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The Rising Nationalist Movement in America and Beyond

“In Europe and America, there’s a growing feeling of hysteria.” These words from Sting’s 1985 ballad, “Russians” were written in response to the Cold War and the growing threat of mutually assured destruction by ICBM. Over 30 years later, hysteria is growing in the USA and Europe once again.

This time, however, our fears are not only of plutonium warheads and ballistic superweapons. The threat is much more human, and potentially far more frightening. Spurred on by shifting geopolitical sands, radicalized nationalist groups are becoming increasingly active all over the globe. We know by now that their goal is to promote bigoted views about racial purity in the guise of legitimate politics.

Bad Role Models

What better way to encourage nationalist groups to take center stage in the geopolitical conversation than by appointing leaders who endorse them? Britain’s Nigel Farage, the so-called “architect of Brexit” was the first example of this in the prominent western world, but even Farage pales in comparison to American President Donald Trump’s outright endorsement of racism from the Oval Office.

Case-in-point is Trump’s recent promotion of anti-Muslim values on social media. Few would question whether there’s any love lost between Trump and people of the Muslim faith after observing his repeated attempts to pass targeted travel bans against Muslim countries. However, the flailing American oligarch chose to underline his thinly-veiled bigotry by re-tweeting stories from the ultra-nationalist group Britain First in November of 2017.

The tweets were originally written by deputy leader of Britain First, Jayda Fransen. The 31-year-old is currently facing four charges of religiously aggravated harassment, and the tweets Trump promoted contained anti-Muslim propaganda videos.

Despite his neo-Nazi-affiliated cabinet, complete mishandling of the racial tensions in Charlottesville, assertion that he loves Mexican people because he eats taco bowls, and countless other racially-tinged infractions, Trump carries on and many continue to support him.

Nothing about nationalism, or the way this man conducts himself, is presidential or dignified. This is the person we chose to lead a nation founded on the principle of freedom for all? We are living in interesting times.

Nationalism at Home and Abroad

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) makes it their goal to monitor and combat bigoted activity in the United States. Currently, the SPLC is tracking over 900 active hate groups in the United States and, while not every hate group presents themselves as a nationalist organization, there are quite a few that do.

Examples of nationalist activity abound in the USA’s recent history. Milo Yiannopoulos has toured the nation with a pro-white, pro-nationalist message that was not well-received by places like California’s UC Berkeley, a place of higher learning and a historically liberal institution. All the while, confederate sympathizers defend monuments to icons of hate.

But it’s not just the United States that must come to terms with this issue. The nationalist movement is making a push for attention around the world.

In Austria, the FPOe or “Freedom Party,” a group with extremely nationalistic values, recently secured the presidency in an election even tighter than many of those we’ve seen in the States. The Danish People’s Party (DPP) currently controls about one-fifth of the vote in Denmark, and it promotes an end to immigration and the EU. In Finland, a political organization that once called themselves the “True Finns” has changed their name to just “The Finns” — they are a populist organization focused on putting native Finns before other groups.

Even France, still celebrating the win of progressive new president Emmanuel Macron, has to live with the fact that Macron faced real and legitimate opposition from the populist campaign of Marine Le Pen. Increasingly, divisive leaders who seek power through nationalistic ideas are strengthening their positions. But what has changed to make their rhetoric attractive?

Why Nationalism Cannot Defeat Terror

The threat of terrorism does remain imminent every day. Those who don’t understand how terrorists win think nationalism can defeat it.

They think terrorism is something that can just be filtered out of society by de-integrating those who are not from a particular place, and that a person’s character is determined by where they are from, instead of by the experiences they have had.

But nationalistic views only fuel the fires of the extremism that motivates terrorist groups. ISIS, Al-Qaida, the Mujahideen, and hundreds like them know just where to look in times like these to find people who are ostracized and afraid that they will face persecution just for being from another part of the world. They also have a better chance at successfully attacking us when we are divided and fighting amongst each other.

Leaders like Trump and Farage might think what they are doing is the right thing, or they might just enjoy the feeling of power that comes with nationalism’s false hope. Either way, we need to start recognizing these issues for what they are and working to stop them before we effectively destroy ourselves. There are better ways to combat terrorism than this.


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Kate Harveston is originally from Williamsport, PA and holds a bachelor's degree in English. She enjoys writing about politics and social justice issues. When she isn't writing, she can usually be found curled up reading dystopian fiction or hiking and searching for inspiration. If you like her writing, follow her blog, Only Slightly Biased. You can also email her at kateharveston@gmail.com with questions or writing opportunities.

