Morning Ed: Media {2018.05.29.T}

[Me1] The owner of Al-Jazeera owning a stake in Newsmax is a bit hard to wrap my head around.

[Me2] It’s really surprising how good the Babylon Bee is, considering it’s relatively small niche. And also an example of rightward humor that is humor first, message second, and willing to aim the cannon in multiple directions! Sadly, its founder has departed on account of being tired of worrying about being in the crosshairs of Facebook and Google..

[Me3] A cool look at the legacy of Mad Magazine. I had a few issues and, to be honest, they don’t hold up very well. MadTV, though, was pretty awesome.

[Me4] Jack Shafer says that local newspapers die with profits. Which is sad, because local newspapers are good for limited government, it turns out.

[Me5] When obituaries are written by the dead. (Sort of)

[Me6] #MeToo leaves our shores with American journalists behaving badly abroad.

[Me7] I don’t ascribe 11th dimensional genius to the things that Team Trump does, but it’s pretty clear they’ve found an exploit here and his critics are too proud to recognize that they’re losing these rounds.

[Me8] The case for newsroom diversity. A lot of newspapers, who theoretically should be pinnacles of transparency, are rather tight-lipped.

[Me9] The case against mugshots.


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Will Truman is the pseudonym of a former para-IT professional who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He is also on Twitter. ...more →

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269 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Media {2018.05.29.T}

  1. Me7 [Trump Twitter stylists in the West Wing]: It reminds of some tweet Mr. Trump sent out early in his presidency, or perhaps before he even assumed office. The tweet said something like, “this is unpresidented.” I heard at least a couple acquaintances state how horrible this error (“unpresidented” for “unprecedented”) was and how much it represented something terrible about Mr. Trump. I thought that particular tweet was a pun and kind of a funny one and their response suggested to me that he (or perhaps whoever helped him write it) had successfully trolled his opponents.

    Of course, I should say that “funny” from a terrible person might not be “funny” at all in the meta-sense. But I agree that harping on grammatical errors, etc., is a losing battle.

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  2. Me3 [MAD magazine]: a few years ago I bought a “best of” book of MAD articles. One thing I noticed is that a disproportionate number of the jokes were along the lines of “They’re only doing it….for the MONEY!” That doesn’t negate the article’s points about MAD’s role, but it did question my nostalgia for the magazine (which I had read when I was younger, but not regularly).

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  3. Me3

    I was a devout MAD Magazine reader in my teens. The new issue always took tooooooo long to come to the stand. I fully agree with the article that MAD Magazine was critical in honing my cynicism and teaching me to see the man behind the curtain.

    And then, with me, MAD Magazine was too successful. At some point I also found the that the magazine had run out of things to tell me, and teach me. Today, 30 years later, nostalgia sometimes pushes me to buy an issue if it catches my eye (rarely- it’s gone from ubiquitous to scarce), but there is nothing there for me now. The jokes, though funny, I can see coming a mile ahead, and what was daring and powerful in the 70s and 80s is dated today – the avocado bathroom of magazines.

    I don’t have enough creativity to be able to suggest how to translate the “intention” behind MAD Magazine’s old mission into today’s society. If I see another issue I’ll buy it, even if only to help them sustain themselves until they find again their voice. I wish them well. We need more bathrooms in society. But they no longer should be avocado. We have all moved from there. Give me MAD for the 2020s.

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    • there is nothing there for me now. The jokes, though funny, I can see coming a mile ahead, and what was daring and powerful in the 70s and 80s is dated today

      I know I’m gonna get this wrong because I’m writing from memory, but there’s a scene in the Simpsons where Bart and Milhouse are reading a MAD magazine. One of them (Bart, I think) says, “they sure make fun of that Spiro Agnew guy a lot.” The other (Milhouse, I think) says, “yeah, he must work there.”

      (Of course, The Simpsons is another example of something that’s fallen by the wayside. Apparently, it’s still on the air, although I haven’t seen a new episode since the Family Guy crossover, which I found kind of funny until the 15-minute fight sequence.)

      ETA: There are other scenes, too. One of my favorite is where Bart goes to the MAD headquarters building and asks “is this the MAD headquarters” and the receptionist gives a magazine-like answer to that “stupid question.”

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    • When Mad Magazine was Speaking Truth To Power, it was awesome. It was tweaking the noses of the powerful and entrenched and mocking Nixon and the War and totally sticking it to The Man.

      Also, I was a little kid! There was no way I was going to see The Godfather or Dog Day Afternoon. But I could read the movie parodies and laugh at the jokes and get the gist of the movie, mostly, by reading the plot of the parody which was intact, mostly.

      By the time I was older, I noticed that the jokes weren’t *EXACTLY* as sophisticated as they seemed to used to be. The joke about Kramer vs. Kramer was that they named it “Crymore vs. Crymore” and we should all be relieved that they didn’t go with “Cram it vs. Cram it” (which was the #2 choice).

      Maybe the jokes are funnier when you, the reader, feel like you’re getting away with something. Now, if there’s a joke about Dubya (he looks like Alfred E. Newman!) or Trump, it doesn’t feel like getting away with something. It’s making the same joke that they make on the CNN morning shows. If they make a joke about a rated-R movie, it’s the same joke that a dozen podcasts have made.

      The problem isn’t that Mad Magazine isn’t really funny anymore… it’s that it has won so absolutely that it is in our DNA. Anybody could be a writer for it now.

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    • I remember having this feeling while reading the third Hitchhiker Guide book. “I understand how he makes his jokes now.” Once you reach that point, you can respect someone for being clever, but you can’t actually find the next joke funny. The paradox is that there are Monty Python bits that I can rewatch 100 times and I’ll laugh at the exact same parts.

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  4. Me6: Yeah, not surprising. The Metoo wave continues. Given the general political slant of most journalists, it’s refreshing to watch them eaten by their own.

    [Me8] Gee, what a surprise. Reference the misbehaving sexual news folks in Me6. Don’t practice what they preach much do they? But hey, even IF they were to achieve racial and sex diversity, the experience from academia would suggest that the political, economic, and social diversity will not change significantly. Sure, we can have all kinds of diversity, just not diversity of thought.

    [Me9] There is a case, but the linked article was short on specific recommendations other than “don’t post them online”.

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    • The case for posting a mugshot online is when the person pictured is wanted by the police and is at large.

      This, of course, is another opportunity to suggest that the media shouldn’t be publishing the names of school shooters or other terrorists, or publishing profiles and all that, since it seems to merely embolden the next one.

      And counters that the media is only giving the public what it wants is bunk. The media regularly refuses to publish the names and details of people who claim to be victims of sexual assault without their permission, so they self censor when they want to.

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  5. There was also an interesting “Journalism” event that happened just yesterday.

    Elon Musk made an appeal to “Fake News” and started throwing down with a handful of journalists and one of them was Erin Biba. She accused him of attacking science. He shot back with how criticizing crappy journalism like hers isn’t anywhere near attacking science. So she put out a tweet asking for Female Journalists to send her stories of Elon Musk fans abusing them. (Check out the screenshots here.)

    Well… this was a *HAIR* transparent. It resulted in everybody yelling at her about her crappy transparent scheme instead of female journalists sending stories.

    Luckily, all was not lost. This story showed up late last night.

    I suppose the jury is out whether this is also transparent.

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  6. I don’t read the Babylon Bee regularly, but I have run across half a dozen pages of it and enjoyed them. My time in the church is remembered with some fondness, and is enough to make the humor work for me.

    I am distressed by the notion that Google and Facebook are out to get them, or other conservative sites. I think that there is a meme of paranoia running through the conservosphere about Google and Facebook (and maybe Twitter, too), that is only weakly supported.

    I know personally a number of people who work at Google. They are not interested in censoring or slowing down the Babylon Bee. I can’t say that nobody at Google is, because it’s a big company. Also, certain groups have figured out how to harass their political enemies on Google by filing complaints – the material complained about is removed pending an actual human being looking at it. This can be used pretty aggressively, and has been.

    The thing to remember is that YouTube uploads 200 hours of video every minute. No person is looking at that. But that’s a hard thing for a human being to wrap their heads around. They do OCR on YouTube videos looking for violations in text and violations of copyright and violations of their privacy policy. They do a number of other things, too.

    Anyway, it would be a shame for the Babylon Bee to go away because of fears of the social media companies.

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    • In not sure the issue is so much that Google and Facebook are out to get them as much as they are having to deal with being reported over and over again and the fear that at some point G&F just aren’t going to want to deal with it anymore.

      It’s not unlike Twitter, where the issue has less to do with Twitter’s bias and a lot to do with who is reporting on whom.

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      • Ok, that’s fair. It bothers me to think that someone would think that harassing them was somehow a positive contribution to life or politics. But then, humans seem to do that sort of thing a lot.

        But here’s a thought. The Google employee I was spending time on yesterday doesn’t deal with these sorts of issues directly, but he’s the sort of person who would have no trouble at all with BB, and even have some sympathy for them, like I do.

        He grew up in Idaho, and a number of his family are national security conservatives. Not especially religious, but no chip on his shoulder about it either.

        It just might be that the harassment (dare I say persecution?) engenders sympathy from Google. But that is likely hidden behind layers of cabling, algorithms and bureaucracy. It’s hard to see.

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  7. Me7:
    The Trump forces issue stupid tweets with errors and garbled meaning, for the purpose of sowing chaos, confusion, and anger.

    I’m curious why anyone would frame this as “winning” a round. Unless of course we accept that for Trump simply inflicting pain and suffering is itself a goal.

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    • I’m not taking about the garbled meaning (except in some specific cases where people fully of mostly understood what he actually meant), just the spelling and punctuation errors. I think he ends up winning because we end up looking petty when criticizing his spelling and punctuation while nobody thinks he’s stupid because of it.

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      • Anyone who thinks that the demand that a President behave like a President is “petty” is part of the problem.

        What we keep pointing out is that the problem is not Trump the individual, it is the 60 million people who take delight in his malevolence. Its like an entire army of Reddit trolls whose sole purpose is to inflict pain.

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        • Where I do agree is that this is a dilemma/no win for liberals because his supporters revel in our disgust of the man. I do not think these voters were ever going to vote Democratic though. They were not winnable.

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            • I don’t think this proves what you think it does. In 2008 when things were really bad someone famously said to the media or the pollster, “I’m voting for the n****er. In 2012, when things got better in the economy, Obama loss the West Virginia primary to an unknown entity just because the unknown entity was a white dude.

              So the right inputs and conditions can cause people to set aside prejudices and vote for a minority candidate. But they could still really like the cruel and nakedly racist appeals of Trump or some other demagogue. Mitt Romney tried to sound like a hardliner on race issues in 2012 and is still trying to but he comes across as too patrician. Part of Trump’s appeal to many is how rough and crude he is.

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        • On the merits, sometimes the criticisms are right and sometimes they’re wrong. It varies from case to case, what the criticizer is saying and what is being criticized.. The problem is that even when we’re right on the, if everybody but us thinks we’re obnoxious as hell when we do it, I think we lose even when we are right.

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      • I don’t think this is true. There might be a lot of supporters who like this stuff but they would love Trump regardless of anything. See his claim on shooting someone dead down 5th Avenue.

        Lots of people like Trump unfortunately. Lots of people (including me!) think he is a toxic cesspool that debases everything he touches.

        Democrats have been overperforming in special elections since 2017. Maybe this will help them win back the House in November. Maybe not. Yet lots of people are stuck in the mindset that the Democrats can’t do right and/or Trump is winning because people mock the incoherence of his tweets.

        I don’t get it honestly. Is it just hard for people to except that a possibly large percentage of the country just might be unapologetic Trumpists/Authoritarians/Fascist/whatever no matter what?

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        • Is it just hard for people to except that a possibly large percentage of the country just might be unapologetic Trumpists/Authoritarians/Fascist/whatever no matter what?

          This is exactly the problem. And unfortunately, it does remind me very much of those things I read about the old aristocracies in the inter-war period, who when confronted by the various types of fascism, reacted like deer in the headlights, unable to comprehend the situation.

          Media tend to struggle to force Trumpism into a standard political framework of rational actors advancing a coherent political theory of how to make America a better place. They contrive all sorts of contorted explanations of “economic anxiety”, or smug liberals, or illiberal college freshmen, so as to invent a symmetrical battlefield where Truth and Justice lie at some equidistant point between them.

          The idea that one group of Americans hates and fears another part is something they don’t want to admit out loud.

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        • That’s the nerd trap.

          It isn’t that Trump is invulnerable; its that you have to attack him where he’s vulnerable with *his* voters, not keep attacking him where he’s vulnerable with *your* voters.

          The former is really hard, the latter feels really good.

