Trump’s Indecent Proposal

by Corey Robin on August 2, 2016

One of the most storied, Aaron Sorkin-esque moments in American history—making the rounds this weekend after Donald Trump’s indecent comment on Khizr Khan’s speech at the DNC—is Joseph Welch’s famous confrontation with Joe McCarthy. The date was June 9, 1954; the setting, the Army-McCarthy hearings.

It was then and there that Welch exploded:

Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

People love this moment. It’s when the party of the good and the great finally stared down the forces of the bad and the worse, affirming that this country was in fact good, if not great, rather than bad, if not worse. Within six months, McCarthy would be censured by the Senate. Within three years, he’d be dead.

Citing the Welch precedent for the Trump case, Politico perfectly captures the conventional wisdom about the confrontation:

For the first time, the bully had been called out in public by someone with no skeletons in his proverbial closet, whose integrity was unquestionable, and whose motives were purely patriotic. The audience in the senate chamber burst into applause.

 

But there are two little known elements about this famous confrontation that call that fairy tale into question.

First, Welch chose his words carefully: Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

Joe McCarthy had been running wild for four years, wreaking havoc first on the Democrats, then the Republicans, and finally on the security establishment itself. For many people—Welch’s syntax shows, almost unselfconsciously—June 9 marked the moment when McCarthy finally revealed that he had no decency, as opposed to only a very little decency, the moment when he showed that he had no redeeming qualities at all.

So how, we have to wonder, was he viewed before then?

In the four years prior to this confrontation, McCarthy had been riding high. Not merely among the rubes and the yahoos of the Commie-fearing hinterland, but at the highest levels of the Republican Party. McCarthy, as Robert Griffith showed many years ago, was the party’s useful idiot, even darling. No one made the case better than he that the Democrats were the party of 20 years of treason. It was for that reason that he was favored by the party pooh-bahs and the party faithful.

As I wrote three years ago of the collusion between McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Robert Taft, whose nickname was ”Mr. Republican”:

Taft did not merely “allow” the man and the -ism to dominate; Taft actively coddled, encouraged and supported him and it at every turn.

As early as March 23, 1950 — four weeks after McCarthy’s famous speech in Wheeling, West Virginia — Taft gave McCarthy his firm support, telling McCarthy, “If one case [accusing a State Department official of being a Red] doesn’t work out, bring up another.” And added, for good measure, “Keep it up, Joe.”

When Truman attacked McCarthy’s speech — no amateur when it came to red-baiting, Truman called McCarthy “the greatest asset the Kremlin has” — Taft responded in kind, accusing Truman of being “bitter and prejudiced” and of “libeling” McCarthy, who was “a fighting Marine.” (Asked whether he had indeed libeled McCarthy, Truman responded, “Do you think that is possible?”)…

In 1951, however, Taft pulled back — after it seemed that McCarthy had gone too far, accusing George Marshall on the Senate floor of aiding the Communist cause….But within weeks, Taft reversed course. In response to a wave of letters from complaining fans of McCarthy, Taft issued a correction in which he downplayed his disagreements with McCarthy (“I often disagree with other Republican senators”) and reaffirmed his support: “Broadly speaking, I approve of Senator McCarthy’s program.”

Just in case there was any doubt about that, Taft personally endorsed McCarthy’s reelection bid during the Wisconsin primary of 1952, claiming that “Senator McCarthy has dramatized the fight to exclude Communists from the State Department. I think he did a great job in undertaking that goal.” He even campaigned for McCarthy — despite the fact that McCarthy never returned the favor by endorsing Taft.

And on at least one occasion (there might have been more), Taft quietly passed information to McCarthy about possible subversion in the State Department, suggesting to McCarthy that one employee deserved “special attention.”


In his confrontation with McCarthy, Welch opens a window onto an even subtler and more corrosive form of establishment collusion with McCarthy.

For many years, Welch had been a partner at Hale and Dorr, an elite Boston law firm, and had temporarily gone to work as the general counsel to the U.S. Army. That’s how he wound up at the Army-McCarthy hearings. What immediately provoked Welch at those hearings was that McCarthy had launched a broadside against Fred Fisher, a young attorney in Welch’s law firm who had once been a member of the National Lawyers’ Guild, a left-wing outfit that Dwight Eisenhower’s attorney general had called “the legal mouthpiece of the Communist Party.”

This is how Welch responded to McCarthy’s charge:

Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who went to the Harvard Law School and came into my firm and is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us. When I decided to work for this Committee, I asked Jim St. Clair, who sits on my right, to be my first assistant. I said to Jim, “Pick somebody in the firm to work under you that you would like.” He chose Fred Fisher, and they came down on an afternoon plane. That night, when we had taken a little stab at trying to see what the case is about, Fred Fisher and Jim St. Clair and I went to dinner together. I then said to these two young men, “Boys, I don’t know anything about you, except I’ve always liked you, but if there’s anything funny in the life of either one of you that would hurt anybody in this case, you speak up quick.”

And Fred Fisher said, “Mr. Welch, when I was in the law school, and for a period of months after, I belonged to the Lawyers’ Guild,” as you have suggested, Senator. He went on to say, “I am Secretary of the Young Republican’s League in Newton with the son of [the] Massachusetts governor, and I have the respect and admiration of my community, and I’m sure I have the respect and admiration of the twenty-five lawyers or so in Hale & Dorr.” And I said, “Fred, I just don’t think I’m going to ask you to work on the case. If I do, one of these days that will come out, and go over national television, and it will just hurt like the dickens.” And so, Senator, I asked him to go back to Boston.


With that mention of his own interrogation of Fisher and decision not to bring him to DC, Welch was inadvertently testifying to the corrosive process by which moderates, centrists, liberals, and leftists—across the country, at all levels of government, in the tiniest corners and most obscure crevices of civil society—cooperated with McCarthyism, lest they too become targets not just of McCarthy (who was, after all, just the tip of the red-baiting iceberg) but also of the FBI, freelance blacklisters, employers, and more.

In the face of red-baiting, many of these establishment figures didn’t speak up or protest; they cleaned their own house, making sure that they wouldn’t be targeted next. Welch’s decision to keep Fred Fisher out of the hearings was, all things considered, relatively anodyne; usually, people were simply purged. As Yale’s president famously put it, “There will be no witch hunts at Yale because there are no witches at Yale.”  (To get the tiniest flavor of how creepy this process was, just read the story of Robert Bellah’s encounter with McGeorge Bundy at Harvard.)

These were the men, in other words, who quietly, subtly, carefully colluded with the red baiters’ (including McCarthy) indecency throughout the Cold War. They colluded and colluded until that rare moment when they finally exploded, as Welch did on June 9, 1954, in recognition that McCarthy’s indecency was total, that there was no saving remnant of virtue or value that might mitigate it. But until then, they were silent, or worse.

(It should be said that liberals and Democrats played their own considerable role in generating McCarthyism. Indeed, McCarthyism was, to some degree, the tail end of a long process of persecution and purging the left, which liberals had been engaging in long before anyone had ever even heard the name Joseph McCarthy. So when Politico says, “McCarthy and his committee were the leading edge of a ‘Red Scare,’” they’re peddling pure bullshit. But that’s another subject that I’ve dealt with elsewhere on numerous occasions. My focus here is more limited.)

There’s a point here about political evil, a point that Hannah Arendt understood all too well. One of the reasons evil attracts this extended circle of collaborators and colluders is that it seldom arrives in a big box, wrapped in a bow, labeled “evil.” Instead, it works in small and subtle ways, overtaking a society slowly but surely, working its way through those grey zones where people can’t see clearly, where they aren’t quite sure what it is they are dealing with, till, when they finally figure it out, it’s too late.

As I wrote in The Nation last year:

Arendt attends to the smallest moments of the Shoah, not to lend her account novelistic detail but to make the point that the devil literally is in the details. “Cooperation” with evil is “gradual,” she explained to a correspondent. It’s always “difficult indeed to understand when the moment had come to cross a line which never should have been crossed.” That is also the banality of evil: the smallness of its package, those gray lines, those devilish details….

If evil comes in small steps, overcoming it, nearing goodness, also inheres in small steps. As Susan Neiman explains: “Arendt was convinced that evil could be overcome only if we acknowledge that it overwhelms us in ways that are minute. Great temptations are easier to recognize and thus to resist, for resistance comes in heroic terms. Contemporary dangers begin with trivial and insidious steps.”


And that brings me to my second point.

By the time Welch confronted McCarthy, by the time he recognized and proclaimed McCarthy’s evil to the world, it was too late. The damage had been done. The red-baiting had done its work. (Likewise the Supreme Court’s heralded rebuke to McCarthyism.)

What finally did Joe McCarthy in was not Joseph Welch. It was the fact that the GOP was getting decreasing returns out of redbaiting the Democrats—redbaiting and McCarthy had helped them get liberals booted out of the Senate and get the Democrats to purge whatever remaining elements of the left they had not already purged in the late 1940s—and the fact that McCarthy had begun to turn on the GOP (and the security establishment), too. Within four short years, their wonder-boy asset had become an increasingly erratic, almost sclerotic liability.

Welch’s question—have you no decency left—could more properly be posed as: Have you no utility left? When the good and the great finally denounce the bad and the worse, it’s not because the latter has crossed some Rubicon of decency; it’s usually because they’re useless or threatening to established interests. And it takes no great act of courage to denounce them; often, that’s just a sign that the object of denunciation is already down or defeated.

I was thinking about this episode this weekend, reading the reactions to Donald Trump’s comments about Khizr Khan’s moving speech about his son, Humayun Khan, who fought and was killed in Iraq. In response to Khan’s powerful criticisms of Trump at the DNC, Trump claimed:

If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.

With its suggestion that Ghazala Khan was silent because Muslim women aren’t allowed to speak in public, Trump’s comment was gross in every way. And, yes, indecent. Profoundly indecent.

(Though it was an obscenity, it has to be said, for the US government to ask and send Humayun Khan to fight and die in an unjust, senseless, terrible war. A war, we should never forget, that Hillary Clinton and other prominent Democrats voted for. People watching Clinton at the DNC thrilled to her claim that Jackie Kennedy “said that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time [the Cuban Missile Crisis] was that a war might be started—not by big men with self-control and restraint, but by little men—the ones moved by fear and pride.” But the sad and scary truth of the Iraq War is that the junior senator from New York who voted to authorize George W. Bush to launch it was not a little man moved by fear and pride but an accomplished, talented, experienced, well informed, pragmatic, careful and cautious, supremely controlled politician who also happens to be a woman. Life would be a whole lot simpler if that were not the case.)

Among the many journalistic critics of Trump, James Fallows was the first to invoke the Joseph Welch precedent. Responding to an earlier iteration of Trump’s comment, Fallows wrote:

But it is important to document the starkness of the two conceptions of America that are on clear view, 100 days before this man could become president. The America of the Khan family, and that of Donald Trump.

“Until this moment, I think I never really gauged your cruelty.” Joseph Welch, 1954.


Ezra Klein followed up. Citing Fallows’s quoting of Welch, Klein wrote:
At this point, I honestly don’t know what to say. I don’t have new language for this, I haven’t found another way of saying this isn’t okay, this isn’t kind, this isn’t decent.

This is the woman Trump decided to slander. This is the gauge of his cruelty.

This isn’t partisan. This isn’t left vs. right. Mitt Romney never would have said this. John McCain never would have said this. George W. Bush never would have said this. John Kerry never would have said this. This is what I mean when I write that the 2016 election isn’t simply Democrat vs. Republican, but normal vs. abnormal.

What kind of person is Donald Trump? What kind of person says these things?


As emotionally, and perhaps politically, satisfying as these questions are, they are the wrong questions. Like so much of the commentary on the GOP presidential candidate, Klein’s focuses on the person—and the novelty—of Donald Trump rather than on the party and the movement that produced him.

Countering that amnesia doesn’t require any elaborate education in American history; simply recall three moments of recent memory.

In 2002, Georgia’s Democratic senator  Max Cleland—a Vietnam vet who had his two legs and part of his arm torn to shreds by a grenade, leaving him in a wheelchair for life, his two legs and part of his arm amputated—lost his Senate seat to Saxby Chambliss. Why? Despite Cleland’s lead in the polls, Chambliss (who went onto serve in the Senate for two terms as an esteemed Republican, for Saxby is an honorable man) ran television ads questioning Cleland’s patriotism (complete with likenesses of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden). The man had given his two legs and part of his arm to this country, but the Republican Party saw fit to back a candidate, and subsequently a two-term senator, who had the indecency to say that Cleland’s commitment to his country was not to be trusted.

In 2004, the Republican shadow apparatus ran an entire campaign against John Kerry’s war record, claiming that despite his winning of a Bronze Star and Silver Star for what he did in Vietnam, despite the fact that he had put himself in considerable danger to help save his unit, Kerry actually betrayed his country. Not just when he returned from Vietnam and helped lead the opposition to the war, but also while he was fighting the war, putting his life at risk. That these ads were made on behalf of a candidate who used his family connections to get out of fighting that war only added to the indecency.

That same year, Cindy Sheehan’s son Casey was killed while serving in Iraq. She soon began protesting the war and George W. Bush, camping outside his ranch in Crawford for weeks on end to highlight what had happened to her son and the injustice and folly of the war. Bill O’Reilly said:

I think Mrs. Sheehan bears some responsibility…for the other American families who lost sons and daughters in Iraq who feel this kind of behavior borders on treasonous.

Michelle Malkin even invoked the memory of Sheehan’s dead son against her: “I can’t imagine that Casey Sheehan would approve of such behavior.” Fred Barnes called her “a crackpot.”

Here we have an instance of a Democratic presidential candidate, a sitting Democratic senator, and a prominent antiwar activist—all with stories of patriotic, almost unthinkable sacrifice—subjected to a pattern and practice of humiliating, disgusting slurs and smears. By figures high and low in—and near and only slightly less near to—the Republican Party.

That we can sit here and act as if Donald Trump’s indecency is a singular pathology rather than a systemic mode of politics (I don’t have time to get into here the ways in which the Democratic Party has often enabled this rightward march over the years, but suffice it to say, that must be part of any real historical reckoning); that we can treat his arrival on the scene as a novelty and an innovation rather than the logical outgrowth of years of right-wing revanchism; that we would invoke against Trump the memory of an earlier, more decent Republican Party, present as recently as one election ago: that is itself a kind of collusion, an erasure of the past, a collusion with indecency.

In the same way that it took no great act of courage for Joseph Welch to denounce a man who was already on his knees, it requires no bravery—and betrays a great forgetting—to denounce Trump while exonerating the party and the movement that produced him.

It is also a dangerous forgetting: after all, before you can cross a Rubicon, you’ve got to march a considerable way.

{ 879 comments }

1

William Berry 08.02.16 at 2:47 am

Completely agree with this. The idea that Donald Trump’s views are “something new” in American politics is a-historical.

Trump-style bigotry and xeno-phobia is nothing new for the Republicans (nor, for that matter, for certain segments of the Democrats at certain times; e.g., Dixie-crats, q.v.).

What is new is something that many seem to have missed.

What is new is Donald Trump, the man.

He is unique in the annals of (at least modern presidential) American politics in terms of personality and style, not in substance. He is more truculent, aggressive, egotistical and narcissistic, mean-spirited and petty, and just down-right ignorant and stupid, than any prominent politician in living memory (yes, he is dumber than Gohmert and Inhofe put together). Underneath all that, he is deeply insecure and desperate for approbation and adulation. And behind it all there lies a thoroughly mediocre mind. Low cunning serves to mask what might be even-below-average intelligence.

2

JM Hatch 08.02.16 at 3:11 am

JFK, who also cooperated with McCarthy when it suited him, included Robert A. Taft in his (ghost authored?) Profiles In Courage”. Even in 1950’s America it took a (relative to European politics) very thin shim to find space between the two elite.

Even to my teenage mind, that book was(is) a paean to anti-democratic action; the elites did not oppose wrong actions by the right methods, but by using the powers of the elite to obstruct.

3

Alan White 08.02.16 at 3:21 am

“One of the reasons evil attracts this extended circle of collaborators and colluders is that it seldom arrives in a big box, wrapped in a bow, labeled “evil.” Instead, it works in small and subtle ways, overtaking a society slowly but surely, working its way through those grey zones where people can’t see clearly, where they aren’t quite sure what it is they are dealing with, till, when they finally figure it out, it’s too late.”

I love this. But I wonder if it’s too prophetic in the last three words.

With William Berry above, I worry that this is not about novel political trends–which the OP very effectively debunks–but the emergence of a persona that resonates with those on the fringe of media, and in every sense of that. I mean those not just tapped into far-right Fox-style stuff, but those whose contact with media is so superficial that they only get bits of it filtered through deeply resentful emotions falling out of the economic serfdom most people experience. Why else is Trump even close in the polls?

4

b9n10nt 08.02.16 at 3:22 am

Thanks for this post.   I’m a big fan of looking at Trump as continuity, not just change.

I think a dynamic that works in Trump’s favor is simply the fact that PR is…PR. So every claim to moral outrage that’s affected for a televised audience to help somebody’s poll numbers, or written on-line to impress an in-group and further a career…it’s all instinctively political -which is to say manipulative- speech.  

How valuable is it in interpersonal relations to simply communicate a feeling or thought without contrivance, without some degree of manipulative intent?  (“Honey, I’ll get to it.   You already asked me this morning.  I don’t like being nagged, you sound like your mother” vs. “Honey, I need a few minutes.  When you reminded me do chore X just now anger and frustration showed up.  Give me 5 minutes.”).  If that commitment to honest, non-manipulative speech is rare in our private lives, at least the benign inauthenticities of small talk are part of a dialogue and occur in a context of reciprocity, respect, and mutual reliance.

But in our political culture, speech is consciously, calculatedly manipulative and fundamentally inauthentic.  And all this without dialogue, without reciprocity or respect between the speaker and the audience.  

A Trump can exploit this…PR is considered normal in mass politics though it will always be alienating.   Rancid “shock jocks” have thrived in a context where they can generate performances of moral outrage among their enablers-as-enemies, and the audience can be thrilled that the denunciations are performative and thus inauthentic.    They can sense and revel in the corruption of speech.

5

R 08.02.16 at 3:35 am

Bravo. This is the appropriate response to the bullshit that Max Boot smeared onto the op-ed page of the NYT today.

6

Lawrence Stuart 08.02.16 at 3:36 am

Never underestimate the value of a good fairytale. Virtue is preserved, the usurper defeated, the hero triumphs. It can be a poetics of optimism, and quite useful in a narrative of a progressive electoral politics. Rally the troops around a sense of decency, and defeat the forces of darkness. Fairytales can also be deeply reactionary, of course, but that’s all in the telling.

Inserting critical thinking about history in the electoral process is certainly a worthy project, but those fairytale narratives are very functionally (as rallying standards) ingrained on both left and right. To what extent can mass electoral politics be something other than highly formalized moral kabuki?

7

Dr. Hilarius 08.02.16 at 3:38 am

The public repudiation of Trump by Republican pundits David Brooks and George Will rests mostly on matters of style. Trump is too vulgar, his ignorance too unapologetic. But they and their party have accepted uncountable nastiness for decades without comment. Trump goes too far to allow for plausible denial of the dark core of the party.

William Berry @ 1 mentions “low cunning” an apt descriptor of Trump. If Trump didn’t have inherited wealth he’d likely be hawking time shares or quack diets on cable. He and his followers are made for each other.

8

Omega Centauri 08.02.16 at 3:43 am

Its true that Trump is only an exaggeration of a lot of bad tendencies and practices that have been going on for some time. But for too many humans it takes an egregiously bad example to throw light into the darkest corners of their minds. Assuming the is the start of the terminal meltdown of his candidacy, it should have a very positive effect. We tend in part to judge ideas by their resemblance to other things that share some common features. So an automatic reaction to anything that reminds of Trump will be negative.

9

Anarcissie 08.02.16 at 3:54 am

If evil ‘works in small and subtle ways, overtaking a society slowly but surely, working its way through those grey zones where people can’t see clearly, where they aren’t quite sure what it is they are dealing with, till, when they finally figure it out, it’s too late,’ what does that say about lesser-evillism?

A major difference between McCarthy and Trump is that so many big deals were so afraid of McCarthy they wouldn’t say anything, whereas Trump is roundly denounced every day. Indeed, one could say he roundly denounces himself. One can hardly be worried about some subtly quiet evil of his sneaking up on the Republic unbeknownst, because it doesn’t exist. Not so some other evils I can think of.

10

David Clow 08.02.16 at 3:55 am

It’s naive to make this comparison. Back then the GOP could still be shamed into breaking off from the likes of McCarthy. Today their raison d’etre is proud invulnerable shamelessness. They would double down.

Welch would be the loser here today. McCarthy would get the full support of the Republican poison mill that monetizes ignorance and shamelessness. Trump was correct when he said he could shoot someone and get away with it. He could. Worse, he could poison the entire GOP into this kind of near-violent shamelessness and bring them to the brink of mob behavior. They want that–you can see it in instances like Ted Cruz’s wife requiring protection at the GOP convention. She’d have been attacked without it. You can see it when a military family member gets booed at a Pence rally. If it happens–when it happens–Trump will wash his hands of the violence but blame the victim for deserving it.

If not before the election then after, when Trump insists that he and his followers were robbed–someone is going to get hurt. It’s not merely that Trump has no decency. It that he has made decency unwelcome in the GOP.

11

RNB 08.02.16 at 3:56 am

Fantastic. Not a single word quoted from Khizr and Ghazala Khan. Or even directly linked to. No op-ed or transcript where their words and concerns as they understand them appear. But carry on, Crooked Timber.

The Khan’s are representatives of a group against whom Trump has been whipping up exterminatory and eliminationist hatred for more than a year. And this time it is sanctioned from the top. The Republican nominee is not trying to convince a rabid base that we are not at war with Islam; in fact the person at top is whipping up people into a hatred that is eliminationist.

But no discussion of the psychological consequences of being Muslim American in America during Trump’s decisive march to victory and what Trumpism from the very top of ticket has meant to them. Carry on Crooked Timber.

No, as a group and as individuals the Khan’s are just there to be collected by the left into an indiscriminate non-European category on which the Republicans hate.

The Khan’s are concerned about what Islam means to them, what the history of religious liberty means for us as a country, what the threat of religious tests means for our Constitution, what sacrifices good people make for each other, and what role empathy should have in our social relations.

But carry on Crooked Timber. No need to listen to the Khan’s and enter the discussion they are asking us to have. Have you no indecency, indeed.

12

kidneystones 08.02.16 at 4:06 am

Numerous unfortunate ironies abound in this exchange. b9n10nt@4 makes some very useful observations. Given Trump’s violation of speech codes up to the present, it’s hard to imagine how this particular exchange is going to derail him. Klein is right in confessing that he has no language for this, he’s used it all up. the Trump equals Hitler, Trump supporter equal Klan supporter, Trump equals Mussolini, were deployed to little or no effect months ago, other than to propel Trump even higher in the polls.

Indeed, Trump’s entire campaign has been fueled from the beginning on the high-octane rhetoric any single instance of which would blow up the average political candidate. And, as much as I agree very much with the general principle of continuity, Trump’s campaign, if not his practices, are quite different from almost all others in that it is devoid of both platform and ideologies.

I watched Trump give a relatively balanced speech this morning and as soon as teh Donald started to say something close to rational his audience started to get very fidgety. They’re there for their fix, and when they don’t get it they start to jones very quickly.

They’re hooked, however. And until some better drug comes along we can expect Trump’s reliable core to hang with him. I expect HRC to pull even further away in the short term, perhaps to low double-digits. That’s conceivable. The principle factor will be revulsion for both candidates among purists and, perhaps, independents.

He’s going to have to do more than say something hurtful, or stupid, to lose. I very much suspect that Van Jones is right – the Dem base in the rust belt and, perhaps, Florida is unhappy with 4-8 more years of more of the same. If Trump is still in the race in November, and I fully expect he will be, a percentage of the Dem base will help make Trump the next president. The talking part is pretty much done.

13

Sandwichman 08.02.16 at 4:08 am

RNB — WTF?

14

b9n10nt 08.02.16 at 4:25 am

Lawrence Stewart @5:

To what extent can mass electoral politics be something other than highly formalized moral kabuki?

Yes to this question!

I wonder if the answer isn’t “When you can identify with the performer as an authentic voice from your community”? I mean everything that gets spoken is ‘moral kabuki’, but how did Irish Catholics hear JFK? How did African Americans hear Jesse Jackson? How did white Texans hear dubya? In the U.S. where communities are routinely desolated by economic upheaval, mass incarceration, poverty, and more commonly simply “affluenza”, there may be a healthy but difficult process of discovering how full of shit the discourse is.

Fewer and fewer communities can project on to these politicians the warm glow of authenticity. Only the tawdry shine of cheap fluorescence remains.

15

RNB 08.02.16 at 4:26 am

And, Sandwichman, why no discussion of the compulsive Orientalism or Islamphobia that could not stop Trump and many all over the country from assuming as obvious that a manifestly overwhelmed, distraught and grieving woman was not speaking not because she had lost her composure in front of tens of millions of people but because she “obviously” had been silenced by a despot at home? Who could assume that this eloquent, beautiful man was a despot at home? What history and propaganda led to that common sense? Do you think that perhaps this topic too deserves an OP?

16

RNB 08.02.16 at 4:27 am

But carry on Crooked Timber. The issues are being framed correctly for discussion. The OP writers got it under control.

17

Sandwichman 08.02.16 at 4:33 am

“And, Sandwichman, why no discussion of the…”

Because, RNB, who was stopping you? You could have made those points instead of accusing “Crooked Timber” of not making them. I didn’t notice any prohibition in Corey Robin’s OP.

18

RNB 08.02.16 at 4:38 am

But who frames the discussion? And then can hold over people that they’ll be kicked off if they don’t keep to the OP’s issues…

19

William Berry 08.02.16 at 4:39 am

@RNB:

I notice that your ‘nym doesn’t link to anything.

Here’s an idea: why don’t you start your own blog?

You can write whatever you want, and leave Corey Robin to write whatever he wants.

It’s just a suggestion, mind you. You don’t have t, or anything.

Carry on.

20

William Berry 08.02.16 at 4:41 am

On second thought, forget it. I should keep my mouth shut.

‘Nighty-night, then.

21

Sandwichman 08.02.16 at 4:47 am

For the record, I have never been kicked off Crooked Timber comments. Not even when I disagree with how the OP was framed. But I digress…

22

kidneystones 08.02.16 at 4:50 am

@ 13 So….she’s like a political billboard, instead of person? I expect that a great many people, including many in the audience, and many Dem supporters, not to mention neutrals – see her as a cudgel to be employed against the candidate de jour. And here you are complaining that the OP isn’t doing precisely that.

If she fails in the role she accepted when she agreed to step onto that stage, she and the sad story of her son will get as much ink and sympathy as any grieving mother in Chicago might on an average weekend after one of her kids is killed. Which would be none.

My favorite sympathy figure during the Iraq war was ‘little, limbless Ali’ unlucky enough to lose 13 members of his family, have his arms blown up and suffer 60 percent burns to his body during a botched US bombing raid sponsored by Mrs. ‘I never lie.’ Ali, however, was so very, very lucky to get first class treatment from the same military that crippled him for life. Smile for the camera, Ali!

Now, HRC and her supporters have very own poster child, ‘we helped take your son from you. Now, step into the national spotlight for us, please.’ Cry for the camera, Mrs. Khan’ we have a lot riding on your performance.

Hillary used all the dead and wounded in Iraq, including US soldiers, to bolster her rep as a war hawk. Now, she gets to recycle the deaths she helped cause to propel her even further. The same media tools who helped sell the war are now boosting ratings mooing over the Khan family’s terrible sacrifice and that awful Donald Trump.

Inspiring!

Here’s an excellent 2003 piece on Ali and the media exploitation of the victim. Be prepared to gag. Really. More recent updates on ‘happy Ali’ can be found on the BBC, the Mirror, and the Daily Mail, but are too obscene to link to.

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/09/17/1063625093108.html

23

RNB 08.02.16 at 4:56 am

The Khan’s were not speaking for Hillary Clinton. They were speaking against Trump’s vision of an America in which people of a certain faith do not belong even though they love the freedom this country has given them, honor its laws, and have suffered its grievous errors more than others.

24

kidneystones 08.02.16 at 5:13 am

@ 21 “The Khan’s were not speaking for Hillary Clinton” Agreed, the Khans don’t even mention Hillary Clinton!

From NPR, Mr Khan: “This is a historic election and I request to honor the sacrifice of my son, and on Election Day, take the time to get out and vote and vote for the healer, vote for the strongest, most qualified candidate, Hillary Clinton,”

http://www.npr.org/2016/07/28/487856654/watch-muslim-father-of-fallen-soldier-tells-trump-you-have-sacrificed-nothing

Maybe you should go back to trying to beat Trump over the head with the death his political opponent helped cause. Use something like, “If Hillary Clinton and the Dems had not supported the Iraq invasion Captain Khan would probably be alive today.”

Or, you could just continue to tell Corey how to write his OPs.

White-boys. What can you teach them? They never listen.

25

RNB 08.02.16 at 5:16 am

But the reason to vote for Hillary Clinton is simply to keep Trump out of office and further the integration of Muslim Americans into American life and prevent the Muslim ban. Yes, we should listen to the Khan’s and empathize with them. And you’re right many white people (not just guys) don’t listen and are dismissive in ways that they don’t understand.

26

Sandwichman 08.02.16 at 5:26 am

American life is a billboard. Individual life in the U.S. includes something nameless that takes place in the weeds behind it.

27

kidneystones 08.02.16 at 5:28 am

@ 23 Good to know you’re not a bigot. We learn so much about the short comings of white people from you. Pray continue.

I expect, however, you’ll clam up and save your ‘white people are…’ lecture for a more select audience.

28

kidneystones 08.02.16 at 5:32 am

24@ Excellent!

Let’s focus on American exceptionalism as a negative ‘hidden’ force to complement a race-based examination of the deficiencies of ‘whites’ and call it a thoughtful discussion.

Have at it.

29

RNB 08.02.16 at 5:41 am

You know, kidneystones, your world would not fall apart if you tried to understand how families like the Khan’s have experienced the triumph of nominee Trump who is much more intolerant of Mulsims than Romney, McCain and even post 9/11 W. was.

This is not a race-based issue actually; it’s religion-based, and I assure you that Hindu or Jain Americans may be more reluctant to empathize with the situation of the besieged religious minority of American Muslims than many Christian groups (my parents’ inner circle included families that experienced the Partition) So if it helps, the issue here is not in the end black/white.

30

kidneystones 08.02.16 at 6:03 am

@ 27 You make a great many assumptions about people based on ‘race’ that sound to me like naked bigotry and ignorance cloaked in virtue and academic jargon.

Actually, I’ve very little sympathy for those who allow themselves to be manipulated by politicians, or those who use family tragedy in such a cynical fashion. Fortunately, this is a tiny subset of the general population.

As for Trump, I hope you won’t be too disappointed to learn I see you as anything but a neutral observer.

As for religious conflict in India, I’m aware of your background. I have avoided drawing contrasts between the manner in which religious differences are too often settled in India and other parts of Asia, and your own over-the-top denunciations of Trump for several reasons – your obvious intelligence being one. You know far better than many here how very committed America, even Trump’s America, is to religious freedom and peaceful co-existence compared with many nations, including the UK.

31

RNB 08.02.16 at 6:16 am

Well yes the Modi administration has been a disaster. It is exactly what we should be talking about. The Khan’s with knowledge of Pakistan and present developments in India are not doing politics when they praise in the highest terms the history of religious liberty that our Founding Fathers built into the Constitution. They are not kidding, I believe, when they say they are patriots. And, yes, they see Hillary Clinton honoring this aspect of our Enlightenment way of life, not Trump.

They know that much of what is good in their life derives from the Godless aspects of the Constitution (I absolutely love this aspect of our country), and it is too precious for this bullshit artist to trample on in his demagogic bid for the Presidency.

So I know no such thing as you say about Trump; he is in fact campaigning on making a religious test a condition of national belonging. I do not remember any Presidential nominee doing this in recent years–do you?

Now there is a lot of academic discussion about the nature of Western secularism. Some will say that it has religious roots; some will see the ideal as unrealizable. Still others will say that it is not desirable. And then there are those who will look favorably upon the histories of religious diversity in the Ottoman and Mughal Empires in comparison to, say, early modern Europe. It’s a big question. I wish I knew more.

32

Raven Onthill 08.02.16 at 6:20 am

And yet it is patriotism, far from a leftist virtue, that may have finally broken the spell. Let us wait and see if, in fact, the spell has been broken, or if the Islamophobes can yet patch up the illusion.

33

RNB 08.02.16 at 6:26 am

Ok got to get up early tomorrow. Maybe resume in the evening tomorrow. But there are people out there hopefully reading who have a lot more to say about constitutional religious liberty, the experience of being an American Muslim and the ways in which Trump’s nomination builds out of long-standing Republican prejudices and also represents something new in terms of someone winning the Republican nomination race *for the first time* on the basis of a relative advantage in mobilizing racial resentments and religious intolerance (according to Michael Tesler in today’s Washington Post).

34

RNB 08.02.16 at 6:32 am

The Khan’s have explicitly said that one can only achieve belonging by military sacrifice in one’s one family, though the do honor their son who seems to have saved lives not taken them. They have explicitly said that military service is not only or mostly what they mean by patriotism. They mean that we learn to sacrifice for each other through empathy and psychological altruism. At least that is what I have heard.

35

RNB 08.02.16 at 6:35 am

Oh heck messed that up. Good night.
The Khan’s have explicitly REJECTED the idea that that one can achieve belonging only by military sacrifice in one’s one family,

36

Ronan(rf) 08.02.16 at 9:14 am

Rnb, you really are a disingenuous clown.

37

casmilus 08.02.16 at 10:28 am

Do we think that having a record of military service means one’s patriotism is beyond question?

Not so much Petain, but I’m thinking of characters like Darnand:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Darnand

It’s not that you can’t question the attitudes of veterans; rather that it requires a higher standard of evidence. “He disagrees with my plan for aggressive war” doesn’t cut it.

38

fnn 08.02.16 at 10:39 am

Meanwhile, the D’s are reenacting the worst excesses of “McCarthyism” with hysterical displays of Russophobia.

39

Salem 08.02.16 at 11:38 am

[Evil] seldom arrives in a big box, wrapped in a bow, labeled “evil.”… Welch’s question—have you no decency left—could more properly be posed as: Have you no utility left?

OK, but the other way to look at this is that it’s not evil as long as it’s positive.

I tend to see society as having countervailing pressures. We need law and order, but not to the extent of living in a police state. We need individual rights, but not to the extent where those rights undermine the common good. And so on. And we need to thread the happy medium between these extremes.

But more than that, different people and individuals find themselves at different points, in terms of interests and ideology, and so we get pressure groups taking maximal positions. And that’s all good, because they provide a focus and a rallying point. But that also means that groups can outlive their usefulness through their own success. Pushing for more law and order in Mogadishu is good, but if you’ve managed to turn Mogadishu into Singapore and you’re still pushing, that’s bad.

Any movement becomes “evil” when it is unbalanced, when it goes too far, when its remedies are no longer appropriate for the problem being targeted. But that doesn’t invalidate that movement’s concerns. For example, environmentalism racked up important wins in reducing the pollution that urban residents and workers are exposed to. Current wilderness preservation efforts are a closer call – still good IMO, but many understandably disagree. If we get to the stage where human flourishing is being substantially harmed, I’d say that environmentalism has become an evil, but trying to argue on that basis that the Clean Air Act was evil is a mug’s game.

Similarly, I don’t think you get anywhere with the witch-hunts unless you admit that there were witches.

I think this is basically what is happening with the Republicans at the moment. Squishy centrist that I am, I see the Reagan coalition as having racked up important wins that now no sensible person wants to go back on, but their continuing policy agenda is necessarily more marginal and less valuable. And so you get Trump.

40

Lee A. Arnold 08.02.16 at 1:02 pm

Corey, McCarthy is a great parallel case.

Trump is 70% the apotheosis of the long-term direction of the GOP + 30% narcissistic personality disorder, as William Berry in #1 indicates.

The “moderate” GOP has been looking for a way to throw Trump over the side of the boat ever since his paltry early primary results showed them he could sink the downballot races. The number of candidates in the primaries, plus their despising of Ted Cruz, prevented an easy intra-party strategy to engineer somebody who would, right now, be 8 points ahead of Hillary, like Kasich or Jeb. (And instead, all that Fox News demonization of her is gone to waste!) So now their best option is to repudiate Trump by his unsteadiness, unpreparedness, and indecency — thus try to salvage their downballot races, and reconstitute the party after the election.

But their rhetoric and beliefs are a yooge part of this problem and I think the Republicans may not realize that, after Trump’s apotheosizing, they will have more trouble expressing the basic GOP message. This whole campaign episode will make it easier to say of some stupid proposed policy, or even some mental attitude, “That only leads the country back to Trump!” So I agree with Dr. Hilarius #6 that “Trump goes too far to allow for plausible denial of the dark core of the party” and with Omega Centauri #7 that “automatic reaction to anything that reminds of Trump will be negative.”

Why will this effect be so consequential? Because as Omega Centauri points out, “for too many humans it takes an egregiously bad example to throw light into the darkest corners”, and this gets us to Lawrence Stuart #5: “To what extent can mass electoral politics be something other than highly formalized moral kabuki?” Ans.: to almost no extent, usually. The focus of a single drama is the way that almost everyone naturally performs the storytelling of evil. We talk about movies. This gives us the handle, the grasp, the Gibsonian “affordance” to describe and warn of further cases and examples.

An additional factor could be that Trump has every incentive, if he loses the election, to spin his supporters off into a new cable TV channel of self-promotion and commercial profit. So the GOP may finally have the crackup I’ve been predicting for 10 years.

People haven’t written as much about the possible future of the Democratic Party. I am guessing that the Democrats are going to have a very different sort of problem after the election, because they are not merely “Republican Lite”. It is a “big tent” party, there are a lot of social democrats, and Bernie Sanders pushed the country leftward in acceptable rhetoric. The last time this situation manifested was the 1970’s after Nixon was such a stinker that he sank the GOP for a moment — but afterward, the Democratic Party’s “interest group politics” defused their efforts at policy and helped to make Carter look “weak”. What is different is that most of those interest-group concerns are now accepted by the mainstream; the world is such a complicated instant-news mess that big war seems less likely; and if Clinton tries to make a war, Bernie will be the point-man for millions of people hitting the streets.

41

Lee A. Arnold 08.02.16 at 1:22 pm

And Warren Buffet publicly asked Trump to release his tax returns. This is so much fun!

42

Rich Puchalsky 08.02.16 at 2:16 pm

Lee: “People haven’t written as much about the possible future of the Democratic Party. I am guessing that the Democrats are going to have a very different sort of problem after the election, because they are not merely “Republican Lite”. It is a “big tent” party, there are a lot of social democrats, and Bernie Sanders pushed the country leftward in acceptable rhetoric.”

Most of the squabbling over Trump is not-so-hidden attempts to set markers for what happens after HRC wins. The people who say that Trump can win and that we have to do everything we can to stop him are demonstrably, themselves, not doing whatever they can to stop them — that would involve working to build party unity and appealing to the undecided. So it’s mostly a preliminary attempt to push that leftist rhetoric back to the margins as soon as possible.

Let’s assume that the GOP finally cracks up, in the sense that it becomes regional and can not really compete as a national party any more. That seems a lot further away to me than some people think, but it could happen. In that case the Democratic Party simply *can’t* remain a big tent. The mathematics of the US electoral system require two main parties. So then the question becomes: what’s the other party going to be? The Democrats are going to keep the center of gravity of finance, wealth, etc.

So Trump prefigures more than a GOP crackup. If that happens, it’s also going to be a Democratic Party crackup. I think that it’s really important that the party that breaks off be a left party and not some kind of populist/authoritarian one.

43

Rich Puchalsky 08.02.16 at 2:24 pm

“not some kind of populist/authoritarian one”

I should apologize to John Emerson for that bit. Perhaps better phrased as a right populism vs left populism.

44

cassander 08.02.16 at 3:01 pm

Decency requires consistency. Was this not the crowd that, two weeks ago, was condemning the Republican’s cynical exploitation of grief by showcasing grieving mothers? If you want to be outraged by this behavior, fine, but I expect you to find it contemptible when both republicans and democrats do it.

45

Alex K--- 08.02.16 at 3:11 pm

“When the good and the great finally denounce the bad and the worse, it’s not because the latter has crossed some Rubicon of decency; it’s usually because they’re useless or threatening to established interests.”

No doubt. But what task has Trump accomplished to become useless now? The destruction of the Republican party? On whose behalf, then? Or, perhaps, moving that notorious window on immigration – so that bleeding hearts will sigh with relief when Clinton’s administration, instead of a blanket ban and a wall, merely imposes restrictions on Muslim and Latino immigration?

The lengths to which pro-war Bushites went to smear their opponents in the early 2000s were indeed outrageous and, for an outsider like myself, unbelievable. How people can work up such frenzies in support of an obviously unnecessary war is still beyond me. But arguing nicely wouldn’t have mended the merits of their case.

Decency is often a matter of style; fixation on style over substance sometimes clouds the issues that matter. Whether an influx of Muslim immigrants is a risk worth taking, given Europe’s cautionary experience, cannot be decided by the mere example of the Khan family. That the son of Muslim immigrants can become an American hero does not tell us anything about the chances of other young American Muslims becoming heroes in the Wahhabi sense.

On the other hand, If you look closer at what’s being said by the Democratic camp, including by no less than Paul Krugman himself, they seem to be playing a collective Joseph McCarthy at the moment, accusing Trump of collusion with Putin and telling amusingly Putinesque lies along the way. Krugman has summarily denounced the whole white Christian “tribe” as unpatriotic – no doubt lesser minds will shortly follow up on this promising premise.

This said, the OP narrative on McCarthy (sans the Trump parallel) sounds convincing, although it is possible to see that affair in a rather different light. McCarthy was a Catholic climber with a strong case (as it turned out in the 1990s), yet a bully and a dangerous distortionist. It’s no wonder he got used and then destroyed when he came within attacking distance of the Protestant patricians. But if through him, “the rubes and the yahoos of the Commie-fearing hinterland” were speaking – such as the Slavo-Celtic Catholics of Wisconsin desperate for a place in decent society – could they have spoken in sweeter tones? They could have chosen a less odious spokesman, but the elites will only listen if you make them tremble in their shoes. Joe McCarthy did, for a short while.

The Kennedys wisely chose a different path but they started out as candidates for elite membership. There were almost there from the beginning.

46

Glenn 08.02.16 at 3:26 pm

I would take Khizr Khan’s speech at the DNC more seriously if he had also taken the courageous stance of calling out Hillary Clinton in the manner of Cindy Sheehan. Hillary’s decision enabling the Iraqi invasion is more in the direct cause-and-effect line of his son’s death than any by Trump.

To chastise one party more than the other when both are to blame is merely a political rhetorical act lacking nobility.

I recognize that such speech would have left Khan without any political ally at all, and would have required more bravery; but with that recognition of Hillary’s contribution to his son’s death the ugliness of the Democratic Party Convention’s reaction would have been revealed as no less repugnant than Trump’s.

Khizr Khan’s sound bite makes for good free political advertising, following the lead of Trump himself, but I don’t believe he has read the Constitution, or if he has read it he didn’t understand it.

That should not trouble him overly much; Obama taught constitutional law and a generation of his students will not understand that only Congress can declare war.
I once applied to Berkeley to take John Yoo’s teaching position. I summed up my resume with “I can do anything better than Yoo can, Yoo can’t do anything better than me.” But then who couldn’t? So that doesn’t provide me with any noteworthy distinction.

The conditions that produced and enabled Trump are the Democratic Party policies in its fake posture as an opposition party serving the interests of working people. A vote for Hillary is a vote for more of the same—increasing disparity in wealth and income.

To quote from “The Big Short”, which the Clintons played no small part in bringing about by the repeal of Glass-Steagall and passing NAFTA: “Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry.”

The Democratic Party is bully enough to shut me and my chosen candidates down; and I don’t like Trump, but I really like it when I see him kicking some lying elitist Democratic Party ass.

I want to see if Democrats have it in them to stop being weasels.

47

lemmy caution 08.02.16 at 3:48 pm

“He is unique in the annals of (at least modern presidential) American politics in terms of personality and style, not in substance. He is more truculent, aggressive, egotistical and narcissistic, mean-spirited and petty, and just down-right ignorant and stupid, than any prominent politician in living memory (yes, he is dumber than Gohmert and Inhofe put together). Underneath all that, he is deeply insecure and desperate for approbation and adulation. And behind it all there lies a thoroughly mediocre mind. Low cunning serves to mask what might be even-below-average intelligence.”

I think this gets to the point, although he isn’t stupid. He is just a bad person. He can’t stop saying shitty things. It will be hard to be as bad a president as Bush , but Trump probably has it in him.

48

Melmoth 08.02.16 at 3:49 pm

An interesting connection here is that according to Wikipedia Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s right hand man who is mentioned and shown in the clip, represented Trump against the Justice Department in the 1970’s.

49

Suzanne 08.02.16 at 4:16 pm

“Within four short years, their wonder-boy asset had become an increasingly erratic, almost sclerotic liability.”

Yup. By the time they got around to censuring him, he was doing things like calling Fulbright Half-Bright. So rude.

50

Glenn 08.02.16 at 4:23 pm

Consider then the partisan nature of worthiness determined by Democrats in their vilification of Cindy Sheehan for daring to effect a change in the system that murdered her son, whose death was more recent, the same sorrow that Khizr Khan now deals with from a position of ignorance so common to Democrats, but so much more worthy of respect when the sorrow strikes out in their political favor, unlike with Cindy Sheehan, who struck out in opposition to the Democratic Party in electorally challenging Nancy Pelosi.

51

William Meyer 08.02.16 at 4:41 pm

A thought for a future post, perhaps.

There are a lot of references in this thread to the structural nature of the U.S. political system that gives us what Americans think of as the natural order of our two-party politics. Does anyone have concrete ideas for how a more responsive and less compulsively manipulative political process could be structured.? I have a few tentative thoughts–public financing of elections, elimination of geographic election districts, mandatory voting, etc., etc. But my real point is, if we keep the system we have, we will continue to be forced into the same stupid boxes. It seems to me that we at least need to articulate what a better system would look like if we expect to effect the changes necessary for a better politics.

Just a request.

52

Glenn 08.02.16 at 5:01 pm

@William Meyer 08.02.16 at 4:41 pm

Legislators affiliated with the duopoly parties should not write the rules governing the ballot access of third parties. This exclusionary rule making amounts to preserving a self-dealing duopoly. Elections are the interest of the people who vote and those elected should not be able to subvert the democratic process by acting as a cartel.

Democracy demands that ballot access rules be selected by referendum, not by the very legacy parties that maintain legislative control by effectively denying ballot access to parties that will pose a challenge to their continued rule.

Of course any meaningful change would require a voluntary diminishment of power of the duopoly that now has dictatorial control over ballot access, and who will prevent any Constitutional Amendment that would enhance the democratic nature of the process.

53

Mike Schilling 08.02.16 at 5:25 pm

What, no condemnation of Joseph Welch for his use of homophobic slurs?

54

Patrick 08.02.16 at 5:30 pm

Rich Pulasky at 40- while I agree that “appeal to the undecided” and even “find ways to peel off people who usually vote Republican” are definitely the actual way to fight Trump, my entire life experience has been that the sort of people who love holier than thou execration of others for insufficiently battling their chosen “systemic” boogeymen really do believe that what they’re doing is a source of substantive change and progress.

I don’t believe that both parties are exactly the same. The Democrats are plainly better.

But look at left wing responses to the insufficiently left wing working class whites, and compare to right wing responses to Islam. In both cases you have people arguing, in all seriousness, that we can fix things by:

1. Make it crystal clear to everyone on the planet that the hated culture is vile.

2. Rub moral derogation in the faces of the cultures members,

3. ???

4. Things are better now.

And both the right and the left recognize that this doesn’t work when looking at groups they like. The right will wax poetic about how mocking working class white men and using them as an exemplar boogeyman without redeeming traits just makes them think you hate them and that they had better not vote for you. And the left makes the same case about Islam.

I don’t think this is three dimensional chess. I think people just do this because people suck, and believe foolish things when it is self flattering to do so.

55

Mike Schilling 08.02.16 at 5:38 pm

As an undergraduate at Harvard in the late 1940s, Bellah had been a leader of the university’s undergraduate Communist Party unit. He left the party in 1949 because of its increasing internal authoritarianism.

Not because of, say, the murder of Jan Masaryk?

56

bruce wilder 08.02.16 at 5:43 pm

Mike Schilling @48

I was wondering about that, too. I thought the emphasis on “decency” was a not very subtle way to add emphasis to the implied suggestion that Roy Cohn was a homosexual.

57

The Temporary Name 08.02.16 at 5:50 pm

I think this gets to the point, although he isn’t stupid. He is just a bad person. He can’t stop saying shitty things. It will be hard to be as bad a president as Bush , but Trump probably has it in him.

Indeed.

The thing about Chambliss and Karl Rove’s smears is that they were at least a plan. I don’t doubt that Trump will smear people in a calculated way, but he’ll also badmouth anybody, at any time, in any way, regardless of previous positions or the facts or their allegiance. The combination of vulgarity, impulsiveness and obliviousness is the thing that breaks continuity. Trump is a wrecking ball to absolutely everything. He’s a political gift to Democrats in that Clinton will win (and maybe there’ll be a good down-ticket effect) but exactly how much damage can the guy do before he loses?

58

bruce wilder 08.02.16 at 5:58 pm

William Meyer: Does anyone have concrete ideas for how a more responsive and less compulsively manipulative political process could be structured?

Sure, but it sounds to me like you might want naive idealism more than practical ideas. Political systems that work generate political power and attract people seeking power. Nature of the beast as it were.

The U.S. political system has evolved continuously. It has not been unchanging and to whom it is responsive is a matter of power and its uses and users.

59

Lee A. Arnold 08.02.16 at 6:42 pm

William Meyer #46: “Does anyone have concrete ideas for how a more responsive and less compulsively manipulative political process could be structured?”

We may see something unprecedented. Party structure depends partly on information-flow. The internet, smartphones, infotech gives us all a new immediacy, a two-way immediacy. This may allow something to emerge which is not predictable beforehand. So another wild guess, but I think that we may not be able to see the next structure clearly.

It’s also unclear whether two-party US politics is “natural” or not. There were more US parties and more factionalism in the so called “Second Party System” 1824-54 and even in the “Third Party System”, 1854-96.

1st Party System: (Jeffersonian) Republican; Federalist

2nd Party System: DEMOCRATIC, National Republican, Anti-Masonic, Whig, Know Nothing, Free Soil

3rd Party System: REPUBLICAN, Democratic (continued from above), Constitutional Union, Greenback, Populist, Prohibition

Some of these got respectable vote tallies; in 1856 Millard Fillmore received 21.5% of the popular vote, running for President as a Know Nothing.

The numbered “party systems” are a political science categorization for US politics that is determined both by the appearances of parties and the dominant issues. All 6 have their own Wikipedia entries of course and are fascinating if you like this stuff. There has been debate on whether the US is now in its 6th Party System (characterized by the 1960’s realignments & coalitions + the age of Reagan). This election may pitch the US into a 7th.

Really nice timeline with all the parties here:
http://sites.psu.edu/vansonrcl/wp-content/uploads/sites/17955/2015/01/political_parties_poster.jpg

Or Google “timeline of US political parties” and then hit “Images” on the search response page.

60

novakant 08.02.16 at 7:02 pm

that we would invoke against Trump the memory of an earlier, more decent Republican Party, present as recently as one election ago: that is itself a kind of collusion, an erasure of the past, a collusion with indecency.

Really? I am ‘colluding with indecency’ when I note the difference between the official rhetoric right after 9/11 (‘Islam is religion of peace’) and the hateful garbage the Republican roster has been spouting in the past couple of months.

No, there has definitely been a sea change in that millions of people now feel that it is acceptable to let their hate run wild unabashedly and Republican candidates trying to outdo each other in hating on minorities, the worst one just having won this contest.

And this change is not a phenomenon unique to the US but has happened across Europe over the last 15 years, the Brexit hatefest only being the latest example among many. Real people feel the real consequences of this change every day and dismissing them cavalierly is certainly not helping.

61

Sebastian H 08.02.16 at 7:05 pm

I’m a little surprised by how long the anti-gay twist of the knife took to get mentioned. It used to be a big selling point of the anecdote. It is one thing for us to realize that Herod have mixed virtue. It is another thing entirely to act as if the Democratic dog whistle didn’t exist.

62

Sebastian H 08.02.16 at 7:07 pm

Hmmm. Heros. But the autocorrect is amusing.

63

Layman 08.02.16 at 7:40 pm

Glenn: “I would take Khizr Khan’s speech at the DNC more seriously if he had also taken the courageous stance of calling out Hillary Clinton in the manner of Cindy Sheehan.”

Why should Khan call out Hillary Clinton for her Iraq decision? He wasn’t making an anti-war argument. I don’t think he’s criticizing the Iraq war, or blaming its architects for the death of his son; he’s criticizing Trump for vilifying people like his son. The war has nothing to do with it, except that the circumstances of his son counter Trump’s bigoted narrative.

64

bruce wilder 08.02.16 at 7:41 pm

RP @ 40:

I think it’s useful for analysis to distinguish each Party’s Presidential Party from the Party’s Congressional Parties and numerous State Parties.

The Democrats have a strong Presidential Party in the long-standing Clinton organization and because Obama, a Democrat with whom the Clintonites are politically and ideologically congenial, has been President successfully for nearly 8 years, with all that implies for patronage, fundraising and so on.

The Republicans have a weak Presidential Party, the weakest since Wendall Willkie. People talk as if Trump is causing that weakness, when he is the product of that weakness. The singular failure of the Bush organization, with more money than they knew what to do with, deserves more attention.

I am sure fear of the down ballot consequences of Trump is real among Republicans, but we ought to notice that the Republican Party at the Congressional and State levels is not at all weak, generally. (Very weak in my own State, where it was once a powerhouse — Reagan and Nixon were Californians.)

The Democratic Party is weak in much of the country, including some States where Clinton is very competitive. The Congressional party is suffering under unusual degrees of gerrymandering and voter suppression precisely because of state level weakness. 31 States have Republican Governors — the Party is in no danger of confining itself to one region. 68 out of 98 partisan state legislative chambers are Republican, the most ever.

Clinton won’t be turning toward a campaign to win control of Congress or the States, because her politics depends on keeping the Republicans near enough to power so that she does not have to contend with left demands. She needs practical considerations to “dictate” her neoliberal course. She wants to have to choose “moderate” Supreme Court Justices, for example, so that she can be seen fighting to get them thru the Senate, just as Obama will need solid Republican support to get TPP thru in the lame duck.

No 50-state strategy from the Clinton Kaine crowd. To keep the breadth of the Democratic coalition at the Presidential level, she needs to keep the leftish trapped by lesser evilism even while she caters to the neocons and “moderate” Republicans drifting in from the Trump debacle. Which means she needs the “incompetence” of the likes of Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the Congressional and State levels of Party organizing.

It is a tricky thing. The Dems are coming to their demographic turnover several years later than the Republicans. Pelosi and Reid will be gone at last. Sanders, at 75, won’t persist. The under 35 millennials have very different economic experiences and interests, a radically different experience of social class, in contrast to the boomers and early gen-X.

Clinton’s pretend and extend status quo politics are heading into rough policy waters and that is another consideration: whether her politics is ready to adapt over the next 4 years when policies that kinda worked in the past run out of road. I am thinking of zero interest rate macro or superpower middle east politics of bully bombing and drone strikes. We are in a period of escalating violence with political overtones that is likely to continue to 2020. And, a weather disaster or three are going to bring all the contradictions of climate policy to a head. She is coming into power with high negatives and Trump will attack her legitimacy hard.

It is just possible I think, that the Dems collapse at the state level (to loose the dead hand of a Clinton DNC) and come back at the state level as a very young Party, with boy and girl wonder governors and the like.

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bruce wilder 08.02.16 at 8:02 pm

I think the U.S. Party system, in the political science sense, shifted to a new state during George W Bush’s administration as, in Kevin Phillip’s terms the Republican Party was taken over by Theocrats and Bad Money.

66

Rich Puchalsky 08.02.16 at 8:04 pm

BW: “It is just possible I think, that the Dems collapse at the state level (to loose the dead hand of a Clinton DNC) and come back at the state level as a very young Party, with boy and girl wonder governors and the like.”

It wasn’t a good sign that people — often in the same comment! — said something like “It’s great that a primary challenger pushed the party to the left” and “HVF, who cares, everyone knows that the money system is corrupt.” If people have to break the system to actually win then they will break the system eventually. But maybe that’s just how realignment works.

Patrick: “I don’t think this is three dimensional chess. I think people just do this because people suck, and believe foolish things when it is self flattering to do so.”

Probably true, unfortunately. I’d feel much better about it if it was actually a cunning plan of some kind.

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Stacy F 08.02.16 at 8:04 pm

Wait, he was seriously smearing McCarthy’s henchmen as secretly gay? I have always assumed he literally meant “decency” in the “decent human being” sense.

I’ve known about the rumors surrounding Cohn (and Schein? I think that was the other guy) since I did a high school paper on McCarthyism (and probably treated the idea rather homophobically myself at the time), but I have never heard that that’s what Welch was alluding to.

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bruce wilder 08.02.16 at 8:07 pm

HVF?

69

Rich Puchalsky 08.02.16 at 8:18 pm

Hillary Victory Fund. One of the devices used for moving millions around in a shell game at the DNC. People used to say “follow the money” but that’s a bygone time.

70

Omega Centauri 08.02.16 at 9:31 pm

Asumming the GOP implodes, which I think isn’t very likely, the transition back to the 2party quasi-equilibrium won’t be instantaneous, but will probably take multiple election cycles to play out. It is possible (assuming the implosion scenario comes to pass) that we could have a period where one party is highly dominant. Maybe the PRI in Mexico, or the liberal party in Japan. or even the ANC in South Africa, can serve as examples. Eventually it will either fission, or some new minor party will start attracting significant enough numbers to become the core of the opposition party.

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Glenn 08.02.16 at 9:43 pm

Layman 08.02.16 at 7:40 pm

Of course it is always more insensitive to challenge the political opinion of one who is publicly mourning the death of a loved one than it is to have actually taken that loved one’s life.

Excuse my inexperience with American sensibilities and customs.

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bruce wilder 08.02.16 at 9:45 pm

Wasn’t Tom DeLay indicted and driven from Congress over a similar sort of money shuffle?

The violation of norms was similar, but Tom DeLay invented his scheme as a way of strengthening his Party and making it more powerful in Congress, which was kinda his job, and he was quite successful in adding Republicans to the Texas delegation.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz wasn’t just violating the norms; she was trying to weaken her Party, draining away resources to the Clinton campaign that they had no legitimate claim to from parts of the Party that needed those resources. And, it is part of a pattern of leadership action to weaken the Party. (Patrick Murphy, her hand-picked candidate for U.S. Senate from Florida is exhibit one.)

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kidneystones 08.02.16 at 9:57 pm

It’s absolutely not about the money.

Pocket Constitution waving grieving father at DNC denouncing temporary ban on Muslim immigration coincidentally runs ‘pay-to-play’ US immigration visa procurement business. Deletes law firm website and ‘wipes’ web server clean.

Trump has already seized on the ‘If I were president, Captain Khan would be alive meme.’

How long till the Khan grieving father looking to profit from selling visas access scam blows up the media narrative? What about Khan’s business tax returns? Follow the money?

The media loves building the narrative of the hero almost as much as they love tearing it apart.

Think Trump will ignore Khan’s entirely legitimate immigration business scam? I mean the one he just deleted? Think the media won’t give Trumps comments on that story any airtime?

Love of freedom? Love of cash? Grieving Parent? How about all three? Neutral observer?

That’s a harder sell.

From the Wayback machine

: https://web.archive.org/web/20160801212033/http://www.kmkhanlaw.com/International_Business.html

Pointing to any or all of Khan’s deleted business activities/interests is a ‘McCarthyite’ slur on the memory of a Gold Star mother and all others who so gloriously serve.

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kidneystones 08.02.16 at 9:59 pm

75

The Temporary Name 08.02.16 at 10:03 pm

This is perhaps the wrong thread to smear the Khans.

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kidneystones 08.02.16 at 10:03 pm

Front paged by Drudge. He never has any impact on elections.

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Layman 08.02.16 at 10:17 pm

Glenn: “Excuse my inexperience with American sensibilities and customs.”

I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about. Is there any reason to think that Khan was opposed to the Iraq war, or that he blames any politicians for his son’s death in that war? That’s not the basis of his complaint about Trump.

Going back to your original comment:

“Hillary’s decision enabling the Iraqi invasion is more in the direct cause-and-effect line of his son’s death than any by Trump. To chastise one party more than the other when both are to blame is merely a political rhetorical act lacking nobility.”

This is where I think you’ve gone wrong. Khan did not chastise Trump for his son’s death; he chastised Trump for the bigoted things Trump says about people like his son. Hillary did not say those same things, so Khan need not similarly chastise Hillary. Hillary is not to blame for the things said by Trump about people like Khan’s son. That’s very clear, isn’t it?

78

Yankee 08.02.16 at 10:20 pm

Political systems that work generate political power and attract people seeking power.

I would have thought that political systems function to limit the power such people are able to accumulate. More or less successfully, better as time goes on.

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Layman 08.02.16 at 10:31 pm

bruce wilder: “Debbie Wasserman Schultz wasn’t just violating the norms; she was trying to weaken her Party, draining away resources to the Clinton campaign that they had no legitimate claim to from parts of the Party that needed those resources.”

Reluctant as I am to wade back into this, it is not at all clear to me that these are facts.

The structure of the HVF was by all accounts lawful and that structure was available to the Sanders campaign as well. Had Sanders formed a similar fund-raising organization jointly with the DNC, the same mechanisms would have been in play: The Sanders campaign gets a cut, the DNC gets a cut, the state parties get a cut, and then the state parties return much of their cut to the DNC (not the campaign) for use by the DNC where needed; and, the fundraising methods used by the putative Sanders VF would have resulted in the flow of money to the Sanders campaign being front loaded.

There’s no evidence that money earmarked for the DNC or the states was transferred to the Clinton campaign, or that the portion which flowed to the Clinton campaign violated campaign finance limits; either of which would in fact be a violation of campaign finance laws.

It’s a bit like saying that if a candidate choose not to accept personal donations in excess of $1000 – even though the law permits larger donations – then the other candidate(s) who don’t similarly limit themselves are somehow cheating.

It is possible to grasp this while at the same time acknowledging that the law, in this area, is indeed an ass.

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kidneystones 08.02.16 at 10:44 pm

Going dark. What’s the bet the Gold Star father goes off the radar because of ‘family’ issues? “…

Khizr M. Khan’s website notes that he works to help clients with the E-2 and EB-5 programs that let overseas investors buy into U.S. companies and also provides green cards for family members. It also said that he helps in the purchase of U.S. real estate and businesses. The website lists his ability to practice in New York, though it gives a Washington phone number for the lawyer who lives in Virginia. A man who answered the phone said the website was correct, though he would not identify himself.”

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/khan-specializes-in-visa-programs-accused-of-selling-u.s.-citizenship/article/2598279

Mr. Khan evidently deleted his website after the Examiner story broke. Needless to say, the facts clearly indicate a highly reputable individual specializing in helping foreign businesses in the Middle East and elsewhere buy/invest in undervalued (we assume) US assets and provide green cards for their families, all according to law.

There’s clearly nothing in this account for Trump to make a fuss about.

So, why is Mr.Khan suddenly going to such lengths to conceal a business he clearly has no reason to hide?

81

The Temporary Name 08.02.16 at 10:58 pm

So, why is Mr.Khan suddenly going to such lengths to conceal a business he clearly has no reason to hide?

This is why I am anonymous and why you are anonymous. I don’t think I have anything to hide (though it’s nice if my employers don’t catch me calling Donald Trump a fucking maniac), but clearly other interested maniacs grab whatever they see and run with it, however innocuous.

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awy 08.02.16 at 11:00 pm

#80
to avoid controversy and harassment? what’s the angle here, looking for a DWS analogy?

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kidneystones 08.02.16 at 11:05 pm

TPM has pretty much dumped the Khan story, making it part of the past. No mention at all of stories of Khan’s financial incentives for opposing Trump, naturally. Josh does insert a ‘distractor’ link to nutcase scare stories. As a media-manipulation exercise, it just confirms that the Dems know how to deploy media resources of their own. The stunt was well-executed and achieved its purpose. So, I fully expect the media and HRC supporters to recommend ‘we all just move on.’

Trump, however, may not let it go.

http://abc6onyourside.com/news/local/donald-trump-one-on-one-with-sinclair

Trump is doubling down on his beefs with the GOP establishment. No doubt, this is a full out attack on the globalist-Koch branch of the GOP. The Kochs gave TPP-loving Ryan a standing ovation. Good thing Dems are backing a candidate firmly in favor of TPP.

Obama, another TPP fan, jumped on the bandwagon – so it’s unanimous.

Trump is the only major political candidate firmly opposed to ending the TPP. But don’t support him because Trump hates all Muslims. Just ask Capt. Khan’s dad.

84

The Temporary Name 08.02.16 at 11:07 pm

TPM has pretty much dumped the Khan story

It’s all over the TPM front page as of now.

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Layman 08.02.16 at 11:15 pm

Yes, having first said that Khan muzzles his wife, and then having said that Khan was motivated to attack him because of Khan’s terrorist sympathies, and then having said that Khan’s dead son was a traitor, Trump will now say that Khan was just worried about lost business. That will help.

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T 08.02.16 at 11:41 pm

kidneystones

A couple of threads ago I noted it was pretty obvious you weren’t an American, really never lived here, and seemed to get all your information from newspapers, websites and blogs. You admitted as much. I recall warning you that understanding the US, especially certain subcultures, without have lived here should give you pause. Obviously it hasn’t. One of the subcultures that is really hard to fathom for foreigners is the US military and it’s relationship to the rest of society. There are bases all over the country. It is often inter-generational. It’s very different than almost anywhere else. I go to lunch at a sandwich shop where the owners lost a son to a suicide bomber within the last year. There’s ROTC at all the colleges and universities. It’s not completely uncommon for a neighbor’s kid to be put through med school in exchange for 4 years of service. It’s not uncommon for kids to enlist after high school.

To put it mildly, you don’t have a fucking clue. You sound like a some Wash Post jagoff that knew, just knew, what was going on in Iraq but didn’t speak the language and had never been there. Try to stick to something you know about.

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kidneystones 08.03.16 at 12:37 am

84@ The problem with just sitting back and let you invade any country you like is that we all have to live in the world you make. You’re certainly correct to point out that there are many things ‘we foreigners’ don’t understand about America.

What we do know is that whatever you tell yourself about the sacrifices US soldiers are making in your peacemaking wars in the ME, the overwhelming majority of those killed and wounded in modern US led military actions are not Americans. I fully believe that many Americans are intensely patriotic and love their country. I also believe that there are many subcultures within America that ‘we foreigners’ cannot understand.

What is also clear from your comment is that you, and perhaps some others, believe that this love of country and rich tapestry of subcultures somehow makes Americans very, very special and beyond criticism.

We understand this much: Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor – 68 civilian casualties.

The US response: “..on the night of March 9-10, 1945…LeMay sent 334 B-29s low over Tokyo from the Marianas. Their mission was to reduce the city to rubble, kill its citizens, and instill terror in the survivors, with jellied gasoline and napalm that would create a sea of flames. Stripped of their guns to make more room for bombs, and flying at altitudes averaging 7,000 feet to evade detection, the bombers, which had been designed for high-altitude precision attacks, carried two kinds of incendiaries: M47s, 100-pound oil gel bombs, 182 per aircraft, each capable of starting a major fire, followed by M69s, 6-pound gelled-gasoline bombs, 1,520 per aircraft in addition to a few high explosives to deter firefighters. [25] The attack on an area that the US Strategic Bombing Survey estimated to be 84.7 percent residential succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of air force planners…

The Strategic Bombing Survey, whose formation a few months earlier provided an important signal of Roosevelt’s support for strategic bombing, provided a technical description of the firestorm and its effects on Tokyo: The chief characteristic of the conflagration . . . was the presence of a fire front, an extended wall of fire moving to leeward, preceded by a mass of pre-heated, turbid, burning vapors . . . . The 28-mile-per-hour wind, measured a mile from the fire, increased to an estimated 55 miles at the perimeter, and probably more within. An extended fire swept over 15 square miles in 6 hours . . . . The area of the fire was nearly 100 percent burned; no structure or its contents escaped damage.”

