Let’s Dispel the Myth That Trumpism Is Destroying “Reagan’s GOP”

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Kate Harveston

Kate Harveston is originally from Williamsport, PA and holds a bachelor's degree in English. She enjoys writing about health and social justice issues. When she isn't writing, she can usually be found curled up reading dystopian fiction or hiking and searching for inspiration. If you like her writing, follow her blog, So Well, So Woman.

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  1. Avatar George Turner says:

    “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” – Ronald Magnus ReaganReport

  2. I agree that Reagan is overly deified to the point of being perceived flawless by the right, but the comparison of him and Trump does not hold up very well. Though an actor, Reagan had also been a labor union head, twice elected Governor of California, and won the Presidency on his 3rd try. From his conversion to the Republican party in 1962, whatever you thought of his beliefs he was consistent in expressing them through the rest of his life. Trump, though registered as a Republican, found his right-leaning stances and rhetoric about 5 minutes before his Presidential campaign as a strategy more than a conviction.

    The initial charge that Trump is not the Iconoclast he is presented is accurate and fair. We have 69 years of book on Trump. He is what he does, not what he says. He donated and influenced politicians of both parties. He wielded government and law to the advancement of his business concerns and bankruptcy to shield himself from the failure. He will never “drain the swap” as is inanely repeated, because that is exactly the eco-system he needs to operate in.Report

  3. Avatar Em Carpenter says:

    Thank you Kate for laying all of this out like that. I admit that I am not much of a political historian so this is all food for thought for me, a springboard for some research I should do. I look forward to what I expect will be a robust and lively comment section on this!Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    We have discussed this before but one of the big issues in the media is how op-ed columns at major newspapers and magazines only have #NeverTrump conservatives. This is a distorting effect because the amount of power and influence that #NeverTrump conservatives have is zero. Possibly less than zero. I haven’t checked for a while but Jennifer Rubin appears to be on the road to liberalism.

    A lot of #NeverTrump conservatives are still really horrible though. Kevin D. Williamson really did think we should hang women who get abortions. Bret Stephens, Bari Weiss, and McArdle continue to practice glib contrarianism for the sake of glib contrarianism. It is amazing how this has become a career path.

    The Atlantic received a lot of heat for hiring Kevin D. Williamson. This week Vox ran an essay on how getting rid of Trump will not restore American Democracy to normal:

    He shows how America’s thermostatic electorate, constantly responding to one party’s electoral success with a dramatic swing to the other side, can undermine democratic responsiveness by catapulting a party with a deeply unpopular agenda into office. And he shows how dangerous the presidency’s extraordinary war powers can be in the wrong hands.

    So it’s no wonder that his presidency has proven a breeding ground for fantasies of his regime’s demise that range from the responsible — see my colleague Ezra Klein’s case that Trump should be impeached for being ridiculously bad at his job — to the conspiratorial and preposterous (see Louise Mensch’s claims that Trump’s impeachment and arrest are imminent and that the “Marshal of the Supreme Court” had informed the president his impeachment was coming; or Jamie Kirchick, who even before Trump’s presidency was musing about a military coup unseating him)…

    We fantasize about an early, dramatic end to the Trump years in part because that signals a return to normalcy and a rejection of all the dysfunctions he symbolizes. For more sophisticated observers who know that the forces that produced Trump will continue after he’s gone, you see either a wallowing into dystopia — musing about an American descent into outright tyranny, of the kind occurring in the formerly democratic Hungary and Poland right now. Or you see fantasies of utopia, as in Bernie Sanders’s characterization of the anti-Trump resistance as a broader “political revolution, something long overdue” that will sweep into power “an agenda that works for the working families of our country and not just the billionaire class.”

    I think a lot of people are still stunned by the Trump technical win and what it represents. They don’t want to grapple with the idea that the frothing vulgarian is the new norm for the GOP. So they yearn for St. Ronnie. Ronald Reagan received plenty of hate in his day but as far as we can tell, he was affable. Ronnie probably would not be launching into rabid twitter rants. But mainstream media does not want to put a Trump supporter on the op-ed pages because it would be like give column space to a drunk, racist uncle. So they give it to another impotent #NeverTrumper in the name of “challenging their audience” and trying to be a “marketplace of ideas.” There is a serious denial in the mainstream media about the deep ills in American society because so many of them make money from pontificating on the wisdom of the American people. If Trump goes down in flames relatively quickly, I will bet you will see pundits talking about the “wisdom of the American people” shining through and trying to sweep everything under the rug.

    Trump was a long-time coming in America and we still seem unwilling to deal with this fact.Report

    • Interesting you mention Rubin, there was actually some notice this past week when they reworked her bio to “covering conservative” instead of being one, with many speculating that very same thing. Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Good points about how the media refuses to present actual Trump supporters.
      I think part of it is they can’t face the idea that Trump supporters can’t be analyzed through the lens of “rational political actors” that is, people who hold a suite of ideologically coherent ideas.

      They could do this with Reagan, pretend that the typical Reagan supporter really was passionate about lower taxes and less regulation. But its not possible to view Trump supporters that way. Trump’s erratic zig zag narrative, instead of being iconoclastic and eclectic, just shows that none of that matters to the base.

      Instead of saying that Trump could shoot someone on 5th Avenue, I assert that Trump could propose socialized health care for white people, and not lose a single vote.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Good points about how the mainstream media refuses to present actual Trump supporters.

        FTFY.

        I sort of hate that term normally, but if you want to find Trump supporters in the media, you can find them aplenty. You just have to step aside from the usual sources to do so.Report

      • Trump is going to propose Medicaid for all before he is finished. He has talked about it before.Report

        • The question I ask these days when Medicaid for all is proposed is “Will the new Medicaid require that care providers accept it?” During the snafu that has been our adventure in handling medical insurance this year, the county declared us Medicaid-eligible at one point. (It was a mistake, but has taken on a life of its own.) Out of curiosity I checked the provider list. None of our then-current providers accepted Medicaid. There were remarkably few providers in metro Denver accepting new Medicaid patients. There are extensive rural parts of the state where no providers will take Medicaid. One of the Front Range cities made a “best places to retire” list, with the caveat that you needed private health insurance, as no providers in that city were accepting Medicaid or Medicare patients.

          Technically, I believe this puts the state in violation of the federal Medicaid law. The requirement has always been vague, that reimbursements be high enough that Medicaid clients have a choice for providers comparable to what private insurance provides.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Michael Cain says:

            The question I ask these days when Medicaid for all is proposed is “Will the new Medicaid require that care providers accept it?”

            Right now about a fifth of people get Medicaid…and a that’s a bit misleading, as the largest group of people who get Medicaid, 43%, are children. Another 9% are elderly people who only use it to pay for nursing homes and nothing else.

            So doctor’s offices aimed at adults can exclude Medicaid and only, on average, exclude 10% of their hypothetical patients. That is a workable business plan.

            If ‘Medicaid for all’ literally does nothing but put all uninsured and ACA-insured people on Medicaid, that would more, I believe, triple that percentage. That is not really a workable business plan. It gets even sillier a plan if the ‘Medicaid for all’ is designed to slowly put everyone on the system.

            And, of course, the actual problem is that Medicaid reimbursement is so low. There’s really no reason to keep it that low if we have non-poor people in the program who can pay in more….i.e., do exactly the same thing as the subsidies under the ACA and making the pricing be income-dependent, where poor people keep paying the same amount, and non-poor people paying more normal insurance rates.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        @chip-daniels

        He’d lose a few. Just not that many.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        I think you are spot in in the first paragraph. Not only do Trump supporter’s defy the normal political analysis, they also like he quiet parts said loud.

        But the MSM as Maribou put it are some of the few people out there for whom rational political action really matters. They are too into the weeds of policy and think everyone thinks like they do. Plus it is just not polite to talk like Trump in their world and culture. Most of them are probably center-left and exist in a bubble of their own where everyone reads white papers.Report

        • Avatar Maribou in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          @saul-degraw Wait, you mean, everyone doesn’t not only read white papers but complain if they’re too obviously biased? Nooooooooooo!
          *goes back to hiding among her congressional research reports*Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          The MSM also can’t handle Trump and his supporters because of journalistic traditions. Just denouncing a politician as racist or sexist is something that just isn’t done on American MSM if only because you don’t want to anger millions of people. We can even bring this back to Reagan. Thatcher held the British prime ministership for eleven years. She won some of the biggest landslides in British electoral history. Despite her popularity compared to Labour’s politicians, British MSM was very willing to be savage with her. Reagan generally got treated with kid’s gloves by American media even though our chattering classes probably didn’t like him that much.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to LeeEsq says:

            Reagan was treated well by the media to the extent that he was able to personally charm them. But the right had a point about slanted reporting back then.

            You can see it more clearly with Bush Sr, when a WW2 naval aviator who saw combat and later became an oil man and head of the CIA gets magazine covers like ‘Fighting the Wimp Factor’.Report

            • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to Kolohe says:

              Also, too: John Kerry.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Nevermoor says:

                The problem with Kerry is that it was hard to square the circle of a first career as a war hero and a second career as an anti-war activist with a fourth career as someone ‘reporting for duty’. Though he came close. (Dean would have won).

                (The third career as a replacement level Senator didn’t hurt him, but it didn’t help him either)Report

              • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to Kolohe says:

                I humbly request a slightly lengthier supporting argument for

                Dean would have won

                I’d love to believe it (I was and overall remain a Dean fan), but I don’t think a properly distributed set of votes (for an EC victory) were there in Nov 2004:

                1) Iraq had not gone enough pear shaped yet for an unambiguous rejection to be palatable to the swingers;

                2) I suspect that Dean would lose even more votes over God ‘n Gays than Kerry did (Dean probably would have done a little better on the Guns leg than Kerry – I can see Dean doing generally better with soft liberatarians a la 2004 version Jaybird than Kerry did, but I don’t see it being enough to swing the close calls in the Mountain states (Kerry lost NV by 2.5% and CO by 4.5%; I think Dean on net might have done even worse in CO because of Teh Ghey): also, you have to worry that Dean’s slightly stronger culture war valence might have lost a state or two that Kerry won (most likely WI, which Kerry only won by 0.4%).

                3) I’m not sure Dean would in the end be all that much better than Kerry at increasing turnout among the soft turnout Dem voters in the end game (as Obama did manage quite nicely four years later): I imagine that’s where we differ, but I’m not sure how to evaluate the probabilities.Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Saul Degraw: Trump was a long-time coming in America and we still seem unwilling to deal with this fact.

      “We”? No. “You”? definitely.

      Look, if I wore my political identity like a badge of honor and got beaten in an election by a shithead like Trump, that would probably chap my ass for a while too. But this…

      But mainstream media does not want to put a Trump supporter on the op-ed pages because it would be like give column space to a drunk, racist uncle.

      Amuse me. Why should they?Report

      • Avatar Maribou, Moderator in reply to Dave says:

        @dave Dude, a bit aggressive in your tone, there. Remember the whole maribou-gets-crankier-about-direct-confrontation-of-other-commenters/writers-than-indirect even if you don’t agree with it, please.Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Maribou, Moderator says:

          @maribou-moderator

          I appreciate what you do here, but if we’re going down that road, you and I will discuss offline. I’m not on board with that. Talk soon.Report

          • Avatar Maribou, Moderator in reply to Dave says:

            @dave FWIW my description of the problem was somewhat self-mocking. Probably should have not tried for that, it can be hard to get that to come across online.

            Don’t know if that makes you more on board or less, but either way if you have concerns, yes, please do email me.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Dave says:

        “Amuse me. Why should they?”

        I suppose they shouldn’t but this does paint a distorted view of the modern GOP. The people loathing Trump are retiring to private life. The rest are capitulating but if you read Conor F he is more out there than Louise Menstch.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I find it curious that you use the phrase ” Trump technical win” when, in fact, it’s a full throttled win. I’m sure you’re referring to Trump winner the electoral vote and not the popular vote. Since winner the EC is the only thing that matters in the election, it’s not “technical” at all. You say it like he won like some defendant in a court case who was guilty & got off on a procedural issue.Report

    • This commenter has been banned. Anyone who is curious is welcome to inquire directly to me or one of the other editors as to why. – MaribouReport

  5. Avatar Kolohe says:

    This is good, but I have objections that range from quibbles to a more generalized critique. I’m with you on detesting the rank hyporcricy on the debt and those that consider themselves the religious right.

