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The business we’ve chosen

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“In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”

Orwell

Glenn Greenwald’s election postmortem concludes that the election of Donald Trump was a failure of “the elites” and the Democratic party:

THE PARALLELS BETWEEN the U.K.’s shocking approval of the Brexit referendum in June and the U.S.’ even more shocking election of Donald Trump as president last night are overwhelming. Elites (outside of populist right-wing circles) aggressively unified across ideological lines in opposition to both. Supporters of Brexit and Trump were continually maligned by the dominant media narrative (validly or otherwise) as primitive, stupid, racist, xenophobic, and irrational. In each case, journalists who spend all day chatting with one another on Twitter and congregating in exclusive social circles in national capitals — constantly re-affirming their own wisdom in an endless feedback loop — were certain of victory. Afterward, the elites whose entitlement to prevail was crushed devoted their energies to blaming everyone they could find except for themselves, while doubling down on their unbridled contempt for those who defied them, steadfastly refusing to examine what drove their insubordination.

I can’t comment on the parallels with Brexit, since I know hardly anything about British politics, but the claim that America’s elites unified to oppose Donald Trump is plausible only if by “elites” you mean David Brooks, Ross Douhat, and George Will, as opposed to, say, the Republican party.

And just to be clear, by the Republican party I mean that party’s entire leadership class, almost every one of its elected officials at the federal and state level, its money, its many and various propaganda outlets, etc. etc.

Moving right along:

Put simply, Democrats knowingly chose to nominate a deeply unpopular, extremely vulnerable, scandal-plagued candidate, who — for very good reason — was widely perceived to be a protector and beneficiary of all the worst components of status quo elite corruption. It’s astonishing that those of us who tried frantically to warn Democrats that nominating Hillary Clinton was a huge and scary gamble — that all empirical evidence showed that she could lose to anyone and Bernie Sanders would be a much stronger candidate, especially in this climate — are now the ones being blamed: by the very same people who insisted on ignoring all that data and nominating her anyway.

Put even more simply, “Democrats” here means the vast majority of the people who voted in the Democratic primaries.  Unless you subscribe to the theory that the critical causal factor producing this outcome was the moment Donna Brazile gave Hillary Clinton a heads-up that a debate in Flint, MI, would feature a question about lead in the water supply, this electoral outcome suggests that Democratic voters — not some cabal of shadowy cosmopolitan elites — chose Hillary Clinton, despite her immense unpopularity (attentive readers will begin to detect some possible contradictions in this narrative), and despite all those “scandals” (which consisted of what again exactly?).

I think I have a little bit of cred on the questions Glenn’s essay is addressing.  I was arguing sixteen months ago that Trump had a very real shot at both the GOP nomination and the presidency, because he was a skilled populist demagogue, who was already successfully exploiting the intersection of racism and economic anxiety.

I supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries.  I criticized Hillary Clinton sharply on numerous occasions for her far-too-cozy relationship with banksters and war criminals. I deplored the combination of greed and extreme tone deafness that led an already very rich person to take many millions in speaking fees from financial interests during the short time between her tenure at State and the formal beginning of her presidential run.

So yes I agree, wholeheartedly and without reservation, that Hillary Clinton was a flawed candidate. But there’s an extra word in that sentence. It’s the extra word that would still be in that sentence if you replaced the name “Hillary Clinton” with any other name in the recorded history of the world.

I’m too tired right now to give this topic the attention it deserves, but you really don’t get to avoid soiling yourself with the dirty business that is and always will be the business of politics by calling yourself a journalist.

If you helped bring about the election of Donald Trump by doing the best you could to publicize every sordid little detail of the Wikileaks data dumps that tumbled into your lap, then that’s what you did.

That’s what you did when everything was on the line. That’s how you decided, freely and consciously, to use your time and your very considerable talents. That’s what you chose to do at a moment of supreme moral and political crisis.

And that in its own small or perhaps not so small way is a tragedy.

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  • Scott Mc

    He won’t own anything. It’s someone else’s fault. And when civil rights are rolled back even more across red states, that will be the fault of Democratic elites.

    Feingold lost Wisconsin. There is no set of left/progressive policies that will magically get people to turn out. Charismatic candidates might. Seems like that’s more of the lesson here.

    • djw

      Feingold lost Wisconsin.

      To a brain-dead Tea Party empty suit. By more than three times the margin Clinton lost the state by.

      If you think this is a moment to opportunistically climb back on your favorite hobby-horse, rather than take in the emerging evidence with a real awareness that your long-standing preferred account might not be entirely correct, you’re not taking this crisis seriously.

      • Scott Mc

        The “He” in my comment was Greenwald; the you in yours is him also, correct? I’m no fan of GG.

        • djw

          Right. I was more riffing off your observation than responding directly. Greenwald’s hardly alone in doing this but yeah.

          • Scott Lemieux

            I think I’m going to do a post about this, but Jim Justice, essentially a conservative Republican on the Democratic ticket, won the governorship by 7 points in a state in which Clinton got 26% of the vote. That might be a hint that the Appalachian working-class is not itching to return to the Democratic fold if only it would offer MOAR SOCIALISM.

            • XTPD

              Who do you think we should run in 2020?

              • brad

                I’m not saying should, but if you look at social media the current frontrunner would appear to be Kanye.

                The scariest part, to me, is I’m not sure that’s even a bad idea.

                • XTPD

                  Might as well, as I thought his last two albums were kinda meh — also, the debates will be hilarious/horrifying.

                • brad

                  Well, if there is, in fact, any lesson to draw from looking at W, Obama, and Trump as a group, it’s that it pays to have someone with genuine appeal. Gore and HRC are overqualified technocrats who ain’t good at the speechifying and inspiring and cheerleading. I hate to say it, but it may come down to trusting in the team and putting a marketable figurehead at the top of the ticket. Oprah would be… an effective option, were she interested.

                  eta: or imagine Trump debating Jon Stewart.

                • I said even before the election that I would pay money to see Stewart debate Trump (especially since Trump said Stewart “is a pussy and would be hopeless in a debate with me”, which is clearly not true). I stand by that. If he’s our next presidential nominee, I will be ok with this.

                • ForkyMcSpoon

                  I think Colbert would make a more effective debater than Stewart.

                  Stewart allowed himself to get rolled in some of his interviews, and I don’t think I ever felt that a conservative got the best of Colbert.

                • Donalbain

                  Trump. Trump got the best of Colbert. Colbert rolled over and begged Trump to ruffle his belly. Colbert is worse than Conan.

                • Connecticut Yankee

                  Don’t think Kanye would be too strong in the general. Oprah, though…

                • Rob in CT

                  1. Stewart isn’t a great debater.

                  2. Clinton is, and cleaned Trump’s clock three times in debates. It wasn’t enough.

                • addicted44

                  I honestly, no joke, think that’s a great idea.

                  Kanye West has accomplished far more than Donald Trump ever did, and he is a more decent person.

                • addicted44

                  @Rob In CT is absolutely right.

                  I honestly cannot think you could have someone beat Donald worse in a debate than Hillary did.

                  Colbert rolled over, and Stewart, as much as I love him, would make a terrible debater.

            • dl

              Lesson I draw from “Jim Justice” is that the American people are itching for candidates with quasi-superhero names. Anybody on the Dem bench qualify?

            • mpowell

              No Scott, we must despise such Democrats. They are not even worth having. Better to have Republican state houses and gerrymandered House districts giving Dems a 7% headwind. Heighten the contradictions.

    • There is no set of left/progressive policies that will magically get people to turn out.

      I don’t think we can say that for certain, considering that the mainstream media devoted 3 times more coverage to Clinton’s email “scandal” than all policy issues combined. Maybe people will turn out for progressive policies if they’re, you know, talked about at all.

      • Nobdy

        Let’s ignore policy for now.

        If Charisma exists it cuts both ways, right? People can be attracted to a candidate but they can also be repelled (by a candidate they perceive as uncharismatic.)

        The press, including Greenwald, spent the entire election trying to make Clinton appear uncharismatic. They repeatedly even TALKED about her lack of charisma (and such discussion does influence people’s reactions.) But more importantly they saddled her with all kinds of characteristics that repel people. They portrayed her as bloodless, conniving, power-hungry, manipulative, secretive, arrogant etc…

        I think Trump has all those attributes more than Clinton, but while he was criticized for some of his actions he wasn’t given as bad a press “character” as Clinton. At the end of the campaign people trusted Trump more than her, even though he lied so much you couldn’t restrict it to just when his lips were moving.

        Some candidates have natural charisma, like Bill Clinton or Obama, but others are made more charismatic through the stories told about them and the way they are covered. And some have their charisma blunted by a cloud of cynical accusations.

        So even if policy doesn’t matter, the media does, and Greenwald’s actions in helping paint Clinton with an undeserved picture that repelled people were reprehensible.

        • bizarroMike

          Hillary Clinton was uncharismatic in the way that Al Gore was boring. That is, a story was developed that these things were true. When Clinton had direct, unfiltered opportunities to talk to America (during the debates, at the convention), I thought she came across very well. People want to push the uncharismatic angle to cover their own sexism, their own Clinton bias. It’s crap.

          • Co-sign. Clinton came across as very warm and personable in the debates. She also came across as quite rehearsed, but that’s just who she is. She wants to be prepared. That seems like it should be a strength in the leader of the free (for now) world, but somehow it got spun into a negative for some people.

          • Little Chak

            Double co-sign. Lest we forget that one of the just-asking-questions-criticisms leveled at Clinton from the debates was “Did she come across as too prepared?”

            In the town hall debate, she talked directly to the people who asked the questions. She was forthright, looked them in the eye, and came across as genuinely caring about them.

            Trump would say maybe a “sentence” or two, then turn his back on the questioner and spend his two minutes laying into Hillary about something barely or completely unrelated to the question.

            The media had every opportunity to point this out, and make it one of the stories of that debate. The only time Trump has “charisma” is when he is rallying his base to chants of “Lock her up!” and “Drain the swamp!” — when he has to actually defend any of his positions, or speak to the opposition, he has very, very little.

          • Scott Lemieux

            I think this is an important point. If Clinton were a world-historically terrible candidate rather than a flawed one treated very unfairly by the media, it’s hard to explain why she had her strongest numbers after the debates. When the public saw her outside the endless filter of “EMAILZ!,” she did well. And without the Comey letter she probably wins the Electoral College.

            • xq

              Non-response bias? Dems thought she did really well in the debates and were energized by it, more willing to talk to pollsters. Not saying its the whole story but I think it’s a possibility we should take seriously.

              • so-in-so

                If they had stayed energized, maybe turnout would have stayed high enough for the win. Instead, the debates recede into the background and it’s emails 24/7 for the last week or more.

                I haven’t heard that Obama has canned Comey, either.

                • Rob in CT

                  Yeah, that’s my response too – energized Dems/Dem-leaners is exactly what we needed, and didn’t get.

                • xq

                  The enthusiasm of people who are going to vote for you anyways doesn’t matter. The problem with interpreting poll movement literally is that, due to non-response bias, it can be driven by changes in enthusiasm among people whose vote is already determined. Did the debates actually help Clinton among marginal voters (i.e., people undecided either between the candidates or whether to vote at all)? I don’t think we actually know.

            • Gizmo

              It comes back to the media, again. Hillary ran against the DC press corps and lost. Hillary connected directly with voters at the debates, and people responded well. It was like Al Gore all over again – the good candidate gets slandered out of a job.

              I don’t think the Dem’s have a very good chance anywhere until we can change this. I’m at a loss as to how we get a better press. All the incentives for them run the wrong way.

              • Connecticut Yankee

                DC media was generally friendly to Obama – of course Dems will disagree but it’s easy to see even for people who get how certain media biases push in conservative directions that they liked him a lot more than either Clinton, Kerry, or Gore. Who do we have who’s like that?

            • jeer9

              What Comey did was despicable, but I don’t think it explains the 6 million or so fewer voters for HRC than Obama got.

              And while there was far too much time spent on the non-scandal of the EMAILZ, it’s very hard to believe that these same 6 million or so were also unaware of the Bush tape or that DJT stiffed his contractors or that he’s a blustering bullshit artist temperamentally unsuited to the job. Yet they couldn’t be bothered to show up and say NO!

              That speaks to some very smart people in the campaign who had a lot of resources being unable to motivate Dem voters and match the BHO numbers needed for victory. (Obviously, all the great ads and the debate performances weren’t enough.)

              Or we can view Clinton as a deeply flawed candidate who was never going to inspire enough people on the key issues in the Rustbelt states to support her and that this result was baked in with her selection. (Coakley on a national level.)

              • Bas-O-Matic

                Hillary was a flawed candidate because Republicans hate her enough to come out in force to vote against her, enough people who vote across lines feel the same way and either voted Trump or 3rd party, and enough Democrats dislike her enough to vote 3rd party or not be bothered to vote against Trump. Whether that is the result or pure misogyny or opposition to her just takes a misogynistic form I’ll leave for someone else to answer (personally I don’t know that voters would have had as much of a problem with another woman. Opposition certainly would have taken on a misogynistic tenor, but might not have been as intense)

                I don’t know that Sanders would have won. He couldn’t beat Hillary. But I think the fact that an avowed socialist gave her such a run for her money should have set off warning signs that we were going to have a problem turning out the Obama coalition.

                • mpowell

                  It was definitely a warning sign for me!

              • ForkyMcSpoon

                They’re not finished counting. There are millions of votes left to count.

                Estimates probably put her final total at around 63.7 million, so about 2 million behind Obama 2012.

                Some of that decline is due to Johnson and Stein (and maybe even a little bit of McMullin in Utah), and some is due to people staying home.

                Some of Trump’s margin will be due to people switching, and some may be due to increased turnout. It seems likely he will exceed Romney’s total when the remaining votes are counted, but not by a large margin.

                • Rob in CT

                  Yeah, we really need the final numbers before we draw conclusions.

                • Rob in CT

                  I see her lead is up to 300k:

                  59,821,874 Trump
                  60,122,876 Clinton

        • I knew the media’s natural bias toward appearing “balanced” would be an advantage for Trump, but I underestimated how huge of an advantage it would be, and how his “blizzard of lies” strategy would fully exploit it.

          The media has an obvious desire to give equal time to both sides. So when CNN does a two-minute negative segment about Trump, they try to do a two-minute negative segment on Clinton, so as not to appear “biased.” And he lied so much, and had so many scandals, that every time he did or said something crazy, they had to go “and on the other hand, Hillary Clinton blah-blah-blah.” And they only had one thing: emails.

          “Donald Trump called Mexicans ‘rapists.'”
          “On the other hand, Clinton’s emails…”

          “Donald Trump called for a religious test to enter the country.”
          “On the other hand, Clinton’s emails…”

          “Donald Trump ran a fraudulent Ponzi scheme in the guise of a ‘university.'”
          “On the other hand, Clinton’s emails…”

          “Donald Trump attacked a gold star family for a week.”
          “On the other hand, Clinton’s emails…”

          “Donald Trump fat- and slut-shamed a former Miss Universe.”
          “On the other hand, Clinton’s emails…”

          “Donald Trump admitted to serial sexual assault.”
          “On the other hand, Clinton’s emails…”

          “Donald Trump got repeatedly exposed as an uninformed, blithering moron in the debates.”
          “On the other hand, Clinton’s emails…”

          “The number of women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault is now up to double digits.”
          “On the other hand, Clinton’s emails…”

          It led to the impression that the email “scandal” was the most important issue in this election, because it’s the thing that got talked about the most. It’s likely the single biggest reason why despite Politifact rating 70% of Trump’s campaign assertions as some degree of “false,” while Clinton’s number was around 24%, in every single goddamn batch of polling he was seen as being “more honest and trustworthy.”

          The media’s utter inability to accurately inform the public about these asymmetric candidates was a colossal, consequential, and potentially catastrophic failure.

          • angrifon

            This makes sense. False equivalency is a cancer.

          • Exactly. We knew that the media would fuck the emails chicken to a certain extent. The fact that they would fuck it to death was not at all predictable. This is probably entirely unprecedented in modern history, and likely far dwarfs what was done to Al Gore. This is a level of false equivalency that, as far as I’m aware, has never been seen before.

            • addicted44

              I’m pretty sure that after the Comey BS they were fucking the corpse.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        Maybe people will turn out for progressive policies if they’re, you know, talked about at all.

        That supposes the media has any interest in talking about them. There were zero questions about climate change asked by the moderators in the debate. Other major issues were nearly or totally ignored.

        The media assume that viewers are interested in stupid, shiny things. Based on the results they’re not entirely wrong. But I can’t imagine that this would have changed if a different person had been the Democratic nominee.

    • wfrolik

      That was a big takeaway for me too. Both Feingold and Zephyr the big socialist candidates *lost* and they lost big. Socialism just isn’t that popular no matter what the radical left wants to believe.

      Now it is entirely possible that Bernie or Biden might well have performed better than Hillary but its not because of policy. Its because of sexism a factor which Greenwald never mentions. Nor does he bring up race. And he doesn’t bring up Russia or Putin. That’s just red baiting right?

      Because modern day Russia is SO friendly to progressive causes and anti-income inequality.

      • RonC

        Feingold got 46.9% of the vote for senate and Clinton got 47%, I’m not exactly sure how that shows that Feingold lost any bigger than Clinton?

        • djw

          Because in a close election, share of top-2 is what matters?

          • Scott Lemieux

            And even if you say that they did equally badly, that still doesn’t help you with your pundit’s fallacy.

          • RonC

            No the point I was responding to was that Feingold did much worse than Clinton.

      • ASV

        Also worth noting that Colorado voted down single-payer by a 60% margin!

        • ColBatGuano

          And Washington defeated a carbon tax by 20%.

