Shibboleths (repost from 2011)

by John Quiggin on June 14, 2018

Reading the latest post from John H, I was reminded of this one from 2011, about when the baton was being passed from Palin to Trump. A few thoughts on this

  • Agreeing with Corey’s take, there’s very little in Trump’s consistent denial of reality that wasn’t evident back in 2011. Trump’s change has been to make obvious what could previously be ignored
  • The eagerness with which virtually all Republicans (including Republican-voting “independents”) have embraced Trump refutes my suggestion that they will ultimately be turned off by this stuff
  • It’s striking that around the same time, Jonathan Haidt was getting lots of praise for The Righteous Mind. By taking conservatives’ self-descriptions as accurate, and ignoring evidence like the prevalence of birtherism, Haidt concluded that liberals had a caricatured view of conservatives, and their values of “Loyalty, Authority and Sanctity”. Now, it’s obvious that, for practical purposes, the caricature is the reality.

A recent report on a poll finding that a majority of Republicans (that is, likely primary voters) are “birthers”, with only 28 per cent confident that Obama was born in the United States has raised, not for the first time, the question “how can they think that?” and “do they really believe that?”.

Such questions are the domain of agnotology, the study of culturally-induced ignorance or doubt. Agnotology is not, primarily, the study of ignorance in the ordinary sense of the term. So, for example, someone who shares the beliefs of their community, unaware that those beliefs might be subject to challenge, might be ignorant as a result of their cultural situation, but they are not subject to culturally-induced ignorance in the agnotological sense.

But this kind of ignorance is not at issue in the case of birtherism. Even in communities where birtherism is universal (or at least where any dissent is kept quiet), it must be obvious that not everyone in the US thinks that the elected president was born outside the US and therefore ineligible for office.

Rather, birtherism is a shibboleth, that is, an affirmation that marks the speaker as a member of their community or tribe. (The original shibboleth was a password chosen by the Gileadites because their Ephraimite enemies could not say “Sh”.) Asserting a belief that would be too absurd to countenance for anyone outside a given tribal/ideological group makes for a good political shibboleth.

It’s clear, as Dave Weigel points out, that beliefs of this kind are a marker for partisanship, as witness the high correlation between stated birtherist beliefs and approval of Palin. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the statement isn’t actually believed. Rather this is an open question and an important one for agnotological understanding of the emergence of comprehensive culturally induced ignorance as a marker for the Republican tribe.

In this context, it’s worth noting that birtherism is only a minor part of Obama-related Republican agnotology. The belief that Obama is a secret Muslim is similarly widely held, as is the view that he sympathises with those seeking to impose sharia law.

It’s also worth distinguishing such stated beliefs from statements like “Obama is a socialist”, in which what matters most is the interpretation of the term “socialist” (AFAIC, the most common US meaning is “Democrat with spine”). Compare “Bush is a war criminal”. In these cases, facts about what Obama (or Bush) has actually done are less relevant than judgements about the appropriateness of labels.

My feeling (derived largely from observations on climate change and creationism, which raise similar questions) is that we can distinguish numerous different belief states that go along with birtherist answers to opinion poll questions. There are lots of nuances, but most are combinations of the following

  • A conspiracy-theoretic view of the world in which liberal elites (a term encompassing Democrats, unions, schoolteachers, scientists, academics and many others) are plotting to undermine the American way of life and replace it with some unspecified, but awful alternative. In this case, answers to these questions reflect actual beliefs
  • Partisanship as suggested by Weigel in which Republicans choose to give the most negative answer possible about Obama as an affirmation of tribal identity.
  • Doublethink in which people are aware that in some mundane sense Obama was born in Hawaii, but also believe that Republican ideology is true and implies the birtherist answer
  • Conformism, in which people know the truth but give the culturally preferred answer, or choose some evasive form of words, as with John Boehner recently.

Does all this hurt or help the Republicans? In short-run electoral terms, I think it helps. A base of loyal supporters who, for one or other of the reasons mentioned above, are immune to factual evidence has to help win elections. There are, however, two big costs

  • First, people have noticed that Republicans have a problem with reality. That perception, which undermines the rationale for all sorts of thinking about policy, will take a while to sink in, but it will also be hard to erase once it is generally accepted. In the long run, this has to turn off a fair number of Republican-leaning independents and any remaining Republicans with a capacity for embarrassment.
  • Double-think is very difficult, and people will start to act on the basis of their beliefs. If those beliefs are ludicrously false, trouble is likely to follow.

{ 109 comments… read them below or add one }

1

nastywoman 06.14.18 at 5:34 am

– what De Niro said!
-(and what J-Law already said years ago)

2

nastywoman 06.14.18 at 6:41 am

– and today in the NYT there is this article which argues that using De Niro’s words will win the Midterms for Republicans – while there is this theory -(by me – MOI!) – that if we ever would have used Trumps ”politics”-(or whatever y’all want to call it?) on – Von Clownstick himself – he never ever would have been ”erected”.

Just think –
”the birther” comes out AND every US newspaper shows –
”F – YOU” – as their headline.
-(perhaps with a very ”cognent” explanation why these very nasty words were used)

And sooo – WE never ever should have accepted any discussion of Von Clownstick in any ”cogent” – ”philosophical” or – worst ”socio-political” form – as ”basic a-holes” just don’t get that type of (honorable) treatment.
AS there is only one response – ”What De Niro Said –
and –

THE END

3

Sebastian H 06.14.18 at 7:16 am

Your last point is embodied by Trump. He has never really had to deal with reality, which on the one hand let him con his way to the Presidency, but on the other hand makes him a total disaster because he doesn’t allow functioning feedback loops.

4

bob mcmanus 06.14.18 at 9:02 am

He has never really had to deal with reality

Trump has made it to 70. He’s rich and famous, parties with elites like Clinton. Romanced attractive women. He’s freaking President, and Kasich isn’t.

The problem Trump presents to us is that we are watching a successful strategy that wildly contradicts our moral norms and expectations of efficacy. We are the ones in cognitive dissonance, not Trump or Republicans, and it is our models of politics and the social that are put into question.

5

J-D 06.14.18 at 10:20 am

bob mcmanus

Romanced attractive women.

I think that depends on what you count as ‘romance’ (and possibly also on what you count as ‘attractive’).

6

Saurs 06.14.18 at 10:41 am

mcmanus, most thinking Americans are familiar with the low-bred huckster with flashy tastes and delusions of petty despot and middle-American, lower-middlebrow rag cover stories. It’s an archetype of 20th century AmLit. If you think Trump isn’t fulfilling the American moral norm, you’re fooling yourself. We just don’t like mirrors held up to our id, is the problem. Nothing’s being flouted, just at long last fulfilled.

“Efficacy,” on the other foot, is a bit mysterious. What game do you think he’s so good at playing? If it’s being rich in money and sex, there are easier ways to get a lot more than he’s ever enjoyed. He’s Potemkin Nouveau Riche Moneybags. Not even self-made. It’s a nice gag, but it’s vaudeville and the pancake make-up is running. Jus Jellus is a pretty tepid take for you.

7

N. N. 06.14.18 at 11:08 am

The shibboleth theory is supported by this five-year-old release from the Pew Research Center and the paper summarised therein: Political views can drive wrong poll answers, unless there’s money involved.

Pose the birther question to Republicans as a poll question, and you get a high percentage of birthers. But pose it as a question in a quiz with cash prizes, and the percentage will instantly plummet: “the researchers found that they could cut the partisan gap [between Democrats and Republicans] by more than half if they offered survey respondents a chance at a monetary reward for answering questions correctly. And when they gave respondents incentives to acknowledge that they don’t know the right answer, the partisan knowledge gap nearly disappeared.

8

nastywoman 06.14.18 at 11:27 am

@4
”The problem Trump presents to us is that we are watching a successful strategy that wildly contradicts our moral norms and expectations of efficacy”.

Not really – as in the the so called ”Wild Wild West” shooting faster than anybody else – supposedly was a ”successful strategy that wildly contradicts our moral norms and expectations of efficacy” – until you met somebody who was ”faster” – and the ”accident” that Trump hasn’t met ”that one” – yet – is just an accident –
As much of an accident that a lot of very confused American voted for him – who thought he was ”a Swedish-German Count who would bring them ”affieceancy” -(or however this word is written) – and as much as an accident that he wasn’t already shot – 40 years ago – at Studio 54 – when he tried to pick up ”some Texans girlfriend”!
-(who would have showed him ”the American way”!)

9

SusanC 06.14.18 at 1:53 pm

The experiment where participants are offered prizes for giving the “right” answer only shows that they know what answer the experimenter wants them to give, not that they actually believe it.

E.g. If the experimenter explictly tells participants that she is a creationist, and is going to give a $ 10 reward to the participants who give the “right” answer to a question about evolution, you may find out that participants feign a disbelief in evolution in order to get the $10.

You need a setup where getting the reward is conditional on being actually right, rather than just agreeing with the experimenter.

10

WLGR 06.14.18 at 3:12 pm

Adam Kotsko had some potentially insightful thoughts on this theme a year or two back:

I would also advance a potentially more controversial point: like Daily Show-style fake news, contemporary fake news isn’t meant to be taken literally and it probably mostly isn’t. As a point of evidence, I note that only one idiot showed up at the pizza parlor looking for child molestors. Given the thousands of people who read and shared the story, you would expect the place to be inundated with concerned citizens if people were taking it literally. I assume that the conservatives themselves regard the “self-investigator” as a naive idiot. They know these stories are bullshit, but they don’t care because there is a deeper truth at work. “Democrats want to corrupt our children” — that part is true whether or not Hillary Clinton literally rapes children, and the important thing is that that basic message gets across.

If you’re having trouble believing this, think about your own attitude toward the meme that Trump is having sex with Ivanka. Do you literally believe this? Do you ever have a strong opinion one way or the other? Or are you happy to help the meme circulate because it fits with the message that Trump is gross and beyond the pale? I don’t want to draw a false equivalency here or shame people for joking about that — though there is something pretty ugly about such joking, which would probably be hard to maintain if we really thought about it literally as something that had happened, and was maybe even still happening, in real life — but just to give you a sense of the attitudes at work and suggest that conservatives, as fellow human beings, are capable of holding similar attitudes toward questionable stories that reinforce a narrative they want to promote.

In keeping with this and with Philip Mirowski’s take on neoliberal agnotology, the basic “respectable conservative” stance toward memes like birtherism has nothing to do with whether they personally believe the contents of those memes to be true — all they need to know in order to justify promoting birtherism (or climate denial, Pizzagate, creationism, etc.) is that a world with those memes in it would be more amenable to their broader political agenda than a world without them.

11

Dipper 06.14.18 at 3:12 pm

You guys are losing everywhere. USA. UK. Italy. Eastern Europe. Not France, but when France realises that everyone admires Macron but no-one listens to him, you will lose France too.

If you want to start winning again you have to do some serious soul searching, start realising that the alliances of people in your tent are not enough to win, and start working out who else you need in your tent and what you need to give up to get them on board.

12

Glen Tomkins 06.14.18 at 4:23 pm

I don’t know.

The big difference between Palin in 2011 and Trump now is that in 2016, enough of the swing voters went R to give them the win. The peasants held firm in 2012, to put this in Brothers K terms. In 2016, those peasants in the Midwest did not hold firm. Enough of them who voted for Obama in 2012, switched to Trump in 2016 to put us where we are today.

It wasn’t tribalistic identification as Rs that got us where we are today, it’s that something in Trump’s schtick appealed to swing voters, at least enough of them. If Trump brought a tribe together, it doesn’t seem obvious that it’s the tribe of the Rs. Even people who always vote R or D tend to eschew the label. In fact, the most loyal voters in both camps tend to identify the least with the party. They’re not Rs, they’re anti-Ds. I myself have little to no tribal ID with the Ds. What the hell is there to identify with? What do they stand for? But every election, without fail, there’s some people on the ballot with Rs behind their names that get me to the polls to pull the lever to keep those dangerous idiots out of office.

One solution to this difficulty is to migrate to the idea that the tribe in question isn’t the Rs, it’s really something else, some underlying tribe that Trump and Palin and these other pseudo-populists have finally brought together. The usual and almost inevitable identification of this tribe is as the tribe of the racists. I’m not too sure that this makes a lot of sense. After all, it was working class whites who had voted for freaking Obama defecting to Trump who gave him the win. These guys didn’t notice Obama wasn’t white when they voted for him in 2008 and 2012?

But even if this does make sense, boy, is it ever a counsel of despair. The US is really, when you strip away the niceties and pretensions, majority racist. Shed more light, bring more truth and clarity into political discourse, and you cement the dominance of the racists. Yikes! Let’s all slit our wrists now and be done with. Which doesn’t mean this idea isn’t true. Maybe we should all slit our wrists. That possibility can’t be excluded a priori.

Let’s consider another possibility. The majority in 2016, a majority that has not clearly been dispersed or demoralized or considers itself refuted by Trump’s performance in office, voted against conventional politicians, not against black or brown people. That’s their animus, messaging and the politicians who practice it.

Maybe Trump did well because, in a sea of relentless striver BSers, he seems to people who aren’t paying much attention to public policy content, to be the lone truth-teller. He just says whatever he thinks, he gaffes six times a day. Unless you know the underlying public policy pretty well, it’s easier to recognize as lies the artful avoidance of reality, the messaging of the conventional politicians, than the artless disconnection from reality of the demented Trump.