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          • Not even just his voters, is the thing. I’m not talking about people wearing offensive shirts and saying crude things at his rallies and on Twitter. A lot of people who didn’t even vote for him last time seem to find it obnoxious.

            It’s analogous to informal rules on BBS, Usenet, and elsewhere: Don’t criticize people’s spelling and grammar because it’s a distraction. People who broke this informal rule got more criticism than the people who misspelled words. It was actually a useful policy.

            Now, we can argue that the presidency actually should be a lot better than a BBS. And I agree! But I think we lost that one. (That we did may itself be cause for introspection, but that’s not the important part here.)

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              • Yeah. I mean, there are not sixty million people that will stick with him no matter what. Pointing out that he’s a racist doesn’t seem to be the vulnerability*, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any with any of his voters.

                * – That’s not an argument to stop doing it, as there may be other reasons why it’s worthwhile. Would get further into this, but it’s likely a distraction. The point right here and now is that pointing out he’s a racist hasn’t worked.

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          • I disagree. Feeling good is important. Keeping engaged is important. Being motivated is important.

            Sure, you can only vote once, but you can give a variable amount of money, and if you don’t have or want to give money, you can still knock on as many doors as you want, or keep on stuffing envelopes.

            Keeping your coalition cohesive and motivated is important, and going after the other guy in all the ways he pisses off your team is an effective way to do that. Belaboring the point rarely seems to hurt either.

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            • Oooh! I’m going to bring this up again!

              Three groups:

              1. People who, if they’re to vote at all, will vote for your guy.
              2. People who, if they’re to vote at all, will vote for the other guy.
              3. People who could be persuaded to vote either way.

              The only thing you can do with the #1s is get them to turn out. The only thing you can do with the #2s is get them to stay home. #3s you either want them to come in and vote for you *OR* stay home from voting for the other guy.

              So this sort of thing is great for #1. Absolutely.

              If it also does a good job of firing up the other guy’s voters rather than depressing them, it’s a wash.

              And if it turns off the swings, it’s a loss.

              Even if it is good for #1.

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              • Getting the ones out isn’t the only effect of firing up the ones, though. The ones are also an important tool for getting threes out for you. So it’s not nearly so simple as deciding whether a given piece of rhetoric sways a three against you a bit, because you might make up another three if the right volunteer knocks on their door.

                Also, of course, I would think that the last election might, just might, point out that you can afford to alienate a whole damn lot of threes as long as you get the ones out. I know we love to talk about Why Trump Won, but that’s Why Trump Won.

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                  • Or by Hillary failing to drive sufficient turnout from the ones in those places (both happened).

                    I don’t know what the right strategy is for sure, but I’m really reluctant to discount appeals to negative partisanship, which seems like it’s increasingly the dominant force in American politics.

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                    • You can say a lot of things about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, but that she didn’t sufficiently try to use the awfulness of her opponent to get voters to the polls was not one of them.

                      My own sense is that rallying the troops and winning on the basis of turnout is probably not so bad a strategy for 2018 (though I read something about the special election gap shrinking so maybe it’s losing some of its effect) but it’s a dubious long term strategy and (as was my initial point) not actually how Trump won.

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                • So it’s not nearly so simple as deciding whether a given piece of rhetoric sways a three against you a bit, because you might make up another three if the right volunteer knocks on their door.

                  So let’s apply that to mockery of syntax.

                  Do we see that inspiring people to knock on doors?
                  Do we see that getting the swing voters behind the doors to get out there and vote for your guy?

                  Because I’ve gotta say: the syntax thing strikes me as giving cheap and easy endorphins to those already converted while doing little, if anything, else.

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                  • Do we see that inspiring people to knock on doors?

                    I don’t know if you do, but I do. I mean, I know people, people who are actually more committed and effective at door-knocking, people who are normie as hell, and people who manage to never threaten to derail their own partisan commitments by poking at partisan politics with the behavioral economics stick—and they eat that shit up. Like they hate Trump so much and it’s as much that as it is anything else and they’re out there knocking on doors… well, not right this instant, since it’s pretty late, but they’ll be back at it tomorrow.

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          • Don’t the special elections results show that a lot of Trump voters are already experiencing regret and voting for the Democratic candidates? Or is the Democratic base energized and coming out in more force and numbers? Both?
            Something else?

            I kind of get what Will is saying and why it is a distraction. Why not both though? We can hit him on both factors.

            There is this weird thing that the media and pundits does every election that I find rather odd and also terrifying. The media treats every voter as becoming a blank state every election and then the candidates go out and convince the American people to vote. This might have been the case in the “golden age” of bipartisan consensus but I think that age was a lot smaller than people realize (but it was within Silent Generation and Boomer living memory). To have the majority of Americans become a blank state every year implies that the media thinks Americans are suckers and morons and/or are without a cohesive and coherent world view. Isn’t that disturbing? What does it say about a nation that seemingly can switch between parties every 2-4 years depending just because?

            There is also the elections are about getting out the base theory. See Bush II in 2004 and event then he barely won reelection.

            I also don’t think the media knows how to deal with highly partisan politics anymore because it requires them to take sides. The media loathes taking sides. They want to talk about the “common sense of the American people” and not insult anyone and make lots of money.

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            • Where do you see the media treating the voters as a blank slate? I’m not challenging the concept, but I just don’t see examples of it playing out that way. I also don’t think the press talks about the “common sense of the American people”, or even believes in it.

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            • Yes, I think there are lessons out there to learn. What lessons are we/you taking from the Lamb vs. the Jones victories? Same lessons? Different? Are they repeatable in every district? Nationally?

              My point is that Trump is very beatable by a lot of different strategies, I’m not sure this is one of them. But that’s ok, there’s a lot of time between now and 2020 to get on message. I’m interested to see what the message will be; I’m a little surprised that after almost 2 years I can’t quite guess what it will be… but I’m patient.

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          • I also think there is a lot of projecting from conservatives unto liberals. We have discussed this before. What is the liberal equivalent of Breitbart? Now This or Upworthy? Upworthy is about as sentimental as a Hallmark greeting card. What kind of bumper stickers do liberal types put on their cars? CoExIst types. What kind of shirts and bumper stickers wear? “Trump 2016—Fuck Your Feelings” and “Liberalism is a mental disease” type stuff.

            There is an asymmetry of rage here.

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              • You’ve never seen a Tuck Frump shirt?

                No but that’s pretty mild really. Even when it’s a President I like I think people are way too precious about calling the President an asshole.

                Or a “Bush Lied People Died”

                Yes, people frequently complain bitterly about Presidents they dislike. See above.

                or “bushitler” bumpersticker?

                Nope. Despite spending most of his Presidency in parts of America that are Blue as Papa Smurf’s left buttcheek.

                You’ve never watched Cenk Uygur?

                No, actually, but I really don’t think a round of, “Which side has a worse set of YouTube rodeo clowns?” is going to shake out in your favor.

                You’ve never seen masked people attacking MAGA hat wearers?

                No. I guess the email announcing Purge Conditions for Trump supporters got stuck in my spam filter.

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                  • OK.

                    Asked what motivated the alleged attack, Scott Leader — who was convicted of a hate crime and jailed for a year in the assault of a Moroccan man shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks — name-checked the Republican front-runner.

                    “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,” Scott Leader, 38, allegedly told the police. The Leaders pleaded not guilty to multiple assault charges with a dangerous weapon, indecent exposure and making threats.

                    Trump was asked about the alleged assault at a news conference on Wednesday.

                    “I haven’t heard about that,” Trump said. “It would be a shame, but I haven’t heard about that.”

                    He then added: “I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate. I will say that, and everybody here has reported it.”

                    Sure.

                    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi condemned the “violent actions of people calling themselves antifa” after violence led to arrests at Bay Area protests, in the strongest criticism of left-wing protesters that any Democratic leader has made.

                    “Our democracy has no room for inciting violence or endangering the public, no matter the ideology of those who commit such acts,” Pelosi said in a statement released late Tuesday. “The violent actions of people calling themselves antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted.”

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              • We aren’t talking about intemperate speech or angry bumperstickers.

                The conservative voting base doggedly insists that racism isn’t a big problem in America, that there isn’t a big problem with cops shooting black people. They insist that there is nothing wrong with how immigrants are being treated, they downplay and mock the ugly treatment of women and gays and trans people.

                This isn’t some ugly bumpersticker, matched symmetrically by one on the other side.

                The core of Trump’s support denies the humanity of the core of the Democratic base.

                This is huge, an asymmetrical set of beliefs that has no equal.

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                • This is huge, an asymmetrical set of beliefs that has no equal.

                  Do what I tell you, THINK what I tell you, or you’re a racist monster. You can’t have any higher priorities than what I tell you, previous voting(s) for Obama have no relevance. I don’t care about your Black friends, I don’t care you were born long after Jim Crow Ended. You will do what I say or in my eyes you’re a monster!

                  And I won’t say “has no equal” because I get this a lot from the local Priest… who was explaining this last Sunday why “God cares about what happens in people’s bedrooms” (his words and as close to a quote as I can manage). He had very clear ideas who is supposed to be running our lives and what our priorities should be. He had an extremely detailed and well thought out line of thought on why that was correct.

                  And his spiel hits my radar as a “control” thing too.

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            • You were making a pretty good argument until the end. I’ll take some bumper sticker pictures for you next time I see one. They can be pretty aggressive. I think I’ve literally seen conservatism as a mental disease before, actually.

              On the rest, though, the left has better media institutions of that there is no doubt. It’s one of the things I am constantly harping on the right about. Even when they do the incendiary stuff, the left is better about trying to couch it in a cerebral, thinly scientific framework (“science says conservatives are authoritarian”).

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                • Absolutely unimaginable that any such thing might happen.

                  “How long do you think Sean Hannity’s show would last if four times in one sentence, he made a comment about, say, the President of the United States, and said that he looked like a skinny, ghetto crackhead?” [Brent] Bozell wondered. “Which, by the way, you might want to say that Barack Obama does.”

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                    • Uh huh. “Conservatives would never say anything like that except for the ones who are actually on conservative media which doesn’t count because everybody knows conservative media is such an epic tire fire that it’s unfair to pay attention to it.”

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                      • Saul’s said that there is an asymmetry of rage. I was hoping that I could rebut that by pointing out that there is considerable rage on the left, specifically illustrated in comparable expressions to those he complained about on the right. I didn’t think it would be necessary to measure relative rage on the left and right. I’m not trying to defend the right or say that there is no rage on the right. I did point out that I was talking about network late-night shows, which I don’t think are comparable to exchanges between partisan news networks. Anyway, nothing you have said in this exchange indicates that I’m wrong about the existence of rage on the left.

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                            • Breitbart isn’t the whole thing. It’s not like Fox News and the New York Post are a whole hell of a lot better these days.

                              The Right has its parallel media institutions that, at least when it comes to news, have a reach comparable to the MSM. And not in any way limited to nominally conservative leaning parts of the country. The NY Post has (IIRC) the largest circulation of any paper in NYC; in any event it’s ubiquitous there and quite common here in NJ. And Fox is everywhere.

                              So it’s present, it’s separate, and I mean if we’re going to include the whole of non-conservative media there it’s going to look even more lopsided.

                              And as an aside, that thing about NYC and Fox? That means that, in addition to Trump, the other faces of conservatism that liberals in more firmly Blue parts of the country tend to see are Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and the interchangeable dicksmacks on Fox and Friends.

                              This contributes, I suspect, to the degree of aggravation that and I feel.

                              (I mean I’m on cordial terms with plenty of people who I’m pretty sure voted for Trump, but we tend to stick to the old bit of etiquette about not talking politics.)

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                              • Sure… I realize this is probably not the slap fight any of us want to have again. But Saul keeps throwing it out there and I thought… heck, I have no idea… let me run a few sites and see what’s what.

                                Now, to minimalize my editorial comments, I’ll just say that for the Alt-Right stuff I googled “Most Important Alt-Right websites” and got: Breitbart, American Renaissance, Radix, Daily Stormer, Vdare and the Right Stuff… it checks with wikipedia… but I’m not claiming to be an expert.

