Donald Trump is the least of the GOP’s problems

by Corey Robin on August 18, 2016

The Associated Press ran a story earlier this week on the continuing crack-up of the Republican Party:

As he [Trump] skips from one gaffe to the next, GOP leaders in Washington and in the most competitive states have begun openly contemplating turning their backs on their party’s presidential nominee to prevent what they fear will be wide-scale Republican losses on Election Day.

Republicans who have devoted their professional lives to electing GOP candidates say they believe the White House already may be lost. They’re exasperated by Trump’s divisive politics and his insistence on running a general election campaign that mirrors his approach to the primaries.


The central weakness of the article—like so much of the reporting on the election this year—is that it posits Trump as the source of the party’s crack-up.

In actual fact, the seeds of the decline of the GOP and conservatism were sown long ago. That decline has little to do with the weaknesses of any candidate or elected official, mistakes this one or that one might have made. To the contrary, the decline reflects the strengths and achievements of both the Republican Party and the conservative movement. Both the party and the movement, in other words, are victims of their success.

The candidacy of Donald Trump, for all its idiosyncrasies, is symptomatic of two cycles of political time: one peculiar to the Republican Party, the other to the conservative movement.

Presidential/party regimes in the US have a rise and fall, roughly coinciding with the various party systems we’ve seen through American history. (Though not always: historians and political scientists still debate these periodizations, so what follows, which focuses on presidents as drivers of regime changes, may not coincide with how other scholars conceive these regimes.) The first regime was the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican regime, which lasted from 1800 to 1828. The second was the Jacksonian Democratic regime, which lasted from 1828 to 1860. The third was the Lincoln Republican regime, which lasted from 1860 to 1932. The fourth was the FDR New Deal regime, which lasted from 1932 to 1980. We are currently in the fifth regime: the Reagan Republican regime, which began in 1980.

These regimes are inaugurated by presidents (Jefferson, Lincoln, etc.); they are carried on by presidents (Monroe, Polk, Teddy Roosevelt, LBJ, George W. Bush); and they are destroyed by presidents (John Quincy Adams, James Buchanan, Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter). Other factors—social movements, the economy, international relations, cultural shifts—certainly play a major role, but for various reasons, I’m focusing here on presidents.

As the Yale political scientist Steve Skowronek has argued, the successor presidents who do the most to carry on the legacy of the inaugurating presidents—Polk for Jackson; LBJ for FDR; George W. Bush for Reagan—often set the stage for the destruction of that inaugurating president’s legacy. These successor presidents (Skowronek calls them articulation presidents) so vastly over-use their power to extend the basic commitments of the party regime, to fulfill its unfulfilled promises, that they wind up shattering the regime itself. LBJ did it with his commitments to Vietnam, the War on Poverty, and the Civil Rights Movement. Bush did it with his paired commitments to those massive tax cuts and the Iraq War. In both cases, these presidents articulate founding commitments of their regime. But in the process, they bring to the fore and empower the dissonant forces have long been restive under the regime—both African Americans and white supremacists, in the case of LBJ; or the rank-and-file Tea Party and Christian Right with little patience for the elite business and national security types, in the case of Bush—who now see each other not as natural allies but as enemies. (It’s interesting, as Skowronek notes, that these articulation presidents often fought wars that helped destroy their regimes. Polk with the Mexican-American War, LBJ with Vietnam, Bush with Iraq.)

Donald Trump is now facing a situation similar to that of candidates like George McGovern in 1972: he’s the beneficiary of an unprecedented mobilization of one part of his party’s coalition, which put him in the place he’s in, but like McGovern, he can’t turn that coalition into something broader. Hence that quote in the AP story above:

They’re exasperated by Trump’s divisive politics and his insistence on running a general election campaign that mirrors his approach to the primaries.

Winning the GOP base is no longer a ticket to the White House, as it was for Reagan and Bush. Because the base is so at odds with the whole of the GOP, not to mention the nation.

So that’s one political time cycle: the rise and fall of presidential/party regimes.

But there’s a second, arguably deeper and more fatal time cycle: the rise and fall of conservative movements and regimes.

Conservatism, as I argued in The Reactionary Mind, is an inherently reactionary movement. This wasn’t my brilliant insight; it’s right there, as the book demonstrates, in the testimony of conservatism’s leading thinkers and practitioners, going back to Burke and Peel, the inventor of Britain’s Conservative Party, up through more genteel voices like Michael Oakeshott or George Nash, the court historian of the modern conservative movement in the US. The only difference is that my book takes their testimony seriously, while others tend to ignore it.

But as I argued at the conclusion of The Reactionary Mind, if conservatism is an inherently reactionary movement, the greatest threat to it will be its success. Once it defeats the movements it was launched to overcome—and those movements will change across time, which is why conservatism, despite being a consistently reactionary politics, will also change across time, in response to the movements it opposes—it loses its raison d’être.

Modern American conservatism, I’ve long held, has succeeded. It essentially destroyed the labor movement, which was, in conservatism’s most recent incarnation in response to the New Deal, its original enemy. It also successfully beat back the Black Freedom movement, which was its second enemy. And it was able to defang the feminist movement, its third enemy. While all these movements are still around—the labor movement, only barely—they don’t have the same traction and forward momentum they once did. (The one exception is the LGBT movement, but I would argue that it was a late arrival on the scene of the conservative backlash, so its successes haven’t been able to generate the same kind of ongoing momentum that the earlier movements did.)

Which is what has left conservatism in the fairly weak place that it is, as I speculated at the conclusion of The Reactionary Mind:

Which leads me to wonder about the long-term prospects of the Tea Party, the latest variant of right-wing populism. Has the Tea Party given conservatism a new lease on life? Or is the Tea Party like the New Politics of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the last spark of a spent force, its frantic energies a mask for the decline of the larger movement of which it is a part?…

Modern conservatism came onto the scene of the twentieth century in order to defeat the great social movements of the left. As far as the eye can see, it has achieved its purpose. Having done so, it now can leave. Whether it will, and how much it will take with it on its way out, remains to be seen.


Trump is desperately trying to fashion a new reactionary politics out of the bits and pieces that are now left to it: a white nationalism that draws its animating energies from its hostility to a black president, immigration, and Islam. But the evidence is increasingly clear that that kind of politics simply does not possess enough appeal to propel him or any other similar candidate to the White House. Not, I would argue, because Trump is such a weak candidate (though clearly he is), but because these forces can’t supply the reactionary rationale for modern conservatism the way empowered and radicalized movements of workers, African Americans, and women once did. As a reactionary mode of politics, conservative is a response to politicized, radical movements of subordinate classes; it is not a response to secular changes in society and culture, however unwelcome those changes may be.

It’s going to take a massive victory for the left—not at the polls but in the streets, as a comprehensive social movement of emancipation—for the right to recover its energy and animating purpose. Until that happens, the right might win an election here or there, but they’re essentially going to continue their free-fall plummet.

Trump, in other words, is the least of the GOP’s problems.

{ 375 comments }

1

CJColucci 08.18.16 at 7:10 pm

Was your focus on domestic political issue based on something, or did you just forget to list the Soviet Union and Communism as things the post New Deal right opposed?

2

parse 08.18.16 at 7:14 pm

I think you mean Trump’s situation is similar to that of candidates like George McGovern, rather than “presidents like George McGovern.”

3

Corey Robin 08.18.16 at 7:18 pm

parse: Oops, thanks, fixed!

CJColucci: How would the opposition to the Soviet Union and international communism distinguish Truman, JFK, LBJ, and Carter from Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan?

4

James 08.18.16 at 7:19 pm

If Bush already destroyed the Reagan regime, doesn’t that put is in the Obama Democratic regime? That would make the Reagan regime one of the shorter ones at 28 years.

5

Brian 08.18.16 at 8:10 pm

It kinda looks like the least of the GOPs problems are control of state legislatures and governorships. Do you think those are likely to wane as well?

6

Foster Boondoggle 08.18.16 at 8:10 pm

“Modern conservatism came onto the scene of the twentieth century in order to defeat the great social movements of the left. As far as the eye can see, it has achieved its purpose.”

The defeatism in this sentence is mystifying in light of recent history, unless you’re prepared to restrict “social movements of the left” to the agendas of the 1930’s. Yes, the labor movement has been substantially cowed – though far from completely – and that may have as much to do with the larger shift towards international trade as anything else (though you might call that *part* of the defanging). But feminism? Black freedom? We certainly haven’t surmounted all the barriers to equality, but the US in 2016 is a vastly better place for women and minorities than the one of 1966, never mind that of 1916, and the direction of our current politics – at least in the large – is in the right direction. (Gerrymandering of 55/45 districts makes progress more difficult, but it seems a stretch to call those kinds of tactical and short-lived moves a game-ending “win” for reactionaries.)

I’d guess that if, sometime in 2000, you had woken from dreaming that in 2008 we would see the election of a two-term Black president and that in 2016 the Democratic contest would be between a woman and an atheist Jewish socialist, your next move would probably have been to check your temperature.

I don’t mean to sound triumphal. There’s always hard work and victories have to be defended. But the idea that American conservatism is dying because it *won* all these battles seems nuts.

7

Myles 08.18.16 at 8:11 pm

“As a reactionary mode of politics, conservative is a response to politicized, radical movements of subordinate classes; it is not a response to secular changes in society and culture, however unwelcome those changes may be.”

This is the reason for the distinction between the labour/race/feminism and LGBT related issues you illustrated above. LGBT rights reflected a secular change.

8

Rich Puchalsky 08.18.16 at 8:16 pm

I basically agree with this analysis. Where I might disagree would be with the contention that conservatism destroyed / defanged / whatever the left movements that you mention rather than them being defeated by the system as a whole (unions) or by their own internal problems.

But a consequence of this analysis is that you have to wonder where the next left movement is going to come from. Some associated questions that are on my mind:

1. It seems pretty clear that Trump’s supporters will have no direct organization created by his campaign, but will they come together in some kind of following organization detached from him?

2. Will the “Our Revolution” falling organization that Sanders is trying to start come to anything? (My guess: no.)

3. When I look at what kinds of left ideas seem suitable for the times, the Green parties come to mind. Why haven’t they taken off internationally? The reason why they can’t in the U.S. two-party system is clear, but I’m not sure why they haven’t elsewhere.

9

Foster Boondoggle 08.18.16 at 8:46 pm

Rich Pulaski @6
In my 20s I though I had some idea of what the left stood for. In my 50s I no longer understand it. Instead of fighting a bloated, wasteful and dangerous military, the left spends its energy on arguments between TERFs and trans. Instead of fighting for better working conditions for migrant ag workers, it devotes its resources to 2-minutes hate for Monsanto. Instead of pushing for more and better housing in desirable cities, it allies itself with rich NIMBYs to block change.

There are a lot of things that the US left *could* be fighting for. Nuclear weapons abolition. A first-world family leave policy. Decarbonization of energy. Guns into plowshares (or public transit). Adequate funding of public pensions. Better pay for traditionally female jobs like K-12 teaching. Whether it can overcome its fractiousness and soft-headedness and actually push hard for any of these is another matter. But it’s not the conservative movement that’s holding it back.

10

Patrick 08.18.16 at 8:56 pm

I’m not sure I can agree with some of the fundamental premises in this post.

I’ll definitely agree that the right has obliterated unions as a political force.

But as unpopular as it is to say it, i don’t think the right is at all responsible for the decline of black and women’s radicalism.

As you plainly note in your article, conservatism isn’t just a response to the existence of liberals. It is a response to politically meaningful radicalism.

But radicalism is also reactionary in that sense. Without sufficiently oppressive social conditions, it just isn’t appealing. And while there’s no shortage of suspiciously bourgeois voices willing to claim that America is some blasted wasteland of oppression which must be torn asunder so that their favorite minority cause can finally be free… there’s an awful lot of people within those groups who think things are just sort of… not perfect, but kinda ok?

11

Corey Robin 08.18.16 at 9:04 pm

Brian: “It kinda looks like the least of the GOPs problems are control of state legislatures and governorships. Do you think those are likely to wane as well?”

If you look at the number of statehouses and state legislatures the Democrats controlled in 1972-1974, you’d see that they are almost exactly the same as the number controlled by the Republicans today. And, of course, within six years, those Democrats saw their political world shattered permanently when Ronald Reagan was elected to office.

12

Corey Robin 08.18.16 at 9:09 pm

Foster Boondoggle at 5: I would never say life for workers, African Americans, and women hasn’t improved, sometimes radically so, over where it was before those movements were launched. Reactions don’t work by overturning all the gains made by those movements. The first task of a reaction is to stop the movement. If it does that, by its own measures, it has succeeded. There’s no question that with respect to labor and African Americans, it has stopped the movements. Just look at the statistics on school segregation today — remember, the originating cause of the modern Black Freedom struggle? — versus where they were under Reagan. But again the claim that these movements have been defeated is not dependent on the life situation of their beneficiaries being worse than before the movement began. The women’s movement is trickier, though there again, you could look at things like reproductive rights and income equality (even though it’s better, still not nearly where it needs to be), just for starters, to see how successful the right has been.

13

Corey Robin 08.18.16 at 9:12 pm

Rich: I think the basic point about these left social movements is that it’s often extremely hard to figure out what they will be in advance. And their success is *always* the hardest thing to predict of all. But I would look to the Seattle WTO protests, Occupy, Black Lives Matter, and the Sanders campaign as giving us some clue as to what these movements might look like and what their targets and issues will be. Beyond that, as I said, I think it’s really tough to figure out in advance.

14

Anderson 08.18.16 at 9:42 pm

This all may be perfectly correct, but there’s also a shallower explanation, and shallow is where I excel.

Democrats had a lock on the racist Southern white voter, until LBJ broke the party.

At that point, the GOP could’ve said, stay out you Ku Kluxers, we’re the Party of Lincoln. Resulting in a Dixie third party that would’ve sapped the Dems’ strength for a time.

But instead the GOP went all Southern Strategy and welcomed the racists, crippling the Dems for a generation or two.

And now, the racists have revolted against the GOP leadership, their boy Trump has the nomination, and the GOP so far has lacked the courage to cut the line, tell the racists to get lost and form their own USA Nazi party, and rebuild. (A non-racist GOP would attract some folks who vote Dem simply because the GOP’s racism makes it a non-starter. They could be competitive for the White House again by 2020, if they’d start now.)

15

Anderson 08.18.16 at 9:43 pm

(Ugh, I thought better of “crippling” & thought I’d changed it, but the post says not.)

16

Rich Puchalsky 08.18.16 at 9:58 pm

For the basic analysis it really doesn’t matter whether current left movements have more or less been stopped due to conservatives winning, due to their own internal problems, due to the larger social system, or due to the movements themselves winning. (Some people argue that at least some of these movements have achieved 80% or so of their goals and that’s why they’ve stalled out.) Whatever the reason, I think it’s true that conservatism as reaction has stalled as the left movements have, so I don’t think it’s important for the purposes of this point to figure out exactly what caused the stall-out.

Global warming is an instructive example of the breakdown of the standard pattern of problem -> movement -> mainstream politics -> success or stall-out -> death of movement. In the U.S. the global warming politics movement as distinct from the environmental movement in general is probably 350.org. They were instrumental in making Keystone XL a mainstream political issue and eventually winning that issue. But in the neoliberal era Presidential regulatory politics doesn’t turn into legislative politics, and movements don’t seem to snowball past a certain limit. The indications as far as I can see point to global warming being addressed via technological progress and never really going through a political cycle as above.

17

Corey Robin 08.18.16 at 10:03 pm

I think the consensus of most historians, Anderson, was that those racist white Southerners — along with the backlash against the women’s movement, particularly Schlafly’s Stop ERA — were what put the GOP over the top and made it into a majority party that could realign the political universe. Before the defection of the Southern white vote, they were wandering in the wilderness, playing second fiddle to the Democrats in the way that the Dems today play to the GOP: yes, winning elections, but governing according to the other side’s terms.

18

Placeholder 08.18.16 at 10:33 pm

“but the US in 2016 is a vastly better place for women and minorities than the one of 1966”

Yeah, if you start the clock at Jim Crow. Seriously though how has life improved for black people since … (coreying this up I hope)…Black radicalism won an African American their first presidential primary in 1988? Iran-contra-cocaine, mass incarceration, Bill Clinton’s workfare, the demolition of New Orleans…?

Oh yes, interracial marriage is here to stay. Not 5% of the American people oppose it – but 40% of white people still believes black are lazier than they are. Polls show that young millenials are as racist as the boomers today their age were in that remarkable year against an actual black policy agenda. http://poq.oxfordjournals.org/content/73/5/917.abstract

As we celebrate the great national Pridefest of allowing some gays the file their dividend income jointly with their same-sex partner and save a cool 20% from mean old Uncle Sam some gays are still losing 100% of the income because you can still be fired for being gay. Progress for some.

We must instead console ourselves with the liberal left’s passionate to devotion to the richly symbolic victories against racism and homophobia in almost exclusively it most violent and ideological forms. If I have understood it, the converse to Corey’s argument is that the Conservatives are degenerating into an openly dysfunctional mess because the radical left are not forcing the changes that let the subaltern take control of their lives – and the liberal left has utterly abandoned defending it. And the evidence for that is manifest.

19

Eskimo 08.18.16 at 10:36 pm

Agree with Brian. In addition, what about the House of Representatives? The NRA and the Koch brothers will still exert alot of influence there, even if Trump mirrors Goldwater’s fate. The lobbyists’ lackeys may be ideologically vacant, but they’re still holding on.
I live in Georgia, and the young man who came to my door for Georgia Democrats sounded very optimistic. He said he hoped that “Outside the Perimeter” white voters would stay home, perhaps out of frustration with Trump’s disarray.

20

UserGoogol 08.18.16 at 10:45 pm

Placeholder: Regarding LGBT issues, twenty states have laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on LGBT-status, plus various others that have partial implementations of that. (LGB only, or limited to government employees, or whatever.) The Obama Administration has done as much as they can without Congress to provide such protections at the federal level. That is quite a bit of progress over zero, and the liberal left is keeping at it.

21

Lee A. Arnold 08.18.16 at 11:15 pm

A way to think about love and trust (10 very short new videos):

22

Waiting for Godot 08.18.16 at 11:19 pm

My concern is not that the reactionary movement is going to suffocate from the weight of it’s own success but that Mrs. Clinton will succeed in keeping the rotting flesh of that movement alive by triangulating her own party out of majorities in both houses of congress and abandon Democrats at the state and local levels as did her husband. The structure resulting from consolidation of neo-liberal power in the White House and national security shadow government will rule by forfeit. The inability of government to govern is a condition that we’d better get used to.

23

Tabasco 08.18.16 at 11:23 pm

Winning the GOP base is no longer a ticket to the White House, as it was for Reagan and Bush.

This is old news. Repubs have won only two out of the past six presidential elections. And one of those two was stolen by Supreme Court judges appointed by the Repub candidate’s father. Ever since California went solidly Democratic, the electoral college math has favoured the Dems. When the Latino vote finally turns Texas Democratic, they will be in the White House forever.

Also, was it Carter or was it LBJ who destroyed the FDR regime? The OP says both.

24

bruce wilder 08.18.16 at 11:26 pm

I would not have omitted the change in Presidential/party regimes that began in 1894-1896. That re-alignment, beginning with the failure of Grover Cleveland’s second term, due to the Panic of 1893 and the depression that followed, and the election of McKinley under the pro-corporate business tutelage of Mark Hanna, marked a big departure from the Lincoln-Republican regime,which had seen rapid and radical change due to the Civil War, followed by the see-saw politics of 1876-1892.

McKinley is hardly anyone’s idea of a towering figure in American history, but he was at the time practically a brand-name, representing the gold standard and a protective tariff as well as a kind of mainstream Protestant religious piety.

Grover Cleveland’s misfortune in presiding over the Panic of 1893 and the subsequent depression (which was severe West of the Mississippi) shattered the Democrat’s coalition. Rather famously, in desperation, they nominated the then youthful firebrand William Jennings Bryan because of the impression his “Cross of Gold” speech made at the convention. Bryan never had a chance in 1896 or 1900 or 1908, anymore than the conservative the Democrats nominated in 1904 against the insanely popular Roosevelt. The Democrats became a motley collection of out-groups as the Republicans represented the business establishment of the rapidly industrializing States and the cultural core of the Protestant Ascendancy.

Bryan might be a rough analogy for Trump. The collapse of the Democratic coalition as the conservative “Bourbon” Democrats lost credibility and the embrace the desperate rump gave to the populists, who were also collapsing, is something akin to what seems to have been happening in the Republican Presidential Party of late. One difference is that Bryan was a genuinely charismatic figure, young enough to carry on for many years as a rally point for the Democrats. By contrast, Trump’s first hurrah is also likely to be Trump’s last hurrah.

25

bruce wilder 08.18.16 at 11:39 pm

I would have said that Carter, (Bill) Clinton, and Gore all belonged to the same pattern: a white southerner who can make populist cum socially conservative noises to hang onto a rump of partisan loyalty to the Democrats as the party of the people among working class whites. They succeeded or failed electorally to the extent that they managed to call forth the blue collar or poor white vote, especially the male vote. Gore lost his home state over gun control and failing to look like a hunter. Clinton succeeded with a convincing Sister Souljah moment.

It was a politics that never had to deliver anything much of substance to its critical constituency. In fact, neither Republican nor Democratic Party politics had to deliver to their electoral bases after Reagan, as both Parties began competing and cooperating to deliver to their respective and partially shared donor bases.

Structural changes in the economy were what the donor bases wanted and got. Those structural changes in the economy did in the unions.

26

kidneystones 08.18.16 at 11:43 pm

Corey is right to point to the ‘flawed’ reporting that makes Trump the cause, rather than the consequence of the politics of the last five decades. Reading of Trump’s failures, however, made me wonder what alternative universe I’d entered.

Trump is the ultimate opportunist and has built his career out of a mercenary willingness to buy labor and property cheap, and sell dear, costs to investor be damned, and very much with a keen eye on the moment. Trump comes from no conservative tradition I know of, but rather that of Buffalo Bill Cody and P.T Barnum – and he’s damned good at what he does – just as the Democrats who’ve yet to drive a spike through Trump’s zombie heart no matter how many ‘gold-star’ mothers he insults.

I agree, also, with Corey’s analysis that Trump is trying to build a new Republican party and this is where I think the OP fails, and fails badly. In his analysis, Corey makes no mention of the tensions among those dedicated to pushing back against the reactionary politics of the 60s to 90s, including divisions Among African Americans, many of whom were socially very conservative and who can generally be said to be supporters of MLK, and a more radical group who embraced the race based narratives of the reactionaries, rather than rejecting them.

The factual evidence supports progress for the right as well as the left, as we might expect. I disagree that the labor movement was ‘defeated’ by Reagan and Thatcher. That labor movement was often racist as reactionary, as any as far as private unions are concerned, and built upon nepotism and exclusion. It was not at all unusual to find both academics and labor leaders praising Stalin, for example. Right to work states offered greener pastures to companies looking to avoid labor disputes and increase profits.

The notion that the GOP today is in worse shape than the Democrats is very much open to question. The blue model is broken in so far as cities like Chicago and Detroit are concerned. As early as 2010-12, African-American leaders were openly declaring that if any other president were in office, African-Americans would be rioting in the streets. They are now. As a rule of thumb it’s always best to bet on the victory of the donor class. That’s just one of the groups Trump threatens. Another is the media and we’re going to be subjected to an endless stream of reports that Trump’s campaign is ‘falling apart’ etc, etc, etc, right up until he wins, or loses. That’s a given.

There is no evidence Trump will lose and the election is still months away. He hasn’t spent a fraction of what his many establishment enemies have and remains within single digits of his only remaining impediment to power after having been in politics for just over a year. That doesn’t sound like many failed campaigns I read about. Obama’s own career began with electoral defeats, not successes. His first victory only came when his cronies succeeded in getting his opponents disqualified just before the primary vote.

The OP, in the end, reads like a lot of whistling past the graveyard. Whatever the reactionary nature of some of Trump’s supporters, and of the elites who reject him, Trump’s appeal is to a more equal and egalitarian society. For Ryan and too many Democrats, that means an endless supply of foreign born maids and gardeners willing to work cheap. University graduates pay big to prepare them for life at home and part-time jobs practicing the art of foam. Video games and legal highs become a way of life whilst unforgivable numbers of people of color murder one another and fuel the destruction of their own communities by embracing the high octane lifestyle of drug crime and gangs.

So, a lot remains to be done, and I don’t see the blue model in its current incarnation fixing many/any of these problems.

27

Anarcissie 08.18.16 at 11:43 pm

I wonder if one might not use conservative conservatively, that is, in its ancient meaning of ‘holding to and maintaining that which has been established before.’ In that case, it is the Democratic Party which is the conservative party, and the embarrassment of the Republicans is that they no longer have a common ideological ground to stand on. Trump, for instance, appeals to nationalists, hyperpatriots, and racists, for instance, but not really to business-interest types, libertarians, and Christian zealots. Of course this is a trivial question of style anyway; overall policy has been the same since the 1940s and will continue to be the same until the Collapse, although the occasional stupid popular excess may be indulged, as with Bush 2’s dumb wars.

28

Alan White 08.19.16 at 12:00 am

I for one will be intensely interested to see what 2016 can do about 2010. That latter election transformed my state from violet to deep magenta–from Wisconsin to Wississippi. From haughty political gerrymandering to destroying public unions to vastly expanding private school vouchers at the expense of public education to eviscerating UW economically and its formerly strong tenure to legislating away women’s reproductive rights to voter ID and restricting early voting to giving 400 million to a pro basketball team to . . .well you get the idea. This state, Tammy Baldwin notwithstanding, is in the grips of something like conservatism or plutocracy, though I would call it something much more ominous were I more creative.

29

Barry 08.19.16 at 1:25 am

kidneystones: “just as the Democrats who’ve yet to drive a spike through Trump’s zombie heart no matter how many ‘gold-star’ mothers he insults.”

Keep unskewing those polls……….

30

The Temporary Name 08.19.16 at 1:39 am

There is no evidence Trump will lose and the election is still months away.

Lots of Republicans believe this is evidence:

http://election.princeton.edu/2016/08/16/clinton-runs-5-8-points-ahead-of-trump-in-red-states/

Clinton is running ahead of where Obama was in 2012. It’s certainly not because she’s a better politician than he was, it’s because the GOP keeps handing her gifts.

31

kidneystones 08.19.16 at 1:49 am

@29 Still grinding those molars, I see, and still with the reading problems. I mention polls specifically, but perhaps you don’t prefer accuracy. “He hasn’t spent a fraction of what his many establishment enemies have and remains within single digits of his only remaining impediment to power after having been in politics for just over a year.”

Please explain, if you can (be bothered) how I’ve ‘unskewed those polls.’ I suspect you can’t. The polls are largely meaningless until they move into double-digits, including the most recent polls that very strongly suggest that voters are looking more seriously now at third party candidates.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton_vs_johnson_vs_stein-5952.html

If we remove the high and low polls, Monmouth being a notable exception, Trump has closed the gap to 5 in the weeks after ‘Trump tied the family dog to the car roof.’
Bill Clinton was 14 points behind Perot in June, 1992, polling consistently at 25 percent to Bush and Perot in the 30’s. Perot’s lead over Clinton was 39 to 25 at one point.

The most consistent feature of Trump’s entire campaign is dunces like you predicting ‘nobody ever went broke’ can’t survive the next week. Within 5 nationally going into the debates after being outspent 40-1 in key battleground states may sound like sure defeat to you.

But then, what wouldn’t?

32

The Temporary Name 08.19.16 at 1:59 am

Trump is desperately trying to fashion a new reactionary politics out of the bits and pieces that are now left to it

I suppose there’s some irony not being able to see Trump trying to build anything…

33

R.Porrofatto 08.19.16 at 2:02 am

This entire post is right on target. But this could have been much much worse:
Bush did it with his paired commitments to those massive tax cuts and the Iraq War.

While he didn’t get to achieve it, people tend to forget Bush’s “top priority” after winning in 2004, which would have been an even bigger regime-shattering disaster for the GOP, not to mention the country: the privatization of Social Security. There was a huge initiative at the time to get it off the ground. It failed miserably, but can you just imagine the catastrophic consequences of handing Wall St. hundreds of billions of the SS trust fund just as their most industrious rentiers were about to torpedo the entire world economy in 2008?

We and the GOP dodged a really big one.

34

T 08.19.16 at 2:41 am

I’m w/Corey — it’s unclear where this realignment is taking us. The donor class (Kidneystones!) has moved hard into the Dem column in this election due to uncertainty about Trump and the certainty that HRC will do nothing to them but raise taxes a bit. And the donor class are fine, just fine, with identity politics and scared as hell of class politics and strictures against rent-seeking. Lean in all you want as long as they don’t have to give anyone a raise, can make stuff or outsource it in China or India, and control the regulatory regime. It will take some of the Trump voters + Sander voters to turn the Dems into a class movement. And race makes that very hard to do.

As long as Paul Manafort (Trump) is passing unreported millions from corrupt Ukrainians under the table to Tony Podesta (brother of HRC’s campaign manager who was his former lobbying partner) and Vin Weber (former repub Congressman who cashed in), not much is going to change on the neoliberal front. my 2 cents.

35

LFC 08.19.16 at 2:49 am

bruce wilder @24

In a July blog post on partisan realignments etc., Jeremy Young (riffing on Walter Dean Burnham) discussed the 1896 election, among others:

http://s-usih.org/2016/07/is-america-in-the-midst-of-a-political-realignment-guest-post.html

36

bruce wilder 08.19.16 at 3:01 am

as i read the comments, I suppose I am wondering how HRC’s nomination and apparent inevitability is not a triumph of conservative politics.

One way to read Trump is as an attempt to resurrect a reactionary politics from broken shards, sure, but another way is to read him as an opportunist taking advantage of a remarkable erosion of elite – establishment legitimacy and credibility. Would that latter reading assign him reliably to the “reactionary” bin?

The loss of establishment credibility and legitimacy, in the absence of an acute crisis, is an interesting phenomenon. In some important ways, liberalism, when it was effective, was effective in part by offering improved legitimacy as a dividend for reform. If it cannot do that? Don’t know.

just some random thoughts

37

Z 08.19.16 at 3:11 am

3. When I look at what kinds of left ideas seem suitable for the times, the Green parties come to mind. Why haven’t they taken off internationally? The reason why they can’t in the U.S. two-party system is clear, but I’m not sure why they haven’t elsewhere.

My explanation, and I imagine you wouldn’t disagree Rich, is that movement are made of people, and people actually do something only about contested issues that visibly and immediately impact them directly. Unfortunately, the destruction of the environment and climate change satisfies none of these properties (well, in the US, they might count as contested issues, but you were asking about internationally). Moreover, in a system of representative democracy, activism translates into political power only if it can enter some large political coalition, and such coalitions usually grew in affluent western democracies in parallel with the rise of the political power of the working class. As such, whether the political system is explicitly bipartite as in the US or not is in fact quite immaterial: the political coalitions will be, anyway.

As John Quiggin observed in his first post on the topic, tripartite systems are much more game-theoretically unstable. Returning to your question, the reason for me is obvious: actually existing people inclined to defend contemporary left ideas have educational achievements undistinguishable from the natural member of the neoliberal class, so that even if the standard of livings of two typical members of these groups are actually quite different, their prospects (for instance the future of their children) are close enough so that the left-leaning group systematically joins the neoliberal side when it is time to vote. Conversely, the third (reactionary) group is comprised of people whose standards of living are not so different from members of the left-leaning group but whose educational achievements and related prospects are starkly different; hence the (easy to understand, IMO) success of the Palin/Trump/”people in this country have had enough of experts” school of political rhetoric and hence the total failure of the 99% to form even a semblance of political force.

Where I might disagree would be with the contention that conservatism destroyed / defanged / whatever the left movements

This is also a point that interests me. In keeping with the analysis sketched above, I would tend to attribute the demise of the traditional left forces to the end of the deep historical and sociological trend that brought them in existence in the first place: namely the relative homogeneity of educational level achieved as the result of universal primary then secondary education (and the corresponding failure, at least at present, to achieve universal higher education). Insofar as this analysis is correct, it is also deeply pessimistic, as it seems to imply in the medium term the perpetual victory of neoliberal politics, and hence the continual rise of inequalities and the unabated destruction of the environment.

Perhaps ironically, it is in the US that there is a glimpse of hope: because inequalities are so extreme that they might nullify the value of educational achievements, and because environmental policies are actually contested, I can imagine an actual political movement structured around them gaining traction.

38

T 08.19.16 at 3:13 am

Bruce @24. I think you’re spot on identifying the WJB period. Once again, not the right dynamic to form a coalition with the urban voter. Had to wait to FDR when Southern Blacks were shut out. Thus, the problem of forming an anti-neoliberal coalition today. Kidneystone — take notes!

