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November 16, 2016


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I feel your sense of despair.

My thought is that the first thing those who resist must do -- preferably in a unified way -- is to clearly and emphatically repudiate neoliberalism.

Note the international response, and read between the lines of diplomatic formality.

Iran and France sent two of the most overtly critical "congratulations," but there are others who were pretty backhanded, too (like Denmark.)

International reactions to the United States presidential election, 2016

What I'm thinking of, particularly, is how would a world react to an American Empire Gone Bad. We have over 1,000 bases internationally, and many of those countries don't have an army strong enough to force the shutdown of the U.S. base(s) in their jurisdiction.

It is important to note that we do not operate without dependence on the rest of the world. You can bet your bottom dollar that the NSA is going to be monitoring the communications between countries with high alert.

Push people far enough, even reasonable rational people, and they will break.

Start taking away Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the last vestiges of the safety net and see what happens.

Bring back "stop and frisk" nationwide and see what happens.

Let the Koch brothers loose on the environment and see what happens.

Try to turn NATO and our international treaties into protection rackets and see what happens.

"Second Amendment remedies" can work both ways.

I am ashamed to be an Ohioan, an American, a Christian, a Caucasian and even a man. What else can I say?

B Franklin, little will happen. As H.L. Mencken said, we are a nation of cowards. Americans are the most timorous, sniveling, poltrunish, ignominious mob of serfs and goosesteppers assembled under one flag in Christendom since the end of the middle ages.

It doesn't take a lot.

Remember, this is the country of "lone nuts".

We've certainly got enough of those to get the job done.

JFK, Malcolm X, MLK, RFK, Wallace. No conspiracies here. Just coincidences.

Cross the CIA and the MIC and see what happens.


I'd like to remark on that shame reaction. And please note that I am not directing this as a criticism of your post, because I have felt such shame.

But in thinking about it deeply, I think that feeling shame now is probably not impressing the minorities in this country at the moment. Just as #Occupy was legitimately criticized by these communities ("Oh, the white people are experiencing some trouble now, too,") I now accept, upon reflection, that most of us who have privileged enough to navigate America in a way not available to many of our fellow citizens might want to dial back our sense of "shock" about this election.

While we were navigating America, we were mostly dismissive of those who were hobbled here. Else there might have been more change.

Again, not a criticism. Just sharing an insight that has been bedeviling me these last few days.


I feel we all now need to be ready to fight for the truth. It's time for the Democratic Party to stop being "nice," and start confronting the Republicans every time they offer a policy that hurts the very people they claim to represent and challenging them on just why (and who) is responsible for the population's distrust and disgust. As Leon Weiseltier said in Sunday's Op-ed in the Washington Post, titled "Stay Angry:
" ..... Republicans contribute significantly to the breaking of the system, and then they thunder to the country that the system is broken. They refuse to govern, and then they denounce government. They seem to confuse governing with having their way." (emphasis mine).

Bearsense, I'd like to see the Democratic Party have a "come to Jesus moment," and shed their neoliberal exoskeleton and go back to being the party of The People before they get all aggro with the GOP.

In any case, I don't think it would work without a reorientation.

What is "neoliberalism"?

"Neoliberalism" is the term used to highlight the "triangulation" that Bill Clinton used to create an "intersection" between the interests of the right and the left - with eyes cast upon business and economic growth.

It is the bane of the poor and disenfranchised, because it represents the moment where the Democratic party decided that "trickle down" would help them. They lost their advocacy, because while every form of government can "thrive" with the admiration of the rich, only democracy can serve up a concern for those who can do absolutely nothing for you if you help them.

I would appreciate a reaction to this characterization of "neoliberalism."

Well, screw neo-liberalism. I'm a veteran, a gun-owner and first and foremost a LIBERAL AMERICAN. Should anyone need a definition, I'll defer to JFK: "If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal", then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal.”

In its purest sense "neoliberalism" refers to a return to a completely laissez faire approach to the economy.

It's dominant theme is a belief that the market is always right and governments should seldom, if ever, meddle with the free market and the free flow of capital.

This made more sense 240 years ago, when Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations.

Today, laissez faire is just another way to say "I got mine--@#!%* you!"

Adam Smith was not an advocate of laissez-faire capitalism. He believed in regulation and - this is very important - redistribution of social wealth. Neolibealism is meaningless twaddle from people who don't read history but need to sound hip to one another.

The most important thing we can do going forward is somehow keep our coalition, damaged as it has been by the purist left, together. This means compromise, tolerance, and resolve. Our worst nightmare - uncontrolled climate change - is now a certainty. This was our last chance to avoid catastrophe and it wasn't even an issue in the campaign. This points out the problem in all the happy talk about how fundamentally good the Trump voters are despite their proud ignorance of science and contempt for basic human decency. Democracy requires not merely a practiced disdain for politicians. It requires some familiarity with "facts" and respect for expertise. This has been under assault for the last two generations by the American right (see: Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, George W Bush). Now cognitive blinders are a necessary qualification for high office. Donald Trump is not merely the channel for systemic ignorance. He's the exaltation of that trait.

I am psychologically depleted by all this, the most toxic campaign in modern American history. Sadly, people will believe the simplest explanation offered them, whether they're right-wing soreheads or suburban revolutionaires. Still, we will not change human nature with logic and reason. If we're lucky, we might find counterweights to the propaganda of the right. But what makes us think we can simply trash complex, nettlesome reality and somehow govern with any internal consistency? Democracy needs a lot self-restraint, and what the right has taught us is that there are no longer any standards governing our political discourse. None. We drove the final nail in that coffin last week. Let's not fool ourselves: democracy just committed suicide.

More from the Campfire chats.

Thank you, Soleri.

Not so quick to dismiss neoliberalism as twaddle.


Early on back on the last blog, I said Clinton lost as she didn't get enough votes in the key states. I ll stick with that.
However might I suggest that while Clinton maybe was the right woman to be president she was the wrong woman to win the race.


Adam Smith called it a "system of perfect liberty."

Practically every economist since then has called it laissez faire.

But why quibble?

We're all in the same apocalypse now, after all.

Besides, Smith isn't the first 18th century intellectual to have his work trampled by history.

All I can say at this point is that I hope when the nukes start falling, I'm at ground zero, next to my husband and dogs, and fast, fast asleep because I do NOT want to live through it.

What (still) boggles my mind is how this country elected a man who probably has a narcissistic personality disorder. Worse, he has no clue what he's doing, and it's starting to show even before he takes office. It's all too painful to watch. I feel horrible for the journalists who will have to cover the incoming stupidity.

My only hope is that these years go quickly.

.....because as we have seen Hillary Clinton is one of the founders of neoliberal globalization, one of its central historical figures (having accelerated the warehousing of the poor, the attack on trade unions, and the end of welfare and of regulatory prowess)....

Cal, I read your link to a defense of neoliberalism as an all-encompassing conspiracy involving the arch-demon Hillary Clinton. In its own airless way, it shows how intellectuals can wrap themselves so tightly in their theories that it's almost as if they're no longer thinking so much as herding every stray thought they can conjure into an impenetrable fortress of bullshit.

