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In Defense of Trump’s Voters

In a previous booze-fueled exchange over twitter, a number of Ordinary Times writers contemplated the possibility of crafting a pro-Trump piece for the site. Most of us offered up possible pieces in jest (CK MacLeod pitched an article titled “Why I’m Totally Pro-Trump” which stated unequivocally in the piece’s body that the post was designed solely as click-bait). I went back and forth about coming to the defense of The Donald, or at least parts of what The Donald was selling.

In the end, I couldn’t make the post work. Even if there are elements of his “program” which sound positive (if we can call his off-the-cuff statements a plan), I simply cannot accept the possibility of this man acting as our head of state. My middle class values and background find his demeanor and style crass and vulgar. Sure, he might be challenging PC conventions that I detest, but the presidency is no place for a celebrity more interested in press and cult-like accolades than ideas and policy.

I cannot affirm the candidacy of a man like Donald Trump, but I can defend his voters.

Since the rise of the New Left in the 1960s, segments of the broader political left in America has had difficulty approaching poorer white voters. The Republican Party capitalized on the perceived ethnic and cultural politics of the Democratic Party and peeled away a significant portion of white working-class voters in the late 70s, culminating in the Conservative Revolution under Ronald Reagan. The Republican Party, while advancing the cause of big business and “small government,” was able to get the enthusiastic support of white workers that found little to support in the party’s economic policies. Thomas Frank’s seminal work, What’s the Matter with Kansas?, examined this segment of voters extensively, positioning that the Republicans had used divisive social issues and fear of economic decline at the expense of other ethnic groups as the rallying cry to acquire these voters’ consent.

Thus, I can’t help but chuckle at the recent eruption of condemnation against Trump voters from “moderate” conservative commentators. Some well-intentioned conservatives have even revived the idea of killing off the Republican Party and starting fresh with a truer conservative organization. Is it any wonder many rank-and-file Republicans hate their party’s establishment and its media intellectuals?

Consider this: conservatives have roped in working class voters to support their candidates with the implicit promise that the Republican Party would address the economic and social issues important to this constituency. Every election, the issues of migration and free-trade are brought up, promises are made, and then this vital portion of the Republican electoral strategy is told to keep quiet while these issues are brushed aside when the legislative session begins. A new election begins, rinse and repeat.

Democrats, and the left at large, have not always helped make their movement welcoming to the white working-class. Unfortunately, for a litany of cultural and social reasons, disdain for poor white culture and interests remains acceptable among corners of the left that habitually detest broad generalizations and stereotypes. It is still acceptable to look down on “white trash” in America as a group of racist, ill-informed idiots that “just don’t get it.”

While I find Trump’s vague platitudes and policy prescriptions to be simplistic and nearly impossible to achieve through our political process, I am not surprised that the man has found support among a sizable minority of the population.

Consider mass migration to the United States and how it has changed the fabric of communities across the nation. While immigration plays a positive role in America’s economic engine, a large segment of society is dissatisfied with the level of immigration. Gallup found in 2012:

Americans’ dissatisfaction with immigration ranks 3rd highest among 17 issues Gallup asked about; the complete list will be released ahead of next week’s State of the Union address. Compared with 2008, the percentage of Americans who are very dissatisfied with the level of immigration, 39%, is down slightly.

… immigration could become an election issue, because the majority of Republicans and conservatives are dissatisfied and in favor of less immigration. Most independents and Democrats are dissatisfied with the level of immigration and generally tilt toward decreased immigration. Among party and ideology groups, only liberals are more satisfied than dissatisfied on this issue.

What is often not discussed in debates around immigration is the way it has changed the social and demographic character of many communities across the country. This is the unspoken element of immigration left out of our political discussion. Migration has given America a dynamic economic edge, but for the white working class, they see competition for their jobs, and communal institutions (like schools and social services) that no longer reflect their community’s character. Zoe Hoffman, writing about the impact immigration has had on Southern Arizona, identified issues that are common in many locales across the country:

The link between immigration and school curriculum highlights one of the main burdens that immigration has on a community, from both financial and a cultural perspective. In order to understand the impacts that immigrant students are having on schools, it is important to see what programs are being implemented for immigrant students, such as English language programs, and cultural assimilation programs.

The cost of educating a second language learner in our public schools can be 200 percent more expensive than educating the average local pupil, resulting in an adjustment of priorities and programs offered in a school. White working-class families attending institutions with a large immigration population see, for better or for worse, that their country is changing and not always in their favor.

The economic direction America has undertaken has not benefited existing working class communities. Victor Tan Chen wrote an excellent piece in The Atlantic detailing the lonely poverty of America’s white working class. He writes:

As organized labor in this country has withered, an extreme individualism has stepped in as the alternative—a go-it-alone perspective narrowly focused on getting an education and becoming successful on one’s own merit. This works well for some, but for others—especially the two-thirds of Americans over the age of 25 who don’t have a bachelor’s degree—it often means getting mired in an economy of contract work, low pay, and few, if any, benefits. These prospects suggest that this is an age of diminished expectations for the working class.

There is clearly more to the despair of the working class than empty wallets and purses. Patches of the social fabric that once supported them, in good times and bad, have frayed. When asked in national surveys about the people with whom they discussed “important matters” in the past six months, those with just a high-school education or less are likelier to say no one (this percentage has risen over the years for college graduates, too). This trend is troubling, given that social isolation is linked to depression and, in turn, suicide and substance abuse.

This is the backdrop that is informing Trump’s working voters. They see two political parties, both promising them change and progress in exchange for their votes, both furthering policies that stand in opposition to these constituents’ interests.

Many mocked Trump’s statement claiming to love uneducated voters. While it sounded like Trump was relishing in capturing the know-nothing vote to propel him to victory, I imagine his working class supporters perceived something different. They heard a candidate articulate, however crudely, that he was on their side. He was not going to belittle them or their community; he would not promise to talk about immigration and trade during the campaign but capital gains taxes while in office.

I can’t support Trump. I find him to be a celebrity huckster and a blundering charlatan. Yet, I understand why many working class voters (and not just Republicans) support the man. When you have both political parties claiming to be your champion but then delivering the conditions of your demise, you are going to look for an alternative. They just happened to find it in a vulgar buffoon. Of course these voters understand that putting Trump in office is a huge risk for the nation. Good God knows what he will do if given the reins of power. But the tried-and-true candidates have not delivered for the working class, and faced with their current difficulties, one cannot blame them for their willingness to roll the political dice.

(Image: Donald Trump greets the crowd in the overflow room after a town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder)


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Roland Dodds is an educator, researcher and father just north of San Francisco who writes about politics, culture and education. He spent his formative years in radical left wing politics, but now prefers the company of contrarians of all political stripes (assuming they aren't teetotalers). He is a regular contributor at Harry's Place and Ordinary Times.

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290 thoughts on “In Defense of Trump’s Voters

  1. Trump voters remind me of that old joke about the Soviet Union, where Alexei is bemoaning the fact that Ivan has a goat and and Alexei doesn’t when a genie appears and tells Alexei he has a solution to his woes, and Alexei brightens and says “You will kill Ivan’s goat?”

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  2. Vox published a piece last week called The Smug Style in Liberalism. The essay was an attempt to claim that upper-middle class liberals posting Daily Show videos on Facebook was what drove working class whites from the Democratic Party.

    At Slate, Jamelle Boie was not having any of it. Upper-Middle class liberals are only a small portion of the Democratic Party. There is also plenty of evidence that shows the white working class exodus started in 1948 and kicked into high gear in 1964. In 1948, Strom Thurmond walked out of the Democratic Convention to protest Humohrey’s petition for civil rights for Blacks. In 1964, LBJ passed the Civil Rights Act.

    Why can’t we just say that Trump supporters might actually be racist, Homophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Islamic and want to restore a vanquished racial hierarchy? Why do we go to just saying liberals could get these votes if they liked the Daily Show less?

    Needless to say, I can’t support Trump voters for liking a racist blowhard who advocates racist policies. Nor can I be totes into the alt-right.

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          • You’re too rough on Stevenson. He was a small-city patrician and he sounded like one. You would not expect him to sound like anything else.

            I think a student of the Democratic Party offered that Stevenson was a critic of American culture rather than a celebrant, like Truman. That may or may not be pretentious, but it is a tough sell (and fed the amour propre of some of his supporters).

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    • The essay was an attempt to claim that upper-middle class liberals posting Daily Show videos on Facebook was what drove working class whites from the Democratic Party.

      I thought that it was just an attempt to claim that upper-middle class liberals posting Daily Show videos on Facebook are smug. In which case, it was a very successful attempt.

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      • I think there was an attempt at saying we can win the white working class if..and Bouie busted that bubble.

        There is an interesting question about why most people are really bad at rhetoric. I generally agree with liberal memes but I don’t think they are going to convince doubters and the not converted. Conservative memes are the same way. They all preach to the choir.

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      • I thought that it was just an attempt to claim that upper-middle class liberals posting Daily Show videos on Facebook are smug. In which case, it was a very successful attempt.

        Well, yes.

        90% of political postings of any sort on Facebook are smug bullshit. Upper-middle class liberals post Daily show clips. Middle class conservatives post clips of ‘Fox News’ epic takedown of liberal protestor’ , upper-middle class conservatives post links to Fox New article, etc.

        Lower class everyone post dumbass political memes that are about 70% lies.

        And upper-middle class *everyone* post *Vox* articles, so this is all a bit rich coming from Vox.

        It’s all smug bullshit, ‘Watch as I mock the other side’.

        The right has more of a victim mentality, though, so seems to care about this a bit more.

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    • I don’t think you need to support Trump voters but I do think it would benefit all of us in urban, blue enclaves to understand them better. In that regard Boie was talking passed the article at Vox.

      I think it’s fine to acknowledge the historical truth that much of what we’d consider the white working class left the Democratic party for racist reasons and that racism, to varying degrees, plays a part in the cultural attitudes Trump supporters express. That said I also think the world looks very different to people in places where globalization has killed the economy over the last 30 years. For all the talk the progressive post collegiate world does about privilege checking they really seem to struggle with it when it comes to working class white people. In fact I’d say they mercilessly ridicule them in ways they’d see as classist if presented in a lecture hall.

      To be clear that doesn’t mean that racism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc. should be accepted. However if the left is really about putting in place a safety net and combating inequality then it needs to start re-thinking the hostile cultural attitudes expressed by upper middle class adherents. I think there’s a coalition that could be built between people sympathetic to Trump and Sanders. It might even do some good.

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      • You have some good points, but the safety net we have exists for white and everybody else. In fact the ACA has helped lots of poor white people to get HI. Trump, while parroting the kill Ocare crap all R’s must say, also says he will create some HI where everybody gets care. Whites have always benefited from gov spending in many many ways. We haven’t been short changed. The problem is that safety nets aren’t’ built to give people good jobs.

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        • The job thing is a real issue that lots of people dance around. What is a good job is partially relative. The issue is that tech kills jobs faster than immigration. Yet no one out right wants to say that generations might need to get used to freelancing and bad service jobs. We don’t know how to handle freelancing as an economic issue because landlords still want to be paid every month.

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      • You raise some good points. I’ve been pondering those left behind and it is a group that includes more than Trump supporters. Globalization and the recession have created weird dynamics. I think a lot of people in their 20s and 30s are facing serious economic issues even beyond the working class.

        Yet Sanders and Trump supporters have different ends in many ways. A lot of Sanders supporters still support free trade according to studies I have read. They just want more of a welfare state. Most of the Sanders supporters I know are college educated and above. They tend to distrust finance though.

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        • @greginak I think there will always be some differences on culture, policy, or otherwise that can’t be bridged. My point is that the tendency to completely dismiss people in the manner that the upper middle class progressive world does is, at best, counterproductive and at worst a betrayal of principle.

          Regarding @greginak’s specific point about the welfare state/safety net my view is that you can probably get a lot of people on board who you might otherwise disagree with culturally if you’re willing to clamp down on the redneck jokes. Look at the ACA expansion of Medicaid being blocked by state governors. That directly hurts the white working class and thus makes them potential allies at the state level on an issue the left deeply cares about. A lot of them may never be friendly towards certain social causes but democracy requires building coalitions where you can. The same is true about ideas for how we may need to modify the welfare state for a post industrial world where people aren’t going to get benefits from their employers the way they used to.

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          • — In your view, what is the proper way for me to “dismiss” the bigotry against me, along with the actual laws that have been recently passed, the politicians who support such laws, the party who has such positions in its platform, and so on? You can try to make this about redneck jokes, but these are laws, along with specific threats of violence. This ain’t about bass fishing or chewing tobacco. I don’t care about that shit. Fish if you want. Whatever. Stop erasing the reality of the contemporary American right. They say what they mean. On occasion they do what they say.

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            • I don’t see how I’m ‘erasing’ anything nor do I even understand what that means. As much as I’d like to erase aspects of American politics and replace them with something better, sadly that is not a power I possess. I do not know anything about your personal background or what bigotry you have dealt with and its none of my business. Fight back however you see fit.

              My argument is about finding allies where possible and fighting where necessary. It’s pretty standard stuff in a democracy. There are other political factions to whom I’d make similar arguments but we’re talking about Trump voters and the articles Saul shared so I did not see the need for some kind of everyone does it caveat.

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            • The haltered of working class whites by urban liberals has very real consequences. Environmentalist policy destroys the industries that working class whites depend. Big city liberals are throwing coal miners out of work so that the Leonardo DiCaprio’s Malibu beach home doesn’t get destroyed because of sea level rise. In the Pacific Northwest the entire timber industry was destroy in order to protect a few owls. I’d rather see the spotted owl go extinct than force a single logger out of work, people are more important than animals.

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              • You have a decent point that some concerns of some liberals hurt industries that produced working class jobs. Of course globalisation hurts them to, so does free trade. And it was globalisation and free trade that killed the timber industry not concerns about owls. Screeching about owls was a good way for big timber companies to blame enviro types though.

                There is the same dance being done on coal. Enviro concerns are being blamed for the demise of coal. But it is the drop in price of natural gas that is whacking coal mostly. The enviro concerns are also called externalities, which do need to be addressed. Much easier to blame enviro types though.

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                • I’m sure the enviro types weren’t responsible for almost stopping the Tellico Dam, either. Just look at the current fight over the lesser prairie chicken as another example.

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                • Those industries probably would have declined anyway, but the environmentalists,
                  A) Shouldn’t have pushed it along or
                  B) Should have offered much stronger plans to help those hurt by the policy changes. In 1968 Hubert Humphrey’s platform called for another TVA in Appalachia, Obama should have revived that policy (if nothing else it would have put Mitch McConnell in a though spot). Many hipsters and artists think that rural poverty and decay is quaint and that’s why nothing gets done about it.

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                  • Dand,
                    lol. you just THINK nothing’s being done about it.
                    God save the fucking free market!
                    Rural poverty is being deliberately exacerbated (with the obvious result that there won’t be nearly as many rural towns in ten years) for fun and profit!

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              • It’s comments like this which make me sigh.

                WV coal miners are going out of work because natural gas is much cheaper than WV coal and China is using much less coal than expected. The pollution control regs that will impact coal production are just barely starting to roll out. And climate change is an enormous problem, for large chunks of the state of Florida not to mention food production around the world.

                Yes, endangered species laws were part of the timber wars. But at the end of the day, actually only a small part. For the most part, the mills shut down because the big shipping companies figured out how to ship whole trees to low-cost Asia mills. Anotherreason for the loss of jobs was simply the lack of trees to cut down.

                Comments like this are in the same vein of blaming liberals for the lack of nuclear power, or the existence of gay marriage. There aren’t enough urban liberals to cause all these impacts. Nuclear power hasn’t expanded much because (a) it’s really expensive and (b) all kinds of people, not just urban liberals, are terrible at risk analysis. Gay marriage exists not solely because of urban liberals but because gay people came out of the closet with their relationships, and their neighbors discovered that gay people are just plain ordinary people like everyone else.

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                • If environmentalists don’t want to be blamed for job losses they should stop pestering industries that are already dying. They’re like someone who keeps showing up a crimes scenes and then wonders why he’s a suspect.

                  I didn’t say anything about gay people it’s really telling that you presume to know my position on gay marriage because I’m concerned about the way high SES liberals treat working class whites. You just assume that anyone who opposes snobbery must be a bigot.