39

Omega Centauri 08.19.16 at 4:12 am

I think the Trump phenomena is at the very least an accelerant of of the coming decline. As he becomes to be seen as a dislike buffoon, the the memes that he is most identified with will suffer from guilt by association. Guilt by association may not carry much weight in academic circles, but it is an important natural cognitive activity, and it has real power among those who don’t pay critical attention to epistemology. The Republican brand is being tarnished by Trump. Even if his despicable memes have all been part of parcel of modern Republicanism, seeing them shouted from a megaphone, rather than dog whistled is going to change some minds. And the change of a few percentage of minds from red to blue would have a major impact going forwards.

40

cassander 08.19.16 at 4:24 am

>Modern American conservatism, I’ve long held, has succeeded. It essentially destroyed the labor movement, which was, in conservatism’s most recent incarnation in response to the New Deal, its original enemy.

Unionism declined steadily in the US from the 50s on, with the most rapid decline in the 70s. You cannot blame reagan, or any conservative, for that.

>It also successfully beat back the Black Freedom movement, which was its second enemy.

Last I checked, segregation has not been re-imposed, affirmative action is still the law of the land, and racism is verboten as ever before. This is nonsense.

>And it was able to defang the feminist movement, its third enemy.

Again, no it hasn’t. Feminism has had none of its achievements rolled back, and the left is running on little else this election.

>Trump is desperately trying to fashion a new reactionary politics out of the bits and pieces that are now left to it: a white nationalism that draws its animating energies from its hostility to a black president, immigration, and Islam.

This is just embarrassing. Are you simply incapable of comprehending that people can disagree with them without being bigots? Can you really not abandon that emotional security blanket?

41

John Quiggin 08.19.16 at 4:29 am

I was thinking about the alternative views of Trump (radically different and worse than previous Repubs vs more of the same) in terms of the “jumping the shark” trope. Roughly speaking, a TV series that has run out of ideas holds its audience and perhaps even attract new ones by staging splashy and outlandish episodes, and by focusing more and more on characters who were previously just comic relief. This works for a while, but presages inevitable decline.

Applying this to the Repubs I’d say that Sarah Palin was a trial run, but that they have finally jumped with Trump.

Of course, given the structure of US politics, there will still be a Republican party in 20 years time, but it will look very different from that of GW Bush.

42

cassander 08.19.16 at 4:31 am

@anderson

>Democrats had a lock on the racist Southern white voter, until LBJ broke the party.

The south continued to send democrats to congress until the 90s. Republican presidents did well there, but only because they did well everywhere, winning an average of more than 40 states per election between 68 and 88. They consistently did WORST in the south.

>At that point, the GOP could’ve said, stay out you Ku Kluxers, we’re the Party of Lincoln. Resulting in a Dixie third party that would’ve sapped the Dems’ strength for a time.

That’s precisely what they did do, and what did happen.

43

John Quiggin 08.19.16 at 4:34 am

To qualify Corey’s point on the victory of the right, they have had little success in dismantling the social welfare system created by the New Deal,. Social Security is the key example – they came close when Obama offered the Grand Bargain, but their internal extremists stopped them. And on health care, they;ve actually lost ground with the introduction of Obamacare. The big win was “the end of welfare as we know it” under Clinton.

That same pattern has been evident elsewhere – unions have been crashed, the radical left has been tamed, but the welfare state has remained resilient.

44

kidneystones 08.19.16 at 4:59 am

@ 34 I make emphatically clear, I hope, that this is precisely way I see Trump – as the ‘ultimate’ opportunist. He may lean hard right on some issues, although there’s real doubt in my own view about how strong opposition to coercive force actually is in America, and elsewhere for that matter. Trump is exceptional in the way he has succeeded, not so much by who he is and what his actual policies are. And in this sense, Corey and most critics understate Trump’s unique approach by focusing on utterances that are in many cases provocative buffoonery. Make no mistake about it, his many supporters demand and expect a regular litany of outlandish comments, but even this constituency understands the need to do something other than make liberal heads explode.

So, fun aside, we now have Trump openly and earnestly, to the degree that he can be earnest, appealing to minority voters. Indeed, his speech earlier featured the rarity of an apology for hurtful remarks which, he rightly noted, will be endlessly parsed and twisted so that they can be refashioned into further outrages against the common good – call it win, win. The fact remains that victory for Trump in every sense demands receiving some portion of the minority vote. I strongly suspect it’s a point of pride for the egomaniac.

The similarities between Trump and Clinton are, I’d argue, much more important than the real perceived differences played up to bolster the ‘historic’ nature of their respective candidates. Both are approaching their final years after long and largely successful careers. For both, the presidency is not the cake, but rather the cherry on top to greater and lesser degrees.

T Thanks for both! Duly noted. I agree, btw, that we’re unlikely to see real opposition to the TPP, for example, but I’ll settle for any opposition to the export of jobs from the first world to the third.

45

kidneystones 08.19.16 at 5:07 am

Should read ‘real & perceived differences.’

Trump’s takeover of the GOP is openly hostile and for this, at least, he deserves our thanks. At worst, I’d argue he’s another cynic. But if he goes any distance towards bringing real diversity to the party of Lincoln and crushing large parts of the Ted Cruz part of the party I’d be very grateful. Palin, it’s worth noting, has played a very small part in the Trump campaign since being deployed to upset Cruz, and did not appear at the RNC. Also, Jerry Falwell Jr. seems a very different breed to his pa. So, there’s that.

46

bruce wilder 08.19.16 at 5:09 am

JQ @ 41

The right were completely successful in dismantling the New Deal’s banking system and financial system and related systems of corporate governance. That was “the big win”, and it would be difficult to exaggerate how pervasive and pernicious the effects on the economy and the society have been.

47

bruce wilder 08.19.16 at 5:14 am

T @ 36

Not an original idea — David Kaiser wrote about the Bryan ~ Trump analogy a couple of weeks ago.

48

bruce wilder 08.19.16 at 5:30 am

adding to my own observation @ 44, the idea of succeeding regimes of party systems, of approximately 36 years duration, often includes explicitly the idea that there’s also a change in the monetary regime. The first Party system came with Hamilton’s system and the 1st and 2nd Banks. Andrew Jackson broke the 2nd Bank. A system of National banks and a paper currency were created during the Civil War, but post-war, the deflationary effects of adhering to a gold standard became a major, divisive issue until McKinley’s election in 1896. The Progressive Era saw the establishment of the Federal Reserve as a central bank for the U.S. FDR very dramatically took the U.S. off the gold standard in all but the most nominal terms, and the Bretton Woods system was created during WWII. Nixon ended the gold standard finally, and Bretton Woods.

The point being that these changes in monetary regime are not merely incidental to the shifts in Party system, but central to the pattern.

49

John Quiggin 08.19.16 at 5:52 am

@44 Agreed, although I’d reverse the direction of causality. The collapse of Bretton Woods was the crucial precondition for the rise of the right. I think that’s your point in @46

50

kidneystones 08.19.16 at 6:33 am

The man Glenn Beck calls ‘Goebbels’

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/08/18/how_the_trump-bannon_alliance_took_shape_131542.html

Inside the belly-of-the-beast.

51

Tabasco 08.19.16 at 7:31 am

@47

The Richard Nixon – Pat Buchanan Southern strategy was implemented in 1968, three years before the collapse of Bretton Woods.

52

reason 08.19.16 at 8:08 am

Rich Puchalsky @8
“3. When I look at what kinds of left ideas seem suitable for the times, the Green parties come to mind. Why haven’t they taken off internationally?”

As a German resident – what do you mean by “taken off”. Is being a partner in coalition governments (in local/state governments also senior partner) good enough?

53

reason 08.19.16 at 8:10 am

P.S. There is a lot of momentum involved in politics (not sure how many people change who they vote for from election to election). But the greens will probably soon consistently poll more than the SPD in Germany.

54

J-D 08.19.16 at 9:21 am

Corey Robin 08.18.16 at 9:04 pm
Brian: “It kinda looks like the least of the GOPs problems are control of state legislatures and governorships. Do you think those are likely to wane as well?”

If you look at the number of statehouses and state legislatures the Democrats controlled in 1972-1974, you’d see that they are almost exactly the same as the number controlled by the Republicans today. And, of course, within six years, those Democrats saw their political world shattered permanently when Ronald Reagan was elected to office.

I can’t help thinking that you didn’t actually answer the question there. The question wasn’t whether it’s possible that the Republicans will lose control of a majority of governorships and state legislatures. I know it’s possible, but that doesn’t tell me whether you’re projecting a high probability of its happening. That was Brian’s question, whether it’s likely, and I’d like to know how you’d answer that.

55

J-D 08.19.16 at 9:32 am

kidneystones 08.18.16 at 11:43 pm

… Trump’s appeal is to a more equal and egalitarian society. …

I don’t know whether there are people who are supporting Trump because they think he will make the US a more egalitarian society, but if there are such people then (sadly) they’re being played for suckers. If Trump becomes President he will do nothing to make the US a more egalitarian society.

Trump is the Republican candidate. The Republicans have always been the bosses’ party (not only the bosses’ party, but always the bosses’ party). Trump is the bosses’ candidate. The bosses’ candidate is not going to make the country more egalitarian.

56

Corey Robin 08.19.16 at 12:24 pm

J-D: I wasn’t saying it was possible or not. I was saying that it’s not relevant to the question of whether in the next 10 years or so you’re going to see a realignment at the presidential level. But to answer your question: I have no idea! It’s tough to make predictions. Especially about the future.

57

Marc 08.19.16 at 12:30 pm

@52: All of the elements are there. This election cycle is shaping up to be a crushing Republican loss, likely accompanied by loss of the Senate. This implies a reversal of a series of reactionary Supreme Court rulings. Add in bitter internal feuds on the Republican side and things could come apart.

The danger on the other side is that this will almost certainly destabilize the Democratic party as well; with the Republicans in chaos the fear factor loses force.

FYI I think that the civil rights and feminist movements achieved the overwhelming majority of their goals and lost energy as a result; they were not defeated in any substantive way at all. This strikes me as a bad misreading. On the other side, the plutocrats really have recreated the inequality of the Gilded Age, and this does have to be regarded as a severe rollback of economic liberalism, albeit one that did not dismantle the modern welfare state.

58

Layman 08.19.16 at 12:48 pm

“There is no evidence Trump will lose…”

This is, well, priceless.

59

Layman 08.19.16 at 12:53 pm

“Trump, for instance, appeals to nationalists, hyperpatriots, and racists, for instance, but not really to business-interest types, libertarians, and Christian zealots.”

One need only look at his economic plan to see the appeal to ‘business-interest types, libertarians’; and to the kind of judges he says he would appoint to see the appeal to ‘Christian zealots’. He’s running as a Republican, folks. That’s why the party has more or less lined up behind him despite the fact that he’s a mendacious, undisciplined, open bigot.

60

kidneystones 08.19.16 at 1:00 pm

Hillary Clinton’s America: more of the same, but worse.

Where have I heard and read that?

Trump runs his first national ad.

Oh yeah, open season on Hillary’s bigotry and that of the Dems who ‘only’ remember minorities exist at voting time. Hoo, boy. That’s a stretch.

Liberals ‘love’ being around people of different backgrounds, say Republicans, for example. Everybody knows that.

61

Layman 08.19.16 at 1:03 pm

kidneystones: “But if he goes any distance towards bringing real diversity to the party of Lincoln…”

Why suppose he will do that? Isn’t he underperforming every other Republican presidential candidate in history among minority voters?

62

T 08.19.16 at 1:04 pm

BW@$%
I’ve been talking about WJB for quite a while as well on this site, too. Thanks to a populist historian historian friend I know. WJB never appealed to the urban voter as it was basically a rural movement and he couldn’t pivot. He was crushed by the business interests. He popularity was particularly undermined as the economy did relatively well after his defeat. (3% growth solves most problems, repeat after me.)

kidney kidney kidney…
over 80% of Evangelicals will vote for Trump. He has come out as born again and states he’s a big foe of abortion. the Cruz part of the party is going nowhere. They have no other place to go. btw – Evangelicals weren’t anti-abortion until the 70s. It is now the touchstone issue.

Trump gave his “minorities” speech in a 95% white enclave. His support among African Americans is under 5% and in some polls 1%. The speech was for his white supporters. Those kind of speeches always are. The more important speech was given by his son and the symbolism speaks directly to Trump’s alt-right base that he’s never really disavowed in a serious manner. http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/politics/2016/07/26/trump-neshoba-fair-geoff-pender/87561270/ (For those unfamiliar w/Neshoba County use google. This ain’t rocket science kidneystones.) His campaign manager runs a website now dominated by the alt-right movement. Just how many self-hating blacks do you think there are? Trump’s whole campaign strategy comes down to getting “Reagan-type” dems out in force in Northern states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

63

Layman 08.19.16 at 1:07 pm

@ T, it’s almost as if Trump’s running on an appeal to racism and bigotry!

64

kidneystones 08.19.16 at 1:15 pm

The most recent dem meme is that Trump’s appeal for black votes is his most outrageous affront to the public good to date.

‘Talk about tying the family dog to the car roof’

Van Jones says all Trump needs to do is find 3/20 black voters in swing states unwilling to settle for more Dem pap. My guess is Trump finds them.

We’ll find out in November.

65

Lee A. Arnold 08.19.16 at 1:16 pm

Cyclic exhaustions are fascinating as historical explanation. They seem to verge upon historicist error. But to their credit, it is certainly true that political parties last a while, via continuity of policy (at least, continuity in its outer rhetorical contours) and because the party’s actors cast back to our memories of prior events to explain our current predicaments. Thus there is new formative power on the current policies and expectations.

But in addition to these explanations, here may be another factor at work here, or rather, two factors in combination: 1. the changing status of the individual’s function in the modern economic system, and 2. the emotional “motivated reasoning” which relies upon an ideological construction of economics for an intellectual structure to support these emotions and to give expression to them.

If we take a wide enough view — a view that is much wider than the class distinction between labor and plutocracy — it appears that the economic system is transcending the need for either class, or any class, and that the remaining problem is the persistence of class, i.e. the ownership of resources and the scarcity of money that is imposed by that ownership. This problem won’t be easy to solve, due to the widespread expectation that there would be massive free-riding and inflation otherwise — events which would surely occur, due precisely to those current expectations!

This transcendence in the whole system has been expected to happen since the 19th Century, when many of the most perceptive thinkers finally grasped the logic of the new system that had finally, fully emerged only a century before, in the 18th, and they followed the technological logic to its ultimate conclusion.

The other factor, the motivated reasoning, serves us all, whether Right or Left, to provide an emotional way to insure against risk of individual failure and external threats, by reference to one’s own group support. This emotional way is needed, because the intellectual way comes up against unknowable complexities, and subsequently the intellectual way is unable to make quick decisions to save time. This is a process inside each person that relies upon safety in emotional likeness to others, which comes out of early social formation (illustrated in the videos at #21 above).

At the full emergence of the market system in the 18th Century, the motivated reasonings of the traditional social structures took on the democratic expression of the owners (the “Right”) vs. the non-owners (the “Left”). Neoclassical economic theory (and to some extent, classical) provided the intellectual structures to support the motivated reasoning of the Right side, the owners — by showing theoretically how “all” might become owners, if only the “incentives are correct”, and if only the private sphere is protected from gov’t intervention, plus a few other feeling-thoughts that are now gathered by the Right under the rubric of “first principles”, sometimes capitalized: First Principles.

First Principles is the guiding mantra of the Trumpist Tea Party, as a review of video speeches by Trump’s new campaign chief Stephen Bannon will turgidly amplify.

These First Principles are now under attack — but not primarily from the Left, although the Right perceives it that way. The economic system itself is undermining their usefulness. This inevitable contradiction has been growing since Ronald Reagan doubled-down on First Principles and the GOP did not dare to question them.

66

kidneystones 08.19.16 at 1:23 pm

Dems will solve the problems of inner-city minorities in Chicago, Detroit, and Baltimore. Witness Yale, for example, where African-American university graduates enjoy secure employment wiping tables for the rich and the ’empathy’ of his upper-class warrior allies.

You’ll always have a job washing dishes, working as a nanny, or mowing our lawns.

Believe that!

67

Layman 08.19.16 at 1:24 pm

“Van Jones says all Trump needs to do is find 3/20 black voters in swing states unwilling to settle for more Dem pap.”

Put another way, Trump needs to multiply his support among black voters by a factor of 8(!); and more than double Romney’s performance; and quadruple McCain’s performance; and do better than Bush by some 50%.

68

kidneystones 08.19.16 at 1:42 pm

Trump can’t possibly win!!! All caps.

Where have we never heard that before? Oh yeah, I recall now. From the same clowns here and elsewhere who’ve been consistently wrong about Trump, the UK elections, and the EU referendum. Because racism!!!

Going to be a long couple of months, for some. And if Trump wins?

The end of civilization as we know it.

Yes, that again.

69

kidneystones 08.19.16 at 1:56 pm

70

TM 08.19.16 at 1:57 pm

I generally agree that the purpose of reactionary politics is to fight and neutralize progressive movements that are perceived as dangerous by the ruling classes. And I also agree that in the US today there are no strong progressive movements to speak of that might even remotely threaten the establishment. But that leaves the mystery why right-wing politics is currently so extreme, so divisive, so aggressive against anything that is even perceived as mildly liberal. Why the anger, the often visceral hatred that comes out of the right if they have nothing to fear? Why the ugly rhetoric, the open appeal to violence, the hoarding of guns and ammunition, the angry calls for “taking the country back” when in fact the left has been reduced to irrelevance? Why the scent of Weimar when there is no specter of Communism to be afraid of?

I don’t have any good answers to that but I’m rather surprised that Corey doesn’t even touch on these questions.

71

TM 08.19.16 at 1:58 pm

Btw, folks, you know what comes from engaging with kidney? Just resist the urge.

72

sanbikinoraion 08.19.16 at 2:00 pm

So, having just read “Why Nations Fail”, which is great, by the way, it seems to me that what’s happened since the 70s is that, broadly, the global elite has stayed constant and maintained its control over global wealth – hence them capturing all the benefits of productivity since then — and the sacrifice they’ve made for that has been a fairly minor broadening of political and economic inclusivity of black people, women and LGBT in a way that has broadly benefitted the already-rich anyway, without admitting too many funny-looking people to the club.

73

Cranky Observer 08.19.16 at 2:07 pm

= = = The right were completely successful in dismantling the New Deal’s banking system and financial system and related systems of corporate governance. That was “the big win”, and it would be difficult to exaggerate how pervasive and pernicious the effects on the economy and the society have been. = = =

I’ll blame the hard Radical Right for a lot of things but the Big Dollar faction of the Democratic Party [as well as the Charles Peters clique] was heavily involved in that one. On the destruction of public schooling the Democrats were played as useful idiots, but on financialization they were right there in the thick.

74

Corey Robin 08.19.16 at 2:21 pm

TM: “But that leaves the mystery why right-wing politics is currently so extreme, so divisive, so aggressive against anything that is even perceived as mildly liberal….I don’t have any good answers to that but I’m rather surprised that Corey doesn’t even touch on these questions.”

You may disagree with my answers to these questions, TM, but I have been dutifully blogging them for several months now. My answer, in summary, is twofold: First, I don’t think the party is so extreme relative to where it was before. Second, to the extent that it is, I think it’s precisely because the party has been liberated from its antagonist. When it had an actual political task, it was disciplined by the need to fulfill that task. Conservatives really really really wanted to smash the labor movement. That took an extraordinary amount of internal discipline, which meant that the extremists were deployed when useful and helpful and reined in when not. Likewise with the civil rights movement: as we’ve seen throughout the years, the dog whistles have to be blown strategically, carefully, to make sure you get your guy into office who will then gut the Voting Rights Act, defang the EEOC, appoint judges who will restrict the scope of the Civil Rights Act and the 14th Amendment, and the like. But once that’s all done—and again, I would urge folks who think the story of civil rights is a march of a progress to look at the statistics on school segregation—the more extreme elements are emboldened and empowered.

Part of why you’re seeing so many elite GOP types, both in the national security and business sectors, jumping ship from Trump is not only that Trump seems like a loser but that those elites know they have somewhere to go, that there’s a soft landing on the Democratic side. That, again, is another achievement of the conservative movement: they turned the Democrats away from their labor base to a much more aggressively pro-business base than before.

75

Corey Robin 08.19.16 at 2:24 pm

By the way, an excellent piece in the Times the other day by Thomas Edsall on the sharp internal cleavages within the Democratic Party between African Americans in the cities and white professional suburbanites. While it can seem from the Clinton campaign and the Obama campaign before that that the coalition of people of color and professional elites (first envisioned by McGovern, by the by) is locked in and secure, it’s actually resting atop a powder keg, of race and real estate, that could blow at any moment.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/18/opinion/campaign-stops/can-hillary-manage-her-unruly-coalition.html?_r=0

76

Placeholder 08.19.16 at 2:28 pm

“Why the scent of Weimar when there is no specter of Communism to be afraid of?”
It would be neatly explained by the repetition of the right radicalising during a financial recession when the bourgeois right and its state experience an existential legitimacy crises but without a radical militant Communist revolution it doesn’t take a radical militant form. Trump is not actually going to march on Cleveland. The second question: is that what makes the difference?

http://voxeu.org/article/political-aftermath-financial-crises-going-extremes

77

cassander 08.19.16 at 2:41 pm

@TM 08.19.16 at 1:57 pm

>And I also agree that in the US today there are no strong progressive movements to speak of that might even remotely threaten the establishment.

Almost like the establishment IS progressive!

>But that leaves the mystery why right-wing politics is currently so extreme, so divisive, so aggressive against anything that is even perceived as mildly liberal.

You can’t possible be this silly. So divisive, extreme and aggressive? The guys that say all lives matter? The political movement that hasn’t had a significant legislative victory for more than a decade? What planet do you live on that it so full of triumphant reactionaries? Because here on earth, the Republican party fought trump as hard as it could, tried desperately to pass immigration reform multiple times, can’t get an FBI run by a lifelong Republican to recommend Hillary Clinton be indicted for gross violations of secrecy laws.

The capacity of progressives to see themselves as an oppressed minority, regardless of their success, is truly awe inspiring. You guys put young earth creationists to shame.

78

T 08.19.16 at 2:44 pm

@layman
Gee Layman. You’ve repeatedly said that all Trump’s support can be ascribed to three things–racism, religious fanaticism, and ignorance of economics. He’s going to get 40% of the vote and you’ve already shown you hate these people. Despise them. Because according to you they have no legitimate grievances — none — although their communities have been crushed by neoliberal economic policies. Carry on. (btw-read James Kwak and others on the Left who thoroughly discredit that gallop study you refer to.)

And the 60+% of white males that have been consistently voting Repub are all bigots too. There is NO other reason. It must be great living in your black and white world. No confusing greys to deal with. Were life that simple.

Of course all the 1%ers that are standing firmly behind HRC are fine, harmless people. Her hedge fund buddies funding the campaign are pure of heart and just misunderstood. And they can be forgiven for generating 40+ years of economic stagnation for the middle class. Because they don’t talk funny and are cool with identify politics. Lean in my man. Go buddy up w/your finance friends. And cheer on HRCs next war.

79

T 08.19.16 at 3:03 pm

@73
“Part of why you’re seeing so many elite GOP types, both in the national security and business sectors, jumping ship from Trump is not only that Trump seems like a loser but that those elites know they have somewhere to go, that there’s a soft landing on the Democratic side.”

Corey’s on a roll.
The hate of these people and their dem counterparts explains kidneystones.
The hate of those remaining on the repub side explains Layman.

80

Bob Zannelli 08.19.16 at 3:09 pm

I am generally in strong agreement with Corey Robin , his book ” The Reactionary Mind” I think is one of the most important books written on political theory in the last decade.

But here I think Mr Robins is missing what I think is a scary prospect. I don’t think we have seen the last of the Donald Trump types, and we shouldn’t assume the next Donald Trump will be so politically inept. I think we have a long future ahead of us where the GOP will be producing candidates more and more dangerous, , for the congress and for the presidency. Just look at the clown car in the most recent GOP primary.

The vicious class war due to Neo Liberalism has produced a highly radicalized voting population. And you have to factor in , that in reality , we have only two parties and neither of them is progressive. The only real difference is one of them isn’t totally crazy. What there is of a left wing insurgency is kept at bay by the democratic party which shares equal blame with the republicans for the class warfare of the last several decades. No one should expect a Hillary presidency to be a departure from the Neo Liberal based class warfare against non professional and less educated Americans.

So I don’t think reactionary politics is at the end of its tether, I think instead we are entering a more dangerous time. The likes of the “freedom caucus” and the clown car offered in the last GOP primary are , in my opinion , a grave threat against American democracy and the whole structure of civil society. And I don’t think it will be getting better any time too soon. After decades of dog whistle politics the elite have lost control.

81

TM 08.19.16 at 3:31 pm

CR 72: I don’t think you are really offering an answer but appreciated nevertheless.

82

LFC 08.19.16 at 3:35 pm

bruce wilder @45:
David Kaiser wrote about the Bryan ~ Trump analogy a couple of weeks ago.

As I pointed out @33, Jeremy Young wrote about Bryan/Trump on July 6, thus before the David Kaiser post referenced by b.w. No doubt other posts and/or comments suggesting the comparison could be turned up

83

Rich Puchalsky 08.19.16 at 3:49 pm

Here’s an anarchist response to Trump. Advantage: silly. Disadvantage: silly. Probably a good mix of advantages and disadvantages for this time.

84

SamChevre 08.19.16 at 3:49 pm

Conservatives really really really wanted to smash the labor movement.

This statement seems to be the fundamental underpinning of this theory, and I do not think it is plausibly true.

Unions prior to the 1960’s didn’t really include government employees. I will agree that the conservative movement dislikes government employee unions. But taking the other unions–industrial and trade unions–it’s not the conservatives that hated and destroyed them as independent actors.

The 1960’s radical movements hated the trades, and especially their most-important function, for their members, of controlling entry into the trades; it was overwhelmingly leftist–not conservative–forces that destroyed their ability to set their own membership criteria.

The industrial unions were decimated all over the west (France, Germany, Great Britain, and the US) by the move of manufacturing to the third world. This seems to be almost entirely independent of the government in any particular country.

85

Corey Robin 08.19.16 at 4:06 pm

“But taking the other unions–industrial and trade unions–it’s not the conservatives that hated and destroyed them as independent actors.”

Who do you think passed Taft-Hartley—arguably the single most important government policy halting the progress of the labor movement—over the veto of President Truman? Long long long before the 1960s and the specter of public employee unions. As someone else mentioned upthread, the peak of union membership was in 1955. It all began to decline after that.

The notion that it was leftists who destroyed the labor movement is preposterous. The CIO, which was in the vanguard of labor organizing in the 1930s and 1940s (the CIO was at the forefront of pushing for interracial unions, urging the organizing of African American workers in the North and the South, and organizing women as well), was purged of all leftists in the late 1940s and early 1950s. By a combination of right-wing and liberal forces.

86

CJColucci 08.19.16 at 4:07 pm

Corey@3

CJColucci: How would the opposition to the Soviet Union and international communism distinguish Truman, JFK, LBJ, and Carter from Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan?

Other than some refinements in tone and tactics, I wouldn’t greatly distinguish them. I would distinguish them mainly by their use of the issue in domestic politics, which may mean you were right in the first place.

87

Rich Puchalsky 08.19.16 at 5:43 pm

Z and reason, thanks for responding to my question about the Greens. I know that they have a serious presence in places like Germany, but I guess that my question was why it wasn’t more of a presence. I’ll have to think about it more.

88

phenomenal cat 08.19.16 at 6:13 pm

“as i read the comments, I suppose I am wondering how HRC’s nomination and apparent inevitability is not a triumph of conservative politics.

One way to read Trump is as an attempt to resurrect a reactionary politics from broken shards, sure, but another way is to read him as an opportunist taking advantage of a remarkable erosion of elite – establishment legitimacy and credibility. Would that latter reading assign him reliably to the “reactionary” bin?

The loss of establishment credibility and legitimacy, in the absence of an acute crisis, is an interesting phenomenon. In some important ways, liberalism, when it was effective, was effective in part by offering improved legitimacy as a dividend for reform. If it cannot do that? Don’t know.” bruce wilder @34

Yep. It’s remarkable to me that so few seem willing or able to interpret the phenomenon of Trump as a symptom of broad institutional-establishment decadence and rot.

Really, does the “elite establishment” (liberal governmental and corporate institutions) seek actual means to legitimacy or credibility any more? I certainly see no evidence for that. It’s pretty much Panglossian justifications as far as the eye can see.

Wilder’s “dividends on reform” was the trade-off for particular coordinations/distributions (and concentrations) of power across society. There are no longer any dividends to be cashed out b/c the nodes and networks of the establishment have made virtually no attempts over the last 40 years to coordinate and distribute power in meaningful ways–save developing increasingly transparent and obvious mechanisms for concentrating and weaponizing it for use against average U.S. citizens–and large swaths of the greater universe.

Seen this way, Clinton probably is the “conservative” candidate, if not a triumph of conservative politics.

89

Sebastian H 08.19.16 at 6:42 pm

“While it can seem from the Clinton campaign and the Obama campaign before that that the coalition of people of color and professional elites (first envisioned by McGovern, by the by) is locked in and secure, it’s actually resting atop a powder keg, of race and real estate, that could blow at any moment.”

I’m glad to see you write this, and I think it modifies the thrust of your piece quite a bit. Both coalitions have tried to balance big money interests with the rest of a broader voter base. Both coalitions have largely done this by playing up social issues and distracting attention from big money interests or by asserting that the elite understand the business of business so the rest of us should shut up about ‘fraud’ or ‘corruption’ or ‘self-dealing’. What’s happening worldwide is a huge loss of trust in the elite regarding economic issues. Arguments like “Brexit will cause huge economic harm to our GDP” get met with indifference by people who don’t believe they have shared in the economic boom. They may or may not believe that some other system will do better for them, but they fail to see why they should make any sacrifices for the current one.

In many respects Trump has not only pushed the Republican Party off a cliff, he has also actively saved the Democratic Party, at least temporarily. Clinton represents exactly the kind of elite that has lost trust on economic issues. But Trump represents such an obvious threat that such differences can be papered over during this election.

90

Layman 08.19.16 at 7:03 pm

@ T # 76

I was going to itemize the lies in that comment, but I quit when I realized you’d written not one word which was actually true. So, never mind.

But, while you seem to have time to comment, can you explain again why it is that Trump repeatedly makes racist appeals to the voters? Is he mistaken about the nature of his core supporters, or are you?

91

cassander 08.19.16 at 8:00 pm

@Corey

>Who do you think passed Taft-Hartley—arguably the single most important government policy halting the progress of the labor movement—over the veto of President Truman? Long long long before the 1960s and the specter of public employee unions. As someone else mentioned upthread, the peak of union membership was in 1955. It all began to decline after that.

taft hartley passed in 47, unions grew for almost a decade after it passed. Again, your “evidence” does not support your argument.

>The notion that it was leftists who destroyed the labor movement is preposterous.

who do you think spent the middle of the 20th century running the country?

>was purged of all leftists in the late 1940s and early 1950s. By a combination of right-wing and liberal forces.

“The left” consists of more than those that were literally communists and fellow travelers.

92

M Caswell 08.19.16 at 8:26 pm

Conservatives have always backed the labor movement, as seen in their support for card-check, their opposition to ‘right-to-work’ laws, their pro-labor appointments to the NRLB and the Labor Dept., and their advocacy for issues championed by unions like minimum wage increases, universal health care, and anti-discrimination law. And who can forget Reagan’s embrace of those striking air traffic controllers?

93

William Berry 08.19.16 at 8:35 pm

@RP:

Anarchists must have someone inside the NYC Parks Dept. The memo released about the statue went something like: “The NYC Parks Dept. is against unauthorized erections in the parks, no matter how small”.

94

kidneystones 08.19.16 at 9:37 pm

Corey@83 “the CIO was at the forefront of pushing for interracial unions, urging the organizing of African American workers in the North and the South, and organizing women as well), was purged of all leftists in the late 1940s and early 1950s. By a combination of right-wing and liberal forces.”

‘leftists?’ I’m so old I can remember when ‘Communist’ wasn’t a dirty word. I certainly do not want to live any ‘communist’ nation I can think of, but it seems quite wrong to mislabel individuals who are/were openly communist, especially those in the international labor movement. There many multiple sources on the often positive leadership roles communists in the labor movement play/played.