      • Bas-O-Matic

        Did people oppose Clinton because of sexism, or did a lot of people’s opposition to Clinton take on a misogynist tenor? I think another woman would certainly have faced misogyny if she had been the nominee. I don’t know that as many people would have been opposed, or their opposition as intense, to another woman.

        • Connecticut Yankee

          No way it’s not both

    • PJ

      “Bernie was better!” voters very conveniently sidestepping Feingold and Teachout.

      • Murc

        Zephyr Teachout performed the valuable service of heavily curtailing Andrew Cuomo’s presidential ambitions, something we should all be grateful for.

        • PJ

          Sure.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Again, I think I’ll write about this, but I don’t think anyone was saying that Teachout losing means that she should have been replaced with a moderate empty suit — that would be equally stupid. It’s just that it creates serious problems for the narrative that Clinton lost because she isn’t left-wing enough, which is almost certainly false.

            • RonC

              Except that you have to deal with the apparent fact that her district was apparently a Republican leaning district.

              • Scott Lemieux

                It’s beside the point, given that the argument is that red-leaning white votes will turn to the Democratic Party is the Democratic Party would just turn to the left on economic policy.

        • Rob in CT

          Just looking up some things about NY-19 in Wikipedia…

          It looks to me that for House elections it has a clear R lean.

          Teachout lost by 10 in a presidential year, which are usually favorable to Dems.

          The prior cycles, the Dems lost by 28 (!) in 2014, 5.7 in 2012, 5.3 in 2010. They won by 17 in 2008, after having won by 2.4 in 2006. Before then were repeated blowout R wins.

          Given this, I don’t think we can make really strong claims about Teachout’s candidacy. The most I’d say is:

          Clearly, running a Pure Progressive isn’t magical. She lost, as other Dems had lost before. It was a Presidential cycle, yes, but our nominee lost. So.

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            The thing is that some people need to learn the lesson that running a Pure Progressive isn’t magical.

            The types of people who think that Jill Stein could really win if only people weren’t convinced that she couldn’t win. They don’t want to engage with the fact that most Americans don’t want someone like Jill Stein.

          • Connecticut Yankee

            Hard to generalize about ideology from downballot candidates. They often have low name recognition, have a disadvantage vs incumbents (though not in this case!), and few people come out to vote because of them. I’ll be interested to see if she did better or worse than Clinton

        • sam

          Yes. That’s why NPR was already talking about Cuomo being positioned to run in 2020 this morning.

          (also, he was never going to run against Clinton this time around)

          • Murc

            Yes. That’s why NPR was already talking about Cuomo being positioned to run in 2020 this morning.

            Right. Because a party that just lost with Clinton is going to nominate someone who shares her politics and charisma, but is further to the right.

            That said I should have forseen that he’d try and make a comeback with a Trump win. Christ.

            • sam

              I didn’t say I was a fan of Cuomo. I’m just saying that the voices coming out of my radio were already, two days after the 2016 election, talking up his “positioning” for 2020.

              and that Zephyr Teachout did shit-all to “curtail [his] ambitions”

              • Scott Lemieux

                Cuomo IS NOT WINNING THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION. Just for starters Gillibrand would run against him and beat him like a rented mule.

            • ForkyMcSpoon

              Is he that much less charismatic than Clinton?

              (I assume that he gets bonus points for being a man.)

          • Good lord no. Anyone but Cuomo.

            • I would take Cuomo over most Republicans. I would take almost any living Democrat I can name over Cuomo. Maybe not Lieberman, because I still hold a grudge over the public option, but he last ran as an independent, so fuck him; he doesn’t qualify as a Democrat anyway.

              • ForkyMcSpoon

                What if the primary matchup was Cuomo vs. Bayh vs. Manchin?

                • I refuse to accept that as a realistic situation

          • No Longer Middle Aged Man

            Cuomo is a thoroughly disagreeable opportunist with thin principles. Name a Republican you’d prefer.

            My hope for Democrats in 2020, assuming we get there, is to have a wide open primary like the Republicans had this year. They were generally the party that had a predetermined candidate. This year they did something radically different and won. We Democrats adopted the Republican model and lost. Much like we did in 1984 and 2000. In 1992 and 2008 we had a fairly open fight and went with the relatively unknown outsider (in the sense of not the favorite of the party leaders) and won.

            Greenwald and the rest of the lefty purity caucus seem motivated by nothing more at this point than breast beating “I told you so” bullshit so fuck them. But NOT fuck the point that we’ve got to get away from letting the party elite over influence the way we choose a candidate.

            • Murc

              But NOT fuck the point that we’ve got to get away from letting the party elite over influence the way we choose a candidate.

              There is almost literally not a way to do this.

              You can’t stop people from spending many years slowly building support within the party in aid of a presidential run. You cannot stop successful two-term Presidents who are popular within the party lending their aid to people they think would be good successors. That’s never, ever going to happen.

              I mean… how, precisely, would you go about doing that? We already have primaries where the rank-and-file vote openly. These determine our candidate. It is true they can only vote for people who decide to run. How can you force people to decide to run?

              We could build party-independent structures that back their chosen candidates, of course, but if we do that then politicians, who do politics, will simply switch to “spend many years carefully and slowly building support both within the party with the party-adjacent institutions in aid of a Presidential run.” You could encourage liberal billionaires to run their own pets, like the Republicans do. That has… its own problems.

            • RonC

              One serious problem with the Democratic party elite is that they are not very good at whatever it is that their jobs are.

              • Connecticut Yankee

                They have won the popular vote for President in 6 of the last 7 elections, an unequalled achievement in this country’s history. Too bad it wasn’t worth shit

            • ForkyMcSpoon

              Some of the people like Greenwald seem to only be motivated by whether the candidate was the favorite of the party leaders.

              Some of them are pretty obvious with this. Michael Tracey was initially backing Jim Webb. I’m guessing Greenwald and some of these other Intercept/Vice types would’ve had less of a hate hardon for Webb as well.

              Of course, I don’t actually consider Tracey or Greenwald to be progressives. They have certain foreign policy positions that line up with many progressives, but that’s almost their only priority (they’re willing to sacrifice every other issue for that, it seems).

              • Scott Lemieux

                Michael Tracey was initially backing Jim Webb.

                So he’s sort of the HA! Goodman of the pseudo-broscalist crowd?

    • xq

      Pure speculation: Obama-Trump voters voted R for senate because they thought Trump would win and wanted to remove constraints on him; Romney-Clinton voters voted R for senate because they thought Clinton would win and wanted to constrain her. Need to look for evidence for or against, but I think extrapolating too much from the senate races about what would be popular in a presidential contest is a mistake; there are alternative explanations.

      • Rob in CT

        There’s also however many GOP voters voted Libertarian and then straight ticket R to constrain Hillary, versus Greens (a much smaller #) who may have done the opposite.

        • xq

          I think that supports my point, though. Democratic senate candidates didn’t necessarily underperform Clinton because their message was less attractive than hers, but rather because there were a number of voters who didn’t want Trump as president but did want an R senate.

          • Scott Lemieux

            AFAICT there’s no evidence that this kind of conscious institutional-constraint ticket-splitting is a thing. (It’s also worth noting that the 3 Dem Senate pickups/non-incumbent holds were all in states Clinton carried.)

            • xq

              I think this is all consistent with Clinton voters who also voted for Republican Senate candidates being primarily motivated by dislike of Trump rather than a preference for Clinton over the Democratic Senate candidate. Not necessarily driven by institutional-constraint motivations.

            • Connecticut Yankee

              Odd mixture of Seante candidates running ahead vs behind HRC that doesn’t fit any obvious pattern to me. Kander, Hassan, Bayh ran ahead of her, McGinty, Cortez-Masto, Strickland behind

          • Rob in CT

            I was thinking it supported your point, yes.

  • jpgray

    Put even more simply, “Democrats” here means the vast majority of the people who voted in the Democratic primaries.

    A lot of the choosing happened before the first primary vote was cast. I refuse to believe so many at LGM fail to acknowledge a very simple fact:

    An incumbent presidency, now more than ever, is immensely powerful when it comes to supporting its desired successor. As What It Takes describes it in the context of Dole’s ’88 bid:

    But that meant fighting off the whole White House, and all the goodies that incumbency could command.

    This is not a fucking conspiracy theory. It’s also not a conspiracy theory that Obama saw HRC as his natural successor, and this was part of the reason he convinced Biden not to run. He was telling people as early as 2014 that she was the “only one” who could succeed him.

    The choice was long understood by the president’s confidants. “My supposition always was that when the smoke cleared, he would be for Hillary,” David Axelrod, Obama’s campaign message guru and former White House adviser, told me. “It was just in the air, assumed.” Another former top Obama aide added, “After the 2014 midterms, when he could sense the end … it was like, ‘Who gives me the best chance to win?’”

    Voters chose Hillary, but let’s not pretend the establishment had small influence on their choices. Fighting a successful incumbent White House and its supremacy in the party establishment isn’t nothing, FFS, and that contributed to our small and strange field of alternatives.

    It just seems naive in the extreme that so many here pretend otherwise.

    • junker

      Is there any evidence that Obama convinced Biden not to run? As in, Biden was gearing up for it Obama said to stop?

      • jpgray

        Here you go.

        We certainly don’t know that Biden would have won the primary vs. HRC or the general vs. Trump.

        • DEJL

          I think Biden would’ve hurt Bernie’s chances more than he would’ve hurt HRC’s. But who knows?

          • I first voted in 1988 and I still have the copy of the Germond/Witcover book about the election I bought the following year. I can’t take Biden seriously, and if it had been between him and Sanders I might have gone for Bernie.

    • Manny Kant

      Yes, this is certainly true.

    • Rob in CT

      I think there’s been a lot of arguing past one another on this issue.

      I do think HRC’s candidacy cleared he field, at least somewhat. Not because she and her minions rigged shit. But because a ton of other Democrats agreed with the idea that she was the prohibitive favorite and, unlike Obama in ’08, decided not to take a shot at taking her out. There were probably different reasons for it, including “I’d lose” and “I like her and I can try later” and more besides.

      So, you get this strong argument from some folks who want to pretend there was NO clearing of the field, because they’re still arguing against the idea that it was some nefarious fix.

      • Dilan Esper

        There was both, Rob.

        There was a natural “clearing” that occurs because there’s a strong frontrunner, people don’t think she can be beaten, and people are afraid about recriminations if they take her on and lose.

        And there were also definitely some phone calls to try and keep people out.

        It was NO accident that the strongest competitor to Hillary wasn’t even a Democrat and was 74 years old. Sanders was the one guy who didn’t owe anything to anyone and didn’t have to fear future consequences.

      • Srsly Dad Y

        +1 for Rob. You also still see people arguing, “Shut UP she was super-popular, it’s just that the unfair media made a lot of people dislike her.”

        • To be fair, she started out with an approval rating well in excess of 60%. It was after the campaign started that she became unpopular. There are no doubt multiple reasons for this, but the media has to be one of them.

          • Srsly Dad Y

            Right, but it’s not UNtrue that she became unpopular. Some people seem to think you’re defending Fox News when you point that out. (Btw I also think a key part of a winning campaign is getting the key media outlets on your side — Obama did it.) I was noting the parallelism to Rob’s point about “clearing the field.”

            • RonC

              She was not popular when she ran in 08 and was beaten by a less qualified unknown candidate. And it was known going in that the media would play by the Clinton Rules and she really doesn’t come across as very personable when I watched her campaign things (she may be the sweetest kindest thing in person she isn’t when in campaign mode, I don’t know).

              All of this was known before she started this campaign.

    • Nick never Nick

      It’s not a ‘conspiracy theory’ if Obama convinced Biden not to run, but it is an example of a single person thinking that they know better than the crowd. In the end, Obama was wrong — Clinton isn’t his natural successor, because she couldn’t beat Trump. Anything said about someone else is a counterfactual, but it has a higher probability than being true than the assertion that Clinton could beat Trump.

      • There are plenty of counterfactuals about Clinton and Fuckface von Clownstick, too, though. What if the FBI didn’t ratfuck the election? What if Wikileaks didn’t put its thumb on the scale for one candidate? What if the media covered policy? What if the media didn’t give billions of dollars’ worth of free coverage to the short-fingered vulgarian? What if the Roberts Court hadn’t gutted the VRA and everyone who wanted to cast a ballot had been allowed to do so? What if Bernie didn’t join in with the scandalmongering about Clinton? (I supported him in the primaries, but he bears some responsibility for this.) What if Stein and Johnson didn’t siphon off enough voters to swing several important states? The idea that the tiny-fingered, Cheeto-faced, ferret-wearing shitgibbon was inevitably going to win this election is not defensible. He didn’t really even win; he lost the popular vote and he only “won” the electoral college due to vote suppression shenanigans. A lot of people made choices that affected the outcome of this election. Any one of those could have swung the election in Clinton’s favour, had they gone differently. The outcome of this election, even given the two candidates we had, was not inevitable.

        • Dilan Esper

          I’m still in my “no recriminations” mode. But suffice to say, all of the things you say might be true and that wouldn’t mean that Hillary was a good candidate. There’s always numerous causal factors in a close loss.

          • She certainly has issues, but I contend that many of them are related to sexism in media coverage. She’s dismissed as “uncharismatic”, for example, but she came across as warm and personable in the debates, as well as someone who, unlike Drumpf, actually knew what she was talking about. She was almost universally agreed to have eviscerated him in all three of them, in fact, and it’s questionable whether anyone could have done a better job of doing so.

            I don’t know how we process that; part of it clearly means that the debates don’t affect turnout as much as we thought they might, but it’s also clear that at least some of her perceived “weakness” is due to being a female candidate. I don’t know how we fix that, either. We obviously have to fix it at some point. It may be that the country simply won’t be ready for a female president until some of the old bigots die off. However, the fact that she could easily have won if the counterfactuals had gone differently means that the argument that she was inherently weak needs further supporting evidence before I can consider it credible.

            • Dilan Esper

              Again, I agree she suffered 30 years of sexism in the national media.

              But she has plenty of own goals as well. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to not think highly of Hillary as a politician or to see her as a weak candidate, and one of the things that the sexist attacks and the right wing bluster made it hard for supporters to do is recognize the legitimacy of some of the criticisms.

              Also, on the sexism point, I think it is highly likely that in the near future the Democrats will nominate another female candidate and that she will win. A significant amount of the baggage Hillary carries with the electorate is Hillary-specific.

              • Some of her baggage was specific to her, but not all. She was portrayed as ambitious in a way other candidates wouldn’t have been. There were plenty of even more overtly sexist attacks on her, such as how she should smile or laugh or various other bullshit that no male candidate would ever have been subjected to.

                Not all of her baggage was her fault, either. The emails thing should have been a nothingburger. It looks bad, but she turns out not to have done anything that other people didn’t do worse (Powell actually used a private server directly to avoid a FOIA request; the Bush administration deleted 22 million emails). The same can be said of a number of her other supposed scandals; most of the supposed quid-pro-quo with the Clinton Foundation turned out to be little more than hot air.

                Again, I don’t know what we do about that. Any Democratic woman who’s been around for long enough will have plenty of things in their past that can be spun the way Clinton’s was. Does that mean we have to nominate a woman without much experience in public service in order to get her elected? Because that’s where this path seems to lead.

                Queen Bey for president? I’m only half joking here. I don’t know what the solution is. Maybe we really should somehow convince Michelle Obama to run. I don’t know. I’m having a tough time thinking of someone who can actually win right now.

                I mean, yes, she definitely had weaknesses. The “deplorables” remark was dumb even if it was completely true. But most of her “problems” are things that should have not been problems. I genuinely do not know how to fix that.

                • Dilan Esper

                  I’m thinking Kamala Harris and Tulsi Gabbard.

                  There has actually been a gender-neutral trend in both parties towards less experienced presidential candidates. Trump, obviously, but also Obama wasn’t that experienced. Neither was W. And the second place finisher and the early favorite in the GOP, Cruz and Rubio, were both inexperienced.

                  And part of the reason for this is that anyone who has a long record develops a fair amount of baggage, male or female.

                  In terms of what Hillary’s problems were, it goes beyond the deplorables thing and the e-mails (though the e-mails didn’t help), as well as the sexist right wing attacks. She also had a record featuring some pretty big flip-flops (most notably on TPP, which was a big issue for rust belt Trump voters). She developed a reputation for stonewalling investigations (which went back 25 years). She wasn’t really a very good Secretary of State– Libya is a mess, she favored more intervention in Syria (which Obama thankfully resisted), and a whole bunch of stuff was accomplished by Kerry after she left. She voted for the Iraq War as a Senator. She was associated, fairly or unfairly, with a failed health care bill in the 1990’s.

                  And she (and her husband) have a 25 year record of being too friendly to rich people and bankers. That reputation was already cemented by stuff like the Chinese contribution scandals of the 1990’s (remember Johnny Chung?), but Hillary constantly added to that. She was friends with all the big New York investment bankers and hedge fund billionaires. (Her daughter even married into that.) And probably most importantly, she raked in millions of dollars in speaking fees from people currying favor when she knew she was running for President. (There were even stories about Chelsea taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from NBC for no work.)

                  There was a telling Mitt Romney incident when he found out there were undocumented people working on his house. He said “I’m running for President! I can’t have illegal immigrants working on my house!” Hillary looked really, really bad (especially after Sanders drew the contrast) because she didn’t say “I’m running for President! I can’t take all this money from people who might want favors later!”

                  NONE of this is to say that people don’t hate her for a lot of sexist reasons too. They do. But there were plenty of legitimate flaws too.

