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The #Resistance, Trump and Islands in the Stream

We live in an unusual time.

We are about a month into the Presidency of Donald Trump and it seems that we have a White House that is dysfunctional.  He rolls out a travel ban that wasn’t vetted by government agencies like Homeland Security or State and creates chaos in airports around the country, causing immigrants and refugees to feel unwelcome here and flee to Canada.  He has a press conference that is…well, there aren’t any words to describe how vastly different a Trump presser is from Barack Obama or George W. Bush.  And you have a man who has only been President a month who is already campaigning for the next presidential election in less than three years.

I haven’t talked about the disturbing connections between Trump and Russia that led to the first head of the National Security Council to be sent packing or his tweets about the press being the enemy of the people or his moral equivalence between the United States and Russia.

There is more, but let’s just say that Trump is not the normal holder of the office of President.  While I don’t fear that we are living in Weimar America awaiting our Reichstag Fire, I do think that there is much to be concerned about with Trump and what he might be doing to our democratic experiment.

This is a time when people should come together to present a defense of who we are as Americans and also to be an effective check against Trump’s power.  It is a time when ideology should be at times minimized for the sake of the greater good, that is preserving American democracy.

But that’s not happening.  Part of the reason I think it isn’t happening is because of the nature of the American left and the #resistance movement.

The #Resistance is basically the response that progressives have had to the surprising election win of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.  The best way to describe it is as a movement whose goal is basically to oppose everything that Trump is doing.  In some ways this is understandable.  Trump is, in my view, someone who could damage American government as well as the world system that has granted relative peace for 70 years.  He does seem to have an anti-Muslim bias that could have consequences for millions of Americans whose only crime is that they share their faith with a number of vile extremists.

Progressives have the right to oppose anything and everything that Trump proposes.  But if their goal is to reduce the damage Trump may do by limiting him to one term, you have to reach out beyond the base.  Trump was able to get a number of people who voted for Obama twice because they didn’t think the Democrats were offering anything new.  These “Trump-curious” voters are the people that progressives should be persuading in order for their objective to become a reality.

But they aren’t reaching out to them.  Instead they are viewing any and all voters who dared to vote for Trump with contempt.  Progressives have a hard time understanding why anyone would vote for someone like Trump who seems to be anti-Muslim, bigoted and sexist.  Of course there are valid reasons why someone would vote for Trump, but for progressives, voting for someone whose sins are beyond the pale is hard to swallow.  But giving them the cold shoulder might actually make Trump stronger instead of weaker.  The New York Times recently broached the subject in an article called “Are Liberals Helping Trump?”  Here’s one Trump curious voter explaining his vote.

Jeffrey Medford, a small-business owner in South Carolina, voted reluctantly for Donald Trump. As a conservative, he felt the need to choose the Republican. But some things are making him feel uncomfortable — parts of Mr. Trump’s travel ban, for example, and the recurring theme of his apparent affinity for Russia.

Mr. Medford should be a natural ally for liberals trying to convince the country that Mr. Trump was a bad choice. But it is not working out that way. Every time Mr. Medford dips into the political debate — either with strangers on Facebook or friends in New York and Los Angeles — he comes away feeling battered by contempt and an attitude of moral superiority.

“We’re backed into a corner,” said Mr. Medford, 46, whose business teaches people to be filmmakers. “There are at least some things about Trump I find to be defensible. But they are saying: ‘Agree with us 100 percent or you are morally bankrupt. You’re an idiot if you support any part of Trump.’ ”

The response to this by liberals is…well, let’s just say they are running low in the sympathy department. Here is one sample:

I won’t speak for other libs, but I am not out to persuade Trump voters. Leaving aside how condescending the notion is that Trump voters need to be persuaded, they are not persuadable, period. Secondly, it is not my aim to work with these people; it is my aim to work around them.

The belief that Trump voters aren’t persuadable harkens back an article by Ordinary Times-alum Jamele Bouie in the fall. The article was titled “There’s No Such Thing As Good Trump Voter.” In that piece, Bouie said that in light of the recent outbreaks of hate-based violence against persons of color, Muslims and others it is the former people that deserve sympathy not those who knowingly voted for a racist.

…more than 300 incidents of harassment or intimidation have been reported in the aftermath of Trump’s election, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. NBC News confirmed several, including incidents where vandals spray-painted slurs (“Heil Trump”) and swastikas on churches serving Hispanic or LGBT communities. At San Diego State University, a hijab-wearing Muslim student says she was confronted and robbed by two men who made comments about Trump, and at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, a Muslim student says a man approached her and threatened to set her on fire unless she removed her hijab. At the University of Pennsylvania, black members of the freshman class were added to a racist social media group, where students were threatened with lynchings.

Millions of Americans are justifiably afraid of what they’ll face under a Trump administration. If any group demands our support and sympathy, it’s these people, not the Americans who backed Trump and his threat of state-sanctioned violence against Hispanic immigrants and Muslim Americans. All the solicitude, outrage, and moral telepathy being deployed in defense of Trump supporters—who voted for a racist who promised racist outcomes—is perverse, bordering on abhorrent.

Listen, as someone who also didn’t vote for Trump (I voted for Gary Johnson), as someone who is African American and Latino, I get why people might be bothered by Trump voters. I don’t know about Bouie, but I actually have friends who voted for Trump. These include a woman from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that I’ve known since college and I was an usher in her wedding. Another one is the mother of two sons on the autism spectrum that I can talk about autism issues with since I’m on the spectrum as well. None of these people are hateful bigots. Bouie also ignores the fact that millions of people who voted for Obama twice voted for Trump. Did they magically become racists overnight?

The answer of course is no.  Yes, there are racists that did vote for Trump, but the over 60 million that did vote for him are not all Klansmen.

But calling Trump voters racists makes it easy for liberals. They don’t have to examine their own beliefs. They can feel energized coming together and marching without having to dilute their purity. Just like conservatives, they can stay in a political bubble that is safe and reinforces their beliefs without having their views challenged.

To understand Trump voters you have to look at three states that moved over to the Republican column, costing Clinton the election: Michigan (my home state), Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.  These were solidly blue states that changed.  Macomb County, a suburban working class county outside of Detroit, went for Obama in 2012 and then switched to Trump in 2016.  How do you go from voting for the nation’s first black President to voting for Trump?

What binds these three states together is that they have faced deindustrialization over the decades.  These were states that produced steel and made cars. They employed millions.  When those industries changed, it meant the loss of jobs and diminished futures.  I know this from experience since my hometown is Flint, Michigan, the city now known for contaminated water –  but before that, it was known as a city that has borne the brunt of deindustrialization in America.  The Democrats were the party that best reached out to people in these states, but in 2016, they went for Trump.  In one of her last stories before leaving NPR, reporter Asma Khalid talked about how long time Democrats were supporting Trump instead of Clinton:

David Betras realized Hillary Clinton’s odds of winning the presidency were in peril — back in March of last year.

Betras, the chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party, lives in an area of Ohio that traditionally votes for Democrats. But during the Ohio primary, Betras saw 18 people on his own precinct committee defect and cross party lines to vote Republican.

“Why did they vote for Donald Trump?” Betras asked rhetorically, and in the next breath answered his own question, “’cause Donald Trump — I don’t get it, but, amazingly, a man that s**** in gold-plated toilets — was talking more to working people than the party’s standard-bearer.”

Betras and others think the party has become more coastal and less concerned about the needs of people in middle America:

“The people here thought — wrongly — the national Democratic Party cared more about where someone went to the bathroom than whether or not these people had a job,” Betras said. “And so, we’re off-message.”

Betras insists for most voters, the economy is the primary concern. And he is worried the Democratic National Committee doesn’t understand that — that it has become too coastal, too elite and too disconnected from middle America. His prime example of the elitism he sees in his own party is the criticism he heard from some Democrats when Trump misrepresented the number of jobs in the Carrier deal.

“I don’t care if it was a bad deal,” Betras argued, “he was fighting for someone’s job. That’s what we used to do, right?”

To put it in a visual sense, the New York Times made two maps to show the areas where Trump won vs. the areas where Clinton won. This is the map of Trump’s America:

 

Now here’s the map of Clinton’s America:

Now most of the Clinton “Islands” are heavily populated and allowed her to win the popular vote.  But since we determine the winner by states, you can clearly see you can’t win with just the islands.

Now look at this electoral map of 1992, when another Clinton won the White House:

Finally, here is the 2016 electoral map:

The most basic reason that Democrats and progressives have to reach out to Trump voters is because they were Democratic voters. They were the reason the party won some of its most recent successes in the White House.

The left can can go and talk about the #resistance all they want.  But they need to work on reaching out to Trump voters and even at times working with conservatives who are wary of Trump and get over the anger of people voting for someone like Trump.

So the left needs to start working on building a strong anti-Trump coalition and get over themselves, because at the end of the day what counts is how much damage Trump will do to American democracy, and how those opposed can best stop or reverse the injury.


Staff Writer

Dennis Sanders is the Associate Pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Minneapolis, MN.  You can follow Dennis through his blogs, The Clockwork Pastor and Big Tent Revue and on Twitter.  Feel free to contact him at dennis.sanders(at)gmail(dot)com.

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451 thoughts on “The #Resistance, Trump and Islands in the Stream

  1. Your protesting wrong.

    Its not an argument I buy.

    When massive across the board resistance has been so obviously rewarded?

    Nah.

    And cinimax racism sexism xenophobia is just a degree off, not an absense of said feeling.

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  2. I’ve made pretty much the same argument, with the same response. I think that response comes from a deep sense of betrayal. It’s clear that a lot of the people whom we thought of as “reasonable conservatives” went ahead and voted for Trump, who appeared to have disqualified himself several times with his behavior.

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    • Doctor Jay,
      When two people disqualify themselves via their behavior, you have to vote for the one least likely to make an absolute shit of everything.

      EVERYONE hates Trump. Even the Deep State. That limits his power.

      Besides, did you really want to see what kind of real demagogue we’d get in 2020 if Trump LOST?

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  3. If a Democrat had made that Carrier deal, they’d be accused of government corruption and crony capitalism by the same people who cheered Trump’s.

    At this point in this series of “they didn’t leave the party, the party left them”, I need some specific things they would switch votes for the Democrats for. My instinct is that most of them want things to that no one can give them (but we can lie to them about) or to actively hurt other members of the coalition.

    I also love the fact that African-Americans and Latinos are now members of the ‘elite’ simply because they live in the big cities.

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    • +1
      I’ve heard a dozen versions of the OP since the election, and they all end-up at the same place: fairly vacuous advice, which is at best cosmetic.

      The truth is that Trump will win or lose in 2020 based on the economy.

      As for Dems reaching out: the only meaningful thing we could do to reach out would be to either:
      1) start telling them lies about how stopping trade will rebuild the middle class
      2) start lashing out at blacks, hispanics, and Muslims

      The first is deeply cynical, and the second would fracture our coalition.

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      • I don’t think you’re wrong, so much as there’s more to it. I think there were a significant group of traditional Democratic voters who voted for Trump because he said he’d fix the things that they are struggling with.

        The fact is, he can’t. However, we could be thinking of, and articulating ideas that would actually help them. This won’t get traction right away, they are still giving Trump a shot. But if we start on these ideas now, they will be in place to provide an alternative.

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        • Programs to help them like infrastructure, job training, wage subsidies, and the ACA?
          Dems implemented all that.
          It wasn’t enough?
          Dems want more too!

          These “Dems are ignoring the WWC” think pieces are frustrating bc either:
          1. They have no specific policy advice… or…
          2. They suggest policies Dems already support.

          Maybe I’m wrong. What’s a policy Dems should support?
          Be specific.

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          • Brian,
            In 20 years, we won’t be able to feed America. In 20 years, 50% of our current jobs will be gone, and we won’t have others to replace them. In 20 years, we will have a billion refugees backed by nuclear weapons.

            If the Democrats had a spine, they’d stand up and talk about the real issues we’re going to face.

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              • Didn’t you see the last election? You just promise them. Ideally, you also tell the voters that you preferred policies will create them so you can get some of your wish list passed after you take power.

                Easy.

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                  • Sadly, I don’t think it was even popular with the base. I don’t know of a single liberal who cheers putting miners outa work. Some of them definitely cheer reducing coal extraction and consumption, tho! I think it’s an example of Hillary demonstrating her very bad political instincts, myself. Her statement certainly made an impression on me.

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                • >>Didn’t you see the last election? You just promise them.

                  One thing to keep in mind is we’ve been through a lot of elections and Trump isn’t some kind of political wonderkind. If just promising shit that you can’t deliver was a sustainable way to achieve your policy goals and build a lasting majority we would have seen it much earlier than now.

                  I realize you’re not doing that here, but a lot of the reporting I’ve seen post Trump feels like people looking at Jimmy Carter’s victory and thinking “the GOP is screwed and Democrats are going to be very successful as this anti-establishment president massively shakes up Washington”.

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                  • I think you are quite right.

                    About the only thing the democrats could do to screw it up would be to basically alienate the entire other half of the electorate…aggressively.

                    I think there’s a very good chance that the Trump presidency collapses on its own failures… as notes, there are going to be a lot of broken and hurt people. People ripe to consider changing their politics… as long as they feel they have an opening to join.

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                    • Personally I suspect this presidency doesn’t last four years under Trump, because Trump has some major health crisis (fatal or not) and Pence takes over.

                      Trump is an old man, he’s constantly angry, he doesn’t sleep well. He’s never had people say “no” to him, never faced this much negative press, never run an organization where he wasn’t the single top point of authority in the org chart. At this rate he’s going to keep getting angrier and more stressed out until he give himself a heart attack, and I don’t think it’ll take four years.

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              • If I had a real answer for that, I’d be governor-for-life :^)

                I’ve said for years that the issue is jobs. The (D) answer, for years, has been “go to school” (with an implicit “guess the right field and be prepared to move”). The (R) answer, for probably longer, has been tax cuts for rich people, who will use their money to build factories here (ignoring cheap overseas labor and automation). I admit that my predictions for last year were very wrong, as it appears enough people simply wanted to hear, “I’ll free up the jobs that immigrants have been doing, and play the same mercantilist game the developing countries have.”

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          • Maybe if Dems actually stood up for the ACA during Obama’s presidency, it would’ve negated some of people’s hatred for it (even while they like the individual components of it). The Republicans were masterful at linking Obama negatively to the ACA. The Dems were atrocious with their support until recently.

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          • Ahhh, no. Clearly that wasn’t good enough. The ACA didn’t resonate. Sanders’ “free health care” did, as much as I kind of hate that framing. I love the ACA, I think it might be better policy than “Medicare for all”.

            It might be that they simply weren’t ready to listen to us, and after the Trump program fails miserably to “bring back jobs” and “bring back coal” they might be more receptive.

            I think we need to think a lot harder about how to deal with factory closings. I think we need to think a lot harder about how to get a bunch of people who had some skills pointed in another direction, but maybe using some of those skills.

            And by “think harder” we need to find some people who can go to the areas where there’s a problem, and yet not get overwhelmed by the despair of it all.

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      • I agree. The following line from the OP — This is a time when people should come together to present a defense of who we are as Americans and also to be an effective check against Trump’s power — is particularly poignant.

        The Republicans hold the House, Senate and White House. They will get to at least a 5-4 majority in the Sup Ct.

        And Dennis is complaining about Democratic criticism of the President? Where are the principled Republicans?

        Sure I’m a partisan. But reading this post from my point of view boils down to: “The President is nuts and my side’s politicians won’t do anything about it. Please help.”

        To which my answer is: Oh no. This is on you to fix. You’ve got tough votes coming up on the debt ceiling, budget sequester, immigration, health care, infrastructure, trade, military expansion, and taxes. Those votes should nicely divide your party. If you want Democratic help on any of those, you can come to us. Otherwise, be prepared for loud continuous opposition. With effective opposition we could be in control of the House in 2 years, before any major legislation can get passed.

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        • Sure I’m a partisan. But reading this post from my point of view boils down to: “The President is nuts and my side’s politicians won’t do anything about it. Please help.”

          I think that’s how it reads from his pov as well: without liberal/Dem help, the likely results of Trump admin are disastrous to us all. So get yer ass in gear liberals and SAVE US FROM OURSELVES!

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          • Don’t forget the blame. Not only “save us from ourselves” but “accept that it’s your fault we voted this way” and “we’re going to use this as political fodder to attack you and marginalize you further”.

            And of course, as it’s been so lovingly explained to me, as a patriot and someone who loves my country and doesn’t want to see suffering I need to bend over and take it.

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        • Yup. Bingo. This is on you guys now. You’ve got your President, a plaint Congress, and in a few weeks, a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Make America Great Again without us liberal elites ruining it.

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        • What are the Republicans willing to give up to get those votes? Increased enforcement on employers? Increased penalties on employers? Union wages for working on the wall? Enhanced environmental protections for construction in sensitive habitat? Anything?

          When a party wants something but is short a few votes, the usual route is to offer something. I haven’t heard one (!) single thing that you think that the President should offer to get votes in the Senate.

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          • Nothing, that’s the point.

            If this were just about the inside game, how to beat a filibuster, etc. you would be right. But it’s not. It’s about the Democratic Party, especially at the grass roots level, having as their intent solidarity with the all of America and its best interest.

            The Demo’s have a huge credibility gap in that regard and they need ways to close it.

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            • This is a very odd response. If you don’t want the Republicans to make any policy changes and just posture a lot, then put nothing on the table and get nothing back.

              But unless McConnell is going to break the filibuster (and even if he doesn’t), you need Democratic votes to make changes.

              The Dem credibility gap (if it actually exists) will close pretty rapidly when there’s no Wall, no ACA replacement, no new factories in Ohio and candidate Kamela Harris is going around asking voters if they’re better off than they were four years ago.

              It’s quite clear that you don’t even want compromise, what you want from the Dems is submission. Well, that’s not on offer.

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              • This is very interesting, for as short as it was. I may end up replying to this more than once.

                First of all, this is primarily not about policy, and even less about inside game maneuvers. So let’s just say that the GOP has at least the possibility of breaking a filibuster or ramming it through over unified Demo opposition if it comes to that. But like I said before, that’s not where I was headed with the prior comment.

                The Dem credibility gap (if it actually exists) will close pretty rapidly when there’s no Wall, no ACA replacement, no new factories in Ohio and candidate Kamela Harris is going around asking voters if they’re better off than they were four years ago.

                Specifically, this doesn’t necessarily hold. The Demo credibility gap isn’t just about policy, or even lies propagated to the public discourse for that matter. At its deepest level, it’s about motives and intent, and Demos have bad motives.

                That’s where the wall comes in. Some Demo Senators can preemptively support the wall, they can represent to Trump voters “I represent you, I am on your side” etc, etc. That’s simply not anything the Democratic party can take for granted now. Hillary Clinton was a particularly bad figurehead for that, but I don’t expect the Demo’s problems in that regard to be gone just because she is.

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                • This is fundamentally misunderstanding the Dem coalition. Where you can expect to see this kind of performative good will is on the infrastructure side (where Sanders, for example, repeatedly offers to work with Trump). Though something tells your desire isn’t really about Democrats working with Trump as much as Democrats capitulating on lefty red meat.

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                  • I see your point about infrastructure but I think the wall is a better example.

                    Preemptively supporting the wall seems like a capitulation but I don’t know why it has to be. The Demo’s credibility gap is cultural in nature so I think the most effective rehabilitation is cultural as well. In policy terms, I don’t think the wall is necessarily that bad for Demos. It’s just bad in symbolic terms. So I think the Demos should unpack that symbolism and just emphasize the policy and cultural solidarity.

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                • The Demo credibility gap isn’t just about policy, or even lies propagated to the public discourse for that matter.