The survey concluded—plausibly, but only for events prior to August 6, 1945—that

“probably more persons lost their lives by fire at Tokyo in a 6-hour period than at any time in the history of man. People died from extreme heat, from oxygen deficiency, from carbon monoxide asphyxiation, from being trampled beneath the feet of stampeding crowds, and from drowning. The largest number of victims were the most vulnerable: women, children and the elderly.”

The raids continue for all the ‘best’ military reasons…

“In July, US planes blanketed the few remaining Japanese cities that had been spared firebombing with an “Appeal to the People.” “As you know,” it read, “America which stands for humanity, does not wish to injure the innocent people, so you had better evacuate these cities.” Half the leafleted cities were firebombed within days of the warning. US planes ruled the skies. Overall, by one calculation, the US firebombing campaign destroyed 180 square miles of 67 cities, killed more than 300,000 people and injured an additional 400,000, figures that exclude the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” (My italics) http://apjjf.org/-Mark-Selden/2414/article.html

Foreigners

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T 08.03.16 at 12:48 am

kidneystones.
“What is also clear from your comment is that you, and perhaps some others, believe that this love of country and rich tapestry of subcultures somehow makes Americans very, very special and beyond criticism.”

Er, no. You just don’t know fuckall of what you’re talking about. I was trying to save you some embarrassment but you insist on wading in deeper. Criticize away on the US. I do all the time. Just letting you know you sound like a fool. Now carry on. Tell me more about US military culture. Google it.

89

kidneystones 08.03.16 at 12:59 am

@ 86 Both my parents served. My grand-fathers served, and most of my uncles and great-uncles served – you know, the whole mess from being shot to dying in hospitals years after the war from gas attacks. And I served, nothing special about any of this.

You believe your nation’s commitment to its military is somehow special? Prove it. Instead we get American exceptionalism proudly on display.

Should all the foreigners in your debt salute, or simply prostrate ourselves in awe?

We’re done.

90

bruce wilder 08.03.16 at 1:08 am

Layman @ 79

I am not interested in a prolonged back and forth, but I will lay out a bare outline of facts. I do not find much support for your characterization of these arrangements, which give new meaning to the fungibility of funds. I think it is fair and accurate to describe the HVF transfer arrangements as a means of circumventing campaign financing limits and using the State parties to subsidize the Clinton campaign. Court rulings have made aggregate fund raising legal and invites this means of circumventing the $2700 limit on individual Presidential campaign donations. Whether the circumvention is legal — whether it violates the law to invite nominal contributions to State Parties of $10,000 and channel those contributions wholly to operations in support of Clinton, while leaving nothing in State Party coffers is actually illegal, I couldn’t say; it certainly violates the norms of a putative joint fundraising effort. It wasn’t hard for POLITICO to find State officials who said as much. The rest of this comment quotes POLITICO reports dated July 2016.

Hillary Victory Fund, which now includes 40 state Democratic Party committees, theoretically could accept checks as large as $436,100 — based on the individual limits of $10,000 per state party, $33,400 for the DNC, and $2,700 for Clinton’s campaign.

Between the creation of the victory fund in September and the end of [June], the fund had brought in $142 million, . . . 44 percent [to] DNC ($24.4 million) and Hillary for America ($37.6 million), . . . state parties have kept less than $800,000 of all the cash brought in by the committee — or only 0.56 percent.

. . . state parties have received $7.7 million in transfers, but within a few days of most transfers, almost all of the cash — $6.9 million — was transferred to the DNC . . .

The only date on which most state parties received money from the victory fund and didn’t pass any of it on to the DNC was May 2, the same day that POLITICO published an article exposing the arrangement.

Beyond the transfers, much of the fund’s $42 million in direct spending also appears to have been done to directly benefit the Clinton campaign, as opposed to the state parties.

The fund has paid $4.1 million to the Clinton campaign for “salary and overhead expenses” to reimburse it for fundraising efforts. And it has directed $38 million to vendors such as direct marketing company Chapman Cubine Adams + Hussey and digital consultant Bully Pulpit Interactive — both of which also serve the Clinton campaign — for mailings and online ads that sometimes closely resemble Clinton campaign materials.

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T 08.03.16 at 1:16 am

@87
Last try. I said nothing in favor or against the military. Nor did I take any political position. I said understanding the US military subculture and its relationship to the US citizenry is very difficult if you haven’t lived here. That was my only point. And I’ll repeat again, you don’t have a clue. You know as much about the States as Krauthammer does about Iraq.

92

kidneystones 08.03.16 at 1:33 am

@ 89 There’s a universe of things I don’t know. I do understand the military, however. As for knowing fuck all. Consider this possibility, if you like.

With all the US bases around the globe, is it not possible to develop close relationships with US service people and their families? Or, how about this, students travel to America to attend US universities and often live with US families, perhaps, immigrants who are serving in the US military to expedite the process of acquiring US citizenship? Or, another possibility. Students of history study US history at US universities from US professors as part of their training. Another possibility – people from foreign countries actually have extremely close relations with family members who are US citizens and happen to have been born in the US.

All this could be true and we’d still be just as ignorant of US history and culture as, you know, many Americans.

Point taken.

93

JM Hatch 08.03.16 at 2:23 am

@41 Lee Arnold: Are you referring to the Warren Buffet who owns Fruit-of-the-Loom? The same company which had Hillary’s State Dept bust up a minimum wage law for Haiti’s textile industry? The same company which then donated to the Clinton Foundation for aid that never arrived to Haiti? If not, then who is this Warren Buffet?

94

Sandwichman 08.03.16 at 3:13 am

Melmoth @48,

Roy Cohn was indeed Trump’s attorney for many years.

95

RNB 08.03.16 at 3:15 am

See here

96

RNB 08.03.16 at 3:18 am

See here

Hope it works; at any rate, what I’ll be reading to explore questions of religious liberty and meanings of secularism.

97

Sandwichman 08.03.16 at 4:00 am

“The man who showed Donald Trump how to exploit power and instill fear”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/former-mccarthy-aide-showed-trump-how-to-exploit-power-and-draw-attention/2016/06/16/e9f44f20-2bf3-11e6-9b37-42985f6a265c_story.html

“Donald Trump was a brash scion of a real estate empire, a young developer anxious to leave his mark on New York. Roy Cohn was a legendary New York fixer, a ruthless lawyer in the hunt for new clients.

“They came together by chance one night at Le Club, a hangout for Manhattan’s rich and famous. Trump introduced himself to Cohn, who was sitting at a nearby table, and sought advice: How should he and his father respond to Justice Department allegations that their company had systematically discriminated against black people seeking housing?

“My view is tell them to go to hell,” Cohn said, “and fight the thing in court.”

“It was October 1973 and the start of one of the most influential relationships of Trump’s career. Cohn soon represented Trump in legal battles, counseled him about his marriage and introduced Trump to New York power brokers, money men and socialites.

“Cohn also showed Trump how to exploit power and instill fear through a simple formula: attack, counterattack and never apologize.”

98

Corey Robin 08.03.16 at 4:53 am

The record of George W. Bush—the man who Ezra Klein claims would never have treated the Khans the way Trump has—with regard to Cindy Sheehan, whose son was also killed in Iraq, is even worse than I realized. As Brendan James reports in Slate:

It’s true, as the people tipping their hats to Bush have pointed out, that the president himself did not attack Sheehan the way Trump has gone after the Khans. But he didn’t have to. He let his underlings do it.

“Cindy Sheehan is a clown,” said Bush’s senior adviser and dirty trickster Karl Rove, whose management of the media ecosystem was unparalleled. The Washington Post reported at the time that Sheehan was a frequent topic of conversation between the president and his advisers. And somehow, some way, Rove’s sentiment trickled down into every pore of the conservative press. Bill O’Reilly called Sheehan “dumb enough” to get “in bed” with the radical left. Glenn Beck called Sheehan a “tragedy pimp” who was “prostituting her son’s death.” Rush Limbaugh said she was somehow lying about having lost her son.

Unlike Trump, Bush did it the right way. His team assassinated the character of his bereaved critic through the normal, respectable political channels. Meanwhile the man of the moment enjoyed plausible deniability and the praise of future journalists.

99

Corey Robin 08.03.16 at 4:59 am

Meanwhile, journalists, liberals, and Democrats are kvelling over John McCain’s denunciation of Trump’s comments about the Khans. They love this nearly annual morality tale, in which McCain is dutifully trotted out (or trots himself out) to clean up the mess of last night’s frat party.

Again, a little memory is helpful.

In 2002, after Saxby Chambliss ran that disgusting ad against Max Cleland (which I talk about in the OP), John McCain said, “I’d never seen anything like that ad. Putting pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden next to the picture of a man who left three limbs on the battlefield — it’s worse than disgraceful. It’s reprehensible.”

Six years later, McCain campaigned for Chambliss’s reelection.

100

JM Hatch 08.03.16 at 5:10 am

@97 Sandwichman. Go after them, scare them, attack their family, ruin their reputation. That also sound like the Clinton modus-operandi, particularly against Bill’s victims. The Kennedy Clan, The Bush Clan, it’s pretty much par for the course, would indicate Trump is just right for the USA system. Just shows how similar in method have the two party oligarchy become.

101

oldster 08.03.16 at 5:28 am

Still, there was one upside to Bush’s minions attacks on Sheehan. Way back in those antediluvian times, John Cole was still a supporter of Bush and the Iraq War. (Bless his heart, he soon learned better) He defended the wing-nuts who were calling Sheehan a prostitute by saying that this was metaphorical. This inspired The Editors writing at The Poor Man to write a response that featured the phrase “enormous mendacious disembodied anus”, which has passed into internet legend.

And probably passed out of internet legend once again, since of the people who were alive in those days to be amused, very few are still alive to recall it. It was the heyday of war-blogging, and anti-(war-blog)-blogging. We really sacrificed in those days, let me tell you–it was our own personal Vietnam.

102

RNB 08.03.16 at 5:58 am

Jeez, I just don’t see how Corey Robin is making any sense at all. Of course the treatment of Cindy Sheehan was horrible, but it is not even a weak antecedent, much less a root, of what is transpiring here.

First, Cindy Sheehan was making important and courageous political statements. Ghazala Khan was not. She was silently grieving. Trump decided to imply that she was a willing slave. The problem was not that Trump spoke to Khizr Khan who was indeed critically engaging him (though that should have been done through surrogates, if at all) but that he (Trump) commented insultingly on a grieving mother who had not said a word against him. He could have just recognized her grief and spoke to the husband; but Trump did more.

Second, Trump did something even more indecent: he took the ***silence*** of Ghazala Khan rendered voiceless by her grieving as evidence of that putative cultural inferiority of all Muslims that justifies his wish to cleanse US territorial space of all Muslims.

Here is someone who gets it

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/01/world-grieving-mother-donald-trump-muslim-ghazala-khan

Third, Trump himself said that his sacrifices were equal to the sacrifices of a parent who had lost a child in war. Bush also a draft dodger does not seem to have made any such indecent rebuke to Cindy Sheehan.

This is why Trump is being accused of having no decency. He attacked the integrity of a person who was silently grieving in a way that people cannot easily imagine W., Romney and McCain doing.

Now for the Cindy Sheehan case to be not just an antecedent for horrific treatment of parents of slain veterans who have become political opponents but for it to be part of the roots of Trumpism, you would have to show something altogether more.

You would have to show George W. Bush had said that all people of Irish heritage (Sheehan is an Irish name, right?) do not belong in this country and that no person of Irish ancestry can be trusted to be law-abiding American and that all immigrants should have to pass a “No Irish” test to be considered for entry to the US; and that the heroic sacrificial death of Cindy Sheehan’s son on behalf of his fellow American soldiers does not reduce his suspicion of Irish people generally being predisposed towards wanton violence against true Americans.

Once you have done that, you would have shown how Trumpism arises out of an organic causal chain from what past Republican presidents and nominees have said and done.

But you have done nothing of the kind.

103

RNB 08.03.16 at 6:03 am

kidneystones,
It is well-understood here that you don’t want to argue for Trump but create visuals against his opponents that make them impossible to support.

So you must have respected Khizr Khan creating the visual of Trump having not accepted the Purple Heart medal from a veteran (as he did) but instead thanking him for his service and pinning the medal on his chest. Then Khan added the picture of Trump taking the medal out of his pocket on stage and bragging about having a Purple Heart Medal, though he had dodged the military service through which he could have earned one.

You have linked to that Clinton Libya video about 68 times. I’ll tell you this. That visual won’t stick like the one Khizr Khan just created of Trump.

104

RNB 08.03.16 at 6:11 am

On the Iraq War, it seems that Khizr Khan is critical of US interventions abroad. Perhaps he reads Andrew Bacevich who lost his son in Iraq also. His son was also 27 like (I think) Humayun was.

Oh yes the Drudge/Beitbart accusations against Khizr Khan fell apart within hours.

105

RNB 08.03.16 at 6:29 am

rewrite: So you kidneystones must have respected Khizr Khan for creating the visual of Trump having not accepted the Purple Heart medal from a veteran but instead thanking him for his service and pinning the medal on his chest. Then Khan drew our attention to the visual of what actually happened: Trump taking the medal out of his pocket on stage and bragging about having a Purple Heart Medal; as we are asked to keep that video clip in our mind, Khizr Khan notes that Trump dodged the military service through which he could have earned one.
I know that you think Donald Trump has the most unbelievable superhero persuasion powers in the galaxy. In fact he’s not close to Khizr Khan.

106

Sebastian H 08.03.16 at 7:38 am

Ugh. Sheehan was treated precisely as Monica Lewinsky was treated–horribly but within the norm of treating bit players in a political narrative horribly. Clinton herself spread the slander about Lewinsky, and at a time when Clinton knew the slander was a lie.

But it is nothing like what Trump is doing now. It isn’t even in the same league. Unless you’re willing to treat Clinton’s rhetoric as an antecedent you’re just cherry picking.

107

relstprof 08.03.16 at 8:05 am

Corey Robin: “Six years later, McCain campaigned for Chambliss’s reelection.”

Diogenes of Sinope: “Good men nowhere, but good boys at Sparta.”

We’re probably mistaken to dive down a rabbit’s hole for virtuous solidarity without addressing narratives of solidarity itself. Where ought we to look? What’s the criteria?

War votes? Global disaster votes? What’s the criteria?

108

Mike Schilling 08.03.16 at 8:12 am

bruce wilder@56

It was much more explicit than that. At one point Welch sarcastically asked a witness whether they thought a piece of evidence had come from a pixie. McCarthy heavy-handedly asked what a pixie was, and Welch responded that it was a close relative of a fairy.

109

novakant 08.03.16 at 9:00 am

Corey, you do understand that with his comment Trump was smearing the whole Muslim community of the US as oppressing women, no?

110

novakant 08.03.16 at 9:17 am

111

KA 08.03.16 at 10:06 am

Let me put it this way, Corey: my Muslim (hijabi) neighbors, who have lived here (the US) since the late 1990s, tell me they are now being harrassed semi-regularly: by passing cars, while shopping, etc. Not even in the aftermath of 9/11 they report having felt so regularly intimidated of being in public.

I know, I know: it’s a minuscule, ungeneralizable, theoretically unsophisticated point; it’s nothing compared to real suffering by the victims of our wars –or of our police state, for that matters–; etc. etc.

But at least for them, something did seem to have changed over the past year or so. Whether or not it’s worth taking this shift seriously –as an intellectual, as a scholar and activist–, it’s up to you.

112

Lee A. Arnold 08.03.16 at 10:47 am

@ 93 JM Hatch: The very same! But you omitted its signification to you. If you are suggesting that you want a world wherein we don’t have to constantly monitor and work against business capture of gov’t, then join the crowd. If you are suggesting that Trump is going to help labor anywhere, then go see a shrink. It you are suggesting that that all is for naught and it doesn’t matter whom you vote for, then join the most frequent commenters here in their big slumber party.

113

Lee A. Arnold 08.03.16 at 10:49 am

@ Corey #99, It seems to me that the whole McCain shtick started downhill when he married into beer.

114

Lee A. Arnold 08.03.16 at 10:55 am

Peeps, I vote that because both Kidneystones and RNB are boring knuckleheads, we all chip in to buy them their own GoDaddy blogsite, and then invent software which instantaneously deletes them here and ports them there. We can call it, “Spotty Cherrypicking”

115

Lee A. Arnold 08.03.16 at 10:56 am

Or, “Cherrypicking Your Spots”

116

Faustusnotes 08.03.16 at 10:59 am

Since it was an issue on the past thread that crashed and burned here, I’d like to point out that trump supporters are not poor.

117

Collin Street 08.03.16 at 11:04 am

Since it was an issue on the past thread that crashed and burned here, I’d like to point out that trump supporters are not poor.

Without having read the article I predict that the most noticeable factors of the Trump supporter income stream are that:
+ the money comes from rent-heavy enterprises, and
+ the businesses are on the smaller end of the scale for that particular sector

118

Rich Puchalsky 08.03.16 at 11:53 am

“Since it was an issue on the past thread that crashed and burned here, I’d like to point out that trump supporters are not poor.”

And as I wrote then, what matters for the issue of whether Trump can win is the marginal Trump voter. You have to read down to the end of that article to start to get to anything resembling a relevant fact.

1. Trump primary voters, as the article points out, are almost entirely non-Hispanic whites. So why do you think that Trump voters would be higher income than average? Because of racism, which has lowered the average income of non-white people throughout contemporary history. So yes his voters “are better off economically compared to most Americans” because white people are better off economically compared to most Americans.

2. It’s an article about the primary. What does one of the headings in the article say? “Lower-income voters are underrepresented, especially in the GOP.” The GOP base is not lower income, so when you look at Trump primary voters, they aren’t going to have a low income average.

3. Only at the bottom, long after the supposed go-to facts at the top and middle, do you see some numbers that attempt to control for (1) above by comparing Trump primary voters averages to national averages for non-Hispanic whites. But they don’t control for (2) because they can’t.

So this whole analysis is misleading — as is just about every analysis (some of which are gosh-wow collections of tweets) that I’ve seen about this.

119

faustusnotes 08.03.16 at 1:09 pm

Rich, is your argument then that it is relative inequality that makes (white) people racist, not absolute inequality? And that when this relative inequality drives them to racism, it is not their position relative to the body politic as a whole, but their position relative to their chosen party that determines their level of racism? That would seem to be the implication of your comment.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.03.16 at 1:29 pm

“Rich, is your argument then that it is relative inequality that makes (white) people racist, not absolute inequality”

All economic inequality is relative inequality. The rest of your comment is just not getting what I wrote.

If you assume that America already has and has had a sizable population of wealthy and middle-class racists, then I agree with that. Those people are already in the GOP base, because the GOP is organized around racism. Existing, committed racists are not going to be swayed by Trump, because they already are for Trump. But they do not exist in high enough numbers to actually elect Trump to President in a general election.

So who are the parties competing for in this election? Not non-white people — I’m sure that there will be a few of them voting for Trump, and kidneystones will dutifully show us their Youtube videos. The parties are competing for rich people for money, and for the white working class for votes. That does not mean that there is no such thing as a black working class, or any of the other idiocies I’ve seen in these threads. It means that if you actually want to defeat Trump, that is the path that you have to be concerned about.

Why would that part of the white working class that is not already overtly racist (those people are part of the GOP base already) be more receptive to racist appeals, especially those around immigration? Because of economic insecurity? Oh no that never happens, according to fools here.

121

Alex K--- 08.03.16 at 1:36 pm

@97, @108: Roy Cohn’s experience working for McCarthy wasn’t exactly a success. Cohn’s homosexuality helped McCarthy’s adversaries turn the table on him, using his own lavender scare tactic. Cohn’s attempts at bullying army bureaucrats to get special treatment for Schine gave the army a valid pretext for an counterattack. The army must have hated McCarthy since his meddling in the Malmédy case in 1949.

According to von Hoffman’s unauthorized biography of Cohn, Welch accused McCarthy of indecency because the senator had broken a gentleman’s agreement: Cohn had promised not to bring up Fischer’s “Communist” connection and Welch, to pass over Cohn’s avoidance of combat duty in WWII and Korea.

@97: “Cohn also showed Trump how to exploit power and instill fear through a simple formula: attack, counterattack and never apologize.”

I’m not so sure that was Cohn’s principal tactic after the McCarthy debacle. Reviewing two bios of Cohn, by Zion and by von Hoffman, both Tom Wolfe and Alan Dershowitz wrote in 1988 that trading favors and exploiting connections was more like it.

122

JM Hatch 08.03.16 at 1:43 pm

@112 Lee Arnold: You missed the boat, your choices are yours, but they are all wrong.

123

faustusnotes 08.03.16 at 2:09 pm

Rich how does being overtly or covertly racist affect voting? it’s a secret act. Covert racists in the white working class have always been able to vote for racist candidates, why didn’t they? How does Trump change this equation compared to say Romney? If this racism thing is to do with economic insecurity, why is it more pronounced than in 2008 when a black man was running for president and the economy was in the tank?

Also why would I assume that America has a population fo wealthy and middle-class racists, if I was working on the assumption that economic insecurity drives racism?

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Rich Puchalsky 08.03.16 at 2:25 pm

“Covert racists in the white working class have always been able to vote for racist candidates, why didn’t they?”

They did: those voters are in the GOP base.

“How does Trump change this equation compared to say Romney?”

By making a different kind of demagogic appeal. I don’t think the white working class is going to respond to appeals from the guy who came up with the 43%.

“If this racism thing is to do with economic insecurity, why is it more pronounced than in 2008 when a black man was running for president and the economy was in the tank?”

Because Trump isn’t Romney. (And to a lesser extent because Obama is a much more skilled politician than HRC).

“Also why would I assume that America has a population fo wealthy and middle-class racists, if I was working on the assumption that economic insecurity drives racism?”

Because it’s multicausal. Arghhhhhhhhh “How can something be due to X, if you are also saying it’s due to Y? It has to be either X or Y!”

Look, my arguments could be wrong — of course. But you can’t even argue against them if you can’t understand things that really should be pretty obvious. I’d like a good argument against what I’m saying, please, not crap about how leftists don’t think there’s a black working class or about how they don’t think that middle class racists exist.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.03.16 at 2:26 pm

Comment awaiting moderation and I don’t have the energy to modify and resubmit.

126

Layman 08.03.16 at 2:27 pm

“The parties are competing for rich people for money, and for the white working class for votes.”

How is Trump doing with the white working class?

Here’s Romney’s 2012 performance:

Wins white voters by 59 – 39
Loses voters under $50k by 38 – 60
Wins voters $50-99k by 52 – 46

Per recent polling numbers (I only looked at Yougov’s) in a head-to-head two-candidate race, Trump’s performance:

Winning white voters by 50 – 39
Losing voters under $50k by 40 – 47
Losing voters $50-100k by 44 – 45

There are big undecided numbers as yet, plus the complication of the 3rd party candidates, so comparison is hard. But, it seems like Trump is underperforming Romney with white voters and with middle class voters, while doing slightly better than Romney with poor voters.

http://ropercenter.cornell.edu/polls/us-elections/how-groups-voted/how-groups-voted-2012/

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/kzew9twjin/weekly_presidential_election_tracking_report.pdf

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Lee A. Arnold 08.03.16 at 2:32 pm

JM Hatch #122: “You missed the boat, your choices are yours, but they are all wrong.”

What is your choice?

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Rich Puchalsky 08.03.16 at 3:29 pm

Look, I thought of a different way to say this that doesn’t refer to either economics or racism, since people here can’t really understand concepts at that level of abstraction.

Let’s say that you’re one of the many people for whom America is not working well. I won’t even get into why these people think this, because you won’t understand. Just assume that they think it.

OK, so the Obama / Romney election comes up. Obama is the incumbent, so he’s clearly not going to change anything. Is Romney going to change anything? No, he clearly is not. He is strongly identified with the existing system and with the wealthy that prop it up. So you have nowhere to go.

Then the HRC / Trump election comes up. One candidate, HRC, is fully part of the existing system. One candidate. Trump, says that he’s going to change everything. The other candidate agrees that he’s going to change everything. She comes out with campaign slogans like “dangerous Donald” and has surrogates talk about how reckless he is, which means that he’s going to change everything.

So one candidate, HRC, is not only part of the system, she’s running on defending the system. You think that the system is bad for you. How do you react to this?

I guess that I have to get into racism just a bit after all, because otherwise some people will (idiotically) ask why other people who the system is not working for — e.g. poor minorities — will not vote for Trump. Because even though the system does not work for them, it does protect them from racism to some extent and they can’t risk losing that.

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Cranky Observer 08.03.16 at 3:54 pm

= = = OK, so the Obama / Romney election comes up. Obama is the incumbent, so he’s clearly not going to change anything. Is Romney going to change anything? No, he clearly is not. He is strongly identified with the existing system and with the wealthy that prop it up. So you have nowhere to go. = = =

Except that Obama was changing things: he was staying strong on the ACA. ACA only went into full effect in January 2014 and was always going to take a long time to achieve its potential, but it started helping from 2010 forward whether the people being helped accepted that reality or not. There was and is a massive propaganda campaign to create the opposite “perception” (business speak term) but you are leaving out the people who have problems with the current economy but see through the Radical Right’s propaganda.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.03.16 at 4:02 pm

Cranky Observer: “the people who have problems with the current economy but see through the Radical Right’s propaganda.”

Those people are not going to vote for Trump. They do not provide a conceivable path forwards through which Trump could win.

131

Layman 08.03.16 at 4:05 pm

Looking at those numbers another way, Romney beat Obama among independents by 50 – 45. Trump leads Clinton among independents by 42 – 40. So, Trump is underperforming Romney on independents, too.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.03.16 at 4:11 pm

Layman: “Looking at those numbers another way, Romney beat Obama among independents by 50 – 45. Trump leads Clinton among independents by 42 – 40. So, Trump is underperforming Romney on independents, too.”

I actually think that Trump is a worse candidate than Ronmey — far worse. Not just in a moral sense, but in the sense of “how good the candidate is at actually winning elections”. So I’m not surprised that Romney did better than Trump is doing.

Once again: if you are worried about Trump winning, that is the main path through which he could win.

If you are not worried about Trump winning — as Corey Robin has said that he is not — then what is all of the posturing about Sanders and Bernie Bros and how you have to enthusiastically support HRC about? It’s about setting down markers for what happens after the election. Or, as Patrick points out above, it’s because people suck.

133

JayBook 08.03.16 at 4:26 pm

@2JMHatch: It’s worth nothing that even in the belated censure vote, JFK was nowhere to be found.

134

JayBook 08.03.16 at 4:33 pm

And by nothing, I mean “noting.”

135

RNB 08.03.16 at 4:39 pm

@114, Lee, your proposal to get kidneystones and me kicked out of here is like Doc Rivers trying to get CJ Wilcox to bait Steph Curry into a fight to get them both ejected…respectively:)

136

bruce wilder 08.03.16 at 4:41 pm

A vote for Trump is a middle-finger vote. A Trump voter does not have to believe that Trump will do anything for him, only that Trump breaking the system won’t be worse for the voter than for the system.

137

RNB 08.03.16 at 4:44 pm

Or a Trump voter is a person who finds sublime qualities in mushroom clouds at a distance.

138

RNB 08.03.16 at 4:46 pm

Pretty sure Obama said yesterday that he’s not giving Trump squat at the security briefings.

139

RNB 08.03.16 at 4:48 pm

Agree with Sebastian and KA above; and thank you novakant for the link to the Washington Post article which has a lot of depressing survey data in it.

140

bruce wilder 08.03.16 at 4:57 pm

Romney was in every respect a conventional candidate, one that protected the Republican brand and, more importantly, protected the Democratic brand and the Obama brand.

Obama had a very easy time of it in 2012. He had an opponent highly vulnerable to easily formulated populist attacks and with only muted appeal within the ranks of his own Party. It enabled Obama to run a very highly controlled and modulated campaign, aiming at a very narrow margin, but highly certain victory, a strategy that served Obama’s neoliberal policy agenda well, since he neither had to attack the predatory wealth Romney the tax-dodging vampire capitalist symbolized, nor did he have to make extravagant populist promises to bring out additional electoral support.

Clinton, ironically and even paradoxically, has a harder task because Trump is a “worse” candidate than Romney.

Laying down markers for governance, as RP puts it, poses challenges Obama did not face in 2012. Carefully calibrating her campaign to get predictable responses and turnout will be much harder.

141

Lee A. Arnold 08.03.16 at 5:17 pm

RNB #132: “like Doc Rivers trying to get CJ Wilcox to bait Steph Curry into a fight”

Yes well if there were more of this kind of wit instead of your predictable Hillary boosterism we might all be edified.

142

RNB 08.03.16 at 5:21 pm

Well yes the McCain and Romney defeats to Barack Hussein Obama drove the Republican Party crazy. They brought a birther into the fold as a result.

After those defeats, my guess is that Kasich and Bush may not have been confident that they would win in the general and did not bring knives to the fight with Trump to win the nomination only to lose the Presidency.

More importantly, the RNC was not confident that a traditional Republican could win; and they had to know that Christie had too many liabilities, Cruz was thoroughly unlikable and Rubio was out of his league. So there was no one to come together around against Trump.

Plus, Trump was giving them something new. He would fully unleash the powers of white nationalism in the Party.

Or as I have been pointing out since the beginning of our discussion here, he has run a campaign meant first and foremost to erode social norms against racism and intolerance, on the accurate bet that many Americans do not have moral qualms against such bigotry and have been complying to some extent with the “pc” social norms due to a collective action problem.

That is, they needed someone to give them the assurance that if they broke with the social norms, others would too, and have their backs. This is what Trump has promised–to erode as much as possible any social norm against the expression of white nationalism.

As Michael Tesler has argued, Trump was the first candidate in recent Republican history to secure the nomination on the basis of dominating the votes of most racially resentful and religiously intolerant, which had been spread out more evenly among nominees before; or in Buchanan’s case was not big enough to get him the nomination as anti-immigrant sentiment was far from its peak.

So the Republican Party watched as Trump escalated the white nationalist rhetoric by calling for a religious ban, the deportation of 11 million people, the protectionist rhetoric which served as code language for a commitment to white Americans at home uber alles, and the total crushing of the Black Lives Matter Movement on the first day of his Presidency.

As I pointed out many threads ago, they did not and may never break with him because he was giving them the only path in sight to accomplish what is their primary goal–to make sure the tax state with possibly new demands upon it in a condition of secular stagnation does not encroach on the incomes of the best off.

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RNB 08.03.16 at 5:28 pm

typo:
As Michael Tesler has argued, Trump was the first candidate in recent Republican history to secure the nomination on the basis of dominating the votes of most racially resentful and religiously intolerant, which had been spread out more evenly among PRIMARY CANDIDATES before; or in Buchanan’s case was not big enough to get him the nomination as anti-immigrant sentiment was far from its peak.
___
So since Trump was able to win on the basis of dominating the votes of the most racially resentful and religiously intolerant, he promised them an unconstitutional white nationalist platform that previous Republican nominees would not have agreed to. So yes Trump grows out of the growing intolerance and racist illegalities in the Republican Party, and he is the result of its electoral frustration.

But at the same time he is something new–a candidate whose entire platform amounts to attacks on the Constitution in the name of white nationalism.

144

Rich Puchalsky 08.03.16 at 6:10 pm

Look at the difference between what I take to be the core of RNB’s theory about how Trump could win and mine. Here’s RNB:
“he has run a campaign meant first and foremost to erode social norms against racism and intolerance, on the accurate bet that many Americans do not have moral qualms against such bigotry and have been complying to some extent with the “pc” social norms due to a collective action problem.”

And mine is that Trump, after winning the primary on the basis of racist appeals, can now extend his vote total by capitalizing on economic and other discontent in the white working class and promising change that would break the system.

A third theory — the one that CR holds, and one that I really pretty much 90% hold because I don’t think theory #2 is that likely — is that Trump does not have any reasonable likelihood of winning. That there is no way in which he can change norms enough, appeal to discontent enough, or otherwise overcome his obvious problems as a candidate.

Could one of these theories be right and the others wrong? Sure. Do any of these theories have to do with this site being a “white boy love fest”? No. Actually, if you believe in theory #1, then making this kind of accusation seem ridiculous would be exactly what you’d want to do to help Trump.

145

LFC 08.03.16 at 6:23 pm

RNB @11
The Khan’s are representatives of a group against whom Trump has been whipping up exterminatory and eliminationist hatred for more than a year. And this time it is sanctioned from the top. The Republican nominee is not trying to convince a rabid base that we are not at war with Islam; in fact the person at top is whipping up people into a hatred that is eliminationist.

I think I understand your fervor on this issue, and as you know I’ve recently defended you against certain charges in another thread, but I would (respectfully) suggest caution about using the word eliminationist here in the way you do. Trump has been whipping up racial and religious bigotry and hatred, but ‘eliminationist’ has a quite precise, to me at any rate, meaning that I don’t think is applicable here inasmuch as it cd be taken to suggest, in this context, that if Trump wins, US Muslims like the Khans will be eliminated, i.e., killed by the state. Which is not going to happen, and b.c enough horrible things *will* happen if Trump wins I don’t think you need to exaggerate. And you may well have been talking about Muslims abroad, where ‘eliminationist’ might be more accurate (though still somewhat debatable in view of the word’s connotations, at least to me), but your comment as written leaves the reference (i.e. domestic v. foreign) ambiguous.

146

Layman 08.03.16 at 6:34 pm

“A third theory — the one that CR holds, and one that I really pretty much 90% hold because I don’t think theory #2 is that likely — is that Trump does not have any reasonable likelihood of winning.”

Two things:

Trump is demonstrably not engaged in the pivot described by your theory 2. Instead, he can’t seem to resist the tactics of race-baiting and demonization that got him this far. It seems likely those tactics are part of who he is, rather than any nth-dimensional chess game he’s been playing. This is the cause of the current round of consternation on the part of Republican Party elites.

And, while I’m also in agreement that Trump is very likely to lose – in a large part because of the aforementioned – some 11 percent of voters don’t at this point know what they’re going to do. Some of them will undoubtably vote for Johnson or Stein. Some will stay home. But a sizeable number will vote for either Trump or Clinton. While Trump is underperforming Romney, Clinton is also underperforming Obama. For no good reason I can articulate, I feel that undecided Republican voters are more likely to come home than are undecided Democratic voters. And independents are historically a group who lean towards the Republican side, despite what they say.

147

The Temporary Name 08.03.16 at 6:38 pm

Trump knows he’s not winning, thus the rhetoric around rigged elections.

148

RNB 08.03.16 at 6:41 pm

Caution taken. But to use Jon Elster’s language what is the “action tendency” of the hatred that Trump tried to induce when he accused thousands of “synecdochal” American Muslims of celebrating the death and injury of thousands of people by the terrorist attacks on 9/11 which was not only an event on a given day but the very symbol of American *humiliation* which Americans had to redress.

The emotions being aroused and the actions to which they tend are in fact *extreme*.

The action tendency of the emotion of hatred usually goes beyond revenge to wanting the object of that hatred to cease to exist. In my opinion in this case it certainly did.

Once a birther who had made a comment like that and refused to correct it, it was clear to me that US Presidential politics had entered new territory and Trump was willing to rouse hatreds that would give rise action tendencies to expel and exterminate to win the nomination.

149

bruce wilder 08.03.16 at 6:44 pm

Why would that part of the white working class that is not already overtly racist (those people are part of the GOP base already) be more receptive to racist appeals, especially those around immigration? Because of economic insecurity? Oh no that never happens, according to fools here.

Of course, I don’t really agree with your analysis. I think racism is a tool of a domination and therefore of a dominant and dominating class; the subordinate class is merely receptive to the premises of a racist appeal. The policy program that may follow is shaped by the needs of the dominators and only loosely constrained by the predictable irrationality of the subordinate class and the propaganda used to herd them.

The political solipsism of your antagonists among commenters belongs to a different political psychology from either the authoritarian followers found in what we anachronistically call the working classes or their demagogues. Political solipsism is the ideology of a more comfortable class and deserves its own analysis.

That leftish political solipsism is stingy with imaginative empathy and so generous with its scorn is not very interesting in itself — that’s just a variation on seeing things from one’s own perspective and sticking with one’s own corner. The psychological disinterest in principles and probity is more curious to me. Moral fatigue seems never far away and precedents go down the memory hole very fast.

Also, I don’t know what the policy program is, or if it isn’t policy denialism. Is the goal some kind of psychological transformation for the culture? Racism in particular seems to have become an issue of purity and taboo for the political solipsists. But, is this going anywhere? Or, are we just waiting for the slow working of demography to turn the world further upside down while we, pure of heart, jeer at the monkeys in their racist cages, throwing their poo at the visitors safe behind glass?

150

Rich Puchalsky 08.03.16 at 7:17 pm

Layman: “Trump is demonstrably not engaged in the pivot described by your theory 2. Instead, he can’t seem to resist the tactics of race-baiting and demonization that got him this far.”

I’m not talking about any kind of pivot — Trump will go on race-baiting and demonizing. That is exactly why only the white working class is (partially) vulnerable to this kind of appeal. Instead, read BW’s comment just above. Trump provides a framework within which discontent can be expressed.

BW: “Of course, I don’t really agree with your analysis. I think racism is a tool of a domination and therefore of a dominant and dominating class; the subordinate class is merely receptive to the premises of a racist appeal.”

I had to dumb down what I was writing to get this far. That was as much as could get through. I’ve written elsewhere about “the psychological wages of racism”, about whether the more fundamental discontent is about social place and the necessity to cement a place just up from the bottom (and therefore to, in a partial sense, identify with the dominating class or at least participate in its hierarchy), etc.

I’ll do something I didn’t think I’d do and recommend that people read Thomas Frank’s _Listen, Liberal_. I don’t actually think that his analysis goes far enough: he still seems to be stuck on “back to the New Deal” (although I haven’t read the last couple of chapters) and as an anarchist, I don’t really share his political framework. But he at least sees what is obvious. Maybe his book could be like a gateway drug or something.

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RNB 08.03.16 at 7:25 pm

Look we can easily say that the reason American wages have stagnated is because with the entry of China and E. Europe into the world trading system the supply of labor vis a vis the supply of capital doubled (Richard Freeman) and because of a greater inflow of illegal labor.

But here’s the thing: there are far more people attracted to Trump’s message than are negatively affected by trade (the shock of which has almost played itself out) and illegal labor because they understand that Trump’s barely coded message is white Americans should stand above the foreigners in their midst whether it’s winning a promotion or bid, getting a kid admitted into a school, or getting better government services.

A second’s thought would reveal that Americans stand to lose more from the costs of a massive deportation program than they stand to gain and similarly from the consequences of a trade war. It’s clear that Trump’s Muslim hatred increases the risk of a terrorist risk.

But the coded message is enough for a lot of people whether Trump carries out his program.

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RNB 08.03.16 at 7:33 pm

And of course the “foreigners” in their midst are not actually foreigners but “other” Americans of various hues and religions. Trump has inscribed more deeply a white nationalist us/them framework into the American psyche whether he wins or not. The damage has been done. We should cry for our Republic. Interesting popularization of us/them psychology in David Berreby’s book.
http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/U/bo5812106.html

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bruce wilder 08.03.16 at 8:12 pm

I had to dumb down what I was writing to get this far.

Using stupid as an argument and misreading as a tactic seems to be aimed at getting people to stuff their own simplified arguments as strawmen, to be burned as effigies in some other framework.

he at least sees what is obvious

Denying the obvious and claiming the obvious don’t mean the same thing in the subjective world of the solipsist as they do in the objective world of we fools with our tired fact-value distinctions and methods of interpretation.

154

map maker 08.03.16 at 9:25 pm

“A second’s thought would reveal that Americans stand to lose more from the costs of a massive deportation program than they stand to gain … .”

So can you carry that thought process forward? Does it merely take a second to be revealed to you that another 35 million undocumented immigrants into this country would result in a massive gain in GDP, employment and economic growth and therefore any right-thinking person should support it? If not another 35 million, 70 million, 170 million or 570 million, what number? If you give a limit you are just as racist as trump, if you say no limit, you reveal the tone deafness that is leading to his popularity.

155

bruce wilder 08.03.16 at 9:51 pm

Layman @ 143

Yours seems to me like a sound if conventional analysis.

Clinton has to worry about low voter turnout. Democrats lose low turnout elections and the Democratic Party apparatus is weak in many States, including North Carolina, Ohio and Florida, which are usually considered battlegrounds. If Democratic turnout is low enough, Trump can put unusual states like New York in play.

Also, attacks on Trump by establishment Republicans, who are worried about his violation of norms and by the Media Wurlitzer staging a gotcha (“oh my gosh, Trump didn’t know about Crimea!”) — these things may cause a pivot with Trump standing in place. It would be a pivot to Trump attacking a broader range of establishment elites on a broader range of issues.

Ian Welsh notes that the story of the Trump meltdown is also a ready-made story of “a stab-in-the-back” by elites stealing the election. Trump is the past Teflon Master on these kinds of gotcha fests, but if the Media pivots away from playing gotcha with Trump saying hateful and alarming things about immigration and race to Trump saying arguably true things about foreign policy or economic policy that are kept in an undiscussed box by the perverted norms of conventional wisdom, that might be enough of a broadening pivot. Unlikely, but maybe.

Trump’s candidacy is an attack on the legitimacy of elites and elite discourse. The news Media is as much an opponent as Clinton. If he baits them, even inadvertently, into doing a pivot for him, that’s worrisome.

Again, I am firmly in the camp that thinks he has little chance in the election, but like Ian Welsh and others, I tend to think he’s a proof of concept for a more disciplined demagogue and that he’s accelerating the loss of legitimacy for the whole political system, and even if the attacks on the legitimacy of Clinton, the Media, the Republican establishment won’t get far enough to win the election for Trump, they portend badly for Clinton’s Administration.

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Faustusnotes 08.03.16 at 10:25 pm

Let’s say you’re one of the many white people for whom the system is working well. It keeps black people down and ensures a steady supply of cheap Mexican labour to water your lawn. But a black man has been president for 8 years and now black people are getting uppity. There’s a black lives matter movement and this black president has made pretty clear that he is considering an amnesty or some kind of comprehensive immigration reform for all those Mexicans who keep the shitty end of the economy running. That’s not good for your racial interests or the class interests of your small business or your friends’ small business.

You’ve been hanging on the fringes of the right for a while but you don’t vote all that much because the religious fundamentalism shits you – truth is you want your woman on the pill and able to get an abortion and you don’t care much about school prayer. So you weren’t very interested in the republican leadership. Then along comes trump and he tells you pretty clearly that he’s going to do exactly what you think the country – I this case, the country being you – need: put the blacks in their place, keep out the Muslims and screw the Mexicans. He doesn’t really care about the religious bullshit but he understands America is a white Anglo Saxon place and that’s enough for you.

Of course screwing the Mexicans doesn’t even make sense and pulling out of NAFTA will probably mess up your class interests but you voted for dubya twice because he seemed like the kind of guy you could have a beer with, even though he tanked the economy and got your friends kid shot in Iraq. That time you cast a vote for economic insecurity and war because of hippy punching; this time you’ll vote for isolation and economic ruin for racism. So long as the blacks and Mexicans are down its all good.

You need to start from the right suppositions rich. And Bruce, in amongst all your deeply condescending waffle is this little gem that highlights why you don’t understand the social forces at play: “racism is a tool of domination.”

America was a slave holding country and then a genocidal one. In America racism is not a tool of domination, it is an end in itself. It is an economic principle. It wasn’t used to divide workers against each other but to supply the free labour that made the country. It was the used to supply the land that made the country. You can’t analyze it based on stale political ideas from Europe, you have to analyze it based on the economic principles of slavery and genocide and their social and cultural backwash. Just as in Britain you can’t analyze brexit without understanding colonialism and the longing for a lost imperial era among people of a certain age and class.

wrong framework, wrong solutions.

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RNB 08.03.16 at 11:04 pm

mapmaker, you know that net migration from Mexico is very low. And you can calculate the costs in money, manpower and civil rights of deporting 11 million people. It’s not even in white citizens’ material interest. Oh yeah and this.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/04/us/politics/donald-trump-supporters.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

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bruce wilder 08.03.16 at 11:05 pm

and what is your “solution” fn? where are you going with this?

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Rich Puchalsky 08.04.16 at 12:04 am

It’s a super-detailed story about a carefully unsympathetic white guy who is middle or upper class, voted for W twice but doesn’t vote much so he isn’t already part of the GOP base, and is motivated purely by racism. He also didn’t bother to actually vote against Obama either time despite being so pissed off about there being a black President. (If he had voted for W twice and against Obama twice, then he’s just part of the GOP base.) This guy’s name is Just S. Story.

I’m sure that somewhere in America Mr. Story exists. Just like those gay Hispanic Trump supporters that kidneystones finds videos of really exist. Does this actually mean anything?

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Faustusnotes 08.04.16 at 12:10 am

Attack the racism. Show how it is not in their class interests. Shame the Republican Party and its leaders for bringing the party to this. Show how the focus on racism is making the party lose even basic decency. Get moderate racists to walk away, try to get them to understand that this dog whistling they have tolerated in the interests of mustering votes and trashed their party. As my (right wing) libertarian friend said to his pro-brexit libertarian buddies in the U.K. – “you’re riding a tiger.” Make them see it. But don’t pander to their pretense that it’s about economic insecurity. Don’t appeal to an issue they don’t care about.

You don’t have to convince everyone who would vote for trump. You just need to split the moderates off and make them realize what damage they have wrought by thinking they could let their party be just a bit racist. Fighting racism at the social level is a long term battle but you don’t win it by fighting the wrong issue – you just empty the field for the republicans to do what they want to do. This is why I think these posts of Corey’s are important, they establish the historical context you need to tell moderate racists and republican apologists that they’ve been abetting something dark and dangerous.

As I said about brexit repeatedly: the uk needs a conversation about race, led by the left. But for that to happen they need to drop their dippy fantasy about how British values are “tolerance and diversity” and recognize the racism and the yearning for lost empire at the heart of the little englanders dream. Smash that, and brexit would never have happened. Whining about neo liberalism doesn’t even make sense to your average British racist, because they don’t care about that issue. You need to target the real issue and the real issue is race.

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bruce wilder 08.04.16 at 12:11 am

racism is an end in itself, . . . also comes with unpaid labor, land and green stamps

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Faustusnotes 08.04.16 at 12:11 am

Sorry rich, I was dumbing it down to your level.

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bruce wilder 08.04.16 at 12:25 am

fn @ 156:

I was most especially impressed with this passage:

the uk needs . . . to drop their dippy fantasy about how British values are “tolerance and diversity” and recognize the racism and the yearning for lost empire at the heart of the little englanders dream.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.04.16 at 2:30 am

Amusement aside, look at the difference between Cranky Observer’s idea of how things go and fn’s:

Cranky: “Except that Obama was changing things: he was staying strong on the ACA. ACA only went into full effect in January 2014 and was always going to take a long time to achieve its potential, but it started helping from 2010 forward whether the people being helped accepted that reality or not. There was and is a massive propaganda campaign to create the opposite “perception” (business speak term) but you are leaving out the people who have problems with the current economy but see through the Radical Right’s propaganda.”

OK, so it goes something like: first policy happens, then the effects of policy actually help people, then people realize that they’ve been actually helped and they vote differently. It’s a recognizable political model. You can guess that I have some trouble with it as an anarchist — all of that policy happening over there and people kind of passively reacting somewhere else. But there’s a mechanism there.

On the other hand, here’s fn:
fn: “Attack the racism. Show how it is not in their class interests. Shame the Republican Party and its leaders for bringing the party to this. Show how the focus on racism is making the party lose even basic decency. […] Make them see it. But don’t pander to their pretense that it’s about economic insecurity. Don’t appeal to an issue they don’t care about.” And then: “As I said about brexit repeatedly: the uk needs a conversation about race, led by the left […]”

It’s politics as therapy. The faustusnotes model goes: people are voting for racists, and the problem is obviously racism, so let’s have a conversation about race.

faustusnotes thinks that when people write that economic insecurity is the problem or a large problem, they mean that they are going to *talk* to people about economic insecurity, as opposed to changing governmental policy so that people’s lives are actually better. This is, I guess, what middle-class professionals do? If good old dad is bitter in his scammed mobile home after losing his job at 50, then tell him he’s a racist and that now we’re going to have a conversation about that.

Thomas Frank had a pretty good coinage about this in his book: “speaking truth to weakness”. He went through the scene in _Primary Colors_ where the Bill Clinton figure tells a bunch of laid-off workers that now they need to buckle down and get an education so that they can get better jobs. And it does help me recognize this more as a contemporary political trope.

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faustusnotes 08.04.16 at 2:41 am

Rich, I was asked what I thought was a question about the rhetorical approach during an election campaign, not the long term policy agenda. Do all your rebuttals have to be so shallow and insincere? Please don’t presume to know what people think when they write, since you’re too busy trying to prove how much better you are than anyone else to actually understand what anyone else might be thinking.

I don’t, for the record, think that when you write that economic insecurity is the problem you’re just planning to talk about it; I assume you have policies to address this too. I just happen to be very confident that no amount of such policies will stop this racism or change it, because it’s not driven by economic insecurity. Which is why we need to actually address it, at both a policy and a cultural level.

But I don’t know why I bother explaining any of these things to you, since you’re intent on sneering at everyone else’s middle class values and performing your own anarchist fail-politics at its most expressive best, to show how much lefter you are than everyone else (about whom you know nothing). So I think I’ll leave it at that.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.04.16 at 3:44 am

“I was asked what I thought was a question about the rhetorical approach during an election campaign”

I see. So your idea for that rhetorical approach during a campaign is a conversation, led by the left, about how right and the political traditions / dreams/ whatever of your country all just suck. Interesting!

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Lupita 08.04.16 at 4:23 am

I think Trump is afraid the imperial global order presided by the US is about to crash and thinks he will be able to steer the country into a soft landing by accepting that other world powers have interests, by disengaging from costly and humiliating military interventions, by re-negotiating trade deals, and by stopping the mass immigration of poor people. Plus a few well-placed bombs.

Much has been written about the internet revolution, about the impact of people having access to much more information than before. The elite does not recognize this and is still organizing political and media campaigns as if it were 1990, relying on elder statesmen like Blair, Bush, Mitterrand, Clinton, and Obama to influence public opinion. They are failing miserably, to the point of being counterproductive.

I don’t think something as parochial as racism is sustaining Trump, but rather the fear of the loss of empire by a population with several orders of magnitude more information and communication than in 2008, even 2012.

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bruce wilder 08.04.16 at 5:29 am

François Mitterrand died in 1996.

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phenomenal cat 08.04.16 at 6:00 am

“Let’s say you’re one of the many white people for whom the system is working well. It keeps black people down and ensures a steady supply of cheap Mexican labour to water your lawn. But a black man has been president for 8 years and now black people are getting uppity. There’s a black lives matter movement and this black president has made pretty clear that he is considering an amnesty or some kind of comprehensive immigration reform for all those Mexicans who keep the shitty end of the economy running. That’s not good for your racial interests or the class interests of your small business or your friends’ small business.” faustusnotes @156

Where are you from faustusnotes? Because the above, especially the last sentence and what follows after it, doesn’t comport with reality. Set aside black/white USian racial-economic dynamics for the moment, as it is it’s very own and very special snowflake. Over the last 20 years all over the U.S. all sorts of small businesses and small business owners have become absolutely reliant on, uh, “inexpensive” Mexican/Latin American labor. One obvious example, but there are lots of others, is the housing/construction sector along with other ancillary enterprises–such as landscaping (I shudder to think how many billions of dollars each year Americans spend on landscaping). The class interests of small (and of course mid and large) business owners is decidedly for keeping the pipeline of cheap, south of the border labor flowing north–if not freely, then with only minimal, cosmetic restrictions and a lot of hand-waving to hopefully keep the yobs convinced that, “yes, we too believe immigration is a serious issue facing this country.”

There is the dipshit, reactionary, right-wing meme about Mexicans and other undesirables who are oozing across the border by the millions with nothing more in mind that producing numerous offspring and living off the fat of government entitlements for the rest of their lives–which is both racist and profoundly stupid and in that way begins to shade into the standard kind of racism black Americans know and love so well. But the above is a meme passed around on facebook by pinched, fearful toads and spluttered about on talk-radio; it is not in any way representative of actual “class interests.”

“I think Trump is afraid the imperial global order presided by the US is about to crash and thinks he will be able to steer the country into a soft landing by accepting that other world powers have interests, by disengaging from costly and humiliating military interventions, by re-negotiating trade deals, and by stopping the mass immigration of poor people. Plus a few well-placed bombs.” Lupita @167

I don’t know Lupita. I wish I could give Trump even that much credit–or anybody who’s enough of a buffoon to actually be within spitting distance of the presidency–but I find it terribly difficult.

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RNB 08.04.16 at 6:49 am

Re: Corey Robin’s claim that Trump is more of the Republican same because of Cindy Sheehan.

http://taskandpurpose.com/2005-george-w-bush-gave-right-response-gold-star-mother/

Cindy_Sheehan
In August 2005, she went to Bush’s Prairie Chapel Ranch, near Crawford, Texas, to demand a meeting with him.

Sheehan told members of Veterans for Peace that she planned to address him and say, “And you tell me, what the noble cause is that my son died for. And if he even starts to say ‘freedom and democracy’ I’m gonna say, ‘bullshit.’ You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana, imperialism in the Middle East. You tell me that, you don’t tell me my son died for freedom and democracy.”

However, Bush accepted her comments — in fact, he even welcomed them as part of her constitutional rights. He met the media outside the ranch, and held an impromptu press conference to address the issue.

“I grieve for every death,” he said. “It breaks my heart to think about a family weeping over the loss of a loved one.”

When a reporter pressed Bush specifically about Sheehan, he replied earnestly.

“Part of my duty as the president is to meet those who have lost a loved one. I sympathise with Mrs. Sheehan,” Bush said. “She feels strongly about her position. She has every right in the world to say what she believes. This is America.”

And even though Sheehan felt that the solution was to pull out of Iraq, and Bush disagreed, he repeated that she had the right, as all Americans do, to voice their opinions about the War.

However, he added, “One opinion I’ve come away with universally is that we should everything we can to honor the fallen.”

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RNB 08.04.16 at 7:32 am

Comparing Trump’s response to Ghazala Khan to W.’s response to Cindy Sheehan, the fact that Trump is more intolerant, racist, authoritarian and indecent than even W. comes through quite clearly.

For some reason, Corey Robin did not offer us the juxtaposition of W.’s response to Sheehan and Trump’s response to Ghazala Khan.

The juxtaposition is quite damaging for his thesis that Trump is not qualitatively more of religious bigot and racial reactionary and authoritarian than the last several Republican Presidential nominees.

I continue to believe that this election will be close. A lead in the polls at this point does not usually hold up, and Trump is raising a lot of money. Clinton’s campaign needs to be actively supported. Her opponent is a much greater danger to minority life in the US than the Republicans Presidential nominees have posed in the recent past. Our very existence as fellow citizens is being called into question.

And this might only be the third most dangerous thing about him, behind his denial of climate change and his potential control of the nuclear codes. The neoliberal Noam Chomsky has been quite clear about this.

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relstprof 08.04.16 at 8:31 am

171: “The juxtaposition is quite damaging for his thesis that Trump is not qualitatively more of religious bigot and racial reactionary and authoritarian than the last several Republican Presidential nominees.”

What does qualitatively mean? Reagan, Bush family, McCain, and Romney were aspirational sublimation. Trump is a Pat Buchanan 2.0 in the face of political failure. Update 1992 to 2016. Being a white American Christian in 2016 includes having slept around, being divorced and re-married with step-kids, hoping for advancement (the “American Dream”), superiority over blacks and white trash, making deals, showing up to church to “meet the right people.”

Bankruptcy isn’t strange. Debt is always in the foreground. If you have power, why not exploit it? Nukes? What are they for if not to bend wills? There’s a small sub-section of African-American Christians who have always signed on.

Trump is representative and traditional for a shrinking segment of white Americans, uneducated, and to a lesser extent, educated. He’s not new. He’s exciting because aspirational Reaganism didn’t work for them (it seems to work for a lot of others). Now they turn to the Real Thing.

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TM 08.04.16 at 9:44 am

142 and 156 offer some interesting perspectives on the stale racism vs. economic insecurity debate.

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Val 08.04.16 at 11:01 am

I sometimes feel restricted discussing issues of multiculturalism on CT because I don’t like to bring my family or friends too much into the discussion. But I think I can say that because I live in a very multicultural city and I have a large extended family who travel a lot (and, to give myself some credit, because I am interested in people who are different from me), I’ve ended up being friends with, or being related to, people from a wide range of backgrounds – so, Muslims as well as Jews, Indigenous people as well as whites, and so on.

Anyway what I’m leading to is that I sympathise strongly with why RNB called CT a white boy love fest, or whatever it was. I don’t always agree with RNB about everything, etc etc, and I think that was hyperbole, etc etc, but I think I can get why he said it. It’s like a lot of people here have no idea why 90%+ of black people plan to vote for Hillary Clinton, or why Muslims might be shit scared of Trump.

Obviously CT is not just a ‘white boy love fest’, otherwise many of us would not bother to comment here, but the frustrations that led to that comment should be taken seriously, unless CT bloggers want the comments section to turn into a conversation between Rich Puchalsky and Bruce Wilder alone.

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Faustusnotes 08.04.16 at 11:13 am

Phenomenal cat I am an Australian from the uk. The contradiction you see makes perfect sense to me because I have seen it in the brexit debate. All of British life depends on low paid Eastern European labour but the people who use it want to send them all back. Pointing out that they’re shooting themselves in the foot doesn’t work, because the racism trumps everything else. I have no doubt that farmers who depend on Eastern European labour voted to leave, even knowing what will happen. Of course Britain has a big human trafficking problem in farming and even maybe construction work, but I doubt most leavers imagine that they will be using that network.

Of course there is a subtext to these racist hate campaigns that someone else here raised and rich ran with a bit, which is the hatred of the unemployed. I think a lot of people voting leave imagine that the next thing on the agenda is slashing the dole to force poor white people to do the work the Eastern Europeans did. I suspect the same idea is in the minds of trumps voters – once he has screwed the Mexicans and put the blacks in their place, the blacks will be grateful for the chance to do the Mexicans work.

It’s a program, and it has a very specific goal – to restore the racial relations of a bygone era. The white working class will get their good factory jobs back, and the black people will be back to owing their lawns and doffing their caps at their betters. Fortunately it’s not going to happen, and instead we get the p,erasure of watching g the GOP eat itself alive. We should take this chance to prize a whole bunch of more moderate republicans away from their party!

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Rich Puchalsky 08.04.16 at 11:22 am

Val :”Anyway what I’m leading to is that I sympathise strongly with why RNB called CT a white boy love fest, or whatever it was. I don’t always agree with RNB about everything, etc etc, and I think that was hyperbole, etc etc, but I think I can get why he said it. It’s like a lot of people here have no idea why 90%+ of black people plan to vote for Hillary Clinton, or why Muslims might be shit scared of Trump.”

Val and RNB predictably learned nothing and are still rehearsing the same anti-Semitic themes. Plus both of them are super offended that someone would point out their bigotry, when every other sentence that they write is “you’re sexist” or “you’re racist”.

I’m sure that many of Val’s best friends are Jews. Maybe she can find one of her very close multicultural friends to tell her that “I’m frustrated that you keep speaking up. Why do you keep speaking up as a white person in this discussion of eliminationism when you have no idea why anyone might be scared of it?” is offensive.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.04.16 at 11:40 am

fn: “Of course there is a subtext to these racist hate campaigns that someone else here raised and rich ran with a bit, which is the hatred of the unemployed. I think a lot of people voting leave imagine that the next thing on the agenda is slashing the dole to force poor white people to do the work the Eastern Europeans did. “

Yes, in part. In part, also, people imagine that poor citizens will get jobs that previously were done by migrants. This has a hatred of slackers element that is bad, but as economics, it’s pretty well-founded that if you reduce the size of the labor pool relative to the population then unemployment will go down and wages will go up. Neoliberals often argue that people should be glad to lose employment at 50 so that people from other countries can have higher incomes, and leftists often agree because hey “free movement” and because after all the professional class jobs aren’t at risk. But strangely enough some people seem to resent this.

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Layman 08.04.16 at 11:48 am

Lupita: “I think Trump is afraid the imperial global order presided by the US is about to crash and thinks he will be able to steer the country into a soft landing by accepting that other world powers have interests, by disengaging from costly and humiliating military interventions, by re-negotiating trade deals, and by stopping the mass immigration of poor people.”

Any analysis which begins with the notion that there is a policy or social purpose to the Trump campaign is deeply flawed. The Trump campaign has not been undertaken to pursue policy, nor to address perceived societal or economic ills. The Trump campaign is an exercise in self-promotion and ego aggrandizement. Trump felt politicians and pundits didn’t take him seriously enough, and his feelings were hurt, and he ran for President. He voiced some particular prejudices which are probably deeply held, and people cheered. He likes to be cheered, so he continued to voice them, and to respond to any perceived criticism with a vicious, personal, bigoted attack on the critic. We know these slanders and outbursts are heartfelt because he cannot bring himself to refrain from them even when it is clear they do harm to his campaign.

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engels 08.04.16 at 11:56 am

There is the dipshit, reactionary, right-wing meme about Mexicans and other undesirables who are oozing across the border by the millions with nothing more in mind that producing numerous offspring and living off the fat of government entitlements for the rest of their lives–which is both racist and profoundly stupid and in that way begins to shade into the standard kind of racism black Americans know and love so well

In Britain, some of these dipshits work for the DWP
http://m.newsshopper.co.uk/news/14659741.LISTEN___I_resent_doing_this_for_some_scrounging_bastard_that___s_popping_out_kids_like_pigs____Bromley_Jobcentre_worker_accidentally_leaves__offensive__voicemail/

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Layman 08.04.16 at 11:59 am

Rich P: “Neoliberals often argue that people should be glad to lose employment at 50 so that people from other countries can have higher incomes…”

I doubt this most sincerely. While this may be the effect of some neoliberal policies, I can’t recall any particular instance where someone made this argument.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.04.16 at 12:03 pm

“I can’t recall any particular instance where someone made this argument.”

No one has literally argued that people should be glad to lose employment: that part was hyperbole. But the basic argument is often made quite seriously. See e.g. outsource Brad DeLong.

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TM 08.04.16 at 12:06 pm

RP 176: “Val and RNB predictably learned nothing and are still rehearsing the same anti-Semitic themes.”

Have you no shame. These are totally groundless accusations of anti-semitism directed at specific commenters who whatever one think of their comments have never said anything that could be construed as appealing to “anti-Semitic themes”. You really can’t expect anybody to take you seriously any more. So sad.

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engels 08.04.16 at 12:25 pm

While this may be the effect of some neoliberal policies, I can’t recall any particular instance where someone made this argument

Maybe this kind of thing rom Henry Farrell? (There may well be better examples.)

Is some dilution of the traditional European welfare state acceptable, if it substantially increases the wellbeing of current outsiders (i.e. for example, by bringing Turkey into the club). My answer is yes, if European leftwingers are to stick to their core principles on justice, fairness, egalitarianism etc…

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engels 08.04.16 at 12:25 pm

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Ronan(rf) 08.04.16 at 12:27 pm

People have numerous different identities, beliefs, personal commitments etc. The problem with the left’s critique of racism is that they find all instances of racism so outrageous that they fail to acknowledge that someone can be kinda bigoted, while not really being commited to their bigotry in any meaningful way. The racist, to the left, is first and foremost a racist, everything else is secondary.
As an example, if we were to look at the middle east at this moment, and the sectarianism developing there, what would we say? That these people are atavistic bigots ? That these societies are pathologically divided? That the only thing that matters to average Arab are 8th century doctrinal disputes ? Obviously not. What we would probably say is that religion, sect, clan etc are important identities, and at moments of crisis those identities can become dominant. That political exclusion (‘ real or perceived ) security or economic break down, or the rise of ethnic propagandists, can stir this specific part of their identity. But at other times this identity might be latent. People are not defined solely by this one value you might find awful, and just because the contemporary left is obsessed by racism and anti racism, it doesn’t mean it’s as central to everyone else’s identity .
I’ll come back later when by a laptop to reply to fn’ s (imo wrong) claims about how Britain needs to “have a conversation about race”, and how brexiters are colonial nostalgists.

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Layman 08.04.16 at 1:33 pm

“The racist, to the left, is first and foremost a racist, everything else is secondary.”

Frankly, that doesn’t reflect my views at all.

It’s not clear to me how well you understand racism in America. If you’ll abandon generalities and get to specifics, consider this: Large numbers of low-income white southern Americans consistently vote against their own economic interests. They vote to award tax breaks to wealthy people and corporations, to cut unemployment benefits, to bust unions, to reward companies for outsourcing jobs, to resist wage increases, to cut funding for health care for the poor, to cut Social Security and Medicare, etc.

Why might this be? Well, one thing it certainly isn’t is a natural reaction to being placed in a position of economic stress as a result of such policies. People who need a wage increase ought to be for wage increases. People who have been screwed out of pensions by the relentless Republican attack on unions ought to be for unions and for Social Security. People who can’t afford to take their kids to the doctor ought to be for expanded access to affordable health care and assistance for those who still can’t afford it.

In fact, if you poll those issues separately, you find them to be quite popular. Yet, in election after election, low-income white Southerners reliably pull the lever for a Republican candidates. Why is that?

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Rich Puchalsky 08.04.16 at 1:47 pm

I think that there are large inter-country and intercultural differences in racism. In the U.S., I think that it’s meaningful to say that one of the parties is organized around racism (and the other party, therefore, to some extent organized around anti-racism) in a way that is not true of any of the traditional British political parties.

So to some extent Ronan(rf)’s statement isn’t about the U.S. and isn’t invalidated by the U.S. situation (i.e. he mentions the middle east and then Britain). The problem is with his “The problem with the left’s critique of racism” is if there is one main style of left critique of racism. There is one dominant style of critique, and it’s one that largely came from America for the same reason that most cultural spheres are dominated by American culture.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.04.16 at 2:09 pm

Although, having written that, there is something distinctively British about fn’s rhetorical election strategy. Compare the Sex Pistol’s’ _God Save the Queen_:

God save the Queen
The fascist regime
They made you a moron
A potential H-bomb

Continuing on to “There is no future / In England’s dreaming” etc. What people might forget about this song, which is now an old-fogey classic, is that it was originally youth rebellion music:

We’re the flowers
In the dustbin
We’re the poison
In your human machine
We’re the future
Your future

As art, I love this song. It’s one big sneer, which is totally my preferred rhetorical style. As politics, it has certain shortcomings.

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faustusnotes 08.04.16 at 2:26 pm

I really really hate this kind of “analysis”:

The problem with the left’s critique of racism is that they find all instances of racism so outrageous that they fail to acknowledge that someone can be kinda bigoted, while not really being commited to their bigotry in any meaningful way

It makes me think that the person writing it has never actually met a left wing person, or if they have it was at an Islington dinner party with Will Self and Jeremy Clarkson. The basic left wing critique of racism is: it’s there, we have to deal with it, you need to overcome it to build class solidarity and any kind of collective action. This critique becomes more urgent and more poignant in an era of (American-induced) mass refugee movements, but it has obviously reached crisis points in previous eras (boat people, Jewish refugees etc). This weird strawman of the leftist who clutches their pearls and faints or turns into a screeching harridan (don’t lie to me; I know you see this person as a screeching woman) is purely and simply a strawman.

It’s a particularly depressing strawman because, along with this image of the salt-of-the-earth white worker who is also kind-of-racist but only because he’s a bit afraid of losing his job due to leftist free movement radicals who have hairy hair, it is a complete internalization of right wing hate-radio smears. It isn’t how leftists think and it doesn’t reflect our platform; it has no connection to either the liberal left (straw versions of which Rich is always kickin’), the hard left or the anarchist left or any other left I have ever encountered.

You people have internalized a bunch of right-wing hate radio myths about your own side. Aren’t you ashamed?

190

Lupita 08.04.16 at 2:42 pm

Large numbers of low-income white southern Americans consistently vote against their own economic interests. They vote to award tax breaks to wealthy people and corporations, to cut unemployment benefits, to bust unions, to reward companies for outsourcing jobs, to resist wage increases, to cut funding for health care for the poor, to cut Social Security and Medicare, etc.

