Robin’s Reactionary Mind In The New Yorker – The Book That Didn’t Predict Not-Trump

by John Holbo on November 3, 2016

No doubt Corey is too modest to toot his own horn, so here you go. You should read the book, too.

The New Yorker headline is too strong: The Book That Predicted Trump. That’s beefed up from what Matt Feeney actually says: “From Robin’s argument, we could predict that a conservative party would be unlikely to nominate the idealized conservative as its standard-bearer, but that it would absolutely yoke itself to a populist nut job like Donald Trump.” That’s better than the headline. Better still, however, not to defenestrate Karl Popper quite so dramatically as all that. Robin advances an empirical hypothesis about the nature of conservatism. If possible, we should model hypothesis testing as an exercise in disconfirmation. It is plain that Trump does not disconfirm Robin. Trump fits the Robin model to a T, but it goes too far to say the model predicts him. Obviously 2016 has been an unusual year for Republicans. It may yet prove to be the year in which the Republican Party cracks up, like the Whigs. There is nothing whatsoever in Robin’s model that predicts 2016, in particular, shall be a special year. You could have made money in the prediction markets, betting according to Robin’s model, because you would have snapped up Trump back when he was selling for fractions of pennies. Clearly he was an undervalued property, by Robin’s theoretical lights. But recognizing a long shot as not so long as people think is not the same as it being a lock. So, to repeat: Robin did not predict Trump. I belabor the point because I predict some folks – our Corey does have his detractors, strange to say – may dismiss this New Yorker squib on the grounds that it is puffing Robin up as a prophet to an irrational degree. That right. It is.

But the Robin point can be reformulated. It’s not that he predicted Trump and, therefore, his hypothesis is confirmed. Rather, nearly everyone else predicted Not-Trump and, therefore, their hypotheses are disconfirmed by Trump. ‘Since conservatism is X, Y and Z, conservatives won’t vote for a -X, – Y and -Z guy like Trump.’ Something like that. (OK, I’m fudging a bit. Point is: Trump tests everyone else, NOT Robin.)

The headline ought to read “The Book That Didn’t Predict Not-Trump”. There. Fixed it.

Now the question is: have philosophers and theorists and advertisers of the alleged virtues of the conservative mind, from Burke to Kirk, Buckley and beyond, really been advancing variations on an empirical hypothesis? The obvious objection is that conservative political philosophy is a normative claim, or cluster of them. It says how people ought to be, not how they are. So it isn’t refuted if people don’t follow its precepts in real political practice.

In the New Yorker piece Feeney sketches ‘the ideal conservative’ like so: “This figure is a dreamy quietist of peaceable disposition, who savors apolitical friendship, nurses a skeptical outlook, and looks to an anti-theoretical politics of homey tradition and humane, but chastened, sentiment to guide him.” Close enough for government work, as a thumbnail summary of conservative political philosophy. But not nearly close enough for government work if Trump is elected. Obviously not. But that just shows Trump isn’t a conservative, not that conservatism was always already Trumpism. If ‘conservatives’ substantially go Trump, it goes to show that they weren’t conservative. There were fewer ‘real’ conservatives, after all.

It’s fair enough to say conservative political philosophy is a normative position. That’s a reasonable way to use words. But if conservatism is a normative position unmoored from real US politics, to the point where it has no bearing whatsoever on election results, and election results do not reflect on it, then it seems self-defeating for a different reason: namely, it’s just some abstract philosopher’s game. It’s a paper plan for some utopia. That’s nuts. Because the paper plan is to be smug about how other people – the liberals – are always making paper plans for utopia. A utopia in which everyone is smug about how they are the only non-utopians is a stupid utopia.

Putting it another way, terms like ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ have many uses, potentially. They are foci for theorizing about ideals. We want to know what is the best that liberalism could be; the best that conservatism could be. It makes sense to try to see the best in competing values. We also want these terms to serve as socio-electoral shorthand. If you want to understand what is going on in politics, ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’ are terms for tagging groups and movements and so forth. Deploying these terms is supposed to make politics less, rather than more, baffling. Using one word to do both jobs – limn the ideal, track the real – is optimistic. It depends on the real groups and movements being approximately ideal. The way things are actually going needs to be not waaaaaay off the way they ought to be going, in order for a theory of ideal conservatism to do reliable double-duty as a rough map of actually existing conservatism.

Robin’s model has the distinction of not having conspicuously fallen to pieces, due to this potential gap. That’s a fairly rare distinction, I should think.

{ 61 comments }

1

Bob Zannelli 11.03.16 at 1:39 am

I am a big fan of Robin’s book. I advised some of my liberal friends that it is a must read, most have told me what an eye opener the book was. However, I am not with Robin on his seemingly optimistic assessment of the Trump phenomena. I think this is an immensely dangerous development , not really too different than Germany in the 30’s. Trump stands a fair chance of winning this election and I think this could be the most dangerous thing to happen since the rise of fascism in Europe ( and and in the United States , though it didn’t come to power here.)

2

Ebenezer Scrooge 11.03.16 at 10:25 am

Holbo’s “conservative political philosophy”–as distinct from actual conservatism–has been guiding the Democratic Party for about forever. Robin’s contribution has been to show that the political philosophy of actual living conservatives doesn’t have much to do with whatever David Frum & Co. are thinking.
(Although I do think that Robin is a bit unkind to Edmund Burke–not so much inaccurate, but failing to appreciate that Burke contains multitudes, many of which are far more attractive than those Robin discussed. The cranky old man of “Regicide Peace” isn’t the same fellow who impeached Warren Hastings.)

3

Manta 11.03.16 at 11:16 am

“This figure is a dreamy quietist of peaceable disposition, who savors apolitical friendship, nurses a skeptical outlook, and looks to an anti-theoretical politics of homey tradition and humane, but chastened, sentiment to guide him.”

It is an ideal picture, but is there some example of notable USA politician (left or right) that would fit that description? Especially the “quietist of peaceble disposition” part.

4

Patrick 11.03.16 at 11:31 am

I predicted Trump! Or at least that’s the story I’m going with.

Back in like 1995, I remember saying, “Huh, Rush Limbaugh does this thing where he says things that have two meanings. The crazy one his listeners take away, and the non crazy but unimportant one he pulls out when people call him on the crazy part. His listeners don’t know that there are two versions, one for liberal critics and one for conservative rubes. In a generation we’re going to have a bunch of conservative voters who grew up hearing and believing the rube version. That’s gonna suck.”

I called myself vindicated when Michelle Bachman was stunned that the Constitution has separation of church and state in it. That was one of Rush’s double meaning things- he’d tell the rubes that separation of church and state wasn’t in the Constitution, and they’d interpret him as meaning that the concept was an unconstitutional thing that activist liberal judges just invented to marginalize Christianity. And when people called him on it away from the mic, he’d back track and claim that actually there were all these liberals who thought the actual words “separation of church and state” were in the Constitution, and he was just correcting them on this technical point.

But I’m gonna extend that to pretty much the entire Republican crack up, and call myself a modern Nostradamus.

