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Republican Principles

[ 73 ] October 12, 2016 |


Above: Deb Fischer (R-NE)

I have never seen such principled politicians as the Republicans standing up to Donald Trump.

Three days after calling on Donald Trump to quit the presidential race, Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) jumped right back on the Trump train on Tuesday, saying voting for the GOP nominee was “not a tough choice.”

Fischer attributed this head-spinning reversal to Trump’s insistence that he would “never” drop out.

“I plan to vote for Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence on November 8,” she said on local radio station KLIN. “I put out a statement…with regard to Mr. Trump’s comments. I felt they were disgusting. I felt they were unacceptable and I never said I was not voting for our Republican ticket.”


RBG: Wrong

[ 112 ] October 12, 2016 |


Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s highly unfortunate comments on Colin Kaepernick are horribly wrong. They also don’t really matter very much as it’s not like she’s likely to be deciding a case where the issues are relevant. It is however worth noting that no one should be touted as a political hero because most everyone holds some really bad positions or says some really stupid things. Including Ginsburg. Should anyone be surprised than an old white person doesn’t really understand what’s going on? No. But we might not want to be getting tattoos of our hero either.

Day is Night, the Sun Sets in the East (ed. Did I Just Watch The Green Berets and Got My Sun Rises and Sets Confused), the Cubs Are Going to Win the World Series, Etc.

[ 122 ] October 11, 2016 |

My personal all-time favorite tweet.

The Wallace Corrective

[ 10 ] October 11, 2016 |


My discussion of Henry Wallace from the other day received a surprising amount of attention around the intertubes. Andy Seal has a response at the U.S. Intellectual History blog, which is a site that should be on the radar of all of you. Seal seeks to correct the historical narrative around Wallace, which my post definitely reflected as I have not done much primary source research into the man.

So, here are a few of the problems I see with Wallace scholarship:

Intellectual histories of the New Deal—even some that are specifically about agriculture, where Wallace had his greatest impact—don’t really include Wallace in their narratives. He’s the boss of the USDA, sure, and the architect of the AAA, but his role is that of a manager, not a thinker or planner. Jess Gilbert’s recent work is a great correction here, but this sentence by Richard Kirkendall is somewhat indicative of the general trend: “Top administrators, especially Secretary Henry A. Wallace, also liked the service intellectual.” Wallace is counted as an administrator, not with the intellectuals.

Large-scale political histories of the New Deal, on the other hand, tend to marginalize Wallace completely, painting him as kind of an outsider in the FDR administration and in the New Deal as a whole—someone who didn’t really fit in with the Washington crowd. That may be somewhat accurate on an interpersonal, cocktail-party level, but Wallace was a considerable force in the New Deal—at least more so, I feel, than he is given credit for by political historians.

This oddball-ization of Wallace is most extensive in much of the biographical treatment of Wallace. Certainly it yields some colorful anecdotes about Wallace’s idiosyncratic habits, but fixation on Wallace’s very un-DC-like personality has led, I feel, to a kind of preemptive dismissal of Wallace as a political actor or intellectual influence on the other power-brokers and intellectual architects of the New Deal. Perhaps my own understanding of Wallace is colored by the recent treatment of Bernie Sanders—just because he seemed so out of place among the Beltway elite, it was presumed that he must be an ineffectual political actor. That judgment, I think, has a few problems with it.

One of the main exhibits in the dismissal of Wallace has long been his unusual, even rather exotic mysticism—or as Loomis put it, his penchant for “following weird religious charlatans who he let influence American policy.” There’s something to that charge, but it is worth saying that U.S. political figures who have been relatively open about the complexities of their religious thoughts and feelings generally have not been treated well by historians, especially not political historians—apart from those, like Kevin Kruse or Darren Dochuk whose research is directly about the interface of faith and politics. Politicians who confess to having an active spiritual life—one that includes extensive self-reflection and active “seeking” or exploration, rather than just a pro forma membership and attendance at a respectable Protestant church—are often treated with a peremptory suspicion. Political historians struggle with religious earnestness.

