Home / General / The Republican Party Is What It Says It Is, Cont’d

The Republican Party Is What It Says It Is, Cont’d

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Unlike Pete Thiel’s rather dumb but oft-cited “seriously but not literally” formula, Dara Lind’s contemporaneous explanation of why that argument is so bad and self-serving holds up extremely well:

Thiel is using this “seriously, not literally” rhetoric to do something totally different, and a lot more willfully naive. He wants to replace the Donald Trump who actually exists — a figure who’s inspired the faith of millions and who now has a shot at winning the White House — with an imaginary Donald Trump who’s interested in breaking only the political norms that Peter Thiel thinks should be broken.

Thiel isn’t taking Trump “seriously”; he’s engaging in wishful thinking.

[…]

Trump distinguished himself from the rest of the Republican field because, unlike the Scott Walkers of the world, he didn’t feel the need to express himself within the conventional boundaries of policy. He made promises to fix the problems that people actually cared most about: a perceived invasion of immigrants who don’t share American values, and the protection of “traditional” (white) America from demographic and cultural change.

Instead of arguing for a “sensible immigration policy,” he called for a wall on the border and a ban on Muslims. Instead of expressing “benevolent sexism” (viewing women as fragile, domestic things in need of male veneration and protection), he plowed right into hostile sexism and open objectification, making it clear that women were useful only insofar as they were attractive and available to him.

Who is Peter Thiel to say that the policies that won Donald Trump the presidential nomination are somehow “code” for other things Thiel likes more, but that his trade policy is to be taken at its word? Who is he to know when Trump’s character is an accurate reflection of what he’d do as a president (“outsider”) and when it isn’t (sexist and perhaps a serial perpetrator of sexual assault)?

To take Trump seriously, you have to be willing to acknowledge why the people who support him take him seriously. You don’t get to elevate him to the presidency of the United States and erase the movement that would have carried him there. You don’t get to replace his actual constituency with your preferred constituency of one.

The idea that Trump isn’t to be taken literally might sound cynical. It’s anything but. In the hands of Peter Thiel, as a way to pretend that Trumpism in all its ugliness simply doesn’t exist, it’s monstrously naive.

As Weigel says, the impression that Trump didn’t really mean what he was saying was very valuable in keeping marginal Republican voters in the fold.

And, needless to say, Trump isn’t the only major Republican pol to benefit from this kind of thing — cf. also “Paul Ryan secretly favors the sensible [sic] fiscal reforms I favor, not the ones he has consistently and explicitly supported.” It’s hard to blame ordinary voters who won’t believe that Paul Ryan actually favors the policies he has always supported given how many paid media professionals refuse to believe the Republican Party is what it says it is. Trump might finally shatter this illusion, but not before doing incalculable damage.

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  • Hercules Mulligan

    Yup. It’s by no means fair to demand sympathy for Trump/GOP generally voters, given what’s coming, but it’s absolutely true that “basically uninformed voter who saw that Trump will give him his job back” deserves a lot less blame than, say, CNN’s BREAKING NEWS: TRUMP TO RESTORE JOBS chyron.

    • sergiol652

      Those “uninformed voters” are still responsible for whatever evil is happening now.

  • Davis X. Machina

    To take Trump seriously, you have to be willing to acknowledge why the people who support him take him seriously. You don’t get to elevate him to the presidency of the United States and erase the movement that would have carried him there.

    But you mustn’t say anything hurtful about the voters who dragged Trump’s evil and ugly ass across the finish line.

    For this is far worse than anything that Bannon — let’s face it, he is the president — can do, will do, has already done.

    • Gee Suss

      I love how the NPR set felt they had to cross the country to connect with Trump voters since they won. The kicker? You know that if Clinton won, they’d still do the same thing.

      • (((Malaclypse)))

        About 10 days ago, NPR interviewed Nigel Farange on Brexit, Trump, and Theresa May, and never once bothered to mention that UKIP are neo-Nazis.

        • econoclast

          This must be an inchoate impulse that they have that’s hard for us to understand because we don’t experience as strongly. They’re desperate to let their fellow white people off the hook for voting for Trump. I don’t really get it, but they seem really driven to do it.

          • howard

            i stopped listening to npr news during the run-up to the iraq war on the grounds that it had become indistinguishable from mainstream news. i will leap and turn off npr news even in the 5-minute top of hour breaks when i’m listening to programs because i find it so offensive.

            i have written to my local npr stations every fundraising drive since that i would up my giving if they would only cut their expenses and drop npr news coverage altogether: amazingly enough, i have never even received a single note back to say “you moron, studies show that 95% of our listeners give money because of our news, that’s why we pay no attention to your comment,” but while i’m making up the stat, i suspect that’s the basic configuration.

            • Davis X. Machina

              When I was a member — cut during a recent family unemployment episode — I used to mail in my contribution with a little note saying basically “This is the standard family pledge, reduced pro rata for the part of your day that’s news and public affairs not bought from BBC”.

              They cashed the check every year, and never wrote back.

              • yet_another_lawyer

                How did you even make that calculation?

                • Davis X. Machina

                  Easy. The program guide gives the daily schedule. Each day has 24 hours. The standard family membership was $75 p.a.

                  You can do the math in your head, to a first approximation.

                  ME + ATC + noon news + public affairs block in the early PM…

        • Ronan

          Ukip aren’t neo Nazis

          • sibusisodan

            Feh. They’re on the ultra nationalist spectrum. I don’t see much mileage in asking for ultra precision in labelling them.

            • guthrie

              It’s not ultra precision, it’s just good sense.

              • sibusisodan

                Normally I’d be on the side of calling things by their proper names. I just can’t get remotely bothered by the idea that we might be calling a bunch of nasty fools by a neighbouring label instead of a more precise one.

                Perhaps that’s a blind spot in me. But if they dont want to be called neo nazis, they could stop associating with them in the EU parliament.

            • Ronan

              Well we disagree on that. I don’t think it helps at all to call them something they’re not. The bnp are neo Nazis, ukip are English ethnic nationalists, but ideologically they aren’t fascist (same goes with trump, as the political scientist Sheri Berman keeps pointing out)

              http://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/1/3/14154300/fascist-populist-trump-democracy

              Not sure what non rhetorical purpose the mislabelling serves. They’re bad enough as they are, no need for hyperbole imo

              • random

                Given the lack of consensus on definition, it’s really not even possible to be pedantic about the term. These guys are close enough that it’s a valid call.

