Home / General / Trump Offered Racism to Voters, And a Lot of Them Liked It

Trump Offered Racism to Voters, And a Lot of Them Liked It

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Trump-visit-17

While Trump is in many respects working within a well-established political tradition, it matters that he used half-entendres rather than double-entendres to mobilize racist resentment, and the brutal truth is that it was effective:

Racism and economic dislocation, of course, cannot be neatly separated. But nor does good Democratic policy that provides material benefits to people guarantee that people will resist Trumpism:

For years, Tammy and Joseph Pavlic tried to ignore the cracked ceiling in their living room, the growing hole next to their shower and the deteriorating roof they feared might one day give out. Mr. Pavlic worked for decades installing and repairing air-conditioning and heating units, but three years ago, with multiple sclerosis advancing, he had to leave his job.

By 2015, Ms. Pavlic was supporting her husband and their three children on an annual salary of $9,000, earned at a restaurant. That year, they tapped a county program funded by Congress, called the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, to help repair their house.

The next year, they voted for Donald J. Trump, who has moved to eliminate the HOME program.

The Pavlics’ ceiling may no longer be cracked, but in the zero-sum game that Mr. Trump’s budget seeks to set up, the nation is showing new fissures. The president’s budget proposal would cut deeply into the Department of Housing and Urban Development, paring rental assistance and eliminating heating and air-conditioning aid, energy-efficiency assistance, and partnerships with local governments like HOME. With the savings, Mr. Trump says, he would beef up military spending and build a wall along the Mexican border.

“Keeping the country safe compared to keeping my bathroom safe isn’t even a comparison,” Mr. Pavlic, 42, said. “We have people who are coming into this country who are trying to hurt us, and I think that we need to be protected.”

People who say that Pavlic is “voting against his own interests” fail to grasp that white supremacy is an interest.

But the article is also a reminder that people who vote Democratic because of these programs remain in these areas too:

To William Brown, a former trucking company manager in Masury, the proposed cuts are not fodder for an academic argument: They’re just wrong.

“Everything he is doing is systematically horrible for this country,” said Mr. Brown, who voted for Hillary Clinton and hasn’t worked since 2009 after he had a heart attack and was laid off from his job. “For him to even consider taking a program away when we can spend all this money for him to go down to Florida every weekend, how many people can use that money?”

We shouldn’t ignore the potency of what Trump has unleashed, but DEMOCRATS ARE DOOMED being the takeaway is neither useful nor accurate. Trump’s electoral coalition isn’t exactly rock solid. He’s got less than 100,000 votes to spare, he will have failed to fulfill most of his promises, he is extremely unpopular, and the media both mainstream and left is much less likely to fap itself silly over inane trivia about the Democratic candidate with Trump actually in the White House. It’s a problem, but it’s not an insurmountable problem. Killing Trumpcare is a good start, both substantively and politically.

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  • Jordan

    Maybe (probably) I’m failing to understand those graphs in the tweet, but how is the last one like the first ones? Shouldn’t the racists/republicans think “black have gotten *more* than they deserve”?

    Again, probably failing to understand the graph.

    (all of what you say, of course, is good stuff).

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      “Items Recorded So That High SRS Answer is Positive”

      • Jordan

        Ya, I tried to google that and couldn’t find anything. “Serious Racism Score”???

        But, thinking about it for slightly longer, I’m sure that is the explanation.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          “Symbolic Racism Scale,” I think.

          • Jordan

            well, that would make more sense.

        • Ronan

          It’s showing the difference between R and D. Graphs 1 and 4 are Ds answering favourably, questions 2 and 3 are Rs answering unfavourably.

          • Ronan

            (..or maybe not)

          • Ronan

            What do these scales show though, causally? My understanding is a lot of the racial bias measurements used in social psychology etc didnt really predict discriminatory behaviour or practical, real world racism.
            They might have shown *something*, but in a lot of ways it was quite trivial. Are these racial bias scales political scientists use any more useful?

            • DAS

              I am speaking from a position of complete ignorance here, but my guess is that measurements of (symbolic) racial bias may indeed not predict “discriminatory behavior or practical, real world racism”* but that they certainly would predict an act (e.g. voting Republican) whose effects are so abstract and removed from day-to-day reality for most people that such an act counts as symbolic itself. How many people (especially Republicans who don’t believe that government is effective anyway) really connect which way they pull a lever or fill in a bubble on a form with actual actions that have real world effects?

              *there is also the “some of my best friends are black” phenomenon here. People with some of the most atrociously racist attitudes may not themselves engage in actual discriminatory behavior or practical, real world racism when it comes to how they treat their black friends and co-workers. But that doesn’t mean that they are not racist. Racist attitudes may be important in many different ways, but many people with racist attitudes do not actually act on them when it comes to their personal lives.

              • Ronan

                “But that doesn’t mean that they are not racist. ”

                Sure, Im happy to concede that. A lot of the claims being made from these measurements are causal though (ie people voted Trump due to racial resentment, rather than people who are more likely to have racist views are more likely to have voted Trump. The first is a strong claim, the second is pretty trivial)

                “but that they certainly would predict an act (e.g. voting Republican).”

                The racial opinions divide along partisan lines, but do they actually explain voting behaviour?(There’s other evidence, of course, that people voted on immigration etc, so im not doubting nativism drove large parts of the Trump vote, im just curious about these scales specifically and what they show apart from that US politics is quite divided and one of those divisions is racial)

                • Ronan

                  It also obviously shows the increase in resentment over the past decade. (how much can that be explained by the Democrats becoming less racist?)

                • xq

                  There’s been a growing education gap in white support since 2004. Education is associated with racist and sexist views. It’s hard to get at causation because all these factors (and others) are associated with each other.

                  The increase in education gap in 2016 was driven both by educated Romney-Clinton voters and uneducated Obama-Trump voters. So, part of the change relative to 2012 is likely due to less racist voters moving to Democrats.

  • Cheerfull

    Would a relevant conclusion be that the issue in 2008 and 2012 wasn’t that Obama was black, but that McCain and Romney weren’t racist enough to really catch the ear of this chunk of the population?

    Or that the steady drum beat from the right since 2008 re immigrants committing crimes and ISIS increased the numbers of those prepared to defend themselves against peril by voting for a racist? The problem with the latter is it’s not clear to me that the right wing press has been particularly more strident on these points in the last eight years, than in prior ones, but on the other hand social media is an ever growing part of the equation.

    • Nick never Nick

      Personally, I don’t think the electorate is coherent. I accept the economic analysis that people are being increasingly squeezed and reacting unpredictably– I wouldn’t be surprised if right now we are in a prolonged period of ‘roll the dice’ elections, in which people are able to convince themselves to vote in radically different directions, year to year. One cycle, a competent black guy, the next, an orange cretin devoid of qualifications. Both have something new about them.

      • efgoldman

        I don’t think the electorate is coherent.

        Certainly all these chin-stroking wastes of newsprint and pixels, showing us how hateful and stupid the knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing flying monkeys are, and how surprised they are that the Amber Asshole for whom they voted is EXACTLY the guy he appeared to be.

        And this from the OP

        People who say that Pavlic is “voting against his own interests” fail to grasp that white supremacy is an interest.

        Is obvious, but hardly ever said.

    • Karen24

      McCain and Romney would have faced a much harsher backlash from most of the national media for overt racism against Obama, mainly because the MSM thinks racism is tacky. Sexism is less disreputable and since Clinton wasn’t white, then the Confederate flags weren’t an attack directly on her, so they were suddenly just irrelevant props used by the Economically Insecure.

      Shorter answer — since the racism couldn’t be shown to be a personal insult against the Dem candidate who somehow failed to energize her base, it wasn’t really important.

      • King Goat

        That’s unnecessarily complex. The press just hasn’t liked the Clinton’s for a long time. It goes back decades. Everyone knew it, and yet people still supported her as nominee and then went ‘I can’t believe they’re applying the Clinton rules to her!’ for over a year.

        As is said downthread, let’s hope in 2020 we choose more wisely.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          have you got your O’Malley yard sign out already?

          • King Goat

            It’s hard for people who pushed a losing horse on us, resulting in a fascist as President, to come to terms with what turned out to be a remarkable lack of foresight and its consequences. I get it. You’ll make it through one day, I have hope for you.

            • Murc

              It’s hard for people who pushed a losing horse on us

              You mean the sixty percent of the Democratic Party.

              Come off it, dude. I also think nominating Clinton was a mistake but you continue to imply that her nomination was somehow illegitimate or otherwise not the actual will of the broad mass of the party at all levels, from the lowest to the highest.

              • King Goat

                This something you’ve constructed in your mind. I’ve never said Clinton won some rigged contest, I said she was a terrible choice. She got the most votes in the contest-and shame on those who did so early. Trump thanks you!

                • Scott Lemieux

                  said she was a terrible choice

                  Democratic primary voters had two choices, and even you concede the other one wasn’t obviously better electorally. So this argument is as useless as ever! Yes, the Dems should vote for the imaginary political superstar rather than the available choices, very useful going forward.

                • King Goat

                  If Hillary had found the kind of support Jeb! found in the GOP process she would have withdrawn and somebody else entered or developed.

                • MyNameIsZweig

                  Scott, you’re forgetting the other members of the Sure-Fire Winner’s Circle – Webb, O’Malley and Chafee!

                  And Poland! You forgot Poland!

                • FlipYrWhig

                  If Hillary had found the kind of support Jeb! found in the GOP process she would have withdrawn and somebody else entered or developed.

                  The fact that she found vastly more support than that is… the problem? Surely you realize that this is not a good explanation for anything.

                • efgoldman

                  If Hillary had found the kind of support Jeb! found in the GOP process

                  And if I had wings I’d be a Gryphon. Meaningless crap, as always.

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  I didn’t know you had a lion’s body and an eagle’s head, efg.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  If Hillary had found the kind of support Jeb! found in the GOP process she would have withdrawn and somebody else entered or developed.

                  Um, Jeb! lacked support because people preferred other candidates. If, as with Romney 2012, people didn’t particularly like him but there was no other credible candidate, he would have stayed in and won. Primaries aren’t referenda; you can’t beat something with nothing.

              • liberal

                You mean the sixty percent of the Democratic Party.

                The process involves a lot more than voters. There’s obviously a selection process long before any primary election/caucus is held.

                HRC was always a crap campaigner and has had loser stink since 2008. The fact that the party elites didn’t send her packing after 2008 is mind-boggling.

                Note I’m not questioning the legitimacy of any of these processes; I’m questioning the competence and the judgement of the people involved. (Not so much the primary election itself.)

                • Shantanu Saha

                  HRC was always a crap campaigner and has had loser stink since 2008. The fact that the party elites didn’t send her packing after 2008 is mind-boggling.

                  Wow. On the one hand, you hate the party elites with a passion. On the other, you rely on them to manhandle (yes, I’m intentionally using that pun) the most accomplished and popular person in the Democratic party (who was eligible to run and wanted the job, remember that Barack Obama was ineligible, Michelle didn’t want the job, and Biden didn’t have the fire in the belly and probably couldn’t have beaten Clinton anyway).

                  What proposals do you have for change, then? I know, more caucuses!

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  Also: Party elite Harry Reid encouraged Obama to run against Hillary because Reid thought she was too vulnerable in the general election, so this is really just blatant axe-grinding.

                • Harkov311

                  The fact that the party elites didn’t send her packing after 2008 is mind-boggling.

                  Yes, yes, Barack Obama, George McGovern, and Jimmy Carter can all tell you about how the elites never ever let outsiders become the nominee, and can send nominees packing at a whim.

                • Origami Isopod

                  HRC was always a crap campaigner and has had loser stink since 2008.

                  Nah.

            • Hogan

              I can’t imagine why people would think liberals are smug.

