Hate Wins (For Now)

It wasn’t Comey, it wasn’t the e-mails, it wasn’t the Clintons’ overweening sense of entitlement, the shallowness of cable news, the echo chamber of the Internet, or the callow self-righteousness of the Millennials. It was structural, baked in from the beginning, even if the pollsters missed the signals. Half of us, give or take, are still fighting the Civil War, believe that Reagan was the best president this country has ever had, that science is a lie, and that tyranny is not being allowed to use the ‘n’ word in polite society, call a gay person a faggot, or a nice-looking woman a piece of ass. A lot more than half of us rightly understand that the system of globalized capitalism is run by and for the benefit of an educated elite that is mostly concentrated in a handful of wealthy urban regions–New York, London, San Francisco–the same Sodoms and Gomorrahs that the Agrarian Populists of the last century so feared and despised (and that so many of us progressives are waking up in this morning).

Bernie recognized that and said that the system had to be overhauled. Clinton saw that up to a point too, but believed that its worst effects could be mitigated. Trump saw it as an opportunity to be demagogically exploited and he did. Unlike Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini (one hopes) he doesn’t have a program of global conquest or racial and ideological cleansing ready to roll out; he was a vanity candidate and he’ll be a vanity president. Most of the work of governance will be left to the right wing hanger-ons who flatter him the most and they will do their very worst. There’s not going to be a wall, he’s not going to restore smoke stack industries, or fix the cities. Taxes will be cut, environmental protections will be rolled back, and terrible judges will be appointed to the courts. Undocumented immigrants will be deported at the same pace that they were during the Obama administration. The world will be a little safer for ignorant, backwards-looking white people. Globalized capitalism will march on apace, wealth will continue to flow to the top, and the ice caps will keep melting.

We were just as fucked yesterday as we are today, even if we didn’t know it. But now we do. I don’t see much of a bright side this morning, but I do believe that we progressives can pull the same levers of economic discontent that he did and to just as powerful effect, starting in 2018. The backlash will have its own backlash. Let’s start laying the groundwork for it now.

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13 thoughts on “Hate Wins (For Now)

  1. Arthur: 2018 will be even worse because the vast majority of Democratic-held Senate seats will be up for re-election and there is absolutely no reason to believe that Democrats will have any better luck then than in a Presidential election year.

    So, bottom line is as follows:

    1. Trump will almost certainly appoint 2-3 Supreme Court Justices during his term. [The next one is likely to be Ginsberg.] Those appointments will assure conservative dominance of the Court for the next 25-35 years. Roe v Wade will be overturned at some point. I’m not even sure that gay marriage will be sustainable in a future Trump Court.

    2. The U.S. Senate and House will remain in Republican hands for at least 10-15 years. The GOP just won more Governorships — which means the GOP will control re-districting after the next census in 4 years — which will produce a majority of loss-proof seats for at least a generation.

    3. The entire Obama legacy will be totally repealed. Nothing he accomplished will remain.

    4. IF Trump “tears up” the Iran agreement as he has promised — the U.S. will probably be at war with Iran within the next couple years.

    5. A Trump Presidency is going to have to make a decision about North Korea which likely will result in military action against their nuclear program and who knows if North Korea will accept that or begin attacking South Korea.

    6. Vladimir Putin will rightly believe that the U.S. is not going to react forcefully to any additional pressure he may want to apply to Ukraine.

    7. The U.S. may build some version of Trump’s Wall — and it will poison our relations with Latin American countries who believe the U.S. is hostile toward them.

    8. Trump will initiate policies which prevent people from many countries from emigrating to the U.S. That will include the end of accepting people from: Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and perhaps even Turkey.

    9. Trump will appoint Rudy Guiliani as Attorney General. Guiliani has repeatedly delcared that the Clintons are a “crime family” and Hillary should be prosecuted for, at a minimum, perjury. A Special Prosecutor may well be in our future — unless Obama pardons her before leaving office. Even then, the Clinton Foundation may be under more intense scrutiny.

    Fasten your seat belts — it is going to be a bumpy ride!

    As Michael Moore correctly has said, our rust belt states just collectively said “Fuck You” to Washington DC, to our media, and to the establishment of both parties.

