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Can Trump really win the White House?

by Frank Schnittger Wed May 11th, 2016 at 05:20:43 AM EST

People who know I am interested in politics often ask me things like "Can Trump really win the Presidency?" while at the same time shaking their heads in disbelief that such a thing might be possible. To those accustomed to European sensibilities, he seems more like a cross between Berlusconi and Le Pen, with none of the "charisma" or political experience of either. Are things really that bad in the USA that wanton ignorance, rampant misogyny, crass narcissism, racist demagoguery and an authoritarian complex are what turns people on?

Trump keeps breaking through the ceilings that the political commentariat seek to place over his head. His appeal was said to be limited to 30% of the most committed Republican Primary voters. Then that became 40%, then 50%+. It was said that the Republican establishment would never allow his nomination at their convention in Cleveland. Except that now they have effectively thrown in the towel and conceded he will be their nominee. Most have made their peace with him and now seek influence within his inner circle. House Speaker Ryan and the Bush family are some of the few remaining hold-outs.


It seems all he has to do is say a few soothing words, and they come crawling back to his eminence: previous insults brushed under the carpet.  In fact it never seems to matter what he has said or done in the past.  The only reality which matters is what he has said in the latest news cycle. The latest opinion polls have Hillary Clinton leading him by about 4% in national polls.  But opinion polls have little credibility this far out from the actual election in November.  Hillary still has to shake off her challenger, Bernie Sanders, to be confirmed as his opponent, and it is anyone's guess how many of Sanders' supporters will eventually turn out for Hillary.

Few pundits or political scientists predicted his success. A former top staffer maintains that he never expected to poll more than 12%  either, and that his campaign started out as little more than a brand building exercise for his various businesses. Some research shows that an authoritarian personality trait is the best predictor of who will support him - better than gender, ethnicity, educational attainment or income. Arthur Gilroy, writing on Booman.com argues that he will win because he is a professional celebrity, and that in virtually every election since JFK vs. Nixon, it is the candidate who is better at doing what a celebrity does who wins: Looking good, being entertaining, saying witty or memorable things and acting natural on TV is what winning US elections is all about.

Whenever one sees vox pop interviews with Trump supporters at his rallies, a recurring theme is: "He says it as it is", "he speaks the truth", "he's not afraid to make big decisions", "he's not beholden to big money donors": Except he is, but they want none of the messy complexity that politics often entails: the compromising, diplomacy, and lengthy negotiations. And the irony is that people who have never had much in their lives seem to identify with someone who was born with it all.  Trump inherited about as much wealth as Warren Buffet, but it is Buffet who has expanded his inheritance into a much larger fortune. Indeed Trump would have made a much larger fortune had he simply invested his inheritance in Index linked funds.  Instead Trump has stiffed many workers, suppliers, and investors when some of his ventures failed.  He has never treated the little people with anything but contempt.

Of course even good entertainers can sometimes reach their sell-by date.  People become bored with their shtick and move on - to the next big thing.  But is Hillary ever likely to be that big thing, or even just slip in by default as enthusiasm for Trump fades after a long political season? Indeed will he become bored with it all and tire of the long grind?

His ego is such that I doubt he will pass up on the opportunity to become the biggest winner of all. The opportunity to humiliate the political establishment which has never given him too much respect will be too big to give up.  He is like the dumb kid in class who was looked down on by the smart kids.  But he is going to show them all.  He will have the best women, the best words, the best products, the best House, and the biggest job in the land.  Think of the marketing potential!  He could be sharing some Trump water with Vladimir Putin - another strong man he admires.

Hillary is everything he hates - an opinionated women, educated, an establishment icon.  "She's got nothing going for her except that she's a women.  She would get 5% of the vote if she were a man" is his most heartfelt put down. No doubt this resonates with some men used to bossing their wives, who now feel humiliated by women making greater strides in the workplace.  His only comment on Carly Fiorina, ex Hewlett Packard Chief Executive and an early rival for the nomination was that she was ugly.  "Who would vote for a face like that?" Never mind that Trump, himself, is hardly an oil painting...

So how can a candidate who has said and done so much to humiliate and insult women, Hispanics,  Moslems, immigrants and the Republican establishment still be competitive in the race? Are there enough white males with inferiority complexes or authoritarian tendencies to bring his candidacy over the line? Will many women and minorities vote for him anyway out of some Stockholm Syndrome like identification with their tormentor? Will religious conservatives overlook his obvious failing to respect their beliefs, values and morals in his own personal life?

My take is that Hillary will struggle to overcome him until some time in the autumn by which time former Sanders' supporters will have overcome their disappointment at his failure to win the nomination, and reluctantly fall in line behind the Hillary bandwagon. The media have a huge vested interest in a competitive race and will continue to portray it as a close run thing despite all evidence to the contrary. Trump's right hand man, Paul Manafort has a long track record working for unsavoury dictators and using false flag and black operations to discredit opponents. Hillary had better be ready for a dirty war.

But she will win by a large margin: The only question is whether her coat-tails will be long enough to drag in a Democratic majority into both Houses of Congress as well. As the Republican policy of scorched earth towards Obama has shown, there is not much a President can do if he doesn't have a Congress he can work with, and right now winning both houses is still a tall order, given the gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics Republican controlled State Houses have been engaging in.

Hillary will have to realise that campaigning and governing in the USA at the moment is more like fighting a war than engaging in diplomacy and reasoned debate. To achieve anything Democrats are going to have to overcome their fetish for bipartisanship and compromise. Their opponents only see such posturing as a weakness to be exploited. The filibuster will have to be abolished in the Senate and the Supreme Court filled with activist progressives rather than conservatives.

It remains to be seen whether Hillary has the balls to be anything other than the archetypal weak women that Trump so despises. She has to become his worst nightmare, and that of his supporters.  She also has to break with her big money donors on Wall Street and elsewhere if she is ever to be seen as anything more than an establishment candidate fighting off a populist insurgency. The neo-conservatives fleeing Trump and flocking to the Democratic Party in the hope of influence and preferment will have to be disappointed.

Ultimately, her biggest challenge will be to take the big money out of US politics. The Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC which effectively equated money with free speech, and corporations with people, will have to be overturned by a new majority on the court.  Corporate donations will have to be de-legitimized as the bribery they truly are.

But does she even have the vision, never mind the will to go down that path?

Display:
I have read to date.
by John Redmond (Ladybeaterz@NolesAD.com) on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 06:18:13 AM EST
I have written very little on the US elections this year compared to previous years because it seems that what is happening is impervious to all reasoned debate. It's like watching the slow rise of Hitler and being able to do nothing about it. US politics, has, it seems, been reduced to a reality TV show, or a Sci-Fi fantasy depicting some far future dystopia.  Trump supporters are clearly inhabiting some kind of parallel universe, but one capable of doing great damage to a world already in deep trouble due to the climate change and corporate imperialism which they steadfastly ignore. Bread and circuses for the Roman masses is the only historical parallel which seems adequate...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 06:54:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if he fails, if he doesn't fail miserably he's pointing the way for next time.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 06:59:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
HL Mencken has the best quote on Trump;-

"No one in this world, so far as I know -- and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me -- has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby."

Trump is just a very good showman, mostly schooled by his involvement with professional televised wresting and NASCAR where he understands that the most outrageous behaviour commands the media. He has largely won by making the media, and therefore the voter base, watch him. He is the car crash, the OJ Simpson chase scene, the news media cannot switch from and the public cannot stop talking about.

But there's no consistency. Yes, he's a racist, a misogynist and has found a ready audience for the most exaggerated spoutings of this.

the question remains whether this pattern works beyond the Primary. He can try to be more nuanced, but that's not his schtick and he'd be rubbish at it.

So, while he might win 90 - 95% of the national republican vote, his appeal is largely confined to the already committed and it remains to be seen whether this voting block is, by itself, big enough to win a majority of national votes. tbh, I think that, whatever Rasmussen might say, mid 40s is hopefully his ceiling.

Or at least that's what I'm hoping cos some early polling suggests he can beat Clinton

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 06:43:21 AM EST
All my political instincts tell me that he is going to blow up come September/October, but then I don't live in the USA and all the establishmentarian and much of the progressive commentary over there has been woefully wrong too date.   I don't always agree with Booman but I am with him on this:  Trump is an absolute disaster for Republican and conservative politics in the USA.  But it will take some time before this becomes clear.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 07:04:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trumps really high negatives should prevent him from expanding his voters. Otoh, Clinton has really high negatives too.

What if their negatives drives turnout down and the election more resembles 2010 or 2014 then 2008 or 2012? Would Clinton still win?

by fjallstrom on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 09:33:14 AM EST
Ok, I needed to find some answer.

First, the presidential winner in the electoral college tends to also have won the popular vote.

So a really crude calculation based on house and presidential elections 2008-2014 with house results (in million voters) for each party being plotted to turnout and a linear equation forced from those numbers, and presidential results (in million voters) noted to be on average 9% more then house results in years containing both, gives that for R to trump D participation in the presidential election needs to be lower then 48%.

So is that possible? Lowest participation rate in a recent election was in 1996 when the participation rate was:

Voter turnout in the United States presidential elections

49.0%

So yeah, it is possible. Still think Clinton will win though.

by fjallstrom on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 05:46:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Possibly Trump's only real achievement to date has been to drive a high turnout in the Republican primaries. He claims to have brought "millions" of new voters into the electoral process, although it is unclear to me (no data!) whether these "new" voters are simply new to the Primary elections, and how many have never voted in the general election.

However even allowing that several hundred thousand are new voters who haven't previously voted in General Elections, how many of these are in swing states? And are they offset by Republican and Independent voters turned off by Trump who wont vote for Trump, if at all?

Which ever way you cut it, it seems that 2016 is unlikely to be a low turnout year, unless millions of disillusioned Sanders and Republican voters stay at home.  But then voter suppression tactics have been rampant, so we will have to await better data.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 07:54:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 04:25:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Women were 53% of total voters in 2012 and Obama won that demographic by 11%, Clinton will do at least as well and will likely increase that percentage to ... 15%? ... as well as increasing the total number of women voters.  

The core of GOP support, i.e, white people, will drop to ~69% from 71% in 2012.  Assuming Trump does as well as Romney with whites that only gets him to ~41% nationally.

With these numbers Clinton should win the presidency and the Dems should re-take the Senate.  The House is another matter but with the statistics swinging away from the GOP the heavily gerrymandered seats are in doubt.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 10:40:07 AM EST
Can he win?  Yes.

Is it likely?  No.

It's true that the vast majority of people didn't think he'd get this far.  But I'd note is that people thought that in spite of the fact that the polling, outside of a week or two last year when Carson pulled ahead, pretty much said the entire time that Trump was going to win the nomination.

Essentially, we all thought that either (1) Trump would say something so amazingly stupid that it'd kill him or (2) the Republican voters would eventually look around in the fall and say, "Alright, the Trump thing was fun, but we need to pick an electable one, so we'll take (Kasich/Little Marco/Jeb!/whomever)."

By December, when you usually start to see voters break for candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire, it should've been pretty clear that Trump was the favorite -- and doubly so once we got past Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

The problem for Trump is this:

He's comically unpopular with the very groups the GOP desperately needs to make gains with -- Latinos and suburban women, in particular.

You can't lose Latinos 90-10 and expect to win states like Nevada and Florida.  In fact, you run the -- not great but still real -- risk of putting states like Arizona and Georgia on the board by doing so.  And if we're even talking about those two states in the next few months, Trump can kiss North Carolina and Colorado goodbye.

You can't run around calling women "dogs" and shrieking about your female opponent playing the "woman card" and expect to win the suburbs and exurbs of Philly, DC, Columbus, etc -- where contests in the Upper South and Rust Belt are decided.

To put The Math(TM) into perspective here, think about it this way:

Give him Florida, Ohio and Virginia -- the only Obama states decided by 5 points or less four years ago, I believe.  Leave the rest as-is from 2012.  Count it up.  He'd still lose.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 10:59:22 AM EST
Nobody has yet been able to point to a 2012 Obama state that will flip to Trump.  Granted it's early innings but it's not all that early, if there were states on the cusp we'd have some evidence.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 11:13:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quinnipiac
FLORIDA: Clinton 43 - Trump 42; Sanders 44 - Trump 42
OHIO: Clinton 39 - Trump 43; Sanders 43 - Trump 41
PENNSYLVANIA: Clinton 43 - Trump 42; Sanders 47 - Trump 41

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 08:18:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also of note is that the entire Republican field was pretty awful.  Every one of them was an obvious grifter (Cruz, Carson), a lobotomized Manchurian candidate (Jeb!), or a slimy empty suit (Rubio, Walker, Kasich), and with no substance or charisma of their own none of them could beat the charlatan and showman on TV.
by Zwackus on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 06:41:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, the "Deep Bench" the GOP and their flunkies were touting this time a year ago.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 07:18:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the Democratic side, we do not see a younger generation of leaders at all.
by das monde on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 06:32:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The DLC has been crushing youth movements for 30 years.  At least any youth movements that weren't wholly subjugated to its neolib agenda.
by rifek on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 06:11:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The crushed or sidetracked would definitely not be the leaders. The whole generation knows more or less nothing of leading. Not just at DLC.
by das monde on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 03:05:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Turned out to be a deep doo doo bench.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 09:32:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah yes, but were Romney and McCain (and for that matter Bush . Reagan or Dole) any better? What I find amazing is that, for all their money and media advantages, the GOP has so little talent at its disposal.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 04:42:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That money isn't fostering talent; it's fostering tools, talking heads.
by rifek on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 06:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Romney and McCain - not by much, and they both lost.

Bush Jr. - Yes, he was.  He had some charisma to him, and somehow managed to turn his idiocy into charming idiocy.  It didn't work so well on serious Dems, but it was inarguably there.

Dole?  No, and he lost.  He did have gravitas, though, and could be taken seriously, being of the Old Generation.

Bush Sr.?  See Dole.

Reagan - Well ...

by Zwackus on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 03:09:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say all of those candidates were better than the crop this year, yes.

Reagan and Dubya both had a certain charisma and humor about them that people in the middle -- who largely have no ideology and don't pay much attention to policy -- could relate to.  Both had a certain talent on the stump and had people around them savvy enough to cultivate relatable images.

I'd say McCain was the weakest of that group, although it's a close race with Dole.  McCain's kind of an airhead, and nobody outside of the press in DC really likes him.  Nevertheless, both were infinitely more qualified and nowhere near as ideologically rigid as the yahoos who ran this year.

Bush Sr could be quite funny and wasn't completely stupid.  Of the post-Nixon Republicans, he's probably the least offensive.  But he was obviously an old Yankee patrician type and obviously wasn't the talent that Bill Clinton was (back before Obama drove Clinton insane).

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 08:58:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was an amazing freakshow: more candidates than ever, but all of them obviously unfit and competing in how mean and reality-removed they can be.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 05:14:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This the "beauty" of the two-party system. You can have complete nuts among candidates of one party, but someone will look respectable among them - especially with the media taking both sides most seriously (or even generating more hype for the nuts). Only when the parties select their nominees, their policies come into a direct competition - with the media controlling the focus and questionable criteria. A nice way to control the will of people.

This is reminiscent to the persitent strength disparity in the Eastern and Western NBA conferences, often leading to dramatic cutthroat competition in the stronger West, while Eastern favorites often have a much easier way to the NBA finals. (The last 2 years Golden State Warriors with Stephen Curry emerged as a superior team, but the biggest hype will presumably remain in the finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers of Lebron James.)

The stretched primary period is favorable to Trump, for building his overwhelming presentation and hype. It will be more difficult for Clinton to gain anything new. The debates might turn mean, and that FBI investigation might turn bona fide.

by das monde on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 06:30:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but someone will look respectable among them

Well not this time. This was a complete freakshow.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 07:05:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump is evidence of the GOP Faction Fight we've all been expecting since 2004.  The Establishment and Corporate Wings of the party lined-up behind JEB!, expecting a march to his nomination like McCain and Romney in 2008 and 2012.  What they didn't anticipate, nobody anticipated, is a grassroots revolt, united behind one candidate, with enough numbers to push him through.  Further, nobody anticipated the collapse of the Fundie-Con wing of the party as evidence by the futility of Ted Cruz who ran his campaign directed at and to that faction.  The "libertarian" wing of the party never made it to Iowa.  

The faction that won seems to be a nebulous amalgamation of Right Wing bigots, populists, authoritarians, and ignorants ... call them proto-fascists ... united by ressentiments of various sorts: cultural and economic, real and imaginary.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 11:08:41 AM EST
What I find truly remarkable is that to date the Trump insurgency has been largely directed against the Republican Establishment, and not against what the Republican Establishment thought was their common and unifying enemy - the Obama coalition.

Many of the "policy" positions he has taken - opposition to the Iraq war, to free trade deals - and his indifference to some of the cultural war issues so beloved of religious conservatives will find more resonance in the Sanders wing of the Dem party than amongst Republicans in the past.