My other big one was “Hmm, about once a month Bush says that Iraq has WMDs in specific places, then weapons inspectors say that he’s wrong, then he offers an excuse for why the inspectors didn’t find anything when they checked, then the inspectors say the excuse isn’t very good, then Bush threatens to withdraw the inspectors for their own protection. He finally went and did that, and now he’s got a new place he’s sure WMDs are stored, and there aren’t any inspectors to contradict him this time so he’s doing a victory lap. That… doesn’t sound like candor. I bet there aren’t any WMDs there this time either.”

5

ZM 11.03.16 at 11:31 am

Bob Zannelli,

“However, I am not with Robin on his seemingly optimistic assessment of the Trump phenomena. I think this is an immensely dangerous development “

I have also been surprised that Corey Robin thinks Trump is a run of the mill Republican candidate. This isn’t the view in Australia where I live. I have never seen Australian politicians of both sides so concerned about a major party candidate for President of the USA before.

This year a survey of more than 100,000 Australians found 70% think Australia “should distance itself from the US if Trump [is] elected” with only 24% thinking the Australia-US relationship should be the same if Trump is elected.

The same survey found that 87% of people surveyed think the US-Austraila relationship should stay the same or be strengthened if Clinton wins.

The Labor Party Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten called Donald Trump’s views “barking mad” earlier this year, and even key figures in our right wing side of politics Liberal Party have found Trump’s rise alarming:

“Asked by Channel Seven’s The Morning Show what he thought of the gathering speed of Trump’s campaign, Mr [Christopher] Pyne replied: “Well, it’s terrifying.”
The [Liberal Party] Industry, Innovation and Science Minister added: “And we are seeing in America these terrible rallies occurring where the people are becoming violent. Now, democracy should be robust but it certainly shouldn’t be violent. And I think the Donald Trump phenomenon is a real problem for the United States, making their democracy look kind of weird. And I think for the Republican party, if they choose Donald Trump, will find themselves in the wilderness for a very long time.”

“With less than two weeks to go before the US federal election, [Julie] Bishop [the Liberal Party Foreign Minister] said Trump was a “much lesser-known quantity” than Hillary Clinton. “I believe there will be continuity in foreign policy from the Obama administration, should it be a Clinton administration. She [Clinton] sees the US as having a global leadership role,” Bishop told the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday. “Candidate Donald Trump does not. He sees the US as having got a raw deal from globalisation and he would focus more on domestic matters. We have seen Hillary Clinton, particularly as secretary of state, have a view that the US should take a leadership role in the Middle East, in hot spots around the world. She was the principal architect of the rebalance to the Asia Pacific in 2011 …. It will be up to our region, including Australia, to persuade a Trump administration to focus on the Asia Pacific,” she said.”

The former Liberal Party Prime Minister John Howard said earlier this year “I tremble at the thought of Trump being president….There’s an instability about him that bothers me.”

And the former Liberal Premier of Victoria (the State I live in) Jeff Kennett wrote in his opinion column this week: “Soon we will know the result of the most vitriolic and saddest US elections I have witnessed: a contest between two individuals who are clearly not anywhere near the best candidates the American people should be choosing between to lead their nation. Whoever wins, the swing to the right will be obvious. There is nothing wrong with being politically right if politicians who follow that line admit they are not just appeasing the electorate. I understand conservatism, but being part of a right-wing movement is, to me, dangerous and a sign that those who follow that path are not following a laid-out agenda, but responding to issues, mainly disaffection in the electorate. Extremes, left or right, have never been the answer. They invariably end in disaster.”

This amount of concern about a major party candidate for President of the USA is very unusual in Australia.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/terrifying-and-kind-of-weird-christopher-pyne-blasts-the-donald-trump-phenomenon-20160316-gnl53l.html

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/oct/30/julie-bishop-raises-concerns-over-us-foreign-policy-under-donald-trump

http://qz.com/824230/even-right-wing-australians-and-especially-foreign-minister-julie-bishop-are-nervous-about-a-donald-trump-presidency/

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/jeff-kennett-intolerance-and-division-are-not-the-right-way/news-story/c6433469c6367de3f7d93f8da1db1841

6

Corey Robin 11.03.16 at 11:58 am

Evenezer Scrooge: “(Although I do think that Robin is a bit unkind to Edmund Burke–not so much inaccurate, but failing to appreciate that Burke contains multitudes, many of which are far more attractive than those Robin discussed. The cranky old man of “Regicide Peace” isn’t the same fellow who impeached Warren Hastings.)”

Actually, there is a considerably continuity between those two Burkes. In both instances, he’s concerned about the fate of ancient ruling classes (that’s his main indictment of Hastings: that he’s a usurper arriviste who is destroying the ancient aristocracy of India). The main difference is that the earlier Burke thought the arriviste was a threat to the ancient ruling class. In the wake of the French Revolution, the later Burke began to appreciate that ancient ruling classes are filled with hapless buffoons who need to leaven their power and authority with the scrappiness of the new arrival. I.e., him.

I wrote a piece about this recently; you can read it at the link below, if you’re at all interested.

http://raritanquarterly.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/article-pdfs/robin_raritanxxxvi1_web.pdf

7

reason 11.03.16 at 12:00 pm

ZM
Same in Germany. Almost more important than the latest outrage from the Sultan of Turkey (who is arguably actually a bigger threat to the rest of the world).

8

Ronan(rf) 11.03.16 at 12:04 pm

Corey, you said on Twitter recently that you have a sense of how “liberalism has devolved over past 50years”(so would not make essentialist claims about x being endemic to liberalism)
Have you(genuinely)written anything on this subject that you could point me towards?

9

kidneystones 11.03.16 at 12:15 pm

Corey does deserve credit for all the reasons jh notes. The outcome of the election remains in doubt despite one candidate’s collapsing support. There are a number here who have been making similar arguments about the inefficacy of left-right labels.

David Frum figures that in the wake of a massive GOP defeat, he and his ilk will be leading tribunals of inquisition and retribution of ‘conservative apostates.’ Frum clearly hasn’t read Corey’s book despite being one of those who really should.

The prospect of a gutting of the Democratic party seems far more likely to me, if Brent Baier is to be believed, and that is a big ‘if,’ I concede. We should see the donor class candidate triumph as we normally do. My basic read has not changed, however. The constituency that supports Trump is utterly indifferent to the Frums of the world, and even the Limbaughs. They are pissed-off, non-ideological, and highly-motivated. Frum still hasn’t figured out that he’s just as likely to find himself the target of their hostility as any Dem. And right now Trump supporters outnumber the Frums of the world by far from inconsequential numbers.

I still say Trump edges it.

10

nastywoman 11.03.16 at 1:21 pm

‘I still say Trump edges it.’

I read your words and I understand them as your hope that some ‘pissed-off, non-ideological, and highly-motivated F.. face von Clownsticks’ will take over my homeland –
and I’m worried sick about that – as much as the nearly entire Planet – but nobody – NOBODY in my Family is more worried about the possibility of the US having an Insane Racist Fascist than the ‘old-fashioned conservative Republicans’ -(if I may label them like that) – in my family who once ‘liberated’ Germany from the Fascists.

