More gruel
A few reading assignments

A few reading assignments

We have some time here before the shit truly hits the fan to gather our thoughts, get better informed, and make plans. Along those lines, here are a few things I’ll be reading over the next few weeks.

First, there’s Chris Arnade, whose work is mostly available at The Guardian. I recently tore into Arnade as one of the “Trump Whisperers.” My post got his background wrong, though I still stand by much of what I wrote, at least for now. I need to take a closer look at his work and see what I can learn. He’s been to some places I haven’t seen and I think he may have some answers.

Second, I’m trying to read Leo Strauss, though I’ll confess I’m finding it tough to penetrate. Strauss was a leading critic of ‘end of history’ thinking forty years before Francis Fukuyama made the phrase famous. Much of the thinking behind the Blue Wall thesis was inspired by my belief in Fukuyama’s interpretation of history. We can see how that turned out.

Strauss is often cited as the primary inspiration for the neo-conservatives, though I’ve yet to quite understand why. If anybody has insights on Strauss, I would welcome them.

Finally, I want to revisit some of the writings and especially the tactics of civil rights rights groups from the 50’s and 60’s. Across our entire history, their campaign for justice probably achieved more durable gains for minorities, women, and ultimately even LGBT groups than any other similar campaign. They are the gold standard. I want to understand what they did and what they were thinking at a much deeper level. We are going to need to understand how to resist an oppressive authority, even at a level of open violence, without losing our souls. The leaders of that movement seemed to understand how to do this.

Frequency of posts may decline for a while. Don’t worry about it. I’d encourage you though to keep up the conversation over at Off Topic.


    1. I’m not on Facebook or Twitter, and I’ve grown tired of reading news online.

      I read more print journalism these days, but I would say I get most of my news from radio — BBC Radio, NPR, and I like to listen to quiet, low-key conservative radio (Dennis Prager especially).

      I get a feeling of comfort from listening to BBC Radio, not so much because of its news and opinions, but more because I like its subdued tone and voices, and I enjoy its perspective as an outsider looking into US culture.

      1. I turned off ad blocker and it was almost unreadable due to the Ads slowing my computer. It was well-written but it was very much one of the articles written in the way Freddie DeBoer was complaining about below (“You working class dolts need to change, not us”).

    1. It’s the ultimate put down, isn’t it? Refuse to allow O to implement his plan 7 years ago when it might have really helped people and make that the cornerstone of your Jobs program for all the blue collar folks that helped bring home the Trump bacon. We’re going to hear a great deal more of things like this now that Republicans hold all the power. Get ready.

      1. Honestly, Republicans have a majority in both houses, they don’t need Democrat votes. However, Democrats historically have always helped on issues that they knew would benefit the people of America, and I expect they will on this issue as well. Some things you do because they are the right things more than because you agree with the sponsor. Repubs have Dems over a barrel and we’d better get used to it. As I have stated ad nausea, losing the presidency was not nearly as significant as losing control of Congress and the Courts. Don’t mean to be negative or fatalistic but elections have consequences. Democrats will have to pick their battles.

        Read today that TX LT Gov Patrick has his list of ten items ready…It won’t surprise you. This will be replicated in state after state. Frankly I don’t know what Dems can do about it. Repubs have gone from total chaos to total control. Guess they got the last laugh, right?

      2. I feel the GOP destablizing government because they lost the election to centrist Democrats is a little different from opposing an actual authoritarian who has showed zero signs of taking action that would relieve people he’s not going to be massively corrupt (see “blind trust”), so long as Dems don’t take it to debt ceiling extremes. I hate to say “they started it” but the GOP has destablilized our politics so much and has become so dangerous that we really do have to behave much more cautiously when working with them than if it was, say, Romney or McCain in power.

      3. Griff! The GOP doesn’t care anymore! They won it all….why are so many people not understanding this! Donald Trump is simply a work around….they will get tax reform (on their terms), repeal climate regulations, enact harsher abortion laws, deport more immigrants, pass a budget that defunds the social safety net (as we know it and change it to a skeleton of itself)….this is real! We can’t wish this away.

      4. mime, I don’t know if things are as straightforward as you would seem to think them. I don’t say that in blind optimism either. We’re in for a lot of setbacks and regressive policies in the coming years, but in what reality does Donald Trump, a man who single-handedly manhandled the entire Republican Party and made it bend to his will suddenly turn over and do as Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell want?

        There was not a single instance in this entire election of Paul Ryan standing up to Trump. He accommodated him the entire way and now Steve Bannon, one who quite literally called for Ryan’s political destruction, will be his chief strategist and a voice in the White House. The Speaker’s immediate future will likely be quite a bit more more troubled than you’re imagining.

      5. You might be forgetting that the Freedom Caucus controls what Ryan can and can’t do. I didn’t say that things would be smooth, but when you have all the power, you can make a lot of mistakes and cover them up. I hope Trump does well as President – I care more about my country than to wish him harm. What good would that do? And, Priebus and Ryan and best WI buddies…There will be circles within circles but they all want to achieve their conservative agenda (except Bannon – who knows what he wants)….Again, not trying to be negative just realistic. If opportunities present themselves, I hope Dems take advantage but the Republican establishment is well oiled and poised to be able to achieve all their wishes because they will hold majorities in Congress, SCOTUS (eventually) and the Presidency. Don’t forget, Congress can overturn vetoes.

      6. I know we can’t stop them but at least we can slow them down until 2018. If we’re united against them they would need total party unity to pass anything, which would require them to take more time to make more interparty compromises and make sure they vote in complete unison. Try to appeal to a couple moderate Republicans in the Senate and we can further slow them down.

      7. All I’m going to say is I hope you are right and I am wrong. Maybe Chris will chime in with his predictions. After all, he knows this crowd and he knows the conservative agenda. He also knows what the party is capable of doing to achieve their agenda. Brace yourself and fight on. That’s all we can really do – selectively.

      8. Fair as it is to argue that the party in power consistently does poorly in off-year elections (Clinton in ’94, Bush in ’06, Obama in ’10 and ’14), ’18 offers little to no solace for Democrats. Honestly, doing as poorly as they did in Senate races this year was their greatest blunder. It was one of the best maps they could hope for and they blew it. Now Republicans have the overwhelming advantage in a year where a slew of Democratic incumbents are competing in solidly red states. This is bad. Even a normal year should grant the GOP roughly five additional seats, give or take.

        The best they could hope for is a backlash to Trump’s presidency that motivates the base to come out and at least mitigate the damage, but I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch, not anymore.

      9. During depressing periods it’s generally good to focus on getting through one day at a time. Four years seems like such a long time to live under Trump that it would suck the life out of Democrats, focusing on slowing him down one event at a time until 2018 is a much more helpful goal even if it’s unlikely the Dems will comeback then, and then from there we can focus on 2020 regardless of what happens.

      1. That’s an interesting thought. I’m sure O will do everything he can before he leaves office for the right reasons. He wouldn’t do it to box in the Repubs, he’s just not that kind of person. He would do it for the right reasons of which there are many.

  1. A link to Dana Milbank’s column in the Washington Post.

    Shades of 1928? Remember the stock market crashed during the autumn of 1929, just 7 months after Hoover took office. The Smoot-Hawley Act was passed in 1930. No effective action was taken to combat the Depression until 1933, after FDR was in office. The R’s action was to shrink the money supply and balance the federal budget. Meanwhile unemployment soared and Hoovervilles flourished.

    The current Ryan “A Better Way” plan wants to slash taxes particularly on the rich, privatize Medicare and Social Security, eliminate Obamacare and replace it with Health Savings Accounts and the ability to market health insurance across state lines. I do not believe that his plan will help the working and middle classes, rather it will aggravate the extraordinary inequality in the nation and make things more difficult for the people. Sounds like he wants to return to 1928.

    1. Never underestimate the greed of Wall Street. The fact that a Republican majority not only is beholden to business interests but will have unalloyed control of the process for passing legislation that benefits business will be a temptation that will outweigh any moral concerns they “might” have had.

    2. As you all know, I’m not in the habit of paying much attention to articles with the words “could”, “might” or really anything else inferring a question, so let’s all take a deep breath and relax before we start foreseeing another Great Depression. We don’t have another FDR to come and lead us out, so for all our sakes, we’d better works our asses off to make sure there isn’t.

      1. Your point is well taken Ryan. However, I do know that many of the conditions that led to the Great Depression are true today. Those include very high inequity, a boom and bust economic cycle, working and middle class stagnation, Republicans with their philosophy of trickle down economics combined with a negligible safety net being in total power, any infrastructure improvements structured so that they enrich the wealthy (review the shenanigans that were used to finance the railroads), no regulation of industry and the financial markets, and on ad infinitum.

        In regards to the infrastructure bill, I am absolutely positive that it will be structured so that public-private construction is utilized. That will enable the private sector to build the infrastructure, own it and charge the public to utilize it. It will not be owned by the government. The government will also contribute significant funds towards the construction. Systems like that are used in Indiana under Pence and were widely used in the 19th Century. Systems like that were used to finance the railroads.

        In regards to the stock market, I might add that some experts think we are overdue for a stock market correction and that a bubble is inflating at this time, if not already inflated. I personally am concerned that a crash could easily occur in the not too distant future.

        An embarkation towards protectionism could easily lead to a global economic slowdown or depression. That is one of the factors that worsened the global-depression in the 1930’s. That in turn facilitated the rise of Mr. Hitler in Germany.

        I see all these factors in play and I am very concerned. For my part I do what I can to prevent an occurrence of another Depression and to elect people (Democrats) who will prevent one. The crash of 2008 could easily have led to a depression. Review “This Time is Different”. That book will enlighten you.

        For my part, I am making damn sure that all my investments are conservative and have as little exposure to risk as possible. I have very limited exposure to the stock market. I am thinking of further moving to a very conservative stance.

      2. Age and history do offer insight. Thank you tmerritt. This is not just “another” election cycle. As I pointed out earlier, not since 1928 has one party had control over all government like this….and we know what happened in 1929. I haven’t made enough adjustments in our finances to protect ourselves but need to look at that. I’m afraid there is lots to worry about as much as I’d like to be in a different mindset.

      3. >] “In regards to the stock market, I might add that some experts think we are overdue for a stock market correction and that a bubble is inflating at this time, if not already inflated. I personally am concerned that a crash could easily occur in the not too distant future.

        I’d like to hear who these experts are and their reasoning.

        That aside, I’ll take all of what you said to heart save one thing. Please don’t ever refer to Hitler as “Mr. Hitler” again. He’s f’ing Hitler and that’s all he’ll ever be.

  2. If you were hoping (against hope) that Trump would surround himself with good people, well, think again. The co-chiefs of staff are going to be Reince Preibus (a pick I understand) and Steve Bannon, the editor of, whose actual title will be something like chief of strategic planning.

    1. I had a bit of an argument with my parents over Trump’s character last night. They couldn’t refute my argument about his track record of bad character, but they were convinced that he could change and that his people would steer him in the right direction. They said they were willing to give Obama a chance 8 years ago so I ought to give Trump a chance too. But the difference between Obama (and all the other recent major party candidates) and Trump, is that Trump has a long history of lying, cheating, and bullying, that the others don’t, and now we have the Bannon hire. I didn’t have that particular data point for that argument, but I suspect it wouldn’t have mattered. I cannot in good conscience give Trump a chance. He has done nothing to earn my trust.

      1. At least that initial conversation is behind you, Fly. Our daughter emailed about joining them for TG and I told her that we would if she would warn all in advance that there could be no election talk, otherwise, we’d stay home. I really mean that. I’m waiting for her response. Too many unkind comments early on and spouse gloating…like Homer, I would speak out if provoked. With more time, maybe all our positions and feelings will soften, but my opinion of Trump, the Comey effect on the election, and the certainty of Republican domination is still too “present” in my mind.

      2. Mary, oddly enough, I spent election night at a dinner with my camping buddies instead of glued to the TV. Our host and hostess hadn’t realized it was going to be election night when they sent out the invites.

        Since we’re a mixed group of conservatives, liberals and non-politicals; the host requested that no one bring up politics. We ended up having a very pleasant evening – although I do admit to sneaking off to check my phone for election results at one point.

        As far as my own parents are concerned, they and I do not bring up politics anymore. It is much better that way. 🙂

      1. Ironically, I might have voted for Ivanka. She made the age cut-off by a week.

        When your first hire is an anti-Semitic alt-right publisher, it’s going to take a bit to convince me or anyone else that things are off to a good start.