                  And a last thing. Fair or unfair, I think she was always going to be compared to Obama because she was running to be his successor. And that hurt her. Because Obama comes off as more ethical, more competent, less flip-floppy (though gay marriage is an exception), and more charismatic / a better speaker. It’s always tough to try to be Gene Bartow following John Wooden.

                • Rob in CT

                  Solid stuff, Dilan, I mostly agree.

                  An aside, about Obama’s gay marriage “evolution” – I think the flip-flopper tag never really got affixed to him about that because basically the country flip-flopped right along with him (and yet, as I type this, it occurs to me that similar flip-flops for Hillary weren’t forgiven that way).

                • I’m not saying that any of those aren’t legitimate reasons to dislike her. I just don’t think they swung many, if any, votes in Drumpf’s direction. They received almost no coverage whatsoever. Even her TPP flip-flop received very little attention (two debate questions or so). They might have caused a handful of people to stay home or vote third-party, but I don’t see how any of those are particularly consequential. I can’t speak for other people who voted Sanders in the primary, but I didn’t vote for Sanders because of her vote for the Iraq war, which she had long ago publicly apologised for; I voted for Sanders because I agreed with his policies more.

                  The fact that Clinton responded to Sanders by moving more towards his policies is something I regarded as a credit to her: it indicated that she was willing to listen to pressure from within the Democratic coalition. That is something I want in a president. Maybe we need to start working to make flip-flopping less of a dirty word.

                  We can litigate her performance as SoS as long as we want but it’s important to note that she was a very popular SoS at the time, so I don’t think it made much of an impact on votes against her either.

                  You do have a point about the trend towards less experienced candidates. I’m not sure whether to regard it as a good thing. Obama has obviously been a highly successful president. Is he more successful than Clinton would have been if elected this year? I don’t know.

                • Rob in CT

                  I don’t think it’s that she got tagged as a FFer because of the TPP, but rather than she was successfully tagged as to blame (at least partly) for NAFTA, which was demonized, such that her flip on TPP didn’t gain her anything. Nobody believed her.

                • rewenzo

                  An aside, about Obama’s gay marriage “evolution” – I think the flip-flopper tag never really got affixed to him about that because basically the country flip-flopped right along with him (and yet, as I type this, it occurs to me that similar flip-flops for Hillary weren’t forgiven that way).

                  I also don’t think anybody thought that he ever didn’t favor gay marriage. Nobody took his denials seriously, so nobody was surprised when he “evolved.”

                • Linnaeus

                  I don’t think it’s that she got tagged as a FFer because of the TPP, but rather than she was successfully tagged as to blame (at least partly) for NAFTA, which was demonized, such that her flip on TPP didn’t gain her anything. Nobody believed her.

                  Clinton had also strongly supported the TPP while she was Secretary of State (she did call it the “gold standard”). She was also a little too vague on why she changed her position – it wasn’t clear what she didn’t like about the TPP now and she didn’t do much to clear that up. Which left open a lot of space to speculate that she wanted the TPP after all, perhaps after some cosmetic changes so she could say that her concerns were addressed.

                • Dilan Esper

                  As a general principle, “if you are going to flip-flop, flip-flop hard” is a good one. If you flip-flop soft people on both sides will be turned off.

                  Plenty of politicians have flip-flopped in each direction on abortion, for instance. But they become passionate pro-choicers or pro-lifers after the flip-flop. That’s how it is done.

    • PJ

      This fantasy Joe Biden, smooth campaigner is hilarious. You all should sue The Onion. He lost in the Dem primaries, like, what, 2 times previously?

      Didn’t he threaten to beat up Trump behind a gym? How well does that kind of stuff play out with him as the nominee rather a beloved, goofy VP?

      • Crusty

        Against Trump, threatening to beat him up behind a gym makes him a little too polite and genteel.

      • Scott Lemieux

        He lost in the Dem primaries,

        Not just lost, but was ridiculously uncompetitive.

        This is another future post, but even assuming that Biden was a better general election candidate (and I think he would have held Pennsylvania, but I’m much more dubious about Ohio and Wisconsin), I don’t see his path to the nomination. Had he been in it from the beginning, he’s a gaffe-prone, undisciplined candidate with ties to the financial industry at least as close as Clinton’s. It’s hard to see how he beats Clinton and even harder to assume he emerges as a strong general election candidate if he does. If he had joined late, well, you’re not beating Clinton as the second establishment candidate when the former’s already locked up the establishment. A Biden who took over at the last minute because Clinton had to pull out for health reasons might have been a stronger candidate but it’s a meaningless hypothetical.

        • jpgray

          As I said above, we can’t know, but if I know anything… he would have straight up lost to Clinton in the primary. Not sure about the general, but even there he’d have issues.

          I’m not trying to cast Biden as some political genius, just pointing out that his absence among other things was evidence that primaries for a party are maybe a little more top-down and establishment-curated when a popular two-term incumbent presidency is perched at the top of the party hierarchy and has its wants and opinions about how things should go.

          • (((Hogan)))

            Maybe the solution is to stop having popular two-term presidents.

        • so-in-so

          Other than maybe there is no equivalent “BDS” to match the press’s CDS, so they don’t spend all the time on his problems? And notice, hey! Trump’s a dumb creepy racist/sexist? And say so? iknow there is no evidence on this latter point. Also, the sexism doesn’t work against him, but who knows (and I really HATE the idea that we don’t run women because the guys won’t vote for them).

        • Lord Jesus Perm

          But he has a dick, though.

    • madmonk

      But that’s literally how politics works. How exactly would you stop this from happening? Nuke the DNC?

      And as much as Obama “came out of nowhere”, it’s not like he didn’t line up patrons before he ran in 2008. He may have had less backing than Hillary, but he didn’t have none. Martin O’Malley is probably a better test case for that idea usually goes…

      • jpgray

        I’m not saying this shouldn’t happen, I’m just saying the curators of the primary field were not voters only, and that’s reality, not some weird conspiracy theory. You don’t need to see Brazile-leaked debate questions as decisive to lay some blame at the feet of the party establishment for our options.

        • Brien Jackson

          There really, really, was no “curating.” Other potential candidates saw her favorable ratings and the performance she managed against Obama in 2008 and begged off of a fight. And understandably so. Bernie found some ground with a particular niche and by being the only Clinton-alternative, but no one is talking about Martin O’Malley as a potential 2020 Trump challenger now, because he humiliated himself to the point he’s just going to be a punchline going forward.

          Getting your ass handed to you is something that REALLY makes you look non-Presidential.

  • XTPD

    And the fact is that the Very Seeryus Media is utterly unrepentant over fucking the EMAILZ chicken raw, and has now shifted to praising Donald’s media SUPERGENIUS while treating his protofascism as “kinda bad, but oh c’mon seriously, it can’t happen here”. Literally the only point of agreement the left should make with Trump is squashing the Village press corps until its bones squirt like yogurt.

    Also, in case it wasn’t clear from previous posts, fuck Jack Shafer in the hair with Ted Cruz’ nose.

    • brewmn

      On the bright side, NPR had a brief story about how Teh Donald might have a bit of a conflict of interest when it comes to handing off his businesses to his kids to run and his responsibilities as president. Eight years from now, I think our media will be able to affirm that he probably never should have been elected (and re-elected) in the first place.

      If there’s such a thing as the “media” left to report it, of course.

      • Taters

        George W. went down the memory hole as soon as he left office. Bygones! We can only hope Trump does little enough damage that he can join George someday. One can hope…

  • Rob in CT

    Honest question, since I didn’t spend any time reading The Intercept:

    What was the approximate ratio of anti-Clinton to anti-Trump reporting over there?

    • kped

      They do run some anti Trump stuff, but you have to wade through pages of Podesta email stories to get to them.

      His hack writer Zaid Jilani was being criticized for this on twitter month or two back, and his response was “lol, not like Trump will win anyway, lol”.

      I don’t blame the intercept for Clinton losing, they are really a nothing entity. But that attitude “lol, who cares” existed in too much media, pushing fake scandals instead of what the candidates actually stood for.

      • so-in-so

        One hopes his Twitter for the next four years is filled with “lol, FUCK YOU Zaid”.

        • kped

          Well, right now he’s just gloating on twitter, so he deserves all kinds of “Fuck you” comments.

          • D.N. Nation

            2018’s going to roll around and Zaid’s POV heading into that election is still gonna be “LOL NEERA TANDEN SUCKS.” Though I guess he could pull a Pareene and just not vote because of real intuhllektual reasons.

            • Scott Lemieux

              The one silver lining of this election is that Neera Tanden’s dangerous NEOLIBERALISM is being kept out of the White House. Glad we dodged that bullet!

        • Colin Day

          With a name like “Zaid”, he may be getting it from Trump supporters.

          • XTPD

            The same will probably go for Jack Shafer & Mark Halperin (eta: in the same sense that all three deserve 4th-degree burns for gleefully playing with flamethrowers, but not these specific attacks).

  • Docrailgun

    Anyone who has the spare time to write about politics (especially if they get paid for it) is an “elite”.

    • Origami Isopod

      Whaaat. There are a lot of small-time bloggers out there who write about politics, aren’t getting paid for it, and aren’t raking in the bucks in any way.

  • Crusty

    Good points. Jeff Sessions, Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani, and Newt Gingrich aren’t elites? They may be crass assholes, but they’re also elites, with respect to power and wealth, which is I think what counts when we’re figuring out who is elite.

    But on the subject of elites, there’s an issue I’m struggling with. I’m not elite by power or wealth, but I do have (at least on paper) a decent education, and I think I’m somewhat well informed. I read stuff, I grew up in a house with books, a mother who was a historian, etc. Anyway, I don’t want to condescend to or look down upon people who are both fearful for their place in a global economy or who have already lost their place and who also may or may not be well educated, whether in the rust belt, south or Staten Island, but there’s a serious problem here- dummies voting and making stupid decisions. It is not a stupid decision to have different opinions than me. I’ll even grant that it is not stupid to be generally for “lower taxes and fewer regulations” but there is plenty of other stuff out there that drove this election that was ignorance or stupidity or usually both. The media has some role in this, sure. But the fact is there are people who hear stupid crap from Trump, it resonates with their stupid empty head and then they go vote, stupidly, and usually against their interest.

    If the elites are people who know better, then it is elites who should be determining important issues. There is always room for disagreement as to both values and approaches, but past and present facts are somewhat ironclad, as is the historical and other knowledge to use as a backdrop to evaluate campaign promises. So what happens in three and a half years when there is in fact, no big beautiful wall? Do the dummies realize they’ve been had? And then what? Back to democrats, or into militias or something?

    • D.N. Nation

      Blaming The Blacks® seems to be a perpetually renewable resource for these types; remember, the ’08 crash was the fault of The Blacks® who made banks end redlining and also ACORN was there, etc. The howling reactions wingnuts have had to exactly one day of relative lowkey anti-Trump protests from young people shows where this argument is going. We woulda had the wall had Black Lives Matter hurr durr Kaepernick hurr durr. Whether or not they’ll act and act violently on that is up to your imagination. Oh hey! Looks like Sheriff David Clarke might be in the Trump administration! Does that help you along?

      Meanwhile Glenn Greenwald, TYT, Lee Fang, Boners, Alex Pareene, and the Jacobin Kidz will focus on the bigger issue: that prominent black pundits make too much money, or some shit.

      • XTPD

        I hate BernItDowners as much as you, but the likes of Tiger Beat On the Potomac helped legitimized their butthurt far more than they themselves did. (FFS, compare the Trump stories in this article to the Clinton ones, and note how many are simply variants of “hurr durr EMAILZ”).

    • witlesschum

      If the elites are people who know better, then it is elites who should be determining important issues. There is always room for disagreement as to both values and approaches, but past and present facts are somewhat ironclad, as is the historical and other knowledge to use as a backdrop to evaluate campaign promises.

      I don’t buy that bullshit definition of “elite” but to use it, that’s actually people who know more, not know better.

      Knowing more doesn’t always get people to know better. And knowing less doesn’t always get people to not know better. People who know better don’t have such a good record of making decisions, either. Look at the extremely well-informed and educated people who developed and executed the Iraq War. Or Vietnam etc.

      • Crusty

        Yes, people get things wrong, and you can be pedantic about what is it to know better or know more.

        But we just had an election decided by appeals to the lowest common denominator in both attitudes (racism, misogyny, etc.) and knowledge (climate change is a hoax, Trump can bring back American manufacturing jobs by having “the best people” renegotiate trade deals). And that will always lead to a bad outcome. Something other than the lowest common denominator has to prevail.

        • witlesschum

          See, I think it’s an important distinction. “Know more” is an empirical thing and conflating it with “know better” gets into philosophical terrain really quick and we have to start defining what’s “better.” Eventually, we get around to debating whether democracy is really such a good idea. I think as a moral matter (people deserve a say) and a practical matter (self-dealing is too attractive and even informed people are very fallible) that’s a nonstarter.

          I think that all elections in our history have been decided on a lowest common denominator. That’s mass politics, seeking a better lowest common denominator than the opposition. Obama won his elections based on nebulous notions, too. They were better than Trump’s appeals to nonsense and evil, but they weren’t different in kind.

          • Colin Day

            When you say that someone knew better, aren’t you saying that they acted on something besides their knowledge?

        • Origami Isopod

          You are conflating intelligence with character. The right wing has many, many intelligent people who are thoroughly morally putrid. Also, trust me, there are a lot of left-leaning people who are not precisely bright, as you can see by regularly browsing DailyKos.

          • Rob in CT

            I think more conflating education with wisdom than intelligence with character.

            • Origami Isopod

              That’s fair, but my point still stands. Consider all the libertarians in engineering and high tech. Consider that MBAs tend to be conservative.

              • Rob in CT

                Certainly it does. I was offering a friendly amendment.

      • Crusty

        Below is an excerpt from this article from the NY Daily News about Staten Island voters. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/election/donald-trump-loving-staten-island-new-york-idaho-article-1.2866574

        “We have to keep these immigrants out,” Frange added. “She was going to let in thousands of Syrian refugees. And we all feel sorry for what’s happening in Syria, but the first priority is to defeat ISIS, which Obama failed to do and Hillary made it worse with Benghazi and the emails and I could go on and on, like look at who she is associated with: Anthony Weiner.”

        We have to deal with the fact that this is the voting public.

        • Rob in CT

          The anti-immigrant angle was obviously a major factor in Trump support.

          And frankly I’m not sure what Democrats should have done differently about that. Either in terms of what would work and also what would be morally acceptable.

          • Connecticut Yankee

            Lofven in Sweden is massively curtailing immigration – and it hasn’t hurt the Sweden Democrats at all. I see a lot of “If we just do X thing I already wanted to do we’ll defeat ethnonationalist reaction!” but there aren’t many successful examples of that happening recently, in any country. Also worth noting that the rise of the far right isn’t isolated even to the West – Abe Shinzo and Narendra Modi are very much in line with Trump, Le Pen, and Orban

          • efc

            In that vein, Obama has deported more criminal immigrants (Non-citizens who committed crimes, I know “criminal immigrants” sounds not so good but I can’t think of another way to phrase it) and undocumented immigrants than Bush. But Dems were still seen as “soft” on the immigration issue.

            Maybe Dems need to be much, much more explicit and intense about prosecuting the employers of undocumented immigrants and be seen as publicly supporting E-Verify and the like. But it seems that is opposed by a number of Latino groups.

            • Redwood Rhiadra

              “Immigration” is just code for “we don’t want to see any more brown people.” It’s pure straight-up racism. Nothing Democrats can do – except return to supporting Jim Crow – will make them acceptable on “immigration.”

        • wfrolik

          Gee sure sounds like someone protesting Nafta to me! Would have fit right in with Occupy and others.

          Seriously has Glen ever watched footage from a Trump rally? It ain’t exactly subtle.

          • witlesschum

            Trump rallier doesn’t equal Trump voters, though.

            Greenwald is absolutely being self-servingly blind to the former, but some of the later were almost certainly Obama voters who were attracted to Trump’s vision of white supremacy leading to prosperity, which suggests that Democrats can get them back with a competing vision that’s as attractive.

            • Crusty

              I would speculate that it is more likely that those who went back and forth from Obama voter to Trump voter are the ones concerned about things like loss of jobs to overseas. Those buying into Trump’s vision of white supremacy are less likely to have previously been Obama voters and to be driven more by the racist message than the economic aspect of it.

              • witlesschum

                I think most everyone who voted for him has some amount of comfort with white supremacy and sexism. Whether it’s a softer version where you just sorta think white men in charge is natural and aren’t terrorists scary or a harder one based more on pure dislike of the other. I think he did a pretty good job of wrapping that together with the simplistic economic appeals and making it all sound like one big, positive and bombastic package with “Make America Great Again.” He’s good at marketing things on that level, I guess.

                I’m also sure some people who voted for Clinton are in the softer focus version, where they weren’t completely comfortable with voting for a woman, but still did for various reasons.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Good points. Jeff Sessions, Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani, and Newt Gingrich aren’t elites?

      This is giving the argument too much credit. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are not merely “elites,” they’ve just been given pretty much a free hand to restructure America’s political economy. And they support Trump! In McConnell’s case, without even the weaselly “I’m voting for Trump and want him to be president but am not defending him” horseshit that conned Ryan’s ever-doting press lickspittles. As Paul says, anyone with any actual ongoing influence in the Republican Party supported Trump, and who gives a shit who Jeb Bush or some reformicon pundits voted for?

  • Dr. Waffle

    Man, it’s really hard for some on the left to accept the fact that 45%-50% of this country simply isn’t buying what they’re selling. Donald Trump is an anti-union billionaire who, during his campaign, explicitly stated that American workers make too much money. He is not an economic populist, and his supporters are not secret social democrats.

