On the national and international causes of Trumpism

by Eric on November 15, 2016

Below the fold you will find what I had to say about the election before the election. This excerpt comes from a paper I wrote for a conference about the Obama presidency; the papers were due October 28. In the New York Times story about the conference, you will read that “the overwhelmingly liberal group” were, in the main, blindsided by Trump’s victory, shouting “Get me rewrite!” As you will see, I wasn’t one of those, and I generally stick by what I had to say, though it is, as a draft, a little rough.

The slow recovery put Obama’s legacy at political risk. For decades, political scientists had been modeling the effect of economic performance on US elections. The longest established and highly reliable such predictor was Ray Fair, whose equation took into account a series of variables including economic good news. In the waning weeks of the 2016 presidential election, the Fair model, largely influenced by the paucity of good economic news, predicted the Democrats would narrowly lose the presidency. Challenged on the validity of his predictions, Fair wrote, “If one assumes that the empirical regularities gleaned from the past 25 elections, as reflected in the coefficient estimates, hold for this election, one would conclude that the Democrats’ chances are quite poor.” Fair conceded the possibility that “people who would otherwise vote for the Republicans because of the sluggish economy and a desire for change will vote for the Democrats because of Donald Trump’s characteristics that they don’t like.” But it was impossible to say in advance of the November 8 canvass.

If the economists were right that a bigger and better stimulus would have produced a faster economic recovery with more widespread prosperity, and the political scientists were right that lackluster economic performance gave Republicans favorable odds of taking the White House in 2016, then Obama’s decision to de-emphasize stimulus in favor of pressing for health insurance reform was a gamble of immense, if unknowable, magnitude and consequence. The opportunity to craft the largest missing piece in the ramshackle American welfare state was surely unique. But for the adoption of healthcare reform to prove meaningful to American lives in the long term, the new program would have to remain in place, and indeed be improved in later years. The Obama health insurance reform narrowly survived a legal challenge in the Supreme Court in 2015, and its further survival would depend on the election of Democrats to defend it in Congress and to nominate and confirm judges and justices likewise willing to uphold it. The parlous recovery made the election of such Democrats uncertain indeed and even at the end of Obama’s presidency it was unclear whether he had won that gamble owing in large measure to the dramatically changed character of the Republican Party in 2016.

It is possible the political effects of the weak turnaround were not limited to Obama’s legacy, Democratic electoral chances, or the future of reformed health insurance provision; they may have extended to the legitimacy of the US political system itself. The effects of a slow and sputtering recovery after such a hopeful start would have been predicted—indeed, were predicted—by Franklin Roosevelt. Considering the despairing mood of the nation in 1932, he thought it no surprise that Americans had staged no revolution. But with the promise of a New Deal, he had raised hope—and “disappointed hope, rather than despair, creates revolutions.… Now there was hope and he knew he must not preside over more disappointment,” his aide Rexford Tugwell recalled. A twenty-first century study confirmed Roosevelt’s intuition. Examining the economic and political fortunes of twenty-eight countries between the world wars, the economic historians Alan de Bromhead, Barry Eichengreen, and Kevin H. O’Rourke found that “when economic bad news continues beyond a certain period of time and negative expectations become firmly entrenched, some people reach for extreme solutions.” As the limping recoveries of the interwar period extended into a period of years, it became ever more likely that these conditions would lend strength to fascist parties whose leaders and constituents did not want merely to govern existing institutions, but to destroy them.

The disappointments that followed the brief moment of hope in 2009 yielded similar boosts to right-wing parties and movements in many nations. Five years onward, in the European Parliamentary elections of 2014, the National Front of France increased its share of the vote from 6.3 to 24.9 percent, the UK Independence Party likewise rose from 16.5 to 26.8 percent, and the Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs went from 12.7 to 19.7 percent. British voters in the throes of nationalist enthusiasms and angered at the effects of austerity on their institutions chose to depart the European Union, or “Brexit,” in 2016.

The US has an institutional bias against minor parties, but taking account of that constraint, the political effects of the weak recovery looked similar. Trump gained the Republican nomination and Trumpism—a mix of nationalism, nativism, and contempt for Constitutional limits and parliamentary norms, among other resentments—gained a purchase on the Republican Party.

As the worldwide trends of the twenty-first century indicate, economic malaises and rightward shift cannot owe solely to decisions made in the Obama White House or even within the United States. These trends owe to a decades-long effort to discredit Keynesianism and the New Deal in favor of leaner budgets, lower taxes, and fewer public services. But it is worth noting that in the 1930s, the US diverged from a global trend toward right-wing extremism owing in large measure to the rapid and visible successes of the New Deal. In the years after the 2008 crash, it did not.

{ 182 comments }

1

tahfromslc 11.15.16 at 11:56 pm

This is an excellent analysis. I have been concerned for years now that the world as we know it is unraveling due to the incompetent management of large economies throughout the world since the crash. The Germany vs. Greece debacle, Brexit and now this – people may not know the specifics, but they know things are not right and they (rightly, in my opinion, although we may not agree on the specific actors) blame the ones who have been in charge. HRC’s entire message was “incrementally more of the same” and it was the wrong message for these times. I voted for her and would again because her policies would have been better than what I think we’ll see with Trump, but said nearly a year ago that if this was a “change” election (in the sense of rejecting the same old stuff), she was not the right candidate. And first thing Trump will do is some sort of stimulus. If they don’t completely botch the implementation, he’ll have a lot of wind behind him.

To my horror, that may have been right. I find myself being frequently interrupted by tears….

2

likbez 11.16.16 at 2:17 am

I think the most interesting point that Eric made is the following:

…These trends owe to a decades-long effort to discredit Keynesianism and the New Deal in favor of leaner budgets, lower taxes, and fewer public services. But it is worth noting that in the 1930s, the US diverged from a global trend toward right-wing extremism owing in large measure to the rapid and visible successes of the New Deal. In the years after the 2008 crash, it did not.

This idea that “the next stop after neoliberal austerity is neofascism” became recently popular. And we so see the rise of far right forces in most European countries, although details differ greatly.

It proved to be partially true at least at one country — Ukraine, were corrupt neoliberal regime of Yanikovich got under pressure of external debts repayment and despite Russian provision of bridge loan was forcefully replaced by far right Provisional government of Turchinov-Yatsenyuk.

As far as Ukraine can tell us, “after neoliberalism” flavor of neofascism has greatly suppressed ethnic component (preserved mainly in a form of an external scapegoat like Russians, and especially Russian language). In other words, ethnic component is replaced/supplemented by cultural, with the emphasis on the mastery and actual usage of the language, as the key criteria of “belonging”.

I think somewhat similar processes are under way in Hungary and Poland, with Poland being more similar to Ukraine, then Hungary. Both have strong anti-immigration sentiments, which in Poland extends to Ukrainians.

It is interesting to note that, if we look at NSDAP program of 1920 (Munich program), it is much more radical then any of Trump program (if such exists, as Trump was all over the place and his key ideas are more of wishful thinking type, then a realistic political program):

The 25-point Program of the NSDAP
… … …
7. We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.
8.Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans, who have immigrated to Germany since 2 August 1914, be forced immediately to leave the Reich.
9.All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
10.The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently, we demand:
11.Abolition of unearned (work and labour) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.
12.In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore, we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
13.We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
14.We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
15.We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
16.We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
17.We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
18.We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.
… … …
21.The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.
22.We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.

… … …

3

Placeholder 11.16.16 at 2:17 am

http://www.people-press.org/2012/08/23/a-closer-look-at-the-parties-in-2012/
This poll suggests non-college whites had already shifted party identification by 2012. Apparently it wasn’t enough for Romney.

4

Sancho 11.16.16 at 2:58 am

It’s a triumph for the American right that the economic disaster wrought by their last president led directly to the election of their next.

Failing upwards spectacularly.

5

rea 11.16.16 at 4:01 am

Obama’s decision to de-emphasize stimulus in favor of pressing for health insurance reform

Never happened. He got all the stimulus he was ever going to get from that Congress. “Emphasis” doesn’t pass legislation

6

Omega Centauri 11.16.16 at 4:27 am

They gave him just enough so it wouldn’t be a total disaster. And just enough so Joe Blow wouldn’t cotton on that they were deliberately aiming for a crappy recovery so they could blame him. I agree with rea, it was never in the cards.

7

mclaren 11.16.16 at 9:52 am

Eric places the blame for this loss squarely on economics, which, it seems to me, gets the analysis exactly right. And the statistics back up his analysis, I believe.

It’s disturbing and saddening to watch other left-wing websites ignore those statistics and charge off the cliff into the abyss, screaming that this election was all about racism/misogyny/homophobia/[fill in the blank with identity politics demonology of your choice]. First, the “it’s all racism” analysis conveniently lets the current Democratic leadership off the hook. They didn’t do anything wrong, it was those “deplorables” (half the country!) who are to blame. Second, the identity politics blame-shifting completely overlooks and short-circuits any real action to fix the economy by Democratic policymakers or Democratic politicians or the Democratic party leadership. That’s particularly convenient for the Democratic leadership because these top-four-percenter professionals “promise anything and change nothing” while jetting between Davos and Martha’s Vineyard, ignoring the peons who don’t make $100,000 or more a year because the peons all live in flyover country.

“Trump supporters were on average affluent, but they are always Republican and aren’t numerous enough to deliver the presidency (538 has changed their view in the wake of the election result). Some point out that looking at support by income doesn’t show much distinctive support for Trump among the “poor”, but that’s beside the point too, as it submerges a regional phenomenon in a national average, just as exit polls do. (..)
“When commentators like Michael Moore and Thomas Frank pointed out that there was possibility for Trump in the Rust Belt they were mostly ignored or, even more improbably, accused of being apologists for racism and misogyny. But that is what Trump did, and he won. Moreover, he won with an amateurish campaign against a well-funded and politically sophisticated opponent simply because he planted his flag where others wouldn’t.

“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. Moreover, 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. We should be looking at maps, not exit polls for the explanation. Low black turnout in California or high Latino turnout in Texas do not matter in the slightest in determining the election, but exit polls don’t help us see that. Exit polls deliver a bunch of non-explanatory facts, in this election more than other recent ones.”
http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2016/11/11/23174/

“Donald Trump performed best on Tuesday in places where the economy is in worse shape, and especially in places where jobs are most at risk in the future.

“Trump, who in his campaign pledged to be a voice for `forgotten Americans,’ beat Hillary Clinton in counties with slower job growth and lower wages. And he far outperformed her in counties where more jobs are threatened by automation or offshoring, a sign that he found support not just among workers who are struggling now but among those concerned for their economic future.”

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-was-stronger-where-the-economy-is-weaker/

Meanwhile, the neoliberal Democrats made claims about the economy that at best wildly oversold the non-recovery from the 2009 global financial meltdown, and at worst flat-out misrepresented the state of the U.S. economy. For exmaple, president Obama in his June 1 2016 speech in Elkhart Indiana, said:

“Now, one of the reasons we’re told this has been an unusual election year is because people are anxious and uncertain about the economy. And our politics are a natural place to channel that frustration. So I wanted to come to the heartland, to the Midwest, back to close to my hometown to talk about that anxiety, that economic anxiety, and what I think it means. (..) America’s economy is not just better than it was eight years ago — it is the strongest, most durable economy in the world. (..) Unemployment in Elkhart has fallen to around 4 percent. (Applause.) At the peak of the crisis, nearly one in 10 homeowners in the state of Indiana were either behind on their mortgages or in foreclosure; today, it’s one in 30. Back then, only 75 percent of your kids graduated from high school; tomorrow, 90 percent of them will. (Applause.) The auto industry just had its best year ever. (..) So that’s progress.(..) We decided to invest in job training so that folks who lost their jobs could retool. We decided to invest in things like high-tech manufacturing and clean energy and infrastructure, so that entrepreneurs wouldn’t just bring back the jobs that we had lost, but create new and better jobs… By almost every economic measure, America is better off than when I came here at the beginning of my presidency. That’s the truth. That’s true. (Applause.) It’s true. (Applause.) Over the past six years, our businesses have created more than 14 million new jobs — that’s the longest stretch of consecutive private sector job growth in our history. We’ve seen the first sustained manufacturing growth since the 1990s.”

None of this is true. Not is a substantive sense, not in the sense of being accurate, not in the sense of reflecting the facts on the ground for real working people who don’t fly their private jets to Davos.

The claim that “America’s economy is the strongest and most durable economy in the world” is just plain false. China has a much higher growth rate, at 6.9% nearly triple the U.S.’s — and America’s GDP growth is trending to historic long-term lows, and still falling. Take a look at this chart of the Federal Reserve board’s projections of U.S. GDP growth since 2009 compared with the real GDP growth rate:

http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/files/2015-03-2.png

“[In the survey] [t]he Fed asked respondents how they would pay for a $400 emergency. The answer: 47 percent of respondents said that either they would cover the expense by borrowing or selling something, or they would not be able to come up with the $400 at all. Four hundred dollars! Who knew?

“Well, I knew. I knew because I am in that 47 percent.

“I know what it is like to have to juggle creditors to make it through a week. I know what it is like to have to swallow my pride and constantly dun people to pay me so that I can pay others. I know what it is like to have liens slapped on me and to have my bank account levied by creditors. I know what it is like to be down to my last $5—literally—while I wait for a paycheck to arrive, and I know what it is like to subsist for days on a diet of eggs. I know what it is like to dread going to the mailbox, because there will always be new bills to pay but seldom a check with which to pay them. I know what it is like to have to tell my daughter that I didn’t know if I would be able to pay for her wedding; it all depended on whether something good happened. And I know what it is like to have to borrow money from my adult daughters because my wife and I ran out of heating oil.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/my-secret-shame/476415/

“Two-thirds of Americans would have difficulty coming up with the money to cover a $1,000 emergency, according to an exclusive poll released Thursday, a signal that despite years after the Great Recession, Americans’ finances remain precarious as ever.

“These difficulties span all incomes, according to the poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Three-quarters of people in households making less than $50,000 a year and two-thirds of those making between $50,000 and $100,000 would have difficulty coming up with $1,000 to cover an unexpected bill.

“Even for the country’s wealthiest 20 percent — households making more than $100,000 a year — 38 percent say they would have at least some difficulty coming up with $1,000.

“`The more we learn about the balance sheets of Americans, it becomes quite alarming,’ said Caroline Ratcliffe, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute focusing on poverty and emergency savings issues.”

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/965e48ed609245539ed315f83e01b6a2

The rest of Obama’s statistics are deceptive to the point of being dissimulations — unemployment has dropped to 4 percent because so many people have stopped looking for work and moved into their parents’ basements that the Bureau of Labor Statistics no longer counts them as unemployed. Meanwhile, the fraction of working-age adults who are not in the workforce has skyrocketed to an all-time high. Few homeowners are now being foreclosed in 2016 compared to 2009 because the people in 2009 who were in financial trouble all lost their homes. Only rich people and well-off professionals were able to keep their homes through the 2009 financial collapse. Since 2009, businesses did indeed create 14 million new jobs — mostly low-wage junk jobs, part-time minimum-wage jobs that don’t pay a living wage.

“The deep recession wiped out primarily high-wage and middle-wage jobs. Yet the strongest employment growth during the sluggish recovery has been in low-wage work, at places like strip malls and fast-food restaurants.

“In essence, the poor economy has replaced good jobs with bad ones.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/28/business/economy/recovery-has-created-far-more-low-wage-jobs-than-better-paid-ones.html

And the jobs market isn’t much better for highly-educated workers:

New research released Monday says nearly half of the nation’s recent college graduates work jobs that don’t require a degree.

The report, from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, concludes that while college-educated Americans are less likely to collect unemployment, many of the jobs they do have aren’t worth the price of their diplomas.

The data calls into question a national education platform that says higher education is better in an economy that favors college graduates.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/29/underemployed-overeducated_n_2568203.html

Don’t believe it? Then try this article, from the Chronicle for Higher Education:

…Approximately 60 percent of the increase in the number of college graduates from 1992 to 2008 worked in jobs that the BLS considers relatively low skilled—occupations where many participants have only high school diplomas and often even less. Only a minority of the increment in our nation’s stock of college graduates is filling jobs historically considered as requiring a bachelor’s degree or more.

http://www.chronicle.com/blogs/innovations/the-great-college-degree-scam/28067

As for manufacturing, U.S. manufacturing lost 35,000 jobs in 2016, and manufacturing employment remains 2.2% below what it was when Obama took office.

Meanwhile, 91% of all the profits generated by the U.S. economy from 2009 through 2012 went to the top 1%. As just one example, the annual bonuses (not salaries, just the bonuses) of all Wall Street financial traders last year amounted to 28 billion dollars…while the total income of all minimum wage workers in America came to 14 billion dollars.

“Between 2009 and 2012, according to updated data from Emmanuel Saez, overall income per family grew 6.9 percent. The gains weren’t shared evenly, however. The top 1 percent saw their real income grow by 34.7 percent while the bottom 99 percent only saw a 0.8 percent gain, meaning that the 1 percent captured 91 percent of all real income.
Adjusting for inflation and excluding anything made from capital gains investments like stocks, however, shows that even that small gains for all but the richest disappears. According to Justin Wolfers, adjusted average income for the 1 percent without capital gains rose from $871,100 to $968,000 in that time period. For everyone else, average income actually fell from $44,000 to $43,900. Calculated this way, the 1 percent has captured all of the income gains.”

https://thinkprogress.org/the-1-percent-have-gotten-all-the-income-gains-from-the-recovery-6bee14aab1#.1frn3lu8y

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/14/upshot/wall-street-bonuses-vs-total-earnings-of-full-time-minimum-wage-workers.html

Does any of this sound like “the strongest, most durable economy in the world”? Does any of this square with the claims by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that “By almost every economic measure, America is better off…”? The U.S. economy is only better off in 2016 by disingenuous comparison with the stygian depths of the 2009 economic collapse.

Hillary Clinton tied herself to Barack Obama’s economic legacy, and the brutal reality for working class people remains that the economy today has barely improved for most workers to what it was in 2009, and is in many ways worse. Since 2009, automation + outsourcing/offshoring has destroyed whole classes of jobs, from taxi drivers (wiped out by Uber and Lyft) to warehoues stock clerks (getting wiped out by robots) to paralegals and associates at law firms (replaced by databases and legal search algorithms) to high-end programmers (wiped out by an ever-increasing flood of H1B via workers from India and China).

Yet vox.com continues to run article after article proclaiming “the 2016 election was all about racism.” And we have a non-stop stream of this stuff from people like Anne Laurie over at balloon-juice.com:

“While the more-Leftist-than-thou “progressives” — including their latest high-profile figurehead — are high-fiving each other in happy anticipation of potential public-outrage gigs over the next four years, at least some people are beginning to push back on the BUT WHITE WORKING CLASS HAS ALL THE SADS!!! meme so beloved of Very Serious Pundits.”

That’s the ticket, Democrats…double down on the identity politics, keep telling the pulverized middle class how great the economy is. Because that worked so well for you this election.

8

nastywoman 11.16.16 at 11:09 am

– ‘when economic bad news continues beyond a certain period of time and negative expectations become firmly entrenched, some people reach for extreme solutions.”

As proven…
but:
‘These trends owe to a decades-long effort to discredit Keynesianism and the New Deal in favor of leaner budgets, lower taxes, and fewer public services.’

Not in Europe – as from 2000 on it was ‘gold-rush’ time in Europe to such a ‘Wild West’ degree – that braindead Keynesianism -(like copying the US housing bubble) – and the ensuing collapse discredited ‘the Casino’ so much – that some very confused people thought you can fix rampaging corruption by leaner budgets and fewer public services…

9

nastywoman 11.16.16 at 11:24 am

@5
Thank you –

and you did it so much better than me – always trying to dish it out in little silly portions.

Reality!!

10

Val 11.16.16 at 11:28 am

@5
Anne Laurie in the quote you gave did not say a word about “how great the economy is”. You interpolated that to create a straw woman. Her point – quite obviously – is that the black working class and the white working class responded differently to the SAME economic circumstances.

Can I suggest part of the problem in American left politics is an aggressive way of arguing combined with a lack of clear thinking? I really think people need to tone down the aggression and admit that the issues are complex and that different people may have different bits of the puzzle.

11

Cranky Observer 11.16.16 at 12:34 pm

= = = mclaren@9:52 am: The rest of Obama’s statistics are deceptive to the point of being dissimulations —[…] Only rich people and well-off professionals were able to keep their homes through the 2009 financial collapse. = = =

Some food for thought in your post, but you don’t help your argument with statements such as this one. Rich people and well-off professionals make up at most 10% of the population. US homeownership rate in 2005 was 68.8%, in 2015 is 63.7. That’s a big drop and unquestionably represents a lot of people losing their houses involuntarily. Still, even assuming no “well-off professionals” lost their houses in the recession that still leaves the vast majority of the houses owned by the middle class. Which is consistent with foreclosure and sales stats in middle class areas from 2008-2014. Remember that even with 20% unemployment 80% of the population still has a job.

Similarly, I agree that the recession and job situation was qualitatively worse than the quantitative stats depicted. Once you start adding in hidden factors not captured by the official stats, though, where do you stop? How do you know the underground economy isn’t doing far better than it was in the boom years of the oughts, thus reducing actual unemployment? Etc.

Finally, you need to address the fundamental question: assuming all you say is true (arguendo), how does destroying the Affordable Care Act, Social Security, and Medicare help those in the economically depressed areas? I got hit bad by the recession myself. Know what helped from 2010 forward? Knowing that I could change jobs, keep my college-age children on my spouse’s heath plan, not get hit with pre-existing condition fraud, and that if worse came to worse in a couple years I would have the plan exchange to fall back on. Kansas has tried the Ryan/Walker approach, seen it fail, doubled down, and seen that fail 4x as badly. Now we’re going to make it up on unit sales by trying the Ryan plan nationally? How do you expect that to “work out for you”?

12

Marc 11.16.16 at 1:04 pm

@8: Val – on your last point I agree, and that’s part of why I find the discussions over identity politics so intensely frustrating. A lot of people on the left have gone all-in on self-righteous anger and assuming the absolute worst about other people.

I feel it strongly because dissenting from orthodox views on many liberal opinion sites (such as, for example, criticizing Clinton even mildly, or dissenting when large groups are stereotyped) brings down a cascade of really nasty personal attacks. People targeted like that then tend to gather in more sympathetic places (and turn it around on hapless visitors from the other side…)

Annie Laurie over at Balloon Juice does nothing but aggressive put-downs of people who disagree with her. She was vitriolic and hostile to Obama and Obama supporters in 2008. She spent months after the primaries were over dumping on Sanders, Sanders supporters, and anyone insufficiently enthusiastic about Clinton. She is, in short, a real example of extremely destructive habits. These people exist, but I think that it’s the broader attitude – the hyper-aggressive scoring of points and insult-first approach – that we really have to work on. We can’t change the election outcome, but we can change how we treat one another.

13

reason 11.16.16 at 2:34 pm

Val http://crookedtimber.org/2016/11/15/on-the-national-and-international-causes-of-trumpism/#comment-698620
part most of the problem in American left politics is an aggressive way of arguing combined with a lack of clear thinking”

14

reason 11.16.16 at 2:40 pm

nastywoman http://crookedtimber.org/2016/11/15/on-the-national-and-international-causes-of-trumpism/#comment-698618
“that braindead Keynesianism -(like copying the US housing bubble)”

I’m not sure what the thinking is here. What have the various housing bubbles got to do with Keynesianism? If Keynesianism means anything it means fiscal policy and housing bubbles have to do with financialization. In my view they are the consequence years of a policy mix involving tight fiscal policy (and especially inadequate infrastructure investment) and loose monetary policy (based on the view that encouraging people to borrow more is just as stimulatory as giving them money). Now the balance sheet consequences have come home to roost.