    1. Except I don’t think the economic discontent is going away. Nothing is standing in the Repubicans’ way, but I suspect they will expend a lot of their energy on infighting. Or maybe the whole damn thing just falls apart. Trump’s base — those white people, so many of them uneducated, many of them not the least bit rich, all of them with vast expectations — isn’t the sturdiest.

      1. I agree that there is serious tension between elements within the GOP.

        However, what this election proves (beyond dispute) is that Trumpism is the direction which the rank-and-file GOP wants their elected officials to adopt.

        Consequently, Paul Ryan will not remain as Speaker if he opposes Trump and “never Trump” Senators like Lindsay Graham will now know with certainty that they will likely face a primary challenge if they don’t support Trump’s agenda.

  2. No argument there. I see this as a revanchist movement–radical, desperate, and ultimately doomed. Unfortunately, they will take a lot of good citizens down with them.

    1. I assume you use “ultimately doomed” in terms of the future demographic changes which will occur in our country?

      I’m not so certain. 29% of latinos voted for Trump (i.e. 2% more than voted for Romney) and 8% of African-Americans voted for Trump (1% more than Romney). One thing which both Trump and Democrats agree upon, along with many GOP politicians, is that we need a major infrastructure renewal program. So — let’s assume that Congress agrees to spend $1 trillion over a 10-year period for that. The construction or related jobs may be so appealing and economically beneficial to minority groups (particularly less-educated ones) that they reward the GOP in 2018 mid-terms. So Trump will get the credit for what Obama wanted to do but failed to accomplish — even when Democrats controlled both houses.

      The other economic factor (which Democrats never want to seriously discuss) is Obamacare and the projected premium increases. If the GOP can put in place something which can produce near-universal coverage while simultaneously reducing premium costs — then, yet again, the GOP will get the credit for doing what Democrats have attempted to accomplish for decades. [I said from the beginning that Obamacare was stupid. It should have been Medicare-for-all — which everyone understands and which does not require thousands of pages of new legislation to accomplish.]

      The one silver lining of this disaster is this: A new generation of leadership needs to take control of the Democratic Party and that new leadership needs to enthusiastically embrace the Bernie Sanders vision of what the Party needs to stand for in the future. Elizabeth Warren is perhaps the most well known current prospect for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2020 — but Democrats need to groom an entirely new bench of 30-and-40-something politicians if they want to have any credible future..

  3. I agree with every word you said. Trillions of dollars of infrastructure investment? If it takes a Republican to put it through, even Trump, I’m for it (though I probably wouldn’t reward him for it). Medicare for all? Absolutely, though again, I wouldn’t reward them for doing the obvious.

    I was a Bernie person, so it’s no surprise that I’m saying this, but this election makes it abundantly clear that the Democratic party needs to blown up no less than the Republican. And Elizabeth Warren should be the model against which we measure the young up-and-comers that will be coming out of the woodwork.

  4. But That Other Basket…(I don’t want this on my fb. Sorry it long.)

    On September, 9, 2016 Hillary Clinton gave her now infamous “Deplorable Speech” and as soon as she finished describing the “first Basket” most everyone stopped listening and started talking, if not on social media, they did so in their minds. But Hillary did continue to speak and Arthur did point this out:
    “—but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”

    This other basket is what elected Trump. And Hillary stated, warned, cautioned, and I feel ultimately forgot about also, the lurking danger this basket could be to her campaign. What happened was a confirmation of suspicion and a barrage of ever-growing pejoratives that fed inflating indignation. As social-media, pseudo-media, and media-media punditry and bias continued to snowball around an alt-right and alt-left arms race…that other basket sat there, untouched, unspoken to, but, IMHO, began to be beat upon a little too much by the Left’s SJW circus. Somehow, somewhere, BOTH BASKETS were just dumped together and there was a free-for-all to create a negative stereotype that singled out one race. Totally forgotten was how this basket happily and eagerly voted for Obama…twice. And this basket didn’t vote for a Black President just because he was Black, but because he was a good President who happened to be Black.

    And that’s understandable…because to this basket, race, or any other special interest identity, isn’t enough by itself. And that’s understandable…because if you follow “progressive SJW sensationalists” you know this basket is naturally racist, dim-witted, sexist, islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic, mean, and full of vitriol from birth and owes every other race or non-cis identity something just because. And just as Hillary said, “nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change.”

