On the alleged failure of “liberal progressivism”

by Chris Bertram on November 13, 2016

The other day, an article by Chris Deerin, a writer for the Scottish Daily Mail, appeared on my twitter timeline, retweeted and endorsed by several people I respect. The article argued Trump and Brexit mean that “liberal progressives” have lost and that “the model that has more or less dominated Western politics for the past three decades is defunct. It could not be more dead.” “We” misused that hegemony and are responsible for our own downfall:

We used our hegemony to take down barriers and borders, to connect and build, to (yes) line our own pockets and smugly luxuriate in the goodness of our ideas and intentions. Meantime, we forgot about those who weren’t able to take part, who weren’t benefiting, to whom free trade and open borders meant greater hardship and uneasy cultural compromises. Or, let’s be honest, we didn’t forget – we just chose to conveniently ignore. We stopped asking for their permission, ploughed on through the warning signs, and fell off the end of the road.

Now “liberal” is a funny old word, mostly used as an insult these days by the Jacobin crowd on the one hand and conservatives on the other. Still, I can’t help but feel that my politics is being condemned here as infeasible and dead whilst wondering whether it is in fact true that I’ve enjoyed such “hegemony” for the past 30 years, because that certainly doesn’t gel with my experience. To get pedantic about it, 30 years takes us back to 1986. Mrs Thatcher was still in power in the UK and her most illiberal single measure, Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 was still in the future, outlawing British local authorities from “promoting” homosexuality. In the United States, Ronald Reagan still had a few years to go, and would then be replaced by former CIA Director George H.W. Bush. So whenever this liberal progressive hegemony started, it was considerably more recently. Presumably, in the US it starts with Bill Clinton — a man not without his illiberal side — but then gets interrupted by George W. Bush, whose liberal progressivism included Guantanamo and waterboarding, before “normal service’ got re-established by Barack Obama. In the UK, you could make a plausible case that some kind of “liberal progressivism” took power with Tony Blair in 1997 and then ran on all the way to 2010, though the use of the word “liberal” to describe the attitudes and policies of successive Labour Home Secretaries such as Straw, Blunkett, Clarke and Reid would be curious. In the United States, the past 30 years has seen a massive expansion of the prison population, hardly the mark of liberal progessivism.

Since the article specifically identifies immigration as one of the areas of liberal triumph during this period, it might be worth directing some attention there. Whilst the opening of the UK to migration from new accession EU countries is a big element that supports the claim, pretty much everything else in UK policy in the area does not. As the Migration Observatory reported recently, British immigration law added 89 new types of immigration offences from 1999 to 2016, compared with only 70 that were introduced between 1905 and 1998. There was a massive increase in immigration detention in the UK over the same period and in recent years a series of moral panics about “foreign criminals” that have led to a serious erosion of the rule of law for some sections of society. Citizenship deprivation has become much more common, and is now used to punish not only those taking up arms against the state but also some criminals. A tightening of the spousal visa regime in the UK has separated tens of thousands of children from their parents and prevented many British citizens from living on the territory with their partner of choice. Meanwhile in the US, deportations of irregular migrants including people who entered the United States as small children, disfigured the Obama administration. My Facebook is full of people up in arms about Donald Trump saying he’ll deport 2-3 million, but where were they when Obama deported 2.5 million? Liberal progressivism, it would be nice to try some.

And from a social and economic justice perspective, the liberal progressive agenda has gone backwards rather than forwards over much of the period. The Rawlsian ideal of society as a system of co-operation that both guarantees basic liberties but ensures that society works for the benefit of everyone, and especially the least advantaged, looks further away now than it did in the 1970s. The “well ordered society”, in some respects recognizably the philosophical expression of the New Deal looks unimaginablly distant from our present condition. Now political philosophers worry about the relevance of “ideal theory”, which can seem like a Byzantine discussion of the architecture of castles made of chocolate: back then a fair society seemed almost close enough to touch.

(Not that there haven’t been gains also over the past 30 years. Though Section 28 was a setback, the cause of equality for women and LBGT people has advanced a lot, and in both the UK and the US we now enjoy equal marriage, an idea unthinkable at the beginning of the period. Racial equality presents a more mixed picture, notwithstanding the election of Obama.)

So what Deerin’s article actually means by “liberal progressivism” is a set of policies of free trade, deregulation and privatization, pursued aggressively by governments of all stripes over the past thirty years. These have indeed failed people, and policies of austerity coupled with bailouts for the banks have enraged the voters, so that many people, nostalgic for a more equal and more functional society but confused about who to blame, have channelled their resentments against immigrants and minorities.

I wouldn’t want to be misunderstood here. What is coming is far far worse than what we’ve had. For all of their many faults, Blair, the Clintons, Obama, and even, occasionally, Bush and Cameron paid lip-service to ideals of freedom and equality, to the rule of law, to the various international treaties and obligations their countries were parties to, even as they often worked in practice to evade them. Clinton practised interdiction of refugees on the high seas, but stayed committed to the letter of the Refugee Convention. Cameron denied poor people access to justice and removed “foreign criminals” to distant countries without due process, but he included the “rule of law” in the roster of “British values”. In the next period I expect a lot less of the shameful hypocrisy and a great deal more shameless assertion of power against people who have the wrong skin colour or the wrong class or live in the wrong country. But what has got us to where we are is not “liberalism”, let alone “liberal progressivism”, it is the systematic neglect of liberal respect for the rights of individuals coupled with the brutal assertion of deregulation and privatization. Liberalism didn’t fail and we need to defend liberal principles now.

{ 142 comments }

1

Linnen 11.13.16 at 9:17 pm

When ‘Liberal Progressives’ lose the race, they should throw in the towel. And when ‘Conservative Regressives’ (the anti-thesis) lose, they should double down and keep going. Not that this was what was written, but “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose” is rather redundant in conservative political writing. And depressingly enough, squishy liberal punditry pushes liberals should give conservative what they want win-or-lose. (Not saying you do, but it is rather dominant.)

2

engels 11.13.16 at 9:30 pm

The Rawlsian ideal of society as a system of co-operation that both guarantees basic liberties but ensures that society works for the benefit of everyone, and especially the least advantaged, looks further away now than it did in the 1970s.

I’d perhaps like to comment properly on this later but just on this point: I agree the term ‘liberal’ can be slippery but it seems a bit much (for the purpose of washing one’s hands of New Labour, Clintonism, etc?) to try to identify it with the egalitarian component of Rawls’ views. If that were appropriate then the normal description of Rawls as an egalitarian liberal would be pleonastic.

3

Rich S. 11.13.16 at 9:31 pm

I don’t know how to defend liberal principles anymore. How can you argue with people who insist on believing things that can be , and have been, easily refuted? I have learned, from personal experience, that is it pointless to argue with these people. It’s like talking to a wall, and after a while, you just get worn down.
I sincerely believe the US is headed for some dark times. You can’t run a democracy with people who’s lives and decisions are based on complete falsehoods and obvious contradictions. Whose opinions on many issues are totally devoid of logic.
How do you begin to reason with people who simply refuse to listen?

4

William Meyer 11.13.16 at 9:40 pm

Obviously Mr. Deerin is, on its face, utilizing a very disputable definition of “liberal.”

However, I think a stronger case could be made for something like Mr. Deerin’s argument, although it doesn’t necessarily get to the same conclusion.

My observation is that the New Class (professionals, lobbyists, financiers, teachers, engineers, etc.) have ruled the country in recent decades. For much of the twentieth century this class was in some tension with corporations, and used their skills at influencing government policy to help develop and protect the welfare state, since they needed the working class as a counterweight to the natural influence of corporate money and power. However, somewhere around 1970 I think this tension collapsed, since corporate managers and professionals realized that they shared the same education, background and interests. Vive la meritocracy. This “peace treaty” between former rivals allowed the whole newly enlarged New Class to swing to the right, since they really didn’t particularly need the working class politically anymore. And since it is the hallmark of this class to seek prestige, power and money while transferring risk away from themselves, the middle class and blue collar community has been the natural recipient. Free trade (well, for non-professionals, anyway), neoliberalism, ruthless private equity job cutting, etc., etc. all followed very naturally. The re-alignment of the Democratic Party towards the right was a natural part of this evolution.

I think the 90% or so of the community who are not included in this class are confused and bewildered and of course rather angry about it. They also sense that organized politics in this country–being chiefly the province of the New Class–has left them with little leverage to change any of this. Watching the bailouts and lack of prosecutions during the GFC made them dimly realize that the New Class has very strong internal solidarity–and since somebody has to pay for these little mistakes, everyone outside that class is “fair game.”

So in that sense–to the extent that you define liberal as the ideology of the New Class (neoliberal, financial-capitalistic, big corporate-friendly but opposed to non-meritocratic biases like racism, sexism, etc.) is “liberalism”, I think it is reasonable to say that it has bred resistance and anger among the “losers.” As far as having “failed”, well, we’ll see: the New Class still controls almost all the levers of power. It has many strategies for channeling lower-class anger and I think under Trump we’ll see those rolled out.

Let me be clear, I’m not saying Donald Trump is leading an insurgency against the New Class–but I think he tapped into something like one and is riding it for all he can, while not really having the slightest idea what he’s doing.

Perhaps some evolution in “the means of production” or in how governments are influenced will ultimately develop to divide or downgrade the New Class, and break its lock on the corridors of power, but I don’t see it on the horizon just yet. If anyone else does, I’d love to hear more about it.

5

nastywoman 11.13.16 at 9:48 pm

It’s not our fault I agree -(whatever these politics words are you used to call us)

In Great Britain it’s all the fault of the guys who sold Range Rover and Jaguar to some Indians – and the Mini, Bentley and even Rolls Royce to the Germans – and instead of keeping on building stuff we all became either Bankers or Real Estate Agents – with the exceptions of everybody who doesn’t have a job – or has a job he no like or get’s payed bad.

And in the United States of Trump it’s even worst. There everything is either Made in China or Made in Germany and Americans are just people who flip Hamburgers with Facebook and Google and a few Bankers and a lot more people in Real Estate.
And do you know that there is this old American Indian sayen that you can’t eat money?
And now the people who got nuthing to eat got so mad that all these Americans running around asking each other whose fault it is.

And I think it’s still the fault of the Germans because they now
have our Rollses and Bentleys and they sell them cars to the Americans and Trump for sure has some kind of Bently -(perhaps even a Continental) and then the people say it’s the fault of some political things.

They have NO idea!

6

Whyvert 11.13.16 at 9:48 pm

If liberal progressivism means political correctness, social constructivism (about gender, race, etc), identity politics, and mass immigration then of course it has grown in influence over the past 30 years. It is wilful blindness to say otherwise.

7

Chris Bertram 11.13.16 at 10:19 pm

@engels, I don’t know, Brian Barry titled his critique “The Liberal Theory of Justice” after all.

8

RichardM 11.13.16 at 10:21 pm

To give a view from somewhere up past low orbit, where the globe is the size of a boardgame, it comes down to this. The US, or perhaps the 5 eyes countries, are a faction. That faction has two assets that cause it it favor ceetain strategies. One asset is the most advanced military, the other the best high-end educational system.

The strategy for the 40 year-period since the final gasps of formal imperialism has been to use the military only just enough to ensure a playing field on which the educated elite can press their advantage. And of course use the educated elite to develop better weapons.

This strategy is falling apart because the educated are no longer willing to volunteer effort out of patriotism to develop better weapons; hence the F35. And because those who have plenty of patriotism, but no particular globally-marketable skills, are offered no narrative that empowers them, only insulting welfare.

Trumpism increasingly sounds like a viable strategy; start more and bigger wars so that valor is favored over cleverness. Win those wars, and take tribute from the defeated, instead of paying to rebuild them. If you change a regime, change it to a dictatorship; only a dictator can pay tribute.

Arrest your domestic political opponents, or simply have them killed, and you don’t need to worry about meeting the demands of anyone outside your support base. So you have more money to spend on weapons, even if they are not as high tech: F17s and A10s are enough to beat anyone without nukes.

That change of strategy is what people mean when they say the end of ‘liberal progressivism’; the end of the period where the educated were a key strategic resource.

9

Hidari 11.13.16 at 10:28 pm

Chris
this has been posted on other threads, but to get a sense of the scale of the problem, have a look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWMmBG3Z4DI
ignoring of course everything that Wendy Schiller has to say. As has been pointed out (and it was pointed out in this this LRB blog here: http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2016/11/09/aaron-bastani/what-now-for-the-left/

The centre-left has done particularly bad in this new political situation. The centre right has held up ok. The far right, is obviously doing fantastically. The far left continues to trundle along, with some occasional successes (Greece, Nepal) although revolts are quickly crushed, as they always are, with the remnants of the centre-left collaborating with the centre and far right to crush it (cf also what’s happening to Corbyn). (the ‘pink tide’ in South America is also of course fast receding now that Venezuela has run into problems, what with the American backed coups in Brazil and Honduras). And the centre ground per se has simply evaporated.

What we are faced with here is a fundamental revolt against all ‘liberal’ trans-national organisations and entities: indeed against globalisation itself, which is why I suspect that in the long run Trump is simply waking up and smelling the coffee when he hints that the EU and Nato have no future (in the very long term the UN itself might be doomed). It’s noticeable that on the very very few occasions that the left has won power and actually prospered (e.g.Scotland) it’s very closely aligned, not to traditional internationalism, but to nationalism. CF also Plaid Cymru which might yet become a force to be reckoned with.

But apart from these outliers, as Owen Jones argued recently, for most European countries the future might be Poland, where the left has simply ceased to exist and all elected parties are right wing.

The reasons for this trend are long and complicated (mainly economic, but also cultural), but trends tend to keep on developing until something pretty harsh stops them: the trend towards totalitarianism in the 1920s and 1930s was only stopped by WW2: can we really imagine such a cataclysm now, and are we prepared to pay that price simply so that social democracy might yet again prosper afterwards? We might not have a choice: WW3 might be upon us sooner than we think. As I pointed out in previous threads the decline of Empires can be as dangerous as their rise and now that the American Empire is now unarguably in decline sharks will start to circle: indeed they are already doing so.

Another point is this: ‘Just consider a country like Bangladesh. It’s a low-lying coastal plain; it has hundreds of millions of people. As the sea level rises slightly, those people are going to have to flee. New the chief environmental scientist of Bangladesh recently warned that tens of millions of people are going to have to flee in the coming years, just from sea level rising. And he made an interesting comment. He said that if we lived in a just world, these people would be admitted into the rich countries, the United States, England, and others, because those are the countries that are responsible for it, and have the capacity to absorb them.

If we think we have an immigrant crisis today, which is non-existent, what is it going to be like when tens of millions of people are fleeing from rising sea levels? And that’s just the beginning. Just keep to South Asia. The water supply of South Asia comes mostly from glaciers in the Himalaya Mountains. They are melting. What happens when they disappear? Thea are melting pretty fast. There goes the water supply for South Asia. Couple of billion people. In India alone, right now, there are already, about, estimated, 300 million people who barely have access to water. What’s going to happen to them? It’s all over the place. Our coastal cities are going to disappear, and the extreme weather events will increase’. (http://www.jungundnaiv.de/2016/10/23/noam-chomsky-the-alien-perspective-episode-284-english/)

Please note this is going to happen: it’s now inevitable. Nothing can stop it. In 100 years time there will be not millions but tens of millions, hundreds of millions of people in the Global South who will be on the move to the North. And who, politically, will benefit from this? Not the left.

