2 cents

by John Holbo on November 12, 2016

Here’s something I wrote on Facebook. It got a few likes.

It’s like I found out that, retroactively, there had been a lot fewer jokes in the world in 2016. They turned out not just to not be funny, but not to be jokes. When the history of Trump is written, there is going to be a generous chapter on all the jokes written about Trump before he became President, premised on the impossibility of him winning. It’s not that irony died. It’s that irony died a year ago, and no one sent flowers and now it seems too late.

So I must be one of the many in the Capital who was stuck in my bubble of epistemic closure, unaware of rumblings in the Districts? Well, yes and no. I totally believed Nate Silver when he said Trump had a 1/3 shot. I read Sean Trende, who I thought made sense; and reviews in praise of J.D. Vance’s book. But I was still making Trump jokes, laughing at Trump jokes, premised on the impossibility of him being President, right up to the day before. Then I slept very fitfully the night before. Irrational? I dunno. Cognitive dissonance. No point in denying it. I’ve never played Russian roulette – don’t intend to – but I think I know enough of tabletop games to know that sometimes a six-sided die comes up 6. Is it epistemic closure if you can’t wrap your head around exactly 1/6th of ‘you’re dead’? (If I ever play Russian roulette there’s a good chance I’ll crack a nervous joke before I pull the trigger, and then my last words will look dumb on my headstone. Failure of imagination. But it won’t be because I don’t know what 1/6th means, per se, or disbelieve in bullets.)

Here’s my two cents. Tale of two possible worlds. One of them ours. In the other, Hillary squeaks through in the EC, glides in comfortably in the popular vote (just like in our world). Now she is the lone bulwark against a Republican congress and we are looking at an indefinitely short-handed Supreme Court. Maybe the one difference between these twin earths, in the run-up, is that in one James Comey is less of a cheeky monkey in the letter-writing department. Who knows? Whatever thing made the difference, anything you presume to write about what the election taught us about our fellow Americans – divisions, red and blue, angry white voters, establishment and outside – needs to make sense in both possible worlds. Because they aren’t different. So whatever you say about the underlying sociology and culture and politics and institutions, make sure it would read non-absurdly in both possible worlds. That’s one pennyworth.

Of course now these formerly-identical worlds are going to diverge in radically different ways. Republicans won all the marbles in ours. (I’m not going to charge you a penny for that insight.)

There’s a lot of talk about what the left needs to do now. It seems to me that it depends on what Trump does. If he’s Mussolini, it means one thing. If he’s Berlusconi, quite another. (My penny’s on Berlusconi, if I were a betting man.) There’s always a chance Paul Ryan pissed him off so much that he’ll want to keep Obamacare, so long as he’s allowed to rebrand it as Trumpcare. Or Care-a-Lago. Or something.

Some on the right are already complaining about Trump Derangement Syndrome, what with the protests. Idiots. It’s not unreasonable to be very deeply worried that the man really meant some of those things he said, even if it’s not obvious he did. Why not go from taking him literally but not seriously to taking him literally and seriously? That seems like a rational progression. Republicans went nuts and freaked out when Obama was elected. That was nuts of them, because – just look at him – he’s Obama. And, lo and behold, he turned out to be a moderate progressive, as promised. By contrast, it’s not nuts to think Trump is some crazy outsider who might smash the place up in at least some of the ways he’s promised. He’s Trump. He’s not normal. (As I think Trump himself has promised not to be.) Different cases should be responded to differently, based on facts. That’s not deranged.

It would be easy for Trump for disavow the ugly alt-right elements among his supporters. It would be an easy win for him with the media …?

Or it might turn out he governs like a New York social liberal. He might turn out to get along better with Chuck Schumer than Mitch McConnell. He might be the second coming of Teddy Roosevelt. But with anti-environmentalism in place of environmentalism.

Rebuilding strategies for the left look reactively different against different possible Trumps.

I’m not saying those on the left can do and know nothing, without waiting for Trump to jump. The Clintons are cooked. (Although still a going concern in world-2. Isn’t life strange?) The Democrats need to rebuild their eroded base. But big picture strategy is inevitably anti-. And who the hell knows what we are up against? The Democratic Party is now the anti-Trumpism Party, functionally. What the f**k is that? That’s my other penny thought. All I’ve got.

I’m not saying pass the popcorn, while Trump prepares for his first 100 days. Not a bit of it. I’ve lost my appetite for politics as fun for a while. I’m a whimsical guy, by nature, and my whimsy well ran dry on Nov 8. The world is a very dangerous place and it got more so. Oh, and global warming. Too bad about that one, future of mankind. Probably we won’t go extinct.

{ 151 comments }

1

nastywoman 11.12.16 at 11:04 am

– our most admired and effective comedian Jon Stewart gave Trump his real name ‘F…face von Clownstick’ – and there is absolutely no reason to give up on this name because the F..face is now THE President – especially since ‘the United States of America’ now often in Europe get called ‘the United States of Trump’ -(or Trumps) – so ultimately comedy will win in our homeland -(it always does) – it just might take a few years longer than we thought…

2

John Quiggin 11.12.16 at 11:19 am

I had the same experience in terms of understanding that Trump could win, but not really being able to think about it. The election was what LA Paul calls a transformative experience.

3

Manta 11.12.16 at 11:25 am

It seems to me this the wrong approach.
The situation was not as much
“we will rolled the dice, any of the 6 different sides gives rise to a possible world”
but more
“the outcome of the election was pretty much determined, but we didn’t know the results. We tried to guess it, but got it wrong” (for instance, on the election day itself polls were still giving Hillary winning).

More importantly, our explanations for what happened should NOT work in the world where Hillary wins (otherwise, they explain nothing).
It’s like saying that an explanation on why the sky is blue should also work in an imaginary universe where the sky is red.

4

Lee A. Arnold 11.12.16 at 11:27 am

All year long I felt the misgivings that I remembered that I had about the very same Democratic assurances in the 1980 election — indeed many of the things said about Trump’s unlikeliness were said about Reagan, word for word. I remembered that clearly. But I believed the polls.

It will be interesting to learn why the scientific polls of major organizations, which had been fairly accurate in previous elections, only showed the truth at the very last moment. Through the statistical noise, Clinton had enjoyed a 4-5 point mean-spread which persisted for most of the last year. I certainly believed it: I am always in favor of science.

It could be multiple & geographic factors which are not analyzed for another month. We know that Latino voters are under-sampled, and maybe of 1/3 of them are angry enough at the ruling class to identify Hillary’s membership in that class to be more important than her intellectual command of policy. It also appears that the late dirty-leaks trick from a partisan coterie inside the FBI may have helped more than a bit to dispirit her turnout.

As for fundamentals? Nothing new. This is still the faulty status quo, still perpetuating itself. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and she also might have won the election: Bush v. Gore, repeated with a few new particulars.

We are now back in the other half of that status quo, wherein the GOP is ascendant instead of the Dems. This is not a realignment of the US political scene nor a realignment inside the parties. It means the Democrats might break up before the Republicans, but the old splits still exist within both.

The “stunning upset” instead is of predictions by the opinion polls and of resulting media expectations, even at Fox News (and indeed some Fox-fed Trump supporters in my neighborhood were looking sad and nervous, near the end). Not a basic realignment. Nothing real has changed — at least not yet.

That brings us to the current question, can President Trump govern? He will either be a Reagan-style figurehead over an Administration of Republican regulars, and his supporters stay happy just because they beat the Democrats. Business as usual.

Or else, Trump can try to change the status quo, as he has promised. To do that, he needs to get things through a Republican Congress which is up to its ears in lobbyists (and on the minority side of the aisle too). And he needs to find policy experts to navigate a vast, complex government full of appointed officials and bureaucrats who are up to their ears in lobbyists and may themselves be ex-lobbyists.

It would take an eternity, and the officials are loathe to change the status quo, and even Ronald Reagan didn’t get very far. In short, President Trump is facing Ronald Reagan’s comeuppance.

Indeed the Reaganites quickly discarded their morals for a practice which is now part of the status quo: the widespread adoption of a lot of goofball white-papers written by lobbyists and thinktankers to formulate gov’t policy on everything from economics to the environment. While Congress began its nightly gladhanding of the same crooks at lobbyist soirées, just to get enough funds for the next election. Since the money compels them to do it every night, they read the same white papers, and nothing else.

The Reagan Administration managed all of that faux “great change” with a public relations campaign of lies and nonsense, (wherein Roger Ailes made his bones,) and which most Republicans still believe to this day, (not least via Ailes’ Fox News). Trouble now is, President Trump has to deal with a very different media environment with millions of other active voices, far less forgiving, particularly of someone who has himself so spoiled the political conversation with lies, hatred and stupid impoliteness.

Trump’s win is having a remarkable effect on some his own voters. I am hearing some remarkable conversations. They are almost sorry for it. His statements and behavior are now validated as contributions from their own side, to the diminution of the public’s and children’s morals. Conservative Republicans just lost any claim to being moral, and this reveals them to be the cheap moral relativists they always accuse the liberals of being. This is going to play out for months and years. They all need a therapist, and Trump is hardly qualified.

So, how can President Trump deliver satisfaction to cure the voters’ discontents?
Well curiously that leads us to back to the question of a true realignment. Because if President Trump is cagey enough, he might bypass the recalcitrant Congressional members of his own party with enough liberal and progressive concessions to Congressional Democrats to get the votes to pass certain pieces of legislation.

Thus it is, that Trump might attempt to initiate a populist coalition with elements of the Democratic Party — which would then break-up before the Republican Party, instead of after. But this is not likely: the Democrats aren’t taking this lying down; they’ve got the majority of voters still; they’ve got their knives out after this one; they need only sit back and turn the tables on the Republicans, and it would require so much time and effort from Trump himself that Trump is more likely to become frustrated and impolite again. And soon enough, we will be into the midterms, when the thoughts of his Republican Congress will turn to lobbyists’ largesse.

This could be the final high tide of Republicanism. So cheer up, this is going to be a real hoot!

5

John Holbo 11.12.16 at 11:52 am

“the outcome of the election was pretty much determined, but we didn’t know the results. We tried to guess it, but got it wrong” (for instance, on the election day itself polls were still giving Hillary winning).”

I don’t think this is how the world works, Manta. (I mean: yes, I’m assuming the falsehood of metaphysical fatalism. Point taken.) The polls were off by about 2 percent, which turned out to be pretty important, but isn’t in itself remarkable. Margins were razor thin in key states. Razor thin margins can cut either way. There’s absolutely no reason to doubt that if the election had been held a week earlier, or a week later, it could have broken Hillary’s way. It was close.

6

Tim Reynolds 11.12.16 at 12:12 pm

The TPP is dead. At this point, Trump has done more to positively fulfill my expectations of him than Obama did over the course of two full terms.

Had Obama and the Democrats passed the EFCA instead of just campaigning on it and then going, ‘HA HA HA, You believed us!’ after winning, then the rust belt would still be solid blue. Clinton wouldn’t be President right now, and people like me wouldn’t have much of a problem with it at all.

7

Thomas Beale 11.12.16 at 12:14 pm

Lee A Arnold @ 4
“Conservative Republicans just lost any claim to being moral, and this reveals them to be the cheap moral relativists they always accuse the liberals of being.”

I’m having trouble understanding the logic here. It’s easy enough to identify some varieties of conservative Republicans (e.g. of the Rush Limbaugh or Dick Cheney mentality) as not being ‘moral’ – but they are not moral relativists – they believe their values are as normative as those held by their detractors. They still hate the post-modernist politically correct mindset as much as they ever did. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever met a conservative Republican who had any time for any form of cultural relativism…

8

Tim Reynolds 11.12.16 at 12:19 pm

But no, keep telling yourselves that neoliberalism is awesome and that you’ve got nothing to lose. Then lose even bigger in 2020 as you go up against an incumbent President.

You can point to the popular vote all you want, but that doesn’t decide who gets to be President and never will for precisely this reason–you want to abolish the electoral college so that you can safely ignore the interests of working-class whites and rural voters. That’s all there is to it. You don’t want to have to care about their well-being. You don’t want to have to care if they live or die, because you hate them. You have invented all of these narratives, which say it’s okay to treat rural people like shit because they’re racist (even though they’re no more racist than urban types), that it’s okay if their lives get worse because it makes the lives of people in third world countries better (funny how that improvement never comes out of your hide), that they’re all subhuman filth unworthy of a future because…well, mostly because they don’t vote for you, but you’ll never admit that.

And then you call those people, who you shit upon and spit upon, ‘privileged’.

Tell me this, if we have to account for what you say we have to account for, why do people like you get to blithely dismiss the fact that the same ‘racist’ country that just voted against you, twice voted in a black man named Barack Obama?

You can’t dismiss that. You want to, because it makes it clear that this was more about economic resentment than racial resentment. But you can’t. We won’t let you. We’ll keep throwing it in your face, because it proves to other white people that nothing we say or do will be good enough to make you care about us and our children, too.

You just want to let half the country rot. Think about what kind of people that makes you.

9

Manta 11.12.16 at 12:21 pm

John,
my remark was not about metaphysical fatalism, but more concrete: on the election day people have already decided who to vote: the dice was already cast.
A failure to predict the result is not a failure to predict the future, but a failure to observe the present.

10

James Wimberley 11.12.16 at 12:23 pm

The odds at Russian roulette with a six-shot revolver are not 1 in 6. The cartridge is heavy, and when you spin the magazine, the chamber with the bullet will tend to settle at the bottom. So, less that 1 in 6. That is, assuming you hold the gun the right way up. Turn it upside-down, and the reverse holds. Comey turned the gun.

I do not advise testing this hypothesis at home.

11

John Holbo 11.12.16 at 12:35 pm

“on the election day people have already decided who to vote: the dice was already cast.”

Sorry, I thought I made this clear in the post. (But I think a small injection of common sense would get us over the hump even if not.) I’m not trying to say there was some magic millisecond after the polls opened when it changed. I mean – yeah I guess there could have been, but I’m not assuming that. I’m merely pointing out that a world in which James Comey didn’t write his letter a week earlier – just to pick a butterfly wing example, for vividness, not because I want to blame Comey – might have tipped the other way. If the only thing separating us from that world is James Comey, or some other small tip, then we shouldn’t think of the two worlds as being very different.

Just imagine two evenly-matched sports teams. One team is up a few points going into the last 5 minutes. And the other team comes from behind and wins. These things happen. But if then you asked them to play for 5 minutes again, again, again, you wouldn’t necessarily get the same results each time. The team that came from behind won’t always come from behind and win. At the end of a game like that it would be irrational to say: oh that team was definitely going to win from the start. Because they won. (Unless fatalism is true. In which case they were fated to win.)

