” or “adopting” any kind of stance in this sense, that isn’t personal, and that isn’t engaging with how they talk rather than what their content is.

                                        Pointing out that someone else supposedly “revels” in a similar behavior (according to you) doesn’t make it seem *less* like a personal complaint, rather than a political discussion, for the record.

                                        I know the personal is political and all that, but to me it seems like a pretty clear distinction.

                                        And it’s not that what you said is not within bounds in and of itself, anyway, it’s that when I don’t step in and say something, these conversations almost always inevitably turn into a very big struggle session against Jay in which some plainly hostile attacks are made.

                                        I know some folks think I protect him but actually I’m a lot more lax about letting people say personal things to him that I’d take some action on if they were said to anyone else, particularly if they were said to another one of our regular writers (whom, yes, I overprotect based on how much they pour into the community here).

                                        And it bugs me that I can spell that out, tell people to back off, and still they start back up again.

                                        So it’s more of a “look, don’t start this back up again, it never leads anywhere good and I’m getting tired of giving people more slack on being antagonistic toward Jaybird than they get on anywhere else, so if it goes to the bad place, I’ll probably have to be mean to people and I hate that,” than it is an actual moderator complaint.

                                        It may also be relevant that while I was trying to deal with this, I was also dealing with an actual troll and/or anti-semite posting else thread and doing three work things at the same time.

                                        Everybody keeping this site in the air works pretty hard for free. And it’s kinda supposed to be reasonably fun most of the time. So it is very frustrating to *me* when this situation / conversation arises for the umpty-unth time. And I disagree that it is in someway helpful to the site.

                                          Quote  Link

                                        Report

                          • Okay, fine. I’ll go through your gish gallop one by one.

                            You don’t think the ACA expanded access to healthcare?

                            Well, let’s start here: I think that they dramatically increased the number of people on health insurance rolls and, in doing that, more people have insurance than used to. Do you see this as being the same thing as providing access to healthcare where there wasn’t some before? If so, then Yes. They did.

                            Personally, I don’t see insurance with deductables high enough to prevent people from wanting to get some of that healthcare they now supposedly have access to as doing what was originally promised.

                            Are there people who have health care access now that didn’t used to? Sure. Are there also people who no longer feel that they can afford services that they used to feel they had access to? Yeah, there are those as well.

                            Was this redistribution of health care better than net zero? I don’t know… especially when I take into account the amount of money spent on this sort of thing.

                            You don’t think student loan reforms made it easier to repay student loans?

                            Given that one of the things about student loans that bugs me is that I think that they’re too easy to get, especially by people who won’t necessarily be well-served by taking the loan (e.g., people who get loans and then drop out without having received a degree), I’m not sure that the “easier to repay” is an unalloyed good. It’s “easier” to repay the loan that they shouldn’t have gotten.

                            On top of that, given that the cost of college has not only outpaced inflation, it’s outpaced the costs that would be offset by old-school levels of state funding, the loans are bigger and bigger than they used to be and I kinda see some sort of cost disease going on and I think that the ready availability of student loans has contributed greatly to this cost disease.

                            Making these loans “easier” to pay off is not a good thing if the loans are part of the problem.

                            You don’t think the cap and trade plan would have reduced emissions?

                            I don’t know that it would have. I suspect that it would have been captured immediately and the worst offenders would have purchased offsets/indulgences and not really changed their behavior.

                            See also: The Paris Accord.

                            You don’t think Obama’s stimulus helped the economy recover?

                            Sure, it “helped”. I also believe that congress “helped”. More than anything, I think that the gridlock “helped”. Was the amount of help greater than the amount of help that would have been provided by merely getting the hell out of the way?

                            I don’t know how to measure that. I’m not confident that Obama’s stimulus helped to that extent, though.

                            And then, finally:
                            And, even if you take any of those views (for which I would love to see evidence), can you at least concede that any issues are different in kind from selling a tax cut for a few thousand rich folks as somehow directly benefiting the middle class, then bragging about savings of <$100/year?

                            I suppose that I can point to The American People looking at this tax cut and seeing immediate benefit to themselves rather than looking at the other things and seeing a mixed bag, at best.

                            What is the take of The American People on the ACA?
                            About Student Loan Reforms?
                            About the Cap and Trade plan?
                            About Obama’s Stimulus?

                            Compare to their position on The Tax Cut.

                            Is there a difference in kind?

                              Quote  Link

                            Report

                            • It’s not a gish gallop, it’s a test of your claim.

                              On the ACA, costs are way down, so I don’t know how you say “especially when I take into account the amount of money spent on this sort of thing.” I’d encourage you to test your biases here, because the ACA (1) reduces spending; (2) provides a lot more health insurance; and (3) provides better health insurance. It isn’t perfect, and insurance is expensive, but until we can get a public option on the exchanges it’s a pretty darn solid result.

                              “Making these loans “easier” to pay off is not a good thing if the loans are part of the problem.” Holy goalpost shifting. My claim is that Democrats produce policies that achieve Democrats’ announced goals. Sounds like you agree this is an example of that.

                              Re: cap and trade, I can’t prove it would have worked, so I’ll drop it. That said, the policy was a lot more than a voluntary abstract promise like Paris, where the diplomatic symbolism was the point.

                              Re the stimulus, I guess macroecon is just an unknowable abstraction, eh? Or, well, not. Again, worth testing your initial instincts on this one.

                              If your counterpoint is that GOP policies may not work but occasionally poll well, I don’t see how that has any bearing on the point you challenged. The tax cut was predicted to, and has, functioned in a completely different way than it was sold, no matter how it polls at any given moment. And yes, that is a difference in kind.

                                Quote  Link

                              Report

                              • According to this, healthcare costs are still going up rather than down.

                                According to Wikipedia, the rate of growth has gone down, but the growth has still been going up and still exceeding the rate of inflation.

                                These only count up to 2016, though. They don’t take 2017 numbers into account.

                                My claim is that Democrats produce policies that achieve Democrats’ announced goals.

                                These announced goals do not benefit the people the Democrats are announcing they’re helping, though.

                                You’re pointing at “easier to pay back” as if that were admirable in and of itself and I’m arguing that it’s not.

                                Again, worth testing your initial instincts on this one.

                                We’re engaging in some light “post hoc ergo propter hoc” is what I’m saying here. While I agree that the economy recovered, I’m also saying that it would have recovered without the stimulus because of such things as, yes, the business cycle.

                                (What were Obama’s predictions of what the stimulus would accomplish? Were those numbers met? Is that relevant?)

                                I’m sure you saw Dylan Matthew’s post on Ezra Klein’s blog on the Washington Post. If the question is “did the economy get better” well, the answer is “of course it did”.

                                If the question is “did the economy get better because of the stimulus to a degree that would have been better than the government just mailing everybody a check or even doing nothing at all and saying ‘we’re going to put some bankers in prison'”, I’m not sure what the answer to that particular question is.

                                  Quote  Link

                                Report

                                • And thinking about the rates of growth in health care insurance some more… the rates of growth have been going down for a while. How much of that is due to the boomers going through the aging process? (I think that it might be doing a lot.)

                                  As more of them switch from health care insurance to medicare, would that result in people who need to use insurance a lot swapping over to another program entirely and thus something like a reduction in the rate of growth as people jump over a particular age? (Again, I think that this might be doing a lot of heavy lifting.)