                                Site/total monthly hits

                                Yahoo/4.6B (mostly my Dad)
                                CNN/535M (Top Liberal)
                                Fox News/312M (Top Conservative)
                                Drudge/149M
                                HuffPo/137M
                                Breitbart/62M (Here’s the badboy in context)
                                TheDailyBeast/43M
                                TheAtlantic/40M
                                Vox/33M
                                Slate/32M
                                DailyCaller/25M
                                DailyKos/22M
                                Jezebel/16M
                                TheBlaze/12M
                                TownHall/11M
                                ThinkProgress/11M
                                MotherJones/10M
                                Federalist/6M
                                NewRepublic/5.4M
                                HotAir/5M
                                Redstate/3.5M (Disclaimer, JB still banned)
                                TheNation/3.4M
                                Jacobin/1.8M
                                Unz/1.8M
                                TheRightStuff/1.46
                                SlateStarCodex/1.25M
                                LawyersGunsMoney/878k
                                AmRen/854k
                                Vdare/549k
                                Radix/not enough data

                                Tried to stick to sites that were listed as far-left/far-right by MediaBias… and tried to stick with sites that have been linked here (not including Alt-Right, which I haven’t really seen linked here). I’m sure I missed a couple of big hitters that I don’t recognize… and I purposefully left of UK contributors.

                                *There was a problem with the NYTimes number, so I didn’t include it… but most places rank it #3 after CNN/HuffPo

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              • Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Left didn’t anoint Donald Trump as it’s leader, and large majorities of the Left do not continue to believe that he is fit to be President.

                There simply isn’t any sort of symmetry on this score. The Right is just flat out worse along pretty much any dimension you can name.

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                • I think a lot of the pushback the left gets on this point, even from people who agree and people like me who will vote Democratic largely for this reason, is the extent to which this gets translated into “They do this and we don’t” when that’s not true and anyone outside the broader left knows it’s not true and sees it not being true on a regular basis.

                  But asymmetry? You bet. At least, as far as US politics goes. The distinctions with the UK remain ever-fascinating.

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                  • A lot of the time, even when it’s someone like Will doing it and I’m pretty sure I know what he means, that kind of pushback reads like exactly the kind of anti-anti-Trump deflection that a ton of conservatives (including ones I don’t generally have a problem with) have taken to since Trump was made the GOP Presidential nominee and given the choice between breaking with their in-group or actively defending the indefensible, they decided to take a third option and start holding pretty much everybody in the world to a lower standard than their nominee for President.

                    This is extremely annoying.

                    And even though Saul was wrong on the technical bumpersticker point, the rest of his argument is dead on.

                    “Asymmetry” doesn’t mean there’s no rage on the Left.

                    It means there’s way, way, way more rage on the Right.

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                    • I wouldn’t use the word “asymmetry” to describe the Eagles versus the Patriots. I’d use it to describe the Eagles versus East Stroudsburg State. The fact that Saul used some fairly small and easily-challengeable examples suggests that he didn’t see left-wing rage at all, making it reasonable for me to raise the objections I did.
                      Now, I’d argue that there’s an imbalance between right-wing and left-wing rage, but not in the direction you and Saul think. But I’m not going to take up that argument here, mainly because I think it’d be boring. However, I think a concession that right-wing and left-wing rage are in the same ballpark is a reasonable expectation.

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                      • EDIT: The below was incredibly dumb. But this really is truly, endlessly frustrating. I’m not going to get myself banned today.

                        Now, I’d argue that there’s an imbalance between right-wing and left-wing rage, but not in the direction you and Saul think.

                        Communication is impossible, this comment section is evidently pointless, and I will be getting myself banned by telling someone else what I genuinely think of them so at least I can go out having some fun.

                        And it’s nothing personal, . I think you’re a stand-up guy. But this sort of unbridgeable gap in perspectives really makes me wonder what the hell I’m even doing here.

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                        • I understand the frustration. And maybe it’s hugely important that we share our mutual, earnest frustration. I’d tell you that most people around here tend to agree with you, but that doesn’t help, because we could find a site where most people agree with me. I do think that meaningful projects can be very frustrating.

                          ETA: Utterly pointless endeavors can be frustrating too. That’s the rub.

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        • I’m not talking about criticizing Trump for being a racist. I’m talking about criticizing Trump for splitting an infinitive. Or misspelling words. The fact that Team Trump is (allegedly) putting those in specifically to distract us should tell us who benefits when we focus on those things.

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          • If it were Karl Rove (or for that matter David Axelrod) doing this, I’d think, “Hey, yeah, it’s definitely a trap we should be careful of.”

            But Team Trump is, perhaps, not a bunch of incredibly sharp, deep planners.

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            • Well, that’s fair I suppose. I was in favor of these lines of attack early on (basically, kitchen sinking it). I did come to the conclusion that it didn’t seem to be working early on and might be backfiring well before this. So there is at least a small degree of confirmation bias in my response to them (allegedly) doing it deliberately, probably.

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              • My counterpoint is while I’m dead certain there are people among the Rightward establishment who can strategically “trigger the libs” this way (and could probably name a few), Trumpwold seems to be choc-a-block full of true believers that the real point of politics is pissing the other side off, and most of the people who do get that it’s kayfabe are on the other side of a Fox News camera and thus reinforcing a feedback loop to drive ratings.

                As a whole, despite my appeals to Rove/Axelrod above, I think political junkies of all partisan stripes tended to really over-think the depth of the strategy that the really sophisticated and professional hacks in the Bush and Obama WH practiced.

                (The major exception was when us Leftward types immediately turned Karl Rove’s “reality-based community” into a joke instead of noticing he had us dead to rights.)

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                • Like I said… I think it worked. At least when it came to Trump. It’s not a strategy without its risk, but I think we (and especially the media) been falling into a particular trap for two years now… distracting from really bad stuff with superficially bad stuff.

                  I should note that prior to this I did think Obama took efforts to bait the GOP into saying racist things and alienating people (I should add this idea was pushed by leftward friends, so it’s not a reflexive anti-Obama perception). I think that worked, too. Well, up until didn’t. Like I said, there are risks.

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                  • It worked for Obama sometimes, but even aside from the Trump thing, it blew up in the WH’s face from time to time.

                    The anecdotal evidence you’re providing Saul with is pretty persuasive, though, as galling as it is that people react the way when it’s the actual damn President.

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                • I’m with you unsurprisingly. I don’t think there is reaching people who believe in the John McNaughton worldview which sprung up as soon as Obama was elected. Potentially before. Even people like Rove were shocked by his electoral success (remember his 2012 meltdown on Fox News when they announced Obama was reelected.)

                  I wonder if everyone is worried and scarred about After Trump because there is clearly a large bloc of Americans for whom Trump and Companies techniques are very appealing. Suppose the GOP losses Congress in 2018 and then reelection in 2020. What happens to the Trump hardcore base? We know they are there. We know they are not going away. We know about young right-wing racists and their darkweb or whatever. Suppose the Democrats abolish ICE? We are still going to have a lot of people who like what ICE did because of its cruelty. How do we deal?

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            • Everyone, we all need to remember Trump’s Razor: Ascertain the stupidest possible scenario that can be reconciled with the available facts.

              It’s not any sort of clever plan at all. It’s not to annoy anyone, or make opponants look dumb. It’s not some 11-dimensional chess, or even the normal sort of 2-dimensional chess that normal politicians might do. We should pretty much assume the Trump adminstration is not playing any sort of chess at all.

              So what is the stupidest possible reason to deliberately misspell things?

              The ‘I am doing your homework for you, but I smarter than you, so I make a few slight errors in it’ reason.

              I think it’s a reasonable bet that the only reason Trump staffers are misspelling tweets is because, in the past, their tweets have have been called out for sounding less stupid, and thus people (correctly) claimed they weren’t written by Trump. So now they spell them wrong so other people can’t tell them apart.

              …wait, no. I just came up with a stupider reason:

              Trump, at least once, got angry because someone questioned if a tweet (that was not written by him) wasn’t written by him _because_ it didn’t sound dumb enough. So now the staff deliberately makes the tweet stupid enough that won’t happen…in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they put some even more obvious errors in them, hoping he will notice them and correct them, thus allowing him to prove how much smarter he is than everyone else.

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          • I’m still skeptical here. Do you have any studies showing people are turned off by left-leaning social media or just media criticizing Trump’s grammar and spelling? I’d also be deeply considered with the voter who says “You know, Trump is a racist and embarrassment to the United States but those damn snooty liberals are just so smug that I am going to vote for him out of spite!!!”

            I did not like Bush II and was pretty depressed when he won reelection in 2004 but he always did strike me as being relatively friendly, a good family man, and he did try to be good on immigration and broaden the Republican coalition.

            Trump has no redeeming qualities in my opinion. He appeals to racism and bigotry in ways that have not been done in decades. Everything he does seems to be done in absolute rage. I think a lot of people feel this way and despair and the mockery of his rage-filled and incoherent tweets is a form of release.

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            • Per my original comment, by beliefs are informed more-or-less anecdotally, and how the strategy didn’t work when we needed it to work. The anecdotes come from people who don’t like Trump* but nonetheless consider it obnoxious and how I see it myself when it comes to things like this:

              Setting aside how off-based the criticisms were, nobody likes that guy. At least, nobody who doesn’t already hate the target. And when I say that, I don’t mean liberals or politics. Nobody liked that guy on BBSes and IRC and Usenet, either. Now, “nobody” is a bit of an exaggeration as it excludes a lot of people who don’t like Trump, but even a lot of people who don’t like Trump…

              Beyond that, I think the focus on stupid things detracts from the criticism of important things. I believe that the failure to prioritize criticism redounded to Trump’s benefit. I think that was true in 2015, the 2016 primaries, and I think it’s true now. This isn’t a criticism of the left specifically. It’s one of all of Trump’s critics. Including, at time and particularly in the run-up to the election, myself.

              * – Note, I’m not talking about guys who always say they don’t like Trump right before defending Trump. I’m talking about people who don’t like Trump.

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        • I don’t get it honestly. Is it just hard for people to except that a possibly large percentage of the country just might be unapologetic Trumpists/Authoritarians/Fascist/whatever no matter what?

          What does “large percentage” mean in this context?

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      • There was a joke type I remember back when I was a kid where you’d say something like “I can’t believe that Bilbo threw the ring into Mount Doom!” and you’d wait for the nerdy kid to say “WELL, ACTUALLY” and correct the speaker with a detailed summary of what happened between Frodo, Samwise, and Gollum.

        You’d then point at the nerd for falling into the nerdtrap.

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  8. Me2: What is interesting about Babylon Bee is that they seem surprisingly gentle even when they are at their meanest. This is a surprisingly effective tactic. When I first encountered them, I couldn’t decide if it was real or just a joke.

    Me3: Mad was limited in their sophistication by their target audience, adolescent boys, and that they tried to be really current with what they were making fun of. Rather than wait and watch Harry Potter a few times before creating the parody, they would base their jokes from whatever information they had so they can parody it in the same month of release.

    Me4: The New Republic made the same observation several years ago. Once newspapers no longer had access to advertisement and classified revenue, they had to shrink. This turned people away from newspapers because they weren’t as great as they were before. People also had more entertainment options available to them.

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    • Rather than wait and watch Harry Potter a few times before creating the parody, they would base their jokes from whatever information they had so they can parody it in the same month of release.

      When I was in HS and then college, me and a group of friends would go to movies several times a week. I used Mad Magazine then the way other people would use the NYTimes movie review, I was able to go beyond the satire, and know -fairly accurately- which movies I would like or dislike, as movies, based just on the magazine’s “summary” (aka the spoof) .

      Had Mad Magazine waited months or years, their value to me would be greatly diminished – which is also a criticism of the few copies I’ve bought in the last decade or so. They don’t seem to be reflecting the “now” in movies, TV, and society, but rather things that have been around for too long, just like avocado bathrooms.

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  9. Breaking media news:

    RO1 So Roseanne got herself canceled due to being herself on Twitter. Quick takeaways are: WOW Rosie, that was pretty F’ing out there, even for you and this isn’t really surprising given who we’re talking about.

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        • Stephen Miller’s favorite part of Trump’s routine at his rallies is an allegory about ABC’s “Roseanne” reboot:

          To illustrate, Miller pointed me to one of the longest-running—and most controversial—staples of Trump’s speech-making: “The Snake.” During the GOP primaries, Trump began periodically reading the lyrics of an obscure 1960s soul song drawn from Aesop’s fables. The song tells the story of a woman who takes a half-dead snake into her home and nurses him back to health. The snake responds by biting her. As she dies, she asks him why he did it. The moral of the lesson is in the concluding couplet:

          “Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin.

          “You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.”

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    • I wouldn’t have been surprised if this hadn’t had happened, the ratings would have significantly dropped next season, leading to a quieter cancelation just short of a year from now.

      The acting in many scenes was just painfully bad; I have no idea how a director for a big time sitcom let it pass thru and onto the air.

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      • I have no idea who thought giving this woman a lead in a TV show could possibly be a good idea.

        If you’re Left Wing (and that’s common in Hollywood), she’s interesting (so money if you win) and it’s nutpicking.

        It’s also lower risk than making her President.