The same thing has happened in Mexico with neoliberal government after neoliberal government being elected. There are many democratically elected neoliberal governments around the world.

Why might this be?

In the case of Mexico, because Peña Nieto’s wife is a telenovela star. How cool is that? It places Mexico in the same league as 1st world countries, such as France, with Carla Bruni.

191

Lupita 08.04.16 at 2:45 pm

@ bruce wilder

I meant Hollande.

192

RNB 08.04.16 at 2:47 pm

re: 182 Thank you, TM. Since Rich Puchalsky has now repeated the charge of anti-Semitism without any evidence, I would think that this is grounds for his expulsion from this list. At the very least I would hope that he is ostracized from discussion here. He is trying to delegitimize my voice and resorted to slander. He is beneath contempt.

193

T 08.04.16 at 3:05 pm

@ 89 kidneystones
I’m not denying your connection to the military at all. Rather, my point is that much the US population has a fair mount of experience interacting with the military on a personal level that just doesn’t exist in most developed countries. The States has been at war one way or another for many years. So the reaction to Trump’s attack on a Gold Star family is visceral and not abstract as it would be in cultures without a large integrated military. And why it’s so different than his criticism of McCain.That’s hard for someone who doesn’t live here to fully understand. Similarly, reading about race relations in the US is very different than growing up in Chicago and attending public schools. Not only are the revelations about the Chicago police no surprise, but the knowledge was acquired over decades. (And that’s knowledge that many Americans w/o experience with urban histories don’t have either. The police videos are changing a lot of minds.) I’m not saying this type of understanding is completely opaque to non-residents, but it’s translucent at best.

I remember many years ago Andrew Sullivan blogging about how the United States was going to be inundated with European hooligans during the World Cup. Be scared said Andrew when they show up in Chicago or Atlanta. Well we all had a good laugh. Andrew, of course, had no understanding of the level of violence in the United States, how police behave, and the fact that a significant percentage of folks in the South are carrying a gun in their car.

Being de Tocqueville is hard. Especially so if you just read the papers and blogs. My original comment several threads ago urged caution, not in political positions or criticisms, but in your characterizations of Americans thoughts and reactions. That’s where it’s easy to sound like an ass.

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T 08.04.16 at 3:08 pm

@ 89 kidneystones
I’m not denying your connection to or understanding of the military at all. Rather, my point is that much the US population has a fair mount of experience interacting with the military on a personal level that just doesn’t exist in most developed countries. The States has been at war one way or another for many years. So the reaction to Trump’s attack on a Gold Star family is visceral and not abstract as it would be in cultures without a large integrated military. And why it’s so different than his criticism of McCain.That’s hard for someone who doesn’t live here to fully understand. Similarly, reading about race relations in the US is very different than growing up in Chicago and attending public schools. Not only are the revelations about the Chicago police no surprise, but the knowledge was acquired over decades. (And that’s knowledge that many Americans w/o experience with urban histories don’t have either. The police videos are changing a lot of minds.) I’m not saying this type of understanding is completely opaque to non-residents, but it’s translucent at best.

I remember many years ago Andrew Sullivan blogging about how the United States was going to be inundated with European hooligans during the World Cup. Be scared said Andrew when they show up in Chicago or Atlanta. Well we all had a good laugh. Andrew, of course, had no understanding of the level of violence in the United States, how police behave, and the fact that a significant percentage of folks in the South are carrying a gun in their car.

Being de Tocqueville is hard. Especially so if you just read the papers and blogs. My original comment several threads ago urged caution, not in political positions or criticisms, but in your characterizations of Americans thoughts and reactions. That’s where it’s easy to sound like an ass.

195

Rich Puchalsky 08.04.16 at 3:32 pm

RNB: “He is trying to delegitimize my voice and resorted to slander.”

When RNB does it, it’s OK because he’s a POC. Look, RNB, I encourage you to contact all of the CT posters, just as I encouraged you to contact them when you were trying to get Corey Robin kicked off of CT. (Is there a pattern there? None at all.) I don’t think that I’m the one who delegitimized your voice. I think that you did that all by yourself.

196

Ronan(rf) 08.04.16 at 3:56 pm

Layman – I know this potted history. I’m not necessarily disputing it. I’m not doubting the importance of anti Black (African American) racism in the US, or the fact that the Republican Party has utilised this cleavage for political gain. (although a number of things Ive been reading recently are causing me to think Ive been over sold a one sided story about the centrality of racism to US politics and society, so I’m keeping an open mind. I have no interest in being Tocqueville though, so I won’t go into that)
But, the arguments on this general theme have not been (1) specifically about the US or (2) the particular place of African Americans in US society. It has been in large part about the rise in anti immigrant and anti Islamic sentiment. Both of these have parallels, at this time, in other western countries. This is where my generalised model comes into it. Security, politics, economics and ethnic demagoguery seem relevant subjects.
(This is the shorter response. I’ll come back to it later)

Fn – I should have been more precise. It is *a* leftist critique, not the only one. It is definitely my experience that it’s the dominant one, but perhaps I’m biased to overstate its dominance.

RNB, this is ridiculous, even by your standards, particularly considering your rhetoric on countless threads.

197

Rich Puchalsky 08.04.16 at 4:09 pm

Ronan(rf): “although a number of things Ive been reading recently are causing me to think Ive been over sold a one sided story about the centrality of racism to US politics and society”

I am (sincerely, not sarcastically) interested to hear what you’ve been reading that causes you to rethink this.

198

RNB 08.04.16 at 4:25 pm

@195 Both TM and LFC have said that your charge of anti-Semitism is baseless. That should be enough for the people who moderate this site to expel you.

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Patrick 08.04.16 at 4:32 pm

To the guy who asked- poor white people keep voting Republican even though it screws them because they genuinely believe that the country is best off when it encourages a culture of “by the bootstraps” self improvement, hard work, and personal responsibility. They view taxing people in order to give the money to the supposedly less fortunate as the anti thesis of this, because it gives people an easy out that let’s them avoid having to engage in the hard work needed to live independently. They see it as little different from letting your kid move back on after college and smoke weed in your basement. They don’t generally mind people being on unemployment transitionally, but they’re supposed to be a little embarrassed about it and get it over with as soon as possible. They not only worry that increased government social spending will incentivize bad behavior, they worry it will destroy the cultural values they see as vital to Americas past prosperity. They tend to view claims about historic or systemic injustice necessitating collective remedy because they view the world as one in which the vagaries of fate decree that some are born rich or poor, and that success is in improving ones station relative to where one starts. Attempts at repairing historical racial inequity read as cheating in that paradigm, and even as hostile since they can easily observe white people who are just as poor or poorer than those who racial politics focuses upon. Left wing insistence on borrowing the nastiest rhetoric of libertarians (“this guy is poor because his ancestors couldn’t get ahead because of historical racial injustice so we must help him; your family couldn’t get ahead either but that must have been your fault so you deserve it”) comes across as both antithetical to their values and as downright hostile within the values they see around them.

All of this can be easily learned by just talking to them.

It’s not a great world view. It fails to explain quite a lot. For example, they have literally no way of explaining increased unemployment without positing either that everyone is getting too lazy to work, or that the government screwed up the system somehow, possibly by making it too expensive to do business in the US relative to other countries. and given their faith in the power of hard work, they don’t even blame sweatshops- they blame taxes and foreign subsidies.

I don’t know exactly how to reach out to them, except that I can point to some things people do that repulse them and say “stop doing that.”

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RNB 08.04.16 at 5:14 pm

Patrick, give it a break. Hillary Clinton has been excoriated on the left for building work stipulations and time limits into welfare though she won as part of this a huge, eight billion dollar concession for child care assistance from which many white people would benefit tremendously. Hillary Clinton has said over and over that the government should prioritize minority urban neighborhoods and poor white rural areas with government programs meant to increase jobs.

And assuming that you have been listening, you know that Trump is not hitting the Democrats with being soft on welfare or affirmative action; he is hitting them with not cracking enough skulls of the people in the Black Lives Matter movement, not deporting 11 or 12 million people and allowing Muslims into the country.

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bruce wilder 08.04.16 at 5:50 pm

The extent to which “poor white people” vote against their alleged economic interests is overblown. To a large extent, they do not vote at all nor is anyone or anything on the ballot to represent their interests. And, yes, they are misinformed systematically by elites out to screw them and they know this, but cannot do much to either clear up their own confusion or fight back.

The mirror image problem — of elites manipulating the system to screw the poor and merely middle-class — is daily in the news. Both Presidential candidates have been implicated. So, who do you recommend they vote for?

There is serious deficit of both trust and information among the poor. Poor whites hardly have a monopoly; black misleadership is epidemic in our era of Cory Booker socialism.

202

Rich 08.04.16 at 6:04 pm

Patrick,
You got it wrong in so many ways. Your argument is based the flawed assumption that the only role of government is redistribution of wealth. You also consider only that distribution that serves your argument, ignoring the distribution that goes the other way. Typical dishonest right wing bullshit. If there were not vast supplies of free bullshit, you people would never have anything to say.

203

JimV 08.04.16 at 6:10 pm

“…poor white people keep voting Republican even though it screws them because they genuinely believe that the country is best off when it encourages a culture of “by the bootstraps” self improvement, hard work, and personal responsibility. “

Part of the deal in Jack Welch’s incentives to get people to volunteer for layoffs (circa 1985-at least 2005 carried on by his successor) was a signed letter on GE letterhead suitable for proving to the Unemployment Bureau that you were unemployed through no fault of your own. Maybe coincidentally, soon after this policy the EB started a procedure that instead of getting in line each couple of weeks to confirm your continued unemployment, you could do so via an automated phone-in system. This option was also applied to early-retirees who had no plans to go back to work. All the many people I knew who had worked at GE prior to layoffs took maximum advantage of this and many bragged about how long they had gotten their UE checks.

I myself resigned from GE at age 57 due to a combination of poor health and disgruntlement. Several people asked me afterward if I had applied for unemployment. I told them no, it was my understanding that if you quit you were not eligible. They said, might as well try anyway, and maybe fudge the facts a little, rather than leaving money on the table. That’s my anecdotal experience of how all the people I knew and worked with viewed government handouts. They might have also resented other people in other cities and other classes who got unemployment checks or welfare (the majority of which are of course white), but when it came to themselves, the more the merrier.

204

Patrick 08.04.16 at 6:12 pm

Yeah… ok, reading comprehension is not in overabundance around here.

205

RNB 08.04.16 at 6:17 pm

Patrick,
You did a great job of describing how many people would justify their cultural alienation from the Democratic Party and their support of Trump. But the question here is whether their self-description matches the actual well-springs of their action. We don’t always take people at face value. Don’t have to be a Freudian for that. Every shopkeeper who is asked to sell something on credit exercises some suspicion (or practices what I think the philosopher Ricoeur called a hermeneutics of suspicion).

206

Rich Puchalsky 08.04.16 at 6:21 pm

Patrick: “Yeah… ok, reading comprehension is not in overabundance around here.”

It’s not. But also, by providing an explanation that is not evil enough, you presumptively become a defender of evil.

JimV: “That’s my anecdotal experience of how all the people I knew and worked with viewed government handouts.”

Yep, they assume that everyone else is cheating too. But somewhere inside they feel bad about cheating, which means that they have to project it outwards towards other people as lazy cheaters.

207

bruce wilder 08.04.16 at 7:05 pm

Politics is founded on the complex social psychology of humans as social animals. We elevate it from its irrational base in emotion to rationalized calculation or philosophy at our peril.

208

Layman 08.04.16 at 8:29 pm

“To the guy who asked- poor white people keep voting Republican even though it screws them because they genuinely believe that the country is best off when it encourages a culture of “by the bootstraps” self improvement, hard work, and personal responsibility.”

This bit of nonsense confuses the rationalization of behavior with the reason for it. I’m sure that when you ask a southern white racist why he votes for Republicans, this is the sort of answer you’ll get. One need not be so credulous as to actually believe it.

209

T 08.04.16 at 9:17 pm

@Layman
I think you’re missing Patrick’s point. These voters are switching from one Republican to another. They’ve jettisoned Bush et. al. for Trump. These guys despise Bush. They’ve figured out that the mainstream party is basically 30 years of affinity fraud. So, is your argument is that Trump even more racist? That kind of goes against the whole point of the OP. Not saying that race doesn’t matter. Of course it does. But Trump has a 34% advantage in non-college educated white men. It just isn’t the South. Why does it have to be just race or just class?

210

novakant 08.04.16 at 9:21 pm

as economics, it’s pretty well-founded that if you reduce the size of the labor pool relative to the population then unemployment will go down and wages will go up. Neoliberals often argue that people should be glad to lose employment at 50 so that people from other countries can have higher incomes, and leftists often agree because hey “free movement” and because after all the professional class jobs aren’t at risk

So after all the petulant verbosity since the Brexit threads you get down to:

“the damn foreigners are stealing our jobs!”

Pathetic.

211

Rich 08.04.16 at 9:45 pm

Patrick,
I see. I apologise and retract my comment.

212

phenomenal cat 08.04.16 at 10:15 pm

“This bit of nonsense confuses the rationalization of behavior with the reason for it. I’m sure that when you ask a southern white racist why he votes for Republicans, this is the sort of answer you’ll get. One need not be so credulous as to actually believe it.” Layman @207

I don’t know that it does confuse rationalization and reason in this case as the two are pretty closely linked. Sure, there will always be X percentage of individuals for whom your objection will apply, but I would willingly bet they are not nearly as common you believe.

There is a dialectic between the “bootstraps” philosophy and racist suspicion. It is analytically flat-footed–ideological, even– to simply presume said rationale is just a convenient cover for racist belief and expression. Furthermore, there are very few people in this world that can sustain their social and political selves on purely negative principles alone; which is also why there are precious few genuine nihilists out there. Natue-culture just does not produce that many specimens that are Goebbels-like in their capacity for cynicism and sociopathology.

Besides, what Patrick is referring to is as much class prejudice as it is racial prejudice. Obviously in the U.S. race and class are knotted together in grotesque ways, but prevailing public discourse over the last 40 years has willfully precluded the class aspect of the equation. Where I would quibble with Patrick’s formulation is that it isn’t so much the “poor white people” who espouse this political “philosophy”–though some certainly do–it is espoused largely in the broad strata of the middle-class, from the reaches of the lowest middle-class to the affluent top 10-20 % of the income spectrum. The contempt and fear this segment of American society feels for those below them is by no means confined to those with darker skin tones.

I generally don’t give a shit about polls so I have no “data” to evidence this claim, but my guess is the majority of Trump’s support comes from this broad middle. It is highly plausible to argue that Trump’s racist appeals are not working simply b/c the appeals are racist. Everyone, including my dead grandmother, knows the Republicans have used racist appeals at least since Nixon. If that’s all it took the usual dog-whistles should have been enough to get one of the other assholes running for the nomination elected over Trump. It seems to me what Trump was able to do was express some nativist (and racist) resentment, but mixed with just enough genuine criticisms of our decrepit neoliberal economic truisms and idiotic beltway conventional wisdom.

Two conclusions follow from this. 1. Trump winning the nomination indicates that a sizeable % of this segment no longer blindly accepts the Washington Consensus talking points–not b/c they have conducted a comprehensive lit review and thus found said consensus wanting, but b/c it has become too obvious not to notice over the last 10 years. 2. Trump’s nomination reflects the anxiety that their “philosophy” and taken for granted place in the middle class has been jeopardized by the very interests that told them their philosophy was good and would ensure their and the country’s continued affluence.

213

Ronan(rf) 08.04.16 at 10:20 pm

Rich p, I’ll get back to it tomorrow . Not necessarily rethink, more qualify my initial impressions (none of it would be particularly insightful to someone who knew the history, I wouldn’t say. But I’ll try put some semi coherent argument together and see what disagreements there are)

214

Ronan(rf) 08.04.16 at 10:35 pm

“I generally don’t give a shit about polls so I have no “data” to evidence this claim, but my guess is the majority of Trump’s support comes from this broad middle”

My understanding is trumps support disproportionately comes from the small business owning classes, Ie a demographic similar to the petite bourgeoisie who have often been heavily involved in reactionary movements. This gets oversold as “working class” when class is defined by education level rather than income.
This would make some sense as they are generally in economically unstable jobs, they tend to be hostile to both big govt (regulations, freeloaders) and big business (unfair competition), and while they (rhetorically at least) tend to value personal autonomy and self sufficiency , they generally sell into smaller, local markets, and so are particularly affected by local demographic and cultural change , and decline. That’s my speculation anyway.

215

Faustusnotes 08.04.16 at 10:44 pm

I don’t think the in-group engaged in welfare fraud feel guilty and project it onto others. They feel the govt is theirs and they have a right to this stuff, but the asylum seekers and illegal immigrants and all those others get the benefits dishonestly, and the system has been set up to disadvantage white working people so those others can be helped by do-gooder lefties, so they need to commit a bit of fraud to get what’s theirs. “the illegal asylum seekers get to the head of the social housing queue but I still have to pay for mine the old fashioned way, that’s hardly right is it!?”

If you look at the debates about welfare I the lead up to brexit you can see some of this self righteousness. Of course it’s often correct: if you have worked for 35 years and then just been drummed out of a job by a computer you are owed something, but the British welfare system is cruel and demeaning. But why does your self righteousness lead you to believe every lie the daily mail tells you about “illegal asylum seekers” jumping the queue? Because you’ve always believed that “they” are shifty…

216

Layman 08.05.16 at 11:34 am

@ phenomenal cat, it seems to me that your disregard for polls and the data they produce disqualifies you from judging whether Patrick’s suggestion of how white southern racists would answer the question was a reason or a rationalization on their part. Me, I’ve looked at the analysis of data in polls, which has had a lot to say about who makes up the core of Trump supporters; and I’ve looked at similar polls going back for many years. If that’s not enough, I’ve spent a good part of my life surrounded by white racists, southern and otherwise.

@ Patrick, I chose southern white racists because that’s the easiest group for which to demonstrate my point. I don’t mean to say that the phenomenon is limited to the south. There’s a reason why West Virginia is solidly red, why much of the west is also solidly red, and why states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan are always being touted as battleground states: There are a lot of low-income white racists in those states, as there are in most states.

217

Layman 08.05.16 at 12:05 pm

@ faustusnotes, this is similar to the apparent view among American low-income whites that there is/was some form of special, better welfare available to black Americans. It’s the reason for the ‘welfare queen’ and ‘young bucks buying T-bone steaks and Cadillacs’ meme of the Reagan era. White Americans living on welfare knew, personally, how hard it was, so if black Americans were living well on it – and Republicans said they were! – then those black Americans must be getting some secret, better welfare available only to them. So, low-income white Americans voted for Republicans and helped destroy welfare. What’s left is a paltry shell, a small temporary unemployment stipend and food stamps. Even this is still too much for Conservatism, apparently, so the meme lives on and the view persists.

218

T 08.05.16 at 3:12 pm

@patrick @layman

Patrick, you’re right about the Trump demographic. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-mythology-of-trumps-working-class-support/

Layman — Why are these voters switching from Bush et al to Trump? Once again, Corey’s whole point is that there is very little difference between the racism of Trump and the mainstream party since Nixon. Is Trump just more racist? Or are the policies of Trump resonating differently than Bush for reasons other than race? Are the folks that voted for the other candidates in the primary less racist so Trump supporters are just the most racist among Republicans? Cruz less racist? You have to explain the shift within the Republican party because that’s what happened.

219

RNB 08.05.16 at 3:13 pm

@203 Jim V’s portrait of how people made sense of their actions in one concrete case is really illuminating!

Layman, I am a bit skeptical of using the rationalization/reason distinction and made a similar point in my 205 before your 208. Sometimes the causes of people’s actions are not the reasons they have or give for their actions; “reasons” should thus be distinguished from “causes” though I think you are using them interchangeably.

The reasons people give for their actions are often indeed the rationalizations for their actions. So I think we should speak of reasons or rationalizations or self-understanding of actions vs. the causes or well-springs of action.

There is also a big philosophical literature on the question of whether reasons can be the causes of action.

220

RNB 08.05.16 at 3:27 pm

Social media is abuzz with mockery of the idea that economic anxiety is driving Trump support. I myself don’t use Facebook or twitter, but I think this could #economic anxiety.

For example, video clips of people saying that they support illegal immigration from Europe because they believe in Western civilization; of course the NYT video that I linked to above; snapshots of the front row of a Trump rally in North Carolina that looks like the parents at a debutante ball; video of what Trump supporters feel about the Muslim ban.

221

RNB 08.05.16 at 3:40 pm

@208 T. I don’t think you have been reading my posts. So here is a summary of some things I have written on your questions.

@218 Getting a disproportionate amount of the most religiously intolerant, xenophobic, and racially resentful was not enough to win the nomination race when, say, Buchanan made his bid for the nomination, according to Michael Tesler. There weren’t enough of these votes to win.

Trump was able to secure the nomination by virtually monopolizing for himself the votes of the most racially resentful, xenophobic and religiously intolerant because there were enough of them for him to win the nomination in a crowded field.

Playing for their votes, Trump devised a platform that was entirely focused on violations of the Constitution in the service of white nationalism.

So Trump has taken the Republicans onto new ground with the religious ban (which no recent nominee would have considered, even W. after 9/11) and a deportation force for 11 or 12 million people (again no other nominee has proposed this; in fact W. and McCain were for amnesty) and the chilling promise to eliminate disorder completely on Day 1 of his Presidency which would seriously escalate the violations of civil rights of black people in particular.

So Trump has gone where no nominee has gone before.

222

T 08.05.16 at 4:10 pm

@RNB
Thx but my query was addressed to Layman. We don’t want to put words in his mouth, do we?

223

RNB 08.05.16 at 4:31 pm

Data point: we don’t know which demographic groups in particular still think Trump is stronger on the economy than Clinton, but it seems that even now he has a lead here, as Matt Yglesias has noted! Given this relative advantage on the economy, coupled with Trump raking in money and the fact that Dukakis had a similarly big lead over H.W., I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet.

Each day is going to feel like the frames in a film are being progressively slowed, so the subjective experience of this election time is gong to feel unbearably protracted. It’s like having your team up, so the closing minutes feel longer than it does for the fans of the team that is behind, and needs to catch up. Time is closing down on them.

And then speaking of time there is the way Trump is robbing some of us of sleep and dream time.

224

phenomenal cat 08.05.16 at 4:35 pm

“@ phenomenal cat, it seems to me that your disregard for polls and the data they produce disqualifies you from judging whether Patrick’s suggestion of how white southern racists would answer the question was a reason or a rationalization on their part. Me, I’ve looked at the analysis of data in polls, which has had a lot to say about who makes up the core of Trump supporters; and I’ve looked at similar polls going back for many years. If that’s not enough, I’ve spent a good part of my life surrounded by white racists, southern and otherwise. “

Uh, yeah, your extensive knowledge of polling data hasn’t seemed to have provided you with much sociological insight on this topic. Actually, a good example of how what can be learned from polling is mostly superficial.

I am from the deepest South.

If you have an actual argument or claim against what I’ve written then make it. It’s not interesting or enlightening to hear about disqualifications.

225

Yama 08.05.16 at 4:49 pm

“And then speaking of time there is the way Trump is robbing some of us of sleep and dream time.”

Well you could always exercise a tiny bit of self control?

226

RNB 08.05.16 at 5:06 pm

Or you could have the self-control not to read apparently compulsively what I write?
At any rate, it would have been easier had there been more people here speaking of the nativism, racism and religious intolerance of Trumpism. It’s been one of my complaints–that there has been little recognition in the OP’s of what Trumpism has meant to a lot of us psychologically. Look at how Corey Robin quickly pivoted off what the Khan family was experiencing and saying to write of Cold War history.

227

Lee A. Arnold 08.05.16 at 5:30 pm

RNB #226: “would have been easier had there been more people here speaking of the nativism, racism and religious intolerance of Trumpism. It’s been one of my complaints–that there has been little recognition in the OP’s of what Trumpism has meant to a lot of us psychologically.”

Actually this was dealt with at great lengths at CT a year ago when Trump started up.

228

RNB 08.05.16 at 5:33 pm

And the Corey Robin pivot to Cindy Sheehan was scandalous. He said that George W. Bush treated Cindy Sheehan as badly as Trump was treating the Khan’s.

@98 Robin wrote: “The record of George W. Bush—the man who Ezra Klein claims would never have treated the Khans the way Trump has—with regard to Cindy Sheehan, whose son was also killed in Iraq, is even worse than I realized.”

He provided not a single quote from W. I did. See @170 to 171.

Bush expressed respect for Sheehan’s dissent and honored her son. Robin did not quote Bush’s actual words! What he did was say that Karl Rove said something nasty about Sheehan, which is true in what was apparently an off the record comment that hardly circulated, unlike W.’s words issued at a national press conference apparently televised by CNN.

Now I ask you: who would make Robin’s claim and not even note W’s own words in a nationally televised press meeting to test the claim that the Khan’s were no more disrespected by the person at the top of the Republican Party than Cindy Sheehan was.

Trump has corrected himself on his misinterpretation of the Iran video.

It turns out that Robin made his claims; no one corrected him until I did. I wish it had not been me.

229

RNB 08.05.16 at 5:45 pm

Lee, I am not sure what you have in mind. But there has only been one person here who has identified himself as having a Muslim heritage–js–and he has expressed quite a bit of displeasure of the discussion here at CT. Of course there has been “Lupita” who has informed us of the favorable things being said about Trump in Latin America and embraced him as a critic of trade (though the last thing Trump would do is stop dumping subsidized US exports on Mexico) and has recently spoken of the deportation of 11 million people as the mere returning of people to a home which is a very cultured and pleasant place.

230

RNB 08.05.16 at 5:47 pm

Of course in recent weeks merian, faustusnotes, TM and others I am forgetting have said great things for which I am very appreciative.

231

Layman 08.05.16 at 6:18 pm

T: “Why are these voters switching from Bush et al to Trump? “

Because Trump’s appeal to racism is overt rather than covert, which makes him the center of attention of the racist core of the Republican vote. In the primaries – which are largely if not entirely restricted to Republican voters – this was sufficient to give Trump a strong showing of support, if not a majority, which had the effect throttling support for the sort of way-too-subtle dog whistles one gets from the Bushes and Rubios of the world. It’s not that Trump represents new racism in the party – it’s that he represents open, unapologetic expression of the racism that has always been there.

Outside of the primaries, it doesn’t work to Trump’s advantage, because the Democratic and independent voting blocks are much less racist at their core than are the Republicans.

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RNB 08.05.16 at 6:27 pm

Layman, anti-black racism is not the same as nativism which is not the same as religious intolerance. The last two need not be racist, but they are often infused with such as hard culturalism (that is, the idea that people in the targeted groups inherit or are socialized by culture so totally that they are fated to be permanent props of them) as to slide into racism. Trump has brought nativism and religious intolerance in defacto racist forms to the top of the Republican ticket.

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T 08.05.16 at 7:01 pm

@231 Layman
Thanks for the clarification. So I see you fall into the 100% race, 0% policy category. So I’m to take that all those that voted for Cruz, Bush, et al were covert racists and couldn’t stomach the overt stuff. And the screeds against trade, immigration and the banks were irrelevant. And the 80% of Evangelicals that said they’d vote for Trump over HRC are all racists too. Wish it were all that simple.

btw-why did HRC and some Dems back off TPP? To garner the racist Trump vote? I guess you must think the Trump voters and the Sanders voters have completely different reasons for being against new trade deals?

234

Layman 08.05.16 at 7:12 pm

phenomenal cat: “If you have an actual argument or claim against what I’ve written then make it.”

Fair enough.

You wrote: ‘I generally don’t give a shit about polls so I have no “data” to evidence this claim, but my guess is the majority of Trump’s support comes from this broad middle.’

Oddly, though, when I look at polling data, I see Trump doing less well than Romney with the ‘broad middle class’, and spectacularly less well than Romney with non-white voters. Where he is doing as well as or better than Romney is with white voters in general, and low-income white voters. Maybe it’s a bad idea to ignore the data?

235

Layman 08.05.16 at 7:21 pm

T: “So I see you fall into the 100% race, 0% policy category.”

Not at all. There are surely some low-income Republican voters who believe the conservative line about supply-side policies – go figure! – as well as some that have draconian religious or social agendas; but clearly they lack the numbers and solidarity to have stopped Trump’s racist parade to the nomination by agreeing on some else.

Also, too: Trump’s immigration position is generally voiced in racist terms, not economic ones. It is not that the immigrants are going to take your jobs; it’s that they’re going to rape and/or kill you.

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RNB 08.05.16 at 8:34 pm

The # of people affected by NAFTA and PNTR or even trade generally is much fewer than those who express support of Trump or even Sanders for protectionist reasons. I think I remember the Autor piece giving the estimate of about 2 million people whose incomes were reduced by PNTR.

Trade talk and complaints about those terrible trade deals hides other motives: 1. fear of powerlessness due to manipulation by unseen, foreign and powerful forces, i.e. the kind of paranoia that has historically been expressed as anti-Semitism and 2. an assertion of American firstism at home, i.e. don’t trade with foreigners means make sure white Americans don’t lose jobs, promotions, bids, university admissions and govt allocations to “the foreigners” (sic) in America.

This has long been my assessment. Catherine Rampell reached the same conclusion in a powerful think piece for the Washington Post.

So if you all want to ignore me, don’t ignore Rampell.

237

T 08.05.16 at 8:41 pm

@235 Layman
So all the Trump vote is due to completely to racism but with the non-Trump Republican voters its a mix of racism and other stuff. I think that’s what I read. Just trying to figure out where you’re coming from.

238

RNB 08.05.16 at 8:44 pm

T
That’s exactly right. The Sanders supporters who were concerned about trade were likely union members from the industries that had been or could be hurt by globalization (for example UAW opposition to TPP). The people who support Trump’s protectionism are likely the reactionaries I described in 236

239

RNB 08.05.16 at 9:00 pm

Just to make this obvious and simple. Trump entered the race as a birther, which combined nativism, religious intolerance and anti-black racism. The birther movement took off in opposition to President Barack Hussein Obama, and crystallized in one movement said three forms of prejudice. With Trump the anti-black racism is more virulent than it was with Romney, McCain and W. but it is also coded to some extent in the promises to stamp out disorder on Day 1 of his Presidency.

That is not the case with his nativism and religious intolerance which he has not only made the visible center of his campaign but also made racist (layman’s example @235 of Trump’s focus on the putatively subhuman murders lawless undocumented workers “roaming the country” commit is indeed the perfect example of Trump making nativism racist).

So simply put there is no understanding of what Trumpism is without unpacking what the birther movement is and the symbolic threat the President has posed to white nationalist identity.

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Corey Robin 08.05.16 at 9:09 pm

An interesting data point from Kevin Drum and Ed Kilgore. In 2012, Romney won among the white working class by 26 points. As of today, Trump is leading that constituency by about 15 points. This will no doubt come as a disappointment to some media commentators who think that the entire problem of American racism can be located in the individual prejudices of white workers (as opposed to in structural racism). In any event, this sharp drop-off in support for the GOP candidate could be because the Democratic candidate in 2012 was black, while the Democratic candidate in 2016 is white. Or it could be that racist appeals no longer have the kind of appeal that they used to have. I’ve often wondered to myself how it could be that the country that twice elected Barack Hussein Obama—and is giving him ever higher favorability ratings as he ends his term—could turn around to vote for Donald Trump. It may be that it can’t. In any event, this is good news (though like I said, it will come as a disappointment to some).

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/even-white-working-class-abandoning-trump

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Lee A. Arnold 08.05.16 at 9:28 pm

I don’t see how Trump can dig himself out of this hole. If he suddenly “straightens out and flies right” as the saying used to go, then he has ANOTHER problem: He still cannot prove that he won’t revert to this form, once he’s in the Oval Office. He is 70 years old. Who can believe that he will really change? So it seems as if this contest is already over, but for the November formality.

There’s always the chance of some exterior event which would change things, but it is hard to imagine what would close a spread that appears to be growing to 10 points or more.

He may believe that he has an “October Surprise” that will be so devastating to Hillary that it will throw the election to him. This itself may be a delusion, but it is hard to account for Trump’s behavior without invoking the DSM-5 anyway.

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awy 08.05.16 at 9:31 pm

^well, compared to 2012 this year’s race is characterized by a large portion of 3rd party/neither voters. I think the white working class number for the dem ticket is a bit worse than obama’s performance. so it may be that only about 40% of the WWC voter base is entirely comfortable with racism, while a lot of them are genuinely turned off by trump. this would still leave trump’s supporters as majority/largely motivated by xenophobia and racism

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Layman 08.05.16 at 10:18 pm

T: “Just trying to figure out where you’re coming from.”

Trying, perhaps, but not trying very hard.

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T 08.05.16 at 11:45 pm

@243
I’m listening. What am I missing? RNB thinks I’ve read you right @238. but that’s rnb, not you.

245

Faustusnotes 08.05.16 at 11:46 pm

Corey, America is not going to elect trump. The only question is how badly he gets smashed. I’m guessing the lowest he can poll is about 18%, plus maybe a few percent for non religious crazies. The reason I say this is a recent PPM poll that asked “does Clinton have connections with lucifer?” To which 18% of people said yes (oh America, don’t ever change!)

Note the question was “connections” not “in service of”. 18% of respondents actually believe Clinton has made a deal with an imaginary evil figure. Presumably, given how bad Satan is alleged to be, they will believe trump is better. So by November I expect we will see that 18% sticking with trump, plus a few percent of people so imbued with race hate that nothing he says can dislodge them. The rest of America will vote Clinton.

This shit show has barely started. Every time it looks like he is going to pull back a percent in the polls, out comes mr. Khan and boom! Another few percent slides away. By the time of the debates he is going to be such a loose cannon, I expect him to call Clinton a bitch or worse on national tv. The senate races are now starting to slide and Ryan has already admitted defeat.

And to top it all, Obama has asked republican leaders to jump ship – which means they can’t! And even kidneystones has gone quiet.

Oh what a lovely, lovely day!

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Layman 08.06.16 at 12:19 am

T: “I’m listening.”

You’re not very good at it.

Examples:

“So I see you fall into the 100% race, 0% policy category.”

This is not what I said.

“So all the Trump vote is due to completely to racism but with the non-Trump Republican voters its a mix of racism and other stuff.”

This is not what I said.

“What am I missing?”

Go back, read again, make an honest effort to recapitulate what I wrote. Or ignore it.

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RNB 08.06.16 at 12:41 am

So here’s what Kilgore said:

“He’s still leading in this demographic, to be sure. But every recent Republican has won it, by ever-increasing margins. Mitt Romney won non-college-educated white voters by an estimated 62-36 in 2012. Given his problems with other segments of the electorate (e.g., nonwhite voters, young voters, college-educated women), Trump needs to do better than that. And until this week, it looked like he would. As the New York Times’ Nate Cohn noted on July 25, Trump was winning white working-class voters at better than a two-to-one clip in some surveys (66-29 in a July CNN poll, 65-29 in a July ABC/Washington Post poll).

That could be changing.”

So just last week Trump was doing better with whites without college degrees and white men generally (and especially white men without college degrees) than even Romney who was a functioning Governor, not an actual sociopath who had run cons quite like Trump University, contemplated the offensive use of nuclear weapons, refused to release his taxes and compared his sacrifices investing his father’s seed capital to the loss of a son of a military family.

Yes Trump’s better performance here could be changing but not because most of these guys have suddenly becoming disgusted with his nativism/religious intolerance/racism.

It could be that Trump’s religious intolerance/nativism/racism still has such magnetic appeal that he as a sociopath dominates their vote but that his narcissistic recounting of his sacrifices and disrespect for a military family (not his disrespect for Muslims) have alienated some previous supporters for now…in this week’s polls.

So just to respond to Robin: “In any event, this sharp drop-off in support for the GOP candidate could be because the Democratic candidate in 2012 was black, while the Democratic candidate in 2016 is white. Or it could be that racist appeals no longer have the kind of appeal that they used to have. I’ve often wondered to myself how it could be that the country that twice elected Barack Hussein Obama—and is giving him ever higher favorability ratings as he ends his term—could turn around to vote for Donald Trump. It may be that it can’t. In any event, this is good news (though like I said, it will come as a disappointment to some).”

1. The drop-off just happened, and can’t be considered stable one week after the DNC and the unhinged responses Trump had to the big Democratic bounce from their Convention which also as entertainment value was better than his. (By the way, is Robin going to correct the record about Bush’s response to Cindy Sheehan? Doesn’t look that way!)

2. It could still be that prejudicial appeals will be successful in Trump winning whites without college degrees and white men by bigger margins than Romney and McCain did as long as he can stop sounding too narcissistic and picking fights with military families and asking insane questions about why he can’t use nuclear weapons offensively.

Of course since it takes a sociopath to run the nativist/intolerant/racist campaign he is running and think of using nuclear weapons offensively, it’s not assured that he can prevent himself from making the kinds of crazy statements that alienate even his prejudiced supporters.

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RNB 08.06.16 at 12:47 am

And of course Trump may not in the weeks ahead tell women that sexual harassment at the workplace is not an issue for women as long as they are strong enough to leave an employer whom they don’t like. That, we must hope, has cost the votes of white women across the class spectrum. Ivanka took away his phone, and seems to have been really peeved at him. So perhaps over time he wins back some of the white women he pissed off.
This election is not over. I do expect Clinton to win, though it will be much closer than it would have to be to hand Trump the humiliating loss that could counteract to some extent the grave lingering harms he has done, regardless of whether he wins.

249

Ronan(rf) 08.06.16 at 12:57 am

“I am (sincerely, not sarcastically) interested to hear what you’ve been reading that causes you to rethink this.”

It’s not so much that I’ve re-thought it*, but there are aspects of the story that layman tells (for example, but others aswell; though I’m sensitive to the fact that I might be arguing against a strawman here) that I’m curious/sceptical about.
By this story, what happened was the black civil rights movement developed, southern whites became dissatisfied with the Democrats and the Republicans courted them with the Southern strategy, implicit and explicit calls to racism.

But what also happened in this period (afaict) is that the South went through extensive social and economic transformations; the migration out of millions (black and white), the migration in of millions, the suburbanisation of large parts of the south, the Souths political, economic and cultural (to various degrees) convergence with the North.
By focussing on the second story, (the large scale political and economic transformation of the south), the working class confederate flag flying bigot of caricature becomes a more peripheral figure. Instead what we see are more subtle class and race based political divisions (similarities we see in other western countries at this time, in different ways) And so we still have the race baiting and dog whistles, but we also have significant parts of the South (middle class, conservative suburbanites) responding to the politics of their non racist economic and cultural interests.
So on this part, I wonder has the southern strategy been carictured and overdone. Both in its political prevelance and effectiveness.

The second part is what happened to African Americans post civil rights, particularly in Northern cities. By one story, (often pushed by TNC). redlining, explicit racism, and workplace exclusion kept African Americans down. But there’s also the fact that at this time there was a more general deindustrialisation occuring throughout the industrialised west. Regardless of racism these jobs were declining, and middle class African Americans (as well as whites) were leaving behind the urban black working class. (Trends that have escalated in recent decades,afaict)

I woulnt say race is unimportant by any means. It just seems that at times this argument becomes a caricature (the stereotypical white, working class southerner responding solely to calls his almost primordial hatred of blacks)
(ps phenomenal cat, I liked your comment above (and Patrick and T).I guess that is kind of what Im trying to get at.)

*I’m reluctant to weigh in too much, because as I said above I dont know the history in any depth. There’s also the likelihood that I’ll be walking into conversations already taking place, where these points are old news, and arent adding much of value. So I’ve no problem with that being acknowledged.)

250

Ronan(rf) 08.06.16 at 1:03 am

Specifically on the ‘reading’ question.. William Julius Wilson, Lisa McGirr, Matthew Lassiter (None of the above, though, is meant to be an overly accurate representation of any of their arguments, plausibly more a hodgepodge of faulty memories and misunderstandings)

251

T 08.06.16 at 1:11 am

@246
funny. the only two people that bothered to respond to your post came to the same interpretation. but we haven’t made honest attempts to understand you. and we should reread you. because your writing is so clear. OhKay.

252

RNB 08.06.16 at 1:13 am

T,
I was not commenting on layman explicitly or implicitly. Just kinda of responding to what you wrote and making my own point.

253

Layman 08.06.16 at 1:16 am

“OhKay.”

If you want to put yourself in a class with RNB, who am I to stop you?

254

RNB 08.06.16 at 1:24 am

What class is that? At any rate, Layman, did you see my @219 which was a response to you.

255

Layman 08.06.16 at 1:27 am

Atrios on Trump:

“But if he loses it won’t be because he’s a racist asshole. That’s why he’d win! He’ll lose because he spouts enough nonsense that it becomes hard to ignore that he’d lose to Sarah Palin on Celebrity Jeopardy. Yes you can go far siding with the Orthogonians over the Franklins, but the Orthogonians don’t think they’re stupid, they just think they’re really the smart ones. They’re characters out of an Ayn Rand novel, the unappreciated geniuses. They don’t want their leader to actually be an idiot.”

http://www.eschatonblog.com

256

Layman 08.06.16 at 1:28 am

@RNB, sorry, I’ve more or less stopped reading your comments.

257

RNB 08.06.16 at 1:32 am

Sad to hear that, more or less.

258

js. 08.06.16 at 1:42 am

Eh, it’s obviously racism. But that just seems like naming the problem. At least to me.

I… To put this extremely obscurely, I think people talk about the “economy” too much and about “society” not enough. Rousseau’s Second Discourse is an excellent text.

259

Corey Robin 08.06.16 at 2:32 am

Faustusnotes: “Corey, America is not going to elect trump. The only question is how badly he gets smashed.”

Oh, I totally agree. I’ve been saying that for months. Trump is going to go down as the George McGovern of the Republican Party.

260

js. 08.06.16 at 2:44 am

Trump is going to go down as the George McGovern of the Republican Party.

I don’t think this is right. Here’s the capsule version why. For Trump to be be McGovern, the Republican party would have to move toward the center, and to do that it would have to bring its base along. I don’t think this is really possible, at least within the next decade or so. (Tho if I see it, I’ll believe it, and it’ll turn out that I was wrong.) I think this is a genuine disanalogy between (what has come to be) the Republican base and (what has come to be) the Democratic base. Of course, it’s not a matter of ideology, it’s mostly a matter of social position.

261

Corey Robin 08.06.16 at 3:32 am

Faustusnotes: “And to top it all, Obama has asked republican leaders to jump ship – which means they can’t!”

Actually, they are. This week, Charlie Dent, a Republican congressman in Penn., announced he wouldn’t back Trump. He gave a variety of reasons, but it’s clear that it’s because Trump has turned on Ryan and McCain. It’s a total replay of the McCarthy phenomenon, as I said in an earlier post: once McCarthy really started going after the GOP, they turned on him. We’re going to see a lot more of this in the coming weeks and months.

262

Rich Puchalsky 08.06.16 at 4:40 am

Ronan(rf), I may have a response to that later, but it would take more time to write than I have time now.

What could turn the election around for Trump? I went over the general theories in comments above, but really I think that it comes down to unpredictable one-time events: a major terrorist attack or economic crash that HRC responds to badly and Trump somehow doesn’t. Basically I think that HRC can only lose due to either complete bad luck or a series of severe unforced errors. I don’t think that there’s any strategy that Trump can really pursue even if he was the kind of person to do such a thing.

One thing that I haven’t seen commented on yet is that Trump is basically a celebrity — people sometimes ask why would he run if he can’t win, which misses the point: it makes him an even bigger celebrity. But celebrities can only stay at the top of nonstop media coverage of them for so long before the public gets tired of hearing about them all the time. I think that the election season is too long for people to not get tired of Trump, and at some level I think that may be what’s happening rather than some kind of principled or unprincipled revulsion at his latest comments.

263

Suzanne 08.06.16 at 6:05 am

@262: “I think that the election season is too long for people to not get tired of Trump, and at some level I think that may be what’s happening rather than some kind of principled or unprincipled revulsion at his latest comments.”

Both factors are at play, it seems to me. The primary season is over and it’s no longer fun and games. Going after the Khans was too much even for a Trump fan like an elderly relative of mine. Trump’s run is a stunt that got way out of hand in a populist year when a number of Republican fowl came home to roost.

I admit to enjoying it back when Trump was sniping at the eminently snipe-worthy McCain and humiliating Jeb!, hollering home truths like “Your brother didn’t keep us safe!” — a simple statement of fact I never thought I’d hear in the context of a GOP debate. By wiping out the GOP contenders maybe he did tidy up the Augean stables some.

264

Rich Puchalsky 08.06.16 at 11:59 am

Ronan(rf): “But what also happened in this period (afaict) is that the South went through extensive social and economic transformations; the migration out of millions (black and white), the migration in of millions, the suburbanisation of large parts of the south, the Souths political, economic and cultural (to various degrees) convergence with the North.
By focussing on the second story, (the large scale political and economic transformation of the south), the working class confederate flag flying bigot of caricature becomes a more peripheral figure.”

Here’s what I think is wrong with this reevaluation or change in emphasis or whatever you’d like to call it. It underemphasizes cultural factors by overemphasizing the “bigot of caricature” as the carrier or representative of these factors. The existence of northern racism is just one of many indications that it isn’t all Southern stereotypes.

If you take the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as the end of legal anti-black discrimination, or signaling it, then the discrimination before that wasn’t just cultural — it was legal and structural. After 1964 you can sort of say its cultural, but 1964 was a very short time ago in cultural terms, well within living memory.

The impulse to criticize race as a basis for treating some people as inferior is probably as old as the race system in the U.S. (to some extent), but if you treat contemporary anti-racism as the criticism of racism as a cultural phenomenon, then anti-anti-racism was born at the same time as anti-racism. That’s really the glue that keeps the GOP afloat, not just crude racism as such (although that also exists).

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TM 08.06.16 at 12:28 pm

T 251: It’s pretty obvious that you made a strawman out of Layman and his reaction is quite understandable.

Fn 189: “It’s a particularly depressing strawman because, along with this image of the salt-of-the-earth white worker who is also kind-of-racist but only because he’s a bit afraid of losing his job due to leftist free movement radicals who have hairy hair, it is a complete internalization of right wing hate-radio smears. … You people have internalized a bunch of right-wing hate radio myths about your own side. Aren’t you ashamed?”

Exactly. And that is what is most disappointing about CT discussions – how frequently they are organized around the right wing frame of reference.

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Faustusnotes 08.06.16 at 1:03 pm

Rich, back in March I wrote a post on my blog about Trump as world wrestling federation politics. His celebrity is connected to a unique American phenomenon of fake tv, exemplified by shows like the apprentice but in its longest running form as world wrestling federation.

267

Ronan(rf) 08.06.16 at 1:26 pm

I don’t think anyone here is trying to “frame” the conversation around the “salt of the earth white worker”. What they’re doing, at least, is trying to complicate the picture and push back on the cliche of the “(southern) white worker as primordial bigot.” In other words, trying to extend the same generosity of analysis to this group as the left would to any other relatively poor/oppressed subgroup with in-group dysfunctions.
What people like t and phenomenal cat are saying (from my reading) is that a lot of these people hold attachments to institutions and ideologies that aren’t solely negative, ie ideas of being “self sufficienct” (however far from the truth), loyalty to your group and family, support for religious and military traditions. These can all be positive, communal relationships. But all a large part of the left can see is the bigot (even when the “bigotry”, as in the case of lower skilled immigration, might actually be driven by material factors)

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Ronan(rf) 08.06.16 at 1:31 pm

The above was in response to the specific line by tm quoting fn. Rich, I take your points. (I’m not really fully commited to the narrative I laid out @249)

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Ronan(rf) 08.06.16 at 1:42 pm

I’d add as well that I largely agree with (I think) John sides point that if the democrats want to be the party of “the working class” , then they mostly are. Just the working class is becoming less male and less white. I find the concentration on the “white working class” a little strange personally*, particularly as (afaict) there really isn’t a homogenous wwc demographic that can be generalised from, and outside the south the dems win the wwc (and within the south there’s more complexity to their vote, afaict. What you have is a disproportionate, compared to the national average, amount of low income (or low educational achievement?) Whites voting republican,** but their size and influence is often overstated because they are part of a larger shift, the south going republican, that was more understandable as the south converging with national voting patterns and away from one party (democrat) rule)

*although I have to say the history of the US south is fascinating

**obviously this support could be driven by bigotry, but also because the reps have sold themselves as the party supporting the institutions (religious, familial, military) they value

270

Faustusnotes 08.06.16 at 1:50 pm

Ronan, I have a personal phrase “every time I hear the word ‘community ‘ I reach for my gun” because my experience of these positive things in the communities I have talked about here (in the uk) – the communities where I grew up, that universally voted leave – is that their positive traits (which I agree are positive) have a dark side of exclusion, bullying, violence and neglect that I experienced personally growing up in them. This I s because I was always moving around so I was always new and the way these “communities” treated newcomers was harsh and nasty. To people nurtured in them I agree they have many positive aspects, but there was a dark side of that community that made me believe that “community” is defined as much in terms of who and what it excludes as what and who it allows. I don’t know how it works in America but as a result of these experiences I am very cautious about the way these positive aspects of rural communities are lauded.

I have also written about this on my blog in connection with jimmy savile but I don’t know exactly how to express it or how exactly to interpret it. But whenever I read about these welcoming communities and their positive aspects I get this visceral memory of being excluded from them just because I wasn’t born there, or I had a funny accent. In my opinion community requires an other. I think it’s obvious in certain contexts who that other is and what they might look like…

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Ronan(rf) 08.06.16 at 2:12 pm

I’m not saying there are only positives in close knit, small minded communities. It’s basically built into the definition that there are negatives (ie that parochialism, “small mindedness”, dislike of outgroups etc) But..that isn’t all there is. And to be frank, a lot of the dysfunctions you might see in the milieu you grew up in are also there in demographics the left are less reluctant to criticise, or at least more generous in their analyse (ie African American ghettos). And there are positives, as you note. Whatever you think of these communities, they seem to hold some value to some people, and certainly deserve more than be subject to caricature and abuse.
I understand your experience. I understand a lot of people had similar experiences and were happy to get out of such communities. I’m not doubting any of this. But I’m thinking (personally) a mode of analysis (in general, not from you specifically) that endless repeats the same mantra “racism, bigots, white privilege”, is less than useless.

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Ronan(rf) 08.06.16 at 2:30 pm

I’m in the middle of reading this book

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-hillbillys-plea-to-the-white-working-class/2016/08/04/5c1a7a56-51ca-11e6-b7de-dfe509430c39_story.html

Which is quite good, if perhaps a little overwrought (and I don’t know to what extent the picture it paints can be generalised, as I don’t know the history/culture etc well enough). It paints a pretty bleak picture though, which doesn’t shy away from the communal dysfunctions. And the author is a conservative so is happy to look at non structural causes, ie personal and group failings that are internal to the community rather than imposed on them.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.06.16 at 2:34 pm

Ronan(rf): “I don’t think anyone here is trying to “frame” the conversation around the “salt of the earth white worker””

Yes. Basically the way that it works is that a lot of people read only enough of your comment to decide whether you are For or Against them tribally, and anything more complicated than For or Against just can’t be read. For instance, I had a pretty simple model of the U.S. electorate as “committed to racism” (the GOP base), “committed to anti-racism” (the Democratic professional + non-white base), “won’t vote for racists” (non-white people who aren’t committed Democrats) and “contested” (white people who aren’t committed GOP or Democrats). Trump has the GOP base and has to win the contested people to win: contested people are much more likely to “turn racist” if they are having a bad time economically.

But this was interpreted as one million things depending on the whims of readers. Either I was supposed to think that racism didn’t exist, or that racism was everything, or that all racism was caused by economics, or that black workers didn’t exist, or that white workers were the salt of the earth. In a similar way I can be told by people that I must be one of those foolish Marxists at the same time as Marxists are telling me that I’m an anti-Marxist (which actually I really am).

It’s stupid and nonsensical. The reason for arguing here is to have an argument that can attain enough complexity to be worthwhile.

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Faustusnotes 08.06.16 at 2:58 pm

Ronan, I saw a really disturbing example of this being created (I think) among conservative black Americans in Japan at a thanksgiving dinner. I was really shocked by the strict enforcement of in group out group dynamics. I think it happens everywhere, you’re absolutely right about this. Absolutybit happens everywhere. But some crops have more power than others – and sometimes a lunatic gets up on the national stage who wants to prove the power of one in group over another within the same community – and that is scary when you think about the power that communities have to police rules that they are suddenly told are acceptable.

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Anarcissie 08.06.16 at 3:00 pm

Faustusnotes 08.06.16 at 1:50 pm @ 270 —
Eric Berne, in The Structures and Dynamics of Organizations and Groups, proposed that among the defining characteristics of a coherent group is an explicit boundary which determines whether an individual is a member of the group or not. (If there is no boundary, nothing binds the assemblage together; it is a crowd.) The boundary helps provide social cohesion and is so important that groups will create one if necessary. Clearly, boundaries exclude as well as include, and someone must play the role of outsider. While Berne’s theories are a bit too nifty for me to love them, I have observed a lot of the behaviors he predicts. If one wanted to be sociobiological, it is not hard to hypothesize evolutionary pressures which could lead to this sort of behavior being genetically programmed. If a group of humans, a notably combative primate, does not have strong social cohesion, the war of all against all ensues and everybody dies. Common affections alone do not seem to provide enough cohesion.

In an earlier but related theory, in the United States, immigrants from diverse European communities which fought each other for centuries in Europe arrived and managed to now get along because they had a major Other, the Negro, against whom to define themselves (as the White Race) and thus to cohere sufficiently to get on with business. The Negro had the additional advantage of being at first a powerless slave and later, although theoretically freed, was legally, politically, and economically disabled — an outsider who could not fight back very effectively, nor run away. Even so, the US almost split apart and there continue to be important class, ethnic, religious, and regional conflicts. You can see how these two theories resonate.

It may be that we can’t have communities without this dark side, although we might be able to mitigate some of its destructive effects.

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RNB 08.06.16 at 4:06 pm

Trump tanking more because of unforced errors than the Democratic Convention, and it’s possible that the right medication is found to prevent some of these unforced errors, going forward. Rapprochement with McCain and Ryan also being attempted, and the media company behind the successful Brexit vote (Cambridge Analytics) has been brought in.

Wish Trump’s candidacy would have been ended by the John Noonan tweet storm. Wondering whether he’s the one who met with Trump only to rat him out to Joe Scarborough as someone who asked about the tactical use of nuclear weapons.

Despite this, Clinton advantage could revert to 4 points after a couple of weeks as more Republicans get back on the Trump bus. If Trump wins white vote at same margin as Romney or even better, then Clinton needs lower white turnout from lack of enthusiasm and/or same historic minority turnout as Obama enjoyed.

But back to the Holbo problem: there is still a chance that Trump will increase white turnout over what patrician Romney achieved.

Then Clinton may need both Obama’s historic minority turnout as well as winning the minority vote including Latino and Asian American vote by even a higher margin than Obama did.

Even saying that Clinton has a 65% or even 70% chance of winning this should not make Clinton supporters or anti-Trump people confident that this is in the bag. It is not. I sent my first contribution to the Clinton campaign. I hope others do too.

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RNB 08.06.16 at 4:19 pm

I fear that white people here not having much contact with minority communities just assume that Trump ensures that Clinton will have the same decisive high minority turnout that made Obama President twice. But there is reason for concern, given that a minority is not at the top of the ticket. I haven’t seen estimates of likely minority turnout rates (whites have gone from 74 to 69% of the electorate over the last four election cycles, I think). But yes Trump is solving this problem, and the minority turnout rate may not have to be as high for a Democratic victory given that % of electorate that is minority is increasing.

Still Clinton will need resources to turn out the vote among Blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans, and Native Americans.

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bruce wilder 08.06.16 at 4:28 pm

I am somewhat suspicious of leaving dominating elites out of these stories of racism as an organizing principle for political economy or (cultural) community.

Racism served the purposes of a slaveholding elite that organized political communities to serve their own interests. (Or, vis a vis the Indians a land-grab or genocide.)

Racism serves as an organizing principle. Politically, in an oppressive and stultifying hierarchy like the plantation South, racism not incidentally buys the loyalty of subalterns with ersatz status. The ugly prejudices and resentful arrogance of working class whites is thus a component of how racism works to organize a political community to serve a hegemonic master class. The business end of racism, though, is the autarkic poverty imposed on the working communities: slaves, sharecroppers, poor blacks, poor whites — bad schools, bad roads, politically disabled communities, predatory institutions and authoritarian governments.

For a time, the balkanization of American political communities by race, religion and ethnicity was an effective means to the dominance of an tiny elite with ties to an hegemonic community, but it backfired. Dismantling that balkanization has left the country with a very low level of social affiliation and thus a low capacity to organize resistance to elite depredations.

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bruce wilder 08.06.16 at 4:31 pm

Watching Clinton scoop up bankster money, welcome Republicans neocons to the ranks of her supporters does not fill me with hope.

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RNB 08.06.16 at 4:52 pm

Don’t know whether people here have read Allenby and Sarewitz’s Techno-Human Condition which has a rather brilliant tripartite framework for understanding technological change. Sarewitz has recently traced Trumpism to an unexpected source, Vannevar Bush’s vision of an elitist science uncontaminated by social concerns and democratic control (Philip Kitcher’s Science in a Democratic Society is great on this problem).

The democraticization of scientific research and technological development would counter the demagogic appeal that a Trump has, according to Sarewitz (h/t 3quarksdaily).

I think that Clinton and Kaine should emphasize federal support for Alzheimer’s research. Kaine is on an important committee for aging.

Sarewitz writes:

‘Although Trump supporters are by no means a homo­geneous lot, a clever analysis in The New York Times in March showed that they can most reliably be characterized by two attri­butes. First, they identify their ancestral heritage as American, rather than any particular ethnic or religious stock. And second, they live in regions of the country that have not only failed to benefit economically from innovation, but have been harmed by it.

Mainstream media analysis of the Trump phenomenon almost never links it to the science and technology policies pursued by the nation since the Second World War. Yet technological revolutions arising from these policies have contributed to more than 40 years of wealth inequality, disappearing middle-class jobs and eviscerated manufacturing communities in the places where support for Trump is strongest. Indeed, economic theory throws aside these millions of people as the inevitable losers in the ‘creative destruction’ that science catalyses, as if ruined cities and livelihoods are just side effects of the strong medicine of science-based innovation. These people are the cost of the prevailing myth of progress, and, given their core identity as ‘Americans’, it is no wonder they are susceptible to Trump’s jingoistic populism.’

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RNB 08.06.16 at 5:13 pm

@279 As much money as Clinton scooped up, Trump scooped up almost as much, $80 to her $90 million this last month. This race is not over.

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Layman 08.06.16 at 5:37 pm

“If Trump wins white vote at same margin as Romney or even better, then Clinton needs lower white turnout from lack of enthusiasm and/or same historic minority turnout as Obama enjoyed.”

I don’t think this is true. Trump has to dramatically outperform Romney with white voters just to lose by ty the same margins Romney did. And he’s currently underperforming Romney.

“Then Clinton may need both Obama’s historic minority turnout as well as winning the minority vote including Latino and Asian American vote by even a higher margin than Obama did.”

In recent polls, Trump is getting about 1% of black voters. There’s no doubt Clinton will outperform Obama’s margin.

There’s a reason Trump’s team claims to have some magic strategy to attract different voters: If they only get the voters they usually get, they lose.

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RNB 08.06.16 at 5:51 pm

Layman,

First the 1% black vote for Trump makes one wonder what the # would have been against Obama; or to put it another way what does a -%5 poll mean:) Is this why Trump is worried about the rigging of the election, that somehow minorities will take away some of the votes he gets:)

Second, I am worried about turnout. Worse case scenario: Trump somehow boosts white turnout while winning back at least Romney’s share as Trump had more than that just two weeks ago (the Holbo scenario months ago); Clinton while winning a greater % of minority votes suffers low minority turnout relative to Obama. In this case, the election may become too close to call. Florida again, not Trump as McGovern.

Then add the possibility of some kind of anti-Clinton leak and/or unforced error and/or global event(terrorism or financial downturn). Something like this could happen while the relations with Paul Ryan are repaired.

A 20 or 30% chance Trump wins, I think, should motivate people to support Clinton actively.

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TM 08.06.16 at 10:12 pm

Ronan 267: “In other words, trying to extend the same generosity of analysis 0to this group as the left would to any other relatively poor/oppressed subgroup with in-group dysfunctions.
What people like t and phenomenal cat are saying (from my reading) is that a lot of these people hold attachments to institutions and ideologies that aren’t solely negative, ie ideas of being “self sufficienct” (however far from the truth), loyalty to your group and family, support for religious and military traditions. These can all be positive, communal relationships.”

I’m all for “extending the generosity of analysis” but surely analysis has to mean something other than taking self-serving myths at face value? Talk of self sufficiency and family values is nowhere more prevalent than in America and especially so in mostly white, often rural, conservative/right wing/Red State milieus. It has been alluded to several times already that there is often an inverse relationship between rhetoric and reality. Red States have the highest divorce and teen pregnancy rates (and those are highest among the lowest educated classes, so there you have your WWC family values) and also tend to be the most reliant on federal transfers and subsidies (somebody mentioned Alaska on another thread). Joni Ernst got people swooning for talking about how Iowans just don’t rely on federal handouts, they’d rather be poor. Except that everybody knows it’s a big fat lie – Iowa is totally dependent on federal farm subsidies and some of Ernst’s relatives have gotten benefits in the six figures. But hardly anybody called Ernst out on the lie. That white rural areas are huge beneficiaries of state and federal subsidies is just something you don’t mention in polite company in America and it doesn’t prevent those same white rural folks from lecturing the nation and the world on how everybody else needs to be more self sufficient.

Another case in point: 36 Republican Senators and 67 Rep House members voted against disaster relief for areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, claiming that people in the Northeast need to more – you guessed it – self sufficient and simply save enough money in case their houses get blown away (http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/01/29/1510041/sandy-aid-republican-hypocrites/). Most of these same members from states like Texas and Arkansas (btw in case you were wondering – I know Arkansas well) routinely demand federal emergency aid for their own states, help which to my knowledge has never been denied by Democrats (http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2015/06/25/remember-when-tom-cotton-voted-against-flood-relief-after-hurricane-sandy). What is remarkable is that there is no political cost to such disgustingly hypocritical behavior. None whatsoever, because the voters (mostly white, often uneducated and rural) support it, they like it, they see nothing wrong with taking handouts for themselves while berating others for lack of self sufficiency. They see nothing wrong with berating liberals as anti-family and un-christian while supporting the most family unfriendly policies and voting for such models of family virtue as John McCain and indeed Donald Trump. Like in the Evangelical churches where your actual sins don’t matter as long as you profess belief in Jesus.

I realize this is a description, not an analysis. But if you are serious about wanting a better analysis of that chimera the “White Working Class”, you need to start with empirical reality and work from there, not with political rhetoric.

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Ronan(rf) 08.06.16 at 10:34 pm

Tm, yes I’m aware of this litany of outrages. I obviously wasn’t “taking self serving myths at face value”, which is why I said “however far from the truth.” There can obviously be a dichotomy between aspiration/self perception and reality, no? This tends to happen in cultures that are imploding.
I didn’t say “family values”, I said “loyalty to your group and family”, this is clearly different. It is an acknowledgment of group psychology and quite distinct family structures.
Yes, like in most advanced western countries, rural areas and farmers are quite heavily subsidised. Do you think it is only in the US that such a reality can coexist with an individual /group perception of self sufficiency, opposition to handouts etc Have you ever met a European farmer ?
But anyway, the point was clear. The republican party have appealed to three institutions (family, church, military) that this culture seems to value. So there , that is part of a non racist explanation for their voting preferences.

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RNB 08.06.16 at 11:18 pm

Getting tired of this idea that we other Americans don’t respect the Southern white male working class. First Stuart Duncan is a great fiddler; more to the point America rightly takes great pride and joy in bluegrass music. I bought expensive tickets to go a Goat Rodeo Session. Ok, it was to watch Yo-Yo Ma; but Stuart Duncan did steal the show.

Actually the white male working class makes us watch a lot of movies and commercials with their role models Luke Wilson and Matthew McCounaughy and Brad Pitt who are still the ideals of American masculinity. This is painful but we are Americans and we watch them. They are not being culturally marginalized, and they need to stop crying.

Ronan writes: “The republican party have appealed to three institutions (family, church, military) that this culture seems to value. So there , that is part of a non racist explanation for their voting preferences.”

Donald Trump is a NYC multimillionaire, who invested his Dad’s seed capital badly, it seems. He’s not religious, did not raise his children, has had three wives, evaded the draft, insulted a war hero and a military family that has suffered tremendously. Please stop it with the nonsense that Trump represents loyalty to them or the institutions of family, church and military.

Hillary Clinton on the other hand married Bubba and took her Yale law degree to Arkansas, FFS; has not insulted military families; and has laid out a detailed plan for the rejuvenation of coal country, and to deal with the opioid crisis.

The margin at which the white working class (especially Southern white working class men) are voting for Trump over HRC is scandalous, and doubtless reflects a high level of sexism, racism and willful ignorance.

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Faustusnotes 08.07.16 at 12:50 am

Bruce your narrative of racism is strange. Elites use racism to organize a slaveholding society? No, society holds slaves because it is deeply, poisonously racist, and around that it constricts a heirarchical and violent social order. After slavery is eliminated by a massive war, the losers use racism to organize their post slavery society. But the way your narrative frames it, it sounds like the slavery was just there, and enabled a racist rhetoric that dived whites against each other. But how did that slavery happen except that a deeply racist society decided to liberate its own members from harsh labour by consuming black lives? It must be the case that the racism was at the core of this society, not an organizing principle but an underlying principle. The question is how society was organized around its racism, not how racism functioned as a means of social organization.

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engels 08.07.16 at 1:02 am

But how did that slavery happen

Possible short answer: the level of technological development made slavery an efficient way of exploiting labour. At a certain point those conditions changed and slavery became a drag on further development and it was abolished, along with much of the racist ideology that legitimated it.

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Peter T 08.07.16 at 2:13 am

“society holds slaves because it is deeply, poisonously racist”.

Sorry – much more complicated. European society in the C16=C17 was not racist, in the sense that race was not a particularly salient category of identity (it was there, observed, but not thought to mark inherent inferiority). Slavery was there as the lowest position socially (it was very marginal in western Europe, more common in east Europe, familiar in colonial and imperial outposts), but could be escaped.

Slave labour was the fastest route to extracting large profits in the tropics. Africans were less prone to tropic diseases (many brought from Africa), and available as slaves – so they comprised the slaves (as Slavs – whence the word “slave” – had before them). As the system developed, race became much more salient, as the particular marker of the slave class, and routes out of slavery were closed off. Intellectuals, of course, then followed up with “scientific” explanations (Gobineau and all that rubbish). The pseudo-intellectual justifications (Charles Murray) march on in the service of an entrenched social categorisation. The ideology has outlived its creation.

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engels 08.07.16 at 3:26 am

They are not being culturally marginalized, and they need to stop crying.

I’m far from a connoisseur but I always got the impression that for Hollywood, white + strong Southern accent = mass-murdering psychopath (maybe I sympathise because I have a British accent…)

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Lupita 08.07.16 at 3:40 am

But how did that slavery happen

In Mesoamerica, all the natives were enslaved because they were conquered by the Spaniards. Then, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas successfully argued before the Crown that the natives had souls and, therefore, should be Christianized rather than enslaved. As Bruce Wilder states, this did not serve the interests of the slaveholding elite, so the African slave trade began and there was no Fray Bartolomé to argue their case.

It is interesting that while natives were enslaved, the Aztec aristocracy was shipped to Spain to be presented in court and study Latin. This would not have happened if the Mesoamericans were considered inferior (soulless) as a race. Furthermore, the Spaniards needed the local elite to help them out with their empire and the Aztecs were used to slavery and worse. This whole story can be understood without recurring to racism. The logic of empire suffices.

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Faustusnotes 08.07.16 at 5:15 am

I don’t think that history is entirely accurate Peter. The dude that las casas “successfully” argued against had written a treatise on how natives are inferior to westerners, and Columbus had some pretty clear views about their relative position (he also appears to have been an anti Semite). The concept of being cucked goes back to Shakespeare, and I think you would struggle to present a reading of othello in which race doesn’t play an important part. Sure, back then there was a more religious overlay on attitudes toward race, and everyone was up to mischief against anyone not of their own kin, but it’s pretty clear that their were hierarchies based on race and indigenous people were right at the bottom. You negotiated with Muslims; you murdered native Americans and stole their land.