Team Trump was a stronger team than the polls showed and much stronger than conventional wisdom could wrap it’s tiny mind around. But that doesn’t mean Team Trump necessarily was going to win. Hillary could have won.

12

Lee A. Arnold 11.12.16 at 12:44 pm

Thomas Beale #6: “I’m having trouble understanding the logic here.”

Perhaps I should have been clearer: I was not talking about your understanding. These events (the new rise in racist incidents; boys grabbing girls’ vaginas and saying, “The President can do it, so why can’t I?”) are pushing on them, to reveal it to themselves. I am surrounded by Trump voters and this is obvious. And they don’t want to feel it, they are totally in denial: They volunteer, “Why can’t we all get along?”, and they self-justify, “Well, Hillary said worse things” (but she didn’t). It has obviously gotten deeply under their skins that the public morals and the morals of their own children have been further poisoned, perhaps for generations to come. And they are avoiding their own next logical step: that voting for Trump, not repudiating him, is what did it. That they are the ones to blame for this. Which is why they need a therapist.

13

Manta 11.12.16 at 12:48 pm

“If the only thing separating us from that world is James Comey, or some other small tip, then we shouldn’t think of the two worlds as being very different.”

I don’t share your assumption, but I think we can agree on the following: about half the people voted Hillary and about half Trump. This is the central fact that needs to be explained (and would still true in your possible words scenario).

By the way, a good effect of this election is that some charlatans like Sam Wang have been discredited, and hopefully will have to change job (heh, who I am kidding: the next election him and his successor will be back in business).

14

BenK 11.12.16 at 1:02 pm

The upset in Boston, DC, NY, parts of California, Chicago… is not of Berlusconi being elected PM in Italy; its of Berlusconi being elected Pope. They view the POTUS as the heir to Lincoln, Wilson, FDR – the Pope of Progressivism.

Trump demonstrated that a large number of people are fed up with the policies and products of progressivism and are willing to flout its standards and ideals along the way. The fact that Trump also doesn’t toe the line for Evangelicals, social conservatives, the alt-right, white power, black power, 1st International, or whomever else – it doesn’t make any of those supporters somehow hypocritical for electing him. It means that every alternative group in the USA saw the election of a committed member of the Progressive orthodoxy and standard bearer for further Progressivism, in the most blatant possible way, was not acceptable at all to them and yet would otherwise happen by default.

Further, that this person was absolutely, undeniably, corrupt – in large part through obvious attempts to avoid scrutiny, but not to the extent of declining any forms of income from all comers – helped the case and peeled off progressives who also happen to believe that good government must be ‘good.’ Comey’s little letter might have helped just a little, but the results were largely already obvious. There were too many sources pointing to the corruption, and the output of that corruption (wealth) was already evident.

Anyway, the Progressives are continuing their efforts to destabilize the nation; astroturf, false accusations, and highlighting the everyday activities of various knuckleheads; amplified by the true believers. They will try also to advance their causes and policies and punish any deviation. The 97% vote in DC and the various Republican denunciations of Trump demonstrate that the whole of the Progressive political machinery, which includes most Republican politicians and bureaucrats, will resist meaningful change towards any alternative to Progressivism fiercely.

15

nastywoman 11.12.16 at 1:23 pm

‘You just want to let half the country rot. Think about what kind of people that makes you.’

Not me – and I think I proved without any doubt – that I am -(like Michael Moore) – being a proud voice for the so called ‘working class’ – but just like Michael Moore – I’m at the same time a proud voice against F…face von Clownstick – and nothing – not even the fact that Trump pretends to be an advocate of the working class too – excuses this Fascistic Racist Birther.

16

Omega Centauri 11.12.16 at 1:23 pm

Like John, I thought Nates high uncertainty was justified, and was nervous. But I tend to average probabilities when I see multiple diverging opinions. I thought it was the proverbial 1 out of six. So Nov 8th was like the first time I could relax, by tomorrow in all probability the threat will be gone (for now at least). So it was just as much of a shock as for the true poll believers.

In any case, its not just the unwelcome political solutions that will be imposed on us. There really has been a surge of what we would call hate crimes. The social climate has severely deteriorated. I work in what might be called the brain-trust part of the economy, and yellow and brown people outnumber whites, and the plurality of the whites are in fact foreigners mostly European as well. So we are all going to feel this hostility towards our minority co-workers (and this in deep blue California). Of course the local news is filled with protests, and stories of hispanic kids scared their parents will be deported. This is so far from a normal “your side lost the election, buckup kind of thing”. People are consoling themselves with calexit dreams.

17

John Holbo 11.12.16 at 1:31 pm

I think your use of ‘Progressive’ is a bit unsteady, BenK. You might want to think about that piece of the puzzle a bit harder.

18

Michael Sullivan 11.12.16 at 1:33 pm

“It’s like saying that an explanation on why the sky is blue should also work in an imaginary universe where the sky is red.”

No, it isn’t. While your basic points stands that the uncertainty here was about what we knew about our existing world, rather than what world we were living in, JHs point still stands.

The difference between a country that elects Clinton by a hair’s breadth, and one that did exactly what happened on Tuesday is very small, and barely noticeable. It’s like the difference between two very slightly different blues that are so close only those with the sharpest eyes can see it easily.

There were 4 states worth in total 75 EV that went for Trump by what looks like right around 1% of the vote. A total vote deficit for Clinton in those 4 states of 227k votes out of over 22 million. A swing of less than 1% of voters toward Clinton in those 4 states could have resulted in Clinton winning all 75 of their EV, which would like have been described in the press as delivering roughly the PEC expected result. not just the Silver expected result. The only state level miss would have been North Carolina which both described as basically a tossup.

And yet, John’s point is that the difference in the countries and voting habits which produce those two *very* different looking results in the electoral college is quite small.

The exact state boundaries and rule for determine electoral votes are like a computer that can look at those two very similar shades of purple and declare that this one is exactly R220 G7 B218, and this other one is exactly R220 G7 B222. Try looking at these colors http://www.colorspire.com/rgb-color-wheel/. See if you can see the difference when you swap one for the other. I for sure wouldn’t be able to tell without looking at both next to each other under a tester (if even then), and I used to do color matching checks as part of my job. Try some other options like R219 and B220 vs. R220 and B219. See any difference in color?

Percentage wise — that’s the difference in Blue turnout that would have been required in MI, WI, PA and FL to flip the electoral map exactly as I have described.

It’s effectively the same country (regions), unless you look at it under exactly the right microscopic filter, which unfortunately just happened to match the electoral rule situation of this last election.

Holbo is exactly right, any description of what happened on Tuesday that wouldn’t *also* be reasonable in a world where Clinton just barely wins those 4 or 2-3 of those 4 states and wins the electoral college is just a fantasy/nightmare, not a real description of the electorate.

19

John Holbo 11.12.16 at 1:34 pm

“I don’t share your assumption”

I don’t share it either. I just don’t know it to be false.

We don’t know the Comey letter didn’t have a 1% effect in the last week which, as it turns out, was about the margin in some key states. (How could we know that?) But if we don’t know that, we don’t really know that our world is much different from one in which Hillary wins.

20

Lit3Bolt 11.12.16 at 1:37 pm

@ Tim Reynolds

So at this point you are openly advocating for Herrenvolk politics for Democrats? Or we should simply ignore racism and sexism and focus exclusively on classism and globilization, while disenfranchisement proceeds apace?

Please enlighten me and propose solutions.

21

John Quiggin 11.12.16 at 1:57 pm

@9 “Had Obama and the Democrats passed the EFCA”

How does this work, exactly? Apart from a couple of Blue Dogs, the votes on EFCA were party line – the filibuster rule meant that the Democrat majority wasn’t enough. Your comment sounds very like Trump complaining that Clinton hadn’t passed any legislation.

22

Bob Zannelli 11.12.16 at 2:00 pm

That the election of Trump had anything at all to with neoliberalism is the fantasy of the left. People didn’t vote for Trump to have more fairness, less wealth inequality and a government that serves the interest of all Americans. In fact the Trumpers deeply resent any government programs that help the less well off, they resent their tax money being used to help poorer people have access to health care, or food stamps, or mandates that make the life of the handicapped a little more tolerable, I could go on, it’s a long list.

The Trumpers seek a more nasty world, a world where being selfish is the greatest virtue , where minorities know their place , where hard working immigrants struggling to support their families are rounded up using gestapo goon squads to be put in detention camps and shipped back to where they came from. A world where Women are submissive and sexual play toys.

They want to see anyone who dares to disagree with their retrograde mentality jailed , they want to force their religion down everybody’s throat. Leftist refuse to believe why so many really voted for Trump, just as they refuse to believe what Islamic terrorists say is their reason for the things they do. For the leftist everything has to filtered through the lens of the working class fighting against their class oppressors. If this were true, every democracy would be run by democratic socialists, the whole world would be Sweden.

The thing that will defeat Trump is not working class solidarity, it will be the train wreck
visited on all those who voted for him that is sure to happen, now he has the power to do the crazy things he said he would do.It won’t be just the poor that are going to be hurt by Trump and his merry band of troglodytes, it will be the very people who voted for him because they finally had a candidate that really thought the way they do. The old saying, be careful what you wish for, comes to mind.

23

Lee A. Arnold 11.12.16 at 2:09 pm

Trump voters are going to find out that they were discontent with Obama because the Republican Congress blocked Obama on many kinds of legislation that they will now pass because Trump is President. (And the same legislation that the Republican Congress would block, if Hillary were to be President.) Example, the budget deficits are about to get larger, and this will pump up the economy (although it will only work for a little while) — a courtesy the Republicans denied to Obama. It’s to make the voters think that it’s only the Republicans who can fix the problems.

24

bob mcmanus 11.12.16 at 2:10 pm

But that doesn’t mean Team Trump necessarily was going to win. Hillary could have won.

Ok fine. But she wins with a Republican Senate, a Republican House, at the very best a SCOTUS where Merrick Garland is the median vote, Republican control of statehouses and governors, a media that at best tilts Republican, etc.

This is a Democratic Triumph? Is it a 50-50 nation?

I will give a plus to Reynolds at 8. I may have to dig up ole Stirling Newberry’s Sparta-Athens piece, I think 2004. Spent a little time this morning trying to remember when urban cosmopolitans beat rural/petty bourgeois reaction: Sparta-Athens, Kamakura-Kyoto + Choshu-Satsuma-Edo, I guess Paris beat Vendee, but the Commune go stomped.

This is why I’m reading Mao. Trump’s America wants to stomp the bosses. There is an opportunity that Bernie found, but that the Democrats will never allow, because it is the oppressed’s turn to make their millions, dammit. And like Mao, I understand that urban liberals are useless.

25

Manta 11.12.16 at 2:20 pm

@21 John Quiggin 11.12.16 at 1:57 pm

“the filibuster rule meant that the Democrat majority wasn’t enough. “
The filibuster could have been abolished.
The filibuster was the mean the majority used to accomplish certain policy ends.

26

bob mcmanus 11.12.16 at 2:30 pm

Heck, I will sign on to parts of Zanelli’s 22 also.

They want to see anyone who dares to disagree with their retrograde mentality jailed , they want to force their religion down everybody’s throat.

Yup. What scares me most, and there is plenty to scare, is Pence and his crew getting power and staffing the mid-levels of gov’t.

But what is with the national hate party on that woman who wouldn’t sign gay marriage licenses in rural America? Can you possibly see how they feel out in Red America, that they might see Blue doing the same, forcing secularism down their throats? Do I have to qualify this by saying that gay marriage as a National Right is good, right just? What I have been saying since 2000 is that the yahoo reaction will be furious, and the centre-left really isn’t prepared to fight, being the ideology of order, rules, law.

Difference between fascists (or radical religionists) and communists is that fascists will die trying, as long as they can take you with them.

I joked about “Revolution” and “Burn Shit Down” because I saw this coming. And leftist populism is much easier under an ineffective centrist like Kerensky or Obama than under a Trump or fricking Hitler.

27

nastywoman 11.12.16 at 2:39 pm

‘In fact the Trumpers deeply resent any government programs that help the less well off, they resent their tax money being used to help poorer people have access to health care, or food stamps, or mandates that make the life of the handicapped a little more tolerable, I could go on, it’s a long list.’

Not the Trumpers who are less well off, or the Trumpers who are poorer people who have access to health care, or food stamps, or who are handicapped -(as – yes aome ‘Trumpers are ‘handicapped’) – I could go on, it’s a long list too.

28

Lee A. Arnold 11.12.16 at 2:41 pm

Look at Obamacare: Trump is now saying that he wants to preserve parts of it. What he is not telling people is that this eventually means a single-payer system. And Bernie is in the perfect position to explain it to the public — well-spoken, well-loved, & camera-ready.

The reason that we DON’T have single payer already, is because it couldn’t get a single Republican vote, and 4 Democratic Senators were bought by the insurance companies.

So, putting it into economics-speak: Obamacare was structured to get to single-payer someday anyhow, by slowly running the private insurers out of the game. How? Because to cover everybody, it makes their risk-pools unprofitable. And that would lead exactly to the present situation, making it necessary to change. –Well, how are you going to explain this to voters?

So, back to opposition politics: The next thing to do is to say, “Health insurers add no value of their own. Why does the insurance industry still get to suck up 20% of the healthcare dollar, for adding no value of their own? This isn’t like fire or auto insurance, where a risk pool can be profitable and work as a private industry. This is something everybody eventually needs. We can reduce healthcare costs 20% across the board.”

29

Hidari 11.12.16 at 2:43 pm

‘Team Trump was a stronger team than the polls showed and much stronger than conventional wisdom could wrap it’s tiny mind around. But that doesn’t mean Team Trump necessarily was going to win. Hillary could have won.’

Don’t get into liberal flat-earthery. As was pointed out at the time, if Trump had lost, all that would have happened is that a slightly smoother, slicker Trump would have triumphed at some point in the future. We are in a time like the 1970s (or, yes, the late 1920s/1930s) where an old order is crumbling before our eyes. It’s not just Trump: it’s Corbyn, it’s Syriza, it’s Podemos, it’s Chavez, it’s Duterte, it’s Morsi, it’s the True Finns, it’s Die Linke, it’s Alternative for Germany, it’s Geert Wilders, it’s…well I could continue.

