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The Aristocrats!

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The United States: A 225 year joke that ended last night with that punchline.

I am so tremendously sad that I can barely function today. I always wondered what it would be like to live in a time when it seemed like things were genuinely getting better. Now I know that I will never find out since the best we will probably do in my lifetime is put back what is taken apart in the next four years. Say goodbye to the ACA, goodbye to legal abortion, goodbye to public sector unionism (if not most of the labor movement), goodbye to any possibility of dealing with climate change, etc., etc. That this is happening in an evenly divided nation where one party now controls the entire government with an extremist agenda is an unmitigated disaster for all the policy and moral reasons that you all know already.

We are just beginning to figure out what happened. As better polling data comes in over the next few days, it will become more clear. Before I get into what we do know and what seems to be the case, let me just say up front that I blame no one in the Democratic Party. I do not blame Hillary Clinton. She has her weaknesses as a candidate, but would have made a very good president. I certainly do not blame Bernie Sanders. In this case, I don’t even blame Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, as Stein polled abysmally and we can generally presume that many of her voters simply never would have voted for a Democratic candidate. As for Johnson, we simply need more data to my knowledge about where those voters would normally fall. I imagine he drew from both Trump and Clinton. FWIW, my pro-life but generally Democratic father-in-law voted Johnson because Hillary was “too liberal,” but I have also spoken to students who were Republicans that couldn’t deal with Trump’s racism and bigotry. What happened last night was expected by almost no one. None of the polls saw this, not even Trump’s own people saw this happening. So, with all due respect to my colleagues here, other than saying that political scientists bring no special insight into a given election, I don’t think there’s too many people within the political establishment to actually blame. Unfortunately, I fear a civil war within the larger left-of-center world between liberals and the left at a time when we need to unite and resist the horrible things that are coming.

That said, there are plenty of disturbing trends. The first is that Hillary Clinton simply did not inspire people to vote. Hillary’s total was down a solid 4 million or so voters from 2012. Union support for Clinton was the worst showing for a Democrat in at least 20 years. African-Americans in key cities like Milwaukee and Philadelphia simply did not come out in the needed numbers. Why? This is a critical question. Second is that racism won the day. Trump won all categories of whites. America is a racist nation. Appealing to white nationalism works. We have not even begun to deal with our legacy of racism. Third, misogyny also won the day. That Trump did better than Romney with both Latino and African-American males is the big jaw-dropper of the election. Misogyny is a big part of the story here.

What is however sadly clear is that in fact Democrats cannot win without white working class voters in Rust Belt states. Whatever that means in creating policy and appeal, it is true. We have to deal with this point. Watching CNN last night, the county maps of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan between 2012 and 2016 were telling. Erie County, PA, for instance, is a classic old-school union Democratic county. Trump won it. The country that Scranton is in, Joe Biden’s home town, went from about 60% Obama in 2012 to 50% Clinton in 2016. This is ultimately the people Democrats need to win. The demographic changes to the nation, which are real enough, are also not enough. Democrats did great in the West. Everything that needed to happen there happened, including Cortez Masto holding Reid’s Senate seat with surprising ease. That’s not enough. Democrats have to win in the Great Lakes or in the South. These are pretty white states. That does mean appealing to white voters.

And let’s not beat around the bush–yes, the election of Trump is a great triumph for American racists. But a sizable number of these voters did vote for Barack Hussein Obama on two occasions. It’s not just racism, even if it is indeed racism. It’s also people who legitimately feel left behind in the global economy. It doesn’t even matter if it’s true. It’s how they feel. Actual good job creation at home in the places where people live is part of the answer. People want to feel hope in their lives. In western Pennsylvania, they do not. It’s not as if Trump’s policies are going to give them that real hope. But if there’s one thing we know, it’s that the white people in Wisconsin and North Carolina and Kansas and Louisiana and other states that are dominated by Republicans will respond to the terrible policies of their officials by doubling down on resentment and white supremacy and voting for them again.

I also think it’s pretty clear that presidential candidates need to be inspiring leaders more than any other quality. No one cares about policy. People care about leadership and inspiration. That’s true whether it was Bill Clinton in 1992 or George W. Bush in his 2 elections, or Barack Obama or Donald Trump. These four people have very little in common except that people saw them as an individual which they could either relate to personally or someone they see as a leader to improve their lives. And that they are men. Women have a much harder row to hoe on these sorts of things and that’s a terrible thing to realize. But in order to actually win a presidential election, the single most important skill is charisma. We need to consider this going forward.

As for looking forward toward 2018 and 2020, I barely know where to start. The Democratic Party doesn’t either. Neither, really, does the left. I do think the left will be OK in terms of being relatively ready to organize resistance. The Democratic Party itself is a disaster. Given that the Trump administration is almost certainly going to be an unmitigated disaster of scandal, corruption, grotesque behavior, militarism, and the decimation of generations of domestic policy, one would like to think that an aggressive left could organize to take back Congress in 2018. After all, winning parties much stronger than this one routinely get their clocks cleaned in the midterms. And maybe that happens. But between increased voter suppression and gerrymandering, Republicans are looking to successfully bake their advantages into the cake for the House. As for the Senate, 2018 was looking tough anyway. Maybe disgust for Trump helps Jon Tester and Heidi Heitkamp and Claire McCaskill hold on, but I don’t know where we pick up new seats. Nevada seems to be the only place that Democrats will really have a shot.

And of course the prelims for the 2020 Democratic nomination start now. And who the hell is that going to be? The idea of course was for Hillary to win and then people like Tom Perez and Kirsten Gillibrand start building their name recognition for 2024. But forget that. Bernie Sanders will be very old. Elizabeth Warren will be pretty old too. Maybe one of them can lead the way. They both have very important roles to play right now in bringing the left together. I suspect Cory Booker might be the early frontrunner. He does have the charisma and while he has much to answer for to unions, at this point, winning is going to matter more than anything else.

If you were someone who wanted to “burn it all down,” well, you got your wish. It’s going to take the rest of your lives, if you are lucky, to put it all back together again. It’s going to be an ugly, horrible process with tremendous suffering to real people, probably including you.

More later. Excuse me while I weep for a just America.

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  • i8kraft

    This is the whole ballgame on climate change. Without American support, Paris Climate deal is dead, and we’ve missed our last, tiny glimmer of a chance. This is a global disaster of proportions not seen in recorded history, and I’m including both world wars, the spanish flu, smallpox wiping out most of the native americans, and the black plague.

    • CrunchyFrog

      This clinches it. Between China and India’s growth and the US reversing all anti-global warming policies the “business as usual” scenario is locked and loaded. 2C by early 2020s, 3C by 2050, 5+C by 2100.

      As we consider our relocation outside the US one of the two major factors has to be livability under future temperature increases.

      • Lit3Bolt

        Don’t forget that we’re now all extras in a nationwide showing of “The Man in the High Castle.”

        For the next eight years.

    • celticdragonchick

      Welcome to the Anthropocene.

      Not sure how we handle this as a species…but it will almost certainly involve a massive die-off.

      • celticdragonchick

        By the by….the GOP school board candidate here in Greensboro who wants to force me out of my teaching job because I am trans…won his race. Another GOP candidate who is also hostile to me won as well.

        I do not know if I will be allowed to keep teaching in NC.

        • Ronan

          Jesus, I’m.sorry to hear that. I hope everything works out for you(as best as can, considering the circumstances )

        • witlesschum

          That’s an extra horror on top of many. I’m sorry.

        • Linnaeus

          I’m so sorry to hear that. Seconding Ronan on hoping the best for you, for whatever that’s worth.

        • Oh no! I’m so sorry!

  • sibusisodan

    This pretty much sums it up. I know ‘this thing you wrote about this terrible thing was really well written’ is like saying ‘this lifeboat with holes in and no oars is painted a lovely colour!’…but it’s true, nonetheless.

  • Domino

    This seems really spot-on Erik, great post.

    As to running for president – I’m a bit short on who actually runs in 4 years. Michelle Obama? Warren? I doubt enough people would be comfortable to vote for Keith Ellison. Franken? I’m just not sure who will be in a great position to start trying to repair the damage in 4 years.

    • I have trouble seeing Michelle doing it. But yeah, maybe.

    • cleter

      If we’re just electing celebrities with no electoral experience Democrats should just nominate Oprah.

      • Gregor Sansa

        Michelle Obama might not have experience in office, but I’d say she’s got plenty of “electoral experience”; she’s worked on big-league campaigns and showed she has what it takes.

        And of course Warren, Ellison, and Franken have plenty of experience.

    • Denverite

      I think there is a decent chance that Trump will screw the country up so badly in four years that any nominated Democrat will win.

      If that *isn’t* the case, the only way to beat a white nationalist campaign in 2020 is to crank up minority turnout to Obama levels. That probably means an African-American candidate.

      • twbb

        It seems likely that he will screw it up enough to lose the rust belt.

        • so-in-so

          Worked great in Kansas – wait…

          • Linnaeus

            Yeah, but Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, etc. ain’t Kansas, either.

      • CrunchyFrog

        I’m not sure how many African-Americans are going to be allowed to vote in 2018, let alone 2020. Here are some bills I can see passing Congress:

        * National no felon can vote law
        * National voter ID – with provisions that make it extremely difficult for minorities
        * National vote challenge laws allowing for intimidation and worse

        Of course these are unconstitutional, and just as sure of course the GOP SCOTUS will have no problem with them.

        • Yep. The challenges ahead are enormous.

        • Brien Jackson

          Clinton winning the popular is, ironically, something of a total disaster for the extra motivation it’s going to provide for vote suppression bills. Between this as the voting patterns of white women, Dems may not have any path forward that doesn’t make big concessions to white identity politics.

          • Lit3Bolt

            I guess it’s time to start promising useless coal mines and aircraft carrier shipworks in landlocked states.

            People don’t mind mercury or lead in their bloodstream, as long as they have jobs.

            • Jonny Scrum-half

              Your assessment of people’s relative preference for jobs in comparison with being poisoned is a profoundly true statement.

            • rhino

              And they are correct to feel that way, if those are the only two options.

              I get the feeling you’ve never missed a meal because you didn’t have a job.

              • Origami Isopod

                Yeah, this.

                They might die young, but they’re alive today and they can feed their kids.

      • cpinva

        “I think there is a decent chance that Trump will screw the country up so badly in four years that any nominated Democrat will win.”

        Nope. those people that voted for him yesterday, and that he and congress procede to screw over starting in Jan., will just double-down and vote for him again. they will be convinced that the screwing over is the fault of some great Democratic/progressive conspiracy. let’s just accept the fact, as demonstrated yesterday, that over 50% of our voting population are stupid buffoons and racists, and will be until they die.

        I’m literally in a state of shock. this is the first election, in my lifetime, that the outcome actually scares me. by the time these people get done, we, as a country, will have slipped back into a feudal nightmare world.

        • Murc

          Nope. those people that voted for him yesterday, and that he and congress procede to screw over starting in Jan., will just double-down and vote for him again.

          Based on what? People flipped from Obama to Trump, or stayed home. Why couldn’t they flip back, or not stay home?

          let’s just accept the fact, as demonstrated yesterday, that over 50% of our voting population are stupid buffoons and racists, and will be until they die.