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53 thoughts on “The Rising Nationalist Movement in America and Beyond

    • That McCardell piece was a hoot.

      “Why, this here Ruth group isnt a hate group! They just hate gay folk! And this other one, why they just think Catholics are disordered! Totally unfair!”

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        • “I’m charging you with 900 felonies.”

          “Hah! Two of those are misdemeanors, at best!”

          I mean, that’s Megan’s argument, that out of 900 groups listed, she found two that are questionable? Those two are her strongest case for delegitimizing the credibility of the SPLC?

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          • A better analogy is 900 people being charged with felonies, an unspecified number of those looking like malicious, politically-motivated prosecutions. Then fundraising off of them. Would you be so cavalier about that?

            I’d ask that question to Kazzy and Saul as well. Would we say that it doesn’t matter who gets prosecuted because there are so many crimes? Would we get rid of juries and defense attorneys because all they do is quibble about legal definitions?

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            • I disagree that it’s a good analogy. No one is “locking up” these hate (or not-actually-hate) groups. Another group is expressing their disapproval of them.

              I agree that some segments of the public take the list too seriously, almost like gospel, rather than as an informed opinion that may or may not align with their own views of said groups.

              But it’s all free speech, among groups with equal legal standing – which means it’s not equivalent to criminal prosecutions, where some participants have the authority of the state behind them and the accused does not.

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          • They signaled that they’ve gone downhill from the glory days when they listed Maajid Nawaz as an “anti-Muslim extremist” and then doubled down when it was pointed out that:

            1) He is not an extremist.
            2) He is a practicing Muslim.

            We’re seeing more dustups like this that indicate that they’re no longer really an authoritative source. The whole point of an authoritative source is that you don’t have to waste time chasing down their claims and checking their conclusions.

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        • I venture to guess we could find someone to quibble with any group’s classification as a hate group. I’m sure there are card-carrying KKK members who insist the group isn’t a hate group. And the SPLC isn’t devoid of a perspective and shouldn’t be seen as an objective, final word authority on which groups are or are not hate groups. So whether we use the SPLC’s list or another list or whether the number is really 898 or 900 or 9000, knowing that there are upwards of 1000 groups that might be considered hate groups seems important and more important than the precise number.

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          • Sure, the overall number is disturbing, assuming the bulk are actual hate groups[1], rather than groups one merely disagrees with.

            Of course, this seems to be the actual issue with the SPLC designation, it’s not an objective standard, or even a arguably consistent subjective one. Just taking them at their word off their website, their definition is quite vague and subjective:

            The Southern Poverty Law Center defines a hate group as an organization that – based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities – has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.

            ‘Attack’ I could see reasonably limited to physical assaults against the targeted class, but it’s not obvious that they are limiting it to that definition; and ‘malign’… that has (I believe) a somewhat concise legal definition, but again, I see little evidence the SPLC is using that definition, which leaves it’s interpretation very much a matter of opinion.

            And overall, if the SPLC was just putting together a list, it wouldn’t matter, but that list is carefully watched, and groups suddenly finding itself on that list can find themselves publicly ostracized, with no avenue to contest or appeal, other than to make a stronger case to the public. Which strikes me as akin to a witch hunt.

            Ideally, I’d either like the SPLC to be more consistent in their definitions, or I’d like the public to recognize that the list isn’t consistent, and they should get better about doing their own homework, rather than just relying on the list.

            [1] Let’s keep in mind a truth about advocacy groups like this, in order to be powerful and effective, they must be relevant, and that means they must have a clear need to advocate for something.

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        • I think Kazzy is right here. We can do a thousand legalistic definitions and arguments to show why various groups are not hate groups. Sometimes the term can be used and abused by bad faith actors but I think if an organization is saying that a certain group is defective, damaged, or immoral because of that characteristic (religion, race, gender, sexuality, gender identity, etc) it is fair to say that they are hate groups. This is true of a homophobic organization, and Islamophobic organization, or on the left, “anti-Zionist” organizations that go into the language of anti-Semitism like the Chicago Dyke March or whatever group Linda Sarsour belongs to.

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        • If the group is advocating that I shouldn’t have civil rights or should be excluded from certain professions or barred from buying in certain neighborhoods because of my race or gender or religion, then whether or not the commit actual violence against me, yes, they are a hate group.

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          • But does everyone on the SPLC list meet that criteria? below makes a good case that McArdle is wrong and the Ruth group probably does belong, but McArdle also links to a gentleman who the SPLC identifies as part of it’s hate watch, who seems anything but.