11

Bob Zannelli 11.03.16 at 1:31 pm

The prospect of a gutting of the Democratic party seems far more likely to me, if Brent Baier is to be believed, and that is a big ‘if,’ I concede. We should see the donor class candidate triumph as we normally do. My basic read has not changed, however. The constituency that supports Trump is utterly indifferent to the Frums of the world, and even the Limbaughs. They are pissed-off, non-ideological, and highly-motivated. Frum still hasn’t figured out that he’s just as likely to find himself the target of their hostility as any Dem. And right now Trump supporters outnumber the Frums of the world by far from inconsequential numbers.

I still say Trump edges it
))))))))))))))

I think while this is a very popular narrative by far too many on the left, it’s completely wrong. When you look at the demographics of where Trump’s support comes from you find that is resides mostly in the more affluent sector of the middle class who have
actually benefited from the globalization that Trump pretends to be against. . He has almost no support from those most hurt by globalization and neo liberal policies. This group is better characterized by their disengagement from the political process. I am frankly quite appalled how many leftists actually would like to see Trump win this election. What Trump has brought into the mainstream is the politics of racism, sexism and homophobia. His support has virtually nothing to do with class resentment. This dangerous development has been nurtured and well watered by the GOP in their pursuit of the infamous Nixon strategy. Make no mistake. Trump represents a dangerous race based fascist movement. Leftist who think he has emerged from cries of social injustice are deluded

12

Fuzzy Dunlop 11.03.16 at 2:27 pm

kidneystones: They are pissed-off, non-ideological, and highly-motivated. Frum still hasn’t figured out that he’s just as likely to find himself the target of their hostility as any Dem.

But resentment towards women and non-whites is absolutely essential to them, and Dems are much more the party of ethnic minorities and women now, so it seems unlikely that they could have the same hostility towards someone like Frum even if he & others have conditional support for Clinton.

13

nastywoman 11.03.16 at 2:32 pm

‘He has almost no support from those most hurt by globalization and neo liberal policies.’

‘Please visit a Trump rally –
talk to the ‘supporters’ –
ask them if they were hurt by ‘globalization’ –
don’t ask them about ‘neo liberal policies’ -(that might confuse them?)
ask them if they are unemployed – or ‘sometimes employed’ –
invite them for a few beers –
talk to them – and then – if you like – report back.

14

anymouse88 11.03.16 at 3:20 pm

If anything I think you are understating the case.

I mean how do you go from

‘This figure is a dreamy quietist of peaceable disposition, who savors apolitical friendship, nurses a skeptical outlook, and looks to an anti-theoretical politics of homey tradition and humane, but chastened, sentiment to guide him.’

too I always favor massive deficit financed tax cuts for the rich.

So, I 110% agree.

But, I mean interesting, but so what? You are right. And so? Where do we go from there? What difference does it make?

It seems to be a conclusion with limited utility.

I mean it tells us that the Republican party will not fall apart. (Really won’t even have much of a mild civil war.) But that was always a very low probability event. We will get smarter Trumps? Again a successful business model with a terrible CEO should generate copy cats. I am not even sure that will happen.

What does your conclusion tell us?

15

Neil 11.03.16 at 4:13 pm

Isn’t the standard story in philosophy of science today more Robin-supportive than you make out, John Holbo? As I understand it (I’m no expert on this topic), according to what qualifies as a consensus view today, falsification is no longer seen as a centrally important test of a theory, and support is conferred by predictions and retrodictions (i.e. the extent to which a theory explains a wide swathe of different data). So maybe we can recast your praise more positively.

16

Jose Arcadio Buendia 11.03.16 at 4:36 pm

I’m so old I can remember when everyone was touting their books that predicted Sarah Palin. I don’t think there is one elegant reason behind all of these things, but there is a distinction that isn’t emphasized between the last decades and prior eras, which is that while these threads may connect ideologies at times they were very fringe ideas.

I don’t think the problem in 2016 is the ideology per se. I think it’s the bubble that “conservatives” live in that forces them to create this ideology based on the “facts” they think they know.

17

Peter K. 11.03.16 at 5:01 pm

” Leftist who think he has emerged from cries of social injustice are deluded”

Who is making that argument? It seems to me that is a straw man.

“When you look at the demographics of where Trump’s support comes from you find that is resides mostly in the more affluent sector of the middle class who have actually benefited from the globalization that Trump pretends to be against.”

They’re lower income Republicans without college degrees.

So you argue that the economic consequences of the peace and the Great Depression had little to do with the rise of Nazism? That the shared prosperity of the social democratic post-war years had little to with the growing openness, maturity and tolerance of German culture and society?

That German culture wasn’t that advanced and open before Nazism?

I haven’t read Robin’s book, but agree with much of what he says elsewhere.

The Republican Party appealed to less educated white males more and more after the civil rights and woman rights revolutions with dog whistles as could be seen with Goldwater, Nixon and Reagan. But they failed to deliver economically as the prosperous post-war years were followed by years where the middle class was stagnating and shrinking. So the dog whistles became louder and more overt and the main theme of Trumpism rather than the cultural dressing surrounding trickle-down economics.

The less educated Trump voters respond more to the nationalist issues of trade and immigration rather than the globalist, corporate elite’s preferences for open borders and free trade. Trump beats Jeb! easily.

It’s possible if the Republican elite weren’t successful in pushing through their neoliberal agenda and its consequent economic stagnation, that maybe Trumpism wouldn’t have caught fire.

18

Stephen 11.03.16 at 5:35 pm

ZM@5: “Corey Robin thinks Trump is a run of the mill Republican candidate”.

Corey Robin’s book is one of the enormous number I haven’t read, but if he really claims Trump is a run-of-the-mill Republican I know of nobody on this side of the Atlantic who would agree with him. Many would agree that Trump is an extraordinary and bizarre figure, possible only in the US, whose closest (and not very close) European analogues are Berlusconi and possibly Mussolini – except that Mussolini had started as a socialist, risen from a poor background, and was a genuine, decorated, wounded war veteran.

19

Phil 11.03.16 at 5:52 pm

A utopia in which everyone is smug about how they are the only non-utopians is

Galt’s Gulch?

20

Anderson 11.03.16 at 6:02 pm

11: “They are pissed-off, non-ideological, and highly-motivated.”

White supremacy isn’t an ideology any more? What is it, then?