Even though Hillary is vulnerable on some of these issues, its hard to see Sanders voters crossing over to Trump. He thus has an amazingly unifying effect on all non Trump voters, almost regardless of party affiliation.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 11:43:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In an ideal world, Trump's current unfavourable rating will result in such a crushing defeat that (1) all GOP factions will lose confidence in their tactics and strategies, (2) Trump voters will lose their belief that they represent "real" America; resulting in even more internal turmoil. But, as Colman wrote, if he doesn't fail miserably, worse may come (someone who is to Trump like Trump is to Dubya).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 12:08:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been saying to anyone that will listen Trump is a buffoon and we don't really have to worry about him.  What we do have to worry about is the guy we haven't heard of, who isn't a buffoon, but who is seeing at what Trump is doing and its success.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 12:25:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see no reason to believe that Trump couldn't win the presidency. Sure he has the highest negatives of anyone running for president ever but Clinton's are also sky high. And sliding.
You describe him as " He is like the dumb kid in class who was looked down on by the smart kids. But he is going to show them all." But in the end we don't know. This is the character he plays on TV and I think part of his appeal is that he is so transparently fictional, right from reality TV. Sure one day he wants to nuke the middle east, the other he wants the US to mind its own business. Everything he says is changeable and none of it matters. What does that leave people with? Judging a man by his enemies is not the most reasonable approach but it certainly has quite some emotional appeal. So who are his enemies? The Republican establishment hates him. The media hate him, even though they can't stop talking about him. Even the sleazy billionaires funding his party hate him. And of course there are feminists, BLM activists....
Now taking together the enemies of those enemies are a winning coalition. So the last thing you want is to remind people of the most loathsome people on this list. So what does the Clinton campaign do?
Clinton Releases a Brutal Anti-Trump Ad | Mother Jones -
the ad is a compilation of unkind things Trump's fellow Republicans have said about him during the party's nomination campaign.

It's harsh. Mitt Romney calls Trump a misogynist, Marco Rubio claims he's the most "vulgar person to ever aspire to the presidency," and Jeb Bush says Trump needs therapy.


I also see no chance of her following your suggestions. Instead she goes after Republican donors.

Really there is no better way to depress turnout among Sanders supporters in the general election than to convince them that Republicans hate him and love Hillary. If there are enough "Moderate Republicans" to make up for this loss is anyone's guess.

And since we were talking October surprises, here is the list of event risks from Naked Cpitalism

Continued weakening of the economy. Despite all the cheerleading, first quarter GDP numbers were vastly weaker than expected in January, and the latest job figures were far enough below expectations as to put the Fed's rate increase plan in question. The latest reading from Saudi Arabia is even more of a hawk on keeping oil prices low to (among other things) discipline US frackers. That means another leg down of oil prices is likely, and with that comes more losses of high-paying jobs, more bankruptcies, and more energy loan/junk bond distress. Clinton has firmly tethered her record to Obama's, so she will be tarred if it decays going into the election.

Market turmoil. Most observers seem to forget that Sanders' big rise in the polls occurred in the first two months of the year, when global markets and Wall Street nosedived. Clinton is strongly identified with Wall Street, and it going wobbly reminds voters that financiers wrecked the economy for fun and profit and no one was punished. Worse, the lack of real reform means they can do it all over again.

E-mail hairball. Hillary has the FBI investigation as well as private suits in play. The State Department having a "dog ate the files" moment with its former employee, Brian Pagaliano, who also set up her home server, may have a second shoe drop. Even though Clinton cheerily says that she is looking forward to putting this behind, her, the stonewalling with the Judicial Watch suits means the e-mail scandal will still be in the news well into the summer, and potentially into the fall.

Health. Hillary has had at least a mini-stoke and has been having fainting spells since at least 2009, when she broke an elbow. She also appears to have gained a lot of weight and one wonders if that is the result of stress or difficulty managing her medication.

Finally I disagree with this:
It remains to be seen whether Hillary has the balls to be anything other than the archetypal weak women that Trump so despises.

I don't think anyone doubts she is tough. You can roast her in front of inquiries for hours on end and she won't break a sweat. What that wins her I don't know.

by generic on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 11:09:05 AM EST
For Trump to win he has to first split the Obama coalition: women, Liberals, blacks, Latinos, under 35s,  and second to attract that faction.  

Not.  Gonna.  Happen.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 11:17:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He doesn't need to split it.  He just needs it to stay home.  Clintstone, whose opinions are all derived by triangulation of the latest polls, may succeed in accomplishing that.
by rifek on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 08:41:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She's hugely popular with black and Latino voters.  She could conceivably have issues with women and under-35s, but I think people have grossly overstated the dislike those folks have for her while not acknowledging just how much they despise Trump.

Every poll so far suggests that, even before Hillary and Bernie make an effort at unifying the party, Trump is underperforming relative to Romney and even McCain with those folks.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 08:04:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I could have done a post almost as long on Hillary's weaknesses, but in the end, I'm not sure how much they will matter, provided her health stays ok and she holds her own in the debates.  And we must remember that Trump is just as old as she is, and perhaps less used to the hard slog of a Presidential campaign.  That takes age out of the equation unless she has a turn.

The good thing about the Trump is that he takes the spotlight away from her weaknesses. There is almost o comparison you can make that casts him in a favourable light.  No doubt Paul Manafort is even now ginning up some "Blacks for Trump", "Latinos for Trump", "Women for Trump" and "Iraq Veterans for Trump" front organisations, and the media will give them airtime. But will anyone take them seriously?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 11:59:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a bad feeling about the debates.  I see a Kennedy-Nixon-type result, with her as Nixon.  I see her as a deer in the headlights.
by rifek on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 08:44:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Many people will look at the debates as some kind of grand finale to The Apprentice with Trump in the Chair and Hillary as the meek supplicant looking for money for her dodgy endeavour. He will be in his element and she has to avoid looking like a second fiddle player.  She has to turn the tables on him - rhetorically, visually, factually.

His only claim to that chair is his wealth.  She has to turn that into a liability by arguing that he has never done anything that others haven't done better, and that his claim to wealth - and that chair - is a sham. She has to claim that it is his track record, not hers, that is the issue.

"You want to talk about my private e-mail server?  Your organisation has dozens of private email servers!"

Etc.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 05:35:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"their fetish for bipartisanship and compromise" is really just the camouflage of their neo-liberal adoration of wealth and power. Were Hillary to actually win and have a Democratic House I would expect her to do all in her power to stall and delay any real progressive agenda that threatened the financial sector and simultaneously demonize and demoralize the progressives until she could shed the burden of having both Houses Democratic, as Obama did between 2008 and 2010.

I will feast on my own words should I be proven wrong. Come the day!  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 11:40:56 AM EST
Clinton is the BAU candidate in this election and toss that in as another reason for her winning.  My guess is she will be a total cock-up as President since this really isn't a BAU era.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 11:54:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A lot of the commentators here are noting that, yes, Trump could win, or at least that it could be very tight.  And of course that is very true.  However I also believe it to be equally likely that Hillary could win in a landslide, and then your theory that she is really a neo-con in liberal clothing would be put to the test.

Obama, at least, put a lot of effort into passing Obama care, which, while it isn't single payer, has at least reduced the uninsured population by a good deal while keeping health care costs down.

It is difficult to divine from her campaign what her real legislative priorities would be, and how much political capital she would be prepared to spend to achieve them.  Running an anybody but Trump campaign may be sufficient to win, but doesn't really provide a mandate for a dramatic change of direction of US policy.

So what does she really want to achieve in office besides running the show more competently and sanely that Trump would?. Electoral reform?  Trade deals? Health care reform?  Education and student loan reform?

We could do with a diary on her policy priorities.  Are you up for the job?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 06:10:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think a landslide Hillary win is not enough to see what she really wants: taking House and Senate would also be needed for that.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 05:25:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hillary's top priority: getting re-elected in 2020.
Hillary's second priority: getting re-elected in 2020.
Hillary's third priority: getting re-elected in 2020.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 10:38:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, so does that mean that given the demographics we have all been highlighting, that she has to become progressively more progressive all the time?  She has already had to resile from some of Bill's 1990's policies...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 11:08:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If she wins this year and doesn't have a disaster between now and 2020, she'll have effectively a free pass for the nomination and won't have to budge one jot from her triangulating, neolib self.
by rifek on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 06:21:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Name me a major-party nominee whose top three priorities wouldn't be those too.

And don't do the St Bernie thing.  He's a politician just as she is, and any politician who says his/her priority isn't re-election is either lying or an idiot.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 03:44:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bernie is a better politician playing from a much weaker position. His priorities would be:

  1. Bring law to Wall Street and rein in fraud - something he could make a good start on even with opposition from Congress - do everything possible administratively to improve the economy and beginning the process through surrogates, like Stephany Kelton and others of the same school, of changing the popular perception of economics and monetary possibilities while presenting the reasons for his legislative agenda;

  2. Continue and build the campaign that got him elected so as to increase his support in Congress and by the public in the 2018 by election; then use that to push through more of his agenda, most likely much greater infrastructure spending to more quickly transition to renewable energy and stimulate consumption;

  3. Use that momentum to push through the rest of his agenda, while continuing all of the above, win reelection and complete a political transition with a reformulated, DLC free Democratic Party fit for the rest of the 21st Century.

Were he to get the chance.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 05:52:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Bernie is the Democratic candidate against Trump he is much more likely than Hillary both to win and to bring in a Democratic House. Strong leadership from election eve forward could build momentum to push through legislation that seems inconceivable presently, including some form of single payer or Medicare For All, even if it starts with only those over 50 being able to join. Broad and strong popular support, coupled with fear of being targeted for replacement in 2018 primaries, could result in more legislative accomplishments that we might expect. Bernie has been very good at getting legislation he sponsors adopted and could be a factor in lobbying Congress for his agenda.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 05:58:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bull. Fucking. Shit.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 08:04:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
About to the same degree that an H. Clinton presidency will be - i.e. not even as good as Obama's. And there aren't even straws long enough to reach the surface as it is.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 08:33:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you sure that you don't suffer cynicism poisoning? You really think that every non idiot politician at 74 years will have his employment prospects at 80 as his highest priority?
Because that sounds silly to me.
by generic on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 05:57:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I'm quite sure I don't suffer cynicism poisoning.  He'd, in the scenario in which he managed to win the primary and then the general, have such prospects.

Is there an element of "I'm not running for re-election, so I'll do what I want"?  Sure.  But that's not generally the case, and it isn't present here.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 11:33:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He's a politician just as she is, and any politician who says his/her priority isn't re-election is either lying or an idiot.

WOW !!!

So there's a main reason why people don't vote. Top priority ... get yourself reelected or you're an idiot.

That rings a bell. Every place I've worked ... Quaker Oats, Spawn Mate, PCP. The first priority of the people surrounding me WASN'T "do the best job possible", it was "cover your ass at all costs and don't get fired for your obvious incompetence". 😁

So politicians are like most folks and we wonder why the system is so fucked.

Thank you. It all makes sense now.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 06:38:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another revelation:

So we should all be thankful that every politician isn't constantly roiled in some scandal and if one actually does something positive, it's either a miracle or an accident. Is this what the folks during the decline of the Roman Empire saw? Is this the way it is ... coded into human DNA?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 07:04:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the notion that a politician's first priority is to get re-elected is controversial, then people are even more delusional than I thought and they deserve that Orange Nazi.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 08:06:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not all have that priority, as David Axelrod noted during his interview of Jon Stewart. He cited the significant number of House Members who voted for the Affordable Care Act, notwithstanding knowing that it would likely make them lose their next election, but voted for it anyway. This DOES happen. It is called 'rising to the occasion' - more than I recall Obama ever doing.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 08:39:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say that there is a sliding scale from issue politicians to career politicians. All politicians care about getting elected - those that campaign in order to change their opponents positions or raise an issue but dont really want to get elected are perhaps called by another term. But the issue politicians has primarily an agenda that getting elected would serve, while career politicians adopt an agenda that will get them elected.

Even though it is a sliding scale, Sanders consistency in his core issues would have me place him far to the "issue politician" side, while Clinton is farther to the "career politician" side. Trump is in these terms a "career politician", while Cruz is more of an "issue politician".

by fjallstrom on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 03:55:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Y'all think much more highly of Bernie in terms of consistency than I do.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 11:35:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just as it is advisable to align your intuitive-emotional "fast" thinking with your conscious "slow" intentions, it is perfectly acceptable to rely on shamelessly selfish motivation to deliver notable service. The real questions are: How far does the ultimate aspiration go? How bravely is the commitment followed?
by das monde on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 03:39:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm a Democrat in California, basic lefty, voted for Obama, in my third year of Obamacare. And I'll definitely be voting for Trump because of it, assuming Sanders doesn't win. I think it's horrible in all ways, couldn't loathe it more. Don't want the people responsible for it in charge of anything under any conditions. And I fear I have a lot of company. It's really bad, really bad, and my understanding is that it's much better in CA than in most other places. And there will be very significant premium increases next year, right before the election, as well as a jump in the penalty for not signing up. Everyone keeps ignoring this, ignoring six years of polls showing how unpopular it is.
by mikep on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 02:48:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is surely worse than a proper full coverage system, but could you go into details on what makes it horrible, especially in comparison to no insurance at all?

The only point you made is the Republican talking point about polls, which is a red herring: what would count here is not the views of the general public (which is heavily coloured by party politics), but the views of those directly affected. When 43% of voters believe the unemployment rate has increased while Obama was President, it's no wonder if a similar percentage takes its view of Obamacare from Fox News.

I also wonder how your distaste for Obamacare can trump all other issues and make you vote for a misogynist racist warmonger scam artist trust fund baby. He may take semi-progressive views on health care or tariffs on the campaign trail, but his only real economic policy is tax cuts.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed May 18th, 2016 at 05:12:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is an interesting in-depth analysis of the meaning of Obamacare polls from last year (unfortunately, but typpically for Third Millennium USA, mostly an analysis of delusions).
Also, even in the general population, just how unpopular is Obamacare?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed May 18th, 2016 at 05:23:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You will never be able to determine her priorities because they are dictated by the latest poll.  New poll, new priorities.  It's a bug in her programming, and she calls it a feature.
by rifek on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 05:33:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not fair. Polls usually show that Americans want a single-payer healthcare system, but she hasn't come out for one. She usually sticks firmly to her principles, which are to do whatever Wall Street wants.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue May 17th, 2016 at 06:30:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You have her pegged.
by rifek on Tue May 17th, 2016 at 09:59:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Trump really can win.

Yes, Hillary comfortably leads in opinion polls and has lower disapproval ratings. But that's now. And what matters is swing states. And what IMHO matters a lot (also in some swing states) is that Trump beats Hillary (unlike Sanders) among lower-income and less educated voters. This is a segment of the population won by previous Democrat Presidential candidates, and a path of expanding the traditional Republican base for Trump, especially given that Hillary is unlikely to go full Sanders on the economy. I can even imagine that she (or her strategists) will prefer to play the anyone-but-Trump card to keep policy options in office open.

I still think Hillary is more likely to win, but not by a large margin. Now, what would a Trump victory mean for the USA and the world? IMHO an accelerated and messy end to the American Empire. From his business record I see him as a classic con-man, but for the job of the American overlord he is even more incompetent than Dubya was.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 11:50:15 AM EST
In 2000 whites were 81% of the electorate when they broke 55 to 42 for Bush.   In 2008 whites were 74% of the electorate and broke 55 to 43 for McCain.  In 2012 whites were 72% of the electorate and broke 59% to 39% for Romney.   Whites are predicted to be ~69% of the electorate this November.  As this trajectory has been followed another trend has been the GOP white vote concentrating in the South and Plains states.  The result is the increase in a a declining percentage has also been a decrease in Electoral Votes.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 12:22:13 PM EST
Ignoring how much middle-class white women hate Trump, let's just do a thought experiment based on the real math, and not the famous Karl Rove math.

Whites broke by nearly 20 points to Romney in 2012. That's a lot, more than McCain and Bush, and probably the reason for this is the same reason as now - the economy really sucked back then especially for poor and lower-middle class whites. It still sucks for them. So the Trump movement is not really a new one, he has just harnessed it (probably by accident) better than the other GOPers in the primary clown car.

But Obama still won, 51-47. Why? Because minority voters voted Democratic 80-18 in 2012. Same as in 2008. And before one says this is because of the African-American vote (though true in the sense that this helped), what people tend to overlook here (but the GOP didn't in their famous analysis of the results of 2012 preaching outreach to Latinos) is that not only was the Latino vote growing quickly in terms of contribution to the electorate, but that they broke to Obama by 44 points. In 2004 Bush had great Latino results, losing them by only 9 points.