                • Ronan

                  It is possible to be pedantic about the term, I’ve linked to an expert on inter war Europe being just that. Even if there is no consensus on a term, that still doesn’t mean that literally anything goes definitionally. Berman gives a number of criteria that she thinks need to be met, my understanding is these are(by and large)conventional views.

          • Hogan

            They’ll do until some come along.

            • Ronan

              There are some around though, and the reason ukip have been electorally successful whereas the actual neo Nazis haven’t is in part explained by the distance between them.

          • JohnT

            True, but
            ‘5th-rate xenophobic neo-Nazi-enabling little Englander scumbags’
            takes too long and *still* oversells the coherence of their ideology. So it’s tempting just to grab a couple of words out of that.

        • guthrie

          That’s because ukip isn’t neo-nazis. Some of their members undoubtedly are, but not the whole party and their voters. Being anti-immigration and wanting to take the country back to the 1950’s doesn’t make you a neo-nazi.

          • Phil Perspective

            Except UKIP want to destroy the NHS as much as the Tories do. They want to take the UK back even farther than the Tories do. And they’re funded by former Tories.

            • guthrie

              All of which doesn’t make them neo-nazis. If anything it shows how nasty conservatism is.

        • Phil Perspective

          Do people finally understand now why some of us say that NPR sucks?

          • Hogan

            How many people here have ever argued that point?

        • The Lorax

          Exactly. Fuck NPR. God forbid you give context that would suggest both sides don’t do it. Everyone should cancel any subscriptions to them.

          • efgoldman

            Fuck NPR.

            Once upon a time (in the 70s) I used to take a week’s vacation to volunteer at the local public TV auction. Since I couldn’t afford to give any ca$h, it made me feel good about supporting them.
            Then I got hired on their radio side.
            And I saw how they pissed away the money, how badly managed they were, how shitty they were to employees. Nothing directly to do with their news or politics.
            It’s a long, long time since I’ve given them a nickel or cared about them at all.

      • NewishLawyer

        FWIW, the SF gay man’s chorus decided to do a red state tour after Trump’s victory.

        • efgoldman

          the SF gay man’s chorus decided to do a red state tour after Trump’s victory

          Marvelous trolling by them. I’d guess they’re sticking to large cities, which should get them big and supportive audiences.

          • rm

            Old classmate who is now a Facebook friend is a member. Based on FB posts alone, I can guarantee they aren’t doing this for any NPR-like reasons.

            I haven’t asked, but would guess that:
            — they are often on tour anyway
            — they are there for the people trapped in red states that would like to see them
            — and what’s wrong with a little trolling?

            I support replacing all NPR news on-air talent with members of the SFGMC.

    • MAJeff

      Fuck their feelings.

    • cpinva

      “But you mustn’t say anything hurtful about the voters who dragged Trump’s evil and ugly ass across the finish line.”

      a rule I gleefully break on a daily basis. sometimes multiple times a day. if you voted for Trump you are, by definition, a scuzzbag, and fully deserving of whatever horrible things happen to you as a result. if you voted for Jill Stein, same thing. you don’t get to escape the guilt of voting a “protest vote”, unless you can prove, 100% absolutely, that it will only result in harm to your self.

      I “understand” these assholes all to well, and I’m happy about the fact that, in spite of the recent unpleasant events, they are still a dying demographic in America. they can’t soon enough, as far as I’m concerned.

  • Hells Littlest Angel

    As Trump himself will no doubt say some day (in a prisoner’s dock, I hope): You knew damn well I was a snake when you voted for me.

    • efgoldman

      the SF gay man’s chorus decided to do a red state tour after Trump’s victory

      He has nowhere near the self awareness to do that. He will go to his Orange grave believing he was the greatest, yoogest, most biglyest, most successful man who ever lived.

      • efgoldman

        Oops. Wrong copy/paste in the block quote. Should have been

        You knew damn well I was a snake when you voted for me.

      • rm

        Well, Pol Pot died peacefully of old age believing he had been a great benefactor to humanity.

        • cpinva

          mental illness can cause those kinds of delusional beliefs.

  • humanoid.panda

    I still can’t get over the fact that there a bunch of people who are basically comic book villains: Thiel, Putin, Assange, Bannon, to much lesser extent Greenwald decided that the US government is the focus of evil in the world and should be destroyed, hatched various evil schemes, and won. This shit doesn’t happen in real life!

    • Davis X. Machina

      …decided that the US government is the focus of evil in the world and should be destroyed,

      You don’t hang out on enough leftie sites, apparently.

      There is such a thing as bipartisanship — unfortunately.

      • The Lorax

        Yep. Many on the left are convinced there is no greater source of evil in the world than the US.

        • Davis X. Machina

          A nation so repressive no one wants to come here as a refugee, with a capitalist economic system so awful that we don’t even get economic migrants.

          Sad.

      • cpinva

        yes, their superior intellects result in this kind of “deep thinking”. of course, they won’t be hurt by the Trump administration, only those “undeserving” people will be.

    • Nobdy

      I don’t know that all of them (like Putin or even Assange) saw the US government as a focus of evil. They saw opportunity to benefit themselves and they took it. Maybe at this point Putin has bought into his own mythology and believes he is a warrior for the righteousness of Russian manhood but I think a lot of these people don’t care about things like good or evil just about themselves. It’s what makes them so dangerous. Their only commitment is to their own benefit so they aren’t constrained in the ways that people with coherent moral perspectives are.

      • Lurking Canadian

        I think a lot of these people don’t care about things like good or evil just about themselves

        That’ll do as a definition of “evil” until a better one comes along.

    • NewishLawyer

      Putin at least has geopolitical reasons for doing so. Greenwald has no excuse.

      • alexceres

        Chaos is a ladder

      • Tom in BK

        Greenwald is just a hack who’s going to spend the rest of his life trying to pretend he didn’t fumble his way into a Pulitzer. The Oscar didn’t help, either.

        • Solar System Wolf

          Know who else won a Pulitzer? Maureen Dowd.

          • Tom in BK

            You know what else won an Oscar?

            Crash.

            • Donalbain

              And soon, La La fucking Land.

              • N__B

                A Crash/LLL mash-up would pique my interest.

      • cpinva

        “Greenwald has no excuse.”

        his bank account. always follow the money.

    • SNF

      Strongly disagree, these guys aren’t comic books villains.

      Comic book villains often have a sympathetic backstory. Sometimes they have a bit of nuance.