21

WLGR 11.03.16 at 6:04 pm

Ronan, I’m not Corey but here’s a piece of his from 2005 seemingly drawing off his 2004 book Fear, the idea being that liberalism has abandoned any positive transformative vision of the future and has atrophied into a politics based on the fear of illiberal backsliding. While I don’t see Alain Badiou in the book’s citations, Corey is more or less echoing one of Badiou’s key arguments about contemporary liberal ethics:

Ethics is conceived here both as an a priori ability to discern Evil (for according to the modern usage of ethics, Evil — or the negative — is primary: we presume a consensus regarding what is barbarian), and as the ultimate principle of judgment, in particular political judgment: good is what intervenes visibly against an Evil that is identifiable a priori. Law itself is first of all law ‘against’ Evil. If ‘the rule of law’ is obligatory, that is because it alone authorizes a space for the identification of Evil (this is the ‘freedom of opinion’ which, in the ethical vision, is first and foremost the freedom to designate Evil) and provides the means of arbitration when the issue is not clear (the apparatus of judicial precautions). … It might seem, then, that we have here a body of self- evident principles capable of cementing a global consensus, and of imposing themselves strongly. Yet we must insist that it is not so; that this ‘ethics’ is inconsistent, and that the — perfectly obvious — reality of the situation is characterized in fact by the unrestrained pursuit of self-interest, the disappearance or extreme fragility of emancipatory politics, the multiplication of ‘ethnic’ conflicts, and the universality of unbridled competition.

Who cannot see that this ethics which rests on the misery of the world hides, behind its victim-Man, the good-Man, the white-Man? Since the barbarity of the situation is considered only in terms of ‘human rights’ — whereas in fact we are always dealing with a political situation, one that calls for a political thought-practice, one that is peopled by its own authentic actors — it is perceived, from the heights of our apparent civil peace, as the uncivilized that demands of the civilized a civilizing intervention. Every intervention in the name of a civilization requires an initial contempt for the situation as a whole, including its victims. And this is why the reign of ‘ethics’ coincides, after decades of courageous critiques of colonialism and imperialism, with today’s sordid self-satisfaction in the ‘West’, with the insistent argument according to which the misery of the Third World is the result of its own incompetence, its own inanity — in short, of its subhumanity.

If the ethical ‘consensus’ is founded on the recognition of Evil, it follows that every effort to unite people around a positive idea of the Good, let alone to identify Man with projects of this kind, becomes in fact the real source of evil itself. Such is the accusation so often repeated over the last fifteen years: every revolutionary project stigmatized as ‘utopian’ turns, we are told, into totalitarian nightmare. Every will to inscribe an idea of justice or equality turns bad. Every collective will to the Good creates Evil. This is sophistry at its most devastating. For if our only agenda is an ethical engagement against an Evil we recognize a priori, how are we to envisage any transformation of the way things are? … To forbid [Man] to imagine the Good, to devote his collective powers to it, to work towards the realization of unknown possibilities, to think what might be in terms that break radically with what is, is quite simply to forbid him humanity as such.

22

WLGR 11.03.16 at 6:10 pm

(That was Badiou; here’s the equivalent argument from Corey.)

During the Vietnam era, liberals and leftists believed not only in social justice but also in mass protest. Whether the cause was democracy at home or liberation abroad, men and women afflicted by oppression had to organize themselves for freedom. Yes, some of yesterday’s activists were blind to coercion within these movements, and others joined elite cadres bombing their way to liberation. Still, the animating faith of the 1960s was in the democratic capacities of ordinary men and women, making it difficult for liberals and leftists to believe in conquering armies from abroad or shock troops from on high.

Many liberals, and some leftists, no longer hold these views. Their faith is guided not by the light of justice but by the darkness of evil: by the tyranny of dictators, the genocide of ethnic cleansers and the terrorism of Islamist radicals. Despite their differences–some of these liberals and leftists support the war in Iraq, others do not; some are partial to popular movements, particularly those opposing anti-American governments, while others favor constitutional regimes, particularly those supporting the United States–theirs is a liberalism, as the late Harvard scholar Judith Shklar put it in a pioneering essay in 1989, that seeks to ward off the “summum malum” (worst evil) rather than to install a “summum bonum” (highest good). Reversing Augustine’s dictum that there is no such thing as evil–evil being only the absence of good–today’s liberal believes there is only evil and progress is measured by the distance we put between ourselves and that evil.

Hostility to popular protest and indulgence of American power follow naturally from this position. Mass movements, liberals claim, are blind to evil or apologize for it. Sometimes they actively court it. In their reckless pursuit of utopia, they march men and women to the gulag or into shooting galleries of terrorism and civil war. Only a politics of restraint can shield us from the temptations of violence.

23

DMC 11.03.16 at 7:27 pm

There’s just too many people in this country for whom “more of the same and harder” is a deal breaker. They’ll go with the guy who tells them “one more throw of the dice” and who apparently scares the snot out of the Establishment types. The ruder he is, the more they like it. The more the “grown-ups” say this is going to be bad for the country, the better it sounds to people picking up cans off the road to make ends meet. Its utterly hateful that electoral politics in this country has come to such a pass but the Left(or what passes for it in the US) is as much to blame as the Right in that they haven’t offered real substantive alternatives to the NeoLib/NeoCon orthodoxy that seems to dominate US policymaking.

24

medrawt 11.03.16 at 11:27 pm

Bob Zanelli and ZM –

The formulation I’ve come to, in my shared confusion over how some evaluate Trump, is that:

What Trump represents as a political character is partially new.
The threat liberals perceive Trump to represent is partially new.
Why people have voted and will vote for Trump is not new.

(all newness being couched in the context of “serious candidate for the Presidency”.)

25

Tabasco 11.04.16 at 12:09 am

Please visit a Trump rally –
talk to the ‘supporters’

The supporters at the rallies are a motley collection of crazies, fascists, conspiracy theorists and fantasists. They represent the outer edge of the outer universe of Trump support. 40 million people are going to vote for Trump. Only a small, well, small-ish, proportion of those are like the nut jobs who appear at his rallies.

26

Omega Centauri 11.04.16 at 1:51 am

One thing many Trump supporters say, is he talks like me and my buddies. He has mastered the art of sounding like one of them. Evidently normal politician talk is too intellectual for them, they just think they are being bamboozled. So Trump doesn’t use fancy words and fancy non-intuitive ideas
to get his points across. And they thus think both that he is one of the boys (as opposed to the pointy-headed elites), and that to them what he says makes sense and feels like the truth.

I think another strong correlate, is strongly identification as a member of the white race. Supposedly the more minorities in your neighborhood, the more a white person is likely to take notice of his white identity. So a campaign of Make American White Again resonates with them.

27

kidneystones 11.04.16 at 8:50 am

@23 Hits the nail precisely on the head. The more the media and elites at CT and elsewhere shriek, the better Trump looks to his supporters, although I’d say we see far more dissonance from the commenters than the contributors. The fact remains that publicly at least, most cannot conceive of a Trump victory largely, I’d say, because the Trump voter remains a sort of sub-human alien to too many. The stink coming off the Democratic campaign irrespective of the sources has a great deal to do with dampening enthusiasm for the presidential candidate. Imagine the Democratic candidate prevails – will the public suddenly forget that two DNC chairs in succession were caught cold corrupting the process first against Sanders, and then when debate questions were passed to the candidate who evidently saw no reason to report the violation to anyone.

I now wish to withdraw my view that Trump will edge it.