15

WLGR 11.16.16 at 4:11 pm

mclaren @ 7: “high-end programmers (wiped out by an ever-increasing flood of H1B via workers from India and China)”

I’m on board with the general thrust of what you’re saying, but this is way, way over the line separating socialism from barbarism. The fact that it’s not even true is beside the point, as is the (quite frankly) fascist metaphor of “flood” to describe human fucking beings traveling in search of economic security, at least as long as you show some self-awareness and contrition about your language. Some awareness about the insidious administrative structure of the H1-B program would also be nice — the way it works is, an individual’s visa status more or less completely depends on remaining in the good graces of their employer, meaning that by design these employees have no conceivable leverage in any negotiation over pay or working conditions, and a program of unconditional residency without USCIS as a de facto strikebreaker would have much less downward pressure on wages — but anti-immigration rhetoric remaining oblivious to actual immigration law is par for the course.

No, the real point of departure here from what deserves to be called “socialism” is in the very act of blithely combining effects of automation (i.e. traditional capitalist competition for productive efficiency at the expense of workers’ economic security) and effects of offshoring/outsourcing/immigration (i.e. racialized fragmentation of the global working class by accident of birth into those who “deserve” greater economic security and those who don’t) into one and the same depiction of developed-world economic crisis. In so many words, you’re walking right down neoliberal capitalism’s ideological garden path: the idea that it’s not possible to be anticapitalist without being an economic nationalist, and that every conceivable alternative to some form of Hillary Clinton is ultimately reducible to some form of Donald Trump. On the contrary, those of us on the socialism side of “socialism or barbarism” don’t object to capitalism because it’s exploiting American workers, we object because it’s exploiting workers, and insisting on this crucial point against all chauvinist pressure (“workers of all lands, unite!”)  is what fundamentally separates our anticapitalism from the pseudo-anticapitalism of fascists.

16

marku52 11.16.16 at 5:01 pm

Maclaren: I’m with you. I well remember Obama and his “pivot to deficit reduction” and “green shoots” while I was screaming at the TV ‘No!! Not Now!”

And then he tried for a “grand bargain” with the Reps over chained CPI adjustment for SS, and he became my active enemy.

I was a Democrat. Where did my party go?

17

politicalfootball 11.16.16 at 5:27 pm

Just chiming in here: The implicit deal between the elites and the hoi polloi was that the economy would be run with minimal competence. Throughout the west, those elites have broken faith with the masses on that issue, and are being punished for it.

I’m less inclined to attach responsibility to Obama, Clinton or the Democratic Party than some. If Democrats had their way, the economy would have been managed considerably more competently.

Always remember that the rejection of the elites wasn’t just a rejection of Democrats. The Republican elite also took it in the neck.

I’ll also dissent from the view that race wasn’t decisive in this election. Under different circumstances, we might have had Bernie’s revolution rather than Trump’s, but Trump’s coalition is composed of overt racists and people who are indifferent to overt racism.

18

engels 11.16.16 at 7:12 pm

I find the discussions over identity politics so intensely frustrating. A lot of people on the left have gone all-in on self-righteous anger

Identity politics (and to some extent probably the rhetorical style that goes with it) isn’t a ‘left’ thing, it’s a liberal thing. It’s a bête noire for many on the left—see eg. Nancy Fraser’s work.

The Anglo/online genus what you get when you subtract class, socialism and real-world organisation from politics and add in a lot of bored students and professionals with internet connections in the context of a political culture (America’s) that already valorises individual aggression to a unique degree.

19

Omega Centauri 11.16.16 at 7:15 pm

As polticalfoorball @15 says. The Democrats just didn’t have the political muscle to deliver on those things. There really is a dynamic thats been playing out: Democrats don’t get enough governing capacity because they did poorly in the election, which means their projects to improve the economy are neutered or allowed through only in a very weakened form. Then the next election cycle the neuterers use that failure as a weapon to take even more governing capacity away. Its not a failure of will, its a failure to get on top of the political feedback loop.

20

Manta 11.16.16 at 7:32 pm

@15 politicalfootball 11.16.16 at 5:27 pm
“Throughout the west, those elites have broken faith with the masses on that issue, and are being punished for it.”

Could you specify some “elite” that has been punished?

21

nastywoman 11.16.16 at 7:36 pm

@13
‘I’m not sure what the thinking is here.’

The definition of ‘Keynesianism’ is:
‘the economic theories and programs ascribed to John M. Keynes and his followers; specifically : the advocacy of monetary and fiscal programs by government to increase employment and spending’ – and if it is done wisely – like in most European countries before 2000 it is one of the least ‘braindead’ things.

But with the introduction of the Euro – some governmental programs – lead (especially in Spain) to horrendous self-destructive housing and building bubbles – which lead to the conclusion that such programs – which allow ‘gambling with houses’ are pretty much ‘braindead’.

Or shorter: The quality of Keynesianism depends on NOT doing it ‘braindead’.

22

Yan 11.16.16 at 7:37 pm

“Trump’s coalition is composed of overt racists and people who are indifferent to overt racism.”

Yes, but left politics could do with a more scientific picture of the human animal that seems to underlie the debate about racism. The human animal is a piece of programming that produces racism, overt racism, or indifference to racism depending on what machine that programming is put into and where on the globe that machine is placed.

We are all overt racists, covert racists, and non-racists in virtue of a history of accidents.

That some of these machines are racist isn’t the question. The question is how to deprogram them, reprogram them, and stop manufacturing them. And for that you’ve got to look at the factory, not the products.

23

bobbyp 11.16.16 at 8:15 pm

And for that you’ve got to look at the factory, not the products.

At last, the real culprits emerge….mothers. :)

24

engels 11.16.16 at 8:18 pm

Could you specify some “elite” that has been punished?

A very good question

25

mclaren 11.16.16 at 8:28 pm

Cranky Observer in #11 makes some excellent points. Crucially, he asks: “Finally, you need to address the fundamental question: assuming all you say is true (arguendo), how does destroying the Affordable Care Act, Social Security, and Medicare help those in the economically depressed areas?”

There actually is a logic at work in the Rust Belt voters for voted for Trump. I don’t think it’s good logic, but it makes sense in its own warped way. The calculation the Trump voters seem to be making in the Rust Belt is that it’s better to have a job and no health insurance and no medicare and no social security, than no job but the ACA (with $7,000 deductibles you can’t afford to pay for anyway) plus medicare (since most of these voters are healthy, they figure they’ll never get sick) plus social security (most of these voters are not 65 or older, and probably think they’ll never age — or perhaps don’t believe that social security will be solvent when they do need it).

It’s the same twisted logic that goes on with protectionism. Rust Belt workers figure that it’s better to have a job and not be able to afford a Chinese-made laptop than not to have a job but plenty of cheap foreign-made widgets you could buy if you had any money (which you don’t). That logic doesn’t parse if you run through the economics (because protectionism will destroy the very jobs they think they’re saving), but it can be sold as a tweet in a political campaign.

As for 63.7% home ownership stats in 2016, vast numbers of those “owned” homes were snapped up by giant banks and other financial entities like hedge funds which then rented those homes out. So the home ownership stats in 2016 are extremely deceptive. Much of the home-buying since the 2009 crash has been investment purchases. Foreclosure home purchases for rent is now a huge thriving business, and it’s fueling a second housing bubble. Particularly because in many ways it repeats the financially frothy aspects of the early 2000s housing bubble — banks and investment firms are issuing junks bonds based on rosy estimates of ever-escalating rents and housing prices, they use those junk financial instruments (and others like CDOs) to buy houses which then get rented out at inflated prices, the rental income gets used to fund more tranches of investment which fuels more buy-to-rent home buying. Rents have already skyrocketed far beyond incomes on the East and West Coast, so this can’t continue. But home prices and rents keep rising. There is no city in the United States today where a worker making minimum wage can afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment and have money left over to eat and pay for a car, health insurance, etc. If home ownership were really so robust, this couldn’t possibly be the case. The fact that rents keep skyrocketing even as undocumented hispanics return to Mexico in record numbers while post-9/11 ICE restrictions have hammered legal immigration numbers way, way down suggests that home ownership is not nearly as robust as the deceptive numbers indicate.

Political football in #15 remarks: “I’ll also dissent from the view that race wasn’t decisive in this election. Under different circumstances, we might have had Bernie’s revolution rather than Trump’s, but Trump’s coalition is composed of overt racists and people who are indifferent to overt racism.”

Race was important, but not the root cause of the Trump victory. How do we know this? Tump himself is telling us. Look at Trump’s first announced actions — deport 3 million undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes, ram through vast tax cuts for the rich, and end the inheritance tax.

If Trump’s motivation (and his base’s motivation) was pure racism, Trump’s first announced action would be something like passing laws that made it illegal to marry undocumented workers. His first act would be to roll back the legalization of black/white marriage and re-instate segregation. Trump isn’t promising any of that.

Instead Trump’s (bad) policies are based around enriching billionaires and shutting down immigration. Bear in mind that 43% of all new jobs created since 2009 went to immigrants and you start to realize that Trump’s base is reacting to economic pressure by scapegoating immigrants, not racism by itself. If it were pure racism we’d have Trump and Ryan proposing a bunch of new Nuremberg laws. Make it illegal to have sex with muslims, federally fund segregated black schools and pass laws to force black kids to get bussed to them, create apartheid-style zones where only blacks can live, that sort of thing. Trump’s first announced actions involve enriching the fantastically wealthy and enacting dumb self-destructive protectionism via punitive immigration control. That’s protectionism + class war of the rich against everyone else, not racism. The protectionist immigration-control + deportation part of Trump’s program is sweet sweet music to the working class people in the Rust Belt. They think the 43% of jobs taken by immigrants will come back. They don’t realize that those are mostly jobs no one wants to do anyway, and that most of those jobs are already in the process of getting automated out of existence.

The claim “Trump’s coalition is composed of overt racists and people who are indifferent to overt racism” is incomplete. Trump’s coalition actually consists of 3 parts and it’s highly unstable: [1] racists, [2] plutocrats, [3] working class people slammed hard by globalization for whom Democrats have done little or nothing.

Here’s an argument that may resonate: the first two groups in Trump’s coalition are unreachable. Liberal Democrats can’t sweet-talk racists out of being racist and we certainly have nothing to offer the plutocrats. So the only part of Trump’s coalition that is really reachable by liberal Democrats is the third group. Shouldn’t we be concentrating on that third group, then?

The good news is that Trump’s coalition is unstable. The plutocrats and Rust Belters are natural enemies. Since the plutocrats are perceived as running giant corporations that import large numbers of non-white immigrants to lower wages, the racists are not big fans of that group either. Listen to Steve Bannon, a classic stormfront type — he says he wants to blow up both the Democratic and the Republican party. He calls himself a “Leninist” in a recent interview and vows to wreck all elite U.S. institutions (universities, giant multinationals), not just the Democratic party. Why? Because the stormfront types consider elite U.S. institutions like CitiBank as equally culpable with Democrats in supposedly destroying white people in the U.S. According to Bannon’s twisted skinhead logic, Democrats are allegedly race traitors for cultural reasons, but big U.S. corporations and elite institutions are supposedly equally guilty of economic race treason by importing vast numbers of non-white immigrants via H1B visas, by offshoring jobs from mostly caucasian-populated red states to non-white countries like India, Africa, China, and by using elite U.S. universities to trawl the world for the best (often non-white) students, etc. Bannon’s “great day of the rope” includes the plutocrats as well as people of color.

These natural fractures in the Trump coalition are real, and Democrats can exploit them to weaken and destroy Republicans. But we have to get away from condemning all Republicans as racists because if we go down that route, we won’t realize how fractured and unstable the Trump coalition really is.

26

Lee A. Arnold 11.16.16 at 9:06 pm

Bannon has arisen the White Narcissist movement.

The Chinese are going to present Trump’s head, with an apple in his mouth, to the White Narcissist movement.

Then everybody in the US is going to have to eat it, maybe our last meal.

Wall Street will get away: “Honey, there’s plenty of good places developing in the world. “

27

hix 11.16.16 at 9:47 pm

An inherited billionaire from New York becomes president and lowers taxes for rich people. The old (coastal in particular) elites got completly crushed.

28

Daragh 11.16.16 at 9:50 pm

If we’re looking at the international causes of Trumpism, we might also look to the role of Russian intelligence and the massive disinformation campaign waged by Moscow during the campaign. We might also look at the Kremlin ties of Trump aides like Manafort, or acknowledge that the Trump campaign was apparently engaged in some form of dialogue with the Russian embassy during the campaign. I’m sceptical myself that the Russians truly wanted Trump, as opposed to just wanting to cause chaos and weaken Clinton, but they very clearly played a role.

Of course, this would also require us to acknowledge that one of the primary instruments of Russian influence during the campaign was Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Gosh, if only someone had rung a few alarm bells about him and his dubious associations beforehand…

29

AcademicLurker 11.16.16 at 9:56 pm

Could you specify some “elite” that has been punished?

Depends on what you mean by “punished”. During the primaries, Trump supporters certainly seemed to derive immense enjoyment from watching Jeb! Bush get publicly humiliated by Trump. Later on, they also clearly enjoyed watching Clinton’s longtime dreams get crushed.

Did Bush’s or Clinton’s comfortable elite status get diminished in any meaningful way by any of this? Not really, but that kind of punishment is beyond the ability of the voters to meet out.

30

bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:07 pm

At the center of Great Depression politics was a political struggle over the distribution of income, a struggle that was only decisively resolved during the War, by the Great Compression. It was at center of farm policy where policymakers struggled to find ways to support farm incomes. It was at the center of industrial relations politics, where rapidly expanding unions were seeking higher industrial wages. It was at the center of banking policy, where predatory financial practices were under attack. It was at the center of efforts to regulate electric utility rates and establish public power projects. And, everywhere, the clear subtext was a struggle between rich and poor, the economic royalists as FDR once called them and everyone else.

FDR, an unmistakeable patrician in manner and pedigree, was leading a not-quite-revolutionary politics, which was nevertheless hostile to and suspicious of business elites, as a source of economic pathology. The New Deal did not seek to overthrow the plutocracy, but it did seek to side-step and disable their dominance.

It seems to me that while neoliberalism on the right was much the same old same old, the neoliberal turn on the left was marked by a measured abandonment of this struggle over the distribution of income between the classes. In the U.S., the Democrats gradually abandoned their populist commitments. In Europe, the labour and socialist parties gradually abandoned class struggle.

In retrospect, though the New Deal did use direct employment as a means of relief to good effect economically and politically, it never undertook anything like a Keynesian stimulus on a Keynesian scale — at least until the War.

Where the New Deal witnessed the institution of an elaborate system of financial repression, accomplished in large part by imposing on the financial sector an explicitly mandated structure, with types of firms and effective limits on firm size and scope, a series of regulatory reforms and financial crises beginning with Carter and Reagan served to wipe this structure away.

When Obama came in, in 2008 amid the unfolding GFC, one of the most remarkable features of his economic team was the extent to which it conceded control of policy entirely to the leading money center banks. Geithner and Bernanke continued in power with Geithner moving from the New York Federal Reserve (where he served as I recall under a Chair from Goldman Sachs) to Treasury in the Obama Administration, but Geithner’s Treasury was staffed from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank. The crisis served to concentrate banking assets in the hands of the top five banks, but it seemed also to transfer political power entirely into their hands as well. Simon Johnson called it a coup.

I don’t know what considerations guided Obama in choosing the size of the stimulus or its composition (as spending and tax cuts). Larry Summers was identified at the time as a voice of caution, not “gambling”, but not much is known about his detailed reasoning in severely trimming Christina Romer’s entirely conventional calculations. (One consideration might well have been worldwide resource shortages, which had made themselves felt in 2007-8 as an inflationary spike in commodity prices.) I do not see a case for connecting stimulus size policy to the health care reform. At the time the stimulus was proposed, the Administration had also been considering whether various big banks and other financial institutions should be nationalized, forced to insolvency or otherwise restructured as part of a regulatory reform.

Here’s the thing: the globalization and financialization of the economy from roughly 1980 drove both increasingly extreme distribution of income and de-industrialization. Accelerating the financialization of the economy from 1999 on made New York and Washington rich, but the same economic policies and process were devastating the Rust Belt as de-industrialization. They were two aspects of the same complex of economic trends and policies. The rise of China as a manufacturing center was, in critical respects, a financial operation within the context of globalized trade that made investment in new manufacturing plant in China, as part of globalized supply chains and global brand management, (arguably artificially) low-risk and high-profit, while reinvestment in manufacturing in the American mid-west became unattractive, except as a game of extracting tax subsidies or ripping off workers.

It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability. Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Globalization and financialization were just “forces” that just happened, in a meteorological economics.

It is conceding too many good intentions to the Obama Administration to tie an inadequate stimulus to a Rube Goldberg health care reform as the origin story for the final debacle of Democratic neoliberal politics. There was a delicate balancing act going on, but they were not balancing the recovery of the economy in general so much as they were balancing the recovery from insolvency of a highly inefficient and arguably predatory financial sector, which was also not incidentally financing the institutional core of the Democratic Party and staffing many key positions in the Administration and in the regulatory apparatus.

This was not your grandfather’s Democratic Party and it was a Democratic Party that could aid the working class and the Rust Belt only within fairly severe and sometimes sharply conflicting constraints.

No one in the Democratic Party had much institutional incentive to connect the dots, and draw attention to the acute conflicts over the distribution of income and wealth involved in financialization of the economy (including financialization as a driver of health care costs). And, that makes the political problem that much harder, because there are no resources for rhetorical and informational clarity or coherence.

31

bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:33 pm

The short version of my thinking on the Obama stimulus is this: Keynesian stimulus spending is a free lunch; it doesn’t really matter what you spend money on up to a very generous point, so it seems ready-made for legislative log-rolling. If Obama could not get a very big stimulus indeed thru a Democratic Congress long out of power, Obama wasn’t really trying. And, well-chosen spending on pork barrel projects is popular and gets Congressional critters re-elected. So, again, if the stimulus is small and the Democratic Congress doesn’t get re-elected, Obama isn’t really trying.

Again, it comes down to: by 2008, the Democratic Party is not a fit vehicle for populism, because it has become a neoliberal vehicle for giant banks. Turns out that makes a policy difference.

32

engels 11.16.16 at 10:33 pm

Ps. Should prob add that identity politics isn’t the same thing as feminism, anti-racism, LGBT politics, etc. They’re all needed now more than ever.

What we don’t need more of imo is a particular liberal/middle-class form of those things with particular assumptions (meritocratic and individualist), epistemology (strongly subjectivist) and rhetorical style (which often aims humiliating opponents from a position of relative knowledge/status rather than verbal engagement).

33

Helen 11.16.16 at 10:35 pm

I don’t know why I’m even having to say this, as it’s so obvious. The “leftists” (for want of a better word) and feminists who I know are also against neoliberalism. They are against the selloff of public assets to enterprises for private profit. They want to see a solution to the rapidly shrinking job market as technology replaces jobs (no, it’s not enough for the Heroic Workers to Seize the Means of Production – the means of production are different now and the solution is going to have to be more complex than just “bring back manufacturing” or “introduce tariffs”.) They want to roll back the tax cuts for the rich which have whittled down our revenue base this century. They want corporations and the top 10% to pay their fair share, and concomitantly they want pensioners, the unemployed and people caring for children to have a proper living wage. They support a universal “single payer” health care system, which we social democratic squishy types managed to actually introduce in the 1970s, but now we have to fight against right wing governments trying to roll it back… They support a better system of public education. They support a science-based approach to climate change where it is taken seriously for the threat it is and given priority in Government policy. They support spending less on the Military and getting out of international disputes which we (Western nations) only seem to exacerbate.

This is not an exhaustive list.

Yet just because the same people say that the dominant Western countries (and my own) still suffer from institutionalised racism and sexism, which is not some kind of cake icing but actually ruin lives and kill people, we are “all about identity politics” and cannot possibly have enough brain cells to think about the issues I described in para 1.

I don’t find it instructive or useful.

34

Main Street Muse 11.16.16 at 10:54 pm

The slow recovery was only one factor. Wages have been stagnant since Reagan. And honestly, if a white Republican president had stabilized the economy, killed Osama Bin Laden and got rid of pre-existing condition issue with healthcare, the GOP would be BRAGGING all over it. Let’s remember that we have ONE party that has been devoted to racist appeals, lying and putting party over country for decades.

Obama entered office as the economy crashed over a cliff. Instead of reforming the banks and punishing the bankers who engaged in fraudulent activities, he waded into healthcare reform. Banks are bigger today than they were in 2008. And tell me again, which bankers were punished for the fraud? Not a one… All that Repo 105 maneuvering, stuffing the retirement funds with toxic assets – etc. and so on – all of that was perfectly legal? And if legal, all of that was totally bonusable? Yes! In America, such failure is gifted with huge bonuses, thanks to the American taxpayer.

Meanwhile, homeowners saw huge drops the value of their homes. Some are still underwater with the mortgage. It’s a shame that politicians and reporters in DC don’t get out much.

Concurrently, right before the election, ACA premiums skyrocketed. If you are self-insured, ACA is NOT affordable. It doesn’t matter that prior to ACA, premiums increased astronomically. Obama promised AFFORDABLE healthcare. In my state, we have essentially a monopoly on health insurance, and the costs are absurd. But that’s in part because the state Republicans refused to expand Medicaid.

Don’t underestimate HRC’s serious issues. HRC had one speech for the bankers and another for everyone else. Why didn’t she release the GS transcripts? When did the Democrats become the party of Wall Street?

She also made the same idiotic mistake that Romney did – disparage a large swathe of American voters (basket of deplorables is this year’s 47%.)

And then we had a nation of voters intent on the outsider. Bernie Sanders had an improbable run at it – the Wikileaks emails showed that the DNC did what they could to get rid of him as a threat.

Well America has done and gone elected themselves an outsider. Lucky us.

35

Lee A. Arnold 11.16.16 at 11:16 pm

I would listen to any rock band who calls themselves, “Non-deficit Jobs in the Rustbelt”.

36

Lee A. Arnold 11.17.16 at 12:19 am

The White Narcissist Movement. Another good name for a pop music band.

37

Layman 11.17.16 at 12:54 am

mclaren: “As for 63.7% home ownership stats in 2016, vast numbers of those “owned” homes were snapped up by giant banks and other financial entities like hedge funds which then rented those homes out. So the home ownership stats in 2016 are extremely deceptive. Much of the home-buying since the 2009 crash has been investment purchases.”

I’ll call bullshit on all of this, and until you can produce some sources backing it up I’ll assume it’s nonsense you made up. What were the ‘vast numbers’ owned by giant banks? Which banks? What are the ‘real’ home ownership numbers, and where does one find them? How much of home-buying since 2009 is investment buying, and what is the source of that information?

38

Main Street Muse 11.17.16 at 1:04 am

Bruce Wilder @31

“Again, it comes down to: by 2008, the Democratic Party is not a fit vehicle for populism, because it has become a neoliberal vehicle for giant banks. Turns out that makes a policy difference.”

It actually made a huge political difference. And now we have Trump.

39

Anarcissie 11.17.16 at 1:51 am

Helen 11.16.16 at 10:35 pm @ 33 —
The problem I have with identity politics is that it has been used and continues to be used to efface, if not destroy, class analysis, class struggle, class politics in general. It doesn’t have to be, but it is.

