Six reasons for optimism (and one big one for pessimism)

by Corey Robin on October 24, 2016

Below are six causes for optimism. But I should stress, as I have since The Reactionary Mind, that the reason I think the right has not much of a future is that it has won. If you consider its great animating energies since the New Deal—anti-labor, anti-civil rights, and anti-feminism—the right has achieved a considerable amount of success. Either in destroying or beating back these movements. So the hopefulness you read below, it needs to be remembered, is built on the ruins of the left. It reflects a considerable pessimism and arises from a sober realism about where we are right now.

1.


An ABC News poll has Trump at 38% of the popular vote. It’s only one poll, and I haven’t been paying much attention to the polls (what’s the point?), but if Trump does get 38%—which is about what I’ve been thinking he’ll get, plus or minus a point—he’ll be squarely within McGovern territory. With a very few exceptions, he’s rarely broken, in a four-way race, above 40%. (That said, Clinton, with her 50%, according to ABC, won’t be in Nixon territory.) No major-party candidate of the last 50 years, aside from George H.W. Bush, has gotten less than 40% of the vote, and in Bush’s case, it had a lot to do with Perot. This will go down as a catastrophic defeat, at the presidential level, for the Republican Party.

Side note: I notice that my Nixon/Clinton and Trump/McGovern comparisons, along with my silent majority reference, are becoming less controversial.

2.


For all of Trump’s bluster at the third debate about not accepting the election results, I’m confident that once it’s over, and the verdict is in, he and his followers will go, more or less gently, into that good night.

We on the left—perhaps liberals, too—are so used to being defeated, demoralized, and depressed, so used to losing to the right, that we have no sense that the right can suffer the same. We have no sense of the impact this election will have on the Trumpites. We believe their bullshit: we take their sense of entitlement as a sign of deep wells of conviction, of belief in their right and authority, or perhaps even of their actual right and authority, as if this really is their country.

They have a better, more accurate sense of their dwindling political fortune. It’s what gives their rhetoric its enervating rather than exhilarating character. Listen to Pat Buchanan in the 1970s and 1980s: the inventiveness of his brutality, the energy of his cruelty. There’s a world of difference between the expansiveness of that revanchism and the narrow straits that is Trump’s. The former speaks in pages and paragraphs; the latter in two- or three-word fragments, without any Marionetti-like patter of power.

Trump’s is not the voice of confidence, of right, of command. This is not the voice of a man who can lead a rearguard revolt in the streets. This is the voice of a man—and a movement—who is tired, beaten, and demoralized, who starts sentences he can barely muster enough energy to finish.

3.


Consider the decreasing half-life of the American right’s various populist experiments over the past four decades.

In the lead-up to Reagan’s victories in the 1980s, that right-wing populism was represented by the Moral Majority. And it lasted quite a long time, in part because it skillfully fused the racism of the segregation academies issue with the religiosity of school prayer and the gender politics of abortion. That brand managed to carry the GOP all the way from Reagan into the first Bush administration.

Then it was the Christian Coalition, and it lasted a slightly less long time, and with less success. Clinton was president during much of its heyday, and its only electoral victory was the 2000 election of Bush. One of the reasons for its diminution of power, relatively speaking, is that it no longer had the issues of busing and school desegregation to mobilize against the way the Christian Right had in the 1970s and 1980s.

Then it was the Tea Party, which, despite the claims of its defenders and critics, has seen an even shorter time in the sun, in part because the Christian Right had been so successful on the abortion front, at least at the state level.

And now it’s Trump and the alt-right. And you know what I think about how much time it has left on this earth.

Analysts of the right tend to think that conservatism is a permanent feature of modern political life, and it is. But what they don’t get is that its existence is cyclical. It has a rise and fall, a life and death, in response to the success or failure of the left.

We’re coming on the years of its fall, and it has been long in the making (since the administration of George W. Bush, I’ve argued). Among the best pieces of evidence for that decline, I think, are the decreasing half-lives of its populist expressions, these ever more desperate attempts to recreate the magic of its originating moment in the backlash against the labor movement, the Civil Rights Movement, and the women’s movement.

4.


Some time around the election of George W. Bush, Irving Kristol—not Bill Kristol, but Bill’s father, the real brains of the operation—told me:

American conservatism lacks for political imagination. It’s so influenced by business culture and by business modes of thinking that it lacks any political imagination, which has always been, I have to say, a property of the left. If you read Marx, you’d learn what a political imagination could do.

That (and the end of the Cold War), he said, is “one of the reasons I really not am not writing much these days. I don’t know the answers.”

This was not the voice of a tired, old man, though he was tired and old and a man. This was the voice of a movement that had lost its way, its raison d’être.

5.


From the 1960s to the 1980s, California was the pacesetter for the right. It gave us Nixon, Reagan, and Proposition 13.

In the 1990s, California was again the pacesetter, only in the opposite direction: Pete Wilson tried to do on the state level what Trump is now trying to do at the national level. It proved to be a spectacular political failure, long-term, driving much of the state, which previously had been a Republican state (between 1952 and 1992, California went for the Democratic presidential candidate only once), into the hands of the Democrats.

6.


I hear a lot of folks saying how terrible it is that a third to 40% of the electorate would support Trump. And it is.

But put this in historical perspective: once upon a time, not so long ago, that kind of racism and cruelty propelled the Republican Party to the White House. Not once, not twice, but again and again and again. No more.

And if you think that the difference is that the racism and cruelty were once quiet but are now loud, that argument too can be flipped on its head: It once took only the faintest of dog whistles to get the majority out to the polls. Now it takes a blaring speaker system and even that doesn’t work.

The country that elected a black president with a foreign-sounding name—twice—may have turned a certain kind of corner.



{ 140 comments }

1

rwschnetler 10.24.16 at 1:37 am

For all of Trump’s bluster at the third debate about not accepting the election results, I’m confident that once it’s over, and the verdict is in, he and his followers will go, more or less gently, into that good night.

A counter point:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/10/21/trump-will-go-away-but-the-anger-he-s-stirred-up-is-just-getting-started.html

2

Stephen Shulman-Laniel 10.24.16 at 1:40 am

I do hope you’re right. Now I’d like to see a reawakening for the left, rather than just the demise of (as you say, a largely victorious) right.

3

Ellie 10.24.16 at 2:03 am

I like the idea of cautious optimism, but then I think about the state level where the real havoc is being wreaked. The winds seem to be shifting far more slowly closer to the ground.

4

Corey Robin 10.24.16 at 2:12 am

It’s a fair concern, Ellie. But if you look at the state scene in 1972, you would find something comparable to today. Only in reverse. I wrote about that here.

http://coreyrobin.com/2016/03/20/historically-liberals-and-the-left-have-underestimated-the-right-today-they-overestimate-it/

5

Jerry Vinokurov 10.24.16 at 2:13 am

Just a technical note: long links, as in the first comment, will break the site layout. It’s best to post links by wrapping them in anchor tags like so.

6

Anarcissie 10.24.16 at 3:11 am

If by ‘the Left’ we mean the side of freedom, equality, and peace, and by ‘the Right’ the side of authority, power, inequality, private wealth, social status, class, imperialism, war, and the military virtues, then in the U.S., at the level of national electoral politics, we do not have a Left and a Right but two Rights, one currently manipulated by the Democratic Party, and another less well organized by the Republican Party. Indeed, the second may be undergoing dissolution. The Democratic Party Right has already learned to keep the leftish sentiments of the public, although widespread, confused, disorganized, and broken up. It is almost perfectly defended from criticism and opposition from the Left. If the Republican Party Right also declines, the Democrats will no longer have any visible coherent opposition, and can be expected to become even more out of touch with political, social, financial, and even physical reality than they are now. I can’t see this as cause for optimism given the apparent gravity of the general situation.

7

Huehu 10.24.16 at 4:32 am

There is no such thing as progress, but every year the connection between Satanism and economic exploitation grows more clear.

The lord is Love, Ceasar and all evil empires will bite the dust.

8

derrida derider 10.24.16 at 4:45 am

“If you consider its great animating energies since the New Deal—anti-labor, anti-civil rights, and anti-feminism—the right has achieved a considerable amount of success”

Not so much. Yep, the bastards have been winning on labour in the last few decades – but even so we don’t shoot strikers in the streets much these days, and workers now live long enough to mostly enjoy social security in retirement. Civil rights aint perfect, but there’s not much Jim Crow around these days and coppers in most developed countries can’t beat people – at least most people – up with impunity as they once did; on any objective viewing the right has mostly lost this one. And as for the position of women no-one (except maybe a few bitter old male blog trolls whose wife has rightly ditched them) is saying we have a femocracy but the left has clearly won pretty comprehensively here since the Great Depression – and a good thing too.

I think if you want to begin a post with a platitude – a perfectly good rhetorical strategy – it might be better if you make sure it is indeed a platitude.

9

Gabriel 10.24.16 at 7:53 am

DD:

We don’t shoot strikers much in the street these days because there aren’t that many strikes, when there are they aren’t large, they certainly aren’t general, and the unions are almost completely controlled without grand tactics that carry concomitant PR blowback. There’s just no need. The Civil Rights movement, which really seemed to be headed to true institutional critique and change, was funneled into versions of the All Lives Matter rhetoric we see today. Similar story with feminism. We had armies, marching, and they were dissolved before reaching any of their major goals, even if in the ensuing peace deals they were able to wrangle some concessions from their enemies.

10

nastywoman 10.24.16 at 10:21 am

100 percent agreed with the contradiction that creative chaos has won.
If people start to realize, that if a man calls a woman ‘nasty woman’ – and then this woman holds up a mug with the writing ‘nasty woman’- in order to sell it as a compliment – we have entered a new and very promising Era – where political – or party labels might be transformed too?

And then we might understand – that it is of utmost importance to catch American workers first – who are depressed and angry, because their jobs had been outsourced – BE-fore a Fascistic Racist Birther does it – with some fascistic solutions.
And as in the future we all will become POC’s -(as there is luckily enough of a creative chaotic exchange of body fluids going on) –
the most optimistic aspect is – as mentioned by Mr. Robin – that the country for sure has turned ‘a certain corner’.

11

ZM 10.24.16 at 10:57 am

” If you consider its great animating energies since the New Deal—anti-labor, anti-civil rights, and anti-feminism—the right has achieved a considerable amount of success. Either in destroying or beating back these movements. So the hopefulness you read below, it needs to be remembered, is built on the ruins of the left.”

I think I agree with derrida derider.

I don’t think the above is true for Australia, I think we are doing much better on labor policy, civil rights, and feminism since the Great Depression-WWII period (the New Deal period in America). If anything it’s the conservatives who have lost ground or the conservative view that has changed or grown in many ways to accept all of these things to a greater or lesser extent.

We have a bit of a battle in our right wing party the Liberal Party at the moment between liberals and conservatives, that is sort of interesting although I am pretty sick of infighting in the government all the time which we have had for about 3-4 parliamentary terms in a row now with 5 changes of Prime Minister. I have never seen Prime Ministers come and go so fast in my life.

I am too young to remember, but was Reagan and the Moral Majority really that similar to Trump and the alt-right?

I kind of think of Reagan as being more moderate and wholesome, although probably to the right of any Australian Prime Ministers in my lifetime. Its hard to imagine him being so abrasive and negative as Donald Trump, or as openly racist, or having foreign policy that is all over the place. But Reagan is before I was old enough to follow politics myself I suppose, maybe I’m wrong.

12

SusanC 10.24.16 at 11:00 am

Trump himself will go away, I think. But the discontent that motivates the Trump voters seems less likely to just vanish. We seem to be in the midst of a realignment of both UK and US politics, of which Trump and Farrage are just symptoms. Farrage has already made an attempt at retiring from politics, and I could easily see Trump going back to reality television after the election. The real question is: what will their supporters do next?

I am also surprised that Corey thinks feminism and the civil rights movement has been defeated. These seem to me to be areas in which some progress has been made (along with other forms of identity politics, e.g. gay marriage). It’s been the class-based labour/union movement that’s been the real loser.

Possibly it depends on which time scale you’re talking about, and that some of us now count as old people, in that our implicit timescale is over our lifetimes. Maybe young college students think that all the progress made by feminism happened before they were even born, and things have slowed down of late. (With a slight hat-tip to Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions, I could easily see some further progress on feminist issues being made simply by the older guys in management positions dying off, and being replaced by younger people who grew up in a different culture),

13

kidneystones 10.24.16 at 11:15 am

Make that 4 and 2

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-23/new-podesta-email-exposes-dem-playbook-rigging-polls-through-oversamples

I disagree with the basic premise of the post in that the right has been beaten because it has won.

That’s certainly not how the right sees the landscape. The tea party of 2010 was co-opted by Richard Armey and the Kochs on the one hand and buried under a mountain of forms by Lois Lerner on the other. The Armey group rallies to Ted Cruz, who is sure to have something to say about America and the future of the Republican party should Trump be undone because of his lewd behavior and actions.

