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The Politics Of Eighty Sixing

In a number of food and liquor service industry sectors, the numerical code “86” means “no service” for somewhat obscure reasons. Most often, it refers to a bartender cutting a too-drunk patron off from further alcohol. As I’ve discussed in the past, this happens to be the most common origin of a bar fight. And as Americans have seen in the past three weeks, it has also become a really good way to precipitate a battle in the culture war.

Public Accommodations

The Politics Of Eighty Sixing

This turns out to be not quite true.

Here’s a quick refresher in a legal concept: public accommodations laws. A “public accommodation” is a private business that offers its services and products to the general public. Antidiscrimination laws, including most famously Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibit private merchants engaged in public accommodations from discriminating against customers based on those customers’ memberships in certain specific protected classes. Forty-five of the fifty states have their own state-level anti-discrimination laws affecting public accommodations, some of which have broader scopes than others.1

Protected classes under federal and all of the state laws include race, skin color, national origin, sex, and religion. Other protected classes sometimes chosen by various states in the machinations of their politics include age (usually over 40), past military service, marital status, genetic makeup, disability, and most poignantly here, sexual orientation.

Political orientation is not a protected class under any Federal or state anti-discrimination in public accommodations law. Colorado is one state whose anti-discrimination laws includes sexual orientation in its list of protected classes.

 

Cakes, Christians, and Controversy

wedding cake photo

Photo by Samdogs The Politics Of Eighty Sixing

On June 4, 2018, the United States Supreme Court punted on the hard issue in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd., v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. I commend the terrific writeup on the case by Ordinarian Em Carpenter published the same day to you all. The three-sentence writeup: a Christian baker claimed a free exercise and free speech exception to Colorado’s anti-discrimination in public accommodations law when he was presumptively requested to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Rather than rule on whether there are such exceptions, the Supreme Court instead stated that the Christian baker had been treated disrespectfully during one of four stages of pre-litigation review, and therefore vacated the ruling against him. Thus, the Christian baker was able to 86 the gay couple, despite the public accommodations law.

The White House was strangely quiet about the ruling, despite having instructed the Solicitor General to file an amicus brief in support of the baker’s position,. The White House speaking points for that day were about the economy, and spokesperson Kellyanne Conway, perhaps predictably, did not state the import of the case with anything demonstrating an understanding of legal nuance (discussion begins at about 4:50 into the embedded audio). Even the social-issue sensitive and tweet-happy President was unusually cryptic and belated in his response:

But other social conservative outlets, traditionally enthusiastic supporters of the President, called the baker’s purported “right” to 86 a gay couple based on his own religious beliefs a great victory for freedom. (Traditionally liberal political and cultural actors, of course, had a different take on the matter.) And the public appears to have adopted the oversimplified, un-nuanced, and indeed legally incorrect understanding that a Christian merchant can indeed refuse to do business with gay people because of religious objections. That was, after all, the practical result of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, regardless of the procedurally picayune path picked by the Justices to get there.

 

Cheese Plates

The first most of us heard of the next 86’ing, from Lexington, VIrginia, was again on a tweet:

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is, of course, the White House Press Secretary, who happens to also be the daughter of former Arkansas Governor and current Administration cheerleader Mike Huckabee, who offered this measured statement of support for his adult daughter:

You may decide for yourself whether Governor Huckabee is in a good position to accuse others of bigotry, three hours after having authored another questionable post, to which I will link but not imbed here. The owner of the restaurant has her own story to tell: she received concerns from her staff, arrived to find Sanders, her husband, and six other diners with them eating cheese plates, gathered her staff and took a vote, and then asked Ms. Sanders to leave. She did so, and the rest of her party followed. The owner comped the cheese plates.

In any event, as one would have expected responses from the social right included rough congruence with Huckabee’s sentiments, and the responses from the social left2 was to cheer the restaurant owner on. There was a fair amount of use of the phrase “womp womp” in reference to this bit of fire relevant to a much more significant issue:

It was interesting to notice this immediately on the heels of another bit of social media current, an article with the self-explanatory title “Young Trump staffers are complaining they can’t date in DC because everyone hates them”.

 

Shunning As Political Theater

Now, make no mistake. The Masterpiece Cakeshop case was a setup, basically on both sides, from a very early point. That was always intended to be a bit of political and legal theater. Both sides got political, media-savvy allies right away and angled to keep getting the case reviewed at higher and higher levels until the Supreme Court effectively punted. It was intended to be a fight from a very early point, if not ab initio.

Sarah Sanders legitimately wanted to have dinner with her friends. She was not in Lexington, which is deep in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley,3 a three-and-a-half hour drive from the White House, to make any sort of a political statement. It was her night off.

The Politics Of Eighty SixingAnd while the law remains murky as to the validity of a free exercise exception to public accommodations regulation, the law is not murky at about political affiliations: they are not protected by antidiscrimination law. You can turn someone away from your restaurant because they associate too closely with a political figure you find odious. Just as all of those eligible D.C. singles are not engaged in any kind of actionable discrimination by refusing to date Trump Administration staffers, so too is the Red Hen restaurant not guilty of breaking any law whatsoever.

My question is: how far does this go? We’re living in the Era of Bad Feelings, after all. Some things are intolerable. Other things are not. But in an increasingly polarized age, it’s easy to lose sight of just how much we will tolerate and when it’s time to raise holy hell. And in an age when anything anyone does might blow up into a Social Media Moment, political shunning carries a big risk: it makes it harder for us to talk to each other, harder for us to empathize with each other, harder for us to find common ground and recognize a fellow human in a political adversary.

In a way, it’s the “Nazi punching” debate framed differently, one relating not to the legal and existential necessity of controlling when violence is deployed, but rather to the admittedly lower but escalatable stakes question of when someone is doing something so awful politically that they are not owed the common courtesies one would freely proffer to a complete stranger. I say that’s escalatable, because surely getting kicked out of a restaurant for one’s politics is an infuriating experience, infuriating enough that this very episode probably caused Ms. Sanders to violate an ethics regulation:

I’m torn, myself. I’m firmly convinced that the policies being pursued by the White House are among the worst ideas and most self-destructive political agendas I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, are the products of flagrant corruption and cupidity, are truly echoing dangerous and odious historical precedents, and some are of questionable constitutionality. I want to see these people out of power at the earliest legally legitimate possibility. And I don’t mind a bit if they understand just how unpopular what they’re doing is with America as a whole.

On the other hand, we’re still a nation of a lot of people who made their political choices for a whole bunch of reasons that, maybe I don’t agree with, but some of which I can sort of see and understand. And while there are some people who have been revealed to have really bad motives, there is still, for almost all of us, much more that unites us as a nation than divides us. Our political system demands that we talk to each other, that we make concessions to one another in good faith so that we all can live together peacefully.

And it’s very hard for me to tell how much shunning is enough to send the message to the other side “You’ve gone too far,” and how much crosses the line into “I no longer acknowledge that you are a fellow citizen and a fellow human being.” I can’t but imagine that the baker’s mind would change about the gay couple if he got to know them as people — and their minds would change about him, too. I can’t but imagine that something, some sort of experience, might get Sarah Sanders to understand how so much of the country perceives her as a shameless liar acting as a spokesperson for a political faction whose guiding principle is cruelty, and make her address that in some meaningful way. It might even nudge the White House back towards a more mainstream (still conservative) direction of governing.

Maybe those are just pleasant fantasies and we’re really on the brink of a national divorce. I dearly hope not.

 

  1. If you ask me, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas need to step up to the plate; it’s the twenty-first century. []
  2. and that’s the side of the social equities upon which I found myself on this matter, for the record []
  3. The Shenandoah is heartbreakingly beautiful, if you’ve never had the pleasure of being in it. []

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Pseudonymous. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Lives in Southern California (for now). Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. Homebrewer. Atheist. Likes: respectful and intelligent dialogue, good wine, the Green Bay Packers, and long romantic walks on the beach. Dislikes: mass-produced barley pop, magical thinking, ketchup, and insincere people. If you follow him on Twitter at @burtlikko you may be disappointed.

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313 thoughts on “The Politics Of Eighty Sixing

  1. Our political system demands that we talk to each other, that we make concessions to one another in good faith so that we all can live together peacefully.

    OK, but isn’t this all the more reason to shun Sanders for her endless lies and bad faith?

    Treating her as just another Trump supporter seems to be a bit of an error. This also goes for the question of discrimination you raised, no matter what the answer is from a legal perspective, because she was being removed from the restaurant based on her individual reputation.

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  2. Our political system might require to talk to each other but if there really isn’t that much to talk about when it comes to the Trumpist right. The Trump administration is engaged in behavior that is outrageous. Even if you aren’t to keen on immigration, you should be at least keen on due process rights. Trump isn’t though. As far as I can tell, Trump supporters have no problem with what the administration is doing. They refuse to compromise on even the most minor issue and demand capitulation. Evil does exist and sometimes it needs to be handled rather directly.

    Why should Huckabee expect could treatment at a restaurant with an apparently largely LGBT staff from what I’ve read, when she actively desires their persecution? Why should Nielsen not get heckled out of Mexican restaurant when she treats asylum seekers from Latin America as dirt and defends horrific treatment of children? We aren’t going to inch our way back with dulcet tones of an afternoon tea. Trump needs to go. His supporters act with malice. They need a firm and righteous anger directed at them until they stop.

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  3. Obviously I am on the side of LeeEsq and Pillsy here.

    The problem with the “our political system demands we talk to each other…” bit is that the talking seems damn asymmetrical. This seems to be Murc’s law over and over again. Democrats are the only group with agency. No one expects Trump supporters to reach out to gays or immigrants even though it is clearly evangelicals worrying about losing dominance that give Trump his support. Yet it is minorities and/or the left who must reach out time and time again.

    I don’t know if it is an issue of not caring or not but the Evangelicals don’t seem to realize how much they are pissing people off. Supporting Trump made them lose all moral authority, if they had any.

    The big names in mainstream media are also losing a lot of authority because of constantly soft peddling for Trump voters despite all horribleness. This weeks Aspen “Ideas” festival seems to be going full on the false idea of Trump being because elites forgot about the WWC. The average Trump supporter is a paving contractor in Florida with a 200k boat, not s forgotten man or woman.

    What I don’t understand about the civility trolls is why they insist there is a victory in taking the moral high ground and being subservient. Why does it pay to let Trump and company get away with everything without consequence? Why shouldn’t there be a price for supporting and defending someone as cruel as Trump?

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      • Murc is a regular commenter at the Lawyers, Guns & Money blog. Murc’s law is what Saul said: “Democrats are the only group with agency [in politics].” Typically invoked by Republicans whenever something bad happens. For example, when the Trump administration began separating families seeking refugee status, Trump claimed that he had no choice, his hands were tied by a law passed by the Democrats in 1997, the new blanket “zero tolerance” enforcement policy had nothing to do with it. My favorite is the pundit who asserted that Republicans had to pass a terrible tax bill last year (his description) because the Democrats refused to come up with better bill with massive tax cuts.

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        • Yes, I was just wondering how many folks around here other than Saul and I are that current with that other blog these days.

          By the way, how much agency regarding negative outcomes do FPs at LGM attribute to Democrats? Murc’s Law seems like an unremarkable statement of the viewpoint of committed per-de partisans, which is what the party line at LGM is now – rather explicitly. “You’re attributing too much responsibility for the bad state of the world to my party.” Not a novel claim for a partisan.

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  4. What concessions has the right ever made to the left?

    As far as I can tell, the answer is none. You still have them screaming that the smallest bit of welfare is evil, evil communism. They are still going all in on stripping LBGT people and other minorities of civil rights and fear mongering. See Mike Huckabee. How do you combat this by serving them tea?

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    • This one’s not too difficult to answer when you consider the primary engine that powers Trumpism: The concessions the right has made to the left are civil rights (especially racial) and the associated cultural shifts. Yes, there’s still a ton of screaming, but my point is that conservatives feel they are bending over backwards triply just by not using slurs, etc. Just as a liberal might reluctantly allow decorum to override her anger with Uncle Deplorable on Thanksgiving, the conservative unhappily keeps his mouth shut when first meeting his niece’s wife. (Same-sex marriage still feels, to them, like a liberal feels “Wait, stealing children from their parents is okay now?”)

      That’s the cultural arena in which you see a conservative sense of “My side is giving and giving and they just keep taking” to parallel the same sense held on the left. For example, the first word they use to describe kneeling African-American football players is “ungrateful”. Yes, that seems contradictory to my argument, because it is indeed an example of rightists being uncivil. But my point is that they see the players earning millions of dollars as the “concession”. To them, the neutral ground would be for the players to earn, I dunno, servants’ wages. The white owners (under rightist logic) are charitable enough to provide so much more than that, yet the players have the audacity to complain! So much for civility!

      It’s similar in gender politics — women are already being given jobs, but now they have a whole MeToo thing as if that weren’t enough? And so forth.

      A problem for centrist column-writers is that they can’t frame the equivalency because that implies everything I’ve just accused the right of — racism, sexism, etc. Once that’s conceded, it doesn’t seem so balanced after all, because then it’s not just one side’s “mere policy” versus the other’s, but a genuine moral struggle in which one of the sides is clearly much more in the wrong, thus invalidating centrism to begin with.

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      • I agree. This is the Letters from Brmingham jail problem. There is a kind of centerist that wants order and decorum over actual justice. I don’t know if newspaper columnists are doing this trap consciously or not. It doesn’t really matter. But BSDI and Borderism are strong currents in MSM journalism as is neutrality. So they need to bend over backward to make this work.

        Look at all the heated debate journalists still get into over whether you should use the word lie when Trump lies. They seem constitutionally unable to do so and to recognize any criticism.

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      • Exactly this. The “culture war” was always pretty stark and, in moral terms, utterly one-sided. It was hate versus non-hate.

        If you were on the side of hate, then you were a bad person and need to do a lot of self-reflection.

        There is no middle ground here. There never was. There is no compromise, because a small amount of hate remains hate.

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        • So then we need to understand that the reacting politics is going to look like what the politics of a faction (aka ~40% of the nation) reacting to there being a cultural and moral consensus over decades in roughly another 45-50% of the country that they are bad people is going to look like. If we’re going to go all-in on this analysis.

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          • — “The right wing” always had the options of “losing” the culture ware gracefully, which of course is not really a “loss,” not exactly. Instead, they clung to hate, even when they tried to hide it behind dog whistles. Trump has been implicit among the Republicans for my entire life. He was implicit in the southern strategy, implicit in Reagan, implicit in the (lack of federal response to the) AIDS crisis, implicit in Limbaugh, in Fox News, in Breitbart, etc., etc., etc. The Republicans have been the party of hate for my entire life. They’ve dug deeper and deeper into hate, so much they they’ve chosen fascism over change.

            Violence is coming, because the right hates progress so much, it hates minorities so much, it hates gays and trans people — to infinite degrees. They’d rather burn it all down before they’ll let me use a restroom in peace.

            There is no middle ground between progress and hate. There never was.

            We on the left demand full human dignity, not half measures. Does America deserve to survive?

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            • What does reacting politically gracefully to losing a war in which you are deemed a bad persons precisely *for* your value system look like in your mind? Examples of it in history?

