A LETTER TO DONALD TRUMP—WHAT I LIKE– AND DO NOT LIKE– ABOUT YOU
Dear Mr. Trump,
9. The other half may be dancing in the streets. I would like to believe we might all be dancing one year from now. Like to believe? Yes, but do not believe. What kind of country will you and your whistling in the dark Party create for us in 2017? I am not optimistic. Nobody but your fiercest 10 million enemies wants to see a train-wreck. But with you behind the throttle, I am not sure about the alternatives.
10. The country does not need to be ‘Made Great Again’. It is truly great–for now.
We offer here an essay by Professor Arthur Lerman that is really worth getting into. Why are/WERE so many people so Angry in this election?. More than usual. “Angry Populism.” This has been/WAS “used” in very different ways especially well by Bernard Sanders and The Donald Trump.
Some explanations have been offered in previous pieces in this blog, like the review of Thomas Frank’s LISTEN, LIBERAL!. Is it true that a kind of anarchism or at least obstructionism is growing among us? And see what you think of Lerman’s solutions or solutions “out there” that he identifies.
Note: this will be re-blogged with further comments and perhaps Dr. Lerman’s and Your “comments on those comments!”
Also note: Prof. Lerman stresses that this is a Draft, that may be influenced by comments and his own further thinking
2016 Presidential Campaign Lessons Neglect (Even Benign) No Longer an Option ©
In the past, there were cases in which groups or individuals could be ignored and/or exploited by ruling classes, because the ignored/exploited had learned to accept their difficult position as part of the natural or religious order, or because they saw no hope of change–including the prediction that any attempt at change will make their situations even worse–e.g., severe/immediate repression from the ruling classes, for example.
Of course, throughout history, there were many cases in which groups or individuals did not accept their difficult positions as inevitable, so history is full of rebellions and revolutions—upsetting and overthrowing numerous ruling elite regimes.
In our modern world, with the spread of the power of groups and individual to threaten and ultimately disrupt the peace and security of socially privileged classes and, more importantly, with the spread of the consciousness of this power, this ability to blithely ignore and exploit is even less of an option.
This increased disruption capability, and awareness of such capability, has come with such new conditions as:
(Interesting side note: In the mid-1960s, in graduate school, I remember a renowned sociology professor saying that social control has become so intense that the individual was already incapable of independent action that could disrupt society in any way. Seems the above conditions, especially b, c and d would reverse this judgment.)
So in our day, it is ever more perilous for political elites to allow groups (or even individuals) to fall into difficult social circumstances. And, therefore, we come, during the current presidential campaign, to the phenomenon of Donald Trump.
Of course, he is not unique. Angry populist movements abound in recent history. What is interesting is, that the workings of democracy should have precluded the rise of angry populism.
One could conceive of the workings of democracy as parallel to the workings of a market economic system—if there is a demand, producers will automatically act to supply it. So, if there is a political demand, political producers—i.e., creators and implementers of policy—should automatically act to meet the demand.
In such a case, the political producers would be continuously surveying the demands of all voting groups (if not the demands of isolated, unrepresentative individuals) to make sure they are supplying what is necessary to keep these groups supporting them..
Moreover, similar to a market system, it’s not just one political producer in play. Like in a competitive economy, anyone can present him/herself as a political producer, proposing ways to meet demands. In the U.S. that has pretty much meant that two organizations of political producers—the Republicans and the Democrats—have been the ones to respond to demands, keeping groups needs met and ensuring social stability.
In the recent U.S. past, for example, political producers responded to the Great Depression of the 1930s with Social Security and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, to the 1950-1960’s demand for racial equality with the civil rights bills of the 1960s, and to the 1960’s health problems of seniors with Medicaid and Medicare.
But, as with economic markets, the theory does not always work out in practice.
Markets are plagued by lack of accurate knowledge, so producers may produce what is not demanded, or neglect to produce what is in demand.
(Of special note—one of the most difficult areas of the market economy is those who have demands, but do not have the resources [money, goods, services] to make their demands effective.)
Political markets are also plagued by lack of accurate knowledge. Some of this is simply lack of information about groups and their needs—perhaps because of poor information gathering, or, perhaps because of not knowing where to look or what to look at, or, preconceptions about what exists. And there is also the difficulty that, one may know what exists, but one’s ideology suggests an improper response.
So, we have the rise of angry populism, personified by the candidacy of Donald Trump, presumably because our political producers—the Republicans and Democrats—lacked the requisite information about how to meet the demands of Trump supporters, or have offering the wrong “product” for meeting the demands.
(There is also a “Blame the Victim” angle here. Perhaps political producers have been offering the proper product, but those making the demand do not realize their demand is being met–i.e., economic progress during Obama’s administration?)
So let us explore the groups and the demands involved.
Trump’s support is coming from white voters with a high school education or less. Their clear economic demands are for secure, well-paying jobs. The analysis is that many of their jobs have been transferred overseas, leaving them unemployed, or employed at lower wage, less secure—often retail—jobs.
The obvious response of political producers would be to find other ways to provide secure, well-paying employment. Ways to do this would be to:
1. Create alternative venues to work in—or promote private sector efforts to do so.
2. One example is rebuilding the country’s infrastructure—everything from transportation (roads, bridges, mass transit facilities) to public buildings (hospitals, schools).
3. And there are the new tech industries that are coming out of the Silicon Valleys of our land.
4. And there is the possibility of reclaiming industries that have moved abroad through new technologies, including robots, which can compete economically with foreign sweat shops.
5. Afford opportunities to upgrade skills to fit oneself into such new industries.
6. And the government could always be an employer of last resort. The idea that there is nothing worth paying the unemployed to do is false. And given that the country as a whole (through our companies that offshore their production) is still making immense, profits, indicates that the means do exist to employ individuals elsewhere where they are needed—for example, putting more teachers in the classroom or healthcare workers in our hospitals and clinics.