40

burritoboy 11.17.16 at 2:01 am

“I don’t know why I’m even having to say this, as it’s so obvious. The “leftists” (for want of a better word) and feminists who I know are also against neoliberalism. They are against the selloff of public assets to enterprises for private profit. They want to see a solution to the rapidly shrinking job market as technology replaces jobs (no, it’s not enough for the Heroic Workers to Seize the Means of Production – the means of production are different now and the solution is going to have to be more complex than just “bring back manufacturing” or “introduce tariffs”.) They want to roll back the tax cuts for the rich which have whittled down our revenue base this century. They want corporations and the top 10% to pay their fair share, and concomitantly they want pensioners, the unemployed and people caring for children to have a proper living wage. “

I think that is far too simplistic a claim. It’s probably true that the vast majority of “The “leftists” (for want of a better word) and feminists” quite genuinely want these things in the abstract. But the abstract isn’t what gets you those things. You have to prioritize these things and either put them at the very top of the agenda, or at least, make them a close run number 2. And even making them your number 2 priority is very risky (sometimes you have to do this in a war or something, but it better be something reasonably like an existential crisis.) You can try to make it a balance between economic issues and something else, but you’d better be both very good and very lucky.

The pitfalls of not doing so? Well, for just one example, you can see that the Obama administration’s failures to use the financial crisis for necessary reforms – particularly in the critical moments of 2008-2009 – seems to be causing significant disappointment among the electorate 7-8 years later. For another example, take many local politicians’ enthusiasm for marijuana legalization (at least, this is fairly common in my area). A perfectly correct enthusiasm, but it cannot be your core one (here’s looking at you, Gavin.)

41

engels 11.17.16 at 2:26 am

just because the same people say that the dominant Western countries (and my own) still suffer from institutionalised racism and sexism, which is not some kind of cake icing but actually ruin lives and kill people, we are “all about identity politics”

Fwiw imo that would be misuse of the term—imo it implies that you don’t talk (seriously) about class, inequality and economics. (I think—admittedly I’m not too sure now and I think the term is a bit slippery…)

42

engels 11.17.16 at 2:29 am

[As I implied above, I tend to think of it as an consequence of the fact that America doesn’t (traditionally) have much of a real Left.]

43

engels 11.17.16 at 3:27 am

no, it’s not enough for the Heroic Workers to Seize the Means of Production

OT but genuine question: why don’t you just write ‘’it’s not enough for the workers to seize the means if productions ‘? Why is it impossible for most Americans to disagree communist ideas without this kind of heavy sarcasm? It seems to me to perform a certain kind of normative function i.e. it suggests there’s something childish or embarrassing about taking such ideas seriously

44

J-D 11.17.16 at 4:00 am

mclaren

Yet vox.com continues to run article after article proclaiming “the 2016 election was all about racism.”

When look at vox.com, I can’t find any articles proclaiming that the 2016 election was all about racism. So, in the absence of further evidence, I have to consider the possibility that your interpretation is incorrect.

And we have a non-stop stream of this stuff from people like Anne Laurie over at balloon-juice.com:

“While the more-Leftist-than-thou “progressives” — including their latest high-profile figurehead — are high-fiving each other in happy anticipation of potential public-outrage gigs over the next four years, at least some people are beginning to push back on the BUT WHITE WORKING CLASS HAS ALL THE SADS!!! meme so beloved of Very Serious Pundits.”

That’s the ticket, Democrats…double down on the identity politics, keep telling the pulverized middle class how great the economy is.

I have no idea who Anne Laurie is, so I have no idea to what extent she’s representative of Democrats, but what I do know is that I can’t find in your quotation from her any reference to how great the economy is: so in the absence of further evidence I once again find myself leaning towards the possibility that you’re misinterpreting.

45

faustusnotes 11.17.16 at 4:14 am

A question for the people who think the Rust belt turned on Clinton because the Dems abandoned them on welfare …

Obamacare passed in the house 219-212 with all republicans voting against, and 34 Dems also voting against. The bill was 4 votes from failure, and it’s well established that Obama had to compromise in many ways to make the bill acceptable enough to “Blue Dog” democrats to pass at all.

Where are those Blue Dogs from? If you check the list (easily obtained online) you’ll see they most come from states that either never vote for Dems, or that flipped to Trump this time around.

The reason these conservative Dems come from those states is that those states don’t support radical welfare provisions – they don’t want other people getting a free lunch, and value personal responsibility over welfarism. The Blue Dogs are in states like Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania – the rust belt and the borders of the slave states.

So tell me, if the people from those states are represented by Dems who watered down the ACA on their behalf – if the people of those states hate welfarism and want to see less of it – why on earth do you think they are punishing the Dems for not being radical enough?

I think they were punishing the Dems for being too radical. This idea that the rust belt wanted a more social democratic perspective is not supported by the behavior of the rust belt’s own reps. So tell me – where does this idea come from?

46

Smass 11.17.16 at 4:51 am

engels 11.17.16 at 2.26 am @ 41 –
I agree with you that it should be regarded as a misuse of the term but it often gets thrown around as a kind of all-encompassing epithet directed towards anyone who cares about race, gender, etc and is thus, by default, considered to be not concerned with class and economic inequality.

I can understand why people get annoyed with soft liberal piety about easy social issues – we are all against racism! hurray, more women in the boardroom! – and with students patrolling language misuse at elite institutions but I’ve also seen, for example, Black Lives Matter described as “identity politics”. Whatever one may think of BLM’s effectiveness or orientation, and whoever has subsequently attached themselves to it, that protest movement emerged from the bald fact that police were/are killing African American people.

47

faustusnotes 11.17.16 at 5:25 am

These glib dismissals of anything that isn’t class- and economic-based as “identity politics” really make me sick. Like women not being raped or gay people not being beaten to death by murderous nazis is somehow less important because it can’t be fixed with an economic policy.

48

Val 11.17.16 at 6:06 am

fn @ 47
These glib dismissals of anything that isn’t class- and economic-based as “identity politics” really make me sick. Like women not being raped or gay people not being beaten to death by murderous nazis is somehow less important because it can’t be fixed with an economic policy.

Unfortunately I think some of those who use “identity politics” in the way you are talking about really do think that everything can be fixed by economic policy. Because they are not prepared to face the historical realities of patriarchy, slavery, racism and colonialism, they (at some confused and probably not fully conscious level) do seem to assume that violence and oppression of women and people of colour never used to happen when white men (including white working class men) had ‘good jobs’.

As Helen says, I’m against neoliberalism as much as anybody, but patriarchy and racism predate neoliberalism by centuries.

49

Val 11.17.16 at 6:11 am

In fact this discussion sparked by the comments such as yours (fn), smass’, Helen’s, have made me realise that that is exactly what Trump is promising, isn’t it?

The reinstatement of the old order where white men had good jobs and patriarchy and racism were ok?

50

Hidari 11.17.16 at 7:08 am

The idea that people who are against capitalism (or neoliberalism, if you want) are also not generally against patriarchy and racist colonialism (as a system) is obviously false.

On the contrary it’s people who are ‘into’ identity politics who generally are not against these things (again, as a system). People who are into identity politics are against racism and sexism, sure, but seem to have little if any idea as to why these ideas came into being and what social purposes they serve: they seem to think they are just arbitrary lifestyle choices, like not liking people with red hair, or preferring The Beatles to the Rolling Stones or something. And if this is true, all we have to do is ‘persuade’ people not to ‘be racist’ or ‘be sexist’ and then the problem goes away. Hence dehistoricised (and, let’s face it, depoliticised) ‘political correctness’. which seems to insist that as long as you don’t, personally, call any African-American the N word and don’t use the C word when talking about women, all problems of racism and sexism will be solved.

The inability to look at History, and social structures, and the history of social structures, and the purpose of these structures as a pattern of domination, inevitably leads to Clintonism (or, in the UK, Blairism), which, essentially, equals ‘neoliberalism plus don’t use the N word’.

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Hidari 11.17.16 at 7:20 am

I’m not going to argue directly with people because some people are obviously a bit angry about this but the question is not whether or not sexism or homophobia are good things (they obviously aren’t): the question is whether or not fighting against these things are necessarily left-wing, and the answer is: depends on how you do it. For example, in both cases we have seen right-wing feminism (‘spice girls feminism’) and right wing gay rights (cf Peter Thiel, Milo Yiannopoulos) which sees ‘breaking the glass ceiling’ for women and gays as being the key point of the struggle. I know Americans got terribly excised about having the first American female President and that’s understandable for its symbolic value, but here in the UK we now have our second female Prime Minister.

So what? Who gives a shit? What’s changed (not least, what’s changed for women?)?. Nothing.

Eventually you are going to get your first female President. You will probably even someday get your first gay President. Both of them may be Republicans. Think about that.

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nastywoman 11.17.16 at 7:23 am

What’s wrong with -(from the NYT):
‘Democrats, who lost the White House and made only nominal gains in the House and Senate, face a profound decision after last week’s stunning defeat: Make common cause where they can with Mr. Trump to try to win back the white, working-class voters he took from them…

– while always reminding the people that F… face von Clownstick actually is a Fascistic Racist Birther.

and at the same time (from E. Warren):
“He spoke of the need to reform our trade deals so they aren’t raw deals for the American people,” she said. “He said he will not cut Social Security benefits. He talked about the need to address the rising cost of college and about helping working parents struggling with the high cost of child care. He spoke of the urgency of rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and putting people back to work. He spoke to the very real sense of millions of Americans that their government and their economy has abandoned them. And he promised to rebuild our economy for working people.”

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Faustusnotes 11.17.16 at 7:52 am

Straw man much, hidari? Just to pick a random example of someone who thinks these things are important, Ursula le guin … Sure she’s never made any state,nets about systematic oppression, and economic systems? The problem you have when you try to claim that these ideas “cameo to being” through social and structural factors is that you’re wrong. Everyone knows rape is as old as sex, the idea it’s a product of a distorted economic system is a fiction produced by Beardy white dudes to shut the girls up until after the revolution. Which is exactly what you “reformers” of liberalism, who think it has lost its way in the maze of identity politics, want to do. Look at the response of people like rich puchalsky to BLM – trying to pretend it’s equivalent to the system of police violence directed against occupy, as if violence against white people for protesting is the same as e murder of black people simply for being in public. It’s facile, it’s shallow and it’s a desperate attempt to stop the Democratic Party being forced to respond to issues outside the concerns of white rust belt men – it’s no coincidence that this uprising g of shallow complaints against identity politics from the hard left occurs at the same time we see a rust belt reaction against the new left. And the reaction from the hard left will be as destructive for the dems as the rust belt reaction is for the country.

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nastywoman 11.17.16 at 8:04 am

– and what a ‘feast’ for historians this whole ‘deal’ must be? –
as there are all kind of fascinating thought experiment around this man who orders so loudly and in fureign language a Pizza on you-tube.

And wasn’t it time that our fellow Americans find out that Adolf Hitler not only ordered Pizza or complained about his I-Phone – NO! – that he also is very upset that Trump also won the erection?

And there are endless possibilities for histerical conferences about who is the ‘Cuter Fascist – or what Neo Nazis in germany sometimes like to discuss: What if Hitler only would have done ‘good’ fascistic things?

Wouldn’t he be the role model for all of US?

Or – as there are so many other funny hypotheticals

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bob mcmanus 11.17.16 at 8:23 am

1) And economic populists really care about race gender etc, we just think that focusing on social justice as a priority over economic equality inevitably leads to Trump or someone like him.

2) I don’t know who Clinton might represent more than American feminists, and they, or at least the ones over thirty with power and wealth, certainly seemed to feel possessive and empowered by her campaign and possible election.

And white American feminists could not even get 50% of white working class women nationwide, and I suspect the numbers are even worse in the Upper Midwest swing states. In comparison, African-Americans delivered as always, 90% of their vote, across all classes and educational levels. Latinos delivered somewhere around 60-70%.

American feminism has catastrophically, an understatement, failed over the last couple generations, and class had very much to do with it, upper middle class advanced degreed liberal women largely followed Clinton’s model, leaned in, and went for the bucks rather than reaching ou to their non-college sisters in the Midwest. Kinda like Mao staying in Shanghai, or Lenin in Zurich and expecting the Feminist Revolution to happen in the countryside while they profit.

Feminist Philosophers “Us”

comment, “hbaber”:

Feminism, also playing to its base of upper middle class women, has also shifted its focus from economic and labor force issues, to a range of social and sexuality issues that are of less concern to most women. Personally, I feel betrayed. The male-female wage gap has not narrow appreciably since the 1990s, glass ceilings are still in place and, for me most importantly, horizontal sex segregation in the market for jobs that don’t require a college degree, where roughly 2/3 of American women compete, is unabated. I looked at the most recent BLS stats for occupations by gender recently. Of the two aggregated categories of occupations that would be characterized as ‘blue collar’ work, women represent a little over 2 and 3 percent respectively. For specific occupations under those categories more than half (eyeballing) don’t even include a sufficient number of women to report.

Again, it isn’t hard to see why. Upper middle class women can easily imagine themselves, or their daughters, needing abortions. The possibility that that option would not be available is a real fear. They do not worry that they or their daughters would be stuck for most of their adult lives cashiering at Walmart, working in a call center, or doing any of the other boring, dead-end pink-collar work which are the only options most women have. And they don’t even think of blue-collar work.

Which Marxists always have expected and why we strongly prefer that the UMC and bourgeois be kept out of the Party. It’s called opportunism and is connected to reformism, IOW, wanting to keep the system, just replace the old bosses with your owm.

You backed the war-mongering plutocrat and handed the world to fascism. Can you show responsibility and humility for even a week?

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Faustusnotes 11.17.16 at 8:38 am

…aaand bob mansplains how all white feminists think!

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reason 11.17.16 at 8:40 am

Hidari http://crookedtimber.org/2016/11/15/on-the-national-and-international-causes-of-trumpism/#comment-698690
You seem to have just ignored what Val, small, Helen, faustusnotes have been saying and inserted a straw man into the conversation. No you don’t have to be a Marxist to worry about social discrimination, but being sensitive to social discrimination does make you sensitive to injustice in general. Who exactly are these people you are talking about?

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reason 11.17.16 at 8:43 am

Of course Hidari might have had a point if he was making an argument about campaign strategy and emphasis, but he seems to be saying more that that, or are I wrong?

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basil 11.17.16 at 8:51 am

Thank you for this Eric. Did you see this?

Frank Pasquale recants calculated support for the ACA

<blockquote cite="Over the past decade, a small but growing movement has realized that the Rube Goldberg neoliberalism of Obamacare–and many other parts of modern Democratic policy–is not sustainable. I’ve come to that conclusion painfully and slowly. I’ve taught the law for six years, and each year I get better at explaining how its many parts work, and fit together."

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basil 11.17.16 at 9:09 am

I offered in an earlier comment, that the left looks askance at identity politics because of the recuperation of these – gender emancipation, anti-racism and anti-colonial struggles – by capital and the state. engels, above has offered Nancy Fraser linked here.

CT’s really weird on identity. Whose work are we thinking through? ‘Gender’and ‘Race’ are political constructions that are most explicitly economic in nature. There were no black people before racism made certain bodies available for the inhumanity of enslavement, and thus the enrichment of the slaver class. Commentators oughtn’t, I don’t think, write as if there are actually existing black and white people. As Dorothy Roberts – Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-Create Race in the 21st Century (and Paul Gilroy – Against Race: Imagining Political Culture beyond the Color Line, and Karen and Barbara Fields – Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life, etc put it, it is racism that creates and naturalises race. Of course liberalism’s logics of governance, the necessity of making bodies available for control and exploitation constantly reproduce and entrench race (and gender).

I offered that racialised people, particularly those gendered as women/queer, the ones who have been refused whiteness, are also super suspicious of these deployments of identity politics, especially by non-subjugated persons who’ve a political project for which they are weaponising subordinated identities. It really is abusive and exploitative.

We must listen better. As the racialised and gendered are pointing out, it is incredible that it has taken the threat of Trump, and now their ascension for liberals to tune in to the violence waged against racialised, gendered, queer lives and bodies by White Supremacy. History will remember that #BLM (like the record deportations, the Clintons’ actual-existing-but-to-liberals invisible border wall, the Obamacare farce in the OP, de Blasio’s undocumented persons list, Rahm in Chicago, the employment of David Brock, Melania’s nudes, the crushing poverty of racialised women, the exploitation of those violated by Trump, the re-invasion and desecration of Native American territory) happened under a liberal presidency. That liberal presidency responded to BLM with a Blue Lives Matter law. This is evidence of liberalism’s inherently violent attitude towards those it pretends to care about. All this preceded Trump.

If you are for gender emancipation or anti-race/racism, be against these all the time, not just to tar your temporary electoral foes. Be feminist when dancing Yemenis gendered as women – some of the poorest, most vulnerable humans – are droned at weddings. Be feminist when Mexico’s farmers gendered as women are dying at NAFTA’s hand. Be feminist when poor racialised queer teens are dying in the streets as you celebrate the right of wealthy gays to marry. Be feminist and reject people who’ve got multiple sexual violence accusations against them and those who help them cover these up and shame the victims. Be feminist and anti-racist and reject people who glory in making war on poor defenceless people. Be feminist and anti-racist and reject white nationalists gendered female who call racialised groups ‘super-predators’ to court racists. Reject people who say of public welfare improvements – it will never, ever happen, this is not Denmark. The people who need those services the most are vulnerable humans, racialised and gendered as women. Never say that politicians who put poor migrants in cages on isolated islands are nice people. They absolutely aren’t. Some of this is really easy.

A racialised gendered voice, Mayukh Sen at the bottom has a different take.

These puerile rhetorical gestures reveal the people for whom 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday was simply a glass ceiling left unbroken by a woman who launched a massive Yemeni bombing campaign. Perhaps as a mechanic of coping, it has become incredibly sexy for a certain class of liberals to dodge any responsibility for the lives they, too, have compromised. They aren’t the same ones who have to worry about who will be the first person to call them a terrorist faggot…..For the rest of us, the victory of this fascist is a confirmation of the biases we have known all along, no matter public liberal consciousness’s inabilities to wrangle them into submission.”

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nastywoman 11.17.16 at 9:17 am

@55
and why do we always have to make so many words about ‘Cookie Baking’?

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Another Nick 11.17.16 at 9:28 am

faustusnotes, can you comment on the “identity politics” behind the Dem choice of Lena Dunham for celebrity campaign mascot?

In what ways might be she have been expected to appeal/not appeal to eg. rural voters?

How do you think decisions like that played out for the Dems?

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nastywoman 11.17.16 at 9:33 am

– and just a suggestion I have learned from touring the rust belt – waaay before it was as ‘fashionable’ as it is right now.

While we in some hotel room in Scranton fought our Ideological fights -(we had a French Camera Assistant who insisted that America one day will elect ‘a Fascist like Hitler’) –
the mechanic we had scheduled to interview about his Camaro SS for the next day – had exchanged all the spark plucks of his car.

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basil 11.17.16 at 9:47 am

Typing between screens and made a mistake. Prior comment should be

If you are for gender emancipation or anti-race/racism, be *for* these all the time, not just to tar your temporary electoral foes.

bob mcmanus above,
I really think social justice and economic justice are bound together, and that Universal Healthcare, for example, as a fundamental right is a basic feminist and anti-racist goal. Most particularly because the vulnerability of these groups, their economic hardship, their very capacity to live, to survive is at stake in a marketised health care system. Racialised outcomes for ACA.

Similarly with marketised higher education and skills training. How cynical that HRC used HBCUs to argue that racialised people would suffer from free public tertiary education!

Dorothy Roberts’ work for example has interesting perspectives on how race is created in part through the differentiated access to healthcare. They discuss how this plays out for both maternal and child mortality, and for breast cancer survival. ‘Oh, the evidence shows that racialised women are more vulnerable to x condition’. Exactly, because a racist and marketised system denies them necessary healthcare.

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Val 11.17.16 at 10:07 am

A funny thing about the new comment moderation regime is that you can get two people posting in rapid succession saying pretty much opposite things like me then Hidari. It seems as if (although again it’s not very clear) Hidari is suggesting capitalism created sexism and racism? Or something like that? I’m definitely on better ground there though, patriarchy and sexism predate capitalism.

In fairness though, I think I understand what Hidari and engels are getting at. I know lots of young people, women and people of colour, who probably fit their description in a way. They are young, smart, probably a bit naive, and at least some of them probably from privileged backgrounds. They appear driven by desire to succeed in a hierarchical academic system that still tends to be dominated by white men at the upper levels, and they don’t seem to question the system much, at least not openly.

But can I just mention, some of our hosts here are actually fairly high up in that system. Why aren’t they being attacked as liberals or proponents of “identity politics”? Why is it only when women or people of colour try to succeed in that very same academic system that it becomes so wrong?

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Daragh 11.17.16 at 10:11 am

Main Street Muse @34

“Bernie Sanders had an improbable run at it – the Wikileaks emails showed that the DNC did what they could to get rid of him as a threat.”

No, they didn’t. All of the e-mails related to the Sanders campaign are from late April 2016 onwards – that is, well after Sanders was mathematically incapable of winning the nomination, but was unwilling to end his campaign and was beginning to seriously undermine the party’s inevitable nominee.

Even if, like myself, you don’t find it particularly surprising or nefarious that the official arm of the party would be more sympathetic to the establishment candidate than the outsider, the Wikileaks e-mails showed absolutely no wrongdoing, or any concerted campaign to ‘rig’ the primaries. Nevertheless, the insistence among Sanders’ more hysterical supporters that they did ended up causing real damage to the Clinton campaign, and probably ended up putting Trump in the White House (Clinton’s margin of victory in WI, for example, is smaller than the write-in vote for Sanders).

I have no argument with the notion that Clinton was an imperfect candidate. Almost all candidates are (even a top-notch one like Obama). But he and his supporters need to acknowledge that a) an atheist socialist was not going to do better among the rural and exurban voters that gave Trump his edge b) he lost the primaries, fair and square, due to his lack of appeal to traditional Democratic constituencies (POC, working class etc.) and his subsequent attacks on the process were incredibly harmful and destructive.

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Manta 11.17.16 at 11:34 am

@28 Daragh 11.16.16 at 9:50 pm

“Of course, this would also require us to acknowledge that one of the primary instruments of Russian influence during the campaign was Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Gosh, if only someone had rung a few alarm bells about him and his dubious associations beforehand…”

You seem to imply something nefarious in what Assange and Wikileaks did.
Could you be a bit more specific? For instance, could you point out to some leaks that were either false, or taken out of contest and painting an incomplete picture? However, when you do it, remember that Clinton could have easily se the record straight.

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faustusnotes 11.17.16 at 11:55 am

Another Nick, yes I can comment on that. I think it’s fascinating that the old beardy leftists and berniebros are fixated on Lena Dunham. Who else is fixated on Lena Dunham? The right bloggers, who are inflamed with rage at everything she does. Who else is fixated on identity politics? The right bloggers, who present it as everything wrong with the modern left, PC gone mad, censorship etc. You guys should get together and have a party – you’re made for each other.

Also, the Democrats don’t have a “celebrity campaign mascot.” So what are you actually talking about?

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Val 11.17.16 at 12:02 pm

basil @ 64
basil what in any conceivable world makes you think that feminists on CT don’t know about the issues you’re talking about? I work in a school of public health and my entire work consists of trying to address those sorts of issues, plus ecological sustainability.