There are four possible scenarios – The Democratic candidate wins in a landslide, The Democratic victory is much narrower and possibly involves several recounts. The Republican edges it under similar conditions. The Republican wins by a very sizeable margin – landslide.

The trajectory of HRC’s support is constant and clear at RCP. A poll or two may show her ahead even by 3, 5, or even 12. But I get the sense that most Democrats are more or less utterly disgusted with their own candidate and party. I doubt very much that any American wants to read one more word about Anthony Weiner and certainly not in the context of discovering new State department documents on the same computer he uses for his personal interests. Even CBS and the Wapo are now reporting that there are serious investigations into the Clinton Foundation. Investigations into the foundation are expanding as new information is uncovered and these findings, not stories of Trump’s misdeeds are filling the nightly news. Democrats threw the sink at Trump and he’s now on the cusp of election victory.

So, given all this and barring some ‘extinction level event’ I’ll retract my earlier prediction that Trump will edge it and go right out on the limb and predict a Democratic wipe-out, even down ballot – followed by criminal investigations lead by outraged Democrats horrified at the level of corruption in their own party and the eventual welcome dismantling of Clinton Incorporated.

28

Ronan(rf) 11.04.16 at 8:54 am

Thanks wlgr, that looks like what I was lookin for

29

nastywoman 11.04.16 at 9:08 am

’40 million people are going to vote for Trump. Only a small, well, small-ish, proportion of those are like the nut jobs who appear at his rallies.’

That is true – on the other hand there was this theory by Bob Zannelli that Trump has ‘almost no support from those most hurt by globalization and neo liberal policies’.
40 Million people are going to vote for Trump – and to answer again the question of another threat ‘What should the left do about it?’
The first thing the left should have done about it – is becoming again the voice of all the workers who – in Ohio and Michigan and every other place in the US – most hurt by globalization – seemed to have gone over to a self-proclaimed ‘Racist Birther’.

30

kidneystones 11.04.16 at 9:27 am

Cenk Uygur: Attention elites: “Americans see a village of corruption in Washington and Hillary is the mayor of that village.”

Non-Trump supporting critique of the election:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/11/02/cenk_uygur_wikileaks_reveal_hillary_clinton_as_a_symbol_of_corruption.html

31

kidneystones 11.04.16 at 10:47 am

Slavoj Žižek would vote for Trump, too.

https://www.facebook.com/Channel4News/videos/10154211377601939/

I had to laugh at/with Žižek simply because of his excellent Marxist commentary on Robespierre and the Terror, practically none of which I agree with. He knows how to set out his stall and Žižek is absolutely fearless.

I think the Channel 4 interviewer had apoplexy when he selects Teh Donald over Let Them Eat Confetti.

And that really is it from me until post 8th or later.

Good times!

32

David 11.04.16 at 11:24 am

Surely, Trump is an opportunist, a businessman who has made a hostile takeover bid for the Republican Party and succeeded. But he’s no more a product of that party than Rupert Murdoch is a product of the newspapers he owns or the Emir of Qatar is a product of the football teams he controls. Indeed, it seems that his political advantage is precisely that he’s not historically identified with the Republican – or any other – party. He’s thus a member of an increasingly-large group of political actors from outside the system, and appeals to all of those who are disgusted with it or who have suffered from it. He has analogues elsewhere, some on the notional Left, others on the notional Right, depending on the country in question.
It’s probably clearer from across the Atlantic, because I have a feeling that the US media persists in presenting your elections as contests between different political parties with clear ideologies and major points of disagreement. But before Trump arrived, it was not like that: there was only The Party, which had its factional struggles over peripheral issues, but was united on questions of money and power. Trump, whatever you think of him, comes from outside The Party, and seems to derive much of his support from that fact.

33

nastywoman 11.04.16 at 12:32 pm

‘I now wish to withdraw my view that Trump will edge it.’

I read this too – and all the following remarks about ‘Democrats’ and as your comments were in response to a post with the headline: ‘Robin’s Reactionary Mind In The New Yorker – The Book That Didn’t Predict Not-Trump’ I’m just curious – did you predict the rise of an Insane Racist Fascistic Birther to become the election candidate of the Republicans?
And why do people who did predict it – or didn’t – always feel this need to write or talk about some ‘bad alternative’? As if some ‘badness’ of some Democrats in any way could justify a vote for a Insane Racist Fascistic Birther like F…face von Clownstick?

And as I reported – like some other here – how much much the World is worried that America will turn into the ‘United States of Trump’ -(or the United States of F…face von Clownstick) shouldn’t we try to concentrate and focus on saving the World from F…face von Clownstick.

Great American Philosophers do!
-(like Jon Stewart)

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

34

kidneystones 11.04.16 at 1:59 pm

@ 33 Thanks for this. I’m jumping back in only to clarify:

Trump wins big, the Democratic wipe-out is of Democrats. Hillary Clinton, the candidate preferred by the corrupt political leadership of both the Republican and Democratic parties, and of the neo-cons and of the neo-liberals, and of billionaires loses and is pilloried by the rightly out-raged rank and file Democratic voters for losing and for transforming the DNC into a purer instrument of the donor class at the expense of ordinary voters.

Žižek is right. It’s well past time to shake things up.

35

Jake Gibson 11.04.16 at 2:03 pm

Socially, There has been a lot of progress by GLBT in the last decade or so.
But, in other areas such as reproductive choice and economics, there
has been more anti-revanchist ground-holding.
Which supports my contention that the Democratic Party is now the conservative party,
with a slightly influentual progessive wing. The Republicans are a reactionary party with a dominate white nationalist wing.

36

Bob Zannelli 11.04.16 at 2:03 pm

Ablow: So who are Donald Trump’s voters?

Jones: In a nutshell, I think these voters are best understood not as values voters, not even as Tea Party voters, but as nostalgia voters, these voters that are looking back to — they’re culturally and economically disaffected voters that are anxious to hold on to a white conservative Christian culture that’s passing from the scene. I think that’s the core of who his supporters are. I think it’s highly doubtful that there are enough of those voters out there to get him across the finish line no matter who the Democratic nominee is in the general election. But there may be enough of them, and it looks like there are, to get him across the finish line to be the Republican nominee.

http://billmoyers.com/story/so-who-are-donald-trumps-voters/

37

Russell L. Carter 11.04.16 at 6:04 pm

In a related development, geriatric me has discovered this new fangled digital media called ‘Twitter’. For those needing a high quality procrastination device, in the past hours there has been a naval battle on Twitter between Chait (and his defenders) and Robin (and his mates), firing broadsides at each other from their respective ships of the line. Unfortunately for Chait, not only has Robin’s firing been uncannily accurate, but Henry and D^2 have been intermittently sailing fast sloops past Chait’s stern and firing a point blank cannonade through the captain’s quarters, devastating Chait’s gun decks. I can barely make out the name of Chait’s ship, it appears to be “L’Orient”. I’d definitely keep some distance from the action, I think.

Unfortunately, my Twitter skillz are pitiful and I don’t know how to link to a timeline. Possibly hit Robin’s Twitter and scroll down, and then, sorta click sideways?

