Writing about public policy seems pointless

Which tax structure will best promote both fairness and innovation? What combination of regulation and market forces would produce the most effective health care system? How do we build immigration policy to compete for global talent while preserving a sense of justice and compassion? How can we meet the challenge of passing on a better, stronger country to our kids?

These wonky, nerdtastic public policy questions have always interested me. Smart policy is the invisible structure around us that creates a framework for personal success. People work very hard in places like Belize or Haiti to achieve meagre results for themselves and their families. Life for us is different thanks to public institutions we’ve inherited, through which we solve collective problems and amplify individual success. My writing and my political activism are an effort to pay a debt to those who came before, to contribute my small energy and insight to the unending refinement of those critical institutions. That effort at refinement has ground to a halt, interrupted by an emergency.

It has become very difficult for me to do what I like to do, because policy innovation is currently irrelevant. Have an idea for improving public education? Want to solve our health care access challenges? Know a way to address climate change that might create, rather than undermine, wealth generation? It doesn’t matter. Public policy doesn’t matter right now. There is no competent governing body at the national level capable of responding to a great idea. For the foreseeable future, there will be no helpful federal legislation of any kind. Even at the state and city levels, the dysfunctional hulk of our federal government will severely impede innovation.

Our country has descended into a crisis with no clear end. Political stability and security we took for granted is gone. Until we can discern the shadow of a new political order, thinking about policy issues is little more than imagineering. Worse, it feels like denial or escapism.

The White House is now occupied by the erratic don of a minor organized crime family. Animated by ineptitude and bigotry he is slowly dismantling the last functioning elements of our federal infrastructure. He will probably be removed from office over the next year or so. Even if we are lucky enough to accomplish this feat without a civil war, we face the remaining challenge of crippling the cancerous organization that elevated him to power. Our second political party, my former party, has devolved into a Fascist cult bent on destroying our core institutions. They will remain a threat to our future after Trump is gone.

There is no reasoning with those who remain in the Republican Party. It’s nice that Alabama elected a Democratic Senator, but the details of that victory are sobering. Almost half of the voters in that election were willing to elevate an utterly repugnant and inhumane figure to power. A slightly less-pervy cretin who also promised to roll back the country’s post-Civil War reforms could have easily won that election. We are not engaged in a national discussion over vision or direction, a fact-driven debate influenced by reason. We are at odds not merely on matters of policy, but on the nature of reality itself. This conflict can only be decided by superior power.

The democratic process offers our most hopeful, least destructive path back to stability. This narrow and unlikely outcome depends on a massive electoral shift toward America’s political left. That’s not because the left has great policy ideas, but because they are the one of our two political parties that isn’t infested with Nazis. Democrats and the broader establishment left retains respect for our founding institutions, they embrace basic human compassion, they respect a scientific and empirical reality, and they preserve an attachment to the rule of law. These days, that’s enough to command support from any decent American. In the near term, surviving this crisis depends on placing Democrats in power at every level of government. We cannot return to stability until the Republican Party has been thoroughly gutted, hopefully through electoral failure, but by any means necessary.

If policy is restored to relevance anytime soon, it will probably be under Democratic leadership. I have very little to say about how Democrats should govern the country. I am an old-school conservative and an enthusiast for market economics. I embody what young Democratic hotheads consider the root of our problems. The Democratic Party is not a credible outlet for my ideas or activism, it is merely better than the alternative. I have to help them win, but their victory probably pushes me toward irrelevance.

Ideas I see as crucial to our best political future are trapped under the dead weight of a corrupt and vile Republican Party. Market based approaches to problems ranging from universal health care to gun regulation offer cheap, effective solutions that fit a faster new environment taking shape around us. Those ideas are dead on arrival in a Democratic Party still enamored with 20th century government planning. As a very challenging new year dawns, I feel adrift. The survival of this country depends on the success of my political rivals. I can help them, but they won’t cease to be rivals. Their success will rescue what I care most about, but it will probably also damage my hopes that a market-driven political future might emerge in my generation.

I’ll keep writing partly because I don’t know what else to do with myself. This platform seems to have become useful and I’ll do my best to cultivate it. After a period of uncertainty and discord, there may be room again for good, public-interested people to engage in substantive debates over policy questions. When that happens, it looks like I’ll again be in a position of dissent, rather than influencing the winners. So be it.

Happy New Year, fellow orphans. Let’s go do what we must.

140 Comments

  1. Weak institutions are not the only reason Haiti and Belize have difficulties. The other reason is too many people for their resources. You say the Democrats believe in science and have compassion. Bringing unlimited numbers of people will eventually overwhelm our own resources which are finite. The frontier era ended a century ago. The industrial hey day began winding down fifty years ago. The paradigm of mass immigration is obsolete. Perhaps the Democrats should have a little compassion for their own countrymen. Scientifically, they should look at the results of countries that are grossly overpopulated.

  2. I may have a new username around here but I have been following your works Chris since the days of GOPLifer. I originally found your articles that were posted in the Houston Chronicle a dash of refreshing air. I’ve bounced around in political leanings but as I’ve aged I have come to accept I am more center-left on most political leanings but whilst advocating for fiscally conservative spending and less bureaucracy where possible.
    I finally decided to join this community you have named Political Orphans after reading this article. It’s such an accurate summation of where our country is that it is worthy of so much more credit than you’ll ever get for it. I think the phrase that comes to mind, for me, to describe our country is we are now the “sick man.” I don’t think we’ll end up in a civil war as most passionate pro-ultra-Trump torch waving guys I know wouldn’t last a week in an actual military siege let alone a conflict. But our country is most certainly sick and inhibited as such. I read an article from the BBC around 2 years ago that says the downfall of the US as a superpower will come not from it’s political divisions but will come from an inactive, paralyzed, government. We are closer to defaulting than we give ourselves credit for and it is a very real danger that I think many fail to see the long reaching consequences.
    For those who do not see our superpower decline, I suggest you look at all that China has been pushing both domestically and foreign policy-wise while we have been stuck in-fighting. It’s really a good thing they hold so much of both our debt and our trade because it allows us to still have a dialogue with them. I shutter to think what China would look like completely untethered.
    I think the US will survive our current divide but not without a some sort of coming crisis whether it’s economically, political, or both. Tough times are indeed ahead and I for one am also, for the first time I can remember, voting for every Democrat on my upcoming ballot. I too think our best hope is with the party that still cares for this country over a party that clearly does not care at all.

    In solidarity with my fellow Political Orphans,
    Mark

      1. Maybe 2018 will shape up to be the “year of the women”?

        I’m really curious who the person killed was? I know a Chinese reporter looking into Ivanka’s sweatshops in China was murdered and a Russian died here under mysterious circumstances. So who ordered the hits? Putin, Jared? We know Putin can do it and I would not put it past that slimy little weasel with the punchable face, Jared.

      2. Okay, I’ve seen the feedback. The usual “lock her up” and self-delusion that this will all end up putting Clinton in jail. It’s all “made up” nonsense paid for by Obama, blah, blah, blah.

        They actually sound like they are desperately spinning and deflecting.

      3. Thank you Mary for your kind welcome.
        You’re right I haven’t seen much of whisper about the transcripts being released. It wasn’t until I checked the BBC last night I even saw it in the news! My reaction to it is similar to the new Fire and Fury book…it’s most likely a blend of the truth mixed with some less truth elements. But the result is still quite disturbing nonetheless even if only a shade of truth is there.
        If you haven’t seen the investigation by Reuters into Russian business ties I highly recommend this article I’ll post below. I find it quite revealing and it leaves me without a doubt where the Trump family’s true interest lies:

        https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-trump-panama/

  3. I have followed the events that have led up to what appears to be a quiet, limited capitulation by the FBI to the subpoenas being sought by the on again off again House Oversight Chairman, Devin Nunes into the Mueller investigation on Russian/Trump Campaign involvement.

    Sadly, Paul Ryan has clearly revealed that he is going “all in” to defeat Mueller’s investigation by supporting Nunes’ demands over the direct appeal of Dep. US Justice Director Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray to protect the sensitive nature of the documents he is seeking. This, to me, is incredibly dangerous to the confidentiality of Mueller’s investigation and to decades of investigative protocol.

    This is beyond belief that Republicans would sink this low. Guess getting tax cuts isn’t the only gold ring left to grab on the carousel. Ryan has been saying all along that entitlements are next….but I guess there are a few “logistical” problems that could mar the landscape that must be dealt with.

    http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/04/politics/paul-ryan-nunes-justice-department/index.html

  4. You’re probably right in some ways, Chris, that commentary on public policy seems pointless these days. I rarely comment, but something like 50 years of living in and around the public policy arena has given me the feeling that it’s a very long game we’re involved in.

    With each passing tweet, it’s increasingly evident that the man at the top has no understanding of that notion, or of any notion that requires an iota of thought. He simply reacts. It’s today’s tweet that impels this comment: any person who must ballyhoo about being a “genius” and tell his audience that he is “like, very smart” is clearly on the defensive “bigly.” There’s much less to his intellectual capacity than meets the eye. Even if he were a genius, there have many such in the course of history who were utter failures at being humans (Aristotle, Ford, Edison, many others). And one could say that Hitler, Stalin and others showed the same type of “genius” that Trump displays. I now happily live outside the US (in Costa Rica), in blissful semi-retirement from political crap. I’d probably feel exactly like you, Chris, if I had to put up with that never-ending shit every day. We don’t have great government down this way, but I’ve never heard any leader (anywhere) claim to be a genius before. And it’s enough for me to have a Genius Mouse controlling my computer maneuvers. Pura Vida from Costa Rica. joe

  5. Writing about policy might, in the current situation, seem like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. But policy is taken from ideas that are current at the time they are needed. We have to have faith that a time will come when we can stop worrying about liberal democracy disappearing and can resume arguing about how to make it work.