Look at it this way. The idea that a majority of the US electorate suffers from the metaphorical dementia of racism, that they therefore cannot be trusted to use the franchise responsibly, is becoming the majority view on our side. But the idea that Trump is demented, which explains what happened in 2016 at least as well as the idea that the US electorate is demented, isn’t really given much attention or weight.

Lord knows, both can be true, racist majority and demented leader of said majority. But it seems to me that Trump’s dementia is pretty undeniable (Is there an explanation of the Comey firing, or the inauguration crowd size thing, that doesn’t require Trump to be really disconnected from reality? Not BSing for some effect, but really disconnected from reality?), while the idea that most Americans are racists is pretty much a judgement call, maybe right but hardly established.

13

Kalkaino 06.14.18 at 5:09 pm

Could I just ask for clarification: are you saying “Obama is a socialist,” and “Bush is a war criminal” are equivalently false?

14

Steve 06.14.18 at 6:50 pm

@7 Thanks for the link to the Pew report – it’s fascinating stuff. On the not crazy assumption that asking people to put their money where their mouth is tells you what they really believe, it suggests that many attempts to think about polarisation in epistemic terms are mid-guided. What may seem to be beliefs – Obama was not born in America – look more like cases of ‘as if’ belief (what philosophers sometimes call ‘acceptance’) driven by pragmatic reasons, linked to feelings of belonging. It’s a bit like if I moved to a deeply religious area and wanted to make friends: I can easily imagine myself ending up in a church mouthing the credo, and that being more than a pretence, but less than a belief (what can I say? I’m easily swayed). If so, the tired game of suggesting Republicans are all stupid is a bit of a mistake – we were never in the realm of epistemic reasons anyway.

15

EB 06.14.18 at 7:03 pm

Haidt was not wrong, just (in light of recent events) incomplete. On top of the liberal and conservative world views, you get tribalism and fear. I would add that his sample and his survey seemed than to me (and still seem) to cater to the more thought-oriented sides of his respondents’ brains, and not to account for the self-interest side. And this is true both for conservatives and liberals. You would be mad to believe that all liberals are motivated by the higher goals they espouse — it often (just as with conservatives) boils down to who will give me what I want.

16

politicalfootball 06.14.18 at 10:35 pm

I have no interest in actually doing any work to answer this question, but I find myself wondering how Haidt evaluates Trump conservatives in the context of “Loyalty, Authority and Sanctity.”

Maybe he and Corey can collaborate on a book called, “Authority, Authority and Authority.”

17

John Quiggin 06.15.18 at 12:29 am

@12 In the way I use these terms, Obama is not a socialist and Bush is a war criminal.

But if you define “socialist” to mean “expands some government programs” and “war criminal” to mean “foreign enemy of the Republican party”, then the opposite is true.

18

John Quiggin 06.15.18 at 12:31 am

@11 I agree with a lot of this, but it’s worth remembering that the majority actually voted for the Democrats, in both the Presidential and Congressional elections.

19

J-D 06.15.18 at 12:50 am

Dipper

You guys are losing everywhere. USA. UK. Italy. Eastern Europe. Not France, but when France realises that everyone admires Macron but no-one listens to him, you will lose France too.

You are flat wrong. Dead wrong. I haven’t lost in any of those places. (Admittedly, I haven’t won in any of those places either, but why should I care?) I don’t know what it is that you imagine you’re referring to, but it can only be taking place in some fantasy world of your own confabulation.

If you want to start winning again you have to do some serious soul searching, start realising that the alliances of people in your tent are not enough to win, and start working out who else you need in your tent and what you need to give up to get them on board.

Apparently it’s a fantasy world in which a tent is something that people can get on board. You do know that’s not possible in the real world, don’t you?

(I don’t have a tent. I’ve never had a tent. I don’t like tents. The things I’m likely to get on board are buses and trains.)

20

Cranky Observer 06.15.18 at 2:09 am

= = = One solution to this difficulty is to migrate to the idea that the tribe in question isn’t the Rs, it’s really something else, some underlying tribe that Trump and Palin and these other pseudo-populists have finally brought together. The usual and almost inevitable identification of this tribe is as the tribe of the racists. I’m not too sure that this makes a lot of sense. After all, it was working class whites who had voted for freaking Obama defecting to Trump who gave him the win. These guys didn’t notice Obama wasn’t white when they voted for him in 2008 and 2012? = = =

I’m not a sociologist, just an itinerant project engineer in the central Midwest, so my observations are inherently anecdotal. For what it is worth my observation is that while the hardcore members of Trumpistan are deeply racist at their core, and would disinherit and shun their daughter for marrying an African-American [1], they don’t have a problem with a cool capable black dude who appears to be getting the job done. A star baseball player (Ozzie Smith was and still is very popular in the most white and racist areas of St. Louis), a trauma surgeon, Lucoius Lyon from the “Empire” TV series. Obama looked that way to them in 2008. Unfortunately while Obama was a pretty decent President he didn’t deliver what his 2008 campaign promised (and it is hard to tell which of those promises the candidate himself agreed with and which were just campaign marketing) and he didn’t directly address many of the problems that face the semi-rural areas.

Yes, I know (I read LGM too): the ACA helped those areas, the GM bailout helped those areas, Mitch McConnell shafted those areas by shafting Obama, yada yada. After almost 40 years in industry and business I’m almost convinced that the Buffalo Commons idea is correct. But that’s not how the people who live there see it, and they didn’t see anything from the Democrats in 2008-2012 that looked to be helping them. Anger was building by 2012 but the campaign did a great job and held on (Palin helped Obama far more than she helped McCain too). By 2016 that demographic was ready to follow their idol Rush and do whatever it took to put a stick in the eye of the libruls who done them wrong.

[1] since I’ve seen it happen more than once, and heard it threatened in my own extended family

21

that_guy 06.15.18 at 2:15 am

no he was always playing you. take the birther thing. he called a meeting to discuss the issue and then handed the mic to veterans and allowed them to speak. and then he said of course obama was born in the us.

and all the media’s covrge was given for free to some veterans. much to the chagrin of that media.

He is the opposite of a cult leader, in that he vexes those that hate him.

he continually misspells words in tweets so that the media will republish his words. every single time this works.

but then the question is whether is he of good moral character. I dont think anyone will defend him. His supporters included.

And then something like Korean peace. He does it way bigger than Bush and his “mission accomplished” photo op. Trump goes x10 of that. Korean peace and his birthday? IG report? He has a Charity? He knows how to do a photo op.

I swear this lawsuit against his charity is by Trumps own design. It brings his charity’s numbers to the national headline. There is no way he isnt suing his own company.

Like Stormy: who paid for her lawyer? Real Estate companies and an anonymous donor? Are you serious? This is Trump suing himself.

You guys talk all day about trump fucking pornstars. He is the charlie sheen president. from Machete. He drinks tiger blood.

How are yall underestimating this guy almost 2 years into his presidency?

Yall dont let things simmer. You throw too much food on your grill and smother the fire and burn through your coals. Its not just russia, its like he has a thousand allegations against him. It didnt work well to call Obama the antichrist. This strategy doesnt work.

Yall talk about allegations. Yall dont mobilize. When Obama was president, there was Occupy and the Tea Party. There was so much more as well. This stuff evolved and grew into peoples lives. You are fighting against a republican party that hates Bush.

People dont want to read Socrates. They want to read George Washington. If Kim Jung Un writes a book, people will read it. Drake in blackface is censored. Yall cant even dab.

He works the social scene so very well. You could argue he manipulates people. Dont you know he pretended to be his own PR guy and talked about himself in third person over the phone?

He does stunts. Its all about publicity.

He literally cancelled the Korean summit and then rescheduled it to the same day. And then you just covered the Korean Summit for 2 weeks strait.

22

Heliopause 06.15.18 at 2:35 am

“The eagerness with which virtually all Republicans (including Republican-voting ‘independents’) have embraced Trump”

OK, let’s look at the actual numbers, rounding a bit throughout.

Trump got 63 million votes in 2016.

The total adult population of the US was 249 million in 2016.

Polling found that 44% of Trump voters were voting for Trump rather than against Clinton.

So, roughly, 11% of the adult US population “embraced” Trump in 2016.

As ever, the problem is obvious but rarely addressed: enormous numbers of adults are permanently alienated from the political process. If this problem was recognized and addressed consistently and systematically we would have a much different political landscape in the U.S., but it’s not because centrist and liberal Democrats are as deathly afraid to confront it as conservatives and Republicans are. Until this fact is faced and addressed all this puling about how stupid conservatives and Republicans are is pointless.

23

Omega Centauri 06.15.18 at 3:18 am

Glen at 12.
I’m thinking a substantial part of the electoral result was due to voter loathing of Hillary. It was payoff for the longterm investment in the planting of anti-Hillary meme’s over a period of more than two decades. Before the election Democrats disagreed with me, stating the Hillary was super-tough. But, being tough internally, does not translate into the subconscious emotional response of the average swing voter.
Tons and tons of attacks and insinuations and false rumors, has an effect on the subconscious brain. And sure enough of the swing-types were willing to think the worst about her emails.

24

John Quiggin 06.15.18 at 4:33 am

Dipper @11 It’s certainly true that our side has lost a bunch of elections. But I don’t see much evidence that the other side is succeeding even in its own terms once they get in.

Brexit is the most obvious example. My impression is that both sides are crabwalking towards the EEA option, maybe with some cosmetic limitations on free movement. Would you count that as a win for the Leavers? Or do you think that some other outcome is more likely?

25

John Quiggin 06.15.18 at 4:43 am

@22 “44% of Trump voters were voting for Trump rather than against Clinton.”

If so, you would suppose they would (claim to) disapprove of Trump now that he is in office and Clinton is almost invisible. In reality*, Trump is more popular among Republicans than any previous leader at the same point, with the exception of Bush in the post 9-11 period
https://townhall.com/tipsheet/timothymeads/2018/06/03/president-trump-has-second-highest-own-party-approval-rating-at-500-day-mark-n2486936

* That is, reality as represented by the stated views of Republicans

26

Dipper 06.15.18 at 8:49 am

@JQ – 24

on the specifics of Brexit, we will wait and see. The key aims of Brexit were to get control back over the key elements of government of the UK. It is understood that working with other nations means negotiations which result in compromises, and the EEA may be one such thing.

Solutions such as EEA agreement, Customs Unions, raise almost as many problems as they solve. If those solutions result in the UK being rule takers without say, and those rules are implemented in a way which disadvantages the UK, then the whole sovereignty issue will surely come round again and quite quickly. If on the other hand politicians can show these solutions can work, then there is no reason why they cannot have some persistence.

As for the other side not succeeding, ultimately all political careers end in failure, it is just a question of when. So far Trump seems to be winning and I would bet that if he is still president when the next election comes round he will win.

There are many Americans who voted for Obama and then Trump. If the Democrats want to win again it would seem to be logical to see how those voters can be won back. A strategy of calling them all racists doesn’t seem likely to succeed, so why is this the strategy being pursued? What objective do those people pursuing this strategy have in mind, given that it is unlikely to succeed in winning elections?

@ J-D that’s a bit of a rubbishy nit-picking reply, so I won’t be responding.

27

Layman 06.15.18 at 10:16 am

WLGR (quoting Adam Kotsco): “…like Daily Show-style fake news, contemporary fake news isn’t meant to be taken literally and it probably mostly isn’t.”

This is either a poor choice of words or such a spectacularly bad understanding of the distinction between the Daily Show and Fox News that it makes me wonder if Kotsco has ever seen either. The Daily Show accurately reports the news while mocking it and the players. It is actually meant to be taken literally, at least with respect to the news it is reporting. It is also meant to entertain, to lampoon, skewer, but it does not invent fake news. It never has; that’s why it is so good.

28

nastywoman 06.15.18 at 1:42 pm

@dipper –
”You guys are losing everywhere. USA. UK. Italy”.

Well -it kind of… ”depends”?

If you are talking about ”the dough” – and for sure you must be talking about ”the dough” -it seems to be for US guys ”winning” ALL the way – or as Von Clownstick would say:
IT only goes ”UP” –
but that’s the thing – as all this ”winning” sometimes get a bit tiresome – and as I’m again in London I sometimes get this impression that I -(and my guys) actually don’t deserve so much ”silly winnings” – especially if we owe the winnings to a bunch of idiots – as my very conservative American grandfather taught me:
Life should NOT be the life of a ”Trump”!
-(you know ”the trust-fundbaby-crap”!)

You at least should try – NOT to be an a-hole?!

29

casmilus 06.15.18 at 2:33 pm

@11

And how many divisions have you got?

I mean your specific subculture: Thoughtful Tories Who Are Broadminded, ie. turn up on CrookedTimber to post the same stuff you would write on ConservativeHome or The Spectator. And then get hot and bothered when it doesn’t get the usual acclaim.

30

Sebastian H 06.15.18 at 2:34 pm

I’d be a little cautious putting too much stock in the “own party approval ratings”. Under Reagan 33-36% of Americans identified as Republican while now only around 25% of people in the US do.