      2. Mike, I don’t read Breibart regularly, but I don’t think that Trump is about to persecute Jews anytime soon. Ivana married a Jewish man, converted to Judaism, and their three children are being raised in that religion.

        “She describes her conversion as “amazing and beautiful journey” and that her father supported her studies from day one, due to his respect for the Jewish religion.[44] She attests to keeping a kosher diet and observing the Jewish Sabbath, saying in 2015: “We’re pretty observant… It’s been such a great life decision for me… I really find that with Judaism, it creates an amazing blueprint for family connectivity. From Friday to Saturday we don’t do anything but hang out with one another. We don’t make phone calls.”[63] She sends her daughter to kindergarten at a Jewish school in New York City. Ivanka says that “It’s such a blessing for me to have her come home every night and share with me the Hebrew that she’s learned and sing songs for me around the holidays.”

      3. After 15 months of inciting his followers to violence, he gave the matter two sentences of resistance. No, he is not doing anything to shut this down and he never will. He is using it and he will continue to use it.

      4. This speaks for itself. More to come. It’s like all those Black men who have been shot because they were threatening the officers with guns….until phone video proved otherwise. Hate and ugliness is part and parcel of this election and saying it isn’t so doesn’t change anything. To deny it is to support it.

      5. Griff, it would bother me a great deal. is not on my daily click and read list. Sure, I’ve read an article here and there but mostly when doing searches much like Daily Beast or Politico pops up depending on the subject matter being discussed here.

        Are the accusations against Bannon made because of his association with or because of what he has specifically written or said?

      6. He wasn’t just “connected” to Breitbart he practically ran it and he’s repeatadly run white nationalist conspiracy theories and his ex-wife, whom he’s been accused of beating, testified in court about his anti-Semitism. He has far too many connections with white nationalism for all of it to be considered a misunderstanding. Even Ben Shapiro, let me repeat arch-wingnut Ben freaking Shapiro, said the following about Bannon:

        “Under Bannon’s Leadership, Breitbart Openly Embraced The White Supremacist Alt-Right. Andrew Breitbart despised racism. Truly despised it. He used to brag regularly about helping to integrate his fraternity at Tulane University. He insisted that racial stories be treated with special care to avoid even the whiff of racism. With Bannon embracing Trump, all that changed. Now Breitbart has become the alt-right go-to website, with [Milo] Yiannopoulos pushing white ethno-nationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness, and the comment section turning into a cesspool for white supremacist mememakers.”


      7. Good grief, Griff. Mother Jones is the left equivalent of Breitbart. You’re going to have to do better than that.

        It seems that the complaint of anti-Semitism was a one-time charge made by a wife over a statement which Bannon denied ever making.

        Bannon seems like a slimly character. I wish Trump wouldn’t have chosen him, but you’re going to need a little more evidence for a accusation of anti-Semitism to stick.

      8. Did you even see the headlines they put out or do you think Mother Jones fabricated those too? I’m done trying to reach out to the hardcore ideologues, the true believers. I think we need better outreach to the working class but you’ve gone off the deep end in such a way, and are so deep in denial, that I’m not sure there’s anything I could ever say to change your mind.

      9. Here’s what FoxNews had to say about Bannon. “While opposition to Bannon from Democrats and CAIR might be expected, John Weaver, a Republican strategist who worked for Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s presidential campaign, also piled on.

        “The racist, fascist extreme right is represented footsteps from the Oval Office,” Weaver tweeted. “Be very vigilant, America.”

        Bannon was the executive chairman of Breitbart News and under his reign the website pushed a nationalist, anti-establishment agenda and became one of the leading outlets of the so-called alt-right — a movement often associated with the defense of “Western values.””

      10. I am not surprised at this appointment, and expect there will be others of similar ilk. The fact that Trump put his 3 children on his transition team and plans to let them operate the family business (not so blind trust!) should speak volumes to everyone. I don’t think Trump expected to win, is going to have to either work harder than he ever has, or will let Mike Pence (another jewel of balance from the religious right) and Priebus run it all…..He’s already planning to spend weekends at In NY and FL…He’ll be the first sitting POTUS whose family doesn’ t live full time in the White House……..And, like everything else he’s done, it won’t bother him a bit to break tradition……..Oh, well.

      1. No surprise there, as they don’t want a scandal before the EC votes. How ironic would it be it the request is denied and ends up dying due to a deadlocked SCOTUS.

        This really should have started months ago. Whether or not Trump committed fraud was something voters deserved to know.

      2. Yes, it has already been delayed at Trump’s request to after the election, which I never understood…they certainly haven’t given Clinton a pass on deferred action.
        Judge Curiel would seem to have right on his side given the prior delay.

    1. IOW, stop feeling sorry for ourselves and get our asses into gear, because the party is better than it looks!

      “I am arguing that the public face of that culture too often exemplifies the negative stereotypes of it while not showing its incredible depth, culture, or humanity, and that we must be better about the image that we project to people who, sadly, control a disproportionate amount of political power.”

      “The Republicans will control the House, the Senate, and the presidency, have the chance to appoint at least one and probably several Supreme Court justices, run 68 out of 99 state legislative houses, and hold 31 gubernatorial seats.”

      If those staggering statistics don’t grab you, they should. This has been keeping me awake at night more than Trump ever could.

      Good read, Griff. Only point left out is that Dems did win the popular vote by over 2million. That counts for something, but it’s not enough.

      1. True, the Dems really need to reassert themselves. The way I see it they have three choices:

        1) Stick with Clinton styled establishment types and remain the “Not GOP” party, in which case they remain a relatively weak party whose only chance is the GOP screws up SO badly they can get into power by default.

        2) Pluralistic, socially liberal working class populism that can unite behind a Sanders-esque candidate, IMO their best chance of getting in and most likely the best plausable outcome for the country right now.

        3) Going (or perhaps succumbing too) full radical/postmodernist/identitarian left in which case the Dems will almost certainly stay out of power but our politics will be fully cemented as being based almost purely on ethnic/cultural identity and both major parties will likely become essentially extremist, authoritarian organs and increasingly tied to violent tactics (ala Sinn Fein vs the Democratic Unionist Party). Yes this seems unlikely but with Trump and the Alt-Right white nationalists (ala Steven Bannon) destablizing our entire political system it can’t be ruled out, as horrifying as it seems that a leftist version of Trumpism could start to assert itself in the only major party that could stop the GOP, and already this faction is becoming noisier and they have surprising pull in some semi-popular hard-left quasi-tabloids (remember the Alt-Right also started out in their own tabloids before gaining power, a small group of dedicated, organized radicals can have a shocking amount of influence in an already unstable party).

        For the sake of everyone I hope it’s number two. Already I have a native Hawaiian friend who has been harassed because she had a Hawaii sticker on her car so they thought she was a foreigner and threw garbage at her car, these dumb racist crazies won’t get the message until they’re thrown out of office en masse. I’ve had nothing like that happen to me, only nasty looks and people constantly asking me who I voted for after Trump got elected (I’ve been told I “look like a Trump supporter” because I’m very pale skinned), and more of number three styled noxious venting being spammed on my social media (i.e.:, but still nothing close to what minorities have to worry about right now.

      2. Your no.2 option apparently excludes educated people. I understand and agree with restoring working class people to the party, but not at the exclusion of those already here. The challenge is to draft an agenda and an apparatus that can function effectively for all and alienate only those who would burn the house down. (Alt-right extremes) If Dems aren’t selective, the party will be no better than the Repubs who drafted the religious right and southern white nationalists.

        Here’s a good article from The Guardian (which continues to impress me with the quality of their writing and reporting, but…) which looks more deeply into the issues of the unemployed, uneducated blue collar American over a two year period.

  3. With regards to Mr. Trump’s various outrageous campaign promises and threats (deport all illegals, build a wall, immediately repeal Obamacare, etc), I read a phrase in the current issue of the ECONOMIST magazine which would seem to sum it up perfectly (I may be paraphrasing):

    “Mr. Trump’s supporters took him seriously but not literally. His critics took him literally but not seriously.”

    1. And, therein lies the problem Tutta. The emperor “has” no clothes. It was all a scam, just like the solution to health care – HSA – Poor,middle class people (with families or without) have trouble putting food on the table, finding a safe place to live…

      Sorry, moving from despondency to anger. Intelligent people who actually studied the plans of the two candidates knew full well the difference between concrete and fantasy. Pretty sayings don’t change that. Those who either voted for Trump or 3rd party own their decision, but we will all own the consequences.

      1. What angers me is that, even if he and his policies end up being not as bad as feared, for politically selfish purposes he pitted the people against each other. I have no patience or respect for his newfound conciliatory words urging everyone to come together.

      2. Someone (else) should start a new thread on “things Donald Trump said he’d do that he won’t”. Trump just appointed Reince Priebus his COS. If anyone was thinking he was going to be a fire and brimstone, independent player, think again. His whole campaign was fabrication. If I didn’t dislike the man so much I’d actually feel sorry for him. He is way over his head. Priebus and Pence are gonna have a field day.

      3. I watched Trump’s interview tonight on 60 Minutes. He did well. Frankly, given how things turned out with the GOP in full control, I hope he can stand up for the things he stated, even if he was insincere at the time. Let us hope he will grown in the job and use his ego and bluster to stare down a GOP that clearly never wanted him President. What other choice is there but to hope he can achieve some good?
        He was definitely not my choice, but that’s history. I’m more worried about the Republicans now especially since T appointed Priebus as gatekeeper…(Watching West Wing and Secretary of State have taught me how important the chief of staff position is….guess we learn where we can …)

    2. Tutt, I love the quote! It made me smile.

      During the past few weeks, my husband lost his best friend to cancer and a friend of mine was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer. On Saturday night, I helped out at a mission serving food to some of the homeless people in our community, and last night I talked to someone who thought their life was not worth living.

      Politics has not seemed as important lately. I urge everyone here not to burn bridges with loved ones over an election. As I’ve mentioned, I have members of my own family who are liberal. We don’t talk politics. (I have you folks if I want to get into an argument. 🙂 )

      Life is short. Don’t say things you’ll regret in anger. Thanksgiving is going to be here shortly. It’ll be tough if you have conservative relatives, but consider the consequences of breaking up the bonds that you share.

      1. Thanks, OV. After the initial shock I have decided I will give Mr. Trump the benefit of the doubt. For better or for worse we are stuck with him, I am certainly not leaving the country, and he will be our president, which means he will have to answer to all of us.

      2. Tutt, you’re a better woman than I am. I find Trump way too arrogant, but like you said, he will be our next president.

        I heard someone say that Trump was moving to the center faster than a kid with an Oreo cookie. I don’t completely understand all anxiety liberals feel since Trump is not really a Republican. He’s been a Democrat and contributed to candidate of both parties.

        He’s a pragmatic negotiator. I would not take the first thing he says at face value. Like a used car salesman, he’ll watch for a reaction and cut a deal as best as he can.

        As far as immigration is concerned, he’ll probably end up building a wall and tightening up internal security, but I have a feeling that most of the people here illegally will be able to stay.

  4. From the Harvard Business Review, a great synopsis of the cultural divide and how the interests of the vast working class have been ignored:

    An excerpt:
    “At a deeper level, both parties need an economic program that can deliver middle-class jobs. Republicans have one: Unleash American business. Democrats? They remain obsessed with cultural issues. I fully understand why transgender bathrooms are important, but I also understand why progressives’ obsession with prioritizing cultural issues infuriates many Americans whose chief concerns are economic.”

    1. This could be argued either way. I see the Republicans as primarily obsessed with cultural issues, and Dem actions mostly as reactions.

      The trans bathroom thing would never have been an issue if the NC GOP hadn’t passed the law in the first place.

      As for jobs plans, the Dems include massive infrastructure bill and a huge shift towards renewable energy, something that will create millions of good, non exportable jobs.

      The GoP plan is to cut taxes on the rich and let the benefits trickle down.

      I know which side I think is more likely to work.

      1. >] “As for jobs plans, the Dems include massive infrastructure bill and a huge shift towards renewable energy, something that will create millions of good, non exportable jobs.

        True as that is, Rob, that doesn’t matter in an election if the people don’t feel like a particular candidate is listening to them. Feel however you want about it, but Make America Great Again is a simple easy-to-understand message that tells people that we aren’t as good as we were before and we WILL be that way again. It’s a perverted version of Reagan’s Morning in America and it worked.

