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The Whitelash Backlash

Khizr Khan

My wife is an elementary school teacher.  Back when we lived in Austin, TX, some twenty-plus years ago, she taught kindergarten in a virtually all-minority school.  Late in the spring semester during “circle time,” her one white student looked around at the twenty or so other kids in the circle, raised his hand, and exclaimed with considerable energy, “Heeeeeyyyyy!  I’m the only white kid in here!!!”

Whether he never noticed before that he was white, or that his fellow students were not, or whether, like Stephen Colbert he simply did not see color, remained unclear.

Critics, including really smart critics such as Mark Lilla, seem to be quite taken with a thesis that very well could have been inspired by this grade-school anecdote.   Their thesis, the Whitelash Backlash, suggests at heart that collectively white working class Americans woke up in late October and early November of 2016, stumbled from their bed to the bathroom, flipped on the light, looked in the mirror, and discovered to their considerable shock that, hey, we’re the white kids!

What prompted their self-discovery and novel race consciousness?  Well, Obama, for one.  But also, and this is my focus, they claim it was liberalism’s obsession with identity politics as exemplified by the ridiculous and incessant rantings of Social Justice Warriors.  These left-wing crazies obsessively dice the country’s population into ever more discrete demographic categories and rant endlessly about how every group apart from white males are victims and in need of compensatory laws, protection from words that might hurt their feelings, and financial reparations.  Identity politics undermines the common good, unnecessarily divides the country, and renders reasonable discourse impossible. It also awakened the white identity of millions of Americans.

So what’s wrong with the Whitelash Backlash thesis?  Not everything, actually.  But plenty.

I gotta say that the Lilla piece, and others like it, is bit too assertive for my tastes.  Mostly I’ve been struck by its conceptual ambiguity and lack of evidence.  It suggests by implication that rural working class whites frankly don’t live near minorities, so how in the world could they be threatened by them? Fair enough question, but it fails to explain how these same individuals are soaking up the prejudices and excesses of the halls of the snobbish liberal-infested academy.

In short, you don’t have to be a SJW to wonder whether the political right isn’t being given just a bit of a free ride in the Whitelash Backlash thesis.

Here’s another way of thinking about it.  Once upon a time white males, and mostly white Christian males, comprised the entire political establishment in this country.   Their dominance was so total that they could, in good conscience, speak of our country as fully republican, as a polity of a single constitutional class, and maintain without conscious hypocrisy that rulers are drawn from “the great body of the people.” (Federalist 39).  The common good was the good of white males.  Full stop.  What I fail to understand is how this is not a supreme vision of identity politics, the ultimate vision of identity politics.

Why are efforts to more fully integrate the full populace, with its glorious diversity, into the governing class and into the bounty of the American economy the true and sole mark of identity politics?  When I read of conservative states passing laws micromanaging where people may use the bathroom based on their biology, I sense that conservatives no less than liberals are obsessed with identity politics.  Not to say that one is better than the other, but if I’m forced to give the benefit of the doubt to one group over the other, I’ll grant it to the approach that leads to more inclusion, not less.

I suspect by the terms Lilla employs my own analysis of Trump’s victory (my inaugural piece here at OTB) could be labeled as just another example of a Social Justice Warrior pushing identity politics. But I do not believe this is the case.  My sense is that Trump truly was the more obvious identity politics candidate in the race, and it’s not even close.  And so to blame Democrats exclusively for their sins (which are real) when, in fact, Republicans are guilty of the more egregious sin of using identity politics to exclude rather than include, strikes me as opportunistic and backwards.

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About Michael Bailey
Michael is Associate Professor of Government and International Studies at Berry College in Rome, GA. His academic publications address the American Founding, the American presidency, religion and politics, and governance in liberal democracies. He also writes on popular culture, and his articles on, among other topics, patriotism, Church and State, and Kurt Vonnegut, have been published in Prism and Touchstone. He earned his PhD from the University of Texas in Austin, where he also earned his BA. He’s married and has three children. He joined OTB in November 2016.

Comments

  1. george says:

    I’d say the major problem with it is that its naive, to put it mildly, to think 60 million people all voted for the same reason. People simply aren’t that uniform in their motivations, desires, goals, emotions and beliefs.

    Its impossible to know more than a handful of people even moderately well and believe that they’re that uniform. Its as silly as when conservatives say everyone who voted for Obama did it because they wanted a handout, or were communists … its a way of avoiding looking at what you’re doing wrong, of believing your projections onto your opponents.

    And its dangerous, because projecting your own beliefs on people who didn’t vote your way instead of listening to why they voted the way they did is just about the best way to ensure the next election will turn out the same. Its like an engineering company who responds to one of their bridges collapsing by automatically blaming contractors and material suppliers instead of analyzing what went wrong (which would include not having done due diligence on both suppliers and materials).

    Its what losers do. The point is to win the mid-terms, not to feel better by blaming others.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  2. Pch101 says:

    Most Republicans aren’t bigots, but most bigots are Republicans.

    The bigots obviously looooooooove Trump. But they would have probably voted Republican anyway, so I have to question whether Trump really had any gains there net net.

    What helped Trump the most was Democrats not showing up and his ability to pull a slightly higher percentage of independents. I’m inclined at this point to attribute much of that to tactical errors in the Clinton campaign — she could have won this election had she and her team had improved her game.

    A more charismatic Democratic such as Biden would have probably had an easier time of it and avoided those errors, winning a few more independents in the process. He would have felt the pain of the segment of voters that have pain and given them empathy to sooth it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

  3. grumpy realist says:

    I think a lot of people voted for Trump because he promised them everything. Amazing when you ask Trump’s supporters what they expect to gain from him and the responses are all over the map. He’s the ultimate chameleon, the ultimate con-man. They project on to him what they want to see and they gather from his speeches what they want to hear.

    And for a lot of people, they voted for Trump because it was the biggest “F-U” they could make towards the “elites” running the U.S. Voting for Hillary was “same as before”. Voting for Trump was wild, exciting, and the best screech they could make against the political parties that have left them behind. The fact that Trump will leave them even further behind is something they don’t care about. It’s the Samson Complex.

    I also have to quote a commentator over at Balloon Juice:

    The salient fact of American politics is that there are fifty to seventy
    million voters each of who will volunteer to live, with his family, in a
    cardboard box under an overpass, and cook sparrows on an old curtain rod, if
    someone would only guarantee that the black, gay, Hispanic, liberal,
    whatever, in the next box over doesn’t even have a curtain rod, or a sparrow
    to put on it. – Davis X. Machina, balloon-juice.com

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  4. An Interested Party says:

    A more charismatic Democratic such as Biden would have probably had an easier time of it…

    It does seem that since 1992, if not even earlier, the more charismatic candidate always wins presidential elections, one way or another…

    And for a lot of people, they voted for Trump because it was the biggest “F-U” they could make towards the “elites” running the U.S.

    Terribly ironic in that Trump, Ryan, and McConnell are going to do far more to help the elites than they will to help any of those people sending the “F-U” message…in a way, those same people are about to get f@cked back…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  5. CSK says:

    @Pch101:

    “…most bigots are Republicans.”

    I might have to give you an argument here. When I lived in the greater Boston area, I was acquainted with plenty of white ethnic blue collar Democrats, and they loathed blacks and Hispanics. Absolutely despised them, and said so in no uncertain terms. (I won’t go into what they said about “fairies.”) Then they’d go off to the polls, vote for whatever Kennedy was running for whichever office, and come home and complain about how the n*ggers and the sp*cs were getting all the free money and the government was ripping off them, the white working class.

    But then, being a white working class Democrat in Massachusetts has virtually nothing to do with ideology and everything to do with tribal affiliation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  6. Slugger says:

    The thing that I don’t quite get about white identity is the discrepancy between the guys at the top and the vast numbers who don’t seem to derive much benefit from this arrangement. What goodies does a mid to lower class white man get that makes it reasonable for them to serve the upper crust? When this country was founded, the reins of government were explicitly given to the Thomas Jeffersons of the world. In the Civil War, small subsistence farmers went to war to protect the privileges of big estate owners. Right now, the same mid to lower class white guys are protecting the interests of the overclass. As I said earlier, I don’t get it.
    Personal disclosure: I am a Jew who arrived in the USA in 1956. Obviously, I was not a “white” person in Europe. I was pleased to be generally considered an honorary “white” person in America, but I suspect it can be withdrawn pretty fast.
    I hope a working class white guy can enlighten me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  7. Gustopher says:

    Clinton won the popular vote by one to one and a half million. She lost the three states she would have needed to win by roughly one hundred thousand total. That basically means that it was very, very close, and give or take everything was a deciding factor, other than the motives of the people in the safe states.

    – White supremacists were more energized by Trump and his treatment of our first black President.
    – Clinton is a woman
    – Clinton is a Clinton
    – Trump lied about everything
    – Clinton didn’t have a grand vision other than moderate effective government and nibbling around the edges for change
    – Millennials didn’t turn out as much (assuming they didn’t, haven’t dug into the numbers that much)

    It’s close enough that the difference can be explained by dozens of things.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 4

  8. Katharsis says:

    @Slugger: I would offer two things, and this is only a guess.

    1. They can’t lose being white, it’s fundamental and always there. Maybe it’s not directly rewarding, but it is at the least effortless.

    2. They notice its loss more than its presence. I think this contributes the most to their support. This whole article is so on the mark because it is about showing that identity politics has always been here, but people want to both have their white privilege back and not talk about ever having that privilege in the first place. Most of the people most bothered by these things are people who rarely spend any time thinking about race, especially their race. This is why not ‘seeing race’ is part of the problem. I’ve said in other forums before: the first and most fundamental privilege is ignorance.

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  9. James Pearce says:

    When I read of conservative states passing laws micromanaging where people may use the bathroom based on their biology, I sense that conservatives no less than liberals are obsessed with identity politics.

    Well, sure. That’s been true since Nixon’s “silent majority” days.

