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The key to stopping the next Trump

The key to stopping the next Trump

As we limp toward the finish line in Election 2016, we are starting to get a clear picture of the Trump phenomenon. The campaign’s heat comes from two demographics. Older white voters all over the income and class spectrum who remember the ‘good old days’ when they drank from the white’s-only fountain, and blue collar whites, especially in the South and rural areas. Those less-educated voters form an interesting slice of the electorate because they complicate one of the simpler narratives of the campaign.

They are not necessarily poor. Their average incomes seem to be above the median. For the most part, they have not been seriously impacted by trade. They seem to belong to America’s shrinking middle, not just in terms of income but also geography. Globalization, the knowledge economy, immigration, and an accelerating pace of life are all conspiring to undermine their assumptions about the world. Despite their fairly steady economic condition, they have experienced a considerable decline in their relative affluence and influence. In traditional American form, they are venting their anxiety on minorities.

Today’s post at Forbes explores the structural impact of American racism. In a theme familiar to the GOPLifer veterans, it explains that racial bigotries played a vital role in shaping our politics. In a perverse irony, the demise of white supremacy will undermine our democracy unless we recognize the role it has played in our culture and find a means to replace its functions:

For all his many insights, King seems not to have recognized what professor Derrick Bell would describe thirty years later. In the strictest sense, blue collar white workers were not ‘voting against their interests’ by supporting racist politicians. They were rallying around their last tie to a form of racial solidarity that for centuries had delivered meaningful, material rewards. Voters in white Southern counties most desperately dependent on the welfare state voted overwhelmingly for Romney in 2012 and backed extremist Tea Party candidates. Based on the same intersection of tangible interests, that cohort of voters is flocking to Donald Trump after ignoring Bernie Sanders.

The material rewards of racism are as real as the bars that separated King from his jailers. On one side were men who held secure government jobs for life. Though their incomes were modest, they enjoyed guaranteed health care and a pension. The machinery of a deeply oppressive system was calibrated to spare them from its most violent tendencies. Those men saw and sometimes meted out the worst abuses that system could deliver. By virtue of the racial heritage they shared with wealthier whites, they enjoyed a thin, but vital degree of protection.

Failing to address what white racial and cultural supremacy means, especially to whites lower down the economic ladder, creates a risk. Without some wider cultural replacement, we may settle in to a long era of racially Balkanized politics, in which voting behavior is dictated by loyalty to identity rather than any serious discussion of policy.


  1. One of the very positive aspects of this election season is that This election season, MSNBC has introduced liberals to 3 very fine regular Republicans commentators Steve Schmidt, Nicole West, and Michael Steele. It has been an invaluable opportunity for people on the left to hear Republican commentary that is clear, rational, and very knowledgeable. These 3 people acquitted themselves and their conservative principles, well. The fact that two of them were involved with Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign speaks volumes about how a toxic alt-right, tea party know nothing – Sara Palin – helped doom a presidential campaign despite terrific professional leadership. Here is Schmidt on Trump:

  2. Viking

    I’m not sure if I want to watch tonight’s debate. Judging from the first two, it’s unlikely we’re going to learn anything substantive. Regardless of how Chris Wallace tries to direct the discussion, it will probably degenerate into a clash about Trump’s sexual history and Hillary’s e-mails. How do the rest of you feel?

    1. I’m with ya, Viking. But I will probably tune in and suffer through it. I hope Clinton is as prepared as possible and will acquit herself well. Trump cannot be allowed to be perceived in any other light than the man he is. That should be enough.

      However, the mood of his supporters, egged on by him and his surrogates, is becoming increasingly ugly and spontaneous. Our media is being openly bullied by Trump’s supporters. Funny, from my perspective, the media didn’t properly do their due diligence early in the primary process and now that they are finally engaged, they’re being pilloried by the “right” as biased and crooked. Such pathetic excuses…I guess if Trump were to win his campaign and base would suddenly discard their claims of rigged elections!

      “Crowds that once booed and shouted at the press mainly at Trump’s prompting — when he would decry them as ‘dishonest’ and ‘scum’ or demand that television cameras pan his crowds — have now begun spontaneously targeting the press on their own, at a scale not yet seen in this campaign, or any in memory on American soil.”

      Yet, all of us have friends and family who we cannot even get close to a rational conversation on this election, so it’s become very personal for the American people – however that feeling is stuffed or expressed.

  3. Ahem. Well it’s semi-official. Curt Schilling has officially told The Guardian that he’ll be running against Elizabeth Warren for her Senate seat in ’18.

    Now for those of you who don’t know Mr. Schilling (I didn’t, prior to this), a few quick notes of who he is, politics-wise:

    – Trump supporter

    – Fired by ESPN for making slurs against transgender people

    – Ran a video-game company called 38 Studios (which, as far as I can tell, released precisely one game and nothing else) before it went into bankruptcy and left Rhode Islanders on the hook for 90m dollars (Sen. Warren’s going to have a field day with this one, obviously).