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              • The Europeans opponents of the the welfare state and social democracy learned to live with it with relatively grace and ease. Likewise, European conservatives weren’t happen about the massive social liberalizations that occurred during the 1960s and 1970s but they resisted them less and never tried to re-litigate them like our conservatives did. Our conservatives seem to think that they can refight the mid-20th century. I think the same is true in other developed countries like Australia and New Zealand.

                On a more serious level, most Whites in South Africa seem to have adjusted to the post-Apartheid South Africa with relative ease. More so than White Americans got used to the post-Civl Rights United States or the South did to the emancipation of African-American slaves.

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              • — Do you really not understand?

                Losing gracefully means, “Well, I guess I should stop hating gay people. Maybe I could just accept them in their full human dignity.” Gosh we ask so much.

                Of course, if people literally cannot abandon their hate — welp, look around. It’s almost as if they’re actually what we said they were.

                Again I ask, does this country deserve to survive?

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          • I can remember a time when 40-50% of Americans were opposed to interracial marriage, and violently opposed to gay marriage. They swore they would rather die than accept such things. Until the day came, and they didnt.

            I’m thinking of the adage about the fox and the hare, that the fox was running for his lunch while the hare was running for his life.

            Trumpists are fighting for privilege, while minorities are fighting for their very lives.

            Surrender for Trumpists only means they may have work for minority or serve a lesbian couple. They bray about it being existential, a Flight 93, but it isnt, not really.

            Come President Harris and a Dem Congress the Trumpists will do what their compatriots here in CA did. Suck it up and get on with life.

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      • Joining in, this is very perceptive.

        We have a conflict where the baseline, “red line” position of one side is itself viewed as a major, near-unnacceptable concession by the other.

        “I want to live openly with my same sex partner in peace”; “Mexican immigrants are productive and wonderful people contributing to the American dream” is the redline for some people, but a major giveaway to the other side.

        I keep coming back to the idea that for conservatives, the very concept of a non-hierarchical world where white straight males aren’t the default authority, is a hateful and unacceptable state of things.

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        • I think the world you describe is a very scary world to some, only fear is something that those straight white males are not permitted to express. So you get hatred and anger.

          I’m not saying your description is wrong, I’m just tying it to the older construction of masculinity, which is also changing.

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        • One can openly live with one’s same sex partner in peace without a marriage certificate. One can have the marriage certificate without requiring a particular baker to bake a wedding cake. the red line is quite clearly quite a bit beyond openly living with one’s same sex partner in peace. It much closer to “and everyone else must be happy about it” territory. The red line may nevertheless be in the right place, but it is rhetorically deceptive to say that it is only about openly living with one’s same sex partner in peace.

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          • The red line may nevertheless be in the right place, but it is rhetorically deceptive to say that it is only about openly living with one’s same sex partner in peace.

            Yeah, except the same people throwing an axle now over baking cakes were angry when the Supreme Court handed down Lawrence v. Texas, fought to keep gay people from serving openly in the military, and still support anti-trans “bathroom bills” [1] and Trump’s policy of keeping trans people from serving.

            They have zero interest in letting LGBT people live in peace.

            [1] While citing any opposition to same as an inherent insult aimed at the white working class for some dumbass reasons.

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            • Just because conservatives in their heart of hearts are opposed to gay people living together in peace it does not follow that its okay for progressives to demand that conservatives just stop being conservative.

              The rightness or wrongness of where the red line currently is, is independent of whether conservatives would actually be willing to let gay couples to live in peace. Even if conservatives today all want to reverse lawrence vs texas, that doesn’t make it okay to want to fine anyone* who makes homophobic statements. I’m not saying that either side is equivalent or that any progressive really wants to fine people who make homophobic statements. What I’m saying is that extremism on one side does not justify extremism on the other. The merits or lack thereof of any position on any given issue is independent of what each side’s ideal arrangement might be.

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              • that doesn’t make it okay to want to fine anyone* who makes homophobic statements.

                Wait, we can do that? How come I wasn’t informed of this?

                I find it odd that conservatives, like Erick Erickson are fretting over the concept of a world where social norms demand they be polite and accepting of gay people.

                Since that is exactly what conservatism has always championed, a world of social norms that lay our strictly enforced boundaries of behavior, enforced by shaming and shunning, where certain words simply Are Not Spoken, and certain acts simply Are Not Countenanced.

                What makes them upset isn’t the drawing of boundaries, but to find themselves on the wrong side.

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                • Here’s Rob Dreher complaining about how conservatives are being oppressed by having rainbow colored lanyards be part of the uniform where they work during Pride Month.

                  He also insists “Christians” never tried to force businesses to turn away gay people, apparently forgetting (or more likely, lying about) the endless campaigns waged by the Southern Baptist Convention, National Organization for Marriage, ad nauseam, against Disney World having “Gay Days”, or companies offering domestic partnership benefits to gay employees, or any of the rest of it because it would interfere with the self-pitying bullshit that earns him his paychecks.

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                • Obviously I did not mean that we could do that or anyone was thinking of doing that. I was using it as an example of an obviously wrong way to go about protecting LGBT interests in the face of even greater extremism from the right.

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              • Just because conservatives in their heart of hearts are opposed to gay people living together in peace it does not follow that its okay for progressives to demand that conservatives just stop being conservative.

                Um why not? If homophobic conservatives are correct in their contention that conservatism entails a refusal to allow LGBT people to live in peace, why shouldn’t progressives regard it as a wholly corrupt doctrine that no decent person would hold?

                And if they’re wrong about what conservatism entails, why are they insisting that bigoted bakers aren’t bigots? Because the whole right-wing response to Masterpiece Cakes and the like hasn’t stopped with an ACLU-defending-Skokie-Nazis line that even the worst people in the world deserve their rights. No, it’s an endless insistence that the bakers are totally fine people who haven’t done anything wrong.

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          • — No. In fact, fuck no. We demand nothing less than full equality, full dignity, and full participation in public life. If that seems “radical” to you, then that tells me what I need to know about you.

            You cannot draw a symmetry between those who hate and those who are the target of hate. Nor can you draw a symmetry between those who fight for their dignity and those who cling to their bigotry. Again, you are making yourself an apologist for something very terrible.

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            • You can’t draw up the rules of engagement on the assumption that you’ve got the objectively correct account of morality. If everyone tried to do that, they couldn’t agree on the rules of engagement. And that defeats the point having rules of engagement in the first place. Rules of engagement are there so that people who disagree about what morality requires can interact peacefully without biting off each others’ heads. Rules of engagement therefore have to be drawn up in a way such that everyone could come to accept them. We need to bracket significant moral or political controversies and decide on a method of resolving those disputes.

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              • You can’t draw up the rules of engagement on the assumption that you’ve got the objectively correct account of morality.

                I don’t see the more hardcore leftists taking kindly to that kind of common sense.

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                • Dude the people we’re complaining about drew up “rules of engagement” that allowed them to throw people in jail for having consensual sex with someone of the same gender.

                  But yeah, they really are all about live and let live.

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                    • What, the “hardcore leftists” are supposed to unilaterally draw up rules of engagement and adhere to them no matter what the rightists, hard core and otherwise, do?

                      How many times are we supposed to get kicked in the face before we decide that the game is bullshit and the “rules of engagement” aren’t actually binding on anyone?

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              • — No half measures with hate groups. The “rules of engagement” are precisely what I said: full equality, full dignity, full ability to exist in public. We won’t compromise with hate.

                We’ll burn it all down for this. In other words, John Brown was a hero. The Civil War was justified. Stonewall was a riot. No justice, no peace.

                Moral cowards can hide in their holes. I’m gonna make the fascists fucking choke on me.

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                • At least I can admire the honesty. Let’s just cut the bullshit and say fuck liberal democracy, fuck constitutional norms and fuck anyone that doesn’t sign on to what we believe. That’s how I pretty much view the far left anyway so it’s good to actually hear it so I know I’m right.

                  And people wonder why I trust leftists as far as I throw them.

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                  • Constitutional norms like the right to privacy and equal protection under the laws? Because it looks to me that this is exactly what is demanding, and it’s the wingnuts you’re defending who have a problem with them.

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                  • — Did you read my demands: full equality, full dignity, and full participation in public life.

                    Which seems invalid to you? Which would you give up, if a large percentage of the population decided you were human garbage due to nothing more than an accident of your birth?

                    This is liberalism in the classic sense, at least if liberalism should mean anything. These are the exact things that MLK fought for (for black people), and that we LGBT people demand in full measure. We’re taking the liberal promise at face value and refusing to accept hypocrisy.

                    Fuck all you bigots who expect us to crawl and beg for scraps. We’re human beings, worth just as much as you. No, we won’t compromise with small-minded, petty jerks who cling to the most hateful scraps of Christian scripture, who in turn leave no room for love, charity, or grace. They make themselves monsters. They choose hate.

                    So yeah, we queers are gonna fuck up your shit.

                    I’m done pretending. Trumpism has revealed clearly the truth I always knew. If America collapses, it deserves to collapse.

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                    • In the interest of transparency I’m going to point out that I’m assuming you’re using “you” in the general sense as you have a habit of doing, and not specifically addressing Dave with it.

                      Calling Dave a bigot and etc is out of bounds because it’s not a response to his beliefs or to what he’s argued, but rather to what you assume his argument implies about his beliefs.

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                      • — Honestly I don’t much distinguish between bigots and those who argue on their behalf. After all, the bigot thrives when they have a whole society of “nice moderates” willing to support them and make the comfortable. So whatever. Someone who tells me my demands for dignity or equality are “radical” or “too much” is an apologist for hate. Do what you need to do.

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                • Yeah, that’s not hateful at all Your murder and arson will be righteous.

                  Of course, I still remember when you said the Pulse shooting was 100% the fault of republicans and Christians and anyone who disagreed with you was a transphobe.

                  I also remember you laughing about how your antifa buds would beat people. I even remember how you admitted that they were just gay-bashers with a different focus for their hate and you said that was fine cause you like to watch certain people bleed.

                  Then again, you’ve said a lot of things.

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                  • I’ve laid out before that bringing up everyone’s past overheated and unacceptable statements is not a privilege afforded to anyone other than myself.

                    Stop.

                    A general note that if the moderator literally can’t keep up to the angry uncivil behavior on the post, the comments get shut down.

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      • I agree with your excellent point with one caveat; the right has made few to no actual concessions to the left. On the civil rights front pretty much every advancement minorities have gained has been prised from the iron fisted resistance of the right through brutal legislative, court and public opinion battles. Concessions are given, are they not? So by those lights what has the right conceded?

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    • Oh dear.

      For the sake of simplicity, let’s just look at the horrible Bush years.

      No Child Left Behind [341-81/87-10]
      Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act [240-189/60-40]
      Sarbanes–Oxley Act [423-3/99-0]
      Medicare Modernization Act [220-215/54-44]
      Pension Protection Act of 2006
      Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

      The Obama years are certainly leaner:
      2010 Tax Relief Act (hah) [227-148/87-19]
      2011 Patriot Act Extension (hah, hah)
      Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 [332-94/64-36]

      …and I don’t even like the Republican party.

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  5. In order for civility and peaceful dialogue to take place, there need to be boundaries, “red lines” as they are called in the diplomatic world.
    The are called that, because when they get crossed, diplomacy ends and warmaking begins.

    And the most important thing we can do in relationships is define those lines. No one can define them for you, they are just a reflection on what is sacred and inviolable to us. And yes,its important to be judicious in defining them.

    The Trumpists have crossed so many red lines of decency and humanity, the rest of us are just refusing to play along.

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  6. As someone on the other side, what the owner did is within her rights.

    I think it was a bad move to upset potentially 50% of those that frequent her establishment, but that is her choice to make. We shall see if and uptick of support from the left leaning customers out weighs the drop off of support from the right leaning customers.

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  7. I’ll jump straight to the Godwin card. Adolf Hitler walks into a kosher deli and orders the corned beef special. Is it reasonable for the deli to refuse him service, or should we cluck our tongues in disapproval at such a breach of civility? If we concede the former, then all similar questions are merely about where to draw the line. Clearly that line has, in the opinion of many people, been crossed. I can’t disagree.

    To put it another way, are Huckabee Sanders’ actions acceptable or not? To be blunt, is it acceptable to actively pursue a policy of child abuse? If we agree that this is not acceptable, then it would be inconsistent to then turn around by clucking our tongues in disapproval but by no means suggesting that this disapproval should in any way affect her. That is merely accepting the behavior while reserving the right to feel self-satisfaction about having clucked our tongues.

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    • I’d go a bit less far. A group of black men wearing suits and bow-ties comes into your restaurant, very likely Nation of Islam. Do you seat them? Yes, because you don’t discriminate on race or religion.
      Now you see that one is Farrakhan. Can you refuse to seat him because he’s an anti-Semitic SOB? Yes.

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    • If you’re going to invoke Adolf Hitler, then you’re pointing to death camps, mass murder, & genocide. The current number of dead bodies is… zero? (Or did I miss something?)

      By crying wolf now, you’ve left yourself nowhere to go if Trump starts killing people.

      To be blunt, is it acceptable to actively pursue a policy of child abuse? If we agree that this is not acceptable…

      Are we letting out all prisoners if they have children, or just the ones who commit crimes the Left finds politically acceptable?

      Big picture is we have stupid policies and laws, which invite abuse and result in insanity. Trump doesn’t see that because he has no conscious or morals, so he’s fine with implementing them in the most restrictive manner possible.

      But to the best of my knowledge, no one has accused Trump of any crimes in doing this. Child abuse is a crime. This is a weird situation where the law of the United States apparently isn’t the law of the United States, and that should be the focus.

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      • If you’re going to invoke Adolf Hitler, then you’re pointing to death camps, mass murder, & genocide.

        Or, as the more careful readers noted, I used Hitler to make the point that there is a line. To point out that there is a line, and that Hitler is on the wrong side of it, does not imply that everyone else on the wrong side is just like Hitler in every way.

        The current number of dead bodies is… zero? (Or did I miss something?)

        This is a nice illustration of the point that one can be on the wrong side of that line without being identical to Hitler in every way. Actual death camps are out of fashion, but death by neglect very much is.

        Are we letting out all prisoners if they have children, or just the ones who commit crimes the Left finds politically acceptable?

        And here we jump to the defense of child abuse, as if the only alternative were rapists and murderers roaming the streets.

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        • But its not just rapists and murderers who are in jail who might have a family. Its also petty criminals, tax cheats, fraudsters, non-violent drug offenders etc.

          There are many people in prison who are in prison because of things that ought not to be crimes. Some are in prison for things that ought to be crimes but don’t pose any immediate danger to society. Many of these people may also have young children.

          The wrong isn’t in the mere separation of any given child with any given parent. Nor is it separation of children from parents for things which ought not to be crimes. What strikes us as wrong is that children are separated from both parents. For any other type of crime, usually only one of the parents is separated from the children. Or instead there are grandparents who can step into the breach. Children still have a home of sorts to go to. They can continue going to school, playing with friends and otherwise falling into patterns of life which will in all likelihood lead them to the same places as their parents. There is little necessity to make the children of criminals wards of the state. What is troubling about the immigration case is that the separation of children from all their caregivers is so pervasive as to bring to stark relief the question of what social good the law serves.