    1. Beautifully stated, Creigh. This will require humility and openess from the liberal wing and humility and acceptance of the potential liberal democracy offers by the conservative wing. I go back to your earlier post in which you commented on the need for three types of systems: public, public/private, and private….Knowing when each is most appropriate is a good first step. Recognizing the limits of each yet another. Conservatives are so convinced that Democrats cannot govern without insitutionalized largesse that they have failed to see the successes that exist.

      I truly believe we are a stronger nation when we meld the best of both parties – the GOP as it used to be and the Democrats as it can be…bringing the energy and passion of Bernie’s movement along with the experience of successful mayors of large cities. I would like to up-end the traditional route and give some of our outstanding mayors and governors a direct shot into seeking federal office…..people who know what they are doing and have a track record – who understand the work of consensus building and know how to get things done. I’m ready for government to be “boring” again.

  6. Here’s what I’ll say about policy vs politics. Politics is like a hurricane that can knock down a house in an hour. Policy is like a slow-moving river that can carve the Grand Canyon in a thousand years. Or you can say politics is like the weather while policy is like the climate. Pick your analogy 🙂

    While I agree that right now, we need a hurricane to knock a house down in 2018, in the long term, electoral coalitions are built on policy. FDR’s policies built a democratic coalition that lasted for >50 years (and continues to hold, albeit somewhat frayed). LBJ’s policies brought African Americans into the Democratic fold (away from the party of Lincoln), where they’ve stayed for another 50 years. Even the flight of the dixiecrats, while affected by individual election vagaries, was essentially pre-ordained by LBJ’s policy decisions decades prior.

    So I hope you keep fighting the good fight on policy, Chris, because that *is* what ultimately drives elections. We will always need a calm, deliberate policy debate to be running, even as we pray for a much-needed hurricane every once in a while 🙂

    (P.S. That’s also the issue I take with Democratic supporters who say we should just put our heads down and GOTV. Yes, of course, in the short run, that’s what we need to do. But in the long run, policy matters. There’s a reason we lost to Trump in 2016, and lost 1000 local legislators, a dozen governorships, the House, and the Senate, during Obama’s tenure. Thinking that consistent losses across the nation, across all levels of power, over several election cycles, is merely due to the vagaries of political weather is the political equivalent of climate change denial!)

  7. Happy New Year everyone!

    Just a side note to your post about who kicked ass last year. I would say a more relevant list that segues with this post would be who needs their ass kicked this year. I will fight on my end here in Minnesota, there is no way in hell Bachmann is going to become my senator.

    Popcorn futures are once again on the rise after this new Bannon/Trump squabble.

    That is all, carry on.

  8. So I just got back from my first candidates’ forum of the year featuring 5 Democratic candidates for the House seat being vacated by Ted Poe. There are 9 Republicans vying for the seat. The primary election is March 6.

    In oddly abstract yet emotional terms, I feel the emergence of these five candidates makes Houston look good. Three are second-generation immigrants. One is a scientist. An African-American is a retired Navy officer. The lone female is fiery — and I like that about her.

    They are all novice candidates, learning as they go. All were motivated to run by the last presidential election. They expressed support for a woman’s right to choose her own medical care as well as Medicare for all.

    Regarding immigration and dreamers, we were all stunned to learn that 2000 school teachers in Texas are DACA.

    One candidate had a win-win-win story involving county deputies, shelter dogs, and county jail inmates. But he didn’t know he should have used it tonight.

    The young woman dropped internet references without a thought to the wide age range of the audience.

    The one candidate able to drop some political names headed up a commission for a former Houston mayor.

    He is the most familiar type of candidate; to me he sounded same ol’, same ol’.

    Will his connections and familiarity be enough to get him the nom in today’s environment?

      1. I’m hoping that those who don’t succeed this round will try again.

        Early voting will start next month! I’ll need to crack the books on the races soon and decide which primary I pick this year.

      2. There is a technology group called “FiscalNote” which is using its digital prowess to devine what makes politics work best…..Interesting article in Politico but a look at the basic focus of FN will also be informative. Which poses a tantalizing quesion: Do we need Congress as it is presently structured?

        https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/05/washington-automation-congress-politics-lobbying-policy-216216

        “https://fiscalnote.com/

    1. I’m so buying this book. I’ve been reading excerpts and, damn, what a mess.

      “It’s worse than you can imagine. An idiot surrounded by clowns. Trump won’t read anything — not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers; nothing. He gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored. And his staff is no better. Kushner is an entitled baby who knows nothing. Bannon is an arrogant p—k who thinks he’s smarter than he is. Trump is less a person than a collection of terrible traits … I am in a constant state of terror and shock,” the email said, according to “Fire and Fury.”

      Describes Hope Hicks as the “real daughter” and Ivanka as the “real wife”.

  9. Below when I talked about bullies, I wanted to make the point that bullies may temporarily gang up but often they end up bullying each other. The toadies become the new victims when the victims stop being available to bully, or when the victims start showing their strength and the bully realizes he can’t get away with it.

    But I had written too much already and didn’t want to make forward-looking statements that relied on predicting 45’s behavior.

    Two days later, Steve Bannon is the new turned-on toadie.

    I’m only really interested in this to see if ‘the base’ turns against 45, turns against Bannon, or neither. Don’t give your hopes up about A or B, they’ll probably write it off as more two guys just taking the piss of each other, and it probably won’t last long until the next news cycle* rears its ugly head. The main way the base would turn against either is if either were visibly defeated. The loser would then suddenly have never been liked by the base since the history of ever.

    But I would rather them spend time attacking each other than our institutions, so we have that going for us, which is nice.

    * In other news Mueller and Rosenstein had a private meeting with Paul Ryan.

    1. The comments sections on Brietbart and Freeperville are in full civil war meltdown mode. Bannon vs Trump- may they both lose.

      Would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall for that meeting with Ryan. Inquiring minds want to know if a meeting with McConnnell is also planned.

      Also the fradulent voter fraud commission is no more. Supposedly DHS inherits the investigation, but are they adequently staffed to handle more things on their plate? Let them follow up leads on criminal gangs and terrorists instead. So I’ll err on the side of this being more good news.

      1. I stopped visiting FreeRepublic about 5 years ago, the posters over there were unhinged beyond belief even before Trump came along. The open racism & sheer ignorance exhibited by their regular posters was very disturbing to me.

      2. My understanding of the Voter Commission was that it had been ended but the directive was given to the DHHS to pursue….Whether that is throwing the bogus issue to the deepest depths of time or whether it will assume a “new life” under yet another crazed Trumper staffer will have to be seen.

        Our balance on SCOTUS is so tenuous and losing the vital component of the Voting Rights Act is not helping discourage Republicans in their efforts to suppress the vote. That and their brain-washing efforts are really all they have left.

  10. this is not good! especially since 30 some off percent of the population think this guy walks on water!

    From “Fire and fury”

    “Here, arguably, was the central issue of the Trump presidency, informing every aspect of Trumpian policy and leadership: He didn’t process information in any conventional sense. He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-­literate. He trusted his own expertise ­— no matter how paltry or irrelevant — more than anyone else’s. He was often confident, but he was just as often paralyzed, less a savant than a figure of sputtering and dangerous insecurities, whose instinctive response was to lash out and behave as if his gut, however confused, was in fact in some clear and forceful way telling him what to do. It was, said [former deputy chief of staff Katie] Walsh, “like trying to figure out what a child wants.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/03/whats-surprising-and-what-isnt-in-the-new-trump-tell-all/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-d%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.f97542340049

  11. This bit in WaPo reminded me of the squabble we had here. Gary Abernathy is a loud and proud Trump apologist, and this little bit from his latest OpEd sounds really familiar:

    “Many Trump voters need nothing more to justify their continued support of the president than the roaring economy, his pick to fill the Supreme Court vacancy and his efforts, successful or not, to keep his campaign promises. For others, the daily joy derived from witnessing the hysteria of the Trump resistance and the apoplectic rage from many on the left over the mere fact that Donald Trump exists is its own reward.”

    But he attempts to start a dialog with the opposition, by making what he doubt doubt believe is a generous admission:

    “But the Trump resistance would be significantly diminished if the president were less inclined to elevate them to his level — the level of the presidency — by engaging with them in petty, back-and-forth insults…………My New Year’s wish for the president is to lead by example when it comes to respecting those who oppose him.”

    A commenter going by the screen-name of Miranda totally nailed the response:

    “The fact that you think this behavior is even possible from Trump is the core of our divide. In the past we have been able to have civil conversations between families who support different policies, but slightly less than half our voters chose a man incapable of even shamming the traits you claim you want to see him display.

    That’s why it’s so hard to talk about any of this. Republican voters bought into theatre over policy. I cannot have a logical discussion with someone who claims that the carnival barker who could start nuclear war is a worthy vessel for their legitimate policy choices. I can talk with someone supporting conservative values. But if that person also supports Trump, that dissonance is near-impossible to overcome. How do you have a sensible conversation with someone who basically announces that their internal logic is schizophrenic? They always fall back on “oh he doesn’t mean it” or “Congressional Republicans move the real levers”.

    You all elected a guy my city has known as a narcissistic con man for 30+ years and now you want to tell us that you’re the ones who really know him and his values? Sorry, that’s not how it works. If you tell me you support Trump – not conservative policies, but TRUMP – you get the same treatment anyone else in NYC would get with that statement: the instant assessment that you’re a mark and a fool and not worth spending time on. Not because we dislike you, you’re just dim. Get a charge off of that if you like. He’s president because fools voted for a conman. It’s an accomplishment of marketing, but that’s all.”

    If you can’t even get agreement on what is real, you can’t have any substantive dialog. Also stigginit is a profoundly stupid and morally bankrupt foundation for a system of government.

    1. So if we can’t have a serious conversation, what is the alternative? Shut down completely? I think it’s good to keep the channels of communication open. Most Trump supporters prefer to stay quiet and will continue to support him and we will be none the wiser and so therefore nothing will change. Those who speak out to defend him, who put themselves out there, could be seen as doing us a favor by letting us know where they stand, and giving us the opportunity to engage with them and try to find common ground.