Seriously this has all gone beyond straw-wo/manning. Some people here are talking to others who exist only in their minds or something. The world’s gone mad.

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engels 11.17.16 at 12:06 pm

Umm Val and FaustusNoted, which part of—

identity politics isn’t the same thing as feminism, anti-racism, LGBT politics, etc. They’re all needed now more than ever.

—was unclear to you?

I DON’T want to live in a world in which ‘patriarchy and racism’ are okay, I want to live in a world in which America has a real Left, which represents the working class (black, white, gay, straight, female, male—like other countries do to a greater lesser degree), and which is the only thing that has a shot at stopping its descent into outright fascism.

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engels 11.17.16 at 12:19 pm

it often gets thrown around as a kind of all-encompassing epithet

Point taken—but there’s really nothing I can do to stop other people misusing terms (until the Dictatorship of the Prolerariat anyway :) )

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Cranky Observer 11.17.16 at 12:27 pm

= = = faustnotes @ 4:14 am The reason these conservative Dems come from those states is that those states don’t support radical welfare provisions – they don’t want other people getting a free lunch, and value personal responsibility over welfarism. = = =

As long as you don’t count enormous agricultural, highway, postal service, and military base subsidies as any form of “welfare”, sure. And that’s not even counting the colossal expenditures on military force and bribes in the Middle East to keep the diesel-fuel-to-corn unroofed chemical factory (i.e. farming) industry running profitably. Apparently the Republicans who hate the US Postal Service with a vengeance, for example, are unaware that in 40% of the land area of the United States FedEx, UPS, etc turn over the ‘last hundred mile’ delivery to the USPS.

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engels 11.17.16 at 12:29 pm

Ps I’m kind of surprised this thread has been allowed to go on so long but I’m going to bow out now—feel free to continue trying to smear me behind my back

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bob mcmanus 11.17.16 at 12:35 pm

Would a real leftist let her daughter marry a hedge-fund trader? I suppose they are a step above serial killers and child molesters, but c’mon. Quotes from Wiki, rearranged in chronological order.

Beginning in the early 1990s, Mezvinsky used a wide variety of 419 scams. According to a federal prosecutor, Mezvinsky conned using “just about every different kind of African-based scam we’ve ever seen.”[11] The scams promise that the victim will receive large profits, but first a small down payment is required. To raise the funds needed to front the money for the fraudulent investment schemes he was being offered, Mezvinsky tapped his network of former political contacts, dropping the name of the Clinton family to convince unwitting marks to give him money.[12]

In March 2001, Mezvinsky was indicted and later pleaded guilty to 31 of 69 felony charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud

“In July 2010, Mezvinsky married Chelsea Clinton in an interfaith ceremony in Rhinebeck, New York.[12] The senior Clintons and Mezvinskys were friends in the 1990s; their children met on a Renaissance Weekend retreat in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.”

Subsequent to his graduations, he worked for eight years as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs before leaving to join a private equity firm, but later quit. In 2011, he co-founded a Manhattan-based hedge fund firm, Eaglevale Partners, with two longtime partners, Bennett Grau and Mark Mallon.[1][8] In May 2016, The New York Times reported that the Eaglevale Hellenic Opportunity Fund is said to have lost nearly 90 percent of its value, [which equated to a 90% loss to investors] and sources say it will be shutting down.[9][10] Emails discovered as part of Wikileaks’ release of the “Podesta emails” seemed to indicate that Mezvinsky had used his ties to the Clinton family to obtain investors for his hedge fund through Clinton Foundation events.

Marcotte, Sady Doyle, Valenti, the Clinton operatives knew this stuff.

Prioritizing women’s liberation over economic populism, just a little bit, doesn’t quite cover it. Buying fully into the most rapacious aspects of predatory capitalism is more lie it.

If Clinton is your champion, and I am still seeing sads at Jezebel, you have zero credilibity on economic issues. She’s one of the worst crooks to ever run for President. And we will see how Obama fares on his immediate switch from President to his ambition to be a venture capitalist for Silicon Valley. I’ll bet Obama gets very very lucky!

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Yan 11.17.16 at 1:20 pm

Val @49 &
“they (at some confused and probably not fully conscious level) do seem to assume that violence and oppression of women and people of colour never used to happen when white men (including white working class men) had ‘good jobs’….. patriarchy and racism predate neoliberalism by centuries.”
“patriarchy and sexism predate capitalism.”

I think this framing is misleading, because you’re historically comparing forms of oppression with economic systems, rather than varieties of one or the other.

Wouldn’t the more relevant comparison be something like: patriarchy and sexism are coeval with classism and economic inequality?

What concretely are racism and sexism, after all, but ideologies dependent upon power inequalities, and what are those but inequalities of social position (man, father) and wealth and ownership that make possible that power difference? How could sexism or racism have existed without class or inequality?

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novakant 11.17.16 at 1:32 pm

I have no argument with the notion that Clinton was an imperfect candidate. Almost all candidates are (even a top-notch one like Obama) …

Strawman (I have heard a lot of times before): nobody criticizes Clinton for being imperfect, people criticize her for being a terrible, terrible candidate and the DNC establishment for supporting this terrible, terrible candidate: she lost against TRUMP for goodness’ sake.

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Layman 11.17.16 at 1:47 pm

bob mcmanus: “In March 2001, Mezvinsky was indicted and later pleaded guilty to 31 of 69 felony charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud…”

Well, either I’m shocked to discover that Clinton was involved in her daughter’s husband’s father’s crimes some 20 years ago, or you’ve demonstrated that Clinton’s daughter married a man whose father was a crook. I’m guessing the latter, though I’m left wondering WTF that has to do with Clinton’s character.

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engels 11.17.16 at 2:03 pm

One more:

“we cannot ignore the fact that the vast majority of white men and a majority of white women, across class lines, voted for a platform and a message of white supremacy, Islamophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-science, anti-Earth, militarism, torture, and policies that blatantly maintain income inequality. The vast majority of people of color voted against Trump, with black women registering the highest voting percentage for Clinton of any other demographic (93 percent). It is an astounding number when we consider that her husband’s administration oversaw the virtual destruction of the social safety net by turning welfare into workfare, cutting food stamps, preventing undocumented workers from receiving benefits, and denying former drug felons and users access to public housing; a dramatic expansion of the border patrol, immigrant detention centers, and the fence on Mexico’s border; a crime bill that escalated the war on drugs and accelerated mass incarceration; as well as NAFTA and legislation deregulating financial institutions.

“Still, had Trump received only a third of the votes he did and been defeated, we still would have had ample reason to worry about our future.

“I am not suggesting that white racism alone explains Trump’s victory. Nor am I dismissing the white working class’s very real economic grievances. It is not a matter of disaffection versus racism or sexism versus fear. Rather, racism, class anxieties, and prevailing gender ideologies operate together, inseparably, or as Kimberlé Crenshaw would say, intersectionally.”
https://bostonreview.net/forum/after-trump/robin-d-g-kelley-trump-says-go-back-we-say-fight-back

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Faustusnotes 11.17.16 at 2:38 pm

Bob, a real feminist would not tell her daughter who to marry.

You claim to be an intersectional feminist but you say things like this, and you blamed feminists for white dudes voting for trump. Are you a parody account?

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Michael Sullivan 11.17.16 at 2:41 pm

Mclaren @ 25 “As for 63.7% home ownership stats in 2016, vast numbers of those “owned” homes were snapped up by giant banks and other financial entities like hedge funds which then rented those homes out. So the home ownership stats in 2016 are extremely deceptive.”

There may be ways in which the home ownership statistic is deceptive or fuzzy, but it’s hard for me to imagine this being one of them.

The definition you seem to imply for home ownership (somebody somewhere owns the home) would result in by definition 100% home ownership every year.

I’m pretty sure that the measure is designed to look at whether one of the people who live in a home actually owns it. Ok, let’s stuff the pretty sure, etc. and use our friend google. So turns out that the rate in question is the percentage of households where one of the people in the household owns the apartment/house. If some banker or landlord buys a foreclosure and then rents the house out, that will be captured in the homeownership rate.

Where that rate may understate issues is that it doesn’t consider how many people are in a household. So if lots of people are moving into their parent’s basements, or renting rooms to/from unrelated people in their houses, those people won’t be counted as renters or homeowners, since the rate tracks households, not people. Where that will be captured is in something called the headship rate, and represents the ratio of households to adults. That number dropped by about 1.5% between the housing bust and the recession, and appears to be recovering or at worst near bottom (mixed data from two different surveys) as of 2013. So, yes, the drop in home ownership rate is probably understated (hence the headline of my source article below) somewhat, but not enormously as you imply, and the difference is NOT foreclosures — unless they are purchased by another owner occupier, they DO show up in the home ownership rate. The difference is larger average households: more adults living with other adults.

Here’s my source: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/30/why-the-homeownership-rate-is-misleading/?_r=0

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Yan 11.17.16 at 3:03 pm

engels @70, “I DON’T want to live in a world in which ‘patriarchy and racism’ are okay, I want to live in a world in which America has a real Left, which represents the working class (black, white, gay, straight, female, male—like other countries do to a greater lesser degree), and which is the only thing that has a shot at stopping its descent into outright fascism.”

So many prominent people and such a large majority of voters have be so completely wrong, so many times, on everything, for a year that I really am not confident about making any strong political claims anymore. However, it has opened me to possibilities I wouldn’t have previously considered.

One is this: I’m beginning to wonder (not believe, wonder), if a lot of working class and lower-to-middle middle class Americans, including a lot of the ones who didn’t vote or who switched from Obama to Trump (not including those who were always on the right) would already be on board, or in the long run be able of getting on board, with the picture Engels paints at 70.

That possibility seems outrageous because we assume this general group are motivated *primarily* by resentment against women and people of color. But the more I read news stories that directly interview them–not the rally goers, but the others–the more it seems that they will side with *almost anyone* who they think is on their side, and *against anyone* who they think has contempt or indifference for them. Put another way: they are driven by equal opportunity resentment to whatever prejudices serve their resentment, rather than by a deeply engrained, fixed, rigid, kind of prejudice. (I have in mind a number of recent articles, but one thing that struck me is interviews with racially diverse factory workers, with Latinos and women, who voted for Trump.)

I also begin to wonder if there is as much, if not more, resistance to wide solidarity among the left than among this group of voters who aren’t really committed to either party. I begin to think that many on the left are strongly, deeply, viscerally opposed to the middle range working class, period, and not *just* to the racism and sexism that are all too often found there. I worry the Democrats’ class contempt, their conservative disgust for their social, educational, professional, and economic inferiors is growing–partly based in reasonable disgust at the horrendous excesses of the right, but partly class-based, pathological, and subterranean, independent of that reasonable side.

I say this not to justify Trump voters or non-voters or to vilify Democrats, but actually with a bit of optimism. For a very long time even many on the far left has looked at the old Marxist model of wide solidarity among the proletariat with skepticism. But I’m wondering if that skepticism is still justified. I wonder if what stands in the way of a truly diverse working class movement is not the right but the left. If they’re ready, and we’ve not been paying attention.

Are we really faced with a working class that rejects diversity? Are we really opposing to them a professional class that truly accepts diversity? Isn’t there a kind of popular solidarity appearing, in awkward and sometimes ugly ways, that is destroying the presumptions of that opposition?

82

engels 11.17.16 at 3:32 pm

Cornel West:

…In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future. What is to be done? First we must try to tell the truth and a condition of truth is to allow suffering to speak. For 40 years, neoliberals lived in a world of denial and indifference to the suffering of poor and working people and obsessed with the spectacle of success. Second we must bear witness to justice. We must ground our truth-telling in a willingness to suffer and sacrifice as we resist domination. Third we must remember courageous exemplars like Martin Luther King Jr, who provide moral and spiritual inspiration as we build multiracial alliances to combat poverty and xenophobia, Wall Street crimes and war crimes, global warming and police abuse – and to protect precious rights and liberties….

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/17/american-neoliberalism-cornel-west-2016-election

83

WLGR 11.17.16 at 4:00 pm

Val: “It seems as if (although again it’s not very clear) Hidari is suggesting capitalism created sexism and racism? Or something like that? I’m definitely on better ground there though, patriarchy and sexism predate capitalism.”

If Hidari is coming from a more-or-less mainline contemporary Marxist position, this is a misunderstanding of their argument, which is no more a claim that capitalism “created sexism and racism” than it would be a claim that capitalism created class antagonism. What’s instead being suggested is that just as capitalism has systematized a specific form of class antagonism (wage laborer vs. capitalist) as a perceived default whose hegemony and expansion shapes our perception of all other potential antagonisms as anachronistic exceptions, so it has done the same with specific forms of sexism and racism, the forms we might call “patriarchy” and “white supremacy”. In fact the argument is typically that antagonisms like white vs. POC and man vs. woman function as normalized exceptions to the normalized general antagonism of wage laborer vs. capitalist, a space where the process known since Marx as “primitive accumulation” can take place through the dispossession of women and POC (up to and including the dispossession of their very bodies) in what might otherwise be considered flagrant violation of liberal norms.

As theorists like Rosa Luxemburg and Silvia Federici have elaborated, this process of accumulation is absolutely essential to the continued functioning of capitalism — the implication being that as much as capitalism and its ideologists pretend to oppose oppressions like racism and sexism, it can never actually destroy these oppressions without destroying its own social basis in the process. Hence neoliberal “identity politics”, in which changing the composition of the ruling elite (now the politician shaking hands with Netanyahu on the latest multibillion-dollar arms deal can be a black guy with a Muslim-sounding name! now the CEO of a company that employs teenaged girls to stitch T-shirts for 12 hours a day can be a woman!) is ideologically akin to wholesale liberation, functions not as a way to destroy racism and sexism but as a compromise gambit to preserve them.

84

Another Nick 11.17.16 at 4:01 pm

faustusnotes, I asked if you could comment on the “identity politics” behind the Dem choice of Lena Dunham for celebrity campaign mascot. ie. their strategy. What they were planning and thinking? And how you think it played out for them?

Not a list of your favourite boogeymen.

“So what are you actually talking about?”

I was attempting to discuss the role of identity politics in the Clinton campaign. I asked about Dunham because she was the most prominent of the celebrities employed by the Clinton campaign to deploy identity politics. ie. she appeared most frequently in the media on their behalf.

http://www.vulture.com/2016/11/lena-dunham-fake-psa-hillary-clinton-rap-video.html

Not seeing much discussion about actual policies there, economic or otherwise. It’s really just an entire interview based on identity politics. With bonus meta-commentary on identity politics.

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/nov/11/lena-dunham-election-letter-trump

Lena blames “white women, so unable to see the unity of female identity, so unable to look past their violent privilege, and so inoculated with hate for themselves,” for the election loss.

Why didn’t the majority of white women vote for Hillary? Because they “hate themselves”.

85

engels 11.17.16 at 4:18 pm

People who are into identity politics are against racism and sexism, sure, but seem to have little if any idea as to why these ideas came into being and what social purposes they serve

Good point

86

Daragh 11.17.16 at 4:22 pm

Manta @67

I think dumping e-mails provided by the intelligence agencies of a hostile foreign power, then selectively highlighting passages from them to make incredibly lurid, and demonstrably false, claims, exclusively targeted at one campaign with the aim of undermining it falls under my definition of ‘nefarious’, or at the very least grossly irresponsible.

I’m not sure how Clinton could ‘easily set the record straight’, given that Wikileaks was deliberately distorting the information contained in the e-mails. Or do you really think that it’s a reasonable expectation for a presidential nominee to respond to a jumped-up internet troll’s accusations that she’s a satanist?

87

reason 11.17.16 at 4:22 pm

Michael O’Sullivan, http://crookedtimber.org/2016/11/15/on-the-national-and-international-causes-of-trumpism/#comment-698727
yes but in fact if I am living in a house worth (for arguments sake) $200,000 that I bought, and I owe the bank $190,000 that I can probably never pay back, do I really own it?

88

Daragh 11.17.16 at 4:26 pm

Bob @ 74

“She’s one of the worst crooks to ever run for President.”

Except for, y’know, her opponent.

One might also point out that despite spending three decades under near constant investigation by a political party that delights in criminalising the political opposition, there have been precisely zero instances in which she has been exposed of engaging in criminal behaviour. I think your ‘Clinton must be a crook because I FEEL that she is’ stance is not unrelated to your ‘parents should decide who their daughters marry according to political criteria’ stance.

89

JimV 11.17.16 at 4:53 pm

novakant 11.17.16 at 1:32 pm
” “I have no argument with the notion that Clinton was an imperfect candidate. Almost all candidates are (even a top-notch one like Obama) …”

Strawman …”

No, not a strawman, as I read it. He is not claiming that your position is that HRC was imperfect, he is saying that he is willing to admit that much. It does not mis-state your position, but gives his own. He is as entitled to have a position as you are. By calling it a strawman you have done what you accuse him of.

90

ezra abrams 11.17.16 at 5:22 pm

why no mention of Obama’s spectacular PR failures ?
His inability to use the bully pulpit will feed PhD theses for years
Example 1
I will cut social security (alot) by adopting chained cpi inflator if you (GOP) give me….
Example 2
Back in , iirc, 2011, one of the first ocare provisions took hold: the immensely popular provision that lets parents put teenagers on their policy
did Obama hold a rose garden press conf, with pathetic cancer stricken teens and bankrupted parents saying this is what the gop wants ?
no
the news that day was dominated by contract with america ver 2.0

Example 3
when the democrats held congress did they abolish the carried interest exemption ? no

91

ezra abrams 11.17.16 at 5:27 pm

Was Clinton a bad candidate ?
1st, trump was better then we all want to admit: who dominated the news ?
partly this was trump success, but also colossal fail clinton in not generating news headlines
sitting back and letting y our enemy self destruct is rarely if ever good idea; look at Kansas City antichoice demos – a turning point when NARAL and PP failed to fight back

Was Clinton a bad candidate ?
jeez, she had like one hundred chances to say sorry bout the emails really stupid,
did she ?
Did she or her surrogates list the many many people who were not indicted ?
no the let right wing press run wild with examples of people who were, like the major in afghanistan who self reported sending class memo on email

Was Clinton a bad candidate ?
Caro tells us that as a *young congress person* LBJ refused oil money cause he knew it would taint him
look at the Goldman Sachs speeches; it isn’t the outrageous bribe level pay, or the transcript hiding, it is why talk to GS at all ?
isn’t the overgrowth of a rapacious almost crimminal FIRE sector the cause of the 2008 crash ?
isn’t GS emblematic of all that is wrong with this country ?
should Sen Clinton be calling for Pecora hearings ??
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pecora_Commissionike investigation of GS and other banks ?

92

ezra abrams 11.17.16 at 5:29 pm

The comments here are several hours of work
I would like to know, all the commenters and reader, how much work will go into fighting and doing actual stuff
if not much, then the whole internet is actually a net neg for liberals

93

basil 11.17.16 at 6:07 pm

Regarding the OP,
Here, many leftist ideas are dismissed as utopian, off-putting to the public and certain vote-losers. It may be difficult for SuperManagers to have filtered through to them from endless Focus Grouping and number crunching software but perhaps the lesson from compromises like Obama’s ACA is that transformative measures that collude to engender vulnerability are also certain vote-losers. These have the added effect of producing backlashes that lead to even worse conditions than existed prior.

Paying attention to the failure of the intricate multi-dimensional calculations from the smartest policy people ever on how the ACA would ultimately lead to ‘single-payer’ one might even argue the utility of a persuasive radical argument, forcefully made, that even if leading to electoral losses in the short term transforms public perceptions. The Heritage/ACA version merely entrenched the idea that healthcare is a for-profit business, and that the state colludes with capital to force people into choice-limited markets. The necessary countervailing power to stand against further erosions in public services is therefore further undermined.

It is difficult to push radical ideas in a media environment filled with macho displays of pragmatism and fixated on immediate success in the opinion polls, but it seems to me that for some of the most important challenges of our time – climate change, energy policy, healthcare, police reform – a bold emancipatory politics has to run against settled public and thought leader opinion.

—–

I don’t think you can be on the left and not have gender emancipation , anti-race/racism, anti-colonial, anti-war and environmental campaigns as fundamental pillars of your *belief and practice*. I certainly don’t cosign proposals that these are somehow second-tier priorities that must wait until economic issues are resolved. They are inherently economic political campaigns.

94

Michael Sullivan 11.17.16 at 6:32 pm

Here’s the thing about this election. Voting against the financial elites or against hawks wasn’t actually on the table. Our choices were basically:

1. What we’ve been getting from Obama plus a Republican congress, lots of good for elites YAY, some embedded corruption, plus a few crumbs for the rest of us. moderately hawkish foreign policy, and too much executive power sometimes used unwisely.

2. also lots of Good for elites YAY, we definitely need MORE embedded corruption and less transparency. OMG those crumbs occasionally help someone who doesn’t deserve it, GET RID OF THOSE. Also we need to give elites EVEN MOAR MONEY with a GIANT TAX CUT (fine print: actually raises taxes for big portions of the poor and middle class). Foreign policy too moderate. MOAR HAWKS: if our enemies don’t fear our president’s twitchy nuke finger, we’re doing something wrong. Oh and BTW, ONE OF THE BIGGEST THINGS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY IS NOT ENUFF WHITE NATIONALISM.

And a bunch of people who claim they didn’t actually want white nationalism voted for option 2. Why? I doubt it’s because they are all secretly white nationalists. I’ve talked to a bunch who say they voted for Obama, although, tbh, knowing a little bit about how bigots roll, that may just be blowing smoke to deflect from the accusation.

OTOH, it’s clear to me that the media, and the conservative hivemind had/have people actually believing Trump’s bs, and ignoring a lot of what he’s actually proposing.

That said, it’s also true that the liberal side of the media and facebook has done a little bit of the same (no both sides do it here, I’m 100% clear on which does WAY more of this). I’ve been surprised in reading some of Trump’s proposals — not all of them are as unreasonable or non-specific as the vox crown paints them. A few may actually turn out to help the country economically. I’m just praying the white supremacist parts of the program don’t get enough play to undo any good that gets done, and I certainly wasn’t ready to bet on that ex ante.

95

Suzanne 11.17.16 at 7:52 pm

@74: In other news, Wiki reveals that Charlotte Mezvinsky won’t share her toys and Aidan Mezvinsky is always slobbering on his bib. Demon seeds.

96

Suzanne 11.17.16 at 8:30 pm

“Race was important, but not the root cause of the Trump victory. How do we know this? Tump himself is telling us. Look at Trump’s first announced actions — deport 3 million undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes, ram through vast tax cuts for the rich, and end the inheritance tax.

If Trump’s motivation (and his base’s motivation) was pure racism, Trump’s first announced action would be something like passing laws that made it illegal to marry undocumented workers. His first act would be to roll back the legalization of black/white marriage and re-instate segregation. Trump isn’t promising any of that.”

@25: With all due respect, this proves nothing about Trump’s victory, although you make good points elsewhere in your post. You are overlooking practical politics. The Republicans want to start off with tax cuts because those are likely to pass relatively easily and possibly even provide a short-term boost to the economy, whatever the ill effects long-term. Easy win.

Announcing that “illegals” with criminal records are going to be deported is also uncontroversial. Kicking that can down the road while tossing a few crumbs to the base. Another easy win.

And are you seriously suggesting that the GOP would actually try to bring back Jim Crow? That isn’t the form modern racism takes, even after Trump.

97

Manta 11.17.16 at 8:40 pm

98

rea 11.17.16 at 9:11 pm

Jeez, my husband’s father once went to jail for assault–whatever were my parents thinking, to allow me to marry him?