            Taking a look at the SPLC website, one thing I’m not seeing (and maybe I’m missing it, I’m happy to be proven wrong) is any kind of supporting evidence, or links to supporting evidence, for groups on the hate map. Which makes it kind of hard for a person to evaluate their claim.

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      • It was also insanely dishonest, and about what you’d expect from someone who tried to defend the decision not to install sprinklers in the Granfell Tower with a cost-benefit analysis that considered neither costs nor benefits.

        Here’s what McArdle says about a column:

        . That link also asserts that the Ruth Institute “reprinted a column blasting the LGBT movement’s ‘mythology of grievance and sexual oppression’”; in fact, the column is on the broader topic of the sexual revolution, not just LGBT activism, and the “mythology” refers to the (true) fact that many of the landmark legal cases that paved the revolution’s legal path, including Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas, were not entirely what they seemed.

        Actually, the blog post rants about how unfair it was to treat the brutal murder of a gay man for being gay as having to do anything to do with homophobia. McArdle doesn’t even mention Shepherd in the article, and slices a few words out of the sentence in question in a manner that looks disingenuous as hell:

        But the hallowing of Matthew Shepard is just the latest chapter in a mythology of grievance and sexual oppression.

        Yeah, sounds like SPLC was characterizing that in… a totally fair manner.

        McArdle goes on to say:

        That same source claims that “The Ruth Institute even reprinted a column which attempted to link the Lawrence decision to the Penn State child sex abuse scandal” — referring to a column about legal trends in which Lawrence is mentioned only in passing, as an example of the weakening of community moral standards as a basis for law.

        This is what the column says:

        As Justice Scalia pointed out in his scathing dissent, the Court’s doctrine called into question a whole field of long-established morals legislation, from prohibitions on prostitution to proscriptions of incest. Scalia’s observation also applies to laws against the sexual exploitation of minors. It would be difficult to contend, after all, that such laws are not deeply rooted in the moral convictions of the majority.

        Mentioned only in passing? Scalia’s dissent is right out of Lawrence.

        As an aside, McArdle says, “Just in case it helps, I interrupt this column to point out that you should not shoot anyone I write about, or anyone I don’t write about, or anyone.”. I’m glad she clarifies this, given her position on hitting people with two-by-fours.

        In short, the Ruth Institute looks pretty terrible, and so does McArdle.

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  1. I don’t think the rising tide of nationalismis explained by fear of terror.

    I think a stronger case is that nationalism and its companion racism is best explained by the declining dominance of white males.

    Blood and soil nationalism offers a rationale for husbanding scarce resources, to allocate them only to a favored group.
    It also offers a comforting heroic narrative to reclaim dominance, a poor man’s aristocracy where merely by being born with pink skin and a penis you are assured of never being on the bottom rung.

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    • I’d buy that if nationalism or racism were remotely new phenomenon. They aren’t. There has been an apparent resurgence of nationalism in the Trump GOP. But those people aren’t new at all, they have been around forever.

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      • Sure, but Chip’s last sentence does a lot of the work about why.

        For a long time society–including its laws, found an other to disadvantage. Here, of course, it was black people. In other places it was religion/tribal affiliation/etc. Society follows suit, both by complying with the laws and excluding additional groups (e.g. discrimination against each wave of immigrants that hit the USA). Now we try really hard to make our laws better than that, but that threatens those who were once secure in the knowledge they’d be part of the advantaged class. So those folks (including many who legitimately face very difficult circumstances) lash out in ways including blood-and-soil nationalism. Because something *IS* being taken from them to be given to women/minorities/gays etc. It’s just that many of us believe the thing being taken shouldn’t have been theirs in the first place.

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        • Economic anxiety is a possible cause but has become a trite answer for both sides. Sure the changes in the economy have led to some people losing out and they are not happy. Fair enough. There is something to that.

          However since hating out outgroups isn’t new we need to see it as an essentially permanent part of humanity. I think we could just as easily look at North’s explanation that the mainstream right has collapsed and the D’s are the same centrist, by western standards, party they have been for years. There is little room for a socially tolerant free trade R anymore so that wing has dissolved leaving socons and the more nationalist right.

          Hating women/gays/etc is the current style of expression of an old deep seated tribal urge. Blood and Soil nationalism kind of tribalism has been part of many , or all, cultures/ political systems to some degree. It’s ugly and needs to be at least controlled but it’s part of humanity.

