The Beginning of the Trump Years

And for this one I’ll use the Q&A format I’d used in some earlier pieces about the incoming Trump administration.

I knew you’d be back!

Yes, fine. Let’s get to it.

How do you feel about Trump taking office on Friday?

I’m sort of relieved.

Bwuh?

Look, we’ve known this day was coming for two and a half months and in all the time people have maintained a certain level of freakout I’ve ultimately found wearying. I’m pretty much like: He’s going to be president? Fine, let’s get to it, because this waiting shit is boring the fuck out of me. I mean, we’re gonna fight, yeah? Then let’s fight, already.

What do you think will happen?

To the extent that the Trump administration has a strategy at all, which is honestly an open question, I think it will be a hundred-day dash to gut the infrastructure of government in the hopes of overwhelming everyone who would complain — a sort of Gish Gallop of bad governance, if you will.

Will it work?

It might! I think a lot of people opposed to the Trump administration are still in oh shit oh shit oh shit mode, as opposed to fuck you, let’s do this thing mode. Trump and his agglomerated assemblage of assholes are hoping the left (which in this case would include large swaths of the middle) are still shell-shocked and/or content to be a circular firing squad rather than focusing fire on them. On the other hand, those marches on Saturday are a very nice declaration of intent, and people certainly seem to be burning up their congresspeople’s phones. So we’ll see.

Be that as it may, Trump will be president and his administration will basically get to make all the opening moves. That’s what happens when you win the presidency. No matter what, some damage will be done. People are going to have to push back against that damage, not move forward with other things.

And how do you feel about that?

I mean, it is what it is. Trump won the presidency. He’s an incompetent. There’s nothing to be done about that now, so we have to get on with keeping the damage to a bare minimum. I don’t feel good about that, but I don’t feel bad about making the decision that for the next few years, some portion of my life will be spent loudly opposing bad governance and pissant authoritarianism. In fact, I feel just fine about that. I would be ashamed to do otherwise.

What would you say to the people who are still in oh shit oh shit oh shit mode? 

Leaving aside the folks who are genuinely depressed and focusing on the ones who are just merely wringing their hands at this point: Time to get over that shit now. I think there’s still a bit of a “somebody do something” mentality, in which the hand-wringers are somewhat passively hoping someone else will solve this problem.

Thing is: There is no someone else. No one is coming to save us from Trump and his merry band of egregious nincompoops. If there is saving to be done, it comes from us, or not at all. Be the “someone else” you want to see in this world. Because otherwise you’re leaving it to the horde of racists and bigots following in Trump’s wake. And that’s not acceptable.

At the very least, if you can’t get out of oh shit oh shit oh shit mode, then make goddamn sure you’re not making things harder for the people who are stepping up. I think it’s time to realize that we’re in a “perfect is the enemy of good” situation.

What do you mean?

Well, for example, right about now there are a lot of politically and socially conservative folks who are aghast at the fact of a Trump presidency and who recognize that he represents a clear danger to the Republic. What do I think about these conservatives, who I might otherwise have almost no political overlap with? I think: Hello, ally. In this fight and in this moment they and I have a common goal — making sure our system of governance isn’t completely tubed by an insecure vulgarian — and I’m okay with focusing on that goal right now. After that’s done, then we can get back to yelling at each other on every other topic. Heck, we can yell at each other while we focus on our common goal! They are important topics. But holding the line against Trump is more important.

Hello I am a Trump supporter!

Yes?

Isn’t it possible that Trump could be a good president and bring back jobs and make people happy and be popular?

Sure, although bluntly there’s nothing he’s done since the election that indicates that. Yelling at businesses on Twitter isn’t ultimately likely to be a viable domestic strategy, and so far his foreign strategy is to goatse himself so that Vladimir Putin can slide his arm up to the pits and operate Trump’s mouth with his hand. Likewise his cabinet choices don’t inspire confidence; they largely either don’t seem to understand what job they’re up for, or they seem to approach the positions like they were corporate raiders, or both. Meanwhile, the GOP congress is beavering away at their plan to punt millions off of medical insurance immediately, and make it more difficult for everyone else to keep the insurance they have.

But, hey, as a member of the 1% at least I will get a big fat tax cut! Thanks, guys!

Now, Trump does seem to have a rudimentary jobs plan, which calls for building out the country’s infrastructure, and you know what? I think creating jobs by fixing our crumbling roads and bridges and such is a very fine idea, in principle. I don’t suspect that Trump’s version of it at the moment is that great — by all indications it’s mostly a call to the trough for corporations — but I will allow that a massive jobs bill, suitably tuned, could put him in good stead with the average voter.

Will this make him a good president? Not likely, unless other aspects of his administration (and his personality) changed greatly. But I’m not going to deny there are ways he can be popular, which for him might be enough.

So do you really think Trump is a puppet of Vladimir Putin?

No, if we’re talking like a Russian version of a Manchurian Candidate, or a captive of salacious pee videos. But do I think Russia (under Putin’s orders) went all in to attempt to influence the election, and Putin, who is manifestly smarter and more manipulative than Trump, is happy to flatter the incoming president and maneuver him in such away that Trump’s own predilections, in terms of personality and temperament, serve his needs. Trump is being used by Putin, certainly. And I also think it’s likely that Trump’s own self-interest, which includes lots of Russian money flowing through his properties and accounts, is inclining him toward Russia and Putin.

Note well this is bad enough — in my opinion we have an incoming president who seems prepared to severely hobble our alliances because of his own personal financial interests, and has picked for his cabinet several people with similar issues. The technical term for such a situation is “a real shitshow.”

Is it treason? Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh, I don’t think so? But I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if eventually it becomes the core of an impeachment proceeding.

(Update: And then there’s this, which if anything comes of it, does not look great for Trump.)

Hello I am not a Trump supporter!

Yes?

How do I oppose him? 

That’s up to you. For myself, I’m planning to give a whole lot of money (possibly from that tax cut I will now almost certainly get) to organizations that will gum up the works for the Trump administration and/or help to protect people who his administration will put at risk (pretty much anyone who is not a well-off straight white person), and do a lot of writing, because rumor is, I have an audience. There are other things I’m considering as well.

For other folks, aside from giving money, calling representatives and protesting and volunteering and voting for fuck’s sake and making sure everyone you know is registered and votes too all help. One suggestion I’d offer people is not to spread yourself too thin — per above I think the Trump administration is going to make pushes into all sorts of areas: Free speech, women’s health, public education, minority voting, LGBT+ rights and so on. They want you to be dazed and thinking there’s too much to focus on. Pick one as your main focus and drill down on it, hard. Others will take up the other categories. Help them when you can but push hard on the one area you know and care most about. If enough people do that, everything will get covered and energy won’t dissipate. It’s going to be a long four years. Best to keep focus.

Okay, seriously, what do you think is going to happen in the next four years?

I have no idea. But I know a couple of things. One, where I stand, and with whom. It’s not with racists and bigots and the people who would hurt the lives of others just for a goddamned tax cut. I don’t believe every Trump voter intended to enable racists and bigots and the greedy (even if that’s what they ended up doing), and I think in time some of them will regret their vote. At this point, I’ll take regret over a double-down, and welcome them when and if that happens. And in the meantime, I’m happy with where I’m standing.

Two, you know what, if I’m going to resist for the next four years, I’m gonna have fun doing it. I mean, come on: Thumping on racists and bigots and greedy assholes, and shoving sticks into the spokes of their shitty little plans? That’s holy work, that is, and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it. Opposing Trump and his pals is serious business, but I think if you can approach the work with some joy, it will help. I’m going to take pleasure in sticking up for my country. I hope you will, too.

So let’s get to it.

(P.S.: Today I’ve also written about the end of the Obama years, here.)

145 thoughts on “The Beginning of the Trump Years

  1. Now, Trump does seem to have a rudimentary jobs plan, which calls for building out the country’s infrastructure

    That’s literally all there is to the “plan”. It’s a slogan, like everything else about Trump that he can attach his name to and have others do the work. Think about it. This is exactly what he does – he finds projects that need branding and he brands them with his name. Of course, his name is only good for certain people and his brand is sort of sleazy, so he attracts groups like “trump university”.