The US attempt to start a nuclear arms race in Asia in 2006, you recall the agreement supported by Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, McCain and President Peace Prize, was effectively derailed by a coalition of Indian communist parties.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7496754.stm

95

Corey Robin 08.19.16 at 9:43 pm

Cassander: If you look at any graph of union membership rates, you’ll see the major spike is in the 1930s and the first half of the 1940s. As you get toward 1950, the rate plummets, it picks up again, a tiny bit, in the early to mid 1950s, and then it’s downhill. The rate of growth beginning in the late 1940s is just a lot slower, nowhere near what it had been. It happens to coincide with Taft-Hartley and the purge of the left-led CIO unions and the second red scare. There are obviously other factors, but it’s a big one. And it’s one from which labor never really recovers.

96

Corey Robin 08.19.16 at 9:44 pm

kidneystones: I have no problem calling them Communists, but it was in fact a much broader front of left forces, some of which were CP, some were part of CP front groups, and some were just part of a broader left.

97

kidneystones 08.19.16 at 9:47 pm

And then there’s this guy. America wasn’t the only nation where being a communist carried a heavy price.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/stephen-ellis/mandela-communism-and-south-africa

98

kidneystones 08.19.16 at 9:53 pm

Hi Corey, thx. I was thinking specifically of Homer Stevens.

http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/44/270.html

99

kidneystones 08.19.16 at 10:17 pm

Probably not important

http://dailycaller.com/2016/08/19/trump-visits-flooding-in-louisiana-clinton-says-state-needs-no-distractions-video/

President O vacations and celebrates ‘300th’ round golf with Larry David whilst Louisiana drowns.

Have a nice weekend!

‘Watch this shot, Brett!’

100

Bob Zannelli 08.19.16 at 10:25 pm

TM 08.19.16 at 1:57 pm
I generally agree that the purpose of reactionary politics is to fight and neutralize progressive movements that are perceived as dangerous by the ruling classes. And I also agree that in the US today there are no strong progressive movements to speak of that might even remotely threaten the establishment. But that leaves the mystery why right-wing politics is currently so extreme, so divisive, so aggressive against anything that is even perceived as mildly liberal. Why the anger, the often visceral hatred that comes out of the right if they have nothing to fear? Why the ugly rhetoric, the open appeal to violence, the hoarding of guns and ammunition, the angry calls for “taking the country back” when in fact the left has been reduced to irrelevance? Why the scent of Weimar when there is no specter of Communism to be afraid of?

I don’t have any good answers to that but I’m rather surprised that Corey doesn’t even touch on these questions.

)))))))))))))

Yes I wonder too. And BTW Trump can win, it’s not a forgone conclusion Hillary will win this

101

J-D 08.19.16 at 10:27 pm

T 08.19.16 at 2:44 pm

Of course all the 1%ers that are standing firmly behind HRC are fine, harmless people. …

There are far more 1%ers on the Republican side than there are on the Democratic side.

102

cassander 08.19.16 at 10:31 pm

@Corey Robin

>As you get toward 1950, the rate plummets, it picks up again, a tiny bit, in the early to mid 1950s,

It “plummets” from about 35% to 33% of workers, then goes back up to that level until the END of the 50s, certainly not the mid or early.

>The rate of growth beginning in the late 1940s is just a lot slower, nowhere near what it had been.

Almost like it reached the natural limits of expansion. What percentage of the workforce was even eligible for an NLRB style union in 1947? I’d be surprised it t were an outright majority. Growth slowed because they got everyone they could, not taft hartley.

>It happens to coincide with Taft-Hartley

Only if by coincide, you mean 10 years later.

>and the purge of the left-led CIO unions and the second red scare.

I believe what you meant to say was “In response to the revelation that there were dozens of communist spies at the highest levels of US government.”

103

cassander 08.19.16 at 10:36 pm

@JD

>There are far more 1%ers on the Republican side than there are on the Democratic side.

Not particularly . Of course, given how much turnover there is in the top 1%, these numbers might change a fair bit and this survey doesn’t try to deal with that, but I’m not aware of any that do.

104

Layman 08.19.16 at 10:51 pm

@ cassander, that link you just posted supports J-D’s claim. Did you not read it?

105

cassander 08.19.16 at 10:55 pm

@Layman

>@ cassander, that link you just posted supports J-D’s claim. Did you not read it?

I did, read past the headline. A couple percent, within the margin of error, is not “far more” on one side than the other, particularly when they ideologically self identify more or less exactly the same as the rest of the population.

106

Layman 08.19.16 at 11:02 pm

Old school Trump supporters use CB radios to discuss their economic concerns while campaigning in a convoy for Trump.

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/08/burn-every-single-nier-this-is-how-trump-supporters-talk-when-they-think-nobodys-listening/

107

Barry 08.19.16 at 11:11 pm

Corey, would you please post this link to place to donate aid to Louisiana:

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2016/08/17/louisiana-flooding-and-donation-information-repost-and-update/

108

Faustusnotes 08.20.16 at 1:01 am

Maybe it’s because I’m not American but I find this idea that the left lost kind of hilarious. Where is the non us country that repealed it’s universal health coverage? Where is the country that destroyed welfare? Even the us has finally embarked on the path to uhc, the un and who have endorsed it and every country on earth has committed to achieving it. Where is the left wing failure? As to the idea that feminism failed or has been defanged – the dudes on this thread should talk to their partners and mothers about that. Sure, my partner had to leave the west to finally be paid equal to a man, get maternity leave and be free of rape culture, but even I the benighted west the gains for women in this and the last generation have been huge. Why do you think the conservatives hate tinder, because he photos are unflattering? No, they go red faced at the thought of a woman fucking who she wants without fear or judgment and that’s what we have.

The left won resoundingly. Conservatives my inthe test of the world has had to adopt its fundamental ideals of equality and justice – that’s why the cons are losing their way. Because the rest of their theory is incompatible with what everyone takes for granted because of the victories of the left.

You guys on the us left need to get out more.

109

T 08.20.16 at 1:12 am

Layman —
Race in the Republican Party has been central since the Southern Strategy. Who denied that? So has abortion. (Recall the purge of the pro-life by the Dems. Think in the past of Casey and the Dem convention.) But you seem to think it is ALL about race, and when pressed in other treads, point to only to ignorance, and religions fanaticism. You continually deny any economic connection. I haven’t seen anything else despite all your protestations otherwise.

Do you have any friends that are voting Republican? Are they racist, stupid, and/or fanatics? Or you just don’t have any Republican friends because they’re all racist, stupid, and/or fanatics?

110

SamChevre 08.20.16 at 1:14 am

But taking the other unions–industrial and trade unions–it’s not the conservatives that hated and destroyed them as independent actors.

I think you are missing my point. Union membership is roughly steady from Taft-Hartley until the mid-1960’s. But in the 1970’s, as unions lose their ability to act as an independent force and become basically an extension of the government with the Philadelphia Plan, they hollow out and then in the 1980’s they crash.

111

Cranky Observer 08.20.16 at 1:18 am

= = = Recall the purge of the pro-life by the Dems = = =

No one has been “purged” from the Democratic Party. It is not a vehicle for people who who wish to use government to impose their anti-choice views on others, to be sure.

And to forestall your next post, there are plenty of Christians who are Democrats. Just not the hard right wing evangelicals, poor persecuted things.

112

js. 08.20.16 at 1:21 am

@Faustusnotes — Well, one way to see this is to think of what it would have meant for the left to keep winning. Here’s a plausible, partial list (admittedly US-centric, and looking at from the ’70s onwards): (1) The ERA would’ve passed, (2) the balance of power between capital and labor would not tilted heavily back in capital’s favor, (3) rates of incarceration, esp. for Black men, would not have skyrocketed the way they have, (4) differential rates of social advancement between whites and non-whites (Asians obviously excluded) would’ve significantly narrowed. That the outcome in each case was the opposite of what’s postulated is a decent argument that progress was stalled and in some cases reversed.

I agree that the “left has lost” narrative can be overcooked and that there have been important victories, but still.

113

bruce wilder 08.20.16 at 1:25 am

JQ: To qualify Corey’s point on the victory of the right, they have had little success in dismantling the social welfare system created by the New Deal,. Social Security is the key example . . .

BW: The right were completely successful in dismantling the New Deal’s banking system and financial system and related systems of corporate governance. That was “the big win”, . . . changes in monetary regime are not merely incidental to the shifts in Party system, but central to the pattern

JQ: Agreed, although I’d reverse the direction of causality. The collapse of Bretton Woods was the crucial precondition for the rise of the right. I think that’s your point

I don’t think I committed to a direction of causality, but surely causality is reflexive and runs both ways.

That Bretton Woods collapsed created an opportunity, which the Right capitalized upon. Milton Friedman was right there, johnny-on-the-spot with b.s. about how a market would regulate currency exchange rates and trade optimally and so the solution and progress lay in the direction of letting the dollar float.

That Bretton Woods would collapse was inevitable in a way. The system that John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White, Communist spy, set up at Bretton Woods was designed around the dominant economic and financial position of the U.S. The U.S. would use its dominance to play the Good Hegemon, which it did, but as it did and economic reconstruction, development and the expansion of trade proceeded that dominance gradually eroded. It wasn’t possible to maintain fixed exchange rates around an Almighty Dollar without serious re-adjustment.

It’s theoretically conceivable that some new multipolar scheme of managed exchange rates could have been devised, I suppose. But, what happened is that Milton Friedman and friends were johnny-on-the-spot with a facile argument for why Mr. Market could manage floating exchange rates and regulate trade balances, and the dollar was floated.

Money and finance are institutions of bargaining and domination, so to the extent that politics revolves around the struggle between patricians and plebeians, I guess it is not surprising that they would often be the territory battles are fought over.

That we don’t have better collective memories for the political history of these battles is interesting to me.

That failure and breakdown in institutions is so often the occasion for a shift in the political winds also seems notable.

In our own moment, that we have the choice of a celebrity billionaire and a corrupt centrist — obviously, the most important issue is racism, so I don’t know why I even bring these things up.

114

J-D 08.20.16 at 1:28 am

Corey Robin 08.19.16 at 12:24 pm
J-D: I wasn’t saying it was possible or not. I was saying that it’s not relevant to the question of whether in the next 10 years or so you’re going to see a realignment at the presidential level. But to answer your question: I have no idea! It’s tough to make predictions. Especially about the future.

Not so! In some cases the likelihoods are hard to estimate, but in some cases they’re easy.

Incidentally, there are a lot of predictions here, both in your original post and in comments, but the majority of them are presented at such a high level of generality and abstraction as to be close to untestable, which drastically reduces their value and interest. That’s another way that it’s easy to make predictions: make them Delphic.

115

T 08.20.16 at 2:02 am

Cranky @109
Take a look at the number of Senators and Congressman who call themselves pro-life in the Dem Party. I think it’s 3 senators and 4 congressman. Neither party’s representatives reflect the percentages in their constituencies. If you are referring to the constituencies, I agree with your comment. If you’re referring to their reps, not as much.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/06/27/5-facts-about-abortion/

116

Cranky Observer 08.20.16 at 3:11 am

= = = Take a look at the number of Senators and Congressman who call themselves pro-life in the Dem Party. I think it’s 3 senators and 4 congressman. Neither party’s representatives reflect the percentages in their constituencies. If you are referring to the constituencies, I agree with your comment. If you’re referring to their reps, not as much. = = =

So it sounds as if Democratic Party voters (the ones who choose representatives in, you know, elections) have a wide range of personal opinions on abortion, but do not vote for candidates who intend to use their office and the government to impose their personal anti-choice views on others. No purging there: just good old-fashioned American values of integrity and voting for what is most in keeping with the Constitution and best for the stability of our society as a whole at the price of some discomfort to oneself.

117

js. 08.20.16 at 4:01 am

118

LFC 08.20.16 at 4:23 am

k’stones @92
The US attempt to start a nuclear arms race in Asia in 2006, you recall the agreement supported by Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, McCain and President Peace Prize, was effectively derailed by a coalition of Indian communist parties.

Rubbish. The deal was not an attempt to “start [sic] a nuclear arms race in Asia” and it was not derailed by the Indian Communist parties. Your link to the BBC piece from ’08 does not support either of these assertions.

119

J-D 08.20.16 at 4:30 am

cassander 08.19.16 at 10:55 pm
@Layman

>@ cassander, that link you just posted supports J-D’s claim. Did you not read it?

I did, read past the headline. A couple percent, within the margin of error, is not “far more” on one side than the other, particularly when they ideologically self identify more or less exactly the same as the rest of the population.

The reported percentage identifying as Republican is 33%; the reported percentage identifying as Democratic is 26%; the difference is seven percentage points, more than a couple, and probably more than the margin of error. The reported percentage who identify either as Republican or leaning Republican is 57%; the reported percentage who identify either as Democratic or leaning Democratic is 36%; the difference is twenty-one percentage points, a wide margin.

120

J-D 08.20.16 at 5:22 am

Rich Puchalsky 08.19.16 at 5:43 pm
Z and reason, thanks for responding to my question about the Greens. I know that they have a serious presence in places like Germany, but I guess that my question was why it wasn’t more of a presence. I’ll have to think about it more.

For those (like me) who are interested in that sort of thing, there is a page on Wikipedia tracking opinion polling for the next German federal election, which is due in a little over a year. It shows a substantial incremental downward trend for the CDU-CSU beginning about two years ago, a similarly substantial incremental downward trend for the SPD beginning slightly later, an even sharper upward trend for the AfD beginning about two years ago, an upward movement for the Greens in the early months of this year, and a definite recovery for the FDP strong enough to get them back into the Bundestag. On the latest data, the SPD still easily holds second place, but if recent trends continue that may not last. With a year to go, the ingredients are there for a dramatic election. Mind you, so far every poll is one that would translate into a Bundestag with a comfortable majority for the parties of the incumbent government coalition (CDU-CSU and SPD), but it doesn’t necessarily follow that they would want to stay in coalition.

121

Howard Frant 08.20.16 at 5:38 am

In Philip Roth’s “The Plot Against America”, there’s a scene where an opportunist rabbi publicly endorses Lindbergh for President. The narrator’s cynical cousin (?) explains that the rabbi’s role is not to convince Jews to vote for Lindbergh, which would be futile. Rather, it’s to signal to non-Jews that voting for Lindbergh didn’t make you a bigot.

Trump knows that non-whites are not going to vote for him. His target is suburban Republican women.

122

Faustusnotes 08.20.16 at 5:48 am

T if you understand the difference between pro life and anti choice the apparent purge makes perfect sense – it wasn’t a purge at all.

123

kidneystones 08.20.16 at 6:02 am

@ 119 ding-ding-ding!

Any who do are a bonus.

124

Jim Buck 08.20.16 at 6:51 am

Howard Frant—why do you link to a phishing site?

125

Faustusnotes 08.20.16 at 7:29 am

Yes, trumps target is suburban republican women. Which is why his second public controversy was over Megyn Kelly’s menstrual patterns, and his entire communication strategy is based on retweeting alt right PUA propaganda.

How can people write this stuff with a straight face?

126

J-D 08.20.16 at 9:04 am

cassander 08.19.16 at 4:31 am
@anderson

>Democrats had a lock on the racist Southern white voter, until LBJ broke the party.

The south continued to send democrats to congress until the 90s. Republican presidents did well there, but only because they did well everywhere, winning an average of more than 40 states per election between 68 and 88. They consistently did WORST in the south.

Nnnnnooo … already in the Presidential elections of 1984 and 1988 (as in subsequent ones), the Republicans did worst in the Northeast, not in the South.

127

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 10:22 am

Trump’s long-awaited “pivot” — pivot into emitting a more serious tone of absolutely nonsensical bafflegab — happened yesterday in his Michigan rust belt speech, which included a yooooge pitch to black voters. The influence of Stephen Bannon is evident.

128

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 10:29 am

The pitch to black voters included the line, “What do you have to lose?”

Thus, even when Trump isn’t channelling Andrew Dice Clay to get a snotty laugh every 20 seconds, he can be hilarious and ironic.

129

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 10:49 am

A big question for the Dems is how far Trump’s renewed and more sober appeal to economic nationalism and national security will go, to win over voters, vs. Hillary’s attempts to parry on these issues. Her policies are not couched to be explained succinctly and memorably. She’s been running mostly on the fact that he is a lout. Bannon has enough brains to figure out that Trump’s performance at the upcoming debates are critical.

A big question for the GOP is 1. whether Trump stay on message without more clownish deviations and 2. whether this pivot is too late. 3 months should be enough to turn around any close election, but whether 2 1/2 months is enough to close a 6-point spread is a very different question.

Sorry to have political thoughts. Go back to erudite ruminations!

130

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 10:59 am

Well one more thought since I hit the “submit” bit, sorry.

One way for Trump to win is to present a yoooooge new detailed economic policy proposal that will help everybody, ‘believe me’, and have it ready enough be be explicated with further silly details at the first and second debates. Throw Hillary off her game, by making her explain why this or that bit of Trumpian Tea Party nonsense won’t work. The kidneyheaded knucklestones tactic, writ large: Retroll the entire electorate!

131

Layman 08.20.16 at 11:12 am

T: “Race in the Republican Party has been central since the Southern Strategy.”

Careful, now. Any minute now you’ll be saying that the core of Trump supporters are primarily motivated by racism; and then some idiot on the Internet will be insisting that you said 1) every single Trump supporter was a racist motivated by racism, and 2) no Trump supporter was motivated to support Trump for any other reason. I know, it seems crazy, but there are people who will intentionally misread you that way!

T: “You continually deny any economic connection.”

On the contrary. I have not seen any evidence that economic concerns are the primary driver for the core of Trump’s support, and I have seen some evidence that they are not a substantial driver. Yet I ask you, repeatedly, to produce some such evidence, so that the evidence might change my mind. And you don’t cite any. It’s almost as if your view isn’t grounded in evidence. But that can’t be right, can it?

T: “I haven’t seen anything else despite all your protestations otherwise.”

If you want to be willfully blind and obtuse, that’s your problem, not mine. But it would be a lot more productive if you’d actually make an argument about the economic concern, and cite some evidence that it is the principal reason a substantial block of voters support Trump. I’m happy to read it and consider it.

132

J-D 08.20.16 at 11:41 am

cassander 08.19.16 at 2:41 pm
@TM 08.19.16 at 1:57 pm

>But that leaves the mystery why right-wing politics is currently so extreme, so divisive, so aggressive against anything that is even perceived as mildly liberal.

You can’t possible be this silly. So divisive, extreme and aggressive?

Yup.

The guys that say all lives matter?

Yup, exactly.

What’s your explanation for why they’re saying that, and more specifically why they’re saying it now?

The political movement that hasn’t had a significant legislative victory for more than a decade?

Could be part of the explanation of why they’re becoming so extreme, divisive, and aggressive. And/or could be one the consequences of it.

What planet do you live on that it so full of triumphant reactionaries?

You’re quoting somebody who used the description ‘extreme, divisive, and aggressive’. No part of that is synonymous with ‘triumphant’.

Because here on earth, the Republican party fought trump as hard as it could, tried desperately to pass immigration reform multiple times, can’t get an FBI run by a lifelong Republican to recommend Hillary Clinton be indicted for gross violations of secrecy laws.

And it hasn’t occurred to you that the attempt to do so is exactly the kind of thing that some people consider as extreme, divisive, and aggressive? Something doesn’t become less extreme, divisive, and aggressive just because it doesn’t work.

133

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 11:49 am

I think there is no doubt that a concern with the “decline of America” including economic decline is a major motivation of Trump supporters, and that polls showing Trump supporters to be slightly better-off do not change this. Thinking otherwise is a good way for the Dems to lose this horse race.

134

T 08.20.16 at 12:04 pm

Layman

Well, I had to do a massive search to find any evidence of Trump support based on economic issues. I found his article buried in this obscure publication. Oh wait, it was on page 1 of today’s the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/20/world/americas/alienated-and-angry-coal-miners-see-donald-trump-as-their-only-choice.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

135

the wesson 08.20.16 at 12:11 pm

I’m sorry this article is not very good.

The alt-right (of which Trump has made himself the avatar) is full of desperate reaction to cosmopolitanism. (The reaction being white nationalism and misogyny.) Trump heads the Republican party now because anyone with a cosmopolitan attitude has sorted themselves out of it.

If you saw the conventions, it’s very clear (to me) that the Democratic party has inherited the mantle of “Us” and the Republican party are the desperate Others now – or at least feel themselves as such – weak, embattled losers reaching out for a strong man.

The alt-right, to me, is a desperate, defiant lashing out at a world where it is no longer OK to be racist and misogynist (hence their obsession with PC and Social Justice Warriors, the people who call them out for being f-ing a-holes.) They’re the people declaring themselves oppressed because they can’t EVEN buy a g-d Confederate flag at Walmart any more.

> . As a reactionary mode of politics, conservative is a response to politicized, radical movements of subordinate classes; it is not a response to secular changes in society and culture, however unwelcome those changes may be.

Sorry, you’re wrong about that. Trump style fascist Dominator politics is the reaction of people (born authoritarians) who feel that the age-old order is overturned – whether the overturning is social or political. Either way it’s a threat to their identity – although of course the outsiders having actual political power is even more of a threat – like black people organizing in the Black Lives Matter movement – viewed as an existential threat by the alt-right.

I think the analysis of the dual threat to liberal democracy – illiberal democracy (demagogic populism) or liberal undemocracy (elites enforcing cosmopolitan values) is much more interesting.

136

T 08.20.16 at 12:15 pm

Lee Arnold @131
Note in the above article that working coal miners make $70K. But those privileged workers feel no threat to their income so of course their support for Trump isn’t economic based. As a group, it’s racism. Ask Layman.

(And btw Laymen – only someone who takes the most wooden interpretation would read “the primary reason for Trump’s support is racism” as all Trump supporters are racist. That’s the same as reading “the primary characteristic of Dutch men is above average height” as saying that all Dutch men are above average in height. Don’t take your own wooden misreadings and attribute it to others.)

137

Layman 08.20.16 at 12:29 pm

@ Lee A Arnold, it may be so, but I don’t find ‘no doubt’ convincing ad an argument.

There’s a pretty good report on voter attitudes out from Pew last week.

Asked to rank which of their concerns were ‘big’, Trump supporters said:

Immigration 66%
Terrorism 65%
Crime 52 %
Race relations 48%
Availability of good-paying jobs 48%
Gap between rich and poor 31%
Condition of environment 16%

Even the poorest Trump supporters (<50K) still rank Immigration, Terrorism, and Crime ahead of Jobs or Gap:

Immigration 67%
Terrorism 61%
Crime 53%
Race relations 51%
Availability of good-paying jobs 51%
Gap between rich and poor 39%
Condition of environment 23%

A majority of Trump voters (57%) say US Muslims should subject to more government scrutiny.

http://www.people-press.org/2016/08/18/clinton-trump-supporters-have-starkly-different-views-of-a-changing-nation/

138

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 12:49 pm

Layman #134: “Immigration 66%”

Which is almost always amended by the TeaTrumpers with the complaint that it’s an economic burden, the immigrants aren’t paying their full share, make them do it leagally, etc.

There is no easy way to separate the in-group defensive strategy of motivated reasoning into its two halves: 1. the Other-blaming, versus 2. the economic fear for the future. It’s an emotion, dressed as intellectual positions. It has been seen before several times, as the quintessence of fascism.

I have no idea why you would even want to sort this out. It won’t be of much strategic use in the election, although tactically, you could make the case that one policy or the other is better to win over a district. I am not convinced it is of much use in historical explanation of large eras, either. Although here, the professors may disagree.

139

Layman 08.20.16 at 12:50 pm

T: ‘only someone who takes the most wooden interpretation would read “the primary reason for Trump’s support is racism” as all Trump supporters are racist.’

My mind is agog!

Consider the following exchange between us:

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

Layman: ‘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.”

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

Or this one:

Layman: “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.”

T: “So all the Trump vote is due to completely to racism.”

I could go on, but I’m sure this is tedious for everyone else. Carry on, wooden one!

140

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 12:52 pm

T #133: “As a group, it’s racism. Ask Layman.”

I don’t agree with this characterization, either. Economic discontent always tinges over into the “motivated reasoning” defense of reverting to in-group identity, which, on the Right, allows expression of nativism and also coded racism — which appears to be Layman’s point. This was key to Nixon’s takeover of the south for the GOP, the so-called Southern Strategy.

On the Left, it is different, but there is still a natural in-group reversion.

The emotional reversion to in-group identity (for purposes of future risk assessment and protection) accelerated in both Right and Left from the moment of the financial crash.

The Right went into the Tea Party, which Trump has successfully commandeered. The Left went into Occupy Wall Street and defined their own in-group as the 99%, i.e. everybody who isn’t a functioning plutocrat. (Romney tried to whittle that down to 47%.) Each side has an intellectual framework giving its reasons, and the explications of these reasons are what the arguments devolve into.

But, to take it back to Corey’s top post, the question is, what does this mean for the GOP?

I still think the GOP is splitting in half, unless Trump wins, and then maybe the Dems will split up first, while the plutocrats make new in-country deals to avoid much damage to their portfolios during the thrashes of faux-protectionism.

141

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 12:57 pm

Correction, Romney tried to reframe the debate as 47% makers vs. 53% takers, via the highly misleading use of the incidence of federal taxation to represent all taxation.

142

Layman 08.20.16 at 12:59 pm

T: “Well, I had to do a massive search to find any evidence of Trump support based on economic issues.”

Two things: This is the first time you’ve even tried. Second, you’ve conflated ‘evidence of support’ with ‘evidence that economic concerns are the primary driver of the core of Trump’s support’.

I’ve never denied that some people support Trump for economic reasons. Many wealthy or high-income Republicans certainly do, and as I said from the start, some lower-income people still buy into the Republican economic strategy for reasons which surpass understanding. But I think the evidence shows that racism and bigotry play a much bigger role, and the core of Trump’s support, the 25-30% who will support him no matter what, is clearly motivated by racism and bigotry.

143

Barry 08.20.16 at 1:02 pm

kidneystones 08.19.16 at 1:49 am
“@29 Still grinding those molars, I see, and still with the reading problems. “

I actually used to grind my teeth at you and yours, but now I savor your delusions.

“I mention polls specifically, but perhaps you don’t prefer accuracy. “He hasn’t spent a fraction of what his many establishment enemies have and remains within single digits of his only remaining impediment to power after having been in politics for just over a year.””

Back in 2008, after 8 years of working very hard and very strategerically at making the GOP’s reputation sh*t, McCain came in maybe a little worse than Trump.

Right now Clinton is on track to do far better, and to retake the Senate.

“Please explain, if you can (be bothered) how I’ve ‘unskewed those polls.’ I suspect you can’t. The polls are largely meaningless until they move into double-digits, including the most recent polls that very strongly suggest that voters are looking more seriously now at third party candidates.”

This if frankly funny, when your second sentence contradicts the thesis of your first, and is also a frank lie.

It’s also a telltale of where Trump and you guys stand – you are now retreating to a baseline of ‘show me the double digits’. Which Clinton is starting to do in a few states.

144

Barry 08.20.16 at 1:04 pm

Sorry, one part was left incomplete:

‘Back in 2008, after 8 years of working very hard and very strategerically at making the GOP’s reputation sh*t, McCain came in maybe a little worse than Trump. That shows the baseline hard-core support level for the right.’

145

Layman 08.20.16 at 1:06 pm

Lee A Arnold: “Which is almost always amended by the TeaTrumpers with the complaint that it’s an economic burden, the immigrants aren’t paying their full share, make them do it leagally, etc.”

I’m not surprised they say that, but then there’s the fact that the people who say these things don’t for the most part seem to be people who have been burdened or threatened by immigration. They’re voicing fears about immigrants that are, for them, abstract, ungrounded in actual negative experience. In fact, exposure to immigrants correlates negatively with support for Trump.

“I have no idea why you would even want to sort this out.”

Because I’m interested in understanding what’s true. And, because I think that giving racists false cover is a way to excuse and legitimize their racism.

146

RichardM 08.20.16 at 1:11 pm

I suspect Corey is analyzing this from within the Democratic framing, where racism is a cause, not a consequence. But that won’t be how it feels to anyone within the Republican framing, so it is not very useful as a prediction of how things will turn out.

Since the 60’s, the Republicans are the party of anti-tax, and the Democrats are the party of anti-racism. There are secondary aspects like abortion, crime, foreign policy, but those get woven into the narrative established by those fundamentals in a way that, while not arbitrary, probably wouldn’t happen the same way five times out of five if history was rewound and repeated.

The extent to which the Republicans won on that central issue can be found in wikipedia, ‘list of countries by tax revenue as a percentage of gdp’. The US is 26%; the UK is half again, Denmark slightly less than double. No developed democracy is lower.

In terms of political victory, that approaches the kind of fundamental limit of scoring that you get in a sport where a match is a fixed length and it takes a certain number of minutes to score. Note that that is very much country-specific; only Australia is similar. Whereas the defeat of the organised labour movement is pretty much universal.

For Republicans, there physically isn’t much room to score more. Abolishing NASA, foreign aid and the military would perhaps drop it another 5% . The only realistic prospect of tax being significantly lower is to move to an explicitly authoritarian system like Singapore (12% tax), or restrict the franchise. All of which stretches the bounds of what can plausibly be called rational self interest.

Hence Trump. By abandoning a coherent rational narrative, he can, at least temporarily, simultaneously appeal to the elderly who remember higher taxes, libertarians who want to see the military abolished, the alt-right who want to get rid of democracy, and nationalists who want to see imperialism turn an explicit profit.

147

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 1:14 pm

“What is true” is that facts fall in front of us in three different ways:

by following emotions
by following intellectual categories and/or systemic connections, as perceived
by following random generation

To say that racism isn’t the only thing, or to say that racism isn’t the primary thing, is not to say that it isn’t a significant factor and it is not to excuse or legitimize racism.

148

kidneystones 08.20.16 at 1:25 pm

We are entirely free to rely on our belly-button list, personal experiences with racist family members, and/or close proximity to hypocrisy in its myriad manifestations.

To the best of my knowledge, I’m the only person commenting here who supported the 2010 Tea Party, watches a lot of Trump, and is an open advocate of a Trump presidency versus that of HRC.

The single common thread that unites that community of voters from what I can see is that the system is basically fine, but that immoral people close to power are manipulating the system to enrich themselves and their enablers – the donor class. This manipulation of the system, in addition to making the insiders rich, produces numerous injustices and inequities – O’s daughter gets scolded for smoking pot whilst numerous poorer people rot in prison for the same crime. Banks get bailed out by tax-payers who play by the rules. The fact that there is, or isn’t, a direct personal cost to any individual is besides the point.

The single best explanation I’ve heard for the success of Sanders and Trump comes from an American colleague who observed that perhaps for the first time the economic concerns of the poor and the middle-class align. These people do not believe the nation/the world is headed in the right direction. The are also aware that life as they know it has been under threat for a long time. Many of these voters are convinced that once the Temple has been cleansed all boats will rise again.

The optimist in me is inclined to agree. The pessimist predicts another victory for the donor class.

149

Layman 08.20.16 at 1:38 pm

To be clear, Lee Arnold, I don’t believe you’re trying to excuse or legitimize racism. Apologies if I gave that impression.

150

bruce wilder 08.20.16 at 2:54 pm

There’s a term of art for the pattern of emotional resonance that Lee has talked about and that explains the Pew rankings above. It is called “authoritarianism”.

What “authoritarianism” adds to the conversation that “racism” may not is more of the political psychology. What drives a shift in popular political attitudes in an authoritarian direction and what the consequences are of isolating people with authoritarian attitudes are things we might want to consider.

151

bruce wilder 08.20.16 at 3:12 pm

ks: The single common thread that unites that community of voters from what I can see is that the system is basically fine, but that immoral people close to power are manipulating the system to enrich themselves and their enablers . . .

The disturbing things about the response of authoritarian followers to the degeneration of elite integrity are two-fold: first, that they have poor taste in leadership and that some express their . . . anxieties . . . in extreme and unjust aggression against people who have nothing to do with their problems.

As far as optimism or pessimism is concerned, I cannot say I can look at Trump v Clinton and see anything but a crack-up in our near future as the “optimistic” outcome.

152

Faustusnotes 08.20.16 at 3:23 pm

Wait!? Has someone hacked kidneystones account? The man who did multiple drive by postings with links to “another poll” is dismissing the polls now? What has happened ??! I thought kidneystones was all about the hard numerical evidence!

153

the wesson 08.20.16 at 3:41 pm

(Retrying a post)
I don’t agree that the Conservatism has won and this is the crackup of winners. (That is possible, but not now and not for Conservatism.)

The alt-right (of which Trump has made himself the avatar) is full of desperate reaction to cosmopolitanism. (The reaction being white nationalism and misogyny.) Trump heads the Republican party now because anyone with a cosmopolitan attitude has sorted themselves out of it.

If you saw the conventions, it’s very clear (to me) that the Democratic party has inherited the mantle of “Us” and the Republican party are the desperate Others now – or at least feel themselves as such – weak, embattled losers reaching out for a strong man.