My take is that both Trump and Brexit are deeply tied to globalism. For thirty or more years in the UK and the US, voters have been choosing between a party that embraces global trade for plutocrats, and a party that mouths worrying about its effects on the rest of us while embracing global trade for plutocrats. Throughout all those years there have been promises that such policies ‘help the nation as a whole’ and that even those who lose out initially will get better stuff as it all sorts out. But there isn’t even a party that says, let’s do a bit of the ‘sort that out’ before doing more globalism.

This also ties directly into the worry about why experts aren’t trusted anymore. From the point of view of people who see themselves damaged by globalism, experts have been lying about how it would be good for the whole country for 30 years. Even the relatively interested Krugman types didn’t wake up to it until the recent crash.

So with both Trump and Brexit, for the first time in 30 years they got a chance to vote against something kind of related to the stuff that has been grinding them down. They took that chance.

31

casmilus 06.15.18 at 2:43 pm

Here is the reality-based view of Brexit:

Nowhere near 52% of the referendum voted Leave because they want the small-state Randian island which the ConservativeHome boys think they got a mandate for. That’s why Lillico etc. were dumbfounded when Corbyn didn’t bomb out completely last year. Not many people want to live in the Tory Right’s idea of Singapore, and the Tory Right themselves don’t want the actual Singapore.

Just as soon as the problems start due to uncertainty over customs etc. there will be a profound increase in seriousness and an end to pissing about and flagwaving. All the silly boys will have to put away their toys and shut up while the grown-ups make sure things carry on working. Don’t expect anyone to turn up to your protest march demanding cuts in public spending. We are going to need more of that anyway, what with all the new Border Inspection posts that will have to be built.

32

Monte Davis 06.15.18 at 4:27 pm

@18 – worth remembering, yes, but offering only limited comfort. It would certainly make a big difference if HRC’s 48.5% of the voters, redistributed (or with the electoral college magicked away) had taken the presidency. But that 46.4% embraced, stood with, or didn’t break with Trump taught me something I can’t unlearn — and suggests, at the very least, that HRC would have been even more constrained than Obama was.

33

Monte Davis 06.15.18 at 4:57 pm

Heliopause @22: I’d long assumed, as you do, that *if* non-voters voted it would benefit Democrats (or at any rate, as in your analysis, that Democrats should fear it less), because non-voters skew younger, poorer, less educated, and less white. But after Achen & Bartels’ Democracy for Realists… and after all the post-mortems of Trumpists voting against their “real” interests… I’m not at all sure of that.

Now I wonder if voters “alienated from the political process,” by that very fact, don’t also skew to “Politics is all rigged anyway” and “You can’t trust any of those crooks” and “Better to throw all the cards in the air.” Isn’t that uncomfortably close to the stance of too many who did vote in 2016? Or are you tacitly including a lot of voter education with your call for low turnout to be “addressed consistently and systematically?”

34

Aardvark Cheeselog 06.15.18 at 5:08 pm

Glen Tompkins @12:

Your analysis of the US electorate is flawed: the majority did not vote for the demented racist. Many factors contributed to his electoral college victory, but majority electoral support was not one of them.

35

Murc 06.15.18 at 5:21 pm

The key aims of Brexit were to get control back over the key elements of government of the UK.

Let’s be very clear here: the key aim of Brexit was and is “wogs out.” The only reason a referendum was held at all was because Cameron was scared of UKIP, the only reason May pulled the trigger is the same reason, and the reason that the referendum had the result it did was many years of mostly-racist demonization of the EU.

Solutions such as EEA agreement, Customs Unions, raise almost as many problems as they solve. If those solutions result in the UK being rule takers without say

They will, because that’s how it works. The best-case scenario for the UK is a Norway style arrangement.

This will not be acceptable to many in the pro-Brexit faction, because it would require acceding to freedom of movement in addition to freedom of capital, and that would undermine the entire point.

and those rules are implemented in a way which disadvantages the UK,

The UK already had a rule structure which immensely advantaged it. They had sweetheart deal after exemption after special treatment after sweetheart deal, piled one atop the other. They tossed it into the ocean. Anything else they get will be worse.

And that’s if we accept some common framing on what rules “advantage” and “disadvantage” the UK, which I’m not sure we can do.

So far Trump seems to be winning

By what metric? He’s historically unpopular and has one piece of landmark legislation, which is, itself, also very unpopular. His party has been bleeding seats since he was elected. He IS appointing lots of judges and wrecking up the federal administrative state; that’s bad policy but it is REPUBLICAN policy so in that sense I suppose those are wins.

A strategy of calling them all racists doesn’t seem likely to succeed, so why is this the strategy being pursued?

It’s not. Can you point me towards some Democratic politicians, Democratic party organizations, or Democratic campaigns which have adopted this as a strategy?

And you know what, even if they were… the Democrats have been kicking ass, electorally speaking, since Trump was elected. We’ve been winning election after election. Either we’re already following your strategy of not calling every single Trump voter a racist (which we’d be justified in doing because it is true) in which case what the hell are you complaining about, or we’re doing that AND it appears to be working, in which case, why should we stop?

36

Orange Watch 06.15.18 at 5:21 pm

OC@23:
It was payoff for the longterm investment in the planting of anti-Hillary meme’s over a period of more than two decades. Before the election Democrats disagreed with me, stating the Hillary was super-tough. But, being tough internally, does not translate into the subconscious emotional response of the average swing voter.

It was worse than this; I heard numerous DNC stalwarts arguing that the decades of very virulent, very public, very widespread Clinton-hate wasn’t merely harmless, but was a positive good because it proved that she was invulnerable to attacks and criticisms. That demonstrated either a frightening level of dishonesty or a dangerous incapacity to understand how real, live people think on the part of far too many people who really should have know better.

37

DCA 06.15.18 at 5:36 pm

A point: when a statement is “X% of Republicans embraced Trump, Y% favored Bush”–is the population of Republicans the same? It isn’t hard to leave the tribe if you want to–you don’t even have to change your registration, just how you vote. The D to R phenomenon gets a lot of press; what about R to I?

38

Nigel 06.15.18 at 6:26 pm

21 – ‘no he was always playing you’

He plays a lot of people who claim to dislike him then shower him with praise and attack his critics. Those people are such suckers.

26 – ‘A strategy of calling them all racists doesn’t seem likely to succeed, so why is this the strategy being pursued?’

This is certainly the Democratic strategy as it would be described by a Trump supporter, one who would only have praise and adulation for the Republican strategy of ‘fuck your feelings.’

39

Ogden Wernstrom 06.15.18 at 10:05 pm

@9 SusanC appears to posit that NBER experimenters somehow (explicitly?) steered participants toward the desired answers. I suppose that the web-based surveys had to somehow signal one way to self-identified Republicans and signal in some other way to self-identified Democrats. Or SusanC is just spitballing here, looking for some traction for those who do not like the results.

@11 Dipper provides some insight with:

If you want to start winning again you have to do some serious soul searching, start realising that the alliances of people in your tent are not enough to win, and start working out who else you need in your tent and what you need to give up to get them on board.

…reminding us that the way to win in the USofA is not by getting a majority of The People and/or the voters on our side, but to forge alliances with Putin people who can bend the elections our way, and to up our gerrymandering game and our dark-money game and our vote-suppression game and to just plain follow the money wherever it wants us to go.

@12 Glen Tompkins refers to “[t]he majority in 2016” without making it clear that he meant the majority of members of The Electoral College.

@26, Dipper asks a pointed question:

A strategy of calling them all racists doesn’t seem likely to succeed, so why is this the strategy being pursued?

I did not think anyone is calling all Trump voters racists as a strategy to win elections. It appears to simply be some sort of an observation based on their words and actions.

40

Ebenezer Scrooge 06.16.18 at 1:19 am

“Double-think is very difficult”
Double-think comes very naturally to those of us who have worked in a corporate environment. You’ve got to think one way to get the job done; another way to communicate it to the powers that be. What’s difficult, after awhile, is remaining aware of this.

41

John Quiggin 06.16.18 at 2:32 am

@30, @37 The approval ratings are from registered Republicans and Independents who “lean Republican”. I don’t think this group has declined much relative to the population (Trump won on their votes after all). In the original post, I expressed the hope that the R-leaners would become disenchanted with Palin-Trump reality denial, but so far that hasn’t happened.

42

Heliopause 06.16.18 at 3:49 am

@33
“*if* non-voters voted it would benefit Democrats “

More importantly, if non-voters were engaged the right-wing party would still win elections but wouldn’t be nearly so right-wing.

43

J-D 06.16.18 at 7:23 am

Dipper

@ J-D that’s a bit of a rubbishy nit-picking reply, so I won’t be responding.

When you type ‘@ J-D’, that means you are responding to me, even if you deny it. I am curious about why you’re responding to me at all, and also about why you’re denying that you’re doing it even as you do it, but I am prepared for the likelihood of that curiosity going unsatisfied, as so much curiosity does.

John Quiggin

Dipper @11 It’s certainly true that our side has lost a bunch of elections.

For one thing, it’s not clear that election results are what Dipper was referring to; for another thing, it’s unclear what you mean by ‘our side’ and equally unclear what Dipper means by ‘you guys’, and therefore doubly unclear whether you both mean the same thing.

But if election results are in fact the intended and agreed reference point, I note the following:
In June 2017, there were national elections in Malta, Lesotho, the United Kingdom, France, and Albania. In July 2017, there were national elections in Papua New Guinea and East Timor. In September 2017, there were national elections in Norway, New Zealand, and Germany; in October in Austria, the Czech Republic, Japan, and Iceland; in November in Honduras; in Deccember in Nepal, Chile, and Liberia. In February 2018, there were national elections in Cyprus and Monaco; in March in Italy, Sierra Leone, Grenada, and Antigua and Barbuda; in April in Costa Rica, Hungary, and Paraguay; in May in Lebanon, Malaysia, East Timor, Iraq, and Barbados.
That’s just some elections in the last twelve months. If Dipper wants to report on an investigation of the results of a systematically selected set of elections over a specified time period, it could be interesting. My suspicion is that no general pattern would emerge, but that’s just a guess which could be wrong and if the investigation was actually done, it might have worthwhile findings.

However, if an investigation anything like that has been conducted, by Dipper or by anybody else, no mention of it has appeared in any comment here. So it seems to me much more likely that Dipper has considered at most half a dozen unsystematically selected elections in some recent but unspecified period of time and discerned some vague but also unspecified similarity in their results, which is no basis for any sort of sensible conclusion.

If, in fact, election results are what Dipper was actually referring to, which is still unconfirmed.

44

bob mcmanus 06.16.18 at 8:44 am

I liked that comment on globalism and suspicion of experts, which can be extended particularly to economists

Even the relatively interested Krugman types didn’t wake up to it until the recent crash.

Oh, tentatively, cautiously I look back to the Wilson shift from tariffs to income tax and wonder if those who protested didn’t know something, understand something that many current economists ignore. Maybe 150 years of practice had some justification.

And I use a higher level of abstraction than the protection of domestic industries and workers. What can high tariffs do?

1) They inhibit the movement of capital and direct investment toward domestic opportunities; force efficiencies

2) They make the financing of government dependent on trade (and/or primitive accumulation, as in acquiring land and resources, increasing population)

3) They make government and capital more dependent on domestic demand and worker consumption. The little I know, say about post-war Japan, is that developing economies, so-called export economies, grow on the back of domestic demand rather than exports.

This could be all wrong, but I think maybe useful approach to understand what that rabid racist and anti-communist Wilson had in mind with the income tax and Federal Reserve. Not labour’s friend.

I obviously know so little about development economics that I shouldn’t comment. Got Toporowski’s 2nd volume on Kalecki lined up. I simply don’t trust mainstream economists at all anymore. They serve capital without even thinking about it.

45

J-D 06.16.18 at 10:45 am

that_guy

People dont want to read Socrates. They want to read George Washington.

I find that very hard to believe. I suppose it’s likely there are some people who want to read George Washington, but how many of them? I can’t help wondering who these people are who are supposed to want to read George Washington, and how you think you know what they want to read, and whether you know what you’re going on about at all. (Trump drinks tiger blood? What? and throwing too much food on the grill and smothering the fire and burning through the coals must be a metaphor for something, but I have no idea what.)

46

Glen Tomkins 06.16.18 at 5:00 pm

Omega Centauri, #23

“Tons and tons of attacks and insinuations and false rumors, has an effect on the subconscious brain.”

Well then, how is it that you and I, who probably have had more exposure to the public discourse that contains all these insinuations and false rumors than the average Trump voter, somehow resisted the mind control? You are basically saying that the vulgar dross of voters are just too stupid to keep from robotic responses to the public discourse environment. Unlike you and I, who are guided by intelligence and discernment, they basically follow tropisms, like moths to a flame.

The basic idea you are espousing is hardly unusual. If spamming the public discourse with drivel that lacks coherence or connection to reality were not widely thought to be effective, we would not see political campaigns raise billions to buy TV ads. But there is this Socratic hole in this conventional wisdom that the best way to do mass persuasion is to put out loads of garbage, that no one who believes with the faith of the faithful that this works on the masses, ever admits that such toothless drivel could possibly work on them.

Now, you certainly can win with a message that brands big chunks of the voters, even a majority of them, as idiots. This is, in fact, what genuine populists have to do, convince the oppressed majority that they have been duped all these years supporting the ancien regime, so they should stop being idiots and vote for the genuine populist program, that includes x, y, and z public policy changes that will improve their lives. But it’s obviously tricky to attract flies with the vinegar of the insight that they have been idiots. You better have plenty of honey in the mix in the form of convincing proposals to make their lives better.