Yet, our two main political producers—at least the more typical, “Establishment” Republicans and Democrats—have not placed these employment products on the political market—resulting in the angry populism that is supporting the “anti-establishment” Donald Trump.
The question is why? Is it not an axiom of the market place—economic or political—that the self-interest of the producer will move him/her to provide the product to meet the demand?
Above, we have noted some explanations—lack of information, misperception, interpretation. To these we may add lack of ability to produce.
For the Republicans, some of this is interpretation. The Republican ideology is that government—including the political producers running the government—is not supposed to be responding to economically based demands. The ideology is that when government gets involved, things get worse—the government creates and runs incompetent and corrupt programs, and the individual becomes dependent on government, becoming a burden instead of an asset to society. . It is for the individual to respond to the market on his own, creating the economic opportunity to respond to such things as international economic competition.
(One thinks of articles by Thomas Friedman in the NY Times, urging individuals to retool themselves through advancing their education to meet the modern economy. Of course, Republican ideology does not promote government support for such, or government guidance on what retooling for what end. And then, what if in a few years, new products and competition from abroad necessitate another course of retooling. And how many times can an individual go through such a process. What of the psychological burden?)
The Democrats (full disclosure—I’m a loyal Democrat) do believe that the government can effectively meet these demands—but they have only limited ability respond—since they don’t control the Congress. Yet, since they control the executive, they still get lots of blame, since it’s the executive that’s the “face” of the “not-responsive” government.
Also, there is the analysis of Thomas Frank, brought home in his most recent book—Listen Liberal, that the Democrats have written off the white, high school educated working class—seeing them as having turned against the Democrats for their devotion to non-White minorities—who are as threatening to them as are overseas sweatshop workers—and having become a party of the meritocratic upper-middle classes—leaving the needs of the white working class to no one to respond to.
Oh! Yes, the Republicans have responded—but not with an economic product. They have responded to the psychology of the white working class that sees itself as having lost its status as having defined American. The white working class was psychologically supported, not only though solid economic jobs, but also with identification with the greatness of America. I’m great because America is great.
But now, America is more and more depicted as a mélange of whites and non-whites, in which white workers are just one more of America’s mélange of social groups. Loss of economic status (a secure, well-paying job) has been accompanied by loss of prestigious identification. And Obama, a black president, becomes the notorious symbol of this loss—explaining some of the vehement opposition to him—and anything he does, even when trying to compromise with the Republicans.
The Republicans have responded to this by their campaign of the loss of America’s power and prestige in the world and the loss of American morality at home—even before Trump—corralling the white vote for itself.
But, till Trump, the Republicans have not been able to improve things for the white working class—it only continued to play on the theme of resentment for loss of status.
Thus, they were open for someone who plays much more clearly and openly on these resentment themes.
So we have the angry populism that the Republicans were promoting—more clearly and angrily presented by Trump—he’s got the product and the white working class are buying.
Do the Democrats have an alternative? Hillary and Bernie both offer more concrete economic products, but is the white working class even looking at them?
Certainly some are—though many have long been in the Republican fold, seeing the Democrats as the friends of the minorities and sweatshop foreigners, as well as of elite upper-middle class types. So they are not listening.
A great challenge would be for Hillary (maybe riding on Bill’s charisma) would have been to get them to listen again.
And Bernie—in his clear dedication to the workers—if he can get them to listen.
This is important, to go back to our beginning. Both producers in our political market place have neglected—failed to respond to– a major part of our society. And, given the easier ability for social groups to disrupt and threaten—not just the social elites, but everyone else—it is important to provide a product that will meet their own needs, while being compatible with the needs of all others in society.
Alternatively, they can be led by a demagogue—either to continuing ineffectual venting of anger (which the Republicans have been leading them on to do for years), or, more dangerously, to much more disruptive social action.
CONGRATULATIONS TO SOME GOOD PEOPLE I KNOW.
“THIS TOO WILL PASS” TO MANY, MANY, MANY, PEOPLE I KNOW; WE’RE JUST NOT SURE HOW.
This blog does not really want to add to the storm of commentary on the Republican candidates troubles in last night’s debate (#1). I choose below to offer the WASHINGTON POST’S daily spin on events, because the young conservatives who do most of the commentary for that paper are probably more revealing than the predictable head shaking and “we told you so’s” from the NEW YORK TIMES. Today I want to see what newspapers in other parts of the country are saying.
It would be easy to gloat, but instead I want to offer 4 pluses for Trump out of an evening that even his friends are focusing on the blizzard of minuses:
My final point is that in a Real World, rather that SURreal– and I am not sure which we are living in right now in this country, Clinton should be winning polls in double digits. I do not think either of the candidates is as “off-putting” to voters as the media have spun them to be. There is something refreshing about Donald Trump. Really. But last night reinforced this reality: “refreshing” does point to somebody who is not remotely qualified to be President.
And a P.S. For those of us who enjoy the occasional “wicked,” perhaps the most tasty comment came from the National Review rpt. NATIONAL REVIEW staff writer David French: “Why didn’t he have a better answer ready for the birther nonsense? Has he still not done any homework on foreign policy? I felt like I was watching the political Titanic hit the iceberg, back up, and hit it again. Just for fun.”
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|Why even Republicans think Clinton won the first debate|
|Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump meet for their first debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
With Breanne Deppisch and Elise Viebeck
THE BIG IDEA: The consensus that Donald Trump badly lost the first debate gelled overnight. Liberals predictably panned the GOP nominee’s performance on Long Island, but some of the harshest reviews are coming from conservative thought leaders who had been starting to come around.
— Instant reaction:
Republican pollster Frank Luntz conducted a focus group of undecided voters in Pennsylvania. Sixteen said Hillary Clinton won. Five picked Trump, per CBS News.
In a Florida focus group organized by CNN, 18 of 20 undecided voters picked Clinton as the winner.