      1. The alternative to dialogue is to outvote them, out-organize them, out-maneuver them. In other words, defeat them. It starts with the democratic process and continues as far as necessary.

        Whatever energy is spent on trying to persuade today’s Trump supporters is energy wasted. It’s a cult.

        They started out in a minority position. Trump lost the election by a remarkable margin, with about the same percentage of the vote as Michael Dukakis or John McCain. Their numbers will dwindle as they continue to “age-out” and as the pressure ratchets up and their hopes fade.

        Keep the pressure on everywhere, in every social, political and economic setting, making it difficult for them to organize publicly. Keep the rage level high enough to demoralize their voters and energize the opposition. Defeat them through the electoral process, and we might have a chance to head off a far more disastrous reckoning. At any rate, it will give the good guys the upper hand (control over the infrastructure of the state) if circumstances escalate beyond politics.

      2. “The alternative to dialogue is to outvote them, out-organize them, out-maneuver them. In other words, defeat them. It starts with the democratic process and continues as far as necessary.”

        Unfortunately, those things are the very things that the current apparatus of the Democratic Party is awful at. (Though they seem to be getting better al la Alabamastan). I think the Democratic Party may need to let a bunch of the Political Orphan Never Trumper’s run the resistance.

        Given the control of the judiciary being handed over to the hard hard right, I fear trying to use the courts to stop or reverse the various things the fascists have been doing for at least a decade is going to be well nigh impossible.

        If Ginsburg dies/retires in the next 2 years, I can’t imagine things will end well for the Republic.

      3. “So if we can’t have a serious conversation, what is the alternative? Shut down completely?”

        I second what Chris said. If you are defending Trump, you are saying there is nothing wrong with having an insecure, self-obsessed, mean-spirited jerk get into a Twitter dick measuring contest with another bully, with a possible nuclear war at stake. You are saying that supposedly being free to say “Merry Christmas” again is worth the graft and nepotism. That a tax cut or Gorsuch on the SCOTUS is a small price to pay for Trump’s unrelenting attacks on free press, civil servants, the very idea that no one, even the President, is above the law. That immigration reform achieved through fear and cruelty and scapegoating is morally defendable. I really am grasping for words to convey just how disgusted, how disappointed, how sickened, how outraged I am at people who still defend this sleazy con artist after all this evidence of his unfitness. I am genuinely worried about something bad happening in Korea, and that’s just the most immediate concern. Seriously, how can I talk productively about politics to people who deny/look the other way/ make excuses?

      4. Tutt,

        I personally find it difficult to find common ground with anyone who justified supporting Moore, for example, because 45 needed his vote in the Senate (which, sad to say, I did overhear during the holidays).

        I have nothing in common with the religiosity he hinds behind, nor with his disdain for the constitution, nor with his sexual interest in young girls, nor with his cruel treatment of his horse.

        In fact, I’d feel a little sick inside if I realized I did.

        Instead, the Texas primary takes place on March 6. Ted Cruz’ term is up. Three Democrats are competing to run against him and I will be GOTV for one of them.

        Chris suggests some 45 supporters have a missing moral core. So yes, outvote them.

      5. One other possible strategy-encourage their infighting. Mango Mussolini just had this to say about one of his former best buds:

        “Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.”

        Trump continued, “Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base — he’s only in it for himself.”

        It would be Tolkien-Esque poetic justice if Bannon and Trump hack each other to pieces politically.

      6. Sorry, there is no discussion with Trump supporters. They ARE a cult and continuing to support an overgrown toddler who tweets recklessly to another toddler over who has the biggest “button”, thinks it’s okay to grab women by the pussy, launders money, wants to suppress the press, purge the FBI and fill with toadies and yes men so he can continue plundering, well, there is no point. They are a lost cause. Traitors to their country and constitution.

        Some may find this offensive but it’s so appropriate.

        https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DSlCttTXUAURWMl.jpg:large

      7. >] “Unfortunately, those things are the very things that the current apparatus of the Democratic Party is awful at. (Though they seem to be getting better al la Alabamastan). I think the Democratic Party may need to let a bunch of the Political Orphan Never Trumper’s run the resistance.

        Given the control of the judiciary being handed over to the hard hard right, I fear trying to use the courts to stop or reverse the various things the fascists have been doing for at least a decade is going to be well nigh impossible.

        If Ginsburg dies/retires in the next 2 years, I can’t imagine things will end well for the Republic.

        Dinsdale, that’s exactly the kind of mindset that’s led to the Democratic Party’s having been gutted over the Obama years. This isn’t a job that can be led by politicians, although they certainly have their role in helping. Dems didn’t sweep Virginia because of party leadership, it happened because of grassroots organizing and ordinary, everyday citizens coming together and working their asses off to make it happen.

        The same can be said of Alabama. True, outsized circumstances gave an opening, but it took local efforts and good ol’ politicking to push Doug Jones over the finish line.

        And now all that effort has given us an otherwise virtually nonexistent chance for Democrats to take back the Senate this November and put a halt to Trump’s packing the judiciary in its tracks. Heaven forbid, if something does happen to Ginsburg (and I worry about that more than I’d like to admit), the pressure that will fall on Dems to keep her seat open will be no less than what Republicans felt when Scalia died.

      8. Ryan, I recognize that there is a grassroots movement out there (Indivisible among them) that is trying to be the Democrat’s equivalent of the Tea Party. Indivisible may actually have some people that has the skills and experience to organize a group, but I truly doubt any of the grassroots groups have the ruthlessness to fight the fascists. I have said it before, the Dem’s keep bringing knives to a gun fight.

        Truly, if Madame Ginsburg decides to retire, or dies under mysterious circumstances (yes, read that as intended), do you seriously think the Dem’s would keep the seat open for a year or two, even if they had the constitutional power and precedent to do it?

        I don’t believe it. The Dem’s still play by a rulebook, called societal norms, that the fascists burned long ago. Bottom line, the Dem’s have to be prepared to operate precisely like the fascists, to save the country. The trick is of course, returning to a sheep once you changed into a bear to defeat the wolves.

        As far as I see it, the Dem’s can decide to to play by the Democrat’s rulebook, and lose the U.S. to tyranny, or they can take a huge gamble and act as viciously as the fascists in order to save the country, and then hope they can revert back to save the country’s soul.

        A movie moment comes to me in Godfather II: Al Pacino as Michael Corleone goes to his mother and asks if it is possible to lose your family while in the process of protecting it. He believes he can lose it, and he is prophetic in that.

        That is the dangerous game I believe that the Dem’s have to play. The risk is enormous, but the outcome of not doing it is horrifying.

  12. Please don’t stop Chris,
    This is a rare space where thoughts and experiences are met with respect. I love that you believe the market can drive successful outcomes. I love the fact that you don’t dismiss those of us from minority communities who experience different outcomes no matter how hard we work, how much we sacrifice at the altar of capitalism. I get that there is no perfect ..only better. I’m ok with that. Maybe we just meet in the between. I’ll go there…just don’t throw us away (sexual and ethnic minorities). Besides, I don’t want to miss reading Mary’s postings…seriously, it would piss me off. She is everything I know about Texas. I don’t even know her but read everything she posts and love her stuff. Would love to teach her Russian and turn her loose to menace west Texas. The Republican Party sold their soul back in the 80’s and I know it will regain itself and will likely be my party…remember your intro “Elizabeth Warren was a Republican and Rick Perry was Democrat”, this experiment is SO much bigger than the tiny men running our affairs. As my favorite дядя used to say “Я люблю Америку”… I love America. God, I miss him.

  13. I feel Chris’s pain. I really like to read and think about public policy.

    Lately it seems a waste of time because nothing makes sense anymore. But I would say to Chris, keep at it. You will make a difference wherever you are and whether you are in a political organization or not. The Democratic party has it’s own baggage, especially big city governments. But who knows what you could accomplish from within the Chicago Democrats as a rabble rouser.

    Chris, please write more on specific public policy. I sense that we disagree on something big, but I’m not sure what. For you, it seems that a lifetime of looking at problems a certain way makes every problem a nail that needs pounding down with a market based solution. Which may be the correct solution, let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.

  14. On market dynamics and the Democratic party:

    Out in California, I think tweaking markets has waxed within the Democratic party, rather than waned. This is the main source of policy tension in our increasingly one-party state, and it is a good tension to have, partially fulfilling the role historically held by Republicans.

    One of our pressing issues is housing affordability, and the Democratic party is pretty much throwing everything at the problem to see what sticks: https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/09/29/california-affordable-housing-bills-to-get-their-final-sign-off/. You can see the fault line here, between market interventions (e.g. anti-NIMBY laws, regulation against certain kinds of regulation…) and more traditional Democratic entitlement programs.

    Another example is our carbon reduction laws, which are based on Cap and Trade. It even has linkage to Quebec and Ontario. (https://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/capandtrade/linkage/linkage.htm)

    Yet another is partial privatization of public housing in San Francisco https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/07/20/how-san-francisco-turned-its-tenements-into-treasures-215391.

    Another are still-labored attempts to implement universal 401k (http://fortune.com/2016/03/29/universal-401k-california/).

    And yet another, a tiny toe-dip, is 529 matching grants: https://johnchiang.com/in-the-news/state-treasurer-announces-new-college-savings-program/, which are considered a more equitable practice than a tax deduction.

    We also have some labor market reforms that newsworthy: http://www.capradio.org/tags/news/2017/new-california-laws-2018/ “Ban the Box” (a market tweak that should result in onetime criminals being able to compete for employment) and an anti-salary history law (to avoid accumulation of discriminatory pay practices in a career).

    1. Daniel Farina,

      Your list is very interesting and I look forward to hearing how and why some of them work and some of them don’t. CA gov appears to try to actually solve problems.

      My favorite recent CA action involves the sale of dogs in pet stores.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/16/california-first-us-state-bans-sale-dogs-puppy-mills/

      Some articles report the millions of government dollars spent on housing and euthanizing stray animals. It’s in the hundred of millions of dollars each year.