But most importantly, if your basic message involves telling people that they’re idiots, you absolutely have to be very up front about calling them idiots. Any indirection, any talk, even if it’s only amongst ourselves and not intended for public consumption, about their being gulled by dog whistles, or the weight of TV ad drivel, or the conservative alternate reality factory, is going to be recognized by the masses as writing them off as idiots — which it is — so it’s no use not being open about what we think of their cognitive capacity. You’re not really demeaning someone by telling them that they are mistaken, and here’s the reasons they should change their minds. But you are being demeaning and contemptuous if you avoid a confrontation and write them off as hopelessly wrong, as uneducable.

We all have private lives that demand most of our attention. Not many of us have the luxury of being able to pay the attention to even one field of public policy — all of whose fields are inherently complex — sufficient to spot reliably that we are being lied to about content. None of us can possibly know enough about all of these fields. Take Holbo’s recent item about Trump’s take on US-Canada dairy trade policy. Jeez, maybe the US has gotten a raw deal. How should I know? Sure, if the current trade arrangements over dairy products are unfair to anybody in the US, the idea that this came about because Trudeau in particular and Canadians in general are master criminals is ridiculous. I recognize that Trump is FOS on this because of the obvious nativist angle he’s playing in the manner in which he frames the issue, but not at all because I know the public policy content well enough.

My thought is that a lot of the voters who went for Trump did so because talk of dog whistles, and epistemic entrapment, and every other theory that sophisticated people such as you and I tend to express about why anybody but the 1% vote R, writes them off as idiots that we shouldn’t even bother trying to win over with sense and reason. More broadly than just talking up such theories, the very act of relying on contentless messaging such as TV ads and careful spin doctoring tells the voters that we despise them.

Trump may tell them things right and left that are at variance with reality, but he doesn’t know that because he’s demented, and they don’t know that because they aren’t paying enough attention to public policy. But they do know that Trump just says whatever is on his mind. He gaffes five times a day. He doesn’t message, he doesn’t micro-target or micromanage what he says to manipulate the public. Such strategy-driven behavior is beyond him. He actually is driven by tropisms. His performance sells because he experiences no cognitive dissonance saying whatever the tropism that’s working him at the moment dictates, no matter how much that would confound a person who remembered what he said five minutes ago, or whom pesky logic and vulgar consistency still had power to bother.

47

Dipper 06.16.18 at 5:30 pm

@ J-D – yep – I was responding because you normally make sensible points. I haven’t kept tabs on elections in all parts of the world, but in the context of the post about Trump, the obvious election is the election of Trump, which is close in time to the Brexit referendum, and a number of elections in Europe which have seen social democratic parties collapse in support to be replaced by populist parties of one sort or another, and I’d include Corbyn’s labour in that list.

I would note that countries like Canada and Australia don’t seem to have a problem electing parties that are not dissimilar to pre-GFC parties, so this isn’t universal, but in Europe and the USA there is a rise in populism.

There’s a lot about the rise in populism I don’t understand. What makes one person support a populist party and the person who lives next door, does a similar job, support traditional parties. I don’t understand where this is going, or where it ends up. It is quite worrying as I don’t believe populism solves much. But when I look at the people who are against populism, they don’t understand it either. Not only that, but if they actively tried to promote populism they couldn’t do a better job than they are currently doing. First on anyone’s list of possible strategies in any adversarial contest is strategies that your opponents would not like to see you do, that would make their position difficult but the current mainstream political establishment just keeps on doubling down on doing the exact things that populist parties would like them to do.

Take @Ogden Wernstrom – 39. This reply just make my point. Completely missing the problem, and just resorting to good guys vs bad guys. Which is how we got here.

48

Nia Psaka 06.16.18 at 7:16 pm

Dipper @ 11

It’s not a matter of giving up controversial positions to gain votes. No bloc of voters will show up to vote for a party former pro-gay neoliberals who now espouse neither those things nor any other thing.

Rather, it’s a matter of credibly defending policies one would want to vote for: Giving up being pro-war gains little compared to being actively anti-war. Giving up gun control gains little or nothing compared to credibly and consistently espousing gun control. Giving up same-sex marriage gains nothing but defending rights of common-law wives might mean something.

Showing apparent personal integrity is also very helpful. A scoundrel who learns to act polite and very principled the way Mike Pence does can gain some credibility in the eyes of those who only know he’s “super-religious” and don’t watch him long enough to see the mask drop.

49

John Quiggin 06.16.18 at 11:58 pm

Sebastian @30 (and others) That’s true in some ways. But it’s important to remember that the vast majority of Trump voters previously voted for Romney, a stereotypical globalist. And of course vice versa. Even among those who switched from Obama to Trump, a substantial proportion were swinging voters who had previously supported Bush or other globalist Repubs. The thing they have in common is an identity politics based on affirmation of a dominant “real American” identity. That’s racist, in the sense that real Americans are assumed by default to be white, but there’s more to it than that.

It’s less clear-cut elsewhere in the world, but some form of dominant identity politics, focused on religion, seems to be playing an important role in the global rise of Trumpism.
http://crookedtimber.org/2017/03/16/trumpism-and-religion/

An explicit reaction against globalism is only evident on the left.

50

J-D 06.17.18 at 5:35 am

Dipper

I haven’t kept tabs on elections in all parts of the world, but in the context of the post about Trump, the obvious election is the election of Trump, which is close in time to the Brexit referendum, and a number of elections in Europe which have seen social democratic parties collapse in support to be replaced by populist parties of one sort or another, and I’d include Corbyn’s labour in that list.

How many is ‘a number’? One is a number, and so are two and three. Since Trump was inaugurated as President, there have been at least twenty-eight national elections in European countries (without counting referenda and elections of non-executive Presidents). How many of those have you taken into account? I guessed no more than half a dozen; that’s not enough for drawing general conclusions.

51

Faustusnotes 06.17.18 at 6:39 am

Let’s all please take a deep breath and remember that in an electoral system with low turnout it is possible for completely different groups of people to vote in two consecutive elections, so looking for the narrative of “Obama voters who switched to Trump” as John does just above is potentially a waste of time.

Shorter Glen Tomkins : voters aren’t racist idiots but they voted for the racist with the idiotic policies because they were mad at being called racist idiots.

Dippers definition of “winning” is interesting when applied to the UK. May just barely won a supposedly unlosable election against an allegedly unelectable opposition and is only hanging on by her fingernails because she is bribing a bunch of ratbag religious nutjobs. Meanwhile the brexit juggernaut bears down on them all. By this time next year the Tories – and sadly the British economy- will be roadkill under that juggernaut. Keep on winning dipper!

If the Dems win the 2018 elections are you going to come back on here and congratulate the left on getting everyone on board in their tent? No,I don’t think you are. This kind of gloating is just a kind of trolling, obviously, but you should be careful dipper – if you stake your allegiance with a clique of neo Nazis and paedophiles like the GOP people might start to think you have something in common with the more obvious public traits of “your side”. Are you really comfortable taking the same side as Roy Moore?

52

Dipper 06.17.18 at 7:05 am

@ John Quiggin – 49. Well hang on a bit. ” among those who switched from Obama to Trump, a substantial proportion were swinging voters who had previously supported Bush or other globalist Repubs. The thing they have in common is an identity politics based on affirmation of a dominant “real American” identity. That’s racist, …”

So even though they voted for Obama, they are actually racist? The Obama vote was a false vote but the vote for Trump was the real vote?

And if identity politics around race is racist when white people do it, isn’t it also racist when non-white people do it? Or are some races allowed race-based identities but other races not allowed race-based identities? And if a person’s claim to rights is through their race, but your race is ruled an invalid race and you have no other source of power (i.e. money), doesn’t that leave you with no rights?

As has been said in other forums, 21st century socialism is about social domination through identity politics. It requires people to be oppressed due to their identities, but that also means others are doing the oppressing due to their identities. Hence the major force for racism in the UK now being the Labour Party, which in its hunt for identities that oppress other identities is now profoundly and structurally anti-semitic.

And to go off-topic, we are seeing through the trans debate what happens to women when they lose control of their identities to men and cease to exist as a coherent political identity. I await with interest some posts on CT about the trans debate and women’s rights.

53

John Quiggin 06.17.18 at 8:40 am

@52 Anyone can be a racist, of course. But that doesn’t mean everyone is a racist.

Most importantly, Trump is a blatant racist, and nearly all Repubs approve of him which means, at the very least, that racism isn’t a dealbreaker for them. Same is true, with different names of the right in Australia.

I can’t be bothered with the rest of your nonsense.

54

Lee A. Arnold 06.17.18 at 9:28 am

John Quiggin #53: “racism isn’t a dealbreaker”

I think this is it. There exists a sort of intellectual attention span disorder, a fractured intellectual discontinuity that gets slathered over with frustration and emotion to fill the cracks in the facts. Sexual assault, insults, lying, bragging aren’t dealbreakers for these voters either, even though (just like the racism) they poison the young and coarsen the discourse of the “moral” society which the Right presumes itself to support. And this is in pursuit of a short-sighted political-economic solution which incorporates the avoidance of reasoning with others. Methodological individualism becomes another historicist nightmare.

55

bob mcmanus 06.17.18 at 10:00 am

Looked at Taussig on Tariffs, but the Mises blurb worried me, so checked out on Wiki, and Taussig is probably ok (progressive and as usual racist as hell) . But decided on a Michael Hudson instead. A very early Hudson, expanded dissertation, but I am not convinced that scholars get much better than their dissertations. Just kidding. American System connects to my interest in Meiji Japan. From introduction:

“The protectionist doctrine that shaped America’s industry and agriculture is out of fashion in today’s free-trade world. Academically, it went beyond the narrow boundaries of today’s economic discipline by deeming public policy and technology central to economic theorizing, not exogenous. Analyzing what was needed to increase productivity, the American School emphasized that wages and prices had to be high enough to sustain rising living and educational standards for labor, and investment in rising energy mobilization by capital.”

Still want a book on import substitution. Yeah, in my mind protectionism does relate to racism and imperialism, probably inevitable under liberalism, but socialism providing an escape. Maybe I will learn otherwise.

56

Hidari 06.17.18 at 10:27 am

‘Hence the major force for racism in the UK now being the Labour Party, which in its hunt for identities that oppress other identities is now profoundly and structurally anti-semitic.’

You are Benjamin Netanyahu and I claim my five pounds.

57

J-D 06.17.18 at 11:09 am

I don’t know what fraction of the people who voted for Trump are racists. I’m not sure how much it matters. It’s abundantly evident now that everybody who voted for Trump was, in effect, voting for a racist program, and it should have been reasonably obvious at the time. If some small or large fraction of the people who voted for this racist program are not themselves racists, what difference does it make?

If there is a significant group of people who voted for Trump and who are now saying, ‘This is not what I intended to vote for; I had no idea this would happen; if I’d known what Trump was going to do I would not have voted for him’, that would be interesting; but does such a group in fact exist?

58

bob mcmanus 06.17.18 at 2:07 pm

I don’t know if Quiggin is letting my stuff through. I do consider what am talking about to be connected to the OP, but I maybe overconnect cause “totality” From the Hudson intro to American Protectionist Takeoff

“Productivity gains tend to exceed wage gains, enabling high-wage labor to undersell “pauper labor.” Hence, profits and wages may rise together. Higher income slows the growth of population pushing wages up all the more. Also, higher wages spur capital substitution, increasing labor productivity. Finally, higher population density [urbanization] increases productivity, and therefore increases wage levels.”

The connection to the OP, racism and imperialism, is in “pauper labor.” “undersell” here is in terms of costs per unit of output. “Higher wages” are not distributed evenly, and in fact “pauper labor” is likely to see a wage decrease. So pauper labor has to be deliberately socially politically excluded and their lower wages justified.

So what does that mean in the context of 1875-1914?

Scientific racism and imperialism.

59

Glen Tomkins 06.17.18 at 2:21 pm

Faustusnotes, @51,

No doubt some of the people who voted for Trump are racists, people who believe that folks from other ethnic groups are inferior, genetically and/or culturally, and need to be kept out of the US lest they mongrelize and debase the purity of our essence.

But here’s the problem with attributing Trump’s electoral success to this group. If there are enough of them to elect a president, why don’t they get some non-demented racist elected to the WH?

The story that people on our side have been telling since the Southern Strategy became the seemingly decisive factor in presidential elections, is that the Rs succeed by dog-whistling racist memes to get these racists to vote for them, and deliver the solid South, but the racist message is emitted in frequencies too high for non-racists to hear, because there just aren’t enough racist votes to win without the addition of the votes of people who aren’t racist.

So, what story are you telling now? Trump just threw away that dog whistle. He is a racist and nativist, out, loud and proud, yet he failed to alienate the rest of the R coalition. Was our side wrong all along, and there always were enough racists for the Rs to win with them alone? Or have your racists only recently grown to be an electoral majority?

But whatever your answer to that question, here’s the bigger question you have to answer if you’re going with the theory that an electoral majority is now plainly racist. Why does this electoral majority settle for Trump as their standard bearer? He’s demented. He has no idea how govt works, and doesn’t care to learn. Oh, sure, racism and nativism have made some “progress” in actual implementation by the US govt in the Trump administration, but that’s all down to the actions of scattered fiefdoms within the US govt. ICE is structurally racist as an institution and is now let loose to be itself because there’s no one in the WH to rein it in, just the dotard. Trump picked a somewhat organized racist to be AG, so DoJ is making retrogress on the racism front. But think how much more could be accomplished if there was only some non-dotard racist in charge of the entire govt.