                                    Quote  Link

                                  Report

                                • I’m trying to draw a different distinction:

                                  Democrats say “we want to do student loan reform to make repayment easier” then craft a policy that, in fact, makes repayment easier. We could argue whether there are negative network effects (people get loans who shouldn’t, tuition increases more than the but-for world), and maybe there’ll be a thread for that, but it’s a difference in kind from “We should cut middle class taxes” -> policy that increases middle class taxes and radically cuts top 0.001% taxes, or “We should cut taxes to balance the budget” -> policy that drops a magic asterisk saying the “balance the budget” part will come later.

                                  The same is true of the ACA, which was a policy designed to maximize insurance enrollment while saving money. It did the former pretty well (100% was never the goal, and actual performance was hurt by the SCOTUS opt-out order) and the latter excellently. Unlike, for example, the GOP’s ideas that have been floated at various times since.

                                  As for the stimulus, it is entirely possible that helicopter drops of cash would have worked better. It is also very likely that a bigger stimulus would have worked better. But your link confirms the consensus that it helped (with only outliers being a statistical mess that lacks statistical significance and a study by a tight-money crank that proves the stimulus should have been larger). Again, different in kind from GOP policies, which generally do not point in the direction which they are sold.

                                    Quote  Link

                                  Report

                                  • Democrats say “we want to do student loan reform to make repayment easier” then craft a policy that, in fact, makes repayment easier.

                                    It’s a giveaway to the people who give out the loans. Loans, mind, that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Making them easier to repay is only a superficial kindness and crowing (get it?) about it being a major thing that they accomplished does not make sense to me.

                                    I’m not certain that I’m seeing the distinction between the Democrats and the Republicans that you’re asking me to see here, at least based on the tax cut giving the store away to the 1%.

                                    The same is true of the ACA, which was a policy designed to maximize insurance enrollment while saving money.

                                    It sure as heck maximized insurance enrollment!
                                    I’m not sure it saved money.

                                    But your link confirms the consensus that it helped (with only outliers being a statistical mess that lacks statistical significance and a study by a tight-money crank that proves the stimulus should have been larger).

                                    Yes. My link written by Dylan Matthews on Ezra Klein’s blog in 2011 confirms the consensus that it helped.

                                    Q.E.D.

                                    As for the stimulus, it is entirely possible that helicopter drops of cash would have worked better. It is also very likely that a bigger stimulus would have worked better.

                                    If it’s entirely possible that “doing nothing” work have worked better (and it’s my position that that is a real possibility!), then the stimulus “helped” in a way that isn’t particularly admirable.

                                    As a matter of fact, you need spinmeisters to spin it as being so.

                                      Quote  Link

                                    Report

                                    • I’ll try again, and we can focus on student loan reform vs. tax cuts because I think it’s helpful.

                                      I hear that you don’t like the student loan reforms as a policy. I hear that you think it created a bunch of second-order effects that make it problematic. But whether or not you’re right about any of that, it did the thing Democrats said it would do.

                                      Tax cuts, by contrast, were sold as doing something other than what they were designed to do. If it were not so, they would have been sold as a way to ensure that the middle class shoulders the burden of government funding currently assigned to richer folks. Maybe you’d think that was a good policy, maybe you wouldn’t. Maybe you’d think there would be second-order effects (good or bad!) related to the change.
                                      But at least the promise and the policy would align, and my distinction wouldn’t apply. (and I’m currently limiting myself to the one thing the GOP has passed).

                                        Quote  Link

                                      Report

              • I think the thing democrats need to decide (and it doesn’t have to be the same answer everywhere in the country), is whether the way forward on the margin is to try to convince a “centrist republican” to switch or try to convince a liberal to actually vote.

                The problem is the strategies are pretty different, and somewhat directly in opposition. Hillary certainly failed at the first type, despite having a convention that was only missing the “I like Ike” paraphernalia.

                  Quote  Link

                Report

                • The problem is whom is the centrist Republican these days and how much further are they to the right than Jacob Javits or Lincoln Chaffee. One of the more disturbing things to come out in the post-Trump world is how many people think that the Democratic Party should soft-shoe on civil rights. No one is calling for the resurrection of Theodore Bilbo or George Wallace but there do seem to be types willing to give up on combatting the gutting of the voting rights act.

                  I’m not sure going soft on racism is going to net the Democrats that many votes. I’m also not sure we need a national strategy on this issue.

                  One of the frustrating things is that Democratic Politics ends up getting dictated by its most conservative and/or cautious members and the GOP gets to go hog wild crazy and then point to one or two idiosyncratic votes on the margins and brag about how moderate they are.

                  There is a lot of systematic racism in the United States. I think we are still struggling with issues that have been around since the Colonies or early Republic. We are still fighting the legacy of the Civil War.

                  When liberals come out to vote, Democrats tend to win. When liberals stay home, they tend to lose.

                    Quote  Link

                  Report

                  • Right. This is the challenge.

                    To use a concrete example, I think a Democratic candidate for president talking about the importance of opposing bathroom bills is going to turn off Eisenhower Republicans who will say the focus on “identity politics” is icky and they don’t want their grandchildren [insert horrible stereotype]. Not talking about it, however, risks liberals concluding that both parties are the same and therefore staying home because even the Democrats won’t stand up for civil rights.

                    One can try to triangulate, to a degree, but the internet makes it harder. Different candidates can (and should!) take different approaches, as it seems completely reasonable for me that a democrat running in Texas would reach for moderate republican voters while one in California would mobilize liberals. The challenge is when you talk about national-scope efforts, and I think reasonable democrats can disagree.

                      Quote  Link

                    Report

                    • I agree with everything you wrote. Beto O’Rourke is probably still a long shot but he is a serious challenger for Ted Cruz. He is also generating excitement.

                      Every now and then you will see an old-school DLC type moaning about not wanting to talk about culture war/identity politics issues and begging to go back to “It’s the economy stupid.” TAL had a story about one such woman in Congress who worked hard as hell never to discuss social issues. Sometimes I wonder if the whole thing about neo-liberalism is to make things bland. “Hey we can’t resolve these serious social issues so let’s just make everything about making money. Who can disagree that making money is good?” But the age for that kind of politics has passed and a new generation of Democratic voters wants to push back against the right-wing.

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                      • Right, and the hard part is that I don’t know what it takes to win in, say, rural Kansas as a Democrat so I don’t want to push that candidate to one side or the other. The woman on TAL successfully got elected, for example.

                        I also don’t know which side of the moderates-vs-base issue would play best in Texas. But I think we need to acknowledge the pros and cons of both sides to have a useful discussion.

                          Quote  Link

                        Report

      • This is the answer to many of our pundit/commentator/social media questions:

        “I contend that you will never get someone to switch sides by ridiculing them. But you can get really famous and make a lot of money by ridiculing people, for sure, and pretend that’s powerful”

        exactly right

          Quote  Link

        Report

        • But it’s an incomplete answer in a way we should also acknowledge.

          Because you can get someone else to vote by ridiculing people. It certainly worked for Trump.

          At the margin, do you gain more votes by ridiculing the McConnells of the word from the left or by chin-scratching concluding that you have a small disagreement with their proposal? And what do we do with that answer? And is it the same answer in California as in, say, Wisconsin?

            Quote  Link

          Report

      • I think this is slightly unfair to Alinsky and human nature. Mobilizing the base is a good way to get political change and/or get people out to the ballot box. Sometimes this involves emotion and there is room for satire in political debate.