    I had a more sympathetic reading of Lilla’s piece. He used the term “identity liberalism” and doesn’t let the right off the hook for their indulgence in their own version of “identity politics.” He’s also careful not to get too committed to his interpretations of the election results, merely calling them “convenient” as opposed to, you know, factual.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. steve says:

    The GOP has been engaged in identity politics at least as long as the Dems have. They have explicitly campaigned to represent the interests of evangelicals, gun owners, big business, the wealthy and the anti-gay movement. Somehow it is only identity politics when you represent the interests of minority groups or poor people.

    Steve

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  11. Katharsis says:

    @Gustopher: This is a pretty good talk about what happened with Ezra Klein and Ron Brownstein (podcast, 1hr). Although it doesn’t talk about voter fatigue like Grumpy Realist keeps mentioning. I wish that would have been discussed as well.

    The basic case they make is: Trump wasn’t enough to activate both sides. Trump excited his base, and Hillary’s barely flinched in the end. It was a close election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. george says:

    @steve:

    Just given human nature, its basically inevitable that when anyone starts using identity politics, others will do the same. If you’re not inside then you’re outside, and you need your own inside.

    In the case of America (a very recent addition to the world in a historical perspective) that started with racism, and has been continuing on ever since. Action makes reaction, and reaction creates a new reaction and so on.

    Of course, class (economic and social) has been a source of identity politics for millennia as well, as has culture and subculture and education. Its probably almost impossible to avoid identity politics – if you criticize a group, parts of that group will create an identity around that criticism. I’m not sure if there’s a solution, some of the criticisms are valid and very much need to be said, but there will always be those who go too far in their criticisms and that will create a reaction from the group being criticized, often unifying them in ways that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

    Its probably inevitable. Maybe if there was a way to make sure no one ever took the criticisms too far, but there’s always going to be a handful of people who go to extremes and they’re the ones that get all the attention (because going over the top is far more interesting and often creative than a bland reasonable statement).

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  13. Modulo Myself says:

    It’s a bizarre argument, given that Donald Trump and the people he is putting into power represent what would basically be an unthinkable SJW-written dystopia two years ago. Where’s the logic in saying that white Americans–tired of being labeled sexist, racist, and anti-Muslim–elected into office a tableau of sexist, racist, and anti-Muslim white men except that white Americans in general are as bad as previously theorized?

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  14. Modulo Myself says:

    FYI Mark Lilla has spent his career pointing fingers at intellectuals like Michel Foucault as illiberal threats to democracy and freedom. Foucault was not a liberal, so he’s right there, but the real threats, it turned out, were the economists and neoconservatives and people who ‘loved’ free speech so much that they thought hacks paid by energy companies were legitimate scientists. But in Lilla’s mind, it’s always been the liberal arts, the liberals, and the left who pose this closed-minded threat to democracy. And yet in the end they have described (in obtuse language) everything that’s wrong with this country. Is there a greater example of how microgression pays off than Donald Trump? Or how free speech can be manipulated by Nazis like Steve Bannon in order to make their sadistic urges legitimate political ideas?

    A lot of this is just digging with the shovel you brought. Conservatives DID NOT expect the world to turn out like this. They simply did not. They took confidence in the exact opposite happening. But they need money and they need to keep the grift rolling, so here we are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  15. george says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Democrats were going to put into power someone who voted for the Iraq war and was a hawk on middle east issues (and I note even with that Clinton is still orders of magnitude better than Trump).

    Does that mean that Democrats are all people who want war and military adventures? Or that people will accept some pretty horrible things in leaders (as in supporting measures leading to the deaths of hundreds or even thousands of people) if they think those leaders are better in other ways than the alternatives.

    Chomsky has said every American President in recent memory is a war criminal. Does that mean every American who voted for one of those Presidents is also a war criminal? I think its much, much more complex than that.

    There definitely are racists and sexists among those that voted for Trump. There definitely are people who want more war among those who voted for Clinton. I think generalizing either to include all of their voters is simply mistaken. In engineering terms, that some bolts fail does not mean all bolts fail so they shouldn’t be used in bridge construction … and bolts are much, much simpler than people. If you can’t even generalize about simple mechanical usefully, why do political analysts think its meaningful to generalize about voters? Other than of course its easier to blame others for losses than to investigate your own mistakes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  16. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: Save your breath–the idea that a lot of Democrats are bigots as well doesn’t fit the world view of the white liberal commenters here. I’ve been to Boston, there are areas there would make me pine to be in rural Alabama.

    Democrat bigotry: Make as much money as you want but stay away from us and our neighborhoods.

    Republican bigotry: We don’t mind sharing social “real-estate” and culture– but stay in your place (poor)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5

  17. gVOR08 says:

    Their thesis, the Whitelash Backlash, suggests at heart that collectively white working class Americans woke up in late October and early November of 2016, stumbled from their bed to the bathroom, flipped on the light, looked in the mirror, and discovered to their considerable shock that, hey, we’re the white kids!

    gVOR’s Sixth Law of Thermodynamics (I make these up as I need them) – Never trust a long term trend that no one heard of ’til a few months ago.

    Do I believe many people are more conscious of race this year than four years ago? No. Do I believe turnout may have been up in some groups because they felt their take on race consciousness was better represented? Yes. Do I believe an anti-establishment message also drove turnout? Yes. Do I believe people are very confused about who and what the establishment is? Yes. Oh yes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  18. Pch101 says:

    @CSK:

    I did say “most.”

    And if blue-collar bigots are grumbling about the racial politics of Democrats yet voting for them anyway, then that would suggest that they are voting for Democrats in spite of the party’s views on race, not because of them.

    Bigots who vote the bigot party line will be more attracted to the GOP’s xenophobia and identity politics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  19. Modulo Myself says:

    @george:

    I don’t really understand your point. I thought the overall whitelash argument was stupid–it’s like arguing that people voted for HIllary Clinton and a war in Syria because Noam Chomsky said that American presidents are all war criminals. As an argument it’s just a way to settle a score against Noam Chomsky.

    And as someone who voted for Barack Obama I have no problems calling him a war criminal. He’s been running assassination programs, and has supported a terrible war in Yemen, amongst many.

    But you know who has problems with calling a leader what they are? People who have affinities with ideas that in fruition in the powerful are disgusting. That’s why we have all these Republicans who are hedging and hemming about calling Trump a racist who makes racist appeals. Because it’s more complex than that, or something (they say) rather than I’m a chickens–t racist who doesn’t totally mind the idea of a creating a registry of Muslims. And that’s why most Americans, regardless of party, are unwilling to call their leaders war criminals for ordering torture or assassinations or needless wars. Because their ideas of the people we are killing and torturing are dehumanized and racist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  20. CSK says:

    @Pch101:

    I wasn’t disputing that Democratic bigots vote against their party on race; it’s simply startling how blatant it is. And, apparently, acceptable.

    But they’re not ideological here. They’re tribal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  21. MBunge says:

    Everybody’s a hypocrite on identity politics. Democrats preach identity politics for everyone except straight, white men and what was the GOP’s Southern Strategy except identity politics for that exact group.

    What’s most interesting about the Whitelash argument is the distinction it is illuminating on the Left. There are those who acknowledge the issue of race but also acknowledge that other issues exist. Then there are those who view race as, pardon the expression, a trump card. It doesn’t matter that Hillary was a bad candidate, that white voters are suffering and that Democrats and liberals either ignore them or are outright scornful of them. When they scream racist, everyone is supposed to snap to because that overrides all other concerns.

    The latter group is largely the ones who bought into the demographic destiny nonsense and that delusion is dying really hard.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 10

  22. george says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    As you say, its very complex. Personally I suspect the reason people won’t call their leaders war criminals has more to do with supporting the team than anything else – I don’t think people even think about who is being killed on the other side, its just a number. Obama’s been a good President, but his drone warfare has killed hundreds of innocents. So why isn’t that a war crime, but waterboarding is? Because war is a team sport, and a high number of enemy killed is in the end just a number. Waterboarding though sounds like cheating, so people are against it. Okay, that’s simplistic, but it is certainly part of the phenomena.

    Take a look at the Presidents who’ve been in power when war was declared the last century or so. Many of them are considered great Presidents because they did a lot of good, and what’s a few hundred thousand or millions of deaths? I’d argue that the absolute worst thing a President can do is kill people unnecessarily – its absolutely irreversible. But its almost never an issue in elections. In this case I don’t think Trump would be any better than Clinton (and possibly worse), but why was it hardly an issue at all? Of all the many deserved criticisms of Trump, why was the potential of killing people in other lands barely mentioned? I’d say because whether Clinton or Trump, its our team.

    Its not even necessarily racist – remember the cold war? We were ready to kill hundreds of millions of Europeans and Russians (and apparently it almost came to that in the Cuban missile crises). War is a team sport, politics is a team sport, and sometimes it seems that the only thing anyone cares about is that our team wins.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  23. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MBunge:

    that white voters are suffering and that Democrats and liberals either ignore them or are outright scornful of them

    They want the impossible. So, if we concede your point, and assume that liberals do ignore / scorn them, we’re still left with the fact that the right panders to them with hollow promises it has no intention of delivering on and in doing so uses their suffering for political gain. There is no moral high ground here. At least we’re being honest with them – the problem is that we’re being TOO honest with them and they don’t like it. They’re going to have to figure out for themselves that salvation isn’t going to come.

    That having been said, they are pretty f’king dumb and they keep voting against their own self-interest over and over and over again, so it’s pretty difficult not to regard them with something in the neighborhood of derision.

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  24. Guarneri says:

    @Pch101:

    I have to admit that Republicans’ xenophobia, dare I say racist, views are tawdry. Heres the big cheese, the presidential candidate, with this crazy talk of deportation and physical barriers. How did Trump win?

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_uXJ1mgkyF0

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  25. Gustopher says:

    I think the general election is less interesting than the primaries this year.

    In the general election, people wanted change but were repulsed by the change offered — pluralities held their nose enough in the right states, and so Trump got the victory anyway. It was close enough it could have been swayed by a big vision of the future by Clinton, or a touch more repulsiveness from Trump, or not having an email blowup a week or so before the election.