I have noticed that people on the left don’t like talking about this, because they have been deluding themselves for decades that it won’t happen.Well, it will, and it’s time to start worrying about how to keep the progressive flame alive in the increasingly bleak decades that lie ahead (just to be clear, I don’t mean, specifically the next 20 years time, when things will probably hold together, I mean the 2nd half of the 21st century and beyond).

The other point is to look at the nature of the crisis. People look back to 1930 or even 1848. Actually the left has not been in such a weak state since maybe the 1820s, and unlike then, there is no clear path back to power, no clear way forward. I am not saying that I have any solutions, but we should start by admitting the scale of the disaster and not comforting ourselves with false hopes (of the ‘if only Clinton had done this things would have been alright’).

So we really need to rethink things from first principles and, to get back to topic of the OP think about how to defend liberal values, when the entire trend of history seems to be turning away form those values, and in a time of severe ecological crisis. We also need to think about how to apply so to speak supranational values when the supranational entities which previously instantiated those values no longer exist (or no longer exist in the shape they are in now).

10

Ben 11.13.16 at 10:28 pm

+1 to William Meyer

Adding: that liberal class had its internal factions, one of which started using conservative Christian cultural mores to get votes / funding in the late 70s but never delivered much on policy

The conservative Christians noticed. They’re in power now. And hungry.

11

cowardly lion 11.13.16 at 10:34 pm

Rich S.

I think I referred to this in an earlier thread on the rise of fideism. It does indeed look dark ahead.

Contra principia negantem non est disputandum

12

bob mcmanus 11.13.16 at 10:40 pm

“Liberal progressive” is a redundancy. These words have histories

Richard Kline from Naked Capitalism Liberals, Progressives, and Radicals 2011, mostly America but some UK references

Posted without comment, wanting to reread both Kline and Bertram.

I am a very minor part of the Jacobin crowd, but today I think I will visit The New Inquiry at the right and read what their crew of minority women have to say. And I want to mention race in every comment.

13

Ronan(rf) 11.13.16 at 10:42 pm

I’m not sure if the distinction between various definitions of liberalism matters so much. There’s a lot I don’t like about contemporary ‘liberalism’ (in that I would favour a more redistributionist and social democratic system), but I think I should be classified as someone broadly in support of the current ‘system’ (which is to say pro EU, pro an open(ish) global economy, sympathetic towards immigration etc) I dont get everything I want, but who does? I get more than most, and the current order works towards me and my ilk (younger, with access to third level, ability to move for jobs so on and so forth)
I am not speaking for CB or his preferences here, but I think my profile could be generalised from. We *are* catered towards. Look at the differences in labour market participation and unemployment rates between people with differing levels of education. Look at whose values are represented in the media. Look at whose policy preferences are represented in the political system. The story isnt the 1% (well, it is, but not solely) but probably the top 10% (not only in income but educational attainment)
I hope the liberal order survives and is improved, but, tbh, at this stage liberals (for a broad definition) need to start thinking seriously about how they’re going to make it work for more people. And if they cant, but continue to get bogged down in the trivial nonsense that makes up so much of liberal politics these days (not personalising this to the OP or anyone here, but in general about contemporary politics) then they deserve to lose.

14

bob mcmanus 11.13.16 at 10:43 pm

ugh, it’s an oxymoron not redundancy. And I spent some time thinking. Sorry.

15

LFC 11.13.16 at 11:33 pm

@Hidari
Chris: this has been posted on other threads, but to get a sense of the scale of the problem, have a look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWMmBG3Z4DI
ignoring of course everything that Wendy Schiller has to say.

I watched the first 40 minutes of that Schiller/Blyth thing. Blyth puts it in broader perspective but there’s nothing esp wrong w most of what Schiller says: she’s just viewing it from a diff. lens, namely US electoral politics and its intricacies, so to speak. So I disagree w Hidari’s dismissive “ignore everything she says.”

16

Dr. Hilarius 11.13.16 at 11:38 pm

Meyer at 4 says it well. In my own deep-blue state of Washington, we have two Democratic senators. They have safe seats and don’t face any realistic challenges from the right given voter demographics.

Yet I expect only the most tepid and symbolic action by them to resist Trump’s likely policies. They are already so tied to large corporate interests, including defense contractors, that they will find ample opportunity for compromise, usually getting nothing of substance in return.

Their reputations as liberals rests mostly on supporting social justice issues. I do not mean to minimize the importance of social justice but for these senators it carries no cost or risk. But when it comes to issues of income inequality, foreign policy (remember those defense contractors), substantive action on climate change or single-payer health care they are nowhere to be found. They will fight on trade issues, both being supporters of TPP, validating the view that they don’t care about people working outside of liberal enclaves.

Too many liberal politicians sold out to lip service on identity politics while refusing to antagonize their corporate supporters by pushing for economic changes which might have defused some of the anger and alienation behind Trump’s victory.

17

Philip 11.13.16 at 11:40 pm

Liberal politics has failed liberal principles—is that not the point?

The illiberal reality of periods of supposedly liberal governance are, then, quite beside the point. It is about “liberal progressivism” (admittedly as wooly a term as they come) as a political narrative, project and agenda—this has fallen apart.

Liberal politics descended into moralism—smug condescension—instead of addressing people’s fears at their root. When it comes to countering extremism, liberal politicians and academics alike are revealed as clueless and spent. Shaming the shameful *just doesn’t work.* Not on its own at least. But this is all that the establishmentarian liberal elite (for this is not altogether imaginary) have to offer. Condemnation without persuasion, which can only follow from an understanding of causation.

It’s been coming.

18

Salazar 11.14.16 at 12:11 am

Hidari #9
“As I pointed out in previous threads the decline of Empires can be as dangerous as their rise and now that the American Empire is now unarguably in decline sharks will start to circle: indeed they are already doing so.”

How is the American Empire in decline? And how do we measure its decline? Maybe the question sounds naive, but I see lots of comments in threads here and there about purported U.S. decline with no explanation for said conclusion.

19

ADifferentChris 11.14.16 at 12:25 am

@Rich S. (3)

Many people don’t have the time, inclination, or energy, to understand issues. And many of the people who do, only know the basics. Off the top of my head, I see three ways to break down “brick walled beliefs” of ignorants:

(1) Improve the quality of mass media. This might mean pushing Facebook to get an editorial grip. Or legit experts writing in the Sunday paper. If the media improves, people’s background knowledge should improve through osmosis.

(2) Promote rational thinking. This could be done in childhood or adult education – e.g. through Critical Thinking/Writing lessons, or modern psychology lessons. If people knew a bit how brains worked, and how beliefs are formed, they may think better.

(3) Improve the workplace. If people aren’t worked to the bone, fearful of pay docks, bullying, or losing their job, they’ll have more energy. Some of this will go to self-improvement.

20

Chris Mealy 11.14.16 at 1:01 am

I subscribe to Jacobin (and sometimes even get around to reading it) but I hate the way the Jacobin crowd (#notalljacobins) are so contemptuous of liberals. I mean, I get it, but how many radical socialists weren’t ordinary liberals first? Most liberals don’t even don’t know the Jacobin/Dissent/New Left Review world even exists. I don’t see the point in calling fellow leftists liberals, unless you’re talking about Brad DeLong.

21

Val 11.14.16 at 1:43 am

Chris Bertram
I do think this analysis (and most of the commentary) is over-egging the pudding a bit. I agree there is a lot of discussion to be had about ‘liberalism’ and ‘the left’, but I don’t think that’s the direct reason Trump won.

I suggest Trump won because he is a classic ‘Big Man’ leader (hierarchical patriarchy). Even the racism is part of this. Big Men subordinate or oppress those who are ‘other’ (I believe Trump talked about ‘his’ African American at one rally?).

The reasons that people are attracted to Big Men are a bit more complex and I agree that uncertain times probably encourage them, so neoliberalism, globalisation and the apparent failure of Democrats/Obama to ‘bring the jobs back’ probably play into it.

However the apparent failure here to ascribe any significant explanatory weight to Trump’s very obvious status as a Big Man/Patriarch seems to me part of an interesting blindness at CT.

22

faustusnotes 11.14.16 at 2:00 am

Once again the hard left comes crawling out to blame the left’s “distractions” – i.e. women and gays – for the failure of the mainstream left to beat a political movement backed by big money and a belligerent press that has no respect for the institutions of the countries it cannibalizes. No, it’s not the fault of Trump voters that Trump was elected, it’s the fault of the effete urban left!

The best example so far in this thread is William Meyer’s insightful analysis of the “New Class”, which would be perfectly at home on Stormfront if you replace “New Class” with “Jews” and perfectly at home in a Stalinist rag at about 1933 if you replaced “New Class” with “kulak”. And what a masterful stroke – one might call it “culturally revolutionary” – to include teachers in this effete urban class, on a blog for academics. Solid gold win! Here was I thinking that teachers are just ordinary middle-aged, middle class people trying to make the world a better place by ensuring children learn useful shit, when in fact they were agents of a vast and nebulous global conspiracy. Or were they the drivers of it? I guess we can find out once the “means of production” (did you put that in quotes because you understand it’s a buzzword, or because you don’t quite know what it is, or you think it’s a book title?) have been seized. Once all those elitist teachers are in prison we can find out exactly what role they played in this grand conspiracy to stop the white working class from winning!

Here was I thinking that Ms Krstic, my year 12 maths teacher, a nice woman fresh out of teaching college, just wanted to do her best to teach me linear algebra, but actually she was secretly scheming to work out how best to deploy me as a tool in her quest to seek “prestige, power and money”. If only I’d known that the school counsellor who told me about university and helped me achieve my career goals was actually “transferring the risk” onto me!

I mean, seriously dudes, do you read what you write? Do you think about it carefully before you commit this terrible nonsense to the screen? Or do you just open the floodgates and let the stalinist psychobabble come flooding out, without regard for the actual meaning of words and the implications of what you write? Because if this is the best analysis you have of the last 30 years of the left’s political wins and losses, you are not adding anything useful to the struggle.

And can you not try, just once, just please try, to understand that for people from poor backgrounds, for black people, for women and gays, this “lip service” to “identity politics” that Dr. Hilarius sneers at, this effete caring about why people are discriminated against that is a hallmark of “liberal enclaves” and “urban elites”, is the difference for us between a life of no hope and no future, and real self-fulfilment? Not all of us come from privileged backgrounds where we can get self-fulfilment by rebelling against daddy and becoming a socialist – for a minority of people on the left, who grew up poor or black, the welfare state and equality achievements (sorry! “distractions”) that the left has achieved over the past 30 years have been hugely important to us.

So just once climb down from your stalinist high horse and try to think about what you’re saying, and what you’re advocating, and wonder to yourselves why your rhetoric drives poor people and people of colour and non straight people away from your old, white, beardy and decrepit ideas. And then wonder why you consistently say these things about how we need to build a broad struggle and not get distracted, but all the people you want to support you are not listening. It may be that it’s got less to do with us being distracted by our identities, and a lot more to do with the complete and utter rubbish you’re spouting.

23

Bob Zannelli 11.14.16 at 2:26 am

I don’t know how to defend liberal principles anymore. How can you argue with people who insist on believing things that can be , and have been, easily refuted? I have learned, from personal experience, that is it pointless to argue with these people. It’s like talking to a wall, and after a while, you just get worn down.
I sincerely believe the US is headed for some dark times. You can’t run a democracy with people who’s lives and decisions are based on complete falsehoods and obvious contradictions. Whose opinions on many issues are totally devoid of logic.
How do you begin to reason with people who simply refuse to listen?’

How indeed. This is the problem

Bob Zannelli

24

John Quiggin 11.14.16 at 3:11 am

It’s worth pointing out we’d be having quite a different conversation if 2 per cent of people in the UK and US had voted differently.

25

Ithaqua 11.14.16 at 4:12 am

+1 to J. Q.’s comment. Also note that Hillary (will have, when the counting’s done) won substantially more votes than Trump did, and the Democrats got more votes for the House than the Republicans did. I see the election results as artifacts of the ways votes get converted into Electoral College votes for President and into Representatives far more than as a failure of liberalism in whatever sense that word applies.

26

faustusnotes 11.14.16 at 4:18 am

Also, we’ve seen this week a lot of (rueful) mirth from African Americans floating around in our facebook feeds, laughing at how liberal America is expressing shock that America can be so racist as to appoint a fascist like Trump – as if liberal America hasn’t been listening to a certain section of the population and has suddenly noticed something. The same thing goes for the UK – since Brexit we have seen a few posts here from Chris as he comes to terms with the fact that the “British values” he believed in are not actually commonly held. The liberal progressive project is failing in these countries because they are fundamentally conservative – America is radically right wing, a country of god and guns and no free lunch, and the UK is comfortably centre-right. But in countries that are actually progressive – Australia, the nordic countries, Canada – we are seeing Social Democratic projects hold despite sustained global onslaught by the power of capital, and fundamental social structures extended to more out-groups, especially in the form of anti-discrimination laws and gay rights. These countries are also quietly exporting their vision of social democracy, welfare, and governance to developing countries that are carefully skirting around the American and British models and adopting sensible and rational development paths. The world makes progress while its biggest right-wing polities go backwards. This is unsurprising – right wing ideas are everywhere and always bad, and it’s no surprise that a country like America will struggle to achieve UHC 50 years after the rest of the developed world, because Americans don’t want it.

What happened in America was a not particularly good moderate right candidate – a radical, by American standards – lost by small margins in a couple of key states, and thus lost the presidency in a system stacked to protect slave states, and as a result a lunatic got in. It’s no surprise that the system is stacked to protect teh slave states in a country that still reveres a flag that is iconic of treason in defense of slavery, and it’s no surprise that people who still respect treason in defense of slavery enough to erect public monuments in its honour cannot understand the potentially ruinous consequences of Trump. But this doesn’t say much about the global march towards better, more humane, more liberal societies.

27

Tabasco 11.14.16 at 4:56 am

It’s worth pointing out we’d be having quite a different conversation if 2 per cent of people in the UK and US had voted differently.

The conversation would be

(a) UK: nearly half of Britain voted to leave the EU! Farage has vowed never to give up, and next time he will win. It’s inevitable. The pressures that caused near-Brexit are only going to get worse, because the EU plutocrats are incapable of learning anything.

(b) US: That fascist clown Trump nearly got elected President. In 2020 someone even worse will be elected President. It’s not like Clinton is capable of recognizing the pressures, much less doing anything about them, that caused Ohio and Pennsylvania to vote for Trump, and for Wisconsin and Michigan to nearly vote for him.

28

nastywoman 11.14.16 at 5:21 am

‘It’s worth pointing out we’d be having quite a different conversation if 2 per cent of people in the UK and US had voted differently.’

That’s what in soccer the coach of the teams says which has lost because Ronaldo had a bad day.

and otherwise it’s @25

‘But this doesn’t say much about the global march towards better, more humane, more liberal societies.’

29

nastywoman 11.14.16 at 5:50 am

– and I have to say – being a member of the more northern and partly middle European Tribe – the Greens who rule the Area I’m currently residing in have this whole ‘economical’ and socioecological thing pretty much under control – and then – let’s not forget – next to it is ‘the most competitive economy in the world’ where everybody is rich – and nobody is on any kind of food stamps – and where there is this awesome democracy that everybody has a gun but nobody shoots each other and I know these guys are not very ‘diverse’ – but that has nothing to do with the fact that they make the best cheese – and if your are able to make the best cheese your are able to make the best economy too – come refugees, racists or skiing American tourists…

30

Heynow 11.14.16 at 6:35 am

“My observation is that the New Class (professionals, lobbyists, financiers, teachers, engineers, etc.) have ruled the country in recent decades.”