            • sharculese

              It’s actually very easy because your arguments are shallow and you seem more interested in patting yourself on the back that engaging with anyone.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              have I missed the thread where you offered something *constructive* about the process going forward? Because as far as I know, you’re a two-trick pony: “Dems chose unwisely” and “We gotta be nice to racists”

              • King Goat

                Dems did choose unwisely. That’s not controversial, it’s obvious. I get no joy from repeating it, but lots of people here really think it’s not only not obvious, they think it’s wrong.

                I get it. When you fight for a candidate you can get emotionally invested. When they then lose in a surprisingly bad way the easy thing to do is deflect any insight into your own faulty choosing process. But for the sake of those vulnerable to people like Trump’s rule, it’s something people have to get over.

                • Hogan

                  I get no joy from repeating it, but lots of people here really think it’s not only not obvious, they think it’s wrong.

                  And simply repeating it over and over is the obvious solution to that.

                • King Goat

                  When people deny the sun is yellow sadly it’s worth repeating that it is.

                • MyNameIsZweig

                  Dems did choose unwisely.

                  All right, then which actually available alternative choice would have been wiser?

                • King Goat

                  What’s ‘actually available’ is in no small part a function of the process, the work of party officials, and who voters support early. There’s ways to have changed all three-and with the hindsight that she was a loser everyone should be eager to discuss that-that’s the point. Instead it’s all ‘she was actually a great choice, but Comey/media/racism came out of nowhere’ or ‘she was all we could possibly have run, nothing to do about that, nothing at all!’

                • Shantanu Saha

                  If you were right that the Democrats chose unwisely, then I would believe you. But I think you’re just grinding axes, and thus you take great pleasure in saying “See, she lost, she must be terrible!” over and over again.

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  the point I made, which in your compulsive, throttlejockey-esque dishonesty, you disregarded, is that *you* have *nothing* substantive to offer in the way of providing *better* choices

                • Hogan

                  When people deny the sun is yellow sadly it’s worth repeating that it is.

                  To what end? Changing their minds? What makes you think mindless repetition will accomplish that?

                • Howlin Wolfe

                  No, you don’t get it. You get your own bad argument, but that’s sad.
                  Circular reasoning is no way to go through life, son.

            • mnuba

              It’s hard for people who pushed a losing horse on us

              oh, so YOU were the one who "cleared the field", jim. you started on your work for Chelsea 2020 yet?

            • Rob in CT

              It’s hard for people who pushed a losing horse on us, resulting in a fascist as President, to come to terms with what turned out to be a remarkable lack of foresight and its consequences. I get it. You’ll make it through one day, I have hope for you.

              Who are you describing here?

              If you’re going with “party elites” ok, whatever, though I think that’s overblown, fine don’t wanna argue. If you’re talking about Jim or anyone else yammering away here at LGM, that’s ridiculous.

              Your argument, as I recall, is that none of the Dem candidates who ran in 2016 were good candidates. Not Hillary, not Bernie, and certainly not O’Malley, Webb or Chaffee.

              You’ve been pressed on this – who was the good candidate? – and you always flail at that point with, basically, “somebody else.” Someone. You know, someone better.

              This fantasy candidate either didn’t run because they didn’t exist, or because they were dissuaded from running by The Elites. Jim, some guy in Iowa had nothing to do with it, either way. Neither did Rob, some guy in Connecticut.

              Likewise, you’ve got jack and shit for reform ideas to improve the process. We’ve been through this. The best thing you have is removing supers, but it’s clear that supers didn’t change the outcome in 2008 or 2016. I’m fine with them going, but really. I don’t recall if you’ve brought them up but I think caucuses should go bye bye too. I don’t think this would make that big a difference but it might – Clinton wins in ’08 but for caucuses, no?

              • King Goat

                Those who pushed Clinton early on, whether elite or not (though the former are certainly even more blameworthy).

                • efgoldman

                  Those who pushed Clinton early on, whether elite or not

                  OK, SO NOW WE KNOW: YOU NOT ONLY DON’T KNOW WHO ARE NOMINATABLE AND ELECTABLE DEMOCRATS IN THIS COUNTRY, YOU DON’T KNOW OR LIKE HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS, AND YOU HAVE NOT ONE FUCKING IDEA HOW TO FIX IT OR WHO SHOULD RUN. MAYBE ZOMBIE FDR? WOULD THAT DO?

                  you are a one-trick pony troll and you need to go back under your bridge.

              • witlesschum

                These are all excellent questions that King Goat has consistently been unable to answer since at least September. A parrot who could learn the phrase “Clinton lost!” would be an equally valuable LGM commenter.

                • Rob in CT

                  A parrot who could learn the phrase “Clinton lost!” would be an equally valuable LGM commenter.

                  .

                  We already have that commenter – that’s TVTray’s schtick.

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  Dear god, King Goat isn’t that bad.

                • Rob in CT

                  Agreed.

            • brad

              Yes, her failure to have a geographically diverse margin of victory surely does… something.
              Keep preening, maybe someone will fall for it.

        • Morse Code for J

          Yes. I too hope that in 2020, the Democratic nominee is one who can not only overcome a series of trumped-up investigatory committees holding hearings, a Michael Bay movie starring Jim from “The Office” to highlight these investigations, a collateral matter from those hearings being blown out of proportion by Congress, that collateral matter continuing to command A1 of the NYT even after the FBI Director said that no indictment was forthcoming, BUT ALSO a substantial minority of entitled assholes within her party describing her and the entire party as corrupt and indistinguishable from Republicans on most issues.

          • Fingers crossed!

          • King Goat

            Deflection.

            She was the target of those investigations when people chose her.
            She was well known as unliked by the press when people chose her.
            She had historically high unfavorables when people chose her.
            She had long been disliked by a faction of the left wing of the party when people chose her.

            None of these things were unforseeable, except for those who lacked or ignored foresight and chose her. And the result was President Trump.

            Do better next time.

            • Morse Code for J

              We will. Step one: Tom Perez and Keith Ellison will tell Bernie Sanders that he can be a Republican carpetbagger instead of a Democratic one, if this party is so useless to the working people of the country.

            • brad

              At least your hands are clean and you can tell us so.

          • liberal

            That’s all true, but doesn’t detract from the fact that she’s simply not a very good campaigner and, more generally, doesn’t seem to have very good judgement.

            • Hogan

              Citations inevitably omitted.

              • Q.E.Dumbass

                The honest answer regarding judgment would be her foreign policy, which is uniquely susceptible to the kinetic fallacy (but is not news anywhere and is usually regarded as her weakest point) and the speeches (still poor optics even if they were accepted practice across the political spectrum).

                Of course, he’s also repeatedly cited EMAILZ as an example, because Clinton should’ve totally had foreknowledge of literally every thing (no matter how irrelevant) the Repugs & media could potentially chickenfuck her on, and that not being able to do so makes her arrogant and/or an idiot. The barely-an-implication is that the potential for chickenfucking wouldn’t have been anywhere near as much of a problem for Bernie: Apparently, the advocacy for left positions — i.e., MOAR SOCIALISM — works the same way as Purple Man’s pheromones. (This is also at the root of the non-trivially common belief that the “leftmost” candidate in any race is scientifically incapable of losing a fair fight, as is demonstrated in his comments elsewhere in this thread).

                • Hogan

                  You’d think we didn’t even have a foreign policy in Obama’s first term other than Libya and Syria.

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  Not sure if the sarcasm is directed at me, but here goes:

                  Of course I’m not saying that Libya and Syria comprised Clinton’s entire foreign policy, just that it’s the area in which the best can can be made for having “poor judgment.” Personally, from reading up on Libya my impression is that our involvement would’ve had to been on an all-or-nothing basis to be successful (i.e.: no intervention, or extensive follow-up to the initial intervention along the lines Clinton advocated); being largely pacifist, this’ pushed me to being somewhat against the intervention. (Syria is basically a big ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ as for what to do).

                  As for poor campaigning and poor judgment otherwise, your (Hogan’s) comment is right on the money.

                • tsam

                  Of course, he’s also repeatedly cited EMAILZ as an example, because Clinton should’ve totally had foreknowledge of literally every thing (no matter how irrelevant) the Repugs & media could potentially chickenfuck her on, and that not being able to do so makes her arrogant and/or an idiot.

                  The server thing isn’t something that hadn’t been done before. It was a private SERVER (rather than using say…RNC servers). This was all built by people who just fucking needed there to be clouds, shadows, disarray and whatever else makes a spooky headline.

                  The only valid criticism of Hillary Clinton (even this is debatable since it’s likely a regional thing) is that she focused too much on what a shitstain Trump is instead of tossing out the usual “your jobs will have jobs” bullshit that Trump used. I think she tried to be honest about coal jobs not coming back, that global, predatory capitalism isn’t going away anytime soon, and that as a nation, we’re a lot stronger when we stick together instead of load cattle cars full of brown people.

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  Which is exactly what I’m saying, tsam. (BTW, why no Gravatar for the last few weeks?) I’d also add that “your jobs aren’t coming back” joins “I’ll raise your taxes” as proof that voters don’t actually want honesty; they want someone who promises free rides to Haboglabotribin‘, but not as “polished” as the norm.

                • Hogan

                  Not sure if the sarcasm is directed at me

                  It wasn’t, and I should have made that clear.

                • witlesschum

                  The honest answer regarding judgment would be her foreign policy, which is uniquely susceptible to the kinetic fallacy (but is not news anywhere and is usually regarded as her weakest point) and the speeches (still poor optics even if they were accepted practice across the political spectrum).

                  Yeah, Clinton voted for the Iraq War and just as importantly never gave an answer as to why that suggested she’d learned a useful lesson. That was the defining judgement question of my adult life and she failed it spectacularly.

                  So did a number of Democratic politicians, of course, and almost every Republican, but it’s hard see past that. All her other sins are minor compared to that one.

          • JustRuss

            The media gleefully smeared two of the last three Democratic nominees for president. I’m not sure what we’re supposed to do in the face of that.

            Clinton’s campaign wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t horrible, and her flaws were pretty minor until the media decided to hold a magnifying glass to every one of them, including the imaginary ones like the Clinton Foundation. There’s no reason to think the next candidate won’t get the same treatment. Sure, they won’t have a 25-year history of media idiocy to deal with, but I don’t think that will matter much. When it comes to idiocy, our media can make up for lost time like nobody’s business, especially when Fox is showing them the way.

            • JustRuss

              Crap, forgot about Kerry. His treatment wasn’t horrible, but there wasn’t much push-back against the swiftboat crap…and the story about Bush blowing off his Guard commitment got buried, along with Dan Rather’s career, so I’m not giving them a gold star.

        • delazeur

          As is said downthread, let’s hope in 2020 we choose more wisely.

          Your contention that a candidate who got a solid lead in the popular vote and only narrowly lost the electoral vote was a terrible choice is ridiculous on its face. Get your head out of your ass.

          • King Goat

            Yes, the idea that the Democrat who lost to the Orange Buffoon in the process dropping Wisconsin, PA and Michigan was a bad choice is so obviously ridiculous.

            Wow.

            • tsam

              That assertion has to include “should have gone with…”–and don’t say anybody else because that would be stupid as fuck. Seriously, who do you think was available and willing to run that would have beat Fucknuts McFuckface?

            • witlesschum

              The thing is that people like celebrities. Nobody like Trump has ever run for president before, so anyone making confident pronouncements about him or his elections is immediately suspect to me.

        • Dilan Esper

          As is said downthread, let’s hope in 2020 we choose more wisely.

          This again?

          I’m trying to lay low here lately, and this is one of the reasons why.

          Everyone knows my general thinking about all things Clinton. But FFS, the election’s over. And there’s less than no reason to spend the next four years with a bunch of boring attacks on Hillary Clinton, especially given that she was obviously very unlucky to lose the election.