    Oh, and he also attracted a group called “Trump Vitamins” for which you had to send a sample of your urine in to be analyzed so you could get customized vitamins. The whole thing was a con game, like so much Trump branded. They didn’t analyse anything. They just…

    wanted…

    to collect pee?

    HEY WAITAMINUTE!

  2. Re: your suggestion not to spread too thin and to dive deep on a specific issue, another direction that people can go is broad rather than deep. To do this, sign up for one of the many excellent weekly mailing lists going around (my favorites are Actions for Americans and Wall of Us, and there are also really good ones put out by various Indivisible groups and several other– we have a list of 5 on our activism tab) and just go through their list of actions each week.

    If you don’t have time to do meetings and protests etc, they can guide you in what the current issues are, who to call, and how to call. They do the research so your voice can be heard.

    I think both broad and deep are needed, and people with busy lives and not a whole lot of time can still help a lot with just 15 min a week.

  3. My prediction is that around the 2018 State Of the Union we will see the first true GOP opposition to some of his policies and actions. Not talking all out revolt or impeachment, they will still put party first before country. So that will never happen.

    But I do feel that they will start to see negative repercussions in their own districts and their campaigns will start to feel the pinch. So they will try to distance themselves from him in very small ways.

  4. Well, for example, right about now there are a lot of politically and socially conservative folks who are aghast at the fact of a Trump presidency and who recognize that he represents a clear danger to the Republic. What do I think about these conservatives, who I might otherwise have almost no political overlap with? I think: Hello, ally. In this fight and in this moment they and I have a common goal — making sure our system of governance isn’t completely tubed by an insecure vulgarian — and I’m okay with focusing on that goal right now. After that’s done, then we can get back to yelling at each other on every other topic. Heck, we can yell at each other while we focus on our common goal! They are important topics.

    I think there is a tendency to have circular firing squads in all humans and I’m afraid there’s going to be harmful fallout from that (one of them may be Cory Booker, where I don’t quite understand the problem of his voting against one drug pricing amendment and voting for a very similar one).

    Coalition building does not seem to be a skill held in esteem by the extremists on the right or the left.

  5. I’ll be honest: it’s not so much that I’m afraid of Trump climbing into the Big Chair. I’m more irritated by all the time that’s been wasted (and will be wasted) on petty partisan BS instead of our government doing useful, helpful things, like they’re supposed to.

    I will also cop to also being annoyed by his blatantly obvious attempts at stacking his admin deck with the most Dickensian stereotypes ever. I’m still expecting him to add Milo and Shkreli in there somewhere.

    But yeah. It’s not the end of the world by a long shot. But it sure is going to be a big pain in the ass.

  6. “Isn’t it possible that Trump could be a good president and bring back jobs and make people happy and be popular?”

    Also, as I pointed out on a friend of a friend’s (FoaF) Facebook*, who had posted a ‘hey, liberals, stop wishing for Trump to fail’, one of the problems is that ‘A Good President’ means different things to different people, beyond some basics like ‘do not drive the economy into the toilet’ and ‘do not start nuclear wars’. More about ways to not be a bad president, since most people agree that economic depression and nuclear war are bad results.

    But this FoaF and I probably substantially disagree on the direction a Good President should take the country, so many of the changes that would make me happy and pleasantly surprised, would probably upset him and vice versa.

    I don’t think Trump can be a Good President for everyone at this point, even if he was actively trying. I don’t think Obama is seen as a Good President by everyone, despite the fact many people (including me) think he did an okay to great job.

    * I know, I should just hit the ‘hide post’ and move on.

  7. Likewise his cabinet choices don’t inspire confidence; they largely either don’t seem to understand what job they’re up for, or they seem to approach the positions like they were corporate raiders, or both.

    Are you sure you don’t have English blood in you, Scalzi, because that’s some powerful understatement. Because I’m a masochistic politics junkie, I’ve been following the confirmation hearings — which the GOP have been trying to truncate as far as possible, while keeping the questions on the level of “What’s your sign? And your favourite pizza topping?”

    Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos was typical, and would be hilarious if it wasn’t so damn serious. Even while being lobbed the softest of softballs, she made it painfully clear she has no grasp of education policy because her only political idea is gutting public education like a slutty cheerleader in a slasher flick. Oh, and we can’t ban guns from school because of the phantom menace of paedophile bears. Or something.

    @Icarus:

    Last question: how do I survive holiday gathering with the members of my family who support Trump?

    Know where ALL your exits are, and remember “No” is a complete sentence. If you’re hosting — I have a very simple, old school rule. Sex, religion and politics are not suitable topics of conversation at my table. If you don’t like that, there’s a Burger KIng half a mile down the road.

  8. Yelling at businesses on Twitter isn’t ultimately likely to be a viable domestic strategy, and so far his foreign strategy to goatse himself so that Vladimir Putin can slide his arm up to the pits and operate Trump’s mouth with his hand.”

    Sometimes your capacity for painting a picture is a bit too… uh.. focused. I’m going to take a shower now.

  9. I may do the focused approach. The shitshow is never-ending, and appalling to me in multiple ways, and I do fear for friends. The Gish Gallop is wearying and feels like you’re playing Whack-a-Mole; call your reps about X, then tomorrow Y suddenly appears, and is just as horrifying, and requires yet another call.

    But climate change is, I think, my focus, especially given some exceedingly worrying changes in Arctic and global sea ice extents.

  10. I definitely see a lot of the ‘oh shit’ happening. Within a few days after elections, I was ready to start planning and mitigating. However, most of the people I knew were in riot mode and thought I was heartless for getting ready to function.

  11. Focus, focus, focus, focus. One person can dig a foxhole. One person can spread concertina wire. One person can stand in front of a tank. But one person can’t do all three things at once.

    I build websites. During this resistance I will build sites for people with greater resources than I. And that’s my goal.

  12. One of the big differences between the left and right, at least in this country is our attitude toward a president of the opposing party. The right actively wants a democratic president to fail, the left hopes a right wing president does well. How do I feel about the donald, well he reminds me of every trust fund having, inherited wealth receiving, can you belief how I made it on my own delusion having a*hole I know. I live in the OC in California, I know lots of folks with inherited wealth, they run the gamut like any other group of people from nice folks to the truly delusional.

  13. @Becca, I think that stuff is really important actually! Even if you’re not convincing the FoaF, your words are reaching a lot of other eyes. This means you may convince some of them, or may make them think twice about saying stupid shit in public that may be challenged, and thereby generally elevate the discourse a bit.

  14. It important to remember the most basic thing any citizen/voter can do: regularly email/write/phone your representative to say firmly but politely “I did not like that statement you made/legislation you’re supporting/speech you gave and if you want my support (and my family’s) you’ll please change your vote.” This does work, if enough people do it. Most congressional reps are not front page names and do listen to voter feedback. This is especially important for Democratic reps because they need to get their shit together asap.

    Another thing to pay serious attention to is voting laws and voting restrictions. If there’s a voter registration effort in your area, then get behind it. Republicans aren’t even pretending anymore that voter fraud means anything but Democratic votes. Don’t let them get away with it.

    Also: keep in mind that we could be dealing with President Pence in 12 to 18 months. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Trump doesn’t make it for the full term. Pence is no better and in some ways may be worse.

  15. There is no middle ground with Donald Trump. When he’s good, he’s very good. When he’s bad, he’s impressively awful. Some days I think giving the presidency to Trump is like giving a 16-year-old the keys to the family sedan and a bottle of whisky to go. Other days, I think Trump just might have the stones to implement major reforms. Either way, we shall see. . .

  16. The thing that terrifies me the most is that we’ll probably have even more attempts to subvert voting rights, and if he gets to load up SCOTUS before the mid-terms, we’re screwed.

    The other thing is that I still see people in the bargaining stage thinking that if we just somehow get rid of Trump himself, we’re OK. And while there will likely be slightly less risk of nuclear annihilation under Pence, all the rest of the ugliness is still going to be with us. The problem isn’t one man. It’s ~60 million voters who think the idea of stripping economic and political power from everyone who isn’t cishet, white, Christian and without disabilities is terrific, and another ~100 million who don’t give enough of a shit to bother voting.