          That didn’t happen. Trump didn’t clear 50%.

          • Venerable Monk

            This is something I’m repeating to myself often today. If people are still capable of becoming disillusioned with the incumbent in four years, the electorate can swing back to the democrats. Will people drop Trump like moldy bread when they realize he hasn’t made their lives better? I sure hope so.

    • Cory Booker?

    • jnfr

      I honestly can’t imagine that Michelle would bother, given that the country just took a big shit on her husband’s Presidency.

      • Origami Isopod

        The Obamas seem committed to going into straight-up activism. In any case, if I’d just spent eight years in that fishbowl, I damn well wouldn’t want to go back to it.

        • liberalrob

          Hillary did. And her fishbowl was full of sharks.

          But I agree, Michelle Obama doesn’t seem interested. Not at the moment. And if there’s any message to take from this election other than racism, misogyny and xenophobia being alive and well in this country, it’s that a lot of people don’t like the idea of dynasties. Democratic Party ones, anyway.

          I think 2020 is there for Warren if she wants it. But it’ll be a wide-open field, unlike this cycle’s which was pre-cleared for Hillary. I have no idea who else will run.

    • Blathering Christopher

      If we’re looking at Minnesota Dems, maybe RT Rybak, or Amy Klobuchar before Frankin or Ellison. I like Dayton, but I can’t see him playing well to a national audience.

      • Domino

        Wasn’t necessarily Minnesota Dems, as much as:

        Ellison is a part of the progressive wing of the party, and would be seen as “carrying on” the movement Bernie started.

        Where as Frankin is a white male who isn’t particularly loved by Wall Street, and being a former radio host hopefully craft a message more amiable to the whites that left Obama for Trump.

        • GFW

          Yeah, I’m thinking Franken would the correct antidote after four years of the coming reign of error.

        • liberalrob

          Former SNL writer, too. And bit-part actor.

          I don’t think Franken has exhibited enough charisma to be a viable Presidential candidate. Not to say he couldn’t be charismatic or that he’d be an awful candidate. But he doesn’t seem to have that kind of magnetism that draws people to him. He’s very Minnesota, Lake Wobegone, at least what I’ve seen of him. I think he’s been great as a Senator. Russ Feingold gave off the same vibe. Cool competence.

          Sadly, I think we need someone a little bit fiery and combative. Hillary has that fire and came within an eyelash of winning. We should build on what works. We need to find someone from outside of Washington D.C., not a Senator, maybe a governor, who is good at speaking and motivating people and has a track record of success running a large organization.

  • Crusty

    For better or worse (for worse) I suspect that conventional wisdom for 2020 will be that only a white man will be able to defeat trump.

    • cleter

      My fear is the answer will be “We need our own racist!”

      • XTPD

        First in line. Can’t believe we’re in a world where the Horsefly might again be necessary.

        • timb

          I don’t get it. Are you saying Maher should run for elective office?

          • XTPD

            Of course not; his CDC would be about as strong as a Trump EPA. My point was that if the left’s strength for the next four years depends on retaining the support of casual-but-not-incorrigible racist whites, then the Horsefly might be a sufficient gateway liberal for those people. (Of course, after that we should see if we can shitcan him for good).

      • njorl

        I was thinking about that unfortunate possibility. JFK and LBJ benefited from opposing communist boogeymen. I wonder if Clinton could have benefited from adopting anti-Islamic bigotry. Sacrifice a small minority (and your soul) to whip up hatred for a largely foreign population.

        • cpinva

          “I wonder if Clinton could have benefited from adopting anti-Islamic bigotry.”

          then what would have differentiated her from Trump? ok, there’s competence, intelligence, compassion, etc., all traits that the electorate has just flatly told us they don’t care about. what they want is a clown in a clown suit, telling them how badly they’ve been abused, and uncle daddy clown is going to fix it. as long as he gets a piece of the action.

          • liberalrob

            First off, it’s only half (less than half) of “the electorate.” And of that half, I suspect that a non-zero percentage were voting against Hillary. For dumb reasons, based on lies, certainly. Also Hillary has been in D.C. since 1993, highly visible as a politically active First Lady, Senator, Presidential candidate, and Secretary of State. Another non-zero percentage of Trump voters were voting against her because she was seen as too much of a D.C. insider. The BernieBros weren’t wrong about that.

            It think it’s closer to the truth that the people looking for the clown in a clown suit were the Republican primary voters who supported him; another chunk were “orange dog” Republicans who voted Republican in spite of dislike of Trump, because they identify as Republican; and the remainder is made up of the groups I mentioned above.

            So let’s focus on the doable. Hillary deserved a clear shot after the 2008 blind-siding and she mostly got it. Next time we need a charismatic outsider with no (or at least different) D.C. baggage to be our candidate. If we can eliminate the reasons people who weren’t insane or dyed-in-the-wool Republicans didn’t vote for Hillary, we might be able to pick up enough of those people specifically voting against her to come back to the light to get our candidate elected. And who knows; Trump and the GOP Congress may create such a titanic disaster that they all get turfed out next time around. Assuming we live through it.

      • Connecticut Yankee

        I fear this may be so. Not like there’s not a precedent for it

  • Mark Field

    It’s pretty hard to see how to reach the voters you describe. We can’t and shouldn’t appeal to their racism or misogyny. On the economics, I think you state the problem here: “It’s not as if Trump’s policies are going to give them that real hope. But if there’s one thing we know, it’s that the white people in Wisconsin and North Carolina and Kansas and Louisiana and other states that are dominated by Republicans will respond to the terrible policies of their officials by doubling down on resentment and white supremacy and voting for them again.”

    If they believe in imaginary things, and become more resentful and racist when those imaginary things don’t happen, what option does a populist left have?

    • You have to have a real economic program providing them hope for good jobs and a better life where they live. That absolutely must happen. Again, a sizable number of these voters cast a ballot for Obama twice! Some of them will vote for a non-white person if they think that non-white person will provide them with a future.

      • But since Obama couldn’t deliver on a big enough stimulus because of Republican intransigence its absurd to talk about what your “economic program” would have to provide for since your economic program can’t get enacted. Maybe some of them hoped Obama would clean up bush’s mess the first time and the second time (lower turnout) decided he wasn’t doing a great job and by the third time they voted to throw the democrats out of power. No proposed economic plan by the third democratic candidate was going to seem appealing because, in the voters mind, the democrats had their chance.

        Voters do not understand the kind of divided government we actually have, or they understand it only in pieces, when it is explained to them a certain way or when a personal issue/peeve comes up. The rest of the time they literally have no idea what a policy is, or who executes it, or who holds it.

        • celticdragonchick

          Most voters do not know which party is even in control of a house of congress at any one time. They merely have a sense of “something isn’t working right up there in Washington and I am really angry”.

          • so-in-so

            The President is obviously elected dictator for four years (the GOP kept calling President Obama a dictator, after all) so if he didn’t get you your pony, it’s because he didn’t want to.

            Most of these people don’t know who won the Civil War (and that has become unclear to me too since last night).

            • liberalrob

              The military phase of the Civil War ended in 1865. The ideological war has never ended.

        • timb

          Shorter: Mitch McConnell is a terrible person, but he’s the second best politician of the 21st century

      • cpinva

        “You have to have a real economic program providing them hope for good jobs and a better life where they live.”

        this relies, to some extent, on a functioning government, something we’ve not had for most of the past 8 years. when I said that the “family values” ascribed to by republicans were the Soprano Family values, I was only halfway joking. the republicans have kidnapped our government, and demand we give them control of the whole thing, if we want to see it alive again.

      • Brien Jackson

        The counties with the biggest decrease in unemployment since 2010 by a near 2-1 margin. It actually looks like white supremacy is a voting luxury for the middle class.

        • tonycpsu

          Got a source for that claim handy?

          • timb

            It’s in Chait’s column today. NY Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer

            • tonycpsu

              Thanks. Source tweet for anyone else who wanted to see the details.

              • Jackov

                More from Brad Heath

                Trump won the nation’s manufacturing heavy counties 66-30.

                Hillary Clinton had the worst showing of any Dem nominee in counties that Bill Clinton won twice.

                Underperformed in Dem since 2000 counties and unusually bad in Rep since 2000 counties

                In the Rust Belt, voters in Democratic bastion
                stayed home (or maybe they did not get to vote)

                • liberalrob

                  Trump won the nation’s manufacturing heavy counties 66-30.

                  Those people are going to be soooo disappointed when Trump fails to bring their old jobs back.

      • addicted44

        I don’t buy it. Obama saved Michigan’s auto industry with extreme opposition from Republicans. Yet Democrats got absolutely no credit from the people of that state.

        The reality doesn’t matter. Narrative does. What Democrats should be aiming to do is use Murdoch’s dislike of Trump to try and get Fox News to slowly program their viewers from Trump to Democrats over the next 4 years.

    • Murc

      It’s pretty hard to see how to reach the voters you describe.

      Obama managed it. Twice! So there’s clearly a way.

      • Rob in CT

        I also think it’s pretty clear that presidential candidates need to be inspiring leaders more than any other quality. No one cares about policy. People care about leadership and inspiration. That’s true whether it was Bill Clinton in 1992 or George W. Bush in his 2 elections, or Barack Obama or Donald Trump. These four people have very little in common except that people saw them as an individual which they could either relate to personally or someone they see as a leader to improve their lives. And that they are men. Women have a much harder row to hoe on these sorts of things and that’s a terrible thing to realize. But in order to actually win a presidential election, the single most important skill is charisma. We need to consider this going forward.

        I think the above is true. There wasn’t much substantive difference between Obama and Hillary on policy. He had charisma and outsideriness (at least at first) and the GOP had just thoroughly shat the bed.

        Now we’re far enough removed from Bush the Lesser’s fuckups that they’re down the memory hole for a good chunk of the electorate.

        I do think the Dems should also look at policy & messaging, but I strongly suspect that candidate charisma really is as important as Erik suggests.

        • liberalrob

          It has been since 1960. Thanks, Philo T. Farnsworth!

      • Mark Field

        Yes, some of them did vote for Obama. I’d like to see more data before I conclude how many did. It’s also true that lots of them stayed home. What that says is hard to know.

        But again: the Dem platform was pretty good for those voters. Why were they so unwilling to accept that platform that they either voted for a racist with an economic plan that will harm them further, or stayed home? Erik’s post suggests an answer to that which I quoted, and I fear it’s true.

        • Emmryss

          Because platforms don’t matter. Trump’s success proves that at this point in time, for at least half those Americans who voted, nothing matters. Well, something must because they did go vote. But what? Other than he makes them feel good about themselves in the moment of identification at a rally.

          • timb

            Cuz he says he’s gonna help them.

            That’s what I read on Facebook. Trump says he will help them and bring jobs back, so he will do that. QED

        • Because nobody cares about policy. Or not much. They want to feel hope in their lives.

          • Lit3Bolt

            Voting as consumerism is now electoral law.

            Clinton, for better or for worse, was past her sell date. No voter fantasies could be projected on her.

            • catbirdman

              Correct.

            • Uh, not “not voter fantasies” just not enough. She actually did pretty well trying for Obama’s third term and she appealed strongly to a lot of voters. Just not men. WCM and republican leaning women. That is still not no one. I wish people wouldn’t vanish her actual voters just because she lost.