The media is certain to be savaged no matter what the outcome. The number of artists and musicians who both profit from and promote misogyny and violence invited to the WH over the last 8 years to serve as role models for America’s youth should raise nary an eyebrow. The prudery of the moment is going to be the template for ‘social reform’ under the Republicans.If Hillary and her media allies succeed in derailing the Trump insurgency via his mouth, his hands, and his zipper they’re going to face an extremely hostile electorate. Cruz is certain to try to step into Trump’s shoes as leader, preaching that Trump was a flawed messenger undone by an unforgiving god. This will make sense for too many Americans to completely ignore. The unhappy white males who have yet to self-identify as angry white males, rather than simply as Americans, may well decide to do so.

Whatever few victories the Democrats enjoy lower down the ticket are unlikely to survive skyrocketing Affordable Care Act premiums, some form of amnesty, and an extension of America’s wars in the ME. The Democrats are betting the farm that Republicans will never unlock the padlock Democrats maintain over socially-conservative minorities. Cruz’s ground game and networking with the evangelical community didn’t get the job done in 2016, but we can be sure that he and his team are already mapping 2020.

Trump should be defeated according to most here. Some may actually believe Trump really is the anti-Christ Hitler we’ve been constantly told he is, instead of a widely watched and often admired vulgarian capitalist welcomed into living rooms across America for more than a decade. Whatever Trump is, he’s not Cruz. His supporters are not Cruz supporters. Yet.

I’ve no idea whether those supporting the Democratic candidate expect her to wake up on November 9, should she win, and suddenly decide to abandon the practices that got her this far. I certainly don’t. If you’re nauseated at the prospect of 4-8 more years of secrecy, war, lies, and corruption you’re going to need to keep more than barf bags at hand, however. The polarization that has divided America over the last 8 years is, imho, far more likely to become much more corrosive and damaging with Democrats in charge.

Ted Cruz will literally be burning crosses and probably books, pornography, and anyone/thing else that strikes his fancy. The donor class is praying that Hillary/Bush can stamp out the fires. With rising unemployment, stagnating wages, and more and more Americans feeling that the system isn’t interested in them, or their children, there may very well be a little hell to pay, or a lot.

14

Tabasco 10.24.16 at 11:37 am

Clinton will win easily, but it could easily be argued that the victory will be over Trump the man than over any ideology. If Clinton were running against Cruz – who on any reasonable measure is well to the right of Trump – would she be 20 points ahead with women?

15

Tabasco 10.24.16 at 12:01 pm

Re: 5 California

RIP Tom Hayden.

16

kidneystones 10.24.16 at 12:37 pm

@ 14 It won’t surprise you to learn I think you’re wrong about Trump. The battle against Trump is for many a rejection of what they see in the mirror transposed onto Trump, as far as males go. Many women, including some who support him, see in Trump a dangerous predator who offers the promise of protection and wealth, but at a cost. Good thing no woman would ever sell herself, or her principles, to such a man – and if Bill Clinton pops into your head, please don’t blame me.

Which is why, in this instance, I think the polls are wrong. Who in their right mind is going to ever admit that Trump’s language and behavior is not offensive? Nobody. Who in their right mind looks out at America and sees Donald Trump, not Bill Cosby etc, etc, etc as a threat to their own daughters, sisters, sons, etc? Which is why, in the end, enough voters are going to say no thanks to Hillary and roll the dice with Donald.

I like your question re: Cruz. I find him such a phenomenally transparent phony that I can’t quite believe anyone trusts him. With Trump, and Bill Clinton, what you see is what you get – Slick Willie.

At the moment Americans are being told they don’t like what they see in Trump, but if that were the case, why was he so popular back when he was actually on the Howard Stern show and otherwise acting out? I frankly don’t think most Americans give a toss what Trump did or said this week, much less ten years ago. The stink coming out of the Clinton campaign is so rank it’s actually penetrating the media wall of silence. Given that social media provides numerous ways for candidates to bypass the gate-keepers, I suspect enough voters are learning what’s in the emails whether CNN, or the Wapo, report the discoveries, or not.

Like I said. I think it will be close and right now I still say Trump edges it.

17

RichardM 10.24.16 at 12:53 pm

> along with other forms of identity politics, e.g. gay marriage

Considering that kind of thing to be ‘identity politics’, rather than simple economics, is a distressingly common mistake.

Mater familiae, to use the Latin, is as distinct a socioeconomic class as proletarian or patrician. In either, you have income, assets and status, whether high or low, from a particular source. That source has a distinct nature, and is non-transferable; you can’t go to a jobcenter and get a job as a housewife, any more than you could get one as a landlord or pensioner. As with any socioeconomic class, social arrangements that make that source of prosperity stronger are a shared political interest with others in the same boat.

Trump is the kind of person who still ‘has’ a wife. Clinton & Clinton are partners. The dynamics of how those economic facts play out are straightforward when analysed as such. They only become a mysterious matter of ‘identity’ when the actual classes involved are obfuscated in preference for income deciles, education status, or whatever.

18

Layman 10.24.16 at 12:55 pm

“Clinton will win easily, but it could easily be argued that the victory will be over Trump the man than over any ideology. If Clinton were running against Cruz – who on any reasonable measure is well to the right of Trump – would she be 20 points ahead with women?”

Hard to find more recent polling than this; but based on this, women would solidly still prefer Clinton over Cruz.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/190403/seven-women-unfavorable-opinion-trump.aspx

I also doubt that notion that it is Trump’s vulgarity, on its own, rather than Republican conservative ideology which is driving the likely result. Trump does himself no favors, but Clinton’s negatives hold her back, too. On most wedge issues, Trump is running as a bog-standard Republican conservative, and he’s losing on those issues.

19

Jerry Vinokurov 10.24.16 at 1:11 pm

Clinton will win easily, but it could easily be argued that the victory will be over Trump the man than over any ideology. If Clinton were running against Cruz – who on any reasonable measure is well to the right of Trump – would she be 20 points ahead with women?

Cruz is an incredibly odious figure; almost literally no one actually likes him. I don’t know why you think he’d do any better with women than Trump has. Sure, he’s not literally a serial sexual predator, but he’d get up there in a debate and talk about taking away any semblance of reproductive rights, and not in a half-ass way like Trump has, but in full sincerity.

The polarization that has divided America over the last 8 years is, imho, far more likely to become much more corrosive and damaging with Democrats in charge.

For the conservative, liberals are always at fault. If I punch you, it’s because you made me do it, the conservative says.

20

infovore 10.24.16 at 1:30 pm

@13 “Oversampling” is jargon with a specific technical meaning. Pew describes what it is in its discussion of http://www.pewresearch.org/methodology/u-s-survey-research/sampling/

21

Jerry Vinokurov 10.24.16 at 1:30 pm

Which is why, in the end, enough voters are going to say no thanks to Hillary and roll the dice with Donald.

What odds would you accept on this outcome?

22

SusanC 10.24.16 at 2:26 pm

@20. Indeed. There’s a difference between a biased sample and the oversampling technique. The difference being that with oversampling you statistically correct for the fact that you’ve intentionally sampled some subpopulation more frequently than you would have done if you just chose members of the whole population uniformly at random (while a biased sample just ignores or is ignorant of the problem…)

(I hope this isn’t too much of a derail. There is a grand CT tradition of yawn-not-that-again OPs with derails where you might learn something).

23

Waiting for Godot 10.24.16 at 3:38 pm

I am not sanguine about the apparent collapse of this version (Trump) of American fascism. If conservatism can be said to be that which argues for the preservation of traditional social institutions and traditional political values then conservatism is far from dying. Indeed I see the synthesis of neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism as the final consolidation of conservatism and the end of what we have understood as history – the final triumph of capitalism as it dies.

24

Bernard Yomtov 10.24.16 at 3:59 pm

the reason I think the right has not much of a future is that it has won. If you consider its great animating energies since the New Deal—anti-labor, anti-civil rights, and anti-feminism—the right has achieved a considerable amount of success.

I agree with dd that this is just wrong. Are labor, the civil rights movement, women’s rights, worse than they were at the end of the New Deal? I don’t see how.

25

efcdons 10.24.16 at 4:16 pm

The right has won or is winning in an some ways on labor and civil rights issues by changing the procedure by which one can assert the rights that may exist.

The number of strikes are down as someone else mentioned. But the Right has also largely succeeded in reducing the ability of individual employees to engage in private actions to vindicate their rights. E.g. the huge increase in enforceable arbitration agreements in what are essentially contracts of adhesion. The Right has solidified the ability of business to prevent employees from using the independent, publicly funded judiciary, and instead forces them to use private, secretive, arbitrators who essentially work for the companies (because the business is a repeat player and the arbitrators rely on being chosen to arbitrate in order to make their money).

The right has also succeeded in the same way to reduce consumer rights. Arbitration agreements are attached to almost everything you buy that needs an agreement (software, mobile phones, etc.) before use. The agreements not only mandate secret arbitration they also prevent consumers from banding together in order to form a class thus making each individual consumer litigate alone. Obviously this reduces the power of individual consumers and also decreases the incentive for any one consumer to do something about what, on the individual level, may be a small injury. Basically it allows business to steal a small amount from a lot of people.

In regards to Clinton and her chances against any other Republican, here is some polling which suggests the country at least trust the GOP over the Dems on a number of important issues. It is from April, 2016 so not the freshest data. But it might indicate Trump’s bog standard GOP policies are not what is driving votes to Clinton/away from Trump.

http://www.pollingreport.com/dvsr.htm

On the “economy”, “taxes”, and, “foreign affairs” the respondents “trust” the GOP more than the Dems. Though on one key measure “caring about people like you” the Dems are trusted over the GOP by a slight margin.

26

Corey Robin 10.24.16 at 4:23 pm

By “since the New Deal” I didn’t mean to measure the status of workers, women, and African Americans since the New Deal. I was referring in a catch-all to the various causes that have steadily come under the right’s purview since the New Deal. The first was anti-labor, and while both anti-feminism and anti-civil rights were there in germinal form, it wasn’t until the 60s and 70s that they became fully part of the right’s arsenal. As you can see by the simple fact that a good part of the Republican Party was in fact pro-civil rights until the 1960s. It’s really since the 60s that all three have come to define the right.

So on that front, I’d urge folks to look at the disparities in the racial wealth gap since the early 1980s. It’s ballooned. Whereas integration in schools was on the uptick in the 1970s, it’s been on a downward slope since the second term of Reagan. The percentage of highly segregated nonwhite schools has nearly tripled since then, among other measures. On the organized labor front, things have been getting worse for some time has union membership has declined to all-time lows. On women’s rights, there is far less access to abortion today, particularly for poor women and women of color, than there was in the 1980s. The recent Supreme Court case will hopefully help reverse some of that, but we shouldn’t be sanguine as to how successful the right has been in compromising reproductive rights for women, particularly at the state level. I would say though that the area where progress is most mixed is on gender equality. But I think on the measures of organized labor and civil rights, you’ve seen, overall, some pretty steady and clear reversals since the 1970s and 1980s.

27

Scott P. 10.24.16 at 5:03 pm

“With rising unemployment, stagnating wages, and more and more Americans feeling that the system isn’t interested in them, or their children, there may very well be a little hell to pay, or a lot.”

Unemployment is falling, not rising. We’re seeing the first sustained wage growth in over a decade, not stagnating wages. Clinton is on the verge of a massive electoral victory. The sky is not falling.

28

bruce wilder 10.24.16 at 5:04 pm

Among the most successful projects of the Right was financialization of the economy.

The reduction of marginal income tax rates on the highest “wage” incomes combined with new doctrines of corporate business leadership that emphasized the maximization of shareholder value created a new class of C-suite business executives occupying positions of great political power as allies and servants of the rentier class of Capital owners. The elaborate structures of financial repression and mutual finance were systematically demolished, removing many of the protections from financial predation afforded the working and middle classes.

In the current election, the Democratic Party has split on financial reform issues, with the dominant faction represented by the Party’s candidate prioritizing issues of race and gender equality.

29

Layman 10.24.16 at 5:06 pm

“In regards to Clinton and her chances against any other Republican, here is some polling which suggests the country at least trust the GOP over the Dems on a number of important issues.”

I imagine any poll pitting ‘generic Republican’ against Hillary Clinton in April of this year would have shown ‘generic Republican’ winning. The problem is, you can’t run ‘generic Republican’. I’m hard pressed to point at any prominent Republican who I think would be handily beating Clinton now. Once you name them, they have to say what they’re for and against, and she takes her shot at them, and they’re fighting an uphill battle. And she’s the least popular Democratic candidate perhaps ever! That’s the only reason it would be close. A party built around the principles of white male supremacy and dedicated to expanding the wealth and income gap is at a massive disadvantage in any non-gerrymandered election.

30

Sebastian H 10.24.16 at 5:38 pm

The school re-segregation battles are interesting (in a depressing way) because of how much goes on the unreported margins. A huge part of the reporting focus goes on the uptick of poor majority black schools, but the dynamic which is causing it is largely poor people (disproportionately black) being pushed out of large cities. That doesn’t fit in the neat right/left divide (at least in the US) because the big city dwellers like to think of themselves as more left. (Also note that it has happened with especially strong force in the very cities which also have the traditional left response–rent control). The segregating by economic status reinforces with increasing stratification reinforces with black marginalization to end up with a horrible cycle.