          4 years of the same old, unresolveable arguments is going to be very hard to take. Hillary’s not on the ballot for anything, and she’s basically spending her time making perfectly reasonable critiques of the Trump Administration. Let her alone, FFS.

          • sibusisodan

            And there’s less than no reason to spend the next four years with a bunch of boring attacks on Hillary Clinton, especially given that she was obviously very unlucky to lose the election.

            Yes, yes and thrice yes. Well put.

          • Manny Kant

            Wow, when Dilan is a voice of reason on the subject of Hillary Clinton, the other person should probably reconsider their life choices.

      • and since Clinton wasn’t white

        Did she catch that from Bill back in the 90s?

        • Just_Dropping_By

          I was waiting for someone to notice that….

      • Colin Day

        Clinton wasn’t white

        Oh yes, who can forget this magical run for Parliament.

      • Manny Kant

        The media did go after Trump about as much as they’d have gone against McCain or Romney, I think. IMO, the main problem here is that McCain and Romney are more or less psychologically normal human beings who would have felt ashamed when the media went after them. That’s the media’s weapon – shame the candidate into backing down. Since Trump doesn’t feel shame, those tools didn’t work at all.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      I’ve seen it said here (can’t remember by who, sorry) that both McCain and Romney were shown data saying an explicitly racist campaign would win. If so the foundation was there and it only took a candidate who was both racist and shameless to, shall we say, develop on the site

      • Nick never Nick

        I kind of doubt that data like that exists — elections aren’t equations.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          yeah, probably not *that* definite and maybe it came from more or less disreputable sources, as far as campaign analysts go. On the other hand, trump really is in a class of his own as far as shame goes which would explain why we didn’t see anyone actually *test* the approach before

          • Nick never Nick

            I bet that after both McCain and Romney lost, the Republicans went through a process similar to what we’re doing now (r.e. Sanders) — hashing out a number of specific things that the standard-bearer did wrong, fighting about why they didn’t take the gloves off, etc. I would lay good money that being insufficiently racist was one of the perceived flaws . . .

            • humanoid.panda

              yeah, probably not *that* definite and maybe it came from more or less disreputable sources, as far as campaign analysts go. On the other hand, trump really is in a class of his own as far as shame goes which would explain why we didn’t see anyone actually *test* the approach before

              The thing is though that Trump needed as series of miracles to win against a deeply unpopular opponent- so it’s not like open racism unlocked a door he could just stroll through.

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                it did, though, give him the kind of base the other republicans were unwilling to risk alienating

                • humanoid.panda

                  Right. The willingness to “got there” was a huge boon in the primary, no doubt. But we are discussing the general, right? (I think on the general I am in a minority position here, because I strongly believe that Trump significantly underperformed a generic R).

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  you’re right, I was half thinking general and half thinking primaries because of the other subthread I was involved with

                  I am not sure I’d argue very much- maybe a little- with you on whether trump underperformed generic R. Not a fan of counterfactuals in general though- when people have so much difficulty finding agreement on what actually happened and why, trying to find agreement on what *might* have happened seems kinda- oh, useless?

                • humanoid.panda

                  I am not sure I’d argue very much- maybe a little- with you on whether trump underperformed generic R. Not a fan of counterfactuals in general though- when people have so much difficulty finding agreement on what actually happened and why, trying to find agreement on what *might* have happened seems kinda- oh, useless?

                  Sure, but I think that counterfactuals and explanations are two sides of the same coin. If your explanation is “Trump was a uniquely strong candidate because he tapped into white nationalism,” you are implicitly saying this means a Rubio would have lost. If you think that “Trump needed a miracle to beat a candidate other republicans would have easily overcame” you are saying that a Rubio would have won, easily.

              • Morse Code for J

                He needed to be close enough to Hillary Clinton that a polling error in his favor in critical states could give him the Electoral College if the electorate turned out to be old enough and white enough. Comey gave him the former, and the state of the art re: polling gave him the latter.

            • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

              . I would lay good money that being insufficiently racist was one of the perceived flaws . . .

              Except that they probably expressed it differently to themselves, along the lines of “addressing the economic anxiety of the white working class.”

              Or maybe not.

            • humanoid.panda

              I bet that after both McCain and Romney lost, the Republicans went through a process similar to what we’re doing now (r.e. Sanders) — hashing out a number of specific things that the standard-bearer did wrong, fighting about why they didn’t take the gloves off, etc. I would lay good money that being insufficiently racist was one of the perceived flaws . . .

              Except that the two favorite candidates of the establishment were Rubio and Jeb??, both running on being slightly less racist.

      • brewmn

        I find it very hard to believe that Trump is thoughtful enough to a) comprehend polling data, and/or 2) smart enough to smoothly incorporate that data into his campaign rhetoric.

        All of Trump’s racism comes from his “gut.” It’s stuff he’s “known” practically since birth.

    • Gwen

      One thing to consider is timing.

      While Scott is correct that “white supremacy is an interest”, you can’t eat white supremacy. When the economy is really struggling, or there is a war on, as in 2008, people are usually too distracted by actual real carnage to care about so-called “American carnage.”

      One thing I’ve noticed is that when the economy improves, swing voters often care more about trivial stupid issues like “her emails” or “his penis” or “what he looks like driving a tank.”

      So to an extent perhaps Democrats were victims of their own success. We built an economy that allowed morons to read Breitbart and the National Enquirer instead of the job classifieds and the coupon section.

      • BubbaDave

        That was exactly my thought– once the crisis was over it became easier to divide people again.

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          That observation’s led me to come up with the perfect Democratic gameplan, which is mine — every time a Democratic president runs for re-election, s/he should choose a covert reactionary as his/her VP. Then, after doing every they can to improve the country for seven years the president then hauls ass and gives the job to the Veep, who (after changing his party affiliation) promptly proceeds to run the country into the ground toilet Marianas Trench center of the earth as quickly as possible. In the ensuing chaos, our candidate for president can simply run on “fixing what the Republican fucked up,” and BLAM! Democratic control of the presidency forevuh and evuh and evah. I see literally no downside to this.

          • humanoid.panda

            That was exactly my thought– once the crisis was over it became easier to divide people again.

            Just to qualify this: if the crisis came after Obama was sworn it, it would have been very easy to divide people. It’s just that when the economy goes down it doesn’t matter if you are Charles Manson or Nelson Mandela: people will blame you.

      • DAS

        You can’t eat Jim Crow? Martin Luther King and C. Vann Woodward would like to have a word with you

      • Murc

        My thought is actually the opposite; we only seem willing to make genuine progress on beating back white supremacy when we have white supremacy on the ground, with our boot on its neck, and have forcibly disenfranchised it (Reconstruction) or when the country is so fat and rich that a lot of white folks are willing to say “yeah, okay, sure, I guess we should do something about our super racist brethren” (the Civil Rights era.)

        Like, people talk about the social dislocation of the sixties (really, the late sixties) but I am 100 percent sure that if the economy of the sixties looks anything like the economy of either the aughts or of today, that the various pieces of landmark civil rights legislation just plain do not happen, and that the Great Society is far more racially tinged.

        • JKTH

          That’s a plausible explanation but I think it’s more the fact that the Civil Rights era legislation was seen as affecting only the South. Once desegregation and civil rights actions started to hit the North in a widespread way, support faded away and resistance was huge.

      • But that is not what the quoted paragraph about the couple that voted Trump is about. They didn’t vote for white supremacy and they didn’t vote for their actual privilege. They voted their pants pissing terror. If you watched nothing but fox news you would think that the entire country was being held hostage, unable to leave their houses, without being attacked by swarthy muslim hordes and mexican rapists. These poor boobs were so petrified that they actually believe they did a meritorious thing for everyone. They don’t realize that they were duped into voting for a whole program of destruction. They think they had to do it, for all of us. And, by extension, that those of us who didn’t support Trump were naive, delusional, and uncaring of the greater good.

        • humanoid.panda

          Right, but as you surely know, you can’t really separate fear from racism. It’s not Canadians who are pouring through those borders..

          [As an aside- as an Israeli, American fearfullness was the thing that shocked me most, and still shocks me. My pet theory about this is that Americans are so ridiculously geopolitically safe that the national psyche just has to invent something to be scared about.]

          • farin

            Mine is that all the exaggerated foreign-threat freakouts are sublimated panic about the long-overdue massacre of white Americans by the assorted peoples they’ve oppressed/exterminated.

            • efgoldman

              Mine is that all the exaggerated foreign-threat freakouts are sublimated panic about the long-overdue massacre of white Americans by the assorted peoples they’ve oppressed

              Naah; That’s way too far down in the weeds for the flying monkeys.
              – The people who never see a “Mexican” are the most xenophobic;
              – the people who live in totally unimportant areas, militarily, psychologically, or economically are most afraid of terrorists;
              – the people in the whitest areas are the worst racists.

          • DAS

            Is it my imagination, or are many Israelis getting more and more fearful? I can’t imagine someone like Benjamin Netanyahu doing so well politically in 1940s-1970s Israel.

            • humanoid.panda

              It’s complicated. The Israeli political culture is much more fearful, post the collapse of the Oslo process, yes. But on the everyday level, Israelis don’t have anything like the culture of fear Americans cultivate.

        • efgoldman

          They didn’t vote for white supremacy and they didn’t vote for their actual privilege. They voted their pants pissing terror.

          Hate, fear, and spite have been Republiklowns’ stock in trade since Tricksie Dicksie Nixie. All that changes is the proportions of the ingredients. Like when you bake brownies, one proportion makes them more cakey, another more chewy, but same ingredients.

        • Origami Isopod

          They didn’t vote for white supremacy and they didn’t vote for their actual privilege. They voted their pants pissing terror.

          Since they’re pissing their pants over skeery brown furriners, there’s no real difference.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        One thing I’ve noticed is that when the economy improves, swing voters often care more about trivial stupid issues like “her emails” or “his penis” or “what he looks like driving a tank.”

        Except, of course, that Bill Clinton beat Dole handily in 1996 and the Democrats won net Congressional seats in 1998, while the Republican win in 1994 came before the big surge in growth, so that kind of kills your second example.

    • Morse Code for J

      In 2008, George W. Bush had so comprehensively screwed the pooch for eight years that our normally very racist country was willing to consider electing a black Democrat. Having done much better than his predecessor managing the government and the economy, Obama was rewarded with a second term with a popular vote margin half the size of the one he had in 2008.

      Memories are short out there. Six months ago, Bill Maher ranted about how no one would listen to Democrats’ warnings about Trump because we had burned all of our credibility attacking George W. Bush, an honorable guy who simply believed different things. The right answer to such a statement involves the words “9/11,” “misrepresentation of intelligence,” “ballooning deficits,” “Katrina,” and “Are you fucking kidding me,” but he got a fair number of people to nod along. Why? Memories are short.

      I have faith that this government will remind people just how good Obama was.

      • MyNameIsZweig

        Bill Maher is a walking, talking, breathing false flag operation.

        • witlesschum

          Less than that he’s a lesson in the weirdness that is American politics. How did he end up on HBO rather than Fox News? He’s the same guy, just as arrogant, fact-averse and shitty, as any of those guys but he ended up on the other side from them.

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            Probably because the only positions he really shares with the FOX reichturds as a matter of policy is “fuck Asians” and “death penalty good.”

            Of course he’s always been very sympathetic to right-wing culture war framing, being clueless on other race relations, terrible on LGBT rights and women, and LITERALLY THE WORST on health science. But I’d venture that the Bush administration “radicalized” him into being a staunch anti-Republican/somewhat-identifiably left-liberal; I’m somewhat convinced that he uses this and his hatred of electoral nihilism as evidence he really isn’t that bad a person. (That is, regarding party participation he’s a Dershowitz-type problem, as opposed to a BONERS-style purity wanker).