This is a big deal, without the Latino vote swinging his way and assuming they voted 70-25 Democratic as today, Kerry beats Bush. The GOP Latino outreach got President Bush re-elected, his white vote only improved slightly (against a shrinking base).

Think Trump can repeat the performance? Neither do I. And not only that, but his anti-immigrant rhetoric will drive them to the polls more than ever, and since Latinos are historically among the least likely of the electorate to actually vote, this is a big deal too and probably throws off quite a lot of the polling models out there today.

The demographics issue is huge. With today's demographics, Gore wins by 8 points in 2000. Kerry beats him by 3 points.

What does that mean today? Well, lets take for a given that African Americans are unlikely to turnout much less for the Democrat, whoever it is, than they did for Obama, given that the dogwhistles have turned into trainwhistles. And Latino turnout will more than offset whatever falloff there might be there. What does this mean for Trump? It means he needs to get 64% of the white vote just to break even. 64%. Remember, the white resentment was already a big factor in 2012, helping Romney get in the upper 50's. But only in the 1972 blowout did a presidential candidate achieve that in the modern era. And Nixon wasn't a misogynist, either, the Democratic advantage of the gender gap didn't exist at the time (in fact, President Ford was +3 with women voters, it was Carter's +8 with the men that got him elected).

Another thing about the demographics is in the absolute numbers. 2012 was the first election where the raw number of Wihte voters actually declined . This is another truth underlining the white resentment vote we are hearing : these are aging people, this is probably their last hurrah. All of the demographic (and therefore market ) growth is among non-whites, especially Latinos.

And you can say all you like that everyone hates Hillary, and I definitely have family members who hate her, but anyone who says Trump can actually win this thing needs to explain not only which states he can flip, but how he can get to 64% of the white vote with all the misogyny we keep hearing out of his mouth. Sanders probably would do better, I think so anyway, though he wouldn't lock in the minority vote as well as Clinton, the primaries sort of underline that (maybe he can change that in California with the Latino vote, we'll see). But Trump is just up against a demographic wave that seems insurmountable.

And all of this ignores the fundraising disadvantage Trump has, not just organizationally, but also in terms of corporate support. Which serious brand wants to be associated with someone who is attacking the only part of the domestic market which presents a growth opportunity for them? At best, Trump can hope Corporate America will sit this one out, and personally I think quite a lot of them will rally to Clinton (validating some of Sander's critiques).

For me, it's pretty much impossible. Not totally out of the question, but damn near impossible.

by John Redmond (Ladybeaterz@NolesAD.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 06:56:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All true, and you make what you want of current polls, but some of them are damn close in key swing states at the moment:

Quinnipiac
FLORIDA: Clinton 43 - Trump 42; Sanders 44 - Trump 42
OHIO: Clinton 39 - Trump 43; Sanders 43 - Trump 41
PENNSYLVANIA: Clinton 43 - Trump 42; Sanders 47 - Trump 41

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 08:13:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
People, especially Dem constituencies, are not tuned in yet. Plus Trump is getting the bump from his "coronation," Clinton or Sanders hasn't had that fortune yet. There'll be more bumps - both McCain and Romney were also ahead of Obama, in a crappy econmy, along the election cycle.

If this is the best Trump has (and it probably is) he is in trouble.

by John Redmond (Ladybeaterz@NolesAD.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 09:00:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My concern here is voter suppression.  That's the wildcard that could skew everything.  The GOP knows it can't win non-whites, so it has been working at at the state level to reinstate Jim Crow.
by rifek on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 06:30:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the only defence against that is a Supreme Court with integrity.
Eh? ... Oh.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 04:02:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a big deal, without the Latino vote swinging his way and assuming they voted 70-25 Democratic as today, Kerry beats Bush. The GOP Latino outreach got President Bush re-elected, his white vote only improved slightly (against a shrinking base).

Think Trump can repeat the performance? Neither do I. And not only that, but his anti-immigrant rhetoric will drive them to the polls more than ever, and since Latinos are historically among the least likely of the electorate to actually vote, this is a big deal too and probably throws off quite a lot of the polling models out there today.

Ironically Dubya was the smart one, electorally.  He tried to pass immigration reform and successfully reached out to Latinos.  He knew the GOP couldn't survive long-term without doing so.

Then the base kindly told him to go fuck himself, and all his gains were erased.  They haven't really gotten close since.  Even in 2012 -- not a great climate for a president running for re-election -- they lost soundly.

Thinking about the Latino vote this year, I've also been thinking about Prop 187 out in California 20 years ago -- the immigrant-bashing ballot initiative that the CA GOP got behind.

It passed but was thrown out by the court, as I recall.  And it was a classic "won the battle, lost the war" kind of thing.  It led to a surge in Latino participation, and ever since the CA GOP has basically been dead.

I doubt very much the Dems can take AZ, TX, GA, etc, in a similar manner yet.  But certainly the national GOP is setting itself up for much the same fate, long-term, as the CA GOP.  And, worse, instead of moderating their position or at least trying to tone it down, they've nominated a cartoonishly anti-immigrant candidate.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 08:23:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the Latino communities can shake off what I expect to see in the days leading up to the general election, namely every Joe Arse-hole-o redneck sheriff sending deputies out for a barrage of "papers please" stops, they can be the king makers.  I know they want to.  The GOP's nominating Trump is basically redoubling in no trump with no face cards.  On top of that, Pope Francis is giving them permission to be more flexible on social issues.
by rifek on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 06:40:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But does she even have the vision, never mind the will to go down that path?

the author, Frank Schnittger

Even if he fails, if he doesn't fail miserably he's pointing the way for next time.

Colman

But there's no consistency. Yes, he's a racist, a misogynist and has found a ready audience for the most exaggerated spoutings of this.

Helen

You can't run around calling women "dogs" and shrieking about your female opponent playing the "woman card" and expect to win the suburbs and exurbs of Philly, DC, Columbus, etc -- where contests in the Upper South and Rust Belt are decided.

Drew J Jones

The faction that won seems to be a nebulous amalgamation of Right Wing bigots, populists, authoritarians, and ignorants ... call them proto-fascists ... united by ressentiments of various sorts: cultural and economic, real and imaginary.

AT in NM

I didn't even know ressentiments was a word ... had to look it up. Great word, too!

But, as Colman wrote, if he doesn't fail miserably, worse may come (someone who is to Trump like Trump is to Dubya).

DoDo

Now if we could only get some train news. 😉

And since we were talking October surprises, here is the list of event risks from Naked Cpitalism

generic

Were Hillary to actually win and have a Democratic House I would expect her to do all in her power to stall and delay any real progressive agenda that threatened the financial sector and simultaneously demonize and demoralize the progressives until she could shed the burden of having both Houses Democratic, as Obama did between 2008 and 2010.

ARGeezer  aka The Geez

I feel young again ... like it's 10 years ago. Now to round up Jerome, poemless 😝, and where the hell is Mig ... off doing some physics stuff?

Anyway, it takes a Trump disaster to get us all on the same page. Crown Royal, anyone? It's just collecting dust. We'll all need it before December.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 02:55:06 PM EST
I'm afraid the world has moved on and most of the old alumni are out there in the real world doing demanding day jobs which prevent them even visiting here, never mind contributing much to our debates.

Where he have failed is in failing to pass on the torch to a new generation who could move the site forward with new ideas and a new energy.

Most of my younger acquaintances and friends are too busy for this stuff just getting on  with their lives, They have become disillusioned with Politics in general and with the EU in particular.

There is nothing to drive them here. No overarching vision or ambition.  In the meantime all we can try to do is keep the torch flickering in the hope that someone else will pick it up before it dies.

He shall not snap off the broken reed
nor the flickering candle snuff out..."


Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 06:22:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe that disillusionment - though that's not quite the right word, perhaps - is at least as important as jobs and kids in causing people to depart.

The system is nuts, run by maniacs who either have no idea what they're doing or don't give a crap, and it's self-reinforcing. The more you look, the more appalling it becomes.

In many cases, we've already written what's to be written, there isn't any interesting analysis to be done of policy or media because it's all self-serving ideological crap and the politics is just depressing.

And now I sound like I'm waiting for it all to burn down.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 05:11:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like  a forest of dead trees ... a wildfire comes through, burns all the death away, you wait a few years, and viola ... new green growth growing in the ashes (asses ?) of the dead. What a wonderful thought! 😁

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 06:01:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It will take a lot more than a few years.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 06:06:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm looking forward to Trump fucking up royally and a few states deciding they need to go their own way, and California sneaks out the back door to become Rivendell. All we need to do is work together, get rid of the Republicans, let the Greens/Pot Growers  flourish, and off we go with a minimum of military. Let Texas become a new Russia spreading its tentacles through the midwest and southeast. In the words of Loki, those people live to be dominated; with their religion and current repressive state governments they want to be told how to live by their "masters". 😜

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 06:22:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What are you going to do with all those rabid Red Staters in the Sierras, the north, the Central and San Joaquin Valleys, the OC...?
by rifek on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 06:57:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And what are you going to do when Trump cuts off your water supply from the Colorado River?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 03:56:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
California is one of the few sane states that isn't totally corrupt; yes New York, I'm talking about you.

Anyway, I wonder what this election cycle would have looked like if California was one of the first primary states, not the last? All the "evangelical" crap ... read "fucking stupid and naive".  

California can take care of itself. Problems come, problems get solved, problems go.

Did you hear? This last year ... California population growth was ZERO. We're waking up to the idea that you don't need constant growth, cancerous growth, to survive and thrive. 😎

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 08:17:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have a link for the population growth?

Looking at these numbers from January: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/jan/05/california-population-growth/ and something quite dramatic would have needed to have happened since then.

by fjallstrom on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 04:11:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No data. Just a blurb from non-FOX news source that California should be "concerned" ... we had zero population growth last year (gasp!) ... oh no. My thought ... about time.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 06:35:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just read your link ... couldn't make heads or tails of it. What are they trying to say ... did CA population go up, down, or sideways from 1-1-15 to 1-1-16?  😒

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 06:40:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
500k births, 250k deaths, net migration to California 80k, so 330k increase. July 2014 to July 2015.
by fjallstrom on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 06:52:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Losing access to Colorado River water would be a disaster for the Coachella Valley, especially agriculture there. But California is already having to make do with less Colorado River water. It would hurt San Diego and Orange County the most.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 09:32:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What do we "do with" them right now? I've heard similar concerns about the influence of Orange County. If they represented such a powerful force in California, why are Republicans so non-existent here?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 08:09:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are now irrelevant in state wide elections and referenda. Demographics have changed.
 

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 09:27:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That said I would not expect California to secede. Twank will get his dream fulfilled only if the USA dissolves - most likely from foam originating in the Bible Belt.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 09:34:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... only if the USA dissolves ...

YES !!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 10:11:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well if it really is disillusionment rather than real world responsibilities that are keeping people away, then I think it's time we all stopped feeling sorry for ourselves.  Bad and all as the current situation is, it pales into insignificance compared to the situation prior to and during the Cold, First and Second World Wars, and any number of famines and wars before that.

The world as we know it today - for all its faults - wasn't built by good people who tired of the fight and stayed at home mumbling into their beer. Brexit will happen if progressives stay at home and not fight the pro-Brexit disinformation campaigns... The far right are rising  (in small part) because progressives are withdrawing from the fray, their finer sensibilities insulted.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 06:08:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is less disillusionment than fatigue and a perceived lack of anything new to contribute to the situation just now. The problem is the limits to what any of us can do just now.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 09:41:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For me it was a realising the limitations of blogging when it comes to public interest in Europe.
The problems are legion, yet with the exception of the refugee crisis they are not new, they're the same ones they were when ET was born. They were impeccably, meticulously analysed here, and solutions proffered.
Then... The Void.
So many drifted off to see if their skills could be put to better employ elsewhere.
It has taken an American election of such potent insanity and worldwide ramifications to make the old club reunite to bounce reflections around with.
ET lost momentum because its job was done, and the same stubborn problems kept growing anyway, because nobody was listening.
The problems didn't change, nor their possible solutions, they just got worse and thus bigger.
People want to feel their thoughts and words aren't wasted in endless repetition. We all knew how we felt and what shapes our politics were, blogging was new and exciting in 2004, 12 years later it's lost its edge to FB and Instagram, even dkos locks the gates instead of crashing them.
There's still something very special here though, hard to describe. Great chunks have fallen off but the fuselage is still airborne, Frank's contributions, always solid and on point, have become de facto editorials that speak for most of us and have the power to pull many out of the woodwork when the event horizon spits up phenomena apocalyptic enough.
The recalcitrant problem of lack of common language in the EU is its biggest bugaboo. ET is still a breath from the future in this regard.
Booman has become more interesting these last few months than it used to be. Nothing like an election to light a fire in Blogistan!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 07:45:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting. Blogging as a means to solve problems. I never looked at it that way. ET is the only blog I've been a part of ... I remember my first session years ago ... I was baking some fish and fascinated by the idea that I was in direct communication with people in Europe. Problem solving? For me that's doing science and applying the results. My posts at ET were a substitute for my days living in Stockton, CA and spending time at a coffee shop called the Blackwater Cafe, now Blackwater Republic. Decades ago. How time flies.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 09:39:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's no bigger problem than politics. Nothing, that done well, could slice through so many Gordian knots.

Politics can be scientific in its ability to ameliorate life for the many.

What is now a Dark Art can become a Light one.

Etc.


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 10:04:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can Trump win?  Absolutely.  He's been melting down for months, and voters just don't care.  He's also facing the Mistress of Choke, who has proved adept from snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  And she won't be able to get any enthusiasm out of the progressives, even less so than the last five "hold your nose and vote" candidates the DLC has foisted on us (and yes, I'm including Obama, which his record frankly bears out).  We've seen too many flip-flops, too much support for "education reform," "welfare reform," and "anti-terrorism."  And we aren't going to forget how she tanked both gay rights and healthcare reform in 1993.

Trump isn't like, but neither is she.  I've joked that this may be the year they gave a presidential election and nobody voted, but I expect a lot of the ballots cast will be blank at the top.  It's going to come down to which group of zealots can better attract the folks in between, and if my sister and parents are any indication, Clintstone is in far worse shape than her fan club is capable of admitting.

by rifek on Wed May 11th, 2016 at 10:17:27 PM EST
The Europeans, especially the progressive ones, should acquaint themselves well with the phenomenon of Great Awakenings in America. These waves of religious revival, Christian fundamentalism tend to foreshadow key social-political shifts:
The First Great Awakening led after many years to the American and Jeffersonian Revolutions.

The Second Great Awakening led, after many years, to the Civil War and Abolition.

The Third Great Awakening led, after setbacks, to the Populist and then Progressive Movements.

The Fourth Great Awakening led to the New Deal.

The Fifth Great Awakening led to the second Reconstruction, the Great Society, Feminism, and social upheavals.

Trump's Great Awakening might not be of a religious kind, but he apparently touches the national nerve better than Sanders or an army of marginal activists like us. We, lazy arrogant sinners, in the hands of an angry God...
by das monde on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 01:13:42 AM EST
he apparently touches the national nerve better than Sanders

Huh? Sanders beats Trump in all polls and in most key sub-groups of voters. He only touches the conservative nerve more.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 06:51:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe, but the problem is that as much as people like Sanders in polls, they never show up to vote for him.
by Zwackus on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 03:20:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sanders keeps winning states when Hillary is not intense. Did he underachieve many polls?
by das monde on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 04:00:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Borowitz Report
Bernie Sanders failed to impress major media outlets over the weekend as he barely managed to win seventy per cent of the vote in three western primaries.

The major cable networks briefly mentioned Sanders's vote tallies in Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii but noted that he ran out of steam well shy of eighty per cent.

"There's no point in sugarcoating it," one analyst put it. "Rough night for Sanders."

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 04:02:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 01:49:03 AM EST
Not a very impressive list of Party endorsements.  Are any of these parties likely to lead a government any time soon?  Le Pen?

Country    Leader    Party
Belgium    Tom Van Grieken    Flemish Interest (Vlaams Belang)
Czech Republic    Miroslav Lidinský    Dawn - National Coalition
France    Jean-Marie Le Pen    National Front
Italy    Matteo Salvini    Northern League (Lega Nord)
The Netherlands    Geert Wilders    Party for Freedom
Serbia    Vojislav Šešelj    Serbian Radical Party
Sweden    Jimmie Åkesson    Sweden Democrats
The United Kingdom    Nigel Farage    UK Independence Party

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 05:07:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia is unique in its support for Trump:

by das monde on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 05:21:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When did Spain join the G20?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 05:32:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain
Spain, being the 14th largest economy in the world and 5th in the European Union in terms of nominal GDP, is a "permanent guest" of the organization, although the Spanish government's policy is to not request official membership.[53][54] As such, a Spanish delegation has been invited to, and has attended, every G-20 heads of state summit since the G-20's inception.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 05:54:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kremlin Has Hillary's Emails
The Kremlin is considering whether or not to release some 20,000 hacked Clinton emails reportedly in its possession.