Some on the left, some on the right, but all being highly skeptical about internationalism (either in the form of supra-national organisations like the EU or Nato, or globalisation per se, or just the international movement of labour i.e. immigration), and being hostile to (even if in rhetoric only) neo-liberalism, especially in its soft left ‘Blairite’ or ‘Clintonite’ forms. In other words, the ‘international order’ or the Washington Consensus, created by Thatcher and Reagan and then given a ‘politically correct’ makeover by Clinton and Blair (amongst others) is ending.

To think that ‘Clinton could have won’ is to delude yourself that Clintonism/Blairism (neoliberal economics, globalisation, and a smattering of identify politics on top to sweeten the pill) has a future.

It doesn’t.

30

bob mcmanus 11.12.16 at 2:44 pm

If a New Yorker want gay marriage in Peoria, then move to Peoria

What is really really hard is to enforce gay marriage in Peoria while partying in Manhattan. This is like Thomas Babington MacAuley telling the Indians how to live.

Yes it is. The Democratic goal is imperialism, the higher-tech metropole colonizing the savages. And imperialism has it costs and consequences which Democrats weren’t willing to pay.

You need to occupy the conquered land, just can’t rely on the compradors. Otherwise, let them be.

And you ain’t seen nothing yet, cause the Imperialism of American Elites is at its worse overseas.

(John Smith, Imperialism in the 21st Century)

31

LFC 11.12.16 at 2:45 pm

The margins in swing states were razor thin, the Elec. College etc., but the HRC campaign also made strategic mistakes. I wrote this in an email to some people yesterday, and then this a.m. I see a WaPo article that, judging from the headline, says much the same thing.

In hindsight it’s pretty clear the Clinton campaign harped too much on Trump’s personality and personal awfulness and instability. It didn’t work w those who most needed to be convinced. She shd have more directly called out his ec-populist promises (e.g. saying flatly in the debates that most of the lost mfg jobs are never coming back no matter what govt does), and then offered concrete alternatives. That msg, to the extent she had it, never quite got through loud and clear. It was muffled by the isn’t-Trump-nasty-and-awful. He is, but that msg wasn’t effective where it needed to be: we cared about the loose-finger-on-the-nuclear-button but a lot of people didn’t. So e.g. remaking the ’64 anti-Goldwater ‘daisy ad’ with the child now an adult, which apparently the HRC campaign did, seems like a bad strategic decision. Of course it’s all hindsight, but that’s what happens when a campaign is unsuccessful.

32

nastywoman 11.12.16 at 3:05 pm

and talking about jokes – just saw Bill Maher telling me I shouldn’t be so nice in the future and WE should not bring a knife to the gunfight – and perhaps there is some truth in it – because if we would have told F…face von Clownstick much earlier to f… off – the Jennifer Lawrence way – we never ever would have now this… problem?

33

John Holbo 11.12.16 at 3:18 pm

“This is a Democratic Triumph?”

Who said it was a Democratic Triumph? I just said it was true.

34

Omega Centauri 11.12.16 at 3:19 pm

I think there is too much truth in Bob’s view. A lot of this hard-right agenda seems motivated by the fact that it will hurt the left half of the country. Show them there place and so on. So much of this seems to be blame gaming of the left(center) in various ways. And while much of it has merit, the overriding driver of this is our neoliberal run media. An easy way to make lots of money is radio or TV that addicts people by pushing hot buttons -almost always hard-right hot buttons. This goes on relentlessly, particularly in the rural parts of the country. So it brainwashing millions and generating a large constituency for hate and vengeance against the other. The politicians and elites are for the most part simply trying to swim in the toxic socio-political environment, and not being able to navigate it very well, because its just creating too many fault lines. Unless we get control of this whole misinformation industry, the basic divisions are going to keep growing, because after two people have been in different identitarian bubbles for long enough, they just can’t have a meaningful discussion anymore, it really becomes, she is from Venus, and he is from Mars writ large.

35

Layman 11.12.16 at 3:24 pm

“Not the Trumpers who are less well off, or the Trumpers who are poorer people who have access to health care, or food stamps, or who are handicapped…”

Yes, them too. They hate government poverty programs because they’re sure those programs conceal a secret welfare program only available to minorities.

36

Omega Centauri 11.12.16 at 3:42 pm

LFC:
“that most of the lost mfg jobs are never coming back no matter what govt does), and then offered concrete alternatives. That msg, to the extent she had it, never quite got through loud and clear.”
And thats hugely understated. I kept waiting her to make that case, but
never even saw a feeble attempt. Maybe she thought people would be diligent
enough to go to her web site and read white papers? So they prefered Trumps
empty promise, over what came through as an evasive nothingburger.

Of course that is all water over the dam now. We will have to deal with the
consequences.

Hidari: Sure if she had squeaked through, she would have been in an awful
way. But we would have had two to four years to try improve things. The
mys gradual recover was a breeze on our back. 2-4 more years of renewables expansion -and somewhat better healthcare in the white hinterlands might have
given our agenda at least a smidgeon of credibility. And we still would
have realized how close we came to disaster, and that we can’t ignore these peoples
concerns. The problem here is that the rural revolt came on so quickly
and unexpectantly, that we didn’t know what hit us until it was too late.

37

JHW 11.12.16 at 3:58 pm

Hidari at 29: One problem with that story is that Obama’s approval rating is well above 50% and he almost certainly would have beaten Trump easily had he not been precluded from running for a third term. Lots of successful establishment politicians–Tuesday was not an especially bad night for incumbents. One of the things I’m left with, thinking about Tuesday, is that (despite the likely catastrophic consequences) the result was *not* really much of an endorsement of Trumpism or even anti-establishment politics more broadly. Clinton won the popular vote, by a lot. Clinton had a lot of political liabilities. And Trump was clearly buttressed by lots of conservative voters who supported him despite everything about him, because they disliked Clinton more.

bob mcmanus at 30: Not to take your example too literally, but Peoria, which voted for Clinton and where there is likely majority support for same-sex marriage, doesn’t really fit here. (Also: Illinois legalized same-sex marriage through its state legislature. Nothing to do with New Yorkers.)

There are other problems with this argument, leaving Peoria aside. In Kentucky, to pick up on Kim Davis, the marriage ban was challenged by same-sex couples who lived in Kentucky. The lawyers who did the initial litigation work on the case were Kentucky lawyers. The ban was originally invalidated by a Kentucky judge. This was not a plot hatched in Manhattan to generate emotional satisfaction for gay New Yorkers. It was a legal battle between people in Kentucky resolved through the mechanism of federal constitutional law. “Mind your own business” isn’t an option, short of repealing the Fourteenth Amendment.

I am doubtful that same-sex marriage per se is one of them, but there are issues where one can certainly argue that liberal overreach hurt Clinton’s chances. What to do about that, however, is by no means obvious. If you are a federal judge and your best good-faith view of the Fourteenth Amendment is that it renders same-sex marriage bans invalid, do you just ignore the constitutional rights of the couple before you, for fear of inspiring backlash? If you are an official in the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and your best good-faith view of Title IX is that it does not permit treating trans boys differently from other boys because of what their birth certificate says, do you just ignore your statutory duty to protect the civil rights of students because you’re not sure how it will play in Peoria Rowan County, Kentucky? I am not a pure formalist and I am willing to accept that, sometimes, the answer might be “yes.” But it is a lot trickier a question than is acknowledged by framings suggesting that all of this originated in the ambitious hearts of idealistic liberal bureaucrats in DC or activists in Manhattan.

38

Scott P. 11.12.16 at 4:03 pm

“The TPP is dead. At this point, Trump has done more to positively fulfill my expectations of him than Obama did over the course of two full terms.”

Why are you certain if this? Republican lead rs still want it. There are decent odds that some cosmetic changes are demanded and afterwards Trump simply declares that he’s negotiated a ‘great deal’ like he promised and it is approved.

39

Jake the antisoshul soshulist 11.12.16 at 4:05 pm

BenK: Progressivism, I do not think the word means what you think it means.

It will be horrible enough if we get a de facto Mike Pence presidency. (At this point, his gamble appears to be brilliant).
But with White Nationalist (Fascist-curious) Breibart alumni Steve Bannon
on Trump’s team, it is hard to discount that Trump won’t reward their loyalty
the way he has the religious right.

40

Quite Likely 11.12.16 at 4:12 pm

For some reason I have a strong urge to call the “Clinton wins” timeline the Prime Timeline and call real life Earth-2. It feels like we are living in an alternate universe.

41

John Garrett 11.12.16 at 4:22 pm

I’m really tired of being told here and elsewhere what “they” (Trump voters) think, feel, want, what they hate and resent, etc., etc. Seems to me the first step toward understanding would beto recognize that we (and most of us don’t know a single Trump voter, and if we do we don’t talk to him/her) have no idea what motivated individuals. My guess is that it’s highly nuanced, highly local, highly personal: but what do I know? Or you?

JG

42

ScottA 11.12.16 at 4:42 pm

I think John Holbo is too optimistic in thinking that much “depends on what Trump does.” I have no idea what his actual plans are, if he has any, or whether he might envision a government much more to my liking than he has let on. But what I think is much more important is the context in which he comes to power, and certain personality/character traits which are pretty clearly true of him.

The context I’m talking about has several aspects:

1. There is a surprising (to me, anyway) taste for fascism in a non-trivial chunk of the population that now is emboldened to press their cause. Some of this is due to the hollowing out of the middle-class; some is due to loss of white privilege and a sense of threat from enemies who don’t resemble the white model citizen; some is due simply to opportunism of people from the InfoWars/Breitbart worlds, talk radio, and various other mostly subterranean groups who have been organizing people around apocalyptic visions of how things are all going to hell (and have been for a long time).

2. The strength of democratic institutions that gird against the threats mentioned in 1 are now as weak as I have ever heard of them being here. The respectable, neutral media is no longer trusted by much more than the the people who voted for democrats in this election, and is also much smaller and less able to do its job due to downsizing/shrinkage. Both major parties have largely lost contact with the interests of their traditional voting blocks, and so will be hard pressed to whip their members and voters to respond against genuinely virulent anti-democratic forces. There are fewer and fewer points of cultural reference that provide a common framework by which people can identify themselves as “all in this together.” (Note, for instance, how the two major campaign slogans, rightly understood, are not just anodyne platitudes, but are actually substantive visions that are also anathema to a significant portion of the people in the opposite camp.) And a significant share of the elites who have profited so greatly from the last 20-40 years of the neo-liberal trickle-up economy seem to have disconnected their well-being from that of the hoi polloi. So it’s hard to see how the ballast of these institutional forces is going to be heavy enough to keep the ship of state aright when someone tries to blow it over.

3. There are a lot of people right now itching for a fight. If this leads to what looks like chaos in the streets (and there seem to be no shortage of provocateurs right now), there will be a significant amount of support for efforts to restore order. As the Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke has put it (on Twitter), “These temper tantrums from these radical anarchists must be quelled. There is no legitimate reason to protest the will of the people.” and “How to stop riots. 1)Declare state of emergency. 2)Impose early curfew. 3)Mobilize Nat Guard. 4)Authorize ALL non lethal force. 5)Tear gas.” This will of course not quell the protests.

So I will not be surprised if events overtake Trump’s intentions, whatever they may be.

Is there reason to expect that Trump would respond in a temperate, soothing way to such events? Given that neither he nor the sycophants that have become his inner circle (with the possible exception of VP Pence) seem to have any scruples at all, and seem to have highly reactive, bullying, and and opportunistic tendencies, I think there will again be very little counterweight against reacting maximally, violently, and oppressively towards such protests and opposition. Whether or not Trump really has a desire to be a fascist leader, he has the right skill set and surrounds himself with similarly intemperate people. So if we are in the position of hoping for the calm, steady decency of Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, and the institutional Republican party to keep things from spiraling out of control, I am not too hopeful that the center will hold.

And all this is to consider just domestic forces, as though we weren’t engaged simultaneously in a number of high-stakes international disputes with various antagonistic players, each with their own motives to disrupt business as usual in the U.S.

It will take one hell of a fast and effective progressive organizing effort to offer some stable counterweight to what I think could be an overwhelming pull of chaos and fascist repression. Glad to be wrong, of course.

43

bruce wilder 11.12.16 at 4:50 pm

LFC: She shd have more directly called out his ec-populist promises (e.g. saying flatly in the debates that most of the lost mfg jobs are never coming back no matter what govt does), and then offered concrete alternatives. That msg, to the extent she had it, never quite got through loud and clear. It was muffled by the isn’t-Trump-nasty-and-awful. He is, but that msg wasn’t effective where it needed to be: we cared about the loose-finger-on-the-nuclear-button but a lot of people didn’t. . . . Of course it’s all hindsight, but that’s what happens when a campaign is unsuccessful.

woulda coulda oughta — the retrospective counterfactuals are how we make a theory and, maybe, assign meaning.

Hillary Clinton lacked credibility because she lacked commitment (or if you prefer, her all too visible commitments contradicted any populist concern she might have expressed). Those who became her hyper-partisans, who convinced themselves that she was the leftmost most progressive figure in American politics since sliced bread, could not see it. Her own campaign professionals apparently could not fully grasp the implications.

She was NAFTA. She was the war in Iraq, the Surge, Libya. She was liberal negligence and hypocrisy, deploring rural white men from her perch of celebrity feminism.

She could have said to the economically devastated areas of the Midwest, your jobs are never coming back. It would have just confirmed every resentment. The condescension would have come across loud and clear.

She could and did make the point that Trump’s volatile hypomania might not a good combination with the power of war. But, she fully represents an incompetent establishment belligerence that cannot end a war let alone win one.

Bob Zanelli: That the election of Trump had anything at all to with neoliberalism is the fantasy of the left. People didn’t vote for Trump to have more fairness, less wealth inequality and a government that serves the interest of all Americans.

The left fantasy is that Clinton did or could credibly offer more fairness, less wealth inequality or a government that serves the interest of all Americans.

Twenty-five years of neoliberal “it’s complicated” drained all the credibility out of any potential Democratic populism.

Hillary Clinton was not the most left, progressive candidate evah or in the entire history of the last fifteen minutes, as Ezra Klein might claim. She was a greedy representative of a corrupt establishment. Recognizing that she, like Obama, worked for The Man is apparently going to be very hard for some people. The Man has been given an opportunity to put His A-team in place. The B-team may not be back for a very long time or they may stick around, hoping for a callback, maybe to lead a racist anti-racism; their main gig, to mobilize and defuse populist impulses, is no longer credible casting.

44

AH 11.12.16 at 4:51 pm

I’d really like to read an italian analysis of Trump vs. Berlusconi. In general the US President is a more powerful position than prime minister, but I don’t know enough about italian politics to say for sure.