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          • But hating outgroups almost always has a relationship to economic anxiety. Scarce times. Even in our cousins the chimpanzees, food scarcity increases outgroup aggression towards “the other”.

            Control of groups by other groups can be (oversimplistically, granted) split into Imperialism and internal purges: Imperialism results from real or perceived overcrowding, anti-group purges within a society from real or perceived scarcity. There aren’t many consistent rules about humanity, but those are a couple.

            Sometimes they interplay in weird ways (see: apartheid, where you had both imperialism and economic pain, in the persons of the Brits and Boers respectively), but if you want to understand why people are treating each other like crap in order to *mitigate it*, not just try to grind it into the dust [which can work, but the failure mode really sucks], you gotta remember – people are more socially liberal and more ethnically open when they don’t feel afraid.

            That doesn’t make shitty behavior (which includes shitty speech and harassment, not just outright assault) somehow excusable. It just means if you want to actually curb the shitty behavior, you need to make sure the people behaving in dubious ways feel as safe as you can *fairly* make ’em feel. So they quit being borderline Nazis and start being borderline friendlies. Or more than borderline. (For all the cynicism about Obama from some quarters, I think he did a really good job of this for the most part – he was a good, *reassuring* leader to have during a recession. The congresspersons during that same time period? Not so reassuring. Which isn’t surprising since people who feel safe lean less Republican, overall.)

            The hardcore haters, of course, are just gonna hate – there are toxic actors that you just have to cut your losses and avoid when you run into them, and no one who is a target has any *obligation* to interact with ANY people expressing hate, regardless of the type. But the soulless bastards aren’t actually the mainstream of that group, and treating the mainstream as if they are the same as their leaders / worst members just makes them less …. winnable.

            I excuse nothing of their behavior, but assuming that every human being who is operating in Blood and Soil mode will continue to do so just leads to more of them doing so. Assuming they’re afraid and treating them like people, people who are reacting irrationally the same as any of us do when we’re afraid (which doesn’t mean trusting them not to harm anyone) – that gets you somewhere. Potentially.

            (Note that I do NOT mean sucking up to or lying to them. That’s not treating them like people. You can kick someone out of your sphere, even, and still treat them like people. Or *possibly* even send them to jail and still treat them like people, although given the state of the incarceration system right now that seems more philosophically than literally true… )

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            • I don’t disagree with this. Anxiety often brings out the worst in people. O was close to being super humanly comforting/ reassuring and was greeted with viscous racist attacks. We can and should alleviate the real concerns of people who are suffering which can lead to less nasty nationalism.

              I guess what i think is missing is that having anxiety, economic or any other kind, is part of life. There are few times in history where some economic anxiety or, in the last couple hundred years, rapid changes in the economy don’t threaten some people. Out group hatred has existed separately from that since before the modern period. It trends upward in worse periods and seems to get better in better periods. All true but incomplete. Some rich prosperous societies have been xenophobic ( Saudi Arabia is a fantastically rich place that is not all socially tolerant)

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              • ” ( Saudi Arabia is a fantastically rich place that is not all socially tolerant)”

                Saudi Arabia is a place of fantastic *wealth inequality* that is not at all socially tolerant. There are plenty of hungry masses. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jan/01/saudi-arabia-riyadh-poverty-inequality (and that 25 percent statistic doesn’t include the foreign workers, who are often far worse off). If you have plenty of poor people and you’re not allowed to talk about them, darn right xenophobia and intolerance can rule through fear of economic loss…

                They’re also a rich country surrounded by much poorer countries of similar ethnicity, with relatively porous borders where those poorer countries are concerned.

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                • SA is a great example as to why trickle down economics is not a given*.

                  *Perhaps there is a way for trickle down to work, but AFAIK no government has ever implemented policies that make it a glowing success. But then, I’m a rising tide kind of guy, and I’ve never seen a trickle of water do much to raise the tides.

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                • Yes but the very very rich people are also very closed off and controlling. They have lifetimes worth of riches but that isn’t leading them to be more tolerant. MSB’s recent moves may be a sign of change so we’ll see.

                  Sure the rich have anxieties about various things. But that is where the explanatory power of anxiety breaks down for me. There is always anxiety, there are always fears. It’s part of the explanation but not all of it. If even those who have multiple kings ransoms in swiss banks are anxious which leads to hating out groups then i don’t think anxiety means all that much.