The historical Wallace seems condemned to be defined by the 1948 Presidential run, rather than his career as a member of FDR’s cabinet. And certainly, as Loomis shows so well, the 1948 campaign had very significant effects both in the short-tem for the left and in the longer-term for the party system; it’s absolutely not wrong to argue that Wallace’s failure in 1948 helped strengthen the two-party system by largely discrediting the idea of a third party in the U.S. Accusations of Communist infiltration in the Wallace campaign helped ratchet up the fear of Communists all over Washington; obviously that would have pretty significant consequences. But the reason Wallace was even running as a third candidate was because of who and what he was during FDR’s administration. By making 1948 so dominant, everything else in Wallace’s career is both overshadowed and foreshadowed by that year, and we can’t get an accurate understanding of his place in the intellectual and political contexts of, say, 1934 or 1942, by always thinking about 1948.

The whole post is pretty interesting. You should check it out.

The NLRB in the Partisan Era

[ 8 ] October 11, 2016 |


I have a new piece up at Democracy Journal about the National Labor Relations Board in the partisan era.

Roosevelt’s advisers intended for the NLRB to be a non-partisan agency; it drew most of its early appointees from government workers. Representing business, labor, and the public equally was in fact a prime goal of many New Deal agencies. The NLRB routinely ruled in favor of unions during these years, leading to conservative members of Congress introducing bills to eliminate the agency. One bill to do so passed the House 258-129 in 1940 before Roosevelt pressured the Senate to kill it. Even with the aim of nonpartisanship, for corporations and conservative politicians, the sheer existence of the agency was an attack on corporate rights.

Roosevelt’s vision of a non-partisan board began to slip during the Eisenhower years, however, when the first member of the business community was appointed. Corporations continued to look to the state to represent its interests over that of workers, even if it had far less power than it did before the New Deal. Unions responded by noting that no unionist had ever served on the NLRB. But corporate America had never accepted the legitimacy of unions, particularly not as an equal counterpart. The Kennedy and Johnson Administration soon after reinstated the tradition of appointing members with no ties to either unions or management. This was, however, short-lived as another Republican, Richard Nixon, would, again, see the board as a partisan agency and name management appointees. But, compared to today, this remained relatively muted through the 1970s.

The modern era of the truly partisan NLRB began in earnest with Ronald Reagan’s first appointee, who was a union-busting management consultant. This was followed later on by a protégé of the staunchly anti-union North Carolina senator Jesse Helms, who had created and distributed both anti-union videos and pamphlets. This broke the façade of neutrality at the NLRB; the Reagan Administration had simultaneously been seeking to gut labor regulations across the board. Bill Clinton was the first President to name union representatives to the NLRB; he appointed three union lawyers, evening out the score while continuing to entrench partisanship. George W. Bush later tilted things sharply back to the right.

Guess what. That partisanship ain’t going away any time soon. And so it becomes absolutely required for organized labor to support Democrats in elections to ensure the functionality of labor law. This is not a good thing in the long run. But in the short term it absolutely makes sense.

Andrzej Wajda, RIP

[ 38 ] October 10, 2016 |


Andrzej Wajda, the bard of political freedom in film and, in my opinion, the greatest living filmmaker, is dead at the age of 90.

Wajda’s career is absolutely titanic. His legendary trilogy of World War II-era Poland shot him into the spotlight. A Generation (1955) was a slightly romantic look at the Polish underground and the appeal of Marxism to resistance fighters. Kanal (1956) is a claustrophobic look at the Warsaw uprising, almost all in the canals under the city. Ashes and Diamonds (1958) shows an already divided and increasingly corrupt post-war Poland, even though it is set on the last day of the war, when ideological factionalism and the elimination of threats to the new communist order are taking over. This trilogy, with its eyes wide open honesty about the bravery of the resistant movement and the hard decisions to follow, is remarkable.

The only Wajda film from the 60s I have seen is The Siberian Lady MacBeth (1962), which is excellent although not quite in the same league as his very best. Wajda first came to my attention when I saw his unbelievable Man of Marble (1977), a searing view into the hypocrisy of postwar Poland and the betrayal of the revolution that tells a story of a young idealistic filmmaker (who only owns one set of clothes evidently) and her search to find out about a once idealized and now-forgotten bricklayer, chewed up and spit out by the socialist paradise. Wajda managed to stay in Poland after this, only to follow up with Man of Iron (1981), a follow up film about the Solidarity movement that actually has Lech Walesa in it. This finally forced Wajda out. He moved to France. There, he kept up his films of history and freedom with a biopic of Danton (1983) that might be the best film ever made about the French Revolution. Wajda returned to France after the overthrow of the communist government. His last masterpiece was Katyn (2007), an appropriate film for him as his father was killed there. This is a devastating examination of the erasure of an entire generation of leaders. One wonders what could have been otherwise for postwar Poland.