31

bob mcmanus 10.24.16 at 5:54 pm

So on that front, I’d urge folks to look at the disparities in the racial wealth gap since the early 1980s. It’s ballooned.

One important component or useful way that blacks gained wealth in the 60s and 70 was through secure government jobs. Not secretary of state, but staffing the bureacracy all the way down. Of course Reagan cut gov’t a little, but Clinton and Obama both are remarkable in the “big government is over” and cutting those jobs for women and minorities. Of course the state and local levels are important. I expect Clinton to continue to attack black wealth and opportunity through privatization, while managing to blame Republicans. (She doesn’t want the House, and if she gets it, many or her initiatives are “public-private partnerships”)

Obama could have vetoed every budget bill that cut government. The Repub margin wasn’t so big that negotiation was impossible. Obama got what he wanted.

32

PGD 10.24.16 at 6:28 pm

It is striking to me how even on the left the discussion of U.S. militarism and imperialism has been marginalized and does not come up much in casual conversation. We had an active peace movement through the worst days of the Cold War, and then there was a bit of a resurgence of it in response to the Iraq War. But Obama’s acceptance of the core assumptions of the ‘War on Terror’ (even as he waged it more responsibly) seems to have led to the war party co-opting the liberals as well until there is no longer an effective opposition. The rhetoric of ‘humanitarian intervention’ has been hugely successful in that effort.

One of the most depressing things about this election campaign to me has been to see the Democrats using their full spectrum media dominance not to fight for a mandate for left policies, but to run a coordinated and effective propaganda campaign for greater U.S. military involvement in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, focusing on demonizing Putin and on humanitarian intervention rhetoric around Aleppo and the like.

33

Bernard Yomtov 10.24.16 at 8:01 pm

Corey,

The first was anti-labor, and while both anti-feminism and anti-civil rights were there in germinal form, it wasn’t until the 60s and 70s that they became fully part of the right’s arsenal. As you can see by the simple fact that a good part of the Republican Party was in fact pro-civil rights until the 1960s. It’s really since the 60s that all three have come to define the right.

I think, with respect to civil rights at least, you confuse the Republican Party of the 50’s and 60’s with the right. It is a simple fact that large parts of the right, led by southern Democratic politicians, were fiercely and even violently, opposed to civil rights throughout that era. These people did not just wake up to the civil rights movement in 1963. They were against it all along, and not just “in germinal form,” and they did not win.

34

PatinIowa 10.24.16 at 8:17 pm

What PGD said.

35

J-D 10.24.16 at 8:36 pm

‘If by “the Left” we mean the side of … equality … and by “the Right” the side of … inequality …’

… then has the US (or whichever other countries we’re discussing) become more unequal or less unequal over …

… the last thirty years?
… the last sixty years?
… the last hundred years?
… or what’s the period you want to measure over? (and why?)

36

kidneystones 10.24.16 at 9:37 pm

@21 None, but thanks.

@ 27 You’re omission of any reference to rising health care premiums is telling. I take your point regarding ‘falling skies’ in absolute terms. But the transformation I’m referring to is identified by Corey in the OP intro, and more thoroughly by PDG @32.

When Mark Kleiman is asking people get out the vote to ‘save the Republic’ rather than build a fairer, juster society something dramatic has changed. On the domestic front, @30 Sebastion H hits the nail squarely on both points: things are bad and nobody is paying attention. Neither phenomena is new. The NYT had a headline in 2011 or so entitled “the Invisible unemployed.” How did we miss it?

Scott P. may be right that the numbers of officially unemployed may be dropping slightly, and that wages are rising this quarter. Let’s say that both trends are spot on. We’ve all seen ( I hope) the data regarding income inequality white households versus all others.

On the one hand I think Scott P. is completely correct. The donor class candidate always wins; drugs, video games and pornography will occupy and distract the young most affected; the ‘left’ will become the Vichy left – essentially sacrificing all principle to ensure their ‘own’ candidate is protected – essentially what we’ve had for the last 8 years. The left will pat itself on the back and engage in virtue signalling while Ted Cruz burns books and crosses, and increasing numbers of the forgotten and ignored lose what little faith remains.

37

politicalfootball 10.24.16 at 10:00 pm

kidneystones:

Like I said. I think it will be close and right now I still say Trump edges it.

When you are demonstrated to be wrong about this, will that change your prior assumptions at all? What is your explanation going to be when he loses — a result that is, to a first approximation, inevitable?

I guess I’m just restating the question: What happens when the world doesn’t end? But I’m genuinely curious to know your answer.

38

cassander 10.24.16 at 11:50 pm

@bob mcmanus

> Not secretary of state, but staffing the bureacracy all the way down. Of course Reagan cut gov’t a little, but Clinton and Obama both are remarkable in the “big government is over” and cutting those jobs for women and minorities.

This is entirely false. State and local employment government has continually increased for decades. Federal civil service size has flatlined in recent years, but they are more than made up for by an army of contractors that it is official OPM policy not to keep track of precisely so that misleading statistics like this can be cited.

39

Howard Frant 10.24.16 at 11:58 pm

I guess it’s easier to be optimistic if you’re a left-liberal and not constantly holding reality to an impossibly high standard, but really, if Hillary could get a 65% increase in the minimum wage, the first paid family leave (12 weeks) in American history, a liberal majority on the Supreme Court for at least the next 20 years, preservation of some limitation on the size and riskiness of banks, and a modest increase in taxes on the rich, all issues she has campaigned on, how would this not count as a huge victory for the left? Assuming, of course, that we’re judging policies by their actual effect on people’s lives, but maybe that’s just economism.

And now we’re worried about “demonizing” Putin? The guy has systematically dismantled democracy in Russia– assassinated opponents, forced the shutdown of one independent newspaper after another, etc.– is constantly doing his best to destabilize more democratic neighbors, has made the first land acquisition by conquest in Europe (or any other country?) in the last 70 years, and is now trying to promote fascism in the US. But let’s not demonize him; that’s just what capital wants us to do.

40

Howard Frant 10.25.16 at 12:01 am

And yes, I know that Europe is not a country.

41

Anarcissie 10.25.16 at 12:51 am

J-D 10.24.16 at 8:36 pm @ 35 —
If your question is directed to me, my usage of the terms’Left’ and ‘Right’ is not defined by period. If it matters, it appears to me that inequality has generally increased along most dimensions in the last 30 years.

42

kidneystones 10.25.16 at 1:34 am

@ 37 I think you’re being slightly facetious. Suffice to say I’m normally wrong about something before I get out of bed. I’m just happy to be corrected now and then.

So, if I’m wrong about this, too. I’m fairly confident I’ll find a way to struggle on. You make a great general point about people who believe the worst is about to happen. Great way to hide out from life. I’m an incurable optimist. I don’t believe the world is about to end and generally believe things have never been better, in absolute terms.

More than enough energy has been invested/wasted on the election. As the only Trump supporter here, I feel compelled to at least reply to all civil comments, but may not unless I change my view that Trump will win.

Should I get the sense that the outcome is no longer in doubt, I’ll let you/everyone know.

43

cassander 10.25.16 at 1:51 am

@Anarcissie

>If your question is directed to me, my usage of the terms’Left’ and ‘Right’ is not defined by period. If it matters, it appears to me that inequality has generally increased along most dimensions in the last 30 years.

Except, you know, where it matters most.

44

J-D 10.25.16 at 2:05 am

Anarcissie

I was inspired to frame my question by reading your comment, but the question was my own and I wasn’t directing itsolely at you in particular. I appreciate your response; I would appreciate anybody else’s.

My reaction to it is this:
if it be true that inequality in the US (or wherever) has increased over the past thirty years;
and if we stipulate that ‘left’ means the side of equality and ‘right’ means the side of inequality;
then that would give a strong basis for concluding that the right has had more success than the left in the US over the past thirty years.

If it were established that inequality has increased in the US over the past thirty years, that would make me curious about whether that increase has been monotonic, or whether it’s the resultant of distinct sub-periods of those thirty years with inequality increasing in some of them and decreasing in others; also about which earlier periods have seen increases in inequality and which decreases; also, whether the direction of the trends in other countries correlates with the periodisation in the US.

45

magari 10.25.16 at 2:15 am

Considering that racism, sexism, and the economic collapse of white rural America aren’t going away any time soon, I don’t expect to see Trump supporters dissolve into political nothingness. I suppose they could abandon electoral politics, as they are constrained by the US party system (preventing the “PASOK-ification” of the Republican Party). On the other hand, really angry people don’t typically forgo their paths to political power. They may fight to bring a more “credible” racist/sexist/populist to power — imagine Ted Cruz with charisma.

I’m more worried the left will see its recent fizzing dissipate. Who succeeds Bernie and Warren? In 8 years (the next time we’ll have a Democratic primary), who is the vibrant voice of the left?

46

LFC 10.25.16 at 2:49 am

Sebastian H @30
What you have written about school re-segregation is misleading (and I highly doubt you can draw a persuasive causal connection to rent control, though I’m not sure whether you were trying to or whether that was just a sideswipe; I think the latter).

W/ the caveat that every situation has unique features, surely a main factor driving urban school re-segregation in recent decades e.g. in a city like Rochester and some other (esp. northern) cities is that these particular cities are increasingly African-American and in some cases Hispanic, whites having largely either left for the suburbs or for gentrifying slices of the city that don’t comprise that much of it. (This precise explanation would not apply to a place like Wash. D.C., which is in total population less African-American than it was several decades ago but where certain parts of the city remain predominantly African-American.)

And no discussion of this subject shd fail to mention the 1974 Sup Ct decision Milliken v. Bradley, which on a 5-4 vote barred cross-district (urban/suburban) busing to remedy de facto (residentially based) segregation. The result is that urban/suburban desegregation programs today are voluntary, not court-ordered, and involve only a relatively tiny fraction of the total student population.

47

LFC 10.25.16 at 2:58 am

A while back there was a good PBS report on the school segregation situation in Rochester with some broader consideration of voluntary urban/suburban ‘transfer’ programs (total students involved: about 40,000, half of whom are in Hartford Ct.). I cited it in a blog post from this past Feb.:
http://howlatpluto.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-legacy-of-brown.html

48

Anarcissie 10.25.16 at 4:06 am

J-D 10.25.16 at 2:05 am @ 42 —
A ruling class is not always able to bring about the visions of its ideology. However, I think in the last 30 years (or more) in the United States the ruling class desired more power, wealth, and inequality — the rightist vision — and was able to bring it about through control of both major political parties.

49

Sebastian H 10.25.16 at 4:38 am

LFC, we may be violently agreeing. The main factor is that certain (usually less favored and less rich) cities are becoming increasingly black while other (usually more favored and more rich) cities are becoming increasingly less black. I suggest that a large portion of that factor is caused by poorer people (disproportionately black) being priced out of the richer cities. My point on rent control was not that it caused the re-segregation, but that it is the traditional leftist remedy (as opposed to allowing much more building) and doesn’t appear to be working.

My point in mentioning that was that the re-segregation was that a proper analysis of it transcends the left-right divide (at least so far as it plays out in the US). This was meant as supporting Corey’s point that in certain areas there has been a partial reversal of liberal successes, while disagreeing with him that it is an example of the right causing the reversal.

(Or maybe he would argue that the right moved the window far enough to allow liberals in large cities to price poor people out. I would have to think about whether or not I would agree with that.)

50

J-D 10.25.16 at 5:56 am

Anarcissie
It’s not clear to me how that’s supposed to be a response to my comment — is it supposed to be agreeing with me about something? disagreeing with me about something? answering a question I raised? or what?

51

Howard Frant 10.25.16 at 6:59 am

J-D @43

Your question is unusually susceptible to a definite answer.

http://eml.berkeley.edu/~saez/saez-UStopincomes-2015.pdf

Briefly, there has been a dramatic increase in the share of income going to the top of the income distribution, and this increase has been concentrated in the top 1%, and even the 0.01% (the latter group has gone from around 1.5% of total income in the 1970s to around 5% today.

52

reason 10.25.16 at 8:45 am

Sebastian H
Given that high rents are a luxury good, and more building will be limited by infrastructure and cost anyway (the more new buildings are needed, the more valuable the land becomes and so it becomes more expensive to build – http://www.fresheconomicthinking.com/2016/05/time-to-throw-out-standard-urban.html ) isn’t the real answer a more progressive tax system so that the rich have less ability to outbid the poor.

53

reason 10.25.16 at 8:57 am

(How someone can claim that a lack of building is the problem with Manhatten is beyond me.)

54

Jerry Vinokurov 10.25.16 at 9:58 am

@21 None, but thanks.

Regrettable, I could have used the extra cash.