What is your definition of ‘rule’?

And…teachers?

(Also you left out ‘lawyers’ but I guess they would grouped into professionals.)

31

Neville Morley 11.14.16 at 7:11 am

A little puzzled by the inclusion of teachers, alongside financiers and the like, in William Meyer’s list of the New Class rulers. Enablers of those rulers, no doubt, but not visibly calling the shots. But then I’m probably just another liberal elitist failing to recognise my own hegemony, like Chris.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/14/are-you-a-sinister-filthy-elite-take-this-quiz-and-find-out-now?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

32

Chris S 11.14.16 at 7:31 am

@29, I assume he meant certain professors. Actually on @4, there’s a good chapter on the topic in a Thomas Franks latest.

33

faustusnotes 11.14.16 at 8:15 am

Chris S, “professors” doesn’t make that piece of daily stormer-level paranoia any more bearable. “Professors” includes all those men and women who have spent the last 30 years trying to bring the threat of global warming to the attention of the public; along with the class of “professionals” it includes people like me who have devoted our whole working lives to finding ways to improve the lives of injecting drug users, street-based sex workers and vulnerable young people. “Engineers” includes people who have worked on tools that have revolutionized the way we work and live. But apparently all these people are either directly using the working class as a tool in our quest for money and power, or we’re “enabling” the ruling class to do it.

This is paranoid rubbish that has no place in left wing thought. And it is this visceral reaction against effete, rootless cosmopolitans on the part of certain parts of the left wing movement that prevents us from responding properly when the same insult is thrown at us by hate radio and the propaganda organs of the right.

Top tip for those people who think the left is somehow responsible for Trump’s rise: If your rants look at home on Stormfront after the replacement of just one word for another, you should rethink your analytical framework. And if you have a deep revulsion for educated people, you should find a way to wash the Maoism out of your brain.

34

Chris "merian" W. 11.14.16 at 8:16 am

Yeah, no: teachers? Among educated lefties, teachers, and some types of artists and writers tend to be the least disconnected. Especially teachers, because, you know, they deal with the real lives and problems of a chunk of the population.

Also, the end of the era where educated people were a key strategic resource? That era began, I think, at the latest some time during the Baroque, when administrations required trained and professionalised specialists recruited from a nascent bourgeois class. (The school I went to was founded in the 1740s by a ruler who needed to train up boys to enter his administration. Now, of course, it’s a regular state Gymnasium (university-preparing secondary.) I’m not quite convinced, given the atrocities of the 20th century, that we’re at the end of an era that started then.

Bob Zanelli, I don’t know you, so I have no idea how you normally try to talk with people about liberal values. I approach it similarly to talking about climate change and other badly understood science topics: One step at a time. Right now, obviously, I’m still a little raw and resentful, but I’m practicing saying one thing at a time, calmly and clearly. “You care about the debt, but yet you voted for someone whose program is going to increase it.” (Regardless of the fact that caring about the public debt is the least problem the nation faces.) “The attacks on random Muslims and other people right now is exactly what happened after Brexit. I find it heartbreaking, and Trump isn’t saying anything to condemn them.” “No, Clinton didn’t have people murdered. You can’t believe everything you read on the internet.” “Look, there’s just no basis whatsoever to what you say about Muslims. You live in a remote village … I think you should at least have met a few Muslims and made up your own mind before you say stuff like that.” “It is actually possible most of the time to figure out whether a news report is correct or not.” “We have students who came to this country age 5 and just want to get on with their lives. Do you REALLY think it’s a great idea to rip them from their communities and send them to a country they don’t even know? And that’s what’s going to happen. I’m German. You know what I’ll think about this.” “Obama didn’t come for your guns.” “Well, there’s more to the Constitution than the 2nd amendment. I think all the others are just as important.” Scalzi has some approaches even how to talk about racism. Also, it might help talking with the pinkos that live in rural areas.

They may only be 30% of the population there, but they know what people’s hopes, fears and frustrations are. We had a candlelight vigil today (maybe a little less than 100 people, in the snow, taking turns to talk). Black Lives Matter, NoDPL and arctic conservation topics on the stickers. The driving forces behind it are groups like the Quakers, the Unitarian Universalists, and some Native activists. I don’t really think of “liberal values” as much different from what’s in whichever human rights charter you want to pick. (Liberal politics, and even more liberal-progressive economic policies, sure. But I don’t think we’re talking about defending those so much. Or do we?) 30% even in a red state… who probably know more about talking liberal values than many who live in the centers of liberal power.

35

Manta 11.14.16 at 8:17 am

22 faustusnotes 11.14.16 at 2:00 am
“the failure of the mainstream left to beat a political movement backed by big money and a belligerent press”
Hillary had more donor money than Trump.
The press judgement on Trump was “unfit to be president” (and were not shy to say it).

Shall we stop blaming “big money” and “belligerent press” for the failure of a Hillary to win against a clown?

36

nastywoman 11.14.16 at 8:33 am

@22
‘I mean, seriously dudes, do you read what you write? Do you think about it carefully before you commit this terrible nonsense to the screen?’

I don’t – but in defense of Mr.Meyer – I read what he wrote mainly as ‘it was about time that WE -(however we call ourselves) – show a bit more interest and empathy for our – once major constituency – the workers.

And for sure – that was about time – don’t y’all think?

37

nastywoman 11.14.16 at 8:46 am

– and I think I forgot –

Yes – teachers -(besides commenters on wisecrack blogs) – are the worst in educating everybody about all the ins and outs of political labeling – and its consequences.
And as I guess we agreed that in Europe a lot of the new right wing parties stole so many of the ‘stuff’ from some left wing parties and the Fascistic Rasist Birther seems to have won with ‘Comunism’ – I tell you guys: COMMUNISM!!! – the ‘working class’ of the American Rust Belt – and thus the erection – can we define from now on ‘good policies’ or politics perhaps like ‘making ‘good Bread’?

38

magari 11.14.16 at 9:11 am

Chris, I cannot speak for UK liberals, but here is a sense in which liberal hegemony can be used in US politics, wherein free trade and multiculturalism became not only the core platform of the Democratic Party but of politics in general. Those who would critique either were rejected as deviants, irrational, etc. You might say, but George W. Bush! On trade, Bush is as liberal as any other. And as right wing as Bush is, he toed the PC-line and never verged into Trump territory, giving voice to hate. Trump represents an obvious crack in the liberal hegemony. And indeed that crack is partially the fault of the Democrats. They pushed free trade at the same time it undercut the social safety net. They created with the Republicans a true political center defined by the reduction of entitlements and state services. Obama is as guilty here as Clinton, and he bequeathed to Clinton (and Trump) a population of poor and middle class voters who felt that no party spoke to their economic interests (and they were right!). Contrary left voices along the way—Edwards, Kucinich, and Sanders—were either self-imploded, were mocked, or were militated against by the party.

So why does the Jacobin crowd condemn the liberals? Because they know what liberalism, as a philosophical doctrine, is and they saw what it looks like when it’s in power! Liberalism is for individual liberties and tolerance (multiculturalism), free commerce (free trade agreements), and a limited state (reduction of state entitlements and services). Democrats enacted precisely a liberal platform while in power. And in so doing they created an underclass attracted to democratic socialist (Sanders) and authoritarian (Trump) ideas. So yes, I do suggest liberals have a great deal of blame to shoulder going forward, and I hope they can realize that a liberal society with capitalist economy requires a healthy pinch of state socialism.

39

faustusnotes 11.14.16 at 9:44 am

Who says I or anyone else are showing no empathy for workers? What a ridiculous thing to say in the era of Obamacare. A lot of people just voted to have their medicaid expansion stripped away from them, or voted against the Democrats in a Republican state that refuses to accept the medicaid expansion. And yes, when it’s all done four years from now and the Dems take control again of the smouldering shit pile that Trump leaves behind, we’ll dust ourselves off and try once again to extend UHC to people who voted against its architects.

The only people showing a lack of empathy for the workers are the Republicans. Are you paying any attention at all to what is actually happening out there?

40

lurker 11.14.16 at 10:06 am

‘So just once climb down from your stalinist high horse and try to think about what you’re saying, and what you’re advocating, and wonder to yourselves why your rhetoric drives poor people and people of colour and non straight people away from your old, white, beardy and decrepit ideas.’ (faustusnotes, 22)
Here was I, thinking that the recent US elections had been lost by a liberal party who failed to get their supporters to the polls, but apparently what happened was that a stalinist party suffered the defeat and needs to have a hard think about what they have been doing wrong.

41

lurker 11.14.16 at 10:17 am

‘Top tip for those people who think the left is somehow responsible for Trump’s rise’ (Faustusnotes, 33)
As if this was about Trump alone and not about a long series of electoral defeats.
The liberals are losing and have been losing for years. Blaming the barely existing hard left for that is beyond ridiculous.

42

Consumatopia 11.14.16 at 10:21 am

Trump got slightly fewer votes than Romney. Clinton got a lot fewer than Obama. 2016 isn’t a story about what liberals did to to turn Trump voters against them, it’s about what they DIDN’T do to turn non-voters towards them. Tons of people of all ages, races, and sexes looked at the two parties and didn’t find anything worth showing up for. (Even among those who showed up in Michigan, the margins between Trump and Clinton was 20k, 90k cast ballots that selected no presidential candidate. Only 40k such ballots were cast in 2012.)

Turning against identity politics or immigration in U.S. is incredibly stupid–unless women and PoC show up you lose. But tons of them didn’t show up! If you can’t get them to turn out against Trump and Pence of all people, that proves pretty damn definitively that identity politics, despite being absolutely indispensable, are also insufficient. We could have used way more economic populism. Maybe full blown socialism wasn’t called for in 2016, but in 2020 I expect us to be in one of two situations: Trumponomics have failed so catastrophically that nothing but massive expansion of government in the economy can expected to fix it, or Trump’s combination of tax cuts, financial deregulation and infrastructure grows the economy but makes inequality much worse and redistribution much more popular.

Anyway, Trump voters are utterly defeatable, stop caring about them. (People who voted for GOP state legislatures are another story–the GOP almost has enough legislatures to pass whatever constitutional amendment they want.). Care more about non-voters!

There are a couple issues where I would suggest Democrats totally change course, though. First is trade deals. The margins were so close in Rust Belt states there’s no question Clinton would have won if there were no TPP. Whatever benefits you imagine new trade deals to have, they aren’t worth Trump. Second is gun control. Just give up. It might not be what gave Trump the win, I dunno, but it definitely turns out more Republicans than Democrats and makes retaking Congress or state legislatures pretty much impossible.

43

nastywoman 11.14.16 at 12:37 pm

‘Who says I or anyone else are showing no empathy for workers?’

Not me – as I was writing about ‘a bit more’…

‘The only people showing a lack of empathy for the workers are the Republicans. Are you paying any attention at all to what is actually happening out there?’

Yes – that’s why I notices with a lot of displeasure that a F…face von Clownstick stole ‘our’ workers – our constituency with his (lies?) that all he wants to do is to help them and bring their jobs back.

And perhaps I only noticed that because I have witnessed before how the new right wing parties in France and in Germany had done exactly the same thing – and we – ‘liberals or the Left’ or whatever you want call it – let it happen.
And to consider that’s is not a YUGE ‘insult’ to anybody – it’s just…
Hey! – do you know that about 7 million US workers and their families really suffering from all kind of very depressing circumstances – and a lot of them are ‘suicidal’ and on pain killers and when such news finally came out -(after years and years) – the ‘American Public’ -(if you can call it like that?) was very surprised and asked: How could that happen?

44

Faustusnotes 11.14.16 at 12:40 pm

Oh yes Magari, the liberals undercut welfare. You say this after Obama enacted the biggest expansion of the welfare state in 50 years, one viciously opposed at all levels by the republicans. But it’s the liberals fault for bringing in multiculturalism and undermining the welfare state when they expanded Medicaid to 20 million people.

Facts: irrelevant when there are liberals around to take the blame.

45

Layman 11.14.16 at 1:00 pm

Manta @ 35, I’m trying to figure out whether you’re genuinely ignorant of the media antipathy for Clinton and how it manifested itself in this election cycle; or whether you’re just assuming that pose. It’s one thing to fault Clinton as a candidate for failing to inspire turnout – I do! – but it’s quite another to pretend that relentless media coverage of Clinton pseudo-scandals wasn’t a factor.

46

magari 11.14.16 at 1:28 pm

I was thinking of Clinton’s welfare law that has dramatically reduced the number of people on the dole. And then Obama’s willigness to bargain away social security (not entirely, but reducing its benefits) to the Republicans as part of a “grand bargain”. Which, luckily, the Republican troll-wing was too purist to accept.

But you’re right about the Medicaid expansion. That was a significant expansion of the welfare state and probably the most important thing Obama did in office. The problem there was that it came with a give-away to the insurance industry, which everyone hated except policy wonks and insurance companies. Meaning, the expansion of Medicaid goes unmentioned, and slips the mind (even mine, and I am a professional student of politics!).

PS: multiculturalism is awesome! I have nothing but praise for the individual liberties of liberalism when it comes to questions of culture.

47

Consumatopia 11.14.16 at 2:02 pm

“Who says I or anyone else are showing no empathy for workers? What a ridiculous thing to say in the era of Obamacare.”

Oh my god that is an insanely ironic pair of sentences. Do you even live in the U.S.? Yes, Obamacare was an improvement over the status quo. But it’s still really painful and frustrating navigating the exchange, dealing with insurance company and hospital bureaucracies, paying high deductibles and watching premiums jump about 25% (as announced weeks before the election!). The Medicaid subsidies are very good, as is the ban on exclusion of preexisting conditions (even Trump says so…), guaranteed issue, community rating, etc, but “empathy” doesn’t just mean maximizing collective utility, it means actually understanding people’s feelings.

Obamacare is better than anything Trump/Ryan will do, but Clinton did a poor job conveying that she understood how much more improvement is needed, or offering any hope that we could achieve it.

“A lot of people just voted to have their medicaid expansion stripped away from them, or voted against the Democrats in a Republican state that refuses to accept the medicaid expansion.”

It’s more accurate to say that a lot of people didn’t vote to keep their Medicaid expansion. I’m betting turnout among people benefiting from Medicaid was low.

“So just once climb down from your stalinist high horse and try to think about what you’re saying, and what you’re advocating, and wonder to yourselves why your rhetoric drives poor people and people of colour and non straight people away from your old, white, beardy and decrepit ideas.”

lurker covered this but you didn’t seem to get it so I’ll give it a shot–not enough of those women, poor people, people of color and non straights turned out to vote! In particular, Clinton never won the support of young women in the primary, who were Sanders’ most enthusiastic backers, and she had trouble getting young African-Americans to turn out in the general election. It’s not clear that the “Jacobin crowd” could ever become widely popular among PoC, but African and Latino Americans tend to be poorer and more economically populist than whites. Whether or not they ever decide to support an insurgent candidate in the primary, Democratic nominees will have to do a much better job addressing their economic concerns, (or at least do a much better job with organizing and GOTV) if they want the votes of PoC who stayed home even when the alternative was Trump.

48

Chris S 11.14.16 at 2:04 pm

@33 I disagree that it is paranoia, though would not necessarily endorse the list of professions. It is merely descriptive of the phenomena in both the US and UK of parties of the left, moving rightwards under that assumption that certain economic questions are settled along particular lines.