                  As has been pointed out before, if the Dems attempt to go to the *right*, all that will accomplish is that the media that Trump voters consume will continue to *make up* stuff about them. The Democrats do not have a ‘credibility gap’ with a large section of the right, they have a ‘some subset of the voters on the right have been taught delusional things about Democrats by a lying media and never in a million years will vote for them’. It is…obviously stupid to try to get those voters, especially since the right-wing media they are consuming is hardly going to turn around and talk about how awesome those Democrats are.

                  I know, in your head, even if you won’t admit it to yourself, those are the only *real* voters, that those people truly represent America. In much the same way that protesters against the ACA were demonstrating something very important about this country and should have been listened to, whereas protesters to the ACA repeal can be ignored.

                  But *that* information in your head is made-up Republican prejudice bullshit. The Democrats have no obligation to go after those voters, and can easily win without them, considering they lost the last presidential election by a very small amount, almost solely because the campaigns had incorrect poll numbers and targeted wrong, and people made assumptions about Republican voters having some sort of moral grounding that turned out to not be true. (And as I keep pointing out, this election, and maybe 2020, were the demographic tipping point after which Republicans *cannot* win the presidency unless the Democrats screw up badly.)

                  In this reality, the Democrats *do* have a credibility gap, and it’s entirely in the opposite direction, in that they are fairly bad at doing liberal stuff and their voters are aware of it. And, of course, it’s *their own voters* are the people the party wants to please, not some moron who thinks the wall is a good idea.

                  Not because building the wall is *not* a good idea (Although it’s not), but because the sort of person who thinks the wall is a good idea is the sort of person who will *never ever vote Democratic*. If you’re the sort of person who has consumed enough nonsense to think the wall is a good idea, you will also consume nonsense telling you that the Democrats are ‘shipping illegals to voting places’ and all sorts of anti-Democratic propaganda, and the fact that half a dozen of them voted for the wall is not going to change that….assuming that’s a fact you even remember, which you won’t, because the media you consumed will keep calling it Trump’s Wall To Keep Us Safe or whatever.

                  And…hell, even if that wasn’t true, it’s *still* a stupid strategy. That’s not how partisan politics works. Let’s pretend the Republican base wasn’t some poorly informed bundle of rage pointed at The Enemy, or they at least didn’t include Democrats in that. Let’s pretend everyone is a mostly rational person that vaguely supported their party’s positions. Let’s also pretend the wall was some sort of rational policy position.

                  In any party system, parties need to first make sure people who vote for them are happy, and second try to draw in voters who are aligned with their politics but do not vote, third try to attract undecided voter, and fourth, try to peal off voters of the other party who are unhappy with its direction.

                  Trying to attract voters for the other party who are happy with their current party’s direction, or trying to convince non-voters whose politics do not align with the party, is literally *dead last* in strategies to attract voters. Changing positions to try to attract those people is what a party does when the party has positions that are *so unpopular it cannot survive with them*. (Aka, this is where all the anti-gay laws went for Republicans.)

                  The party can widen the tent, but supporting the wall would be *moving* the tent and leave out in the rain all the people who are *opposed* to the wall, aka, the people who *actually vote Democratic*, or can be convinced to do so. And then hoping the party gets enough Republican defections to make up for all those people…which they obviously will not.

                  There is literally no way your plan makes sense, *even assuming all voters were rational entities*. Current Democratic voters would see a Republican party with positions they don’t like, and a Democratic party that betrayed them, they’d stay home. Current Republican voters would see a Republican party that matches up to what they like, and a Democratic party that is grudgingly coming around on a single issue….and vote Republican.

                  I mostly direct this comment at other people, not Koz, because, as I’ve said, Koz has internalized some sort of hallucinatory idea that everyone thinks the Democrats have bad motives. Even while the Trump administration runs around breaking shit maliciously, and the Republicans are, at this point, waffling on their ACA repeal, with a Trump administration in an *incredibly* precarious position…it’s the *Democrats* who need to plead and beg for the Trump voters.

                  Koz lives in his own world where his feelings about what is going on are how reality is. He has lots of feelings about the Democrats, and has decided that must be what *everyone* thinks about them.

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                  • There is literally no way your plan makes sense

                    Actually, thinking about, there is exactly one way his plan makes sense. There is one premise that, if true, *almost* make it work:

                    There are a vast amount of voters who agree with the Democrats on everything, *but*, semi-randomly, refuse to vote for them. They mostly agree with Democrats, and disagree with Republicans, but absolutely will not vote for Democrats, for some reason.

                    But they realize this behavior is irrational, so have come up with all sorts of internal justifications about why, for example, Democrats do not show solidarity with the country. And they also have come up with things the Democrats could do that would make them support the Democrats.

                    Of course, the reason I said ‘almost’ above is that whatever the Democratic could to do make them support the Democrats happens to be whatever the Democrats *are not doing*. And if the Democrats actually did those things, they’d immediately change to something else, because the point isn’t to use that to determine how to vote, it is to use that to intended to *justify* not voting for the people they understand, deep down, are the better and more moral choice.

                    In fact, those people might have, when the other party nominated a horrible choice, wandered back to a political board they used to visit, in an attempt to *explain* why they cannot vote for the Democrats. Solely in an attempt get *other people* to agree with them. This would be because they *know* they’re making a bad choice and wants *someone* to say ‘Yes, Trump is an entirely reasonable person to be supporting because the Democrats *are* awful. They’re just totally awful for, uh, passing the ACA over protests and other stuff like that!’.

                    They feel the need for some sort of validation for their refusal to support Democrats.

                    And *I* suspect that premise not only does not describe the vast number of people in this country, it does not even describe a single percentage of people.

                    I suspect it sorta might describe only one person, in fact.

                    And no matter what the Democrats do, he’ll always come up with some reason they are worse than the Republicans and their moronic ideas.

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                    • I suspect it sorta might describe only one person, in fact.

                      And you’re just all ends up on this one. I can’t make heads or tails out of it.

                      One the one hand, there’s lots of voters who agree with Demos but then stubbornly don’t vote for them. On the other, there’s only one, me presumably though probably Jaybird is a better fit for what you’ve described (though frankly it doesn’t fit him all that well either).

                      And whatever this is supposed to mean, it doesn’t have anything to do with the price of tea in China relating to my comment or your earlier response to it.

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                      • Oh, I was indeed talking about you.

                        Do you want to know the difference between Jaybird and you? Jaybird is someone who has mostly conservative beliefs, but cannot support the Republicans. Thus, he has no party, and he is well aware of the helplessness of his situation.

                        A lot of conservatives here are that way. More became that way when Trump was elected.

                        You, OTOH, seem to be partisan, someone who desperately needs a reason that the Republicans are in the right. This is, not, in itself, that odd, there are others here who do that. They’re no in this conversations, and I won’t name them, but there are people who clearly think the Republicans do no wrong…and that’s fine.

                        What is odd about you is that *you don’t seem to like that*.

                        Instead of coming up with reasons that what positions the Republicans take are *correct* and what the Democrats take are *incorrect* (Which would be what a partisan does.), you spend an awful lot of time explaining how everything is the Democrat’s fault, the Democrats started all this insanity, and everyone is sick and tired of the Democrats, and if the Democrats would just make any sign of good faith at all then everyone would support them.

                        Which, not only is a *really weird* political argument for a supposed conservative to make (because you’re basically claiming that *most people are liberals* and have just become disgusted with the Democratic party), but…isn’t true in any manner at all. It’s completely disconnected from any political reality.

                        Forget that ‘who started it’, which you and I have argued over repeatedly. Let’s just drop that for now, and look at your weird *solution*: Democrats need to symbolically support something of the Republicans.

                        That’s…not political reality either. Not just the one we’re currently in, but any political reality that has ever existed, ever. That is not how political parties work. People don’t switch parties because the other party decides to support one thing.

                        Especially when that one thing, as you yourself admitted, you picked *basically at random*…it’s not some giant sticking point that might actually be turning off voters, it’s not being *pro-life* or something that some rational argument could be made for that sole issue turning off some specific voters, but it’s some *purely symbolic* thing that isn’t really going to happen anyway, something that a lot of Democratic voters are repelled by, and you seem to think that Democrats *symbolically* supporting…Republicans? America? Something…will get them a lot of support from…Republicans?

                        This is political *gibberish*. This isn’t how anything works. This basically assumes a bunch of people support Democratic positions and do not like the Republicans but somehow feel *obligated* to vote against Democrats because the Democrats are not…who the hell knows? Not voting Republican enough?

                        *No one thinks that*. That is not a thing that exists within the political spectrum, and you’ve decided to ascribe it to *a huge section of the population*.

                        And the reason is, I suspect, *you* think that. Or, rather that is your justification for supporting Republicans. Note by ‘justification’, I don’t mean that I think it needs one…I mean that *you* think it needs one.

                        You don’t sound like an actual partisan, you sound like someone desperately trying to convince yourself that what is in your head makes sense.

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                        • This is going to be an interesting comment, because you are fucked up six ways to Sunday on it, to the point where unpacking hopefully will illuminate some things.

                          Let’s start with this: in the grandparent comment, you wrote that I somehow really believe that the Demos are the correct moral choice for our current political situation, but there are more superficial partisan reasons why I actually support the GOP instead (in fact this is the part that made me think of Jaybird).

                          As far as I’m concerned that’s ridiculous. If there is absolutely anything at all we can conclude from my participation at the League, past or present, we can be confident that the Demos are not the correct moral choice for our situation.

                          I can envision being accused of many things. But being a closet Demo, frankly that one threw me for a loop.

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                          • I don’t think you’re a closet Dem. I think you’re a closet *moderate* who supports the Republicans. Maybe a right-leaning moderate, or even someone who could legitimately be called a conservative 10 years ago.

                            But you’re one that has become horrified by Trump and yet *cannot let go of your Republican identity*.

                            And because you know the Republicans are the good guys, and the Democrats are the bad guys, this must somehow be the fault of the bad guys, so you have somehow constructed an entire worldview where the reason Trump exists is the behavior of the Democrats, and if the Democrats could just *stop* whatever they are doing (Being so…Democrat-ish and Unamerican), everything would turn out fine and we’d all go back to being reasonable.

                            Not only is this complete bullshit with no basis in reality, but you then proceed to argue, weirdly, would *help Democrats*, which it clearly would not….dude, in the real world, it’s *your* party that’s off the rails. We’ve been pointing out it’s off the rail for almost a decade now…at this point we’re just standing here watching it crash smack dab into nationalism and lunacy.

                            And I was mostly kidding about this just being you. You’re probably the only person doing that *here*…partisan Republicans *here* tend to either openly admit the Republican party has a problem at this point, or they’re on the Trump train…or they just sorta pretend he doesn’t exist.

                            But this sort of cognitive dissonance is actually pretty common among internet opinion writers.

                            You just managed to take it farther than most of them because people here *push back* against that nonsense.

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                        • Forget that ‘who started it’, which you and I have argued over repeatedly. Let’s just drop that for now, and look at your weird *solution*: Democrats need to symbolically support something of the Republicans.

                          This was in context of what the Demo’s can meaningfully do to engage in the visible political process other than mindless “resistance” etc, etc. That’s been an issue for a lot of libs, on this thread and others, and typically the consensus is basically nothing.

                          I’m saying that’s not so. There are actually important, positive, useful things the Demos can do from where they are that don’t involve pussy hats and setting fires. It’s not supposed to be like 42, the answer to life, the universe and everything.

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                          • This was in context of what the Demo’s can meaningfully do to engage in the visible political process other than mindless “resistance” etc, etc. That’s been an issue for a lot of libs, on this thread and others, and typically the consensus is basically nothing.

                            You’ve mixed together Democratic politicians and Democratic non-politicians there.

                            As for *elected* Democrats, you seem to be operating off some weird theory that it is a good idea for elected officials to ‘engage in the visible political process’ to *accomplish things they are opposed to*.

                            ‘Man, if I can’t get this thing I want done, at least I can get the *opposite* done. That’s something, right?’

                            This makes no sense at all as a behavior of elected officials.

                            Meanwhile, the *only avenue of change* available to non-politician Democrats is…exactly what ‘the resistance’ is doing!

                            They are engaging in protests, talking to Congresspeople, forming political groups, registering voters, finding people to run, etc. That is how politics *works* for non-politicians, it is the entirety of the process that non-elected officials are allow to participate in.

                            And you seem to be taking a weird amount of offense to Democrats doing these things, despite the fact you previously pointed out the ACA protests as the most amazing political thing ever that completely delegitimatized the Democrat’s passage of the ACA when they overrode the will of the people.

                            And, if I put everything together…you honestly seem to asserting that the Democrats should take to the streets in support of the wall.

                            The problem is rather obvious there…the Democrats in the street do not, in fact, support the wall.

                            There are actually important, positive, useful things the Demos can do from where they are that don’t involve pussy hats and setting fires.

                            Oddly, the last time I asked for these things, you weren’t able to answer, so I will ask again:

                            These are?

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                            • And you seem to be taking a weird amount of offense to Democrats doing these things, despite the fact you previously pointed out the ACA protests as the most amazing political thing ever that completely delegitimatized the Democrat’s passage of the ACA when they overrode the will of the people.

                              No, I’m taking offense to the ferality of the “resistance” to Trump in particular and libs’ propensity to pollute the public discourse in general. That certainly doesn’t apply to the opposition to ACA, or all opposition to Trump or his policies. But it obviously applies to a lot of it.

                              Oddly, the last time I asked for these things, you weren’t able to answer, so I will ask again:

                              These are?

                              The wall, of course. That sort of question is the reason why I mentioned the wall in the first place.

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                        • Instead of coming up with reasons that what positions the Republicans take are *correct* and what the Democrats take are *incorrect* (Which would be what a partisan does.), you spend an awful lot of time explaining how everything is the Democrat’s fault, the Democrats started all this insanity, and everyone is sick and tired of the Democrats, and if the Democrats would just make any sign of good faith at all then everyone would support them.

                          Which, not only is a *really weird* political argument for a supposed conservative to make (because you’re basically claiming that *most people are liberals* and have just become disgusted with the Democratic party), but…isn’t true in any manner at all. It’s completely disconnected from any political reality.

                          I might not be getting this right since I’m not completely following you.

                          That said, pertaining to my bigger picture motivations as they stand right now, I don’t care as much as you think about bills that the Trump Administration might or might not pass. This is especially true regarding taxes or the budget. Those things are very important but they’re not the most important things, at least for now. I don’t even care as much about the possibility of the Democrats winning the midterm elections, or even having a Demo wave. That could happen, but I see where I stand there, and I’m ready to take my chances. And even if the Demos do win, we’ve seen this movie before and I have some idea what to expect.

                          What I am really worried about at the moment is the diminishing mindshare for America as a whole among libs in general. I think that involves huge miscalculations among libs, and more importantly, it affects the country as a whole. That is, where libs’ mindshare tends to become antagonistic to America, the American polity becomes weaker. That’s the underlying country, regarding which we pass budgets, build walls, etc.

                          That’s what I care about. So maybe that’s why I’m less interested in proselytizing for particular GOP policies than I might be in other circumstances.

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                          • What I am really worried about at the moment is the diminishing mindshare for America as a whole among libs in general.

                            And this is because you have decided that the Republican’s vision of America *are* America.

                            In *my* America, building walls is Unamerican. We demand people *tear down* walls in America. The Democrats once elected a great president that said that…wait, maybe I’m confused.

                            In *my* America, we welcome refugees. We have a big statue and everything, and turning away Jewish refugees before and during WWII is one of our shameful moments.

                            In *my* America, we don’t discriminate against groups of people. Sometimes we have laws, sometimes not, and we can disagree over that. But we certainly *disapprove* of people running around stirring up fear of Jews, or blacks, or Muslims, or trans people, or whatever is the evil group de jure.

                            That is, where libs’ mindshare tends to become antagonistic to America, the American polity becomes weaker. That’s the underlying country, regarding which we pass budgets, build walls, etc.

                            I remind everyone of Koz’s theory this started when the Democrats passed the ACA over the objection of Republicans.

                            That’s when the Democrats became antagonistic to America, when they passed health care reform.

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                            • In *my* America, building walls is Unamerican.

                              Why? If you had to articulate a reason for that, I’d want to hear it.

                              In *my* America, we welcome refugees. We have a big statue and everything, and turning away Jewish refugees before and during WWII is one of our shameful moments.

                              I wish you could appreciate that this and things like it; foreign aid, NATO, maintaining the balance of power in East Asia, etc, etc. are an expression of the strength of American solidarity and without that, we can’t do these things.

                              The “resistance” to Trump is draining our solidarity, quite deliberately for some people, though of course it started before Trump. Chris Caldwell wrote a great, though longish article on this recently.

                              http://www.claremont.org/crb/article/sanctimony-cities/

                              For example, as Milo pointed out, most Muslim nations are strongly hostile to homosexuality by law and culture. If Muslims come here, we should be afraid that they will bring their culture with them. Ah, but libs assure us, those are those other Muslims. _Our_ Muslims are cultured and sophisticated, they won’t cause any problems. But even if that were so, that means that contemporary American immigrants immediately become pawns in our Cold Civil War as soon as they reach our shores. And in fact, lib advocacy wrt immigration explicitly supports this. There’s a significant portion of libs who think the idea of “assimilation” is a dirty word, let alone have any idea how to implement it. You might be one of them for all I know.

                              This is the reason why you should support the wall. This is the reason I was talking about mindshare instead of this week’s repeal and replace of ACA. We have to get our own house in order behind some kind of consensus of who is an American and what that is supposed to mean.

                              Those are the resources we need to be the America you want us to be.

                              I remind everyone of Koz’s theory this started when the Democrats passed the ACA over the objection of Republicans.

                              Fuck Republicans, the Demos passed ACA of the objections of Americans. It’s interesting that you closed with this because it’s actually very topical. The people who flipped to the GOP as a consequence of ACA didn’t necessarily view themselves as Republicans beforehand. We’re glad to have their votes, but it’s a net loss for them in that the political system is fundamentally unresponsive to them in ways they did not anticipate beforehand.

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                              • Why? If you had to articulate a reason for that, I’d want to hear it.

                                It sure is weird talking to you, Koz. You seem to know nothing about any sort of common American political knowledge at all. I don’t mean stuff the left knows, I mean stuff *everyone* knows. For example, you appear to have missed my obvious reference to Reagan there, and his demand that walls be torn down.

                                But you miss all sorts of references. The most obvious was when you absurdly you took issue with the term ‘resistance’ and how it indicated there was a hostile power occupying the country, and you missed my pointed hints to the right naming *their* opposition movement the ‘Tea Party’ and also often waving *Confederate* flags, and that went completely over your head.

                                I honestly can’t figure out if you just emerged, fully born, from Zeus’s head, or if you’re deliberately feigning ignorance, or, and this is my leading theory, you’re some sort of time traveler. Whatever it is, you give a weird impression of being someone who knows the basics of political history out of (apparently somewhat biased) history books, but did not actually *live in or experience* American political culture until mid-2016, at which point you hit the right-wing blogs hard. You even have some really weird vocabulary choices, like calling people ‘Demos’ instead of ‘Dems’, and not seeming to be aware that ‘libs’ is not generally a polite way to refer to liberals. (And invites people to call conservatives ‘cons’.)

                                But anyway, to answer your question of why walls are unamerican: This is a nation of immigrants. Everyone is one, technically speaking, although we don’t usually consider Native Americans one because there wasn’t anyone here before them. This country was created out of everyone, from everywhere in the world, working together (Although in the case of Native Americans and slaves, involuntarily) and building a nation that combines all the best aspects of the world.

                                This is basically understood to be one of the mythos of America, by both the left and the right. (I wouldn’t bother to explain it to anyone else, but you’re…you, apparently, and don’t appear to have any of basic political culture we all take for granted.)

                                The left and the right *both* believe this story of America, or at least give lip service to believing it, which is why when people talk about restricting immigration, they almost always crouch it in immigration happening *too fast*…as you yourself do later here.