99

Val 11.17.16 at 9:14 pm

Yan @ 75
First, the conversation was about neoliberalism and capitalism, so that’s why I was talking about them.

Secondly, in (fully) patriarchal and slave owning societies, differences of class exist between free men. Women and slaves participate only by their association with a father, husband or master.

Third, sexism and racism are about economic inequality, amongst other things, but they are about far more, including power and control over bodies and basic freedoms. If you think the rape, murder, enslavement, confinement, shackling, burning as witches and systematic, legalised violence used as a means of control by individual husbands and owners, that have happened to women and slaves historically (and continue to happen) can be encompassed in the term ‘economic inequality’ then I suggest a major failure of empathy and imagination.

100

Faustusnotes 11.17.16 at 11:45 pm

Basil, as I pointed out above, the compromises in the ACA were forced partly by rust belt democrats representing the beliefs of their voters, who this cycle turned on Obama. Other compromises were forced by republicans or a republican-appointed Supreme Court. For example Indiana took the ACA Medicaid expansion but did so with additional conditions that make it worse than in neighboring states run by democratic governors. So why is it that youth ink voters from these blue dog states have turned against Obama for not being radical enough, when all the evidence is that these states oppose welfare on principle? And why doyou think they turned to the party promising to abolish the ACA because it wasn’t good enough, when all the evidence suggests voters in these states think it was too radical?

i am yet to see any evidence that the dems were not radical enough or social democratic enough for the rust belt. No one is presenting any. These states flipped because they thought the Dems were too radical on economic policy. Of course the voters didn’t analyze the policy in detail and the republicans didn’t present detailed analysis: instead they described the problem as “certain people” getting too much from the state, a criticism that interlocked perfectly with trumps openly racist message.

Present evidence of this idea that the rust belt wanted more radical economic policy. Until you do, I’ll be sticking with what the voting evidence of the blue dog states tells me – they voted on a divisive personal responsibility platform, because they’re fair weather friends of the democrats.

101

Faustusnotes 11.17.16 at 11:55 pm

Also what’s with the Lena Dunham hate? Is the only legitimate presidential campaign one which completely eschews celebrity endorsement ? Or is the idea of a celebrity encouraging young women to vote so wrong? Don’t you want young women to vote? If so, vote for a misogynist. Otherwise, deal with it.

102

bruce wilder 11.18.16 at 12:08 am

JimI @ 4:53 pm 11/17

Re: Classifying “Clinton was an imperfect candidate.”

I am not sure what label should be applied. It is easy to read a patronising or dismissive tone into it. Trump is an imperfect candidate, too. Is there a point? Is this just a meaningless lead-in to a lesser evil argument or blame-shifting?

Clinton’s supporters have two moves that I think are quite destructive of thoughtful politics. One is normalizing. She’s just a bog-standard neoliberal, nothing to see here, move along, you do not have to explain anything to me, heard it all before, the Republicans have been ginning up charges for years, blah blah. The other is the elaborate counterfactual cum denial: example, Sanders would have been no better a general election candidate and Clinton and the DNC never did anything wrong.

Which of the two will follow the non-concession concession of Clinton’s imperfection?

It does not really matter. The strategy is to deflect rather than engage the criticism.

I am not even sure what the back and forth is about, now. Clinton and her neoliberalism have failed not just in policy terms, but electorally. She is over. She is gone.

The question is no longer her neoliberalism, but yours. Keep it or throw it away?

Was Clinton’s political nexus helpful to the country? Is it something we want to cling to while Trump does what he does?

The OP helpfully points out both a national historical context and an international one. I am guessing a complete reversal of partisan political fortune is possible. Now what?

103

engels 11.18.16 at 12:30 am

Yan, interesting points.

104

smass 11.18.16 at 12:47 am

engels 11.17.16 at 12:19 pm @ 71
I wasn’t including you as one of the people using “identity politics” as a tag to write off people you deem insufficiently left / serious. Your position seems pretty clear and reasonable to me. It is just starting to seem like the good old days of the culture wars are here again and that seems unproductive.

Re the OP, I think Eric’s analysis stands up pretty well as a reason for the rise of right wing populism and why some people are attracted to it. I’m persuaded by the suggestion that dashed hopes can be big motivator – more so than despair (disappointment combined with perceived loss of identity/self respect seems pretty powerful). That said, I don’t think that it is a complete /sufficient explanation for why Trump won this specific election any more than the suggestion that it was racism or it was all down to Comey (not that the OP suggested it was)

105

likbez 11.18.16 at 2:43 am

@74
bob mcmanus 11.17.16 at 12:35 pm

Your quotes are somewhat misleading and essentially mix two different persons: father (Edward Mezvinsky, who was convicted and served jail term) and his son (Marc Mezvinsky, who is married Chelsea Clinton and is a hedge fund manager).

This quote is about Edward Mezvinsky and is taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Mezvinsky

In March 2001, Mezvinsky was indicted and later pleaded guilty to 31 of 69 felony charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud…

but the next one is about Marc Mezvinsky and taken from a different Wikipedia entry (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Mezvinsky) which creates false impression that you are talking about the same person:
“In July 2010, Mezvinsky married Chelsea Clinton in an interfaith ceremony in Rhinebeck, New York.[12] The senior Clintons and Mezvinskys were friends in the 1990s; their children met on a Renaissance Weekend retreat in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.”

The actual quote about the same event in Edward Mezvinsky’s Wikipedia entry ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Mezvinsky ) is different:

In 2010 Edward Mezvinsky’s son, Marc Mezvinsky, married Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, a former United States Senator from New York, former Secretary of State and the Democratic nominee for President in the 2016 election.[10]

106

GregvP 11.18.16 at 2:46 am

Manta @97 has posted the link I wanted to post. RTead it, and stop the hyperbole.

Could you specify some “elite” that has been punished?

I was incredulous that this could even be asked, but apparently an answer is needed, judging by some of the later responses.

* Everyone riding the Clinton gravy train and expecting a cushy, well-paid job in her administration. Likewise those riding the coat-tails of officially anointed Republican candidates.

* Washington lobbyists and their principals now have to deal with a president who is not beholden to anyone. This is, I expect, distressing for them.

* The lobbyist’s principals–those who made campaign contributions, at any rate–have paid an insurance premium for insurance that turns out to be worthless. As a class, they will not suffer, but individually, each of them could well suffer more.

* Bureaucrats in most levels of government will also be having to cope with increased uncertainty. This is likely to be felt as a negative thing.

Understand this: if you do your job mostly by sitting at a desk or table and talking or writing to people like yourselves (not random members of the public), you’re a member of the elite to ordinary non-degreed people.

107

mclaren 11.18.16 at 2:57 am

Layman in #37 asserts that my claims that “vast numbers of homes since 2009 have been snapped up by banks for investments in the own-to-rent market” is “nonsense” I “made up.” That is provably false.

See the Federal Reserve Bank white paper “When Investors Buy Up the Neighborhood” for details:

http://www.frbsf.org/community-development/files/CI_Treuhaft_et_al.pdf

The facts on the ground are that at present more than half of all home purchases are for cash. That is a telltale sign that these home purchases are being made for investment purposes, not by ordinary families who get mortgage financing:

“(WSJ) More than half of all homes sold last year and so far in 2013 have been financed without a mortgage, according to an analysis by economists at Goldman Sachs Group.
“The analysis estimates that around 20% of all homes sold before the housing crash were “all-cash” sales (or around 30% of sales by dollar volume). But over the past seven years, the all-cash share of sales has more than doubled, increasing by more than 30 percentage points, according to economists Hui Shan, Marty Young and Charlie Himmelberg.”

`Think about this more carefully. Even with the median home price of $214,200 families still need to finance the purchase. The above chart clearly shows that investor money is really driving the bulk of the housing market.’

http://www.doctorhousingbubble.com/cash-buyers-real-estate-all-cash-buyer-percent-of-market/

Thirty percent of all home sales are now to foreign buyers. Once again, investors. Toronto Canada recently passed an ordnance mandating a $10,000 per year fee for all homes that were purchased but remained empty, and a fine of $10,000 per day for lying about it. That’s how much home buying now is investment purchases, as opposed to real people buying actual homes.

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/06/foreign-buyers-flood-us-real-estate-but-buy-cheaper-homes.html

For details of how giant banks like Deutsche bank are buying up vast tracts of homes in order to rent them out, and then generating bubblicious financial derivatives in order to finance this vast Ponzi scheme, see the article “Wall Street’s Hot New Financial Product: Your Rent Check — Investment firms are playing landlord and bundling their rental homes into new securities. What could go wrong?” Mother Jones magazine, March/April 2014.

“Over the last two years, private equity firms and hedge funds have amassed an unprecedented real estate empire, snapping up Spanish revivals in Phoenix, adobes in Los Angeles, Queen Anne Victorians in Atlanta, and brick-faced bungalows in Chicago. In total, Wall Street investors have bought more than 200,000 cheap, mostly foreclosed houses in some of the cities hardest hit by the economic meltdown. But they’re not simply flipping these houses. Instead, they’ve started bundling some of them into a new kind of financial product that could blow up the housing market all over again.

“No company has bought more houses than the Blackstone Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. (Its many investments include Hilton Hotels, the Weather Channel, and SeaWorld. Among its institutional investors are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, and JPMorgan Chase.) Through its subsidiary, Invitation Homes, Blackstone has picked up houses through local brokers, at foreclosure auctions, and in bulk purchases. Last April, it bought 1,400 houses in Atlanta in a single day. In Phoenix, some neighborhoods have a Blackstone-owned home on just about every block. As of November, Blackstone had acquired 40,000 houses, most of them foreclosures, worth $7.5 billion. Today, it is the largest owner of single-family rental homes in the nation.” [op. cit., 2014]

Layman’s comments show that he is pervasively uninformed about the financial situation post-2009. Everything he says should be ignored.

108

Faustusnotes 11.18.16 at 4:44 am

Also why is it that African Americans don’t get the same analysis as white Americans. They have been just as let down by neoliberal politics yet they voted overwhelmingly for Clinton and before that Obama. Why don’t they reject the system that enslaved them and that kills their young people at such a high rate? They have more cause to be disappointed with Obamacare yet they seemed happy to vote to maintain it and the system that brought it about. Only white people seem uniquely willing to vote for a hyper neoliberal party in order to punish a neoliberal party. I wonder what possible difference in perspective leads non whote people to choose the neoliberalism of Clinton over the hyper neoliberalism of trump? Hmmm, I wonder …?

109

Nearly Normal Frederick 11.18.16 at 5:23 am

All of the above is very interesting and quite relevant too but it seems to me that some kind of a more in depth psycho-social interpretation of what is and has been happening in the USA, and all over the world too, is necessary. Because people vote for all kinds of deeply irrational unconscious reasons, most/all of which are related to unresolved childhood mommy-daddy Oedipal issues.
A good place to (perhaps) start would be this essay on the politics and culture of systematic cruelty – note the unspeakably vile sado-masochistic snuff/splatter movie being reviewed which was hugely popular with right-wing Christians at the time.
http://www.logosjournal.com/hammer_kellner.htm
And then to read the essays in the current edition of the journal.

110

Manta 11.18.16 at 8:27 am

@86 Daragh 11.17.16

“dumping e-mails provided by the intelligence agencies of a hostile foreign power,”

Assange is not American, and USA has been quite hostile to Wikileaks.
So, your “hostile foreign power” is irrelevant.

” then selectively highlighting passages from them to make incredibly lurid, and demonstrably false, “

The articles you linked clearly stated that it wasn’t Wikileaks that highlighted the false passages, but a Russian agency (that swiftly took the article down) and some USA media.
The “selective” part is not Assange or Wikileaks doing or fault.

“I’m not sure how Clinton could ‘easily set the record straight’, given that Wikileaks was deliberately distorting the information contained in the e-mails. “

Since Wikileaks was NOT distorting anything (as the article you linked show), nothing.

111

Manta 11.18.16 at 8:34 am

To clarify the difference: I don’t blame Salon and Newsweek for writing articles that Daragh is using in a dishonest way: they provided a reasonably good take on the facts, it’s not their fault that someone tries to uses them to claim falsehoods.

112

Z 11.18.16 at 10:34 am

Yan @81 and especially

they will side with *almost anyone* who they think is on their side, and *against anyone* who they think has contempt or indifference for them.

and

many on the left are strongly, deeply, viscerally opposed to the middle range working class, period, and not *just* to the racism and sexism that are all too often found there. I worry the Democrats’ class contempt, their conservative disgust for their social, educational, professional, and economic inferiors is growing–partly based in reasonable disgust at the horrendous excesses of the right, but partly class-based, pathological, and subterranean, independent of that reasonable side.

seems exactly right to me. In Henry’s thread, I suggested a reason for that (or more precisely echoed Ta-Nehisi Coates’s suggestion): equality, in the United States, has been the equality of Whites over Blacks. Now that this mental state is (thankfully) not available anymore to the dynamic, liberal population another one has to be found or (and this is what is happening now) the idea of equality will disappear and those who will believe themselves to have been thrown down (quite independently of any change in their material existence) will rebel. That they chose racism, misogyny, extreme preference for inequalities and climate-disruption denialism to rebel is their fault and a heart-breaking problem, but the cause of the rebellion is as much in the mind of the typical Clinton voter in Palo Alto as in that of the typical Trump voter in Grant County, Kansas.

113

Manta 11.18.16 at 10:39 am

If a news source get some confidential information, the criterion on whether to publish it or not should be: “1) is it true? 2) is it (reasonably) complete? 3) is it of interest to the public?”

The identity of the source is relevant only to decide 1) and 2) (for instance, if a candidate campaign passes some information about the opponent, the news source should investigate more carefully about 1) and 2) )
On that score, Wikileaks did the right thing in publishing the Clinton email dump.
It fitted the criteria: as far as I know, Hillary never tried to claim that they were forged (but see the bbc article linked below), and if some emails that would have given more background were missing , she could have released them.

The alternative for Wikileaks would have been “we got a ton of information about a candidate, but we will not publish it because it may damage her”.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37639370
“Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta … has refused to confirm or deny the emails’ authenticity, suggesting some could have been doctored, without so far pinpointing any of the correspondence as fake.”
It’s typical “attack the messenger” behavior: more apt for kindergarten fighting than for a political campaign (or an internet forum… heh, joking).

114

Daragh 11.18.16 at 10:54 am

Bruce Wilder @102

“I am not even sure what the back and forth is about, now. Clinton and her neoliberalism have failed not just in policy terms, but electorally. She is over. She is gone.”

Clinton is on course to win the popular vote by around 2 million votes, and receive the second highest number of votes of any US presidential candidate in history. Her electoral ‘failure’ is due to certain anti-democratic anachronisms in the US constitutional order (and really, in a country with more robust democratic norms there would be no question of the Electoral College voting for the popular vote loser, but we are where we are).

Greg @106

“Everyone riding the Clinton gravy train and expecting a cushy, well-paid job in her administration.”

Gosh yes. If government jobs in the US executive branch are known for anything, it’s the low-stress, short hours, and obscenely high levels of pay.

“Washington lobbyists and their principals now have to deal with a president who is not beholden to anyone. This is, I expect, distressing for them.”

I have a multi-level marketing scheme that I’m just DYING to discuss with you. In all seriousness, this is a man whose close counsel includes the likes of Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, and who is promising an orgy of financial deregulation. The lobbyists are going to receive riches beyond their wildest dreams of avarice, and certainly do far better than they would have under a Clinton administration.

“Understand this: if you do your job mostly by sitting at a desk or table and talking or writing to people like yourselves (not random members of the public), you’re a member of the elite to ordinary non-degreed people.”

Translation – if you adopt a definition of elite so ridiculously broad that it encompasses over half the population and is conceptually meaningless, then the elite will indeed be severely punished under a Trump administration.

Faustusnotes – “Also why is it that African Americans don’t get the same analysis as white Americans. They have been just as let down by neoliberal politics yet they voted overwhelmingly for Clinton and before that Obama. Why don’t they reject the system that enslaved them and that kills their young people at such a high rate? “

Perhaps because they’ve seen real, measurable improvement in their lives due to the ACA, a far more racially tolerant and inclusive federal government and justice department, and a host of other improvements during the Obama administration, and are far more interested in preserving and extending these gains than blaming neoliberalism for stealing their lunch money.

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Layman 11.18.16 at 11:39 am

mclaren: “That is provably false.”

It may be, but you haven’t done it. Given that the home ownership rate has fallen from its bubble-induced peak of 69% to its pre-bubble level of about 63%, I’d say you’ve got more explaining to do. Is 6% of the market a ‘vast quantity’ of the market? Do you still contend that the homeownership rate deceptively counts rented homes?

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/RHORUSQ156N

You’re simply wrong on this. Move on.

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engels 11.18.16 at 11:58 am

Understand this: if you do your job mostly by sitting at a desk or table and talking or writing to people like yourselves (not random members of the public), you’re a member of the elite to ordinary non-degreed people.

‘Non-public-facing graduate white-collar worker’ is really not a tenable definition of ‘elite’

117

lurker 11.18.16 at 11:58 am

‘it’s a desperate attempt to stop the Democratic Party being forced to respond to issues outside the concerns of white rust belt men’ (faustusnotes 53)
If the Democrats keep losing it does not matter who they respond to.

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engels 11.18.16 at 12:44 pm

It’s rare that I agree with Daragh but re the new Trump-centred corporate merry-go-round he’s basically right. Google inter alia Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Google, Peabody, CoreCivic, GEO Group, …

119

Lee A. Arnold 11.18.16 at 1:11 pm

Eric, on your main argument.

From journalists’ reports, it sounds like the Clinton campaign people, themselves, assumed that voters would vote against Trump due to his characteristics. I, in turn, would have assumed that their internal polling would have ferreted that out!! So, now I assume that their failure to see it, could be due to the usual massive cognitive bias on the liberal side (its outer, interpersonal effects are often collected under the catch-term, “arrogance”). This is equal to what we see on the conservative side in other matters.

I think that Obamacare was a brilliant move, even if it is overturned. The voters are not yet educated about the economic logic of non-market sectors. Indeed, most big-name economists and economist-bloggers are uneducated too; at best they explain it in terms of market-jargon. This issue is never going away until it is fully and properly resolved.

Healthcare is not primarily an intellectual issue about the market, it is an emotional one about the use of money. Any step toward the correct policy of single-payer, any step at all, pushes a person’s intellectual understanding of real-world outcomes a bit further than before, and that is exactly how to get emotions to begin to change, for the good. If overturned, things get worse again; it keeps the issue front-and-center. Obama understands this better than most, and this may eventually turn out to be one of his smartest, most far-reaching moves.

Getting the logic of non-market goods into the public’s noggin, (and we are not much closer to it yet,) is essential to the future. I am afraid however that Keynesianism has become a damaging distraction (of which, more below).

It is possible to single-out and blame Obama’s main mistakes: A. Not pushing harder for stimulus against a recalcitrant Congress. B. Not following our emotions, by prosecuting the banksters. C. The policy on Syria. I think that he himself has singled-out these mistakes in public confessions. People will analyze these for a long time to come, as well we should. But it’s also possible that none of them would have made much difference to this election. This sort of thing is unknowable. And Obama appears to know that, too.

For example, more jobs in the rustbelt states, in this global environment of no new factory work, would therefore most certainly have come with an increase in federal deficits. This build-up of the public debt is a very big issue for much of the public. So it could have been another squeaker of an election, for some other different reasons.

And that gets us back to the New Deal and Keynesianism. I don’t think that liberals realize the extent to which “Keynesianism” is one of the very few 5-syllable words that is well-known to the hoi polloi, who often shorten it to “evil”. This is due to the concerted 45-year propaganda effort by the right wing, using broadcast and now electronic media. For most of their listeners, it is the “slippery slope” to communism.

Some few of their listeners do understand the intellectual policy mechanics of how correct Keynesianism should work. You apply it on downcycles, then pay for it from upcycles: it is exactly like a business loan to expand a business. But then, their objection becomes, “It is plundered by special interests, and it keeps getting bigger.”

That is why they prefer deficit Keynesianism by tax cuts, to deficit Keynesianism by new go’vt spending. This is the present level of the public debate. Yet this debate is nearly obsolete.

There are two deeper problems on the economic front. The first is domestic jobs. Where can lots of sustainable jobs come from, anyway? 1. Factories? – are becoming automated; 2. service-sector labor? – is nearly maxed-out and service sector doesn’t have quick productivity growth; 3. infrastructure and housing construction/remodel? – do not continuously grow; their productivity effects are secondary (even tertiary), and the financing for them must be paid back in taxes or mortgages, ultimately paid back from incomes outside the sector.

The second problem is that China is pushing to become the center of world trade, on its own terms. The uncouth U.S. election makes the perfect premise to complete the push to the final arrangements. It will attract many developing countries who do not trust the US. This will have profound global effects extending for a hundred years, but in the US it immediately changes the strategy on deficits and the dollar.

The point in context of the top post is that the U.S. will be less able to use Keynesianism, anyway.

US investment finance doesn’t want to get stuck with that tax bill — and may be happier dealing with the Chinese. It will take Trump’s high-end tax cuts and start to move very quietly off-shore, to some other, sunnier locale. Thus the US may accelerate its loss of standard-of-living vis-a-vis the other advanced countries.

The corrosive results of this election may suggest to people of the world with big dreams, that a move to the US to invent and innovate and grow, is becoming a bad idea. Because they will get attacked on the street, due to their skin color.

This is a stain that will last 50 years. The majority of US citizens who don’t like this result (or, the ASSUMED “majority”; half of the voters don’t vote) now must demonstrate, somehow, to the rest of the world that its democracy can correct very bad mistakes, even this mistake.

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faustusnotes 11.18.16 at 1:13 pm

Doesn’t it, lurker? Except for two single term bumps, the presidency has pretty much alternated (8 years Republican, 8 years democrat) in two term blocks since world war 2. This alternation is hardly unexpected. The problem is not that the democrats lost – which pretty much could be expected to happen in the US system – but that the Republicans nominated someone so thoroughly unfit for any public office. And the bigger problem, that the US system has managed to struggle on as the republicans get increasingly deranged, without any correction.

If history is any guide, the Dems will win in 8 years, after being responsible in opposition and behaving like adult politicians, and then the Republicans will spend 8 years howling and eating babies.

You guys need to fix your system, because it is thoroughly broken.

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engels 11.18.16 at 2:24 pm

This is a good short summary of why class is central to socialist politics (hint: it’s not, as ID politics proponents typically scream—of their fav oppressed group—that workers have a uniquely hard time if it….)

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/03/working-class-capitalism-socialists-strike-power/

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kidneystones 11.18.16 at 2:27 pm

Hi Eric,

Thank you for this. I’ll be extremely curious to see how the political scientists and others explain how and why they decided to call for ‘rewrite’ and what they see as the consequences of their decisions. I agree very much with the balance of your argument and your efforts to study the US election within the context of an international setting. It’s also interesting to me that anecdotally the only people within my own circle to predict a Trump victory live outside the US. I’ll be chatting with a colleague from New Zealand who is now collecting on a few small bets, and have an American colleague who will be buying a beer for a Canadian non-Trump supporter.

I frankly see the election as more as consequence of two factors. The first is international: resistance to globalization has been growing and will continue to grow. Second, each individual nation responds to this resistance according the dynamics of each nation state.