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                  • “. If even those who have multiple kings ransoms in swiss banks are anxious which leads to hating out groups” – see I don’t think they are anxious in that way, or at least I agree that *their* anxiety doesn’t matter. I think they all fall into the ruthless toxic bastards category OR the cheerfully oblivious category OR the intelligently using their awareness that people have needs to seem less evil than the next oligarch over category. Not the “reacting out of fear” category that most non-oligarchs fall into. But the very very rich people on their own can’t commit genocide (granted with AI improvements they’ll probably get there, see Lazarus, a fabulous dystopic comic by Rucka et al) – so it’s the populace, not the monarchy, I’m worried about.

                    It’s not a “how much money you have” to “how safe you feel” ratio that interests me, it’s “how do we keep people feeling safe enough to be kind and open but still engaged enough to enact positive change?”

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                    • I’m all for making people feel as safe as possible and all that good stuff. The “how safe people feel” gets to some individual factors, some people are more anxious or fearful than others, and some cultural factors. And some people just suck. I dont’ think we are disagreeing here.

                      That weak sauce NYT piece on the nazi dude had one little point that i thought could have been interesting to follow up on. The nazi guy noted, as i remember, that his parents had always been disaffected or sure things didn’t work well for them. That may have been the opening to why the guy was who he was that the writer missed.

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          • Given my instincts, I think part of what has changed is that the GOP is actively encouraging this kind of stuff as a distraction from its general inability to govern and specific wildly-unpopular governance objectives. They are aided by a media that benefits from raised voices and partisanship.

            I mean, say what you want about GWB, but his post-9/11 reaction was 180 degrees from what Trump would do (and is trying to do without anything like analogous provocation). The scary part, to me, is that the permanent-othering is heightned by the success of “others” in society (whether it’s gay-stuff-on-TV, #metoo, or whatever other symbol you want for society moving towards accommodation of non-white-straight-men) in combination with the GOP’s attempt to make opposition to those trends a part of what its tribe does. Feels like a scary confluence of factors from where I sit.

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            • Edit: dang key board….this is from greginak not whatever my sporking keyboard and mouse pad did.

              The conservo media has certainly latched onto mega fear mongering. For at least the last couple decades that has been a big thing. Heck Glenn Beck’s time at Fox with all his conspiracy theories and lunacy is 5 or 6 years ago. The GOP has certainly been driven by worst of the conservative media.

              I get the fear. But at the same times attitudes about gays have gotten much better. I don’t see those attitudes changing back. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep a sharp eye on the worst actors. I’ve actually been reading about nazis/KKK types since the early 80’s so i get the concern. But they are almost all inherently useless at growing beyond their fringe. The Internet has helped them spread their swill. They need to fought against but at the same time every MSM interview about a guy like Spenser also serves to build him up and make him seem more powerful.

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              • I agree on gay rights (at least as far as formal legal rights).

                The thing I worry about is what comes next. There will always be another bugaboo (e.g. I think the history is pretty good that the pro-life movement became a major evangelical cause in response to miscegenation losing its social force–though, of course, Catholics were already there).

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          • Hating out groups might be a permanent part of humanity but there have been times in human history where it was more manageable than other times. These times tended to be during eras of prosperity or perceived prosperity. I don’t think its a coincidence that Civil Rights made its greatest advancement during the industrial boom of the mid-19th century or post World War II affluence while they did worse during the economic anxiety of the Gilded Age and the present.

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      • Well, since a lot of them appear to be in their 20s, they have only been around for a couple decades.

        You are right of course that fascism has always been lurking like a latent virus, but we need to grasp why it has recently surged.

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        • You’re not going to like this answer i think. Part of the problem is that people waaaaayyyy over use the term fascism. The actual up tick in fascism if far less than people believe. Sure there is some of it but most of it can be attributed to riding the wave of a weird ass election and effective use of the web.

          The actual nazis, etc out there have always been a fringe presence that rears its ugly head every now and then. They like other hate groups like the KKK are a real concern but are typically dysfunctional screw ups whose own movement collapses under the weight of their own paranoia, internal contradictions, conflicting hatreds and general stupidity. That doesn’t mean they aren’t a concern to keep an eye on but they also feed on people freaking out about them.

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      • Yeah this could potentially be explained by the intellectual and public image collapse of main stream conservativism. Buckley, for instance, danced a narrow line courting support from these kinds of folks while trying to keep them under wraps and not publicly visible. It could be merely that In the last almost two decades the elite and socialcon faces of the GOP have crumbled (and the internet has undermined the ability to curate public image) and we’re just seeing that wing of the party more clearly. Trumps election certainly demonstrated how paper thin support for the republitarianism* of the GOP elite and donor class is among the voting rank and file.