Russian security services apparently obtained the emails as part of their investigation into the Romanian hacker Marcel Lehel Lazar, known as "Guccifer" -- now in U.S. custody in relation to the Clinton email scandal.

Nothing unpredictable will happen...
by das monde on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 03:53:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that really their main dangerousness? They don't need to be leading a government to force a discourse on all of us, and that is happening all right.
by Katrin on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 05:26:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, thank the Noodly One!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 07:50:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All white, NOT all old, but I submit that the baby has a pretty good grasp of reality.
by rifek on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 07:01:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry you hated it, Frank.
by rifek on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 08:14:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ever since Tribex stopped working with  Firefox I'm back to the tiresome process of rating all comments separately before responding to comments.  However when you try to scroll down after rating a comment it changes the rating, and doesn't scroll down the page as intended.  You have to click elsewhere on the page to change the focus of the curser first.  But sometimes you don't notice your 4 has changed to a 0. Damn pain.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 05:47:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, without trib ext blogging is a different animal.
I don't remember giving FF permission to update itself!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 09:03:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Generic provided a solution, or rather: a workaround, last December.

I'm running Firefox 46.0.1 and Tribext still works for me.

Explanation from Mozilla here.

The bad news, however, is that we won't be able to override the signing requirement once FF 47 is out.

Not sure what it takes for an add-on to be signed?

(Can somebody - our distinguished editor perhaps- post this workaround in the Tribext page?)

by Bernard on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 02:58:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chek your first link: I looked at vetting requirements when Mozilla first threatened to implement it with the next update, but from what I gathered it's way beyond my capabilities and needs a professional programmer.

I updated the Tribext page.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed May 18th, 2016 at 05:50:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given that Trump has resiled from key Republican policy positions - e.g. on the Iraq war, Free Trade agreements, and foreign military alliances, and Hillary seems close to embodying neo-conservative foreign policy positions and neo-liberal economics, could we be witnessing the early signs of a pole reversal in US politics?

By that I mean that the Democrats become the new conservative party, and Republicans the radical insurgent pro-change party?  Not since the Democrats flipped from being the slave owners party to the party of Civil rights have we seen such a dramatic pole reversal take place.

A Pole reversal tends to be preceded by a lot of policy confusion, party disunity, protests on the streets, economic dislocation and general social upheaval.  Is that happening on a sufficient scale?

Could our successors here (Presuming the European Tribune remains progressive in tone) be looking to the Republicans for progressive reform in the not too distant future, and despairing of the Democrats ever doing anything progressive?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 04:57:43 AM EST
I see it more on the far-right/centre-right/centre-left/far-left. The positions being relative to power elite, not policy positions.

With continuing wealth transfers to the top holding sway in one form or the other (austerity, reform, NAIRU unemployment, QE, financial bubbles) being the centre, the centre can not hold. Republicans are tipping far-right while Democrats appear to have beaten of a far-left insurgency.

While the far-left and the far-right are far from each other, they both need to use opposition to the centres policies and use alternatives floating out there to enact new policy positions. Some of which overlap.

So no, I don't think Republicans will turn into a progressive party, even though some (but far from all) of their positions may be grounded in a reality the centre has left behind.

by fjallstrom on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 05:35:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think so. Trump is populist on trade (at least in words), but a classic tax-cutter and welfare-abolisher otherwise. And has no other progressive-looking ideas.

Also, the Democrats didn't flip from slave-owner to Civil Rights party: in the 90 years in-between, on occasion they championed a number of progressive ideas (New Deal anyone?), and Northern Democrats were always different (think of the immigrant-focused local branches in New York or Chicago).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 07:01:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not only has Trump bashed free trade, the Iraq war, and military alliances, he is now repeating the Cheny apostasy on deficits, and aligning himself (whether he realises it or not)  with MMT economists who support Sanders and taking a more radical approach on deficits than Krugman/Clinton.  He has also spoken about the importance of the social safety net and opposed Republicans seeking to cut it.

Yea, all populist stuff he could reverse tomorrow, and not necessarily indicators of what he would actually do in office. But we are talking about his campaign rhetoric rather than what he would actually do in office when assessing his electoral chances.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 07:44:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But we are talking about his campaign rhetoric rather than what he would actually do in office when assessing his electoral chances.

That's true of both Clinton and Trump. Both will say anything to get elected but once in the WH, what they will want to do and what they CAN do is the great unknown. I guarantee you, nothing good for the 99%, either one. And then reality comes a knockin' (terrorist attack, economic shit, natural disaster) and what?

A choice between 2 terrible options, neither cares for or about the 99%, and the world stares on in disbelief.


They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 01:30:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump is flat-out lying when he claims he was against the Iraq war, he is on record to the contrary. Opposition to military alliances is nothing progressive as he still wants wars of aggression, with open targeting of civilians.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 02:11:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You won't see anything progressive out of the GOP in our lifetimes.  Populist?  Yes.  Progressive?  No way.  On the other hand, so long as the DLC control the Dems, you won't see anything progressive from there either.
by rifek on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 07:06:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we are witnessing a political realignment, not a pole reversal. It is unclear how this will go. If a progressive like Bernie can ever win the presidential primary the Democrats could become a much more progressive party. The republicans ARE now becoming a much more conservative party. Some Republicans might go to the Democratic Party, but it is also possible that a new centrist party could emerge, at least briefly. If Sanders doesn't win this nomination there could be a significant Green Party by 2020. Jill Stein is solid and a socialist, effectively. They need to get on the ballot in all 50 states. As it is she is offering to discuss giving Sanders the Presidential slot this year if Hillary prevails. I doubt he will accept. But things could be different in 2020.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 09:54:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I love this take on Trump

Donald Trump will win in a landslide.The mind behind `Dilbert' explains why

as follows:


  1. Trump knows people are basically irrational.

  2. Knowing that people are irrational, Trump aims to appeal on an emotional level.

  3. By running on emotion, facts don't matter.

  4. If facts don't matter, you can't really be "wrong."

  5. With fewer facts in play, it's easier to bend reality.

  6. To bend reality, Trump is a master of identity politics -- and identity is the strongest persuader.

Writes Adams: "Identity is always the strongest level of persuasion. The only way to beat it is with dirty tricks or a stronger identity play. ...

[And] Trump is well on his way to owning the identities of American, Alpha Males, and Women Who Like Alpha Males. Clinton is well on her way to owning the identities of angry women, beta males, immigrants, and disenfranchised minorities.

If this were poker, which hand looks stronger to you for a national election?"



"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 08:35:02 AM EST
account for 30% of the electorate. And so-called angry white women another 10-15%? And so-called beta males, another what, 5-10%, as well as a bit more for the naturalized immigrants. Let's say a total of slightly over half the electorate  - the 54% who disapproved of Romney's "moochers" comment, rounded up a couple points for demographics, being turned off by the Trumpster. Extremely so.

They vote 80-20 against Dilbert's guy. Minimum.

That means the Trumpster needs 90 fucking percent of remainder to win. And the more the identity politics gets played, the more the "moochers and their friends) turn out and turn out aainst Trump. Good luck with that. Politics of resentment works both ways.

Only Dilbert's clueless boss come come up with something like that.

by John Redmond (Ladybeaterz@NolesAD.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 08:52:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Alpha males"? Seriously?

<slumps in despair>

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 08:53:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps a little over half of white males, in their heart of hearts, see themselves as 'alpha males' or they aspire to be and identify with those perceived to be.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 11:09:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
themself as a so-called "alpha," as well as fairly prone to the "autocratic" style, I think all this Dilbert alpha/beta stuff is way overblown and a serious simplification.

I don't like Hillary either, but there is no way in hell I would vote for a Trump. I know the plural of anecdote, especially of the personal kind, is bullshit, but seriously, get 90% of them?

Marijuana must be legal where Dilbert lives, that is all I can think of.

by John Redmond (Ladybeaterz@NolesAD.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 11:32:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not that I would want to defend something that is not genuine political analysis including careful crunching of the numbers, but when Scott Adams says Alpha male there, I suspect he means those that are also pretty ape-like in their (lack of) thinking.

Which is still not to say that getting 90% of them is likely. But I can see a lot of the "in your face" types of people voting Trump. Chris Cook has a "friend" called Robert Chandler who is a prime example of the attitude I am trying to describe, probably not very successfully.

Quite a lot of people like to divide the world between winners and losers, and quite a lot of them are clearly not winners, but prone to believe the suggestion that the reason why they are not is that they have been cheated by someone or something - this is a cohort that can easily be fooled by someone like Trump.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 12:09:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The wannabe-alphas are the same people who will vote for a tax cut for the top 10%, even though they will never make it into the top 50% of taxpayers.
Not even aspirational. Feudal underclass.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 04:30:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian is calling it the post-truth election - because apparently we're all doing post-truth politics now.

It's certainly interesting that integrity, civility, and honesty are considered terminal evidence of political weakness, while narcissism, greed, violent dishonesty, and bigotry are exactly the qualities a lot of people want from a leader.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 08:15:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The more ignorant in-your-face types are all Trump people.  That's his whole schtick.  It's all about demonstrations of dominance.  "I'm tougher than everybody else, and all those minorities who've wronged you?  I'll wreck their shit.  These other candidates are a bunch of pussies who won't."

It's a powerful thing -- humans have a certain attraction to that -- but I don't think it carries much beyond groups of people the GOP already carries.  That's been the GOP pitch forever.  "Mommy Party vs Daddy Party."  "GOP daddies who fuck everything up and then tell reporters What Needs to HappenTM," to borrow Atrios's bit.

That's been the hilarious thing:  Beneath the -- admittedly pretty impressive -- marketing, Trump's no different from a generic GOPer asshole.  He's Chris Christie with lapband surgery.  He's just a better class of asshole.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 29th, 2016 at 08:36:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, he currently lives in Plesanton, CA, so marijuana should be no problem, plus he has numerous neurological and physical problems for which it might be prescribed - all according to Wiki. And he is a former member of Mensa. :-) Then there is this bit from wiki:

"Logitech CEO Pierluigi Zappacosta invited Adams to impersonate a management consultant, which he did wearing a wig and false mustache, and he tricked Logitech managers into adopting a mission statement that Adams described as "so impossibly complicated that it has no real content whatsoever""

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 06:08:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because actual "alphas," if we're going to examine it through this prism, aren't impressed by attempts to demonstrate alpha-male traits through bloviating and kicking weaker people around.  They look at it and see that person as a bullying shitweasel in need of an ass-kicking.

Which is exactly what Trump is.  And if somebody tried to give him the ass-kicking he so richly deserves, I've no doubt he'd morph into a "beta" quite quickly.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 29th, 2016 at 08:41:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, they aren't alpha males.  They're wanna-be alpha males who on some level realize they can't get the status they believe themselves entitled to unless discrimination is legalized.
by rifek on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 07:14:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The proportion of overly submissive white  males might be larger than among other demographics.
by das monde on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 07:34:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is probably a cultural variable.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 09:46:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If this were poker, which hand looks stronger to you for a national election?

Uh, the second hand would look stronger to anybody who knows anything of US demographics.

Another weirdo geeky libertarian who, judging by the descriptions on women, can't get laid and doesn't know shit from Shanghai but whose got the requisite voices in his head -- fed undoubtedly by PUA forums and assorted nonsense -- telling him that the world is all about male "alphas" and "betas".

His cartoon sucks too.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 03:53:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scott Adams has a bad case of what I call Heinlein's Syndrome, a common disease among engineers and computer types which presents as the rabid belief that the ability to code in FORTRAN or solve differential equations means knowledge in all fields superior to everyone.
by rifek on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 07:26:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
1971 - Union College; one of my first term courses ... Fortran 4 programming. Is Fortran still relevant after 45 years? My professor ... forget his name ... really sucked. Faced the blackboard, mumbled to himself. Fucking useless. 😝

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 10:23:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember reading, in a Heinlein sci-fi thing, something like "People who don't know how to use a slide rule shouldn't be allowed to vote.

I thought it sucked shit at the time. I was about eleven.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 04:32:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've run into that remark in at least 3 of his juveniles, or something to that effect.  Fortunately they are asides and easily ignored.  I taught Space Cadet, Citizen of the Galaxy, and Spaceman Jones in upper-intermediate ESL classes in middle school, with good resuts every time.
by Zwackus on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 07:54:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You do have to admit that learning to use a slide rule is a hell of a lot easier than learning to program in most languages.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 10:12:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't know. I was just barely young enough that, although I played with elder siblings' slide rules, I never learned to use one properly.
Technology is good. I don't miss fountain pens either.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 06:40:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... and I was just barely old enough to learn to program in high school.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 06:41:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You'll find that opinion, express or implied, strewn throughout his work.  Fartship Poopers is even worse,  I nice demonstration of there being no meaningful difference between Randian libertarianism and fascism.
by rifek on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 05:57:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I liked how the movie showed a fascist tale in fascist esthetics and by doing so showed how close it is to standard Hollywood action tales and their esthetics.
by fjallstrom on Tue May 17th, 2016 at 05:57:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, lotta Dunning-Kruger cases out in Silicon Valley.

The "alpha"/"beta" thing seems to be quite prevalent among them as well.  I'd never heard of it until that lunatic shot up the community college in Santa Barbara.  The terms have spread here to the East Coast, but fortunately they're generally used ironically to make fun of the dudebro gym rat crowd.

Only thing I can come up with is that it's a combination of some function of real and imagined slights perpetrated against them by jocks in high school and a chunk of those jock-types winding up as venture capitalists and programmers (the whole "brogrammer" phenomenon people have picked up on in recent years).

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 29th, 2016 at 08:24:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another one bites the dust
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan have pledged to work together despite their differences.

The pair issued a statement after a meeting on Thursday aimed at unifying a party torn over Mr Trump's rise to the cusp of the GOP presidential nomination.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 12:34:37 PM EST
TrumpTrump has already won.  All the "news" is about him.  He is driving the agenda, such as it is.  Even if he doesn't get a single vote in November, he will have determined the course of (non)events for at least a year and a half.

Wotta waste of time and mindshare.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 03:19:31 PM EST
That alone should be infinitely gratifying to Donald, but the  problem with such people is that NOTHING EVER is enough or lasts more than a brief while. Their psyches are like black holes - everything that goes in is torn apart and disappears.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 09:50:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump is the fabled loose cannon, careening all over the deck with a smoking fuse, so dementedly dictatorial he embodies kitsch parody,

The republican platform is so tawdry, recycled and plain void of anything resembling common sense, so privy of leadership that Trump could be half the braggart and still win the field.

He'said like a powerful emetic to the body politic, all that'stuff most hateful and toxic in the electorate's frustrated id encouraged to come out of political correctness in a shared vomitarium of 'roid rage and racist rancor.
Hillary's cannon is well-lashed to the deck but it's pointing at the focsle!
Bernie'slicing preparing to mop up the mess after the other two explode in a riotous hullabaloo replete with Bill bonking aides, Bengazi FBI, emails, formatted drives, private servers, Vince Smith, Clinton Foundation money laundering, electoral fiddling, schmoozes with Kissinger, Chelsea's husband hijinks, Libya, Honduras, Donald's hairpiece, the 28 hidden pages of the 9-11 report, another financial crisis and two conventions that may make Chicago '68 look like a stroll in the park.
Never fear, reason will prevail, she always does.
Eventually....,

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 05:21:31 PM EST
I haven't seen an item at ET this long, this diversified in posters in quite a while.  Thank You Trump !!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu May 12th, 2016 at 08:53:40 PM EST
In a word: yes.

This is indeed a very good article pointing some of the the current trends. Trump fooled everyone, me included, he is a far stronger candidate than most anticipated.

I strongly recommend this documentary on Trump's bio, it clarifies important things about him. Trump seems to have moved focus from construction to celebritiness (file that word in your dictionary) in the wake of the interest his private life generated in the tabloid press. From the mid 1990s onwards he seems to have managed his empire around his persona, maxing out the celebrity status. "Bad publicity is in some cases better than no publicity at all" - one of his famous quotes.

The past 20 years Trump became a master wielder of the press, TV in particular. The rows he raises, the over the top sound-bites, the low ad hominen remarks on his adversaries, are all part of a brilliant tactic to keep the TV focused on him. Most pundits and commentators take Trump's discourse at face value, as if he really believed on all the weird things he says. However, there is only one thing Trump really believes in: himself.

And the other side of the coin is Hillary Clinton, the worst candidate the Democrat party has ever come up with since I am politically aware. I agree there is reason to distrust polls, but for a different cause, they have persistently overestimated Clinton's chances. Liberals have a hard time admitting to this, Clinton is incredibly unpopular among non-liberals. Here is an interesting analysis on this subject that could only fit in the alternative press:

And lest not forget the statistical analysis run by Helmut Norpoth that is clearly favourable to Trump:

Whatch this presentation for the details.