              • Lit3Bolt

                Well, I’m doing it because most of her actual voters will never get to vote again.

                This was it. It’s game over, 2020 census is coming up and we will have Republican misrule for the next twenty years. Possibly longer. The Rust Belt is now the Great White Firewall for Republicans.

              • Solar System Wolf

                Even in minority groups who went for Clinton overall, more men voted for Trump than women.

            • celticdragonchick

              I think the book “The Selling of the American President” (written in 1968) made that point.

              Policy doesn’t matter. It is all optics. Period.

              Harry Treleaven, the first adman to suggest that issues bore voters, that image is what counts
              Roger Ailes, a PR man who coordinated the TV presentations that delivered the product
              Frank Shakespeare, the man behind the whole campaign, who, after eighteen years at CBS, cast the image that sold America a President
              And the candidate, Richard Nixon himself—a politician running on television for the highest office in the land

      • cpinva

        “Obama managed it. Twice! So there’s clearly a way.”

        that was before Trump made it ok to say the quiet things out loud, and Hillary was a woman. it also relied on an electorate that wasn’t so self-centered, that if they didn’t get their magic sparkle pony (I’m looking at you millenials), they were just going to stay home or vote for Stein. they’d sooner fuck themselves over, then violate their precious special snowflakeness.

        • Jackov

          GFY

          18-29 Clinton +15
          45-64 Trump +9

          • timb

            He would if millennials would come out and vote in elections where Obama’s name is not on the ballot. Hell, I’d GFY myself if you could arrange their attendance

            • Jackov

              Doubtful. Boomers never own up to their age cohort’s terrible political views and behavior.

              • Thom

                See Nixnutz below:

                The boomers voted for Humphrey and for McGovern by 15 points more than older blocs. White millennials voted for Trump, there’s no good reason to think that old people of the future are going to be more liberal than those of today.

                Also, by what logic is anyone responsible for the decisions made by others who happen to be in the same (arbitrary) age cohort? If you are a black person in Mississippi are you responsible for the white voters there?

      • TopsyJane

        Obama managed it. Twice! So there’s clearly a way.

        Yes, he did. And now we’re seeing the backlash.

    • Dilan Esper

      I suspect neoliberal trade policy plays a much bigger role than a lot of center-left cosmopolitan coastal types would like to admit here.

      And remember you don’t have to get all of the racists. But a more protectionist trade policy might get some of them.

      • sharonT

        Rethinking trade policy would help. Clinton was just starting to turn away from the toxic concept, that the only path to a middle-class standard of living is earning a college degree. That type of credentialism is a powerful force, and it’s backed by lots of donor money, in the Democratic Party.

        • Dilan Esper

          I still don’t feel like relitigating, even today (I was very much resisting it last night), but I do think, suffice to say, that Clinton’s opposition to TPP was phony and that she was a true believer in free trade (as her husband was and as I am, by the way) who turned against TPP out of political necessity, not because she thought there was anything wrong with it.

          And much as I love free trade, the position makes zero coalitional sense for Democrats and Trump skillfully exploited the opening. The Democratic Party is supported by organized labor and you can’t go for years and years and years repudiating one of the most central demands of organized labor and not leave the opportunity that Trump seized.

          But yes, losing the donor money is, I am sure, a big time fear for party elites. Nonetheless, I think this election is a huge wake up call (along with Brexit) that the days when politicians could enact globalist trade policies while ignoring the opinions of their base have come to an end.

          • cpinva

            “free trade”, as in allowing the rent takers to shift capital to where the lowest common denominator is, with no restrictions (like mandating common environmental & labor laws and regulations) is a fool’s game. the only winners are the rent takers, everyone else gets screwed over, including all those lowest common denominator governments.

            again, yesterday proved, with concrete evidence, that we live in a country where over half the voting public is stupid and racist. you can argue all you want about economics, etc., but that’s the bottom line.

            • liberalrob

              The rent takers are going to shift their capital regardless, because the United States is not 100% of the global market and the labor cost disparities are gigantic. All protectionism is going to do is make products more expensive here in order to cover the tariffs.

              The only answer is to try to cushion the impact with “free trade” agreements that incorporate substantial regulations in exchange for the removal of explicit tariffs and with domestic programs to support displaced workers. We have made a bunch of bad agreements because we let corporations have too much say in them and only paid lip service to supporting displaced workers; but the answer is not simply dropping them all and going back to protectionist tariffs.

        • Srsly Dad Y

          Yes, what Dean Baker said. And TPP wasn’t even “free trade” to begin with.

      • Ronan

        It probably won’t really, because trade wasn’t responsible for most of the decline. (It might have exacerbated it,but the trends were there regardless) And you can’t freeze an economy in time. There are a whole lot of problems in sustaining industries that aren’t feasible in the l/t (think the incentives it offers young people entering the Labour market, where it pushes them into jobs that aren’t going to be there when they hit middle age, and when the costs of retraining/education get very steep)
        This is not to say I disagree with the sentiment. I give more credence (not just in the US, but in Europe aswell) to “economic anxiety” type arguments. I also think we’re going down a road (in the west in general) where some (those with third level education or skills/trades etc) will do very well, and those who don’t have those privileges will be pushed into more precarious, low paying jobs. And I don’t think (thou g I have in the past) that welfare, no matter how generous, is going to fix this problem. I don’t know how you do.

  • Murc

    Erik, I disagree with nothing in this post except maybe this:

    He does have the charisma and while he has much to answer for to unions, at this point, winning is going to matter more than anything else.

    It was this desire to win no matter what that led to John Kerry in 2004. Because he was “safe.”

    Not saying that’ll happen again. But it’s something to be aware of.

    I really wish Sherrod Brown occupied a safe senate seat.

    • njorl

      John Kerry came within a small margin in a single state of defeating an incumbent president with a >50% approval rating during a war. The notion that he wasn’t a good candidate is crazy.

      • ColBatGuano

        Well, except for that whole Swiftboating thing.

        • njorl

          Any Democratic candidate would have been “swiftboated”. Whatever perceived strength they had would have been portrayed as an unforgivable betrayal of everything America stands for.

          • StellaB

            The Republicans convinced voters that:

            WJC was a member of the elite with all of his fancy ed-u-cation,
            Al Gore lied about “inventing the internet”,
            John Kerry cheated his way into medals for valor and combat injuries,
            BHO couldn’t write without assistance from a white man or speak without a Teleprompter,
            HRC is dishonest.

            Why did they pick those characteristics to attack instead of attacking the cnadidates actual weakness? Because they always go for their strengths. It’s the Rovian playbook.

            • BillWAF

              So why didn’t Kerry sue in Massachusetts for libel? With extensive discovery, Kerry could have hurt the right, but he wimped out.

  • Denverite

    African-Americans in key cities like Milwaukee and Philadelphia simply did not come out in the needed numbers. Why? This is a critical question.

    Oh FFS. This isn’t rocket science. She’s not black, and in 2008, she ran a proto-Trump campaign in the primary against the now-wildly-popular president. Remember when she said that Obama had no chance in the general election because he was black? Remember when she said that superdelegates should vote for her because she was the candidate supported by the white working class? Yeah, I bet a lot of people remember those things too.

    Hillary Clinton was a horrible candidate from the get-go, and the Democratic establishment should be eviscerated for essentially allowing her to run for the nomination unchallenged.

    • It’s not rocket science if it’s as simple as you describe. I haven’t seen black voting numbers for yesterday compared to, say, the 90s. Does it mean that there always has to be a black candidate on the ballot to get the needed numbers to win?

      • Denverite

        If white working class voters vote as an ethnic bloc, then yes. That didn’t happen in the 90s.

        [ETA: I stress again that Clinton had the extra disadvantage that she ran as the “white” candidate in 2008. It really shouldn’t be surprising that some African-Americans were lukewarm to her campaign.]

        • JohnT

          That makes no sense. You’re saying that if the White 60% starts voting as a block, then the correct response is to select a candidate from the third largest ethnic group, comprising 12%?

          I am not American but I can’t really understand why black people and Hispanics didn’t turn out to vote down the racist. It’s not that complicated is it? If someone made lots of insinuations about tall multi-national people, in a two way race, I’d make time to vote for t’other one.

          Logically one would think that the obvious group to crowbar from Trump’s support next time is white women, particularly ones who would benefit most from sane family leave etc.

          • sharonT

            I think that my experience in Baltimore might be helpful. This fall, in this very blue, poor, black majority city, there was almost no evidence that the Presidential campaign was happening. Last week, we received three full-color flyers over the course of the week from the combined campaign. My husband phone banked for Hillary and the only HRC campaign office that was staffed for a full day of shifts was in the county to the North of us. Now, HRC beat Trump by over 30 points in Maryland, but for a city that was plastered with Obama signs in 2008/2012, the HRC campaign was just a ghost.

            I’m not sure if this was the case in mid-west large cities, but I’ve had a sense that the Democratic municipal machines are not as robust or even very functional right now. Any Millwaukee residents who can shed light on the state of play in your town this Fall?

            • JohnT

              Did all the rural racists need a special machine to wheel them out and get them to vote? They seem to have managed it themselves!

              Look, I have no insight into the lives of minorities in America – you live in Baltimore and I live in Europe. I can’t know what could make them better. But civil rights campaigners did have that insight, and they seemed to be pretty confident that the key step was getting the right to vote. And then presumably using it?

      • celticdragonchick

        Her numbers with African Americans (turnout wise)were substantially down from 2012 and she lost 20% of African American men who did vote, suggesting sexism was a factor as well.

        • Lit3Bolt

          Minority males will gladly give up everything to stick it to their women.

          • solidcitizen

            I know we talk in broad terms when we talk politics. I think, however, saying something this broad about people whose only unifying characteristic is “not white” should be done carefully. That you ascribed motives to a whole class of people based on the actions of 20% of them is problematic.

          • Jackov

            You are a racist shit.

        • Sebastian_h

          Maybe those men thought that “steady as she goes” wasn’t going to get them a good job ever. Black men in the working class want jobs too.

    • sharonT

      It’s odd that people keep forgetting this aspect of her 2008 campaign. Hillary had a lot of support from AA electeds, but that doesn’t always translate to individual voters.

      • witlesschum

        The fact black voters were seemingly solid for her in the primary made me think that all was forgiven there. Maybe it just meant they preferred her to an old Jewish guy who didn’t court them hardly at all and also seemed to be speaking ill of Barack Obama.

    • cpinva

      “Remember when she said that superdelegates should vote for her because she was the candidate supported by the white working class?”

      no, I don’t. I don’t doubt she said it, but I seriously doubt more than 1% (if that) of the voting public remembered it, and told their friends, etc. believe it or not, life is not a shampoo commercial.

      if you’re counting on the long-term memory of the average voter to do your work for you, you’ve already lost.

    • StellaB

      She underperformed with minorities the most in the states that established voting restrictions post-VRA. Weird coincidence? Or was it a feature of the plan rather than a bug?

  • D.N. Nation

    But if there’s one thing we know, it’s that the white people in Wisconsin and North Carolina and Kansas and Louisiana and other states that are dominated by Republicans will respond to the terrible policies of their officials by doubling down on resentment and white supremacy and voting for them again.