    On a “what can we do?” level, though: I’ve long since given up on trying to change the minds of Republicans. Anyone still voting for that party under the current circumstances is consciously supporting everything it stands for, and if they can do that, there’s no changing them. The people we can change, though? The (mostly white and male) nitwits on the far left who think we should burn down the whole system and build a communist utopia on its ashes.

  17. Aren’t you afraid? I get that you, personally, aren’t afraid, John, but shouldn’t regular people be afraid? I’ve been afraid to speak out ever since election day. I’m a contractor, which technically means I’m a small-business owner, but it’s really just me. I’m terrified of alienating my clients if I speak out in public, because I can’t afford that. I’m terrified of calling my representatives because I’m afraid I’ll be on a reprisals list. I’m worried of repercussions to my family if I say anything. I’m terrified that a majority of the country thinks that this is OK now, that a country I thought I understood isn’t what I thought it was. I get that we’re supposed to have freedom of speech, but I don’t think that means anything anymore. I don’t want to fight; I want to run, but there’s no place to run to.

  18. “his foreign strategy to goatse himself so that Vladimir Putin can slide his arm up to the pits and operate Trump’s mouth with his hand.”

    So many ’90s flashbacks. I also shriek-laughed at the image, so thank you for your ever-vivid writing.

  19. @Shawna

    I dunno, there seems to be a growing group of them on Twitter who are coming to the horrified realization that the ACA (which they like) and Obamacare (which they hate and voted specifically to get it removed) are the same thing and that the GOP lied to them.

    While there’s some mileage in schadenfreude there, we’d probably do better by a kind “yes, they did. It’s not the only thing they’ve been lying about; would you like to talk?”

  20. @Icarus. Troll your Trump relatives. For example;talk about how great it is that Trump has so close a relationship to Russia, say that as a leftie it pleases you and it moves the case for nuclear disarmament ever closer. Find a cause your relatives like and talk about how great Trump is saying he is going to be about it by doing a left wing thing. He’s tweeted so much crap that you can pretty much cherry pick whatever you want and enthusiastically talk about how the supposed right wing party line is being fulfilled in a way that is very leftist.

    To everyone else, don’t talk about how much Trump appalls you. If you are on the left then chances are the thing that horrifies you is something righties really love. Talk about how their man Trump is doing something you love. Talk about how it is great he is putting restrictions on free trade by threatening tariffs against non-complying business and using the tax code for tracking. Rightists hate that sort of stuff, talk about it enthusiastically and using plenty of recognizable left wing jargon. Make them oppose Trump themselves by attacking him where the rightists in your family, friends, general social circle think the most of him. Remember they hate what you like and like what you hate. Some die hard rightwingers build their entire worldview around nothing other than hating whatever winds up the left. Literally nothing else (you can identify those by checking their browser history for Daily Mail links) and if you start praising it as a massive step forward for the left then they’ll begin to get itchy for hating on it just out of force of habit.

  21. Brian M, don’t let your fears overwhelm you. For example, only once when I’ve called a representative has anyone even asked for my name, and, honestly, they have no way of checking that the name I give them is correct, even if they do ask. Simply identifying yourself as a constituent in their district is sufficient 90% of the time.

    Caution is warranted – you probably don’t want to be mouthing off under your own name in unfamiliar public fora without a clear sense of what you’re trying to accomplish – but don’t let your fear overwhelm you such that you censor yourself and do that job for them.

  22. Addendum: I have been completely overwhelmed with wtf-itis since the election. Everything that comes across my news feed sounds horrifying. I’m subscribing to one, and only one, news feed about what to do about said news, and Wall of Us will be it. I will subscribe to only one feel good political website and that will be Good Black News. Why? Because that will help me maintain at least some small amount of hope.

  23. I’ve decided that it is not important what Trump says. It’s what he does. So far he has selected a theocrat for his running mate (not that everyone would see anything wrong with that) and a bunch of profiteers and other parasites for his cabinet. He persists in not understanding what a blind trust is AND he wants to hire relatives which is either illegal or against policy. I’d have to look it up. And he’s been convicted of fraud recently for fleecing people out of thousands of dollars for his fake university classes on how to be rich like him. So you know pretty presidential and a man of the people.

  24. Uh what? Trump isn’t the main problem here, at least domestically. He is merely the rubber stamp on the awful and destructive policies of the mainstream Republican party, which they are gleefully chasing as fast as possible (see: Obamacare, abolition of, abortion rights, removal of, SCOTUS picks, awful). Trump is merely the revolting garnish on top of a mountain of mainstream Republican bullshit. We all know that it’s going to be exploding deficits, massive national debt increases, and tax cuts to the rich from here until the end of the line.

    He’s a distraction at best, a carnival sideshow, that removes the focus from the real turds in the punchbowl – Paul Ryan, McConnell, Corker, and all the other “Fuck you, I’ve got mine” members of the GOP. In fact, he might even be a net benefit to the GOP, as they can blame the dumpster fire on Trump and say “not us, we’re not President”

    Now granted he has a big bully pulpit, but Congress is in charge of trade deals, so none of his protectionist stuff will get passed, and the owners of the GOP like NAFTA etc.

    Abroad, we’ll be in at least another 2 middle eastern wars (Iran, Syria) and possible one in southeast Asia (North Korea) which will kill thousands of US troops, maim thousands more, and achieve precisely nothing. And that will be entirely on Trump.

    It’ll be interesting how many Chiefs of Staff resign rather than follow the lawful but idiotic orders of the orange madman.

  25. “Perfect is the enemy of the good.” F’n a right. One thing the left needs to do to have a path forward is a)give trump supporters and conservatives an out in which they can oppose him and his policies without giving up their conservative identity, b), find common ground where we can work together without them having give up their conservative identity, and c), realize that sometimes politicians or policies are mostly good or good enough even if they aren’t awesome on our particular issue of choice (the ACA for example).

  26. .
    I don’t expect Trump to change. Those around him matter. Confirmation hearings matter. From Management Theory perspective: Good White House: a Cabinet-centric White House, as under Reagan, HW, Clinton – as opposed to a Bad White House, a red white and blue dictatorship, as under Little Bush, Barack, and they say that Nuclear Engineer Peanut Farmer Jimmy Carter (with whom I had a teacher in common) was so micromanaging that he personally scheduled the White House tennis court.

  27. For people who are more into twitter than email or want daily items rather than weekly, @decaro_nick is a great resource. He also seems to be doing a great job filtering out what’s true and what is just rumor, as well as providing the right contact information for people.

  28. I really like your thoughts. Holy work and have fun doing it, indeed!
    I do sense some discomfort, primarily because I’m not used to noticing typos in your work. (Such as well for while and missing “is” in your vivid foreign policy description.)

  29. Thanks for helping me breathe a bit. I’ve resolved to get my news from actual newspapers and pay for them, rather than getting sucked up in clickbait outrage-athons. It’s also time to get involved in local politics and support candidates’ campaigns for mid-term elections. I’m not going to let the Mule delay the Second Empire!

  30. Brian M:

    >I get that we’re supposed to have freedom of speech, but I don’t think that means anything anymore.

    I’ve been in the US on one visa or another for close to 25 years, with a few years off back in my home country trying to make that work. Its hard to get a green card unless you work for the same company for 5+ years, and the kind of work I do – I build data management systems – means I tend to get my work done and go looking for another employer pretty quickly. My wife is in the same position, and so when we see calls for marchers to protest the Trump immigration policy we know is coming, to wit “if you get a speeding ticket you’re out”, we’re both terrified to get involved.

    But we’re both Canadian, as working-class Scots-Irish as they come, with California accents that only get worse when we visit anywhere else. My great-grandfather was even a sheriff in North Dakota for a while, and our kids were born in northern California. But we are as American as anyone, and not by birth or an outdated grandfather clause: we’ve paid the taxes without being able to cast a vote, and we’ve contributed to our community anyway and been good neighbors. It appears now that our community needs us to also stand up and march along with everyone else who might get into trouble. Because while we might think we’re excluded, at the end of the day we won’t be. And you won’t be either.