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      • By invoking “He hasn’t committed any crimes” you draw a comparison to the fact that Hitler never broke any laws.

        See how silly that sounds?

        Per my comments on the historical levels of violence in America, everyone always thinks Nazi analogies are wild hyperbole, as if such a thing is unthinkable here.

        As if there is some magic shield between enslaving millions of people, slaughtering thousands of natives, and instilling a reign of race-based terror that lasted for centuries.

        We already have had a Crystal Night, when entire black towns were burned and looted by white mobs. We have already had a slow moving ethnic cleansing when natives were forcibly removed from their land.

        So why does anyone think it is silly to imagine millions of Hispanic immigrants arrested, imprisoned, and forced to work without pay in the fields, under the 13th Amendment loophole allowing prison labor?

        Why does anyone think Jeff Sessions doesn’t dream about a new Jim Crow?

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        • By invoking “He hasn’t committed any crimes” you draw a comparison to the fact that Hitler never broke any laws.

          So only laws Liberals like should be enforced? All other laws should be ignored because of Hitler?

          We already have had a Crystal Night, when entire black towns were burned and looted by white mobs. We have already had a slow moving ethnic cleansing when natives were forcibly removed from their land.

          If you’re going to invoke the last 240 years of history, then you’ve set an ethical bar so high that no country can pass it. You’re also blaming Trump for events which predate his grandparents.

          Why does anyone think Jeff Sessions doesn’t dream about a new Jim Crow?

          You have a telepath to examine him when he’s not executing members of the KKK?

          As if there is some magic shield between enslaving millions of people, slaughtering thousands of natives, and instilling a reign of race-based terror that lasted for centuries.

          Wonderful statement. This whole argument is triggering, hysteria, over reaction, hyperventilating, and plays directly into Trump’s hands.

          He can do things which are wrong without “enslaving millions of people” and you’re setting the ethical bar so low that he can’t help but pass. He can’t prove he’s not evil (because he is), but he looks like an angel if he’s compared to Hitler. If we’re trying to stop him from committing mass murder, then that’s a waste of resources and we can’t help but succeed. Of course that’s not actually accomplishing anything but whatever.

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          • “So only laws Liberals like should be enforced? All other laws should be ignored because of Hitler?”

            I think the thing is that all *morally abhorrent laws* (such as taking young babies away from their parents without even the flimsy protections to those babies afforded by the domestic incarceration system) should be ignored, flouted, and/or revoked because of Hitler. Not because Hitler == Trump, but because Hitler *proved* on a global scale that the way to destroy moral sense in a country is to start with a bunch of (only relatively) minor, but nonetheless utterly morally abhorrent, laws (eg “Jews can’t own businesses” “everyone in these categories has to wear these little pieces of fabric,”) and scale up gradually from there to the mass murder stuff.

            We know where stuff like “we can disappear babies” *leads to*. Because Hitler. (And indeed, I would guess that is *why* the whole country regardless of politics, including many Trump supporters who pretended to disagree in public but worked on legislation in slightly less public, rose up against Trump when he tried to get away with disappearing babies. I mean, not that ICE and DHS aren’t still keeping them disappeared at the moment…. but I do have some hope they’ll get undisappeared – and the protest / countermovement / investigation was and is real and effective.)

            That’s the link. Not a false equivalence.

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            • I think the point is shooting for is that Trump has crafted nor requested and gotten new laws that allow him to take these actions. The laws were there long before Trump showed up.

              The problem we have isn’t Trump, per se, it’s that our legislators and judges have gotten complacent and have been operating under the assumption that no executive would ever take the letter of the law to some reprehensible extreme (except in those imaginary edge cases where it might be necessary). Hence they have been lazy in crafting and interpreting laws, comfortable in the knowledge that no one would ever go THAT far in executing them except in very rare cases, and then turning a blind eye to the fact that the executive branch routinely goes THAT far and more, but only with highly unsympathetic characters no one really cares about (see: just about everything Balko has written, among others).

              Trump is just going THAT far with sympathetic characters.

              Perhaps if we don’t like what Trump is able to do, we should demand more from the people who grant his office such power.

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              • I agree with all that.

                I just think that this includes the courts stepping in and being like, “Look, clearly we all have been making bad assumptions about the President not being a dude who desperately needs a POOR IMPULSE CONTROL forehead tattoo, but since those assumptions are bad, let’s not be bound by them now.”

                Because the other branches aren’t going to be able to check an out-of-control Executive if their priority is pointing at each other and saying, “You fix this!”

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              • One of the reasons we’re separating children is because once Obama started letting adults walk in unhindered as long as they had a child with them, coyotes, drug runners, cartel members, and gang members started kidnapping Mexican children to use as a stay-out-of-jail card. That’s one of the reasons we’ve been discussing DNA testing of all parent/child groups who cross the border illegally.

                The other reason is that we don’t send children to jail just because their parents are in jail. Tons of US citizen children are in foster care because their parents are incarcerated, but those children are mostly black so nobody on the left cares.

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                      • “One of the reasons we’re separating children is because once Obama started letting adults walk in unhindered as long as they had a child with them, coyotes, drug runners, cartel members, and gang members started kidnapping Mexican children to use as a stay-out-of-jail card.”

                        I’ve heard such stories, and the law does allow or even encourage this kind of behaviour.

                        “The other reason is that we don’t send children to jail just because their parents are in jail. Tons of US citizen children are in foster care because their parents are incarcerated, but those children are mostly black so nobody on the left cares.”

                        We don’t send children to jail. If a person commits a crime with his child present, the child would be sent to foster care, right? So what’s wrong with the statement? Is it that the statements combined claim to account for all the reasons for the law? Or what?

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                • “but those children are mostly black so nobody on the left cares.”

                  One more statement like that and you’re back to your suspension schedule. I’d have to look it up to see how long the suspension would be this time. A month? Six months? Don’t make me look it up. (And I reserve the right, as always, to go off-schedule to something more serious if I need to.)

                  I think you know better, I think you know how utterly inaccurate what you just said is, and I’m telling you to rein it in now.

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  8. One could (and some people on the twitters have) make the argument that given the reasonable choices, 86’ing Ms. Sanders was the civil thing to do. I mean, compared to her getting potentially tampered with food (I’ve known restaurant staff who did this to people) or getting hectored at her table by irate staff or heck, the owner herself.

    I was fine with the Masterpiece guy not baking the cake (despite being FIRMLY against the people who have taken up the NO GAYS ALLOWED signage in the wake of that decision), although also fine with thinking he was a jerkface I wouldn’t want to do business with. And I am fine with people declining to serve Ms. Sanders. I actually think it’s somewhat brave, given her relative power and theirs, and the corruptness of the administration. (I mean, she complained about it *from her official account* … how far we have fallen, if you want to complain about courtesy, let alone the legal angle.)

    Customer service isn’t just “courtesy”, it really is *service*, and I’m okay with it being dependent on the servers not having reason to think you’re an asshole. (Store owners regularly refuse to help people who are – by their lights – liars, thieves, and/or verbally abusive, and she is on public record as being at least two of those things at one point or another.) I couldn’t help her at the library without bringing up the whole “pretty sure you think I’m subhuman” thing (even if I think I should), and I don’t blame the servers for feeling the same way (at least a majority of them did). I think the maximally moral thing for the owner to do would have been to say “Look, a lot of my servers think you think they/we are subhuman, that makes me uncomfortable, but I’d be happy to feed you on the house if you’ll listen to why we think that and the rest of our concerns, otherwise just leave please.”

    But there are also more than enough egregiously immoral acts going around (you linked to many of ’em) that I’m not overly inclined to get scrupulous with someone over an 86-ing.

    Out of curiosity, given your tornness etc – would you take her on as a client, in the hypothetical world where she asked you to? I see that as similar to the act of serving her dinner, albeit to a different time scale…

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    • You know, I might. I might take her on as a client if the case involved something particularly interesting and important to me. I can’t imagine what that might be as I’m sitting here eating my breakfast, but I can sort of vaguely imagine that such a thing might exist.

      There’d be two conditions. First, I’d tell her “My politics are different than yours, and I’m only signing on if you give me license to do this case my way. If you have other ways you want to handle the matter, other arguments you want to make, there are many other lawyers out there and one will surely accommodate.” And she’d have to agree to that and probably wouldn’t.

      Second, the first time I caught her lying to me, in my capacity as her lawyer about something relevant to the case, would also be the last. Lying in this case is not just saying an untruth but prevaricating or evading an unpleasant truth: I need complete candor from my clients or else a) bad things happen in court that I could have prevented or at least steered to a less-bad result, and b) I lose trust in the client’s veracity and will become ethically conflicted advancing the client’s direct testimony and thus lose the ability to function effectively as an advocate. This is not a requirement that I impose on a client like her specially, but given how she’s conducted herself in her official capacity, it’s something I’d make a point to tell her.

      To the point though: for an ordinary matter, yes, I’d probably tell her she’d be better off finding a different lawyer, I’ll keep confidential anything you’ve told me but I won’t be your lawyer. I might argue “a bespoke professional service is a bit different than the somewhat more commoditized service of taking orders, making menu suggestions, delivering and presenting food,” but the truth is that is at best a matter of degree. And I think I conceded in the essay, and there’s broad consensus in agreement, that the restaurant was within its rights to turn her away.

      I don’t have absolute discretion as a lawyer about which clients I accept and which clients I reject. I have very broad discretion, but like anyone else proffering services to the public, the basis for my decision cannot be the prospective client’s membership in a protected class. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is, in her capacity as a Republican and a Trump associate, not a member of any protected class. I’d hope that as a lawyer, I’d be smart enough at the time to contemporaneously document the reason for my declining the proffered representation, but most people in most capacities aren’t going to think to do that.

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      • See, I happen to think food service, while not garnering much respect, is (when done properly, regardless of how costly the food is) as close to a holy and universal act as we have in this day and age. (Which has implications both for and against their moral obligations in this case.)

        But then I’ve known a lot of waiters.

        In any case, thank you for the thoughtful answer.

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      • To be fair to the baker/florist, they see their labor with regards to public events such as wedding receptions to be a bespoke professional service as well, and they are not denying service in general to gay people, just that bespoke service for that specific event.

        This is the tricky bit. Sexual orientation is protected, but events?

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  9. Over the last week or so, Trump’s support has been increasing, the Dems generic lead has been decreasing and more people are saying the country is on the right track.

    Mr. Trump has also retained support across a range of demographics other than the working-class voters who are most identified with him. This includes portions of the wealthy college-educated people in swing counties, like Virginia’s Loudoun, in the country’s most politically competitive states.

    Many of these voters say their lives and the country are improving under his presidency, and the endless stream of tough cable news coverage and bad headlines about Mr. Trump only galvanizes them further — even though some displayed discomfort on their faces when asked about the child separation policy, and expressed misgivings about the president’s character.

    As Critics Assail Trump, His Supporters Dig In Deeper – NYT

    I don’t think this is gonna help the D’s. But hey, bubblers are gonna bubble.

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    • If the past week really has made Trump supporters dig in deeper, they are awful people, and Burt’s suggestion that dialog would be useful is clearly false. The only option is to motivate the Dem base as much as possible, and this sort of symbolic gesture is good for that.

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      • If that is true, then we are going to see the pendulum of what kind of policy and government we get out of different political factions taking power swing to farther and farther extremes every time.

        Already, consider what, say, the Gillibrand Administration would need to do in order to simply undo what Trump has done, starting in 2021. And anticipate what it will be portrayed as by Republican and conservative opinion leaders, the sort of people who started out in February of 2009 saying Obama was literally Hitler, and turned it up to 11 from there.

        This is why I’m torn. If we can’t talk to each other at all, if we’re unwilling to make any accommodations to one another ever, if it’s really winner-take-all, all the time, then our goose is cooked. “You’re in the minority, so sit down and shut up we’re running the show and if you don’t like it try winning next time!” is not to be found anywhere in the Federalist Papers. Our system of government is not set up to handle that as a prevailing ethic.

        Great Britain’s system is kind of set up that way. Kind of. The release valve of a no-confidence vote provides a sort of check against the majority party from going too far. We don’t have such a thing in our system; what we have is impeachment which is a whole hell of a lot harder because unlike a Parliamentary no-confidence vote, impeachment requires a supermajority in the Senate to convict.

        But what if we did have this? Who here thinks that if we had the equivalent of a no-confidence vote in Congress such a motion would garner sufficient Republican support in today’s environment to ever prevail?

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        • This is why I’m torn. If we can’t talk to each other at all, if we’re unwilling to make any accommodations to one another ever, if it’s really winner-take-all, all the time, then our goose is cooked. “You’re in the minority, so sit down and shut up we’re running the show and if you don’t like it try winning next time!” is not to be found anywhere in the Federalist Papers. Our system of government is not set up to handle that as a prevailing ethic.

          So what’s the alternative for people on the Left?

          The way the Right responded to Obama (which you yourself cited) shows pretty clearly that being conciliatory is useless, since the Right will just make up a bunch of deranged lies about how what we’re doing is Evil, Actually, and then make one of their biggest and most enthusiastic deranged liars President.

          How many times do we have to let them kick us in the face before we’re allowed to get the message?

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        • We are talking to each other.

          We just don’t like what we are hearing.

          When the Trumpists say “Mexicans are drug mules, rapists, and child sex slavers” that isn’t a negotiating tactic, an excess of hyperbole, a rhetorical flourish…they mean it, every word.

          There’s that line in The Sum Of All Fears where Kevin Costner is looking at the data, and says “it doesn’t add up” and Morgan Freeman replies “You just don’t like what it adds up to.”

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        • Who here thinks that if we had the equivalent of a no-confidence vote in Congress such a motion would garner sufficient Republican support in today’s environment to ever prevail?

          Outline how a Congressional vote to kick the President out — or at least force him/her to stand for election again — that doesn’t require an impeachment sort of majority somewhere along the line would work in the contemporary US system, and I might be willing to take a swing at an answer. By contemporary, I mean include parties, that the President now has considerable delegated legislative ability of his/her own, that Congressional and Presidential elections are separate, and that the election process makes it possible for a radical outsider like Trump to win. The UK’s system is as close to a guarantee that the PM will be a long-time political insider with deep connections to the legislature as you’re likely to see.

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          • My suggestion (and this would require a constitutional amendment) would be to give the Senate or HR (or potentially both….but I’d prefer the power to reside in the Senate) the ability to vote no confidence for cabinet-level officials. In other words, I’d edge the US to be more like a mixed President-Parliament system like the French have.

            Not sure this answers your point about political insiderness, though.

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        • I want to focus on this comment. We seem to be at a stress test for the American government and Constitution. We are seeing where it fails. Why is it better to have enforced comity for the sake of Constitution than finding a system that is more realistic?

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            • Given how violence has erupted every other time the dominance of white men was challenged, I think this is about right.

              On the other hand, we got through those periods better than we went into them.

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            • This is a real concern but as Chip and Veronica noticed, violence has already occurred. I admit to being a very strident partisan and a fed up one but the issue I have is that it always feels like the calls for calming things down end up feeling like telling Democrats that they need to stand down and take it on the chin again and again.

