I (still) believe

by Harry on November 8, 2016

The best election song of 1980…..Or maybe ever.

Good luck, everyone!



Alan White 11.08.16 at 4:22 am

Hah! I remember this–thanks for it.

As I’ve said before, being an older guy who lived in California in the 60s, I have had the ignominy of surviving several Reagan elections where I could not believe a B-actor beat people who actually understood how the world might just be a little better if the rich didn’t hold all of the cards.

But Trump? Who woulda thunk. As my 6th-grade educated but still wise and smart Mom often said near the end of her days–I done lived too long.


Painedumonde 11.08.16 at 4:43 am

The Black Adder strikes!


Val 11.08.16 at 7:59 am

Well I see it is early Tuesday all over the US now (Tuesday evening here) so good luck from me too, Americans.


Nick Barnes 11.08.16 at 9:02 am


Radmonger 11.08.16 at 9:12 pm

That young boy is now Foreign Secretary.


Val 11.08.16 at 9:43 pm

I have been reading the comments at Balloon Juice from women, and men, who are excited about voting for the first woman who may be President. The comments are very moving, with many references to the history of female suffrage in America.

I remember when Julia Gillard became Prime Minister here, although the circumstances weren’t ideal, it was very moving. I was watching the news in the staff rec room at work with a few other women, and we were all very still and silent as the results were announced. There was a real feeling of history being made.

I hope that CT bloggers and commenters, no matter what they may think of Hillary Clinton, will be gracious enough to admit this is an historic moment, firstly to have a woman so close to being President, and even more historic if she wins.

Some of the male bloggers and commenters here, I think, really don’t understand what it’s like to have been treated as a second rate citizen.


harry b 11.08.16 at 11:18 pm

Thanks for that Val. In my freshman class today, the senior student who is observing and providing criticism of my teaching asked if she could say something to the (85% female) class. She congratulated those who have voted, and asked the others to do so, saying that they should not be made cynical by the campaigns, because they are still allowed at the table to help make the choice and, casually, that “even as little as 100 years ago most of us in the room would not have been allowed to have a say”. It didn’t sound packaged at all. It also didn’t sound like a pitch to vote for one candidate rather than another (she knows that I would not regard that as kosher, even from a student).
But, perhaps because of the way I know the student, it was moving and poignant. I do hope things work out today, and if they do I will, indeed, feel the historicness of it. Just as I did in 2008.

But I am afraid to say that this time that sense will be rivaled by a sense of relief, which there was no reason to feel in 2008. In my defense I think well enough of HRC that I imagine she, and everyone else in whatever room she is in when the news that she has won comes through (if that is what happens) will experience the same rivalrous emotions (though surely more intensely!).

Will you still be up? Or will you be up already? (revealing my cluelessness about the time difference).


Val 11.09.16 at 12:53 am

Thanks Harry, I am sure that you have an understanding of this. Sounds like your student handled it very well!

It is almost midday on Wednesday here, and results are trickling in. Hopefully we won’t even have to stay up late to hear the results. The hardest thing for me at present is seeing the stress of American colleagues – hard for them, especially being so far away.


engels 11.09.16 at 2:55 am

I will be gracious enough to admit that choosing a washed-up neoliberal dynast with the second-lowest popularity ratings in memory over a perfectly decent social democrat, thereby bringing the world’s leading economy and military power within a hair’s breadth of electing a parody fascoid lunatic, was one of the stupidest pieces of political narcissism I have ever had the misfortune to witness.

Anyone on the centre-left, in US or elsewhere, should look at this disgrace of an election and then take a long hard look in the mirror.


J-D 11.09.16 at 2:57 am

About that time difference:
I think — I’m not sure — that Val is in Victoria, which puts her in the same time zone as me in New South Wales, Australian Eastern Daylight Time, which is UTC+11h. So we’re sixteen hours plus US Eastern Time, and nineteen hours plus US Pacific Time; when it’s midnight US Eastern Time, it’s 4 in the (following) afternoon here; when it’s midnight US Pacific Time, it’s 7 in the (following) evening here.
The other extreme for Australian time is WA time, which is UTC+8h, making it thirteen hours plus US Eastern Time and sixteen hours plus US Pacific Time; so when it’s midnight US Eastern Time it’s 1 in the (following) afternoon there and when it’s midnight US Pacific Time it’s 4 in the (following) afternoon there.
All of which means that we get your election night news on our Wednesday afternoon, so most of us are wide awake.


harry b 11.09.16 at 3:19 am

I think there’s a good chance (but not a great chance) that Saunders would be doing better than Clinton against Trump. But most voters in the Democratic primary didn’t know (or, really, expect) that Trump would be the Republican candidate, and it is naive to have confidence that Saunders would have survived the mauling he would have gotten from a unified and energetic Republican Party. That said, if Cruz, Rubio, or Kasich were the candidate I think either Clinton or Saunders would have been decimated. They are/were both deeply flawed candidates.