Not one of 29 undecided voters in an Ohio focus group organized by Park Street Strategies thought Trump prevailed, while 11 picked Clinton and the rest said neither. By a two-to-one margin, the group thought Clinton had the better tone and, by a three-to-one margin, they thought she came across as more knowledgeable candidate on the issues.
A CNN/ORC flash poll found that 62 percent said the Democrat won, compared to 27 percent who picked Trump. That’s on par with 2012, when Mitt Romney was seen as the winner of the first debate.
In a separate instant-poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, 51 percent said Clinton won and 40 percent picked Trump.
Eight in 10 insiders in the key battleground states thought Clinton performed better, including 57 percent of Republicans, according to the Politico Caucus survey.
— Trump’s surrogates in the spin room were downbeat, and the candidate himself has already begun making excuses: “They gave me a defective mic,” he complained to reporters during a gaggle. “Did you notice that? My mic was defective within the room. I wonder, was that on purpose?” There was no clear problem with his microphone during the debate, Jose DelReal notes.
Trump was supposed to stop by the Nassau County Republican Committee’s watch party on his way home. He skipped it. Clinton, meanwhile, celebrated with hundreds of supporters in Westbury.
And Rudy Giuliani, a top Trump surrogate, even suggested that Trump should skip the next two debates unless he gets concessions. “If I were Donald Trump I wouldn’t participate in another debate unless I was promised that the journalist would act like a journalist and not an incorrect, ignorant fact checker,” he said.
If you missed it, here’s the debate in three minutes:
— It was a debate about Trump. Like the whole 2016 cycle, the GOP nominee sucked up all the oxygen. Facebook says eight in 10 posts about the debate focused on him. Twitter said 62 percent of debate-related tweets were about him.
— But Trump’s lack of preparation showed. There were too many missed opportunities to count.
“I’m not positive Hillary actually won the debate. But I’m sure Trump lost it. He choked,” writes Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol.
“Even if you are a Trump supporter, you have to think that he left a lot on the table,” writes GOP supper lobbyist Ed Rogers, a veteran of the Reagan and Bush 41 White Houses. “He didn’t see the openings and he didn’t swing at the softballs that came his way. He never used the word ‘change,’ he didn’t bore in on Hillary’s email scandal and he never got around to the Clinton Foundation and Hillary’s suspect integrity. Trump was inarticulate and rarely hit the bull’s eye.”
“He was exciting but embarrassingly undisciplined,” writes New York Post conservative columnist John Podhoretz. “He began with his strongest argument — that the political class represented by her has failed us and it’s time to look to a successful dealmaker for leadership — and kept to it pretty well for the first 20 minutes. Then due to the vanity and laziness that led him to think he could wing the most important 95 minutes of his life, he lost the thread of his argument, he lost control of his temper and he lost the perspective necessary to correct these mistakes as he went. By the end … Trump was reduced to a sputtering mess blathering about Rosie O’Donnell and about how he hasn’t yet said the mean things about Hillary that he is thinking.”
“After the first 20 minutes, it may have been the most lopsided debate I’ve ever seen — and not because Clinton was particularly effective. But you don’t need to be good when your opponent is bad,” writes National Review’s David French, who considered running for president as an independent. “Why didn’t he have a better answer ready for the birther nonsense? Has he still not done any homework on foreign policy? I felt like I was watching the political Titanic hit the iceberg, back up, and hit it again. Just for fun.”
The Fix’s Chris Cillizza notes in his piece on the night’s winners and losers that Trump never even mentioned the phrase basket of deplorables. “Trump was simply not prepared well enough for this debate,” says Cillizza. “His [birther answer] was like watching a car accident in slow motion.”
As Dana Milbank writes, “Trump ostentatiously avoided preparation — playing the proverbial high school slacker drinking beer behind the bleachers while the teacher’s pet was in the library. But Monday night was the revenge of the nerd.”
From the chief strategist of Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign:
From the chief strategist of John Kasich’s 2016 campaign:
Trump’s web site was not even ready for the deluge of traffic. It crashed.
— Trump got worse with each passing exchange. “In the early stages, Clinton and Trump seemed evenly matched, but the longer it went on, the more she was able to score against him,” writes Dan Balz, The Post’s chief correspondent.
Trump took the stage subdued, trying to show he’s serious, but he became peeved as he allowed Clinton’s attacks to get under his skin. “Within minutes of the opening bell, Clinton’s attacks forced domesticated Donald to go feral – he bellowed, interrupted her repeatedly, grunted, and toward the bedraggled end, became muted and pouty,” writes Politico’s Glenn Thrush.
“’I did not! I did not! I do not say that,’ he shouted as Clinton accused him of calling climate change a hoax, which he has said on numerous occasions,”Jenna Johnson recounts. “‘Facts!’ he yelled as Clinton began to question the accuracy of his assertions. ‘Wrong! Wrong!’ he said as Clinton stated that he initially supported the Iraq War, which he had. ‘Where did you find it? Oh really?’ Trump said as Clinton referred to a beauty pageant contestant who has accused Trump of calling her ‘Miss Housekeeping’ because she is Latina.”
“Trump needed to conceal his temper … and appear ready to be president. He didn’t,” writes conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin. “There were too many instances in which the real Donald showed through. Clinton wasn’t emotive, but she was cool and efficient in drawing blood.”
“If her goal was to get under Trump’s skin — you know, sniff out his weakness, and bait him into losing his temper — it worked,” adds conservative columnistMatt Lewis. “She got under that thin skin by talking about his inherited wealth and questionable status as a billionaire.”
— Trump played to his base. He did nothing to win over fresh converts or reassure recalcitrant Republicans. Sean Hannity’s audience is not who he needs to win over.
“Unpersuaded college educated white women didn’t come away from this debate — at least not in large numbers — feeling reassured by Trump,” conservative Jonah Goldberg writes in National Review. “Clinton was narrowcasting at the voters she needs. Trump was broadcasting to the voters he already has. … If you’re truly pro-Hillary or pro-Trump it doesn’t matter what you thought tonight. Your vote is baked in. But if you’re on the fence or thinking about not voting at all, your impression matters — a lot. And in this regard, I think Clinton was the winner.”