The alt-right, to me, is a desperate, defiant lashing out at a world where it is no longer OK to be racist and misogynist (hence their obsession with PC and Social Justice Warriors, the people who call them out for being —.) They’re the people declaring themselves oppressed because they can’t EVEN buy a Confederate flag at Walmart any more.

> . As a reactionary mode of politics, conservative is a response to politicized, radical movements of subordinate classes; it is not a response to secular changes in society and culture, however unwelcome those changes may be.

Sorry, you’re wrong about that. Trump style fascist Dominator politics is the reaction of people (born authoritarians) who feel that the age-old order is overturned – whether the overturning is social or political. Either way it’s a threat to their identity – although of course the outsiders having actual political power is even more of a threat – like black people organizing in the Black Lives Matter movement – viewed as an existential threat by the alt-right.

I think the analysis of the dual threat to liberal democracy – illiberal democracy (demagogic populism) or liberal undemocracy (elites enforcing cosmopolitan values) is much more interesting.

154

Lupita 08.20.16 at 4:17 pm

The problem with viewing the US as the product of superior ethics,culture, and founding principles, i.e., as hardworking, rational, individualist, humanitarian, non-racist, non-sexist, free, capitalist, democratic, liberal, etc., is that when decadence sets in, Americans view it as a moral failure and start blaming themselves. View decadence instead as a natural phenomenon, as the flow of the seasons or the movements of heavenly bodies. Everything comes to an end. What rises must fall. Do not over-analyze. That will bring peace to your collective soul.

Many of these voters are convinced that once the Temple has been cleansed all boats will rise again.

It’s over. Neither Trump nor Clinton can put Humpty Dumpty together again.

it’s a threat to their identity

Indeed, and that identity is that of a shinning city upon a hill, which all American demographic groups share.

155

js. 08.20.16 at 4:46 pm

I have no idea why you would even want to sort this out.

It matters quite a lot that one sort this out. Leave aside racism for a second. Suppose some set of men is angry at bad and worsening economic prospects. In that case, you could alleviate that anger by bettering their economic prospects. But if that set of men is angry at having to cede social power and position to women, then even though they are suffering a genuine social loss (at least in one obvious sense), you (a) can’t alleviate their anger by addressing economic concerns, and (b) can’t aim for a just society and reverse their (real!) social loss at the same time. Mutatis mutandis.

156

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 4:51 pm

Js. #151: “In that case, you could alleviate that anger by bettering their economic prospects.”

No. This is the economists’ theory of why and how people do things: they are better off, therefore, they are not concerned about economic prospects. It doesn’t necessarily happen that way. The supervenience of other problems (ceding power to women, minorities, whomever) is not required.

157

Lupita 08.20.16 at 4:52 pm

What “authoritarianism” adds to the conversation that “racism” may not is more of the political psychology.

How about the “sociology of decadence”? The 20th century global structure centered on US hegemony is clearly disintegrating and we are now witnessing its impact on American and British politics, that is, Trump is a manifestation of how the loss of imperial privileges impacts the American psyche, not to mention its economy. So far, the reaction in the US seems to be to cover up the mere existence and privileges of empire with lots of holier-than-thou, parochial in-fighting. But then, how else would a Protestant empire go under?

158

Lupita 08.20.16 at 5:07 pm

Trump, in other words, is the least of the GOP’s problems.

He is also the least of the US’ problems.

159

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 5:15 pm

Lupita #153: “sociology of decadence… Trump is a manifestation of…the loss of imperial privileges”

I think your “sociology of decadence” has legs for a good long run, but the main show is not the decadence of U.S. hegemony. It’s the capitalist system putting itself out of business. A sociology of what this means for old standard slogans such as, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”, “incentives matter”, and “printing money must cause inflation”, has yet to be plumbed.

160

Marc 08.20.16 at 5:23 pm

@151: Are you motivated by only one thing? If not, why should this be true of others?

People may be vulnerable to appeals targeting the Other because they see that they’re going nowhere economically. It’s entirely possible to reduce the appeal of the former by addressing the latter.

161

Cranky Observer 08.20.16 at 5:28 pm

= = = People may be vulnerable to appeals targeting the Other because they see that they’re going nowhere economically. It’s entirely possible to reduce the appeal of the former by addressing the latter. = = =

As has been observed many times, if a large portion of that person’s emotional utility comes from having a lesser being to which he can feel superior, blame all ills upon, and literally spit down on, and that once-lesser being is now his social equal or even superior, all the McMansions and giant pickup trucks in the world aren’t going to compensate for that loss.

162

Marc 08.20.16 at 6:02 pm

And, as has been observed many times, mind-reading ill intent onto people that you know little about has precious little utility.

163

Rich Puchalsky 08.20.16 at 6:26 pm

A lot of these discussions could be sorted out if people would decide what they really believe about fundamental questions and write as if they believed in that.

For instance, “we’re going to be outcompeted by China” was a staple of right-wing (and to some extent, centrist) discourse in the U.S. This always depended on the person not really believing that democracy had any utility other than a kind of bragging right. If you believe that people living in a one-party state can, for a long period, outcompete people living in a democracy, then you believe that there is really no overall point to democracy, that the out-competing people are not piling up any political negatives that in the long term are going to destabilize their system and outweigh their immediate economic positives (if those really exist).

Similarly, I don’t really see the problem with Lupita’s critique of American imperialism. I believe that the U.S. would be better off for the vast majority of its inhabitants if it wasn’t the center of an empire. So imperial decadence is what it is, but it’s also the possible beginning of a better system not just for people outside the U.S. but within it too.

For the racism vs. economics thing, I have to say that I find the “it’s mostly racism” thing kind of incoherent for the same kinds of reasons as I find the “China is outcompeting us” incoherent. Racism is obviously there and important: individually, structurally, etc. But people seem to agree that historically there is less overt racism in our societies than before. People should think about what kind of implicit theory of culture or of human nature they are holding to. Is racism supposed to be just as strong but more covert? Are people educable out of being racists, and is this really how racism has declined if it has? Are there dead-ender racists who have to be suppressed for as long as they live?

Similarly, about economics. Is there really no reason for people to be unhappy with the system? Was all of that stuff about the 1% supposed to be just a slogan, or something that really only college students care about? Do you have to consciously “care about” economic issues for them to affect you?

Lastly, about psychology. I think that it’s true that people will do a good deal to preserve their place in the social system. If you also believe these, then what should be done about it? Is there a way to give these people an alternative place, or should they just be repressed as above? What kind of place do the people scolding them have?

164

Layman 08.20.16 at 6:27 pm

Marc: “People may be vulnerable to appeals targeting the Other because they see that they’re going nowhere economically.”

Indeed, all things are possible! However, in the real world we’re discussing, most of the people responding to appeals targeting the other are not the people going nowhere economically. So, there’s that.

Marc, just after: “And, as has been observed many times, mind-reading ill intent onto people that you know little about has precious little utility.”

As does mind-reading onto others motivations they themselves don’t seem to claim.

165

Marc 08.20.16 at 6:37 pm

I have yet to see what the use is of assertions that racism is the primary motivator for large groups of people. It never seems to be followed by a proposed set of actions; instead, it’s usually used to claim that addressing anything else is futile. It also seems to be unfalsifiable – as, of course, racism does actually exist, and does motivate some people. The prevalence of bigoted attitudes is declining by virtually every measure, and yet groups that used to support liberal causes no longer do so; how does racism, by itself, have any useful explanatory power?

It’s also remarkably convenient, implying that we’re better than them, and that we don’t have to examine anything that we’re advocating; and it’s rarely the case that complex problems have simple solutions.

166

efcdons 08.20.16 at 6:59 pm

Layman @ 160
It’s been explained multiple times there is strong support for Trump in areas where there has been a lot of economic dislocation and “disruption” even if a lot of the Trump supporters (older, wealthier than average person in the US sames as people who vote compared with non-voters in general) aren’t experiencing economic distress personally. Their economic concerns may be concerns for the future of their children/grandchildren or their communities. That is still evidence of economics based motivation.

“Yet while Trump’s supporters might be comparatively well off themselves, they come from places where their neighbors endure other forms of hardship. In their communities, white residents are dying younger, and it is harder for young people who grow up poor to get ahead.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/08/12/a-massive-new-study-debunks-a-widespread-theory-for-donald-trumps-success/

Why do you keep on repeating the thing about Trump supporters’ personal economic situation as some sort of blanket rebuttal to any discussion of economically motivated reasons people may be supporting Trump?

167

cassander 08.20.16 at 7:19 pm

@J-d

In 1984 (John Anderson confuses the 1980 election somewhat), of the 10 most republican states, none was southern. the average for reagan in a republican state was 60.9%, only 5 southern states got above that mark, one of which was Florida.

>What’s your explanation for why they’re saying that, and more specifically why they’re saying it now?

Because they believe it, and because it didn’t seem relevant to say before.

>Could be part of the explanation of why they’re becoming so extreme, divisive, and aggressive. And/or could be one the consequences of it.

Might be, if they were. But you can’t use your claim that they’re those things as evidence that they’re those things.

>And it hasn’t occurred to you that the attempt to do so is exactly the kind of thing that some people consider as extreme, divisive, and aggressive? Something doesn’t become less extreme, divisive, and aggressive just because it doesn’t work.

How is trying to pass immigration reform extreme, divisive or aggressive?

@Rich

>This always depended on the person not really believing that democracy had any utility other than a kind of bragging right

Or, you know, that democracy is good and right and true, and that to be sustained against whatever -ocracy you assign to the chinese system, it requires economic and military backing. Or that democracy is a moral good maintenance of which requires virtue. Or even that democracy is a moral good but an economic handicap.

It’s amazing what becomes once you reject the assumption that everyone who disagrees with you must be evil.

@Marc

>I have yet to see what the use is of assertions that racism is the primary motivator for large groups of people.

The use is to make the person saying it feel good, to signal to others of his tribe that he is one of them, to re-assure himself that he is not merely factually correct but morally correct, and that those who disagree with him are not just wrong, but wicked. It fills the same social and psychological function as some Puritan calling someone he doesn’t like sinful.

168

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 7:41 pm

I have little doubt that racist incidents will increase if Trump is elected, because it will embolden individual racists to go out and harass people, or even to commit acts of violence. Both the KKK and the American Nazi party have publicly stated that Trump’s candidacy is a significant moment in promoting their ends, and that he is their candidate.

169

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 7:47 pm

Cassander #163: “How is trying to pass immigration reform extreme, divisive or aggressive?”

You will have to ask the GOP! There is a long history of the Congressional Democrats wanting to compromise on the issue, offering increased border security etc. in exchange for a path to citizenship for those already here. The Republicans have blocked this consistently, not because half of them aren’t there already (e.g., see Kasich’s positions) but because they want a divisive wedge issue to whoop up their knuckleheaded voters come election times.

170

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 7:54 pm

Layman #142: “there’s the fact that the people who say these things don’t for the most part seem to be people who have been burdened or threatened by immigration.”

Except that in the next breath they will tell you that a main complaint is that they don’t want to pay the taxes so that the illegals can free-ride. Indeed this is much of their complaint against Obamacare as well, even about legal citizens who are benefitting from the healthcare.

If we have any doubt that people will persist in economic complaints despite being themselves fairly comfortable, we need only observe the Crooked Timber commentariat, who appear to have enough time, food, and the comfortable plush pillowseat to write endlessly about — what? — about how the world is rocketing into the economic ashcan.

171

Lupita 08.20.16 at 8:05 pm

@ Lee A. Arnold

the main show is not the decadence of U.S. hegemony. It’s the capitalist system putting itself out of business.

The way I see it, Protestantism, capitalism, and Western colonialism all evolved simultaneously so they are devolving together also. You do have a point, though, that capitalism is central in that another capitalist country will not replace the US as the US replaced the UK. This is the end of the road.

My point, thought, was that nothing can be done to prevent the collapse of American hegemony and capitalist growth, certainly not Americans being, as individuals, less racist, less sexist, less homophobic, and less xenophobic. It is not the sins of Americans, as individuals, that are the cause of this global tectonic shift, anymore than homosexuals cause earthquakes. All this Trump-hysteria, magical thinking, and moralizing are indicators of decadence.

172

Layman 08.20.16 at 8:08 pm

@ efcdons

Quoting from the study you linked:

“These results do not present a clear picture between social and eocnomic hardship and support for Trump. The standard economic measures of income and employment status show that, if anything, more affluent Americans favor Trump, even among white non-Hispanics. Surprisingly, there appears to be no link whatsoever between exposure to trade competition and support for nationalist policies in America, as embodied by the Trump campaign.

Yet, more subtle measures at the commuting zone level provide evidence that social well-being, measured by longevity and intergenerational mobility, is significantly lower among in the communities of Trump supporters. The causal mechanisms linking health and intergeneratinal well-being to political views are not well-understood in the social science literature. It may be the case that material circumstances caused by economic shocks manifest themselves in depression, dissapointment, and ill-health, and those are the true underlying causes. Or, it may be that material well-being and health are undermined by a cutlural or pyschological failure to adjust and adapt to a changing world. With intergenerational mobility, it may be that parents see their children failing to reach milestones predictive of success and blame the political staus quo.
In any case, this analysis provides clear evidence that those who view Trump favorably are disproportionately living in racially and culturally isolated zip codes and commuting zones. Holding other factors, constant support for Trump is highly elevated in areas with few college graduates, far from the Mexican border, and in neighborhoods that standout within the communting zone for being white, segregated enclaves, with little exposure to blacks, asians, and Hispanics.

“To situate these diverse results more theoretically, I find only limited support that the political views of US nationalists—as manifest in a favorable view towards Donal Trump—are related to economic self-interest. If so, the self-interest calculation must go beyond conventional economic measures to include one’s physical health and inter-generational concerns. Standard economic data are likely inadequate to understanding important aspects of well-being that shape political behavior. Second, I find evidence that contact with racial minorities reduces support for nationalist politics.”

It seems to me the study finds a limited role for economic concerns (which is what I have been saying) while finding a good deal of circumstantial evidence for racial motivation.

Trump support strongly correlates with whiteness, white isolation, and personal economic well-being; and with (by other surveys) anti-immigration views, anti-Muslim views, the notion that the President is secretly a Muslim, fear of terrorism, the view that civil rights have gone too far, and agreement with other racist ideas. It also seems to correlate to a lesser extent somehow with less tangible or measurable fears about economic mobility and mortality rates, but for others, not oneself.

Add to that Trump’s repeated appeal to racist motivations rather than the economic ones, and the fact that his economic plan, where it actually exists, is largely indistinguishable from Standard Republican Tax Cut Plan Number 1.

In light of all that, it seems clear to me that attitudes about race are more significant drivers than is economic concern. I don’t doubt (and don’t say) that there are no Trump supporters with economic fears – how not? – but it is not the driving force of Trumpism that bigotry is.

173

Layman 08.20.16 at 8:09 pm

Sorry, the first 3 full paragraphs above are quotes.

174

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 8:20 pm

@ Lupita

The U.S. may eventually be seen like the Ancient Roman empire. Read Juvenal (recommended!) and it sounds like he wrote it yesterday. It may be that the biggest legacy is the example of the system of laws, and that the U.S. never will contribute very much of lasting world significance in arts, literature, philosophy. De gustibus non est disputandum, of course. Gore Vidal once said that the only art form invented by America is the television commercial. Also cowboy Westerns, the blues, rock and roll.

But don’t hold your breath: U.S. hegemony is here for another 50 years, largely because the rest of the world is in even worse shape.

175

Layman 08.20.16 at 8:26 pm

Donald Trump’s first campaign ad.

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/trumps-dystopian-tv-ad-cites-anti-immigrant-groups-attack-dacadapa

Watch the ad and then tell me, where is the economic message for his economically concerned supporters?

176

cassander 08.20.16 at 8:43 pm

@Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 7:47 pm

>You will have to ask the GOP! There is a long history of the Congressional Democrats wanting to compromise on the issue, offering increased border security etc. in exchange for a path to citizenship for those already here.

Such a deal was never really offered. That was the deal of 1986, that the republicans passed, and while the amnesty happened, the border security never did. Proof of this is the condemnation of various “security first” provisions that were always shot down by the reformers that required securing the border before the amnesty went into effect. If you are sincere in your support of both arms, there’s no reason to support such a bill. If, however, you expect the security to be nonsense (or plan to undermine it), it’s a poison pill.

>The Republicans have blocked this consistently, not because half of them aren’t there already (e.g., see Kasich’s positions) but because they want a divisive wedge issue to whoop up their knuckleheaded voters come election times.

You are implying that the republican leadership is against reform. This is complete nonsense. They most certainly are pro-reform. They’ve made multiple attempts, all of which have been stymied precisely because there is a big chunk of the party terrified of going the way of Eric Cantor if such a bill passes. Opposition to immigration reform is not coming from the top down, but the bottom up.

>Both the KKK and the American Nazi party have publicly stated that Trump’s candidacy is a significant moment in promoting their ends, and that he is their candidate.

And CPUSA has endorsed Hillary Clinton. What of it?

177

Layman 08.20.16 at 8:54 pm

“And CPUSA has endorsed Hillary Clinton.”

Given how you parse other people’s claims, you should be aware that this is not, strictly speaking, true.

178

efcdons 08.20.16 at 9:00 pm

@ 168
The article was supposed to be some giant take down of non-racist reasons for Trump support.

“It seems to me the study finds a limited role for economic concerns (which is what I have been saying) while finding a good deal of circumstantial evidence for racial motivation.”

No. One can only assume this is the case if they ignore how “Standard economic data are likely inadequate to understanding important aspects of well-being that shape political behavior.” and how “the self-interest calculation must go beyond conventional economic measures to include one’s physical health and (importantly – me) inter-generational concerns.” Do you believe peoples’ behavior and actions as economic and political actors are entirely motivated by self interest or personal experience?

By arguing people in areas with little racial diversity are motivated mostly by racism you seem to agree people can be motivated by things outside their self interest or experiences. Just as Trump supporters are not impacted by economic disadvantage personally, they are not impacted by racial diversity personally either (“Trump is highly elevated in areas with few college graduates, far from the Mexican border, and in neighborhoods that standout within the communting zone for being white, segregated enclaves, with little exposure to blacks, asians, and Hispanics.”).

So if you can argue racially motivated actions (like voting for Trump) come from racial “feelings” entirely divorced from self interest or experience, why can’t economically motivated actions come from places other than self-interest or personal experience?

Why would some one who has never met an African-American or Hispanic person be racist considering it does not affect their self interest? Media, anecdotes from third parties, stuff like that might be a reason. But those can be the same reasons why a not personally poor or disadvantaged person might be motivated by ideas concerning the state of the economy even while it is not their own experience.

In the sections you quote the author says while the personal situation of Trump supporters is not linked to economic factors commonly associated with economic disadvantage, he admits there is a link between economic disadvantage in the community and Trump support.

I agree it is obvious Trump doesn’t give a hoot about economically disadvantaged people. But that’s not how his supporters see it. Even in regards to the huge, regressive tax cuts, if one believes in a “just deserts” theory of income distribution then tax cuts for the rich aren’t evidence of hatred of the poor or unfair bias to the rich. It’s letting people “keep what they earned”. Supporting a candidate who supports horrible tax cuts that mostly benefit the rich doesn’t prove people who support Trump are not motivated by economic concerns. It just might mean they think it’s fair people get what they deserve and Trump will make sure people will get what they deserve (i.e. “illegal” immigrants, the Chinese, American companies that outsource for a bigger profit don’t “deserve” what they get and Trump will change that). Those are standard right populist views and are common even in countries with no or very tiny racial minorities so the ire is directed against work shy shirkers and benefits scroungers of the same race as the voter.

I still don’t understand what is gained by focusing so tightly on feelings that seemingly are immune to rational discourse. It’s not rational to hate African-Americans you never see or meet. But it is pretty rational to be concerned about economic conditions your family and community deal with everyday.

179

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 9:03 pm

Cassander #172, What do you mean, never “really” offered. This is BS. Everybody has known for decades where the lay of the land has been on immigration from both Democrats and Republicans. Obama tried to start a big discussion with the same compromises in 2009. There is no big mystery here. The fact that Repubs are afraid of their base is the flipside of having to whip-up these knuckleheads to vote at election time — and the adjective for this is “divisive”.

180

Layman 08.20.16 at 9:07 pm

efcdons: ‘So if you can argue racially motivated actions (like voting for Trump) come from racial “feelings” entirely divorced from self interest or experience, why can’t economically motivated actions come from places other than self-interest or personal experience?’

I’m not arguing that racially motivated actions (like voting for Trump) come from racial feelings entirely divorced from self-interest or experience, because I don’t need to. The racist supporters of Trump self-identify as racists, by the way they respond to questions in surveys and polls, and thus save me the trouble of having to deduce their motivations. They do not self-identify as economically oppressed at anything like the rate at which they click the racist boxes, so I infer that they are more motivated by racism than by economic difficulty. Simple enough?

181

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 9:08 pm

“CPUSA Endorses Hillary, Yet She’s Still Not the ‘Golden Girl’ in Crooked Timber Comments” — headline in Bananas News

182

T 08.20.16 at 9:15 pm

Layman
Did you even bother reading the article?

“The fact that his Democrat opponent, Hillary Clinton, said in March, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” has helped, too.”

Yep, when HRC says she will put you and friends out of a job, it’s racism that you support her opponent.

““I kind of feel that people are looking down on us,” said Neil Hanshew, a miner, voicing a common sentiment. “They’re looking at us like we’re a bunch of dumb hillbillies who can’t do anything else.”

Perfectly describes you, Layman. You hate them. You think they’re racist, stupid religious fanatics. And they know that.

And when I said a couple of threads ago that you think Trump support is 100% racism and 0% policy, you added economic stupidity and religious fanaticism to make you’re list three. How white of you.

So I repeat my questions: Do you have any friends that are voting Republican? Are they racist, stupid, and/or fanatics? Or you just don’t have any Republican friends because they’re all Republicans racist, stupid, and/or fanatics?

183

efcdons 08.20.16 at 9:16 pm

@176
“The racist supporters of Trump self-identify as racists, by the way they respond to questions in surveys and polls, and thus save me the trouble of having to deduce their motivations. “

That’s certainly a very good point

But at 142 you say in response to Lee A. Arnold’s point about “the TeaTrumpers with the complaint that it’s (Immigration – me) an economic burden, the immigrants aren’t paying their full share, make them do it leagally, etc.”

by saying

“I’m not surprised they say that, but then there’s the fact that the people who say these things don’t for the most part seem to be people who have been burdened or threatened by immigration. They’re voicing fears about immigrants that are, for them, abstract, ungrounded in actual negative experience. In fact, exposure to immigrants correlates negatively with support for Trump.”

Why is when they say racist things divorced from their experience we don’t need to delve into why people may make those statements even though there is nothing in their personal self-interest or experience to make them racist while you don’t give the same deference when people give answers regarding their perceptions of factors related to economics and dismiss their feelings by pointing to the lack of personal experience or personal economic disadvantage?

184

Lee A. Arnold 08.20.16 at 9:19 pm

Almost 1/4 of Trump’s “pivot” speech last night is dedicated to relieving the economic anxiety of black people!

Transcript link at bottom — faster and easier than listening to it, though you will miss his over-repetition of the phrases attempting to appeal to blacks.

It is still nonsense. It will be very hard to convince black people that Barack Obama has not been good for blacks in the United States and even elsewhere. (I’m not even sure that Ben Carson would go that far, although he would never admit it publicly.)

And on the economic anxiety, Trump himself — a commercial real estate debt & bankruptcy artist — is pretty much the poster boy for the 1% who shtupped everybody else up the bunghole.

The likely intent here is not to win over black people, because it would be very hard to convince them that Barack Obama’s presidency has been bad for blacks in the United States.

But as Howard Frant #119 indicated above, this is an attempt to soften Trump’s racist image with another set of targeted voters: suburban Republican women; independents who might have been concerned about the divisive effects of Trump’s tactics and rhetoric upon the body politic; and younger voters.

I imagine that Stephen Bannon hopes that this sort of thing will be a game changer, and so we will see Trump make teleprompted appeals to women, youth,… maybe even Mexicans and Muslims, shortly. I don’t think it will work, but it may be worth a 2-point bump in the polls, salient in 2 weeks.

And that’s politics. It will be increasingly difficult to argue that Trump is a racist, because people will gesture dimly towards this speech and say, “Duh, uh but no he cain’t be, he speechified us this nonsense.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/donald-trump-michigan-speech-transcript-227221

185

J-D 08.20.16 at 9:51 pm

kidneystones 08.20.16 at 1:25 pm
We are entirely free to rely on our belly-button list, personal experiences with racist family members, and/or close proximity to hypocrisy in its myriad manifestations.

To the best of my knowledge, I’m the only person commenting here who supported the 2010 Tea Party, watches a lot of Trump, and is an open advocate of a Trump presidency versus that of HRC.

The single common thread that unites that community of voters from what I can see is that the system is basically fine, but that immoral people close to power are manipulating the system to enrich themselves and their enablers – the donor class. This manipulation of the system, in addition to making the insiders rich, produces numerous injustices and inequities – O’s daughter gets scolded for smoking pot whilst numerous poorer people rot in prison for the same crime. Banks get bailed out by tax-payers who play by the rules. The fact that there is, or isn’t, a direct personal cost to any individual is besides the point.

The single best explanation I’ve heard for the success of Sanders and Trump comes from an American colleague who observed that perhaps for the first time the economic concerns of the poor and the middle-class align. These people do not believe the nation/the world is headed in the right direction. The are also aware that life as they know it has been under threat for a long time. Many of these voters are convinced that once the Temple has been cleansed all boats will rise again.

The optimist in me is inclined to agree. The pessimist predicts another victory for the donor class.

I would be interested in an explanation of how you reconcile the idea that ‘the system is basically fine’ with the ideas that the nation is not ‘headed in the right direction’ and that life as you know it ‘has been under threat for a long time’. From where I’m sitting those ideas don’t seem compatible.

As for your idea that a Trump Presidency would ‘cleanse the Temple’, I’m sure you’re wrong. Immoral people close to the system would continue to manipulate the system to enrich themselves and their enablers under a Trump Presidency, and anybody who sincerely believes otherwise is (sadly) being played for a sucker.

186

Layman 08.20.16 at 9:56 pm

T: “Did you even bother reading the article?”

Yes, of course. Those are some Trump supporters who say they are motivated by economic anxiety.

But I don’t deny, and have not denied, that such people exist. What I have said is that I don’t believe economic anxiety is a primary driver of Trump support. So, an anecdote isn’t going to change my mind. I’m looking for data. What data convinced you that this was about economic factors more than racism?

T: “So I repeat my questions…”

You don’t answer my questions. You just lie about what I’ve said. Why should I answer yours? What purpose would it serve?

187

None 08.20.16 at 10:08 pm

If JD Vance, the author of “Hillybilly Elegy”, is to be believed everyone in his neck of the woods (appalachia) is aware that Trump offers no realistic solution to their problems. He has it that their’s is a protest vote in part to spite the “effete coastal elites/cosmopolitans/whatever the cutting-edge idiom of abuse is” who they believe to look down their nose at them. Meanwhile, AFAICT, Trump, in the highly unlikely event of his victory, is going to give upper income brackets a gigantic tax break. Thanks, guys. Time to upgrade the Tesla Model S.
If folks are foolish enough to vote against their own interests & just to tell off someone who may not even be aware of their existence … well, good luck.

188

Layman 08.20.16 at 10:09 pm

efcdons: “Why is when they say racist things divorced from their experience we don’t need to delve into why people may make those statements even though there is nothing in their personal self-interest or experience to make them racist while you don’t give the same deference when people give answers regarding their perceptions of factors related to economics and dismiss their feelings by pointing to the lack of personal experience or personal economic disadvantage?”

I frankly don’t understand the question. What has deference to do with it? We know racism is a primary driver of Trump support because the racist Trump supporters admit they are motivated by racism. Should we not take them at their word?

We know that economic anxiety is not as big a driver because the Trump supporters cite it less frequently. Should we not take them at their word?

Studies have shown that race, racist views, racial isolation are much bigger apparent drivers than economic factors; while there is some indirect economic correlation.

Now, in the long, ugly history of racism in America, racists have usually cited other reasons for their apparently racist views and policies. Economic anxiety is one of those oft-cited excuses for racist policy. I therefore admit to some suspicion about excusing Trump support by citing the economy. But I’ve got an open mind, so I’m asking, again: Where is the data which shows that economic anxiety is as important as views on race in determining Trump support?

189

T 08.20.16 at 10:14 pm

Kidney–
“To the best of my knowledge, I’m the only person commenting here who supported the 2010 Tea Party, watches a lot of Trump, and is an open advocate of a Trump presidency versus that of HRC.”

You have one weird hobby for someone who hasn’t lived here and can’t vote. But God bless, have at it. You really should come and stay a while. It’s really hard knowing a place by reading polls and watching TV. Applying a European class dynamic as a window to the US is doomed to failure other than by coincidence. It’s good that you have an American friend to talk to about this, but that’s a small sample. Imagine a bit if that one acquaintance was Layman.

“The single common thread that unites that community of voters from what I can see is that the system is basically fine, but that immoral people close to power are manipulating the system to enrich themselves and their enablers – the donor class.”

Close. The donor class put the “immoral people” there to enrich themselves. The immoral people get lots of leftovers, though. See Manafort, Podesta, and Vin Weber. It really is classic because it’s just so frickin’ obvious. (Prediction: Manafort goes down and Podesta and Weber slither away. btw-for close observers, I mentioned Tony Podesta weeks ago in reference to HRC friends, well before this Ukrainian fiasco came to light. Something to the effect of there not being a shower long enough to wash off his stench.)

And you really miss the non-class-based dynamic that is very American. While I think Layman has been shouted down in the thread for concentrating nearly completely about race and BW is sick of it, it is a central part of the American dynamic along with the economics. But Layman seems to forget that the people he truly hates were part of the core of FDRs coalition. And that these folks love SS, Medicare, the TVA, and a host of other FDR gov’t programs. The idea of a unified anti-entitlement Repub/conservative party has always been a myth. (And the Appalachian voters discussed in the NYTs article are a different beast than say voters in the Deep South.)

I think most of your views come from your disgust with the 0.01% manipulating the system to further entrench and enrich themselves. Am I wrong? Which leads to ask if Warren or Sanders were the Dem nominee would you support them over Trump? I’m practically certain you’d support them over Bush.

190

J-D 08.20.16 at 10:27 pm

cassander 08.20.16 at 7:19 pm
@J-d

In 1984 (John Anderson confuses the 1980 election somewhat), of the 10 most republican states, none was southern. the average for reagan in a republican state was 60.9%, only 5 southern states got above that mark, one of which was Florida.

I accept that in the 1984 Presidential election, the South was not the Republicans’ strongest region. But I wasn’t taking that to be the point at issue. In the 1984 Presidential election, the South was not the Republicans’ weakest region. The Northeast was.

>What’s your explanation for why they’re saying that, and more specifically why they’re saying it now?

Because they believe it, and because it didn’t seem relevant to say before.

Absolutely it’s fair to take it that if people are saying something they think it’s relevant. The question is, what makes them think it’s relevant to say it now (when it wasn’t before)? Do you agree with them that it’s relevant to say it now (in a way that it wasn’t before)?

>Could be part of the explanation of why they’re becoming so extreme, divisive, and aggressive. And/or could be one the consequences of it.

Might be, if they were. But you can’t use your claim that they’re those things as evidence that they’re those things.

I wasn’t trying to.

You referred to their lack of legislative success as if it were evidence against the proposition previously advance that they are extreme, divisive, and aggressive. It’s not evidence against that proposition.

>And it hasn’t occurred to you that the attempt to do so is exactly the kind of thing that some people consider as extreme, divisive, and aggressive? Something doesn’t become less extreme, divisive, and aggressive just because it doesn’t work.

How is trying to pass immigration reform extreme, divisive or aggressive?

I’m sorry, I wasn’t sufficiently careful to make my reference clear. I wasn’t suggesting that efforts to pass immigration reform are extreme, divisive, or aggressive. I was suggesting that the efforts to get Hillary Clinton indicted are exactly the kind of thing that people consider extreme, divisive, and aggressive; and that they don’t stop being so just because they were unsuccessful.

191

efcdons 08.20.16 at 10:44 pm

“I frankly don’t understand the question. What has deference to do with it?”

You told me we don’t need to think about motivations behind racist concerns even while we seem to agree Trump supporters do not have direct experience with the people or groups they are racist toward (Again, “Holding other factors, constant support for Trump is highly elevated in areas with few college graduates, far from the Mexican border, and in neighborhoods that standout within the communting zone for being white, segregated enclaves, with little exposure to blacks, asians, and Hispanics.”). You defer to their “revealed preference” as it were without caring about any possible motivation behind it.