I found it fun on a very not fun Friday in the larger world, YMMV. You will also get some more context on Holbo’s comments, above.

Even weirder! While circling the action, I ended up at which, as so often happens with Cosma, provides incisively written context on this sort of intellectual battle, from 2011.

38

Russell L. Carter 11.04.16 at 6:04 pm

Eek! I didn’t get the tag closed. Sorry!

39

burritoboy 11.04.16 at 6:07 pm

Corey has been even more spectacularly right than he wants to admit and more than even Holbo wants to admit, I think. If, as The Reactionary Mind indicates, Burke was much closer to de Maistre than anyone wanted or wants to realize, there are at least several stunning possible additional things we are now compelled to think about:

1. We’ve wanted to believe that, in general, liberalism (very broadly defined) is supportive only of a comparatively good, moderate and reasonable social contract state. But what The Reactionary Mind tells us is that liberalism (or perhaps even all modern thinking generally) comes inevitably bound with a de Maistre as its eternal Other, from nearly the very moment of liberalism’s earliest beginnings. Perhaps better put, a de Sade comes inherently bound with a de Maistre. De Maistre isn’t some weird offshoot or sideline of the Enlightenment as we’ve always preferred him to be, but an inescapable part of it.

2. Much of modern Anglosphere thought – philosophical, economic, political, moral, scientific, historic, etc. – is predicated as presenting itself as the greatest and best opponents of a de Maistre or a Nietzsche or a Heidegger or so on. But the fact that so much of Anglosphere “conservatism” is much closer to de Maistre than anyone wanted to believe – as Corey shows Burke’s and de Maistre’s close parallels – means that all of modern Anglosphere thought was always much more inherently susceptible to moving towards the far right than anyone was willing to admit. We had already seen, for example, that the classical / neoclassical economics of undoubted well-meaning liberals like Smith or Mills or Marshall, can be easily turned into a weapon for the worst forces. Indeed, we should have been forewarned by this as early as Burke’s misuse of Smith and other classical economists, but certainly also by Pareto’s eventual gravitation towards Mussolini’s fascism even within Marshall’s lifetime. And this process, again, isn’t some sort of weirdness or offshoot or random event. To again refer to a concrete example, Ryle – perhaps the leader of analytic philosophy, at least at certain times, went on a long speaking tour of Germany soon after WWII. Ryle was cocksure lecturing the Germans on what they had done wrong – and what they needed to do right was to establish analytic philosophy throughout Germany just as he himself had been an important leader in doing just that in the UK. Ryle very confidently believed that analytic philosophy (or its forebears) had kept the UK away from even considering fascism. But, fifty years later, is there enough of a difference between UKIP and Alternative for Germany to be important? UKIP’s won many more elections than AfD, anyway.

40

S Calhoun 11.04.16 at 7:26 pm

#26 I recall there is recent research that offered a counterintuitive result: that many Trump supporters live in homogenous white communities. This implies that they are fearful of a cosmopolitan hellscape that they have heard about, coming their way.

Trump makes sense like a precocious third grader makes sense. His views tend to be hydraulic or visceral: turn off the flow of illegals, unleash tough cops, torture the families of terrorists, tear up the trade agreements, rebuild the military, shut off Obamacare, bully manufacturers into building plants here, but, sustain the sweet succor of social security and medicare.

I have not encountered a single Trump supporter who can answer how their boy/man will actually, for example, reform healthcare so that Trumpcare is cheaper and better. How many Trump supporters with pre-existing conditions are insured through the ACA?

The physical picture of future nirvana is more than enough, apparently.

Heck, David Bossie is working for his campaign, and, Trump plans to “de-rig” the system by giving the monied elites the yoogest tax cuts of all time. Populist, you say?

Reducing fancy words really helps when the target is not very bright.

41

Chip Daniels 11.04.16 at 7:58 pm

@27:
“hen debate questions were passed to the candidate”

Please.
Wasn’t the question something like “Should we abolish the death penalty”?

So the teacher gave Hillary the secret answer- “Psst- the answer is- ‘Yes, we should’. But don’t tell Bernie!”

This is why we call it the Clinton Rules. The lamest, most mild form of backscratching that every party engages in is trumped up and inflated out of all proportion to become the crime of the century.

42

Placeholder 11.04.16 at 8:36 pm

WLGR@ 21: And some know it by interpreting evil and others by trying to change it:

There is always a certain glamour about the idea of a nation rising up to crush an evil simply because it is wrong. Unfortunately, this can seldom be realized in real life; for the very existence of the evil usually argues a moral weakness in the very place where extraordinary moral strength is called for.

– W. E. Du Bois

43

Cranky Observer 11.04.16 at 11:29 pm

= = = kidneystones@8:50 am
I now wish to withdraw my view that Trump will edge it.

There are four possible scenarios – The Democratic candidate wins in a landslide, The Democratic victory is much narrower and possibly involves several recounts. The Republican edges it under similar conditions. The Republican wins by a very sizeable margin – landslide. = = =

Your taxonomy is doing quite a bit of (hidden) work there. Logically, arithmetically, and practically there are five possible scenarios:
1 Democratic candidate landslide
2 Democratic candidate narrow but clearly countable victory
3 Democratic and Republican candidate essentially tied
4 Republican candidate narrow but clearly countable victory
5 Republican candidate landslide

1, 2, and 4 are far more probable outcomes than 3 in the 2016 election, given the polling since the conventions. 5 is extremely unlikely. 3 is possible, as Baker, Cheney, and Bush demonstrated in 2000, but it won’t be as easy this time: Democrats are not going to allow another Gucci riot and the Supreme Court is split 4-4 with no SDO’C to exclaim “this can’t be allowed to happen” on election night.

44

Bob Zannelli 11.05.16 at 1:31 am

The biggest thing to come out of this election for me is that SOME on the left are reality challenged . I am somewhat of an expert on right wing crazy but SOME on the left also lives in their own reality bubble, unpenetrated by information they don’t want to accept. In this election season, for these people the real enemy is Clinton, Trump is seen as their vindication for the idea that the oppressed masses are finally rising up against the corporate state.

For these leftists everything must be filtered through Marxist class struggle, the masses are always noble, if sometimes confused by the powerful corporate media. They are exact opposite of the nonredeemable evil oppressor class rulers. All that is right and good rest with the working class, all that is evil rest with the oppressor class.

This is why some leftists , like the deluded Ralph Nader , see a Clinton victory as defeat , and a Trump victory as the rising of the noble and beleaguered working class. They must see the Trump phenomena as the cry of oppression of the long suffering masses.

For some leftists the working class must always be noble and the oppressor class must always be evil, anything that challenges this narrative challenges their world view. So Hilary Clinton becomes the real villain while the Racist Fascist becomes the symbol of the working class rising.

The facts are somewhat different. First many if not most of the working class , don’t want there to be a progressive society based on enlightened ideals. Rather they want to be Donald Trump, they want be able to freely grab women’s genitals, just like the Donald can. They hate people not like them, they are ever ready to blame not class oppression, but those Mexicans or blacks or uppity women for all their troubles. If they read at all, and most don’t, they will read “The Art of Deal” not Marx’s “das kapital”. They could care less about the slave labor system in the third world that gives them cheap goods.