    The ticky tacky stuff first –

    “In 1981, Reagan successfully removed price controls from natural gas and oil.” <- this is better for the environment than retail price controls on oil and natural gas (though not as good as free market pricing plus pigouvian taxation)

    "simultaneously selling out public schools in favor of charter and private schools instead." – public schools are selling out themselves. it’s also worth noting that even the most diehard NEA member and public school supporter (disclosure, my wife is both) don’t actually like central office bureaucrats telling them what to do, whether they exist at the county, state, or national level. Money yes, but policy, no.

    “hold world peace hostage” – haven’t you heard, the war in Korea is over, the two sides shook hands and everything. Also we won the Cold War.

    The context of deregulation in 1980 is a far different thing than the context of deregulation in 2018 (or for that matter, during the Bush jr presidency). Now, what’s unfair is how much Carter (and Ted Kennedy!) deserve credit, and don’t get it, for lighting off the engine of the deregulation train – e.g. trucking, airlines, and beer (but not trains themselves). But it’s empirically sound to maintain that the regulatory ivy that had built up by the 70s was on balance, anti-consumer and certainly stifling innovation.

    My more generalized critique is I think this turns things a bit inside out. The only thing barely holding everything together is that despite Trump, all the legs of the stool are getting what they want – higher military spending for the modern American junkers,, judges and other federal policies (e.g. Mexico City policy, as you mention) for the religious right, and tax cuts & administrative deregulation for the owners/managers of capital. (as you also mention)

    The difference I feel between Reagan and Trump, is that with Trump, none of those ‘gifts’ are sustainable. Even if you postulate they weren’t sustainable under Regan, they were in fact, sustained, because Reagan could sell it to the mushy middle.

    But now, Trump exposes the weaknesses of the stool. There isn’t a big bad Soviet Union anymore. The religious awakening of the 1950s (either the 3rd or 4th, depending on how one counts) is well over, and we’re in a low part of that historical epicycle. We have picked the low hanging fruit of tax cuts and deregulation and are starting to perhaps hack at the tree itself.

    And there’s no crime wave to keep white ‘moderates’ in the Republican camp.

    So this is how Trumpism is destroying Reagan’s GOP – because Reagan’s GOP was in hospice care. Trump gave them morphine to make it feel better, but it’s a dose that’s beyond pallative, and will (should) eventually kill it entirely.

    Of course, that hot shot was supposed to happen on November 8, 2016, but here we are.Report

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to Kolohe says:

      An interesting analysis.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Kolohe says:

      I am normally not a fan of “heightening the contradictions” but I suspect Trump was somewhat protected in 2016 because of his Apprentice persona. Now that he is in the White House, the facade is coming off and everyone sees Trump for what he is. This is turning a lot of people off. Or it is just the “thermostat electorate” which is so dangerous.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The Apprentice persona was part of Trump’s general long con of pretending to be rich and using that to become actually rich. In this case pretending to be a powerful successful person (or more precisely, pretending to be more than he was) to become an actual powerful person.

        But I don’t think that ‘protected’ him – people showed up because of that impression – and different people are paying attention now. And everyone in 2016 that the very empty suited reality of the Apprentice persona was among the dozens of things that made a Trump victory unthinkable.

        To the extent that he was protected, it is perhaps that exact fact that everyone, *everyone* in 2016 was working on a grand unified theory that Trump couldn’t win. So Trump stalwartly holding firm on his lifelong kayfabe wasn’t fully deconstructed.

        (or perhaps, it was deconstructed, but that itself was a trap, because ‘he’s not as rich as he says he is’ isn’t the strongest argument when countering populism)Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I also don’t think Trump consciously or accidently heightened the contradictions.

        In contrast, it’s certainly plausible that part of Clinton’s loss layed in the contradictions heightened by her unique candidacy.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kolohe says:

      So this is how Trumpism is destroying Reagan’s GOP – because Reagan’s GOP was in hospice care. Trump gave them morphine to make it feel better, but it’s a dose that’s beyond pallative, and will (should) eventually kill it entirely.

      +100!Report

  6. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    The conservative movement is a top-bottom coalition of aligned interests, of the voting base that wants white supremacy, and the funding leadership that wants wealth transfer upwards.

    It isn’t that the GOP base really cares one way or another about tax cuts. Trump could have increased taxes and the base wouldn’t care.
    And it isn’t that the leadership cares about white supremacy- Corporations rather like immigration and are indifferent to the changing demographics of America.

    So long as the base gets the white supremacy and the leadership is allowed to loot the treasury, the coalition will hold together.

    And what Trump has destroyed is the idea that it was ever different.Report

    • Conservativism is not a movement of white supremacy. And no side has shown any qualms about not “looting the treasury”. Trump, at best, played a lot of footsie and wink-wink with the scum of the Alt-right (or whatever they are calling themselves this week), Bannon, ect and should be called out on it, and was by some conservatives, though I grant you not enough to their own shame. But the wannabe Nazism of those tiki-torch outcasts are not any more representative of conservatism than the rioting anarchist of Antifa are of the greater left when they are destroying property and causing mayhem. Trump showed people would abandon a lot of what they said they believed in order to “win” and follow a crowd. It’s not a coalition of ideology Trump has, its a personality cult, projecting what you want to believe on a celebrity, and enough people lodged an “F the system” vote to go along with the sycophants to get him elected.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        The face presented by both major conservative media outlets and the Trump Administration itself is one of white supremacy. It’s plausible that they aren’t representative of conservatism, but whatever the reason [1], that is what a lot of America sees. If you are in a substantially Blue-leaning area, you may not have a lot of day to day contact with Trump supporters, but Trump himself, and a lot of his more loathsome boosters on (especially) Fox News will still routinely impinge on your awareness.

        [1] I think @kolohe is right about the frayed nature of the GOP as a coalition.Report

        • I think you are accurate in saying that:

          If you are in a substantially Blue-leaning area, you may not have a lot of day to day contact with Trump supporters, but Trump himself, and a lot of his more loathsome boosters on (especially) Fox News will still routinely impinge on your awareness.

          This is a sentiment I hear over and over again from my friends that are left leaning/progressive. It’s not a perception without merit. Trump-and he should be damned for it though the seperation from Bannon seems to have purged this fact from memory-absolutely allowed the perception that he was championing the Breitbart crowd. In practicum he was lying to them as much as he was lying to conservatives about supporting their beliefs. But he escaped any accountability for aligning with Bannon and company in the first place. I understand the charicature that projects onto the right. And “nevertrump” has become another one of those terms like fake news that means whatever the user intends it to mean, but there was a large amount of conservatives/moderates/libertarians that didnt vote for or support Trump and try to call balls and strikes on his presidency.

          Trump is killing the GOP, but its the GOP’s own fault for being such a hollow vapid thing that someone like Trump can wear its carcass and claim leadership of it. Their own fault. Dem’s shouldn’t gloat too much, they have their own inter-party civil war that is unresolved and the next election could very well reignite.Report

          • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

            “Trump was lying to them” is pretty much a go-to, always-true statement. So I support that.

            It still flabbergasts me that people perceived Trump to be more trustworthy than anyone else in the race.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Doctor Jay says:

              That’s because he was more trustworthy than anyone else in the race.

              To understand Trump support you have to understand how fed up the GOP base was with Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan’s political tactics, and standard political speak in general.Report

          • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

            AND, at the same time, I don’t think a politician gets to elude the consequences of the things they say politically by claiming “I was lying”.

            He opened his campaign by saying Mexicans were rapists and murderers. He wants to “build a wall and have Mexico pay for it”. This isn’t about “we should spend more on immigration enforcement and America will be better for it.”

            It doesn’t matter whether he meant it or not. He said it. He owns it.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        enough people lodged an “F the system” vote

        By these lights, that is what is needed.
        This is the central theme of the identitarianism of the greater Left, and I definitely agree.
        However, the greater Left and its adherents are content to say, “It’s because I’m a woman,” or, “It’s because I’m a racial minority.”
        They see only themselves rather than looking at the system.
        For this reason, they have lost the battle before it has even begun.

        FWIW, I would much rather have an unrepentant white supremacist set policy unilaterally* than someone claiming to have the interests of only a handful in mind while claiming the benefit of everyone, because the people who do gather to reform the system have a great deal of noise cleared from their path in absence of the latter type.

        ___________________
        * Not that I’m saying that Trump is, or is doing so. Just sayin’.Report

        • Avatar Maribou in reply to Will H. says:

          “They see only themselves rather than looking at the system.”
          Insofar as this is true, it doesn’t seem to be true about the young people of my acquaintance. They are very, very interested in the system.Report

          • Avatar Will H. in reply to Maribou says:

            I would like to find such people.
            I fear they are rare.Report

            • Avatar Dave in reply to Will H. says:

              In my world at my demographic (I’m 45), they don’t exist, and I despise the whole political identity thing anyway.

              I don’t wear my political views on my sleeve, and the more I see people do, the more repulsed I am by them.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Dave says:

                @dave :
                Recently, I was asking a ranger who has been in the area much longer than myself why this is the case.
                His answer was, “Complacency.”
                It seems as if the vast bulk of people are fully content to be governed by cells of embedded organized crime, so long as it doesn’t hurt them, personally, too much.

                Were cells of embedded organized crime in government to somehow make the traffic lights wait five seconds longer to change to green, there would be a huge public outcry.
                Mountains would move.

                Maybe it would take tinkering with the traffic signals by as much as fifteen seconds.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Will H. says:

                @will-h

                I think the complacency angle is dead-on accurate. Not sure if I share your faith in humanity with Mountains moving. I’d probably read a lot of posts, comments and articles complaining about it but nothing else.

                Not sure how many people have the fortitude for the hard work of moving that mountain.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Maribou says:

            In large part due to @maribou helping me challenge my own conclusions, I can say that there undoubtedly are some young people who fit the quoted description but also many who do not. I don’t know how that breakdown compares to other cohorts but it is indeed to broad a brush to paint that whole generation with.Report

            • Avatar Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

              This is a bald assertion, i.e., without a scrap of evidence, surprisingly coupled with an admission of being without information on the matter; whereas I cite the monolithic prevalence (one might properly say, the “obligation”) of indetitarianism on the Left as evidence that they are concerned with “The System” only insofar as the seven blind brothers at the elephant are, i.e., piecemeal, without integration, and in competition with one another.

              Which is to say, “Prove it.”Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will H. says:

                @will-h

                Perhaps I’ve misunderstood then. Who is the “They” being described?Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

                I was under the impression it was “young people,” but I’m quoting you there.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Will H. says:

                Respectfully, your own lens, the lens that says where identitarianism, not systemic analysis, makes it very hard to discuss that topic with you. Because where you say, “SEE! the former!,” i will say “also the latter, look” and then you will say “the former!!!” and I will shrug my shoulders.
                And then we’ll end up in the frustrated space. Or at least that’s what usually happens from my point of view.

                I’m not sure you can get people writ large to put “people” ahead of “my people”. I do think you can get them to say, “my people, but all people, also, are part of my people too and I can work toward that … even if I need to feel safety for the people I currently see as my people *first* to be able to act that way.” (And that doesn’t sound like a thing people would say, except that I remember having that conversation with myself several times. It’s kind of an iterative process for me.)

                I’m far madder at politicians and pundits of the Trumpian ilk (and many others) for lying to people about how safe they can be (note I said *can*, not *are*) than I am for many of their more egregious actions. The pragmatic side of me says that’s dumb, but it is nonetheless the case.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Maribou says:

                I am genuinely sorry that you would feel that way.
                It doesn’t have to be like that.
                Using words as pointers might help, e.g., “And then . . . ”
                But if it just stands on its own, without anything to justify primacy, and suggests no continuation, then an end-in-itself appears a valid default position.

                If there might be a reason to assume some other default position, I would like to know.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Will H. says:

          FWIW, I would much rather have an unrepentant white supremacist set policy unilaterally* than someone claiming to have the interests of only a handful in mind while claiming the benefit of everyone, because the people who do gather to reform the system have a great deal of noise cleared from their path in absence of the latter type.

          Ugh. Really?

          This is gross.Report

          • Avatar Will H. in reply to pillsy says:

            Some value forthrightness, and view it as a virtue.
            I do not find it commendable where people view that as “gross.”