            • Q.E.Dumbass

              Basically: He has mostly-reactionary social views, but sincerely supports Dem policies* and despises Republicans, and he thinks facts 2) and 3) automatically invalidate any need on rectifying fact 1).

              *again, anti-nihilist

              • witlesschum

                Probably a better explanation of Maher than mine, thanks.

    • Would a relevant conclusion be that the issue in 2008 and 2012 wasn’t that Obama was black, but that McCain and Romney weren’t racist enough to really catch the ear of this chunk of the population?

      I think the takeaway is that:

      (1) Trump preached his racism in plain, simple language that even the most intellectually challenged conservative could understand and,

      (2) Those conservatives who were uncomfortable with the language were really not all that uncomfortable with the language.

      • Yeah, there’s a difference between recognizing that racist talk is a sign of “low breeding” and being committed to opposing actual racism.

    • kped

      McCain and Romney weren’t racist enough to really catch the ear of this chunk of the population?

      I think that’s part of it, but I also think the “Obama voter switched to Trump” is largely overblown. Clinton got 65 million votes, same as Obama. Trump got 62M, which was 2M more than Romney. So, I’m sure there are some crossover votes there, but I really don’t see “millions” being possible.

      • Cheerfull

        I was actually thinking of those who had not voted in 2008 or 2012 but were inspired to vote this time for Trump, but admit I don’t know enough about the relevant turn out to know if this was a significant factor in him getting more votes than Romney.

      • XerMom

        In 2008 the talk about race often focused on Obama himself. In the last two years it’s been about police shootings of Black men and the murder rate in Chicago. It’s easy for a lot of people to say “I’m not racist, Obama seems like a smart guy” but at the same time see pathological violence in Black communities and always choose the cop over the person shot. I don’t know if that results in people flipping from Obama to Trump, or if it just changes who bothers to vote.

      • humanoid.panda

        I think that’s part of it, but I also think the “Obama voter switched to Trump” is largely overblown. Clinton got 65 million votes, same as Obama. Trump got 62M, which was 2M more than Romney. So, I’m sure there are some crossover votes there, but I really don’t see “millions” being possible.

        1. Those numbers don’t take into account local variations: some areas swung hard towards Trump, and others towards HRC in a way that balanced itself out for the popular vote, but not so much for the popular vote.
        2. The total numbers also obscure compositional effects: Hillary did better than Obama among white college educated people, and worse among non-college educated whites.
        3. Population growth means we could have expected Hillary get more votes than Obama, if no shifts between camps occured.
        4. With the exception of a decline in the African American vote, turnout seems to have been about the same as in 2012, so there was probably no wave of hidden white voters.

        What all this implies is that there was indeed a switch from Obama to Trump. Not a huge one- somewhere between one million and three million votes. It just happpened to be concentrated in the swing states.

      • Timurid

        I’m pretty sure a lot of the surly “I voted for the n*gger” crowd in 2008 chose Obama because they thought he was a monster who would wreck everything and they wanted the system that had failed them to get wrecked good and hard. They were wrong about Obama but right about Trump.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Would a relevant conclusion be that the issue in 2008 and 2012 wasn’t that Obama was black, but that McCain and Romney weren’t racist enough to really catch the ear of this chunk of the population?

      Yes. One problem with postmortems from the left is that they’re focus on the Democratic nominees, like sports talk show callers focusing on what their team did badly rather than on what the other team did well after a tough loss. The difference between Trump/Romney is not trivial.

    • Sebastian_h

      A relevant conclusion might be that the economic disaster of the Bush administration caused enough people to try change (mostly independent of racism as exhibited by the fact that they were willing to vote for a black man). Similarly, the failure of the ‘recovery’ to give a bunch of people in the middle of the country much hope (as exhibited through wages taking almost 8 years to recover and job stability going down) caused them to want change in direction again.

      It is a little hard to believe that a bunch of people suddenly became lots more racist in some deep fundamental sense, but it is easy to believe that economic issues can exacerbate latent or otherwise below the surface racism.

      The good news is that economic issues can probably be fixed easier than deep down racism.

      • FlipYrWhig

        It is a little hard to believe that a bunch of people suddenly became lots more racist in some deep fundamental sense

        Uh, not really. There have been A LOT of police shooting, international terrorism, and border-crossing incidents since Obama’s election. If you watch Fox News, that’s pretty much ALL that happened over 8 years. We had a midterm election that hinged on Honduran children and the Ebola virus. OTOH, there were worse economic crisis conditions many times in the recent past, and those didn’t help the Republican Party. I don’t think economics had very much to do with the election of Trump. It was entirely based on the symbolic expression that black and brown people should shut up and go away.

        • humanoid.panda

          The Ebola “crisis” still makes me want to kil someone, perhaps everyone, employed in major media. A disgraceful use of fear and xenophobia for money. And in general- we all like to poop on 2016 as the worst year ever, but I’d argue that 2014 was a nearly equivalent disaster: from the exchanges fiasco that brought OBama approval down, to ISIS, the border crisis, and Ebola it created the conditions for a GOP wave without which we’d probably have a tiny majority in Senate today ,AND set the terms of the Republican primary on a ground that was super-favorable to Trump.

          • witlesschum

            Same.

            In a just world, every media exec who stoked that fire, Chris Christie locking up nurses like the trash he is and all the Republicans shouting to try to make a health crisis worse for their political gain would be forced to live on a diet of infected bush meat for the rest of their lives.

      • Rob in CT

        More likely is that Trump exploited something that both major parties had deliberately avoided: xenophobia.

        “Normal” candidates would play footsie with it, but Trump went loud ‘n proud.

        I think it’s more that than it is about BLM and whatnot.

        Economics mattered too, of course.

        • FlipYrWhig

          But you can’t talk to a committed Republican without experiencing how for them all those problems are the same: “thugs,” “illegals,” terrorists, refugees, they’re here and they shouldn’t be here and they’re dangerous. I have had this conversation many times and it starts from, like, food stamps and before you know it you’re on illegal immigrants committing rapes in bathrooms. It’s all one big Fox News headline.

  • Racism? You’re soaking in it!

    • Thom

      Nicely done.

  • The way I thought of it the other day is, when you vote for Trump, racism is an essential part of the package. For some, it’s the most appealing feature. For others, it’s part of the appeal. For others, it’s a bit off putting, or so they tell themselves, but they still like the overall package. Others strain to deny it’s part of the package at all. Whatever category someone falls into, if they voted for Trump, they bought the package, and it’s a racist package.

    This is an important takeaway:

    We shouldn’t ignore the potency of what Trump has unleashed, but DEMOCRATS ARE DOOMED being the takeaway is neither useful nor accurate. Trump’s electoral coalition isn’t exactly rock solid. He’s got less than 100,000 votes to spare, he will have failed to fulfill most of his promises, he is extremely unpopular, and the media both mainstream and left is much less likely to fap itself silly over inane trivia about the Democratic candidate with Trump actually in the White House. It’s a problem, but it’s not an insurmountable problem. Killing Trumpcare is a good start, both substantively and politically.

    People bought the racist package, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who bought it will never buy anything lacking that sweet, sweet racism feature ever again.

    • Gwen

      Racism is sort of like the sunroof or the seat warmers.

      • Rob in CT

        It’s the spoiler, clearly.

        • Gwen

          “CB radio antenna.”

        • Mr. Rogers

          Ouch! well played.

    • The way I thought of it the other day is, when you vote for Trump, racism is an essential part of the package.

      However, I think the kicker is that many, if not most Trumpers would argue that they are not racist. Not because they aren’t, but because racism to them basically means church burning and lynching. If Trump had run his campaign on church burning and lynching, then (and I’m going out on a limb here) he probably wouldn’t have made it through the primaries. However, what he did do was speak using racist terminology that resonated with people who aren’t sophisticated enough to know that it was/is racist terminology.

      I think many of us here, and liberals in general, have a hard time fundamentally grasping that these people really just aren’t that smart, and because we’re thinkers, we tend to overthink the problem because we fundamentally can’t understand how someone could be so stupid. But these people really can’t comprehend anything beyond their own miserable existence, and hence they are easily played. Stupid really is as stupid does.

      Now, of course, there were a considerable number of college educated people who voted for Trump, too, and these people have no excuse. They were plainly racist.

      • N__B

        However, I think the kicker is that many, if not most Trumpers would argue that they are not racist.

        They're realists, adults who are willing to state plain facts in a way that liberals can't.

        Fuck them all.

        • tsam

          Right–they also think they’re a useful distinction between being tolerant of racism and being a racist. If there is, it doesn’t fucking matter.

        • Origami Isopod

          +1,000,000

      • XerMom

        I think you’re largely right on the racism thing. Many people have a pretty low bar for whether someone is racist.

        As for the college educated, though, I think you overestimate what people learn in college. How much thinking do you believe happens in your average business school?

        • Not a whole lot! When I was growing up, business school is where the failed engineers and lawyers ended up.

    • DrDick

      Appeals to racism have long been a favorite tactic of American elites to get the WWC to work against their own interests, so it is well established in the general public. On the other hand, many (not all) can be won over by programs which directly improve their condition. Unfortunately, Clinton campaigned on not expecting much on that front and disparaging Sanders; proposals to do so.

  • King Goat

    The Yavlic comment excerpted strikes me as perhaps less racism than ‘Fox News has me terrified that a Paris/San Bernadino attack is imminent in my neighborhood’ thing (though of course there’s often overlap there).

    • Steve LaBonne

      Yeah, I think xenophobia is at least equally important. But most of that is directed against brown people, so the racism and the xenophobia are not cleanly distinguishable.

      • King Goat

        Xenophobobia’s present, but o also think ‘scared about imminent attack’ can be its own thing. For example, if the narrative were that white ‘subversives’ were aiding ‘the enemy’ in contributing to these supposed ‘imminent attacks’ I don’t think their whiteness would shield them much. The Right is great at constantly creating international bogeymen to frighten people, from anarchists to communists to now ‘Islamic fascism.’

        • TBF, I think the last thing we’d want to do is tell people who are actually afraid about terrorism, and could potentially be peeled away from the racism, that they should be thinking of themselves as supporters of white supremacy. They might say “yeah well I guess I am, can you tell me more.”

          • True. The thing to do there would be to point out how terrorism is framed in a racist way.

            • King Goat

              Ugh, no.

              The charge of racism is one that is losing any political benefit it once had. Nowadays it’s as likely to backfire, to lead to many whites rolling their eyes with an idea that wolf is being cried or worse, they start to be skeptical of more or any charge of racism.

              We can address those scared about terrorism but not much racist or xenophobic by using tough talk about racism-but carefully targeted to actual bad guys-and making the case about how much Muslims and other targets in this area are actually doing to help us fight terrorists.

              • King Goat

                That should be ‘tough talk about terrorists’

              • Morse Code for J

                As opposed to a glorious prior era in which whites did not roll their eyes about the concept of persistent structural racism?

                We talk about racism and ameliorating its effects because it’s our constituents who tend to be on the receiving end of racism.

                • King Goat

                  It seems pretty clear to me that while that’s always been there it’s trending upward now.

                • Lets not mention the lead in the water, or the government actors who poisoned Flint–it is going to make so many people feel, well, pigeonholed and targeted when they are really well meaning.

                • King Goat

                  Good example. Given current political realities, which approach is most likely to win back the vote of Mr Yavlic:

                  “The Republicans in Michigan are incompetent and uncaring, they’ve mismanaged things and the result is sick kids poisoned by lead in their water!”

                  Or

                  “The racist white male Republicans have once again contributed to racism by causing the water of poor black children to be poisoned with lead?”