    – As a former baseball player, he’s repeatedly complained about about being omitted from the Hall of Fame, apparently because he believes he’s a Republican.

    2018 is bound to be rough for the Democrats, in spite of all that’s happening around us. That said, Massachusetts is one state one can safely say they don’t have to worry about.

  4. This article from The National Review offers a view of a different kind of Trump supporter – and their reasons. I think you will find it enlightening and surprising. I did. We tend (with reason) to be so appalled at Trump’s shortcomings that we may be missing his raw appeal on issues that we simply can’t relate to or understand how anyone with any sense could possibly vote for him. I cannot abide the man, think he would be a horrible leader for our country, but I am growing (or trying to) in awareness of what is motivating otherwise intelligent, sensible people to support him. These Trump supporters are more understandable, those without their backgrounds and motivations, I am still immovable on their vote justification. It takes all kinds, right? Read on.

    1. So – a good piece. And I do agree with much of it. But…

      While no fan of the PC police I, the consequences of a Trump presidency, economic and political, are so potentially biblical, and by this I mean global, that there is pretty much nothing, even the notion of President HRC, that concerns me more.

      I think the thoughtful women in this story should rethink their positions.

      1. Amen. Any positives in exposing elites’ political double talk and broken promises are vastly outweighed by Trump’s unprecedented unfitness for the office.

        As a number of conservatives have said, HRC’s downsides are at least manageable.

      2. Fifty, you know I agree with you. Asians are a fast growing electoral population and they have generally been ignored this election. I thought it was interesting to hear from a couple. I am not justifying their deductions or associations, but I do think we all need to be aware that this election is about more than black, white folks. Many ethnic groups are involved and all can vote.

    2. The two women quoted identify real problems that the next administration must begin to address. Their mistake – a staggering one that the author doesn’t even notice – is that Trump has zero plans to do anything about any of these problems. He hasn’t addressed the affordability of college. His economic plans are protectionism based on a sound bite of renegotiating trade deals. Trump is not “non-PC”, he’s an asshole. Look at Trump’s ridiculous tax plan – there’s absolutely nothing in there for the people who are supporting him; in contrast it would help Trump (and other super-wealthy people) a lot.

      Thinking a non-establishment candidate could shake things up for the better is fine. Thinking that person is Trump is insane.

      1. The 2nd woman says “Nowadays, people lose their jobs, their reputation, and even their livelihood for saying the “wrong thing,””, and equates this to her year in jail in China for saying the “wrong things.” The difference is that in China it was a legal action by the Government, whereas in the US it’s the free market making decisions. Curt Schilling is free to say whatever he wants about restrooms, and ESPN is free to give him the boot if they don’t like it. And the first lady is free to say whatever she wants about crime or terrorism. And any of us are free to call her a racist if that’s what we feel she is. The letter writer and National Review are intellectually dishonest (or stupid) for not recognizing that difference.

        2nd lady: “I’d rather have a president who says many wrong things, so I can keep my freedom of doing so.”
        Me: “Seriously?”

      2. Yes, one would hope that someone who has been fortunate enough to escape prison in China for a life (and obviously a good living) in the US, would be more appreciative and realistic.

        Still, while these two ladies are probably not typical of all the members of their ethnic group, it is important that their voices be heard….it is equally important that other voices within their group be heard but that probably wouldn’t serve the purposes of the National Review nearly as well.

        Man, I am becoming so cynical!

    3. From the article posted by Mary (Mime?): “my support for the rule of law and opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants made me a xenophobe. My references to black-on-black crime in discussions about police-community relations made me a racist. My use of the term “radical Islamic terrorism” made me an Islamophobe”
      These are the same words uttered by an “angry White man” in an email posted on Chris’s old blog (Was it Viking’s father?). Why is this Trump supporter more “understandable” to you? Because she’s a lady of Chinese descent?

      Actually, these words seem to similar I wonder if someone simply copied and pasted.

      1. Mime/Mary – same person (-;

        I didn’t say I agreed with the sentiments these two Asian women shared, but I am interested to try to understand where people are coming from who are: not white blue collar folks. That was the spirit in which the National Review article was presented. It is the National Review, after all…..

  5. I had a friend’s relative relay a story of how just recently someone they both knew was stabbed by a Trump supporter after a heated argument/discussion regarding of all things people with developmental disabilities.


    How in heavens do we fix the mentality of certain people who are without doubt a good chunk of the Republican base… who think at the end of a political argument… that it is ok to start pulling out the knives?

    1. Viking

      Fly, I’ve also been thinking about a violent response to Trump’s election defeat and the dystopian future presented in that article. To borrow from astronomy—like a dying star, white privilege may go out with a violent supernova. I wonder how many Americans with sufficient means would simply decide to move to another country for the duration.