    • Crusty

      I think some of his supporters think he is going to bring back good paying American manufacturing jobs, unionized or not, and they’ve been had. Come on, the show with Carrier, nonsense about Ford making cars in Mexico, crapping on NAFTA and trade agreements, China “killing us” on trade and manufacturing. That was something. It was not nothing. Can I allocate a percentage of influence to that vs. people just liking a racist loudmouth, but that was something.

      • Rob in CT

        Yes, the one issue Trump had that isn’t directly (but is indirectly!) about stomping The Other, it was trade and deindustrialization. Obviously, given the Rust Belt voting, it had some power.

        We knew this. We talked about it. Hillary knew it and tried to finesse it, but couldn’t.

        • rea

          Obviously, given the Rust Belt voting, it had some power.

          It was rural voters in the Rust Belt, though–were those places ever industrialized?

          • Rob in CT

            I’m not really sure that matters?

            I live in a rural town. But I work in a city. The health of the economy of that city matters quite a bit to the rural towns around it.

          • witlesschum

            Plenty of small-scale auto suppliers and things like that in smaller, whiter cities in areas which went heavily toward Trump. Places like Kalkaska or Cadillac come to mind as I happen to know people who work industrial jobs there.

          • BiloSagdiyev

            In modern America, many factories and mills are not in towns or cities, but just the middle of nowhere – and rural people will drive from an hour in every direction for their chance at $13/hr.

            • witlesschum

              I remember taking backroads through West Virginia because the main road was blocked from a semi crash near Pt. Pleasant and going through a few tiny, tiny towns and just coming upon a Toyota plant.

    • bizarroMike

      Yeah, true. But I think many people are going to be surprised when the government of Paul Ryan undoes the New Deal. I’m always amazed at the folks who think the Republicans are going to bring the country back to the post-WWII economy. It is clear that they want to bring us back to the post-reconstruction economy instead.

      • dogboy

        It’s all on the table. There is no cause for restraint. Flat tax? Why the hell not! Amputate entire limbs of the federal govt! Privatize Social Security, sounds like fun! Every stupid/insane idea you’ve heard since James Watt will be proposed and processing time will be the only real constraint against implementation. Overtime? Workplace safety? Fucking deposit insurance? BACK ON THE GOLD STANDARD! Let’s make People’s Commission for Internal Affairs! How about a Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice! Death penalty for everyone! Mass incarceration isn’t mass enough!

        But Greenwald gets to feel superior, so there’s that.

    • RonC

      Somebody wrote a song about that: “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”

      Those people heard him promise to bring good paying jobs back here and ignored or pretended that he didn’t mean the rest of it.

  • Nobdy

    Greenwald definitely has a lot to answer for. If you claim to care about any vulnerable population basically in the world, whether poor, repressed on the basis of race or religion, or even just vulnerable to climate change, this election offered a stark choice and getting caught up in details of leaked emails was foolish and counterproductive.

    This is especially true because there was NOTHING THERE. In the waning days of the campaign I thought that Russia might release some kind of bombshell against Hillary, a truly damaging email that showed she had done something wrong (though it obviously wouldn’t have changed my vote). It didn’t. The most “corrupt” act it showed was that Donna Brazile slipped her an obvious question and that the establishment of the DNC generally supported the establishment candidate. Shocking.

    Instead the press breathless reported each leak revealing such stomach churning details as that candidates for president have plans to influence the press (not through bribes or intimidation but through a PR initiative) and sometimes talk to journalists. Heavens! Professor Campos, please, I need to borrow your fainting couch!!

    I actually would have expected a successful campaign to have MORE dirty laundry but the Clinton campaign was pretty sparkling clean.

    Meanwhile we had a reverse “the emperor has no clothes” situation going on where the entire press insisted there was something there even though there was obviously nothing. A lot of people talk about Trump’s gaslighting but what about this gaslighting? I will never stop being mad about it.

    All that being said, I do understand one aspect of where Greenwald was coming from. Like a lot of us, and I certainly include myself, he felt safe being complacent. He felt like the ‘system’ was huge and the threat was small so he didn’t have to take responsibility for his actions. He could say whatever he wanted and it would just be a drop of water in a mighty river, and the river would know how to go to the ocean and everything would be okay. Donald Trump’s inherent unsuitability meant that eventually things would work themselves out. Now they didn’t and he’s rationalizing and looking for where to cast the blame.

    This election has made stark to me my own complacency. I never ran Hillary down (though I did vote for Bernie) and I supported Hillary and defended her in conversations and such. I voted for her enthusiastically. But that was all I did. I didn’t give her money or volunteer time. I have reasons for that (My money goes to my academic debt; I’ve been pretty busy) and I know that I wouldn’t have made a difference, but I was also complacent. The polls showed she was going to win. She was extremely well financed with a professional operation. Everything seemed like it was going okay so I didn’t feel the need to fight. I was just a drop of water in a mighty river that knew how to get to the sea.

    But the river didn’t make it to the sea and now we’re going to deal with four horrible years of flood.

    I feel stupid and guilty for my complacency but at least I know where to cast the blame. I think his as been a ‘scales falling from the eyes’ moment for a lot of people.

    We trusted the ‘system’ and the system is profoundly broken. But the other side is, in the end, we are part of what makes up the system, so the system isn’t irretrievably broken, it can be fixed. We just have to help fix it. To be willing to make the sacrifices and do the work necessary. To never be complacent again.

    Sorry for the length.

    • wfrolik

      Well said. I donated money and volunteered but now I wish to hell I had done more.

      I think a LOT of people (enough to make the difference) either voted 3rd party or didn’t vote at all because they felt confident Clinton would win. Hell some of the people who pushed the lever for Trump probably did so secretly relieved Clinton would win and things would remain stable.

      Certainly the media overhyped the damn emails in great part because they saw her as the front runner/sure thing. So they could keep up the Both Sides Do It BS without fearing any consequences.

      And now we’re all in for a rude awakening.

      • XTPD

        What do you think the odds are that Village press will personally suffer by Trump’s actions alone?

        • Colin Day

          Oh, come on! Next you’ll tell me that some Trump supporters wore “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required” t-shirts.

          Oh wait

          Of course, this assumes that the Village press practices actual journalism, so they may be safe.

        • RonC

          The village press loved them some Reagan and Bush II, and these are the same people or their children. So I’m sure they will find Trump the bestest ever.

      • Dilan Esper

        Bear in mind there was a ton of overconfidence expressed by Clinton supporters (and even by members of her campaign who touted her ground game and polling prediction models to the media).

        There was a choice, conscious or unconscious, to portray this election as in the bag.

        • mpavilion

          Please. Supporters and campaigns always project confidence. And Clinton supports (and her campaign) were not complacent, they worked really really hard.

      • Origami Isopod

        I think a LOT of people (enough to make the difference) either voted 3rd party or didn’t vote at all because they felt confident Clinton would win.

        There was a lot of vote suppression, keep that in mind.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Instead the press breathless reported each leak revealing such stomach churning details as that candidates for president have plans to influence the press (not through bribes or intimidation but through a PR initiative) and sometimes talk to journalists.

      I think we can all agree that Jessica Valenti getting comments from the Clinton campaign for a story she was already working on is the only scandal in the 2016 campaign even more important than Hillary Clinton’s email management practices. And if portraying this entirely unexceptionable behavior as a major scandal caused her to get death threats and stuff, you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs and pissing on them.

    • Origami Isopod

      Like a lot of us, and I certainly include myself, he felt safe being complacent.

      Yeah, because Greenwald lives in Brazil. While Latin America is certainly affected by the U.S., an affluent white guy there is probably safe enough in economic terms. (I don’t know what LGBT rights are like in Brazil so I can’t speak to that.)

  • Right on.

  • aturner339

    From the outside looking in it appears that white prior even white liberals are deeply offended by the notion that racism plays a role in political decisions. To the point that the mere act of saying the obvious is apparently “bullying and vilification”

    People talk about white fragility? We are getting a crash course this week.

    • witlesschum

      Yup. Liberals and leftists need to reject that shit real quick. This election doesn’t change the fact that the future of liberal America and the Democratic Party is in a coalition of non-white people and white people who don’t have big problems with them.

      • Dilan Esper

        I don’t know. I think there’s a lot of people out there who don’t like free trade very much, and writing them off (or expecting them to vote for Democrats anyway because they are “working class”) is a big mistake.

        I get the feeling a lot of people would LIKE a pure electorate where no whites with any racist views vote Democrat, but that’s not good strategy.

        • Rob in CT

          I get the feeling a lot of people would LIKE a pure electorate where no whites with any racist views vote Democrat

          Of course we do! Or votes Republican either. And a magic pony, and suchlike.

          that’s not good strategy.

          No, it’s not. Something like 1/3 of Dems (1/3 of white Dems or 1/3 of all Dems I forget) are racist, at least somewhat. And we need their votes to win.

          The question is how best to do this, without pandering to said racism.

          • Dilan Esper

            Yeah. And that gets me to trade policy.

            It seems to me the two big policy issues that moved Trump’s electorate are trade and immigration, and as between those two, I’d rather we move towards protectionism than move towards closing our borders more.

            • Have to agree here. I’m not die-hard on protectionism, but unmitigated “free trade” is not always good either (and many deals posed as “free trade” agreements have been anything but). If we moved towards restricting immigration, we would be betraying our ideals, but there is nothing intrinsically harmful to leftist ideals to being more cautious about trade agreements. If anything, this could be overall beneficial to us even without the electoral consequences, since a lot of trade agreements end up having bad consequences for the environment, labour rights, and other leftist causes.

            • Rob in CT

              And I agree with you on trade policy. That’s the one thing that jumps out that doesn’t involve stomping on Others.

              • so-in-so

                Would it have helped if Obama had dropped the TPP, at least by the start of the year?

                • Rob in CT

                  I don’t know. Possibly?

                  In an election this close, almost anything could have turned it.

              • Connecticut Yankee

                Trump’s rhetoric on trade was always “The Chinese and the Mexicans are stealing our jobs because the (((globalist))) elites let them.” I think it moved a lot of people who didn’t necessarily *care* about the racism but maybe were uncomfortable with it but it’s of a piece

        • witlesschum

          I don’t think we disagree. That’s why I said “no big problems.”

          We have to get some slightly larger fraction of people who voted for Trump in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to vote Democrat next time, but if the Democrats signal loudly that white supremacy is a-okay, they’ll lose black people, Hispanics and other minority groups. The Democrats have to come up with a positive message that attracts some of the people who voted Trump but are maybe just somewhat racist and sexist.

    • wfrolik

      The attempt by some to deny racism is pretty absurd. Its like they’re terrified to admit that America might have a dark side

      • LeeEsq

        Who is denying racism as a factor in Trump’s success besides the Republicans? What people are doing is pointing out that is not the sole reason and providing evidence for this position.

        • so-in-so

          About 2/3rds of the press, by a conservative estimate.

          Want a few more articles about understanding the economic anxiety of the WWC? The interviews will be done right after the lynching.

    • LeeEsq

      Your still not answering the question asked of you? Obama, a Black man, got the majority of votes in counties in the Mid-West that went for Trump. He won them in 2008 and 2012. Nobody is denying that White Christian populism was a strong factor in Trump’s appeal. What we are pointing out is that people who voted for a Black man twice did not vote for a white woman. Racism is a poor explanation for this.

      • Crusty

        I think it still offers some pretty good explanatory value. So people took a chance, voted for a black man, their lives still suck as manufacturing jobs didn’t reappear, and health insurance is still expensive and burdensome even if it is more widely available. So the racism kicks back in and they say eff you black guy, we’re rejecting you and your candidate of choice and the one running on your legacy, turns out you didn’t help us, you only really helped minorities, we were hoodwinked, and they go back to racist driven voting.

        It kind of reminds me of the way a black nfl coach can get the boot quickly after an 8-8 season and other white coaches can go between 5-11 and 9-7 for years and years before the owner says maybe its time for a new direction.

        • LeeEsq

          This is a convincing argument.

          • Connecticut Yankee

            More convincing to me is something like “Obama was fine but Trump will be strong against Black Lives Matter.” You can be racist and vote for a racist candidate because of that without flatout refusing to ever vote for a black candidate – look at South Carolina

        • rewenzo

          I think it still offers some pretty good explanatory value. So people took a chance, voted for a black man, their lives still suck as manufacturing jobs didn’t reappear, and health insurance is still expensive and burdensome even if it is more widely available. So the racism kicks back in and they say eff you black guy, we’re rejecting you and your candidate of choice and the one running on your legacy, turns out you didn’t help us, you only really helped minorities, we were hoodwinked, and they go back to racist driven voting.

          But you’re just taking a conventional political story and adding in the word “black.” People vote for a party. Their lives don’t improve. They vote for another party. This is the archetype of politics.

          It’s counter intuitive to me to say that voting for a black man twice and then refusing to vote for a white woman proves they were really racist all along because they only did it to spite the black man whom they still hold in apparent high regard per his popularity rating. This is essentially a non-falsifiable theory. (It’s much more convincing to say that misogyny determined the election.)

          I don’t doubt that a large number of Trump voters are racists, but it’s not clear to me yet (I don’t know that all of the votes have been counted) that Trump added any new votes to his party, much less that he added a powerful new racist vote, much less a powerful new racist but Obama voter vote.

          I’m not sure that this loss tells us anything about the Democratic party other than we should have nominated a more popular candidate and that not enough of our voters voted.

          • Rob in CT

            Well, there’s also the immigration thing. Trump’s popularity began with him ripping on Mexican illegals & his Wall stuff. He kept on about it, and it shows up pretty reliably when people talk to Trump voters.

            So look at the racism angle solely wrt anti-black racism is, I think, a mistake.

            • This. Race is not just black and white. This is critical to remember going forward, as Latino and Native Americans are going to have a rough time of it.

              • Rob in CT

                I also have a hypothesis (and it is mine!) that it’s possible that, in addition to sexism, some of the shift in black men’s votes towards Trump/away from Clinton (versus Obama, though not really versus Kerry) *could* be due to the anti-trade/immigration stole-our-jobs rhetoric resonating, just a bit. Maybe.

                • so-in-so

                  It would not shock me that some AA people don’t like Latinos for whatever reason.

                  Or maybe Trumps “you live in hell already, why not give me a chance” actually resonated with someone who heard little else.

    • Origami Isopod

      Including in the comments on this blog. Lots of blithering about how “identity politics” are bad, the Democratic Party should treat diversity as a “cosmetic” issue, etc. etc.

      This is why I don’t trust most men to have my back, quite frankly, and any guy who objects to that can cry “#NotAllMen!!!” until he’s blue in the face. I absolutely don’t blame people of color for feeling the same about whites.

      • Lord Jesus Perm

        No more calls. We have a winner.

  • far-too-cozy relationship with banksters and war criminals.

    Serious questions: How many people in the US think bankers are the enemy? In more than the populist sense that doesn’t really understand what banks do, or how they’re linked to other parts of the economy, or the difference between “Wall Street” and other parts of finance? Limit that to college-educated people, and does that number go up or down? I.e., does college make people more socialist, or less likely to be populist? If the latter, what are the likely electoral effects of pushing “anti-banksters” as a Democratic Party line and demanding purity wrt it?

    There is a huge gap between putting Larry Summers in charge of regulation and campaigning on treating the banks as enemies of the people. I’d personally like to keep that gap in place, not collapse the difference.

    • Rob in CT

      Bernie’s bankers suck rhetoric worked pretty well for him. Not enough to win the Dem primary, but it sure looks to me like it was a big part of his appeal.

      There is a huge gap between putting Larry Summers in charge of regulation and campaigning on treating the banks as enemies of the people. I’d personally like to keep that gap in place, not collapse the difference.

      You (and I) may see such a big gap, but I suspect many others don’t think that way. The ’08-’09 financial panic was awful, and the bankers were unrepentant, massively entitled dicks about it in the aftermath. And they got away with it. That induces rage. For me too. None of the people who fucked up everything seem to have really paid a price for it. Bernie mined that vein of rage. Trump went there too (hilarious to think he would actually “take on Wall St.” but I guess a lot of people bought it).

      • Nick never Nick

        Also, the banking industry — which has a fairly high percentage of people who make a shitload of money, when compared to, say, the steel industry — has grown as traditional industries shrink. I think a lot of people correctly understand that the financialization of the economy is related to the loss of regular jobs, and growing inequality.

        • Yes, I think John Quiggin at Crooked Timber has written a lot about this. I think it also is at least tangentially related to a tendency to privilege finance and related B-school disciplines over manufacturing and line management. Those are seen as privy to what’s “really” going on and are expected to be culturally competent in a way the rest of the system is not.

        • Downpuppy

          The banking industry also has a much higher number of low end minions making near starvation wages & under pressure to make impossible sales goals.

          Because of course.

      • so-in-so

        Maybe he can get a loan for somebody other than Deutsche Bank now that he’s President?

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Loans, hell. I spent the past year thinking he just wanted attention and status and power. Why won’t he just find a way to loot ? Assume all third world despot type behaviors until proven innocent 20 years after his term.

          • so-in-so

            Hard to find evidence in the smoking ruins.

      • I guess the gap I see is between “banks are part of our system, and banks suck, so we need a REAL revolution (not a revolution of the mind or the culture or whatever Bernie was selling) and a whole new system, which maybe we know and maybe we don’t know yet what it will be” or even the first part of that with “we need to treat international bankers as, like, organized crime, and control them by the government through an act of Congress”. Versus “bankers think they should be in charge so let them.”

        I think if you put it that way, most people would not choose revolution (though some might choose “put international bankers under congressional rule” I suppose).

        I would like there to be more people who are able to say “no bankers should not be in charge of everything” and take some practical steps, beyond trying fruitlessly to get voters to call for revolution or the destruction of the WTO.