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        • Well “The Left Wing” would be happy to keep her banned like all those other conservative stars but then conservatives complain about that to. It’s like nothing is ever good enough. Give a raging, out there conservative a prime time show and it’s problem. Where is the star power of Kirk Cameron when you need him?

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          • Well “The Left Wing” would be happy to keep her banned like all those other conservative stars but then conservatives complain about that to.

            The problem is that the people who ‘get sitcoms’, as in, have a sitcom constructed as a vehicle for them that allows their personal views to slip in (Vs. just getting cast as a character in a sitcom.), are usually funny comedians.

            The right is so exceptionally bad at producing family-friendly funny comedians that basically the only two with a TV show are (were) Rosanne Barr and Tim Allen. Rosanne was crazy but most people didn’t know it (Although admittedly she can still be funny.), and Tim Allen…really hasn’t been funny for quite some time. Both those stars basically got grandfathered into the system based on their previous show.

            The problem is that, while there are some funny right-wing comedians, they are a much smaller group (I suspect this is mostly because the sort of life experience that causes you to be a comedian also tends to make you a liberal, and also comedians tune their comedy in front of liberal crowds.), and the ones that exist almost always have wandered into humor that is unacceptable to the large corporations that decide who gets a TV show.

            This sort of ‘ban on conservatives’ (Or, rather, not being able to find acceptable comedians.) is only applicable in the extremely rare cases of sitcom vehicles, and there are plenty of conservative actors in Hollywood who are hired to read a script and act it out, and they seem to be doing fine.

            And while I’m sure there is some discrimination there, like some people find out an actor is conservative and doesn’t want to work with them…there’s discrimination _all over_ Hollywood, and it is much easier to be a closeted conservative than a closeted Asian, for an actual group that Hollywood doesn’t want to hire. Seriously, Hollywood is the sort of cesspool of bigotry and snap decisions and, yes, sexual harassment, that you always get when no one has _any_ objective qualifications as to who gets hired, and potential employees vastly outnumber employers.

            I am not sure this is really fixable, and I think it is rather ironically presumptive for conservatives to decide systematic discrimination is a real thing for once, but only when it applies to them.

            Where is the star power of Kirk Cameron when you need him?

            Kirk Cameron is too busy Saving Christmas by nonsensical and ahistoric explanations of holiday traditions.

            But in case you mean that literally: No one in the actual TV industry is ever going to cast Kirk Cameron on a TV show ever again, because his behavior on the set of his _last_ mainstream TV show was insane, and the worry is that he might decided to hijack how the production goes or walk off the set if he’s not happen with the some immorality in the script. Althogh to be fair to Kirk, he has at least expressed some regret for his extremely unprofessional behavior on Growing Pains. (The most apt name of a TV show ever.)

            Incidentally, that just reminded me of an obvious example that Hollywood is indeed perfectly fine with conservatives actors that will actually follow a script without arguing. Aka, his sister, who was recently given a starring role in a sitcom revival.

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            • “Conservatives aren’t good at X” sounds a lot like the “women aren’t good at X” arguments which don’t get a lot of respect nowadays, as opposed to “the people who run the existing power structure want to see people like themselves”.

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              • “Conservatives aren’t good at X” sounds a lot like the “women aren’t good at X” arguments which don’t get a lot of respect nowadays, as opposed to “the people who run the existing power structure want to see people like themselves”.

                “Conservative” is a label that is voluntarily chosen, and one which indicates both ideological and tribal commitments.

                Disagree or not with ‘s statement, that’s a pretty bad analogy.

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                • “Conservative” is a label that is voluntarily chosen, and one which indicates both ideological and tribal commitments. Disagree or not with ‘s statement, yours is a poor analogy.

                  Depends on how much of a minority being a conservative is in that space and to what degree the other tribe is in control, i.e. how much budget control there is. Just off hand, I’d guess that liberals have very different views on what is funny.

                  So jokes about Trump being a buffoon get approved and impress the boss, ditto jokes which compared Obama to Superman… however doing the reverse suffers from “that’s not funny or realistic”.

                  Good hunks of the media apparently actually believe that the GOP is dangerous and unhinged, maybe even Nazis. I assume that’s true as we go up the management chain, I even assume believing that becomes an advantage for moving up the management chain.

                  That “being a conservative is voluntary” where as being a woman is not doesn’t make the effect less real, it’s just saying “if they want to advance they can stop being conservative”.

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                  • That “being a conservative is voluntary” where as being a woman is not doesn’t make the effect less real, it’s just saying “if they want to advance they can stop being conservative”.

                    Which is actually an option, and one I expect people take (subconsciously) all the time, with the direction of the ideological shift depending on the industry and specific workplace within the industry.

                    But once we have the associated ideological commitments, the analogy has already collapsed because, as you say, it’s the sort of thing that can shift one’s idea of what is funny. This doesn’t just apply to management at TV networks, either, and indeed whatever their cultural and ideological kneejerks, they’re going to be more concerned about what their target demographic think is funny.

                    If management is making decisions about promotion and hiring on the basis of ideological conformance, it’s most likely to be in industries where doing so has little direct impact on the bottom line.

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                    • If management is making decisions about promotion and hiring on the basis of ideological conformance, it’s most likely to be in industries where doing so has little direct impact on the bottom line.

                      So in other words, women (as a whole) must be intrinsically bad at coding computers because it’d effect the bottom line to leave a pool of talented people just out there undeveloped?

                      Or is that style of reasoning only acceptable when it’s pointed at Conservatives?

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                          • Wasn’t that one of the things Damore got right, that there isn’t some deep well of talented but unemployed women out there who have the training to do development work, because colleges aren’t producing them?

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                            • I would say yes, however I also expect the distribution for talent is fairly uniform across various groups (although talent itself is a bell curve thing). If there are fewer talented women who are coding then they’re being diverted into other fields somewhere for some reason.

                              And that’s irrelevant.

                              The unemployment rate for actors is roughly 100%, the unemployment rate for software engineers is roughly 0%. It’s reasonable for an organization (say, ESPN) to interview (and even hire) a qualified person of class Z for every acting job because the glut of talent is so large.

                              Google (much less all of Silicon Valley) can’t do the same for engineers.

                              Humor hits the radar as a self-inflicted calling more than most professions, and we’re talking about a sub-type of acting jobs. So it’s highly unlikely Roseanna and Tim are the only choices if we want to go looking… which doesn’t change that apparently there’s no need to go looking.

                              Speaking of Damore, with the benefit of hindsight: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/16/james-damore-google-memo-interview-autism-regrets

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              • “Conservatives aren’t good at X” sounds a lot like the “women aren’t good at X” arguments which don’t get a lot of respect nowadays, as opposed to “the people who run the existing power structure want to see people like themselves”.

                Except that the power structure that makes or breaks famous comedians isn’t Hollywood. Hollywood isn’t in charge of what comedians become famous enough to start pitching shows. About the only influence that ‘Hollywood’ has on those careers is via talk shows, and talk shows aren’t really part of the Hollywood machine. (They’re more a parasite on the side of it.)

                If you want to argue the comedic circuit is biased against conservatives, that’s an entirely different issue, but that isn’t Hollywood’s fault. And, like I said, that’s mostly because comedic venues (Heck, _all_ live venues) tend to be located in major cities and have very liberal audiences.

                If conservatives want conservative comics to be given TV shows, they are going to have to grow some actual acceptable-for-TV conservative comedians, because it’s really hard to think of _any_.

                Whereas there are probably _hundreds_ of liberalish or non-political comedians who could carry a show, or at least look like they could carry a show. (Kevin James, for example, seems completely apolitical.)

                To grow such comedians, conservatives are going to have to start supporting ‘staged live entertainment’, so that conservative comedians have a place to practice their trade. And conservatives are _really bad_ at supporting that sort of entertainment.

                But, as I said, all this is rather moot. The ‘comedian vehicle’ model of sitcoms is an absurd thing to care about. There are maybe half a dozen of such shows currently.

                Sitcoms are already sorta a dying breed, and the ones that are successful tend to _not_ be the ‘comedian vehicle’ model. The biggest sitcoms right now are The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon. The most acclaimed sitcoms are things like The Middle and You’re The Worst. None of those are vehicles for anyone.

                What’s a current sitcom of comedic-vehicle style now that Rosanne is gone? Fresh Off the Boat? Master of None? Last Man Standing? What am I missing? (I was going to list Kevin Can Wait as an example, but remembered it was canceled.)

                This supposed bias resulted in, until Rosanne blew it, two shows that were vehicles for conservatives and two for liberals! Seems rather dubious as a bias, although I’m sure I missed some of the lower-tier comedies.

                I mean, when did we last have a comedic-vehicle hit? The last big one was probably 30 Rock (Which ended four and half years ago, believe it or not, and TV has changed a _lot_ since then.)…and that was a comedic vehicle for half a dozen different comedians, including some conservatives. And that really more proved ‘Tina Fey knows comedy very well’ instead of proving that comedic-vehicle sitcoms work.

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                • _all_ live venues) tend to be located in major cities and have very liberal audiences.

                  That’s a little weird when you think about it. Major cities skew liberal, and that’s fine… except this isn’t an election, a minority of even 10% of a major city should be able to create its own cultural presence.

                  Now everything about the lack of TV sitcoms (etc) I have to plead ignorance on. We tried cable TV for a year and it was a mess. For all the talk of “educational TV” my girls got involved in time-suck soap operas. Shoot the TV and you’ll be amazed at how much time you have.

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                  • That’s a little weird when you think about it. Major cities skew liberal, and that’s fine… except this isn’t an election, a minority of even 10% of a major city should be able to create its own cultural presence.

                    Well, honestly, the percentage of a city that goes to comedy clubs at all is incredibly low. In fact, once you exclude sports and music, the amount of people who go to any sort of live entertainment is very small, and comedians are a very small part of that.

                    For example, the Atlanta area (With a metro area population of 6.5 million) appears to literally have two pure comedy clubs that I am aware of. The Punchline and Laughing Skull. IIRC, they are both incredibly small venues. (There are a lot of venues that do comedy just a few nights, and sorta rotate between comedians, improv, sketch, magic, burlesque, and/or black box theatre. Anything that will fit on their stage. If I had to make an incredibly rough guess of the absolute most amount of standup happening as a daily average, I would guess a grand total of 2000 people listening to standup in Atlanta, somewhere, each day.

                    For comparison, Atlanta has a dozen fricken performance theatres, including the 4600 seat Fox Theatre and at least three others I can think of that are over 1000. And Atlanta isn’t really an arts city.

                    OTOH…the thing is, I’m not even sure the problem is that comedy clubs are ‘liberal’ per se. I mean, there are conservative comics…I just recently saw James Gregory for the second time (We get him for shows at the theatre I rent out.) and he’s…conservative, I guess. And he plays the Atlanta circuit all the time. The reason he doesn’t have a TV show is that, honestly, he’s not that funny. He’s not funny to me not because he’s conservative, he’s not funny because he tells sorta dumb stories that are completely unmoored from my experiences. (And it’s not like I’m some hip young person living in the big city.) He probably could have had a successful TV show of his stories…in the 1980s.

                    Incidentally, I’ve since realized I was confused about Fresh Off the Boat, which is _not_ a comedian vehicle. And considering that Rosanne and Tim Allen were offered shows not because they are famous comedians but because they previously had hit shows (It’s just those _previous_ shows were offered to them because they were famous comedians.), we are down to literally one single solitary comedian who was just given a show about themselves living their own life: Master of None (Which is Netflix and thus hardly counts.)

                    Likewise, going into the past a bit, Tina Fey didn’t get 30 Rock because she’s a great standup, even though she is. She got 30 Rock because she’s a _really good_ comedic writer and had written for SNL for almost a decade at that point.

                    So at this point I find myself wondering about this entire premise. Conservative celebs don’t get sitcoms because, as far as I can tell, _no_ celebs are handed sitcoms anymore, at least within statistical error. For at least a decade. We don’t get any more Seinfelds or the Drew Carey Show, or even King of Queens.

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      • Well yeah but most people have a decent enough internal filter to keep the worst stuff bottled up………urm….. OK, most decent people understand the sensitivity of comparing apes to……ummm…..never mind.

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      • Fun fact: Rosanne not only has been a bigot for a long time, she’s a _rotating_ bigot (Antisemitic and then, five years later, she had switched over to Pro-Jewish and Islamaphobic.) and she’s been a raging idiot even longer.

        I pay so little attention to this sort of celebrity news that when I heard Rosanne was pro-Trump that I got really confused, because the last time I’d been paying attention she was supposedly a ‘left wing’ idiot, because she had tweeted out the home address of the parents of George Zimmerman because she was angry about Trayvon Martin.

        She also a 911 Truther _and_ a Pizzagate promoter. Like, right there, that’s about all you need to know.