      1. That piece ID’s a few ticking time bombs that can be defused, if the right person act. So much will hinge on Paul Ryan. Will he finally put the good of the country ahead of his party, his love of supply-side economics, and even his career? That last one is tough bro, but people in position to make history turn for the better usually have to make hard choices. He can spare this country a major amount of pain if he would simply scrap that damned Hastert rule and work with the Dems.

        As for the racial disparities in law enforcement, if Congress is recalcitrant, then how does HRC choose to use the DOJ? It’s not enough to feature the Mothers of the Movement on stage at the DNC; what reforms can you start as soon as you take office?

      2. Fly – I don’t have much confidence in Paul Ryan’s sense of balance or fairness. When he stated within the last two weeks that he was poised to ram his “Better Way Plan” through Congress using a parliamentary gambit that would remove presidential veto opportunities, that was the last straw for me with him.

        Read this plan of his and you will see what I am talking about. The Better Way isn’t a “tweaking” of our budget process, it is grand-scale change. It’s really “all about Paul”.

  6. This whole post seems to be under the impression that our politics isn’t already Balkanized. It is. Just look at intra-Democratic battles in California, invariably based on race, with voting outcomes that look like ethnic maps. Look at how the Vietnamese in central Orange County, California, used block voting to take out two promising Democratic, but white, politicians. Obama’s chief domestic policy adviser spent her entire career, before the White House, with La Raza (and yes, it means ‘the Race’ and has biological connotations as in ‘un perro de raza pastor Aleman’ — a dog of the German Shepard breed). Look at the recent report on ‘hate crimes’ in Los Angeles; the majority of anti-black violent crimes were committed by Latino gangs.

    This is the world that you have wrought. It might have been possible 50-40-30 years ago to have a polity that was culturally and politically dominated by whites, but was fairer to blacks and other ‘minorities’. That’s wouldn’t have been a bad thing, because the success of America was (and still is) due almost entirely to white people, but yes, blacks had it bad relative to whites (though not to blacks everywhere else in the world). But that was before mass immigration, mass illegal immigration, and, well, anti-white ideology which is pretty evident here. And there is a large group of whites who are seeing the double and triple standards, and are and will continue to react. And they are young and educated, not some legacy, but increasingly the future for whites.

    1. ***And they are young and educated, not some legacy, but increasingly the future for whites.***

      No, the numbers pretty much tell the tale here. They are mostly old. They are joined by a smallish group of young idiots and sociopaths. And there is still a considerable following among hardcore southerns and some religious extremists. In other words, they are dying off. Good riddance.

      Wonder which bucket that places you in…

      1. “Apples to oranges comparison”

        No, its an apples to apples comparison, and oranges to oranges comparison. Fact is that populations of sub-Saharan descent display pretty much the same characteristics wherever they exist in a majority white society. In Canada and the UK they are, like here, about 3 times overrepresented in prison (because they commit more crime). US blacks are about smack dab in the middle of homicide rates (about 14 per 100,000), when compared with the black populations of the West Indies (high at 30 per 100,000 in Jamaica, low of 8 per 100,000 in British Virgin Islands). In comparison, US whites have about a 2.4 homicide rate per 100,000, which is high in comparison to Western Europe, but just about right for all European countries (i.e. including eastern europe).

        Genes matter.

    2. “…..the success of America was (and still is) due almost entirely to White people..”

      Bullshit. Slavery was a major component of the ecomonic foundation of America:

      You can’t build any kind of society without the basic needs getting met. Slave labor contributed in a major way to that. It’s a lot easier to invent and innovate if you aren’t having to do all that hard labor yourself.

      “…. yes, Blacks had it bad relative to Whites (though not to Blacks elsewhere in the world)….”

      An apples to oranges comparison. The only valid comparison to make is how to Black Americans have it compared to OTHER AMERICANS.

      “…anti-White ideology which is pretty evident here..”

      It takes a special type of delusion to equate “White sumpracy and special privilege are bad and won’t work in this society any more” to being anti-White.

      “…our politics aren’t already Balkanized..”

      What do you think those minority groups you mentioned where responding to?

      1. Slave labor was just that…labor. If credit is due to the slave system, it is mostly due to the slave owners, the plantation managers, the surveyors, the agronomists, etc.

        But in fact the economic dynamism in the US was due mostly to the North and West.

      2. “Apples to oranges comparison”

        No, its an apples to apples comparison, and oranges to oranges comparison. Fact is that populations of sub-Saharan descent display pretty much the same characteristics wherever they exist in a majority white society. In Canada and the UK they are, like here, about 3 times overrepresented in prison (because they commit more crime). US blacks are about smack dab in the middle of homicide rates (about 14 per 100,000), when compared with the black populations of the West Indies (high at 30 per 100,000 in Jamaica, low of 8 per 100,000 in British Virgin Islands). In comparison, US whites have about a 2.4 homicide rate per 100,000, which is high in comparison to Western Europe, but just about right for all European countries (i.e. including eastern europe).

        Genes matter.