        I get that there are a lot of wonks upset at the current moment and the feelings of high negative partisanship but I think the wonks assume many things that are not true:

        1. The wonks seems to assume that all people want basically the same things but just have different means of getting there. I don’t think this is true. The current age of partisan intensity shows that a lot of people want very different and very incompatible things. To be somewhat fair, I think a lot of center-left types make this assumption too. One of the flaws of left politics is that it eventually hopes for a post-political universe. I think the right is fully equipped to live in a perpetually political universe and fight over who gets what, when, where, and how.

        2. The pundit/wonk types are just not equipped to fight hard or with much passion and are complaining that their time in the sunshine has gone up. The problem for the wonks was illustrated by the Damon Linker/Rachel Lu essays from yesterday. They are offering the same old bland and corporate-friendly solutions again and again. The broader bases of the left and the right are frustrated by this because that kind of corporate-friendly capitalism seems to offer very diffuse benefits to most but concrete enrichment to the few. But we see a younger generation drowning in student debt, dealing with unprecedented housing costs, increased health insurance, lower pay, lower benefits generally. And the pundit only seems to say “Well this is the best. Let’s just muddle along and continue with what we know. Sorry about your problems but I need to kiss up to Bankers at Davos and Techies at Aspen. You should see the cocktail parties Credit Suisse throws.”

        3. There is a kind of Victorian gasping that seems popular right now with certain pundits and claims that we can have polite conversations over topics that bring out strong passion. This kind of chiding always seems to be put on the left. So Connor F. dissented against the booting of Williamson from the Atlantic but seemed to think there was nothing worth criticizing in Williamson’s inflammatory speech to begin with. So the left is required to be polite and fight with one armed tied behind their back and Williamson runs around like a bomb-thrower.

          Quote  Link

        Report

        • You know, I just realized that Alinsky was addressing a time where the media environment was really really different than our own.

          Alinsky addressed creating political movement when the primary means of communicating with people was door-to-door, meetings and leaflets. It took Rush Limbaugh to figure out how to translate these tactics into a media empire and a considerable fortune.

          Meanwhile I continue to think that love is stronger than hate, even though it acts more slowly.

          Most of the political world has voted in your favor. Karl Rove gave up on persuading leaners and focused activating the base to elect GWB, particularly in 2004. And he used small channels, not mass-media channels. Kind of like targeted Facebook ads, really. I’ve had more than a few lectures about “this is how one does political organizing, and don’t you dare police me!”

          And so everybody does it, and we’re all mostly miserable. I’m hoping this all burns out at some point, due to systematic desensitization.

          Humor has a role. It’s ok to point out the faults of the high and mighty, for sure. Satire, though, is often something that divides viewers into sheep and goats via “If you get this you’re one of Us, and if you don’t you’re one of Them”. In this regard it delineates power relationships. We don’t really need more of that.

          I highly recommend the film Ridicule. It seems apropos.

            Quote  Link

          Report

        • Because I’m not seeing where anything the right is doing, has any relationship to what was said in the book.

          Every time I see a reference to it, they cherry pick the most wild eyed phrases (“Make it personal! Its all about power!”) and ignore the other couple hundred pages where he talks about engaging the entire community to listen to their issues and complaints.

            Quote  Link

          Report

          • Really? Because when I think of the stuff that, for example, Breitbart or Milo did, I’m thinking about rules such as:

            “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”
            “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
            “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”
            “If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside”
            and
            “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

            And Shapiro, for example, uses a handful of Alinsky’s rules as well.

            (There’s a wikipedia page if you need a refresher!)

              Quote  Link

            Report

            • That is exactly what I mean.
              Those are the hair-raising type of quotes that conservatives use, making Alinsky sound like a mashup of Lenin and Goebbels.

              Except the context that is stripped out is where the community decides what it wants, aside from raw power.

              The conservative movement hasn’t done that. They have no idea what they want, other than the raw power to make liberals unhappy.

              So, like Otto reading Nietzsche, they read Alinsky but don’t understand it.

                Quote  Link

              Report

              • Chip, there are two different things that I think you’re confusing. One is the citing of Rules for Radicals as proof of how extreme the left is. The other (and it’s the one that Jaybird is doing) is citing Rules for Radicals as a guidebook on how to fight. There’s obvious overlap, but they’re two different phenomena.

                  Quote  Link

                Report

              • Nope…not seeing any reason to read Alinsky. It’s not like the obsession with Alinsky didn’t start with people using him to prove Obama was the most marxist commie radical ever. Nothing Shapiro does is all that ground breaking either. From what i’ve heard Alinsky isn’t saying anything that people don’t already do or know.

                  Quote  Link

                Report

                • So you don’t need to read Alinsky because he’s not at evil as the stupid republicans said he was… and, as a matter of fact, he said stuff that everybody knows anyway?

                  Golly, it must really irritate you that republicans used Alinsky as representative of Obama’s politics, then.

                    Quote  Link

                  Report

                    • Among other reasons, I suspect that a couple of things involving Alinsky’s rules are involved with why Trump won.

                      For one, they stopped working quite as well against the conservative types as they used to.

                      For two, the conservatives who have started using them have begun seeing how well they work no matter who is using them and the rules haven’t stopped working well yet.

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                      • You seem to be ascribing a lot to the Rules for Radicals that I am not seeing in said Rules.

                        And the stuff _in_ the Rules I am seeing the right do they’ve been doing basically forever.

                        Like, the constant screaming about non-existent threats looks like rule #9, but in reality authoritarians have been inventing imaginary threats literally as long as authoritarianism has existed, so if anything that’s a strategy that Alinsky stole _from_ the right. (And, of course, conservatives, at the moment he wrote that book, were currently screaming about the threat of communism and made-up stuff about black people and homosexuals I won’t repeat here..)

                        And Rules #1 – #3, #8, and #10 are, I’m pretty certain, stolen directly from Sun Tzu.

                        And once we get outside that…what tactics are the right successfully using that resulted in Trump? #13?

                          Quote  Link

                        Report

                        • And the stuff _in_ the Rules I am seeing the right do they’ve been doing basically forever.

                          There are things in there that everybody does, sure… but the stuff like the things stolen directly from Sun Tzu seem to be wielded differently by folks such as Milo, Breitbart, Trump, and, yes, Shapiro than, say, Romney used them.

                          And once we get outside that…what tactics are the right successfully using that resulted in Trump? #13?

                          The ones I pointed out to Chip. I’ll copy and paste them.

                          “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”
                          “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
                          “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”
                          “If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside”
                          and
                          “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

                            Quote  Link

                          Report

                          • “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

                            Are you asserting that the Republicans just started calling out hypocrisy?

                            “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

                            How are the Republicans using ridicule?

                            “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”

                            This is just a stupid rule to start with. A good tactic is one that forwards some sort of strategic goal.

                            If you are organizing people, especially volunteers, yes, at some point you have to consider whether or not a tactic is enjoyable to get and keep up the morale of said volunteers, but that hardly means that _anything_ that is enjoyable is a ‘good tactic’.

                            Assuming anything that is ‘fun’ is a good tactic will result in stupidity like conservatives putting on diapers and prancing around at Kent State to mock liberals.

                            A rule that dumb can’t explain the success of Trump.

                            “If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside”

                            And this rule, of course, is pure gibberish. I actually went and _looked up_ what this rule was supposed to be, it was so nonsensical…and it was just as nonsensical when I read how Alinsky defined it.

                            The actual gist appears to be ‘use your enemy’s actions against them’…which is, again, basically just Sun Tzu.