Just as Trump took the Republican nomination much easier than expected, his run for the White House might be considerably simpler than anticipated.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 06:04:13 AM EST
Around 1990, the new free press in Eastern Europe was introducing Western celebrities very earnestly. I definitely remember Donald Trump as a cover story (and hardly anyone else). Conceivably, he had his way of attracting future wives and political sympathizers back then already!

Regarding the following, I had noticed something in Kerry's campaign already:

Trump's campaign brings Eastern Europe's political `tactics' to the U.S.

by das monde on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 07:41:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How is Clinton going to respond to speeches like this?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 07:43:18 AM EST
How will she respond? Fuck if I know. How should she respond?

This is not a criticism of Clinton. This is a condemnation of Dubya and the Republicans. They're why we're in Iraq. Keep spouting, Donald. 😵

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 08:24:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Egypt? Libya? It sure sounds like a condemnation of Clinton. It could also be a condemnation of Obama, but notice how he's careful to suggest that it's not really Obama's fault. He looks like he's going for the Sanders supporters, at least those who haven't been paying attention and think that he was really against the Iraq war.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 08:53:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure she's having a poll conducted right now to tell her how to respond.
by rifek on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 06:55:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Send in the clowns

Still boggled by reports that Trump, having realized that the numbers on his tax plan aren't remotely credible, has decided to fix things by bringing in as experts ... Larry Kudlow and Stephen Moore. I mean, at some level this was predictable. But it still tells you a lot about both Donald the Doofus and his chosen party.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 12:44:01 PM EST

Trump is a super-villain from the 1960's TV Batman series.  He's like The Penguin.

I am definitely voting for Trump !!  He's what this country DESERVES !  😄

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 09:56:05 PM EST
Bernie Sanders Could Still Win the Democratic Nomination -- No, Seriously  by   Seth Abramson  HuPo

Quoting some of the raving socialists at CNN:

Last night on CNN, while discussing Bernie Sanders' landslide victory over Hillary Clinton in West Virginia -- which followed a 5-point Sanders win in Indiana last week -- Michael Smerconish said that "Democratic super-delegates might have to rethink" their support of Hillary Clinton given how dramatically better Sanders fares in head-to-head match-ups against Donald Trump.

After Clinton's Indiana loss, John King had told CNN viewers that "if Sanders were to win nine out of ten of the remaining contests, there's no doubt that some of the super-delegates would panic. There's no doubt some of them would switch to Sanders. What he has to do is win the bulk of the remaining contests. Would that send jitters, if not panic, through the Democratic Party? Yes. Yes it would."

What was the intended role of superdelegates when they were created and what has history shown?

In 1984, the Democratic Party created "super-delegates" -- Party officials with a vote at the Democrats' nominating convention. The hope was that super-delegates would rarely if ever be needed. There was reason to be hopeful on this score: first, because any Democratic nominee able to win even 59 percent of the "pledged" (primary and caucus) delegates would clinch the Democratic nomination before even a single super-delegate had voted; second, because even if a weak front-runner were unable to clinch the Democratic nomination without super-delegates, the candidate behind in the "pledged" delegate count would almost certainly concede before any super-delegates were forced to weigh in.

For 32 years, the Democrats' decision to create super-delegates looked pretty smart. Other than the current primary season -- a single-digit race (54 percent to 45 percent) that's the second-closest Democratic primary of the last 32 years -- only one of the Democrats' primaries, the one in 2008, was ultimately close enough for super-delegates to matter. In that case the losing candidate, Hillary Clinton, decided to concede after the final votes were cast in June. Clinton's concession made the super-delegate question a moot one.

Clinton conceded in 2008 for a number of reasons: her opponent, now-President Obama, agreed to retire her massive campaign debt; she believed (correctly) that Obama would name her either Vice President or Secretary of State, the latter the second-most powerful position in Washington; and finally and most importantly, Obama had kicked the hell out of her in the latter half of the election season, winning 16 of the final 25 states. In other words, there was no reasonable argument for Clinton to make to super-delegates that they should step in to change the primary result.

So why did Clinton concede in 2008?

But Clinton had seriously considered staying in the race past June 7th of 2008. The reason she almost did -- she was barely talked out of it by her aides -- is the very reason Bernie Sanders could still win the Democratic nomination in 2016.

That reason?

Super-delegates exist for only one purpose: to overturn, if necessary, the popular-vote and delegate-count results.
,,,,

John King of CNN, and others, have made crystal-clear the scenario under which Bernie Sanders could become the Democratic nominee for President: he runs the table on the remaining primaries and caucuses.

The conditions by June 7:

   Sanders has won 19 of the final 25 state primaries and caucuses (not a typo);

    Sanders is within a few hundred thousand votes of Clinton in the popular vote;

    Sanders has won 54 percent of the pledged delegates since Super Tuesday; and

    Sanders is in a dead heat with Clinton in national polling.

The above alone -- while absolutely stunning; Sanders running significantly better than Obama for the entire second half of the primary season is a major eye-opener -- wouldn't be enough to trigger the second scenario in which super-delegates are suddenly meaningful (as noted above, a front-runner so weak he or she is unlikely to win the general election). What makes 2016 very different from 2008 is that the following items are presently true:

    Sanders has dramatically higher favorable ratings than Clinton, despite months of attacks from his Democratic opponent and Trump and GOP super-PACs generally laying off both Sanders and Clinton;

    Sanders beats Donald Trump nationally by much more than does Clinton (12 points, as opposed to 6 for Clinton, in an average of all national polls);

    Sanders beats Donald Trump in every battleground state by more than does Clinton; and

    Sanders beats Trump by 22 points among independents, while Clinton loses independents to Trump by 2 points.

John King's thought experiment:

Imagine...that you're watching CNN on June 7th and Hillary has just lost California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. This comes on the heels of losses in Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oregon. Clinton hasn't won a state since April; she's behind Donald Trump in national polling; she's tied with or behind Donald Trump in all of the battleground states; she's lost the pledged-delegate battle to Bernie Sanders 53 percent to 47 percent since March 1st; she's lost 19 of the final 25 state primaries and caucuses; her unfavorables are the highest of any Democrat the Party has considered running since World War II; she's losing independent voters to Donald Trump; she's still under investigation by the FBI, and an international criminal is claiming (credibly) that he successfully hacked her basement server and stole classified and top-secret data; 40 percent of Sanders supporters are saying they won't vote for her; and she's come to look exactly like two other Democratic losers -- unlikable policy wonks Al Gore and John Kerry -- rather than the movement candidate Bernie Sanders is and Barack Obama was.

The Clinton camp is betting that Hillary loses zero super-delegates in this situation because -- well, just because.

The Sanders camp is betting that the Democratic Party cares more about winning in November than gamely running a terrible dynasty candidate against a beatable Republican foe.

In the hypothetical John King has imagined, that bet doesn't seem so unreasonable.

Every non-partisan in the national media who's actually looked at the above scenario has concluded that super-delegates would switch to Sanders in the situation described here -- the only question is how many. And if you've actually imagined the scenario described above -- if you actually imagined the rank panic that would be running through the Democratic Party should Hillary lose the largest state in the country to Bernie Sanders at a time when all the hard-data and environmental indicators are suggesting she's a possible loser in the fall -- you're thinking, as I am, that the answer to the question, "How many supers would jump ship in that scenario?" is the same answer I got from John King when I asked him this question directly after the Indiana primary: "Lots."



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 10:08:15 PM EST
THE big weakness in this argument is that superdelegates will care more about winning in November than about maintenance of the existing neo-liberal/neo-conservative duopoly of governance in the US. They may decide that Sanders is a worse danger to their own careers and future prospects than is a Trump presidency.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 13th, 2016 at 11:14:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AS you know I don't have a direct skin in this game, except insofar as the identity of the next US President effects us all.  Either Sanders or Clinton would be a huge improvement on Trump as far as I am concerned, and my only concern is which of them might be more effective in implementing progressive policies.  I don't share your antipathy to Hillary because both she and her husband had a hugely beneficial impact on resolving the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and in that context I see her as anything but a neo-con.

If I have a problem with both Clintons, it is that both have shown a willingness to make compromises with the powers that be to secure their own political futures that have proved to be hugely damaging to almost everyone else.  Top of that list I would put her vote for the Iraq war and Bill's support for financial de-regulation, welfare reform, and his notorious crime bill.

However we must not forget that in doing so, they were only accepting the political balance of power at the time, and not fighting against it hard enough.  That makes them triangulators, compromisers, pragmatists, centrists, or at worst, Machiavellian political operators in my book, not far right neo-conservative or neo-liberal ideologues in my book.

It seems to me that in casually lumping her in with Neo-conservative ideologues, Sanders' supporters are doing the work of the right wing media in attempting to divide the Democratic Party and leaving the way free for the republican nominee, who, too my minds, is an altogether more danger animal.  By all means make the case for Sanders, and hope he wins the nomination, or failing that has a strong presence in and influence of a Hillary administration.  But I think you need to be more nuanced in your criticism of Hillary.  She may end up being the best you can get, and, moreover, the better for having a strong Dem Congressional Majority which is only achievable by the Sanders and Clinton wings of the party working together.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 06:24:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see any necessary conflict between being a neo-liberal and a triangulator and trying to heal a wound in your ally's side. And I don't hate Hillary so much as I don't believe she will do what so obviously - at least to most progressives - needs to be done with the financial sector and the economy, and that, to me, is FAR more significant than any second or third issue on my agenda. I supported her instead of Obama after Edwards destroyed himself because, from his rhetoric, I could not assure myself that Obama would be even as good as her as president. Fortunately, Obama turned out to be much better than he might have been given his vague promises and I am glad he prevailed. Meanwhile I got to see much more of Hillary in action, which did not further recommend her to me.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 09:34:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dream on.
by Zwackus on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 07:57:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't worry, I will - until the Convention.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 09:00:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But those who think Clinton will sail on through the general election to victory might be dreaming even more - if some of the outlying factors already mentioned in this blog actually prove more significant that most expect. While she is much more likely than Sanders to be the Democratic Nominee, she seems to be significantly less likely to win in November against Trump.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 09:11:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am terrified by the prospect of a Clinton collapse, but I don't see any way to avoid it.

On the other hand, I also worry that Sanders would have turned out to be just as weak, if not weaker, than Clinton against Trump.  Fortunately,  I will not have to see him and his message tarred and destroyed by the right, and forever used as an example of how a Progressive politics is impossible.

by Zwackus on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 03:11:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Taibbi:

The Line That May Have Won Hillary Clinton the Nomination | Rolling Stone

These lunatic resentments drove the effort to blame minority homeowners for the crisis. That effort peaked in a Tea Party movement triggered by a rant by CNBC goof Rick Santelli against the "losers" of the housing crisis. He described them as the "people who drink the water" at the expense of those who "carry the water." As coded language went, it was remarkably un-subtle.

Race was always at the very center of the crash story. It was just never explained that way in the press.

When Hillary Clinton used that line about breaking up the banks not ending racism, she opened a door for Bernie Sanders to talk about all of this. He could have talked about Wall Street not just as a symbol of international greed and corruption, but in terms of a more peculiarly American kind of ugliness.

He could have begun with subprime and plausibly traced all the way back to 40 acres and a mule, explaining the modern problem of wealth inequality as (among other things) a still-extant failure of the Civil Rights movement, an ancient wrong still not corrected.

But he didn't. Sanders I believe fundamentally sees the Wall Street corruption issue as a matter of class, i.e., rich vs. poor. He never found a way to talk about the special edge the financial sector brought/brings to the exploitation of nonwhite America.

by Bernard on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 08:10:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am pretty sure Sanders is aware of the racial dimension but chose not to take that line. It probably would have gotten him a few percentage more of black votes, which would have helped, but either he didn't like the effect that would have on the framing or he perhaps thought that would be demagoguery. There are equally good arguments that the banksters who brought us the GFC were equal opportunity looters and just went after anything of value, easiest pickings first. What he might have gained in black votes he might have lost more voters elsewhere. And it would have required more nuance in a season of vivid contrasts.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 08:59:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and I recall Sanders specifically speaking about the greater impact of the GFC on Black and Hispanic Households, but acknowledging that would have undercut Taibbi's argument.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 09:04:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Taibbi's argument is not that Sanders never mentioned Wall Street's impact on African Americans and Latinos, but when Clinton, a few weeks ago, declared:

"If we broke up the big banks tomorrow," Clinton asked, "would that end racism?"

...he didn't catch that ball even though Clinton was opening him a boulevard.

How well would that have played out with  African American and Latino voters? Being neither, I cannot tell.

by Bernard on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 09:31:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sanders doesn't campaign based on pandering to specific groups. He believes he has a message that applies to all and goes to lengths to make sure that various groups understand that they are included in that all. This is confusing for people who can no longer conceive that it is possible to campaign without pandering to specific groups and building a coalition of those to whom your campaign panders. Taibbi appears to be among those so confused in this instance.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 01:32:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is just a rationalization, supposition. I am with Taibbi on this, that Sanders missed opportunities for bold assertions on race, or did not notice them.
by das monde on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 08:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe he missed them, and maybe it was just beyond him.  He clearly means well, but too often seems like he doesn't have his heart in issues of race the same way he does regarding issues of class.  

That kind of line from Hillary is abominable, but I've read enough of the discussions on Kos to see that they are effective, and that there are many more people ready to respond to race and gender issues than there are for class issues.

Sanders seemed to be aiming for a message and a movement that put class and inequality first, and of course supported all those other liberal issues too.  Given what I've seen, I don't think that can work in the modern American political environment.  Racial and social issues need to be front and center, and pull class and economics along with them.

Unfortunately, Hillary seems to be focused on an either/or dynamic that puts her shady deals with the 1% off limits.  Such are the times.

by Zwackus on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 03:18:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is the point of US tribal politics: tribe before class. Which is convenient for capitalism. (Though it's symbolic rather than the result of a conspiracy: tribal politics and capitalism reinforce each other.)
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 05:13:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is why Northern Ireland politics has always been about religion rather than class. Capitalist media organs support the tribal/race/religion divise dialectic in order to distract from class.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 11:56:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For whatever it is worth, I doubt that he was unaware of the power of appealing to race and believe, instead, that he simply chose not to go there. He never did genuflect before Black Lives Matter. Instead he recruited surrogates and himself spoke directly to black audiences emphasizing the length and extent of his history of addressing problems that afflict blacks and other minorities and how his class based agenda will address their wrongs, and, if enacted, redress them. His goal seems to be to win on terms that allow him to push his agenda - not to win at any cost.

I have to agree that this is the best way forward. It would allow everyone's needs to be addressed as part of a common strategy while also serving the real needs of all. What gets sacrificed are the wants of the very rich. Give them what they need and let them readjust their wants.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 09:04:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The best way forward wins actual victories, not moral victories.

It will be cold comfort, knowing that one fought the fight in the right way, when I starve to death in a giant pothole after having been deemed too old and too unattractive to make the cut as a domestic slave.

by Zwackus on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 11:29:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You might feel slightly better knowing you had done what you could to change the system than you would had you been a willing slave and still suffered the same fate.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue May 17th, 2016 at 09:18:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 09:06:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Democratic Establishment's Thuggish Power Grab at Nevada Convention
Apparently annoyed at Sanders supporters having managed to take advantage of Clinton delegate candidate no-shows to obtain more spots, the Nevada state party put through rule changes weeks before the state convention that gave the meeting chair complete and arbitrary control of the final step in the delegate certification process. That in turn produced a convention that was entirely undemocratic in the small d sense, with some Sanders delegates who had won their positions via the then-existing rules being stripped of their standing. In addition, the meeting was run on authoritarian lines, with party members offering pro-Sanders motions having the microphones cut off and the meeting being terminated with motions still on the floor [...]

Clinton had 31 more delegates inside of the convention [but ...]

64 is the number of of Bernie Sanders delegates that were not allowed to participate -- this is because they were de-certified and denied entry into the convention [...]

The rule change that they voted about was, in a nutshell, to disregard the results of the second-tier county conventions -- where Sanders' had won -- and only to count the results of the first-tier caucus that Clinton had won. I'd like to remind you that this "voice vote" was held before all of the delegates were present [...]

by das monde on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 02:37:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They tried the same next door in the Salt Lake County Convention, and then had the nerve to blame the Sanders supporters for daring to speak up.  Clintonistas are like Southerners who blamed civil rights activists for the beatings they received because if they hadn't gotten uppity, the deputies wouldn't have had to beat them.
by rifek on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 07:22:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good catch. I generally find Yves Smith to be reliable and of good judgement.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 09:35:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
American power politics has has been logjammed for years, stuck in pettiness, incrementalism and timidity at home and deathwish foreign policy.
The anti-intellectual bent has been driven to hitherto untold heights by dumbing down the populus for decades to the point that a Trump becomes inevitable.

People love drama... they will clap while Washington burns.