        *And of course the total irrelevance of genuine libertarians.

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        • “the total irrelevance of genuine libertarians”

          You know, I realize I’m biased because I like so many of them, but I think you’re wrong. I mean, I agree that the conservatives treat libertarians as irrelevant (except for the Koch brothers, who fund Cato and more power to them)… but I think the left has actually gotten more and more open to being influenced by libertarians.

          Decriminalization, for eg, used to be scoffed at in a bipartisan way. Now left is more open to it than right… why?
          I say libertarians! Not directly, but they’re being listened to.

          And there are a few more examples like that one.

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          • I think in-life-liberals and in-life-libertarians share a lot of goals. I was encouraged today, for example, by the Institute for Justice’s work on behalf of a guy whose life savings was stolen by police during a routine traffic stop.

            The problem with Democratic politicians is that being soft-on-crime often leads to electoral death, no matter the person’s private desires. The problem with Libertarian politicians is that they either don’t exist or (if you include Rand Paul) are regular GOP politicians but for 1% of their votes.

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          • Perhaps I’m using phrase too broadly. In philosophical terms and theory libertarianism is a big deal. As a political force in this country I think it’s at a historically low point. In the 90’s and Bush Minor eras the GOP increasingly espoused either libertarian or glibertarian lines on economics with increasing fervor (while, of course, actually running up spending, deficits and wars like mad). When Obama and the Dems took over in 2008 the GOP tripled down on libertarian and libertarianish themes (especially as their lines on the culture war started turning into a route).
            The nomination and election of Trump, though, has pretty much defenestrated the whole thing now. Republicans can’t claim their electoral base has any significant constituency for small government libertarianism without everyone laughing them out of the room. It was difficult for them to claim it with a straight face before but now after this election with all the candidates claiming libertarian themes getting their asses handed to them by a candidate who explicitly chucked those themes overboard it’s entirely unbelievable. There is no silent broadly libertarian minded majority- at the most there are some situational libertarian groups but not anything that’d count as truly libertarian. Our last election demonstrated that pretty clearly. So politically libertarianism is at a pretty bad place (not that they’ve ever exactly been thriving politically so it’s not like it’s an unfamiliar place for them to be).

            And yeah, the mainstream left has gotten more economically liberal (for all the good it’s done them with libertarians) but that ain’t much. It’s not like the left didn’t have non-libertarian reasons to support gay rights, drug decriminalization and other such things.

            And I say all that as a person who, while I’d never be a libertarian (Commons mostly), have considerable fondness for the ideology.

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        • Adding to this is high negative partisanship driven by decades of right wing talk radio. The big news I saw today was a conservative economists admitting the tax bill was designed to screw Democrats and Blue a States.

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    • I think a stronger case is that nationalism and its companion racism is best explained by the declining dominance of white males.

      Couple that with economic anxiety.

      Stagnate wages, rising healthcare prices, more and more women and minorities showing up on the job.

      How hard is it to make the mental leap that the reason that no matter what you do, you’re just holding on by your fingertips at best, is because “those people” have “taken all the good jobs”? That you’re stuck in a dead end, no because your employer ruthlessly cuts wages and your healthcare keeps going up, but because somehow the pipeline between you and prosperity has been filled with the sorts of people you didn’t have to compete with 20 or 30 years ago?

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      • “How hard is it to make the mental leap that the reason that no matter what you do, you’re just holding on by your fingertips at best, is because “those people” have “taken all the good jobs”

        Exactly. Couple that with the massive changes, economically, in our society, the massive unemployment that still goes on 10 years after the crash, hidden by the fact these people left the labor pool, and being the butt of policies and attitudes that the “rubes in flyover land are a bunch of sheep f’ers with no teeth” and there you have it.

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      • So basically the same story as when Nazis expressed their ‘economic anxiety’ by attacking Jewish bankers?

        Again, I note that both women and minorities experience economic anxiety, and to a greater degree and over a longer period of history, but are repeatedly told – frequently by these same poor anxious white males – that they are on the bottom because they don’t work hard enough.

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        • Yes. History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes.

          And people are people, and people don’t change that fast.

          And bluntly, electing a black President seems to have really lit a fire under a segment of the American population that everyone thought was smaller than it was.

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        • It’s worth noting that anxiety doesn’t need an actual harm.
          A majority of Trump voters were actually comfortably middle class.
          Their anxiety is due to the sense of loss of dominance and privilege, which is why their fairytale of not being able to say Merry Christmas resonates.

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