    The primaries whittled the options down to two — a Clinton on one side, crowing about how great it will be when she breaks that glass ceiling; and a racist carnival barker with delusions of masonry.

    Clinton didn’t face serious opposition in the primary. Bernie did more than the Democrats running against her, but he wasn’t a Democrat, his ideas were unrealistic, and he had that socialist label hanging around his neck like an albatross. The rest were nobodies. We didn’t have a mainstream populist, Elizabeth Warren would have cleaned up. The Onion’s Joe Biden would have cleaned up. The real Joe Biden would have struggled in the primary, but would have been able to make a compelling “you don’t want that change” case in the general.

    The Republican side is way more freaky though. The debates were freak shows, and the primary voters wanted a freak. They had options, but those options weren’t racist enough, didn’t embrace torture enough, and not combative enough. I honestly believe that Rand Paul would have won with a Reagan landslide, Perry or Rubio would have won handily, Kasich would have limped past the finish line, and Walker would have gone down terribly because he’s the same type of weasel as everyone’s least favorite boss. A Jeb(!)-Clinton campaign could have gone either way after most of America tune out. Cruz would have been a wildcard since he is so dislikable.

    But, once it gets down to Clinton-Trump… I think Trump was close enough to Giant Meteor Come To Doom Us All to make that safe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. MBunge says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Economic policies more focused on Main Street than Wall Street are impossible? Not wanting to be called a bigot because you have the exact same view of gay marriage that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had just a few years ago is impossible? Immigration policies that, like every other country in the world, recognize that Americans have a right to control who comes into their country are impossible? Changing a foreign policy consensus that has been a disaster for the last 15 years is impossible? That genuinely gets at the problem with neoliberalism, a theological denial of choice. That policies aren’t made by evaluating different options and prioritizing different values but are instead the product of Revealed Truth about the world and how it must be.

    I also think you are confusing honesty with being correct. Yes, telling people they are racist, sexist, xenophobic monsters who should just die off and let the enlightened take over the world is honest but it doesn’t mean you actually know your ass from a hole in the ground.

    And isn’t it about time to drop this “vote against their self-interest” nonsense since there is now an entire generation of grown adults who’ve never known a Democratic Party that actually cared about them? This ain’t the 80s anymore.

    Mike

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  27. MBunge says:

    @HarvardLaw92: That having been said, they are pretty f’king dumb

    Says the guy whose side just lost to Donald Trump. That loss was a real vindication of your superior intellect, wasn’t it?

    I separate this out because the spread of this kind of malignant know-nothingism is not something we can survive. It’s already made the GOP almost a clear and present danger to the country and the world. If the losers of this election respond with only ego-soothing denial, you’ll be well on your way to becoming the same.

    Mike

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  28. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MBunge:

    Economic policies more focused on Main Street than Wall Street are impossible?

    They don’t want that. I’m a voracious reader, seeking out and digesting as much information as I can find, and part of that has been ingesting an enormous volume of individual commentary on various forums. To a man, what they want is for it to be 1955 again – they want their factory to reopen. They want coal mining to be a viable occupation again. They’re resistant to change and are kicking and screaming in some sort of sad tantrum that they shouldn’t have to adapt to a world that has passed them by.

    Not wanting to be called a bigot because you have the exact same view of gay marriage that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had just a few years ago is impossible?

    Sorry, but that view of marriage does make one a bigot. When your religious beliefs mean that YOU can’t do something, knock yourself out. When your religious beliefs mean that OTHERS can’t do something, you’re a bigot. You can believe as you please, but throwing a tantrum because others call you out on your bigotry is just childish.

    Immigration policies that, like every other country in the world, recognize that Americans have a right to control who comes into their country are impossible?

    You know as well as I do that much of what passes for objections to “immigration” is coded bigotry. Trump acknowledged as much when he chose to focus on Mexicans and identify them as the problem. Hear many people complaining about Chinese or Indian or European folks overstaying their visas, did you? Neither did I …

    Changing a foreign policy consensus that has been a disaster for the last 15 years is impossible?

    Funny, I don’t recall a single piece of commentary in that gargantuan body of verbiage that I read engaging foreign policy. I have my doubts that, if quizzed on the subject, most of these people could even find Syria or Iraq or Afghanistan on a map or even begin to tell you what we’re doing there and why. To the extent that they mention it at all, it’s usually in the context of “those damn Muslims”, which is just another iteration of bigotry.

    Essentially, and this harkens to the point of the OP, all of this can be neatly wrapped up within the wrapper of “we’re not king of the hill any longer, and we don’t like it …”

    Yes, telling people they are racist, sexist, xenophobic monsters who should just die off and let the enlightened take over the world is honest but it doesn’t mean you actually know your ass from a hole in the ground.

    The first thing you’ve ever said with which I’m prepared to somewhat agree. If this election has taught, or should teach, Democrats anything, it’s that Americans don’t want cogent policy discussions. They don’t want prudent policy. What they want is to be lied to and sold sunshine.

    So let’s lie to them and sell them sunshine.

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  29. george says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    That having been said, they are pretty f’king dumb and they keep voting against their own self-interest over and over and over again, so it’s pretty difficult not to regard them with something in the neighborhood of derision.

    People act against their self interest all the time. Smokers, people who don’t exercise, who overeat, who drink too much, who use certain narcotics, who go into a profession with poor career potential, who consistently choose bad partners, who stay in abusive relationships, … well, you get the idea. Is it possible to regard them with something kinder than derision? If so, why not people who vote against their own interests?

    This isn’t even about politics, its simply about being a good human being. If nothing else, we all screw up in our lives, and often our screw ups follow an easily recognizable pattern. It should make us less judgmental about others who continuously screw up.

    And my observation about wanting the impossible is that often all people want (and this is in just about every form of human misery, from economic to health to relationship) is the sense that someone is listening and cares. It doesn’t matter so much if you can’t cure their cancer, people generally don’t expect the impossible. But if you’re indifferent to it, or tell them its their own fault for having smoked a pack a day, you’re going to find they’re not going to see you as a friend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  30. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MBunge:

    I separate this out because the spread of this kind of malignant know-nothingism is not something we can survive. It’s already made the GOP almost a clear and present danger to the country and the world. If the losers of this election respond with only ego-soothing denial, you’ll be well on your way to becoming the same.

    This comment presupposes that it even can be saved. I’ve made my view on that supposition clear – it’s beyond saving and Paris is lovely this time of year. Democracy depends, indeed can not survive without, the involvement of an engaged and sober electorate capable of and desirous of analyzing policy proposals on a level that produces electoral decisions predicated on sanity. We’re well beyond that now. American’s don’t want it. They want fake news and the Kardashians and to have sunshine blown up their ignorant asses, and they’re getting what they want.

    Like I said on another thread, Rome fell in spectacular fashion, and it had died from within long before it fell from without. Despite all of this American exceptionalism ridiculousness, we’re not so special that we can’t suffer the same fate.

    In fact, we’re already well on our way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  31. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @george:

    Is it possible to regard them with something kinder than derision?

    Initially? Sure. When they keep doing it over and over and over again? Not so much.

    It’s like a heroin addict who keeps going in and out of rehab. At some point, you have to accept that they’re just bent on self-destruction and let them end themselves.

    is that often all people want … is the sense that someone is listening and cares.

    I used to believe that. I just don’t any longer. What people want is someone to blame.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  32. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Or put another way (according to BJ):

    Americans … will predictably vote against their own best interests. In his seminal post on the Crazification Factor, John Rogers used the 2004 Obama/Keyes senate race as a measure: “Keyes was from out of state, so you can eliminate any established political base; both candidates were black, so you can factor out racism; and Keyes was plainly, obviously, completely crazy. Batshit crazy. Head-trauma crazy. But 27% of the population of Illinois voted for him. They put party identification, personal prejudice, whatever ahead of rational judgment. Hell, even like 5% of Democrats voted for him. That’s crazy behavior. I think you have to assume a 27% Crazification Factor in any population.”

    Which leads us to the always entertaining Davis X. Machina:

    “The salient fact of American politics is that there are fifty to seventy million voters each of who will volunteer to live, with his family, in a cardboard box under an overpass, and cook sparrows on an old curtain rod, if someone would only guarantee that the black, gay, Hispanic, liberal, whatever, in the next box over doesn’t even have a curtain rod, or a sparrow to put on it.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  33. george says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    It’s like a heroin addict who keeps going in and out of rehab. At some point, you have to accept that they’re just bent on self-destruction and let them end themselves.

    True. What’s that got to do with not having empathy for them, or treating them with derision? I prefer the “there for the grace of God go I” reaction. That doesn’t mean you help people in their self destruction, or even necessarily go out of your way to help them – not always possible. But empathy? It costs nothing, and sometimes people surprise you and pull out of things when it looks like they’re hopeless.

    If nothing else, I’ve screwed up too many times, and too severely in my own life to be derisive of others; its pretty easy to see how I could have ended up the same.

    I used to believe that. I just don’t any longer. What people want is someone to blame.

    Maybe. I’ve known many people in dire circumstances (cancer, addicts, family problems, job problems) – I suspect most of us know a lot of folks like that – and I still find most are looking for a sympathetic ear as much as anything. Professional counselor’s I know say the same thing. But its individual, your experience is obviously different.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  34. grumpy realist says:

    @george: The problem is, you can’t help heroin addicts (or addicts of any kind) until they admit that there’s a problem with their actions and with how they interact with the world.

    It’s really hard to see how to help a population that insists it’s 1955 all over again. Not actual 1955–I’m sure they would scream with rage if they had to pay 1955 level of taxes–but TV 1955. It’s like helping out people who were trained in buggy-whip making and absolutely refuse to move to a location where buggy-whips might be a good produce (the Amish?) and also absolutely refuse to retrain themselves for another profession.