      3. “Slave labor was just that…labor. If credit is due to the slave system, it is mostly due to the slave owners, the plantation managers, the surveyors, the agronomists, etc.”

        Here we see the intellectual dishonesty and moral bankruptcy of the alt-right. When confronted with a system that brutalized and stole labor from millions, the response is to praise the skills of the “management”. We also see a convenient glossing over of the fact the Black people were denied the education and opportunity to do jobs like surveying, agronomy, etc. the system rigged in our favor worked for us, we are superior!

    3. There is no “future for whites.” There is a future for Americans. White, black, Asian, these are cultural constructs with zero biological meaning, literally based on the thinnest veneer on the surface. Race is, obviously, a very important cultural construct, but one we should be seeking to overcome, not reinforce.

      Young whites on the far right are rarer than you imagine them to be. Young white “Sandernistas” are a cliche.

      1. There’s a nugget of truth hiding in that “no future for whites” line and you pretty much hit on it. There is no future in a free, capitalist America for whiteness as a preserve, as some sort of carefully carved out value. And in that sense, there’s no future for “blackness” either.

        Race, as we understand it, was invented to meet the economic demands of a very different environment. Time for it to recede into memory.

      2. Actually, ‘race’ is a really good predictor of economic success, intellectual accomplishment (good proxy, IQ), and crime. I mean, you are in the *suburbs* of Chicago — why not the South Side, me wonders–, you can’t possibly think the 7x higher homicide rate of blacks as compared to whites can be the result of ‘the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow’ ™.

      1. Good one, Turtles! If there had been an extra frame, it could have shown the problem that white dude up on the ledge was gonna have trying to get down without the help of the black dude below…some powerful lessons there mixed in with satirical humor.

      2. Slave labor was just that…labor. If credit is due to the slave system, it is mostly due to the slave owners, the plantation managers, the surveyors, the agronomists, etc.

        But in fact the economic dynamism in the US was due mostly to the North and West.

      3. “Slave labor was just that…labor. If credit is due to the slave system, it is mostly due to the slave owners, the plantation managers, the surveyors, the agronomists, etc.”

        Wow, we’ve got a real stupid one here. Fortunately your ilk are outvoted and becoming obsolete.

    4. These younger, educated people on the right who are America’s legacy – they’re just as entitled as anyone else to share that legacy – but let there be no doubt, in America, being white IS a privilege in and of itself. Starting from that point is already a rung up from where most minorities begin. That’s alright, times are changing. As I oft intone, I wonder whether our current minority groups will treat us white folks as well when they become the majority and we, the minority? Stick around and find out because it’s coming and nothing can be done to prevent it.

      1. Ladd’s description of the young far-right is pretty much entirely accurate. Their ranks appear to be largely made up of gibbering lunatics, psychopaths, random morons, and hyper-contrarions looking for attention.

    1. The Bernie backers also ought to be motivated by Mike Pence making SCOTUS picks. Another Scalia means someone who would vote for Citizens United, for gutting the Voting Rights Act, against marriage equality. That should be total anathema to that voter bloc.

  7. Ryan says:
    what’s to be done with a government that can’t act, being stymied by those very same interests?

    Turtles says
    Till more of these people leave us and we move further and further away from the memory of racial supremacy will we finally start seeing people work for a more common good

    Fair Economist says
    I agree this chronic racism is a huge problem going forwards, but what’s to be done?

    I’ve been trying to figure out any actions I can take to improve our situation. I think participation in some form of political and social organization is a reasonable option and could have some impact over time.

    A couple of weeks ago I attended a SURJ ( meeting at a local church. The organization recruits white people who want racial justice. They offer de-escalation training, among other things. They support demonstrations, too. For example, when that white supremacist group picketed the NAACP office, SURJ members were among the counter-protesters who carried BLM signs.

    Next week I’m attending a seminar by the Center for Public Deliberation at UHD. Political party reps have been invited.

    This calendar item includes a link to an issue guide:

    The issue guide outlines three possible ways of moving forward.

    1-Make change by focusing on aspects of our lives we control.

    2-Make change by electing the best leaders.

    3-Make political change by working with others.

    Interestingly, the guide lists the trade-offs inherent in each approach — no perfection, it seems.


    1. That was very positive, Bobo. How I wish I could join you in this endeavor, but thank you for standing up for those of us who share your values and can’t be there.

      The 3 steps were marvelous in their simplicity. I have always found the golden rule centers me, but it helps to have a support group, too, especially for those who have so little.

  8. From the Forbes article; “When it seems that people are voting against their interest, you have probably failed to understand their interests.”

    Superb insight. A real lightbulb-over-the-head moment for me. The follow on is then, how can you meet their interests (as they perceive them), while also meeting the interests of your other constituents?

    1. The “Drum Major Instinct” Martin Luther King refers to in his speech is really just a polite way of talking about the killer instinct or desire for supremacy (whichever way you want to look at it) that exists in all people and the pros and cons that come with it.