They are angry, not because in solidarity with their fellow working class comrades they oppose class oppression, but because due to an unfair system run by elitist liberals they can’t be like Donald Trump. All their hard earned money and their jobs are being stolen and given to blacks, Mexicans, or any other group presented to them.

The reality of human nature , the political human, is not captured in left wing or right wing ideology. A real politic must be based on who we really are, not who we would like us to be. It is possible to create a more just society, but it will never be possible to create a Utopia, whether that Utopia is the libertarian ideal of no government or the Marxist ideal of government withering away because class oppression can’t exist once capitalism is destroyed. These are both delusions, based on ignoring the harsh reality of human nature.

45

Teachable Mo' 11.05.16 at 2:37 am

Trump isn’t a Whig moment. Trump is the apotheosis of Murdoch’s industrialized disinformation machine.

Murdoch’s disinformation machine has been a hot house for grievances real and imagined and has grown the base from a George Wallace knot of around 14% of the population to around 46% this year. As long as Republicans can stifle government, the number of perpetually dissatisfied will grow. The Murdoch machine will then blame the opposition.

The only hope to break the stalemate is what it has always been: demographics. Eventually the blamed will significantly outnumber the blamers. Personally, I was surprised that Trump didn’t try to make peace with Hispanics and go all in on blaming Muslims. Maybe in 2020.

Meanwhile, a number of New Trumps are already auditioning.

46

Raven Onthill 11.05.16 at 2:55 am

“Robin’s model has the distinction of not having conspicuously fallen to pieces, due to this potential gap. That’s a fairly rare distinction, I should think.”

You’re saying that Robin’s model hasn’t been falsified by new data. Sounds like science or something.

As to the on-going electoral discussion…

The statistically literate poll aggregators (Sam Wang, Darryl Holman, Nate Silver) are all saying that Clinton’s chances are enormously good. Meantime, the FBI is having an internal fight over how best to smear Clinton, Russia is connected with Trump somehow — no-one is quite sure how, but the evidence is strong, though as yet there have been no referrals to prosecution, and Macedonian internet firms are making a killing on click-farms sporting Trump propaganda — they don’t care about the content, just the clicks. Wang reminds us that the big fight now is over the Senate. Anyone who wants to spend money or effort on Democratic candidates might reasonably focus on the campaigns of Margaret Hassan in New Hampshire, Catherine Marie Cortez Masto in Nevada, Kathleen McGinty in Pennsylvania, Deborah Ross in North Carolina, Jason Kander in Missouri, and Evan Bayh in Indiana. I remind everyone who actually cares about the USA that the Republicans will probably not approve a ninth Supreme Court Justice, and unless Obama makes a recess appointment of a Justice, this will fracture US law on US District Court lines.

47

ZM 11.05.16 at 5:35 am

Teachable Mo’

“Trump isn’t a Whig moment. Trump is the apotheosis of Murdoch’s industrialized disinformation machine.”

I disagree with various editorial stances of the Murdoch press in Australia, particularly the lack of support for climate change mitigation, and support for harsh refugee policy, but I think this isn’t a fair description.

In Australia there are two main Murdoch papers, nationally The Australian and then State papers which in my State is The Herald Sun.

The Murdoch State based newspapers are the only newspapers in Australia that cater to people that want a newspaper that is pretty easy reading, apart from some regional city newspapers owned by Fairfax. This is not the fault of Murdoch, its the fault of other publishers who don’t cater to this market. They also have more affordable stuff in the lifestyle sections and things like that.

The Australian is Murdoch’s more high end newspaper, with a lot of business and finance news that I am not overly interested in TBH, but from 1996 to 2001 then 2006 to 2011 it had a very good arts and literature monthly lift out http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-11/craven-the-death-of-the-alr/3497044

Fox News is a particularly American phenomena, and I think part of what has made it how it is is that there seems to be a lot of people in America who feel disenfranchised and not listened to, more than in Australia I would guess from the media although I’ve never been to America.

In Australia the Murdoch Press leans to the right, but at various elections the editorial supports the Labour Party winning the election.

48

nastywoman 11.05.16 at 9:37 am

44 – ‘In this election season, for these people the real enemy is Clinton, Trump is seen as their vindication for the idea that the oppressed masses are finally rising up against the corporate state.’

You can’t blame ‘the left’ for such confusion – as there are for sure some on the so called left – who might think: ‘I’m against the establishment and Trump is against the establishment and so I must be for Trump.’

But that’s just proof – that everybody who thinks like that can’t be a part of ‘the left’.

and about 34
‘It’s well past time to shake things up.’

I agree!
That’s why we have elections and comedians like Jon Stewart and ‘the first African American President like Barack Obama or musicians like Queen B and Taylor Swift who like to sing ‘Shake it Off’ –
BUT to vote for a Insane Racist Fascist Birther in order to ‘shake things up’ – is a bit like telling the world: We need to vote for F…face von Clownstick – or ignoring Godwins law for a moment – redefining Hitler as somebody who just ‘shook things up’!

49

stevenjohnson 11.05.16 at 10:22 am

If you want to invoke “science,” Jonathan Haidt trumps Corey Robin.

As an interloper who obviously doesn’t really get CT, I can only say it’s not clear to me how either is engaged in political analysis.

50

Layman 11.05.16 at 5:38 pm

Cranky Observer: ‘3 is possible, as Baker, Cheney, and Bush demonstrated in 2000, but it won’t be as easy this time: Democrats are not going to allow another Gucci riot and the Supreme Court is split 4-4 with no SDO’C to exclaim “this can’t be allowed to happen” on election night.’

Would that this were so, except a) Democrats would of course allow another Gucci riot, falling for the banana in the tailpipe over and over again is what Democrats do, and b) an EC tie is more likely than a popular vote tie (at least according to Nate Silver) in which case it’s the House of Representatives that decides, and we get Trump.

51

Anarcissie 11.05.16 at 9:57 pm

nastywoman 11.05.16 at 9:37 am @ 48 —
Trump is the predictable outcome of Clinton-style politics. Choose one and you get the other. I suppose some lefties have become pretty nihilistic.

52

nastywoman 11.06.16 at 12:41 am

‘Choose one and you get the other.’

Very rarely – as a ‘Insane Racist Fascist Birther’ truly is one of a kind – and it shows a very unfortunate amount of confusion if one can’t differentiate anymore between somebody like F…face von Clownstick and Clinton-style politics.
And that’s no defense of Clinton-style politics – just a reminder – that equations like: ‘Trump is Anti-Establishment and Bernie is Anti-Establishment and thus there must be some kind of comparison between Trump und Bernie are NOT acceptable’ – or only in America.

53

J-D 11.06.16 at 1:22 am

Teachable Mo’ refers to ‘Murdoch’s industrialized disindormation machine’.