One of the big results of this was the reluctance to regulate the increased financialisation of everything, even in the aftermath of GFC and the extreme reluctance to intervene on behalf of the poor unless it was via some kind of market driven phenomena.

49

Layman 11.14.16 at 2:08 pm

magari: “The problem there was that it came with a give-away to the insurance industry, which everyone hated except policy wonks and insurance companies.”

The rightist critique of the ACA is that it is government-run socialized medicine, leading to French death panels or something, not that it is a give-away to insurance companies. Sometimes the critique is that the mandate is anti-freedom anti-responsibility tyranny. I know it is absurd that they hate it for being precisely what it is not, but there you go.

50

magari 11.14.16 at 2:33 pm

It’s not just “they”. Something like 65% of Americans view the mandate unfavorably. I suggest that the majority of people hate the mandate (as opposed to Obamacare more broadly) because it forces them to buy a product from a company they despise. It’s bad politics of the very highest register. The Platonic Idea of Bad Politics.

51

David Timoney 11.14.16 at 2:42 pm

“Not that there haven’t been gains also over the past 30 years”.

There have been gains, but they have been ones that extended conservative norms to previously marginal groups (gay marriage), or were the instrumental preferences of a corporate culture keen both to maximise “talent” and not alienate customers (HR-approved anti-sexism and anti-racism).

I struggle to recall many progressive gains since the 70s that weren’t simple acts of conservative recuperation.

52

Faustusnotes 11.14.16 at 3:03 pm

Jesus Christ this kind of mealy mouthed both siderism is incredible. Trump is the dems fault because they didn’t enact perfect welfare laws in a system that was stacked against them for most of the time Obama was in office… Obama thought about compromising on social security and thus trump even though obamas compromise never happened…

The reason we have trump is that a bunch of racist alt right revanchists combined with immoral republicans in an environment of completely saturated anti Clinton media, and too many people didn’t vote because they didn’t understand the danger that was plain as day in front of their face. And part of the reason they didn’t understand the risks was exactly this both siderism we see here. Of course you guys aren’t driving this – you’re symptomatic of a media environment so heavily dominated by the Clinton rules that you don’t even see how vile and untrue the things you’re saying are.

Trump is the republicans and the media’s fault, nothing to do with the “New Class” or the dems’ rightward shift.

53

WLGR 11.14.16 at 3:07 pm

Magari, the fact that multiculturalism is awesome (as is liberal inclusiveness more generally, the set of issues often discussed within the framework of “identity politics”) is exactly why it’s such a tragedy that these issues are linked in so many people’s minds to the economic effects of capitalism and imperialism. This perceived link is perhaps the ultimate source of reactionary, chauvinist, and ultimately fascist mass political currents in global capitalist society, everywhere from the Global North where tolerance and diversity are perceived as the ultimate cause of “foreigners taking our jobs”, to the Global South where secular missionaries of “human rights” are perceived like Christian missionaries of old as the leading edge of Western imperial control.

If liberals were truly interested in breaking this perceived link and cutting off fascism’s wellspring of popular support (as opposed to merely siphoning off the hate that flows from this wellspring into dangerously unstable electoral holding tanks like the pre-Trump US GOP) they could put their effort into a politics of inclusivity and universalism that also involves a principled and thorough opposition to capitalist and imperialist hegemony, in the (interdependent) realms of economics and culture alike. But if they did that, they would hardly be liberals anymore, now would they?

54

Bob Zannelli 11.14.16 at 3:16 pm

Bob Zanelli, I don’t know you, so I have no idea how you normally try to talk with people about liberal values. I approach it similarly to talking about climate change and other badly understood science topics: One step at a time. Right now, obviously, I’m still a little raw and resentful, but I’m practicing saying one thing at a time, calmly and clearly. “

I think there is going to a lot of buyer’s remorse over this election result. That might work better than trying to reason with the unreasonable

55

WLGR 11.14.16 at 3:36 pm

Faustusnotes, you might as well blame the prevalence of concussions in American football on whichever team happens to accumulate more physical fouls in whichever particular game, and you might as well tar a broader view of where the problem actually comes from as “both siderism”. Either that or you might as well just be a troll.

56

Bob Zannelli 11.14.16 at 3:44 pm

Faustusnotes

The reason we have trump is that a bunch of racist alt right revanchists combined with immoral republicans in an environment of completely saturated anti Clinton media, and too many people didn’t vote because they didn’t understand the danger that was plain as day in front of their face. And part of the reason they didn’t understand the risks was exactly this both siderism we see here. Of course you guys aren’t driving this – you’re symptomatic of a media environment so heavily dominated by the Clinton rules that you don’t even see how vile and untrue the things you’re saying are.

Trump is the republicans and the media’s fault, nothing to do with the “New Class” or the dems’ rightward shift.”

)))))))

Yes I agree. African Americans had low turn out because there wasn’t an African American running so they had low interest They had this pot guy which grabbed a enough one issue millennials to swing the race to Trump in key states , given low democratic turn out and the racist white population was energized because they had someone running they could identify with, that is white, racist, sexist and ignorant. You don’t win votes using logic and evidence. It’s mostly the amygdala at work election time very little reasoning. Stupidity and ignorance are the foot solders of evil.

57

Thomas Beale 11.14.16 at 4:10 pm

Quiggin @ 24
“It’s worth pointing out we’d be having quite a different conversation if 2 per cent of people in the UK and US had voted differently.”

Yes and no. Nearly all orthodox analysis of both votes prior to them being taken had an obvious winner – Remain in the EU, Democrat president – by a notional margin of a lot more than 2%. My impression is that this was true quite broadly across the centrist parts of the political spectrum (i.e. not just the Left).

Let’s say that this margin is 10% in both cases. Then what needs to be explained is how the less convincing offering to rationalists made a 12% leap, not that the electorate was in a knife-edge state of indecision.

I’m making the numbers up obviously, but you get the idea.

58

nastywoman 11.14.16 at 4:12 pm

@52
‘Jesus Christ this kind of mealy mouthed both siderism is incredible. Trump is the dems fault because they didn’t enact perfect welfare’

As a proud American ‘Dem’ I insist that ‘F..face von Clownstick is NOT my fault – but what does that have to do with going to one of the Rust Belt States looking around and coming to the conclusion that we -(not only so called Dems) should have done a lot more to help ‘our’ workers?

Or let’s say it like this: There are kids in Maranello Italy who can’t think about anything better in live than to become a (Ferrari) mechanic and let’s say – if the average Harvard Student would have thought the same – and instead of concentrating on creating facebook -(a completely useless and quite destructive adventure) – would have gone to Detroit and made sure that German luxury cars don’t dominate the US car market – the Rust Belt – a few days ago wouldn’t have elected an Orange Orang Utan as their savior.

So actually it’s NOT Trumps or the republicans or the media’s fault and it might have nothing to do with the “New Class” or the dems’ rightward shift – it’s all because too many Harvard and Yale and Stanford student wanted to become some type of ‘Wolf on Wall Street’ instead of learning how to built a Ferrari – and as a famous Italian Communist once stated: ‘Communism is when everybody drives a Ferrari’ – and if you think this is just too absurd – not as absurd as a fight between the left and the left which side of the left is now guilty about the election of a Fascistic Racist Communistic Birther as President of the Unites States of Trump…

59

Rich 11.14.16 at 4:47 pm

Magari,
The Heritage Foundation advocated the mandate as a matter of manly personal responsibility back in 1989. Did conservative philosophy change so much that personal responsibility is now tyranny?
Another point I would like to make is we see the arguments coming from conservatives and they are all contrived bullshit. They seldon have credible arguments. If that’s all they got, then progressives and liberals have little to worry about. All bullshit eventually dries up and blows away in the wind. We just have to keep fighting and not sink to their level.

60

Howard Frant 11.14.16 at 4:54 pm

We really need to begin by discarding the claim from the pundits that this represents the “white working class” turning against the Democrats. Journalists have been using this phrase as a shorthand for “white, no college degree”, and now they’ve convinced themselves– plus a bunch on the left who are only too happy to blame Trump on (neo)liberal sellout.

Here’s what the exit polls say:

Clinton won all income groups below the median; Trump won all income groups above the median.

Clinton won all age groups up to 45; Trump won all age groups above 45.

Clinton won people who said the most important characteristic in a President was “cares about people like me;” Trump won with “will make needed change.”

Clinton won with people who said the most important issue was the economy, Trump with those who chose immigration.

Sorry, this doesn’t sound like a revolt of the white working class. This sounds like an essentially reactionary revolt of the old against the young, the well-off against the badly off, whites against non-whites, etc. Them’s the facts.

61

lurker 11.14.16 at 5:09 pm

‘Trump is the republicans and the media’s fault, nothing to do with the “New Class” or the dems’ rightward shift.’ (Faustusnotes, 52)
It was all somebody else’s fault and there’s nothing the Democrats could have done any different.
Because the Dems can’t improve anything, the next time will be just the same unless the Republicans miraculously become less immoral, or sheer terror drives enough voters to the polls.
So, Ivanka in 2024?

62

Manta 11.14.16 at 5:14 pm

@45 Layman 11.14.16 at 1:00 pm
Manta @ 35, I’m trying to figure out whether you’re genuinely ignorant of the media antipathy for Clinton and how it manifested itself in this election cycle; or whether you’re just assuming that pose.

“Donald Trump is unfit to be president”:
Huggington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/davidhalperin/electoral-college-can-sto_b_12899016.html
NYT
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/29/opinion/donald-trump-unfit-to-command.html
Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/10/20/the-three-times-donald-trump-demonstrated-he-was-unfit-for-the-presidency-in-last-nights-debate/

Should I continue?

63

Mark H 11.14.16 at 5:32 pm

@24 “It’s worth pointing out we’d be having quite a different conversation if 2 per cent of people in the UK and US had voted differently.”

Yes, we might. But perhaps that’s the problem. The left – or most of it – has been ignorant about, or complacent towards, a trend that’s been developing for a while now.

The trend is the slow break-up of the progressive coalition that delivered the New Deal and the Big Society in America and the social-democratic welfare state in the UK. At its best it was a coalition that was able to safeguard, and sometimes enhance, working-class living standards while also advancing liberal ideas, and legislation, in areas like civil rights and environmental reform. In fact the advancement of the latter was partly dependent on the achievement of the former. So, for example, in the UK, the Wilson government could make life fairer for ethnic minorities (and in so doing educate its own supporters) by passing the Race Relations Acts because it also introduced redundancy payments for blue-collar workers at the same time.

Why that coalition has fallen apart is not a simple story (Peter Mair’s ‘Ruling the Void’ is a good place to start). It’s certainly pointless looking for one or two villains. But it’s taken these two massive defeats at the ballot box (massive in consequences) for many on the left to even notice there might be a really serious problem with the way that coalition has worked, or not worked, over the last decade or so. The dramatic haemorrhage of white working-class votes in both countries and the realisation that Trump and UKIP appear to speak for ‘Youngstown’ and ‘Rotherham’ more naturally than the Democratic and Labour parties do, is something that we all need to come to terms with now. A swing of 2% the other way might have produced “quite a different conversation”. But I’m not sure how useful it would have been.

64

Plume 11.14.16 at 5:56 pm

One of the clever things the right does when it talks about “liberals and progressives” is to say they’ve had this locked down control for thirty or forty years. The truth is, America hasn’t had a liberal in the White House since LBJ, and the Dems in Congress started running away from their “liberal” legacy soon after.

It’s clever, because even though the Dems have governed from the center-right whenever they’ve had power since the 1960s — including Clinton and Obama — they can blame our economic travails on “the left,” when it actually had zero to do with the economy. It is, in fact, the absence of a real left that has us where we are today, and this led to Trump. This led to those white rural voters, blaming everyone but the folks really responsible for their troubles:

Corporations, billionaire businessmen and women like Trump, and the two major parties that helped them screw us over.

So, naturally, the smartest thing to do is to elect one of those billionaires, who ran as a Republican, a party that’s even worse than the rotten, no-good, terrible Dems. Just. Brilliant. And contrary to all of their talk about “throwing a brick through the window,” we’re just going to get the same old same old GOP we’ve always had, though without any constraints on their toxic agenda.

Counting on Medicare, for instance? Better make other arrangements, cuz Ryan will privatize that out of existence in the first ten days.

Clinton would have been awful. But Trump is truly going to be catastrophic.

65

PGD 11.14.16 at 6:01 pm

Howard Frant @60 — ah, “the facts”. Those numbers don’t tell you much unless you compare them to Republican votes in previous years, since what matters is not the simple totals but the marginal shift that allowed Trump to win the election. As compared to the 2012 vote there was a very large shift of white lower income voters to Trump and away from Clinton as compared to the vote for Romney/Clinton, and an even larger shift of less educated white voters. (And education might be a better indicator of class than the response to a single income question, which will be very noisy). The geographic vote shifts to Trump were highly correlated with job loss and unemployment as well.

66

Bob Zannelli 11.14.16 at 6:03 pm

Mark H 11.14.16 at 5:32 pm

What happened in America was a not particularly good moderate right candidate – a radical, by American standards – lost by small margins in a couple of key states, and thus lost the presidency in a system stacked to protect slave states, and as a result a lunatic got in. It’s no surprise that the system is stacked to protect teh slave states in a country that still reveres a flag that is iconic of treason in defense of slavery, and it’s no surprise that people who still respect treason in defense of slavery enough to erect public monuments in its honour cannot understand the potentially ruinous consequences of Trump. But this doesn’t say much about the global march towards better, more humane, more liberal societies.=

)))))))))

Well said Mark, exactly right

67

Chris S 11.14.16 at 6:24 pm

@60 Yes and no, the ‘working class voter’ thing is too neat to fit, but a lot of groups voted for Trump roughly in the same proportion for which they voted for Romney, so you have to look at the swings.

68

Chris "merian" W. 11.14.16 at 6:29 pm

Bob Zanelli, #54 and 56:

We don’t reason with the unreasonable (if that’s what they are) because doing so comes with such a high reward. We do because not doing so comes with such a high punishment.

Also, as far as I know we don’t yet have good turnout figures by race. It seems quite premature to me to claim African-American turnout was low. The last times, African-American women were the single highest turning-out demographic. Despite the fact — as would have been expected — African-American turnout will have been lower this time than when the first African-American president was elected, I don’t expect it to be low. Also, voter suppression in NC, Ohio, and apparently Wisconsin is a thing.

69

Omega Centauri 11.14.16 at 6:34 pm

I haven’t the time to keep up with the thread. But one secular change I’ve been worried about for a long time, is the fact that the science of persuasion is getting better. And the essential skill of resisting expert persuasion isn’t being taught. The result can be both personal tragedies, such as someone being scammed out of their life savings, and national/global tragedies such as Trump.

70

Layman 11.14.16 at 6:45 pm

Manta: “Should I continue?”

Well, you’re just moving the problem. I no longer wonder if you’re striking a pose (the answer is yes). Now I wonder if you’re ignorant of the fact that it could be true both that the media said Trump was unfit and that they relentless hounded Clinton with pseudo-scandal stories; or if that, too, is a pose.

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Bob Zannelli 11.14.16 at 6:58 pm

Also, as far as I know we don’t yet have good turnout figures by race. It seems quite premature to me to claim African-American turnout was low. The last times, African-American women were the single highest turning-out demographic. Despite the fact — as would have been expected — African-American turnout will have been lower this time than when the first African-American president was elected, I don’t expect it to be low. Also, voter suppression in NC, Ohio, and apparently Wisconsin is a thing.”