“Hillary was well-informed and unflappable; Trump got across his major themes but was probably too Trump to widen support,” National Review executive editor Rich Lowry concludes. “I thought Trump might save a weak substantive performance with some big moments, but he didn’t have any that cut his way.”
“It is hard to imagine that there was a single moment in the debate that would have convinced a wavering college-educated woman in the Philadelphia or Cincinnati suburbs to vote for Trump,” writes Roll Call columnist Walter Shapiro. “In fact, Trump seemed to be debating with the single-minded goal of turning his gender gap into a canyon. … In 1973, a trash-talking, over-age self-described ‘chauvinist pig’ named Bobby Riggs took on Billie Jean King in a tennis match in the Houston Astrodome that was billed as The Battle of the Sexes. King won in straight sets. History repeated itselfMonday. … Clinton defeated Trump in straight sets.”
— Clinton’s performance, in contrast, will excite her base and put a pause to some of the recent bedwetting about a tightening race.
“Clinton’s calm dissection of her foe reassured jittery supporters,” writes liberal Post columnist E.J. Dionne. “Clinton shifted the contest her way during her party’s convention. She did it again during Monday night’s debate.”
“Clinton was not great at times; her language was occasionally stilted; she missed some obvious moments to go in for the kill; but she was solid and reassuring and composed,” New York Magazine’s Andrew Sullivan concludes. “I was afraid that Trump’s charisma and stage presence and salesmanship might outshine Hillary Clinton’s usually tepid and wonkish instincts. I feared that the facts wouldn’t matter; that a debate would not take place. And it is to Clinton’s great credit that she prepared, and he didn’t, and that she let him hang himself.”
“The contrast between an obviously and eminently qualified public servant and a ranting bully was as stark as any presidential debate in American history,” adds Jonathan Chait, his colleague at the magazine.
Trump’s failure to offer an improved explanation for his years challenging Barack Obama’s legitimacy could also help galvanize African American voters. “He has a long record of engaging in racist behavior, and the birther lie was a very hurtful one,” Clinton said during the debate, twisting the knife. “Barack Obama is a man of great dignity, and I could tell how much it bothered him and annoyed him that this was being touted and used against him.”
— Trump also gave ad-makers tons of fodder for fresh attack ads. Clinton, on the other hand, made no gaffes that could be used in a negative ad
“Chet Farmer is a lifelong progressive, naturalized Texan, and obsessive cyclist based in Houston. He and Mr Shiels share a Magnolia origin. Follow him @chetman, or his personal blog at www.mischeathen.com.”
The title of a recent WaPo article asks a pertinent question: “How many votes will Trump give up by not running a professional campaign?” The whole article is well worth reading, but the article’s conclusion can be summarized in the two words that complete the title: “A lot.” Still, exactly how much is “a lot”? That’s the million dollar question. This diary will attempt to get a little closer to an answer to that question—though we’ll need to wait until election day to know the exact impact of the vast difference the the two campaigns field operations.
I looked at the essay by political scientists Ryan Enos and Anthony Fowler on GOTV referenced in the WaPo piece. Their basic method was to look at segments of adjoining states with a shared TV market, but with one state a battleground and the other not. TV advertising would be the same, but one would see heavy GOTV and the other wouldn’t. The map at the top of this diary shows the areas studied. The areas studied are enclosed in black lines. The darker the area is colored, the greater the likely GOTV effort. One can clearly make out from the map that, for instance, hotly contested NH would likely get lots of GOTV effort, but adjacent VT, MA and ME (all safe D) would not. Similarly, northern NV would get intensive GOTV efforts, but overlapping media markets in CA & OR (safe D) and Utah (safe R) would not. And in fact the darkly shaded areas—the likely targets of GOTV— showed significantly increased turnout over the light gray areas.
The gist of the study is neatly summarized by WaPo:
They show that the effect of the 2012 presidential campaign on voter turnout was quite large, about 7-8 points overall.
Now 7-8 points sounds like an awful lot. But what the study claims is not that one side beats the other by 7-8%, but that EACH side, if they have equal operations, turns out an extra 7-8 by a serious GOTV effort. If so, that would suggest that an awful lot of GOTV effort could be considered defensive—you’ve got to at least equal what the other side is doing, or you’re going to get buried.
So the 1-2% margin we often see mentioned as a GOTV effect might be the difference between an outstanding GOTV effort vs. just a garden variety effort: one side is getting out only an extra 6% and the other is getting out an extra 7% or 8%.
On the face of it, this makes a lot of sense—could all those phone calls and pavement pounding and personal visits really only amount to a measly 1%? It seems intuitively right that this 1% margin would actually the net effect of two operations at work, one just a tad better than the other. 7 to 8% could be considered the gross effect. All of this means kudos to the people working hard in field operations—you’re adding 7-8% to total turnout, and without it, we wouldn’t have a prayer. BTW, Enos & Fowler credit both Obama & Romney with having effective GOTV efforts, so if Obama had an edge, it might well have been in the 1 or 2% range.
But if Enos & Fowler’s analysis of the gross impact of GOTV efforts is correct, then this might suggest that Trump’s neglect of GOTV will have a much larger impact than many people think. Of course, Hillary probably won’t outdo the polls by 7-8%, since the RNC and state party machines have their own GOTV efforts going.
But we might reasonably expect a much bigger effect in the battleground states this year, based on Clinton’s vastly superior operation, than the traditional estimate of 1-2% for a better field operation. Of course, we won’t really know until election day.
But however you slice it, we can regard the present election as a living, breathing experiment in the impact of GOTV. This makes me a bit more optimistic about the possibility of flipping some Senate and House seats that might otherwise might be out of reach. So let’s all keep working hard, not just for that slim 1% but for a potentially much larger slice of the pie!
Seven news battleground polls, seven states where Hillary Clinton holds a lead against Donald Trump.