                  The first does all the political work necessary without the potential backlash we’re seeing more often. The second appeals to lots of activists here because truth to power and such. That later approach has been losing U.S. election after election. Truth seems less fun with a facist President and GOP Congress, SCOTUS and statehouses, but maybe YMMV?

                • Morse Code for J

                  That would be a devastating point about the tone of Democratic officials. You know, if one of them had said anything like that.

                • aturner339

                  Exactly. Even in the depths of the Civil rights Movement a solid majority of whites thought MLK was “moving too fast” and that race relations whee “mostly just”. They aren’t the target.

                • JKTH

                  Of course, the only way to deal with racism is to never talk about it.

                • King Goat

                  Bringing it up all the time doesn’t seem to be working though, does it?

                • JKTH

                  Nobody’s ever tried that so it’s hard to say. You seem to think that Democrats should never talk about racism but expect that once in office, they’ll suddenly turn around and enact legislation to combat structural racism.

            • The thing to do there would be to point out how terrorism is framed in a racist way.

              I think if people think they believe terrorism is a threat because Evidence, you address the evidence. Or the source of the evidence. Going meta-to-the-3rd degree right away and telling them a fear of terrorism is pretty much always caused by racist beliefs, maybe that wouldn’t end up working the way we might hope.

          • King Goat

            Exactly. Well said.

          • LeeEsq

            Cosigned. People individually and in groups can get worried about events and things that are low probability. It doesn’t do any good to point this out to them and that they are contributing to bad things by being worried about said low probability events.

            • Aaron Morrow

              If we were trying to convince all people of that, it would be one thing. We’re not; we’re trying to win back a slice of that electorate.

      • kvs

        Probably fitting to think of them as clades descended from bigotry.

  • Murc

    He’s got less than 100,000 votes to spare, he will have failed to fulfill most of his promises, he is extremely unpopular, and the media both mainstream and left is much less likely to fap itself silly over inane trivia about the Democratic candidate with Trump actually in the White House.

    I dunno, Scott. I want to believe very strongly this is true, and of course Trump being an incompetent fascist rather than a competent one helps, but there hasn’t been a single presidential election in my adult life that wasn’t, somehow, made to be all about the Democratic candidate.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      How about 2012 (lots of Romney and 47%)…or was 2008 (which was about Palin and the recession as much as it was about Obama)? Or 1992 (lots of Perot and Bush’s cluelessness) or ’96 (I have a hard time remembering what that was about)?

      It’s certainly true that races that Democrats lose tend to be all about the Democratic candidate.

      • Steve LaBonne

        Who we nominate in 2020 is going to be incredibly important. I hope, and believe, that Dem primary voters will be very motivated to choose wisely.

        • King Goat

          We’ll choose who runs and we’ll like it!

          • Vance Maverick

            I’ve read this a couple of times without getting it. It sounds sarcastic, but it’s correct. Yes, we will choose, and yes, we will like it, because the only viable alternative will be far worse. Guaranteed.

            • farin

              We’re all suckers because, unlike KG, we settle for actually-existing candidates instead of demanding imaginary ones. If the rest of us would only figure that out, then…we’d all be incredibly tiresome, I guess?

        • JKTH

          Someone who voters of all kinds can project their own views onto and who is immune to GOP ratfucking. Figuring out who that is in advance is tough though.

          • N__B

            Unfortunately, Fred Rogers is dead.

            • efgoldman

              Unfortunately, Fred Rogers is dead.

              So?

              • N__B

                While I would prefer Rogers’s decaying corpse in the White House to the current occupant, I may be in a minority on that position.

                • tsam

                  2spooky4me

        • liberal

          There’s a lot more to the process than the primaries. But I know—there’s no such thing as “party elites” or “the party apparatus”—there’s just “us Democrats”.

        • witlesschum

          I’m not actually convinced of this. Trump is not only incompetent, but continues to look like a buffoon and has now added loser. Seems just as likely that by 2020, the Dems will be able to nominate a broom with a mustache and beat him.

          • FlipYrWhig

            Not so fast, witlesschum. What if the broom was made by a corporation? Then it’d be “more of the same.”

            • witlesschum

              Don’t blame me, I voted for the stick and bundle of twigs….

              • BiloSagdiyev

                Organic twigs?

      • Aaron Morrow

        1996: Dole-Gingrich want to steal our Social Security and Medicare! (and ruin Medicaid and the environment)

      • Murc

        How about 2012 (lots of Romney and 47%)…or was 2008 (which was about Palin and the recession as much as it was about Obama)?

        I recall the dominant narrative in 2008 being “can this black Democrat with the funny name possibly win” during the front half of the year and “it looks like this black Democrat with the funny name actually has it in the bag!” in the back half. In either case the narrative was largely about Obama. That was a good thing in that case, because Barack Obama is Barack Obama.

        2004 was about how much of an effete New England liberal from Taxachusettes that wind-surfing latte sipper John Kerry was, and 2000 was about what a liar Gore was.

        I was eleven in 1992 and fifteen in 1996, which isn’t in the scope of my adult lifetime.

        • Jordan

          I think its tough to really define “dominant narratives”, if such things even exist. 2008 absolutely had the palin thing and the “omg the entire economy is doomed thing”. Along with other things. So how do we actually figure out what the “dominant narrative” was?

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          Note how “effete” now seems to have become a nice way of connoting <a href="”>this.

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            I mean, connoting this (fuck you LGM WordPress).

          • Just_Dropping_By

            I was rather surprised to learn that people were now using the word “effete” rather than HTML coding….

        • gmack

          I have no idea what it means to say that an election is always “about” the Democratic candidate*, nor do I agree that the “dominant narrative” (whatever that is) in 2008 was whether Barack HUSSEIN Obama can win. The dominant political issues in 2008 were the economic meltdown and the Iraq war. As is normal in political campaigns in which one party has held the White House for two terms, the question was whether we should continue the direction we already had, or whether instead we should change things and try something new. Given the dominant issues, Obama (as the symbol of change) had a pretty major advantage over McCain. Sure, there was a question among pundits about whether his blackness would cancel out this structural advantage. But it’s weird to say that this is what the campaign was about.

          *In particular, I think the remark must either be trivial (the Democratic candidate is always one of the two major ones, so yes, a huge amount of coverage concerns the Democratic candidate, his/her fitness and qualifications, and so on) or wrong (even when dealing with questions of fitness, a huge part of 2008 had to do with Palin and with McCain’s temperament. But an even bigger part of the 2008 election was about how fucked up everything was and which candidate could best respond to it).

    • Scott Lemieux

      I want to believe very strongly this is true, and of course Trump being an incompetent fascist rather than a competent one helps, but there hasn’t been a single presidential election in my adult life that wasn’t, somehow, made to be all about the Democratic candidate.

      As IB says, the media absolutely did not fap itself silly over Obama trivia in either 2008 and 2012. Partly this is Obama, but partly this was because the recession in 2008 produced more policy coverage than usual [just saw that gmack beat me to this point], and 2012 he was a fairly popular incumbent. Coverage of Kerry in 2004 was bad but not Clinton/Gore bad.

      • Murc

        As IB says, the media absolutely did not fap itself silly over Obama trivia in either 2008 and 2012.

        I didn’t say they did. But the narrative in 2008 was, in my opinion, definitely centered around Obama. This isn’t to say McCain/Palin didn’t get a fair amount of coverage, but I recall that election coverage being built around a solid core of “is Obama the one to save us? And even if he is, can a black guy named Barack Hussein Obama actually win?” The fact that they answered, enthusiastically, “yes!” to both questions doesn’t mean they didn’t make the election about him.

        And I recall the narrative in 2012 being built around a core of “will the Democrats accomplishments be repudiated? Did they go too far? Does the country want four more years of Obama?”

        Basically, it seems to me that the Republicans, no matter who they nominate or if they’re the incumbents or not, are given the presumption that they’re the default state of existence, the natural governing party of Real America who are merely sometimes temporarily embarrassed by the presence of a Democrat in the White House. Therefore it is always the Demcoratic candidate who has something to prove to someone, somewhere, and who is presumed questionable, a suspect class, until and unless they prove otherwise. It’s always about them.

        And god help them if they don’t prove otherwise to the chattering classes satisfaction.

        • humanoid.panda

          I didn’t say they did. But the narrative in 2008 was, in my opinion, definitely centered around Obama. This isn’t to say McCain/Palin didn’t get a fair amount of coverage, but I recall that election coverage being built around a solid core of “is Obama the one to save us? And even if he is, can a black guy named Barack Hussein Obama actually win?” The fact that they answered, enthusiastically, “yes!” to both questions doesn’t mean they didn’t make the election about him.

          I don’t know- this sounds to me like you’re saying “the fact that the media fell in love with Obama is further indication that the media hates Democrats.”

          • humanoid.panda

            I mean, sure the media was more interested in Obama than it was in McCain- but that’s because McCain was much less interesting than Obama. The media had no qualms about making Palin the story twice- once lauding her, and the second time burying her.

          • Murc

            I don’t know- this sounds to me like you’re saying “the fact that the media fell in love with Obama is further indication that the media hates Democrats.”

            It’s significantly more complicated than that. In my opinion, the media is entirely capable of falling in love with Democrats, but the way they interrogate both Democrats and national elections is such that Democrats both have much different and more difficult hoops to jump through to get there than Republicans do, and if they fail to jump through them they’re at more of a disadvantage than Republicans are.

            Which is troubling, because we don’t have an endless supply of Obama clones on tap.

            Well. Not yet, anyway.

            • humanoid.panda

              I don’t know about this: it’s hard to say that the 2012 election wasn’t about Romney, for example. I think the fair thing to say that the media is always some interesting storyline- and that storyline is almost never about policy. which is, generally speaking, not so good for Democrats, because their policies tend to be more popular.

            • Q.E.Dumbass

              I suggest the DNC start development talks for Love Potion No. 9.

            • BiloSagdiyev

              Mmmmm… O-bama clone ar-my….

      • Julia Grey

        Coverage of Kerry in 2004 was bad but not Clinton/Gore bad.

        Uh…remember Swiftboating?

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          JustRuss noted in this thread that that was more malign neglect than a media chickenfucking campaign.

  • Nick never Nick

    A narrative of decline is an extremely potent weapon — it resonates with people who feel that they see it reflected in their personal lives. This, combined with the racism and the xenophobia Trump offered, gave people the opportunity to look on their votes as contributing to something larger; the guy in this quote sees his vote as something important, bigger than his cracked ceiling and multiple sclerosis, he’s defending the country. His feeling is discreditable, but the impulse behind it isn’t, it’s a perversion of communal feeling. Trumpism or fascism wouldn’t be so powerful if they only appealed to evil, they also depend on a warped version of sacrifice in their supporters.

    • Very true

    • A narrative of decline and nostalgia for a phantom past is one of the hallmarks of fascism.

      • altofront

        This is true, but it’s also the heart of a particularly American trope that goes back to the Puritans: the jeremiad. God knows Obama used it in 2008: we have gone astray, we (and our leaders) have lost sight of who we are, but together we can recover what we have lost and fulfill our promise as a nation.

        What’s scary about Trump, to return to your point, is that he does it wrong: not “we can make America great again,” but “I alone can fix it.” I am still deeply troubled that this resonated as much as it did.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        A narrative of decline and nostalgia for a phantom past is one of the hallmarks of fascism.

        Which shows how useless those checklists of characteristics of fascism are when applied to American politics:

        http://www.nytimes.com/1992/04/26/us/the-1992-campaign-clinton-s-standard-campaign-speech-a-call-for-responsibility.html?pagewanted=all

        For the first time in a decade personal income in our country as a whole fell last year. That says we’ve got problems. And I want to tell you that behind that, I live in a state that is one of the worst states in America, where we were abandoned with farm income going down, factories closing and moving away.