At the same time other countries weren’t choosing empire. For example Japan chose isolation. Japan had a slavery system of a kind but it was based on inheriting certain positions within society and had no connection with race. At the time it became isolated Japan was the richest country in he world from the silver trade but it chose not to go invading other countries for silver when it’s own supplies ran out. Yet western countries decided that there were certain places where killing people and stealing their stuff was cool. Japan, of course, wasn’t Christian, and it’s native religion didn’t have the same concepts of sin and soul, so it didn’t have the same apparatus for constructing racial categories (indeed, it only became imperialist much later, after being shocked by American imperial threats).

Western countries adopted the kind of slabery they did out of racism, and just because it had religious Genesis back in the 15th century doesn’t mean it wasn’t racism. Especially by the point in time when the Americans were building their society.

If you want to understand western culture you have to understand it I terms of the religiously-mandated racism and misogyny of the bible. They came first. The social structures came later, and wherever Christian societies expanded, one of their first goals was to force local society into the same racist and misogynist frameork. If you try to explain those two motivating aspects of Christian society as symptoms rather than causes, you will fail to understand what is really going on.

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Val 08.07.16 at 6:28 am

The ecofeminist theory as I’ve discussed before is that around say, 10,000 – 5000 years ago, there were early farming societies that were relatively egalitarian and worshipped female and male gods. They lived in places like current day Turkey (eg Çatalhöyük) and Southern Europe, i.e. places with relatively mild climates and fertile soils. They were subject to invasion by other tribes, possibly from harsher climates, who tended to enslave women and kill men, but later also kept conquered men as slaves (Gerda Lerner suggests they learned how to enslave men by successfully enslaving women). From about this time began the monotheistic male dominated religions and patriarchal kingdom governance structures, which became dominant social forms until very recently (and in some ways are still evident, eg structure of corporations and many religions).

That’s of course a very simplified version but the interesting thing is that it’s material (ie about control of land and wealth) and suggests that the creation of subordinate genders/races/classes has material origins – that in order to maintain those structures of oppression the ruling classes have to convince themselves (and to at least to some extent those who are oppressed) that the oppressed groups are inferior. It’s a bit like the Marxist concept that the main purpose of ideology is to obscure the nature of power from those who benefit by it (or to rationalise it, as you could say) – the ideology being that variously women, ‘inferior races’, peasants, working class etc, needed to be ruled by ruling class (predominantly, but not always, white) men because they are inferior, weaker, less capable, more childlike etcetc.

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RNB 08.07.16 at 6:33 am

Additional reason Presidential race may be close: the same media that Trump played to his nomination wants it to be so

Noah Smith ‏@Noahpinion Aug 5
Noah Smith Retweeted Norman Ornstein
Yep. Expect to see a lot of this, plus focus on the Clinton email stuff. A close race sells ads. Noah Smith added,
Norman Ornstein @NormOrnstein
Next predictable media twist: even the slightest change in Trump rhetoric= now he is becoming presidential!

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Peter T 08.07.16 at 11:57 am

The history is a de-rail, so I won’t pursue it (faustus – you have my e-mail if you want to continue there). But worth noting that some historians find that widespread chattel slavery – the sort practiced in the US South, medieval Sicily and some other places – leaves a legacy of low social cohesion and low trust detectable for centuries after. Deeply embedded social forms (slavery coupled with race in the US, class in England, serfdom in Russia…) continue to shape politics and culture for very long periods.

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stevenjohnson 08.07.16 at 12:04 pm

Re ecofeminist outline of the origin of slavery @293 Slavery assuredly has its origins in a society where a ruling group needed labor to sustain its privileges. That almost certainly means agriculture in the technologically primitive societies (mining for metals came later.) And that elite group would be agricultural. Possibly nomadic invaders just moved in, but it seems much more likely that slavery emerged as the less favored children got less and less land as population expanded. After all nomads couldn’t run farms very well. As members of the family (and members of the tribe too,) they were nonetheless required to work. The difficulty of preserving the senior families’ privileges would have prompted every more rigorous control of the losing families, that is, was the origin of slavery.

The notion that Japan eschewed empire because of not being Christian is staggering. The Japanese attempted to conquer Korea, and the Mongols attempted to conquer Japan. As the Spanish attempting to conquer England found, though, overseas empires requiring large numbers of troops were inordinately difficult to sustain, usually leading to various catastrophes where whole fleets and armies were lost.

The general notion that Christianity’s racism and sexual chauvinism is more or less nuts. The implication that religious and racial bigotry are separate things is the first absurdity (even if it is conventional thinking never to concede even the existence of religious bigotry.)

The Roman society Christianity was born into, then later adopted by the emperors, was built upon slave plantations (called latifundia in the history texts.) If you remember that animal sacrifice could serve as a meat redistribution to the poor (meat sold by priests at a subsidized price,) you have to wonder whether a major motive in choosing Christianity was that it was cheaper. Criticism of Julian the Apostate’s profligacy in sacrifices was much like criticizing welfare spending.

If Christian bigotry was needed for slavery, when were the Romans and Greeks and Persians and Assyrians and Babylonians and Egyptians converted? And why were there such differences over geography and history in the prevalence of slavery if a religion (which has no connection to geography and history) was the cause?

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RNB 08.07.16 at 4:07 pm

Impressed with this discussion of the origins of racism and Peter T’s reference to Nathan Nunn’s work. Hope there is a thread for discussion of this later. But to return to the OP, See here

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RNB 08.07.16 at 4:10 pm

See here

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RNB 08.07.16 at 4:18 pm

I would of course be happy if Clinton can inflict a decisive loss on Trump. It was the reason I supported her early on. I did not want to count on youth turnout in November. I thought she would do better with white voters due to a stronger showing with women than Sanders would; and it was clear to me that she had a stronger network to turn out the minority vote. She has had among her inner staff women from immigrant families, so it’s not surprising that she featured the Khan family at the Convention, which sweet justice has done enormous damage to Trump, more damage than the DNC itself did.

By the way, I think it would be in good form for Corey Robin to correct the record about what George W. Bush did in fact say about Cindy Sheehan. It throws into relief how harsh and indeed indecent Trump’s response was, and reveals why he has suffered a seemingly historic collapse in the polls, which has had the added advantage of kidneystones self-deporting himself from the comments section.

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Donald 08.07.16 at 4:19 pm

This article seems somewhat relevant to Corey’s post, though the Republican who wrote it is trying to make the opposite point.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/08/05/how-paul-krugman-made-donald-trump-possible.html

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RNB 08.07.16 at 4:24 pm

js, if you are reading, don’t miss link at @298!

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Yan 08.07.16 at 4:58 pm

I think we’ve reached a reductio ad absurum of identity-exclusive leftism (n.b. #notallidentitypolitics): arguing that the racism of a region that once structured its entire economy around forced unpaid labor can’t possibly be partly explained by economic causes.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.07.16 at 5:35 pm

Yan: “I think we’ve reached a reductio ad absurum of identity-exclusive leftism (n.b. #notallidentitypolitics): arguing that the racism of a region that once structured its entire economy around forced unpaid labor can’t possibly be partly explained by economic causes.”

It’s worse than that, actually. You have a whole group of people who think that nothing can be *partly* explained by anything. See e.g. my reply at #124. And those people have different all-or-nothing explanations, but they never get on each other’s cases: they assume that anyone making a proper rhetorical all-in explanation is on their side, even if the final cause supposedly powering the explanation is actually different.

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Corey Robin 08.07.16 at 9:17 pm

Rich and Yan: You might appreciate this excerpt from Barbara Fields’s—one of the foremost historians of slavery and racism in the US—seminal article in New Left Review:

“Probably a majority of American historians think of slavery in the United States as primarily a system of race relations — as though the chief business of slavery were the production of white supremacy rather than the production of cotton, sugar, rice and tobacco. One historian has gone so far as to call slavery ‘the ultimate segregator’. He does not ask why Europeans seeking the ‘ultimate’ method of segregating Africans would go to the trouble and expense of transporting them across the ocean for that purpose, when they could have achieved the same end so much more simply by leaving the Africans in Africa.”

https://newleftreview.org/I/181/barbara-jeanne-fields-slavery-race-and-ideology-in-the-united-states-of-america

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Val 08.07.16 at 9:43 pm

@ Peter T – it’s hard to see that history is a derail in a thread that is about the uses and abuses of history – it’s just that people are now making the historical frame much longer.

Like RNB, I have some doubts about the way Corey Robin is using history in these threads, though I don’t know enough about American 20thC history to express it so strongly. But in a general sense, you can’t use the fact that people behaved similarly in the past to excuse or justify how others behave in the present. Ok I accept that CR is not exactly trying to ‘excuse’ Trump, but I have some trouble seeing the point of saying ‘this [egregious example of something Trump said] isn’t much different from what earlier Republicans said’. I mean, I can see that you might say it to express that Trump is a development of the Republican historical trend, but CR’s analysis does seem to go beyond that and to at least verge on somehow minimising the awfulness of Trump.

For example as a non-American I would have thought you had reached a time when the KKK was both defunct and pretty much unthinkable. I guess it’s not defunct, but the fact that Trump was apparently morally ambiguous in his dealings with the KKK (that’s probably putting it politely) surely must be seen on this historical time as particularly awful, even though many more people were 50 years ago.

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Val 08.07.16 at 9:46 pm

My comment is probably more relevant to the previous CR thread than this one though – sorry I guess it’s been bugging my mind a bit.

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LFC 08.07.16 at 10:00 pm

Since the McGovern thing has come up again (see Corey @259 plus subsequent comment by js.), for those of us (or is it just me) w views/bees-in-the-bonnet on this analogy it may be worth noting there was an earlier 270-comment thread here in which the analogy was discussed/debated:

http://crookedtimber.org/2016/05/04/if-donald-trump-is-the-george-mcgovern-of-the-gop-what-does-that-make-hillary-clinton/

I had a good deal to say in that thread, prob. too much, none of which I’ll repeat.

Other thing: reading ‘Age of Fracture’ and have reached, in last day or so, the chapter on race, which is interesting in light of parts of the above discussion. (CR reviewed the bk several yrs ago but I haven’t read his review or any of the other reviews/symposia on it.)

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Val 08.07.16 at 10:06 pm

Stevenjohnson @ 296

Evidence I’ve read suggests that the violent invaders were more likely to be nomadic while the societies they invaded were more settled and peaceful. Can send some references later if you are interested.

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J-D 08.07.16 at 10:08 pm

Val 08.07.16 at 6:28 am
The ecofeminist theory as I’ve discussed before is that around say, 10,000 – 5000 years ago, there were early farming societies that were relatively egalitarian and worshipped female and male gods. They lived in places like current day Turkey (eg Çatalhöyük) and Southern Europe, i.e. places with relatively mild climates and fertile soils. They were subject to invasion by other tribes, possibly from harsher climates, who tended to enslave women and kill men, but later also kept conquered men as slaves (Gerda Lerner suggests they learned how to enslave men by successfully enslaving women). From about this time began the monotheistic male dominated religions and patriarchal kingdom governance structures, which became dominant social forms until very recently (and in some ways are still evident, eg structure of corporations and many religions).

That’s of course a very simplified version but the interesting thing is that it’s material (ie about control of land and wealth) and suggests that the creation of subordinate genders/races/classes has material origins – that in order to maintain those structures of oppression the ruling classes have to convince themselves (and to at least to some extent those who are oppressed) that the oppressed groups are inferior. It’s a bit like the Marxist concept that the main purpose of ideology is to obscure the nature of power from those who benefit by it (or to rationalise it, as you could say) – the ideology being that variously women, ‘inferior races’, peasants, working class etc, needed to be ruled by ruling class (predominantly, but not always, white) men because they are inferior, weaker, less capable, more childlike etcetc.

Slavery institutions and kingship institutions both developed independently in multiple parts of the world, not influenced by each other at the time; so they can’t be the product of a series of events which began uniquely in just one part of the world.

For the theory to be materially based, it needs to include a materially based explanation of why the invading tribes had a tendency to kill men and enslave women while the tribes they were invading were, in contrast, more egalitarian.

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RNB 08.07.16 at 10:21 pm

Slavery was not primarily a matter of race relations. Of course Fields is right. And we can talk about that essay and the latest book with her sister Karen Fields. We can work through their critique of that sloppy thinking that takes race to be explanans that it can never be, and fails to recognize race for the explanandum that is always in fact has to be in an attempt at rational understanding. The last book most interestingly talks about the ontology of the invisible in making sense of race. I have a few pages of notes on it, but will spare people here.

At any rate, while slavery was not primarily a matter of race relations– and long before the recent spate of books by on capitalism and slavery, I have defended at length the thesis that American slavery was a form of capitalist commodity production–Trumpism is not ‘economic’ in the same way.

Trumpism is first an attempt to instill fear that only a strongman can dissipate, however high the economic costs on Americans.

Second Trump is willing to inflict economic costs on American citizens for the purposes of increasing the relative cultural and symbolic status of some Americans over others, which may or may not bring economic advantages greater than its costs for them.

Again I think I am the first person I know to have asked the simple question: what will it cost in money, manpower and civil rights violations to deport 12 million people.

At $10,000 per deportation–and this is very conservative, so as to be within any sensitivity analysis– that is $120 billion dollars. Trump is trotting out as many families as he can that has lost a family member to an illegal immigrant (I think today he expanded to include those killed by legal immigrants). Again let’s say that the total number killed by illegal immigrants is 150 per year, but on the assumption that we could stop one premature death with a $10 million dollar expenditure, we should be able to save at least 12,000 lives for the kind of money Trump wants to spend.

So Trump is willing to pay the opportunity cost of over 10,000 American lives for his deportation program. Why would people *sacrifice* so much to deport people?

1. Trump has convinced people think illegal aliens are killing a lot more people than they really are.
2. They take sadistic pleasure in seeing people rounded up and humiliated.
3. They want to send a message that anyone who looks as if they could have been born outside Western civilization should never get a job, promotion, bid, government service or college admission before a white person; or, in other words, Trumpism has never been more than his birther movement.

So 3. is possibly economic, but not really in terms of being based on a cost/benefit analysis. Social life is not always narrowly economic, even to some limited extent.

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LFC 08.07.16 at 10:43 pm

@RNB
Again I think I am the first person I know to have asked the simple question: what will it cost in money, manpower and civil rights violations to deport 12 million people.

An interesting question, but in the very unfortunate (and, it seems as of now, increasingly unlikely) event of Trump’s election, what will actually happen on this front?

The most aggressive thing he could do is sign some sort of executive order in the first weeks beginning or purporting to begin the deportations — he’d probably use some ‘principle’ of selection, rather than just signing a blanket deport-12-million-people-asap order. Then it wd be challenged in the courts and tied up in litigation for a long time assuming, as seems likely, that the order is stayed pending resolution on the merits. After all, isn’t that what the cts did w Obama’s recent attempt to defer deportation for a class of children and others (i.e. those w no criminal records, iirc)? If the cts defeated Obama on this issue on scope-of-exec-power grounds, how cd they treat the Trump exec order differently?

In short, an interesting monetary calculation, but in practice Trump wd not be able to deport 12 million people in one fell swoop and whether he wd be able to deport any substantial numbers by exec order is an open question. If not, the issue wd have to go to Congress, where it wd prob languish for years.

So while there are v good reasons to defeat Trump, I think it’s unrealistic to think he cd succeed in deporting 12 million undocumented immigrants. (Btw is that in his paper proposals, or just something he’s said at rallies? I have not brought myself to read his website or the Rep platform, tbh.)

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RNB 08.07.16 at 10:43 pm

Just as with Robin’s comparison of Bush on Sheehan and Trump on the Khan’s, Robin’s McGovern/Trump analogy crashes on the rocks of the actual record.
Nixon seems to have had at least a *2o POINT* lead over McGovern in each month before the election. Trump on the other hand had the lead after the RNC!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_polling_for_U.S._Presidential_elections#United_States_presidential_election.2C_1972
So please do not let Robin lull people into a false sense of confidence. Moreover, as Stiglitz has explained, a lot depends on delivering Trump a decisive defeat
http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/08/04/trump-and-damage-done/u8Lqa64AoCEqw3znmINJ3K/story.html

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RNB 08.07.16 at 10:46 pm

@311 Yes that is why I suggest in my point 3 that Trump’s anti-foreign positions on trade and immigration are actually code for white supremacy at home whether he actually deports people or imposes protectionist policy. The point here is that such white nationalism is not really economic in any simple sense.

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Corey Robin 08.07.16 at 11:22 pm

Val: “Ok I accept that CR is not exactly trying to ‘excuse’ Trump, but I have some trouble seeing the point of saying ‘this [egregious example of something Trump said] isn’t much different from what earlier Republicans said’. “

If you hadn’t been so busy commenting in the thread of my previous post on the fact that I was white, you might have noticed that I actually explained quite clearly in the OP why I think it’s important to get the pre-history of Trump right.

To wit:

In this election, we have the opportunity to repudiate not only Donald Trump but Trumpism, and not only Trumpism but the entire apparatus that gave us this man and this moment. That apparatus is the Republican Party and the modern conservative movement. The movement and the party that gave us the Southern Strategy, that made white supremacy the major dividing line between the two parties, that race-baited its way to the free market as the dominant ideology of our time, that made hysterical, revanchist militarism the common sense of bipartisanship, that helped turn the Democratic Party into the shell that it is today (with plenty of assistance of course from people like Bill Clinton), that gave us Donald Trump.

When we pretend that Donald Trump is an utter novelty on the American political scene, when Democratic presidents and Democratic presidential candidates invoke the reverie of Ronald Reagan against the reality of Donald Trump, when liberal journalists say the contest this year is not between the Republicans and the Democrats but between a normal party and an abnormal growth from an otherwise normal host (with the implication being that if only we could go back to the contests of 2008, 2000, 1992, 1980, 1972, all would be well), we not only commit an offense against history and memory; we not only betray a woeful ignorance of how we came to this pass (and thereby, as the cliche would have it, ensure that we will come to it again); we help shore up, we extend the half-life, of a party and a movement that should be thoroughly smashed and repudiated. (That, incidentally, is what all the great realignments do: they shatter the old regime, they destroy the ideological assumptions and repudiate the interests that have governed for decades, they send the dominant party and its leading emblems into exile, where they wander in the wilderness for decades.) We make plain our intention to give that party and that movement, even if they should lose in November, a second chance to make their malice and mischief all over again.

Seems like a bad move to me.

I have no problem trying to figure out what is new about Trump. I’ve done some of that work myself in the posts and articles I’ve written about the man and his movement over the past year. There are some new things about Trump, and they’re worth figuring out what they are, less because of what they tell us about him and more what they tell us about the conservative movement and the GOP. But part of that reckoning requires knowing something about the past.

Now Rich Puchalsky has said to me, in other threads, that the problem with pundits and others is not that they have amnesia or lack awareness of the past. According to Rich, they’re just fans of their team, and will say whatever it takes for their team to win; you point out the history, and they ignore it or forget it. I’ve resisted Rich’s interpretation for a number of reasons. But the behavior of some makes it harder and harder for me to hold the tide against his reading of what’s going on.

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Peter T 08.07.16 at 11:32 pm

Extensive slave agriculture – latifundia – is not new. Slave-worked sugar plantations were pioneered in the Canary Islands and Cyprus before the Americas were found to be more suitable. African slaves worked fields in southern Portugal in the C16/17 (and in southern Iraq much earlier). A mix of ecological, economic and political factors meant these systems did not last, and the slaves were absorbed into the local populations – as Slavs had been earlier in western Europe and in the Islamic world. What marks the US South as peculiar was the longevity of the slave system, its intermixing with a parallel system of small farmers, the emphasis on race, the insistence on a sharp divide (very few free blacks, very low rate of manumission), and the way these structured the whole society such that race persisted as the major social marker well after the economic originators had lapsed.

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Z 08.07.16 at 11:57 pm

Anyway what I’m leading to is that I sympathise strongly with why RNB called CT a white boy love fest, or whatever it was. […] It’s like a lot of people here have no idea why 90%+ of black people plan to vote for Hillary Clinton, or why Muslims might be shit scared of Trump.

And yet I believe that you, unlike me, are white; that the cultural group you most naturally belong to, unlike mine, has not been routinely subjected to harsh and bigoted criticism these last three decades (at least); that your family, unlike mine, has not fought an actual fascist, genocidal regime in the streets of its village and that no comments about the group you most closely identify with were made on CT and left to stand stating “With each attack, I care less and less about the lives of [this group]. Just how much savagery toward host nations do we tolerate before agreeing that some groups don’t deserve a place in the developed world?” the day after 150 people were gunned down in the streets of your town, yet that was my experience (to the credit of CT, said comment was left to stay only because it inspired beautiful rebuttals, still I can’t pretend it didn’t hurt).

Now I know very little about you Val (just like you know very little about me or about any of the commenters here, presumably), so I could be wrong about some or most of these beliefs. If this is so, I apologize in advance.

But for the love of God, supposing they are true, can’t you see why the sentence I quoted above can be strikingly offensive to me?

Same goes for all the commenters who seem to believe there is nothing wrong at all with classifying Rich and Corey as white in the context of a discussion of eliminationist rhetoric and who are shocked, shocked to see this called anti-semitism. (How would you react if someone described a discussion between Belle, ZM, Lynn, Val and Bianca Steele on sexual harassment as “a white anglo-american love fest”? Wouldn’t you feel there is a tiny little detail missing somehow?).

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RNB 08.08.16 at 12:13 am

Z.

First, the charge that I have said anything anti-Semitic is beneath contempt. That I consider Corey Robin who has said is Jewish as white is not anti-Semitic…not in the United States, I assure you. A well-functioning blog would have kicked off Rich Puchalsky who has made such a baseless accusation a few times, despite merian, LFC and TM telling him that it had not basis at all.

Second, I would be shocked if Corey Robin did not identify himself as white. LFC has written on this.

Third, it is a fact that OP’s here are almost entirely written by white people. There is almost no diversity except for an occasional guest or two. This is just bad practice when Trump is running a campaign of white nationalism.

Fourth, I do not think Corey Robin would say that it’s impossible for an oppressed and persecuted group to be insensitive to the oppression, persecution and even genocide of another group.

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RNB 08.08.16 at 12:15 am

@315 seems exactly correct to me.

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CR 08.08.16 at 12:21 am

I was also going to point out the Roy Cohn connection. But that’s been gotten to so let me note note that, for those that have not seen it, Emile de Antonio’s edit of the hearings—Point of Order (1964)—is immensely entertaining, with the arc and character sketches of a classic courtroom drama.

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Faustusnotes 08.08.16 at 12:25 am

To be clear (since reduction ad abusrdium seems to be the flavor f the day) I’m not arguing that economic explanations have no part in explaining slavery, or that all slavery everywhere is explained by racism, or that only Christians had imperialism. I’m saying that the slavery system of the Americas needs to be understood in terms of this. The argument that slavery came first and then the racism arose from it as an organism principle to keep society functioning along racist lines doesn’t work. The decision about who to enslave, where to enslave them and how to enslave them was driven by racism, just as the decision to destroy entire cultures and steal their shit was driven by racism. Obviously slavery (and killing people and stealing their stuff) is an economic decision but that’s … No explanation for anything. A decision to trade with the Cherokee instead of destroying them would also have been an economic decision but it didn’t happen that way for a reason. And it’s no coincidence that the decision to brutally exploit a race of people who religious theorists saw as inferior was taken in a location where a decision had been made to destroy a culture and steal it’s stuff, because they were seen as inferior.

I used to think that all this stuff could be explained by economic and structural factors. I used to subscribe to this idea that culture just manifested underlying economic processes, like a veneer. Then I moved to Japan and discovered that the relations between the sexes are organized very differently, and that misogyny is not a universal cultural phenomenon. I realized that Christianity is way more important to our major cultural institutions and the long sweep of history than left wing concepts of the structural formation of inequality give it credit for. In terms of modern institutions and cultural movements, that means you can’t explain voting patterns and dangerous cultural movements like trumps in terms of trite excuses like economic exclusion, and I the longer view you have to accept that the British working class have always been complicit in empire because of this long standing history of racism (for example). Obviously this is a problem if your goal is to overturn the social order and put the working class in charge. But if your goal is to build a better society, you need to change deeper, more complex forces.

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RNB 08.08.16 at 12:33 am

Ever since Eric Williams, the question has been whether racism (a lot rides on how we define it) was not really the cause but more the result of enslaving Africans exclusively and intergenerationally in the US in particular.

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RNB 08.08.16 at 12:43 am

@319 second paragraph very interesting examples and topics for further exploration, in my opinion.

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Val 08.08.16 at 12:46 am

Corey Robin # 314

“If you hadn’t been so busy commenting in the thread of my previous post on the fact that I was white, you might have noticed that I actually explained quite clearly in the OP why I think it’s important to get the pre-history of Trump right.”

I’m genuinely confused. Can you explain where this happened because I have looked and I can’t find it? I have made one comment on this thread (quoted by Z above) suggesting that RNB’s comments about “white boy love fest” should be take more seriously, even if they sound a bit intemperate.

Z # 316
For your information, yes I am white, but I have – by chance of fate – Muslim relatives, which makes me sensitive to the kind of stuff Trump (and others, including people in Australia) are saying. I don’t want to bring my relatives into a discussion which they have no part in and would quite likely not want to be involved in, so that’s why I was a bit indirect. It’s a personal reflection and it is not meant to reflect in any way on the sufferings that other groups have experienced at other times and places.

I don’t know if this is what you are getting at in any way – and like you, I apologise if I am getting this wrong – but it seems as if you may have been influenced by Rich Puchalsky suggesting that I, and others including RNB, are anti-Semitic? I think those suggestions should be withdrawn and I ask Corey Robin, as the person who wrote the OP, to make it clear that unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism are not welcome on CT.

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Marc 08.08.16 at 12:50 am

Unfounded and casual accusations of sexism and racism are not improvements over unfounded accusations of anti-semitism.

325

Rich Puchalsky 08.08.16 at 12:51 am

RNB: “Third, it is a fact that OP’s here are almost entirely written by white people. There is almost no diversity except for an occasional guest or two. This is just bad practice when Trump is running a campaign of white nationalism.”

Let’s see how this logic runs. It goes: Corey Robin is white, and is one of the many white posters here, and this is bad practice when Trump is running a campaign of white nationalism.

As I wrote on the other thread, I have shocking news for you. White nationalists don’t like Jews! Which is a total mystery when you consider that Jews are white. bianaca steele said that anti-Semitic tropes weren’t anti-Semitic if someone didn’t know they were anti-Semitic. Well, I’m pretty sure that you know.

“Fourth, I do not think Corey Robin would say that it’s impossible for an oppressed and persecuted group to be insensitive to the oppression, persecution and even genocide of another group.”

Let’s see if any of the people sticking up for RNB can figure out what’s wrong with this. You might start by noticing how people speaking here have suddenly become a “group”.

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Faustusnotes 08.08.16 at 12:52 am

Well rnb for example Japan has no concept of insulting a person by comparing them with women’s genitals. There is a rude word like “cunt” and if you were to call someone it this would be shocking to everyone but they wouldn’t understand what you were saying. In the absence of Christianity there are no insults based on sex or sex organs at all. When foreign movies are translated they can’t translate these insults because they’re meaningless in Japan. There are two chapters of dworkin’s book intercourse – dirt and death – that don’t seem to have any relevance to Japan. Opposition to homosexuality in Japan doesn’t seem to have any grounding in disgust or transgression (apparently all the samurai were doing it). It’s my opinion that Japanese sexism is built around historic gendered responsibilities, while western sexism is built on a deep seated hatred of women. The oat obvious manifestation of this is the absence of street harassment and the complete lack of fear of sexual violence here. I can’t tell you how big a difference this makes to ordinary life, you have to experience it to understand it.

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Faustusnotes 08.08.16 at 12:53 am

But it’s a thread jack! I might write something about it on my blog instead of here …

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Val 08.08.16 at 1:02 am

@ Z
I’ve read your comment again and I don’t fully understand it, especially this:

And yet I believe that you, unlike me, are white; that the cultural group you most naturally belong to, unlike mine, has not been routinely subjected to harsh and bigoted criticism these last three decades (at least); that your family, unlike mine, has not fought an actual fascist, genocidal regime in the streets of its village and that no comments about the group you most closely identify with were made on CT and left to stand stating “With each attack, I care less and less about the lives of [this group]. Just how much savagery toward host nations do we tolerate before agreeing that some groups don’t deserve a place in the developed world?” the day after 150 people were gunned down in the streets of your town, yet that was my experience (to the credit of CT, said comment was left to stay only because it inspired beautiful rebuttals, still I can’t pretend it didn’t hurt).

I don’t remember seeing that comment you quoted and I don’t know which group it was referring to, which is partly why I am confused. Perhaps you could explain more clearly? At present I can’t understand if you are suggesting I am insensitive to what Muslims have experienced, or Jews have experienced, or both? Or maybe you mean something else?

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Val 08.08.16 at 1:12 am

Marc # 323
Unfounded and casual accusations of sexism and racism are not improvements over unfounded accusations of anti-semitism.

I take it you are saying “white boy love fest” is an accusation of sexism and racism. But the point is whether it’s unfounded. My impression is that that white men (I am including Jewish men as white men in this case although I agree it could be argued that in some circumstances they should not be included in a broad categorisation like “white”) are over-represented at CT as posters and commenters. I also think they are sometimes insensitive to the perspectives of women and people of colour. “White boy love fest” is over the top, as I have said several times, but is there some foundation for it?

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Val 08.08.16 at 1:15 am

actually I should have said “in some circumstances they [Jewish men] should not be included in a broad categorisation like ‘white’ ” rather than “it could be argued that” – that was stupid, sorry.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.08.16 at 1:17 am

Z: “Same goes for all the commenters who seem to believe there is nothing wrong at all with classifying Rich and Corey as white in the context of a discussion of eliminationist rhetoric and who are shocked, shocked to see this called anti-semitism.”

Well, they aren’t going to get it, but it was a good try.

Corey Robin:
“According to Rich, they’re just fans of their team, and will say whatever it takes for their team to win; you point out the history, and they ignore it or forget it. I’ve resisted Rich’s interpretation for a number of reasons. But the behavior of some makes it harder and harder for me to hold the tide against his reading of what’s going on.”

I think William Timberman pointed out something that I hadn’t noticed: some of this difference in interpretation between “amnesia” and “must ignore or forget” has to do with specifically anarchist belief. Namely, the idea that truth doesn’t really change people: that practice is what mostly changes people. It’s not just that they are fans of their team, although that is certainly part of it: they are caught up in a whole worldview that requires affirming the goodness of anyone who wins within the system which is going to keep reasserting itself inside their heads unless they do something else. But if they did something else, they’d no longer be mainstream pundits.

I said pretty much what I think about truth and the uses of truth in this often self-linked poem.

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faustusnotes 08.08.16 at 1:26 am

Is saying a thing is a “white boy love fest” (or more colloquially, a sausage fest) an accusation of sexism? If I say “jeez that Suicidals gig was a bit of a white boy love fest” am I accusing anyone of being racist or sexist? I think I’m just saying that other views may not have been well represented there.

[In their defense Suicidal Tendencies are a mixed-race band with many non-white and non-male fans. Just an example]

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Corey Robin 08.08.16 at 1:27 am

Val: “I’m genuinely confused. Can you explain where this happened because I have looked and I can’t find it?”

I see the amnesia isn’t just limited to events in American history. Here, to refresh, your memory, are some of your quotes from the Philadelphia Stories thread:

278: “js and RNB I support your attempts to stop this being a debate between white guys about issues that particularly affect POC,…”

289: “Calling people white guys doesn’t erase them Rich, it just says they’re white guys.”

346: ‘I would be happy to look at whether by saying that most commenters here were “white guys”, I unintentionally elided Jewishness….then we could have the discussion about whether I elided Jewishness in my general description of you, Corey and others and others as “white guys”.’

http://crookedtimber.org/2016/07/30/philadelphia-stories-from-reagan-to-trump-to-the-dnc/

I hope you see how amusing it is that I have to recreate for you the record of your own comments in which you try to dismiss what I say by reference to the fact that I’m white. You’d think if my whiteness were as important as you’ve tried to make it out to be, you’d actually remember your having pointed it out.

So just to recap: I explain in a post why I write about the precedents for Trump. You respond by fixating on the fact that I’m white, completely ignoring what I say about why I write about the precedents for Trump. Then, six days later, you suggest that I’m just trying to make excuses for Trump, or that I’m trying to imply he’s not all that bad. Because, after all, why else would I say what I say? Then, when you’re called on the fact that you’ve completely forgotten the reasons I gave for why I focus on the precedents for Trump, and that you’ve forgotten that because you were so busy pointing out that I’m white, you respond: when did I fixate on you being white?

And to bring it back to the substance of where this all began: Part of the reason that I write what I write is that people like you can’t be counted on to remember what you said six days ago, much less what happened six elections ago.

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Corey Robin 08.08.16 at 1:38 am

Rich: I tend to agree that practice is what changes people. I wouldn’t say that’s a specifically anarchist insight, though. I worked in the labor movement for several years, and it’s what every organizer will tell you. Alas, when you’re no longer organizing, you can’t use the tools of practice to change people. All you’ve got is these blasted arguments on comment threads. With all the predictable results.

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Peter T 08.08.16 at 2:20 am

faustus

The Spanish tried enslaving the native Americans. Mostly didn’t work – they died off too fast due to lack of immunity to introduced diseases. But at the same time they were enslaving some, they were intermarrying with and ennobling the native Aztec and Inca elites. China had a slave class until quite late. And note the difference between the northern and southern US – absent plantation agriculture, with its incessant land and labour hunger, slavery did not persist.

I know a bit of Hindi and a bit of Farsi. Insults based on genitals are common in both.

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J-D 08.08.16 at 2:28 am

Rich Puchalsky 08.08.16 at 1:17 am

I think William Timberman pointed out something that I hadn’t noticed: some of this difference in interpretation between “amnesia” and “must ignore or forget” has to do with specifically anarchist belief. Namely, the idea that truth doesn’t really change people: that practice is what mostly changes people. …

Corey Robin 08.08.16 at 1:38 am
Rich: I tend to agree that practice is what changes people. I wouldn’t say that’s a specifically anarchist insight, though. I worked in the labor movement for several years, and it’s what every organizer will tell you. ..

James 2:14-26

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faustusnotes 08.08.16 at 2:36 am

Peter T I thought the whole idea of the system in latin America was that it wasn’t meant to be slavery? And yes obviously you don’t enslave people if you don’t need them, no matter how racist you are. I’m not saying slavery isn’t driven by economic factors. I just don’t think you can ignore the role of racism and religious extremism in the exploitation and destruction of new world peoples, and their replacement with black slaves.

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Val 08.08.16 at 2:38 am

I’m not by any means ‘fixated’ on the fact that you are white. I just think you don’t give enough respect to comments by people like RNB and js. I think that the views of white men are over-represented at CT and there is at times a reluctance to listen to other views, from women or people of colour.

There were literally thousands of comments on your last four posts (of which I made about 8, on that post you identified). I don’t know how to track individual comments on CT, but I went back through your previous three posts and couldn’t find those comments. I did remember some of those exchanges, but I just couldn’t find them.

My point about history is that because circumstances change, we can’t really compare the impact of people saying things in the past with people saying similar things today, and I thought you were verging on doing that.

I also think that Rich’s suggestions about anti-Semitism were wrong and you should say something about that. I think I’ve said enough though so I will stop.

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Val 08.08.16 at 2:42 am

My # 337 was a response to Corey Robin # 332

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Rich Puchalsky 08.08.16 at 2:54 am

Val: “the views of white men are over-represented at CT”

People often complain that there are too many Jews around. And we keep talking about issues of eliminationism that particularly affect people of color.

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LFC 08.08.16 at 3:08 am

I offer the suggestion, which I’m sure will not be taken well by some, that we all should pay more attention to what is being said rather than who is saying it.

Do women and people of color have certain perspectives that white men don’t have, simply by virtue of being women and people of color? I suppose so, but I think this can be exaggerated and it can also prevent recognition of the *deep* differences that exist between people who share the often superficial similarities of the same ‘subject positions’ (horrible phrase, sorry).

For example, Corey Robin and Bill Kristol are both Jewish, they’re both white, they’re both American. Do they agree on anything? No (and that’s putting it mildly). Corey R. agrees a lot more, I feel confident in saying, with Bhaskar Sunkara, who is not white.

Ascriptive characteristics, if that’s the right phrase, do not determine political views. I’m reasonably sure Val has more in common politically with the white male commenters at CT (even if she finds them insufficiently attuned to feminist concerns) than she does with a conservative Australian politician who happens to be a woman, or with the current PM of Britain, for example.

I could go on, but it’s late and I have to shut off the computer.

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faustusnotes 08.08.16 at 3:19 am

For what it’s worth I fleshed out some of my opinions above here, to avoid further threadjacks.

Corey, do you accept at all the possibility that while Trump is consistent with the history of the Republican movement, he might represent a step change in the intensity and scariness of their attitudes? Do you read the driftglass blog? Because that blog is cataloguing the shock of right wing commentators at the place the Republican party has ended up, and their inability to understand that they brought it to that place. But it also seems to be taking Trump very seriously as a new kind threat.

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Val 08.08.16 at 3:45 am

LFC #431

Normally I have great respect for your comments, but this particular one may be classed with ‘women don’t need the vote because their husbands can represent them’ position of a 100 or so years ago.

(As to whether that bit of historical analysis strengthens or weakens my critique of CR’s use of history, I don’t know, I’m honestly too confused now! But I do know that when I say “white men are over-represented on CT”, I don’t mean “Jews are over-represented on CT” and I really think some CT blogger should do something about this.)

344

RNB 08.08.16 at 6:06 am

@341 Puchalsky remains beneath contempt for accusing me of anti-Semitism. He’s got nothing. Nothing. And on a well-functioning blog would have been booted.

After months and months of discussion here where no OP focused on what Trumpism means to Latinos, Muslims and those of us often thought to be either–coupled with the fact that we have had comments from Puchalsky and Bruce Wilder that read to me and js as if they could not tell or did care what the difference would be between a Trump and Clinton regime for a variety of domestic minorities, including non-black ones–I said that this blog was reading like a white boy’s love fest.

Excuse me, you thin-skinned cry babies. It does not give you a right to make false accusations of anti-Semitism.

I also noted that after much discussion relegated to the comments section on what Trumpism means for Latinos and American Muslims that Corey Robin recounting the history of Republican anti-black racism to show that Trump was nothing new here made it seem as if the specific situation of Latinos and American Muslims did not really matter and could be safely collapsed with the experience of black people.

A religious ban and a mass deportation force have not been proposed in decades, but you won’t see that if you are just paying attention to anti-black racism and ignoring nativism and religious intolerance.

I would not care if white people were attending to these crucial aspects of Trumpism. It seems that Peter T may be white. I don’t know, and I don’t care. He has clearly read deeply and widely on the question of slavery and the peculiarities of American slavery and has a real talent for stating important historical developments in a succinct way. He is sensitive to continuity and rupture.

I specifically asked whether Eric Rauchway who I think is white could write some of the OP’s on American Presidential politics because he seemed from his twitter feed to be properly attentive to the exceptional dangers posed by the Trump candidacy to a variety of American minorities.

So, no, I have not said anything racist or anti-Semitic; and have called out clear blind spots that need to be called out.

And here is the real problem on the list. Corey Robin is not admitting to the facts; but he is the one who writes the OP’s.

Bush’s response to Sheehan was nothing like Trump’s response to the Khan’s. Who does not admit to getting the record wrong?

345

RNB 08.08.16 at 6:06 am

@343 Thank you Val for this: ‘But I do know that when I say “white men are over-represented on CT”, I don’t mean “Jews are over-represented on CT” and I really think some CT blogger should do something about this.’

346

kidneystones 08.08.16 at 6:14 am

Your next president: http://theamericanmirror.com/shock-photo-grandma-hillary-helped-stairs/

The talking part is pretty much done.

347

RNB 08.08.16 at 6:18 am

#341 I take you to be saying that Bhaskar Sunkara is pretty confused about what Trumpism represents perhaps because he is too busy fighting with his new friends (maybe Rich Puchalsky too!) the horrible prejudices against the southern white male working class that is voting for Trump over Clinton something like 70-30, it seems. Perhaps Sunkara needs to pay a little more attention to the increasingly virulent forms of nativism and religious intolerance that Trump has unleashed. It’ll help him understand who is trying to hit him on the head and perhaps he’ll be able to take better precautions.

348

RNB 08.08.16 at 6:24 am

@346 Yes kidneystones there is little to say after Trump was bragging about “his” Purple Heart instead of refusing it as a gift and pinning it back on the chest of the war veteran who earned it. We all know you don’t believe in actual argument but persuasion by visual images. And Khizr Khan gave the most powerful image of all…at least if we are measuring by hits in the polls.
And if you think Clinton is so enfeebled, then you should be expecting Trump to welcome the debates where his persuasion superpowers will be on full display, but then he is lying about some letter from the NFL. Not a good look.

349

kidneystones 08.08.16 at 6:27 am

The next president struggling to negotiate stairs is front-paged at Drudge. Folks here wouldn’t know that, I suspect. Insulting gold star families?

How about lying to the grieving parents as they stand over the caskets?
Not insulting enough?

How about calling the families liars, or perhaps suffering from ‘memory loss?’

http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/michael-w-chapman/benghazi-victims-dad-clinton-called-benghazi-victims-families-liars-should

The folks voting for Trump know what they’re getting. Media reports of Trump transgressions fall upon deaf ears because the folks supporting Trump have no reason to have any faith whatsoever in the neutrality of the press.

The GOP and Trump are still negotiating terms. HRC is trying to stay vertical.

350

RNB 08.08.16 at 6:35 am

Possibly needing support on high heels up a steep, rickety set of stairs? Not the counterpunch you’ll need given the number of blows Clinton will land in the debates if Trump shows up of course and the number of blows Trump is delivering to himself.

351

kidneystones 08.08.16 at 6:45 am

All negotiate the front steps of the pristine home with ease, especially the young woman in the tight skirt and high heels positively bouncing along.

Oldster in trousers and low heels falters, loses balance in front of entire world.

https://classconnection.s3.amazonaws.com/985/flashcards/230985/jpg/carter1305219738903.jpg

Nobody will notice and make any comparisons.

Losing to a rodeo-clown? That could never happen.

352

J-D 08.08.16 at 6:46 am

Am I the only person who’s thinking about the fact that if difficulty going up stairs were a disqualification for the Presidency it would have ruled out Franklin Roosevelt?

353

kidneystones 08.08.16 at 6:55 am

News photographers cooperated in concealing Roosevelt’s disability, and those who did not found their camera views blocked by Secret Service agents, according to the FDR Presidential Museum and Library’s website.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2359179/FDR-wheelchair-privately-fought-polio-The-video-footage-Franklin-D-Roosevelt-didnt-want-world-see.html#ixzz4GimMEBwA

Roosevelt’s mastered the art of radio. Visual representations were tightly controlled. HRC’s press corps self-censors, much as they did for Obama.

First press conference in 240 days and the media show-up to applaud.

354

Ronan(rf) 08.08.16 at 8:14 am

There are a lot of ways the demographics at CT are skewed, but for some bizzare(well, understandably self serving) reason the only ones that matter are gender and skin culture. Not politics, values, cultural background, type/level of education, nationality etc. Skin colour and gender always (obsessiins which , in fact, say a lot about the pool CT commenters are drawn from ).
Think, for a second, what rnb has said about this topic. One of this blogs posters should be kicked from the site because he’s a white man who can’t understand the deep psychological trauma currently being inflicted on “people of colour” but Donald trump. I don’t know how anyone can take this seriously.
I wouldn’t say the left are the real racists, but significant parts of the left are now race existentialists. The aforementioned Barbara fields mentions this in one of her books, that the left have inverted the racial categorisation of the racists, make hard and fast boundaries between racial groups, created new racial categories (think “poc”) that don’t make any sociological or scientific sense. Race has become, for this p art of the left, almost a primordial identity which is dominant over all other identities, values, ideologies etc
I really can’t understand the left anymore. Some wonderful people, but unfathomable

355

Ronan(rf) 08.08.16 at 8:17 am

*essentialists*

356

Alex K--- 08.08.16 at 8:29 am

Unless I’ve missed a response, my question remains unanswered: if Trump is today’s Joseph McCarthy, and if McCarthy was on a Republican-approved crusade to smear the Democrats, what has Trump’s near-accomplished mission been, so far?

(Not that I see things in the same, purely political light. McCarthy, a hinterland Catholic, sought to ram his way into the elite but overestimated his powers. Trump’s initial position – close to the guardians of the inner temple but not quite in there – resembles the Kennedys’ ca. 1950 rather than McCarthy’s.)

357

J-D 08.08.16 at 8:56 am

kidneystones 08.08.16 at 6:55 am
News photographers cooperated in concealing Roosevelt’s disability, and those who did not found their camera views blocked by Secret Service agents, according to the FDR Presidential Museum and Library’s website.

Thanks, I already knew about that. That doesn’t change my point. If difficulty walking up stairs disqualified people from being President, it would have disqualified him. Anybody who is in favour of treating it as a grounds for disqualification is in favour of the idea that he should have been disqualified. That’s the point I’m making. Whether you’re one of those people, I can’t tell.

358

kidneystones 08.08.16 at 9:09 am

Head injuries, vertigo, memory loss, ‘short-circuiting brains’, are very different from polio.

Unless you believe all injuries/illnesses are the same. Of course, you never said you did, any more than I ‘stated’ head injuries, vertigo, and memory loss disqualified you

You raise claims that you alone make, and then expect others to respond. Collapsing in a six-mile race no more disqualified Carter to be re-elected as president.

It was you, not I who equated FDR and HRC. You sidestep entirely the question of press bias, and FDR’s concern with allowing the press to publicized images suggesting weakness.

But you and the few reading the thread see all this for themselves.

I don’t expect, however, you understand and appreciate that your double standards re: gold star families, etc, and those of the press, make the possibility of a Trump presidency more likely.

The WAPO is one of the few HRC organs to understand the dynamic. There are several good WAPO articles on HRC’s real failures as a senator.

Tilting the playing field in favor of HRC created most of her problems with the Dem base. Continuing to tile the playing field may cost Dems the election.

Scripture

359

kidneystones 08.08.16 at 9:14 am

Apologies for the inexcusable number of typos and other edits. Watching friendlies, Netflix, and surfing.

I don’t see anything but the economy, and possibly terrorism, determining the election.

360

J-D 08.08.16 at 9:53 am

kidneystones 08.08.16 at 9:09 am
Head injuries, vertigo, memory loss, ‘short-circuiting brains’, are very different from polio.

They are indeed.

But you didn’t post a link to a photo showing head injuries, vertigo, memory loss, or short-circuiting brains. You posted a link to a photo showing somebody having difficulty going up some stairs.

I don’t expect, however, you understand and appreciate that your double standards re: gold star families, etc, and those of the press, make the possibility of a Trump presidency more likely.

I don’t have any double standards about gold star families, because I don’t have any standards at all about gold star families, because I don’t even know what gold star families are; and I would be astonished to learn that anything I do could have any effect on the likelihood of a Trump presidency. I don’t even have a vote in the election. I’m wondering how you could possibly be more wrong about all this than you already are. Have you perhaps confused me with somebody else?

361

kidneystones 08.08.16 at 10:11 am

@ 360 You spend a lot your time wondering. I wonder why that is? Actually, I don’t. I’m trying to think of any comment on any topic that added anything to any discussion here.

Your rather sad attempt to make my remark about ‘qualification’ for president is typical.

Cheers!

362

Rich Puchalsky 08.08.16 at 10:56 am

RNB: “made it seem as if the specific situation of Latinos and American Muslims did not really matter and could be safely collapsed with the experience of black people.”

Oh funny. Jews, as white people, don’t get this at all.

363

J-D 08.08.16 at 11:00 am

kidneystones 08.08.16 at 10:11 am
@ 360 You spend a lot your time wondering. I wonder why that is?

That’s because I have an inquiring mind …

Actually, I don’t.

… I wonder whether you do?

364

LFC 08.08.16 at 1:05 pm

RNB @347
I don’t know what Sunkara has said about Trump and/or Trumpism.

365

engels 08.08.16 at 1:16 pm

The whole Trump- Brexit is so scary

Whaaa

366

LFC 08.08.16 at 1:16 pm

Ronan @354
what rnb has said about this topic. One of this blogs posters should be kicked from the site because he’s a white man who can’t understand the deep psychological trauma currently being inflicted on “people of colour” b[y] Donald trump. I don’t know how anyone can take this seriously.

Actually, RNB called for RP’s ouster from the site b.c RP accused RNB of anti-Semitism. If RP had stayed away from the unwarranted accusation of anti-Semitism, he still could have made whatever points he wanted to make vs. RNB. RP’s inflammatory accusation was sort of like an an ‘own goal’ in soccer, IMO.

367

Rich Puchalsky 08.08.16 at 1:21 pm

Ronan(rf): “Think, for a second, what rnb has said about this topic. One of this blogs posters should be kicked from the site because he’s a white man who can’t understand the deep psychological trauma currently being inflicted on “people of colour” [by] Donald trump. “

RNB left this out of his summary for understandable reasons. But one of the things that I’d talk about if this wasn’t going on is more about how this essentialism displaces this kind of argument as typical (although very heated) argument within a community.

Take Skokie for example — a village of 70,000 people, 40,000 of whom were Jewish and 5,000 of whom were Holocaust survivors. Jews were prominent among the people who defended the neo-Nazis’ right to march, as of course they were prominent among the people who thought that the march should not be allowed.

So, did some Jews support the right of the neo-Nazis to march because Jews are white and so of course they didn’t understand the problems of white nationalism? Did they not understand the psychological trauma that Holocaust survivors would experience at seeing people in Nazi regalia parade down their street?

368

LFC 08.08.16 at 1:21 pm

p.s. Ronan, it occurs to me you may be referring to CR, but I don’t recall offhand RNB calling for CR to be “kicked from the site” (though in a heated moment he might have). I would oppose that, needless to say.

369

Rich Puchalsky 08.08.16 at 1:22 pm

LFC: “Actually, RNB called for RP’s ouster from the site b.c RP accused RNB of anti-Semitism.”

No, what Ronan(rf) is referring to is that RNB previously called for Corey Robin’s ouster from the site.

370

Collin Street 08.08.16 at 1:26 pm

Head injuries, vertigo, memory loss, ‘short-circuiting brains’, are very different from polio.

Look.

Just because you think something doesn’t mean you have to keep saying it. I think all sorts of things, some of them pretty controversial. I don’t make any secret of what I believe… but I don’t go on and on and on about it all the fucking time, either.

You could do the same, you know. I mean, in theory.

371

LFC 08.08.16 at 1:26 pm

RP @371
Ok, I had not remembered that.

372

Rich Puchalsky 08.08.16 at 1:32 pm

It was comments around here. RNB: “Let Robin’s comments wither away on his blog. Crooked Timber should not be featuring them. The stakes are high.” And similar above and below. I have to admit that I encouraged RNB to start a petition, or contact the other blog posters and demand that they kick Corey Robin off (he doesn’t seem to really understand the difference between posters and commenters), but I was only laughing at him and didn’t really expect him to go on with it.

373

kidneystones 08.08.16 at 1:43 pm

The NYT argues for media bias against the Republican, because…

The Republican is crazy and unfit to be President. First time, really!

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/08/business/balance-fairness-and-a-proudly-provocative-presidential-candidate.html?_r=0

374

Corey Robin 08.08.16 at 1:48 pm

I continue to be amused by the fact that my being white is considered such a liability as to cast grave doubt upon anything I write about the right, so much so that we have people calling for my being banned from my own blog—which is odd, given that of all the CT bloggers, I’m the only one who has devoted years of research to, and written an actual book on, the right (a topic some people in the comments thread seem only to have become aware of, as a topic, with the nomination of Donald Trump)—yet with a very few exceptions, people here seem to have a difficult time recalling anyone even raising the issue of my being white or my being banned. You’d think if my being white were so important to people as to warrant my being banned, they would remember having made, or others having made, the point. But apparently not.

I’m also amused by the fact that people who are guests here of the blog want to ban me, one of the hosts of the blog, from my own blog. It’s like that proverbial drunken dinner party guest who tells you to get out of your own house.

375

Rich Puchalsky 08.08.16 at 2:10 pm

Differential memory is a large part of why I thought this was worth escalating. It’s because this is going on in the context of the election — one in which defenders of HRC who are seemingly all about defeating Trump just can’t help attacking Sanders.

The specific bit that got me was the DNC Email that has been most often quoted. People said that the Email was a kind of encapsulation of the scandal, but what was the scandal? That the DNC supported HRC over Sanders? That was always clear. That it took specific actions to support HRC over Sanders? But people shrugged off the monetary part of that as not important, and the most-quoted DNC Email never provably lead to any particular action.

When asked what was bad about it, people fell back on a sort of vague “it was seeing whether they could attack Sanders as an atheist”, as if the content in the Email exchange about Jews, Southern Baptists, Jesus, and Christian opinions about who was a Jew and who wasn’t just weren’t there. I brought up the fact that both of the leaders (Sanders and Jill Stein) of the left challenges to HRC are Jewish, and pretty predictably as left-leaning Jews they are not very religious. We could get more into how this supposedly neutral attack on “atheism” would in fact disqualify Jews from the positions of political leadership that, because of cultural factors in America, tend to be those that they can hold in larger society. But memory failure intervenes.

376

RNB 08.08.16 at 2:21 pm

I spoke to the rest of the Crooked Timber people who write the OP’s on the question whether they wanted to continue to feature your (Corey Robin’s) writings here at Crooked Timber as one of your blog entries on how Trump is right about some things here (sic) ended up in the New York Times.

You took the ridiculous position that there were important truths in what Trump was saying about civil liberties and in his desire to shakedown NATO allies without attending at all to what was pernicious and threatening in those comments. I showed through argument how badly you had read what Trump was saying to make your point that he was speaking some bold truths that liberals could not bear to hear.

Again it’s your fellow Crooked Timber members’ decision whether they want to give you the soapbox. I would not do it given the threat Trump represents to the Republic, especially after you proved yourself willing to discard the facts to make your political points. I refer here to your stubborn refusal to correct your false claim that George W. Bush spoke of Cindy Sheehan the way Trump spoke of the Khan’s. You made the empirical claim; I showed the facts to be otherwise; you refuse to correct the record.

Again it’s not my choice whether the others who manage this site want to feature you here at Crooked Timber. I would not do it. My opinion, but not my choice.

Puchalsky deserves to be booted for continuing to say and/or insinuate that I have written anything anti-Semitic.

377

Val 08.08.16 at 2:39 pm

Corey, could you please delete my comments at 361 and 362 from this thread. I was frustrated by the discussion but I should not have brought other people’s private circumstances into it (as I originally thought).

Thank you

378

Corey Robin 08.08.16 at 2:54 pm

Done.

379

Yan 08.08.16 at 3:52 pm

Interesting article link from Robert Paul Wolff’s blog:
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/09/the-original-underclass/492731/

380

TM 08.08.16 at 4:01 pm

This is perhaps the most disgusting thread ever on CT. Great job Corey.

381

Tyrone Slothrop 08.08.16 at 4:34 pm

I really can’t understand the left anymore.

Brother, I hear thee.

This is perhaps the most disgusting thread ever on CT.

Nah.

382

Marc 08.08.16 at 4:52 pm

@380: RNB really did poison the well here, and kidneystones also chipped in with his usual derailing job. Neither of these are the fault of Corey – although I do think that CT badly needs to ban or limit the posting of disruptive commentators. To be completely blunt, I think that the discussion would gain a lot if people had a hard limit on the number of posts that they could submit per day, ideally a low number.

I do agree that it’s disgusting, but I suspect that the aspects that repel me the most are not the same as the ones you’re reacting to.

383

phenomenal cat 08.08.16 at 4:52 pm

@380: It’s just Corey’s fault then? Seems to me there’s at least a half dozen or more people to exhort for the “most disgusting thread ever.” Show a little generosity of spirit and include them in your exhortation as well.

384

bruce wilder 08.08.16 at 5:07 pm

RP @ 375: the DNC Email

We here in CT comments lead a quiet, parochial life. In the larger world, the disclosure of the DNC emails required a preposterous story of Russian hacking, followed by a gotcha accusing Trump of asking Putin to become a latter day Watergate burglar.

I have no sympathy for Trump, who made his bones as birther-in-chief. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

But, I do have some sympathy for the rest of us, who are the objects of these manipulations. The email discussing whether they can push the atheist hot-button or the Jew hot-button and get a predictable response from voters disturbs me because it seems that the propaganda has drowned out everything else.

It is one thing when they’re wearing out the gay hot-button or the xenophobia hot-button or trying to get the anti-semite hot-button to work again, but I get the idea that there’s only hot-buttons, only manipulation. There’s no considered, deliberate purpose behind any of it. Hillary Clinton is so pre-occupied affirming support for Israel and condemning Iran or ISIS or Russia, that there’s no room left for formulating reality-based policy or explaining such a policy to the American people.

385

bruce wilder 08.08.16 at 5:08 pm

One way to relieve amnesia might be to get hyperbole a rest.

386

bruce wilder 08.08.16 at 5:09 pm

give hyperbole a rest

What is it with spell-check? Is this going to be what’s it like in the world of self-driving Uber cars?

387

Corey Robin 08.08.16 at 5:19 pm

Listen up everybody: While I agree with TM that this thread is pretty bad, we’re not going to now debate who is responsible for making it so bad. I’ve pretty much ignored the criticisms of my position that are tendentious, rest upon little to no evidence, or reflect a willful misinterpretation of what I’ve said. I suggest everyone do the same. I’d prefer not to have to patrol these comments threads, as I’m often only logged on at night to check in, after the day’s damage is done. I don’t like having to ban people or delete or disemvowel their comments. So try to stick to the actual claims people have made, and try to offer critiques of those claims based on facts and/or reason. If we can’t get it together here, I’ll just shut the comments thread down. And may have to do that for future posts regarding this election if it seems like people can’t control themselves.

388

Val 08.08.16 at 8:05 pm

@378
Thanks Corey.

389

awy 08.08.16 at 8:22 pm

#384
why is russian hacking of the dnc a preposterous story?

390

RNB 08.08.16 at 10:06 pm

This is how I understand the Corey Robin-Richard Puchalsky-Bruce Wilder front and their apparent hanger-ons “marc” and “phenomenal cat”:

1. Hillary Clinton is a lot more evil than her liberal supporters recognize (welfare reform, Iraq, Libya).

2. Donald Trump is just as and no more evil as the Republicans have always been.

3. The distance between them is not too great especially with her explicit neo-con establishment support, and she is going to win anyway in part because the Republicans will soon cannibalize their own Trump monster.

4. Let us thus take this election opportunity to discredit the kind of neo-liberalism that she represents by using some of Trump’s talking points against her and the liberals whom true leftists detest.

5. Let us convince our followers that they’d be suckers to support Clinton and unleash them to discredit the neo-liberal politics she represents, even if that reduces Clinton’s chance to win which truly she has in the bag anyway; and even if she were to lose there is no lesser evil here anyway.

6. And even if Trump takes us downhill a bit, he will have raised important issues (e.g. NATO expansion and US civil liberties hubris) and provoked street resistance to get us off the capitalist Mt. Obama and onto the new socialist or anarchist peak.
__________________

2. is wrong: Trump is a new kind of monster as one would see if one looks at how he has made virulently racist nativism and religious intolerance and how his mental instability would pose new unprecedented threats to world security;

3. is wrong because Clinton is not beating Trump in polls like Nixon beat McGovern; and

1. is wrong because Clinton is a lot closer to Sanders on major issues than the “leftitsts” here are willing to admit.

6. is reckless and demagogic

The “left” here has lost their argument with their former comrades in the Sanders movement. They are not more than 10% of it.

I do not think Crooked Timber should be featuring this hugely irresponsible line of thought in their OP’s. But that is my opinion, not my call.

At any rate, the case of the self-proclaimed left is based on empirically and morally dubious claims, and has convinced very few people. It also in my opinion represents a break down of solidarity with vulnerable groups in the US.

391

Ronan(rf) 08.08.16 at 10:31 pm

The article yan links to above is pretty informative, with some insightful explanations such as

” Large areas of “real America” are almost entirely white. In Appalachia, that homogeneity, along with the region’s populist tradition, helps explain why white voters there took so much longer to flip from Democrat to Republican than in the Deep South. This does not mean that racism is absent in these areas—far from it. But it suggests that the racism is fueled as much by suspicion of the “other” as& it is by firsthand experience of blacks and competition with them—and that political sentiment on issues such as welfare and crime isn’t as racially motivated as many liberal analysts assume”

Or – “So why are white Americans in downwardly mobile areas feeling a despair that appears to be driving stark increases in substance abuse and suicide? In my own reporting in Vance’s home ground of southwestern Ohio and ancestral territory of eastern Kentucky, I have encountered racial anxiety and antagonism, for sure. But far more striking is the general aura of decline that hangs over towns in which medical-supply stores and pawn shops dominate decrepit main streets, and Victorians stand crumbling, unoccupied. Talk with those still sticking it out, the body-shop worker and the dollar-store clerk and the unemployed miner, and the fatalism is clear: Things were much better in an earlier time, and no future awaits in places that have been left behind by polished people in gleaming cities. The most painful comparison is not with supposedly ascendant minorities—it’s with the fortunes of one’s own parents or, by now, grandparents. The demoralizing effect of decay enveloping the place you live cannot be underestimated. And the bitterness—the “primal scorn”—that Donald Trump has tapped into among white Americans in struggling areas is aimed not just at those of foreign extraction. It is directed toward fellow countrymen who have become foreigners of a different sort, looking down on the natives, if they bother to look”

And – “Vance notes, resentment of this sort—which surfaces again and again in his book—helps explain why voters in the world he came from have largely abandoned the Democrats, the party of the social safety net.
Nor is the animus new: Isenberg traces it back to the days when poor Southerners were scorned for availing themselves of the aid extended to freed slaves—and joined in the scorn as soon as they escaped the dole. “The same self-made man who looked down on white trash others had conveniently chosen to forget that his own parents escaped the tar-paper shack only with the help of the federal government,” she writes. “ ‘Upscale rednecks’ had no trouble spotting those below them in their rearview mirrors.” In Vance’s book, those “below” are mostly fellow whites and the resentment is not primarily racially motivated, as many liberals would have one believe of all anti-welfare sentiment.”

392

Ronan(rf) 08.08.16 at 10:36 pm

On the more general question of the threat posed by trump, I always liked Ariel rubinsteins short article, in a context where the political threats are much more explicit and potentially existential.

“I take pride in the fact that when the sirens go off, I demonstratively refrain
from heading to a protected space. It’s not because I’m courageous. I have my fears. But rationality is not necessarily a dirty word….

http://www.philzone.org/discus/messages/36579/938052.html?1406764706

393

RNB 08.08.16 at 10:45 pm

So there it is again, Ronan. You think the risks that a Trump Presidency presents are overblown. But not if you are a minority, ok. What else is the meaning of your referring to Ariel Rubinstein here whose send-up of general equilibrium theory is hilarious by the way.

And, yes, that Atlantic piece is informative, especially the brutal history. People forget that in early Virginia the slave status of leet men for Christians-yet-to-become-white had already been invented before the turn to the African slavery. But it’s not my impression that the contempt that the truly evil Charles Murray or perhaps Kevin Williamson has for the white poor is widely shared in the US, not like the desire for a Muslim ban and mass deportation of Latinos and the cracking of the skulls of Black Lives Matters protestors.

394

The Temporary Name 08.08.16 at 11:04 pm

I don’t think predictions of what Trump will do can possibly have more to them than “seek to maximize Trump” and “seek to maximize Trump’s bank account”.

When the economy was really going insane the idea of Obama minting the trillion-dollar coin was an interesting one. My prediction is that Trump mints that coin and buys the Bahamas.

395

kidneystones 08.08.16 at 11:36 pm

The NYT argues that some truths needed to be sacrificed for the greater good of keeping the candidate ‘we’ don’t like out of office. It’s not surprising, therefore, to discover the same arguments made here, not by Corey, btw.

I usually disagree with parts of Corey’s arguments, but I take no responsibility for the vocal minority who use the thread to tell others to STFU, or simply ‘go away.’ That’s their infantile response, not mine. I have my very own infantile responses, tvm, and I’d prefer not to have the two confused. Ahem.

Moving on to organizing banning and expulsions. I can’t frankly imagine anything more repellent. The fact that one guest is now actively lobbying site principals to have Corey expelled from his own blog is the single most extraordinary act of ignorance I’ve encountered on the tubes. The ironies abound, as Corey noted in the OP.

And given that ironies are indeed a very large part of the OP, I feel it well within the parameters of on-topic discussion to point out a few of the larger ones here.

The discussion on racism and slavery are, frankly, off-topic and so poorly grounded in reality (with some notable exceptions) as to beggar belief.

Democrats waving the bloody shirt and suddenly discovering the purity of gold-star families is very much on-topic. As is the bias of the press. Romney was deemed entirely unfit to be president in precisely the same way as the current candidate is. Romney’s great crime? Laughing about killing people? Nope. Invading nations, or abusing national security? Uh-uh. Strapping the family dog to the roof of his car.

Because when weighing the big issues in American presidential elections:

Pets Lives Matter!!

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kidneystones 08.08.16 at 11:42 pm

Lanny Davis, longtime Clinton ally and DNC hack, explaining in great detail ( on Fox no less) why the Romney dog story makes the Republican candidate (is a Mormon the same as an atheist, Debbie?) unfit for the office of the President.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/01/13/romneys-dog-on-car-roof-story-makes-him-unfit-to-be-president.html

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bruce wilder 08.08.16 at 11:45 pm

awy @ 389: why is russian hacking of the dnc a preposterous story?

It is a story offered without proof for the purposes of creating a distraction, since it becomes an excuse for pundits engaging in groundless speculation and poses of outrage.

Because a far-fetched story about the Russkies carrying out an 11-dimensional plot to influence the U.S. election is so much juicier than a pedestrian story about Clinton’s minions doing the humdrum work of . . . influencing U.S. elections by unethical means.

The convoluted and imaginative stories about Guccifer and so on are just that, stories. The U.S. has an enormous and expensive surveillance state apparatus in place. So proof is, presumably, readily available if someone in authority wants to offer it. In the meantime, we have self-styled consultants blowing smoke.

But, hey, the Democrat’s Platform promises: “Democrats will protect our industry, infrastructure, and government from cyberattacks.” Hillary is going to get on that real soon now.

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bruce wilder 08.09.16 at 12:08 am

RNB @ 390:

!!! I’m part of a(n) (Un)Popular Front with Puchalsky cast as Léon Blum. You are weird, RNB.

I had kind of fancied C Robin as Eric Arthur Blair and R Puchalsky as the noble Durutti, a bit south of the Pyrenees. I don’t know where that leaves me — getting rained on back in England, probably.

399

Corey Robin 08.09.16 at 12:12 am

I think we reached peak “Trump is not like anything we’ve seen before” today when 50 top GOP national security officials, many of them veterans of the George W. Bush administration, actually came out and said, Trump “would put at risk our country’s national security.”

Among the signatories to this statement: Michael Hayden (just go back and read some of Jane Mayer’s reporting on Mr. “we must live on the edge” Hayden), Eliot Cohen, and, my personal favorite, John Negroponte, the man who thought Kissinger was too soft on the North Vietnamese, a Reaganite veteran of the Central America wars who Stephen Kinzer famously described as “a great fabulist.” Even by the Reagan Administration’s standards of fantasy and duplicity—I know this will come as news to some, but Donald Trump didn’t make up the practice of constructing an alternative reality; remember that Ron Suskind interview with Karl “we create our own reality” Rove?—Negroponte stood out, completely devising a Honduras of his imagination, which not only helped it become a staging ground for the devastation of the Contra war but also turned that country into a hellscape.

Anyway, these are the people who are now being trotted out to denounce the irresponsibility of Trump.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/09/us/politics/national-security-gop-donald-trump.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1

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Layman 08.09.16 at 12:18 am

I know irresponsibility. Irresponsibility was a friend of mine. You, sir, are not irresponsible!

401

kidneystones 08.09.16 at 12:28 am

Corey’s NYT GOP VSP spew is ranked 2nd most read after ‘Do Your Friends Actually Like You?’