                                More to the point, the problem is not the wall. The wall is a) not going to get built (It is utterly impossible to build in large parts of Texas due to the terrain around the Rio Grande), and b) won’t stop a good portion of the people here illegally, which almost half are people overstaying their visa, which we don’t even *bother* to try to catch.

                                Because, of course, the ‘we must keep out immigrants’ policy debate is pretty clearly explicitly racist as currently put forward by the Republicans. It is aimed at Mexicans, period. (Or people we’ve confused with Mexicans.)

                                The problem is not the wall. The problem is the nativist and pseudo-nationalist drumbeat that Trump is using the wall to push, that he got elected on. The wall is a ‘solution’ to a completely idiotic and shallow understanding of how immigration works, by idiots who probably think all Hispanics are here illegally.

                                I have no idea why you seem to realize that opposing the wall is largely symbolic, but, at the same time, don’t seem to understand opposing it is symbolic? Or possibly not what it is symbolic of?

                                The Democrats didn’t become anti-wall because they dislike the wall…no elected official, on either side of the political spectrum, *cares* about the actual wall, or the damn thing would have been funded. (You complain about Democrats cutting funding…I remind you that the Republicans were in charge of funding bills for large amounts of time under Obama, and could have *re-funded* the thing. Just dedicated a sum of money specifically for that in the budget. Maybe Obama wouldn’t have spent it, but Republicans didn’t even try. The currently allocated wall doesn’t get built because it is expensive and no one wants to fund it.)

                                The Democrats became anti-wall because the Republicans (Well, Trump) started using idea of the wall as a symbol of the idea that idea that certain people are not welcome in this country. Other Republicans have also done this, but it was always dog-whistled, always crouched in other language…and then we got Trump, who has never heard of dog-whistles.

                                If Trump had *not* run on his platform, or was *not* presenting the wall in the way he was, no one would have a problem with him funding the parts of the wall already enabled by law, or making existing parts double-fences, or even adding some bits to it. No one would even notice!

                                You seem to care a lot about how Democrats look to Republicans, and that Democrats could care a lot about how they look and sound, but don’t seem to understand that Democrats can see Republicans *also*. And hear them. And especially can hear them now that they’ve stopped using dog-whistles.

                                The “resistance” to Trump is draining our solidarity, quite deliberately for some people, though of course it started before Trump.

                                And, again, you appear to be operating in a universe where the word ‘solidarity’ entirely means ‘Republican political positions’. I’m not going to keep explaining that over and over.

                                Although I will point out, again, that if the people need to show solidarity to the Trump and the Republicans because *they* got elected, that you have *explicitly praised* the Republicans didn’t for not showing this ‘solidarity’ during the passage of the ACA.

                                Oh, but they had a good justification: The American people were against the ACA, showing it with, uh, protests, which is completely different from Trump’s agenda, which, uh, wait…let me start over there…

                                If Muslims come here, we should be afraid that they will bring their culture with them.

                                *Some* of us believe that American’s culture is nowhere near as weak as you think, and eats other cultures for lunch.

                                There’s a significant portion of libs who think the idea of “assimilation” is a dirty word, let alone have any idea how to implement it. You might be one of them for all I know.

                                I have no idea what you are talking about. That sounds like some sort of vague right-wing interpretation of what the left likes to pretend it sometimes does, but does not actually do. The left, in reality, cares a lot about stupid symbolic ‘culture’ signaling, where different people eat specific food and put on specific dress, and we’d like it if they could speak some cool language too…and that’s about all the ‘culture’ the left cares about. Feel free to mock the left for that dumbness, but don’t pretend it’s any sort of real thing where the left is trying to stop any assimilation.

                                Meanwhile, everyone on the right has assimilation completely backwards. Assimilation isn’t something that needs to be ‘done’, it’s something that happens automatically because of living in American society. The only way it can be prevented if it immigrants *don’t* do that, which almost always requires them being specifically excluded by society.

                                Yes, in theory, American has ‘Chinatowns’ and places like that where new immigrants can have a ‘buffer’ between them and American society…but that doesn’t work that long. We don’t have any internal societies like that that are *financially independent*, and there’s a limited amount of isolated people they can support, and those areas are not actually that isolated anyway. So in reality those areas operate more as halfway houses for immigrants.

                                The left knows perfectly well how to ‘implement’ assimilation. Just…put people in society, and they will assimilate. It’s *the right* that seems to have a problem with understanding this, that the more you segregate newcomers from society, the slower they assimilate. Like, for a relevant example, if political rhetoric makes them fear they will attacked, arrested, or even just stared at if they venture in public, or venture out of socially prescribed areas.

                                This is the reason why you should support the wall.

                                Did you argue that we should keep Muslims out…and, thus, in conclusion, I should support the wall?

                                You do realize that’s a bit incoherent, right?

                                Fuck Republicans, the Demos passed ACA of the objections of Americans.

                                Please indicate in what way that differs from the *repeal* of the ACA, which is *also* objected to by the majority of Americas.

                                The people who flipped to the GOP as a consequence of ACA didn’t necessarily view themselves as Republicans beforehand.

                                …?

                                Right, people who ‘flipped’ to a party generally would not have regarded themselves as members of that party beforehand.

                                But, anyway: I remind everyone I am not objecting to what Koz is saying. Koz is, in fact, correct here in that some people did flip. I think he’s wrong about the amount, but I’m sure there were at least a few Democrats who became Republicans.

                                But I am pointing out that Koz is a gigantic hypocrite for somehow thinking what happened with the passage of the ACA, despite it being slightly unpopular, but all this opposition to Trump is horrible and feral and just horrible in explainable ways and how dare Democrats!

                                We’re glad to have their votes, but it’s a net loss for them in that the political system is fundamentally unresponsive to them in ways they did not anticipate beforehand.

                                I know! The passage of the ACA caused Republicans to run out into the streets, formed political opposition groups explicitly to resist the new president, register new voters, demanded that Congress oppose everything the new president did, blamed the party for not listening to the base, and started threatening to primary elected officials that not were sufficiently on board with the movement. Being kept up to date by their smart phones, protesters have become more agile and…wait…smart phones? In 2008?

                                I think I got confused somewhere. What am I describing again? The (acceptable to you) response of people to the ACA, or the exact same (But completely unacceptable in your book) response, times ten, that people are having to Trump?

                                You have a theory, a theory I do not entirely agree with but it’s a mostly coherent theory, that that the ACA’s passage, and subsequent protests, caused a massive, unprecedented disruption in politics, causing a vast number number of people to decide the political system was unresponsive to them, causing them to become Republicans.

                                But any Republican who truly believe that should be *terrified* of what is going on currently. We just got another unprecedented event, this time from Republicans, so unprecedented it left most of the country completely shocked. And yet again it appears to have happened over the wishes of the majority…and this time, we have vote tallies.

                                And I know you’re going to explain that’s just how presidential elections work…except the ACA passage was just how *Congress* works. You can’t just pretend there’s some sort of magical rule where the American people should see the ACA as illegitimate so it’s okay to be outraged, but Trump’s election as legitimate and thus they must accept it. *You* might think that, but you are not personally (Despite the fact you seem to be slightly confused about this.) the American people and do not get to decide what they think is reasonable or not.

                                And the ACA passage didn’t *do* anything immediately, resulting in all the angry protests to end mostly upon passage, turning into vague resentment that result in votes, but is hard to do anything with, politically. A lot of it was delayed *years* in the future, and, if it has harmed anyone, it has harmed them in really obscure and difficult to understand ways, and faced with the actual prospect of the CA repeal, the American people are looking at the ACA and saying ‘I dunno, it doesn’t seem that bad.’.

                                Meanwhile, Trump has, at this point, repeatedly screwed up, and is being presented by the media that way. It was, hypothetically possible he’d be competent as president, but he’s completely failed at playing to his supposed strengths. For example, he’s not only failed to ‘make deals’ with Democratic Congressmen, he’s not even doing that with *Republicans*. As I’ve mentioned before, he *could* have had a successful refugee blockage, bringing the Republican Congress along with him triumphantly, and he *completely* fuck it up in every possible way. Trump is a disaster as president, he is going to continue to be a disaster as president, and the only way he will not be one is if Republicans basically figure out how to replace all his advisers and can puppet him. (And this is assuming that he doesn’t eventually get impeached for something.)

                                I don’t know if it’s yet clear to you what a complete disaster this administration is shaping up to be, but even if Trump eventually becomes successful in any way, even if that happens: Under *your theory* about the ACA, in which a few months of political indifference to the nation’s disgust at what Democrats in Congress were doing *forever changed politics*, well…that sorta just already happened with Trump’s election. The actual election itself horrified people, because Trump is a horrifying person as President. And it’s clear that he’s not going to pull off some miracle and get people to reevaluate him, because he’s massively incompetent at his job.

                                And he’s going to be in office for *years* and protestable.

                                I am someone who buys into your theory about 10% as much as you do, that it had an effect, but much much less than you think. And I’m looking at what is going on *now*, and saying ‘Well, this is going to produce pretty large Democratic gains in the future, if we can somehow get these people voting.’. *You* should be calculating ten times as much gains, which would…well…basically destroy the Republican party.

                                If you really believe your theory about the ACA and the protests, instead of it just being some sort of justification for why you think Democrats are always in the wrong and everything is their fault, you should be crapping your pants.

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                                • It sure is weird talking to you, Koz. You seem to know nothing about any sort of common American political knowledge at all. I don’t mean stuff the left knows, I mean stuff *everyone* knows. For example, you appear to have missed my obvious reference to Reagan there, and his demand that walls be torn down.

                                  ……

                                  I honestly can’t figure out if you just emerged, fully born, from Zeus’s head, or if you’re deliberately feigning ignorance, or, and this is my leading theory, you’re some sort of time traveler.

                                  Well, in this case it was mostly to get you to spell out exactly what your complaint is against the wall (and other issues). As is typical when talking about these things (and not just for libs), you wrote a bunch of gauzy arguments that are more or less cliches, some of them objectionable but mostly not. But the problem is that none of them were closely tethered to our current circumstances or our interest. As is typical, there’s no effort to justify the relevance of things, or the extent to which arguments are intended to be definitive or conclusive (actually Francis did a little better job of this so I’ll probably be responding to him as well).

                                  For example I caught the Reagan thing, but obviously the Berlin wall was intended to prevent the out-migration of East Berliners into West Berlin. The southern border wall, if and when one exists, is intended to prevent in-migration to America from Mexico (and Central America through Mexico). So instead of going tit-for-tat on every little aside that you wrote, why don’t you start with a short ground-up advocacy for liberalized immigration?

                                  There’s a few factors to be kept in mind, but it’s not that complicated, especially for someone who writes as many words as you (our political situation, the English language, respect for the law, wage rates, unemployment, welfare and transfer programs, etc). You may even surprise yourself with what you find out (or not).

                                  Ie, instead of simply stating pablum regarding the mythos of America, the Statue of Liberty and nation of immigrants, etc, relate how those things are important or conclusive to immigration policy today.

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                                • But any Republican who truly believe that should be *terrified* of what is going on currently. We just got another unprecedented event, this time from Republicans, so unprecedented it left most of the country completely shocked. And yet again it appears to have happened over the wishes of the majority…and this time, we have vote tallies.

                                  ……..

                                  Under *your theory* about the ACA, in which a few months of political indifference to the nation’s disgust at what Democrats in Congress were doing *forever changed politics*, well…that sorta just already happened with Trump’s election. The actual election itself horrified people, because Trump is a horrifying person as President.

                                  Look, I voted for Trump. But in contrast to what others in the American Right may think or say, the psychic shock to lib-Left America from the election of Donald Trump is real, it’s big, and it’s a bad thing. There’s no doubt about that, from me at least.

                                  It was also a necessary thing, given the circumstances as it occurred, but it was still a bad thing on its own terms and we’d be better off if it didn’t happen.

                                  But, I don’t think you appreciate the difference between the psychic shock to libs and their response to the Presidency of Donald Trump. I can certainly sympathize with their shock and still repudiate their various responses.

                                  I am someone who buys into your theory about 10% as much as you do, that it had an effect, but much much less than you think. And I’m looking at what is going on *now*, and saying ‘Well, this is going to produce pretty large Democratic gains in the future, if we can somehow get these people voting.’. *You* should be calculating ten times as much gains, which would…well…basically destroy the Republican party.

                                  Yeah, that’s absolutely a real possibility. There’s reasons why I think it’s substantially less likely than you do, but it’s a possibility nonetheless.

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                                • Please indicate in what way that differs from the *repeal* of the ACA, which is *also* objected to by the majority of Americas.

                                  The repeal of ACA at any point from say, 2015 onward is a much different animal than the activism to prevent the passage of ACA in 2010 (or the attempts to repeal it shortly thereafter).

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                  • As has been pointed out before, if the Dems attempt to go to the *right*, all that will accomplish is that the media that Trump voters consume will continue to *make up* stuff about them. The Democrats do not have a ‘credibility gap’ with a large section of the right, they have a ‘some subset of the voters on the right have been taught delusional things about Democrats by a lying media and never in a million years will vote for them’. It is…obviously stupid to try to get those voters, especially since the right-wing media they are consuming is hardly going to turn around and talk about how awesome those Democrats are.

                    I’m not saying that the Demos should move right in general, I’m saying they should “move right” selectively, in situations where the policy consequences won’t hurt them. There’s probably a few situations where this will work, but the wall is the most obvious one. After all, the authorization for the wall already passed ten years ago with large bipartisan majorities. This won’t necessarily make Trump voters or the white working class or Republicans love Demo candidates necessarily, but it will take the sting out of things, a lot.

                    Fox News can say whatever they want, if say a dozen Demo Senators preemptively sponsor a supplemental appropriation to build the wall, that’s going to cut a lot of ice. To say nothing of how the Trump Administration would respond, which I’m sure would be positive.

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                    • Your idea of something that won’t hurt the Democrats is the *wall*?

                      You do realize that, right now, the Republicans are bleeding Hispanic voters, right? Just….bleeding uncontrollably.

                      After all, the authorization for the wall already passed ten years ago with large bipartisan majorities.

                      You also do realize that the Wall…is not going to happen, right? For the same reason it didn’t get finished *last time*…Texas *Republicans* will shoot it down.

                      The wall will not get finished. Building it in Texas is a logistics and political nightmare, period.

                      You mentioned above that the wall is a symbol…and you’re 100% correct on that. You seemed to have failed to notice that Hispanic voters are taking it pretty damn symbolically also.

                      So why would Democrats sign on to something that isn’t going to happen, and all it is going to do is damage their relationship with Hispanics, while not actually getting them any voters?

                      This won’t necessarily make Trump voters or the white working class or Republicans love Demo candidates necessarily, but it will take the sting out of things, a lot.

                      Oh, as long as it makes *Republican* voters happy, I don’t see why the Democrats shouldn’t do it.

                      Because that is the point of political parties after all, to make people *who are not voting for them* happy. Screw the people who actually vote for them and think the wall is a dumb idea and dislike the symbolism behind it.

                      To say nothing of how the Trump Administration would respond, which I’m sure would be positive.

                      Dude, we don’t want a ‘positive response’ from the Trump administration. The Trump administration is toxic. He’d probably tweet out how the fence will stop all those Mexican rapists or something and it was all thanks to the Democrats.

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                      • You mentioned above that the wall is a symbol…and you’re 100% correct on that. You seemed to have failed to notice that Hispanic voters are taking it pretty damn symbolically also.

                        To be more precise, I wrote that the negatives of the wall are symbolic. The feelz among multiculturalists, race-separatist Latinos and some libs in general would have to be finessed. But that’s what politicians are for, they finesse things like this.

                        I also think your understanding of current American politcal demographics is ridiculous. Things are a lot more up in the air now than they have been for a long time, and at the moment at least it’s a fool’s errand to say that one side or the other has a permanent majority right around the corner.

                        But strictly in terms of political demographics, you’d much rather be our team than yours. You might disagree for several reasons, but if you do the most likely one is that you’re just fcuking stupid.

                        Dude, we don’t want a ‘positive response’ from the Trump administration. The Trump administration is toxic. He’d probably tweet out how the fence will stop all those Mexican rapists or something and it was all thanks to the Democrats.

                        You should think harder then. A couple of comments ago you wrote that the antagonism of the white working class to Demos was just the result of media distortions. Trump voters will never vote Demo, etc, etc. It’s not so. This is how you dial down energy of your adversaries. That’s what killed you last election.

                        There’s also a substantive reason for libs to want the wall as well. I suspect in a few years, the presence of a wall, or the propensity of the wall to exist, is going to be what keeps most of the current population of illegals in America. I think that is going to be something that the Demos are going to want, and once the feelz are ok I don’t think having a wall is going to hurt the libs very much.

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                        • at the moment at least it’s a fool’s errand to say that one side or the other has a permanent majority right around the corner.

                          THEN WHY DO YOU KEEP SAYING THE REPUBLICANS DO?

                          You just keep flatly asserting that most people are Republicans, or support Republicans. This is…completely untruth in the real factual world. Support for the parties is pretty evenly divided, and that’s not only supported by polls but by elections. If anything, it appears Democrats have a slight majority but also a slight structural disadvantage in voting layouts due to clustering in high density areas.

                          If you want to argue that we shouldn’t try to predict the future voting based on demographics…well, that’s an odd position to take in an argument based on what political parties should do to get votes in the future!

                          I mean, we are pretty *statistically certain* how many people will die and get born, and we are 100% sure how many existing people of what race will become 18 in the next 18 years. Demographics are statistical science.

                          So what you’re basically trying to say is…we do not know how they will vote. Except…that’s literally what we’re trying to figure out, it’s just you seem to have a problem operating from any existing baseline because you don’t *like* what the baselines say. But there’s not some magical reason that people would suddenly start entering politics with a blank slate.

                          But whatever.

                          You need to least stop making up stuff about the *present*. You cannot claim that more people are Republican than Democrat when we *literally just had an election where more Democratic votes were cast* for both President and Congressional Representative.

                          That’s what killed you last election.

                          It is possible you were just using some sort of extreme hyperbole, but the Democrats were not ‘killed’ the last election.

                          The Democrats gained six seats in the House, *and* got slightly more of the vote total. They also gained two seats in the Senate. (And got more of the vote total, although that doesn’t really compare well in the Senate.)

                          The Democrat candidate *lost* the last election due to the electoral college and a lot of poor polling that caused her to stop trying in areas she needed to try more in. Along with the Democrats running a candidate with a lot of baggage.

                          You keep pretending this was some massive game-changing election because…the presidency switched parties like it has literally every 8 years for the past 24 years.

                          The only thing game-changing about 2016 is the Republicans backed, and elected, goddamn *Trump*. Which says a *lot* about Republicans, and very little about Democrats.

                          I suspect in a few years, the presence of a wall, or the propensity of the wall to exist, is going to be what keeps most of the current population of illegals in America.

                          Again: Wall is not actually being built regardless. They will add a hundred miles to it and call it a win.

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                          • Support for the parties is pretty evenly divided, and that’s not only supported by polls but by elections. If anything, it appears Democrats have a slight majority but also a slight structural disadvantage in voting layouts due to clustering in high density areas.

                            I would quibble with this to the extent to say that polling advantages can fluctuate around parity (or you could say that libs even have a small advantage, it wouldn’t change anything), but by contrast libs have a huge structural disadvantage for the reasons you mention.

                            Furthermore, that conservative/GOP advantage is baked deeply in to the cake of America and is not coming out. And, the manifestation of that advantage is becoming more and more partisan.

                            Because the libs have doubled down over and over again for multiculturalism, anybody representing American demographics of say, 1950, is turning GOP as a matter of identity politics.

                            The Democrats gained six seats in the House, *and* got slightly more of the vote total. They also gained two seats in the Senate. (And got more of the vote total, although that doesn’t really compare well in the Senate.)

                            This is something we should have been more explicit about before. As I see it, you’ve got a big blind spot as it pertains to the Demo’s political competitiveness. Whatever you can say about the coulda woulda shoulda regarding the Presidential election, as I see it the Presidency is the only significant office the D’s are currently competitive for.