The Big Idea here is almost interesting but people pretending to be intellectuals still need to keep their capacity for doubt at the forefront. I have spent my entire life reading political philosophy and theory. Ideology is a wonderful way to pretend you know everything. Believe me, no one does. And if you get a writer like Anis Shivani, making a grand soufflé out of a two cracked eggs, it might be better to retreat to something more concrete. Believing everything can be distilled into some cosmic ideology is ultimately a recipe for paranoia.

Standby for the guy whose going to really be in charge; Pence THE KKK THEOCRAT and his fellow theocrat nut buddy Teddy Cruz as AG.
Watch out Hillary, Revolution Now, Democracy Now, Greenpeace, Peta, well U get the picture. A Trump Castle in every National Park. A coal fired stove in every home. Journalists at the Salem Stake fire parties.

- a word used by insecure pseudo-intellectuals possessing poor reasoning and critical thinking skills. Commonly usage includes a feeble attempt to justify irrational political choices. See also white working class rural Midwest for similar results

Soleri, thanks for your thoughts. Given my marginal intellect I was lookin for some in depth intelligent feedback. I'm going to read some more on the subject ad it seems to be more than bullshit.
And as I previously said from my fireside campfire visits, the intellectuals called it wrong while the folks at the Wagon Wheel bar and the campfire crowd non intellectual labor class dudes called it right.
And maybe HLS could clarify his comment so I might have a better understanding of his remark.

Everybody read the Gessin essay and commit the six rules to memory. Every day I hear the rationalizations of people pretending to themselves that this is all going to work out. Well, no it won't.

Cal, if you succeed in distilling everything into a theory, chances are it will still be only a theory at the end of the day. Reality is too complex and human cognition is too limited. We can make guesses, some of them a bit more reasoned than others but that's as good as we're going to do. Once you think you have everything figured out, you're no better than the homeless guy behind the bus station waving his arms in an ongoing conversation with his inner demons.

I don't mean to condescend to our all-knowing Bernie Bros here but you're not as smart as you think you are. The dead-enders at the Wagon Wheel are not somehow wise for predicting the ascent of the Orange Zeus. We won't somehow find the magic key to reality with jargon and certitude. All we can do is count our dead and wounded and move forward anyway, the 62 million of us or so who still care enough about tangible things to vote for a pragmatist rather than a blowhard with delusions of grandeur.

I prefer your normal resignation to be perfectly honest. Manunkind is a poignant way to describe our predicament. We are that more than we're not and it's this recognition that allows a bit of humility into our ruminations. Ideology is arrogance.

Mr. Talton, I've been reading your blog off and on over the years. In my view, you're given to occasional melodramatic overstatement, at least on this platform.

But not this time.

Soleri, I know I'm not smart. I graduated last in my class by going to summer school at PU. (PU is almost wiped out now, replaced by tall ugly buldings).
And I come to this blog to continue my education.
So your saying I am not as smart as I think I am is a mistatement. I simply ask why did the idiots at the bar call the winner and the intellectuals get it horribly wrong?
And regarding my past frequent use of "Manunkind" from eec, your right.

Putins congratulations gift to Trump will be Snowden.
Trump will ensure Putin and his oligarchy buddies get half the planet.

The same people who thought Snowden/Assange/Wikileaks should be assassinated for "treason" were Trump of the many ironies of this election.

Cal, your wisdom is to know what you don't know, which is much higher than the wisdom of know-it-alls who think ideology makes them wise.

People overthink politics. Many make it into something it was never intended to be, a kind of secular cult where only the initiated and knowledgeable somehow get the hidden meanings that elude everyone else. This is why this blog can be so valuable for those people not locked into a Total Explanation. Ideology is not a short cut to anything except mindless certitude.

President Obama remains optimistic that the responsibilities of the office will force Trump and his appointees to behave responsibly - I just don't see it happening. Given Ryan's long term goal to implement his Randian dreams will only compound the problems. He along with other Republicans are claiming "a mandate" by winning just 47% of the votes.

How can we be optimistic with the reigns of power are now concentrated in Republican hands which have for generations demeaned experts and conveniently ignored facts? As Karl Rove stated "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality." Trump will show other Republicans how this can be done to promote and implement their hidden agendas.

In the 2018 federal elections, 23 Democrats will be on defense in many states won easily by Trump while only 8 Republicans will be up for reelection (do I have those numbers right?). But my fears extend to the state level too where Republicans have gained more elected positions of power.

Trump's approval ratings after the election (42% favorable, 55% unfav) are dismal. How long before the his supporters want change again if these opinion polls worsen? How will rural voters act when the coal mining/factory jobs fail to reappear?

You're so right in saying that "the Resistance will need all the help it can get". Good luck to all.

Folks, please do not underestimate the dislike that the majority of Americans have against Nancy Pelosi.

She will forever be known as "pass it, then we'll read it".

Rename her minority leader at your own risk.

For the Hitler scenario:

Think Trump can't become Hitler - Watch for these four signs - Robert Evans - Cracked

- The Open Racism Stops Suddenly
- He'll Rein In His Most Violent Supporters
- He Remakes The Military
- He Builds An Infrastructure For Oppression

Of course right-wing shills hate Nancy Pelosi. She's kept Democrats in the game. Yes, she suffers from a obvious lack of nubility, which on the Trumpian right is tantamount to Rosie O'Donnell French-kissing Lena Dunham. But you know what? You guys don't count. Your idol Paul Ryan wants to privatize Medicare and SS, which will devastate seniors. How long before the GOP base figures out what easy marks they they have been?

Right-wingers love to demonize Democrats but given that most of them are simply ignorant buffoons, they concentrate on their appearances. Cankles! Can't have that. Where's Denny Hastert when you need him?

At least when Pelosi was in charge of the House it wasn't run like an underfunded, Red State Special Ed class.

For Christ sake soleri, has the ass kicking the entire country just got been totally lost on you? Where is this grand coalition you keep referencing? Give us some names and not just more of your foul mouthed preaching to those of us you feel yourself so superior to. The cautions capitulation you tout has been losing us ground for decades.

Nancy Pelosi? WTF? She may as well be living on the moon for all she understands about the concerns most of the country feel. She and the entire top of the insular pack of self congratulatory, ass kissing trianulators that pass themselves off as the brains of the DNC needs to be flogged. If you are going to keep advocating the same tripe you were while it was clear Clinton was a loser then you are not going to be of any help in the mountain of work needed to climb out of the hole our lazy inattention has gotten us into.

And Jon, enough with the drama. Get over the fact that you put so much effort into providing cover for the worst fobbed off candidate the D's have put up in my lifetime.

ross, just ask Karl Rove for your paycheck and go away. You're the worst kind of lickspittle for right-wing interests. Divide the progressive coalition by pitting the purist left against the rest of the party. Bernie Bros paved this particular road to hell by making it seem that anything less than the Full Monty of left-wing moonbeam politics was a sell-out. Congratulations, Bernout. You got what you were hoping for.