    The self-pity wafting off these people is immense. And it’s just going to get worse and worse as more and more automation gets used. We think it’s bad now; just wait until automation makes it to truck driving and the last somewhat-decently-well-paid-job-for-semi-skilled-people bites the dust. NO ONE is looking at this problem. Companies don’t care, because the only thing they have to worry about is increasing returns to stock holders (look at how DuPont has been getting rid of its R&D section because of this.) Government–especially Republican-dominated government won’t care. It’s going to be all “need fewer taxes and pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps”.

    So of course, these people are sitting ducks for anyone who tells them what they want to hear, i.e., Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  35. Kylopod says:

    @MBunge:

    Not wanting to be called a bigot because you have the exact same view of gay marriage that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had just a few years ago

    The exact same views as Obama a few years ago? Of course that would have to include–

    (1) Supporting civil unions
    (2) Opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment
    (3) Opposing DOMA and California’s Prop 8
    (4) Stopping short of quite endorsing same-sex marriage, though in practice doing nothing within one’s power to stop it, and doing quite a bit to advance it.

    Are there liberals who would refer to this range of views as “bigoted”? Undoubtedly. But it’s also a fact that the vast majority of people who complain about being called bigots for opposing gay marriage go a lot farther than Obama ever did in his alleged “opposition” to SSM. I always dubbed Obama’s pre-2012 position on the subject (which was echoed by many other Democrats and even some Republicans) “ASSMINO”–Against Same Sex Marriage In Name Only. Yet “I hold the same views as Obama pre-2012” has become a talking point in defense of every asinine remark or action on this subject. Carl Paladino used essentially that line in 2010 after having compared gay marriage to the Holocaust. Charles Krauthammer used a variant of it on behalf of a Mozilla CEO who resigned under pressure amid protests at his having donated to Prop 8 (in other words, his views were the opposite of Obama’s, a point lost on Krauthammer).

    In any case, I highly doubt that being called a bigot for holding Obama’s range of views on the subject has much to do with why Trump was elected.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  36. KM says:

    @george:

    True. What’s that got to do with not having empathy for them, or treating them with derision? I prefer the “there for the grace of God go I” reaction. That doesn’t mean you help people in their self destruction, or even necessarily go out of your way to help them – not always possible. But empathy? It costs nothing, and sometimes people surprise you and pull out of things when it looks like they’re hopeless.

    If nothing else, I’ve screwed up too many times, and too severely in my own life to be derisive of others; its pretty easy to see how I could have ended up the same.

    And most of the time they react just the way you expect and damage everything around them in their spiral down. The junkie that OD’s four times isn’t likely to stop because after four near-death experiences, there’s no more shock value. They’ve made their choice; they’re not going to change. You can hold your breath at every little hope spot, thinking that maybe *maybe* now’s the time, only to have it crushed when they willingly turn back to their old ways. Too much disappointment makes one bitter and only screws over the salvageable cases if everything is burnt out on the lost ones. Caregiver burnout is a thing – ask your counselor friends. Many need counseling themselves because they can’t stop taking it home with them, can’t stop the constant empathy for hard luck cases that bleeds over into their everyday lives.

    Empathy without action is pity. Even a counselor or friend isn’t just empathizing with you – they’re listening with the intent to help. What you are advocating is having feels time about how very very sad all this is, how unfair and tragic life turned out (thank god it isn’t you!) and commiserate with them. Frankly, I’d be pissed if that sentiment was turned on me too by half the country. They don’t need hugs, they need *help*. A shoulder to cry on is nice but if that’s all that’s on offer, most people will move on to the person offering solutions. That’s Trump – he lied and lied but his lies sound like solutions to desperate ears. Liberals offered tissues, conservatives tell them the reason for crying will go away.

    They’ll still be crying in 4 years and still looking for the solution. Are we going to still be standing there with tissues outstretched or are we going to have some job pamphlets in hand?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  37. KM says:

    @grumpy realist :

    The self-pity wafting off these people is immense. And it’s just going to get worse and worse as more and more automation gets used.

    Not to mention the traditional “get a job!” positions like burger flipper or delivery person are being automated too. Soon, one pizzeria can take care of dozens of square miles of territory with delivery drones who (barring weather conditions) *will* get there on time with the right order. They also won’t require a tip. Don’t need cashiers because you can have a touch screen to order on and pay with a card. Cooks might even be phased out once they figure out the assembly line for topping customization. Really, only one or two people would need to be on shift and that could very well just be the owner/ owner’s family.

    The places where low-skilled, low-value workers can go are steadily dying. Even the trades like plumbing and construction have always required a brain as much as brawn to make it. Should manufacturing come back, they’ll be in for a rude shock that no one would be able to get a job without some heft on the resume…. or even needing a resume in the first place. The factory / mine is held up as a sacred thing because *anyone* could work there. Not so much anymore; should they get their hearts’ desire, they’ll still be screwed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  38. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @gVOR08: There’s no confusion about that; the establishment is whoever I’m not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  39. barbintheboonies says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Do you forget all races can be bigots too. I am so sick of hearing that whites are the worst bigots. If that were true, why would we have a black president, that I thought was a good man. Stop the nonsense, people were sick of the country being stagnant another four years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  40. michael reynolds says:

    This is essentially a debate on motivation, and it is hampered to an extent by the assumption that motivation is singular, that it must be all this or all that. I’ve always maintained that motives are plural, and quite often obscure to the voter involved. It’s hard to accurately parse the thinking of any one Trump voter, let alone all of them.

    When discussing racism we are often talking past each other because we mean different things. We may be talking about conscious, intentional, KKK-style racism, or a tacit sort of background racism composed of assumptions but with little or no conscious self-awareness. The first sort is less common that the second.

    Both types of racism played a role. Ditto sexism, conscious and not. Ditto class, aware and not. But running through it all is a big, fat line of stupid.

    The reason people like @HarvardLaw92 (and me) throw up our hands at the sheer stupidity of the Trump voter’s choice is that this one wasn’t hard. This was 2 + 2. You had to be an idiot to believe that Trump and Pence and the GOP generally had even the slightest interest in the economic well-being of some unemployed mill worker in Wisconsin. You had to be an idiot to think that the same crowd that gave zero sh!ts when you had no health insurance suddenly cares about your premiums.

    A whitelash explanation is actually the most ‘rational’ motivation for Trump voters in that there is at least some connective tissue. I mean, they’ve accomplished that, they’ve told minorities to f–k off. You don’t have to be an absolute moron to believe Trump will elevate the role of the white male.

    But you do have to be a moron to believe anything else about Trump. You have to be a moron to think he’s going to bring coal mining back, and re-open ancient factories, and give everyone nice 75k a year jobs right there where they live which they will stay in for life. This is fantasy pitched at about a third grade level. It’s magic flying pony time.

    So, basically, if we want to go with a nice, simple dichotomy here, the choice is between believing Trump voters are racists or morons. I’m not seeing other options unless it’s C) All of the above.

    The problem is that about 0% of what Trump voters claim they want is even possible – aside from a white, male restoration. That they have accomplished by putting Cheeto in the White House. In other words, the only thing Trump voters have accomplished is to send a racist and misogynist message to ‘elites.’ That they will continue to push because it’s really all Trump can deliver on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4

  41. Laura Koerber says:

    I donl;t think all Trump voters are alike, except taht whatever reason they had for voting for Trump, iit was a bad one.

    I’m acquainted with quite a few Trump voters. They are in Ok condition economically They voted for Trump out of a sense of entitlement what they will not acknowledge. They feel entitled as white Americans to be the generic Americana while everyone else is supposed to be a hyphenated American. They say the believe in equality, but they don;t really since they react with resentment toward anyone who seeks to step up to that equal status. They are not specifically racist since their sense that “the Others” are not really as American as they are extends to lots and lots of people, including liberals.

    That’s anecdotal. I have read some research articles which discovered themes prevalent among Trump voters, but not universal.

    One theme was distrust and dislike of people with acquired expertise. People who had taken the time and trouble to be educated were regarded snobs. Wealth was respected, but knowledge was not,

    Another theme was the belief that Trump would magically restore the days of good paying union jobs in teh coal industry. This theme was connected to global warming denial.

    Another theme was the belief that all those people who used to be marginalized by racism or sexism or other prejudices were no longer held back by those prejudices and thus were surpassing or competing with white people, causing a loss of status for white people.

    I read somewhere about a study of a structured interaction betwen liberals and conservatives. They idea was that if those folks got to know and understand each other’s perspectives, they would repsect each other more. It turned out that after hearing each other’s philosophies, they respected each other less.

    That’s my observation about the results of efforts to understand Trump voters: to knowing theri motives does not lead to respecting their motives.

    Of course it is still a stupid and rude tactic for someone who is running for office to call voters deplorable , even if they are.

    I do not accept the meme that Democrats are somehow to blame for the embittered resentful self-pity of the Trump base. Seems to me tha tpeople who disresepct knowledge, want to recfreate the past and devide American into them versus us are responsible for digging their own hole.

    However I do believe that there should be a serious effort to rebuild the rust belt economy, to proomtoe unions, and raise the minimum wage, and revamp the tax structure so that the wealthy are paying their share, which will help the Trump voters even if they can’t figure thatr out themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  42. @MBunge:

    that white voters are suffering and that Democrats and liberals either ignore them or are outright scornful of them.

    Except that from a policy POV, this is not true (nor is it true that Democrats/liberals ignore white people).

    Obamacare, for example, helps a lot of white people. But, GOP governors who oppose Medicaid expansion in their states are actively hurting a lot of white people.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3

  43. @MBunge:

    It doesn’t matter that Hillary was a bad candidate

    And dude, we get it. Any chance you are ever going to put that hobby horse in the closet?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  44. barbintheboonies says:

    Has anyone ever thought maybe the black or Hispanic people may have voted for Trump also? Has it occurred to any of you that they may want jobs back again, if Trump could make that possible. If you ignore this question maybe you are a raciest. I have worked with all races and we all had one thing in common, we wanted to work hard to make things better for our families. So it is not all White people who lost their jobs. I remember a black girl I worked with that said to me: We all better worry about the Orientals ( that was what she called Asians) because they are taking all our jobs. That was in the 80s when we had a large number of Asians coming to America. So think as you will, but I believe many people of all races are saying enough, our country has people laying in the streets homeless and every city is overwhelmed. Let`s take care of our dirty little secrets before we allow more people in to get ahead in line for help. I feel for people too, but when I see our veterans in wheelchairs holding up signs for help it sickens me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  45. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Exit polls would indicate that a lot of Trump voters didn’t particularly like him. They voted for him because he was the Republican nominee and/or he wasn’t the Democratic nominee.