I’m guessing people are focusing policy too much, and the Trump administration is going to be dominated by scandals of incompetence and corruption. Trump is basically the apex of the GOP as a party of direct mail scammers, it is not a party fit to govern.

45

cowardly lion 11.12.16 at 5:02 pm

JG
Among those that I know personally, not social media or passing acquaintances, they generally fall into two categories – blindly partisan (hate government, maybe hate liberals), and deeply misanthropic (really hate government, really hate liberals.)
At least that’s the anecdotal evidence from this central Floridian.

46

nastywoman 11.12.16 at 5:13 pm

‘My guess is that it’s highly nuanced, highly local, highly personal: but what do I know? Or you?’

Well – we interviewed over 200 Trump voters – and if you are truly interested… and if there is a yuuuge diversity but as we mostly concentrated on Trump voters in the Rust Belt
it was highly local, highly personal but not too nuanced…

47

Lee A. Arnold 11.12.16 at 5:16 pm

John Garrett #41: “most of us don’t know a single Trump voter”

I am surrounded by them, and I have had friendly, steady conversations with 8-10 of them throughout the whole election. What do you want to know?… They are not racists. They don’t like moochers. They are frustrated that their idea of how the system should work, doesn’t work. They don’t understand economics or foreign policy (and, in a way, they know that they don’t understand it). They reason from emotional priors. They believe propaganda that comports with their emotions, particularly Fox News propaganda about Obama and Hillary. They don’t like Trump personally, and they are dimly aware that their choice of Trump has put them on the hook for moral turpitude. They are very anxious about the future of the country. They are humorous; they are human beings.

48

Thomas Beale 11.12.16 at 5:18 pm

Zanelli @ 22
They want to see anyone who dares to disagree with their retrograde mentality jailed , they want to force their religion down everybody’s throat. Leftist refuse to believe why so many really voted for Trump, just as they refuse to believe what Islamic terrorists say is their reason for the things they do.

Agree on your characterisation of Leftists, but as I work in the US for weeks at a time and talk to colleagues (educated health, business and IT types) and also locals working tough service jobs, I discovered this year a surprising number of people from all levels who say they would (presumably did) vote for Trump, while talking very rationally about everything else. I had previously assumed that Trumpers probably did sign up to the ‘selfishness as a virtue’ ideal, but my anecdotal evidence says otherwise.

I think a more basic analysis is possible: many Trump voters have pretty much seen through the ideological left’s elitist attitude, their eternal campaign to control speech and their utter inability to simply look at the real world, make observations and use evidence (all of which is generally uncomfortable for one’s precious ideology) and produce thinking based on facts rather than abstract programmes based on fantasies from their academic echo chambers. They may not know any of this in a pedagogical fashion, but they can spot bullshit pretty quickly, and what they see is self-appointed intellectuals who broadcast but never listen – not as a matter of interlocutary style, but as a fundamental approach to the world.

A real problem is that such people have infected the mainstream political left so now ‘left’ = post-modernist ideologue, aka politically correct idiot, take your pick. Rational people who thought they were on the left in old school terms (labour union politics etc) have no party.

It’s therefore pretty easy to understand large numbers of voters not voting for Hillary and voting for Trump: she belongs to a party that does not listen or observe, and isn’t interested in their situation in principle, only in its own ideology. He doesn’t have an ideology. He may be lying through his teeth but at least he’s doing it in a way they can understand.

49

Glen Tomkins 11.12.16 at 5:31 pm

None of us has any idea what the Trump administration is going to do. I suspect that Trump has no idea what the Trump administration is going to do.

One consequence of that is that all sorts of the claims made here that this or that item must be on his agenda, or the agenda of the people who will really end up running his administration — are terribly premature.

We’re talking right now as therapy, because it is profoundly unnerving that we have no idea what Trump will do. A real politician, however obnoxious his intentions, would at least have predictable intentions. And a real politician would only have gotten to this point, of winning the presidency, by acquiring all sorts of institutional chains restricting his behavior into channels that, however obnoxious, would at least be limited by the alliances and structures that got him the WH. But Trump is like Conan the Barbarian, king by his own hand.

And this autarch now wields the power of the US presidency. He controls the prosecutors, he can make war as he pleases, he can declare even citizens to be enemy combatants and ship them to Guantanamo. Of course it has always been foolish to allow the office such powers, but always before now, before this moment, it was simply assumed that only a highly constrained politician, the creature of one or the other of the two major US parties, would ever be able to get into the office that wields these powers.

We’ve had horrible presidents before, but this is the first election that has left me with the thought that I should have an escape plan ready. I made sure I have an active passport, and for now, that’s the only planning that’s either required or possible. The only plan required yet because, yes, he is more likely to be a Berlusconi than a Mussolini. But also, the only plan possible because the US in 2016 has a much longer reach than the Third Reich ever did, and we have to wait and see which countries, if any, will be safe havens.

We’re living in the shadow of a volcano. Always have been, but the thing just belched a lot of smoke. No way of knowing what comes next.

50

Sasha Clarkson 11.12.16 at 5:51 pm

Trumps is certainly changing his tone, if not his tune. Perhaps having been elected, he’s now starting to consider his legacy already?

He says he wants to repeal and replace Obamacare, keeping certain provisions, including protections for people with pre-existing conditions who previously had no access to insurance. Huffpost reports that after a meeting with President Obama, who had urged him to consider this, Trump said: “I told him I will look at his suggestions, and out of respect, I will do that,”

Trump’s apparent flexibility is now being mocked on Twitter; one user posted:

TRUMP: “Let’s get that Muslim Band going

“Band? We thought you said ban”

TRUMP: “No way, that’s harsh. Also, how’s that Mexican mall coming?”

51

Steve Roach 11.12.16 at 5:58 pm

@41 Given that half of the voters voted for Trump and way many more white folk voted for Trump, and CT likely skews white most of us probably have family members that voted for Trump, work with people who voted for Trump, and have neighbors that voted for Trump. Some of us live in parts of the US where most people voted for Trump. True, assumptions that Trump voters are a monolithic whole and all voted for the same reason is wrong but it is also wrong to think that we do not know Trump voters and do not talk to them. Many of us do everyday and all day long.

52

Yan 11.12.16 at 6:08 pm

“What is really really hard is to enforce gay marriage in Peoria while partying in Manhattan. This is like Thomas Babington MacAuley telling the Indians how to live…You need to occupy the conquered land, just can’t rely on the compradors. Otherwise, let them be.”

I always appreciate bob’s posts, even if I’m never sure how much irony to read in them. I think this analogy is worth thinking about, perhaps directly in connection to Tim Reynolds @8. In keeping with the latter, I think it’s true that this in part a problem about a deep ignorance of and indifference sometimes bordering on contempt for the half of the country that tends to the right.

In one sense, if we’re going to win we need some form of empathy with at least some in that half in order to draw voters from there or, more importantly, not alienate them to the point of motivating them to actively stop us.

On th other hand, bob’s analogy makes me wonder if our lack of effective empathy is due to a phony liberal abstract empathy. We say they’re backward savages and unredeemables, but add so let’s tell them so and overcome them democratically. But either they’re savages and this is a war of civilization against its opposite or it’s not. Either we send missionaries to the heart of darkness or we send conquistadors.

(Other analogies to consider: is our relation to our own dark continent so different from our relation to ISIS and radical Islam? How and why is our response different? Is our dilemma of intraleft conlift among an advance guard bourgeois leadership and a rust belt proletariat and a reactionary rural peasantry at all enlightening? Will war in the petty bourgeois peasants save our revolution?)

Liberalism cannot bear the open contempt that true empathy demands. We need not contempt OR sympathy, vilifying or dehumanizing, but the kind of sympathy that requires greater contempt–let’s see them as true deplorables, as people who have as Marx said of the workers, truly been dehumanized, damaged in their humanity, then recognize it is precisely because half our country, having been made monstrous, are acting like monsters that they require our sympathy, for both their sakes and for our own.

But this might mean giving up the metaphysics of freedom, the otherworldly theology of possible worlds so dear to missionaries, philosophers, science fiction writers, and liberals. Not fatalism, the priotity of the future, but realism, the priority of the present.

53

Jake Gibson 11.12.16 at 6:33 pm

I actually know a lot of them.
I suppose you could call it nuanced
in the sense it is not all the same but is overlapping.
Among the motivations:
Hatred of Hillary/Bill Clinton
Racial/economic resentment
Demographic fears
Anti LGBT backlash
Religious resentments
Hatred of liberals/liberalism
There is economic insecurity
most of which is blamed on
Democrats/the left.

54

Heliopause 11.12.16 at 6:48 pm

You ask what the the left should do a couple of times but from the broader context of your post it seems like you’re really talking to the center. The left lost nothing on Tuesday, they were defeated months ago followed by the center giving them several good kicks to the head to rub it in.

If you’re really asking what the center should do then I can offer a few tips. Try treating your supposed allies on the left with at least as much respect as Obama showed to Trump yesterday. Try incorporating some of their ideas and passion into your program. Don’t spend all your post-convention time courting conservatives, billionaires, and war criminals instead of the 45% of your own party that you just ran against in the primary. Most of all, don’t nominate a soulless pathological liar with no political skills to lead your party.

55

Sasha Clarkson 11.12.16 at 6:52 pm

It’s interesting to note that Trump got elected with half a million fewer votes than Romney got in 2012. Although Clinton won the popular vote, she got over eight million fewer votes than Obama did in 2008, and a little under five million fewer than O got in 2012.

So, net, there hasn’t been a swing from the Dems to the GOP: the swing has been to abstention. If Clinton had won with these figures, it wouldn’t have been a sign of the strength of her campaign, but of the weakness of the opposition. I wonder how many disenchanted Republicans did vote for her?

56

sidd 11.12.16 at 7:28 pm

Mr. John Garrett raised a question on the 12th of september at 4:22 pm as to what exactly Trump voters think, stating that most of “us” don’t know any such voters, or do not speak to them if “we” do. Is this is a general characteristic of this forum, is it really true that most here know no Trump voters, or communicate little with them ?

I do know many Trump voters, and visit this forum often and I suspect I am not alone.

sidd

57

Stranger 11.12.16 at 7:38 pm

John Garrett: I know, and have known, several of them, not many out of the millions that exist, but I was raised in what is now Trump country. I now live in a different region, also Trump country. I work with Trump supporters. I have a few observations; make of them what you will.

Recently I’ve been reading comments on web sites by the kind of people I know, reading articles by them, listening to them on local and national call-in radio shows, which are on most of the day in the region where I live.

As far as I can tell, their minds, when it comes to politics, are saturated by the right-wing news machine that dominates the U.S. news landscape. They don’t necessarily observe the things they purport to hate. They don’t necessarily know anyone different from them. What happens is that they hear about the “PC” and other outrages nonstop on Fox News, on Rush Limbaugh and other radio programs, on national Christian radio stations. I don’t believe you have any idea how saturated their lives are with these sources of information. Their everyday consciousness is shaped by them.

In addition, there are the churches, which in the U.S. are essentially political organizations. Besides the traditional evangelical churches, there are mega-churches, and small “niche churches” such as “cowboy churches”. In the late 1980s, when I visited an evangelical church service with a relative, I was given a postcard to mail to our local state representative, to express discontent with legal abortion.

Maybe you should read an AP story from last summer headlined “DIVIDED AMERICA: Evangelicals feel alienated, anxious”. There, the alienation and anxiety seem mainly caused by the fact the other people don’t feel as they do. (By the way, it’s not mentioned, and maybe not relevant, that Benton, KY used to be known as a “sundown town”.) Read that article, and you’ll understand more about what they regard as “culture wars”.

And indeed there is a divide between their beliefs and those expressed by many forms of popular culture, though most of the religious conservatives I’ve known are great consumers of popular culture. It’s a much a part of their lives as Fox News and church. (Maybe that’s one reason Trump suits them.)

I’ll end however with a question: How many Trump supporters do we need to know personally before we can legitimately make generalizations about them?

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Yankee 11.12.16 at 7:43 pm

The Donald is not one to keep the Capos in line … evidently he’s been asking how often he will have to commute to DC. So I think basically “institutions” is in play while the boys sort things out from their various entrenched positions. Consistency and legal nicety don’t figure to figure. Anyway the real action will be street-level while social norms get revised: the Facebook fake-news thing is still in full swing, with all the horrible intolerant things the left is perpetrating.

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Hidari 11.12.16 at 8:09 pm

Mike Pence is the real threat. As is Giuliani. Ignore the ramblings from the ‘liberal’ media who got almost literally everything about this election wrong: the real problems will start not if Trump is an unorthodox Republican. The problems will start if Trump does, indeed, turn out to be an orthodox Republican, with orthodox Republican views on Israel, ‘free trade’, religion, gay marriage, and, last and absolutely not least, American military adventurism. Insofar as Trump deviates from the orthodoxy, it’s a good thing. For example, it now seems slightly less likely that we will have World War 3 with Russian over Syria (Hilary would have been right up for that let’s not forget) although Pence, like most Republicans (and, for that matter, Democrats) is a deranged Russophobic nutjob, so there are still risks. But then, so, it seems, is Paul Krugman, so it just goes to show.

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Hidari 11.12.16 at 8:18 pm

@37
Yes fair enough, but remember as we know you can knock at least 5, maybe 10, percent off of any ‘lead’ any progressive politician or position has in the thoroughly unreliable opinion polls. In any case, Obama was associated with neoliberalism, yes, but he didn’t have the constant aura of sleaze about him that the Clintons did. He was, to a certain extent, an outsider. Clinton was an insider practically since birth. She and Bill were associated with The System in a way Obama just wasn’t.

There was also the issue of Clinton’s constant warmongering rhetoric, which everyone seems to be very keen to forget about (again, Obama didn’t have that baggage).

Finally there was the gender issue. Sure Obama had the race issue, but African Americans liked him, and that made up for it. Women (by which I mean real women, not Guardian columnists) didn’t particularly like Hilary.

Individually, she could have dealt with these issues, but all of them together were fatal and it was probably the constant air of corruption and sleaze that follows the Clintons around like a black fog that was the deciding factor.

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phenomenal cat 11.12.16 at 8:36 pm

Holbo-
“but I think I know enough of tabletop games to know that sometimes a six-sided die comes up 6. Is it epistemic closure if you can’t wrap your head around exactly 1/6th of ‘you’re dead’?”

No, this won’t do. Having cognizance of the odds of a given outcome is simply acknowledging statistical probabilities. It requires nothing else, such that exchanges prior to the election like the one below were all too common.