Those are the results from the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls, which found Hillary Clinton ahead in Iowa (by four points), Ohio (by five), Florida (by five), North Carolina (by nine), Pennsylvania (by 11), Virginia (by 13) and Colorado (by 14).
If those poll numbers hold with another three months to go until Election Day 2016, Trump won’t have a realistic path to 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.
But there are four other takeaways from the new battleground polling. Call them the four different gaps:
With one exception (Florida), Clinton is leading in every battleground among college-educated white voters, while she’s losing among whites without a college degree. Why is this significant? As the Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein has noted, no Democratic presidential candidate going back to 1952 has won among college-educated whites. (All poll numbers below are among registered voters)
Relatedly, Clinton is drubbing Trump in urban areas and suburbs, while Trump is ahead in rural areas. The problem for Trump: For the most part, there are many more voters in these urban areas than rural ones.
Clinton is winning women by larger margins than Trump is winning among men. And Clinton is even winning among men in Colorado and Virginia.
In all seven states, Democrats are backing Clinton by a larger margin than Republicans are behind Trump – sometimes by wide margins.
PHILADELPHIA — Donald Trump has found an ingenious way to save the Democratic Party. Basically, he’s abandoned the great patriotic themes that used to fire up the G.O.P. and he’s allowed the Democrats to seize that ground. If you visited the two conventions this year you would have come away thinking that the Democrats are the more patriotic of the two parties — and the more culturally conservative.
Trump has abandoned the Judeo-Christian aspirations that have always represented America’s highest moral ideals: toward love, charity, humility, goodness, faith, temperance and gentleness.
He left the ground open for Joe Biden to remind us that decent people don’t enjoy firing other human beings.
Trump has abandoned the basic modesty code that has always ennobled the American middle class: Don’t brag, don’t let your life be defined by gilded luxuries.
He left the ground open for the Democrats to seize middle-class values with one quick passage in a Tim Kaine video — about a guy who goes to the same church where he was married, who taught carpentry as a Christian missionary in Honduras, who has lived in the same house for the last 24 years.
Trump has also abandoned the American ideal of popular self-rule.
He left the ground open for Barack Obama to remind us that our founders wanted active engaged citizens, not a government run by a solipsistic and self-appointed savior who wants everything his way.
Trump has abandoned the deep and pervasive optimism that has always energized the American nation.
He left the ground open for Michelle Obama to embrace the underlying chorus of hope that runs through the American story: that our national history is an arc toward justice; that evil rises for a day but contains the seeds of its own destruction; that beneath the vicissitudes that darken our days, we live in an orderly cosmos governed by love.
For decades the Republican Party has embraced America’s open, future-oriented nationalism. But when you nominate a Silvio Berlusconi you give up a piece of that. When you nominate a blood-and-soil nationalist you’re no longer speaking in the voice of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and every Republican nominee from Reagan to McCain to Romney.
Democrats have often been ambivalent about that ardent nationalistic voice, but this week they were happy to accept Trump’s unintentional gift. There were an unusually high number of great speeches at the Democratic convention this year: the Obamas, Biden, Booker, Clinton, the Mothers of the Movement and so on.
These speakers found their eloquence in staving off this demagogue. They effectively separated Trump from America. They separated him from conservatism. They made full use of the deep nationalist chords that touch American hearts.
Trump has allowed the Democrats to mask their deep problems. A Democratic administration has presided over a time of growing world chaos, growing violence and growing anger. But the Democrats seem positively organized and orderly compared to Candidate Chaos on the other side.
The Sanders people have 90 percent of the Democratic Party’s passion and 95 percent of the ideas. Most Sanders people are kind- and open-hearted, but there is a core that is corrupted by moral preening, an uncompromising absolutism and a paranoid unwillingness to play by the rules of civic life.
But the extremist fringe that threatens to take over the Democratic Party seems less menacing than the lunatic fringe that has already taken over the Republican one.
This week I left the arena here each night burning with indignation at Mike Pence. I almost don’t blame Trump. He is a morally untethered, spiritually vacuous man who appears haunted by multiple personality disorders. It is the “sane” and “reasonable” Republicans who deserve the shame — the ones who stood silently by, or worse, while Donald Trump gave away their party’s sacred inheritance.
The Democrats had by far the better of the conventions. But the final and shocking possibility is this: In immediate political terms it may not make a difference.
The Democratic speakers hit doubles, triples and home runs. But the normal rules may no longer apply. The Democrats may have just dominated a game we are no longer playing.
Both conventions featured one grieving parent after another. The fear of violent death is on everybody’s mind — from ISIS, cops, lone sociopaths. The essential contract of society — that if you behave responsibly things will work out — has been severed for many people.
It could be that in this moment of fear, cynicism, anxiety and extreme pessimism, many voters may have decided that civility is a surrender to a rigged system, that optimism is the opiate of the idiots and that humility and gentleness are simply surrendering to the butchers of ISIS. If that’s the case then the throes of a completely new birth are upon us and Trump is a man from the future.
If that’s true it’s not just politics that has changed, but the country.
The Perils of the We/They Mentality
Yes maybe it’s time to remember allies, but widen our definition to reduce the we they paradigm. Why must we assume that Russia, China, Iran must be incorrigible enemies? There are things that can be done with each of these relationships at minimal cost to then US.
Author: Rian Morrissey Date: Monday, July 25, 2016 8:04:27 AM EDT Subject: RE: FILM REACTIONS RELATED TO POSTWAR AMERICA.
I believe as well that America does have a sense of responsibility as a superpower to certain other countries and people. However, if a country is not an ally to ours than where would the obligation be. This doesn’t mean America should act recklessly and cause harm to other countries with no concern. Being superpower can make America seem incredibly powerful. This does not mean whoever has power should necessarily use it to fix every wrong that they witness going on in the world.