                            I see the GOP having 55-65 Senators for a few cycles starting the next election. I think the D’s outlook in the House is actually better though still bad. And depending on who lives and who retires we’ll get at least one and maybe 3 or 4 Gorsuch-Alito-Roberts type 45 yr olds to take over SCOTUS.

                            If you want to argue that we shouldn’t try to predict the future voting based on demographics…well, that’s an odd position to take in an argument based on what political parties should do to get votes in the future!

                            No, I’m saying that the particular demographics of the American voting polity are such any characterization of advantage is really nebulous.

                            If I had to pick a side, it’s pretty clear that I’d rather be us than you, but it’s a close run thing that is going to require us to execute and dodge a few bullets.

                            Specifically, we need to recover the white upper-middle class college-educated Romneyites. We lost them in droves with Trump, but they are Republicans and if the sky really doesn’t fall then I expect them to return home. If that happens, then you can start thinking about a permanent Republican majority, but like Willie said, there’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip.

                            I think we’re also looking good for blacks and Asians relative to 2006-2012.

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                            • Because the libs have doubled down over and over again for multiculturalism, anybody representing American demographics of say, 1950, is turning GOP as a matter of identity politics.

                              Uh, no.

                              Precentage of white people that lean Republican:
                              2008: 46%, 2012: 52%, 2016: 54%.

                              So 8%. That’s…something, right?

                              But it gets pretty bad when looked at by age. The younger they are, the less they shifted. White voters 18-29 and 30-49 both shifted right by only 4%, and the ages over 50 shifted by 12-13%.

                              And I also feel I should point out that black people were, in fact, 10% of the population in 1950, which is not much less than they are now, so your incredibly awkward way of trying to say ‘white people’ by saying ‘anybody representing American demographics of say, 1950’ is nonsense.

                              Although it’s nonsense anyway, because people do not ‘represent’ demographics. What does that even mean? People cannot represent statistics. I know you don’t *like* the fact you’re trying to say ‘White people love the Republicans now more than ever’, but that is what you’re saying, and you might as well be open about it.

                              I would quibble with this to the extent to say that polling advantages can fluctuate around parity (or you could say that libs even have a small advantage, it wouldn’t change anything), but by contrast libs have a huge structural disadvantage for the reasons you mention.

                              A few posts ago, I started this little subdiscussion by pointing out that Democrats *actually appear to have a majority* of voters. A strict majority of people casting ballots in national elections for both the Presidency and the House (And the Senate this time, but that’s random chance based on what states vote) appear to want Democrats in power.

                              This was in direct opposition to your constant claims that ‘Americans’ want Republicans and Democrats need to get on board with that.

                              It is amazing how fast you leap from ‘This is what Americans really want and the Democrats should not try to force thing through that Americans do not want, even if they are accidentally in power for a bit’ straight to ‘Sure, the Republicans might be outnumbered, but thanks to how the system is setup, they control things anyway, and Democrats need to accept it’ and see no conflict with those two positions at all.

                              I’m not sure you will follow that, but at least you have been temporarily stopped from the constant claims of ‘Americans are mostly Republican’.

                              I see the GOP having 55-65 Senators for a few cycles starting the next election.

                              The Democrats just *gain two seats* in 2016. And didn’t lose a single one. You remember that, right?

                              And of course they won’t gain any in 2018. There are 25 Democratic (And independents that causus Democratic) seats are up for election in 2018, while only 8 Republican seats are.

                              That’s a structual disadvantage to the Democrats making any gains, yes, but it’s a structural disadvantage in that Democrats already *own* that most of that cycle! They could keep every single seat they currently have, and steal a *quarter* of the Republican seats…and merely end up with a tied Senate going to Republicans. And even some sort of purely ‘even’ outcome is going to hurt Democrats…if, for example, three random seats flip, the Democrats would lose two and the Republicans lose one, so the Republicans get a net of one.

                              So, yes, the Democrats are not going to control the Senate in the 2018 in any possible universe unless Trump starts eating White House visitors and the Republican refuse to impeach him, but there’s not any sort of indication the Democrats will do *badly* that cycle. They just can’t really do *good*.

                              As for 2020…well, it’s not a midterm, so the Democrats don’t automatically have a disadvantage, and it’s the first election that a lot of new voters will have to vote against Trump. (Possibly. Assuming he’s not impeached.) And that’s *class 2*, which is pretty swingy (The Republicans got *nine* seats last time.) and is even more Republican than this cycle is Democratic. We’ll see what happens.

                              I think the D’s outlook in the House is actually better though still bad.

                              Most of the *House* disadvantage has been created by gerrymandering, and can be *undone* just as easily…or gerrymandered the other way.

                              Republicans had basically one census cycle they could take advantage of the massive gerrymandering. Democrats did not understand the threat, and did not understand how important state governors and legislatures were. They do now, and have already started working on the issue.

                              And to stop gerrymandering, they are looking to set up permanent non-partisan commissions like the ones that several blue states have already set up. Those things are turning out to be very hard for Republicans to remove without extreme voter disapproval.

                              I think we’re also looking good for blacks and Asians relative to 2006-2012.

                              Ha! Please, ignore all the state legislature passing ‘Blue Lives Matter’ bills as a direct attack on Black Live Matter.

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                              • And I also feel I should point out that black people were, in fact, 10% of the population in 1950, which is not much less than they are now, so your incredibly awkward way of trying to say ‘white people’ by saying ‘anybody representing American demographics of say, 1950’ is nonsense.

                                Not at all. What I’m saying is that relative to say 2006-2012, the GOP is in the ascendancy in white and black America. The weakness is in Latins, Asians, and Middle Easterners.

                                The Democrats just *gain two seats* in 2016. And didn’t lose a single one. You remember that, right?

                                And of course they won’t gain any in 2018. There are 25 Democratic (And independents that causus Democratic) seats are up for election in 2018, while only 8 Republican seats are.

                                Right. What I’m saying is that the GOP is going to gain say 6-8 seats in 2018, and after that we’re going to stay there for a while.

                                I don’t know if you’ve really factored this in very well, but not that long ago, the Dems used to be competitive and sometimes win in places like Oklahoma, Tennessee, the Dakotas, etc. Now those seats are almost all GOP, the Demos are not competitive against GOP incumbents, and for the few seats they have left, they’re going to lose most of them in 2018.

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                                • Not at all. What I’m saying is that relative to say 2006-2012, the GOP is in the ascendancy in white and black America. The weakness is in Latins, Asians, and Middle Easterners.

                                  Erm, no. Black Republican voters in 2016 went *up*, but they went ‘up’ to 2004 and 2000 levels. Please note by ‘up’ I mean 10% instead of 5%.

                                  You want to interpret that as some sort of magical drop in support, instead of extra support for Obama going away. I’m sure you’re right. I mean, there could not *possibly* some reason that an extra 5% of black voters decided to vote for Obama. I mean, it’s completely mysterious! What could it be?!?!

                                  It’s funny how Republicans seem to have no idea how baseline work. Everyone had to patiently explain to them after 2008 that, no, black voters weren’t voting for Obama ‘just because he was black’, because black voters already voted 90% for Democrats anyway, so he just got a boost of 5%.

                                  And now that the 5% boost is *gone*, I have to explain that going back to 90% is not any sort of ‘drop’ in support, it’s not some sign of black voters abandoning the party. Only 90% of them *normally* vote Democratic anyway.

                                  I don’t know if you’ve really factored this in very well, but not that long ago, the Dems used to be competitive and sometimes win in places like Oklahoma, Tennessee, the Dakotas, etc.

                                  Yeah, and Republicans used to win the presidency by 13 points in North Carolina instead of by three.

                                  And, ooooooo… North and South Dakota! That’s six whole elected officals. Once of which I should point out *is* a Democrat.

                                  and for the few seats they have left, they’re going to lose most of them in 2018.

                                  Assuming you mean ‘most of the ones up for relection’ (Instead of ‘most of the ones in total’, which is literally impossible.), you appear to be asserting the Democrats will lose *13* Senate seats.

                                  This has…happened *one time* in US history, in 1958, which also is only time the swing was ever larger than 10 seats. It also, of course, was a midterm *against* a president, where they normally lose seats. It has never happened *towards* a president.

                                  In fact, there have only been three elections *since the civil war* where the president’s party gained *any* seats….and there were pretty weird and unique circumstances for each of those where either the president was really popular because of a war (2002), the House was really unpopular because of being about to impeach a popular president (1998, which only resulted in Democratic gains in the House), and whatever the hell happened in 1934….FDR fixing things, presumably.

                                  Because of the lopsidedness of Democrats already having control, it is possible that the Democrats will lose a couple of seats. But it is not the massive thing you think.

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                                  • Ok, not intending to be responsive to anything in particular, let me (and you) back up a little bit to lay out a broader view of our political demographics.

                                    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-democratic-party-is-facing-a-demographic-crisis/

                                    Overall, this is a good place to start, and I suspect that you would agree with most of it (though not the headline).

                                    I should also mention that I am implicitly modeling our political demographics based on a ten-factor model I saw in a political website (I forget which one, it might have been NYT, fivethirtyeight, RCP, or the like). In any event the voting population was divided into five groups: whites with college education, whites w/o college education, latins, blacks, and other (presumably mostly Asian/MIddle Eastern/subcontinental Indians). For each group, there are two factors: turnout and two-party voting differential.

                                    The first overall takeaway is that “permanent” majorities are unstable. Even if the demographics work out, they tend to be difficult to hold together. The motivation to defect becomes stronger over time.

                                    Given that, I think our demographics are quite a bit stronger than yours at the moment. Specifically because in demographic terms I think our coalition has clear places to grow but yours doesn’t.

                                    It’s very interesting that Trump did not meaningfully outperform Romney among white voters. What happened is that Trump won the votes he needed exactly where he needed them. For all the working class whites he won in the Rust Belt, he lost offsetting votes from white college-educated Romneyites in a place that didn’t matter.

                                    Therefore, there is a big cohort white college-educated voters who are ready to return home to the GOP who aren’t counted in Trump’s already winning coalition. This is a useful read here:

                                    http://blog.samaltman.com/what-i-heard-from-trump-supporters

                                    Multiculturalism and political correctness is a direct threat to college-educated white voters, almost as much as the EPA is a threat to the coal industry. They only reason that they every voted Hillary in the first place was because of strong fears about the person of Donald Trump. If those fears are mitigated, either because Trump personally is no longer a factor, or because he’s in office now and things seem ok, then they’ll go back to the GOP and leave the Demos high and dry.

                                    The other important thing is that the GOP gains among the white working class are here to stay, if not permanently at least for a long time.

                                    In secondary terms, I think the GOP is on the upswing for black and “other” voters, but still on the downswing among Hispanics. But like I said, that’s secondary.

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                                    • Erm, that article is nonsense, in two different ways.

                                      First (As the comments there point out), the election of Obama in 2008 was a *historic* election in regard to the number of Democrats voting. Both due to the fact that the economy blew up, and, oh yeah, the first black man was seriously in contention for the Presidency.

                                      Of course the record Democratic support has dropped since then!

                                      Just go to: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/08/us/politics/election-exit-polls.html?_r=0

                                      The scroll down and click ‘2008’ at the top of that page.

                                      +12, +10, some +25 and +27, and holy crap, and +34! A goddamn +34. Let’s see if that moved back…well, it moved back a bit in 2012, and then returned to 2012 levels in 2016. (Slightly confused because that option got split into two, but they’re both right at the 2008 level.)

                                      It’s almost as if 2008 was a *huge swing that was unprecedented since Ronald Reagan*, and ever since then we’ve been, very slowly, regressing to the mean. Or maybe not even that.

                                      Starting at 2008 and trying to make something out of the *incredibly gentle downward slope* since then is idiotic.

                                      Second, and perhaps more the point, that article fundamentally misunderstands the entire concept of demographic problems. The argument is not that certain groups are becoming more Democratic. They aren’t. The argument is that that Democratic-leaning groups that are themselves getting bigger.

                                      To understand this, go down the Race on the link above. Start at 2000, where white voters voted 54% for Republicans, and then click each election in order and watch the percentage of that bounce around from mid-50s to high-50s. Same basic percentage of white support.

                                      Now click the ‘Scale by population’, and do the same thing.

                                      Notice how much *thinner* that became. Notice also that blacks and Hispanics also had basically the same *percentage* of people voting for Democrats and Republicans in 2000 and 2016 (Hispanics bounce around a bit, but came back to basically where they started) but their lines got a lot *thicker*. Asians did also.

                                      In real math, 11% of the voting population, from 2000 to 2016, basically changed from a group that is ~6% in favor of Republicans, to three groups that are (rough eyeball estimate) averaging ~30% in favor of Democrats. Doing the math, that means that the Republicans *lost six entire percentage points* of support via that. (If ~30% of 11% of the population flips, that means ~3% flips, which means a six point shift.)

                                      Arguing that those three groups *slowly decreased* in that span of time from being ~35% in favor of Democrats to only that ~30% is completely besides the point. That doesn’t change any of the math! It’s basically saying ‘Wait, the six points shift was only 95% as good as it could have been!’. Erm…okay?

                                      That’s kinda stupid…and also it’s *not true*, as I explained in the first section of this, because 2008 is an idiotic starting point. But even if what that article asserts is true, it’s almost completely meaningless in this context.

                                      Unless he’s able to argue that Hispanics and blacks will start voting for Republicans *as much as white people do* (Which is *nowhere near* a reasonable interpretation of the data.), the upcoming demographic shift *is* going to hurt Republicans, period.

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                                      • Hmmm, I didn’t think you would be as negative, I thought that was closer to a common understanding. Apparently you’re a more literal Emerging Demo Majority guy. I think there’s something to be said for that but not much. It’s probably worth mentioning, I think both Judis and Texeira have repudiated the stronger statements of that theory, and I think they did it before Trump.

                                        As it relates to your main argument, it’s hard to say that demographics are in your favor because your base voters are increasing, when you are fading a negative trend in all demographics. And this isn’t just related to 2008 but a function of 6 elections, 3 presidentials and 3 midterms. 6 points isn’t necessarily a huge amount of data, but it is more that one.

                                        More specifically, I don’t think we have any meaningful ceiling on the two-party percentage of the white vote a GOP candidate could reasonably hope for. Eg, if the white vote goes 70%+ for the GOP (and I don’t think that’s unreasonable) then there’s no minority demographics where the D’s will win in 50 or 100 years.

                                        Just today I saw that Charles Murray had been shouted down at Middlebury. Well guess what, Charles Murray is not a pedophile (not that that had anything to do with Milo in the first place). Libs should simply stop the pollution already and find a way to make Pareto-improvements to America and then we can use that to build solidarity capital for us all.

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                                        • As it relates to your main argument, it’s hard to say that demographics are in your favor because your base voters are increasing, when you are fading a negative trend in all demographics. And this isn’t just related to 2008 but a function of 6 elections, 3 presidentials and 3 midterms. 6 points isn’t necessarily a huge amount of data, but it is more that one.

                                          And thus you completely ignore everything I said.

                                          As I explained, mathematically, it doesn’t *matter* if those demographics are losing a very small amount of support for Democrats. (Which, again, they *aren’t*, but let’s pretend.)

                                          That is completely irrelevant to the fact that those demographic are much, much more Democratic than what they are replacing, and will continue to be more Democratic for quite some time.

                                          If tomorrow, suddenly, black people were 100% of the population, the Democrats would have 85% of the vote. If we allow the (wrong) premise that support for Republicans is declining at 5% an election cycle, that means Democrats would *hold the presidency for the next two decades*.

                                          Now, of course, that won’t happen. I’m just trying to make sure you understand that the rate of change inside the demographics is not that relevant.

                                          And now, the other side of that, in that the idea that these demographics are changing towards Republican. This is also completely dumb.

                                          As you literally did not address my point, I will repeat: Starting from 2008 is *deliberately lying*. Just flat out lying with statistics.

                                          And it’s pretty easy to prove that. All you have to do is compare 2004 to 2016. And you will immediately notice the Republican gains magically vanish.

                                          Only 3% more black vote for Republicans. 15% less Hispanic vote. 10% less asian vote.

                                          8% less 18-29, 10% less 30-44. Even 45-64, instead of dropping, has hovered within a percentage point!

                                          Incidentally, I just noticed the article is apparently *lying*. It asserts that the Democratic shares of liberals, moderates, and conservatives dropped from 2008 to 2016. That is *not* in the NY Times exit poll data it points to. They didn’t even poll that until 2016, so obviously there is no ‘change’ in it.

                                          It has mysteriously invented graph lines on the graph that are correct for the one data point it has, and then seems to just make up the other two points.

                                          Of course, they *also* claim to have information from the midterms, despite not explaining where they get *that* from, either. They instead link the same *presidential* election exit polls. I had assumed they just LinkedIn those.

                                          But the 2008 and 2012 results for political ideology clearly would have been on the pages they *did* link to…and are *not*. Very clearly they are not. The 2016, equally clearly, does not show any listed change from the previous cycle, because, of course, there is no previous cycle polled.

                                          I’ve put in a comment there, we will see what happens.

                                          More specifically, I don’t think we have any meaningful ceiling on the two-party percentage of the white vote a GOP candidate could reasonably hope for. Eg, if the white vote goes 70%+ for the GOP (and I don’t think that’s unreasonable) then there’s no minority demographics where the D’s will win in 50 or 100 years.

                                          That…is not how national elections work. Elections happen by state. It doesn’t matter if Idaho votes 10% harder for Republicans.

                                          Whites are now a minority in Texas. 43%. It doesn’t matter if they are voting 70% for Republicans if non-whites are voting 70% the other way and non-whites outnumber them. And, on top of that, it’s becoming more *urban* also.

                                          Luckily for Republicans *currently*, non-whites are not *yet* voting as much as whites. But even so, Republicans only won by 9% in 2016.

                                          Texas *will* flip to Democrats in the next decade. It’s not even a matter of immigration policy or anything, Texas is full of Hispanic children born in this country who are not yet 18, and will become so shortly, and they are both young *and* Hispanic voters….and they will vote.

                                          This will give Democrats the three of the four largest states, with a total of 122 EC votes…and Texas is on track to get *more* EC votes next census.

                                          And the next largest state, Florida, has been, oddly, now screwed up for Republicans also…Not because of demographics, but because Obama have made a calculated attempt to try to appeal to younger Cuba-Americans with his Cuban policy. Is only going to move the state more toward Democrats in the future, as the old ‘we support the completely moronic way to change a dictatorship by isolating it, which has never worked in human history’ anti-Casto Cuban-Americans die off, especially if us actually *interacting* with Cuba eventually fixes it.

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                                          • First of all, you’re misunderstanding the context from the get-go. I wasn’t citing the paper as my point of view. I was citing it as our point of view. That was clearly wrong.

                                            You seem to be straight up Emerging Demo Majority, which is a weaker position imo. Among other things you should ask yourself why the originators of that theory, Judis and Texeira, have repudiated it.

                                            And thus you completely ignore everything I said.

                                            No I didn’t. It’s right there in what you quoted.

                                            1. Dems are facing negative trends in _lots_ of demographics. And not by a little either, just read the charts. Saying that the composition of the voting population is trending your way may not help when you’re the two party share is trending against you in _lots_ of demographics.

                                            2. The paper cites 6 elections, not just 1. If they didn’t use data from 2008, the conclusions wouldn’t be much different.

                                            I’ve put in a comment there, we will see what happens.

                                            You’re barking up the wrong tree. First of all, TAC is not at all friendly to the mainstream GOP. But much more important, the author is some kind of prof or thinktanker at Columbia and the TAC just republished research originally published elsewhere.

                                            If you have legit data handling or integrity issues (and you might), by all means follow up with him and see what he says. I’m not going to, again, it was never really my pov in the first place.

                                            That…is not how national elections work. Elections happen by state. It doesn’t matter if Idaho votes 10% harder for Republicans.