    And then they will suffer, and then they will die. That’s the only way forward, I’m afraid.

    As for my responsibility to alleviate their suffering, I’ve tried through promoting a system that does just that. No dice. They’re welcome to their misery.

    • You will suffer and die too. It doesn’t help to say these things. Because it also means you.

      • D.N. Nation

        The politics of bitterness run both ways. Let’s see how these people like it now.

        Vindictiveness is all I have left. At least Boomers won’t outlive me. Paul Ryan will see to that. Thanks, bug-eyes.

        • nixnutz

          The boomers voted for Humphrey and for McGovern by 15 points more than older blocs. White millennials voted for Trump, there’s no good reason to think that old people of the future are going to be more liberal than those of today.

      • Stag Party Palin

        Those who voted for Trump voted against their self-interest. Sure, Democratic Party policy is far from perfect, but they only had two choices, they chose wrongly, and they will suffer. And so will millions (and eventually billions) of others, which is the shame of it.

        I don’t go as far as D.N., welcoming them to their misery, because innocents will suffer horribly. But, there isn’t much I can do about it either. Horses to water, etc.

    • cpinva

      “And then they will suffer, and then they will die.”

      not fast enough, and in enough numbers, to make a substantive difference in 2018 or 2020.

      “You will suffer and die too.”

      and this. it’s not as though you’re not also part of the great voter organism.

    • witlesschum

      That’s not how it works. We’re all in this together, from the smelliest Trumpster to the stupidest Green and back again. And we’re all stuck with each other. Despite what morons will tell you, the constitution is a suicide pact.

  • vic rattlehead

    That headline was my reaction this morning. It wasn’t a dream? Oh. Uh. Haha? Very funny guys but seriously, this guy? Oh fuck.

    God dammit. 8 years of an alcoholic “Texan” dunce who failed his way into the presidency, started two wars and nearly caused a global collapse, and we get a lot of pretty great (albeit incremental) reform that’s now pissed away. Eight years of Obama down the drain. Straight down the drain.

    I have a friend who is convinced that Trump is actually a RINO. If only. I wish I shared that delusion.

    I’m sinking back into the depression that was so hard for me to climb out of. I don’t know if I’m gonna make it this time. For the first time in a long time I got that sick numb feeling that I can’t do this anymore. I’m not going to hurt myself, I just don’t think I’ll be the same as I was before 2016 in a long time. And I think that holds true for a lot of other people. I don’t know if I can sit and watch everything Obamas done go down the shitter and more. And if there’s no Obama to clean up after us in 2020 what then? What hope is there?

    Eight years ago Hope and Change were a winning message. The capstone to that era is white supremacy and all sorts of other evils.

    • i8kraft

      This echoes my sentiments exactly.

    • Srsly Dad Y

      I’m sinking back into the depression that was so hard for me to climb out of

      The best I can offer is, you’re not alone.

      • vic rattlehead

        Thanks. I want to go back to 2008. I want Obama to stay. I want the feeling of positivity and hope about where this country is headed again. Fuck.

      • cpinva

        “The best I can offer is, you’re not alone.”

        thanks, but that doesn’t make me feel any better. I submit that, if you’re invested in the alcohol or pharmaceutical industries, earnings & profits are going to skyrocket for at least the next 4 years.

  • jpgray

    Second is that racism won the day.

    Yeah no. Some people are committed to learning absolutely nothing and retreating into downy-soft frames of cooing comfort, but you shouldn’t. Nor should anyone else I know, if I can help it.

    In case you missed it, the Wyoming River valley in PA, including Scranton, voted for an actual black guy by double digits. Voted for Trump this time around.

    Youngstown, OH, same total erosion, from a 20 point BHO romp to a draw.

    Haven’t delved in WI and elsewhere yet but I predict a similar tale.

    Sexism maybe explains that. Does racism?

    • 42

      Jamelle Bouie says yes: neither McCain nor Romney argued for white supremacy (though their policies promoted it). The racism here isn’t voting against the black candidate, it’s voting for the racist one. I won’t full-on endorse the view (as if anyone cares what I endorse), but it’s plausible.

      • It is plausible, yes.

      • jpgray

        This is wrong, I think, and dangerously wrong as the standard establishment take if true would be to weigh white supremacist rhetoric and pissed off minorities in the scales and see what balance we like to tack toward electoral success.

        If I’m right, it’s not because of racism/sexism but in spite of it that Trump won. We had nothing to offer on the “get you and your kind back to dominance” brain-stem level, and it turns out that fucking matters.

        In my view we can compete there without dissolving into a kind of “we have to listen to racists” so-called-moderate triangulating claptrap that boots minorities out of the place they have in our party, which they have more than earned.

        • Rob in CT

          How?

          • jpgray

            It would require a major gut-check, but it would mean spotlighting the same resonating victims, but exchange illusory villains for real ones.

            Off the top of my head:

            Family farmers vs. agribusiness.
            Poor rural whites and, uh, everyone vs. the pharmaceutical industry and health insurers.
            Soldiers vs. contractors.
            Workers vs. mobile capital transhumanists

            We need to get our stabby knives out for brain-stem level attacks on the harm done to working-class whites. This could mean empty war chests, but it could also mean victory.

            • JohnT

              Fortunately one thing Trump has proved that the war chest isn’t as important as once thought

            • sharonT

              How about the working class as a whole? I think the Democrats can craft a multi-racial platform that helps everyone at the expense of none. What we may have learned, is that a Democratic politician with a long public history is not the best messenger for that task.

        • 42

          Wait, what? We’re to offer a message of “getting your kind back to dominance?” Isn’t that straightforwardly racism?

          The charitable reading is that “your kind” means “all working people” and “dominance” means “an economic position of security and equality.” In which case, sure, let’s bring solidarity as the Democratic platform. But as Erik, says, it better have a program and it better have charisma– redefining “dominance” might be doable, but redefining “our kind” is some hard, hard boards.

          Which is not an argument against doing it.

          Edit to note I think we end up agreeing, esp in light of your last example.

          • jpgray

            My thought is that “you and your kind” can mean idealized stereotypes of white working people, without the dominance targeted at minorities so much as against slick plausible free marketeers.

            Some nasties will argue we need a spoonful of white supremacy, but what Trump stumbled onto is that you could ramp up the atavism and tamp down the slick plausible free marketeering and coast to a victory in the primaries, then scrape through the general.

            I’d argue we could ramp up “behold the stolid white middle-American – he/she is wronged” while pointing fingers at the actual bad guys. Want to talk culture wars? The soft underbelly of the GOP is a bunch of offshoring effete snobs that look like Michael Gove.

            • 42

              Tell me the way in which that white middle American (whatever Middle American means) has been wronged but black and brown Middle Americans have not been wronged? Global trade hurts black and brown people at least as much. So does de-industrialization and income inequality. There are geographic zones of concentrated damage that are largely white (Scranton, maybe), but Detroit says that’s not anything like a uniquely white story.

              Racial grievance is the only grievance that is specific to the “white working class,” as opposed to the working class as a whole (which is substantially not white). And that is NOT a grievance my left, or even my Democratic Party, is going to seek to “solve.”

              • Yes of course, but obviously if the response to economic dislocation among whites is racism, the response of people of color is going to be very different because they are then protecting themselves from that racism.

                This should not be that hard for people to figure out, yet it seems to be. People of color also have economic grievances. But we all have many interests and their interests in not losing the vote and being thrown into prison are going to be part of their response.

                • 42

                  I’m not sure what you’re arguing with, Erik. People of color’s other grievances don’t justify an approach that validates white people’s sense that they are hurt by racial equality, nor do they obviate people of color’s real economic hurt.

                  Jpgray seems to be arguing for giving white working people a little nudge- “Look, we know we’ve been supporting these people of color, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back.” I don’t what else he means by “highlight one group” below.

                  I’m arguing that we should be fighting for every working person everywhere, without giving one inch to the idea that people of color rise at white people’s expense. As Jpgray points out elsewhere,there is a lot of room to create a good old fashioned us-vs-the without defining “us” as white. Since we aren’t. (I mean, I am, but we aren’t.)

              • jpgray

                That’s more than correct – if anything given lower mobility and education levels (centuries of structural racism), minorities have been hurt far more by these villains. They are unquestionably the chief victims.

                But we can highlight one group to help all groups on some (not all) ideological battlegrounds.

                I mean, trim white housewives in neat little middle class homes aren’t the only ones who use cleaning products, but damned if the targeted marketing doesn’t emphasize them where profitable.

                We don’t want to make white people the centerpiece of our entire pitch, much less marginalize the demographic coalition that has earned its place in our party, but goddamn are they ever crying out for a “make my group feel in control of its future!” pitch, and we can make that pitch in a non-racist, non-sexist way, in my view, while directing their hate toward actual bad actors rather than the ghosts of fact-free bigotry.

                • 42

                  But, dude, we don’t want the “white working class” to be or feel in control. We want the Working Class, period, to be in control of its future. (It can be in control of mine, too.) I don’t see a way of providing white people this racialized feeling of uplift without feeding and supporting their false sense of competition with people of color.

                  Doesn’t your example of TV advertising answer that? The fact that ads focus so relentlessly on imaginary white households is a measure and cause of white dominance, not a tactic to be bent to the cause of solidarity and equality.

                • jpgray

                  @42 I agree with you! We don’t want white supremacy or minority marginalization to define us. But I believe there is no harm to exploiting whites’ desire to feel dominant over some “other” if we can direct that desire against some universal enemies.

                  A completely proportional way of emphasizing white victims, without marginalizing minority victims, may be found in family farming. Here’s a demographically white archetype, rhapsodized for all of western history, that has been fucked completely by agribusiness. If we get stuck in here and go after it, I think it could pay huge dividends despite the campaign cash black hole it would open up.

                  With that as backdrop, we can make our pitch in other areas the fevered white brain obsesses over, such as just-a-diploma Midwestern jobs and soldiers vs. contractors, in such a way that dominance-hungry whites would think “this is about my group getting its own back” without explicitly emphasizing whites over others.

            • sharonT

              That word “your” was a key part of his messaging to his supporters. I heard a speech that gave late last week on the stump on C-SPAN. Lots of promises to do things for “You” and “Your families”.

              Also his final pitch on the stump was straight out of high pressure marketing. Lots of, “This your last chance,”‘ “Never get another opportunity,” etc. it was like listening to Glengarry, Glenross.

        • mpowell

          We can probably try to draw a distinction between white interest group voting and racism, but I’m not sure how helpful it is. These are people whose privilege has been reduced over time and have decided to start voting accordingly. Probably being sexist also helped.

      • DrDick

        I certainly think racism, more specifically a loss of white male privilege, is part of the dynamic, but I agree with Erik that economics plays a much greater role (even heavily driving the racism and misogyny).

      • Sebastian_h

        This doesn’t sound plausible. Someone who is an inveterate racist is totally fine with voting for an actual black president, but then goes off the charts crazy for white supremacy when Trump shows up?

        That is a VERY hard sell without other factors.

        Factors like perhaps–long term economic insecurity makes them open to voting for anyone who gestures toward fixing that, even if that person is racist, when paired against a candidate who says “we’re pretty much fine”.