        • Rob in CT

          Look, I thought HRC’s position on banking regulation was perfectly sensible.

          But I’m not one of the missing ~6 million voters, so what I thought doesn’t really matter.

          • Yeah, I don’t disagree, I’m really talking about optics and rhetoric.

          • Dilan Esper

            HRC’s position on banking regulation was OK, though not as good as it should be. (No, Hillary, Glass-Steagel was a good law.)

            But her proximity to finance was absolutely terrible. Especially when she knew she was going to be running for President again.

            • witlesschum

              I’m not certain it made a difference in the race, but I am certain it helped her win precisely zero votes. It suggests that there wasn’t a very rigorous effort up front to figure out and then mitigate her vulnerabilities. She never came up with a very good answer on her war vote, either.

              • Dilan Esper

                I think the political problem with her war vote for her is that she really is a hawk. I’m still in my nice mode so I won’t take it beyond “hawk”, but she favors a rather aggressive posture for the US in world affairs.

                As a result, she didn’t want to say things that conceded that the anti-war left had legitimate points about interventionism. So she was left with not admitting it was a mistake at all and just saying W screwed it all up (her 2008 story, didn’t work) or saying it was a mistake but never articulating what she learned from it or how we avoid dumb interventions in the future (2016).

                In other words, she was being basically honest about her approach to interventionism, but that approach has some substantive flaws which the Iraq war exposed.

        • Redwood Rhiadra

          All the anti-bankers I know are Bernie-or-Bust types who either support “As part of the Glorious Socialist Revolution we will nationalize all banks and execute everyone who ever worked for one” and “I’ve been reading a lot of anti-Semitic websites about how the mere existence of banking is inherently corrupt and I think they have a point if you strip away the anti-semitism so we need to eliminate banks (including government-controlled ones) and paper money and return to specie coins.”

          I’m not joking about either of those positions.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        I would like to have seen the bankers prosecuted in some cases, too. But the truth is that a lot of the problem was that the government, both parties, weakened laws and the enforcement of regulations, and afterwards the courts acquiesced in cases of clear fraud by the bankers. To a significant extent the bankers were merely doing what they now were being permitted to do, which isn’t illegal even if they had lobbied for those changes.

        The decision not to prosecute was made by Obama, not by Clinton. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him discuss his reasons, and would love to hear what he has to say. I suspect that his answer would be something like wanting to accomplish things like the ACA rather than devote most of the energy after his election to the prosecution, which would have had enormous political consequences.

        Maybe he could have done both, maybe not. It’s also far from clear that this would have won him (and later Hillary) much support from the people who voted for Trump.

        • Rob in CT

          I would like to have seen the bankers prosecuted in some cases, too. But the truth is that a lot of the problem was that the government, both parties, weakened laws and the enforcement of regulations, and afterwards the courts acquiesced in cases of clear fraud by the bankers. To a significant extent the bankers were merely doing what they now were being permitted to do, which isn’t illegal even if they had lobbied for those changes.

          Yes, I know. I understand.

          But you know what that is, right there? That’s The Establishment fucking up. That’s probably part of the reason ~48% of the country voted for “Fuck You!”

          The decision not to prosecute was made by Obama, not by Clinton. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him discuss his reasons, and would love to hear what he has to say. I suspect that his answer would be something like wanting to accomplish things like the ACA rather than devote most of the energy after his election to the prosecution, which would have had enormous political consequences.

          IIRC, it was a combo of not wanting to plunge us back into a financial panic and belief that the courts would probably let them off. So, to Obama & his underlings, it would result in a lot of sound and fury but produce nothing in the end. I disagreed in real time, and later decided they were probably right (after at least one case did, in fact, go nowhere).

          Maybe the sound & fury itself would’ve been worthwhile…

          • Dilan Esper

            It’s worth noting that they could have TRIED to prosecute the bankers. If the cases get thrown out, fine.

            The statement that they “couldn’t” prosecute bankers is a talking point. The reason bankers weren’t prosecuted is because policymakers were afraid of its effect on markets. Large financial firms were too big to prosecute just like they were too big to fail.

            • Rob in CT

              Which is why I said that maybe the sound & fury itself would’ve been worthwhile.

              • so-in-so

                Would it? Or would it have called attention to fact that they just get off (and waste time and resources in the process).

                So we just have to burn it all down.

                • RonC

                  Could the result have been worse?

              • Rob in CT

                Hence “maybe.”

            • My current belief is that the Obama Administration didn’t prosecute (and did do exactly what they did) because Summers and Emanuel and whoever else Obama and his staff were listening to said they couldn’t and/or shouldn’t. And they were listening to those people because . . . they had beliefs about who to listen to in any given situation, and it pointed there so that’s what they took action on. I’ll be interested in the books that examine this more deeply, when they come out.

            • rea

              It’s worth noting that they could have TRIED to prosecute the bankers. If the cases get thrown out, fine.

              Great–lets establish precedents; let’s show the bankers they can walk close to or even slightly over the line and get away with it.

              • Rob in CT

                I think they know that already, along with the implicit guarantee of a bailout if they fuck up big enough.

                • so-in-so

                  But remember in 2009 Obama said some bad things about them and that was the worst EVER!

                • Rob in CT

                  I remember it was “just like the Holocaust.”

                • Dilan Esper

                  Yeah, if you choose not to decide you still have made a choice, and set a precedent.

            • Scott Lemieux

              It’s worth noting that they could have TRIED to prosecute the bankers. If the cases get thrown out, fine.

              I think this is largely right. I do think people on the left sometimes underestimate how much financial industry scandalous behavior is legal, and I can see an argument for being careful because a weak case can set a bad precedent that makes it harder to win better ones. I don’t object to not spooking markets in 2009. But there just weren’t enough prosecutions to make “we were just marking time for the really strong cases” a viable defense. And in the mortgage industry, people weren’t prosecuted for clear, unambiguous, systematic violations of formal legal requirements.

              Do I think more prosecutions would have won Clinton the election? Nah. But it should have been done because it was the right thing.

              • RonC

                If cases get thrown out you change the law going forward so it doesn’t happen again.

                And in an election this close anything could have changed the outcome.

    • Nobdy

      After the foreclosure crisis I think a lot of people are angry at banks. In law school I went to community organization meetings with a lot of people with a lot of anger at bankers.

      They may not be angry at complex investment bank activities or even resent huge wall street bonuses, but they understand when a bank kicks someone in their neighborhood out of their home based on a shady mortgage.

    • Crusty

      I think its a little bit similar to congress, which everyone hates, but everyone loves their local congressman. When a bank gives you a loan to buy a house or redo the kitchen, they’re great, or at least the person you dealt with at the bank was great (or possibly an annoying pain in the ass), but “banks” as in financial services firms that seem to always make money no matter what for doing who knows what, and on the rare occasion the money flow dries up, they just get it from the government, those they hate.

    • witlesschum

      If the lesson you take from Trump winning the election if that the way for Democrats to win Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania next time is to offer voters a competing devil to hate compared to Donald Trump’s “brown people, uppity women and liberals” the two possible liberal devils I can think of are “the 1 percent” or “Wall Street.”

      Generally, people with a college degree vote Republican but people with advanced degrees vote Democrat. Dunno how that plays into your question precisely. Or how well it held true in this election.

      • so-in-so

        It means there isn’t a majority.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        The problem with demonizing bankers is that “bankers” is neo-Nazi code for “Jews”.

    • Dilan Esper

      I’d like to collapse the difference.

      It isn’t that all finance is evil, but all finance has huge fiduciary problems. They are middlemen and they are responsible for other people’s money, which they often find ways to appropriate. They can highly compensate themselves and use that money to influence politics and public policy. And people who go into that business tend to be people who like money a lot, i.e., greedy people.

      So I’d like banking to be a fairly disreputable profession that the Democrats keep their distance from, not the employer of Democratic politicians’ children and the go-to profession for liberal Ivy League graduates and the funder of liberals’ social calendar.

      • witlesschum

        Yeah, this is approximately what I’m thinking.

      • Rob in CT

        Actually, I’d like banking to be a reputable but boring and moderately remunerated profession. That’s the ideal for me.

        As a second-best, picking banksters as enemies works for me.

        • D.N. Nation

          There was an old Daily Show clip contrasting interviews with a dull, technocrat Canadian banker and a Street douche who might as well been in the Trump family.

          “Well obviously I like to provide services within the boundaries of the ability to zzzzz”
          “Ha, I love the faces of those losers when I rip em off. Is this being filmed?”

          • Rob in CT

            Yeah, there you go. That.

            Our finance sector is rife with razzle dazzle and that’s what makes it horrible.

        • Srsly Dad Y

          I’d like them all to be <reputable but boring and moderately remunerated >!

      • The problem is that banking isn’t optional in today’s world. The revolution required to disentangle it from everything else (I’m now convinced, for reading Krugman and the younger Galbraith, and maybe especially Naomi Klein) would be deep and international and we would have no way to keep things going.

        Also, saying bankers are the ruling class, and the government should not associate with the ruling class, is problematical–it creates a linguistic tangle at the very least–anyway it might be more accurate to say that banks are constantly tempted to stand apart from responsibility to such a degree that it makes no sense to call them the ruling class, and tempted moreover to oppose themselves to actual ruling classes (such a s they may be) in destructive ways. If all bankers were George Soros this wouldn’t be true, but they are not.

        • Dilan Esper

          I take your point about the difficulties of disentanglement, but maybe it should be a project of the left to pursue that disentanglement instead of getting further entangled.

          As for the last point, there’s lots of Soros stuff that is problematic too. It’s great how he supports liberal causes, but there’s a lot to Sanders’ statement that the entire business model of the industry is fraud.

          Or to use a different liberal giant, Keynes, it’s a casino. A good poker player can slowly suck the discretionary income of other investors who don’t play the game as well as I do. The financial markets play out something like a poker game with an expert player who also has control of the deck and can stack it. Much of the money is made either by bilking the gullible or by exploiting advantages that powerful people have given themselves.

          • What would that disentanglement mean, especially if we can’t get rid of the idea that “the market” is some kind of God that has to be obeyed, or else defied in some unspecified way?

            • Dilan Esper

              I’m not sure. But this is why you need policy wonks. We set a goal of decreasing the economic and political influence of high finance, and set the wonks down to figure out how to do it.

    • BoredJD

      The theory would be fraud. And although it is commonly said that fraud is proved via circumstantial evidence, in practice it is very difficult to convince 12 average Americans of guilt based on circumstantial evidence especially the more technical the material, and high finance is very technical.

      For example, the most obvious fraud during the mortgage crisis took place during origination of mortgage loans, some of it fraud by borrowers, some by mortgage brokers. It is very easy to prove mortgage broker Jim intentional overstated borrower Jane’s income by six times – even circumstantially. Once you go up the chain, though, the evidence that anyone knew that Jim and many like him were committing rampant mortgage fraud gets more and more circumstantial. Furthermore, the parties who have suffered the losses from a legal perspective (i.e. investors in mortgage backed securities) had ample opportunity to look under the hood of what they were buying and just didn’t do it – this can be a defense in some circumstances. The jury comes away with the impression that everyone involved was just negligent or at most reckless in what they were securitizing.

      Same with Wells Fargo – it is very easy to prove an individual retail banker in a branch is opening fake accounts. You might even be able to get some of their direct bosses if you can flip the retail bankers. But to prove intent or knowledge on behalf of the CEO or the head of retail banking? Unlikely you’ll get a direct admission, and unlikely that they were aware of more than scattered reports of fake accounts all of which were probably resolved with the account being canceled.

      And that’s without even getting into the time and expense of trying one of these folks. The NYAG has been trying to bring Hank Greenberg to trial for over 10 years for example.

      • Rob in CT

        You know who I’d liked to have seen prosecuted for fraud? The Ratings outfits. S&P, etc.

        • BoredJD

          I understand the emotion, but ultimately it all comes back to “who knew (as opposed to suspected or didn’t look hard enough) that the underlying loans going into these MBS were being underwritten based on unacceptably high rates of fraud.” And when you have diligence and reunderwriting being done on the loans before they go into the MBS, and even the investors and insurers who see those results are still buying in, it is really hard to prove that the ratings agency guy had that knowledge.

          • Rob in CT

            My admittedly lay understanding is that ratings outfits knowingly rated garbage AAA. But that’s from listening to some Planet Money podcast, so take it with a grain of salt.

            • BoredJD

              They did, in the sense that the loan pools were chock full of loans that were extremely risky and with known rates of fraud. But these rates of fraud were disclosed during pre-deal diligence to all parties involved, including investors and insurers. There were even provisions in the deals requiring the bank to buy back any loan originated by fraud. What you would need to prove on a fraud claim is that the banks or ratings agencies knew about even higher rates of fraud which they then hid from investors and insurers.

              When people say “jail the bankers for fraud” what they are really saying is that the entire securitization machine was securitizing fraudulent loans with the knowledge and consent of all parties, and in the end, the public lost out. And they are right, but that’s not a crime that can be redressed by prosecution. It was a complete and utter failure of regulatory and enforcement policy.

              • Rob in CT

                Ok. I’m an educated, affluent voter who is comfortable with nuance.

                And my gut response to that is “well, fuck everything then!” before my rational brain kicks in and says well, no.

                This is a real problem.

                • BoredJD

                  I get it. I’m not trying to criticize or be argumentative either. I have a little background in this stuff and find it interesting to talk about.

                • Rob in CT

                  No worries, I understand where you’re coming from.

                  Mostly I’m just frustrated.

                  Governing, particularly governing well, is hard. Communicating complicated things to voters is hard. Grrr.

    • Dilan Esper

      One other thing. I am starting to see a meme among some liberals (Josh Marshall, Chait) that criticizing finance and financiers for having too much influence is anti-semitic. I am not claiming that can never happen- “conspiracy of international Jewish bankers” is rhetoric that has a real history and I get that. But there really are a lot of people who would love to have criticisms of their industry ruled out of bounds.

      • Rob in CT

        I can understand them being a little hair-trigger on this given the empowerment of the “Alt-Right” crowd.

        It doesn’t make them right.

      • This isn’t new; for years DeLong has been posting anti-banker screeds with “see the parallels?” appended, as if it was both obvious to his readers and invisible to them unless he went and pointed it out. I’d like to see a gap between legitimate criticism of banks and anti-semitism too. Some Jews seem not to see a danger in (what seems to me to be) tightening the association between “Jewish” and “international financier” and as a Jewish woman that seems unwise to me. I think the likelihood of anti-banker sentiments getting much traction outside small segments of the far, far left and populist right is unlikely though, for reasons that actually have little or nothing to do with respect for the Jewish people.

      • Bas-O-Matic

        I don’t know. I think Jews have reason to find commercials suspicious when they talk about shadowy cabals of international bankers and financiers that show pictures of a group of jews. Especially when people close to the campaign have done that kind of thing before.

        I mean “shadowy cabal of international bankers” is kind of like “New York Values” in that it’s maybe not dealing in anti-semitic tropes, but sure sounds like it is.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        It’s not wrong. As I said above, a number of the anti-bank Bernie zealots I know fully admit that their arguments are found on nakedly anti-Semitic websites, which have long used “bankers” as code for “Jews”.

      • econoclast

        Banks are worthy of criticism, and yet the criticism ends up being anti-semitic. It’s not a coincidence that the evil bank everyone mentions is Goldman Sachs, and not JP Morgan, or Bank of America or Citibank.

  • Supporters of Brexit and Trump were continually maligned by the dominant media narrative (validly or otherwise) as primitive, stupid, racist, xenophobic, and irrational.

    Sorry, but if the shoe fits, wear it.

    This was clearly an anti-establishment election. In the midst of that, Clinton not only had to convince the electorate that the establishment could still work for the people, but that she was the right person to lead it. Either battle would be been extremely challenging in the current environment. Trying to fight both was nearly impossible, yet she still won the popular vote.

    I was a Bernie supporter. No one knows what would have happened if he had won the primary. We would likely have had a very highly energized fight between two diametrically opposed visions of a new establishment, and it would have been even more starkly drawn on matters of race, sex, and identity. But what happened happened. there’s no going back. Amerikkka may be on the rise, but we need to keep the vision of America going as best we can.

    • lawtalkingguy

      1) If its an anti establishment election why did less people vote than in 2008 or 2012? There are almost 9 million less votes this election than in 2012.
      2) If its an anti establishment election why is Obama so popular? And why did most incumbents get re-elected?
      3) If you think Bernie would have won, you need to explain how he would have done better with people of color. He lost the primary because he lost the minority vote. Hillary lost the election because less minorities showed up and voted for her. But Bernie would have done better?
      4) If ‘True Progressive’ is the brand that was supposed to get people to come out to vote how come True Progressive suffered electoral losses that were even worse than Hillary’s?

      • LeeEsq

        3. The relationship between Sanders and voters of color is a bit more complicated. Sanders did better than Clinton with young voters of color. He did poorly with middle aged and senior citizen voters of color. This mirrors how Sanders did with white voters in the primary.

        • RonC

          You don’t think that Clinton’s success with older voters of color had a lot to do with the support of nearly the entire black establishment?

      • rewenzo

        3) If you think Bernie would have won, you need to explain how he would have done better with people of color. He lost the primary because he lost the minority vote. Hillary lost the election because less minorities showed up and voted for her. But Bernie would have done better?

        HRC did better with minority voters than Sanders in the democratic primary. I don’t know why we extrapolate from this that (a) Sanders was unpopular with minority voters; or that (b) he wouldn’t get roughly the same amount of support from them in a general election.

        It’s not like Sanders is a racist or pals around with racists or is racist-adjacent. It’s not like he took a stance against Black Lives Matter or anything. Young minority voters loved him too. And Hillary Clinton is white too! I’m not knocking her success with minority voters in the primaries, and you can’t win the primary without them, but we assume they’re voting Democratic in the general. A Democratic candidate who does well with black and Hispanic voters in a general election should be as hard to find as water under a duck.