        * * *

        For millions and millions of Americans, the dream with which I grew up has been shattered. The ideal that if you work hard and play by the rules you’ll be rewarded, you’ll do a little better next year than you did last year, your kids will do better than you. But that idea has been devastated for millions of Americans.

        How did this happen? I would argue it happened for two reasons. No. 1: We lost our economic leadership. Other nations began to do some things better than we do, and their economies started growing faster and faster as ours slowed down. Big, Simple Ideas

        * * *

        Well everything is not fine. We have had it their way for 11 years. And we’re going downhill as a nation. The middle class is collapsing. Poverty is exploding. Even the wealthiest people know that we’re on the wrong track.

        * * *

        But when I was a kid, my mother was widowed just before I was born. She went off to nursing school and left me to be raised by my grandparents until I was 4. My grandparents ran a tiny grocery store in an integrated neighborhood in a little Southern town. My grandmother was a private duty nurse, but they told me that in the Depression, Franklin Roosevelt was President and gave people hope again by giving them jobs again and giving them work to do.

        And they told me if I worked hard and studied hard and played by the rules I could do anything. And I remember how they taught me to count and taught me to read when I was 2 and 3 and 4 years old. They had very little formal education.

        Then I came up through the public schools because of the Government. I went to college and got a loan from the Government. I went to law school and got a loan from the Government. Even though I had six jobs while I was in law school, I had to have a loan, and I paid back every penny of it. Because that gave me a chance to make a decent living and have a future.

        And when I was the age of the youngest people here, because we had a sound economic policy, I lived in an economy with 3 percent unemployment, 3 percent inflation and 3 or 4 percent real economic growth every year. Because we were competing and winning.

    • MDrew

      Great comment, NnN. Comment more (even more than you do?).

  • kvs

    Pavlic at least isn’t just generically racist, he’s specifically anti-immigrant.

    “We have people who are coming into this country who are trying to hurt us, and I think that we need to be protected.””

    The anti-immigrant pitch is how Trump won voters whose bigotry didn’t preclude them from voting for an African-American president.

    • farin

      Yes, Mr. Pavlic, gotta keep out those suspicious foreigners from unsettled Eastern countries…why, think what harm will befall our nation if we let them in and their descendants start voting!

  • Rob in CT

    Specifically, he played to xenophobia. His villains: illegal immigrants (rapists, murderers, job stealers, etc), muslims (terrorists), foreigners “eating our lunch” on trade, and of course the Establishment that allowed all of this to happen.

    Keeping the country safe compared to keeping my bathroom safe isn’t even a comparison,” Mr. Pavlic, 42, said. “We have people who are coming into this country who are trying to hurt us, and I think that we need to be protected.”

    Fear & loathing, fueled by bigotry and stoked by a demagogue. With a side of IGMFU (that ceiling is fixed now so now other matters are of greater importance).

    • Crusty

      The illegal immigrants bit is a particularly deft piece of demagoguery. It allows the person persuaded by it and concerned about illegal immigrants taking our jobs, raping our women, etc., to spew venom at brown people while saying it has nothing to do with that, its simply a question of following the law, they love the law and justice and if there were too many illegal Irish immigrants in NYC taking all the bartending jobs, they’d be just as angry about that, of course.

      • aturner339

        Of course. And if an obvious solution is making it easier to enter legally so that we can do some vetting then that’s certainly something they’d be willing to consider as soon as *mumble mumble*

  • Mike in DC

    If the wall gets blocked, expect him to lose a few more points. If it gets enacted, expect him to recover a few points. He’s already lost on the travel ban. The “law and order” stuff against black people is a bit more diffuse, but the wall is pretty straightforward in terms of an identifiable policy and the racism inherent thereto.

    • N__B

      The Rio Grande portion of the wall is literally impossible. It can’t be built in the river. If it’s built on the US side it cuts off Texans – real ‘murkans, unlike me – from their river. If it’s built on the Mexican side it’s an act of war.

      It’s not getting built on the Texas border. Maybe something will be built for show in Arizona.

      • Hogan

        It can’t be built in the river.

        Trump will totally make a deal with the river. A great deal. Tremendous.

        • Hogan

          ” . . . the snow of twenty-nine wasn’t real snow. If you didn’t want it to be snow, you just paid some money.”

        • N__B

          deal with the river

          Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true or is it something worse?

          • Origami Isopod

            + [Johnny] 99

          • Joseph Slater

            + lately there ain’t been that much work on account of the economy.

          • Domino

            Do you think someone in his cabinet has seen “Spirited Away“, and honestly believes there is an actual spirit of the Rio Grande they can negotiate with?

      • Just_Dropping_By

        It can’t be built in the river.

        Well, technically it could be built in the middle, but it would dramatically increase the expense and environmental devastation.

        • N__B

          Yeah, an 800-mile cofferdam to build the foundations might add a wee bit to the cost.

    • Boots Day

      I would love to hear Democrats talk about the wall more. Trump has already given up on making Mexico pay for it, which he bragged incessantly about during his campaign in order to bolster his narrative about being the world’s greatest negotiator.

      Instead, the entire trajectory of the wall saga shows Trump to be lazy, profligate and incompetent. Instead of negotiating with the Mexicans to force them to protect vulnerable Americans, he’s committed to spending untold billions of taxpayer dollars on something useless. It’s far from the most important failure of his administration, but it illustrates the Trump story very well.

  • SatanicPanic

    I refuse to believe it because Bernie says it’s not true and he’s been there.

  • Crusty

    “Keeping the country safe compared to keeping my bathroom safe isn’t even a comparison,” Mr. Pavlic, 42, said. “We have people who are coming into this country who are trying to hurt us, and I think that we need to be protected.”

    I don’t know how to do the sarcasm font, but here goes-

    I dunno, he sounds like a generous guy, concerned about others over his own self-interest. A real ask what you can do for your country, not what your country can do for you type.

    • Woodrowfan

      of course the places most likely to actually be attacked all voted overwhelmingly for Hillary.

      • Mr Rogers

        And if he really believes this narrative he can feel even better: he is sacrificing programs that would help him to protect the urban liberals too foolish to see the _real_ threats and who will never thank him for it.

        In his mind I’m confident he’s a noble warrior who will never get credit for his sacrifice

  • DamnYankees

    One of things that has chaffed after this election is seeing a lot of people on the “economic left” side of the equation trying to tell us that the real problem in this election was neoliberalism or whatever and that we didn’t offer solutions to the people in the midwest. It’s just so utterly condescending to these people, treating them like children.

    Does these people (which I would include Berni Sanders in, though its hard to tell if he actually thinks what we says or if he just thinks its better politics to says otherwise) not think there are people who have a vested and genuine interest in racial and gender hierarchies? No genuine xenophobia? What country do these folks see out there, exactly?

    Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump are not suffering economically. They are bigots. Why pretend like a huge amount of their support isn’t due to that bigotry? Bigotry is a real thing, a real belief. Pretending it doesn’t motivate tons of voters is treating them like children. It’s just dumb and makes you look like an idiot.

    • SatanicPanic

      What country do these folks see out there, exactly?

      A country they can project half-assed Marxist analysis on. The rest of us know plenty of people who are doing just fine but persist in being racist because that’s what they’re about. It’s like asking why a rich person still goes to church. It doesn’t work that way guys!

      • FlipYrWhig

        Yep. They’re basically bolstering the small numbers of people who believe what they do by symbolically enlisting rank bigots as allies in their anti-neoliberal crusade. See also “the Tea Party and Occupy both hate banksters!”

        • SatanicPanic

          ooh that’s a nice angle to it. I’d love to see the meeting that would take place if these two alleged groups of allies were in the same room together.

          • humanoid.panda

            One of things that has chaffed after this election is seeing a lot of people on the “economic left” side of the equation trying to tell us that the real problem in this election was neoliberalism or whatever and that we didn’t offer solutions to the people in the midwest. It’s just so utterly condescending to these people, treating them like children.

            I think that there is a smarter version of this argument that makes sense: Trump voters are not a monolith, and range from people who voted for him because he is racist, to people who thought all this is just crazy talk and he will just apply his business genius to make everything right. You obviously can’t peel the first group with any kind of policy, but the second group is not married to him. The problem is that a lot of people in the left just imagine a moment of epiphany when the entire WWC wakes up and starts voting socialist, when in reality, we are talking about moving 5-10% of voters.

            • FlipYrWhig

              Also, they have been longing for this to happen for 150 consecutive years of its NOT happening, and blaming The Elites for why.

              • SatanicPanic

                I had this argument with a leftist the other day. Literally he thinks the left isn’t stronger because liberals are keeping them down by pooping on their methods. I don’t know what to say about that. No response I can come up with doesn’t sound snarky. And I sometimes identify as a leftist.

                • FlipYrWhig

                  People who think this are legion. And I think it’s pretty evident that Bernie Sanders is one of them.

            • DamnYankees

              I am of the belief that these “social issues” that economically minded people of both sides dismissed (the left and right, both Sanders-folks and the Reason-ish libertarians) are the far more fundamental issues to political voting patters. People aren’t crying out for jobs and so they voted for Trump; they wanted to vote for Trump and then cried out for him – the person they voted for – to make jobs.

              I try to flip this around on people, especially liberals. Like, I am both economically and socially liberal, but when you get down to it, my social liberalism is way more fundamental to my politics. Like, who would I vote for first, a bigot who was offering universal health care? Or a pluralist who wasn’t? An authoritarian who wanted to shutter coal plants? Or a true democrat (small d) who wanted to slash tax rates?

              I’d take the pluralist and the democratic 100 times out of 100. It’s not close. You couldn’t persuade me to vote for a bigot or an authoritarian with any economic enticements, I don’t think. Why do we assume people who have the opposite substantive views on social issues feel any differently?

              • FlipYrWhig

                I am right there with you, DY.

                • humanoid.panda

                  The obvious counterargument to this: in some ways, FDR was a more authoritarian candidate than the Republicans he ran against. And yet, we all would have voted for him. It’s easy to say that “I will never vote for an authoritarian with good economic policy” because in the modern day United States, we don’t really have those. But how would you react if in ten years, we have SCOTUS delcaring that any action to fight global warming in unconstitutional, and a Democratic president that tells the court to take a hike because he is the supreme commander and this is a national security issue?

                • DamnYankees

                  in some ways, FDR was a more authoritarian candidate than the Republicans he ran against.

                  I don’t think I understand this claim. In what way is FDR more authoritarian than his counterparts, other than in the hyper-libertarianish “he expanded the size of government” way?

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  I think it’s a reference to, among other things, the court-packing threat he made to SCOTUS.

                • DamnYankees

                  I think it’s a reference to, among other things, the court-packing threat he made to SCOTUS.

                  I don’t see how the court packing was authoritarian in the least. It was, in my, essentially the opposite. The court was overruling overwhelming democratic (small d) will, and the court packing would only work because the Democrats had huge majorities in Congress. It may have been norm-breaking, but it wasn’t authoritarian.

                • humanoid.panda

                  I don’t see how the court packing was authoritarian in the least. It was, in my, essentially the opposite. The court was overruling overwhelming democratic (small d) will, and the court packing would only work because the Democrats had huge majorities in Congress. It may have been norm-breaking, but it wasn’t authoritarian.

                  So you would be behind Reagan c. 1985 packing the court to make sure Roe vs. Wade is overturned? After all, he just won a historic, landslide, election.

                • humanoid.panda

                  And the court packing is not the only thing that FDR did that was agains the democratic norms of American politics, as understood back then: him running for a third term is another example, as are attempts to purge his party from its conservative wing.

                • DamnYankees

                  So you would be behind Reagan c. 1985 packing the court to make sure Roe vs. Wade is overturned? After all, he just won a historic, landslide, election.