Wajda consistently made beautiful films about political and personal freedom. His loss is tremendous.

So who is now the greatest living filmmaker? I say it is Martin Scorsese.

This Day in Labor History: October 10, 1933

[ 7 ] October 10, 2016 |


On October 10, 1933, thirty ranchers surrounded a group of agricultural strikers in Pixley, California. They opened fire and killed two. The massacre at Pixley culminated the farm strike that had gone on through the harvesting season and demonstrated the level of violence ranchers would resort to in order to keep labor as exploitable as possible.

With the Great Depression, the decline in commodity prices and the growth of a desperate labor force led California cotton growers to drastically reduce their wages, from $1.50 per 100 pounds of cotton picked in 1928 to 40 cents in 1932. Workers were increasingly angry and desperate. They were also increasingly white, as they began to replace the largely Mexican workforce the farmers usually relied upon. The Cannery and Agricultural Workers Industrial Union, founded in 1930, stepped in to organize these workers. This was a communist-led organization seeking to organize the most desperate of workforces in the fields. It was in many ways a successor of Industrial Workers of the World attempts to do the same in the 1910s that had led to the killings at Wheatland, near Pixley, in 1913. The CAWIU engaged in a number of small strikes through 1931 and 1932. Like in Wheatland, the farmers routinely turned to violence to crush these strikes.

By 1933 though, the CAWIU had a strong cadre of experienced organizers who knew the fields and how to organize them. They developed sophisticated financial plans to help them plan for the upcoming strikes in 1933, gaining information about wage rates, crop prices, and when different crops would be ready to pick, all of which helped them coordinate these actions. The demands for these strikes were fairly straightforward–union recognition, higher wages, a shorter workday, no hiring discrimination based on union membership or ethnicity. In other words, these farmworkers were seeking dignity. They also avoided talking about their revolutionary aims, figuring it was easier to organize the workers if they didn’t scare them with rhetoric about communism.

The 1933 strikes began on April 14, when 2000 Mexican, Filipino, and white workers walked off the pea farms. It was once again violently suppressed. Then Mexican fruit workers sought to reject the communist leadership of the CAWIU, working with the Mexican consul to cultivate non-communist leadership. So things started very poorly for the union that year.

But they did win in the cherry orchards, as the pickers managed to withstand violent assaults and force an agreement so the farmers could get their fruit picked before it rotted on the tree. This emboldened the CAWIU, which then held a convention to coordinate the critical late season harvests. They attempted to expand the strategy to include embedding organizers within established unions to build alliances and to make connections with unemployed workers to provide a larger challenge to the farmers and hopefully to undermine scab labor. Even before this strategy was really put into motion though, the CAWIU started winning a bunch of strikes. In the beets and tomatoes, in the peaches and pears, hundreds and then thousands of workers walked off the job and won wage gains. Between the beginning and end of August, the standard wage in California fields rose from 16 cents to 25 cents an hour.

The CAWIU then went to organize the grape farms. This would prove incredibly difficult, as it would for the United Farm Workers three decades later. Growers and police used every force at their disposal, including the American Legion, which effectively operated as a neo-fascist organization committing anti-labor violence from its founding, to brutally beat back the organizers. The grapes would not be organized in 1933.

So they moved onto cotton. This was a largely Mexican labor force, with some African-Americans and whites. As mentioned above, wages had plummeted in recent years. Between 1932 and 1933, the price of cotton had rebounded from its early Depression woes, up 150 percent. The cotton growers did not pass a penny of that onto the workers. The CAWIU realized this was the most crucial crop and its success would be decided here. The union used roving pickets, only when they found workers in the field, which made it very hard for the anti-labor forces, as organized as they were in the grapes, to find the strikers and crush them. A violent attack on strikers in the town of Watsonville only led to greater worker solidarity and determination. Growers attempted to boycott stores that did business with strikers, especially those that gave them credit. This strategy was widely denounced and led to calls for mediation. The union immediately agreed to that. The growers did not.

By October 10, 12,000 cotton workers were on strike. But in Pixley, armed growers opened fire on an unarmed group of strikers. State policemen watched it all happen and did nothing. Two workers died. Eight more were wounded. Another shooting followed shortly thereafter, killing another striker. Local authorities then arrested strikers, accusing them of murdering one of their own. All of this led to widespread negative press for the farmers. Tulare County police were pressured into arresting eight farmers for their role in the Pixley murders, but then also arrested strike leader Pat Chambers as well. Both sides do it.