55

kidneystones 10.25.16 at 11:07 am

I stopped by to check if my comment had cleared moderation. What follows is a more thorough examination (not my own, entirely) on Corey’s point 1, and some data that may point towards a much narrower race than we’re led to believe.

The leaked emails from one Democratic super-pac, the over-sampling I cited at zerohedge (@13o) is part of a two-step process involving over-sampling of Democrats in polls combined with high frequency polling. The point being to encourage media to promote the idea that the race is already over. We saw quite a bit of this last weekend. Let’s say the leaked emails are reliable.

This suggests to me two things: first – the obvious, the race is much closer than the polls indicated, certainly the poll cited by Corey in the OP. Corey questioned the validity of this poll, at least obliquely. Second, at least one super-pac working with the campaign sees the need to depress Trump turn-out. The first point is the clearest and the most important – the polls, some at least, are intentionally tilted to support a ‘Hillary wins easily’ narrative. The second allows for some possibly useful speculation regarding the Clinton campaigns confidence in their own GOTV success.

The simplest explanation is usually best. All the indicators, especially the support of the donor class, elites of all kinds etc. points towards a Democratic victory, perhaps a very strong victory if the poll numbers last weekend translate into electoral college numbers.
That’s a big if. I suggest Hillary continues to lead but by much smaller margins in key states. It’s also useful to point out that Trump’s support in traditionally GOP states may well be equally shaky.

And that really is it from me on this topic barring a double digit swing to Hillary in the LA Times poll that has the race at dead even.

56

Layman 10.25.16 at 11:31 am

kidneystones: “The leaked emails from one Democratic super-pac, the over-sampling I cited at zerohedge (@13o) is part of a two-step process involving over-sampling of Democrats in polls combined with high frequency polling.”

Excellent analysis, only the email in question is eight years old. And it refers to a request for internal polling done by the campaign. And it suggests over-sampling of particular demographics so the campaign could better assess attitudes among those demographics. And this is a completely normal practice which has nothing to do with the polling carried out by independent third parties (e.g. Gallup, Ipsos, etc) for the purposes of gauging and reporting to the public the state of the race. And when pollsters to over-sample, the over-sampling is used for analysis but is not reflected in the top-line poll results.

57

Tabasco 10.25.16 at 11:50 am

Layman 56

Yes but apart from all of that, it’s definitely evidence of the Democrats skewing the polls to distort the narrative to steal the election.

58

Stephen 10.25.16 at 12:07 pm

Howard Frant @39: I am not in the least trying to support Putin, but when you say he “has made the first land acquisition by conquest in Europe (or any other country [read continent]?) in the last 70 years”, I think you are ignoring:

Indian conquest of part of Pakistani Kashmir, or vice versa depending on how you look at it, 1948-present
Chinese conquest of Tibet, 1951-present
Indian conquest of Goa, 1961-present
Chinese conquest of part of Ladakh, 1962-present
Ethiopian annexation of Eritrea, 1962-1991
Indonesian annexation of Western New Guinea, 1969-present
Moroccan conquest of Western Sahara, 1975-present
Indian annexation of Sikkim, 1975-present
Indonesian conquest of East Timor, 1975-2002
Brief Argentine occupation of the Falklands, 1982
Libyan occupation of northern Chad, 1983-7
Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, 1990-1

And of course the rather complex situation in Palestine, 1948-present.

I’m afraid you can only consider Putin as uniquely bad if you think Asians, Africans, South Americans shouldn’t be judged by Western standards. You could, of course, argue that the land-grabs on my list weren’t really conquests of foreign countries, only reunions with the motherland of territories that had no right to be independent: but surely you would have to say the same for Putin.

59

stevenjohnson 10.25.16 at 1:00 pm

Six reasons for pessimism?

1. An ABC news poll says that Clinton has 50% of somebody (the electorate, likely voters?) supporting her rabidly reactionary rhetoric. She demonizes Putin, imputes treason to a major party candidate in a way hitherto seen only in Birch Society attacks on Eisenhower, shrieks that it is utterly impossible to even hint that the current electoral system has no real legitimacy. The only real criticisms acceptable in the face of her reactionary screeds are hints that she is a traitor for Clinton Foundation cash and that she is lax on security. (The claim that Clinton is pro-war are regressions to the Obama primary campaign in 2008. Since he promptly proved the irrelevance of an anti-war rhetoric, the observations that Clinton has none are equally irrelevant.)

2. The high levels of indecision suggest that a Trump defeat may well leave the Republican establishment more or less as it was. Depending on turnout, which even at this late date is highly uncertain, it is entirely possible the Republicans will maintain control of the Senate. At this point it is probable they will keep the House. In any event, Clinton has openly committed to a bipartisan a campaign against the Trump hijacking of the Republican party.

3. Consider the longevity of reactionary leaderships in the major parties. The Democratic Leadership Council approach has dominated its party for decades. The Republican party projects like ALEC, the Federalist Society, the Mighty Wurlitzer, the designated superstar talk personality (no, shifting from Limbaugh to Beck is not a sea change,) everywhere you look behind the scenes you see the same faces. What new faces appear turn out (like Obama) to be employees of the same old political establishments. Alleged exceptions like Sanders and Warren are notable primarily for their lack of commitment.

4. There are bold thinkers willing to imagine the conservative future. Think Jason Brennan and his book Against Democracy. Even worse, the real strength of the conservatives lies in the bottom line, not in polemics. Tragically, it’s when the bottom line is written in read that it shrieks the loudest, with the most conviction and the most urgent desire for the masters to unite against the rest of us.

5. California politics has set the pace once again, demonstrating the absolute irrelevance of a “Left” defined as a spiritual posture. The annihilation of an ugly materialist Left by “McCarthyism” has purified the souls of the righetous, leaving socialism/communism unthinkable. California leftism is entirely safe for capitalism, imperialism and a free market of ideas where the refined consumers of ideas can have their gated neighborhoods of ideas.

6. The majority support for a more tolerant society makes no difference in policy. Being nicer is not politics.

There is a fundamental reason for despair, the failures of the right to win the Holy Grail of a functional capitalist society. Despite their successes in destroying organized labor (with the help of counter-revolutionary “leftists” to be sure,) in limiting women’s rights, in blunting the real world effects of desegregation, the short-run prospects of capital are…disquieting. And the long run prospects, insofar as these people can see past the quarterly statement, are even more frightening. Urged by their fears, the system will be ever more destabilized by desperate adventures. The replacement of Social Security of course will be high on the agenda. The absolutely vital need for ever more control over the world, including regime change in Russia and China, has driven foreign policy in direct support of the dollar and banking since at least Bush 41.

But in the end, it is not the madness of the owners that is the cause for despair, but the absolute indifference of the spiritual leftists who have joined in the rabidly reactionary campaign against Clinton from the right. (You would have thought it rather difficult to criticize Clinton from the right, but never underestimate the exigencies of struggle against totalitarianism.) Win or lose, this campaign has endorsed reaction, top to bottom. On the upside, the likelihood of a Clinton impeachment offers much value for your entertainment dollar.

60

dilbert dogbert 10.25.16 at 1:40 pm

Take care. All the gains made over the centuries can disappear in an instant. All politics is incredibly fragile.

61

Anarcissie 10.25.16 at 1:43 pm

J-D 10.25.16 at 5:56 am @ 50 —
I think the Q&A may be out of order due to the delays of composition and moderation.

cassander 10.25.16 at 1:51 am @ 43 —
I was writing about inequality in those parts of the world available to my direct perceptions or those of people I trust, or, if working from reports, to some degree of personal verification. Reports tend to be filtered by the culture, the prejudices and the interests of those who report and those who process and publish the reports, and the further they travel, the more their intelligibility and veracity seem to deteriorate. In the world I live in, inequality has visibly increased in the last 30 or so years, although it may well have declined in other places.

62

politicalfootball 10.25.16 at 3:42 pm

kidneystones@42: My question may not have been clear. I wasn’t asking whether you’d feel bad or anything like that.

You have — at length and over a long period of time and in this thread specifically — predicted a Trump victory based on [reasons]. The reasons have struck me as foolish, and the prediction has always seemed absurd.

Well, we could discuss your reasoning, but that seems to me like an unproductive line of conversation: Your perceptions on this topic are so wildly at variance with mine that I don’t see any common basis for a conversation.

But I’m thinking that you and I share a conception of reality that allows for the acknowledgment of an election result: If Trump wins, I will understand that Trump has won; likewise for you if Hillary wins.

Were Trump to win — and, to be clear, there’s next to no chance of this — I would have to rethink the reasons that I thought Trump’s defeat was near-inevitable. (I think the logicians here might say that I would reevaluate my Bayesian priors.)

So my question is: When Hillary wins, this will presumably involve some revision of your prior views — the reasons that Trump’s victory was extremely likely will have turned out to be invalid. What will that revision look like? What will change about your reasoning when Trump’s defeat shows that reasoning to be invalid?

To pursue my analogy: I don’t want to know how you will feel when the world fails to end. I want to know how you will rationalize or revise your previous beliefs.

63

novakant 10.25.16 at 5:03 pm

What PGD said.

64

phenomenal cat 10.25.16 at 5:17 pm

“And now we’re worried about “demonizing” Putin? The guy has systematically dismantled democracy in Russia…”

I’m not a scholar of recent Russian political history. Perhaps that’s why I am unaware of the transparent and robust
democratic structures Yeltsin put in place after the Soviet collapse. Also, if one were to change the terms of
your question to “And now we’re worried about needlessly antagonizing Putin [through Nato expansion and encirclement
to name only one such provocation],” then I would say yes.

Well, I’m personally not worried about it so much as it seems stunningly stupid and short-sighted from any geo-strategic perspective
that claims to be invested in international stability and peace.

65

Sebastian_H 10.25.16 at 6:53 pm

Reason, the major US cities are not near their infrastructure or hard physical limits. Especially in the major coastal cities the limit is NIMBY-ism. Compare to Tokyo, which has had essentially no serious rent inflation over the last 10 years despite a comparable influx of people to the city. But they build more units in that city alone than all of California builds across the whole state.

I’m not saying that we have to get to Tokyo level density everywhere, but I am saying that the high rents are due to policy choices including very deliberate underdevelopment–many of them specifically intended to prop up the housing values of the rich in liberal places like NYC, Seattle, DC, and much of California.

A policy mix including higher taxation of concentrated wealth would of course help as well. But unless we are talking about a total leveling of wealth, that isn’t going to fix the rent problem in desirable cities.

(Note also that this isn’t just a US problem. It is a problem in all of the major cities where building is seriously limited).

It plays out in a racial dimension in the US in a self-reinforcing way. Black people are already over-represented in the poorer quintiles, and they increasingly can’t afford to move to places where there are good jobs.

66

Yankee 10.25.16 at 8:36 pm

he and his followers will go, more or less gently, into that good night.

I for one will be pleasantly surprised if there isn’t whoopin and hollerin and some actual shootin by the Bundy wing this spring. Without discounting the possibility of provocateurs from Putin’s special forces. Hopefully Clinton will fund some social welfare out there in the boondocks and things will settle down.

67

bt 10.26.16 at 12:00 am

“I’m not saying that we have to get to Tokyo level density everywhere, but I am saying that the high rents are due to policy choices including very deliberate underdevelopment”

Speaking as someone who works in the design / construction sector, let me assure you that Americans on the whole don’t like Cities. They never have; the associations between dense cities and crime, deviance and dystopia that people like Trump are playing on are as old as America.

Nearly every zoning code is written consciously or unconsciously to produce suburban development patterns. When you combine this with the physical needs that automobile-dependence impose, it’s very, very hard to get beyond having everything look like Orange County, CA. Uber and the like have the potential to change some of that, and to change it quickly. Once the cars go away, a lot of big physical constraints go away and development patterns will be completely different. Japan, to give a counter-example, has a strict system for car-owners, if they can’t demonstrate they have a permanent parking place, they can’t get a registration / license for owning a car. Imagine something like that in America? Nope.

Sure there are some areas where rich people are ‘protected’ by the codes, but that’s a very small piece of the puzzle, and is not really going to determine overall development patterns.

68

James Wimberley 10.26.16 at 12:43 am

I take it that CT commenters agree with the journalists who moderated the presidential debates that climate change is a niche enviro issue not worthy of considerstion as real politics. However, like the dialectic, it is interested in you. Whether our grandchildren will live to 70 depends more on CO2 than on anything else mentioned so far.

69

js. 10.26.16 at 12:58 am

I agree with Sebastian H that opposition on parts of the left to density in cities is a problem, and is _a_ reason why real estate is insane in certain cities. But it’s not the only one, and it’s not even clear to me that it’s a particularly important one. There’s plenty of high-end construction in several of the cities in question (NYC, Miami, etc.), and even what amounts to a speculative market in luxury real estate. The real problem is building sufficient low-end/affordable housing. And the primary obstacles there aren’t at all left opposition to density or rent control. Or in any case, I’d like to see some good evidence that that’s specifically what’s driving the prices.