But when they reveal concerns about economics you seem to be saying that is just BS cover for other race based feelings because “The standard economic measures of income and employment status show that, if anything, more affluent Americans favor Trump, even among white non-Hispanics. “

The point was why do you feel the need to so closely analyze the “real” reasons behind expressed economic concerns while taking any race based concerns at face value when according to the data Trump supporters are neither poor/economically disadvantaged nor personally exposed to the non-white people against whom they are so racially motivated.

In the long history of US racism racists have also been motivated to racism by material factors like job competition, for example. That makes me suspicious about so strongly tying Trump support to racial resentment without thinking about the way it may interact with material concerns.

The data which shows economic anxiety may be important was in the article I linked: “Yet, more subtle measures at the commuting zone level provide evidence that social well-being, measured by longevity and intergenerational mobility, is significantly lower among in the communities of Trump supporters.”

If racial resentment can come from the general racism of the society in which the Trump supporter lives even when they aren’t personally exposed to the people they hate, why can’t the same be true for economic concerns? Economic concerns can come from the economic disadvantage within the communities Trump supporters inhabit even when they aren’t personally disadvantaged.

In 134 you listed the voter concerns from a recent Pew study. Of the top 3 (Immigration, Terrorism, and Crime) I would argue at least 2 (immigration and crime) can be linked to economic anxiety (e.g. Immigrants are the reason my son can’t find a job. Because people in the community can’t find jobs they have turned to crime).

I don’t know if economic anxiety is as important as racial resentment. I think it’s likely they are closely linked in the minds of Trump supporters. Obviously if they were not prone to racial anxiety they would be voting for candidates who promise to alleviate economic anxieties though their policies without the racial resentment, i.e. They would vote Sanders or Clinton. The fact they support Trump instead of other candidates who also (or even more so) address economic anxiety as part of their campaign makes it clear racial resentment is a large factor in supporting Trump.

You seem to think that is an “excuse” for unvarnished racial resentment. But you still haven’t (in my mind) explained why people who have never deal with Black people or immigrants in their day to day lives would be so racist in a way that doesn’t also support the theory of general economic anxiety in their communities as big reason for supporting Trump.

192

T 08.20.16 at 11:13 pm

Layman —
Your refusal to answer to my simple questions speaks volumes:

Do you have any friends that are voting Republican? Are they racist, stupid, and/or fanatics? Or you just don’t have any Republican-voting friends because all Republican voters are racist, stupid about economics, and/or religious fanatics?

Given all your posts, it ain’t hard to connect the docs.

193

T 08.20.16 at 11:34 pm

efcdons@191

I’ve attached a link to a James Kwak post you might find interesting. It’s about an oft referred to study on Trump and economic anxiety. The blog is a joint effort w/Simon Johnson, a critic of neoliberalism focusing on finance, current MIT prof, and former chief economist at the IMF. These are not Trump fans.

https://baselinescenario.com/2016/08/16/that-massive-new-study-says-nothing-about-economic-anxiety/

194

cassander 08.20.16 at 11:34 pm

@JD

>Absolutely it’s fair to take it that if people are saying something they think it’s relevant. The question is, what makes them think it’s relevant to say it now (when it wasn’t before)? Do you agree with them that it’s relevant to say it now (in a way that it wasn’t before)?

All live’s matter is a trite and silly thing to say. It wouldn’t be a meaningful thing to say except for the hysterical reaction against it.

>You referred to their lack of legislative success as if it were evidence against the proposition previously advance that they are extreme, divisive, and aggressive. It’s not evidence against that proposition.

Saying that they are extreme, divisive, and aggressive implies an ever more ambitious policy agenda. If you don’t mean it that way, I won’t hold you to that implication, but others in this thread are definitely claiming it.

>I’m sorry, I wasn’t sufficiently careful to make my reference clear. I wasn’t suggesting that efforts to pass immigration reform are extreme, divisive, or aggressive. I was suggesting that the efforts to get Hillary Clinton indicted are exactly the kind of thing that people consider extreme, divisive, and aggressive; and that they don’t stop being so just because they were unsuccessful

Calling for the indictment of criminals is extreme, divisive, and aggressive?

195

kidneystones 08.21.16 at 12:12 am

Hi T. I’ve made it clear in the past that Sanders if my first choice. You’re quite right to point to the unusual interest (some) non-US residents have with America. There are good reasons for this. As we do not (usually) have any direct involvement in the elections, and speaking only for myself, I tend to identify the candidate I’d least like to see elected.

I linked up thread to Homer Stevens, a communist, and stressed the positive contributions communists make/made to progress, improved choices, and better social welfare. Duncan Black I believe put it best when declared his ‘solidarity’ with Code Pink activists et al during the efforts to stop/end the Iraq debacle. We don’t always have the luxury of choosing allies, we go with the allies we have.

Trump is the only candidate who promotes ideas I strongly support: non-interventionism and protectionist trade policies. I question both his commitment and his ability to follow through. No sane person wouldn’t. Most important, win or lose, he’s pushed a whole variety of unsavory topics right onto the front burner and if takes Donald Trump to get liberals to square up to the failures of the blue model to improve lives of people of color ‘warehoused’ in Democratically-run cities, whose only value seems to be as political pawns deployed by both sides each election cycle, so be it.

The destruction/assault on Ted Cruz/Bush K street GOP is a development all rational people should applaud and support. But that’s probably too much to ask for around here.

196

Layman 08.21.16 at 12:17 am

efcdons: ‘You defer to their “revealed preference” as it were without caring about any possible motivation behind it.’

It is this bit I find odd. If all I’m doing is trying to determine if they’re motivated by racism, and they say that they’re motivated by racism (those who do), why would I need to determine how they acquired their racism? I admit it’s an interesting question, but not interesting to the question of whether racism is their motivation.

“That makes me suspicious about so strongly tying Trump support to racial resentment without thinking about the way it may interact with material concerns.”

But we agree, I think, that the racism is there, that it is a significant factor, that the data show this much. I’m not working hard to tie Trump support to racism. It isn’t a hard question. That doesn’t, and I don’t, preclude that there are other factors, but none of them loom as large in the data as racism.

“The data which shows economic anxiety may be important was in the article I linked:”

I don’t disagree it’s a factor, I just think the data show it is less of a factor than racism, and that study supports my view.

“You seem to think that is an “excuse” for unvarnished racial resentment.”

Have some care, please. I didn’t say I think that. I said that I’m suspicious, but that I have on open mind about it.

“I don’t know if economic anxiety is as important as racial resentment.”

What would it take for you to know, one way or the other?

197

Lee A. Arnold 08.21.16 at 12:44 am

198

J-D 08.21.16 at 12:47 am

cassander 08.20.16 at 11:34 pm
@JD

>Absolutely it’s fair to take it that if people are saying something they think it’s relevant. The question is, what makes them think it’s relevant to say it now (when it wasn’t before)? Do you agree with them that it’s relevant to say it now (in a way that it wasn’t before)?

All live’s matter is a trite and silly thing to say. It wouldn’t be a meaningful thing to say except for the hysterical reaction against it.

Are you suggesting that it was not relevant for people to say ‘All Lives Matter’ and that they were not justified in deciding to do so — except that what they did was retroactively justified and made relevant by the response to it? That makes no sense to me. If what they did was not relevant and not justified when they decided to do it, that remains the case no matter what happens afterwards. It is not possible that the reaction prompted their decision, so what did? Even if they didn’t have a good reason, they must have had a reason, so what was it? I feel you’re avoiding that issue.

>You referred to their lack of legislative success as if it were evidence against the proposition previously advance that they are extreme, divisive, and aggressive. It’s not evidence against that proposition.

Saying that they are extreme, divisive, and aggressive implies an ever more ambitious policy agenda. If you don’t mean it that way, I won’t hold you to that implication, but others in this thread are definitely claiming it.

Yes, but there’s no inconsistency between having an ambitious agenda and failing to implement it; so if they haven’t succeeding in implementing the agenda, that’s not evidence against the proposition that the agenda is extreme, divisive, and aggressive.

>I’m sorry, I wasn’t sufficiently careful to make my reference clear. I wasn’t suggesting that efforts to pass immigration reform are extreme, divisive, or aggressive. I was suggesting that the efforts to get Hillary Clinton indicted are exactly the kind of thing that people consider extreme, divisive, and aggressive; and that they don’t stop being so just because they were unsuccessful

Calling for the indictment of criminals is extreme, divisive, and aggressive?

I take it that you consider Hillary Clinton to be a criminal. But you must surely be aware that there are many people who take the view that she is not a criminal, that there is little or no justification for considering her to be a criminal, and that the motives of people are pursuing allegations of criminality against her are linked to their extreme, divisive, and aggressive attitude.

Moreover, accusing the opposing Presidential candidate of being a criminal would in most cases be an extreme, divisive, and aggressive move, even if the accusations are entirely justified and entirely true. If you find the accusations merited, I suggest it would make more sense to argue that it is justified to take this extreme, divisive, and aggressive move rather than to argue that it was not extreme, divisive, and aggressive.

199

J-D 08.21.16 at 12:51 am

kidneystones 08.21.16 at 12:12 am

The destruction/assault on Ted Cruz/Bush K street GOP is a development all rational people should applaud and support. But that’s probably too much to ask for around here.

1. I doubt that Donald Trump has destroyed, or will destroy, the Republican Party. We shall find out in due course.
2. My feelings about the destruction of the Republican Party (if it does happen) will depend on what replaces it: if it’s destroyed, something will replace it, and there’s no reason it couldn’t be something worse.

200

Faustusnotes 08.21.16 at 12:58 am

Can people please stop citing that stupid Washington post article? I pointed out before that the “higher mortality” in the areas in the study simply indicates they’re older and you can’t use unstandardized mortality rates in that age group as an indicator of health. I now see in addition that the article (and people citing it here) interprets these higher mortality rates as reduced longevity which is manifestly untrue- longevity cannot be inferred from mortality rates in a portion of the population and (as I have said twice now in connection to that article) greater longevity always requires higher death rates in aggregated groups. Furthermore that analysis by Gallup suffers from ecological fallacy up the wazzoo. Can we please stop treating it as evidence?

And since I have said repeatedly that identifying trumps support as racist is a necessary basis for a strategy and tried to point out what that strategy might be, can people like Marc maybe stop pretending that saying its racist is pointless posturing?

These threads really are getting like Groundhog Day.

201

Layman 08.21.16 at 1:00 am

“A terrific essay by Rich Yeselson at Vox:”

Goodness, what will T make of this?

“…a major conservative party that combines the ethno-nationalism of the European splinter parties plus a religiously grounded concern about changing gender roles, and a libertarian fealty to its plutocratic donor class — an elephant one part George Wallace, one part Jerry Falwell, and one part Ayn Rand…”

202

cassander 08.21.16 at 1:07 am

>J-D 08.21.16 at 12:47 am
cassander 08.20.16 at 11:34 pm

>Are you suggesting that it was not relevant for people to say ‘All Lives Matter’ and that they were not justified in deciding to do so — except that what they did was retroactively justified and made relevant by the response to it?

No, I’m saying that it wasn’t relevant, and then things changed, and it became relevant.

>Yes, but there’s no inconsistency between having an ambitious agenda and failing to implement it; so if they haven’t succeeding in implementing the agenda, that’s not evidence against the proposition that the agenda is extreme, divisive, and aggressive.

Then you would be resting on the assertion that the agenda itself is changing. It isn’t.

>Moreover, accusing the opposing Presidential candidate of being a criminal would in most cases be an extreme, divisive, and aggressive move, even if the accusations are entirely justified and entirely true.

So if Donald Trump gets caught in some massive tax scandal, you would oppose, not just his indictment, but people pointing out the fact that he’s a criminal? Simply because he is the candidate for Presidency?

I would say what is extreme, divisive, and aggressive is defending brazen criminal behavior just because she happens to have your preferred letter by her name, not the correct attempt to punish her for her crimes despite her station.

203

T 08.21.16 at 1:23 am

kidneystones
Thanks for the response. I might point out that it’s easier to suggest blowing up everything with a sociopath at the helm when you don’t live there. When you do live there, you can consider waiting 4 years. But I do like your spirit. The public doesn’t like either candidate for good reasons. And you’ve made the obvious choice between displaced coal miners and rent-seeking plutocrats regardless of the actual candidates. Not all on this thread have.

I’d add that Trump has shown no inclination to go after the “donor class.” He is the donor class or would be if he wasn’t so cheap or in fact had the money he claims. (The tax returns would confirm what everyone already knows — less income than claimed, little paid in taxes, little in cash donations with lots of donated rounds of golf.) And I suspect you’ll soon be disappointed at him going after the donor-class toadies. Even if he’s successful, and it’s hard to kill a cockroach, they’ll be another Podesta or Weber in a heartbeat. They’ll soon be replaced. This isn’t FDR. But if you just want to blow shit up with literally no clue to what you’ll get, he’s a good choice. And a friend that supports Trump wants exactly that. But people remember the venom against the Clinton’s helped begat Bush, certainly among the worst presidents in US history.

204

J-D 08.21.16 at 1:29 am

cassander 08.21.16 at 1:07 am
>J-D 08.21.16 at 12:47 am
cassander 08.20.16 at 11:34 pm

>Are you suggesting that it was not relevant for people to say ‘All Lives Matter’ and that they were not justified in deciding to do so — except that what they did was retroactively justified and made relevant by the response to it?

No, I’m saying that it wasn’t relevant, and then things changed, and it became relevant.

I feel you’re still avoiding the issue. If, initially, it wasn’t relevant, then what prompted them to say it? It’s those motives for saying it when it wasn’t relevant that contribute to the characterisation ‘extreme, divisive, and aggressive’.

>Yes, but there’s no inconsistency between having an ambitious agenda and failing to implement it; so if they haven’t succeeding in implementing the agenda, that’s not evidence against the proposition that the agenda is extreme, divisive, and aggressive.

Then you would be resting on the assertion that the agenda itself is changing. It isn’t.

There’s no inconsistency between describing an agenda as ambitious (or describing it as extreme, divisive, and aggressive) and describing it as unchanging. If an agenda starts out as ambitious (or extreme, divisive, and aggressive) and then doesn’t change, that doesn’t mean it stops being ambitious (or extreme, divisive, and aggressive).

>Moreover, accusing the opposing Presidential candidate of being a criminal would in most cases be an extreme, divisive, and aggressive move, even if the accusations are entirely justified and entirely true.

So if Donald Trump gets caught in some massive tax scandal, you would oppose, not just his indictment, but people pointing out the fact that he’s a criminal? Simply because he is the candidate for Presidency?

I would have hoped my answer to that would have been clear from my earlier comment. I would not contend that the fact that Donald Trump is a presidential candidate is an argument against his criminal indictment for crime, or against calling him a criminal. In some circumstances the criminal indictment of a Presidential candidate would be justified; it would probably be an extreme, divisive, and aggressive move, but it could still be justified nevertheless.

Gerald Ford’s motives for extending a Presidential pardon to Richard Nixon were probably similar to the view that a prosecution would have been ‘extreme, divisive, and aggressive’ (those words may not be exactly the best to capture his attitude, but they’re probably close). He wasn’t justified, though. A criminal prosecution of Richard Nixon would have been an extreme and divisive procedure, but it would have been a justified extreme and divisive procedure.

205

Layman 08.21.16 at 1:52 am

“I would say what is extreme, divisive, and aggressive is defending brazen criminal behavior…”

Cassander, I imagine you can’t even name the crime you think was committed. Surprise me.

206

kidneystones 08.21.16 at 1:53 am

@ 203 Thanks, T, for yours. What I particularly enjoy about your arguments is that you obviously listen as much as talk. Thanks to for the warm invitation. I can assure I look forward to returning to the states as soon as I can for another extended stay. Nuff said on that. Re: blowing stuff up. What you may not know, (or perhaps you do) is that many small communities outside the US are effectively ‘company towns.’ The single largest employer in many Canadian cities used to be, and perhaps still is, a subsidiary company of a US multi-national. I’m sure you’re well aware of the toxic levels of industrial pollution that were considered ‘part of the job.’

So, many outside the US have our shit ‘blown-up’ by you folks both literally and figuratively all the time.

I live in Japan which has been for many years effectively a US military protectorate. Japan owes its constitution to Douglas MacArthur, which just goes to show that exeptionally good things can come out of very bad circumstances. I’ve watched hours and hours of Trump, as have millions of Americans. I very much doubt they regard guy the came to know on the Apprentice and who embodies the lifestyles of the rich and famous is going to be redefined as a ‘sociopath’ no matter how many times elites parrot the meme.

No disrespect intended.

207

kidneystones 08.21.16 at 1:58 am

Lots of typos. Oops.

Trump closing gap, now leads in meaningless LA Times poll.

Dowd deploys alliteration. DNC panics: demands Obama follow Trump-Pence to Louisiana for photo-op with flood victims. Which party will pretend to care better?

Fun times!

208

Lupita 08.21.16 at 2:59 am

@ Lee A. Arnold

But don’t hold your breath: U.S. hegemony is here for another 50 years

We had already settled on 20 and that was before Brexit and Trump winning the nomination. 15.

209

bruce wilder 08.21.16 at 3:12 am

months or years, Lupita?

210

T 08.21.16 at 3:14 am

Kidney
We’ll see what the electorate does. The day-to-day poll watching and horse race stuff isn’t very interesting to me. I believe you’ll step up if you’ve misjudged the American electorate. byw-don’t underestimate the people voting for him. they know who he is, too.

The question is whether we blow up our own stuff, not anyone else’s stuff. Very different question. At what point do Americans say “just f- it?” I don’t think we’re there. Not with this guy. The other question you should ask yourself is why the Sander’s supporters (the able-to-vote kind unlike yourself) are not switching to Trump since he’s the only (sort of) anti-neoliberal candidate left. The Sander’s folks hate the elites too. There’s a lot of undercurrents — different conceptions of economic justice, as well as race, region, gender, religion, tribalism.. If you’ve thought that through, I haven’t seen it. I think it’s hard to really understand that from staring at polls. Why not the FDR coalition again? I ‘m waiting.

211

T 08.21.16 at 3:31 am

Layman
“A terrific essay by Rich Yeselson at Vox:”
What will T think?

Well Rich Yeselson is a contributor of this blog. So I’ll ask him:
Is the increasing rank and file support for the Republican Party, especially Trump, based on racism and misogamy? Or are there other reasons? You spent 23 years in the movement. The following article seems to offer other reasons.

http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/rank-and-file-unions-backing-trump/article_fbd604f2-523f-52d4-a5a1-e003058c753a.html

(Layman still refuses to answer my questions. Why bother. It’s kinda like Trump’s tax returns. We know the answer already.)

212

kidneystones 08.21.16 at 3:51 am

@T 210 You’re right that I don’t wade into the granular stuff. For good reasons. a/ I’m not sure what the utility would be other than to make more detailed guesses about highly uncertain outcomes. b/ I’m highly suspicious of ‘national’ trends/values etc. – the noun determiner ‘we’ before ‘Americans’ ‘university professors’ ‘vets’ ‘cat-lovers’ is very often deployed as a claim to particular authority and to dismiss legitimate critiques. There’s a great deal of talking past one another in conversation such as these. I think you err badly, frankly, in demanding nuance from me, in particular, not that I mind.

As for ‘thinking things through,’ in what political universe does that often take place? I’d say the opposite is the norm – with fear and greed kicking in at key points to deter rational decision making. Marketers and merchandisers have known this forever. People claim rationality when fear, very often irrational fears, are the actual drivers.

My own modest career in persuasion bears this out and is generally accepted among those of us who’ve made a fair living peddling junk to the gullible and easily led.

213

J-D 08.21.16 at 3:55 am

T 08.21.16 at 3:31 am

… misogamy …

I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

214

efcdons 08.21.16 at 4:09 am

T @193
Interesting article. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. It’s tough when people make arguments based on a statistical analysis to verify whether the statistics are being manipulated in a coherent, correct fashion when your only training in statistics comes from a college course you took ten years ago that you don’t really remember because you were pretty high during class most of the time. I mean, that’s what a friend of mine told me :).

Layman @196
Ok. I think I can say everyone here agrees a lot of Trump support is motivated by racism. So what? By itself how is that useful information if we want to figure out how to get those people to not support Trump but support another, non-racist candidate who has real answers for the very real problems facing the US? You may as well say they are ugly. Why are they racist? How did they come to be this way and what, if anything can we do to change their perception or views? We all agree on the diagnosis, but what is the etiology of their racism? Maybe they are just bad people. But that’s a scary thought because then about 40% of America are just straight up bad people who can’t be changed.

“Have some care, please. I didn’t say I think that. I said that I’m suspicious, but that I have on open mind about it. “

Come one, you practically asked “have you stopped beating your wife yet?” Your “suspicions” don’t sound so suspicious.

Faustnotes @200
The longevity isn’t (as) important in that study as the finding Trump supporters live in areas with low intergenerational mobility. I think low intergenerational mobility is the factor that is most connected to a feeling of economic anxiety. In the US the dream isn’t just to do well, it is your kids to do better. If it seems like if the young people in a community are unable to improve their position or are even backsliding in socio-economic status I could imagine it would cause distress.

215

cassander 08.21.16 at 4:14 am

J-D 08.21.16 at 1:29 am
cassander 08.21.16 at 1:07 am

>I feel you’re still avoiding the issue. If, initially, it wasn’t relevant, then what prompted them to say it? It’s those motives for saying it when it wasn’t relevant that contribute to the characterisation ‘extreme, divisive, and aggressive’.

The emergence of an extremely divisive group claiming something else.

>Yes, but there’s no inconsistency between having an ambitious agenda and failing to implement it; so if they haven’t succeeding in implementing the agenda, that’s not evidence against the proposition that the agenda is extreme, divisive, and aggressive.

If the policies haven’t changed, and the agenda hasn’t changed, then they can’t be getting more extreme, divisive, and aggressive, which was your original claim. And to call a set of policies and an agenda that have been largely unchanged for 20+ years extreme, divisive, and aggressive, is a somewhat absurd claim.

>I would have hoped my answer to that would have been clear from my earlier comment. I would not contend that the fact that Donald Trump is a presidential candidate is an argument against his criminal indictment for crime, or against calling him a criminal.

You just said that calling Hillary a criminal and calling for her indictment was extreme, divisive, and aggressive. Which is it?

216

bruce wilder 08.21.16 at 4:54 am

efcdons @ 214: low intergenerational mobility

too many syllables

217

Faustusnotes 08.21.16 at 4:56 am

Efcdons I guess you were high during class or nobody taught it, but that article is rich with ecological fallacy. It’s a fact that wealthier states are more likely to vote democrat but it’s also a fact that in all states wealthier people are more likely to vote republican. That article is wrong in effectively all of its particulars.

218

J-D 08.21.16 at 8:18 am

cassander 08.21.16 at 4:14 am
J-D 08.21.16 at 1:29 am
cassander 08.21.16 at 1:07 am

>I feel you’re still avoiding the issue. If, initially, it wasn’t relevant, then what prompted them to say it? It’s those motives for saying it when it wasn’t relevant that contribute to the characterisation ‘extreme, divisive, and aggressive’.

The emergence of an extremely divisive group claiming something else.

No, that’s not right: if there were a group denying that all lives matter, it would be relevant and important to affirm that they do, but there is no group making such a denial.

>Yes, but there’s no inconsistency between having an ambitious agenda and failing to implement it; so if they haven’t succeeding in implementing the agenda, that’s not evidence against the proposition that the agenda is extreme, divisive, and aggressive.

If the policies haven’t changed, and the agenda hasn’t changed, then they can’t be getting more extreme, divisive, and aggressive, which was your original claim. And to call a set of policies and an agenda that have been largely unchanged for 20+ years extreme, divisive, and aggressive, is a somewhat absurd claim.

That’s not right either. The original claim (which was made by TM, not by me) was that ‘right-wing politics is currently so extreme, so divisive, so aggressive against anything that is even perceived as mildly liberal’. Tbere was nothing about it becoming progressively more so, only that it currently is so; and if (as you seem to be suggesting) it’s not currently successful, that’s no evidence against the applicability of TM’s original description.

>I would have hoped my answer to that would have been clear from my earlier comment. I would not contend that the fact that Donald Trump is a presidential candidate is an argument against his criminal indictment for crime, or against calling him a criminal.

You just said that calling Hillary a criminal and calling for her indictment was extreme, divisive, and aggressive. Which is it?

I’ve already explained explicitly that being extreme, divisive, and aggressive does not automatically make it unjustified. Sometimes extreme measures are justified. Sometimes divisive is the right thing to be. Impeaching a President is an example of an extreme and potentially divisive measure; that doesn’t mean it’s never justified. Accusing the opposing Presidential candidate of a crime may be justified, or then again it may not be; justified or not, it’s likely to be an extreme and divisive measure.

TM described current right-wing politics as extreme and divisive.

You responded (as far as I can make out): ‘No, it isn’t; right-wing legislation hasn’t been passed’; and also (again, as far is I can make out): ‘No, it isn’t; Hillary Clinton has not been indicted’. If either of those is anything like what you mean, there are huge gaps in your reasoning. Look, see the gaps here:

1. Right-wing legislation is not passing.

Therefore, right-wing politics is not extreme and divisive.

2. Hillary Clinton has not been indicted.

Therefore, right-wing politics is not extreme and divisive.

Please, do try to fill in the gaps.

219

T 08.21.16 at 11:01 am

J-D@213
Good one. Learn a new word every day. Was it auto-correct that got me there?

220

T 08.21.16 at 12:11 pm

efcdons

For Layman, it’s as if the current political dynamic is completely unrelated to two generations of stagnant medium income and windfalls at the very top. Well it’s not and you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. And there’s a pretty good case to be made that the 40-year stagnation is due to policies HRC has been endorsing forever. To acknowledge this simple fact is to recognize how ridiculous Layman sounds. And why he’s a tool, knowingly or unknowingly, of the plutocrats.

Before buying on to any of their bs, remember the Laymans of the world truly hate these people. How could they not hate “principally” racists? Well maybe they feels pity for the “ignorant” ones. As the miner’s quote in the NYTs reveals, they’ve been talked down to by the Laymans all their lives and they know it.

221

ZM 08.21.16 at 12:18 pm

I would say in Australia that feminism and anti-racism have both continually made progress. Not always fast progress, sometimes going one step forwards and two step backwards, but progress none the less. Also the union movement is still reasonably strong here. Maybe not as strong as it used to be, but still reasonably strong and unions are consulted on policy a lot and also when the union movement does act on something as a whole like the Howard government’s Work Choices policy or the Abbott government’s budget it can get a lot of support.

I guess radical leftism has maybe sort of died down since the 70s. But that was never the bit of the left that got a lot of policy making done anyhow, since it was the radical bit. What it succeeded at popularising quickly became no longer radical by virtue of the definition, and what it didn’t succeed at popularising probably became even more fringe standing without the aspects that were taken into the mainstream. Radicalism can’t really stay the same, since things aren’t radical once they are popular.

I don’t know if economics is the best explanation for racism.

Someone on Facebook posted some US research about relative wealth levels of whites, blacks, and latinos in the USA. The stark difference was really astounding to me.

Institute Policy Studies Report: “The average wealth for white households is $656,000. For Latinos it’s $98,000, and for black households it’s just $85,000.

The average wealth of black and Latinos combined still doesn’t come close to half of white wealth. And while white wealth continues to grow substantially, any gains in black and Latino wealth pale in comparison. Current estimates show that if nothing changes, the racial wealth divide will grow to $1 million by 2043.

In fact, it’ll take the average black family 228 years to accrue the same amount of wealth that white families have today. That’s just 17 years shorter than the centuries-long institution of slavery in the U.S. For Latinos, it’ll take 84 years to reach average white wealth today.”

http://www.ips-dc.org/americas-racial-wealth-divide-nothing-short-shocking/

In terms of economics it would be white people who are below average. I was reading something about heroin addiction rising among the white rural population in some areas of the USA, which the police said was unusual. Whole towns were becoming hotspots for heroin addiction. This seems to show there is not enough rural development in these places.

222

ZM 08.21.16 at 12:26 pm

“In terms of economics it would be white people who are below average.”

What I meant was that if a white person’s financial situation was the reason for them to be racist, it would be a white person who was below average financially. But plenty of people who are below average financially are not racist, so its not very convincing as a stand alone reason.

223

Layman 08.21.16 at 12:46 pm

T: “For Layman, it’s as if the current political dynamic is completely unrelated to two generations of stagnant medium income and windfalls at the very top.”

For T, it’s as if no one else need say anything at all. T will imagine what other people say, and what they think.

Of course our politics are influenced by economic considerations, but a good many people have been voting for bad economic outcomes for themselves for generations. Why is that? Why is it that some who have endured generations of stagnant income while observing windfalls at the top are for Trump? Because of his opposition to wage increases and his plans to offer windfall tax cuts to those at the top? And isn’t it odd that this economic message resonates only with, well, white people?

There was a candidate in this race who was actually focused on economic reform, like wage increases, an end to windfalls at the top, and so on, but without the racist, bigoted nationalism. In light of that, why did 14 million economically oppressed white people vote choose to vote for a Trump instead?

efcdons: “Ok. I think I can say everyone here agrees a lot of Trump support is motivated by racism. So what?”

Beats me. I’m finding being agreed with on that point a surprisingly painful process.

efcdons: “By itself how is that useful information if we want to figure out how to get those people to not support Trump but support another, non-racist candidate who has real answers for the very real problems facing the US?”

Yes, this is an entirely new question, one which has never been asked before! Tell me, now that you’re armed with the stunning new insight that some people are interested in economic improvement, rather than the useless knowledge that they’re motivated by racism so much that they’re voting for the guy with no real economic answers, how will you change their minds?

224

efcdons 08.21.16 at 2:06 pm

@217 Faustnotes
That’s what the article Kwak article T linked seemed to be saying. If that is the case then what do we know about the basis for Trump support? And I wasn’t just high. The professor was a dutchman with an accent that made me feel like I was being taught statistics by the commandant of Buchenwald. It was a semester long microagression.

@223 Layman
“they’re voting for the guy with no real economic answers,”

But that’s not necessarily true. We don’t think he has economic answers. But his voters seem to believe he does. Cutting taxes so you get to keep more of “your money” is an economic answer. Trade protectionism is an economic answer. Infrastructure spending is an economic answer (and in the current macroeconomic context his proposal to borrow to pay for the spending is really better than HRC’s smaller plan that is paid for by tax increases). I think (and I am assuming you do to) those are stupid, terrible, mostly regressive non-answers. But that’s partly a normative response based on my politics.

I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic. Maybe we can’t change their minds so we need to wait for the older, rural and exurban voters to die off. I don’t know. I’m not a historian or any other type of social scientist so all I can give are my amateur ideas gleaned for other peoples’ work. And I’m not really sure what everyone here is arguing about anymore.

ZM
I was born in Australia but I’ve lived in the US for about half my life now (I’m in my early 30s). To me it feels like Australia is (or at least was) more openly racist top to bottom than the US and it was unrelated to social class. It also seemed unrelated to urban v rural. Especially racism against Indigenous Australians (is that the right way to say it nowadays? When I was a kid in the 90s people would still say A*o pretty openly). Are you from Melbourne? On dole day there would be a bunch of Indigenous Australians sitting on the church lawn across from the Flinders Street station and I remember school kids in uniform from Scotch College down to the hardest public schools openly yelling racist stuff when they went by on the tram. This was in the 90s so I would hope it’s changed. I haven’t been to Melbourne for a few years now.

I also remember the MUA strikes. All the way, MUA! against Howard’s plan to allow stevedores from Patrick to work the docks (I don’t even know how I remember that). I went to Melbourne High with Bill Kelty’s son so maybe how that’s how it all stuck in my head. I was born and lived through some of the last great Labor prime ministers (and is still find it incredible Paul Keating, a man who didn’t finish high school, was able to lead a first world country. Would that be possible in Australia today?) but when I became aware of politics it was during the thousand years of Howard.

225

Layman 08.21.16 at 2:18 pm

Interesting data on declining median incomes by state over the past 15 years.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-08-19/where-median-incomes-have-fallen-the-most

Declining incomes ought to be associated with economic anxiety. Yet if you look at the ten states with the biggest decline in median income since 1999, Clinton currently leads in five of them (Michigan, Illinois, Nevada, Delaware, North Carolina). The other 5, where Trump seems sure to win, are Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana, Tennessee, and South Carolina. 4 of those states have something in common; can you guess what it is?

Similarly, 9 of the 10 largest states have declining median income over that period. Yet Clinton leads in 8 of those 10 states (Michigan, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, New York, California, Pennsylvania), while Trump leads in two of them (Georgia, Texas). What do Georgia and Texas have in common with Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina?