        • witlesschum

          I disagree. I said on another thread, Trump was selling racism and misogyny as part of a positive vision for America, as gross as it sounds to me. Just feeling negatively toward nonwhites and women isn’t as satisfying to vote on for people as Making America Great Again (by putting those women and nonwhites in their place, but mainly the great part) and getting the jobs back from somewhere or other.

          • liberalrob

            Change we can believe in! Yes we can! Make America Great Again! It’s Morning Again in America! It’s the Economy, Stupid!

            vs.

            I’m with her! Stronger Together!

            Um…yay?

          • Sebastian_h

            We are disagreeing about the typical voter vs. the marginal voter.

            You are saying that lots of Trump voters are racist. That is true but unhelpful.

            I’m saying that plenty of them aren’t so racist that they can’t be pulled to the Democratic side and that we know this because they have actually voted for a Black Democratic President. There are enough of them on the margin that Democrats could win.

    • sibusisodan

      I think the fairly obvious response is: voting for the black guy doesn’t demonstrate that I, the voter, am not also systemically racist.

      Conversely, voting for the guy who promises to get rid of Muslims and foreigners while harking back to a time when white people held all the levers of power…is suggestive.

      That’s not all the story, of course. But I don’t believe it’s absent from the story either.

      • jpgray

        I think the fairly obvious response is: voting for the black guy doesn’t demonstrate that I, the voter, am not also systemically racist.

        No doubt. Of course we’re all going to hear a lot of “hey I voted Obama, I’m no racist!”

        To the remainder of your point, all I can think is that all our wonky stat-diving darlings are just missing the lessons of this, as I see them, so hard I want to bash my head against a brick wall.

        Why did poor rural religious whites pass over supreme ungodliness? Why did mid/low education, not particularly racist (IMO), industrial wasteland service drudge Obama-voting whites pass over the crudest racism? Because these manifestations were hanging off of the bravura fantasy of a return to dominance for their class.

        This fantasy was so appealing, and so uncontested by our milk-blooded wonk-endorsed incrementalism, that even the people in the very crosshairs of its promised violence were marginally drawn by it:

        Trump did better with Blacks and Hispanics than Romney in 2012.

        • sharonT

          I’ll bet you dollars that those African American and Hispanic voters were mostly men.

          • jpgray

            I’ll bet you’re correct, but while we’re depressing ourselves, look at white women.

            Trump won white women without a college degree resoundingly. 62 to 34.

            White women overall, 53 to 43.

            Is anyone going to tell me Trump’s misogyny or sexism were unknown? How about this: these were ignored for the allure of fact-free, vague, anecdote-driven fantasies about a return to dominance for white people generally.

            I’ve said it before, but ceding that field of dreams to form up on an insular backwater of technocratic plausibility is going to be the story of our failure here. Won in the primary, failed in the general.

            • Jackov

              More white women have backed the Republican candidate
              than the Democratic candidate in every presidential election since 1976 but one – 1996. Since Clinton’s second win, white women voters have favored the Republican by an average of 8.6 points. Trump being the embodiment of a sexist asshole makes the result more shocking but it is consistent with the long and short term trends.

              • jpgray

                But the point is – if this election is about racism and sexism, and uniquely more so than 2012, why don’t the choices of minority and women voters bear this out more strongly when the two elections are compared?

                My theory is that they were, to differing degrees, willing to ignore sexism/racism in favor of something else. For you and Erik, the theory is…?

          • jnfr

            I’d double that bet.

      • Sebastian_h

        Ugh, that seems closer to self-delusion. Whatever people who voted for the Black Democrat are, they aren’t so racist as to be beyond the possibility of voting for a Democrat. I don’t care if you can fit them into some hyper-academic version of ‘racist’.

        They aren’t so racist that they can’t vote for Black Democrats, so you should figure out how to reach out to them.

    • mds

      Maybe it was Obama’s strong protectionist message and talk of tearing up free trade deals. Or, just maybe, neither McCain nor Romney tried running so unreservedly on white resentment. Trump will “talk tough” with China. Ooh, China’s shaking in its collective boots. He’ll unilaterally slap a tariff on Ford if they move another plant to Mexico. Uh-huh. Meanwhile, he also plans to raise middle class taxes and virtually eliminate them on rich people. He doesn’t support labor unions. He prefers Chinese steel to American steel. But who has time to figure out the actually achievable economic policies of a candidate when he’s so busy calling Mexicans rapists and encouraging calls for the imprisonment of his opponent?

    • cpinva

      “Sexism maybe explains that. Does racism?”

      yes, to both. again, Trump allowed both the racists and sexists to fly their freak flag in public. he made being a white supremacist/misogynist/homophobe “cool” again. it’s what the GOP has been since Nixon, they just weren’t allowed to revel in it out loud. now they can.

  • Gregor Sansa
    • cpinva

      “and the barriers to voting that may have swung key states.”

      and which, given the probable makeup of a 9 member supreme court, will stay in place, and be extended to every state with a republican hold on that state’s government.

      “She’s eligible to be President, and I bet one of the things that is going to come out in the exit polls is that a ton of young voters didn’t come out for Hillary.”

      possibly true. which means that I and my peers managed to raise a generation of idiots & fools. my millennial son apparently claimed (to his sister, on FB) he was voting for Stein, all facts and evidence to the contrary. I just don’t know how to break through that.

  • Dilan Esper

    Kamala Harris and Tulsi Gabbard look like the future to me.

    • petesh

      Harris is 52 and newly elected to the Senate. She’s a comer but I cant see her emulating Obama’s swift rise in 2020; 2024 maybe. Gabbard is only 35 and probably does have a bright future, but now?

      • Dilan Esper

        Sure. She’s eligible to be President, and I bet one of the things that is going to come out in the exit polls is that a ton of young voters didn’t come out for Hillary.

  • tonycpsu

    Erik’s point about charisma makes me think the left is going to stay very far away from nominating another woman. Misogyny leads to women being seen as not as charismatic — they’re always not speaking right, not smiling right. Most of us love Elizabeth Warren, but her brand of cool but also nerdy professor charisma doesn’t appeal to the other side as much as it does to us.

    Which is to say: I’m not sure we want to emphasize charisma. It’s just another white whale to chase, just like the mythical Rust Belt voters that would vote for liberal policies if we’d speak their language.

    • Gregor Sansa

      You know who has charisma? Michelle Obama, that’s who.

      • tonycpsu

        To you and me, yes. To the Rust Belt Whites that Erik says are key to recovering from this electoral defeat? Er…

        • mds

          Well, as noted elsewhere, some of them voted for Barack Obama before. And a return to higher turnout in some of the Rust Belt urban centers helps offset the rest.

          • tonycpsu

            Why does it have to come from the Rust Belt? Why can’t it come from a renewed push to shore up Florida or my native Pennsylvania (which is Rust Belt in Name Only)? Gains can be made in those states without changing the message to the point where it’s indistinguishable from Bill Clinton circa 1995.

            • It can. I just think it’s harder for Democrats to make that headway in the South than in the Rust Belt.

              • tonycpsu

                Pennsylvania isn’t in the South, and Florida isn’t really part of “the South” that we usually talk about in this context. It’s a swing state that Obama won twice.

                • Bufflars

                  Right. WI, MI, PA and FL are all you need from the swings states. They were eminently get-able for Clinton – a 2% swing is all it takes. She fell just short.

      • sharonT

        She’s also the wife of a president who is pushing for the ratification of TPP.

        • Gregor Sansa

          She can say “Yeah, I disagree with Barack on that one.” And then back it up with 5 serious populist proposals, and sell them all in a speech that will have grizzled wonks, starry-eyed youths, and everyone in between all nodding along.

          She has the skills, and if she goes Berniecrat, I for one will believe it’s sincere.

          Also, I think she’d get another Nobel. Heh.

          • Emmryss

            Right — regardless of her indisputable charisma, at least in that one speech, another wife of a two-term Democratic president …

            • JohnT

              Indeed. I hugely admire Michelle Obama, but let nepotism die, as one of the few worthwhile casualties of the failed Democratic campaign

              • Sebastian_h

                I like Michelle Obama a lot. But no more family members. Please. Families sharing the presidency isn’t healthy. We have hundreds of millions of people in this country. Family connections helping you to the presidency isn’t a good thing.

      • Cheap Wino

        A professional woman I know who definitely voted for Trump once called Michelle a bitch. “Why would I listen to that bitch.” Michelle would fail under the weight of both having a vagina and a skin tone that turns off too many. Zero chance of a successful presidential run, unfortunately.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      The charisma metric also applies to male politician. I spent my early adult political years watching Jimmy Cater…Mondale… Dukakis… squashed like bugs. File John “mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah and futhermore mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah” Kerr in that category, too.

      Democracy: it’s just a big popularity contest. How you speak counts for a lot.

      (Just checked wikipeida. Dangit. Dwayne Johnson is a registered Republican. He’d do very well.)

      • Dilan Esper

        For the record, I think Erik’s overstating the importance of charisma. It doesn’t hurt– Reagan and Kennedy, for instance, both had it in spades. But there have been plenty of uncharismatic people who have been elected President too.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Let’s not take chances.

        • Not in the last 7 elections

          • Dilan Esper

            I don’t think W was that charismatic, and I don’t think Clinton was that charismatic either, actually (although I know some people disagree with me on that). I always found Bill Clinton boring and long-winded. And before that, H.W., Carter, and Nixon weren’t charismatic.

            Obama and Reagan had the most charisma of any Presidents in my lifetime.

            • El Guapo

              Are you nuts? Bill C had a shit-ton of charisma and empathy. GWB’s was of a different stripe, the aw-shucks-let’s-grab-a-beer-and-clear-brush type, but still counts.

              • Dilan Esper

                Charisma is in the eye of the beholder. Bill Clinton never won a majority of the popular vote. Democrats remember him more fondly in the charisma department than he actually came off at the time.

                And plenty of people thought W was a doofus.

                • Joe Bob the III

                  No. When Bill Clinton left office his approval rating was 65%. That is the highest end-of-term level since Harry Truman. Bill Clinton was a very popular President, and not just among Democrats.

              • Sebastian_h

                I didn’t like Bill Clinton much at all at the time, as I grew up very Republican, but he definitely had charisma. Like scary charisma. I would watch him on TV and nod along happily until the TV went off and then suddenly snap out of it kind of charisma.

            • Nick never Nick

              Bill Clinton and W both had plenty of charisma, in any normal definition of the term.

          • tonycpsu

            “Charismatic” just seems to me to be the politics equivalent of “scrappy” as applied to the white guy at the end of the bench on an NBA team. The literal definition may be applicable to anyone, but the way it’s used often implies certain identity traits.

            • Jackov

              You might be on to something.
              Barack Obama did like to shoot hoops
              and was not afraid to use his elbows.

        • njorl

          I don’t think you need charisma so much as likability. That raises the bar for women and lowers it for men. We’re much more forgiving of men than women when it comes to likability.

          Our culture prizes men who challenge us or who raise a little hell. It denigrates such behavior in women. Women get stuck with being peacemakers and conciliators as valued roles. If people ever become genuinely sick of the polarized nature of our politics (as opposed to just being sick of the other side existing), that might help a woman candidate, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

          • bender

            Carter won because he was the opposite of Nixon in a variety of ways, and people were sick of Nixon. If it had been any other election year or following any other president, Carter would not have been elected.