The decision by Democratic elites to run HRC was made at least four years ago, well before Brexit and much of the EU unrest. Sensible Dems looked at the clout of the Dems and the mountains of money flowing into Clinton coffers and decided against taking on the Clinton machine, a machine that effectively took over the DNC with the blessing of the current Democratic president. I supported Sanders and agree that Sanders as the VP for some viable Democratic candidate would have been a winning combination.

I can also see Hillary winning easily had she and the elites treated the election seriously. The Clinton machine and their allies clearly believed that they had rigged the system so successfully that the candidate need not even turn up to ask for voters for their support, this in a ‘change’ election climate.

And this is where the international and national intersect. Brexit alone and the ‘surprise’ results alone confirmed that ‘nothing’ is in the bag where the voters are concerned. Much is made of the extremely narrow differences in key counties in Michigan and Wisconsin, for example. I linked elsewhere to Leslie Wimes warning explicitly that the candidate herself needed to get into the African-American community herself to press the flesh, and not rely on surrogates.

The demand for change is likely to continue. Hillary would have won, I expect, had she simply done as Wimes suggested, and get out and listen to people in states she needed to win. I’m glad she didn’t, because Democrats will need to confront the need to produce policies that actually appeal to people. Much of the blame can be laid at Obama’s door. Had ‘more of the same’ not sounded like ‘more of the same’ Trump would never been been nominated, much less elected. The economy sucks for too many, has sucked for too many and looked very much like sucking as long as Obama/Clinton/Bush remained in power. The donor-class candidate should have won, but elected to let others do the heavy lifting of campaigning fair and square. The results could have long-term consequences for the future of the Democratic party. All parties in all states are going to have formulate policies that address the pressures of globalization. The 2016 election reveals how poorly prepared Dems are to meet that challenge.

Sanders is one candidate, and we saw how he was treated. Where are the others?

I’m watching the Apprentice for the first time, btw. If Americans voted for the Donald Trump who runs that show, and if he can reproduce any small part of the success of that show as president, the Democrats could be in for a very long 4-8 years. Or, perhaps, he’ll be impeached first. Anything can happen.

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lurker 11.18.16 at 2:33 pm

@faustusnotes, 120
The Democrats lost the presidency, the Congress, and of course the chance to make Supreme Court nominations. The GOP controls so many states it’s not even funny, a couple more and they can start passing constitutional amendments. You think they won’t use that power to stay in power?
The Democrats manage to lose to a clown and they are the adults who will save us and the world?

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Layman 11.18.16 at 2:38 pm

“Except for two single term bumps, the presidency has pretty much alternated (8 years Republican, 8 years democrat) in two term blocks since world war 2. “

This is right, but recall fact that the Republicans have actually lost the popular vote in both foundational elections (Bush ’00 and Trump ’16). Do they have a favorable enough distribution of resentful white voters to go on winning their ‘share’ of the cycle? The pre-election conventional wisdom was that the election would shatter the GOP. The post-election conventional wisdom is that it shatter the Democratic Party. Maybe it’s both, but I don’t think the idea that the Republicans are better-positioned to win the White House will stand up to much scrutiny.

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Daragh 11.18.16 at 2:47 pm

Engels – ditto on definitions of ‘elite’! Then again ‘the election of Donald Trump is awful and the consequences will be uniformly pernicious’ is one of those ‘water is wet’ positions it really should be possible for all reasonable people to agree on.

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likbez 11.18.16 at 4:48 pm

@30
bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30

Great comment. simply great. Hat tip to the author !

Notable quotes:

“… The New Deal did not seek to overthrow the plutocracy, but it did seek to side-step and disable their dominance. …”

“… It seems to me that while neoliberalism on the right was much the same old same old, the neoliberal turn on the left was marked by a measured abandonment of this struggle over the distribution of income between the classes. In the U.S., the Democrats gradually abandoned their populist commitments. In Europe, the labour and socialist parties gradually abandoned class struggle. …

“… When Obama came in, in 2008 amid the unfolding GFC, one of the most remarkable features of his economic team was the extent to which it conceded control of policy entirely to the leading money center banks. Geithner and Bernanke continued in power with Geithner moving from the New York Federal Reserve (where he served as I recall under a Chair from Goldman Sachs) to Treasury in the Obama Administration, but Geithner’s Treasury was staffed from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank. The crisis served to concentrate banking assets in the hands of the top five banks, but it seemed also to transfer political power entirely into their hands as well. Simon Johnson called it a coup. …

“… Here’s the thing: the globalization and financialization of the economy from roughly 1980 drove both increasingly extreme distribution of income and de-industrialization. …”

“… It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability. Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Globalization and financialization were just “forces” that just happened, in a meteorological economics. …”

“… This was not your grandfather’s Democratic Party and it was a Democratic Party that could aid the working class and the Rust Belt only within fairly severe and sometimes sharply conflicting constraints. …”

“… No one in the Democratic Party had much institutional incentive to connect the dots, and draw attention to the acute conflicts over the distribution of income and wealth involved in financialization of the economy (including financialization as a driver of health care costs). And, that makes the political problem that much harder, because there are no resources for rhetorical and informational clarity or coherence. …”

“… If Obama could not get a very big stimulus indeed thru a Democratic Congress long out of power, Obama wasn’t really trying. And, well-chosen spending on pork barrel projects is popular and gets Congressional critters re-elected. So, again, if the stimulus is small and the Democratic Congress doesn’t get re-elected, Obama isn’t really trying. …”

“… Again, it comes down to: by 2008, the Democratic Party is not a fit vehicle for populism, because it has become a neoliberal vehicle for giant banks. Turns out that makes a policy difference. …”

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engels 11.18.16 at 5:07 pm

Her electoral ‘failure’ is due to certain anti-democratic anachronisms in the US constitutional order

Anti-democratic anachronisms that she, unlike Sanders, never wished to reform
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2001/01/21/us/liberals-discuss-electoral-overhaul.html

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engels 11.18.16 at 5:32 pm

Smass, thanks. Maybe it would be clearer if I followed Hidari and said ‘neoliberal identity politics’ is what I am criticising. (I think the term ‘ID politics’ can also be used in a neutral, non-pejorative sense to encompass ‘feminism, black liberation, gay rights, nationalism, etc …’ but the only people who are categorically opposed to it in that sense are right-wingers.)

129

Suzanne 11.18.16 at 5:45 pm

@119: It’s not all that unknowable, surely? I think that if adequate help for struggling homeowners had been available on a large scale, much of the populist anger that we’ve seen would have been blunted. As it was, HAMP was a screwup and the Administration was too frightened of seeming to help the “undeserving” who’d got themselves into trouble. Bad politics and bad for the country.

Obama had no anger against Wall Street. Remember he told them that he was the only one standing between them and the pitchforks, a very characteristic remark as Obama likes to present himself as the moderate center between extremist opposites. He should have been with the pitchforks, but perhaps it’s hard to do that when you’re too cool for school. (None of this, incidentally, should have been surprising to anyone paying attention to what Obama the candidate said about the housing crisis, where HRC actually ran to his left.)

He should have gone after the Bush Administration torturers. By not doing that he has allowed torture to become another policy choice that a president may or may not choose to make. As a recent NYT article has said, he left the door open for Trump, and there is no reason to believe Trump (and this would apply to the GOP generally) won’t stroll right through it.

I should note that I realize that Obama as the first black president probably felt a political need to avoid showing anger, since one of his chief selling points was Don’t Be Scared, I’m Not That Angry Black Guy. However, I don’t recall anything in his attitude toward the bankers to suggest that he was having to keep emotions bottled up.

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dbk 11.18.16 at 6:41 pm

Bruce Wilder @102
The question is no longer her neoliberalism, but yours. Keep it or throw it away?

I wish this issue was being seriously discussed. Neoliberalism has been disastrous for the Rust Belt, and I think we need to envision a new future for what was once the country’s industrial heartland, now little more than its wasteland (cf. “flyover zone” – a pejorative term which inhabitants of the zone are not too stupid to understand perfectly, btw).

The question of what the many millions of often-unionized factory workers, SMEs which supplied them, family farmers (now fully industrialized and owned by corporations), and all those in secondary production and services who once supported them are to actually do in future to earn a decent living is what I believe should really be the subject of debate. As noted upthread, two factors (or three, I guess) have contributed to this state of despair: offshoring and outsourcing, and technology. The jobs that have been lost will not return, and indeed will be lost in ever greater numbers – just consider what will happen to the trucking sector when self-driving trucks hit the roads sometime in the next 10-20 years (3.5 million truckers; 8.7 in allied jobs).

Medicaid, the CHIP program, the SNAP program and others (including NGOs and private charitable giving) may alleviate some of the suffering, but there is currently no substitute for jobs that would enable men and women to live lives of dignity – a decent place to live, good educations for their children, and a reasonable, secure pension in old age. Near-, at-, and below-minimum wage jobs devoid of any benefits don’t allow any of these – at most, they make possible a subsistence life, one which requires continued reliance on public assistance throughout one’s lifetime.

In the U.S. (a neoliberal pioneer), poverty is closely linked with inequality and thus, a high GINI coefficient (near that of Turkey); where there is both poverty and a very unequal distribution of resources, this inevitably affects women (and children) and racial (and ethnic) minorities disproportionately. The economic system, racism, sexism, and xenophobia are not separate, stand-alone issues; they are profoundly intertwined.

I appreciate and espouse the goals of identity politics in all their multiplicity, and also understand that the institutions of slavery and sexism predated modern capitalist economies. But really, if you think about it, slavery was defined as ownership, ownership of human capital (which was convertible into cash), and women in many societies throughout history were acquired as part of a financial transaction (either through purchase or through sale), and control of their capital (land, property [farmland, herds], valuables and later, money) often entrusted to a spouse or male guardian. All of these practices were economically-driven, even if the driver wasn’t 21st-century capitalism.

Also: Faustusnotes@100
For example Indiana took the ACA Medicaid expansion but did so with additional conditions that make it worse than in neighboring states run by democratic governors.

And what states would those be? IL, IA, MI, OH, WI, KY, and TN have Republican governors. Were you thinking pre-2014? pre-2012?

To conclude and return to my original point: what’s to become of the Rust Belt in future? Did the Democratic platform include a New New Deal for PA, OH, MI, WI, and IA (to name only the five Rust Belt states Trump flipped)?

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Daragh 11.18.16 at 6:57 pm

engels @127

Are you seriously claiming that because Bernie Sanders attended an obscure electoral reform conference in 2000 and Clinton didn’t, that means Clinton was opposed to reforming the electoral college? I mean I know you’re big on baseless, evidence free assertions about people and politicians you don’t like, but that’s a whole new level right there.

Reforming the EC is hard – it requires either a constitutional amendment, or a popular vote pact between a sufficient number of red and blue states. Both are extremely tall orders, due to Republican disinterest in actual democracy, which is a better explanation for why Clinton hasn’t made it top of her list of priorities.

But by all means, please – tell us what she really thinks.

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engels 11.18.16 at 7:51 pm

understand that the institutions of slavery and sexism predated modern capitalist economies

This is really not the zinger some people think it is. Compare: CO2 emissions predate industrialisation so the discussion of climate change shouldn’t focus on modern industry.

133

Omega Centauri 11.18.16 at 9:37 pm

Whats been going through my mind recently. Maybe it will be a useful point to start from:

From the Washington post wonk blog
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/11/08/a-new-theory-for-why-trump-voters-are-so-angry-that-actually-makes-sense/
Jeff Guo

If you buy into this argument the following had been happening.
Rural whites have a strong work ethic, and see governmnetal programs
as giving resources to underving people. They would rather eliminate
or greatly reduce safety nets than continue to see people they see as
undeserving continue to get aide.

My two cents:
Conservative operatives have been playing on this resentiment, constantly
stroking the resentiment hot button. This is particularly true in the
rural rust belt areas, which are largely withing the FoxNews bubble.
This repetitive stroking is only concerned with making the electorate
more conservative and not concerned with the potential damage to the
social fabric. This resentiment stoking works better if the undeserving
are represented by people who look different than the target audience. Of
course this is having a side effect of creating racism.
This has been going on for decades, and it has been politically
successful, and may be a way for Republicans to counter the negative
demographic trend which would otherwise end their reign.

One of the ways this resentiment gets reinforced in my opinion is
working class people observing people on disability doing occasional day
labour. The tendency is to jump to the conclusion that these are lazy people
gaming the system at the expense of the workingclass. I think this is a case of jumping to
conclusions, that most such people on disability have chronic conditions
which wouldn’t stand up to the stress of a full time job, but are capable
of part-time work provided, they can bail whenever their condition gets
aggravated. So out of a combination of pride, and the need for money, they
participate in day labour pools when they are up to it. But of course Joe
average won’t buy it, and resents the presumed gaming of the system.
Since we aren’t working class, we aren’t constantly put into the situation
where we see this sort of dynamic happening, so we are unaware of the psycho-political effects. Of course conservative operatives mercilessly exploit this.

I think in many other ways the working class is in a bit of a benefit hole.
The poorest class, qualifies for various antipoverty programs, but the
working class doesn’t. They may even work for these programs, proving
benefits that they themselves don’t qualify for what they see as lazy bums. I can recall
after I had left grad school, being unemployed and desperate. I remember asking about
some jobs that were designed to give people that are having a hard time joining the workforce
a start, and told flatout, these are for those people, not someone like you who will be able
ti find something decent. Now I don’t go off in a huff of resentment (and after a few tough months managed to get my career started), but I can certainly understand how others might
react differently in similar circumstances.

So how to square the circle. How can we have a safety net, but avoid
the perception that we are rewarding indolent behavior? If we can’t sqaure the circle a
robust safety net may be politically unsustainable.

And of course the conflation of the ills caused by neoliberalism with
globalization.

134

kidneystones 11.18.16 at 11:28 pm

From Mark Lilla

“A convenient liberal interpretation of the recent presidential election would have it that Mr. Trump won in large part because he managed to transform economic disadvantage into racial rage — the “whitelash” thesis. This is convenient because it sanctions a conviction of moral superiority and allows liberals to ignore what those voters said were their overriding concerns. It also encourages the fantasy that the Republican right is doomed to demographic extinction in the long run — which means liberals have only to wait for the country to fall into their laps. The surprisingly high percentage of the Latino vote that went to Mr. Trump should remind us that the longer ethnic groups are here in this country, the more politically diverse they become.”

http://nyti.ms/2eL4Wcv

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kidneystones 11.18.16 at 11:32 pm

Thomas Pickety

“Let it be said at once: Trump’s victory is primarily due to the explosion in economic and geographic inequality in the United States over several decades and the inability of successive governments to deal with this.

Both the Clinton and the Obama administrations frequently went along with the market liberalization launched under Reagan and both Bush presidencies. At times they even outdid them: the financial and commercial deregulation carried out under Clinton is an example. What sealed the deal, though, was the suspicion that the Democrats were too close to Wall Street – and the inability of the Democratic media elite to learn the lessons from the Sanders vote.”

The Guardian

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kidneystones 11.18.16 at 11:33 pm

Sorry about the obligatory typos, etc.

137

kidneystones 11.18.16 at 11:56 pm

What should have been one comment came out as 4, so apologies on that front.

I spent the last week explaining the US election to my students in Japan in pretty much the terms outlined by Lilla and PIketty, so I was delighted to discover these two articles.

Regional inequality and globalization are the principal drivers in Japanese politics, too, along with a number of social drivers. It was therefore very easy to call for a show of hands to identify students studying here in Tokyo who are trying to decide whether or not to return to areas such as Tohoku to build their lives; or remain in Kanto/Tokyo – the NY/Washington/LA of Japan put crudely.

I asked students from regions close to Tohoku how they might feel if the Japanese prime minister decided not to visit the region following Fukushima after the disaster, or preceding an election. The tsunami/nuclear meltdown combined with the Japanese government’s uneven response is an apt metaphor for the impact of neo-liberalism/globalization on Japan; and on the US. I then explained that the income inequality in the US was far more severe than that of Japan and that many Americans did not support the export of jobs to China/Mexico.

I then asked the students, particularly those from outlying regions whether they believe Japan needed a leader who would ‘bring back Japanese jobs’ from Viet Nam and China, etc. Many/most agreed wholeheartedly. I then asked whether they believed Tokyo people treated those outside Kanto as ‘inferiors.’ Many do.

Piketty may be right regarding Trump’s long-term effects on income inequality. He is wrong, I suggest, to argue that Democrats failed to respond to Sanders’ support. I contend that in some hypothetical universe the DNC and corrupt Clinton machine could have been torn out, root and branch, within months. As I noted, however, the decision to run HRC effectively unopposed was made several years, at least, before the stark evidence of the consequences of such a decision appeared in sharp relief with Brexit.

138

Faustusnotes 11.19.16 at 12:14 am

Also worth noting is that the rust belts problems are as old as Reagan – even the term dates from the 80s, the issue is so uncool that there is a dire straits song about it. Some portion of the decline of manufacturing there is due to manufacturers shifting to the south, where the anti Union states have an advantage. Also there has been new investment – there were no Japanese car companies in the us in the 1980s, so they are new job creators, yet insufficient to make up the losses. Just as the decline of Virginia coal is due to global forces and corporate stupidity, so the decline of the rust belt is due to long (30 year plus) global forces and corporate decisions that predate the emergence of identity politics.

It’s interesting that the clear headed thinkers of the Marxist left, who pride themselves on not being distracted by identity, don’t want to talk about these factors when discussing the plight of their cherished white working class. Suddenly it’s not the forces of capital and the objective facts of history, but a bunch of whiny black trannies demanding safe spaces and protesting police violence, that drove those towns to ruin.

And what solutions do they think the dems should have proposed? It can’t be welfare, since we got the ACA (watered down by representatives of the rust belt states). Is it, seriously,tariffs? Short of going to an election promising w revolution, what should the dems have done? Give us a clear answer so we can see what the alternative to identity politics is.

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engels 11.19.16 at 1:11 am

Daragh, I’m not a professional watcher of US politics so please indulge me: when has Clinton ever expressed an intention to reform the electoral college?

140

Layman 11.19.16 at 1:57 am

“Daragh, I’m not a professional watcher of US politics so please indulge me: when has Clinton ever expressed an intention to reform the electoral college?”

She’s never expressed an intention to develop a Grand Unified Field Theory, either. It could be because she’s opposed to it, or it could be because it’s well beyond the realm of achievability. My guess is the latter, but you go ahead and believe the former if it makes you feel better.

141

faustusnotes 11.19.16 at 2:56 am

Google is your friend, Engels.

Yet more evidence of the unhinged way in which people here seem willing to believe anything bad or cynical about Clinton without any effort to check it at all.

142

LFC 11.19.16 at 3:16 am

After spending some time (as many others have recently) reading stuff from various different perspectives on why Trump won / HRC lost, I’ve concluded that (drum roll) the outcome was overdetermined (in one of the dictionary senses of that word), i.e., it had more than the minimum required number of causes, and am further impressed with the role of chance/contingency (always present, but perhaps larger than usual here).

There’s something undeniably tragic about some (prob. late-deciding) voters neither knowing, nor in all likelihood much caring, that a Trump victory wd put a Sessions in the AG job, a Flynn as nat. sec. advisor, and one can only imagine who on the Sup Ct. I know that HRC won the popular vote, but that’s not much consolation. I’m feeling both disgusted and uneasy, telling myself to check to see if my passport has expired (which I haven’t brought myself to do yet). And if that’s what I’m feeling, I can barely imagine what people in less privileged circumstances/conditions are feeling. And w that, computer off for the evening.

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nastywoman 11.19.16 at 3:51 am

‘what should the dems have done? Give us a clear answer so we can see what the alternative to identity politics is.’

If they would have wanted to win in the ‘rust belt’ – tell should have told the voters – ‘that they want to bring their jobs back.’ – and that they would have a talk with Mr. Ford -(or all kind of others outsourcers) – not to outsource – and that they wanted ‘the workers class to take it’s country back’ etc. etc. – you know just the stuff F…face von Clownstick told the voters in the rust belt.

Or if they wanted to be more serious about it -(if one can say it like that?) –
They could have at least started in 2009 with – what Vaclav Smil suggested in 2011:
‘No unprecedented steps are needed for the United States to do what more than a dozen affluent countries have done to become more competitive over the last two decades. The first is to recognize the obvious: America can manufacture its way out of decline.’

But haven’t we been through all of this on a different thread already?

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Faustusnotes 11.19.16 at 4:32 am

What specific policy would bring those jobs back, nastywoman?you need specifics. A “conversation with me ford” is not specific. Trump proposed tariffs. What do you suggest the dems should have offered instead?

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nastywoman 11.19.16 at 4:38 am

– and furthermore and in conclusion – I had really a hard time following this… discussion?
There are so many words here I never have heard about – like… like ‘identity’?

What does that mean?

Does it mean ME?

If it means ‘ME’? –
ME wants good job and dough – Just tell ME YOU want to give it to ME –
(and stop all this babbling!)

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basil 11.19.16 at 5:11 am

Did this go through?
Thinking with WLGR @15, Yan @81, engels variously above,

The construction ‘white working class’ is a useful governing tool that splits poor people and possible coalitions against the violence of capital. Now, discussion focuses on how some of the least powerful, most vulnerable people in the United States are the perpetrators of a great injustice against racialised and minoritised groups. Such commentary colludes in the pathologisation of the working class, of poor people. Victims are inculpated as the vectors of noxious, atavistic vices while the perpetrators get off with impunity, showing off their multihued, cosmopolitan C-suites and even proposing that their free trade agreements are a form of anti-racist solidarity. Most crucially, such analysis ignores the continuities between a Trumpian dystopia and our satisfactory present.

I get that the tropes around race are easy, and super-available. Privilege confessing is very in vogue as a prophylactic against charges of racism. But does it threaten the structures that produce this abjection – either as embittered, immiserated ‘white working class’ or as threatened minority group? It is always *those* ‘white’ people, the South, the Working Class, and never the accusers some of whom are themselves happy to vote for a party that drowns out anti-war protesters with chants of USA! USA!

Race-thinking forecloses the possibility of the coalitions that you imagine, and reproduces ideas of difference in ways that always, always privilege ‘whiteness’.

—-

Historical examples of ethnic groups becoming ‘white’, how it was legal and political decision-making that defined the present racial taxonomy, suggest that groups can also lose or have their ‘whiteness’ threatened. CB has written here about how, in the UK at least, Eastern and Southern Europeans are racialised, and so refused ‘whiteness’. JQ has written about southern white minoritisation. Many commentators have pointed that the ‘white working class’ vote this year looked a lot like a minority vote.

Given the subordination of groups presently defined as ‘white working class’, I wonder if we could think beyond ethnic and epidermal definition to consider that the impossibility of the American Dream refuses these groups whiteness; i.e the hoped for privileges of racial superiority, much in the same way that African Americans, Latin Americans and other racialised minorities are denied whiteness. Can a poor West Virginian living in a toxified drugged out impoverished landscape really be defined as a carrier of ‘white privilege’?

I was first pointed at this by the juxtapositions of racialised working class and immigrants in Imogen Tyler’s Revolting Subjects – Social Abjection and Resistance in Neoliberal Britain but this below is a useful short article that takes a historical perspective.

Why the Working Class was Never ‘White’

The ‘racialisation’ of class in Britain has been a consequence of the weakening of ‘class’ as a political idea since the 1970s – it is a new construction, not an historic one. ……………….