        Imagine what would’ve happened instead of being pounded on being fed a question about Flint, MI, Clinton had gone there every week or every other week to help out, giving money of her own to help repair the pipes and showing people that she cared. It would’ve been a public relations bonanza and the right thing to do, but all people saw of her was her constantly going to fundraisers, fending off attacks about her e-mails, etc, etc, etc.

        Republicans fall in line and Democrats fall in love. It’s not fair, but that’s the way it is. Any future Democratic nominee has to understand that.

      2. mime, that’s not enough. It’s admirable for them to have brought in bottled water, filters and the like to help the people of Flint in the short term, but they needed their pipes fixed and clean water back in their homes. Anything short of that can be dismissed as political expediency.

        Did Clinton hold a single major news conference or gathering in Flint in the closing months of the campaign? Did she tweet about it consistently, trying to do everything she could to bring it desperately needed attention, to let them know that the world hadn’t closed its eyes to their suffering and that they WERE going to get their pipes fixed? No.

        How many months did Clinton go without taking questions from reporters? They were frothing at the mouth to have at her and she was hiding like squirrel in its tree. She could’ve hosted an event and brought needed attention to Flint at ANY time. She didn’t. That’s all that matters to them. She didn’t do everything she could when it was in her power to do so.

        And look, I know it was a brutal campaign and that I sound like an arrogant ass when I say all that, but the point I make is that you either let the people know you care or you don’t. There is no in between on this. Michiganders who felt like they were abandoned and used as political props weren’t going to turn out to vote, and they didn’t.

      3. Genesee County, which includes Flint, backed Clinton 52-42 percent. To put that in perspective, President Obama won the same area against Romney by 63-35, so Clinton lost near 20 points worth of support with an actual gap of 38,000 votes compared to ’12. Keep in mind that Clinton only lost Michigan by a little more than 10,000 votes.

        The African-American vote in Flint and Detroit was down. Rep. Dingell and others tried to tell the Clinton campaign that they were in trouble in Michigan and they were regrettably ignored.

    2. I couldn’t open this Armchair, and it looks interesting. Can you C&P some of the important findings? I agree, btw, that Dems have been focused on cultural issues far more than the economy…after all, halving the federal deficit after a GOP-induced Great Recession, saving GM, passing health insurance for all, having 74 continuous months since 2009 of jobs creation – those things weren’t important.
      I’m weary of criticism that fails to acknowledge Obama and the Dems’ efforts regarding economic recovery. It is no accident that there couldn’t have been more achieved given the REpublican total obstruction to anything that would help Democrats gain public support. Those whose jobs have been outsourced, eliminated need to hold the right party accountable.

      Finally, regarding culture wars….these issues had been burning for decades, and it was time they be addressed, but it is not like Democrats weren’t working to help the people of America with economic recovery. It’s just that they got zero help for the big projects (remember O’s $800B infrastructure bill?)…

      End rant.

      1. Mary,
        Speaking of culture wars, not which side is right but form a purely politically tactical point of view, the Dems seem to always loose. Take the bathroon issue. The dems scream about how unfair it is for a transsexual to use a certain bathroom. First, how is anyone going to know? And second, do all transexuels vote DEM? I would so no! But the Dems get into this upraor over a subject that gets them virtually no new voters, maybe even looses them votes.
        do Republicans do this. not nearly as much.
        Reminds me of a quote I have read a number of times. Ronald Reagan wanted to do something that would annoy Israel, some policy thing. But he knew it would annoy American Jews. So he asked James Baker about it. Baker’s response? “The jews don’t vote for us! F*** ’em!”
        The Dems get all upset about a $15.00 minimum wage. Trump says wages are too high! Which one get the low wage votes? The Dems gained almost nothing from that argument!

      2. I could not disagree more. If Dems lose battles that are important for those who have no one else to defend them, the potential for failure shouldn’t be a tactical decision on human rights. Some things need to be done because they are wrong, not popular. The Transgender issue was not as important to me as gay rights (employment, adoption, housing, marriage), but it was important. Are Democrats supposed to forge an agenda that they think will pass and ignore wrongs that exist? Fighting for those who have no standing is one of the aspects of being a Democrat that I hold most dear. If that makes me an underdog for the rest of my life, so be it. Some things you do because they are the right thing to do.

      3. To add to your list, “voter suppression”. Clearly, Democrats have fought tooth and nail for the right of all to vote. Yet, in an election of this magnitude,, turnout for Clinton was not enough in critical states. Was that her fault? The campaign’s fault? Probably, but decades of support for equality was the right thing to do even if it is not appreciated.

  5. ” I want to revisit some of the writings and especially the tactics of civil rights rights groups from the 50’s and 60’s. Across our entire history, their campaign for justice probably achieved more durable gains for minorities, women, and ultimately even LGBT groups than any other similar campaign. They are the gold standard.”

    From what I understand, the key to getting anything done is always “constant, gentle pressure.” Must have all three, not two out of three. Gentle pressure that isn’t constant doesn’t get you anywhere as people just ignore you and assume you’ll just go away eventually. Constant pressure that isn’t gentle makes people hate you and what you stand for. Something that is constant and gentle, but not pressure, doesn’t butter any parsnips.

    1. EJ

      I agree with two out of three. I’m not so sure about gentleness.

      Politically, one often notices that people (especially socially dominant groups) are extremely bad at having a sense of proportion. If they aren’t used to being opposed then any pressure, no matter how gentle, will become inflated in their minds to be the worst thing in the world. A good example of this is those people who were screaming about how gay marriage meant that Christianity was now banned – the only amount of gentleness that would have worked would have been none at all.

      Constant pressure I agree with. As for gentleness, I would say that the important thing is to use the minimum amount of pressure which is effective. If you can get an effect by whispering, you don’t need to shout. If you can get an effect with peaceful protests, you don’t need violence. If you can’t get an effect, however, you may need to consider more drastic means.

      1. The Republicans did not get where they are now, the winners in every sense of the word, by being gentle. They called the first black president a liar publically, said that he was basically an illegal alien, and decided at the very beginning to fight against everything he wanted to do, even if they had actually agreed with the policy, like the health care mandate.
        and, as bad as they were, Obama and the democrats were shocked every time the Republicans sunk to a new low.
        if the dems want to ever win, they have to fight fire with fire! The Dems can not sit around and expect low information, barely literate, Fox watching people to understand what is really going on.
        How the Dems do that is anyone’s guess. They have really screwed up. But the conclusion i take from all this is the country is basically a country with one hell of a lot of haters. And those haters are out in the open, where they were 50-60 years ago. and they are proud of that hate.
        One more thing! Where the hell were all these churches during all this. Obviously all these so called christian churches kept quiet! and the evangelical leaders were in the bag for Trump!
        This is America folks!!

      2. You will hear working class people honestly state their racism, but middle and upper class white people would never admit to something so true and abominable. It doesn’t “fit” their self image. As for evangelicals and catholics who supported Trump because he was the better of the two candidates, all I can say is this is why I don’t go to church. Here’s the conversation that needs to be held.

      3. I can not speak for evangelicals. but being a Catholic, and this is not said to start a discussion on various religions, the Pope came out with a letter warning Catholics about climate change. Here in the United States, it fell on deaf ears. The below explains that US Catholics are Republican first, Catholics second, maybe third! I see it in my family. they almost all voted for Trump, even the women! All church goers. But all Republicans! It is called Tribalism!

      4. The world found that out with Hitler, didn’t it? Please didn’t cut it. The situation in America is fraught with worry because we have one party majority control over all branches of government. The first time since 1928. The track record of the GOP for concern for average people’s needs (health insurance, safety net, etc) is abysmal. It is what it is, I don’t like it and the only avenue left is to stand up and fight once again. Gentleness is a “deserved” quality. It is not for people whose political agendas are so narrow and self-serving that they announced on the eve of PRes. Obama’s inauguration that he would be a one-term president. Shame on Dems for not running a better campaign this time but if anyone thinks Republicans will have their back (if they are gay, black, poor, disabled, sick, old), I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you!

  6. ” I want to revisit some of the writings and especially the tactics of civil rights rights groups from the 50’s and 60’s. Across our entire history, their campaign for justice probably achieved more durable gains for minorities, women, and ultimately even LGBT groups than any other similar campaign. They are the gold standard.”
    Whew! a tall order and a big project. One place I’d start is the Highlander Folk School, the current incarnation of which is in Knoxville, TN and called the Highlander Research and Education Center. Well known participants include MLK, Rosa Parks and Pete Seeger, to name a handful of the many who trained here.
    This link to the Civil Rights Digital Library is a good place to lose yourself in:
    This link gives a good precis of its history:
    Think I’ll refresh myself on this history as well!

  7. DS

    Hi Chris,

    I discovered your blog by way of your widely published resignation letter, after which I devoured huge chunks of the archives. You’ve produced some of the most well written, insightful commentary available on the net on the Republican Party; I’ve also been introduced to a number of interesting conservative thinkers by way of this blog, and I’d like to say thank you.

    I’ve been reading Chris Arnade as I’ve been working to process this election, and I was struck by some of the similarities between him and some of your previous postings, one of which I was able to dig up:

    I was wondering if you might talk a little bit about the evolution between that piece, and your piece on “Trump Whisperers.” I’ve been vacillating between the idea that there really are just a bunch of hopeless racists out there, and the somewhat kinder notion that there’s a lot more frustration involved that clever policy might help mitigate.

  8. “And there shall be a wailing and gnashing of teeth”

    We are in the center of the perfect shit storm. There are a multitude of reasons for Trump being elected. Reasons for people to vote for him and reasons to not vote for Hillary. Reason that are “reasonable” and reasons that are not. Everybody is looking for something or someone to blame. For me, when there doesn’t seem to be a clear culprit, it may as well be looked at as a natural disaster, a hurricane or an earthquake. It mitigates some of the anger.

    I watched the youtube video that Griff linked. I have read several articles that were suggested and many of those articles say, we must converse with the white voters that voted for Trump. We must reach out to them. How? How do we get in front of them? We can send people to get their opinions but how do we tell them that, for example, that to bring back coal, we have to kill the natural gas industry.

    When Honey Boo Boo, Duck Dynasty, and Bill O’Reilly have their attention, how do we just get in front of them for a minute. I have some ideas but what do you think?

    But maybe I’m missing something. Am I wrong assuming that the conversation will take place on mass media or maybe social media?

    1. Setting aside what specific ideas are required, the first thing we need, above and beyond everything else, is authenticity. And yes, we all know Trump is a lying con artist; not the point. The point is his supporters believe him to be authentic and they listen to his every word like it was Gospel. It’s why Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, won 22 states and engineered a challenge to Hillary Clinton far and above beyond anything she was expecting. People felt like he actually gave a shit about them and listened to what they were saying.

      Going forward, we need to cultivate that and get away from political talking points that make people feel like they’re listening to a robot, and that starts at the top.

      1. Ryan – I agree that authenticity is important. And I can see how someone comparing Bernie to Hillary would judge her less authentic than him. Especially a young person. I liked Bill Clinton because he was a wonk. He dug in and tried to understand where we were going. And I believe the same about Hillary. I am sure Bernie was “authentic” in every way, but in my mind she was the way to go. Now, in hindsight, maybe Bernie would have done better. We’ll never know.

        But the more important part of this, is why didn’t others my age(approx. her age) see Hillary as authentic. My point is, if you give the right enough time, they can strip you of authenticity. Not only that they will turn you into a bumbling thief and murderer.

      2. >] “But the more important part of this, is why didn’t others my age(approx. her age) see Hillary as authentic. My point is, if you give the right enough time, they can strip you of authenticity. Not only that they will turn you into a bumbling thief and murderer.

        I would argue that that’s the wrong way to think about it and letting the right have more influence over you than they rightly should. When you think about Hillary’s campaign, take a moment and think about the absolute flood of negative advertising she unleashed on Trump that accomplished effectively nothing. Contrast that with Trump who, whatever the reality, kept talking to people about Making America Great Again, winning again, being strong again, etc, etc.

        Take out Hillary and Trump from your mind’s eye and replace them with two random people. Who comes out as more authentic? The one blistering the other with attack ads or the one who talks about winning again?

        And yes, there’s no end to the “buts” you can put to that, but whittle it down to the core and the answer becomes disturbingly apparent. Regrettably, that’s an answer I didn’t see, or perhaps it’s just one I just didn’t want to see, until it was too late.