                            Man, seriously, reading these rules for the first time, I am very disappointed it. It’s a bunch of basic information of ‘how to fight any sort of war’, except extremely poorly explained…combined with a few dumb jokes.

                            I dunno, perhaps the book is better than it is described.

                            “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

                            Well, that does apply to the success of Trump, I guess. The sheer luck of concentrating 20+ years of attack on someone who happened to be the Democratic presidential candidate caused victory.

                            Although, again, concentrating an attack on a single target is hardly some brand new tactic that Alinsky thought of.

                            And I’m not sure that’s repeatable.

                            There are things in there that everybody does, sure… but the stuff like the things stolen directly from Sun Tzu seem to be wielded differently by folks such as Milo, Breitbart, Trump, and, yes, Shapiro than, say, Romney used them.

                            That’s just because Romney operated within civic norms, whereas none of those other do.

                            I’m suspecting the thing you’re seeing here is ‘The right has become unhinged from civil norms, much like the left was during the late 60s and early 70s’, and this has very little to do with the Rules for Radicals at all, except that bomb-throwing looks a lot like bomb-throwing regardless of who is doing it.

                            Even the things in the Rules aren’t a ‘rule’, but the more ‘community organizing’, and something that looks close to what the right is doing…hasn’t really been ‘stolen’. The right has always had a status quo institution of power to organize behind, with symbols and history…the Rules just told the left to come up with something like that to counter that.

                            And now, the right is pretending to invent those things too…but in reality all they seem to be able to do is repeatedly try to claim ‘America’ as that symbol. Which is, admittedly, a reasonable powerful symbol, but it is a bit diluted at this point. (And as ‘Indivisable’ has demonstrated, the left can claim it also.)

                              Quote  Link

                            Report

                            • Are you asserting that the Republicans just started calling out hypocrisy?

                              No. But as someone who lived through such things as “the 80’s”, I was used to watching the Republicans make accusations against the Democrats based on the Republicans’ set of virtues and vices.

                              It’s the difference between attacking Clinton for getting a beej from someone not his spouse while in the White House and attacking Clinton for being a predacious toxic Alpha Male searching for inexperienced and naïve underlings to lie to and exploit for selfish acts of non-reciprocal sex.

                              See the difference there? The subtle nuances?

                                Quote  Link

                              Report

                              • No. But as someone who lived through such things as “the 80’s”, I was used to watching the Republicans make accusations against the Democrats based on the Republicans’ set of virtues and vices.

                                I don’t think that’s changes in behavior, I think it’s changes in _opprotunity_.

                                To attack someone based on a moral failing, even if you’re specifically calling out hypocrisy, the people you are talking to have to accept the stated morality.

                                It’s why ‘Trump isn’t building his wall’ is not a particularly useful way to get undecided voters…undecided voters sorta think the wall is stupid and possibly immoral, so it’s good Trump is not building it, regardless of what he said. Pointing that out is only useful to create uncertainty and doubt in Trump voters (And thus, less votes) who _do_ think the wall is a good thing.

                                And, historically, the right, as guardians of the past, have most people accept a lot of the stuff they parade around as morals, including more of the left and undecided votes. Everyone agrees you shouldn’t cheat on your wife. Everyone thinks ‘families’ are important. Etc, etc. So the left can, very plausibly, call out the right when the right fails at that. (And the right can call out the left, because they’ve said it at some time also.)

                                And, thanks to the abject non-existence of a political far left having any influence at all, and the Democrats actually being centrists now, even right-oriented things like ‘small government’ and ‘lower the deficit’ ressonate enough that Democrats can point out where Republicans are failing at that.

                                However, the inverse is not true. All ‘liberal’ morality issues are, basically, new, or at least taking things further than before. Which means the right is almost always lagging behind. As is, to a smaller extent, the center of undecided people. No one is even going to understand if the left is accused for cultural approriation, and the only thing it’s useful for is…well, see ‘Trump is not building his wall’.

                                Which means it’s pretty rare that right somehow ends up _in front_ of the left on some set of liberal virtues and can thus condemn people on the left for _liberal-specific_ hypocrisy.

                                What exactly would the right attacked the left for in the 1980s? Claiming to be in favor of equality, but not in favor of gay marriage? Not voting for affirmative action? None of that would have worked from where the right was standing within their base.

                                Now, it _is_ true that the right, and more importantly, the right’s surrogants, has been attempting to stir discord inside the left more (To distract from the right being unable to make policy or do anything useful.), so I guess, in theory, this could be the ‘increase’ you are seeing…but I think what is really happening is that such a thing is more noticable due to the media, and the fact everything is fragmented enough that surrogants can say those things without then being rejected by the right.

                                …which is, indeed, a new tactic. ‘Stir discord inside the enemy.’ Sadly that tactic isn’t actually _in_ the ever-disappointing Rules for Radicals.

                                It is, however, in the Art of War, which it’s really looking like everyone should read instead.

                                  Quote  Link

                                Report

                            • What people tell pollsters is at odds with historical fact.

                              Trump was struggling and only broke out of the pack when he started conjuring up the image of swarms of Mexican rapists coming to defile American women.

                              Every single Republican candidate satisfied every one of those other stated reasons, yet none got traction the way he did.

                              It isn’t possible to explain Trump without white ethnic fear and rage. Of all the various baffling and contradictory messages that is the sole one which has never wavered.

                                Quote  Link

                              Report

                              • Trump is mostly explained by breathless, wall-to-wall media coverage that was afforded to him, which is far more responsible than any single issue. No one Republican candidate was able to satisfy much of anyone, and the one that was different, Trump, stood to gain from the unprecedented media coverage and the frankly uninspiring other candidates who didn’t know how to adjust to such a disruptor. Say what you want about pollsters, but it is a data set; if you dismiss you are working more on conjecture than “historical fact”.

                                  Quote  Link

                                Report

                                • Wouldn’t that then prompt the question of what was so disruptively different about him?

                                  In particular, with respect to how faithful his base has been to him, despite his reversals and abandonment of virtually all his signature policies. It should be obvious by now that his base doesn’t care about any of the things they told the pollsters.

                                  I would ask again, what is this dark power that he has, that others lack?

                                    Quote  Link

                                  Report

                                  • Whatever number you want to ascribe to his core base, (the shoot someone on 5th ave crowd) most that I’ve seen would put it somewhere around 30-35%. It is a level of personality cult, they follow the man, all other issues go to the side. Unique perhaps in US Presidency, but not unusual in history. There is no dark power.

                                      Quote  Link

                                    Report

                                    • Hmnm. It’s not a historically unusual dark power, but without delving into causative mechanisms, I’d argue it *is* a dark power, regardless of how ubiquitous it may be. It’s the lacking that Chip’s wrong about, not the existence of the power itself.

                                      (FWIW I also think that about Steve Jobs, and any other examplar of the toxic charismatic leader one might care to name.)

                                        Quote  Link

                                      Report

                                      • Not unfair, but the toxic charismatic leader, of whatever stripe and form they come in, still only has the power over their followers that they themselves allow that leader to have. Coerced, manipulated, fooled, ect…there are factors as you say. But in almost all cases there is a point where the follower makes a decision that whatever they are getting-or perceive themselves as getting-in exchange for their devotion just outweighs their qualms. If there is a dark power afoot it is the one that already dwells in the human nature much more so than in the leader that exploits it.