70

likbez 10.26.16 at 1:10 am

stevenjohnson

@58

This is a very good analyses. But I am less pessimistic: the blowback against neoliberal globalization is real and it is difficult to swipe it under the carpet.

There are some signs of the “revolutionary situation” in the USA in a sense that the neoliberal elite lost control and their propaganda loss effectiveness, despite dusting off the “Red scare” trick with “Reds in each computer” instead of “Reds under each bed”. With Putin as a very convenient bogeyman.

As somebody here said Trump might be a reaction of secular stagnation, kind of trump card put into play by some part of the elite, because with continued secular stagnation, the social stability in the USA is under real threat.

But it looks like newly formed shadow “Committee for Saving [neo]Liberal Order” (with participation of three latter agencies, just read the recent “Red scare” memorandum (https://www.dni.gov/index.php/newsroom/press-releases/215-press-releases-2016/1423-joint-dhs-odni-election-security-statement) want Hillary to be the POTUS.

But the problem is that Hillary with her failing health is our of her prime and with a bunch of neocons in key positions in her administration, she really represents a huge threat to world peace. She might not last long as the level of stress inherent in POTUS job make it a killing ground for anybody with advanced stage of Parkinson or similar degenerative neurological disease. But that might kale her more impulsive and more aggressive (and she always tried to outdo her male politicians in jingoism, real John McCain is the red pantsuit).

All-in-all it looks like she in not a solution of neoliberal elite problems, she is a part of the problem

Adventurism of the US neoliberal elite, and especially possible aggressive moves in Syria by Hillary regime (“no fly zone”), makes military alliance of Russia and China very likely (with Pakistan, Iran and India as possible future members). So Hillary might really work like a powerful China lobbyist, because the alliance with Russia will be on China terms.

Regime change via color revolution in either country requires at dense network of subservient to the Western interests and financed via shadow channels MSM (including TV channels), NGO and ability to distribute cash to selection members of fifth column of neoliberalism. All those condition were made more difficult in Russia and impossible in mainland China. In Russia the US adventurism in Ukraine and the regime change of February 2014 (creation of neo-fascist regime nicknamed by some “Kaganat of Nuland” (Asia times http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-01-100315.html ) essentially killed the neoliberal fifth column in Russia and IMHO it no longer represent a viable political force.

Also Russians probably learned well lesson of unsuccessful attempt of regime change by interfering into Russian Presidential election process attempted by Hillary and Obama in 2011-2012. I would like to see the US MSM reaction if Russian ambassador invited Sanders and Trump into the embassy and promised full and unconditional support for their effort to remove criminal Obama regime, mired in corruption and subservient to Wall Street interest, the regime that produced misery for so many American workers, lower middle class and older Americans ;-)

Ambassador McFaul soon left the country, NED was banned and screws were tightened enough to make next attempt exceedingly difficult. Although everything can happen I would discount the possibility of the next “While Revolution” in Russia. So called “Putin regime” survived the period of low oil prices and with oil prices over $60 in 2017 Russian economy might be able to grow several percent a year. At the same time the US “post-Obama” regime might well face the winds of returning higher oil prices and their negative influence of economy growth and unemployment.

In China recent troubles in Hong Cong were also a perfect training ground for “anti color revolution” measures and the next attempt would much more difficult, unless China experience economic destabilization due to some bubble burst.

that means that excessive military adventurism inherent in the future Hillary regime might speed up loss by the USA military dominance and re-alignment of some states beyond Philippines. Angela Merkel regime also might not survive the next election and change “pro-Atlantic” balance in Europe.

Although the list in definitely not complete, we can see that there are distinct setbacks for attempts of further neoliberalization — Brexit and TPP troubles.

So there are some countervailing forces in action and my impression that the Triumphal march of neoliberalism with the USA as a hegemon of the new neoliberal order is either over or soon will be over. In certain regions of the globe the USA foreign policy is in trouble (Syria, Ukraine) and while you can do anything using bayonets, you can’t sit on them.

So while still there is no viable alternative to neoliberalism as social system, the ideology itself is discredited and like communism after 1945 lost its hold of hearts and minds of the USA population. I would say that in the USA neoliberalism entered Zombie stage.

My hope is that reasonable voices in foreign policy prevail, and the disgust of unions members toward DemoRats (Neoliberal Democrats) could play the decisive role in coming elections. As bad as Trump is for domestic policy, it represent some hope as for foreign policy unless co-opted by Republican establishment.

71

Tabasco 10.26.16 at 2:42 am

@48

You forgot Turkey in Cyprus, 1974-present.

72

Val 10.26.16 at 3:54 am

#70
But the problem is that Hillary with her failing health is our of her prime and with a bunch of neocons in key positions in her administration, she really represents a huge threat to world peace. She might not last long as the level of stress inherent in POTUS job make it a killing ground for anybody with advanced stage of Parkinson or similar degenerative neurological disease. But that might kale her more impulsive and more aggressive (and she always tried to outdo her male politicians in jingoism, real John McCain is the red pantsuit).

Does the new CT moderation regime have any expectations about the veracity of claims made by commenters? Because I think it would be useful in cases like this.

73

Howard Frant 10.26.16 at 6:19 am

Stephen @58

Yes, it was late and I was tired, or I wouldn’t have said something so foolish. Still, the point is that after centuries of constant war, Europe went 70 years without territorial conquest. That strikes me as a significant achievement, and one whose breach should not be taken lightly.

phenomenal cat @64

So democratic structures have to be robust and transparent before we care about them? I’d give a pretty high value to an independent press and contested elections. Those have been slowly crushed in Russia. The results for transparency have not been great. Personally, I don’t believe that Ukraine is governed by fascists, or that Ukraine shot down that jetliner, but I’m sure a lot of Russians do.

Russian leaders have always complained about “encirclement,” but we don’t have to believe them. Do you really believe Russia’s afraid of an attack from Estonia? Clearly what Putin wants is to restore as much of the old Soviet empire as possible. Do you think the independence of the Baltic states would be more secure or less secure if they weren’t members of NATO? (Hint: compare to Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova.)

74

Sebastian H 10.26.16 at 6:53 am

“Speaking as someone who works in the design / construction sector, let me assure you that Americans on the whole don’t like Cities.”

This is a weird comment. You could easily double the housing density of the entire Silicon Valley and every single one of those housing units would be filled (and you wouldn’t even need high rises, you could just put three story complexes all over San Jose and Campbell). If any rich people got whiny and moved away, their housing would be immediately filled with newcomers. The US is a big country. There may very well be tens of millions of people who strongly prefer suburbs to cities, but that leaves a hundred million or more who would prefer to live in places where there are good jobs without paying 50%+ of their income for housing. At the moment the demand for city living well outstrips the supply, which is why the prices go up. Pushing poor people out of cities has been a deliberate plan barely disguised as “protecting our home values”.

“Sure there are some areas where rich people are ‘protected’ by the codes, but that’s a very small piece of the puzzle, and is not really going to determine overall development patterns.”

No, it is an enormous piece of the puzzle, so much so that fixing it might be enough to take a huge chunk out of the problem. See for example this Federal Reserve study which strongly shows that zoning is the decisive factor for housing prices, well beyond land prices, hedonic pluses like weather, or density.

See also the Legislative Analyst’s Office of the CA legislature which suggests that at a minimum CA needs to almost double the number of units it builds each year. here.

If you want a good statistically based discussion on the effect of housing policy on prices, you can find it all over the Pedestrian Observations blog. An especially good place to start is this article. A recurring theme on his blog is that the building ‘boom’ in big US cities is a reporting myth–it is only a boom in contrast to the ridiculously low earlier building levels [see especially SF], but doesn’t come close to comparable cities which allow much more building and successfully keep prices down even in marquee cities.

75

Sebastian H 10.26.16 at 7:08 am

<a href="https://pedestrianobservations.wordpress.com/2016/06/18/a-theory-of-zoning-and-local-decisionmaking/"This is a particularly good article on the systemic incentives behind local zoning with respect to housing costs.

The key conclusion is:

The issue is not that individual municipalities see no benefit in upzoning since it wouldn’t reduce rents by much. It’s that they see net harm from upzoning precisely because it would reduce rents. It is not a collective action problem: it is a problem of disenfranchisement, in which the people who benefit from more development do not live in the neighborhoods where the development would be taking place. High-level decisionmaking means that people who would like to move to a rich area get as much of a vote in its development policy as people who already live there and have access to its amenities, chief of which is access to work. It disempowers the people who already have the privilege of living in these areas, and empowers the people who don’t but would like to.

Individual rich people can be virtuous. Rich communities never are. They are greedy, and write rules that keep others out and ruthlessly eliminate any local effort to give up their political power. They will erect borders and fences, exclude outsiders, and demagogue against revenue sharing, school integration, and upzoning. They will engage in limited charity – propping up their local poor (as San Francisco protects low-income lifelong San Franciscans via rent control), and engaging in symbolic, high-prestige giving, but avoid any challenge to their political power. Upzoning is not a collective action problem; it is a struggle for equal rights and equal access to jobs regardless of which neighborhood, city, or region one grew up in.

76

Sebastian H 10.26.16 at 7:09 am

Ugh I screwed up the link it is here I hope.

77

reason 10.26.16 at 7:17 am

Sebastian H.
I think you should read some more from http://www.fresheconomicthinking.com/ – especially http://www.fresheconomicthinking.com/2015/09/doing-housing-supply-maths.html

But my basic view is that we don’t need to turn New York into Sao Paulo or London into Mexico City we need to create more New Yorks and Londons.

78

J-D 10.26.16 at 9:08 am

Howard Frant

Well, income inequality is not the only kind of inequality.

Still, if we use income inequality as an indicator of the relative success of the Right and the Left, what does the graph in the source you cited tell us? It tells us different things depending on which section of it we choose to focus on. For example, I see on that graph a period from 1988 to 1994 when income inequality in the US was apparently roughly stable, neither increasing nor decreasing. I have no idea why that was. But if somebody could explain it to me, I think I would learn more from that explanation than I would from somebody’s comparative evaluations of the rhetorical styles of Pat Buchanan and Donald Trump.

79

Layman 10.26.16 at 11:33 am

‘….makes military alliance of Russia and China very likely…’

Any analysis which arrives at this conclusion is profoundly ignorant.

Meta-comment: Is it permitted to say that a moderation scheme which objects to engels as a troll, while permitting this tripe from likbez has taken a wrong turn somewhere. Seriously, some explanation called for.

80

stevenjohnson 10.26.16 at 1:50 pm

likbez @70 Any analysis that starts with the assumption reactionaries still has a great deal to its agenda to achieve, such as promoting regressive taxation; privatization of Social Security; limiting Medicare; privatization of education; expansion of the police state; using the military to support the dollar, banking, world markets, etc., rather than Corey Robin’s belief that “the Right” has won is in my view an improvement on the OP. But whether mine is actually a deep analysis seems doubtful even to me.

But the OP is really limiting itself solely to domestic politics, and in that context the resistance to “neoliberal globalization,” (Why not use the term “imperialism?”) is more or less irrelevant. The OP seems to have some essentialist notion of the “Right” as openly aimed at restoring the past, ignoring the content of policies. Reaction would be something blatant like restoring censorship of TV and movies, instead of IP laws that favor giant telecommunications companies, or abolition of divorce, instead of discriminatory enforcement of child protection laws that break up poor families. This cultural/psychological/moralizing/spiritual approach seems to me to be fundamentally a diversion from a useful understanding.

There may be some sort of confused notions about popular morals and tastes clearly evolving in a more leftish direction. Free love was never a conservative principle for instance, yet many of its tenets are now those of the majority of the population. Personally I can only observe that there’s nothing quite like the usefulness of laws and law enforcement, supplemented by the occasional illicit violence, to change social attitudes. The great model of course is the de facto extermination of the Left by “McCarthyism.” No doubt the disappearance of the left targeted by “McCarthyism” is perceived to be a purification of the real left. It is customary for the acceptable “left” to agree with the McCarthys that communism lost its appeal to the people, rather than being driven out by mass repression. As to populism, such reactionary goals as the abolition of public education are notoriously sold as service to the people against the hifalutin’ snobs, starting of course with lazy ass teachers. It seems to me entirely mistaken to see the populist reactionaries as out of ammunition because the old forms of race-baiting aren’t working so well.

By the way, there already is a Chinese bourgeoisie, in Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, as well as elements in SEZs in China proper and select circles in various financial capitals. Restoration of capitalism in China has run into the difficulty that capitalism isn’t holding up its end. President Xi Jinping is finding it difficult for capitalism to keep the mainland economy growing at a sufficiently rapid rate to keep the working class pacific, much less generate the so-called middle class whose stock market portfolios will bind them to the new ruling class forever. These are the sources for a revolution in China, not NGOs or a color revolution. In the end, Putin will be done in by his oligarchs, despite the care he has taken to give them their share if they just refrain from wrecking everything with their excesses. Again, no need for NGOs.

Val @72 I remember that there were only rare, vague hints about Reagan, not factual evidence. So unless you are committed to the proposition his Alzheimer’s disease only set in January 21, 1992, demanding factual evidence about the mental and physical health of our elective divinities seems unduly restrictive I think.