But one of Clinton’s (electoral) flaws is that she is a woman. Does anyone think this would even be close if she were a man? And, it seems, one of Trump’s electoral advantages is that he is an unabashed misogynist. I wouldn’t have believed that a year ago.


engels 11.09.16 at 3:34 am

But one of Clinton’s (electoral) flaws is that she is a woman. Does anyone think this would even be close if she were a man?

Yep: if Bill and Hill had switched turns it would be the same. In the context of Brexit, European politics, etc trying to put gender at the centre of the explanation (as opposed to one’s normative preoccupations) doesn’t make sense. (Can’t wait for the CT commentary on Marine Le Pen btw…)


engels 11.09.16 at 3:52 am

(Not an expert but it seems to me from poll-watching Trump’s misogyny was a liability and Clinton’s gender was an asset, just not significant enough to outweigh the deeper trends.)


engels 11.09.16 at 4:06 am

(Clinton *chose* to make the campaign about her gender and superior ‘qualifications’…)


Val 11.09.16 at 4:24 am

Well it is now looking like there may not be a female President after all, according to the predictions.

engels, you should look at the gender gap in voting. Your explanation might be ‘a lot of women voted for a bad female candidate because she is a woman’. My explanation might be that enough men are prepared to vote for the candidate from hell, just because he is a man, to doom any progressive causes in America for the next four years. But the final results aren’t in yet.


harry b 11.09.16 at 4:33 am

I might be wrong about that, and there are loads of confounding factors. It’s just based on observing the election very closely for a year, and on hundreds of conversations with an unrepresentative sample of people, including, in particular, numerous young people, many of them women who, I think, held her to a higher standard than they would have held a man. I have to say, I think that at the beginning of all this I was guilty of that too. And to be fair, I think Elizabeth Warren would have been a much more successful candidate (and that, partly because she has never had cabinet responsibilities, which are a real liability — don’t be Secretary of State if you want to be President, whatever your sex!). But I also think Jo Biden, a much less impressive character than either Warren or Clinton, would have beaten Trump easily.

Anyway, the WI US Senate seat was just called for a know-nothing multi-millionaire despised by his own party. I used to think his only qualification for office was being a multi-millionaire, but now suspect being a know-nothing is the other one.


engels 11.09.16 at 4:48 am

Your explanation might be ‘a lot of women voted for a bad female candidate because she is a woman’.

No, that’s not it—I just saw 2/3 of whites women voted for Trump. (!) I think it may have galvanised support to some extent among the party faithful of both genders but overall campaigning on it was a strategic choice (compared with 2008 primaries) and a mistake (compared with Obama, who didn’t campaign primarily on identity). I’ve said before I’ve no doubt she lost some votes due to sexism, I just don’t think it’s an important part of the overall explanation.


ZM 11.09.16 at 4:51 am

“and on hundreds of conversations with an unrepresentative sample of people, including, in particular, numerous young people, many of them women who, I think, held her to a higher standard than they would have held a man.”

Its not really similar to Hillary Clinton, due to the particulars of the circumstances, but the time Julia Gillard was running for Prime Minister was the only time in my life that I didn’t vote Labor or Greens first.

I was really annoyed at the Labor Party for how the Prime Ministers got changed without any proper process with numbers being counted in a restaurant and then the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stepping down without even a vote in Parliament, and also our electorate’s Labor MP was retiring so we had a new candidate to vote for I didn’t know much about. I actually really like her now, but at the time I didn’t know much about her and was really really annoyed and disappointed with Labor, and I voted for the rural right wing National Party candidate who was the brother of someone I went to school with.

I felt pretty dreadful when the votes were being counted and the National Party almost won (although I was happy the National candidate did so well on a more personal level since I went to school with his brother), and I don’t think I’ll ever vote like that again, but just because someone is the first female candidate for Prime Minister or President, doesn’t mean that other issues don’t come into consideration.

I don’t think I was holding Julia Gillard to a higher standard, but I wanted a better candidate to vote for and I voted National Party since I didn’t want to vote for Labor after the Prime Minister swapping issue. I had no investment in wanting the National Party, or the Liberal-National Coalition to win, I just voted out of being annoyed at Julia Gillard and Labor, and not wanting to vote for them after what happened.


engels 11.09.16 at 4:59 am

enough men are prepared to vote for the candidate from hell, just because he is a man

To be clear, I think that’s incredibly silly. You need to talk to some people, male or female, who have been on the receiving end of the ‘globalised knowledge economy’, if not in America than in your own country. Now I’m going to have a whisky and go to bed.


harry b 11.09.16 at 5:27 am

Witnessing the relentless 25-year campaign of hate against HRC also probably makes me more inclined to attribute her failure (and it is a failure even if, by some chance, she wins) to sexism. The hate campaign has been grounded entirely in two ideas — one is that she is ultra-left (which has always flown in the face of the facts) and the other is that she is a woman (always true). This (the fact that she had been the target of a 25 year campaign) made her a distinctly non-ideal candidate, of course.