                                          Quote  Link

                                        Report

                                          • @chip-daniels
                                            If there is a dark power afoot it is the one that already dwells in the human nature
                                            Sounds like the three of us are in agreement about that then. (Although the leader will obviously partake at least as much in that dark power as his/her followers do…)

                                            You haven’t been around for all my constant bemoaning of how Trump resembles my abusive estranged father more than anyone else I’ve ever come across (lucky you, perhaps :D). But there’s really not a lot of difference, IMO, between anyone who gets away with being horrible to some people and charming others, and our current President. Scale, obviously. But that’s about it.

                                              Quote  Link

                                            Report

                                            • You are not the first person to draw that comparison and I think it has merit. Drawing power to yourself at the expensive of others, and maintaining it by keeping them forever blaming something other than their actual abuser is one of those universal truths we find in homes and halls of power, Unfortunately. Wherever we find it, we must oppose and hold it accountable. Sticky part of this analogy of course is dealing with those who cannot see that in their leader.

                                                Quote  Link

                                              Report

                                              • During the leadup to the election, I found that being honest about being triggered (literally, I don’t use the word loosely) by even the guy’s name – and *why* – was far more effective than trying to argue points with people.

                                                Granted this was with my friends, so I can see why a (sincere) “I obviously don’t want you to vote for him, but every time you even bring him up, I have childhood abuse flashbacks and want to vomit, so could we not talk about it, I’d rather you vote for him than I have to keep dealing with this” had a deeper effect on their opinions of him than any number of arguments would.

                                                (I spent two weeks in Canada that October. And I eventually exposure-therapied myself out of the worst of my reaction, obviously, though I still have Make America Kittens Again on my browsers. And I can’t watch him on video.)

                                                  Quote  Link

                                                Report

                        • I know a lot of liberal people who’ve read Alinsky. I’m not sure the bulk of Democratic voters have, given that the average American reads like 1 book a year, but among the people who are politically involved? Like, I can think of a half-dozen that I know offline who I am sure have read it because they told me so around the time of the whole Obama kerfluffle (the first one). I suspect there are more that I haven’t asked because it is not like we all sit around discussing how we want to use the right’s political methods against them (as was one of Alinsky’s main points).

                            Quote  Link

                          Report

                          • I remember when Alinsky first came up. I didn’t know anybody who had heard of him. I certainly hadn’t and i’ve been some sort of liberal/leftie forever. The rightwards made him sound like something all us libs knew. I’m sure some had read him but then, as now, Alinsky is more a buggaboo of the right then someone who gets attention on the left.

                            How much of Alinsky is something people hadn’t heard before or discovered on there own? Not much it seems. And it’s not like Alinsky created Fox or Rush or Shapiro.

                              Quote  Link

                            Report

                          • I’m with Greg here. When I first heard about him, it was because Palin and/or Beck was making a big deal of the Alinsky because Obama lived in Chicago and was a community organizer. This was part of the whole “Obama is a secret Communist-Islamaists revolutionary instead of a slightly boring liberal technocrat” fever that the right-wingers had going on.

                              Quote  Link

                            Report

                            • Yep, that was when I first heard of him, and actually went out and bought a copy to see what all the hubbub was about.

                              Imagine my disappointment when instead of some secret magic voodoo that would bring about the Revolution, it was just a nuts and bolts common sense manual on how to organize neighborhoods.

                                Quote  Link

                              Report

                            • *shrug*
                              @saul-degraw

                              I lived in Montreal before I moved here. The people I’m thinking of in meatspace have mostly been activists since high school (the show up and march kind), though some of them only got involved in their forties (those ones are older, divorced moms and/or teachers, a good generation older than I am).

                              It’s entirely possible that “politically active” means something different in my circles than in yours and/or that the proportion of people who’ve read Alinsky is different.

                              Just saying, it’s not consensus that no one had read Alinsky before the whole people-fussing-about-Obama-being-a-radical thing came up.

                                Quote  Link

                              Report

  5. The idea that things taking place well after Election Day 2016 are THE reason for what happened on Election Day 2016 imply awareness of time travel that, frankly, I am excited to learn more about!

      Quote  Link

    Report

    • “The attitudes revealed by this statement/action are attitudes that were suspected (but not confirmed) prior to the election and this suspicion that these were the ‘real’ motivations of the opposition contributed to Trump’s election. Now that this statement/action has been made, the attitude is confirmed to have been the ‘real’ motivation of the opposition.”

        Quote  Link

      Report

      • So… the firing of Williamson (whoever that is) confirms for the 60M Trump voters whatever awful things they thought about their ideological and political opponents, therefore explaining why they voted as they did.

        That’s… odd.

        Suppose for a moment those awful things they thought were never confirmed. Then why did we get Trump? Does that mean we didn’t get Trump? We got Trump because of what the American electorate did on Election Day in 2016 and the various things leading up to that day that informed their voting preferences.

          Quote  Link

        Report

        • I’m pretty sure that the 60M Trump voters are no more monolithic than the 63M Clinton voters.

          That said, there are a handful of people who voted for Obama that went on to vote for Trump, a handful of people who voted for Obama who failed to show up for Clinton, and a handful of people who didn’t vote for anybody in 2012 (or 2008) who happened to show up this time and, when they did show up, voted for Trump instead of nobody at all.

          Were there reasons for these decisions that resonate among all of these groups? If so, we probably want to find out what these reasons are.

          Were there reasons unique to each of these groups that resonate across most of the group? If so, we probably want to find out what these reasons are.

          Or, maybe, we just want to say “hell with it”.

          From what I understand, the Democrats are poised for a wave election following 4 elections in a row in which they lost 1000 seats on both local and national levels. Maybe we don’t need to understand anything at all.

          Trump’s approvals are surely in the 30s, right?

            Quote  Link

          Report

          • Were there reasons for these decisions that resonate among all of these groups? If so, we probably want to find out what these reasons are.

            Do we? We didn’t seem to care that much in any other previous election why small amounts of people had switched parties.

              Quote  Link

            Report

            • I seem to recall a lot of talk of “Reagan Democrats” and “Clinton Republicans”.

              I’m not sure that we can really measure how much we care but if “ink spilled” is in indicator, I think that we did care very much indeed in the past about small amounts of people switching parties.

                Quote  Link

              Report

            • “We didn’t seem to care that much in any other previous election why small amounts of people had switched parties.”

              Wait, I thought the whole thing about US elections is that “small” groups of people numbering in the single-digit millions could change their minds and everyone was thus constantly fighting over battleground states, swing voters, etc.

              No?

                Quote  Link

              Report


            • I seem to recall a lot of talk of “Reagan Democrats” and “Clinton Republicans”.

              Reagan almost completely swept the board, so, yes, continuing to dissect that later makes sense. And I have no idea what Clinton Republicans are supposed to be.


              Wait, I thought the whole thing about US elections is that “small” groups of people numbering in the single-digit millions could change their minds and everyone was thus constantly fighting over battleground states, swing voters, etc.

              Which we do _before_ the election. We didn’t previously run around dissecting it almost a year and a half after the election.

              And we’re not talking about background states and swing voters, are we? We’re talking about people who flipped parties _everywhere_.

              Mostly because if we focus on ‘swing states’, there isn’t anything to discuss except ‘Hillary should have campaigned more there and not trusted the polls’.

              Before the election, we talk about all sort of minutia. After the election, we only continue to talk about _interesting_ results, where things went way off-kilter , and mostly only in the ways it went off-kilter .

              And while the last election was _astonishingly_ off-kilter, it wasn’t off-kilter because a few people flip parties like they do every election. It was off-kilter because a political party and their voters treated Donald Trump as normal.