            The word “claiming” appears one too many times in the cited quote.
            It is the first that should not appear; i.e.:

            FWIW, I would much rather have an unrepentant white supremacist set policy unilaterally* than someone having the interests of only a handful in mind while claiming the benefit of everyone, because the people who do gather to reform the system have a great deal of noise cleared from their path in absence of the latter type.

            Report

          • @pillsy He thinks – and made clear in his comment that he thinks – people would resist, and resist harder than they do in the absence of such clarity, the presence of huge amounts of oppression either way. (I mean, that’s my paraphrase, probably Will would object because he’s very specific about how things are said, but that’s still the gist of it.) I don’t agree with him, but it’s more … eccentric, misguided, non-normative, whatever … than gross.

            If you have concerns (often very valid ones) with the things people say here, there are usually, not always, but in this case there are, better ways to handle it than calling their comments “gross”.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to Maribou, Moderator says:

              @will-h
              That wasn’t at all clear to me before the correction to of the first “claiming” to “having”. I read it as being the other way around, with lack of “noise” being a benefit of the unilateral policy setter: a “trains run on time” thing.

              The corrected version is still something I disagree with strongly (as I do pretty much any variation of “heighten the contradictions”), but “gross” isn’t a fair characterization.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to pillsy says:

                Now that he’s corrected it I can see why you read it the way you did, fwiw. It just was so clear to me from context what he meant that I literally read it as the corrected version.

                Glad it’s been cleared up.Report

            • Avatar Will H. in reply to Maribou, Moderator says:

              Thank you for the charitable reading.

              I want to push back a bit on the “misguided” thing.

              Were Marissa Meyer to make more money than Jeff Bezos, it would not help anyone working for wages at less than 20/hr.

              We have already seen that So. Chicago is pretty much the same, even with a black man as president, and legislators to boot.

              What I see mostly from the Left is papering over a problem and calling it a solution; e.g., affirmative action, et al.
              Solutions will only be possible once enough people step back from the idea of looking out only for “people who look like me” * or devoting resources to favored groups, and start looking at the big picture.

              We are the same in so many ways.
              The differences between us are tiny in comparison.

              Diversity is over-rated.
              This is only an illusion of separation.
              When we come to realize we are the same, then we will be prepared to arrive at solutions.

              ___________
              * We can see this easily when looking at the Klan. Maybe it’s the lack of burning crosses that makes it more difficult to see the same with the collection of disadvantaged groups under the hen’s wing of the Left.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        “White supremacy” is a highly charged term, especially if we think of it as a polar binary, of either racially tolerant or “people with white hoods”.

        Consider the 1984 Morning In America vision, or the various campaign slogans and buzzwords of the Trump campaign. Ostensibly it was race-neutral, a vision that everyone could embrace.

        Except the very bones of it form a world where white people are the default norm, where white cultural totems are respected.

        It is a world where people are free to say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, a world where the police are respected.
        Its a world where the people who work in your Trump vineyard are Mexican, sure, but its not like they can vote and you don’t have to press 1 for English. And that guy at work might be, y’know, that way but he doesn’t throw it in your face by coming to work in a dress. And Joanie, that va-va voom secretary doesn’t mind a bit of good natured joshing about her cleavage.

        I could go on, but you get the idea.Report

        • Avatar Maribou in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          @chip-daniels Not just “free to say,” in my experience of some (but not all) MAGA cultural supporters, but “only have to hear.” And it’s the latter where the problem lies. What I’ve also seen is that the cultural Trump supporters I know may agree with one or more of those points, while being vehemently opposed to others. (Mostly ‘you don’t have to press 1 for english’ folks who would punch anyone who joshed them about their cleavage… but not exclusively.)

          But then, I live in a red county and I know more Trump supporters than most of y’all. (Like, I would need more than two hands to count them! Lest anyone think I am overstating my actual knowledge of same.) So I probably see more diversity among them, too. I mean, there are at least two early-20-something Hispanic kids in this city who are Trump supporters. I’ve watched them grow up, too, and they are otherwise just… normal early-20-something Hispanic kids. Darned if I can understand what they’re meaning by it *even when they explain it to me*, but at least I remember they exist.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Maribou says:

            “So I probably see more diversity among them, too. I mean, there are at least two early-20-something Hispanic kids in this city who are Trump supporters.”

            I don’t think this matters but it always gets blown out of proportion. There are a lot of people in the U.S. and there are going to be statistical outliers. Most LBGT people, Hispanic people, and Black-Americans oppose Trump but then we find a handful of supporters and it becomes “Trump is not homophobic, racist, xenophobic because of Silk and Diamond.”

            Frankly that is bullshit.Report

            • Avatar Will H. in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              I don’t think this matters but it always gets blown out of proportion.

              I believe that was exactly what she was trying to say . . .

              Frankly that is bullshit.

              . . . and this just proved her point.

              Most LBGT people, Hispanic people, and Black-Americans oppose Trump

              Wholly fallacious.
              First, this is irrelevant to the extent that the cited groups would fail to support anyone other than a Dem.
              Secondly, “most” is an indication of a higher-than-average showing, which is fairly unconvincing.Report

            • Avatar Maribou in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              @saul-degraw I didn’t come anywhere near saying what you said “it becomes”. I was talking about the complexity of the knot that is cultural Trump supporters, and how that makes it hard to just cut it effectively with any kind of anti-Gordian sweep.

              And frankly, if you were jumping from what another commenter said to something 50 steps down the road from that, and then calling that 50 step thing bullshit, I’d be telling you to be kinder in your speech.

              So geez.Report

        • I get the idea. How many people do you think live in that “world”, or as you put “Ostensibly it was race-neutral” in their thinking? There are racist people with evil intentions, this is true. The far larger number of people, there are prejudices. It is an important distinction as racism is wicked and evil, whereas prejudice is born out of ignorance. We should be slow to attribute every prejudice to evil without a chance to show a different way. To be fair, a liberal va-va-vooms Christina Hendrix Joan character just as much as a conservative, libertatian, or moderate is prone to do. I have seen, as I’m sure you have, awful, vitriolic homophobic statements from people who profess to be LGBT tolerant. Hypocrisy comes from all places. Thus I take people as they come and try my best not to monolith them into blocks of labels with plyable meanings. There is no polar binary with people, we cannot treat them as such either in practice or theory. Even if they support Trump.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

            Maybe I should put it this way:
            The epitome of white supremacy is to be tolerant of minorities.

            Reagan presented the warm welcoming face of a guy who was accepting guests onto his turf.
            Trump is the snarling enraged face of the guy who realizes he is the one being tolerated.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

            Defining what racism is can get really tricky. The common definition of racist is somebody is a bigot. The white person using the n-word or rallying against ZOG. For most people a racist is simply a bigot Liberals with an intellectual bent define racism very differently. The current liberal definition is racism is prejudice plus power. Through the influence of Marxism, racism and sexism are seen as something inherent in the system of American life. Under the liberal definition, nearly every White American is racist because they benefit more than African-Americans from the way things are. Most people bristle under this definition because they know that being racist means your evil and they don’t see themselves as evil.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

            @andrew-donaldson

            I will ask you a direct question. What do you think conservatism is about?

            What I think is distressing about this era to many is how little influence and power the #NeverTrumpers have? I see Conor F. at the Atlantic plead in column after column about how Trumpism is not Conservatism and the real thought leaders are being ignored?

            To paraphrase: How many legions does Conor F. have?

            NeverTrumpers have zero influence in the GOP. Perhaps less than zero. Chait summed it up best when he called them Never Democrats:

            http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/04/the-gops-never-trumpers-are-really-just-never-democrats.html

            That intuition has a sound historical and theoretical basis. As Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt show in their recent book How Democracies Die, the first and strongest defense against the election of an extreme or unfit leader is for his more mainstream partners to defect en masse. In Finland in 1930, and in Belgium later that decade, conservative politicians closed ranks with their socialist adversaries in order to block the ultranationalist right. In France last year, François Fillon called for his center-right party, the Republicans, to support Emmanuel Macron in the runoff rather than Marine Le Pen. Almost nothing of the sort has happened in the United States.
            The nomination of a candidate who refused in advance to accept defeat, who encouraged violence at his rallies and called for the imprisonment of his opponent, did lead some prominent Republicans — Mitt Romney, John McCain, several Bushes — to withhold endorsements of their party’s nominee. But none of them later supported the only candidate who could have defeated Trump. The only sitting Republican officeholder willing to go so far as to endorse Hillary Clinton in 2016 was a single retiring member of Congress, Richard Hanna of New York. The Republicans who refused to actively support Trump mainly removed themselves from the discussion.

            Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              There are some differences between the examples Chait cited and the 2016 Presidential elections. Fillon is a lot closer to Macron policy wise than any of the Never Trumpers were to Clinton or the Democratic Party. Same with conservatives in Finland and Belgium during the 1930s. There was most likely less of a gap when it came to policy. That made closing ranks with their opponents easier.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to LeeEsq says:

                @leeesq

                Fillon is a lot closer to Macron policy wise than any of the Never Trumpers were to

                Really, what is the real difference? 32 s 39% marginal tax? Opening or not the Northern Slope to oil exploration?

                Not go go bearniebro on you, but if Trump is closer to #NeverTrumpers than Hillary is, them their beef with Trump is just esthetics. They are fine with hos policies -including the anti minorities policies- but for goodness sake, could he please not burn his steaks ?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        I know a lot of conservatives claim that they are practicing Burkean constraint but I don’t see it in action.

        Trump is the racist uncle cararicture in office. Anyone who paid attention could see 40 years of racist action and speech.

        For years, the GOP played this softly and not so softly but a big part of the base liked what Trump was saying. What do you make of the studies showing Trump supporters feared losing power and cultural influence?

        I think a lot of political types have a vested interest in having a presentable Conservative party and a presentable liberal party. They can’t face that the GOP is now a radical party. Hence the touting of NeverTrumpers until it sticks.Report

        • Most of the people claiming Burkean principles never read Burke. Its a problem throughout politics and why tribalism is an issue, people just flock to a banner and adapt the lingo without actually studying or thinking through positions, they just want into the group.

          I digress. Anyway. Trump absolutely played to the lowest common denominator with some of his rhetoric. There is a ratio to be found in the data of the more culturally and economically disaffected you are, or perceive yourself to be, the stronger the support. But this speaks far more to a savior complex than actual policy or ideology preference. In analyzing Trump supporters, especially his hard core base, we need to be careful applying some overriding political lessons when a lot of it just straight hero worship, whatever political label gets applied to it.Report

  7. Avatar Will H. says:

    There’s a hard, red line between the “church” and the “state” — that is, until Christian zealots need somebody to protect them from imaginary bullies or when presidents need to pander to the only people that’ll have him.

    Statements like this make me wonder if today’s Left could support Jesse Jackson’s 1980 presidential campaign, and whether it is firmly disavowing itself from others, e.g., MLK.Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to Will H. says:

      I’ll forgive the author of not being up to speed on the evolution of 14th Amendment jurisprudence between 1868 and the individual rights cases of the 1960’s. We’ll just assume that the bigots running amok in that society were enlightened enough to create a constitutional amendment that would pave the way for the modern civil rights movement and the individual rights cases that would come decades later.

      As it is, “I like it so it’s constitutional” is the easy way around it.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Dave says:

        @dave Coming from a country that still hasn’t fully 100 percent signed off on its constitution (Oh, Quebec), despite having been a country for the last 151 years, “I like it, so it’s constitutional” has a certain appeal.Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Maribou says:

          @maribou

          My quick-hit comment aside, since I took a deep dive into the Second Amendment debate (really between historians and legal scholars), one of the themes that popped up repeatedly was the concept of “popular constitutionalism”, which was as valid in 1789 as it is in 2018.

          “I like it so it’s constitutional” is admittedly a bit glib on my part but it’s not too far from the very valid argument that constitutional interpretation is less a function of trying to find the meaning of words at some point in time or someone’s intentions and more a function of political culture.

          Three years ago, I wrote a two-part series making a case for the kind of strict constructionism that puts the Constitution more into the Madisonian states rights territory. To this day, I maintain that this was probably the most historically plausible understanding and it was driven by a political culture that was let’s just say a little hesitant to the sort of nationalized/centralized rule that we take for granted today. Our political culture was not the founding generation’s and vice versa.