Layman @79 The Shanghai Cooperation Organization alone makes an analysis that a military alliance between Russia and China reasonable enough. Even if incorrect in the end, it is not “profoundly ignorant.”

Meta-comment: engels post was perceived as mocking, which was its offense. As for “trolling,” that’s an internet thing. Internet things, aren’t.

81

reason 10.26.16 at 2:26 pm

Sebastian H
http://crookedtimber.org/2016/10/24/six-reasons-for-optimism-and-one-big-one-for-pessimism/#comment-696653

But I also wonder what you want to do about NIMBYism? You want possible immigrants to vote in local elections? You want to centralize government? You want to ban land use planning?

Isn’t the answer (as it very often is) competition? And isn’t intelligent infrastructure investment (as in the post war period) the way to create more urban competition (because what successful urban environments provide is connectivity). And what better way to finance that by progressive taxes that also reduce the massive cost barriers that can arise from high rent locations.

It seems to me your “solution” is an imposition from outside when your whole pretext is that you in general favor empowerment.

82

Stephen 10.26.16 at 3:27 pm

Tabasco@71: I didn’t mention Cyprus because it wasn’t a matter of annexation by Turkey, rather of carving a new state out of a previously existing one not quite what Howard was talking about.

Anyone who has objections on principle to Turkey’s actions in Cyprus should, I think, also object to Kosovo being carved out of Serbia.

83

likbez 10.26.16 at 3:54 pm

@72

Does the new CT moderation regime have any expectations about the veracity of claims made by commenters? Because I think it would be useful in cases like this.

I would like to apologize about the number of typos but I stand by statements made. Your implicit assumption that I am lying was not specific so let’s concentrate on three claims made:

1. “Hillary has serious neurological disease for at least four years”,
2. “Obama and Hillary tried to stage color revolution in Russia in 2011-2012 interfering in Russian Presidential elections”
3. “Hillary Clinton is a neocon, a warmonger similar to John McCain”

1. Hillary Health: Whether she suffers from Parkinson disease or not in unclear, but signs of some serious neurological disease are observable since 2012 (for four years). Parkinson is just the most plausible hypothesis based on symptoms observed. Those symptoms suggests that she is at Stage 2 of the disease due to an excellent treatment she gets:

http://www.viartis.net/parkinsons.disease/news/100312.htm
The average time taken to progress from Stage 1 (mild) to Stage 2 (mild but various symptoms) was 1 year 8 months. The average time taken to progress from Stage 2 to Stage 3 (typical) was 7 years and 3 months. From Stage 3 to Stage 4 (severe) took 2 years. From Stage 4 to Stage 5 (incapacitated) took 2 years and 2 months. So the stage with typical symptoms lasts the longest. Those factors associated with faster progression were older age at diagnosis, and longer disease duration. Gender and ethnicity were not associated with the rate of Parkinson’s Disease progression.

These figures are only averages. Progression is not inevitable. Some people with Parkinson’s Disease have either : stayed the same for decades, reduced their symptoms, rid their symptoms, or worsened at a rapid rate. For more current news go to Parkinson’s Disease News.

Concern about Hillary health were voiced in many publications and signs of her neurological disease are undisputable:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/09/11/hillary-clintons-health-just-became-a-real-issue-in-the-presidential-campaign/

A good collection of Hillary Health related articles: http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Neocons/Hillary/hillary_health_issues.shtml

Hillary and Obama attempt to stage the color revolution in Russia in 2011-2012 are also undisputable, but not widely known:

https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/legacy_files/files/publication/140529_Russia_Color_Revolution_Summary.pdf
http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2014/4124moscow_conf_colors.html
https://sputniknews.com/zinovyev_club/201408261021531720/

The opinion that Hillary as a neocon is supported by facts from all her carrier, but especially during her tenure as the Secretary of State. She voted for Iraq war and was instrumental in unleashing Libya war and Syria war. The amount of evidence can’t be ignored:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/06/opinion/sunday/are-neocons-getting-ready-to-ally-with-hillary-clinton.html?_r=0
https://consortiumnews.com/2016/04/16/yes-hillary-clinton-is-a-neocon/
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/27/hillary-clinton-necono-republican-endorsements-donald-trump-policy-issues
http://www.salon.com/2015/12/26/is_hillary_clinton_a_neoconservative_hawk_what_iraq_and_libya_decisions_tell_us_about_her_foreign_policy/
http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/03/28/hillary-clinton-neocon/
http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/is-hillary-clinton-neocon
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/33589-why-rand-paul-called-hillary-clinton-a-neocon
http://spectator.org/60236_hillarys-neocon-moment/

If you have more specific concerns please voice them and I will try to support my statements with references and known facts.

84

phenomenal cat 10.26.16 at 6:55 pm

“So democratic structures have to be robust and transparent before we care about them?”

No. My point was it’s very misleading. Misleading to set the parameters of discussion on U.S. posture toward Russia in such a way as to assume that Putin’s actions against a purported Russian “democracy” have anything at all to do with USian antagonism of Russia. I’m sure you’ll note current U.S. military cooperation with that boisterous hotbed of democratic activity, Saudi Arabia, in Yemen. Our allies in the house of Saud require help in defending their democratic way of life against the totalitarianism of Yemeni tribes, you see. The U.S. opposes anti-democratic forces whenever and where ever it can, especially in the Middle East. I guess that explains USian antipathy to Russia.

“I’d give a pretty high value to an independent press and contested elections.”

Yeah, it’d be interesting to see what the U.S. looked like with those dynamics in place.

“Those have been slowly crushed in Russia. The results for transparency have not been great.”

If you say so. For now I’ll leave any decisions or actions taken on these outcomes to Russian citizens. I would, however, kindly tell Victoria Nuland and her ilk to fuck off with their senile Cold War fantasies, morally bankrupt, third-rate Great Game machinations, and total spectrum dominance sociopathy.

“Personally, I don’t believe that Ukraine is governed by fascists, or that Ukraine shot down that jetliner, but I’m sure a lot of Russians do.”

There’s definitely some of ’em hanging about, but yeah it mostly seems to be a motley assortment of oligarchs, gangsters, and grifters tied into international neoliberal capital and money flows. No doubt Russian believe a lot things. I find Americans tend to believe a lot things as well.

85

Stephen 10.26.16 at 7:28 pm

Layman@79: no, I don’t think that comments like likbez’s should be forbidden. Someone who proposes an alliance containing both India and Pakistan does a great deal to promote innocent hilarity.

86

Sebastian H 10.26.16 at 8:01 pm

Reason, I’m not really sure what you want me to take away from that link. It appears to be “under my model, a 3% annual increase in housing stock can’t help prices”.

He says “The price impact of a 3% increase in supply is a 3% reduction if demand elasticity is unity. That’s it.”

Empirically (which is to say through actual study of prices in actual cities across the world), in my links you find that about a 2% annual increase in housing stock keeps prices from ballooning out of control though with modest increases (Tokyo, Austin) while a 0.5% per year or so has prices ballooning out of control even in areas with rent control (SF, NYC). Under his model, the price differences between those 2 scenarios ought to be about 1.5%.

This suggests to me that his model is missing something important. The federal reserve paper which I linked posits a difference in elasticity which it confirms by showing that low economic growth cities with low housing growth don’t have problems (duh), that high economic growth cities with high housing growth don’t have problems (not as obvious) and that high economic growth cities with low housing growth have huge problems (obvious to those who think that supply is a problem).

He posits that speculation is the key difference, but it isn’t super clear from his perspective why there would be speculation in SF but not Tokyo. From a supply perspective it is obvious–speculators don’t want to over-invest in places where the government is committed to making sure there is an adequate supply because the housing values won’t shoot up enough. Like central banks, firmly committing to dealing with the problem of inflation keeps speculators from working too hard against you because they know the government can force them to lose.

87

William Berry 10.26.16 at 9:36 pm

Val @70:

Indeed.

It is really fascinating to me that self-styled leftists so often manage to come across as indistinguishable from Breitbarters.

88

F. Foundling 10.26.16 at 10:19 pm

OP

>But I should stress, as I have since The Reactionary Mind, that the reason I think the right has not much of a future is that it has won.

It’s one thing whether ‘The Right’ in the sense of the specific tribal coalition that forms the US conservative movement may be about to enter a period of decline. It’s another – and dare I say more important? – question whether the small-r right in the sense of the tendency towards anti-egalitarian and anti-democratic policies found in both major parties is likely to fade away or even be weakened any time soon. Nor do I think that the ‘right’ in the latter sense has run out of tasks. Even in the US, there is still a lot of safety net to cut, there are public services to eliminate and there is public property to privatise. There are still civil liberties to erode – and, of course, wars to start.

89

Anarcissie 10.26.16 at 11:47 pm

Stephen 10.26.16 at 7:28 pm @ 85 —
How about an alliance between France and Germany? Should be equally hilarious.

William Berry 10.26.16 at 9:36 pm @ 87 —
A meeting of the tribes:


90

js. 10.26.16 at 11:59 pm

OK, I will echo Layman here. If you are allowing whatever the fuck is going on @83 (not to mention kidney man on “oversampling”—actually wait, that was pretty hilarious to read on a CT thread of all places; glad you allowed that!), how are you blocking engels for a bit of mild mockery? Look, I support the new regime, *defeasibly*, but what exactly is vs. is not allowed now? I mean this utterly seriously.

91

Barry 10.27.16 at 12:19 am

James Wimberley 10.26.16 at 12:43 am
“I take it that CT commenters agree with the journalists who moderated the presidential debates that climate change is a niche enviro issue not worthy of considerstion as real politics. However, like the dialectic, it is interested in you. Whether our grandchildren will live to 70 depends more on CO2 than on anything else mentioned so far.”

I would disagree, for two obvious reasons. The first is that (presumably) the overwhelming majority of CT commenters are from first world nations. We live in the countries with the most resources to adapt.

Second, the biggest problem is political *reaction* to climate change. We can cope with a lot, if we have good politics

92

Omega Centauri 10.27.16 at 2:09 am

Barry many CTers are interested in combating climate change. Just not in every thread.

For now in the US we are experiencing destructive climate change, in the form of extreme weather. But, the media is careful to never mention it. There is no political reaction since Joe Average thinks its just weather. At lot of on-the ground damage has occurred.

93

derrida derider 10.27.16 at 3:01 am

What @72 and @90 said. Though I think its not the craziness but the obsessive number and length of likbez’ comments that is the main thread killer. A single drive-by comment rarely hurts a thread – obsessives do. Whatever, this thread bodes ill for the success of your trial moderation policy.

94

Howard Frant 10.27.16 at 3:45 am

phenomenal cat @84

My point was it’s very misleading. Misleading to set the parameters of discussion on U.S. posture toward Russia in such a way as to assume that Putin’s actions against a purported Russian “democracy” have anything at all to do with USian antagonism of Russia.

This has nothing to do with what I was talking about, and seems to miss my point entirely. I was reacting to someone who said we shouldn’t “demonize” Putin. My point was that Putin is in fact a bad guy, and we need to face that. And the degree of democracy, or “purported ‘democracy'”, in Russia is a complete red herring. The point is that Putin has systematically closed down independent voices and political dissent.

Of course, if you really want to be an apologist for fascist dictators, you can always talk about how we’re not really a democracy either. With this crowd that approach is likely to get some sympathy.

95

Anarcissie 10.27.16 at 11:53 am

derrida derider 10.27.16 at 3:01 am @ 93 —
likbez’s veracity was challenged across the board, with a suggestion that suppression was in order, so he, she, or it posted supporting evidence for one particular set of assertions. If one didn’t want to read it (being already in possession of all the valid, relevant facts), it could be easily skipped over.

96

Layman 10.27.16 at 1:58 pm

‘…likbez’s veracity was challenged across the board, with a suggestion that suppression was in order…’

If you read my comment as a call to suppress likbez, then I must have been unclear. My comment was 1) an objection to the suppression of engels, using likbez’s execrable nonsense as a counter-example, and 2) a request for an explanation of what sort of commentary would be suppressed in light of the two examples.

97

Ragweed 10.27.16 at 10:16 pm

“likbez’s veracity was challenged across the board, with a suggestion that suppression was in order, so he, she, or it posted supporting evidence for one particular set of assertions.”

The supporting evidence, though some of the references were sane, included links to several weird conspiracy-right sources, including Lyndon LaRouche’s organization. That’s just a different kind of crazy.

98

Anarcissie 10.27.16 at 10:55 pm

Layman 10.27.16 at 1:58 pm @ 96 —
On the contrary, as far as I know you have been a staunch defender of free expression.

99

Anarcissie 10.27.16 at 11:41 pm

Ragweed 10.27.16 at 10:16 pm @ 98 —
No doubt an extensive if not endless discussion could be enjoyed if we delved into the veracity of the many flavors of supposed conspiracy-theory web sites, and the theories of conspiracy theory themselves, as well as the veracity of CT participants. However, while if a moderator I might suppress many things, giving the sources of one’s beliefs would not usually be one of them.