              The only reason we care about those people is we _cannot conceive_ of people who used to be Democratic voters voting for Trump. It’s an oddity, so we think it must be an important oddity.

              We need to stop pretending that their existence is absurd, and stop trying to dissect every microexpression those people made, as those people barely exist at all. The fact they technically exist is meaningless, and the idea we should care about what they think is silly.

              It’s basically the same as normalizing Trump…it’s normalizing people who voted for Obama and Trump. No, not normalizing…super-izing. Ascribing them some sort of important deep meaning that it is vital for everyone to understand. When in reality there’s a large percentage of voters that vote basically randomly, or vote based on whatever was in the news today, and probably voted for Trump just because Hillary’s emails were in the news at the time, just like they probably voted for Obama because David Letterman trashed McCain.

              Any political dissection of the last election should start with ‘How you do deal with an know-nothing demagogue’ and move on to ‘How do you deal with constant printing of known lies in the mainstream media, along with the right-wing media bubble’, which are the _actual_ things Hillary failed at…well, that and assuming polls were correct.

              Instead, we’re all ‘This guy voted for Trump, and unlike most people, he’s not a hardcore permanent Republican! He voted for Obama! WTF!?!?!?!?! Voting Democratic must mean they are smart, yet voted for Trump! Does not compute! Does not compute!’ *explodes in sparks*

              Of course, people can talk about whatever they want, I’m not the boss of them. I was just answering Jaybird’s rhetorical question.

                Quote  Link

              Report

              • We need to stop pretending that their existence is absurd, and stop trying to dissect every microexpression those people made, as those people barely exist at all. The fact they technically exist is meaningless, and the idea we should care about what they think is silly.

                If memory serves, the NYT claimed this was about 12% of Obama’s voters.

                Maybe we want to handwave them, but maybe not.

                  Quote  Link

                Report

                • If memory serves, the NYT claimed this was about 12% of Obama’s voters.

                  There are a lot of incorrect polls about this, because people claiming they were always rooting for whatever side won is a pretty well-known psychological phenomenon. There are some polls that had to be thrown out because there were absurd results like 60% of respondents claiming they voted for Trump. (Which means either they are lying, or the people being polled are a really really poor sample.) And that’s the recent election that they presumably would remember…it’s much easier to mis-remember the 2012 election.

                  The actual rate, by a polling company that polled people back then and then went back and re-polled them, is that 9.6% of Trump voters voted for Obama, and 5.4% of Romney voters voted for Clinton.

                  https://www.voterstudygroup.org/publications/2016-elections/executive-summary

                  And, yes, I am aware of the irony of pointing at a deep dive into a topic to explain why we don’t need a deep dive into a topic, although it’s worth pointing out that _their_ conclusions as to why people are switching is basically ‘Views on Immigration, Muslims, and Black People’.

                  So, there. We have now found out the reasons. Case closed, we can all go home.

                  …except, of course, almost all instances of focusing on the switchers implicitly has the premise of ‘The Democrats should do something to attract those voters’, and the Democratic party is not going to change its positions about immigration, Muslims, and black people. (And it wouldn’t help them if they did. Attracting a few white voters wouldn’t counter the damage done to the Democrats if their minority voters stayed home or went somewhere else.)

                  And I will also point to the line ‘The 2016 election did not create more instability, in the aggregate, than others.’. We normally have this level of people flipping parties. There’s nothing new or weird about it, and, as I pointed out, we hardly care about it after an election.

                  It’s just ‘we’, by which I mean the media and the non-Trump blog-o-sphere, not you and me or anyone here specifically, find it completely incompressible that anyone switched in that direction, so there must be some extremely important reason.

                  Or, more specifically, some important _political_ reason. Maybe *grasps at straws* economics?

                  There is not such a reason. Demagogues demagogue. Some people will listen to them. That is what happened. That is what caused a perfectly normal amount of voters this election to flip.

                  Maybe we want to handwave them, but maybe not.

                  The question is not whether we want to ‘handwave’ them, the question is there anything we need to learn from the switchers.

                  And there is, but that the thing is ‘How do we (not just the Democratic party, but the media, and the Republicans, everyone) stop demagogic candidates from swaying voters with rants about The Other’.

                  Instead of what people seem to want it to be, something the Democratic party failed at policy-wise. Some position they could have taken. Some actual legitimate political thing.

                  And, for the record, I think the Democratic party has been an extremely large failure at most things, policy-wise, and utterly disconnected from their voters. (And yet, somehow, still better than Republicans.) I just don’t think that has a single thing to do with people who voted for Trump.

                    Quote  Link

                  Report

                  • One of the worst things these cult-of-the-savvy types of analyses do is assume the electorate is a fixed pool, and only by shrewdly pulling the middling voters across the separation line can teams win.
                    Thus the fixation on bipartisanship or some mythical Third Way.

                    But as has been proven time and again, candidates, events, and issues can enlarge or shrink the electorate in ways that aren’t easily predicted.

                      Quote  Link

                    Report

                    • Indeed, but my post was already so long I didn’t want to bring up the point.

                      Undecided voters are a _really crappy_ group of voters to try to attract. They’re wishy-washy fools who get swayed by random nonsense at the last minute. They’re so silly everyone’s sorta given up on them.

                      Likewise, the more calculated but party-flipping voters are almost as bad. Yes, they claim to make rational decisions based on political positions…but they’re silly enough to think that both parties are so close that it takes a lot of work to figure out which better fits their beliefs. They’re really just undecided voters who don’t procrastinate. Their decision isn’t as rushed, but it is almost as random, swayed by nonsense. Or, in this case, swayed by demagoguery.

                      What is much much better, in every possible regard, is to try to attract diehard party members who just don’t currently vote.

                      So even if there was, say, some real policy that ‘switchers’ wanted that the Democrats could embrace without alienating their current voters, and we found that out after the election…what would be much better would be for Democrats to embrace policies that encourage people who had _existing_ Democratic tendencies to vote.

                      The flippers are just going to want something else next election cycle, or, in reality, vote for the guy with the fancy hat. Actual real Democrats will…vote Democratic from now on, if we can just convince them to vote.

                      And, honestly, given what I know of how people work, I suspect most people who are like ‘Convince me who to vote for’ are _deliberately_ staking out middle positions to make themselves feel important, so it literally doesn’t matter what positions the party hold, they will always adjust themselves to the middle and then groan and sigh over what a hard choice they have and everyone should pay attention to them.

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                      • “Actual real Democrats” who don’t vote are by definition NOT diehard party members.

                        At least by any obvious definition.

                        If you’re going to argue for that position and try to sway anyone…. data? explanations? etc?

                        Now, if you want to argue that “diehard committed to certain principles that are in agreement with at least some of the Democratic Party’s stated aims” people who are normally not that thrilled about the Democratic party … that those people need to be convinced to show up and vote Democratic…. that makes a lot of sense to me. I mean, Bernie Sanders himself is essentially one of those people.

                          Quote  Link

                        Report

                        • If you’re going to argue for that position and try to sway anyone…. data? explanations? etc?

                          I’m not sure what position you would think I was trying to sway people to. My position is basically: Everyone on the left should stop letting personal feelings of outrage and disbelief about Obama-Trump voters cause you, and the media, to decide they are the most important human beings who ever existed and must be listened to. That sort of thing happens every election. We only care this one because we, and the media, have trouble figuring out how any non-Republican would vote for Trump…because, apparently, we have forgotten that a lot of people decide who they will vote for for very very dumb reasons, not just ‘sticking with a party’, and most of the switchers probably voted for Obama for equally dumb reasons.