              A lot of people really want politics to be high-minded and think that politics is better when it appeals to the better angels of our nature but this might not be so in reality. It seems like a lot of Ostriching is still going on to deny this.

              Yes there seem to be more high ground people in the Democratic Party but Arne Duncan is very low on the list of “adverse events are going to happen to me because of the Trump admin” groups of people. So it feels kind of “privileged” to hear a tut tut from him.

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              • I’m thinking of how much violence has been swept under the rug of history.

                In the 1920, there was a lynching once a week in the South. The Tulsa Massacre The Homestead Massacre, all things that are well documented, but conveniently overlooked by most historical accounts.

                On the eve of WWII 20,000 Nazis marched and rallied in Madison Square Garden, yet I never read it in any of my history textbooks.

                Even the violence of the Civil Rights era, with its murders and beatings are suppressed under the sepia gauze of the sainted MLK who apparently just wanted everyone to get along or something nice like that.

                The Chicago Convention, the Watts Riots, Newark riots, Kent State; 1992 Rodney King riots, all things have have happened in my lifetime, yet the tone police react as if sharp language is a horrific anomaly.

                As that Great Communicator, Ronald Reagan once said, “Well if there needs to be a bloodbath, lets get on with it.”

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                • FWIW I learned about this stuff but I grew up in a liberal school district where half the students were Jewish and another quarter were Asian-American. Then I went to a SLAC designed to teach this stuff.

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            • All things being equal, the Westminister system seems to be a lot more stable than the American system with a separate executive and legislature. It is possible that a Trump-esque parliamentarian can rise to PM but seems more unlikely. Can you see Trump moving anywhere that would elect him to the House of Representatives? Parliament also allows for coalition governments which tends to stamp out extremists parties while giving them a small release valve. So you might get a broader center-left coalition featuring Democrats with further left parties instead of Chapo types going about preening on their righteous purity.

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              • There are other, subtler constraints in the Westminster system too. For one thing, our parties do not hold the the massive gaudy primaries that are common in the US – typically the central party maintains a lot of influence over who is nominated, and you don’t have public debates or rallies or anything like that. That means that Trump’s insurgent campaign could have easily been torpedoed by the party leadership, and he would have found campaigning much less fun than it was for him in 2016.

                Also, the Westminster system has no concept of the unitary executive. Parliament routinely grants parts of the Executive Branch independence from the Prime Minister and Cabinet, everything from Statistics New Zealand’s release of official statistics to The Police’s investigation of crimes.

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                • In Canada, party members at large vote for party leader, in what are I guess conceptually similar ways to primaries.

                  What Canadian party leadership campaigns don’t have is the weird synchronized months long cross-country tour thing. Parties schedule their own leadership conventions at need when the existing leader resigns, not at a fixed time relative to election. There is a campaign period of a month or two, a voting period ranging between a day and a week depending on the party’s internal rules (none of them have different voting periods for different provinces), the polls close, results are counted, and the party has a new leader.

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                  • Huh, weird. I think only The Greens do that here, although Labour has a membership vote count for a share of who wins the leadership. The other parties still have lead rshipmdet ruined strictly by the caucas.

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        • Our system of government is not set up to handle that as a prevailing ethic.

          I have a question for you that’s hypothetical, but not completely implausible. Let’s say that the GOP gains five or so Senate seats in the next two cycles and Kristen Gillibrand defeats Trump or another Republican for the Presidency in 2020.

          At some time, shortly before or shortly after Election Day 2020, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announces a list of potential Supreme Court nominees, consisting of the current publicly published list for President Trump, plus maybe a few hypothetical nominees regarded as straight down the middle centrist, and nobody regarded as left-of-center.

          Given the way the libs and Demos have treated nominee Gorsuch as well as the other judicial nominees from President Trump, is this something that Leader McConnell or Republicans in general should forgo? And if not, is there some plausible horse trade that we could collectively pull off beforehand to prevent this from going into effect?

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          • I’m not sure how this could even happen, though.

            We have a well-established norm that there can be no SCOTUS confirmations in an election year.

            So 2018 is off the table, and really, since 2019 is just gearing up for 2020, there can be no SCOTUS nominations until after January 2021.

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            • You’re not reading close enough Chip. What I’m saying is whether the GOP, with 55+ seats in the Senate, should prevent President Gillibrand or another lib from successfully appointing a new lib Justice for the duration of her 4 year term (or indefinitely, for that matter, until a GOP President takes over again, remaining in continuous session to prevent recess appointments, etc etc)?

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          • Given the Garland precedent, I would predict that the Supreme Court would have to deal with short staffing again until and unless the partisan alignments change. It wouldn’t matter if President Gillibrand appointed Jesus Christ With A JD Himself.

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            • I’m not sure if this answers the question either. Presumably you’d be okay with Ginsburg dying, Breyer retiring and President Gillibrand either not being able to replace them or being forced to choose among a list of conservative/moderate lawyers, thereby guaranteeing a de facto conservative Court?

              And if that doesn’t work for you, is there anything in particular you’d concede to Mitch McConnell to prevent that from happening?

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              • “Okay with” as a matter of the Constitution and the norms of its interpretation and application? Or “okay with” as a matter of personal political preference? Because I’m not okay with it either way, but for different reasons.

                As viewed through the first lens, I am not okay with it because the model that has evolved throughout the history of the Republic has been for the President to propose and Congress to dispose. And traditionally, Congress has viewed its disposition role as “making sure that the person is able to serve,” and we can debate whether Congress overstepped that role with the Bork hearings. I hope that we can also agree that the Bob Bork ship sailed a long long time ago.

                As viewed through the second lens, I’d like a nine judge panel that effectively re-creates the Warren Court in the contemporary era, please. I’m not going to get it.

                I’m satisfied that if Republicans win the White House they get to choose nominees and accept that this is roughly the political will of the people as a whole. I think McConnell’s refusal to consider Garland was a subversion of that: when you win the Presidency you win the right to make nominations to SCOTUS vacancies that may occur during your term of office.

                Let’s put it another way. Let’s say it’s October of 2020 and Trump is obviously going down in flames the next month. The GOP has a one-seat majority in the Senate. We lose Justice Ginsburg without warning. And President Trump nominates, say, Jeanine Pirro to the Supreme Court.

                Are you okay with McConnell rushing through Judge Pirro’s confirmation hearings before the election? Because that’s what he’d do, I’d bet my mortgage on it.

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                • Are you okay with McConnell rushing through Judge Pirro’s confirmation hearings before the election? Because that’s what he’d do, I’d bet my mortgage on it.

                  This is interesting comment, for now let’s just deal with this. What office do you anticipate Judge Pirro being nominated to? I doubt very much if it would be SCOTUS. And if somehow she were, I also doubt very much Mitch McConnell would be enthusiastic about it. I’d be very much interested in you elaborating on this, if in fact this is what you mean.

                  Are you thinking of a executive branch job for Judge Pirro maybe? That seems more plausible to me. But that could happen at any time, and it doesn’t seem like its something that requires rushed hearings.

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                  • Sorry, I misread your earlier comment. You are talking about SCOTUS.

                    That scenario is not credible for me considering that there’s already a list of nominees-in-waiting and if there’s a new vacancy one of them will come off that list.

                    If by some miracle the nominee is Judge Pirro, no I don’t anticipate Mitch McConnell will react favorably to that (nor will I for that matter).

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                • I hope that we can also agree that the Bob Bork ship sailed a long long time ago.

                  As far as the rest of your comment goes, I’m thinking of Gorsuch as much as anything else.

                  The idea that the President proposes and Congress disposes certainly has a lot of tradition behind it, but it’s not at all clear that’s where we stand at the present point of evolution, and it’s less clear that that’s where the D’s stand at our present point of evolution.

                  Given that, we go back to the original question. Why should the GOP forgo using a substantial Senate majority to force her to name ideologically sympathetic SCOTUS nominees? Or alternatively, what should the D’s horse trade to prevent that from happening?

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                  • In such a scenario, I anticipate that the Democrats would not play ball. They would have a credible argument to make that “President Gillibrand won the election and the people chose her to select nominees to the court, not the Federalist Society.” And that argument has the weight of tradition behind it. McConnell would have a non-risible re-interpretation of Constitutional text, but would pretty clearly be offering this unprecedented interpretation for partisan advantage.

                    This would cheapen the Court and diminish its status as existing to a degree above politics. McConnell, not Gillibrand, would bear the burden of that stain, though it’s clear after the Garland-Gorsuch affair that he cares not a whit about that.

                    So what should happen in that case is for the vacancy on the Court to remain unfilled, unfortunately.

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                    • This is the future I think we have. No successful nominations unless the same party controls both. Which means that SCOTUS appointments will become increasingly partisan and more extreme until it’s just another political entity.

                      This all reminds me of the big blow up when Republicans filibustered Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense and I read a pundit claim that Hagel wasn’t a “real” Republican and his nomination was a slap in the face to Republicans, as though it was Obama’s duty to nominate not just a Republican but a staunchly loyal Republican to his cabinet.

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                    • This is an interesting attempt at an answer, but I don’t think you have really thought it through, and it’s worth more attention.

                      First of all, as an actual hypothetical this is mostly about what happens _before_ November 2020 with the intent to manage what happens _afterwards_. So by the time President Gillibrand is forced to nominate a conservative Justice (or defies the Senate and nominates a lib), for the most part the horse has left the barn.

                      So, is there anything you’d be willing to trade away in consideration of Leader McConnell not doing that? My guess is no, but maybe there is something. And if not, is there some particular argument that you have why the GOP should forgo this?

                      “President Gillibrand won the election and the people chose her to select nominees to the court, not the Federalist Society.” And that argument has the weight of tradition behind it.

                      I think you have to concede that this was a pretty weak argument on behalf of Garland, which was mostly the same circumstances. Certainly that didn’t cut any ice with the voters.

                      I suspect that at the heart of our disagreement has to do with the relationship between norms and black-letter rules (or naked power as the case may be). That, and the unwillingness of your side to accept accountability from the voters. But we have to clarify this a little further to be sure.

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                      • I’m sorry you don’t like my answer, Koz, but it’s my answer. The seat would remain vacant. You asked for a prediction, not a preference.

                        I think the argument proffered re: hypothetical President Gillibrand was very strong for actual President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland. Obama was President. His nominee should have been considered. Period.

                        Here’s a trivia challenge for you.

                        I’ll name the last Justice of the United States Supreme Court nominated by a Republican President and confirmed to the Court by a Democratic-controlled Senate. That jurist was Samuel Alito, it happened in 2006.

                        My challenge to you: Name the last Justice of the United States Supreme Court nominated by a Democratic President and confirmed to the Court by a Republican-controlled Senate. I’ll bet you a beer that you can’t do it.

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                        • His nominee should have been considered. Period.

                          Why? I’ve seen this argument many times of course, but it’s mostly meaningless handwaving. Obviously you know that the Senate is a first order Article I Constitutional thing. It has its own priorities and prerogatives.

                          In any case, to justify what you wrote I think we have to come to an understanding of what’s fundamental and what’s secondary. For what’s fundamental on my side we have the meaningfulness of Senatorial elections, the text of the Constitution, and the will of the voters. On your side there’s what, exactly? The hurt feelings of the lib legal punditocracy?

                          I realize it might be too much work to answer directly, so don’t bother if you don’t want to but just send a link to somebody who represents your views on the matter, and I’ll respond to that.

                          And for whatever justification might apply toward Merrick Garland, it’s pretty clear wasn’t applied to Justice Gorsuch as a nominee anyway. I don’t think the Garland didn’t get a hearing argument cuts any ice. The Senate makes its own procedural rules, that straight outta the Constitution, right?

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                          • I don’t think the Garland didn’t get a hearing argument cuts any ice. The Senate makes its own procedural rules, that straight outta the Constitution, right?

                            I don’t think the problem is that Garland himself didn’t get a hearing (*). I think the problem is that McConnel said NO candidate nominated by Obama would be given a hearing, no matter who he or she was. That’s a deleriction of the advise part of advise and consent, which is also straight outta the Constitution too.

                            (*) I do think it is a problem, a big problem. Just not THE problem.

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                              • That seems like the core of it. There’s no higher principle involved. They did it because they were the first set of people willing and able to push things that far and because it benefited them. So that’s the new normal until someone finds another way to push things a little further for another temporary advantage.

                                Everybody is just playing by the rules, but most social systems don’t survive very well if people feel like their only obligation is to the letter of the law. It’s *technically* legal for me to do a lot of things that make everybody worse off. If everybody plays that way, the rules need to be written with that sort of play in mind. I don’t think ours are.

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                            • That’s a deleriction of the advise part of advise and consent, which is also straight outta the Constitution too.

                              It’s not a dereliction of anything, that’s the point (at the very least without some theory considerably beyond what we’ve heard so far). It’s the fulfillment of its Constitutional obligations and responsibilities.

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        • Burt Likko: If that is true, then we are going to see the pendulum of what kind of policy and government we get out of different political factions taking power swing to farther and farther extremes every time.

          Did you see the thing released by the Trump admin the other day
          on reorganizing the government?

          There are a lot of longstanding conservative wishlist ideas (and some not terrible may actual be a good idea ideas) but it definitely has the feel of kitchen sink swing for the fences all cards on the table, before they lose the ability to do anything.

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          • This is something that I will give the Evangelicals. They are much better at tactical voting than the Democrats. They know what they want, they know their influence and numbers are on the wane. However, they know that there are enough 45 year old Federalist diehards that they can appoint to the judiciary and jam things up for progressives/liberals for a long time.

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        • This is why I’m torn. If we can’t talk to each other at all, if we’re unwilling to make any accommodations to one another ever, if it’s really winner-take-all, all the time, then our goose is cooked.

          I mean, yeah, pretty much. That said, the world that Republicans want is literally at war with me.

          You get that, right? They want to degrade, torture, and destroy me. The culture war is a war, because the stakes are life or death.

          “Go back in the closet,” they say. “Hide. Suffer. Suicide.”

          A country ruled by such people does not deserve to survive. America was built on hate.

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          • To be clear: not the world that *merely Trump or Trump-style Republicans* want. The world that *Republicans* – since before Trump changed them if he did – want.

            Is literally at war with you. Hide, suffer; suicide.

            Correct? Or no?

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            • — For me personally, it is the world that evangelicals want, along with significant numbers of “angry traditionalist” sorts, but not only them. I’m not going to list every transphobe and bigot. The point is, it is a sufficient mass of people such that Republican pundits have chosen to make hatred of trans people a “wedge” issue, because they understand that hatred against people-like-me is the sort of thing that will drive Republican-leaning people to the polls, just as they use homophobia and racism to drive their base.

              Thoughtful conservatives had the option of accepting social progress and leading their base toward tolerance. They chose otherwise.

              Of course, I suspect that there was always so much hatred that this was inevitable. In other words, if Limbaugh hadn’t Limbaugh-ed, some other morally bankrupt shitbird would have done so, and in turn that second shitbird would have become a rich and influential celebrity.

              In other words, the hatred was always their, simmering. Someone was going to step up and exploit it. By an accident of history, it was the Republicans.

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              • Thoughtful conservatives had the option of accepting social progress and leading their base toward tolerance. They chose otherwise.