            One thing I admired about Bill Clinton was that he had a gift for pointing things out in very simple words, and saying them in a way that made you laugh. That gift is not common in politicians of either sex–Hillary lacks it completely–but it is disarming, gets the listeners on the speaker’s side, and is a form of wit that is acceptable coming from women as well as men.

    • cpinva

      “just like the mythical Rust Belt voters that would vote for liberal policies if we’d speak their language.”

      sorry, I don’t speak Derp, and have zero interest in the Rosetta Stone short course.

  • MikeJake

    It’s also people who legitimately feel left behind in the global economy. It doesn’t even matter if it’s true. It’s how they feel. Actual good job creation at home in the places where people live is part of the answer.

    Nonsense. If we can just jam everyone into 8 cities and teach them to code, everything will work out.

    • Gregor Sansa

      Don’t byte off more than you can chew.

      • liberalrob

        Start with a nibble.

  • CrunchyFrog

    That this is happening in an evenly divided nation where one party now controls the entire government with an extremist agenda is an unmitigated disaster for all the policy and moral reasons that you all know already.

    Right. It appears that when all votes are counted the Democrats will have the most cast for President, Senate, and House. Yet the GOP will own all three plus the SCOTUS, and unless they keep the filibuster will have carte blanche to enact their full agenda.

    Speaking of votes not yet counted…

    Hillary’s total was down a solid 4 million or so voters from 2012.

    I read there are 7 million uncounted votes, likely most of them for Clinton. Did you factor that into your total?

    • Murc

      K-Drum has some numbers.

      It looks like Clinton did worse than Obama nearly across the board. The biggest drop was among unmarried men, but she did worse than him in almost all demos; black, white, you name it.

      This seems to imply a whole lot of people either switched or stayed home.

      Now, believe it or not, that’s actually a good sign. Because if she’d maintained Obama’s numbers the other possibility was “racist white dudes can just swamp us, straight up” and that’s not the case. It means things are gettable.

      • mds

        It means things are gettable.

        Assuming enough of the Democratic base still have their voting rights in 2020, that is.

      • JohnT

        Latinas were second biggest drop though and that seems almost impossible. Do we really trust these exit polls?

        • ColBatGuano

          Or any polls?

          • JohnT

            Well obviously not the ones predicting a comfortable Clinton win….

  • CrunchyFrog

    That Trump did better than Romney with both Latino and African-American males is the big jaw-dropper of the election.

    Arnold Schwartzengroper, 2003. Surprise winner. The difference? Hispanic males, expected to vote for Cruz Bustamante, instead went in droves for the macho macho man.

    Look, every human population has roughly 1/3 who are authoritarian followers and crave a daddy figure bully. Not surprising in retrospect that Trump peeled off a lot of minority males. And it’s a really sick psychology of the bully’s buddies – they’ll get abused by the bully but it’s worth it because they can be in on the abuse of others. BTW, this explains most of the unexpected shift last night.

    • Jackov

      Minority males did not elect Donald Trump.
      White people did. White people.

    • bender

      Arnold wasn’t widely known as a groper when he ran for office, and his campaign style was not bullying. He didn’t insult people; he was genial. He presented himself as a version of the penniless-immigrant-comes-to-America-and-makes-good. His advantages were celebrity and name recognition, certainly machismo since he was a former body builder and had macho movie roles, but he was a moderate Republican, ran as a moderate, not as an authoritarian. His campaign wasn’t divisive; it was a pretty standard “brighter future” pitch.

      I didn’t follow Cruz Bustamante’s career, but there is a long list of African American and Latino politicians who begin their political careers in Southern California and never get a following in the northern half of the state. You would think that coming from LA would give politicians an advantage; that’s where the largest number of voters are, but it doesn’t work that way. Kamala Harris (NorCal) just trounced Loretta Sanchez (SoCal) in the race for Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat.

  • SadOldGuy

    Thank you for this website. I finally was able to eat a small meal and keep it down because I could express my fears here in a safe place.

    • q-tip

      Ditto. I think looking for small opportunities to make a positive difference in someone else’s life can help, too.

      What finally got me out of my fog today was having to reassure a bunch of Latino high school students, many with undocumented people in their families. Had to sling a ton of bullshit I didn’t believe, but none of us are any use if we’re demoralized and nihilistic.

  • Tsuyoshi

    I am having a hard time seeing how Democrats win again any time soon. Minority voting rights will disappear again. Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin, where Republicans have total control of state government, are going to do everything they can to keep minorities from voting. The Roberts Court will not lift a finger to stop them.

    Gerrymandering has been significantly limited in Texas and Florida because of large, growing minority populations, and the requirement to provide a certain proportion of majority-minority districts. But that limit will soon be gone.

    Immigration is going to be sharply curtailed. Big business likes immigrant labor, but 1) big business is no longer in control of the Republican Party and 2) they prefer immigrants to have a few rights as possible. If everyone has to come to the US illegally, all the better. The diversity visa is as good as dead. Family visas probably are too. Some kind of temporary worker visa, with few rights and no path to citizenship, might be coming to replace the existing employment visa system. Naturalization requirements will probably tighten up considerably. Even Wong Kim Ark might be on the way out.

    All of which means that changing demographics are not going to save the Democratic Party. Obama’s two terms are, in the end, just a bump on the road to Whig-style irrelevance. Unless the Democratic Party somehow decided to abandon racial justice, and fight on the new playing field where only white people matter… but I have a hard time imagining it.

    • Lit3Bolt

      The Rust Belt is now the White Belt.

      “Changing Demographics” will never happen, if ever. This is a myth.

      So get ready for permo-Trump.

      • JohnT

        It won’t be necessarily be permaTrump. Once he and his immediate successor have broken enough shit for even stupid people to notice, centrism will be back. Extremism burns itself out in failure. The resultant centrism could be right or left, though. If the game has been permanently recast as white-against-colour ethnic warfare, then right (white people are going to be a plurality for basically ever, and American political systems are designed to empower determined pluralities). Otherwise left.

        • liberalrob

          Whites are split on race too, though. There are a lot of non-racist whites who would join anti-White Nationalists.

    • Jean-Michel

      Exactly this. The red states will become permanently red, ethnic cleansing and voter suppression will tip some blue states to the GOP, and while the remaining blue states will retain some ability to resist GOP policies, that will gradually go out the window thanks to the permanent Republican Congress and SCOTUS. We’ll probably have a nullification crisis within the next four years–my bet is it’ll be in California, involving immigration or environmental policy, though the inevitable abolition of state minimum wages could be a flashpoint in a number of places. In any case the feds will use whatever is necessary, up to physical force and military occupation, to bring recalcitrant states in line.

      Scott’s “Welcome to the Neoconfederacy” line is basically right, but I’ll modify it–there won’t be anything “neo” about it. We’re going to see what the United States would’ve become not merely if the Confederacy had won the war but if it had conquered the Union.

  • ochospantalones

    African-Americans in key cities like Milwaukee and Philadelphia simply did not come out in the needed numbers.

    Before this becomes conventional wisdom, it should be noted that Hillary Clinton won 560,500 votes in Philadelphia. Obama won 557,000 in 2012. Trump won about thirteen thousand more votes in the city than Romney, so the net was smaller. But in terms of turnout Philadelphia contributed its share of votes. I can’t speak for Milwaukee, however.

  • Emmryss

    One more fear to throw on the pile — I see the usual dynamic playing out only even more extreme. That is, Republicans voters have once more been promised the moon: the wall, the mass deportations, the favourable trade deals, the return of all those jobs, their America great again, and when it doesn’t happen they’ll turn to even more radical right wingers only this time they won’t be form the Tea Party, they’ll be from the newly empowered and normalized white supremacist alt right.

    • wengler

      I kind of wonder if they’ll give up on the Republican Party, because at its root the Republicans just want to give the world to the rich and party. This rising fascist class of Republicans actually wants programs and jobs and things that we have promoted for everybody, but they want it just for their racial group.

      I think the friction between these two wings of their party will coalesce in some huge war overseas, since militarism is one of the only things they agree on.

      • Yankee

        I think the chances of a “huge” war have gone down; HRC would have been confrontational towards Putin, and it might have ended up as armored divisions in Europe and other places. Whereas the more likely future is detente with Russia, giving both sides (and China) room to send in the Marines, much like the Banana Wars of the early 20 c.

        • ColBatGuano

          Really? What do you imagines happens when Trump scraps the Iran nuclear deal? It may not be in Europe, but it’s going to be huge.

          • liberalrob

            The next big war is Saudi Arabia vs. Iran. We’re all in on the Saudi side. If Iran resumes its nuke program expect air strikes and escalation.

            Which is really odd, because we’re all in on Israel too. Gives the Saudis a lot of leverage on us.

            Sorry, Palestinians, your long nightmare is not ending anytime soon.

        • Barry_D

          “I think the chances of a “huge” war have gone down; HRC would have been confrontational towards Putin, and it might have ended up as armored divisions in Europe and other places. Whereas the more likely future is detente with Russia, giving both sides (and China) room to send in the Marines, much like the Banana Wars of the early 20 c.”

          In other words, you think that Clinton would have been more rash than every single president of the Cold War.

        • Redwood Rhiadra

          Oh, there will be armored divisions in Europe, all right. They’ll be Putin’s, conquering Europe all the way to the Atlantic, while Trump stands by and cheers him on.

      • Barry_D

        “I kind of wonder if they’ll give up on the Republican Party, because at its root the Republicans just want to give the world to the rich and party. This rising fascist class of Republicans actually wants programs and jobs and things that we have promoted for everybody, but they want it just for their racial group.”

        See Kansas. And WI, MI, etc. The white working class right has a considerable appetite for getting screwed over economically.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    Thank you, Erik.

    • petesh

      Seconded.

      • Thom

        Yes, this is really an excellent and helpful post. Thanks.

      • Joseph Slater

        Thirded.

    • DrDick

      Indeed.

    • q-tip

      Yeah, really terrific, Erik. I often wish for more nuance in your posts – though I get why you don’t always take the time to do that, or feel it’s useful/necessary.

      This post had nuance out the ass without getting lost in the weeds. Just great.

      I’ve been impressed by how a lot of lefty bloggers/writers are coming to grips with this. (And IRL people too.) Reevaluating prior assumptions and considering different courses of action. That reality based community thing is not just a cliche.

      Of course, intellectual honesty and $1.95 will get you a small coffee, and maybe a knowing nod from the barista. Still …

      • Rob in CT

        That reality based community thing is not just a cliche.

        Of course, intellectual honesty and $1.95 will get you a small coffee, and maybe a knowing nod from the barista. Still …

        What horrifies me is that it’s entirely plausible that being the “reality based community” gains us nothing – and sometimes costs us – electorally.

        There’s a case to be made for saying fuck it, let’s just make shit up.

        • JohnT

          That is the fundamentally terrifying about Trump on a philosophical level. If you don’t have to tell the truth – at all – what is the limited of the sane and the possible in a democracy? how does it work?

        • q-tip

          There was always a case to be made for bullshitting at least a little, I’d say. And Democrats have done it.

          ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

          But long-term, you can’t build something worth having, something that will last, on sand (or bullshit). I think – scratch that, I choose to believe, because I need to be able to start sleeping again.

  • blackbox

    We are fucked as a nation, and possibly as a species, with such an inability to think critically. So many people can just be led around by the nose with the most banal false narratives. I’ve typed several things and deleted them so I’m just going to submit the post here. I’m nauseous.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      That’ll do.

      I have the same fatalism about global warming. As a species, I don’t think we’re capable of acting until the disaster has arrived.

      • liberalrob

        Yup.

        At least Florida won’t be a significant swing state anymore.

  • Brett

    Kevin Drum has a pretty good post-mortem post on it. Some of the highlights:

    1. Hillary did surprisingly bad with unmarried voters compared to Obama, down 10% from unmarried men and 5% from unmarried women.

    2. Her numbers were also noticeably down with Black and Latino voters in general.

    3. Believe it or not, her percentage of white women was actually up 1% over Obama 2012.

    • Emmryss

      Given how unreliable the polls were before the election, I’m a little suspicious of the certainty with which such numbers are thrown around immediately after.

      • Murc

        These aren’t based on polls. These are, you know, the votes. What makes you think widespread election fraud took place?

        • cpinva

          “These are, you know, the votes.”

          based on what? since you don’t put down all those demographic markers on the ballot, how else is someone coming up with those breakdowns? crystal ball maybe?

        • Connecticut Yankee

          They’re result-adjusted exit polls. Still highly unreliable. Will be a long time before we have a clearer picture

    • JohnT

      This says that the biggest swing group is female Hispanic voters turning away from Clinton compared to Obama…that’s not conceivable, is it?

  • Well said, Erik.

    The only other thing I have to add is, now, more than ever, support the ACLU.

    Okay, I do have one more thing to say. I just received this from my daughter, from a third grader in her school.

    “I am concerned that Mr. Trump will send our parents to Mexico. I am also worried that I have to stay by myself and my sister. And I can’t forget of that. I think I am going to have that in my mind for the rest of the day. Thank you for helping us.”

    That’s America today.

  • Burning_River

    Erik, this is terribly depressing and yet, articulates so many of my fears. Thank you for this.

    I lurk far more than I comment here, as I’m not nearly as smart or as educated (enough to know there’s a difference between the two, I guess) as most of the folks who comment here. Born in Erie County, PA and living all of my adult life in Cuyahoga County, OH, I fully expected the firewall to hold for at least two of the four of WI, OH, MI and PA.

    We just spent two days over the past weekend in Athens County, in Southern OH, another reliably Democratic county for President Obama. Driving through, I saw a Confederate flag openly hung on a porch, and Trump signs in multiple dorm room windows on the East Green of OU. It was then that I realized I’d greatly underestimated the scope of white resentment.

    • cpinva

      “I lurk far more than I comment here, as I’m not nearly as smart or as educated (enough to know there’s a difference between the two, I guess) as most of the folks who comment here.”

      not being smart and/or educated hasn’t stopped me from commenting here. I think, as characteristics, they’re highly overrated.

      • Burning_River

        I suppose I’m easily intimidated. A thing I’ll have to get over to survive in Trump’s America.

        • Linnaeus

          If it helps, I mentioned, in another thread, a guy I know on Facebook (we also know each other in person, haven’t seen him in years) who offered a hilariously self-serving explanation for why he voted for Trump.

          That guy? He’s got a Ph.D. So even the “best and brightest” don’t always act as such.

        • N__B

          I suppose I’m easily intimidated.

          Just picture all of us naked and drooling on our keyboards. Then when you stop laughing, type out your comments.

  • Peterr

    Between 2012 and 2016, we had Ferguson and Michael Brown. We had Baltimore and Freddie Gray. We had episode after episode of unaccountable police use of force that left an African-American dead. Between 2012 and 2016, we had the emergence of Black Lives Matter.

    And we had the backlash to Black Lives Matter.

    This is not a minor thing, though it got precious little overt attention during the general election campaign. In less visible ways, though, I think the backlash was part of what drove one segment of Trump voters to the polls, while the absence of overt attention to it from the Democrats did little to energize their voters, and even contributed to the apathy of some.

    • Jonny Scrum-half

      I think you’re right about the backlash to those events, and I’d add another item – the removal of the Confederate flag from the SC Statehouse in 2015. I think these things, along with gay marriage and the transgender bathroom fight, persuaded a lot of people that society was changing too much and too quickly.

      • cpinva

        “I think you’re right about the backlash to those events, and I’d add another item – the removal of the Confederate flag from the SC Statehouse in 2015. I think these things, along with gay marriage and the transgender bathroom fight, persuaded a lot of people that society was changing too much and too quickly.”

        yes, that people other than white racists/mysogynists/homophobes had dared to demand to have a say in how the country is run/works. just who did those people think they are, anyway?!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Jonny Scrum-half

          I’m not sure if you think that you’re disagreeing with me. I don’t agree with or condone those sentiments, but I think that they exist, and it’s important to keep them in mind moving forward.

      • AttorneyAtPaw

        How sad, if our social politics really are that zero-sum. “Sorry, everyone… Bruce and David took both of the Progress Chips for their wedding, so everyone else has to take a step back until the white straight guys are calm enough to manufacture more.”

  • Nick never Nick

    This is just a thought on the contrast between Obama and Clinton, which I only thought about last night as the returns started coming in. I apologize if anyone finds it offensive. My memory of Obama’s first campaign (which I only followed sporadically because I was living abroad) is that he very much played down the implications of his being black. He didn’t respond in any way to Palin baiting him, he didn’t talk about the historic nature of his candidacy, basically he played it cool. I suspect that this gave a lot of casually-racist people the leeway that they needed to vote for him, for other reasons. He WAS a historic candidate, everyone knew it, but he kept it quiet. And, for black people who were the most aware of this, the discussion of this was largely in their communities.

    Clinton was also a historic candidate, but in a more explicit way — she was shattering the final glass ceiling, and talked about it. Her supporters talked about it — and because they were women, their discussions of it cut through every community in the nation. Casual misogynists never got the ‘yeah, I’m a woman but I’m not gonna talk about it’ vibe that would give them space to back her — she was making history. The fact that Trump kept forcing misogyny into the foreground didn’t help.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have the impression that Obama wore his historic candidacy lightly, and Clinton wore hers heavily, and that this is part of the ‘charisma’ argument. I don’t mean it offensively and I apologize if anyone takes it as such, and I don’t know how I would demonstrate this either. The answer might be as simple as that all the oxygen given to the emails meant that voters never got an idea of what Clinton would do for them; whereas Obama ran in the shadow of Bush’s collapsing presidency, and could speak about what he would do for voters.

    • There might be something to that. Obama claimed he wanted to govern a post-racial America to some extent. He also played up his membership in a Christian church (including “hope” as an important virtue) as something he had in common with all voters. (It was pretty shocking how quickly the Christian Right challenged his faith, after the inauguration.)

      As women, a Palin could have done that, or maybe a Schlafly. Even someone like Coulter. But Clinton could not, for various reasons.

      But part of it too is that many, even people who were, say, somewhat racist, could enjoy getting behind “.post racialism”. “Post-gender” was a bridge too far.

      • mds

        (It was pretty shocking how quickly the Christian Right challenged his faith, after the inauguration.)

        They challenged it before the inauguration, and it’s only shocking if one is not particularly familiar with the Christian Right. Obama is a Democrat; how could he possibly also be a Christian?

        (Had Ms. Clinton dwelt at all on her own Methodist faith, it would have been similarly derided, because she thinks gay people are fully human and fertilized ova aren’t.)

    • JohnT

      There’s truth there although I would say it was a facet of the fact that Clinton wore everything more heavily than Obama. (Her list of potential campaign slogans kind of rubbed that in). It was just the nature of her candidacy. As Eric says, the Democrats nominated someone who would be great at being President rather than someone who would be good at being a Presidential candidate. The huge weakness of (small d) democratic leadership is that those are not obviously the same thing.

    • cpinva

      “The answer might be as simple as that all the oxygen given to the emails meant that voters never got an idea of what Clinton would do for them;”

      ok, you had me up until this, which has exactly zero bearing on her being female, the crux of the rest of your post. had she been a male, would those emails somehow not been an issue, because you know how women like to talk? and geez, 650k emails, how did she find time to do anything else, if she and Huma were constantly emailing each other about what dress to wear to the prom?

      • Nick never Nick

        Yes, I know — ‘the answer might be as simple’ means that the above might be overthinking things. I’m not intending these last two sentences to agree with the other argument.

        I shouldn’t have run them together.

        • q-tip

          I get what you meant, but it took a second look.

          I thought your OP was an interesting take – I hadn’t thought of it that way before.

          • q-tip

            Matt Yglesias echoed your OP on the Vox podcast today BTW.

  • Yankee

    It’s always easier to fix the ex-wife than to fix yourself, except it doesn’t work. Apparently the liberal establishment has failed to deliver to a substantial and growing chunk of … the world, actually, going back to the 60’s at least. Yea Eric for saying Yes, we do have to deal with those people.

    … or else move Somewhere Else, to that “away” where people want to throw old useless stuff. Best don’t locate near a beach suitable for an amphibious landing, tho…

    • Yankee

      Meant to say, there’s the racists and hillary-haters who are going to be a problem for a long time, but we could start with the people who stayed home.

  • RebDovid

    Erik writes: “Trump won all categories of whites.” I take it, Erik, that, like an unknown number of Trump’s supporters, you’re not counting Jews as white. (I’m commenting, not criticizing.) In 2012, the Jewish vote reportedly split 69% Obama, 30% Romney. This year, reportedly, 74% of Jews voted for Clinton and 24% voted for Trump.

    • Joseph Slater

      As a Jew, yay.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        Not that it’s going to help when they start herding us into the gas chambers.

  • Thom

    So one thing we learned is that the huge numbers of early voters meant only that people like the convenience of having a range of days in which to vote.

  • Dennis Orphen

    One possible future just became significantly more evenly distributed.

    ‘When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.’

    -HST

  • Here is the only thing helping me get through the day, although I agree that this is the end for the Supreme Court and climate change and that is a giant issue that most voters haven’t grappled with.

    Anyway, in 2004 everyone was talking about how the Republicans had everything locked down and looking at how they’d have the government forever. In 2012 we were exulting about how the electoral college gave a lock to Democrats forever. Things change. And the problem with having the support of the mob is that the mob changes.

    Obama and Eric Holder will supposedly be working on state and local elections and anti-gerrymandering after this. And that’s where we need to concentrate and retrench, on the ground, for 2018.

  • Michael Cain

    I’m pleased you noticed how well things went in the West (and not just the narrow West Coast strip). There’s possibilities for improvement as well — I know you despise ballot initiatives, but Arizona passed a minimum wage increase and mandatory paid sick leave very comfortably, a good sign. OTOH, the people running the national party can’t keep taking the West for granted — the bench for national players has to be grown there as well.

  • wjts

    Given that the Trump administration is almost certainly going to be an unmitigated disaster of scandal, corruption, grotesque behavior, militarism, and the decimation of generations of domestic policy, one would like to think that an aggressive left could organize to take back Congress in 2018.