        Getting back to the broader point though, if Clinton had taken charge of the narrative and pushed her focus onto a positive message to help uplift Americans, the result on Election Day might well have been different. She didn’t do that. What happened immediately in the aftermath of Comey’s letter is a perfect illustration. What happened? She veered right back into the negative, hammering Trump. It was an act of desperation that inspired no one.

      3. Ryan- If it was two random candidates, and one had an uplifting message and one only had negative ads as a campaign message? Hmm, you know what, I won’t answer that because there is a reason most political ads are negative. And I don’t want to muddy my argument. Because I don’t think his message was uplifting and her ads were only, for the most part, his words repeated over and over. and over. At least here in SW Pennsylvania.

        We obviously see this differently. I think I understand your point. I am trying. But I think we have different experiences that color our conclusions. Here is the difference. Part of my experience is talking to conservatives during the Clinton years and after Bill’s presidency and before Hillary ran. I know there was a deep hatred for both and I truly could not understand the animosity for her. I also was able to listen to Rush Limbaugh’s radio show while the most crazy things were said about the two. And then Fox News.

        The point is that shit stuck. I assume most young people do not know the breadth of the vast right wing conspiracy started by conservatives that assumed that the presidency was there God given right.

        And along comes Trump to take advantage of 30 years accumulated ugliness tucked into the conservative mind.

        But I’ll try to listen.

      4. unarmed, with all respect, what you just said is part of the problem. You seem to be conflating a 30-year conservative hatred of Hillary Clinton with why a lot of Trump supporters who voted for President Obama suddenly turned around and voted him. You’re comparing apples and oranges here.

        This is not even about Trump or Clinton per se. This is about people who went into the voting booth and felt that they had to choice to make that, in their minds, would be the best option for change and Trump is the one, rightly or wrongly, who won that choice (last-minute undecideds overwhelmingly broke for him in this election). We need to get the “why” of that. Blaming it on Republicans’ frothing at the mouth at the thought of Hillary Clinton is an excuse.

        Yes, she’s a policy wonk who likely had very detailed plans about what she wanted to do. That never got across the people. Chris has said that if he were asked what Clinton’s tax plan was, he probably couldn’t tell you. All I could tell you off the top of my head was that she wanted to raise taxes on the wealthy and, supposedly, not raise taxes on anyone else, which honestly sounds odiously familiar from Bill Clinton’s campaign back in ’92 and we know how that turned out. It felt like she wasn’t being straight with us.

        What would’ve happened if she had come out and supported a Universal Basic Income? It’s a simple, easy-to-understand idea that everyone could’ve understood and knew that that was her platform. She had no central, unifying message that people could rally around.

        Trump, by contrast, wanted to Make America Great Again. However ill-conceived or stupid the actual message behind that was, it was a brilliant marketing ploy that won people over.

      5. If Chris or yourself didn’t know what was in Clinton’s tax plans, it’s because you didn’t read them. Could she have articulated them better to the public (which I think is your point), yes. If this was such a determining factor, consider that we didn’t know anything about what Donald Trump’s tax plans were in terms of actual policy detail. I offered a Tax Policy Institute comparison of the two candidates’ plan. I note that I had very little attention to this.

        We are all looking for reasons and there are reasons for why Clinton lost. At some point, we have to take responsibility for what we didn’t do as individuals – study the candidates. This wasn’t a normal policy driven election, it was a reality show. That won, and those who voted for change are gonna get it but they just may not like what they get even though they will deserve

      6. Ryan – I said in my original comment *There are a multitude of reasons for Trump being elected. Reasons for people to vote for him and reasons to not vote for Hillary. Reason that are “reasonable” and reasons that are not.* If an Obama voter switched, it doesn’t rule out some deep held feeling for Hillary. And the crazy thing is there is no way to quantify it because as we know well, they won’t always tell us the truth.

        Again, I don’t disagree with your general assessment.

        But I will make my point in a different way. The UBI is an idea that seems to be floating out there, sometimes promoted by members of both parties. It seems like a good idea to me, one that seems inevitable.

        So this is my warning. If you want to kill the UBI, have a Democratic candidate run on it, especially a candidate that doesn’t have both houses, or even worse, a losing candidate. Then you will see my point about communication or lack of it.

        The UBI will be lost for generations. A good percentage of the population will be convinced it is the work of the devil.

        Always enjoy reading your comments.

      7. Ryan – This guy is making your point.

        Here is the one sentences that should be expanded on – *I talked to my grandma this October, after Trump’s “Grab them by the pussy” comments surfaced. She said, “I don’t like him, but Hillary is also horrible. What should I do?” *

        I do not think her opinion of Hillary is based on reality. I’m not whining about it, I’m just stating a fact.(as I see it) And moving forward we have to at least present a reality to all voters. Therein lies the problem.

      8. Right now Republicans are gearing up to prosecute Clinton. I assume Obama will be forced to give her a pre-emptive pardon for something that was stupid but not criminal. Why? Because Republicans control all three branches of government from top to bottom. It’s going to be open season for impeachments, investigations, heck – they might even throw in a lynching or two.

      9. >] “So this is my warning. If you want to kill the UBI, have a Democratic candidate run on it, especially a candidate that doesn’t have both houses, or even worse, a losing candidate. Then you will see my point about communication or lack of it.

        The UBI will be lost for generations. A good percentage of the population will be convinced it is the work of the devil.

        I do agree that it has to be a strong candidate to make the argument for a UBI. Anyone who goes out there, takes up its mantle and then loses would offer a massive setback to an increasingly essential idea. That said, I do believe you’d have to be one godawful candidate to lose if you’re trying to make that kind of argument.

        That said, if this election has taught us anything, it’s that there’s no surefire way to know what’s going to happen. All we can do is to see that the best available person to make the argument is the nominee and that the case is made to the people. We’ve just got to trust our instincts and wait for the opportune moment.

        All that aside, I will say one thing. There are people on both sides of the aisle that will think a big idea offered from the other side is the “work of the devil”, but I don’t believe that a majority of the population, or something even close to it, would opt for that mindset if a strong case for a Basic Income is made. What has to be avoided can be seen from Clinton’s handling of her e-mails. She kept sidestepping away from it and never tried to take control of the narrative herself. If political hitters are granted that kind of opportunity, they’ll do the same thing. It has to be strongly embraced and its case made from your average American’s perspective.

        Show them how it can and will work and the people will respond in kind.

      1. I’m skeptical about that, mime. Trump’s supporters are loyal to Trump, not the Republican Party. We shouldn’t mix the two up. This was a guy who escalatored his way into the party, stole it right out from under their feet like a bully taking your lunch money and did whatever the hell he wanted.

        Now that’s not to say that the inner workings of Washington and everything else won’t slip Trump up, but is this egomaniac really the kind to let Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell tell him what to do and how to do it?

      2. I have a different POV on the loyalty of Trump’s base. There are some who are rabidly so, and I believe, far more who voted against HRC. This latter group will be fickle…will be watching him and will turn on him in a minute – especially the Independents and minorities who brought this election home for him. I don’t know what to say about the women who voted for Trump…When they have to start paying for IUDs and birth control, and face more disrespect from men, all I can say is “too bad”.

        Truth is none of us know what’s ahead except that the Repub Party is going to jump on this runaway train and make out like bandits while they have control – all the control. If Trump gets in the way, they’ll throw him off the train or lock him up (-; They will not be deterred from their mission. Trump may surprise us all, after all – he’s the only thing standing between an absolute crushing agenda for poor people – but that will have to play out.

    1. It’s just like 2012, Rob, when Romney’s team thought they had the election nailed, and didn’t. It doesn’t. matter. who won the popular vote, it is the control of all 3 branches of government that matters and you can bet they will use their time well. One thing you have to give to the GOP, they know how to use the system to advance their agenda. Now they have no one or nothing to stop them.

      1. I disagree a bit Mary. I understand you’re talking about actual governing and passing laws, wbich of course is the most important thing. We all understood the rules of the EC going in, and Trump won according to those rules.

        But it definitely does matter that 2 million more Americans voted for Hillary then Trump, maybe not in the ability to pass laws, but in legitimacy and mandates.

        I fully acknowledge that Trumps win of 270 electoral votes entitles him to park his ass in the oval office for 4 years. I dont think that means that he is magically owed acquisience to his agenda be cause of that, and i think if the GoP overreaches with their “mandate” (which you know they will) that it will come back to haunt them.

      2. You can bet that the GOP won’t see any of their agenda as an over-reach…merely a long delayed correction. You and I feel that the popular vote win should have weight but this crowd won’t respect this because the only thing that is important to them is that they won. The DNC is in a state of shock, the rank and file members are as well. Somehow, both leadership and membership has to recover and forge a plan to protect the gains that have been made in the Obama tenure. It’s going to be tough sledding. Griff’s youtube by Pie was a tough stance but Democrats have to be ready to listen to things like that. Articles are now focusing on “what went wrong” and “what is next”. That’s a good thing and offers a new direction and hopefully new blood in leadership. The Democratic Party needs to re-vamp or it will die before the Gop which just one week ago looked like it was doomed. There are some lessons there.

      3. What worries me more than anything is the courts. the republicans refused to allow Obama’s court nominees to be confirmed. Now there a a ton of positions open, all lifetime positions. add to that the supreme court and you have right wingers running the country no matter who has the White House or Congress.

        This is a situation that will last for decades. Hell! I read people are talking about Ted Cruz for the Supreme Court!

        All those people who were too busy to vote, or thought a third party vote would teach the Dems a lesson, well, they are about to learn a lesson themselves.

        As an aside, The last few days I am seeing the confederate flag around more!

      4. This moving tribute from Tina Brown introduces the HRC I supported.

        As I mentioned earlier, Republicans want to make certain this woman is ground into the dirt…from Chaffetz to Giuliani, they are determined to prosecute HRC.
        We only thought we knew what “ugly” was.

  9. With Clinton’s loss, it comes as no great shock that the Democratic establishment (such as it exists, anyway) has been utterly defanged and effectively powerless to halt renewed efforts by activists and particularly enraged Sanders supporters (and whoa mama are they pissed off right now) to take over the party at the local and national level. Incoming Minority Leader Schumer, hardly a pushover, threw his weight behind progressive heavyweight Keith Ellison’s bid for DNC chair, which tells you all you need to know about the their nonexistent appetite for a fight.

    In states across the country where Sanders proved victorious, particularly reliably Democratic states (well… previously reliable, anyhow) like Michigan, Wisconsin and Maine, efforts are already underway to unseat current Democratic leadership and replace them with self-affirmed progressives and liberals.

    This does not at all feel like a short-lived endeavor. Activists are pissed, they seem to be mobilizing and quickly, and they are not going to take no for an answer, not this time. What this means for 2018 and 2020 is anyone’s guess at this point.

  10. I know you’re looking for more articles like this Lifer so here you go one from a left publication:

    Also other stuff going around some left-leaning circles to help understand the climate in some of those circles:

    This passage from Sohrab Ahmari’s new book The New Philistines is going around social media:

    This video is also going around social media and has well over 6 million views on facebook last time I saw though I’ll link to the YouTube version:

    It seems many on the left are coming to the conclusion that they may have been unintentionally feeding nationalism. Maybe I was wrong that enough leftists would become so radicalized that they would basically be unknowingly running Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign for the next four years. Hopefully I was wrong. If we know four years of Trump is going to do serious damage I can’t even imagine how much damage eight years will do.

    1. Griff – Thank you for posting the youtube piece by Pie. Tough message but a different approach to understanding this election than I’ve heard through regular channels…(must be time to expand my sources). It certainly compels one’s thinking about what is next for the Democratic Party…. “who leads” to “what is the agenda” and how it will be implemented…And here we were thinking that it was the GOP that was in disarray!

      The concern I have for the messenger’s perspective is that it leaves out a lot of people. It’s pretty dogmatic which, if I understood Pie, is part of the problem with the Dem Party. If the Dem candidate didn’t represent the change people wanted, and if the party no longer understands the working man’s needs, that’s legit criticism. Do you throw it all out if you’re a young person – Bernista or millennial, or whatever to shape an entirely new concept? Would this be better or just “different”? Being older makes one more cautious, but cautious didn’t win and it’s important to at least have a seat at the table where decisions are made. That opportunity is gone for a long time given the GOP lock on government. The irony is that the only real protector the average man has against the Republican agenda in this new government is Trump….What an amazing development (as Archie Bunker used to say)! After all, Trump campaigned for the little guy…Does he have it in him to follow through with his “stated” agenda?