Trump's got the matches, a big can of combustible whoop-ass, and that pyro glint in his eye. And a huge crowd of flamethrowers baying behind him.

Hill's so positioning herself bang in the crossfire between millions angry at their new-found hopes for politics being peremptorily dismissed and another huge chunk hating on her from the right.

Sailing into the crossfire and scuttling her own ship.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 14th, 2016 at 10:06:39 AM EST
Patrick Stewart, while visiting New Orleans:

by Bernard on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 08:04:31 AM EST
The current bru-ha-ha over Trump making phone calls as John Miller/John Baron (a great concept for an SNL skit) is further proof that Trump is playing with half a deck, and this guy might soon have his finger on the nuclear button. Are we hoping the military will stop him, and then what? Martial law time?

Trump reminds me of a three year old, a misbehaving one. Psychologists ... some help please! 😱

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 12:42:12 PM EST

(and a conservative rant, if you care)

by das monde on Sun May 15th, 2016 at 08:28:50 PM EST
You can make Hillary dislikeable if you want, but has anyone succeeded in making Trump likeable?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 12:09:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
`None of your business': Trump refuses to reveal tax rate, stalls on returns
Asked if he believes Americans deserve to see his returns before they vote, Trump said no.

"I don't think they do, but I do say this: I will really gladly give them. They're not going to learn anything, but it's under routine audit," Trump said, adding that there's no bombshell waiting inside. "You learn very little from tax returns."

Stephanopoulos disputed that statement, saying people can learn quite a bit. He pointed to possible sources of income - including foreign ones - and offshore accounts.

"I'll tell you right now: I do not. I don't have Swiss bank accounts, I don't have offshore, I really have a very, very clean company," Trump replied.

Notably, Trump's name appeared 3,540 times in the Panama Papers, a trove of leaks that detail how many wealthy individuals and companies hide assets overseas, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Since Trump routinely licenses his name out to investors, the listing of his name doesn't necessarily mean he is involved in an offshore account.

by das monde on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 02:13:07 AM EST
Nevertheless, if this involves facilitating others to evade tax, he is complicit... He is a beneficiary from the scam

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 12:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Trump does become President, it looks as though he will lose his $302 property tax rebate
It's called the STAR program, which stands for the New York State School Tax Relief Program and has been around since 1997. It offers an approximately $300 annual benefit for those who qualify. Hundreds of thousands of New York homeowners get it.

Here's where it gets interesting for Trump: To be eligible for STAR, a married couple must have annual income of $500,000 or less. One wouldn't think a guy as rich as Trump claims to be would qualify, but records filed with the city's Department of Finance show he received a $302 STAR benefit on his latest property-tax bill for his Trump Tower penthouse on Fifth Avenue.

That means whatever his annual income is, it's less than $500,000. (The state defines income for STAR purposes as federal adjusted gross income minus the taxable amount of total distributions from annuities or individual retirement accounts.) And Trump would have to have declared his New York apartment as his primary residence and sent the state a copy of his federal income-tax return in order to qualify for the $302 tax break.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 03:12:15 AM EST
He sent the state his tax return for thirty pieces of silver, yet won't let the public see them!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 09:07:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Benghazi farce deepens: The GOP's conspiracy hunt is undermined from within - Salon.com

Per the Democratic letter, retired Lt. Gen. Dana Chipman, who was until recently the Chief Counsel for the Benghazi committee Republicans, "repeatedly commended the military's actions on the night of the attacks during closed interviews with Defense Department officials." The quotes they dug up from transcripts of interviews are presented without context, so take that as a caveat. But some of them do seem like fairly unequivocal assessments from one of top Republican staffers on the committee that nothing more could have been done militarily to alter the outcome of the Benghazi attacks.

For example, the committee Democrats quote Chipman from a January 2016 interview saying "I would posit from my perspective, having looked at all the materials over the last 18 months, we could not have affected the response to what occurred by 5:15 in the morning on the 12th of September in Benghazi Libya." While interviewing former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Chipman said, according to the committee Democrats: "I think you ordered exactly the right forces to move out and to head toward a position where they could reinforce what was occurring in Benghazi or in Tripoli or elsewhere in the region. And, sir, I don't disagree with the actions you took, the recommendations you made, and the decisions you directed."

by Bernard on Mon May 16th, 2016 at 09:29:12 AM EST
Dr. Wang has a story up and it's not good for Trump.

Basically, the starting positions are based on voting from 1952 to 2012 gives Clinton 262, Trump 122, with 154 available.  It takes 270 Electoral Votes to win, meaning Trump has to run the board and that's not going to happen.

And it gets worse for the GOP:

Another way to look at the data is to force a win for whichever candidate is leading in each state. This does not take into account all the possibilities. But it does give the mode - the single most likely combination of wins and losses. That mode gives a total of Clinton 364 EV, Trump 174 EV, very close to Obama's win in 2008.

An interesting comment:

Gregory Scott // May 12, 2016 at 3:02 am

There's another state that bears watching. I learned some years ago that Texas has one of the nation's most Republican Hispanic electorates. That's one reason Republicans have done well there. Now, on RCP, David Byler has a map that lets you adjust turnout and vote share individually for black, white, Hispanic, and Asian/other. Raise the national Hispanic figure for turnout 2% to 55% and the Republican vote share down from 20% to 12%. Don't touch any other group. What happens? Just two states switch to Democratic--N. Carolina, which is expectable--and Texas.

I really don't expect Texas to flip but it is something to keep an eye on.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue May 17th, 2016 at 03:00:59 PM EST
I can't really believe that I'm going to say this .... but I'm actually glad Sanders is losing.  He has lost me.

Specifically, he lost me with this.  Sanders Press Statement on Nevada

By making himself personally complicit with the protest-mad thuggery of the worst of his supporters, and by stoking their conspiracy-addled delusions, he is turning all the good that came out of his early candidacy into toxic sludge.  All of those people who could have been brought into the political system, and who could have become a new generation of leaders inside the Democratic party, have been primed to deny the clear and consistent will of the voters, to abandon the Democratic Party, and to abandon the democratic process entirely.

This is turning into a nightmare for the Democratic side.  Clinton is a bad candidate, and needs all the help she can get -- not riots at the Democratic convention and a good chunk of her own party's activist base infuriated at what they see as a conspiracy and a fix.  Yes, the party made a terrible decision when it decided to turn this primary season into a coronation, but that decision has already been made and the election is too damn important.

Instead of taking their knocks, getting back up, and showing up for midterm primaries in 2018 and putting a real slate of progressives into the House and Senate, we are going to have President Trump.

Fuck.  Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Worse, there are rumors that this negativity and conspiracy thinking is not bubbling up from the bottom, all on its own, nor is it being stoked by his staff alone, but that it is ultimately coming from the man himself.  It comes from the very top  This just confirms what I have been seeing for the past few weeks, particularly when it comes to the people I volunteered with last year.  Oh my god what are they thinking what is happening how can this be happening .......

by Zwackus on Wed May 18th, 2016 at 07:56:54 AM EST
I don't follow. Which part is conspiracy?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed May 18th, 2016 at 09:44:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's when the chair decides the vote on whether to use the temporary rules that lets her decide the votes. No vote counts necessary.
by fjallstrom on Wed May 18th, 2016 at 01:12:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So Sanders does not apologize. He owns the fight and corruption "conspiracies". That probably means that he sees Clinton no worthly better than Trump.

Yet Clinton must hold all responsibility for her outcomes, as she is running for the leader of the most powerful country on Earth. If Sanders' campaign is not threatening to her nomination, why do her partisans do everything to antagonize Sanders' camp? Why provoke Berns' worst demeanor as if their support won't be needed? Like Gore, Hillary is doing a lot to harm her own chances.

by das monde on Wed May 18th, 2016 at 09:47:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you are overreacting. I think it is undeniable that the whole primary process has been rigged from the start to produce a coronation of Hillary. Choosing the nominee was just the pretext for the process. That much had long been clear.

From what I understand what the DNC either did or approved being done in this instance in Nevada was to change the parliamentary rules and the requirements to register delegates just a couple of weeks ago. This had (the presumably desired) effect of costing Sanders two or three delegates from Nevada which his campaign had thought they had gained by following the rules that existed prior to the change. I hope the DNC is satisfied with the results. I can't see that it will matter. Nor can I blame the Sanders supporters for being outraged. At least no one was physically injured.

Perhaps Harry Reid wants to use this and dissatisfaction with Sander's response as the pretext to deprive Sanders of seniority in the next Senate. If he does it will likely accelerate the development of a third party for progressives for the next election. Unless the election is close in Arkansas, (unlikely), I will probably vote for Jill Stein. She is a solid progressive and FDR style socialist but, sadly, without Bernie's charisma and name recognition.

But, in any case, I doubt we will ever have the chance to find out if Trump would be better or worse than Clinton. I think it is 50/50 odds. But the consequences of worse could be considerable. OTOH, Hillary's hawkishness combined with her ham fistedness could have considerable negative consequences also.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed May 18th, 2016 at 03:45:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps Frank could start a new diary: "Which would be worse - Hillary or Donald? And why.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed May 18th, 2016 at 03:48:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Talk of third parties and the greens is BS. A two-party system is built into our electoral mechanics and entrenched by tradition and history.  Furthermore, its not like the Democratic coalition of the Obama era is a dwindling rump of the population - it was huge and won the presidency twice, easily.  If the Greens want to get serious they need to start by building serious local parties and taking over small towns first.  The fact that this happens so rarely is a prime indication of how the Green party is more of a feel-good lobbying project, and not a party aspiring to governance.

"I'm going to stay home and show you how important my vote is!" is the kind of crap that insures leftists will be ignored year after year.  Why bother wooing an extreme demographic that demands serious policy compromises and threatens to drop out of the election entirely at the drop of the hat?

Unfortunately, that is EXACTLY the attitude I see from far, far too many Sanders supporters.

by Zwackus on Wed May 18th, 2016 at 05:29:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most third parties fade away, remain highly marginal or form legislative alliances with major parties. But sometimes one catches fire and the end result is a lot of members from other parties join and IT becomes one of the major parties - a political realignment, which was what happened to the American Whig Party, being completed by the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln. Other times there are realignments in which factions within a major party change parties, as with the Progressives joining the Democrats, transitioning beginning about 1916 and being complete with the election of FDR.

I don't know what, if anything, will happen with the progressives. I just doubt that, without a realignment, the current corrupt duopoly of Rep/Dem will be sufficiently able to deal with real world problems for the very government to survive even another decade. I don't see a workable path forward that doesn't involve dealing rather harshly with the US financial sector and those who it represents.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed May 18th, 2016 at 08:48:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And as for the convention, it was the establishment taking advantage of the rules to change the criteria for the selection of delegates AFTER the Sanders had taken advantage of the rules to squeeze out a few extra delegates in local conventions using a silly trick.  Clinton won the caucus on caucus day, and as much as I don't like her or her candidacy, the winner should get the delegates.  This is a problem more with the caucus system than anything, but Sanders supporters were so fired up to believe in "the fix" and "the conspiracy" that they couldn't even start rioting at the right time.

In all honesty, if the Sanders team had done a better job of prepping its people for a surprise takeover of the convention, I'd be a lot more supportive of them.  It's the combination of stoking lame conspiratorial thinking AND encouraging people to vent mindless anger that I hate.  It transforms his people from effective political actors into silly goons, and silly goons don't win elections.

by Zwackus on Wed May 18th, 2016 at 05:34:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That 'silly trick' used the very rules that had been in place before the race even started. Similar 'silly tricks' have been successfully used by Cruz against Trump in Colorado, etc. The rules are the rules until leadership doesn't like the result and then changes them retroactively.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed May 18th, 2016 at 08:51:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Conspire derives from the Latin meaning 'to breathe together'. So, if the rule changes were decided by one person, that could not have been a conspiracy. But that is not how the process was described. Calling someone who objects to such a change 'a conspiracy theorist' is a commonly used slur in academia used to keep subordinates in line in a hierarchical organization, and, in this context, is lame.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed May 18th, 2016 at 08:57:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps it's time for supporters of both candidates took a deep breath together and realised that creating huge controversies through procedural manoeuvring helps neither candidate significantly in terms of delegates, but hurts both in terms of public perceptions.  Sanders issuing that press statement - even if it is all factually correct and a fair and balanced account of what happened - raised an issue concerning a handful of delegates to the status of a major controversy and allows the development of media driven "both sides do it" false equivalences between what has been happening in the Republican and Democratic parties.

Up until now Sanders - having never held significant executive office - has had pretty much a free ride in terms of public scrutiny of his executive capabilities.  (I sometimes wonder whether that is part of his attraction to many of his supporters who, too, have never held significant executive office, or even aspired to it). In any case, he shouldn't be putting public discussion of his executive capabilities in play.

No one here is prepared to put up a significant defence of Hillary's executive track record, but at least she has one. Sander's is looking less attractive as an alternative for Office, the closer he edges towards actually achieving it.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 04:20:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The idea that Sanders should have, or even - to any good effect - could have condemned supporters who had been falsely accused is laughable. And Sanders doesn't 'do' deliberate misrepresentation and misleading with any effectiveness. If this is a disqualifier for administrative office then we need to change our qualifications. About the best he can do along these lines is simply say nothing and leave the dirty work to his subordinates - a time honored tradition in US politics.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 10:07:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, by intervening personally he turned a local issue into a national one capable of damaging the party he hopes to lead. He should have done nothing - the art of masterly inactivity, as Churchill is said to have put it.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 02:56:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So when Reid demanded a response from Sanders he was trolling Sanders? Perhaps. But perhaps Reid also should be careful what he asks for.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 09:16:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Comments - Can Trump really win the White House?
Sanders supporters were so fired up to believe in "the fix" and "the conspiracy" that they couldn't even start rioting at the right time.

They didn't even riot at all. Except if you believe the testimony of somebody who (by his own account) was not there.

The Faux Fracas in Nevada: How a Reporter Manufactured a Riot

No chairs were thrown at the convention Saturday. No death threats were made against the chair of the convention Roberta Lange. And Bernie Sanders delegates were not simply mad because their louder shouting was ignored.
by fjallstrom on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 03:25:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good article by Doug Johnson Hatlem about the coverage of the Nevada Convention with lots of local detail. This was the 'Faux Fracas' link above.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 10:15:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I still have no clear picture of what you mean with conspiratorial thinking. Does anyone dispute that the Democratic party leadership and the party hacks are in the tank for Clinton?
I mean it is objective fact that 30 state parties have a joint money raising/laundering sheme going on that leaves her with all the money and them objectively worse off. So is Josh Marshall's employer's paid troll army. And calling people who object to elite collusion "violent" without any strong evidence of actual violence is so very tired.

What I find most interesting in this election is how far apart the reality bubbles have drifted. Or maybe it's just more noticeable since people closer to me are drifting away.
I remember culling my news sources since long before "filter bubble" was even a phrase. The first time, appropriately enough was after the Democrats won the midterms in 06 and then promptly proceeded to vote for the war they opposed. Without any bells and whistles. The financial crisis and getting a grip on Post-Keynsian economics was another big one. And you really have to filter in order to not get spammed with nonsense. Though the filtering might have gotten worse since I broke down and got a Twitter account. Something about that system brings out the worst in people.
On the other hand I'm now pretty loyaly reading Naked Capitalism since their take on Greece ended up being much better than my own.

This stronger stratification of news sources seems pretty noticeable. One example I can think of was the small debate on online anonymity we had. I'm pretty sure that still reading the Guardian or similar professional sites is a strong indication of a contra position. Because for reporters online anonymity really makes life a lot harder.

OK, this is a bit more rambling than I would have liked but I'm running out of time for another pass.

by generic on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 05:34:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of paid troll armies, I think we've got one instance in the comments of this diary.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 07:24:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it's helpful to impugn someone's integrity here without giving them the opportunity to reply to the charge.  Is there a specific comment you are concerned about? Are we all to feel under threat of suspicion? If possible, I think we should treat each argument on its merits.  I have noticed differences of opinion, but nothing outside the bounds of reasoned debate.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 07:48:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My paranoia was triggered by a one-off comment upthread where the subject made me recall this, my reply didn't elicit a response, and I thought the poster is a newbie. Having now checked, I see I was mistaken about the last, so I rather retract my paranoid comment.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 05:18:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, I have found the offending comment now. Not exactly well evidenced.  More an expression of individual frustration resulting in a strange threat to vote for Trump. Perhaps an example of a policy (Obamacare) which has helped many but frustrated some. Weirdly, Trump seems to be able to attract a lot of anti-establishment and libertarian support. The individual Mandate in Obamacare has always been v. unpopular with both progressives (who prefer single payer) and libertarians who don't want the state to get more involved in healthcare at all.  Obviously not in tune with majority opinion here,  but not to be condemned on that account. But it's a pity he wouldn't engage with the legitimate points you made.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 07:15:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well as I stated above one of my main sources for US analysis is Naked Capitalism. And they are very down on Obama care.
The only Americans I regularly talk to face to face are people with professional travel budgets. Not that big of a sample. One in particular was very happy with the reforms. However his experience was with the old system eating all his savings when his son was seriously ill. No positive experience with the new.
Which is a long winded intro for a saying that I'm sympathetic to the idea of Obama care being a neoliberal abomination. However voting Trump because of it still seems like a non sequitur. Maybe third oarty but Trump? And certainly something a delegitimisation campaign would throw around. I liked single payer and Sanders before, but now I'm with Hitler. And I've seen more of those comments than I expected.
But for a final reversal Trump does score high on the enemy of my enemy scale. And I don't think we should underestimate the emotional appeal of telling all those(media, Republicans, Clinton even the Kochs) to fuck off.