Here's Jamelle Bouie of Slate pushing back against this idea that the white working class only wanted the populism, not the racial hate. Guess what? You can't do it.

All of you who didn't vote for Hillary were, in effect, voting for this moral catastrophe. You deserve the contempt of every thinking citizen. I won't forget this ratfucking by left-wing purists. You murdered democracy for the sake of your goddamn holier-than-thou political voguing.

Hmm, my ears are ringing so I'm going to make two quick points and a summary and then I'm outtie.

1) Do not conflate my view of neoliberalism with B. Franklin's. I see nothing laissez-faire about it.

2) Left-wing "purists" did not lose this election. Actual liberals were, sadly, unmotivated to vote this time (see, turnout,) and Democratic Party loyalists, unfazed by the disconnection from the traditional "people's" aspect of the Party, accepted the Party line and backed a shitty candidate. That I voted for, by the way, once the candidate that would have won this election was shouldered aside.

In summary - I am deeply saddened by the humiliation of a Trump victory, but at least I am not spiraling into a festering finger-pointing hell because my beloved didn't win.

You laughed at the unicorns, and you got the slouching beast.

Oh yes, I personally murdered democracy right here on this blog. I had no idea I had such power.

You are so wrong soleri. Clinton had all the advantages any decent candidate could want. A loathsome clown running against her, a rigged primary nomination, 27/7 hate fest aimed at her opponent by the msm in the final crucial months, a coffer crammed with dark money, unparalleled name recognition, the power and wealth of the POTUS pimping her, Bernie campaigning for her.... How could you lose?

Well, maybe it had something to do with her. I mean if you can't beat the Donald then you are a gold plated loser, no excuses needed.

How about you stop blaming everyone else and face the facts. She was a lousy candidate. I believe I heard she even lost 42% of Demo. women.

You said Clinton would win. I said and still believe Bernie would have beaten Trump. The one thing we do know for sure, you were wrong.

Now, can we move along?

Clinton the "loser" will end up winning the popular vote by close to 2 million votes.

The Bernie Bros, blind as they may be, probably didn't cost Clinton the election.

Voter suppression (see Greg Palast) and Comey's treachery cost her the election.

Fact: Hillary is on track to win the popular vote by 2 million. More going on here than Ross would have you believe. Curious lack of curiosity about Comey, Russia and Wikileaks.

Don't respond because you're hovering on the "fired" list. I'm sick of unconstructive trolls who can't even amuse us. This is one of my resolutions going forward.

“The Bush and Clinton dynasties were destroyed by the media-saturated lure of the pseudo-populist billionaire with narcissist sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivities. The monumental election of Trump was a desperate and xenophobic cry of human hearts for a way out from under the devastation of a disintegrating neoliberal order – a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness.”
~Cornel West

Goodbye, American neoliberalism. A new era is here

Cornel West. Geez.

He's the dude who called Obama our "first niggerized president".

In an election where virtually everyone said Trump wouldn't and couldn't win, I got it wrong. I thought there was more residual decency that there turned out to be. Couple that with the kind of goofy inability to discern what a manufactured "scandal" looks like, and too many Americans decided to roll the dice with a toxic racist and con artist. We don't need to make excuses for our fellow citizens. They failed Civics 101 where it mattered most - in the nation they mistake for a game show.

I have enormous respect and admiration for Hillary Clinton. She's been on the front lines in battle for social justice for 30 years. In innumerable ways, she tracks the arc of American political life from the Vietnam era to our distempered present. She's smart, flexible, and collaborative. She would have won the election if not for the Comey letters. Voters will likely live to regret their reckless choice.

I thought Bernie Sanders would have been a certain loser in a general election. But even more importantly, I thought he was basically unqualified to be president. As we've debated over and over in this forum, there's only one way to make this system work: compromise. Bernie has no real instinct or record of working well with others. Yes, being a purist is an ideal quality for a cult leader but not a president.

Trump won because he appealed to the very worst in human beings with his loud, ugly, stupid, and bigoted statements. He lied brazenly and often. His victory is the final death knell for a mature and sane political culture. I'm not going to make any excuses for his voters. They failed in a spectacular way.

Hillary is, at best, a mediocre political performer. Her oratory is wooden and she has all the spontaneity of a heavy rock. But she was profoundly decent in contest with the most indecent candidate in American history. If your heart isn't broken by this election, you're not fully human.

Someone here in this thread said that he had enormous respect for Hillary Clinton, and thought that Bernie Sanders would be a certain loser in the general election.

It's nice to see someone finally admit that they had it all wrong.

I respect that.

Petro, you have no evidence that Bernie would have won except for your membership card in that cult.

You did NOT address me directly, Hall.

However, it's pretty simple. People want change. The DNC denied that option, and so the crazy won.

Eat your vegetables, whiner.

Petro, sad how you echo the conspiracy theories of Donald Trump. It's an eerie similarity: your cult and Trump think the process is rigged. Your evidence? A few DNC e-mails dissing your cult leader. The fact remains he got 3 million fewer votes than Hillary. Yeah, it was all rigged against you lambs.

Grow up.

I don't get the DNC obsession. The leaked emails showed some embarrassing gaffes but not malfeasance. Bernie competed in every primary. Hillary won more votes. Nobody cheated Bernie, who hadn't even been a Democrat until a year earlier. The Superdelegates long predated Bernie and were part of an earlier reform. Maybe good. Maybe not. But Hillary won without them. And Bernie energetically supported her in the general.

What about going forward? How are you going to live through this?

Neoliberalism reached its apex during Bill Clinton's administration. Democrats discovered they could rake in corporate cash just like Republicans by being more "business friendly". That meant deregulation of the media and of banks. It mean "welfare reform". It meant NAFTA and "free trade". It seemed like a good idea at the time and probably even won an election or two for Democrats. It simply required that Democrats turn their back on FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society and embrace corporate America. Is it any wonder that Democrats have lost a large chunk of working people and that many voters think there's little difference between the two major parties?

It was the economy stupid. Sure, Trump's economic proposals were pure snake oil, but something always beats nothing. Trump showed that he "felt their pain". Trump promised to "make America great again" and Hillary responded that America never stopped being great. Tone deaf.

It was the economy stupid. Sure, Trump's economic proposals were pure snake oil, but something always beats nothing. Trump showed that he "felt their pain".

Those superdelegates came about because of the efforts by one Tad Devine, Bernie's campaign chair, back in the 1980s. They made no difference, as Rogue noted. Hillary won a majority of pledged delegates.

The Democratic Party may be on a death watch. If that's the case, it will be a tragedy for this nation because it's the last fully functional political party this nation has. Once the parties stop moderating the extremism of the fringes, Trump-like candidates will become the norm. "Change" can mean a lot of things but it's not always benign.

Democracy requires buffers. Without them, the abyss looms.

So fire me Jon. That's what Trump would do.

I made no reference to a "rigging" in the primary. The DNC is free to put up their candidate from a smoke-filled room if they like. I see nothing untoward about that. That's party politics.