226

ZM 08.21.16 at 2:28 pm

efcdons,

Yes, my observations is that racism has decreased since the 90s. I am from a rural town about 90 mins out from Melbourne so I am most familiar with Victoria. I would be surprised to hear school kids yelling at Indigenous people in the city like you describe as being regular. I am a few years older than you but I didn’t grow up in Melbourne so I don’t remember that sort of thing really. I think the Reconciliation movement has helped. There is pretty obviously still discrimination though, and police violence and deaths in custody and health issues. I just think that racism is a lot less acceptable than it used to be though now. But I guess that is from my experience based in Victoria. And there are a lot of problems still, I don’t want to pretend everything is perfect. I just think progress has been made.

I remember the MUA strikes too. Paul Keating was an unusual Prime Minister I suppose leaving school when he did. I saw a talk by the economist Ross Garnaut and he said the neoliberal or economic rationalist reforms in Australia under Keating as Treasurer or Prime Minister had various elements that made Australia less susceptible to rising inequality compared to similar reforms in the UK, USA, and I think NZ as well. But I am not sure what the differences were actually between the economic reforms in these countries since I was pretty young when they were discussed and implemented.

227

RichardM 08.21.16 at 2:44 pm

I don’t know if economics is the best explanation for racism.

Institute Policy Studies Report: “The average wealth for white households is $656,000. For Latinos it’s $98,000, and for black households it’s just $85,000.

Those figures suggest economics is an excellent explanation for racism. People who have wealth want to keep it. Christian ethics say to share.

In order to cut down on the sympathy they feel for the people they are not sharing wealth with, as many of those people as possible must be considered to be not worthy of such concern. The stronger the commitment to Christian ethics, the more more powerful the counter-explanation must be.

Which part of US racial, taxation and welfare politics does not follow from that?

228

ZM 08.21.16 at 2:52 pm

RichardM,

So you think without racism there would be stronger support for redistributive economic policies that would decrease income and wealth inequality?

229

Sebastian H 08.21.16 at 3:19 pm

“Institute Policy Studies Report: “The average wealth for white households is $656,000. For Latinos it’s $98,000, and for black households it’s just $85,000.”

Ugh. Just Ugh. I’m not going to try to discuss either side of how people have tried to interpret these figures because they are a terrible use of statistics. I promise you that the average white household does not have wealth of anything close to $600,000. The white wealth gap is a real thing but if you want to talk about it usefully in terms of political trends you should be talking about median wealth. Average wealth is far too weighted by the stratification of a very few cities (interestingly hyper-liberal cities San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC and New York especially) to have meaningful discussions about it.

The key real statistic that I suspect is influencing the elections here and in Europe is stagnant or declining median incomes in the face of soaring country GDP. Which is to say that the average worker is seeing stagnant or declining income.

I would also tend to guess that the fact that gripes about the stagnant or declining income largely get noticed by the ruling elite only when expressed through a racist lens has increasingly reinforced the fact that gripes about the stagnant or declining income are get expressed through a racist lens.

230

bruce wilder 08.21.16 at 3:34 pm

. . . the fact that gripes about the stagnant or declining income largely get noticed by the ruling elite only when expressed through a racist lens has increasingly reinforced the fact that gripes about the stagnant or declining income are get expressed through a racist lens.

Whose lives matter?

231

T 08.21.16 at 3:50 pm

232

efcdons 08.21.16 at 4:34 pm

ZM @ 226
Yelling at Indigenous Australians probably wasn’t as common as I remember. The incidents just stuck in my mind rather than the more common not-yelling.

I’m glad to hear it seems less racist. Last time I was in Melbourne (2011 maybe?) I was with my cousins at a casual bar (no specific dress code) on Chapel street on like, a Tuesday evening. There was literally no one there except our party of maybe 3 people. Two black, African/Sudanese looking fellows (they were very tall and skinny) tried to come in and the doorman turned them away for no reason. They were just told they couldn’t come in. If that happened in a major city in the US the bar might have been sued or at least named and shamed in the news or something like that.

233

Soru 08.21.16 at 5:20 pm

@ZM

If racism didn’t exist, given those economic and cultural circumstances it would soon be invented. Probably with slightly different

Point taken that the median (110,000) is probably a more meaningful angle number than the average. But still that is a lot of money; if a Hollywood thriller had six people killing each other over it, you wouldn’t lose suspension of disbelief.

A figure I don’t know, but would be prepared to predict; the single number that beats tracks ‘likelihood to vote for trump’ is the ratio of wealth to earnings.

234

Lupita 08.21.16 at 5:29 pm

If instead of asking why so many white men support Trump we were to ask why so many women, blacks, and browns support Clinton, what would the possible answers be? She is committed to “America leading the world in the 21st century” and the “strongest military the world has ever known”. So are women, browns, and blacks American supremacists? Why does a higher percentage of blacks support bombing Syria as compared to whites and Hispanics? Is that why they support Clinton? Why are blacks over-represented in the military? Why do Hispanics support emigration from Mexico that destroys its communities and families? Why don’t they come out for ending agricultural subsidies? Why aren’t there any Hispanic socialists given Latin America’s glorious track record? Where is their ethnic pride in this area? Why is everybody horrorized at Blacks and Hispanics having an average wealth superior to Africans and Latin Americans and instead call for wealth redistribution at a global level? Why are American women and non-whites so neoliberal?

My theory is that most adhere to the notion of “shinning city on the hill” and that city is a racially diverse, neoliberal bomber. They see the world as a fractal, so if the US could only solve its internal racial and sexual anomalies, its system could be replicated at a global level and American hegemony would live forever with them at the top.

What Trump supporters are accused of at a national level, I can just as easily accuse Clinton supporters at a global one.

235

Layman 08.21.16 at 6:11 pm

“If instead of asking why so many white men support Trump we were to ask why so many women, blacks, and browns support Clinton, what would the possible answers be?”

Because as a general rule Republican politics and politicians shit all over women, blacks, and browns.

Is there a prize?

236

bruce wilder 08.21.16 at 6:17 pm

And, Clinton pisses.

that’s the prize.

237

Lalala 08.21.16 at 6:35 pm

This argument makes Trump sound as if he’s committed to a political view or is interested in politics and there is some way he’s taken up the banner for conservatives. Trump doesn’t have a coherent political ideology and his real goals are not electoral politics. So there’s an additional possibility that this is not part of some larger pattern but rather a new phenomenon that involves a breaking-down of the wall between the political institutions and infotainment. We’ll see consequences in political institutions, of course.

There is a way in which Trump reflects a certain grab-bag of political perspectives–but to think of him as a culmination of a defined political perspective seems like quite a stretch. There is one group of Americans that are extensive television-watchers that Trump has discovered will accept him as a political leader. Trump has managed to suss out their views pretty effectively. One reason he constantly contradicts himself is that this is a type of focus-group testing and also helpful to pick up as many of this television-watching demographic as possible. Some people pay attention to what Trump says and these people won’t ever vote for him (dedicated democrats, liberals, most progressives and those with the identities he’s attacked)–so he’s peeled off that group and homed in on the rest and narrowed his message for them. So you could call them ‘conservatives’ because most of them probably are, due to the fact that he’s pushed his message in a way that tends to pick up right wing TV and radio listeners. They are conservative but he’s simply whatever they want him to be.

He also will naturally pick up conservatives who don’t have anywhere to go and can’t stomach voting for a Democrat. But like Clinton with progressives, he doesn’t have to promise that much to those people.

The rest of the conservatives–the committed neoliberal militarists–will go to Clinton or wait out the storm until someone more palatable comes along.

How do you explain Trump’s anti-free market views on this theory you are offering?

It’s also hard to figure out what role the Democrats play here. Who is the militarist, pro-free trade party? Who best represents the business class at the current moment? Which party was the most successfully divisive when it came to black interests? One could as easily say that the success of the conservatives was to show where the power lay–and to have their ideology fully absorbed into the deep architecture of the Democratic party.

238

Lupita 08.21.16 at 6:39 pm

Because as a general rule Republican politics and politicians shit all over women, blacks, and browns.

So then, American blacks, not only support shitting all over Syria, but actually enlist in a greater proportion to do the actual shitting. How is this different from the accusation that the white male proletariat enjoys shitting on non-white males just to enjoy not being at the bottom rung of the social ladder?

Is there a prize?

Yes. An obtuse angle just for you: \_

239

Layman 08.21.16 at 7:03 pm

“So then, American blacks, not only support shitting all over Syria, but actually enlist in a greater proportion to do the actual shitting.”

No, not really. Blacks are more supportive (56%) of admitting more Syrian refugees than are whites (46%) or the population at large (51%), and are more likely (44%) to support providing more aid to Syrian refugees than are whites (42%), in line with the broader population (44%).

http://www.people-press.org/2015/09/29/mixed-views-of-initial-u-s-response-to-europes-migrant-crisis/

Blacks are over represented in the US military largely because it is an economic path open to them, when so many others are closed or have barriers to entry beyond their means.

I can’t find any data supporting the notion that blacks are more likely to support bombing Syria. So, I can’t comment on that.

Speaking of obtuse, “why are blacks supporting the Democratic candidate for President?” is way up there on the obtuse scale.

240

Sebastian_H 08.21.16 at 7:09 pm

“So there’s an additional possibility that this is not part of some larger pattern but rather a new phenomenon that involves a breaking-down of the wall between the political institutions and infotainment. “

I’m fairly certain that Trump and Sanders and Brexit and the rise of all sorts of anti EU parties are all related to a cratering confidence in the elite. The manifestations of various responses to lack of confidence are a recurring theme that the elites are dealing with very poorly. Even if Trump bombs out (fingers crossed) the underlying lack of confidence in our ruling classes will likely not go anywhere without major changes.

241

Layman 08.21.16 at 7:13 pm

efcdons: “I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic.”

I was being sarcastic, sorry. To summarize, I mean to say that racists and bigots in the US have been voting against their economic interests for a long time now. If there was a particular trick one could perform which would free them from their racist allegiance to the GOP, so that their economic needs would be better expressed in their vote, surely someone would have found it by now. People thought Bill Clinton had, though in fact he attracted more working class southern whites because he danced on the edge of validating their racism; and in fact his actual governing policies were the sorts of things that would meet with their racist approval, e.g. locking up more people of color, doing away with the secret welfare they used to buy their T-bones and Cadillacs.

So, I’m not convinced that there’s a lot to be gained by trying to pry the racist Trump followers away. I’d focus on the rest of them; but that means you need to understand when and where racism is the motivation.

242

bruce wilder 08.21.16 at 7:24 pm

Layman

Is there any possibility of voting for your economic interests in this Presidential election? For the vast majority, I think it is just not an option.

243

T 08.21.16 at 7:32 pm

kidneystones —

“You’re right that I don’t wade into the granular stuff.” and “I think you err badly, frankly, in demanding nuance from me, in particular, not that I mind.”

You’ve been opining on the split of two long-lived American political parties — certainly the Repubs into the neoliberal and Trump wings and potentially the Dems along similar neo and anti-neo lines. Only a small share of the anti-neoliberal left is going to vote for Trump although the FDR coalition had them voting together against the business interests. The Williams Jennings Bryant supporters were for FDR 30 years later. That’s likely Warren’s ancestral roots in Oklahoma. (Happy to be corrected on that.) It was the Progressives like Wilson, if you recall, that were racist to the core. (Eugenics was a Progressive movement in the US. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics_in_the_United_States#Early_proponents ) Watching the working class white male vote go from Dem to Repub to Trump needs some explaining. One thing that recent scholarly research shows — in country after country — is that local/regional/ethnic attitudes are sometimes very long lived. Hundreds of years. (Ask why the Appalachian Scotch-Irish love Trump.) So, yeah, say yes to nuance if you really want to try and get a grip. Many Americans are also losing any alternative perspectives as we segregate further by income and race. You should come visit and wonder around. Have your de Tocqueville moments off the beaten paths.

244

Layman 08.21.16 at 8:25 pm

bruce wilder: “Is there any possibility of voting for your economic interests in this Presidential election?”

I take your point, but I’d still say ‘yes’. I don’t see anyone running on the platform I’d like, but democracy is compromise. I think with HRC we’re more likely to see increases in top marginal tax rates / capital gains taxes, some form of estate tax, some protection of (if not expansion of) Social Security and Medicare; whereas with DJT we’ll see the opposite approach to taxes, and we’ll likely see a renewal of efforts to destroy SS and Medicare through privatization.

A Democratic agenda will be more downwardly redistributive than a Republican one. Neither will be as downwardly redistributive as I’d like.

245

kidneystones 08.21.16 at 10:01 pm

T @ 243 Thanks for the invite. I don’t recall every using the term neo-liberal anywhere. So, you’re remembering something that exists in your mind, not in reality. But let’s be generous and say you’re paraphrasing. I don’t consider migration patterns into/from one region to be particularly granular. The phenomena of clan-family structures as normative social checks in geographically remote regions is in no way unique to one part of the world. Your short summary of Eugenics does not derive from any particular insights offered by living in the US, or anywhere else for that matter, but is rather the sort of ‘insight’ we might expect from anyone reading from a good dictionary.

I take your point that living in a region and having deep generational roots in the community can yield insights into the community unavailable to those who do not. I’d argue, however, that these are much more pronounced when languages differ, if we accept that language is not simply a lens. So, common heritages Scots-English in my own case, working-class, public education, trade union and military experiences, plenty of community and individual fear built into class-ethnic constructs allow some opportunity for understanding across borders, especially if there’s a common language and ethnic background. If we examine tool use and religious practices as expressions of culture we can find a great deal of commonality across time and space. Parables from other cultures, for example, would mean little if this were not the case, granting of course, the large role that translating the parable into comprehensible language plays in that process.

For our own tiny discussion, but also germane to the OP, is that another common feature of cultures is the notion that nobody can truly understand what makes ‘us’ so wonderful/messed-up and unique but ‘us.’

We have far more in common both within communities and across borders and time than many might allow. Indeed, why would we? Where’s the fun in that?

246

T 08.21.16 at 10:11 pm

BW@242 – your question and Layman’s response.

Sorry for the repetition but: mainstream repubs — neoliberal w/no redistribution; mainstream dems — neliberalism w/some redistrubtion; anti-neoliberials — a society where you don’t need massive redistribution because pre-tax inequality is more like 1960 than 2007.

And Layman spelled it out perfectly as a Clinton supporter — he’s for more redistribution and maybe a even little more than Clinton. Those are the choices he sees.

The people voting for Trump don’t want more redistribution — they want jobs for their community that pay middle income wages. They despise the Bushes for never fulfilling their promises to do that. They despise Clinton for all the trade deals, corruption, and policies that benefited the 0.01% and the Clintons at their expense and because well, just read her “unfortunate” quote about coal miners.

The Sanders voters feel much the same – a system rigged against them. But there are a bunch of issues standing the in way of a FDR coalition that would bring the anti-neoliberal community together. Six frickin’ percent of GDP has moved from wages to profits under neo-liberal rule and that 6% went into too few pockets. And the increased inequality has been a huge drag on growth making things even worse.

Here’s a 5 part Wash Post series about Layman’s stupid racists in counties who generally voted for Trump 1 and Cruz 2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/life-lessons-from-a-small-town-undertaker-as-white-women-die-younger-in-america/2016/08/20/a1e64d76-60b6-11e6-af8e-54aa2e849447_story.html

247

J-D 08.21.16 at 10:38 pm

Lupita 08.21.16 at 5:29 pm
If instead of asking why so many white men support Trump we were to ask why so many women, blacks, and browns support Clinton, what would the possible answers be? …

My theory is that most adhere to the notion of “shinning city on the hill” and that city is a racially diverse, neoliberal bomber. They see the world as a fractal, so if the US could only solve its internal racial and sexual anomalies, its system could be replicated at a global level and American hegemony would live forever with them at the top.

So your theory is that women, blacks, and browns are more likely to adhere to that notion and to see the world that way than white men, and that’s why they’re more likely to support Clinton than are white men? No, that won’t work. White men are more likely to adhere to that notion than are women, blacks, and browns, so if adherence to that notion drives support for Clinton, white men should be more likely to support Clinton; but they aren’t, so it doesn’t, and the explanation fails.

248

Layman 08.21.16 at 10:49 pm

T: “The people voting for Trump don’t want more redistribution — they want jobs for their community that pay middle income wages.”

I imagine you’ll find they’re quite insistent on the redistribution scheme that delivers their social security checks.

Other than that – hell, I’m with you. Show me a voting strategy I can employ that produces a society with less pre-tax income inequality and less need for redistribution and I’ll be all over it. Only, it seems to me that that particular dish ain’t on the menu.

249

T 08.21.16 at 11:08 pm

kidneystones –
Very few folks are switching from Sanders to Trump in the general contrary to what you “support.” Why is that? Why did WJB support Wilson in 1914 and why did his supporters vote for FDR in 1932 while Sanders voters aren’t moving in 2016?

The OP was about long waves in US politics. That certainly has been in the background of all my comments. I think it’s a very meaningful question and it’s very US specific. There’s a context for what’s going on in 2016 that’s more than “what you can find in a good dictionary.” I can understand why you avoid the nuances (you’ve stated that you don’t know them, expressed no interest in learning them, and think they’re unimportant, fair enough) but IMHO it gets you about as far as an American starring at televised UK political speeches and rallies w/o understanding anything about Tory and Labour Party history. Or British economic history. Guess all those anthropologists, political scientists, economists, and sociologists have played a good scam on university administrations. They got all this money for actually visiting the places they studied when they could have stayed home, watched TV, and read polls. Enough already. So take the last word on this specific issue if you want as I think we’ve beaten it senseless. We’ll revisit it in November.

250

cassander 08.21.16 at 11:54 pm

@LD

>No, that’s not right: if there were a group denying that all lives matter, it would be relevant and important to affirm that they do, but there is no group making such a denial.

No, there’s just a group saying that saying “all lives matter” is a racist hate thought. don’t build strawmen.

> There was nothing about it becoming progressively more so, only that it currently is so; and if (as you seem to be suggesting) it’s not currently successful, that’s no evidence against the applicability of TM’s original description.

If it currently is, that implies it wasn’t always so. the progression is implied.

>I’ve already explained explicitly that being extreme, divisive, and aggressive does not automatically make it unjustified.

Oh, come off it. saying “extreme, divisive, and aggressive” is clearly an attempt at de-legitimizing and you know it.

>Please, do try to fill in the gaps.

Alright, fine. Let’s break this down shall we? extreme. What are extreme politics? Extreme politics are those far outside the norm. You’ve already admitted that republicans have been pushing for more or less the same policies for a couple decades. Republicans are not some fringe group, they make up a good third of the country. Even if their politics were extreme 20 years ago, and I wouldn’t say they were, their longevity almost by definition, keeps them from being that today.

What about divisive? I you can call almost any policy divisive if you chose. To call someone’s politics divisive is basically meaningless.

And aggressive. What is aggressive about the current GOP? Have they abolished the filibuster? Passed a bunch of bills by abusing parliamentary process? The party is led by Paul Ryan, a mild mannered technocrat if there ever was one. Should Trump win, things might be different, but you can hardly consider Trump, who the party establishment loathes and fought against, an exemplar of all republicans

251

Layman 08.22.16 at 12:02 am

“The party is led by Paul Ryan, a mild mannered technocrat if there ever was one.”

Good lord. He’s a steely-eyed granny starver. There are few members of Congress more bound by ideology than he is.

252

Alan White 08.22.16 at 12:08 am

Trump is just the desperate final pinball in a machine played by people vying to beat a very high score on her/his last quarter. Passively bumping against racism, sexism, hatred, fear, hopelessness (real and imagined), all the while racking up more and more points, flipped just often enough to stay alive before the inevitable drain. Are there enough flips left to beat that score? I doubt it.

253

kidneystones 08.22.16 at 12:17 am

@ T 249 Which time travellers are you referring to specifically?

Writing as one who does travel extensively to pore over archival materials and other data, I couldn’t agree more. I’m actual working through a stack at this moment. I’m not going to bore anyone (any more than I usually do) by going farther on that topic other than to state that I sometimes use an .edu address prefixed with a somewhat well-known US educational institution, which I hope will end any further discussions on whether I’ve benefited from the always edifying experience of time, money and energy spent in your great land. The answer is yes, and I very much look forward to visiting friends, former teachers, and familiar places at the first workable opportunity. My current research interests take me elsewhere.

You’ve been a bit rude off and on and so far I’ve largely refrained from replying in kind. As I’ve pointed out already, a great many of my intellectual and moral superiors have been consistently wrong about recent UK elections and more recently the US.

Many of the smartest people I’ve met do not work at universities, hard as they may be for some to accept. Book learning isn’t all there is to life and I’ve very much enjoyed my efforts to benefit the best education available. (Not that this always shines through brightly in my comments here.) That education includes residing outside bubble land, which affords me many new opportunities, one of which is the often illuminating experience of viewing my own cultural background, and that of others, through a fresh set of lenses.

I take an extremely granular view of history, btw, and regard idle speculation based on even the best general observations, including those of ‘experts’ to be just that.

Wax away.

254

Lupita 08.22.16 at 12:53 am

@ J-D

So your theory is that women, blacks, and browns are more likely to adhere to that notion and to see the world that way than white men, and that’s why they’re more likely to support Clinton than are white men? No, that won’t work. White men are more likely to adhere to that notion than are women, blacks, and browns

At least I have never heard a Hispanic rail against US imperialism and the IMF, as Mexicans do, as I do. They seem quite comfortable taking the path of least resistance, trying to fit in, supporting the status quo, not drawing attention to themselves by supporting orange candidates, certainly not having to emit pre-denials of being sexist-racist, and just getting ahead. Clinton, who has the whole elite and the media behind her, is the easiest choice, no explanations needed. Neoliberal warmongering was the American way until this election. And since when are the oppressed masses the leaders of revolutions (meaning radical breaks with the status quo)? That is the purview of the established bourgeoisie.

255

Layman 08.22.16 at 1:04 am

I begin to suspect that kidneystones is actually Ted Holden. It’s a clever disguise, but I think the tone gives I away.

256

Faustusnotes 08.22.16 at 1:14 am

Lupita you seem to be saying that Latinos in America are race traitors. You might want to keep an eye on that.. And Clinton supported by the media? Really??

I would just like to remind everyone hat in order to analyze what’s happening in the world you have to pay attention to what’s actually happening, not the made up version in your head.

257

T 08.22.16 at 1:23 am

Layman @248

I think you missed my redistribution point. There a big difference between the current redistribution scheme which Trump voters certainly support as it applies to SS and the “more redistribution” scheme which is at the core of Dem neoliberalism. Trump has said he wants to preserve SS and maybe modestly reduce payments to higher income individuals. Sanders and Clinton have proposed expansions to SS and a bunch more redistribution. Pence, a mainstream repub wants to cut SS as most mainstream repubs want to do. http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/15/news/economy/trump-pence-social-security/

Just some suggestions on putting a coalition of wage earners against capitalists as you asked. First, don’t call a bunch of working class people ignorant racists and religious fanatics. It’s very hard to get their votes once you do. All the “religious fanatics” are voting for a thrice married guy who found religion yesterday. (He was second to Cruz among Evangelicals in some states and beat Cruz in others like Indiana.)

Second, show up in their communities and give a shit. Find the right locals. If you’re planning on a fiscal expansion based on infrastructure spending and not on tax cuts – which both Hillary and Trump support (Trump has tax cuts too but also massive infrastructure spending) — go there and tell them. Don’t fund make-work crap but real infrastructure. Have a plan with them and for them. These folks supported FDR. It’s always been a myth that those folks hated gov’t spending. (Go read the charters of the mining unions. Many read like the frickin’ communist manifesto. These voters are their grandkids.) btw — that also splits them from the business repubs. Just drive the wedge deeper. View Trump as an opportunity. These folks are off the mainstream repubs. They hate then and feel betrayed You don’t need all of them. There are many CT readers and OPers with experience at this so they can tell me if I’m blowing smoke. I claim zero authority on the mechanics.

Third, have a plan to increase middle-class wages and economic growth, i.e. shift the economic returns from profits to wages. Say how and why. Sell it hard. Warren. You need good technicians to do it right. It’s very hard to squash high-end rent seeking. It’s hand-to-hard and it’s ruthless. See FDR. Note Hillary is doing the exact opposite as she pivots to the 0.01%ers and blows off the Bernie fans. Why am I not surprised?

Fourth, be ready to compromise on something you hold dear because they’re going to have to compromise as well. This is really hard. And I offer no advice. This may be insurmountable for a while. FDR sold out to the Dixiecrats. That’s not happening again but you get my point.

Now pure speculation and a bunch of possible futures to which I’m sure you and many CT commenters could successfully add.

It very well might be that the dem coalition will become dominant with more neoliberalism and more transfers. But a Warren or Sharrod Brown-type could cause trouble to that future. In essence, a better Bernie that can talk to populists as well as progressive. Then an anti-neoliberal gov’t.

Without that and a neoliberal dem party, you’ll have a very angry rump party made up of the disaffected white working class (and others) and that spells someone worse than Trump at some point if the economy tanks and the median voter just votes for change. I don’t think we’re there yet because Trump is too big of a goofball and things aren’t that bad in the context of long-term historical cycles. Then again, HRC is really disliked.

On the other hand, if the economy improves under Clinton following her neoliberal policies we could see a neoliberal dem party for quite a while. The economy improved under Taft and that was the end of WJB. It took the Great Recession to finally end the 70-year pro-business cycle that Corey referred to in the OP. Also, if you get a continuance of the neo-liberal dem party you will see many the moneymen and foreign policy repubs switch to dem. This is exactly what Corey noted is already happening in this election on a supposed temporary basis. The dems will be the party of business making transfers to its base with a rump populist party in opposition.

Note that your view that the repub base as voting against its economic interest for some social and economic bullshit that they never get has a counterpart for the neoliberal dems. Any Trump supporter would look at the dem base and say thier voting against their own economic future for some petty handout and dependency. Clinton gave you financial deregulation, free trade and the free flow of capital which saw the 1 percent get rich, social mobility plummet, inequality skyrocket, and growth decline. All true. They think the dem base are chumps (or worse) for accepting that bargain. The dem base, of course, thinks the repubs are chumps for accepting their bargain from Bush. Also true.

My two cents.

258

Lupita 08.22.16 at 1:38 am

@ Faustusnotes

Lupita you seem to be saying that Latinos in America are race traitors.

Not at all. I am saying that Hispanics who vote, that is, US citizens, are Americans and, as such, by a very wide margin, support right-wing politics. Politics is learned in the context of one’s society, not genetically transmitted. I would expect no less of them or of Americans in general.

259

Anarcissie 08.22.16 at 1:48 am

Faustusnotes 08.22.16 at 1:14 am:
‘Lupita you seem to be saying that Latinos in America are race traitors. You might want to keep an eye on that.. And Clinton supported by the media? Really??’

I have to say that in the whole time I have been a media-observing sentient being, I have never seen boss-media bias against a major party candidate like that of the present. Not only is it strong and ubiquitous, but it’s overt and self-conscious. It almost makes me sympathetic toward the Reprehensible One, and that’s saying something.

‘Latino’, ‘Hispanic’, ‘Mexican’, etc., do not designate a race.

260

js. 08.22.16 at 1:48 am

People may be vulnerable to appeals targeting the Other because they see that they’re going nowhere economically.

The numbering’s all fucked up, but I think this was a response to me. In which case (and apologies if not), it makes almost no contact with what I was saying. Would you say that men who act to protect patriarchy (in whatever ways) are responding to “appeals targeting the Other”? That seems very odd to me. It’s much more plausible that they’re acting to preserve/regain a social position they think is rightfully theirs (tho they’re wrong about this). In a manner of speaking, it’s quite rational—assuming that term is understood narrowly.

Look, I’m willing to soften my position on this. But to get me to do that, you’d have to understand what I was saying and respond to it.

261

js. 08.22.16 at 2:01 am

LAA @156:

Look, I’ll just grant you this point. It doesn’t really matter. The problem that I was and am talking about won’t be fixed by whatever means you propose to fix the “economic anxiety” problem.

——

Look, I have no interest (given the argument I’m pushing here) of labeling anyone as evil or stupid or even a bigot. I am making the relatively simple point (which isn’t specifically about racism) that dismantling social structures and institutions that inscribe vectors of social dominance will arouse opposition from groups of people who have a vested interest in maintaining that system of dominance. This is true even if no one in the history of the world has ever been a “racist” in the popular, psychological sense.

262

faustusnotes 08.22.16 at 2:27 am

Really Lupita? Why then did you ask “Where is their ethnic pride in this area?” That seems like a pretty direct plea to racial solidarity there, with the obvious implications about those who breach it.

263

kidneystones 08.22.16 at 2:29 am

Your next President: The Black Guy Did It.

http://www.people.com/article/colin-powell-hillary-clinton-pinning-email-scandal-on-him

“The truth is, she was using [the private email server] for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did,”

Hillary ‘short-circuits’ on email scandal, again!

264

Lupita 08.22.16 at 2:58 am

@ faustusnotes

Why then did you ask “Where is their ethnic pride in this area?”

Because Mexican-Americans claim to have ethnic pride in other areas, such as the history of the Aztecs and Mexican cuisine. Regarding left-wing politics, however, there is no such claim. Which, really, is fine. I was just making the point that American blacks, browns, and women support Clinton by wide margins perhaps because they support neoliberal policies and American hegemony or, at the very least, are not bothered by them. That is, because they are right-wingers.

265

faustusnotes 08.22.16 at 3:10 am

Or because they have no choice? Why is it that so many people accept Republican voters’ lack of choice but don’t accept that of Democrat voters? It’s such an obvious double-standard and we all know why it’s deployed – because you want to argue that everyone should just get down and have a revolution. If you just drop the silly idea that most Americans would be amenable to a revolution then you need to deal with the realities of electoral politics. And that means a long, hard slog to drag the Democrats left, which is impossible when a big chunk of the people who might be willing to initiate that long hard slog are still imagining that Americans will accept a revolution, and sneering at anyone who votes for an imperfect candidate.

And telling us that recognizing Republican racism is rude and terrible, but calling anyone who votes for Clinton an enabler of war and mass murder is A-okay.

266

kidneystones 08.22.16 at 3:20 am

Helping the poor stay poor – go ahead folks, smoke pot. It’s ‘harmless’ and hurts nobody.

Davenport & Caulkins confirm disproportionate legal drug use among poorest (go find it yourself).

Some here are shocked, just shocked, to see links between income distribution and ethnicity. Who knew? Dope use problems writ large on the wall a year ago –

http://scholarlycommons.law.case.edu/caselrev/vol65/iss3/5/

No wonder Trump tells African-Americans they’ve got nothing to lose. He’s right.
Hillary! More of the same only worse. Let them smoke dope!

267

T 08.22.16 at 3:26 am

kidney@263
Hey, I like your link to People. You had many choices and you chose the right one. You truly are a man of the people. Not the American people, but the people nonetheless.

But what’s this with “Your next president.” Please don’t tell me you’ve suddenly decided Trump is going to lose. Now that he’s finally pivoting and before he unleashes his ads? Say it ain’t so!

268

Lupita 08.22.16 at 3:44 am

@ faustusnotes

calling anyone who votes for Clinton an enabler of war and mass murder is A-okay.

I see nothing wrong with calling the US, and most Americans who have supported its governments and wars throughout the decades, an enabler of war and American supremacy. “Mass murderer” I think is a bit too much to call an individual American (unless it’s Kissinger), though there is a long list of atrocities committed in your collective name.

As to me calling for a revolution in the US, I have never done so nor do I expect one. An implosion, yes. However, I am very respectful of American sovereignty and of Americans deciding in what direction you wish to steer your country. I only wish that Americans were equally respectful of the sovereignty of other countries.

269

Daddio7 08.22.16 at 5:14 am

Well, everyone has been having a great time telling me how racist, bigoted and just how stupid I am for supporting Trump. I would be the first to say how bad a candidate Trump is. However he convinced the most Republican voters that he cared about our concerns. The others basically told us that the borders will remain open and jobs must be exported so just shut up and vote for me.

Now it is all about the party, the Republican candidates for the Senate and House still need our support. The worst Republican is better the the best Democrat for just that reason.

I am 64 and have been watching elections since 68. I am also one of those bitter clingers.

270

kidneystones 08.22.16 at 7:13 am

Oops! Look who’s in favor of building that wall

https://morningconsult.com/2016/08/18/american-immigrants-back-trump-ideological-test-poll-shows/

How long till Hillary calls for ideological screening?

A week? Dropping a few point in the polls? Cause God knows she’s the farthest thing from a hack candidate of the donor class spewing focus group talking points.

Good thing she decided to attend that 100 k per couple fund-raiser with, yes it’s true, Lady Rothschild, rather than pretend to care in Louisiana. Maybe she can piggy-bag on Air Force One with President 300 Rounds of Golf when he shows up for his photo-op.

That would never happen.