      Perhaps more emphasis on the cost (tax dollars) of treating animals like disposable kleenex would force other government agencies to make new rules about caring for them.

      Happy new year!

      1. That’s interesting. Yeah, California does implement a lot of policy, and I tend to think much of it is carefully designed. One area that’s always a struggle is funding mechanisms, where random fees get accumulated everywhere because it’s still hard to Just Raise Taxes.

        I think the state is improved from when I was young and growing up. The pressing question is what happens in the next governor election: none of the leaders carry the good will and lack of calculation for higher or future office like Jerry Brown.

        Another wonky thing that may have worked well as reform in debt issuance, mentioned briefly in this article: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-05-10/california-leads-u-s-economy-away-from-trump. Thanks to good times, but also prudent and restrained government, California Muni Bonds are a hot commodity. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-08/california-once-compared-to-greece-now-trading-better-than-aaa

    2. Thanks Daniel. It is always interesting to see what is happening with CA. We get some coverage locally in Seattle, but it is limited. The tension between the ultra-liberals and the moderates that you describe is very much present in WA and particularly in the Seattle area. With our legislative session opening soon, observing how much the D’s try to tackle with the new majority will be interesting. There is considerable talk about going with a big agenda. However, there are several issues left over from 2017, including the state Capital Budget that need to be resolved. Furthermore, this session is a short session basically intended for budgetary adjustments. I’ve got to go now.

      1. Wanting to go with a big agenda is understandable, but WA Dems should exercise patience. Focus on the necessities right now, prove their competence as a governing majority, and look to expand their majorities in ’18. Despite the razor-slim margin, Dems have controlled the state House since ’02, and in a wave year, I can’t believe Republicans have any realistic chance of flipping the upper chamber back again.

  15. Breaking news- Orin Hatch will retire. Good of him to read the writing on the wall. Barring anything weird and completely unexpected (never say never these days), Mitt Romney will replace him. There are plenty of criticisms I can make of Romney, but I honestly think that he would be one GOPer who would not ignore Robert Mueller’s conclusions if they point towards impeachable offenses.

    So I file this under good news.

    1. It will be yet another litmus test, or series of tests.

      First, will the nazi machine run by bannon, mercer et al try to field their own candidate against Romney? If so, if this candidate actually does even reasonably well against Romney, that will prove that the country is likely facing civil war, since it will be an indicator of just how many average people are beyond redemption.

      Second, assuming Romney is in, we will see just how far country matters over party, even for old school establishment types like Romney. If he toes the party line, then the last shred of hope for rule of law working disappears.

  16. Trump voters say that they aren’t racist, they just want immigration reform. So how is that going? Here’s one of results:

    http://theweek.com/articles/745867/trumps-war-immigrants

    Full disclaimer, as I work in the sciences, I have plenty of friends and colleagues who came here on H1B visas. Even before the Mango Musolini burst onto the political scene, getting and renewing visas could be a royal pain in the arse. This bigoted crap from Tumperdink is not going to help maintain the excellence of American science. As the article points out, it’s the height of hypocrisy to castigate immigrants for “refusing to assimilate”, while denying them one of the best ways to assimilate. But Trump voters warmly embraced hypocrisy long ago.

  17. Chris – I am struck by the dichotomy between your acknowledgement and support of positive Democratic Party ideals – compassion for others, respect for democratic insitutions, scientific inquiry, and the rule of law, and your concern that the default successor, the Democratic Party, is incapable of enacting sound economic policy and creative solutions. While hardly a sterling alternative, I do believe that Democrats want fairness and efficiency just as moderate conservatives do. How that coalition happens I don’t know, but it may be the best option we have to bridge to a better system. My deeper fear is that the American people are losing faith in their government and hope for their future. People like you canhelp bridge the divide in our politics and in the tears of our nation’s social fabric. As discouraging as it is, none of us who care about our country have the luxury of quitting this fight. It’s simply too important. Please carry on and know that your work and words matter to the people you reach.

    1. Mary, I echo your surprise / confusion.

      I also wonder now through the fog of memories 30 plus years old. Would Reagan, the saint of many of today’s repubs, be considered today a Democrat if one looked strictly at his policies? Yes, I know he is remembered for that massive mistake in a tax cut and cranking up military spending, but given how far right the entire political spectrum has moved since Carter, is today’s center-left Democrat not akin to Reagan, policy-wise?

      If my memory is correct, Reagan had far more compassion for the average Joe than anyone today that identifies as a repub.

    2. Institutions matter. The Democratic Party has institutional habits that no one seems seriously interested in breaking which make it impossible for it to embrace more elastic, market-oriented public policies. I’ve written about this at some length.

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisladd/2017/07/31/why-i-will-not-become-a-democrat/

      “Where Democratic patronage interests come into conflict with other stated priorities, like improving the lives of the party’s committed black voters, patronage interests prevail.”

      1. But have Democrats worked to help Black and other minority voters? As a minority I saw the answer is yes to that question. Blacks and other minorities are able to tell when they get only lip service. Democrats have worked to get us a place at the table so we can be heard. Now if the argument is have they done enough or can they do more then I could accept that as a valid question.

        i understand the frustration of partisan politics but I have to weigh reality with idealism. Yes, Rahm’s deal is sleazy but it is a part of politics and remaining in power. But in the overall picture Democrats have helped the minority community and fight efforts to marginalize our votes. I cannot let my support slip because I want perfect. Sometimes good enough is the better choice.

      2. >] Institutions matter. The Democratic Party has institutional habits that no one seems seriously interested in breaking which make it impossible for it to embrace more elastic, market-oriented public policies.

        That would seem to apply only to the current Democratic coalition though, at least insofar as its power structure. If we’re looking at the future, keep in mind that Millennials don’t lean intrinsically Democratic, but rather have a fiercely Independent streak that simply won’t allow them to align with the current GOP. They’re open to traditionally Republican beliefs and market-oriented solutions, so what’s the natural result if this generation makes up a greater and greater percentage of a new Democratic Party?

        One could also take the Dems’ largely older leadership structure as a silver lining in this case. With a wave of fresh blood coming in, it’s all the more easier to push old timers out (Howard Dean has been an open and consistent voice in this respect) and get some new ideas and perspectives in.

        Granted, I may be leaning too much on the optimistic side here, but I say all that to give reason for hope. We’ve the foundations here to remake politics in a way that we can look back on with pride, moreso than some think.

      3. Thanks for your response. I have read this post and your criticism of Democrats regarding patronage through institutional manipulation is fair, but there is little difference from the GOP in their outright control of patronage via lobbying interests. Are we really sadly talking about “degree” of manipulation?

        My point and my hope is that a new set of players can change the bad habits of the past. Democrats have at the very least worked to improve and protect voter registration and the voting process itself. It has championed programs (welfare, SS, Medicaid, SNAP, Workmen’s Comp) that directly be benefit workers’s lives….which benefits more of the blue collar minority worker vs the educated, more affluent minority worker….who are more interested in keeping more of what they earn.

        There is lots of room for improvement, but even after a second read of the linked post, I remain convinced that there is greater commitment from Dems than from Repubs in helping minorities….even with the full acknowledgement that change is needed. I have more confidence in Dems desire and ability to change than I do Republicans…which brings us back to the question – who to trust?

        I’m going to repeat my belief that electing more women to Congress and our Legislatures offers our greatest opportunity to preserve our democratic institutions and to help the American people. Maybe we have been going about this the wrong way….maybe we need to start by electing good, responsible people to office and then hold them accountable. – and lots of women!

        http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/02/opinions/women-representation-opinion-hunt-steele/index.html

      4. I agree with you, Duncan.

        Many Ds in leadership have identified more with the entities that define and control markets rather than the people who are subject to them.

        45 said he would look out for individuals and many believed him. And now he’s in office.

  18. Is this New Year’s Day or April Fools Day?

    I realize that both occur on the first day of a month, but come on now. The Republican party is not infested with large numbers of Nazis. Trump is not Hitler.

    What percentage of the population is actually a member of a white supremacist organization or the KKK? I’d venture to say that it’s only a tiny sliver.

    If these deranged beings voted for Donald Trump, it does not mean that the rest of the Republican party or Trump agrees with them. What about all the left wing kooks and antifa? Do you agree with them and their methods?

    Nazis were anti-capitalist, supported large social programs and believed government should exert control over industry, religion, education and citizens’ health needs. Umm …. that doesn’t sound like a Republican agenda.

    In Trump, you have a man who amassed vast sums of money (definitely a capitalist), and who allowed Jews and blacks to join Mar-a-Lago while other clubs excluded them. He has a daughter who converted to Judaism, and he married two Slavic women (definitely a no, no since Hitler considered Slavic people to be racially inferior).

    Personally, I denounce racism. It has no place in our society.

    While racism should not be tolerated, it is extremely hateful to accuse people of racism or being Nazis merely for being Republican or wanting sane immigration policies.

    Ridiculous accusations have a way of backfiring. Resolution: Let’s work towards peace this new year.

      1. I will not call Trump a Nazi. But I will say he is a white supremacist, and he reveals that every time he opens his mouth or sends a tweet.

        I personnally have no use for him and I felt that way before he even announced for the Presidency.

      2. It doesn’t matter whether Trump’s a Nazi or not. What’s important is whether actual f’ing Nazis and white supremacists see him as an ally and tool to advance their disgusting cause, and they *really* do.

    1. “I denounce racism” by voting for America’s Hitler. Interesting.

      It might be valuable to clarify something.

      You are the poster child for our national illness. It’s the reason I let you continue to post here. Your delusions were amusing a few years ago. Over time they became a bit nauseating. Now they are a cancer.

      No one who is still defending Donald Trump at this point is persuadable. He could dress up in a brown shirt and start delivering all of his speeches in German and you fuckers wouldn’t care. The past year and a half has removed some delusions. There’s an essential moral core missing in these folks, and nothing will bring it back. No argument can restore it. It’s a horrifying hole I never imagined I’d see in so many of my fellow Americans. Apparently, it *can* happen here. We are not as good as we thought we were.