I have seen reports that African turnout was significantly lower. See Below

http://www.newsweek.com/hillary-clinton-african-american-voters-election-2016-ohio-florida-515993

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Howard Frant 11.14.16 at 7:03 pm

Layman@45

Incredibly, it appears that Manta is indeed unaware. He responded to you by citing ati-Tump articles. Manta, that’s not point. Sure, the media in the end came out against Trump. Layman was talking about the campaign-long media obsession with Clinton’s emails, the constant references to her as a “deeply flawed candidate,” etc.

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Marc 11.14.16 at 7:06 pm

What’s really striking is the degree to which we’re not even communicating with one another, let alone with the broader body politic. And, for a so-called evidence based and tolerant community, the left seems to have adopted some extremely illiberal tactics and seems remarkably resistant to data that contradicts their prior opinion.

Belief in the equality of all people does not require you to be harshly judgemental towards others, and it doesn’t require you to look for reasons to be offended. Indirect statistical arguments have been employed as weapons against the powerless in our societies – for examples, poor people being more likely to be criminals. It doesn’t follow that you can treat all poor people as criminals. Similarly, the existence of racism in the white working class doesn’t excuse calling all of them racists. If you do this, don’t be surprised when the label loses its power (and when tossing it around actually backfires.) Voters could be picking Trump because they like his loaded rhetoric – which would be the conventional left view. But maybe instead they’re picking him *in spite of it* – a lot of his voters actually say that they disapprove of these things – or because the language police campaigns piss people off enough that they backfire.

And, if you think that bigotry is the problem, you need to offer a solution more compelling than shaming or twitter pile-ons.

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Chris "merian" W. 11.14.16 at 7:10 pm

Chiming in after Omega Centauri… this outcome happened in a complex situation with many causal elements. Among them, the authoritarian populist’s tools of propaganda. Fear-mongering works, and affirming not just untruths (which they did with abandon), but the opposite of the truths they needed to deflect from (“the media is giving Hillary an unfair advantage”, “elections are rigged against my voters”, “Hillary is the real abuser of women”) works.

(I admit I feel a little vindicated, because from the moment I heard Trump’s RNC speech I was in the “PLEASE throw everything there is behind Clinton – hateful foreign policy or not, squishy rich soft liberal or not” camp. It didn’t go over well here on CT.)

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WLGR 11.14.16 at 7:18 pm

Howard Frant, any talk about which candidates “won” which demographic categories should be treated as fundamentally incomplete if it doesn’t include some key information: not only the shifts in support among whichever demographic category from one election to the next, but the numbers of eligible voters in whichever demographic category that simply didn’t vote at all. It’s quite clear from such an analysis that not Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, but Nobody Q. Doesntexist is the clear “winner” among the working class. It’s also quite clear that Chuck Schumer described the Democrats’ strategy vis-à-vis income brackets quite accurately back in July — “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin” — the problem being that within the constraints of an increasingly alienated electorate in general, his proportion ended up reversed.

76

Chris "merian" W. 11.14.16 at 7:19 pm

Chris S: One group that didn’t vote for Clinton as much as they did for Obama (or voted for Trump more than for Romney) was white voters. This is something to consider. Obama tried to leave race out of his argument, though when pressed and in trouble, he gave that big speech in 2008. (Clinton should have taken a leaf out of his book to evacuate some of the attacks against her – but yeah, big rhetoric isn’t her strong point.) With Romney, I think both colluded in not bringing it up. Colorblind – let’s play pretend. Someone also remarked that in 2008, Clinton practically ran as a man. Now of course, Clinton very much ran as a woman. She defended late-term abortions right in the debate (against the ridiculous notion that they consist of ripping 9-month old fetuses out of women’s wombs a week before due date, but still). Her program contained many of the basic social protections that are commonplace in Western Europe and benefit women at least as much as they benefit men. She also grasped Obama’s diversity legacy (which he HAD developed outside campaigning .. .and he also started talking about race a lot more) with both hands. Mentioned implicit stereotypes. This was a lot bolder than anyone I saw at this level. So… this is the sense in which the aspect “this was a referendum about white supremacy” has a ring of truth. Not the only or the whole truth, but a strand of it.

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Sebastian H 11.14.16 at 7:41 pm

“It’s worth pointing out we’d be having quite a different conversation if 2 per cent of people in the UK and US had voted differently.”

That is true, but are we to assume that it is just bad luck that they both trended the way that makes us uncomfortable?

78

Consumatopia 11.14.16 at 7:50 pm

Yeah, I don’t think the exit polls are really compatible with the idea that this election was just about racism, at least when we’re trying to explain why 2016 was different from 2012.

But more important there is something that all factions need to understand here: exit polls are garbage: http://www.latinodecisions.com/blog/2016/11/10/lies-damn-lies-and-exit-polls/

I don’t know if I’d necessarily blame “neoliberalism” or a “rightward shift” in Democratic party ideology for what happened, but two things seems absolutely clear to me:

Clinton was such a terrible candidate that all of the institutions that enabled her path to the nomination owe us an apology and must be reformed. No, the media did not treat her fairly when talking about things like the emails and the Clinton Foundation, but those problems were due entirely to avoidable decisions on her (or Bill’s) part. She’s uncomfortable speaking to large crowds. And she made terrible campaign decisions (next time visit Wisconsin!!!). Even with the media, running against Trump should have been extremely easy for any Democrat. This was Clinton’s to lose.

The other is that if you want another Democratic wave election like 2008 (and if you don’t want to live in permanent one-party government we need one soon), you’re gonna to have to explain to disheartened voters why everything will turn out better than 2009. If Obama had gotten everything he promised or wanted–public option, larger stimulus, card check–maybe the last eight years would have gone very differently. But other failures were purely executive branch–unprosecuted bankers, none of the bailout money going to distressed homeowners.

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cowardly lion 11.14.16 at 8:20 pm

@69
When you say “science of persuasion” do you mean persuasion away from science (as in against the aforementioned secularism)?, and “expert persuasion” – you don’t seriously consider Trump an expert?

Would this have more to do with NOT knowing Trump isn’t an expert or how anyone with enough money and strong opinions can now claim to be one?

Do they not teach logic and rhetoric in school? This would be incredibly troubling.

80

Hidari 11.14.16 at 8:32 pm

There’s an excellent report here which I got from the excellent Mark Blyth’s Twitter feed. Points out a few things that render some of the points made above moot.

‘The reason Trump won should be obvious to anyone who pays attention to the electoral map rather than exit polls.

The Rust Belt revolted against the rolling out of a neoliberal New Economy and multicultural society.

The Rust Belt has a lot of black people, but few Latinos. When workers were in unions alongside others who had different color skin, holding together a viable multiracial working class coalition was possible. But unions have been destroyed, with the Democratic Party complicit, and stunning economic decline has made it easy for narratives of zero-sum competition between different social groups to take hold. Democrats have offered precious little to prevent people in the Rust Belt from feeling embattled and forgotten. More to the point, the Clintons are avatars of free trade, financialization, and identity politics, a triumvirate of characteristics that associates them pretty directly with what many people associate with the causes of Rust Belt decline and crisis. But it didn’t matter that Democrats stood for these things when Republicans stood for most of them as well….

Trump changed that particular calculus. It may have been cynical, but the message was clear: he would be a protectionist president. This is a part of the country that does things like smash Japanese cars at civic events. Trump’s message was likely to resonate, but probably only in the Rust Belt….

Because of the obsession with exit polls, post-election analysis has not come to grips with the regional nature of the Trump phenomenon. Exit polls divide the general electorate based on individual attributes: race, gender, income, education, and so on, making regional distinctions invisible. However, America doesn’t decide the presidential election that way. It decides it based on the electoral college, which potentially makes the characteristics of individual states decisive.

Trump won Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia, more or less as expected, but he also won Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. He nearly won Minnesota. Trump cracked the Democratic coalition and he did so decisively. The votes that switched were in the Rust Belt. Depressed Democratic turnout did matter, but this wasn’t indifference or apathy alone. It was also because Clinton was a terrible candidate for the Rust Belt, a region with a lot of people who were particularly likely to remember Bill Clinton’s move to free trade and abandonment of manufacturing as well as Hillary Clinton’s advocacy for TPP and defense of Wall Street. Trump, on the other hand, had higher turnout than Romney in some of these states. Indeed, to the extent that there was Trump “enthusiasm” anywhere, it was in the Rust Belt.

The electoral shift was highly concentrated in territorial terms and Rust Belt territories were ground zero. Trump flipped a full third of the counties that voted for Obama twice. Clinton flipped 6 of the 2200 counties that didn’t vote for Obama. Many of the counties Trump flipped are Rust Belt communities in the Midwest. And those counties, in turn, flipped the electoral college votes of Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, from Democrat to Republican. Obama’s coalition managed to bridge the dying Rust Belt and the New Economy, but Clinton didn’t and, given her baggage and her policies, could not. Trump snatched the Rust Belt from the Democrats.

Trump is president because of a regional revolt.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2016/11/11/23174/

So there you have it. Oh no! Wait a second! Actually Ethan Cohen has explained that it was actually all Jill Stein’s fault. What was I thinking?

81

Manta 11.14.16 at 8:41 pm

It’s a bit difficult to have a conversation with you, Layman: here an in other threads you repeatedly dismissed any kind of evidence that did not fit your ideas.
I showed ample evidence that the press was and is deeply hostile to Trump (very easy to find: google news “Trump unfit president”): you didn’t show any to counter that point.
I remind that the original contention by @22 faustusnotes is that a “belligernent press” was backing Trump.

I will also remind that the press that in your opinion was “hounding” Clinton did not merely “said that Trump was unfit” (that was the least damning of the things that they said about him), but also did a quite good job in unearthing and/or publicizing Trump scandals (his taxes, the Trump University scam, the pussygate tape…).

82

Manta 11.14.16 at 9:02 pm

Jack Shafer explains a related point very well
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/11/donald-trump-wins-2016-media-214442
“Newspaper investigations cemented into the public mind the pre-existing image of Donald Trump as a bad person, as exit polls showed that 60 percent of voters viewed him unfavorably. But that didn’t keep 15 percent of those who thought he was deplorable from voting for him…. the election of Trump doesn’t render the many journalistic findings published during the campaign worthless. Journalism at its best can provide only a set of traffic advisories. It is not and it can’t be an autopilot for life’s trip”

83

Layman 11.14.16 at 9:16 pm

@Manta, there are any number of surveys and studies of the media handling of both candidates, all of which conclude that media coverage of bogus Clinton scandals (e.g. emails) far outweighed their coverage of (legitimate) Trump scandals. This of course doesn’t even account for the fact that media coverage of bogus Clinton scandals has gone on for some 25 years.

Gallup does a good job of summarizing the effects.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/195596/email-dominates-americans-heard-clinton.aspx

84

Dipper 11.14.16 at 9:24 pm

This is the year of the cockup. I think the EU referendum and the Clinton presidency were winnable and I say that as a Brexit voter.

Cameron got nothing out of the Europeans. Juncker and Merkel humiliated him. When he was pushed on immigration he had nothing to give and resorted to hysterical threats. If a deal had been done on immigration controls he would have won. I suspect Juncker and Merkel are not unhappy with the outcome as they get UK departure on their terms and can push ahead on EU integration, but again they are engaged in an all-or-nothing gamble. In my experience those kind of bets quite often end up with nothing.

My reading of the US election is this. Clinton assembled a tent of assorted groups – Hispanics, Blacks, educated women, and metropolitans – which she felt confident she could satisfy when in power. But due to the electoral college she needed the swing states of the mid-west to win. To make an explicit appeal to them would have meant putting white-working class low-education men in the tent, and that would have made satisfying the various groups impossible due to the contradictions in interests between WWC and the other groups. So she gambled she could leave them outside the tent and win, and lost.

There is no doubt that this year has been a significant setback for many on the left. My view is the left can make progress, but they will need a lot less hubris, need to lecture less and listen more, and knuckle down to the hard work of assembling policies that deliver a winning coalition.

85

Omega Centauri 11.14.16 at 9:24 pm

cowardly lion.
By science of persuasion, I mean the whole bag of tricks known to good marketers. But, mainly and especially those that work through the emotions of the target. Subliminal. Brainwashing through the constant repetition of memes. The Republicans have an army of millions of fellow travelers -mostly ordinary folks who consider themselves to be conservative, who they’ve managed to recuit to repeat these memes endlessly. And that spreads them far and wide, creating a mental
landscape that their candidates can exploit.

And, no. I don’t ever remember encountering logic in school, and I consider myself to be in the top 1% intelelctual-wise. Certainly not something like, thinking logically for the bottom ninety percentile academic wise. Also we have the use of pschology. It is becoming much better known, how human judegement fails because of a whole host of cognitive weaknesses. Anyone who doesn’t understand these weaknesses becomes vulnerable to someone who does, and wishes to exploit the assymetry. And the Republicans in their obsession with winning at any cost (to society) exploit thse methods relentlessly.

Yes, Rhetoric in a general sense means the ability to persuade people irregardless of whether you are right or wrong, or whether your arguments are logically consistent. The fact that polls that asked who is the most honest candidate had Trump coming out as the honest one, should be a pretty good indicator that in some sense he knew what he was doing, and pulled off the deal, even with people who had strong disagreements with aspects of his “platform”, or his personal shortcomings. He basically was able to make a significant fraction of voters connect with with. Clearly this should say something disturbing about the state of the cognitive landscape.

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efcdons 11.14.16 at 9:32 pm

Howard Frant @60

Clinton won all income groups below the median; Trump won all income groups above the median.

Clinton won all age groups up to 45; Trump won all age groups above 45.

Obama won all income groups below the median; Romney won all income groups above the median.

Obama won all age groups up to 45; Romney won all age groups above 45.

Obama won all income groups below the median; McCain won all income groups above the median.

Obama won all age groups up to 45; McCain won all age groups above 45.

I could go back to Gore v. Bush

You just quoted basic facts about Dem v. GOP voters since like, 2000. Dems always win below median income, below 45 years old votes. GOP always wins above media income, above 45 year old voters. It means absolutely nothing in the context of this election.

This has been a pretty consistent theme with a lot of the post election analysis. As others have said, it’s the shifts in support that matter. For example, Trump did better than Romney with voters making less than 30k by 16 points! I believe that was the biggest demographic shift of support for Trump as compared to Romney.

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Marc 11.14.16 at 9:44 pm

@81: Perhaps Clinton was a poor choice for a crucial election if Clinton required not being criticized in the press, not having her opponents leak unflattering material to the press, not being contested in the primary and having the media attack her opponent full force. Especially when the media *did* attack her full force.

If we’re doing counterfactuals, let’s say Republican die-hards in the FBI leak the email server scandal to the press, and the story is that the FBI director is covering up damaging last minute information for Clinton to get her into the White House. Is this better than what Comey did?

If we’re doing counterfactuals, how about the Access Hollywood tape getting buried or not found? How about having Trumps campaign intervene and prevent some self-inflicted wounds from 3 AM Twitter fights?

It’s just as easy to imagine a worse outcome than it is to imagine a better one. I don’t find comfort in the multiverse theory, because there’s also a universe where Trump swept into office with an even wider mandate.

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Faustusnotes 11.14.16 at 9:49 pm

Consumatopia, the press’s mendacity on the Clinton foundation – and that of many commentators here – had nothing to do with clinton’s personal decisions, but to a press (and people here) who believed and recycled every discredited and wrong lie the right wi g echo chamber fabricated about it. These attacks were laughably wrong but they never went away no matter what anyone said because of the Clinton rules.