  • Joe_JP

    Saw Ryan on the t.v. yesterday talking about how Trump respects his position and understands the heavy responsibility involved.

    This was C-SPAN, not one of those late nite comedy shows.

    • howard

      he just lives in a complete fantasy world, but whatever it takes to get his tax cuts passed.

      as i keep saying, as long as trump is a useful idiot, the gop congress will give him carte blanche; it’s only if he becomes a useless idiot that they will stir themselves.

      • LosGatosCA

        Harmful idiot to them.

        He might get primaried in 2020 if the Republicans determine he’ll take them down. Like Kennedy did to Carter in 1980.

        Most likely, Trump concludes the next two generations of his family are set and retires in 2020. No need to work the grift until he’s dead.

        • howard

          good re-formulation that i think i’ll adopt.

        • sigaba

          Right, but that’s if this was all about money. The money is just his way of proving to himself he’s a worthy person. The only person he’s actually trying to grift is himself, and if that’s the case then yes he might actually need to grift until he’s dead.

          • cpinva

            “The only person he’s actually trying to grift is himself, and if that’s the case then yes he might actually need to grift until he’s dead.”

            I would happily help him accelerate this process, as a public service.

        • Phil Perspective

          He might get primaried in 2020 if the Republicans determine he’ll take them down. Like Kennedy did to Carter in 1980.

          Primaried by whom? He’s not getting primaried by anyone in 2020.

          • efgoldman

            He’s not getting primaried by anyone in 2020.

            You going to sell your crystal balls in infomercials?

            • howard

              seriously: the man’s been in office for a week and the level of chaos is even worse than anticipated. it’s impossible to foresee what 2020 might look like.

  • jpgray

    Again, this seems to be holding candidate-choosing to a new and unusual standard.

    It’s in the very nature of our political campaign culture to treat candidates you “like,” for whatever reason, as coathooks for your own ideas. Anything you don’t agree with is explained as regrettable necessary sops for the rubes, and anything you do like is definitely certainly no doubt an inner vision into the candidate’s soul. This is why relative political unknowns who are vague and/or contradictory can be very successful. Plenty of room on the coathooks! Plenty of plausible deniability for garbage.

    A non-evil case in point is Obama. This is the guy who said “May as well solve homelessness by mandating people buy a house” when angling to defeat HRC. People just “knew,” and in this case they were correct, that he wasn’t an innumerate idiot, but instead believed that Obama saw the mandate as vulnerable to targeted attacks of dumb. Those who supported universal health care, like those who supported gay marriage, weren’t idiots to vote for the guy. They just “knew” he didn’t mean what he said, and they were right.

    Obviously Trump is in a whole other universe from Obama, but, to a low information voter, the thought process was doubtless very similar. “He can’t mean all that stupid stuff.” They of course were completely wrong, and completely stupid, but it’s not an unusual process is all I’m saying.

    • Nobdy

      t’s in the very nature of our political campaign culture to treat candidates you “like,” for whatever reason, as coathooks for your own ideas. Anything you don’t agree with is explained as regrettable necessary sops for the rubes, and anything you do like is definitely certainly no doubt an inner vision into the candidate’s soul.

      Conversely candidates that aren’t liked for some reason (like Hillary Clinton, who dared to have ovaries) don’t get credit even when they agree with a voter and people look into their souls and see that even if they talk a good game about, say, ditching the TPP in their heart of hearts they can’t wait to get into office and give away the store.

      Dems really should just recruit Tom Hanks to run in 2020. Corey Booker can be his VP candidate and then when Hanks wins Booker can run the policy stuff in the background while Hanks stands in front of cameras being likable.

      • econoclast

        I actually wonder if that’s the direction we’re headed. Arguably two of the last three Presidents (counting Trump) were more spokesmen for other people rather than strong Presidents in their own rights. The President has a large symbolic role independent of policy, so picking a symbol to wrap around the policy is very attractive.

        • (((Malaclypse)))

          I actually wonder if that’s the direction we’re headed. Arguably two of the last three Presidents (counting Trump) were more spokesmen for other people rather than strong Presidents in their own rights.

          And the only Republican since Nixon would be Bush the (Slightly) Less Dumb.

        • nixnutz

          If Trump were merely the head of state, like the German president, that would be plenty humiliating but way less scary. Hell, at this point I’d crown him king if he’d give the presidency back to Clinton.

      • jpgray

        But see, despite our similarities the voters of our parties DO exhibit differences. This was the disconnect that helped to create this disaster.

        Winning our primary is a hurdle that a Trumpen figure could easily stumble over – Bernie got destroyed by (1) experts blasting massive holes in his vague proposals and (2) lack of a pre-built connection with crucial parts of our coalition. Those obstacles worked as expected in our primary; they bounced right off Trump with nary a “kapwing!” in the GOP primary.

        • Phil Perspective

          Winning our primary is a hurdle that a Trumpen figure could easily stumble over – Bernie got destroyed by (1) experts blasting massive holes in his vague proposals and (2) lack of a pre-built connection with crucial parts of our coalition.

          Number one is bullshit. Number two is very accurate. Number two is what actually did him in.

          • The Lorax

            Shrug. Number one is what did it for me.

            • efgoldman

              Number one is what did it for me

              Well, the “experts” pointed out the unworkability of his proposals, but I think he did it ti himself, when the NYDN asked him how he planned to implement his signature policy proposal (break up the banks) and his answer was “I don’t know.”

      • NewishLawyer

        I said this before but the left are negative single issue voters. They will stay home and not vote if there is a single issue they disagree with a candidate on.

        The right can hold their noses.

        • LosGatosCA

          The right is committed to voting their cult line because the three strongest motivators are: resentment (ask any sports coach ‘nobody respects us, we’ll prove them wrong’), hate (your non-whiteness, non-hetero, non-Christian, immigrants, sexy-time loving threatens my ability to feel I’m sufficiently controlling your behavior), and greed (FYIGM, but I deserve even more because the people I hate deserve a lot less).

          The left just doesn’t have that much motivation – I’d like to do the right thing but that’s really hard. Oh, and when they try to do the ‘right’ thing it ends up with Greenspan/Bernanke running the Fed, Cohen/Gates/Hagel running DoD, Comey running the FBI.

          The base for the right willing signs up for Jay Gould’s Army, the left just doesn’t want to work that hard. That’s how we end up with effectively a Muslim ban in 2016 with a minority president but never got serious consideration of card check in 2009 after a landslide win.