      I don’t respect you. I no longer care about your opinions. You just make me sad.

      I will be working toward peace this year by fighting for justice. I see no value in persuading you, even if I thought it was possible. I will be doing everything in my power for the foreseeable future to defeat you and everyone who shares your beliefs.

      Happy New Year.

      1. Chris,

        I appreciate that you have “let” me post here. How very kind of you.

        It never has been my intention to defend Trump in all things, but he is no Hitler. To assert that he is Hitler is to minimize the suffering and death of millions of Jews, mentally disabled people and those he considered unfit to pass on their genes. Comparing Trump to Hitler is like comparing a cold to polio.

        This blog post explains why Trump is not Hitler far better than I can:

        https://regiehammblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/this-hitler-nonsense/

        Happy New Year to you, too.

      2. That you have to resort to explaining why Trump isn’t Hitler is more of an indictment against you than anything anyone, myself included, could possibly say or argue.

        Really, think about it for a moment. What we have is a “president” that equivocates white supremacy and f’ing Nazis marching in the streets with those marching against them, including a young woman, Heather Heyer, who lost her life, saying that there were “fine people on both sides.”

        This is so damn typical and sickening of you in your continued de facto defense of Trump. You’re perfectly intelligent enough to recognize that no one’s saying the Emperor-in-Chief is modern day Hitler (frankly, Trump isn’t even as smart and charismatic as Hitler was), only that mounting events and circumstances warrant *extreme* alarm in the similarities between the two. That’s good enough to cause this entire country to wake the hell up and get this menace out of the Oval Office before he does something that truly can’t be taken back (see N. Korea).

        No though, you go off on an incomprehensible tangent, arguing that Trump isn’t Hitler so as to try and mitigate the obvious evils that have been done and absolve yourself of your indefensible support, if even a little bit.

        Honestly, you fool no one with this nonsense. Do you even believe this yourself or is this somehow just disturbingly amusing for you?

      3. So many things that this guy overlooks! While calling Trump “authoritarian” would be better than “American Hitler”, pointing out that it’s not so bad because he’s not doing things 100% exactly the way Hilter did is an attempt to generate a false sense of relief. A few points to pick at:

        “1. He took over a small, failing state that didn’t have separated government, enumerated powers or checks and balances. It’s difficult for a guy like that to show up here, in this system.”

        Difficult, yes, IF the Congress is willing to do its damn job. Let’s say Trump pulls the sequel to the Satuday Nigh Massacre and/or preemptively pardons his son or son-in-law after they’re indicted and Congress decides to let it slide. That would say that the President is above the law. Think I’m talking crazy talk here? A few years ago I would have thought so, but I’ve watched the GOP slip past their moral event horizon. Anyone who says it can’t happen here is lying to themselves.

        “2. His entire political career was violent from the beginning. There was always death in his wake. He didn’t just suddenly “turn” violent. It was a pattern …as it always is with sociopaths. This is THE most important thing to watch; the violence. I always keep an eye on who is rioting …breaking things …throwing rocks and bombs. It doesn’t make them Nazis. But it signals how far they’re willing to go.”

        So if the RWNJs are lagging behind the Nazis of old right now, it’s too late for them to ever catch up? The Nazis weren’t the only group breaking things during the decline of the Weimar Republic either. The presence of LWNJs doesn’t excuse or justify the bad actions of RWNJs, and especially doesn’t excuse Trump for tossing them red meat.

        “3. He entered office with his own personal military construct (the SS) with allegiance to him ONLY. They would carry out things the regular military would never carry out: i.e. the murder of private citizens and political opponents. Nothing like that exists or COULD exist in America. We simply wouldn’t allow it.”

        According to James Comey, Trump has definitely been trying to do that, at least with the FBI. He hasn’t succeeded yet, but the fact that he would try, and again, the GOPers in Congress aren’t acting troubled about, should be frightening. I wouldn’t assume that the GOP wouldn’t allow it. The Dems wouldn’t allow it, which is why we need to vote them in this year.

        “4. He didn’t start out just killing Jews. He started out euthanizing people with special needs …for the betterment of the care-givers’ lives. (You can decide which side of the aisle favors the extermination of “inconvenient” people).”

        Trump is starting out by demonizing immigrants, Muslims in particular. As Mark Twain noted, history rhymes rather than repeats. The fact that ANYONE is being scapegoating ought to be setting off major alarm bells. Immigration reform does not require the sort of cruelty we are witnessing.

      4. Ryan, Chris was saying that Trump was America’s Hitler.

        It’s fair to argue about Trump’s fitness to be president or the decisions he has made, but to assert he is Hitler minimizes the horror that the people of Europe went through during WWII.

      5. To be fair Trump is only getting started. But trump isn’t Hitler. Hitler was Hitler. But one of these days we will compare a politician to Trump and that politician’s supporters will cry foul.

      6. Once again, you indict yourself, seemingly without noticing it.

        Saying Trump is the American version of Hitler is not the same thing as saying Trump is Hitler himself. If that *were* the case, Chris would’ve said so. The distinction is clear, and if you haven’t the basic reading comprehension to understand the difference, then I can’t help you.

      7. Chris, some final thoughts before I shut the computer down for the evening. I’ll probably start on another hiatus from this blog. (Cheering heard in the background.)

        If you want to “fight for justice” why not start in your own backyard? The tech industry still has abysmally low numbers of black and Hispanic employees. Women are underrepresented and have alleged that they work in a sexist environment. Housing for lower income people in tech hubs has become unaffordable and many have become homeless.

        Why not start there rather than say, Alabama? You may not respect me, but I’ve lost most of my respect for you because you’ll fight against the racist in the South but not against the one in Silicone Valley. Why? Are you afraid of losing your job? Is it because the tech industry toes the liberal line and is not overtly racist while getting away with racism, sexism and income inequality?

        What achieves more? A well paying tech job for a black person or getting rid of a silly Confederate statue in South Carolina?

        I’ve always wondered but was too afraid you’d go berserk if I asked.

        For now bye-bye, adios, auf Wiedersehen. Happy New Year. May you find your peace.

      8. “Why not start there rather than say, Alabama? You may not respect me, but I’ve lost most of my respect for you because you’ll fight against the racist in the South but not against the one in Silicone Valley. Why? Are you afraid of losing your job? Is it because the tech industry toes the liberal line and is not overtly racist while getting away with racism, sexism and income inequality?”

        1) How do you know that Chris isn’t working on such reforms?

        2) One of the requirements to get more women/ minorities into high paying tech jobs is
        better STEM education, especially at the elementary/secondary levels. Which side of the aisle has been on an anti-science kick?

        3) You need reform in BOTH private and the public sectors.

        4) would you have voted for Roy Moore?

        “What achieves more? A well paying tech job for a black person or getting rid of a silly Confederate statue in South Carolina?”

        5) Just in case you didn’t realize it, that’s not an either-or sort of situation. Lebron James could tell you that while it’s great being wealthy, it doesn’t compensate for the fear you feel when someone spray paints racist graffiti on your house, or having to have “the talk” with your sons. Being wealthy doesn’t necessarily spare you if the government isn’t willing to protect everyone’s rights. Getting rid of racists in office is a necessary step. Not giving encouragement, even tacitly, to Confederate sympathizers is another.

      9. Still waiting for you to get around to addressing Trump’s widescale encouragement of violence (one that dwarfs anything the left has done, despite your attempts at equivocating the two sides) and your ad hominem attacks against Chris for claiming that Trump was somehow Hitler’s equivalent, Objv.

    2. The Republican Party says and does nothing when Trump attacks the free press, threatens political rivals with official sanction, ignores Russian attempts to spread social discord and meddle in elections, indulges in conflicts of interest regarding his commercial activities, engages in obstruction of investigations, nominates unqualified candidates for public office, exhibits mental instability, and many things I’ve forgotten to list. Apparently the Republican Party is just fine with these things.

      1. This. All this. Playing the “dead Jew card” upthread is just a not-clever way of rendering all that you mention here (and more) invisible.

        We are way past the point of there being a sideline anymore. Either you are fighting to save the Republic or you are not.

    3. ” What about all the left wing kooks and antifa? ”

      What about them indeed. One fun fact that you seen to be oblivious to: those LWNJs hold the Democratic Party in contempt and aren’t a part of it. That’s in stark contrast to fascist types like Bannon who are doing their worst to take over the GOP.

      No, the old “both sides are bad” axiom doesn’t apply any more. The RW side has taken a turn for the worse.

      1. Fly, the RWNJ also hold the Republican party in contempt. Unfortunately for both parties, the right and left wing contain people who have more radical or abhorrent points of view than most of the others would like.

        Take Harvey Weinstein and other Hollywood types finally being made accountable. Since they were overwhelmingly liberal and big Obama and Clinton supporters, would it be fair to say that Democrats are sexist pigs for having them in their party?

        Of course the Republican party has no shortage of sexist pigs either, but the point here is that both sides have their idiots, perverts and radicals. As far as violence is concerned, the left has more to answer for than the right. BLM and Anti-fa have well deserved reputations for violence and property damage. Will you call those two groups out? Or, do you think that the violence is justified?

      2. The RW terrorists have a big head start on the LW terrorists:

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2017/08/21/which-ideology-has-inspired-the-most-murders-in-terrorist-attacks-on-u-s-soil/#201d172a1e74

        Also you are wrong to equate antifa with BLM. Antifa are a bunch of anarchist knuckleheads who want to break stuff. BLM has a legit cause. They do need to police their own and crack down on the fringe members if they want to do the most good, but unlike antifa, they have the potential to make a positive change

      3. Your whataboutism is disturbingly reminiscent of Trump, though I suppose that shouldn’t come as any surprise at this point.