As a final aside: I too was toying with the idea that Trump might actually be less bad in effect. Not because of any moral superiority but because I thought party hostility would cripple him. Doesn't seem like a good bet anymore. He has run out of money and the party lies prostrate in hope of a tummy scratch.

by generic on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 08:23:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I talk about conspiracy thinking, I'm mainly talking about what I have seen from the Sanders supports I worked with, and blog wars I have skimmed where individuals post comments and arguments with a very similar-seeming mindset.

That the Democratic party is strongly pro-Clinton is not up for debate. That Clinton and her inner circle are insider hacks of the most mediocre sort seems pretty clear, and like all insider hacks of her generation she seems pretty damn neo-liberal.  I'm not making any arguments in that direction.

But one cannot jump from these facts to constant accusations of election fraud and vote rigging, in every single state, on the flimsiest of evidence.  For a conspiracy like that to take place, one has to demonzie far, FAR too many relatively well-intentioned folk at the local and state level.  One has to imagine far too many eager and enthusiastic activists, with whom I share far more in common than I share with the Republicans, as mindless drones who have been brainwashed into unthinking complicity.  No.  I refuse to do that, and the belief that all this is true and is taking place beneath our noses is conspiracy thinking.  Too many people aren't aware of the full complexity of the issues and can't accept that other people might not agree with them, and they explain it away by positing a dire Clinton Cabal with amazing powers to control everything secretly behind the scenes.

Which is bull.  If they have this power now, they would have had this power in 2008 as well, when Clinton was just as presumptive a nominee going for just as unchallengable of a coronation.  Hell, I've read a number of raving posts talking about Diebold voting machines and rigged E-Votes, like it was 2004 again. How exactly Hillary got the keys to the Evil Diebold Vote-Rigging apparatus is a bit murky, as is why exactly that Vote-Rigging apparatus failed to swing things R in 2008 and 2012 despite the avowed intentions of Diebold to do so.

That is conspiracy talk, of the UFO and 9/11 truther variety. It's main crime is lazy thinking, the same sort of lazy thinking that leads people into all kinds of damaging wrongness. Too many people I have seen in the Bernie camp have fallen into this.  This mindset primes people to respond in outrage to rather ordinary politicking and crowd-management, and to interpret every action in the worst possible light when it does not deserve it.

I can't be all that surprised at what the Clinton folk did in Nevada, because as Frank states elsewhere this kind of room-stuffing is a pretty common trick, with pretty common responses.  It was tried, it failed.  Oh well, and neither side should really be all that worked up over it.  It's politics, these things happen.  Likewise, I would not be all that worked up over disruptive activities on the convention floor, whatever they actually were.  Again, it's politics.  Heck, even if there was a full-on riot (which there was certainly not), or some degree of disorderly conduct short of rioting (which there probably wasn't), or a violent seizure of power (I could only dream of the Sanders team being this competent), I don't really care all that much.

What bugs me about it is the incompetence of it all. Bernie supporters were primed to interpet every action and every vote in the worst possible way, and went into full-on outrage at the wrong time and in a kind of pathetic manner.  It is unfocused and ignorant protest, which accommplishes nothing and just makes you look bad. Worse, it all makes perfect sense if you buy into the conspiratorial mindset, and cannot bring yourself to give the other side some credit.

You don't build anything by encouraging your new supporters to demonize everone who doesn't agree, and you aren't training them to be effetive political actors if you prime them to respond with raw outrage over everything. Some of this was going to happen anyway, but openly embracing it is bonkers.

by Zwackus on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 08:43:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The 'report' of violence was based on a tweet from Nevada reporter Jon Ralston who left the convention before the climax and then received an exaggerated description of events that he tweeted as fact. He subsequently acknowledged this. One Sanders delegate is known to have lifted a chair over his head, but was immediately stopped from further action by the rest of Sanders' supporters. The whole thing is contrived BS. Media wrote their reports based on Ralston's tweed and, apparently, Harry Reid based his 'violence' comment on that same report. Subsequently they 'modified' their reports as claims came into question. But the tone of the whole coverage was set on misinformation.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 11:46:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well what is the point of voting machines if not vote rigging? Certainly there seems to be a somewhat reasonable explanation for the weird exit poll results but I won't blame anyone for suspecting otherwise.
But Sanders didn't embrace this so that shouldn't be an issue here. What he did was, when faced with the routine bad faith calls to distance himself from his "violent" followers, to call their grievances legitimate. What else was he supposed to do? The point of those calls is to delegitimize and demobilize a political movement.
Another strange thing about this campaign is how telegraphed everything, especially from the Clinton campaign is.
by generic on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 03:49:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another strange thing about this campaign is how telegraphed everything, especially from the Clinton campaign is.
This for  example:

Hillary Clinton plan: Defeat Bernie Sanders, then unify party - CNNPolitics.com -

is taking new steps to try and disqualify Bernie Sanders in the eyes of Democratic voters, hoping to extinguish the argument that he is an electable alternative for the party's presidential nomination.

....

As Sanders took a victory lap following a 14-point triumph in Wisconsin, Clinton took fresh aim at the Vermont senator as part of a three-part strategy before the New York primary on April 19: Disqualify him, defeat him, and unify the party later.

by generic on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 04:08:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Can Trump really win the White House?
This had (the presumably desired) effect of costing Sanders two or three delegates from Nevada which his campaign had thought they had gained by following the rules that existed prior to the change. I hope the DNC is satisfied with the results. I can't see that it will matter. Nor can I blame the Sanders supporters for being outraged. At least no one was physically injured.  

They did more then that.

Clinton adds to delegate lead with Nevada convention win - Las Vegas Sun News

Delegates also elected the next national committeeman and national committeewoman to represent Nevada at the national party level, the state party's executive board, and the state party's central committee during the afternoon.

The Nevada establishment changed the rules and then re-elected themselves. I don't know if there was other candidates for thse seats, but if there were that is a pretty obvoius reason to coup a meeting.

by fjallstrom on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 03:29:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Judge tosses part of Sanders backers' lawsuit against Nevada Democrats - Las Vegas Sun News
The Sanders supporters had asked the court to grant an injunction allowing them to run for state party office at Saturday's state Democratic convention. The judge, however, said that case law precludes him from interfering with a party's internal political process.

The lawsuit had alleged the state Democratic Party had failed to properly notify Democrats of a deadline to run for state party office in violation of both its own internal rules as well as Nevada law. The defendants argued the confusion over the deadline had been caused internally by Sanders supporters and that the party had made the deadline clear in emails it had sent out.

"Courts are not allowed to interfere with intra-party squabbles unless there is a compelling state interest to do so," said Judge Ronald Israel at a hearing this morning.

He added the court's interference would also be premature, given that the convention hasn't yet taken place and there's still an option that would allow convention goers to bring the issue up before the body of the convention.

So if Sanders supporters had been seated they would have had a small majority, could have ran for party leadership and could and would have thrown the current leadership out. That gives the establishment plenty of reason to keep power over who is seated.

by fjallstrom on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 04:20:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure we've all done it - those of us who were ever active in politics - even student politics: packed a meeting with our supporters in order to vote into office our people and take over an organisation which we may have had little involvement with previously.  Hardly surprising that those who have run the organisation for years and who are heavily invested in it should fight back using every procedural ruse at their disposal to try to thwart the coup attempt.

My only point is that Sander's shouldn't have become personally involved and raised a local issue with minimal national impact into a national one  which could damage the very party he hopes to lead.  It's only going to unite Dem. party establishments in every state even more firmly against him, at the very time he needs to loosen their pre-existing alliances in the hope of gaining at least a few more converts.

If he campaigns as an outsider, he will be treated as one. If he wants to lead an insurgency against party establishments, don't whine when they won't support him.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 04:39:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is clear that Sanders has already won the battle for the future direction of the Democratic Party. By 2020 a majority of Democrats under 50 will almost certainly support a Sanders like agenda and new party members will have made their presence felt.

But, if by 2018 it becomes clear that the party incumbents are uniting to reject any challenge to the neo-liberalism of the present Clintonian Democrats, that could result in a third party arising as a home for those insisting on change. I would expect that, in a relatively short time, that third party would merge with the remnants of the Democrats who have not joined the Republicans. I would hate to see the legacy of FDR discarded by those who now call themselves Democrats. And I would much rather see the Clintonian period of the Democratic Party come to be seen as an aberration.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 09:37:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank:
My only point is that Sander's shouldn't have become personally involved and raised a local issue with minimal national impact into a national one  which could damage the very party he hopes to lead.  It's only going to unite Dem. party establishments in every state even more firmly against him, at the very time he needs to loosen their pre-existing alliances in the hope of gaining at least a few more converts.

This raises questions. First, who is the party, the leadership or the registered members? At this point we have the leadership telling the base what they ought to think and do while large portions are not buying it. But it is even more serious when we look at the differences in the support and funding of the current establishment vs. the challengers. The DNC is allied with their big donors and carries their water. That is rejected by an increasingly large portion of the base. This is further complicated by the fact that so much of the present, highly concentrated mass media is owned by the same people who are large donors to the R/D Duopoly. And then the life trajectories of current elites, including the Clintons, are strongly tied to the future rewards they anticipate from being faithful servants of their donors. They will indeed fight like Hell to hold on. But there is a legitimate question as to the moral worth of that action.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 09:51:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not making moral judgements here, or even political ones, merely observing the sociological realities of organisational dynamics. If you choose to challenge state party leaderships, whingeing when they fight back hardly enhances your cause. If your ultimate aim is to lead the party into a successful general election, you need to ultimately get the vast  bulk of the party - leadership and rank and file - on your side. If your starting point is that the party is basically an immoral amalgam of illegitimate special interests, careerist politicians, and stupid dupes who don't realise what's going on, don't be surprised when they aren't quick to rally to your side.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 07:34:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree with what you have just said. How many of Sanders' supporters agree is a possible question. But my points have been directed to the deliberate misrepresentation of virtually everything regarding the reaction and the basis for that reaction by said supporters in the mainstream media.

Whether or not the effort by progressives to change the direction of the Democratic Party are successful or not things are going to get ugly. If they are not successful, then 'the model', neo-liberalism, will continue to fail and the consequences will become increasingly dire. If they are it MAY be possible to begin to change course. If a sane, reality based course is chosen politics, domestic prosperity, the climate and sustainability can be achieved. But this will require that substantial amounts of power be removed from many current economic elites and that governments become much more directly involved in generating solutions to these problems.

So you can abstain from moral judgements if you don't care about the fate of future generations. To me it is an easy choice.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 10:24:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not convinced that Sanders is morally superior to Hillary, even though I much prefer his policy positions and priorities. As a matter of practical politics, I'm also not convinced he is likely to be more effective than Hillary, partly because we have never seen him in a senior executive position. But my biggest concern is that I don't know how he will stand up to the right wing media wurlitzer, which will make what happened in Nevada seem like very small potatoes indeed; whereas Hillary has been through that mill for many years now, and there is probably little new they can throw at her.

The other, more general point I would make is that a successful administration is made up of a coalition of many elements - the Cabinet, key advisors, more junior policy development positions, Congress, the Military and foreign policy establishment, and yes, a critical mass of special interests sufficient to overcome the absolute opposition of other special interests.

One special interest is not necessarily morally superior to another one - both are acting, broadly, in their own self interest.  What is important is the degree to which their self interest is congruent with the broader public interest Thus does a candidate support the Oil, gas & Coal lobby or the renewable energy lobby? Are they closely aligned with the Zionist lobby or with a broader humanitarian one? Are their main backers high tech or rust belt industrialists? Are they more likely to be supportive of the interests of high finance or or the consumer lobby? Are they more supportive of public or private healthcare? Of Unions or Chambers of Commerce? Are they ideologically more pre-disposed to market solutions or public state ones?

Sanders is interesting because he has built a broad coalition of ordinary folk not necessarily closely aligned with the big players in the above special interest groups and has, broadly, made the right choices, in my view, of which to support at the expense of the others. I would love to see him and his supporters in very powerful and influential positions in any new administration. I'm just not convinced he has the ability to lead the whole show.  He doesn't have enough allies in sufficient places that matter.

Hillary, in my view, would have the greater capability to do so.  I'm just not convinced to what degree she would actually want to do so. But don't forget you were also pleasantly surprised by Obama. Booman has a post up which argues that she has Wall Street over a barrel rather than the other way around. That may be wishful thinking. But I do recoil at the imputation of motives to her that are entirely venal.  I don't see that as evidenced any more than I see the imputation of near saint-hood qualities in Sanders as being evidenced.  If anything, we have less of a fix on his moral qualities...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 02:03:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't referring to the personal morality of either candidate, though I think there are significant differences. I am referring to the morality of trying to change 'the model' we are using. My biggest problem with Hillary is that I don't think she will even try. She will make cosmetic changes around the margins so she can claim to have made things better, and her supporters will expect that. But I have grave doubts that she will initiate any fundamental change or even work towards laying the groundwork for such change by a future administration.

I agree that it will be difficult for a Sanders administration to make fundamental change, but I have no doubt Sanders will do all he can, and that is all I or anyone can ask. For starters he can actually enforce the law on the financial sector. The last time that was done was during the S & L crisis back in the '80s and early '90s when Bill Black was involved.

The other big issue is changing the commonly accepted understanding of how money and banking works and what are the use of fiscal policy by the government can and should accomplish.  That requires obtaining a Democratic House, which I think is more likely with Sanders than with Hillary, but also increasing the numbers of progressives in the House. There are plenty of common sense arguments that can sway public opinion short of a complete reeducation of the public on matters economic, and this is where I would expect Sanders to start. And, importantly, a Sanders Administration would have numerous MMT proponents in government who could start changing the narrative with every interview they give to the media and every public speech they make. This I also expect not to happen under Hillary.

So, it boils down to this question: Can we afford to continue with the status quo for four, likely eight, more years, or do we need to start on everything that needs doing as fast as we can starting in 2017? I don't know the answer to the first question, but I am pretty sure urgency on both the economy and the environment are clearly in order. 2050 is only 34 years away and things could be really bad by then. But our elites can always blame Satin.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 02:45:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I presume Satin is some kind amalgam of Satan and Putin! :-)  No I don't think we can afford the status quo of the gridlock of the past 6 years for the next 4 or 8.  But the key to changing that is to achieve a Dem Congressional majority and moreover one with a strong progressive edge which will not tolerate a return to triangulation.

The best way of achieving that is to ensure that both the Clinton and Sanders wings of the party work together which is why I am less than tolerant of those actions which make that prospect more difficult to achieve. Strangely, I see the achievement of an effective Congressional majority as more important than the persona of the President herself...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 05:00:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I share your desideratum of a Democratic House with more progressives. I believe it is more likely with Sanders at the top of the ticket, even though that now seems highly improbable. I don't think any thing that the Sanders supporters do will much affect that goal so long as most of them will at least vote for the down ticket House members, even if they are Blue Dogs. It does really matter who hold the Speakership.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 05:27:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Sanders had been doing well from January forward, the whole tenor of his campaign would be better now, and this might have been possible.

But he didn't, and things inside his campaign and with his supporters have gotten uglier and uglier.  Building a bubble of positive thinking and denial does not help one's real-world effectiveness.  

Now, if he somehow miraculously turned things around and won the nomination, I would suspect an epic flameout is more likely than a resounding victory.

by Zwackus on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 06:30:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i doubt that any of this will really matter. Hopefully, most Sanders supporters will at least bring themselves to vote for any progressive candidate that is on their ballot in November and Trump is now in the midst of showing that he can out crazy the craziest of Republican far right fanatics. Even Hillary will be likely to run the table and Trump might well lose worse than Goldwater. I had expected him to go after the independents, but he is busily spraying himself with  repellent for all but foamers. I can only hope he keeps it up.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 07:39:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" Even Hillary will be likely to run the table and Trump might well lose worse than Goldwater."