This is not to deny the existence of working-class racism, or to suggest that racism is somehow acceptable if rooted in perceived socio-economic grievances. But it is to suggest that the concept of a ‘white working class’ needs problematizing, as does the claim that the British working-class was strongly committed to a post-war vision of ‘White Britain’ analogous to the politics which sustained the idea of a ‘White Australia’ until the 1960s. Yes, old, settled neighbourhoods could be profoundly distrustful of outsiders – all outsiders, including the researchers seeking to study them – but, when it came to race, they were internally divided. We certainly hear working-class racist voices – often echoing stock racist complaints about over-crowding, welfare dependency or exploitative landlords and small businessmen, but we don’t hear the deep pathological racial fears laid bare in the letters sent to Enoch Powell after his so-called ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech in 1968 (Whipple, 2009).

But more importantly, we also hear strong anti-racist voices loudly and clearly. At Wallsend on Tyneside, where the researchers were gathering their data just as Powell shot to notoriety, we find workers expressing casual racism, but we also find eloquent expressions of an internationalist, solidaristic perspective in which, crucially, black and white are seen as sharing the same working-class interests. Racism is denounced as a deliberate capitalist strategy to divide workers against themselves, weakening their ability to challenge those with power over their lives (shipbuilding had long been a very fractious industry and its workers had plenty of experience of the dangers of internal sectarian battles).

To be able to mobilize across across racialised divisions, to have race wither away entirely would, for me, be the beginning of a politics that allowed humanity to deal with the inescapable violence of climate change and corporate power.

*To add to the bibliography – David R. Roediger, Elizabeth D. Esch – The Production of Difference – Race and the Management of Labour, and Denise Ferreira da Silva – Toward a Global Idea of Race. And I have just been pointed at Ian Haney-López, White By Law – The Legal Construction of Race.

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Faustusnotes 11.19.16 at 5:17 am

specific, nastywoman. I keep asking for this but I keep getting these vague responses. “Build a mass movement” and “wait for the revolution” and “promise jobs”. But that’s not going to win elections. Should Clinton have just done an Oprah? Everyone gets a job! Who do you think will believe that? With whose money? What job? Is it just welfarisn? We’ve established the rust belt hates government gifts. What is the policy? What should Clinton have promised to counter trumps tariffs and vague promises?

I think I’ll be waiting around here a long time tobhear the policy alternatives to trump that would have worked to win the election from a leftist non neoliberal position…

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b9n10nt 11.19.16 at 5:20 am

Omega Centauri:

“How can we have a safety net, but avoid the perception that we are rewarding indolent behavior?”

By splitting white America by class lines? Republicans can out-campaign Dems among rural white conservatives with cultural-identity in-group signaling, but Democrats don’t out-populist Republicans with class-identity in-group signaling.

Republicans can be strong on cultural identity and this gives them resolve to embrace their role in the class war.

Democrats are compromised on their class war message, and then aren’t resolved to embrace the fight for civil rights and cultural diversity.

So that’s a gratifying analysis but is it wrong? If your defining legislative achievements (NAFTA, welfare reform, ObamaCare) and governing accomplishments (me-too-ism in pro-finance macroeconomics and foreign policy) fail to make any kind of populist case that distinguishes you among rural whites, how are you going to win their votes?

(By all means, keep wedging them with “racist” and “ignorant”. Tell them that when Black Americans had an opportunity to pull themselves out of regional poverty, they moved to the cities and found work. You guys can move, or you can stay and work together for better communities. But it is NOT acceptable to wallow in ignorance and resentment while playing the fool for your country-clubbing masters.) ahem…feeling better now.

It kind of ignores your question but for a reason: Perception of others’ laziness follows from or is part of a greater cultural identity. It’s not something that Dems need to address directly accept as a tactical wedge: “some of you want to rail against laziness and corruption among the poor, and I agree. But first of all the majority of urban and rural poor probably work harder than middle and upperclass folks, and secondly the Republicans are all too eager to support the laziness and corruption of the rich. So let’s actually tackle laziness and corruption at all levels of society and make us stronger together, rather than divide us so the privileged can call the shots”).

But the cultural stuff only works as a wedge if you have leverage on class issues. That means ditching gratuitous corporatism and all forms of me-too-ism on class-related policies.

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engels 11.19.16 at 7:43 am

She hasn’t but that’s irrelevant (Clintonite 1)
She has and the fact you didn’t know it proves blah blah blah (Clintonite 2)

Thanks for the information, based on which I’m happy to corrrct my original opinion: after 2000, Clinton, Obama and Sanders all said they wanted the system changed but one of them actually did something about that.

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nastywoman 11.19.16 at 7:45 am

‘I think I’ll be waiting around here a long time tobhear the policy alternatives to trump that would have worked to win the election from a leftist non neoliberal position…’

Just study the program of the ‘Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschland’ or the Program of ‘Die Grünen’ in Germany -(take it through google translate) and you get all the answers you are looking for.

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nastywoman 11.19.16 at 7:55 am

– oh wait – please don’t take it like some silly suggestion to turn the US into Germany – or something like that. These programs only provide a list of policies which work pretty well with the so called ‘working class’ -(some of the policies don’t) but all in all – a great first step always would have been to at least listen (better) to ‘the people’ and just promising them what they want -(like F…face von Clownstick) is always a winning proposition.

So why didn’t we (Dems) do it?
The ‘working class’ would have loved it – probably as much as they loved it to hear it from F…face von Clownstick.
And after winning – we finally could have tried to keep these promises better as we used to.

And I don’t want to sound too cynical – but isn’t that mostly what politics are about?

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Hidari 11.19.16 at 8:16 am

FWIW

‘merica’s constitutional democracy is going to collapse.

Some day — not tomorrow, not next year, but probably sometime before runaway climate change forces us to seek a new life in outer-space colonies — there is going to be a collapse of the legal and political order and its replacement by something else. If we’re lucky, it won’t be violent. If we’re very lucky, it will lead us to tackle the underlying problems and result in a better, more robust, political system. If we’re less lucky, well, then, something worse will happen….

In a 1990 essay, the late Yale political scientist Juan Linz observed that “aside from the United States, only Chile has managed a century and a half of relatively undisturbed constitutional continuity under presidential government — but Chilean democracy broke down in the 1970s.”

Linz offered several reasons why presidential systems are so prone to crisis. One particularly important one is the nature of the checks and balances system. Since both the president and the Congress are directly elected by the people, they can both claim to speak for the people. When they have a serious disagreement, according to Linz, “there is no democratic principle on the basis of which it can be resolved.” The constitution offers no help in these cases, he wrote: “the mechanisms the constitution might provide are likely to prove too complicated and aridly legalistic to be of much force in the eyes of the electorate.”

In a parliamentary system, deadlocks get resolved. A prime minister who lacks the backing of a parliamentary majority is replaced by a new one who has it. If no such majority can be found, a new election is held and the new parliament picks a leader. It can get a little messy for a period of weeks, but there’s simply no possibility of a years-long spell in which the legislative and executive branches glare at each other unproductively.’

http://www.vox.com/2015/3/2/8120063/american-democracy-doomed

Given that the basic point is polarisation (i.e. that both the President and Congress have equally strong arguments to be the the ‘voice of the people’) and that under the US appalling constitutional set up, there is no way to decide between them, one can easily imagine the so to speak ‘hyperpolarisation’ of a Trump Presidency as being the straw (or anvil) that breaks the camel’s back.

In any case, as I pointed out before, given that the US is increasingly an urbanised country, and the Electoral College was created to protect rural (slave) states, the grotesque electoral result we have just seen is likely to recur, which means more and more Presidents with dubious democratic legitimacy. Thanks to Bush (and Obama) these Presidents will have, at the same time, more and more power.

Eventually something is going to break.

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dbk 11.19.16 at 10:39 am

nastywoman @ 150
Just study the program of the ‘Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschland’ or the Program of ‘Die Grünen’ in Germany (take it through google translate) and you get all the answers you are looking for.

No need to run it through google translate, it’s available in English on their site. [Or one could refer to the Green Party of the U.S. site/platform, which is very similar in scope and overall philosophy. (www.gp.org).]

I looked at several of their topic areas (Agricultural, Global, Health, Rural) and yes, these are general theses I would support. But they’re hardly policy/project proposals for specific regions or communities – the Greens espouse “think global, act local”, so programs and projects must be tailored to individual communities and regions.

To return to my original question and answer it myself: I’m forced to conclude that the Democrats did not specifically address the revitalization – rebirth of the Rust Belt in their 2016 platform. Its failure to do so carried a heavy cost that (nearly) all of us will be forced to pay.

154

Layman 11.19.16 at 11:52 am

engels: “…after 2000, Clinton, Obama and Sanders all said they wanted the system changed but one of them actually did something about that…”

Suppose we elect you? What will you do to abolish the Electoral College?

(Honestly, it’s hard to imagine you’re even serious about this particular line of argument.)

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basil 11.19.16 at 12:22 pm

Also why is it that African Americans don’t get the same analysis as white Americans. They have been just as let down by neoliberal politics yet they voted overwhelmingly for Clinton and before that Obama. Why don’t they reject the system that enslaved them and that kills their young people at such a high rate?

It is unclear what you are playing at but your framing is the reason anarchists say voting legitimises state violence. Now HRC’s 93% AfAm vote allocation is seen as an endorsement in the very year of BLM!

I think it is a little rude to add slavery and extrajudicial murders to the list of grievances that you’d expect African Americans to be rejecting the system for. As everyone knows engels did not make those up, it sounds like you’re saying AfAms approve of or don’t mind that violence. It isn’t original, but it’s truly tragic. In the primaries, after Michelle Alexander spoke up, the Clinton campaign’s defence was to say that African Americans themselves demanded the brutal police violence and incarceration rates of the 1990s.

Liam Logan on Medium – Anticipating the Neo-Confederates
In 1865 the former slave John Sella Martin demolished the “contented slave” narrative


One wants to say ideology, African Americans are after all Americans, but you may also find Mukulika Banerjee’s ‘Why India Votes interesting. Pursuing the research finding that poor, rural, low caste voters were more likely to vote than their urban, male, high caste counterparts Banerjee describes the electoral process as a ‘carnival’ and invocation of community. Rather than revealing naivete or a suspension of disbelief, their ethnography shows that politically conscious subjugated groups are persuaded that even if for a short time, the electoral process insists on a performance of equality, and forces the powerful to come into marginalised/forgotten communities seeking votes. These groups claim citizenship and equality, even humanity, by participating in elections. While the headlines describe the national coalitions and the parties invested in them, a more granular perspective reveals the contingencies of history, local identity, loyalties, and rivalries that inform voter choices or explain their adaptive preferences.

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Soullite 11.19.16 at 12:46 pm

This sub seems to have largely fallen into the psychologically comfortable trap of declaring that everyone who voted against their preferred candidate is racist. It’s a view pushed by the neoliberals, who want to maintain he stranglehold of identity politics over the DNC, and it makes upper-class ‘intellectuals’ feel better about themselves and their betrayal of the filthy, subhuman white underclass (or so they see it).

I expect at this point that Trump will be reelected comfortably. If not only the party itself, but also most of its activists, refuse to actually change, it’s more or less inevitable.

You can scream ‘those jobs are never coming back!’ all you want, but people are never going to accept it. So either you come up with a genuine solution (instead of simply complaining that your opponents solutions won’t work; you’re partisan and biased, most voters won’t believe you), you may as well resign yourself to fascism. Because whining that you don’t know what to do won’t stop people from lining up behind someone who says that they do have one, whether it’ll work or not. Nobody trusts the elite enough to believe them when they say that jobs are never coming back. Nobody trusts the elite at all.

You sound just like the Wiemar elite. No will to solve the problem, but filled with terror at the inevitable result of failing to solve the problem.

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Daragh 11.19.16 at 1:08 pm

Layman @154

No no no. Engels is absolutely right that Clinton and Obama’s failure to devote significant political capital and time to a doomed constitutional reform effort, when Bernie Sanders put his money where his mouth was by attending a conference is a deeply serious argument by a person who knows what he’s talking about. I’m sure he made the exact same arguments about the Liberal Democrats’ pursuit of electoral reform during the coalition, and isn’t just making whatever argument best suits his claims to moral superiority at the present moment.

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LFC 11.19.16 at 1:20 pm

Hidari @152
Interesting linked piece.
All the fault of the revered Framers for choosing a presidential rather than parliamentary system, which they presumably did partly b/c the conflict w Britain was in significant part a conflict w its Parliament, which helped turn the Framers away from the whole idea of a parliamentary system. (so it’s really all Britain’s fault ;))

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Faustusnotes 11.19.16 at 2:10 pm

Nastywoman, I wanted policies that work in the us context in the presence of trump, in English, from you. Not boiler plate social democratic policies for a different electorate. Remember, the rust belt rejected Obamacare for being too radical. It’s okay, I can wait all day!

Engels … so nothing anyone says can convince you (even with evidence) that Clinton is serious about a political program. And this is her problem, not your stupid prejudice!

Dbk, the dems didn’t present specific policies in 2008 or 2012 either – or 1992 – what’s different this year ?

160

mclaren 11.19.16 at 2:37 pm

One brutal fact tells us everything we need to know about the Democratic party in 2016: the American Nazi party is running on a platform of free health care to working class people.
This means that the American Nazi Party is now running to the left of the Democratic party.
Folks, we have seen this before. Let’s not descend in backbiting and recriminations, okay? We’ve got some commenters charging that other commenters are “mansplaining,” meanwhile we’ve got other commenters claiming that it’s economics and not racism/misogyny. It’s all of the above.
Back in the 1930s, when the economy collapsed, fascists appeared and took power. Racists also came out of the woodwork, ditto misogynists. Fast forward 80 years, and the same thing has happened all over again. The global economy melted down in 2008 and fascists appeared promising to fix the problems that the pols in power wouldn’t because they were too closely tied to the existing (failed) system. Along with the fascists, racists gained power because they were able to scapegoat minorities as the alleged cause of everyone’s misery.
None of this is surprising. We have seen it before. Whenever you get a depression in a modern industrial economy, you get scapegoating, racism, and fascists. We know what to do. The problem is that the current Democratic party isn’t doing it.
Instead, what we’re seeing is a whirlwind of finger-pointing from the Democratic leadership that lost this election and probably let the entire New Deal get rolled back and wiped out. Putin is to blame! Julian Assange is to blame! The biased media are to blame! Voter suppression is to blame! Bernie Sanders is to blame! Jill Stein is to blame! Everyone and anyone except the current out-of-touch influence-peddling elites who currently have run the Democratic party into the ground.
We need the feminists and the black lives matter groups and we also need the green party people and the Bernie Sanders activists. But everyone has to understand that this is not an isolated event. Trump did not just happen by accident. First there was Greece, then there was Brexit, then there was Trump, next it’ll be Renzi losing the referendum in Italy and a constitutional crisis there, and after that, Marine Le Pen in France is going to win the first round of elections. (Probably not the presidency, since all the other French parties will band together to stop her, but the National Front is currently polling at 40% of all registered French voters.) And Marine LePen is the real deal, a genuine full-on out-and-out fascist. Not a closet fascist like Steve Bannon, LePen is the full monty with everything but a Hugo Boss suit and the death’s heads on the cap.
Does anyone notice a pattern here?
This is an international movement. It is sweeping the world. It is the end of neoliberalism and the start of the era of authoritarian nationalism, and we all need to come together to stamp out the authoritarian part. Feminists, BLM, black bloc anarchiest anti-globalists, Sandernistas, and, yes, the former Hillary supporters. Because it not just a coincidence that all these things are happening in all these countries at the same time. The bottom 90% of the population in the developed world has been ripped off by a managerial and financial and political class for the last 30 years and they have all noticed that while the world GDP was skyrocketing and international trade agreements were getting signed with zero input from the average citizen, a few people were getting very very rich but nobody else was getting anything.
This hammered people on the bottom, disproportionately African Americans and especially single AA mothers in America. It crushed the blue collar workers. It is wiping out the savings and careers of college-educated white collar workers now, at least, the ones who didn’t go to the Ivy League, which is 90% of them.
And the Democratic party is so helpless and so hopeless that it is letting the American Nazi Party run to the left of them on health care, fer cripes sake! We are now in a situation where the American Nazi Party is advocating single-payer nationalized health care, while the former Democratic presidential nominee who just got defeated assured everyone that single-payer “will never, ever happen.”
C’mon! Is anyone surprised that Hillary lost? Let’s cut the crap with the “Hillary was a flawed candidate” arguments. The plain fact of the matter is that Hillary was running mainly on getting rid of the problems she and her husband created 25 years ago. Hillary promised criminal justice reform and Black Lives Matter-friendly policing policies — and guess who started the mass incarceration trend and gave speeches calling black kids “superpredators” 20 years ago? Hillary promised to fix the problems with the wretched mandate law forcing everyone to buy unaffordable for-profit private insurance with no cost controls — and guess who originally ran for president in 2008 on a policy of health care mandates with no cost controls? Yes, Hillary (ironically, Obama’s big surge in popularity as a candidate came when he ran against Hillary from the left, ridiculing helath care mandates). Hillary promises to reform an out-of-control deregulated financial system run amok — and guess who signed all those laws revoking Glass-Steagal and setting up the Securities Trading Modernization Act? Yes, Bill Clinton, and Hillary was right there with him cheering the whole process on.
So pardon me and lots of other folks for being less than impressed by Hillary’s trustworthiness and honesty. Run for president by promising to undo the damage you did to the country 25 years ago is (let say) a suboptimal campaign strategy, and a distinctly suboptimal choice of presidential candidate for a party…in the same sense that the Hiroshima air defense was suboptimal in 1945.
Calling Hillary an “imperfect candidate” is like calling what happened to the Titanic a “boating accident.” Trump was an imperfect candidate. Why did he win?
Because we’re back in the 1930s again, the economy has crashed hard and still hasn’t recovered (maybe because we still haven’t convened a Pecora Commission and jailed a bunch of the thieves, and we also haven’t set up any alphabet government job programs like the CCC) so fascists and racists and all kinds of other bottom-feeders are crawling out of the political woodwork to promise to fix the problems that the Democratic party establishment won’t.
Rule of thumb: any social or political or economic writer virulently hated by the current Democratic party establishment is someone we should listen to closely right now.
Cornel West is at the top of the current Democratic establishment’s hate list, and he has got a great article in The Guardian that I think is spot-on:

“The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. The political triumph of Donald Trump shattered the establishments in the Democratic and Republican parties – both wedded to the rule of Big Money and to the reign of meretricious politicians.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/17/american-neoliberalism-cornel-west-2016-election

Glenn Greenwald is another writer who has been showered with more hate by the Democratic establishment recently than even Trump or Steve Bannon, so you know Greenwald is saying something important. He has a great piece in The Intercept on the head-in-the-ground attitude of Democratic elites toward their recent loss:

“It is not an exaggeration to say that the Democratic Party is in shambles as a political force. Not only did it just lose the White House to a wildly unpopular farce of a candidate despite a virtually unified establishment behind it, and not only is it the minority party in both the Senate and the House, but it is getting crushed at historical record rates on the state and local levels as well. Surveying this wreckage last week, party stalwart Matthew Yglesias of Vox minced no words: `the Obama years have created a Democratic Party that’s essentially a smoking pile of rubble.’

“One would assume that the operatives and loyalists of such a weak, defeated and wrecked political party would be eager to engage in some introspection and self-critique, and to produce a frank accounting of what they did wrong so as to alter their plight. In the case of 2016 Democrats, one would be quite mistaken.”

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/18/the-stark-contrast-between-the-gops-self-criticism-in-2012-and-the-democrats-blame-everyone-else-posture-now/

Last but far from least, Scottish economist Mark Blyth has what looks to me like the single best analysis of the entire global Trumpism tidal wave in Foreign Affairs magazine:

“At the end of World War II, the United States and its allies decided that sustained mass unemployment was an existential threat to capitalism and had to be avoided at all costs. In response, governments everywhere targeted full employment as the master policy variable—trying to get to, and sustain, an unemployment rate of roughly four percent. The problem with doing so, over time, is that targeting any variable long enough undermines the value of the variable itself—a phenomenon known as Goodhart’s law. (..)

“…what we see [today] is a reversal of power between creditors and debtors as the anti-inflationary regime of the past 30 years undermines itself—what we might call “Goodhart’s revenge.” In this world, yields compress and creditors fret about their earnings, demanding repayment of debt at all costs. Macro-economically, this makes the situation worse: the debtors can’t pay—but politically, and this is crucial—it empowers debtors since they can’t pay, won’t pay, and still have the right to vote.

“The traditional parties of the center-left and center-right, the builders of this anti-inflationary order, get clobbered in such a world, since they are correctly identified by these debtors as the political backers of those demanding repayment in an already unequal system, and all from those with the least assets. This produces anti-creditor, pro-debtor coalitions-in-waiting that are ripe for the picking by insurgents of the left and the right, which is exactly what has happened.

“In short, to understand the election of Donald Trump we need to listen to the trumpets blowing everywhere in the highly indebted developed countries and the people who vote for them.

“The global revolt against elites is not just driven by revulsion and loss and racism. It’s also driven by the global economy itself. This is a global phenomenon that marks one thing above all. The era of neoliberalism is over. The era of neonationalism has just begun.”

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2016-11-15/global-trumpism

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efcdons 11.19.16 at 3:07 pm

Faustusnotes @147

You don’t live here, do you? I’m really asking a genuine question because the way you are framing the question (“SPECIFICS!!!!!!) suggests you don’t. (Just to show my background, born and raised in Australia (In the electoral division of Kooyong, home of Menzies) but I’ve lived in the US since 2000 in the midwest (MO, OH) and currently in the south (GA))

If this election has taught us anything it’s no one cared about “specifics”. It was a mood, a feeling which brought trump over the top (and I’m not talking about the “average” trump voter because that is meaningless. The average trunp voter was a republican voter in the south who the Dems will never get so examining their motivations is immaterial to future strategy. I’m talking about the voters in the Upper Midwest from places which voted for Obama twice then switched to trump this year to give him his margin of victory).

trump voters have been pretty clear they don’t actually care about the way trump does (or even doesn’t) do what he said he would do during the campaign. It was important to them he showed he was “with” people like them. They way he did that was partially racialized (law and order, islamophobia) but also a particular emphasis on blue collar work that focused on the work. Unfortunately these voters, however much you tell them they should suck it up and accept their generations of familial experience as relatively highly paid industrial workers (even if it is something only their fathers and grandfathers experienced because the factories were closing when the voters came of age in the 80s and 90s) is never coming back and they should be happy to retrain as something else, don’t want it. They want what their families have had which is secure, paid, benefits rich, blue collar work.

trump’s campaign empathized with that feeling just by focusing on the factory jobs as jobs and not as anachronisms that are slowly fading away for whatever reason. Clinton might have been “correct”, but these voters didn’t want to hear “the truth”. And as much as you can complain about how stupid they are for wanting to be lied to, that is the unfortunate reality you, and the Democratic party, have to accept.

The idea they don’t want “government help” is ridiculous. They love the government. They just want the government to do things for them and not for other people (which unfortunately includes blah people but also “the coasts”, “sillicon valley”, etc.). Obama won in 2008 and 2012 in part due to the auto bailout.

trump was offering a “bailout” writ large. Clinton had no (good) counteroffer. It was like the tables were turned. Romney was the one talking about “change” and “restructuring” while Obama was defending keeping what was already there.

“Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/opinion/19romney.html

So yes. Clinton needed vague promises. She needed something more than retraining and “jobs of the future” and “restructuring”. She needed to show she was committed to their way of life, however those voters saw it, and would do something, anything, to keep it alive. trump did that even though his plan won’t work. And maybe he’ll be punished for it. In 4 years. But in the interim the gop will destroy so many things we need and rely on as well as entrench their power for generations through the Supreme Court.