Still, one upside of the night: Haseeb Hameed looks as good as they’ve all been saying. Gorgeous! As a Muslim, we mightn’t be seeing him in the USA for a while… (and lovely to see Atherton handing him his cap before the game).


Val 11.09.16 at 6:16 am

@ 17
Clare Malone on the 538 election blog said earlier that on the exit polls Clinton won the women’s vote (there appears to be a gender gap of 24 points which seems incredible) but that amongst white women without college education, 62% supported Trump. So either the figures you are looking at actually apply to the white women without college degrees, or there has been some dramatic shift during the day. I think it’s probably the former. Malone says of white women with college education, 51% supported Clinton. That was the only group amongst white voters where a majority supported Clinton.

Very interesting figures for a lot of reasons.


Val 11.09.16 at 7:10 am

I hope you don’t mind me being a little off topic but just need to explain something to ZM (someone’s wrong on the Internet!).

ZM there was no improper process or lack of proper process involved in Kevin Rudd stepping down. Members of the party are allowed to express a lack of confidence in the leader (and it doesn’t matter what venue they do it in). It is then up to the leader whether they want to take it to a vote or not. Kevin Rudd chose not to take it to a vote but to resign, presumably because he knew he would not get a majority of votes.

You may not like it, but there was nothing improper about it. It’s a shame it didn’t go to a vote, because then probably people like yourself would at least have understood what happened, even if they didn’t like.

I have seen a number of occasions where leaders have lost the confidence of their party and been replaced, including Tony Abbott recently, but I have never seen any of the replacements treated like Julia Gillard was, and I think that sexism did play a part in that. I won’t discuss this further here, but if you want to discuss further off line I am happy to.

It looks as if Hillary Clinton has no path to victory now. I guess there will be huge discussions and recriminations, but as a non-American I will try not to get involved, except to say that I am saddened and disappointed that Americans could elect Trump.


Val 11.09.16 at 8:16 am

Also want to say acknowledgements to kidneystones for being right about Trump. ‘Congratulations’ feels wrong in the circumstances, but acknowledgements for picking it.


F. Foundling 11.09.16 at 8:26 am

The NYT (‘How the Presidential Election Took a U-Turn in 2016’) exit poll analysis indicates that ‘Trump gained among men and barely lost ground with women’, compared with Romney in the 2012 election. Similarly, and even more surprisingly, minorities supported Clinton in somewhat *smaller* numbers than they supported Obama in 2012. The dramatic changes compared to 2012 are a big increase in the percentage of non-college educated whites and people making less than 30,000 $ supporting the Republican candidate (much greater than Trump’s gain among men) and, conversely, a big increase in the percentage of educated and rich voters supporting the Democratic candidate (I suppose the problem is that there are less of them). The polls also show that the difference between the voting patterns of whites with and without college degree (almost 40) is much greater than the overall gender gap (a bit more than 20). All in all, what happened looks like a Brexit scenario, not like the unusually gender-influenced affair it was supposed to be. The *usual*, permanent gender gap between the parties, while important, is a separate problem.

As for the hate campaign against HRC, my impression is that the right-wingers have predominantly accused her of being ‘crooked’, dishonest and self-serving, a cynical careerist who will do – and supposedly *has* done – anything to get ahead, not of being a fanatical leftist. If they are really motivated by her gender – and I have no doubt that some are – that doesn’t usually become apparent in their statements; certainly the same things could have been said by non-sexists. All in all, I agree with engels; nominating and promoting her was a catastrophically idiotic decision of the Dem establishment, with possibly fatal consequences. The legitimisation of fascism is terrifying enough. Climate change – well, it was a nice planet while it lasted.


ZM 11.09.16 at 9:37 am


I know you worked for Julia Gillard and think she is a good person. I am sure she is a pretty good person and very dedicated and hard working, but I think the process was improper.

There should have been a parliamentary vote about it, not Bill Shorten — whose mother-in-law was the Governor General at the time — counting the numbers in a restaurant. It should have been done properly in parliament. And there should have been more frank discussion with the public in the lead up and immediate aftermath about what the problems with the government were. I was very upset about it and wrote a long letter I sent to many members of parliament and the Governor General and the Queen, and I only got proper replies from Kim Carr’s office and the Queen’s secretary.

I also think its a real shame since it ruined Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard’s political careers. Kevin Rudd maybe wouldn’t have stayed in politics once he wasn’t Prime Minister anymore, but Julia Gillard could have had a much longer parliamentary career if things were done properly. She is pretty young still and it just wasted her parliamentary career. Also other good Labor politicians stepped down with all the ensuing rancour as well.