Today’s New York Times features the erudite moderate Republican/Conservative columnist, David brooks, offering an even more chilling assessment of Donald Trump than I would have expected. This Blog has been too busy watching but not commenting on events to do justice to the substance of the strangest presidential race in modern memory. But that will change.
Does anybody else have the sense that Donald Trump is slipping off the rails? His speeches have always had a rambling, free association quality, but a couple of the recent ones have, as the Republican political consultant Mike Murphy put it, passed from the category of rant to the category of full on “drunk wedding toast.”
Trump’s verbal style has always been distinct. He doesn’t really speak in sentences or paragraphs. His speeches are punctuated by five- or six-word jabs that are sort of strung together by connections that can only be understood through chaos theory: “They want the wall … I dominated with the evangelicals … I won in a landslide … We can’t be the stupid people anymore.”
Occasionally Trump will attempt a sentence longer than eight words, but no matter what subject he starts the sentence with, by the end he has been pulled over to the subject of himself. Here’s an example from the Mike Pence announcement speech: “So one of the primary reasons I chose Mike was I looked at Indiana, and I won Indiana big.” There’s sort of a gravitational narcissistic pull that takes command whenever he attempts to utter a compound thought.
Trump has also always been a little engine fueled by wounded pride. For example, writing in BuzzFeed, McKay Coppins recalls the fusillade of abuse he received from Trump after writing an unflattering profile (he called Mar-a-Lago a “nice, if slightly dated, hotel”).
Trump was so inflamed he tweeted retaliation at Coppins several times a day and at odd hours, calling him a “dishonest slob” and “true garbage with no credibility.” The attacks went on impressively for over two years, which must rank Coppins in the top 100,000 on the list of people Donald Trump resents.
Over the past few weeks these longstanding Trump patterns have gone into hyperdrive. This is a unique moment in American political history in which the mental stability of one of the major party nominees is the dominating subject of conversation.
Everybody is telling Trump to ratchet it down and be more sober, but at a rally near Cincinnati this month and in his Pence announcement speech on Saturday, Trump launched his verbal rocket ship straight through the stratosphere, and it landed somewhere on the dark side of Planet Debbie.
The Pence announcement was truly the strangest vice-presidential unveiling in recent political history. Ricocheting around the verbal wilds for more than twice as long as the man he was introducing, Trump even refused to remain onstage and gaze on admiringly as Pence flattered him. It was like watching a guy lose interest in a wedding when the bride appears.
The structure of his mental perambulations also seems to have changed. Formerly, as I said, his speeches had a random, free-form quality. But on Saturday his remarks had a distinct through line, anchored by the talking points his campaign had written down on pieces of paper. But Trump could not keep his attention focused on this through line — since the subject was someone else — so every 30 seconds or so he would shoot off on a resentment-filled bragging loop.
If you had to do a rough diagram of the Trump remarks it would be something like this: Pence … I was right about Iraq … Pence … Hillary Clinton is a crooked liar … I was right about “Brexit” … Pence … Hillary Clintons ads are filled with lies … We’re going to bring back the coal industry … Christians love me … Pence … I talk to statisticians … Pence is good looking … My hotel in Washington is really coming along fantastically … Pence.
Donald Trump is in his moment of greatest triumph, but he seems more resentful and embattled than ever. Most political conventions are happy coronations, but this one may come to feel like the Alamo of aggrieved counterattacks.
It’s hard to know exactly what is going on in that brain, but science lends a clue. Psychologists wonder if narcissists are defined by extremely high self-esteem or by extremely low self-esteem that they are trying to mask. The current consensus seems to be that they are marked by unstable self-esteem. Their self-confidence can be both high and fragile, so they perceive ego threat all around.
Maybe as Trump has gotten more successful his estimation of what sort of adoration he deserves has increased while the outside criticism has gotten more pronounced. This combination is bound to leave his ego threat sensors permanently inflamed. So even if Candidate Trump is told to make a normal political point, Inner Boy Trump will hijack the microphone for another bout of resentful boasting.
Suddenly the global climate favors a Trump candidacy. Some forms of disorder — like a financial crisis — send voters for the calm supple thinker. But other forms of disorder — blood in the streets — send them scurrying for the brutal strongman.
If the string of horrific events continues, Trump could win the presidency. And he could win it even though he has less and less control over himself.
DOVER, N.H. (MarketWatch) — I have a confession to make: I can’t keep up.
Am I supposed to hate Hillary Rodham Clinton because she’s too left-wing, or too right-wing? Because she’s too feminist, or not feminist enough? Because she’s too clever a politician, or too clumsy?
Am I supposed to be mad that she gave speeches to rich bankers, or that she charged them too much money?
I’m up here in New Hampshire watching her talk to a group of supporters, and I realized that I have been following this woman’s career for more than half my life. No, not just my adult life: the whole shebang. She came onto the national scene when I was a young man.
And for all that time, there has been a deafening chorus of critics telling me that she’s just the most wicked, evil, Machiavellian, nefarious individual in American history. She has “the soul of an East German border guard,” in the words of that nice Grover Norquist. She’s a “bitch,” in the words of that nice Newt Gingrich. She’s a “dragon lady.” She’s “Elena Ceaușescu.” She’s “the Lady Macbeth of Little Rock.”
Long before “Benghazi” and her email server, there was “Whitewater” and “the Rose Law Firm” and “Vince Foster.” For those of us following her, we were promised scandal after scandal after scandal. And if no actual evidence ever turned up, well, that just proved how deviously clever she was.
So today I’m performing a public service on behalf of all the voters. I went back and re-read all the criticisms and attacks and best-selling “exposés” leveled at Hillary Rodham Clinton over the past quarter-century. And I’ve compiled a list of all her High Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Here they are:
It’s clear: Hillary must be stopped. Hearings now!