If the electoral majority voted for Trump because he’s a racist who spouted racism and nativism, why did they settle for Trump? Why not Sessions? Why not David Duke?

My idea is that Trump got his majority by trashing all the pieties and norms of US politics. Some of these pieties, like racial equality, should be respected. Many of them, e.g., the Two China Policy, the Western Alliance, etc., are just harmless nonsense, at least currently, because they have outlived a time when they had some role. Many of them, like the Global War on Terror have always been and are still malignant. But our politics has become nothing more than a messaging of fake pieties, mumbled half-ideas that have zero connection to reality.

The more sophisticated you are, the less this fakery bothers you, because you are paying enough attention that you still identify our side with some at least vague loyalty to some real ideology. You may be disappointed that our side isn’t more forthrightly for social democracy, but because you are paying attention to public policy, you know that even very marginal differences in how the two sides behave in office are literally life and death important. So we tolerate ever greater levels of remove from reality in how we speak to the electorate, because it remains important who sits in Congress and the WH, no matter how little they dare to stand for.

But people who don’t have the luxury of paying a lot of attention to public policy, who also tend to be the victims of the US govt’s progressive paralysis as our politics becomes progressively removed from reality, tend to perceive the whole system as hopelessly rotten, and in need of tearing down. They recognize the actual importance of the public piety against racism and nativism, that we have to respect this piety for the system to continue to function even in its current near paralysis, so that’s why the piety against racism is the piety they have to destroy in order to bring down the system.

Maybe some chunk of Trump’s electoral majority really is motivated largely by actual racism. But they wouldn’t have been enough by themselves to put him over the top. He needed a group of voters who see in his open nativism the only sincere promise possible that he will destroy the system. Some of his followers may hate blacks and browns, but all of them much more consistently hate you and me and every one else who supports the current system and the pieties associated with it.

You see that once again, you conventional thinkers have drawn me into giving my view of the matter. Big mistake! Unworthy of my role model, Socrates. So, please ignore everything after I asked why they don’t support David Duke, or some other racist with a work ethic and some cognitive capacity, and come up with an answer to that question. An electoral majority voted for someone who threw the dog whistle away, so your old view of the matter is refuted. I think you need a new theory, whether or not you agree with my view of the matter.

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bob mcmanus 06.17.18 at 2:35 pm

I forgot, 1875-1914 also was the era in America of Jim Crow, the institutionalization of a permanent “pauper labor” class identifiable by skin color (also in that era elsewhere with somewhat different rhetoric, Koreans Taiwanese etc)

That’s me, or my reading not Hudson, who as far as I can remember or noticed so far, avoids race and gender issues.

Maybe too much from me. Essentialist and psychological anti-racism is much more fun and profitable. I don’t expect to get paid any attention.

Why do I read? To escape the social demands of ideology. Back to my cave.

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Sebastian h 06.17.18 at 5:39 pm

JQ, I’m not sure I understand how Romney fits the analysis. I think you’re suggesting that lots of people voted for him even though he was pretty globalist? My point is that in both the US and UK, (almost??) all of the major elections have been between very firm globalists. So the fact that Romney was a globalist doesn’t say anything because so was his competition. For at least thirty years it’s been the arch globalists vs the globalists who very occasionally mouth concern about how globalism effects low level workers. (And note that mouthing concerns without doing much else was enough to secure the Rust Belt for Democrats).

In the UK the major choices were The Tories (mushy anti-EU but strong finance globalists) vs Labour (staunchly EU globalists who occasionally mouth concerns about its effects on poor people but never enough to even slightly slow down any of the EU or globalists projects).

In both cases a large subset of population has heard for 30 years that globalism would help the country as a whole, and for 30 years that has definitely not been true for them.

So finally, in Trump and Brexit, they are presented with a vote that at least semi plausibly (especially for non economists) is against globalism. So they ignore lots of ugly warning signs and they seize it. Was that foolish? Absolutely. But they had been voting for the technocrats for decades, and it never paid off. So they finally voted for something else.

Especially in the US this works better for the Rust Belt than the double back flip—they were super racists who somehow didn’t notice that Obama was black explanation.

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bob mcmanus 06.17.18 at 7:10 pm

59: Glen Tomkins

I am continually humbled by other commenters better work, and grateful that my too often orthogonal and tangential impulsive inarticulate self-indulgences, indulged, do not distract. Thank you.

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LFC 06.17.18 at 8:30 pm

The period 1875-1914 was marked by relatively low tariffs at least between the main European trading countries. Also was the era of the so-called new imperialism and so-called scramble for Africa. Britain did have its imperial preference system w/r/t trade among its colonies and dominions. But to cut to the chase I’m not convinced that 1875-1914 provides much evidence for mcmanus’ assertion of a link between protectionism and imperialism.

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LFC 06.17.18 at 8:39 pm

P.s. there were exceptions, as in Bismarck’s tariffs to solidify ‘the marriage of iron and rye’. But I doubt that 1875-1914 can do the lifting mcmanus seems to want.

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Suznne 06.17.18 at 8:56 pm

@10: As I understand it, the talk is not that Trump is sleeping with Ivanka but that he wants to sleep with her. There is considerable evidence for this, some of it from Big Mouth’s very own words and actions:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-elections/donald-trump-ivanka-trump-creepiest-most-unsettling-comments-a-roundup-a7353876.html

No doubt there are some fathers who have unsettling impulses toward beautiful daughters, but generally they’re not quite so, uh, open about it. Very few would chat happily about the quality of their daughter’s tits with another man, let alone Howard Stern live on the air.

@59: The “dotard” doesn’t want to rein the racists in, for obvious reasons. He may not know much, but he knows and understands his voters, even if others seemingly don’t.

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PatinIowa 06.17.18 at 10:36 pm

I don’t know if it gets us anywhere, but here’s one take on Trump to Obama voters:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/15/upshot/the-obama-trump-voters-are-real-heres-what-they-think.html

Here’s the money quote:

“Using this and other data, political scientists have argued that racial resentment is the strongest predictor of whether voters flipped from Mr. Obama to Mr. Trump, and the biggest driver of Trump support among these voters.

Yes, racial resentment is the strongest predictor of the Obama-Trump vote in this survey data. White, working-class Obama voters with racially conservative views were very likely to flip to the Republicans. For example, Mrs. Clinton won just 47 percent of white Obama voters without a college degree who disagreed with the idea that “white people in the U.S. have certain advantages because of the color of their skin.” In contrast, she retained 88 percent of white Obama voters without a college degree who agreed that white people have certain advantages.”

Weird, huh?

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Faustusnotes 06.18.18 at 12:31 am

Glen, the extra part of my story is very similar.ple and straight: people like you, puchalsky, the young Turks, and the NY Times recycled tired and discredited lies about Clinton, Obama and the democrats to just the extent needed to suppress the dem vote and hand Trump the electoral college. With help from Putin, of course. The majority of the electorate is not racist and you may recall that Trump didn’t win the majority of the electors. But he didn’t have to. He just needed to get out the rabid base and energize the racists, and leave the rest for the Putin-friendly left. Why do you think the Russians targeted Podesta and disseminated lies about how bad Clinton was rather than how good Trump is?

It’s also hilarious to see the Putin friendly Trump fluffers parroting this line of incompetence and incoherence the week Trump has 2000 children in cages. You really are a pack of legends arent you?

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Omega Centauri 06.18.18 at 1:03 am

Glen @46, I think your brush is too wide.
Sure, there probably is no one who is impervious to a well designed persistent emotional advertising campaign. One of the reasons, I know that is I, who have always been a middle-of-the roader had been persuaded by all the denigration of Jerry Brown, that he really was a looneybin. Since then I had to move to California, and now consider him to be a first class pragmatic politician of a type I would be delighted to see as president. So its quite clear to me, that someone who doesn’t live and breath policy, can be led astray by such efforts without realizing it. And the change of the prevailing public attitude often doesn’t have to be very much to change the political balance of power. Just as a drug that only cure 15% of the suffers of a given malady can be a success (and an improvement on the current state of things), an emotional advertising campaign can be a great success even if it far less than 100% effective.

Now those on this blog at the very least consider epistemology to be important, so they do have an advantage that Joe average does. And we would be glad to improve the general level of epistemology too. If anything we probably have too much confidence in the efficacy of such an effort.

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faustusnotes 06.18.18 at 1:50 am

Sebastian H, I think there are a lot of holes in your response to Romney.

Firstly in the case of the UK for example, people didn’t vote for a populist party to bring about Brexit. They voted for the Tories, at a time when Labour were definitely going to lose, and Cameron could have won without promising Brexit, which was actually a reckless pledge he made to quell his own eurosceptic wing. This isn’t quite the story of rejecting globalist parties for a populist that you think it is.

Secondly the claim that globalism hasn’t benefited western voters is presented without evidence and it needs to be. Just to consider the UK for example, not only is there almost no evidence that Eastern European workers push down British wages, but there are many ways in which the UK has benefited enormously from membership of the EU, from access to a wide range of lower-priced goods, to increased agricultural productivity, to improved overseas work and study opportunities. You have about 8 months left to pretend you don’t believe this, but in April next year when the UK crashes out of the EU we are all going to get a raw education in how important globalism was to the UK. It’s also worth noting the UK was “globalist” long before the EU – it had colonies. The issues that the UK faces are due to its own structural shortcomings and political sillinesses, not globalism.

There are also other countries in the Anglosphere – Australia, NZ and Canada – that are much more globally competitive than the UK. NZ basically dropped all its tariffs and is an open market. Australia spent 30 years dismantling its protectionist trade and migration policies and runs a migration policy that makes the EU’s effects on the UK look like chickenshit. But they haven’t in general abandoned the major parties for populism. Why not? What is the special sauce that makes the US so prone to this?

Also it’s worth noting that US voters didn’t abandon the major parties for populism – a populist took over a major party. That is an important difference. It means that people who are uncomfortable with populism have nowhere to run except their opposition, and it only takes a little bit of “it-won’t-be-so-bad” rhetoric to mollify those people and keep them in the party.

And as for the double back flip question at the end, just think about the numbers. 60% of the electorate vote, and of them about 40% are hardcore repub and 40% are hardcore dem. The remaining 20% – 12% of the total electorate – are the swing. So there are 40% of the electorate who don’t turn out in any election and the election was decided by about 12% of the electorate. It is perfectly possible that e.g. half of the 12% who elected Obama stayed home, and 20% of the electorate who didn’t vote last time turned up, and that swings the election. Given that Trump didn’t even win the popular vote, we only need that dynamic to occur in a couple of states.

People here are persistently analyzing the election in 2012 and 2016 as if the same people voted in both. We don’t know if that is true, and it is perfectly possible for a small percentage change in the voting patterns of the apathetic and the undecided to swing the election.

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J-D 06.18.18 at 4:36 am

Dipper

As has been said in other forums, 21st century socialism is about social domination through identity politics. It requires people to be oppressed due to their identities, but that also means others are doing the oppressing due to their identities.

You haven’t made clear what your position is: that nobody is in fact oppressed? or that some people are oppressed, but not because of their identities? or what?

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Dr. Hilarius 06.18.18 at 6:25 am

What Glen Tomkins at 59 says. Racism is an undeniable factor in Trump’s appeal to many of his supporters but there is a lot more going on than that (it’s late, I’m tired and a lot you don’t want to listen anyway). Racism isn’t vanishing by 2020 so if the Democrats/liberals/progressives/leftists don’t want a second term of Trump (or Pence) they better figure out a strategy for winning elections. I can probably survive another Republican president but many others will not, along with a whole planet undergoing irreversible deterioration.

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b9n10nt 06.18.18 at 7:22 am

Sebastian and others re: Obama to Trump voters

1. so the pie was cut slightly differently down the middle in 08/12/16. Don’t overlook the persistent continuities among the three electorates, and don’t overlook the persistence of Politics-as-marketing-and-entertainment in US culture.
2. Institutionalized class privilege (and secondarily racial and sexual privilege) are first generated or enabled through actual politics (making policy) and then pervade the production, marketing, and consumption of Politics (“Democracy”) and mass culture . We tend to passively internalize beliefs that normalize status-relations.
3. there’s plenty of chaos, randomness, and affluenzic ephemerality baked into politics like always and everywhere.
4. In the context of 1-3, seeing a sliver of the electorate go from voting for Obama and then voting for Trump was indicative of nothing substantial about the electorate itself. The electorate is only expressing passive choices on matters of vague import.

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burner 06.18.18 at 9:44 am

‘Hence the major force for racism in the UK now being the Labour Party, which in its hunt for identities that oppress other identities is now profoundly and structurally anti-semitic.’ (Dipper, 52)
On this issue, I’m going to trust a Tory:
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/conservatives-islamophobia-tory-party-racism-baroness-warsi-a8394271.html

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Faustusnotes 06.18.18 at 12:39 pm

I’ll say it again, we have no evidence that a sliver of the electorate switched to Trump. In an electoral with low turnout, and variable turnout, you can’t say that a 48-52 split to one party that shifts to 52-48 in the following election is due to 4% of the electorate changing sides. A perfectly plausible alternative is that Trump energised some racists and the intense attacks on Clinton discouraged some marginal dem voters.