    This basket matters because the election was actually very close. Fivethirtyeight, which was blasted by Huffington Post, has a keen article about the two-point shift. According to Nate Silver it breaks down to about 1:100 voters. Had they gone Hillary…she would have had 303 electoral votes. How could’ve Hillary swung those votes from the “Angry White Rural Conservatives” you ask?
    Here are two: All legally mandated insurance premiums become tax deductible. TPP will increase agriculture exports and help resuscitate depressed cattle markets.

    It would’ve been a vastly different election had it been Trump vs. Sanders.

    The problem with this election cycle, and the electorate, is that both camps did not achieve rhetorical stasis. Like Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice, there will never be unity because both sides are approaching the topic, abortion, from mismatched positions. In stasis there would be Pro-Life vs. Anti-Life or Pro-Choice vs. Anti-Choice. Each “side” acts as though the other is the “Anti-” but the opposite is actually a “Pro-” and this seesaw of accusations and non-listening is a continuum and negativity. Nobody wants to be a “babykiller” and no one wants to take away women’s freedoms because that is a losing position…but oh how the other side will disagree!

    Not being in stasis is exactly why Trump gets elected and it’s not because of Goldman speeches, sketchy foundations, the content of Wikileaks, non-stop scandals, dynastic rule, medical sticker shock, or the myriad things Bernie pointed out…no…it was Whitelash. Definitely Whitelash. Or maybe it was opinions mirrored by transsexual and anti-SJW Blaire White on YouTube? Or maybe it was discovering that to get dental care on Medicaid you have to drive 200 miles to find a clinic that is accepting welfare cases and you say to yourself, “Well f__k it, now I hate midgets.” Or maybe you have to explain to your fair-skinned child why dark-skinned people can happily say words you can’t (and that you’ll get kicked out of school for) and that those different people you find interesting, accept, and want to meet may hate you for the color of your skin and where you come from but you must be nice anyway because they are ignorant.

    Or maybe we can find a stasis point for our rhetoric and actually solve problems to move beyond high-density urban ball-kicking contests and country-fried passive-aggression. Perhaps Trump will give us that stasis, perhaps Stein in 2020. Perhaps we will do it from the ground up. Or perhaps, like Palestine and Israel, we will slip into continually more violent conflicts because we aren’t any more exceptional than anywhere else and have only gotten lucky thus far.

  5. Good to see some constructive discussion going on now other than destructive knee-jerk Circumstantial Ad Hominem. Huff post piece by Jennifer Benderly about DNC arguments over Donna Brazile. In the piece it mentions DNC staffer “Zach” who accuses Brazile and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of costing them the election. Both of whom suffered and reinforced arguments of the Team Clinton’s ethical consequentialism (The end justifies the means.) as having a bad taste. Zach’s actions in the exchange, the telegraphed “inappropriateness” of his interjection, the marmy attempt at mollification, and his ultimately walking out I believe encapsulate a major problem that needs to be fixed.

    Looking at down-ticket popular Dems in our local election, I can safely assume there are approximately 1000 Democratic voters in Dawson County’s 6,000-ish registered voter pool. There was a 76% voter turnout. Fairly common historically. Virtually all of the registered Dems cast straight ticket (just as the Republican majority did) down-ballot except for the presidency. There was a 30% drop-off with most of that 30% voting for Trump. It was as much a surprise for Republicans that Trump won as much as Democrats watching Hillary lose.

    So why care about lil’ Dawson county? Well, to be Blue and know you’re going to constantly lose you have to be pretty dern Blue. And I think the answer to what happened and how to successfully overhaul the DNC lies in why 30% poofed away and how to regain a roaring majority going forward.

    I hypothesize that if a candidate could flip the Dawson counties of the heartland the party would take everything. I believe it is possible because both the Republicans and Democrats deftly demonstrate that they don’t care about Dawson. Republicans assume rank and file loyalty and, as my experience with Sanders campaigns not even bothering to call Dem county reps outside of the 5 most populous cities (including the reservations) until Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) got on them. What I’m saying is that Republicans in traditionally Red states are getting lazy. By getting to know the constituency who on the crust seems “safely Red” I actually pick up on strong undercurrents of Democratic ideology. This is because of prolonged neglect and disappointment…and simple life experiences that reveal the bullshit of commercial conservatism. In brief, these people are actually purple rather than Red. The inverse is also likely true. Just like I believe the majority of Latino culture is fairly conservative and Catholic. I believe it is possible to be gay and conservative. That being said, I think romantic militancy (large protests, marches, and shrieking in attempts to “relive” the classical civil rights movements of the 60s and 70s) runs the vary serious risk of being deemed obnoxious. It is alt-right militancy, I think, that is best allowed to self-destruct in the public sphere. How do I say this? What if the constituency in a great many places has “progressed” further than either establishment and their militants believe and that is why trans women lead Men’s Rights Groups and David “Midget Jesse” Ansberry morphed from STP hippy into domestic terrorist. That the stereotypes both sides use are aged and need to be discarded.