      That said, you can’t. It’s impossible to satisfy competing interests that are in fundamental opposition to one another. It’s like to trying to go fast and slow at the same time or trying to look both left and right. You can describe it a million different ways, but eventually you have to make a choice and decide where you stand.

      Now some might say I’m being too cynical, arguing that Trump’s supporters have a legitimate economic and social concern that should be taken seriously and addressed.

      First of all, as any veteran from GOPLifer knows, this isn’t about economics, so let’s dispense with that. This is about white people who feel socially disrespected and left behind by an increasingly changing, competitive world that’s doing anything but slowing down.

      This isn’t something any program or initiative can fix. We’re headed towards a future where the meaning of work itself is going to be completely overhauled, where humans can pursue their passions and dreams, unburdened by the dank, stale air of mediocre jobs that people only work because they have to. It’s an absolutely breathtaking accomplishment that would’ve been laughed off as nothing but fantasy just a few decades ago.

      And absolutely every bit of that is completely foreign to the bulk of Trump supporters. These are middle-aged to elderly people who grew up in a world where you had to work all your life (and when I say “you”, I mean mostly men), more often than not stuck in a job you didn’t care for or downright hated, and persevering through all that so you could retire with a sense of dignity.

      Women didn’t have anywhere near the opportunities they do today, often stuck at home, not able to get a proper education to pursue whatever modest dreams they dared dream of. No surprise that when you go out to ask, the older a woman is, the more likely they are to say that they don’t relate to Hillary Clinton and that they say it feels like she doesn’t get them.

      It doesn’t take a psychologist to figure out why. Whatever you think of her, Hillary Clinton’s an incredibly ambitious woman and she’s never let anything or anyone stand in her way. She’s completely anathema to the role of a woman as it used to be in society. No great shock that some resent her for that.

      So tell me, how do you override an entire generation’s social upbringing to make them feel welcome in an ever changing world that keeps on plowing forward?

      You don’t. If your interest is in providing service to all, then your only course of action is to provide a basic frame of security to mitigate the economic problems they might fact while the world keeps moving forward. Those of them, that do bear an open mind and want to partake will do so, and they should have that chance as much as any of us, no matter how old they are.

      However, the clock’s not going to be turned back for those who refuse to acknowledge that the world dealt them a crappy hand. It sucks, but no one ever said life was fair, and it’s not. Don’t strain yourselves trying to rewrite that.

      1. “We’re headed towards a future where the meaning of work itself is going to be completely overhauled”

        Yes, and we probably ought to start thinking about refocusing education for that reality. Reemphasizing liberal arts instead of vocational training, maybe?

      2. >] “Yes, and we probably ought to start thinking about refocusing education for that reality. Reemphasizing liberal arts instead of vocational training, maybe?

        We should be doing that already, but yes. Once you recognize the imperative of our coming jobs upheaval, a lot of solutions become obvious, but that doesn’t mean we can’t implement a lot of them starting right now. In fact, they’d be complementary to helping our children achieve more and be a fine down payment on the future.

        When we talk about the upheaval, it’s important to recognize that a lot of the new jobs we’re talking about will be ones that require education far and above beyond high school and even college. To that end, we need to get our kids out there and experiencing the world as soon as they’re able. That means, as a start, a broad expansion of jobs fairs at schools, field trips, professionals and experts from a variety of fields brought in to talk to students, opportunity credits that encourage students to go out and try something new, liberal arts and music programs, etc, etc.

        That said, while I absolutely believe all that needs to be done, it shouldn’t happen as a result of some mandate or requirement by the state or the federal government. I’d prefer a light touch approach with a minimum requirement of said initiatives with sufficient tax incentives and credits to encourage schools to do more on their own. If they do so, then they’ll be rewarded, as they should be.

        As for childrens’ education itself, I believe we need to radically overhaul and shift our efforts from a test based effort to a competition based one. After all, the kids that are going to put the steel in our competitive edge will face a global environment unlike anything we’ve ever had to deal with and, in all likelihood, more difficult than anything even we’re going to face in the coming years. The last thing we should be doing is throwing them out into the world to learn that on their own.

        Now when I talk about a competitive environment, the basic framework I envision is like this. Teachers should be there to give an overview of what the material is, like they do today, but instead of just giving students boring worksheets and homework and hoping, praying that even a little bit of sticks, students should be engaging in supervised competition with one another with appropriate incentives for improvement, not winning. We want them to take pride in that and strive to push themselves even further, not feel like crap just because they aren’t the best.

        Also, it shouldn’t just be with students in the classroom that they’re engaging. I envision an online network connecting with other children and classrooms from all across the globe that they’d be competing against, just like they would in the real world. If you’ve ever heard or played on a site called Mathletics (a challenging environment for adults, especially at the highest levels), that’s a very simplistic example of what I’m talking about.

        Such an online endeavor would also encourage other forms of learning such as having students not only solve problems, but to come up with their own versions of the material. Conventional wisdom says that a person has to understand any given material about 4x as well in order to teach another person. Having students generate their own problems would be a big step towards that kind of ingrained learning.