[grave, but bemused tone of voice] “You know, Trump really could win the election. It’s very possible and perhaps even likely.”
[smugly weary tone of voice, as if speaking to a dim-witted, overactive child] “Yes, of course, it is possible that Trump could win the election. Anything is possible.”

Addressing the matter in the register of chance and statistical likelihood does nothing to confront why Trump actually won or why so many smart people were so wrong. It’s bloodless, abstract, and frames the result in such a way as to leave all the smart people’s hands perfectly clean. This, in turn, leads easily to positing counterfactuals and what-if scenarios–general hand-waving.

–See Matt Yglesias and the piece he wrote on the night of the election which I won’t deign to link. It’s an absolute abortion of reason and intellectual honesty–

Fact is, the concrete, material conditions have long been in place for such an event to happen; all manner of socioeconomic signs were readily available for interpretation (not the least of which were Brexit and the fucking fact of Trump winning the nomination in the first place). These implications (hello deductive reasoning!), all studiously ignored. It wasn’t some 37-1 longshot Kentucky Derby scenario. At least not after Clinton got her coronation.

The problem really isn’t epistemic closure. It’s epistemic humility. What is there to learn when one already knows best? The smart people are profoundly insular and insulated. Their “cosmopolitan” lifestyles and worldviews have made them painfully and embarrassingly provincial. Proud and preening ignorance followed by stunned and wounded resentment is no way to go through life if one wants to win national elections or pontificate on social and political realities.

There are other human beings in the world. It might be worthwhile to talk to them and listen. You don’t have to agree, but you might learn something about the actually existing conditions of our current dispensation.

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Michael Sullivan 11.12.16 at 9:29 pm

John Garret@41: “Seems to me the first step toward understanding would beto recognize that we (and most of us don’t know a single Trump voter, and if we do we don’t talk to him/her) have no idea what motivated individuals.”

Speak for yourself. I run a small business in what is now a purple state. While the small city I live in, is more Democratic and liberal than not, I’ve talked to at least a dozen people since the election who admitted voting for Trump, and gave reasons. I have family members that voted for the guy, one of whom has been being an a**hole on facebook since the result dropped.

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Alan White 11.12.16 at 9:45 pm

Pennsylvania and–shame on me–Wisconsin tipped the scales. The margin? 110,000 votes between them. That’s the population of Green Bay Wisconsin. I just ask–please don’t that against the Packers by association. But thinking that the country pivoted on such a small number of votes is so very painful to me. That fact does also bolster Clinton’s claim today that the late Comey letter was the difference.

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Peter Christensen 11.12.16 at 10:06 pm

I’m uneducated in politics and economics but don’t let that stop me… Numbers 14 and 17 seem on point, to me. Liberals had to swallow neoliberalism, am I right? Progressives kept trying to get through but not succeeding. Sanders presented a clear way forward and then said that progressives could not allow Clinton a honeymoon (assuming that she would be elected). So the best we could hope for, from this standpoint, was that Clinton would follow through and maybe succeed a little bit with the backup of a strengthened senate (hopefully). How much simpler, on the other side, to just put on a red cap and vote with a big “FU.” I thought I was prepared for the Trump win, but it was still shocking to see. Nevertheless, after a couple of days, I admitted that I understood it.

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John Holbo 11.12.16 at 11:42 pm

“No, this won’t do. Having cognizance of the odds of a given outcome is simply acknowledging statistical probabilities.”

I think you must have misunderstood the post, Phenomenal Cat. Perhaps I wasn’t clear, but I really didn’t mean to suggest that having a bare awareness of statistical probabilities would, as you put it, ‘do’.

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John Holbo 11.12.16 at 11:58 pm

“The problem really isn’t epistemic closure. It’s epistemic humility. What is there to learn when one already knows best?”

OK, let me try to address this more positively. Humility yes. There’s a reason why I called this post ‘2 cents’. It really isn’t worth much as analysis. But I think it is worth saying that we should not stand the conventional wisdom about Trump – which was wrong! – exactly on its head, just because that feels like epistemic atonement for our sins. Hillary was not an unstoppable machine. But that does not mean that Trump was one, after all. It is not the case that he was secretly a lock any more than the Cubs were foreordained to win the Series. What we have learned is that the polls were off by about 2 points. And, more seriously, that people were having trouble taking seriously what they knew. Namely, what the polls were telling them about it being a close race. There were things we – the Dems, everyone – knew, but didn’t quite know what to make of. What’s 1/3 of ‘Trump wins’? We didn’t know. I don’t think it’s fair, either, to put that down to arrogance – although, sure, there was that. I mentally gave Trump a 1/3 shot, because Nate Silver told me to. Team Trump gave itself a 1/3 shot, by all accounts. Admittedly there has been less surprise in Trumpland than in Hillaryland, in the aftermath, but that’s motivated reason for you. People are wishful creatures, so of course the Trump folks are less surprised. Lots of Trump supporters were irrationally hopeful in the run-up. And they were right. But that doesn’t mean they were the rational ones, after all. All I’m saying is: don’t careen from one view to the exact opposite of that view, just because the first was wrong. It is unlikely that the exact opposite of the wrong view is right in this case. That’s all I’m saying.

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JimV 11.13.16 at 12:06 am

A graph I just saw on CNN clarified things a bit for me. By eyeball:

2008 – Obama just under 70M votes, McCain just under 60M

2012 – Obama about 65M votes, Romney about 61M

2016 – HRC about 58M votes, Trump about 57M votes

It appears that a whole lot of former Democrat voters, as well as some Republican voters, did not vote (or wrote in somebody’s name – I don’t think the 3rd and 4th party candidates got much of an influx).

I think some, perhaps small, part of that might be: “Trump is going to lose whether I vote or not, and I don’t much like Hillary and won’t contribute to her landslide.”

As Michael Moore reminded me on that same CNN segment, a clear majority of the American people believe in Social Security, Medicare, an increase in the Minimum Wage, climate change, a path for productive illegal immigrants to citizenship, universal health insurance, better Supreme Court Justices, and so on. They just don’t always turn out to vote for them. (Voter suppression efforts by Republican Governors may have contributed to that. I’m not sure I would have stood in line for six hours to vote for Hillary, what with the predictions.) That’s my 1.1 cents.

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Omega Centauri 11.13.16 at 12:06 am

All this justified hatred of neoliberalism. But is there any alternative, that doesn’t mean first destroying the economy, before trying to rebuild it to try some untested theory? Thats why the dems were soft-neoliberals, you can’t simple replace something overnight without eliminating peoples source of sustenance. So lets quit hitting on soft-neoliberalism. Its the only alternative available. The discussion should be about how and howfar and how fast we soften it.

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John Holbo 11.13.16 at 12:13 am

OK, let me make my point more briefly: it is irrational to express ‘it turns out I didn’t know my own country!’ sentiment if it turns out you were systematically off by 2% about what your country is like. That 2% may have a huge effect. But a 2% that has a huge effect is still just a 2% difference from what you thought already. You can talk about the huge effect separately.

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Lee A. Arnold 11.13.16 at 12:25 am

It’s pretty clear that: The country hasn’t changed. It’s still a majority Democratic country and increasing. The Comey letter was all that was needed to make the difference. Her staff would rather blame the Comey letter, than to admit that they should have paid a lot more attention to rustbelt swingstate voters, so that the Comey letter wouldn’t have stopped her from winning.

Michael Moore on Morning Joe is 44 minutes long, but a really great and eye-opening discussion:
http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/michael-moore-joins-wide-ranging-election-talk-806604867876

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efcdons 11.13.16 at 12:40 am

While strong, unswayable Trump voters may have wanted to vote Trump because of their hated of welfare, minorities, anyone worse off than they are etc. might be true, that wasn’t how Trump won the election.

How could all that explain what was the actual margin. Which was a relatively small number of voters in WI, MI, PA who voted Obama at least once, maybe twice but either voted Trump or didn’t vote at all? They must have either been in the last four years completely “brainwashed” (for lack of a better word) or there must be some other explanation.

Why did Trump do 3 points better in union households than Romney? Why did Trump do something like 16 points better with people making less than 30k than Romney?

That these ex-Obama voters suddenly became hateful bigots (but weren’t when an actual Black person was running) can’t be the explanation for why these particular voters voted Trump or didn’t vote at all.

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Val 11.13.16 at 12:48 am

@61
[grave, but bemused tone of voice] “You know, Trump really could win the election. It’s very possible and perhaps even likely.”
[smugly weary tone of voice, as if speaking to a dim-witted, overactive child] “Yes, of course, it is possible that Trump could win the election. Anything is possible.”

I am a rest of the world person, not an American, but I think I can speak for a lot of ROW people in that we were not in the least feeling safe or smug about a Democrat victory. We were extremely worried, including about the fact that Trump was a serious candidate.

The only thing that reassured us was the polls, which have turned out to be right about Clinton winning in one way (popular vote) but wrong in the way that mattered.

It’s normal that left or centre left people in America should now fight and blame each other, but hopefully a more collective soul searching might eventually happen. If you want opinions from outsiders then, I’m sure there’s plenty of us who can offer them.

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VeeLow 11.13.16 at 1:04 am

41–Well said! Fear, hatred and ignorance come in many flavors; we’ve all known some version of those emotions. But the particular combinations that lead to a Trump vote might be complex indeed….

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Omega Centauri 11.13.16 at 1:15 am

All Hillary needed to fo IMHO was go to a few white economically depressed areas and say something like:
Let me be honest with you.
Your old job isn’t coming back.
Even if we got General Widget to move back, most of the jobs would be done by robots.
I will bring newer better jobs.
They will be jobs you will feel proud to do.
You will feel important again.
The pay will be better.
The working conditions will be better.
They will be safer jobs.
They have to give first crack at any job to local residents.

Avoid: Fancy logic, and big words. The last thing you want to do is to try to prove your
superiority by using fancy speech, that shows that you are smarter than they are.

As I said earlier, expecting them to discover this by going though thousands of pages of your white papers was delusional.

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kidneystones 11.13.16 at 1:42 am

Hi John, I’m going to jump in because I think phenomenal cat has this exactly right.

You read Sean Trende, I know. Trende is emphatic today that the polls in 2016 polls were at least as accurate as 2012. Trende makes it explicitly clear that is the media writ large, by which I mean CT, too, that simply chose to ignore how tight the race actually was.

As the only person here who did get the prediction right and as a Trump supporter I can assure that phenomenal cat identifies correctly the reasons why I continued to believe Trump would win and said so right up to the point of the election.

You’re quite right in the abstract, but I fear your efforts to isolate the prediction exercise do not serve you well in the long run.

Crooked Timber is the best intellectual website I know of, but what do I know.

Not because CT countenanced ‘my’ heresies, but because CT, unlike practically every other website, actually allowed opinions such as mine to appear despite a small number of vocal voices demanding my heresies be shunned, or ignored.

I put that down, believe it or not, to the inherent ‘goodness’ of the contributors here. My parting call in a comment that did not pass moderation was/is for more critical and diverse opinion, hopefully far better informed and grounded than my own.

The writing for Trump has been on the wall for a long time and we’ll see in Italy what occurs next. That’s why Trump himself is immaterial, as many have pointed out. Irrespective of whether one actually believed Trump might win, and more importantly behaved prior to the election with that in mind, Trumpism whatever that is, is here for the immediate.

That sound of an army on the march towards on the other side of the hill, btw, isn’t Trumpsters, or a liberal Tea Party. That’s the sound of billions of robots indifferent to our squabbles on their way to do our jobs without the error and humanity that plagues us all.

And that is it.

ww.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/11/12/it_wasnt_the_polls_that_missed_it_was_the_pundits_132333.html

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kidneystones 11.13.16 at 1:58 am

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John Holbo 11.13.16 at 2:00 am

“As the only person here who did get the prediction right and as a Trump supporter I can assure that phenomenal cat identifies correctly the reasons why I continued to believe Trump would win and said so right up to the point of the election.”

Phenomenal Cat says the reason is arrogance. I think conventional wisdom was wishful thinking of a more generic variety, which includes a measure of arrogance. One is always taking pre-emptive steps to preserve one’s sense of self-worth. That leads to error. If Phenomenal Cat were right, kidneystones, the reason you were right and we were wrong would be because we were arrogant and you were not (or were significantly less so). But you are, frankly, a fairly arrogant person. I say that in a descriptive and more-or-less friendly spirit. You have said as much yourself and so I hope you will not change your tune and deny your own arrogance only now. Also, Hillary could have won. It was close. So …

“The writing for Trump has been on the wall for a long time”

No. That’s irrational. It’s not warranted by the evidence of the election. If it was a done deal for Trump long ago, then margins in the Midwest wouldn’t have been so close. Your proposition is empirically refuted by results out of Michigan. If Trump won by huge, comfortable margins, your proposition would be warranted. He didn’t.

More simply: if your basketball team wins 101-99 you do not say ‘the writing was on the scoreboard for a long time.’ It clearly wasn’t.

Returning to the original point: if Hillary had won – due to some slight shift somewhere along the line – would that alter our estimates of levels of epistemic arrogance on both sides? No. It shouldn’t. This wasn’t a case of epistemically-humble Trump predicters vs. epistemically-arrogant Hillary predicters. Not every prediction that is right is, perforce, more rational or empirically warranted.

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John Holbo 11.13.16 at 2:03 am

Correction: if Trump won by comfortable margins AND had been ahead in the polls going in, then it would be fair to say the writing for Trump had been on the wall for a long time. The rational thing to believe, going in, was that he had a 1/3 shot. The rational thing to believe is not always right.

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bob mcmanus 11.13.16 at 2:22 am

More simply: if your basketball team wins 101-99 you do not say ‘the writing was on the scoreboard for a long time.’ It clearly wasn’t.

But it wasn’t one basketball game, it was best of seven (states) or best of ten swing states. And Trump ran the table.

If a particular basketball team wins the first game of the series by two points we say it was a close series, and the teams were evenly matched. If that winner goes on to win the next three, even with close games, and the championship we say it was a sweep and a mismatch.

80

kidneystones 11.13.16 at 2:32 am

Hi John, Fair points, re: arrogance in tone and frankly self-esteem.
The compliments I can give, I’m happy to give. You’re not arguing with me, however. You’re arguing with Sean Trende, who I’ll quote for the benefit of others:

“There is a fast-building meme that Donald Trump’s surprising win on Tuesday reflected a failure of the polls. This is wrong. The story of 2016 is not one of poll failure. It is a story of interpretive failure and a media environment that made it almost taboo to even suggest that Donald Trump had a real chance to win the election.”