                This a hundred times over.

                Looking at the handwringing coming from some allegedly respectable conservatives and moderates, you’d think the only thing the Right ever wanted out of the gay marriage debate was assurance that wingnut bakers would be exempted for having to take gay people’s money for wedding cakes.

                There’s also a lot of, “How dare you call us bigots? Don’t you know that ten years ago our bigotry was popular enough, and we were powerful enough, that even Barack Obama had to pay lip service to it?!”

                But instead, the resentment over bakers having to follow laws against discrimination is being used to justify supporting and excusing everything Trump is doing [1], not to mention everything on the anti-LGBT wishlist that didn’t go by the boards with Obergefell.

                [1] I’ve seen more than one social conservative analogize requiring cake bakers to bake cakes to murdering wounded enemies on a battlefield.

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            • Again, there seems to be this thing where any Democratic victory get treated as being invisible by professional and armchair pundits.

              Democrats have done really well in all the Special and General elections of 2017-2018. This includes winning seats that were deep red long before Trump. Not all of them but a lot of them. Maybe even something close to a substantial majority of them. The smarter GOP politicians like Scott Walker realize the writing is on the wall and try to act accordingly.

              Yet professional and armchair pundits still refuse to see it. It provides a lot of circumstantial evidence as to Chip above, a lot of white guys are suffering a severe existential crisis at the thought of a world where a party can win elections without putting them at the center of attention.

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          • I would like to introduce you to the special elections of 2017 and 2018 and the Virginia House of Delegates election in 2017. Huge Democratic turnout. Lots of Democratic victories in districts that used to be very solidly Republican. One of the things that bugs me about current political narratives is that Democrats might be the only party with agency but they also lack enthusiasm.

            So far polling shows more Democratic enthusiasm for voting in 2018 than GOP enthusiasm. Besides disagreements policy wise, why so afraid of this or sure it will not happen?

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            • Well, I’m already on record as saying that I think 2018 will be a bloodbath for the Republicans, especially at the Congressional level. When I did a quick survey of the Senate, it looked more like a plain old bristle brush scrubbing with a net Dem gain of +1. And therein lies some of the Dem challenges, from my perspective.

              I guess I’d ask whether you think the lessons of the VA Delegates are more or less important than the lessons of PA 18?

              Don’t listen to me, listen to

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              • Senate map really favors the Republicans.

                But the question is 2020. Recall, the Dems swept in in 2006 on a similar, but smaller wave. Their intensity in 2008 was unabated, because Bush was still President, the Iraq war was still going on, etc.

                And the House, should it switch Democratic, is going to be a busy one — suddenly they chair oversight committees, and they will have an awful lot of things to look at. The GOP milked Benghazi, despite an actual theory of crime — what do you think Democrats will do with the ridiculous nest of corruption and Russian ties that is the Trump administration?

                Neutering Nunes, and possibly McConnell if the Dems long-shot the Senate against this map, will do lot to keep that anger against Trump simmering, especially given Trump’s response will undoubtedly be to triple down on the worst possible bets in front of him.

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        • This is tautological if you are willing to countenance big enough and small enough turnout numbers as possible results of those motivations and demotivations. So I would hope that nearly all political scientists believe that elections are about that once you arrive at some extreme or another.

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    • I had lunch with a conservative friend and former co-worker a few weeks ago, and he pretty much had this position. It was before the child detainment thing came up.

      His defense of Trump was not full-throated, though, and he used some fancy verbal footwork to disavow Trump’s politics as “conservative”.

      I don’t think the support is all that deep or faithful.

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    • I don’t think this is gonna help the D’s.

      My bet — and I am offering to bet for a good beer — is that it will help the Dems in areas where they are already winning or gaining, and not in the other places. I’ve defined the areas for purposes of the bet in other comments. Whether this will be sufficient to win control of either the House or the Senate is a close call. For the House, the Dems are depending heavily on places like California, New York, New Jersey, and redistricted Pennsylvania.

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      • I think this might be a smart bet, but looking at turnout from CA primaries tells me that even in Blue state R’s are excited to vote. Now, there is the old standard of midterms going against the party in power, contrasted with R turnout in midterms being generally higher than D. So if I read you right, you are saying this will solidify already strong opinions, nothing more. To which I agree.

        But I will buy you a beer if I am ever in CO again.

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      • Hey, at least it’s only a midterm so a national messaging strategy that gains in California and New York while losing ground in Wisconsin and Michigan still has the potential to do *some* good rather than being a *total* giveback.

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    • What Chip said, if we believe what the Trump administration is doing is evil than we have to call it out even if costs us politically in the mid-terms or worse. I also do not believe your polls are true. What is true is that Trump supporters are doubling down because they are just as despicable as their idol. Most other Americans are revolted at Trump at this point. What he is doing is clearly morally outrageous. It goes against our perceived values.

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      • Whats interesting is that even after Sharon Angle and Todd Akin “proved” that extreme rightwing positions turned off the unicorn centrist voter, the R’s doubled down on that, and won.
        Because they see this battle as existential, the way we do.

        It is only the pundit class who view this with that detached view-from-nowhere perspective where if only Tip and Ronnie shared a beer…

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        • I think that is because journalists and similar level elites have a very strong self-conception of themselves as being the meidators between sides in this narrative. They are the ones who bring Americans together and find the common ground.

          Unlike LGM, I don’t think these people are evil. I just think they are dopey and naive. There are lots of people who want to stick to the “moral high ground” for personal reasons and dislike anyone who says “Fuck that.”

          I’m reminded about the global class of “anywheres”. I am closer but not at this level. A lot of “anywheres” do seem to not understand that not everyone thinks like them. They have their own bubble of well-spoken and calm, economically free market, cosmopolitan and socially liberal bubble filled with hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people who went to great schools and work high-flying and high-demand jobs. There is sort of an element on confronting a far-right ethnonationalist of “Now you don’t really believe that, do you?….Let’s make everything corporate smooth and hide all this stuff under the rug.”

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          • To be fair to the global anywheres faction, most people do not understand that not everyone thinks like them. When George Will argued for voting out the Republicans in the House, people at LGM looked and laughed but most people I know from real life were sharing it across facebook. They say it as an affirmation. I think Everybody is Secret Disney Liberal types outnumber LGM types in the Democratic Party. Most ideologies require that you believe that deep down everybody agrees with you or really strict dualism between the forces of light and dark.

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      • if we believe what the Trump administration is doing is evil than we have to call it out even if costs us politically in the mid-terms or worse.

        Kudos, this really ought to be the argument for incivility or whatever form of calling out you favor short of (or beyond!) mere incivility. It seems to me that liberals obviously favor civility and decency (and yes, they’re pretty tightly linked) on the principled merits of the thing. Indeed, something like it is imo at the very heart of our critique of Trump. So we better not act like dirtbag Chapoists who don’t actually care about giving it up. Even our moments of incivility we defend in terms of the greater civility of man’s humanity to man, and fighting its breaches. We can’t run from that. It’s who we are.

        So when we break our outward commitment to decency and civility, as I think we are justified in doing under these circumstances, we shouldn’t act as if we are giving nothing at all up. We’re undermining our own cause, or at least its principled defense, just a little bit in order not to suffer grotesque defeats on it or at least to resist them. But we shouldn’t think there is no risk in that. Decency and civility are our brand, liberals. That’s why we get dinged for it more than they do when we breach them. It’s what we’re supposed to be for (it’s what we offer rather than hard borders and hard punishments). We shouldn’t go thinking there is no risk in electing this path. We should, if we consider it at all, make damn sure it’s worth it. And if, as I suspect was so in the case of the restauranteur Wilkinson, it wasn’t a considered action, but more of an act of authentic moral reflex, then who can gainsay that? Those are just part of social life – good part.

        But the responses to this incident on the other hand – the well-meaning but destructive defenders of the action against Sander – have been very considered. The faux-principled social-media rejections of even the propositional value of civility to the liberal cause have been extremely considered and extremely ill-considered. We need to be sure of every step we take down this path. Because actually, as liberals, civility is our brand – and our strength. We’re not that good at the other thing.

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        • I edited this comment, but as I read it over, I see that it needed one important edit I ran out of time for.

          “So when we break our outward commitment to decency and civility, as I think we are justified in doing under these circumstances”

          …I should not have included ‘decency’ there. I don’t think we’ve broken our commitment to decency, nor would we be justified in doing so.

          Conversely here: “as liberals, civility is our brand – and our strength” …I should have included decency. Decency and, I think, civility (following MLK Jr.) are our brands. It’s the *main* thing we currently and have traditionally critiqued the other side for lacking (as opposed to, say, a willingness to hand out free cash each month to the poor), and it’s what we centrally value in ourselves.

          I’m sure many here will say that we do and should value decency far above civility, and perhaps I agree. But what I think we are at peril of underestimating is the extent to which the communication of decency depends on upholding a culture of civility. Otherwise people perceiving your decency depends on them happening to see when you *do* the decent thing – and then be willing to see it that way. (Moreover, being seen doing the decent thing in an effective way is much harder when you are out of power.)

          The brand of civility, I fear, carries more of the message of our decency than we might like to think or want to imagine. But we should consider the risk that it’s so nevertheless. Because if it is, then sacrificing just civility could mean sacrificing much of the power of our brand of decency, through sacrificing our ability to communicate it. And it’s our leading brand. What would we be left with from a marketing perspective if it is lost for marketing purposes?

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    • Approve Disapprove No opinion
      2018 Jun 18-24 41 55 3
      2018 Jun 11-17 45 50 4
      2018 Jun 4-10 42 54 4
      2018 May 28-Jun 3 41 55 4
      2018 May 21-27 40 55 6
      2018 May 14-20 42 54 5
      2018 May 7-13 43 52 5
      2018 Apr 30-May 6 42 52 5
      2018 Apr 23-29 42 53 5
      2018 Apr 16-22 38 57 6

      He’s running at 42% on average (via 538), all polls from before the latest CF. Your own polls show one clear outlier above 50%, but everything else below 45 — in fact, with one exception, it’s all 40 to 42 or lower. In fact, glancing back, at no point since his election has Trump ever had an approval rating that was positive.

      Then there’s the actual election results so far, in which every election has shown an average 12 to 15 point or wing against Trump, versus the 2016 election. Win, lose, or draw, the size of the swing has been pretty damn constant.

      If that’s the good news for Trump, the bad news much be truly terrible.

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  10. I don’t think it’s very polite, but if someone wants petty politicking to influence her business decisions I really don’t care.

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  11. I am largely on the fence about this.

    As I was saying to Elizabeth yesterday, “I feel like one’s reaction to the Red Hen kerfuffle is related to whether you view child separation as a normal but heated R vs D issue or as something entirely new and abhorrent. Normally I think I would be the first say ‘this is not who we want to be.’ And if this was about a 35% vs a 37% marginal tax rate I would be. But what is happening right now at the border feels far different than anything we’ve dealt with in this country in my lifetime.”

    I agree entirely with that we don’t really disagree about whether a line should be drawn, but rather on where that line should be drawn. And added to everything else is my firm belief that were these people from Western European countries we wouldn’t even be having a debate on whether or not stripping kids from parents or eliminating the court system when dealing with them specifically was a good idea.

    Finally, I will quote Popehat’s Ken White on the subject, because I have nothing to add to his words here:

    If you promote someone who contemptuously defies every norm of civility, and argue that civility doesn’t matter and that its absence is refreshing and honest, and build an ideology around upsetting people …. folks might start to take you at your word, and you may not like it.

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    • Now that we have people in power who have made a point of weaponizing civility (by demanding it from their adversaries) and incivility (by imposing it on their adversaries), I have to concede that offering civility anyway doesn’t seem well-calculated to lead us back to a civil place.

      Quoting from the same source as you:

      https://twitter.com/Popehat/status/1011254972850163713

      I guess where I’m at is really, really longing for the days when civil discourse (which always included sharp and profound moral disagreements and often many unkind words and name-calling, let’s remember) was not only a possibility but an expectation, when there was a rough and fuzzy-at-the-edges but still real consensus about the norms of what our politics would do.

      Is there a pathway to that place at all?

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      • I believe there is a path, but it won’t be easy (and may not happen). Basically, there are two daunting steps to get where you and I want to go, and each needs to happen:

        1. The current administration needs to be voted out of office. And I don’t even mean a Democratic victory, or a Progressive one, or the next one can’t be Republican. I mean this specific administration has to go.

        You can’t have a country run be someone who (just to pick some things at random) tells crowds to beat people up, mocks the disabled, and who both targets individual citizens who are critical of him and law-abiding groups of people who his supporters see as different and expect things to remain civil. That is simply never going to happen — unless, of course, you want to slip all the way into authoritarian rule and make a lack of “civility” toward the administration a crime.

        (And I should probably add that whoever replaces this administration can’t be in any way similar to those they are replacing, regardless of their political ideology.)

        2. People need to grow weary of the incivility. We are nowhere near this happening.

        Right now, we have one side that has spent the past 30 years building a highly profitable media inrfratstucturse that relies entirely on creating daily outrage and encouraging incivility — and you have the other side that is doing it’s best to catch up ASAP.

        As of today, too many people in power profit (politically as well as economically) from our incivility. And, frankly, waaaaaaaaay too many people derive great pleasure from the ability to be uncivil to other people on a day-to-day basis. As long as all those people remain cool with (and are rewarded by) incivility, there is no path forward.

        As always, in a liberal democracy we always eventually get exactly those things that we really want, even if we’re ashamed to admit that we really want those things.

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        • Good comment, Tod.

          People need to grow weary of the incivility. We are nowhere near this happening.

          I agree, and I think there are two types of incivility in play right now which Trump exemplifies: incivility in word and deed. Incivility isn’t just about the language we use, but also the policies we embrace and the actions we take. Seems to me Trumpism is about *acting* with incivility – and then accusing your critic of being uncivil on the back end – and his supporters relish it.

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        • I agree with both points. My concerns on both points are:

          #1 team blue will blow it (full disclaimer, I’m not on team blue)

          #2 it is yet to be seen what lessons/takeaways the opposition will implement in (their, your, our(?) probable) victory… which will lead to escalating incivility… which means we are possibly a few cycles (and maybe a catastrophic event) away from deciding maybe a truce/national-unity approach to reset the boundaries might be in order.

          i.e. it is trending worse before I see it trending better.

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          • @burt-likko

            To expand on this comment, I guess I am agreeing with you because I don’t see the GOP getting better. First there was Sharon Angle, then there was Aiken, and there is Trump and his imitators. The issue is that Trump might be one of a kind. Trumpism doesn’t seem to work for anyone but Trump. But the GOP base seem so angry that they can and do snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They might do this more than the Democrats. See Roy Moore v. Luther Strange. Eric Greitens in MO is mulling a third party run for Senate.

            They avoided doing this in West Virginia with Blankenship but otherwise the pace continues:

            https://www.buzzfeed.com/scaachikoul/california-college-republicans-milo-yiannopoulos-donald

            Burt, you saw how the California GOP turned itself into a rump party and this is the state that gave America, Earl Warren, William Knowland, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, B-1 Bob Doonan, and others. Now they are largely a rump party and again shut out of a state-wide Senate Race and many other state-wide races.