      1. Well said Mime.

        I will vote for whomever the Dems nominate in 2020 regardless of whether or not they are establishment or not, just as I did this year, but yes this is clearly a populist season and due to our current form of media (namely social media and 24 hour news) establishment figures do not hold the institutional sway they once did. I ended up voting for Clinton in the primary even though I supported Sanders earlier because I had been swayed by arguments that she was more electable, clearly my initial gut instinct was more right on this one.

        I disagree with some of Sanders economics but I would very happily take Sanders over Trump, better some slightly-too-left-for-me-economics-that-will-be-tempered-by-Congress anyways over an authoritarian bigot.

        The dems need to nominate a sane populist in 2020, that’s the best we can hope for in our current climate and all of us who were used to “the old ways” need to realize that. Elizabeth Warren comes to mind, as does Tulsi Gabbard. Big money, celebrity endorsements, institutional suppport, etc. doesn’t really hold power in elections anymore. Populism does, and it’s better to have an agreeable populist in power whom you may have a couple disagreements over stuff like some trade deals with rather than fully unhinged demagogic extremist populists that make up the Alt-Right or the (actual) Revolutionary Left.

      2. Agree, Griff. I’m sorry you backed off from your first choice in the primary, but I still feel Hillary Clinton would have been a fine POTUS. Elizabeth Warren is very interesting as a 2020 candidate, especially since the GOP will likely run Ryan…The GOP will discard Trump because he has served his purpose – and I doubt he’d have the desire or energy to seek a second term.. He is going to have to work harder than he ever has in his life and at age 74, having achieved his pinnacle achievement, that may be enough for him.

        Either way, Dems have got to make changes. I believe in the existing core values of the Democratic Party but we are living in different times and the messaging as well as the agenda needs to reflect that. The next four years under the GOP is going to require a great deal of attention by those on the left. Hopefully, the re-energized (and angry) millennials will help in that regard. Mid terms can’t come soon enough and as Fair Economist noted, it may be easier to pick up the House than the Senate. We have to at least try and we have to keep the heat on the Republicans who now control everything from the national level down to the state level…In fact, read on a tweet to David Frum that Dems hold only 26% of state legislatures meaning that if Repubs seek constiutional amendments, we are one state away from not being able to block them. We lost a lot this election but can’t give up.

  11. If you find good literature on the Civil Rights movement, please recommend it. I have a friend who has already been reading up on stuff like that to support Black Lives Matter, and I can proffer that information if she has any recommendations.

    Furthermore, I want to know if there’s any literature on how the Tea Party went from fringe whackos mailing teabags to Obama to full control of every branch of the federal government in six years. Even if the answer is merely ‘The Koch brothers’, maybe some of the left-leaning million and billionaires need some ideas on where to spend their influence.

    Lastly, everybody read ‘The Prince’ by Macchiavelli if you haven’t already. If you have but forgotten a lot of it, or if you’re one of those people who reads it as either a) instructions on how to be an evil person or b) satire, then reread it. It’s really just a political theory handbook on how administrations run by men like Trump (Putin, Erdogan, Berlusconi, et al) operate.

    1. Saw this comment to a Weekly Sift post and sharing it because it offers insight and possible sources for your friend’s research. From Martha Legare:

      ““Colonized” is a word that kept popping up many years ago when I was proofing my friend’s dissertation on Appalachian Women’s Oral History. Though we lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, we both belonged to a Southern Women’s Group, which went on hikes, led anti-racism workshops, and had “comfort food” potlucks (the latter being one of my reasons for leaving the South, but I digress).
      Nola’s dissertation examined how the whole South was “colonized” after the Civil War. The economy was devastated (75% of Alabama’s budget went to supplying artificial limbs), taken over by outsiders (carpetbaggers making money), blacks never getting a mule (much less 40 acres). And THAT, as you know, was when the Klan rose to prominence.
      That sense of colonization by whites and the continued economic slavery of blacks left the South with a pervasive sense of hopelessness prevalent to this day. Although Atlanta, where I now live, is a vibrant city, not far outside the perimeter the emotional tone of post Civil War continues to seep throughout the culture. (Read “Hillbilly Elegy” for an interesting perspective.)
      I wasn’t surprised by the election, but am grappling how to deal with the repercussions. And trying to shake off the hopelessness that came from both past heritage, and personal experience that shows me how complex systems of finance/ government/ business interact to bring about the current state. Fortunately, I’m meeting with a group of international colleagues this week to help process some of this from a world perspective. Wishing all well…

  12. Listen to a clip of Michael Moore on Morning Joe. We could be in for social unrest like the sixties. There are plans for more massive protest than current. The man said that we would not have to endure 4 years of Trump because he would break laws implying impeachment
    I think that has a high probability. I am worried about my country.

    1. We did get through the 60s, and some things did change for the better (Civil rights, women’s rights), so if that is the worst we can expect, I would take that deal. We’ve had 4 pretty mild decades, but as others have pointed out, that hasn’t necessarily been the norm in our society.

      There are some valid things to protest, but the protests need to be done right. Protest again the bad things that Trump has said he wants to do: that stupid wall, his threats against the 1st, 4th, and 8th Anendments, tax cuts that only favor the wealthy, deregulation etc. But can this stupid, counterproductive “f$&@ White people” attitude right now. The people who did not vote for this asshole are your allies, regardless of their race, and you need all the allies you can get. Looking at YOU, Samantha Bee. I love most of your work, and we need your voice, but you are stereotyping with the “f$&@ White people” routine. Stereotyping is sinking towards the alt-right’s level.

      Also, all you people protesting damn well better VOTE in two years.

      1. One thing is certain, Republicans won’t have Hillary Clinton to kick around anymore. No more six figure speeches to Fortune 500 companies, no more hateful criticism, no more emails, no more Foundation charges, no more rubbing Bill’s infidelity in her face. This was Hillary’s swan song, only it ended on a sour note. No, Republicans will likely identify the next “Hillary-Lite” and start their opposition research and smear campaign planning in time for 2020.

        RIP, Hillary. Maybe the GOP will let you alone now that you’re no threat….That is, unless Chaffetz has his way. Mean people are never satisfied until they have crushed people. Chaffetz who couldn’t originally support Trump after hearing the video dialogue, is perfectly ok with destroying the rest of the life of Hillary Clinton over her decision to have a private server. All in the name of his responsibility to the American people, of course, and “right”. “She will continue to be investigated for her private server. For Chaffetz, “lock her up” is still relevant.

      2. Also, all you people protesting damn well better VOTE in two years.

        Well they won’t. They love to biatch about how bad things are so they will throw up a few internet memes and talk about it at the coffee shop but come election day they got better shaite to do than actually cause real change.

        so it is wash and repeat.

        One thing i give credit to the Republicans for, they vote. Come heck or high water they vote.

      3. Let’s not forget that this year, many Democrats crossed the aisle to vote for Trump. Slate reminds us: “when assessing Clinton’s candidacy, it does seem worth noting that she got more votes than George W. Bush did in 2004, than John McCain did in 2008, than Mitt Romney did in 2012, and than Donald Trump did in 2016.”

        Democratic veteran David Plouffe sees things differently:

      4. Now, how to “bottle up” this angst, energy and manpower……The longer I contemplate what happened, the more I believe that the energy behind a revitalized, changed Democratic Party is going to have to come from the West Coast.

    2. Now that Republicans have their “Trump coat tail” control of government, it is not hard to imagine that if Trump attempts to cross the GOPe, he will be toast, pulling up Pence into the POTUS role. Frankly, I was surprised to see how hard Trump worked to campaign – he deserves praise for that. As many who are knowledgeable about politics know: Winning is easier than governing. I simply do not see Trump being willing or able to do the work of Potus. He may surprise me, or not. It’s not my problem to fix but it will impact my family significantly.

      The markets have responded positively to the end of the election, a more pro-business/capitalistic majority and POTUS, but real challenges will start when the Republicans begin to implement their agenda. We all know that America’s collapse into the 2008 Great Recession reverberated across the globe. The uncertainty of a Trump administration and total control of all branches of government by one party can have more impact than simple protests in America’s streets. Our allies, trading partners, and world peace may be at risk. Time will tell. The lack of specificity behind Trump’s rhetoric yields few clues. The stealth of the GOP will present itself soon in sweeping legislative, appointive, and regulatory changes. Markets will respond. Repeal of the ACA alone will roil the economy not to mention the lives of millions of people.

      “The biggest immediate risk of a Trump presidency may be that it sets off a populist reaction in Europe. The Italian referendum remains a potential flashpoint and consequently the single currency has now moved from “under threat” to “almost certainly terminal and probably within the next 12 months”.

      1. Pence wants to privatize social security. See all those transaction fees flying into the pockets of so-called portfolio managers. Americans will love that.

        Ryan wants to privatize medicare. I can see me now, carrying around a little voucher from medical provider to provider, hoping I can sense of the insurance lingo. I think the addition burdens will make the elderly so happy they voted for Trump.

      2. I have been reading up on Ryan’s medicare revision proposal. He starts out with a lie – saying the ACA is bankrupting Medicare (pander – just the opposite, Medicare’s solvency was extended because of the ACA; said ACA stole $800 million from Medicare Advantage Plans – no, didn’ t steal but did shift government subsidy to the private M.A. plans that had enabled them to make a profit and offer benefits traditional Medicare participants didn’t enjoy with “NO” government subsidy. ACA shifted this money into free preventative care/baseline annual tests-check ups…Ryan wants Medicare to fail and the private M.A. plans to succeed thus making private insurance very happy…..

        Talks about premium support but no details as to how seniors with chronic illnesses (Parkinsons, etc) or catastrophic expenses (cancer, etc) would fare under the “block grant premium” which doesn’t differentiate from person to person, regardless of age or health…

        Adds Health Savings Accounts, HSA, which Tutta talked about earlier….which are great if you have no health problems. How many seniors do you know that fit that description? Raise eligibility age…Work til you drop, right?

        It’s going to be interesting. Ryan said Health care reform is a higher priority to SS reform because it is in deeper trouble, which is true, but hte solution(s) are not going to make many happy.

      3. Yes, Ryan is lying. Even the reporters mention that.

        Regarding the medicare advantage plans, every time there’s a story about insurance plans defrauding medicare it seems the story is really about medicare advantage plans abusing the coding system and billing medicare for more treatment than they actually provided their clients.

        Really, Hillary’s idea of letting people age 55+ buy into medicare was solid.

    3. I think if he’s impeached or not will be how much he plays ball with the GOPe.

      If he rubber-stamps their tax cuts and privatisation of SS/M’care they won’t bother. But if he doesn’t, then they’ll use some thing or other to get rid of him and install Pence.

      I think it pretty much 100% chance that he will commit crimes that are impeachable. He’s too crooked by nature.

      1. Yep, filling those spots with establishment figures is a real “change”. As I’ve stated, I really don’t believe Trump wants to do the work of the job, merely play “king” for 4 years. Either way, with total GOP control (even of Trump though he doesn’t know it yet), the loss to American values will be far more significant than the gains to our economy. What a price to pay for change. Enjoy the moment, Trumpettes. It will be fleeting.

      2. This has disaster written all over it for the GoP.

        Ryan thinks the GoP ideology won (they didn’t) and they believe they have a mandate. They will, of course, overreach, and when the base realizes that Trump just became the thing theyve despised, they are going to be livid.

      3. I’m being very careful with my predictions after the shock of watching Clinton get beat by Trump. Winning the popular vote gives Dems something to build upon, but still records a loss in the POTUS column and much more in terms of the courts, the environment, and equality. I’m not feeling confident about the future so my predictions are similarly cautious.

        I failed profoundly in believing that the American people – especially women – would not accept Trump’s many personal failures. The Republican Party has always put money and power first, while Dems put values first. There is no checks and balance now thus it is easy to see where the changes will be made. If you fall into the categories of the elderly, sick, disabled, poor, female, minority and different sexual orientation, you will be targeted. If you care about global warming, as I do, there will be no help there. I have no magic remedies nor brilliant ideas to avert what is coming, only remorse over what has occurred and fear for what lies ahead.