        I have no idea who thought giving this woman a lead in a TV show could possibly be a good idea.

        And while I understand why the right, with their persecution complex, decided to claim she represented all of them, it demonstrates pretty well what horrible judgement the right currently has in who it decides speaks for them.

        I understand the whole ‘We finally have representation'(1) trap they fell into, but seriously.

        1) That is, I understand _they_ think that, but in reality almost all shows shy away from explicit politics, and are ‘skewed’ mostly because they are showing city-living 20-30 year olds as they are, or at least how their 30-40 year old writers think they are, and those groups skew overwhelmingly liberal in real life.

        Moreover, conservative groups have a very long history of throwing hissy fits when ‘one of them’ on TV is mocked or treated poorly in any manner. Religious groups are especially good at this, just a few month ago we talking about that here, that religious backlash against TV shows treating Christian characters like normal characters (As in people who can be wrong, or hypocrites, or make mistakes, or be overbearing.) had essentially run them entirely off TV, or at least out of starring roles.

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        • What really frustrates Jews in this area is that it is very hard to convince the Social Justice faction that anti-Semitism is really important to the Alt-Right or Far Right in general. They are so intent on maintaining their evil White people vs. POC dualistic system, which Jews confuse by not being really either, that they ignore the anti-Semitism as much as possible.

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          • While I can’t say this has really been my personal experience (I’ve found my SJ-inflected social networks reliably better about anti-semitism than my non-SJ-inflected social networks) I can’t say it never happens, and I also am not so charitable about the failures. Dealing with something like anti-semitism is pretty straightforward from an SJ perspective, but can be… challenging for a coalition that has some pretty anti-Semitic members who are (for the most part) not the SJ ones. But those anti-Semitic members are perilously close to viewing the alt-right as members of their in-group.

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          • Jews and Asians induce cognitive dissonance in the Social Justice™ left. Their world view is premised on a narrative in which hierarchies of privilege and oppression determine socioeconomic outcomes. If non-Hispanic whites have higher average socioeconomic status than blacks and Hispanics, then non-Hispanic whites must be privileged, and blacks and Hispanics must be oppressed. More specifically non-Hispanic whites must be oppressing blacks and Hispanics.

            The fact that Jews and Asians have a history of oppression—and are the object of bigotry still—but have higher average SES than non-Hispanic whites, puts them in a pretty tight spot. If they’re successful, how can they be oppressed? If they’re oppressed, how can they be successful? Something has to give, and it damn sure isn’t going to be the narrative.

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            • Jews and Asians induce cognitive dissonance in the Social Justice™ left. Their world view is premised on a narrative in which hierarchies of privilege and oppression determine socioeconomic outcomes.

              This is an Ideological Turing Test fail, I think, The social justice-oriented left spends a lot of time focusing on non-economic ways in which (what they see as) axes of oppression can interfere with one’s ability to flourish, often to an extent that they annoy other leftists by not spending enough time focusing on matters of class and economic justice.

              You see this more consistently applied with Asian Americans than with Jews, I think, but it happens in both cases, and there’s some overlap in the explanations, perhaps not very surprisingly.

              This isn’t to say that the SJ left is super-great on matters of anti-semitism [1], but this is less about cognitive dissonance and more just because of subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) anti-semitism.

              [1] I won’t try to speak to how well it handles prejudice against people of Asian descent.

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  10. @jaybird

    So one thing I noticed after positing my final reply about the orthography quibbling last night is that I’ve seen the exact same argument about Trump’s racism, at times from overlapping people. Hell, even in these particular threads there was considerable confusion over whether we were talking about Trump’s spelling or Trump’s racism.

    And that goes for exploiting ambiguity and stoking backlash, which is pretty clear from the Miller article, not to mention the endless arguments that Trump’s not really being racist when he talks about “animals” and “shitholes”. And oh yeah, that was just a sheriff’s star.

    A lot of the time people (or at least Pillsy) will jump on an argument on a System I knee-jerk, without a System II refutation. And sometimes, you know, we here about how the libs will get mad anyway so why should conservatives bother with being PC?

    If you’re gonna get the same argument if you go after Trump’s racism or other endless substantive flaws, you might as well go after the fuckhead’s spelling too. I mean, making fun of that is kind of cheap and silly, but it’s a much more venal sin than being racist, and much easier to rationalize if you need an endorphin hit to keep you engaged instead of giving up because roughly 40% of the country thinks Trump is acceptable, whatever their reason.

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            • Yeah, but by positing that this line of attack will be effective with group three, you are absolutely validating my point that the seriousness of the underlying issue is irrelevant.

              It’s all the same.

              And if it’s all the same, who cares?

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              • Let’s unpack this.

                by positing that this line of attack will be effective with group three

                I’m not saying that it will be as much as that I’m suspicious that it *MIGHT* be. It’s certainly not obvious that it won’t be.

                you are absolutely validating my point that the seriousness of the underlying issue is irrelevant.

                As for the seriousness, I think it’s very serious.

                As for the underlying issue, I think that we might disagree about what the underlying issue is.

                My response to Chip assumed that we were talking about who was likely to vote and how… and Chip’s comment was something to the effect of “It’s laughable to think that I would change my vote (or be less likely to vote) because of this!”

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                • My response to Chip assumed that we were talking about who was likely to vote and how… and Chip’s comment was something to the effect of “It’s laughable to think that I would change my vote (or be less likely to vote) because of this!”

                  OK.

                  Now think about the group ones like, you know, me and Chip.

                  How is it going to affect us if other members of group one let this slide instead of treating it with the derision and contempt it absolutely deserves? Some of whom, I suspect, feel way more targeted by this kind of shit than Chip and I ever will?

                  At the cost of whom? In the case of the spelling thing, some of that cost was going to fall on the people was talking about, who have their own issues with writing for reasons that are no fault of their own, and who deserve better treatment no matter which group they belong to.

                  What’s the cost here? Chip and I dunk on the GOP leadership instead of being like, “Holy shit I’m worried that a lot of members of group three are dumb or racist enough to fall for Trump/Miller/et al’s horse shit, but mysteriously aren’t actually part of group two?”

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                  • My saying “that counter-attack won’t work” is not saying “you shouldn’t counter-attack”.

                    My saying “that counter-attack won’t change anybody’s mind” is not saying “you shouldn’t counter-attack”.

                    If you’re going to dunk on the GOP leadership then BY ALL MEANS FREAKING DUNK ON THE GOP LEADERSHIP.

                    My saying “don’t engage in self-indulgent attacks that accomplish nothing but make you feel good about yourself” should not be interpreted as me saying “oh, please don’t attack the GOP!”

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                    • My saying “don’t engage in self-indulgent attacks that accomplish nothing but make you feel good about yourself” should not be interpreted as me saying “oh, please don’t attack the GOP!”

                      No, but it’s pretty hard not to interpret it as, “It doesn’t matter how angry, or tired, or sad, or consumed with loathing you are, or how justified those feelings are. It doesn’t matter how many tranches of people who are kinda on your Right that you thought you might be able to trust are actually craven or worse than you thought. It doesn’t matter that the Left is, you know, a bit of a fractious mess. Be serious all the time.”

                      Sometimes I wanna stop at Dairy Queen and eat a peanut butter cup Blizzard. Sometimes I wanna take the cheap but deserved shot and take a shred of pleasure in the fact that even if we aren’t perfect, the other side is way, way, way fucking worse.

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                    • This is an awful lot of “cult of the savvy”.

                      As in, it is that sort of meta-discussion where we aren’t even talking about issues, or arguments for issues, but instead talking about “how to talk” about issues, based on our savvy hunches and prognostications of what clever political strategems work or don’t.

                      These meta-discussions about how to talk to Trump supporters to beguile them into voting Democrat are utter rot and nonsense.
                      Its on par with thinking that a clever Willy Wonka meme on Facebook is going to move the needle of support one way or another.

                      The very best argument is just to speak what you believe to be the truth and let other people decide what to do with that.

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        • I am skeptical that this going to be effective for Republicans in a contest that doesn’t seem like its nationalized on the Republican side.

          But my overall belief, which is based more on hope than empiricism, is that this message only works when Trump is actually running, and Trump himself is the only one that can deliver this message effectively.

          (‘Effectively’ being used here in a descriptive not normative sense)

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          • On one level, I want to say that this is going to do damage with any inroads that the Republicans have made with the Hispanic vote (30% in 2016!) and will turn the Hispanics into a bloc similar to the Jewish or African-American voting blocs and now the Republicans have gone and shot themselves in the foot for the next however-many-years.

            On another… well. Perhaps we should just look at the bright side and leave that first paragraph as it stands.

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        • Oh that video is just……fantastic.

          It’s even better than the Dukaksis Tank Riding video.

          Maybe we all can compromise and call MS-13 savages vs animals? Would that make the left/ anti Trumpers happy? Oh wait, I suppose they are “victims”.

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    • I suppose that the big question is “what is your goal?”

      Is it to fire up your base? Well, there are a thousand things that you could complain about with regards to Donald Trump. A plethora, if you will.

      But I’ve started noticing a handful of little cracks in a handful of little things. Like, go here and check out this interview with Farrakhan. Start at around 7:35ish and watch until around 10:50. Now, the radio station isn’t one of the big ones. It’s #14 for the Chicago area.

      But that was really, really, really interesting, wasn’t it?

      I think that it would be very bad for elite liberal-types to communicate that they see racism as an etiquette problem. Not for them personally. But for what it communicates to other members of their coalition.

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      • Dude, you’re the one who thinks it’s important we be understanding of people who think Farrakhan and his followers have a valuable role to play in the Leftwards coalition, not me.

        I personally am unsurprised that the leader of a viciously anti-semitic, anti-LGBT hate group would be enamored of Donald J. Trump.

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        • It’s more that I think that it would be a mistake of the Left to have members of their coalition come to the conclusion that Farrakhan and his followers have more to offer them and their community than the Left offers them.

          Perhaps it would be best if we went back to mocking people who spoke as if they did not have access to quality educations.

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          • I thought we didn’t have to worry about that because Farrakhan and the NoI are a fringe movement without any real power, so making sure he stays that way by treating Sarsour et al. as toxic when they cape for him is bad and pointless?

            Like, I was going to let the argument go back then because it pushes all my buttons, but you decided to raise it again for some absolutely inscrutable reason.

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            • Well, let’s drop Farrakhan entirely. The clip between 7:37 and 8:03 just involves the DJ. He says that he was arguing with someone on twitter about whether this administration has done more for black people than the previous one.

              (I will try to dig up that particular twitter fight when I get back from lunch so we can read it for ourselves.)

              That, to me, is a bellwether of some interesting things happening in the coalition itself.

              In 2012, the African-American vote was 96-4 for Obama over Mitt Romney. If the numbers regress to the mean just a little bit, it makes stuff like Trump getting re-elected more likely. (Indeed, we saw what happened in 2016.)

              Treating racism like an etiquette problem strikes me as likely to accelerate this regression to the mean.

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              • I’m not advocating treating racism like an etiquette problem.

                I’m advocating dismissing complaints from the Right [1] and even center about going after Trump on trivial grounds because they tend make the same argument, with a very similar degree of vehemence, about substantive issues like his racism.

                Dealing with racism as a policy matter and making sure the Dems stay committed to it is a different kettle of fish. But I don’t see much reason to believe it isn’t an orthogonal kettle of fish.

                [1] Even chunks of the more than nominally anti-Trump Right.

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                • What about complaints from the Left?

                  I’m really sick of seeing fellow people who are horrified by Trump – not so much on here as people like the letter-editor Will links to – go after such utterly trivial issues, for two reasons:
                  1) It takes up attention from Serious Stuff. It really does, not necessarily among one individual person but in terms of virality and mass attention. Trump et all are fucking up so much shit every damn day, and all this bickering about whether we care about the trivia of spelling, whether it’s ok to care about it, etc takes away attention from that – let alone the complaining itself. Maybe people on the right *shouldn’t* care if we let off steam that way, but to me it’s all just a giant waste of time and why should we bother? (This is why I rarely complain about the complaining, because it just adds to the morass, but I’ve been silently wincing about it since the cofveve days…)

                  2) It reminds me of nothing so much as it does the stir around African American Vernacular English back when I first moved to this country, and I find it similarly distasteful. Trump is a dolt and/or a manipulative genius. But a lot of people of *all* backgrounds aren’t particularly good at spelling, grammar, or written expression generally. (Partly this is because public education sucks in large parts of the country – core Democrat concern there! – and partly they just don’t think it’s that important, OR, importantly, they have their own equally valid English dialects and don’t translate into Standard that comfortably.) I have *always* found an overconcern with matters of spelling, grammar, etc. to be off-putting, classist, etc. – it’s something I drove out of myself with vehemence around 1998-2000, and I think loudly trumpeting (pun intended) said overconcern has classist and racist overtones no matter who the target is. (Small exception for stuff that underlines the hypocrisy of upper-crust Republicans in embracing Trump, ie “William F. Buckley must be rolling in his grave right now” – that shit is still funny to me – but that’s only a tiny proportion of what’s out there.)