    So I hear you. If I get arrested at a demo and sent to a detention facility I could be there for months. Perhaps it would be best to just lie down in the tall grass and wait for the lions to pass over. But I don’t have it in me; that’s the attitude that would have kept me in the old country. So you and I are going to have to figure out how to walk the line here, because if there is *anything* that defines an American, its determined bourgeoisie insouciance in the face of vicious and incompetent fascism.

  31. @ Ryan McCarty

    I’m a Canadian, and one thing I’ve done is contact every member of the federal cabinet to ask that our refugee legislation be amended so that members of the LGTBQ+ community facing persecution in the United States can be fast-tracked for admission to Canada. IMO, with Mike Pence as VP, that persecution is a question of when, not if; all that’s in question is how bad it will get.

  32. I’ve got cousins and friends who disagree with me politically, we do agree that you should be working for what you believe. Pick a cause, if you burn out, or find a better switch to a new cause. Stay active.

  33. Another key action that we need more of in all politics and not just American politics: get better people doing it! If you can’t imagine running yourself in four years, find someone you and others around you respect, and convince them to run. That’s how you get that swamp drained.

  34. @Katie “call your reps about X, then tomorrow Y suddenly appears, and is just as horrifying, and requires yet another call”
    My nana (may she rest) used to do this. I’m not kidding. She watched C-SPAN regularly, and would call her representatives *every day* regarding this vote or that confirmation or this debate or that comment made on the floor. It got to the point where the staffers knew her by voice (she had a unique voice, that helped). I hate phone calls, so I send faxes. They have the immediacy of email & phone calls, the hand-written personalization of a snail mail letter, and none of the awkwardness of a phone call. Few people send faxes to their reps, so it also carries novelty. My state senators & representative are firmly anti-trump (my rep isn’t going to the inauguration & will instead be marching in his district the next day, my senators are speaking out publicly against pretty much every cabinet nominee), but it still helps them to hear from constituents, particularly on issues like the ACA repeal, where they’re looking for peoples’ stories to read aloud during debates. Take 10 minutes, write a note or make a phone call during the morning cup of coffee. It really is something you can do every day.

  35. Everyone will be fine.

    Trump isn’t going to throw Granny out on the street or throw all the negroes in jail. He’s a businessman and a show man. He is going to find a few high profile abusers and he his going to make a very messy example of them as a warning to the rest in keeping with his ‘drain the swamp’ theme. He’s going to shake people up that need it, he will make others accountable, and he will try to instill responsibility in gov’t. Anyone that stands in the way of that will be crushed beneath his treads the same way Hillary was.

    Hate to rain on your parade kids but those of you with any sense will take the time to inform yourselves and give him time to prove himself. If you don’t – in six months you will find yourselves amongst the clueless laughing stalks like Rosie O’Donut. Trump and his team are ready for you, they’re smarter than you are and if you make yourselves a nuisance they will deal with you without a second thought.

    Just sayin’.

  36. No, Glenfilthie, you’re not “just sayin’ ” you’re being a condescending bag of dicks to those of us who’ve been playing close attention for a long time to what Trump and the people around him have been saying and doing. That’s not a smart play around these parts. Neither is macho posturing and implied threats.

    One other FYI, winning an election does mean you get one single minute of immunity from scrutiny, criticism or even mockery. If you don’t like that, I understand Moscow is lovely this time of year.

  37. Glenfilthie:
    Everyone will be fine.
    He his going to make a very messy example of [a few high profile abusers].
    [Trump and his team] will deal with you without a second thought.

    Logic and consistency are not your strong suits, are they?

  38. These thrree phrases describe the mental state of Trump’s most addle-headed and anti-social supporters: “mass-hypnotized”(he is a *very* good salesman,) “newspeak-speaking”, and groupthinking. It is important to understand your opponents before you can oppose them.

  39. [Deleted because we don’t have to go directly to the Nazis to register a complaint about someone’s comment. CartoonCoyote, you may try again with slightly less heat — JS]

  40. Thank you for saying clearly that we are past the wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth. As you point out, all of that is not productive, but it does detract from things that are.

  41. Glenfilthie: I reckon he’s given us all the ‘proof’ of himself that’s there to give. Have you NOT been paying any attention for the past year? Still waiting for the big ‘pivot’? Sad, boy, sad…

  42. Folks, lower the rhetorical temperature, please. Thank you.

    Jean:

    No, I don’t think he’s done anything in particular to earn that award. But it’s possible I have a very high bar.

  43. As I said in the other thread, the Trump Presidency leaves me feeling like a teenager again.

    I don’t want to feel like a teenager again. I was a teenager in the 19-fscking-80s, gods damn it! I spent my high school years constantly terrified today would be the day where the US President made one “joke” too many, and we would all be reduced to a small smear of radioactive ash on the buildings. It was not fun. And quite honestly, I don’t want anyone to be feeling that way.

    Given I’m also in Australia, which means my ability to successfully alter any of this is approximately zero (plus/minus some infinitesimal fraction of a percentage either way), it’s not a fun way to be. I’m also a broke Australian, which means yeah, nah, not happening mate! on any serious activism.

    I’ll keep up the What Went Right posts for as long as I can, though, because I do think we all need (and I need, in particular) to see that the world isn’t a vale of gloom and tears. There are positive things happening, and these things are being reported in the mainstream media, and if I can boost the signal on the positive stuff, even by a little bit, then I will. (If anyone finds stuff about “what went right” and leaves a link in the comments, I will be a very happy bunny!).

  44. Trump is in this for Trump. He will do what he needs to get what he wants, which in this case is likely to be financial support from Russia (and possibly China), since he can’t get money from anywhere else. I think he’s also personally a rabid racist (which he learned at his KKK-member Daddy’s knee) and sexist (because he views women as possessions and status symbols.) But he’s also perfectly happy to cater to the whims of the Randians and Dominionists if it means they’ll give him votes and unquestioning support.

    To that end, he’ll be perfectly happy to sign off on things like repealing any and all federal protections for women, queer folks, etc., and appoint SCOTUS justices that will gladly overturn Roe, Obergefell, Lawrence, etc. He’ll also be happy to strip all federal programs to make the hardcore Libertarians (Ryan, etc.) happy (while of course not taking a dime from military spending because we need to go invade all oil-producing countries and seize their resources.)

    If you don’t think Trump will do all this, you haven’t been paying attention.

  45. Hi all, a foreigner here who can’t do much directly.
    Crypticmirror had a few good ideas above.
    Others; –
    1. Go over the top. Be more demanding than the R voters – “Why no wall? Sad”. Yep, use sad all the time. Take his trademark off him. “Still not locked up, Sad”
    2. Resurrect the Death Panels. As the details of how ACA it will be repealed / replaced aren’t known yet talk up how death panels at the insurance companies will make decisions to deny everyone’s parents and grandparents health cover, unless they pay huge premiums.
    3. Video mashups. Mix and match video. “When I’m the President. You know this election is rigged don’t you?”
    4. And of course false news. Have you heard the one about people not being liable for state taxes unless they’re registered to vote?
    Have fun. if someone says something, keep reminding them they said it.

  46. As for resistance, ugh. Whats the point when the democratic party keeps putting people in charge based on having rich donor friends rather than having grass roots appeal? How the hell is Feinstein in charge of a photocopier let alone a bigwig Democrat after overseeing the massive failure of the 2016 election? We dont need politicians who suck up to big money. We need candidates who have grass roots.

    And until gerrymandering is put to an end, theres no hope of dems getting control of the house. And I dont see any movement from the party to fix that.

    Why isnt the Democratic party at the front of the opposition? Why arent they *leading*. Why arent they *organizing* the opposition? What the hell are they doing?

    All I see is individual Dem politicians asking pointed questions and making some waves about specific trump nominations. But what is the party leadership even leading right now???