271

kidneystones 08.22.16 at 7:17 am

Actually, I think ‘bag’ works better than ‘back.’

Don’t really see her having the upper-body strength to hang on by herself. Why would she? She’s lived in limousines for the last 4 decades. My mother-in-law’s is 7 years older and in much better shape, but then she worked for a living her entire life.

Don’t mention the vertigo!

272

reason 08.22.16 at 8:07 am

Daddio7
To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure how anybody could possibly think that Trump cares about anything other than Trump.

But this sentence?
“Now it is all about the party, the Republican candidates for the Senate and House still need our support. The worst Republican is better th(an) the best Democrat for just that reason.”

?? For what reason, there seems to be something circular in your reasoning there – and who is this “our” that needs to support the Republicans (why exactly)?

273

TM 08.22.16 at 10:18 am

BW: “Is there any possibility of voting for your economic interests in this Presidential election? For the vast majority, I think it is just not an option.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/12/opinion/pieces-of-silver.html

“34. What’s that? It’s the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the average federal tax rate for the top 1 percent in 2013, the latest year available. And it’s up from just 28.2 in 2008, because President Obama allowed the high-end Bush tax cuts to expire and imposed new taxes to pay for a dramatic expansion of health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Taxes on the really, really rich have gone up even more.

If Hillary Clinton wins, taxes on the elite will at minimum stay at this level, and may even go up significantly if Democrats do well enough in congressional races to enable her to pass new legislation. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that her tax plan would raise the average tax rate for the top 1 percent by another 3.4 percentage points, and the rate for the top 0.1 percent by five points.

But if “populist” Donald Trump wins, taxes on the wealthy will go way down; in particular, Mr. Trump is calling for elimination of the inheritance tax, which these days hits only a tiny number of really yuuuge estates (a married couple doesn’t pay any tax unless its estate is worth more than $10.9 million).”

Contrary to much of the CT commentariat, I am quite confident that most Americans are well aware which side serves their economic interest better. There are some who more or less consciously have decided that other non-economic priorities are more important for their electoral choice. And btw I think it’s quite paternalistic to deny that and to claim that their choices really reflect economic anxieties, when they say the opposite whenever asked. It’s interesting that our self-appointed defenders of the “white working class” insist that their declared motives and preferences shouldn’t be taken seriously, it’s really all about class.

274

Layman 08.22.16 at 11:11 am

T: “Have a plan with them and for them. These folks supported FDR.”

This is a common misconception, but none of these folks supported FDR. FDR died 70 years ago. The folks who supported him have met with Keynes ‘long run’, and are similarly dead. Folks today have characters formed by very different lives. Maybe they’re like those people, maybe not. Who knows?

(And, there’s the small matter of how FDR claimed so much support from poor whites – by, among other things, repeatedly catering to their racism, by excluding blacks from what he was offering.)

Regarding redistribution, I think there’s good reason to believe there simply won’t be enough real jobs to go around soon. When that happens, we’ll have more redistribution, or we’ll have a police state acting as providers of security for the haves and violent oppressors of the have-nots, with both sides acting predictably as a result. I’ve seen that, personally, and I’ll take more redistribution, thankyouverymuch.

275

Layman 08.22.16 at 11:20 am

Daddio7: “Well, everyone has been having a great time telling me how racist, bigoted and just how stupid I am for supporting Trump. I would be the first to say how bad a candidate Trump is. “

Would you be the first to say he’s running on appeals to racism and bigotry?

276

Layman 08.22.16 at 1:28 pm

When a wealthy white GOP Senator wants to criticize the nation’s first black President, of course he compares him to a drug dealer, because why not?

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/21/mark-kirk-obama-iran-payment-drug-dealer-in-chief?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

But, you know, I’m sure he was appealing to the economic concerns of his constituents.

277

Anarcissie 08.22.16 at 2:25 pm

Lupita 08.22.16 at 3:44 am:
‘“Mass murderer” I think is a bit too much to call an individual American (unless it’s Kissinger), though there is a long list of atrocities committed in your collective name.’

It’s pretty hard to have a war these days without killing a lot of civilians / non-combatants / ‘innocent people’ — whatever you want to call them — to say nothing of the accompanying mayhem, torture, terror, devastation, etc. etc. etc., so if the war is not a last resort, it’s willful mass murder, and the people who do it or support it or condone it are — what? And who doesn’t know this?

278

T 08.22.16 at 3:08 pm

Layman@274

That’s the best you got? Well a bunch of those populists voted for Bill Clinton too. And that wasn’t so long ago. And the ones that did probably had grandparents that voted for FDR because they had Dem populist roots. Boy are you quick to write people off. Kentucky had Dem govs from 1971-2003 and again from 2007-2015. They went twice for Bill. Especially coal mining country in eastern Kentucky. WV went dem in 88, 92, and 96 but hey blow them off, too. Arkansas ’92 and ’96. Likewise Missouri and Iowa. btw – there is lots of academic evidence of the persistence of views going back generations. Their roots are populist. But that kind doesn’t work when you call them all racists. If your going to construct an anti-neoliberal coalition speak to these people’s issues too. There is a lot of overlap between progressive and populist issues. That describes much of the 1932-1980 era Corey was talking about in the OP.

There’s not enough jobs so we need redistribution rather than more fundamental change? Huh? Really? The current unemployment rate is less than 5% and the employment rate is starting to trickle back up. The problem is that the distribution of income has tilted toward the top with 1% as national income shifted from wages to profits. That’s what neoliberal policies do. That’s there whole frickin’ point. The Sanders and Trump supporters both think the system was rigged to do that. Just listen to Warren speak sometime. That’s the basis for her economic critique. Inequality was much less from WWII – 1978 before the neoliberal agenda began to be put in place under Reagan.

So the question becomes what to do about it. You seem to want to let the top 1% to get it all and then tax them, like now with higher taxes. Sanders/Trump supporters want pre-tax inequality to fall and the income distribution to go back toward the ’60s.

So how do you get wages up and lower inequality of income? Maybe reverse some of the neoliberal agenda. Look at what shifted power and income from labor to capital, reverse those polices when possible, and put new ones in place. What were thiose polices? Well effectively allowing 300 million Chinese into the labor market was a massive shift in power and income from US labor to capital. Crushing the labor movement shifted power and income from labor to capital. Allowing pretty much every merger caused industries to concentrate and shifted power and income from labor to capital. Having completely screwed-up intellectual property laws has shifted power and income from labor to capital. Deregulating the finance sector has shifted power and income from labor to capital and caused, in part, the Great Recession. Preventing Medicare from bargaining for drug prices with Big Pharma has shifted power and income from labor to capital. The hospital/doctor/pharma complex is one big rent-seeking exercise that shifted income from labor to capital. The effect of these power shifts has allowed further economic pillaging including, for example, the failure to enforce white collar crime and changes to the corporate tax code. On a more local level, the zoning laws have shifted power and income form labor to landowners. And on and on. There are a ton of policies that would reduce inequality and more fundamentally shift power to labor. Sure you’ll need some transfers, but w/o changing pre-income inequality things will only continue in the same direction. Adding Hillary just gets us that plus another war or two.

Further, there is mounting evidence that these and other neoiliberal policies have not only increased inequality but slowed productivity and gdp growth, the driver of US prosperity in the 30+ years after WWII.

If you look closely you’ll see that libertarian and right-wing think tanks argue that the declines in productivity and the increase in inequality are NOT due to policy but caused by larger forces completely beyond the control of gov’t policies. They want to convince you that our current neoliberal outcomes were inevitable. They’re much more terrified of changes in policy than changes in taxes. That should also give you a hint about how to proceed.

279

TM 08.22.16 at 6:26 pm

278: “Trump supporters want pre-tax inequality to fall and the income distribution to go back toward the ’60s.”

There’s not a shred of evidence for this. In fact Trump supporters knowingly support a candidate who promises to give the super-rich even more tax cuts and they tell any pollster who asks them that inequality isn’t among their main concerns. Trump pas never made inequality a campaign issue. But for the sake of rhetoric, why not conflate the supporters of a socialist atheist Jew with the supporters of a crazy racist plutocrat and pretend there’s no difference. Somebody might find it convincing (in fact, some on CT do find it convincing, which is the depressing part).

Btw are you the resurrected Ze K?

280

T 08.22.16 at 8:09 pm

TM

The Trumpers want middle class jobs at middle class wages — jobs they think were shipped to China. Or jobs they think were lost or had wages lowered due to immigrant competition. How the hell do you do you get middle class jobs at middle class wages without lowering inequality? And when those jobs used to be available, inequality was necessarily lower. So populists don’t say it like progressives. BFD. Find another reason to blow off people with common economic interests because they won’t pass the ideology test of some fucked up nomenklatura. It’s gotten you real far since 1980 — 5 neoliberal presidents in a row.

The whole point of these long cycles that Corey referenced was the realignment to fight a common foe. You think they didn’t have huge internal differences within the FDR coalition? But the turning point in 1932 was that they came together to fight business interests ending the 70 year pro-business run. Look at the change in economic positions of the Southern Dems from before and after FDR, the last time such a coalition was formed. And if you think they’re racist now, what the hell do you think they like when they were part of the coalition back in the day? But carry on with your purity tests. They’re evil.

Maybe you can convince enough Dems to follow a future Bernie and enough of the population to elect them in the general. But you’ll be fighting the neo-liberal Clintons and Bushes together as Corey once again has pointed out. You don’t need all the populists, but they once voted with you nearly all the time on the economic issues.

281

Layman 08.22.16 at 8:10 pm

T, it’s quite hard to converse with you without being irritated by your propensity for mischaracterizing what people say, or otherwise ignore what they’ve said in favor of some other thing they haven’t said. Using your 278 as an example:

– I have already discussed Bill Clinton in this thread, so pretending I’m unaware of him is silly;

– If I caution you not to assume that today’s poor white working class are like that of FDR, this is not the same thing as ‘writing them off’, so don’t say that it is;

– If I opine that there will not be enough jobs for everyone in the future, do not pretend I have said there are not enough jobs today, so that you can argue against that straw man instead;

– If I say I’m in favor of policies that reduce pre-tax income inequality, do not respond by saying I’m in favor of allowing the 1% to get it all and then redistribute it;

– If I say that I don’t see a candidate running to reverse neoliberal policies, do not pretend that I’m saying I don’t know what that agenda would look like;

And, you know, that’s just from one of your posts. You do this sort of thing all the time. If that’s what you want to do, I really can’t be bothered to try. If you’re actually interested in an honest argument, cut it out. It’s up to you.

282

T 08.23.16 at 1:05 am

Layman @281

If you think if I’ve misread your comments it might help me if you restate and explain what you mean rather than telling me what you didn’t say and have me guess. Telling me you didn’t say ‘all’ is not telling me you mean ‘close to all’ or ‘nah, there’s three other things that matter a lot too.’ We’re talking big picture in many of these threads. If you think I’m purposely mischaracterizing your statements rather than trying to get to close to your position, than better to stop. Kidneystones, one of the most, er, provocative posters on this cite, and I are doing just fine.

283

J-D 08.23.16 at 1:07 am

Lupita

When I consider the question ‘Why are Mexican-Americans more likely to favour Democratic candidates (including Hillary Clinton) over Republican candidates than are members of the American ethnic majority?’ the answer ‘Because they’re right-wing’ (whether referring to the Mexican-Americans or to the Democrats) doesn’t make sense to me. The Republicans are more right-wing than the Democrats; that might fit with an explanation that Mexican-Americans are less right-wing than the American ethnic majority, but not with an explanation that they are more right-wing.

It is possible that Mexican-Americans are more right-wing than Mexicans, but this possibility has no use as an explanation for why Mexican-Americans are more likely to support Clinton (or other Democrats) than are Mexicans, because there’s obviously a much simpler explanation: Mexicans (as opposed to Mexican-Americans) don’t vote for Democrats because they don’t have the vote in the USA.

284

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 1:26 am

@ 279 “Trump supporters want pre-tax inequality to fall and the income distribution to go back toward the ’60s.”

There’s not a shred of evidence for this.

Actually, TM, you’re entirely wrong. There’s an immense amount of evidence for this, both in terms of what Trump has been saying on the stump and in terms of analysis. Even the extremely hostile Sidney Morning Herald makes exactly this case.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/income-inequality-to-blame-for-voter-dissent-20160812-gqqxrj.html

Note that the SMH doesn’t actually put a clip of Trump making the case for fairer incomes in their piece. No, that would be too honest.

Trump not talking about income inequality exists only in your head and inside the heads of others who do not want to accept that Trump talked about stagnating wages, protecting social security, and doing more for the middle class for pretty much all of last year.

285

J-D 08.23.16 at 1:31 am

cassander

1. The actions of the people who originated the slogan ‘All Lives Matter’ cannot be justified as being a response to the negative reaction they received. It’s a simple matter of chronological sequence.

At Time A, we have people originating the slogan ‘All Lives Matter’.
At Time B, we have people reacting negatively to the slogan ‘All Lives Matter’.

Events at Time B cannot justify what happened at Time A because Time B came after Time A, not before it.

So why did they originate the slogan ‘All Lives Matter’? What was the justification for it? You offer none.

2. It’s highly likely that TM intended the descriptions ‘extreme’, ‘divisive’, and ‘aggressive’ as negative ones. But that doesn’t mean I have to accept that those descriptions are automatically negative ones, and there’s no reason why you have to accept it either. Sometimes extreme courses are justified. Sometimes an aggressive approach serves a useful purpose. The idea that being divisive is always something to be avoided is an idea that should be resisted, because accepting it plays into the hands of those who want to silence criticism and disagreement.

3. TM suggested that right-wing politics is currently extreme, and it’s true that this implies a contrast with some earlier period when it was not extreme (or less extreme). But it’s not true that there’s been no change in right-wing politics. To take just one example that we’ve been discussing, calling for criminal charges against Hillary Clinton is something new.

4. Saying ‘right-wing politics are not divisive’ is not compatible with saying ‘in politics, “divisive” is a meaningless description, because it can be applied to anything’. You can’t consistently argue in favour of both those positions.

286

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 1:34 am

Yo TM, watch Trump on income inequality from 2014 and get ready for your head to explode – the set-up Biden discovers that under Obama middle class wages have increased by 14 cents, like it was somebody else running the US economy. Then Trump tees off on how both parties have screwed the middle class.

287

J-D 08.23.16 at 1:35 am

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 1:26 am

Trump not talking about income inequality exists only in your head and inside the heads of others who do not want to accept that Trump talked about stagnating wages, protecting social security, and doing more for the middle class for pretty much all of last year.

But if elected President Trump will not reduce income inequality. Anybody who is supporting him in sincere expectation of a reduction in income inequality is (sadly) being played for a sucker.

288

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 1:43 am

And one right out of the Horse’s (insert body part) mouth:

289

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 1:49 am

Watch the speech at @ 288 and reflect, if you will, of President 300 Rounds of Golf and Her Majesty at a 1ook a couple fundraiser with Lady Rothschild.

If you really want to know why Trump may actually win, just watch the first 5-10 minutes.

290

T 08.23.16 at 2:53 am

J-D TM kidneystones
Trump is making plainly making a populist appeal. While I wasn’t familiar with Trump’s speeches on inequality and the middle class, it’s no surprise. (hat tip kidney) But the policies — other than the trade and immigration positions — seem afterthoughts and are revised pretty regularly. (Now the immigration plan appears to be changing, as well.) The overall economic plan is pretty incoherent and not populist in effect. The tax plan is particularly anti-populist and ill conceived. Further, the immigration position, while a traditional populist position, will likely hurt. It’s more cultural than economic and very, very ugly. That said, a good part of the Republican Party is walking away from the mainstream and getting that they’ve been played for 40 years. Not that the dems haven’t noticed as well. The fact they are moving to Trump shows just how much they hate the Bushes. Just talking to the working class without a history of lying to them is enough to get a significant share of the vote.

291

Alan White 08.23.16 at 3:24 am

kidneystones–what would you think is the optimal political world at least for the US? I get so bogged down in the back and forth that I’m still unclear on what you would wish is the way things should be. Please just be clear. I’m just one wishing for fairer redistributive taxing to make up for the Reaganite/Clintocratic deregulation trickle-down favoritism of the elite that has dominated since 1980. I’m a thumbs-down/up kinda guy when it comes to who’s become privileged from background versus who depends on stacked-odds bad luck to see how things work out. FWIW I’m a stacked-odds bad luck guy who got lucky enough to appreciate that fact.

292

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 6:11 am

@ Hi Alan, thanks for this. The optimal for me would be to see Trump elected and forced to deliver on some/most of his promises. I’ll start by with the caveat that I’m not an economist, so I’ll defer to just about any authority. Nor have I made a close study of Trump’s ‘policies.’ From what I understand corporate tax rates need to come down a lot if the US has any realistic hope of seeing the capital Apple and others are holding offshore get invested in American plants. Russ Feingold noted in 2006 that healthcare works best at the state, not the national level. Devolving authority to the state/province is how health/education are handled in Canada. That allows for greater community input, which I see as a positive. A Trump victory represents the beginning of a new way of thinking for Republicans and one that is certain to be resisted by just about everybody. He’s going to walk back a lot of his more inflammatory rhetoric, I expect. Like Reagan, he’s got no problem dog-whistling to bigots and racists, but I see nothing particularly odious in that.

I think I’d be generally in agreement with you on the principle of redistribution. I was around a fair amount of multi-generation welfare at different times and believe it to be positively evil, when I once thought of it as a good. So, yes, help people out, but stipulate clearly that the cash provided is a loan, not a gift. I’m also generally in favor of expecting children to behave as children. As adults we might try our best to put the health, happiness, and needs of our partners and our kids first, rather than our own. So, let’s try to keep families together. We can probably all benefit from more exercise and fewer mind and mood-altering substances. Oh yeah – no tattoos. See? You wanted it simple.

T@290 If you’re watching Trump on the middle-class for the first time, then you’ve been waxing eloquent on Trump in a state of near absolute ignorance. Given all the rude remarks you’ve directed my way about not really understanding the US, allow me to note that one thing I have noted is that liberals, such as you, evidently believe that they do not need to actually come in direct contact with Trump’s arguments to actually opine on them.

By admitting that you’re only now, scant months before the election, actually listening to what the candidate actually has to say, you’re admitting that you haven’t being doing that up to this point. Hence, I expect you to watch quite a bit more Trump to discover what his actual immigration policies are, rather than relying on whatever secondhand ‘sources’ you’ve been relying on so far.

Say whatever you like about TM, he’s no fool. His impossibly ignorant remarks about Trump not discussing income inequality are not the result of poor reasoning, or comprehension skills, but rather hubris. People like you and TM clearly believe what you believe to be true based on your best belly-button lint, not from actual contact with reality.

How about that. And you two being so clever and all.

293

J-D 08.23.16 at 6:49 am

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 6:11 am

@ Hi Alan, thanks for this. The optimal for me would be to see Trump elected and forced to deliver on some/most of his promises.

Trump forced to deliver on his promises and pigs fly.

If Trump is elected President, he’ll not be forced to do anything.

294

TM 08.23.16 at 7:25 am

284: 1. The SMH doesn’t make the case you claim it does.
2. Trump supporters don’t name income inequality as one of their top concerns (s. 137).
3. Trump doesn’t in his speeches address income inequality as such, he doesn’t even use the term inequality.
4. Trump doesn’t promise any measures to alleviate income inequality.
5. He promises to abolish the inheritance tax.

Of course how you interpret these facts is up to you.

295

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 8:43 am

@ 294 I can see how in your alternate reality when Trump repeatedly points to the fact that under Bush and then the Dems the rich keep getting much richer and the income of everyone else remains flat, or declines that he’s actually talking about something other than income inequality.

What might that be? Because it seems much more likely to me that you lack the balls to simply admit you don’t know what the f Trump is talking about and has been talking about since 2014 at least.

You understand how stupid, facile, and weak you look taking this stance, don’t you?

You’re arguing that Trump is not talking about income inequality and the pressure on the working poor and the middle class. Are you really sure you want to stand by that claim?
Because no fair listening of the first ten minutes of Trump’s speech, or better still, a reading of the transcript without Trump’s name attached is going to produce a judgement other than ‘he’s talking about income inequality being the result of choices made by elites.’

You’re quite welcome to argue the opposite of course. In fact, I’m reasonably sure that’s exactly what you’ll do, given the alternative is admitting the obvious – namely that you’re wrong, at least on this score.

No surprise from you!

296

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 9:01 am

Number 2 story at the rabidly pro-Trump Wapo – FBI unearths 14,900 new emails HRC and her lawyers claimed didn’t exist.

Trump calls for special prosecutor to investigate connections between selling access to US govt for cash to Clinton foundation.

Clinton career fixer James Carville claims ‘people will die if the work of the Clinton foundation ends.’

Two months to go!!! Better get those ‘unfit to be president’ stories into the news cycle quick! And remember, Trump does NOT care about income inequality. Why?

Cause Trump talks endlessly about elites getting more money while everybody else gets less money, and no matter what anyone thinks that does not mean Trump is talking about the rich getting richer by promoting political candidates who serve elites and who make sure American workers get less.

297

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 9:02 am

TM calls people who point out he’s full of crap: Trolls. Small wonder.

298

Layman 08.23.16 at 12:35 pm

T:

“If you think if I’ve misread your comments it might help me if you restate and explain what you mean rather than telling me what you didn’t say and have me guess.”

Hell, T, I just did!

I wrote: “Regarding redistribution, I think there’s good reason to believe there simply won’t be enough real jobs to go around soon.”

You replied: “There’s not enough jobs so we need redistribution rather than more fundamental change? Huh? Really? The current unemployment rate is less than 5% and the employment rate is starting to trickle back up.”

You see, right there, you took an opinion I offered about the state of affairs in the future, and pretended it was a claim about the state of affairs in the present, so that you could cast the claim as wrong, even silly.

In response to that, I wrote: “If I opine that there will not be enough jobs for everyone in the future, do not pretend I have said there are not enough jobs today, so that you can argue against that straw man instead…”

Now, in response to that, you write: “If you think if I’ve misread your comments it might help me if you restate and explain what you mean rather than telling me what you didn’t say and have me guess.”

The amazing thing is that you write that in response to a post where I’ve explained your error clearly!

Now, a reasonable person – an honest person – would say something of the form “…gosh, you’re right, sorry ’bout that, what did you mean, why do you think that, etc.”

299

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 12:43 pm

Pay to play Clinton foundation foreign donors didn’t always get what they wanted from Clinton State Department; it’s not like Hillary will sell out US interests for cash on every occasion. Pay to play with foreign nationals and governments while ostensibly working for US taxpayers and picking up that good government check. Chelsea? 3 jobs at the same time six figures not because of who she is, of course, but for what she does.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/emails-reveal-how-foundation-donors-got-access-to-clinton-and-her-close-aides-at-state-dept/2016/08/22/345b5200-6882-11e6-8225-fbb8a6fc65bc_story.html

Hey, what about ‘strapping the family dog to the car roof’!?! WTF?

How come we’re not talking about that?

Rapidly pro-Trump WAPO puts pro-Hillary spin on confirmation in ‘newly discovered’ work-Clinton foundation emails. Trustworthy? Hmm, but definitely Not always buyable!!!

No press conferences and then there are the neocons. So much to look forward to.

Change!!

300

Layman 08.23.16 at 12:48 pm

kidneystones: “There’s an immense amount of evidence for this, both in terms of what Trump has been saying on the stump and in terms of analysis. Even the extremely hostile Sidney Morning Herald makes exactly this case.”

Unsurprisingly, the linked SMH opinion piece offers not a shred of evidence to connect voter concerns about income inequality to support for Trump.

kidneystones: “You’re arguing that Trump is not talking about income inequality and the pressure on the working poor and the middle class.”

What solutions is Trump offering? I understand he’s offering less redistribution – tax cuts for higher earners & corporations, elimination of estate taxes, a tax amnesty for offshore profits – and opposing minimum wage hikes. In fact, he’s said wages need to be cut, hasn’t he?

Also, TM is right – Trump supporters don’t say they’re supporting him mainly because of income inequality. That reason is pretty far down their list, isn’t it?

301

Lee A. Arnold 08.23.16 at 12:59 pm

Penn Jillette of “Penn and Teller”on Donald Trump:

302

Layman 08.23.16 at 1:00 pm

…and here, Jared Yates Sexton reports on Trump’s August 18 rally, from the crowd. Read his reporting about how the audience expressed their economic concerns!

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/trump-rally-tweets-jared-yates-sexton/

I particularly like this response, from a Twitter follower: “You’ll be gassed first.”

Because who doesn’t think executing political opponents or members of the media is an effort to improve one’s economic circumstances?

303

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 1:20 pm

@300 Well, Egypt.

You could say that Trump can’t be trusted to follow through.

Instead, you pretend the videos of Trump preaching the gospel of income inequality above don’t actually exist. And that because you and TM are pretending the videos don’t exist, CT visitors are going to be less inclined to watch Trump’s speech on economics.

People do want to know why Trump appeals to so many Americans and others. A few, perhaps, have already made up their minds and won’t watch. Many others, as we’ve seen from T, will.

And then you’ve got a different set of problems.

304

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 1:36 pm

If Trump reads that speech @288 or something very much like it the same way directly to the audience during the debates, and ignores everything and everyone else, I don’t see him losing.

Hillary will be the empty chair.

Rich celebrities ‘explaining’ life and ‘who to trust’ to jobs voters this cycle are the kiss of death. But, that and ‘tying the family dog to the car roof’ is all Dem’s have got.

Better hope the Dem base doesn’t actually start, you know, slipping past the filters to experience Trump first hand. And all the while those emails drip, drip, drip.

305

Lupita 08.23.16 at 2:28 pm

@ J-D

I hope you appreciate that by answering your questions I am risking insinuations of race-baiting, which is like being called a racist. That said, here is your question and my answer:

When I consider the question ‘Why are Mexican-Americans more likely to favour Democratic candidates (including Hillary Clinton) over Republican candidates than are members of the American ethnic majority?’ the answer ‘Because they’re right-wing’ (whether referring to the Mexican-Americans or to the Democrats) doesn’t make sense to me. The Republicans are more right-wing than the Democrats; that might fit with an explanation that Mexican-Americans are less right-wing than the American ethnic majority, but not with an explanation that they are more right-wing.

Clinton is an extreme right-winger because she supports “America leading the world in the 21st century”, which is a dog-whistle for US hegemony, and the “strongest military the world has ever known”, which is self-explanatory. Who knows whether women, blacks, and browns who support her by wide margins, are more right-wing than those who support Trump, but it really does not matter to the world-wide anti-imperial, anti-neoliberal left which faction of the extreme-right wins in the US. Neither do we cut any slack to American women, blacks, and browns for their right-wing preferences just because they are women, black, brown, or a combination of the three. Remember that Africans and Latin Americans have suffered too many atrocities by our own to be able to adopt the Western multicultural precept of never questioning the politics of a non-white male. It would be suicidal.

306

Layman 08.23.16 at 2:52 pm

Lupita: “Who knows whether women, blacks, and browns who support her by wide margins, are more right-wing than those who support Trump…”

The answer to this question is not a mystery. Pretty much everyone knows whether Trump supporters are more right-wing than women, blacks and browns who support Clinton.

“…but it really does not matter to the world-wide anti-imperial, anti-neoliberal left which faction of the extreme-right wins in the US.”

This is, frankly, stupid in the extreme. It may be fun to adopt the posture that there is no difference, but please recall that this same claim was made by some of Bush and Gore, and I imagine millions of Iraqis would in hindsight disagree with that claim.

Some of what you write is interesting and thoughtful, but not this tripe.

307

Anarcissie 08.23.16 at 3:41 pm

Layman 08.23.16 at 2:52 pm @ 306 —
In 2000, Gore was supposed to be the interventionist (following Clinton’s fun and games in the Balkans and the Middle East) and Bush the isolationist.

308

RichardM 08.23.16 at 5:01 pm

> the world-wide anti-imperial, anti-neoliberal left

Is there any global polling on topics like ‘would you support your country in a defensive/righteous/aggressive/profitable/… war’?

Because I suspect ‘yes/possibly/no/no’ is not a set of answers that would indicate the extreme right on a global scale, any more than it is on an american one.

309

Layman 08.23.16 at 5:08 pm

@ Anarcissie, anyone who was paying attention in 2000 understood that Bush was an incompetent, mendacious tool of the right with a life history of irresponsible behavior, and Gore was not.

310

TM 08.23.16 at 5:34 pm

kidney has had ample opportunity to explain what measures Trump is planning to take to reduce the pre-tax incomes of the super-rich, which he needs to do if reducing the pre-tax inequality is what he’s all about. Although it’s still a mystery why he would then want to increase their post-tax income. But it probably all makes sense.

311

Anarcissie 08.23.16 at 6:59 pm

Layman 08.23.16 at 5:08 pm @ 309:
‘… anyone who was paying attention in 2000 understood that Bush was an incompetent, mendacious tool of the right with a life history of irresponsible behavior, and Gore was not.’

But suppose your concern were reducing mass murder and other crimes committed by the United States government upon people it finds inconvenient or who happen to be standing around when it strikes. (4,000,000 since 1960? Something like that.) You might prefer an incompetent, mendacious tool of the Right with a life history of irresponsible behavior if you thought he or she would be less efficient, less committed, less passionate, in carrying out those murders and other crimes than the other candidate. Remember, Gore came from the ‘We think it is worth it’ party and there was not much reason to believe he would follow a different path. Of course, as things turned out, Bush and company were just as bad or worse, regardless of their pretended isolationism. So in this sense, as Lupita says, ‘it really does not matter to the world-wide anti-imperial, anti-neoliberal left which faction of the extreme-right wins in the US.’ The same things will happen. In 2016 as in 2000.

I would not use the term ‘extreme right’, though; mass slaughter is middle of the road in the US.

312

Stan 08.23.16 at 7:17 pm

“Do you have any friends that are voting Republican? Are they racist, stupid, and/or fanatics? “

I have a few friends who are republicans. And quite a few family members.
Are they all racist? Yes, it’s pretty obvious to me that they are deeply racist, even though some of them would sincerely deny it. They can’t see their own racism.

Are they stupid? meh, about as stupid or smart as the rest of us.

Are they fanatics? One or two, yes. Most of them, no.

It seems like all my republican bros are racists.

313

Stan 08.23.16 at 7:33 pm

“I have yet to see what the use is of assertions that racism is the primary motivator for large groups of people.”

It is educational. A lot of racism is invisible to white people. Some of them can be shown what it is and then they work to change it. Some of them are hopeless. Denying racism exists, or denying its extent, is itself part of how racism continues.

314

T 08.23.16 at 8:00 pm

Kidneystones

Trump just makes shit up. That’s what he does. It great that he talks about populist issues but then look at his proposals Take taxes for example: massive tax cuts for the rich. The size of the total package is absurd. A real populist would be talking about increased taxes on the super rich. Instead, he’s giving himself a yuuge tax cut. And with certain provisions, a targeted tax cut — targeted at him.

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/analysis-donald-trumps-tax-plan/full

He’s a grifter. You don’t need to be an economist to figure this is crap the same way you don’t need to be a doctor to to know that some elixir won’t make you live to 1000. That’s part of the populist tradition, too.

I get you hate the neoliberal regime. You’re not alone on this website. But get a grip. You don’t live here and aren’t American. Have him come to your house and shit on your floor.

btw — This is his end game: Trump, Ailes, Hannity, Bannon, and friends start a news channel or news outlet to compete w/Fox. He’d much rather have money and attention than power and attention.

315

Layman 08.23.16 at 8:19 pm

“Remember, Gore came from the ‘We think it is worth it’ party and there was not much reason to believe he would follow a different path. “

Similarly, anyone who thinks Gore would have invaded Iraq under those same circumstances is a fool.

316

J-D 08.23.16 at 8:55 pm

Lupita 08.23.16 at 2:28 pm
@ J-D

I hope you appreciate that by answering your questions I am risking insinuations of race-baiting, which is like being called a racist.

Your hope is disappointed. I have no grasp of why you would think that. The comment is opaque to me.

What I do understand is that you don’t think the question I mentioned is important. That’s fine. You’re not interested in it. That’s fine. You don’t care. That’s fine. You’re not even attempting to answer that question. You want to bring up topics which I made no reference to because you think they’re more important and interesting. That’s fine. You aren’t discussing what I’m discussing and don’t want to. So please stop carrying on as if you are. Your statements are not relevant to my statements, so please stop presenting them as responses when they are not.

317

js. 08.23.16 at 9:04 pm

In 2000, Gore was supposed to be the interventionist (following Clinton’s fun and games in the Balkans and the Middle East) and Bush the isolationist.

A point that of course holds no lesson at all for the current situation.

318

cassander 08.23.16 at 9:38 pm

J-D 08.23.16 at 1:31 am

> So why did they originate the slogan ‘All Lives Matter’? What was the justification for it? You offer none.