                                            Whites are now a minority in Texas. 43%. It doesn’t matter if they are voting 70% for Republicans if non-whites are voting 70% the other way and non-whites outnumber them. And, on top of that, it’s becoming more *urban* also.

                                            You’re confusing a couple things. My pov is that for now at least there’s no meaningful ceiling on the size of two-party differential for white voters to favor the Republicans.

                                            That’s a national phenomenon that has at least some propensity to wipe out the competitiveness of the Dems almost everywhere. IIRC, white Texans vote 70% GOP now (I think it’s higher for some states in the Deep South).

                                            There’s no Emerging Demo Majority coalition that’s demographically ready to outvote that (and that’s assuming that the Demo’s can maintain their various current percentages among minorites, which they might not).

                                            Basically, the Demos are left to carry a rabbit’s foot that Donald Trump is going to repel a bunch of plausible Republican voters. Otherwise, it is imperative that the Demos reverse their pollution of our public discourse and maybe win some white votes.

                                            Give a hoot, don’t pollute.

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                                            • 1. Dems are facing negative trends in _lots_ of demographics. And not by a little either, just read the charts. Saying that the composition of the voting population is trending your way may not help when you’re the two party share is trending against you in _lots_ of demographics.

                                              What do you mean ‘not by a little’?

                                              Almost *all* these supposed negative trends are *very very small*. A large number of them are smaller, when put together, than the boost Obama got in 2008.

                                              Black, as I already pointed out, went down by 11, after going up by 14. 18-26 went down by 16…after going up by *25*. No faith, for example, had dropped a grand total of 10 points from 2008 to 2016…and in 2008 it had just gone up by 16 points. Catholic dropped 16 points from 2008 to 2016…in 2008 it went up by 14 points. (So it technically didn’t quite hit back to normal.)

                                              I could keep listing them.

                                              Hell, *white*, which actually does have a slight downward trend, isn’t as much as you seem to be pretending. It went down by a mere 13 points from 2008-2016…after going up by five points in to 2008.

                                              I will also point out the demographic that is *actually* the one everyone keeps talking about WRT demographic change is Hispanic, and that *didn’t* go down in both 2012 and 2016. That is the huge exploding demographic, and the it’s way to easy to prove it’s not following this idiotic ‘two presidential election’ pattern.

                                              And I probably should point out that these are *exit polls*, aka, the poll the people who showed up to vote. They are not automatically changes in *how the demographic feels*, they could just as easily be some part of the demographic deciding not to vote…which could obviously fluctuate back the next election.

                                              2. The paper cites 6 elections, not just 1. If they didn’t use data from 2008, the conclusions wouldn’t be much different.

                                              The paper *claims* to cite 6 elections. As it doesn’t *actually* cite any of the midterm data, I am unsure how to deal with that data. I am not asserting it is *false*, but we don’t even have *numbers*, just whatever vague lines he chose to draw on a graph, and no other data.

                                              And what you are looking at is Barack Obama. People were excited for him, and then that excitement wore off. And the last election was basically a bunch of dumbness and a weak candidate that caused a lot of Democrats not to show up, and a lot of assumptions about where the boundaries of politics were that were incorrect. That’s it. That’s the entirety of what you’re looking at.

                                              I know in *your* universe, this is because something magical and awe inspiring happened in 2009 that turned people from Democrats forever. Except…as I’ve pointed out, by all objective measures, the American people are reacting much, much worse to the election of Donald Trump than the ACA…and the ACA just turned into background noise immediately after passage. Trump…isn’t going away.

                                              So even if your ACA theory is true…well, it turns out that the American people are more upset by electing a complete narcissistic sexual-predator asshole to the presidency (Probably because *he* is supposed to represent this country, and, thus, them.) than they are about a supposed health-care disaster that mostly didn’t seem to pan out and then basically turned into a symbolic issue.

                                              And at this point, I really don’t care if I convince you. You’re, and the people you are linking to, are trying to cherry-pick data to come to to the conclusion you want.

                                              That’s a national phenomenon that has at least some propensity to wipe out the competitiveness of the Dems almost everywhere. IIRC, white Texans vote 70% GOP now (I think it’s higher for some states in the Deep South).

                                              White Texans also *literally a minority* right now. White people still have more people who show up and vote, so Texas goes red. But white people are, right now, outnumbered in people…and by that I mean by Latino *citizens*. And there are a lot more teenage Latino citizens in Texas who will be hitting 18 over the next few years.

                                              And the Latino vote hovers between 60%-70% Democratic. (Bush, in his second term, did get it down to 54%, because he actively made outreach efforts. That option…has probably gone away for a while.)

                                              States in the deep south are actually more vulnerable to the demographic changes, because politics are more divided along racial lines. (And unlike a lot of northern heartland states, they *actually have minorities*.) Minorities remember the dogwhistles that happened within their lifetime, they remember how Republicans talked in the 80s in the South.

                                              Otherwise, it is imperative that the Demos reverse their pollution of our public discourse and maybe win some white votes.

                                              New rule: The party that elected Donald Trump is not allowed to complain about any hypothetical the pollution of our public discourse while he is in office.

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                                              • Texas election results:

                                                Obama, 2008: -8
                                                Obama: 2012: -16
                                                Clinton, 2016: -9.

                                                That last number should terrify Texas Republicans. Clinton, in an election she lost, tied the numbers Obama had in 2008 when he won by a landslide.

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                                              • What do you mean ‘not by a little’?

                                                As in 13% is not a little.

                                                The paper *claims* to cite 6 elections. As it doesn’t *actually* cite any of the midterm data, I am unsure how to deal with that data. I am not asserting it is *false*, but we don’t even have *numbers*, just whatever vague lines he chose to draw on a graph, and no other data.

                                                For like the fourth or fifth time, this paper is not my point of view. If you have any data issues with the paper, follow up with him. The dude’s email is musaalgharbi at gmail. By background at least, he’s not an obvious right wing partisan.

                                                I don’t have anything against his theory but I would never approach things his away, ie, simple extrapolations from exit polls. When you’re dealing with sparse data like elections (where you might get one meaningful data point every two or four years), I look for qualitative and quantitative explanations that mesh. I’ve also told you what my theory is: basically, you’re going to have white people in Oregon, Florida and Ohio start to vote like white people in Alabama. There’s not going to be any kind of lib-favorable demographics to overcome that.

                                                So even if your ACA theory is true…well, it turns out that the American people are more upset by electing a complete narcissistic sexual-predator asshole to the presidency (Probably because *he* is supposed to represent this country, and, thus, them.) than they are about a supposed health-care disaster that mostly didn’t seem to pan out and then basically turned into a symbolic issue.

                                                I’m not buyin’ in. First of all, the negative impact of ACA on the Demos is not hypothetical. We can exactly the extent of the damage, and it’s been big.

                                                The backlash against Trump is something I’d be worried about if I were a GOP headcounter, but it is hyptothetical. Just from eyeballing it, the “resistance” to Trump looks to me to be about half as strong as it was three weeks ago.

                                                Furthermore, I don’t know or know of a single Trump voter who regrets it. The way it looks from here, for the Trump voters, Trump and the GOP in general are way more solid now than they were on election day.

                                                There’s a couple other things as well that I’ll get to as the spirit moves.

                                                New rule: The party that elected Donald Trump is not allowed to complain about any hypothetical the pollution of our public discourse while he is in office.

                                                LOL. As St Paul famously wrote once “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

                                                It seems simple but exceedingly difficult in practice. Of course St Paul was all about the heteronormative patriarchy, so if you’re the sort who cares about microagressions, that’s problematic, as they say.

                                                But even libs understand in a powerful way the gift of life, and in particular the gift of their own lives. It’s not much comfort to say that some other person said something nasty so that means I get to pollute at will. No, that’s not going to fly, even for libs.

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                                                • As in 13% is not a little.

                                                  You can assert it’s 13% over 8 years all you want.

                                                  It is *also* 8% over 12 years, which is the problem with using amazingly small statistical samples.

                                                  First of all, the negative impact of ACA on the Demos is not hypothetical. We can exactly the extent of the damage, and it’s been big.

                                                  I find almost everything you say very odd, because you keep coming up with theories about huge game changes in the past that destroyed the Democrats forever and they will forever be a rump party until they change their way…except those things, *if true*, would utterly destroy the Republicans if applied currently. But your theories just sorta…stop. It’s like 2009 was the last time anything could ever happen, a one-off in political history, and all current directions are set in stone forever.

                                                  See, here’s the weird thing about your theory about the ACA. If it was true, Republicans have completely screwed themselves by painting themselves into a corner where they have to do something about the ACA. If they had run against it in 2010, and maybe 2012, and then *shut up* and just passed some tweak and claimed they fixed it…sure. That would have been smart. But they didn’t.

                                                  And now they’re faced with the ability to repeal it. And they still have a certain amount of their base that isn’t going to be satisfied until nothing like the ACA exist (Which is going to utterly lose them the country if they repeal without putting *something* in.)

                                                  And now that repeal has become an *actual* possibility, a lot of people who opposed it are actually, horrors of horrors, looking at the law and going ‘Hmmmm. Maybe most of it is good.’…which is, of course, infuriating the base.

                                                  Meanwhile, Republicans are aware of how bad this is going to go, *and* that they can’t stop it without getting lynched by their base, and thus are running around looking *way worse* than anything the Democrats did during the ACA passage. Forget having not enough time to read the bill…no one can actually *find* the room the bill is in, and, oh, BTW, that’s not the bill they’re going to use anyway.

                                                  Literally every single thing that you claim were the illegitimate and undemocratic things that happened during the passage, all the stuff about unknown bills being passed over the objections of normal Americans…are being done 10 times over with the repeal. They’re running around trying to do it as fast as possible before too many Senators chicken out (Too late), and don’t have anything ready (And everyone is acutely aware they had *years* to figure this out.) and look like chickens with their heads cut off.

                                                  They are *either* going to do what the Democrats did…mostly please their their base and slightly anger everyone else (Except much, much more. For real reasons that effect people, as opposed to people vaguely blaming premium increases on it), or they are going to back down *or* come up with a reasonablish plan, which will *enrage* their base.

                                                  Right now, they appear to be trying to split the difference…which has resulted in them coming up with all sorts of really dumb things that don’t please anyone. Hint to Republicans lawmakers: Basing subsidies on age instead of income might give you something to point to as different from the ACA, but it is, uh, a really really stupid change and very bad optics, because it’s basically taking money from young poor people and giving it to old rich people, and everyone will understand that. (1)

                                                  Again, I *don’t* think your theory is true, and in fact I don’t think the ACA hurt the Democrats much at all after the 2010 election, as evidence by the fact *the Democrats are functionally getting the same amount of votes* as before. (They just got them in the wrong places.) But you’re standing there pretending that the ACA was car wreck for the Democrats that they barely walked away from…meanwhile, the Republicans are *parked on the train tracks*, and everyone can see that train coming.

                                                  Just from eyeballing it, the “resistance” to Trump looks to me to be about half as strong as it was three weeks ago.

                                                  …because Trump has stopped doing anything.

                                                  There’s no way he will manage to keep that up.

                                                  1) Another hint to Republicans lawmakers: Claiming your plan is different because it’s not going to have subsidies, as I heard one of you say, but will instead ‘use refundable tax credits’ makes you look like an idiot who is unaware the subsidies in the ACA *are* refundable tax credits. (It was, theoretically, possible he was trying to say they couldn’t be applied directly to insurance during the year, but could only be gotten when taxes were filed. Which, admittedly, is *different* from the ACA subsidies. Different in a really stupid way that would mean people who need the subsides would have to figure out how to finance an entire year of full payments and then get a huge refund. But it is, technically, *different*.)

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                                                  • See, here’s the weird thing about your theory about the ACA. If it was true, Republicans have completely screwed themselves by painting themselves into a corner where they have to do something about the ACA. If they had run against it in 2010, and maybe 2012, and then *shut up* and just passed some tweak and claimed they fixed it…sure. That would have been smart. But they didn’t.

                                                    You’re veering, I want to say you’re veering off-topic here but that’s not quite right. Mostly, you’re just narrowing focusing on repeal/reforms/whatever of ACA as being determinative of the political balance of power going forward.

                                                    From the pov of GOP/conservative electoral power, I’m not particularly afraid of whatever happens to ACA. You seem to think that the political stakes of enacting PPACA in 2010 are comparable to the poltical stakes of repealing it now. But that’s just not true.

                                                    Basically PPACA (and its alternatives) were the only item on the agenda from Apr 2009 to Mar 2010. This was because the Demos controlled all the executive and both houses of the legislature, so they set the agenda. They could and should have pulled the plug on several occasions during that period. In spite of the priorities of the American people, they were going to work on health care until it was done.

                                                    Things now are much different. In addition to ACA, we have a Supreme Court Justice, taxes, immigration, Obama’s wiretaps, etc, etc. As far as what the Republicans want, the mainstream GOP-base will be happy to get Gorsuch in, the Trump GOP-base will be happy with a wall, or some other immigration measures with that amount of credibility.

                                                    In any event, the flip side to ACA isn’t the repeal of ACA, it’s the election of Trump. Frankly, you were closer the first time. Throughout the election season, there was an undercurrent, “Yeah, but Trump is really a joke.” Well, now he’s President and not a joke and that pissed off some people who now have to organize instead. And that will pack a punch. But outside of that, I don’t see very much going for you.

                                                    Btw, I was refreshing my memory of The Emerging Democratic Majority last night, and there were a few things that were really interesting.

                                                    Judis and Texeira originally published the book in 2002. From what I can see Judis repudiated the theory in 2015 but Texeira still believes it. In particular, Judis declared the theory to be vindicated in 2009 in the aftermath of Obama’s first election. He went back and forth afterward until he conclusively repudiated it. This was in an article for National Journal in January 2015.

                                                    It took me a bit of google-fu to find it online but eventually I did. For me, the most interesting aspect of it was the time capsule effect. Ie, writing after the 2014 midterms, but before Trump, in a sense he was describing the high point of conventional GOP electoral power.

                                                    There were a couple of words that he used that were very illuminating, at least for me. He talked about the working class, which is a known quantity of course, but also the “office economy” (a word he borrowed from somebody else) to describe bachelor’s degree holders making 50-100K/yr.

                                                    That’s a very handy concept, among other reasons because unlike the working class it is growing and becoming more powerful. Judis talks about how the office people are solid GOP and what they believe ideologically.

                                                    Here’s the thing. Trump hemorrhaged the office people but exploded in turnout and percentage among the working class enough that he won anyway. My point is that the election of Trump is going to keep the white working class GOP for a long time, but the office people are going to return to the GOP, either becuase Trump is gone or because Trump as President is a lot less scary that Trump as candidate.

                                                    You should check it out if you can.

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                        • “the negatives of the wall are symbolic”

                          and financial, and environmental, and political.

                          How would you feel if the Mexican government decided that the appropriate course of action in response to the Wall was to invite the Chinese government to establish a military base outside of Tijuana?

                          What continues to baffle me about your (and Trump’s) thinking is this notion that the US is so powerful that all the other nations of the world (and tens of millions of Democrats) have no choice but to bend the knee.

                          Trumpism is, at its core, the belief that we can do whatever we want, wherever we want, at no cost to us.

                          There’s just one problem with that approach. It’s just not true.

                          Daily notes, a la notme:
                          Jeff Sessions caught lying to Congress.
                          The ACA replacement bill is a secret.
                          WV miners notified of the upcoming loss of benefits.

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                          • and financial, and environmental, and political.

                            See, I don’t think they are. The environmental consequences are negligible, and the political consequences are positive.

                            The US has the right to secure its borders with the intent of preventing unauthorized immigration. That ought to be uncontroversial, and when push comes to shove I think Mexico and immigration advocates will have to accept it.

                            As far as Mexico hosting a Chinese army base, the first thing to note is that the Chinese don’t play that way. But to your point, having a Chinese army base in Mexico doesn’t do anything for the Chinese national interest, whereas preventing illegal immigation is definitely an American interest.

                            Ultimately, that’s one of a few basic propositions that I don’t think you and other advocates of liberalized immigration have really come to terms with.

                            In the immediate context, that the United States has the right to control its own borders and set its own immigration policy. Now that push has come to shove, you either have to deny these in the abstract, which sounds ridiculous. My guess is, what you’d like to do is accept this in the abstract but then manipulate the policy outcomes to your ends. That’s looking quite a bit less credible now that Donald Trump has been elected, so you’re in kind of a pickle.

                            Trumpism is, at its core, the belief that we can do whatever we want, wherever we want, at no cost to us.

                            Not at all, in fact I think it’s closer to the opposite. It’s a recognition that we are weaker than we thought we were, and we have to make tougher decisions than we wanted about what we can afford and what’s actually in our national interest as opposed to simply regurgitating talking points that sounded good at some time in the past.

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                            • The environmental consequences are negligible…

                              Assuming a wall, sufficiently high and thick to stop people from simply hopping over, there are a number of species whose range is going to be cut in two. In some cases, those are migratory ranges, with the animals living generally north of the border in the summer and south in the winter. In some cases, a wall built on the US side of the river for hundreds of miles is a death sentence for animals that are cut off.

                              My perception is that the wall is much less popular in the Southwest than it is elsewhere for a variety of reasons the locals appreciate — substantial takings of private land will be necessary, the construction is going to be disruptive, many parts of the area are environmentally fragile and may be permanently damaged, and the wall is unlikely to be particularly successful in achieving its goal.

                              If you doubt that last one, consider what the East Germans had to do to build an effective barrier out in the countryside.

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                              • From what I’ve seen, in any credible immigration enforcement scheme, the wall is the hardest part. And in an ideal world, it might not be necessary.

                                But precisely because it is so difficult, the accomplishment is correspondingly valuable. Think about it as the 21st century equivalent to the moon landing. The moon landing didn’t accomplish anything directly. But as a statement of intent and capability, it was very powerful.

                                As things stand, we have a tremendous problem in asserting our self-determination as Americans. The wall would be most meaningful action we could take in that direction.

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                                • So, to the surprise of no one who reads me here regularly, answer me the question, “Why isn’t the wall just one more example of ‘The West has to take one for the team?'” It’s a symbol. All the environmental damage from the wall is in the West. All the eminent domain takings for the wall are in the West.

                                  Putting the CEOs of all the roofing companies in Alabama caught employing undocumented workers in jail is a symbol. Putting the CEOs of all the meat packing companies operating in Iowa caught employing undocumented workers in jail is a symbol. Requiring a national ID for employment, and severely punishing states who do not work hard to ensure that all citizens who should receive such an ID get one, is a symbol. All of them would be more effective at fixing the problem than the wall.

                                  There is a part of me that says to the US east of about 100° W longitude, fix your f*cking problems with symbols that hit you, not us.

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                                  • So, to the surprise of no one who reads me here regularly, answer me the question, “Why isn’t the wall just one more example of ‘The West has to take one for the team?’”

                                    Well, without having read much of your oeuvre, it probably is. I’m wondering what the other examples are though. The one that comes to find is federal ownership of land. Frankly that’s kind of a weird one because that has nothing to do with the wall. They’re not the same places. And if they were by definition, if the feds own the land, they can certainly build a wall on it.

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                                    • Federal land policy history, fire, water, a commitment to renewable energy for geographical reasons, local/state politics shaped by a century of ballot initiatives, distinctive population patterns, rapidly evolving attitudes towards the environment*… there’s a whole list of east vs west differences.

                                      What perplexes me the most is that the Republicans from the Southwest are saying the same things I am — the wall won’t work, the environmental damage will be large, the fiscal cost will be much higher than the current guesstimates**. But this is the symbol that the Dems are supposed to compromise on?

                                      * Colorado College does periodic surveys of voters in the interior western states (excluding Idaho). Over the last decade there has been a quite large swing in attitudes. Among them — species preservation, don’t open more federal land for mining/drilling, and don’t relax any of the current regulations on mining/drilling on federal land.