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                  • I blame environmentalists for costing us high paying doctor jobs by removing pollutants from the air that are killing people!!! (Seriously, mortality in my city is height dependent).

                    GASP is a really cool organization, founded by cardiologists and pulmonologists and if they’re running themselves out of work, well, good for them!

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                  • ” You just assume that anyone who opposes snobbery must be a bigot.”

                    No, I don’t. I placed your comment about liberals causing … in the context of liberals being blamed for everything that makes conservatives unhappy. I don’t a damn thing about you except that you appear to be hyper-sensitive to perceived slights.

                    Just downthread AD once again comes charging in complaining about the power that urban liberals wield. I think he’s way overstating the case, but if we do actually have that much power, then you lot really have nothing to complain about. This is, after all, a democracy of sorts. If it’s the will of the people that the US reduce its production of CO2, then so be it.

                    As to liberals pestering dying industries, please take a look at the North Atlantic cod fishery, or the Pacific Northwest timber industry, or WV coal. Dying industries seeking to keep up production and profits just one more year can cause truly striking environmental damage.

                    And since the economic engine of this country is now largely located in (liberal) cities, what these dying industries are demanding is the right to privatize their gains and socialize their losses onto their (more liberal) urban counterparts.

                    No, thanks.

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                    • No, I don’t. I placed your comment about liberals causing … in the context of liberals being blamed for everything that makes conservatives unhappy.

                      What makes you think I’m a conservative, you prove my point about condescending upper class liberals perfectly, you think that everyone who opposes your snobbery must be a simple minded conservative.

                      you appear to be hyper-sensitive to perceived slights.

                      Funny how when it comes to black people and racism high SES liberals are sensitive to their complains no matter how ridiculous(like people claiming the niggardly and black hole are racist) but when it comes to snobbery you shrug it off as no big deal.

                      then you lot

                      There you again presuming the Art and I have similar politics for no other reason than that we both oppose you seething hatred of working class whites. If you don’t hate working class white than why do you always storm in a defend snobbery whenever I complain about it?

                      really have nothing to complain about. This is, after all, a democracy of sorts.

                      1) It’s not a democracy the EPA bureaucrats seeking that adulation of the Hollywood crowd were never elected.
                      2) You have no problem overriding the democratically passed bill in North Carolina, why shouldn’t policies that screw over lumberjack and coal miners.

                      As to liberals pestering dying industries, please take a look at the North Atlantic cod fishery, or the Pacific Northwest timber industry, or WV coal. Dying industries seeking to keep up production and profits just one more year can cause truly striking environmental damage.

                      So what, they’re keeping people employed, isn’t that the most important thing?

                      And since the economic engine of this country is now largely located in (liberal) cities, what these dying industries are demanding is the right to privatize their gains and socialize their losses onto their (more liberal) urban counterparts.

                      How will anyone in cities be harmed by the spotted owl going extinct? You want you want is for rural working class whites to accept their place below snobbish jerks like yourself. Again id rather let Leonardo DiCaprio beach house get destroyed than throw a coal miner in West Virgian out of work, you apparently think that Leonardo DiCaprio’s beach house is more important. That’s fine but stop calling folks in West Virginia bigots because they want to keep their jobs.

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                      • This is probably pointless, but anyway.

                        1. I have no particular hatred or contempt for anybody. The American economy has changed dramatically in my lifetime and I can see perfectly well that millions of people have been hit hard by the changes.

                        But the facts do show that the Kansas / Louisiana approach of slashing taxes on the wealthy doesn’t actually generate the promised job growth. What’s Wrong With Kansas? Nothing. The people have voted for a low-tax, low-service state and that’s what they’re getting. Plenty of people have values other than maximizing GDP.

                        2. I was not making any assumptions about you. I was responding to the comment which started with: “The haltered of working class whites by urban liberals has very real consequences. Environmentalist policy destroys the industries that working class whites depend.”

                        That comment is, frankly, mostly incorrect. Coal is dying mostly for reasons other than environmental policy. Nuclear has not moved forward for 30 years for reasons other than environmental policy. The mill work in the PNW vanished mostly for reasons other than environmental policy. You are entitled to your opinions, but the facts are what they are. It’s is a cheap shot, commonly used by conservatives, to blame liberals for all the problems in the US. You may or may not be a conservative. But blaming liberals for the failure of business and labor to adapt to a changing world is (a) a cheap shot and (b) mostly wrong.

                        3. Your comment about me being a snobbish jerk actually says much more about you than it does about me. I know nothing about your politics and I don’t particularly care to. But every time you comment about wealthy liberals or the LGM blog, you show yourself to be mostly concerned about being insulted. If you want to hate-read my comments or LGM and draw satisfaction out of your (incorrect) perception that I hold you in contempt, I can’t stop you. But it’s kinda pathetic.

                        4. The impact of climate change on California is actually expected to be relatively low. California is an incredibly wealthy state and can afford to build the sea walls and other infrastructure needed to keep the economy humming. But the economies of Florida, the Netherlands and much of South East Asia (to pick three) are likely to be significantly impacted in about 40 years. That’s a value judgment, though. And if you don’t much care about the next generation, as to protect the dying industries of this generation, there’s little I can do or say to persuade you to change those values.

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                        • This is probably pointless, but anyway.

                          You start out like this and then have the nerve to claim you’re not a condescending jerk.

                          1. I have no particular hatred or contempt for anybody. The American economy has changed dramatically in my lifetime and I can see perfectly well that millions of people have been hit hard by the changes.

                          In the last paragraph you flat out stated that since urban residents are more “productive” that their concerns should take precedence over the concerns loggers and miners.

                          That comment is, frankly, mostly incorrect. Coal is dying mostly for reasons other than environmental policy

                          . The mill work in the PNW vanished mostly for reasons other than environmental policy.

                          If half the jobs are dying on their own the last thing we should be doing is killing the remaining half of the jobs, yet that’s exactly what the environmentalists want to do. We could also implement policies that mitigate the job losses whatever the reason is that they occur. We could start the TVA style program the Hubert Humphrey proposed or we could move some government offices from Washington DC to the areas being hurt but all the environmentalists talk about is bogus “green jobs”.

                          If the environmentalists don’t want to blamed for decline of industries that you claim are dying anyway they should just stand back and let them die.

                          Your comment about me being a snobbish jerk actually says much more about you than it does about me. I know nothing about your politics and I don’t particularly care to. But every time you comment about wealthy liberals or the LGM blog

                          I don’t think I’ve ever initiated a conversation with you, but every time I say anything negative about high SES liberal snobs you rush into the thread to defend. If you aren’t a high SES liberal snob why do you spend so much time defending them?

                          But every time you comment about wealthy liberals or the LGM blog, you show yourself to be mostly concerned about being insulted.

                          Like Veronica doesn’t act insulted all the time? You don’t say anything to her so why do you rush in to tell me that I’m being too sensitive. Why do high SES liberals get so angry whenever anyone calls them out on their snobbery? Every important cultural institution (the mainstream media, Hollywood, academia) in this country yet act like they’re somehow the world’s biggest victims.

                          4. The impact of climate change on California is actually expected to be relatively low. California is an incredibly wealthy state and can afford to build the sea walls and other infrastructure needed to keep the economy humming.

                          I’m not talking about California, I’m talking about the million dollar beach homes the Hollywood crowd owns feet from the ocean. I’d rather those homes get destroyed if preventing it means throwing a West Virginia coal miner out of work.

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                          • When wrote this:

                            Every important cultural institution (the mainstream media, Hollywood, academia) in this country yet act like they’re somehow the world’s biggest victims.

                            I intended to write

                            High SES urban liberals control every important cultural institution (the mainstream media, Hollywood, academia) in this country yet act like they’re somehow the world’s biggest victims.

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                          • And let me add that Francis’s reaction to me is yet another example of people who defend “punching up” acting defensive when someone punches up at them. It’s almost as if they son’t really believe in the punching up/punching down dichotomy.

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                          • You start out like this and then have the nerve to claim you’re not a condescending jerk.

                            Dand: Still running around calling everyone condescending jerks and asserting they’re insulting him…for no apparent reason.

                            I sometimes get the impression Dand really wishes that people would be ruder to him so he’d have some reason to be angry at what they were saying. Right now, he’s forced to stick to the completely subjective terms ‘condescending’ and ‘snob’ because people here are refusing to actually say anything derogatory about him *or* about conservatives.

                            It’s why he’s forced to respond to things like this, where Francis has said, essentially, that conservatives wrongly blame liberal policies for some things, which is about as inoffensive as statement as possible, and is a position of that *all* people who have even slightly-strong political positions believe about the other side! (Conservatives think liberals wrongly blame conservative policies for gun violence, for an incredibly obvious example.)

                            Dand basically seems to think it’s snobbery, by itself, to have any sort of liberal opinion *at all*, and condescending for someone to explain it. It’s like some sort of new, undiscovered form of tone-policing:

                            ‘How dare you make statements about things! Stating that certain things are true that I believe are false is extremely condescending towards me! And how dare you lump me in with conservatives because I take conservative positions…you high socio-economical status Hollywood urban liberal, I assume! And how dare you call conservatives stupid…okay, you didn’t say it, but I know you’re thinking it! Stop thinking it!’

                            So here’s my proposal:

                            , can you please restate the argument that Francis is making (Which is that the jobs being lost do not actually have much to do with liberal policies, despite the fact conservatives wrongly blame them for it), but in the manner you *think* liberals should be talking? Play Devil’s Advocate for a second. Go back to Francis’s original post and rewrite it to be less ‘snobby’.

                            Not because we need it restated, just because I’d like to see what you *don’t* consider ‘condescending’ when someone states a liberal opinion.

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                            • Dand: Still running around calling everyone condescending jerks and asserting they’re insulting him…for no apparent reason.

                              Are you claiming hat this statement:

                              This is probably pointless, but anyway.

                              isn’t condescending?

                              I sometimes get the impression Dand really wishes that people would be ruder to him so he’d have some reason to be angry at what they were saying. Right now, he’s forced to stick to the completely subjective terms ‘condescending’ and ‘snob’ because people here are refusing to actually say anything derogatory about him *or* about conservatives.

                              No I wish the high SES liberal snobs and hipsters that I have to put with everyday would stop acting like jerks, why is it that people here act like I’m getting my ideas about liberals from Rush Limbaugh rather than from real life.

                              It’s why he’s forced to respond to things like this, where Francis has said, essentially, that conservatives wrongly blame liberal policies for some things, which is about as inoffensive as statement as possible, and is a position of that *all* people who have even slightly-strong political positions believe about the other side!

                              If he had put it the way you did later in your post:

                              Which is that the jobs being lost do not actually have much to do with liberal policies, despite the fact conservatives wrongly blame them for it

                              I wouldn’t have objected. What I object to is
                              1) That he parachutes in to any thread where I complain about SES liberals.
                              2) That he doesn’t give me the courtesy of responding to me point by point the way I do to him but instead writes several paragraphs of his own that a) are only tangentially related to what I said and b) attribute to me things that I do not believe.
                              3) That when I complain about high SES liberals he ignores the high SES and says that I am complaining about liberals, making it sound likes I’m complaining about blue collar workers in Butte.
                              4) That he assumes that I’m a conservative.
                              5) In specific a found the following line to be condescending and or belittling:
                              6) That he ignored the policy suggestions that I made and made it sound like there was no substance to my posts.

                              you appear to be hyper-sensitive to perceived slights.

                              And since the economic engine of this country is now largely located in (liberal) cities, what these dying industries are demanding is the right to privatize their gains and socialize their losses onto their (more liberal) urban counterparts.

                              then you lot

                              you show yourself to be mostly concerned about being insulted.

                              But it’s kinda pathetic.

                              wow, you’re a really unpleasant person.

                              you’re a thin-skinned little bully desperate to find validation

                              I think Veronica is an admirable person with a gripping life story. You, on the other hand, belong in the Rod Dreher school of perceived discrimination. You’re worse than contemptible

                              The comparison between Dreher and Dand is apt; they both appear to be driven by ressentiment.

                              This is probably pointless, but anyway.

                              OK, now what? What does a society do with a large group of people full of anger, jealousy and rage

                              Notice how it’s ok for upper middle class liberals to go on and on about the Kochs and Waltons, but when High SES liberals treat me like shit I’m supposed to sit back and take.
                              And how dare you lump me in with conservatives because I take conservative positions

                              What conservative opinions have I stated, or is believing that high SES liberals are obnoxious snobs in and of itself a conservative position. I have suggested the environmentalist policy has contributed to job loses among blue collar workers and that environmentalist are often dismissive of the concerns of blue collar workers but I also blamed Nixon for the decline of family farms.

                              you high socio-economical status Hollywood urban liberal, I assume!

                              He’s stated that he’s a corporate lawyer in California. And if he weren’t a high SES liberal why would he rush into every thread to defend high SES liberals.

                              can you please restate the argument that Francis is making (Which is that the jobs being lost do not actually have much to do with liberal policies, despite the fact conservatives wrongly blame them for it), but in the manner you *think* liberals should be talking? Play Devil’s Advocate for a second. Go back to Francis’s original post and rewrite it to be less ‘snobby’.

                              What you wrote is acutely pretty good, for starters you didn’t go off about gay marriage like he did.

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                              • To move this discussion along, I will concede that I am smug, arrogant, dismissive, over-educated, over-paid, white, liberal, southern Californian, licensed to practice law and left-handed. I even speak French tolerably well.

                                I do defend, however, my right to parachute into comment threads. That’s the whole point of having unmonitored comments.

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                              • Dand,
                                “No I wish the high SES liberal snobs and hipsters that I have to put with everyday would stop acting like jerks”

                                Can you write a post on this? Explaining it in more detail would likely spark a better conversation…

                                “high SES libs go on and on about the Kochs”
                                … I’m claiming that personal card you claimed above on this one. My animosity towards the Kochs is quite personal, and not terribly related to their politics.

                                Yes, of course, environmentalists cost jobs. I live in Pittsburgh, there’s an element of “of course they did!” (They didn’t cost us the steel mills, fwiw. Just a lot of coal).

                                Environmentalists also create jobs — mainly in fixing older houses to be more energy efficient. And those are nice bluecollar jobs.

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                              • Are you claiming that this statement: ‘This is probably pointless, but anyway.’ isn’t condescending?

                                Yes, I am. That is, frankly, nowhere near the level of condescension you display all the time. Or, to put it another way…if you’re calling someone a ‘condescending jerk’, the post you are replying to needs to be at least the level of ‘condescending jerk’ in the amount of condescension it has.

                                Now, some of the stuff he says that you quote below could be considered condescending…OTOH, as that is what you seem to call *everyone*, even people who aren’t being condescending, well, stopped clock and all that.

                                Notice how it’s ok for upper middle class liberals to go on and on about the Kochs and Waltons, but when High SES liberals treat me like shit I’m supposed to sit back and take.

                                No one here is treating you like shit. No one here is, indeed, treating you like *anything*. We are having conversations.

                                What conservative opinions have I stated, or is believing that high SES liberals are obnoxious snobs in and of itself a conservative position.

                                …seriously? I’m pretty sure you’ve *specifically* called yourself conservative before. But whatever.

                                But perhaps just as relevantly…he *didn’t* call you a conservative, or even ‘lump you in with them’. He said your comments are same as other ‘blame the liberals for everything that conservatives don’t like’ comments.

                                I.e., he was saying you were repeating common-ish conservative-spread falsehoods, not that you *were* a conservative.

                                And that’s not some mere technical distinction either…most people know people that do not identify as conservative (or liberal) but sometimes repeat conservative (or liberal) talking points. I have quite reasonable semi-political discussions with someone every week when I see them, and yet she still posts complete jackass-level conservative memes on Facebook, despite the fact she doesn’t actually appear to believe any of it.

                                Likewise, he also didn’t accuse you of blaming gay people on urban liberal policies, or blaming the lack of nuclear power plants on urban liberals. He just said that is the same sort of thing.

                                That comment was, perhaps, not relevant if the discussion was about *you*…but the discussion was not about you! Everything said in response to one of your posts is not a personal attack upon you, or an accusation about how you think.

                                He’s stated that he’s a corporate lawyer in California. And if he weren’t a high SES liberal why would he rush into every thread to defend high SES liberals.

                                I have no idea what he’s doing in ‘every thread’, but in *this* thread, he was objecting you stating results of liberal policies that he felt were incorrect generalizations, not attempting to defend anyone.

                                In fact, he sorta forgot to defend anyone at all. Reading his comment, he seems to agree that urban liberals *do* have all sort of really dumb policies they are pushing with horrible effects on the working class…his point is that they don’t have the *votes* to do what the conservatives seem to want to blame on them, and the fact we’re doing those things means that *other people* are in favor of them also.

                                What you wrote is acutely pretty good, for starters you didn’t go off about gay marriage like he did.

                                Well, it’s nice to see you no longer think I’m being condescending in everything I say, I guess.

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                                • Yes, I am. That is, frankly, nowhere near the level of condescension you display all the time. Or, to put it another way…if you’re calling someone a ‘condescending jerk’, the post you are replying to needs to be at least the level of ‘condescending jerk’ in the amount of condescension it has.

                                  Well now I’m going to come across as condescending but here it goes; merriam-webster defines condescending as:

                                  showing that you believe you are more intelligent or better than other people

                                  Accusing someone else of acting superior to you does not fit that definition, I’m sure there is another word for it but it’s not condescension.

                                  as that is what you seem to call *everyone*, even people who aren’t being condescending, well, stopped clock and all that.

                                  A lot of people here are condescending and nothing brings out condescension more than pointing out the class bias of high SES liberals.

                                  No one here is treating you like shit. No one here is, indeed, treating you like *anything*. We are having conversations.

                                  I’m not talking about here I’m talking about in real life. I’ll ask you the same question I asked Frances; have you ever worked a customer service job where that overwhelming majority of you customers are high SES liberals?

                                  seriously? I’m pretty sure you’ve *specifically* called yourself conservative before.

                                  Nope I’ve never called myself a conservative.

                                  he *didn’t* call you a conservative, or even ‘lump you in with them’.

                                  You used the phrase “you lot” to describe me and Art Deco.

                                  He said your comments are same as other ‘blame the liberals for everything that conservatives don’t like’ comments.

                                  Except that my initial comment didn’t even blame liberals it blamed environmentalists, now the Venn diagrams for liberals and environmentalists overlap a lot but they aren’t the same thing; not liberals all environmentalists and not all environmentalists are liberals.

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                                  • A lot of people here are condescending and nothing brings out condescension more than pointing out the class bias of high SES liberals.

                                    …because the entire point, which you keep making over and over for some reason, is ‘a certain group of people behave in a specific way, and hence I dislike them for that’.

                                    That’s pretty much the textbook definition of stereotyping, and, no, before you ask, it *doesn’t matter* if it’s true in your personal experience.

                                    If I come in here claiming that French people are rude, and I know that *personally* because I work with half a dozen of them and they are, without fail, rude…yeah, you can kinda see where that’s going, and how I’m going to get pushback.

                                    That is, in essence, what you are doing. And you keep falling back on how the stereotype is *true*.

                                    It doesn’t matter if it’s true. Or, at least, we don’t actually *care* if it’s true…if it alters how you see liberals, well, no one can change that, but NO ONE CARES.

                                    And for Pete’s sake, stop *telling* us, over and over. We do not care about your bad experiences with a group of people we have no influence over and do not know, and as we apparently can’t stop you from generalizing, we do not actually care anymore.

                                    What we do sorta care about is how every discussion with you turns into you complaining *how people are talking to you*. You keep claiming large segments of people *here* are being condescending to you…which seems to be based off your experience in the outside world. I.e., you are not only stereotyping, you’re letting your stereotyping influence how you see discussions here.

                                    No one here is being condescending. Now, Frances is both rude, and may had made some assumptions about your political positions…but I feel I should point out you’ve made assumptions about both me *and* him. In the case of him, they were mostly correct, in the case of me, not so much…and people around here make political assumptions about people left and right, and most of us just say ‘Nope, I believe X’ and move on.

                                    Also, most people here understand discussion sometimes slip back and forth between what people *in* the discussions believe, and what ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’ believe…especially in a discussion like this, which is *about* what a certain group of people (Trump voters) believe.

                                    And what this has to do with being *condescending* I’m not sure. Assumptions in a discussion are not condescension. The general sort of rudeness you’ve gotten from Francis is also not condescension, it’s just rudeness.

                                    I’m not talking about here I’m talking about in real life. I’ll ask you the same question I asked Frances; have you ever worked a customer service job where that overwhelming majority of you customers are high SES liberals?

                                    And this is what conservatives, when talking about liberals, call a ‘victim mentality’.

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                        • But blaming liberals for the failure of business and labor to adapt to a changing world is (a) a cheap shot and (b) mostly wrong.

                          I’m not doing that I’m claiming the environmentalist regulations have cost jobs in the logging and mining industries. Are you claiming that they haven’t? The more jobs that a dying on their own the more precious the remaining jobs are.

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                • Francis,
                  “The pollution control regs that will impact coal production are just barely starting to roll out.”

                  … yeah, you’re plenty ignorant on how companies function.
                  Western Pennsylvania voter here, and I know damn well how many coal plants have closed because of Mercury Regulations.

                  … you didn’t realize Mercury was about Coal? Read a bit more then.

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                • There aren’t enough urban liberals to cause all these impacts.

                  Oh, yes there are. From what sector do you think Democratic Party legislators hail? And from what sector do Democratic Party lawfare artists hail? What sort of cadres control higher education? What sort of people land jobs as school administrators?

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          • I don’t agree with your second point. It seems too easy to say that jokes in Brooklyn cause social conservatism. There is a woman running for the state Board of Ed in Texas and her platform is a full throttled culture war. According to Slate, her current pitch is that pre-K is pro-Gay propaganda.

            I am the unrepentant city boy here. Lots of people move to SF and Brooklyn or other cities because they were LBGT or otherwise outsiders and got the tar beat out of them because of it. SF and Brooklyn and other cities is where they can be who they are safely.

            What is your proof that fewer redneck jokes will turn rural voters in cultural and social liberals? I see none. Legislation like HB2 makes me think that they are just ultra-conservative and heteronormative on social and cultural fronts. I am not sure that taking away the New Yorker and Daily Show will change this.

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            • my point is not that it will make them social liberals. I went at pains in my post to say that there are some social issues where agreement may be impossible. Thats why the example I used was specifically economic i.e. Medicaid.

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            • There is a woman running for the state Board of Ed in Texas and her platform is a full throttled culture war.

              You fancy that Kevin Jennings or a mess of people who actually work in the public schools are engaged in something other than ‘full throttled culture war’? (Assisted, of course by the usual lawfare artists).

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            • I’m pretty sure I’m on record as agreeing with the OP that, as a country, we’ve done a very good job leaving the white working class out of the prosperity of the last 50 years, and in particular the recovery of the last 10.

              What they really should be is socialists, working in a strong union culture that could put up a fight against “free trade” leaking jobs out and cheap state-subsidized aluminum back in. But the Cold War killed that – and who was right there in the front lines?

              Poor whites are dying more than the general population, killing themselves more than the general population, and facing harrowing rates of addiction. Republican governors kill ACA and Medicaid expansion that would benefit working-class whites the most. But who are pushing those states to get even redder in the interests of social conservatism?

              I can certainly see the attraction of Trump, when one party gives with one hand and takes twice as much away with the other, and the other party doesn’t even promise anything that is meaningful.

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              • There was an essay I saw by a white working class woman who worked as a bar tender in a forgotten part of Arkansas before moving to the Pacific Northwest.

                She was a Sanders supporter. She wrote sympathetically but with perplexity about how Trump got the support. She wrote about how these Arkansas guys defend Tsyon as a local boy done good even though Tyson got into trouble for employing undocumented immigrants instead of the Arkansas people eeking out a meager existence on SSDI.

                She wrote about how Sanders came from a legitimately lower-middle class background. She did not quite comprehend or seem to think about whether Sanders Jewishness marked him as an outsider and unworthy of their votes.

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                • She wrote about how Sanders came from a legitimately lower-middle class background.

                  So did Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Robert Dole (in ascending order of impecuniousness). Mike Huckabee’s family were wage-earners. Alan Keyes and Newt Gingrich were the sons of Army sergeants. She writing about that?

                  What’s interesting about prominent Democratic pols with wage earner backgrounds is that half of them seem to traffick in it transparently (John Edwards, Tom Harkin) and half have nothing at all about them suggestive of the social world in which they grew up (Paul Tsongas, Gary Hart; Hart in particular hated being asked about it).

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      • I think I understand the challenges the white working class face, at least the economic ones.

        But it might be my globalize do outlook, but it seems to me that they are very similar, it not the same, as the challenges to black and Hispanic working class. The Detroit and Flint manufacturing collapse probably hurt blacks worse than whites, for instance.

        The Democrats put forward proposal after proposal (stimulus, Meficaid expansion, $15/HR, etc.) aimed at helping the Working Class in toto, white, black and Hispanic. And time after time the Shite Working Class chose to reject those proposals. They vote to repeal the Meficaid Expansion in KY, for goodness sake.

        So either the WWC has not yet forgiven the Democratic Party for the Civil Rights Act, or they are opposed to policies that help them AND people other than them, or they are willing to starve rather than get help from those smug post modern globalized liberals like me because I am disrespecting them. At the end is all mostly the same thing: there is a cultural gap between the WWC and vast sections of the country, a gap that has been exploited for the benefit of policies that do zilch for the WWC.

        And I don’t know how to bridge that gap. But part of the solution probably involves the WWC to, on its own, start moving away from being against all of us that are not them. And that is a very tall order, culture wise

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        • The Democrats put forward proposal after proposal (stimulus, Meficaid expansion, $15/HR, etc.) aimed at helping the Working Class in toto, white, black and Hispanic. And time after time the Shite Working Class chose to reject those proposals.

          What makes you think they oppose those proposals? The stimulus was explicitly designed not to provide jobs to the working class or as Christina Romer “put it burly men. Only 6% of a stimulus was infrastructure, a 100% infrastructure stimulus would have helped the working class much more.

          willing to starve rather than get help from those smug post modern globalized liberals like me because I am disrespecting them.

          Why don’t you stop insulting them, people like would never to a black person to put up with insults but your attitude towards working class white is ”I support policies that I think helps them that gives me a free pass to make fun of them”.

          And I don’t know how to bridge that gap. But part of the solution probably involves the WWC to, on its own, start moving away from being against all of us that are not them. And that is a very tall order, culture wise

          Maybe Hollywood could start portraying working class whites better. Maybe you could stop calling working class whites racist. Maybe Hilary Clinton could not brag about putting coal miners out of work. Maybe urban liberals could stop getting kicks out of rural decay. Maybe you could stop funding things like pisschrist that offend them. Maybe if you’re proposing environmental regulations that will throw working class people out of work you could propose comprehensive programs that make sure they don’t suffer any economic loss.

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    • Saul, the professional-managerial bourgeoisie constitute about 13% of the population and make up the majority of that share of the population that have influence over anything other than their own desk or their own dinner table. Schoolteachers and social workers are perhaps one ratchet down socially, but still not working class. Look at who represents you in legislatures. They’re generally fancy people or at least petit bourgeois. Where I’ve lived, the local congressman has been, variously, a small-time lawyer, another small-time lawyer, a hospital microbiologist (married to business executive, IIRC), etc. One exception I can recall was a telephone technician elected to the state senate. He’d been a union steward. Local councils will be more vernacular than state legislatures, but their members are still generally bourgeois. I used to live in a burgh with 3,600 people in it. The people running for office were still drawn from local merchants, school teachers, bar the SEIU union steward who ran once or twice. And, of course, this applies to anyone you see on the media. They’re either fancy people or they hang around with fancy people.

      It’s really very strange how partisan Democrats fancy they should have had a perpetual lock on wage-earning populations or the electorate. Over the period running from 1789 to 1968, you had phase changes regarding the balance of power between the parties about every 20-25 years on average. After 1968, you had a roughly even balance and alternation in power, with some reshuffling among wage earners in favor of the Republican Party as the issues most salient in 1936 faded and others replaced them. If you’re not a partisan Democrat, that seems perfectly unremarkable. (What’s remarkable is the 10-to-1 preference for Democrats among blacks, which was unknown prior to about 1962 and not replicated in any other communal group). Then again, if you’re not a partisan Democrat, you don’t use political discourse to bulk up your amour propre.

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    • Not having read either of the pieces, I’m curious at the ships-in-the-night portrayed here – the mismatch between “understanding why a thing is happening” and “deciding whether we have to do anything about it.”

      As a liberal who is broadly sympathetic to the idea that liberal leadership has been smug in ways that reduce the ability to listen to and perception of representing poor whites, I’m frustrated by the reply that there is evidence that the “real issue” is race rather than lack of connection or representation in the Democratic leadership. The conclusion, which badly troubles me, seems to be that if the white working class and/or Trump supporters are racist, we can’t possibly find a common platform with them, their views are illegitimate within the framework of Democratic party ideas, and discussions over their needs versus others are necessarily zero sum, with the added bonus that this is morally all their own fault anyway.

      Many Trump supporters are racist, stipulated, and that may have more explanatory power than smugness in why they do not join the Democratic Party. So what? Their lives are still equally important, their concerns are still equally valid to any other Americans, and I don’t see it as either morally justifiable or strategic to dismiss their issues “because racism” for a party that aspires to the leadership of the country as a whole. Indeed, this may be the definition of the smugness that I find most objectionable – the idea that if I don’t like someone’s racial attitudes, I don’t owe her anything as a fellow American, and her pain and suffering doesn’t count.

      Tactically, Trump supporters’ votes may be irrelevant to Democrats for years to come; but strategically, envisioning a future that is inclusive of poor white Americans, warts and all, seems fundamental to whatever party intends to establish itself as able to govern America through a transition from white-majority to no-ethnic-majority that is happening simultaneous with a globalization-led economic transformation toward inequality. To the extent that I want Democrats to be that party, I badly want them to figure this out.

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      • Many Trump supporters are racist, stipulated, and that may have more explanatory power than smugness in why they do not join the Democratic Party. So what? Their lives are still equally important, their concerns are still equally valid to any other Americans, and I don’t see it as either morally justifiable or strategic to dismiss their issues “because racism” for a party that aspires to the leadership of the country as a whole. Indeed, this may be the definition of the smugness that I find most objectionable – the idea that if I don’t like someone’s racial attitudes, I don’t owe her anything as a fellow American, and her pain and suffering doesn’t count.

        This work in a “we know what’s good for them” sense, but not in a “let’s give them political power” sense. In other words, What’s the Matter with Kansas was published a pretty long time ago. These aren’t new ideas.

        We’re dealing with a collection of people who would rather elect someone who believes 1) the Earth is 6,000 years old, 2) we don’t need environmental policies, cuz the end times are coming, 3) that I am literally demon infested, and 4) if they let me kiss my girlfriend in public then God will send pestilence.

        Okay, so I’m picking the most egregious assholes, but I bet the US House has more short-history creationists than black people. (Does anyone have numbers on that?)

        Anyway, yeah I’m more describing Cruz supporters than Trump supporters. Fine. But I’m describing the modern Republican Party, of which Trump is just an embarrassing reflection of irresponsibility and failure.

        So sure, their pain and suffering “count.” But that doesn’t mean their bad ideas are not bad ideas, nor irresponsible ideas, nor destructive ideas. It doesn’t mean we give them a condition-free “seat at the table.” If they want a voice, they need to set aside their bigotry, cuz that shit won’t fly. It’s a matter of fundamental character. It is critical.

        Do not treat them like children.

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      • Bouie is African-American and Veronica is part of the LBGT community. I am inclined to believe in their interpretation and the numbers line up. The Demicratic Party lost a lot of white working class support around the time of key civil rights initiatives.

        Yes there are smug liberals. Drum raised an interesting point. Conservative media makes money through outrage like Talk Radio stuff and fever dreams of conspiracy. Liberal media makes money through mockery. I am not sure why liberals prefer mockery over the outrage of Talk Radio but Air America failed and the Daiky Show created a cottage industry as did Maddow.

        Liberals might be smug but they never say opponents should be the victims of violence. They don’t threaten with hellfire and damnation.

        As I said above, i roll my eyes at liberal memes. There was one I saw recently about how the United States has 640,000 bankruptcies because of medical bills a year and countries with universal healthcare have none. This is not going to change any minds if people oppose universal healthcare for ideological reasons. The tragedy is that it is also true. Right now the big problem with welfare state stuff is the benefits are seen as going to “those people” and those people are always the other.

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        • There was one I saw recently about how the United States has 640,000 bankruptcies because of medical bills a year and countries with universal healthcare have none.

          Actually, the original study contended that medical bills were a factor in such a such percentage of bankruptcies. The bankrupts in question had all sorts of debts, and medical bills were not even their leading creditors.

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          • Art Deco:
            There was one I saw recently about how the United States has 640,000 bankruptcies because of medical bills a year and countries with universal healthcare have none.

            Actually, the original study contended that medical bills were a factor in such a such percentage of bankruptcies.The bankrupts in question had all sorts of debts, and medical bills were not even their leading creditors.

            A.K.A. “Not All Debts”

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          • Medicaid/Medicare warehouse economies.
            No workers, no children, just dead and dying towns that ain’t realized they ought to blow away just yet.

            We got plenty here in Pennsylvania.

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            • Medicaid/Medicare warehouse economies.
              No workers, no children, just dead and dying towns that ain’t realized they ought to blow away just yet.

              Small towns generally have primary care and may have a community hospital. Medical expenditure by small town and rural residents will be abnormally concentrated in locations they commute to.

              No, you don’t have towns of any size with ‘no workers, no children’ etc. You have 37-odd non-metropolitan counties which have lost population. They’ve lost about 2% of their collective population in the last 5 years. There are no counties where the population under 15 is less than 14% of the total and there are none wherein the population over 62 is more than 28% of the total. (The national means are 19% and 18% respectively).

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              • “No Workers” isn’t meant 100% literally, but it’s true enough. You have people who steal from the local grocery store to get vegetables for their kids, for christ’s sake! (and the local grocer, if they’re wise, lets them — they’re putting most of the rest of the paycheck into the store anyhow).

                PA is filled with elderly, and it’s filled with a lot of people on welfare, even if they’re working at Walmart or pulling coke bottles out of the dump for $20,000 a year.

                Most of these small towns had factories at one point — now they don’t, and there’s not really much taht’s getting done there, other than milking people out of government money.

                Seriously, take a podunk town in PA (I’ve got a few if you need them), and tell me what Gets Done there.

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                • Nationally, about 18% of the population is over the age of 62. In Pennsylvania, the figure is 20.4%. That’s your idea of filled?

                  Be patient. We’ll die off eventually. In the meantime…

                  Get Off My Lawn.

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                • While we’re at it, nationally, the ratio of those on non-farm payrolls to total population is 0.45. In Pennsylvania, it’s … 0.45.

                  What gets done in those little towns is pretty much what gets done anywhere.

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        • Well, guaranteed basic income is something we can do. Better healthcare is also something we can do. Better access to broadband is something we can do (and evidently tried to do and fucked it up and wasted the money cuz everything is terrible). Ending the drug war is something we can do. Better access to education is something we can do.

          Also, the nation’s roads and other infrastructure have been failing for decades, and we don’t invest. We could invest. That’s hard work for strong people, done outside. I ain’t gonna do that. I’m not tough enough. Can we find people who are?

          Likewise we can begin asking hard questions about unmitigated, unchecked globalization. We can ask how unchecked capitalism actually works, and if we like it that way?

          Cuz maybe we do not, and that does not mean we turn to Marxism instead. There is a wide space between laissez faire and state socialism that the Republicans are afraid to explore, but the Democrats are less afraid. We can push that harder, tell that story, sell it.

          Meanwhile the Republicans are screaming about blacks and gays. That is idiocy. Let them immolate themselves on that hill. Hateful fools.

          Regarding the Daily Show making fun of rubes. Whatever. Rubes are rubes. We can do better, but they can do much better. Lay responsibility where it belongs.

          Stupid is stupid. Smart is smart.

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          • GBI is being discussed but is a long time away. I think most of the Democratic Party agrees re health and infrastructure but we keep getting blocked by the GOP.

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            • Urban residents want small towns to look like some romantic ideal for tourists and artists rather than serving the people that actually live there. I’ve heard multiple stories about how hipster photographers like to photograph decaying rural communities, and then show up disappointed when the residents clean the town up. People like the idea of a small town with independently owned retailers without realizing that chain stores often provide better prices to residents.

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            • Starting with the Nixon administration federal farm policy has actively promoted super-large farms at the expense of family farms in order to provide cheep food to urban residents and profits to agribusiness.

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                • I’m not sure if eliminating subsidies the correct solution but the policy since Nixon has been to put the risk on family farmers send the profits to agribusiness while proving cheep food to the urban and suburban populations.

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                • From what I understand the largest factor was the elimination of USDA storage bins; from the New Deal till the Nixon administration the USDA would buy grain in years with high supply, store it then sell it in years with low supply providing stable prices to both farmers and consumers. Earl Butz Nixon’s secretary of agriculture flat stated that policy was for farmers to “get big or get out”.

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                  • No attempt was made to manipulate farm prices until the Hoover Administration. Somehow the country got along.

                    I suspect Dr. Butz was predicting the future trajectory of farming absent efforts to protect certain classes of farmers, not articulating some policy to force consolidation in farming.

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        • Saul,
          Bull-shit.
          Seriously, “there’s nothign we can do!” is just sheer idiocy. Raise the minimum wage — that’ll kill the monopsony dead.

          What? am I actually supposed to want to Keep the rural zombie economies alive?

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      • I think it is more that he believes Trump voters were lost by the Demicratic Party a long time ago.

        There is an interesting thing where political types treat all voters as being up for grabs at all times. The truth is that people are probably locked strongly to one party or another based on a wide variety of circumstances.

        I short, Voxis starting with the premise that the Demicratic Party could win the White Working Class because they are white

        Bouie’s argument is that the Democratic Party can’t win these voters because some of the WWC is putting white above working class in their identities and they see Trump and/or the GOP as being more for white people than the Democratic Party.

        This is about whether bases can increase or not or whether the lines are drawn and it is all about GOTV efforts.

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        • Bouie’s projecting. It is almost impossible to locate a subgroup more given to voting as an identity affirmation than the one to which he belongs. He’s a man from a subculture wherein the Democratic Party has a 10-to-1 advantage complaining about identity politics among a subset among which Republicans might have a 3-2 advantage.

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  3. I had the chance to talk to a few Trump supporters in February. They were small business owners, some of whom even sold imported products that would be subject to high tariffs under Trump.

    All three told me that they didn’t care for the actual words that came out of Trump’s mouth. Yes, he’s a vile individual, they say, but he’s making all the right people quake in their boots. There’s something about him that scares the lethargic, elitist, self-serving, revolving-door establishment and that can only be good.

    I’d retort something the lines of, “the revolving-door establishment is afraid of high blood pressure and getting in a car accidents, but that doesn’t make those good things and maybe you should be a little wary of them as well.”

    To which they, to a person, would wave it off and tell me that the whole point of Trump was that he would tear it all down and that anything would be better than the people we have running things now. It’s like a Marxist “heighten the contradictions” argument coming from midwestern burghers.

    Since moral panic about the counterculture gave way to hippie-punching for cheap laughs, nobody really takes the left as a serious threat to the current order. Safely tucked away at colleges, people just point and laugh at the identity politics that rules the far left these days. Right-populism has always seemed like a volatile element that the establishment right wielded at its own risk.

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    • I concur. There is still a lot of power in the Democratic Party but that has very little to do with what is happening at college campuses recently.

      The Overton Window has moved so far to the right for many and the Democratic Party is seen as being filled with Lenin and Trotsky types.

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      • To the extent there’s non-establishment power in the Democratic party, it’s in unions, which is a different kind of establishment in itself. The $15 wage is self-interested. Which is fine, but if you want to upend the system, it’s not terribly satisfying.

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          • Predatory indeed.

            A state employee union arguing with state employees over pay and benefits. That’s like management and employees arguing over pay and benefits at the expense of the shareholders (taxpayers). The tax payers get screwed. And it’s contributed nicely to the fiscal problems of a lot of cities and states when the politicians make promises for pensions that they can ill afford do actually fund.

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            • Damon,
              no different from General Motors, in that regard.
              It’s people’s own damn fault if they believe in things they ain’t getting in the here and now.

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  4. Back in 2006ish or so, one of the arguments we regularly got into was the whole “who should be pleased by the Bush administration?” thing.

    To go back to the three legs of the Conservative Stool, the Defense Hawks had reason to be pleased because the military was strengthened, good and hard. The Social Conservatives might maybe have had reason to be pleased, maybe, because Bush “held the line” on stuff like abortion and “protecting traditional marriage” but it’s not like he made that many advances. The Fiscal Conservatives, of course, were the ones thrown under the bus. “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter” and so on.

    Fiscons are not well represented by the Republican party. Like, at all. The only thing keeping them in the coalition is the whole “where else you gonna go?” thing. Social conservatives are sorta kinda represented by the Republican party. Maybe not when it comes to policy and law, but when it comes to the whole “one of us” thing, the Republicans do a better job of finding “one of us” types than the Democrats.

    Leaving the Defense Hawks to be pleased. The problem with that is that if the hawks were asked “where else you gonna go?”, at this point, the Hawks could easily point to the Democrats and say “Why, these guys seemed to have learned their lesson!”

    Trump’s appeal seems to be primarily among the groups taken for granted by the “establishment GOP” since 1992 or so (some might say 1988 or so).

    “Where else you gonna go?”
    It looks like that question has the answer of “Trump”.

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    • I largely agree with your analysis but fiscal conservatives are not Trump supporters. They are still being thrown under the bus.

      Trump Supporters were being taken advantage of by the GOP establishment though. No doubt about that.

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      • I don’t think that there are really that many pro-Trump folks. There are quite a few “anti-(something)” people who support Trump. There are a good chunk of anti-anti-Trump folks.

        While it’s certainly easy to dismiss this as anti-anti-racism or anti-anti-homophobia (see, for example, other comments!), I think that this is just populism making a comeback after several decades without a populist movement worth mentioning.

        This is The Big Sort manifesting itself.

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        • I dissent and think you are being too charitable. Plenty of people like Trump.
          More people might be turned off by him though.

          You said that Trumo is the candidate who finally speaks for the Jugaloos a few weeks ago.

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          • I suppose that’s a good point. I don’t think that support for Trump is rooted in support for his policies, though.

            Can we even name any of Trump’s policies?

            “Build a wall, make Mexico pay for it.”

            Okay, that’s one. Can we name a second?

            I tried to make a list where Trump has had several opinions. Abortion was the big one. H1B visas another. Hell, I’m sure that if I were willing to open up Google, I could come up with another half dozen.

            Trump doesn’t have positions. He has sentiments. He has signals.

            So I misspoke. When people support Trump, it’s not because he has positions that they agree with. It’s that he sends signals that appeal to them and drive people they hate up the wall.

            It’s not about what he is, but about what he’s not. And because it’s about what he’s not, it seems like it has less to do with him than with everybody else in the establishment.

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            • Well, he has a “position” that the current regime of trade-pacts is written for the benefit of other people

              *counterpoint – it is not really clear that he would make deals that weren’t also fundamentally better for him and his peers.

              He has a position that the past 15-years spent in the middle east has been a terrible return for the common man… a net negative if you factor the declining infrastructure and the jobs rebuilding would have brought.

              *counterpoint – escalating against ISIS and bombing the sands until they glowed [well, technically that’s Cruz, but I’m sure Trump wishes he had said it] don’t seem to bespeak a new US reinvestment program.

              The theme of Trump’s signals isn’t race or even culture, it’s sell out. You are being sold out to the interests of the few, the elite. Your jobs are being sold-out, your treasure (historical) is being appropriated and sold or just plain destroyed, and your blood is being spilled for the benefit of people who don’t even like you (corporate leaders, politicians and complicit bureaucrats, the brass in the Pentagon, etc).

              What I find interesting is that most of you all think the pitch-forks are for poor black and hispanic folk… no, the pitchforks are for us.

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              • “it is not really clear that he would make deals that weren’t also fundamentally better for him and his peers.”

                At least he would stop once he’d achieved that.

                Do-gooders who work on behalf of the poor and downtrodden somehow always seem to find more poor-and-downtrodden to do good on behalf of.

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                • DD,
                  Check out the Cobb grill, and then tell me again that “do gooders” always find more poor-and-downtrodden to do good for.

                  Sometimes there are good solutions to a problem that pretty much freaking end the problem.

                  Those do-gooders then go find a NEW problem.

                  (Zombie charities are evil, I do agree. Not everyone runs a zombie charity, and some charities actually do earn a profit).

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    • Fiscal conservatives can go to the party that believes in realistic budget math and pay-fors. (Even when, as now, doing so is financially irresponsible given the low cost of borrowing and high benefits of productive spending.)

      I.e. the Democrats.

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  5. ” My middle class values and background find his demeanor and style crass and vulgar.”

    That is the money line, right there. That is why much of the media/commentariat has totally missed the rise of Trump, and could quite possibly buy him the presidency. Vox has a great piece on this, as Saul mentions above. Reading the responses to that piece has been quite illuminating, as one can see that the left does not understand why there has been the rise of Trump, and that even if they win this election, that these voters aren’t going away. People have been saying that the R’s have been broken for many years now, but we are also seeing how the D’s are no longer the party for much of America, indeed are breaking down in the face of how to represent the country going forward.

    Cruz is too socially conservative for much of the country. Bernie is too fiscally liberal for much of the country. Hillary is too corrupt, Trump too great a wild card I cannot vote for any of them for those reasons, and as I prefer a small government type I will be voting for the Libertarian candidate. That said, I also see what the Trump voters are seeing.

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    • Before we get too far ahead of ourselves about Trump’s popularity, lets remember that he is supported by about 35% of the 40% that identifies as Republican, and more importantly, he is toxic to the remaining percentage.

      Its not like he is unknown, and has room to grow, or modulate his positions and pivot and Etch-A-Sketch or whatever.

      He really has hit his ceiling in the Republican party, and his margins aren’t getting bigger.

      Its also worth pointing out that it isn’t the entirety of the white working class- most of the white working class is actually Democratic, or moderately Republican.

      However, that being said- the Democrats do need to work on solidifying the white working class, while not alienating the non-white working class. Obama did a masterful job of it, and Hillary isn’t bad either.

      Their strategy is to refuse to accept the zero-sum framing, that benefits for black people must come as a detriment to whites.
      Erik Loomis over at LGM had a good post about Darletta Scruggs, and activist with Socialist Alternative debating with Neil Cavuto, where she flat out refused to buy into his framing of “black people taking white people’s money”.

      The white working class is struggling, but what the hell does anyone think is happening to the non-white working class?

      The Hispanic people toiling away for 12 hours a day in meatpacking plants, or in 110 degree sun in the Central Valley, or cleaning bedpans for sub-minimum wage- Do Trump supporters imagine these people are somehow better off than the laid off steelworkers?

      Does anyone imagine that if the immigrants were rounded up and deported, that somehow the good jobs wouldn’t follow them back home?

      Of all the toxic waste that makes up Trump’s speeches, about the only thing he hasn’t presented, is a clear idea of how to make America work for everyone.

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      • The Hispanic people toiling away for 12 hours a day in meatpacking plants, or in 110 degree sun in the Central Valley, or cleaning bedpans for sub-minimum wage- Do Trump supporters imagine these people are somehow better off than the laid off steelworkers?

        Such people are sociological painted buntings. They exist. Do not expect to ever meet one, because they’re rare. Neither the hispanic population as a whole nor the sex and age adjusted illegal alien population have supernormal rates of labor force participation.

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  6. The problem is, the big divide during the “Southern Strategy” days really was racism. It was. It was totally about race and Jim Crow laws and “state’s rights” (which meant the right to pass racists laws) and so forth. Race remains central, as does homophobia, transphobia, and so on. And sure, you can cast the “anti-immigration” fears in reasonable terms, but spend more than a minute on any right-wing news comments section and you’ll see something really ugly and clearly racist-as-fuck.

    So it really is racism. It really is homophobia. It just totally is, all the way.

    Look, I’ve been to a monster truck rally, one time (although I’d be hesitant to go now). I’ve been to a local drag race with amateurs who fix their own cars. I’ve spend many a Saturday at the rifle range, firing my own rifles, including a black powder flintlock replica for which I cast my own bullets out of lead. So yeah. On the other hand, I’ve never been hunting and I’m not much for the “outdoors.” Whatever. But I don’t feel “anti-working-class” or “anti-just-plain-folks.”

    I get that there is some “anti-redneck” sentiment. Fine. But when we dismiss them as crass bigots, they step up and do something really fucking crass and bigoted. This is like clockwork.

    And Trump — OMG what a mess. He’s such a fake. He’s so clearly a fake, and if these people see him as “giving them voice,” then they really are the simpletons we say they are.

    And that’s pretty fucking awful, so let’s hope it ain’t the case.

    So blah. Yeah, the white working class has legitimate grievances, but as long as they center race and gender and sexuality and so on — well then they are on the wrong side and their legitimate economic woes will get drowned out by noise.

    And that really sucks. But leaders lead, and their leaders have been leading them into a cesspool.

    Which is all to say, they get to choose their own priorities. If they want to talk about jobs and economics, then let us talk about that. If they want to talk about my genitals and where I pee — well good fucking grief. But that’s the reality.

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    • This is spot on. Trump supporters are blaming the wrong forces for their economic woes. They seem to think that they will fare better under a more racist system and this probably is not true.

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      • What makes you think that and why?

        You can argue that we should be centering QTPOC bodies or whatever this week’s jargon is because it’s the right thing to do, but to say it’s win-win for everyone comes off as an unwarranted shortcut to a right answer.

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      • I like to take people at their word. If they prioritize hate over economics, I assume they care more about hate than economics. We might change their minds, some of them. But they’re not stupid. Instead, they are cruel. Let us see them truly.

        In the end what do you want? What will you fight for? We are a democracy, but even in a democracy thing are settled with power.

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      • They seem to think that they will fare better under a more racist system and this probably is not true.

        An aspect of Trump’s appeal (I suspect) is that he treats people who think like you with condign contempt. You’d like to render enforcing the immigration law something that cannot be discussed in polite company. You’d like to do that for reasons that are ignoble. Some people are sick of it.

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        • Oh nonsense. Plenty of liberals are perfectly happy to talk about immigration law reform. They just prefer solutions — like much heavier employer sanctions coupled with pathways to citizenship — that are anathema to you.

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          • Pathways to citrizenship do not make any kind of ‘solution’. They will exacerbate the problem through manufacturing perverse incentives. (And it’s another component of the Democratic Party’s vote farming operation). As for employer sanctions, the last attempt at them was short circuited by the usual lawfare operators.

            Do you ever say anything that isn’t dishonest?

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            • By your framework, probably not. Others who read these comments can judge for themselves.

              I do note, however, the wonderful shift in your commenting. First, liberals won’t talk about immigration. Second, liberal solutions won’t work. wait, what?

              As to employer sanctions, there is a legislative body, currently controlled by the Republican party, that has the power to change federal laws in response to judicial concerns. How many bills have come out of Congress that do so?

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          • Another solution to immigration is to increase the wages of the work that immigrants do, to the point where Americans will be inclined to do them.

            Right now, there is no labor competition for the work that most immigrants do, except from other immigrants.

            Ironically, if mass deportations actually happened, the resulting labor shortage might force wages higher anyway.

            Yet again, there is this weird disconnect, where sending jobs to Mexico is the favored solution by the right, and importing Mexicans to take the jobs here is the favored solution on the left.

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            • “Another solution to immigration is to increase the wages of the work that immigrants do, to the point where Americans will be inclined to do them.”

              Well we kinda already did that and called it “minimum wage, plus OSHA regs on workplace environment, plus wage taxes, plus the fact that American workers can file lawsuits over illegal employer practices without being deported”.

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            • , its my understanding that during the period of low immigration from 1920s to the 1960s most Americans did not hire other Americans to work the jobs a lot of immigrants are doing. Agricultural labor was still done by Mexicans because Latin America was not included the 1924 National Quotas Act. What wasn’t done by Mexicans was done by Filipinos, who could immigrate because we controlled the Philippines, and African-Americans in the South with a decent but non-majority of White American agricultural laborers. Wages were low.

              A lot of the other stereotypical immigrant jobs like domestic service or gardening were simply done by people for themselves. A few upper middle class types could afford an African-American to help them but this was rare. Some very few wealth people could afford the whole slew of students. Most lawn maintenance and gardening was done by the people who owned the lawns and gardens unless you were again very wealthy.

              If anything the above was more true between 1945 and 1965 than between 1924 and 1945. The wages in other fields were too high to attract most Americans to the jobs immigrants are allegedly robbing Americans of.

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              • Most lawn maintenance and gardening was done by the people who owned the lawns and gardens unless you were again very wealthy.

                There were commercial lawn and landscaping services in 1967. You didn’t have to be wealthy to employ them. People also hired the children of their neighbors.

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  7. Consider mass migration to the United States and how it has changed the fabric of communities across the nation. While immigration plays a positive role in America’s economic engine, a large segment of society is dissatisfied with the level of immigration.

    This line of thinking is a little ahistorical, no? America has always been in the midst of “mass migration,” which has always been changing the “fabric of communities across the nation” and has always seen large segments of society dissatisfied with that. That’s what America is.

    What is often not discussed in debates around immigration is the way it has changed the social and demographic character of many communities across the country.

    This is discussed all the time. The idea that Trump voters are some maligned silent majority who finally have a voice in politics is belied by the fact that I’ve been hearing people complain about these things for my entire life. Heck, this was even the overt premise behind the top-rated sitcom forty years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZngGIw5ONWE

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    • This line of thinking is a little ahistorical, no? America has always been in the midst of “mass migration,” which has always been changing the “fabric of communities across the nation” and has always seen large segments of society dissatisfied with that. That’s what America is.

      Not between the mid-1920s and the mid-60s, it wasn’t. That was a long time, it wasn’t that long ago and the full effect of the change in laws in the ’60s wasn’t felt in a lot of places for decades after that.

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      • 1970±2 is, as usual, the correct reference point for Trump: this was when the foreign-born population share hit its nadir (having declined for most of the 20th century) and began climbing back to the levels of the late 19th century, where it stands now.

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        • If 1970 is the nadir of the foreign-born population, it’s also the year that All in the Family premiered. So, in 1970 there were enough people who either recognized or were sympathetic to a white character who laments “guys like us we had it made, those were the days.”

          The people today complaining about Mexicans and Muslims were the people who then were complaining about Poles and Russians, and who before that were complaining about the blacks and the Jews and before that the Italians and before that the Irish and before that:

          Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion.

          That’s Benjamin Franklin writing in 1751. This stuff is older than Trump. This stuff is older than America.

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          • The people today complaining about Mexicans and Muslims were the people who then were complaining about Poles and Russians, and who before that were complaining about the blacks and the Jews and before that the Italians and before that the Irish and before that:

            If it helps you feel better, go with that. The rest of us remember that Archie Bunker was fiction and contrived fiction for ‘a that.

            The woman who actually owned the townhouse depicted in the opening credits was interviewed (by the Times a number of years back). She offered this about A. Bunker and her neighborhood: “no one like that ever lived here”. By some accounts, Lear based the character on family members. Lear was a 2d generation lower-middle class Jew from New England, not a non-ethnic working class man. Colonial-stock protestants are a single-digit minority in the Five Boroughs and wage-earner colonial-stock protestants a smaller minority still. One critic of Lear said he took and Irish Catholic and made him a WASP and another than he relocated Quincy, Illinois to Queens. The features of Lear’s Bunker were carefully crafted to avoid being called out and to fight his culture wars.

            Did you catch a crucial feature of Bunker’s character (which eluded Rob Reiner, among others)? He puts up with his useless son-in-law for years on end in his house for the love of his daughter, even though the son-in-law is a tiresome man-boy who grants his father-in-law neither affection nor respect. Bunker earns a living every day in a desultory warehouse job, pays his bills, pays his debts down, remains loyal to his wife (if rude to her); he’s a veteran. Bunker’s the heavy (“those people should be mariginalized, quoth Reiner) because he uses terms like ‘kike’ in private conversation. It’s the perfect encapsulation of an aspect of the liberal mentality in its shallow conceits.

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            • You mean All in the Family wasn’t a documentary!?

              I guess that you’ve completely invalidated my point. There is no history of white populism or racialist opposition to immigration in America before now. This is all a brand new phenomenon.

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            • Actually I agree with Art’s last paragraph that All In The Family unwittingly displays the myopia of the liberalism of its time, by conjuring up an imaginary proletariat while denigrating the genuine article.

              It’s like our discussions of multiculturalism, where often people create an imaginary ideal Exotic Other, then become embittered when the actual other fails to measure up.

              Many leftists, especially of the academic variety, are strangers to the working class and not very forgiving of their imperfections.

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              • Chip Daniels:
                Many leftists, especially of the academic variety, are strangers to the working class and not very forgiving of their imperfections.

                And many rightists, especially of the working class variety, are strangers to the educated and not very forgiving of their imperfections. What’s your freaking point?

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                • My point would be that the left (of which I am a card carrying member) claims as its main rallying point, to right the injustices done to the working class, as well as to the victims of oppression generally.

                  In order to speak with a genuine voice, you need to be able to be familiar with the subject, or ideally, a member of the class.

                  Archie Bunker/ John Q Trumpvoter, for all his faults, can speak about proletarian issues with a lot more clarity and authority than Mike Stivic/ Professor Egghead.

                  This doesn’t make their ideas sacred or correct; it doesn’t mean their ideas are not ill-conceived or even stupid.
                  Its just means that their voices should be given a hearing, rather than being filtered through academia.

                  I remember during Occupy, one of the Sunday chat shows had on a member of Occupy, a legitimate working class person, who made this point, asking bluntly why he was the first and probably last non-Ivy league panelist they had ever had.

                  Some of this is understandable- I mean, if you want to have a serious public policy discussion, you want to have people who are serious about public policy, and that means educated people.

                  But the concerns of the working class, the things that chafe at their sense of injustice, don’t need deep analysis or to arises from university study.

                  How many leftists were really even aware of the daily injustice of the predatory state in Ferguson? I read a fair amount, and never saw that stuff in Jacobin or Baffler or Mother Jones. Because for the people who write there, predatory fines and petty arrests don’t feature large in their life.

                  If the left was more tightly connected to the people in Ferguson, we would have had a better grasp of what was happening there.

                  And we would have a better grasp of the anger that motivates the Trump voter and how to address it.

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                  • This doesn’t make their ideas sacred or correct; it doesn’t mean their ideas are not ill-conceived or even stupid.
                    Its just means that their voices should be given a hearing, rather than being filtered through academia.

                    A thousand times this. I have to go, but I will have more to say later this evening on that, because it’s amazing how liberal politicians and liberal ‘voices’ have absolutely no idea of what the hurdles are for the working class *and* the poor, places where really small amounts of help would work wonders.

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                  • Now that I’m back, I have no idea what sort of post I should make, but honestly, this would be an interesting entire discussion.

                    Here are some ‘liberal’ issues that are vitally important to a lot of poor and working class, much more important that minimum wage laws in big cities:

                    Places like Ferguson, but you covered that.

                    Mass transit in *rural* communities. Like, a single usable bus that makes a loop of town every hour. Not asking for a lot here, just enough for some people to get to jobs without a car.

                    Here’s a fun one that gets *no* press: The right of mobile home park people to buy their own land. Poor people spend a lot of time to save up for their own mobile home…and then the park closes, the land is sold, and the house is forced to be *scrapped*. (You can’t move a mobile home after a certain amount of time, by law.) This is just…astonishingly unfair and insane, and no one says *anything* about it, because neither party actually cares about people who live in mobile homes.

                    Another: The lack of ability to get government issued ID only seems to become an issue for Democrats when it results in the inability of people to vote. Hey, jackasses, how about treating it as an issue *by itself*? How about changing it where everyone’s ID isn’t a damn driver’s license, which is only how it works by an accident of history? Issue IDs at *courthouses*…if someone wants to *drive*, they go to a DMV, and a record gets in the database that goes along with their ID. (The only people who need to know if that ID is a license to drive are car rental places, and that’s easy enough to deal with.)

                    And the big big big one: Jobs, you idiots. JOBS. JOBS.

                    See, the thing is…the problem isn’t that the left *disagrees* on policy with the rural working class on how to solve that group’s problems.

                    It’s that the left often seems to have *literally no idea* of what problems they have.

                    (This is not to say the Republicans are any better…but *they* appeal to other things.)

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                • And many rightists, especially of the working class variety, are strangers to the educated and not very forgiving of their imperfections. What’s your freaking point?

                  Who was the power? The Federal Reserve Board of Governors, probably the single most important council in the country is made up of five professors, one banker and zero warehouse workers. Academics have all the power.

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                  • And I doubt that very many waitresses at Denny’s write articles expressing sympathy for the plight of oppressed adjunct professors.

                    Unless the waitress is also an adjunct professor.

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                  • With respect, it’s really not that simple.

                    The Governors are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. So it’s mostly politicians who hold the power.

                    Monetary policy is a highly technical field. My personal preference is that the Governors who oversee and review staff proposals have the competence to understand their own staff.

                    It’s also worth noting that historically the appointments were largely nonpartisan (or so I recall). That lack of partisanship actually probably hurt labor substantially. The Reserve has the dual mandate of low inflation and low unemployment, but their actual conduct over the last 35 years has been to focus much more on keeping inflation low over keeping employment high.

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  8. “To which they, to a person, would wave it off and tell me that the whole point of Trump was that he would tear it all down and that anything would be better than the people we have running things now.”

    LTL FTC

    “Reading the responses to that piece has been quite illuminating, as one can see that the left does not understand why there has been the rise of Trump, and that even if they win this election, that these voters aren’t going away.”

    aaron david

    The longer this race goes on, the longer the sorting algorithm runs.

    And the sorting algorithm is putting both a large chunk of Trump’s core followers, and a large chunk of Bernie Sanders’s core followers, in the same bucket:

    Folks who believe in a Messiah President. Folks who believe that “The System” has been engineered and designed (by some Them) specifically to exclude those folks from the rewards of prosperity to which the folks feel rightfully entitled. The Establishment (of either party) is colluding with Them specifically to screw the folks out of their rightful place, by handing that prosperity off to some Other (immigrants, the rich, minorities, the corporate class, add some capital letters and run off your own list… the one constant is those Others don’t include People Like The Folks).

    The legitimate gripes of these folks (and both groups do have some legitimate gripes!) are clouded under two very, very broken assumptions.

    (1) Replacing The Establishment with the Messiah will address their gripes
    (2) The folks don’t have to do any other work, and don’t have to actually have coherent thoughts about what to do. It’s all about the feels.

    (Honestly… over half of these folks, on either side, are basically indistinguishable from utter crackpot conspiracy theory cranks. And historically, these folks make noise for a short period of time and then they don’t, anymore. Politically speaking.)

    The dull, boring, time-consuming, pedantic, dry, soul-sucking reality is that in order to actually get what you want, you have to convince a majority of constituents that what you want is legitimate, through painstaking participation in the political process, agitating at multiple layers of government, organizing, giving up your free time and a large chunk of your personal priorities, and getting involved in doing the work that changes The System to produce outcomes… that you actually like. That’s no fun. Holding signs and shouting about what you’re pissed about is way more fun.

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    • I’m going to point out — again — that there is always a Sanders in the Democratic race, and has been every primary that didn’t involve a sitting Democratic President up for reelection.

      The only difference this year was the Sanders Candidate was the only other candidate.

      That’s pretty unusual.

      If you’d thrown, oh, Biden in there maybe — Sanders would have been almost as big an afterthought as O’Malley. He’d have been the Howard Dean of 2016. But nobody likes foregone conclusions (except for the aforementioned ‘up for reelection’ thing) and no candidate (outside of that) has gone on to a cakewalk. There’s always competition, there’s always an underdog, there’s always people who will look at Clinton or Obama or Romney and say “Eh, I guess, but I’d prefer someone else. Who else do we have?” during the primary.

      Now Trump…Trump wasn’t the “only other choice” in the field for everyone to coalesce around. Trump clawed his way through a dozen other candidates (well, 6 serious candidates).

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    • The dull, boring, time-consuming, pedantic, dry, soul-sucking reality is that in order to actually get what you want, you have to convince a majority of constituents that what you want is legitimate, through painstaking participation in the political process,

      The political system is wretchedly dysfunctional and elected institutions have been altogether replaced. The way anything gets done is a mix of lawfare, lobbying, and through professional guilds who function as attentive publics or within the apparat. There is no ready pathway to restoring representative institutions.

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      • The system is not dysfunctional. The US is, and will remain for some time, the richest and most powerful nation this planet has ever known.
        Dysfunctional is Syria or North Korea or Somalia.
        There are problems which we as a people should attempt to solve, but we are doing far better than any other country has ever done.
        Our problems stem, in part, from the internet culture and the constant outrage promulgated by the media so that they can make more money.
        As we have grown richer and safer we have gotten more sensitive to slighter affronts to our positions (or privilege). A dark spot looks worse on a white garment.

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    • “Folks who believe in a Messiah President.” Such as Obama voters?

      “The dull, boring, time-consuming, pedantic, dry, soul-sucking reality is that in order to actually get what you want, you have to convince a majority of constituents that what you want is legitimate, through painstaking participation in the political process, agitating at multiple layers of government, organizing, giving up your free time and a large chunk of your personal priorities, and getting involved in doing the work that changes The System to produce outcomes… that you actually like…” Which is pretty much what the D’s have failed to do in the last few years, instead blaming everything that moves other than themselves for the rise of other political groups after running the table in ’08.

      There is always going to be give-and-take in politics, as coalitions are formed and disolved. The big lesson that I am taking away from all of this is really that, for the most part, neither party wants to work with the other party to actually get what a majority wants done. You can say “well, we D’s tried with the ACA” But did they really try to bridge the gap? I would say no. There are many parts of the ACA that could have been favorable to the R poloi, kneecapping the leadership of the R’s and helping to build a strong coalition that included majorities of both political persuations, such as the medicade expansion mentioned above. Things which the leadership of the R’s* didn’t do, focusing on tax cuts in the meantime. Instead the D’s went after an Elections have Consequences policy. And they did. Just not the ones the D’s wanted.

      Does any of this directly lead to a Trump or Sanders? No, but it does create a vacuum that they fill.

      * It has become obvious that the R leadership doesn’t understand their constituancies either, giving us a bottom up revolution on the right, starting with the T-party.

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      • At the risk of derailing the topic does the fact that the GOP leadership is on record saying that health care reform would be Obama’s Waterloo and that nothing he could have offered would have garnered their support not figure in your opinion on this at all?

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        • It’s not their support that matters, it’s how the populus as a whole feels about the law. Republican leaders can say whatever they want, but if the people liked the law, it wouldn’t matter one whit. Getting a law that gained even 50% continual support from the public is what he needed.That would give him the leverage to actually make a successful pitch that would work, allow him to build on the idea that he truly was a president for all Americans (and better at politics, not incidentally.

          Waterloo is a word for great defeat not because the English said it would be a place were Napolean would be stopped, but because that is where they stopped him.

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          • We’ve been around this particular merry-go-round before, but let me try this angle instead of the ones I’ve used in the past. If the ACA is so unpopular, why are we still waiting on the R’s to produce their much-promised Repeal-and-Replace plan?

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            • Dunno , maybe they don’t think there is anything that can be done at this point that would 1. help 2. get past the president without being used by him and Trump to beat them like red-headed step children (I am familiar with this, as I am a red-headed step child.)

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              • Aaron, you do know the R’s have had like 50+ votes to repeal the ACA and have been beating the drum that the ACA is the worst thing ever and must be killed with fire since the day after it was past. It’s not like their is much negotiating room on that position.

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                • Greg, the negotiating room is going out and getting votes. You do that by stating positions that the people want, and then following threw on those if you have the votes in congress. If you don’t you hop up on that bully pulpit, and get your word out. (Not hard for this admin with this media) What you dont do is push a bill through when the public is sending every sign (Mass electing a Repub, zero crossover support, etc) that what you are forcing down their necks is something they don’t want.

                  Look, I know “R’s have had like 50+ votes to repeal the ACA and have been beating the drum that the ACA is the worst thing ever and must be killed with fire since the day after it was past. It’s not like their is much negotiating room on that position.” The negotiating room is with the voters, who can get them into the booths come November. Why do they have those votes? Why aren’t the votes on the side of the D’s? The senate isn’t geremandered, so that isn’t the answer. How many districts in the house are? How did the left loose so many districts in the states that this could happen? Those are the real questions.

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            • Chait says the Republicans have no plan

              Drum says that the GOP has a plan but they know it won’t work and can’t figure out the marketing angle yet. Once they get the marketing, we will hear about it.

              I think the Times ran an article that most, maybe all, of the gains done under the ACA were by minorities because they were previously denied health insurance and happen to live in blue states that went along with the ACA.

              So there could be a white resentment issue to ACA opposition.

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              • Chait says the Republicans have no plan

                Drum says that the GOP has a plan but they know it won’t work and can’t figure out the marketing angle yet. Once they get the marketing, we will hear about it.

                A pair of partisan Democrats who scribble for a living and have zero background in public policy, actuarial studies, underwriting, insurance sales, personnel management, or hospital administration are just the pair to tell us all about it.

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          • Okay so talk past the representatives to their voters and get their voters on board who will then force their representatives to go along. When was the last time any politician ever achieved that?

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            • I never said it was easy , but the game ain’t easy.

              But one question, how did Obama get elected in the first place? Shouldn’t all those people have just gone with McCain? How did they run the table in ’08? (OK, OK thats three, but you get my point.)

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              • Well the answer is Obama campaigned explicitly on healthcare reform (among other things). And McCain said that what Obama was proposing was far too much and allowed that maybe the GOP would tinker around the edges of the status quos. The electorate considered both those positions and handed Obama and his party a landslide victory and full control of both houses.
                So with regards to your position most liberals would say Obama already had done what you had suggested he do, the electorate spoke and supported him and he was moving to fulfill his campaign promise.

                That is why talk like yours about how Browns victory (over an especially inept candidate) and opposition drummed up by the right wing political apparatus represented the entire electorate telling Obama to stop gets so little sympathy. When did that small fraction of people suddenly trump national elections? And where are the republicans talking past the Democrats to the Democratic voters about what they want to replace the ACA with? Why couldn’t they even bring themselves to admit in places like Kentucky that they would pull people out of the ACA exchanges? Odd that they never have anything to offer on that subject wouldn’t you say? I mean sure the ACA, partisan totem that it’s been made into, polls around the 50% mark but its particular policies when presented in a non-partisan context are pretty well received.

                I still think Frum, in his despair, actually outlined how it went down pretty clearly here http://www.frumforum.com/waterloo/ probably why he got written out of the right for it.

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                • Obama and his party a landslide victory and full control of both houses.

                  Pre-2008, ‘landslide’ was not used to describe a plurality with fewer than two digits to the left of the decimal point. While we’re at it, the Democratic Party already had control of both houses of Congress. They lost control of the House in a rare shellacking just months after jamming through Obamacare. Ever wonder why?

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                  • Getting the Presidency, the House and a filibuster proof majority of the Senate sure seems landslide like to me.

                    As to how they lost it? Realization that the Hope’n Change was Pollyannaish and that people have genuine disagreements; the continuing misery of the Great Recession; typical midterm malaise for the left and certainly disappointment/energized outrage over the ACA covers it in my mind. What the GOP did not get, however, was an electoral mandate to repeal it which is why they had to resort to extra-legislative tantrums to try and accomplish it.

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                    • Doesn’t matter what it seems to you. The term is not used that way.

                      The Democratic Party took control of Congress before Obama was notably prominent, so I’m not sure why you’d attribute that to him. They managed to lose it in short order. Hmmm…

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                • ” Obama campaigned explicitly on healthcare reform (among other things)”

                  And how did that work out for him?

                  “That is why talk like yours about how Browns victory (over an especially inept candidate) and opposition drummed up by the right wing political apparatus represented the entire electorate telling Obama to stop gets so little sympathy.”

                  And what happened next? 2010 was a banner year for the left…

                  There are three possibilities that I see:
                  1. No matter how much good the D’s thought it would do, Obama couldn’t sell it to America. He just wasn’t a good enough politician
                  2. It was one of the things he campaigned on, but it wasn’t what the country was listening to. In other words, he was elected for economic reasons, not healthcare reasons.
                  3. R’s totally demagogued it, poisoning everyones minds.

                  Obama could just be political inept, not being able to sell it. But as he did get it through, I don’t think that is it. If there is some other sign that shows that he law is secretly popular, I haven’t seen it. By this point, it would show as being popular if it was. It still isn’t. There are some real cracks showing in the foundations of it, and that doesn’t bod well for the law at this point, not unless there is a real transition in the house this election. And even if there is, how many of the new, and old, reps want to risk getting ousted again over the law?

                  So, yes, you do have to go around the R’s and get the people on your side with the laws you mean to pass. But you can’t fuck them when you do. Otherwise, you give control of congress to a party that you thought should be down licking its wounds for a few cycles. As the Obama adminastration did.

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                  • Well healthcare reform was and is a deeply difficult policy issue and the public’s understanding of the issues basically amounts to wanting to have their cake and eat it too.

                    How did healthcare reform work out for him? Middling. He’s now overseen a historic presidency with some huge policy achievements under his belt. Yes, the Democratic party lost ground in 2010, if you think that they’d have lost less ground if they’d sold out their own party by not doing what they campaigned on doing I’ve some bridges to sell you. 2010 was written in blood for the Dems early on based on the onslaught of the Great Recession and the number of seats they had to defend. No doubt the ACA was no help and some harm but I’d say it was more salt in the wound nevertheless.

                    I’d note that based on your own principles the ACA survived the verdict of the electorate because the GOP was never awarded enough power to repeal it and they have entirely failed to convince the electorate that they have a better idea (not surprising since for the last 6-7 years they have had no actual policy proposal on healthcare beyond repeal and replace).

                    The ACA is big big middling program and obviously needs to be tinkered with but considering all the dire threats conservatives made (none of which have come true [yet anyhow]) it’s done pretty well. That will have to wait probably until we have a better idea of where it falls on the smashing success-crushing disaster spectrum (my bet, somewhere between improvement on the status quos and mild success) and the GOP figures out who the hell they are.

                    Still I don’t really want to re-re-litigate the ACA itself, I was more curious about the idea you have about how government needs to be by nearly entire consensus. It sounds like a recipe for total inaction but then considering your predilections, republican leaning libertarian, that shouldn’t be surprising. I’d presume that policies that downsized government wouldn’t have to meet such a high bar? I just haven’t seen it dressed up as some kind of high principle before.

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                    • Nor do I want to relitigate the ACA, so we are good there!

                      But ” I was more curious about the idea you have about how government needs to be by nearly entire consensus.” Mmm, well, you can only get the people so far if they really don’t want to go there, and right now, we have a massively divided electorate. So, either Obama needs to do some serious politicking, that doesn’t piss off the voters, or be a placeholder. Sucks kinda, but there you go.

                      Very few leaders get to pull an FDR or Churchill. The most they get is the opportunity to be a Bill Clinton, which means triangulate. The members of the party hate that, as they voted in someone who supposedly shares their values. Clinton had four years with a D congress, house and senate. And then he got a R congress, forcing him to triangulate. This isn’t something that I like, it just is.

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                      • Well sure but the implication of what you’re talking about cuts the opposite way: people are divided so when the stars align and you get control of the legislatures you should act and indeed it’s incumbent on you to act. Obama got some historic accomplishments and all it cost was short term partial control of the government. For anyone on his side of the aisle that would seem like a good deal. As Frum put it in his mournful diatribe “politics is short term but policy is forever”. I’d say Obama made the right choice; he was going to be hated by the right no matter what but if he’d just stood pat he’d be hated by his own side as well.

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                • North: Obama campaigned explicitly on healthcare reform

                  Yes, but he explicitly rejected the idea of a mandate to purchase — that was one of the ways he distinguished his plan from his D competitors.

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                  • “Obama’s strong objection to the government forcing people to buy insurance in order to get to universal coverage vanished six months into his presidency. In July of 2009, he came out in favor of a mandate, claiming that he had changed his mind.

                    Either Obama was suddenly persuaded that such a sweeping use of government power was necessary, or he had believed it all along and only took the other side because it would position him better politically. Either way, the American people voted for a candidate who strongly opposed an individual mandate, but got a president who strongly favored one and, it turned out, would make enacting health-coverage reforms that included a mandate his top legislative goal.”

                    From The Atlantic.

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      • A lot of liberals despair that many other liberals tend to believe in President Messiah. We want them to realize that local, state, Federal elections for Congress count just as much as Presidential ones. We struggle with why can’t they get off their butts and vote on election day in non-Presidential years like many Republicans can.

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      • ““Folks who believe in a Messiah President.” Such as Obama voters? ”

        Every once in a very long there may be an alignment of your “Messiah President” voters with a candidate who is actually pretty much a run of the mill left-of-center technocrat who gets the median voter’s vote, as well.

        (But, you’ll note that a pretty large swath of the “Hope and Change” voters are the ones most disillusioned with the Obama presidency).

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  9. Are Trumps supporters really attracted to anything aside from the man? This seems like it’s more of a cult of personality combined with a primal scream combined with none of the above than any sort of rational political movement. Why aren’t their any less vulgar Trumps running in primaries or the regular Rs running grabbing that message in House and Senate races. It feels to me that we’re trying to reverse engineer meaning when there’s nothing there.

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      • Paladino was not notably vulgar. In any case, he was running against Andrew Cuomo, who is not refined.

        The last classy person to serve as Governor of New York was Malcolm Wilson. Govs. Carey and Patterson were satisfactory, Cuomo-pere was weird and vindictive, and Pataki was sly and contemptuous.

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        • The point about Trump politicians is not the vulgar part, but the platform part. Are there politicians that have Trump’s “pro-working class policies” without the vulgarity?

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          • What counts as a ‘pro-working class policy’? Keeping in mind that most wage earners live in owner occupied housing, I’d suggest the following:

            1. Mindful about property taxes.

            2. Mindful about the content of public schooling and mindful about school discipline. In particular, making policy with the assumption it is not the business of the public schools to attempt to persuade the young that the outlook of their mother and father is wrong.

            3. Mindful about higher education, not merely costs but programs adapted to the concerns and purposes of wage-earners.

            4. Mindful about public order and hygiene (applies to inner-city wage earners, primarily).

            5. Mindful about social ethics: the politician respects the judgments of ordinary people about what can properly be expected of people and designs policies accordingly. (I.e. don’t think like a social worker and don’t babble about things which interest student affairs apparatchiks).

            6. Mindful about commonplace concretes. Potholes, not ‘poverty’.

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            • That’s all pretty much local politics stuff. What I meant is that supposedly, Trump is seen as friendlier to working class Republicans because he is less focused on economic policies, entitlement reform and tax cuts favored by the “donor class” and is focused on things like trade, immigration, etc. that has been mobilizing the working class but ignored by typical Republican politicians.

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              • Well. supposedly. Federal income taxes are not much of a concrete concern for most wage-earners because the real bite is FICA.

                The trouble with ‘entitlement reform’ is that attempts are readily subject to demagoguery and people emotionally invested in certain notions (e.g. they should be able to see a doctor without a deductible or should be able to retire at the same age their grandfather did) can get remarkably fuzzy upstairs when you suggest that, ultimately, the ratio of the retired to the working has to reach a plateau (ergo the retirement age needs to increase for each cohort pari passu with changes in life expectancy at given ages) or that if you don’t ration with prices, you have to ration with coupons or queues.

                Ted Cruz is good at explaining things, but I’ve found in these discussions that some people are not open to being explained to.

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                • The conclusion is that we must keep working longer, and have shorter more meager retirements than previous generations.

                  So a reasonable wage earner might hear this, coupled with the cheery insistence that globalization has created a great and wonderful world, with higher levels of prosperity than the world has ever known, then wonder just who the hell is enjoying this highest level of prosperity if it only leads to lower wages and shorter retirements for me and my family.

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                  • Let’s not forget that early in the campaign Trump was stating that many workers needed to accept lower salaries.

                    Prosperity for me, not for thee. And he’s leading the R delegate count. It’s a funny old world, ain’t it.

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                        • @chip-daniels

                          Let me see if I can split the difference. A lot of assumptions in economics are based on wealth increasing because of radically lowered prices and constantly slashing prices.