        Second, Hillary lost because less voters across the board showed up for her. If she had Obama level turnout of black voters in the midwest, she could have won, yes, but also if she would have brought in more white voters. I’m so old I remember when HRC’s svengali ability to bring in white voters was her strength.

      • efc

        1) because it was a highly concentrated but extreme level of anti-establishment feeling and those people voted. They came out and other people didn’t because they were complacent apparently

        2) Incumbents are always re-elected. Obama’s popularity may have been high but what was his popularity with the people who actually voted? That would be interesting. Again, there was a smaller, but highly motivated number of voters who had strong feelings.

        3) People of color didn’t vote for Clinton either! What makes you think Sanders would have received less than Clinton? It looks like she received the kind of numbers a generic Democrat would get from POC.

        4) Coat tails? In the end people are most motivated by the top of the ticket. Democratic voters weren’t motivated to show up or were motivated to vote Trump and people associated, however tenuously, with Trump.

        I’m not saying Sanders would have won. But Some more “sanders style” rhetoric and approach seemed to be necessary and Clinton was particularly unable to do that.

        The other thing is remember how Sanders had huge rallies but apparently big rallies mean nothing? And Trump also had big rallies and they also meant nothing. In contrast Clinton rarely was able to pull big crowds (when she even made an effort to try and do so) but that was apparently meaningless for her chances of winning. How is that hypothesis looking now?

        • To be fair, Hillary won minorities overwhelmingly. She just won them less overwhelmingly than Obama did. Because she is not a minority herself, I am not entirely surprised by this.

          As for rally sizes, they’re not particularly correlated with how well someone does in all races. Romney pointed to the sizes of his rallies too. He still lost. And it’s important to note, once again, that Trump only won because of vote suppression, and that easily lost the popular vote. It looks like, after all the votes are tallied, he’s going to have lost it by over a million votes, if not two million.

          • efc

            You don’t think Sanders would have won minority voters overwhelmingly vis a vis a Republican? That’s a given for a Democratic candidate.

            As for rally sizes, they’re not particularly correlated with how well someone does in all races.

            But it was this year apparently.

            once again, that Trump only won because of vote suppression

            PA voter ID laws were struck down and were not in force. Suppression can’t explain the turnout numbers.

            • Sanders did more poorly than Clinton with minorities overall in the primaries. There’s no reason to suspect that he would have done better with them in the general than she did.

              PA is only one state, and voter ID laws are only one way to suppress turnout. WI, OH, NH, and others had new voter ID laws in effect. Other states such as NC and AZ closed polling places that were open in other elections or shortened early voting. The margins in many of them were close and if they had flipped then Clinton would have won handily. There’s no way of knowing which states Clinton could have won if these changes hadn’t happened, but they unquestionably suppressed turnout, and it is likely they disproportionately suppressed Democratic turnout. The margins in several of them were close. It is extremely likely that we would be looking at a different outcome without Shelby County.

      • Connecticut Yankee

        1) We don’t know how turnout was yet. Lots of ballots yet to be counted. I suspect total turnout will be greater than ’12, %wise only slightly lower.
        3) No I don’t. I only need to explain how he could have lost white voters in Texas and California but gained them in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Far from certain – center-left *and* far left parties in Europe are both hemorrhaging votes to the far right, after all – but imaginable. I think fairly likely, even if he did a few points worse or got lower turnout in the suburbs.

  • sneezehonestly

    Hypothetical for Paul: Trump offers to appoint you SecEd as the token Democrat in his cabinet. Do you accept?

    • Paul Campos

      Are you out of your fucking mind?

      (that means no btw)

      • sneezehonestly

        I knew that would be the answer, but I asked the question because, assuming (almost certainly incorrectly) that Trump believes (or even remembers) what he’s said about higher education, there is some overlap in your views:

        From Inside Higher Ed:

        In the speech, Trump vowed to force colleges to cut tuition rates. “If the federal government is going to subsidize student loans, it has a right to expect that colleges work hard to control costs and invest their resources in their students,” Trump said. “If colleges refuse to take this responsibility seriously, they will be held accountable.”
        And he said that accountability would include ending the tax-exempt status of colleges and universities with large endowments that do not use those funds to cut tuition rates. Colleges need “to spend endowments on their students, not themselves …. They need to use that money to cut the college debt and cut tuition, and they have to do it quickly.”
        Many college leaders have criticized attacks on university endowments, noting that large shares of college endowments are restricted in their use, and that many of the colleges and universities that have the most generous financial aid policies are among those with the largest endowments.
        Trump also said colleges could save money by eliminating the “tremendous bloat” in their administrations.
        While Trump blamed colleges for rising tuitions, he also blamed the federal government. He cited a controversial 2015 study by Vanderbilt University that said it spent $150 million a year to comply with federal regulations. Trump cited the $150 million figure and said he would work to roll back regulations that lead colleges to spend in that way.
        But as critics noted when the study came out, about $117 million of those costs related to federal research regulations, which are a sizable issue at a major research university such as Vanderbilt. So most of the $150 million had very little to do with what undergraduates pay.
        Trump’s emphasis on endowments is something he has come back to a few times. In remarks in September, he said, “Instead these universities use the money to pay their administrators, to put donors’ names on their buildings, or just store the money, keep it and invest it. In fact, many universities spend more on private equity fund managers than on tuition programs …. But they should be using the money on students, for tuition, for student life and for student housing. That’s what it’s supposed to be for.”

        • Paul Campos

          I doubt Trump has any fixed ideas about higher ed financing but even if I agreed 100% with his hypothetical views on the issue that would be totally irrelevant to the fact that he’s a racist misogynist incredibly ignorant demagogue who is by far the least suited person to the office who has ever been elected to it.

          Anybody who actually works for him should be treated as a total pariah.

          • sneezehonestly

            Accepting your characterization of Trump, there’s still a utilitarian argument for working with him. Paul Campos does a lot less damage to real people as SecEd than Steve Pettit.

            Should Obama and Clinton be treated as pariahs for saying that Trump should be given a chance to lead?

            • Venerable Monk

              Accepting the results of an election is a far cry from agreeing to work for the guy. As for the utilitarian argument, what’s worse? Refusing the job so you can put your efforts toward an organization on your side in the short term, or taking the job to mitigate damage and tanking your career with your chosen party in the process?

              • sneezehonestly

                But Clinton and Obama both explicitly said that they would work with him:

                Clinton: “Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country.”

                Obama: “. . . I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush’s team set eight years ago, and work as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the president-elect.”

                Would it have been better if they said they accepted the results of the election and supported a peaceful transition of power, but then called on their supporters to oppose Trump at every turn, regardless of what Trump said or did?

                What if Obama had gone on national television yesterday and said, “[H]e’s a racist misogynist incredibly ignorant demagogue who is by far the least suited person to the office who has ever been elected to it. Anybody who actually works for him should be treated as a total pariah.”

                • Paul Campos

                  Me and Obama have somewhat different jobs.

                • witlesschum

                  Would it have been better if they said they accepted the results of the election and supported a peaceful transition of power, but then called on their supporters to oppose Trump at every turn, regardless of what Trump said or did?

                  What if Obama had gone on national television yesterday and said, “[H]e’s a racist misogynist incredibly ignorant demagogue who is by far the least suited person to the office who has ever been elected to it. Anybody who actually works for him should be treated as a total pariah.”

                  Honestly, that’d be my preference but add: “And he didn’t win majority of actual votes, just like his Republican predecessor. Get rid of the electoral college, Obama out.”

                  Lame duck presidency seems like an excellent time for saying unpopular but true things to me.

                • socraticsilence

                  Barack Obama is a much better person than most of us and we didn’t deserve him as President.

                  That doesn’t mean the rest of us have “come together”, why should we if the last 8 years teach us anything its that massive resistance by any and all non-violent means works and is rewarded at the ballot box.

                • Murc

                  Lame duck presidency seems like an excellent time for saying unpopular but true things to me.

                  And for doing them.

                  Since Obama doesn’t have to worry about potentially impacting a Clinton Presidency anymore, you know what I’d like to see?

                  I’d like to see him empty some prisons.

                  And I don’t mean that hyperbolically. I’m talking on the scale of “bring me a list of every non-violent drug offender currently incarcerated in the US and fire up the auto-pen, we’re gonna have us a party” empty some prisons. Pardons for already-released ones too, which would restore their voting rights if I understand the law properly.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  What if Obama had gone on national television yesterday and said, “[H]e’s a racist misogynist incredibly ignorant demagogue who is by far the least suited person to the office who has ever been elected to it. Anybody who actually works for him should be treated as a total pariah.”

                  You tell me — what positive good would this have accomplished?

                  Accepting the legitimacy of election outcomes (and while we have a terrible, anti-democratic system for picking presidents, them’s the rules) is very, very important. There’s plenty of time to attack Trump. For the president, yesterday was not that time, and to do so indeed would have been Trumpian.

                • sneezehonestly

                  Scott, that’s exactly my point. It doesn’t accomplish any positive good.

                  But what DOES accomplish some positive good? When, and under what circumstances, is it OK to work with Trump instead of being the new “Party of No”? I started this sub-thread because I legitimately don’t have an answer, and I wanted to hear what others thought.

      • Murc

        Are you out of your fucking mind?

        (that means no btw)

        Wait… what?

        Why wouldn’t you do this?

        You run the Department of Education your way, undercutting or sabotaging the Republican agenda every way you can and doing it proudly and openly. Either Trump lets you get away with doing that, or he’s forced to fire his rogue cabinet secretary in a high-profile scandal.

        That looks like a big win-win to me.

        • Crusty

          Even better, accept, meet him in person, then fake like you’re going to shake his hand but instead, punch him in the stomach.

        • so-in-so

          You assume that you get to go your own way? Maybe Trump wouldn’t pay much attention, but I’m sure the GOP Congress would. So you would have a really short tenure, or end up putting your name on pretty horrible stuff (that MAYBE you managed to make a bit less horrible than if you weren’t there, but now everyone associates you with the horrible parts).

          • Murc

            You assume that you get to go your own way? Maybe Trump wouldn’t pay much attention, but I’m sure the GOP Congress would.

            And then they have to fire their rogue cabinet secretary they just appointed in a big scandal. That sounds like a win to me.

            • Crusty

              Somehow I suspect that Trump will find a way to celebrate telling people “you’re fired.”

              • so-in-so

                “See, you can never trust a Democrat” would have legs this time as well.

    • rea

      A somewhat similar question: You’re a Democratic Congressperson. Trump calls for a massive program of rebuilding infrastructure, to be financed by borrowing (he actually said this during the campaign, and in his victory speach). A lot of your deficit hawk Republican colleagues oppose this. Do you vote for the Trump bill and let him have a victory? Or do the merits of the program take second place to the need for the kind of opposition that Obama faced?

      • XTPD

        A similar question along these lines concerns the wisdom of the left baiting Trump into steamrolling its enemies (e.g.,the Repug party or Village press), and how that plays against legislative opposition.

      • Srsly Dad Y

        He’ll make the trains run on time!

        • leftwingfox

          A novel variation of the trolley problem.

      • Rob in CT

        This is a much better question, because it is at least vaguely plausible.

        Nobody is going to offer Campos SecEd.

      • Murc

        Do you vote for the Trump bill and let him have a victory? Or do the merits of the program take second place to the need for the kind of opposition that Obama faced?

        The former, no question.

        I’m no fan of bipartisanship for the sake of bipartisanship, but in the highly theoretical situation of Trump actually offering up something worthwhile, sure, why wouldn’t you vote for it? Didn’t we just spend eight years yelling at the Republicans for refusing to take yes for an answer, for deliberately hurting people and the country simply to deny Obama a “win?”

        However.

        Your support should extend purely to your vote. As in, you tell President Trump “Sure, I’ll vote for this. But I’m not gonna help you sell it. The opposition to this is coming from within your own party. That’s on you guys. I’ll rise and vote ‘Aye.’ But I won’t do Sunday shows.”

        • Rob in CT

          Works for me.

        • LeeEsq

          This is a perfectly good strategy on the off chance of Trump offering something worthwhile.

        • socraticsilence

          Eh….I mean, I guess I’d have to think about it- it seems like massive resistance even to the detriment of the country is a smart tactic why not help kill the bill and sandbag every single thing Trump and GOP wants even to the point of crashing the economy– then you run on the wreckage in 2018 by saying “Trump and his GOP allies haven’t done anything”

          • Murc

            why not help kill the bill and sandbag every single thing Trump and GOP wants even to the point of crashing the economy– then you run on the wreckage in 2018 by saying “Trump and his GOP allies haven’t done anything”

            Because that’s monstrous? You don’t immiserate people, wipe out their savings, ruin their lives, just for political advantage?

            That’s Republican bullshit.

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            All of this is premised on the notion that the Democrats can stop them from doing anything. The filibuster will only stick around as much as it suits McConnell’s purposes. (More and more I’m coming to regard the Democrats’ unwillingness to blow up the filibuster in 2009 as their most fatal mistake.)

            If Trump wants debt-financed infrastructure, maybe someone like Ted Cruz will oppose it. But given the way he got punished by the GOP base and crawled back to lick Trump’s boots like the pathetic worm he is, I’m thinking Ted Cruz will think twice about crossing Trump again.

            A temporary burst in infrastructure spending to stimulate the economy and invest in the country is exactly the sort of liberalism they’re willing to embrace, particularly if it will disproportionately benefit their constituents. It doesn’t lock in benefits for people. And they’ll probably make a lot of it toll roads and other such bullshit.

            Only the truly principled small government conservatives would oppose Trump on something like that. And I don’t see Ron Paul in the Congress anymore.

            The more interesting questions are: what they would do if Trump proposed moving the Medicare eligibility to 55 years old? That’s a major welfare state expansion, so they would in theory almost all be opposed. But it benefits their voters, who are older, and there may be consequences to defying Trump. So the self-preservation math suggests maybe vote for it.

            And what would they do if Trump proposed passing Clinton’s subsidized childcare plan? That’s full on socialist policy, and it benefits people of color (who are more likely to be of child-bearing age) and it especially benefits poor single mothers. That would really test how much Trump could bend them to his will.

            • sneezehonestly

              I wouldn’t be so sure about McConnell being able to nuke the filibuster. I think there are at least three Republican senators who would vote with the Democrats to preserve the filibuster. There was a thread yesterday speculating about which three might do it, and we came up with more than three names.

              • Connecticut Yankee

                Question of whether Democrats will filibuster everything – or even if they’ll only filibuster the bad stuff – is more interesting to me. A lot of them won’t, and not just the ones in ruby red states

                • Brien Jackson

                  There won’t be a filibuster.

        • ASV

          This is also highly theoretical because nothing Trump offers up on his own that Ryan and McConnell dislike will get a hearing.

          • Brien Jackson

            This seems wrong. No way Trump will stand for Ryan sabotaging his agenda, if only because he’ll see it as a public humiliation.

  • sleepyirv

    It’s very clear that everyone is treating the loss as a data point to justify their already held belief system (Shocking!). Bernie supporters suggesting that only Bernie could have won, Chris Hayes saying it proves his thesis of Twilight of the Elites (which didn’t have much of a thesis besides “all these institutions are doing poorly,” but whatever), Jamelle Bouie saying we’re re-entering post-reconstruction again (he suggested the Democrats might abandon minorities again which might be the most suicidal political decision the party could make), all the thumbsuckers about abandoned white working class voters, and Hillary supporters blaming Bernie bros. for not coming home (except that they did).

    It’s useful to have post mortems, but it wouldn’t kill somebody to admit they were wrong. And there’s a clear, definite starting point for all of these discussions: Trump got fewer votes than known political maestro Mitt Romney. Hillary lost because she got 7 MILLION fewer votes than Obama did in that election. You explain what happen to those voters, and I will tell you why she lost.

    • xq

      We don’t have final turnout numbers yet.

    • Murc

      Trump got fewer votes than known political maestro Mitt Romney. Hillary lost because she got 7 MILLION fewer votes than Obama did in that election. You explain what happen to those voters, and I will tell you why she lost.

      This.

      And you know what?

      If we were gonna lose this is probably the ‘best’ way for it to happen. Because you know what the nightmare scenario was? Clinton gets two or three million votes more than Obama did, and Trump gets about six or seven million above that.

      Because that would have been apocalyptically bad. It would have meant there really were a ton of missing white voters and Trump found them. It would have meant that the Obama coalition was a fluke that we can’t count on re-creating.

      But that, thank god, doesn’t appear to be what happened.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        They’re still counting. Trump will get more votes than Romney by 1 or 2 million. And Clinton will get only about 2 million less than Obama.

        She didn’t do that much worse, but he also didn’t do that much better. Which is obvious because she will win probably win the popular vote by over 1%. The problem is regional. And while I think we probably need to do something about the Rust Belt, I would keep in mind that Florida, NC and Arizona are all plausible pickup opportunities that would’ve delivered the election as well (and are trending blue due to demographics).

        A big part of the story is also voter suppression, which could have easily flipped Wisconsin (not as sure about MI/PA/FL/NC).

        Beyond that, we need more data.

        • Connecticut Yankee

          Is Florida really “trending blue”? It was 3pts more Republican than the country in 2012. Looks to be about the same this year

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            The demographics suggest it should be.

            The same is true in NC. But if you factor in the extensive voter suppression targeted at black voters, it seems that NC would’ve otherwise been closer to the median state this year than in 2012.

  • Brien Jackson

    Shorter Glenn: “How dare you say I helped Trump. I did as much as anyone to tell everyone how awful Hillary Clinton is!”