                                      ** An interesting exercise is to follow the border from, say, San Luis, AZ to El Paso, TX on Google Earth. No matter how it looks, there’s a huge total elevation change up and down. It’s also the heart of North American Monsoon country. Not countless, but hundreds of arroyos that have to be crossed, every one of which is capable of delivering a 15-foot high “wall of water” when there’s a thunderstorm in the proper place. Nobody’s pricing a wall that is monsoon flash-flood proof in all the places it has to be.

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                                      • A wall thru the Big Bend country of Texas is pert near impossible to construct and one extending from Lajitas up thru Presidio and beyond is maybe doable but still logistically pretty daunting. It’s not like that area is flat ground without massive drainages coming into the river every mile or so. And the environmental destruction thru some of those areas would be massive.

                                        As for the dry washes throughout that area, I suggest just leaving that part of the wall open. It’s not like the wall is gonna keep anyone out anyway and Trump won’t have to deal with constantly replacing them as they wash out. Which they will.

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                            • The environmental consequences are negligible,

                              I’m surprised.

                              But since you are so sure, you must have an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and a published Record of Decision (RoD) prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

                              NEPA, as you may be aware, is the federal law that mandates that federal agencies undertake to analyze the environmental impacts of their actions.

                              Now, since there isn’t even a firm proposal yet, I’m pretty sure that there is no EIR. Are you seriously proposing that the Trump administration simply disregard applicable federal law? Why is the Trump administration cramming the Wall down our throats? Where are the hearings? Why is the minority party being disrespected? (etc. just replay what was said about the ACA, and switch parties.)

                              (I encourage the Trump admin to take that approach. NEPA explicitly creates a private right of action. Even a federal judge in Texas would be likely to enjoin a federal agency action affecting the environment if there was no NEPA compliance.)

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                            • As to controlling one’s borders, oddly enough I agree. But to coin a phrase: “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” (not to mention expensive)

                              The giant sucking sound you are hearing is American employers offering wages better that can be found in Mexico. The clear, simple (and wrong, but much cheaper) solution to illegal immigration should be to go after the employers.

                              Where is the crackdown on the hotel industry, or ag labor, or residential construction, or meatpacking? Do you want to make jobs available to Americans? Force the employers to lay off the employees who don’t have the right to work in the US!

                              Trump, you’re telling me, is a new kind of Republican — one who is willing to stand up to the corporations whose entire business model is dependent on insecure low-cost labor. So surely that crackdown is in the works.

                              Isn’t it?

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                              • The giant sucking sound you are hearing is American employers offering wages better that can be found in Mexico.

                                Yeah, that’s a very good point. But there’s consequences for that, especially in the context of post 2008, where at least among some commentators, the whole thing is a nonissue because Mexicans aren’t coming here any more.

                                Even if that were so, there’s still an big negative there in that that creates a fairly hard cap hourly wages for unskilled and semi-skilled labor. If we do get a labor shortage like 1998-1999 again, we won’t be able to see Americans be able to restore their standard of living because of the downward wage pressure from laborers who aren’t here but would be if wages rose.

                                Where is the crackdown on the hotel industry, or ag labor, or residential construction, or meatpacking? Do you want to make jobs available to Americans? Force the employers to lay off the employees who don’t have the right to work in the US!

                                Trump, you’re telling me, is a new kind of Republican — one who is willing to stand up to the corporations whose entire business model is dependent on insecure low-cost labor. So surely that crackdown is in the works.

                                Yeah, I suspect that there is, though obviously I don’t know for sure. This is where the wall comes in, though it doesn’t directly solve this problem. Basically, there’s strong incentive for every landscaping firm, meatpacker, etc, in certain areas to use illegal labor and pay illegal laborer wages. They are at a tremendous competitive disadvantage if they don’t.

                                But if there’s a wall, and the associated commitment to American self-determination wrt immigration and labor policy, they employers can hire native Americans at higher wage rates without feeling like he’s being a sucker getting taken advantage of.

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                                • Even if that were so, there’s still an big negative there in that that creates a fairly hard cap hourly wages for unskilled and semi-skilled labor. If we do get a labor shortage like 1998-1999 again, we won’t be able to see Americans be able to restore their standard of living because of the downward wage pressure from laborers who aren’t here but would be if wages rose.

                                  I’m not sure I understand the mechanism here. If we enforced our labor laws, illegal immigration would reduce because there would be very few jobs. The labor pool in those jobs would tighten and wages for those jobs would rise. Isn’t that the primary point of this whole building a wall thing for most voters?

                                  In any case, regardless of the reason for there being fewer illegal Mexican immigrants in the country, the economic impact of them being gone is the same. Whether they’re unable to climb over the fabulous wall or simply not able to get jobs because we’re checking employment eligibility, they’re out of the US labor pool and back in the Mexican labor pool with all of the attendant economic effects.

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                                  • My point is that a wall is a powerful credibility multiplier for the enforcement of labor laws as well as the expression of self-determination in general. Of course, it will also have substantial direct deterrent effect as well.

                                    I won’t say we can’t create a regime of credible labor law enforcement without a wall, but it will be much harder. One reasonable possibility under Trump is that we do an all-of-the-above approach and certain avenues get built out faster than others. And at some point, we find that we have a credible deterrent to unauthorized migration across the southern border.

                                    At that point, we might stop building more deterrence in that way as there is a broad consensus (backed up by both parties in Washington) against the employment of illegal aliens, so we might not need it.

                                    In any event, the idea is that a credible immigration employment law enforcement regime is a necessary condition to employers raising wages as opposed to hiring cheap illegal labor. That means we have to look at what the components of such a regime would look like.

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                            • ” It’s a recognition that we are weaker than we thought we were, and we have to make tougher decisions than we wanted about what we can afford”

                              To be fair, the US is quite lightly taxed compared to its peers. Other countries run many more services through their government that we do. I will concede that many pensions both public and private are in disastrous shape and many people are facing major haircuts. But Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and military spending are largely a matter of political will, not economic impossibility. (Of course, we could do much more in bringing transparency to medical billing, which could bring some much needed downward pressure on pricing.)

                              Putting all that aside, if we are in fact weaker than we thought, why in deity’s name would we go spend a bare minimum of $25 billion on a Wall, plus maintenance and operations costs in perpetuity when the money could be much better spent elsewhere? Roads and bridges and water supply and sewer supply and airports across the US could use a slug of federal money, and the same results as the Wall could be achieved at a fraction of the cost by increased employer enforcement.

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                              • First of all, we still have most of the financial problems we had say five years ago, though the urgency behind them is substantially less.

                                But “poverty”, what I was talking about was at least as much about spiritual, organizational, moral poverty, lack of solidarity, at least as much as finance.

                                In terms of finance, let’s just say that if the wall does what we hope it does for $25 billion, it would be the very best possible use of that money I could conceive of. I can’t even guess what could be in second place.

                                And one more small point, we’re paying the “maintenance” cost of the wall already. As I understand it, personnel compensation for the Border Patrol is $4 billion a year. That money will either be redundant or much more effective after a wall is in place.

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                        • I don’t know if you’re aware, but the Demos are at least theoretically on record for the wall already, and have been for years. I went to Google, which helpfully gave me this link which saves me keystrokes.

                          First, that’s not ‘the wall’. Trump has promised a wall along the *entire* border, and that wall was is only 700 miles, which is less than half the border.

                          And I don’t know what your point is.

                          If you want to hold the Democrats previous votes against them, that would have worked in previous elections, but the window for that sorta passes once they get a chance to *revote* and do so differently.

                          If your point is that the Republicans could build the wall without Democrats being able to filibuster, you are correct. I don’t understand how that is relevant to whether or not Democrats should support it.

                          If you want to argue the Democrats should not shut down the government over the wall…I fully agree, especially since the wall isn’t actually getting built anyway. I am not aware that anyone is talking about that as a possibility.

                          So I’m not entirely sure of your point. And I feel you pointing this out sorta undermines your entire idea that Democrats should ‘support’ the wall. If Trump’s just going to make an executive order and Congress is going to change the funding…what is there to support?

                          I also think you, and the article you mentioned, have failed to notice that parts of the wall, even the ‘vehicle barriers’, *was not built*. The law mandated 700 miles, and there are, counting *any* sort of barrier, a grand total of 652.6 miles currently. Oops.

                          And that was mostly the *easy* stuff to barricade, the flat desert land from California to New Mexico, not the impossible Texas part with canyons and the Rio Grande.

                          And that last bit wasn’t not built because of Congress. It was not built because of Texas Republicans. It will continue to not be built because of Texas Republicans, who do not like the Federal government kicking ranchers out of their houses.

                          And the fun thing is that, unlike last time, when Bush understood that, and Obama was happy with it…now you’ve got Trump. Have fun explaining things to him.

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                          • And I don’t know what your point is.

                            It’s not supposed to be that complicated. It’s not about holding previous Demo votes against them, it’s about Demos using previous Demo votes to support the wall in continuity with previous Demo policies, to finesse the problems that you and I were writing about before.

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                        • It was a total of 700 miles of fencing in selected areas, some Dems voted for it, and in 2008 the Dem-controlled Congress defunded it. (Trump has been promising a concrete wall 35-50 feet high.) None of the Dems listed as voting for it were from the Southwest — the closest was from California, from a district some hundreds of miles north of the border. Because the Dems on the ground say the same things that the Republicans on the ground say — it won’t work, it’s damaging to the environment, and it will cost far more than any of the current estimates.

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    • The Republican abuse of the word “elite” is one of the great propaganistic coups of the 20th and 21st centuries. They somehow managed to make Bush II, Romney, and the Koch Brothers into plain-speaking salt of the earth types.

      As far as I can tell, Republicans have twisted elite to mean a vaguely upper-middle class, quasi-Bohemian person. Well as Bohemian as This American Life and subscriptions to the New Yorker are.

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        • I don’t know if ‘assault rifle’ can be said to be ‘twisted’, considering it’s a completely made-up and meaningless phrase to start with, created by people who don’t understand the categories of guns. It’s not ‘twisted’ so much as ‘completely dumb from the start’. ;)

          Also, you accidentally made the term less dumb. The term everyone uses is ‘assault *weapon*’, not ‘assault rifles’…but they do specifically mean rifles.

          In fact, them generalizing to ‘assault weapons’ violates their entire justification of the term ‘assault’, which is that they are designed solely for injuring people, and not for hunting, which is not only wrong in what *those laws* describe…but does describe all handguns.(1) Ooops.

          But ‘assault weapon’ is basically just a way to call a gun ‘really scary looking’, as evidence by the fact those morons decided banning suppressors was a good idea.

          Now, I do think, and you probably disagree, that those fools do have some sort of point, they’re just really bad at knowing anything about guns. I think we need to look seriously at restricting the low-calibre high-velocity weapons that are not for hunting and can’t be used in self-defense or in home defense. But that’s a discussion for some other time.

          And ‘sorta kinda being aimed in the right direction’ is not a good way to make laws regardless.

          1) Yes, yes, I’m sure there is some obscure hunting gun out that there is technically a handgun. That is not the point.

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          • Actually the term “assault rifle” dates from WW2. It is the English translation of the name of the German rifle the Sturmgewehr 44. It literally means “storm rifle” as in “to storm (i.e., assault) an enemy position.” While that was the name of the specific weapon it came to mean a class of weapons characterized by the ability to select fire (semi or fully automatic) that fired an intermediate size cartridge (larger than a pistol cartridge but smaller than a cartridge fired by the standard infantry weapon of the day).

            Now it means any scary looking rifle characterized by certain randomly picked features.

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            • Ah. Wow, ‘assault weapon’ is an even dumber term than I thought. And, you’re right, I guess they are twisting the idea of ‘assault’ as applied to guns, which previously applied only to selective-fire automatic weapons.

              Hell, the assault weapon ban banned rifles that weren’t even the semiautomatic form of assault rifles.

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      • They couldn’t have abused it if quite a lot of people hadn’t already believed it. The reasons why it is easy for conservative and even many moderate voters to believe the Republican leadership’s definition of “elite” bears closer inspection. (Hint, it’s not because people are stupid and believe everything the Republican leadership says.)

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        • Just because people believe in something does not mean it is right. But I concur that a lot of these fights are as old as the Republic and there has always been an urban-rural divide/tension since Jefferson and Hamilton.

          But just because people believe that the urban middle-class is elitist for their cultural likes and preferences does not mean it is an idea to be taken without pushback.

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    • FR,
      Okay. For one, drop the fucking minimum wage issue. That’s now a republican (aka big business) issue, and if you can’t do the math, I can — there will never be another real increase in the minimum wage.

      Universal Minimum Income (as supported by Obama).
      H1Bs that are assigned from highest to lowest pay.
      and finally,
      Actually have a candidate that’s capable of winning, not merely blackmailing everyone in sight. [This, I hasten to add, is not a high bar.]

      SJWs need to die a quick and unlamented death, but the knives are already out for them, so I’m not saying that you need to do much to fix the left itself.

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  4. I really liked this piece, Dennis (and I like seeing you around here more). The main problem I have with it is that I’m already so primed to agree with your argument here that maybe it’s just what I want to hear.

    Now, here’s a tangent not directly related to your OP:

    I confess that sometimes I get confused or conflicted when we’re arguing about tactics. I want to have a better reason to engage or empathize with people than merely that it will help me and my side win the politics game. I want to have a better reason, and so I start from believing not only that it’s pragmatic and useful to empathize with those I identify as being on the other side, but that it’s some sort of moral imperative. That’s where I get into trouble. But I’m not going to part from my belief, at least not for a while, that empathizing with one’s opponents (if that’s the right word) is not only useful, but also the right thing to do.

    Again, though (and sorry for the tangent), I really liked this piece OP.

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  5. This amounts to picking around the margins of your argument rather than engaging with the meat of it, but the examples you’ve provided to prove the Democrats need to reach out to the right and center really don’t make sense. The interviewed Trump voter is a self-described conservative business owner from South Carolina who said he felt obligated to vote for the Republican. That’s not a winnable vote. It would be far more interesting to hear from an Obama voter who went Trump, or an Obama voter who stayed home, than a generally conservative voter who swallowed his doubts about Trump and voted the way he probably voted in 2012, 2008, 2004, etc.

    Similarly, maps that show that low-population density areas went for Trump or that Trump won a lot of states that went for Clinton in ’96 or Obama in ’08 doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know. You could make a very similar map of blue islands in a red sea for 2008, when the GOP got crushed up and down the ballot. What matters is how blue those islands are and how red that sea is, and either way it doesn’t tell us anything about which voters need to be persuaded and how.

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  6. This is sone warmed-over cliche-ridden tripe. Liberals should “reach out”?
    L: “How?”
    OP: “Stop calling them racists.”
    L: “I’m not calling them racists, and even the nonracists are so invested in white fragility that a single story about someone somewhere being called a racist will be enough to reignite their victimization narrative.”
    OP: “Support infrastructure, job training, and programs for the WWC.”
    L: “We already do. Were you listening to Obama for the last eight years?”

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    • “I’m not calling them racists,”

      You may not be, but I’ve run into a lot of liberals (since my state is populated 90% with them) that are. Oh, sure, they code the language, use foreign works to hide it, and feel out your views before they open their mouths, but they are there–black/white/asian/male/female.

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      • That’s my point. Somewhere in America, someone will call someone else a racist. It happens all the time, and sometimes these stories are picked up in the media or go viral on social media. In the latter case, sometimes the stories are made up.
        That’s why telling Dems to stop calling Trump voters racist is useless advice.

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        • You do understand that I’m not talking about liberals calling trump supporters racists, but liberals ACTUALLY BEING RACIST and calling blacks and other groups racists names don’t you?

          I’m not sure from your response that I was clear above.

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          • Your first sentence sounded like you knew lots of liberals that “are… calling Trump voters racist.” I now see how your intended meaning could be gathered by a reader who also possessed telepathy.

            But seriously? Do we want to turn this into another “who’s the real racist?” thread.

            I’m too old for this shit.

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            • “Do we want to turn this into another “who’s the real racist?” thread.”

              Nope. I’m not arguing that Dems or Repubs are more racist than the other. I’m not saying that one side calling the other racist for doing x doesn’t happen. I’m saying that a lot of liberals have espoused racist viewpoints and that gets little coverage and discussion. But the other side doing it gets lots of coverage. I wonder why that is.

              I apologize for the lack of clarity.

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  7. Didn’t I ask exactly what the Dems were going to do after the election? Yes, yes I did. Now we finally have some murmurings. About damn time.

    Dennis, I think you make a good start, but I’m not optimistic. I have only anecdotal evidence, but I’m not getting the “feels” the the liberals are willing to work with anyone outside their camp. But it’s not my problem, so whatever….

    A few quibbles:
    1) ” disturbing connections between Trump and Russia that led to the first head of the National Security Council to be sent packing ” Unless I missed it in the news, it was ’cause he allegedly lied to the VP not that he had talks with the Ruskies. I’ve seen no reports that indicate what he did violated any laws.

    2) “Yes, there are racists that did vote for Trump, but the over 60 million that did vote for him are not all Klansmen.” Yep, just liked their are racists who voted for HRC. Yah, their liberals too.

    3) “Betras and others think the party has become more coastal and less concerned about the needs of people in middle America” She’s damn right too.

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    • “Betras and others think the party has become more coastal and less concerned about the needs of people in middle America” She’s damn right too.

      It’s always interesting to see the claim phrased that way because it doesn’t actually refer to any policy but rather which team they feel like the politician is associated with. More than anything, it seems like that’s most of what modern politics is about. Even if the other guy’s policies match your preferences, you’ll prefer your own guy because of how well he indicates that he’s part of your group rather than part of the “over there” group that has it better than you and gets all the stuff.

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  8. Arguing that Democratic voters and politicians need to reach out to Trump voters is just wrong on many levels. The people who didn’t like Trump and knew he was going to be bad but voted out of him because tribalism and “but her emails” are hopeless. They could have stayed out or actually do the adult and responsible thing and voted for Hillary Clinton. Arguing that we have to reach out to you is basically saying that your not going to move even an inch to us. There is a thing called reasonable bend. Clinton voters are already on the streets, doing what we can to blunt Trump’s damage through protests, courts, and town halls
    You do your work.

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    • No lib, you’re missing the point. We can appreciate all the faults of Donald Trump, yet if our choices are between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, we want Trump to win, as he did.

      One thing that seems to have happened over the last week or so, is that the Trump Presidency is becoming normal. I don’t necessarily know what the direct political consequences of that will be, but if it continues it will be good for America as a whole.

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  9. I would agree with a lot of this, (and completely agreed last year) were it not for the fact that Hillary Clinton’s basic strategy was to win over self-described independents (that usually vote Republican) and those that outright label themselves Republican, because they believed Trump would be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad President.

    But that didn’t work. Or rather, it didn’t work where it needed it to work.

    Although, the other thing that didn’t work was the attempt to attach the overall negative perception of Trump to the various US Senate and House GOP candidates that were on the bubble. But nearly all of them outperformed Trump, many (in the House) getting the majority votes while Clinton got a majority in their districts.

    The question now though is, with the gazillion lumen glare of the spotlight on Trump (which Trump loves more than anything else), can these GOP incumbents on the bubble continue to run ahead of, and away from Trump? #La Resistance and #Indivisible et al are betting no, and I believe they are correct. Though it probably will take a significant macro event (in war or the economy or both) to flip around the Congress in 2018. (like what happened in 2006)

    (eta – and one can’t analyze the ’92 Presidential map without considering the Perot effect, and that it was the last dying breath of the (Democratic) Solid South)

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    • >>But that didn’t work. Or rather, it didn’t work where it needed it to work.

      This! Very much. This was a close election so there are thousands of ways it could have gone differently, but one clear explanation for why Clinton didn’t obliterate Trump was that Republicans voted for him at the usual rate whereas Democrats stayed home. It is possible that Clinton didn’t go far enough and would have brought over those Republican voters with more substantial policy concessions. But all current – and historic – evidence indicates that flipping opposition voters is a fool’s errand.