          I think the same applies for the 14th Amendment and incorporation. There are strong arguments that the scope of the 14th Amendment was limited, and one can point to a mountain of jurisprudence where state laws being challenged on 14th Amendment grounds were routinely upheld (1). Also, at a high level, given society’s lack of tolerance on the basis of race, I have a hard time believing that enlightened framers and ratifiers of the 14th Amendment created a strong liberty-enhancing check against the states (and if anyone is bad at pushing this theory, it’s the libertarians).

          Obviously, I’m not complaining about Brown, Roe, Griswold, Obergefell, Lawrence, Engel, Loving and a whole host of other cases just like I didn’t complain about how my interpretation of the original Constitution runs afoul of the modern regulatory state. I think they were a function of popular constitiutionalism and a shifting political culture. Twenty years ago, Obergefell v Hodges would have been a non-starter.

          (1) “Infamous” cases like Lochner v New York were the exception not the rule.Report

    • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to Will H. says:

      Considering that Jackson did not run in 1980, but rather in 1984 and again (with somewhat less foot in mouth disease) in 1988, even today’s USAian left would probably have a hard time supporting his 1980 campaign, although I suppose a sufficiently active information campaign could very likely convince a fair number number that he had run in 1980: the success of birtherism in general and Trump in particular has convinced me that I was not remotely cynical enough about my fellow citizens, a failing I am still working on correcting (n.b. the fact that IMNSHO nothing on the scale of birtherism or Trumpism has so far infected the broad left does not mean I think it is impossible or even all that unlikely, though I’m not sure what the infectious agent will turn out to be: maybe a fairly virulent form of wokeness? Regardless, I suspect universities will be the prime vector, though).

      I’ve never been a fan of Jesse Jackson or his clan (, although I cut them a wee bit of slack in that family grifting on the political stage, like many other opportunities, was largely limited to whites until the 1960s or so).

      I agree that the national level window for another MLK (who in my mind deserves a national holiday) is probably closed, more is the pity, regardless of how religiously inflected that hypothetical future MLK might or might not be: I don’t think there is not enough a clear majority conscience left to appeal to: i.e. the Civil Rights Movement, which consisted of far more than just MLK even though he was its face, was able to appeal to enough consciences in enough of the country to outweigh the segregationists and status quo bias. Remember too that for technological reasons the national level media landscape was both far less fractured and had much higher entry barriers: there really was a fairly uniform national media verse that the Civil Rights movement could turn into allies (early years of National Review notwithstanding).Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to scott the mediocre says:

        I agree that the national level window for another MLK (who in my mind deserves a national holiday) is probably closed, more is the pity, regardless of how religiously inflected that hypothetical future MLK might or might not be: I don’t think there is not enough a clear majority conscience left to appeal to:

        I’d say the problem is just the opposite. We are pretty uniform now days, and because of that there’s no grand unaddressed cause sitting there waiting for a great leader.

        Everyone agrees racism is bad, in order to keep the issue alive we need to lower the bar to “microaggressions”, and debate whether Obama’s children are so oppressed that they need Affirmative Action. Everyone agrees voter suppression is bad, what passes for disagreement is whether or not we should raise voter ID standards to the levels seen by mono-cultural countries which never experienced racism. Everyone agrees sexual assault is bad, the point of disagreement (as shown in this column) is whether skipping any sort of due process is a good way to deal with it.

        What we agree on is FAR larger than what we disagree on, and what we disagree on is mostly manufactured by people who need to justify their own existence.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

          Everyone agrees racism is bad,

          I don’t think this is true.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

            Dark Matter: Everyone agrees racism is bad,

            Stillwater: I don’t think this is true.

            Depends on what we define as “everyone”.

            We’ve gone from tens of millions of people backing “separate but equal” (with a terror group waiting in the wings if you disagree) to a few hundred Nazis who can’t kill someone without the local police doing something about it.

            Our supposedly “White Nationalistic” government, which is currently controlling all three Poles of federal power, hasn’t even tried to remove Affirmative Action for Obama’s kids because that would be too politically hard.

            The big, openly racist move by Trump has been to try to restrict immigration from countries we are actively bombing plus Iran. This is the nastiest move by the nastiest player and by 1950 standards it wouldn’t be worth a mention.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

            No, everyone agrees racism is bad, its that no one agrees what is racist.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

              Disagree. Some people believe racism is AOK. They just define “racism” as (eg) something less than lynchings.

              Add: BUT!, I agree that everyone, if asked in a public forum, whether racism is bad or not, will *say* it is. “Well, certainly THIS type of thing is CLEARLY unacceptable….” (By the way, the set of people who I believe view racism is AOK isn’t restricted to or even largely comprised of conservatives.)Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

              And thinking about that some more, I’d be willing to bet that there are lots of powerful people in the US who, if we could get a God’s Eye view of their inner mental life, believe that even lynchings aren’t out of bounds.

              Racism is part of our national heritage, Aaron. It’s part of the foundations upon which America was built. Unfortunately, it’s in our cultural DNA.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                And thinking about that some more, I’d be willing to bet that there are lots of powerful people in the US who, if we could get a God’s Eye view of their inner mental life, believe that even lynchings aren’t out of bounds.

                What we have is microaggressions (etc) which we’re supposed to treat as serious as lynchings, and pretend if we don’t deal with them, lynchings are the next step.

                IMHO this is unfortunate because viewing inequality (and other problems like the Flint disaster) through the lens of racism isn’t going to be effective if it’s none of the people involved view themselves as racists and their motives (& lifestyle) are far removed from racism.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                No, the idea is that we had real lynchings based on real racism not very long ago and micro-aggressions are a really poor, laughably poor, substitute. I mean, I give the post-racial folks credit for focusing on those things, which are real, no doubt. I just think they’re mistaken – and misguided – in thinking the US is post-racial, which is where micro-aggressions live.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                I give the post-racial folks credit for focusing on [micro-aggressions], which are real, no doubt.

                Althea Nagai, who works as a research fellow at the conservative Center for Equal Opportunity, accuses microaggression research of being pseudoscience.[63] Nagai asserts that the prominent critical race researchers behind microaggression theory “reject the methodology and standards of modern science.”[63] She lists various technical shortcomings of microaggression research, including “biased interview questions, reliance on narrative and small numbers of respondents, problems of reliability, issues of replicability, and ignoring alternative explanations.”[63][64]

                (Snipped for brevity, other people raise other issues, but microaggressions “no doubt real” status is very much in question)

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microaggression#Scientific_status_of_the_conceptReport

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I read the other day about an ex-NFL player – black – who was beaten by cops. He said to them “I didn’t do anything!”, but they didn’t listen and (apparently) broke his front teeth and choked him until he passed out. (Apparently) when they found out he was ex-NFL they said they’d drop all charges, that he was exaggerating the situation and so on, but he wanted the video of his beating released. You know, to set the record straight.*

                Given that macro-aggressions like this take place *all the time* I don’t think micro-aggressions need any “scientific proof” in advance of my belief in their existence. Black people live this shit Dark.

                *who do we believe here? Lying f***ing cops or the black guy with broken teeth? What would a white Jesus do?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                It’s amazing how many people think the plural of anecdote is data.

                We have problems with the police killing people and being brutal in general. If it’s a racist thing then in theory we could replace the white cops with black cops and the problem would go away. But if it’s a “cop thing” then the beatings will continue unchanged and it’d be a waste of time and resources.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                It’s amazing how many people think the plural of anecdote is data.

                That’s because people are smart. The plural of anecdote IS data. Data is the compilation of lots and lots of anecdotes.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                Or to put it another way-
                What we have is the personal eyewitness testimony of millions of people of color, forming a narrative of sustained behavior of white people over our lifetimes, with a pattern ranging from benign neglect to malign indifference to outright active hostility.

                In order to refute this narrative, one needs to believe a preposterous counternarrative, that somehow these millions and millions of Americans are lying, in some massive concerted conspiracy to concoct fairytales of being profiled, brutalized, and treated as lesser beings.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                All people of color think the same way? Interesting.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

                No, he pretty clearly didn’t say all black people think the same way.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Stillwater says:

                Chip didn’t say just black people. He said that all people of color are so similar in their thinking that he can speak on their behalf. Is it so weird to push back against that?Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Pinky says:

                @pinky Were that what he said, yes, it would deserve pushback. But that is not what he said.

                This is what he said:
                “What we have is the personal eyewitness testimony of millions of people of color”

                He’s referring to a body of evidence, which consists of the personal eyewitness testimony of millions of people of color. he neither *said* all people of color, nor did he claim to speak on their behalf. He’s speaking of the evidence which he believes exists. (I also believe it exists, but I’ll note that I have not personally, literally seen the eyewitness testimony of millions of people of color, or millions of people period. *thinks* A thousand-and-some, maybe two thousand, at this point in my life. That’s a lot of personal eyewitness testimony of experiencing racism (and almost always more than microaggressions; less than lynching but not always a whole lot less.)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

                He said that all people of color are so similar in their thinking that he can speak on their behalf.

                Where? Where did he say that? Where did he even imply that?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

                Well heck- there’s only one way to find out.
                Lets ask them!

                Lets set aside one month of the year, say, February, where we pay added attention to the history and experiences of black folks, and read their books, hear their stories, and let them settle the issue.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Pinky says:

                @pinky That’s not what he said and you know it’s not what he said. I have enough on my plate right now without you pulling out this kind of snipery at the same time.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

                Hey @pinky – While I stand by the first sentence of this comment, I’m sorry about the second sentence. You didn’t necessarily have any idea about what I was dealing with elsethread, and I was extra cranky b/c I don’t usually have to deal with that crap.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                In order to refute this narrative, one needs to believe a preposterous counter narrative, that somehow these millions and millions of Americans are lying,

                No, we just need to check and see if the narrative really is the best fit for the data. Data selection is a big problem with this sort of thing and it’s common.

                Grotesk thought experiment. We start with 1024 people, tell them we’re going to kill them if they can’t flip a fair coin “heads”, do so, then repeat the experiment 9 times. The one survivor walks away from this claiming praying to God works, no one points out that all 1023 corpses were doing the same thing.

                Moving back to the real world, roughly once(?) a month(?) BLM ends up in the news with an innocent black guy getting shot by the police. This is lots of anecdotes. Counting Black corpses on the ground isn’t close to being enough to prove it’s a racist issue with a “fight racism” solution, what’s needed is to count all corpses (because the cops kill lots of people) and adjust for the situation. This takes us to that Harvard Prof’s results which suggest there are serious problems but they don’t match up well with BLM… which imply it’s a police incompetence and impunity issue as far as corpses on the ground.

                I’m actually fine with (non-1950’s style) “racism” still being a thing in modern society. I’m even good with it still having a measurable effect and so forth. However, if we made a list of things which were keeping the Black man from advancing economically in the 1950’s, I’d expect racism to be at the top of the list, and it might be more important than everything else put together.

                Now? Is racism really high enough up on the list to have an effect outside of the margins? Is racism a bigger problem in terms of preventing advancement than crappy schools, unwed motherhood, the War on Drugs, mass incarceration, crime, concentrated poverty, and probably a dozen other things? Is it even in the top 5 any more? The top 10?

                I don’t think it’s useful to pretend racism is still the dominant force it was in the 1950’s nor that we’re just a few steps away from getting those days back. IMHO trying to treat racism as a 1950’s style monster is a way to avoid dealing with today’s problems.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                We could certainly sit around and construct logic diagrams and crunch data in massive algorithms.

                Or, we could just gather eyewitness testimony of the personal experiences of millions of people of color.

                They do have the power of speech, after all.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                We could certainly sit around and construct logic diagrams and crunch data in massive algorithms.

                Yes, and should.

                Or, we could just gather eyewitness testimony of the personal experiences of millions of people of color.

                The plural of anecdote is not data. Even in the millions it should still be considered suspect.

                Anecdote is a good reason to go looking for/at data, it’s not a substitute.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                If it’s a racist thing then in theory we could replace the white cops with black cops and the problem would go away.

                Dark. Cmon. You’re a very smart person. What you said up there is bullshit and you (of all people) know it.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Dark. Cmon. You’re a very smart person. What you said up there is bullshit and you (of all people) know it.

                Ya, not my best work. I should find a different magic wand to wave there.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

          You would agree, though, that your perspective on whether “everyone agrees” that racism is unacceptable is not the perspective that many other people have?