I’ve made it clear elsewhere that if people really believed Trump is an extinction-level threat, then those who did so behaved in a manner that strikes me, at least, as arrogant, foolhardy, and cavalier.

I believe you and others here to be careful, cautious, sober, funny and sensible. (not necessarily in that order) Ergo, you do/did not believe Trump to be an extinction-level threat and relied upon the polls. You’re in excellent company for whatever that’s worth.

Chopin, a wonderful lunch, research, and sunshine lie ahead. Thank you for the opportunity to respond. I could well be wrong about everything but the outcome of the election.

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John Holbo 11.13.16 at 2:58 am

“You’re arguing with Sean Trende”

Correction: Sean Trende and I are arguing against you. Sean Trende isn’t saying, as you are arguing, that Trump was written on the wall for months. If you want to argue THAT, all the polls are against you, the election results are against you. Your case has gotten worse after Nov 8. All you have is J.D. Vance-based Zeizgeist-y arguments (which J.D. Vance won’t buy, by the by, as election prognostication engines). That way lies confirmation bias. You wanted Trump to win. You see the Zeitgeist you want to see. Which is to say: you are a normal person. You see what you want to see.

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John Holbo 11.13.16 at 3:09 am

“But it wasn’t one basketball game, it was best of seven (states) or best of ten swing states. And Trump ran the table.”

No, Bob, you are a smart guy but this is definitely completely wrong and confused. You need to read more Nate Silver. (Or someone else saying the same thing, if reading Silver, himself, is too annoying.) It’s irrational to look at seven states (especially similar states) in which you have a narrow lead, and console yourself that you are unlikely to lose ALL of them. Because if you lose any, the odds go up that you will lose all. They are not uncorrelated. They are likely to be highly correlated. They are likely to move together. This is different than playing several games in a series. It’s more like playing against a serious headwind on a given day. If the wind is messing with one attempted pass, it’s likely to mess with the next one.

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John Holbo 11.13.16 at 3:11 am

“Ergo, you do/did not believe Trump to be an extinction-level threat and relied upon the polls.”

I grant the cognitive dissonance point freely. See OP. I just deny that arrogance, per se, is the root of all cognitive dissonance.

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Bob Zannelli 11.13.16 at 3:16 am

I think a more basic analysis is possible: many Trump voters have pretty much seen through the ideological left’s elitist attitude, their eternal campaign to control speech and their utter inability to simply look at the real world, make observations and use evidence (all of which is generally uncomfortable for one’s precious ideology) and produce thinking based on facts rather than abstract programmes based on fantasies from their academic echo chambers. They may not know any of this in a pedagogical fashion, but they can spot bullshit pretty quickly, and what they see is self-appointed intellectuals who broadcast but never listen – not as a matter of interlocutary style, but as a fundamental approach to the world.

A real problem is that such people have infected the mainstream political left so now ‘left’ = post-modernist ideologue, aka politically correct idiot, take your pick. Rational people who thought they were on the left in old school terms (labour union politics etc) have no party.

It’s therefore pretty easy to understand large numbers of voters not voting for Hillary and voting for Trump: she belongs to a party that does not listen or observe, and isn’t interested in their situation in principle, only in its own ideology. He doesn’t have an ideology. He may be lying through his teeth but at least he’s doing it in a way they can understand”

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

There is a fair degree of truth in what you say. But this doesn’t ennoble those who found their political identity in the sexist, racist, and outright vicious campaign of Donald Trump as you seem to what to do. Their voting represents a hate crime. And it’s pretty scary, it even surprised a cynic like me.

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John Holbo 11.13.16 at 3:16 am

I am sorry to cut you no slack, kidneystones. It’s just that I am sure that, having been right, your ego is in no immediate danger of deflation. But you do want to avoid becoming like the Clinton supporter in world-2 who is now giving Trump, retrospectively, no chance. That person is clearly irrational. Ergo, you don’t want to be epistemically isomorphic with that person.

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Bob Zannelli 11.13.16 at 3:22 am

Among those that I know personally, not social media or passing acquaintances, they generally fall into two categories – blindly partisan (hate government, maybe hate liberals), and deeply misanthropic (really hate government, really hate liberals.)
At least that’s the anecdotal evidence from this central Floridian.”

Same here, I live in Central Florida. It’s very ugly.

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kidneystones 11.13.16 at 3:28 am

Not a bit, John. I welcome and admire the clarity of your arguments.
One should never apologize for rigor.

The problem I have is that if you all are so darned smart, logical, and all, how do you defend your decision to do far less than enough to avoid an outcome that you clearly wished to avoid?

You are at least as arrogant and self-aware of this defect as I, if I may say so, and for that reason alone I’d have thought you’d be more cautious.

I was wrong.

88

Bob Zannelli 11.13.16 at 3:29 am

Bob Zanelli: That the election of Trump had anything at all to with neoliberalism is the fantasy of the left. People didn’t vote for Trump to have more fairness, less wealth inequality and a government that serves the interest of all Americans.

The left fantasy is that Clinton did or could credibly offer more fairness, less wealth inequality or a government that serves the interest of all Americans.

Twenty-five years of neoliberal “it’s complicated” drained all the credibility out of any potential Democratic populism.

This is like arguing I couldn’t stand the person who had bad table manners so I chose to go with the rapist. Complaining about the faults of the democrats seems pretty strange when the other choice was a sociopath.

89

Ronan(rf) 11.13.16 at 3:53 am

Can I just link to this?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0Uab876YKBQ

2.50 in. Others were using kidneystones predictive model.

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John Holbo 11.13.16 at 4:11 am

“You are at least as arrogant and self-aware of this defect as I”

And since my argument is that you are at least as arrogant and self-aware [did you mean unaware – well, same difference] of this defect as I, then we can agree to disagree. Er, agree.

“how do you defend your decision to do far less than enough to avoid an outcome that you clearly wished to avoid? “

Why the hell would I want to defend that?

91

cowardly lion 11.13.16 at 4:49 am

Looking at what happened in Kenosha, WI, the easiest and maybe the most depressing answer may be that Republican obstructionism may have actually worked for them. It had been a reliably blue city, always trusting in Democratic support, but what happened? They got tired of their representatives coming home with empty promises and greeting them with shrugs of “what are you gonna do?”. Well I think the signal they sent was quite clear, you vote to end obstruction.

92

LFC 11.13.16 at 4:54 am

Omega Centauri @74
Partly because I knew whom I was voting for, I didn’t read the candidates’ websites (or white papers, which HRC, at least, doubtless had).

But I did watch or listen to the debates (I missed about 10 minutes in the last one, but basically I heard all of them). And when Trump started on his I-will-bring-back-good-jobs-by-ripping-up-trade-agreements shtick, HRC should have said: “Nonsense, these are empty promises that can’t be met. Stopping dumping of Chinese steel in the US is fine, but it won’t bring back a ton of assembly-line steel jobs b.c of automation. No one has a magic-wand solution, but Trump’s promises to bring back the economy of the ’50s are just lies and illusion. If you vote for him thinking that will happen you are falling for a con. But here’s a couple things we can do (besides raising the minimum wage) to start bringing some decent jobs back to depressed parts of the country.” And then, having already turned to her economic advisors for one or two ideas — never mind that they would work, all they had to be was comprehensible and not in multi-syllabic technospeak — she should then have proceeded to mention them.

And in the course of three debates with Trump, she said, as best I can recall, nothing like that.

93

bruce wilder 11.13.16 at 5:05 am

BZ: This is like arguing I couldn’t stand the person who had bad table manners so I chose to go with the rapist. Complaining about the faults of the democrats seems pretty strange when the other choice was a sociopath.

One of the deep problems I had with the election season comment threads here at CT is that so many chose to reason in this deeply polarizing way, depending on moralizing in extreme ways in order to basically ignore any other viewpoint or consideration of the problematic dynamics of politics.

I have no wish to revive or legitimate your nonsense any further.

94

John Holbo 11.13.16 at 5:06 am

I will point out, for the record, that I called the final results on February 17:

http://crookedtimber.org/2016/02/17/a-few-us-election-related-thoughts/

But really I didn’t. I said that IF Trump were to win, he would win in precisely the way that he, in fact, did. And I gave him a 35% chance. And I caught shit for it at the time, looking back. Got accused of white privilege n’ everything in that ol’ thread. (Which is to say: it was a thread.) But of course I then spent the rest of the year making Trump jokes to friends and family, chuckling about apocalypse. Cognitive dissonance, man. It’s a killer.

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engels 11.13.16 at 5:10 am

Can anyone point to a single way these threads have improved, or even changed, as a consequence of the new comments policy?

96

John Holbo 11.13.16 at 5:15 am

“Can anyone point to a single way these threads have improved, or even changed, as a consequence of the new comments policy?”

Yes, they are slightly slower. Which I’m sure is annoying but it does cut down slightly on the pugilism. Less visceral satisfaction to the hits if you have to wait a few hours.

Two, a few comments are being deleted as we go.

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kidneystones 11.13.16 at 5:30 am

Hi John, Good for you! And I think the end of your @91 nails it.

@89 Re: my predictive model. Pretty simple actually. As long as the overwhelming majority elsewhere, and particularly here trashed me, even John, and particularly Corey I was pretty sure Trump would pull it out.

My predictions (think future) depend on two factors:

1/ % of Liberals laughing at the ‘hicks’ and their concerns, be it here, or in the media.
2/ % of ‘hicks’ listening to and watching liberals laugh at them and their concerns.

Factor in time spent being the butt of liberal jokes, or indifference, add factory closures, welfare for undocumented workers, bank bail-outs, and a daily reminder that your days and those of your family are numbered. Let sit, then shake.

You’re all welcome to employ the same predictive model. Even ‘smart’ folks like John.

Still laughing?

98

kidneystones 11.13.16 at 5:48 am

Hi John, I realize on the re-read I may have crossed the line with the ‘Still laughing’ or even ‘smart’ folks. If so, apologies. I really do want people here to take the concerns of the hicks more seriously. Many may ‘believe’ they do. But those most in need of help: black and white aren’t hearing it. And what these folks do hear, did not draw them to the Democratic candidate in anything like the numbers necessary to defeat Trump.

I am quite serious about the modelling. As long as Trump opponents kept congratulating each other on a ‘sure thing’ in November, I remained optimistic about an upset.

99

LFC 11.13.16 at 5:50 am

engels @95
Can anyone point to a single way these threads have improved, or even changed, as a consequence of the new comments policy?

Yes: before the new comments policy (or stricter enforcement of the existing one), there was more name-calling, there were more insults, more contemptuous remarks.

Insults along the lines of “moron,” “fool,” “need to work on reading comprehension,” “not the sharpest knife in the drawer,” “you reason like a barely literate nineteenth-century urbanite [sic]”, etc. are less frequent.

So yes, I’d say the threads have changed as a consequence of the new comments policy.

—–

And in case it’s not clear, in the above comment about HRC I’m basically agreeing w Omega Centauri, not disagreeing.

100

John Holbo 11.13.16 at 5:55 am

“I am quite serious about the modelling.”

Your model was seriously terrible, kidneystones. I’ll stick with Sean Trende.

101

kidneystones 11.13.16 at 6:39 am

Ho-h0! You mean you prefer Trende to me? Now my feelings are hurt.

I just re-read your February post after reading the Wapo review via RCP which makes parts of your Feb 17 piece positively prescient, especially Republicans holding their noses to vote for Trump 90% according to Wapo:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-series-of-strategic-mistakes-likely-sealed-clintons-fate/2016/11/11/82f3fcc0-a840-11e6-ba59-a7d93165c6d4_story.html

As for daring to broach the topic that Trump supporters might be moved by economic populism, who can forget this bowl of sunlight coming in as comment @3 to your Feb 17 piece?

iComment @ 3 “Most pundits and even intellectuals [That would appears to include you] seem unable to tell the difference between economic populism and a Klan rally. Or, to put it another way, they would go to a Klan rally and report the underlying economic anger and join in calling out political elites for creating it. Trump is leading Klan rallies across the US. That’s the sum total of it…”

What did Sean Trende write today about the impact of making it taboo to even discuss the possibility of a Trump victory?

102

Tom 11.13.16 at 7:00 am

I reread the February thread by JH: very insightful then, and even more now in retrospect.

I agree with OP too. Before the election I thought that, even if HRC would win, the fact that we were so close to Trump should have been ground for some serious thinking about the state of the nation.

As a side, think of the alternate world where Weiner’s pics do not cross state borders. Sometimes empires fall for the stupidest accidents…

103

Paul 11.13.16 at 7:18 am

One of the most scary books that I have ever read is the 1997 prophetic book Between Jesus and the Market : The EMOTIONS That Matter in Right-Wing America by Linda Kintz.
All of the usual well known right-wing suspects and the propaganda outfits that are associated with are featured in her various essays..

Meanwhile it seems to me that the set of essays featured on the Counterpunch on why The Queen of Chaos and the arrogant Democratic Party establishment lost the election are very good.

Another point the personality and the language that is used by any leader (male or female) of any organization, political party, business and especially country has an all-the-one-down-the-line effect on everyone else who happens to be in the same organization.
Concurrent with that I came across a brief very telling description on what is happening in the USA, and which will only accelerate under the Donald.

We are witnessing the end of civilization psychosis – stay tuned (or zombified) and watch it on TV.

And as Alasdair MacIntyre prophetically pointed out quite some ago: The barbarians are no longer outside of the gates. They are very much inside the city and have their destructive hands on the levers of power. They are also under the illusion that they are in control.

104

nastywoman 11.13.16 at 8:01 am

– as this started out to be such a joyful thread about jokes and comedy let’s spend the next two and a half years pondering who was right or wrong about the outcome of this erection – that should keep us all busy – and structure time in a pleasant way up to the beginning of the next erection…?

105

Hidari 11.13.16 at 8:27 am

@89
Actually that video was really interesting. Especially from 6:15 onwards. A reminder of lots and lots of people, black and white, talking about how much they loathed both candidates.

Even in the rallys we see today, I see a lot of hate for Trump. Love for Hilary? Not so much.

106

J-D 11.13.16 at 8:28 am

The best joke (that is, best to my taste) I encountered about the Trump campaign was this one —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qIQbydyHwc

— and it’s still just as good. But then, it’s not whimsical. Also, the joke itself is not premised on the impossibility of a Trump victory; if anything, the opposite.

107

Bill Benzon 11.13.16 at 9:23 am

“Maybe the one difference between these twin earths, in the run-up, is that in one James Comey is less of a cheeky monkey in the letter-writing department. Who knows?”