        Frankly, I could go on and on about this, but that’s a very basic start of what I think our education should start to look like.

  9. Chris, this is a very interesting comment. Your thoughts regarding the social and economic position of the Trump supporters, to a large extent mirrors the findings of Christopher S. Parker and Matt A. Barreto in “Change They Can’t Believe In, The TEA Party and Reactionary Politics in America” regarding the TEA Party. Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson came to similar conclusions in “The TEA Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism.

    Certainly we will not be able to resolve the issues you describe until we can move toward a more inclusive society. We will need to achieve some condition of stability and economic equity for the raw passions to cool. Unfortunately, with the current situation of the economic gains and wealth going almost exclusively to the top 1%, the economic condition of the lower rungs will continue to worsen. The US desperately needs an effective redistribution of wealth without it being labeled as such. That was one of the reasons the “New Deal” and the following period until the late 1970’s was so effective. Economists refer to that period as the “Great Compression”. We need to re-empower the working and middle classes. Only this time all races and ethnic groups need to be included.

    If Bernie Sanders proposals could magically be implemented, they would go a long way towards achieving those ends. But implementing those policies would be a lifetime’s work by a very good political President supported by a Congress with a 60 – 65% majority in both houses. That is what FDR had and what has been the political condition whenever significant progressive reforms have occurred.

    You will note that I did not refer to the political parties specifically. They Republicans or some other (successive) party could very well become a progressive force. At times in the US History the Republicans were the more progressive party. We could be entering into a complete party restructuring. That is not probable in my estimation, however. Most likely the Democrats will continue to be the more progressive party, in the foreseeable future.

    I would very much like to see HRC manage to quell the polarization. She will certainly have a challenge on her hands. But in 1860 and 1932, no one would have thought the Lincoln or FDR would be able to accomplish what they did. We may be entering into such a period of massive challenges in the near future. I am concerned that the portion of the Republican party that is now known as the Alt-Right, aka TEA Partiers, etc. may force things to that point. Let us hope that the immediate future is brighter, than what Lincoln and FDR went through.

      1. Serious question, Mitchell, why does the alt-right hold the Tea Party in contempt? Also, is the alt-right organized well enough so that it can meaningfully say there’s a consensus on this or anything else? Finally, is there anyone whom the alt-right does not hold in contempt?

        Basically, I hear the term alt-right used, but would like to understand it better.

      2. Because the Tea Party fetishizes a document, ‘the Constitution’ , which is pretty much meaningless outside of its time and, especially, out of the context of the people who created it (hint–Hamilton wasn’t a Puerto Rican, Washington wasn’t black).

        Oh, and the constant ‘I’m not racist’ apologizing.

        Actually, I’m much more sympathetic to the Tea Party than most alt-righters. They just haven’t realized the situation yet.

  10. Viking

    Another factor contributing to this problem is politicians’ mendacity concerning the social impact of rapid technological change. For example, working class citizens are being promised that manufacturing jobs and the coal industry will come back if they vote for “X.” Automation and robotics have permanently reduced the need for humans to produce goods. Likewise, natural gas is already cheaper for utilities to use for electricity generation, and renewables are already giving fossil fuels a run for their money. Most politicians are too afraid to be honest with these people.

      1. The ‘more people’ part is entirely driven by immigration. But of course enforcing borders and actually restricting *legal* immigration to reasonable numbers (like in the low hundred thousands per year), are ‘racist’ and ‘white supremacist’.

    1. I just retired last year from the power industry. Hillary says she will help coal country people move on to growing segments of the economy. Hope that is true. Regardless coal mining has been needing few people each year and the demand is sharply falling. Utilities have been employing fewer and fewer people my whole career. And my company has decades ago built it’s last coal plant. Those left in the power industry are highly skilled , productive and much fewer in number. The need for less skilled people is declining and will be a big problem. Only about 20% of the population has the IQ needed to do technical jobs. I was lucky in the same way Trump was lucky, his dad had big bucks and my parents were highly intelligent. But that does not mean I or others like me have no obligation to the rest of us. I really think that the idea of a minimal basic income has merit. And we will have to figure something significant and meaningful for the majority of the population to do. This problem has been forecast in science fiction for years.

      1. Stephen,
        I am particularly interested in your perspective, because my brother works in the coal industry here in southwestern Pennsylvania, and his wife is in the natural gas industry. They are big Trump supporters, and honestly think that Hillary will ruin this country, or at the very least their industries. I think that they grudgingly concede that American demand for coal is down, but they still feel that Obama and the EPA are the main culprits in the decline of the coal industry.

        We obviously do not discuss the election around the dinner table.

      2. Viking

        At the risk of sounding insensitive, I suppose the SSI disability that many men in the 24–52 age group are receiving is effectively a precursor to a basic income (see the NYT article I posted above).