Now some years have passed I think one of the problems was the 4 person “Kitchen Cabinet” the Rudd government set up, with only a small number of people in the Cabinet compared to other Cabinets. I think this was a real mistake, it was too small a team of people to be in charge of the whole country.

But its probably not best to discuss it anymore here you’re right, I could email you or comment on your blog about it if you wanted to discuss it more?


Val 11.09.16 at 6:12 pm

ZM I said I didn’t want to discuss it further here, but I just want to correct the facts, because I’m concerned you might be confusing or misleading people about how the Australian political system works.

The person who was able to decide whether the leadership of the Parliamentary Labor Party went to a vote or not was Kevin Rudd. You can’t blame anyone else for that particular decision, because it was his decision, and he decided to resign the leadership rather than call for a vote on it.

You can blame other people for not supporting him if you like, but on the actual decision as to whether or not have a vote on the leadership, that was Rudd’s decision.

It has nothing to do with me having worked for Gillard or liking Gillard etc, because this is not a matter of opinion, it’s just about how the system worked.

in Australia the position of Prime Minister is not voted on by the people. We elect MPs, and the party that has a majority of MPs forms government. The parties choose their own leaders. The leader of the party in government becomes Prime Minister.

I can email you some more details about how it works, just wanted to set the record straight here.


Val 11.09.16 at 6:39 pm

@ 24
Oh dear I seem to be having a bit of a ‘correct the record’ moment here. Sorry but I’m a politics wonk and a numbers wonk as well.

While I gather that exit polling is not entirely reliable and it’s better to wait until the voting records are available, the interpretation that you (and seemingly many others) are putting on the data in the NYT about gender not influencing the election appears to be wrong.

It appears there were shifts towards Trump/away from Clinton amongst a number of groups, particularly low income and non-college educated whites, minorities, and men, as you say above. However there was not a shift amongst women overall.

If you think about that, what it appears to mean is that it was men in the other groups who shifted towards Trump. I haven’t seen detailed breakdowns, but on the maths, that’s the logical conclusion.

A possible implication is that there is a small, but electorally significant, proportion of men, in both white and non-white groups, who will shift their vote on the basis of gender, against a female candidate. I think people don’t like to think about this because it’s confronting, but if the exit poll figures are correct, that is a possible explanation.

If women didn’t shift their vote, but men did, across a range of groups that are different in other respects, you have to consider the possibility that this is the explanation. Hopefully there will be more detailed data and analysis later to clarify this.


F. Foundling 11.09.16 at 7:33 pm

Two more somewhat banal thoughts with respect to 9 and 11 – Sanders probably would have done better, because he, like Trump, was seen as an anti-establishment, anti-status quo, populist candidate, and, as we can now see more clearly than ever, this was an anti-establishment, anti-status quo, populist election. Like Trump, albeit with infinitely less justification, Sanders would have been viciously attacked by the media (as a crazy commie), deserted by many of his own, predicted to lose, and then, very possibly, seen winning, to everyone’s and especially the experts’ utmost surprise. In any case, the Dem establishment didn’t even search for a third option, and instead did their best to ensure that the realisation of climate change policies and the survival of Obamacare would be tied to the success of a figure they knew to be, rightly or wrongly, widely unpopular and distrusted.


Stephen 11.09.16 at 8:12 pm

Val@6: “I have been reading the comments at Balloon Juice from women, and men, who are excited about voting for the first woman who may be President. The comments are very moving, with many references to the history of female suffrage in America.”

I remember when Margaret Thatcher became the first woman PM in the UK. I wonder if your moving feelings of excitement would have been the same?


Val 11.09.16 at 9:30 pm

I was pleased that a woman was able to become PM, but disappointed that the Tories won, and not pleased it was that particular woman because she was a red hot neoliberal Tory.

You probably could have worked that out for yourself?


Val 11.09.16 at 9:32 pm

I’m also disappointed that Labour in Britain appears unable to have a female leader. That’s not a swipe at Corbyn, I just can’t remember them ever having one. Have they ever?


engels 11.12.16 at 1:20 pm

…professional-class women, who have reaped a disproportionate share of feminism’s gains, have dominated the feminist movement, and the social distance between them and their less privileged sisters is wide and growing wider. In the decades since the dawn of the second wave, educated women gained access to status jobs, but working-class women experienced declining wages and (because of the rise of divorce and single parenthood among the working class) shouldered an increasingly heavy burden of care. Yet mainstream feminist groups and pundits have consistently stressed the social and cultural issues that are most important to affluent women, while marginalizing the economic concerns of the female masses. The class divisions between women came to a head in the 2016 election, when Big Feminism failed women, big-time.…

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