            So this is a state where a moderate kind of Republicanism should be popular. Someone who is fiscally moderate but socially liberal and not too keen on gas taxes. Yet the California College Republicans decided the best thing to do was go full MILO and further alienate their peers.

            What benefit does it give to be civil in this situation? Everything seems to produce a reactionary backrage. The ACA was filled with Republican-friendly compromises and still received no Republican votes. I know Party of No is a cliche but…

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        • 1. The current administration needs to be voted out of office. And I don’t even mean a Democratic victory, or a Progressive one, or the next one can’t be Republican. I mean this specific administration has to go.

          …..

          2. People need to grow weary of the incivility. We are nowhere near this happening.

          As a fair-minded lib as such things go, I’m surprised that it hasn’t occurred to you and a bunch of others to put two and two together to try and earn credibility with the voters instead of retreating into the shell of “resistance”. For reals, why not Tod?

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          • If being supportive of a POTUS who tells his supporters to beat up people in a crowd, or threatens to jail his political rivals, or encourage police to act violently to suspects, or [etc etc x 100], is a thing I have to do to earn “credibility” with Trump supporters, the I am really cool with not being credible.

            If that means I lose elections, so be it.

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            • If being supportive of a POTUS who ……

              What’s this have to do with anything? Like in this case. It seems that this episode isn’t hurting the Administration with the voters, and it’s not very hard for me at least to figure out why. I don’t believe it should be that hard for you either.

              Libs shouldn’t be going for incendiary bullshit self-triggering. Nonetheless, that’s what they’re doing.

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              • Cons shouldn’t be going for endless excuse making for grotesque racism and personal corruption, rooted in bad faith appeals to some imaginary generic voter.

                Nonetheless, that’s what they’re doing.

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                • Cons shouldn’t be going for endless excuse making for grotesque racism and personal corruption, rooted in bad faith appeals to some imaginary generic voter.

                  This is meaningless tit for tat. This Administration will be voted out of office when the people who voted him in feel there’s a better alternative out there. Why can’t you make a case to be that alternative to those people?

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                  • This Administration will be voted out of office when the people who voted him in feel there’s a better alternative out there.

                    Nothing about this statement is correct.

                    I mean come on, he didn’t even get a plurality of the votes. Acting as if his election is some broad based groundswell is ridiculous.

                    Not as ridiculous as pretending that people who are addled enough to believe Trump should be President are going to be amenable to reason, though.

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                    • I mean come on, he didn’t even get a plurality of the votes. Acting as if his election is some broad based groundswell is ridiculous.

                      I think it was, for more somewhat complicated reasons. But the simple version is that it’s irrelevant. It was enough to win. Therefore it’s up to the D’s to persuade some Trump voters not to vote to reelect Trump if they want someone else to be President.

                      Not as ridiculous as pretending that people who are addled enough to believe Trump should be President are going to be amenable to reason, though.

                      I voted for Trump, I’m amenable to reason. I want libs to self-understand themselves as being accountable to the people through elections. I voted on that basis in 2016. I’m probably going to vote on that basis again.

                      I don’t expect you to like that necessarily. But if you think somehow that doesn’t make sense, that’s on you.

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                      • But the simple version is that it’s irrelevant.

                        If it’s irrelevant (fair enough as far as it goes) than all your protestations about “accountability to the people” is similarly irrelevant.

                        I want libs to self-understand themselves as being accountable to the people through elections.

                        Well, the people who live in MI, WI, and PA.

                        Certainly not the people who live in CA or NY, who don’t count for reasons.

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                        • Certainly not the people who live in CA or NY, who don’t count for reasons.

                          They have to get with the program because they were outvoted. Not that complicated. “Reasons”, heh.

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                                • The GOP represents the popular will, and the proof of that is how successful they are at gerrymandering and vote suppression.

                                  Nobody likes sore losers. It’s too much to hope for that the Dems will lose so comprehensively as to run out of excuses. Give it up, you lost. It’s time to rejoin America in your brain as much as your geographic location.

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                                  • You keep conflating “won” and “America”.

                                    As if 55 percent of a country disapproving of the President indicates that the winners who elected him are most representative of that country….

                                    Perhaps there are sore winners who need to rejoin the 55 percent of the country that stands in disapproval of the country’s President.

                                    I mean, I don’t think it works that way in the first place – I don’t think in terms of winners and losers, possibly because I grew up under a parliamentary system where things are far more politically complex – but it’s the logical conclusion invoked by your framing.

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                                    • (Just a note that the other reason I don’t think it works that way is that *in general* — probably not when it comes to hardcore Trumpists who dehumanize people… — I think dissent and plurality of opinion is healthy, and necessary, even when I don’t agree with the dissenters. Like, I don’t have any particular problem with you, , not “rejoining America” because I don’t think of America, or the world, that way. But if I did, if I accept that framing, I don’t see why “winners represent the whole” would be my conclusion.)

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                                    • I am trying to think of any time, over the sweep of American history, that the conservative side has ever won a lasting victory.

                                      They were the Royalists in the Revolution, and lost.
                                      The Confederates, and lost;
                                      They fought the New Deal, and lost;
                                      They fought civil rights, and lost;
                                      They fought feminism, and lost;
                                      They fought environmental laws, and lost;
                                      They fought gay rights, and lost;
                                      They fought health care reform, and lost;

                                      At each turn, of course there was a backlash, but never a return to the status quo ante.

                                      It shouldn’t be a cause for complacency, since there is no magic power driving the arc of the universe. But more a statement that victory is possible, if we work hard enough at it.

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                                      • Again, I’m coming from a different country, different party system, etc, but from my perspective at a systems level, the point of there persistently being conservatives (as opposed to party members of whatever specific party) is to slow and shape change, and prevent the occurrence of violent revolutions that end up going out of control because liberalism has lost its way (eg the French Revolution, the Cultural Revolution in China, are extreme examples of the failures of this model; the Civil War in Britain might be a slightly less extreme example). Like, to me that is the whole point of there being conservatism. And I am, given the alternatives in China, in France, etc, in history, very grateful for that perspective, regardless of what else I might not agree with about it. At its best, it provides for gradual, graceful change, and overall steady *progress* in how little violence there is in the world, regardless of how much I might disagree with its content.

                                        To pick a somewhat random and possibly not historically supported if I were more educated example, my perspective is that the British abolition of slavery happened from liberals pushing, and conservatives dragging their heels (but not trying to destroy the liberal impulse) in this way, and it was both more effective and, IMO, the spark that led to the dismantling of the entire British empire, in Ireland, India, all the way to South Africa (complicated there by the alternative intentions of the Dutch foreign empire) in the waning days of the 20th century. That push-pull is far gentler and *overall* fewer people die and people suffer less than they do in cataclysms, from what I can see.

                                        So I find the whole idea of “total liberal victory” perplexing and undesirable (given what I expect to happen about 5 minutes after that happened, should it happen), but I am also deeply worried by and anxious about purported, out-of-control conservatism that seeks to overthrow and destroy in opposition to its best impulses (which, to me, is where we are now with the Trump administration).

                                        The Tea Party, many of whom make up Trump’s non-rabid supporters, and the Nazis/hardcore supporters, are *not* in my view equivalent, but when I see them making common cause, I worry that we *are* headed for the other kind of cataclysm we have – the conservatism loses its way one – as happened in the American Civil War or yes, WW2. (Godwin has released us from Godwin’s law, after all.)

                                        I want a robust conservatism that I can safely resent and fight with and win the battles that I should fairly win over, while losing a few others in either the short or long-term, not a rabid, insane conservatism that needs warring against, or a limp, non-existent conservatism that doesn’t stand in the way of the ctrl-left at its worst.

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                                        • (Having at various points in my life been poor, been persecuted for being visibly QUILTBAG, been a victim of domestic abuse, been lacking in necessary medical care, and always being aware of my Irish ancestry and its history, and my Indian ancestry and its history, etc., I’m also very clear on how *easy* it is for me to take that perspective, and the privilege and comfort that is unentanglable from it. Still, it is my perspective.)

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                                        • PPS Just as a comment on the “perspective comes from growing up in another country”, my interpretation of the Loyalists/Royalists in the Revolutionary War is that if you look at the *colonists* as opposed to the soldiery, the Loyalists/Royalists weren’t really wiped out or converted – most of them simply *moved* (to the other side of the American border, aka proto-Canada). And a huge number of those folks didn’t even really feel all that excited about the Royalist side of the conflict – they just didn’t want to be in a war, were often non-British refugees who’d fled from violence at home (or their parents had), etc. The Maritimes in particular, but really all of Canada, is full of people whose ancestors were American for a generation or two, or who shifted back and forth across the border as if it weren’t there, rather than feeling a particular allegiance to one country over the other.

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                                        • I don’t think the definition of conservative as “resistant to change” reflects reality.

                                          Because we are at the century mark of the American Progressive reforms, and approaching it with the New Deal.

                                          These reforms, of child labor, civil service, socialized schooling, welfare state and banking regulation are all tried and true, time tested traditions that a cautious, sober Burkean would support.

                                          Yet they are all under attack from the conservative wing of American politics.

                                          The definition of conservatives as wanting to preserve the hierarchy of white landed men seems to fit the existing facts better than anything else I have heard.

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                                          • “Yet they are all under attack from the conservative wing of American politics.”

                                            Yes, I believe one of my explicit points was that American conservative politics are now in the veering-wildly-and-dangerously-out-of-control-in-the-way-that-leads-to-cataclysm mode.

                                            Your objection seems to be to something other than what I wrote.

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                                            • Also this:
                                              “The definition of conservatives as wanting to preserve the hierarchy of white landed men seems to fit the existing facts better than anything else I have heard.”

                                              Fits the *prevailing* American facts of the present moment, and of some other moments, but completely neglects and minimizes the existing facts of many other conservatives, of many races and political agendas, across time and around the world.

                                              Generally when defining a concept I prefer to define it in a way that does not center American white men with money, land, and power.

                                              Especially if I feel a group of same have currently hijacked the concept completely.

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                                    • Koz: Libs need to stop with the inflammatory bullshit.

                                      Also Koz: Libs aren’t even Americans, actually.

                                      I am arguing in a narrower context than what you’re attributing to me. Specifically, as libs suffer political reversals in the Trump Administration and the recent history prior to that, there has been an increasing tendency for libs to mentally secede away Republican governance.

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                                        • How can mentally seceding away from the governance of someone that 55 percent of the populace disapproves of equate in any 1:1 fashion, let alone as a generalization, with them mentally leaving America? Most of the country is right there with them. If anything, by governing the country in a way that alienates the country and violates the country’s historic ideals, the governing Republicans are the ones abdicating their Americanness. (Again, NOT my framing, but the obvious conclusions to me under yours.)

                                          Theories like this really make me wish all countries had a no confidence vote, for all the real problems that option has.

                                          (I do think it’s illogical and inaccurate to claim oneself to have absolutely nothing in common with a Trump supporter. But not unreasonable or inaccurate, though untrue in my own case if I think of the Trump supporters I actually know – true if I think of some other ones – to claim one has more in common with a Honduran refugee than a Trump supporter.)

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                                          • I know it’s a parenthetical, but I’d trust a Hondoran refugee I don’t know from Adam much further than I’d trust the actual vocal Trump supporters I’ve met offline.

                                            As distinct from the many people I know offline who I’m pretty sure are Trump supporters but who respect one of the few political civility norms I take seriously: you don’t discuss politics with casual, friendly acquaintances.

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                                            • Oh, sure, if we’re talking trust I’m right there with you. A lot of the reason I don’t consider the general claim to be true for me is that even with all my challenges in life, I have overall had it a million billion times easier than the average Honduran refugee. It feels like it would be pretty presumptuous of me to claim I have more in common with them than with the average Trump supporter (who has also – certainly on average – had it a million billion times easier than the average Honduran refugee.)

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                                          • But how can you take Jesse and Chip as more representative of libs (and more of a problem!! which I find even more baffling) than articles like that are representative of cons? I mean, it’s The Federalist…

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                                            • Or the actual Republican nominee for Senate!

                                              Sure, Stewart is almost surely going to get steamrolled by the dynamo of political charisma that is Tim Kaine, but still.

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                                            • What do you think it means that an article appeared in The Federalist? That it represents conservatism? I’d take it to mean simply that the editor thought it was worth printing. You’ll find quite a bit of variety on that site.

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                                              • That it is at least as representative of conservatism as the comments Koz linked to are representative of liberalism.

                                                Given that I don’t think the comments are particularly *representative* of liberalism (while certainly fitting somewhere within the spectrum, representative is something different), I do not think it was a very high bar.

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                                          • One further comment on that. The author of that piece is correct not to minimize the differences between Right and Left in contemporary America. But his formulation of what they are and how we should imagine ourselves responding to them are not good.

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                              • Yeah, and if someone wants to argue that the Eagles were a better team because they got more first downs, they’d be comprehensively wrong, but that’s what arguing that the election results mean that Trump represents the popular will is doing.

                                I know Trump insists that he actually won the popular vote, but I don’t see any reason for the rest of us to play along.

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                          • Trump as the Unstoppable Juggernaut was unconvincing even in Jan 2017, and given our string of victories since, I am ok with not getting with the program.

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                            • The Juggernaut started in 2010, and Trump is a part of it, but certainly not the only part. And given that we already have Trump’s example already, I’d like to think we’d be better off without Trump the person.

                              In any event, I feel that the denouement of this part of the culture war isn’t about the Trump reelection campaign, it’s about this November.

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                              • The Juggernaut started in 2010

                                That little stumbling block of 2012 shall, of course, go unmentioned.

                                After all, the Juggernaut is undefeated if you don’t count defeats!

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    • touches on what to me are broader questions about the administration and how we should respond to it: Is this administration a special case, especially bad and worthy of special treatment on account of this… or is he more-or-less a reflection of one of our two parties and therefore was never substantively outside normal parameters?

      I’m relatively sure that whatever his faults President Ted Cruz wouldn’t be doing this, and moreso for President Rubio, President Bush3, and President Romney. But they’d be doing other stuff. Would the other stuff be sufficient for this kind of response? How many times have I heard here that conservative objections to Trump are illegitimate because of overlapping policy agreements? Is the problem here that Trump is Trump, or that Trump is a Republican? It’s obviously some degree of both, but how much of this is the added Trump factor?

      I’m fine with treating the different as different… as long as there is a consensus on different. There is a reason that I haven’t really gone to bat for SHS or Nielsen even though I don’t *generally* agree with this sort of thing. But at the same time a lot of the defenses of it do make me nervous because I remember Ajit Pai and today I learned John Kasich is also a Nazi. I don’t consider separating families a routine policy disagreement, but I also recall health care policy as murder.

      I should note that I am not looking for anybody to answer the question here. It’s not really a question I see answered with words. More like, I see the answer is reactions and observed behavior. (The verdict, so far, is very unsatisfying: It’s different with different people.)

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      • If Trump keeled over tomorrow, what policies would Candidates Rubio, Romney, and Cruz have to promise to the voting base so as to gain the primary in 2020 and fend off a challenge from someone like Joe Arpaio? What would they have to do to gain the endorsement of Breitbart and Jim Hoft?