      3. @ Armchair Philosopher;
        The time of fossil fuel is ending. The company I worked for is very good at planning and foreseeing trends. A local government agency believe it or not. They are moving towards solar and other renewables. And looking at decentralizing power production across the grid more than currently done. And it is because of economics. Right now solar is competitive with coal and soon will be cheaper. Natural gas is cheaper but eventually it will succumb to renewables. I did not believe this would happen at the beginning of my career but it has arrived. I am man enough to admit when I am wrong and change my mind. Obama and EPA are not killing coal it is simply economics. This is not the first time disruptive technology has thrown people out of work. But we always have adapted and those people found a place in the evolving economy. This time I wonder, as automation and artificial intelligence is reducing the need for labour. Creativity is still going to be in demand. My work required plenty of that and the younger colleagues will do fine. But that ability is rare.

      4. Viking


        Further evidence of fossil fuel decline can be found by examining the current behavior of oil/gas producers and service companies.

        I spent 35 years working in R&D for one of the biggest companies. The oil business has always been cyclical. Previously, during downturns, there were substantial layoffs in the field operations, but R&D was largely protected. The rationale was that downturns are an opportune time to develop innovative products and services that the industry will need when times improve.

        Not this time. I still keep in close contact with former colleagues. R&D is being decimated. The most experienced scientists and engineers—people who should be training and mentoring the next generation of technical staff—are being let go because they draw a fatter paycheck. Also, the projects that remain are more directed toward reducing the cost of products and services that are currently delivered, rather than developing new technologies.

        To me this is a tacit acknowledgment that further innovations in the extraction of fossil fuels will not provide a sufficient return on investment. What’s more troubling is that most of these companies have shown little or no interest in evolving and entering new technological domains. Doing so seems to be cultural anathema. And it’s too bad because the oil industry has a lot of advanced technology that could be adapted to serve other industries.

    2. Hillary Clinton tried, unfortunately after her disastrous “shut down the coal industry remark”, but at least she has a specific plan to help people being left behind in this industry and others. It ‘s not getting any traction because there is no trust. Trump, OTOH, has no plan but is mouthing thoughts that they want to hear….It’s going to be a strange election….I am getting worried again )-:

  11. Here’s the scary thought, what if Trump 2.0 is someone like Peter Thiel? Here’s someone who is also vindictive and probably a sociopath, but much smarter than Trump and with very good self control. Imagine him taking over Trump’s spot and wooing that base. Yes, he’s gay, and Evangelicals don’t like that, but they were willing to sell their souls for the possibility of holding on to power to a vulgar narcissist who revels in partaking of the 7 deadly sins. Rationalizing voting for a gay dude making the same promises isn’t that big of a next step. The stigginit crowd would likely approve of his role in taking down Gawker.

    1. Actually, I’m glad Hulk Hogan sued the pants off Gawker over the sex tape. I think the First Amendment should be curbed when it collides with a person’s privacy, especially when the information is not relevant to the public.

      The personal vendetta on the part of Peter Thiel to destroy Gawker, however, does bother me.

    2. In fairness to Peter “I’m a cartoon villain” Thiel Gawker WAS awful and its downfall was inevitable, though for free speech reasons I’m more ambiguous about how to feel about it. Right now I think it’s Steve King who may have a shot of running an even more unabashedly racist campaign than Trump in 2020.

      Though If we’re going to be voting based on identity and the identities that vote for white nationalists are declining than how would they ever win an election? Won’t their chances just get worse every year?

      1. I believe in a healthy back-and-forth, a tug of war between the forces of freedom of the press and personal privacy, with the rope being pulled in either direction.

        I like that Hulk Hogan drew the line where his privacy was violated and fought back against Gawker, but I wish Gawker had survived and continued exercising its freedom of expression until the next person objected.

      2. Not by the government, though it’s inevitable they’d get sued for slander/libel to the point where they eventually shut down. Whether or not it’s moral or not it’s predictable.

      3. “Not by the government, though it’s inevitable they’d get sued for slander/libel to the point where they eventually shut down. ”

        I agree with Griff here. I think the libel laws and the courts as they are now are adequate to deal with the irresponsible actors. Trump spews so much toxic, dangerous bullshit on a daily basis that it can be hard to focus on any one thing, but one of the most alarming threats he’s made is to loosen up the libel laws. No journalist should ever be punished for telling the truth about something that’s in the public interest, no matter how unflattering it may be to certain people.

  12. Ryan, Fair, Turtles – This is a hard time for people like us who understand what is possible and necessary but also clearly see the path blocked by a major party that America needs to move forward. The only immediate certainty appears to be more chaos. I don’t want to be negative, but Ryan is correct – those who deliberately refuse to acknowledge facts are going to be very difficult to change. We all have “friends” like this, even family, so, what do you do with these people? I find my circle becoming smaller because I am unable to ignore their refusal to address reality.