    If six years of Bush got us 2006, then basic arithmetic suggests Trump will need to be at least three times worse to get us to that point in 2018. I think that’s eminently plausible.

    Less glibly, I do think that 2018 should be up around the top of our immediate priorities. It’s a bad map, obviously, but the national party needs to start thinking about this now, in terms of strategy and recruitment. Obama has apparently said that his big post-presidency project was going to be focusing on increasing Democratic midterm turn-out. Now’s the time to do it, though I confess I have no idea what a viable strategy might look like.

    • mds

      Now’s the time to do it, though I confess I have no idea what a viable strategy might look like.

      I’d say “focus on GOTV efforts,” but he tried that this year, too. Still, he’ll have a whole lot more free time to devote to it after January. “If we get D voters to the polls, we win.” Well, as long as they’re permitted to vote when they get there.

      • cpinva

        if graphically demonstrating to people just how much shittier their life is going to be, under a Trump presidency and republican congress, couldn’t get their asses off the couch to go vote, how do you expect to get them to move, for something that’s two years down the line?

  • Joe Bob the III

    Erik – I think your penultimate paragraph is one of the most salient points. As much as Trump and his supporters singled out certain targets, in equal measure their anger is blind. I think economic anxiety is something assigned by reasonable people trying to assign reasonable explanations to people who aren’t operating on reason to begin with. They don’t have an agenda or certain policies they want enacted. Listen to Trump supporters and lot of them don’t even really believe Trump has the right answers or can really fix anything. If he does? Great. If not, he’s a suicide bomber who can blow up the compound from inside. And that’s fine too.

    The thing that floors me is that people who voted for Trump have no concept of worse. As unhappy as one may be with the status quo, there are infinite degrees of worse. Sure, a vote for Clinton would be a vote for more mainstream status quo. A vote for Trump is certainly a vote for something different but it also comes with a bottomless pit of downside risk.

    • cpinva

      “Sure, a vote for Clinton would be a vote for more mainstream status quo. A vote for Trump is certainly a vote for something different but it also comes with a bottomless pit of downside risk.”

      this. these people really, really, really don’t care, just as long as they can have a hand in making someone else’s life miserable, because they themselves are basically miserable excuses for human beings.

      according to both the theologians and the scientists, what separates us from the lower forms of life is self-awareness, and the ability to think. “free will” in religion, cognitive analysis in science. what we saw yesterday was a huge demonstration of what happens, when a large part of a group of humans is governed by their need to hate, everyone and everything. they’re only happy (and at that, only marginally so) when they are hating someone or something.

      my hope is that the stress of that continued level of hate results in a higher than actuarial average death rates among them, so as to make a statistical difference, in 2018 & 2020.

      a boy can dream, can he not?

  • So. Here’s my question for organizing at for the future:
    1)What policies would you ideally see in a new Democratic platform to reach the white rural and exurban voters?

    2)Who is doing the best rural organizing out there, do you think?

    3)How can we set up community organizing structures in rural and exurban America? It’s harder than in urban America, partly because of the distance people have to travel, and partly because it’s so hostile to outsiders and anyone that seems to be liberal (I say this based on my own experience trying to get into communities for certain issues and based on people I know who have been environmental organizers in coal country.)

    But it seems to me that this is what has to happen, right? It will never work for Democrats to just parachute in and make some announcements, because voters think we’re just parachuting in without knowing what people think or thinking about concerns. We need to ask rural and exurban American what they really need, make them think of some real solutions to ask for. Because right now I think people are just pissed and if they think things won’t get better they’ll settle for taking other people down with them.

    So, what groups are there that we can support? And how can we do this with others?

    p.s. We should probably think about how to organize in post-urban cities (like Gary, IN), too, to bring more voters in.

    • ColBatGuano

      Was organization the problem though? It’s not like Trump developed an actual campaign that drove those folks to the polls.

      • No, but if we do it might be able to combat things.

        Also, one of the issues this blog has reiterated is that we need to do more outreach to the rural areas and working class. But what policies we have come up with are either being rejected or not being understood, and my sense is that the votes are out of anger rather than hope. Not for policy but to burn everything down.

        Good community organizing that involves getting the community members to identify what they actually want to change, and helps to address their issues through policy changes and makes them feel heard by progressives, is one way to counter that.

        • bender

          I agree with your last paragraph and I would suggest talking to members of the local Grange wherever they exist.

          Responding to both you and witlesschum, one reason small town downtowns die is depopulation. A major cause of depopulation is giant monocrop corporate farms. That kind of agribusiness employs very few people. It’s also environmentally awful in many ways—mines the soil instead of building it up, depends on heavy use of fossil fuel, pesticides, chemical fertilizers and GMOs, kills beneficial insects etc. It also enjoys a lot of government subsidies and regulatory favor. Smaller mixed crop organic farms are sustainable, and they are more labor intensive, so they employ more people. They aren’t economically competitive with conventional agribusiness without some governmental help during the transition.

    • witlesschum

      Just in general, get in big on the idea that people in rural areas deserve the same kinds of basic services that are available in cities as far as healthcare, push support for rural transit systems and senior citizens services. That ties obviously in to pushing some sort of single payer healthcare and other Dem priorities. I’d also push rural broadband access, though the Dem running in northern Michigan and the U.P. tried that one and got whipped worse than the guy who ran for that seat before him by a worse candidate.

      Support for revitalizing small town downtowns. There’s a number of groups at work on that. In theory more sense of community is good for liberals.

      If white people from rural areas think Democrats only care about black people and gays from cities, then I think you push back with the idea that Democrats stand for everyone being equal members of society and back it up by providing services people can use. Make clear we can only pay for this by taxing rich people more.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        If white people from rural areas think Democrats only care about black people and gays from cities, then I think you push back with the idea that Democrats stand for everyone being equal members of society

        Which some of them really won’t like. But some don’t care, and we’ll take their vote, as we always have.

        and back it up by providing services people can use. Make clear we can only pay for this by taxing rich people more.

        And (HONK!) People! You’re not rich! You’re not going to be rich before this year is out! Or next year, either! We’re not talkinga bout taxing you!

        Of course, we have to say that in the most diplomatic way. Not even that. We need to use linguistic trickery like Rove to distract them on such subjects. Just coming out and saying, “Hey, we’re not talking about taxing you. You’re not rich” will, of course, offend some people who have peculiar notions.

        (I’m convinced that for some real dummies, in their minds, blacks = poverty, poverty = blacks, I am not black… I must be rich! Me and Donald, bets buds!)

        • witlesschum

          Maybe saying “Wall Street” is what you want to do.

      • I agree in general, but here’s the thing: just pushing those policies doesn’t seem to be enough. Obama’s is the first administration to have a Rural Health Administration. Democrats were trying to protect subsidies for rural airports in the transportation bill. Economic assistance programs do help rural areas, too.

        The problem is that obviously a lot of people either don’t know about this, or don’t think that it will do them any good. That’s why we need to be better at organizing and asking people to identify what they want to see to make things better, not just keep saying that things need to “change” in a nebulous fashion.

        Also? This?

        And (HONK!) People! You’re not rich! You’re not going to be rich before this year is out! Or next year, either! We’re not talkinga bout taxing you!

        Absolutely. I’ve told this story here before but here in VA all of the southern and western delegates voted against a rejiggering of our tax code that would have lowered or eliminated taxes for the poorest and raised taxes on people making over $250,000. For a lot of those delegates, there was literally no one in their district making that amount of money. But apparently taxes are still bad!

        As the quote goes, in America we don’t have poor (white) people, just temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

        • witlesschum

          Yeah, I suppose the rhetoric might be more important than the reality. Some kind of America For All type talk.

          • Redwood Rhiadra

            They don’t want America For All. They want America For Whites.

      • ASV

        As a native Yooper and current resident of rural southern Illinois, I think you underestimate the extent to which rural whites want to believe their lifestyles are not subsidized by the state. Both where I grew up and where I live, the area’s economic engine is a public university. And yet I have watched over and over as people in both places voted for candidates who promised cuts to higher ed, cuts to primary and secondary ed (often couched as necessary because of bloodsucking teachers unions), cuts to infrastructure spending, and cuts to personal and corporate taxes. Growing up it was a mixed bag of results in Michigan; now in Illinois those candidates could never do anything until Rauner became governor.

    • SamChevre

      Rural, exurban, urban; black or white; I think the key is “good jobs, here.”

      I find it helpful to have a particular person in mind. Here’s mine: he’s 23, has a just-barely-got-it high school diploma, and got out of jail on an small felony (2 years) a year ago. He has a girlfriend with a 2-year-old.

      The goal: he can get a job, and earn enough to provide the basics–a safe place to live, the ability to see a doctor if they get sick, food all the time–for his family. He can marry his girlfriend, and she not be worse off than on whatever benefits are available to her and her child now.

      Any policy that gets you there–any policy that has a chance of getting enough employment, well-paid enough relative to housing and medical costs–will attract tremendous support in poor areas–rural, urban, and suburban. It needs to be employment, not benefits. (Yes, this sounds like the demands of every labor movement, ever; that’s not accidental.)

      For rural-specific policies, nationwide wireless broadband would be at the top of my list. Because I grew up on a farm, making it easier to sell farm products directly to consumers would also be hugely helpful.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        [blockquote] For rural-specific policies, nationwide wireless broadband would be at the top of my list. Because I grew up on a farm, making it easier to sell farm products directly to consumers would also be hugely helpful. [/blockquote]

        You could get that past President Trump…

        (GAG)

        …without a veto if you told him that meant that there is camgirl talent in the heartland as yet untapped and undiscovered.

        • Joe Bob the III

          In MN, the Democratic governor has tried to scale up rural broadband programs. The GOP controlled one house (and now both parts) of the legislature. The governor proposed $100 million over two years, the (then) Democratic Senate passed funding for $85 million, the GOP House passed funding for $20 million.

          For these GOP assholes, tax cut/small government/free market ideology wins hands down over genuinely helping their own people. Likewise, the GOP wants nothing to do with a big win that would make Democratic politicians look effective to ‘their’ voters.

        • Redwood Rhiadra

          And Trump would get the credit, not Democrats.

      • Joe Bob the III

        Well, if Trump deports 11 million people that should create a few rural job openings in agriculture. We can see once and for all if those are jobs Americans will or will not do.

        Seriously though, I have family members who are farmers. The only ones who make a decent living at it (in good years) are corn and soybean commodity farmers. Three guys easily run 1500 acres, with some seasonal part-time help. Some others grow organic vegetables and run a CSA. They get by but it’s a lifestyle choice as much as a viable business.

        Until some decentralized wired economy comes into existence, the people – jobs equation in rural areas just doesn’t pencil out. There is no fundamental economic demand for many of those people to be there. It’s not something government can create out of whole cloth or incentivize into existence.

  • synykyl

    Thank you Erik.

    We need honest analysis like this.

    We need to figure out what to do next, not waste our time and energy casting blame or wallowing in self pity.

    It won’t be easy, but people have overcome greater obstacles than those we face.

    It’s ok to be sad. It’s not ok to give up.

  • FOARP

    It’s surprising that it’s taken until now for the left in the US to start considering secessionism. I guess this was mostly because secessionism until now has been the sole province of the far-right in the US, mainly due to historical reasons.

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