The Roosevelt administration had hoped to avoid this kind of labor violence. In the fall of 1933, it was just waking up to the extent it would have to do for workers if it wanted labor peace. In this case, it responded by offering relief to the strikers, the first time this had happened in U.S. history. George Creel, most famous for heading the United States Committee on Public Information in World War I, was working for Roosevelt at this time and attempted to intervene, noting that even if agricultural workers were excluded from the National Industrial Recovery Act, they fell under the jurisdiction of his own agency, the National Labor Board. Creel held hearings, hoping to bring the workers off the picket lines, undermine the communists, and create labor peace. He got the growers to go along by agreeing to a wage increase in exchange for cutting off the relief effort. But the CAWIU rejected the agreement. Yet it had few options. On October 27, it finally agreed to call off the strike, even though union recognition had not been achieved.

Around 47,500 people participated in at least one of these strikes in 1933. If anyting, it was a victory for the federal government. The CAWIU would not remain a major player in agricultural organizing but the farmers had been forced to give in as well. This was all predicated on federal intervention in labor struggles, so to be a hallmark of the New Deal.

This is the 195th post in this series. Previous posts are archived here.


[ 9 ] October 10, 2016 |


If you think Brock Osweiler is having a better season than Russell Wilson, then ESPN’s QBR numbers provide just the analysis you need!

Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 52

[ 59 ] October 9, 2016 |

This is the grave of Mark Twain.


I don’t think I need to give a biography of Samuel Clemens, i.e,, Mark Twain. Twain may or may not be American’s greatest fiction writer. It my somewhat limited surveying of literature professors, they somewhat tend to look down on him a bit in comparison to Melville or Faulkner. And maybe those writers were more sophisticated in their literary merit. But I do think Twain was an amazing seer into the American condition of the 19th century, a condition that was basically Trumpism running out of control in terms of open racism, the prioritizing of idiocy over knowledge, and the raw, uncouth nature of the nation’s white people. In other words, Andrew Jackson’s America. Sure, the end of Huckleberry Finn is a disaster when that frat boy Tom Sawyer (I think it was Philip Roth who called Sawyer “America’s first frat boy” or something like that in The Great American Novel). But the first 2/3 is the most cutting satire into what it meant to be an American written at that time. Some of the early humor pieces don’t quite age that well. And he got really maudlin at the end of life and wrote some sappy stuff around then too. But whatever. Puddin’head Wilson is fantastic on both race and 19th century white society. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court ages really well. And Life on the Mississippi is a wonderful work.

And hell, he coined the term Gilded Age. Plus he was pro-union, once giving a speech to a group of Knights of Labor that said, “Who are the oppressors? The few: the King, the capitalist, and a handful of other overseers and superintendents. Who are the oppressed? The many: the nations of the earth; the valuable personages; the workers; they that make the bread that the soft-handed and idle eat.”

Who can’t like that other than capitalists? The fact that maintained a healthy skepticism of capitalism at a time when even his hero Ulysses S. Grant was getting personally fleeced by every scam he could also makes him a special seer of his time.

Mark Twain is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Elmira, New York.

What’s the Most Reprehensible Living American Up To These Days?

[ 25 ] October 7, 2016 |

Mine helmets and painted crosses at the entrance to Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch coal mine, as a memorial to the 29 miners killed there.

Oh Don Blankenship. You are really a piece of work.

Don Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy who is currently serving a one-year sentence in federal prison for conspiring to violate safety standards, is defending himself in the form of a 67-page booklet, “American Political Prisoner,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

The 2010 explosion at Blankenship’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia killed 29 people — the worst coal mining disaster in roughly 40 years — and Blankenship was found guilty of a misdemeanor for his “part in a dangerous conspiracy” to flout federal mine safety regulations, in the words of Judge Irene C. Berger. (Much to the dismay of prosecutors and some victims’ families, Blankenship was acquitted of three felony charges that would have resulted in a significantly longer prison term.)

Nonetheless, Blankenship seems intent on casting himself as the victim with his new booklet, of which he intends to mail 250,000 copies this week. The PDF is also available online.

“You can be sure I am fully innocent,” he writes. “In fact, more than 100 percent innocent. I spent my life improving coal miner safety and exercising my right to free speech… The real conspiracies were the government’s cover-up of the UBB truth and my prosecution.”