          That people of color in America experience this issue in dramatically different ways that we here at OT do?Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            You would agree, though, that your perspective on whether “everyone agrees” that racism is unacceptable is not the perspective that many other people have?

            Yes, absolutely.

            I’m sure there’s lots of people in Flint who view the entire debacle as an act(s) of racism.

            Thing is, does that line of reasoning go anywhere useful? I find it hard to believe the State have turned on a money cannon to help a white community.Report

          • Avatar Maribou in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            “That people of color in America experience this issue in dramatically different ways that we here at OT do?”

            @chip-daniels I understand what you’re trying to do but given that there are regular commenters and writers “here at OT” who are people of color, most of whom are also “in America,” that’s actually not a great thing to say.Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Another big difference is that Trump and Reagan might be the Internet. Trump finds a way to debase us all with his outbursts and twitter rants. Would Reagan do the same if Reagan had twitter? Also a lot of news reporting is now cheap viral clickbait about who owned whom on Twitter. Kanye tweeted pro-Trump stuff and then some celebs trolled Kanye. And this gets lapped up and spread around the Internet.

    This is not news, analysis, support, or resistance. It is heroin junkies looking for a cheap and quick fix.Report

    • This is an interesting comment. Your final statement is correct it is an attention addiction thing. Reagan was a master communicator in the medium of his day, first on radio. People forget he did radio commentaries for years before becoming governor and it honed his messaging and presentation which later translated well to TV. Trumps mediums of first reality TV and now Twitter especially, wasn’t him honing his delivery and message as much as him filtering out to the world the image and brand he wanted them to see. He knows he can throw a grenade into the news cycle anytime he wants, a more destructive version of the Obama-era “stray voltage” theory. Again a lot of Trump falls on the press when blame is to be laid out, first in the breathless wall to wall coverage during the campaign and now just chasing his morning tweets and reporting, repeating, and panel discussing those tweets all day instead of actually, you know, reporting on things.Report

  9. Avatar Pinky says:

    A lot of the points made in this article are unfair. For example, every president since FDR has had prayers at his inauguration, so it hardly makes sense to single out Trump for that, much less equate it to a school prayer amendment. DeVos isn’t “turning a blind eye to campus sexual assault”, and that kind of accusation doesn’t help the political climate. And a Secretary of Education you don’t like isn’t the same thing as shutting down the Department of Education. As for Trump letting oil companies ruin “literally every square inch of planet earth that’s potentially profitable”, that’s not a good characterization of the linked article.Report

  10. Avatar Mark Van H says:

    What is Trumpism? If it is the tax overhaul, some nudge wink to racist elements in the party, throwing bones to religious conservatives and deregulation, then yes, Trumpism is Reaganism warmed over.

    But if Trumpism is not about those things, but about ‘lock her up’, banning of all Muslims, questioning the loyalty of Mexican-American judges, questioning the independence of law enforcement, going solo on trade and other international issues, policy by tweet, public humiliation of high ranking government officials, not even paying lipservice to the separation of powers or his Charlottesville comments, well, there is a clear gap between Reaganism and Trumpism.Report

  11. Avatar North says:

    Yeah the Reagan Conservatives destroyed conservatism themselves, Trump is merely an opportunistic parasite that has burrowed into and is nesting in the carcass. Trumpism itself is too vague and ill defined to provide a new ideology. The connecting theme across Trump politicians and appointees is that they’re merely bandwagoning onto Trump to pillage whatever isn’t nailed down before the music stops. Policy wise Trump’s basically been governed by default GOP inclinations. Really the only GOP group that’s been screwed has been the libertarians; Trumps nomination discarded the pleasant myth that there was a wide spread mass of popular support for true libertarian principles. Turns out all those libertarians were in name only (LINO’s?) and honest libertarianism is still about as popular as the Libertarian Party.

    I wonder if the Dems were like this under Carter (a bit before my time)? The Clintons are done now so that is over; the stage seems set for a potential route is the left gets their act together which seems eminently possible. I think that’s why we so constantly hear the theme of that the left most identitarian actors on the left represent the left in total; it’s the most plausible branding that could bring them down but I just don’t feel like it will stick.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

      Part of what destroyed conservatism is that it won and couldn’t take yes for an answer.

      Fiscal prudence? Practiced by Democrats like Clinton, Obama and California’s Jerry Brown.

      Moral rectitude? The biggest social fight for liberals was to let gay people become boring PTA parents.

      Strong defense? No citation needed.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Agreed entirely. Bill Clinton basically said “ya know what, on economics you’re probably right” and brought his party with him. And the GOP basically leaped off the right wing ledge to keep away from him.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Obama was by no means fiscally conservative. Clinton is a more complicated matter. (I’m sort of replying to Chip and North at the same time here.) He called himself a moderate before he ran, complained about every piece of conservative legislation, signed them all, then claimed that it was his vision that was successful. And most of that success was what they call the peace dividend.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

          You would need to support that claim about Obama not being a fiscal conservative.
          Aside from the stimulus which was in response to the Great Recession, all his succeeding budgets were modest and the annual deficit went down.

          But in the bigger picture- where in American politics are the wild eyed spenders, who assert that deficits don’t matter?Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Don’t forget, his initial budget also rolled in all the “off the books” support for Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush and the GOP Congress had been cheerfully keeping ongoing costs for that off the budget, funding them separately by claiming they weren’t regular budget items, but emergency appropriations.

            So that initial big budget contained both economic stimulus for the worst recession since 1929, and getting rid of the tricks the GOP was using to hide spending and pretend to be budget conscious.

            The ACA, his big program, was fully paid for from taxes — which is a hell of a lot more “conservative” than the unpaid for, 1.9 trillion tax cut the GOP just passed.Report

            • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Morat20 says:

              Obama didn’t end the practice of OCO budget items (though he promised too). And at the end of the year, the ground truth of how much the government spent (over revenue) was reflected in how much debt the Treasury had to issue that year.

              The deficits were reduced because the employment picture got better (so more receipts) but also the sequester *worked* to curtail spending – something Obama fought against as hard as he could.Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            I’d guess that you’re one of the wild eyed spenders, if you’re comfortable with the stimulus. The deficits were twice as high as those of the Great Depression: are you asserting that deficits don’t matter? Actually, never mind the Great Depression, depending on how you calculate it, those deficits were comparable with the ones we ran in the Civil War.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

              I don’t see anyone except Republicans asserting that deficits don’t matter.

              No, seriously, it was Republicans who introduced Medicare Part D, then launched a 4 trillion dollar war, then cut taxes, ultimately going from a balanced budget in Clinton’s last year to a near Venezuela style collapse in 2008.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                You just implied that deficits don’t matter when you excused the largest deficits in our recent history.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

                They do matter.
                We must do what we did after WWII, increase taxes to pay them back.
                This is the Burkean, traditional, time tested method of getting through tough times.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Do Obama’s deficits matter? It looked like you were ok with them.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Pinky says:

                Personally, I don’t care about deficits.

                But, Obama drove up deficits in response to the biggest economic disaster in 70 years. After that, he passed a close to neutral (or at the very least, attempting to be budget neutral) health care plan.

                Then, wrongly in my view, before the economy fully recovered, Obama offered a deal to the GOP where he would take the hit for cuts in services to largely poor and middle class people with reforms to Medicare and Social Security if the Republican’s would take a hit in the form of slightly higher taxes for the wealthy.

                The GOP responded – ‘nah, we just prefer cuts in services for the poor and middle class.’

                As multiple people pointed out, the deficit was at a steady downward curve during Obama’s Presidency as the economy recovered. Now, it’s going the other direction, all thanks to votes from “fiscal conservatives.”Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to North says:

      North: Yeah the Reagan Conservatives destroyed conservatism themselves,

      I disagree with this.

      Trump is merely an opportunistic parasite that has burrowed into and is nesting in the carcass.

      I agree with this.

      The things that destroyed Reagan conservativism are 1) they won most of the battles of their era, meaning they needed to find (or invent) new battles, and 2)moreover, when they got the band back together for a reunion tour under Bush Jr, it was disastrous.

      Trump is staph infection in the wound opened by a mis-run war, a mis-beggoten war, and a financial catastrophe unseen in most people’s lifetime. That wound was cauterized by the 2010 tea party victories, but that just allowed the underlying bile and pus to fester.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Kolohe says:

        Ok, but that sure looks like destroying themselves to me. They certainly weren’t destroyed by the Clinton or Obama Democrats who, especially in the case of Obama, were better conservatives than the GOP in this millenium has been.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North says:

          I believe the standard line is that deficits go down under Democrats because of the roaring economies the Republicans gave them. And they go up under Republicans because of the awful, no good, very bad Democrats did things in the past that somehow made it happen.

          I believe it’s a religious belief.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to North says:

      I live with hard core libertarians. Two days ago I had dinner with Susette Kelo (we closed down the restaurant and I didn’t get home till midnight), her movie writer/producer, and folks from the Institute from Justice. Yesterday she hung out with us at work. The same Libertarians support Trump to the hilt.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to George Turner says:

        Well that’s great news for anyone who doesn’t like libertarians then just as the hard line Evangelical support for Trump is great news for anyone who fears a return of the moral majority.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North says:

          I always joked most libertarians were just Republicans that wanted to smoke weed, but I guess that joke is dead.

          Restarting the war on pot, restarting 18th century trade wars, restricting immigration… not really sure what’s libertarian there. Guess I never understood the ideology.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

            Weed and Sodomy, Redstate told me.

            Weed and Sodomy.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

              Nope. It’s incandescent light bulbs. They stockpiled them and heavily backed Rand Paul, all but running his first campaign. More than that, they like toilets that actually flush.

              And of course locally sourced organic food, with meat and milk free of hormones and antibiotics. I point out that all meat has hormones in it (otherwise the critter wouldn’t grow), and milk doesn’t have antibiotics in it higher than a few parts per billion (the detection threshhold) because many children are horrendously allergic to penecillin and other drugs. At the FDA tests’ sensitivity, you’d have to eat about 60,000 pounds of meat at a sitting to equal one big tablet of amoxicillin.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                …wait, are you asserting that some people have gotten confused enough that they think the problem with using antibiotics as growth serum in cows is _their own injestion_?

                That may be so, and stupid, but that doesn’t change there are actually concerns with using antibiotics in animals…not in the heart of the people eating those animals, but in the health of all people.

                The problem with using antibiotics willy-nilly, everywhere, is that everything develops resistance to them. Not only is it extremely stupid to use antibiotics for ‘bigger cows’, but it’s pretty stupid to use them for viral colds and for stupid ‘antibacterial soap’, which the FDA _finally_ banned.

                The problem is not, and has never been, that antibiotics find their way into people…I can’t even figure out how that would be a problem, we deliberately put antibiotics in people all the time. The problem is just using them when not needed, period….the supply of working antibiotics is _finite_, as every use of them, very very slightly, decreases the chance they will work in the future. I’m not saying we should start rationing them in regard to actual disease fighting, but just like we probably shouldn’t build water parks in Las Vegas, we probably shouldn’t use up antibiotics to make ‘bigger cows’.

                Hormones, OTOH, there is a real concern about humans consuming, and those actually _are_ in the meat we eat. Unlike antibiotics, which just leave. Also unlike antibiotics, no one is allergic to them, and the FDA allowed limits are rather high currently. The FDA actually has a long and stupid history of allowing too much this sort of thing, and having to repeatedly revise it downward as research is done, instead of just saying ‘Wait, these chemicals actually do things in people, because they are hormones common to all mammals, and we already knows this. You don’t get to add them to cows if they show up in meat and milk you’re selling to people.’

                Instead of doing that, though, the FDA will do what it always does…revise the allowed amount downward repeatedly to almost nothing over the next few decades as more evidence comes in. And never apologize for saying larger levels were safe, or try to figure out what went wrong.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                (I’m sure DavidTC knows this but…) The problem with micros is they can share or exchange DNA just as a matter of course, so making microbe X immune to an antibiotic may also make microbes A, B, & C immune as well.

                Hormones, OTOH, there is a real concern about humans consuming, and those actually _are_ in the meat we eat.

                (Not my field but) My impression is eating hormones isn’t an issue since we humans break our food down. If it’s something we digest then that’s a very different result than if we were injected with it.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                (I’m sure DavidTC knows this but…) The problem with micros is they can share or exchange DNA just as a matter of course, so making microbe X immune to an antibiotic may also make microbes A, B, & C immune as well.