        If we’re talking about violence, how about the Tweeter-in-Chief retweeting a video of himself ‘beating up’ a fake wrestling dude with the CNN logo plastered over his face? Show me the equivalent of that kind of widespread endorsement of violence on the left. I’ll wait.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/07/02/trump-appears-to-promote-violence-against-cnn-with-tweet/?utm_term=.8405ac35b416

        Then, of course, there was Trump’s equivocating white supremacists with those who marched against them, saying that there were “fine people on both sides.” It’s impossible to say just how much that emboldened the f’ing Nazis and supremacists, but we *do* know that they were VERY happy about it. David Duke himself expressed a “thank you” for the statement, so take that as you will.

        http://beta.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-tweets-20170815-story.html

        And then, more recently, there was Trump’s move on Jerusalem. You can read for yourself just what kind of widespread outrage and violence that’s happened in the aftermath. Again, show me where the equivalent is on the left for this kind of mind-numbing dumbfuckery that’s getting people hurt and even killed.

        http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42278644

      4. “Take Harvey Weinstein and other Hollywood types finally being made accountable. Since they were overwhelmingly liberal and big Obama and Clinton supporters, would it be fair to say that Democrats are sexist pigs for having them in their party?”

        The sexist pigs are evenly distributed, but of course you only mention the ones who were liberal. Just more of your typical biased thinking.

      5. Yes, BLM does have the potential for positive change, but destruction, looting and burning of property – not to mention throwing rocks at police gives them a reputation for mob behavior. Unfortunately, catchy phrases like “pigs in a blanket; fry them like bacon” tend to hang about in one’s mind for awhile.

    4. Personally, I denounce racism.

      Yet, after the election you came here and claimed that despite your abhorrence of Trump’s comments it was Hillary’s condemnation of racists and bigots as deplorables that swung your vote to Trump.

      Sure not every Trump supporter is not a member of the KKK or a White Supremacist group but it does mean they are willing to tolerate the support Trump does offer these groups.

      1. You really don’t get it do you? Being judgmental of Hillary Clinton doesn’t get you in trouble around her eyes. Chris has had some very harsh things to say about her. It’s being a hypocrite that brings the food fights. Saying I don’t like her because she’s entitled/corrupt/secretive/ mean so I’m voting for Trump instead is textbook hypocrisy. It’s because Trump is demonstrably far, far, far worse in such categories, because you don’t seem to get that point either.

    1. Be more judgmental about ideas and less judgmental about people.

      Why not both? I mean if someone is willing to espouse and support the language of hate and divisiveness then I have no issue with calling them out on it. These people do not care about niceties and will not ever listen to reason. But by calling them out on their BS it puts the light of day on their actions and lets others understand that such talk and actions are not tolerable.

      In short, honesty is the best policy.

  19. First of all, Chris, public policy YOU wrote about inspired me to write directly to representatives. One example is the liability insurance requirement for gun ownership.

    Secondly, I will admit that specific issue seemed to hit a dead wall, but other policy issues I have submitted to representatives has gotten more sway. Namely, my secretary of state’s office got back to me regarding my requests for certain voter rights and districting procedures and asked me for where they could find more research regarding my ideas, which I sent them. A city councilman wrote back to me regarding an idea for cheap and effective disability access ramps I found when I visited Stockholm, saying he was excited by the idea and would bring it up to the city council.

    I don’t expect movement on these things immediately without the weight of popular activism, but we are not going to see that activism unless the ideas are out there. And furthermore, it’s not like representatives generate their solutions in their own head. These ideas are found from people who wrote about them.

    It’s BECAUSE you’re interested in sober, practical solutions that is the very reason you should keep offering them. Good ideas are recognized by good thinkers, regardless if not popularly known. It’s when they get championed by good thinkers that they trend toward being popular.

    And as shown in 2016, ‘not Republicans’ is not sufficient activism. The Democrats have to have ideas to talk about too, and so to have those ideas, you have to tell them that.

    (Now, personally I feel the whole ‘Democrats don’t have a platform’ thing is exaggerated by people on the right, who tend to close their ears and yell NahNahNah!!! whenever anyone not fascist sez anything, cf the ‘Hurrdurr but what do Occupy Wall Street people want it’s so confusing haha dumb kids!’ when OWS was clear, they want criminal bankers in jail and the finance industry held to account for systematic inequalities, and they had specific ways to do it. Same thing with Hillary Clinton. Her website featured over 150 targeted, specific solutions for issues directly related to the well-being of middle class and working class Americans. They just didn’t ring as clearly as Make America Great Again, and the news pundits didn’t talk about them because they aren’t entertaining).

    —————————————–

    Next, I am going to expand this conversation from your point about the liberal democracy you inherited. The whole point of liberal democracy is to maximize self-representation so that individual self-actualization is not throttled by the exploitation of bad actors. The whole point of self-representation is to follow your own path despite prevailing trends. If the trends are toward dismantling your self-representation, then it means you insist on it all the more vocally and clearly.

    Never let other people determine the course of your life or the focus of your endeavors. To do so is to be the AP student who decides to stop studying because she believes the bullies will always have the upper hand via the brute force of the fist. And that’s not even a metaphor — fascism is rule by bullying, and all the words we have for Trump boil down to the mentality of a schoolyard bully.

    And the thing about bullies — they always lose. Bullies are by definition losers, because nothing they can do can last. The only issue is how many people they hurt during their downfall, but we’re working on that.

    I don’t say this flippantly. After the turn if the year to 2017 when liberals were waving vapors about ‘lacking empathy’ for Trump voters, I did my due diligence and tracked down some of the dedicated Trump voter communities, and all they really ever had to say was how elated and happy they were to see liberals suffering. It had nothing to do with what they think they can earn, but how much suffering they can cause before they lose again.

    And we all know how to beat that behavior — by succeeding anyway. That’s why Trump voters say their opponents are always talking down to them, because continuing to succeed IS a slight on their endeavor to feel in control by causing the suffering of others (necessarily ‘weak’ or ‘snowflakes’ because they suffered).

    So liberal democracy is essentially designed for this very purpose: to continue to steer your own course and advance your own well being despite the best efforts and amount of relative power of bullies attempting to punch you down.

    So never stop studying to advance your interests just because the schoolyard is currently understaffed and the bullies have formed a gang. Their gang will fall apart before long.

    1. In other words, the key is to never give up. No one can ever truly know what the future holds, so would you rather face that future down having did everything you could or having just shrugged your shoulders because you thought it didn’t matter at the time?

      To put that in a bit more context, people as different as Milton Friedman and MLK talked about a basic income decades and decades ago and nothing ever came of it in their times, and yet now Hawaii is pushing forward with exploring the concept and experiments are happening all across the country and even over the world. No one could’ve known at the time, but that’s just how these things work.

      Today, even a seemingly pointless Twitter conversation or an obscure comment on a blog somewhere can change the world in ways you might’ve thought were best left for a graphic novel somewhere. Don’t underestimate yourself or your potential power.

  20. I would suggest that the U.S. needs more than the destruction of the fascist party. Consider the other G7, or even the other G20 countries. How many, that can be considered democracies, are essentially a two-party system? From what I have read South Korea for all intents and purposes falls into that category, but few others.

    I read about Duverger’s law, which states that a two-party system is the natural evolution of the voting system in place in the States today.

    No political system is perfect (except the one where I am installed as benevolent emperor for life), but perhaps much older democracies like England and France might know a thing or two compared to their young upstart cousin? How many other countries that are considered democracies have a system that would lead the to the political tribalism that exists in the U.S. , with the type of leadership regime in place today?

    Now, I recognize that overhauling the Constitution to move away from a 2 party system is utterly impossible. But one can dream, while preparing for the real-world consequences of the current regime’s ongoing existence.

    Not that it might make a whole lot of difference how one prepares. The puppet tyrant’s first 2018 tweet went after Pakistan, a country that hangs by a thread from becoming an Islamic theocracy. Imagine what happens if the pro U.S. Pakistani government came under serious attack from a large organic Islamic movement (I am not talking terrorist groups) , and what happens to 120 plus nuclear warheads, in the ensuing chaos.

    Said it before, will say it again: I am stunned that the U.N. or NATO has not formed a wet team to remove the largest existential threat to the planet.

    1. >] Now, I recognize that overhauling the Constitution to move away from a 2 party system is utterly impossible. But one can dream, while preparing for the real-world consequences of the current regime’s ongoing existence.

      FWIW, we don’t need to overhaul the Constitution to move away from a two-party system, at least insofar as getting the results we want.

      If all you’re focused on are results, then having states move to proportional representation is fine, not to mention it would utterly eliminate the problem of gerrymandering since individual districts wouldn’t matter anymore. Perhaps most importantly of all though, it would be the proverbial death knell for rural areas, since the last vestige of their outsized importance would be stripped away.

      To put it bluntly, their actual numbers are pathetic and, beyond individual goodwill and honest consideration, there’s no reason whatsoever for an aspiring political party or individual to go out of his/her way to try and appeal to rural areas. Going forward with something like this would be an utter reversal of our current dynamic, placing the bulk of political power in the hands of heavily populated suburban areas and particularly cities, where our economic power is already concentrated.

      Whether you think that’s a good thing or not is a discussion for another time.

      1. Ryan, I think you put more thought into this that I did. Your analysis is solid, in my opinion.

        Fundamentally, my thrust was with a more than 2 party system, very often political coalitions need to be built, compromises made, which eliminates extremists from rising into the governing power. And that is 100% true with proportional representation. Can a fringe party become a king-maker? Sadly, yes. But generally such a party will be making deals for some small scrap of their platform, not the entirety.

        Now, that being said, there is always the danger, actually very common occurrence, of a party getting far less than 50% of the electoral votes and still have a majority in the major voting house, whatever that is. (except of course, with the above mentioned true proportional representation).

        The federal Liberal party (can you even imagine a party named that getting votes in the States?) of Canada received 39.5% of the federal votes in 2015, but control well over half of the seats in the Parliament.