But really, it was hard for Clinton to be trusted to act like she cared about these peoples’ way of life because she (through her husband fairly or unfairly) was associated with some of the larger actions and choices which helped usher in the decline.

Clinton toward the end offered tariffs. But the trump campaign hit back with what turned out to be a pretty strong counter attack – “”How’s she going to get tough on China?” said Trump economic advisor Peter Navarro on CNN’s Quest Means Business. He notes that some of Clinton’s economic advisors have supported TPP or even worked on it. “”

http://money.cnn.com/2016/08/11/news/economy/hillary-clinton-trade/

162

LFC 11.19.16 at 3:15 pm

@mclaren
Blyth says basically the same thing in that video w Wendy Schiller posted on the other thread. It’s an insightful analysis; however, I wd note: (1) Blyth doesn’t really explain, possibly b/c he’s compressing, how focusing on one ‘variable’ over time undermines its value; (2) his putting of everything into the debtor/creditor framework seems a little too Procrustean, w.o further specification of exactly who’s indebted to whom (Greece’s debt to its creditors is not precisely the same as a small businessman in Wherever USA’s debt to his local bank which is not the same as a multimillionaire’s debt to a huge bank for his mortgage on a huge Central Park apt which is not the same as a student’s debt to his/her lender). Are all debtors and creditors similarly situated such that the micro and macroeconomic dynamics in the various cases needn’t be distinguished?

163

engels 11.19.16 at 3:19 pm

(Honestly, it’s hard to imagine you’re even serious about this particular line of argument.)

Correct, it was a throwaway remark about something I know next to nothing about, but I still think based the evidence presented on this thread (as opposed to over-heated ‘gotcha’ rhetoric) Sanders’ record seems better.

164

JimV 11.19.16 at 3:40 pm

“Let’s not descend into backbiting and recriminations, okay?” Sounds great to me.

“Is anyone surprised that Hillary lost? Let’s cut the crap with the “Hillary was a flawed candidate” arguments.” Followed by several more paragraphs of backbiting and recriminations.

HRC was by far the better choice than Trump, in my opinion. Those of us saying “she was a flawed candidate, but …” are and have been trying to make that point. She won the popular vote by a comfortable margin. I would like to think that many Clinton-haters (I am just a Clinton-disliker, myself) would, if they had it to do over again (or if the polling predictions had been more pessimistic), vote for her instead of writing in a dead zoo gorilla’s name (as 15,000 people reportedly did), or not voting at all.

But that’s how we learn and discover things and invent things – by trial and error. There is no magic involved, and clear paths from A to B mostly exist only in hindsight. Just keep trying things and if a solution exists someday someone will find it – if our errors don’t finish us off first.

165

engels 11.19.16 at 3:53 pm

If this election has taught us anything it’s no one cared about “specifics”

To be fair, this guy seems to:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iOk6HB609po

166

Yan 11.19.16 at 4:03 pm

Efcdons @161
“Unfortunately these voters, however much you tell them they should suck it up and accept their generations of familial experience as relatively highly paid industrial workers…is never coming back and they should be happy to retrain as something else, don’t want it. They want what their families have had which is secure, paid, benefits rich, blue collar work.”

It astounds me how much difficulty the professional caste Dems have understanding this. It’s as if they have no conception of human nature’s capacity for denial against despair and the degree to which our sense of what is reasonable and possible is shaped by our immediate, historically trivial and profoundly local set of experiences.

Perhaps an analogy might help this crowd. The university and academic professions and the humanities and the liberal arts as a few of us are fortunate enough to know and love them are going away and they’re not coming back. Adjuncts aren’t going to win, tenured professor lines will dwindle and departments will close, and the intellectual class will migrate to other professions or fall into the growing service class.

Has the academic class shown any more willingness to accept their demise and loss of money and status anymore than the industrial working class has?

167

Ronan(rf) 11.19.16 at 4:15 pm

I don’t know if I think “identity politics” had an important causal role in creating trumpism, but what is obvious is that trumpism is white identity politics on steroids.
Let me clarify what I, personally, mean by identity politics, because people tend to have a US centric and presentist conception. It is not just “race and gender” but a style of politics that claims exaggerated suffering and oppression based on a group identity. It also tends to imagine all goodness coming from that group identity, and all badness in its opposite.
Therefore, identity politics is so poisonous because its conflicts become existential. It’s more difficult to bargain out responses to identity crises, as opposed to economic conflict,because your identity, and that of your opponent, becomes fixed and hard. It is more difficult to cooperate and compromise on matters of identity because you and your group identity has more meaning than relatively trivial economic concerns.

Identity politics is also ethnic nationalism, but at least with ethnic nationalism the conflict *can* be resolved by granting national rights to an ethnic group. In most developed countries the possibility of making these types of concessions in this era are highly improbable, so identity politics will be stuck on an endless loop of victimisation, conflict and reaction.
Northern ireland, imo, is the example par excellence of the dead end of identity politics. This is why some of us prefer concentration on economic issues, because they are resolvable, encourage cooperation, and build pro social political behaviour. Note that it isn’t because we love class politics, which is itself (in its most vulgar form) a type of identity politics. And note also that getting the economics right will, plausibly, lead to better outcomes for those disenfranchised based on race, gender, ethnicity etc. I would say it would get significantly better outcomes for the most disenfranchised in those groups as identity politics generally reflects the preferences of the more privileged members of disenfranchised groups,rather than the truly disadvantaged.

168

Hidari 11.19.16 at 4:33 pm

@160
Blyth keeps on turning up here as someone who really knows what he is talking about: he has some excellent Youtube videos which have been linked to on other threads. It’s a pity that the David Graeber CT event turned out to be such a clusterfuck as Debt stands in the same relationship to our current era as Capital did to a previous era: you simply don’t understand the modern era unless you understand the extent to which so many people are in debt peonage (and this also explains why data as to how ‘wealthy’ most people are as opposed to people in the past and how ‘well’ most people are doing nowadays are highly misleading: it ignores the extent to which so many people are living in, so to speak, open air debtor’s prisons).

There was an article today in the NYT talking about it again: back in the day, pensioners would have paid off their mortgages and would be therefore able to live on smaller amounts of money. Now, however, so many of them remortgaged their houses or bought much later in life that (surprise!) they still have crushing debts even into their 70s and 80s and whether in ‘absolute’ terms they are better off than people 40 years ago is irrelevant.

And this ties in of course with previous CT threads about ‘secular stagnation’ and similar. People get into debt for many reasons but one is the endless chase to raise living standards, to do better than their parents. But this is nowadays impossible (except for exceptional or lucky individuals) because the days of rising living standards, the days when the next generation does better than the previous one: these days are over: forever.

Therefore the debtor’s uprisings we see today.

And despite the opium being dispensed from the top echelons of the Democratic party (‘everything’s fine…we’ll get ’em next time boys….Trump is a normal Presidential candidate…go back to sleep….consume, consume, consume….’) this problem is not going away anytime soon. Anywhere.

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Faustusnotes 11.19.16 at 4:48 pm

Efcdons, you’re right I don’t live in the us. Why can’t I ask for specifics? Trump had specific policies on trade, why can’t I ask for the same from opponents of trump? Was Clinton meant to run on a feeling while trump offered specific tariffs down to 5% accuracy? I want to know what people think Clinton should have offered as an alternative for these specific electorates and I’m getting nothing/em>. No one who thinks Clinton is a model of neoliberal sellout can suggest what she should have said or done to give a strong left alternative to trump that would have won back the rust belt. If it’s such a big clear issue why can’t you do this? You have your Marxist critique of her and your certainty that the dems have abandoned the white working class in favor of identity politics but you can’t offer anything about what should have been as an alternative.

My reasons for saying this are simple. I think the critics here need to accept that clintons only winning formula was a leftist politics of trade barriers, and I want to see you admit that 1) with trade neutralized, Clinton would still have lost because she wouldn’t and couldn’t do the fascist promises and b) you guys are in favor of tariffs and penalty taxes even though you know they wold spark a catastrophic trade war with China and would be a disaster for developing nations. I want to hear you say “screw the global poor” because I am sure you have no alternative policies.

If you have an alternative to trumps trade barriers, show me. Or is your alter active to trump just vague bullshit slogans?

170

Daragh 11.19.16 at 4:48 pm

“Correct, it was a throwaway remark about something I know next to nothing about, but I still think based the evidence presented on this thread (as opposed to over-heated ‘gotcha’ rhetoric) Sanders’ record seems better.”

Translation – I have no idea what I’m talking about, and zero interest in educating myself on the topic, but Sanders > Clinton and engels > people who disagree with my views.

171

Layman 11.19.16 at 5:49 pm

“Is anyone surprised that Hillary lost?”

Pretty much everyone was surprised that Hillary lost. Even Trump was surprised that Hillary lost. Hell, even kidneystones was surprised that Hillary lost.

172

Hidari 11.19.16 at 6:05 pm

One tiny note of optimism (and this could of course be completely misleading but still), watching Milo Yiannopoulos shouting on Channel 4, he reminded me that the Alt-Right tend to be antiwar (Yiannopoulos of course disagrees with them on this, having supported the invasion of Iraq, in addition to his other charms).

I don’t know what to make of this but it seems to be true. Nick Griffin of the BNP was of course also against the Iraq war, and it’s a definite thread running through ‘extreme’ right wing and libertarian discourse. Trump made numerous anti-war comments (which were mainly passed over in silence by the corporate/state media) : his attacks on Jeb Bush for having lied us into Iraq (which were of course completely accurate) were not isolated examples. This seems to have gone down well in middle America, where the dead American soldiers tend to come from. In Washington, where the politicians who send the poor people out to die live, not so much.

I don’t know what to make of this. The fact that Trump was lying and immediately proposed a massive hike in ‘defence’ expenditure after winning the election is irrelevant: it’s his rhetoric that differentiated him from the ultra-hawk Clinton (who had pushed hard for the annihilation of Libya and, had she won, would now be dismembering Syria and pushing for a war on Russia).

I don’t know what to make of this. It’s obviously a huge break from previous fascist/extreme right wing discourse which was usually (not always) highly pro-war, and perhaps it’s just ‘meat for the dogs’: after all, even Hitler portrayed himself as a ‘man of peace’ at times.

But something to think about, and again, something to mull over when the Democratic establishment assure us (as they always do) that endless wars in the Middle East and further afield are surefire vote winners.

173

bruce wilder 11.19.16 at 9:16 pm

On the Constitutional problems of Presidential systems

The central proposition of this alleged defect — the conflict between President and the legislature — really ought to be examined a little more critically. Ordinarily, one would think that this is why we have political Parties! To get anything done, people have to organize political Parties that will attempt to elect the Congress and the President.

The authors of the 1787 Constitution were famously hostile to the politics of “faction”, considered by them to be the bane of the British Parliament, but in operation, political parties soon formed and became vital to making the system of government work in coordinated fashion. The Party Systems have changed several times and the ability to change the small c constitution by altering the Party System in crisis has been one of the major factors allowing the big C Constitution to continue thru major transformations of the American political economy, where passing thru similar crises has led the French, say, to rewrite their many constitutions.

In 2016, we have seen the 6th Party System collapse. That System, initially formed in the Reagan years and refined by Clinton, had the peculiar feature of “divided government” as a strategic design feature. In the 6th Party System, the Parties became primarily vehicles not to express a popular will, but to frustrate it and misdirect popular passions, while a neoliberal policy agenda guided governance on substance.

I say, “peculiar” because earlier Party Systems normally aligned the Executive and Legislature under the same Party. Deviation from that pattern foreshadowed a power shift from one Party to the other. But 1980-2014, it became quite convenient for Party leaders to be able to explain to their electoral bases why they were unable to do the popular things promised their voters while pursuing a never very popular neoliberal agenda.

Dissatisfaction with neoliberal establishments in both Parties has emerged, but I think Obama and Clinton are not typically taken sufficiently to task for rather cynically pursueing their economic policy agenda by means of disabling their Party in competing for Congressional seats and its substantial populist wing in consequence.

174

basil 11.19.16 at 11:47 pm

If anyone’s interested, Peepli (Live) 2010 – written and directed by Anusha Rizvi, is a must-see film exploring debt, elections in liberal democracy, media constructions of poor farmers, and what my partner calls rural impossibility in the age of the corporations.

175

Peter T 11.20.16 at 12:02 am

One angle is to look back and see how this time is different. That is, whether what relieved the pressures last time is still available. I think the best comparison is with Europe 1870-1914, the era of the Long Depression due to the first wave of globalisation. The ways out there included emigration (not now an option), employment in industry (not now an option outside China), mass warfare and the associated acceptability of an enlarged state sector (not an option in the US) together with the associated necessity of politically accommodating the enlisted masses (not now a necessity).

From this perspective, Trump is peddling old and unworkable solutions (more factories! bigger army! immigrants out!) as much as anyone else. If the left wants to beat him, it will need something entirely new.

176

kidneystones 11.20.16 at 1:34 am

Kudos Bruce W. for your @30 and other contributions here and elsewhere.

Mark Blyth: “I wasn’t surprised [by Trump’s victory] at all. Many of you have sat here in this room with me and heard me speak about ‘Global Trumpism’ and various things like this. The first time I came out publicly and said I thought he would win was at a Watson event in May last year. I did an interview in Greece that went viral last year where I predicted both Brexit and Trump. And it is not because I have a clairvoyant crystal ball sitting on my desk, or I made a pact with Satan to see the future in a mirror, it is simply pretty obvious if you think about it in a more global way.”

As I noted with John H, the hubris of elites is critical to the defeats of elites.

Elites rarely predict their own downfall, btw, eg. the English Revolution, the English revolution in America, the French Revolution, the Russian revolution, etc. Blyth, btw, is particularly interesting.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/11/18/mark_blyth_global_trumpism_and_the_revolt_against_the_creditor_class.html

177

engels 11.20.16 at 2:28 am

Pretty much everyone was surprised that Hillary lost. Even Trump was surprised that Hillary lost. Hell, even kidneystones was surprised that Hillary lost.

I am saddened, but not surprised, by the outcome. It is no shock to me that millions of people who voted for Mr. Trump did so because they are sick and tired of the economic, political and media status quo….

178

LFC 11.20.16 at 2:58 am

Hidari @172

Trump’s standard speeches, or rather talking points since he didn’t make conventional speeches at most of his rallies, included lines about how the US military was underfunded and defense spending needed to be increased. So on this particular point one can’t accuse him of bait-and-switch: he said he wanted higher defense spending when he was a candidate.

Of course most of the US electorate doesn’t know how much the US spends on the military or exactly what it spends that money on, so they were in a poor position to be critical of this aspect of Trump’s “program.”

Re:
In Washington, where the politicians who send the poor people out to die live…

Just as MPs presumably have to maintain residences in their constituencies, members of Congress as a practical and, more importantly, a political matter have to maintain residences in their states. A lot of them, I don’t know the percentage, go home to their states almost every weekend or at least v. frequently. Those who are perceived as having lost touch w their home bases are often electorally punished, cf. for example Richard Lugar, long time Repub Senator from Indiana defeated in a primary in a previous election cycle partly, though not wholly, for that reason.

Btw there are many people who live in Wash DC and environs who are not politicians and who don’t work for the fed. govt. or one of its satellites (e.g. contractors). That’s a substantial part of the local economy of course, but very far from the whole. The city’s cultural footprint has increased greatly over the course of the last 40 or 50 years, and for example if one had the money, leisure, and inclination, and were willing to take the time to go both downtown and to different parts of the metro region, one could spend almost the entire year doing nothing but going to the theater four or five times a week, just as one can in London or New York (plus world-class art museums, symphony, opera, chamber music, pop/rock clubs needless to say, jazz, and etc etc).

As the U.S. ’empire’ enters the putatively terminal phase of its decline, the country’s capital seems determined to go out in a blaze of cultural efflorescence. Perhaps there are historical parallels…

179

engels 11.20.16 at 3:47 am

Whatever, Daragh.

180

mclaren 11.20.16 at 4:02 am

LFC at #162 mentioned: “Blyth doesn’t really explain, possibly b/c he’s compressing, how focusing on one ‘variable’ over time undermines its value…” The Lucas Critique is basically a version of Campbell’s Law, which says that any metric used as a goal ceases to measure anything because people game it.
How this works specifically in macroeconomics is simple. When the government targets full employment, barriers to hiring come down (like “right to work laws” in the states, which can be overridden by federal legislation) and labor market slack disappears. This makes lateral movement by workers essentially cost-free. At that point, workers engage in wage arbitrage, moving laterally to new jobs with employers who offer fractionally greater wages. The only way to keep that process going for employers is to continually raise prices to let them offer higher wages to attract workers replacing those who leave for better pay with other employers, so you get inflation.
Right now we’ve got the opposite situation. Barriers to hiring are high (creeping credentialism even in low-skilled jobs like hairdresser or barber, anti-union laws that have crushed unions, bad laws like the H1B visa legislation, employer practices that ought to be illegal like zero-hours contracts, making it legal for employers to run an applicant’s credit score before hiring, and so on) and there are no laws against offshoring jobs, so right now wage arbitrage runs the other way. Ask for a raise and your job gets outsourced and you’re now unemployed. Stay unemployed for more than 6 weeks and you’re out of the workforce forever. That produces global deflation, which we’re seeing now, with 14 trillion dollars in stimulus dumped into the global economy and no inflation at all.

LFC went on to aver “[Mark Blyth’s] putting of everything into the debtor/creditor framework seems a little too Procrustean.” You’re absolutely right that the debtor/creditor framework doesn’t explain everything. Other commenters have described Trump’s campaign as “white identity politics on steroids” and that’s true — but we have to ask “Why now and why not in 2008 or 2012?” Were white people mysteriously less racist or less prone to identity politics 4 years ago or 8 years ago? And in particular you have to ask why states ancd counties that went heavily for Obama in 2008 and 2012 went for Trump this time around, in many counties flipping votes to the tune of 16 percent.

It seems pretty clear that Obama ran on “hope and change.” 8 years later, do middle class workers have any more hope? I’m including minorities with white people, since blacks and hispanics also turned out in lower numbers for Hillary than for Obama. Have they seen any meaningful change?

The ACA is great for poor people and unnecessary for workers with salaries and contracts with big companies. For everyone else, the ACA has been a trainwreck, incurring huge costs with deductibles and co-pays so large that the middle-class people who sign up for the ACA on an exchange can’t use their health insurance when they get sick because the co-pays and deductibles cost too much.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/15/us/politics/many-say-high-deductibles-make-their-health-law-insurance-all-but-useless.html?_r=0

Obama has done effectively nothing about the anti-labor laws and abusive practices of employers, like running applicants’ credit scores or using zero-hours contracts. Obama didn’t do anything about the tremendous cost of child care, which slams families where the woman gets pregnant. Obama also hasn’t ended the endless unwinnable wars — he left Iraq only to start bombing Syria. Whenever America ends one war, we start another somewhere else, and Obama didn’t change that. Plus there’s the panopticon mass surveillance and the militarization of the police and the deployment of Department of Homeland Security goons armed with military weaponry to crack down on non-violent demonstrators like the Occupy groups, and that was an atrocity. Once again, no change from the Bush years (compare with Bush’s deployment of surveillance and DHS thugs and abuse of anti-terror laws to charge non-violent demonstrators at the 2008 Republican National Convention before the demonstrators could even take to the streets!).

Obama ran on hope and change and provided neither. Hillary ran on Obama’s coattails. Connect the dots.

JimV described my analysis of Hillary’s bad policy platform “backbiting and recriminations.” I don’t think that’s fair or accurate. Hillary didn’t lose for no reason, and with counties that formerly voted for Obama switching to Obama and with blacks and hispanics voting in lower numbers, you can’t just claim Hillary lost because of “racism.” Hillary lost because she offered bad policies. Voters aren’t stupid. You don’t need a PhD to realize that parrotting the same old “retraining” and “more education” mantra that neoliberal Democrats have been offering for 25 years as a panacea for workers crushed by globalism is a non-starter. Retraining just prepares displaced workers to get hammered by age discrimination and, if hired, lower wages in new jobs that will soon get outsourced or automated, while more eduction just loads displaced workers up with colossal levels of debt while forcing them into a cruel game of musical chairs for an ever-decreasing number of jobs. Larry Summers has been very vocal about the inadequacy of the old “retraining” and “more education” mantra by Democrats. It hasn’t worked for 25 years, and there’s no reason to expect it to suddenly work now. Retraining/more education is the Democratic equivalent of the Laffer Curve — garbage policy based on bad ideas that have never worked, and never will work.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/03/31/education_won_t_solve_inequality_larry_summers_and_colleagues_explain_why.html

This kind of analysis doesn’t strike me as recrimination. It’s a wake-up call that Democrats need to come up with better policy recommendations for the middle class or they’re going to keep losing elections.

Democrats also need to stop the bait-and-switch tactics. Obama ran against Hillary’s health care mandate proposal in the 2008 primaries, then switched to supporting it for the ACA. Obama ran against Bush’s abuse of constitutional due process when he ran in 2008, then sent his AG Eric Holder out to explain in a disgraceful press conference that drone-firing a hellfire missile at a U.S. citizen not even accused of a crime constituted “due process.” Hillary was for harsh sentencing laws and supermax prisons for young black people in 1994, then she ran against harsh sentencing laws and supermax for young black people in 2016. Hillary loved the superrich big bankers and gave $250,000 speeches to them until she ran for president, then she started talking about financial reform. People who scratch their heads and can’t figure out why Hillary polled as less trustworthy than the pathological liar and serial con artist Trump need to start there.

181

kidneystones 11.20.16 at 7:33 am

@ 176 Pretty much everyone in bubble-land was surprised. I’ll allow that much.

I’d also argue that a great many of those who voted for the winning candidate, attended the winning candidate’s rallies, donated to the winning candidate, and publicly supported the candidate were confident enough the candidate would win to say so publicly, repeatedly, despite being insulted, spat-on, punched, defamed, mocked and derided by the valet class.

Recall the attacks on John Holbo, or any in the press, for even broaching the possibility of a Trump victory. Eric describes his own experience in the OP. I suspect he’s much closer to Blythe and I also suspect Eric is far from the only social scientist to find his opinion censored prior to the election.

One could make several arguments regarding the degree of disbelief and demographic – ie. a/the farther one was from those suffering in America and around the globe most, the more shocking the victory; or the less one had to do with those on the other side of the political divide, the more shocking the victory was.

I recall one ‘political football’ (I think it was) asking me a Canadian living in Japan how I could possibly state openly for a year that Trump would win when ‘nobody he knew, or could imagine knowing would ever vote for Trump.’ I saw no need at the time to point out that his question said a lot more about the intensity of his cocooning in America than anything else, if indeed felt more comfortable discussing the election with a Trump-supporting Canadian living in Japan.

The valet class living working in Versailles/NYC/LA spend so much of their time licking the glove of the donor class its hardly surprising they missed one of the most remarkable elections in American history. Dan Balz at Wapo stumbled on the truth today and his largely factual account somehow escaped editing and made it to the readers.

182

Suzanne 11.20.16 at 4:59 pm

@180: “People who scratch their heads and can’t figure out why Hillary polled as less trustworthy than the pathological liar and serial con artist Trump need to start there.”

They would be better off starting with CLASSIFIED E-MAILS PRIVATE SERVER FBI INVESTIGATION (!!!)

Some Trump voters may have gotten exercised about Eric Holder press conferences, but probably not for the reasons you suggest.

As for bait-and-switch, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

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