  47. Respectfully, I’d suggest re-evaluating your investments. Financial opinion seems fairly split on Trump but it’s not odds I like. There will be a recession since we are due and interest rates will go up as well. Trump will likely trash various companies, as we’ve seen, with resultant stock losses. Trade wars or simply angry countries will cause other complications.

  48. A question for you Mr Scalzi.

    What publications would you recommend I subscribe to in an effort to support freedom of the press in the coming years. So far I’ve subscribed to NYtimes and Mother Jones.

    It seems possible that a free press, and freedom of speech in general, will be under attack in the coming years. Who are the journalists that will shine a light in dark corners, expose the lies when the government fails to tell us the truth.

    What little I can spare will be just a drop in the bucket, but It’s a little thing I feel I should do.

  49. @greg
    If you can’t hope for the Democratic Party to save us, then you need to get out there yourself. Organize. Run for office. Stop wasting time pointing fingers at people you wish were more competent and Get To Work.

  50. Here’s the thing, folks: I burned out years ago. My job is draining and full of emotional labor. I spend my life submitting to the wills of everyone (job requirement) and the last time I won any kind of argument with anyone was in May and it was a petty small thing that the other party really couldn’t argue back about because then it’d be animal neglect. I don’t win fights with anyone. Nobody listens to me and I come off as a squeaking weakling even when screaming “noooooooooooo” at people, who promptly do as they want and run me over anyway.

    I just don’t feel like I can join in and be a rebel and a fighter and stand up and fight back. I don’t want to call my senators for no good reason other than I hate phones, ain’t no way in hell I’d run for office or want to, and I don’t want to end up on any watchlists or get GamerGated or any of that crap if someone notices me being a rebel and a fighter. I’m kinda relieved I’ve already got something scheduled on protest day, though I’ve at least knit a few hats to pass on to others. I’m looking at all of the fighters in the past and realizing that I just don’t have that in me. I admire those who do, I always thought I’d be that kind of person, but when push comes to shove, I just want to go hide in a hole and hope nobody notices I’m here.

    Which makes me feel bad about me, but I deserve it, I suppose.

  51. “Abroad, we’ll be in at least another 2 middle eastern wars (Iran, Syria) and possible one in southeast Asia (North Korea) which will kill thousands of US troops, maim thousands more, and achieve precisely nothing. And that will be entirely on Trump.”

    North Korea is in Northeast Asia, not Southeast, and there won’t be any war against them as long as they have nuclear weapons. Technically, the US is already at war in Syria, against ISIS, and a proxy war against Russia and Assad. Hopefully Trump extracts the US from that morass. Iran will likely soon join the SCO which will put them in the same security bloc as Russia, China, India, and Pakistan-four nuclear powers, so I don’t foresee a war against Iran.

    At any rate there are still checks against Trump’s powers, bureaucratically, procedurally, legislatively, diplomatically, etc. He isn’t given carte blanche, but it is amusing to see all the “freaking out”, especially by the blog owner.

    I foresee a Trump presidency that sees the end of the most destructive war (begun during the Obama administration) since the 1990s (the Syrian Civil War), improved relations with Russia, (who thinks this is a bad thing) and yes even as one other commenter japed-thinking it a great insult to conservatives, even though it was Reagan’s dream-coming closer to nuclear disarmament.

    At home, a revitalization of the manufacturing core of the US is possible. Remember India will pass the US in 2020 in terms of economic importance, that is to say which state contributes the most to world economic growth. China passed the US a decade ago in this metric. So Trump has his hands full, we’ll see what happens. He could fail of course, there’s always that possibility. But remember at his core Trump is a business man who likes to make deals, not an ideologue.

  52. In answer to Danwest, support your local newspaper if you still have one. Because no one else is going to spend all their time digging into the backdoor deals going on in your community.

  53. @Van

    I’d give serious thought to rearranging my investments except I have no idea what would be a safe place to put money into. Bonds usually do well if stocks do poorly, so rebalancing at least is a thing I might look at. But hell, who’s to say *what* will happen with a complete and utter incompetent at the helm?

    Supposedly Presidents don’t have much influence over the economy. To which I’d say “Yeah we’d better hope not, right?” and “What about Presidents who have the House and Senate on their side; do *they* have much influence over the economy?”

    So… yeah. Going to try to do the usual stuff; Index stock fund combined with index bond fund balanced for my age, and perhaps rather a larger percentage than usual in a fairly liquid form (money market fund maybe) in case I have to bail a protester out of jail or buy a gay couple tickets to Canada. Going to forgo a few discretionary purchases because a Trump America is probably a damn good place to have a cushion if you can manage it.

    Also arranged a monthly donation to the ACLU to go with the one to Planned Parenthood, have been calling my Senators and Rep a couple of times a week (and when I was told yesterday that my Rep had been hearing a lot from a handful of people but nothing from the rest I went today and recruited three more friends to start calling) and am going to a Sister March for the Women’s March On Washington (DC is too far, but the local big town I can manage.)

    Republicans have blown their cover. Trump is a symptom of something much deeper and uglier. I’m not losing my country without a fight.

    Let’s do this thing.

  54. James. Theres a lot of silliness to poke holes at, but this one sticks out:

    “At home, a revitalization of the manufacturing core of the US is possible.”

    Jobs arent being exported away. They’re being automated out of existenc3. I have an old milling machine and lathe, tools that dont exist in the workplace anymore. Used to be you could learn how to machine in high school and get a decent job as a machinist. Now a hundred machinists have been replaced by a single CNC machine. The industrial revolution created an explosion of city jobs to get people off the farm. The computer revolution is making those industrial jobs all obsolete. We are approaching a point where raw manual labor isnt needed for most of the economy to function. Entire plants are run by maybe three people, where it used to be hundreds. There will be no revitalization of the manufacturing core in the US. At least not in any way that will bring back plants that require hundreds of machinsts running manual mills. That kind of plant, that kind of manufacturing doesnt exist anymore.

    In 1790, 90% of the US population were farmers. In 1880, a hundred years later, 50% of the population were farmers. Another hundred years, 1980, and less than 4% of the US population are farmers. Those farm jobs are never “coming back”. Industrialization and technology/automation made most of the farmers redundant. 3% of the population can feed the other 97%.

    And similarly, a small percentage of manufacturing will be able to support the needs of the remaining 90-some percent.

    Trump isnt bring back manufacturing for the same reason he isnt going to have farmers use mules to plow fields. People reminiscing about the good old days of plentiful, little education, high paying jobs, dont understand why those days are *old* and why today will never be like that.

    I was just talking with a guy who manages the capital equipment at an american plant. Years ago, they exported some manufacturing overseas for cheap labor. But the cost of semi intelligent robot arms has plummeted, so they’re bring manufacturing back to the US, but they wont be hiring more people. They’ll be buying more robots.

    If Trump causes a boost in the economy, it will be a short term growth spurt caused by deregulation. And if he deregulates everything, corporations will quickly expand to sop up any new profits, stocks will bump, and then profits will go back to the way they are once the unregulated fields are eaten up. And all that will mean is a bump for shareholders of companies, but little benefit to the economy as a whole.

    What I love is how republicans, the usual defender of free enterprise, are suddenly falling in line and cheering Trump as he threatens individual companies with tax penalties and offers them tax breaks to have the government micromanage business decisions. So, basically, this proves Laissez Faire is a joke, right? That it doesnt work? And now finally both parties agree, its just that Republicans only agree to regulation when republicans do it.

    Basically, Trump blew smoke up America’s ass. He doesnt manufacture anything. Never has. His businesses are basically real estate and casinos. But he is a good con man, and he conned a big enough chunk of people about “bringing back” manufacturing jobs to America to get himself elected. And when the boom fails to materialize, his ie hard followers will find a reason to blame Obama or some democrat.

  55. Going Nameless, I think it was Sarah Kendzior who said, “If you can’t be brave, be kind.” And I’d add don’t, do *not* beat yourself up for lacking bravery. Everybody carries different burdens. If you carry yours to the best of your ability, you’re doing enough. At least, that’s my excuse!

    But, really, imagine just as a thought exercise if everyone lived their lives as a kind and thoughtful person who did no harm. The air would get sucked right out of the Trumpalumps.