                Yeah, they do share genes, so the problem can get even worse than it start with…we sometimes find specific-drug resistance forms of a bacteria that no one ever used that specific drug to fight, as far as medical science knows.

                And we usually don’t know if that bacteria was always resistant to that, or if it was somehow exposed to it via people flushing antibiotics down the drain or in cows or whatever, or if some other bacteria developed the resistance and then that one stole the genes, or if someone happened to have some of bacteria in them when they got treated for some other disease using the antibiotics.

                Which makes it all the harder to try to convince people to take it seriously. No one can say ‘Our specific overuse of this drug _here_ is why this apparently completely unrelated bacteria is resistant to it way over here’.

                We need to fight this slow tragedy of the commons with some basic human restraint, before we have to start regulating this, which would be a nightmare.

                (Not my field but) My impression is eating hormones isn’t an issue since we humans break our food down. If it’s something we digest then that’s a very different result than if we were injected with it.

                That has always been the theory.

                In practice, two things arise: a) Even if we break 99% of it down, what does that 1% do? and 2) Are the things fully broken down, or do we sometimes end up with partially broken-down hormones floating around that can still do things to us?

                I mean, take estrogen for example. Even if it’s not broken down, it doesn’t matter most of the time. The average man has 10,000 times more estrogen in him than in two pounds of ‘hormone beef’, and the average woman has three times that.

                But prepubescent children basically shouldn’t be given any estrogen at all. Minute amounts can trigger puberty in girls, and presumably weird stuff in boys. So there is a concern these hormones are what is causing puberty to happen sooner. (This is extremely hard to tell, because we know a better diet, high in protein, by itself, will also cause puberty earlier…just presumably not that early.) Even if the estrogen is ‘broken down’, there are actually a bunch of different things that act like estrogen, and it’s not impossible the estrogen is being broken down into something that still fits into estrogen receptors.

                Although honestly I suspect most of early puberty thing is due to plastic substances that _also_ do that, and this raises the question of why we should worry about a tiny fraction of hormones from cows when we’re getting a lot of hormones from non-food sources.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                In practice, two things arise: a) Even if we break 99% of it down, what does that 1% do? and 2) Are the things fully broken down, or do we sometimes end up with partially broken-down hormones floating around that can still do things to us?

                Sounds like concerns which should be translated into experiments on rodents.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Dark Matter says:

                In most primates the males have large canines, which we lost long ago. My personal conjecture is that we lost them as a side effect of delaying puberty until after our adult teeth have formed, so that our adult incisors never experienced high levels of testosterone during development. If high levels of testosterone were introduced early, then perhaps human males would still have gigantic canine teeth.

                To test this theory I need lots of parents to inject their young sons with copious amounts of testosterone to see what happens.

                It’s for science.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to George Turner says:

                The alternative to running experiments on mice normally isn’t setting policy, it’s doing nothing.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Mice don’t have large canines because they are quite small.

                To do proper experiments on mice we’d have to develop alarmingly large mice with gorilla sized teeth.

                Would you rather contend with giant rodents that breed faster than rabbits and who can bite your arms off, or would you rather we produce a few developmentally deformed male children who at best might, by age 30, get a date with the fat autistic girl in the trailer park?

                If messing around with our development was a social threat, then Youtube would be ruled by six year olds who’d downed their gym-addicted dad’s month’s supply of anabolic steroids.Report

              • Avatar Maribou, Moderator in reply to George Turner says:

                @george-turner This is the sort of comment where you think you’re being funny and I think you’re being really questionable. Please rein it in.Report

              • Avatar Maribou, Moderator in reply to Maribou, Moderator says:

                (at least, I think you think you’re being funny?)Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Maribou, Moderator says:

                I hope so, because that’s not how teeth work at all. That’s not how they develop (and the existence of identical teeth in women would, you know, kinda put paid to that line of strange questioning).

                Also, there are entire disorders around excessive amounts of various hormones in kids, and none of them resulted in wolfmen.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Morat20 says:

                Oh, yeah, I’m aware. I’m actually pretty sure George is too, it’s just that if it *is* a joke, it’s not a joke that passes my smell test.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to George Turner says:

                Mice don’t have large canines because they are quite small.

                A mouse with a Great Dane would look ridiculous.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Dark Matter says:

                New research shows that it doesn’t even require the exchange of plasmids. I forget the specific paper, but I’ll summarize.

                Betty Bacteria finds herself in a human and starts causing trouble, so the human takes antibiotics. Those would normally kill Betty, but some locals nearby are familiar with the assault. Larry Local, their leader, says “Hey Betty, I got this!” and he starts pumping out a compound that neutralizes the antibiotics, kind of like a force shield. Even though Betty has no antibiotic resistance at all, the close proximity to antibiotic resistant local thugs protects Betty from harm.

                It gets pretty graphic after that because bacterial culture is weird.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to George Turner says:

                That was a fabulous and very evocative description. (Think I read the same paper, also don’t remember the cite.)Report

            • Avatar Will H. in reply to Jaybird says:

              Now, if the Libertarians can get everyone who stands for either Weed or Sodomy, they could easily be a dominant force in American politics.
              But it has to be “either” rather than “both,” and the inclusive ‘or’ rather than the exclusive ‘or.’ That’s the only way to get the numbers.

              Personally, I like the idea of a stripped-down two-plank platform, even if that platform turns out to be Weed and Sodomy.
              It could sell.

              The purists need to stand back.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Morat20 says:

            Restarting the war on pot, restarting 18th century trade wars, restricting immigration… not really sure what’s libertarian there. Guess I never understood the ideology.

            The short answer is “nothing”.

            The libertarians have the same problem dealing with the GOP that the Afro-Americans do dealing with the Dems; They’re not the only members of the coalition nor even the dominant one.

            Thus the Blacks vote for a party which supports supports inner city education reform only if it doesn’t offend the teacher’s union, which means no school choice and normally no reform.Report

  12. Avatar Aaron David says:

    I would say that this piece fundamentally misunderstands what conservatism is, does and means, while at the same time laments a fantasy version of political history that doesn’t presuppose the left as heroes. Basically, that people feel a need to tear down the creations of progress. That Trump is a liar, a con-man, who is killing the right.

    I don’t think that is what is going on, but I do think it is what left-leaning people want to be going on. The right/Republicans have won too many battles in the political field to healthily think of them as a done and dying ideology. And at the same time as the left was winning the media battles, they have lost, what, a thousand seats in gov’t overall in the last ten years? No, something different is going on.

    Remember when we were kids? Regean was the devil in the left-leaning household, a cultural backslide, a laughing stock. Then the left figured out how to beat his coalition, or more accurately, the seeds planted in the sixties started to bear fruit and sprouted a generation of profs and media members and actors and on and on. All of whom now are sad, sad that the conservatives that they learned on, and defeated, no longer exist.

    In ’08 the Democrats ran the table. And eight years later they lost it all. The problem was, not enough of the left-central ideas stuck in enough areas to make the dreams of the left come true let alone to build on. Not the white paper left and its failures with the ACA, not the neo-interventionist either, what with Hillary’s complete lack of ability on the world stage. I am generally of the belief that we are not where they thought we were as a society, and a big part of that was expressed by the single worst political statement of all times – Deplorable. Do you think something is racist, sexist, bigoted in any way? Well, you need to convince enough of the others that it matters. The left didn’t. Or at least not as much as preserving a way of life, a family, heroes or a livelihood does.

    I read pieces like this and I am affirmed in the conclusion that the left still doesn’t understand why it lost in ’16. Trump was never a part of the Reagan coalition, as that ended the day Reagan’s second term ended.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David says:

      Ok lets go with this.

      Sincere question- tell us in a nutshell what contemporary conservatism is, does and means.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        “Don’t destroy what works. Don’t saddle us with obvious failures.”

        Doesn’t mean they don’t have HUGE blindsides, or that they don’t need to change, but that would be my guess*. Yes, it is in part a reaction to liberalism, but so it goes.

        *Guess because I am not a conservative, nor do I play one on TV.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Aaron David says:

          How do you explain the Kansas tax-cut situation? Or the GOP mania for tax cuts even when they do not work?Report

          • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            They want different shit than you want.Report

            • Avatar Will H. in reply to Aaron David says:

              I call that a good explanation.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Aaron David says:

              And Kansas got them what, exactly? Do they like under-performing economies, job losses, and broken budgets?

              I mean I don’t like to kink shame, but apparently conservatives are into some weird crap.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Morat20 says:

                “I mean I don’t like to kink shame”
                And yet by making that joke in this context, you (no doubt inadvertently) kinda are, in the general rather than specific sense of shaming people who have actual kinks.

                (This is me, Maribou, the twitchy, speaking, not me with the Moderator hat on.)Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Morat20 says:

                “Do they like under-performing economies, job losses, and broken budgets?”

                Well, looking at 16/17 unemployment numbers of Kansas and the surrounding states, Kansas is right in line. Around 4.2 to 3.6. Slightly higher than Colorado but lower than Oklahoma. Now, if you look at, say, Illionios? A full point lower. And Illinois’ budget? Lets not even go there.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Aaron David says:

                But no liberals are claiming Illinois is run according to Liberal principles, whereas Kansas was operated according to the the exact principles that Conservatives have been spouting for decades (when they’re in power, what they say when out of power is, of course, irrelevant).Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to North says:

                Well, I was picking midwest states more than anything, so, it isn’t out of line with the neighboring states and it is lower than Illinois, another midwest state. So, if you have a better state, that is in some way (geographical, population, whatever) comparable, let’s take a look.

                (By the way, the fact we are talking about this on Friday night at 8-10pm proves we are happily married. Cheers!)Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Aaron David says:

                Cheers! but Minnesota is about as far from Kansas as Illinois is. And like Kansas, Minnesota is lacking in a Chicago sized city (unlike IL). But MN is a well run relatively liberal state whereas IL is an ineptly run basket case. Whereas Kansas was run according to current GOP and conservative orthodoxy, the result: total failure, they had to reverse the lot of it and saw no particular benefits. The only way it could have turned out worse is if the whole state had caught fire.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to North says:

                @north
                Then we should look to MN unemployment numbers for the last few years, which googles is showing pretty much sitting at 3.8 for both. KS is sitting at 4.1 for ’16 and a pretty nice 3.4 for ’17. Budget wise, right now MN is looking at a 188m shortfall, while KS is sitting at 350m, definitely worse, but OK has a shortfall of 425m, with unemployment sitting at 4.1.

                So, they are sitting right in the pocket of normal for that area. And as Bloomberg’s Justin Fox put it:

                So the Kansas experiment is an economic failure in the sense that it didn’t have a discernible positive effect, although it hasn’t exactly been a disaster — except perhaps for Sam Brownback’s future political aspirations.

                It looks to me that at this point, the Kansas Disaster problem is more one of old news and a liberal viewpoint on the place of government.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Aaron David says:

                Aaron, if you sell something as curing cancer, baldness and reducing weight and when the subjects take it they merely get a severe case of the flu and lose some fingers pointing out that they didn’t turn out that much worse than other people who didn’t take that substance isn’t going to carry much water.

                The Kansas tax cut was supposed to supercharge the Kansas economy, bring in so much economic activity that it wouldn’t have a significant impact on the budget and open the path to a new golden future of small government conservativism. In what universe or loopy viewpoint can what actually happened be spun as a mild success like what you’re doing here?Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North says:

                The tax cutters were arguing that all the high-tech firms and businesses would leave the high tax blue states for the red states. The people of New York, California, and Massachusetts were supposed to end up in economically dead zones that demonstrate the follow of liberalism and our high tax ways. It turned out that this didn’t happen.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to North says:

                I am only arguing that it wasn’t the mitigating disaster that many on the left are claiming. And I presented data on that fact. Along with the opinions of others, notably Bloomberg, the writers of which are not known for being pro-conservative. I did cover that the deficit is high in the state, not out of line with the midwest though. I also mentioned that the unemployment rate is lower than Mini-Soda, which I believe you mentioned was both liberal and well run.

                Again, as I pointed out, the whole thing was a wash financially, but a true disaster for Brownback, again, as I pointed out. And be pleased to point out where I said anything of the sort regarding success, mild or otherwise.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North says:

                While it would take more work to try to make it apples to apples, the proper comparison with Kansas would be California.