Please don’t fall for the economists’ mistake of assuming that the distribution of votes represents the population. It’s a random sample of the population, and all analyses change when you analyse that random sample in aggregate, not knowing individual decisions.

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Collin Street 06.18.18 at 1:41 pm

If there are enough of them to elect a president, why don’t they get some non-demented racist elected to the WH?

We define “racism” as [inter alia] irrational. With that definition, “non-demented racist” is a colourless green idea, sleeping furiously: syntactically valid but semantically void.

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Dipper 06.18.18 at 3:03 pm

@ burner. The Tories should clearly not tolerate any racism in their party, but neither should the Labour Party, and on a discussion in which racism plays a large part, there is no party in the UK which is clearly on the right side of this.

@ J-D – worth reading the Lammy Report. He tackles unfairness and discrimination in the justice system through identities and numbers for identities. Hence numbers are set against averages for the “white” population, as though there is such a thing in a statistically significant way. To be fair, he does address the issue of identities and the ability to identify issues through statistics round identities with regards to Gypsy, Roma and Travellers, but nevertheless if we take any individual the question of whether that person has suffered discrimination would seem to depend on what category they are placed into and what others in that category have experienced. So, lose control of your identity, lose control over your ability to get justice and proper political representation.

And back to the OP and Trump/Obama – the question remains about how big are you prepared to make your tent to get power. How much do you want you voice to be diluted in order to have any say in government? Who would you make alliances with, and compromise with?

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politicalfootball 06.18.18 at 3:18 pm

Was our side wrong all along, and there always were enough racists for the Rs to win with them alone? Or have your racists only recently grown to be an electoral majority?

The strength of overt racism has been surprising to me, but it has not achieved electoral majority in the US, or even electoral plurality. You omitted the word “college” between “electoral” and “majority.”

My idea is that Trump got his majority by trashing all the pieties and norms of US politics.

Again: No majority/plurality for Trump.

Folks who attempt to downplay Trump’s overt racism run into the same problem that folks have when they try to downplay slavery as a cause of the Civil War. They can’t plausibly describe the alternative. So here, you explain that deep down, it’s all about stuff like the Two China policy and the Western Alliance. And the Civil War was about tariffs.

If anything, the causation works the other way: People get pissed off about the Establishment and all its works because they are angry about instances where the Establishment is insufficiently racist. Look at Trump today. He fucks with the Western Alliance as a byproduct of his nativism; it’s not that he’s nativist because of his resentment of the Alliance. The causation clearly works the other way.

If the electoral majority voted for Trump because he’s a racist who spouted racism and nativism, why did they settle for Trump? Why not Sessions? Why not David Duke?

Neither Sessions nor Duke ran. If Trump voters didn’t want someone like Sessions or Duke, why did they vote for the candidate endorsed by Sessions and Duke? Trump voters literally voted for a guy who made Sessions attorney general.

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Sebastian H 06.18.18 at 6:01 pm

Faustusnotes–“This isn’t quite the story of rejecting globalist parties for a populist that you think it is. “

That isn’t my hypothesis, so I’m sorry for not making that clear. My hypothesis is that under the general economic order since about the 1980s, but certainly since the 1990s, globalist parties are pretty much the whole game. Sure in some cases you can vote for a completely fringe anti-globalist party, but the number of cases where voting for completely fringe parties gives you any chance of moving what you want forward is pretty small. My suggestion is that even cautious-about-globalism parties just aren’t on offer at all, so voters have essentially no chance to ‘reject them’ (except maybe my not voting at all…)

In that understanding, a semi-rational voter realizes that their thoughts/feelings on globalism are completely irrelevant, so they might as well vote based on other issues. So they vote on other issues. An additional wrinkle is that most of these voters probably aren’t ANTI-globalist, so much as ‘worried that globalism isn’t working in our benefit and we should try to be careful about its implementation’. Some of the globalist parties mouthed concerns along those lines for the first few decades (though by the pre-crash 2000s that had been mostly abandoned). So for a while, mouthing the concerns while doing nothing about it was good enough. “Our experts are on that problem, don’t you worry”. But after 30 or so years of “on that” not actually doing anything, a bunch of people began to suspect that was a lie. (I’m not saying it was a lie. I’m saying that from a political perspective, eventually those voters are going to feel lied to. What really was happening is their concerns being subordinated to further globalism every major time the issues came into conflict).

“Secondly the claim that globalism hasn’t benefited western voters is presented without evidence and it needs to be.”

You’re shortening the claim. It should be “that globalism hasn’t benefited western voters MORE THAN IT HAS HURT THEM”. And that is where the expert opinion as presented before the crash differs quite a bit from the afterwards analysis. The old case was something like “globalism greatly increases GDP” with basic mutterings about “our models based in the 1950s and 60s suggest that is shared enough across the different demographics of the country to make up for the pain in the medium run”. The current understanding is “globalism greatly increases country level GDP” with lots of caveats about how that gets concentrated with the most wealthy and slow acceptance about the fact that lots of the people who get edged out, never recover.

But those people already knew that they never recovered. They knew that by the mid 1990s. The fact that most policy-influential experts didn’t figure that out until now is precisely the problem.

“But they haven’t in general abandoned the major parties for populism. Why not? What is the special sauce that makes the US so prone to this?”

You’re omitting some major signs in Europe. The National Front making it to the 2nd round in France while the Socialists did not. The rise of the AfD in Germany along with the difficulties of Merkel’s coalition members. The increasingly powerful 5 Star Movement in Italy also points that direction. So while I agree that the US is prone to this, my hypothesis (that the downside effects of globalism have been largely ignored, and this is bearing nasty fruit politically) looks pretty good in a lot of the West. I fell I really don’t follow Australia enough to say anything useful. However I do feel like talking about New Zealand is like talking about Singapore. There are useful lessons available, but we need to be cautious about wide applicability.

“Also it’s worth noting that US voters didn’t abandon the major parties for populism – a populist took over a major party. That is an important difference. It means that people who are uncomfortable with populism have nowhere to run except their opposition, and it only takes a little bit of “it-won’t-be-so-bad” rhetoric to mollify those people and keep them in the party. “

Yes, but this looks like a confirming point to me. The structure of the electoral system in the US is such that you almost can’t abandon the major parties ‘for populism’. If you want to make skepticism of globalism an effective political force you would do WAY better to take over one of the major parties. My hypothesis is that the problematic side of globalism has been mostly ignored (which is to say ‘politically made an extremely low priority’ not ‘never talked about’) by both parties, so even while it became a major political irritant, there was not much to vote on. THEN, finally when the voters who have been hurt by this for more than a generation get a chance to make a vote where globalism is at least kind of an issue, they seize it. That’s why I find it confusing that anyone wants to raise Romney as a counterpoint. His opponent was Obama. They were both globalists. If being hurt by globalism is your issue, you can vote for either of them because neither is going to address it. You might as well vote on some other basis.

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Lurker 06.18.18 at 7:42 pm

Sebastian,

You’re smarter than that,aren’t you?

(1) You’re conflating “Trump supporter” and “Trump voter.” There’s a small but very significant difference – maybe 4 to 6% of the population – that voted for Trump but didn’t particularly approve of him then or now. Probably a lot of the “Obama/Trump” voters fall in this category. Sure, this group may be more about anti-globalization than actively racist (though even more anti-Hillary specifically), and they do matter. But when people talk about Trump supporters being racist, it’s the core supporters they are talking about, and they are right.

(2) You’re implicitly using a cartoon version of “racist,” the hard core hater of all members of a race. The guy who says “sure, my work buddy is black, he’s fine, but those ghetto blacks, they are a different story” is probably more prevalent, may well have voted for Obama, but is still racist in any meaningful sense.

(3) You’re underestimating turnout differential as a factor in 2016. (Related, you’re probably over estimating the numbers of Obama/Trump voters.)

(4) You can’t fully separate anti-globalization and racism. Plenty of Germans in the 1930s were economically anxious, the depression and all of that, but we still (rightfully) call them anti Semites because they scapegoated Jews for economic problems. Ditto much of the racist Trump right. (And sadly we’re at the point where Godwin’s law no longer applies – to ignore the increasing and massive parallels to 1930s Germany is willful blindness).

The simple fact is that 40% of the country is beyond hope. Deplorables is far too kind a word for them. We’re going to need to figure out a way to crush them with the 60% of the nation that hasn’t fallen under the sway of a racism, fascist demagogue. Not an easy task given active vote suppression combined with poor constitutional design, but the only hope we’ve got. Fortunately a disproportionate number of the deplorables are older people who hopefully will die soon.

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J-D 06.18.18 at 9:56 pm

Dr Hilarius

Racism isn’t vanishing by 2020 so if the Democrats/liberals/progressives/leftists don’t want a second term of Trump (or Pence) they better figure out a strategy for winning elections.

Out of the last seven Presidential elections, the Democrats won four. In another two, they won more votes than the Republicans but were narrowly beaten in the electoral college. In 2004, more people voted Republican than Democrat, but the margin was, by historical standards, not large.

Given these facts of the historical record, which of the following two is more likely to be correct?
A. The best chance for a Democrat to win the next Presidential election is to tear up all the old playbooks and follow a strategy that is radically different from what Democrats have been doing in the recent past.
B. The best chance for a Democrat to win the next Presidential election is to make a careful study of recent electoral failures and successes, to make significant strategic adjustments, to consider some new approaches, but to continue with a strategy that maintains important basic features from recent elections.

If the Democrats had just taken the sort of beating they took in 1984, or in 1972, or in 1952, it might make sense to say, ‘Let’s not try that sort of thing again, let’s do something radically different.’ But that’s not what has happened.

There’s an indefinitely large number of possibilities for radically new approaches, and out of all of them the chances are there are some of them that would be big winners if tried. But the statistical odds of reaching into that grab-bag and pulling out one of the good ones don’t make an attractive prospect.

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Faustusnotes 06.18.18 at 11:59 pm

Sebastian, your arguments are an utter mess.

Let’s start with Germany where you associate the growth of AfD with economic losers from globalisation. The problem here is that Germany’s economy is going really well – when I was there two years ago the health researchers I met were mostly worried about how to spend the dividends of high growth and employment, for example. Worse still for your argument it is universally recognised by populists on both sides of politics in Europe that the entire EU is set up to benefit Germany first. Bojo, no doubt one of your brexit heroes, even made a tasteless joke about how Germany was using the EU to achieve economically what it couldn’t do by occupation. Have you heard the joke about Merkel at Greek immigration? “Occupation?” “No, just a visit this time”. If populism was the driving force in German politics Merkel wouldn’t be struggling right now and the “globalist” parties would be dominant. So why the rise of AfD? Their rise coincides with the refugee crisis and their rhetoric is explicitly racist. Figure that out.

Next, do you understand the concept of a control group? I present you with multiple countries vulnerable to globalism that haven’t turned populist and you say you don’t know about them or you don’t think they’re instructive. That’s not useful is it? The majority of the oecd countries and the majority of the anglosphere have not fallen to any populist ideas. So either globalisation is more beneficial than you’re letting on or something else is going on. You need to address the control groups not dismiss them.

Next, regarding the concerns about the “uneven distribution” of the benefits of globalisation in the us and the UK, perhaps you haven’t noticed but these countries have always been unequal. Have you heard of the class system? The UK has always been famously unequal, so why is this concern only motivating populism now? Just at a time when migration is high ? Could there be a link?

Next you say that these two countries are under the sway of populist parties but this is simply not true and you need to address this. The populist parties in the UK are dead, and the country is being ruled – barely – by the tories. And note that they and the brexiteers generally ran on an explicitly globalist platform – they would leave the EU and sign bigger and better global trade deals. Bojo bangs on with this shit all the time. So how do you explain that? Britain voted against the EU precisely on the promise of big global trade deals. Right now the tories are complaining that they can’t negotiate those deals before March 2019. The post brexit economy will be much more globalised than the current one. So why did people concerned about the economic damage of globalisation vote for this explicitly globalising project?

Next America, where there are no populist parties and the current leadership lost the popular vote. How then can you say they’re in the sway of populism ? Because a mainstream party got taken over by a populist and a bunch of people held their noses and voted for him anyway. You seem to think the non racist Republican voters are a strange idea, but when the party was run by theocratic fascists for thirty years people like you still voted for them. Not so surprising really.

Populist concern about the unequal profits and risks of globalisation have nothing to do with this, and there is simply no story you can thread together that explains the situation in the control countries, the real rhetoric of brexit, the poor electoral position of the populists, or the electoral realities in the UK and the US. But if you replace the word “populist” with the word “racist” in the American case you can explain how a con man and a thug took over a dog whistle party and led it to near electoral ruin but somehow lucked into power, and the subsequent electoral reaction.

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J-D 06.19.18 at 12:19 am

Dipper

@ J-D – worth reading the Lammy Report.

Maybe it is worth reading, but obviously it’s not going to answer the question I asked you, which makes it seem you’re evading that question, which I repeat to save you the trouble of scrolling up.

What is your position? that nobody is oppressed? or that people are oppressed, but not because of their identities? or what?

I don’t know whether reading the Lammy report would tell me Lammy’s position on that point, but it’s clearly not going to tell me yours.