          The differences can’t be more stark.

          • Origami Isopod

            The right is committed to voting their cult line because the three strongest motivators are: resentment (ask any sports coach ‘nobody respects us, we’ll prove them wrong’), hate (your non-whiteness, non-hetero, non-Christian, immigrants, sexy-time loving threatens my ability to feel I’m sufficiently controlling your behavior), and greed (FYIGM, but I deserve even more because the people I hate deserve a lot less).

            You forgot obedience to authority. If Pastor Gas tells them on Sunday at the megachurch that they have to pull the lever for Trump because JEEEEEEEZZZZZUSSSSSS, they’ll do it, no questions asked.

        • Darkrose

          Yup. White evangelical Christians voted for a profane, irreligious adulterer because they know he’ll appoint Supreme Court justices who will repeal Roe v. Wade.

          But Clinton gave speeches to Goldman Sachs.

          • Linnaeus

            The problem, you see, according to Emma Green of The Atlantic, is that Democrats don’t take religion seriously enough.

            • guthrie

              As a foreigner, even I know that’s stupid. Every Democrat president and candidate genuflects before the altar of religion at every opportunity, and goes to church every sunday. Of course, what they don’t do is enact the ideas of the religious right wing, despite it’s adherents claiming it is the only true religion.
              One of the commenters summed it up nicely, that the Democrats actually believe in separation of church and state, and thus don’t push religion into everything.

              Also that’s an impressively badly built website.

            • efgoldman

              Democrats don’t take religion seriously enough.

              Democrats don’t take the correct religion seriously enough.
              Ask a UU or a Congregationalist or reform Jew or most Episcopalians. Democrats take religions seriously enough to get the hell out of the way, as the constitution demands.

            • FlipYrWhig

              Poppycock. Both Obama and Hillary Clinton are Christian humanists who talked frequently and meaningfully about faith and religious values. Maybe that’s where the annoying seriously/literally thing applies: Trump has no religious beliefs of any kind but he can mouth the non-religious platitudes a lot of people who style themselves as religious like to hear.

              • efgoldman

                Trump has no religious beliefs of any kind but he can mouth the non-religious platitudes

                Two Corinthians walk into a bar….

                • cpinva

                  “Two Corinthians walk into a bar….”

                  the third one ducks.

            • Linnaeus

              Agreed with all of you. I’ve grown a little tired of this view of the Democrats’ “religion problem” which amounts to, “Democrats take separation of church and state seriously and don’t think that religious views need to dominate everything” and somehow that’s wrong.

              Or, what guthrie said.

            • Origami Isopod

              Emma Green, Amy Sullivan, Damon Linker, Chris Steadman, and a host of other concern trolls.

        • Joe_JP

          The right can hold their noses.

          The Republicans didn’t re-gain the Senate for one additional cycle because the right voted too many nutty tea party types in primaries. They have their moments. The left also repeatedly vote for flawed types.

          If on balance, the pony-brigade on the left is bigger is something I’ll leave open. But, it isn’t one-sided either way.

          • Redwood Rhiadra

            The pony-brigade on the left is big enough to throw an election when they refuse to vote for the nominee, but not big enough to get their own candidates nominated.

            The pony-brigade on the right is large enough to get their candidates nominated. And then the GOP unites behind the nominee.

      • I’d go with Clooney instead of Hanks. I’ve been endorsing him for this since shortly after the election. But yes, I really think we could do worse. And I’d probably go with Gillibrand, because at this point she seems a more reliable progressive than Booker and it would be nice to finally have a woman at least as VP (and de facto president).

        • N__B

          I think the odds are good that we get both Cuomo and Gillibrand running in 2020. Hopefully, Rat-Boy doesn’t cancel out the actually meaningful candidate.

          • vic rattlehead

            Cuomo would go down like a lead zeppelin in a democratic primary. If he runs for another gubernatorial term and is wounded in the primary as bad as he was in 2014, I suspect that will be the obituary for his national ambitions

            And yes, I want Gillibrand to run and win in 2020. Because 1) she is great and 2) I want Trump to not just lose, but lose to a woman.

            Better yet, a woman of color like Kamala Harris because 1) how awesome would that be? and 2) it would drive Trump and the trumpenproletariat crazy.

            Cheeto Benito would mumble “I can’t believe I lost to a black chick!” the rest of his life! Haha.

            • N__B

              Harris with Gillibrand as back-up sounds good to me.

      • rm

        Hanks and Clooney are pretty old. I bet there are young folks with no idea who they are, anymore than I was aware of Reagan’s film career in 1980.

        I suggest we look more to people like Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber, or whoever is like them and will be 35 and US-born in 2020.

        • Well, if you can point to a younger celebrity with a comparable degree of charisma to Clooney’s as well as his history of activism and understanding of political issues, I’ll probably be able to get behind them. I can’t see someone like Miley or Bieber being able to talk convincingly about political issues, which might not be a problem for Republican voters, given whom they just elected, but would be a problem for Democratic ones.

        • Cleardale

          Beyonce

        • Origami Isopod

          Bieber is Canadian.

          • vic rattlehead

            But enough of a douchebag to be considered an honorary American.

          • I think that’s why rm added the “US-born” caveat.

        • vic rattlehead

          The people who are young enough to not know who Clooney is probably can’t vote. Clooney is an A lister still actively involved in Hollywood-Reagan was a B movie actor turned politician who hadn’t acted in what, a couple decades when he ran in 1980.

        • I was going to say Chris Evans, who has not been shy about getting political on twitter throughout the campaign and in the last week. But the suggestion of Beyonce surely beats that.

          • On the other hand, how cool would it be to have Captain America as the actual president? I’d support him too.

  • Nobdy

    I don’t think this is exactly right. Instead Trump and the Republicans are the WORST VERSIONS of what they say they’ll be. Remember that Trump said that there wouldn’t be people dying in the street in his administration and made a lot of other conciliatory noises when it suited him. He promised not to touch Social Security and Medicare (who believes that now?) and said he had a really great healthcare plan.

    Trump said he would divest from his companies and put America first.

    Likewise Ryan claims to have great policies to shrink the deficit and claims to be compassionate and kind to the poor.

    So Republicans do lie ALL THE TIME. It’s only the bad stuff they are being honest about. The rule about “when an Authoritarian says he is going to do something, BELIEVE HIM!” really only applies to the stuff that feels threatening or bad. You absolutely shouldn’t believe him when he talks about hiring the “best people” to run things and how they are going to get us the bestest greatest deals for our country.