Now, it could be argued that for all her merits, the mere existence of the Clinton rules and the insane inability of the press to treat her fairly made Clinton an impossible candidate, but the us primary system allowed her to run and she won by several million votes. Of course in any other system she would have been told to stay away but America doesn’t have that system, so the dems had to choose between a nice guy who would have been slaughtered by the press and a nice woman who was slaughtered by the press.

Like is aid above, America is a radical right wing country with a broken political system and weird rules of public discourse, and despite this Clinton came close to winning and won the popular vote. This isn’t a repudiation of her policies or obamas legacy, it’s the result of a white supremacist upsurge in a country that still reveres and protects its slave states. But when assessing what went wrong it really helps if leftists don’t fall for the idea that the dems aren’t radical enough, or that the problem is their neoliberalism. You want to see neoliberalism, wait till the dude the alt right elected starts channeling Paul Ryan.

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nastywoman 11.14.16 at 10:26 pm

@80
‘Trump snatched the Rust Belt from the Democrats.’

Could be old news – as the conversation since quite some time seems to have moved on to ‘the alleged failure of “liberal progressivism” – and concerning the Rust Belt and Americas workers that is really an interesting question – as there is this theory that (we) ‘progressives’ are not that much into manufacturing or building stuff because – in a pretty unpolitical way ‘we have two left hands – and furthermore kind of invented the idea that ‘manufacturing’ is soooo much a thing of the past – just think of all our economist friends who tell’ya at dinner ‘teh future is all in social media and bla and bla and bla – as ‘bla’ is – never thinking that compared to manufacturing some very labor intensive sophisticated machines – there is very little employment in face books machine – and so we the – now – United States of F…face von Clownstick and the UK thought we are so cool by writing manufacturing off and it is mind boggling how much this attitude – being left or right has become a total ‘bipartisan’ -(I hate this word) in the United States of Trump – BUT it meant stripping a lot of once very proud workers -(who were able to build a machine) – off their pride – as building machines just wasn’t as ‘popular’ anymore as it used to be – and for our friends in Great Britain – selling something like ‘the Rolls’ to Germany – kind of says it all…

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nastywoman 11.14.16 at 10:59 pm

AND furthermore – I kind of forgot – that if you sell your manufacturing to the extent US did -(from over 20 percent of GDP to now around 10 percent) – you also sell your people – and you finally need a wake up call -(we have gotten now) – and now we all will visit a Tesla Factory – or watch how a seat for a Bentley is build -(you know there is a yoga demand for luxury stuff) – and then we will understand – that ‘building stuff’ – always will be YUUGE and a very ‘winning’ part of the future –
Especially if the F..face von Clownsticks are insisting – that their golden toilets are all handmade – and so I’m sitting on a ‘unikat’ by a Swiss manufacturer – which is not ‘cheap’ – but as we all will be fabulously wealthy in the future – ‘liberal progressives’ can learn it too – to become (again) ‘productive parts of society and everybody who knows how to make a real good cheese will become famously wealthy too…

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Placeholder 11.14.16 at 10:59 pm

Hidari@80 cannot be repeated enough.

I said again, Liberal despair politics wants to reinterpret America’s soul into the mere fact that a political coalition is electorally effective. If the popular vote is for nothing else, isn’t it for that? Does America hate women because the Democrat gain among women was matched by its loss among men? Are whites intractable if non-college white losses were balanced college white gains? The ‘white card’ is no high card, Trump didn’t win more votes than Romney among whites as a whole, and the ‘women card’ is not a busted flush – the numbers show it is clearly something that matter enough to produce an unprecedented gap (and btw Hillary won married women this time – Obama lost them to Romney). But they are not a Full House. The loss of college whites in rust belts states are clearly an effective coalition but they are not the soul of America. When Biden said ‘Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive’ – Hilary said ‘Gaddhafi is dead and….?’

I know enough Hilary boosters on line and if #Her was offering them anything they didn’t hear it.

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bob mcmanus 11.14.16 at 11:00 pm

“expert persuasion” – you don’t seriously consider Trump an expert?

Inside the Trump Bunker Bloomberg Oct 27

“On Oct. 19, as the third and final presidential debate gets going in Las Vegas, Donald Trump’s Facebook and Twitter feeds are being manned by Brad Parscale, a San Antonio marketing entrepreneur, whose buzz cut and long narrow beard make him look like a mixed martial arts fighter. His Trump tie has been paired with a dark Zegna suit. “

I saved this one and keep studying it. Questions like did Trump luck into a kid genius, and can that kinda luck be cultivated (character). Or did this kid like Gates or Jobs, fall into the right idea at the right time?

To a degree I am tempted to say that Trump won the election with Facebook, by Facebook. New Social Media? Understand this wasn’t top-down, but networks of networks.

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cowardly lion 11.14.16 at 11:36 pm

@85

Thanks.
Also, my question (or exasperation) about logic and rhetoric was not directed at you and I apologize if you felt it was. I assume all here have had exposure to it either through formal pedagogy or not (myself admittedly being the latter), so I was genuinely asking if a lack of it among the general populace could be a factor (although now that I think about it this question does have some rhetorical snark in it so again I apologize, old habits die hard).

“disturbing state of the cognitive landscape.” Like so? – Conservatives yammer on and on about assimilation, yet they don’t see any problem in flying a treasonous battle flag. Don’t bother pointing this out to them.

@92

I would say that if Trump is an expert on anything he is an expert ON persuasion. This would then reword itself into ‘expert persuasion by an expert persuader’. The genius to this would be that he doesn’t then have to be an expert on anything else, he could simply convince you he was. I believe this is what they call a confidence man… or a politician.

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Howard Frant 11.14.16 at 11:49 pm

PGD@65

Yes, it would be better to be able to look at changes. That said, noisy data does not spontaneously sort itself. Granted that the number of groups is small, when all the groups above the median vote one way and all the groups below another it’s very unlikely to be random.

Whites without a college degree voted for Trump. What does that mean? To get a better answer we really need individual level data. But absent that, the fact there was a strong tendency for rural voters to vote for Trump, and for urban voters to vote for Clinton, makes it seem unlikely we’re talking about a “working class.” Based on my ethnographic studies of Trump voters (n=1), as well as the fact that a majority of Trump voters (but not Clinton voters) said they were primarily motivated by dislike of the other candidate, I think we’re talking basically about a Fox News audience, which Trump somehow activated. I certainly see no basis for blaming this on specific things about Clinton or the Democrats, however tempting that might be.

95

Anarcissie 11.15.16 at 12:57 am

To me it seems a bit early to play a proper blame game. Much more data needs to be found or invented, and massaged into fantastic forms. Temporarily, at least, I think the liberals should forgive the Left and the Left should forgive the liberals. There is always time to get into the firing-squad circle again.

However, there is one set of people that I feel less charitable about, and they are those who are seemingly trying to normalize Trump. No doubt some of them are just going through the traditional motions, but if they keep it up these traitors should be shown the door of our battered temple and given a solid push.

96

Main Street Muse 11.15.16 at 1:09 am

“Liberalism didn’t fail and we need to defend liberal principles now.”

SOMEONE please explain what exactly “left” means any more. If HRC was the “liberal” candidate, let’s remember that she refused to release the transcripts of her GS speeches to the general public. Obama failed to fix the banking sector and instead created a behemoth of a monster called ACA, which is not affordable. When the “hope and change” president leaves banks bigger and more consolidated than when they were too big to fail, there is a failure of capitalism and of the “left” to rein in the excesses of capitalism.

The pollsters referred to WI as a blue state – WI, the state that destroyed state unions and elected Scott Walker TWICE. NC was supposedly in the bag for HRC – it is the home of the KKK and Franklin Graham. Not really “liberal” by any stretch of the imagination.

The evangelicals hit one note – pro-life – when they voted for Trump. They could justify voting for a clearly flawed man because he will protect life before birth. We all know that GOP will never protect life after birth, however. Defunding Planned Parenthood actually increases infant mortality.

97

Sebastian H 11.15.16 at 1:20 am

“Of course in any other system she would have been told to stay away but America doesn’t have that system, so the dems had to choose between a nice guy who would have been slaughtered by the press and a nice woman who was slaughtered by the press.”

The need to tell her to stay away was obvious 2 years ago. But, she was essentially the prime minister of the Democratic Party. No one could have told her to stay away under other major systems either.

98

LFC 11.15.16 at 2:45 am

@nastywoman

You keep referring to the decline in the GDP share of US manufacturing. In fact, manufacturing’s share of US real GDP has been pretty much constant since 1960 (see fig. 1 of the linked article). It’s employment in US manufacturing that has declined, not manufacturing output as a percentage of GDP.

https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/us-manufacturing-past-and-potential-future-baily-bosworth.pdf

99

William Meyer 11.15.16 at 3:11 am

I see several people were puzzled by my inclusion of teachers in the New Class. I can only refer you to the origins of the New Class in the period c.1895-1905, when the professions seized control of their own professional licensing requirements. Lawyers via bar associations dictated the standards by which someone could be come an attorney, doctors took control of medical education and practices (and ran most alternative medical practitioners out of business), and teachers likewise seized control of their own education and credentialling (and largely pushed parents and school boards out of control of their children’s education). Of course, this exact same period also saw the rise of four other critical activities that were essential to the New Class ecosystem: the rise of national-scale corporations (via consolidation of smaller regional firms), the beginnings of the administrative agencies intended to provide greater policy consistency than Congress could provide, the invention of modern economic lobbying of both administrative agencies and Congress, and the rise of post graduate education generally. All of this was the primordial soup in which much of the early 20th-Century progressive movement was born–a joining together of well-educated urban technocrats to challenge the rule of–and extract a bigger share of the pie from–the (at that time) poorly educated business elite, via the New Class’ technocratic ability to leverage the power of government. Of course, this had an undeniably negative impact on the kind of broad-based democratic governance that had prevailed politically in the late 19th century–the New Class was determined to take many aspects of policy out of the hands of voters, and keep them firmly in their own better-informed fingers. I think the extraodinarily hostile attitude of the New Class toward urban political machines is one fairly obvious data point.

I grant that teachers and engineers are both the ‘proletariat” of the professions, and never got the same kind of financial rewards or prestige as the lawyers, doctors, accountants, but they are a part of the same phenomenon just the same. I certainly didn’t single teachers out as an act of any hostility. I don’t think it is an act of intellectual integrity to excerpt any group from political analysis or place them “above” having any practical agenda.

And as a Jew I have to reject the notion that I am peddling some kind of disguised anti-Semitism. The New Class is certainly not a Jewish invention nor does it serve an agenda that is in any way peculiar to Jews.

100

Chris "merian" W. 11.15.16 at 3:11 am

Manta: “I showed ample evidence that the press was and is deeply hostile to Trump (very easy to find: google news “Trump unfit president”)”

Given Trump’s core electorate, the established press declaring him unfit boosted him. Providing him with oodles of free coverage as a curiosity during the primaries also boosted him. Applying radically lowered standards to declare his public performance “successful” or “improved” also boosted him. Providing ample headline and title page space for the email server and leaked emails bullshit also boosted him. Following the twists and turns of his multiple scandals without ever taking any single one as seriously as Clinton’s also boosted him. Giving in-depth comparative policy reporting low priority also boosted him. Reporting more on how the latest event might “play” with the electorate rather than analysing it and giving it its proper importance also boosted him.

I don’t blame them for the first of these – he is unfit after all. However, they then acted as if everyone would agree on that anyway and reported on him with the breathless fascination you afford a celebrity curiosity.

101

J-D 11.15.16 at 3:45 am

efcdons

As others have said, it’s the shifts in support that matter.

Matters for what? Matters how? If support shifts towards you you win and if support shifts away from you you lose? Tell that to President Dewey.

102

basil 11.15.16 at 4:51 am

The resistance of the ones who were refused Whiteness.

CT (dis)misses one of the most important fault-lines in non-Republican USian politics today, the rejection *by* those constructed as ‘women of colour’ *of* the solidarity and association of those constructed as ‘white women’. This, for me, is a variation of what was playing out here on CT, and thinking back now, it seems obvious that this chasm would depress turnout for HRC.

The resistance, expressed in such biting formulations as #GuessImWithHer wasn’t led by anarchists, not even radicals or left liberals. The entire campaign period self-identifying ‘PoC women and queers’ were very loudly dismissing HRC, calling them out for their pandering, describing their solidarity as false and fleeting, reminding HRC of a lifetime of actions and pronouncements against women, minorities, the poor and the vulnerable. They were actually calling HRC ‘racist’. They went there.

It is easy to understand the long history of elision playing out here. These inconvenient voices were most explicitly drawing an equivalence between HRC and Trump, and sometimes going so far as to declare that HRC and the Democrats – for their perfidy and exploitation of PoC – were worse. This was all over social media waxing every time the system showed its true colours, responding to revelations from the Clintons’ archive of corruption, and triggered by Hillary’s terrible encounters with protesting activists. Incredibly, the Jess Phillips tendency here with their supposed centreing of race and gender, found a way to (dis)miss this spectrum of minoritised voices. One can still read confidently expressed opinions that HRC was a great champion of the put upon.

The important lesson from the last couple of years, evinced by millenial stay-aways was that the game may be up for liberals, forever. What is responsible for this? The revolutionary networking that those who have been refused Whiteness have achieved on the internet with teach-ins, hashtags and a radical, far-reaching programme of collective education, particularly on gender, and on White Supremacy’s curse – race. In an age of alienation, they have found community and a collective voice, struggling together to figure out another world. Many minoritised people have realised that in electoral politics, their subjugated identities are weaponised – used as both warring shield and cudgel – by liberals against conservatives. The convenient insistence on restricted choices, is exploited by liberals to corral minoritised populations with the threat of the ogre yonder, to scapegoat conservatives as the exclusive White Supremacists, to foreclose and undermine more radical possibilities, and consequently to present the liberal programme as the only available option.

Really, liberals ought to pay attention to the fact that the mobilising and organisational power and networks of BLM, Dreamers, the anti-pipeline Native Americans did not bring more minoritised voters out. In the year of a living ogre that breathed fire, the old good-cop strategy refused to ignite the presumed Demographic victory. While White Supremacy’s B-team were out on their expiatory ritual, those refused Whiteness ‘stayed woke.’ Some of them, rural, rust-belted, disenfranchised, and ‘rednecked’ resisted by voting with the Trump rebellion. Many others refused to legitimise the farce by participating. Some preferred to vote for a dead gorilla.

103

Dr. Hilarius 11.15.16 at 6:15 am

Faustusnotes @22: your misreading of my post is so bizarre I probably shouldn’t attempt to explain. My criticism was of certain Democratic politicians who avoid conflict with corporate sponsors while maintaining an image of being a progressive by espousing social values that require no courage or cost. Moreover, my point was that these politicians are not going to resist Trump’s policies, they will seek comfortable compromise to the detriment of those you claim to be concerned about.

104

Chris Bertram 11.15.16 at 8:21 am

I’ve been letting comments through, pretty much, except for one guy who was over-long and included a bunch of YouTube links. Still, I think I could have rejected about 50% on the grounds of relevance since you people seem mostly concerned to discuss why Hillary lost, which was not the subject of the OP. The OP, to remind you was about the political character of the past 30 years, whether that character is appropriately described as “liberal”, whether (and in what sense) the failures of that period mean that liberalism, as such, has failed, and what the political character of the next period will be.

105

nastywoman 11.15.16 at 8:57 am

@98
‘It’s employment in US manufacturing that has declined, not manufacturing output as a percentage of GDP.’
Yes – and all my bad – by such silly musing about the workers plight.
I meant ‘share of employment’.
And about ‘what the political character of the next period will be.’