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floopmeister 06.19.18 at 1:07 am

As has been said in other forums, 21st century socialism is about social domination through identity politics.

Is ‘other forums’ shorthand for those places where ‘Cultural Marxism’ is ‘a thing’?

It requires people to be oppressed due to their identities, but that also means others are doing the oppressing due to their identities.

The universalism of victimhood.

MAGA as shorthand for Snowflake Nation.

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Sebastian H 06.19.18 at 3:44 am

Faustusnotes “Next you say that these two countries are under the sway of populist parties but this is simply not true and you need to address this. The populist parties in the UK are dead, and the country is being ruled – barely – by the tories.”

I sort of feel like you aren’t reading more than like a sentence or two of what I’m saying.

At no point did I say that they were under the sway of populist parties. I’ve explicitly said that both the US and UK have major parties that are globalist and that neither party is particularly interested in dealing with the problems caused to the losers under globalism.

I said that when finally given an opportunity to make a vote that was vaguely against globalism, they seized it. The only major votes that they have been given that were even close to voting against increased globalism were voting for Trump and voting for Brexit (note AGAIN I do not say voting for the Tories. )

“Next America, where there are no populist parties and the current leadership lost the popular vote. How then can you say they’re in the sway of populism ?”

Huh? Did I say that somewhere? I think you’ve translated my argument into “being concerned about the negative effects of globalism=populism” and then gone off the rails arguing about populism.

I haven’t made any sort of generic populism argument. I may be totally wrong, but not because of ‘populism’ arguments I’m not making.

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Orange Watch 06.19.18 at 5:59 am

FN@74:
A perfectly plausible alternative is that Trump energised some racists and the intense attacks on Clinton discouraged some marginal dem voters.

This statement would be really weird if it weren’t so utterly typical: it effectively erases the agency of potential left-leaning voters.

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faustusnotes 06.19.18 at 7:19 am

Okay Sebastian, I’ll try again. You argued this up above:

THEN, finally when the voters who have been hurt by this for more than a generation get a chance to make a vote where globalism is at least kind of an issue, they seize it.

And it doesn’t really change anything because:
a) Germany is benefiting from globalism so why the rise of AfD?
b) the Brexit vote was explicitly globalist – they voted to leave the EU so that they could have better trade deals elsewhere and this was explicitly part of the leave campaign’s rhetoric
c) Trump didn’t win the popular vote, by a large margin, and is doing really badly in special elections since he won
d) the party that brought the electorate Brexit is now struggling really badly, so why is it that the electors who took the chance to vote against globalization are now abandoning the party that gave them that chance? Especially when the major beneficiary of that abandonment was an explicitly pro-EU party, the Lib Dems?
e) what about all the countries that are more vulnerable to globalisation than the UK/US and don’t vote for populism when given the chance? e.g. in Australia we have Pauline Hanson but she has had very little success in most elections and remains a sideshow fluke; in NZ they have NZ First but that party can only rule in coalition with the explicitly pro-globalization labour party; in Japan, France etc. there is no interest in the populist parties.

Your argument has huge holes in it. This is not about globalization. If it was, the UK would have stuck with the Tories in 1997, Hanson would have more power in Australia, Trudeau would never have won in Canada, and Brexit would not have happened because people would be scared to vote to leave the EU and then get entangled in aggressive trade deals with the USA. But all these things make sense if they’re instead about racism combined with Russian ratfucking.

Orange Watch, how is “intense attacks on Clinton discouraged some marginal voters” erasing the “agency” of left-leaning voters? Is a choice not to vote a sign of a lack of agency?

87

Hidari 06.19.18 at 9:24 am

‘Glen, the extra part of my story is very similar.ple and straight: people like you, puchalsky, the young Turks, and the NY Times recycled tired and discredited lies about Clinton, Obama and the democrats to just the extent needed to suppress the dem vote and hand Trump the electoral college. With help from Putin, of course.’

Of course.

88

casmilus 06.19.18 at 9:41 am

@81

“Bojo, no doubt one of your brexit heroes, even made a tasteless joke about how Germany was using the EU to achieve economically what it couldn’t do by occupation.”

As we all know, it was George Steiner who had a French bureaucrat in “The Portage To San Cristobal Of AH” musing that the EC project was realising the dream of Drieux La Rochelle et al. The final chapter of that novel is pretty much the stuff that Ken Livingstone fell from grace for repeating.

You don’t have to be a saloon bar racist to come out with that stuff. You can be one of the most celebrated humanist intellectuals of the past 40 years giving it an airing – in a fictional wrapper.

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Z 06.19.18 at 9:54 am

Sebastian H But those people already knew that they never recovered.

I agree with your general analysis @78, and especially with the quotation above and the anti-expert, anti-elite, anti-establishment mood it generated in vast segments of the population. The only point where I feel I diverge from you is that I think that the phenomenon Trump and Brexit (and Romney and Macron and, probably in some sense as well, Obama) is not exactly globalism, but rather the global rise of inequalities, of which a global financial economy with free circulation of capital (but on the other hand strict regulation on circulation of people and stringent intellectual property laws) is an important part, but not the only one (and I would tend to think not the logically most important one).

You’re omitting some major signs in Europe.

Yes, I think you are also right about this, and that the anglosphere is generally minimizing the reality of the phenomenon, perhaps counter-intuitively because Trump and Brexit are so noticeable that they appear to be aberrations. But it is not so. Trumpist parties are by now in power or ahead in elections in Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary and Poland. They are powerful forces in France and the Netherlands, and they are increasing in influence in Germany (not only through the emergence of the AfD but also because of the anti-immigrant turn of the CSU).

90

Lee A. Arnold 06.19.18 at 10:36 am

Sebastian H #84: “neither party is particularly interested in dealing with the problems caused to the losers under globalism”

I think that this is not true in the US, where the Democratic Party has two big and very different problems. Neither the party nor its voters are able to think outside of received economic theory, and are unable to formulate a well-reasoned and comprehensive path forward. And also they are working against rather effective obstruction particularly at the federal level.

91

Glen Tomkins 06.19.18 at 1:10 pm

Collin Street, @75

The slaveholders and the Third Reich managed to be pretty efficient and effective despite the irrationality of the racism on which their systems were built, at least for a time.

Don’t go categorical and essentialist on irrationality. This is the mistake that people who can’t accept that Trump is demented make. They have picture of dementia in which its sufferers think it’s 1987 and don’t recognize their own children. Trump’s not like that, he’s capable of some scheming about some things, therefore he can’t be demented.

I’m afraid that deeply stupid, or cognitively impaired, people who are 180 degrees wrong about all sorts of things, can still be quite organized and efficient enough to succeed in the world. Material success just requires monomaniacal attention to worldly success. Stupidity and monomania actually tend to do quite well together.

92

Dipper 06.19.18 at 1:31 pm

@ J-D “What is your position? that nobody is oppressed? or that people are oppressed, but not because of their identities? or what?”

If we use a standard definition of oppression: “a situation in which people are governed in an unfair and cruel way and prevented from having opportunities and freedom:” then yes lots of people are oppressed, and for lots of different reasons. No doubt some are oppressed because of their sex, sexuality, or race, but lots of people are oppressed for all sorts of individual reasons.

To make a statement such as “all BAME people are oppressed in western society” is clearly nuts. in the UK, lots of people of all races are succeeding in all parts of society. So you have to question the motives of people making that statement. To give an example, the England squad for the world cup is about half black or mixed race. that number is far in excess of a proportionate number. Does the football system discriminate against white players? I’ve had a taxi driver tell me that – that scouts are only interested in big black players – but I suspect he’s just exercising his prejudices. Consider Jamie Vardy. Famously released by Sheffield Wednesday, played non-league football before breaking into professional football and now in the England team. Was he a victim of oppression? Or were setbacks the making of the player? Whatever, demanding special rights on the basis of crude statistics just looks like special pleading for a larger slice of the cake at the expense of others, not any attempt at justice.

@ floopmeister – I have no idea what you are on about. Did you press enter before you had finished?

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SocraticGadfly 06.19.18 at 3:17 pm

Well, Bush WAS a war criminal. Of course, so was Obama.

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Michael Sullivan 06.19.18 at 3:35 pm

@52:

Racism isn’t like one of those old logic puzzles with the liars and truth tellers. Just because someone is racist doesn’t mean you can count on them to take the maximally racist action at every possible decision point.

My definitely of racist includes people who are convinced that overzealous social justice Harris are a bigger and more important societal problem than racism. People like my otherwise wonderful white nephew who literally said that he was worried when driving Lyft and had a passed out stripper in his car because being white made him more likely to get pulled over.

Because Obama was scrupulous about *never* tipping over into even mildly overzealous SJ rhetoric and both was and appeared massively competent, some such folks were willing to vote for him over an obviously out of touch rich dude in 2012. That doesn’t make them not racist.

Hell, there are plenty of racist liberals, presumably most of them didn’t vote for Trump, but I definitely have read plenty who argued until recently or even still that Trump wasnt actually much worse than HRC.

95

Lurker 06.19.18 at 3:55 pm

Of course it’s valid to ask “how do you get those 4 to 6% reluctant Trump voters back?” But the answer isn’t “run an anti-globalism candidate. “

(1) Easiest one – don’t run Hillary Clinton again And I say that even as someone who thinks she got a really raw deal.

(2) Run against Trump – not JUST run against Trump, but there is plenty of evidence that Trump has already lost popularity among the disaffected Midwestern swing voters who put him over the top. No reason to think this won’t continue. His overall approval is still historically low, even with the recent smallish bump (and I would guess that, once the events of the last few days are reflected in the polling, probably sometime next week, he’ll be back down to 40%). But even more to the point, the distribution of his popularity is worse for him – he’ll rack up some huge margins in the south, but he’s losing the Midwest.

(3) Policy is trickier, partly because most of these swing voters are late deciding low information voters. Messaging is part of it. Health care. Probably promise a big infrastructure bill.

Not rocket science. Of course the other, more important concern is turning out the base (and previous non-voters who are natural parts of the Democratic coalition). But again, no radical changes are needed there – and Trump is giving us a nice assist. The ongoing leftward shift of the party helps here also, but it’s silly to think that going full on socialist would be necessary or desirable as an electoral strategy (and might hurt with the elusive swing voters).

Now, it it were a matter of satisfying my own policy preferences, there would be PLENTY of changes. But unlike some people around here, I don’t imagine that the American people share my own somewhat idiosyncratic set of policy preferences.

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floopmeister 06.20.18 at 12:30 am

@ floopmeister – I have no idea what you are on about.

I’m shocked to hear that.

Again:

And if identity politics around race is racist when white people do it, isn’t it also racist when non-white people do it? Or are some races allowed race-based identities but other races not allowed race-based identities? And if a person’s claim to rights is through their race, but your race is ruled an invalid race and you have no other source of power (i.e. money), doesn’t that leave you with no rights?

IE: The universalism of victimhood.

If your identity is historically recognised as oppressed, then dammit, my identity is too. A race to the bottom – the logic of the incels and white racial resentment.

Was not making any comment on whether you agree with this view or not.

97

J-D 06.20.18 at 12:52 am

Dipper
1. By the definition of oppression you offer, not being given a fair chance to be on the England team does not constitute oppression; oppression and discrimination are not synonymous, although the phenomena can be connected.
2. Success is compatible with having been oppressed and/or discriminated against and is therefore not evidence that there has been no oppression and/or discrimination.
3. There can easily be, and often have been, situations where it was true at the same time that a group, as a whole, was subject to oppression and/or discrimination and that some individual members did not experience it.
4. I am not aware of any instances in which it has been asserted that all BAME people are oppressed in western society, so if you are aware of any such instances I would appreciate it if you would draw them (or some of them) to my attention.
5. Whether it is justified to demand special rights on the basis of crude statistics probably depends on what special rights are being demanded and what the crude statistics are; the description is too broad to form a fair evaluation.
6. If you accept that some people are being oppressed on the basis of their identity, what do you think should be done about that?

98

faustusnotes 06.20.18 at 1:15 am

I see a few people still banging on about how these “populist” (i.e. racist) parties have risen up because of public concerns about inequality and the benefits of globalisation not being shared, so let’s examine a few examples.

Germany: major beneficiaries of the EU, with a strong social welfare system and higher employment than much of Europe, seeing a growing economy, with relatively low inequality: saw the growth of a racist party, the AfD.

France: A right-wing horror story about how business and economic growth is suppressed by a terrible obssession with equality and ensuring worker’s rights. Paraded by the Brexiteers as an example of how the EU’s agricultural policy unfairly benefits some countries and not others. Famously protectionist in the right wing hive mind. Some people voted for a racist party, the FN.

Italy: A genuinely difficult economic situation, so motivated by concern about the unequal distribution of benefits from global trade, the Italian people voted for a party (the Northern League) that famously started in opposition to, and continues to oppose, any redistribution of wealth from the rich north to the poor (and “lazy”) south. This party also happens to be, you guessed it, racist.

The UK: Pissed off with the unequal distribution of the benefits of global trade, despite lacking any historical interest in inequality, the British people voted to leave a free trade area so that they can form larger free trade agreements with a wider number of more predatory countries. The leave project was supported by an explicitly racist party and a newspaper that backed Hitler.

Greece: Actually genuinely shafted by the EU in a way that caused a major economic crisis, the Greeks voted for a leftist non-racist party and opted to stay in the EU.