    1. Rumor from elsewhere on the Internet- some of the 4chan-ers are already starting to turn on him for this. I’m not going there to verify it, and I don’t recommend you do either. But it should have been apparent to those dumbasses when Trump campaigned on Ryan’s economic plan. Hate and stigginit won’t pay your bills.

  13. A few thoughts.

    First, Clinton lost because she lost FL, NC, PA, and OH. Out of the three, she only lost Ohio by any substantial margin.

    Second, not to dismiss the fact that Clinton lost those states, but if Clinton were a younger white male without 25+ years of “baggage”, she would have won those states, almost without a doubt. Now, subtract the emails, Wall St. speeches, and deplorables comment, and she definitely would have won those states.

    Third, this election wasn’t just white uneducated male racism. It was, without a doubt, anti-establishment. Clinton is the establishment. Well, was.

    At the end of the day, while I’m surprised that Clinton lost, in a way I’m not.

    The center is not interested in solving problems. In fact, the center is, almost by definition, offering more status quo. Just as we’ve seen around the world, populations ill served by neoliberalism are experimenting with the wings, because more of the same is essentially more neoliberalism: tax cuts, deregulation, privatization, and free trade agreements.

    As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m a long term radical, and a short term liberal. I’ve been a strong supporter of Social Democracy for almost my entire life, and one of the things I’ve enjoyed about Lifer/Ladd is a “conservative”, “Republican” who sees value in things like a universal basic income.

    To me, supporting the UBI is the ultimate test as to whether you’re forward thinking and want to anticipate one of the biggest problems facing ALL of humanity. Instead of letting it creep up and ultimately clobber the majority of humans, we should be anticipating the fact that not everyone can be employed in a good paying job that allows them to be in the middle class. Hell, right now there aren’t enough jobs just to keep people in the working class.

    This isn’t 1958. Unions and more factories with fewer regulations are not the answer to unemployment, underemployment, and the inability for the economy to work for everyone. Ladd has recognized this, and it’s why I’ve been reading Ladd since I found his original site. We we may disagree on a whole lot of policy, he is able to see one of the most fundamental problems currently over the horizon, but there nonetheless.

    I’ve linked to this article on the previous site, and I still think it is worth reading.

    Look, capitalism will always exist, as it always has. People will always attempt to turn their skill/excess possessions/capital into more money. Always. Forever.

    But as a species, we need to be transitioning the hell out of capitalism as a de facto secular religion, and we need to figure out how we’re going to efficiently allocate resources. Especially if and when technology and mechanization really takes off, which I think is within the next 20 years. By take off, I mean to the point where 30% of the current labor force is absolutely unneeded.

    There are 7 billion people, and there will never be enough jobs available to employ everyone who is capable and wants to work. And I mean that for right now. This literally necessitates that we figure out a much better way of organizing our economies…right now. And in anticipation of the immediate future.

    Privatization decreases the middle class, while it increases the amount of millionaire/billionaires. Period. Full stop. It, by its very nature funnels resources to fewer people. By. Its. Very. Nature.

    There are many different ways to increase employment, such as making full-time work 20 hours a week, and upping salaries/hourly wages to make up for the loss of hours. It would almost instantly drop the unemployment rate to 0%, and naysayers would bear the burden to show how this would hurt employers, as 0% unemployment guaranteed a white-hot economy as everyone has the money to spend to upgrade their material goods and invest, etc.

    But even that is just a stopgap.

    Dropping full-time employment to 20 hours a week allows people who are obsessed with the morality of “employment” to continue the current system, but as technology and mechanization increases and decreases the amount of jobs, along with a growing population…it’s just a temporary thing.

    We need to be thinking about the future. And neither party has answers for the current problems, never mind the future.

    That is what this election was about.

    Trump was lying, and everyone knows it. But they also know that more of the same means the same problems they’ve been having for 30 years. And they voted to burn it down, if necessary.

    1. Wonderfully said. You’ve taken ideas that are in my head and articulated them in a way that I haven’t been able to manage. I will be cutting and pasting your comments to all of my friends, attributed to you of course.

      Thinking about re-election within this framework makes me feel much better about it. Yes, many people voted for Trump because of his deplorable attributes. But many also voted for him because of the reasons you so clearly outlined.

      As I said below, time to stop dithering and start actually doing something about this. We centrists are equally complicit in this election result.


        I wouldn’t start celebrating too soon, Armchair. The tip of the iceberg is just the start of the changes ahead. The comments are worth reading. One reader noted that since welfare reform in 1996 (courtesy Gingrich/Bill Clinton) the amount of money for this budget category has not changed…..Republicans really, really don’t like programs for the poor, unemployed, sick, disabled. Get used to it.

    2. “The center is not interested in solving problems. In fact, the center is, almost by definition, offering more status quo. Just as we’ve seen around the world, populations ill served by neoliberalism are experimenting with the wings, because more of the same is essentially more neoliberalism: tax cuts, deregulation, privatization, and free trade agreements.”

      I agree with much of what you say, but the Dems haven’t been the ones pitching tax cuts and deregulation in this election cycle. I can’t say I recall them being in favor of privatization either. Clinton absolutely did do a 180 on free trade, no denying that.

    3. All you said may come to pass, N1cholas, but we still need good people to lead us. Most of your message focuses on economic progress for the masses – which as a progressive Democrat, I support. It is key to the other issues I think are even more important, and indelibly linked – equality. Trump lied about what he “will” do, but not about who he is. That person doesn’t offer the opportunity for a UBI – ever – because that man has no real idea of what the needs of the masses really are. He has never experienced it and he doesn’t have the humility to assimilate their pain – only exploit it.

      I heard Warren Buffett defend the steady progress that has been made during Pres. Obama’s tenure. He is not concerned about lower growth (2% range), because when you correlate with population growth (1%), it is where it should be. In America, much self worth has been connected to employment and reward. What you are describing is reward through personal fulfillment in a more diverse manner – time to enjoy life and the pursuit of other interests while earning a decent living. As a 73 year old, I can attest to the importance of using time well.

      There were many factors that contributed to Clinton’s loss and while I agree with those cited in combination with the mood of a restless society, I disagree with the choice the people made whether as a bridge or a message. If as you suggest the choice was more about change, how that change is implemented is important. My biggest concern is that there are no checks and balance on our government and that the party that in charge is so fundamentally disinterested in values that are more important to me. There will be no reform of the justice system. Minorities and the poor will be even more vulnerable. Women’s rights less protected. Our environment more at risk. Healthcare more limited. Our institutions less representative. Our ruling party more convinced that their agenda is the people’s agenda.

      I assume you believe more change is coming that will provide a counter-force to what has been chosen. We won’t know until there is much more analysis if the majority of America has chosen what they will get or if the candidate, her campaign, and mitigating events (wikileaks, FBI insertion, Russian involvement). What we do know is that a dramatic change will occur. I am not afraid of change (I voted FOR Obama, after all.) What I am afraid of are the consequences of small minded people with little interest in helping the least among us.

      Be careful what you wish for.

      1. I voted for Sanders in the primary, and was a vocal proponent of Clinton during the campaign.

        I felt disgusted when Florida was called, and when NC was called, I knew Trump was getting elected.

        My dream scenario was a Clinton landslide, 53+ Senate seats, a much closer House, and the self-destruction of the Republican party.

        Perhaps this is just a Pyrrhic victory and everything will right itself. Or perhaps the Democratic party is going to have to retool itself, if not totally rebuild.

        I wasn’t wishing for a Strongman Trump presidency, and I’m fairly certain that it isn’t going to bode well for the nation as a whole, and for a whole lot of individuals on a personal basis. It sucks.

        But I do think that if the Democratic party/progressives/sane conservatives want to destroy Strongman Trump and the Republican party as it now exists, we need to, right off the bat, realize that neoliberalism and neoconservatism have to go. They have utterly failed the middle class, and at best have allowed the upper middle class in certain locations to maintain the status quo. If Democrats/Progressives/Sane Conservatives instead choose to double-down on centrism, aka the status quo (tax “loopholes”, deregulation, privatization, financialization, free trade, etc) then we’re all going to be stuck watching the damage pile up higher and higher on itself for longer and longer.

        Or, to put it another way, Democrats, Progressives and Sane Conservatives, plus the working class who can see policies that help everyone, can defeat Strongman Trump and the current Republican party.

      2. I’d say it will need to be a blend, N1cholas. I don’t know how to achieve this and I agree with a paradigm shift in leadership (as long as it’s competent…look at Ellison’s legislative record)…but the DNC has suffocated young people in the organization from moving up. They are paying the price for that…but, don’t forget…Trump is even older than Clinton and he won. Bernie Sanders did not. Clinton did not. What’s next? Remember, the message was change from status quo but not for a brave new world, but a return to yesteryear. All those things you mentioned that “have to go” – “loopholes”, deregulation, privatization, financialization (whatever you mean by that?), free trade – it’s a matter of balance…not centrist…balance. America will not accept socialized government which is what it sounds like you’re pushing. Some of each of the categories you want to put on the chopping block – judiciously used – are important to a functioning Democracy….as is the willingness to make changes.

        Democrats need to bring youth into leadership tempered with some who are experienced. There will be trade-offs. I want a bold and achievable “break the mold” agenda led by people who are willing to knock walls down. I like what is happening in CA….I’d like that energy and thinking to guide the Dem Party. I also want those in charge to be rational and pragmatic and guided by values of equality and diversity. We are about to witness the dismantling of social values that have taken years to get to this paltry point. Gay people, minorities, women’s rights, disengagement from war, diversity in our neighborhoods, justic equality, schools, workplace….climate protection….It’s all on the chopping block.

        All along, we have feared Trump when what we should have feared was the potential for a Republican takeover of government. We didn’t see it coming just as we didn’t see Trump coming. I’ve been watching politics for about 50 years pretty closely – and while hardly an expert, I’ve learned a few things. Remember, I was in the “caution camp” in this election. And I was right about that to my deepest sorrow. You are correct N1cholas about the need for change within the DNC and within out country, but there will be trade-offs in the process. That’s not a bad thing as long as it doesn’t stifle change. Old people resist change; young people lack discipline. Put the best of both groups together, led by an energetic, truly progressive thinker with a smart, creative, visionary agenda and let’s get it done.

        The time for pain and suffering is over. Learn from what happened and let’s kick some serious ass.

    4. “this election wasn’t just white uneducated male racism.”
      Careful, now. Don’t want to rock the boat while Chris is gluing his paradigm back together.

      But of course it wasn’t. Racism™ is just what the left used to demonize Trump and his supporters, hoping to shame people away from him. Same story, different day. All that accomplished was to shame people away from admitting the truth to the pollsters, leading to that beautiful OMG moment on election night. And instead of caving to Racism™ like the average republican, Trump gave the race-baiters (and lots of others) the finger, which drew huge support. I’m really surprised how many people didn’t see that for what it was. And if you want to say racism decided the election, it’s just as legitimate to blame cousin Pookie who twice voted for a black man but wouldn’t get off the couch for a white woman. Look at the numbers. Of course I’ll be called racist for saying that. Whatever.

      I’m out. Hope you folks find a way to survive the next eight years.


      1. Doug, if you want to stick your head in the sand about Trump’s racist words and deeds, you are beyond help. Racism wasn’t the only force driving this election. But to deny it played any role at all? Well, you people have been denying reality for the past 18 months, which you can do until it bites you on the ass. Expect no sympathy from me when it does.

        Too embarrassed to say you’d vote for Trump? Then you’re a spineless wuss, or maybe you have a little attack of conscience that you managed to fight off by Election Day.

      2. “Too embarrassed to say you’d vote for Trump? Then you’re a spineless wuss, or maybe you have a little attack of conscience that you managed to fight off by Election Day.”

        Apparently I’m spineless…try to get away and here I am posting again. But don’t worry, I won’t be a pest for long.

        Look, you can’t deny the social pressure. Nobody wants to be seen as a racist. I bet a coworker $50 that Trump would win months ago. He kept pointing to number crunchers like Nate Silver, and my retort was was consistent: All those models are based on polls, and people are embarrassed to admit they are voting for Trump. One pollster (don’t remember his name) figured it out by asking who a person planned to vote for, then asking who his neighbors were voting for. The hidden Trump supports said they were undecided, but that their neighbors were going to go with Trump. Pretty smart dude.

        To be clear, I have my issues with Trump, and hardcore Trumpsters annoy the crap out of me. He was not my first, second, or third choice, and in the end I voted for Johnson. Not sure how I would have voted if I lived in a more competitive state. I hope he will will surprise the naysayers.