    Most of the votes that he won would have probably gone to any Republican candidate. In the process, the boost that he provided for the Libertarians and his inability to win as many votes as Romney would indicate that he alienated a fair number of Republican-leaning voters along the way.

    Elections are won on the margins — for example, the failure of voters in Wayne County (Detroit) to vote in the same numbers that they did in 2012 made the difference in Michigan. This is largely a matter of Democratic voters not showing up, although Trump did make actual gains in IA, OH and PA that would suggest that he managed to convert some percentage of independents from Obama to his ticket. I’m not sure if you can argue convincingly that those Obama voters were bigots.

    The right-wing bigot crowd would have probably voted Republican, regardless. The difference here is in their level of enthusiasm, not their voting preference. If someone else who was less unreasonable such as Kasich would have won their votes anyway, then that doesn’t explain what happened here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  46. grumpy realist says:

    @barbintheboonies: You may want “jobs back again” but if you keep thinking that the US is going to return to 1955 with well-paid union-backed jobs for anyone who manages to stagger out of high school, you can faggehtabahtit. What’s available for high school grads is McJobs, and as mentioned above, even those are going away, what with touchscreens and robotic swing baskets.

    Get used to wiping the bottoms of incontinent seniors and playing patty-cake with toddlers at a day-care because that’s about all that I can’t see getting automated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  47. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    There’s an added dimension here, and it seems to be one of messaging. Some third-generation Italian or Polish or Irish guy working on a loading dock in East Boston looks at the Democratic Party now and sees a rich white WASP woman like Lena Dunham lecturing him about his white male privilege. In his eyes, he has no privilege; he has an oldest son in trouble with the law, maybe; a wife who just had a miscarriage; and an astronomical electric bill.

    This guy looks at Trump and sees not just someone who’s promising him a better future (good luck with that one), but someone who sounds just like him, he thinks. Not some snotty Harvard professor with an upper-crust accent who makes $350,000 a year who’s telling him he has to pay more taxes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  48. An Interested Party says:

    A whitelash explanation is actually the most ‘rational’ motivation for Trump voters in that there is at least some connective tissue.

    So, so very true…indeed, Trump’s win was about culture

    However I do believe that there should be a serious effort to rebuild the rust belt economy, to proomtoe unions, and raise the minimum wage, and revamp the tax structure so that the wealthy are paying their share, which will help the Trump voters even if they can’t figure thatr out themselves.

    Of course all of that is the complete opposite of what Trump and the Republicans want to do/will do…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  49. barbintheboonies says:

    @grumpy realist: I do not think it will go back to the 1950s or even the 90s but Trump offered something, whether he can do anything or not. Hillary said nothing and the country wants something. What makes you so sure he cannot make some of the things reality. Not many here believed he could even win, maybe even him. I am all for the border protection, and it is not because I dislike Hispanics. Our country is being robbed, while American vets are told they have not the funds to take care of them. Call me what you will, people all over the world, well the majority of them did better when the greedy SOBs left them alone. At least being poor in their country wasn`t making them slaves. We are heading for the same thing. It does not work out any different. We need goods to trade. If we do not have anything to trade every thing else fall apart eventually. We are not on an even playing field. The mega rich are not going to pay for everything, and it will work it`s way up the chain. It`s not just American`s who feel this way, the Greeks Italians, English, I guess they expect too much also.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  50. KM says:

    You want a great example of why this being called a Whitelash? Go watch the org #TrumpCup video. Here you have a someone who freely admits they didn’t take their meds that day screams and threatens employees because his coffee was taking too long creates a social media FU movement of people trying to emulate him for the LULZ. Choice bits of dialogue are:

    “I voted for Trump! You lost!”
    “Trash” “Garbage” (to the employee of color)
    “I’ll punch you out!”

    The man was a regular and has a a history of mental illness, violence and arrests. He should NOT be a role model – I believe current con terminology is “thug”. What he did was frankly unhinged and rude as sh^t. He has since admitted this and apologized (sorta) but his entitled arrogance has made him a star to all trolls out there who want to “tweak libs”.

    We’re expected to empathize with *him*? Not the baristas who suffered verbal and physical threats – people just doing their working class jobs. Not the paying customers who had to deal with this and tried to intervene on the baristas’ behalf. No, the asshat who spawned a spiteful movement with his reprehensible behavior insisting that because Trump won, he should be catered to gets the empathy and attention. It says quite a bit about the identity politics in play that he’s a banner to rally around.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  51. KM says:

    @barbintheboonies :

    Our country is being robbed, while American vets are told they have not the funds to take care of them.

    Maybe the uber-patriotic Repubs should pass a special mandatory tax on any person, group or corporation with over $1 million in salary, income, stock options or assets worldwide that will go straight to the VA. Attempts to shirk this tax will result in a $2 million fine. They got total control over the government – it should be a piece of cake. There’s no reason why they can’t fully funded anything and everything vet-related their little con hearts desire. A nice fluff piece of legislation with great photo ops.

    …. *looks around* no takers? Damn. Anybody know a Dem who’s in a trolling mood to propose this bill? I’d love to see Repubs wiggle out of funding for vets that only draws from millionaires.

    The robbery will not abate, barb. From the looks of it, it’s only going to get worse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  52. barbintheboonies says:

    @grumpy realist: That was a real classy thing to say. You are the worse kind of bigot. You believe everyone born in America was born without barriers. I went to school after I was laid off from a job I did for over 20 years. It was a program Obama thought would help out people on unemployment. The first thing I had to do was sign up I had 60 days to do so. I was told to look on online to see if my job was on the list of jobs going away. Yea it was. I had to see if I qualified for grants BOO I was not, hubby made too much money YEA RIGHT. There is only one small community college in my area. LCC. I signed up and was told I had two choices, the medical field or manufacturing. I said I did manufacturing all my life and it is going away. This woman told me the medical classes are full, and she said manufacturing is coming back. I knew she was wrong, but I had no choice. I went. I went to classes that included welding another job eliminated on the website. I learned nothing that could help me at all. So I concluded that the school took the money from the government and pissed it away on themselves. One guy there my age I guess was a welder for 35 years. He laughed when he saw the outdated equipment. There were times when we held some of our classes in the hallways because other classes were scheduled there. It was a joke. Someone called me to ask me about my experience, when I told them he said he was sorry about that. I did complain and was told there was nothing they could do about it. I ended up just going to other jobs after that waiting to retire. I am lucky since I have family. I know others that are not so lucky. So don`t be so harsh on others you may find yourself, or someone you care about, may find themselves in the same situation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  53. wr says:

    @barbintheboonies: Yes, it is a crime that Republican-led state and local governments have been defunding community colleges in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy. Where were you then? What were you doing about that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  54. KM says:

    @barbintheboonies:
    While admittedly poorly phrased, I do wonder why you think grumpy is a bigot. The only jobs that show no sign of creeping automation are in very human-centric tasks like caretaking. There’s no shame in being an aid or a daycare worker, if that’s what you are implying. It is thankless, low-paying work only because society doesn’t value it. Raising children or taking care of the elderly and infirm should in no way be considered a lesser task just because you have to wipe up biological messes once in a while. So do doctors and nurses but they get more respect.

    Perhaps instead of downplaying these rather necessary jobs, we should give the credit they deserve and a salary to match. Nobody wants to do dirty work anymore, nobody wants this kind of thing. Group homes are forever staffed with either people barely phoning it in for the meager paycheck or the occasional bright-eyed idealistic soul who leaves soon in search of higher pay and a “better job”. Betcha if they pay $75K it wouldn’t be considered a bad job.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  55. barbintheboonies says:

    @KM: I implied he was a bigot because he thinks everyone who has lost their jobs are all just sitting around whining about it. He feels for everyone else coming here and all of their kids that live in poverty, but just the run of the mill white guy not so much. I see that as bigotry. He is implying the poor immigrants need more help than the white guy. Does that seem raciest to you? Should we pay for housing, health care. money for schools etc. for undocumented immigrants before we help the people who were born here. Many who have lived through wars, and many who have lost their kids in these wars. I would not expect any other country to feel any other way. If we were a strong nation again it would be different, but we are not. We are divided into segments The haves the have not’s the givers the takers, the people who want to give more but cannot. The ones who want to give more go ahead but do not expect others to give to people before their own family.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  56. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    I see this thread is lacking in dissenting opinions, so I’ll offer up mine.

    First up, My sense is that Trump truly was the more obvious identity politics candidate in the race, and it’s not even close.

    One of the main arguments in favor of Hillary was that she was a woman, which is pure identity politics. Trump’s main selling point was Trump was Trump — he didn’t represent any group or faction or element, he was himself. In terms of “identity politics,” he isn’t that far off from Bill Clinton — white, male, heterosexual (aggressively so), nominally Protestant, past troubles with fidelity, lots of charisma, and part of the 1%. What distinguishes the two are elements that do not show up on the “identity politics” spectrum. It’s the things that describe who they are, not what they are.

    As far as why it failed, and failed so spectacularly, let me indulge my inner storyteller and tell the story of a hypothetical Trump voter as he listens to Hillary, or Bernie, or any of the other Democratic mouthpieces. I’ll use italics to indicate this voter’s thoughts.

    “I will fight for the rights of women!” That’s nice. Women have been treated pretty crappily over the years, and it’s hard-wired into most men to protect women, so I can go along with that.

    “I will fight for the rights of blacks!” They got the short end of the stick for a long time, and there are still some jerks who don’t get that those days are over. Good.