All of these countries faced their own migrant problems at about the time that their racist parties began to surge. Only one of them faced an actual genuine economic crisis – and that was the country that voted left.

This “populism” is not about rejecting intellectuals or experts or globalisation, it’s about racism.

99

Dr. Hilarius 06.20.18 at 1:56 am

JD at 80: I think you’re arguing against an argument I did not make. But to take on the issue, I’m not advocating that the Democrats tear up old playbooks, I think they should return to older ones. As of last year the party held 15 of 50 governorships and only 31 of 99 state legislative bodies. Not healthy for a party whose policies favor far more citizens than those of the Republican. The loss of state level control has facilitated the spread of “right to work” laws and gerrymandering. State courts have become increasingly politicized.

Pissing and moaning about the unfairness of the Electoral College is pointless. It’s there, it’s not a surprise. So why did the national party and Ms. Clinton spend so much time and money in California but so little in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania? A lot of money has been spent on media and consultants but less and less on building community networks to doorbell voters. I get daily requests by email and telephone for money but that’s all. There are efforts to get more people involved in party activity (I’ll be at my congressional district meeting on the 20th) but the national party is conflicted, wanting to protect its top down control. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard party officials predict the death of the Republican Party due to demographic shifts. Still waiting.

100

faustusnotes 06.20.18 at 3:15 am

I bet if Dipper lived in Japan it would take him or her about 5 seconds to come to the realization that discrimination is a real thing and policy should be enacted to protect him or her from it.

101

Cian 06.20.18 at 3:16 am

Faustunotes:

a) Over 30 years Germany has seen low wage growth for workers compared to it’s neighbours (as part of a deliberate government policy to keep it competitive), has seen wide spread casualization of the low paid workforce, while the East has lagged economically behind the west. Germany companies have also moved of a lot of factories into Eastern Europe to try and keep wages down. I don’t know enough about Germay to know how these things have been perceived domestically, but the situation is rather complex than you suggested.

b) Very few people voted for Brexit because they thought it would result in better trade deals and to be blunt you don’t know what you’re talking about. The reasons varied according to age, geographical location and social class. But among working class voters there’s a fair bit of evidence that suggests economic resentment towards the elite was one factor that resulted in people voting for Brexit. There is considerable resentment in the UK among the less well off about globalization. Another factor was resentment towards economic migrants from Eastern Europe.

d) The major victors in the last election were Labour (who are split on the issue of Brexit), not the LibDems (who are at a national level barely relevant at this point). Corbyn (the Labour leader) is not a globalist and speaks with a pretty strong populist inflection.

e) Australia is known for a vicious set of anti-immigrant policies which are getting worse, and it’s racist right wing politicians.

102

Cian 06.20.18 at 3:48 am

The UK: Pissed off with the unequal distribution of the benefits of global trade

More along the lines of all our jobs have been given to sweatshops in the third world – but yeah it’s been a factor in the UK since at least the 90s.

despite lacking any historical interest in inequality

Bizarre statement displaying significant ignorance of UK history and politics. Currently this is a significant issue in UK politics, but hey whatever.

the British people voted to leave a free trade area so that they can form larger free trade agreements with a wider number of more predatory countries.

Peculiar interpretation of the vote shared by almost noone in the UK (pro or anti).

The leave project was supported by an explicitly racist party and a newspaper that backed Hitler.

I’m guessing that you mean UKIP, who aren’t ‘explicit’ in their racism as a party (the Tories didn’t officially support leave and were split on the issue. In fact the vote came about because the Tories _were_ split on the issue). The leave project was also backed by a number of other papers who did not historically support Hitler, and who have been attacking the EU for most of my life, mostly for things that have nothing to do with race (banana shapes, the human rights court, fishing, etc, etc).

France: A right-wing horror story about how business and economic growth is suppressed by a terrible obssession with equality and ensuring worker’s rights. Paraded by the Brexiteers as an example of how the EU’s agricultural policy unfairly benefits some countries and not others. Famously protectionist in the right wing hive mind. Some people voted for a racist party, the FN.

A lot of companies, particularly in industrial areas, have moved factories and jobs abroad where workers are cheaper. French politicians have been pushing neoliberal policies on the French population for about 15 years. The French working class (particularly the poorer part) have been hit very hard by a number of changes and are struggling (health care is not very accessible if you’re poor, for example). There have been numerous attacks on unions and worker rights by parties on both the right and the nominal left (which is why the Socialist party collapsed). One reason that the FN were doing well was because as the Socialist party moved further right they were able to speak to the concerns of their former voters. And yes in France, like many places, globalization has been used as an excuse for cutting worker pay and rights.

103

Cian 06.20.18 at 4:00 am

It seems to me that’s what changed in 2018 from say 2012, is that now Democrats have become a mirror image of the Republicans. Bizarre conspiracy theories about Russia. Rabidly attacking Trump on everything no matter what (e.g. the N. Korea peace talks). Dehumanization of the enemy (e.g. see some of the descriptions of Republicans on this thread).

And while I’ve always despised Trump, I find the obsession of some liberals with proving he’s got dementia, or secretly wants to tup his daughter, very peculiar. Again, some of this stuff is ending up in birther territory.

104

Orange Watch 06.20.18 at 4:09 am

FN@86, 98:
how is “intense attacks on Clinton discouraged some marginal voters” erasing the “agency” of left-leaning voters?

It’s a recurrent narrative about how left-leaning voters (not counting loyal DNC apparatchiks or the irredeemable DFHs, ofc) are passive vessels for advertising and media messaging; they don’t make decisions for themselves or have convictions that drive them; they instead are pushed to and fro by ads. It’s the foundation of e.g. the DNC’s “fundraising trumps everything” and “don’t risk offending big donors” postures.

This “populism” is not about rejecting intellectuals or experts or globalisation, it’s about racism.

That’s a lovely, simplistic, exculpatory explanation, but it ignores the long-standing, well-established hobbyhorses and cultural bugbears which drive a whole lot of populism. Don’t get me wrong, racism is a major factor, but insisting anti-intellectualism or anti-globalization aren’t significantly in play is at best blinkered, if not outright deluded.

105

J-D 06.20.18 at 4:59 am

Z

Yes, I think you are also right about this, and that the anglosphere is generally minimizing the reality of the phenomenon, perhaps counter-intuitively because Trump and Brexit are so noticeable that they appear to be aberrations. But it is not so. Trumpist parties are by now in power or ahead in elections in Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary and Poland. They are powerful forces in France and the Netherlands, and they are increasing in influence in Germany (not only through the emergence of the AfD but also because of the anti-immigrant turn of the CSU).

It’s not sufficiently clear to me what you mean in this context by ‘Trumpist’; for example, it’s not clear enough for me to be able to tell, when you refer to Italy, whether you mean that the League is ‘Trumpist’ or that M5S is ‘Trumpist’ or both. When you use the anti-immigrant turn of the CSU as an example, it makes me wonder whether all you mean by ‘Trumpist’ is ‘anti-immigrant’, because I can’t think of any other respect in which the CSU could be described as ‘Trumpist’. If what you mean is ‘anti-immigrant’, wouldn’t it be clearer to write that instead of ‘Trumpist’? If you wrote that anti-immigrant feeling has become more salient in the politics of many countries recently, I wouldn’t question it, but when you refer to a rise of Trumpist parties it seems you mean something more than that, only it isn’t clear what.

106

faustusnotes 06.20.18 at 5:32 am

Cian, have you tried googling “breaking point poster UKIP” or anything similar?

Here is the Leave.EU homepage’s statement on trade policy. Notice the first sentence of their “analysis”:

Leaving the European Union is a unique opportunity for Britain to play to its strengths in an increasingly globalised and interconnected world

And here is BoJo asserting that the UK needs to fully leave the EU to become a “global trading nation.”

Now you and I both agree that most British people didn’t vote for this, but the fact remains that they voted for a globalization project that was sold to them on false pretenses. And what were the false grounds on which they were sold it? I direct you back to the breaking point poster.

To clean up a few other things:
a) if Germany has seen low wage growth for 30 years why the growth in the AfD vote in just the period since the migrant crisis? What independent factor could possibly explain that?
b) Anyone who says that the UK is interested in fighting inequality shouldn’t accuse others of being ignorant of UK history and politics. The UK has historically high inequality, and even your labour party are “intensely comfortable” with people being extremely rich.
c) UKIP are explicit in their racism – do you recall Farage saying that ordinary British people would feel uncomfortable if a Hungarian moved next door? Or perhaps you could google “UKIP churchill poster” and dispel the foolish notion that UKIP aren’t racist.
d) Australia has extremely pro-immigration policies, and accepts about 200,000 per year – that’s about the same as the UK accepting half a million per year without any assumption they’ll go back to Europe. Australia has vicious anti-refugee policies, and specifically policies targeting people coming by boat. Those anti-refugee policies, incidentally, have been getting worse primarily under the conservative leadership, which has been in power for much of the last 20 years, and in particular under Howard, even as Australia gets more global. It’s as if throwing right wing people racist bones to chew on stops them worrying about economic insecurity, isn’t it?

Which is exactly what UKIP did in the UK, what Trump is doing in the USA, and what Le Pen is doing in France. Rather than being a reaction to the damage done by globalization, this upsurge of “populism” is a distraction thrown by people who aim to keep globalizing, and want to make sure their base don’t notice as they pick their pockets. Far from being mobilized against globalization, the people you think voted against experts and elites didn’t even notice that shit, and voted against the one thing they hate most – foreigners.

107

faustusnotes 06.20.18 at 5:33 am

Orange Watch, saying that some left wing voters saw negative press about someone and chose not to vote for them is not “denying their agency”. It is ascribing agency to them. You need to learn the difference between “lacking agency” and “making a stupid mistake”.

108

J-D 06.20.18 at 6:44 am

Dr. Hilarius

JD at 80: I think you’re arguing against an argument I did not make. But to take on the issue, I’m not advocating that the Democrats tear up old playbooks, I think they should return to older ones.

Surely whether that’s a good idea depends on which older playbooks you’re advocating for? It would be unwise for the Democrats to imagine they can win by repeating the strategies that worked for them in 1964, or 1936, or 1916, or 1844, just as it would be unwise for the Republicans to imagine they can win by repeating the strategies that worked for them in 1984, or 1972, or 1920, or 1860.

As of last year the party held 15 of 50 governorships and only 31 of 99 state legislative bodies. Not healthy for a party whose policies favor far more citizens than those of the Republican. The loss of state level control has facilitated the spread of “right to work” laws and gerrymandering. State courts have become increasingly politicized.

It’s not clear, though, how any of this affects future Presidential election prospects; and it’s not clear what you’re suggesting the Democrats’ response should be.

Pissing and moaning about the unfairness of the Electoral College is pointless. It’s there, it’s not a surprise.

Now you seem to be arguing against an argument I didn’t make. It’s a fact that in the last seven Presidential elections the Democrats won four in the electoral college, as it is now, and in the other three they only lost narrowly in the electoral college, as it is now.

So why did the national party and Ms. Clinton spend so much time and money in California but so little in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania?

I have no idea. Indeed, I have no idea how much time and money they did spend in California. But what’s your point? Surely you’re not suggesting that the solution to the problem of winning more Presidential elections is as simple as ‘devote more time and money to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania’?

A lot of money has been spent on media and consultants but less and less on building community networks to doorbell voters.

Again, I have no idea what the figures are. But how big is the difference between the figures for 2016 (when the Democratic candidate lost) and the figures for 2012 (when the Democratic candidate won)?

I’ll be at my congressional district meeting on the 20th

I went to regular party meetings for years and years, and I’m slightly embarrassed now at how long it took me to realise they were a complete waste of time. I wish you better luck! Let me know how it turned out.

109

Z 06.20.18 at 7:48 am

J-D It’s not sufficiently clear to me what you mean in this context by ‘Trumpist’

Let’s say in first approximation that I call Trumpist a political movement 1) which has won elections on a platform of strong favoritism towards nationals contrasted with brutal rejection of immigrants, trust in common people contrasted with defiance from urban elites, strong priority given to the nation contrasted with suspicion of current forms of international organizations (NAFTA, the EU…), law and order contrasted with laxity and weakness 2) whose policies when in power are savagely anti-social, cruelly anti-migrants and fiscally inegalitarian 3) whose voters are older and more rural than the general population, with a noticeable decline in voting share among those who have successfully completed three years of higher education and a sharp one among those who have successfully completed five such years and (as a bonus point) 4) structured around the executive power of a charismatic, capricious individual whose personal qualities are extolled.

Of course, serious discussion requires a sensitivity to the history, culture and norms of each country, but the following major parties arguably satisfy all of these criteria: the Lega (M5S is something else, I think), Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (ex-FN), Babis’s ANO, the FPÖ, Jansa’s SDS, Kaczyński’s PiS, Wilders’s PVV (and of course the idealtypic American Republican party)… The CSU and the French LR party are getting closer, not only with respect to immigration, but for the whole of 1) as well as 2) and 3).

Regardless of the precise characterization (a pointless exercise generally speaking in comparative politics, considering the tiny number of cases to classify to begin with), it seems clear to me that in several western democracies Trumpist political movements as defined above are relatively stronger and reflect a genuine and specific segment of the public (in the Deweyan sense if you want to go highbrow).

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