I'm just saying that they made a bad judgment call in their candidate.

This is reality. The DNC misread history, and here we are with that. Must really hurt to have a "unicorn" lecture you on reality.

Stop addressing me directly, Hall. You are a pariah to me due to your uncivil discourse, here and elsewhere. Señor Talton is free to ban me because of my feelings in that respect, but I do not give a fuck about that.

Eat. Your. Vegetables.

Or, continue to flail in your silly little party-loyalty bubble. It's all up to you.

Thanks, ross - you made the reference that I wanted to make, but it seemed a bit aggressive... but you are correct.

Such is the mood of the season, and irony lives.

Boor, I can almost agree with your comment (if I remove the jargon, dogma, and paranoia). Still, I think it's important to understand the context of Clinton's "triangulation". Republicans won three landslide presidential elections from 1980 through 1988. If there was going to be another Democratic president, it couldn't be a Walter Mondale-type New Deal candidate. It would have to be a centrist. This was not a "neoliberal" conspiracy. It was a political necessity. You either win, or you're wasting time.

Whether Democrats overcorrected is a subject we can debate. But it would help if we stopped imputing evil to the Clintons. They did what they had to do to compete in the marketplace at that time. When Obama ran in the 2008, he scarcely distinguished himself from this paradigm and he won.

Pols are always looking for the main chance not to dash dreams or give away everything to the rich. They play the game according to their aptitude, gifts, and the facts on the ground. Bill Clinton's gifts are legendary as are Barack Obama's. They're not sellouts. If the political marketplace supported more liberal candidates, they would have run that way. This year, Bernie pushed Hillary to the left, so it is evidence that our attitudes can be changed by a solitary actor. But it's a myth to think the Democratic Party sold its soul to corporations, etc. They played to win. And they did.

Petro, wow. What a baby you are.

Soleri, I could almost take you seriously if you weren't so damn condescending. You're not as smart as you think you are.

Boor, I'm smarter than you.

OK, I guess I give up on not having you name-check me, you win there.

Having you post a gratuitous ad-hominid riposte?


Ad-hominid response? Okay......

Haha, yea got me there, Hall.

The drinking lantern is lit. :)

Solidarity is the one thing--the only thing--we should learn from the Republicans.

(Well, that and how to rig elections.)

All the things they said about Trump during the primaries? Con man, liar, unqualified, etc. All true by the way.

But now it's just so much water under the bridge. Look how they all fell in line like sweet little lap dogs--with one or two exceptions. Each hoping for a smile and a kind word from the Orange Sun King.

Our side has the better ideas and the ability and desire to govern. But Jesus Christ we're so fragmented!

PS Laissez faire economics is the foundation of neoliberalism. You can look it up. Of course it incorporates many other things; most of them distasteful to anyone who cares about humanity.

PPS Bernie Sanders would have been tarred and feathered as a "socialist" 24/7. That wouldn't matter to many of us, but I guarantee it would have scared off just as many Rust Belt and Bible Belt voters as anything Clinton said or did, or didn't say and do.

Petro, I'm not your enemy. We probably want the same things politically, spiritually (I read Krishnamurti, too), and culturally. We differ on the nature of political change, which is fairly arcane territory to have knock-down fights over. I'm a "realist" not because I can't dream anymore but because I want to win. I enthusiastically supported Obama in 2008, for example. He was an obvious winner and I didn't want to pass up that opportunity. Hillary is not an obvious winner. I feared she would lose to a standard-issue Republican for that reason. As I said, I really admire her but I understand her political gifts are not like her husband's.

But I did support her because I saw her as closer to the center of our party and nation. If the nation were more liberal than it is, she would have been more liberal, too. That's all politics can do. Find the fulcrum point in any debate and balance the opposing interests.

I'm in tune with this blog's POV. I've long appreciated Talton's realistic instincts. He understands we can't simply make wishful thinking substitute for grubby reality. Some fights are worth the blood and others aren't. That's reality.

For whatever reason, this blog attracts a lot of alternative thinkers. Part of this is Talton's reputation for thinking outside the box. But he isn't Charles Bowden, Ed Abbey, or Cornel West because he lives in a city, writes about business, and is rooted in mainstream American culture. Almost everyone I read is probably more conservative than myself politically and culturally. I consider myself very liberal. But I want to appreciate the contours of the debate from people who are probably more realistic than myself.

At any rate, this election season has killed several long-standing friendships I had. Some of them were with the Bernie left but even more were with the Trump right. I'm really torn here because I recognize how intemperate politics can make people. We can be very self righteous when it comes to politics! I've vowed to stop posting about politics on FB for this reason. It's not worth the heartache.
If we seem like enemies on this terrain, it's not because our values are different. Oddly, it's probably because they are so similar. Something to ponder.

Once again: FDR and the New Deal came about thanks to a coalition, including big-city political bosses, unions, and Southern segregationists. And because of a catastrophe blamed, rightly, on the Republicans.

With its success and Ike's 1952 primary victory over Sen. Robert Taft Sr. ("Mr. Conservative"), America embarked on a broad bipartisan liberal consensus. This began to crack with Barry Goldwater winning the 1964 GOP nomination. But it really came apart over the Vietnam War, and to a lesser degree by liberal overreaching on such matters as school busing and perceived weakness or helplessness over crime. The New Deal coalition shattered in the Democratic Party with LBJ championing civil rights. The South gradually turned Republican thanks to Kevin Phillips' racial antipathy dog whistles in "the Southern Strategy."

The 1970s were heterodox, though. Nixon funded the Great Society and oversaw creation of the EPA, as well as signing the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. George McGovern ran a pure liberal campaign in 1972, including ending the war and "come home America" — he was crushed. The Democrats only regained the White House thanks to Watergate and a Southern conservative candidate in Jimmy Carter.

Reagan, like Thatcher, inaugurated a robust, confident conservatism. This coincided with, and was a reaction to, the perceived economic failures of socialism and Keynesianism (and the real failure of communism). It entailed a return to classical economics, hence neoclassical is a better term than "neoliberal." Thatcher's motto was, "There Is No Alternative," shortened to TINA. Only neoclassical economics ended stagflation in America and the long slump in the U.K., or so it seemed.

Walter Mondale ran as an unabashed liberal in 1984 and was demolished by Reagan. Michael Dukakis was done in by his own missteps and the birth of modern media dirty campaigning at the hands of Lee Atwater, GHW Bush's strategist. Dukakis was also from Massachusetts — Taxachusetts — and labeled a "Northeastern tax and spend liberal." Kiss of death.

Facing this, Democrats here, and Labor in the U.K., sought a "Third Way" strategy to restore liberalism while keeping the supposedly proven parts of neoclassical economics (which always also included Keynesianism, even under Reagan). Even then, it required a Southerner of rare political gifts in Bill Clinton, to carry it to victory.