        Now that the base has tasted open white supremacy, the real thing, instead of the watered down version, what makes anyone think they will go back?

        What force would move the base in that direction?

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        • I don’t know if they will or they won’t. I think the assumption that things will naturally revert back is wrong. But I think the assumption that the arc of the GOP has reached its end point and things now are the new permanent (for decades at least) is probably also wrong.

          The rank-and-file of the party of Trump also still likes the Bush family that Trump was a direct repudiation of. It’s more complicated than we make it out to be. I think assumptions are questionable.

          If the broader left wants to declare social war on roughly half of the country, on one level at least I do actually understand. But I’m not really on board with it, tactically or philosophically, and so if *this* is a part of *that* then I’m not really on board with this either.

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          • But I think the assumption that the arc of the GOP has reached its end point and things now are the new permanent (for decades at least) is probably also wrong.

            You might well be correct.

            But since Trump has come to power, pretty much every element of the institutional Right has failed to place any substantive obstacles in his path. Senators like Sasse et al. occasionally make mouth noises about him overstepping his bounds or being too gauche, but not one has exercised the actual substantive power of their office to check him. I guess he hasn’t done anything truly outrageous, like nominate a justice to replace Antonin Scalia while being a Democrat.

            If the broader Left isn’t to declare social war on roughly half the country, maybe it’s on the broader Right to demonstrate that they haven’t declared social war on us first? Because I’m going to be blunt here: they absolutely fucking betrayed us by nominating Trump, voting for Trump in the general, and endlessly running interference for him since his election.

            Maybe once they start demonstrating some repentance, we can start sparing a thought of exactly what sort of protest is appropriate for a guy who merely decided that cashing a paycheck from Team Trump is OK if it means he can help ISPs screw over their customers.

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            • pretty much every element of the institutional Right has failed to place any substantive obstacles in his path.

              Trump folded on his zero tolerance immigration rip-families apart thing in part because the GOP would have passed a law saying he couldn’t do that.

              Big picture is Trump’s most abusive acts (immigration, trade wars) have been in domains where he really does have that authority, and it’s not a winning argument to claim all Presidents but Trump have these powers. Trump’s various trolling statements on Twitter are protected by the First AM.

              After that I’m not sure what you want. Impeachment because Trump isn’t a normal politician? He ran on that.

              Trump can stir up trouble with one tweet and then move on. It takes Congress weeks or months to do anything.

              The correct action for Congress in this mess is to get an immigration reform bill and have Trump sign it. He’ll whine and moan how it’s not a pure deal but at the end of the day he just wants to be the one in front of the camera holding the pen.

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              • I mean Congress could actually pass a bill revoking the open-ended authority the President has to set tariffs, since that was a power they delegated to the Presidency in the first place.

                They could also censure him for his statements promoting political violence. They could equally not do that, of course, but if they’re going to go after Maxine Waters for advocating political violence when she did no such thing, I’m not sure why they should give Trump a pass when he actually did such a thing.

                And the latest immigration bill fell apart because the anti-immigrant right refuses to let anything go to the floor of the House even if it would get a majority of the votes due to the stupid Hastert Rule, and Paul Ryan sticks to the stupid Hastert Rule even though his political career is over.

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          • Why do you frame it as us “declaring war”?
            Like this other side is just sitting there minding their business, and suddenly, out of nowhere, the left just erupts in rage.

            Hasn’t war already been declared, pretty loudly by the Trump forces?
            What do you think his campaign was, if not one long, loud declaration of grievances, identification of enemies, and declarations of war?

            It would be great if there was some political force that could cleave the Bush Republicans from the Trump Republicans, and have the former win out over the latter.

            But its important to acknowledge that this isn’t happening, and gets less and less likely to happen with each passing day.
            And it is critically important to acknowledge that the Republican voting base, really, really, likes what is happening and wants more of it.

            ETA: And no, I don’t think they have reached their end point, and that ‘s what makes me shudder.

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            • I think the GOP has been trying to declare war for some time now and I think the country has been damaged on account of it.

              That’s part of why I said I understand even while I am not on board.

              I think the left is in a better position to draw more blood than the right, though I doubt they will get more of the cost and less of the benefit than the GOP from a political standpoint. (Though contra Aaron David and others, I don’t think “this is how Trump gets reelected” as there are likely bigger and more relevant factors)

              In any event, this all goes beyond my intent for chiming in, which was more limited to the questions I’m asking myself as I look at this than challenging the consensus among leftwards here or pontificating on the future of the GOP.

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      • My answer is two-fold.

        I think my answer is that this administration is different. I would also argue that I would not be responding the same way to a Cruz/Huckabee/Rubio administration, for reasons that have little to do with traditional American Right/Left ideology.

        I believe that the danger of the Trump administration is that, either be design or lack of ethics or discipline, it’s primary method of achieving power (even while in power) is to systematically tear down any and all institutions that make up the foundations of our particular liberal democracy. To me, this is entirely different from one party creating a policy (like passing the ACA for example, or shifting the tax burden downward) that can be reversed at a later time by the other party. The President of the United States saying that we should embrace a bill that I disagree with is acceptable to me; the President of the United States trying to get everyone to distrust non-partisan government statistics so that we can never disagree with him is another thing entirely and — for me — should not be allowed to stand.

        Which brings me to the second part of my answer…

        This systematic tearing down of foundational institutions has terrible, far-reaching effects that go well past Trump or even just the GOP. The reaction to senseless violence is usually senseless violence, and in my eyes it was not a coincidence that there was one and only 2016 POTUS candidate on either side that consistently drew violent and out of control people on both sides to his events and pitted them against one another.

        You mention someone calling Kasich a Nazi, and though I have not seen that specific thing happen, to me it is both totally ludicrous and entirely expected. When you dissolve foundational institutions, it doesn’t just effect one side.

        For example, I truly believe that much of the MSM has given into Trump Derangement Syndrome. And not out of ideology, but because they get better ratings by giving into it, because those who don’t support Trump are clamoring for it. And questions of civility aside, it’s terrible for this country because there are real issues of corruption and malfeasance with this administration that deserve reporting and commentary that they are simply not getting (other than in print newspapers that most people ignore) because we somehow need CNN to go out and interview the Red Hen’s health inspector so that we can refute Trump’s tweet that it is dirty.

        So yes, I believe this administration is different and has to go. Will the next be any better? Possibly not. We may have so damaged our existential and intellectual infrastructure that we’re just on our way to lifetime presidencies and state-run news and there’s nothing we can really do about it.

        But we have to at least try to set things back on course.

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        • I agree with a lot of this. I am actually a bit more optimistic, though, in that I think the next Republican might be a lot better on the same dynamics that made Louisiana politics better (or less bad) after Edwin Edwards was out.

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          • I go back and forth on the whole optimism thing.

            On the one hand, I think what the Founders creating is stronger than Trump and will strive this wave of authoritarian populism.

            On the other hand, I think it was just last year that people I knew were seriously arguing to eliminate the Senate, and today in my social media I am seeing a lot of normally rational people arguing to eliminate the Supreme Court.

            So I go back and forth.

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            • I think I’d be more sold on those being bad signs if the Senate and Supreme Court were acting to check Trump, rather than enable him.

              Pretty much every institution (going back to the Electoral College) that we’d been told would stop someone like Trump has basically failed to do so.

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              • if the Senate and Supreme Court were acting to check Trump, rather than enable him.

                LOL If you think they’re not putting a check on Trump then you haven’t been paying attention.

                Trump is a pure sociopath. He controls large numbers of men with guns. He controls lots of money, etc. This is a really bad combination without lots of checks and balances.

                As of right now… he’s obayed all court orders and hasn’t killed anyone. He’s not arresting his political opponents. He’s not doing a lot of things which would be an illegal horror (legal horrors are a different issue). The body count from Trump’s sociopathy is currently zero.

                There is no “bottom of the barrel” with Trump so we should all be very grateful for the checks the system does put on him.

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        • there are real issues of corruption and malfeasance with this administration that deserve reporting and commentary that they are simply not getting (other than in print newspapers that most people ignore) because we somehow need CNN to go out and interview the Red Hen’s health inspector so that we can refute Trump’s tweet that it is dirty.

          That. That exactly.

          Trump can’t defend himself against the things he’s doing, so he inflames the situation until he’s defending himself against Hitler comparisons.

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      • This.

        Or at least, my view is that we should be clear whether we think that this crew is different, and we will act accordingly, or whether we are really just choosing a new approach going forward.

        I think it’s very possible that even the people who most earnestly think it’s the former will get swept up in a general movement toward the latter, which we won’t know until the next GOP administration.

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  12. And I suspect this is all gonna get worse – probably on both sides – before it gets better. There’s a news story this morning (about a woman who says she was refused Plan B at a Walgreen’s by a pharmacist who did the “conscience exemption.”

    The big issue? The woman apparently had a non-viable pregnancy and was given the choice of the medication or surgery, and she chose the medication. And apparently there was ANOTHER pharmacist who could have filled the prescription, but instead, the pharmacist she first talked to *sent it to another outlet a number of miles away* requiring her to drive to another place to get the medication she needed.

    (It’s possible the other employee was not licensed to dispense rx’s, but you’d think Walgreens would have SOMETHING in place if they allow a conscience exemption)

    And oh, she had her seven-year-old child with her, who had to hear the whole discussion and see her get upset.

    But, by all means, pharmacist, prolong her suffering and put her to more trouble, so you can keep your hands clean and make a moral point.

    I’m….pretty much done with the whole human race.

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  13. I don’t think this is gonna help the D’s. But hey, bubblers are gonna bubble.

    Regretfully, I’m afraid you are right. Trump voters are just digging their heels. They, too, believe that what (the other) half of the country believes is crossing a red line.

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  14. MLK Jr, 1963: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

    Republicans, 2018: “Hey, no fair judging us by the contents of our characters – that’s rank bigotry!”

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    • Republicans, 2018: “Hey, no fair judging us by the contents of our characters – that’s rank bigotry!”

      Truth be told, conservatives do argue that only actions are subject to be judged, not mental states. Hence their opposition to hate crimes legislation, as well as the argument that “discrimination against people who engage in homosexual acts is not discrimination against LGBT people”

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  15. I don’t think Walter Shaub is correct that Sander’s tweet is a violation of CFR 2635.702(a). She’s not seeking a benefit – she wants to be a martyr. It’s of course a completely inappropriate use of a public twitter account, and quite possibly prohibited under a different reg, but this doesn’t seem to right one to apply.

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  16. The moral difference between things it’s OK to discriminate about (e.g. appropriate clothing) and things it’s not (e.g. race) is immutability: it’s not OK if the characteristic is one the person can’t change, especially if it’s genetic.

    Which argues that it’s not OK to discriminate against a Huckabee for being an obnoxious jerk.

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    • Mike Schilling: The moral difference between things it’s OK to discriminate about (e.g. appropriate clothing) and things it’s not (e.g. race) is immutability: it’s not OK if the characteristic is one the person can’t change, especially if it’s genetic.

      While this was a setup for a pretty funny joke, I actually wanted to highlight this because it gets at something that’s been bugging me lately. Leaving aside the whole is-free-will-even-a-thing side of the equation, immutability in and of itself seems odd as the sole qualifier. Is the implication that if being gay or black was a choice that it would be perfectly acceptable to discriminate against that person? That seems patently absurd on its face. And yet my instinct is that it’s perfectly reasonable to discriminate against someone whose beliefs are loathsome and destructive, so it seems like there must be some other common denominator in all of this, but I can’t put my finger on it. So it’s bugging me.

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      • Immutability isn’t the qualifier at all. You can’t discriminate on the basis of religion, and I wouldn’t go so far as to say that people routinely change their religion, most of us know a convert or two.

        (The joke was worth it though.)

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    • Her father is now claiming that after her party left the restaurant, the owner followed and continued to harass them. He’s presented no evidence of that, e.g. no cell phone recordings or videos, and as far as I know it’s not been corroborated by anyone who was present.

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  17. What about the restaurant workers? I mean, you said that the baker can learn from the gay couple, the gay couple from the baker, and Sanders from the restaurant workers. You must have forgotten to mention that the restaurant workers could learn from Sanders.

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    • I think the difference there is that as a public figure, the restaurant workers have already heard a LOT from Sanders. They’re not exactly short on information from her.

      Whereas the other three are not public figures.

      Burt may’ve had a different distinction in mind though.

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      • If she’d had something she’d have liked to have said back in response to “You’ve endorsed, promoted, and apologized for things we find abhorrent,” she had an opportunity to do so. Instead she chose to leave with no further substantive comment.

        Admittedly, sometimes people don’t think of what they’d ideally like to say when challenged until later, but it’s not like she lacks a public forum from which to say those things and be confident she’ll be heard. (In her particular case, it’s also her job to be quick-witted and know exactly what to say when confronted.) So she still has an opportunity to speak to the restaurant and its staff, and they now lack any equivalent ability to respond.

        If she had said something I’d have counseled the restaurant staff to consider it.

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  18. Stolen from Facebook: “She was judged by the content of her character as opposed to the color of her skin.”

    I must admit has me thinking with his/her comment.

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  19. I think this was an interesting essay from Vox:

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/6/25/17499036/sarah-sanders-red-hen-restaurant-civility

    The core of his answer, to simplify it dramatically, is that democracy depends on a certain set of principles that almost everyone agrees with. These are principles that only “reasonable” people (not Nazis, for example) can accept — ideas like “all citizens deserve to be treated equally” and “it’s wrong to imprison people on the basis of faith.”

    For this system to work, Rawls argued, public debate must be free and open for people to clearly explain how their policy convictions can be justified according to the shared beliefs at the heart of a democratic society. Rawls called the obligation to adhere to these rules of discourse “the duty of civility”: If citizens in general, and politicians especially, hide and obfuscate their arguments, then people’s ability to give their informed consent to the administration disappears.

    Our foremost political philosopher, in short, didn’t see “civility” in politics as identical to politeness in everyday conversation. Rather, political civility is about treating members of the opposition like reasonable people. It seems more “civil,” in this view, to honestly state disagreements with individuals, even impolitely, than to try to trick them.

    What I think is happening here is that a lot of people demanding “civility” are confusing political civility with everyday politeness. This was a good way of describing the issue. It offends every day politeness to kick someone out of a restaurant. It should not offend political civility to hear “I really disagree with you and think you are supporting a horrible regime.”

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  20. This is one of those fine articles i want to comment a lot on but can’t. I will say the Red Hen owner seems to have been well within her right to act the way she did but man it seems lto me like it was a bad choice from a macro political/social view.

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    • How exactly was it a bad choice on a macro political/social view? We always seem to assume these things will turn out badly for the left but I see very little evidence going that way. From what I heard, Red Hen is doing out the door business. So there are lots of left-leaning people willing to support a business that says Fish You to a Trump lackey.

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  21. I have a different take from the one mentioned as to why this was, in fact, the civil thing for the owner of the Red Hen to do (thought that one isn’t wrong in and of itself).