                          Instead, I point out, there are people running around saying they are Democrats, arguing for liberal positions who, never the less, do not bother to vote. Or they bothered to vote once, for Obama, in 2008. Or they used to vote but moved and haven’t bothered to change their registration.

                          And they don’t vote mostly because they don’t think the Democrats will actually do anything, or be very different than Republicans. They think it is not important. And so my premise is that the Democratic party would be better off spending time and effort convincing _those people_ to vote, via clearly articulating how policies will directly impact those people.

                          Perhaps those people shouldn’t be called ‘diehard party members’…heck, they almost certainly aren’t actually party members, but whatever. My terminology was perhaps sloppy.

                          But my point was the Democrats should do that instead of making any effort convincing ‘undecided’ or ‘switching’ voters, or trying to diagnose why those wishy-washy people wishy-washed…especially as when that diagnosis is actually done, if it comes up with any consistent answer, it’s that those people hold some sort of anti-immigration position that the Democrats can’t take anyway. (Not just ‘won’t’ for moral reasons, but cannot. The Democrats cannot lose the Latinx vote to hypothetically gain a few xenophobic white people and come out ahead.)

                          But _that_ answer isn’t acceptable to the media, which is determined to find some way the Democratic party should change (Because, as we all know, only Democrats have any agency or causal influence over American politics), so the media is basically trying to rewrite it into some sort of economic thing or political correctness backlash or anything. With no evidence at all.

                          Incidentally, it’s odd and a bit surreal how the entire media establishment runs around trying to give justification to Trump voters in general, and switchers in particular. (Presumably because previous Republican voters have a built-in justification of ‘just being loyal to their party’.) Actually, the rather amazing thing is that the media thinks Trump voters need justification, which says a lot about what they think of Trump. And perhaps the media needs to go off and think about that, because they can’t have it both ways…either people shouldn’t have voted for Trump, and a kneejerk defense of them is rather wrongheaded, or it is fine they voted for Trump, and no one needs to justify them. You can’t just say ‘Okay, a bunch of Americans did a horrible thing, but, uh, I’m sure they had a good reason that probably isn’t bigoted’. Pick a consistent position, media.

                          But that’s the media. For the political aspect, this entire discussion is a stupid trap. The Democrats should not particularly care why the Obama-Trump voters switched, or at least not consider doing anything to try to please those people, because the Obama-Trump voters are not particularly worth it compared to…well…any one. Literally any other voter. The Democratic party would be better off trying to get long-term conservative Republicans who aren’t happy with Trump than switchers.

                          The Democratic party does not need to try to do things to please irrational voters, in any manner at all, because irrational voters are _irrational_ and trying to please irrational people is pointless. (And the switchers that aren’t irrational are apparently xenophobes.)

                            Quote  Link

                          Report

                  • is that 9.6% of Trump voters voted for Obama, and 5.4% of Romney voters voted for Clinton.

                    …sorry, that’s wrong, because those are measured from different directions. And it also had a typo.

                    9.2% (Not 9.6%) of _Obama_ voters voted for Trump, not the other way around.

                      Quote  Link

                    Report

                  • I agree with a lot of that.

                    ‘How do we (not just the Democratic party, but the media, and the Republicans, everyone) stop demagogic candidates from swaying voters with rants about The Other’.

                    Answer: Economic Growth.

                    A lot of these people intuitively (and incorrectly) feel economics is a zero sum game. If that’s what you think then xenophobia and anti-trade makes sense… thus Trump.

                    The painful part about Trump is, if he brings Economic Growth via his policies, not only will he win reelection, but he’ll deserve it.

                      Quote  Link

                    Report

                    • Answer: Economic Growth.

                      That’s sorta looking at it through conservative-tinted glasses, isn’t it? ;)

                      Because the actual problem is ‘Insecure people’. Insecure people listen to demagogues…because fear leads to anger, and anger leads to hate.

                      Removing the fear can indeed be done with economic growth…or it could be removed with a strong safety net people believe will not let them fall. (Granted, that’s not quite as good, because the demagogue will just demagogue against Others using up the safety net and leaving good hardworking [insert country here] citizens out in the cold’.)

                      But, anyway, I’m not sure that really answers my question, or at least not the question I wanted to ask. Clearly, if we had some magical way of increasing the economy, we’d do it.

                      However, that doesn’t really fix the problem of running against a demagogue in an election. Their opponent cannot wave a wand and make the economy better and cause them to lose their power. Even if their party happens to be in power, they can’t magically fix things.

                      I mean, Obama had spent basically seven years fixing things, and mostly gotten them back to normal-ish, and yet there were enough insecure people to push a demagogue over the line.

                      Heck, looking at it from the Republican POV, the reason that a different Republican didn’t win the nominee is that a Democratic president wasn’t ‘good enough’ in how he fixed things, or however we want to phrase that. (And the Democrats can likewise say the Republican Congress wasn’t.) How the heck was, say, Ted Cruz supposed to fix the economy to win the nomination?

                      The parties, both of them, need to learn how to campaign against and discredit demagogues.

                      We can _hope_, at some point, Americans do not feel scared enough to decide to listen to the guy saying ‘Those guys over there are the problem! We need to go after them!’, but we can’t count on it.

                      The painful part about Trump is, if he brings Economic Growth via his policies, not only will he win reelection, but he’ll deserve it.

                      You’ve been saying that for a while, and, honestly, I used to kinda worry about it.

                      Not that Trump’s policies would really fix anything, I’m not even sure what policies he had that could even hypothetically do that. The supposed infrastructure plan?

                      But I was worried he’d do a bunch of high-profile stuff to sorta save a single factory, and maybe do some broad weak policy thing…and meanwhile the economy would just continue to generally get better, and he’d get credit for it.

                      But he stopped the ‘save individual factories’ stuff, and pivoted to ‘trying to start trade wars’, which is really stupid. And the stock market apparently finally noticed.

                      So I’m finding that less and less likely. (And for completely unrelated reasons, I’m finding it less and less likely that he will make it to reelection, or actually run if he does. But that’s a whole different topic.)

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                      • Economic stress makes every social problem worse, but economic growth doesn’t necessarily make them go away.

                        Notice that the 1920s saw a lot of economic growth, together with a massive surge in the Klan such that for a time, there was a lynching per week.
                        The 1950s and 1960s saw a lot of prosperity, but also riots, violence and murders over civil rights.

                        Even in flush times, social disruption sparks fears and hatreds which feed demagoguery.

                          Quote  Link

                        Report

                        • Notice that the 1920s saw a lot of economic growth, together with a massive surge in the Klan such that for a time, there was a lynching per week.

                          The 1920s were very much a tale of two economies. Boom times in urban areas; miserable for the half of the population that lived in rural ones. Crop prices crashed in 1921 (dropped ~75% in one year) and were slow to recover. Farm mortgage annual foreclosure rates ran in the neighborhood of 15% for the entire decade. It is not much of an exaggeration to say that the Great Depression started in 1921 for the rural areas.

                            Quote  Link

                          Report

          • You missed the part where I noted the “various things leading up to election day that informed their voting preferences.”

            There is no one reason why Trump won. But you can be damn sure it has nothing to do with things that didn’t even happen until well after the election, such as Williamson’s firing. That’s not how time works.

              Quote  Link

            Report

            • The question is whether events are representative of underlying attitudes.