    • econoclast

      Trump has turned out more honest than I expected. We really are apparently going to build a wall; we just essentially expelled a bunch of Muslims yesterday. The only thing that seems certain to have been a lie is ACA reform, simply because what he’s promising is literally impossible.

      • Nobdy

        What about his promise to drain the swamp? I admit that it’s not a clear “policy” proposal but it’s certainly something he appears to have gleefully chucked to the wayside. Though of course he still says it because he says whatever he feels like.

        • howard

          the thing with trump is to look at the ideas he’s voiced over the decades: authoritarianism, protectionism, racism, no one but him knows how to negotiate a “deal,” and these are the ones that i expect consistency.

          stuff that he just says because, like all real estate developers, he’s a sales person at heart, will change based on audience reaction and the last person with whom he has spoken, but there are constants, all awful.

          • NewishLawyer

            And like any real estate developer in Manhattan, he sees the economy as a zero-sum game.

          • Moondog von Superman

            Trump has voiced support for healthcare (“everybody must be covered”) occasionally over many years.

        • econoclast

          That’s fair, though he did hire a lot of scary outsiders as well. Are the I-banking veterans all concentrated in Treasury?

  • sigaba

    Where are we at?

    Trump: Baron Vladimir Harkonnen
    Bannon: Twisted Mentat Piter de Vries (tie with Kelly Ann Conway)
    Rabban: Either Trump son
    Feyd-Rautha: Jared Kushner
    Irulan: Ivanka
    House Corrino: Republican Party
    Emperor Shaddam: Paul Ryan
    Count Fenring: Pete Theil

    • jpgray

      I’m with you on the Baron, but I’d say that the media represent the Great Houses + Corrino, and HRC is House Atreides: betrayed by a deluded idea that there would be any fair play from the establishment in the contest for Arrakis (the presidency).

      This analogy is so nerdy that I think I just became a retroactive virgin.

      • econoclast

        This is too nerdy for you to be a virgin. You are now retroactively hand-fasted in a polyamorous trio of fans of “Stranger in a Strange Land”.

        • sigaba

          Hey somebody up there mentioned John Gill, I didn’t start it.

      • sigaba

        The media is the Spacing Guild, their dependence on poll analyitcs and horse race journalism represented a significant breach of the Butlerian Jihad.

        • guthrie

          Also their continued attempts to claim neutrality whilst sucking up to whoever is more powerful at the time.

      • guthrie

        The real house Atreides didn’t have a deluded idea there would be any fair play. They just underestimated the desire of the empire to get rid of them.

        • jpgray

          “Any” is doing a lot of work, sure. They knew they were walking into a trap, but the risks the establishment was willing to take to destroy them caught them completely flatfooted. If not, the Atreides’ actions in the book would be hard to explain…

          • guthrie

            Indeed. I’m sure there are numerous examples of kings and dictators cutting their noses off to spite their face, I just can’t think of many just now. And such actions usually caught many people by surprise.

            • jpgray

              Yep! Them smart writer folk and the applicability of their meticulous fantasy universes, I’m a sucker for them. Our grandkids will probably think the same when they are fighting over undersea oil in submarines 100 years from now…

              • guthrie

                Clearly you have good taste and sense.
                Have you read “The Dosadi Experiment”? I think it needs to be made into an animated film.

          • Lurking Canadian

            Since I just got to this point in my latest re-read, the Harkonnen attack against Arrakis was estimated to have cost 60 years of the GDP of Arrakis.

            I submit that nobody could have seen that coming.

            • jpgray

              At this point it seems prudent to yield to you and guthrie – it’s been awhile. I think this means you guys get my coffee service now?

            • joel hanes

              W’s Excellent Iraq Adventure cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 T. That would be twelve zeros.

              Iraq’s oil production today is the highest it’s been since 1980, rounded up, 5M barrels a day. Oil is an about $40/bl, round up to $50.

              365 days * 5 E6 barrels * 40 $/bl = 7.3 E 10 $/year

              2 E12 / 7.3 E10 = 2000 B$ / 73 B$/y = 986 years

              So unless I’ve screwed it up, the US adventure in Iraq cost us close to a thousand years of Iraq’s current oil revenues.

              • joel hanes

                I screwed it up big time.
                2000 / 73 is nothing like 986; it’s 27
                The person responsible for the earlier quotient has been sacked.

                So the Iraq war cost about 30 years of Iraq’s oil revenues.

          • Surely the core reason for the Atreides’ loss is that they failed to anticipate betrayal from within. Without Yueh’s help, the Empire’s attack would have failed. And even then, you can’t say that the Atreides didn’t prepare for betrayal – the first third of the book is concerned with trying to root out a traitor. They just overlook Yueh because of a misplaced faith in his conditioning.

      • efgoldman

        I think I just became a retroactive virgin.

        In Japan, one used to be able to get surgery for that.

        • Dennis Orphen

          Can we call the Republican Party the “Big Tent(acle)”?

    • humanoid.panda

      some suggestions: given what he did to Hillary , Сomey is Shaddam. Ryan is Fehring. Thiel is a Tliealaxu

      • sigaba

        Comey is Doctor Yueh. Theil would be a Tliealaxu if I had not self-imposed the rule that I would limit myself to the first book. We’re not allowed to get out of the first book until House Atreidies is ascendant again.

        • Linnaeus

          Thiel is like a Tleilaxu/Ixian hybrid.

        • humanoid.panda

          yueh had honorable reasons

          • sigaba

            I’m sure Yueh believed he had honorable reasons, so did Comey. Yueh should have known his wife was as good as dead and he would be too as soon as he had done the deed, he should have immediately confided in the Atreides and trusted them to rescue his wife if that was remotely possible. This would not have been simply honorable reasoning but honorable action. But that’s Monday Morning God-Emperoring.

            • humanoid.panda

              But Yueh has the backup plan of having Leto kill the baron. For comey to be Yueh he needed to leak the Russian investigations to the Hollary campaign …

            • Yueh did know his wife was dead, or he as good as knew – why prepare the plan for Leto to kill the Duke if he didn’t already realize that his betrayal was for nothing. It makes the entire thing a little unsatisfying to read when you know what’s coming.

        • guthrie

          Your idea of framing it in the Dune universe is good, but I fear you haven’t read the books enough.