Works for me. That is, the difference between these two worlds is noise in the system. It could have gone either way depending on which butterfly was fluttering by and where. (See Scott Alexander.)

“The Clintons are cooked. (Although still a going concern in world-2. Isn’t life strange?) The Democrats need to rebuild their eroded base. But big picture strategy is inevitably anti-. And who the hell knows what we are up against? The Democratic Party is now the anti-Trumpism Party, functionally. What the f**k is that?”

Yes. In retrospect the race became competitive when Trump cleared the table on May 3 and the Dems nominated Hillary (see phenomenal cat #61). That made it the twittering nabobs of technowonkery against the king tyrant lizard of mythocracy. And mythocracy was strong enough to make it all but a draw in the popular and a strong win in the electoral.

Of course, the Rebubs had their technowonks too, and they got it wrong as well. They misunderstimated the power of the lizard they were riding. Trouble is, the Dems had no lizards in the race at all, not even a nice friendly purple Barney.

Are we now living in a world where noise in the system decides elections? How does the Trump vote break down between those who would have voted for him over, say, Sanders, and those who were mostly against technowonkery, or those mostly against a woman (any woman)? Do the Dems have the imagination and guts to come up with a new mythology? If so, that’ll let them put a lizard into the field the next time.

108

Adam 11.13.16 at 10:26 am

Are you seriously betting on Trump being more of a “Berlusconi” than a “Mussolini”? After the misplaced confidence, even arrogance, of the “liberal” media (and your colleagues here on CT) that Clinton would win handily? Your position allows you to make such claims; the dozens and dozens of victims of hate crimes perpetrated since the election, in the name of Trump, do not have such luxury. You yourself admit to being deeply worried. So maybe you should stop making bets and predictions that hope for the best and look around you and realize that the worst is already here and beginning its work.

109

Manta 11.13.16 at 10:28 am

44 AH 11.12.16 at 4:51 pm
“I’d really like to read an italian analysis of Trump vs. Berlusconi. In general the US President is a more powerful position than prime minister, but I don’t know enough about italian politics to say for sure.”

Berlusconi was also the head and founder of his party (which was the majority party).
Half the Members of parliament in the government coalition owed their position directly to him.

110

nastywoman 11.13.16 at 11:11 am

@109
‘How does the Trump vote break down between those who would have voted for him over, say, Sanders, and those who were mostly against technowonkery, or those mostly against a woman (any woman)?’

How does the Trump vote break down between those who voted for Trump because somebody took Trumps Twitter away and he stopped twittering in the last week and all of his Twitter fans.

And as we now (probably) all have heard every single contributing possibility from Me voting for Hillery because Bernie begged me – but some friends of mine who still live in the basements of their parents voted for Trump because the believe in the theory of Susan (Sarandon) that we need the Fascist to get a Bernielike in 2020 – it might be time to focus
on ‘the American Worker’ -(Turned around Rust Belt or not)

So what you guys are going to do that in the next election they are going to vote for us again?

111

John Holbo 11.13.16 at 11:13 am

“You yourself admit to being deeply worried.”

In case this was unclear: I am anti-Trump, yes.

112

nastywoman 11.13.16 at 11:54 am

@109
“I’d really like to read an italian analysis of Trump vs. Berlusconi.’

Pronto!
– come un abitante della città di amore Verona ai tempi di Berlusconi –
as an inhabitant of the city of love Verona in the times of Berlusconi I feel entitled
to tell’yall:

Si è incomparabile – (It’s incomparable) –
or as Berlusconi once so famously said:
Sono un amante, non un combattente -(I’m a Lover not a Fighter!)

Hallleluja!
Halleluja!!

113

Bob Zannelli 11.13.16 at 12:00 pm

“BZ: This is like arguing I couldn’t stand the person who had bad table manners so I chose to go with the rapist. Complaining about the faults of the democrats seems pretty strange when the other choice was a sociopath.

One of the deep problems I had with the election season comment threads here at CT is that so many chose to reason in this deeply polarizing way, depending on moralizing in extreme ways in order to basically ignore any other viewpoint or consideration of the problematic dynamics of politics. /

I have no wish to revive or legitimate your nonsense any further”

It’s not nonsense that upsets you, it’s an inconvenient truth, a truth that challenges your belief system.

114

nastywoman 11.13.16 at 12:43 pm

and another ‘joke’ – or not:

83 years in a country very, very far away from our homeland the working class was devastated.
33% of the nation’s working population was unemployed!
In words: Thirty-three percent!
And along came a Racist Monster – played on the population’s fear of no hope. promised to make the nation great again and decreed that all should work in the country.

And in just 6 years this Racist Monster got the unemployment rate down to 0!
In words ‘zero’!

And it’s often forgotten – that’s why a lot of Germans liked their Nazis so much…

115

Hidari 11.13.16 at 1:14 pm

I really know I am on an American liberal blog when I see that people are discussing whether or not Trump will be a Mussolini or a Berlusconi. In fact the closest analogue to Trump is surely Netanyahu. If you want to see what the US will look like under Trump in the future, look at Israel now.

There are certain ironies here.

In other, not unrelated, news, apparently Trump is serious about moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

116

Hidari 11.13.16 at 1:25 pm

I mean the US Embassy in Israel obviously. Which just as obviously means that the 2 state ‘solution’ is dead.

117

Ronan(rf) 11.13.16 at 1:26 pm

He’s not Italian (I don’t think) but you could read Alexander Stille

http://alexanderstille.net

He’s been pushing trump/Berlusconi comparison for a while

118

hix 11.13.16 at 1:36 pm

Berlusconi had far more power than Trump will have. First because the de facto power of a prime minster in a parliamentary system is larger than that of a president in a presidental system and second because of his media empire.

119

Manta 11.13.16 at 1:51 pm

@115 Hidari 11.13.16 at 1:14 pm
“In fact the closest analogue to Trump is surely Netanyahu. If you want to see what the US will look like under Trump in the future, look at Israel now.”

You mean a (relatively) prosperous country?
Or you mean a country where most of the neighbours are indifferent/hostile?
Or you think that USA will occupy Mexico and call it “occupied territories”?

120

nastywoman 11.13.16 at 2:04 pm

‘Berlusconi had far more power than Trump will have.’

Could be? – but it could be like:
What is the difference between a German and an Italian Fascist?
(answer)
The German Fascist takes it very seriously.

So we just might have to wait how seriously the American Fascist takes it?

121

Hidari 11.13.16 at 2:25 pm

@118

Err…you do know that the Republicans have the Senate, Congress, the Supreme Court (shortly) and also a huge amount of local government positions? And that the police force (and other forces of authority) always have and always will lean Right? (Don’t for a second think those threats to resign by those in the CIA and NSA are serious, and even if they are, they will be quickly replaced).

Remember Trump has the ability, begun by Obama, to set up drone strikes on anybody on planet Earth and kill them: the Tuesday meetings for who to die decided via the Kill Lists. He also has access to metadata on, essentially, all world leaders and make no mistake, whatever, slight and small limits there have been up until now on the NSA and the CIA: they will go now.The gloves will be off. These agencies will be able to spy on anyone, anywhere, in any context, for any purpose.

As for the media, yes, the 4th Estate will provide harsh and meaningful interrogation of Trump’s policies just like they did in the run up to the Iraq war.

Not to mention that the Democrats will be too busy tearing themselves apart to offer meaningful opposition, not that they ever do.

But hey! Stop! What was I thinking! This will never happen, say the liberals, because reasons.

After all the liberals predicted that Trump would never win the primaries and that he would never win the election so I’m sure they’re right about this too.

122

nastywoman 11.13.16 at 3:17 pm

– but shouldn’t we at least celebrate that America is discovering ‘the American worker’?

All of Americ suddenly seems to have realized that there are ‘real workers’ living in our country who are doing ‘real work’.

Awesome! –
Absolutely awesome!! –
It’s nearly as awesome when American Idol discovered Kelly Clarkson!!
and Michael Moore is everywhere as he know a few workers personally and everybody wants to know from him how these workers really are!

Halleluja!

123

Hidari 11.13.16 at 3:27 pm

@119

Israel built a wall!

A giant beautiful wall!!

124

Bob Zannelli 11.13.16 at 3:31 pm

For those who are very confused about why Trump was elected this should be helpful

http://www.juancole.com/2016/11/donald-inspired-universities.html

125

LFC 11.13.16 at 4:36 pm

At comment @7 of Holbo’s Feb.17 post, a commenter wrote:

The Democrats win if they can turn out the black and Latino vote, so don’t underestimate the power of a candidate [i.e., Clinton, the commenter meant] who can speak to minorities.

Yes. The problem of course is that we now know the Clinton campaign failed to turn out minority voters in the required numbers in key areas; or to put it another way that doesn’t sound so blame-placing, minority voters failed to turn out in the required numbers in key areas. A figure I saw yesterday: Clinton won Wayne County (Mich.), which includes Detroit, by a landslide, but underperformed Obama 2012 there by 78,000 votes. She lost Michigan as a whole by a mere 11,000 votes.

Rough translation: 12,000 or (to make it a bit more comfortable) 15,000 more votes in Wayne County (presumably mostly African-American, though I’m not totally positive on that) and Clinton wins Michigan.

126

John Garrett 11.13.16 at 4:43 pm

I’ve worked in nearly every presidential campaign since JFK. Hilary Clinton was the worst candidate and ran the worst campaign of any candidate in my memory. We weren’t responsible for this, she and her advisors were. Yes, we didn’t do enough, yes, too many people stayed home, yes, neoliberal arrogance. But Bernie and many others would have kicked Trump’s butt.

JG

127

Manta 11.13.16 at 5:11 pm

125 LFC 11.13.16 at 4:36 pm
” The problem of course is that we now know the Clinton campaign failed to turn out minority voters in the required numbers in key areas; or to put it another way that doesn’t sound so blame-placing, minority voters failed to turn out in the required numbers in key areas. “

When a candidate fails to get votes, the responsibility is squarely on his/her shoulders.

128

John Garrett 11.13.16 at 5:46 pm

Just in:

Senator Bernie Sanders, who lost to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, would have beaten Donald Trump by a historic margin if he had been the party’s nominee, according to a pre-election poll. The national survey of more than 1,600 registered voters, conducted by Gravis Marketing two days before the general election, found that 75-year-old Vermont Senator would have received 56 per cent of the vote while Trump would have won 44 per cent.

129

bob mcmanus 11.13.16 at 6:00 pm

Without approaching the substance, the arguments about “2%” or “electoral college” “Comey” or “Clinton” or “racism” or “economic anxiety” etc are this very week being taken into state and local caucus and meeting rooms (and the culture etc) in a battle between Sanders and Clinton supporters for control of the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party is busted, has no power, and we don’t yet know the terrain, so this is not about attacking Trump and Republicans yet.

On the other hand, blacks and other minorities, resident aliens, immigrants etc are being physically and emotionally attacked at this very moment. Much of our effort should be directed at material assistance and expressing empathy and solidarity.

But Dems are caucusing and choosing leaders. Catastrophe is hard.

Part of empathy and solidarity might involve buying into, if only for a while, the “racism” narrative of the election, as best some of us can. Therefore I recommend that party leadership does go to AAs, Latinos, Muslims, people like Keith Ellison. Hopefully supporters of Sanders like Ellison.

And nobody over thirty. Just kidding. I have faith that the Sanders supporters can negotiate the arguments and alliances productively.

(I am aware that a faction (s) is missing. Some Democrats might benefit from a short period of reclusive self-examination. Failure has consequences.)

130

bob mcmanus 11.13.16 at 6:22 pm

And sorry, but this is the time when the Democratic Party chairs get reshuffled those at the front are moved to the back, those who were first are now last. I wish the struggle could be delayed, but I am probably wrong.

Somebodies, some factions are gonna pay. It will in aggregate perhaps be unfair. But bets were made and leadership was demanded, and the failure is catastrophic and irrevocable. A new party, nation, and world may perhaps be rebuilt someday. Previous leaders and activists of certain descriptions can just go away.

The failure has put the actually most vulnerable at risk in horrible ways, and Democrats should be riotous in our protection and demand for protection. The leadership should go to minorities as an expression of our defiance and our strategy.
Intersectionally, age should be given priority over other categories. Experience has much less value in Trumpland.

131

Ben 11.13.16 at 6:44 pm

John Garrett, can you give details? Lots of insider-y people are saying stuff like that but few details or examples are being given.

132

Bob Zannelli 11.13.16 at 6:49 pm

Perhaps this is a little too facile but I think in general conservatives have a more reality based understanding of human nature , but they use this understanding to make an ugly world , while liberals truly desire a better world but generally lack a reality based understanding of human nature. Of course the trick is to develop reality based political strategies that have a chance of improving the world we live in given its true nature.

133

Yankee 11.13.16 at 7:09 pm

@ John #69 etc

You recall in the spring when Trump was picking off Rubio everybody was wishing him luck in anticipation of winning by 30 points. Since then more evidence has accrued, but I think many misunderstood the mood of the country by much more than 2 points. Not to deny HRC could have won, but the polls were wrong => the strategy was flawed (among other problems).

BTW kidneystones, I said in the spring Big T could take it. Not as a supporter. People think I’m a troll, I guess.

134

Tom 11.14.16 at 12:50 am

John Garrett, can you elaborate about what specific mistakes hrc campaign did? I know nothing about campaigning and i am curious. Thanks.

135

engels 11.14.16 at 1:33 am

#134 Possibly one example

Latino leader attacks Clinton campaign for taking Hispanic vote for granted
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/12/latino-leader-attacks-clinton-campaign-hispanic-vote

136

LFC 11.14.16 at 2:06 am

Manta @127
It’s just that I didn’t want to come across as blaming the HRC campaign team for *everything* since, although I voted for her (and expected her to win), I was not active in the campaign, I don’t have any insider perspective on it, and thus feel I should exercise some restraint about saying ‘it’s all their fault’ in the aftermath. (That said, I haven’t been all that successful in exercising such restraint here and elsewhere. But a lot of HRC paid staffers and volunteers doubtless worked hard, and having been involved in campaigns in the past, I feel for them, whatever mistakes they might have made. Hindsight is 20-20….)

137

J-D 11.14.16 at 2:20 am

John Garrett

Senator Bernie Sanders, who lost to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, would have beaten Donald Trump by a historic margin if he had been the party’s nominee, according to a pre-election poll. The national survey of more than 1,600 registered voters, conducted by Gravis Marketing two days before the general election, found that 75-year-old Vermont Senator would have received 56 per cent of the vote while Trump would have won 44 per cent.