    1. Interesting op ed in the NY Times from Bernie Sanders. Racism, misogyny, and insults are good for winning elections, but once the insurgent takes office, he has to deliver the economic goods. I don’t know what Trump has in mind, but I know very well what the Republican House and Senate leadership do, and something tells me those rural folk and factory workers who gave Trump his electoral college edge aren’t going to be happy to see their bosses’ taxes slashed and their own benefits cut to the bone. 19th century Populism was about half racism, half economic progressivism. If Trump really does want to reward his voters (or build them into an actual majority), he may have to challenge the Pence wing of his party.

      1. Arthur — I think what you are missing in your comment is that Trump ran against BOTH the Republican and Democratic political establishment.

        Consequently, IF (as you suggest) the Ryan/Pence/McConnell/Chamber of Commerce wing of the GOP attempts to thwart Trump — then that will be like manna from heaven for him to pursue a jeremiad to totally replace all like-minded incumbents in 2018.

        What does all this actually mean? In my judgment, the single most compelling emblematic symbol for what just happened is the poisoned water of Flint, Michigan. What is the point of even having political parties or government if all of the accountable elected or appointed officials cannot immediately fix such a serious life-altering problem?

        The message which the rust-belt states communicated this election is really quite simple:

        “We pay our taxes. We obey our laws. But when something terrible happens to us — government and political elites are totally incompetent and impotent. But when large banks or large corporations need a bailout or some tax advantage, THEN it takes exactly 3 nanoseconds for our political elites to comply with their wishes.”

        THAT is what happened on Tuesday—the rust belt voters whom, in many cases, voted for Obama twice — said “Fuck You!” and “No More!”

      2. I absolutely agree and am (because slightly psycho) eager for him to be a “photo-op” robo-signer because he realizes he’s in too deep. T will delegate all responsibility away and do the fun things. Ryan and Co will gladly run the house and give him the credit. I want Trump to really, really, give suburban rural what they want (if Dems can Cheshire smile and nod) so that in 2020 even Idaho flips Blue for a good long time. It has to be bad for a “revolution” and I believe badder than special snowflakes getting firstworld PSTD from Hillary Duff’s Halloween costume. Trump needs rope. Lots of rope. And no one giving him warning via protest. Leave the hate signs up. Let the swastikas stand. Let the alt-right parade unmolested. Let them go low. Stay high. I am not going to say anymore for a long time about this. I need to *lol at irony* focus on my family.

  6. BTW — you can call it “hate” if you want — but that would be a VERY serious mis-reading of what just happened. Yes, there is a white nationalist element within the Trump coalition but that is NOT the dominant or even a major segment of Trump voters. A very large number of Trump voters voted for Obama twice. They were not racists or hateful in 2008 or in 2012 when they elected and re-elected our first black President. Nor in 2016 when the majority of Americans approve of Obama.

    The problem here is profound anger toward establishment politicians who accomplish nothing of lasting importance during their political careers and who improve nothing of significance no matter how many times you vote for them. Trump was CORRECT in asking minorities what they have to show for 40-50 years of Democratic Party control of inner city governments.

  7. I agree with most of what you say, Ernie. If this were 125 years ago, I would agree with most of what the populists said about the money interests too, except I would have been put off by their anti-Semitism and suspicious of their real economic motives. If I wasn’t Jewish, I would probably be able to overlook it.

    I totally agree with you that the big bi-partisan failure is the government’s seeming equanimity with (or helplessness in the face of) the decline of its median-and-below wage earners’ incomes and prospects. I see that as an inevitable product of globalized capitalism and though I voted for Bernie I don’t see any easy solutions short of a wholesale reconstruction of our economy. That may happen someday, but probably not before things get a lot, lot worse.

    If Bernie Sanders and Trump are able to stake out some common economic ground, I will be delighted.

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