        By the way, misogynist Trump was the first candidate ever to win with a female campaign manger. Kellyanne Conway did an amazing job.

      3. “Look, you can’t deny the social pressure. Nobody wants to be seen as a racist. ”

        Sure there’s social pressure. But are you man enough to stand up for what you truly believe in?

        As for nobody wanting to be seen as racist, I beg to differ. Plenty if them have been crawling out from under their rocks recently.

        Saying “I’m not mysogynist because I hired a woman” is the same as saying “I’m not racist because I have a Black friend.” It’s cherry picking. Conway is an amazingly shameless liar, I’ll give her that.

        Since you voted for Johnson I retract lumping you in with the delusional Trump worshipers.

    5. You seem to think that the Clinton campaign reflected only status quo. Certainly there “was” some of that but she had many forward thinking ideas and policies that were explained in detail. She failed to sell them and that is a legitimate criticism. The Trump transition team will morph into some predictable paths with hopefully some good results to go along with the bad.

      Young adults – Millennials, Gen Xers and beyond who have been critical of the Democratic Party agenda are about to see a whole new world, GOP-style. Get ready. If this younger group has ideas – it’s time to step up. Older people have been carrying the load for a long time. Stop criticizing and get involved in the change YOU want, but be careful – because not everyone is 21 or 41. There are lots of other people of all ages, ethnicities, races, genders, sexual orientation who have an equal right to pursuit of opportunity and happiness in America. It is always easier to monday morning quarterback why things didn’t work out. What’s infinitely more difficult, is to achieve one’s goals. Young people have been passengers on this bus, not the driver, which has afforded you all the privileges of criticism with the responsibilities of citizenship and governing. Now is your time. You think you can do better? Go for it. Don’t just talk about it.

  14. The cognitive dissonance out there is baffling right now.

    Not one week ago, everyone was mocking Trump for waffling on whether to accept the results of the election. Now, all these people are out trying to either abolish the electoral college or to get the electors to refuse to vote for Trump. The protests against Trump are getting just as bad, violent and dangerous as what Trump’s groups were accused of being.

    Really? Did we all not learn ANYTHING at all this election?

    1. Some of the electors are perfectly free not to vote for Trump if they choose. But people are foolish to pin any hopes on something like that, even as crazy as this year has been.

      As for the protests, yes they are counterproductive . I especially have zero sympathy for any of those protestors who didn’t vote or voted third party. They were warned about this possibility, and they need to own the consequences of their choice.

      1. An amended thought on the protests- if you are protesting his proposed policies, as opposed to the election result, which played out by the rules whether you liked it or not, that’s fair game. Although destroying anyone’s property it not. Still no sympathy for those who chose not to use their right to vote for maximum effect.

      2. That’s a good point, Fly, and I believe that was a large factor. This vitriol had been non-stop for over a year. Finally, the election would end it and Trump would “go away” and Clinton would take charge. When news of Trump’s upset hit, I think millions of Clinton supporters and anti-Trump folks were blind-sided.

      3. The same radicals who mocked people for voting in US elections because we’re all just corporate sheeple anyways are now losing after Trump won.

        They asked one of the protest organizers who were blocking the 101 what their goal was and what followed was “stopping the flow of commerce” would accomplish something followed by garble about combatting the Patriarchy and other random buzzwords thrown in. No clear goal, no plans, just far-left reaction.

      4. A “kidz will be kidz” milling about? Undoubtedly lots of that plus many who genuinely needed to vent for serious reasons.

        This late news affirms that Trump’s election has saved Paul Ryan’s buns. Freedom Caucus said as long as Donald Trump’s agenda was protected, Ryan would get a pass….the most important thing being to pass critical legislation asap and not allow an intra-party fight to derail it.

      5. Here’s a short audio-tape from some of the UT protestors on the day after the election. They were/are hurting and with young people, sought a group to share their pain. You can hear the anguish, fear, more than any anger. That may have varied from state to state, but the protests are telling us something about the young leaders of tomorrow. They share many of our values and are willing to stand up and be counted. Bravo.

    2. Rachel Maddow and Eliz Warren talked about the protests tonight. It was Warren’s opinion that this was necessary for many people as a way of working through grieving. Absolutely property damage and violence were not ok but for the most part, the protests were unorganized and peaceful…

      Black people are angry and they are afraid. Gays and young people are as well. I know how hurt I have been and I’m a mature adult. I haven’t been as well organized or in control of my feelings since it was apparent the race was ending in Trump’s favor. More of a disbelief. For many people, they have to physically move or react. That is probably more healthy. I understand your point, though, about not criticizing others then doing the same thing. I believe many people feel this election was stolen….Comey and news that FBI agents in the NY office were actively passing along internal information (I have always felt this was a huge turning point – right before early voting), and the continual drip of leaked emails fed this narrative. Today Russia admitted they had been in daily contact with the Trump campaign….Add these things together and despondence turns to outcry. That never excuses violence or property destruction, but anger and hurt are a powerful combination. I would also venture that this display of feelings was more justified than that of the early Trump rallies.

  15. The Francis Fukuyama idea is woefully mistaken, and one I think that has led you far astray.
    History always takes two steps forward, one step back. Our parents’ generation had civil unrest in the 60’s and 70’s. Cities rioted and burned. Our grandparents, and their parents, had the Depression and WWII. Did you think our generation was somehow exempt from that? Most of the people in or near my age group and social circle have lived their entire lives in a world that more or less functioned and could be seen to be slowly getting better. The consistent decline in crime from its height in 1994 through around 2015 has been the story of our generation. Did you think it would all somehow magically keep going?
    We were just lucky. And we were about due.

    1. ^ What he said.

      As bad as things are going to get though, we need to take a moment to step back and take things in retrospect. As long as these four years will seem, they’re but a blip on the radar for the world. Yes, we’re going to see a lot of backwards action on climate change, but the world isn’t going to turn into a sizzling oven overnight. Each and every one of us needs to do what small thing we can to try and mitigate the damage in the mean time.

      Whatever fights are coming, we take them on one by one and in the mean time we organize, plan ahead and get ready for 2018 and 2020.

  16. What is the opposite of populism? Is it corporatism? Is it party-ism?

    What is the difference between ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’ and the national government we experience now?

    Why does the term populism disappear from public discourse when we’re not having a presidential election?

    Right this moment, I feel many voters, particularly white males — and members of my family — became newbie populists as a cover for their inability to deal with the changing roles of women and people of color in this country.

    All my life I’ve heard that competition is the cornerstone of the American system. Turns out, many white boys can’t handle it. Why do they feel so weak?

    I honestly believe that some of the animus from men is a result of the advertising industry. So many television commercials depict men and husbands in typical household situations as incompetents, well-meaning but clumsy, lacking in basic knowledge necessary for day-to-day living. More than once I’ve asked myself why men don’t organize to protest those depictions. Or is that not a manly thing to do? Women have done it. Stick those advertisers in their business, where it hurts.

    An Indian-American immigrant who lives in a primarily Indian immigrant community tells me all the men there were Trumpists. She links it to their having limited respect for women.

    From sexual assault to dismissing Trump’s pronouncement as ‘just words’, his election feels personal to me. I’ll be joining the resistance after one final exam and a half-marathon this weekend (to celebrate my 70th year). I hope they have attractive uniforms.

    1. Wear purple, BoBo. Good for you…half-marathon! I’m so impressed. Are you pursuing a new degree or finishing an old one?

      I think you are correct yet Muslim men are pretty authoritarian and I have been told they voted Clinton…of course this may be a result of Khazir Khan or it may be all the ugly rhetoric from Trump…The Indian woman who is my PCP was a Clinton supporter…don’t know about her husband..l

      1. I am finishing a degree I started 5 years ago. Thanks for asking.

        For me, purple has little attraction, nor do red hats. Now demin — I like demin!

        My Indian friends are Hindu. Both husband and wife are upset about the election.

  17. From a friend of a friend, who is trying to find peace and acceptance and dignity in her personal loss with Clinton’s defeat. I have permission to post this original piece written by Nerissa Nields on 11/9/16, and another with love from a husband for the pain his wife is quietly enduring. There’s still a lot of pain out there and all of us should quietly be wishing Hillary Clinton peace. Her burdens are large.

    I’m glad I didn’t see
    The Trump sign on the public lawn
    As a harbinger
    Across the street from my house
    On the morning of the election
    Instead, I just felt sorry for the guy who put it there.
    Fat chance.
    I’m glad I believed she would win
    I’m glad I wore white in honor of the suffragettes
    I’m glad I spent the day with my daughter and BFF
    Canvassing for Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire
    On a perfect fall day
    The benevolent blue of the sky
    The sun shining in our faces as we held up the signs
    The cars honking their approval
    Stronger Together
    We took our picture with cardboard Hillary
    We took our picture with someone dressed as a suffragette
    We high-fived a union worker.
    “How’s it looking?” we asked.
    “We’re going to win,” everyone said.
    I’m glad I didn’t know what was coming
    In the same way
    I was glad I didn’t know
    On my tenth anniversary
    That my marriage would end within a year
    I got to dance with my husband that night
    To believe that it was the first of many decades together
    To believe in love
    To believe in marriage
    I remember thinking, “I am perfectly happy right this moment.”
    I’m glad I didn’t know what was coming
    In the same way
    You were glad you didn’t know about the cancer.
    You trained for the Boston Marathon
    So full of determination and joy
    Right up until you couldn’t breathe
    And they found the stage four tumor.
    I’m glad I didn’t know what was coming
    In the same way
    I was glad I didn’t know about the miscarriage
    The night my sister and I were both
    Secretly pregnant
    Singing together onstage
    Our tiny bellies both just beginning to round
    I remember thinking “I am perfectly happy at this moment.”
    My daughter and I drove home from New Hampshire
    The leaves that perfect gold
    Past peak and still shining in the sun
    Stopping at the store
    For drinks for our election night party
    Sure to be one for the history books.
    I came home to my sister and her son
    Piano lessons for the kids
    Take out for the grown ups
    A cake to bake.
    I looked up at my sister and said,
    “I am perfectly happy at this moment.”
    A younger me would say, “Fool. That’s what you get for being happy. That’s what you get for believing.”
    A wiser me says
    That perfectly happy unstatic moment
    Is all you get. So take it.
    No one can take away
    The fact that the canvassing office was full of familiar faces
    Northampton transplanted in Keene
    No one can take away
    This land is your land
    No one can take away
    She won the popular vote
    The young
    The brown
    The queer
    The future.
    No one can take away
    That we turned off the TV when it got too scary
    And sang If I Had a Hammer instead
    No one can take away
    That we were peaceful in the end––
    One more peaceful transfer of power.
    No one can take away
    Our own decency
    No one can take away
    Pantsuit Nation
    No one can take away
    Bruce Springsteen’s passion
    Or Obama’s class
    Or Michelle’s sincerity
    Or Hillary’s grit
    We live our lives
    We have our triumphs and tragedies
    We get to keep it all, every bit of it.
    If I had known,
    I would have lost the day
    And that might have been worse
    Than losing the election.

  18. Strauss is considered a neoconservative influence because he was (somewhat incorrectly) viewed as endorsing the concept of the “noble lie”, which neocons used to justify the idea of a handful of elites lying to the ignorant masses for the greater good.

    However Strauss was actually talking about something different. The noble lie was in the context of talking about esoteric vs exoteric writing. Esoteric writing is an attempt to hide a secret meaning in the text, which Strauss thought was neccessary as to hide its true meaning from a societies elites. Exoteric writing is an attempt to write clearly for the people, while Strauss thought they shouls be writing for other philosophers. That’s why he’s so hard to read, his writing is intended for philosophers not laymen.

    Fukuyama talked about Strauss too maybe that can help:

  19. So how serious do we think Trump was about his campaign promises?

    His rust belt supporters, they actually believe him when he says he’s going to rip up NAFTA. They actually believe him when he says he’s going to bring g back jobs, implement tarrifs, “drain the swamp” etc. The Republicans think they won the presidency. In reality, Trump was a third party candidate who happened to run under the GoP banner.

    My gut tells me he doesn’t even remember half the stuff he’s said. That’s all in the past, he used his base the way he uses everyone else. Now that he’s actually elexted, he’s going to have to figure out if he’s going to do what his base sent him to do, or rubber stamp bills that Congress sends him, because he cannot do both.