              Did you see the New Yorker’s tweet about Chik-fil-A?

              Here, you can read it and enjoy it for yourself. (Check out that ratio!)

              You know what Nate Silver tweeted in response to that tweet? “This is why Trump won.”

                Quote  Link

              Report

                    • Kazzy, I can’t tell if you’re using a rhetorical device or not. The point of “this is why Trump won” is to say that this kind of thing is why Trump won. No one’s talking about a violation of time/space.

                        Quote  Link

                      Report

                      • But it is an empty meaningless point. It has no value and it suggests no solution. If there is a point to this “This is why we got Trump” line of argument then it’s a moot one. The communication networks that deliver liberal fruit-cakery to Trump’s base are not disinterested ones; the seek this kind of stuff out, deliver it, promote it and earn benefits for doing so.

                        If the conclusion is that Liberals should never write idiotic or parochial things anywhere we gotta recognize that is an impossible ask (and even if somehow that were achieved then the right wing media networks would merely invent the material to deliver).

                        If the conclusion is that mainstream Liberals shouldn’t indulge in this kind of thing, well news flash, they by and large don’t (the vast vast majority of this Dreher bait comes from part time journalist idiots, a smattering out of the universities and the rest [agnostic Jesus help us] from fishing Twitter) it’s not like liberal politicians are running around spouting a lot of this crap. The Chik fil a in New York complainer is a some New York part time journalist nobody. The Obama birther conspirator is the Leader of the Republican Party and elected President of these United states. Are we supposed to believe that conservatives aren’t parochial about their environs and contemptuous about other places? Pull the other one, it’s got bells on. Disdain for cities and liberal regions is older than the union.

                        “This is why we have Trump” is meaningless.

                          Quote  Link

                        Report

                        • Relevant to this, The Daily Wire (Ben Shapiro’s terrible web thingy) has been consumed with a truly significant crisis: a professor at Cal State Fresno said gross things on Twitter about Barbara Bush after her death was reported, and is unlikely to be fired for it.

                          Now, I am not willing to discount the idea that this is, in a sense, why Trump won, in that he clearly spent a lot of time appealing to people who have exactly the kind of grievances that Shapiro and his ilk have spent their careers stoking, at least as often as not, with complete bullshit.

                          But if that’s why Trump won, the Left is going to be able to do very little about it. So when people talk about how terrible it is that people on the Left have attitudes like the one allegedly displayed in that New Yorker article [1], it really seems like they’re looking for their keys where the light is, not where they dropped them.

                          If the implicit insistence that the Left change this dreary state of affairs boils down to insisting that the Left do something that’s simultaneously basically impossible (not have any jerks associated with it) and wouldn’t actually solve the problem, because professional outrage mongers like Shapiro can turn anything into fodder for outrage. Like, I dunno, trans people using the bathroom.

                          [1] “Allegedly” because why would you read it? It’s obviously going to be dumb as hell.

                            Quote  Link

                          Report

                          • Meanwhile in other news, 10 or so R congressmen called for the prosecution of Clinton, Comey, Mccabe. Lynch, Yates and others. But some idiot tweeted nasty things about a first lady dying. Imagine that, a jerk on twitter.

                              Quote  Link

                            Report

      • I’m not sure how The Atlantic firing Williamson would tend to support any of the secret motivations that I’ve seen Trump supporters attributing to their ideological opponents.

        Surely we’re too busy confiscating guns, supporting ISIS, and smuggling millions of undocumented immigrants to the polls to have much time to muck around with The Atlantic‘s hiring decisions.

          Quote  Link

        Report

  6. “For instance, he missed an opportunity in his column about the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting to cite himself as an example of why you shouldn’t allow teenagers to have national platforms to discuss public policy.”

    There’s a lot to unpack in that statement. First of all, Shapiro wasn’t making the case that we shouldn’t allow teenagers national platforms. He was discussing why minors shouldn’t have the vote, and pointing out contradictions in thinking about age. He also discussed why the media are promoting the students. If he’d wanted to say that they shouldn’t have a voice, he would have said it, but he didn’t. He has said that the kids shouldn’t both be given a public platform as authorities and exempt from criticism as children. He has said that, as a young man, he was given a platform, and he received criticism, and that it was fair, because he was wrong on some things. So he’s done what you accused him of not doing in a piece that didn’t say what you accused him of saying.

      Quote  Link

    Report

  7. “‘Perhaps Trump is a racist. Perhaps not. Either way, we can have a productive conversation about whether particular Trump statements or actions are racist. But we can’t have a productive conversation that starts from the premise that Trump is a racist overall, and that every action he takes and every statement he makes is therefore covered with the patina of racism. That conversation is about insults, not truth.'”

    For you to use this statement against Shapiro regarding his comments about Obama, you’d have to show that Shapiro started from the premise that Obama is racist. But even that wouldn’t be enough. As the passage goes on to say, “applying the ‘racist’ tag to Trump as a human being isn’t journalism”. Is Shapiro a journalist? No, he’s an opinion writer. They seek primarily to persuade. Opinion writers can frame the facts within any ideology, and they’re not falling short of their responsibility. Journalists can’t. They’re supposed to present the facts – they’re supposed to start without premises.

      Quote  Link

    Report

  8. While people are correctly pointing out that Shapiro was a ‘high school age conservative writer’, it seems like people have overlooked how often conservatives like to find _even younger_ conservatives and parade them around.

    Not 15-18 year olds, 10-13 year olds. For the two obvious examples, Jonathan Krohn and CJ Pearson. Of course, conservatives got burned by both of them changing their political positions.

    Which leads to the rather obvious conclusion that actual the reason the right condemns young people when they speak out is because most young people are liberals, because they don’t seem to have a problem with young conservatives at all.

      Quote  Link

    Report

  9. In a long and full life, it has proved impossible to avoid large amounts of punditry, but it’s a silly game. A few are entertaining, a few are insightful, and, in the old days, when the liberal pundits tended to have come up as shoe-leather reporters and the conservative pundits came up as editorial writers, a few occasionally imparted valuable information. But mostly they strut and fret their brief time upon the stage — it’s tough to accept that George F. Will has been gainfully employed for 40-plus years — and can be ignored. I have managed to go about my life quite nicely not giving a rat’s ass about Ben Shapiro, and am quite confident that in a few years no one else will care much about him either. Am I missing a reason anyone should?

      Quote  Link

    Report

  10. Nonsense, we got Trump because Bush and other so-called “conservatives” left our border completely unprotected for generations. And now States like California, which once elected conservatives like Ronald Reagan as Governor, are permanently lost to the radical left. We have been betrayed so long that it’s frankly unbelievable our restraint has been so enduring.

      Quote  Link

    Report

    • Your point of view is welcome here, but try not to address the writer of a post with comments like “Nonsense”. I’m pretty touchy about people coming in hot to our writers, given that their effort is a necessary contribution to our community.

      (Everything else was fine, it was just that one word that rubbed me the wrong way.)

        Quote  Link

      Report

  11. (censored – maribou – if you want to use that many dog whistles and have me not just assume you’re trolling, you need to use a different pseudonym than Pepe, whomever you are. I’m not that oblivious.)

      Quote  Link

    Report

  12. Just popping by with to say this is a great post, to say I’m thrilled you’re here AdotSad, and, on a completely unhelpful note, that I am glad that dealing with sock puppet trolls are no longer part of what I do. (So I guess I’m also saying thanks for you’re continued amazing work here.)

      Quote  Link

    Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *