On Accepting The Results – Or Not

(A guest post from long-time commenter B-Psycho.)

The end of the 2016 US presidential campaign (mercifully…) comes with the election on November 8th. Though I am registered to vote in it, this will be the 4th cycle in which I will intentionally not do so. Longtime readers of this site who’ve spotted some of my comments may be familiar with my reasons for that, but if not, I will summarize:

Philosophically, the premise of “representative government”, that it is possible for those other than yourself to honestly represent your interests, is a premise that I reject. To cast a vote for any person is to approve their claimed power over me and others falsely in our names, so I treat my non-vote as a literal Vote For Nobody – as in, that’s who I want having the power competed for, nobody. Practically speaking, on the issues I find most important at home (the carceral state & the political power of concentrated wealth) and globally (the massive military empire the US has built up and the state of constant war it maintains), even if I were to set aside my view of voting, the only candidates that have any chance of winning are in my view flagrantlyunacceptable. They see no real problem with those things, I completely oppose them, simple.

So with that in mind, why am I even posting about the election? I have my reasons. First of all, while I think very lowly of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as human beings, let alone as political figures, I do recognize a key difference among their fan bases. See, the deepest core of Donald Trump’s support is openly reactionary, even white supremacist and arguably proto-fascist. There have been multiple cases of Trump supporters acting out their views by assaulting people from the groups that they hate, and burying skeptics online in a deluge of racist/misogynistic/anti-Semitic filth and death threats.

Meanwhile, the worst thing I have seen a Hillary diehard do is call opposition to her from the Left “privileged”. Small potatoes in comparison, right?

Now, to those who are backing Hillary Clinton for president, regardless of your level of enthusiasm for that choice, I have a few things to say:

1) The type of ultra-right-wing sentiment that Donald Trump has taken advantage of and whipped up is not going to just go away quietly after their guy loses, no matter how big that loss is. Their rage at those not of their group will still be there. You have already seen them act on that rage. You have witnessed them call for intimidation and further violence.  So, after the votes are counted, if (when, more like…) those elements take up brownshirt tactics and go threatening marginalized people, I’d like to know… where will you be?

2) I have seen lots of talk about the possibility of Donald Trump not accepting the results if he loses, due to the claims from him and his biggest supporters that it is rigged against him. I have also seen an argument from Democrats and various progressives against protest votes or abstention on the basis that Trump represents such a danger that it’s practically a moral duty to vote for Hillary anyway. The comparisons of Trump to reactionary a fascist rulers of the past have plenty of fuel, and mentions of his (open) enthusiasm for authoritarianism are just stating facts. However, say hypothetically he had somehow defied the polls showing him basically trailing the entire campaign and won the presidency: what reason would there be for someone opposed to this, who sees him as such a deep fundamental threat, to accept that result? It cannot be simultaneously true that someone is Basically That German Guy With The Funny Mustache and that nonetheless their victory should be accepted in the name of democracy and peaceful transition of power. Taking the stated threat at its word inherently implies that resistance above and beyond the bounds of mere political discourse would be justified. To say that such is not the case is to effectively say, in my opinion, that the state is always just and worthy of compliance no matter how terrible it gets.

Of course, having apparently constructed a political system that risks handing such immense power to such a horrible person, one might conclude that such power itself shouldn’t be allowed to exist… maybe. Perhaps.

 

 

(image credit: Steve Snodgrass, CC-BY 2.0)

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281 thoughts on “On Accepting The Results – Or Not

  1. 1. I can’t think of any HRC voter that thinks this way. If anything, most of us are curious and nervous about what happens to the GOP after this election. Do they continue down the path of populist white nationalism? Is their a “smarter” Trump that can manage to be less vulgar and win? Though I do think Trumpism is more about a dying gasp before real demographic change than an insurgent white reactionary nationalism. Though he does have youngish supporters and I do think his support is tied towards authoritarianism and white nationalism.

    I think Republican elites are the ones that would try and sweep Trump back under the rug. People like Paul Ryan.

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  2. “Meanwhile, the worst thing I have seen a Hillary diehard do is call opposition to her from the Left “privileged”. Small potatoes in comparison, right?”

    As we used to say in high school, I call bullshit on this.
    North Carolina G.O.P. Building Is Firebombed

    Trump’s Denver Office Vandalized Twice In 24 Hours

    Between this, various Attorneys General pressing bogus charges against Republican governers, anti-Trump protesters flipping cars in San Jose, coupled with the media trying to throw elections to their preferred candidates, this analysis doesn’t stand up to facts. Political violence in this county is currently coming from the left.

    Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

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    • Aaron,
      I was told I was going to HELL for not voting for a woman. TWICE, of course, and in that “special place” in hell, of all things!

      It’s not someone’s policies, or personality, or anything else other than whether they’ve got a putz or a cunt, apparently.

      This is how I was told to vote.

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      • No true Scotsman would flip a car. (Well, they might, but not as a political statement. Or at least not about American politics. Matters of clan, they’ll flip all the cars they can find.)

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        • Well, let’s tweak B-Psycho’s point a little bit. Scotsmen of all stripes do those terrible things and some of them are diehard Hillary supporters. But….Hillary seems pretty quick to denounce those incidents, whereas Trump lags and hesitates in denouncing them, if he denounces them at all. Sometimes, he said he’d pay legal fees for those engaging in the violence, if the reports I’ve heard are true.

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          • ah-heh. She’s quick to denounce the incidents as being Trump supporters’ own fault, supporting such a divisive candidate and all. Which I guess makes sense, given her history of victim-blaming.

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    • Left conveniently out, of course, is how said firebombed GOP building was provided funding to be replaced by Hillary supporters spontaneously through crowd funding. So possibly it was firebombed by Hillary supporters but it was definitely replaced by them.

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  3. ” To cast a vote for any person is to approve their claimed power over me and others falsely in our names,”

    Indeed. Not only does voting entrench and validate their claimed power over the citizens (also called deplorables, proles, etc.) it is a violent act. It is something I cannot support.

    Voter turnout in presidential elections. Yeah, slightly more than half the voting age population votes, and the “winner” of the contest gets an even smaller amount that that. I don’t see how anyone can claim “a mandate” or even “will of the people” when a minority such as this is responsible for electing the president.

    And the system IS rigged. Maybe not in what’s been claimed by a lot of the Trump folks, but the majority of the media are supporters of the Democrats, are left leaning, and they do allow their biases to influence reporting. Anecdotes abound.

    So we have the left, with their SJWs, wanting to remake america into something, and the right’s Trumpsters pushing back. Two sides of the same coin. Welcome to the world you built people.

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    • Damon,
      your eyes are sharp, but they miss the con.
      Whatever gave you the impression that the SJWs are a tool of the left?
      (The left, in a broad sense, finds it hard to have tools, because they have so many leaders and so few followers. The left is truly the hydra — it is the right that can only have one head on the dragon.)

      The coin is cast by the Powers that Be, and you can claim both sides to be Astroturf, with a good grain of truth.

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  4. Serious question: is this how you approach your job?

    When faced with a choice between something terrible and something imperfect, do you proudly pick neither, because neither choice perfectly captures your unique wishes?

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    • I’ve had jobs where I was an enthusiastic team member and it was part of my job to make sure that the work got done, that managers were pleased, that the metrics looked good, that the morale of team members was high, and that we left the building knowing that everything was ready for tomorrow to be a good day too.

      I’ve had jobs where I was a pair of eyes, a pair of hands, and a spoonful of institutional knowledge.

      Filthy lucre helps make the latter job easier to stomach.

      At the former kind of job, given the choice you describe, the situation becomes “okay, guys, we’re going to make the best of a bad situation here. Here’s what management has asked of us, here’s how we’re going to play it, and, at the end of the day, we’ll be ready to be in a good situation months from now.”

      At the latter kind of job, this is work and work is hell so what the hell and hell with it.

      But, in this case, we don’t have a choice between something terrible and something imperfect. We have a choice between something terrible, something imperfect, and something that reflects how we’d actually want the world to work (even if, at the end of the day, it’d fail).

      Some people are just crazy enough to vote for something that reflects how they’d actually want the world to work.

      More power to them.

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    • My top preference is for there to be no government. The remark about the choices being unacceptable refers to what most offends me about those particular choices on offer.

      If I thought it against my conscience for my job to exist, then I never would have taken it.

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      • Then by all means vote for someone you shares your views. That person will lose, because those views don’t make sense and aren’t broadly shared, but at least you’ve taken a step towards making the world the way you want it to be.

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  5. On question #2, we can hope that our democratic institutions are sufficiently strong to mitigate the damage a literal fascist might do.

    So are those institutions strong enough? I don’t know. The defense establishment takes an oath to uphold the republic, and not the person our new dictator. Will they honor that pledge? We still have courts. We still have rule of law. We still have (ultimately) the impeachment procedure. Would those be sufficient?

    Ultimately Trump is incompetent. However, Hitler was also incompetent. He just got lucky early on. (Citation: this book.) Could a scenario like that happen here?

    I don’t know.

    If we lose liberal democracy, I think we’ll miss it.

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    • On question #2, we can hope that our democratic institutions are sufficiently strong to mitigate the damage a literal fascist might do.

      What is a literal fascist? The left calls so many folks on the right a fascist that they’ve watered done the term to meaninglessness.

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        • There are many different definitions. While I hear the left call many on the right facists I don’t hear much reasoning to support such name calling. If you want an example the first person I think of off the top of my head is Putin.

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          • I don’t want an example, since I know you don’t believe Trump is one (though I also notice you deflect charges that Trump is a wanna-be dictator into complaints that “many” republicans are called fascists).

            I’m curious what the word means to you, because I think Trump’s own words show he wants to be one.

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            • Not all dictators are fascists. Trump may want to be a dictator for all I know but it doesn’t mean that he is a fascist or aspires to be one. The left does throw around the term fascist. They did call both Reagan and Bush fascists. Maybe you should ask Veronica what she means (like I did) and then we can have a baseline for the start of a discussion.

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        • I’m increasingly convinced that the word has no meaning. We never had a word for it before, for the same reason that fish don’t have a word for “water”. (People liked naming things in the early 20th century.) The vast majority of people have lived under governments that sought to use group pride in order to put their people in authority, centralize power, and take things from members of other groups. Curiously, the vast majority of people who have lived otherwise have lived under governments that seceded from the British Empire.

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          • I’m increasingly convinced that the word [fascist] has no meaning.

            I tend to agree. I was going to write a post a while back explaining why I think that Trump is “fascist.” And maybe I can find reasons to call him that. But if someone is a bad person who is dangerous and shouldn’t be supported, then that person should be opposed. Whether that person is a “fascist” or some other kind of horrible person is only of academic interest.

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    • On question #2, we can hope that our democratic institutions are sufficiently strong to mitigate the damage a literal fascist might do.

      This. It is, much like voting, a choice between imperfect alternatives. Even supposing pitching a hissy fit against a Trump win would accomplish anything, what it accomplished would be very very bad. But in the real world, a hissy fit wouldn’t even accomplish its desired end, so really the question is moot.

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    • The Constitution basically assumes that if a President goes off the rails and starts acting like a dictator that the Congress would swing into action, impeach and indict the President and try him in the Senate. They assume that the Federal courts would not be complicit with the Dictator. If Congress and the Courts are wholly or partially complicit with an off the rails President than we are in danger.

      I’m not sure if I’m fond of the civil service, military, and security agencies acting against on off the rails President. On one hand, it can save the United States and the world from a lot of damage. On the other, its a coup d’état even if its ostensibly for good rather than evil. There are mechanisms in the Constitution for dealing with off the rail Presidents. They have to be used though.

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      • I have come to appreciate how much of what we think of as impermeable structural forces which shape our nation are actually just a fragile collective agreement, held with the thin connective tissue of institutions and cultures.

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        • What makes trust and collaboration increase?

          What makes it decrease?

          Are we doing things that make trust and collaboration increase? What ought we be doing more of?

          Are we doing things that make it decrease? If so, are there worthwhile reasons to stop doing those things?

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            • You’re not wrong.

              (Hey, if you’re going to be flippant, so will I. But the truth is that it’s a lot easier to maintain trust and collaboration with shared culture and values. Any society without those has a disadvantage.)

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              • But the truth is that it’s a lot easier to maintain trust and collaboration with shared culture and values.

                And yet liberals think we can increase both while importing foreigners that share nether our culture, western values nor our appreciation for a secular republican form of gov’t.

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                    • +1.

                      Seems to me that at least one person among the scores of millions who are voting for Trump could articulate a better defense of his “policies” (scare-quotes absolutely necessary) than the obvious: that his support is fundamentally based on a pure appeal to resentment.

                      That’s not to say an affirmative defense couldn’t be made (well…). Just that no one explicitly makes it, instead opting to charitably characterize it as rejectionism of a corrupt political status quo, as if merely rejecting that corruption will somehow magically make America great again.

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                      • Eg, take Trump’s outreach to African American voters: his entire argument effectively reduced to “what have you got to lose? The Democrats have fucked you over repeatedly!” without – and this is the important point – any accompanying substantive policy proposals* that would affirmatively, rather than resentfully, appeal to their sentiments and worries.

                        * Well, other than MORE stop-and-frisk, anyway…

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                            • Ugh.

                              Adding: RIght now, Trump is polling at about the levels of Romney in aught 12. Did you think all those people – 43% of the electorate who supported Mitt – were irredeemable racists and misogynists back then?

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                                • None, since both your premise and conclusion are that Trumpers, in their entirety, are irredeemable racists and misogynists.

                                  But look back thru history, pillsy: voters split pretty consistently on party lines in this country. My contention is that most – the vast majority – of Trump supporters are voting (as they always do) against the Democratic nominee. And I think most of em – the vast majority – are doing so while holding their nose.

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                                    • pillsy, you haven’t provided any. Or perhaps I should say, you haven’t provided any that doesn’t beg the question at issue, anyway.

                                      Which isn’t to say there are no openly racist Trump supporters out there, of course….

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                                          • With that outa the way, what do we do going forward?

                                            Is my characterization of the history correct or not? I mean, if it’s not, that points to a potential serious flaw in my argument. Now, obviously I think I’ve characterized the chain of events correctly, but just because you’ve decided that there’s no evidence that I could argue that could possibly change your mind doesn’t mean I’ve done the same.

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                                            • Is my characterization of the history correct or not?

                                              The history of what? The formal process, or people’s substantive desires?

                                              I really don’t know what we’re talking about anymore.

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                                              • I think the objective history of the formal process (not to mention previous, successful attempts on the part of movement conservatives to block immigration reform) indicates that the substantive desire–to stop immigration reform–was met, and the Trump supporters were looking for something beyond a merely anti-illegal immigration message. Thus, the fact that they flocked to Trump indicates that an anti-illegal immigration message wasn’t enough on its own, and that we should look at what distinguished Trump’s message from the ones offered by other candidates.

                                                I contend that the most (and really only) important distinction was that his message was explicitly racist.

                                                This argument may be wrong but it’s hard to see how it’s circular.

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                                                • {{Yes, I know you think all that…}}

                                                  This argument may be wrong but it’s hard to see how it’s circular.

                                                  It’s circular if you claim that Trump supporters were “were looking for something beyond a merely anti-illegal immigration message”.

                                                  Which you’ve done. Quite well, I might add. It’s a very nice circle.

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                              • No, but I think roughly half of those people–the ones who supported Trump in the primary instead any of the (sixteen!) other choices on offer–were misogynists and racists in 2012, and are misogynists and racists now.

                                Whether they’re irredeemable is beside the point.

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                                • Not true. His signature issue in the primary was being tough on illegal immigration. As stated, that’s a perfectly race-neutral concept, one which can be cashed out in in a plethora of ways: a) it’s illegal, b) it hurts US workers paychecks, c) providing services to illegals increases public expenditures which aren’t offset by increased tax revenue…

                                  The reflexive inclination of liberals to reduce the desire of border control to mere racism begs all the questions in play.

                                  Also, to his credit and the GOP’s everlasting shame, Trump beat them to the punch (or more precisely, beat them about the head and shoulders) on this issue.

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                                  • His signature issue in the primary was straight-out lying about Mexican immigrants being unusually inclined towards committing serious crimes. All of the GOP candidates were taking a “tough” stance on illegal immigration, and even if you (not totally unreasonably) argue that Rubio, Jeb! and Perry were untrustworthy on the matter, there were literally a dozen other candidates to choose from.

                                    Trump supporters went for the candidate who framed opposition to illegal immigration in openly racist terms. They had other choices who framed opposition to illegal immigration in the non-racist terms you prefer.

                                    Adding: His signature issue before the primary was pushing racist conspiracy theories about Barack Obama being born in Kenya, which he’s never really retracted (and certainly didn’t retract before the ’16 convention). Despite that, St. Mitt of Romney still sought and received Trump’s endorsement in 2012.

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                                      • Agree or disagree as you please, but despite claiming to get it, you still haven’t offered a counterargument to what I’m actually saying, which addresses all the objections I’ve seen from you so far.

                                        If you explained why Trump’s birtherism (and for that matter the very widespread birtherism among his supporters) is irrelevant, or why the fact that his explicitly racist arguments about illegal immigration are irrelevant, I missed it.

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                                        • but despite claiming to get it, you still haven’t offered a counterargument to what I’m actually saying,

                                          I did: partisanship. Pretty reliably, each party’s nominee will get roughly 40-42% support, irregardless of policy platform, hair color, stupidity, corruption…

                                          You seem to be conflating a rejection of Trump based on his (racist!!) “they’re rapists and murders” claim with a rejection of advocacy for a stricter border policy. Conservatives have wanted stricter border security for a long time. Going in to this election it was the top priority of the conservative base.

                                          “What part of “illegal” don’t you understand”, and so on.

                                          On the other hand, I get that you don’t get where these people are coming from and because of that reduce their beliefs to irrationality or evil. That’s a common analysis from intellectual liberals. One might say it’s almost logically entailed!

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                                          • Stillwater: I did: partisanship. Pretty reliably, each party’s nominee will get roughly 40-42% support, irregardless of policy platform, hair color, stupidity, corruption…

                                            This is absolutely true, and it’s why I keep coming back to the primaries, where partisanship isn’t an issue. This is an effective refutation of an argument I’m not making.

                                            You seem to be conflating a rejection of Trump based on his (racist!!) “they’re rapists and murders” claim with a rejection of advocacy for a stricter border policy. Conservatives have wanted stricter border security for a long time. Going in to this election it was the top priority of the conservative base.

                                            This is almost the exact opposite of the argument I’m making. I’m saying that rejecting Trump’s racist “rapists and murderers” claim in no way meant rejecting stronger border enforcement on the grounds that the whole Republican Party was pretty much falling all over itself to offer it to them.

                                            However, that’s not what they did.

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                                            • I’m saying that rejecting Trump’s racist “rapists and murderers” claim in no way meant rejecting stronger border enforcement on the grounds that the whole Republican Party was pretty much falling all over itself to offer it to them.

                                              I disagree with the description, pillsy. You are and have been saying that conservative voters’ failure to reject Trump’s racist claims means they’re effectively racists because you’re confusing the sequence of events: the GOP stalwart plan to deal with immigration only changed (leading to Marco’s bright light going very, very dim) when Trump proclaimed “I WILL BUILD A WALL AND MEXICO WILL PAY FOR IT!!” He called them on their bluff, some of them stumbled to reassert the conservative bonafides (not Jeb! tho), and the voters responded.

                                              You can’t have it both ways, pillsy.

                                              OR! Shorter: the GOP, until Trump (who isn’t GOP), was NEVER serious about southern border security.

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                                              • “OR! Shorter: the GOP, until Trump (who isn’t GOP), was NEVER serious about southern border security.”

                                                Yep. The GOP was all “we have to find a solution” yadda, but do anything? No. It served their interests not to. Just like the Dems.

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                                              • The GOP stalwart plan to deal with immigration changed when the Gang of Eight package failed to make it to the House floor almost two years before Trump jumped into the presidential race. Rubio was already tarred with its failure [1], and was running far away from anything that smacked of “amnesty” or a “path to citizenship”.

                                                The anti-immigration right refused to take, “Yes,” for an answer. They waited for Trump instead.

                                                [1] I admit I forgot about Lindsay Graham above. In my defense, everybody else forgot about Lindsay Graham, too.

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                                          • Conservatives have wanted stricter border security for a long time.

                                            So that’s why they roundly celebrate Obama’s deportation record, and the net outflows of Mexican immigrants, then, right?

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                                      • Here’s a different one:

                                        Migration restrictions are violations of a basic human right, and in practice are inherently prejudicial (due to assumption that people from elsewhere are Dangerous Unless Proven Otherwise, or that they should fulfill some national interest to get permission to enter). Borders as a security concept should go the way of Borders the bookstore chain.

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                                        • Now we’re in the realm of philosophy and not merely describing folks’ subjectively held beliefs.

                                          Substantively, I’d say that insofar as the right of entry is viewed as foundational, so is the right to prevent entry. I don’t know what would philosophically (rather than pragmatically) decide the issue other than a preference for a particular ideological framework.

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                                  • Adding to that: one thing I’d add is that liberals are also very concerned about “border security”, but just on a local level. Ever heard the phrase “driving while black”? It usually only applies to very upscale, and frequently liberal, community boundaries.

                                    Liberals have this tendency to think they’re not racists while criticizing conservatism for the same type of racism where only the scale or scope is different.

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                                    • It usually only applies to very upscale, and frequently liberal, community boundaries.

                                      Citation needed!

                                      DWB happens everywhere. I’ve spoken to plenty of people (in the context of a class action I was involved with) who got the usual DWB traffic stops for things like “weaving within their lane” or exceeding the speed limit by 2 MPH, or having a dirty license plate. I can’t think of any that were stopped for this in unusual neighborhoods (let alone lily-white, rich, liberal neighborhoods).

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                                      • nevermoor,
                                        DWB and DWW are both issues here. Cops know where black neighborhoods and white ones are, and if you’re in the wrong one after dark, well… you’re going to get questions.

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                                        • I’m not sure how. Cops target black people so therefore liberals are the real racists?

                                          Also, I don’t care if a senator voting for the DREAM act is secretly uncomfortable to be around minorities for all the same reasons I don’t care whether Reagan personally didn’t mind black people.

                                          The DREAM act helps people in need, Reagan’s coalition was explicitly built on appealing to southern racists. Those are the things that matter, and they aren’t differences of scale or scope.

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                                          • I’m not sure how. Cops target black people so therefore liberals are the real racists?

                                            Well, you’re the one who said cops in general target black people. I’m just suggesting that white people may have something to do with that policy.

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                        • Resentment means upity proles won’t accept high SES urban liberal is their betters, on the other hand high SES liberals can complain about the Koch brothers but it’s not resentment. and think proles need to know their place.

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          • What makes trust and collaboration increase?

            I don’t have a clever easy answer, and doubt anyone does.
            But we have plenty of historical evidence for the growth and development of it, right here in America.
            Increased tolerance and enfranchisement, civic and religious institutions, political leadership all help improve trust and collaboration.

            As I mention below, this is where I start to sound like a conservative, wanting to respect boundaries and taboos and traditions, even as I recognize that historically those things have also contained a lot of injustice.

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          • Honest answer – the slow death of people not used to a multiracial society. I’m not saying that in fifty years, racism will be dead or there won’t be people who want to cut taxes or welfare spending, but in a nation that has grown with the vast majority of the population knowing gay, non-white, etc. people since birth, the GOP’s current plan simply won’t work anymore.

            Rural Americans will always be overrepresented thanks to the Senate, though. So, they’ll always have that privilege.

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            • All other things being equal, you don’t get increased trust and cooperation by increasing diversity. You get the opposite. If you want to argue that things would be better if everyone who disagrees with you gets replaced, you’re free to do so. But the people you’re replacing them with aren’t homogeneous, and they’re less likely to subscribe to your views. Call it a paradox (although it’s so obvious it shouldn’t be viewed as one): an increase in diversity tends to increase the number of diverse groups who oppose diversity.

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                • Except a lot of homogeneity is merely labels. We have white America, Black America, Hispanic America, Muslim America, Christian America, Conservative America, Liberal America, etc. ad nauseum. Focus on the first word in each label and you get division. Focus on the second and not so much.

                  Of course, it’s hard to claim power for oneself when pushing for unity. Better to argue the Us vs Them, more power in that. Which wouldn’t be such an issue if the vicious cycle didn’t make it so easy to drive division. Too many people want to have a bad guy to blame for whatever misfortune they feel they have endured, regardless of the evidence. Easier to blame the immigrant for the lost job than the robot.

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              • This is an excellent summation.

                It’s what I’ve been wrestling with for the last year or so.

                There’s an(other) iron triangle:

                1) Open Immigration
                2) Multi-culturalism
                3) Robust Social Safety Net

                Pick two.

                I used to be a huge fan of #1 and #2.
                It doesn’t matter if you come here, it doesn’t matter if you don’t assimilate. It’s all good. Welcome! This is the land of opportunity, etc.

                In putting more and more emphasis on #3, I find myself torn between whether we ought to abandon #2 or #1.

                Trumpists seem to be cool with getting rid of #1.
                I’m wondering if we wouldn’t be better served by getting rid of #2. (Replace it with an Epcot Multiculturalism that enjoys restaurants, holidays, fabrics, and pop culture but, at the end of the day, you people have a float in the pride parade like everybody else.)

                We’ll see how it plays out because whenever we even start talking about #2, it tends to inspire arguments about “racism”.

                Anyway, I dig. Awesome.

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                • The only reason that’s known as an Iron Triangle is that we’ve never had a First World nation have a generation grow to adulthood that’s as diverse as the current Millennial or even younger generations.

                  Yes, in a poor country, ethnic tensions are going to be tense because there’s limited resources. In someplace like Poland or the UK or Greece, it’s going to be tense because those places are basically going through our 60’s when it comes to race relations right now.

                  OTOH, we’re the richest, most powerful nation in the world that has a generation that is totally used to having truly diverse places of employment, schools, friend groups, etc.

                  I’m not saying we’re going to end racism or anything, but I do think a lot of people talking about how multiculturalism can’t work are working from a place where multiculturalism was this new strange thing, instead of coming from a place where multiculturalism was just…the culture.

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                  • The only reason that’s known as an iron triangle is that we’ve never done it?

                    Well, I guess you’ve got me there.

                    If, by multiculturalism, you mean the new restaurants, the beautiful songs, the food festivals, the plays and movies, the religious stories, the spices, and the outfits, I support multiculturalism 100%.

                    If, by multiculturalism, you mean consanguinity marriage, patriarchy, homophobia, taboos against dogs, and taboos against people who disagree with your religious taboos? I oppose multiculturalism 100%.

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                    • Marriage between first cousins is already legal in 19 states, and the US is kind of an outlier in banning it at all.

                      As for the patriarchy and homophobia stuff, I don’t see why it’s more of a concern (and more corrosive) from immigrants than it is from the rural white Christians that was talking about.

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                        • I’m suggesting we treat Persians who come over here and still do that the way we treat the inbred toothless hillbillies.

                          So full rights as citizens, freedom to worship as they please, local political power and representation, and membership and influence in a major party’s coalition?

                          Well, OK. What’s the problem again?

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                                    • OK, but get the (recurring) impression from your posts that I should only be concerned about contempt that’s communicated towards residents of the “redneck states” that originates with–or near–me, but I should completely disregard any and all contempt that’s regularly communicated towards me and mine.

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                                      • I care little if you are concerned about it unless you start demanding that they act as if they are in a high trust/high collaboration relationship with you and set up institutions to act as if that relationship were there.

                                        At that point, I would point out that your concern had been misallocated.

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                                              • When you get a verdict from the court, is it because the jury considered the evidence and arguments in a fair and impartial manner, and returned a verdict that they considered most appropriate?

                                                Or is it about their opinion of People Like You?

                                                When you apply for a loan and they tell you the interest rate, are you sure that you aren’t getting a special People Like You rate that’s higher than other people might get?

                                                Yeah, I know there are laws about it, but are you SURE?

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                                                • Right, but if I’m thinking about people who have really good reasons to be uncomfortable about calling the police… I’m really not thinking about rural white conservative Christians. I’m pretty–but less–sure that they wouldn’t be thinking about themselves either.

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                                    • “Regularly communicated contempt impacts collaboration and deepens even the most superficial tribal inclinations.”

                                      But they deserve it, Jaybird! They deserve it. They. DESERVE. It.

                                      It’s important for you to understand that “high-trust/high-collaboration” only applies to actual human beings, not subliterate trash who lack the intellectual and genetic capability to act like responsible adults.

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                                      • Wait, I’m getting the subthreads mixed up here-

                                        Are we talking about immigrant rapists and drug mules, inner city welfare queens and strapping young bucks, or toothless hillbillies?

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                        • Yes. The redneck states. We already treat those people to regular mockery.

                          And deservedly so. Those are folks who either don’t know how, or don’t have the time, or inclination or the concern, to take cutting clever cultural shots at their perceived enemies. I mean, f*** them if they don’t spend a lot of time shaping the political debate on the world wide web. Just shows they’re not willing to do whatever it takes to win.

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                            • I think that the whole “hrm, maybe trust and collaboration is important” thing will really, really start coming into focus after the election, no matter who wins.

                              The media is not particularly trusted anymore.
                              The various classes in society seem to be hardening into castes.
                              Even as we’re becoming more diverse, we’re becoming a bunch of insular little islands of homogeneity that happen to be next to very different insular little islands of homogeneity.

                              Riiiight around the time that we’re going to start needing each other a lot more.

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                • When people start talking about how “some cultures” are not compatible with a modern secular society, I start looking real hard at Franklin Graham and wonder if America can tolerate his sort of people.

                  So yeah, lets look at this “multiculturalism” and decide if it is a good thing.
                  Or not.

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                • I see a conflict between #1 and #3. I’m not sure about #2, because I’m not sure what it necessarily means. What’s the distinction between open (or open-ish) immigration and multi-culturalism? Is multi-culturalism simply the opposite of assimilation of values?

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                  • Multiculturalism has several different aspects to it, and is complex because human relationships are complex.
                    Part of it is just recognizing the similarities between us- A Nigerian is just like me in many ways!
                    But another part is to recognize our differences- the Nigerian has a different perspective than I do!

                    And ultimately its about reconciling what we can tolerate as differences, and what we can’t tolerate.

                    And to this, there isn’t a facile and simple answer.

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                  • “I’m not sure about #2, because I’m not sure what it necessarily means.”

                    Jaybird already told you. It’s EPCOT Center. It’s a shopping-mall food court with Greek, Chinese, Indian, and Thai places next to the McDonald’s. It’s a President who has done pretty much exactly what a white guy in his position might, except that he’s black.

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        • All democracies depend just as much as norms to operate smoothly as they do a written constitution and organic laws. Presidential democracies are more norm based than parliamentary democracies because they usually have more tools that oppositional forces can use to gum the works. American democracy is extraordinarily norm based compared to other Presidential democracies. You can’t legislate norms though. Otherwise they would be law and not norms. Since you can’t legislate norms, politicians and parties that decide to violate them can do so with impunity and cause a lot of damage.

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          • Right, and this is where my inner conservatism kicks in.

            The respect for and obedience to social and political norms like not filibustering every goddam thing or releasing your taxes are not just niceties, they form part of the critical workings of why we have a prosperous thriving society.

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      • So really it’s a matter of culture within the institution that decides what is out of bounds or not, rather than the letter of the law. What they’re okay with goes on until they’re not okay with it.

        In light of the result of Bush Administration officials authorizing torture, I’m not sure that’s as stable as commonly assumed, to put it lightly.

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      • I have to admit that I don’t trust Congress or the courts to be sufficiently active in bringing an off the rails executive to heel.

        Congress has abdicated too much power to the executive, and the courts are too willing to defer to the actions of congress as representative of what the people want.

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    • On question #2, we can hope that our democratic institutions are sufficiently strong to mitigate the damage a literal fascist might do.

      Between the IRS, the various blue shirts I outlined above, media collusion and the assault on rights such as Citizens United, I think we will see once HRC is elected.

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      • I understand this is part of your schtick, but do you really believe Hillary is worse than Trump on this metric? Equal? Even close?

        If so, is it only because of that list (where we hold her personally responsible for everything we’ve ever not liked about government)? Even things like Citizens United she’s been firmly adverse to at all times (that case was brought by a group seeking to use shadow money to ATTACK HER)?

        I strongly suspect I won’t convince you, or even get a substantive answer, but we’ll see.

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        • “but do you really believe Hillary is worse than Trump on this metric? ”

          By an order of magnitude. When it comes to constitutional issues, one of our greatest strengths had been a free and clear media that would be able (in theory) to dig down to the bottom of an issue, such as Watergate. Of course they are going to attack her, just as they attacked Bush, Reagan, Carter etc. Because that is the cost of being able to attack someone on Watergate or Iran Contra. Citizens United was about (specifically) whether the gov’t could censor political speech. What other political speech should the gov’t be able to censor? Anything that upsets people?

          Bullshiting about who is doing actual violence in a country, fixing elections even in your own party and a media that is in collusion with one political party makes me turn in horror at my old party. Because those are the faces of the fascists that killed my family in the holocaust.

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          • Yup, it’s not the guy whose last ad was an anti-Semitic ramble who is the possible fascist here.

            Considering the limits on political advertising in various European countries, do you consider those place fascist?

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            • Certainly not the guy who threatens to sue about five media outlets a week, and has declared that freedom of the press goes too far and that he’d implement something more like the UK’s libel laws…

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        • I understand this is part of your schtick, but do you really believe Hillary is worse than Trump on this metric? Equal? Even close?

          I don’t quite share @aaron-david’s views on this topic, but I do want to make a somewhat tangential point. There are two types of threats to our freedoms. The big obvious threats and the slow, creeping ones. Donald Trump is absolutely a bigger threat in the first regard, but HRC may be the bigger threat in the long run (and I really do mean “may”).

          Here’s an example of what I mean. GWB invaded Iraq on faulty intelligence and started a global war on terror, both of which had pretty significant domestic and international consequences, many of which we still feel and some of which are still playing out. But, we can look back on those things and see them for the huge mistakes that they were and survey the damage done. If we’re lucky, we can learn from them. If we are incredibly lucky, we will stop ourselves from making similar mistakes in the future (I don’t know that we’re this lucky).

          In the transition from the Bush to the Obama administration, some of the sketchy illegal and quasi-legal stuff going on under Bush went away, but most of it simply got covered under new legislation or morphed into something worse. The government still spies on us, it just does so under the auspices of FISA courts instead of the Presidential Surveillance Program. The government no longer officially tortures people or renditions them to foreign powers that will, but it does run a targeted assassination program based on the wonderfully Orwellian “Disposition Matrix,.”

          So, a Trump administration is far more likely to make big, overreaching power grabs that could that could be disastrous, but at least we’ll see them coming. Subtlety and surreptition don’t seem to be Trump’s strong suit. An HRC administration, however, is far more likely to slowly and steadily increase the size and scope of the national security apparatus in ways that won’t be particularly obvious and to which there isn’t likely to be much in the way of organized opposition.

          Which is more dangerous? Hard to say. If you put me in a room and forced me to pick one, I’d go back and forth a few times before settling on HRC, but I’d most certainly be looking for the exit the whole time.

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          • Trump is too unpopular to be a threat to our freedoms. Everyone will grab power from him rather than let him use it.

            Vote for Trump Vote against the Dictatorial Presidency.

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          • Why is Trump not as dangerous under the gradual threat scenario? He seems just as likely (I would say more likely) to try and maintain and expand the overreach you mentioned. And, with a congressional majority (which would be likely if he did win), much more likely to be successful in fighting off any challenges to his power grab.

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            • The idea that a Republican Congress–made up of individual members [1] who have demonstrated all the spine of a jellyfish when confronted with Trump the candidate–is going to be more interested in checking his excesses than they are going to be interested in standing up to Hillary Clinton doesn’t hold up to casual scrutiny.

              [1] There’s been a lot of resistance to Trump from Republicans as a group, but not much of it has come from Congress, and that has been pitiful and mealy-mouthed.

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        • My paper didn’t even report ANYTHING on clinton’s e-mail except to say “Nothing happened, she was cleared”.

          I REPEAT. They didn’t actually COVER the story of her e-mails, other than to say “she was cleared.” Like, that’s bad journalism, yo. Actually say, “hey, there might be an issue” before saying “nope, not a problem”

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    • Nearly all the military people I know actually do take that oath, and that wrinkle on that oath seriously.

      Yes, they’re mostly conservative, yes they’re mostly pro-Trump and dismiss as ridiculous the idea that Trump is a proto-fascist. There’s a whole lot of complaints about the double standard of justice that applies to Clinton because, they insist, if they did what she did with those e-mails they’d be in prison right now, not on the brink of becoming commander-in-chief.

      But with that said, at least the officers I know are very clear that things they’ve studied in history books are not going to happen and there has been thought given to the idea of an illegal order and under what circumstances they would refuse to obey an order they thought was illegal. A few have indicated that even a legal order that they thought was dishonorable would be something that might cause them to resign.

      And there is deep respect for the notion of civilian, political control of the military and for the chain of command even if the particular holder of the Presidency is not someone they like. A guy I know who has little but contempt for Barack Obama nevertheless chastised a similarly-minded enlisted guy under his command for even joking that he would do anything but stand at attention in a full dress uniform and offer the arriving President a snappy, textbook salute at a formal event where his unit had the honor of greeting the President upon arrival.

      So there are limits to what the military can be ordered to do. You should only read minimal comfort here — there is a lot of deference to political decisions that might be made.

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  6. But even that’s just one more layer.

    In the primary campaign, Trump primised that in certain circumstances if the system told him to stop X he would ignore the system. So if Trump were elected and he did something unconstitutional, was told by Congress or the judiciary that he had to stop and refused, what then?

    The problem with a lot of talk about Trump as POTUS is that the right pretends there would be no problem while the left pretends it would be Nazi Germany all over again. But a President settling personal scores while ignoring the other two branches is actually one of those things that could cripple the system, regardless of how well they succeeded in doing so.

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  7. To your argument 2), in particular this:

    It cannot be simultaneously true that someone is Basically That German Guy With The Funny Mustache and that nonetheless their victory should be accepted in the name of democracy and peaceful transition of power.

    I think those can, in fact, be simultaneously true.

    Because the US in 2016 is not the Weimar Republic. The German guy needed not only to get elected, but to do so via a democracy shaky enough that he could knock the ladder down behind him. The Weimar Republic had not been in place long at all; it was pretty much in the experimental stages.

    The odds that the current guy (the particular one under consideration, or a putative guy like him at some time in the reasonably foreseeable future) could break the USA’s democracy are IMO relatively low – and any attempt to oppose him by breaking democracy are as likely to help as hinder his cause, assuming that he wants democracy broken.

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    • There’s been a somewhat common thread to some responses here along the lines that the institutions of the US political system are uniquely strong (or at least clearly stronger than in other countries) such that it could withstand being led by a literal fascist. Within that view, it’s as if the system could handle having to constantly block exactly what that fascist sought power in the first place for, without either stirring their fans to counter actions or creating an internal crisis (besides the one of, um, a fishing fascist taking power to begin with).

      I’m puzzled where this depth of faith is coming from, tbh. It’s already created the tools, what with the surveillance apparatus & the humongous military buildup, and the prison-industrial complex and police basically acting like robots with their Kill switch stuck that cry about the slightest criticism of their power. There’s plenty of atrocious things the US government is already doing itself or is a willful party to, even despite it not being quite as obvious in attitude as breaking out the swastikas.

      You’re saying it’d be a deeply inhospitable place for a whole hog authoritarian to hold power. I’m seeing a pretty comfortable seat waiting for them.

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      • “it could withstand being led by a literal fascist.”

        Since you embrace the term, I must quote the venerable google definition of “literally”:

        in a literal manner or sense; exactly.

        “the driver took it literally when asked to go straight across the traffic circle”
        synonyms: exactly, precisely, actually, really, truly;

        informal

        used for emphasis or to express strong feeling while not being literally true.
        “I have received literally thousands of letters”

        The word “literal” is literally being abused here and turned into a sad-faced auto-antonym.

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      • I wouldn’t say the US’s democratic institutions are uniquely strong, but they are firmly in well-established first-world standards of strength.

        The Weimar republic was doomed from the start by the treaty of Versailles, and only existed three or so years before the beer hall putsch brought the agent of its demise to prominence.

        I don’t think it would quite be a “deeply inhospitable place for a whole hog authoritarian to hold power” as you say. I’m just pretty sure that, as of current state, an attempt to overthrow him by force before the voting machines have even been packed away would do more damage to the republic than pretty much any other means of resistance.

        Either it would fail (almost guaranteed I think), and provide the authoritarian with cover under which to declare a state of emergency and carry out an Erdogan-esque purge of civil society, setting the stage to rig the next election, and remove term limits by the one after – something he likely would not have gotten in his entire four or eight years otherwise; or it would succeed and – I’m not sure what. Nothing good. Pave the way for another vicious authoritarian who quotes from different political theorists? Maybe dissolve the US into a map of regional warlords’ territories full of county-wide landmine-filled ‘disputed boundaries’?

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      • I believe US political institutions are weaker than some here seem to think, but I agree with Dragonfrog, too.

        I’ll also say that in addition to “political institutions” we also have a pretty strong civil society in a way that I suspect Weimar Germany did not (not that I’m an expert on Weimar Germany).

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  8. Pingback: Anarcho-splainin’ the election | Psychopolitik

  9. At this early hour, minutes before the polls open on the east coast, I just want to re-emphasize something here:

    My first question about actions after the election… the pervasiveness of the attitude in mainstream politics that it’s ALL down to voting and that’s it, this Ballot Box Vacuum sucking the air out of any other political expression and activism — this Daily Show clip HuffPo recently shared being a PERFECT example of it — is so deep that people more towards my end of politics at times question even mentioning these things at all. The assumptions of this make me consider their point more lately, tbh.

    Seriously folks, the idea that the Klan is going to look at the results later and just go “well, never mind about that whole white supremacy thing, our guy lost” is nonsense. Defensive vote or not, I hope and would strongly urge those voting for that reason to make sure that they make known after the election that those spreading hate are NOT welcome in their communities, and be willing to defend those that would be their victims from them.

    If white supremacists seek to organize, expose them.
    If you find out someone is a white supremacist, out them.
    If white supremacists gather in public, show up and tell them to Fish Off.

    The ballot has not been and will not be enough.

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          • Yeah, like all those times over-earnest college students burned down conservative white churches.

            No wait.

            Like how they form safe-space gangs in prisons.

            No wait.

            Like how BLM protesters have regularly gone on shooting rampages at Starbucks outlets.

            No wait.

            Like how that lady with a youtube series about sexist tropes in video games, likes to firebomb the homes of uniracial couples on her downtime.

            No, still not.

            Oh, I get it – how they communicate their ideas with words and sometimes raise their voices in anger when people confront them. That’s chilling, that is.

            Yeah, totally the same thing.

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    • b-psycho,
      Myself, I favor a bit more nuanced “How To Fix America” than “expose and shame everyone who is idiotic.” And I know someone who helps run the SPLC website.

      If you use your biggest guns first, you lack maneuvering space to control outcomes.

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      • You know someone everywhere.
        I begin to suspect you’re actually a bored GS-12 somewhere in the cogs and wheels who really wants to be closer to the levers.

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  10. I wanted to write this comment before I read all the others. I’ve had some of the same thoughts as you do. People are eager to say they’ll accept the results no matter what, but for some of them there does seem to be an unspoken “unless Trump wins” caveat.

    To this:

    So, after the votes are counted, if (when, more like…) those elements take up brownshirt tactics and go threatening marginalized people, I’d like to know… where will you be?

    I’ll probably be where I always am, “courageously” blogging about it under pseudonym and silently tsk-tsking at home. It’s easy to be brave on the internet.

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      • I want to be clear that I don’t endorse violence even though much of what b-psycho says resonates with me.

        I know you’re not endorsing violence, either, just talking about self-defense. But if you do indeed feel it necessary to “chamber a round,” it might be best not to write that because writing it contributes to a perception of impending violence.

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        • The only violence I endorse is self defense violence. I expect there will be zero, or little violence. If there is a lot of it, this country has descended farther than I thought faster than i thought. Anyone who expects violence on this election day is being dramatic. However, that’s not to say that one should not take precautions.

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          • — I wouldn’t want to be visibly trans in a “lots of angry white guys” part of the county, should Trump lose. Even here in Boston, I sometimes encounter these guys. One time I was assaulted; another I was merely threatened. It could get worse.

            It’s like, each one of these fuckers is just itching to live out his own “falling down” script.

            I stand out. They notice me.

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