    If you can’t go out and fight, you can stay in and fight. Live your life in a way that provides no support to Trumpery. I really and seriously think that’s a lot right there.

    As for the big picture Scalzi is talking about, I have to admit I’m with that group over there, the one looking up at that stubbornly empty spot in the sky, waiting for the aliens to land and deal with this overwhelming scourge.

  56. James. Theres a lot of silliness to poke holes at, but this one sticks out:

    Oh there is eh? I see you didn’t touch my writing on foreign policy. Wise, on your part.

    “Jobs arent being exported away. They’re being automated out of existenc3. I have an old milling machine and lathe, tools that dont exist in the workplace anymore. Used to be you could learn how to machine in high school and get a decent job as a machinist. Now a hundred machinists have been replaced by a single CNC machine.”

    Must be why all my products say Made in China instead of Made by Robots. Jobs are being exported overseas, because overseas labor is still cheaper than “automation”. You can pay slave wages to the Chinese, Vietnamese etc, and they’ll have good jobs, but even for “automated” jobs you still need to pay for repairs, Ever have your copy machine go out? That cost is going to be more expensive than paying someone overseas to make the same product. It’s basic economics.

    “The industrial revolution created an explosion of city jobs to get people off the farm. The computer revolution is making those industrial jobs all obsolete. We are approaching a point where raw manual labor isnt needed for most of the economy to function.”

    Except you have to retrain those people. Working on “computers” isn’t so easy for everyone. You need to either retrain these people (assuming they want to be retrained and actually can be) before they take those jobs.

    “We are approaching a point where raw manual labor isnt needed for most of the economy to function. Entire plants are run by maybe three people, where it used to be hundreds. There will be no revitalization of the manufacturing core in the US. At least not in any way that will bring back plants that require hundreds of machinsts running manual mills. That kind of plant, that kind of manufacturing doesnt exist anymore.”

    Except overseas…companies will utilize cheap labor if it is cheap. People still need to use things that are manufactured. Do you have a refrigerator, a tv, a computer, an iphone, a car, plates, forks, knives, wear clothes? These are called goods, and goods are by definition manufactured. I know this is a scifi author’s blog, but we haven’t yet reached the point where robots do everything for us.

    “In 1790, 90% of the US population were farmers. In 1880, a hundred years later, 50% of the population were farmers. Another hundred years, 1980, and less than 4% of the US population are farmers. Those farm jobs are never “coming back”. Industrialization and technology/automation made most of the farmers redundant. 3% of the population can feed the other 97%.

    And similarly, a small percentage of manufacturing will be able to support the needs of the remaining 90-some percent.”

    There are 800,000 people or so in the US involved in agricultural jobs and over 12 million involved in manufacturing jobs. That’s a big difference.

    “Trump isnt bring back manufacturing for the same reason he isnt going to have farmers use mules to plow fields. People reminiscing about the good old days of plentiful, little education, high paying jobs, dont understand why those days are *old* and why today will never be like that.”

    Then, like I said earlier you have to retrain, reeducate those workers or pay them large amounts of government money to do nothing, or do you prefer forced sterilization?

    “I was just talking with a guy who manages the capital equipment at an american plant. Years ago, they exported some manufacturing overseas for cheap labor. But the cost of semi intelligent robot arms has plummeted, so they’re bring manufacturing back to the US, but they wont be hiring more people. They’ll be buying more robots.”

    Nice personal anecdote, whether true or not, is meaningless. There are still plenty of (12 million plus) workers employed in manufacturing.

    “If Trump causes a boost in the economy, it will be a short term growth spurt caused by deregulation. And if he deregulates everything, corporations will quickly expand to sop up any new profits, stocks will bump, and then profits will go back to the way they are once the unregulated fields are eaten up. And all that will mean is a bump for shareholders of companies, but little benefit to the economy as a whole.”

    Ah, an economist, eh…didn’t know you were an expert in macroeconomics. Actually de-regulation causes long-term economic growth, so don’t play coy.

    “What I love is how republicans, the usual defender of free enterprise, are suddenly falling in line and cheering Trump as he threatens individual companies with tax penalties and offers them tax breaks to have the government micromanage business decisions. So, basically, this proves Laissez Faire is a joke, right? That it doesnt work? And now finally both parties agree, its just that Republicans only agree to regulation when republicans do it.”

    As Nate Sliver said 2016 may be a realigning election. It happens in American politics. If you want to go back far enough the Republicans used to be the party of civil rights and Progressivism. I don’t vote so I don’t care what you call Republicans but as I recall a good number were not happy with Trump. I think his economic policies are better described as economic nationalism than Laissez Faire

    “Basically, Trump blew smoke up America’s ass. He doesnt manufacture anything. Never has. His businesses are basically real estate and casinos. But he is a good con man, and he conned a big enough chunk of people about “bringing back” manufacturing jobs to America to get himself elected. And when the boom fails to materialize, his ie hard followers will find a reason to blame Obama or some democrat.”

    No one ever said Trump manufactured anything, but he has created jobs in the private sector, something the last president never did. We will see. As I thought after Obama was elected, now he has to govern. And governing is hard as Obama found out. Maybe Trump will fail, and maybe he will be a success. If he fails you can vote him out in 2020. But, let’s not get into the he’ll never be able to do this or that argument, because if you set the bar too low for him, he may just jump over it.

  57. Which makes me feel bad about me, but I deserve it, I suppose.

    @GoingNameless:

    Foofy tosh, you are the only person on Earth who knows what you have to give and that’s OK. If I could make a modest suggestion here’s one simple act of resistance that will really matter.

    There are mid-term elections in a little under two years. Please make sure you are registered to vote, turn out, and tick those non-garbage candidates all the way down the ballot

    I cannot emphasise the last part enough, because as we saw in the North Carolina gubernatorial race, taking out the trash at state and local level can come down to a handful of votes. (Roy Cooper’s margin was a little over ten thousand votes out of 4.7 million cast.) The radical right know that which is why they put so much time and effort into voter suppression. So, don’t let anyone tell you that your vote doesn’t count because that’s a lie.

  58. Mr. Scalzi,

    Do you have any specific suggestions as to organizations I can assist to help “gum up the works” as you put it? I do vote, but I live in the Ga. 9th congressional district and my elected officials are secure enough in their positions that they don’t care care about my opinion or my vote. I do have a little money though and would like to put it to some good use.

    Thank You,
    Michael

  59. James: “There are 800,000 people or so in the US involved in agricultural jobs and over 12 million involved in manufacturing jobs. That’s a big difference”

    well, its more like 2.5 million people working on farms or about 17 million people working on farms and farm-related industries in the US. Versus 12 million working in manufacturing, so not so big a difference as you’d like to make it out to be.

    But in the big picture, magnitude doesn’t matter. Direction matters. I mentioned Ag because Ag went through the same level of industrialization and automation that manufacturing did, except Ag had a 100 year head start. In 1776, a farm might be 40 acres, and an acre was defined as how much land you could plow in a single day with 2 ox. Since then, industrialization and automation has increased and the amount of land a single farmer can plow in a day has skyrocketed. Average farm size today is over 400 acres. A number of farmers I know have *thousands* of acres. That’s what’s happening to manufacturing. Automation is shrinking the workforce needed to a tiny percentage of what it was at peak labor with minimal automation, i.e. WW2 and into the 50’s. The *direction* of ag and the direction of manufacturing are the same: downward.

    “but even for “automated” jobs you still need to pay for repairs, Ever have your copy machine go out? ”

    Last time I had a photocopier die, it was cheaper to throw it out and buy a new one than to repair it. And the new model had more features, was faster, higher resolution, and just all around better than the previous one. But, please, go on about how repairs are so costly….

    Funny story,long, long time ago, I bought some of my heavy machinery from a guy who had a business repairing vacuum cleaners. He went out of business because automation was making it so much cheaper to make a vacuum cleaner to the point it was cheaper to get a new vacuum off the assembly line than to pay him labor to fix an old one. In the battle between automation and manual labor, automation is winning.