      The way forward for Democrats is to (1) think about how a fatally unlikeable candidate made it to the nomination and work on improving internal DNC mechanisms; (2) think about areas where the Obama agenda was lackluster and how to improve them now that they have the opportunity to be self-critical (my personal opinions are well summed by pieces like this : http://democracyjournal.org/arguments/keep-it-simple-and-take-credit/ ); (3) just wait for the political pendulum to swing back and focus on small-ball efforts to block or expose the worst aspects of Trump’s agenda.

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      • Yeah, God(ess?) the hindsight is eyeball searing! She tried for all the marbles, campaigned hard in red-purple states and kept saying “Trump is not a normal Republican” but her inroads in the middle and leaning republican group didn’t make up for her losses among the blue collar set and the people who Trumps apostasy on GOP standard line economic set free to vote GOP.
        It seems to obvious looking back of course. Plus the past reached forth with bloody claws to drag her down. HRC 2016- the final revenge of the 90’s.

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        • “Plus the past reached forth with bloody claws to drag her down. HRC 2016- the final revenge of the 90’s.”

          This is interesting in more ways than one.

          If I imagine Bill Clinton running in 2016, I see him standing next to grandmotherly nuns with big giant grins as he personally secures an exemption for the Little Sisters of the Poor from the contraceptive mandate that requires them to do nothing… smiles hugs and photo-op for everyone.

          Because he would have known that it cost his side NULL to accommodate, and the dividends on the investment would have been symbolically immense. Even if he didn’t receive a single vote from the folks on my team, the signal that accommodation is an option might have been a powerful suppressant.

          Talk about 90s era triangulation… compromise on the meaningless symbolic issues and take the gains to the bank.

          Instead, there was an undercurrent in the entire HRC campaign that she had to atone for Bill’s leftist flaws. Possibly this did not even register on your side, but man, it rang good and loud on ours.

          And that’s just one small item… still, playing for all the marbles seemed like a good strategy at the time, so I can only comment with hindsight.

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          • Instead, there was an undercurrent in the entire HRC campaign that she had to atone for Bill’s leftist flaws. Possibly this did not even register on your side, but man, it rang good and loud on ours.

            I’m confused by this. Do you mean she ran to the right to atone for Bil’s too-far-left flaws, or that she ran to the left to atone for Bill’s flaws in the eyes of the left?

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              • That’s what I thought you meant. And you’re right that folks on this side didn’t see it. I thought she was tactically running to the right to grab some of that juicy middle on the expectation that the left would vote for her anyway, and she only changed course (tactically, again…) when it became clear she didn’t understand the priorities of her own party.

                It also shows why triangulation, when executed poorly, is more like strangulation: no one knows what the hell you believe or are trying to achieve anymore.

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          • …except for the employees of dozens of other organizations who know get access to birth control blocked because companies use the exemption given to the Littlle Sisters of the Poor as an argument in court to give them an exemption as well.

            But hey, it would’ve been a good photo op!

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              • Hey, if you’re going to argue that employers should have even more power on how employees compensation is spent (since that’s what health insurance is), go ahead.

                Pointless photo ops and triangulation for the sake of triangulation with no actual principles is how ‘Gore and Bush are the same’ was almost a relatively good argument in 2000.

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                • Pointless photo ops and triangulation for the sake of triangulation with no actual principles is how ‘Gore and Bush are the same’ was almost a relatively good argument in 2000.

                  Yes. One and two decades ago, there were a lot of people who didn’t vote because ‘both sides are the same’. (Note this is an entirely different thing than BSDI.) Anyone who grew up in the 90s, or even the 00s, heard that.

                  I mean, it’s why no one *really* cared about the 2000 installation of GWB. Because most everyone functionally thought he’d govern about 10% to the right, instead of 10% to the left….and people were mostly right, if you exclude the whole ‘neo-cons operating foreign policy’ problem. (But, again, this isn’t about what *actually* happened, but what people thought would happen.)

                  No one, and I mean no one, says that anymore. That idea got destroyed in 2008 when the Tea Party started pushing everything to the right, and pretending that pretty center-ish health-insurance plan was socialism. And the promises to undo that got politically active people on the left to stop thinking that.

                  But whatever. There were still plenty of people wandering around thinking the parties were the same, and, thus, not being political. That was the narrative.

                  And then we got Trump.

                  And *everyone* realized the two parties weren’t the same. Like, all the people in the middle. Almost all at once. There are a lot of people who considered themselves neutral, who figured that both sides were in it for themselves, equally mostly competent, etc, etc….and they suddenly…uh…don’t think that anymore.

                  That’s what these protests are about. They are not ‘I didn’t want Trump elected’, it was ‘Wait, the story was supposed to be that both sides were the same, and so I’ve been inactive in politics my entire life…and you political people elected *this asshole*? Politics was supposed to be something *I don’t have to care about*. And you give me this!’

                  And, weirdly, I think all these people, who don’t really follow politics beyond random issues, have decided that the US has turned into a disaster movie. I don’t mean it has turned into the events *in* a disaster movie, I mean it has turned into a disaster *movie*, and suddenly everyone is watching, and the Trump administration is playing the part of an uncontrollable wildfire.

                  And here, in Act 1, the GOP Congress is playing the part of the guy who insists the wildfires pose no threat, or the beaches should re-open because the shark is gone, or the asteroid can’t hit the planet, or whatever.

                  Act 2 depends on whether this remains a disaster movie (Because something happens the Trump administration cannot deal with.), or turns into a political thriller (Because the Trump administration goes batshit and starts trying to arrest people.) Maybe the villains will turn out to the Russians, a choice so old it’s new again. Or…the Nazis!

                  And, I hate to have to explain this to Republican Congressmen, but in Act 3, the Act 1 obstacles (aka, you guys), can switch sides and be heroes…but it’s almost always a heroic sacrifices.

                  *motions John McCain to sit back down* We will call for volunteers when we get to that part of the movie, sir. Thank you.

                  Note none of this post has anything to do with what is *actually happening*. Real life is not a movie, and Trump is an incompetent personality-disorder-having dottering-old man and the people in charge are morons and Nazis who have no clue what they’re doing.

                  But this the *narrative*. A portion of the American people, at this point, are waiting for the movie to actually start, for the obvious villain to do more obvious villain things, until someone has no choice but to stop them.

                  It’s not even the ‘left’ doing this. It’s just the left are obviously the people *on the other side*.

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          • Oh very much yes. I think it was Mcardle or someone else who observed that Obama was flat out too principled to pull that kind of realpolitik stuff, and that’s not high praise. Little Sisters was the exact example too.

            Yes, she did have that vibe. She adopted it because Bernie had a surge and she started hearing 2008 ringing in her ears again.

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      • “The way forward for Democrats is to (1) think about how a fatally unlikeable candidate made it to the nomination”

        It was HER TURN, you cishet misogynist. I can’t believe we’re having a conversation in 2016 about whether or not a woman can be President. Don’t you think that abortion rights are important?

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      • As it pertains to #1, there’s an important point that seems to be overlooked. Hillary was able to take advantage of a key cohort in the Democratic Party who crystallized around her as the vehicle to personify their antagonism to the GOP. Ie, because Hillary has been such a bete noire for the GOP for so long, that’s who they wanted.

        If the Demo’s had some other primary intent in politics other than expressing hostility toward Republicans, they probably would have won the election. That’s probably a useful attitude change for them going forward.

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    • I agree Kolohe. I think Dennis is talking about something else tho (could be wrong): given that Trump constitutes a real threat to our Democracy will Liberal Resistance increase or decrease the likelihood that that threat becomes real? So the argument seems to me tactical in orientation, predicated on the view that Resisters! will entrench Trump and Trumpism even more within the electorate (and they just shouldn’t do that!!).

      Btw, I don’t think Trump constitutes a threat to our democracy (could be wrong). Civil liberties perhaps. And the Russia stuff continues to get more light shined on it.

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    • The argument is that liberals ought to save America from a GOP president who presents a real risk to our democracy, presumably because conservatives can’t save it themselves. I don’t think you and Dennis are seeing the situation the same way.

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      • No, I guess I don’t. I think that portraying Trump as a “real” (whatever that is in the eye of the beholder) risk to our democracy, is hyperbole that I have a hard time taking seriously.

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  10. Number of people who voted for HRC in 2016: 68 million

    Number of people who voted for Trump in 2016: 65.5 million.

    What does your two maps show? It shows nothing. Land does not vote. But the right-wing seem obsessed with those maps because it shows them occupying more land. This is simply because the GOP
    is more rural than urban as a party. This does not make them more American. This does not make them less elite. The average Trump voter had a higher income than the average American. And yet some 25 year old bartender/actor wannabe in New York is somehow a member of the elite even if they share an apartment with three other people.

    This is going to sound like a complaint (and it basically is one) but Obama did propose a massive infrastructure stimulus, so did HRC, so did Bernie. They were stymied by a GOP controlled Congress at every turn. The auto bailout might have been unpopular but it kept a lot of jobs in the United States. But a lot of voters did not care about GOP opposition. They cared about the fact that the Democratic Party supported LBGT rights or other civil rights or some other liberal position and decided no. The Democratic Party cannot and should not abandon these views.

    Erik Loomis at LGM had a bunch of contradictory posts over the weekend. One post was dedicated to the failed union drive at Boeing in South Carolina. The other was about how building trades were making mistakes to align with Trump but how they were always the most socially conservative of unions. In these two posts, Loomis discussed how class and race are closely intertwined in the United States and the story of the WWC is that they always or almost always put race solidarity over class solidarity. And then he made a post criticizing a lack of programs of the working class.

    The problem as far as I can tell is that a large part of the working class does not want the truth. They don’t want to hear that automation, technological advancement and outsourcing are killing their “manly” jobs that require brute strength like coal mining and factory work. They don’t want to take service jobs even if the service jobs pay well. The status of someone voting for Trump is basically saying “lie to me, baby.”

    And the South Carolina business owner was a bad example. Despite what he says, he is never going to vote Democratic.

    This essay reads of someone who knows the GOP and Trump are reckless and dangerous but then just says “but her e-mails” or complains about a snooty college student they knew once so they have no choice but to vote fascist.

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    • “Number of people who voted for HRC in 2016: 68 million

      Number of people who voted for Trump in 2016: 65.5 million.”

      I keep hearing and reading this…and it DOESN’T MATTER. I don’t know why people keep talking about it. The EC is the only that matters. HRC lost that.

      Allegedly 55% of the eligible voters turned out. Historically very low. Ergo, people didn’t vote. That matters. Maybe parties should be looking at that vast pool?

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    • A lot of people stayed home or voted 3rd party/write in because we were assured by the media that the election was all but decided. (One can make a good case that media malfeasance was much more a direct manipulation of the election than the Russian thing).

      Additionally many people in blue states who were Trump supporters may not have voted because they knew their votes wouldn’t count since their state would go blue, and even in red states, if ya know your state will go red no matter what, people may not have turned out.

      We have no way to know what the outcome would have been if we were running a popular election. I don’t think anyone should hang their hat on Hillary “winning the popular vote” because the outcome very easily could have been totally different if it was winner take all instead of EC. (I know, tons of people have said that already)

      Let alone what would have happened had the media not declared a premature HRC victory –
      irony being, I think it’s just as plausible that Hillary may have managed to pull out a win had the press not declared the election a done deal.

      I just don’t think we can use the election results to tell us much given those two factors.

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        • I don’t think it was a conspiracy theory, but simply that the press was just reporting it as a done deal had a tangible effect on people’s behavior. I wish I had a crystal ball to see the alternate universe in which this hadn’t happened.

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          • I don’t think it was a conspiracy theory, but simply that the press was just reporting it as a done deal had a tangible effect on people’s behavior.

            Even if we accept that the Russians were behind the hacking with the intent that Trump win and the FBI wanted her to lose, I still don’t see any evidence that it had a tangible effect on people’s behavior. Do you?

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            • So you’re suggesting that the DNC emails had no effect on voter behavior? And that the voters also saw the FBI investigation as insignificant?

              I’m willing to buy that a lot of people who talked about those things incessantly had other reasons for not voting for Clinton as well, but is your claim really that those inputs had roughly zero effect on voter sentiment?

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              • No, I’m not claiming that those inputs had absolutely no effect on voters. I am asking slightly different questions. The questions I’m asking are 1)if there is any evidence that those inputs had any effect on voters and 2)if so how much of an impact?

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                • Well, voters are notoriously shifty, but a huge number of the ones I’ve heard from seem to say the following:

                  1) We don’t like Hillary because she’s a crook.
                  2) Look at the DNC emails. Look at the FBI investigation. She’s a crook.

                  Her likely voters who stayed home instead of getting out and voting for her didn’t seem mostly apathetic because the disliked her policies. They seemed apathetic because they were mad about her being a corrupt machine politician and those two issues seemed to be central points of evidence.

                  There are plenty of other reasons not to vote for her, so it’s kind of crazy to say she’d get 100% of the vote absent those two things, but given how close the election was, and given how often those issues were the stated evidence for the stated reason for disliking Clinton, it seems like they’re probably not negligible points.

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              • Actually, since 45 has his own e-mail server issue, his own Foundation, his own Wall Street cronies literally bribing to get Cabinet posts, is being investigated by the FBI, and even has his own Benghazi! (of a sort), and combined they haven’t wven shifted approval from the base…
                I’m willing to entertain the possibility that, no, they weren’t decisive since most of America doesn’t see them as even being a negative.

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            • I don’t think the FBI or Russians were the reason why Hillary lost.

              I’m sorry if I misspoke somewhere along the way because I emphatically do not think those things mattered in any appreciable way.

              I think the media claiming that the election was over did quite possibly have a chilling effect on turnout for potential Hillary voters.

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              • Kristin Devine,

                I think your assignment of blame to the media is a bit misplaced. They were all just reporting on the poll results, which were pretty consistently showing Clinton winning with the main question being blowout or squeaker. The real question — and this isn’t a particularly partisan issue — is why were the polls off so much? From what I can gather this includes the internal proprietary party polling.

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                • The Podesta e-mails revealed top Democrats discussing at length how to bias poll results. For example, they talked about which liberal-leaning area codes to call first to get a biased sample of “independents”.

                  The other issue was that the press and the elites were so set against Trump, daily demonizing his supporters, that many people who were polled would lie and say they weren’t supporting him when in fact they were. One polling firm figured this out and came up with a fascinating and simple fix for it.

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                  • As i remember the Podesta e-mails were about INTERNAL dem polling. They were paying so they could do whatever they wanted. He wasn’t’ trying to fudge public polls. And he wanted larger samples of some groups to get better data (It’s common in polling to do this. Larger samples lead to better results and ability to make inferences). There was really nothing there. But i guess it’s good you weren’t accusing him of running a child rape ring. So huzzah.

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                  • The Podesta e-mails revealed top Democrats discussing at length how to bias poll results. For example, they talked about which liberal-leaning area codes to call first to get a biased sample of “independents”.

                    You do not know how campaigns work. Or polling.

                    The campaigns wanted certain data from the polls, and were discussing how to get it.

                    The idea that that is in any way improper is dumb, as is the idea that that it had anything to do with the polls that everyone was discussing.

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        • It’s almost as though making extremely low-probability events happen usually requires a bunch of individually insufficient causes to line up all at once.

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            • Most people who talk about the “cause” of the election outcome don’t seem to get how cause and effect work. In order to elect a weird Chauncey Gardiner / used car salesman hybrid like Trump to the White House, you don’t need one “cause.” You need a ton of things to line up perfectly. You need Clinton to be a weak candidate. You need her to commit some gaffes. You need a release of damaging emails at the right time.

              Each one of those things tips the scale a little bit, but none of them is large enough to be called “the cause” so people who don’t get cause and effect dismiss them as not being “the reason” Clinton lost. But with the margin being as close as it was, most of those little nothingburgers were actually necessary for Trump’s win–remove one and you may well have President Clinton.

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              • Yeah, there’s no one reason but lots of reasons.

                Honestly, I seriously considered voting for her (wouldn’t have mattered in my blue state) but then she kept saying “Beyonce and Jay-Z” the whole last two weeks before the election. For some reason, that one quirky little thing made me start to notice all the celebrity worship and it put me off.

                So you never know how stupid and meaningless nothingburgers may play to people.

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                • I ended up voting for her (in my solidly blue state) because I decided that I wanted to repudiate Donald Trump more than I wanted to express my opposition to her by voting 3d party. In other words, my vote for Clinton was really a vote FOR Clinton, even though I’m proud I voted as I did and wish she had won.

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      • The staying home thing is real but it always is. Many eligible voters don’t vote in any election. There is not enough evidence that Stein and/or Johnson cost Clinton any states.

        But I still think this is a margin’s election as was pointed out above and there is a lot of over analysis. HRC made some mistakes. Michael Cain is probably right about the difference between “job training” and “jobs” or “I am going to open the coal mines and factories again.” Now I think Trump is a big liar on this but the lie was successful enough to give him the White House.

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    • What does your two maps show? It shows nothing. Land does not vote. But the right-wing seem obsessed with those maps because it shows them occupying more land. This is simply because the GOP is more rural than urban as a party. This does not make them more American.

      Of course it does. Or at least it does in this case. Clearly, what we have seen since the election is that libs have alienated themselves from America as a whole (among other reasons because the support for Trump was so broad across so much of America). That alienation has political consequences of course, but it’s also important in its own right. If we could have more cultural solidarity among Americans, our policy problems would look much less intractable.

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      • I simply cannot understand this comment. Here are two indisputably true facts:

        1. HRC received more votes that DRT. Yes, Trump won the election fair and square. But HRC still received 65.8 million votes.

        2. The Democratic Party and its allies are seeing a surge of support including, frex, attendance at marches and town hall meetings, donations to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, and renewed interest in committee work / voter registration drives.

        Thus, to draw the conclusion that “libs have alienated themselves from America” appears to me to make sense only if the word “America” is defined to mean “Trump voters”.

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        • The idea that liberals have alienated themselves at the level of presidential politics makes no sense: Hillary had more votes. But the implication Koz presents is even more confused: in the general election Trump beat only one “liberal” candidate (one without liberal bonafides anyway) while he beat 16 actual, real professed conservatives in the primary. So if anything, Trump’s victory signals that at the Presidential level, the GOP and status-quo conservatives took a massive beating and because of that are even more “alienated” from the electorate than the Dems are.

          On the flip side, tho, the GOP holds the House and Senate, which indicates a preference within the voting public, but more than that seems to reflect the confusion of the electorate right now as well as the (current) dysfunction of our electoral process/governance.

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          • But the implication Koz presents is even more confused: in the general election Trump beat only one “liberal” candidate (one without liberal bonafides anyway) while he beat 16 actual, real professed conservatives in the primary. So if anything, Trump’s victory signals that at the Presidential level, the GOP and status-quo conservatives took a massive beating and because of that are even more “alienated” from the electorate than the Dems are.

            I disagree, for at least a couple of reasons. First of all, given that the Demos nominated Hillary, I think Trump underperformed any plausible GOP nominee, certainly in popular vote terms.

            More important maybe, overall the GOP has responded much better to the forces that empowered Trump than the Demos. There’s issues to be finessed here and there but really our problems with Trump only go as far as the person of Donald Trump. The Demos problems have problems there, but they also have huge demographic and intellectual gaps that have been exposed by Trump that they have to answer for. Or at least they have no answer for now. They’re going to come up with a different playbook than they have been running since basically Howard Dean was a candidate.

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          • Five years ago Koz thought Romney was the “voice of Americans” but now he thinks its Trump even tho Trump ran a campaign that not only rejected the Mittster and his political principles but actively and intentionally tried to humiliate him.

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            • The loss of Romney in 2012 was a huge debacle for America, among other reasons leading to the election of Trump and the instability that represents.