    If civility is to be a system of social norms that bind us to civilized behavior, instead of just a set of empty rituals or an excuse for the Right to tut-tut the Left for anything and everything, there needs to be enforcement. Some behaviors need to be out of bounds, and it’s hard for me personally to see any intelligible set of bounds that Huckabee Sanders and the other senior WH staff didn’t leave behind long ago. And the owner of the Red Hen took it upon herself to enforce those norms that are supposed to mean something to all of us, but if not her, who?

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    • If it’s a norm then many, many others. If they don’t, then it’s just one action that becomes the subject of a massive, divisive public conversation – but not one, it turns out, that is backed by a norm strong enough to make it norm-al.

      It’s possible that that’s nevertheless a conversation our side benefits from having (under the motivate-your-side theory of elections or some other theory), but I think the jury is out on it, and I don’t like the indications I am getting on it right now (though as you might see above, that might be colored by my view that it is a structurally difficult conversation for our side to win when the norm for civility and decency isn’t completely clear in the case in question).

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      • If they don’t, then it’s just one action that becomes the subject of a massive, divisive public conversation – but not one, it turns out, that is backed by a norm strong enough to make it norm-al.

        Well, there may not be civility norms against what SHS has been doing for the Administration, or against what the Administration is doing itself, but if not… well, it’s hard to see much use for civility, and we’re back to my theory that it’s just an excuse to scold the Left.

        In which case there isn’t much use for civility in the first place.

        As for there actually being that norm, well, it’s not clear it existed in 2012[1], and even the Very Serious who took the time to weigh in on the gay wedding cake thing did thing like complain about how it wasn’t “neighborly” to expect anti-discrimination laws to apply, without sparing a single word about whether it was neighborly to refuse to bake a cake for someone because of your opinion of their sexual orientation.

        So at this point, my conclusion is that none of the controversy here has a goddamn thing to do with civility.[3] It’s all about people feeling aggrieved after a member of their in-group was slighted, whether that in-group is Team Red or vapid Beltway media fuckheads.

        In either case, the solution isn’t for liberals to be even nicer to them. It’s for them to find less appallingly shitty in-groups.

        [1] Warning: paywall.

        [2] Warning: paywall, David Brooks.

        [3] Which should be obvious from the bare circumstances: an odious liar was quietly asked to leave a restaurant, and had her food to that point comped.

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        • I think you’re confusing civility norms and decency norms, and assuming it’s all just one big single moral question, when in fact there are many norms or lack-of-norms based on context.

          There is clearly a decency norm against he policy. It has offended the sensibilities even of elected Republicans, and the pushback has been so intense that it has . But that doesn’t mean the decency norm extends through every conceivable social context, extinguishing all civility norms everywhere it goes. There is also a business norm to serve all willing customers barring X circumstances or conduct. Generally political difference has not been one of those circumstances. I would say we’re no where near there being a norm *not* to serve members or defenders of this administration, and given the pushback against this action within a broader consensus against the policy it acted against, we’re actually closer to still having a norm against refusing service over political differences – even over these policies – than we are to having a norm for it. Generally, Trumpists are still getting serve meals.

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          • I think you’re confusing civility norms and decency norms, and assuming it’s all just one big single moral question, when in fact there are many norms or lack-of-norms based on context.

            This is a very good comment.

            One thing in particular that should be mentioned is that the Trump Administration revised their family separation practices based on the opposition of Republicans in Congress who intended to legislate against them.

            I also agree with Michael’s argument regarding how the idea of being able to get service at a restaurant as a well-behaved patron is separate from a person’s policy thoughts regarding Central American immigration.

            The one thing that I would add in addition to Michael’s comment is to note that this separation actually works to the benefit of libs. It is a corruption of libs in contemporary America to think that people outside their intellectual-social caste should have no meaningful input regarding immigration. That’s the operational mentality behind these current episodes. The Trump Administration has shown consistent intentions in this regard, but has also been quite flexible about the policy implementation. The hyperbolic reaction of libs to child separation for the most part is an expression of willful ignorance of relevant realities (or maybe just plain ignorance in a few cases).

            This is doubly true of libs who happen to work in the service industry. The mentality of the Red Hen, to the extent that it persists, compounds the lib corruption in this matter. It is far better for them to serve their patrons as graciously as they are capable, thereby minimizing the prior corruption as something minor and ancillary.

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            • ” It is a corruption of libs in contemporary America to think that people outside their intellectual-social caste should have no meaningful input regarding immigration. … This is doubly true of libs who happen to work in the service industry.”

              How on earth do you think “libs who work in the service industry” such as the people at Red Hen (a small town 26 seater) are in the same “intellectual-social caste” that you are complaining about a few sentences before?

              o.O

              Do you KNOW any line cooks?

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              • Also, seriously, I have no idea what a “hyperbolic” reaction to “tender age” centers and the policies that led to their requirement would be.

                Like, none.

                I don’t think you realize how much restraint I am exercising right now.

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            • It is a corruption of libs in contemporary America to think that people outside their intellectual-social caste should have no meaningful input regarding immigration.

              Just say “rootless cosmopolitan”.

              It communicates the same message in many fewer words.

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              • I was going to censor this since it’s a fairly indirect way to accuse of being an anti-semite, which I think is unwarranted by his behavior. But then I read up on the etymology of the phrase (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rootless_cosmopolitan for the curious, I expect pillsy is already well familiar with it) and, well, it started out as a way for political people to criticize so called “intellectual elites” (ie, dissenting writers) for lacking Russian national character, long before it morphed into a specifically anti-semitic phrase.

                Given that Koz spends so much of his time on the board criticizing Americans (of one so-called “caste” in the present incarnation, “libs,” “demos,” etc) basically for lacking American national character, I suppose the equivalence to be within bounds on its merits.

                That said, this particular comment section is getting pretty heated and any time I have to Wikipedia stuff to understand where it’s coming from, it’s probably not a good sign.

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  22. March through the Charlotte night with a Tiki torch chanting, “Jews will not replace us!” and you’re a very fine person.

    The real incivility is refusing to serve one of your betters from the Trump White House.

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        • Hopefully this link, about Congressional Rs introducing a motion demanding Maxine Waters resign, will work better.

          In an absolute sense, I believe that Waters danced extremely close (much closer than is responsible) to a line politicians should stay well away from.

          In a relative sense, Trump repeatedly charged right over that line before he was nominated, and continued to do so since being elected President.

          The broad Left has ample justification for believing talk of civility from the Right is primarily concern trolling.[1] To my mind, getting past that is going to require actual costly commitments to civility from the Right, in the form of substantial condemnation and impediment of Trump from institutional actors on the Right.

          [1] Intra-Left arguments are a separate, and rather trickier, matter. High-minded Beltway centrists and media personalities are, if anything, less credible than the Right.

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    • Remember, the real heart of religious liberty is bakers refusing to bake cakes out of bigotry. Discriminating against people on account of their religion is totally awesome even if you say you’re doing that, because the SCOTUS has to pretend otherwise for some fucking reason.

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      • This would be the “don’t let people in from countries we’re bombing + Iran + NK” in, right?

        Speaking as someone who’d like something close to open borders and who thinks this policy is a bad idea; We’ve got two arguments here, neither of which is a winner politically.

        1) Obama and all other Presidents had the ability to control our borders and immigration but Trump doesn’t. The courts should micromanage this because he’s such a raging ass and the courts should telepathically tell when he’s being a racist (always?) and when he’s not.

        Our Philosopher judges can just tell what Trump is thinking because of something he said months or years ago, and since he’s said everything on every position only Democrat Judges can be trusted to rule the country without racism.

        I’m really surprised 4 Supremes signed off on that idea.

        2) Muslims-we’re-bombing is a protected class.

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        • If telepathy were needed, I’d agree with the majority.[1]

          But… the problem is that Trump has been all over the place saying it’s all about discriminatory intent. As much as I wish we could take your perennial advice to heart and ignore the guy’s Tweets because they’re gross and dumb, the government actually isn’t really in a position to do that, and neither this the electorate.

          I’ve had some hours to calm down since the decision hit, so I’m past my initial knee jerk of thinking the majority is basically Satan , but I still think they made a very bad call by implicitly saying that everyone should just ignore everything the President said and says about the policies his government is implementing.

          [1] This, along with tariffs, seems to be an area where Congress may just have delegated a bit too much too the Executive, but I agree that this shouldn’t be the Court’s decision to make.

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          • Trump is not the law. The law is the law. And the law, as it currently stands, could have been written by Obama.

            And the courts trying to read Trump’s intentions instantly steps deep into Trump’s slime pit and having Trump there is bad enough. Should we have a Judge following Trump around vetting his moves so they’re not racist? Are all Muslims immune to all executive actions? Trump is blowing people up, shouldn’t we have a judge vet that?

            And when we discover (as we already have) that it’s just the Democrat Judges who can successfully spot Trump’s racism when it’s influencing him, what then?

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            • It’s actually not just the Democratic judges who spotted the racism; see Kennedy’s concurrence.

              The unique badness of Trump cuts both ways, here. Could Obama have gotten away with a policy that’s substantively identical? Sure.

              So could any Republican who’s not Trump.

              That’s because you’d have to be a complete bigoted idiot to argue, publicly, that a policy that isn’t obviously motivated by invidious discrimination is actually motivated by invidious discrimination.

              All the traditions and precedents we have of deferring to the Executive are rooted in assumptions that the Executive is, at the very least, basically able to understand their job. Trump… has not demonstrated that understanding. I can’t wholeheartedly condemn the majority for failing to account for that, but at the same time I can’t endorse the assumption that a bar that Trump can’t clear will necessarily be a bar that any other President couldn’t clear.

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              • Could Obama have gotten away with a policy that’s substantively identical? Sure. So could any Republican who’s not Trump.

                That’s because you’d have to be a complete bigoted idiot to argue, publicly, that a policy that isn’t obviously motivated by invidious discrimination is actually motivated by invidious discrimination.

                Your first statement disagrees with your second.

                assumptions that the Executive is, at the very least, basically able to understand their job. Trump… has not demonstrated that understanding.

                Reagan (at least 2nd term). James Buchanan. Probably others. When I’m feeling ungenerous I’d put FDR in there because he was so transformational and kept the GD going for so long.

                I can’t endorse the assumption that a bar that Trump can’t clear will necessarily be a bar that any other President couldn’t clear.

                My assumption is whatever test you want to impose will instantly be weaponized and used in bad faith.

                We have a GOP Congress. Picture HRC in charge with whatever restrictions and tests covering ethics and competence.

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                • Not seeing the disagreement? The concern in the past has always been that some clever tyrant would do something that is effectively tyrannical but give a superficially convincing justification and get away with it.

                  Nobody really contemplated the opposite case, where someone would put together a facially reasonable policy and claim it was tyrannical. That is, to coin a phrase, very dumb.

                  As for the worry about what a GOP Congress would do with President Hillary, well, (a) I don’t think President Hillary would bungle that way and (b) man, I’d love it if a GOP Congress took a Dem President as an opportunity to say, “Hey, the kind of power we give Presidents over national security is actually nuts!”

                  But they didn’t do that with Obama, and I don’t think they would have done it with Hillary either. They probably would have impeached her four times over emails and the Clinton Foundation, so the problem isn’t that they’d like her too much.

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                  • Nobody really contemplated the opposite case, where someone would put together a facially reasonable policy and claim it was tyrannical. That is, to coin a phrase, very dumb.

                    Or very smart.

                    How much time and energy has been wasted on this? How many Hitler comparisons? What if, when we turn on the telepathy, we find we’re just being Trolled as a distraction?

                    Pay attention to my right hand, see the fingers wiggle… ignore the Left hand in your wallet.

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    • I mean that’s obviously about racism, but it’s also a couple years old and from a guy who got 2% of the vote.

      But that’s OK. It’s not like Steve King is any better, and it looks like he’s on track to win reelection easily in November.

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    • You’re right, it’s about racism. That may be the first time you’ve called something racist that was actually racist, but you are right this time. This guy has gotten about 5000 votes in his last two runs, so we’ll see if he wins this time. If he does, then you’ll have some good evidence for your position. If not, I hope you’ll acknowledge that this was trivial and there was no real benefit to passing it along.

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      • By the way, this is why even the ‘reasonable’ right and left can’t get along, the reasonable right is defining racism so far down that no one can be called “racist” unless they are actually in Klan robes and screaming racial slurs, and even then, well, maybe they were chilly and have Tourettes?

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    • Right, because in the Obama days they knew their brand was decency and civility (and providing the goods to people in need) – Obama droned on and on about comity endlessly – and they knew that when the other side broke that you just let the contrast be the contrast. They were honestly just less petty than this era, they had bigger fish to fry, and their appeal was not based on stoking mutual antipathy between our broad political-identity groups (and more particular ones for that matter).

      This is unlike Trump who is the epitome of those politics, but it was also not the approach, at least not relative to Obama, of Hillary Clinton and her system of politics, which has similar tendencies in terms of speaking to the values of one group (mega-identity and mobilizing them in contrast to the opposing one. We have *generally* gone down this path since just half a decade ago, and we are seeing the results.

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      • Yes. Since Trump has been been in the public eye, he’s been known as a petty, vindictive asshole. That was the source of his Teflon during nomination and election season — no matter how he behaved, or what was revealed about his past, people already expected that from him.

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        • Yes. I meant to draw a bit of a comparison between Trump’s politics and Clinton’s there, but I inserted an extra “not” (probably unconsciously to avoid flaming people). Definitely not an equivalence, but a comparison relative to Inama.

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  23. If, say about 35% of your fellow citizens are bigots or at least willing to stand with bigots because of resentment/anger, should you still regard them as persons?

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    • They’re the ones who want to herd people into internment camps and strip them of any due process rights,. Why are you asking us who we regard as persons? We don’t want them all deported or thrown from fucking helicopters, we just want to use the various constitutional mechanisms of our country to stop them from setting policy.

      For. Fucks. Sake.

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      • Yes, refusing service to people because of their political views is a legal and constitutional act. That doesn’t make it right*. And as Burt may very well spill into “I no longer acknowledge you as a fellow citizen and human being” territory. Just because something is a legal act and is performed in the service of a laudatory moral goal it does not follow that it is itself a morally permissible act.

        *That doesn’t mean that the law ought to be different. Just because an act is morally wrong it doesn’t mean that the act ought to be prohibited.

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        • Yes clearly we’re the ones who are dehumanizing people, not the people who’ve decided that they should throw children into fucking cages to own the libs.

          What the everloving fuck.

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        • Refusing service to someone who is a visible and prominent official of an oppressive government is not the same as refusing service to someone because of their political views.

          Ms. Sanders’ companions were not actually turned away when she was. (Though of course they left.)

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  24. It is my perception that, perhaps because of Kennedy’s retirement announcement, this comments section — which was going along with heatedness, but not outright antagonism and lack of civility, despite the topic, and even showing signs of *self* correcting when veering off that course — has “blown up”. I can’t keep up with the number of lines being crossed, let alone make fair decisions about them.

    As such I’ll be turning off comments. My apologies to those who still wished to discuss it in a respectful-to-each-other manner. I actually get why people want to discuss it in a non-respectful manner, but as moderator my brief is to prevent that, so here we are.

    Please don’t circumvent this by starting the same antagonisms over in new threads, suspensions will most likely be forthcoming if so.

    Complaints or comments can be sent to me, to Will, through the inquiry page, etc.

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