From the NEW YORK TIMES May 18, 2016 Bernie Sanders, Eyeing Convention, Willing to Harm Hillary Clinton in the Homestretch By PATRICK HEALY, YAMICHE ALCINDOR and JEREMY W. PETERSMAY 18, 2016 Senato…
From the NEW YORK TIMES May 18, 2016
Bernie Sanders, Eyeing Convention, Willing to Harm Hillary Clinton in the Homestretch
By PATRICK HEALY, YAMICHE ALCINDOR and JEREMY W. PETERSMAY 18, 2016
Senator Bernie Sanders spoke at a campaign rally on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills, in Carson, Calif., on Tuesday. Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times
Defiant and determined to transform the Democratic Party, Senator Bernie Sanders is opening a two-month phase of his presidential campaign aimed at inflicting a heavy blow on Hillary Clinton in California and amassing enough leverage to advance his agenda at the convention in July — or even wrest the nomination from her.
Advisers to Mr. Sanders said on Wednesday that he was newly resolved to remain in the race, seeing an aggressive campaign as his only chance to pressure Democrats into making fundamental changes to how presidential primaries and debates are held in the future. They said he also held out hope of capitalizing on any late stumbles by Mrs. Clinton or any damage to her candidacy, whether by scandal or by the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump.
After sounding subdued if not downbeat about the race for weeks, Mr. Sanders resumed a combative posture against Mrs. Clinton, demanding on Wednesday that she debate him before the June 7 primary in California and highlighting anew what he asserted were her weaknesses against Mr. Trump.
Mr. Sanders, his advisers said, has been buoyed by a stream of polls showing him beating Mr. Trump by larger margins than Mrs. Clinton in some battleground states, and by his belief that an upset victory in California could have a psychological impact on convention delegates who already have doubts about Mrs. Clinton.
But his newly resolute attitude is also the cumulative result of months of anger at the national Democratic Party over a debate schedule that his campaign said favored Mrs. Clinton; a fund-raising arrangement between the party and the Clinton campaign; the appointment of fierce Clinton partisans as leaders of important convention committees; and the party’s rebuke of Mr. Sanders on Tuesday for not clearly condemning a melee at the Nevada Democratic convention on Saturday.
While Mr. Sanders says he does not want Mr. Trump to win in November, his advisers and allies say he is willing to do some harm to Mrs. Clinton in the shorter term if it means he can capture a majority of the 475 pledged delegates at stake in California and arrive at the Philadelphia convention with maximum political power.
Tad Devine, a senior adviser to Mr. Sanders, said the campaign did not think its attacks would help Mr. Trump in the long run, but added that the senator’s team was “not thinking about” the possibility that they could help derail Mrs. Clinton from becoming the first woman elected president.
Continue reading the main story
Bernie Sanders Facing Pressure Over Supporters’ Actions in Nevada MAY 17, 2016
From Bernie Sanders Supporters, Death Threats Over Delegates MAY 16, 2016
A Single-Payer Plan From Bernie Sanders Would Probably Still Be Expensive MAY 16, 2016
“The only thing that matters is what happens between now and June 14,” Mr. Devine said, referring to the final Democratic primary, in the District of Columbia. “We have to put the blinders on and focus on the best case to make in the upcoming states. If we do that, we can be in a strong position to make the best closing argument before the convention. If not, everyone will know in mid-June, and we’ll have to take a hard look at where things stand.”
The prospect of a drawn-out Democratic fight is deeply troubling to party leaders who are eager for Mrs. Clinton and House and Senate candidates to turn to attacking Mr. Trump without being diverted by Democratic strife. Mr. Sanders has won nearly 10 million votes, compared to Mrs. Clinton’s 13 million, and Democratic leaders say she needs time to begin courting the young voters, liberals and other Sanders supporters who view her as an ally of corporate and big-money interests.
But Mr. Sanders has sharpened his language of late, saying Tuesday night that the party faced a choice to remain “dependent on big-money campaign contributions and be a party with limited participation and limited energy” or “welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change.”
Mr. Sanders’s street-fighting instincts have been encouraged by his like-minded campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, who has been blistering against the Clinton camp and the party establishment. On Wednesday, he took to CNN to accuse Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the Democratic national chairwoman, of “throwing shade on the Sanders campaign from the very beginning.”
For weeks, some current and former Sanders campaign workers have privately acknowledged feeling disheartened about Mr. Weaver’s determination to go after the Democratic National Committee, fearing a pitched battle with the party they hope to support in the general election. The intraparty fighting has affected morale, they say, and raised concerns that Mr. Weaver, a longtime Sanders aide who more recently ran a comic book store, was not devoted to achieving Democratic unity. Several described the campaign’s message as having devolved into a near-obsession with perceived conspiracies on the part of Mrs. Clinton’s allies.
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Non – Civil War
We suspected as much but FOREIGN POLICY (JOURNAL) CONFIRMS IT!
Let’s Try to Avoid Another Nuclear Arms Race, Shall We?
The Republican presidential candidates have no clue how dangerous the current age of nuclear rearmament really is.
BY TOM Z. COLLINA JANUARY 15, 2016l
Let’s Try to Avoid Another Nuclear Arms Race, Shall We?
The Republican presidential debates have covered a range of national security issues, from China, to Islamist terrorism, to the defense budget. But only recently have the candidates begun talking about a key issue: the future of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. That’s the good news. The bad news is how shockingly little they know about the subject.
At the debate on Jan. 14, Ben Carson said he was concerned about adversaries “obtaining nuclear weapons that they can explode in our exoatmosphere and destroy our electric grid.” Rick Santorum mentioned this too, as did Ted Cruz last year. This is a fringe issue, more the stuff of action movies than real life. Hardly prime-time debate material.
But when it comes to the dangers we actually face here in the real world, the candidates don’t fare much better. At the Dec. 15 debate, front-runner Donald Trump tripped over a question about the importance (and budget difficulties) involved in modernizing America’s nuclear triad. In response, he rambled that “nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me,” a statement that plainly showed he hadn’t bothered to do his homework on the issue. In a Jan. 11 interview, Jeb Bush shot back, saying that if Trump wants to be the next president, “the dude ought to try to figure out what the nuclear triad is.”