              On the other hand President Trump can do a few things that President Romney couldn’t. Specifically because Trump won with the coalition that he did (plus having GOP majorities in both houses of Congress) he can represent cultural and demographic change at a deeper level than Romney would have if he had won.

              It’s up to us to adapt to those changes as best as we can.

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          • I.e. real Americans.

            Yeah basically. One of the important things that’s going to happen in the next few years is that the lib archipelagos are or are not going to converge to the rest of America in mindshare terms. It’s going to make a huge difference for all of us which it is.

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        • Thus, to draw the conclusion that “libs have alienated themselves from America” appears to me to make sense only if the word “America” is defined to mean “Trump voters”.

          Not at all. What it shows is that the alienation of Demos to America as a whole is much deeper than Demos used to think, and they’re having to make some important changes to their mental models to adapt to that. Ie, they used to want to think that conservatives or Republicans were just neo-Confederate racists or plutocrats who look like the guy with the monocle on a Monopoly board. But it’s clear now if not before that the GOP actually does represent America as a whole, and the Demos are digging deeper into their alienation.

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          • But it’s clear now if not before that the GOP actually does represent America as
            a whole, and the Demos are digging deeper into their alienation.

            Again, just because *you* mentally dismiss large sections of the population doesn’t mean those people don’t actually exist, or aren’t real Americans and real voters.

            ‘Overall, 48% of all registered voters identify as Democrats or lean Democratic compared with 44% who identify as Republican or lean toward the GOP.’
            -http://www.people-press.org/2016/09/13/2-party-affiliation-among-voters-1992-2016/

            ‘In politics, as of today, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat or an independent? Republicans: 28% Independents: 44% Democrats: 25%’
            -http://www.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx

            And let’s not forget the popular vote difference in last election: 2.10%

            In the actual universe we live in, support for the political parties are *basically evenly balanced*, within 5% of each other, depending on exactly what and how you measure.

            There is no sign at all of the ‘alienation’ you keep claiming is happening.

            What has *actually* happened is that Trump and his nationalism has stirred up the hornet’s nest of the Republican base and they are more vocal and spewing more hatred.

            This is *completely irrelevant* to Democrats, as those people were *never* voting for Democrats anyway. It is, however, a rather large problem for *Republicans*.

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      • If we could have more cultural solidarity among Americans, our policy problems would look much less intractable.

        While Francis, Stillwater and Kazzy are rightly calling you out for the dump truck of manure you just attempted to dump on everyone, I just can’t stop laughing every time I read that comment, if only because I know exactly what you mean by it.

        Have you no self-awareness?

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  11. A lot of people are continuing to focus on who was to blame for the loss in the last game rather than thinking about how to win the next one.

    Of course I’m sure the people whose actual jobs depend on winning are already talking strategy — it’s not clear how much the average liberal on the ‘net needs to worry about that vs. just continuing to vent and point fingers.

    OTOH the liberal “brand” is partially determined by the behavior of its loudest members, so it behooves every individual to think about the impact of his/her words on the next election — it might be about as impactful as an individual vote.

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    • I think a lot of people confuse liberal with leftist and other variants. LeeEsq has pointed out that at the end of WWII, the far left and the far right hated both the Democratic and Republican parties. The right decided to take-over the GOP. It took decades but they were successful. The far left decided to remain “pure” and stay out of Democratic politics.

      So these various protestors who are on the left might not see themselves as liberals and/or Democrats and this makes it hard for them to police. The Black Bloc that punched Spencer and broke windows at Cal are not liberals, they are anarchists and they are not party of the Democratic Party.

      But I suppose a lot of people would say “tough shit” to that and this is another way in which Democratic hands are tied.

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      • To be fair, a lot of liberals and leftists confuse these terms to. There are people on LGM that describe themselves as liberals but believe in some very Far Left things like democratic socialism to combat inequality and deal with automation even though they might make fun of self-described leftists like Freddie De Boer. There is a lot of bleed between liberals and leftists and conservatives and rightists since the end of the Cold War. Nobody knows what term means what anymore.

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  12. I am reaching out, on Facebook to my Trump voting friends and family.

    “Reaching out” consists of speaking honestly and bluntly.

    Do you, Mr. Trump voter in your late 50’s, diagnosed with bladder cancer, really want to get rid of the ACA and its pre-existing conditions clause?

    Have you ever actually met a Muslim, and if not why are you acting like a terrified little girl about shit you don’t know anything about?

    Your daughter is in her 20’s and relies on her employer-provided birth control, and uses Planned Parenthood; You really want to shut all that down, and side with folks who consider her to be a “host” of a fertilized ovum?

    Are you really so consumed with hatred for the “libruls” that you don’t care to dig into what Russia is doing with our President?

    I “reach out” to ask them to defend things I know they themselves find indefensible.

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        • I gotta be honest, that sounds like a “no”. Other possibilities you should consider:

          * your proclamations may have the opposite effect on your audience than what you intend
          * your true purpose may be just to do what feels good, and the idea that this will help the situation is just a post hoc rationalization

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          • I can only speak what I believe to be true.

            I don’t have some killer argument that is so exhaustive as to completely extinguish all objections.
            Do you? Does anybody?

            As Marchmaine notes below some people are perfectly fine with Trump policies.
            But a lot others arent.

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            • I can only speak what I believe to be true.

              That may be all you want to do. With effort though, you should be able to try to see things from someone else’s point of view (without necessary “believing it to be true”), and also to see where the truths you believe are contingent rather than absolute. Those are ways to move toward communicating rather than preaching — preaching doesn’t usually change minds.

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              • But doesn’t that require people to explain their views to me, in a dialogue?

                The kind where I ask them why they voted for a party that wants to take away the coverage I know for a fact they rely on for chemo?

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                • But doesn’t how you initiate the dialogue inform the type the type of response you receive, and whether the conversation will be productive?

                  Have you ever actually met a Muslim, and if not why are you acting like a terrified little girl about shit you don’t know anything about

                  I mean, what is the response you expect to receive here?

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                • Nobody wants to have a dialogue with someone who they believe to be bullying them.

                  You’re an excellent debater, Chip. That is a fact. To expect that other people you know IRL to be as great a debater as you are is patently unfair. Many people aren’t great at expressing themselves, many don’t have the time or energy to debate that thoroughly, many don’t like being pushed onto the mat by a friend/loved one and will either decline to go into it because of politeness or because it’s upsetting.

                  NONE of you will change your minds, all it does is create hard feelings. That’s why I stopped even trying to talk to people I knew IRL – as they say, it’s like wrestling in the mud with a pig, the pig doesn’t understand and you end up covered in mud.

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                  • But the point isn’t to change minds. The point is to suppress the turn-out of opponents by creating an impression of a corrupt and incompetent candidate (see, eg, the Republican Party’s success in creating very high unfavorables for HRC) and to rally one’s one troops.

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                    • Francis,
                      Really? IMPRESSION of a corrupt candidate?
                      Do you know how many blackmailers Clinton had on staff?

                      You might have heard me mention “Clinton twisted some major arms to get the nomination.” You may have also heard me say Clinton knew where a lot of bodies were buried.

                      How the hell did she learn that stuff? I wonder.

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                  • “You’re an excellent debater, Chip. ”

                    lolwut

                    I’m pretty sure that an excellent debater wouldn’t roll in with things like “why are you acting like a terrified little girl about shit you don’t know anything about?” or “Are you really so consumed with hatred for the “libruls””

                    That looks a lot more like “angry jerk” than “excellent debater”.

                    Chip doesn’t want to change anyone’s mind, or to understand anyone, or to make people recognize the consequences of their actions. What he wants is for us all to listen to his stories about how he totally destroyed all these people.

                    I’m seeing an Internet Male here. Pretty much all we need is the bit about how he slowly walked to the door and, just before going through, tossed his fedora to the floor.

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        • I’m not sure if this counts, but by 2008 my father admitted to my brothers and me that he was wrong and we were right about the ’04 election. Presumably nothing that satisfying will ever happen again in my life.

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        • I agree with that. It might take ten years of argument and evidence, and working through one’s own motives, to realize an error. I’m interested in writing comments aimed at the reader ten years from now.

          But in your speaking “honestly”, you accused the listener of acting like a little girl, and being consumed by hatred. Do you really think that lubricates your argument?

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          • Yes.

            Mocking and scorn are amazingly effective tactics when used against arguments that are themselves weak and supported solely by fear and irrational anxiety.

            Rules for Radicals, 25:13

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              • And vice versa?

                Pose as the bold brave he-man macho politically incorrect truth tellers while cringing and whining about mean bullies who point out that you are going to lose your health insurance?

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                • See, I keep coming back to this, the simple bald truth.

                  Trump voters are going to lose their health insurance.
                  Trump voters are going to lose their health insurance.
                  Trump voters are going to lose their health insurance.Trump voters are going to lose their health insurance.Trump voters are going to lose their health insurance.Trump voters are going to lose their health insurance.

                  I mean, Jesus H. Christ.

                  Everyone recoils at this, and cringes and whines about how mean Chip is for pointing this out.

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                      • IIRC, while Brownback seems to have made a deal with Satan to remain in office, the Legislature hasn’t been so fortunate and there’s been a sizable amount of turnover based on frustration with the direction Kansas is going.

                        Which is why they’re starting to push tax hikes (The Senate overrode his veto, but nobody knows if there’s enough votes in the House) to start undoing the damage his experiment has caused.

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                      • Didn’t we just have a big court cases where it was decided that the intent of the law was that the Federal government would make up the difference between what was charged and what was paid?

                        If that’s unequivocally true then why *not* operate that way?

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                    • Didn’t pass the Senate. But we DID get a rollback of Brownback’s tax cuts through the Assembly… which was vetoed by the governor (natch) and… the override failed, again, in the Senate.

                      So that happened, or not, depending on how you look at it. But sanity made some progress this last cycle. A lot of the more strident conservatives were taken out in the primary in favor of more moderate Republicans and then Democrats made gains in the general. Proving, I suppose, that pendulums are still swinging and things do tend to regress to the mean. Which I find comforting.

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                    • Kim are you sharp enough to see the healthcare bubble and GE and insurance profits?

                      What happens when that bubble ends in your opinion?

                      (GE being General Electric)

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                      • Joe,
                        Obamacare has done a lot to shift profit centers from Insurance to Actual Health Care. That does a good deal of “reducing stupidity in the stockmarket.” (Did we really need to put Insurance as a Growth Investment??)

                        THAT said, one of the reasons to vote for Trump was so that we could blame the upcoming recession on HIM.

                        We may get something totally different before the healthcare bubble bursts (If you’re thinking the Boomer Bubble, then I’ll give that greater than 50% odds.)

                        So, um, when the healthcare bubble ends? Forcible relocation of old people into “retirement villages” — as we struggle to have enough affordable housing for the young and people with families.

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                        • Let me try to rephrase it:

                          Do we try to free up the cost-quality-time triangle and decentralize.

                          or

                          Do we start over with a new already decentralized triangle?

                          I cant see the first one happening, do you?

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                          • Joe, About 1% of our GDP or so goes to medical waste.
                            I don’t think we’ll fix medicine until we absolutely have to (too much “I’ve got to LIVE!” attached to let the people who cost a lot simply die).

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                  • I haven’t seen anyone cringe when you say that. I don’t cringe because no one has any idea whether it’s true. I think that people cringe when you say that everyone who doesn’t agree with you on this is a whining idiot.

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                  • {{Insane comments like this are why I tend to think you’re a libertarian. :) }}

                    In practice, mockery and scorn only work when there is a power differential between the mocker and the mocked. When that difference doesn’t exist, or is perceived as not existing, all it does is breed resentment. Wonderful!

                    Add: Ahh OK. You were quoting Chip. Apologies for the confusion!! At least you and I agree that mockery ain’t what it’s cracked up to be.

                    And boos to Chip’s comment ypthread comment It makes no sense, bro.

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      • http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

        One of the arguments is that a confrontation with someone with an authoritarian mindset is actually going to get them to tone it down more than reasoned/rational debate and hand-holding. The authoritarian personality responds to force and will also moderate if they feel out of step. Trying to “reason” with an authoritarian just proves validity of authoritarianism.

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        • It may work that way for some people in certain situations. It may work the opposite way in others. I think if you’re truly interested in what works then you’d need to look for actual evidence in both directions — this feels like looking for a justification to do what comes naturally.

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        • This comment seems to assume that all Trump voter’s (or at least the ones who are still persuadable) are authoritarians who are best persuaded by forceful calling out.

          That proposition seems wrongheaded on a number of levels. First, the marginal persuadable Trump voter most likely does not have a strong authoritarian mindset. We are trying to convince independent’s and moderate Republican’s (who voted against Hillary, not for Trump). Second, they don’t view a forceful liberal challenge to be coming from a place of authority. In fact it is precisely the opposite, they view it as undermining rightful authority. Liberals are forcefully challenging Trump and Republican policies like never before, and, not only is it not changing anyone’s mind, it’s seems to be having exactly the opposite effect.

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            • Yes, and .. .

              Let’s get it to 30-35%, and make sure that Democrats are picking up a good deal of that lost support. How do we do that?

              I don’t see shaming and vitriolic attacks to be an effective strategy.

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              • Seemed to work OK for the GOP.

                The truth is, like I’ve said before after this election, policy doesn’t matter. In the midterms, if people think things suck, they’ll punish the President’s party. If they things are OK, they won’t.

                In a general election, as long as somebody is charismatic and strong with simple solutions, they’ll be fine.

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                • I agree to an extent, though I would point to two caveats.

                  First, there just seems to be an asymmetry between the left and right. I can’t quite put my finger on the reason for it, but I think that tea party type anger and intransigence would work less well for the left than it did for the right.

                  Second, I think the left can make 2018 a referendum on Trump and Trumpism. So, even if we aren’t in a recession and things are still OK economically, we retake the House by tying the GOP to Trump, and convincing Republicans to come over to our side to help provide a check on Trump and his congressional enablers. I may be wrong about this, but with the way districts are gerrymandered currently, it’s my understanding that we really will have to win a sizable majority of House votes in order to retake it.

                  Finally, I don’t want to follow the GOP’s strategy. I found it abhorrent, and I think we (both parties) can be better than that.

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                    • I’m glad you have recognized the true dangers to free speech and the American experiment.

                      You helped elect a man who has surrounded himself with advisers who truly believe we are in a civilizational war with Islam as a whole (and are acting on it). But you’re right, some stupid college kids/admins are way more important.

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                      • Gaelen,
                        I’ll tell you who I didn’t vote for. I didn’t vote for the person who had the FBI actively sabotaging Mennonites. But you don’t fucking know who the hell that guy was, so don’t you DARE talk to me about free speech.

                        I voted for Trump because Hillary had a 1 in 3 shot of putting us into a limited nuclear war. You can’t even tell me who Hillary’s backers were (bonus points if you want to tell me how they differ from Trump’s).

                        Saying that the left is worse, right now, than the right, is a simple understanding that saboteurs are having a field day. My knives are out, where the fuck are yours? Unlike ACORN, this is warranted.

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                      • Gaelen,
                        American Schools of Public Education are less of a free speech zone than ever. (This is quantitative research, mind. I’m not just saying this for hyperbole.) Worse than when folks were commie hunting.

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              • “Let’s get it to 30-35%, and make sure that Democrats are picking up a good deal of that lost support. How do we do that?”

                Make the pie higher.

                If you assume that some of those 100 million Americans who didn’t vote might vote if sufficiently motivated, and you further assume that a majority of them are on your side, then convincing them to come out and vote will increase the amount of support that you have.

                And the things you do to motivate apathetic supporters are different from the things you do to convert non-supporters. The things you do look more like sermonizing and less like discussion.

                The things you do to make your supporters come out and vote will, in fact, have a large amount of shaming and vitriolic attacks, because you want those apathetic supporters to see what you’ll do to people who aren’t supporters, and they’ll get the idea that it would be a good idea to convince you that they really are supporters.

                I don’t see shaming and vitriolic attacks to be an effective strategy.”

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          • Since, I am a cynic, I am not against thinking that the average GOPer might just have Trump’s bigotries.

            Trump campaigned by being cruel and mocking. He dismissed entire groups like Mexicans, Blacks, and Muslims as being violence prone. He openly mocked a physically disabled reporter on camera. Etc. Etc. Etc.

            HRC spent a lot of time going against this. Not always deftly. She said Trump was not a typical Republican.

            And this did not work. When do we get to examine the dark stuff? Maybe a lot of people like the cruelty of Trump and cheer at arresting undocumented immigrants from hospitals.

            When do edge Trump voters bear moral responsibility for their votes?

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            • Trump voters aren’t all racists or sexists, but they just don’t really care about racism or sexism all that much. Unless it’s ‘burning cross on a yard’ racism, it’s not really racism they care about.

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            • He didn’t dismiss all Mexican’s. Some were good people ;)

              When do we get to examine the dark stuff? Maybe a lot of people like the cruelty of Trump and cheer at arresting undocumented immigrants from hospitals. When do edge Trump voters bear moral responsibility for their votes?

              Is this about laying blame and asserting our superiority, or about convincing as many people as possible to vote for D’s and/or against R’s in 2018? Arguing, either implicitly or explicitly, that moderate Trump voters are racists and misogynists because they voted for Trump may make us feel good, but makes them defensive (and hence less likely to listen to our arguments), and helps reinforce an self identity as a Trump voter. These are exactly the things we don’t want to be doing. Basically, we should not worry about the average Trump voter. We should be worried about independents and 5-15% of Republican voters who might be willing to switch. How do we reach them, and how do we convince them to switch.

              Also, I am increasingly coming around to the idea that Hillary was the worst possible choice for this election. Clinton derangement syndrome is real, and she is about as establishment as it gets.

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              • I’ll argue that a lot of the people who act all offended when liberals point out the racist stuff Trump is doing weren’t actually gettable in the 1st place, even if they voted for Obama in ’08 because the world was collapsing in ’12 because the guy who literally fired them was running against Obama. After all, numerous McCain aides have said they had polling that showed that pre-collapse, they would’ve been better off going explicitly racist against Obama.

                Soft Trump voters don’t actually support the racist stuff, which is why it’s not doing so well at the moment.

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                • That last sentence gets to my point though. They don’t support those policies, so let’s not call them racists for voting for Trump.

                  Just on the moderate Republicans I know, they voted against Hillary, not for Trump. They had a number of rationalizations, ie. Hillary was the most corrupt politician ever, Pence would be running things, etc. These people are persuadable, but it takes looking at things from their point of view and trying to speak to their (varied) concerns.

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                  • Anecdotally, a lot of those people suddenly are “tired of politics” or “tired of talking about politics” all of a sudden, so I’m pretty sure that makes them pretty unpersuadable.

                    Again, Texas is a bit of Republican outlier on the Trump love scale (as in “Texas was never as firmly on the Trump Train as many other red states”), but I’ve noticed the pro-Trump voters on facebook go from “Suck it, libs!” and “Our long national nightmare is finally over” to “Well, he’s your president too, you have to be nice” to “Politics? I never talk politics. Let’s not talk politics.”

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                    • morat20,
                      That happened BEFORE the election, you twit. (Seriously, that was what polling was saying. Trump was the one Republican even Republicans wouldn’t admit being willing to vote for).

                      And that happened because Republicans started losing friendships because of supporting Trump. (And being told they were racist, and all. That’s not fun even when someone you love is trying to make a point)

                      You think I’m brave enough to tell meatspace people I voted for Trump? Because I’m not.

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    • Have you ever actually met a Muslim, and if not why are you acting like a terrified little girl about shit you don’t know anything about?

      That’s not going to convince someone you disagree with to even think about your point of view and it’s sexist as well.

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      • I concede your point.

        Teen Vogue’s political writers and readers have demonstrated a level of maturity that the current resident of the White House lacks.

        I offer my apologies for the comparison.

        From now on I will scornfully compare Islamophobes to “shrieking little Trumps”.

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