    • XTPD

      Just a thought: Should we just let Donald exterminate the BernItDowners & Village press corps, while going HAM on hamstringing the rest of his agenda?

      • so-in-so

        You are assuming the press corps doesn’t just become (more of) a Trump mouth piece? Or that BernItDown has enough influence to be noticed by Trump?

        • XTPD

          Columnists like Shafer seem like they’ll be openly whining about being suppressed by Trump, so yes. (Leaving aside the fact that there’s no violin too small for such suppression after EMAILZ chickenfucking).

        • D.N. Nation

          The Russia-Trump connections argument is the way in here. “No, Trump is obviously not influenced by the Kremlin” easily becomes “No, Trump is not guilty of the other things you libs accuse him of.”

      • Origami Isopod

        Yes. Also, charge for internet viewing of the events, and buy stock in Orville Redenbacher.

    • efc

      Yup. But for Glenn Greenwald no one would have ever heard of Clinton’s “issues” that all occurred before 2016. Do 7 million people read The Intercept?

      • Rob in CT

        Nobody is arguing that.

        • efc

          Moaning about GG, who in the scheme of things is piss in the ocean as an explanation seems only good for self righteous back patting and useless comiserhating as evidenced above.

          The whole blaming the media is just as bad. The way the media would cover this election was evident from at least 2008 and 2012. Certainly from the tenor of the GOP primary. But instead of doing something to negate or soften the damage there is now this post mortem blame game like we were all totally blind sided.

          • The fact that the media would cover Clinton with the Clinton Rules was obvious. The fact that they would consider incessantly licking Trump’s taint was less so. Some of us thought that maybe they would finally wise up to what a horrible threat he is when he actually came close to getting some real power.

            • Brien Jackson

              I know this is horrible but, well, at the moment I’m rather looking forward to everything Trump is going to do to The New York Times.

  • Halloween Jack

    I will never be convinced that Glenn Greenwald really wanted a progressive candidate to win the race. He lives in another country and Trump will make a much easier target, after eight years of pushback for his various criticisms of Obama.

    • wfrolik

      I agree. Glenn could afford to stand on his high horse because he doesn’t have to live with the results.

      • so-in-so

        Trump won’t decide a drone or even SEAL team should take out critics in allied countries (assuming Glenn makes enough fuss to come to Trump’s notice over the adulation of the “WWC” or the screams of their victims).

    • Scott Lemieux

      I really don’t think Glenn wanted Trump to be president. I do think 1)he and his allies really, really hate Hillary Clinton and this sometimes clouded their judgment about what was a real scandal and what isn’t and seriously slanted their treatment of the facts and 2)they assumed Clinton would win and so were essentially treating her as if she was already president.

      And point #1 is the key one. As I’m sure Paul would agree, I would never say a journalist shouldn’t report something merely because it reflects badly on Hillary Clinton, even in a context in which she stands between the United States and a white nationalist authoritarian. But hyping up anodyne political activities into MAJOR SCANDALS just because they’re revealed by hacked emails is another story.

      • Brien Jackson

        I’m less convinced about the first sentence. I mean, not only did Glenn incessantly hype up PODESTA’S SCANDALOUS RISOTTO RECIPE!!!!! as some sort of obviously nefarious scandal, but when you suggested that the REAL story of the Podesta emails was that Wikileaks and Russia were helping Trump, he went ballistic on you. He might insist otherwise, but deep down I do, in fact, think he preferred Trump winning to Clinton.

  • (((Hogan)))

    Supporters of Brexit and Trump were continually maligned by the dominant media narrative (validly or otherwise) as primitive, stupid, racist, xenophobic, and irrational.

    The media narrative I heard was that we must listen to Trump supporters and feel their pain (no, it only looks and sounds like rage, it’s actually pain) and take their concerns very very seriously.

    • Lord Jesus Perm

      Yep. Glenn is telling on himself here.

    • Downpuppy

      Ermagherd the NPR Trump supporter interviews were painful.

      The lengths they went to to not correct the most blatant errors, the phony respect for rambling idiocy, and where did they find those people?

      • cleek

        and there was, what, two weeks of those interviews?

        i’m so over NPR right now.

  • PJ

    Glenn Greenwald’s PAC, Accountability Now!, worked very hard and was successful in electing many progressive candidates. /sarcasm

  • janitor_of_lunacy

    Lost in all this is the fact that a large portion of the Obama coalition just didn’t show up. (Some, but not all, of that was probably due to vote suppression.) In politics, playing defense isn’t fun or exciting, and most people don’t understand its importance. I have no idea how you can make people (many of whom don’t even understand the role of Congress, nor even who is in control of it) care about it. But the fact is that for the past six years the bulk of the progress that Obama has made is something that either Trump can roll back, or a Roberts court post RBG or Breyer can roll back, and much of the progress he made in his first two years can be rolled back by Trump signing bills put before him. I know that “Elect Clinton so that the GOP doesn’t f*ck us over by erasing the past eight years” isn’t calculated to inspire anyone, and can’t be the only campaign point, but maybe if this was stressed sufficiently it might have improved things enough around the edges.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    3… 2… 1… OK, stand by! As of today, all of our strident reactions to Trump’s horseshit will be casually dismissed as “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”

    I’ve been thinking… (uh oh.)

    If I live to be 95, will Norquistbot lead a campaign to name schools and airports after Trump? Will there be statues erected of him? Will the sculptor, like the media since yesterday, try to make him look normal and not like the caricature he is?

    Something I’ve not seen mentioned in the past two days: torture. I’ve always said it was going to “come home” because we were using it overseas, starting with the “we” who are reservists whose civilian jobs are as policemen. But now Trump. And Giuliani? Be prepared for the worst. Heck, they might round up the Central Park 5 and get new confessions out of them. And it doesn’t even need to involve explicit orders. The rank and file will feel emboldened, and nudge nudge, wink wink, I’m gonna Make America Great Again, you dirty hippie.

  • Slothrop2

    The world is ugly, and the people are sad.

    Campos, you were prescient in your writing here – a source of strength. Thank you.

  • Mark Field

    It seems to me that all the arguments about Hillary as a “flawed candidate” (fill in your own definition of “flaw” here) suffer from some basic facts:

    1. She won the nationwide popular vote. We won’t know the final tally for another 2-3 weeks (CA, in particular, is very slow to count), but her margin will certainly be more than 1 million and might reach 2 million.

    2. She had a higher vote margin than the Dem Senate candidate in every single swing state (FL, NC, PA, NH, WI, NV). That’s pretty hard to explain, especially in the case of Feingold, if she’s so “flawed”.

    The fact is that she lost WI, MI, and PA by a grand total of 103,000 votes, a trivial number compared with her national vote margin. If she’d won those states, she’d be president. There were and are many “flaws” in this election. Focusing solely on Hillary’s is foolish, and in Glenn’s case self-serving.

    • Rob in CT

      1. Yes, which is: a) irrelevant because EC; and b) a massive drop-off from Obama’s performance.

      2. This is a good point.

      • Dilan Esper

        2 is not really a good point, because “I won all the swing states but the blue wall that my aides were all telling the media could not be penetrated in fact fell down in the face of my losing significant numbers of voters who voted for my predecessor” is not a good argument. It’s the equivalent of a basketball team playing the Golden State Warriors and holding their three point shooters to 4 three pointers, and then losing the game by allowing 30 lay-ins.

        • The fact that there was a polling failure this substantial aided and abetted by the worst voter suppression efforts since Jim Crow is not exactly Hillary Clinton’s fault. It was, in fact, pretty close to being a black swan event.

          • Scott Lemieux

            In particular, the second-guessing about Clinton not spending more money in Wisconsin is really stupid. She was literally behind in zero polls taken in the state. Resources are finite — you can’t pour money into what both campaigns assume is a safe blue state on the off chance that an event nobody anticipates would occur.

            • Denverite

              I dunno. It’s not like it’s California or Illinois or Massachusetts. It’s been close — even very close — in elections this century. Plus Ohio maybe should have been the canary in the Rust Belt to indicate that something was up. I think there’s an argument that she should have spent more money and time there, as opposed to states like Florida and North Carolina that she didn’t actually need to win.

              • ForkyMcSpoon

                She came almost as close in Florida as she did in Pennsylvania, and it’s worth about 50% more Electoral College votes. I don’t see that as having been a bad investment.

                Hell, it might be that if she had abandoned PA, NC, OH, IA and focused on just MI/FL she could’ve pulled it off. WI could’ve been a backup plan for Michigan (WI/FL would also have been sufficient)
                -Michigan was really really close with little resources put in, and so should’ve been winnable.
                -Wisconsin had early voting and voter suppression that could’ve benefited from ground game
                -They tried really hard in PA and didn’t win. Not clear that they could’ve swung it. It also doesn’t have early voting.
                -Florida had a lot of early voting and putting more ground resources there could’ve paid bigger dividends.

                The best strategy isn’t obvious, and that’s even with the benefit of hindsight of knowing the polls were far off in the Midwest, which they likely had no reason to suspect.

            • Dilan Esper

              Scott, I take your point, but bear in mind her campaign also repeatedly bragged about their big edge in voter data and how expert they were on public opinion. I think the Wisconsin result, and the Trump campaign’s general savvy about going after rust belt voters, calls that into serious question.

              • Yossarian

                There’s also the point made by one of the Keepin It 1600 guys, which is that PA/MI/WI were effectively a rough natural experiment. They spent a TON of time and money in PA, a little bit in MI, and zero in WI — and lost all three by effectively the same margins.

                • ForkyMcSpoon

                  Keep in mind that that fits with their partisan lean.

                  WI is bluer than PA

                  They put a lot of resources in PA, which brought it in line with Wisconsin, where they did nothing.

                  Michigan would seem to be the one with a more anomalous result given that they put a little effort there.

              • Scott Lemieux

                I don’t disagree with the general point that Clinton’s data team would appear to be overrated, but in the specific case of WI I don’t think anybody could have seen it coming. Clinton’s late schedule suggests they knew something was up in the upper midwest and it obviously makes more sense to visit Michigan than WI.

      • No Longer Middle Aged Man

        I agree with both you and Mark Field.

        I also live in CT. CT is a pretty blue state. I checked the CT Mirror last night and the vast majority of incumbents for state Rep and state Senate won re-election. Of the incumbents who lost (~15), something like 80% of them were Democrats. To the extent that politics is local, lots of voters in CT detest Malloy and have grown weary of never ending budget deficits.

        Extrapolating from CT, then I think the loss is less about Hillary Clinton than about rejection of the Democratic Party. A different candidate might have squeaked out an EC win in the swing states, but I’d need to see evidence that Bernie enthusiasm was contagious beyond the section of Democrat primary voters who voted for him before I am convinced that he would have been a better national candidate.

        We need to face the fact that Trump was/is a phenomenon who caught a wave. He did it in the Republican primaries, facing much better qualified, saner, more normal candidates who pretty much covered the spectrum of standard Republican policy and demagoguery. And he did it again in the general. Hillary was certainly not the ideal candidate but FDR, Truman and Bobby Kennedy weren’t available.

        Greenwald and his ilk are basically shouting “me, me, me” because they didn’t get their magic pony. They’re assholes but they have a point. So while I think we can and should ignore the assholes, let’s not ignore that somewhere in all their self-righteousness there is a valid point that we all need to consider.

        • Rob in CT

          Of the incumbents who lost (~15), something like 80% of them were Democrats.

          Given that CT is a heavily Dem state, I’d think most incumbent losses would be Dems. 80% though may be enough to make it significant.

          To the extent that politics is local, lots of voters in CT detest Malloy and have grown weary of never ending budget deficits.

          Oh, for sure. The Dems run the state, so problems are (properly, for the most part) seen as their fault. It feels like I’m the lone Malloy defender at times. And I’m as sick of the budget problems as anyone.

          We need to face the fact that Trump was/is a phenomenon who caught a wave.

          Ah, but we need to understand the wave.

          A lot of economic indicators in the US are positive. While I wouldn’t make a case that everything is awesome, exactly, we have to understand exactly how we got a backlash election while the economy is basically humming along well. I have a story that I think fits ok, but we all do and the stories differ.

          • Rob in CT

            Also, it wasn’t really a wave.

            It was sort of a wave in a sense: in a better universe, Trump’s obvious awfulness results in him getting totally thumped. But in ours, he maintained “typical GOP” numbers. So as against expectations, he “caught a wave.”

      • Mark Field

        It’s ok if someone wants to argue that “she was flawed in specific ways that affected the EC”, but then they need to make this explicit. They also need to identify the specific flaw, because otherwise the argument is too weaselly.

        But if we accept the validity of the EC, then there are some hard questions to deal with:

        1. Does it make sense to describe a candidate as “not flawed” if that candidate wins the EC while losing the national popular vote? Not really. So we don’t want Hillary to have pursued a strategy which would have had that result.

        2. The EC privileges rural, disproportionately white voters. At least some of the “flaws” which might lead to lower vote totals among those voters are not “flaws” in any meaningful sense. For example, appeals to traditional racial or gender hierarchies might have more appeal to those voters (I don’t know if this is true, but it might be), but that wouldn’t mean Hillary should make such appeals. As another example, those voters might believe imaginary things (“crime is up”; “employment is down”). We can’t expect Hillary to validate imaginary beliefs. We need specific descriptions of her “flaw(s)” before we can address this point.

        • efc

          1) Yes, it does. Because they would be President which is kind of the goal of running for President. Is Trump going to give Clinton the presidency because he lost the popular vote but won the EC?

          2) Ok. I guess purity it is then. Working in the system as it is and winning is the goal. Not moaning about how it should be different. For gods sake, that has been the mantra of this blog for like 8 years!

    • so-in-so

      Maybe someone could anticipate that Trump’s flaws would be down-played and the press, with an assist by the FBI, would spend the last weeks of the campaign screaming continuously about Emails! instead of the loony crap Trump continued to spout at his rallies (really, I can’t understand that a press corps that is being threatened at Trump events views “teh emailz” as the top story, except I guess the people deciding what is top story don’t stand in the press box at a rally). I am somewhat doubtful that it was clear.

      Maybe some Dems would like to admit that ALWAYS prefacing their statement that they would vote for Clinton (after the nomination) with some variation about just how tightly they were holding their nose while doing it didn’t inspire other people to get out and vote for her? We busily pointed and laughed at all the GOP elite denouncing Trump comments and still supporting him, yet we wanted to do the same thing. The difference is the GOPers saw chance to vote strategically even if they hated Trump. And many of them don’t really hate the racism at all, they just PLAY a non-racist for the votes. They may not need to any more. Democrats don’t seem to understand “strategic voting” the same extent, and want to be flirted into casting their ballot.

      Anyway, the buried point here is that “I’m holding my nose while voting for the candidate of the party I support” is a slightly milder version of “voting as a consumer choice”. It’s like telling all your friends you eat at McDonalds, but only when it’s the only place open. You’re determined to signal that you are a better person than to like the selection. Why should a listener be convinced to get out and do the same thing?

      • Dilan Esper

        Maybe some Dems would like to admit that ALWAYS prefacing their statement that they would vote for Clinton (after the nomination) with some variation about just how tightly they were holding their nose while doing it didn’t inspire other people to get out and vote for her?

        This seems dead wrong to me. I was one of those people, and I don’t think any Hillarybot who didn’t admit her flaws could persuade me of anything about my vote. I’m much more willing to listen to someone who says “look, you are right, she’s flawed, but you have to vote for her anyway”.

        • so-in-so

          Who’s talking “Hillarybots”, I don’t think you need to convince someone who already favored her to vote.

          The so-called low info voter, who thinks both sides are crooked, hears that even the Democrats they know REALLY don’t like her. Are they going out to vote? Or stay home, or vote for Trump for any of the number of stupid reasons low-info voters cite?

          If your own party can’t even feign that they like their candidate, why should other voters? I’m not saying pretend she is flawless. Saying you are “holding your nose”; i.e. candidate STINKS; is really a piss-poor method of convincing other people they should take the effort to vote for her.

          Saying “I’m voting for Clinton” is pretty simple. Saying “I know she has flaws, they all do, but Trump’s are SO much worse.” would be truthful and still positive. Heck, “She wasn’t my first choice, but I’m voting for her” is just so much more positive than “Yeah, I’m holding my nose and voting…”

    • Connecticut Yankee

      Hassan ran ahead of Clinton, and a lot of red state Senators ran away ahead of her. Lots more ran behind, but there isn’t an obvious story.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Hassan ran ahead of Clinton

        What? She got the same % of the vote in a 2-person race.

  • FOARP

    I can’t comment on the parallels with Brexit, since I know hardly anything about British politics, but the claim that America’s elites unified to oppose Donald Trump is plausible only if by “elites” you mean David Brooks, Ross Douhat, and George Will, as opposed to, say, the Republican party.

    The British equivalent here is Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and the other establishment defectors from David Cameron’s position on Brexit. Yes, we have seen many millionaires, government ministers and so-forth lambasting an out-of-touch ‘elite’ on their pro-EU positions.

    Many others were half (or quarter) hearted in their support of EU membership. Most notably, the useless Jeremy Corbyn, who expressed his support for EU membership so meekly that ~50% of Labour supporters had not idea what their party’s position on EU membership was.

    The shame of the referendum was that those who supported EU membership (I include myself in this) did so dispassionately, since only a crazed federalist actually finds much to like about the EU, whilst those who wanted to leave argued with the fervency of the extremist. The fact that all the facts and evidence were on our side seemed to count for little.

    The case against Donald Trump was also essentially a “Project Fear” since, rightly, he was identified as danger. The positive case for Hillary was hard to make with any passion.