        But fundamentally, any extremist party is just that, a fringe party, with no chance of control, while all major parties have to cling fairly close to whatever the political pulse is of a country. Now, if that country’s pulse moves heavily left or right, then all major parties will move that way also, in order to remain relevant. I think we are seeing that in Poland now, perhaps in Germany and France as well.

  21. Chris, this post is greatly appreciated. It’s one snapshot of what I think a lot of us are dealing with in our own , unique ways.

    I am an openly gay man who essentially comes from a family of unreconstructed Dixiecrats. “Merry Christmas, could you please pass me the plate of big gummint conspiracy theories …” seems to be the template.

    Other posters here offer variations of the same reality each day. There is a level of encouragement in that I can see a virtual community and shared humanity through the struggles of others. But it sucks, no doubt.

    At any rate, I feel for your circumstances not only because of your present reality, but also and especially because you invested significant time and energy in your life to try and avoid this outcome.

    Your post is about policy of course, but I want you to know that your writing and this community is a major source of strength and encouragement to me and many others. Thank you. My hope is you keep investing in this site through this crisis – maybe this community can be a vehicle to help us all get to where we need to go.

  22. From my position (NZ) the USA does not need a new “Conservative Party”
    You have a perfectly serviceable Conservative Party – it’s too far to the right to get many votes in most countries but it’s not insane
    That of course is the Democratic Party
    What you are missing is an actual “Left Wing Party”

    You need to get a decent Left wing party and do something about putting the loonies that are currently running the GOP back in the asylum

  23. Frankly, I am open to a different political structure if it would restore balance. Like most people, I am weary of the incessant, unnecessary roiling within our government. It has become a drag – an unwelcome distraction and unease as each new outrage is revealed. I welcome the boredom of government that functions not as a solution but as respite. It is depressing to watch the daily melee but I care too much about our country to crawl into my own hole and ignore the chaos. Each of us in our own way will do what we can to bring order and balance to our lives and to our nation. Quitting is not an option, but staying engaged is hard. To which end, thank you Chris and all who comment here for continuing the dialogue which offers a sane, intelligent environment for the exchange of ideas and thoughts.

  24. Several comments:

    1. Up until this administration, I felt that a minimum 3 election cycles including 2 midterm elections, during which the Republican party was decimated would be required to end the fever in that party. With this administration and the current party I am not confident of that. When I think back to the 1930s, even after 16 years of Democratic control and two existential crises back-to-back, the toxins in the Republican party survived. It took Eisenhower to moderate the party. Now I am beginning to think the Republican Party has to completely self destruct and a new party needs to be formed. How long that will take no one knows.

    2. Do not give up on market based approaches taking hold in the Democratic party. As Stephen, Chris Fagan and others have pointed out in their comments numerous members of the D Party support market based approaches. Definitely sane gun control options are one. Even healthcare might yield itself to market driven approaches to achieve near universal coverage at reasonable cost. For me, I have concluded that a single payer approach for the bulk of the population is the only option that will achieve near universal coverage at a reasonable cost in the US given the political dynamics.

    3. I appreciate Stephen’s comments regarding the metropolitan areas of the South. Years ago I concluded that the South might liberalize as technology, industrialization and urbanity penetrated the South and that the racism would slowly fade. However, I have become frustrated with the length of time that it has taken.

    4. As N1cholas pointed out the US constitution prioritizes land area over population. That was acceptable in the late 18th Century and much of the 19th Century. At that time the rural areas were a key driver of wealth generation. Many of the urban areas actually were service areas for the rural populations. That ceased to be true with the industrialization of America. Even at the beginning of the 20th Century primary wealth generation had shifted to the urban areas. Constitutional and electoral revisions will be required to shift the political balance to the urban areas. Europe still has trouble with that and they have done much to achieve balance.

    I just hope Drumpf is forced from office within the next couple of years. However, I have no hope of that happening until 2019. Even then, the nation will be forced to contend with Mike Pence and his ultra-conservative economic ideas, his notion he has been anointed by God to save the U.S. and white supremacist, intolerant social ideas, unless he can be forced from office simultaneously with Drumpf. With a strong D majority in the House and a hopeful small D majority in the Senate most of his crazy ideas could probably be blunted. But Pence would still do a lot of damage until he could be defeated in 2020. That is the reason I am thinking that a complete implosion of the Rs will be required. Perhaps they might moderate after at least 4 maybe 5 consecutive election cycles of total rejection have occurred. The more midterm elections included in that the better.

    1. >] 1. Up until this administration, I felt that a minimum 3 election cycles including 2 midterm elections, during which the Republican party was decimated would be required to end the fever in that party. With this administration and the current party I am not confident of that. When I think back to the 1930s, even after 16 years of Democratic control and two existential crises back-to-back, the toxins in the Republican party survived. It took Eisenhower to moderate the party. Now I am beginning to think the Republican Party has to completely self destruct and a new party needs to be formed. How long that will take no one knows.

      There is no ending the fever in the Republican Party because it’s the last legitimate political outlet for the politics of white nationalism and racism of a generation whose sun is just about to set. These are the Dying Days of the Dixiecrats, and Trump was the last primal cry of their demand for relevance and to Make America Great Again.

      The time it takes for a new conservative party to be formed can be gauged more or less by how long it takes for enough of these Dixiecrats-in-Spirit to die out for their political influence to cease being a game changer, regardless of the political circumstances that might offer them a leg up. Once you hit that critical point, the Republican Party, insofar as politics is concerned, is effectively dead, and the only real question is whether that happens before Millennials come to finish the job themselves or not.

      Once *that* happens, the only conservatives I can see being in a position to rebuild from the miserable rubble would be Never Trumpers; those who stood against the Orange Menace at great personal and political cost to themselves. Frankly, there’s no one else with remotely the credibility to appeal to the nation at that point with a viable chance at success.

      Needless to say, I’d still delight in seeing Paul Ryan try.

      1. Ryan has been an Ayn Rand disciple for decades. He used to talk about his admiration for her policies but stopped, probably because they do not go too well with the old social security crowd.
        They want to cut the hell out of medicaid. Somewhere i read 60% of the nursing home beds in florida are filled with medicaid people. that’s a lot of middle class people who medical science is keeping alive who can not afford a nursing home. Where do Republicans expect these people to go. The R’s cut health care, cut medicaid, cut food stamps, all the while preaching family values!
        When these guys get done, what with the tax cuts and loading up the federal judgeships with right wing incompetents, not to mention the power of gerrymandering, this country will be a mess.
        Maybe this time people will vote. But I am not hopeful!

      2. My pretty uneducated guess is, assuming the Republic survives (big if, IMO), the Democratic Party will emerge as the conservative alternative and the Left will break off to form a new party. That’s obviously a long game, however, involving the creation of one party and the re-imagination of the other.

        The wild card to me is whether the Democrats can re-take the Senate in 2018, and stanch the destruction of the Judiciary branch (assuming Trump does not succumb to impeachment or too many jelly doughnuts in the meantime).

      3. Good point regarding the left wing of the Democratic Party. Here on the left coast we have thee problem of keeping the liberals sufficiently disciplined so they don’t drive the more moderates away. Daniel Farina has commented in the past that Jerry Brown in California has served the role of temporing the more left wing initiatives of the California Legislature. Here in Washington state, the Democrats will take full control of the state Government in a few days for the first time since 2012 with a single vote majority in the Senate. We could very likely have a problem of overreach during the 2018 legislative session, which is short. Far better to tend to some serious issues left over from 2017 and focus on increasing the Democratic majorities in 2018.

    2. “numerous members of the D Party support market based approaches”

      Some problems lend themselves to market based solutions, some lend themselves to public solutions, and some lend themselves to public-private partnership approaches. Looking to force one or the other solution on a problem because of ideological beliefs that one or the other is better is what caused the failure of communism, and will cause the failure of capitalism too.

      1. “Some problems lend themselves to market based solutions, some lend themselves to public solutions, and some lend themselves to public-private partnership approaches. ”

        Excellent way of putting it! I couldn’t agree more.

      2. “Some problems lend themselves to market based solutions, some lend themselves to public solutions, and some lend themselves to public-private partnership approaches. ”

        I agree entirely – but for the last 40 years we have been pushing problems that suit the “public solutions” into “market based (actually crony capitalism) solutions”

        To the extent that while 99% of those can be seen to have failed I can’t think of ANY that were pushed into “public solutions” and have failed

        For an example of a hybrid that has worked well and that I believe is currently Best In the World – by a long way

        https://www.acc.co.nz/

        Accident Compensation Corporation

        We help get New Zealanders and visitors back to everyday life if they’ve had an accidental injury.

        Everyone in New Zealand is covered by ACC’s no-fault scheme if they’re injured in an accident. This includes children, beneficiaries and students. It doesn’t matter if they’re working, unemployed or retired. It also includes visitors to New Zealand.

        The cover we provide helps pay for the costs of your recovery. This includes payment towards treatment, help at home and work, and help with your income.

    1. It’s an interesting question and I’m not not sure. When I was still practicing law the answer would have been yes. As someone who had a formal role in one of the political parties the answer would be yes. However, working in the tech industry I think it’s more ambiguous.

      The non-professional white collar class that has emerged over the past twenty years (people who earn a good white collar living but don’t necessarily have professional degrees or a govt role) is an entirely new phenomenon that doesn’t fit any of the old Marxian class taxonomies. The classic definition of retainer class includes clerics, lawyers, merchants, bureaucrats, military officers, academics, etc., but from the 1600’s until about thirty years ago, those were the only non-wealthy people who had any kind of affluence. This new tech elite is odd. They have relatively few ties into the establishment, unusually little political influence for their affluence.

      This new category of knowledge workers may not really qualify as a “retainer class.” Not sure. I guess we’ll see what role they play as the chaos unfolds.

      1. Normally, I would expect them to follow a similar path as engineers did in the early 20th century. The major difference is that many of them have obtained so much wealth, that they can retire early and devote their lives to other areas. Some have chosen philanthropy. Some are going into politics. In Western WA, we have some experience with the early Microsoftees and other software industries. Many of them are involved in our local politics, and in the state legislature. Some have actually moved into national office. One example is Maria Cantwell who will be completing her third Senate term in 2019. She will almost certainly be reelected with ease in 2018. She is beginning to achieve some national prominence and would have sooner, except the Senate has been dominated by Republicans for much of that time.