          The Tleilax are noted in the first book for producing twisted mentats.
          Moreover, Herbert himself had the first three books as one book, but it was sliced and diced partly by publishing pressure and other factors, I forget what. Therefore the first trilogy is the proper resource to use.

    • (((Malaclypse)))

      Count Fenring: Pete Theil

      Nope. In the end, Fenring exhibited a principle.

      • IM

        And was portrayed as clever.

    • IM

      Very good, but where is Paul?

      • sigaba

        Good question.

      • Lurking Canadian

        If Hillary is Leto the Elder, then Paul must therefore be either Chelsea or Kristin Gillibrand, depending on how literally we intend “ducal heir”.

        Trump as the Baron is on the nose, if you only consider the appetite. The Baron, however, was the brains of the organization. That is less clear in the present case.

        • sigaba

          I admit I get the book Harkonnen and the movie Harkonnen mixed up.

          The art of canly is still alive. I don’t think Trump is stupid, he certainly can form a plan but the lack of discipline or worthy objectives isn’t a bad match.

    • No Longer Middle Aged Man

      “The base” are the sandworms.

      • Linnaeus

        Are the Democrats the Fremen?

        • guthrie

          I’m swithering between the fremen are communists or true leftists, or IWW, or the broad coalition of leftist people who are not so wedded to specific ideologies as to lose track of the danger.

          Mind you part of the problem with analogising with the Dune world is that the trilogy was specifically written as a warning against setting up a one true great leader who will bring us all to paradise.

      • guthrie

        That would suggest that success comes at the end by riding the sandworms into the camp of the emperor, which fits.
        Mind you it does suggest that the majority of the US population are mindless creatures with a few basic appetites.

        • LosGatosCA

          I think George Carlin’s observation fits here (roughly):

          ‘Think of how smart the average person is. Then remember 50% of the people are stupider than that.’

          And most of those are Trump voters.

          • sigaba

            Remember only about 28% of eligible voters voted for him.

    • wjts

      Where are we at?

      An Alpha Complex where Free Enterprise (Ryan), FCCCP (Pence), PURGE (Bannon), and Anti-Mutant (all of them) control The Computer.

    • Is Cheeto Benito really competent enough to qualify as the Baron? It’s been over a decade since I last read the books so I can’t recall for certain. I’ll have to re-read at least the first three sometime.

  • petesh

    Thiel, a source of entertainment for me for many years now, has simultaneously been reported as considering a run for Governor of California and as having taken New Zealand citizenship so he has a bolt-hole when it all comes crashing down.

    Oh, and Thiel has also been quoted — recently but it would be the third linkee — as supporting California independence: good for the state, which is plenty big enough to be a country, and good for the Republican party who would more or less have a lock on the rest of the former U.S.

    In conclusion, drinking blood is not a scientifically proven route to immortality. Being a truly great cartoon villain, however, may be.

    • NewishLawyer

      Thiel would get smashed if he ran for governor of California

      • petesh

        As of course were Whitman and Fiorina, and look what happened to their public profiles. One ran for President and the other became a retroactively revered poet.

      • The Lorax

        True. We have a strong slate already.

  • twbb

    A lot of voters figured things couldn’t get any worse for them so might as well burn down the country. Of course their premise that they couldn’t do any worse was wildly wrong, which they may find out pretty soon.

    • econoclast

      It says something peculiar about the human imagination. Germans were much worse off in 1946 than they would have imagined in 1933, when a plurality voted to burn everything down. They traded unemployment and a grudge over Versailles for being conquered, every major city bombed, the entire country pushed to the brink of starvation. Our societies are not exactly fragile, they are large, sturdy edifices, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to rip up the floorboards and dynamite the foundation.

    • NewishLawyer

      That strikes me as right. A lot of WWC rage seems to be “my life sucks and I would rather have your life suck than raise my circumstances.”

      See LBJ’s quote about a white man emptying his pockets.

    • alexceres

      Yeah, that was my take on the blue & trump states that voted trump. They knew he was a moronic rapist with no experience and strong enough-nazi ties. They just didn’t care as long as those elitists burned with them.

      Obama’s biggest failure was framing the Democratic Party as one of responsible governance instead of progressive support for the American people after 2008 and ceding the economic progressive to the tea partiers. Trump repeatedly attacked Hillary from the left. Everyone knew he was lying and his proposals made no sense, but that didn’t matter to the rust belt voters. They heard what they wanted to hear. He’d bring back jobs. Which is impossible no matter how many immigrants are excluded or free trade agreements abrogated. The technology and economics of automation are to great a hurdle even for the federal government to maintain a successful anti-market intervention for very long.

      Obama was a great president but also a technocrat from Illinois who missed the zeitgeist.

      • FlipYrWhig

        I’m in total disagreement. Trump didn’t run “from the left” on anything. He ran on kicking brown ass. When he talked about trade, that’s what he meant. When he talked about war, that’s what he meant. He didn’t have an earthy critique of globalization or something, he just said Mexico, Mexicans, and China were taking advantage. There’s no left spin to any of those things and believing it to be so is going to lead to dire strategic miscalculations about the future of liberalism and the Democratic Party.

        • Dalai Rasta

          Also, the most progressive idea the Tea Party ever had was “Losers don’t get shit.”

      • cpinva

        “They just didn’t care as long as those elitists/AA’s/women/immigrants/non-“Christians” burned with them.”

        fixed that for you. trump’s main base of support is white supremacist, middle-aged male “Christians, who traditionally hate everyone who isn’t them, regardless of their economic status

    • guthrie

      Yes, it’s disturbing how many people are so short sighted.

      • LosGatosCA

        I think it’s more remarkable that at times have a very long vision – the Founding Fathrrs, Lincoln, FDR, the post WWII western allies framework that won the Cold War.

        Mostly short sighted stupid people are fucking up the world on a regular basis.

  • Simple Mind

    I nearly fainted when I read this over at History Unfolding:

    In my opinion, it’s entirely possible that Steve Bannon, in particular, would be glad to unleash an armed conflict against liberal municipal authorities.

    To avoid the scenario, David Kaiser (historian) says enlisting the help of Congress is vital. Well, clearly, but how is this do be done?

    • NewishLawyer

      Of course, Bannon lived in that great liberal municipality called Santa Monica for much of his adult life.

      I don’t know how these people don’t die from rage induced heart attacks or strokes.

      • cpinva

        “I don’t know how these people don’t die from rage induced heart attacks or strokes.”

        me either, but I’d certainly be happy to help them along.