                After all, California did pretty much the opposite of Kansas. Raised taxes, created more regulations, etc.

                Kansas was sold as conservatives finally getting to put their principles in action, without those darn Democrats screwing it up.

                California seems to be it’s opposite — where, after finally breaking the stranglehold the GOP had had on the State Leg, California was finally able to raise taxes, pass budgets, and effectively govern according to what Democrats wanted without those pesky conservatives getting in the way.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Morat20 says:

                California seems to be it’s opposite — where, after finally breaking the stranglehold the GOP had had on the State Leg, California was finally able to raise taxes, pass budgets, and effectively govern according to what Democrats wanted without those pesky conservatives getting in the way.

                Given the state of their pensions, and how they’re STILL making the whole “boom/bust” economic mistakes, I suspect they’ll eventually be a showcase on “this was a mistake”.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter says:

                CA pension obligations are a major problem that the state is not seriously dealing with.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I don’t think that makes them different than any other state. But that is still not a damning of liberalism. Jerry Brown is leaving the state with a budget surplus and advising it go in a rainy day fund. This is prudent planning. Brownback and other red state governors crashed their budgets and caused massive cuts.

                (cut for being all about Dark Matter’s presumed motivations and feelings. Seriously @saul-degraw , we’ve talked about this before. Lay off. – censored – maribou)Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Only a handful of states have pension problems like CA, and if Brown has a surplus, he should find a way to dump it into CALPERS.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I don’t think that makes them different than any other state.

                California has multiple issues which make their pension issue worse (size of state, size of gov, gov unions, political corruption and mismanagement).

                But that is still not a damning of liberalism.

                This is like saying the Communists burning down the economy isn’t a damning of Communism because it’s not what was intended.

                Jerry Brown is leaving the state with a budget surplus and advising it go in a rainy day fund.

                You can’t tell who is naked until the tide goes out.

                At some point the Stock market will crash. At some point the economic boom will end. At some point those pensions will need to be torn up or paid for. That’s when we’ll see whether Brown left California in great shape.

                Brownback and other red state governors crashed their budgets and caused massive cuts.

                Others? You’re picking the worst outcome and claiming it’s the expected. We’ve been fine with ours.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                At some point the Stock market will crash. At some point the economic boom will end.

                Someday the capitalist economies will collapse, and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth as they gaze in envy at the People’s Republic singing joyous songs at the reaping of the bountiful harvest!

                Report

              • @saul-degraw See note above. Imagining a bunch of negative stuff about another person’s feelings is both uncivil and not particularly useful.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Aaron David says:

                Who cares about Illinois? The initial statement was “conservatives want different things than liberals”

                Cool beans. In Kansas, they got exactly what they wanted. Supply side economics! Slashed budgets! Conservative rule!

                Besides being in power, what exactly did conservatives get in Kansas for it? Did they get a better economy than neighboring states? Better services? More responsive government? A happier populace? More freedom?

                What, exactly, did the Great Conservative Experiment of Kansas get conservatives? What improved? What can you take from Kansas and say “This should be applied nationwide, so the nation can share the same results?”

                What is, in fact, the conservative victory here? Saying “Well, Illinois is just as bad” doesn’t mean anything. I mean what’s the take from that? Kansas did all these Great Conservative Things, and the net result was…it’s basically the same as a neighboring state run by completely opposite principles, incompetently and poorly applied opposite principles?

                I mean is your case here “The things conservatives want don’t mean anything, because it makes no difference if we do them”?Report

              • But low unemployment wasn’t the only thing the politicians promised the tax cuts would deliver. In particular, the low rates were going to result in huge growth by existing businesses, and a flood of new businesses moving in, so tax revenues wouldn’t decline and it wouldn’t be necessary to cut the budgets for roads, higher ed, Kansas’s extensive set of rural county-level hospitals, and (the eventual proverbial straw) K-12 education.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            I’d be careful of overdetermining Kansas and applying it upwards to the US.

            It is possible that “opening Kansas for business” might merit a yawn in ways that deregulation and tax cuts in the US could merit a paroxysm of gluttony.

            Fine to criticize Brownback for wrongly extrapolating downward…but the fact that Kansas does not equal the US travels both ways.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David says:

          I honestly don’t understand any of that.

          I mean, Social Security works, but conservatives hate it. Supply side economics was a catastrophic failure, but they love it.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Social security is both insufficient at current payout levels (the average benefit is around the federal poverty level) and unsustainable at current payout levels (long term shortfall is one percent of GDP.Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Again, where’s the concern about deficits? Entitlements are headed for catastrophe. Supply-side economics is all about balancing the books. There’s a reason that conservatives prefer supply-side economics over the entitlement system, and it’s that they care about deficits.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Pinky says:

              Supply-side economics is all about balancing the books.

              Really? Kansas is calling, they’d like a refund. Wait, so’s the 80s — I mean, Reagan and Bush the Elder spent almost a decade raising taxes to try to dig themselves out of that experiment.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Pinky says:

              Conservatives have been prophesying about the financial calamity of the welfare state for decades. They have always been wrong.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Well they only have to be right once, especially when they get a chance every cycle to sabotage it and make the prophesy self fulfilling.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Do you think the balance sheets are lying? Conservatives have been right every time. We don’t have enough money to sustain the programs. We patch them back together every once in a while, but it’s mostly buying time.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Pinky says:

                If you added the lost revenue from the tax cuts and eliminated the titanic expense of the unpaid for and hidden off the books Bush II wars there’d be tons of money to fill that gap in the balance sheet. Every cycle it’s just the same, the GOP runs up massive shortfalls when they’re in control then scream like demented fruit bats about deficits when they’re out of power. Yes, the Dems certainly aren’t deficit hawks but they don’t claim to be!Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to North says:

                The Bush wars are on the books. They may not have been in the budget at the time, but they’re added into the total spending after the fact. Also, when you talk about “lost” revenue from the tax cuts, you’re implying a static model in which there are no possible gains in revenue. Why should I accept a position that assumes away the core of the argument, when there’s no way to prove your position and I genuinely think you’re wrong?Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Pinky says:

                Yes, they were added into the actual spending after the GOP got thrown out of power and Obama came on board at which time the GOP gleefully tried to pretend that spending was Obama’s fault.

                I am ignoring the argument of gains in revenue from reduced rates because it’s unambiguous that any gains that there were ended up being minuscule compared to the drop in revenue caused by the reduced tax rates.

                Conservatives have tried, nationally, locally, everywhere, to demonstrate that lowering taxes produces revenues to offset those lost revenues and reality has stubbornly refused to oblige over and over again.

                If one grants the GOP’s imaginary and baseless assertions that tax cuts produce more revenues at our modern tax levels then sure you can assert anything. Up is down, black is white etc.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

                As Bruce Bartlett (one of Reagan’s advisors) put it, “Show me the inflection point of the Laffer Curve.”

                If revenue is zero at 0% and 100% rate, then the maximum revenue, or inflection point should be at some point in between.
                This point should be able to be found either through calculation or experiment.

                No such point has ever been found, or even asserted because the “optimum” tax rate is always and forever “Lower!”

                In other words, yeah, they’re bullshitting us.Report

              • Show me the inflection point of the Laffer Curve.

                Assorted economists have applied various historical data and models to that very question over the years. All of the ones I’ve seen put it in the quite narrow 65-75% range. For the self employed, in the right state and city, counting all forms of taxation — payroll, income, property, sales, etc — there may some unfortunate people whose total marginal rate approaches that bottom number. Quite well-to-do, but not enough to afford serious tax avoidance.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Show me the inflection point of the Laffer Curve.

                Looks like this: 🙁Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

                you’re implying a static model in which there are no possible gains in revenue.

                This is one of the devil’s GOP’s greatest tricks: that the CBO – or anyone else!!! – doesn’t understand the velocity of money.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater says:

                People complaining that the Titanic sank from taking on so much sea water through our tax cuts ignore the thousands of gallons of water that the tax cut allowed the pumps to pump out of the Titanic. Why doesn’t that count for anything??Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North says:

                “Republican “dynamic scoring” models show that contrary to conventional wisdom the Titanic did not, in fact, sink.”Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater says:

                John Jacob Jack Astor IV will be pleased to hear it.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Aaron David says:

          Joining Chip and Saul. Conservatism might mean “don’t destroy what works. Don’t saddle us with obvious failures” but they seem to have very out there ideas on what works and what is an obvious failure. Chip’s example of social security is excellent. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid work but the Republicans want to gut the entire welfare state.Report

          • Avatar Will H. in reply to LeeEsq says:

            First, define the parameters.
            Conservatism in theory, or in practice?
            An individual’s conservatism, or conservatism-writ-large?

            Different answers, all around.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Will H. says:

              In the context of this post? Conservatism in practice, as practiced by the party that swears fealty to Conservatism and thus naturally conservatism-writ-large.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to North says:

                I see.
                It’s “Republican Party-defined conservatism.”
                What’s wrong with that is that the aim of a political party is somewhat at variance with the aim of a political philosophy.
                Lots of overlap, sure.
                A lot of deadspace, too.

                In that case, Republicans would never (directly) attack social security.
                There are all sorts of ways they tinker with the cost-of-living adjustments, including Greenspan’s “value-added” replacements; which, though coming from a Libertarian, is something outside of that political philosophy as well.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        I think it’s hard to say what conservatism or liberalism is right now because I can’t even think of what the issues are right now. It’s not simply that both sides are talking about different issues; that happens often enough. No one’s really talking about issues other than whether Kanye got drunk with Trump’s physician at work or something.

        ETA: I can give a more substantial answer than that, but I think this point is worth reflecting on.Report

        • I agree with Chip here. Comments need a “like” button. To the point, I practically stopped using the term “liberal”, especially in discussions with conservatives, because most of them 1) don’t understand what the term has traditionally meant 2) they immediately have some reaction to the term itself unrelated to what we are discussing and it sidetracks the points 3) they don’t think of it as descriptor, only as an insult.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

            I suspect you mean you are agree with Pinky, but in this case so do I.

            We here, all of us, have lived our entire lives with the understanding that there is only one way to frame political questions:
            Socialist or Capitalist? Liberal or Conservative?

            Whether it was civil rights or land use policy, the issue of government action versus private sector hovered over every issue.
            It was always just assumed that any political battle could be analyzed through the lens of economics and regulatory structure.

            But I think that political moment is fading and we are entering a new era, framed by different issues.

            I can’t fully map the outlines of the shifting tide but I sense that economics has virtually no power to explain the divide in America right now.Report

            • I was unclear, I agreed with your question and pinky both and my addled brain merged it to your credit by the time it got to my fingers.
              Again, using terms that have lost meaning, but “populism” and “culture war”(I’m going to be writing something up on that one soon) are being used as political terms but not in their meaning and intent. This shift you’re speaking of is away from policy, and economics, and even ideology. I cannot define it either, but I intuitively feel it, the rush to sameness of name and purpose more so than gathering for a higher goal or cause.Report

            • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              I see two things happening: a new set of issues has risen to prominence, and the caliber of our conversations has dropped.

              The first is the opening of a new front in the political realm. The issues have always been there, but they’ve never lined up nicely between parties. Think immigration, race, isolationism, trade, English-only, patriotism. They’re still not lined up with any party, but collectively their potential for gaining voters has become more acknowledged.

              The second thing is internet-related. We’re dumber in our political debate (and just about everything else). We get more information, so we’re falling back on our camps more to help us filter that information. We’re exposed to a lot more different opinions, so we’re more defensive. And I don’t think I have to describe what Twitter and Facebook have contributed to our national conversation. Also, because the populism in my first point doesn’t fit comfortably into our current two camps, there’s more tension within each camp. [ADDED: Whatever its causes, we’ve become more interested in landing body blows than carrying on a conversation.]

              But I’d disagree with you that we’ve lived our lives with only one way to frame our issues, at least on the policy side. Each political camp has a dozen policies on any issue, each with varying support and varying perceived effectiveness. But as part of the dumb democratization of our era, when everyone is required to have a position on every issue even if they haven’t researched it, people are more likely to rally around the easiest axis (more government / less government) and miss the substantive discussion.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Aaron David says:

      I agree. I mean Trump basically looked at the lying and contradiction of modern conservativism and said “I can do that better” and then went and did it. He looked at the Tea Party and said “I know what these masses actually want and it isn’t small government libertarianism” and he was right and whupped every candidate for the nomination who said the opposite.