‘Everything goes’ – and as sooner or later Millennials will dominate ‘the next period’ – with ‘Everything goes’ – and ‘good times’ for any ‘liberals’ if ‘liberals’ promise everything a millennial need from – ‘forgiveness of the student debt – free education – well paying jobs – payable health care – and working conditions like in modern European States with job security and long vacations…

Liberal

Like in some kind of (political) supermarket most voters will pick from every ‘political
who cares how it’s going to be called

106

J-D 11.15.16 at 9:10 am

Chris Deerin’s article is like a Rorschach test; the content is so indefinite that the meaning people perceive in it tells you more about the people doing the perceiving than it does about the article.

107

Faustusnotes 11.15.16 at 10:01 am

Some good points above – manufacturing hasn’t declined but employment has, which suggests the problem here is automation and not outsourcing. That’s certainly true of the mythical white coal miner, whose job is primarily under threat from cheap Chinese coal, a global glut, and corporate mismanagement, not climate policy. If the problem were simply offshoring, Peabody wouldn’t be in administration. Also the predominance of Clinton voters in urban areas identified above also challenges the narrative that dems lost the white working class – though I suppose for a lot of people here urban=black and worker=white.

Also thanks William for turning up to defend your ludicrous theory. Good to see that in fine bearded leftist tradition you’re relying on a theory that’s a hundred years out of date. Do you honk the world would be better off if doctors had not run alternative practitioners out of business? Would we have eliminated smallpox and discovered HIV if naturopathy was part of mainstream medicine? Amused minds want to know.

Also I didn’t say your theory was anti Semitic – I also compared it with stalins kulak scare as well – I said it was as paranoid and dumb as something on stormfront. Your additional comments haven’t helped it in that regard.

108

Dipper 11.15.16 at 12:08 pm

okay CB. The failure of “liberal progressivism” is this: the prized possession of liberal progressives in the UK is the Welfare state. Welfare states are very expensive to run. You can’t just give everyone access or you will end up destroying the thing you cherish. At some point you have to put up a wall, literal or metaphoric, and say “You are in, here is your free education, healthcare, housing. You are out, none of this is for you”

Everyone knows this. Even Progressive Liberal Academics like you know it. But the left insists on pretending it isn’t necessary so they can jump on the other side and call them racists and bigots when they argue for restrictions on access to welfare.

so if Liberal Progressives want to be taken seriously they need to come to the table with serious discussions on how to control access to the Welfare state.

109

nastywoman 11.15.16 at 12:47 pm

‘which suggests the problem here is automation and not outsourcing.’

If the problem would be ‘automation’ – you still would read ‘Made in USA’ on most products you buy in the homeland –

Right?

– and as Americans favorite cars are nearly all German -(or some are Japanese or Italian) – what ‘rational’ again is behind the fact – that not only the luxury car market – but also the luxury kitchen equipment market in the US is dominated by German Products?

I mean it’s great – as a Porsche worker in Stuttgart Germany once told me – that Californians pay nearly 50 percent of all the salaries of Porsche workers in Germany as California used to import nearly 50 percent of the whole Porsche production – but is that… necessary?

110

Consumatopia 11.15.16 at 12:54 pm

It’s not automation, it’s that US manufacturing has shifted to sectors that involve less manufacturing labor. If you follow LFC’s link, it says manufacturing has only maintained it’s share of GDP when that includes manufacturing of computers and electronic, but “the 90 percent of manufacturing that lies outside the computer and electronics industry has seen its share of real GDP fall substantially, while it’s productivity growth has been fairly slow.”

111

Chris Bertram 11.15.16 at 1:52 pm

@Dipper the obvious point to make in reply is that immigrants on average make the welfare state more viable: they have higher rates of employment than natives, pay taxes and are younger, fitter, and less sick so consume less health care. Further, if we are worried about the UK specifically, we could just move towards a more contributory system. That would not be unjust, in my view and might bolster support for the welfare state among people worried about freeloading. On balance, though, I think it would cost more in increased admin than we saved.

112

Trader Joe 11.15.16 at 2:28 pm

@109 nastywoman
“– and as Americans favorite cars are nearly all German -(or some are Japanese or Italian)”

Sorry – that’s not even close to truth. Only 30% of cars sold in the US market are manufactured outside of the US and only 25% for light trucks. Your anec-data about Porsche may or may not be accurate, but a clear plurality of cars sold here are made here and that’s been the case for ages.

http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autosales.html

113

John Quiggin 11.15.16 at 2:44 pm

I’m planning a longer post on this, but I’ll make one of the points here first.

Manufacturing employment is declining worldwide, including in the usual suspects like Mexico and China (falling almost everywhere as a proportion of employment, and in most places declining absolutely). You can call that automation, or just structural change. It’s the same transition that happened with agriculture during the process of industrialisation.

114

nastywoman 11.15.16 at 3:37 pm

@113
‘Manufacturing employment is declining worldwide, including in the usual suspects like Mexico and China’

‘Great subject’ as –
‘America’s manufacturing sector has retreated faster and further in relative terms than that of any other large, affluent nation. US manufacturing as a percentage of GDP declined from 27 percent in 1950 to 23 percent in 1970 to 14 percent in 2000 to 11 percent in 2009. While manufacturing as a share of GDP has also declined in Germany and Japan, both countries have retained relatively larger manufacturing sectors at 17 and 21 percent, respectively. The contribution of manufacturing to per capita GDP is also higher in Germany ($6,900) and Japan ($8,300) than in the United States. The most shocking, but underemphasized, fact about global manufacturing is that Germany’s share of global merchandise exports is actually higher than America’s (9 percent vs. 8.5 percent in 2009), despite having an economy just one-quarter of the size.

As a consequence, the United States is lagging as a global economic competitor. In 2009, Germany and Japan had large manufacturing trade surpluses ($290 and $220 billion, respectively) while the United States had a massive manufacturing trade deficit ($322 billion).5 The other key measure — little known in popular discussions of manufacturing — is export intensity, the ratio of a nation’s exports to its total manufacturing sales. The global average export intensity is twice as high as that of the United States, which ranked 13th out of the 15 largest manufacturing countries in 2009, higher only than Russia and Brazil.6 Meanwhile, the leading EU countries had export intensities 2.5 times to 4 times higher than America’s. Comparisons of the value of manufactured exports on a per capita basis are even more dramatic: they are higher in Spain ($3,700), Japan ($4,000), Canada ($4,600), and Germany ($11,200) than in the United States ($2,400).’

115

WLGR 11.15.16 at 3:40 pm

@ Chris Bertram, Brianna Rennix in Current Affairs (an altogether excellent rag) is quite right in warning us to be suspicious of such “obvious” points:

The economic case for immigration may be attractive—and, for the moment at least, persuasive—but it is essentially a conservative argument, suggesting that human beings ought to be treated in a certain manner because it generates economic benefit, and not necessarily because it is morally required. Of course, liberals don’t really want to look a gift horse in the mouth: with the political climate hostile to the humanitarian plight of even the most sympathetic of migrants, liberals are thrilled to have statistics and pie charts and suchlike to lay before a skittish American public. It isn’t every day that the right thing to do is also the rationally self-interested thing to do, and we should certainly celebrate those joyous occasions when they arise. However, it’s important not to lose sight of the moral dimension of the argument, and in that context there are a few questions worth asking.

The left has something to learn from the moral clarity of the libertarian case for immigration, which asserts that human beings simply have a natural right to migrate freely. The moral argument is far more robust than the economic one, because it is true universally regardless of changing economic conditions. One doesn’t need to prove that immigrants grow the GDP or that they will never compete for the same jobs as Americans. The better point is that there is no good moral reason for putting up walls and keeping people out. And just as Americans feel entitled to the freedom to go anywhere in the world they please (and would be surprised to be turned away at a border), so everyone else should be granted the same basic entitlement. It’s also worth emphasizing the inherent arbitrariness of global inequality. Given that the earth’s resources are unevenly apportioned, and people’s life circumstances depend on the geographic accident of their birth, shouldn’t we understand this to be a moral evil, and strive to correct it where we can?  Perhaps such arguments will fail to persuade. But they are far more sound, and ultimately, far more honest. Increased immigration should be allowed because it is morally right, not because it is in our narrow economic self-interest.

Point being, Dipper @ 108 has hit the nail quite squarely on the head. Liberal democracy has always depended on its relationships with an illiberal Other of one sort or another, and all too often “liberal progressivism” merely means responding to such relationships in one’s own society, the capitalist exploitation of a domestic proletariat, by “outsourcing” our illiberal tendencies to consist largely of the imperial domination and subjugation of foreigners. (Which can even happen inside one’s own borders, as long as it remains suitably “illegal”; notice how much less ideologically problematic it is to document the presence and labor of the most brutally exploited migrant workers in e.g. China or the Gulf Arab states than in more liberal societies like the US or EU.) It’s the height of either hypocrisy or obliviousness for those who consider themselves liberal progressives to then act surprised when the people charged with carrying out this domination and subjugation on our behalf — our Colonel Jessups, if you will — demand that we stop hiding our society’s illiberal underbelly and acknowledge/celebrate it for what it is, a demand that may be the single most authentic marker of the transition from liberalism to fascism.

116

Consumatopia 11.15.16 at 3:54 pm

There’s a weird disconnect between the debate among online leftists/liberals and the debate among Democratic politicians now. Online it’s socialists saying “they hate neoliberalism, reach out to them!”, social justice activists saying “they’re racists, screw them!” In party institutions, it’s the same except the second group is saying “they’re racists, we must avoid antagonizing them!” Seriously, they’re arguing that Bernie would have lost because he’s Jewish and his ally Keith Ellison shouldn’t lead the DNC because he’s Muslim.

So I just hope the people saying “they’re racists!” understand that if the Democratic party comes to agree with you then the party will move to the right on race–or at least it will pull back from some of the rhetoric Chris (merian) described at 76.

Anyway, from the OP, “These have indeed failed people, and policies of austerity coupled with bailouts for the banks have enraged the voters, so that many people, nostalgic for a more equal and more functional society but confused about who to blame, have channelled their resentments against immigrants and minorities. “

I think this is almost but not quite correct. There definitely exist some people for whom this is true. But there are also people who either liked Trump’s economic rhetoric and just disregarded the racism/sexism stuff the same way Clinton voters like me disregarded her warmongering (Republicans:domestic minorities::Democrats:foreigners), and other people who didn’t have their resentments channeled at all and just stayed home.

More that that, I just don’t think anyone has a good understanding of what moves the white working class to the right. It isn’t just racism and sexism, and it ends up playing out differently in different regions. It’s not necessarily true that they’re ready for Sanders–look at Kentucky voting for a governor promising to end Medicaid expansion in 2015. This is a poor but very white state. Lower middle class whites turned against further downscale whites. Poor whites didn’t show up. It wasn’t racism that drove this, but it wasn’t hatred of neoliberalism either–it may be a response to pain neoliberalism caused, but they haven’t been prepared to point the finger there.

117

Chris Bertram 11.15.16 at 4:14 pm

@WLGR: I do not believe that the case for free movement depends on economic arguments; I do believe that when its opponents advance bogus economic arguments they should be rebutted.

118

efcdons 11.15.16 at 4:21 pm

JD @101
it matters to determine who is “responsible” for electing trump. Which, to tie in to the theme of the OP, would help to figure out if “liberal progressivism” lost or if it was particular elements of liberal progressivism or even how advocates for liberal progressivism communicate.

If trump was a reactionary revolt by the relatively well off (b/c trump voters had an above media income) the election might have a different meaning than if the real explanation is the shift in votes by the working class/poor (b/c trump was able to get more votes from this bloc than previous GOP candidates).

Re: mfg productivity and automation and off-shoring

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-10-26/manufacturing-s-productivity-myth

“On the whole, the U.S. manufacturing sector does not appear to have been a hotbed of innovation and productivity gains in recent years. It has gotten by with fewer workers, but in many cases that seems to have been more about managing decline through layoffs and plant shutdowns than boldly leaping into the automated future.”

119

nastywoman 11.15.16 at 4:26 pm

@112
“Sorry – that’s not even close to truth. Only 30% of cars sold in the US market are manufactured outside of the US and only 25% for light trucks.’

How true – and all my bad – so let me try to adjust from:

– as Americans favorite cars are nearly all German -(or some are Japanese or Italian) – what ‘rational’ again is behind the fact – that not only the luxury car market – but also the luxury kitchen equipment market in the US is dominated by German Products.

to:

– what ‘rational’ again is behind the fact – that not only the luxury car market – but also the luxury kitchen equipment market in the US is dominated by German Products –
– as Americans favorite (luxury) cars are nearly all German -(or some are Japanese or Italian)

Is that easier to understand?

120

bob mcmanus 11.15.16 at 4:31 pm

I liked WLGR’s at 115 a little better than Dipper, but there are many comments coming better than anything I can do.

It may be that global manufacturing jobs are declining due to automation, but my recent reading has convinced me that capital is now able to move low wage low skill manufacturing jobs so fast that it is hard for analysis to keep up. LTV says that as long as the profits and wealth and accumulation (and political power) are showing up, somewhere there is superexploited labor. They very likely in our current regimes will not show up in the same places. Neoliberalism and neoimperialism show pretty much the contradictions of the older globalist orders (late 19th c), they are just now distributed so as re-intensify the differences, the combined etc, and concentrate the accumulation.

And elites are fighting over the spoils.

121

bob mcmanus 11.15.16 at 4:41 pm

And of course I am aware that the superexploited labor in our supply-chain global capitalism (you ask where the Mercedes is built; I want to know where the electrical harness is assembled) is mostly female and not-white.

This informs my alt-feminism, anti-racism and intersectionality. It isn’t a whaddabout, it’s a totality a system.

122

nastywoman 11.15.16 at 4:42 pm

‘Is that easier to understand?’

– or perhaps I never should have used such a lame word as ‘favorite’ – concerning Audis, Porsches, Mercedeses, BMW’s, Bentley’s, Roll’s, Ferraris or Lamborghinis?

– as I never meant ‘favorite’ – concerning sales numbers.

123

nastywoman 11.15.16 at 5:23 pm

And data – and the wrong expressions’ sometimes are quite confusing –

The US as a predominant ‘Consuming Country’ -(if she might be called like that?) –
currently in manufacturing, value added (% of GDP) – is at around 10 percent.

A ‘Producing Country’ like Germany or Japan shows more than double the amount – or even up to 33 percent -(depending on how one defines ‘manufacturing’)

This fact influences employment in a dramatic way – as the worker participation rates in countries like Japan and Germany shows – this influences the ‘mood’ and the health of the workers in a dramatic way – as US data about dressed workers shows.

And as there is this theory – that the economy of a country which has below 20 percent manufacturing -(value added % of GDP) is NOT sustainable – the US will have to find a way to get back to at least… 19?
percent?

124

likbez 11.15.16 at 6:09 pm

@115

Liberal democracy has always depended on its relationships with an illiberal Other of one sort or another, and all too often “liberal progressivism” merely means responding to such relationships in one’s own society, the capitalist exploitation of a domestic proletariat, by “outsourcing” our illiberal tendencies to consist largely of the imperial domination and subjugation of foreigners.

(Which can even happen inside one’s own borders, as long as it remains suitably “illegal”; notice how much less ideologically problematic it is to document the presence and labor of the most brutally exploited migrant workers in e.g. China or the Gulf Arab states than in more liberal societies like the US or EU.)