The economic situation we face today has been long in coming and isn't Bill Clinton's "fault." Sure, he was a politician trying to win. But people were working with the best information they had at the time. When NAFTA was pushed by both parties, it had widespread public support, too. The hope was to raise Mexico to a First World nation, including easing immigration pressures. America was the world's largest exporter. Few at the time foresaw negative net consequences (and the big problem came from China, not NAFTA). Deregulation had worked well for railroads with the Staggers Act. The Great American Jobs Machine was humming along. American household wealth grew for all quintiles during Clinton's presidency and reached its peak in 1999. He raised taxes and left a surplus in the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. We were largely at peace.

Today there's a constituency for breaking up the big banks, going after monopolies and Wall Street, an understanding of how union busting, industry concentration, etc. have hurt average people. It was on the fringes in 1999. It was not the majority that went for Trump.

Also, remember that Newt Gingrich radicalized the GOP House, which became the majority in 1995, with profound consequences. Unlike FDR or LBJ, Clinton never had a liberal-coalition Congress with him, not even his first two years.

Whatever happens going forward, if we can live through this, progress will require coalitions.


I am touched.

Thanks for a thoughtful response.



And Karl said and then Lenin said and moderator Bertran separated them, sent them to their corners and said to come out fighting clean and no holding.
The bell has rang for round 2.

Bertrand I meant.

You're a troublemaker, Cal.


In other news, Bernie Sanders said he would work with Donald Trump if he went forward on his campaign promise to raise the minimum wage to $10 a hour.

Remember when Hillary Clinton was a neoliberal sellout for proposing $12/hour? Remember how she said if Congress passed a $15/hour minimum wage, she would sign it? Yet, Donald Trump is widely considered this great populist, ready to bring back jobs to the heartland, etc. Of course, Republicans won't pass a minimum wage increase. It might be smart politics to do so, but the party of Ayn Rand Paul Ryan would never sully the purity of their church with Socialism!!!. Or would they?

All the teeth-gnashing in our post-election analyses seems to miss this crucial point. If you're really a struggling American cast off by neoliberals like the Clintons, why is $10 a hour proof of populist street cred but not $12/hour? And why is privatizing Medicare - and raising its eligibility age to 70 - suddenly on the table?

They don't make blue-collar billionaires like they used to. They must have shipped them all to Mexico.

I find it amazing that everyone is turning on each other in the Dem party.

Wholesale political reform is going to be necessary.

The part I really find fascinating is how the Republican establishment is cozying up to Trump, when he will roll them over to do what he promised.

Either that or fail out like Bush daddy after four years.

Privatizing medicare- uh go for it, but if it blows up like the ACA, you own it Paul Ryan- and Trump will throw him under the bus and impose bottom level Canadian single payer after that failure to win the next election.

Not going to touch social security- going to throw more money at the VA, and spend on infrastructure.

And deport everybody illegal- all of them. That Jeff Session is going to be in charge of the Justice Department should tell you something- including dropping the prosecution of Shurf Joe.

Law and order, southern fried style.

And economy as big as Kansas!

Our foreign policy will be pull back and spend the money at home.

Which is not a bad idea.

As for liberties here, you have them, but you will pay a price to exercise them through workplace discrimination, and soft power oppression.

In short, a managed decline of American international involvement- with the neocons gradually put on iceflows with the Clinton bunch of international cops.

Iran will buy a bomb and ally with Russia to chase us out of the ME, and Israel will bunker down and do deals with Putin.

In short, leaf blowers will still pollute Phoenix, but they might be operated by ex-cons instead of illegals.

There is plenty of room at the bottom.

And so it goes.

It was once considered common sense that unregulated capitalism was a bad idea and that government could play a positive role in improving the lives of its citizens. This viewpoint was shared even by Republicans from Eisenhower to Nixon. That all changed with the "Reagan Revolution". Barry Goldwater in his losing effort paved the way.

Democrats, by embracing neoliberalism, helped further the shift to the right. Instead of challenging conservative ideology, they embraced it. The Overton Window shifted far to the right because Democrats refused to defend their principles. Bill Clinton played a major role in this, but Third Way Congressional Democrats like my Representative Kyrsten Sinema are perhaps more to blame. No wonder that many voters don't see a clear difference in what the two major parties stand for. Sure triangulation might win an election or two, but what profit it a party if they win an election, but lose their soul? In the long run, it gives the impression that you stand for nothing. This doesn't really motivate voters.

With Trump we will likely see the end result of crony capitalism, the worst of all possible systems for the non-elite. Sanders in his losing effort paved the way for a return of Democrats to basic principles. Who will be our Reagan?

BTW I held my nose and voted for Hillary and encouraged others to do the same. The alternative was just too horrible to consider. Now we are there. How do we go forward? The silver lining, if their is one, is that Trump will energize the left in a way that Hillary never could have. In every crisis is an opportunity.

A lot of the discussion on this blog has been about the “real politik” of HRC; namely that her centrist platform - particularly her economic world view – are necessary to win the presidency and hold together a coalition on the left.

That theory was tested and it failed decisively. We played to not lose rather than to win and, not surprisingly, we lost. Bitch all you want about the popular vote, the real pragmatists will point to the scoreboard: House, Senate, White House, and SCOTUS on the way.

What I’m thinking about is what is (was) the actual “Real Politik” because obviously what many thought was pragmatic wasn’t. I keep coming back to Howard Dean’s prescient call for a new coalition back in 2003 when he said that Democrats ought to be a party that guys with “confederate flag stickers on the back of their pickups vote for.”

Liberals need to come to terms that we are in a nation of racists and evangelical know-nothings. The opportunity for Democrats is that most of them are poor and getting poorer and we need to work much harder to organize them into a new left coalition that is laser-focused on reducing wealth inequality. A hyper-militarized border and restrictions on abortion may be distasteful to most Democrats (myself included), but supporting these policies in order to win elections and chip away at the American oligarchy may well be the new Real Politik.

Or, we could stay in unicorn-land and support another losing HRC platform.

"Pigeon flocks replace leaders who have lost their sense if direction."

If a viable resistance is to be put up against the death star capitalism pushed by the r's it is critical to identify their strengths and weakest links. Why did Trump appeal to enough of the masses to win the ring? What exactly was it he said that convinced enough of the increasingly distressed masses to use him to give the system the finger? I have a few ideas and I would be interested to hear from others what they think.

It seems to me that one of his strongest points was a less confrontational posture toward Russia. The public is growing sick of war and is ready to focus on domestic issues. The xenophobic element liked the anti immigrant message but when the reality of what that means sinks in I don't think the owner class wants to mow their own lawns and their wives don't do house cleaning so the wall is mostly dog whistle stuff.

I think climate is one of his biggest weakness. Who suffers more when the climate goes off the rails than the marginalized?

Yeah, that's the ticket. We'll put co-opt the New Confederacy with xenophobia and racism. Ex Phx Planner, you're a genius.

The lesson of Trump was that you can vote your gut now. Parties don't really mean anything, because as Hillary shows, they're all corrupt! Only the people are pure. Particularly if they're white and live in the heartland. Who needs basic human decency when there's so much income inequality that millions of Real Americans voted to cut taxes on the rich, gut their SS and Medicare, end ACA, and tell all those pointy-headed climate scientists to stop being such Debbie Downers.