                  Well, substantively no, because I’m pro choice. Also,in 1985 Democrats held the House. So I don’t know how this would happen. Are you asking me if I could have been behind Reagan doing this against the will of Congress and without a bill passed by Congress? Obviously not.

                  This analogy doesn’t work.

                • DamnYankees

                  him running for a third term is another example, as are attempts to purge his party from its conservative wing.

                  I don’t understand how either of these things are authoritarian either. Again, he broke norms, but not in an authoritarian way. To break a norm of term limits is not authoritarian as long as the elections remain free and fair.

                • MDrew

                  In what way is FDR more authoritarian than his counterparts, other than in the hyper-libertarianish “he expanded the size of government” way?

                  What in the flying fuck.

              • Morse Code for J

                Here’s a counter-example.

                I’m a 40-year-old white guy and a veteran who grew up in West Virginia, and after many years away, I live here again. I am surrounded by politically conservative white people, as I was when I was growing up and while I was in the military. There’s always been a gun in my house.

                What made me politically active beyond the mere act of voting was the experience of being part of a public employee union that went through a contract negotiation with the Bush White House in 2005. They went to impasse on everything, and pushed a $30,000 pay cut for newly hired controllers and those who had yet to certify. Their managers received word from the top that they were to push on every article and not to worry about grievances, because those would just get slow-rolled at FLRA anyway. It taught me a lesson about whose side the parties are broadly on, and whom they will reward or punish economically once in power.

                My education is a product of government loan guarantees. If my wife and I repay our law school debt within the next 5 years, it will be because the Republicans were unable to eliminate the public service loan forgiveness program. My mortgage is through the VA. My well-being after I retire from government service will depend on government policy regarding my defined benefit annuity and Social Security. Don’t get me wrong – I think that liberals have the better of most of the arguments in how our society should be run. But my economic liberalism preceded and encouraged my social liberalism.

                • humanoid.panda

                  Or to put this in more fancy language: we don’t become partisans because we have consistent positions, but because once we become partisans, we endorse the positions of our coalition. The classical example is conservatives and abortion: logically, their social darwinism and white nationalism would indicate that they would be in favor of expanded abortion access- because, bluntly, poor people and minorities are more likely to abort. But they are pro-life- because this is what Republicans think.

    • econoclast

      Well said. Bigotry is a completely sincere belief. It’s not a mistake, not a misapprehension. They just don’t like people who aren’t like them, and they want them to go away. All the rhetoric that surrounds bigotry, like crime or terror, is just marketing in favor of the underlying true cause.

    • farin

      Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump are not suffering economically. They are bigots.

      If economic factors are all, this doesn’t prove anything. These rich people hate demographic groups that are likely to be poor, just as they hate poor white people. They, like all rich people, including Democratic politicians, cannot be reasoned out of their natural hatred of the working class. They’ve learned, though, to hide their hatred of poor whites (which is identical in kind to their hatred of foreigners and people of color) for the sake of political success. Similarly, rich Democrats hate oppressed minorities exactly as much as Sessions or Trump, but pretend not to in order to trick those people into voting for them.

      Poor white people who sympathize with bigotry, meanwhile, will attain enlightened unity with their true allies in the class struggle just as soon as we stop pretending racism is real. At the same time, poor people of color and women need to realize that the oppression they think they experience is actually class-based and can only be addressed by ending capitalism (which would cause the phantom bigotries to evaporate immediately).

      • humanoid.panda

        e. They, like all rich people, including Democratic politicians, cannot be reasoned out of their natural hatred of the working class

        BOTHSIDESDOIT.

  • Sebastian_h

    Scott, you had a recent post which strongly suggests that turnout differences were not key, but rather people who voted for Obama but now voted for Trump (largely in the Rust Belt). I would expect racist appeals to hit turnout, but not flip people from Obama to Trump. [I.e. if your racism is shallow enough to let you vote for a black man for President of the United States, the economic issues are probably what really prevails].

    Your response to this line of thinking appears to be “But nor does good Democratic policy that provides material benefits to people guarantee that people will resist Trumpism:” with the Pavlic anecdote. But that seems to act as if all material benefits to people are equal. They aren’t. I know you understand that the value of having good and secure working class jobs overwhelms all sorts of other economic concerns. Connect that dot to the Rust Belt and I think you have a much clearer answer than what is found in your current post (which doesn’t do anything to highlight the people who switched, but rather tries to say something about people who voted Republican before–but whose turnout, according to your other recent post, was not significantly changed).

    The problem of good working and middle class jobs is linked to globalization in a way that we as a country (and others in the EU for example) haven’t wrestled with very well.

    The elites have been saying for decades that globalization will improve GDP (very likely true) AND that the jobs will get reallocated so that those who initially lose in globalization will still be better off in the medium to long run (looking very likely false). It is the neo-liberal version of the trickle-down theory (gloablization replacing lower taxation).

    The problem is that working class people in the middle of the country (and in lots of places around the world) know that to be a lie.

    So they decided to try another liar.

    It isn’t so much that Trump’s policies (which is a hard thing to even say) are better or worse for them.

    They are willing to try a different liar, because they see modern Democratic Party globalists (Clinton being an especially clear case) as having lied to them about how globalization will work for ‘the US’ for decades.

    • FlipYrWhig

      How many people do you think voted for Donald Trump because of some theory about Hillary Clinton representing elite consensus on international trade? My hypothesis is that zero people did any such thing. Lefties long for it to be so because they want to pretend like Trumpian people agree with them on the problem and then make a minor mistake about the diagnosis. They don’t. They hate you. They don’t think in these terms. They are angry because they think black and brown people are out of control.

      • humanoid.panda

        What you are ignoring though is that its quite possible to have concerns about trade and such to be understood in racial and xenophobic terms: the foreigners, many of them of dubious colors, are stealing our jobs. And, fairly or not, the Democratic primary did demonstrate that many people do associate HRC with the current economic consensus.

        • FlipYrWhig

          Meh. Trump’s talk about trade deals was just that he would make good deals because he was so tough, not weak. He has no explanation for anything beyond that. And Sanders took that like one small step further to say that trade deals should be good for people, not corporations. Woohoo, so brave. But at any rate this had no bearing on anything. People in the Midwest didn’t make decisions about Hillary Clinton because the plant that closed 25 years ago was still closed. They made decisions about Hillary Clinton because they thought she was corrupt, and they made decisions about Trump because they thought he’d kick the asses of brown people and liberals. There is no economic content to any of it.

          • humanoid.panda

            For you, issues like corruption/Wall Street ties/trade deals might be separate, and you also understand that HRC is neither particularly corrupt, nor in the pocket of Wall street, nor a free trade zealot. But the median voter utterly conflates all this stuff.

            • FlipYrWhig

              Right, I agree that it’s all a big mass, but that’s also why some theoretical better stance on the features of trade deals is unlikely to have had any electoral rewards, because it would still just get squished back into the mass. I think the “trade deals” piece is coming from assuming that arguments Sanders used to win primaries are part of what worked to win the same states in some of the same states in the general election. And I think we think that because of a just-so story in the liberal-to-left media, including Chris Matthews, about Trump The Hardhat Populist. I have grave doubts about this narrative.

              • humanoid.panda

                Policy stances didn’t matter, sure. But Hillary becoming the ***symbol*** of the establishment- not without an assist from the liberal media- did matter.

                • FlipYrWhig

                  I don’t think that’s what “establishment” meant when applied to Hillary Clinton by Trump, though. That’s what “establishment” means when applied to Hillary Clinton by Thomas Frank and Matt Taibbi. But I think you and I have talked before about how well or poorly the whole “establishment” concept applies to Democrats.

          • Nick056

            Trump’s talk about trade deals in terms of China is key here.

            I think something I wrote at the end of 2015 (God help us) still holds true. Trump’s presentation was, and remains, about China, Mexicans, and Muslims. He doesn’t talk about trade except in reference to the US getting screwed by China and Mexico. He doesn’t talk about terrorism except in reference to “Islamic radicalism,” and he really doesn’t talk about Muslims except as terrorists or strange and misogynistic foreigners.

            When all of his policy discussions — as far as you can call them that — are through a game of racial dominance/humiliation, then we know exactly what’s going on.

    • xq

      There’s no factor that “really prevails” because people aren’t one dimensional. If a voter likes both racism and Democratic economic policies, it makes sense that they would sometimes vote R for the racism and sometimes D for the economics, depending on circumstances.

      • humanoid.panda

        The concept of the marginal voter is sometimes as hard to grasp as the concept of marginal tax rartes.

      • MDrew

        If it wouldn’t be obnoxious I would copy this sentence and post it as a reply to every single comment in this thread.

        Thank you.

    • DamnYankees

      but rather people who voted for Obama but now voted for Trump (largely in the Rust Belt). I would expect racist appeals to hit turnout, but not flip people from Obama to Trump

      I don’t think I follow this logic at all. It makes perfect sense to think that bigoted appeals would flip these people.

    • imwithher

      There is no one “key.” Yes, of course, if, everything else being equal, Hillary had done just that little bit better with the WWC in WI, MI and PA, she would have won. But it is equally true, that, everything else being equal, with a little bit more minority turnout, or a little bit more leftist turnout/not voting third party, or a little bit more white women support, she would have won those States.

      The whole thing is stupid in the first place, because you can’t make everything else be equal. Focusing more on one group, like the WWC in those three States, or trade issues, means focusing less on other folks and other issues. And having a candidate who appeals more to one group and on one issue, say Bernie, if you must, means he appeals less to other groups and on other issues. Groups and issues which are only not “key” because you take them for granted. Because they are built into your baseline in an unthinking, childishly simplistic, and facile manner.

      To say “turnout was not the key” is to accept, unquestioningly and forever, that the turnout we got in 2012 is the best we can ever get. Somehow, what is “expected” in terms of turnout is the upper limit. Trying to improve it is not a factor, much less the “key,” to winning. Nope. We must replicate, down to a tenth of a per cent, Obama’s WWC support in 2012, if we ever hope to win again. We can’t try to register and get more Black and Hispanic folks, because their support, again, as compared to the Sacred Total of 2012, was not down all that much. That a huge chunk of potential Hispanic voters are not registered at all, and weren’t in 2012 either, doesn’t matter. That is not the “key.” Nor are the GOP voter suppression efforts that target Black voters. That is not an area we should be focusing on either. Or onne might think, now that the GOP has gone on full on misogynist, that getting more women, specifically more white, married women, to vote as if their human rights depended on it, would be a promising area to make up that 100k votes. But, no, because that is not the “key” either.

      The only thing that matters, the “key,” from now until the end of time, is that minute portion of the WWC vote in the Rust Belt states that is claimed to have switched from Obama to Trump. And, of that minute portion, we must focus on the much smaller sub portion that did so, not because of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, religious bigotry, homophobia, transphobia, anti intellectualism, pseudo anti “elitism,” Comey, Wikileaks, Emailghazi, celebrity-worship, etc, etc, but because of NAFTA.

      • FlipYrWhig

        Saying the 2016 election results are explained by NAFTA is a bit like saying the 1976 election results are explained by Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

        • humanoid.panda

          Saying the 2016 election results are explained by NAFTA is a bit like saying the 1976 election results are explained by Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

          NAFTA as in a specific trade deal, yes. But if NAFTA is understood to be a symbol of a whole package of bad things that came to be associated with the “establishment” picture gets more complicated. In the end- there was a reason why Hillary renounced the TPP…

          • SatanicPanic

            But it’s also a symbol of MEXICANS TAKING OUR JOBS!

            • humanoid.panda

              Sure. Which is why, like I said above, a more populist candidate is not going to convert 90% of the WWC into good socialists. But elections are about marginal voters.