    “I will fight for the rights of gays!” Yeah, them, too. They don’t deserve a lot of the crap they get.

    “I will fight for the rights of Hispanics!” Same deal. I’m cool with that, too.

    “I will fight for the rights of immigrants!” Hey, are they talking about legal immigrants, illegal immigrants, or both? Sounds like they only care about the illegals. Screw that.

    “I will fight for the rights of children!” You gotta protect the kids, too.

    And so on. Finally, “And with your support, we can win!”

    Hey, in that big long laundry list, I didn’t hear her once say anything that applied to me. I guess that means that I’m part of the people she’ll be fighting against. Or, at best, I will get ignored.

    For a couple of decades now, the left has been building a coalition out of a lot of minority groups, trying to weld them into a winning element. And, several times, they did.

    But to build that coalition, in their effort to be “inclusive,” they deliberately chose to exclude certain groups. In a lot of cases, they specifically said that they would be working against these groups.

    Why would it come as any great surprise to the people that define people by their identities, and not their individuality, that those they have chosen to exclude might just group together to oppose them? That when you call a large number of people “deplorables,” and treat them as such, that they just might vote against you in very significant numbers?

    The progressives chose to divide people into groups, and then chose to try to unify a bunch of the smaller groups into a winning team. Apparently it never occurred to them that they would end up pushing those they didn’t like into a counter-force.

    A counter-force that could actually beat them. And did.

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  57. barbintheboonies says:

    @wr: I said before I voted Democrat all my voting years. I guess all the money given away should have been checked on. I realize now since posting here I do not like Democrats anymore. You are more hypocritical than the Republicans. You claim to be the compassionate ones, it is just a game to win for you. You even admitted you just use the blacks and immigrants for votes. Well it shows, you could care less who gets hurt as long as you win this sick ass game.

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  58. KM says:

    @barbintheboonies:

    I see that as bigotry. He is implying the poor immigrants need more help than the white guy. Does that seem raciest to you?

    Why are you assuming the immigrant isn’t white? Melania is and now she’s your First Lady. Why are you assuming the American is who lost the factory is? The middle class got screwed regardless of color. That’s some bigotry in and of itself. I would suggest taking a look at your argument to see why others make the accusations they do.

    For the record, any scolding I personally direct towards those economic Trump voters comes from a very white woman born in a very poor white town. I speak of those I know who cling so bitterly to a life they never even had – their parents or grandparents did! The factories died long before my generation was born. You’d never know it from listening to to the under-40’s. They speak as if the mythical “factory” will come back and give them all great paying jobs like King Arthur’s return to Camelot. They’re no point in leaving or going to college; they just have to endure and complain about how long it takes. They don’t want to work in the old folks home or out in the fields – god forbid they should learn a craft and work with their hands. I don’t think they understand that the “factory” was manual labor, to be perfectly honest – just a good paying job.

    I know its hard. I worked 3 jobs to pay off my student loans; my friends thought I was crazy not to go out and party with them instead of busting my ass working. Well, now I don’t have a single debt to my name and their multiple deferments and loans have come due. Many have moved back home and resent the hell out of it. I’m looking to upgrade the house somewhere with gates. They drink 7-11 swill; I drink Starbucks. They’re on Kid #3 before age 25; I decided to wait till I could afford it. At no point do *any* of them accept their life choices have made a hard situation even worse. No no, it’s all “Obama this”, “immigrants that”, “AA keeps me from getting a good job with the state”. The town’s white as the driven snow, how the hell is AA keeping you down? For every white voter legit screwed by the system are a handful of people like this. Why does this kind of American deserve help more then the person who fought to get here, wants to be here and will do any work to stay here? One is a net gain to the system, one not. Look past their color and to their actions.

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  59. grumpy realist says:

    @barbintheboonies: Wrong again.

    1) I’m female.

    2) I have changed careers roughly 5 times so far in order to keep getting positive cash flow. So I don’t have much sympathy for people whining that they can’t follow in Dad’s and Granddad’s footsteps working at the mine. I’ve helped out friends retrain when they’ve had to change fields as well. One of my friends has had to reinvent himself 10 times so far, and luckily has finally found a home for himself (cross fingers) in insurance.

    3) My comments about bottom-wiping and patty-cake playing are because those jobs are indeed so ill-paid and ill valued by present US society. This is just one more case of “stuff that women have traditionally done isn’t worth much.” Look at how badly we pay caretakers, period. And because we pay them so badly, they’re likely to not be replaced by robots. (Not that I think the human touch can ever be truly replaced by a robot.) And because of the acute contempt Trump et al. have for women and what women do, I really really doubt that these are going to get better paid during the next four years. But the jobs will be around, and they may be the only ones available for unskilled people.

    4) Reading your story, I have a question: would you prefer not to have been offered any retraining at all? Because I’m afraid that what the Republican alternative has been and will be in the future. You are complaining, not that the Democrats are offering retraining, but that it isn’t sufficient/of the right kind. Which would indicate to me that you are thinking retraining of at least some kind would be useful, no?

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  60. george says:

    @grumpy realist:

    The self-pity wafting off these people is immense.

    There’s sixty million of them, and most of them don’t say a peep. Just like every other self-identified group out there, all most of us run across are the loudest, most obnoxious and usually self-proclaimed spokespeople.

    Every group out there has a subset who exudes self-pity, who say outrageous things and make over the top statements. Generally the approach is not to take the extremes as reflective of the whole. Which is why a few Muslims flying planes into sky scrapers don’t mean every Muslim is a terrorist, why a few Christians who shoot doctors performing abortions doesn’t mean every Christian is a terrorist, why a few doctors who commit malpractice doesn’t make every doctor a quack and so on.

    Moreover, just about every person out there simultaneously belongs to many subsets of humanity, some privileged, some not. There’s race, there’s health, there’s economic class, there’s physical health, attractiveness, profession, intelligence and many more. Most people self-identify with many of these; their privileges in one don’t necessarily or even commonly offset their disadvantages in another. Saying to someone who’s disadvantaged in one way that they’re simultaneously a member of an advantaged group does nothing but make them angry – tell a young black man who lives with a lot of racism that he’s privileged in being healthy and see how well that goes over. Same for a white guy without a job – you think it helps him that Bill Gates, another white guy, is rich?

    We experience our lives as individuals. Which is why the whole argument that the median income of Trump supporters is 70K a year is meaningless (doubly so actually since they never bother giving any indication of the frequency distribution – don’t people study any statistics at all? Who in the world gives out a value like that without, at the absolute minimum, also giving the standard deviation?). If you’re making 10K a year what do you care if your group has a median income of 70K? You might as well point to Lebron James and say blacks are doing great financially.

    People are incredibly diverse. Lumping all Trump voters or all white working class voters together is as much nonsense as lumping any other group together. Saying they waft of self-pity, based on hearing from far less than one percent of them on the various media, is simply bad methodology. Its also as obnoxious as when some of the right says more or less the same thing about blacks.

    I get that people are angry about the election. But its not a useful response. The mid-terms are only a couple of years away. If we want to neutralize Trump and the conservatives, that is the battle to fight. Working class used to vote Democrat. Many of them did so in 2008 and 2012, when Obama held out hope. Instead of writing them off the same way the Republicans wrote off blacks, maybe we should actually listen to what they’re saying instead of projecting onto them? I know a number of Trump voters. Most of them don’t reek of self pity, but of anger. That at least should be easy enough to understand for many Democratic voters – they only need look inside their own reactions to the election to see what anger feels like.

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  61. barbintheboonies says:

    @grumpy realist: I guess you just did not understand. LCC offered to help retrain and they offered classes that were on the declining list. I went because if I did not go I would have to forfeit unemployment. I wanted to do other things. No problem. I was forced to accept a program that included the study of manufacturing by two guys who were lower managers in the mill industry. Welding class from an old guy just waiting to get out and retire. He told me they do not use any of these machines anymore. I had to take math 101 and a few computer classes that were so full we waited outside in the halls. If I could have taken something that I could have used it would have been worth going. It was a waste of time and money for all that went to these bogus classes. I`ll tell you where and when so you can look at it yourself LCC of Longview Wa. 2009 They should be sued for fraud. I have since then went to other classes and got jobs, but I had help from my husband. If I had to do this on my own I probably would be on the streets like many others. I just wonder how much the federal government paid for this, and wonder why nobody even checked to see what it was going to. You expect me to trust the government will do anything different now. It seems the more they try to help they make things worse. If things got better with NAFTA how come so many people are unhappy? Even the kids nowadays look miserable.

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  62. george says:

    @michael reynolds:

    A whitelash explanation is actually the most ‘rational’ motivation for Trump voters in that there is at least some connective tissue. I mean, they’ve accomplished that, they’ve told minorities to f–k off. You don’t have to be an absolute moron to believe Trump will elevate the role of the white male.

    I agree with everything you say but this – it varies among individual voters, but I think more of them told the GOP and Democratic elite to F-off than anything else. If the idea was to put a racist in, they could have had Cruz or Jeb or any other GOP leader, and have had a much better chance at the outset to get that racist elected (or at least it seemed so at the time). Instead they voted for someone no one thought could win; if the idea is to enshrine racism as you say, why go for a long shot? If the idea is to give a FU to the elite, there were two main options, Sanders and Trump. And in the final election, mainly Trump.

    And again, as Psych keeps pointing out, we’re only talking about a few percent of voters. 90% of both Democratic and Republican voters vote for the party no matter who runs, there’s no thought involved. All this talk about what made the voters vote the way they did only applies to 10% of them anyway (and even that’s probably overstating it). Most voted the way they always vote.

    For people into politics this was a pivotal election, a search into America’s soul. For most of the public this was just another election, so much so that just about half couldn’t be bothered to vote at all. Or if you prefer, the main thing this election showed is that people are creatures of habit.