What the most intelligent, highly informed, and not-one-bit narcissistic readership in the universe is mulling over today.

Some call it ‘news!’

402

awy 08.09.16 at 12:47 am

#396

you should read the news sometime

403

Rich Puchalsky 08.09.16 at 12:50 am

CR: “I think we reached peak “Trump is not like anything we’ve seen before” today when 50 top GOP national security officials, many of them veterans of the George W. Bush administration, actually came out and said, Trump “would put at risk our country’s national security.””

It’s the Popular Front! I call on all leftists to stand side by side in solidarity with our allies. We must have unity and not turn into the usual circular firing squad (Negroponte can probably give us some advice on how to arrange a firing squad properly).

In terms of actual activism, people who I work with are already, kind of blearily, getting on with it. Finding stuff that HRC supported as a Senator and dusting it off, to present it as “You supported this before, so how about now?” Marking that stuff “do not call attention to this if Trump wins.” Silently oiling the gears of whatever legal machinery is going to have to come into action if Trump happens and starts to demand that his whims be enforced.

CR’s OP reads in part:
“With that mention of his own interrogation of Fisher and decision not to bring him to DC, Welch was inadvertently testifying to the corrosive process by which moderates, centrists, liberals, and leftists—across the country, at all levels of government, in the tiniest corners and most obscure crevices of civil society—cooperated with McCarthyism, lest they too become targets not just of McCarthy (who was, after all, just the tip of the red-baiting iceberg) but also of the FBI, freelance blacklisters, employers, and more.”

But activism itself is, in some sense, part of this cooperation. Once you admit that pragmatism has its place as presumably leading to effectiveness in an important cause, all the rest follows. Why hurt what you’re working towards by giving people an unnecessary mode of attack against you? I’m not trying to contrast some kind of radical activism with some kind of less radical activism. It’s part of all of it. No one can separate themselves from society, and people doing politics least of all. So when society’s sick this nonsense necessarily has to infect everyone.

404

Corey Robin 08.09.16 at 1:38 am

Meanwhile, Josh Marshall is reporting that Trump’s margin with white voters has now dropped to 3.1 points.

http://polltracker.talkingpointsmemo.com/contests/us-president-2016-white

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LFC 08.09.16 at 1:46 am

It occurs to me that I never commented, I don’t think, on the main argument of the OP: namely, ‘historical amnesia’ and Trump-is-unique-ism gives the Repub party a chance to recover from a defeat, whereas the goal of smashing the party more definitively requires connecting Trump to his antecedents. I understand the argument, but it does assume that smashing the Repub party into oblivion for a generation or two or three is a realistic goal, which I’m not sure it is.

—-

I actually started writing a comment on the ‘national security’ letter thing, but I decided to heck w/ it. I’ll be glad when November arrives and the election is over. The only upside is that this election will probably produce some excellent retrospective narrative accounts. Not that I know much of anything about the details of the world of commercial/trade publishing, but I would be surprised if some book contracts were not already in the works.

406

Corey Robin 08.09.16 at 1:51 am

So this is another example of what drives me crazy. Susan Collins, Republican Senator from Maine, is coming out with an oped in tomorrow’s Washington Post saying she can’t vote for Trump. Because he “lacks the temperament, self-discipline, and judgment” blah blah blah. She could vote for a madman like McCain and a charlatan like Palin, but, fine, whatever. What truly kills me is that Jonathan Alter, liberal journalist, tweets Collins’s piece and says, “How can any decent, respectful Republican disagree?”

Jonathan Alter. The man who after 9/11 didn’t *defend* torture. No no, he was way too ahead of the game for that: He *called for* torture. This is the man who is now giving lectures in decency?

As I’ve said from the very get go, it should be possible to fight against Trump without completely revising the past.

https://twitter.com/jonathanalter/status/762824238411706368

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Keith 08.09.16 at 1:55 am

We’re still stuck with the fact that Hillary Clinton’s murderous buffoonery has killed thousands of more Muslims than Donald Trump has. Has she no sense of decency?

408

Keith 08.09.16 at 1:55 am

We’re still stuck with the fact that Hillary Clinton’s murderous buffoonery has killed thousands of more Muslims than Donald Trump has. Has she no sense of decency?

409

LFC 08.09.16 at 2:11 am

Do you expect Philip Zelikow, John Negroponte, Eliot Cohen and the other ‘natl security’ signatories of the letter, and now Susan Collins, to behave other than as they are behaving?

Is Negroponte going to sign a letter saying “I am a right-wing jerk w blood on my hands who worked for, among others, that idiot Reagan and by the way I can’t vote for Trump who is also a jerk, very much in line w the jerk I worked for”?

Is Susan Collins going to write an oped saying “I am a (supposedly) moderate Repub Senator from Maine who supported McCain and now I’m going to be inconsistent and not vote for Trump even though he’s basically not too different from McCain. Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.”? [I think Trump is somewhat worse than McCain, but I’m accepting the premise for the sake of argument.]

As for Alter, maybe he shd know better than to tweet the Collins oped, but I’m not going to get into that.

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Corey Robin 08.09.16 at 2:19 am

LFC: Do you expect me to write anything other than what I write? Do you expect Trump to do anything other than Trump? Do you expect…

This doesn’t really lead anywhere interesting, does it?

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Keith 08.09.16 at 2:21 am

Since Michael Hayden promised all of us that the military and intelligence agencies, for the first time ever, would stop committing war crimes if Trump was elected President, then we may very well have a moral obligation to vote for Trump.

412

kidneystones 08.09.16 at 2:28 am

Perhaps the best part of supporting Trump is that he’s almost universally loathed by virtually all the ‘right people’ elites on both sides of the aisle, and the ‘morally-minded’ billionaires.

I’ve argued before that I expect he’ll accomplish less than 1/10th of what he wants to do.
Dem hacks are promoting the fiction that Sanders, again an Independent, will magically become the most powerful voice in the senate and a strong check (cough, cough) on the worst excesses of HRC and her many neocon friends and admirers.

Given that the ‘security’ establishment consists almost entirely of quasi-fascists and grifters looking to get richer acting as agents for defense manufacturers and private security companies, these folks clearly see which candidate is likely to provide more of the filthy lucre. Wall st. and the Kochs both want a Clinton-Ryan partnership for 2016.

So, take your chances with Trump, or be prepared for another 4-8 years of no press conferences, no transparency, and the same screw everyone but the rich policies that have brought us all to this unhappy pass. Safer with Hillary?

You betcha!

413

Anarcissie 08.09.16 at 2:38 am

I was speculating to myself on what would replace the Republican Party if it is smashed or smashes itself. Based on what I glimpse from the boss media before hastily averting my eyes, it may smash itself before the election. I don’t know if it’s possible, but some Respectable Republicans seem ready to run as a third (fourth, fifth) party against the Trump or Disreputable Republicans. This would remove Clinton’s important selling point of being the unique Antitrump. (She would keep most of the frightened minorities, I suppose, but not necessarily the soccer moms and dads.) Indeed, important centrifugal forces might be observed among the Democrats as well as the Republicans should Trumpzilla seem to crumble. Regardless, the political forces that brought forth Sanders and Trump certainly aren’t going to go away — they’re going to hang around, and become something.

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LFC 08.09.16 at 2:41 am

CR @409
This doesn’t really lead anywhere interesting, does it?

Perhaps not.

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RNB 08.09.16 at 2:59 am

Oh so Corey Robin does not think that someone who has as lived as reality TV star saying that he knows more about ISIS than all the US generals combined may not be more of of a threat to world peace than the last several Presidents? See bottom of the first page of the “Statement by Former National Security Officials”.

So what does this sociopath think he knows about ISIS that US generals don’t know? That Daesh will surrender once Trump uses nuclear weapons against them? He’s already mused about this.

It’s clear to people who are listening is that if Trump feels humiliated and gets it in his head that this will work, there is nothing and no one around him to stop or even slow him down.

Does the fact that people with a lot of blood on their hands have pointed this out not make it true?

Here’s someone to whom every leftist critic of US foreign policy owes a debt.

See ad hominem fallacy is. Thanks

416

RNB 08.09.16 at 3:06 am

Sorry for typos. Should still be clear. Focused too much on getting the HTML right.

417

Keith 08.09.16 at 3:10 am

” saying that he knows more about ISIS than all the US generals combined may not be more of of a threat to world peace than the last several Presidents?”

I mean, these are the same generals who funded two different rebel groups in Syria, who then started shooting each other.

But hey, whatever spends that budget every year, amirite?

418

RNB 08.09.16 at 3:17 am

So you do think the reality TV star and purveyor of Trump steaks knows more about ISIS than all the generals? You trust Trump that he’s got this.

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Keith 08.09.16 at 3:20 am

RNB, our military-intelligence sector is so dedicated to spending their whole budget every year, even to the detriment of our national defense, that any idiot could see through them.

And any idiot clearly has.

420

RNB 08.09.16 at 3:26 am

OK you want to leave Daesh to Trump’s discretion. Because it just could not be any worse than it is now or would have been under McCain or Romney? That’s the argument? This is sad.

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RNB 08.09.16 at 3:29 am

@398 Bruce, you have a very inflated of your friends, Rich Puchalsky and Corey Robin!

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kidneystones 08.09.16 at 4:18 am

“The parents of two Americans killed in the 2012 terrorist attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court on Monday against Hillary Clinton. In the suit, Patricia Smith and Charles Woods, the parents of Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods, claim that Clinton’s use of a private email server contributed to the attacks.” NBC

Woods and Smith are also suing Clinton for defaming them publicly and repeatedly over the last several years. According to Woods and Smith, Clinton blamed the death of their sons on a spontaneous attack resulting from a You Tube video when meeting in person at a ceremony. Clinton repeated the You Tube video story publicly, as did a number of other Obama administration officials. State department memos confirm that Clinton and other senior officials understood within hours of the assault in Benghazi that the military-style attack was planned well in advance to destroy the US compound on the anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

Records confirm that no extra precautions were taken despite repeated requests from US Ambassador Stevens, who lost his life in the assault on the compound along with Woods and Smith. Military personnel in Libya were ordered to stand down, rather than attempt to rescue Americans as the assault on the compound took place.

Hillary Clinton has repeatedly accused Patricia Smith and Charles Woods of ‘memory loss,’ when confronted with the charges that she repeated the video fiction despite knowing the opposite to be true. According to Clinton, Smith and Woods both misunderstood or cannot recall Clinton’s words. Her version of events, however, is severely undercut by the fact that Clinton and other officials repeatedly claimed the video to be the cause of the attack at roughly the same time as her private meeting with Woods and Smith.

Let the smearing of Woods and Smith begin!

423

RNB 08.09.16 at 4:24 am

Trump is poison .

He spent his Sunday whipping up hatred now of legal immigrants. What Susan Collins said about Trump is true; her editorial focuses on the insults to a disabled person, to an American Judge and to grieving parents. Corey Robin @406 just does not get it.

The neocon national security people were also right: Trump would be the most reckless President at least in recent memory.

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RNB 08.09.16 at 4:25 am

Oops link here

425

RNB 08.09.16 at 4:26 am

Link is now awaiting moderation, but it was to the Boston Globe article Mainers defend Somali neighbors against Trump

426

Donald 08.09.16 at 11:57 am

I suspect the reason that neocons hate Trump is not because he is a dangerous maniac, but became he isn’t the precise type of dangerous maniac they prefer. He shows contempt for the establishment idiots that favored the Iraq War, not that Trump opposed it himself. That by itself would be unforgivable for them.

Sanders was hated by many Democrats for the same reason–he pointed out that Clinton supported the Iraq War and therefore had bad judgment, which undercuts the whole argument based on her expertise in foreign policy. I am in no way saying that Sanders is the same as Trump. I voted for Sanders and would vote for almost anyone against Trump.

It’s possible to be terrified by the possibility of a Trump presidency and also be cynical about the motives of the torture apologists and warmongers who criticize him.

427

Rich Puchalsky 08.09.16 at 12:49 pm

Donald: “I suspect the reason that neocons hate Trump is not because he is a dangerous maniac, but became he isn’t the precise type of dangerous maniac they prefer.”

The whole concept of “recklessness” doesn’t really have much meaning in this context. The foreign policy establishment failed to actually reduce the number of nuclear weapons when it was possible to do so, for no better reason than because it would have harmed the military-industrial complex. They have signally failed to do anything to restrain the ability of the President to declare war at will, instead preferring convenience in carrying out whatever ad hoc goal is current. They are steadily in the process of converting alliances from deterrents to war to possible triggers for war. They did not take any steps to sanction or put on trial war criminals who committed aggressive war and torture. And the establishment candidate, HRC, just accused (through surrogates) of carrying out an act of war against the U.S. (the supposed hacking incident) and declared Russia to be our enemy. And if and when all of this falls into the hands of a demagogue, it will supposedly be the demagogue that is reckless, not the establishment. Therefore we must always vote for the establishment, because they’ve made the machine so dangerous to run that supposedly if they step away from the controls for a moment it will blow up. That’s nonsense. If they continue doing that for long enough, eventually people will vote for a demagogue as the only other choice — and Trump won’t be the last one.

Another bit of nonsense is the whole constellation of ideas around unity, solidarity, allyship, “we must work together”, “no circular firing squad” etc. There is no unity or solidarity and the whole idea that there is is manipulative — the people who call on it are not anyone’s allies. People have different goals. If the reason we’re supposed to work together despite having different goals is to defeat Trump, then we are not allies. We’re each just going to do the minimum needed to defeat Trump, and then we’re enemies.

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bruce wilder 08.09.16 at 1:42 pm

For all the talk of how Trump is endangering Republican Party candidates down ballot, Clinton is working hard to take no advantage for the Democratic Party or progressive ideas. The “minimum needed to defeat Trump” is conspicuously not anything likely to discredit or drive from office the corrupt war mongers. Clinton seems determined to leave the Republican Party strong and progressive Democrats weak and marginalized.

429

Barry 08.09.16 at 2:16 pm

Bull.

430

Layman 08.09.16 at 2:20 pm

“Meanwhile, Josh Marshall is reporting that Trump’s margin with white voters has now dropped to 3.1 points.”

Apparently perceived incompetence trumps racist affinity and economic hardship.

“A majority of voters simply don’t think he’s qualified to serve as president. And it’s not just qualifications — they don’t think he has the personality or temperament to serve as president (67 to 31 percent), they don’t think he has a solid understanding of world affairs (64 to 33 percent), and they don’t think he’s honest and trustworthy (62 to 34 percent).”

http://www.vox.com/2016/8/9/12404942/poll-donald-trump

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Faustusnotes 08.09.16 at 2:21 pm

Your last paragraph is an interesting take on left wing politics rich. Low income white voters adversely affected by trade deals shouldn’t consider solidarity with low paid Mexican migrants they might be competing against when they choose who to vote for? This is a “manipulative” idea?

432

T 08.09.16 at 2:26 pm

Corey/Kidneystones (together for the first time)

I think the policy issues are now completely swamped by the personality flaws. The Collins letter said it all. She purposely kept away from policy and concentrated on personality. It was a conscious effort of not having to deal with Corey’s general critique as well as bypassing all of Kidneystones obvious disgust w/HRCs policies, dissembling and odious allies and benefactors.

The polls are showing very little uncertainty among registered voters. People have made up their mind. I think it was Trump’s attack on the Gold Star family that did it. That’s an issue that cuts across many demographics and ideologies and is felt very deeply across much of the ideological spectrum. It’s not so much that it pissed off military families (many of whom will still support Trump) but that it pissed off everyone else not completely invested in supporting Trump or hating HRC (kidneystones). He crossed a line. And that line immunizes the Repubs against Corey’s attack on the whole Republican Party and kidneysone’s attack on the neo-conservative HRC.

(kidneystones — it’s not about understanding the military or military culture, it’s about understanding what Americans think about soldiers and their sacrifice. As I mentioned earlier, that’s a bit hard to get w/o living here for a while. And it’s visceral.)

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F. Foundling 08.09.16 at 2:27 pm

@RNB 08.08.16 at 10:06 pm
>I do not think Crooked Timber should be featuring this hugely irresponsible line of thought in their OP’s. But that is my opinion, not my call.

Trump is such a menace and defeating him is so important that I think freedom of speech should be limited temporarily (through informal ostracism and prudent editorial judgement, of course) and only pure HRC bots should be allowed to speak. But that is just my opinion, not my call.

> 1,2,3,4,5,6

This is how I understand the Clintonbots. It is not enough to just vote for Clinton or support voting for Clinton against Trump. Let us also *pretend* that Clinton isn’t more evil than her liberal supporters recognise, let us *pretend* that Donald Trump is unprecedented among Republicans, let us stop thinking and speaking what we think, let us do anything and say anything, use each and every conceivable argument, sacrifice all of our principles, honesty and future credibility in order to convince our followers and anyone still stupid enough to take our words seriously that Clinton is an angel of light and the difference between her and Trump is in no way less than the one between Heaven and Hell. Let us be completely uncritical of everything that she and her allies have ever done or are doing at the moment, until the elections are over. Then, when she uses this free pass we have given her to do the same things as President, we can be happy that at least we have saved the world. And maybe, just maybe our absolute loyalty to the tribe and the establishment will be rewarded.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.09.16 at 2:39 pm

fn: “Low income white voters adversely affected by trade deals shouldn’t consider solidarity with low paid Mexican migrants they might be competing against when they choose who to vote for?”

No one defending the establishment is actually proposing policies that will help low income workers or Mexican migrants. On the contrary, what they are promising is lesser evil. On a purely CT level, none of the people commenting are elected or selected representatives of those groups. No one of the regular commenters, as far as I know, is even individually a low income worker or Mexican migrant. They’re just professionals purporting to speak for them. Their personal stake is supposed to be “I’m terrified”.

435

LFC 08.09.16 at 2:58 pm

Rich Puchalsky has said repeatedly that the number of nuclear weapons has not decreased since the end of the CW. This happens to be false, and repeating it again and again and again will not make it true. (The arsenals are too big and the obligation of the nuclear powers under the NPT to work toward disarmament has not been pursued v. seriously, but those are different pts.)

436

Brett Dunbar 08.09.16 at 2:59 pm

The reason that slaves for the cotton plantations were imported from west Africa was availability and disease resistance rather than racism.

West African coastal kingdoms had developed an export trade in slaves. They were essentially immune from European conquest as the local diseases tended to kill non locals within months. They would trade slaves for weapons with European trading posts and use the weapons to raid interior tribes kidnapping and enslaving them for sale.

This led to a situation in the American south were the slaves were overwhelmingly black while the free population were overwhelmingly white. Racism then provided an ideological justification for this situation. And post abolition for the exclusion of blacks from the political process.

Meanwhile in west Africa the abolition of the slave trade led to the decline of the slave kingdoms such as Benin (in southwestern Nigeria not the modern republic of the same name). Eventually they were conquered by Europeans. In the case of Benin it was partly a treaty dispute and partly about them practicing slavery and human sacrifice. Colonialism was bad by modern standards but it often replaced states which were far worse so was an improvement on the actually existing situation.

437

F. Foundling 08.09.16 at 3:08 pm

@Faustusnotes 08.07.16 at 5:15 am

Off-topic, but just too weird to leave unaddressed.

>You negotiated with Muslims; you murdered native Americans and stole their land.

First principles of human foreign policy:
A. You rob and murder anyone that you can get away with robbing and murdering.
B. You negotiate if A. is impossible at the moment.

Christians, being human, did murder Muslims whenever it was possible, and did negotiate with native Americans whenever murdering them immediately was impossible.

>The oat obvious manifestation of this is the absence of street harassment and the complete lack of fear of sexual violence here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groping#Japan

>At the same time other countries weren’t choosing empire. For example Japan chose isolation. … At the time it became isolated Japan was the richest country in he world from the silver trade but it chose not to go invading other countries for silver when it’s own supplies ran out.

There are enough good explanations for Japan’s isolation having to do with the Tokugawa regime’s self-interest; ascribing it to an open-minded attitude towards race is, to say the least, bizarre.

>Japan, of course, wasn’t Christian, and it’s native religion didn’t have the same concepts of sin and soul, so it didn’t have the same apparatus for constructing racial categories

This is, again, a very strange claim. Sin and soul have nothing to do with biological race. The very point of positing a soul is distinguishing it from the biological body; talking about sin (what one has done) is completely different from talking about race (what one is from birth). One can only link the concepts if one is desperate to do so (as some have been, of course). I’m opposed to Christianity as well as all other religions, but the fact remains that it is a universalist doctrine that is philosophically incompatible with racial or ethnic chauvinism.

Bottomline: it seems that some people here are too obsessed with race and racism and too emotionally influenced by antipathy towards their own ethnic and religious background.

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RNB 08.09.16 at 3:09 pm

@430

Trump’s loss of the white vote is not being driven by repudiation of his ugly nativist comments amounting to race war on Somali refugees. I wish that were the case, though it seems to have played some role in Senator Collins’ repudiation of Trump.

Trump is not doing as well with whites as Romney did primarily because college educated white women are leaving the Republican Party. It seems that having binders full of women is a bit less obnoxious than apologizing for Roger Ailes.

So a big question is whether these college educated white women remain alienated from Trump. It’s not over. Trump could still somehow win them back in the next 90 days, though it was just for this possible split of the white women vote that I was a vocal supporter of Clinton here.

But do not forget that Trump had the lead in the polls just two weeks ago. McGovern never came close to Nixon in the polls.

439

stevenjohnson 08.09.16 at 3:46 pm

Criticizing Clinton from the right is just as reactionary as criticizing Trump from the right. Further, assigning an individual such personal responsibility denies the reality of a bipartisan system that administers an imperialist government with only a formal simulacrum of popular support. That is, this “criticism” is fundamentally from the right.

In particular, criticizing Clinton by falsely assigning her responsibility for Obama’s policies fails because it’s so transparently dishonest. The notion that Clinton made Libya policy for the UN ambassador Power is dubious enough. The careers of Stevenson and Bolton alone show that the potential importance of security council veto means the President reserves direct supervision for himself, no matter what an organizational chart may say. The further implication that she manipulated Obama is silly on the face of it. It was Obama who dealt with Cameron and Sarkozy, who were above her pay grade. The Syrian policies continued after she was gone, nearly coming to open war entirely without her. The implication that for a Secretary of State to sell weapons to foreign nations isn’t constituent service borders on the silly. Besides, isolationism is not left win, never has been, never was. And the implication that the any US government would ever favor supporting a leftish president in Latin America because of its commitment to democracy thoroughly falsifies the nature of the US government. Disappearing left criticism of Obama is thoroughly reactionary.

Also, the insistence on using the years of nonsense dispensed by rabid right wingers spouting all sorts of crazed BS about how crooked Billary is, is endorsing the Mighty Wurlitzer. Jerry Falwell was speaking truth to power when he ranted about Vince Foster? Buying into this is buying decades of reactionary propaganda. I suppose this is mindlessness enough to satisfy people who alleged that SYRIZA was going to save Greece (the rock that should by the way have sunk Jacobin magazines credibility, leaving next to the Titanic,) or Bernie Sanders was starting a revolution.

It is of course true that Trump isn’t unprecedented. His great precedent is of course Richard Nixon, who also had a plan. I suppose F. Foundling eager awaits Trump’s great “Nixon goes to China” moment. I have no idea why.

Whether Trump or Clinton, the next president is very likely to be impeached and convicted. As to which one it is, there has really never been much doubt that Clinton in the end will gain enough minority support to carry the big cities. But if the reactionaries depress the turnout enough, Trump has a shot at an electoral college victory, especially given the precedents on how votes are counted. The infunny thing is, either Pence (a Ted Cruz without testicles,) or Kaine (an Obama DNC chair and thoroughly vetted Armed Service committeeman,) are nightmares.

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Corey Robin 08.09.16 at 4:51 pm

Ah, it’s official: Clinton is actively seeking Henry Kissinger’s endorsement. The man who helped scuttle the peace talks in 1968, prolonging the Vietnam War by seven years, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives. Who was at the heart of the secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos—personally selecting targets for bomber runs—which led to the destabilization of Cambodia and ultimately the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian genocide. Who firmly backed the Pakistani military in its genocidal slaughter in Bangladesh. As Greg Grandin, whose book about Kissinger is must-reading, wrote not so long ago, “The full tally hasn’t been done, but a back-of-the-envelope count would attribute 3, maybe 4 million deaths to Kissinger’s actions, but that number probably undercounts his victims in southern Africa.”

This is the man whose support Hillary wants. Because Kissinger sways so many votes in Ohio or Georgia? No, because he’s prudential, realistic, respectable, unlike that irresponsible reckless madman Donald Trump.

I’m actually beginning to welcome the “we’ve never had someone as bad as Trump before” meme. I can’t think of a greater (and deliciously unintentional) indictment of the United States than that claim.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/clinton-republican-elder-statesmen-kissinger-226680#ixzz4GklOFXfV

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Corey Robin 08.09.16 at 5:02 pm

Greg’s actually just written an excellent piece on the abomination that is Henry Kissinger and Clinton’s attempt to secure his endorsement.

https://www.thenation.com/article/henry-kissinger-hillary-clintons-tutor-in-war-and-peace/

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LFC 08.09.16 at 5:07 pm

A glance at the Politico piece reveals it’s a bit vague on the details, saying that, according to an unnamed source, the Clinton campaign has “sent out feelers” to Kissinger, Baker, Schultz, and Rice. But yeah, that’s a mistake. Her campaign doesn’t need them, and why HRC does not do everything to keep her distance from Kissinger — I mean as a political matter (if they want to be on friendly terms in private life, I guess that’s their business) — is mystifying. Maybe Bill Clinton, who attended anti-Vietnam War protests in London while a student at Oxford, shd have a long talk w/ HRC about the period. Since, though she lived through it, it apparently did not make that much of an impact. Anyway, I’d be surprised if Kissinger ends up publicly endorsing her.

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LFC 08.09.16 at 5:08 pm

p.s. haven’t read Grandin piece (yet).

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The Temporary Name 08.09.16 at 5:09 pm

This is the man whose support Hillary wants. Because Kissinger sways so many votes in Ohio or Georgia? No, because he’s prudential, realistic, respectable, unlike that irresponsible reckless madman Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton’s respect for Kissinger has been noted before I think, and it’s awful. Even if she were free of that shithead, though, her current goal is to demolish Trump. Voices on the GOP side really are important to erode his support not just among voters but within the party and the donor base. This could be a historic walloping. If monsters can help the effort to flip the senate, court the monsters.

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Corey Robin 08.09.16 at 5:13 pm

It’s really not mystifying. Clinton has long courted that imprimatur of foreign policy mainstream respectability, and while the origins of that courting may have been instrumental and strategic, pure political calculation, it has since become a part of her political identity. I don’t this is cynicism anymore; she believes it.

Meanwhile, the poll numbers keep climbing for her. Virtually every mainstream journalist now recognizes what some of us have been saying for months. Absent a “miracle,” as Rothenberg says here, Trump will be squashed.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/08/09/donald-trump-needs-a-miracle-to-win/?wpisrc=nl_most-draw5&wpmm=1

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Tom 08.09.16 at 5:14 pm

Mother Jones had a piece some time ago about the Clintons actually vacationing with the Kissinger…. It was a very interesting read and, afaik, none in the Clinton camp denied that report.

447

Tom 08.09.16 at 5:18 pm

As we are on the subject, let’s not forget Samantha Power catching a baseball game with old, wise Henry. Just google it, there was also an ESPN article.

448

RNB 08.09.16 at 5:39 pm

Clinton has said that she wants to take advantage of Kissinger’s contacts in China. So the question is what will Clinton’s policies be like towards China, Japan, and South Korea and how will Kissinger influence her especially in regards to China.

Here’s some background http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/11/world/asia/hillary-clinton-as-seen-through-a-chinese-prism.html?_r=0

449

The Temporary Name 08.09.16 at 5:39 pm

Absent a “miracle,” as Rothenberg says here, Trump will be squashed.

There’s still a great case for running up the score, as there are down-ticket effects (and effects on Republican backers). To do that, you absolutely destroy Trump on all fronts. You don’t hang back.

450

RNB 08.09.16 at 5:46 pm

Yeah, it seems that the Grandin piece does not get at what Hillary Clinton has said is the real heart of her relationship with Kissinger: his contacts and relations within China. We should have a discussion of what Clinton’s foreign policy in Asia is likely to be. We do know what the Chinese leadership thinks of Trump: the perfect example of why they should remain opposed to democratization.

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RNB 08.09.16 at 5:48 pm

Corey Robin: ‘Meanwhile, the poll numbers keep climbing for her. Virtually every mainstream journalist now recognizes what some of us have been saying for months. Absent a “miracle,” as Rothenberg says here, Trump will be squashed.’

Of course Trump has been getting squashed in the polls only since the DNC. He had a lead after the RNC and still has a healthy majority of the demographic way overrepresented in this comments section.

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RNB 08.09.16 at 5:59 pm

This is the knowledge that Clinton wants from Kissinger https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/may/15/on-china-henry-kissinger-review
And this is not to say that Kissinger will not lead Clinton astray, or perhaps down terrible even paths in Sino-US relations. The point is that if we want to get at what the Kissinger-Clinton relation means, we have to talk about China first and foremost.

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Corey Robin 08.09.16 at 6:11 pm

For the reality-based community, here is the record of all the polling data setting Clinton against Trump for the last year. Except for May 22-25 (where he had a .2 lead) and three days around the RNC, Clinton has been continuously beating Trump for 12 months. Sometimes by as much as 12 points.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton-5491.html

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RNB 08.09.16 at 6:17 pm

For the reality based community once Trump secured the nomination and had his convention, he did pull ahead of Clinton. And before he began imploding last week, most pollsters expected that Clinton’s lead would settle back to 4-5 points. It’s double that presently because of a meltdown bigger than anyone expected. It could still revert to 4-5 points, which is not a Nixon like lead over McGovern and gives Trump a roughly 20-30% chance to win the election according to Silver. Now it may not revert to 4 to 5 points. I hope it does not. I hope that he has done fatal damage to himself. But it’s too early to say that.

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Layman 08.09.16 at 6:28 pm

Corey Robin, from the OP:

“Welch’s question—have you no decency left—could more properly be posed as: Have you no utility left? When the good and the great finally denounce the bad and the worse, it’s not because the latter has crossed some Rubicon of decency; it’s usually because they’re useless or threatening to established interests.”

This looks more prophetic with each passing day. As it begins to seem that Trump is heading for a defeat of epic proportions, he’s losing his utility; and this in turn frees Republican elites to suddenly be repulsed by his bigotry.

Susan Collins is a prime example. When Trump was fomenting violence against protestors, that was not too much for her to refrain from supporting him as the nominee. When Trump was calling Mexicans murderers and rapists, that was not enough for her to withdraw support from him as the nominee. When Trump was calling for a total ban on Muslim immigration, that was not enough for her to withdraw support from him as the nominee. When Trump ran a 4-day fantasy bigotry-fest and called it a convention, that was not enough for her to withdraw support from him as the nominee. Now that he’s losing, and threatening to take the Senate down with him? Oh, she has discovered that he lacks decency (who knew?) and she can’t support him.

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Layman 08.09.16 at 6:38 pm

Corey Robin: “Ah, it’s official: Clinton is actively seeking Henry Kissinger’s endorsement.”

It may well be true that the Clnton campaign is seeking these endorsements, and, if they are, then it speaks (yet again) to what a thoroughly disappointing candidate and person she is. That said, it may be also not be true, given that the story is being reported by Politico and includes not one single named primary source or corroborating source.

457

RNB 08.09.16 at 6:39 pm

Susan Collins expressed her displeasure with Trump long before making the repudiation explicit.
http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/republican-senator-susan-collins-says-she-might-support-hillary-clinton

458

RNB 08.09.16 at 6:45 pm

On the poll data I found Robin’s link difficult to understand. This is clear
http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2016-general-election-trump-vs-clinton
It shows that Trump was within striking distance to Clinton but had a bad March and April and then came closer again to the point of making it a toss up after the RNC only to give Clinton a lead after the DNC, a lead that is bigger than was expected due to what people are calling one of worst weeks of self-inflicted blows.

This is nothing like Nixon against McGovern where Nixon’s lead seems to have been up between about 18 to 30 points for several months!

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bruce wilder 08.09.16 at 6:47 pm

LFC @ 442: why HRC does not do everything to keep her distance from Kissinger — I mean as a political matter . . . is mystifying. . . . though she lived through it, it apparently did not make that much of an impact.

As a callow youth, I had a revealing conversation with a gentleman, whose pride and joy was a nearly complete collection of anti-war posters and signs, crafted by students at Harvard’s School of Design during those long ago days. He’d live thru it and paid attention, and laughed out loud at my naiveté about what I believed to have been the selfless idealism of the protesters. Oh no, he said, authoritatively and at some length, these were selfish, cowardly, privileged and self-absorbed pricks for the most most part. I’ve remembered his lecture every time I’ve encountered an Alito or a Cheney since that time.

Why people insist on seeing Clinton as this committed long-time liberal, when she’s always been a conservative with all the typical prejudices and filters, isn’t really a mystery, but it is a continuing phenomenon.

460

Layman 08.09.16 at 6:55 pm

@ RNB

In the story you cite, Collins says not once but twice that she won’t vote for Clinton. It’s the same sort of weak tea the Republicans have been offering all along – express shock and dismay at what the Republican nominee has said, say your troubled by it, but don’t jump ship.

Here’s Collins from May, effectively endorsing Trump:

“Maine’s Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Thursday that she plans to attend the party’s national convention in July and will support the party’s presidential nominee.”

http://www.pressherald.com/2016/05/05/collins-says-trump-needs-changes-in-his-approach-but-shell-back-republican-nominee/

It’s much the same approach: Be sure to distance yourself from Trump’s rhetoric and his proposals, but stop short of rejecting him.

461

novakant 08.09.16 at 7:05 pm

The trouble is that the damage is already done: the racist 50% have been “given a voice” and it is now perfectly acceptable again to be openly racist/xenophobic/cruel. It was already pretty bad for Muslims/Asians (google “flying while Muslim”) but the difference post-Trump is that the last taboos have fallen and the racism is now overt. This is an unbearable situation for those affected and showing empathy and solidarity towards them and calling out the racists for what they are would go a long way in these terrible times. Instead we get “hug a, economically disadvantaged, racist” and “been there, done that” rhetoric.

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RNB 08.09.16 at 7:05 pm

Well thank you for trying to get the record straight about what Collins has been saying before the formal repudiation (I wish Corey Robin would have done in regards to the comparison of what Bush said to Sheehan and what Trump said to the Khan’s).

Collins registered sharp disagreement with the Curiel statement and the Muslim ban.

At the RNC she did say that she was open to voting for Clinton! While not ruling out voting for Trump, she said: ‘I have always supported the nominee of my party, my entire life, and it is extremely unlikely that I would vote for Hillary Clinton, but I’m not completely closing the door, but it is extremely unlikely,” Collins told CNN.”It is more likely that I would decide to write in a candidate or choose another approach.”‘

At the RNC! That was already more than a defacto repudiation of the Party’s nominee: it was a knife in his back, given that as a Senator she was considering voting for Clinton.That is not weak tea for a Republican at the RNC. It could get you beat up.

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RNB 08.09.16 at 7:06 pm

@459 Thank you, novakant!

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Layman 08.09.16 at 7:13 pm

@ RNB, the point remains that it took until now for Collins to break with Trump. What’s changed? Other than the polls making it clear he’s losing badly?

465

RNB 08.09.16 at 7:17 pm

Yeah, that’s not what happened. Collins long ago broke with Trump for all practical purposes. It may have been because of how the Curiel comments cost him dearly in the polls, and she did not think he would recover. But note that he did. So again this election is not over. The media is going to try to save Trump over the next few weeks to keep their ratings up.

466

LFC 08.09.16 at 7:17 pm

bruce wilder @457

1) Before doing history-by-one-witness’s-view, you might want to take a look at the many memoirs, first-hand accounts, and historical scholarship on that period and see what they say about whether all the people involved in the protests were self-absorbed ‘pricks’. No doubt a certain number were, but I’m pretty sure many weren’t. On the protests at Berkeley, Columbia (’68) and Harvard (spring ’69) alone, the published first-hand accounts and secondary works are prob. enough to fill a small library by now. And you yet give full credence to the remarks of one person. (And btw, I don’t know what Cheney and Alito have to do w this — Alito was never anything other than a conservative (plus he’s too young to be in that generation), and although I’m not entirely sure what Cheney’s politics were as a young man, or indeed if he had any, he wasn’t a political activist of any sort, iirc.)

2) On HRC supposedly always a conservative: I suppose that’s why she went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund out of law school. Makes perfect sense.

467

LFC 08.09.16 at 7:37 pm

p.s. The antiwar movement on other campuses (e.g. Wisconsin just to name one) has also been studied, plus in the country at large. So no reason to do one-witness history at this point.

468

RNB 08.09.16 at 8:46 pm

Well LFC is right about @457; note this from Bruce Wilder: ‘He’d live thru it [the 60s protests] and paid attention, and laughed out loud at my naiveté about what I believed to have been the selfless idealism of the protesters. Oh no, he said, authoritatively and at some length, these were selfish, cowardly, privileged and self-absorbed pricks for the most most part.’
He should have met the “left” commentators at Crooked Timber.

469

T 08.09.16 at 8:53 pm

@464

In moderation? Really?

You raise the Children’s Defense Fund in her defense? HRC betrayed Marian Edelman, the CDF founder by supporting the catastrophic welfare bill. Peter Edelman was so disgusted that he resigned from HHS and the Clinton administration. Between the crime bill and and the welfare bill Clinton did an enormous amount of damage to black families. HRC conservative? Yes. You probably call it the Third Way. Democratic neoliberlism at its finest.

470

RNB 08.09.16 at 10:08 pm

T,
Do you know an account of the welfare reform bill that Senator Clinton worked on in 2002. As I understand it, she agreed to more even work stipulations on the condition that $8bn more be spent on child care for working parents, though knowing that while $8 bn was the most she could get from the Republicans, it was at least $3bn short of what parents working longer hours would need.

So I don’t think her own votes and legislative initiatives absolve her, but it seems that Peter Edelman does! Washington Post: ‘Peter Edelman, a Georgetown law professor, said he was reluctant to be interviewed.“It’s 20 years later,” he said. “I think we’re all in a good place now.” Peter Edelman said he is “100 percent” behind Clinton’s campaign. “I strongly believe that Hillary is the most qualified candidate for president,” he said.’ And he said this during the primary battle with Sanders.

At any rate, Clinton’s own votes should be the focus of analysis, not Bill Clinton’s initiatives. Michele Goldberg disputes that she had much of a role in that at all, though there are debates about how involved she was. Still the focus she should be on here Senate behavior here, which again may hardly absolve her

471

LFC 08.09.16 at 11:13 pm

@T
I was responding to bruce wilder’s claim, at the comment now numbered 459, that
Why people insist on seeing Clinton as this committed long-time liberal, when she’s always been a conservative with all the typical prejudices and filters, isn’t really a mystery, but it is a continuing phenomenon.

In this context, her working for CDF early on is relevant. If, hypothetically, HRC had switched parties in the late 1980s, say, it still wouldn’t mean b.w.’s claim is correct.

472

Lupita 08.09.16 at 11:37 pm

Corey Robin @ 440

I would like to add to your list of Kissinger crimes that of Operation Condor, lest it be forgotten.

473

Rich Puchalsky 08.09.16 at 11:44 pm

But, Lupita — the Popular Front! You can’t bring this up now, it will hurt the reputation of our allies.

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Lupita 08.10.16 at 12:00 am

@ Rich

I felt a bit offended that RNB did not include me in the Popular Front (Corey Robin, Bruce Wilder, and you), not even as a hanger on (Marc and Phenomenal Cat) . Racist-sexist, perhaps?

475

RNB 08.10.16 at 12:15 am

“Lupita”, I gave you your own post @229! You didn’t respond. Again Clinton is not consulting with Kissinger who has done monstrous things which I learned about from reading Gabriel Kolko and Noam Chomsky about how to carry out waterboarding and kill terrorists’ family members. That’s what Trump talks to General Flynn about. My guess is that Clinton is talking to the 91-year-old Secty of State who helped to normalize relations with China to figure out things such as: how US companies can penetrate the telecommunications and social media market and how the US can win better protection of intellectual property and and how conduct diplomacy over a variety of issues.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 12:18 am

too many clauses. I’ll just rewrite: Again Clinton is not consulting with Kissinger about how to carry out waterboarding and kill terrorists’ family members.

477

Lee A. Arnold 08.10.16 at 12:20 am

It sounds like half the GOP establishment is going to come out publicly against Trump by the end of next week.

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Layman 08.10.16 at 12:32 am

“My guess is that Clinton is talking to the 91-year-old Secty of State who helped to normalize relations with China to figure out things such as: how US companies can penetrate the telecommunications and social media market and how the US can win better protection of intellectual property and and how conduct diplomacy over a variety of issues.”

Kissinger knows fuck-all about the telecommunications market, or social media, or (at this point) China. I mean, really, get a grip.

479

RNB 08.10.16 at 12:35 am

Layman, look you already had a bad day today with your Susan Collins comment; now you act as if you have not heard of Kissinger Associates.

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Lupita 08.10.16 at 12:59 am

“Lupita”, I gave you your own post @229!

OK, I went back and read it. Thank you for misconstruing my arguments just as you do with the white dudes. I feel whole again.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 1:06 am

You just called Rich Puchalsky a “white dude”! Oh, boy, are you about to get it.

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Faustusnotes 08.10.16 at 1:23 am

Corey, if trump represents a continuation of the standard practices and policies of the Republican Party, if nothing he does or says is a break from those practices, if McCain was a “madman” then how come all the republican establishment are coming out against him? How come his poll results are tanking so badly and everyone is talking about hat a disaster he is? Why does ct have such unbearable threads? There is something different about this man and his policies. I appreciate what you’re doing here and I agree that the Republican Party has been an abomination for a long time but there’s some dots you haven’t quite connected here. It’s clear that for the majority of politicians and the public he is not more of the same, not even compared to Palin. What is the secret combination of herbs and spices that makes him a oral republican yet in every way abnormal?

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Corey Robin 08.10.16 at 1:35 am

Faustusnotes: “then how come all the republican establishment are coming out against him?”

That one’s easy: he’s a disaster for them. He’s gone after their top leaders (Bush, Romney, McCain never did that), and he’s an electoral disaster for the party as a whole. That was one of the main points of the McCarthy precedent that I spent so many paragraphs elaborating in the OP.

But, also, as I said somewhere upthread and have said on multiple occasions: The point is not that Trump is exactly the same as the past. Of course, he’s not. No one is the same as their predecessor, and Trump has definitely added some novelties to the mix. My point is that many of the things that people think are new are in fact same old, same old. And by pretending that they are new—in the case of people who should know better (I don’t include some of the people on this thread; they, alas, just know much at all)—we allow the truly horrible people of the past who prepared the way for Trump, we allow them to exonerate themselves and rehabilitate themselves, so that they can reconstruct the same type of party we’ve known all these years after the train wreck they’re going to experience in November.

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Faustusnotes 08.10.16 at 1:50 am

If it’s any consolation Corey, I think that allowing the republicans of the past to be exonerated by comparison with trumps exceptionalities is a purely American thing; out here in the rest of the world that your policies are destroying, everyone just says “oh look, the party of stupid is getting their just desserts.” (Everyone except kidneystones of course).

I enjoyed many aspects of the speeches at the DNC – the inspirational power of Michelle Obama, khan’s passion, barack’s snark etc. but the American exceptionalism was a depressing example of how far you guys have to go before you can be good world citizens. Your A team just don’t get it, and your b team are obviously mad. Brandishing your constitution about as if it were something to be proud of rather than embarrassed by, singing the praises of an America that couldn’t even agree on something basic like “slavery is not cool” and saying America is already great when it doesn’t even have proper universal health coverage or gun control… This is why the rest of us can’t have nice things. And if your a team buys into this guff (and I think they really do believe it) then obviously it’s going to be hard for your b team to come to terms with minor details like how many millions their past policies killed. Which might explain why they couldn’t predict the current shit show, even though without trump they knew they would be likely getting a straight-up maniac (Cruz).

Hopefully this November your b team will self immolate so spectacularly that your a team will be free to begin a bit of real introspection. But out here in the rest of e world we still have our doubts, I think it’s safe to say…

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RNB 08.10.16 at 1:57 am

No one here is saying Reagan and McCain were or are not horrible just because they supported amnesty rather than mass deportation of 11 million people; or W. ‘s Iraq invasion was not catastrophic because he did not call for a ban on Muslims. It’s euphemistic to say that Trump is new. He has brought religious intolerance and nativism to a fever pitch that no Presidential nominee has in the recent past. Or did you not see the New York Times video? The editors clearly said that they had not such virulent intolerance before at a nominee’s rally and that the attendees did not object to the most violent, exterminatory things being said by some. This does not mean that the Republicans had not allowed Islamaphobia and nativism to take root in their ranks, but until this election cycle the nominee or President at the top played some role in pushing back. This time, the nominee threw gas on the fire of intolerance. Is this really in dispute?

No one is saying that propping up Rios Montt and Duarte were not acts of terror because this guy who sells steaks and fires people on TV is more likely to use tactical nuclear weapons than previous Presidents, given that he batshit crazily thinks he knows more about ISIS than all the generals, is impulsive, is resolutely ignorant, and has no filter or advisors.

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Faustusnotes 08.10.16 at 1:57 am

But just to add:if he’s just the natural next step in evolution of republican stupid, why is he such an electoral disaster for them? In this regard isn’t it different to the McCarthy example? He wasn’t an electoral disaster, he was a personal disaster (through the consequences of a witch hunt). But trump is not any kind of disaster for Kissinger – so why is he coming out against trump? And why is he an electoral disaster? Up above you mentioned eg republican responses to Cindy Sheehan as if they were no worse than trumps response to khan. But somehow they aren’t the same electorally – one was a success and one is a disaster. How can it be that these behaviors are par for the course but this time they are so electorally disastrous? Putting aside his apparent attack on his own party (which doesn’t have the same power as McCarthyism) your other examples are all attempts to claim that what trump is doing is no different to what rove or Reagan or other lizard people did. Yet this time it’s not working … There has to be something else but you don’t seem to want to admit it.

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Corey Robin 08.10.16 at 2:01 am

“Hopefully this November your b team will self immolate so spectacularly that your a team will be free to begin a bit of real introspection.”

This is my secret (not so secret) hope: that Trump will be so trounced that the real reckoning with neoliberalism can begin (whether that hope is warranted or groundless, remains to be seen). The strongest argument the Clinton neoliberals have is Trump and Trumpism. Which is why their most fervent supporters are so eager to deny the obvious reality of the last 12 months: that Trump, with the exception of a very few moments, has consistently been losing to Clinton. Once that danger is proved to be the paper tiger so many of us think it actually is, the Clinton neoliberals will have to confront a very different reality. So again I’m looking forward to the outcome of November’s election that I’ve been predicting all these months. In fact, I suspect I’m looking forward to Clinton’s victory much more than some of the people who claim they are most fearful of Trump’s victory.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 2:04 am

faustusnotes, W. had some sense that this country was founded on a principle of religious liberty and while Muslims were hounded under his administration, he at least guarded against appearing hateful or intolerant of Islam tout court. But Trump hates Muslims. Full stop. And he has no respect for constitutional religious liberty. This meant nothing stopped him from taking a shot at Muslim critics, even if they are a Gold Star family.
As I hope I have shown you, Robin is just wrong that Bush’s response to Sheehan was as bad as Trump’s response to the Khan’s.

489

RNB 08.10.16 at 2:11 am

Nobody is denying that Trump is and has been losing to Clinton in the polls. But the article you linked to above said the race until recently had been competitive if you actually read it. After the RNC the prediction markets gave Trump a 32% chance to win the election. That is an unacceptably high risk. That is changing now. Hopefully he is done, and the prediction markets are now indicating that. But he is not even now losing to Clinton the way McGovern was losing to Nixon, which was by an average of more than 20 points over eight or so months of polls. .

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The Temporary Name 08.10.16 at 2:21 am

This is my secret (not so secret) hope: that Trump will be so trounced that the real reckoning with neoliberalism can begin (whether that hope is warranted or groundless, remains to be seen).

Then hooray for panic and GOTV and blind Hillary boosterism of all kinds, including alliances with Dr. Strangelove.

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Corey Robin 08.10.16 at 2:23 am

Faustusnotes: “Yet this time it’s not working.”

You have to remember something. Assuming Clinton wins, which I don’t think requires much to assume, the Republican presidential candidate will have lost the popular vote in six out of the last seven presidential elections. Think about that. The notion that the racism and intolerance and bigotry and Islamophobia that have come to define the Republican Party—long before Trump; it would certainly come as news to the Muslim students on my campus, many of whom have been under police surveillance since 9/11, that Trump is some exotic fauna out of the whirlwind—are electoral winners for the GOP at the presidential level is increasingly hard to sustain. Pat Buchanan spoke at the 1992 election and it repelled people. His inheritor is now the presidential candidate and, lo and behold, it repels people. So I would really challenge your notion that “THIS TIME [my emphasis] it’s not working.” It hasn’t been working for quite some time. You saw the election of a black president, twice, with a Muslim-sounding name. Even though there was all kinds of whispering and baiting of him.

What’s different about Trump is not Trump per se but the Republican Party. It’s just vastly weaker than it was in the 1980s and 1990s. That someone like Trump could seize the nomination without the party leadership overcoming him: that tells you a lot right there. The other thing that’s different is that beginning with Clinton declaring the era of big government over, most of the business community knows that so long as you can keep the rabble out of the Democratic Party, they just don’t have that much to worry from the Democrats. So you’ve got all these rich people coming out for Clinton now, leaving Trump even more free to indulge in his free-floating animus.

The problem with most of the analysis here and elsewhere is people think Trump explains Trump. But that’s not thinking politically. That’s thinking like People Magazine.

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Faustusnotes 08.10.16 at 2:34 am

Thats a good point Corey but what does it mean if the degree of loss is different? Does it mean that the American public has woken up to the republicans stupidity? Is trumps difference simply in his unique ability to manifest what we all know the republican base is thinking? My view is that trump is unique for his almost exterminationist vision and the degree to which his actual political views align with the shallow thinking of the republican base, and previous leaders courted those shallow views but understood they needed to be ignored in practice (so eg they complain about Japan’s lack of contribution but understand that they won’t change this). I think it was inevitable the GOP would select a trump while it was on this trajectory – and that when it did it would destroy itself. (I have a bet with friends about this) But trump is still unique – uniquely stupid, uniquely racist and uniquely bloodthirsty. Which is why he is ding uniquely badly. I was surprised that the GOP leadership let him within a sniff of the primaries but is that because they’re weak, or because they’re now as stupid as their base? Years of reorganizing the party around racism and stupidity has to eventually percolate upward … And although the GOP is obviously a kind of epic con scheme, it’s also clear that many of its leadership (Carson springs to mind) are themselves vulnerable to a good con …

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js. 08.10.16 at 2:40 am

Corey — Honest question. I don’t understand how *in your view* a trouncing of Trump leads to a reckoning with neoliberalism. I have a view of how that could happen, but a lot of it hinges on me seeing Clinton as a good party functionary (for good and bad, and believe me it’s often bad), rather than some particularly awful person/politician. Given that (based on previous posts, and maybe I’m misunderstanding), you seem to have a rather different view of Clinton, I guess I don’t see the shape your story is supposed to take. And I’d like to know. I mean, I agree with most of what you’re saying.

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Corey Robin 08.10.16 at 2:43 am

js: That’s a big and very important question, and I’ve been mulling it over for a longer post that I hope to write some time in the coming days or weeks. Not trying to dodge it, but I’m going to take a pass on it for now.

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kidneystones 08.10.16 at 2:45 am

@491 This is very good, Corey. I think you are precisely right about how (ahem) informed outsiders view the ‘enormous’ differences between the two political parties. What I see is a Reagan, or a Bush, cheerfully admitting to American exceptionalism and in the need to kill at will. What frightens me is the inability of Americans to realize outsiders see pretty much the same willingness to kill at will from a Clinton, or Obama.

And the truly frightening part is where team blue supporters insist that everyone pretend every 4 years that a Clinton, or Obama, is somehow less willing to kill at will than a Romney, or a Trump.

We have a video of one political candidate laughing at murder, who ‘never’ holds press conferences, running to replace a president who expanded and entrenched the Bush-Cheney security state and who suppresses dissent and whistle-blowing with the vigor of a Nixon. Outsiders have learned to survive every ‘too crazy to be true’ you people elect. Of course, that’s not as easy if one happens to live in the wrong part of the world.

Re: Republican weakness. That’s sure to be a much-studied topic. At the state level Republicans are very strong. As ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’ as it is to say, the uniqueness of electing an African-American and then, perhaps, the woman he defeated speak very positively about the US in general. This stuff matters to you and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

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js. 08.10.16 at 2:51 am

Corey — Of course, that’s perfectly fair. If you can reach the same conclusion from rather different premises, I’d only be happier.

——

N.B. I should note that my last comment doesn’t entirely capture how I think about Clinton. But for the purposes of this argument/topic, that’s the point that matters.

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LFC 08.10.16 at 3:40 am

@faustusnotes
Re Trump’s success in the Repub primary: it’s not just “racism and stupidity”. It’s racism plus the economic populist message (which, even though data tweeted by P. Klinkner as mentioned here by js. show that Trump’s support comes much more from the middle and upper parts of the income spectrum than many realize, nonetheless probably did play a role in Trump’s appeal in certain primary states). Also, as has already been mentioned (by CR), the weakness of the Repub establishment, and the fact that Trump’s 16 (or however many) primary opponents tore each other apart, plus Trump’s refreshing, to some, disregard of the political rules and norms (which helped him during the primary, but doesn’t seem to be doing so now). Put all that together and — in retrospect — his winning the Repub nomination begins to become explicable.

The vast majority of pundits, at least ‘mainstream’ ones, persisted in saying, until fairly late, that he couldn’t possibly win the nomination; that just shows the limits of punditry. There’s a big difference between punditry on the fly — e.g. what Shields and Brooks do every week on the PBSNewsHour — and retrospective explanation. There’s also a difference, although it may sometimes be hard to discern, between People Magazine tautologies — i.e., Trump explains Trump — and routine, often mediocre punditry. A paperback dictionary to hand gives a synonym for ‘mediocre’ as ordinary. Although you probably don’t want ordinariness or mediocrity on the Supreme Court, say (pardon the Nixon-era reference), or in the person about to perform delicate surgery on you, mediocrity in punditry doesn’t do all that much lasting harm. Much of it is forgotten by the next week or the next day, anyway.

Shorter version:
People Magazine analysis is stupid. Mediocre analysis and punditry is not always or necessarily stupid. It’s simply mediocre.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 4:37 am

Jeez, I have just waiting for someone to challenge this.

@491 Robin writes:

‘Assuming Clinton wins, which I don’t think requires much to assume, the Republican presidential candidate will have lost the popular vote in six out of the last seven presidential elections. Think about that. The notion that the racism and intolerance and bigotry and Islamophobia that have come to define the Republican Party—long before Trump; it would certainly come as news to the Muslim students on my campus, many of whom have been under police surveillance since 9/11, that Trump is some exotic fauna out of the whirlwind—are electoral winners for the GOP at the presidential level is increasingly hard to sustain. Pat Buchanan spoke at the 1992 election and it repelled people. His inheritor is now the presidential candidate and, lo and behold, it repels people. So I would really challenge your notion that “THIS TIME [my emphasis] it’s not working.” It hasn’t been working for quite some time. You saw the election of a black president, twice, with a Muslim-sounding name. Even though there was all kinds of whispering and baiting of him.’

First remember the survey data in the WaPo article on anti-Muslim sentiment referred to here at CT by merian, I think (“Donald Trump is bringing anti-Muslim prejudice into the mainstream
By Christopher Ingraham August 1.”) Islamophobia is not a losing issue; it does not repel people, as Robin writes.

It is frighteningly popular in the US, and both anecdotal and survey data reveal it to have intensified due to Trump’s candidacy. But both parties exhibit it, and think it’s a winning issue, pace Robin. For example, Bill Clinton’s Convention speech had Islamophobic content, i.e. that American Muslims have some greater responsibility to show their patriotism than other Americans. And to the extent that the Democrats gave the impression that a Muslim family had to sacrifice a son in war to become true Americans, the DNC was depressingly Islamophobic.

Second if nativism is increasingly repelling people, and is thus a dying issue, then why has Trump gone farther than Buchanan did with it. Unfortunately Robin did not pay attention to the Michael Tesler data to which I referred above in this thread (“Trump is the first modern Republican to win the nomination based on racial prejudice” By Michael Tesler August 1).

Tesler shows that the # of people who are extremely racially intolerant have grown as a % of the Republican Party due mostly to rising anti-immigrant sentiment; and it was possible for Trump to win the nomination by making sure that those who are extremely religiously and racially intolerant and specifically anti-black were not spread out over the other candidates but concentrated on him, thereby yielding *for the first time* a positive correlation between extreme intolerance in supporters and the winning nominee.

McCain and Romney did not do as well with those in the party who have extreme anti-black and xenophobic views. Trump won them outright, dominated their votes, and rode it to the nomination.

Tesler concludes: “The party’s growing conservatism on matters of race and ethnicity provided fertile ground for Trump’s racial and ethnic appeals to resonate in the primaries. So much so, in fact, that Donald Trump is the first Republican in modern times to win the party’s presidential nomination on anti-minority sentiments.”

Now Robin can say that the Republican Party dispensing with dog whistles and openly campaigning as a xenophobic, white nationalist Party has no chance in the US, and so we don’t have to worry about it. Please convince me that this is true. I want it to be true.

But of course Trump may well not going be down due to xenophobia and white nationalism but rather to his violating norms around Gold Star families in a hideously narcissistic way, misogyny, distrust over his relations with Russia, and growing fear in regards to his mental stability with the nuclear codes. If not for these other liabilities, he may have remained competitive due to his mobilizing white nationalist energies.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.10.16 at 4:39 am

On a previous thread I went through what I think are the three immediate possible results of the election. None of them involve aa repudiation of neoliberalism. In short: 1) HRC wins big = mandate for neoliberalism, 2) HRC barely wins = triangulation, 3) Trump wins = crazy and horrible stuff (plus Democratic Party rediscovers left-liberalism). For the third they only rediscover it for as long as they’re out of power, so that’s not a repudiation either. And I don’t think that Trump actually has the power to break the system, so the likely result of his term is people going back to respectable neoliberalism once more.

What would actually break the system would be a “respectable” GOP candidate. But there can’t be one because the GOP base will no longer choose one. The ever-less-respectable GOP candidates preserve the system, although one does have to wonder how they’re going to find one less respectable than Trump next time.

So what seems most likely is a period of Democratic Party Presidential dominance (who knows what’ll happen with the states), but it’s unstable because there really have to be two parties in the U.S. system. So will the break come from the left or right? As this thread demonstrates, having the motivation of the left being fear of the GOP only cements the system in place, because when that fear is present it demands that we ask nothing from the Democratic Party except lesser evil victory: once that victory happens the fear goes away and there is no longer any reason for people who were motivated by fear to be particularly involved in politics.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 4:46 am

And of course if you don’t think the Republicans can win on intolerance and so it’s not really an important issue at all, you may as well jump over what Khizr Khan was saying and revisit McCarthyism.

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bruce wilder 08.10.16 at 4:48 am

LFC @ 491: In this context, her working for CDF early on is relevant.

She’s been working that bit of resume padding for a very long time.

That she did it “early on” is relevant to one set of narratives; that she has been relying on it as the mainstay of her personal narrative for lo these many years while engaged in quite a different way with the political system suggests a different perspective.

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Faustusnotes 08.10.16 at 5:39 am

Rich, my friends (none of them American) have suggested the possibility of burying the republicans, and the split happening on the left: with no further need to hunker down fighting for the lesser evil, the dems can split into a center right neoliberal party and a center left social Democratic Party. Then you can see real progress on uhc, gun control and welfare, and of course (the civilization ending issue) global warming.

In that case you might see a repudiation of neoliberalism.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 5:57 am

link to WaPo article on survey data on anti-Muslim prejudice which Robin thinks Americans are increasingly repelled by is @110, and was provided by novakant, not merian as I just said. At any rate, I appreciate both of their contributions.

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Peter T 08.10.16 at 7:08 am

side comment:

neo-liberalism has been dying for over a decade. It’s just that these transitions are a slow process (think of how most western countries are still adjusting to the fact that the 30-year growth spurt 1950-80 is well and truly over). Increased border controls, concessions to anti-immigrant feeling, withdrawal by middle-tier Asian nations from the consensus, alternative institutions fostered by the BRICs, Brexit, revivals of western interest in industry policy, increasing questioning of the financial industry – all moves away from the platform. It won’t be fast, it won’t be all (or mostly) in directions the left wants, it won’t be a consistent or continuous change, but it is happening.

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Lee A. Arnold 08.10.16 at 10:12 am

I’m still trying to figure out what in hell “neoliberalism” is supposed to mean.

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Lee A. Arnold 08.10.16 at 11:22 am

Never mind — I’ve got it! Trumponomics and closed borders is just another form of “neoliberalism”. It is supplyside trickledown deregulation economics (Thatchernomics-Reaganomics-Ryanomics) + a tariff and/or a renegotiation of international trade (Buchananomics-Brexitnomics) — unless the rubes reject it because they dimly realize that the tariff is going to jack-up the prices of everything they purchase.

The immediate result of Trumponomics will be an increase in inequality, and a reduction in small businesses’ possible consumer base. (Although the gunshop owners ought to do well!) The resulting increase in federal gov’t debt will enable the Right to hornswoggle the dunderheaded voters into reducing their own public goods, social insurance, and long-term innovation rates (i.e. reduce education, healthcare, infrastructure, Medicare, Social Security) under the preposterous premise of reintroducing “market competition” — and thus, to gut the long-term future of the country even further, in favor of their own fetid private portfolios. But by golly, it will sound like caviar to the Libertarians!

The global financial speculators will arbitrage the international exchange-rate futures and interest-rate differentials, while financial deregulation will help them to obscure the rush into new forms of paper-asset masturbation, and help them to keep the media commentators flummoxed. (The media commentators still can’t explain the last masturbation: i.e. the essence of “mortgage derivatives” and their functional relationship to the housing market. Nor can any regular in Crooked Timber comments, apparently.)

Aside from these piffling changes, there will be usual demonization of the poors and The Others. Social scientists and economists will continue to nod sagely that some or all of what is happening is in accordance to mathematical models or to examples in history, and universities will continue to award these people tenure and to trot them out for chairs and medals, and their students will continue to wonder just what the hell it is that they are learning.

The ideas from the Left, or the Right, that any candidate’s win or loss is going to suddenly redirect the way the whole system is slowly mutating into something else, may come to be termed “ignoranomics”.

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Donald 08.10.16 at 12:06 pm

https://theintercept.com/2016/08/09/ex-cia-chief-who-endorsed-clinton-calls-for-killing-iranians-and-russians-in-syria/

People might want to stop acting like having a CIA director endorse you is a positive.

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Donald 08.10.16 at 12:15 pm

More to the point, with Dennis Ross in the NYT and now Morell on Charlie Rose, people associated with the Clintons are pushing for war in Syria, and in Morell’s case with the Russians in Syria.

If elections are partly about issues,someone might want to ask Clinton about this.

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Lee A. Arnold 08.10.16 at 12:22 pm

Donald, you called for bombing people, tearing up treaties, and killing families, so give it up, dude.

510

Layman 08.10.16 at 12:32 pm

LFC: “Re Trump’s success in the Repub primary: it’s not just “racism and stupidity”. It’s racism plus the economic populist message (which, even though data tweeted by P. Klinkner as mentioned here by js. show that Trump’s support comes much more from the middle and upper parts of the income spectrum than many realize, nonetheless probably did play a role in Trump’s appeal in certain primary states).”

Trump continues to run behind Clinton among people with household incomes below $50K, and continues to lead Clinton among people with household incomes over $50K. He continues to lead with white people and trail badly with everyone else. He continues to lead among those over 65 and trail with everyone else. Where is the evidence that ‘economic populism’ has anything to do with it? Shouldn’t ‘economic populism’ attract the poor, the young, disadvantaged minorities, etc?

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/s7eok0qys8/weekly_presidential_tracking_report.pdf

As to the primaries, has anyone seen any data which demonstrates the ‘economic populism’ effect among Trumo voters? As I recall, polling data showed Trump supporters were overwhelmingly white, richer than Sanders or Cruz voters, overwhelmingly anti-immigration, overwhelmingly older, etc.

Further, Trump is running on a conventional Republican economic platform, cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations, eliminating estate taxes, banking regulations, etc.

So the question isn’t just “why isn’t Trump’s economic populism resonating”, it’s more like “where is Trump’s economic populism?”

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Donald 08.10.16 at 12:47 pm

I miss the good old days, when people tormented me with Melanie Griffith jokes. You probably need to be fairly old to know that name.

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Donald 08.10.16 at 1:08 pm

I agree my namesake is in no position to criticize Clinton on foreign policy, but if Morell’s thinking reflects hers, the reverse is also true. And maybe we can stop pretending that our responsible foreign policy establishment is all that responsible.

Where Trump is unambiguously much worse is on the domestic bigotry front. One reason the Republican elites probably hate him is that he has ruined their strategy of appealing to bigots while maintaining not very plausible deniability. I knew people who criticized Carter for pointing out Reagan’s dogwhistle about state’s rights in Mississippi near where the three civil rights workers were killed. How dare Carter imply Reagan was appealing to bigots? With Trump there is no dog whistling.

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Lee A. Arnold 08.10.16 at 1:26 pm

Trump’s failure to articulate a policy that conforms to his prior rhetoric of economic populism is inexplicable from the viewpoint of politics. It’s true that the electorate doesn’t understand much about economics, but most of them know that tax cuts favoring the richest + trickledown economics + financial deregulation have failed and are phony. Trump’s economic speech appears to be another unforced error, politically speaking.

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LFC 08.10.16 at 2:13 pm

Layman @510
As to the primaries, has anyone seen any data which demonstrates the ‘economic populism’ effect among Trump voters?

I have not seen such data, which is partly why I hedged with the word “probably.” The Michael Tesler piece mentioned by RNB a couple of times (I’ve only read the summary here) suggests Trump’s anti-minority pitch was more important to his success. The only evidence I have of Trump’s ec. populism resonating in the primaries is anecdotal/impressionistic. It may take a while before the psephologists and pol. scientists give a fuller picture, and even then it will prob. remain subject to debate, as these things often do. But I have no problem in agreeing that Trump’s anti-minority pitch, esp. in a crowded field of contenders most of whom were not going there in as explicit/aggressive a way (or else were echoing things he had said first), was a key factor.

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LFC 08.10.16 at 2:14 pm

I have a comment in moderation re Layman @510. Gist is I agree Trump’s anti-minority pitch was a key reason he won nomination.

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bruce wilder 08.10.16 at 2:19 pm

RP @ 499:HRC barely wins . . . HRC wins big . . .

What’s the difference? What is the operative difference between “big” and “barely”?

The character of this difference matters and deserves examination.

Does Clinton have the coattails to bring in a Democratic Congress? Does she try to extend her campaign to aid the Dems down ballot? Or, does she call a truce, allowing Republicans in state and local contests to take on a lustre of seriousness while distancing themselves from the Donald and taking back-handed endorsements from neocon pundits?

CR says the Republican Party is “just vastly weaker than it was in the 1980s and 1990s”. And yet its majorities in the House and in State Capitals are large and resilient.

It is easy to see Trump as the political equivalent of professional wrestling. Many here dismiss his appeal as racism, pure and simple. I keep remembering my friend, who was so impressed that Trump did not “talk like a politician”. My personal assessment, as I have said before, is that Trump says whatever comes into his stream of consciousness, looking for audience response. Sometimes, that leads to something vaguely reminiscent of truth telling. When Trump flung, “he [your brother] didn’t keep us safe” in Jeb’s face or when he says, “the system is rigged; I know” and glances in “Crooked Hillary’s” direction, it gets a response. When he says we should not be trying so hard to make Putin the enemy, he almost makes sense.

Obama and the Clintons have worked out a remarkable symbiosis with the Republicans based on never challenging the other on anything real. Pseudo-scandals are fabricated in plain sight of actual, but unexamined ones: Benghazi being a prime example. We have watched how a DNC scandal involving wholesale circumvention of campaign financing limits, subversion of the state Parties to the Clinton campaign, possible vote suppression, and cynical manipulation of the Media has been displaced into a Russian hacking story and Putin as Trump supporter.