    There are some major, major differences between Ryan and Trump. Ryan is pro immigration, pro free trade, pro NATO, pro entitlement reform etc. Trumps platform, the one that got him elected, is the antithesis of this.

    Trump is convinced it’s his personality that his base loves. While that surely plays a part, at the end of the day, I believe that his supporters actually believe he’s going to do what he says he’s going to do. They actually mean it when they say they despise politicians.

    He was sent to be a change agent, but cutting taxes on the ric and reforming Medicare are not change. That’s just more GoP status quo.

    Either Trumps base is going to be bitterly disappointed, or Ryan/McConnell will be. It’s hard to predict which because Trump seems to have no loyalty other then himself and he doesn’t seem to owe any body in the GoP establishment for his rise.

    Considering it seems like the only people Trump respects on a personal level are elites and ppl of status, I find it hard to believe he will deny the elites he deals with in DC over the needs of the “losers” in the rust belt that voted for him.

    1. Predictions are a dime a dozen around here, but I’ll stick out my neck and make one for everyone’s entertainment- the base gets screwed. I base this on the capacity for self delusion they have demonstrated (Ryan’s tax plan has been out there for a while and it’s obvious who wins and loses), and the GOPe is smarter and more experienced with trickery.

      1. Fly, unfortunately that is not a prediction. That is a known fact. Whenever, the GOP gets in power, taxes, especially for the wealthy, get slashed, there is a tiny bit for the middle and lower income people, defense spending soars and the deficit skyrockets. Then that becomes an excuse to cut services and investments. The base, who are primarily people similar to us, then gets screwed.

        That is the methodology that Grover Norquist laid out so many years ago, when he stated “I don’t dislike government, I just want to shrink it to the point where, I can drag it to the bathtub and drown it.”

        Also don’t forget that ever since Reagan, the GOP has a record of getting us into wars. The grunts in those wars are the ones who get killed, wounded and maimed.

        I expect all the above will happen with Trump.

  20. I know Republicans are not known for their foresight, but I think the very obvious glee coming from the Turtles/Ryan crowd is misplaced.

    For one, I’m not at all convinced Trump is simply going to rubber stamp whatever they send to his desk. And secondly, they’re on the clock now. No excuses about not having the white house or Senate.

    Are they truly comfortable with Trump as their face to the world? I think it is far more likely Trump will screw up monumentally then that he will have a solid presidency, likely in the corruption category. Have you seen the crony’s he’s considering for cabinet? There is going to be unprecedented graft in this administration, and that’s going to stick to the GoP.

    1. SJZ

      Agreed. Trump will be loyal to those who have supported him from day one, mainly the alt-right/Breitbart crowd and the far-right Evangelicals. Ryan, on the other hand, is someone I can see him taking relish in humiliating. Other than tax cuts, I see few areas where they actually agree. For instance, Ryan has never been a proponent of massive infrastructure spending and there is no way Trump is going touch the entitlements many of his older supporters rely on to survive.

      The names being leaked so far for his cabinet are just of hint of the nightmare to come. What should terrify the GOP, and the rest of the country, is that he will actually do the things he said he would do.

      1. EJ

        Trump has left a long trail of people behind who trusted him to deliver on his promises, all of whom have been let down. The Breitbart crowd have no reason to believe that he’ll repay his debt to them any more than he will to anyone else.

      2. Because that’s really not what their vote was about, right EJ? It was a big F*&K U…not caring where the chips fell, not really believing anything would change OR that Trump would even win. Because. But he did. Now maybe there will be some expectation because the impossible happened. Don’t look for Breitbart to hold Trump accountable – none of these people really care about the F-U crowd. I don’t think they care about Trump, either. It was really just a big, bad in your face F U. If he weren’t such an A-hole, I might even feel sorry for the guy. He doesn’t have a clue what he’s in for. Small closets, actual work, actual thinking, actual consequences for actions…all surrounded by little red men who never liked him, still don’t, and will use him to get whatever they have ever wanted. Because they can. Now.

  21. Chris, we have to learn that negativity sells. That songs about heartbreak and lost love and cheating sell better than songs about sunshine and lollipops. That Limbaugh will have more listeners than a radio show about positive things in our nation, such as how the peonies are doing at the garden club.

    We can’t understand that why people voted for Trump over Hillary because we don’t believe Hillary killed her best friend along with scores of others. Or let Americans die in Bengazi, just because … But that is why we were wrong, Trump voters did believe in these things.

    The dark side can take us anywhere. Without a way to counter their reality, without a way to get in front of the believers, we are at the mercy of mercenaries and kooks.

    Could we buy a 30 second spot on Fox, and say net Mexican immigration is negative? Or pay for a commercial stating crime has been falling for decades and a link to “trustworthy statistics” Would that work?

  22. Chris: Captain Sternn asked me to tell you that he saw a segment about the Blue Wall on NBC Nightly News earlier this week, and to let you know that he continues to be impressed with the reach you’ve established with your writings on your blogs and on He envies your fame.

      1. No, I assure you it’s not sarcasm. He said it in all earnestness.

        If he were being sarcastic I would have told him to register and post it himself.

        He once considered starting his own blog so he admires anyone who has achieved such a wide reach.

  23. Chris, like you and most of your readers, I am reexamining things I held to be true. You predicted that the left would plunge off their respective deep end, just as the right did, and I, like you, thought that that would be a bad thing. Time to rethink that.

    This Guardian article addresses the hubris of those of us in the center. At first blush, it seems to scream SOCIALISM and BERNIE, but even if one disagrees with the writer’s solutions it is time to face up to the fact that we moderates live in a cushy bubble of internet intellectualism. It’s time to get down and dirty and offer real world solutions.

    1. I’ve been thinking a lot about that. I came of age in an era in which all the big questions seemed to have been resolved. No one took politics seriously. Hardly anyone I knew regarded it as a legitimate activity, more of a ComicCon-style dorky hobby.

      One promising thing I’m seeing is a remarkable awakening of the comfortable middle. No one on my block ever talks about politics. That is all they have talked about all week, and they are already engaged like never before. Frightened, affluent, mid-career white people are a devastating political force. Never once in my lifetime have we seen them engaged. This could get interesting.

      1. “Frightened, affluent, mid-career white people are a devastating political force. Never once in my lifetime have we seen them engaged. This could get interesting.”

        Until they realize all the bad crap affects other people (young women, minorities, gay people, immigrants) and the economy trends along its path that is generally not greatly influenced by a President. Their taxes don’t get raised, their schools don’t get budget cuts, and their 401k is OK. “Sure, Trump is kinda embarrassing, but my sofa is comfortable and there is a game on, so…you know.”

        Chris, frankly, I fully suspect the rank-and-file GOP (of which you used to be) will happily fall back in line with, “Sure, Trump is bad, but my representatives and my local guys are fine, and that is where the real work is” as they merrily go about dismantling the safety network and giving power to social conservatives.

        Chris – I’m not even optimistic about you. I hope I’m wrong, but staring at it from the outside can get awfully lonely when the people who align with most (but not all) of your beliefs are working with a government fully in control of the GOP. I fear GOPLifer is on the way back in a couple of years.

        Just as a somewhat bitter “I told you so”, there is no Blue Wall, there never was a Blue Wall, and candidates and campaigns matter.

      2. Let us hope that this new engaged populace will also take the time and effort to become informed. Reacting to a situation from an emotional basis has certainly produced change, but that is unlikely to advance the needs of needs of the middle and poor class as much as the upper class and business sector. We will all be watching, of course.

        All of us who are still taking deep breaths over the scope of the Trump/Republican win are still struggling to figure out what to do next. We don’t have the luxury of many choices for the next two years except to prepare for 2018 mid terms – hoping to pick up Senate seats (as opposed to losing them). That may seem daunting but it’s our only play as the House will be even more gerrymandered and impregnable.

        What I think will be interesting is to see how the Trump-Bannon team interfaces with GOP leadership. Will there be an internal power struggle if there are differences in priorities? The good news appears to be that the markets perceive single party rule that is more business friendly in a very positive light. The bad news is that the very issues that drove Trump’s campaign for everyday Americans are in very deep trouble. I had a brief conversation with a health professional today about the election, and her proud comment was, “At least we’re going to get rid of Obamacare!” Ryan’s Better Way plan relies upon HSAs as the default plan to the ACA. As I stated earlier, that is fine if one is healthy, but what happens when one has a serious accident or illness? But the premiums are too high….Wait til these folks who need actual health insurance price the individual health insurance market. There are real consequences to elections and all we can hope is that there will be more good than bad results.

        Democracy requires checks and balances. We have been “checked”, but we are far from balanced. As deeply disappointed and concerned as I am for issues important to me personally – the environment, equality, improvement in the justice process, women’s rights, health care access – I recognize that there are other issues that other people feel are equally or more important. Instead of building upon what has been achieved in these areas, many comments have emerged from Republicans about dismantling the Obama legacy, and I think we can count on it happening as possible.

      3. Not that Democrats have a snowball’s chance in hell of reclaiming the House in ’18, mime, but the House is only going to be as gerrymandered as it is right now. We don’t have a census year until 2020, cold comfort though that might be.

      4. I always said the Senate was more critical than even POTUS….That’s what we have to focus on in ’18. A legal eagle friend pointed out that there are 150 vacancies in lower courts to be filled. We’ve seen how important the courts can be as a bulwark against voter suppression, gay rights, etc., there won’t be any impediment to appointments now. This is going to be a disaster for the Democratic Party. All we can do is focus on one area and in my opinion, as long a shot as it is, it has to be the Senate.

      5. So, which way will you swing, Chris? More than anyone else here, you know how the GOP operates. You know about ambition and power and pay back. Republicans now have all branches of government locked and loaded. Why wouldn’t they go for everything they’ve always wanted but couldn’t attain because of veto power or senate blockage? Even as I state the obvious, I still can’t accept what has happened.

        I don’t seem to be able to shake this. I am still so incredibly sad and worried for what’s ahead even as I try to be positive. I was always cautious in my expectations – but deep down I always believed the people of our country would do the right thing in the end. I was wrong. Now I am left knowing too much about what is possible with unchecked power. The market’s rise in anticipation of one party being in power and no more gridlock shows that once again those at the top, win. Whatever it takes, right? The rich will get richer and all those who believed that voting for Trump was the penultimate F*&k U and would deliver for them….The only people who are assured to benefit from this election are the Republican Party and capitalists. Everyone and everything else will be screwed. Because deep down, the Republican Party has never cared about anything else but money and power.

        The final straw for me was that asshole Jason Chaffetz announcing his principled determination to investigate Hillary Clinton over the email server within hours of her devastating defeat and very generous concession speech. No time or decency to allow this woman time to recover before slapping her down with a big smile on his face. Just more GOP payback, ugliness, power grabbing. His actions spoke to me on so many levels about the depth of hate Clinton has faced from those within the Republican Party. Why do this on the eve of her defeat? Why be so hurtful and disrespectful? I wouldn’t have felt any differently if it had been Trump who had lost. Decent people don’t do things like this.

      6. The Senate map is so insanely unfavorable in 2018 that we’ve got a better chance of taking the House. We can take the house with about a D+4 election. Even holding our current level in the Senate requires winning states like South Dakota (R+10) and Montana (R+7).

      7. That’s unfortunate, but any less likely than a Donald Trump’s chances of becoming POTUS?

        Democrats have to do something to re-establish a modicum of control at some point in the democratic institutions. If it can’t be the Senate, then let it be the House. The Senate is more important in terms of appointment and treaty approval, but Dems cannot wait for 2020 when power is so solidified that one party rule extends another 4 years.

        Would you agree?

      8. I agree. I’m just saying the House is more doable than the Senate. And honestly, it’s pretty doable. We only need a 6 point swing (+3 for us, -3 for them) to have a reasonable chance at the House. If The Donald really muffs things up (and boy is that ever a possibility) that’s certainly doable.

    2. From the article:

      “Under neoliberal policies of deregulation, privatisation, austerity and corporate trade, their living standards have declined precipitously.”

      Maybe I’m not too familiar with the definitions, but that sounds far, far more like the Republicans then it does Democrats.

      Austerity, privatisation, deregulation…..these are all far more associated with the GoP then the Dems in my mind.

      1. I totally agree, Rob. The author of the article clearly was on a Bernie tear and felt they had to tear down HRC in the process…..who is NOT a neo-liberal. That descriptor couldn’t be more Republican if it tried.

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