One of the problems with mindless populism, on the right and the left, is that you have no standards left except your own rage. Republicans are now happily licking their chops with a dangerous buffoon of a strongman, one whom Democrats should emulate because winning the popular vote was such an epic humiliation for our side.

History is full of what-ifs and counterfactuals. We'll never fully understand how to game elections to outfox professional propagandists and demagogues. Maybe Trump will make things so bad people will decide to replace a Hugo Chavez of the right with one from the left. Maybe, maybe not. I fear this election has been the catastrophe of factionalism the Founding Fathers feared most. The people in their infinite wisdom have spoken. They're tired of ambiguity and complexity. They want simple answers emblazoned on red baseball hats. It's so obvious now. We need to give them one of our own.

"we'll co-opt the New Confederacy with xenophobia and racism".

OK - then how do we "co-opt" Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Virginia? Being cozy with Wall Street? Conservative economic policy? Military Hawkishness? That was your "pragmatic" recipe for success and it failed miserably.

I know it goes against your leftist purity, but the rhetoric around border walls and abortion restrictions worked - and now we'll have to live massive consequences in our economy, environment, and healthcare.

"The people in their infinite wisdom have spoken. They're tired of ambiguity and complexity. They want simple answers emblazoned on red baseball hats. It's so obvious now. We need to give them one of our own."

We have a bingo!

Xenophobia is morally repugnant for a reason. I'm glad you've adopted a sort of pragmatism, which in itself is refreshing. But if you're going to bend basic moral principles, let's think long and hard why we even call ourselves liberals. This country has a very dark and tragic history, one we have yet to fully comprehend. There are some victories not worth having, and one based on caving into the worst human impulses around would be one.

Slogans will not fix our situation. Hillary ran on the most progressive platform of any Democrat ever. She was enthusiastically supported by the very man who you believe to be a political savior. This is a problem. Our coalition only works when we support it, even people like Krysten Sinema. If we think a president is going to rescue us from our own civic laziness, we're sorely mistaken. We have to vote religiously and consciously for our coalition.

Purity tests will not advance the interests of this coalition because not everyone will agree with your demands. Yes, we need to have general principles and solid values. But the moment we begin calling some people "sellouts", "corporate whores", and "neoliberals", you're already cleaving that coalition with an ax. It also misunderstands how change happens, not with revolutions from below but from constant struggle for cumulative reform and change.

The Bernie Bros need to reaffirm their own commitment to our coalition, not to their imaginary superiority. Maybe you can convince Joe Sixpack you're on his side, but I'll tell you this: we'll never play the game like the right does. Goebbels' Own Party plays this game horrifyingly well. They are beneath contempt. I won't join you in this race to the bottom.

"Purity tests will not advance the interests of this coalition because not everyone will agree with your demands. Yes, we need to have general principles and solid values. But the moment we begin calling some people "sellouts", "corporate whores", and "neoliberals", you're already cleaving that coalition with an ax."

Or, "bigots", "racists" etc.

Sorry, axing food stamps, medicaid, and most other safety net programs is much more morally repugnant than xenophobia. Oh, almost forgot, as is jeopardizing the planet's very existence with climate change.

So, pick your poison (or purity test) - there's more at stake than politically correct rhetoric, Black Lives Matter, and various other white privilege issues.

You are already in the race to the bottom - whether you want to join or not - his name is Donald Trump. Sticking with your purity tests will likely get you the same result the next go around and - while it seems unimaginable - the playbook has been so re-written that the next candidate could be even worse. I'm not willing to take that gamble.

Unrelated to the current discussion but relevant to Jon's post, here is a real world assessment from a credible voice of what could happen in a...I can't bring myself to even type it...what could happen in the next few years with environmental laws in the U.S. and the Paris treaty.

I do think our tattered fleet, jumping from the Cylons, needs to wrestle with what Ex Phx Planner discusses.

It's not a binary choice but a spectrum. Nobody is arguing for xenophobia, least of all me. But I do fear that HRC's close embrace of the loudest cultural left didn't help her. (Now she's up 2.2 million in winning the popular vote, so she's hardly a failure; there are structural, vote suppression, FBI/Russian intelligence issues here, too, and more yet to emerge).

I don't think we can ever win back most of the Reagan Democrats or white working class that voted for Trump. That said, we ignore some of their concerns at our peril. We don't have to embrace Trumpist responses. But we can take some of the concerns more seriously, as Howard Dean understood.

Ex Phx Planner, the way this is playing out is that catering to the very worst instincts in people as Donald Trump did will result in all those terrible things you listed happening. I'm not really sure the average Trump voter cares about most or even some of them, but they will be hurt along with everyone else. His election is the gravest act of civic malpractice in our nation's history. Yes, he won because he aimed very low. But this is also how Republicans have been winning elections for a couple of generations now. We lost a heartbreaker we should have won. Were it not for James Comey, a low-information electorate, the feckless mainstream media, and, yes, a less-than-ideal candidate (but still a sterling public servant), we lost.

If there is going to be a path forward, and I'm not really sure there is, we will have to do what is right, moral, and just. There is no escape from these ethical imperatives. If you're right that the only way to win is by catering to people like Donald Trump did, we will lose our souls. Trump voters are mostly oblivious but some of them are truly horrible people.

If it's too late to rescue our democracy, we'll find out soon enough. I suggest fighting the good fight anyway. I'll die with my boots before I'll make dubious moral choices about America's most vulnerable citizens. I don't relish this struggle ahead but we really have no choice. We either hang together or hang separately.

We don't need to pander to racists and xenophobes, abandon reproductive rights to win, nor should we. What we do need to do is to present our case in a way that a uninformed undereducated voter can understand. Trump got this right: showmanship, fourth grade vocabulary. If this election taught us anything is should be that much of the American electorate is incapable of understanding ambiguity and complexity. Republicans have mastered the art of speaking the language of low-information voters without appearing condescending. Like it or not, if it can't fit on a bumper sticker or a hat, it's probably bad messaging. That's pragmatism, just not the kind soleri might prefer.

I don’t necessarily think that Dems should support outright racists, I’m saying that we need to be more inclusive of candidates who are what we would consider extreme on immigration and abortion primarily in state and Congressional elections. Without those two issues, a significant number of Republicans would likely lose.

I don’t see a difference with people like you who ridiculed Bernie Bros for drawing a line in the sand on certain issues, such as campaign finance and socialized medicine, and your purity tests on immigration and abortion. Your wing of the party argued that purity tests from Bernie Bros would result in an unelectable candidate, despite their nobility. Remember all your long-winded lectures on this blog about the necessity of compromise, being a pragmatic adult, not a principled idealist? Your response above is a total contradiction to all that pre-election heavy breathing.

Again, the reality is that what you believed was the right formula of moral compromises on issues was clearly wrong. It seems clear that there were many, many single issue voters out there and going forward, your idealism is likely preventing progress (or at least mitigating catastrophe) on a host of existentially important issues. Seems pretty childish to me.

What we are dealing with here is a coup d'etat.