In response to the claim that black lives matter, obviously. A point I have brought up repeatedly.

> 3. TM suggested that right-wing politics is currently extreme, and it’s true that this implies a contrast with some earlier period when it was not extreme (or less extreme). But it’s not true that there’s been no change in right-wing politics. To take just one example that we’ve been discussing, calling for criminal charges against Hillary Clinton is something new.

What? Republicans have been doing that since Whitewater.

319

J-D 08.23.16 at 10:11 pm

cassander 08.23.16 at 9:38 pm
J-D 08.23.16 at 1:31 am

> So why did they originate the slogan ‘All Lives Matter’? What was the justification for it? You offer none.

In response to the claim that black lives matter, obviously. A point I have brought up repeatedly.

I am aware that the slogan ‘All Lives Matter’ was coined as a response to the use of the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’. That was the occasion; it’s not a justification. The response was not a justified response.

320

bruce wilder 08.23.16 at 10:40 pm

It needs justification in your view?

321

J-D 08.23.16 at 10:46 pm

bruce wilder 08.23.16 at 10:40 pm
It needs justification in your view?

The people who did it had motives. I could give an account of what might have been their motives: it would be an account which is to their discredit. Can you, or cassander, or anybody, give an account of their motives which is not discreditable? cassander observed above (I paraphrase) that the use of the ‘All Lives Matter’ slogan has been harshly criticised; but there is such a thing as fair harsh criticism as well as unfair harsh criticism.

322

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 11:18 pm

Clinton Inc.

From CNN 2012. Bill Clinton’s cup rattles “The most lucrative was a November speech in Hong Kong to Swedish-based telecom giant Ericsson — $750,000. Clinton also earned $700,000 for a March speech to a local newspaper publishing company in Lagos, Nigeria, and $550,000 for a November speech to a business forum in Shanghai, China. He earned $500,000 apiece for three events in Austria and Holland in May and in the United Arab Emirates in December. Prior to 2011, the most Clinton had earned from a single event was $525,000 for a 2008 speech in Edmonton, Alberta.”

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/03/politics/clinton-speaking-fees/

Today. ” WASHINGTON (AP) — More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money – either personally or through companies or groups – to the Clinton Foundation. It’s an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president”

We had to wait years for Crooked Hillary’s pay to play emails and the corruption is clear: Hillary Clinton sold access State Department office as a cash cow. She has lied, lied, lied, and lied about cash for access, losing the damning evidence, her personal knowledge of the crimes, and on and on and on.

Would Sanders have lost if any of these emails been exposed before/during the primaries? The entire process stinks from top to bottom. But, hey, did you hear about Trump insulting ‘gold star’ families? I hear Bernie’s an atheist. Wouldn’t want that to get out.

The Clintons cover Dems and their supporters in slime. She can still be trusted on TPP, right? F-me.

323

Alan White 08.23.16 at 11:48 pm

kidneystones @ 292–

Thank you. There’s not enough of statement on threads like this, as opposed to facile and knee-jerk vitriol.

324

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 11:50 pm

And now to the bullshitters:

279@ “Trump supporters want pre-tax inequality to fall and the income distribution to go back toward the ’60s.” (T)

(TM responding) “There’s not a shred of evidence for this”

T is correct. TM is wrong.

Trump supporters are deeply concerned about the economy and their place in it. This is so transparently obvious to anyone with even a passing knowledge of what’s taken place in the world, not just the US, that any contradictory utterance beggars belief.

The economy is the number 1 issue for all voters in the US, not just Trump supporters. Something like 70 percent plus of US voters believe the economy is going in the wrong direction.

Yet, TM is asking us to believe that Trump supporters filling arenas don’t want better wages and actually want their own incomes to go down. OK.

I’ll insert a PEW study to confirm the obvious: Most US voters are in general agreement about many issues including social security. I’ve said it before, Trump supporters and Clinton supporters have more in common than many are willing to admit.

One of the insights offered from a distance.

As for T@314, what can anyone add to you thoughtful comment?

“You don’t live here and aren’t American. Have him come to your house and shit on your floor.”

Thanks so much!

Part of Trump’s appeal to many Americans is that he promises to reduce the amount of collateral damage you people do when you ignore borders and kill pretty much anyone you like, anytime you like, irrespective of which political party is in office.

You and many other ‘good Americans’ will be voting for pay-for-play SoS for sale Clinton who in addition to her many other faults happens to be a neocon in a dress. Robert Kagan and that gang of 50 GOP security officials aren’t writing endorsements for her for nothing.

Your votes propel the neocons back to power (do they ever leave?) and the rest of the world gets to deal with the reality. You’re unbelievably unaware, clearly, of how deeply your politics shapes the lives of those of us outside the US. I mean really, really unaware.

325

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 11:52 pm

The Pew study July, 2016 titled cryptically ‘Top voting issues in 2016 election’

http://www.people-press.org/2016/07/07/4-top-voting-issues-in-2016-election/

326

kidneystones 08.24.16 at 12:05 am

@323 Hi Allen. Yes, well. Your point is clear, well-made, and taken.

Now, I’ve a favor to ask of you, if I may. I’m confident you’ll show me the reciprocal courtesy of meeting this simple request. Watch 5-10 minutes of Trump at @288, if you haven’t already.

Then, if you like, share your response and for the sake of clarity and fair play, dispensing with as much of your own sarcasm and muted vitriol as you can.

Hard as it may be to believe, I much generally prefer civil well-grounded discussions.

Cheers!

327

Anarcissie 08.24.16 at 12:07 am

Layman 08.23.16 at 8:19 pm @ 315:
‘Similarly, anyone who thinks Gore would have invaded Iraq under those same circumstances is a fool.’

I think you’re missing my point. We now know that, although Bush pretended to be an isolationist, he planned to invade Iraq all along. Or at least we’re told that, and don’t have much reason to doubt it. However, in 2000, we did not know that, so it was harder then for the anti-imperialist to weigh the imperialism jones of Bush versus that of Gore. Just so, in 2016, we don’t know whether Clinton or Trump is most likely to start a new war, or ramp up an existing one. One is a proven war enthusiast and the other talks like one.

As for Gore, we don’t really know what he might have done. Recall all the brilliant people — Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and the people who worked for them — who sank ever more deeply into the Indochinese quagmire, day after day, year after year, until tens of thousands of Americans and millions of Indochinese had been killed for nothing. Was Gore smarter and stronger? One might not be so sure.

328

Layman 08.24.16 at 12:13 am

“The Pew study July, 2016 titled cryptically ‘Top voting issues in 2016 election’”

Out of date!

http://www.people-press.org/2016/08/18/4-how-voters-view-the-countrys-problems/

329

Layman 08.24.16 at 12:17 am

“As for Gore, we don’t really know what he might have done.”

Speak for yourself. If you call something the biggest foreign policy blunder ever, that rather implies it took a special sort of fuck-up to commit it. Anyone who thinks Gore would have invaded Iraq on the strength of the evidence there actually was is engaging in rationalization. Nader voter, huh?

330

J-D 08.24.16 at 12:26 am

kidneystones 08.23.16 at 1:20 pm

@300 Well, Egypt.

You could say that Trump can’t be trusted to follow through.

I did say that. I’ll say it again in those exact words. Obviously he can’t be trusted to follow through.

331

J-D 08.24.16 at 12:28 am

kidneystones 08.24.16 at 12:05 am

Hard as it may be to believe, I much generally prefer civil well-grounded discussions.

It is hard to believe. If it’s true, you’re displaying a tragic level of ignorance about how to to achieve your stated goal.

332

kidneystones 08.24.16 at 12:51 am

@ 328 Hi Layman, thanks for this. It’s interesting.

Really big differences between Trump and HRC supporters on the question of the availability of good paying jobs. 45 percent of Trump supporters earning over 50k worry about the issue, whilst just 28 percent of Clinton supporters earning over 50k feel the issue is a concern. Yet, across the board, HRC supporters make income inequality of their top concerns, a much higher percentage than Trump supporters.

We could quibble and I’m sure many will (much better than discussing Hillary’s criminal corruption selling favors at State, no?), but there’s plenty in both polls for thought.

There’s no question that Trump’s offensive calls for deportations and profiling are winning him substantial support. There will also be the predictable support from religious cranks and various conspiracy theorists.

The economy and is what concerns both groups whether the threat is framed according to ‘income inequality,’ the Dem preferred term; or the lack of good paying jobs, the Trump supporters term. Dems see the solution as taxation of the rich, Trump supporters see the solution in immigration and the elimination of pay for play politics.

You’re right to point to the most recent poll, but it is a different poll, asking different questions. The July poll makes that clear.

333

bruce wilder 08.24.16 at 12:54 am

J-D: I am aware that the slogan ‘All Lives Matter’ was coined as a response to the use of the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’. That was the occasion; it’s not a justification.

BW: It needs justification in your view?

J-D: The people who did it had motives.

Everyone has motives; most motives have few witnesses. The matter of motive is distinct from justification. I would have thought that the strategic choice to use “All Lives Matter” might be related to such a motto not needing justification on its face and various expectations about how those hearing it might respond, given its self-evident justification.

Not having paid much attention, I cannot say I have witnessed this motto being flung about in the discourse, but I can readily imagine that it was intended and experienced as a rebuke for BLM. Certainly, in my mind, as a hearer not a speaker, it calls into question the political strategy behind the BLM rhetoric.

At the very least, “All Lives Matter” was always a predictable countermove by reactionaries. Given that the phrase itself does not need justification, there’s not much one can do effectively in reply that does not begin and end with affirming that indeed all lives should matter. If that is the conversation a reform movement wants to have, they should be prepared to have it, and to take what advantage they can from the concession reactionaries make in affirming “all lives should matter”.

Speculating on and discussing the motives of obstructionists is, of course, also always an option for a reform movement, but I personally would not so juxtapose the questioning of motives with such a self-evident alternative motto as to call into question whether all lives should matter; if those proposing “All Lives Matter” do so with ill intent, it may well be that they anticipate turning the conversation to an examination of the motives as well as possible meanings of BLM activists. Questioning motives is dangerous territory, not least for the potential to increase polarization, when consensus is desired and needed for effective action on policy. I am not saying, “never question motives”; I am saying do so only when it helps you win.

You ask for an account of “their” motives that is not discreditable. I am not sure who “they” are. If “they” are police officers concerned for the safety of colleagues in the wake of assassinations, . . . what do you think?

Given that the policy goals include reform of police practices, a perception that a war on the police has been precipitated is not politically helpful.

334

js. 08.24.16 at 1:07 am

Wow. I should like bookmark this thread.

335

J-D 08.24.16 at 1:20 am

@bruce wilder

TM wrote that ‘right-wing politics is currently so extreme, so divisive, so aggressive against anything that is even perceived as mildly liberal’.

cassander cited the people who use the slogan ‘All Lives Matter’ as if they were evidence against the applicability of this description.

They aren’t. That’s my point.

cassander cited the use of the slogan ‘All Lives Matter’ as if it tended to demonstrate something about the people who use it. Obviously the use of the slogan tends to demonstrate something about the people who use it, but what? It’s not simply that they believe that all lives matter. People can believe that without thinking it’s important to announce it in a slogan. The people who adopted ‘All Lives Matter’ as a slogan did so in response to the use of the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’, as cassander has observed. What does it tend to indicate about people who adopt the slogan ‘All Lives Matter’ that they thought it was a relevant response to the way the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ was being used? You suggest the likelihood that it was intended and experienced as a rebuke. What does it tend to indicate about people that they rebuked the users of the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’?

336

T 08.24.16 at 1:40 am

Kidney@324
We get you hate HRC.

But you seem to have really have no clue as what your getting w/Trump. He’s now dissembling on one of the two policies that are the centerpiece of his campaign — immigration. The tax plan you’ve failed to comment on is worse than a joke and the largest give-away to the “donor class” anyone has proposed including the donor class themselves. It is the most neoliberal document you can imagine both eliminating the estate tax (which only applies to about $10M and above) and lowering the marginal tax rate from 39% to 25%.

Given his constant dissembling you should have no confidence about anything he says on the foreign policy front as well. As for the recent role of the US in foreign policy, you mentioned that you’ve recently been in Canada and Japan. I’d say you don’t have much to worry about either way. As for say, Syrian policy, you tell me where Trump is headed.

By the way, Trump was for invading Iraq. Of course he lied about that forgetting this internet thing keeps track.

I guess the question is whether the US can produce a populist that’s not unhinged or, more likely, a progressive that reaches out to the populists on economic matters.

There is a reason Americans don’t trust either Trump or Clinton. You seem is actually believe what he’s saying. You’d be more believable if you said I’d vote for a ferret over Clinton and stay silent on Trump. That I’d buy.

337

Jesse M. 08.24.16 at 1:52 am

cassander 08.23.16 at 9:38 pm
In response to the claim that black lives matter, obviously. A point I have brought up repeatedly.

Would you agree that saying “all lives matter” in response to “black lives matter” is an attempt to rhetorically suggest that those who use the slogan “black lives matter” are people who think black lives matter more than other lives (black supremacists of some kind), so that they need to be corrected on this point? That there would be no motive for such a correction if one instead understood people who say “black lives matter” to be saying it based on a perception of black lives being treated as “mattering” less than others by our justice system (more likely to be shot than whites in equivalent situations, along with other issues like being more likely to get randomly searched or stopped while driving, more likely to get prison time for minor crimes like marijuana use, etc.), and trying to fight against that and call attention to this issue?

338

Anarcissie 08.24.16 at 2:11 am

Layman 08.24.16 at 12:17 am @ 329 — Speaking of evidence, we have the evidence of all these very smart people involving the US in useless wars, as I pointed out. So it seems to me Gore might well have become one of them; he strikes me as a being of the same kind as they. I concede that if he had done so, he probably would have had better propaganda; the sort of thing we were treated to in 2002-2003 was really of disgraceful quality. If we’re going to get dragged into criminal wars, we should at least get respectable propaganda. Again, though, my point is that in 2000, while one might reasonably have assessed Bush as an ignorant, incompetent hick and Gore as some kind of erudite genius of politics, one still wouldn’t be able to tell which one was most likely to embark on military adventures. They were both working within the same ideology, the same belief system, with regard to whether it is all right to kill, maim, terrorize, etc. etc., millions of people in order to advance one’s interests as they say.

339

bruce wilder 08.24.16 at 2:16 am

J-D : What does it tend to indicate about people that they rebuked the users of the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’?

That they are human.

340

js. 08.24.16 at 2:27 am

Please keep going. This is lovely.

341

bruce wilder 08.24.16 at 2:36 am

Did you have something you wanted to contribute, js.?

342

Alan White 08.24.16 at 3:09 am

Thanks kidneystones–and as my departed mom once corrected someone–“It’s Alan–like Alan Ladd–” who I’m actually named after–“not ‘Allen’ like some alley-cat”.

I watched the video. I just have one question–do you think he actually wrote one word of it? I mean–c’mon man! This is the new teleprompter Trump. He’s obviously got someone up his ass as puppeteer. At least Hillary has self-reflective gumption, even if it is also many times self-corrective and self-absorbed. So I ask you again–do you have confidence that this guy is more than a sock puppet at this point? Because the sock without the puppeteering has not worked.

And yes, respectful interchange has its own merits.

343

J-D 08.24.16 at 3:47 am

bruce wilder 08.24.16 at 2:16 am

J-D : What does it tend to indicate about people that they rebuked the users of the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’?

That they are human.

Not relevantly — that all parties involved are human is not in dispute. Humans rebuke, true; but humans also refrain from rebuking. Rebuking the users of a slogan is no more indication of humanity than endorsing the slogan and supporting its users (no less an indication, either, but that still gets us nowhere).

cassander referred to the way that use of the slogan ‘All Lives Matter’ has drawn harsh criticism, implying (or so it appeared) that the criticism was unfair. Do you think that criticism was unfair?

344

kidneystones 08.24.16 at 4:45 am

@341 Hi Alan. Thanks for this and the reminder on the spelling. We actually have several Allen-Alan family members, and I’m far from careful with typos, so apologies in advance for any future errors.

Re: Did he write a word of it? That’s a great question. And does it matter? Jon Favreau and Mark Zukerberg, among others, polished a great deal of Obama’s messaging. I think on some abstract level Trump absolutely means it. But this is less the issue for me.

What I like very much about Trump is his willingness to utter the unutterable. I think he’d very much like his presidency (yes, that’s what may come to pass) to be Huge. So, on that level I do believe he’s sincere. I watched semi-hostile business response to his tax plan and the argument (which I do not claim the expertise to judge) is that if corporate tax rates are simplified and drop to 15 percent, then more businesses will make more money and hire more workers. This combined with punitive tariffs to discourage the offshoring jobs definitely seems better to me than the status quo.

Unlike some, I do not ‘hate’ the rich. I rather admire them, so I’ve no problem with the rich becoming richer as long as the rest of us can look forward to better lives, too. The fact that many of ‘us’ are not looking forward to better lives (at least those of us in the first world) is a topic that needs to be aired and remedied sooner, rather than later.

I was, therefore, delighted and surprised when not one, but two, quixotic pranksters crashed the Bush/Clinton coronations. I still am. I supported Hillary in the past, btw. We donated money to the Clinton Aids initiative in Africa, so I think the foundation does a lot of good. I have to laugh when people state they ‘hate’ Bush/Obama/Thatcher and actually mean it. A good friend who happened to be American very sensibly pointed out, as you note here, that politicians normally don’t believe a word that spills from their lips. So, why get mad at them?

It’s about the rhetoric and the policies, for me.

You’re in Wisconsin, I believe? An uncle was at Minnesota for some years. I thought very seriously of attending the University of Wisconsin at one time and still think the US university system is generally the best in the world.

Keep up the good work. There’s a lot of good in America.

345

J-D 08.24.16 at 5:02 am

‘It’s about the rhetoric and the policies, for me.’

The words of somebody who is asking to be played for a sucker.

346

Layman 08.24.16 at 11:14 am

bruce wilder: “If “they” are police officers concerned for the safety of colleagues in the wake of assassinations, . . . what do you think?”

I think it’s time to repeat the truth that a police officer is more likely to be killed while driving to the grocery store on his/her day off than by a weapon while on duty. And to opine that the notion that police officers should prioritize their own safety over that of citizens, which in turn means they should shoot those citizens in response to any threat, real or imagined, is absurd.

That aside, the responses to BLM (“all lives matter”, “blue lives matter”) are as racist as the circumstances that produced BLM. It doesn’t take much personal integrity to understand that, in that context, ‘black lives matter’ means ‘black lives matter, too’ – it is a call, a plea even, to stop the social and political machinery which systematically treats black lives, health, well-being, as less important than that of whites.

347

Layman 08.24.16 at 11:19 am

“I watched semi-hostile business response to his tax plan and the argument (which I do not claim the expertise to judge) is that if corporate tax rates are simplified and drop to 15 percent, then more businesses will make more money and hire more workers. “

Yet corporations are today sitting on massive piles of cash – accumulated after-tax profits – and, by and large, not using it to expand employment or increase worker pay. If we make the piles bigger, is the idea that they’ll then, somehow, be forced to spend it rather than drown in money?

348

kidneystones 08.24.16 at 12:00 pm

@ 346 That’s a good question. I’ve no idea, but if the products are made outside the US and the companies want to see in the US, they’ll have to decide whether to pay the tariff and not build the factories in the US. I’m not being facetious. It really is a good question.

Like I said, I have no confidence Trump will accomplish 1/10th of what he’s promising. But the conversation is the right conversation, and the questions the right questions.

Rome wasn’t burned in a day.

349

kidneystones 08.24.16 at 12:01 pm

Should read ‘…companies want to sell in the US,’

350

TM 08.24.16 at 12:30 pm

BW is really being bizarre. One has to be either ignorant or racist to be offended by the slogan Black Lives Matter. Ignorant like an extraterrestrial who doesn’t know anything about racial politics and history in the US, or racist like somebody who actually doesn’t think that Black Lives Matter, at least not as much as White Lives not to mention the most precious resource of all, Blue Lives.

351

Layman 08.24.16 at 12:51 pm

“But the conversation is the right conversation, and the questions the right questions.”

No, not really. Trump is selling a fantasy of the past that cannot be restored. Companies can’t return good manufacturing jobs to the US because there are no good manufacturing jobs to return to the US. We’ve crossed the line where cheap labor no longer beats the efficiency of automation in manufacturing. New factories being built in China are largely automated – even Chinese wages are too expensive for manufacturers.

When people talk about good manufacturing jobs, they seem able to ignore that the median wage for an automobile assembly-line worker in the US is $15 per hour – which is to say that it is the equivalent of a minimum-wage job if the 70s.

Similarly, when Trump promises to unregulate coal in order to restore coal mining jobs, this ignores the fact that coal mining jobs have declined steadily for 40 years, not because of regulation, but because the state of coal mining art is mechanized to the point that one doesn’t actually need many people to dig coal out of the ground anymore. Those jobs are never coming back.

So, he’s selling a fantasy. Is he lying? Almost certainly, but even if he’s not, he’s deeply wrong about the state of affairs.

352

bruce wilder 08.24.16 at 3:07 pm

TM: One has to be either ignorant or racist to be offended by the slogan Black Lives Matter.

There are a lot of such people and presumably the BLM movement needs to persuade at least some of them.

J-D: . . . use of the slogan ‘All Lives Matter’ has drawn harsh criticism, implying (or so it appeared) that the criticism was unfair. Do you think that criticism was unfair?

I think the criticism you have offered of ALM is ill-judged, as I have already explained.

353

kidneystones 08.24.16 at 3:26 pm

@ 350 Can’t argue with any of this. You’re right.

354

bruce wilder 08.24.16 at 3:28 pm

Layman: the responses to BLM (“all lives matter”, “blue lives matter”) are as racist as the circumstances that produced BLM.

true.

in that context, ‘black lives matter’ means ‘black lives matter, too’

and, it is necessary to say so.

. . . to opine that the notion that police officers should prioritize their own safety over that of citizens, which in turn means they should shoot those citizens in response to any threat, real or imagined, is absurd.

That is several absurd leaps away from my “police officers concerned for the safety of colleagues in the wake of assassinations”.

355

Alan White 08.24.16 at 4:02 pm

Thanks kidneystones. I’m one of those who try to separate political beliefs from likability. I’d better do so if I wish to continue to love my brother, who is about as antipodal to my political beliefs as can be.

Yeah, I’ve been a faculty member at a lower-tier UW campus now for over three decades (we have 26 campuses across the state–27 if you include a newly-formed “virtual” campus). I used to take special pride in being part of UW System, but that has been tarnished over the years by diminishing state support, once right around 40%, now generally under 20% of total budget. My campus is at a critical position in particular, fighting for its survival. Tenure has been “reformed” into tenure-lite, allowing departments to be closed in less than conditions of financial emergency, which used to be the standard for public universities. I’ll retire in a couple of years, grateful for a good career, but I wonder if my tenure-track position will be replaced.

Thanks for the good discussion–I do tire of the rants that too frequently pepper comments. And thanks to Professor Robin for the OP, and apologies for thread meandering.

356

Brett Dunbar 08.24.16 at 5:08 pm

Layman @ 346

Invest the money or pay it out to shareholders (through either dividends or a share buyback).

The US uses a worldwide system of corporate taxation with a high rate, many exemptions and occasional tax holidays, virtually everywhere else uses a territorial system with a low rate and few exemptions. This means that most of the time US companies with overseas profits want to wait for the next tax holiday before expatriating the profits and in the meantime they either sit on the money or use it to make investments overseas.

The worldwide taxation and high US tax rates means the US taxes profits earned in other countries on the difference between the local rate and the high US rate. The current situation means that a company can have domestic investment opportunities and idle cash stocks in an overseas subsidiary but be unable to bring them together without a large tax hit. So they wait for the next tax holiday.

Other quirks in the US system make share buybacks more tax efficient than dividend payments which is why dividends are fairly uncommon in the US while fairly ubiquitous in the UK.

357

bruce wilder 08.24.16 at 8:07 pm

Brett Dunbar

The U.S. could collect the corporate income tax, rather than tolerate proliferating avoidance schemes.

These schemes are not limited to the U.S. as the wikileaks Panama Papers demonstrated.

358

J-D 08.24.16 at 8:45 pm

bruce wilder 08.24.16 at 3:07 pm
TM: One has to be either ignorant or racist to be offended by the slogan Black Lives Matter.

There are a lot of such people and presumably the BLM movement needs to persuade at least some of them.

A mistake. It is not feasible to persuade everybody and it’s a serious strategic error to think in terms of doing so.

J-D: . . . use of the slogan ‘All Lives Matter’ has drawn harsh criticism, implying (or so it appeared) that the criticism was unfair. Do you think that criticism was unfair?

I think the criticism you have offered of ALM is ill-judged, as I have already explained.

Another mistake. I have referred to the fact that criticism of All Lives Matter exists, but I have never stated what that criticism is, so if you think you have explained what is wrong with a criticism offered by me you have plainly lost track.

359

Brett Dunbar 08.24.16 at 9:13 pm

bruce wilder @ 356

They can’t. They collect the tax when the money is expatriated to the parent company in USA. When it is in the overseas subsidiary it is outside the jurisdiction of the USA. Before the cash is potentially transferred the parent group has it as a capital asset not as cash, the parent has ownership of the subsidiary which has a value including all of both the liquid and non-liquid assets. Profits are taxed not the total value of the assets of the business. The cash may be used to invest overseas without coming under the jurisdiction of then USA.

US corporate taxation is a mess. The rates are high but the number of exemptions mean the incidence is comparatively low, and rather bizarrely it will re tax transactions that took place abroad and had already been subject to local taxation in the jurisdiction in which the transaction took place. As indeed is personal taxation. The US is one of only two countries, the other is Eritrea, to tax citizens who live and work abroad. This led to the utterly absurd situation of Boris Johnson having to pay the US tax on a house purchase in London.

There are a few things I would like the USA to do, reform personal and corporate taxation on the territorial basis used in every other rich country. Simplify income tax, remove most allowances and have most people’s tax dealt with entirely by the employer with no tax return (in Britain about 80% of the population do not have a tax return your employer deducts or refunds based on your tax code). Replace food stamps and other complex and expensive benefit payments with straight cash payments. Benefit claimants are adults and should be treated as such; not stigmatised.

360

cassander 08.24.16 at 9:17 pm

@Layman

>That aside, the responses to BLM (“all lives matter”, “blue lives matter”) are as racist as the circumstances that produced BLM. It doesn’t take much personal integrity to understand that, in that context, ‘black lives matter’ means ‘black lives matter, too’ – it is a call, a plea even, to stop the social and political machinery which systematically treats black lives, health, well-being, as less important than that of whites.

If that happens to be what they really mean, then they should say that. But even were BLM to prefer BLM to BLMT for purely aesthetic reasons, it’s entirely another think to then viciously attack those who prefer less racially charged language as racist.

361

Layman 08.24.16 at 9:23 pm

“The current situation means that a company can have domestic investment opportunities and idle cash stocks in an overseas subsidiary but be unable to bring them together without a large tax hit.”

This is tangential to my point. Companies are sitting on piles of cash in the US rather than hire more people. Why should we credit that making the piles bigger will produce good-paying jobs? When in recent history has that been the result of corporate tax cuts?

362

Layman 08.24.16 at 9:29 pm

“If that happens to be what they really mean, then they should say that.”

Yes, they fucked up. They assumed you weren’t stupid.

“…it’s entirely another think to then viciously attack those who prefer less racially charged language as racist.”

Oh, it’s not that they prefer less racially charged language; its that they actually are racists. Here’s the dialog:

“Please stop killing black people in disproportionate numbers. Black people are people!”

“White people are people too!”

If you can’t figure out what’s wrong with that response, it’s because you don’t want to.

363

Collin Street 08.24.16 at 9:32 pm

and, it is necessary to say so.

Only if your audience has a linguistic impairment in the area of discourse and pragmatics.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative_principle

“Black lives matter” is silent on the topic of non-black lives and therefore does not constitute taking a position on non-black lives. Which means — see points above — that “black lives matter” constitutes acquiescence to the general-state-of-the-discourse on non-black lives: if a person disagreed on the matteringness of non-black lives they would say so, explicitly.

In this context, “too” is rendundant; premises inherently run in parallel. It’s not wrong, but it’s redundant, already understood, and thus not something you need to say.

[I mean, seriously. If I said “distribution matters” — exactly parallel construction, frequently used — would you tell me I was saying that quantity issues were utterly without relevance?]

Anyway. This is normal human language functioning. The material isn’t difficult, but it’s not taught in schools so most people aren’t familiar with it and can’t spot impairments in others.

364

Collin Street 08.24.16 at 9:35 pm

Yes, they fucked up. They assumed you weren’t stupid.

All right-wing activists without exception display signs of pragmatic language impairment. This is a medical condition, btw, a symptom of empathy impairment.

[non-right-wingers do too, but at much lower — non-100% — rates.]

365

Layman 08.24.16 at 9:39 pm

“This led to the utterly absurd situation of Boris Johnson having to pay the US tax on a house purchase in London.”

As bizarre as US tax laws are, the US does not impose taxes on home purchases, whether in London or anywhere else. Capital gains on a home sale, maybe?

366

bruce wilder 08.24.16 at 10:22 pm

Collin Street: Only if your audience has a linguistic impairment in the area of discourse and pragmatics.

Collin Street: All right-wing activists without exception display signs of pragmatic language impairment. . . . non-right-wingers do too, but at . . . non-100% . . . rates.

Are you taking your meds, Collin?

367

bruce wilder 08.24.16 at 10:39 pm

Brett Dunbar @ 358: They can’t.

b.s. Nothing is outside the jurisdiction of U.S. tax law — you just explained that yourself up thread. And, the rest is just your usual nonsense — you do not have a clue as to what you are talking about.

368

bruce wilder 08.24.16 at 10:45 pm

Here’s the dialog:

[A:] “Please stop killing black people in disproportionate numbers. Black people are people!”

[B:] “White people are people too!”

[A:] “Racist scum! Shutup!”

If you can’t figure out what’s wrong with that response, it’s because you don’t want to.

369

Brett Dunbar 08.24.16 at 11:16 pm

bruce wilder @366

In practice they can’t. Changing the US system to tax a company on the value of its assets would cause major problems. And for a foreign subsidiary that is what you would have to do if you wanted to tax it before it expatriates profits. There is also the potential problem of a country making expatriating profits difficult, corporatist economies tended to do this. The assets might exist but be illiquid and unavailable to pay the taxes.

It is rather difficult to impose a tax liability on a company operating entirely overseas. The overseas subsidiary holds the cash and has no direct assets in the US against which a judgement can be enforced. The shares are owned by the parent company and have a value as a capital asset of the parent. Shareholders are, for very good reasons, taxed when capital gains are realised or dividends paid, not on the valuation of the shareholding.

370

cassander 08.24.16 at 11:28 pm

@“Please stop killing black people in disproportionate numbers. Black people are people!”

Last year, there were white people committed 4400 murders, black people and 5400. That same year, about 1000 people were killed by cops, of whom 500 were white and 300 were black. Black people are, indeed being killed disproportionately, they are killed disproportionately less than their crime rate suggests would happen. I’m all for ending police violence. I do, however, think we should end it against everyone.

@Bruce

Precisely correct.

371

J-D 08.24.16 at 11:31 pm

bruce wilder 08.24.16 at 10:45 pm

Here’s the dialog:

[A:] “Please stop killing black people in disproportionate numbers. Black people are people!”

[B:] “White people are people too!”

[A:] “Racist scum! Shutup!”

If you can’t figure out what’s wrong with that response, it’s because you don’t want to.

I haven’t observed any dialogue like that taking place; but supposing that it did take place, I would conclude that B is plainly at fault; also that the response from A is probably a culpable overreaction (although I have to qualify that by saying that there could be specific contexts in which it isn’t), but it can’t retrospectively justify B’s response.

cassander’s position appears to be either that there is nothing wrong with B’s response or that it is retrospectively justified by A’s overreaction to it. That is not right.

372

Faustusnotes 08.24.16 at 11:45 pm

…..aaaand we’ve sunk to debating the basic principles of BLM …

373

js. 08.25.16 at 12:41 am

374

TM 08.25.16 at 8:43 am

BW: You clearly know what demagogic poison you are peddling. I think there’s nothing more to be said.

375

Anarcissie 08.25.16 at 12:04 pm

cassander 08.24.16 at 11:28 pm @ 370 —
If you’re a radical, for instance someone who thinks the police shoot too many people, you’ve got to go with what you’ve got. The police also shoot poor people disproportionately, but poor people as such are not distinguished by physical appearance and segregated into self-conscious communities. No snappy slogan seems to be available to them. So once again Black people are pushed to the front lines.

Comments on this entry are closed.