100

reason 10.28.16 at 9:37 am

Sebastian H.
I want to stop this – as it OT is. But using Tokyo as an example is historically blind.

101

engels 10.28.16 at 1:14 pm

The real problem is building sufficient low-end/affordable housing

Imo the most important problem is inequality and the way it enables the wealthy to capture a larger share of the housing stock, leaving the rest of us to fight over the ever smaller remainder. Iirc Danny Dorling is good on this—you can easily see it in parts of London where e.g. blocks which could have housed several families are being converted into McMansions. And that even British people who aren’t astronomically wealthy housing is a way of setting yourself up as a small-time rentier, either through things like buy-to-let or by cashing in your share of the London property bubble and using the proceeds to lord it over people in the regions…

Meta: thanks for the kind words but I don’t think I’ve actually been banned. It does get more than a bit annoying having someone mess around with what you are trying to say every other time you open your mouth (Gerry Adams got through it though I guess…) I was already planning to a take a bit of a break anyway as I said, so a pleasant weekend to all.

102

Fox 10.28.16 at 1:46 pm

The whole article completely misses the point. I have a hard time to even figure out into what political corner to put Trump. But for the sake of argument, suppose he is right-wing. His running mate certainly is. Now, Hillary Clinton is a right-wing warmonger, a wallstreet-darling a thoroughly corrupt and corporate puppet, too. Assuming that she has about half the democrats behind her (the other half backing Sanders), you have a vast right-wing majority in this country. Democratic presidents and congresses have done as much right wing stuff as did their republican counterparts, including terrible, useless wars abroad. You can say that even for large parts of Obama’s policies. After all, no president before him attacked so violently and determined civil liberties and free speech. None. Not even the infamous GWBush!
All your fpoucs just on Trump and the reps misses the real elefant in the room, pun intended. And that is the equally right-wing and corrupt democratic party elites. They may prtend to be non-rightists. But they are.

103

Jerry Vinokurov 10.28.16 at 4:12 pm

It is really fascinating to me that self-styled leftists so often manage to come across as indistinguishable from Breitbarters.

The problem with the conspiracy-theoretic mindset is that it’s applicable across the board. Just because someone has good political goals doesn’t also mean they aren’t also swimming neck-deep in the conspiracist swamp.

104

Jerry Vinokurov 10.28.16 at 10:29 pm

This has nothing to do with what I was talking about, and seems to miss my point entirely. I was reacting to someone who said we shouldn’t “demonize” Putin. My point was that Putin is in fact a bad guy, and we need to face that. And the degree of democracy, or “purported ‘democracy’”, in Russia is a complete red herring. The point is that Putin has systematically closed down independent voices and political dissent.

Masha Gessen has been writing on this topic forever and is worth reading.

105

Collin Street 10.28.16 at 10:45 pm

And that is the equally right-wing and corrupt democratic party elites.

“Corrupt” does not mean “equally corrupt”. “Right-wing” does not mean “equally right-wing”.

[note that black-and-white thinking often associates with difficulties in distinguishing between “most Xs are Y” and “most Ys are X”, which can make discussions pretty difficult.]

106

Layman 10.28.16 at 10:59 pm

Fox: “…Now, Hillary Clinton is a right-wing…”

After that, there’s really no good reason to read anything else in the comment. Whatever else you think of Clinton, the notion that she’s politically right-wing can only be arrived at by ignoring every politician of the right in the country.

107

Val 10.29.16 at 12:52 am

I haven’t looked at likbez’ so called evidence because I am prepared to stake my intellectual reputation (such as it is around here!) that there is no credible medical evidence that Hillary Clinton has Parkinson’s disease or any similar condition. I don’t want to make too many burdens on the moderators but I think as well as insults, etc, there should be some standards about the veracity and relevance of claims commenters can make here.

However, I am also concerned about the gender implications (I’m sure no-one’s surprised about that :)). These claims about Hillary’s health also function as a form of dog-whistling to sexist, patriarchal views of women as too physically weak and mentally and emotionally frail for leadership.. I am concerned that some of the CT bloggers aren’t aware enough (or possibly don’t even care enough?) about the myriad subtle ways that women are stigmatised as unsuitable to participate in public life or discourse, including on this blog.

108

ZM 10.29.16 at 2:06 am

“The real problem is building sufficient low-end/affordable housing”

I’m heading out so I don’t have time for a long response right now, but I think affordable housing is a big problem.

One good thing the City Of Melbourne did was release land it owned for development with the condition that the development would have some affordable housing and maybe some housing suitable for people with disabilities. It put the condition in the contract to sell the land. I think governments could do more of this sort of thing. It decreases the locational disadvantage that occurs when affordable or public housing is built in a concentrated area, and also increases diversity and the likelihood of neighbourly encounters between people of different income groups.

My State has a pretty big problem with there not being enough affordable housing, which seems to have increased the number of homeless people in recent years, and also meant more people are in housing poverty with rent or mortgage payments taking up more than 30% of their income.

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Collin Street 10.29.16 at 2:45 am

I don’t want to make too many burdens on the moderators but I think as well as insults, etc, there should be some standards about the veracity and relevance of claims commenters can make here.

To a large degree, insults disrupt because they are false or irrelevant; non-insulting false/irrelevant claims aren’t actually all that much less disruptive than calling people XX-XXs. I mean, the response to “you eat puppies!” and “Hillary Clinton eats puppies!” are both “that’s not true”, and the flow-on results are pretty much the same too.

Also, further on engel’s comments wrt the difficulty of learning the scope of acceptable behaviour in the absence of negative feedback.

110

Anarcissie 10.29.16 at 5:18 am

Val 10.29.16 at 12:52 am @ 107 —
You’re giving the moderators a mighty lot of work to do. If they are to judge the veracity of comments here objectively, they must find or create an explicit standard by which the judge them. But that standard itself will have to be judged; and so on. (I got that from Wittgenstein, or Plato, or one of the other usual suspects.)

Layman 10.28.16 at 10:59 pm @ 106 — Fox says it’s a right-wing country; if so, it follows logically that most of the successful politicians would be right-wing. One might disagree about the meaning of ‘right wing’, I suppose, or note that although many people profess leftish views and values, most in fact vote towards the right. (At least as I use these terms.)

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js. 10.29.16 at 6:24 am

F. Foundling @88 — Just to pick one small example, do you consider the repeal of the Hyde amendment, which Clinton has campaigned on and evidently feels strongly about to be “anti-egalitarian and anti-democratic”? Or is it just something that you consider to be not all that important? Just curious here.

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js. 10.29.16 at 6:33 am

Actually, let’s make this even simpler (still re F. Foundling @88) — What are the anti-democratic and anti-egalitarian policies in the Democratic platform, relative to the current dispensation, that you object to? I accept that (a) several of the proposed policies don’t go nearly far enough, and (b) Clinton’s foreign policy hawkishness is very troubling. But trend-wise, can you point to even 1-2 examples where the platform does worse than what we have now/have had in the recent past?

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Layman 10.29.16 at 5:36 pm

Anarcissie: “Fox says it’s a right-wing country; if so, it follows logically that most of the successful politicians would be right-wing.”

Explaining Fox’s error by pointing out that it’s based on another error doesn’t really work for me.

“At least as I use these terms.”

Yes, that’s more or less the problem. I you decide that the US is populated by Martians, ‘at least as you use the term’, you can’t really expect other people to buy into your arguments based on that premise.

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PGD 10.29.16 at 8:35 pm

Howard Frant @39 & @94:

I’m going to use your comments as just an example here of what I find so disturbing — the ways in which soi-disant ‘liberals’ or leftists in the US seem to have internalized the assumptions of aggressive, militarist U.S. empire. You refer to Putin as a “bad guy” and refer to those who might seek to put his actions into any historical or political context as “apologists for fascist dictators”. This crude language of “bad guys” and “good guys” and “apologists” is the language of authoritarian militarism. The U.S. is closely allied with Saudi Arabia, a country that is infinitely more dictatorial and oppressive domestically and IMO significantly more dangerous to the world order than Putin’s Russia. Saudi Arabia has strong contacts and influence in US politics and has contributed tens of millions to the Clinton Foundation. Benjamin Netanyahu, who has enormous political sway in DC and among Hillary Clinton’s team, and whose relationship to the US is perhaps even closer than a traditional alliance relationship, could also be seen as a highly authoritarian and militarist leader.

The point here is not to simply reverse the polarity and claim that Putin is a “good guy” of some sort while the US is a “bad guy”. Instead, we need to reject this childish language as deeply misleading in thinking about militarized global state powers. Saddam was not a “good guy” but the unilateral invasion of his state was a humanitarian and political disaster. Instead, we must consider how we (the public) can put pressure on major state powers, starting with our own country, to act in a manner that is genuinely responsible, cooperative, and conducive to peace and cooperation on an international scale. I would argue that U.S. political activism and military escalation concerning the Ukraine and Crimea, areas that were within the Russian empire before the U.S. even existed, is not responsible behavior. The first President Bush famously agreed with this analysis, so it is hardly radical.

One of the most powerful things about the logic of aggressive militarism is that the more you participate in it, the more justification for itself it generates. So, for example, the U.S. policy of aggressive NATO expansion and of interference in Russian domestic politics helped fuel both Putin’s rise to power and his military actions. Now Putin can be cast as the bogeyman necessary to justify still more military and political aggression by the U.S., and those who raise questions about U.S. policies can be cast as “apologists” for a “fascist dictator”. How do we reverse this cycle and moving toward a more cooperative, multi-polar world in such a highly propagandized environment?

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Sebastian H 10.29.16 at 11:31 pm

“What are the anti-democratic and anti-egalitarian policies in the Democratic platform, relative to the current dispensation, that you object to?”

Interestingly there is a very easy example. The median position of the electorate on abortion for any period after the fourth month is well to the pro life side of the Democratic Party…

116

Anarcissie 10.30.16 at 12:02 am

Layman 10.29.16 at 5:36 pm @ 113 —
I have recently given definitions for ‘Right’ and ‘Left’ which I believe are reasonably useful and consistent with the historical usage of the terms. Surely you don’t want me to tediously repeat myself! Besides, I doubt if we disagree much on the facts, but on the labels to be attached to the facts, and on the interpretations thereof.

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js. 10.30.16 at 2:31 am

Sebastian H — If the best you can do for an anti-egalitarian or anti-democratic policy supported by the Democrats (trend-wise; see above) is their support of reproductive rights, I happily rest my case.

118

ZM 10.30.16 at 6:07 am

engels,

“Iirc Danny Dorling is good on this—you can easily see it in parts of London where e.g. blocks which could have housed several families are being converted into McMansions. And that even British people who aren’t astronomically wealthy housing is a way of setting yourself up as a small-time rentier, either through things like buy-to-let or by cashing in your share of the London property bubble and using the proceeds to lord it over people in the regions…”

The wife of the Australian Prime Minister, Lucy Turnbull, has had a longstanding interest in cities and urban planning. She has worked with the Greater Sydney Commission and they have recently made new planning policy for increasing affordable housing in Sydney. The Inclusionary Zoning policy looks like a pretty good policy I think, although its specifically for higher density housing. Its supposed to help Sydney accomodate population growth of 1.6 million people over the next 20 years.

All land that is rezoned for higher density development will have to include 5-10% of the total floorspace to be affordable housing in any future developments. The affordable housing is to be managed by community providers.

The developers are trying to negotiate asking for the ability to build 20% higher if they include affordable housing.

Apparently new developments in New York are getting tax breaks to include up to 50% affordable housing in new developments, but I don’t know the details of that policy.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/revealed-lucy-turnbulls-affordable-housing-plan-for-sydney-20161027-gsbxyd.html

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/first-lady-lucy-turnbull-steers-sydneys-future-from-parramatta-hq/news-story/674dda9667d64eb5e8816c2572c9c243

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Layman 10.30.16 at 11:26 am

Anarcissie: “Surely you don’t want me to tediously repeat myself!”

I think what’s called for is an examination of a range of issues and where Americans come down on those issues. Pew does an excellent job at this sort of thing, and their data suggests that on balance, most Americans are not right-wing on most issues. Similarly, one can examine Clinton’s views on various issues – both her stated views and her public record – and again, one would conclude that she’s not right-wing. If your particular definition (or Fox’s) conclude that she is – not ‘moderate’ or ‘centrist’ or ‘right of center on some issues’ but ‘right-wing’ – then there’s something wrong with that definition, and all of your judgments based on that definition are faulty.

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novakant 10.30.16 at 3:06 pm

Clinton is bellicose, militaristic and believes in US exceptionalism. She is also a strong supporter of corporate power.

121

Anarcissie 10.30.16 at 3:11 pm

Layman 10.30.16 at 11:26 am @ 119 —
Well, you could start by agreeing or disagreeing with the definitions I give for ‘Right’ and ‘Left’ in @6 of the present discussion. My next step will be to say that I don’t think the Bismarckian Welfare state is leftist, although its present incarnations are often referred to that way.