              • SatanicPanic

                I just worry about leftists’ tendency to stumble into things without thinking of the implications and end up reinforcing bigotry or introducing it to new audiences. Like how Goldman Sachs is the devil. I agree, their practices are bad, but why single out the company with the Jewish name? So when you have Donald saying “keep out the Mexicans” and Bernie going “NAFTA is bad!” I start worrying about some (hopefully) unintended synergy developing. I don’t think we want to resurrect Theodore Bilbo.

                • humanoid.panda

                  Sure, obversely, I don’t want to answer any complaint about globalization with “you hate brown people.”

          • FlipYrWhig

            But the “whole package of bad things” is an at least 20-year-old internecine lefty argument (e.g. WTO protests). And “establishment” is a 50-year-old lefty argument (e.g. SDS). They’re not MORE true now. That’s why I don’t think they explain Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump particularly well.

            • imwithher

              If anything, they are less true. Somehow, it is as if the entire economic recovery, all eight years of it, under Obama, never happened. Unemployment was cut in half. Inflation was non existent. Wages were up. Housing crises was eased. And yet lingering resentment over NAFTA is why the WWC went for Trump!

              Look at Elkhart county in Indiana

              and tell me the O to T switch was because of economics.

              Unemployment went from 22 per cent under Bush to 4 per cent by the end of O’s term. And yet Clinton lost the county, and lost relative to O’s 2012 performance.

              • humanoid.panda

                Yes, but the swith was not Obama->Obama-> Trump. It was Obama->Romney-> Trump.

                Which is to say that sure, white nationalism and reaction to Obama’s multicultural America surely played a part in the transition- only a fool would dey it.
                But it could also be that that people had utopian expectations for Obama, and a simple recovery was that enough. Or that the recovery didn’t make people feel any safer or removed the structural problems that make people in places like Eckhart feel they are in long-term decline. Or that the 2008 Obama vote was not inflated by the fact that country was in free-fall and he was the out-party candidate.

                • imwithher

                  ….could be…Or…Or….

                  Or, it could be, that there is simply no possibility that you will ever see the issue as other than economic, no matter what .

                  You hand waive away the economic recovery and then minimize the white nationalism (“played a part”). A neat little two step.

                  Just so you can climb back on your hobbyhorse.

                • Davis X. Machina

                  It was Obama->Romney-> Trump.

                  It was expiatory voting, for a non-trivial slice of the electorate.

                  The first Obama vote was to get the centuries-old monkey of chattel slavery off your back.

                  The second vote was a return to status quo ante, only with a clean conscience now.

                  The third vote was your wildest dream come true — you can be an out and proud jerk.

                • humanoid.panda

                  Or, I’m saying that even if 80% percent of the switch is about white nationalism, the other 20% matters, in a closely divided country. And to the extent that my hobbyhorse is “events have more than one cause” then yeah, I am riding it hard.

                • imwithher

                  That twenty percent of not very much could be gotten elsewhere, in easier ways, without compromising core principles, in an equally divided country. Events do have more than one cause, so then why the obsessive focus on this particular cause. Why is it, and only it, the “key?”

                • humanoid.panda

                  That twenty percent of not very much could be gotten elsewhere, in easier ways, without compromising core principles, in an equally divided country. Events do have more than one cause, so then why the obsessive focus on this particular cause. Why is it, and only it, the “key?”

                  First off, I specifically said that we should not ditch our principles. All I advocated is more left wing economic policies (not because they will attract the WWC ,but because they are, well, good) and the party trying to establish more presence even in areas Trump won consistently.

                  Second: the “key” formulation is yours, not mine. I think that the party has to do a lot of things, including thinking about how many people who voted Obama ’12–>Trump can be brought back, and how to exploit the fact that people who voted for Trump because “business shake things up” will be dissapointed in him. People like the Sanders hard core who think that magical WWC outreach is one weird trick that will solve politics are wrong, but so do people who think that TURNOUT is that one weird trick.

          • FlipYrWhig

            I think “NAFTA” on the right means something like “more people speaking Spanish than there used to be.”

      • humanoid.panda

        The whole thing is stupid in the first place, because you can’t make everything else be equal. Focusing more on one group, like the WWC in those three States, or trade issues, means focusing less on other folks and other issues.

        Why?

        • humanoid.panda

          Like it seems that your whole post is based on a false notion: that upping on populist economics, and maybe running candidates that appeal to local sensitivies in specific areas, precludes us from trying to up turnout, appealing to minorities and women, etc.

          It’s the same logic as saying that Russia distracts us from the AHCA, which is a distraction from Trump’s corruption, which distracts us from his real plans, which distract us from Russia. It all assumes one must focus on one thing at a a time.

          • imwithher

            We are talking about presidential elections. So, appealing to “local” sensitivities is not an option.

            To win presidential elections in the future, I think: (1) voter registration and turnout, among POC; (2) getting white women to dump the GOP; and (3) getting the left on board with whoever the Dems choose, even if she is not their first choice; would all be better areas of emphasis, would all be more fruitful, and would all be more of a “key,” than trying to woo back the tiny fraction of the tiny fraction of the WWC voters who (1) switched from O to T, and (2) did so because of “neo liberalism.”

            And, no, I don’t think the horeshit “data” shows that to be wrong.

            Focus is of course not only one thing. But emphasis can’t be on everything.

            • humanoid.panda

              The thing is that its quite plausible that at least a couple of the thing you suggest (appealing to white women), appealing to the left, also involve appealing to WWC voters…

              • humanoid.panda

                In other words, I am not suggesting that a Democratic candidate has to shoot guns while rolling coal, nor abandon commitment to civil rights. What I suggest is that the party needs to be on the ground, even in areas which voted for Trump overwhelmingly. And in the end, we don’t know this, but given how good HRC is at small group engagement, maybe if she spent some of her time doing town halls in rural PA, the outcome is different?

                • imwithher

                  And maybe the time spent doing that would have meant time NOT spent appealing to women in suburban PA? Or to POC voters in big city PA? Again, you just assume all the votes she did get; all the time and energy and effort she spent into getting those votes somehow drops out. Because, the only thing that matters, and that could matter, and that should matter, now and forever, is appealing to those few phantom WWC voters that were Trump curious but only for Bernie-approved reasons.

                • humanoid.panda

                  And maybe the time spent doing that would have meant time NOT spent appealing to women in suburban PA? Or to POC voters in big city PA? Again, you just assume all the votes she did get; all the time and energy and effort she spent into getting those votes somehow drops out. Because, the only thing that matters, and that could matter, and that should matter, now and forever, is appealing to those few phantom WWC voters that were Trump curious but only for Bernie-approved reasons.

                  No, but I do think that given that there were people who were equally adept at moblizing people in the Philly area- the OBamas for instances, its not implausible that using Hillary where her talents lie- talking to people deeply skeptical of her and showing them she cares about them- could have been put to better use. I also know that in the end, Hillary had far more resources- money and surrogates – than Trump, so we could have afforded some different set of allocations.

              • imwithher

                I don’t think so. The WWC is not receptive to leftist arguments or feminism.

              • imwithher

                I don’t think so. The WWC is not receptive to leftist arguments or feminism. Just the opposite. Those arguments repel them. Again, you can’t be all things to all people all the time.

                • humanoid.panda

                  And yet, when HRC did her famous “listening tour”, she flipped a lot of upstaters who were fed an 8 year long dose of obsessive hatred towards her into her voters..

                • imwithher

                  Because maybe she could afford to focus on them, in a statewide, rather than a national race. Because maybe the rest of the State, ie NYC, its suburbs, and the urban areas upstate, were already strongly Democratic? Maybe because she had enormous advantages over her rivals in the New York State Senate race that she didn’t have in the GE this go ’round?

                  As opposed to parachuting into rural PA and rural WI and rural MI right at the end, because, of course, she had a crystal ball and she knew that just those Trump curious but for the right reasons Obama WWC voters in just those States were going to be denoted as the tipping point by the data boys, after the fact.

                  Again, maybe if she had spent LESS time, energy and focus on WWC concerns, she would have won. Maybe making it all about women, POC and social issues would have produced just that little bit more that she needed. But that will never be explored.

                  Because the a priori concern is Bernieizing the Dem party.

                • humanoid.panda

                  Because the a priori concern is Bernieizing the Dem party.

                  If you haven’t noticed, I voted for HRC in the primary, and am not fond, to put it mildly of Berners.

                  But I do think that you and them are two sides of the same coin: what matters to you is fighting each other.

                • FlipYrWhig

                  We don’t need to go back to her Senate campaign, even. She was the candidate preferred by white working-class voters in 2008! This is partly why I find it silly to think that Bernie Sanders is the natural candidate of that constituency. If the way we now understand 2008 is that the people voting for Clinton were really anti-Obama, by the same token isn’t it possible that the best way to understand 2016 is that the people voting Sanders were really anti-Clinton? I can easily envision a scenario where Sanders runs again and gets blown out by Brian Schweitzer or somebody _in the same places where he won this time_.

            • bender

              Compared to the amount of pixels flipped on analysis of the motivations of WWC voters, there has been almost no analysis of the voting patterns of white women. Despite the fact that that there are about as many white women voters (from all classes) as WWC voters (of all genders).

              Some analysis of that vote has been done to break it down by age, income, education and marital status. There are anecdata and possibly some opinion polling on the reasons why white women voted for whoever they voted for. I’m not seeing any discussion and wrangling about whether and which subsections of the white female electorate who didn’t vote for HRC could be persuaded to vote Democratic next time, and what it would take to persuade them, and whether it would make a difference.

              We’ve been talking the WWC voter problem to death but white women are only mentioned in passing. Why is that? If, as I remember reading, young single women are more disposed to vote for liberals than older married women, should we be focusing on turning out young single women, or finding better ways to appeal to older married women, or identifying the issues these groups have, or who they listen to, or what?

              • Sebastian_h

                Are the reasons that mysterious? One) lots of white women don’t see themselves as a separate identity; two) appealing to women was already supposed to be an area of strength with Clinton; three) all of the criticisms of appealing to the white working class may be equally applicable to white women who voted for Trump (I.e they may be irredeemably racist so therefore worth casting aside because obviously you can’t work with racist Obama voters).

        • imwithher

          Because time, space, air time, messaging, attention span of listeners and so on is limited. The candidate can’t be everywhere at once. The candidate can’t make everything the primary theme of her statement/speech/debate answer/ad at once. And so on.

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    in other “Ds hopeless and useless and suck” news apparently McConnell is going to have to nuke the filibuster to put Gorsuch in Garland’s seat

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2017/04/03/partisan-showdown-looms-for-trump-supreme-court-pick/ejGUPKb6PBjWhNEAmXIoWK/story.html

    • N__B

      Dumb question: does Yertle have 50 votes to nuke the filibuster?

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        Suck a nuking would probably be restricted to SCOTUS, so: Yes, it’s a dumb question.

      • humanoid.panda

        Almost certainly yes.

    • humanoid.panda

      But do they really mean it? Will any of them willing to kneecap 3 Republican senators so that the GOP doesn’t have the votes to go nuclear while they are in the hospital?

    • Rob in CT

      Impossible!

  • John F

    There is no one “key.” Yes, of course, if, everything else being equal, Hillary had done just that little bit better with the WWC in WI, MI and PA, she would have won. But it is equally true, that, everything else being equal, with a little bit more minority turnout, or a little bit more leftist turnout/not voting third party, or a little bit more white women support, she would have won those States.

    Yes absolutely
    She WON the popular vote 65.8 million to 63 million
    she lost Michigan 47.5% to 47.3%
    Penn 48.2% to 47.5%
    Wisc 47.2% to 46.5%
    Fl 49.0% to 47.8%

    Slight changes in any number of voter demos would have given her the win.

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