Blankenship also commissioned a documentary in 2014, Upper Big Branch — Never Again, in which he and various consultants attribute the explosion to a freak surge of natural gas.

However, multiple investigations into the disaster found severely inadequate ventilation, plus a buildup of explosive coal dust, combined with a spark from equipment resulted in a series of mile-long blasts that trapped or incinerated dozens of workers. Blankenship had told Massey executives to put safety improvements on hold, writing to one executive in 2008, “We’ll worry about ventilation or other issues at an appropriate time. Now is not the time.”

Now is never the time.

That this man is serving a mere year in prison is a huge injustice. Yet it’s amazing he is serving any time at all given how routinely employers who murder their workers through indifference to safety get off scot free. It was only Blankenship’s incredible attention to the detail of screwing over workers and the paper trail he left that even got him that much time.

Henry Wallace and Third Party Campaigns on the Left

[ 153 ] October 7, 2016 |


Over the last few months, I’ve been reading a good bit about Henry Wallace and the mid-century left for a potential project. And while I now don’t think Wallace is so important in this project as I originally thought, reading all of this literature has been interesting, especially in the context of this year. A few perhaps slightly random thoughts.

1) Henry Wallace is a really interesting guy. A pure rural American dreamer with often very good ideas about both agriculture and the organization of society. He could play politics enough during the FDR years to save himself, which he would struggle with later. His fall from being named VP in 1940 to being a pariah in 1948 seems remarkable but it really isn’t. Wallace was only VP because Roosevelt absolutely demanded it. The rank and file political machine of the party hated him with a great passion. Roosevelt was in a weaker position within the party in 1944 and somewhat unceremoniously dumped Wallace for Harry Truman. Moreover, Wallace was also motivated by ideas and solid principles. When that became peace with the Soviets, he wasn’t going to change. He was not a man to shift with the times. Wallace was also undermined by his own intellectual interests, including following weird religious charlatans who he let influence American policy, which came back to bite him later.

2) The left was a more complex place in the mid-1940s, largely because it was much larger and more organized than today. Generally speaking, there were two groups. First were left-liberals in the Wallace or Rexford Guy Tugwell mode. Second, there were the Communists. Internally within Wallace’s campaign, this became the main battleground. The thing about the Communists is that they were in fact taking orders from Moscow. That was the big historiographical insight during that brief period where the Soviet archives were opened after 1991. Despite New Left historians denying that CPUSA was at Moscow’s beck and call, they totally were. The ideological inflexibility this created really dragged Wallace down. It also, along with the constantly shifting positions because of following Moscow’s guidelines, made the Communist Party a uniquely terrible organization for the United States. It wasn’t just conservatives that got frustrated with and then swore off the Communists. It was other non-communist lefties. They were almost impossible to work with. And they were effectively running the Wallace campaign, using him for their own aims. Wallace, believing the Soviets were a rightful ally, refused to see this until reflecting after his humiliating defeat.

3) In a related matter, we on the labor-left often bemoan the CIO kicking out the communists in the late 40s. There is much to this–the communists were great organizers after all and they dealt with racism more effectively than other CIO unions. But looking back, the decision to get rid of them seems almost inevitable. First, John L. Lewis was using the communists from the moment he invited them to help with industrial organizing. He was fine with them if he had them under his control. But he was fundamentally anti-communist. Second, after Lewis left, Phil Murray was a classic Catholic unionist in that he had no tolerance for communists at all because of the influence of the Catholic Church. Third, we forget how much many of the rank and file, even in the communist-led unions, hated the communists. Some of this was for religious reasons, but some of it was because of communist tactics and the same constantly shifting but always rigid ideological positions that drove the rest of the left crazy. Some rank and file members were writing the government, begging for investigations to drive the communists out of their own unions. Combine all of this was the conservative backlash after 1946, and I don’t really know what choice the CIO had. Keeping the communists in the CIO and refusing to go along with Taft-Hartley almost certainly would have led to the crushing of the CIO, not a long-term leftist movement. None of this is to excuse the behavior of a lot of people in this whole situation and certainly not to excuse the anti-communist foreign policy of the AFL-CIA years. But I just don’t know what other realistic alternative there was out there.