                  I think it’s easy for people with really great educations to vent by mocking someone whose education ought to be equally great, but obviously (or purportedly, depending) wasn’t – but it doesn’t hurt *Trump* at all to do that. It just shames a bunch of people on both sides whose educations aren’t equally great. Also folks with learning disabilities like dyslexia, etc, who often get to choose between “free spontaneous written expression” and “not screwing up the syntax”.

                  It’s a minor obnoxity (which is the other reason besides #1 that I rarely complain about it – I got plenty of higher priorities in this world), but it’s still really annoying. *from the left*. and I’ve heard about how annoying it is *from other people on the left*, myself, usually educators and other folks who are aware of how fucked up, racist, and classist the education system in this country still is, and how much shame about their written expression some people carry around, that they don’t tweet or write essays about.

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                  • What about complaints from the Left?

                    Unlike the question of what to do with complaints from the Right and center, this is a genuinely difficult question. Not necessarily for me personally; I try not to do this shit because frustrated as a I may be with this argument, I did acknowledge that had a point about the anecdotal evidence, and your post would absolutely seal the deal about how I should comport myself even if I weren’t trying to do so already.

                    Now, I am going to write a bunch of stuff about why it’s a hard question. But it’s going to involve a lot of discussion about dysfunction I perceive on the social justice advocate Left, which I know can be annoying and/or out of scope and/or tedious in contexts like these. If “step out of the way and don’t do this shit” is enough of answer for you, they’re also dispensable.

                    How do you rank the damage done by distracting from serious issues against the benefit of some of the most committed activists in the coalition be able to blow off steam despite the fact that they can be kinda classist, racist, and ableist when they do it?[1]

                    How about the costs of letting these attitudes stand and cause a real quantum of harm to may people in the coalition and many people who aren’t really in the coalition but whom we wish to be allies to? How about the plausible outcome that calling the behavior out causes a bunch of toxic infighting which [2] also stands to really upset and drain a lot of the same people.

                    And yeah, I’m explaining why I think this is such a hard question in a really abstract intellectualized way because if I don’t I’m liable to get pissed off at someone and go off the way I went off at Pinky last night (which I still feel a bit abashed about). It’s also valid to say if I don’t know, well, I should damn well listen…

                    …but I have a lot of trouble hearing when the same channel is being used for bad-faith defenses of Trump, or even the good-faith but still ludicrous argument that things like this are a sign that the Left is consumed by rage, unlike the Right.

                    [1] Look, I’m not perfect about the Trump typo/grammar stuff, and I’ll also acknowledge that I catch myself (or, worse, don’t) being low-key classist, racist, and ableist way too often.

                    [2] I’ve been told, but I’m really trying to balance the interests of third parties here either way

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                  • The problem, as I see it, is that is smacks of Mandarinism. And I think this is actually one of the left/Democrats biggest problems with the electorate right now. A problem that has farther reaching implications. IE that one has to have certain, largely unknowable, qualifications to be a member of the ruling class. Things such as how you write, who you have written for, where you learned to write just to name a few of these unwritten laws of… well Leeesq compared them to the courtiers of Versailles and I think that is absolutely correct. And that classism breeds resentment. And resentment breeds Trump.

                    By the way, obnoxity is a great word.

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                        • How about that.

                          Next time I see someone worried that shots at Trump’s grammar I’ll send ’em an Amazon link for Strunk and White. That should clear up any worries they have that quibbles over comma placement are shibboleths aimed at excluding them from the conversation.

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                              • Quoth the jaybird evermore:

                                Three groups:

                                1. People who, if they’re to vote at all, will vote for your guy.
                                2. People who, if they’re to vote at all, will vote for the other guy.
                                3. People who could be persuaded to vote either way.

                                The feeling of the third group is a concern for both groups.

                                RCP Elections Analyst Sean Trende: “Blue Wave” Could Be Turning Into “Dead Heat” In November

                                If the Democrats had a, what? 15 point lead a year ago and it is dropping this far, then right now the Dems best be worrying about that third group.

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                                • Yet strangely every time the subject comes up, whether the issue is Trump’s spelling or being an utter fucking racist, we get dozens of comments about how the Left had best be careful about how we react given the existence of group 3, and roughly zero about how, just maybe, the Right might want to be concerned about their feelings as well.

                                  This is exactly the pattern that keeps me wondering if there’s any value at all in participating in the comments here.

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                                  • From my perspective, that’s because of two reasons:

                                    1. We don’t have any Trump voters on the board as regular commenters. We might have some Republicans who comment occasionally, but they’re #nevertrump. (The Trump voters that I know about tend to stick to the non-political threads.)

                                    2. I’m worried that the Right (the Trump variant not found on this board) already is concerned about the third group and commercials like this one are playing to their concerns.

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                                    • To what (I think, might be wrong) Jaybird is getting at here, let me speak only for myself as far as Trump/neverTrump and the “three groups” go. I don’t think its a bad list, but I myself do not neatly fit into it. I would assume that I am a minority if not outright oddity: conservative, not Republican, never supported Trump because I thought then-as I do now-he is bad for the country as a man of wanting character, and his “right-ish” post-2015 stuff runs contra the first 69 years of his life. He is president, so if he does something good I say so, when he is wrong, which is far more often, I say so. I, personally, worry about getting it right on issues, not who it supports or benefits. I know others do it differently but that’s me.

                                      As far as this current election cycle, which that ad plays into and obviously is pointed to trying to sway that group of people, I don’t think too much has changed my original impression of it thus far; historically and cyclically Dem’s should do very well, but they need more than just “Trumps Sucks”. Inertia isn’t going to cut it. The poll numbers are coming closer in part because these are no longer “generic ballots” but actual candidates with history, flaws, and names not just carboard cut-outs. That ad doesn’t strike me as being helpful but who knows, maybe its focused grouped for something specific. I would point out data wise Hispanic voters are not a monolith, and numbers came out today for example that Cruz is beating his opponent among that demographic and pulling a mid-40’s number. Granted that’s Texas, but still something to consider.

                                      Pillsy has a fair point, and I speaking more broadly than just our commenting section here so no one should take this as directed at them, about feelings. I just listened to a podcast with two very conservative young (college age) guys and they were hitting on this point, specifically that there is an arrogance with conservative and right-leaning commentators right now that is turning off people. Specifically they cited Shapiro’s famous “facts don’t care about your feelings” types lines as being unhelpful when talking to people that fall into that 3rd group. And both of them have contributed to Daily Wire, so this isn’t idle outside criticism. There are limits to it, but people are not spreadsheets, you cannot talk to them in a meaningful way about anything without at least cursory accounting for their feelings.

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                                      • Polls are tightening but the special elections of 2017-2018 were still very good for Democrats.

                                        I think a big issue which frustrates me and (possibly Pillsy) is that a lot of anti-anti Trump stuff creates a no-win situation for the Democrats. Anti-Trump GOPers just don’t want to give up the GOP yet and they learned too much Democratic bashing. So the instinct to defend him is stronger than they think.

                                        http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/05/trump-supporters-defend-the-indefensible-with-gangster-logic.html

                                        But the vast bulk of conservative commentators have neither left nor entered, but find themselves in the same position. After greeting Trump with near-uniform revulsion, conservative intellectuals have mostly swallowed their doubts and reconciled to the new party leader. Their predominant tone is not worshipful (as it was, for the most part, during the Bush administration) but resigned and cynical. Trump is a flawed man, they recognize, but they insist he is no different than any other powerful man.

                                        Jaybird’s wonderings above make it feel like we are forever to be hostage to racist 4chaners and they have a time bomb.

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                                        • There is this floating assumption that there exists some clever drop-dead argument that we commenters can make to win elections.

                                          There isn’t.

                                          If some guy reads the news every day, sees what is going on, and when faced with Kamala Harris and Donald Trump in 2020, and shrugs in indifference, there does not exist any possible argument to pierce this.

                                          We have seen it right here on this blog, where people give some throat clearing perfunctory objections, but really don’t see any harm in a continuing Trump administration.

                                          I am fond of Stoic philosophy, and the essential ingredient is that we can’t control events or other peoples actions.

                                          I don’t have some verbal magic manipulation potion that would alarm someone to Trump’s evil, any more than the simple unvarnished truth itself does.

                                          But I can speak the truth even if it sounds shrill and uncivil.

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                                          • There is this floating assumption that there exists some clever drop-dead argument that we commenters can make to win elections.

                                            My assumption is that we have, here, a collection of élite thinkers who, together, create a perfect little petri dish of thought that reflects what’s happening nationally.

                                            Arguments that work here will work with the élite nationally. Arguments that crash into a brick wall here will crash with the élite nationally.

                                            If the folks here are unwilling to say “hey, guys, maybe we’ve got a problem that involves us having to change rather than explaining how everybody else needs to change”, then I’m going to say that that reflects the élite zeitgeist as well.

                                            It’s with these assumptions that I’m trying to look at November (or Israel/Palestine or #MeToo or any number of other, smaller, kerfuffles).

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                                              • I was expecting it to be pretty lopsided but even I was surprised at just how lopsided it was. I thought maybe we *might* have a modest rump of a silent contingent of Trump supporters, but no. It turns out our silent contingent is Bernie supporters.

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                                            • See, that exactly the problem.
                                              You are assuming that liberals are in control of how conservatives vote. Like there is some magic special dance liberals can do to sway someone away from Trump.

                                              We aren’t, and there isn’t.

                                              Everyone here on this blog, everyone at NRO, every voter in America will stand in a voting booth in 2020 and be faced with a choice.

                                              How you choose is on you, you own it, and it is adolescent to imagine someone made you do it because their sales pitch was insufficiently persuasive.

                                              Because this is a real thing in history, right? Every citizen in every tyrannical dictatorship has always had the option of joining the resistance.

                                              And every time, there was a sizeable group of people who found excuses to avoid doing that.

                                              Maybe the resistance leader was an asshole, maybe they had the wrong position on grain tariffs or whatever, but there was always, always some soothing lie that allowed them to evade responsibility for not opposing what they knew to be evil.

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                                              • You are assuming that liberals are in control of how conservatives vote. Like there is some magic special dance liberals can do to sway someone away from Trump.

                                                No. My assumption is that there are three groups. The only thing that you can do with the first two are fire them up and get them to drag a friend along or get them depressed and say something like “oh, was that yesterday?” on the Wednesday that follows the election.

                                                How you choose is on you, you own it, and it is adolescent to imagine someone made you do it because their sales pitch was insufficiently persuasive.

                                                This seems to undersell the importance of having a decent sales pitch to people who don’t already know how they’re going to vote come November (2018 or 2020).

                                                Personally, I see an attitude that cries out “HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW THAT YOU’RE GOING TO VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRAT??!?” as one that is going to have a less effective sales pitch than someone whose sales pitch will probably be something like “I’ll keep you and your family safe from outside threats, and let you buy a gun to help you take care of the inside threats”.

                                                Maybe the resistance leader was an asshole, maybe they had the wrong position on grain tariffs or whatever, but there was always, always some soothing lie that allowed them to evade responsibility for not opposing what they knew to be evil.

                                                For the record, I don’t see this particular argument as likely to work at doing anything but getting people to tell pollsters that they’re undecided when they’re not.

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                                                  • I’m pretty sure that I don’t have one but I’ll put some of my assumptions together and see where they lead.

                                                    I want to fire up my base while, at the same time, I want to depress my opponent’s base. I also want to get the swingers to swing for me and the ones that could be swung, but didn’t for some reason, to stay home instead of voting against me.

                                                    So I want to hit in a place where Republicans know they’re weak based on their own ideas of themselves but also have it be an attack that is fun for me and mine to make where we are not also surprisingly vulnerable.

                                                    One area that I see Trump and the Republicans as being surprisingly vulnerable on is the War On Drugs. Specifically, Medical Marijuana. Now, it’s not only my pet peeve, it’s also an argument that I’ve thrown around here and gotten very little pushback on it except when I’ve suggested that Obama should have done more than he did. Never on what the *POLICY* should be.

                                                    So I’d try to tie Trump to the pharma companies and argue that his FDA is killing people. He’s in the pocket of Big Opiate. You know why poor whites are dying of opiate abuse? Trump. Trump and his FDA. They’re preventing people from taking safe painkillers like edibles that they can buy (or even grow!) themselves and forcing them to go through the Doctor Cartel to get a Prescription to give their hard-earned money to the Pharmacists (many of whom refuse to carry birth control!) with all of the profits going to The Evil Pharmaceutical Companies that are profiting off of the addictions of our loved ones.