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bruce wilder 10.30.16 at 4:45 pm

Layman @ 119

Clinton in her “private positions” and public record has regularly taken “the side of authority, power, inequality, private wealth, social status, class, imperialism, war, and the military virtues,” and so satisfies the definition of the political right offered by Anarcissie.

In the course of the election campaign, Clinton has moved toward the left on some economic issues: minimum wage, social security, “free trade” (TPP) though not always with much commitment. The charge against Clinton is that like Obama, she seeks to manage and channel the leftish impulses of the American people so that demands for fundamental reform or a change in the direction of policy on economics affecting the distribution of income and wealth is effectively neutralized in favor of continuing the status quo.

The Clinton campaign has deliberately chosen political mobilization on the basis of issues of racism and sexism and taken the leftish side on those issues, though sometimes shading universalism a bit in service of the mobilization. A famous bit from her primary stump speech went like this:

“Not everything is about an economic theory, right?” Clinton said, kicking off a long, interactive riff with the crowd at a union hall this afternoon.

“If we broke up the big banks tomorrow—and I will if they deserve it, if they pose a systemic risk, I will—would that end racism?”

“No!” the audience yelled back.

Clinton continued to list scenarios, asking: “Would that end sexism? Would that end discrimination against the LGBT community? Would that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight?”

It is clever, setting economic populism at odds to anti-racism and feminism, but I will venture that eliding class in this way serves the purposes of the right.

The resulting division of views, with some like myself continuing to argue the primacy of economics or the authoritarian state or an imperialist and militaristic foreign policy “against” those who would join with the crusade against Trump and all he stands for — this division has caused a great deal of rancor in comments. In the interest of not rekindling that fire, I would ask Layman to reconsider his tone.

And, the moderators might reconsider how their emerging policy applies to Layman’s tact in this case.

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Jerry Vinokurov 10.31.16 at 2:24 am

The Clinton campaign has deliberately chosen political mobilization on the basis of issues of racism and sexism and taken the leftish side on those issues, though sometimes shading universalism a bit in service of the mobilization.

Clinton has chosen this battle ground? Weird, I could have sworn there was another candidate running on a platform of explicit racism as the nominee of a party with a historic track record of racism and sexism, but I guess it just goes to show that you can’t trust your lying eyes.

“Not everything is about an economic theory, right?” Clinton said, kicking off a long, interactive riff with the crowd at a union hall this afternoon.

“If we broke up the big banks tomorrow—and I will if they deserve it, if they pose a systemic risk, I will—would that end racism?”

“No!” the audience yelled back.

Clinton continued to list scenarios, asking: “Would that end sexism? Would that end discrimination against the LGBT community? Would that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight?”

She isn’t even wrong!

It is clever, setting economic populism at odds to anti-racism and feminism, but I will venture that eliding class in this way serves the purposes of the right.

No one is actually doing this.

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Val 10.31.16 at 3:06 am

@122
Hillary Clinton is not “setting economic populism at odds to anti-racism and feminism”. She is saying that economic theory alone cannot explain all social and political issues.

It’s an important and relevant point, and I think if you engaged with it, it would really help in making the debates you refer to more useful and less rancorous. I accept that she was saying this in a particular context and for particular political purposes, but nevertheless it would help with these debates if you engaged with the actual content of what she is saying, as well as what you or others may understand as her political purposes in doing so.

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kidneystones 10.31.16 at 4:52 am

The Democratic candidate for president and former Secretary of State is under investigation by the FBI relating to her handling of State department documents. Whatever the outcome of the election these investigations look to drag on for months as the FBI attempts to establish the number, content, and security classification of State department documents discovered on a computer used by a close key Clinton aide and her husband. The aide in question had previously sworn that she had turned over all devices containing documents, or that were used for professional purposes in her capacity as an employee of the federal government.

Complicating the challenge the FBI face is the role the Democratic candidate and key members of her family played in ‘pay for play’ access to the Secretary of State during her time in office. The Democratic candidate’s spouse, a former US president, refunded millions of dollars in donations in the past and has on at least one occasion directly contacted the top government official overseeing investigations into the Democratic candidates actions. But only,we need to stress, to discuss ‘grandchildren’ and certainly not any ‘current’ investigation according to this official.

Polls have the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates at near even.

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Anarcissie 10.31.16 at 4:40 pm

Val 10.31.16 at 3:06 am @ 124:
‘Hillary Clinton is not “setting economic populism at odds to anti-racism and feminism”. She is saying that economic theory alone cannot explain all social and political issues.’

Surely a change to a strongly egalitarian polity and culture would mitigate the effects of racism and sexism because it would deprive them of many of the tools by which they operate. The alternative, of suppressing some instances of them through force, authority and selective preference, hasn’t worked very well; or at least it has brought us to where we are now, which is supposed to be problematical. But obviously an attachment to plutocracy, militarism, and surveillance will suggest the latter and impede the former.

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novakant 10.31.16 at 9:11 pm

This explains pretty well why I won’t feel any happiness when Clinton wins next week.

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n03/jackson-lears/we-came-we-saw-he-died

As far as US foreign policy is concerned, which should be of the area of greatest concern since it is at its sharp end that people are killed en masse, I do not think she is the lesser evil, as insane as Trump sounds – which is saying a lot about the current state of democracy and ‘democratic leadership’ in the US and elsewhere. I think Adam Curtis might be on to something:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p04b183c/adam-curtis-hypernormalisation

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Jerry Vinokurov 10.31.16 at 10:08 pm

Surely a change to a strongly egalitarian polity and culture would mitigate the effects of racism and sexism because it would deprive them of many of the tools by which they operate.

People say this as though it is manifestly obvious, but it is not. After all, one of the more egalitarian (from a class standpoint) periods in American history was also characterized by widespread exclusion of both racial minorities and women from that same prosperity. That’s not to say that egalitarian economic policies are bad; they are good! It’s just that there are multiple factors working here, and you can’t ignore the ones that matter to a large subset of your coalition.

I always wonder whether people who talk like this ever think about how it sounds to, say, an African American voter. Like, you may mean to say that we should have a more egalitarian economics, but what a lot of people hear is their concerns being brushed off. Oh, sure, yeah, racism and sexism are bad, we’ll get to those right after we achieve Glorious Socialism! I can’t imagine why that’s not a successful rhetorical move to win over those voters.

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Layman 11.01.16 at 12:51 am

Anarcissie: “Well, you could start by agreeing or disagreeing with the definitions I give for ‘Right’ and ‘Left’ in @6 of the present discussion.”

Your #6 is simply another illustration of the derangement about Clinton. If you think she’s anti-freedom, anti-equality, anti-peace, you’re incapable of grasping the failure. I don’t doubt that you’re sincere, but you’re mistaken.

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Layman 11.01.16 at 12:56 am

Bruce Wilder: ‘Clinton in her “private positions” and public record has regularly taken “the side of authority, power, inequality, private wealth, social status, class, imperialism, war, and the military virtues,” and so satisfies the definition of the political right offered by Anarcissie.’

I doubt that, but never mind. She has also often taken, in her private positions and public record, the side of freedom, equality, and peace. Perhaps it’s not as simple as all that?

131

js. 11.01.16 at 2:25 am

I always wonder whether people who talk like this ever think about how it sounds to, say, an African American voter.

Yeah… good luck with that on here.

Also, I said this in the other thread too, but—while there’s some superficial plausibility to this kind of view when applied to racism or xenophobia, it makes no fucking sense with regard to sexism. I mean, it’s wildly implausible that patriarchy is even correlated with, let alone caused by, occasions of economic distress or insecurity—whereas that might at least *sometimes* be true of racism/xenophobia.

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Anarcissie 11.01.16 at 3:04 am

Jerry Vinokurov 10.31.16 at 10:08 pm @ 128
‘I always wonder whether people who talk like this ever think about how it sounds to, say, an African American voter.’

Well, you could ask. Going by the reactions I’ve experienced, it must sound about the same as to White, Latin, or Other voters: that is, hardly interesting at all, however true, because too remote from daily life and short-term necessities and possibilities. A few may be usefully interested. In any case I’m not suggesting that anyone wait for anything. Opposition to promised new or increased wars, for instance, or to new and deeper surveillance, or to increased police violence, will be immediate and will probably involve rather diverse coalitions.

I don’t think a community that discriminates against people on account of sex, race, etc., can be considered egalitarian.

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J-D 11.01.16 at 3:53 am

kidneystones 10.31.16 at 4:52 am

Polls have the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates at near even.

A few polls have the two candidates close to even; most polls have the Democratic candidate with a decisive lead.
http://election.princeton.edu/2016/10/27/why-do-the-polls-seem-so-variable-this-week/

134

politicalfootball 11.01.16 at 1:03 pm

Polls have the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates at near even.

My question stands.

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bruce wilder 11.01.16 at 7:00 pm

Val @ 124

You want me to engage with Hillary Clinton thinking that those nice folks at Goldman Sachs and other banks and financial services firms handed her $225,000 a pop for a demonstration of scintillating rhetorical skillz and banal vision? You want me to credit that she will break up those banks “if they deserve it, if they pose a systemic risk”? How am I to engage with that “if“?

Here’s Thomas Frank, author of Listen, liberal, engaging with the microclimate of goodness surrounding Hillary Clinton: “. . . all manner of networking, posturing, and profit taking . . . while doing nothing to change actual power relations—the ultimate win-win.”

Clinton will be elected in a few days, with support mobilized disproportionately from women, african-americans and hispanics, while alienating “deplorables” as a few months ago, bernie bros and women under thirty-five were being deplored.

I do not see the causes of racial or sexual rights and dignity as being in any way logically or necessarily opposed to the causes of economic justice and security, but I do see political tactics leveraging the former against the latter. Is that leveraging of one against the other really not evident to you? Is Hillary Clinton in any way, shape or form a convincing avatar of fundamental economic reform or peace in international relations?

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Anarcissie 11.01.16 at 11:48 pm

js. 11.01.16 at 2:25 am @ 131 —
How about, if things get bad you may have to fight to preserve your family and — uh — tribe, and males seem to be physically better at violence, and violence is most effectively organized along traditional patriarchal and military lines? Therefore masculinity becomes privileged? But maybe things don’t get that bad, just rather competitive in the capitalist manner. In this case the contestants can be expected to use whatever they can to get an edge over the competition, and one of the well-known techniques is to excite discrimination targeting your competitors. Indeed, in the bad old days I saw explicit complaints against women in the workplace as taking jobs away from their proper owners, just as people of improper nationality, religion, culture, and pigmentation are supposed by some to do today. I don’t see anything wildly implausible about economic distress causing misogynistic behavior.

Here is one of many studies connecting economic stress with domestic violence; domestic violence against women is surely one of the chief cutting edges of patriarchal or masculinist domination.

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engels 11.02.16 at 12:45 am

I mean, it’s wildly implausible that patriarchy is even correlated with, let alone caused by, occasions of economic distress or insecurity

Whaaa? It’s not an exaggeration to say one of the main right-wing motives for attacking the welfare state* is to attempt to shore up patriarchy (aka Victorian/family values).

(* bonus points for identifying a currently very prominent Democratic politician who did as much as anyone to advance that anti-feminist agenda in 1990s USA…)

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Anarcissie 11.02.16 at 2:33 am

Layman 11.01.16 at 12:51 am @ 129 —
My @6 was not particularly about Clinton. In any case I just wanted to know whether you agreed with my definitions of ‘Left’ and ‘Right’. If so we could discuss whether, as Fox and I believe, the US is a rightist country in the sense that its political leadership and a majority of its citizens seem to maintain rightist values and principles.

139

Val 11.02.16 at 11:15 am

@135
I think Hillary Clinton is what I classify as a ‘centre-left neoliberal’ in the same way that Tony Blair was. Their position is ‘we will work with corporations and give them the chance to self-regulate, but if that doesn’t work, we will regulate them’. I don’t think it necessarily works, and in my field, public health, there’s a growing number of people saying it doesn’t and won’t, but I accept that it’s a position they genuinely hold. I also think HRC is not dumb and is probably increasingly recognising that it doesn’t necessarily work, but I think actually getting effective regulation is politically difficult.

I also think that HRC is genuinely committed to improvements for women and people of colour, and this is not just a front for some deeper hidden desire to increase inequality and wage wars. If you are in any way suggesting this, I think it’s nonsense.

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Layman 11.02.16 at 11:38 am

“In any case I just wanted to know whether you agreed with my definitions of ‘Left’ and ‘Right’. “

As should be clear from my response to Bruce Wilder, they don’t seem to be particularly useful definitions. Sometimes people on the right seem to be for freedom, or peace, or even equality as they see it. Sometimes people on the left seem to be for war, or authority, or power, etc. How then do these definitions aid you in sorting them out? Or are those people simply not True Scotsman?

Clinton has certainly, in her long life, spoken and worked for freedom, for peace, for equality. That you use your definitions to support the claim that she’s ‘right-wing’ seems, well, like motivated reasoning.

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