      And yeah HRC with her serious errors in campaigning and strategy, a quarter decade of negative branding along with an unprecedented assist from the FBI managed to fumble 2016 into Trumps hands. We’ll see in November how the Republican political field looks. The Dems, though, even out of power have some pretty solid ideas about what they believe, what they want and a variety of policies they need to weight to try and get there. It doesn’t look like the right has anything even remotely similar; they only know what they’re against.Report

  13. Avatar Morat20 says:

    I would say that this piece fundamentally misunderstands what conservatism is, does and means

    It’s amazing how nobody understands “conservatism”. Every time I see conservatives talk about what is, and isn’t, conservatism it turns into a No True Conservative argument.

    About the only defintion I’ve seen hold up is “True conservatism is what a true conservative believes” which, sadly, only applies to one person at a time.

    In context of “Conservatism as practice by the GOP as a whole” I can only assume it means “tax cuts”. That seems to be about the sole unifying position these days.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Morat20 says:

      Apparently Reihan Salam, executive editor of the National Review, doesn’t understand conservatism either.
      Writing in The Atlantic, he makes the case for Republican support for a greatly expanded child credit proposed by Democrats Sherrod Brown and Michael Bennet, as a larger shift to more universal pocketbook populism on the part of the Republican Party.

      Whatever the reason, Republican reformers would be wise to embrace Bennet-Brown, or something very much like it. For one, it is a proposal that has the potential to benefit large numbers of working-class Republican voters. And unlike many existing means-tested programs, it is unambiguously pro-marriage, pro-family, and pro-work—a formula that could have great appeal for a more populist GOP.

      Report

  14. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Oh, and for extra irony:

    Erick Erickson is apparently not a True Conservative.

    “There was a time that Republican politicians were terrified if [RedState] excoriated them from the front page,” fired contributor Ben Howe lamented to The Daily Beast. “But the modern conservative movement seems to have grown tired of accountability. ‘Liberal tears’ is the new operating principle. Unless you’re causing those tears to flow you aren’t being a team player.”

    Oh, Cleek, you are truly a prophet.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      I think you’re confusing prophets here. Atrios is the one who said conservatism = pissing off liberals. Cleek’s insight was that contemporary conservatism had a tilda in front of “liberal”.

      Not being a prophet myself, I’m willing to say those are the same damn thing, tho.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        And Trump has internalized the lesson. The only identifiable ideological position he consistently expresses is ~Obama. Helluva a way to govern, no? Plays well with the base tho…Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

          The only identifiable ideological position he consistently expresses is ~Obama.

          Money! & Moats! he’s consistent about unless they conflict. God! he’s only consistent for when it comes to picking judges, but that’s enough.

          Guns! is the problem child. Trump has openly thought about throwing them out into the cold… but the number of anti-Guns! bills successfully passed is zero. Trump seems especially incompetent and erratic when it comes to passing anti-Guns! laws.

          He fires up a pissing match, hogs the camera and successfully turns attention away from Guns! to himself. Almost like it’s a personal equiv of “thoughts and prayers but let’s wait for the emotion to pass before doing nothing”, which is something else he’s tried but not very successfully.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

            Guns! is the problem child.

            Nah, that’s not the problem child. The problem is his brain, and psychology. He’s waffled on Iran sanctions, health care, trade agreements, Syria, Afghanistan, China, abortion, gay marriage, taxes, environmental regs…. They’re all problem kids for Trump. They guy’s ratings driven, so he’s making it up in real time. The only other constant (than ~Obama) I see is The Wall.Report

  15. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    More data points that the conservative movement is based on identity, not politics.
    Despite So Much Winning, The Right Feels Like It’s Losing

    At the core of the problem for many American conservatives is a feeling that the culture war has been irrevocably lost to their ideological opponents.
    “Politics is downstream from culture. And I do think that it’s true that conservatives have lost in many ways the culture,” said Matt Lewis

    People Voted for Trump Because They Were Anxious, Not Poor

    There isn’t really any “politics” here, other than identity politics.Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      @chip-daniels Is “cultural identity” politics identical to identity politics? If so, how is “real” politics clearly different from either of those things? I feel like you are stealing some bases treating those articles as data for your argument… and to be clear, I agree with some parts of your argument.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Maribou says:

        I’m thinking that “real politics” as we used to define it, which was a set of preferences about how the world should work. Cultural identity might be a part, but not the whole of it.

        In the current moment, liberals want policy goals- health care, wealth redistribution, infrastructure maybe.
        Conservatives don’t really talk much about anything like that. Its almost all cultural stuff.Report

        • Avatar Maribou in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          @chip-daniels The idea of politics where policy goals trump cultural identity is actually so foreign to me as someone who grew up on a small island where there was broad consensus about policy and the center was so much wider than the left or right were…. I can’t really even imagine it. I mean, I know what people pretending to not be that look like, and I know what sincere beliefs about policies look like (and those crop up regardless of political label), but the idea of a political label that identifies something people actually vote for in large numbers, but also has a meaning other than as a cultural identifier is … I don’t have a thing there.

          I’ve literally always seen politics that way, as being part of culture, a part that operates through the acts of governing (as in interwoven through, not as in, gov’t should be the hands to politics’ brain) and may occasionally help but more often hinder the actual accomplishment of helping actual people. And I haven’t really seen anything since I moved to the States that would suggest that isn’t the case. I’ve certainly noticed the two main thrusts of American culture moving farther apart, but I hadn’t particularly noticed that either of them are *truly* wedded to any particular policy goals, as opposed to what seems most expedient / suited to their larger cultural agreements right then.

          Huh.

          I shall have to mull on that one, because I don’t think I even noticed that’s how I see it until just now… fish, water, etc.Report

  16. Avatar Dark Matter says:

    Reagan ran on a political platform that promoted supply-side, trickle-down economics not just as wise fiscal policy but as inviolable fact. The GOP’s tax cuts under Trump are more of the same. Virtually all the evidence available says this doesn’t create jobs and never has.

    The link supposedly evaluating the historical evidence of the effect of Reagan’s tax cuts doesn’t evaluate Reagan’s tax cuts… presumably because Reagan’s tax cuts worked. There’s an argument Reagan was in a different world than Clinton/Bush/Obama/(and now Trump), but making the argument that tax cuts never work and deliberately excluding when they did is dirty pool.

    Reagan explicitly campaigned on the promise that removing government from the daily lives of working Americans would lead to prosperity. This is tantamount to a psyop campaign, since we knew then — and still know under Trump — that union membership, strong banking and health regulations and oversight for compliance in the pharmaceutical industry have always been strongly tied to equal economic opportunity.

    This is trying to prove “all gov regulations are good” by cherry picking one industry, and apparently one issue in that one industry. The link to “economic opportunity” created by unionism goes to a Krugman opinion piece, this is like quoting Ann Coulter.

    Trump appointed Betsy DeVos… She’s turning a blind eye to campus sexual assault,

    Policies which tear up due process are a problem and (should) invite reform. Oberlin College’s 100% sexual assault conviction rate is probably something which shouldn’t be encouraged.

    while simultaneously selling out public schools in favor of charter and private schools instead.

    Quoting political adversaries’ exaggerations and misrepresentations doesn’t impress. We have some bad public school systems which are effectively failure factories, any conversation about “what to do” needs to include this and often the school administration seems like part of the problem

    In addition, even good public schools can drop the ball for a specific child. Insisting a child get a substandard education for the good of the collective is unethical.

    In 1981, Reagan successfully removed price controls from natural gas and oil. He supported practically unchecked offshore oil drilling and loosened regulations on coal. All of this is of a kind with Trump’s plans to ignore solar and wind, continue throwing money at “clean coal” and oil companies and keep ruining literally every square inch of planet earth that’s potentially profitable. When asked about the environment, Trump said this:

    Price controls resulted in multi-hour long lines at gas stations. Long term (perhaps excluding GW), pollution is going down, not up; The environment is getting better, not worse. All energy generation technologies have their issues and pretending that solar/wind don’t is just signalling.

    virtually none of what you’ve just read is opinion — aside from a few remarks. … We can’t keep doing this decade after decade if we want humanity to survive what’s coming — and what’s already here.

    There were parts of this article pointing out legit problems (many of these are associated with the “God!” faction of the GOP), but there’s a fair bit of hyperventilating and “wolf” calls in there. If humanity was actually in danger I’d see behavior I don’t see.

    Some of these complaints are social signalling, some of these are preference issues, some are legit, bundling them together ends up with the weakest arguments undoing the strongest, i.e. “Humanity won’t survive unless we tear up due process on college campuses and assume all accusations are made in good faith.” or “Humanity won’t survive unless we fully support the teachers unions and stamp out school choice in failing districts.”Report

  17. I don’t think the comparison holds up very well once you invest more thought into it. Just a few difference off the top of my head:

    1) Reagan was willing to admit when he was wrong. He raised taxes multiple times in order to deal with the deficit, most notably the 1986 tax reform. He withdrew from Lebanon after the bombing. Trump never admits to being wrong about anything.

    2) Reagan was a former governor, union leader and experienced political veteran. Trump is a poor businessman with no experience and no willingness to learn. There’s a book out there called “Reagan in his own hand” detailing his writings about issues that really displays his intellectual curiosity. Trump isn’t even close to that.

    3) Reagan worked almost entirely with a Democratic Congress; Trump can’t even work with a Republican one. Reagan was tough on the Soviet but was willing to work with Gorbachev. He had very strong relationships with Thatcher, Mitterand and John Paul II. Trump is alienating everyone he can find.

    4) Reagan didn’t make himself rich off of the Presidency.

    There are many others. Trump might superficially appear similar but it’s the details that matter. There is a difference — one I will admit is lost on today’s GOP — between skepticism of government and hostility to it. There is a difference between deregulation (which Carter got the ball rolling on) and no regulation. There is a difference between patriotism and jingoism. This is again where Trump is a problem: he’s mouthing the words but has no idea what he’s talking about because, frankly, he doesn’t care.Report

  18. There’s an argument Reagan was in a different world than Clinton/Bush/Obama/(and now Trump), but making the argument that tax cuts never work and deliberately excluding when they did is dirty pool.

    Agreed. When Reagan cut taxes (and Kennedy before him), the marginal rate were extremely high. But they no longer are and so the supposed benefits of cutting taxes (how they will “pay for themselves”) is severely diminished. The Laffer Curve is a curve, not a line and we are well below any hypothetical turnover point. I’ve been trying to make this point to conservative for a long time: this isn’t 1980. Even if the Reagan tax cuts were beneficial — and I think they were — we’re not in that regime and haven’t been for thirty years.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Mike Siegel says:

      I’m too young to have too hard set an opinion on Reagan but I think one can at least make an argument for Reagan. But so what? The GOP hasn’t been Reagans’ GOP and hasn’t had Reagans’ circumstances since Reagan stood down and raised taxes if not before.

      But how many times does supply side have to fail before it can be deemed a failure in these circumstances?Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North says:

        But how many times does supply side have to fail before it can be deemed a failure in these circumstances?

        My guess, at least as often as communism.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North says:

        It’ll never fail, because supply side economics isn’t the goal. Cutting taxes on business and the upper brackets is the goal. Supply Side is just a convenient excuse, a thinly wrapped faux ideology, designed to sell a tax cut targeted at the rich to the masses.

        Supply side economics is the lie you sell the mark. Even if it went away, they’d just make up some further gibberish to continue a relentless focus on incredibly top-heavy tax cuts.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

          I agree. The ultimate goal of GOP policies is to privilege the wealthy with increased profits and no taxes while social programs and government services, which are basically unnecessary to the wealthy, are funded by the middle class. That might seem like a recipe for political disaster but over the last few decades consistently 45%-plus of the electorate votes for this shit.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater says:

            Only in America and since the culture war began to turn into a culture route the wheels on that train have begun wobbling like crazy.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

            while social programs and government services, which are basically unnecessary to the wealthy, are funded by the middle class.

            It is corrupt and corrupting in a democracy to vote yourself goodies which someone else will pay for. IMHO it’s entirely appropriate for people to pay for goods and services which they’re going to use.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

              It is corrupt and corrupting in a democracy to vote yourself goodies which someone else will pay for.

              Disagree. Fundamentally. The entire point of democracy is to vote yourself goodies that other people pay for.Report

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