In the current configuration of American politics, if Trump were not already a clown, he’d have to be reinvented as one to fit the hysterical narrative that insists Clinton is not reckless.

This is where we are arrived after Obama’s continuation of Bush foreign and financial policy and Democratic electoral failure in 2010.

This is the current alignment: a dominant Democratic Presidential Party in the hands of the most conservative Dems combined with the strongest Republican Party in many of the States in history. This is also the alignment that is running out of policy road.

The politics of this alignment protects potentially unpopular policy from effective criticism and from alternative proposals and even alternative personnel. We cannot admit that American policy in Iraq and Afganistan and Libya has been an expensive and bloody failure that has bred ISIS and not being able to take responsibility for the error, nothing can change. More bombing. Stay longer.

Clinton, our experienced foreign policy Dem, praises Kissinger and invokes his approval of her own conduct, but none dare call it treason. The Democratic establishment backs Patrick Murphy in the Florida Senate contest, so that if the Democrats win a bare majority on his success, it has no policy consequences.

I think this alignment will break on policy. It is based on Dem claims of being unable to act because of Republican intransigence. And, that induced and manipulated paralysis, which enabled a nominally progressive Party to legitimate reactionary policy, will be its undoing when the pressure to respond to economic or foreign policy crisis mounts and it is not possible to have a reality based discussion.

Peter T says that neoliberalism is dying. Lee A Arnold cannot figure out what neoliberalism is. Clinton is neoliberalism: she is the last instance of her pattern in American politics and she won’t be able to figure out what she is. Her instincts are those of a thorough reactionary: “let’s get tough!” On adversaries abroad, on crime, on poverty, on everything except the elite corruption on which she thrives. But, hers is a politics of stalemate, not reform. Her instinct will be to resist and retard reforms designed to head off critical failures. And, the rhetoric of this politics must obscure and distract, which will make adaptive policy difficult to process. She almost has to break the system that made her, and do it inadvertently.

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kidneystones 08.10.16 at 2:23 pm

We’re seeing right now in real time exactly the same denunciations of one candidate by virtually all media outlets, all elite Dems, and many elite Republicans. When there were a number of candidates and two races and two outsiders, much of the press bias may have slipped beneath the radar. At some point probably very soon Trump is going to be the real underdog. Not the underdog of imagination, no longer a billionaire whining about not being treated fairly. But the target of an unrelenting series of negative news stories and TV and radio commercials that leave no doubt in the minds of most voters that Trump has much less of a chance of winning than Hillary. The anti-Trump stories are probably white noise already to many neutrals. Trump supporters stopped listening to the media long ago.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/08/09/media-justify-anti-trump-bias-claim-hes-too-dangerous-for-normal-rules.html

When the NYT, MSNBC, Bill Mahr, and on and on and on all tell people they can’t possibly vote for Trump, how do you think folks are going to respond? I mean, about being told they don’t actually have a choice. Cause that’s what’s happening now.

And the same people telling folks they don’t have a choice are precisely the same people who predicted/promised that Trump would never win the nomination. Trump just needs to stay in the game. If he’s within five points in October, I still say he edges it.

Go figure!

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Rich Puchalsky 08.10.16 at 2:51 pm

BW: “What’s the difference? What is the operative difference between “big” and “barely”?”

On the level of realpolitik, none. It’s a rhetorical difference, but that can in turn shape Presidential policy, which is really all the policy that we get these days.

If HRC wins big, by which I mean has a large popular / electoral Presidential victory, then the media, the politicians, and she herself will type this as a crushing defeat for recent GOP trends of which Trump will be taken to be the culmination. On the GOP side, this will lead to calls for a “respectable” Presidential candidate next time, who won’t appear. But on the Democratic side, it will be taken to be a mandate for whatever liberalism is as defined by HRC, i.e. whatever neoliberalism is.

If HRC barely squeaks by and wins, this will be taken to be a critical warning sign that she was “too liberal” and badly needs to triangulate or the Democratic Party risks losing the next Presidential election. That leads to almost straightforward cooperation between HRC and the Congressional GOP, involving the adoption of substantial parts of what is taken to be Trump’s agenda.

So the difference between those is meaningful. With the second, we probably get the Muslim tracking devices put on under HRC, whatever immigration policy Trump might have had, etc. With the first, we return to the GWB policy on Muslims (“Muslims are peaceful!” plus let’s bomb them) and we may get modest progress on global warming issues that is impossible under the second.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.10.16 at 3:00 pm

I missed this one before:

CR: “This is my secret (not so secret) hope: that Trump will be so trounced that the real reckoning with neoliberalism can begin (whether that hope is warranted or groundless, remains to be seen).”

The Temporary Name: “Then hooray for panic and GOTV and blind Hillary boosterism of all kinds, including alliances with Dr. Strangelove.”

But even if you accept the premise, blind Hillary boosterism does not actually lead to Trump being trounced. Blind Hillary boosterism helps Trump.

As I’ve written from the start, if you look at positive voting — how many votes can each candidate get — then Trump can really only get more votes from the white working class. That’s why it’s important in this election, not because of the nonsense about how leftists think it’s the salt of the earth.

But as I’ve also written from the beginning, another path to HRC defeat has to do with turnout, or “negative voting”. HRC needs to turn out her votes in order to win. What’s the effect of blind Hillary boosterism? To depress turnout. No one on the left can look at the kinds of arguments used by HRC boosters here without revulsion that may keep them from the polls but, more importantly, may keep them from volunteering to do GOTV. Is the support of Kissinger really going to help, or hurt? HRC clearly thinks it’ll help. She may be right, which is another way of saying that the Democratic Party really doesn’t need the left in any way and can win without it.

520

Faustusnotes 08.10.16 at 3:03 pm

Shorter kidneystones: the media are mean to report on the dumb-arsed things his hero says!

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Layman 08.10.16 at 3:11 pm

I more or less agree with Rich, minus the bit of hyperbole.

If Hillary wins big, it will be seen by the political elite as an endorsement of the centrist-Democrat, DLC, Third-wayism of which she is the natural heir; and we’ll see a continuation of incrementalism, some left goals like climate change mitigation pursued (whenever possible through market mechanisms) in fits and starts, and further aggressive foreign policy with a bow toward international consensus-building as the basis for humanitarian war. We will get at least an effort on a comprehensive immigration plan including amnesty / path to citizenship. Plus we’ll get left-of center appointments to the court.

If she wins small, it will be seen by the political elite as evidence that the Democrats need to compromise more in order to effect the will of the voters. We’ll get nonsense focus on the debt as the most intractactable problem to be solved, and we’ll likely see more cuts to social security and Medicare, reductions in both the scope of and funding for Medicaid, etc. I doubt we’ll see more militarism than we would with a big victory, and we won’t get Trump’s signature agenda items, things like The Wall or tracking devices for Muslims. But immigration reform in any form is dead. And we’ll probably get a ‘budget compromise’ which has the effect of cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations, and which lets corporations repatriate profits without paying taxes on them. Probably we’ll get more centrist justices, as that will be the only way to get them through the Senate.

So yeah, there is a difference.

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Faustusnotes 08.10.16 at 3:12 pm

This is a classic example of the disordered thinking we are seeing from people like Bruce and rich: (from Brice above):

Obama and the Clintons have worked out a remarkable symbiosis with the Republicans based on never challenging the other on anything real. Pseudo-scandals are fabricated in plain sight of actual, but unexamined ones: Benghazi being a prime example.

No, there really is nothing the dems have done to compare with the Benghazi silliness, and suggesting there is – or that the two parties are working on the same strategy of outrage – shows that you haven’t got a single clue what is going on. Only a fool (or, coincidentally, a mainstream media figure who is giving support to the republicans) would stoop to this both sides do it junk. But here we have Bruce presenting this trash as of it were a fact.

And these people are claiming to have some analysis of American politics that will help poor people (let alone the rest of the world)!? What a joke!

523

Kiwanda 08.10.16 at 3:20 pm

Rich: “So the difference between those is meaningful.”

That is, HRC winning big, vs not, will make a difference politically. Layman agrees. However, I would not be at all surprised to see media narratives ignoring reality, in this case as in so many others, media perception is all too often reality. GWB lost the popular vote, and gained the presidency only via SC corruption. This did not make him remotely circumspect or conciliatory, and this “contradiction” was not much noticed in the media. Etc.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.10.16 at 3:26 pm

“GWB lost the popular vote, and gained the presidency only via SC corruption. This did not make him remotely circumspect or conciliatory, and this “contradiction” was not much noticed in the media. Etc.”

That’s what I meant by writing that on the level of realpolitik, there’s no difference. But in practice only the GOP pushes the envelope is this way. I see little to no chance that HRC would win small and then barefacedly act as if she’d won a mandate as GWB did.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 3:29 pm

@510 re: economic populism, drawing from a Greg Sargent tweet

1. Some go Trump not because of populism but because they are in the upper brackets, want tax relief; some may delusively think their parents have enough wealth that they want end of the death tax which only applies to huge fortunes; and are opposed as part of their family’s tradition to tax-and-spend liberals. So they vote Republican, no matter what. This is not economic populism

2. There are some who think their woes can be traced back to a hidden foreign agent per birtherism not wrenching good deals from Mexico and China and shutting out poor brown people including via the Muslim ban which most Trump supporters still want even after the Khan controversy. This is economic populism married to white nationalism. It is potent.

3. there may be some who think Trump will build American again with $1 trillion on deficit-financed infrastructure spending, somehow forgetting that the Congressional Republicans won’t actually let him do it and that it’s incompatible with massive tax relief for the better off.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 3:32 pm

@508 Donald, what or whom do you read to understand what is going on in Syria? For example, the Carnegie Endowment for Peace has a website
http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis
The analysis by Aron Lund shows how complex the ground level reality is.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 3:40 pm

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Corey Robin 08.10.16 at 3:47 pm

Rich, Layman, and others:

So here is my thought on what we’re discussing, and am very curious to hear your thoughts and reactions. Somewhere upthread, Rich says that fear of Trump is the strongest glue or such holding together the Dems and fellow travelers, locking them in place. I think that’s true.

My thought—and again this is totally provisional, writing on the envelope—is that if you could take that fear away, not from the elite neoliberal Dems, but from the rank and file, the people who pushed hard for Sanders, who were involved with Occupy or Black Lives Matter (all different but sometimes overlapping constituencies), they might be much more emboldened to push, to break, to prod.

I’ve been saying Trump is the McGovern, Clinton is the Nixon. Let’s pay attention to the latter analogy: what happened after 1972? It’s not just that the Dems went after Nixon, it’s also that Nixon had so few allies. People on the right were furious with him because they felt after this huge ratification that the country had moved to the right, Nixon was still governing as if the New Deal were the consensus. So when the time came, he had very few defenders, except for loyalists like Leonard Garment and G. Gordon Liddy. And Al Haig, God bless him.

And then in 1976 you see Reagan really moving in for the kill. It didn’t work, but again he got as far as he did because the right felt emboldened after that 1972 blowout.

Now I realize these are not exactly analogous. And I know we always hear: elect the Dem and then push him/her like hell after the election. It’s such a cliche by this point, it’s almost embarrassing to invoke anything that smacks of that.

But we have seen an explosion of social movements under Obama. And what kept the liberals and left in check (at least for his first term) was the constant refrain of “can’t do anything with Congress.” But my sense, from afar, is that these rank and file groups are getting increasingly restive and are not going to be so inclined to accept that argument. Particularly if Clinton wins big in the presidential, and if we see some movement in Congress (there was a piece this morning saying the House could be in play if things keep going as they are). And even if we don’t, I don’t see the Black Lives Matter/Sanders/Occupy people just willing to give Clinton a pass the way people were willing to give Obama a pass for the first several years.

Anyway, all very provisional, and just what’s in my head as I try to think through the consequences of a potential blowout for Clinton.

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Corey Robin 08.10.16 at 3:58 pm

Incidentally, people here might be interested in something I’ve just posted at my own blog, which brings together some thoughts I and others here have had on the topic: “If I were worried that Clinton might lose, here’s what I would—and wouldn’t—do…”

http://coreyrobin.com/2016/08/10/if-i-were-worried-that-clinton-might-lose-heres-what-i-would-and-wouldnt-do/

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Donald 08.10.16 at 4:16 pm

I know what’s going o in in Syria, RNB, or as much as any ordinary American can know who follows the MSM, the various human rights groups, and people on the left, some of whom go off the deep end and are actually pro- Assad. The regime is hideous, ISIS is hideous, Al Nusra is hideous and some of the rebels we’ve supported are hideous.

But I think you’re engaged in a distraction. Is it a good idea for the US to kill Russians in covert ops to send them a message? And should Clinton be asked by someone what she thinks about this proposal from her CIA supporter? If his endorsement carries such weight, don’t we have the right to know if Clinton thinks we should be targeting Russians?

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The Temporary Name 08.10.16 at 4:46 pm

What’s the effect of blind Hillary boosterism? To depress turnout. No one on the left can look at the kinds of arguments used by HRC boosters here without revulsion that may keep them from the polls but, more importantly, may keep them from volunteering to do GOTV.

Only weirdos argue about politics the way we do. RNB’s doggedness is wearing, but “don’t be too positive or others will get turned off” is dumb politics worthy of the Sunday morning talking heads.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 4:48 pm

Yes it is doubtful that the US or NATO can do anything at this point to support any faction towards the end of inducing resumed and successful peace negotiations. The State Department memo was more a cry of anguish than an actual military plan. Clinton is not pushing for anything, thinking that the opportunity to assist FSA has passed. But I was asking a genuine question: whom do you count on to explain what is happening in Syria.

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bruce wilder 08.10.16 at 5:00 pm

“Anything can happen” is one of those things that people say and I suppose it is trivially true. Certainly, if you are trying to sell click-thru’s with alleged political news, you at the very least want to preserve the possibility of (new) news. At this point, though, I fear that the affirmation, “Trump could win this” suggests the opposite.

Clinton’s campaign now faces the problem that they have won . . . in August, but the election is in November.

Do they keep up the campaign, organized around “dangerous Donald”? Is there a risk of wearing out its themes? Trump is in a box assigned to him by the Media. The Media have their canned narrative thru which anything Trump says will be filtered. He’s been neutered. The Media Publishers await the spending of campaign cash, while the Editors have their orders.

Even Scott Adams has conceded that the Donald may have been bested by Clinton’s “dangerous Donald” propaganda and may be too inflexible in his personality to take any of the practical options to come back.

What I would notice is that Clinton’s campaign to get people to like her — “I’m with her” — did not win. Clinton will win in November, certainly. But, she will take office as one of the most seriously disliked politicians to win the Presidency in memory. I say this as someone who voted for Tricky Dick Nixon over McGovern. Usually, the seriously disliked Presidents get elected as Vice-President first. But, maybe she did — sorta. Maybe that’s what her career as Secretary of State did for her.

So, taking up CR’s Nixon-McGovern analogy: Clinton risks coming into office as a thoroughly disliked President from day one. The level of suspicion and cynicism of expectation is very high. And, though Trump won’t ever have a chance in the campaign, his way of attacking opponents is likely to intensify a broad spectrum of opinion that calls into question Clinton’s legitimacy and real commitments.

Nixon did experience pressure from the Republican Right, but he was also constrained by a Democratic Congress. If Nixon continued to govern as if the New Deal remained in place, it is because he faced a New Deal Congress. Not just Democratic majorities, but long-standing majorities and committee chairman who knew where the bodies were buried and how to pull the levers of power. That would change only gradually with the seniority system scrapped in the mid-1970s and the New Deal politics by which Congress critters played interests off against one another to maintain their own power eroded decisively only in Reagan’s second term, as trade liberalization and deregulation and other policies took hold and the corporate executive class began their rise, driving changes in the lobbyist culture and dynamic.

Clinton will face a similar problem, but it will be more of her own making, because her politics and her hold over the Democratic Party, depend on not challenging the Republican base of power in the States and in Congress. Clinton is not going to say to her minions, “OK, we’ve got this won, let’s funnel all the campaign money and effort into winning the House so we have opportunities to govern effectively. Let’s get Democratic Governors in place, so we can get Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion working properly without privitisation.”

Trump might withhold an endorsement of Speaker Ryan for a few days, but the Democratic establishment isn’t going to unseat Ryan, even though Ryan’s district is one Obama won.

The Democratic Party — the rank and file and even the general run of Congress people — have become much more “socialist” for lack of a better term, but they have no experience of power. Few have served long in the Obama Administration. Most States are dominated by Republicans. In some States, like Kansas and North Carolina, “dominated” really does mean dominated. Democrats are a minority in Congress and the old leadership is retiring.

One path to this whole thing coming apart is a new generation of much younger Democrats trying to gain power in States where the Republicans have been showing their true colors. They will have to fight the Democratic Establishment in Washington to do so, and fight very hard.

The other is path is crisis. This is a politics of nominal stalemate, enabling a politics of sclerosis and corruption.

These paths are far from mutually exclusive, but there’s a very real risk that a fractured and weakened polity turns to authoritarianism. If your politics does not permit reasoned discussion and deliberation, authoritarianism is the alternative when some kind of adaptive reform is required by events.

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bruce wilder 08.10.16 at 5:00 pm

Faustusnotes misreads me on Benghazi. (What else is new?) I was not saying, “both sides do it”. That’s not my point. My point is that the Right’s obsessions with Benghazi (and with the email server) are gifts to Clinton. They take issues where Clinton’s bad judgment is on display, and they transform them into a circus where what is on display instead is the Right’s lunacy. The Benghazi hearings made Clinton look good, if that were possible; embattled, persecuted unwarrantedly. No sane person would want to pay much attention and the superficial takeaway impression is that there is no there, there in Rightwing accusations and fantasizing.

“Symbiosis” means the two sides work together, feed off each other. And, no I am not saying the Democrats in general feed off the Republicans, though obviously any two-party system locks the two Parties into a waltz in which one Party leads the other, with every step forward by one, a step back by the other.

What I mean by “symbiosis” in this case is a more specific dynamic by which the Clintonites, who are corrupt centrists at best and reactionary conservatives at worst, keep control of the nominally progressive Party.

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Lee A. Arnold 08.10.16 at 5:01 pm

Corey, I agree with you on the importance of the next composition of the House. If the Dems close the gap in a blowout, the moderate Repubs may join with the House Dem minority to give Hillary a few legislative victories. Why? Because GOP moderates have never been against universal healthcare and increases in social insurance, but in the last few decades they have feared to speak out (indeed not until this election, by swing-state Kasich) and to vote for good stuff — for fear of the fundamentalist voters, for fear of being seen to agree with Bill Clinton or Obama.

But a big loss by Trump’s will finally split the GOP. Moderates will find little electoral sense in continuing to throw their lot in with the failed Trumpists, at least in the immediate future. Of course as soon as the all-Trump TV network forms, the moderates may retreat into cowardice in order to book guest appearances.

Thus, Hillary Clinton may get a brief Congressional honeymoon and pass a good package of helpful stuff. After all, there is a long way to go before this stuff seriously impedes the profit interests of Wall Street; thus Wall St. will learn to live with it — and with the econ growth it creates — just fine.

In this sense, there can be a “reckoning with neoliberalism” insofar as one continues to reify this term into a functional, distinct thing which controls people. I still think this is the fallacy of misplaced concreteness, along with some historical misinterpretation.

Remember that Bill Clinton declared that the “era of big business is over” not because he believed it beforehand, but because he was sold a phony economic argument by Greenspan on interest rates (and every economist who had contact with the White House fell into line). But for Bill this was political expedience. No politician believes that anything is accomplished forever, which is why they really don’t care about taxes or the deficit.

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Layman 08.10.16 at 6:01 pm

Lee A Arnold: “Corey, I agree with you on the importance of the next composition of the House. If the Dems close the gap in a blowout, the moderate Repubs may join with the House Dem minority to give Hillary a few legislative victories.”

It’s possible, but I’m skeptical. The likely Republican reaction to a big loss by Trump will be to blame the loss on the fact that Trump wasn’t a True Conservative. Any Republican member of Congress who opts to work with Democrats will be tarred with that same brush and will certainly face a primary challenge from the right in 2018, financed by the usual suspects. If anything, the kind of Republican who might find common cause with Clinton (on anything other than tax cuts or other possible cave-ins to the right) is precisely the sort of Republican most at risk of being primaried out of a seat.

If Clinton wins big enough to retake the house (very, very unlikely in my opinion), she’ll be in the same position Obama was in: A big mandate, but a close balance in Congress and effectively only two years to pass whatever can get past the most conservative Democratic members of the House and Senate. For structural reasons, the
Republicans are very likely retake the house in 2018 and after that what she’ll get from the House is Michael Corleone’s offer: Nothing.

So, with 2 years and a slim majority available for centrist to slightly-left-of-center things, what do we think she’ll be able to do? Maybe some stimulus and / or infrastructure stuff, appoint judges, and protect the Obama legacy. She should certainly try to raise top marginal and capital gains taxes, reform immigration with a path to citizenship, expand social security and Medicare and Medicaid, etc, but I doubt she’ll be able to get those kinds of things done.

If the Dems don’t retake the House, then it’s a holding action. Appoint the right judges and protect the legacy and, maybe, don’t do stupid stuff.

@ Corey Robin, I agree that left groups will be less patient with Clinton than they were with Obama, though as I recall they were pretty impatient with him. The problem, as I see it, is that there isn’t any mechanism or lever they can use to put that impatience to work, on Clinton or the Congress. How do you see this pressure from the left being applied, and what do you think it could accomplish?

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RNB 08.10.16 at 6:19 pm

Bloomberg has the race at 6+ for Clinton, UPI only 4+ Clinton today. Some narrowing. But of course if one looks at the polling data from crucial swing states (including the ones that Trump has made swing, GA, AZ and UT!), one remains confident in a Clinton victory.

I still would suggest that the left follow Sanders and give Clinton confidence that the good people on the left will vote for her even if just for the purpose of defeating Trump and preserving the civil liberties needed for independent organizing.

If Hillary Clinton fears that she may not have the left of her party, she will be forced to make appeals to conservative independents and even possible cross-over Republicans, i.e. a lot of conservative white people, to win confidently, but to do this she will have tone down attacks on Trump as bigoted which could result in reduced minority turnout.

And that could result in Florida, not a Nixon-like defeat of McGovern.

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Layman 08.10.16 at 6:19 pm

For what it’s worth, I think Democrats fail to get traction in local elections and this failure is ultimately what prevents any strong movement to the left in American politics,

Consider Pennsylvania in 2012. Obama wins Pennsylvania by 5+ points (52-46.6), a reasonably strong win by any measure; but Republicans capture 13 of 18 seats in the House. A quick look at Congressional districts tells one why; districts have been drawn such that there are only 3 or 4 competitive districts, all of which lean slightly Republican, vs 9 seats that will always go to the Republicans and 5 that will always go to the Democrats. So, Republicans can grab a governing national majority – control of the executive and legislative branch – from Pennsylvania with a big, sweeping electoral win, but Democrats can’t. The same is true in other swing states, like Michigan, etc.

The only way Democrats can fix this is to win control of state houses and governors’ mansions, and redraw those district lines to something more approaching parity. But Democrats seem to be terrible at winning legislative and gubernatorial elections at the local level, as Bruce reminds us. I guess I don’t know why they’re bad at it. Anyone else know?

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Rich Puchalsky 08.10.16 at 6:43 pm

CR: “My thought—and again this is totally provisional, writing on the envelope—is that if you could take that fear away, not from the elite neoliberal Dems, but from the rank and file, the people who pushed hard for Sanders, who were involved with Occupy or Black Lives Matter (all different but sometimes overlapping constituencies), they might be much more emboldened to push, to break, to prod.”

There’s far too much that I could write about this to really know where to start. But I guess I’d start by saying that there are at least two rank-and-files. If you look at Occupy or at BLM, what stops them from pushing more? Not fear. What stops them is that they get arrested. I have a series on my blog about Occupy and its end, and it ended with massive raids by police. BLM isn’t stopped by people getting beaten up by Trump supporters: it’s stopped by police arrests. The case for Sanders supporters is different, but there too what stops them is largely the kind of monetary shell game used at the DNC.

So I see no leverage, no way in which they can push more. They can in theory not show up, but a) the Democratic Party only needs them very marginally if at all, b) their basic commitments make it impossible for them to jump ship. One of the few testable predictions that kidneystones made here (other than “Trump has a good chance of winning”) was that left-leaning Sanders supporters would cross over, and I said it would never happen and it hasn’t.

For that part of the rank and file that is motivated by fear — which isn’t all of them: a good number of people just look at the GOP and realize that they are better off with any alternative — it’s automatically demotivating. Victory leads to less fear, which leads to complacence, which means that nothing happens until 4 years later when there’s a spike in fear again and when the demand for victory at any cost arrives. You can’t run a politics on that for the left.

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Corey Robin 08.10.16 at 6:49 pm

“If Hillary Clinton fears that she may not have the left of her party, she will be forced to make appeals to conservative independents and even possible cross-over Republicans,…”

Uh, that train left the station many moons ago.

Just a sampling:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/07/us/politics/hillary-clinton-republican-party.html

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-hillary-clinton-targeting-republican-voters-20160728-story.html

https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2016/05/15/hillary-clinton-tests-appeal-gasp-republicans/jRFqsMv7Xwt3bKiALGcOcK/story.html

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/08/hillary-clinton-henry-kissinger-foreign-policy/494945/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/08/10/clinton-rolls-out-more-gop-endorsements-announces-new-group-for-republican-outreach/

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/hillary-clinton-recruiting-republicans-226843

Now, of course, Clinton isn’t doing this because she fears she doesn’t have the left’s support. She’s doing this because this has been the centerpiece of the Democratic strategy since the Carter presidency.

I know, history, the past, everything we’re seeing today is like nothing we’ve ever seen before.

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Donald 08.10.16 at 7:02 pm

I already answered your question RNB– the mainstream press, HRW, Amnesty, and various blogs. But if you look at the numbers released, they don’t quite fit the narrative. For example

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/09/syria-civil-war-civilian-deaths/405496/

Note a couple of things from the Syrian Observatory figures. First, civilians are about a third of the total. The number of Syrian military dead plus associated militia is comparable to the number of civilian dead ( not counting the estimated group) and the rebel dead, adding up the different categories including outside forces, are smaller than the dead on Theproud government side.

This suggests a civil war between factions that are fighting on a roughly level playing field with civilians caught in the middle, sometimes deliberately killed and sometimes dying because of indiscriminate fire. American politicians including Clinton sometimes talk as though Assad’s forces are doing all the killing. It also seems odd that we are told the rebels need outside help so they can stand to Assad. Obviously they have had plenty of outside help– the death toll is what it is because the war keeps dragging on, but to hear Americans talk you’d think it was outgunned rebels along with civilians being massacred year after year, yet it seems 50,000 regular Syrian military along with tens of thousands of pro regime militia have been killed by the poorly armed rebels.

In the much smaller scale Gaza War the bulk of the deaths were Palestinian civilians– maybe 1500. Hundreds of Hamas fighters were killed and dozens of Israeli soldiers. That’s more the kind of ratio I would expect if the Syrian civil war fit into the framework given by American politicians and pundits.

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Donald 08.10.16 at 7:03 pm

Theproud government side– that was some annoying spell check correction.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 7:06 pm

Well she’s doing it because she is trying to win an election. But with Obama winning back a healthy majority of the Latino vote and the changing demographics of the country (going from 74 to 69% white), she can appeal more to minority voters’ concerns than her husband could. She still needs to win a lot of white people, but it could be that she could win a clear electoral majority without the equivalents of the Crime Bill and Welfare Reform to win the number of white votes she needs if the left is solidly behind her. In fact the Democratic Party platform already is more progressive than Bill Clinton’s was, by most accounts. And this is in part due to the effects of the Sanders’ campaign.

The left getting behind her helps make less likely a replay of the 90s, but of course she’s a New Democrat and may well go that way again. But we reduce the chances if she is not forced to have make great inroads into the conservative white independent and Republican vote to seal the election, given the kinds of things that they’ll need to get on board.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 7:12 pm

@539 Donald writes: “American politicians including Clinton sometimes talk as though Assad’s forces are doing all the killing. It also seems odd that we are told the rebels need outside help so they can stand to Assad. Obviously they have had plenty of outside help– the death toll is what it is because the war keeps dragging on, but to hear Americans talk you’d think it was outgunned rebels along with civilians being massacred year after year, yet it seems 50,000 regular Syrian military along with tens of thousands of pro regime militia have been killed by the poorly armed rebels.”

You’re taking into account air power differentials?

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Layman 08.10.16 at 7:15 pm

I don’t know why this notion persists that people who get elected President will feel obligated to govern in a manner desired by the people who elected them. If Republicans help Hillary get elected, she can choose to do fuck-all from their list of priorities. If leftists help her get elected, she can give them the one-finger salute the day after the election, and every day after that. She will do what she thinks ought to be done, or what she thinks will be good for her re-election chances, or what she thinks will polish her legacy. This is why character matters – there are no mechanisms to compel performance from a President. You can constrain their worst impulses, just barely, maybe, but that’s it.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 7:18 pm

@542 It could be that Hillary Clinton would be willing to put MANPADS in the rebels’ hands if they can be shut down if stolen and Trump would not. http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/04/20/the-u-s-wants-to-design-safer-anti-aircraft-missiles-for-syrias-rebels/

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Rich Puchalsky 08.10.16 at 7:25 pm

RNB: “It could be that Hillary Clinton would be willing to put MANPADS in the rebels’ hands if they can be shut down if stolen and Trump would not.”

This kind of assertion is why I’ve wondered whether RNB is a secret Trump supporter. I can’t think of anything more likely to hurt HRC turnout among the kind of people who read this than a statement like “HRC will be willing to arm up Syrian rebels and Trump won’t.” But even though the Internet has been gamed by both sides hiring anonymous social media people in this election, I’ve reluctantly come around to Patrick’s theory.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 7:27 pm

@543 The empirically-minded political scientists out there would know but I think there is new empirical research on how closely politicians hew to what they campaign on. But again layman what you’re saying can only encourage such great cynicism about Hillary Clinton’s character (though by most measures she is among the most honest politicians to have run for the Presidency in the last few decades) that people in “your crew” are likely to abstain, or to be understood as potentially abstaining, which can only strengthen her move to the right and make more likely a replay of the 90s. There is a fairly progressive platform; it seems like it would be a good idea to put Clinton in office and try to hold her to it.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 7:31 pm

I am telling the truth, Rich Puchalsky, as I see it, even if it creates concerns about Clinton, which I see no reason to hide. There are concerns about Clinton being a war hawk. She was more interventionist in Syria than Obama. And if Trump agrees to the debates, he is going to hit her over her interventionism in Libya (though he supported it) and say that she wanted to do the same thing in Syria, despite the failure. I actually do not think the case against her willingness to support the FSA is that strong at all; she lost the debate in the White House, and the result has been one of the greatest human rights catastrophes since WW 2.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 7:44 pm

@498 I referred to the actual data that undercuts some of Corey Robin’s empirical claims. No response?

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Corey Robin 08.10.16 at 9:00 pm

Okay, RNB, I’m going to take one stab at this. The reason I never responded to you earlier is that I took just one part of your comment, followed it up with the Washington Post article that you were making so much of, and found that it didn’t really support most of what you were trying to say. I didn’t see much point in rehearsing that here, but you’ve asked again, so…

I’ll show you here that piece of your comment that I did follow up, just so you can see why in general I don’t really respond to you. You play fast and loose with the facts—as I showed upthread, despite your claims, Clinton has consistently been beating Trump for a year, yet you ignore all that data—and having to issue corrections is just too exhausting. It’s the definition of having to deal with a troll, and I don’t have the time.

So let’s just give one a try. Here is what you say at 498:

First remember the survey data in the WaPo article on anti-Muslim sentiment referred to here at CT by merian, I think (“Donald Trump is bringing anti-Muslim prejudice into the mainstream
By Christopher Ingraham August 1.”) Islamophobia is not a losing issue; it does not repel people, as Robin writes.

It is frighteningly popular in the US, and both anecdotal and survey data reveal it to have intensified due to Trump’s candidacy. But both parties exhibit it, and think it’s a winning issue, pace Robin. For example, Bill Clinton’s Convention speech had Islamophobic content, i.e. that American Muslims have some greater responsibility to show their patriotism than other Americans. And to the extent that the Democrats gave the impression that a Muslim family had to sacrifice a son in war to become true Americans, the DNC was depressingly Islamophobic.

Let’s set aside: first, that I had not questioned whether Islamophobia was real and out there; I had questioned whether it could provide a basis for an electoral candidacy in Trump; all the evidence suggests it can’t, but in any event, that was the point I was making; second, the fact that if Islamophobia is so popular that it also has gripped the Democrats, that would argue considerably for toning down the rhetoric on how Trump is some unprecedented outlier.

Let’s just focus on whether that Wa Po article really shows that Islamophobia is “frighteningly popular” and that “it is not a losing issue” (all the Trump polling to the contrary).

Now, here is what the Wa Po article actually says:

1. Responses to Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the US “have been highly volatile.” In *one* poll, after Orlando, when the question was “How do you feel about temporarily banning Muslims who are not U.S. citizens from entering the U.S.?” half of American supported it. The article stresses: a) this was a big shift from what the polling had been throughout the year, a shift that was primarily due to the Orlando attacks; b) the wording was much looser and less draconian than Trump’s actual proposal. When the wording shifted to Trump’s actual proposal, do you “support or oppose banning all Muslims from entering the U.S.?” the numbers supporting the ban plummeted to 21%. In other words, 4 out of 5 Americans opposed the Trump ban. I’d say that’s not very popular. And even in the more unsettling poll after Orlando, respondents still claimed that other issues, like jobs and the economy, were far more important to them than terrorism or immigration.

2. Asked if their views of Muslims were “very favorable,” “mostly favorable,” “mostly unfavorable,” or “very unfavorable,” — this was in June, after Orlando, and months upon months of Trump’s efforts to bait Muslims — nearly two-thirds of the respondents said their views were “very favorable” or “mostly favorable.” A quarter said they were either “mostly unfavorable” or “very unfavorable.” In other words, it is a distinctly minority persuasion—or not very popular—in the population to see Muslims as unfavorable. And what’s more, despite Trump’s months of advocacy on this position, these were roughly the same #s found in December. So he had very little effect on popular opinion in this regard.

3. Another poll did show that Muslims have the highest unfavorability rating of any religious group. The poll doesn’t show how widespread that view is, so it’s hard to evaluate its popularity. What was more interesting to me was that those ratings were virtually identical to how Americans rate atheists (this brings us back to that vicious little bit of baiting the DNC wanted to engage in against Sanders) and only slightly worse than how they rate Mormons.

4. 30% of respondents claim to feel a great deal or some prejudice toward Muslims. The great majority say “none at all” and another small group says “only a little.” Again, hardly shows what you want to claim: that Islamophobia is “very popular.” You can argue that people aren’t being honest, and I’d be inclined to agree. But the article says nothing about that, and this is your Exhibit A, not mine.

5. One third of the voters think Muslims should be subjected to more scrutiny; the rest think the opposite. Again, the anti-Muslim position is a distinctly minority position.

6. A survey asked the following question: are “almost all” or “most” Muslims in the US anti-American; are “some” or “half” of all Muslims in the US anti-American; or are just “a few” or “none” anti-American?

The largest category of respondents—i.e., “the most popular—said that only “a few” or “no” Muslims in the US are anti-American. The smallest category—i.e., the “least popular”—said “almost all” or “most” are anti-American.

There’s other data in there, some more disturbing, some less disturbing. I’ve just focused on a bunch (the majority, I think) that vastly complicate, if not undermine, your claims

My main points, however, are these:

1. There is no question Islamophobia is a problem in the US. I’ve been writing about that problem since 9/11; it makes up a large part of my first book on fear. As I said upthread, we have a large Muslim and Arab population of students on my campus. A former student of mine, a Muslim American, has been in a federal penitentiary for a decade now on fairly absurd charges of support for material terrorism. (He was originally held there under “special administrative measures” imposed by one of the more moderate members of the Bush Administration, Michael Mukasey, who was so prominently featured at the recent RNC, so again, forgive me for the “Trump is so different” bullshit.) Islamophobia is hardly a new issue for me, something that Trump suddenly put on the agenda. But the question I’ve raised here, to which your comment at 498 was a response, is whether Trump can build a winning candidacy on Islamophobia: I think the answer, both from his own polling data (again, not just in the last week but throughout the entire past year), and from the Wa Po data that you cite, is no, he can’t. Not, I repeat, that there is no Islamophobia, but that it doesn’t seem to be a winning electoral issue.

2. You misrepresent data and make large and vast claims based on that misrepresentation. You then demand repeatedly that I respond to you. Well, okay, so I’ve now spent about 45 minutes reading the Wa Po article (and following up on some of the links) you hold up as so definitive, and then writing this response, and then editing and proofreading this response for clarity (something, incidentally, you might do yourself before you post your comments). That’s nearly an hour of my life that I will never get back: just to show that you’re a sloppy charlatan who’s high on rhetoric and low on evidence.

I won’t even get into the sheer chutzpah of someone not only repeatedly calling for me to be removed from my own blog but apparently, by your own admission, personally reaching out to other members of this blog to see if you could get them to ban me (I think we can see how successful that enterprise was), and then turning around and demanding that I deal with your cockamamie, empirically addled, claims. You want to talk about people who have no decency?

So, now I’ve responded to your attempt to rebut my claim. I’ve shown that the data is pretty mixed, and a lot of doesn’t bear out your operatic warnings. I’m not going to respond to you in the future because, as I’ve said and shown here, it takes an awful lot of time to rebut a charlatan. Time that I don’t have.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 9:36 pm

Islamophobia, coupled with nativism and anti-black prejudice, could produce an electoral victory on the basis of white nationalist energies. That is my claim, not that a Presidential candidate running on Islamophobia alone could well be competitive in a general election if not weighed down by some of Trump’s other liabilities. So your post is non-responsive, and you never did correct the record about your erroneous claim that Bush responded as harshly to Sheehan as Trump to the Khan’s.

But before I respond here are some excerpts from the WaPo piece that was introduced here for discussion by novakant, by the way.

“6. Half of Americans say that some or all American Muslims are anti-American.”

“7. Nearly half of Republicans say Islam encourages violence.”

“8. Most Americans say Muslims haven’t done enough to oppose extremism.”

‘A December 2015 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that over half of Americans said that “American Muslims have not done enough to oppose extremism in their own communities.”

“As of June, half of all Americans supported Donald Trump’s unconstitutional proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States. Support for the ban ticked upward after the shooting at an Orlando nightclub in June in which the shooter claimed allegiance to the Islamic State.””

It’s worth noting, however, that responses to this survey question have been highly volatile and seem to be heavily influenced by how the question is worded.”

“In 2014, the Pew Research Center asked Americans to rate their feelings toward various religious groups on a 0 to 100 scale, with 0 representing the most negative feelings and 100 the most positive. Americans placed Islam at the bottom of the scale, with a mean rating of 40 out of 100, just a hair behind atheists.”

“A 2010 Gallup poll found that 43 percent of Americans said they felt at least a little prejudice toward Muslims. Nearly 1 in 10 admitted to a “great deal” of prejudice.”

“A June 2014 Gallup poll found that 25 percent of American adults say that “requiring Muslims, including those who are U.S. citizens, to carry a special ID” would be an effective way to prevent terror incidents like the Orlando nightclub shooting.”

“A March 2016 Pew poll found that one-third of American voters — including nearly two-thirds of Trump supporters — say that U.S. Muslims should be “subject to more scrutiny” solely because of their religion.”

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RNB 08.10.16 at 9:52 pm

1. Clinton has not been beating Trump all year as Nixon was beating McGovern. The article you yourself downloaded said until recently that the race had been competitive.

2. You do not respond to my claim that if appealing to Islamophobia is not a winning issue (as you say) or an issue that parties they think need to win, then why do both parties appeal to it? No response at all. Again just non-responsive.

3. The data clearly show that the Muslim ban has a great deal of support and could be exploited in the right political circumstances to help win an election. This is the real meaning of people’s answers to the Muslim ban being volatile; it can easily be exploited. You don’t see this.

4. Once you start already with 25% of the population being openly unfavorable of Muslims on US soil and 40% openly claiming to have prejudice against Muslims and 25% wanting them to have special ID cards and 33% wanting higher surveillance of Muslims than any other population and about 50% of Americans think that about half/some Muslims are Anti-American and close to 30% of all Americans think Islam inclines towards violence, there is a clear threat such antipathy could quickly spread through the population in a highly charged political environment especially if there are few voices to counter it. And the Democrats will not necessarily counter it effectively.

But again the point is that given such a high level of Islamophobia, a white nationalist demagogue could combine it with nativism and anti-black racism to run a competitive Presidential race.

I do not want this to be true. I want white nationalism to have no chance at all. But it is not clear to me that this is true. Trump’s dive does not appear to me to be the result of rejection of his white nationalism. Moreover, even if someone can come within five points of the Presidency on a white nationalist agenda, the Republic has been severely damaged.

Trump needs to be trounced by the margin that Nixon beat McGovern. And that is not in cards unfortunately.

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Corey Robin 08.10.16 at 9:57 pm

I’d say you’re shameless, RNB (hence your belief that Trump is so strong; you’ve gotten along in life by being shameless, and so think Trump can do more by being even more shameless), but I think you’re just sloppy and lazy and can’t be bothered to get a damn thing right.

You now say: “and you never did correct the record about your erroneous claim that Bush responded as harshly to Sheehan as Trump to the Khan’s.”

Here’s what I actually said upthread at 98 (the comment I made in the OP about Sheehan explicitly said zero about Bush):

“The record of George W. Bush—the man who Ezra Klein claims would never have treated the Khans the way Trump has—with regard to Cindy Sheehan, whose son was also killed in Iraq, is even worse than I realized. As Brendan James reports in Slate: ‘It’s true, as the people tipping their hats to Bush have pointed out, that THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF DID NOT ATTACK SHEEHAN THE WAY TRUMP HAS GONE AFTER THE KHANS. But he didn’t have to. He let his underlings do it….Unlike Trump, Bush did it the right way. His team assassinated the character of his bereaved critic through the normal, respectable political channels. Meanwhile the man of the moment enjoyed plausible deniability and the praise of future journalists.'”

You say I claim that Bush responded as harshly to Sheehan as Bush did to Khan. I said no such thing. I *quoted* a journalist who explicitly said that Bush *did not* attack Sheehan, that he instead allowed his underlings to do it. What’s more, that wasn’t me being coy or cute. I was very explicitly pointing out that was this Bush’s strategy: not to say anything against Sheehan, but to have his underlings do it.

RNB, you’re a fabulist and/or a liar. And what’s more, you do it when the evidence of your lies and fabulism is right there for everyone to see. God only knows what you make up when the verification process isn’t so obvious.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 10:00 pm

Again I think the people who invited you to write OP’s here made a mistake. I never said that you should not be able to comment along with the rest of us or have your personal blog. But you are loose with the facts (see Sheehan) and don’t argue well, e.g. you made it appear as if I had claimed that Islamophobia was a sufficient condition for a winning white nationalist candidacy. But I said that it could be an essential part of a competitive white nationalist platform.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 10:02 pm

Yes but what you left out what Bush actually said about Sheehan. He shared in her grief and recognized and honored her son. Polar opposite of Trump to Khan. You really don’t see this?

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Corey Robin 08.10.16 at 10:07 pm

You just claimed that I claimed that “Bush responded as harshly to Sheehan as Trump to the Khan’s.”

That is a flat-out lie. It’s right there for everyone to see. You can’t even retract the statement, acknowledge the error, much less apologize. You’re absolutely repellent. I’m done with you.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 10:09 pm

@98 you write: “The record of George W. Bush—the man who Ezra Klein claims would never have treated the Khans the way Trump has—with regard to Cindy Sheehan, whose son was also killed in Iraq, is even worse than I realized.”

You are just wrong. You made an erroneous claim. George W. Bush was not harsh to Cindy Sheehan. He was generous. Trump however was a racist madman to the Khan’s.

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LFC 08.10.16 at 10:13 pm

There are lots of structural obstacles and ‘veto points’ in the U.S. political system, coupled with the constant campaign cycle and need to court big money, but despite all that there are still ways to put pressure on Presidents ‘from below’.

What someone should be doing now is to do a close reading of all HRC’s major programmatic statements (including the convention speech), the platform, plus whatever she will say in the debates (assuming there are some). Then when she wins (assuming she does) and esp. if Dems take control of both branches of Congress, all her previous programmatic statements should be checked against her first submission of major legislative wish-list items to Congress. If the legislative submission deviates in significant ways from the previous programmatic statements, a coalition of groups should take media ads charging her with betraying her programmatic promises. This should be followed up with demonstrations (either in cities all over the country or the ‘march on Washington’ model or both) claiming betrayal of the programmatic agenda. If this happens in the first 6 mos. of her first term, it will get her attention. If it doesn’t get her attention and she continues to ignore previous programmatic statements, people should start publicly saying they will not support her for re-election.

This could form one part of a broader strategy of pressure, on the lines of what Corey wrote @528.

My last word for now: Rich P. says victory is demotivating. It should be exactly the opposite. The point of winning an election is to get things done after it’s over. If the person who has just been elected, and btw has run as someone who ‘knows how to get things done’, proceeds not even to propose the measures she has pledged to propose, then that should motivate people and get them riled up. Not induce complacency, but the reverse.

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Donald 08.10.16 at 10:28 pm

RNB–on Syria, I am just quoting the death toll figures put out by the Syrian observatory. Despite the Syrian military advantage in airpower and artillery, the rebels seem to be killing more of the Syrian military and militia than they are losing, which suggests that outside sources of aid must be making a big difference. Back in Assad Sr.’s day the rebels were squashed flat ( along with many civilians) in Hama. The difference must surely be the outside sources of manpower, training, and weaponry. It’s been an even fight, at least before the Russians got more involved.

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ZM 08.10.16 at 10:55 pm

“You are just wrong. You made an erroneous claim. George W. Bush was not harsh to Cindy Sheehan. He was generous. Trump however was a racist madman to the Khan’s.”

Corey Robin said that Bush was not harsh to Cindy Sheehan – but that he had a political strategy of allowing people who worked for him or Republican Party staffers to be harsh to Cindy Sheehan.

He thinks such a strategy is bad, that’s why he says Bush was “worse” than he thought.

He cited an article for the facts.

I’m confused, do you dispute the facts of the article? Or what are you arguing about?

You can’t tell the bloggers they shouldn’t blog on their own blog, it’s really offensive, you’ll get banned for being rude and trolling people. You just made Corey Robin really cross, for no good reason, since you haven’t even said if you’re disputing the facts of the article he cited, I can’t even understand your argument if you’re not disputing the facts of the article.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.10.16 at 11:02 pm

LFC: “Rich P. says victory is demotivating.”

You left out a lot of conditionals.

And I guess that when Obama did nothing, people marched in the streets, rather than making excuses and calling anyone who thought he should do more a Green Lanternist who didn’t know how politics worked.

I don’t really expect LFC to understand. But look at the most comical part of American democracy, the 4-yearly Supreme Court panic. Every 4 years, people suddenly discover that Supreme Court Justices are generally older people, and that some of them may retire soon. And then there’s terror. Our way of life depends on putting the right people in place! We must ask for nothing, not one thing from our leaders that might hurt their chance of winning over an undecided voter, because what really matters are those possible SC vacancies. Anyone who claims to want something more from politics must really just not care about whichever people would have their lives ruined by not filling those empty holes with the right stuff.

And every four years it’s eternally new. People are informed of it as if they’ve never heard of it before. No one ever goes on to think “Why is it that our lives are supposedly so dependent on people who we haven’t elected and have no control over?” “Are we supposed to control the Presidency forever?” No, it’s panic, then the big snooze.

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RNB 08.10.16 at 11:04 pm

Donald, I’ll respond to this later. Still trying to think through what is going here.

1. I don’t see how Robin has shown that candidates lose by promoting an Islamophobic agenda, i.e. they lose more votes than they gain it by it; or how he has shown that a white nationalist candidate could not combine Islamophobia with nativism and anti-black prejudice to run a competitive race for the Presidency, especially if s/he did not make some of the errors on foreign policy and treatment of military families that Trump has. Again I don’t want white nationalism to have this potency. I want to be convinced that it is not so potent. That is how my @498 is framed.

2. I don’t see how Bush himself saying very generous and well-publicized things about Sheehan even if Rove made an apparently off-the-record insult of her that few heard at the time is at all similar to Trump fighting with the Khan’s in a public way while comparing his sacrifices to their loss which implies that a loss of son does not mean that much to them–a very racist assumption.

Robin simply refuses to acknowledge what Bush actually said. Sure the people at Fox News attacked Sheehan, but that’s not relevant to the comparison. That is, I think Ezra Klein is right that Trump handled criticism of a grieving parent in a very different way than Trump did.

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kidneystones 08.10.16 at 11:06 pm

Trump won the nomination by claiming the media and the elites rig the system against outsiders like Bernie and him and that the media and elites of both parties are indifferent to the problems and concerns of many, many voters.

The same thing is occurring in real-time now. The difference is the media and the elites are openly producing elite narratives in a manner that really do make Trump the underdog. Trump won the nomination by claiming the media elites and most of the politicians in both parties are in the pockets of the rich. That’s an argument that continues to resonate.

The fact is that Trump and Sanders are both the result of a system that works precisely the way Trump and Saunders describe it. A significant block of voters understand that.

Voters also understand that HRC/Bush are simply the current/past iterations of a system that denies any voice to ordinary voters. There will be no real change, except on the periphery and that’s the function of the elections – in a very real sense we’re living the living, breathing embodiment of Burke’s conservatism.

Yes, LGBT rights are a good thing. After that, what?

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RNB 08.10.16 at 11:06 pm

@561 ZM, I wrote my last @563 before reading your post. Does my point 2 explain my point? Robin really needed to cite the very generous things Bush said to Cindy Sheehan to establish the thesis that racism and Islamophobia did not make Trump’s response to the Khan’s much, much worse than the way Bush responded to Sheehan.

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kidneystones 08.10.16 at 11:28 pm

The fact is that a great many voters have seen their wages go down, or remain stagnant, over the past two decades as they read stories day to day of a soaring stock market and all kinds of economic good times.

These voters are extremely unlikely to be distracted by any stories on any topic. Their focus is on jobs and the indifference of the media and politicians of both political parties to the need for jobs.

Trump’s experience in the construction trades matters to voters because infrastructure construction provides short-terms and long-term jobs and training programs. Trump went to Detroit and described the city as HRC’s blueprint for America.

The problem for the media, the Democrats, and their supporters is that practically nobody sees HRC as anything but the ultimate insider agent of the rich, who happens to wear a dress. She first got to the WH as a political wife. She was parachuted into a safe Senate seat to start her ‘run for office.’ She was awarded a plum position in the administration in large part to placate her followers and heal some of the ‘Clintons and their supporters are all racists’ wounds. After leaving the administration, she and her husband earned millions which poured into a private foundation. The DNC and the Dems colluded to keep her only opponent from winning. The DOJ just ruled the Clintion Cash Cow to be beyond investigation. And now, this ultimate insider is re-packaging herself as ‘the best darn change-agent’ president ‘women as tissues’ has ever seen. And then there are the drones.

The media can’t cover the issues fairly because the issues confirm their chosen candidate can’t be trusted on the issues that most Americans care about most. Most voters, including HRC voters, understand the difference between scare stories and solutions.

Both candidates traffic in scare stories. Only one offers solutions that resonate with voters.

That candidate wins.

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The Temporary Name 08.10.16 at 11:51 pm

Both candidates traffic in scare stories. Only one offers solutions that resonate with voters.That candidate wins.

Unless one candidate consistently proves he’s out of his mind and his numbers crater dramatically enough that his party’s hold on the legislative agenda is put in doubt.

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RNB 08.11.16 at 12:20 am

Put it another way. Robin falsely implied that bush himself said nothing to or about Sheehan leaving the dirty work to surrogates. But this implication is false. Bush spoke at length and very generously to Sheehan. Also who writes a comparison of trump and bush on speaking to military families without attending to what they actually said?

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RNB 08.11.16 at 12:22 am

Am if you ZM think I am still wrong please tell me

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kidneystones 08.11.16 at 12:32 am

Actually, as we can see now. An awful lot of people are betting the farm that enough voters buy into that narrative. As I mentioned above, the people promulgating precisely this myth have been doing just that ever since he began running for office to no great effect.

Suffice to say a counter-narrative exists: one in which Trump has committed very few of the crimes which the gullible routinely swallow as fact. Unless, of course, you and the vast majority here are about to assert a complete lack of confirmation bias on this matter.

Minds are made up, truth has to be sacrificed in order to ‘prevent the end of mankind.’ Rest assured, we’d be hearing precisely the same ‘end of the world’ spew were Bush, or any other placeholder the candidate.

The choice between HRC and Bush is essentially no choice.

The choice between HRC and Trump may actually be less of a choice than many believe. We’re unlikely to get to that discussion any time soon.

No jobs, shitty schools and roads mean more votes for Trump.

Take a chance with Trump, or settle in for 4-8 more years of Obama, only worse. Many voters have already decided. As we can see, the swing states are indeed swinging.

Voters decide in November. I still say Trump edges it, at least.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.11.16 at 12:37 am

I thought of writing more about fear in politics, but after all that CR has written about Montesquieu and so on, I don’t think it’s going to add anything. I would talk about how “I’m terrified about my family!” operates in Jewish politics, but given that people treated my pointing out anti-Semitism as the worst thing ever, I’d better not.

Instead I’ll just say more about the problems of a positive left politics. People may have noticed, around Brexit, that Remainers all of a sudden were treating old, uneducated, and poor people as racist scumbags, and that the plan for a way forward was apparently the therapeutic state. What those people needed was a good talking to, after which they would no longer be racists, and then and only then could people turn to coming together around free movement for jobs and whatever other blancmange fills the imaginations of the professional class. Solidarity, workers!

Unlike some other people, I don’t locate the problem in the repression that was done to the Marxist tradition. The Marxist tradition is in my opinion 19th century crud, has no relationship to current problems when it isn’t actively opposed to thinking about them, and is better off gone. The problem is that nothing took its place. We know what the main problems are — we’re outgrowing global limits, we have a system of property that concentrates wealth for no good reason, we have a system of jobs that makes people do useless work or starve, we have a nation-state system that all human interest in community gets funneled into, etc.

I saw this in miniature when people kept demanding that Occupy make a list of demands. Some people in Occupy tried to do so and were ignored, for obvious reasons. What demands could we honestly come together around? “The system does not work” is not a demand.

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Faustusnotes 08.11.16 at 12:48 am

I agree with Corey (earlier) that if clinton can win the senate (and especially the house) she will be forced to govern far to th left of where she is used to, because the dem left is getting uppity and active, and she will be depending on them within her organization. She may still want to pretend that she only won with right wing voters deserting trump, but her party organization has swung left and she is going to have to deal with that. The left will be emboldened and she will deal with regular insurgencies and the threat of a 2020 primary challenge.

Bruce Wilder’s response to me above shows why clintons critics on the far left don’t have a clue. It’s mess of historical fabrications and theoretical waffle that is almost incontestable in its incoherence. The republicans and dems “feed off each other” in a “symbiosis” in one sentence but in the very next sent nice the dems “don’t feed off the republicans” (in any case symbiotic species don’t feed off each other; they usually don’t compete for food; and mutual parasitism is not a very effective analogy). In his previous comment Bruce shows why this analysis fails: he assumes that Clinton doesn’t want to govern, that she won’t instruct her allies to fight for state and local governments so she can improve obamacare.

Bruce claims he is t saying “both sides do it” in almost the same breath as he says that democrats, too, don’t want to govern. This is an empty analysis. There is only one party in the us that wants to govern, it’s the dems, and they are serious about it. There is no “symbiosis” (or any other misused wanky analogy) between the parties. One is a dangerous pack of wreckers and the other is a center right party that wants to rule the country.

Fortunately, in America like in every country, hard left critics of mainstream parties who reject “ally ship” and think that mainstream left parties are just a con to keep moderate left voters off the streets are a tiny minority. While they pose, center left parties try to make real gains for the poor people with whom these hard left academics feel no solidarity.

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Faustusnotes 08.11.16 at 12:52 am

Rich the only people who treated poor, uneducated and elderly people like racist scumbags were the leave campaign, peddling racist scare stories and nazi posters. Fortunately it didn’t work on the educated and the poor, contrary to popular opinion – but it worked very well on the old and the authoritarian minded. Labour voters and the young went overwhelmingly for remain, but don’t let that interfere with your just so stories.

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ZM 08.11.16 at 1:07 am

RNB,

“2. I don’t see how Bush himself saying very generous and well-publicized things about Sheehan even if Rove made an apparently off-the-record insult of her that few heard at the time is at all similar to Trump fighting with the Khan’s in a public way while comparing his sacrifices to their loss which implies that a loss of son does not mean that much to them–a very racist assumption.”
“@561 ZM, I wrote my last @563 before reading your post. Does my point 2 explain my point? Robin really needed to cite the very generous things Bush said to Cindy Sheehan to establish the thesis that racism and Islamophobia did not make Trump’s response to the Khan’s much, much worse than the way Bush responded to Sheehan.”
“Am if you ZM think I am still wrong please tell me”

I am not American so obviously I don’t have the level of familiarity with this that the American bloggers and commenters have. But in terms of your paraphrasing of Corey Robin, yes you are wrong, and you were really rude saying he shouldn’t blog on his own blog.

Corey Robin did not imply that Bush said nothing to or about Sheehan — he said he thought it was bad that Bush was on the surface polite and tolerant, but that strategically he allowed people who worked for him or the Republican Party to attack her. Which appears to indicate that not only was Bush insincere, but that he was strategically pursuing two tactics at once which is being double faced.

Bush occupied the office of President and is in the high echelons of the Republican Party (I don’t know how American political parties are structured. If he is the President does that mean he was leader of the Republican Party or are they separate?).

This means that not only does he have control over 1. his own words; but that he also has a large amount of control over 2. people who work for him; and 3. a large amount of control over people in the Republican Party; and 4. he and his staff and fellow high up people in the Republican Party have a good degree of influence over the right wing media as well, albeit not control as such.

As such Bush’s own words are not the only thing that one looks at. If people who he has control over are saying something different from himself — then it leaves one to think he is being either double faced, or else he is very ineffective.

Actually this was a matter of speculation throughout the Presidency of Bush Jr — was he calculatingly double faced, or was he ineffective? Corey Robin seems to posit that he was being double faced, and approved of and maybe directed people under him to attack Sheehan.

Possibly you might argue he was simply ineffective, and that he did not attack Sheehan and did not wish anyone else to attack her, but was unable to exercise authority of people under him.

But you aren’t arguing that. You are trying to skirt around altogether the fact that Bush has a high degree of authority over what other people do who work for him or who are in the Republican Party. You can’t do that, its not true. He was in a position of power and either he was double faced and told other people to do the dirty work of smearing Sheehan while he remained polite, or else he lost control of his staff and the Republican Party as the President and they just did whatever the heck they wanted.

Further, Corey Robin was making the point about the common practice of attacking and smearing war veterans, or the parents of war veterans and dead soldiers.

Actually this is highly irregular conduct in my view. I don’t think politicians smear soldiers and their families in Australia that often that I can think of at all. I don’t think it would be well regarded if they did that. I think this shows that some of the American political establishment holds soldiers and their families in contempt to do this so frequently.

If you are arguing that attacking war veterans or their families is worse if it includes racism, I don’t know if that is right.

Attacking them is bad, and racism is bad. Is attacking them with racism worse than just attacking them? I am not sure. It is an additional negative, but I don’t know about this being worse. Actually the Khan’s seem to have come off a lot better than Sheehan who seems to have got attacked much worse.

Also you could just as well argue that Trump is less bad for being upfront in his attacks on the Khan’s, rather than being double faced and hiding behind other people.

Depending on if you think Bush was double faced or ineffective as President during the character assassination of Sheehan. Which you haven’t clarified.

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RNB 08.11.16 at 1:51 am

ZM: “As such Bush’s own words are not the only thing that one looks at.”

Hahahaha! But they are surely something you should look at if you are making a comparison between Bush’s response to Sheehan and Trump’s response to the Khan’s. I think reasonable people can agree about this if Robin is really upset.

You also write: “Corey Robin did not imply that Bush said nothing to or about Sheehan.”

If one is saying that Bush left the response to Sheehan to surrogates, one is indeed giving the sense that Bush himself did not speak about Sheehan. But he did at length. The quotes are @170. I see no reason why in a honest discussion we would not acknowledge what Bush himself said in comparing the responses of Bush to Sheehan and Trump to the Khan’s.

So nowhere does Robin acknowledge what Bush said: that he must listen and respond to Sheehan’s dissent, that as Americans we must respect her rights to dissent, and that as Americans we must honor her loss and son. This is basic human respect from the Highest Office of the Land, no matter what O’Reilly, Beck and Hannity say afterwards.

Now Trump did not even acknowledge the Khan’s loss as grieving human beings (the coldest racism), implicitly restated their appearance at the Convention as a reason to ban all Muslims from the country (I gave a link above where this was shown), and eventually reduced their loss to nothing more than he himself had sacrificed in his ridiculously privileged life.

The comparison is important because it reveals how this Presidential candidate is willing to break with even the most highly valued Presidential norms about respect for military families who have lost children in the service of the country, when those families are from a religion that he wants expelled from the US.

When such an attack is done not from the zone of competing cable networks but from the highest office in the land, it does send a symbol of open attack on Muslims in that there is nothing they can do to enjoy the most basic sense of belonging which most other Americans take for granted.

I am not Muslim, but to most Americans the Khan’s look and speak like a lot of people in my family (he has a Pakistani Punjabi accent while my family is Marwari), so I had an emotional response to the way Trump went after the Khan’s which to me seemed much more indecent than the response to Sheehan, which did not come with the imprimatur of a possible President of the US.

Of course part of the story is that Bush let Rove signal an ok for a right wing cable news attack on Sheehan, but this is different from making the attack from the Presidency. It has very different effects, and it represents a willingness for Trump to give the full power of the Presidency to release hate on vulnerable minorities.

It is important to mark the difference between Bush and Trump here. And there is no reason not to even acknowledge what Bush himself said.

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RNB 08.11.16 at 2:06 am

I am interested in any other defenses of Robin’s ideas here. Others have already responded critically to Robin’s thesis of rough equivalence of how Bush responded to Sheehan and Trump to the Khan’s at 106,109, and 111. My initial critical response was @102 which has a very good link to a Guardian piece. I added to my response @170.

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js. 08.11.16 at 2:08 am

Oddly, my line of thought isn’t all that different from what Corey says @528. Just that unlike Corey, I don’t think Clinton will be recalcitrant, necessarily. Sure, she’ll be too cautious and she’ll piss off left activists (which is a good thing!), but I don’t think she’ll be opposed to their agenda, entirely.

——

Anyway, what we really need to move this forward (can we dream of 800 yet!?) is an evisceration of Chomsky for being a neoliberal sellout. It needs to be at least three paragraphs long. I know you have it in you!

578

kidneystones 08.11.16 at 2:24 am

July 30th “Captain Humayun Khan was a hero to our country and we should honor all who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country safe. The real problem here are the radical Islamic terrorists who killed him, and the efforts of these radicals to enter our country to do us further harm. Given the state of the world today, we have to know everything about those looking to enter our country, and given the state of chaos in some of these countries, that is impossible. While I feel deeply for the loss of his son, Mr. Khan who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things. If I become President, I will make America safe again.

“Further, Hillary Clinton should be held accountable for her central role in destabilizing the Middle East. She voted to send the United States to war against Iraq, helped lead the disastrous withdrawal of American troops years later that created the vacuum allowing the rise of ISIS, and has never met a regime change she didn’t like (which have all been disasters) – not to mention her invasion of Libya and her abandonment of American personnel in Benghazi. The loss of these lives in Libya is directly traceable to Clinton, but their families’ testimonials were rejected by the media.”

Trump makes so many blatantly offensive claims before breakfast on any given day, I’m astonished anyone feels the need to invent any.

What is provably clear is that Trump weeks ago, in fact, publicly honored the sacrifice of Captain Khan and publicly recognize Kahn Sr.’s grief: “I feel deeply for the loss of his son…” https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/setting-the-record-straight

Making shit up isn’t going to get Trump over the finish line.

He’s going to need to convince more Americans than he has to date that he has better economic solutions than Clinton. I’m confident he will.

579

Corey Robin 08.11.16 at 2:29 am

RNB:

Here’s the deal.

You’re a serial liar about my positions.

In this thread, you say here, not once, but twice (#228 and #552) that I claimed “that George W. Bush treated Cindy Sheehan as badly as Trump was treating the Khan’s” (228) and “that Bush responded as harshly to Sheehan as Trump to the Khan’s.” That’s a complete lie.

I just saw on a previous thread (Philadelphia Stories, #61) your claim that I had declared I would not support Clinton in the general election against Trump. That’s also a complete lie.

In general, you’ve made the ugliest and most outrageous claims about me (“He can’t tell the difference among colored people; they or we are all the same to him”), you’ve been unbelievably rude and insulting to me on multiple occasions, and you’ve raised on numerous occasions (see the “Check Your Amnesia” thread) the position that I ought to be banned as a blogger from this blog. Not only that, but you’ve apparently, by your own admission, contacted other members of CT blog to try and get me banned from blogging here.

Long story short: you’ve abused, repeatedly, the hospitality of your host.

Ordinarily I’d demand an apology, but I don’t want your apology.

So here’s what going to happen: you’re getting to get your shit together, you’re going to stop lying about my positions, you’re going to stop making outrageous allegations and claims about me, and you’re going to stop calling on my threads for me to be banned from my own blog. If you can’t abide by those rules — which are in keeping with the rules of the blog (see below) — I’ll simply delete or disemvowel your comments. And if it continues, you’ll be banned from all threads on my posts. If you think you’re being singled out, you are: no one in these discussions has treated me like you have.

Consider this a warning: get your act together, or get out. It’s your choice.

Here’s the link to our comments policy:

http://crookedtimber.org/notes-for-trolls-sockpuppets-and-other-pests/

“We welcome comments from readers on posts, but you do so as guests in our private space. Concepts of ‘censorship’ are not applicable. If your comments are blatantly racist, sexist or homophobic we will delete them and ban you from the site. The same goes for comments which are personally defamatory or insulting or which seek to derail a thread through provocation of one kind or another. If your comments strike us as stupid or irrelevant we may also delete them in the interests of keeping the conversation at a reasonable level. Commenters who who routinely seek to make marginally relevant debating points may be barred to make room for those with a substantive contribution to the discussion. It is up to us. Individual members of CT may ban particular readers from commenting on their posts, based on their own criteria for constructive discussion, or we may reach a group decision on a ban from the site as a whole. Any attempt to evade a ban, for example by the use of sockpuppets, will result in a total and permanent ban. Polite requests for reconsideration of bans may be entertained, but commenters should remember their position as guests, and not seek to assert imagined rights to publication.”

580

RNB 08.11.16 at 2:55 am

Y hv sd tht snc y thght Clntn hs ths n th bg, y wld nt mltt fr Clntn nd thn prcdd t gv dvc t Clntn spprtrs bt hw t g bt thr bsnss. Prhps y hv chngd yr pstn. dd nt sy tht y sd tht y wld nt vt fr hr. sd tht y wld nt spprt hr. Tht s nt l; t s rsnbl ntrprttn f wht y hv wrttn. Th ccstn f lyng hr s jk.

Y hv nt wrttn mch hr t ll bt th nt-Ltn ntvsm nd nt-Mslm rlgs ntlrnc f th Trmp cmpgn, whl spkng f th nt-blck hstry f th Rpblcn Prty. Why th blndnss r lck f cncrn t ths thr frms f ntlrnc whn mny f s wnt thm cknwldgd nd dscssd? Ths s nt dsyncrtc. t hs bn th vry cntr f hs cmpgn, ts rsn d’ tr. t dsrvs mr ttntn. Whn skd whr cknwldgmnt f ths ws, y prvdd s n sntnc f whr y cknwldgd ths spcts f Trmpsm.