This is an odd moment to be touting a pre-election poll result as a reliable guide.

138

Chris "merian" W. 11.14.16 at 4:27 am

People didn’t vote for Trump to have more fairness, less wealth inequality and a government that serves the interest of all Americans. In fact the Trumpers deeply resent any government programs that help the less well off, they resent their tax money being used to help poorer people have access to health care, or food stamps, or mandates that make the life of the handicapped a little more tolerable, I could go on, it’s a long list.

The campaign, among other things, was saturated with false equivalencies, and now the post-election recriminations look saturated with false dichotomies to me. Yes, the left-of-center parties across much of the Western world, including the Democrats, have no good answer to working-class people who used to be economically more or less secure (which only ever was the case, in the US, for white working-class people) and now face an economic decline and loss of status to which most of them can’t adapt. This is a structural political problem, and it’s not being made the top priority it needs to be. I cheered for Sanders and what his movement has achieved, but even they fall far short, especially in an era of the Trump, and given that going right-wing was always an option for the white working-class (only, it’s up from 40 or 50% to now 70% or thereabouts, that is, from an almost 50/50 split between R and D to a 40-point advantage for R under Trump, up from a nearly 30-point advantage when Romney was running against Obama; I’m quoting numbers because I think having a quantitative idea of the size of the problems is a good thing). Their desire to kick the establishment in the teeth was known, was even reflected in the polls, and was much discussed. I’m not surprised they did. They’re behaving like what we’ve seen many times before.

What did take my by surprise was that the movement wasn’t counteracted by those who aren’t under economic stress. The typical Trump voter, after all, is more affluent than the typical Clinton voter, and the racial split is just terrible. Every single-factor white demographic (white women, white educated people…) voted for Trump. Around here, well, read what a well-regarded Alaskan journalist/feature writer has to say. The Nazis had propaganda, the Soviets had dezinformatsiya, and Trump has Breitbart, its networks, and help from the Macedonian meme factories. People swallowed it whole. Fear works. And they threw POC and other minorities under the bus.

I’m finding myself with a much reduced tolerance for mono-causal, simple-blame approaches. Sure, I, too, yelled at the TV and wanted Clinton just to give some straight talk about jobs that won’t come back. She’s actually done this a few times, as far as I know, but never very prominently. Why? Well, read your Breitbart (it’ll be a good idea going forward — these people are now senior advisors of the executive; quite a career). They were just waiting for her to do it. Her campaign would have been toast.

From now on, standing up for justice in the face of Trumpian attacks will take different kinds of networking than going out with a strategy to wrest back votes in order to keep Trumps reign as short as possible.

[PS: Apologies for dropping out of a conversation unceremoniously a few weeks ago. I never responded to Lupita. Also, the conversations around moderation policy have led me to conclude to give up the pseudonymity and post under my everyday identity.]

139

Smass 11.14.16 at 5:30 am

Engels@1.35am,
Thanks for that. It is interesting how much of the post-election frenzy of analysis has focused on how Clinton/the Democrats lost because they ignored the concerns of White working class or lower middle class people. Perhaps it was the concerns of Black or Hispanic people that did not get enough attention, hence the lower turnout….
(not that they have to be mutually exclusive).

140

John Garrett 11.14.16 at 2:00 pm

@ 131, 134. I certainly don’t have every reason it was such a bad campaign, but here are some:
– Total failure to engage directly with Trump’s lies and rhetoric, and to keep at it
– No press conferences, no engagement with ordinary people ever
– Her sustained lies re email, Foundation, etc., etc. Never apologize, never explain.
– Absolute unwillingness to engage with people who disagreed with her
– Repetition, no humor unless programmed – most people thought Trump was funny
– Never a moment of spontaneity
– Complete faith that ads and money would win

A start but maybe somebody wants to expand the list. Some of this applies to Dukakis, Gore, etc. but they weren’t this bad.

141

Glen Tomkins 11.14.16 at 3:15 pm

ref #130

If we’re talking about the organizational lessons the parties should take home from the results this year, it seems to me that this is the two part, key lesson:
1) the Ds need fewer superdelegates
2) the Rs need more superdelegates

Is it fiddling while Rome burns to talk about intra-party organizational lessons right now? Absolutely, but such questions are about all the US politics we can talk about right now, because none of us has clue one what the Donald is going to do with his unprecedented freedom of maneuver holding the most powerful office on the planet.

Not that the organizational question is completely irrelevant. The Rs have a base that needs to be trusted less, while the Ds have a base that needs to be trusted more.

142

tom 11.14.16 at 3:55 pm

Thanks, John Garrett @140.

143

Glen Tomkins 11.14.16 at 4:10 pm

ref #140,

Frankly, I think that your first item is the only one at all relevant. It’s in conflict with the others anyway, as it speaks to the fact that Clinton did messaging rather than engage with Trump, while your other points claim that she should have done more messaging, drained more content to clear the field more for emotive signifiers.

You can’t have it both ways. The way I choose to have it in my criticism is to stick with her not engaging with Trump. She gets a pass from me on not projecting whatever any of us might imagine would have been the right image.

That said, it would have been a fundamental error by every conventional rule of contemporary US politics for her to engage with Trump.

Take the obvious example, immigration policy. Trump says we should deport the undocumented and build a wall. The conventional view of this is that he has himself already done whatever alienation of the Hispanic vote and juicing up of the D base that can be done from this issue. And, by failing to use a dog whistle, he has alienated the conventional idea of the suburban swing voter. You don’t interfere with your opponent as he is busy committing suicide, so it would have been political malpractice to engage his policy proposals with any specifics at all of what our side proposes instead of ethnic cleansing. Go anything at all beyond saying we’re in favor of some sort of “pathway to citizenship” some time in the indefinite and far future, even go so far as to repeat that empty bromide, and you risk losing voters by reminding them that this is a complicated issue, about which many of them are unlikely to have less mixed feelings than the revulsion we trust that Trump’s ethnic cleansing left them with. This risk is highlighted by the other half of the abstract bromide our side offers on this issue, that we are in favor of, and our policies would do a better job of, “securing our borders”. Well, if our borders need securing from immigrants, how does it make any sense at all to reward any of them who violated our existing immigration law by crossing those borders in violation of that law?

Engaging with Trump on this central, burning issue, would have meant coming out for amnesty for those who violated what we would have to now say are foolish and misguided immigration laws. We would have to come out and say that, no, our borders do not need to be secured from a family from Oaxaca that wants to move here to work hard building this country.

Ask me, and I will tell you that our side should have been doing the hard work of actually engaging on this issue and coming out for repealing existing law and amnesty for those who violated it, for decades. But we haven’t, and the conventional wisdom is that our failure to engage, on this issue and on just about every other you could name, is the only reason Ds aren’t an extinct species in Washington. Those decades of failure to engage, leading (apparently) to success at survival, bind our candidates to the conventional wisdom with ties stronger than those that bind the Fenris Wolf.

I do not blame, at all, Clinton or her advisers for failing to do things my way. They are professionals, no more free to engage on the issues — whatever good that might achieve in some theoretical long run — than I as a doctor am free to stop giving my diabetic patients diabetic medications just because diet and exercise would work so much better at controlling their diabetes.

If Clinton had followed my advice, and yours apparently, and engaged with Trump, yes, she might have won. If I stop dispensing diabetic medication, maybe my patient will be shocked into trying diet and exercise, and their diabetes will be controlled. Probably not. In both cases. the more likely outcome would be failure, at the polls and at preventing the need for dialysis. And failure after doing things the right way and engaging Trump, would have discredited doing things the right way, and cost politicians who believe at all in doing things the right way their careers, as surely as ripping up that insulin rx would cost me my license.

A patient and a nation have to reach bottom before they can change. No, this is not an argument for action to heighten the contradictions. They will heighten soon enough based on the actions of the powerful. They must be allowed to heighten based on the actions of the powerful alone so that when the moment of national clarity arrives, how the nation got there will be among the things that are clear. Only then will a patient or a nation respond to engagement on the issues.

144

Stan 11.14.16 at 7:46 pm

“I’m really tired of being told here and elsewhere what “they” (Trump voters) think, feel, want, what they hate and resent, etc., etc. Seems to me the first step toward understanding would beto recognize that we (and most of us don’t know a single Trump voter, and if we do we don’t talk to him/her) have no idea what motivated individuals. My guess is that it’s highly nuanced, highly local, highly personal: but what do I know? Or you?”

Well I know a bunch of them. They are: all white, mostly over age 50 although a few 20-somethings in there too, men and women, some urban and some rural, some highly educated and some not.

Many of the 20-somethings could have easily been Bernie supporters and in fact a few were. They see the system screwing everyone their age they know and they’re looking for someone to change things. They never gave a damn about Hillary, even the women, because she was old news. They wanted things shaken up. I am afraid they’re going to get that.

The older ones? Racist at core. Really fucking racist. It got expressed in many ways, some subtle, but if I had to name one thing that’s it.

145

Bob Zannelli 11.15.16 at 4:27 am

“I’m really tired of being told here and elsewhere what “they” (Trump voters) think, feel, want, what they hate and resent, etc., etc. Seems to me the first step toward understanding would beto recognize that we (and most of us don’t know a single Trump voter, and if we do we don’t talk to him/her) have no idea what motivated individuals. My guess is that it’s highly nuanced, highly local, highly personal: but what do I know? Or you?”

I know some. They are racists and sexists.

146

basil 11.15.16 at 2:51 pm

Fausse Copine

Someone is going to write a PhD analysing HRC’s one-on-one engagements with minorities this election – and the reactions to them on the bifurcated media. but any number of others will do. It really is a spectacle to watch shocked liberals wonder at how anyone could vote for Trump, labelling such a vote ‘racist’ all the while ignoring those here who giddily, excitedly celebrated Clinton – which I’d also call ‘racist’.

In 2016! With this internet thingy available to most of us. With all that we know to be actually, factually true.

Even Salon – not Jacobin by a stretch – saw fit to publish this. Jacobin also had an article about the wall Bill built, and that Barry extended.

Do liberals actually think that White Supremacy is just racial slurs, loyalty to the Republican Party, the KKK and Confederacy Flags? Do they think White Supremacy starts now, returning after an 8 year leave of absence to reprise its violence, that it emanates from evil, pale-skinned, poorly read bodies in red states? Hmmm.

—-
Going beyond epidermal definitions, I want to ask that we think of the instability of Whiteness. As Whiteness is dominance and privilege, many can become white, and we can maybe think about how others react to losing Whiteness and its wages. Any other race abolitionists here?

147

basil 11.15.16 at 2:53 pm

Sorry, I fluffed the hyperlinks. They precede the text that’s presently linked.

148

Joy 11.15.16 at 4:17 pm

Tim Reynolds #8:

“You can point to the popular vote all you want, but that doesn’t decide who gets to be President and never will for precisely this reason–you want to abolish the electoral college so that you can safely ignore the interests of working-class whites and rural voters”

If this is so, the voters in the states of “working-class whites and rural voters” (granted for the sake of argument) have had the edge in the House, the Senate, *and* the White House for a very long time. How’s that been working out for you?

149

J-D 11.16.16 at 12:06 am

kidneystones

My predictions (think future) depend on two factors:

1/ % of Liberals laughing at the ‘hicks’ and their concerns, be it here, or in the media.
2/ % of ‘hicks’ listening to and watching liberals laugh at them and their concerns.

What you write is plainly inaccurate: your predictions never depended on those figures, because you never had those figures.

150

Suzanne 11.16.16 at 5:31 am

@127: She did get votes. Lots of votes. Millions more than her rival in the primaries, and a million more than her rival in the general as of the present writing.

Adding to what Joy said @148 – the Electoral College was an anachronism almost as soon as it was established and probably would never have existed at all save as a mechanism to keep the slave states happy.

I also know some Trump voters, some professionally, some I regret to say in my family circle (not that it’s easy to know that you work with and for people who were willing to put such a person in the Oval Office). All white men. None of them are hurting financially. It’s racism, sexism, and right wing politics at work.

151

NR 11.16.16 at 4:58 pm

Trumps victory did not take everyone by surprise. Here’s something I posted on Facebook on March 10, which, while not exactly predicting a Trump victory, saw clearly that the outlook was not nearly as rosy for Hillary as made out by those who insisted we had to rally behind her as the best possible Democratic candidate:

Hillary supporters like to talk about how she’s so ‘battle tested.’ But the attacks she’s faced from the vast right wing conspiracy have been entirely groundless. Pure bullshit. No Republican before Trump has ever been in a position to hit her where she’s actually
vulnerable: Wall Street, trade agreements, and the Iraq War vote. He will crucify her on all three. Everyone recognizes that her Iraq War vote was a classic profile in cowardice. And the the mood of the country has never been more anti-Wall Street or more opposed to job destroying trade agreements than it is now. She’s the perfect storm of a disastrous candidate. And even if she were somehow to eke out a win, she’s got absolutely no coattails. Given her extraordinary unpopularity with every one outside her reliable demographics, she’ll actually do more harm to downticket candidates than help.

Another argument Hill supporters repeat like a mantra is that, unlike Bernie’s voters, hers are ‘reliable Democrats.’ They don’t even seem to realize that that’s exactly why Bernie’s chances are so much better in the general. All those ‘reliable Democrats’ who support Hillary will definitely vote for Bernie if he’s the nominee. But with Bernie we also get all those (otherwise) unreliable millennials, cross-overs, and people who haven’t voted in years or never because the Democratic party’s standard triangulating approach just doesn’t get them excited.

Conversely, if by taking a big steaming dump on all these new voters and millennials who Sanders has got all fired up, Hillary and the Democratic establishment are basically guaranteeing the party’s perpetual weakness—even if she does manage to defeat Trump.

It’s just so dumb I can hardly believe it sometimes. Other times I think:
actually it’s not dumb at all. If you’re a member of the Democratic establishment you will remain your party’s establishment even if Hillary is the nominee and loses the general. At worst (as I’ve already pointed out elsewhere) you lose your day job on Capital Hill and just take a stroll through the revolving door to an even higher paying job as a lobbyist. (Free trade? That’s no threat to a career politician’s job. Those jobs don’t go over seas!) And they probably figure Trump would be so awful Hillary or someone like her would take the presidency in another four years anyway.

A Bernie primary win, on the other hand, is truly an existential threat for the Democratic political class. It means an end to business as usual. Bernie shines a light not just on Hillary but on the trough at which all of them feed.

Absolutely none of this was original to me. What I was saying was pretty much accepted wisdom among those I conversed with online and in the sources we read.

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