    • Bannon may wish to do that, but until the laws are seriously changed or there is an auto coup there are no legal grounds for doing so. A President can send in the National Guard to enforce federal law as they did when states resisted court rulings requiring desegregation of schools. However, arguably the “sanctuary cities” are not even breaking the law as laid out in that executive order. To be “withholding” information from the Feds, you must first be collecting that information. To try to compel state and local authorities to collect that information would be, at least under current case law, unconstitutional. Now perhaps as Trump appoints judges courts will start to rule differently. But right now there are no legal grounds for the Feds to start raiding the Governor ‘s Mansion in Sacramento or Boston City Hall and drag political officials off in handcuffs.

      • Davis X. Machina

        But right now there are no legal grounds for the Feds to start raiding the Governor ‘s Mansion in Sacramento or Boston City Hall and drag political officials off in handcuffs.

        “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it.” And we know that these guys are Jackson fans.

      • Sev

        Consider what may happen when there are mass demonstrations and counter demonstrations and scuffles degenerate into violent conflict, and some people start “defending” themselves with their guns which they’ve conveniently brought along… I really do see a grave danger of civil conflict developing, with the police tending to side with those who share their sympathies. People who are organizing movements of resistance do need to reprise the disciplined non-violence of the civil rights movement or this could get much, much worse.

  • Asteroid_Strike_Brexit

    Trump voters looked at him and saw what they wanted to see, with the exception of stupid racist shits who saw him for his true self and liked it. How many upstanding liberals managed to gaslight themselves into thinking he would be peace loving? What everyone will learn the hard way, including the stupid racist shits, is that Trump is only looking after himself. He craves his ego being massaged, and he craves riches galore. All the evidence from his history suggests no other possibility.

    It would be the best investment the US government ever made if it paid him $100 billion and applauded him as the greatest genius ever, as long as he just resigned the presidency. It would be a colossal expenditure of money and pride but it is as nothing as the cost of letting him keep the presidency.

  • Linnaeus

    Slightly OT, but since the post mentions Thiel, I thought I’d share this link: our would-be tech overlords are loving them some Republicans.

    • Nobdy

      This was overdetermined. A lot of silicon valley leftist politics was influenced by the fact that it came out of universities and was born in California, so everyone was pretty much default to the left (I mean San Francisco is the headquarters, and I’m old enough to remember when “San Francisco” meant “Hippie and/or gay” rather than tech millionaire.)

      But they never really internalized the lefty stuff and there was always a strong libertarian streak. Now that the left is in a moment of waning it’s unsurprising that they’re turning right for access to power and because it better fits their ultimate agenda of concentrating wealth in their hands and unimpeded corporate freedom.

      Amazon and Facebook have always been dystopian in their own way. Amazon in the way it treats the majority of its workforce and Facebook in its relentless surveillance.

      It will be even worse when the founders leave and even Google’s nominal slogan “Don’t be Evil” gets wiped away.

      I don’t know if they’ll fully get on board with the social conservatism angle, but maybe they can reach a compromise in the name of “federalism.” After all if you’re jetting back and forth between New York City and San Francisco who cares if they don’t have abortion in Mississippi? That’s not where your mistresses live.

      • Linnaeus

        It’s funny, in light of the predictions that the IT sector and the “new” economy was supposed to bring us a new kind of capitalism. When given the chance, however, the companies of the “new” economy can act very much like those of the old economy.

        • N__B

          This is my shocked selfie.

      • No Longer Middle Aged Man

        strong libertarian streak

        gives them far far too much credit. It was and is much closer to an adolescent petulant “the rules don’t apply to me.” From Jobs and Gates back then to Uber today. It’s not about freedom or liberty, it’s “nobody gets to tell me what I can do.”

        • ΧΤΠΔ

          There’s a difference?

          • Origami Isopod

            I’d rather not cede words like “freedom” and “liberty” to that definition, though they might not be salvageable for at least a few generations.

            BTW, Paula Borsook’s Cyberselfish described these guys quite accurately a few decades ago.

        • eclare

          It’s not about freedom or liberty, it’s “nobody gets to tell me what I can do.”

          Seems like a distinction without a difference.

      • alexceres

        The billionaires have more in common with other billionaires and always loved them some money more than principles. I don’t see this as being remotely true of the rank and file, many of whom are millionaires. Most of the folks who describe themselves as libertarians here would call themselves independents elsewhere in the country.

        Silicon Valley is extremely multi-cultural, highly educated, urban, pro-trade and insulated from the negative aspects of American policy decisions (unlike, say, rust belt). The business men will do business with anyone, because, money, but otherwise it’s urban California that went +2M Hillary.

        • Lurking Canadian

          If the caricature of the “neo-liberal” accurately describes any humans, it describes tech libertarians. No problem if you want to be gay, or female, or dark of skin, but FUCK YOU I’M NOT PAYING TAXES OR RECYCLING has been very common sentiment since the dawn of USENET.

          • Origami Isopod

            No problem if you want to be gay, or female, or dark of skin

            The high-tech industry is notoriously misogynist and racist. They may or may not have a problem with women/PoC existing, but certainly they don’t approve of them working alongside them as equals.

    • humanoid.panda

      Given the stranglehold Republicans hold on the House , I am not surprised, nor do i see this as an ideological thing. ( if you read Caro you will see that under FDR corporate interests poured tons of money into democratic coffers…)

      • Linnaeus

        Maybe not ideological other than a commitment to the same principles of capitalism that animates business generally. Which is to be expected, but should also serve as a caveat that even “progressive” companies will not always act in a progressive fashion.

        • humanoid.panda

          Right. and conversely if progressives are powerful enough even assholes will have to kiss their ass.

    • NewishLawyer

      Google is taking a strong stance against Trump’s immigration orders.

      • Nobdy

        I expect a lot of corporations will. It is very bad for business both in terms of recruiting employees but also in terms of keeping open foreign markets. And not just the specific countries named. It makes it harder to operate in Muslim countries in general and probably hurts interests in Europe as well.

      • Nick never Nick

        That’s good, but personally, I don’t think we can count on large corporations to be effective resistance to Trump — given the failure of institutions that should have led this effort, I’m doubtful that those poorly designed to do so will.

        What they will do is argue for half-measures, accommodation, or amelioration, and then drop out of any efforts if Trump throws them a crumb or two — then back to counting profits.

        • guthrie

          See also the 1930’s, where big business didn’t manage to stop fascists either.