None of the GOP candidates seem prepared to confront the complexities of our nuclear arsenal. Even worse, they fail to grasp the meat of the issue. Over the last few years, the Obama administration has announced plans to rebuild the U.S. nuclear arsenal, to the tune of $1 trillion over the next 30 years, promising to build 12 nuclear-armed submarines, 100 strategic bombers, about 400 land-based ballistic missiles, 1,000 cruise missiles, and hundreds of upgraded bombs and warheads to go with them. This, from the same president who in 2009 called for world free of nuclear weapons while promising to reduce their role in U.S. national security strategy.
The next president, of whichever party, will inherit this plan, and will have to decide how to implement it. So, at the next GOP debate on Jan. 28, it would reasonable to ask the candidates: Does this plan even make sense?
Consider the fact that the United States still has about 4,700 nuclear weapons in its stockpile. That’s about the same number as Russia, and 20 times more than China; North Korea has about a dozen. It’s safe to say we’ve got far more nuclear weapons than we need. President Ronald Reagan tried and failed to eliminate nukes, but did succeed in negotiating major reductions with Russia, as did both Presidents Bush and Obama. Now, the remaining weapons have aged and we have reached a historic decision point: retire them or replace them? The Obama administration seems to have settled on an answer.
But President Obama’s overblown effort is dangerous. “We’re now at the precipice, maybe I should say the brink, of a new nuclear arms race,” former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry said in Dec. 3 in a speech to the Defense Writers Group. And Perry should know. Serving as Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering in the 1970s and 1980s, he played a key role in the last nuclear buildup, championing such doomsday weapons as the Trident submarine, the B-2 “stealth” bomber and the nuclear-tipped cruise missile.
But now, as the Pentagon seeks to replace its stockpile, Perry and others worry that the Obama administration, without fully debating its options, is rushing ahead to buy out the store.But now, as the Pentagon seeks to replace its stockpile, Perry and others worry that the Obama administration, without fully debating its options, is rushing ahead to buy out the store. Defense planners say the world is a dangerous place, and the United States must rebuild all of its nuclear forces to stay safe. Perry fears this will revive Cold War-era nuclear dangers. “I see an imperative to stop this damn nuclear race before it gets under way again, not just for the cost but for the danger it puts all of us in,” he said.
All of this sends the mistaken message to the rest of the world that nuclear weapons are useful. Why else would the United States spend $1 trillion on them? And if the world’s only superpower wants to invest in new nukes, others surely will want them too.
Moscow will view this as a justification to build new nukes of its own — weapons like the submarine bomb whose design was recently “leaked” by President Vladimir Putin. China, in turn, would expand its forces, as would North Korea, which just conducted its fourth nuclear test. India would react to China, and Pakistan to India. This proliferation only increases the risk that nuclear weapons or materials will wind up in terrorist hands.
What exacerbates the problem are the wishes of the generals at the Pentagon. The Defense Department wants new everything — submarines, bombers, and long-range missiles — despite four years of budget caps. And, so far, it has ignored Obama’s declared goal of reducing the role of nuclear weapons, instead requesting more accurate, lower-yield weapons that might be more likely to be used. Gen. James E. Cartwright, a retired vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the New York Times this month that “what going smaller does,” for nuclear weapons, “is to make the weapon more thinkable.”
The Obama administration’s nuclear spending plans simply make no sense. It would be like Google investing a trillion dollars in typewriters.The Obama administration’s nuclear spending plans simply make no sense. It would be like Google investing a trillion dollars in typewriters.
That’s because nuclear weapons are artifacts of a bygone era. The greatest dangers to the United States today come from the Islamic State, global warming, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons to other nations or groups. Nuclear weapons play no positive role in countering these threats; deterrence has no impact. France’s nukes did not protect Paris from the recent attacks it suffered. U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe did not keep Russia out of Ukraine, and more or “better” nukes certainly won’t push them out, despite what some analysts might say.
What nukes most certainly do, however, is siphon scarce tax dollars from higher defense priorities. As Perry has said, the United States does not need a new nuclear-tipped cruise missile, nor a new intercontinental ballistic missile. The Navy does not need 12 new nuclear-armed submarines. Such reasonable steps can save tens of billions of dollars over the next decade alone.
The president can begin to set things right by cutting back on the Pentagon’s nuclear wish list in the next defense budget, which is now being finalized. It’s the only way to tell the Pentagon that its “shop ‘til you drop” nuclear spending is over — a message the Republican presidential candidates would be wise to embrace. The Democrats certainly have. Hillary Clinton told a questioner in Iowa on Jan. 7 that spending a trillion dollars on a nuclear reboot “doesn’t make sense to [her].” Bernie Sanders supports legislation to trim billions in fat from the program, while still maintaining a strong arsenal.
Republican candidates say they want to make America safer and reduce federal spending. And yet they support the Obama administration’s nuclear arsenal plan, which threatens to do the opposite. Maybe, as they prepare for the next debate, the candidates should reconsider their thoughts about the future of America’s nuclear force.
Photo Credit: Scott Olson / Getty Images News
From Professor Franklin Jonas, L.I.U. (Long Island University)
Comment: In the NYTimes Sunday review of July 8th, Sam Tanenhaus argues that Donald Trump has performed a service for the GOP by alerting the party (against the will of most of its leaders and thinkers, e.g. George will,)to the alienation of its working class rank and file due to the consequences of ignoring their cries for help. Even if trump is defeated,Tanenhaus argues,the Republican and Democratic elites will have to reckon with the depth and passion of the populism that has been revealed by the victory of
trump in the Republican primary(and ,I would add, the showing of Bernie Sanders on the democratic side).
These developments have nourished the hope of certain “conservative” intellectuals, such as Ross Douthat of the New York times that the Republicans might now seek to become more of a working class party by responding to the widening of inequality among Americans that has taken hold since the 1970s with new programs and polices designed to be of direct benefit to working class families.