  • lawtalkingguy

    I would like LGM to start addressing the big lie that has already been codified about this election, that its a ‘wave’ of ‘white working class’. Already others have pointed out that more progressive candidates did just as badly. What some people dont want to look at is statistics like “Union household voted 50/50 in WI.” The magical power of socialism is a fantasy created by people who currently reside in not in the working class.

    But even even worse, the focus on the white working class is particularly dumb and useless when we look at how the vote actually shook out:

    Even with the California votes counted, Trump is going to end up somewhere were Romney landed on. Hillary lost 6.5 million Obama votes. She was off Obama’s totals by 10 points among blacks and static with Hispanics.

    If she had gotten 140,000 more votes in PA/WI/MI she would have been president with over 300 EC votes.

    Black and Hispanic intellectuals owe us an explanation as to why their communites did not find an existential threat to their existance worth voting against. That attention seeking whore Kaepernick didnt see the difference between Hillary and Trump. That is something that needs to be discussed.

    • lawtalkingguy

      A valid criticism, by the way, is that for all this talk about how smart the people around Clinton were and how her campaigns BIG DATA was the edge is that it turned out to be false. Mook and the rest of those jackals set over 60 million dollars in FL on fire.

      Democrats GOTV broke down completely despite limitless financial and technical resources, and people need to talk about that too.

    • Rob in CT

      Wow, this comes across as nasty as fuck.

      You totally ignored voter suppression. I don’t think suppression explains most of the dropoff – I think it’s a secondary factor – but writing a post like this and just ignoring it makes it look all the more like axe-grinding. Especially since the margin was so small – even if suppression was a secondary factor, it may have been sufficient to flip a state or two.

      Assuming the exit poll data we have to go on is reasonably accurate, the dropoff amongst voters of color doesn’t explain a dropoff of ~6 million votes. Most of those lost votes were probably white.

      Finally, I suspect that Black and Hispanic voters are just as susceptible to bullshit media jerkoffs about emails as anyone else…

      • lawtalkingguy

        Its not meant to be nasty, and I am not ignoring voter suppression.

        It mattered and it probably on the margin flipped at least WI. But only at the margin, a lot of Democrats simply didnt vote at all. And we have to examine why. They didnt vote for Trump and yet the spin is that they did.

        But broader, voter suppression is a thing we knew the Republicans would be doing. It didnt appear out of thin air. Obama was right that if progressives focused on getting people out to vote they would have gotten people out to vote. If some of the 60 million that Mook set on fire in Florida was channeled into getting people to the DMV then voter suppression wouldnt have worked at all.
        So thats another question that no one is talking about, why did the progressives drop the ball on getting around voter suppression?

        • Crusty

          I don’t mean to be flip, but I don’t get the significance of the qualifier “on the margin.” Isn’t the margin the part that matters in a close vote?

      • Mark Field

        I can see voter suppression as an explanation in WI and NC. But those 2 states alone don’t affect the result. Was there suppression in PA or MI? And maybe there was in FL, but the margin there was pretty big.

        • Rob in CT

          Right, like I said a secondary factor that might’ve flipped a state or two. We’re in agreement.

          I still think, especially given the tone of the ltg’s post, that just ignoring it was a bad look.

      • seedeevee

        Why SHOULD black and Hispanic voters care about the two faced nature of Hillary and her campaign?

    • Blaming minorities for the loss when (1) there was voter suppression, as Rob pointed out, and (2) a majority of white people voted for Drumpf, a majority of minorities didn’t, and even a majority of white women voted for Drumpf is hideously misguided. White people are way more to blame for this outcome than minorities are.

      • lawtalkingguy

        You are 100% correct. White people did this.
        But less white people voted for Trump than for Romney on an absolute scale.

        And its not just a “well this is coke and this is pepsi.” Trump is an existential threat to people of color…but they didnt vote like this. And I need to know why. It cant be just voter suppression. The scale is too large.

        • Lord Jesus Perm

          You’re owed nothing. Full stop. Black people will not be the sin eaters for a white electorate that chose to embrace white supremacy.

          • Origami Isopod

            IAWTC.

          • Brien Jackson

            I mean, the language is really ridiculous to be sure, but we do kind of need to know why one in three hispanic men voted for Trump and 20% of black men joined them. This is pretty important stuff.

            • Lord Jesus Perm

              To be clear, I’m not against attempting to figure that out, because it is important. I find it less important than other issues, but important nonetheless.

              Short of more poll data, I’d guess misogyny. I do not see any reason that black or Latino men would be immune to that, particularly when Hillary got well over 90% of the black female vote.

        • sam

          voter suppression doesn’t just mean the ugly/horrific “active” movements to prevent people from voting a la North Carolina and Texas. It’s the ongoing drumbeat of negative campaigning and media treatment that treats the candidates as if they’re interchangeably bad in a way that voters end up just staying home and not bothering to vote because, “who cares”. If you actually watched an entire Clinton event, she and her surrogates talked plenty about policies. but good luck actually finding an entire Clinton event being shown on your TV in between endless coverage of email-gate and Benghazi!!!! and OMG rich/famous people want to hang out with an ex-president and said president leveraged that to save AIDS babies in Africa!

          And for that I blame assholes like Greenwald and his obsession with Wikileaks as much as I blame election officials in North Carolina.

    • LeeEsq

      Besides voter suppression, a possible answer is that voters of color like voting for politicians of color just as much as White people prefer voting for White politicians. An Hispanic or African-American candidate could have gotten more voters of color to turn up at the polls. I think that this might not be mentioned because it shows a serious flaw with Identity Politics.

      • Rob in CT

        It’s been mentioned.

    • witlesschum

      Black people only voted 85 percent for Clinton, rather than 93 for Obama. I think 85 percent is about as good as you can hope for from any demographic, honestly. I think generally it’s easier to get people to come out for something than against something as far as turnout goes. Enthusiasm is just going to be lower for Hillary Clinton compared to the first black president.

      As a white guy, I also wonder if having Obama in the White House has been an entirely positive experience for black America, either. Black lives have, famously, not started mattering, so a small uptick in “we’re fucked either way why bother” thinking seems natural to me.

      • Brien Jackson

        Just from memory, I believe Gore and Kerry both eclipsed 90% with black voters as well.

      • Lord Jesus Perm

        Kerry got 88% of the vote, Clinton (96) got 84%, and Gore got 90%.

    • socraticsilence

      Honestly- because charisma matters- in every election since 1992 the more charismatic candidate won, often defeating a person with a superior “on paper” resume.

      • Taters

        Your Occam’s-razor analysis gets to the heart of it pretty quickly after reading 200 other posts.
        The first time I got a bad feeling in my tummy was when Hillary implored people to go to HILLARYCLINTON.COM to check out her 25-point policy proposals.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        The most generous I would describe it as is that Bush and Trump fought it to about a tie, and then were helped along by the Electoral College (and the Supreme Court… in both cases really).

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      You acknowledge that there are still votes left to be counted in California, and yet somehow you insist that Clinton is off of Obama’s totals by 6 million votes, comparing her non-final count to his final count?

      She will probably be off by about 2 million when all is said and done. And Trump will be up maybe 1 million or so from Romney’s total.

      Still a problem. But one that seems much more manageable than a 6.5 million vote drop off.

  • Baron Von McArgleBargle

    Glenn, for all his sanctimony, is doing what a lot of people are doing right now:

    1. Absolve my position for any and all responsibility.
    2. Place the blame of everything on my enemies.
    3. Where the facts don’t fit this narrative, ignore them.

    Glenn is far from the only person doing this. There are a lot of hobby horses on display right now.

    I’m not defending him. It’s the opposite. I’m just saying he’s hardly alone.

    The worst thing I keep hearing over and over is that “Liberals paved the way for Trump” or “Democrats led to Trump”. I will say this over and over, but the country is not getting fucked because of Democrats. It’s getting fucked because of Trump voters.

    • Dilan Esper

      Some of the Trump voters were rust belt Democrats….

      • lawtalkingguy

        Yes, but there were are millions of Democrats who didnt bother voting at all. No one is talking about that. Many of those are not white, so presumably faced with an existential threat they…sat it out.

      • Baron Von McArgleBargle

        I agree (how could I not) that some were rust belt Democrats, but Trump isn’t in the White House because of Liberals. He’s not there because of Democrats. For those people who have a beef or a hobby horse, it makes them feel good to blame people they don’t like. I get that. Feeling good is a good feeling to have. But a woman doesn’t gets raped because she’s wearing a nice shirt. She gets raped because a rapist rapes her. Trump is in office because Republicans put him there.

  • Scott Lemieux

    “Elites (outside of populist right-wing circles) aggressively unified across ideological lines in opposition to both.”

    This claim is so astoundingly wrong that I was accused of making a strawman argument on Twitter just for describing it. Apparently it’s not just centrist journalists who are suckers for Paul Ryan’s bullshit.

  • lawtalkingguy

    Other things Id like people to discuss: White Millennial vote breaking for Trump. I saw a smart observation on twitter, that the internet has radicalized a whole new generation of young men. And its not Muslims living in the West, its white guys living in the West. They are unanimously, culturally white nationalists and no one is writing about this. We saw outburts of this with GamerGate and now this. But what it means is that the fantasy of all liberals, ‘lets just wait until the boomers die out’ is a false hope.

    Also, why did white women break for Trump. 45% of college educated white women voted for that Orange turd too.

    • Murc

      They are unanimously, culturally white nationalists and no one is writing about this.

      They’re not because it isn’t true?

      There’s a long line from “breaking for Trump” to “unanimously white nationalists.”

      But what it means is that the fantasy of all liberals, ‘lets just wait until the boomers die out’ is a false hope.

      How so? The boomers dying out will make the country less white. That’s gonna change things a lot.

      The “liberal fantasy” you speak is “basically, if our support among whites remains unchanged our even goes down somewhat, but our support among nonwhites remains the same or goes up a bit, that’s a win for us.”

      That seems as true now as its ever been.

      • lawtalkingguy

        “They’re not because it isn’t true?”
        You are right, I meant in the sense that among Trump voting millenials, their culture has been uniformly white nationalist and created over the internet. And its a new phenomena, its not just good old fashioned KKK burn crosses crap or skinhead neo nazism.

        ‘How so? The boomers dying out will make the country less white. That’s gonna change things a lot.’

        Not if the Democrats continue to skip voting like they did this election. And not if white people continue to be socialized to think in terms of cultural-supremacy like Trump millennial voters are. Liberals might run up the score in CA or even eventually AZ but the Midwest will be whiter not browner going into the future.

        • Murc

          Not if the Democrats continue to skip voting like they did this election.

          What makes you think that this will be an ongoing trend?

          Seriously. What? We lose elections sometimes. We lost in 2004. That was only twelve years ago! We got buried alive in the 80s and came back from that. The Republicans got buried alive for three, four decades mid-century and bounced back.

    • Rob in CT

      White women have been voting R for a while, IIRC. Especially married and/or affluent ones. There was real movement toward Trump in the non-college white women category. IIRC, other white women moved (barely) toward Clinton.

    • Origami Isopod

      Also, why did white women break for Trump.

      Because a lot of white women are racist and/or antifeminist. Or are not paying attention to politics in general.

      Also, there are a number of college degrees that tend to be held by conservatives. Engineering is the big one for men, nursing for women, IIRC. Then there are people in finance and business who may or may not have MBAs but certainly have some kind of undergrad degree.

    • Taters
    • seedeevee

      Kind of fun to discount the opinions of 50% of America because they decided a career politician with War/Chaos/Putin as a campaign theme was better.

  • jnfr

    Thank you for this post, Paul.

    ETA: I said Erik automatically because I followed his Twitter link to here. Sorry for the confusion.

  • rewenzo

    Ridiculous as this sounds, I think we may be over-reacting to this election. Not in the sense that this election is not a global tragedy – it is, but there is an assumption that the Democrats lost because (1) there is some huge disconnect between the Democrats and the electorate or (2) America is too racist to vote Democratic. I don’t think either of these are true.

    First, so far as we know now, and all the votes are not yet in, Trump was not a great mobilizer of votes. He did worse than Romney, and it appears he did worse than McCain, though that may change as all the votes came in. If one assumes that a generic Republican wold have improved on Romney’s totals by a few million simply because of population increase alone, Trump’s haul is quite unimpressive. What we did not see was Trump finding millions of 4chan voters who were previously too busy making pepe memes to vote and dragging them to the polls. Trump’s coalition is obviously full of racists, but the Republican coalition was always thus. Trump may have brought over a number of democrats who hate immigration, but whatever the ratio of new racists to old racists is, if the most they can muster is 60 million votes in 2016, I’m not impressed.

    Second, as cliche as it is to say, HRC did win the popular vote. The Democratic Party won the popular vote. All this WSJ nonsense about “huge changes in public sensibilities” or “perils of Obama overreach” seem like bullshit. The country did not reject Obama by an observable metric. Obama is popular and Trump ran on a message of racism, yes, but also economic populism. He’ll only deliver on the former, but he quite explicitly promised the latter.

    Third, HRC received drastically fewer votes than Obama. This is the problem. And the answer to this is the key. Why did this happen?

    My working theory here is a combination of:

    1) She’s not popular. Why that is is debatable, but she isn’t. Rachel Maddow had a graph on election day showing that Trump and HRC’s unfavorables really didn’t move over the last year. I don’t know.

    2) Comey/FBI/Emails. The media was always banging this drum, and while I don’t know how much the FBI hurt her, it certainly didn’t help.

    3) Everybody assumed Clinton would win. This made the election extremely important but also a Trump win was literally inconceivable.

    4) Did not spend enough time in the upper midwest. I think we forgot that lots of white people voted for Obama, or we just assumed the white people who voted for Obama are hard core liberals and did not need to be campaigned to.

    5) Voting can be hard. For me, it was easy. My polling place in uptown manhattan is across the street from my apartment in the local public school. I didn’t need to provide ID, nobody challenged my right to vote. There was no line. I was in and out in five minutes and I brought a baby with me. But for many people voting is very hard. Some places you have to drive 20 minutes to vote. Some places will harass you. Some places actively attempt to strike you from the ballot. Even in NYC, there is no early voting, and there were extremely long lines at polling places, and people simply did not want to wait in line for hours so they could vote for a candidate they were not enthusiastic about or who they assumed would win anyway.

    • ASV

      4) Did not spend enough time in the upper midwest. I think we forgot that lots of white people voted for Obama, or we just assumed the white people who voted for Obama are hard core liberals and did not need to be campaigned to.

      I mostly agree with all your points, but this strikes me as the wrong read on WI/MI. The simplest explanation for why the Clinton campaign seemingly took these states for granted is that both public and private polling showed her with a consistent 3-5 point lead in them since general election polling began. If anything, where they blew it on Wisconsin was underestimating the impact of Walker’s vote suppression.

      • rewenzo

        I think the upper midwest polling was more or less accurate. To the extent there was an error, it was that all the people who said they would vote Clinton would actually go vote. And I don’t know how big an error that is, given voter suppression and how hard it can be to vote.

        My thinking behind the statement that they didn’t spend enough time in the mid west is that they could have tried to get voters more enthusiastic and out to the polls. I don’t know whether more campaign appearances make this happen, but I think the research suggests that more appearances helps. Again, we’re talking about such small percentages of voters that even the littlest bit of extra juicing would have been enough.

        Nate Silver had a post today about how if 1% of Trump voters had voted for Clinton instead she would have won over 300 EVs and we’d be talking about the unbeatable Obama coalition. I don’t think polling was the problem.

    • Murc

      rewenzo, if you had a newsletter I would not only subscribe, I would build it a website and apply for a job as editor. If you’ve ever made a comment that deserved to be front-paged, it is this one.

      • rewenzo

        Being aware of only some internet traditions, I don’t know if this is an upvote or a sick burn.

        • Srsly Dad Y

          deleted

        • sibusisodan

          Mahoosive upvote. Great comment, IMO.

        • Murc

          Upvote, for sure.

    • BoredJD

      5) is a huge deal that hardly anyone talks about. The line at my polling place stretched around the block at 8:30 am, luckily I lived across the street from the location. If I had to drive 20 minutes out of my way to get back there on a work day – eh.

      We need national voting standards. Early voting, absentee ballots, move voting to the weekend, automatic registration, ballots that can be cast for national/statewide races without having to change your address if you move, federal funding for enough polling places to handle turnout without long lines. Just a commitment to try to get as many people to vote and make it as easy as possible.

      • I agree with this. It will also never happen as long as Republicans control government, but it needs to be a core part of every Democratic platform from this point going forward. It’s also smart politics. If nothing else, it is likely to help fire up people who will be pissed off by the Republicans shitting the bed for the next four years. But, of course, that assumes we even have an election in four years, much less that it will be a fair one that we can win. I’m not willing to say this is 100% likely to happen at this point.

        • sneezehonestly

          The one “lesson” that Trump will learn from this election is that Donald Trump is a genius at winning elections. If he decides to run again in four years, he’ll be confident of winning, so there’d be no reason to try and cancel the election.

          • seedeevee

            No doubt.

  • Dilan Esper

    One meta comment on this thread. I have been as critical as anyone about Hillary and her campaign, but one thing she absolutely cannot be blamed for is diminished black turnout. Not only was there vote suppression in some states (as pointed out), but there’s a more obvious factor– SHE WAS FOLLOWING THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT, WHOSE PRESENCE ON THE BALLOT SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED BLACK TURNOUT. There’s no way she was going to get every one of those additional black voters who felt a special kinship towards Obama and were motivated to vote for the first time. She got a lot of them. But she wasn’t getting all of them.

    Until I see someone show that Hillary did worse with black voters than Kerry or Gore or Bill Clinton did, as far as I am concerned that is a non-starter.

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  • seedeevee

    I helped save the world from another Clinton Foreign policy disaster or twelve.

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