4) The left’s infatuation with third party movements to get back at perfidious Democrats did not start with Ralph Nader. One can trace this perhaps back to the anti-slavery parties of the 1840s and through the Populists and LaFollette in 1924. But probably the real root is 1948. And like in 2000 or 2016, it simply made no sense on the face of it. The left did genuinely feel that Truman had betrayed them through his foreign policy. But did it make more sense to see Dewey elected (or even Taft, which was possible when this movement started)? Reading about the reaction of the liberal left to Truman pulling out the win, the response is a lot like a lot of Nader voters felt in 2000 for the 3 seconds that it seemed Gore had won–relief. But if there was no real chance of winning, and in this case as in 2000 there was not, then why engage in the third party campaign in the first place? To show up those evil moderate sellout Democrats? When has that ever moved the Democratic Party to the left? It has not. And of course once Wallace lost, the party completely crumbled, as every third party has done in the U.S. after it fails.

5) The one thing that the Wallace campaign does deserve credit for is for his southern tour where he directly confronted racism. For the 30s and most of the 40s, liberalism was in part built on accepting the oppression of African-Americans in the South. Wallace simply would not allow that. His tour of the South, at very real threat to his body and the bodies of his supporters, did genuinely help to make fighting segregation and lynching a central part of mid-century liberalism. No longer could liberals or the left broadly construed accept the worst aspects of racism as a given.

The extent to which any of this is relevant understanding contemporary politics is I suppose up in the air. But I find some of this useful for contextualizing the trajectory of left and electoral politics.

The Lesser Evil Argument Works Because It Can Always Get Worse and It Will With the Greater Evil

[ 227 ] October 6, 2016 |


Annabel Park was a big Bernie supporter. Deeply angry with the DNC and Hillary Clinton, she flirted with third partyism. But she has realized just how horrible Trump would be and wrote this op-ed urging Bernie supporters to get behind her. It’s an excellent piece to share with those who are still refusing to vote for the shebeast $hillery!

After that, I started talking to friends of mine who, like me, had poured so much into supporting Bernie, and found the idea of voting for Clinton after the intense, bitter primary hard to stomach. Many of the Bernie supporters I spoke to think the United States can’t get much worse, but I know firsthand that it can. Until I was 10 years old, I lived in South Korea while it was ruled by dictator Park Chung-hee, who came into power through a military coup d’état. I remember the curfews, the constant fear of authority figures, the pressure to conform and the fear of speaking up. I have seen how quickly citizens can lose civil liberties and rights, how quickly we can get to the point we’re afraid to meet in public places to protest.

Like dictators and authoritarians of the past, Trump has a playbook for power that includes targeting journalists and activists, branding dissidents as enemies to foster a culture of conformity, fostering a culture of violence and bullying against minorities, controlling women through sexual humiliation and by taking away reproductive rights, and blocking a democratic path to regime change by undermining our voting rights.

These tactics have clearly made a cultural impact in America even though Trump the candidate has yet to gain institutional power. Violent hate crimes against Muslim Americans are escalating, and teachers are reporting that there’s more bullying in schools. If Trump comes to power and has even more authority and legitimacy, circumstances could feasibly worsen. People’s willingness to gamble the outcome of this election puts the most vulnerable members of our society in harm’s way.

As president, Trump and his brand of extremism would have more than a cultural outlet. Through their appointees, presidents have power in our everyday lives. Cabinet appointments and department hires run powerful federal agencies including the Department of Justice, Homeland Security, Department of Defense, State Department, Department of Interior and more. Trump and his campaign have mentioned these right-wing extremists as potential appointees: Rudy Giuliani, Joe Arpaio, Sarah Palin, Ben Carson, Chris Christie and Forrest Lucas, oil executive and animal rights opponent for Department of Interior. Perhaps scariest of all, Myron Ebell, a leading climate-change denier, is expected to head Trump’s EPA. Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, is a fundamentalist Christian who pushed extreme anti-LGBT and anti-reproductive rights legislation as governor. With an administration like this, dissidents like Sanders supporters would have little hope of exerting any kind of influence.

There’s a good reason why lesser evil voting is a compelling and almost unanswerable argument. It’s that the greater evil is going to be far, far worse. Someone whose family has lived under a dictatorship has a much better chance of understanding that than a white middle-class American college student. But if they want radical change in the United States and Trump gets elected, they will understand it pretty damn fast. Maybe there’s nothing we can do to convince these lefties voting for Johnson or Stein to vote for Hillary, but we do have to try. And Park’s piece is a really good way to try.

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