    We all know there are legitimate problems that are motivating many Trump supporters, but there are far too many who are simply backing Trump because they “hate” Hillary Clinton more. It’s mind-boggling and it’s unsettling because the toxic mood in our country will not disappear on Nov. 8th. Should Hillary Clinton become President, she will face charges of election rigging, more Congressional hearings on a host of issues with ever-present impeachment threats, and a world of hurt outside our borders that impacts our nation’s economy, safety, and purpose.

    At a time when our military and president are engaged in defending our naval vessels from attacks from Yemen, and assisting in a brutal, critical campaign to destroy ISIL in Iraq, the United States people are engaged in a presidential campaign that has unearthed the most ugly side of our country I have seen since the 60s during the push for racial reform.

    Our nation needs to move forward. The Republican Party could be a partner with us in addressing those problems and needs within our borders that have been exposed by this presidential campaign. It is always better to know what problems are out there unless there is no way to resolve them. If the people of America choose to dig in their heels instead of working together, we are likely in for a long slog of disruption and a lot more bad characters like Donald Trump.

  13. LIfer wrote: “In traditional American form, they are venting their anxiety on minorities.”
    “In traditional American form.” This phrase jumps out at me because it suggests the cyclical nature of White supremacy, that over time, the problem seems to be solved to a certain extent by assimilation. The Irish and the Italians were once dreaded minorities but eventually became accepted, and I think this will happen eventually with most minorities as they become a part of the fabric of American society, to be replaced by the newer minorities. I would say the same about Blacks, that they are becoming more integrated as more of them attend college, etc.

    1. Of course I would hope that we eventually get to the point where NO minorities are vented upon, where we eventually outgrow that traditional tendency that seems to be a part of all societies, but I still predict that the new majority, even if not predominately White, will still inflict its wrath on the minorities of the moment.

    2. A while back I saw a political cartoon, from the late 1940’s, the was a great illustration of your point. If I ever find it online I’ll post it, but so far it has evaded my Google-skilz. It is a picture of Lady Liberty, standing tall and protectively over a group of small children, with the caption “They are ALL my children now!” The children are labeled with the names of all the major European countries. For that time, it represented a major leap in forward thinking, as once people from places like Italy were not considered to be “White” and therefore proper Americans. What struck my eye, being a product of more inclusive times, was the lack of children from Asia or Africa or any country south of the US-Mexico border. We’re seeing that division crumbling- being American isn’t about where you came from, but where you are now. Our system is evolving for the better, history is arcing towards justice, but the road is bumpy.

      Welcome to the other side Tutta!

    3. Several trends are coming together in my minority majority community. As we age the ratio of men to women get more and more skewed to women outnumbering men. Men are much more likely to remarry late in life if they are widowers. I seeing much more mix marriage in older people with the men mainly being white. It is not just happening with the youngsters. I guess old dogs do unlearn prejudices. I suspect as the country as a whole becomes more minority majority acceptance is going to get much more inclusive.

  14. >] “Our effort to end white supremacy may trap the country into a long era of deadlocked rivalry between competing racial, religious and regional identity blocs in which white nationalists enjoy stalwart, open support.

    I don’t disagree with any of that, but what’s to be done with a government that can’t act, being stymied by those very same interests? It’s the cart and the horse. Even if you do get some movement on the state and local level, all you’re going to get is a patchwork system where some areas work better than others.

    Honestly, I’m about one step away from being resigned to just letting “those people” waste away and leaving the new generation in charge? Why should I care about people who sold their soul to Trump, acting in the interests of a bygone world that I detest with a passion?

    A line has to be made somewhere. I can’t act in good conscience for people who I find abhorrent. Whatever potential threat they otherwise show is, of course, to be taken seriously and dealt with, but as far as I’m concerned, they’ve forfeited their right to participate in a new world.

  15. Make America Great Again is the slogan we keep hearing over and over again. In an American where we are the world’s only unrivaled superpower, the country has had positive job growth for dozens of months, and despite the recent terror attacks we are seeing ISIS about to lose their last major stronghold at the hands of the Iraqi Army.

    No there must be something about the way America LOOKS now versus 50 years ago.

    Till more of these people leave us and we move further and further away from the memory of racial supremacy will we finally start seeing people work for a more common good. But that is a long time from now.

  16. I agree this chronic racism is a huge problem going forwards, but what’s to be done? Obamacare has been a big help to working-class whites, yet they’ve actually moved away from the Democrats in this election. Culturally they’ve gotten caught up in a bad LSD trip of utter nonsense like Sharia Law imposition and stand-down orders and mass voter fraud and “Obama is a Muslim”. Even Kansas descending into a depression seems inadequate to break the madness. I’m not sure there’s a rational desire to be addressed in all this and even if there were and it did get addressed, how do we get through?

      1. Viking

        Gee, you’re not headed for a happy existence, Mitchell, having to live in a reality you refuse to accept. The country is changing, and it’s going to look less and less like you. It must suck to wake up every day filled with hate and helplessness.

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