Y wrt rly n ths thrd: “Th rcrd f Grg W. Bsh—th mn wh zr Kln clms wld nvr hv trtd th Khns th wy Trmp hs—wth rgrd t Cndy Shhn, whs sn ws ls klld n rq, s vn wrs thn rlzd.”

nd nw y wrt: ‘n ths thrd, y sy hr, nt nc, bt twc (#228 nd #552) tht clmd “tht Grg W. Bsh trtd Cndy Shhn s bdly s Trmp ws trtng th Khn’s” (228) nd “tht Bsh rspndd s hrshly t Shhn s Trmp t th Khn’s.” Tht’s cmplt l.’

Nt l, mch lss cmplt l. t my b tht y dd wht d ll th tm–wrt n hghly vg wy. Lk t yr sntnc: y r syng tht Kln s wrng t sy Bsh wld nvr hv trtd Shhn th wy Trmp trtd th Khn’s whch rd s yr syng tht Bsh ws wllng t trt Shhn s ndcntly s Trmp hd trtd th Khn’s. Bt n fct Kln s rght nd y r wrng: Bsh’s ctl rspns t Shhn ws mch mr dcnt thn Trmp’s t th Khn’s.

581

ZM 08.11.16 at 3:02 am

RNB,

“Hahahaha! But they are surely something you should look at if you are making a comparison between Bush’s response to Sheehan and Trump’s response to the Khan’s. I think reasonable people can agree about this if Robin is really upset.”

Corey Robin did look at them — and he implied Bush was being double faced since Bush said one thing and people he had authority over said something else.

The other possibility is Bush could have been very ineffective.

Saying Bush is being double faced is not failing to consider what he *said* — its saying that what he said and what he did with his authority were in conflict and he was thus double faced.

“If one is saying that Bush left the response to Sheehan to surrogates, one is indeed giving the sense that Bush himself did not speak about Sheehan. But he did at length.”

Corey Robin did not say that Bush left the response to surrogates — he said Bush said one thing and people he had authority over said another thing, leaving Corey Robin to conclude he was being double faced.

“So nowhere does Robin acknowledge what Bush said: that he must listen and respond to Sheehan’s dissent, that as Americans we must respect her rights to dissent, and that as Americans we must honor her loss and son. This is basic human respect from the Highest Office of the Land, no matter what O’Reilly, Beck and Hannity say afterwards.”

But if Bush is telling everyone as President of the USA and very high up person in the Republican Party that Sheehan’s right to dissent must be respected, how come people he had authority over did not respect Sheehan’s right to dissent?

He was the President for goodness sake. Either he was double faced, or else he was very ineffective.

If he was double faced then what he said doesn’t count anyhow since he was lying.

If he was very ineffective, then I guess you can argue that what he said mattered, but unfortunately carried little weight due to being ineffective and not able to excercise authority over his staff, the Republican Party, or influence over the right wing media, while he was President.

“The comparison is important because it reveals how this Presidential candidate is willing to break with even the most highly valued Presidential norms about respect for military families who have lost children in the service of the country, when those families are from a religion that he wants expelled from the US.”

Well its only breaking with norms if Bush was ineffective — if he was double faced then Bush broke with those norms first.

Which leads Corey Robin’s to question whether this “respect for the military families” is operationally a norm any longer in the USA.

Certainly I would be surprised if people in Australian politics treated war veterans and their families in this disrespectful fashion.

You could be right. I’m not American. If you say American people habitually disrespect military families and habitually disrespect the President telling them not to, so there’s nothing much the President can do about it since even if the people are his staff and in his political Party they don’t listen to him, who am I to argue with you as an Australian.

“…so I had an emotional response to the way Trump went after the Khan’s which to me seemed much more indecent than the response to Sheehan, which did not come with the imprimatur of a possible President of the US.

Of course part of the story is that Bush let Rove signal an ok for a right wing cable news attack on Sheehan, but this is different from making the attack from the Presidency. It has very different effects, and it represents a willingness for Trump to give the full power of the Presidency to release hate on vulnerable minorities.”

Well, now you seem to be saying you agree with Corey Robin that Bush was double faced after all.

Then you seem to be arguing that being double faced as President and allowing or encouraging staff and colleagues to attack military families while saying publicly that military families should be respected is better than a Presidential candidate just attacking military families openly.

I’m really not sure I can agree with you about the virtues of being double faced in politics.

I can understand that it might have been very upsetting or worrying for you to hear a Presidential candidate making overtly racist arguments, but I think if Trump is racist its probably better that he is open about it in his Presidential candidacy rather than being double faced about it and hiding it during his candidacy.

I just don’t think you’re right about this, even though I understand why you’d be upset or concerned.

582

Corey Robin 08.11.16 at 3:09 am

RNB: This isn’t up for litigation or argument. We’re not going over the terrain again. You’ll move forward according to the rules I’ve set out or you’re done.

583

RNB 08.11.16 at 3:11 am

ZM, you write: “Corey Robin did look at them — and he implied Bush was being double faced since Bush said one thing and people he had authority over said something else.”

But Robin did not recognize what Bush himself said; in fact he did not let on that Bush said anything at all to Sheehan. But Bush did speak at length to Sheehan, and in a very decent way. And what issues from the Highest Office of the Land matters greatly even if surrogates say something else on cable news.

I’ll leave it at that.

584

RNB 08.11.16 at 3:15 am

OK that settles it. “Y” is not a vowel.

585

kidneystones 08.11.16 at 3:16 am

PBS: Despite extremely negative press over Donald Trump’s insensitive remarks about ‘Mexican rapists’ and judges, nearly 1/4 Hispanic voters support Trump, according to one recent poll.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/will-trump-energize-latino-vote/

Large percentages of both the black and Hispanic communities are very conservative on issues such as legal drug use, gay marriage, and – wait for it – undocumented nationals from other countries overstaying and abusing US visa laws.

Voters in Detroit and in the rust-belt are being subjected to precisely the same old ‘this Republican is so uniquely crazy’ that he actually tied the family dog to the roof of the car distractions that ‘the world will literally end’ if the non-Dem ‘sociopath can’t be trusted with his finger on the trigger nut’ is not defeated.

Forget your failed schools, crumbling streets, and bankrupt municipal pension funds. Think big! Getting another Clinton into the WH is much more important that making any change, especially if that change involves voting for a Republican, rather than a Democrat.

Funny, I don’t see many voters forgetting this time round.

586

ZM 08.11.16 at 3:30 am

RNB,

Corey Robin made it obvious Bush said something to Sheehan, and he said Bush was double faced about the whole thing. If you’re double faced it doesn’t matter what you say, since its lying.

But this might be a cultural difference since you have said your family is originally from North Western India.

I think that in some Asian cultures it is very important what people say publicly, and it is accepted that there can be differences in what someone says publicly and what they say privately and this is less important. But I don’t really understand the cultural tradition about this well enough to explain it.

587

RNB 08.11.16 at 3:35 am

Cn y gv th qt whr “Cry Rbn md t bvs Bsh sd smthng t Shhn.” rd Rbn s syng tht by syng nthng hmslf t Shhn, Bsh cld ppr tlrnt n th fc f crtcsm nd njy plsbl dnblty. Wht s nt n dbt: Rbn dd nt qt wht Bsh ctlly sd bt Cndy Shhn.

588

Corey Robin 08.11.16 at 3:47 am

ZM and RNB: Since RNB cannot be counted on to present an accurate account of what I said, both of you are going to move on from this topic. We’re done with it. All comments on that from RNB will be deleted but ZM, please don’t persist in this either.

589

js. 08.11.16 at 3:48 am

RNB — Don’t get yourself banned, man. Look, assume you’re entirely right and Corey’s entirely wrong. In that case, a blogger who’s not going to have any material effect on the outcome of the election is wrong. Basically, somebody’s wrong on the internet. And natural and proper desires notwithstanding, probably best to let it go.

590

RNB 08.11.16 at 3:58 am

Got it, js.

591

ZM 08.11.16 at 4:11 am

No worries Corey Robin. I’m happy to leave it at this.

592

F. Foundling 08.11.16 at 5:40 am

The Temporary Name @497, 08.10.16 at 2:21 am
> Then hooray for panic and GOTV and blind Hillary boosterism of all kinds, including alliances with Dr. Strangelove.

Layman @545, 08.10.16 at 7:15 pm
>I don’t know why this notion persists that people who get elected President will feel obligated to govern in a manner desired by the people who elected them.

Politician P campaigns and wins as an X-ist -> P’s victory is claimed for X-ism -> X-ism is promoted and acquires greater legitimacy in society and in politics, and other politicians (seeking their own victories) as well as P (seeking approval and reelection) feel more encouraged to pursue X-ist policies and use X-ist rhetoric. With Trump, X is fascism (roughly), which is why I’m against Trump in spite of the very real possibility that a lot of his threats will turn out to be just empty talk. It *matters* what X will be for Clinton. And this is so obvious it really shouldn’t need to be pointed out.

593

The Temporary Name 08.11.16 at 6:41 am

It *matters* what X will be for Clinton. And this is so obvious it really shouldn’t need to be pointed out.

It does! She’s going to be president. And what X might be is going to depend a lot on the results of the election. Will the senate flip? The house even? Go Hillary go!

And go 600 go! Surely a mind will change once the six century mark is broken!

594

kidneystones 08.11.16 at 6:45 am

@ 592 ‘With Trump, X is fascism (roughly) which is why I’m against Trump in spite of the very real possibility that a lot of his threats will turn out to be just empty talk.’

Recognizing this is a blog comments section and that a certain degree of rhetorical excess is expected, I’d be very curious to learn which ‘threats’ make Trump a ‘fascist.’

I don’t see Trump as fascist in any workable, or historically grounded use of the term.

I’m not at all confident in Trump’s ability to pull the levers of government, hence my own skepticism that he’ll actually be able to rebuild the US economy in the way he’s promising, or achieve many, any of his foreign policy goals. However, I see no evidence whatsoever to support the notion that any of his most fervent supporters would support abrogating any, or even some parts of the constitution. He is absolutely running as some kind of ‘time to clean up Washington’ populist. I’m certain, however, that those currently wielding power through their stooges in both parties are entirely willing to make defying Trump a wise and enriching decision.

The US government is an enormous cash-cow for an immense number of special interests. The notion that the PACs and special interests will just pack-up shop and write off the money they plan to make with a Bush/HRC in power is absurd. They’ll hobble Trump they same way they handcuffed Carter, and start playing the same sorts of games.

If anyone does plan on seriously trying to make the case Trump is a fascist to me, at least, they’ll need to cite policy positions from Trump’s web site. And we know how few are willing to endure that.

He’s a rodeo-clown.

595

Layman 08.11.16 at 11:56 am

F Foundling, I’m talking about the notion that if (for example) Republicans cross over, endorse and vote for Clinton, and then she wins, she will govern in some manner which is substantially different than she would have governed without their support. I doubt it most sincerely. The same goes for the left – if they voice full-throated support for Clinton and vote for her, they will not then get Bernie Sanders in the White House. They will instead get Clinton, and she will govern as she would have governed without them.

It was, after all, Obama who offered the Republicans a deal in which he would cut Social Security and Medicare in return for their cooperation on taxes and other spending priorities. Do you think he did this because the people who voted for him wanted it?

Politicians offer themselves as a brand, which is built and reinforced over time, and represents to a great extent their own self, and they can generally be relied upon to govern in ways consistent with that brand. When there is congruity between some of their supporters and their actions once elected, it is because those supporters recognized the brand, voted for it, and got what was expected.

By way of counter-example, George W. Bush told voters in 2008 that he was a compassionate conservative, different from other conservatives. This was at odds with his actual life story and past governing behavior; it was not in fact consistent with his brand. Yet, some people believed it, and they voted for him, and he won. Is it your view that he then governed compassionately, in the manner that was expected by allthose who believed him?

596

engels 08.11.16 at 1:04 pm

I’m talking about the notion that if (for example) Republicans cross over, endorse and vote for Clinton, and then she wins, she will govern in some manner which is substantially different than she would have governed without their support. I doubt it most sincerely.

Imo depends a bit on whether you’re talking about voters or donors

597

kidneystones 08.11.16 at 1:16 pm

598

Layman 08.11.16 at 1:19 pm

Kidneystones: “Large percentages of both the black and Hispanic communities are very conservative on issues such as legal drug use, gay marriage, and – wait for it – undocumented nationals from other countries overstaying and abusing US visa laws.”

Reality check: Trump is underperforming Romney 2012 with Hispanic and black voters.

599

Rich Puchalsky 08.11.16 at 1:22 pm

A lot of what people seem to be talking about is Overton Window stuff. I’m not convinced. There were a lot of stories around Sanders about how socialism was now respectable and how young people liked socialism. Well, Sanders is a democratic socialist but I have my doubts about whether people are going back to socialism as such. Basically there’s a point at which the political system becomes decadent enough so that anything seems equally plausible, no one really connects words reliably to actual policies, and all policies are more or less imaginary and so all of them seem more or less equally OK.

Look at how far Trump had to go before he finally found something that would cut into his support. He had to actually insult the parents of a dead soldier. That’s basic human level stuff and has nothing really to do with policy at all. So, yes, “socialism” can now win elections too, sort of, but that’s not necessarily a good sign absent an actual socialist organization or party.

600

Layman 08.11.16 at 1:25 pm

Shorter Kidneystones: “On the bright side, the play was quite good, Mrs. Lincoln.”

601

Layman 08.11.16 at 1:33 pm

@ Rich P

Many of Sanders’ ideas simply reflect where popular opinion has gone, in a way that neither party has to date embraced. There is majority voter support for expanding Social Security, while both parties and their elected members have remain focused on finding ways to cut the program. And this is an issue which will have even greater popular appeal as the magnitude of the 401K retirement savings disaster becomes more clear. The electorate is moving in the direction of stronger and broader safety net programs, and eventually one party or the other will fall in line. Sanders has shown that it can be the Democrats.

602

engels 08.11.16 at 1:34 pm

Sanders is a democratic socialist but I have my doubts about whether people are going back to socialism as such

So Sanders is a socialist but his supporters aren’t? Millions of people backed a candidate from a political tendency to which didn’t themselves sympathise? Would this have been a highly secretive tactical decision or a mistake?

603

Faustusnotes 08.11.16 at 1:46 pm

The key point Engels is that they aren’t as left wing as rich. And neither are you.

604

Rich Puchalsky 08.11.16 at 1:56 pm

engels: “So Sanders is a socialist but his supporters aren’t? Millions of people backed a candidate from a political tendency to which didn’t themselves sympathise? Would this have been a highly secretive tactical decision or a mistake?”

Someone a while back asked me not to respond to you as I usually do, so I’ll try not to, but I answered all of these questions in the same comment that you’re responding to. No, it wasn’t a tactical decision or a mistake. Maybe you could read what I wrote and actually disagree with it rather than restating it as if I wrote something else.

605

Rich Puchalsky 08.11.16 at 2:08 pm

I’ll add that the organization that Sanders is actually trying to create, “Our Revolution”, is supposed to be supporting “progressive causes” and down-ballet races. So basically we have socialism both without a socialist party *and* without anti-statism, and without any particularly noticeable socialist content as such. But young people support socialism because the candidate is a socialist. Well, the candidate is going away.

606

F. Foundling 08.11.16 at 2:17 pm

@Layman 08.11.16 at 11:56 am

>I’m talking about the notion that if (for example) Republicans cross over, endorse and vote for Clinton, and then she wins, she will govern in some manner which is substantially different than she would have governed without their support.

Yes, but to get their endorsement, she needs to adapt her positions or rhetoric to their liking. The very act of seeking their endorsement is already a way of adapting her positions to them and endorsing *them*. Also, yeah, what engels said @595.

Obama campaigned more as a centrist in substance, he did get the endorsement of a great number of Republicans and conservatives towards the end of his 2008 campaign (even the Stephen Colbert character had to yield to the group pressure eventually :) ), and was, of course, notoriously dedicated to bipartisanship, especially in the beginning. If there had been real social forces and concrete policy promises behind Bush’s ‘compassionate conservatism’ slogan, it probably would have had some reflection in his governing.

>Politicians offer themselves as a brand, which is built and reinforced over time, and represents to a great extent their own self, and they can generally be relied upon to govern in ways consistent with that brand.

IMO, most politicians aren’t very consistent in their convictions and policies, and virtually all will modify, to a greater or lesser extent, their actions in and out of office depending on what they consider to be most conducive to their success or advantageous for their careers at any given time. Most of the apparent consistency is due to the fact that the advantages are to some extent predetermined by the social forces and tendencies they have already chosen to ally themselves with, but this still leaves a lot of leeway for manoeuvring that can eventually lead you anywhere. Viktor Orbán stated out as a liberal Westerniser and morphed into the opposite. Aleksandar Vučić is a former Serb radical nationalist, now a liberal Westerniser. Daniel Ortega began his career a typical Marxist and is at present still an economic leftist of sorts, but also a Catholic social conservative. Don’t even get me started on all other former Marxist lefties who have turned either neoliberal or nationalist. I even remember vaguely the interviews of some surviving Khmer Rouge leaders in recent years who sounded hilariously pro-free-market, and whose main passion at present seemed to be anti-Vietnamese chauvinism. The ‘self’ one can rely on is mostly features of temperament and style, not policy. The ‘brand’ is also to a large extent about style, not substance, and it is subject to change, too.

607

Layman 08.11.16 at 2:19 pm

engels @ 595

That’s a story about contributions of $200 or more. I’m guessing those contributions buy no influence at all. In fact, I’m not guessing: I, personally, donated a total of $9600 to Obama’s campaigns, which were so influential that I was able to score 7 (so far) White House Christmas cards, genuinely autopenned by President and Mrs. Obama. These are of course very nice, but what I was hoping to buy was an end to things like rendition, torture, and death by killer robots from the sky. I guess it takes more money to buy nice things like that.

608

F. Foundling 08.11.16 at 2:21 pm

@Faustusnotes 08.11.16 at 12:48 am

> Fortunately, in America like in every country … center left parties try to make real gains for the poor people with whom these hard left academics feel no solidarity.

This view is completely divorced from reality. For decades already, so-called centre-left parties all over the world (can’t vouch for *every* country) have been engaged to varying extents in deregulation, privatisation, welfare state reduction, TTIP-style neoliberal globalism and now, most recently, austerity (not to mention a slavish pro-US foreign policy). Treason has become their middle name. After the precedents of the 1990s, Hollande’s current ‘labour reforms’ almost go without saying. But hey, they are still anti-racist and non-homophobic, so I suppose it might be a bit hard to notice those other insignificant details.

609

Layman 08.11.16 at 2:24 pm

F. Foundling: “Yes, but to get their endorsement, she needs to adapt her positions or rhetoric to their liking.”

Yes, but now we’ve come full circle. She adapts her position, changes her rhetoric, gets elected, and then does what she was going to do anyway. This is what happens, because there’s nothing the voters she courted can do about it. They could swear to vote against her next time, but next time maybe she’s running against a Cruz, or a Ryan, or some other intolerable cretin; then what?

610

engels 08.11.16 at 2:26 pm

Back story: I once parenthically remarked that although I supported Sanders’ politics I didn’t consider him a socialist (in the sense of aiming to replace capitalism with a system of social organisation of production for the common good) but a social democrat, and then spent the next several hours being ranted at (and at one point iirc compared to Stalin) for ‘boundary-policing’ and for being disrespectful to young Sanders supporters who had as much right to use the term their way as I did… And now the Puchalsky line is that they aren’t socialists. But Sanders still is (I think). Hey ho.

611

Rich Puchalsky 08.11.16 at 2:32 pm

You said that you didn’t think that Sanders was a socialist. I said that he was a democratic socialist. Does that conflict with what I wrote above?

And I’ve given up again on treating you as anything but the sad relic that you are.

612

engels 08.11.16 at 2:36 pm

Does that conflict with what I wrote above?

No. Your position that Sanders is a socialist but none of his supporters are is indeed perfectly logically consistent…

613

F. Foundling 08.11.16 at 3:43 pm

@Layman 08.11.16 at 2:24 pm

Turn to 592. In other words: once she wins as, say, an open Kissinger-ist promising to do Kissinger-like stuff and endorsed by Kissinger, the public support for and legitimacy of Kissinger-ism in society is increased in everybody’s perception including hers, and she feels more confident in acting as a Kissinger-ist and inclined to do so.

614

bruce wilder 08.11.16 at 3:56 pm

Layman @ 594: George W. Bush told voters in 2008 that he was a compassionate conservative

George W Bush “compassionate conservative” theme goes back to a speech in 2002, I think — at least when I google it, I get a White House press release from April of that year.

It was an extension of his father’s brand, who offered “kindler, gentler” as a motto in his acceptance of the nomination in 1988. I don’t know that it was entirely cynical even in the father’s case. George H W Bush pushed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 thru Congress. (George W Bush signed a package of amendments and extensions in 2008.)

615

T 08.11.16 at 3:57 pm

kidneystones @578
You really don’t get it. It was too late for Trump to walk it back as soon as he attacked the Khans. (Pretty much like most of the things he’s said.) And once again, especially on this issue, you fail to understand Americans. And that’s the reason all the slurs directed at the Khans by Drudge and the like that you linked to have had zero traction except for the small minority that hated them beforehand.

There is an award at the University of Virginia for the best ROTC cadet each year. It’s named after Humayun Khan. His father, who lives in Charlottesville, has been presenting the award since its inception over 10 years ago. Last year’s winner was Jewish. The Jewish frat of which the cadet is a member filled the audience. That’s just one way the Khans are thought of in their community. Once again, you have no clue because you don’t understand the nuances for American life.

On another note, I have a fair amount of sympathy for your point of view. But the messenger is unhinged. And, btw, based on all his new policy proposals, he is not who you believe he is. (Bernie was.) The only core beliefs — the only consistent statements — of Trump are his anti-trade and anti-immigrant views. His other views are now anti-populist. His tax plan is a massive gift to the rich. His cuts to military spending have now turned into yuuge increases. And on and on. Do you hate HRC so much as not to see this.

If inequality remains the same or increases and growth remains low (and I believe they are very much linked) there will be new challengers from both the right and left and one of them will win. It did take a good 70 yrs to vanquish the robber barons.

616

The Temporary Name 08.11.16 at 4:36 pm

Another meaningless pollhttp://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2016/white_house_watch

Rasmussen does have a reputation for meaninglessness yes.

http://election.princeton.edu/2016/08/10/can-third-party-candidates-save-the-republican-downticket/#more-16840

617

Lee A. Arnold 08.11.16 at 5:28 pm

Trump has insulted a federal judge (who is presiding over a case involving him!) for his heritage, insulted the family of a U.S. soldier killed in the line of duty, suggested the assassination of his opponent in the election for President, and began it all by contradicting a basic allied strategy in the “war against terror”.

I think we can safely say that in considering this aggregate, Trump has achieved a new level of indecent proposals.

618

bruce wilder 08.11.16 at 5:33 pm

F Foundling @ 605: The ‘self’ one can rely on is mostly features of temperament and style, not policy. The ‘brand’ is also to a large extent about style, not substance, and it is subject to change, too.

The handful of politicians I have known personally have had fewer and lighter personal commitments to political policy preferences, than most, say, news junkies. They are trying to get political power, which rests at the nexus of conflicting forces. They have to put themselves at the crossroads, so to speak, and — maybe this is one of the paradoxes of power — if they are to exercise power from being at a nexus, they have to be available to be used; they have to be open to persuasion, if they are to persuade.

Ideology or political philosophy may matter to the skilled politician, but it matters less as a matter of conviction than as the précis of a novel’s plot. It is like a key they use to encode rhetorical poses for the occasion, to signal that they understand the concerns of whatever group they are speaking to.

T: If inequality remains the same or increases and growth remains low (and I believe they are very much linked) there will be new challengers from both the right and left and one of them will win. It did take a good 70 yrs to vanquish the robber barons.

If there’s a perennial lodestar for politics, it is this: the distribution of income, wealth and power. Follow the money is a good way to make sense of any criminal enterprise.

F. Foundling: For decades already, so-called centre-left parties all over the world (can’t vouch for *every* country) have been engaged to varying extents in deregulation, privatisation, welfare state reduction, TTIP-style neoliberal globalism and now, most recently, austerity (not to mention a slavish pro-US foreign policy).

Yes.

It is one of the odd (to me) features of political attitude formation that so many people have amnesia where there should be some basic appreciation for what politics, at base, is about. (Politics is about who gets what, when, how, in Harold Lasswell’s immortal title.)

I suspect that William the Conqueror had scarcely summered twice in England before someone was explaining to the peasantry that he was building those castles to protect the people.

Neoliberalism is possibly the most important set of political phenomena — certainly the most consequential — in our generation’s experience of political ideas and movements, and yet a common impulse is to deny it is exists or labels anything more meaningful than a catch-all “don’t like it”.

RP: A lot of what people seem to be talking about is Overton Window stuff. I’m not convinced.

I do think think there’s something to the contention that a political re-alignment is underway and the iron hold that neoliberalism has on the Media discourse is rusting. Rusting or not, the structures of propaganda and manipulation remain highly centralized, so even if the rhetorical tropes lose their meaning and emotional resonance, it isn’t clear that the structures of authority won’t continue, their legitimacy torn and tattered but not displaced. Because there’s no replacement candidate, yet.

By replacement candidate, I mean some set of ideas about how society and political economy can be positively structured and legitimated as functional.

I agree, of course, that Marxism is obsolete. But, it does furnish a model of what an ideology can do to explain political economy and its possibilities, providing a rally point and a confession of faith. The contrast to our present common outlook highlights that several things are clearly missing for us now: one is economic class antagonism, the idea that the rich are the enemy, that rich people make themselves rich by preying on the society, and that fundamental, structural remedies are available thru politics.

I do think there’s a reservoir of inchoate anger about elite betrayal and malfeasance. The irony of being presented the choice of Trump and Clinton as a remedy is apparently not fully appreciated by our commenters, let alone the irony of rummaging the attic and bringing down Sanders, like he was a suit of retro clothes last worn by one’s grandfather.

619

RNB 08.11.16 at 5:50 pm

T,

To follow up on the short discussion we had about poverty and welfare, you may want to check out Binmayin Applebaum’s piece on how both the candidates are not explicitly talking about poverty in today’s NYT, though he lets Heather Boushey defend Clinton’s proposals. It is a huge coup for progressives that Boushey is advising Clinton here. I think this will clarify why Bill Clinton’s once great critic Peter Edelman is 100% behind Hillary Clinton.

On Trump and trade, he is not consistent. Not at all! Don’t wait on the press to put this altogether. I’ll do it here for the first time.

Trump’s anti-trade policy will be formulated by billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, according to the WSJ today. This is insane. First in a recent Barron’s interview Ross attacked the yuan as ***seriously overvalued*** (this is the exact opposite of what the orange-headed monster has been screaming for a year) and then said that there were 8000 reasons that Trump could not slap 45% tariffs on Chinese goods:

“Q: What are you thoughts on China’s currency?
A: The average emerging market currency fell last year, and the Chinese yuan is up 15% against the peso. The government is spending hundreds of billions to support the yuan from going down. There is no evidence the currency is undervalued…
Q: State-sponsored media are warming up to Donald Trump. Watching him is a sport in China.
A: People pay too much attention to the exact thing he is saying versus rhetoric: the ban on Muslims, a 45% tariff on China? There are 8000 reasons Trump can’t raise tariffs 45%.”

Second, the idea that Ross would devise a pro-worker trade policy is insane. He has recently directed the International Coal Group. Here’s Wikipedia on it:

“International Coal Group[edit]
Ross founded the International Coal Group, which has now gone public. The UMWA has protested the bankruptcy regulations that had allowed him to set up the International Coal Group free of labor unions, health care and pensions.
Sago Mine disaster[edit]
Following the Sago Mine disaster, the New York Post’s Roddy Boyd reported that Ross “had been intimately involved with the company that owned the West Virginia mine where 12 miners perished — and he knew all about its safety problems, former executives charged.” The article also reported that the mine had 12 roof collapses in 2005, and that the U.S. Department of Labor data showed 208 citations for safety violations in that same period, including 21 times for build-up of toxic gasses. Despite these figures, Ross refused to shut down the mine.[12] The Department of Labor and the State of West Virginia, as well as Congress are currently investigating the disaster.”

There’s also the other matter of Trump accusing Obama of having founded ISIS. Juan Cole has incisively demolished the claim. http://www.juancole.com/2016/08/obama-found-isil.html

620

LFC 08.11.16 at 5:52 pm

@T
If inequality remains the same or increases and growth remains low (and I believe they are very much linked)

IANAE, but istm growth and inequality are not necessarily linked much at all. There have been periods of relatively good GDP growth in the U.S. since, say, ’79, but overall income/wealth inequality has of course drastically increased since then. Assuming the benefits of growth trickle down a bit, inequality might decrease a bit, but why rely on a trickle-down mechanism when policy measures to decrease inequality are available?

W/r/t developing countries, at any rate, I believe it’s fairly well established (and has been for decades) that a pure growth strategy, without some conscious focus on inequality and poverty (two separate but related things), will not nec. decrease the latter. I’m not sure why the basic situation for richer countries in this respect shd be drastically different.

Admittedly this has little to do w the topic of the thread (to the extent one can be discerned).

621

RNB 08.11.16 at 5:55 pm

And as Trump becomes almost impossibly more idiotic every day, the polls were kind to him today. America is in a deep state of madness all due to the potency of white nationalism. Josh Marshall is able to get at the same time how Trump is both continuous with the Republican Party and yet changed its character:
“There are many, myself included, who’ve argued for some time that the current GOP was already the functional equivalent of one of the Europe’s rightist-nationalist parties masquerading as a mainstream center-right party – much more like France’s National Front than the British Tories. So by this reasoning there’s really no change. This is what the GOP has been for years. We’re just seeing it more clearly now.

But this really isn’t quite right either. What I’ve described here may have been the underlying reality of the GOP in the 21st century. But it still nominated John McCain and Mitt Romney, two fairly conventional center-right politicians. It had congressional leaders like John Boehner and Paul Ryan. Now Trump has said out loud what was already rumbling underneath the surface of 21st century Republican politics. He’s normalized a litany of statements and actions that were political verboten, at least from the party’s leadership. He has activated the voice of GOP white nationalism, spoken its language out loud and in so doing made it conscious of itself and expanded its ambitions. This seems like a transformative event. Maybe party leaders can stuff the energy of the white nationalist base back within a McCain/Bush/Romney package. I’m sure they will in a limited sense that Ryan and McConnell will remain the party’s congressional leaders. But on the broader level, I doubt it.”

622

Lee A. Arnold 08.11.16 at 5:58 pm

Bruce Wilder #616: “They are trying to get political power … so many people have amnesia where there should be some basic appreciation for what politics, at base, is about … reservoir of inchoate anger about elite betrayal and malfeasance … not fully appreciated by our commenters”

Bruce, this continuing mantra of yours is getting ludicrous. I don’t think I’ve met anyone over the age of consent who doesn’t know what politicians are all about. The idea that there is only “inchoate” anger about elites is similarly bananas. Most commenters here don’t incessantly ape your concerns, because they accepted them many years ago. Wake up.

623

Layman 08.11.16 at 7:23 pm

@ bruce wilder, George W. Bush’s actual 2000 campaign slogan was ‘Compassionate Conservatism.’

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compassionate_conservatism

624

Layman 08.11.16 at 7:30 pm

625

Layman 08.11.16 at 7:33 pm

And, I just realized I wrote ‘2008’ when I meant ‘2000’. My bad!

626

bruce wilder 08.11.16 at 10:36 pm

Lee A. Arnold: I don’t think I’ve met anyone over the age of consent who doesn’t know what politicians are all about.

Above, Layman reminds us that George W Bush sold himself as a compassionate conservative. Quite a few adults voted for him I understand. Supposedly quite a few did so thinking that dry drunk would be a good fellow to have a beer with. Because . . . I guess some pundits thought to tell them that that is what politics is about, having a guy in the most powerful office in the federal government that you identify with — a guy who cuts brush at his ranch with a chainsaw. How many times did Maureen Dowd tell the story of dog strapped to the roof on the Romney family vacation?

In my comment, you may have read “politician” but I actually wrote, “politics”. And, I did not write that there was only inchoate anger. You added “only”.

627

bruce wilder 08.11.16 at 10:37 pm

Layman @ 621, 622

Thanks.

628

kidneystones 08.11.16 at 10:44 pm

@ 614 T. Your hostility towards foreigners commenting on US policy and politics is one of the smaller ironies of this thread. You’ll be quick, I’m sure, to point out as Trump does, that you’re not hostile to all foreigners. Indeed, you and Trump clearly welcome foreigners.

You just want strong borders and the ability to ensure that ‘not-us’ understand and respect the values and traditions of the in-group.

We foreigners get that.

629

T 08.11.16 at 10:44 pm

LFC @618

IAAE. There is a lot of recent economic research and informed conjecture on the relationship between inequality and growth in the US. Some of it has to do with rent seeking behavior and regulatory and political capture. Some of it has to do with saving and consumption behavior. Take a look at the average US growth rate pre and post late ’70s or so. The decline in growth corresponds to rising inequality.

630

J-D 08.11.16 at 10:59 pm

kidneystones 08.11.16 at 10:44 pm
@ 614 T. Your hostility towards foreigners commenting on US policy and politics is one of the smaller ironies of this thread. You’ll be quick, I’m sure, to point out as Trump does, that you’re not hostile to all foreigners. Indeed, you and Trump clearly welcome foreigners.

You just want strong borders and the ability to ensure that ‘not-us’ understand and respect the values and traditions of the in-group.

We foreigners get that.

When you write ‘We foreigners’, you’re including yourself and myself in the same category.

Of course that’s accurate. It still feels weird.

631

T 08.11.16 at 11:13 pm

@626 RNB
My point has always been that it is difficult to understand the subtleties of local politics and local cultures without being a local — doesn’t mean you’re born here, just that you’ve lived here awhile. That’s why political scientists or anthropologists or development economists or language scholars or historians studying a different country or region go live there for a while. You find that controversial for some unknown reason. What you get when people don’t understand the subtleties of a region is George Will and Krauthammer columns on Iraq. They sound like idiots to the people who live there and are shown to be fools afterward. Maybe you think looking at polling data, reading newspapers, and reading blogs is enough to understand a culture. btw – I’m not interested in a conversation. kinda like Corey, I’ve come to the conclusion there isn’t an upside to continuing.

632

kidneystones 08.11.16 at 11:35 pm

As for the Khans, I’d be astonished if anyone stepping into the voting booth gives them a moment’s thought. The counter-narrative is one of a Clinton ally on ABC ambushing Trump. Trump being blunt and politically incorrect. And the media manufacturing outrage and amplifying the Khan complaints with every Trump critic possible jumping up to propagate the ‘Pets’ Lives Matter’ story of 2016.

Yes, I’m being deliberately provocative in the hope that some will begin to appreciate just how cynical, heartless, and manipulative Mr. Khan Sr. appears to many not in bubble land. Because the same folks who are screaming about ‘honoring’ gold-star families have spent the last few years describing the Benghazi massacre as a ‘manufactured’ scandal whilst ignoring the attacks by HRC and her surrogates on the families of the dead.

Only one candidate played any part in the death of Captain Khan. Mr. Khan has evidently decided that the best way of honoring the fallen is to forget that fundamental fact. It reeks.

As for his wife appearing mute on stage, whatever the reasons, remember the old Leslie Stahl story – ‘Nobody heard you.’

The Khans and the victims of ‘illegal violence’ are props in political campaigns. It’s another irony, of course, that those shrieking about the respect Capt. Khan’s sacrifice demands are doing all they can to turn Khan into the 2016 version of the Romney family dog.

The fact that this irony is lost on many informed readers here is, of course, anther irony – one that is a central component of the counter-narrative driving support for Trump.

633

RNB 08.11.16 at 11:39 pm

T, are you talking to me (RNB) @ 631. I hope it was just a mistake that you addressed that post to me. I addressed you in @619.

634

RNB 08.11.16 at 11:44 pm

T,
If you think @621 which quoted Josh Marshall taking a line about Trump’s white nationalism that I have been expressing myself made me sound like a foreigner to the US, this says quite a bit about how pretty standard American minority perspectives may come across foreign to you. Again I hope it was just a mistake that you addressed @631 to me because if not we have a problem. And that problem would be that the American minority experience may seem to you as coming from another world altogether.

635

T 08.11.16 at 11:56 pm

@628 kidneystones @630 J-D RNB

First my apologies to RNB. I thought you wrote @628.

As for kidneystones who wrote: “You just want strong borders and the ability to ensure that ‘not-us’ understand and respect the values and traditions of the in-group.”

Er no. I don’t care if you “respect” anyone’s values or traditions for purposes of this discussion. But if you’re commenting on US culture, which is pretty much what you do, it would seem important that you “understand” something about the various groups and subcultures you’re pretending to discuss. It seems that you either don’t think living somewhere helps you to understand its culture or you believe that reading polls, articles and blogs is a good substitute for, you know, actually having lived there. The real irony is that you scream loudest when you know the least. Go ahead, tell me more about how my relatives think in cities you’ve never been to in a country you’ve never lived in. On the other hand, we could discuss the differences between US and European populist movements (with the likelihood that folks would chime in on a country-by-country basis.) That mean we could actually learn something. Nah. Better to stick with what you don’t know.

J-D. It should feel weird. In reading your posts, it doesn’t seem your arguments are based on claiming an intimate knowledge of present-day cultures you’ve never experienced. And it should read non-residents or never residents, not foreigners.

636

J-D 08.12.16 at 1:15 am

kidneystones 08.11.16 at 11:35 pm
… I’m being deliberately provocative

That possibility was already obvious, but it’s nice to have definite confirmation

in the hope …

An ill-founded and fatuous hope.

637

kidneystones 08.12.16 at 1:38 am

@ 635 T. I strongly suspect you’re practically the only person here claiming to be interested in learning more my direct experiences living in the states. My own belief is that you’re not all interested in that topic. As ‘foreign’ as my arguments sound to you, I suspect that these arguments are not so very different from the arguments advanced by a great many (ahem) Americans who do not belong to your tribe.

Two quick points – whether or not we live in a culture is mostly unimportant in discussions such as these. 2nd, it’s probably a good baseline to assume that most people swimming in the tubes prefer to keep at least part of their lives semi-private. If I wanted to claim authority based on living in the US, or Australia,,or the UK, or France, or from having family members in any of these countries I might. Or; I might not. See point 1.

638

RNB 08.12.16 at 1:55 am

kidneystones, you are the type that were you not living in an undisclosed location in Asia but the US, you would profess to be a supporter of Clinton due to paranoia about male Trump supporters being captured by Clinton’s death squads and force fed the foods that reduce testosterone levels, right?

639

kidneystones 08.12.16 at 2:14 am

@ 638 No, I’m more the type who lives in Japan, supported HRC and her husband and her party for most of my adult life, albeit from afar. Democratic support for the Iraq debacle led me to question some of the claims of Democrats, including HRC and her husband. From 2006 to 2008 I supported Edwards, HRC, and Kucinich in that order. The scorched earth ‘if you don’t support the junior senator from Illinois, you’re a racist’ politics of the Dems, eg. ‘Ferraro is David Duke in a dress’ blew away the few illusions I retained regarding the ‘integrity’ of Democrats.

I don’t trust the politicians in the UK, Canada, or any nation in Asia, and like many foreigners I see no reason to trust yours.

As I noted up thread, a discussion of the policy positions of Trump vs. Clinton would probably reveal far fewer differences separating the two candidates than their respective supporters are able, or willing, to accept.

Thanks for the kind thoughts.

640

RNB 08.12.16 at 2:40 am

OK I thought you were a devotee of that Dilbert cartoon guy. The Jr. Senator from IL did not authorize the war on Iraq but Edwards and HRC did; and you had him at the bottom of your list. Oh forget I don’t want to understand your preferences. Sorry about thinking you had come under the hypnotic control of Scott Adams.

641

kidneystones 08.12.16 at 2:51 am

The junior senator from Illinois voted in favor of H.J. Res. 114 on Oct 11, 2002.

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/107-2002/s237

642

RNB 08.12.16 at 3:01 am

Was this before or after founding ISIS?

643

kidneystones 08.12.16 at 3:06 am

And it should be noted, btw, that more Democrats voted in favor of the Iraq resolution than those who voted against it.

Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan and Democrat Robert Byrd opposed the invasion.

Jesse Helms, of course, supported the Iraq resolution. Here’s a blast from the not so distant past reminding us just how much worse Trump is than other US politicians.

http://www.nytimes.com/1984/06/28/world/salvadoran-denies-role-in-plot-against-envoy.html

644

RNB 08.12.16 at 3:12 am

Yeah but this is about you. While Obama was not in the Senate at the time, he had been and remained a vocal critic of the Iraq War while Edwards and HRC wrongly gave Bush the power to go to war. Yet you had Obama at the bottom of your list though you are supporting Trump as the anti-war candidate. So I hope that after they finally pass, you make a bit more sense.

645

Corey Robin 08.12.16 at 3:21 am

A leaked email from a top DNC official in May shows that Democratic insiders were really leery of Clinton’s strategy of trying to claim Trump is completely different from Republicans past and present. As this official points out, that strategy actually runs the risk of harming down-ballot Democrats running for office in Congress and state legislatures. It may help Clinton, but it’s not good for the party. It also shows that the line that so many have swallowed about Trump being so different was actually a deliberate meme cultivated by Clinton’s people, which then trickled down the food chain of the media and so on down the line, and that it ran in the face of how other DNC officials (and heavy-hitting members of Congress) wanted to frame the debate.

I discuss the email here:

http://coreyrobin.com/2016/08/11/how-clinton-enables-the-republican-party/

Here’s the text of the email from Luis Miranda, the DNC official:

Hi Amy, the Clinton rapid response operation we deal with have been asking us to disaggregate Trump from down ballot Republicans. They basically want to make the case that you either stand with Ryan or with Trump, that Trump is much worse than regular Republicans and they don’t want us to tie Trump to other Republicans because they think it makes him look normal.

They wanted us to basically praise Ryan when Trump was meeting Ryan, or at a minimum to hold him up as an example. So they want to embrace the “Republicans fleeing Trump” side, but not hold down ballot GOPers accountable.

That’s a problem. I pushed back that we cannot have our state parties hold up Paul Ryan as a good example of anything. And that we can’t give down ballot Republicans such an easy out. We can force them to own Trump and damage them more by pointing out that they’re just as bad on specific policies, make them uncomfortable where he’s particularly egregious, but asking state Parties to praise House Republicans like Ryan would be damaging for the Party down ballot.

Can you help us navigate this with Charlie? We would basically have to throw out our entire frame that the GOP made Trump through years of divisive and ugly politics. We would have to say that Republicans are reasonable and that the good ones will shun Trump. It just doesn’t work from the Party side. Let me know what you think.

Thanks, – Luis.

P.S. – – that strategy would ALSO put us at odds with Schumer, Lujan, Pelosi, Reid, basically all of our Congressional Democrats who have embraced our talking points and have been using them beautifully over the last couple of weeks to point out that GOPers in Congress have been pushing these ugly policies for years. Trying to dump this approach would probably not work with Members of Congress, it’s worse than turning an aircraft carrier, we would lose 3/4 of the fleet. Let me know what you think. It might be a good strategy ONLY for Clinton (which I don’t believe), I think instead she needs as many voices as possible on the same page.

646

Alan White 08.12.16 at 3:23 am

From Skyfall:

Raoul Silva: “Do you see what comes of all this running around, Mr. Bond? All this jumping and fighting, it’s exhausting! Relax. You need to relax.. “

I’d insert “Mr. Kidneystones” for “Mr Bond”.

But more than that, Mr. Kidneystones, I just want to know–no negatives–just a positive claim–what by your reckoning is the best scenario for the Fall US election? And no more jumping and fighting. . .please. . .

647

kidneystones 08.12.16 at 3:27 am

@ 644 ‘Yeah but this is about you’

For you and T it is. I’m frankly astonished. But I’m also a realist, however.

The thread record and your comment history confirms the true target of your outrage. I’ve no wish to comment on that topic, other than to point out that it’s always about ‘somebody else,’ with you. It’s kind of sad, don’t you think? So, no more about me, really.

My ignorance, I hope, speaks for itself.

648

RNB 08.12.16 at 3:38 am

The point is that the Paul Ryans of the world are willing to let Trump tear apart the social and legal fabric of the country to get the repeal of the estate tax for the 1% and the deregulation of labor markets. It’s really not that difficult. I have said this from the beginning, that the mainstream Republicans having lost the last two Presidential elections brought the chief birther into the fold and let him unleash white nationalism to get control of the tax state. None of this means that Trump is not doing racist, nativist and religiously intolerant things that no recent nominee has done; and none of this gets mainstream Republicans off the hook for risking the destruction of the Republic to create what Piketty calls patrimonial capitalism and Lochner era labor markets.

649

kidneystones 08.12.16 at 3:39 am

Hi Alan. Very droll. Thanks for this. Best positive outcome and pure fantasy. HRC is forced to withdraw and Bernie is drafted to fill her shoes.

Short of that – Trump wins – Dems get Senate and House by slim margins and do well down ticket at state and local level. Greens get big boost.

Post election Trump runs riot on Ryan and declares open war on the party of Ted Cruz and Bush. Donor class panic declare end of world as we know it. Trump drafts Rubio and deal-making Dems to pass bill to begin deporting all undocumented residents as cover for expedited documentation process for all others, as long as they apply within fixed time frame to be determined. TPP dumped. Affordable Care Act premiums frozen, or reduced.

There’s other stuff, but given that HRC can’t lose, it’s all the stuff of idle speculation.

650

kidneystones 08.12.16 at 3:41 am

Oops! Should read ‘…begin deporting all undocumented workers with criminal records.’

Other typos will have to stand.

Nap time.

651

T 08.12.16 at 3:44 am

@637 kidneystones
Tell me more about the industrial mid-west and your auto worker relatives. Tell me about excused absences from the first day of deer season in rural Michigan but not in the cities. Tell me why people in the know would order cars made on specific days and not others. Tell me about race relations on the assembly line. Tell me about black talk radio in Chicago. Hurry. Use your google machine. Use google translate to see what the Spanish press is saying. Because living day-to-day in a country means nothing. You have the clarity of polls and read Drudge and you know America. Because after growing up in a country defined by class you understand race in the US. You googled it!

652

kidneystones 08.12.16 at 3:48 am

@ 648 “The point is that the Paul Ryans of the world are willing to let Trump tear apart the social and legal fabric of the country to get the repeal of the estate tax for the 1% and the deregulation of labor markets. It’s really not that difficult. I have said this from the beginning, that the mainstream Republicans having lost the last two Presidential elections brought the chief birther into the fold and let him unleash white nationalism to get control of the tax state.”

You’re out of your fucking mind, really.

653

RNB 08.12.16 at 3:49 am

The question again is what Mike Pence and Paul Ryan will do to recreate patrimonial capitalism and Lochner era labor markets, and the answer is nothing is too low for them. And the proof is Trump. Both because is the lowest of the low and because his choice of economic advisers leaves no doubt that his Presidency will be committed above all to regressive taxation and deregulated labor markets. See my 619 about the economic adviser Wilbur Ross who will devise Trump’s trade strategy. The Republican Party needs to be routed from top to bottom.

654

kidneystones 08.12.16 at 3:53 am

@ 651. You, too?

Give it a break, ok? Who, besides you and RNB, cares what I write? Perhaps you believe the CT readership of realizing how biased, ignorant, and ill-informed I am? Is that your view?

As I’ve made clear: my ignorance speaks for itself.

655

T 08.12.16 at 3:53 am

Corey @645
See my comment on the Susan Collins letter above. She’s adopted that exact strategy. But there is a real difference between the mainstream and Trump on immigration and trade. And those are his two high profile issues. So it does give Ryan and the mainstream some cover. Also, he is so unhinged it allows the other repubs like Collins an easy to separate themselves. It’s also the safest strategy for HRC — no press conferences and just talk about Trump.

656

kidneystones 08.12.16 at 3:54 am

insert ‘incapable’ in the appropriate point. F – me. What a waste of time.

Pray continue.

657

J-D 08.12.16 at 3:59 am

The history of any political party (or of anything at all) exhibits both continuity and change. Hillary Clinton is similar to past Democratic presidential nominees in some ways and different from them in some ways; Donald Trump is similar to past Republican presidential nominees in some ways and different from them in some ways. Whether it makes more sense to emphasise the changes/differences or to emphasise the continuities/similarities depends on context.

I agree with the cited email from the DNC official that in the context of the Democratic Party’s election campaign it’s the continuities/similarities that it makes sense to emphasise.

If you slice it finely, I think it’s probably true that the difference/change between Trump and his predecessors is greater than the difference/change between any consecutive two of those predecessors; but I also think this:

‘… Oh, of course, they never thought anyone would act on their theories! But it was their own child coming back to them: grown up and unrecognisable, but their own.’

‘… I agree … Those who call for Nonsense will find that it comes.’
(CS Lewis, That Hideous Strength)

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RNB 08.12.16 at 4:09 am

Ok then which continuities and similarities in regards to Republican history, Republican candidates and Trump do you emphasize, J-D?
Now just skimming this http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/10/politics/donald-trump-republican-opposition/

There are only five or so Republican Senators who repudiate him. Two are equivocating, perhaps. Spineless losers, I would say.

There are only 8 or so Representatives who repudiate Trump. Most or perhaps the overwhelming majority of Republican Senators and Representatives accept this demagogue as their candidate. Bury them as loyal Republicans as Trump takes their party into the gutter. What kind of judgment and courage and independence of thought are they exhibiting that they won’t speak out against him?

And if they do speak against him late as the polls make it clear that he won’t recover, then paint them as craven opportunists.

The Trump dissenters can be campaigned against on other grounds.

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Alan White 08.12.16 at 4:25 am

K @ 649

Well thanks for that reprieve from some pretty Everest-testiness here at CT!

But honestly here in Cheeseheadland, though Hillary may prevail at the top, and I’m crossing my fingers that the 8th might go to D-Nelson–it probably won’t, since his opponent has the chief qualification that he’s served two tours in Iraq, and so knows how to “keep us safe”–we desperately need to flip the Wississipian legislature, and no matter what happens at the top of the ticket, we are still mightily screwed if we don’t. Too many states like ours are ruled by plutocratic Rethugs, and that has to change if there’s hope for education, women’s rights, constitutional voter access, some sane gun legislation, and so on.

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RNB 08.12.16 at 4:30 am

And just on Luis Miranda’s email from May. Of course Paul Ryan solved the problem for him. What Miranda has to say is simple: Paul Ryan uttered one of the greatest indictments of Trump and then of himself when he endorsed the very man he had indicted as a textbook racist and an ill-tempered leader. Paul Ryan is clearly lacking in courage and judgment, and cannot be trusted to have the interests of the people of Wisconsin in mind rather than the electoral fortunes of his party.

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RNB 08.12.16 at 4:58 am

@645

It goes without saying that even if Clinton has a self-interested reason to present Trump as completely different from other Republicans while a majority of Democrats have self-interested reasons to deny it,

that does not mean that Trump as a nominee does not pose qualitatively greater dangers

(a) to start a nuclear war (as even the anti-Trump neocons who would otherwise be attracted by his embrace of torture realize, being as Chomsky recently put it genuinely concerned and terrified by him and what he would do with the nuclear codes) and

(b) to violate Constitutional protections via his Muslim ban and deportation force.

I hope people can see why I am frustrated by the nature of argument here. We cannot establish the truth of the rather vague claim about “Trump being different from previous Republicans in some important ways” (my words) by guessing at the electoral self-interest of the parties debating the question.

Or perhaps we can settle this question about the truth of said vague claim by showing that Clinton has an electoral self-interest in asserting it and more Democrats have an electoral self-interest in denying it.

But then are we not working with the most narrowly politically pragmatist theory of truth that anyone has ever heard of?

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Corey Robin 08.12.16 at 5:17 am

Careful, RNB.

You write: ‘I hope people can see why I am frustrated by the nature of argument here. We cannot establish the truth of the rather vague claim about “Trump being different from previous Republicans in some important ways” (my words) by guessing at the electoral self-interest of the parties debating the question.’

You know full well, because you’ve been trying to argue against me about this issue for several weeks now, that I’ve established what I believe is the non-truth of that claim by reference to past history. Do not now try and insinuate that I’m trying to establish the truth or non-truth of that claim by “guessing at the electoral self-interest of the parties debating the question.” I’ve already established why I think the claim is not true quite independently of all that. The electoral self-interest part is simply a new story, not the basis for adjudicating the claim.

I’m giving you a warning here b/c in my experience this is how you slide down the hill toward unreasoning nastiness. You start with a completely unfounded insinuation and then ten comments later (usually issued within ten minutes; you seem to lack any sense of self-control), you’re shrieking that I haven’t responded to you, that I should be banned, and so on.

Now, you’ve been on your best behavior all day. If I see signs that you’re backsliding, you’re out. You’re on thin ice here; be careful.

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RNB 08.12.16 at 5:28 am

Well good then we agree about how the claim which we have far from specified has to be assessed. I do have the sense that your past arguments do not hold up.

As I have argued here, Trump is a greater risk to use nuclear weapons because thinks he batshit crazily knows more about ISIS than all the generals and has no one around him to stop him from dealing as he thinks fit with ISIS which he thinks a Kenyan-born Muslim socialist started in Washington, D.C; plus, we should include the great likelihood that his badly worded sentences will lead to his being tested and his mental instability will lead to his responding maniacally.

And I don’t see how you question that the Muslim ban and deportation force are not greater assaults on Constitutional protections than any recent nominee has proposed.

And if your previous arguments fail, then your counter-thesis cannot be propped up–as you agree– by ad hominem arguments against those who support the thesis of Trump being a new kind of danger.

So I then say to those who are reading this: Corey Robin himself agrees that the self interests of the parties debating this are not relevant for determining the ways in which Trump fits and does not fit Republican history.

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kidneystones 08.12.16 at 6:19 am

@661 “We cannot establish the truth of the rather vague claim about “Trump being different from previous Republicans in some important ways” (my words) by guessing at the electoral self-interest of the parties debating the question.”

Following your ‘crie de coeur’ for calm debate, check out the word salad you present as ‘argument.’

“Trump is a greater risk to use nuclear weapons because thinks he batshit crazily knows more about ISIS than all the generals and has no one around him to stop him from dealing as he thinks fit with ISIS which he thinks a Kenyan-born Muslim socialist started in Washington, D.C; plus, we should include the great likelihood that his badly worded sentences will lead to his being tested and his mental instability will lead to his responding maniacally.

That’s a lot of nuttiness to cram into just one sentence.

Here’s Trump’s actual position on immigration and the deportations. Needless to say, some will find it plenty offensive. But it’s radically different from what you’ve described. Were Hayden and company trashing a Dem, they’d be roundly and rightly condemned as precisely the same a-holes who’ve done so much damage over the years. But with Trump as the target, GOP clowns speak with the authority of god. Perfect.

https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/immigration-reform

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ZM 08.12.16 at 6:28 am

RNB,

You’re probably better of arguing with the other commenters and just saying you disagree with Corey Robin when you disagree with him. He probably doesn’t have the time to argue with you that much, but if you are interpreting his comments wrongly on his own thread he is going to feel like he has to clarify what he’s said. You can always discuss what the OP is about with commenters on the thread. Even if you phrase it like “I think Corey Robin in saying this ….. does that seem like the right interpretation of the OP?” you can discuss the OP with other commenters and it means you’re not in danger of misinterpreting Corey Robin to where he feels like he has to step into the thread to clarify his words.

From Australia I think Trump is quite a bit different for a Presidential candidate in my adult life time.

I think Corey Robin is right to point out continuities, Trump isn’t entirely sui generis, but he is not the run of the mill Presidential candidate.

He reminds me of Australian politicians who are either independent, started their own party, or else back benchers. It is actually difficult to see how Trump could become Prime Minister with the Westminster system since he is out of the mainstream.

But he had a reality TV show, so people were familiar with him, and he can run for President since anyone can, he doesn’t have to win support from the Republicans in the House of Congress or Senate.

And it looks like a lot of Americans are unhappy with mainstream politics at the moment, so Trump not being mainstream is working in his favour.

I think his racism is unprecedented in the Presidential elections of my adult lifetime and even before, since the time when I started following American politics with the first Bill Clinton election.

And Trump doesn’t seem to have proper policy, the wall policy isn’t proper, the Muslim policy isn’t proper, and I don’t think he has proper economic policy apart from saying he will fix the economy without having a detailed plan to show.

I have sympathy for both arguments, that Trump is the result of some elements of USA politics that have been in evidence for some tim, but also that Trump is an unusual Presidential candidate and not like Presidential candidates of recent memory in a number of ways. I think they can both be true.

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ZM 08.12.16 at 6:30 am

Oh, I see J-D made the same conclusion already @657

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J-D 08.12.16 at 6:32 am

RNB 08.12.16 at 4:09 am

Ok then which continuities and similarities in regards to Republican history, Republican candidates and Trump do you emphasize, J-D?

The Republicans have always been the bosses’ party. (Not only the bosses’ party; but always the bosses’ party.)

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RNB 08.12.16 at 6:47 am

Kidneystones, we are being asked to give the nuclear codes to someone who after getting the nomination then nominated the National Inquirer for a Pulitzer Prize for having a picture of a critic’s father with Lee Harvey Oswald. He hangs out with conspiracy theorists.

And this: Hewitt asked him to clarify whether he meant Obama left a vacuum for ISIS to grow, rather than whether Obama really founded ISIS. The birther said that he meant the latter.

But there’s more evidence that he’s batshit crazy. He declaimed that he knew more about ISIS than all the generals. He will trust no one’s judgment but his own.

This batshit crazy guy also clearly is incurious (where is Crimea?) and will do nothing to prepare himself to make sure he does not misread others and he does not say things that will be misinterpreted by others. Nor does he have anyone around him who will do this preparation except for General Flynn. And it’s not clear that he’ll give a damn what Flynn says.

Now add to this that Trump believes that he can kill terrorists with nuclear weapons in Raqqa and Mosul and that they can be solutions to low intensity problems like ISIS and al-Qaeda. See Jeff Noonan.

He is also likely to use the greatest firepower if he is being criticized for having encouraged–through poorly worded statements– Russian, Chinese or North Korean aggression and feels humiliated for having been played and showed weakness.

This is why neo-cons who otherwise would be attracted to him by his brazen calls for torture are repudiating him. They are concerned and terrified by him. For good reason.

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kidneystones 08.12.16 at 7:00 am

@ 668 “Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors.”

“But there’s more evidence that he’s batshit crazy. He declaimed that he knew more about ISIS than all the generals. He will trust no one’s judgment but his own.”

So, your argument is that Obama (your Muslim socialist) should never have been trusted to be in the Oval Office.

And that by these, your standards, Trump is no crazier than the current Democratic president.

Fair enough.

https://www.aei.org/publication/obama-im-a-better-intelligence-briefer-than-my-intelligence-briefers/

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RNB 08.12.16 at 7:10 am

Sad, kidneystones! I won’t even look up the quote, but Obama had been in government for 11 eleven years when he claimed to have outstanding knowledge of policy details. Trump makes a big issue of his Russia foreign policy ideas but then has no clue at all about basic facts.

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kidneystones 08.12.16 at 7:39 am

@670 “I won’t even look up the quote”

Oh, you don’t need to. That boat sailed the moment you decided to make Obama level hubris grounds for ineligibility. Obama’s ‘accomplishments prior to entering the Senate in 2004 are the stuff of legend to the clueless, of course.

How many ordinary Americans under the age of 40 can look in the mirror and find the stuff of not one, but two autobiographies? That certainly speaks a remarkable level of – what shall we call it? Well, probably not modesty.

My life twice – plenty for everyone like to learn from! The perfect preparation for a great presidency. That and my love of basketball. That’s what makes me so smart!

Did anyone notice I’m young, black and handsome? Ignore that, please.

And we are where we are. I’ve elided the ‘if you don’t support O, you’re David Duke in a dress’ stuff. No need to dredge up the practical politics of Hope and Change at this late date.

Trump in 2016!

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novakant 08.12.16 at 12:17 pm

I have sympathy for both arguments, that Trump is the result of some elements of USA politics that have been in evidence for some time, but also that Trump is an unusual Presidential candidate and not like Presidential candidates of recent memory in a number of ways. I think they can both be true.

Same here ZM and I appreciate you trying to moderate here, but according to the OP we are ‘colluding with indecency’ and ‘erasing the past’ if we point out Trump’s uniqueness and taboo breaking (of course he didn’t come out of nowhere, duh):

that we can treat his arrival on the scene as a novelty and an innovation rather than the logical outgrowth of years of right-wing revanchism; that we would invoke against Trump the memory of an earlier, more decent Republican Party, present as recently as one election ago: that is itself a kind of collusion, an erasure of the past, a collusion with indecency.

So with an OP worded like this, Corey complaining that the arguments are getting a bit heated later on rings a bit hollow to me. Unfortunately this type of shaming seems to happen a lot lately, e.g. Corbyn critics = Blairite scum / EU supporters = neoliberals

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Layman 08.12.16 at 1:27 pm

For my part, I think Robin’s point is perfectly clear and correct. Trump says out loud the things for which the GOP has stood for decades. It’s a mistake to praise GOP leaders who reject Trump if in fact what they’re rejecting is his open acknowledgement of the agenda, or his failure to succeed at selling it. Democrats and leftists should not want a result which delegitimizes Trump as ‘different’ from an otherwise ‘reasonable’ Republican Party, because that party is every bit as unreasonable as is Trump. It is, recall, the party that claimed Obama was a secret Kenyan Muslim socialist terrorist; that claimed John Kerry was a coward who faked the details of his military service and then aided and abetted the enemy; that painted Gore as an egotistical serial liar; that adopted the strategy of dealing with Democratic candidates and Presidents by attacking their legitimacy.

The only ways in which Trump seems to be different are 1) he says the things which are normally communicated in less direct ways, and 2) he seems to be the least qualified major party candidate in history. Neither of these facts, however, make him an aberration from what has been the focus and thrust of the GOP for generations – to be the party of white fear and resentment, to harness racism and bigotry in order to facilitate the transfer of wealth up, rather than down.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.12.16 at 1:41 pm

CR: “that strategy actually runs the risk of harming down-ballot Democrats running for office in Congress and state legislatures. It may help Clinton, but it’s not good for the party.”

It’s Obama redux. Remember how he wanted to work with his friends across the aisle in a Grand Bargain that would bring moderation and centrist agreement to all things? He validated budget-balance mania during austerity and would have bargained away Social Security if he could have. He predictably lost the Congress in the first mid-term election and did nothing to build the party back up.

People don’t yet understand that this is just how neoliberals are. The two fundamental loyalties in a state party system have nothing to do with solidarity: they’re loyalty up, and loyalty down. Neoliberals are happy to accept whatever loyalty up they are given by fools and suckers: they have no loyalty down at all and will never do the elementary political operations of repaying their base or creating a party that will work for anyone else. This goes beyond ordinary political selfishness to the fact that they don’t really want a populist party: that would push them to harm the interests of their real base.

And people don’t react to this, fundamentally, because they don’t really do politics outside of 4-year scareathons. Look at LFC’s description above about how people should march if candidates don’t follow through on their promises. Why aren’t they marching now: why haven’t they in the Obama years?

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LFC 08.12.16 at 2:47 pm

T @651
Tell me more about the industrial mid-west and your auto worker relatives. Tell me about excused absences from the first day of deer season in rural Michigan but not in the cities. Tell me why people in the know would order cars made on specific days and not others. Tell me about race relations on the assembly line. Tell me about black talk radio in Chicago.

It is of course very possible to have been born in the U.S., to have lived in the U.S. most or all of one’s life, and to know basically nothing about daily life in the industrial (or formerly industrial as the case may be) midwest, nothing first-hand about rural Michigan, nothing about black talk radio in Chicago. Living or having lived in a specific place (e.g rural Michigan) is one way to learn some things about it that can’t be learned anywhere else. Having stipulated that, there are also other routes to knowing things about places.

If k’stones wants to google up stuff and rave about it, I’m not sure it matters b.c at this point relatively few people, I think, are paying attention to him. But the problem is not only, or even mainly, that he’s writing in Japan and not from somewhere in the U.S. It’s him, i.e. the framework and conclusions at which he’s arrived. Now maybe he wd have arrived at different ones had he been living in the U.S. and not Japan, but that’s not clear, at least not to me.

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LFC 08.12.16 at 2:47 pm

correction: “anywhere else” shd read “any other way”

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RNB 08.12.16 at 2:50 pm

Layman writing in favor of the continuity thesis notes: “It is, recall, the party that claimed Obama was a secret Kenyan Muslim socialist terrorist.”

It is the party that brought the chief birther into the fold and then nominated him for the Presidency on open promises to violate the Constitution for white nationalism. A candidate like this would not have been nominated in the past for two reasons:

(1) the RNC would have resolutely fought an open white nationalist at the top of the ticket (Trump is close to David Duke) but after two successive losses the Republican leadership was willing for the nominee for the Presidency to break certain norms and commitments to the Constitution in a desperate bid to take back the White House;

(2) Trump was able to win the nomination because the # of Republicans who score at the extremes on racial prejudice, nativism and religious intolerance has grown to the point that if a candidate actually wins the overwhelming majority of them that he now can get enough votes to secure the nomination, and this was not case for Buchanan (see Tesler findings referred to by me above).

This does not mean that the Republicans have not long been a bastion of white nationalism but that it has proven itself capable of radicalizing its commitment to white nationalism by openly declaring war on the Constitution and civil liberties to further it.

The only place Trump’s white nationalism has been somewhat coded is in terms of his anti-black prejudice which the Central Park rape case reveals may be the most virulent of all his prejudices. His radically violent promise to end all disorder on Day I is a coded promise to suspend the civil liberties of all blacks living in cities.

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LFC 08.12.16 at 2:52 pm

RPuchalsky @674
Look at LFC’s description above about how people should march if candidates don’t follow through on their promises

It was a comment with specific reference to HRC, not candidates in general, b/c there is or seems to be more distrust ‘before the fact’ about HRC and therefore might be more widespread interest in holding her to her campaign rhetoric. (However, I don’t think I will have anything further to say on this.)

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RNB 08.12.16 at 3:37 pm

That there is something different about Trump is sensed by American blacks as the poll data indicate.

Nate Silver: “Trump’s poor polling puts him in un-welcome company. Barry Goldwater is the only candidate whose pre-election support among African-Americans was worse than Trump’s is; he received the support of no African-American respondents in the 1964 ANES survey. Goldwater, of course, stood in opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. McCain was at 1.4 percent in 2008, just about what Trump is getting now. But McCain, as I mentioned, was running against the first major-party black nominee.”

Nick Kristof has recounted Trump’s racist history leading to the conclusion that he may be the only recent candidate who is self-consciously and dogmatically committed to the thesis that blacks as a race are heritably deeply different in moral and intellectual capacity–call it a naturalistic racism. His challenges to the mental competence of Obama brings this out. At the very least George H.W., W., McCain and Romney did not give me this sense that this was a core belief of their worldview.

Here is Kristof: ‘The recent record may be more familiar: Trump’s suggestions that President Obama was born in Kenya; his insinuations that Obama was admitted to Ivy League schools only because of affirmative action; his denunciations of Mexican immigrants as, “in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists”; his calls for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States; his dismissal of an American-born judge of Mexican ancestry as a Mexican who cannot fairly hear his case; his reluctance to distance himself from the Ku Klux Klan in a television interview; his retweet of a graphic suggesting that 81 percent of white murder victims are killed by blacks (the actual figure is about 15 percent); and so on.

Trump has also retweeted messages from white supremacists or Nazi sympathizers, including two from an account called @WhiteGenocideTM with a photo of the American Nazi Party’s founder.’

Compare W. on the Bob Jones controversy. He made clear statements about how he was wrong not to have denounced its anti-Catholicism and its policies against interracial dating.

Have Republican Presidential nominees signaled a willingness to support racist police and discriminatory racist practices and racist forms of disenfranchisement? Of course. That is how they have won elections. Still Trump jumps over the last several nominees to the 1980s in that he wants to radicalize the assault on the civil rights of blacks and the presumption of their innocence that Reagan’s drug wars represented.

Trump is also willing to use the symbolic power of the Highest Office to arouse the kinds of hatred historically associated with pogroms while insinuating the highest levels of protection for racist thuggery (especially against American Muslims and Latinos).

I do not think black and non-white “Hispanic” voters felt this to be true of Romney, McCain, H.W. and W. And the first two ran against a black rival.