                                                    There will be some mild “whataboutism” for this particular attack, but it’ll be surmountable. Focus on how a House run by Democrats will reschedule Marijuana. A Senate run by Democrats will ratify the change.

                                                    This puts Republicans in a place where they’ll pretty much automatically defend the pharma companies (it’s a tic Republicans have) and let Democrats enjoy the fun of taking on big corporations. You’ll get the endorphins from the moral stance of fighting the opiate problem (HOW DARE REPUBLICANS PERPETUATE THIS AWFUL CRISIS?!?).

                                                    I’d take on big corporations by making some vague promises about how the economy is finally picking up, unemployment is low, THEN WHY HAVEN’T YOU GOTTEN A RAISE? WHY HAVEN’T YOU GOTTEN BETTER BENEFITS? If elected, I will make sure that people can eat ice cream every day. Sure, it’s a lie (or, at least, outside of the scope of what congress can reasonably promise) but the third group probably works, probably sees that the economy is doing better, and is probably wondering when some of this will trickle down. Make Republicans defend people not getting raises.

                                                    Those two things are just off the top of my head, they’d be fun to argue, they’d be not fun to argue against, and they’ll get the swings to swing your way.

                                                    But that’s just off the top of my head.

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                                                    • I was even thinking about this on the drive home.

                                                      When it comes to the #1s, you have to ask not only “is this fun for *ME* to use this attack?” but “will this be fun for the other people in my coalition to use as an attack?”

                                                      So when it comes to mockery of Trump’s awful writing, it strikes me as being fun for the élite but less fun for, say, the lower classes who are part of the liberal coalition. Someone who has “some college” but never finished won’t thrill to it. Someone who has just a high school diploma won’t think it’s funny.

                                                      Would it be fun to argue against?
                                                      Yeah. I imagine it would be.

                                                      How’s about the swing voters? When they see it, how will they be swayed one way or the other? College graduates one way, maybe, non-graduates another.

                                                      Just based off of some back-of-the-envelope stuff, I’m seeing the grammar thing as a bad bet.

                                                      So let’s come up with something else. Medicaid For All! No longer will you be forced to get insurance! You’re covered! You have Medicaid!

                                                      Would this be fun for #1s to argue for? Yeah, I think it would be. “People who don’t support Medicaid For All want people locked into jobs to keep their insurance and they want people without insurance to die! In the street! Of preventable diseases!”

                                                      What about people who aren’t élite, though? Lower classes? Yeah, I could see them enjoying this fight too. “This will give my family the coverage we so desperately need!”

                                                      Will it be fun to fight against?
                                                      No… I honestly think that it would be a drag to fight against. “Look, I’m not saying that I want people to die. I’m just saying that everything has costs and Economics 101 and doctors need to sleep and blah blah blah I’m still talking about textbooks.”

                                                      And what would the swing voters think?
                                                      I think that they’d think that, all other things being equal, they’d be better off (or, at least, not worst off) with some kind of Medicaid For All system because the boring people fighting against it won’t be particularly convincing.

                                                      So the rule should be: ask the fun question about each group.

                                                      You want it to be fun for your team. Not just for your corner of it, either. You want the poor folks down on their luck to buy into it too. You want the poor folks struck by systematic oppression to buy into it and have fun arguing for it.

                                                      You want it to be a drag for the other guys to argue against it.

                                                      And you want the swing voters to walk away thinking that your side got the better of their side.

                                                      (If you can’t get all three, hey, you can’t get all three. BUT GET TWO OF THOSE. If you only get one, switch until you get one that you have two of.)

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                                                    • I don’t disagree with any of those things, but I think you have failed to notice an important line of attack:

                                                      Sometime between now and the election, people will become aware of a major hike in their insurance rates for 2019. The elimination of the mandate _alone_ might be a 10% rate increase…and remember, they’re insurance companies…they’d rather overestimate and be forced to pay some back than underestimate, especially since the Republicans seem intent on not paying the CMS. (The reinsurance system explicitly designed to stop that from happening.)

                                                      Not only will this render the Republican’s magnum opus tax cut completely pointless (Not just because the premium increase will swamp it, but because people generally don’t know their tax situation until the year has ended anyway, so this was a stupid idea for Republican to hang the election on to start with.), but it’s going to produce a lot of headlines about rate increase exactly at election time.

                                                      Now, Republicans will argue that they didn’t do it, and, they’re like half right. Some of it is just medical costs continuing to increase. But some of it is their fault, and, frankly, they’ve been yelling too much about how they are hurting Obamacare for people to not blame them. (Heck, some people might blame Obamacare for the problems and _still_ blame Republicans for not doing something about it.)

                                                      So expect that to play into the next election. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Democrats running on the platform of ‘Repeal and Replace Obamacare’, or possibly ‘Repair Obamacare’, depending on what wording plays best where they are. Aka, ‘Health insurance is still broken in this country, and the Republicans have shown not only can they not fix it, but they keep trying to break the existing system.’

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                                                      • I think you have failed to notice an important line of attack

                                                        I’m sure I’ve failed to notice dozens.

                                                        I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Democrats running on the platform of ‘Repeal and Replace Obamacare’, or possibly ‘Repair Obamacare’, depending on what wording plays best where they are. Aka, ‘Health insurance is still broken in this country, and the Republicans have shown not only can they not fix it, but they keep trying to break the existing system.’

                                                        Sure, but this might be fun to argue against. I can think of a handful of fun arguments to make against it.

                                                        I’m not sure how much fun it will be to argue.

                                                        It’d need to be something like “Medicaid for All!” at the very least to be fun or maybe even something as big as “why in the hell do we even have insurance companies anyway?”

                                                        Get Kate McKinnon to do a bit where she says “We’re gonna put a lot of insurance companies and agents out of work!”

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                                          • If some guy reads the news every day, sees what is going on, and when faced with Kamala Harris and Donald Trump in 2020, and shrugs in indifference, there does not exist any possible argument to pierce this.

                                            No argument that insists that “-ism” must be the top priority.

                                            What is the Democrat plan to make my life better? Claim “-ism”? Hand out free stuff and make others pay for it? Dismantle inequality no matter how much damage it does to the economy?

                                            My first priority in a Presidential Election is what is going to expand the economy. It doesn’t say good things that the Bernie Sanders wing of the party points to Venezuela and breathlessly proclaims that’s the way to run a country.

                                            Trump is vile, and wrong about a lot… but jobs and economic growth seem to be his top priority (well, other than satisfying his vanity, narcissism, etc). You can’t beat something with nothing, and incorrectly and inelegantly implementing pro-growth ideals is something.

                                            Trump is deeply flawed and there’s VAST room for improvement… but it actually needs to be improvement. Pointing out Trump’s flaws doesn’t do anything because everyone already knows about them.

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                                        • Right now, as it stands with plenty that could change, I’m still where I’ve been that the mid-terms will go 210-220 seats for the D’s and Senate ends up +2 R. Just my 2 cents.

                                          I’m biased on you second point as I long ago gave up on the GOP. The Pew data supports your point as the “vote because the other party is hurting the country(paraphrased of course)” is something like 71/63 R/D. I’m mobile so I don’t have the exact number but that’s pretty close I think. Third parties are still unrealistic but the “nomads” are growing, and jumped considerably in voting “other” from 2012 to 2016.

                                          The terms “never Trump” or “anti-Trump” or “anti-anti-Trump” I think we lose something in you always want to get something from whoever the president is. Reagan had Dem congress’. Conservatives got several major wins working with Clinton, Progressives had several legislative wins under Bush, Obama was stymied in his second term on most things with the right took as a win, etc. What your quoting NYMAG about conservative commentators/pundits on the whole is mostly accurate. None of us is pollyannish about the fact that you work with what you got. But even in that I think its fair to judge people how they operate with a president many of them didn’t want.

                                          I have no idea what the number is, but I would bet 99% of Americans have no idea what 4chan is; so that is a bit of a reach in my opinion.

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                                          • I have no idea what the number is, but I would bet 99% of Americans have no idea what 4chan is; so that is a bit of a reach in my opinion.

                                            I bet they’re pretty obscure. Maybe not 99%, but not exactly high salience. You might get an occasional, “Are the frog guys?” or something.

                                            But they (and the associated demographic of mostly alienated, mostly white, mostly young, mostly guys) loom extremely large in the sort of “cult of savvy” online discourse that tends to get up various people’s noses. I’m not sure if that was the direct inspiration for Chip’s MS-13 crack (which obviously made me smile) but it drives a lot of my sniping when the urge to snipe overwhelms the sense that doing so would be unwise.

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                                            • Frog guys…there used to be a lot more of them on Twitter, but most have retreated to Gab though they pop their heads up occasionally. As far as the Cult of Savvy we know that they are very “useful idiots”, using the term in the traditional sense, for things like the trolls/bots to enflame. But most of the time they are easy to spot if you are discerning and know what to look for. Their hatred quickly overruns any cleverness they may have.

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                                          • The terms “never Trump” or “anti-Trump” or “anti-anti-Trump” I think we lose something in you always want to get something from whoever the president is. Reagan had Dem congress’. Conservatives got several major wins working with Clinton, Progressives had several legislative wins under Bush, Obama was stymied in his second term on most things with the right took as a win, etc. What your quoting NYMAG about conservative commentators/pundits on the whole is mostly accurate. None of us is pollyannish about the fact that you work with what you got. But even in that I think its fair to judge people how they operate with a president many of them didn’t want.

                                            I think this is a matter of both history and perception. The demographics of the country were really much different during the Reagan and Clinton years. The country was much more white then (and we are still very white). If wikipedia is correct, 83 percent of America was white in 1980. Google tells me it was down to 77 percent in 2014 (less if you exclude White Hispanics then the number becomes 62 percent of Americans were white in 2014).

                                            Also the Reagan years still featured some remains of the old parties where you had conservative Democrats from the South and liberal Republicans from the Northeast and West. Javits losing to D’Amato in the 1980 GOP primary was the start of the end of this era but it was still much stronger then. Can you imagine John Danforth being elected as a Republican today? John Chaffee?

                                            Clinton is different. I know a lot of people on the left who will never forgive Clinton for DOMA and for Welfare Reform. Clinton defenders note that these were more or less the best deals Clinton could get and he vetoed the Republican welfare bill many times.

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                                            • Reagan was before my time though, I was a kid. Clinton was formulative to me as that’s the presidency where I really first paid attention and knew what was going on, and he was still president when I went in military. Actually one of first things I did was unloading all the stuff for his library in Little Rock in the waning days of his presidency.

                                              Anyway, I digress. Add to DOMA and Welfare Reform a lot of my progressive friends really get upset discussing the Clinton era 94 Crime bill. Since you bring up race it certainly seems that to many that was the one that, at least to my small sample size, is unforgiven. There was some rumblings about it in the 2016 campaign also come to think of it. Begs the question, in light of all the movement HRC had to do over the years, could 92 Bill even get nominated in the current Democratic party?

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                                              • Begs the question, in light of all the movement HRC had to do over the years, could 92 Bill even get nominated in the current Democratic party?

                                                I think there’s an extremely strong chance that the Broadderick or Jones allegations would have come out earlier given the state of the Democratic Party, and either one of them would have completely destroyed his chances.

                                                As for his politics, no. Some of what he did during the ’92 primary that was savvy might have played out a bit differently now (like the “Sister Souljah” thing), but his vile handling of the Ricky Ray Rector case would do him no good in today’s Democratic Party.

                                                Of course, today’s Democratic Party is a very different one, in no small part because there’s so much less violent crime now than there was then… but while he executed the duties of his office pretty well, he was, in retrospect, a terrible person who shouldn’t have held it.

                                                I dunno. My first election was ’96. Couldn’t bring myself to vote for (or, to be fair, against) either candidate.

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                                                • There is a big debate among Democrats whether or not Clinton’s pivot to the center, the DLC third-way type was necessary or unnecessary. The people who say that Clinton’s centrism was necessary because the Democratic Party got shellacked as tax and spend, bleeding heart, soft on crime hippies for decades by the time Clinton won the Presidency. Some sort of pivot towards the center was necessary to get the Presidency. There was also a similar pivot away from liberalism or social democracy elsewhere in the developed world. The Labour Party spent eighteen years out of power before Blair came along with New Labour.

                                                  The more doctrinaire or strident liberals and social democrats believe no pivot towards the center was needed at all. What the Democratic Party and Labour Party should have done was stay true to its’ vision until they achieved electoral victory. The Republicans or Conservatives were not going to be in power for ever. People were already getting tired of them.