                          There is a lot of truth to this. What I don’t see many discussions about is that most people can both benefit and suffer from the fanatical adherence to slashing prices.

                          Lots of relatively new law grads are not benefiting from lowered salaries from the law school bust. I suppose it would be okay but SF is not going to have lower housing prices anytime soon. I suppose I could move but that would involve not seeing my girlfriend and possibly breaking up with her. Her much better career is firmly rooted in SF. So that is quite a dilemma for me and probably many other people.

                          The people benefitting from the law school bust and over supply of lawyers are not ordinary citizens who suddenly find affordable legal services. They are partners at firms and rich corporate clients. So it feels like the haves are becoming the have mores.

                          Now I know frustration is a funny thing. It can seem infinite and then disappear suddenly seemingly. But when you are in it, it crushes.

                          So maybe the laws of supply and demand explain job situations and frustrations well but that doesn’t mean they are fun to experience. Impersonal market forces are impersonal but being told tough luck by the haves is infuriating.

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                          • I’m not talking about supply and demand or market forces. I’m saying that some Americans have this sense that just because they were born to American citizenship they have some undeniable right to increasing material property now and favor.

                            Why? What did we do to deserve that? What are we doing now to maintain it? People can CO pkain all they want and shout about how unfair it is, but the world doesn’t care about our sense of unfairness.

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                            • because it was what they were taught for all of their lives and it has been true enough for most American history. You can’t blame people for believing in what they have been taught by the authority figures in their life when they were young. We might find the class based ideology of old world countries with hierarchical social systems revolting but those systems tended to be very clear on what people could realistically expect in life. This conflicts with the general optimism of the American ideology.

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                          • I think one reason for the dichotomy is that globalization isn’t a uniformly distributed benefit.
                            Some jobs are offshored, others arent; some goods and services are globalized, others arent.

                            The factory worker who made toilets saw his job go to China while the plumber did not.
                            I earn a first world income, but go shopping in the third world at Target.
                            This discrepancy is exhilarating but precarious and unsustainable.
                            My customers, the people who rent the buildings i design, are both the gainfully employed plumber and the laid off toilet factory worker.

                            Economists will tell us that this will reach an equilibrium, but that just confirms the fear of the Trump voter that his income will move farther towards the Bangladesh level than theirs will towards ours.
                            And the architects of globalization will not share in the pain one bit.

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                            • I generally think economists are right. Things will balance out. The problems are:

                              1. This could take decades. Possibly 2-3 generations, depending on the industry.

                              2. People are creatures of the here and now.

                              3. Your observation on the architects of globalization are absolutely right.

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                        • Supply and Demand does not work in perfect tandem basically and the prices of some key things like housing, health, and education seem to move up rather than down and consume more and more budget.

                          So if housing prices were going down as wages went down, people might be less angry.

                          Or other key things.

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                        • A girl needs a lovely violet phone dammit!

                          (Truth be told, I was annoyed at the limited color choices I had for the free phone my employer gave out at Christmas. So yeah.)

                          (I think there is some “gender stuff” going on, though. In fact, I never get any good swag from my employer, cuz everything they have is by-and-for men, with limited sizes and styles available for we gals. In many ways it sucks to be a woman in tech.)

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                        • Far better than the kid whose mom scrimped and saved to get a Playstation 4, and then when she gave it to him for his birthday, he threw it at her head because it was the wrong color.

                          And then she talks about exactly how special and unique her son is, and how we ought to value his specialness and uniqueness.

                          People create their own private hells.

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                  • The conclusion is that we must keep working longer, and have shorter more meager retirements than previous generations.

                    I used to have in my possession an issue of Labour & Industry, a British publications, which hit the stands around 1946. There was one article about retirement that included some survey data. It seemed that 36% of British public employees were looking forward to retiring.

                    A set of my great-grandparents retired in 1945, a consequence of being octogenarians still able to travel and take stairs but not, in the judgement of their sons, able to look after themselves anymore. They lived with one 3 months of the year and one 9 months of the year in cramped homes.

                    In 1940, the future life expectancy of an American of 65 was 12 years and change. Now it is 18 years and change. In 1940, about 65% of a given birth cohort could expect to live to the age of 65. As we speak, 77% can.

                    The notion that we are in danger of ‘shorter and more meagre’ retirements than previous generations is a confusion of yours, and not one I suspect anyone can talk you out of.

                    People live longer. People have fewer children than they used to and the size ratio of later cohorts to earlier cohorts has declined. You can either have the retirement age on an escalator to compensate for that or have ever escalating payroll taxes to support elderly who are healthier than my grand-parents ever dreamed of being in their 70s. Math doesn’t bow to fantasy.

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                        • That was a response to Chip’s comment on globalization.

                          SS is one if the few areas that Trumpnhasnt tried to blame foreigners. 50/50 that he will find a way eventually.

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                      • People live longer. People have fewer children than they used to and the size ratio of later cohorts to earlier cohorts has declined. You can either have the retirement age on an escalator to compensate for that or have ever escalating payroll taxes to support elderly who are healthier than my grand-parents ever dreamed of being in their 70s. Math doesn’t bow to fantasy.


                        Why have to do difficult math when it’s easier to blame foreigners?

                        The fact that 3.7 workers used to support a single Social Security recipient in 1970, and 2.9 support one now, of course means belts should be tightened, it’s obvious! Less people means less work, so they need to work more to support the same amount of non-working people…if you completely ignore the fact that worker’s productivity has *doubled*.

                        We’re living in an absurd farce if you inspect what is going on:

                        Let X equal the total amount of hours that people had in their life, and during that, they would produce 1X hour-units of work, get paid 0.5X pay(1), and the government could take 20% of that pay (0.1X) of the pay to support retirees.

                        Now, they produce, thanks to automation, 2X hour-units of work. And they still get paid 0.5X, the government is still taking 0.1X, but now it’s not enough. And people are standing around insisting that X needs to go up, that people need to work more over their lifetime.

                        But to think that, everyone has to willfully ignore the fact that if that 0.5X had changed into 1X, *like it should have*, or even to 0.7X, we’d not have any problem at all funding retirement. (Not just the government system…people might actually have some retirement savings.)

                        And here is where people expect the rant about where the productivity gains went instead of into wages…but…nope. You get no explanation from me on that topic, because I think it’s pretty obvious and I’m sick and tired to having to defend it. Nope, I’m leaving it completely unexplained.

                        Instead, people who say the American people need to ‘work more’ to cover retirees are *themselves* invited to explain where those productivity gains went, *and* then to justify those gains going there.

                        All I know that if it took a specific amount of time and effort for people to put food on someone’s table in 1970, and it takes *half* that time and effort now, (And the increase in productivity is pretty well documented.) there should be no problem supporting 25% more retirees per working person. Especially when you start by factoring in the fact the working people should only have to work half as much to feed *themselves* to start with. The *baseline* should have shrunk the amount of work to half…and then, dammit, we’d have to work another 15% or so to support slightly more retirees! A five hour workweek, quelle horreur!

                        So…perhaps people are upset at WHEREVER those increases in productivity went, instead of being bad at math.

                        1) The exact fraction here is not important. People might be getting paid half of what their value adds, they might be getting paid 70%, they might be getting paid 10%. Who the hell knows? The point is their ‘value add’ doubled over the last half-century, and their pay did not.

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                        • Well yeah, you want to use facts and figures.

                          I prefer to use the absurdity of the dueling narratives we hear:
                          A. Global capitalism has done an amazing job of increasing wealth- we are much better off in every way than we were in 1970!
                          B. America is broke, and can’t afford to have tuition-free college like we did in 1970.
                          A. Technology has done an amazing job of making us more productive- we have to labor only half as much to produce. twice as much!
                          B. We are broke, and everyone has to work longer and harder and adjust to a lower wage.

                          I mean its this weird, Stalin-esque bending of reality where everything is so much better, yet worse, and getting better and better still, while utter ruin crouches on our doorstep.

                          The Austerians insist that we must , absolutely must, be filled with dread and alarm so that lifeboat ethics and pain and sacrifice is our only salvation.
                          Yet the Treasury is so flush that massive cuts to tax revenue are warranted.

                          And on and on. The carrot of a bright shiny future of robot butlers and 30 hour workweek keeps dangling in front of us, yet the treadmill keeps racing faster and faster.

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                          • For some reason this comment is replying down thread, but all 4 of your A,B, etc. points are correct, with the last being the least correct. These economic and social changes are happening at the same time, and it’s complicated. There are, and have always been, winners and losers with each new development. The vast majority of Americans, and indeed all people on earth, are living better lives in a material sense than 50 or even 20 years ago.

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                    • Regardless of living longer, fewer and fewer Americans have anything other that SS to rely on.
                      Both and seem to saying similar things, that we need to adjust ourselves to declining wages and material prosperity.

                      Which seems to me like we are moving in the wrong direction.

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                      • Well, personally I have not had to adjust to lower wages or longer hours or shit like that. My job is posh.

                        Do I deserve it? Maybe. I dunno. I’m super smart and I do math for fun. So like, it came easy to me. On the other hand, I didn’t finish high school and I taught myself, and I actually did the hard work to learn hard things all on my own without much help. That paid off big.

                        I feel pretty fucking proud of it all.

                        But do I deserve it, more than the machinist who worked his hands raw, or the coal miner dude, whose lungs are barely holding, and his wife and kids and grandkids end up with not much at all.

                        Cuz I didn’t end up in software cuz I had some great insight. I ended up in software cuz I love it and my folks were solid upper middle class and my middle school had computers when most did not. And I was ADHD freak girl with a weird brain that couldn’t social but sure could math.

                        I taught myself to program and never stopped. Cuz it’s really fun. I was the weirdo punker dropout kid who lugged around her copy of the Feynman Lectures on Physics, just cuz.

                        And the guy who grew up turning wrenches and dreaming of engine lathes — he found that fun.

                        I can’t do that shit. I suck at using my hands. If life depends on my building something physical, we are all doomed.

                        But software eats the world. So I win. He loses.

                        There ain’t no “fair,” but that guy gets to vote the same as me, and if capitalism is a raw deal, you can’t expect him not to notice and want something else.

                        Cuz there ain’t no “fair” regarding who gets the guillotine and who does not. Vote smart.

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                      • Come again? I did not say anything about wages. I said the ratio of the retired to the working population needs to be a constant. It’s a common meme that wages have declined or that we’ve had ‘forty years of stagnation’. It isn’t true. Mass immigration does have some unsalutary effects for the bottom quarter of the labor force.

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                        • What the heck is an “unsalutary effect?” Does it have any effect on wages?

                          I was putting together the various things we hear about globalization, some of which you said, some said by others. It seems to go like this:
                          1. Globalization is great because it makes cheaper prices!

                          2. Globalization makes Americans compete with 3rd world wages, driving them lower – but Americans are spoiled and lazy and need to adjust to this.

                          3. Globalization combined with privatizing of pensions means Americans need to work longer before they retire- but again, Americans are spoiled and lazy and need to work harder.

                          4. Changing demographics means that we can either cut SS benefits, delay retirement, or hike FICA. So of course we should do either of the first two, but never the last because Americans are spoiled and lazy and need to work harder.

                          5. The fluid and dynamic nature of global commerce means that the job market churns rapidly, stripping away any security for anyone. But once again- Americans are spoiled and lazy and need to work harder.

                          I mean, really- that’s the nut of what we have heard here, there and other places where this gets discussed.

                          So it seems like the only promise of globalism is a future where we all work harder, longer, for less money and less security.

                          Helluva campaign slogan, that.

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                          • FICA has been jacked up multiple times in the last 40 years. That aside, it falls more heavily on the impecunious than it does on the affluent.

                            Trade liberalization has been policy since 1933. Nearly all the fruit has been picked from that tree and ‘trade agreements’ no longer devote much text to merchandise trade. There are some welfare benefits from cross border trade. I think now you get a mess of cross border trade in manufactured production inputs like auto parts, which I don’t think was common in the past.

                            Technologial innovation is disorienting for people in certain trades. Not sure what one can do about that that do not involve manufacturing political property rights a la New York’s taxi medallions. Allowing companies to import workers on H1B visas and compel the native labor force to train their replacements is begging for a pitchforks and peasants revolt. All work-permit visas need to be discontinued.

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                        • Mass immigration does have some unsalutary effects for the bottom quarter of the labor force.

                          I doubt, though I am open to seeing the data.

                          Much more likely is that you’ve got the causality backwards. That is, Americans’ reserve wage has risen, leading lots of the native born to withdraw from the labor market and immigrants came to fill the jobs that Americans didn’t want.

                          ps to – that is a hell of a list of straw man, unattributed assertions. Care to place any of those points in the context of an actual real-life example?

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                          • Much more likely is that you’ve got the causality backwards.

                            “Much more likely” requires Occam’s razor be dispensed with (because inconvenient for open borders pushers).

                            George Borjas has been producing academic articles on this subject for 20+ years.

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                            • George Borjas has been producing academic articles on this subject for 20+ years.

                              So has David Card. Are we actually going to address the literature or do you just bring up Borjas for signalling purposes?

                              That Occam’s razor comment means nothing, unless you want to explain why your explanation is simpler than mine. The expansion of unskilled labor just happens to have coincided with both (1) the expansion of social services and government transfers and with (2) the creation of a great deal of wealth at the right ends of the wealth and income distribution (ie a lot of Americans suddenly had more money to spend on consumption). With both of those trends, you would expect to see more and more native-born Americans withdrawing from the unskilled and semi-skilled labor market.

                              Also, notice what happened during the housing crisis. Mexican immigration to the U.S. went negative as all those construction jobs dried up. That would suggest that migration is reactive to conditions in the labor market and not the other way around.

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                              • That Occam’s razor comment means nothing, u

                                No, it means precisely what it says. You’re offering a Rube Goldberg explanation to replace a parsimonious explanation.

                                As for Dr. Borjas, you’re free to assemble a bibliography of his writings and read them yourself.

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                                • No. It means nothing. It is an attempt to win an argument by assertion. I explained the mechanism behind my reasoning. It’s right there for everyone to read, in plain English. If you want to respond, why not respond in a like manner?

                                  I show my work. If you’re not going to do the same, why even bother typing? All the rest is window dressing.

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                          • No one is saying Americans are spoiled and lazy, that they are like these people who complain about getting an IPhone in white instead of black?

                            No one is questioning why Americans demand a rising level of prosperity?

                            There aren’t think tanks and long pieces regularly published about how Americans need to work longer and retire later?

                            No one is suggesting that unless American workers accept lower wages, their jobs will be sent to China, or given to a Mexican immigrant?

                            There aren’t articles written extolling “disruption” and its bastard child, the “gig” economy, wherein no one works for very long or has any sort of employment security?

                            Or maybe its better to approach from a different angle.

                            Point out the politician or party that has as its claim that our children will be able to work fewer hours, for more pay, with more security.

                            Or hell, any one of those even.

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                            • Chip, the work-longer-retire-later counsel has nothing to do with trade patterns. It has to do with total fertility rates, life expectancy, and characteristics of alternatives. The alternative is jack up FICA forever. Open borders pushers fancy we can postpone that by importing ever larger streams of Mexicans in younger age groups. This is another strategy with drawbacks.

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                            • People say a lot of rhetorical isht. I’m honestly not that interested in arguing over how people position themselves in regards to economic arguments. I’m interested in the economic arguments themselves.

                              If someone sells you magic beans and all that grows is a houseplant, you can make demands of the plant all you want. It is what it is and it ain’t going to change. You might want to go find the person who sold you the beans in the first place, but chances are that he’s spent the money and moved on to some other con.

                              If you think that being an American means that you deserve nothing but perpetually increasing wealth for a perpetually decreasing amount of work and that getting that is just a matter of political will, then more power to you. Honestly, I hope that you’re right. I’d rather be wealthy and wrong then be proven right in this situation.

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                  • Chip Daniels: The conclusion is that we must keep working longer, and have shorter more meager retirements than previous generations.

                    This is the exact opposite of reality, which is that a big part of the reason entitlement reform is an issue is that people are starting work later (more education), living longer in retirement, and receiving more cash and benefits per year than previous generations.

                    The other major reason is that the Boomers had fewer children than previous generations, which should have allowed them to save more money.