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stevenjohnson 08.12.16 at 3:45 pm

Incidentally, historical amnesia also includes forgetting Barack Obama was the boss when Clinton was secretary and forgetting Barack Obama is still president pursuing insane war-mongering policies long after Clinton is gone and forgetting Barack Obama is still president, and won’t even be a lame duck till November. Historical amnesia means forgetting the Democratic Party isn’t socialist or leftist, despite Bernie Sanders’ long career as a sort of socialist (only informally a Democrat.) Historical amnesia means forgetting to even ask what “Watergate” was, and if or how it mattered (or didn’t.) Historical amnesia means forgetting all foundations are ways for the wealthy to shelter money and exercise influence, Koch’s, Rockefeller’s, Carnegie’s, Ford’s, Soros’, not just Clintons’. Historical amnesia means forgetting this government has always conducted foreign policy at the behest of special interests.

(Yes, Lupita believes that imperialism actually pays off for the whole country, which presumably is why when her preferred rich people try to get their own she’ll be for that. Nonetheless, the idea is bullshit. At this point, I can only imagine people don’t call her out on that because they actually agree that “we” are all in it together with our owners.)

Historical amnesia includes forgetting Trump has run for president before, with the same personality and the same tactics and the same party base. It is unclear how the essentially racist nature of the vile masses has changed so much in four years. Vilifying millions of people in preference to even asking if Trump hasn’t got massive elite support is deeply, profoundly reactionary. Divide et impera has been the rulers’ game for centuries.

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T 08.12.16 at 4:00 pm

Bueller? Bueller?

Once again, if neo-liberalism is partly defined by the free flow of goods, labor and capital — and that has been the Republican agenda since at least Reagan — how is Trump a continuation of the same tradition?

J-D was correct about certain continuities and discontinuities. Certainly, the shift from a Scowcroft realpolitik under Bush I differed radically from the neocon view under W. Now the continuity about the Southern Strategy is true. You couldn’t make this stuff up: http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/politics/2016/07/26/trump-neshoba-fair-geoff-pender/87561270/
For those unfamiliar with Neshoba:
https://en.wikipedia.org wiki/Reagan%27s_Neshoba_County_Fair_%22states%27_rights%22_speech

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RNB 08.12.16 at 4:12 pm

Yes but with the Southern strategy the Republicans lost the last two Presidential elections to a one-term Senator Barack Hussein Obama. Many thought that they would try to diversify the party and improve on W.’s showing with Latinos to make sure they did not become a regional party. Rubio represented that hope. He was squashed. Instead Trump put the Southern strategy on steroids to create a anti-Constitutional white nationalism combining racism, nativism and religious intolerance; and due to changes in an increasingly intolerant Republican electorate, this open Klan sympathizer was able to win the nomination.
And again were it not for his misogyny and his foreign policy madness, his white nationalism would have apparently made him quite competitive in the general election.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.12.16 at 4:15 pm

“Once again, if neo-liberalism is partly defined by the free flow of goods, labor and capital — and that has been the Republican agenda since at least Reagan — how is Trump a continuation of the same tradition?”

You have to be willing to see neoliberalism as something different from conservatism to have the answer make any sense. John Quiggin has written a good deal here about a model of U.S. politics as being divided into left, neoliberal, and conservative. Trump is a conservative (or right populist, or whatever), and draws on that tradition. He’s not a neoliberal.

You could approximately see the New Deal era as a left / neoliberal coalition and the Reagan era as a neoliberal / conservative coalition (with the Democrats being a majority neoliberal party: e.g. there was substantial neoliberal presence in both parties, thus “there is no alternative”.) What we’re seeing now is the neoliberals moving in much greater numbers from the GOP to the Democrats. This would leave the Democrats as the home party of neoliberalism and the GOP as fully conservative: e.g. unable to win elections at a national level.

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RNB 08.12.16 at 4:37 pm

Another way of putting this is in terms of Corey Robin’s own recognition that as a result of the Cold War US elites had to show some respect for civil liberties of minorities and make some recognition that racism is some kind of evil. Romney, McCain, the Bush’s and even Reagan were all creatures of Cold War Americanism. Yes at the same time there was the Southern Strategy, the drug wars (with Bill Clinton joining in), the Willie Horton Ads, the opposition to Voting Rights Act. But there was this pas de deux with Cold War Americanism. Trump never espoused what I am calling Cold War Americanism; he has been an open racist from the beginning. He is different. Really.

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T 08.12.16 at 5:52 pm

RP @683

That’s a bit of my point. I think Corey has defined the Republican tradition solely in response to the Southern Strategy that sees a line from Nixon (or Goldwater) to Trump. But that gets the economics wrong and the foreign policy too — the repub foreign policy view has not been consistent across administrations and Trump’s economic pans (to the extent he has a plan) are antithetical to the Nixon – W tradition. I have viewed post-80 Dem administrations as neoliberals w/transfers and Repub as neoliberals w/o transfers.

Trump is too incoherent to really represent the populist view. He’s consistent w/the trade and immigration views but (assuming you can actually figure him out) wrong on banks, taxes, etc. But the next populists we see might be more full bore. When that happens, you’ll see much more overlap w/Sanders economic plans for the middle class. Populists have nothing against gov’t programs like SS and Medicare and were always for things like the TVA and infrastructure spending. Policies aimed at the poor and minorities not so much.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.12.16 at 6:04 pm

T: “I think Corey has defined the Republican tradition solely in response to the Southern Strategy that sees a line from Nixon (or Goldwater) to Trump.”

I don’t think that you’ve really paid attention to what CR is doing. He’s generally been taking some item that supposedly has never been said or done by a GOP candidate or President before Trump and showing that actually it has. He has not been saying that Trump is in every respect a continuation of the GOP tradition, which would be kind of nonsensical.

In particular, ordinary people aren’t really shocked by Trump on economics, so there isn’t the same impulse to say “no one has ever said this before”. If someone *did* want to make a case that Trump on economics was saying things never said before, it’s kind of true that to go back to people who were against neoliberal trade, you’d probably have to go back to populism in the early part of the 20th century. But that isn’t supposed to be the shocking thing that makes Trump different from the mainstream, because ordinary people aren’t repulsed by it and indeed may think it’s a good idea.

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bruce wilder 08.12.16 at 6:39 pm

Rich Puchalsky @ 674

I am with you on your main thesis, but I thought I would offer this sidenote.

On solidarity: solidarity isn’t about the (hierarchy of) relationships among politicians or political operatives. Solidarity is about membership, not leadership.

Solidarity can feel good. “We are all in this together, united.” Or, it can feel constricting, as it demands conformity and senseless uniformity, obeisance to unnecessary authority. Resentments are its solvent and its boundary-keepers. Social affiliation and common rituals are its nurturers in its fallow times, which can be historically frequent and long. Solidarity is the means to great common, coordinated efforts, that is to trust in leadership and that great solvent of political stalemate: sacrifice to the common good.

Solidarity is a powerful force, sometimes historically an eruptive force, and though not by itself intelligent, not necessarily hostile to intelligent direction, but it calls on the individual’s narcissism and anger not rational understanding or calculation. It is present as a flash in riots and a fire in insurrections and a great raging furnace in national wars of total mobilization. Elites can fear it or be enveloped by it or manipulate it cynically or with cruel callousness. Though it is a means to common effort and common sacrifice, it demands wages for its efforts and must be fed prodigious resources if it is long at work.

As American Party politics have degenerated, solidarity has come to have a fraught relationship with identity politics. In both Parties.

I don’t see anything in the conceptual logic driving things forward. I see this state of affairs as the playing out of historical processes, one step after another. But, this year’s “scareathon” puts identity politics squarely against the economic claims of class or even national solidarity. The identity politics frame of equal opportunity exploitation has Paul Krugman talking up “horizontal inequality”. Memes float about suggesting that free trade is aiding global equality even if it is at the expense of increasing domestic inequality. Or, suggesting that labor unions were the implacable enemy of racial equality back in the day or that FDR’s New Deal was only for white people. Hillary Clinton’s stump speech, for a while, had her asking, “If we broke up the big banks tomorrow, . . . would that end racism? would that end sexism?”

It is convenient politics in several ways. First, no one can hold Clinton responsible for not ending racism and sexism any more than GWB could be held responsible for not winning the war on terrorism. These are perpetual struggles by definition.

Second, it combines the display of righteous do-good ism with a promise of social progress that might actually benefit directly the most ambitious, even if it leaves most people without support. People who have done well in the system, or who might expect to, can feel good about themselves. And, ignore the system or rationalize away the system’s manifest shortcomings. The people who are complaining are racists! BernieBros! It is all about the loss of status being experienced by white men, and they shouldn’t be heard anyway.

The moral righteousness of identity politics adds in an element that goes way beyond the lazy failure to hold politicians accountable or the tendency to explain away their more Machiavellian maneuvers. There’s both an actual blindness to the reactionary conservatism of equal opportunity exploitation and a peremptory challenge to any other claim or analysis. If police practices and procedures are trending in an authoritarian direction, they can only be challenged on grounds of racist effect or intent. The authoritarianism cannot be challenged on its own merit, so the building of the authoritarian state goes on unimpeded, since the principle that is challenged is not authoritarianism, but a particular claim of racism or sexism.

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William Timberman 08.12.16 at 7:45 pm

What we’ve got here is a distorted or atrophied sense of the relationship between solidarity and the consent of the governed, between democracy and legitimacy, or more generally, between the individual and the collective. I suppose you could argue that we’ve evolved beyond what we were when we first came to understand these relationships in the abstract (in the 18th century?), and that, accordingly, they can no longer be understood in the way we once thought we understood them.

If so, maybe we ought to try being a little more honest about what we’re willing to pay as individuals for what we get as members of a group. Otherwise, it’s hard to see how we can come to terms with our confusion, or survive the malignancies that being confused has introduced into all our group dynamics, not just the overtly political ones.

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bruce wilder 08.12.16 at 7:47 pm

T @ 685: Trump is too incoherent to really represent the populist view.

Yes. I am not sure there ever really is a “populist view” per se. There are forms of rhetorical appeal that fall into the populist category and will get a response from an audience predominantly composed of people with certain political attitudes. Form and content do not align all that predictably; populist appeals can veer fascist or social democratic — it is a big range from evangelical preacher to general on horseback to trade unionist that can use the populist form effectively.

Trump is kinda the accidental demagogue. He’s the guy who stands in front of an audience that doesn’t know much but is full of free-floating anger, anxiety and resentment and keeps talking till he gets a response. It isn’t about what Trump himself believes or thinks; it is about what his audience responds to. (Or fails to respond to, in the case of Jeb! and Rubio and Cruz and Kasich).

The critical dimension in the dynamic is the one between elite leadership and mass followership. There isn’t a single leash in the hands of a national party nominee and the various components of the party’s electoral coalition. There are always many ties to many groups and the trick is to keep them in pack or at least moving together in more or less the same direction. (And, of course, getting them to add up to a 50% + 1 on election day.)

There’s always tension along the lead running between the politician and his constituents. The thing that seems most salient to me at the present moment is the sense of betrayal pervading our politics. At least since the GFC of 2008, it has been hard to deny that the two Parties worked together to set up an economic betrayal. And, the long-running saga of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also speak to elite failure, as well as betrayal.

These are the two most unpopular candidates in living memory. That is different.

I am not a believer in “the fire next time”. Trump is a novelty act. He represents a chance for people who feel resentful without knowing much of anything about anything to cast a middle-finger vote. They wouldn’t be willing to do that, if times were really bad, instead of just disappointing and distressing.

Nor will Sanders be back. His was a last New Deal coda. There may be second acts in American life, but there aren’t 7th acts.

If there’s a populist politics in our future, it will have to have a much sharper edge. It can talk about growth, but it has to mean smashing the rich and taking their stuff. There’s very rapidly going to come a point where there’s no other option, other than just accepting cramdown by the authoritarian surveillance state built by the neoliberals. that’s a much taller order than Sanders or Trump have been offering.

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Michael Sullivan 08.12.16 at 8:06 pm

Corey, you write: “It’s not just that the Dems went after Nixon, it’s also that Nixon had so few allies. People on the right were furious with him because they felt after this huge ratification that the country had moved to the right, Nixon was still governing as if the New Deal were the consensus. So when the time came, he had very few defenders, except for loyalists like Leonard Garment and G. Gordon Liddy. And Al Haig, God bless him.”

You’ve studied this more than I have, but this is at least somewhat at odds with my memory. I recall some prominent attackers of Nixon from the Republican party that were moderates, at least one of whom was essentially kicked out of the party for being too liberal in later years. There’s also the fact Reagan tapped a fair number of Nixon people, as did W years later. Reagan went after Nixon in the sense of running against him, and taking the party in a much more hard-right direction, sure. But he was repudiated largely because he got caught doing dirty tricks with his pants down.

To think that something similar would happen to Clinton (watergate like scandal) that would actually have a large portion of the left in support of impeachment, she would have to be as dirty as Nixon was, *and* the evidence to really put the screws to her would have to be out, as it was against Nixon during watergate.

OTOH, my actual *hope* would be that a similar left-liberal sea change comparable to 1980 from the right would be plausible. I don’t think a 1976-like interlude is plausible though, that would require the existence of a moderate republican with enough support within their own party to win the nomination. I suppose its possible that such a beast could come to exist if Trump loses a landslide, but most of the plausible candidates have already left or been kicked out of the party.

From what I can tell — the 1972 election gave the centrists in the democratic party power to discredit and marginalize the anti-war left, and with it, the left in general. A comparable election from the other side would give republican centrists/moderates the ability to discredit and marginalize the right wing base. But unlike Democrats in 1972, there aren’t any moderates left in the Republican party by my lights. I’m much more concerned that this will simply re-empower the hard-core conservatives with plausbly-deniable dog-whistle racism who are now the “moderates”, and enable them to whitewash their history.

Unfortunately, unlike you, I’m not convinced that a landslide is possible without an appeal to Reagan/Bush republicans. I don’t think we’re going to see a meaningful turn toward a real left until Democrats can win a majority of statehouses and clean up the ridiculous gerrymandering.

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T 08.12.16 at 8:17 pm

BW@689
Take a look at the WJB v Taft split. There were pretty articulated sets of economic positions that had to do with free trade, the strength of the currency, the control by the banks and robber barons, and on and on. That is the tradition of populism that is rooted in current populist/mainstream Republican battle. Also, listen to Warren — she’s from Oklahoma, That’s the voice of the Plain States populists railing against the banks, financialization vs physical labor, trusts/monopolies, insider dealing, and other traditional populist themes that WJB could have spoken to. It’s a mistake to put Trump in the context of European populists first.

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T 08.12.16 at 8:38 pm

RP@686

Goods points. I went back and reread the OP a mere 691 comments ago. But also take a look at Corey @645 which was 654 posts nearer in my mind.. The emails in the referenced article talk of both the course persona of Trump but the policies as well. In the OP it seemed Corey was saying that the Repubs have never been nice and Trump was in that tradition. The @645 post contains emails that talk about his demeanor but also the Repub/Trump policies. But Trump policies and Repub policies aren’t always the same. Trump is out of the mainstream tradition on several issues. It’s not easy to run an ad on trade or immigration against all Repubs since Ryan/McConnell and Trump are on different sides of those issues. So if your going to run against mainstream and Trump on policy, you have to choose the issues where Trump/Ryan agree — tax policy is a good one, for example. (The reason being is that Trump has a mainstream rather than populist tax policy.)

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Val 08.12.16 at 8:41 pm

Bruce Wilder @ 689

Solidarity is a powerful force, sometimes historically an eruptive force, and though not by itself intelligent, not necessarily hostile to intelligent direction, but it calls on the individual’s narcissism and anger not rational understanding or calculation

This is a completely different meaning than in the EU, where it is a political principle to do with respecting human rights (developed in the context that economic treaties should not over-ride human rights).

Similarly with your comments on “identity politics” where you could almost be seen by MRAs and white supremacists as an ally, from the tone of your rhetoric. I have pretty much given up on this thread, notwithstanding the attempts of ZM, novakant and others to introduce some moderation, but this is just sad.

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F. Foundling 08.12.16 at 9:08 pm

>Or, it [solidarity] can feel constricting, as it demands conformity and senseless uniformity, obeisance to unnecessary authority.

I don’t see why it should demand that. The way I see it, solidarity is just the principle of standing by and sticking up for others like you (what you count as ‘others like you’ – from your identical twin to all living matter in the Universe – is another issue). It doesn’t require making yourself more similar to those others than you already are anyway (conformity, uniformity) or necessarily obeying a common authority (although the latter can be an efficient instrument for the coordination of solidary actions). One unfortunate consequence of the all-too-common conflation of solidarity (or lack thereof) with conformity and obeisance (or lack thereof), often by using vague terms such as ‘collectivism’ and ‘individualism’, is the concealment of the fact that there is nothing all that special, original, free, independent, smart and tough about acting like a rat. In fact, in many cases, the act of displaying solidarity can be an act not only of bravery, not only even of opposition to an authority, but also of non-conformity. And conversely, solidarity is one of the surest means to enable people to be *free* from various pressures to conform and obey.

695

Rich Puchalsky 08.12.16 at 9:18 pm

Val: “Similarly with your comments on “identity politics” where you could almost be seen by MRAs and white supremacists as an ally, from the tone of your rhetoric.”

That is 100% perfect Val. Insinuates that BW is a sort-of-ally of white supremacists — an infuriating insinuation. Does this insinuation based on a misreading of what he wrote. Completely resistant to any sort of suggestion that what she dishes out so expansively to others had better be something she should be willing to accept herself, or that she shouldn’t do it. Ready even now to whine that she’s a victim and that the whole community is at fault and that people are picking on her because she’s a woman, rather than because she has a habit of making accusations like this every time she comments.

That is a perfect example of predatory “solidarity”. Val is looking for dupes to support her — for people to jump in saying “Why are you being hostile to women?” in response to people’s response to her comment.

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RNB 08.12.16 at 9:19 pm

@686 RP writes: “If someone *did* want to make a case that Trump on economics was saying things never said before, it’s kind of true that to go back to people who were against neoliberal trade, you’d probably have to go back to populism in the early part of the 20th century. But that isn’t supposed to be the shocking thing that makes Trump different from the mainstream, because ordinary people aren’t repulsed by it and indeed may think it’s a good idea.”

I have been repulsed by Trump’s views on trade because I have understood from the beginning what they actually mean. People here not so much.

Trump’s so not serious about what he is manifestly saying about “trade” that his policies are being devised by Wilbur Ross who thinks that the yuan is overvalued (!) and that there is no chance of putting 45% tariffs on Chinese goods.

What Trump means by anti-trade is America First and Making America Great Again and what he means by that is that at home no good white citizen should ever lose a job, promotion, bid, a college admission or claim on a government service to someone who does not have European origins. He is saying: Whites should not “trade” with dark “foreigners” before they trade with each other.

Do people not really understand that this is what he has been tormenting us minorities with for a year? And that we think whether he wins he has made our lives worse in the US and that our best hope at this point is that he loses by a landslide in all 50 states.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.12.16 at 9:33 pm

T: “Goods points. I went back and reread the OP a mere 691 comments ago. But also take a look at Corey @645 which was 654 posts nearer in my mind.. The emails in the referenced article talk of both the course persona of Trump but the policies as well.”

The emails in the referenced article are two steps away from what CR wrote. What he quoted was an Email about a strategy, and the core of that Email is “We would basically have to throw out our entire frame that the GOP made Trump through years of divisive and ugly politics.” It’s focussed on “divisive and ugly”, not on policy, whether or not policy comes in at some other stage.

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T 08.12.16 at 9:35 pm

@RNB 696
Were it so simple. Look at the map on the front page of today’s WSJ. It should be no surprise that Trump gets big support in the counties most adversely affected by trade with China. Maybe you don’t see the economic side where you live, only the racial side, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. There’s no reason to reduce all his support to a single factor.

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RNB 08.12.16 at 9:46 pm

Yeah, T, but those who have actually been hurt by trade make up a small part of those who support Trump. For the rest, the anti-trade talk means what I indicated above.

@686 RP: “[Robin’s] generally been taking some item that supposedly has never been said or done by a GOP candidate or President before Trump and showing that actually it has. He has not been saying that Trump is in every respect a continuation of the GOP tradition, which would be kind of nonsensical.”

And he has not been convincing here.

1. While the US tragically has a first use policy in regards to nuclear weapons, Trump has not only spoken casually about implementing it (bad enough) but has mused that he would use nuclear weapons not in response to devastating attacks on US troops but in the course of low-intensity conflicts against ISIS and al-Qaeda. This led to the Jeff Noonan tweet storm.

2. He is unhinged without anyone around to bring him back in. He was a birther for years, he’s a JFK conspiracist, he respects Alex Jones, he does think that Obama has such Muslim extremist tendencies that he founded ISIS (he was not being sarcastic). Due to his being so batshit crazy and his overweening confidence in his own judgment and his propensity for violent outbursts in the face of perceived slights, Trump is a qualitatively greater threat that any recent Presidential nominee has been to start a nuclear war.

3. He has openly said that his foreign policy would be determined first and foremost or even exclusively by whether those wanting protection had paid up as he arbitrarily determines, not by respect for principles of sovereignty, human rights, a history of cultural exchange, assessments of potential regional instability, and previous commitments. This makes him different.

4. He has aroused emotions of such hatred against Muslims as to verge on the eliminationist. LFC challenged me here; I responded. Trump speaks at times as if he is at a cross-burning rally. See above what I wrote about the action-tendency of emotions.

5. The call for a deportation force for 11 million people is a break with Republican presidential nominees.

700

Layman 08.12.16 at 9:47 pm

T: “…and Trump’s economic plans (to the extent he has a plan) are antithetical to the Nixon – W tradition.”

I wouldn’t say that. Tax cuts for corporations & the wealthy, eliminate estate taxes, abolish regulations, etc, seem right in line with that tradition. I’ll grant that the anti-free-trade stuff is something of a diversion, but it’s probably only rhetoric anyway.

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T 08.12.16 at 9:49 pm

RP @697

I think they’re talking about policy too. Why? They use the word “policy.” From the emails:

“We can force them to own Trump and damage them more by pointing out that they’re just as bad on specific policies, make them uncomfortable where he’s particularly egregious, but asking state Parties to praise House Republicans like Ryan would be damaging for the Party down ballot.”

“P.S. – – that strategy would ALSO put us at odds with Schumer, Lujan, Pelosi, Reid, basically all of our Congressional Democrats who have embraced our talking points and have been using them beautifully over the last couple of weeks to point out that GOPers in Congress have been pushing these ugly policies for years.”

Of course it’s better to tie them to Trump. It’s just not as clean as you’d like. My guess is that HRC will pound on the repubs down ticket is she thinks she has it wrapped up. So we might see that more closer to the election date if the polls hold up. For now, expect no press conferences, no press in her plane, and constant talk about Trump. All there thinking is “let’s not screw this up.”

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RNB 08.12.16 at 9:50 pm

And it is easy to see white nationalism however it is coded as the biggest reason for his support. People actually worried about trade would have gravitated to Sanders, not Trump. Trump is demagoguing the issue as would be clear to you if that were really your concern. He’s an outsourcer and his billionaire advisers don’t care about trade. There’s not a single unionist or progressive economist anywhere near him. So yeah: if you are for Trump, you don’t really give a darn about trade even if you are trying to convince yourself that that’s the reason you support him. You are a white nationalist, and the country needs for you and your candidate to be humiliated at the polls

703

T 08.12.16 at 9:57 pm

Layman @700

I’ve pointed that out as well. I’ve said trade and immigration are his two centerpiece policies. And populist in nature opposing the Nixon-to-W tradition. But as I noted above on several occasions, many of the other policies are within the tradition.

And HRC has wisely went after the tax cuts and could use them to tie Ryan/McConnell to Trump. The problem is that the Trump voters hate McConnell and Ryan. And the two issues that matter for them are immigration and trade. My only point is that the policy differences make this less than perfectly clean.

btw — immigration and trade are the only issues where Trump has been somewhat consistent. The rest changes almost daily.

704

RNB 08.12.16 at 10:01 pm

It depends on what you mean by “serious” in regards to views on trade. If he were serious, Wilbur Ross would not be in charge. Ross has already thrown out the idea of tariffs and seems to think the Chinese are intervening to overvalue their currency, not competitively devalue it to penetrate US markets. This all needs to be checked out. Who’s the macroeconomist out there. People don’t really expect Trump to deliver anything serious on trade, though he could destroy a poor country here or there just for the political show of it. His supporters are there because the trade talk is a good coded way to assert the white nationalist message.

705

F. Foundling 08.12.16 at 10:12 pm

On second thoughts, my 694 focused solely on the individual ethics angle, but it has to be admitted that the concept is, more often than most ethical concepts, connected with the assumption of interaction between several individuals displaying the behaviour (reciprocity) and of a certain combined effect. In any case, it doesn’t need to be irrational or to have to do with narcissism (as suggested in 687) any more than acting in your own personal interests needs to be irrational or to have to do with narcissism.

706

engels 08.12.16 at 10:18 pm

Narcissism by definition involves a failure to connect with others whereas solidarity requires it. So I find the claim the two are linked more than a little baffling.

707

engels 08.12.16 at 10:20 pm

…and likewise the attempt to yoke it to human rights. I agree with F. Foundling

solidarity is just the principle of standing by and sticking up for others like you

708

RNB 08.12.16 at 10:21 pm

Yup, others “like you”. Pretty straightforward. What could go wrong here?

709

engels 08.12.16 at 10:23 pm

All kinds of things can “go wrong” but that’s what it means, like it or loathe it.

710

engels 08.12.16 at 10:27 pm

It is we who ploughed the prairies, built the cities where they trade
Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid
Now we stand outcast and starving ‘mid the wonders we have made
But the union makes us strong

711

RNB 08.12.16 at 10:33 pm

“Catherine Rampell ‏@crampell 8h8 hours ago

The most challenging economic crisis of our times: how to help displaced older workers whose jobs aren’t coming back” Haven’t read the WaPo piece by the sharp Rampell yet.

But just from the title this seems like an important think piece.

I have understood this to be the core of Marx’s immiseration thesis exactly what Rampell seems to be calling the most challenging economic crisis of our time: that those older workers displaced by mechanization or the creative destruction of industries won’t be the ones hired when capital is redeployed and new employment is created even if the absolute level of employment increases over time since that the rate of that increase will diminish over time. There simply won’t be a demand for these wretches. Old English wrecca (also in the sense ‘banished person’).

There is also new data from Gallup that seems to indicate that these older, displaced and poor workers are not rallying behind Trump. Their suffering seems to be silent and ignored.

712

engels 08.12.16 at 10:40 pm

“Doug Henwood (@DougHenwood) 12/08/2016, 19:39 The Trump supporter: higher income lower education, live in areas with poor health indics and low mobility wpo.st/n7hr1”

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RNB 08.12.16 at 11:04 pm

Yeah and an excellent summary here by Ezra Klein http://www.vox.com/2016/8/12/12454250/donald-trump-gallup-trade-immigration-study

The OP criticized Klein (who writes for vox, and is part of what I think was called the vox generation), but the truth of the matter that what Klein had to say about the treatment of Khizr Khan was valuable and moving and right. And Klein’s right here too.

714

bruce wilder 08.12.16 at 11:38 pm

engels @ 706: Narcissism by definition involves a failure to connect with others whereas solidarity requires it. So I find the claim the two are linked more than a little baffling.

Narcissism gets a bad rap from its associations with attempts to pathologize normal human functioning. A healthy narcissism expressed in a pride in one’s appearance, confidence in one’s own capacities is nothing bad. People should seek and find ways to admire themselves and to be selfish — it is important to finding a center and balance.

Narcissism, strictly speaking, is not the failure to connect with others, but the failure to distinguish the self from others. In that sense, solidarity, which is identifying one’s self with the group of which one is a member, is narcissistic. Un pour tous, tous pour un, as the Musketeers said.

Pathological narcissism may be hinted at in the form of parental praise used as a cliche in America in place of expressions of admiration: “I’m so proud of you.” As if your achievements were somehow the speaker’s achievements.

Pejorative uses of narcissism as a synonym for selfish tend to emphasize narcissism as excessive, but actual pathological narcissism is pathetic: it is the normal capacity to be self-centered broken: the beautiful woman insatiably seeking admiration but who cannot stand to be touched.

715

F. Foundling 08.12.16 at 11:51 pm

@engels 08.12.16 at 10:18 pm

>Narcissism by definition involves a failure to connect with others whereas solidarity requires it. So I find the claim the two are linked more than a little baffling.

Well, you can connect with others because of a kind of extended narcissism (rather than genuine empathy, a sense of responsibility and justice). I mean that attitudes such as selfishness, vanity etc. can be extended to include those connected to the person (children, family) or similar to the person (people from the same region, origin or social group). In this, I agree with Bruce Wilder. My objection is that it’s not the *only* possible reason to display solidary behaviour. That would be not only cynical and misanthropic but also, in my opinion, factually incorrect.

716

F. Foundling 08.13.16 at 12:02 am

bruce wilder @ 714: 08.12.16 at 11:38 pm

>A healthy narcissism expressed in a pride in one’s appearance, confidence in one’s own capacities is nothing bad. People should seek and find ways to admire themselves and to be selfish — it is important to finding a center and balance.

Sorry, I saw your 714 too late; I see we’re just using the words in different senses. Caring about oneself is fine; ‘selfishness’ means basically caring about oneself *more* than ethics, empathy and justice permit. Similarly, ‘narcissism’ is used with different meanings, but they are unified by presupposing a pathology and an excess: *excessive* interest in oneself, *excessive* admiration of oneself (more than is warranted by the facts), *excessive* craving for admiration etc.

717

kidneystones 08.13.16 at 12:17 am

718

bruce wilder 08.13.16 at 12:34 am

F Foundling @ 705: In any case, [solidarity] doesn’t need to be irrational or to have to do with narcissism (as suggested in 687) any more than acting in your own personal interests needs to be irrational or to have to do with narcissism.

Thank you for thoughtful remarks @ 705 and @694.

“Rational” and “irrational” can be a cause of great confusion. It is not some virtue I wish to ascribe, but, rather, to my mind, a matter of gamesmanship. As a strategy, not an ethic, solidarity is a way of committing one’s self irrationally to not reconsider one’s interests.

The rat, betraying solidarity, is rational and selfish and calculating. Upholding solidarity requires an irrational ethic to trump strategic reconsideration.

There can certainly be an element of enlightened self-interest in a commitment to solidarity. We hope this gift of the self to the community is not done stupidly or without some deliberate consideration of consequences.

But, in the game, in the political contest where solidarity matters, where elite power is confronted, solidarity entails a degree of passionate commitment and even self-sacrifice. Whether expressed as an individual act of “altruistic punishment” or the common unwillingness to cooperate with the powers-that-be in a labor strike, there has to be a willingness to bear costs and forego opportunities.

People have to be a bit mad to want justice.

719

bruce wilder 08.13.16 at 12:47 am

engels and others may appreciate Michael Pettis on the Trump phenomenon.

He wrote this piece back in March and for reasons I cannot quite fathom he tried to tie in the Jacksonians — as if Donald Trump is some faded reprint of Andrew Jackson. But, ignore the part about the Jacksonians in American history and pay attention to what he says about his friend who is a supporter of Trump. It will complement Doug Henwood nicely, I suspect.

And, Pettis has nothing nice to say about Trump — so no fear!

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/03/michael-pettis-trump-and-the-re-emergence-of-the-jacksonians.html

720

F. Foundling 08.13.16 at 1:30 am

@ bruce wilder 718
>The rat, betraying solidarity, is rational and selfish and calculating. Upholding solidarity requires an irrational ethic to trump strategic reconsideration.

Well, this presupposes that pursuing one’s self-interest as an end in itself is natural, self-evident and hence purely rational, whereas striving to further the interests of someone else as an end in itself or striving to adhere to ethical behaviour as an end in itself is abnormal and irrational. I see no particular reason to assume this view. Assessment of rationality is possible with respect to the choice of means to a given end, but not in the choice of the end itself. Second, even in terms of self-interest, it is far from clear in each particular case whether solidary behaviour will be beneficial or harmful to the individual on balance, and whether the forgoing of costs will not result in better opportunities in the long run (the various Prisoner’s Dilemma scenarios and suchlike are anything but straightforward and depend on many variables).

On selfishness and solidarity again:

The way I see it, pursuing one’s own interests is not selfishness, but just a matter of practical division of labour and responsibilities. Everyone deserves well-being equally, but by default everyone is entrusted with his own well-being – it’s simply the most practical arrangement. To take an extreme and comical example, I can recognise that my digestion is objectively no more important/valuable than that of any other person, but in practice it is obviously most efficient that *I* should take it upon myself to chew the food that *I* will digest, and *others* should take care of the chewing of *their* food. :) Selfishness begins where you consider yourself and your needs to have greater value than others, which may result in potentially unethical choices where interests conflict (say, taking others’ food, not sharing the food fairly, letting others starve, etc.).

In that sense, solidarity might be said to include a measure of this sort of responsiblity on a collective level. It is understood that if someone in my neighbourhood needs help, it’s up to *me* to volunteer to help first, not to someone living in a different city altogether. This need not imply that I consider a person to be more valuable just because he lives closer to me, or that I should defend him if he wrongs someone living in a different city. The first would be extended personal responsibility, the second would be extended selfishness and narcissism, but both can be described as ‘solidarity (at neighbourhood level)’.

721

F. Foundling 08.13.16 at 1:56 am

Re Trump, it’s absurd to believe that he believes every absurdity that he says. And I’m not inclined to believe anyone who claims to be taking his words at face value. He isn’t mad, he’s a clown. I’ve just read the ‘Obama founded ISIS’ part of the Hewitt interview. http://www.hughhewitt.com/donald-trump-makes-return-visit/#more-31501 It’s hilarious, and it’s completely obvious that the man doesn’t mean a word of what he says, he practically says so himself.

‘No, it’s no mistake. Everyone’s liking it. I think they’re liking it. …
But they wouldn’t talk about your language, and they do talk about my language, right?’

He essentially admits, completely unabashed, that he is deliberately using an outrageous, absurd hyperbole just because the audience likes it and everyone pays attention to him that way. ‘But you’re a liar, you’re a clown, you’re an impostor!’ ‘Yes, I am, baby, and you like it, don’t you?’ Electing such a person would make the US presidency a complete joke, that much is undeniable.

As for the neocons, I’m quite sure that the real reason they hate him is because they think he actually might make peace with Russia and possibly deviate from the imperial agenda in other ways. In this, I have no sympathy for them.

You don’t have to pretend to believe Trump in order to understand why he shouldn’t be elected. Electing a comical Hitler impersonator as your head of state may not be quite the same thing as electing actual Hitler, but it’s still rather epically horrible. Symbols do matter, and have real, tangible consequences.

722

F. Foundling 08.13.16 at 1:59 am

(repost without the link which presumably doomed the comment to moderation limbo)

Re Trump, it’s absurd to believe that he believes every absurdity that he says. And I’m not inclined to believe anyone who claims to be taking his words at face value. He isn’t mad, he’s a clown. I’ve just read the ‘Obama founded ISIS’ part of the Hewitt interview. It’s hilarious, and it’s completely obvious that the man doesn’t mean a word of what he says, he practically says so himself.

‘No, it’s no mistake. Everyone’s liking it. I think they’re liking it. …
But they wouldn’t talk about your language, and they do talk about my language, right?’

He essentially admits, completely unabashed, that he is deliberately using an outrageous, absurd hyperbole just because the audience likes it and everyone pays attention to him that way. ‘But you’re a liar, you’re a clown, you’re an impostor!’ ‘Yes, I am, baby, and you like it, don’t you?’ Electing such a person would make the US presidency a complete joke, that much is undeniable.

As for the neocons, I’m quite sure that the real reason they hate him is because they think he actually might make peace with Russia and possibly deviate from the imperial agenda in other ways. In this, I have no sympathy for them.

You don’t have to pretend to believe Trump in order to understand why he shouldn’t be elected. Electing a comical Hitler impersonator as your head of state may not be quite the same thing as electing actual Hitler, but it’s still rather epically horrible. Symbols do matter, and have real, tangible consequences.

723

Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 2:19 am

There is no “peace” to be made with Russia. The Russian bet is a trump admin will give more space to Russian imperial aspirations. I’m not saying letting Russia be a regional imperial power is not a good policy (though it probably isn’t) but can we at least not call continued war with less US involvement “peace”

724

RNB 08.13.16 at 2:30 am

People do understand that the accusation of election rigging in PA is based on creating an image of ballot box stuffing in Philadelphia by blacks who as born felons should never have been enfranchised in the first place?

Here this is indeed Republican politics as usual, but of course Trump as a Presidential nominee added the twist of guaranteeing that a loss could only be the result of fraud, thereby threatening those in the US that were he not to win, they would have violent insurrection on their hands.

Perhaps W., McCain or Romney went this far, but I do not think so. But W. did support from the top the accusations of Democratic voter fraud. So perhaps they did. But what I think is new here is not the accusations of voter fraud but the use of that as a pretext for beginning the preparation for a violent insurrection against an illegitimate “Reconstruction” government.

725

Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 2:34 am

The reason so many foreign policy pundits (as opposed to “neo cons”) are opposed to trump is not because of the possibility of making peace with Russia, but because they’re liberal internationalists. They support the US led international order, think US hegemony is generally a force for good, and oppose powers and actors which will undermine the liberal order. There’s a lot to be said against this position, but at least get it right, rather than resort rhetoric about “neo cons” etc

726

Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 2:46 am

Reasons someone on a middle income from an economically declining region might support trump(that aren’t racism)
(1) support for other institutions (military , family, religion) mentioned above.
(2) people don’t vote individually but as a member of a group. Being a relatively prosperous member of a declining demographic has psychological consequences and perceived collective responsibilities.
(3) middle income business owners are not a stable group.(socially or economically)
(4) who do you think Is voting in these regions ? The poor in the US are less likely to vote.

The similarities between the ways the vox crowd and vulgar Marxists view politics is really striking.

727

RNB 08.13.16 at 2:52 am

Ronan
But 50 neocons some of them war criminals did issue a statement against Trump. Some on the left took this as a problem for Clinton that she could attract such support. Chomsky said that this was silly. I had been saying the same thing here @415. These neo cons many of whom are enthusiastic supporters of the torture Trump likes a lot don’t like Clinton; they are for good reason concerned about and genuinely terrified of Trump for reasons that they lay out in the letter. But instead of attending to the contents of the letter, some on the left were making it seem that its content could be ignored due to who had written it and Clinton impugned due to those who would vote for her rather than Trump.
To me this was another instance of the low standards of argument here.

728

RNB 08.13.16 at 3:00 am

Ronan,
Weakening of unions is an important cause of support for Trump.

729

kidneystones 08.13.16 at 4:23 am

When GOP loons and their racist pals claimed that Obama/Hitler was a secret Manchurian candidate: sensible folks around the world guffawed and had a good laugh at the expense of paranoid Americans.

When Dem loons and their racist pals claim that Trump/Hitler is a secret Manchurian candidate: sensible folks? around the world nod seriously and worry that Americans might elect Trump/Hitler (s)pawn of Putin.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3738302/Is-Trump-Russian-agent-Kremlinologist-presents-tantalising-disturbing-dossier-presidential-hopeful-closer-links-Kremlin-appear.html

Reagan was a real-life make believe cowboy. Nixon? Bush Sr? – the war hero/CIA director?
Obama ‘read my biographies’. Before that Dubya, twice. People forget that Dubya started WWIII at least twice, that I can remember. I can probably recover the emails circulation about the imminent end of the world. And, of course, JFK – Dem icon came as close to anyone to actually setting us all on fire.

On paper HRC should win in a walk. Problem is most Americans don’t trust her.

Why is that? Huh? Hey lookee! Trump is actually a Russian agent!!

And what about the family dog? Huh? Explain that!

730

J-D 08.13.16 at 4:33 am

kidneystones 08.13.16 at 4:23 am
When Dem loons and their racist pals claim that Trump/Hitler is a secret Manchurian candidate: sensible folks? around the world nod seriously and worry that Americans might elect Trump/Hitler (s)pawn of Putin.

You haven’t got a link there showing that Democrats claim that Trump is a secret Manchurian candidate, and you also haven’t got a link there showing that sensible folks take the claim seriously. All you’ve got there is a link showing that the Daily Mail is canvassing the idea. They’re not Democrats and they’re also not sensible folks; your other descriptions, ‘loons’ and ‘racist’ may perhaps apply.

731

kidneystones 08.13.16 at 5:24 am

Looking for links? You could, of course. But that would be much, much, much too difficult for you. But as you live with your head buried some place other than the real world here’s a good place to start: The rabidly pro-Trump Wapo.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/democrats-need-to-stay-out-of-trumps-gutter/2016/08/02/9f9cb31e-57f3-11e6-9aee-8075993d73a2_story.html?utm_term=.d0c61c41944a

There are countless others. And there’s certainly one very active participant on this thread making much the same arguments Trump/Hitler/Putin (s)pawn. He’s got a lot of negative things to say about people based on ethnicity and melanin, as well.

Call it a fair and reasoned critique of the moral defects of white people for refusing to see the current nominee for what he is: Hitler, the exterminator.

All who disagree are blind, or racists, white folks especially.

732

J-D 08.13.16 at 5:40 am

kidneystones 08.13.16 at 5:24 am
Looking for links? You could, of course.

I could, of course. And so could you, of course. In this instance you have chosen to post a link to an article saying that Trump is not a secret Manchurian candidate.

733

Faustusnotes 08.13.16 at 5:51 am

I’m loving reading american leftists arguing against solidarity and in favour of narcissism. Keep up the good work!

Today trump is advocating that his followers in Pennsylvania get out and monitor voting stations on Election Day, to protect against voter fraud. Obviously the GOP have been trying to keep blacks people away from the polls for years but mobilizing a militia to perform outright intimidation at polling booths – this seems like a step up on past rhetoric.

Everything trump does, while it draws in existing mainstream GOP ideas, it puts them on steroids. He appears to me to be a step change in savagery. I think that’s important.

734

kidneystones 08.13.16 at 5:58 am

Actually, the article makes emphatically clear that’s precisely the claim Democrats are making, indeed not just a few, ‘many Democrats.’

“In peddling unsubstantiated claims of collusion between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Democrats unfortunately seem eager to join Trump in abandoning policy for posturing. Indeed, many Democrats are letting the very real dangers of a Trump presidency take a back seat to the notion that Trump is not just alarmingly unqualified but is, in fact, an agent of the Kremlin.”

I could add a much longer list and name some names, starting with some of HRC’s closest campaign advisors. Links prove to be quite a problem for you. Had you clicked through the linked piece you’d get to Danial Drezner VSP and staunch NeverTrumpist. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/07/25/is-donald-trump-a-putin-patsy/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.fa9d6c825512

According the WP, many Dems are in fact making the claim that Trump/Hitler/Putin (s)pawn. The writer agrees with me that many Dems are just as nutty as Trump.

Put yourself on that list, if you like.

735

RNB 08.13.16 at 6:24 am

Nope, kidneystones, I have been talking about neocons saying that Trump would be the most reckless President in US history. Trump may have retweeted another dozen white supremacists and nazis in the meantime or called for the police occupation of a score of black neighborhoods on election day and (unlike McCain and Romney) promised to declare a Democratic victory rigged should it happen, but I haven’t kept up. Faustusnotes, thanks!

Just curious: if Trump’s a cool two hundred million dollars or so in hock to Russian billionaires, and needs the debt rolled over, wouldn’t he be better off if they were in a financially stronger position to indulge him? But the question may dissolve once Trump releases his long form taxes. Or not.

Thought this was a reasonable point by David Klion in the Guardian: “As for Nato, it’s one thing to believe that expanding the alliance to include the Baltics in 2004 was a mistake, and to oppose repeating it in Ukraine or Georgia. But when Trump casually dismisses existing alliances that constrain Russian revanchism, he makes war more and not less likely. If the left wants to be true to its anti-war principles, it needs to approach the commitments any US president would inherit with caution, not Trumpian recklessness.”

736

RNB 08.13.16 at 6:51 am

I found this pretty interesting too, coming as it does from one of most important critics of the idea of the US having an indispensable role in the world.

737

J-D 08.13.16 at 7:19 am

kidneystones 08.13.16 at 5:58 am

I could add a much longer list and name some names, starting with some of HRC’s closest campaign advisors. Links prove to be quite a problem for you. Had you clicked through the linked piece you’d get to Danial Drezner VSP and staunch NeverTrumpist.

You have made the choice to link to an article in which Daniel Drezner writes ‘is there any proper causal evidence that Donald J. Trump is a patsy of Vladimir Putin? No, I don’t see it.’ Perhaps it is for you that links are a problem.

738

kidneystones 08.13.16 at 8:22 am

@ 737 My 731

“When GOP loons and their racist pals claimed that Obama/Hitler was a secret Manchurian candidate: sensible folks around the world guffawed and had a good laugh at the expense of paranoid Americans.

When Dem loons and their racist pals claim that Trump/Hitler is a secret Manchurian candidate: sensible folks? around the world nod seriously and worry that Americans might elect Trump/Hitler (s)pawn of Putin.

Wapo: “In peddling unsubstantiated claims of collusion between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Democrats unfortunately seem eager to join Trump in abandoning policy for posturing. Indeed, many Democrats are letting the very real dangers of a Trump presidency take a back seat to the notion that Trump is not just alarmingly unqualified but is, in fact, an agent of the Kremlin.”

You’re entirely welcome to continue arguing that the linked article and the Drezner piece don’t fully support my @731.

In fact, I’d be very pleased if you do while staring long and hard at this nugget from the linked Wapo piece. “Indeed, many Democrats are letting the very real dangers of a Trump presidency take a back seat to the notion that Trump is not just alarmingly unqualified but is, in fact, an agent of the Kremlin”.

Drezner names names. Look some up, if you can.

739

kidneystones 08.13.16 at 8:45 am

735 Actually, you’ve been lying and Trump, not talking. You’ve been lying about Trump and consistently misrepresenting his statements to present them in the worst possible light. You’ve been lying about the threat Trump represents to the world. You’ve been lying about pretty much everything that doesn’t conform to your extremely narrow view of the world.

You’re so committed to lying that you don’t know how, or when to stop lying. Which is why you alone in these discussions is under threat of being banned because your willingness to misrepresent the positions of others extends even to insulting Corey our host and attempting to get him banned because he won’t write what he wants.

You lie, lie, and keep lying. The only thing that stops you from lying is the threat of banning. Do you understand that much?

Your ravings about Trump supporters being ‘white nationalists’ is a grotesque affront to everyone, especially the 23 percent of Hispanics who happen to support Trump, as well as other minorities. In your narrow universe the millions of American Trump supports are all either bigots, or blind, and that evidently includes the immense numbers of Americans in the US military who also support Trump.

The US airman who punched out the Trump protestor wearing a KKK costume at a Trump rally happened to be African-American. Do you think he was happy being portrayed as a KKK supporter by people like you and the clown in the costume?

You don’t evidently see anything at all wrong with calling people who don’t see the world you do ‘racists’ and ‘bigots.’ It is wrong. In fact, it’s fucking disgusting.

740

kidneystones 08.13.16 at 8:47 am

Should read ‘because he won’t write what you want.’

You and I are done. Feel better?

741

J-D 08.13.16 at 8:55 am

kidneystones 08.13.16 at 8:22 am
@ 737 My 731

You’re entirely welcome to continue arguing that the linked article and the Drezner piece don’t fully support my @731.

I know I am. Your permission is supererogatory.

In fact, I’d be very pleased if you do while staring long and hard at this nugget from the linked Wapo piece. “Indeed, many Democrats are letting the very real dangers of a Trump presidency take a back seat to the notion that Trump is not just alarmingly unqualified but is, in fact, an agent of the Kremlin”.

The Washington Post reports that many Democrats are doing so but fails to quote even one specific Democrat actually doing so.

Drezner names names.

None of the statements Drezner quotes is a statement that Trump is an agent of the Kremlin.

Look some up, if you can.

I decline to do your homework for you.

742

kidneystones 08.13.16 at 9:07 am

@741 I was hoping you’d show up and offer more nothing.

743

ZM 08.13.16 at 10:07 am

Ronan(rf),

“Reasons someone on a middle income from an economically declining region might support trump(that aren’t racism)
(1) support for other institutions (military , family, religion) mentioned above.
(2) people don’t vote individually but as a member of a group. Being a relatively prosperous member of a declining demographic has psychological consequences and perceived collective responsibilities.
(3) middle income business owners are not a stable group.(socially or economically)
(4) who do you think Is voting in these regions ? The poor in the US are less likely to vote.

The similarities between the ways the vox crowd and vulgar Marxists view politics is really striking.”

I kind of think someone is being racist if they are voting for a racist candidate.

Okay, so I grant your point maybe the racism might not be the reason someone chooses to support Trump.

But isn’t not caring about the racist policies Trump has — and giving him support based on other reasons — another form of racism?

I don’t think its plausible to vote for a really racist candidate while not exercising some degree of racism, even if the racism is simply of the sort where you’re saying “I don’t care about Trump’s racist policies and the people they are going to impact, I am going to vote for Trump because of his great economic policies!”*

I think that seems like a form of racism…

*he doesn’t even seem to have legible economic policies apart from saying he will fix the economy as far as I can tell

744

engels 08.13.16 at 10:37 am

Bruce thinks narcissism can be healthy, F. Foundling thinks it is excessive by definition. I understand it in what I think is the classical sense as a relation which is properly directed at others turned in on the individual. ‘Narcissistic solidarity’ would mean something like ‘standing with oneself’—a conceptual absurdity. (I agree with the broader point that solidarity udnt inherently altruistic and doesn’t preclude self-interest though.)

745

engels 08.13.16 at 10:47 am

The similarities between the ways the vox crowd and vulgar Marxists view politics is really striking.”

I hear they even agree 2+2=4 and Paris is the capital of France…

746

Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 10:51 am

“But 50 neocons some of them war criminals did issue a statement against..”

On that. Im sorry for the ungenerous reading and cranky comment, f foundling. I was in a bit of a bad mood .

ZM, I don’t have time to reply at the minute, but will get back to it later .

747

Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 11:02 am

“Ronan,
Weakening of unions is an important cause of support for Trump.”

Right, so youre now agreeing that a concentration on income only does not explain as much as you’ve been arguing above ?

748

Layman 08.13.16 at 11:20 am

Ronan(rf) :

“Reasons someone on a middle income from an economically declining region might support trump(that aren’t racism)…”

I think you left off “…because they are Martians.”

Seriously, what’s wrong with looking at the data and drawing conclusions from it?

On the one hand, there seems to be little support in the data for the notion that Trump supporters are motivated by their own economic hardship, or have been harmed or displaced by immigration or globalization.

On the other hand, there seem to be strong correlations between racist views and racial isolation and support for trump.

http://www.vox.com/2016/6/2/11833548/donald-trump-support-race-religion-economy

http://www.vox.com/2016/8/12/12454250/donald-trump-gallup-trade-immigration-study

Is it possible to find a Trump supporter who isn’t a racist? Sure, why not? I imagine there’s even someone out there who likes him for his hair. But if most Trump supporters are higher-income lower-education blue collar workers from lily-white neighborhoods who believe racist things and have not been harmed by immigration or globalization, really, what’s the point of finding the one who isn’t?

749

Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 11:29 am

“Right, so youre now agreeing ..”

To clarify, rnb. You’ve been pushing the position that trumps support is driven almost solely by white nationalism. Others are saying there are economic and (non racist) societal and political explanations for his support. But you’ve been responding to arguments that economic/ institutional/ community decline might explain parts of it by linking to polls that show his support Is not coming from those on low incomes. The point would be that income level alone does not explain how a person might react to that decline, you have to look at the communities/groups they’re embedded in etc

750

Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 11:30 am

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8528411&fulltextType=BT&fileId=S0020818312000057

“Recent research on the sources of individual attitudes toward trade policy comes to very different conclusions about the role of economic self-interest. The skeptical view suggests that long-standing symbolic predispositions and sociotropic perceptions shape trade policy opinions more than one’s own material well-being. We believe this conclusion is premature for two reasons. First, the practice of using one attitude to predict another raises questions about direction of causation that cannot be answered with the data at hand. This problem is most obvious when questions about the expected impact of trade are used to predict opinions about trade policy. Second, the understanding of self-interest employed in most studies of trade policy attitudes is unrealistically narrow. In reality, the close relationship between individual economic interests and the interests of the groups in which individuals are embedded creates indirect pathways through which one’s position in the economy can shape individual trade policy preferences. We use the data employed by Mansfield and Mutz to support our argument that a more complete account of trade attitude formation is needed and that in such an account economic interests may yet play an important role.”

751

Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 11:59 am

“But isn’t not caring about the racist policies Trump has — and giving him support based on other reasons — another form of racism?
I don’t think its plausible to vote for a really racist candidate while not exercising some degree of racism”

Sure, I don’t necessarily have a problem with that. They’re not anti racists anyway. But the reasons for why they support him is still an empirical question. This might all be explained by “white nationalism” etc but (1) I doubt it (2) I don’t find these monocausal explanations particularly convincing (3) dividing out what is racism , what is something else , seems like something inquiring minds should do.

752

Layman 08.13.16 at 12:00 pm

“You’ve been pushing the position that trumps support is driven almost solely by white nationalism. Others are saying there are economic and (non racist) societal and political explanations for his support.”

Loathe as I am to defend RNB, the data show a strong correlation between whiteness and Trump support, between racism and Trump support, between nationalism and Trump support, between anti-immigrationism and Trump support. On the other hand, where is the clear correlation between concern for the economic well-being of one’s neighbor and Trump support?

753

Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 12:04 pm

754

Layman 08.13.16 at 12:20 pm

@ Ronan(rf)

“To start, it is worth noting where Donald Trump’s supporters identify themselves on the ideological spectrum. The evidence suggest Trump’s supporters are significantly further to the right than even other Republicans.”

“The individual data do not suggest that those who view Trump favorable are confronting abnormally high economic distress, by conventional measures of employment and income.”

“Segregation, mortality, distance to Mexico, and lower college education shares are all robustly predictive of Trump support across these samples. Exposure to manufacturing tends to predict significantly lower Trump support.”

“People living in commuting zones with higher white middle-aged mortality rates are much more likely to view Trump favorably.”

“To summarize, the evidence is mixed as to how economic hardship affects Trump’s popularity. It seems that lower social status and material hardship play a role in support for Trump, but not through the most obvious economic channles of income and employment. The evidence is in favor of contact theory is quite clear. Racial isoaltion and lack of exposure to Hispanic immigrants raise the likelihood of Trump support. Meanwhile, Trump support falls as exposure to trade and immigration incresaes, which is the opposite of the predicted relationship.”

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2822059

755

Layman 08.13.16 at 12:26 pm

Here is Trump voicing an appeal to his supporters. Because they are of course Not Racist, but instead suffering from Economic Pressure, his message to them is that ‘other people’ in ‘certain areas’ of Philadelphia will steal the election from them by voting multiple times.

Whoever could these ‘other people’ be? Are they trade negotiators? Chinese manufacturers? Global outsourcing firms?

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/presidential/Donald_Trump_Hillary_Clinton_cheating_Pennsylvania_Altoona.html

756

Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 12:26 pm

How does This disputes what I’m saying?

757

Layman 08.13.16 at 12:35 pm

@ Ronan(rf)

You aren’t saying anything which can be disputed. You’re imagining non-racist reasons someone might have for supporting Trump. This might be a fun pastime, but it doesn’t seem to have any utility, and the reasons you’re coming up with aren’t supported by the data.

On the other hand, there’s pretty good support in the data for the notion that much of Trump’s support is motivated by racism. And, even Trump seems to think so. Why else does he continue to make racist appeals.

758

Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 12:45 pm

(1) studies showing support for trump correlates with Google searches for racist jokes is cute and relatively insightful but not exactly a game changer (2) I’m not saying racism isn’t a factor I’m saying it’s not the only cause, whereas people like rnb are saying “white nationalism” is the only important cause (3) evidence showing that long term economic decline /rising mortality/ decline in unions etc also correlate with trump support hints that there are other causes in play (4) linking to the latest vox splainer or Gallup poll really only goes so far. The evidence is fuzzy and incomplete at the minute, and people are generally just selecting evidence to fit the ideological priors (5) it is unlikely, as an empirical matter, that there is only 1 thing driving this,ie racism/white nationalism. We should surely be sceptical of monocausal explanations that flatter us and that conveniently support our political and ideological priors, no?

759

Lee A. Arnold 08.13.16 at 12:47 pm

It’s the Trumped-up version of the well-studied, well-known political “emotionally-motivated reasoning” or “social cognitive bias” of risk assessment about possible future events + considerable ignorance about how the economic system really works, expressed largely as the fear that others aren’t playing by the rules and are taking advantage of us, resulting in a retreat to safety inside one’s own identity group, which ties easily into nativism and racism.

They don’t have to be experiencing extreme economic distress at this very moment to be impelled by it; they’ve gone through the financial crash and lesser depression and still sense danger ahead. They may even be slightly “better educated” than the mean, which unfortunately only means that they are familiar with enough definitions to swallow the economistic baloney in the business news media.

760

Layman 08.13.16 at 1:18 pm

@ Ronan(rf)

Your (1) reads as an effort to dismiss evidence of racism in Trump’s supporters. Since you acknowledge the racism in your (2), I don’t think you mean that, but I can’t otherwise discern the point of (1).

Your (3) is interesting, but on its own doesn’t lead us anywhere. The actual victims of economic decline don’t seem to be predisposed to support Trump; it seems to be their better-off neighbors who do, as well as other white people who live in white areas which have not been heavily damaged by the flight of manufacturing overseas or the influx of cheap immigrant labor.

Your (4) is churlish and frankly silly. The link I gave you is neither to Vox nor to a Gallup poll. Maybe you ought to read it, it does a pretty good job of demonstrating that economic uncertainty does not correlate strongly with support for Trump.

As to (5), so what? Of course it is not the case that every single person who supports Trump necessarily does so solely for reasons of racism. But you’ve already acknowledged that supporting Trump is itself racist, and you don’t seem to be able to offer any evidence of other drivers motivating substantial levels of support, so I honestly can’t grasp why you’re bothering.

761

RNB 08.13.16 at 1:27 pm

See here for a conservative who recognizes that white nationalism is the principal driver of Trumpism.

762

RNB 08.13.16 at 1:28 pm

763

Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 1:33 pm

My (1) was just a bit of smartarsery.
I think the opening chapter here

https://www.amazon.com/Science-Trump-Explaining-Unlikely-Candidate-ebook/dp/B01IL9DTG8

Is the best short summation I’ve seen. It takes into account three main causes (1)the fact that US politics, outside of the educated ” elite “, is non ideological, and that the decline of the republican establishment has allowed a more populist, nativist candidate rise (2) the importance of racial resentment and white identity politics (3) the economic causes, both long term and recent. Most specifically recent economic problems leading to anti incumbent politics.

“The link I gave you is neither to Vox nor to a Gallup poll. Maybe you ought to read it, it does a pretty good job of demonstrating that economic uncertainty does not correlate strongly with support for Trump.”

The bits you quoted do not show that.

“To summarize, the evidence is mixed as to how economic hardship affects Trump’s popularity. It seems that lower social status and material hardship play a role in support for Trump, but not through the most obvious economic channles of income and employment. “

This does not dispute what I’m.saying(and linked to) above, which is that there are other ways to measure material hardship and decline than simply looking at income. And that economic and social decline can affect voter preferences through mechanisms that are better captured by group,rather than individual , comparisons.

764

Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 1:35 pm

“The actual victims of economic decline don’t seem to be predisposed to support Trump..”

The “actual victims” don’t tend to vote, let alone pay close attention to the primaries.

765

kidneystones 08.13.16 at 1:35 pm

Nice to know that 20 percent of America’s Hispanics are either racist, or don’t exist at all in Layman’s America. Clear as day.

Of course, I don’t believe that’s true. It’s just your enthusiasm to keep the minorities on the Dem plantation. The last thing Layman and his ilk want to think about is Hispanics, and other minorities voting Republican – cause if a substantial number do, HRC is toast.

Hence, the need to make all/most Trump supporters, even Hispanics, ‘white nationalists.’

Loathsome.

766

RNB 08.13.16 at 1:36 pm

One would guess that uncivil Trump supporters are now falsely accusing the Indo-American Avik Roy of supporting affirmative action and demeaning him as a “scrumbag”, if you catch my drift.

767

Layman 08.13.16 at 1:37 pm

Avik Roy, who worked to elect Marco Rubio, the candidate who claimed that Barack Obama was deliberately working to undermine the security and well-being of Americans, is shocked, shocked, to find that racism is going on in the GOP. Boo-hoo!

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kidneystones 08.13.16 at 1:40 pm

In an alternate universe we’re not able to level charges of racism. Now imagine what kinds of policy proposals Dems would have to offer Ronan’s voters in order to win.

That’s what’s not happening as long as sucker liberals parrot the lazy-ass racist talking points. HRC and her donor class supporters skate on real policy changes.

Keep it up, HRC and the donors couldn’t ignore all the displaced workers without you.

And it makes it so much easier to forget their lives and fears once we make them all driven by racism and bigotry.

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Layman 08.13.16 at 1:44 pm

Ronan(rf): “The bits you quoted do not show that.”

In fact, they do.

For example: “The individual data do not suggest that those who view Trump favorable are confronting abnormally high economic distress, by conventional measures of employment and income.”

But, as I said, maybe you should read the study. You might find that it addresses this: “And that economic and social decline can affect voter preferences through mechanisms that are better captured by group,rather than individual , comparisons.”

…given that the entire point of the exercise was to correlate poll responses with other available demographic data in order to build a picture of group support for Trump.

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RNB 08.13.16 at 1:46 pm

kidneystones, “Hispanic” is a confusing category. But look at the term; it indicates people of Spanish origin, and some could be drawn to his message of white nationalism. Many Latinos also claim indios and African origin; some do not. At any rate, it looks as if Trump will do much worse with “Hispanics” than George W. Bush did, and his poor performance here is putting some Sunbelt states out of contention. Which in electoral terms means he has to give white people in the Midwest or rustbelt the red meat they’ll need to get enthused about him if he is to have any shot at all; and so the poisoning of American culture will continue.

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RNB 08.13.16 at 1:48 pm

OK ronan Trump supporters are not put off by his white nationalism even if they are drawn to him for what you think are other reasons, such as religious commitment and respect of rank-and-file soldiers. Hahaha!

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engels 08.13.16 at 1:51 pm

We should surely be sceptical of… explanations that flatter us and that conveniently support our political and ideological priors, no?

After you!

I’m not saying racism isn’t a factor I’m saying it’s not the only cause, whereas people like rnb are saying “white nationalism” is the only important cause

I don’t know if that’s what RNB is saying, but it’s not a ‘Marxist’ analysis, vulgar or otherwise. A Marxist analysis imo would look at the class basis and acknowledge the racial inflection together with the fact that it’s not (at least straightforwardly) a working class basis. Ie. you can call them lower-middle-class or a relatively privileged (white, racist and authoritarian) stratum within the working class but they’re clearly not the working class or it’s most subjugated sections, as the study I linked shows.

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Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 1:57 pm

Layman, again, that paper does not dispute what I’ve been saying

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Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 2:03 pm

As I said above, Trump supporters are not coming from lower income groups. (Who disproportionately don’t vote ) But there are other factors that do make a socio economic case, geography and health, (mentioned in the paper) declining across generation social mobility, which the paper mentions, the specific occupational structure of trumps support (self employed, blue collar, in economically unstable industries). This is mentioned in your paper which apparently disputes something or other that I’ve supposedly said.

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engels 08.13.16 at 2:07 pm

This debate is like watching a version of football where the ball is stationary and the teams try to score by moving their respective goals.

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Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 2:12 pm

Oh give it a rest engels. Show me where I’ve shifted the goalposts ?

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Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 2:18 pm

First comment

“Reasons someone on a middle income from an economically declining region might support trump(that aren’t racism)
(1) support for other institutions (military , family, religion) mentioned above.
(2) people don’t vote individually but as a member of a group. Being a relatively prosperous member of a declining demographic has psychological consequences and perceived collective responsibilities.
(3) middle income business owners are not a stable group.(socially or economically)
(4) who do you think Is voting in these regions ? The poor in the US are less likely to vote.”

Second and third comments were saying white nationalism is not only cause. 4th comment (rellevant to layman’s paper) was showing mechanism where someone might be anti trade while not being directly, materially effected by trade. 5th comment was saying I’ve no problem with racial/white identity arguments. 6th was link to geographic reasons for vote. 7th again said race is an issue, and so on.
What’s your issue?

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Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 2:24 pm

And the political science of it (included in the book I linked to) would not say economics is irrelevant or that racism is the only cause(although racism, white identity politics is important). This is basically all I’m arguing, white nationalism isn’t the only cause, which all layman and rnb have to do is respond, “of course”.
Layman did respond “Of course it is not the case that every single person who supports Trump necessarily does so solely for reasons of racism”, but this is disingenuous and beside the point. Their argument isn’t that *every* trump supporter is a racist, but that white nationalism/racism is the only important driver of trumpism, which is nonsense.

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RNB 08.13.16 at 2:24 pm

@758 ronan writes: “(3) evidence showing that long term economic decline /rising mortality/ decline in unions etc also correlate with trump support hints that there are other causes in play.”

It indicates that the breakdown of some forms of unionization leave workers more likely to frame their identities and interests in such a way that racism and nativism are more likely to appeal to them. Saying that people are being drawn to Trump for his white nationalism which ronan is a fact does not explain why people are drawn to that particularly odious appeal.

It’s not rational economic interest. Some people want white pride and or the assertion of ontological security belonging to whites even if Trump will cost them in some ways. Make America Great Again and Make America White Again are the same thing. It’s white nostalgia for apartheid America. And it’s not rational in economic terms. For example, the costs of deporting 12 million people would probably be greater than the narrow economic benefit white people would gain. It could cost well over $120 bn. Trump’s protectionism would do more harm than good. But it’s all a way of saying that this country is theirs, not others’.

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Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 2:29 pm

Oh ffs , again I have no.idea what “It’s not rational economic interest” is supposed to be disputing. But I accept that the problem with explaining my position lies with me, and will gracefully bow out to go for a walk.

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RNB 08.13.16 at 2:30 pm

look ronan I have long said that there are many reasons people are drawn to Trump. His apology for Roger Ailes makes every man who has harassed a woman feel good about him. A good number of people, including colored men. Some people were raised Republican, and will vote for Republican, no matter who is at the top of the ticket. Some are homophobes. Some don’t like Muslims. Some are tied up the oil and gas industry and as a matter of principle don’t want a President recognizing climate change. It’s complicated, ok. I pushed hard on the white nationalism question well because I (along with js) seem to be the only minority here and the points of emphasis on what to say about Trump reflect white blindness. You are learning in this discussion. I am not.

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LFC 08.13.16 at 2:30 pm

For those of us who don’t read The Monkey Cage regularly (or at all), you’d think Henry Farrell might have bothered to mention that ebook Ronan links to. I’m not going to buy it b/c, among other things, I don’t esp. like ebooks.

I’m struck by the title: The Science of Trump. I don’t much like the title, for reasons I’m not going to go into. On the plus side, a glance at the t.o.c. shows the bk covers a wide range of topics.

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Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 2:32 pm

Yes, his support for Roger ailes was an extremely important reason for his success

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Ronan(rf) 08.13.16 at 2:33 pm

“I am not.”

We agree on something at last.

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RNB 08.13.16 at 2:35 pm

I look forward to reading the Monkey Cage book. Putting science anywhere near Trump seems wrong though:)

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ZM 08.13.16 at 2:37 pm

Ronan(rf),

“Sure, I don’t necessarily have a problem with that. They’re not anti racists anyway. But the reasons for why they support him is still an empirical question. This might all be explained by “white nationalism” etc but (1) I doubt it (2) I don’t find these monocausal explanations particularly convincing (3) dividing out what is racism , what is something else , seems like something inquiring minds should do.”

Yes, I don’t think it has to be *only* racism why people support Trump. But it seems to be some sort of racism just in supporting a candidate who has racist policies, in that you are basically saying these racist policies are okay, and other issues are more important to you than the effects on the non-white groups targeted. I think some level of racism has to be involved even at a tacit sort of level.

Although I think people probably face a difficult problem with having two main Presidential candidates and one is overtly racist, meaning they only have one main candidate to vote for if they don’t support racist policies. If I was a Republican I would be annoyed at being given this choice, to either vote for a Republican candidate with explicitly racist views, or else have to vote Democrat, minor candidate, or not vote.

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RNB 08.13.16 at 2:37 pm

No but Trump’s apology for workplace haras