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                                                  • Tsongas wasn’t going to beat Bush. (and I can’t imagine the post-election recriminations if the Dems went to the Massachusetts well two elections in a row and lost). Heck, Perot has an outside shot in this scenario, especially if also he was able to keep the crazy in check (which was disqualifying at the time) Harkin wouldn’t have won either, but he would have been competitive.

                                                    Jerry Brown of the 2010’s could have beat Bush, but that Jerry Brown wasn’t around in 1992.

                                                    Kerrey (Bob version) and Wilder were arguably even more center of the center-left than Clinton was.

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                                                    • I’m slightly more bullish on the other candidates’ chances that year, and believe that Brown, wherever he was policy and ideology was, would have been up to the job.

                                                      But Clinton was, for all his many flaws, a very talented politician with a real interest in policy, and he did a good job appealing to pretty much every important Democratic constituency during the primary. Some constituencies are more or less important now, and others would have very different demands.

                                                      A politician with his degree of skill, and without his profound character flaws, would have an excellent shot at being the next Dem nominee and President. But they sure wouldn’t run the same kind of campaign.

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                                                      • A politician with his degree of skill, and without his profound character flaws, would have an excellent shot at being the next Dem nominee and President. But they sure wouldn’t run the same kind of campaign.

                                                        I guess what we’d need then is someone with Bill Clinton’s skills and Obama’s character. (Not that Obama wasn’t skilled, but if Clinton was a 10, then Obama was probably only a 7.)

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                                    • FWIW, the MS-13* ad thing was tried in Virginia in November 2017 and it backfired horribly. A lot of GOPers have been trying to be Trump without being Trump and it hasn’t quite worked out.

                                      *Also I don’t quite get how this is different than previous “Democrats are soft on crime” ads.

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                                      • Well, then. I’ll repeat what I said to Kolohe:

                                        On one level, I want to say that this is going to do damage with any inroads that the Republicans have made with the Hispanic vote (30% in 2016!) and will turn the Hispanics into a bloc similar to the Jewish or African-American voting blocs and now the Republicans have gone and shot themselves in the foot for the next however-many-years.

                                        I suppose it might be a pity that the Republicans are so very awful, but there’s an Emerging Democratic Majority and the Republicans are doing everything they possibly can to make sure that, once it gets here, it’s permanent.

                                        This will only be for the (eventual) good.

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                                    • Jaybird: 1. We don’t have any Trump voters on the board as regular commenters. We might have some Republicans who comment occasionally, but they’re #nevertrump. (The Trump voters that I know about tend to stick to the non-political threads.)

                                      I’m pretty sure this is untrue, (censored, pointing to linked comment – maribou).
                                      If this is out of bounds, I’ll eat the suspension or whatever.

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                                      • That was borderline redact or suspend. I redacted / censored / whatever, rather than suspending. If you do it again, I will probably suspend you.

                                        If you are curious as to my reasoning, it is as follows:

                                        Partly because “I want this to be SAID and I don’t care if it’s out of bounds” is a really good way to make me want to censor people when they are, in fact, out of bounds. Also throwing in “and I’ll just eat the suspension!”, while I *try* not to let it affect my decisions, probably is a good way to make me not *want* to suspend people (demand resistance, it’s one of my many crosses to bear), but instead find other ways to express my displeasure. Which is part, I think, of why folks often storm off in a huff instead, because they were kind of hoping I would suspend them or something and me not doing it is even more frustrating. (If anyone is curious, literally no one is suspended right now.)

                                        Mostly, though it’s because – barring completely egregious offenses – I tend not to suspend people until they’ve either kept doing whatever it is I already told them to stop doing, they’ve come back from a suspension and picked that right back up again, or they get in a big dramatic fight with me when I warn them they are courting suspension and refuse to stand down, further breaking the rules as they do so.

                                        None of which you have yet done.

                                        Oh, and I suppose a tiny bit is because I’m consciously giving Koz a lot of slack when he occasionally comments because he’s evidently trying extremely hard to contextualize and clarify his opinions in ways that won’t piss me off as a moderator. He’s not entirely succeeding, but I can see him trying, and I think what he has to say is more interesting as a result (even though it still pisses me off something fierce from a non-moderator point of view, even if I contort myself to be able to understand what he means and what his good intention is — and also (hopefully obviously) I think it’s wrong). Obviously you disagree on where that line should be drawn, and the results of him trying to draw it, and I can see why that would be very frustrating for you. So I am also cutting you some slack (not much slack was needed, as described above) for your reaction to him. As a balance thing. Because I know I’m cutting him slack in the other direction.

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                                  • Because we are never talking about real people.
                                    There is always this weird imaginary voter who totally was going to vote Democrat, but then, something happened :

                                    Some smug college student did something stupid;
                                    Someone said something bad about coal;
                                    Someone said something nice about Muslims;
                                    Or a transgender person walked into a bathroom at Target;

                                    And damn, that just forced them to buy a MAGA hat.

                                    But if only those Democrats had listened to that internet commenter or Dana Milbank or Richard Cohen and not been to uppity/smug/intellectual/metrosexual!

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                                      • We would have made fun of any pundit who only looked at the polls and didn’t talk to the voters in the states, and yet we all do the same thing. It’s a specific example of the overall pattern that internet commenters pretend to have answers on every subject.

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                                      • I’m trying to imagine what I would have had to think like to see Trump coming.

                                        In the general, my mistake was thinking that the long trend in the Midwest — pro-(R), anti-(D), whatever you want to call it — wasn’t going to go far enough this time in places like WI, MI, and western PA to give those states to Trump.

                                        The midterms will be interesting. No one has taken my bet on the outcome yet.

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                                      • To tie this up with some of my earlier comment and the original thing that lit this fuse: There was actually a strong overlap between the people who were saying we should cut it out with the grammar and the people who predicted early on that Trump had a shot.

                                        I should also point out that they were not uniformly against charges of racism, though they did take issue with specific criticisms. I don’t think they were always right, about race or everything else, but looking back I think they were right more frequently than I was.

                                        Some were genuinely anti-Trump, others were pretty neutral. The kind of people accused here of being crypto-Trumpists or whatever. I think I actually thought that of some of them at the time. But in retrospect, I think their lack of skin in the game actually gave them a clearer view of how much salience various avenues of attack would have for the uncommitted and which ones might backfire.

                                        During the election, the only one I looked at and thought that it was a bad thing (as in counterproductive not as in unfair) was deplorables. And even then, I (probably wrongly) decided it likely wouldn’t matter. In other words, being more selective in what we criticized Trump on was the furthest thing from my mind. It turned out not to be a successful strategy.

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                                      • Everyone did not know that.

                                        At that exact point in time, many of us were busy freaking out because it seemed even *possible* that she wouldn’t and we
                                        had an ominous sinking feeling coupled with panic attacks.

                                        As one of those people, you’ll notice I didn’t post on that thread.

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                                  • I have a theory that a lot of people, including our right-leaning posters, are still in a daze about Trump winning. So they are still giving the alt-right types a kid glove treatment.

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                                  • for the 70th time, PLUS a straw poll, the reason that few people on this site give a shit whether the right acts successfully or not, whether the right makes good choices about group three or not, is that the vast majority of commenters have no interest in the right succeeding, and the minority who do, don’t want the GOP to “act successfully” as in get Trump re-elected right now, with maybe 3 or 4 exceptions. Most commenters are either indifferent to the GOP’s success, or will be positively relieved when it fails horribly.

                                    So obviously they *don’t care* whether the right does what it should because they *have already given up on the GOP*. At least for now. Or, *more commonly*, they were voting Democrat to begin with. So they are *invested* in the choices of the party they *want to win*.

                                    Or they are weirdo non-Americans from other countries, that can’t even vote here, and stick around despite every single time somebody (hi @chip-daniels) cheerfully forgets (or just leaves out for the purposes of rhetoric) that this isn’t an Americans-only website, either in its writing content or its comment section.

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                                    • I think that’s part of it. The other thing, though, is that it comes with being the party that lost. The Republicans got a lot of it, right here and out there, from 2013 to 2016. Granted, it turned out people were wrong about which voters they needed to reach out to and they won reaching out to a different set, but the advice was out there.

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                                      • They won by ignoring the advice, well-meaning and otherwise, and choosing the most polarizing and anger-inflected approach instead.

                                        Is it any wonder people on the Left bristle at advice that basically says, “Oh, well, you have to be nicer?”

                                        We were absolutely furious about Bush. We proved it by nominating and electing the perfect tribune of our rage, Barack Obama.

                                        Wait, that doesn’t sound right.

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                                        • They won by ignoring the advice about which voters to try to win over. Not on whether they should be trying to win over voters. It’s a noteworthy distinction.

                                          Can’t speak to the “be less angry” part as I don’t think anger is a problem in and of itself. It’s more of a question of how that anger is directed.

                                          As far as “be nicer” goes, my view was and is that it matters how the partisans treat people. You can win despite it – especially if the other side is pretty bad about it, too – but it’s still more of a liability than an asset. I’ve commented before that the party’s price tag on the ascent of Trump hasn’t come due yet. Unless the Democrats blow it, it’s coming. (Right now I’m still optimistic… in good part because they still haven’t dialed it up to 11.)

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                                          • This may sound pessimistic, but why should we assume the bill will come due?
                                            I hope it does, and nothing would give me more satisfaction than to see that right does make might.

                                            But there isn’t any law of physics to assume that the reactionary white ethnocentrism is destined to fail. They held on to South Africa for decades, against improbable odds. And here they enjoy far greater numbers.

                                            I keep sounding like Hendrix here, that all we got is a red guitar, three chords and the truth.
                                            Maybe we will get a winning coalition of white people, people of color and immigrants, or maybe we won’t.

                                            Because we know, from 2016, that even if we end up with President Kamala Harris, it won’t be a 1964 blowout or a 1984 49-state landslide.

                                            There will be at least a plurality of American voters who look at this shit show, and say “More Please!”

                                            They aren’t confused populists, or honestly mistaken that this will make everyone’s life better.
                                            They aren’t suffering false consciousness or economic anxiety.
                                            This plurality is going to look at every bit of this authoritarianism, racism, misogyny and, like Austin Powers, decide that it is their bag, baby.

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                                            • I don’t think white ethnocentrism is bound to fail. In fact, I’ve been one of the people here saying it’s something we need to be worried about. Until he won, my fear wasn’t Trump, but the guy who would come after him with better messaging and a better persona.

                                              One of the few silver linings is that Trump’s style has made this possibility less likely than it was before. They burned the fields to make this revolution happen. To succeed, they needed someone who would do less to alienate white women and college degreed whites. Someone less overtly lasty, one more selective in his or her antagonism, and one more articulate. Tom Cotton is always the guy I feared. Or worse yet, a woman.

                                              I think the next ten years or so looks a lot better for the Democrats than the Republicans.

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                                              • I think the next ten years or so looks a lot better for the Democrats than the Republicans.

                                                I don’t. I think that things don’t fall apart for the Republicans until 2022. (Which will being the Democrats back to 2006 numbers just in time for 2024 to do the 2008 thing again.)

                                                But this November’s election is going to fizzle like a wet fart. And 2020 will be a replay of 2004.

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                                                • It’s possible the wheels are gonna fall off later than I think. My main thing is that when they fall off, they’re gonna really fall off. So much so they’ll need some real help from the Democrats to put them back on again. (Help they might get.)

                                                  And in the meantime, they will get less done than they otherwise might have in another scenario, and make less of a mark.

                                                  Though the timeline really does matter here, though. The Supreme Court probably hangs in the balance of the 2020 election.

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                                                  • Two variables strike me as the most important. One big, one little.

                                                    The big one is the economy. Economic growth for First Quarter 2018 was recently revised down to 2.2%. Somewhere between 1-2% is “anemic” so we’re .2% better than “anemic”. That’s not very good. The best you can say about that is that it’s not bad.

                                                    2nd quarter needs to be better than that and 3rd quarter needs to be better than 2nd.

                                                    The second variable is the Democratic leadership. They need to not be dumb. The leadership said that they shouldn’t meddle in primaries.

                                                    “One thing we’ve learned at the DNC is that when you, in fact or in perception, are trying to put the thumb on the scale in a spirited primary, that can undermine public confidence in us,” said Perez. “That’s why we’ve been neutral.”

                                                    So what does the leadership do in New York? That’s right! He endorses Cuomo (Andrew variant) over Nixon (Cynthia variant).

                                                    If the leadership is consistently dumb, it won’t matter if growth is merely not bad instead of “good” (defined as 3%).

                                                    But if the economy goes in the toilet, Trump’s goose is cooked.

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