    “Do you have a refrigerator, a tv, a computer, an iphone, a car, plates, forks, knives, wear clothes? These are called goods, and goods are by definition manufactured.”

    goods manufactured more and more by machines, not humans. No textile manufacturer uses the old jacquard looms anymore. Hand weaving cloth just doesn’t make sense. Sure, clothing is still “manufactured”, so they’re still “goods”, but the amount of labor per “good” is dropping year after year, regardless of what “good” you pick. Trump cannot change that.

    “Except you have to retrain those people. Working on “computers” isn’t so easy for everyone. You need to either retrain these people (assuming they want to be retrained and actually can be) before they take those jobs.”

    what do you think will happen? Trump will wave a magic wand and destroy fifty years of technology??? Obviously, as technology takes over the rudimentary jobs, workers will have to get more education to work in more complicated tasks. Machines can replace 50 workers because those 50 workers were doing rote operations that a machine could automate and replace. That means people have to find jobs that are more complicated than simple rote. That means training.

    “No one ever said Trump manufactured anything, but he has created jobs in the private sector”

    he’s created “jobs”, but a lot of times, he never gets around to actually PAYING people for their work. Throw in 4 or 6 bankruptcies, and the fact that if he had taken his inheritance and put it into a simple index fund he’d be ten times richer than he is now, shows that he’s a horrible businessman, his business acumen if FAR below average, and I’m not even convinced that overall his business activities actually were a positive overall impact on the economy. He enriched himself, but he screwed his employees, and he mooched off the government and used bankruptcy laws to avoid paying money he owed. He is the quintisential definition of corporate welfare.

    “I don’t vote ”

    Well, that pretty much explains everything anyone need know about you, doesn’t it?

  60. “well, its more like 2.5 million people working on farms or about 17 million people working on farms and farm-related industries in the US. Versus 12 million working in manufacturing, so not so big a difference as you’d like to make it out to be.”

    Not according to the BLS, cite your stats otherwise.

    !But in the big picture, magnitude doesn’t matter. Direction matters. I mentioned Ag because Ag went through the same level of industrialization and automation that manufacturing did, except Ag had a 100 year head start. In 1776, a farm might be 40 acres, and an acre was defined as how much land you could plow in a single day with 2 ox. Since then, industrialization and automation has increased and the amount of land a single farmer can plow in a day has skyrocketed. Average farm size today is over 400 acres. A number of farmers I know have *thousands* of acres. That’s what’s happening to manufacturing. Automation is shrinking the workforce needed to a tiny percentage of what it was at peak labor with minimal automation, i.e. WW2 and into the 50’s. The *direction* of ag and the direction of manufacturing are the same: downward.”

    It took hundreds of years for the family farm to die out, plus there you’re neglecting the impact that 19th century and early 20th century immigration had on the American agrarian economy. Trump has said a few things about that. Plus the end of slavery.

    “Last time I had a photocopier die, it was cheaper to throw it out and buy a new one than to repair it. And the new model had more features, was faster, higher resolution, and just all around better than the previous one. But, please, go on about how repairs are so costly….”

    Repairs or upgrades are the same thing. My point being you don’t make the copy machine, someone or something else does. If it’s a machine that makes a copy machine, guess what, it will break, and someone has to repair or upgrade it. That still takes human labor.

    “Funny story,long, long time ago, I bought some of my heavy machinery from a guy who had a business repairing vacuum cleaners. He went out of business because automation was making it so much cheaper to make a vacuum cleaner to the point it was cheaper to get a new vacuum off the assembly line than to pay him labor to fix an old one. In the battle between automation and manual labor, automation is winning.”

    Ah the Ballad of John Henry, woe be to the Luddites. It will take a long time before machines do everything. In the meantime those manufacturing jobs have to be filled somewhere. Might as well be here than China.

    “goods manufactured more and more by machines, not humans. No textile manufacturer uses the old jacquard looms anymore. Hand weaving cloth just doesn’t make sense. Sure, clothing is still “manufactured”, so they’re still “goods”, but the amount of labor per “good” is dropping year after year, regardless of what “good” you pick. Trump cannot change that.”

    I guess you’ve never been to Southeast Asia. Lots and lots of textile “machines” there, they look so lifelike, like young Asian women.

    “what do you think will happen? Trump will wave a magic wand and destroy fifty years of technology??? Obviously, as technology takes over the rudimentary jobs, workers will have to get more education to work in more complicated tasks. Machines can replace 50 workers because those 50 workers were doing rote operations that a machine could automate and replace. That means people have to find jobs that are more complicated than simple rote. That means training.”

    Which means money, and time, and effort, and not everyone is willing or able to be retrained. Again what is your solution? Spending lots of government money on retraining efforts that could well fail, putting millions of people on the doll like Obama did (SSI, disability), which costs money, or enforced sterilization of the working class, and wait until they die off, which will still cost money?

    “he’s created “jobs”, but a lot of times, he never gets around to actually PAYING people for their work. Throw in 4 or 6 bankruptcies, and the fact that if he had taken his inheritance and put it into a simple index fund he’d be ten times richer than he is now, shows that he’s a horrible businessman, his business acumen if FAR below average, and I’m not even convinced that overall his business activities actually were a positive overall impact on the economy. He enriched himself, but he screwed his employees, and he mooched off the government and used bankruptcy laws to avoid paying money he owed. He is the quintisential definition of corporate welfare.”

    Business is about taking risks, so putting money into an “index fund” (I’m not sure you know what that is though) isn’t exactly a business decision. If he was worried about losing money he would have done what his siblings did with their inheritance. At any rate he worked within the system provided for him as a businessman. However he did campaign against that status quo, so at least that’s something. With Trump he could have just as easily have said he would follow typical Republican economic policies, and have the establishment line up behind him, but he didn’t. Now we’ll see how he governs.

    “Well, that pretty much explains everything anyone need know about you, doesn’t it?”

    I have my reasons. Seeing the current discourse on American politics I think it’s a wise decision on my part. I really have no dog in this fight, and I live far from the US. Trump could well fail, on the other hand he could succeed. It’s preferable though to at least wait until he has been sworn in before writing the obituary on his presidency, yeah?

  61. James: “Business is about taking risks,”

    And an index fund isnt? Past performance is no indicator of future outcome. Its all a risk, just different levels. An index fund is seen as lower risk than taking on an individual company stock. Lower risk usually equates to a lower payoff. High risk usually equates to a higher potential payoff, but also potentially higher loss.

    “so putting money into an “index fund” (I’m not sure you know what that is though) isn’t exactly a business decision”

    Of course its a business decision. Do you have any concept of how actual businesses run? Corporations have to juggle their cash on hand, outstanding loans, capital equipment, and various other forms of value and debts. Sometimes a company will invest in the stock market, sometimes they buy out another company. Its all business. My point here was that over the course of DECADES, Trumps high risk business ventures paid off far worse, much less, than a low risk index fund. Which says, he is a lousy business man and a lousy assessor of risk management.

    Clearly youre peddling some sort of “trump can do no wrong” religion. Probably want to preach to a right wing site if youre looking for agreement about that.

    “In the meantime those manufacturing jobs have to be filled somewhere”

    You just keep assuming the number of jobs remains constant as automation increases. This is reaching the conclusion you believe in, not the one the facts point to. Because, as you yourself said:

    “It took hundreds of years for the family farm to die out,”

    So you admit where things are headed, you just want to be coy enough to hold onto your religion a little while longer. Manufacturing is dying out, because automation is allowing a few people to do what used to take hundreds or even thousands of people. Just like the small family farm died out over the course of about a century. We went from 50% of the population to 3% of the population are farmers in a hundred years. Thats dead. We are already down to 12 million manufacturing, which is already single digit percentage of the population. In 1970 about 25% of US workforce was in manufacturing. Now its single digits. They’re never coming back, because they’ve been automated out of existence.

    But you gotta sing that hymnal, and worship your gods of yore. Pretend Trump can bring back the “good old days” when manufacturing was a labor intensive business, and just handwave away all the technology that changed the industry.