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  63. Michael Bailey says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: I appreciate the comment and think it definitely tells a plausible story. As I and others (many others) have pointed out (not to you but in general) accounting for why sixty million people do something is beyond the scope of a single theory. So I grant that the line of thinking you describe is not only plausible, it’s almost certainly an apt description of many, probably millions of, people. I acknowledge that I’m tone-deaf to certain kinds of insults and exclusions, and I’m sure that tone-deafness prevents me from appreciating the motivations of lots of people. I hear “black lives matter” as “black lives matter too.” Others hear it as “Only black lives matter.” Championing a group of historically excluded groups to me doesn’t sound like being anti-white, but I could see how it might be construed as such by others. I’m probably not characterizing your position well, which is a shame given you wrote such a thoughtful response. But my basic points in response to you are these:

    1. Any theory, including my own, can only account for the actions of a limited group of folks. The left’s identity politics probably did push some whites into sharper race consciousness. But I also think whites have a pretty healthy history of being plenty aware of their race when it bumps up against others.

    2. I think what counts as “exclusion” is, in part, in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps naively, I don’t hear political liberals trying to exclude white men. (Now academic liberals can be a different beast altogether.) And I DID hear Trump explicitly claiming we would be excluding Muslims and Mexicans. So that’s why i don’t think it’s close. I see one group as seeking inclusion, the other preventing that inclusion.

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  64. grumpy realist says:

    @barbintheboonies: Well, yes, I do expect that “the government will do everything differently now.” Because it’s now the Republicans in charge, I suspect all that retraining money to go away completely. I also expect cutbacks in the length of time that unemployment covers. Your support system will now probably be a bag containing some religious aphorisms and a “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” cross-stitch pattern stamped on a pillow cover.

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  65. Barry says:

    @MBunge: “Economic policies more focused on Main Street than Wall Street are impossible? ”

    And who was blocking those policies for the past 8 years?

    I’ll give you a hint – the same Republican politicians who are now about to blow the deficit sky-high.

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  66. JKB says:

    Oh come on. The whole concept of “Identity Liberalism” is as oxymoronic a term as there ever was. It is just a fancy label on the underlying reality that both parties are antiliberal parties of special interests. That our system only really supports two parties means that the coalitions are formed inside the parties rather than in the Congress. And all this existed upon a population that was fundamentally liberal although not always revolutionary in their progress.

    What has changed is the large body of classical liberals who were willing to renunciate the immediately attainable advantages in order to move the whole mass forward have surrendered to “Identity Liberalism” so everyone is getting their own party of special interests. And that bodes ill for the whole system as a republic requires its democrats to fundamentally be working for the betterment of the republic rather than jockeying for spoils. But then, that spoils system of the last 50 years has led to the overt hostility to those who have given over for the betterment of the whole. Now those so many here sought to abuse and denigrate have decided to do a little “identity” liberalism themselves.

    The parties of special interests, which see nothing more in politics than the securing of privileges and prerogatives for their own groups, not only make the parliamentary system impossible; they rupture the unity of the state and of society. They lead not merely to the crisis of parliamentarism, but to a general political and social crisis. Society cannot, in the long run, exist if it is divided into sharply defined groups, each intent on wresting special privileges for its own members, continually on the alert to see that it does not suffer any setback, and prepared, at any moment, to sacrifice the most important political institutions for the sake of winning some petty advantage.

    To the parties of special interests, all political questions appear exclusively as problems of political tactics. Their ultimate goal is fixed for them from the start. Their aim is to obtain, at the cost of the rest of the population, the greatest possible advantages and privileges for the groups they represent. The party platform is intended to disguise this objective and give it a certain appearance of justification, but under no circumstances to announce it publicly as the goal of party policy. The members of the party, in any case, know what their goal is; they do not need to have it explained to them. How much of it ought to be imparted to the world is, however, a purely tactical question.

    All antiliberal parties want nothing but to secure special favors for their own members, in complete disregard of the resulting disintegration of the whole structure of society.

    *****

    Socialism has gained a considerable advantage from this logical deficiency in the position adopted by the parties of special interests. For many who are unable to grasp the great ideal of liberalism, but who think too clearly to be content with demands for privileged treatment on behalf of particular groups, the principle of socialism took on a special significance.

    ****

    Liberalism does not have the least thing in common with any of these parties. It stands at the very opposite pole from all of them. It promises special favors to no one. It demands from everyone sacrifices on behalf of the preservation of society. These sacrifices— or, more accurately, the renunciation of immediately attainable advantages— are, to be sure, merely provisional; they quickly pay for themselves in greater and more lasting gains. Nevertheless, for the time being, they are sacrifices. Because of this, liberalism finds itself, from the very outset, in a peculiar position in the competition among parties. The antiliberal candidate promises special privileges to every particular group of voters: higher prices to the producers and lower prices to the consumers; higher salaries to public officeholders and lower taxes to taxpayers. He is prepared to agree to any desired expenditure at the cost of the public treasury or of the rich. No group is too small for him to disdain to seek its favor by a gift from the pocket of the “general public.” The liberal candidate can only say to all voters that the pursuit of such special favors is antisocial.

    Mises, Ludwig von (1927). Liberalism

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  67. An Interested Party says:

    Toni Morrison on the Whitelash Backlash…

    On Election Day, how eagerly so many white voters—both the poorly educated and the well educated—embraced the shame and fear sowed by Donald Trump. The candidate whose company has been sued by the Justice Department for not renting apartments to black people. The candidate who questioned whether Barack Obama was born in the United States, and who seemed to condone the beating of a Black Lives Matter protester at a campaign rally. The candidate who kept black workers off the floors of his casinos. The candidate who is beloved by David Duke and endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan.

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  68. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    The progressives chose to divide people into groups, and then chose to try to unify a bunch of the smaller groups into a winning team. Apparently it never occurred to them that they would end up pushing those they didn’t like into a counter-force.

    Well, it might be a bit more complicated than that, but you do seem to have the basics down. Might I suggest some revisions?

    People naturally divide into groups. Progressives, having observed historical injustices from one particular group, determined –incorrectly– a) that only this group was capable of committing injustice and b) the only thing this group did was commit injustice. These are, of course, two very big errors, and they render everything that comes after to be absolute garbage.

    I’m not really sure I buy the “Whitelash” theory though, considering that Trump drew more votes from people of color and women than Romney did, and that Hillary’s votes from those demos were lower than Obama’s. Trump got the white people, but the Republican usually does. Not much of a “counter-force” there, to be honest.

    But I do think the SJW movement is about to get a whitelash real soon, and not in a good way. Did you see those Trump-supporting Nazis saying, “Hail, Trump?” WTF was that? I’ve never said “Hail anything” unironically in my life.

    If the SJWs were ugly, this other stuff may get even uglier.

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  69. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Michael Bailey: A thoughtful and polite response, which is a welcome rarity around these parts.

    1) I agree with you that there are a multitude of reasons why people voted for Trump. I offered my explanation because it was sorely lacking here — instead, the commentarati here were telling everyone that it was because of racism, xenophobia, sexism, nationalism, and probably a touch of the heartbreak of psoriasis. Apparently they really want to believe that 60 million of their fellow citizens are evil, stupid, or both.

    2) I’ll offer you two observations about Trump that might help you see an alternate, less extreme interpretation of Trump’s words.

    A) Someone noted that “Trump supporters take what he says seriously, but not literally; Trump haters take what he says literally, but not seriously.”

    B) In a related vein, Trump’s whole life is about making deals, and he literally wrote a book outlining his favored strategy in bargaining: start out with an extreme position to give yourself room to negotiate. Find out where the other side is willing to compromise, and trade off the extreme parts to protect the parts you really want.

    That’s why it gets so frustrating. This is no big secret. Trump is not some crazed extremist. He’s acting exactly like he has for decades, and has been wildly successful while doing it. As I said, he literally wrote a book explaining all this. It’s literally there in black and white.

    What Trump keeps secret is his actual goals. They’re padded in with a lot of other stuff that he will trade away to get what he really wants.

    Yes, he opened up by saying he wants to ban all Muslims from entering the US. That ain’t gonna happen. You know that, I know that, and, most importantly, he knows that. But he wants something in that general direction. So he may end up “compromising” and getting a ban on immigrants from specific Muslim countries with a very high incidence of extremism and terrorism, tougher background checks on immigrants from other specific Muslim countries, and a higher scrutiny of Muslim communities in the US that seem to generate a lot of extremists.

    That last scrutiny could also involve going after the… oh, crap, what’s Arabic for “Omerta?” Find ways to encourage Muslims to report their own extremists. Find some way to get around the Islamic loyalty to fellow Muslims that seems so essential, even among moderate Muslims, and help them take out their own garbage.

    (This is not an exclusively Muslim tradition, I will note. It’s related to the aforementioned “code of Omerta” among Italian organized criminals, and “snitches get stitches” of our inner cities, just to name two variants.)

    (OK, at this point, I’m about half a step from just free-associating, and I probably should just stop, but that’s not how I roll. I gotta keep blabbing.)

    West Point espouses the exact opposite sentiment in their Honor Code: “”A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” I think that part of the reason that works as well as it does is because there is no (or minimal) “us versus them” between the cadets and their instructors — they’re all part of a greater whole, and the whole purpose of a cadet is to become a part of that whole. Whereas in the examples above, there is a definite “us versus them” with the group, the subgroup that causes the problems, and the authorities.

    The non-troublemakers need to know that the authorities will not only believe them, not only protect them, but will accept them. Those are the three elements of power that the troublemakers hold: they authorities won’t believe you. And even if they believe you, they can’t protect you. And even if they protect you, they won’t accept you, because you’re not one of them and you will never be one of them.

    That’s the paradigm we need to break.

    Trump might have an idea how to break that. Actually, I’m pretty sure he has a couple of ideas about that. I have no idea what they are, or if they have the slightest chance of working, but I’m confident that he has an idea.

    And it’s an idea that he believes he can get to from his starting point of “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

    Don’t doubt that that plan exists. Doubt its feasibility all you like, doubt its sanity all you like, doubt its legality and Constitutionality all you like, but don’t doubt its existence.