      2. I think that’s just a function of the tech world being so young (as an industry, it really came into prominence in the 90s, and many of it’s “old guard” are still quite young, like Bill Gates). As their billions become entrenched as generational, inherited wealth, the tech world will claim their share of political influence just as the young upstart capitalists of the Industrial Revolution eventually overthrew the landed gentry to become the new aristocracy.

        You’re already seeing it, with congressmen like Rho Khanna winning in Silicon Valley, and guys like Peter Thiel getting involved in national politics. They are already as important an influence on Democratic candidates as Hollywood (mainly for their fundraising ability, but also influencing policy like H1B visas, trade, intellectual property, etc). Heck, I think Zuckerberg is only half-kidding about running for President…

        IMHO, however, the Dems shouldn’t take Silicon Valley for granted. While Silicon Valley is overwhelmingly liberal socially, they are increasingly conservative economically. Google and Facebook may have been started by a bunch of college kids who probably had no clue or care about govt policy, but their continued success depends very much on bending the government’s ear on issues like privacy, electronic data gathering, etc. Similarly Apple’s Steve Jobs was a hippie pot smoker, but Apple now relies as much on intellectual property protections and free trade policy as they do on tech wunderkinds creating the next product. In that regard, they are not so different than the Koch Bros, whose empire depends more on govt policies regulating the environment, etc, than on any innovation.

        In all of these economic policies, their main opponents are economic liberals. Occupy Wall St. might have focused their ire on financial firms, but ask them what they think of Apple stashing $100bil overseas to avoid paying taxes. Eventually, this conflict between their social concerns and their pocketbook will come to a head. Don’t be surprised when the pocketbook wins out.

  25. A lot of conservative people with market driven ideas have join the Democrats. I am very conservative fiscally but socially moderate to progressive. I changed parties early 2016. And am surprise by the strength of the Christian left who tend Democrat. The GOP use to boast of being a big tent. The Democrats may actually become that.

    1. The Democratic party IS the big tent party.

      If you leave out white, southern (culturally or physically), baptists, 75% of people either identify with or vote for the Democratic party.

      The problem is a mixture of the Electoral College voting system (land area = extra voting power), first-past-the-post election systems in general, and the outright frightening power of right-wing propaganda which has, as Karl Rove predicted, created an entirely new reality that changes as the people programming the propaganda twist and tune the dials it gets sent out into the public airwaves and internet.

    2. It’s a legitimate question, I think, to ask just how far the Democrats can move left while they, hypothetically, assume more of a stranglehold on our politics. We shouldn’t forget that Millennials only lean so overwhelmingly to the Dems because they despise Republicans so much. Given the choice, they identify as Independents more than anything else, and *strongly* favor a third party, and it ain’t a particularly close call.

      In a world where moderates and former Republicans jump ship of their now Nazi-infested party, that’s going to have a moderating effect on Democrats. I’ve indulged in this idea before, and I still don’t think it out of the loop to utterly disregard a future where a Democratic Party may rule nationally, but where several sub-parties make up the overall coalition. You’ll have the self-proclaimed progressives and liberals of course, but you’ll also have more moderating factions of conservative Democrats (think Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, Doug Jones, etc.) and moderates too.

      1. And how would you respond to this, paraphrased from Keynes:

        “The Conservative idea that a society prepares for its future by scrimping on education and infrastructure — not to mention maintaining a significant portion of the population in idleness — in order to be “fiscally responsible” is, in the words of Keynes, “the kind of thing no [person] could believe who had not had [their] heads addled by nonsense for years and years.”

  26. Chris, thank you for verbalizing so well what I have been feeling. It is hard not to become very discouraged in this upside down reality. Your writing helps your readers too, to see more clearly in the chaos. I hope the new year brings you good fortune or at least inner calm. I live to see Donald Trump (Agent Orange, a friend has named him) tarred and feathered and run out of town.

  27. “In the near term, surviving this crisis depends on placing Democrats in power at every level of government. We cannot return to stability until the Republican Party has been thoroughly gutted, hopefully through electoral failure, but by any means necessary.”

    Agreed entirely. It pains me to have to vote for Democrats for the next few election cycles despite my center-right leanings. I believe in putting the well being of my country before partisan politics. Given the power of FOX News, folks like Hannity & Limbaugh, and websites like Breitbart I expect it will be at least another 5-10 years before we see a sane and sensible center right party that works for all Americans regardless of whether they live in New York or Idaho and regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, etc. We need to be able to win votes in both big cities with large minority populations as well as in small towns in the heartland.

    1. Another thing I forgot to mention, the Republican Party in it’s present from is ULTRA toxic among my fellow Millennials. I have alot of friends who have said things like “I like free market economics but the Republicans hate gay people like me” or “I agree with the foreign policy objectives of the Republicans but they are racist and use my Black girlfriend as a scapegoat for everything that’s wrong with the country” and on and on. We need to make peace with the ‘browning’ of America. We also need to realize that 1950s era social views are seen as backwards by large swaths of the populace.

      1. I do hope that all your friends are highly motivated to go out and vote. We were spared the travesty of Roy Moore in the Senate because enough people who were disgusted with his racism/sexism/homophobia stepped up. The Nazis and other regressives can be beaten at the ballot box- we have a long 10+ months of work to do.

      2. I am sure you know what a bell curve is. Many metro areas of the South have long since made peace with the browning of America. My area of Central Florida looked like Alabama 50 years ago . Now mixed and tolerant. And proud of that. Places like Orlando are the leading edge. We are the infection that is slowly killing the old Confederacy. My generation started it and my kids and their kids will finished the job.

    2. I’m honestly curious: as a center-right person, what part of Obama’s policy did you disagree with? Obamacare was an attempt at regulating but essentially preserving the private market for health insurance, and was a Republican policy initiative. After the devastation of the financial crisis, Obama could have wiped out Wall St. as we know it with an entirely new regulatory approach (like FDR did), but he didn’t. Even foreign policy-wise, he was as much a hawk as GWB and would have fit right in with old-school Republican internationalists like James Baker.

      Regardless of Bernie’s insurgent run, he lost the primary. Hillary Clinton was essentially going to continue Obama’s and Bill Clinton’s third-way policies.

      As a liberal, I view Obama as a center-right politician on economics and foreign policy. He was only liberal on social issues, and that too, merely following as the general society was changing, rather than leading anything (it’s sad that it took Joe Biden to start the push for legalizing gay marriage, for example).

      So I’m curious which parts of Obama’s or Hillary’s policies you regard as too liberal to stomach as a center-right person?

      1. Stephen, you bring up a good point. Much of their current changes in central Florida are due to the migration from Puerto Rico which (as I’m sure you know) began long before Hurricane Maria but has increased significantly in the past few months. As many as 200,000 people have moved from Puerto Rico to the Orlando area in the past 3 months including several good friends of mine. North Carolina is another such example where there’s been significant migration of people from New York (especially my fellow Long Islanders) to cities like Charlotte and it’s suburbs.

        WX Wall, my major issue with the Democratic Party is that it’s not Obama or Bill & Hillary’s Democratic Party anymore. The age of the third way “New Democrats” is over. The heart and soul of the party clearly belongs to the far left wing (the “Berniecrats” as I call them). Your absolutely correct in that what became Obamacare was originally conceived by the Heritage Foundation (back when the HF was still somewhat sane). To be honest, even when I was officially still a Republican I secretly supported Obamacare. I must confess that healthcare is one of those (few) areas where I am basically a liberal. I support expanding eligibility for Medicare to all citizens regardless of their age (ie: a public option) however I recognize that it’s not feasible in the current environment and so Obamacare will stick around for the foreseeable future. Another poster (Creigh Gordon) wrote that “Some problems lend themselves to market based solutions, some lend themselves to public solutions, and some lend themselves to public-private partnership approaches.” … and he’s 100% correct. Healthcare is an example of something that requires a public solution (however that does NOT mean that I oppose private health insurance plans). Education is another one (I will defend public schools to my very last breath). On the other hand I think market based practices work good in terms in employment, I generally oppose unions for instance (especially public sector unions – I blame them for Long Island’s high cost of living).

  28. Chris and all,
    Happy New Year!

    It is sad for this country that we have gotten to this point. I blame Fox News. There have always been low information voters! Always people who are racists! But Fox has made it their business model to farm these people, to gather them together, to give them a home! Fox has made entertainment out of conspiracy theories! Out of Fake News!
    It used to be people, if they wanted to watch the news, had to watch real news! There wasn’t any other. ABC, CBS, NBC! Each station’s news broadcast was based in reality.
    Not anymore. Today there is an alternative to facts! You don’t like real news, watch Fox! Want to hear people say the black guy in the White House was born in Kenya, watch Fox! You think the FBI is a bunch of liars, watch Fox! Global warming is a hoax! Watch Fox!
    I know people who have Fox on all day. And they all voted for Trump. I have relatives who put Trump above the Pope!
    Who ever thought we would have a President say there were good people in a bunch of nazis? And get away with it?
    This is certainly going to be an interesting year coming up!

  29. ” The survival of this country depends on the success of my political rivals. I can help them, but they won’t cease to be rivals. Their success will rescue what I care most about, but it will probably also damage my hopes that a market-driven political future might emerge in my generation.”

    Also this is a wonderful declaration of country before party. A happier 2018 to you, and we all have lots of work to do.

  30. “This narrow and unlikely outcome depends on a massive electoral shift toward America’s political left. That’s not because the left has great policy ideas, but because they are the one of our two political parties that isn’t infested with Nazis.”

    I’m on your side in wanting to reestablish a sane conservative party, if for no other reason than keeping accountable the left wing party that needs to win in the immediate future to beat back the nazis and other authoritarians.

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