          • Phil Perspective

            Because big business will support fascism over anything resembling democratic socialism, especially if Communism isn’t there to countervail.

        • Linnaeus

          Right.

  • Nick never Nick

    Off topic, but apropos of the discussion a few weeks ago about web sites that have become inexplicably pro-Russian in the most bizarre ways, Naked Capitalism is defending Russia, and particularly Putin, from criticism for their decriminalization of domestic abuse:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/01/102058.html

    • econoclast

      The first comment is so shamelessly pro-Russian that it verges on parody.

      The West hates and fears Russia for daring to be a real nation-state. Our individualism and superficial “freedoms”, where our only values are hustling and narcissism contrast strongly with the Russians’ soulful patriotism which expresses itself in those things greater than oneself. The Russian soul blossoms while Westerners are enslaved to the neoliberal death cult. This will be Russia’s century.

      • humanoid.panda

        Russians are collective minded when it comes to proper subway ethiquette. On this, they are infinitely better the the degenerate west. Other than this, you will struggle hard to find a culture with less powerful notions of the social contract

      • Davis X. Machina

        This will be Russia’s century.

        Based on Russia’s GDP, I’d say ‘ths will be Russia’s seventeen-and-a-half years’.

      • Nick never Nick

        My parents lived for a year in Romania (under Ceausescu), and were occasionally mistaken for Russians. I told this to a Romanian friend of mine one time and he burst out with “What? Are your parents fat and stupid?”

        It would be interesting to take a poll on some of the circum-Russian peoples, to ascertain their views on the ‘soulful Russian patriotism’.

      • Origami Isopod

        with the Russians’ soulful patriotism which expresses itself in those things greater than oneself

        Like, uh, decriminalizing domestic violence and persecuting LGBT people? Oh, wait, I forgot, only thumb-sucking liberals give a shit about “identity politics.”

      • rm

        Remember when some conservative columnists and bloggers were exposed taking money from, I think, Malaysia? And they all coincidentally took an interest in supporting that government in their writing.

        I think that wasn’t a unique phenomenon. And when a particular government’s interests are suddenly being promoted in a lot of surprising venues, you gotta wonder.

        A few (days? weeks? eons?) ago there was that (perfectly legitimate) story of a think tank downgrading the US to “flawed democracy.” Friends on fb shared it from some real news sites. One shared it from RT, where it was reported with a distinct slant. Their version suggested this could be the symptom of a large-scale imminent crack-up of the United States, and went on to predict the collapse of Western Europe’s institutions too. Surrounding headlines all promoted Russian points of view. Russians seem to be reliving the trauma of the Soviet collapse and break-up and wishing it on others.

        I don’t think my fb friend was paying any attention to the source reporting that juicy headline. But there it was.

        Maybe we should turn off the internet after all.

        • Remember when some conservative columnists and bloggers were exposed taking money from, I think, Malaysia? And they all coincidentally took an interest in supporting that government in their writing.

          Josh Trevino

    • Solar System Wolf

      Wow. I haven’t read that site for years, but what the hell happened?

      • Davis X. Machina

        ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ is a hella drug…

        Anyhoo, it’s Obama’s fault for not seizing the commanding heights of the economy in the name of the workers, as we have every right to expect from a UChicago law prof.

      • Nick never Nick

        I have no idea at all — I first noticed it when they published a large number of articles arguing that the passenger jet shot down over the Ukraine was being unfairly blamed on Russia or their clients. Since then, it’s gotten a lot more overt, particularly during the campaign.

        • Mike G

          I’ve noticed that. They still have a good number of interesting and thoughtful articles on political and economic issues, but now and then they seem disproportionately concerned with defending Putin, which leaves me scratching my head and wondering who is funding them.

    • humanoid.panda

      and of course that story starts with a riff about the horrors of pussyhats. Because of course true leftism has the cultural sensitivities of Rod Dreher

      • Nick never Nick

        I have been a feminist since 1874, and let me tell you, nothing I have seen has revolted me so much as women wearing pussy hat to protest Donald Trump.

        We need to follow Putin’s wise lead on this matter.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          those are actual comments over there? sheesh

          • Nick never Nick

            nah, mine is a parody of what Yves opens with

  • Nick never Nick

    Good news, everyone! Sure, there may be some fallout from this fascist Executive Order, and yeah, countless lives are going to be deeply affected by it, and OK, decades hence we’ll look back on this with shame, sure. But at the very least, there are steady, experienced hands down at the State Department who will guide the ship of state through the huge backlash and disruptions that this is going to bring crashing back . . .

    • efgoldman

      But at the very least, there are steady, experienced hands down at the State Department

      Are there even any attorneys in DOJ or the Solicitor General’s office who can/will defend against the injunction requests that are going to be filed first thing Monday morning?
      I can’t believe any holdover attorneys could even stand before a judge without either laughing or barfing.

    • Nobdy

      Not to mention how INCREDIBLY heightened the contradictions are! Why won’t Lemieux acknowledge that the contradictions have been heightened to an almost unbearably beautiful level?

      The socialist paradise is almost here! Can’t you taste it?

      • Harry Hardrada

        Can’t make an omelet without smashing a few million eggs and burning a ton of henhouses, after all.

  • nasser

    Lemieux is one hundred percent correct. The Republicans are who we thought they were, and we let them off the hook.

  • sergiol652

    At some point the voters have to take responsibility for Trump’s policies, his vulgarity, sexism, racism, etc. It’s not like any of this was a surprise the way he campaigned. Anyone that voted for him, or did not vote and stayed home shares that culpability.

    • Or voted third party.

      I’ll excuse people who tried to vote and couldn’t because of voter suppression shenanigans, though.

      • N__B

        I found myself today raging at everyone who voted for Reagan and W because they paved the way for the current insanity.

  • Something that this election has really driven home for me, but which I was aware of in previous ones, in Israel and other countries, is how much of voting really comes down to projection. People see a candidate they like, or who speaks to them on some level, and they decide that person will do everything they want, even if those things are impossible or run counter to what the candidate has actually said. And as noted here, these same voters will decide that the things the candidate says that are distasteful or should, by all rights, exclude them from public office, aren’t something they really mean, despite all evidence to the contrary.

    I really don’t know how you counter this. It’s not a low information thing, I think. It’s where the emotional nature of participatory democracy most fully reveals itself, and there’s really no way to get people to be less emotional than they’re inclined to be.

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