I hope you're right. That has been my belief all along, but then, as I don't live in the USA, I am always in danger of drawing on too narrow a dataset of facts and opinions...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 08:15:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I think Drew J. Jones and ATinNM both agree.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 21st, 2016 at 07:16:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, this exactly.  
by Zwackus on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 06:28:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Achieving a Democratic House will be a great plus for the economy, as it will enable at least some sane fiscal policy to be implemented, which will help greatly. But it won't deal with the greatest problem - returning the rule of law to the financial sector. I could be surprised and find that Hillary appoints an Attorney General who really goes after financial and control fraud. If so I will gladly eat my words, but it is not what I expect.

Given that the financial sector is currently acting like a 30% VAT on the real economy, it is important that it be put back in the box FDR had built for it - preferably a greatly improved box suitable to the changed circumstances. Note that well over half of the wealth extracted from the real economy by the fiancial sector is lost for many years by being tied up in offshore havens or in overpriced assets. Cutting finance back to what it was in 1980 even would be a massive stimulus to the US economy.
 

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 08:03:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What has prevented Obama from acting more decisively in this regard, especially in his second term when no longer dependent on Wall Street donations? Is your argument that he has been ideologically captured?

Or has he simply taken the pragmatic view that prosecuting a few banksters is uncertain of success, unlikely to change much in the real economy, and if anything, more likely to hinder economic recovery by propagating the meme that his administration is anti-business?  The EU experience of prosecuting banksters is even more anaemic, if anything...

FWIW my experiencing of working in an (EU headquartered) non-financial global multinational is that they were quite scrupulous about obeying the law in all lands they operated in. They might lobby for laws more favourable to their business, but would never countenance actual law breaking. They were also quite in favour of strict enforcement of what regulations did exist, as allowing others to flout the law would place them at a competitive disadvantage.

Outsiders frequently view big business lobbies as one coherent organisation, whereas in practice there can be fierce competition between businesses, and fierce resentments stirred up if a competitor is seen as having gotten away with some infringements as this places the whole industry in disrepute as well as "unfairly" advantaging the miscreants.

Thus I am not convinced that the financial sector as a whole would have a problem with the strict enforcement of existing regulations (such as they are) or with the severe punishment of those who flout them.  In fact there could be considerable frustration at the lack of enforcement.  

But then again, US big business could be very different. Senior US businessmen operating in Europe frequently had the reputation of being very right wing, very doctrinaire in their approach, not very culturally sensitive, very egotistical, and often not very bright.  But I digress...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 08:41:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank:
What has prevented Obama from acting more decisively in this regard, especially in his second term when no longer dependent on Wall Street donations? Is your argument that he has been ideologically captured?

Yes! Ideologically AND aspirationally captured since childhood. His grandmother, a good woman, was a bank executive and that set his immediate predisposition. His education likely taught him that the path to success in the USA was through serving the needs of the wealthy, at least in part, and then he was virtually adopted as a young community activist on the south side of Chicago by the Pritzker family.

He facilitated the Pritzkers making hundreds of millions of dollars via 'redevelopment' of federal housing projects in south Chicago and adjoining cities. That resulted in the ouster of many longtime black community members who could no longer afford to live in the area. But he became known to the very upper class in Chicago and this paved the way for his political career in Ilinois state politics and then in national politics. And Penny Pritzker got to be Secretary of Commerce.

All through his '08 presidential bid, once he emerged as a viable candidate, he was on the phone weekly to financial sector CEOs such as Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, etc. and as soon as Bear Stern raised its bloody spectre he was assuring them that he would be there for them in a crisis if he were the president.

He could easily have ordered investigations and prosecutions for control fraud that would have led to such notables as Jon Paulson of Abacus fame and Alec Litowitz, head of Magnetar Capital of the famous Magnetar Trade. Both were the subject of SEC investigations and snactions, really slaps on the wrist. Instead we got 'regulatory forbearance' on the dubious theory that prosecuting financial criminals would further destabilize Wall Street.

Naturally, when control fraud has become the business model and rule of law no longer applies to certain people, enforcing the law will destabilize that situation. But the end result would be a much healthier economy. And that is the essence of my objection to Obama. A former professor of contitutional Law at the University of Chicago has presided over the destruction of the rule of law in US finance.

Even if all of this comes out, prosecutions result in convictions and all the gory details in lurid detail present in newspapers of record, Obama will have made out like a champ. Even if there is a cloud over his legacy, his family will forever be a part of the elite, he will have a Presidential Library that will probably outshine Clinton's, he and Michelle will retire as multimillionaires and philanthropists and his children will benefit from his legacy. And he is counting on all of this.

If you wish I can later add links to the above claims, but now need to get out to my garden before I lose the day.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 21st, 2016 at 10:16:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think some of your comments have impugned Hillary's morality, and I'm just not convinced Sanders has an edge on her there. I prefer most of his policy positions, not much else.  I'm also concerned that many progressives impugning her character are taking their cue from and carrying water for the right wing media wurlitzer. Finally, and as a general observation, I find that people who impugn their opponents characters are often guilty of the very character flaws they project onto their opponents... although I would hesitate to apply that observation onto anyone here!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 06:50:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Iraq war was one of, if not the biggest crime against humanity in my lifetime. Shouldn't that settle the morality question? Beyond any consideration of balance of forces, saying no to blatant wars of aggression is the very minimum I expect. If I can't call her evil for falling short on that very basic measure then the word has outlived its usefulness.
by generic on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 07:08:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair point, but she has the excuse of having been misled by the Bush Administration's assertion of conclusive evidence of weapons of mass destruction being in Saddam's hands. Also, as you may recall, many progressives wanted to see the back of Saddam for his dictatorial ways, torturing opponents and using poison gas on his own people. If the USA had simply toppled Saddam, organised democratic elections, and left, the invasion might have been morally defensible, if politically naive.

I think the bigger problem with Clinton and most mainstream Democrats is that they are determined never to be blind-sided by Republicans on National Security.  Remember, it was JFK and LBJ who escalated the Vietnam war. Given that the Invasion of Iraq was happening anyway, Clinton probably felt that voting for it would change nothing in practice but would secure her right flank from accusations of a lack of Patriotism whilst US Troops were under enemy fire.

It was, of course, the biggest mistake of her career and the main reason Obama beat her last time around and one of the main reasons Sanders has been so successful this year. I can also see why it has resulted in many (most?) progressives seeing her as (at best) unprincipled in her approach to politics. She provided aid and comfort to the Bush regime at a time when progressives opposed to the war were at their most beleaguered.

In her world view, a vote against the war at that stage ran the risk of marginalising her in US politics for ever more for no tangible benefit in terms of stopping the invasion.  She clearly didn't anticipate the monumental fuck-up the Bush regime would make of the war, and most progressives have doubted her judgement ever since.   But (in my view), it is not progressives who will determine the result of the next Presidential Election: they will however determine the margin of her victory, the degree to which Democrats can control Congress, and the general policy direction of her administration. That is, if they can hold their noses and vote for her in the first place.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 07:49:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair point, but she has the excuse of having been misled by the Bush Administration's assertion of conclusive evidence of weapons of mass destruction being in Saddam's hands.

Nah. If you are mislead into killing 100k people you don't go to the guy's parties afterwards for a hugout.

And more importantly: Not only should everyone in politics notice the PR waving off the selling pitch. No, even if Saddam had WMDs that is in no way or form a valid Casus Belly. Burning down a country because it could at some point do you serious harm is not defensible.
The problem with a nuclear first strike against the USSR was not just that it might not have worked. This is just the same on a smaller scale.

by generic on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 08:02:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Millions and millions of Americans, even liberal ones, politicians or ordinary Joes & Janes were mislead in exactly the same way. Does it make Hillary stand-out as particularly evil?
Cos' it looks to me like she has a lot of company.
by Bernard on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 09:43:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apples and oranges. Those who voted were among the most informed and knowledgeable in the USA. I expect that well over half of the Republicans suspected that the 'evidence' had been cooked. CIA analysts who were outraged by the distortion had almost certainly talked to many members and staffers off the record and there was plenty of contrary opinion in the press from former insiders casting doubt on these claims. Colin Powel and his top aides knew that the 'evidence' he put into the record was, at best, questionable. For him, for Hillary, for Barrack and for everyone the decision of the vote was based on far more than just the credibility of the 'evidence'. The 'evidence' was just a tissue of cover for what the administration wanted to do and most understood this to some degree. Some wanted to invade and they were fine with whatever it took to 'do the right thing' and be 'real men'. Most were concerned about the immediate political cost of opposing the administration on this issue. A few were more concerned about the long term consequences than the immediate political cost, Bernie and Barrack were among them, Hillary was not.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 12:40:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My point is not that this makes Hillalry 'evil'. My point is that it shows her to value operational factors over principle. To me that is a character weakness I would prefer not to see in a potential president. But we don't always have a clear choice. That is what makes the present situation so painful. Between Sanders and Clinton there is a significant difference on this very subject and we are making, IMO, the wrong choice.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 12:44:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For me it means H. Clinton does not question, does not think of the long or medium term, but will always do the immediate convenient.  That has been a failing of Democratic politicians in general as evidenced by Presidents B. Clinton and Obama.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 01:17:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is more a case of those at the top of their respective political trees choosing which battles to fight and which ones to avoid because the risk reward ratio ain't great.  For relative outsiders like Bernie the risks are much lesser - they have less to lose - and the possible rewards are much greater.  It depends on where you are trying to build your constituency - in the centre or on the left of the party. Vermont, being relatively liberal, tends to reward those further to the left of the spectrum. Hillary was trying to build a constituency right across the country and had less room for manoeuvre.  Of course Bush screwed up so royally that the whole Dem party moved to the left in Bernie's direction leaving the tide at a low ebb for Hillary.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 02:12:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The fact that this year has been the most favorable in four decades for a progressive/sociallist agenda should not diminish his accomplishment, such as it is, or his integrity and 40 year consistency of belief and advocacy. Thankfully, there was at least one politician willing and able to rise to this occasion. Hopefully, he will have shown the way for many more over the next two, four, six and eight years.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 04:22:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Millions of Americans don't have the experience of working in the WH and having high level access. In this position you really should know how a sales pitch looks like.
Of course millions have been tricked. The method was tried and true. You tell the people they have been attacked and now it is time to rally around the flag. Worked in my grandparents time. Never really got the chance to talk with them about it. I hear my grandfather was a strong opponent but then afterwards everyone was in the resistance. And I think we shouldn't forget the attacked part because it so seldom gets brought up. Anyone remember the Anthrax letters that by all accounts were sourced from US weapon stocks?
So it is quite natural that the government got its population behind its war, however it doesn't follow that they were individually entirely blameless. Just as my grandparents weren't entirely blameless.
More importantly how many of those millions are running for high office on their experience? Sure, as you say at the time it was politically difficult to do anything else. But does "I killed them to further my career" really sound like a good excuse to you?
And that discounts her later position on interventions by military force. Singular because as far as I know she was for all of them.
by generic on Mon May 23rd, 2016 at 04:16:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't know about the USA, but in Ireland, funerals are places where weapons and enmities are left at the door. You are expected to be at least polite, if not openly welcoming and sympathetic.  As for US foreign policy the majority would be even more belligerent, I suspect. Other than the isolationists, Obama stands out for his failure to actually invade anywhere - although he came close in Libya.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 11:22:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
Other than the isolationists, Obama stands out for his failure to actually invade anywhere - although he came close in Libya.
Don't worry: Sarkozy was eager to pick this one up.
by Bernard on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 11:50:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I can't call her evil for falling short on that very basic measure then the word has outlived its usefulness.

At the very least it makes her highly suspect morally. IMO she always places political expediency at the top of her priority list. I doubt she really understands why anyone smart would do anything else. Ever.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 08:16:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And then it becomes the main task of progressives to ensure that it becomes politically expedient for her to appoint progressives to powerful positions, and to pursue progressive priorities and policies.

The Blue dogs have tended to control how far Democratic Presidents can go in pursuing progressive policies.  But what if they progressive caucus were to outnumber the Blue dogs, or even failing that, if they held the balance of power and voted down any Hillary proposals not to their liking?

Hillary would then be faced with a choice: look for Republican backing for her proposals, or accept that it is progressives who hold the balance of power and who must be appeased.

It seems unlikely that Republicans would ever support any of her proposals, which leaves her with only one choice...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 08:54:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US Progressives lack political power to accomplish anything if the president isn't a Democrat.  They lack the political will to oppose the president if he is a Democrat.  Thus they can and are ignored.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 01:20:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Past time for the worm to turn.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 04:24:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When it's from the right it's a Wurlitzer, when from the left it's righteous indignation. ;)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 21st, 2016 at 02:49:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But don't forget you were also pleasantly surprised by Obama.

Funny, I vividly recall being bitterly disappointed in him by the summer of '09 when it became clear he was going to do virtually nothing about cleaning up the financial sector. Then about him so resolutely tamping down any possibility of a single payer form of Medicare reform and sticking us with a giant gift to the medical insurance industry and big pharma. And I was disappointed that, after the campaign, he simply turned his campaign machine off rather than having a continuing campaign to help enact his agenda as he had implied he would do. Those things, IMO, contributed to the Democrat's loss of the House in 2010 and I always have thought he preferred it that way.

I had given him the benefit of the doubt until then although I only supported him after he won the nomination. I didn't trust his vague rhetoric, with good reason, as it turned out. And I voted for him again in 2012. He was far preferable to Romney - a low bar.

But I did and do still like the way he has handled foreign policy, his major strength as president, IMO. And I cannot help but like the man in so many ways. He is such a relief after the odious GWB.

I have said that I would be happy to be pleasantly surprised by Hillary, even though I doubt it on all of the things I feel are most important. Thus she has a lot of room to surprise me.

I would note in closing that Robert Reich, always a voice of sanity, in his recent FB post on what Sanders Supporters should do now even endorsed the formation of a third party after 2016 as a way to force change on the Democrats for the sake of the nation and world:

3. Never, ever give up fighting against the increasing concentration of wealth and power at the top, which is undermining our democracy and distorting our economy. That means, if Hillary Clinton is elected, I urge you to turn Bernie's campaign into a movement - even a third party - to influence elections at the state level in 2018 and the presidency in 2020. No movement to change the allocation of power succeeds easily or quickly. We are in this for the long haul.
 

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 21st, 2016 at 12:41:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah like getting arrested for noble causes, studying politics as Senate outsider for decades before seeing his moment, mostly voting well, (if somewhat cagily and equivocally on occasion. You want perfection maybe? That ain't chopped liver.
That's colours nailed pretty firmly to mast, wouldn't you say?
Metaphor salad.. for side dish. :)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 21st, 2016 at 02:55:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not convinced that Sanders is morally superior to Hillary.

I don't think Sanders is a saint, but he might as well be in comparison to most of his peers in the Senate and in Congress. Now let me be clear, I consider personal integrity and a strong desire for justice for all, and a sense that one is impelled to act on such principles as being morally superior to just doing what ever is most expedient for your immediate needs. Of people currently active in US national politics I would place Sanders at the top and Trump tied with Cruz for the bottom of that scale. Would you say they are all of equivalent moral worth? I would place Hillary in the middle, perhaps a bit below the mean. How would you rate her? By the way, I would rate Ron Paul at least halfway between the mean and the top, regardless of what I think of his politics.
 

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 21st, 2016 at 07:35:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Before drawing any final conclusions about the Nevada Democratic Convention read this first hand report by a seasoned observer:

Allegations of Fraud and Misconduct
at Nevada Democratic Convention

Accepting the mainstream media's first take on this event has badly distorted perceptions of Sanders supporters. Just what the Clinton campaign needs.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 09:55:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank, will you please ping me at my ET listed link? I have an admin related question to discuss. That link actually works.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 05:22:32 PM EST
A letter to the editor posted to the Sacramento Bee recently:

  Re "A selfless Sanders is our only hope":  At least The Bee states that the column was opinion and not a news article. It is an opinion that reflects the bias of The Bee's editorial board.
  Unfortunately, the same statements can be heard throughout the biased media - that the prospect of living under Trump is absolutely terrifying. Where is the evidence?  There is none. When I look back over the years of "The Apprentice," I see contestants of all types: gays, females, Latinos, blacks, foreigners, atheists, Christians, Jews, and winners of all types.(?)
  I have seen no evidence of the phobias or biases expressed by this opinion. The only phobia evidenced in the article is Trump-phobia, and it seems to be epidemic among liberals.

Just another asshole in Shingle Springs ... 40 miles east of Sac, dominated by Repubs.

My point?  If this reflects the opinion of Repubs in a fairly sane, fairly informed state (CA), what the fuck is in the heads of Repubs in the rest of the continent?

 If this is the yardstick for Prez, I want Jack Nicholson ... his character in The Shining and as The Joker in the Batman movie ... that gets my vote.  Trump is a wuss by comparison.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat May 21st, 2016 at 07:18:11 AM EST
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jun 1st, 2016 at 02:01:16 PM EST
We have enough time to rationalize to ourselves that Trump is inevitable.
by das monde on Wed Jun 1st, 2016 at 04:18:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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