    And don’t even allow yourself to think for even an instant that you understand what the plan is at this point. Trump doesn’t tell anyone what things he’s firm on and what he’s willing to trade away. Hell, in some cases, he might not even know himself. Another purpose of his outrageous opening positions is that it forces the other side to reveal what they consider the most important parts — often without even realizing they’ve done so.

    The wall with Mexico? It’s gonna be YUUUUGE, and Mexico’s gonna pay for it. There are two elements there — a wall, and Mexico paying for it. I can see ways for both to be achieved, but if Mexico is presented with the choice of “not a literal wall, but far, far tougher border security, with you picking up the tab,” or “a big wall that we pay for by some other means,” which will they prefer? Their response to that choice could be very enlightening.

    This is not rocket science, this is Psychology 101. This is Negotiating 101. (OK, maybe 201 — it’s a little tricky to grasp without some knowledge of basics.) I know I sure as hell don’t know how to do it, let alone counter it. But I can recognize it when it’s pointed out, and a LOT of people have pointed it out.

    I’m going to shut up now, because I very well might have surpassed the word count of your original article, and I’m too afraid to actually check.

    Thanks again for your time and consideration.

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  70. dxq says:

    After finally electing as president a member of its most despised minority, the country turns around and elects a completely unqualified racist loudmouth whose consecutive cabinet nominees have the KKK literally dancing. FBI says hate crimes are shooting to the top.

    Yeah, it was probly economic anxiety.

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  71. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:

    Progressives, having observed historical injustices from one particular group, determined –incorrectly– a) that only this group was capable of committing injustice and b) the only thing this group did was commit injustice. These are, of course, two very big errors

    These are errors in your understanding of the arguments being made and indeed they do

    render everything that comes after to be absolute garbage.

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  72. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @dxq: And yet Trump scored higher than Romney with women, blacks, Hispanics…

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  73. Tyrell says:

    @Pch101: A lot of the “bigotry” propaganda is being continually pushed on the people by many of the “news” networks.

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  74. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @barbintheboonies: Do you understand what context is? Let me explain. We are having a conversation about American politics. As part of that discussion, in fact, as part of many discussions in this forum–the conversation is framed in terms of democrats and republicans.

    I responded to a commenter who generalized about REPUBLICAN Bigotry–I responded to the commenter with my perspective as a black man adding that I see DEMOCRATIC Bigotry as well….its only takes a slightly different form.

    YOU came along and attempted to enlighten me to the obvious fact that all races can be bigots….(1) as if that is a revelation I wasn’t aware of, and (2) despite the fact that your revelation was OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF THE ORIGINAL POSTERS COMMENT AND OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF MY RESPONSE.

    I wasn’t discussing the tendency of the human psyche towards tribalism nor why Donald Trump won the election.

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  75. James Pearce says:

    @Grewgills:

    These are errors in your understanding of the arguments being made

    No, I think I understand the arguments all too well, including their weak points. If you think there are no weak points, maybe you just haven’t looked at it critically enough.

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  76. Michael Bailey says:

    @JKB: I can’t say I’m a von Mises devotee, but that’s a provocative quote that’s worthy of contemplation. Also, isn’t it fun to read insights worth discussing from a time prior to our immediate mess? Distance from the now helps one think through the now.

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  77. Michael Bailey says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: Your point (A) has been making the rounds elsewhere, but with good reason. There is something to it. I think it’s pretty much on target. And as for your point (B) I think that what we’re all learning is that underestimating Trump ain’t a tactic that pays off in the long run. Which I find personally irritating because I prefer to think of him as bumbling. But I’m learning that I just might be wrong. Possibly WAY wrong.

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  78. Gavin says:

    @barbintheboonies:

    He is implying the poor immigrants need more help than the white guy.

    No, he’s objectively not. There’s absolutely no color in anything he said.

    In fact, his comment was based on the salary dollars earned by the job performed. This is not racial in any way – this is explicitly a discussion of economic class.

    Even if you could turn the clock back, the reason any plant that left isn’t coming back… is because 1) there simply aren’t people in the area with the skills needed to perform the daily tasks and 2) the tools&dies required for any plant to function was either sent overseas or sold for scrap years ago and 3) there probably isn’t a current overage of demand for any company’s finished product in today’s market which would justify bringing a new factory online.

    All 3 of those have to exist to achieve approval on the business decision to build a factory in a specific location… and yet you decided to put your faith in the fantasy that none of those things matter simply because a guy running for President opened his mouth? What, exactly, is the PROCESS by which he’s going to bring those jobs back?

    It makes total sense that a city based around a factory would erode when the factory leaves.. because the entire reason for the town’s existence was the factory!

    Yes, you were born in some place. Great, feel pride about it. But no matter how hard you stomp your feet, no jobs are magically moving there just because of your presence. Want a well-paying job? Move to it!

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  79. george says:

    @dxq:

    Sure. On the other hand, if after years of protesting against wars the Democratic Party chose a war hawk, Clinton to lead them.

    People don’t vote on one issue. Some people voted for Clinton who are against her votes on the Iraq war and her support for drone warfare and what happened in Libya. So why is it so hard to believe that some people voted for Trump who were against his racism and sexism?

    Clinton was, in my opinion, many orders of magnitude better than Trump. However, unless I’m willing to say that voting for her implies I agree with everything Clinton stands for, including the deaths of very large numbers of people, it’d be absolutely hypocritical of me to say voting for Trump implies agreeing with everything Trump stands for.

    Making simplistic arguments against opponents feels good after a loss, but is self defeating in the long term. Every profession knows this – engineers, doctors, lawyers, you name it. Crap, even sports teams know this. Why is it so hard for politicians to get it? The idea isn’t to assuage our pain now, its to win the midterms. And that means listening to why people voted the way they did rather than projecting what we think the important issues were onto them. If we’re too infantile to do that then we don’t belong in power. Its like an engineering firm designing a bridge that fails and then blames workers/suppliers etc for the collapse and goes right on building the same way. Emotionally satisfying initially but stupid and dangerous in the long term.

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  80. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Michael Bailey: Please understand when you call it “my point A,” you mean “the point I quoted as A,” not “the observation I first coined.” I would be exceptionally proud to claim authorship, but I did not create it. I merely saw it and gleefully repeated it, because it seemed so apt.

    And it’s very seductive to think of the other side as stupid, incompetent, bumbling, and/or just plain evil. But that leads to misunderestimating the other side — God knows a lot of us did that with Obama.

    Now, this observation is one I came up with on my own. Everyone lies; there are just different kinds of liars.

    Hillary Clinton is the type of liar who says what she thinks she needs to say to get what she wants, and gets extremely angry when someone points out she’s lying.

    Joe Biden is a bullshitter who believes his own bullshit. But we all know he’s full of it, so he gets a pass.

    Barack Obama is the kind of liar that thinks that when he says a thing, that makes it true. He believes that his words have the power to reshape reality.

    Donald Trump is a bullshitter who knows he’s bullshitting, but he says it with a certain twinkle that tells us he knows he’s bullshitting, and expects us to know it, too. It’s how he negotiates. He throws a whole bunch of demands out there, knowing that a lot of them will be traded away — but he keeps to himself just which are the bogus ones, and which ones are the essentials. And even the bogus ones would be advantageous, so if he can keep those, then all the better.

    This also allows him that if he doesn’t get what he secretly wants, he can point to the ones he did get and say those were the important ones. It’s really easy to make that claim if no one else knows what his real goals were.

    With the Mexican wall, we can comfortably assume Trump wants to have a significant net reduction in illegal aliens here in the US, and likewise in more coming in. What he considers “significant” is anybody’s guess, and likewise what he considers useful steps towards achieving that goal.

    It’s quite fun watching the Trump haters shriek with glee when it seems that Trump won’t fulfill a promise literally. They seem to think that Trump supporters will be utterly heartbroken and will turn with a terrible ferocity upon being betrayed.

    It ain’t gonna happen. At least, not in any significant numbers.

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  81. Gavin says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    when it seems that Trump won’t fulfill a promise literally. They seem to think that Trump supporters will be utterly heartbroken

    Precisely what will be their reaction when he doesn’t bring back any jobs?

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  82. CSK says:

    @Gavin:

    And doesn’t build the wall, and doesn’t expel the Mexicans and Muslims, and doesn’t throw Hillary in jail….

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  83. Monala says:

    An interesting perspective from our neighbors to the North.

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  84. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Gavin: Precisely what will be their reaction when he doesn’t bring back any jobs?

    How many ways is that a stupid question?

    1) It begs the question — it doesn’t ask “if he doesn’t bring back any jobs,” but “when.” That he won’t succeed is hardly a foregone conclusion.

    2) It is asking me to make a prediction on a future event, and I’m not big on making predictions. I think it’s a fool’s errand.

    3) The word “precisely” is really stupid in this context.

    So… no.

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  85. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @JKB: And yet you acknowledge that what you call “classic” liberals believed in something different from how von Mies described them some 50 years before you were born. Hmmm …

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  86. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: “What Trump keeps secret is his actual goals.”

    This is where I part company with you on your current theory about Trump; I don’t think he actually has any goals as President. Beyond that, your two comments today are significantly better than the usual bloviation that you do. Thank you for a thought provoking theory to work on.

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  87. Scott O says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: Could you explain to me how the birther thing, or saying he saw Muslims dancing in the streets in NJ on 9/11, or pointing out that John Stewart is a Jew, are some kind of negotiating positions?

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  88. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: Then let me offer a modifier, after a bit of reflection:

    ““What Trump keeps secret is his actual goals. Hell, he might not even know what they are at the beginning — just that he wants an advantage.”

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  89. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Scott O: Nah. That I leave as an exercise to the reader.

    Actually, I’ve repeatedly explained the birther thing, and I try to limit my repeating myself. Short version: Trump’s challenging pissed off Obama more than any other challenger.

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  90. @Pch101:

    They voted for him because he was the Republican nominee and/or he wasn’t the Democratic nominee.

    This probably explains the overall outcome more than anything else.

    It is not the only variable, but need to remember it before we assign more specific explanations to the outcome.

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  91. Matt says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: Only in your head….

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