ZM thinks this description isn’t fair because in Australia

(a) Murdoch’s State-based papers ‘cater to people that want a newspaper that is pretty easy reading’ and ‘have more affordable stuff in the lifestyle sections and things like that’

(b) The Australian has ‘a lot of business and finance news’ and ‘from 1996 to 2001 then 2006 to 2011 it had a very good arts and literature monthly lift out’

ZM’s observations about Murdoch’s Australian papers are correct, but she is mistaken if she thinks they tend to show that the description offered by Teachable Mo’ is at all unfair. It is true that Murdoch’s State-based papers ‘cater to people that want a newspaper that is pretty easy reading’ and ‘have more affordable stuff in the lifestyle sections and things like that’ and it is true that they are part of his industrialised disinformation machine. It is true that The Australian has ‘a lot of business and finance news’ and ‘from 1996 to 2001 then 2006 to 2011 it had a very good arts and literature monthly lift out’ and it is true that it is part of his industrialised disinformation machine.

Possibly what ZM means is that people have other reasons to buy Murdoch’s papers. But of course they do! What good would an industrialised disinformation machine be otherwise? That’s how you make disinformation work; you give people another reason to buy it. The people who tune into FOX News aren’t thinking ‘Oh, I want to be disinformed’; but that’s what happens to them just the same. There’s no fundamental difference with Murdoch’s Australian papers; nobody buys them with the intent of being disinformed, but that’s the effect.

54

Raven Onthill 11.06.16 at 1:53 am

@51: “Trump is the predictable outcome of Clinton-style politics.”

No, Trump is something else, something that is part of the same movement that includes the UKIP, the Golden Dawn in Greece, Le Pen in France, and so on. We don’t even have a name for it, or understand why it has risen at this time. In the USA, at least, it doesn’t seem to be a working class revolt. Affronted white supremacism is part of it, but apparently only part. Myself, I think it’s panic over an increasingly unified world, but that’s only a hypothesis; I am not even sure how it could be validated.

55

burritoboy 11.06.16 at 2:33 am

“We don’t even have a name for it, or understand why it has risen at this time.”

Hint: the name for it starts with the letter f.

56

ZM 11.06.16 at 2:47 am

J-D,

But do you think the Murdoch newspapers are significantly more full of untrue things than the Fairfax newspapers or The Guardian?

I just don’t think the Fairfax papers are significantly more full of true things than the Murdoch papers.

I worked in hospitality for quite a while, so a lot of days I would read at least 2 papers, sometimes 3. I don’t think the Murdoch papers are more full of untrue things that the others, based on my reading and comparisons.

In terms of opinions, the Murdoch papers are more right wing than Fairfax or The Guardian or The Saturday Paper. I noted that I disagreed with common editorial stances on treatment of refugees, and mitigation of climate change, I should have included Indigenous issues as well. But The Age is very middle class compared to The Herald Sun, I can never afford anything in the lifestyle sections unless its like a juice squeezer and not an expensive one or something. And they do a bunch of news and opinion criticising people or aesthetics in the outer suburbs, which isn’t really left wing either.

But anyway opinions are not information, and I don’t think the Murdoch papers print more untrue information than Fairfax or The Guardian.

57

Raven Onthill 11.06.16 at 7:17 am

burritoboy@55: “Hint: the name for it starts with the letter f.”

I doubt it is the same thing. It looks similar, but the more I look, the more I doubt. And even if it is the same thing, it just puts the problem at one remove. Why did the f-thing rise?

ZM@56: hmmm, interesting. In the USA it is the case that Fox News watchers are more poorly informed than people who get their information from other sources–it’s even been measured.

58

J-D 11.06.16 at 10:06 am

‘But do you think the Murdoch newspapers are significantly more full of untrue things than the Fairfax newspapers or The Guardian?’

Yes.

59

ZM 11.06.16 at 1:03 pm

Raven Onthill,

“ZM@56: hmmm, interesting. In the USA it is the case that Fox News watchers are more poorly informed than people who get their information from other sources–it’s even been measured.”

I am not a great fan of television news TBH, I think newspapers have a lot more information.

Did the study just look at people who only get their news from television — or was it comparing people who got news from TV and news from newspapers?

Television news is better for human interest coverage or interviews and debates when you want to watch the actual people.

J-D,

I think the crime news is about as accurate, pop science news is about as accurate, the State and Federal politics is about as accurate but leans to support the right side of politics, business news is pro-business but not particularly inaccurate, climate change is not covered well apart from every now and again and is a source of inaccuracy, refugees news is reasonably accurate but unfair, human rights news leans to the right wing issues, international coverage is pretty accurate but I can’t remember about the coverage in the lead up to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that might have followed the governments’ inaccuracies, indigenous news should be more compassionate but isn’t particularly inaccurate on facts and it does cover some issues Indigenous women raise, the environment could be better covered, gossip is better, I don’t read sports news.

I have an issue with some people in the entertainment industry that I am trying to get the police to investigate, and people in The Guardian and The Age culture sections have alluded to this issue in articles, but have not published anything directly, and I have written to them for months and months and they refuse to publish anything and instead publish puff pieces about the people which I know are inaccurate and the journalists are not reporting things properly.

One of the musicians involved is called David Pajo and is from the USA, and Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins was in a band called ZWAN with him in the early 2000s and he talked to The Chicago Tribune and Entertainment Weekly about David Pajo and other members in the band who have also stalked and harassed me doing drug running across borders and having sex in public and doing all this other horrible interpersonal stuff too. The media didn’t run with the story at all. Now I am writing to the media about what these people have done to me and the media still won’t publish anything.

So due to this I am feeling quite jaundiced about whether The Guardian and The Age are particularly accurate.

60

J-D 11.06.16 at 8:35 pm

ZM, it’s already established that we disagree about the reliablity of the Murdoch press, there’s nothing to be gained from repetition.

61

Richard 11.07.16 at 3:48 am

I am loyal to my country first and party second.

Even if you think that Clinton-style Democrats are some sort of horrible evil and electing Trump would drive them out of the Democratic party, considering the irreparable damage that a Trump Presidency will do to the US, why the heck would you want that to happen? Was electing Orban a good thing for leftists in Hungary?

And read this:
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/10/the-gops-age-of-authoritarianism-has-only-just-begun.html

If elected, Trump will pass tax cuts for the rich, sign GOP union/labor-weakening bills, and in general be horrible for working people (not to mention minorities, Jews, and Muslims). If you care about the working class, how exactly does that advance your cause?

And do any of you purported champions of the working class read American history? When there is a lot of discontent, historically, in the US, racial strife has resulted (lynchings and race riots spike). The elites are not overthrown. Why would it be different this time?
Why exactly do you think that the African-American working class (as well as the Hispanic working class) back Clinton by overwhelming margins?
Answer that.
I’ll give you a hint: It’s because Blacks in the US know the history and societal dynamics in the US because it is germane to their survival. White leftists can get away with fantastical thinking that is unconnected with reality because if a vindictive authoritarian narcissist who enflames racial tensions assumes the awesome power of the executive branch, they won’t be the ones getting lynched.

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