It’s the height of either hypocrisy or obliviousness for those who consider themselves liberal progressives to then act surprised when the people charged with carrying out this domination and subjugation on our behalf — our Colonel Jessups, if you will — demand that we stop hiding our society’s illiberal underbelly and acknowledge/celebrate it for what it is, a demand that may be the single most authentic marker of the transition from liberalism to fascism.

In Pareto “elite rotation” terms, the election of Trump definitely means rotation of the US neoliberal elite. “Status quo” faction of the elite was defeated due to backlash over globalization and disappearance of meaningful well-paid jobs, with mass replacement of then by McJobs and temps/contractors.

Whether openness about domination and subjugation is an “authentic marker of the transition from [neo]liberalism to fascism” remains to be seen, unless we assume that this transition already happened long ego.

In a way illegal immigrants in the USA already represented stable and growing “new slaves” class for decades. Their existence and contribution of the US economy was never denied or suppressed. And even Greenspan acknowledged that Iraq war was about oil. So Trump put nothing new on the table other then being slightly more blunt.

125

likbez 11.15.16 at 7:19 pm

@120
bob mcmanus 11.15.16 at 4:31 pm

Neoliberalism and neo-imperialism show pretty much the contradictions of the older globalist orders (late 19th c), they are just now distributed so as re-intensify the differences, the combined etc, and concentrate the accumulation.

And elites are fighting over the spoils.

Yes, neoliberalism and neo-imperialism are much better and more precise terms, then fuzzy notions like “liberal progressivism . May be we should use Occam razor and discard the term “[neo]liberal progressivism”. The term “soft neoliberals” is IMHO good enough description of the same.

As for contradictions of the “older globalist orders (late 19th c)” the key difference is that under neoliberalism armies play the role of “can opener” and after then the direct occupation were by-and-large replaced with financial institutions and direct occupation of countries with indirect “debt slavery”. In many cases neoliberal subjugation is achieved via color revolution mechanism, without direct military force involved.

Neo-colonialisms creates higher level of concentration of risks due to the greed of financial elite which was demonstrated in full glory in 2008. As such it looks less stable then old colonialism. And it generates stronger backlash, which typically has elements of anti-Americanism, as we see in Philippines now. Merkel days might also be numbered.

Also TBTF banks are now above the law as imposing judgments on them after the crisis can have disastrous economic externalities. At the same time the corruption of regulators via revolving door mechanisms blocks implementing meaningful preventive regulatory reforms.

In other words, like with Soviet nomenklatura, with neoliberal elite we see the impossibility of basic change, either toward taming the TBTF or toward modification of an aggressive foreign policy with its rampant militarism.

126

WLGR 11.15.16 at 7:25 pm

@ Chris Bertram: Sure, but the danger here (assuming a baseline humanism and universalism) is analogous to the danger in arguing that gay rights should be permitted because homosexuality is “natural” or gay people are “born this way”. To articulate these premises is to imply that if homosexuality was unnatural or gay people weren’t born this way, it would be justifiable to continue persecuting and/or prosecuting people for it, or else why waste one’s breath on an argument irrelevant to one’s case? Whether accepting any given immigrant contributes to the economic well-being of the flag-waving granfalloon in which I reside is beside the point, and emphasizing that argument can’t help but strengthen the concurrent argument against accepting immigrants if or when my granfalloon doesn’t benefit.

As far as the economic arguments themselves, it’s trivial to understand (or at least it should be) that absolute immobility of human labor across borders would make a global capitalist economy impossible, which is why such absolute immobility won’t ever actually happen. What we’ll have instead (what we in fact do have) is mobility with conditions and exceptions: a variety of legal, semilegal, and illegal-but-necessary flows of people to ensure that different possessors of labor power can be exploited to different extents, with an ideological superstructure to ensure that as many people as necessary come to view this differentiation as only right and natural. Even for an explicit fascist, for whom this ideological superstructure has crystallized into an elaborate theory about a natural hierarchy of races and nations, immigration can still be a good thing under certain circumstances — as long as immigrants don’t imagine that crossing a border gives them the right to usurp someone else’s higher position in the hierarchy.

Dipper’s point still stands that First-World-style welfare states can only exist under capitalism if their access is ultimately restricted along these lines, since any such welfare state is funded through taxation of global capitalist commerce and thus ultimately through the exploitation of people deprived of its benefits. A global capitalist economy with universal access to First-World-style welfare states would be just as impossible as one without any immigration, or as a couple bearded leftists once put it, it would be like having “a bourgeoisie without a proletariat”.

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WLGR 11.15.16 at 7:51 pm

Consumatopia @ 116: Online it’s socialists saying “they hate neoliberalism, reach out to them!”, social justice activists saying “they’re racists, screw them!” In party institutions, it’s the same except the second group is saying “they’re racists, we must avoid antagonizing them!” Seriously, they’re arguing that Bernie would have lost because he’s Jewish and his ally Keith Ellison shouldn’t lead the DNC because he’s Muslim.

As long as parallels between Trump and Brexit are in vogue re: the failings of the neoliberal establishment and the rise of ethnonationalism, this tendency seems to run parallel to the way Sam Kriss described UK Labour centrists’ stated objections to Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of the referendum:

This is why they’re trying to depose Jeremy Corbyn – he refused to be racist enough. The real nature of the complaint is of course buried in metaphor; the preferred euphemism is electability. For years, Labour has attempted to endear itself to the populace by adopting the language of the far right – Gordon Brown’s ‘British jobs for British workers’; Ed Miliband putting the words ‘controls on immigration’ on an official mug and the rock that would become his tombstone. It’s a curious form of self-abasement: a metropolitan elite, terrified of what it is and desperate to be seen as something else, takes its worst prejudices about the working classes and upholds them as a positive. Unsurprisingly, it hasn’t worked – people who do subscribe to racist ideologies will tend to vote for parties that espouse them out of the genuine conviction of evil, rather than those who openly announce that their evil is only a cynical ploy. But it has had the effect of entrenching the language of the far right across the political spectrum, and thereby reinforcing the idiot axiom that you have to speak it to win popular support.

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J-D 11.15.16 at 8:26 pm

efcdons

it matters to determine who is “responsible” for electing trump.

If it matters, the people who voted for Trump are responsible for electing Trump — not just some of them, all of them — but I don’t get how it matters.

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Trader Joe 11.15.16 at 8:47 pm

@119 et al nastywoman
Sure, clearer, but now your’re down to a bit less than 25% of the overall market so, sure imports dominate the luxury market not just in auto but in a number of product categories. It seems to me that it would naturally be the case that imports would have a high market share among luxury brands and that this would likely be the case in many markets – not just the U.S.

The point about share of manufacturing economy is reasonable, but the question is where is the value added. Its surely the case that nearly 100% of an i-Pad is assembled in China – but the value added is the vision to create, the software, the supporting chip technology, the wireless infrastructure and even to some extent the content that’s all created elsewhere (quite often in the U.S.). Is Germany doomed since they lack the ability to create iPads – no obviously not, they trade dishwashers and Audi’s for them. Its how trade works.

Said differently – manufacturing skill is certainly a thing worth having, but its not the only skill and harnessing relative strengths via outsourcing is also a value creator.

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hix 11.15.16 at 9:08 pm

Whats it about status symbol cars that makes some people go “must have that too in our ountry” mad. Even stranger, what makes people go so crazy about wanting those factories that put the final thing together.

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hix 11.15.16 at 9:36 pm

Another post to that car madness thing:
Lets see, one can make quite lots of money with luxury cars, just like with iphones or Luis Vuiton Bags. In each case, the big money is in the status symbol function. In Luis Vuiton bag production, the big money is with capital owners and a couple of management/marketing people. The iphone adds a couple of well paying jobs for tech people. In the luxury car status symbol market, there are also a few bred crums in the form of well paying decent jobs for assembly line workers in addition to the marketing and tech job. Thats not such a big deal. Really its not. Why should it be? Most of a Luxury cars production is done by suppliers who offer rather undesirable jobs.

Either way, the best solution to excessive profits created by status symbol makers is to tax the shit out of rich people so there is no one left to spend insane amounts of money on useless stuff just to brag.

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Faustusnotes 11.15.16 at 11:37 pm

Nastywoman compares the us with Germany and Japan in industrial output, but where is her evidence that America could ever or is willing to be like them? First Germany is part of a huge free market area with a population about five times its own, and free movement of labour throughout. This is like the US being in a barrier free trade agreement with China, and Chinese labour free to move undo strained to the us. Could this be why Germany has such a high proportion of employment in manufacturing?

Then also germany and Japan have large cradle-to-grave welfare states that require heavy taxation, highly educated populations and a culture of corporate responsibility (including much lower ratios of Ceo to worker salaries) that are inconceivable to modern Americans. Any democrat who campaigned on turning the us into Japan or Germany would be toast.

Also note the difference between these two countries with large manufacturing share. One is in a huge free trade area with mobile extra-national labour; the other is not, and is protected from labour mobility by language barriers. Yet both have a large manufacturing sector, and neither has a significant uprising against liberal “elites” selling out their workers (as far as I can tell this debate doesn’t exist in Japan even though offshoring is quite a common strategy here). Given these differences, it is almost as if the US’s manufacturing decline has nothing to do with nafta or free trade …

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nastywoman 11.15.16 at 11:53 pm

@131
‘Another post to that car madness thing:
Lets see, one can make quite lots of money with luxury cars, just like with iphones or Luis Vuiton Bags. In each case, the big money is in the status symbol function. In Luis Vuiton bag production, the big money is with capital owners and a couple of management/marketing people.

And some (relatively) big money also is with workers who produce the ‘car madness’.

Do you know how much a Mercedes or a Porsche worker earns?
You might be very surprised – and such salaries for workers are also prove that manufacturing can pay a workers the highest wages and salaries – and all kind of additional perks – from yuuuge discounts to buy the cars they produce – to extra bonuses and up to seven weeks of vacation.

So why do so many American always first think about ‘cheap labor’ and ‘cheap stuff’ when they think about manufacturing?

Because not enough Americans drive a ‘Beamer’ or a Porsche or a Mercedes or a Ferrari yet. Which is hard to understand as in California you are nobody without a ‘Beamer’ or a Porsche or a Mercedes or a Ferrari…

And don’t forget what this Italian communist once said!
Communism is – when everybody is driving a Ferrari!
And can imagine – if everybody in the future is driving an (electric) Ferrari how many jobs are created?

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nastywoman 11.16.16 at 12:11 am

@129
Sure, clearer,
Said differently – manufacturing skill is certainly a thing worth having, but its not the only skill and harnessing relative strengths via outsourcing is also a value creator.

But it somehow doesn’t create enough happy workers – in the homeland – and isn’t that the main issue that counts?
Or let’s say it like that: When we toured the rust belt – and when we toured the areas in Great Britain – were still to a certain extent – the interiors for Bentleys and Rolls are produced – which afterwards get send to Germany to be put into a Bentley body and combined with a German Chassis and machinery – you can get quite… ‘romantic’ about the pride such workers -(like once in Detroit?) display about ‘their product’s’.

And that’s the thing – some people in Europe much rather admire a mechanic of a Bentley than a Banker – but not so much anymore in the US –
And isn’t that kind of a shame?-
-(and perhaps in a strange ‘philosophical way’ the main cause why the rust belt elected F..face von Clownstick’?)

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faustusnotes 11.16.16 at 12:56 am

You’re not making any sense, nastywoman. Germany is part of a huge free trade area with no tariff barriers and free movement of people from lower-paid areas to higher paid areas. Why does Germany have higher manufacturing share of GDP than the USA? It cannot, surely, be because of the trade issues. You can’t be serious that it’s because US people don’t have pride in their work. So what is it that you want to see happen in the USA to make it like Germany, if not free-er trade?

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nastywoman 11.16.16 at 1:04 am

‘Any democrat who campaigned on turning the us into Japan or Germany would be toast.’

No Democrat should suggest ‘turning the us into Japan or Germany’ but what’s about suggesting to bring -(especially high paying) manufacturing jobs back to us?

I think that could be a ‘winning’ proposition don’t you think?

And as I seem to be the only commenter on this thread who kind of… supports? -(and defends) the return of manufacturing – as a ‘win win’ I more and more believe that (some) US liberals have to do a lot more to understand their workers mind?

What’s about working once in a car factory – there is a absolutely great one in Fremont California? and just to tour could be an very ‘liberal-rating’ experience…?

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Guy Harris 11.16.16 at 4:27 am

138

J-D 11.16.16 at 5:53 am

nastywoman

No Democrat should suggest ‘turning the us into Japan or Germany’ but what’s about suggesting to bring -(especially high paying) manufacturing jobs back to us?

How?

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nastywoman 11.16.16 at 8:09 am

‘@135
‘You’re not making any sense, nastywoman. Germany is part of a huge free trade area with no tariff barriers and free movement of people from lower-paid areas to higher paid areas. ‘
Yes – and the most ‘favorite’ car for Chinese is ‘the Audi’.
The Chinese market is the biggest car market of the world for German car manufacturers and NOT what you call the ‘huge free trade area with no tariff barriers and free movement of people from lower-paid areas to higher paid areas’.

Or in other words – I would like it very much – not to turn the US into Germany – but to give the Germans a bit more competition in the luxury car market -(what Tesla does) – and about this ‘trade thing’.
Somehow ‘F…face von Clownstick always blames ‘Trade Deals’ for the export of American jobs – but the US doesn’t have a Trade deal with China or the EU yet – and anywhoo China exports the US -(with cheap stuff) right into the ground. And Germany with very expensive stuff.
But somehow F…face von Clownstick very rarely accuses German companies or Germany of stealing ‘our’ jobs – because German car companies offer their workers far better salaries and wages – and instead of thinking:
Hmmmh?
That is strange? Don’t you only get competitive by paying your workers the lowest possible salaries?

Wrong!
And it is not a Trade Deal – Per Se – which makes a (US) company do such a lot of outsourcing. It’s that such a lot of US companies and their CEO seem to be unable to make manufacturing in the homeland work? -(just like our friends in Great Britain – who sold nearly their entire car industry to Germany – and they made it work)

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nastywoman 11.16.16 at 8:15 am

@138
‘How’

Buy all the car companies Germany bought from Great Britain – and make them work as well as they are working now?
– okay – just (kind of) joking…

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nastywoman 11.16.16 at 8:34 am

and indeed – known since 2011 by Vaclav Smit’s “The Manufacturing of Decline” at the Breakthrough Institute:

‘There is no reason the United States could not reverse the fortunes of its manufacturing sector as it did in the 1980s with semiconductors and as Germany did more recently with its high-end consumer and industrial products. German unemployment was much higher than the annual US mean during most of the 1980s, throughout the 1990s, and then until 2006. Mean unemployment between 2000-2006 was 10 percent in Germany and just 4-6 percent in the United States.

Manufacturing produces a variety of economic benefits that finance and service sectors do not. The higher outputs from manufacturing create important backward-forward linkages that include many traditional jobs (from accounting to job training) as well as entirely new labor opportunities (in e-sales, global representation). As a result, sales of every dollar of manufactured products support $1.40 of additional activity, while the retail sector generates less than 60 cents for every dollar of final sales.14 In terms of job creation there is no comparison. Facebook is valued by Goldman Sachs at $50 billion, nearly as much as Boeing, but Boeing employs some 160,000 people, whereas Facebook only employs 2,000.

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hix 11.16.16 at 11:29 pm

I recommend Japanese cars and German comedy:

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