The election was interfered with by outside forces, including a foreign power, the FBI, and most importantly, voter suppression laws that stopped millions of Americans from voting in swing states.

Until we can deal with that reality, everything else is just talk.

By the way, the majority of Americans say that they support abortion rights, stricter gun control, higher taxes on the wealthiest, the separation of church and state, universal healthcare, and a livable minimum wage.

The fact that millions of them then turn around and vote against these things is one of the great mysteries of our time.

Rogue, I have no idea what you mean by Hillary's close embrace of the loudest cultural left. Did she go on Ru Paul's Drag Race? Picket a Baptist church? Suggest Melania Trump pose nude?

Donald Trump's cultural argument, if you could call it that, was mostly standard GOP dog whistles made explicit. They were and are vile. They involve those sorts of demagogic attacks on immigrants and minorities that decent pols normally wouldn't be caught dead uttering. If this is Real America's "culture", God help us.

I'm aware only of her "deplorables" comment, for which she apologized. Otherwise, the controversies she generated appeared to be entirely outside the realm of culture. Most of the controversies were ginned-up lies or hyperboles, which is fair game in politics I suppose but still don't quite portray someone as out of step with America's middle-class values or traditions.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, was extremely outside those traditions. And he paid no price at all. I'm not aware of what people think when they saw Hillary, but I would suggest to you that misogyny filled in a lot of the gaps where people's emotional reactions to her were rooted. I hope this is not what you're getting at because it's really unfortunate if it is.

If we assume, in the manner of James Howard Kunstler, that liberals are wrong because they like black people, then, yes, Hillary is, I suppose, culturally left. But this goes with the territory of people who live in cities, read books, love music, and travel extensively. Yes, that's our tribe. If it offends the white working class, then so be it. Pretending to be worse than you in order to appeal to other people is not something I could respect in anyone, JD Vance notwithstanding.

We lost this election not because we didn't validate the cultural norms of the white working class but because Donald Trump spoke directly to their sense of themselves as victims of modernity. Given who Trump is, that was all a massive charade. But it worked because he is in his fashion an astute psychologist. It might be that no modern politician could have emerged unscathed from his toxic deflection. If you governed at all, you did so with a society that is increasingly heterogeneous. Trump was the first national candidate to obliquely oppose what a majority of Americans accept: the diversity of our nation. I'm surprised it worked but I wouldn't suggest liberals should self-flagellate because we were blindsided by it. If nothing else, demography is on our side.

At any rate, I hope you expand on your thesis. I'm genuinely curious.


I deserved that pushback on my incomplete thinking out loud. All your points are good ones. I don't have a thesis for the way forward, yet.

I do wish Hillary would have claimed a "Sister Souljah moment" against Black Lives Matter.

In the meantime, I offer this, not because I agree with it but because it offers some interesting insights:

If there is a Sister Souljah moment when it comes to BLM I can't imagine what it would be. I know this isn't, ahem, a black or white issue. But cops can be - and often are - trigger happy. Yes, there's a tendency to preen dramatic outrage when moral witnessing might be more effective. That said, it's hard to begrudge people their anger given the history of this nation. I used to go round and round with INPHX on this issue because I knew there was something really wrong in reflexively excusing violence against black people. BTW, Colin Kaepernick couldn't bring himself to vote for Hillary Clinton because, like so many Bernie Bros, he had bought into the false equivalency that imperfection is the same thing as moral bankruptcy. This really drives me crazy. Politicians don't have to ostentatiously flaunt their moral virtue to communicate empathy. It's why the right seems so hypocritical about abortion. Does anyone seriously think Donald Trump is morally outraged about it? For him, it was one more transactional relationship with the culture war. Hillary Clinton for all her faults posseses moral consciousness. Trump never has and never will.

Some police officers are trigger happy. Most are not. The ones I spent hours riding along with when I was an off-duty paramedic weren't — even in the most stressful confrontations. Neither were the ones I dated.

The media were so intimidated by BLM that critical reporting was not done. For example, were there more "unrighteous" shootings of black people today than in, say, the 1970s? If so or if not, why?

And what has changed, both in police training and in more people adopting an oppositional behavior toward the police (lack of "willing compliance"). When I hung out with cops in the 1970s, there were a host of techniques to de-escalate a situation or "dominate and control" one. These included use of batons (which I trained in and had to use on the ambulance a few times).

Once I was driving through a small Texas town when I was pulled over. As the officer approached, I had the engine off and both hands on the top of the steering wheel and my drivers license in one. He told me I had run a stop sign. I had not. But he had the gun and I was a long way from home, so I sure as hell wasn't going to play high-school lawyer. I apologized, said I didn't see it, and he let me go with a warning (God knows how it would have turned out had I been black).

At the end of the day, the Trump victory should signal (once again) the need to reform our voting system. Clinton is garnering significantly more votes than Trump -- but still not even breaking the 50% threshold of voters (even less when you consider eligible voters who wouldn't dare cast a ballot for any of their choices).

The need to break up our two-party system has been discussed ad nauseam and, regardless of what I may think, the consensus is that the two-party system is here to stay (somewhat by choice). I actually don't support eliminating the Electoral College system and going to just a popular vote. It's far too easy for a handful of urban centers (typically on the coasts) to block out the flyover states which, aside from their importance as our fellow citizens, are important to our nation in terms of food production and resource transport (among other things). Remember, as angry as many of these red states are, they are still engaging in the process. The worst thing that can happen (in theory, depending on how bad your view of the Trump victory is) is to see those people pull back and disengage.

A few 'practical' suggestions from my point of view:

1. Repeal the Apportionment Act: I will hammer this forever. As much as money in politics has drowned out our voices (too much supply of influence, effectively), the Apportionment Act restricts the number of representatives we have in the House -- making it so that a modern Congressman has more constituents than a Senator used to represent (artificially high demand). You want representatives to even TRY to speak for their constituents? Don't make them responsible for 600,000 people.

2. In conjunction with #1, eliminate the winner-take-all system in the electoral college. Those maps showing how most of the country is red -- well, first they're bullshit because most places are just a shade of purple -- they say that Trump won Florida by a couple votes but Hillary won 60+% of California, both got the full allotment for each state.

3. Primary elections should be a single day event. Part of the reason the tea party has so much power in the GOP is that they vote early on the calendar. So you can't get a moderate candidate out of that party because South Carolina fucking decides if you're a viable candidate. And for the Democrats, especially if you're a Bernie Bro, you probably feel it's a little more fair to just hold a vote rather than let whoever has the most money at the start have the biggest advantage.

Probably pie in the sky ideas but, if not, I can guarantee you three things that are here to stay.

(1) Negative, issues-less campaigns.
(2) Big money's overwhelming influence.
(3) A disproportionate amount of influence from the south.

Most cops may not be trigger happy.

Unfortunately, nothing ever seems to be done about the "handful of bad apples" who are.

And until the "omerta" of the police is done away with, nothing will be done.

"God knows how it would have turned out had I been black" says it all. Being "let go without a warning" is probably not in the black lexicon.