                    Entitlement reform isn’t about giving future generations a worse retirement than previous generations; it’s about holding the growth to a sustainable level. Spending on Social Security and Medicare grew from 5.4% of GDP in 1980 to 7.9% in 2012 despite more modest growth in the over-65 population (11% to 14%) and substantial growth in real per-capita GDP, and is projected to continue growing as a percentage of GDP at a similar pace over the next several decades without entitlement reform.

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              • That’s a good question (I know because I’ve asked it myself :-) )… I have only two meager thoughts – neither of which is fully satisfactory to my mind.

                1. The Reformocon positions were just too wonky and incrementalist to inspire any sort of rallying point.

                2. This (unlike all other issues) really hits where the donor class lives… and only Trump could afford to be oblivious to the obvious.

                3. *Bonus* Possibly Trump’s accidental discovery of this nexus happened so quickly that no-one could pivot… I mean, I was skeptical that such a thing really was as big as it is until actual votes were being cast – and I’m on the outside right looking in. For actual Republicans and Movement Republicans… inconceivable.

                That’s all I’ve got, though I continue to ruminate on it. I’ll be amazed if Republican Humpty is put back together the same way… so 2018/20 might be the really interesting years.

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        • You are leaving one recent governor out :), and I am sorry to be deprived of your two adjective summary of his (pre-scandal, of course) gubernatorial persona.

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          • No two adjectives are handy. He’s a lawyer and unscrupulous in ways you expect crusading lawyers to be, especially Democrats (see Megan McArdle on this point). His vindictive qualities (his aides siccing the state police on his adversaries) had already gotten him into hot water. His expenditure patterns were stupefying. The amount he spent on hookers could have sent one of his daughters through one of our adequate state universities. I guess I did wonder if his wife had put him out on the couch. The one affecting thing he had to say was that he went into law and politics out of a weird sort of shame. His father was a fabulously successful real-estate developer: “If I succeeded, they’d say look what he started with; if I failed, they’d say look what he ruined”.

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            • Thank you – much better than two adjectives. Most of the facts I already knew, but I did not know the anecdote about why he went into law and politics. Indeed, he was playing the part of a Caesar who needed to be above suspicion, and he wasn’t.

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  10. Dand: In the Pacific Northwest the entire timber industry was destroy in order to protect a few owls.

    Which pacific northwest? The one on earth (where logging is still a big thing, though thankfully at a rate where another Tillamook burn can’t happen) or the one that exists inside your head?

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      • IIRC, the controversy over the spotted owl had to do with logging on old growth forest, which is a single-digit share of total forest resources. I’m acquainted with resource economists (not tree huggers) who have been very dubious about logging old growth because of environmental services associated with old growth. You’re not going to more than nick the timber industry if you sequster old growth.

        One thing you might do is pass a constitutional amendment that prohibits any authority from assessing property taxes on woodland. Property taxes introduce a bias toward deforestation. You could then liquidate federal forest inventories, transferring the old growth and bits and pieces to the National Park Service or the Fish and Wildlife Service ”ere putting the rest up for auction. Trees are crops, and timber companies will maintain their crops as long as distortions like property taxes are not introduced. If necessary, you can stablilitze global forest inventories via things like bounties for tree planting and severance taxes for harvesting.

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        • I’m wary of making any parcel of land “tax free” — but how about a more… constant tax? If a parcel is designated “timber country” you ought to keep taxing it the same even if sometimes it’s been clear cut, and sometimes it’s got tall trees on it. (You might want some sort of contract saying “I promise I will treat this as timber country for the next 20 years”).

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          • Property taxes promote environmental damage. That’s true in urban environments and the countryside. They’re useful for certain things, so you should not eliminate them entirely, merely selectively replace them (e.g. exempting woodlands and slums).

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        • In California at least, the spotted owl and marbled murrelet were used as indicator species to bring the power of the Endangered Species Act to bear on privately owned old growth. I was one of the attorneys who represented MAXXAM / Pacific Lumber Company in the Headwaters Forest transaction. And yes, old growth forest has enormous recreational and environmental values.

          The US Forest Service for years was known as one of the most poorly run government agencies, essentially serving at the beck and call of the timber industry despite statutory obligations that mandated a broader perspective. That has slowly changed. The idea of selling off its lands comes up on a regular basis and never gets anywhere, pretty much for the same reason that selling off the Federal landholdings in Nevada never goes anywhere — no one wants to own the land. Timber companies prefer low-cost leases as opposed to shelling out the capital to buy the land and paying the taxes associated with land ownership. They are also terrified of being outbid by wealthy enviros.

          Some trees are crops; some forest land is ag land that just has a really slow rate of cropping. But not all. Written into the Forest Service’s organic statute is the obligation to manage its land for multiple purposes. “It is the policy of the Congress that the national forests are established and shall be administered for outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and wildlife and fish purposes.” 16 USC sec 528.

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            • yup. Pretty much for the same reason it’s illegal to grow pot on a military base. The federal government is its own legal entity, and it gets to set its own rules on the land that it owns.

              (Also, illegal pot growers do a massive amount of environmental harm. Decriminalizing pot should have a whole series of positive impacts.)

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          • no one wants to own the land.

            There are problems with status tenures regarding the grazing land. You have to indemnify permit holders before you can auction.

            They’ll want to own the land if the alternative is someone else owning it. No good reason for the federal government to be in the commercial timber business.

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          • “It is the policy of the Congress that the national forests are established and shall be administered for outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and wildlife and fish purposes.”

            Waste of time. We have large inventories of parkland and wildlife refuge administered by other agencies (tongue bathed by Ken Burns). If Weyrhauser can turn good coin running recreational camps, they’ll do it.

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            • I understand that you disagree with the law and federal policy regarding federal land ownership in the West, but for now the law is what it is. And even when the Bush admin was at the height of its power it didn’t seek to change that law or the laws regarding the declaration of land as surplus.

              No one seems all that interested in spending political capital on the issue. After all, the mill jobs have already gone to Asia.

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      • One problem is that the Endangered Species Act was passed to prevent a repeat of the experience with the Passenger Pigeon and the Heath Hen. Then it was being used to protect minnow species no one had ever heard of outside the ranks of zoologists, then it was used to protect subspecies, and now it’s being used to protect dime-sized weeds because the pose is useful for people who want to disrupt real-estate development.

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  11. Following up on my post above-
    Can anyone here actually claim to believe that our future- in the next 10 to 20 years, or our children’s future in the next 30-40 years will be marked by ever-increasing prosperity and economic security?

    I don’t mean you personally, I mean us and our generation broadly. Will America in 2050 be a place where people work less than now, retire earlier, have more material wealth and comfort?

    Trump voters don’t believe that. And I’m hard pressed to argue otherwise.
    Most of the political dialogue seems mostly a determined effort to explain this away, or urge passive acceptance of it, or pin the blame on Mexicans, lazy union workers in Detroit or welfare queens.

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    • I have no idea what my own life is going to be like in a year or two! Yet alone ten to twenty. I am in one of my pessimistic career modes though so probably not best to make any predictions.

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    • Growth rates in personal income per capita has varied from era to era, but if past is prologue, one might expect that real incomes in 2050 will be about 60% higher than they are today. Weekly working hours have bounced around a set point since about 1920 and employment to population ratios haven’t changed much in 35 years on balance; naive assumptions suggest that will not change. It is a reasonable inference that people will retire somewhat later because they will be healthier and live longer.

      The real changes in recent decades have been cultural and concerned a stew of things about the rubrics of human relations (sex in particular), the binding quality of marriage vows, standards of personal modesty and deportment, child-rearing methods, &c. The quality of life in these respects has been declining (with some qualification) for 50 years. No one knows where the bottom is. Look at the society described in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and you get the idea.

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      • if past is prologue

        In order for past to be prologue, wouldn’t it be necessary to do what we have done in the past, so as to replicate it?

        If we need to replicate the past so as to return to the quality of life we used to have, what is our benchmark? Should we desire 33% of the workforce to be unionized as in 1955, or should we abolish the EPA as it was prior?

        I’m being snarky if only because saying “past is prologue” suggests that suggests our fate is dictated by gods or chicken entrails, or that regardless of policy, the economic outcome is cyclical.

        What would cause anyone to think that real incomes will be higher?

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          • Over a period of more than 85 years, the share of personal income accounted for by returns to labor has varied between 60% and 70%. As we speak, national income accountants who measure income distribution figure that about 30% of personal income in this country repairs to the most affluent decile. Forty-odd years ago, a previous generation figured that 26% did. Soft data. If it means what it appears to, general benefits are what one can expect, but unevenly distributed o’er the strata.

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        • Economic growth is not a dependent variable of union penetration. (See Britain for a sad illustration of this).

          I was referring to the period since 1973, which has had slower growth than some previous eras. The EPA has been a feature of that entire era.

          “Past is prologue” – naive assumptions I used because I have no model of what would be better assumptions. Exceptionally rapid growth has been a feature of countries who were applying extant technology. As we are on a technological frontier, that’s not us. Long term decline in production has been a feature of countries in a state of autonomous demographic implosion. That’s not us either.

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          • I just project from 1970s purchasing power of the dollar, tangible capital formation, and financialization into the future.

            If that’s not enough fun, consider most of the old stock of american farmers will be dead and buried in 8-10 years. COPD is killing them a little faster than expected so could start see changes in as little as 6 years.

            I won’t even discuss the ranchers at this point.

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            • The share of value added attributable to the insurance sector hasn’t changed much in the post-war period. That attributable to real estate hit a plateau around about 1985. That attributable to finance hit a plateau around about 1998. The ratio of the stock of commercial bank assets to the flow of gross domestic product is quite a bit lower in America than in Europe. We’re not that financially oriented in context.

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  12. All of the same could be said in defence of Wallace’s racist supporters and it would be equally an act of denial about how racist these folks are.

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  13. Please, won’t someone think of the poor racists!

    All of the same could be said in defence of Wallace’s racist supporters and it would be equally an act of denial about how racist these folks are.

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    • There are some people that you just can’t build a high-trust society with.

      No that we’d want to collaborate with them, or them with us, in the first place.

      Pity that there are so many of them and that they breed so uncontrollably.

      At least they can’t really import more like-minded people.

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    • All which same?

      Wallace supporters in loci like Michigan were facing a catastrophic decline in public order presided over by characters like Jerome Cavanaugh (later succeeded by Coleman Young). Wallace supporters in Alabama were facing a power grab by federal judges. Street crime is a bad thing. The stupefyingly arrogant insistence by federal judges that they have plenary discretion over public policy and institutions is also a bad thing. They remain bad things even if the objectors have it in for blacks, have green teeth, etc.

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  14. I’ve been thinking about this.

    Okay, so take the following four social movements:

    1. Civil rights
    2. Women’s rights
    3. Gay rights
    4. (and recently) Transgender rights.

    What do they have in common? Well, they’ve all (save the last) been fairly successful, on the whole. (And I very much hope the forth proves successful, and the sooner the better.) The vocal supporters of each tend to come from big cities, the northeast, the western coast, and so on.

    I mean that story is complicated. Black people live all over, and the civil rights movement thus sprang up all over. That said, the support among whites was certainly as I describe.

    We can talk “red tribe” versus “blue tribe” and so on. I don’t want to oversimplify, but neither should we get lost in the weeds.

    The supporters of these movements found a home in the Democratic party. The opposition — it found a home among the Republicans.

    That said, over time these movements have won, and not because the hard-leftists support them, and despite the fact that some hardcore bigots will oppose them to the grave. Yes, these “sides” exist. But that’s not my point. My point is, Middle America came to accept these things.

    I have a theory as to why. Partly it is because these ideas are correct and justified. But more specifically, it is because many people, even those who feel shades of bigotry, don’t actually want to be bigots. In other words, we indeed have “better angels.”

    Many whites were viscerally uncomfortable sharing a swimming pool with black people. But that is obviously wrong. People grow and change.

    Transgender people need to use restrooms. We need to participate in public life. This is obvious. We will win.

    #####

    These are not the only liberal ideas that have found a home among Democrats, nor an opposition among Republicans. For example, take gun control. (Please!) Notice, this has not been as successful. In fact, largely the Democrats pay empty lip-service to the issue, while continuing to triangulate, even as the right-wing makes angry noises.

    So what is the difference?

    I think it is this: Americans indeed have a lingering quasi-libertarian streak. It is one thing to say, “Hey, this person wants to eat lunch in that restaurant, like everyone else” or “This woman needs to use public restrooms” or even “This person wants a fair shake in the job market” — that’s all different from saying “I wanna kick down your doors and take your guns.”

    The point is, the gun rights crowd has a point, and Middle America has listened.

    Myself, I would be perfectly happy to live in a country with strong gun laws. But I do not. I likely never will. People like their guns.

    I demand my right to live as I choose, but so do they. I’ll fight. So will they.

    #####

    In many ways the Democrats are the centrist party. They’re centrist on economics, on gun rights, on employment policy, and so on. They are hardline against bigotry —

    — as they should be. There is no excuse for hate.

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    There are elements of the far right who want me dead. No seriously, and they’re working hard to make that happen. They want to erase people like me from society.

    They are a minority, a deeply ugly crowd of reflexive liars, but they get a voice on Fox News (and worse media outlets). It’s depressing and scary.

    #####

    The contemporary evangelical movement belongs in the dustbin of history. Those who insist on riding it into the dustbin are welcome to their misery.

    We’ve used federal troop before, against entrenched racists. Will we again? Maybe. Must we? It would be justified. Bigotry is absolutely unacceptable.

    #####

    So this happened: http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2016/04/21/donald-trump-says-transgender-people-should-use-the-bathroom-they-want/

    It’s like, what the fuck, Donald Trump? Stop confusing me! I’m supposed to hate you!

    Honestly, tho, I was not surprised. Hating trans folks is the evangelical position. It’s what Cruz is about, not Trump.

    We’ve been talking about what makes a Trump voter. Are they working class? Are they “angry whites”? Etc.

    It seems to me, a lot of them are folks who don’t like being told what to do by people they don’t respect. I can relate.

    On the other hand, they are also the Republican Party’s racist id. So that’s a thing, and it probably makes Trump unelectable. But all the same, I suspect a lot of these folks dislike a presumptuous right-wing Christian jackass telling them what to do just as much as they dislike a smug overeducated liberal fuck telling them what to do.

    A lot of people feel this way, even in the heart of the bible belt.

    There has been much hand-wringing about how we should write these people off as a political lost cause. Maybe. Possibly. I’d rather write off the evangelicals. The angry “Trumpism” crowd — I think the Democrats could “get” these people.

    Which, the big divide seems to be immigration policy. Okay. Certainly there is a cross-section of the “Trumpists” who are just racist to the bone. They exist. White Power is a thing, and racists like Trump. But fuck those guys. The bigger issue is jobs.

    People don’t want to be bigots. They don’t want to hate Mexicans — at least some people don’t. I don’t make excuses for the raving chucklefucks on right-wing blogs. Let us show them the way to the dustbin. But that is probably not the core of Trumpism, which is more about opportunity, about jobs.

    Can we find ways to provide jobs? I don’t know.

    If we can, do you think these “Trumpists” would rather hang out with badass tranny like me, or a sanctimonious evangelical soccer mom who attends a “megachurch” in the suburbs? Cuz no one likes that woman. Yeesh.

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    • There has been much hand-wringing about how we should write these people off as a political lost cause. Maybe. Possibly. I’d rather write off the evangelicals. The angry “Trumpism” crowd — I think the Democrats could “get” these people.

      Exactly.

      The evangelical voters are usually angry about the wrong things altogether.

      The Trump voters are angry about the right things…they’re just angry at the wrong people. Now, that’s wrong, don’t get me wrong.

      But even there, because they’re angry about *actual real things*, like a lack of jobs, it’s harder for their anger to pointed completely nonsensically. For example, Trump voters can be tricked into blaming immigrants and ‘people on welfare’ (Although even that’s getting a hard sell) for economic problems…but they’re pretty unlikely to be angry at LGBT people, because it’s pretty hard to blame any economic problems on teh gays. And while they might not *like* abortion…they don’t actually care enough to demand laws against it.

      Trump voters mostly agree with, well, Democrats, and everyone else, on what an ideal society would like, and it’s not the 1950s…it’s the 1990s. They just have been misinformed about why it broke…and, hell, not actually *that* misinformed. But they want mostly the same thing.

      Evangelical voters very often *do not*. They care about problems that…are not actually problems. Things that people really shouldn’t care about.

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