No doubt, but I witnessed scores of traffic stops where the officer indeed let the black motorist go with a warning. Was it because I was there, too? Perhaps. But as a paramedic, I was part of the "club."

Mr. Berlusconi was able to govern Italy for as long as he did mostly thanks to the incompetence of his opposition. It was so rabidly obsessed with his personality that any substantive political debate disappeared; it focused only on personal attacks, the effect of which was to increase Mr. Berlusconi’s popularity. ...

The Italian experience provides a blueprint for how to defeat Mr. Trump. Only two men in Italy have won an electoral competition against Mr. Berlusconi: Romano Prodi and the current prime minister, Matteo Renzi (albeit only in a 2014 European election). Both of them treated Mr. Berlusconi as an ordinary opponent. They focused on the issues, not on his character. In different ways, both of them are seen as outsiders, not as members of what in Italy is defined as the political caste.

In short: call the populist bluff, make him 'ordinary', try to split his party, etc. and keep Chelsea Clinton out. Meanwhile the vile personality traits will speak for themselves.

Rogue, I did read your link to the HBR piece by Joan Williams. It was very compelling, and at the same time, frustrating. I've never shared my biography here because it's not something I'm personally proud of. I spent my entire working life in a blue-collar job. I graduated college Phi Beta Kappa but I couldn't galvanize the inner resources to do anything with my education. Most of this goes back to the difficult relationship I had with my father who, even though he was a surgeon, was marooned in a life of resentment toward people he thought looked down on him. I know I've already mentioned here an eerie psychological similarity to Donald Trump.

I say this because I know these men, most of whom I was quite sympathetic to. They were not all like Joan Williams' father, however. One was black, possibly the finest person I have ever known in my life. Another was Hispanic, who I loved like a brother. One was white, a Vietnam combat vet who was hilarious, volatile, and contradictory. He hated lawyers - he called them ambulance chasers - but he retired a millionaire after successfully suing the nursing home caring for his aged mother who died from complications related to bed sores. Another was hydrocephalic, mildly retarded, and forever raging about one thing or another. He was abusive to his wife who eventually left him, and his life collapsed around him.

The problem, I think, with generalizing about the working class is that we can miss how variegated the stories really are. Most of the people I knew were not liberal. It wasn't cultural resentment so much as the suspicion that others were probably up to something no good. They loved Ross Perot, the Donald Trump of the '90s, but they liked Bill Clinton well enough, particularly after Monica.

The country has changed dramatically over the years, and it's human nature to want to scapegoat politics for it. I think this completely misses reality. Hillary Clinton, contra Cal's link, did not midwife globalization. No one in the political class did. It happened for various reasons that were mostly economic. It happened while most of us were paying attention to something else. If ours was a paternalistic society, we might have responded like Germany and Japan, which managed to keep workers and management collaborating rather than fighting. Because America has always been wide open, we didn't do that and we paid a steep price for a trait that most observers tend to romanticize.

Earlier this year, the National Review's Kevin Williamson, a sharp Trump critic, called policies tailored to the white working class immoral "because it perpetuates a lie: that the white working class that finds itself attracted to Trump has been victimized by outside forces. Nobody did this to them. They failed themselves.” That used to be a standard conservative critique of paternalism until they discovered the political utility in blaming Democrats for what they themselves had only recently been in favor of. Just this afternoon Ted Cruz called the election the "revenge of flyover country".

Democrats will get blamed - take a bow, Bernie Bros - for merely breathing, so I shouldn't be surprised how ahistorical this revisionism is. Yes, the suffering is real and compelling, but the idea that Hillary Clinton is somehow contemptible (dorky pant-suits!) while a con artist who has routinely stiffed contractors and workers is not is very nearly obscene. It baffles me that we can mistake not merely the etiology of this entire phenomenon but then wrongly assume that only liberals look down their noses at the white working class, or conspired to create a deindustrialized hellscape in the Rush Belt.

The world is not trying to insult us with its haphazard and random upheavals but because this is what a tectonic force, globalization, entails. It's chaotic, disruptive, and heartbreaking. But if you're going to tell the story, don't fall for the con that it is somehow somebody's fault. No. It happened for many reasons, most of which are too complex to put on a hat or rile up a crowd. If we need to personalize it, remember who is opposed to ameliorating its worst impacts. Hint: it's not the Democrats.

The male high-school friends I've stayed in touch with, and remained in Arizona, are all Trump supporters, as far as I can tell.

The friends who left Arizona are all progressives who supported Hillary.

To America: "you poor dumb son of a bitch".
A comment by a
CIA agent to a very "liberal" Robert Redford in the film, Three days of the Condor.
Emphasis was on the worlds population could care less about Redford's attempt to expose world governments actions by giving information to the NY times.
And now we can kiss Freedom of the press good by, it will soon be a felony to print anything that the incoming AG might call a terrorist act by mere words.

You guys got it wrong! The campfire guys knew in their bones. Unfortunately due to this election, upright humans will be something the dogs talk about around their campfires about did "man" really exist.
I am through talking about the "election".
As there is not likely to be one in 2020, I think I'll try and figure out my future. Maybe have some surgeries before 20 January 2017. Good thing I dont depend on my $269 per month social security.

Uruguay is ranked first in Latin America in democracy, peace, lack of corruption,[7] e-government,[8] and is first in South America when it comes to press freedom, size of the middle class and prosperity.[7] On a per-capita basis, Uruguay contributes more troops to United Nations peace-keeping missions than any other country.[7] It ranks second in the region on economic freedom, income equality, per-capita income and inflows of FDI.[7] Uruguay is the third-best country on the continent in terms of HDI, GDP growth,[9] innovation and infrastructure.[7] It is regarded as a high-income country (top group) by the UN.[8] Uruguay is also the third-best ranked in the world in e-Participation.[8] Uruguay is an important global exporter of combed wool, rice, soybeans, frozen beef, malt and milk.[7]
The Economist named Uruguay "country of the year" in 2013,[10] acknowledging the innovative policy of legalizing the production, sale and consumption of cannabis. Same-sex marriage and abortion are also legal, leading Uruguay to be regarded as one of the most liberal nations in the world, and one of the most socially developed, outstanding regionally,[11] and ranking highly on global measures of personal rights, tolerance, and inclusion issues.
Political observers consider Uruguay the most secular country in the Americas.
Uruguay has no official religion; church and state are officially separated,[19] and religious freedom is guaranteed. A 2008 survey by the INE of Uruguay showed Catholicism as the main religion, with 45.7% of the population; 9.0% are non-Catholic Christians, 0.6% are Animists or Umbandists (an Afro-Brazilian religion), and 0.4% Jewish. 30.1% reported believing in a god, but not belonging to any religion, while 14% were Atheist or Agnostic.[91] Among the sizable Armenian community in Montevideo, the dominant religion is Christianity, specifically Armenian Apostolic.[92]
Political observers consider Uruguay the most secular country in the Americas.
LDS have only one temple and 103,000 thousand inhabitants in a population of 3.4 million. And my guys represent 14 percent of the population.

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