  62. Well, for example, right about now there are a lot of politically and socially conservative folks who are aghast at the fact of a Trump presidency and who recognize that he represents a clear danger to the Republic. What do I think about these conservatives, who I might otherwise have almost no political overlap with? I think: Hello, ally. In this fight and in this moment they and I have a common goal — making sure our system of governance isn’t completely tubed by an insecure vulgarian — and I’m okay with focusing on that goal right now. After that’s done, then we can get back to yelling at each other on every other topic. Heck, we can yell at each other while we focus on our common goal! They are important topics.

    From the WaPo, Is there a place at the Women’s March for women who are politically opposed to abortion?
    Why, no, there isn’t.

    Arrgh.

  63. @Cat Faber,

    Agree completely. Much more in liquid assets or cash., Avoid the industries Trump seems obsessed with – aerospace and cars, as an example. I actually have already lost money in both due the Turmper’s tweets. Avoid medical since insurance, pharma, and hospital systems will be most impacted by the Obamacare repeal.

    Sure, these tactics are a risk if things so well, but they are also less worrisome and may prevent daily stress. I do believe the Republican powers may try to rein in their president when he begins to impact their investments and their contributors’ investments.

    And yes, we’ve budgeted $100 a month for political and other causes that need support and we will be marching in our state capital this weekend.

  64. James

    ‘Must be why all my products say Made in China instead of Made by Robots.’

    Actually, an increasing number of items manufactured in China are Made by Robots. The shrinking population in China means businesses there have had to increase wages – minimum wage rates almost doubled between 2010 and 2012 – but even then there aren’t enough, so the Chinese are doing what everyone else is doing: building robots.

    I suspect that Trump and his supporters don’t know this…

  65. @michael Lloyd Kelly
    You’re wrong that your voice doesn’t make a difference. If you’re in a safe blue district they want to hear from you because it gives them evidence and a mandate that their constituents want what they say.

    If, like me, you are in a safe red district, your voice is even more important. You can help move the dial. Three weeks ago my senators office told me repeal without replace, no question. Last week it was, everyone stays on the ACA for two years (implicitly, so they can blame incoming dems when there isn’t a replacement). That’s buying time. Our voices won’t make big things go the opposite direction, but they do move the dial. And I bet they limit the horrible stuff that is proposed, like completely gutting congressional ethics. Even republicans are subject to primary challenges from people who can and will paint them as corrupt. But only if they know we are paying attention.

    And lots of us are making calls we never made before. Your voice amplifies ours. Even if your voice didn’t matter before, enough of us in red states are making those calls that it matters now. But not enough of us are calling that your voice doesn’t matter.

    So don’t tell people in “safe” districts that this work doesn’t matter. It does. It is moving the dial. Get with an indivisible group in your area or subscribe to one of the mailing lists mentioned above to maximize your voice by adding it to a chorus. 15 min a week can literally save lives.

  66. @ Van

    Seems like we’ve done what we can reasonably do on the financial front. I hope your march goes well and is fun. Maybe marching and organizing will include making some new friends–it’s still a good cause if we also have fun, after all.

    @ wiredog

    Here’s a riddle for you: How is Trump like a fetus?
    His followers believe both should be able to use a woman’s body without even asking.

    Preserving a woman’s right to say who can use her body and when they have to stop is a big part of why I am marching at all. There is a lot more to the march, of course–support for people of color, for LGBT people, for reducing income inequality, for the environment, etc–but these all tend to be liberal causes, so of course the march will tend to be populated by liberals. If someone is anti-choice I won’t turn down their help with preserving the Endangered Species Act, but it doesn’t mean they can turn the march into some sort of anti-choice propaganda. Let them wave banners saying we were meant to be stewards, not despoilers, of the Earth and I’m happy to have them there. Let them try to whip up sentiment to enslave me and they’re out. As they should be; enslavement of women to produce unwanted babies is the opposite of what this march is supposed to be about.

    And if they think abortion is a divisive issue and protecting the environment, or even opposing Donald Trump, is not, they may want to sit down; I have some bad news for them, bless their hearts.

  67. I work as a lobbyist for an environmental non-profit in DC. When you don’t have the money to influence views directly, all you have is people power.

    Broadly speaking, the more time you invest in letting your Member of Congress know your view, the more notice it gets. Form emails are at the bottom of the list, although with enough volume, it matters. Personalized emails come next, followed by phone calls. Snail mail/ faxed non-form letters used to be the gold standard, but since the ’02 anthrax scare all “real” mail to Congress goes to a central facility where they irradiate the hell out of it. Takes two-three weeks to get through. Many faxes get routed to computers; they don’t seem as effective as they used to either.

    By far, the most impact you can have is showing up at a town hall meeting that your Member hosts. Thousands of emails matter less than a dozen people showing up and asking about the same thing; the personality type that seeks office hates the dissonance of actually seeing people that disagree with them. I think the Indivisible document makes this same point. Cannot be overstated.

    @Brian M, please don’t worry about reprisals lists.

    When you call a Congressional office, your call is being answered by an intern or a (very) junior staffer. They are more likely to want to know where you live than what your name is, so they can confirm you are in the District. And they mark you down on a sheet with a tick mark, pro or con a particular policy.

    They have no time/ energy/ resources to care about getting back at any individual.

  68. Re what D.C. Spartan says about reprisals– my senators’ offices only care about my zip code. My rep wants my phone number “for their system” but I don’t have to give it to them, and they are fine with zip code. My local state level reps want my address, which I find a little creepy. Very rarely am I asked my name and always they’re ok with my first name only.

    But you can decide what info you are willing to share, and just not share anything at the level more detailed than zip code.

    Also: while following the indivisible guide is likely to produce the strongest results, it also takes effort many of us do not have or cannot do. Calling and leaving a message in off hours or faxing still gets a box checked. There’s a spectrum of effort/results and each of us can do what we are comfortable with and maybe just a little more. (Then we gain experience points and level up and gain new abilities–I’d say I’ve gone from level 0 to level 4 in D&D terms–I’ve argued with a staffer! Lots more to do.). Everything counts and everything helps.

  69. @nicoleandmaggie: I wouldn’t recommend arguing with the staffers that answer the phone. It ties up the line, potentially decreasing the number of calls that come in, each of which only gets one tick on the sheet regardless of how persuasive it is. It validates the staffer’s feeling that people on the other side aren’t just misinformed but somehow morally defective.

    Also worth keeping in mind is that if the person you are talking to had the Member’s ear, they wouldn’t be answering the phone.

    Rather, use the emotional and intellectual horsepower to ask your friends to make the same short, pleasant phone call you did. If you cannot do the high value thing, go for the high number thing.

  70. One big thing to learn from Trump is whether or not being “presidential” is necessary for the job. He has none of the skills or qualities usually found in presidents (except being white and male). We’ll see if those are current job requirements or just leftovers from an obsolete job description.

  71. Kevin Hicks: I get the tactical value of indivisible. But it is in its own way the most depressing document yet. It’s come down to who can gridlock harder. It’s like one of those science fiction stories where you eventually get your body back, but the person who temporarily switched into it has already eaten you into fatal diabetes and arteriosclerosis.

  72. It’s very much an open question whether these will be “Trump Years”, as in more than one year.

    There’s a pretty solid case for impeaching him already, looking solely at the conflicts of interest between his business empire and the Presidency. It would take more than that for the current Republican leadership to back impeachment; but it’s possible Trump will do something so egregious that even they can’t ignore it.

    If they do impeach Trump, they get President Pence. Paul Ryan would probably welcome that, as Pence is less erratic and easier to work with. The rest of us could at least be glad Pence is unlikely to start a nuclear war in a fit of rage.

    Alternatively, Trump is 70 years old and obviously not in the best of physical shape. He might imitate William Henry Harrison, who fell ill and died thirty days after his inauguration. While I don’t wish that even on Trump, the actuarial odds are not in his favour. More plausibly (given improvements in medicine since 1841), Trump could develop debilitating health problems such that the Cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment and remove him from office, and once again we have President Pence.

    Trump has very few allies in Washington, and plenty of powerful people (not all of them nice liberal Democrats) hate his guts and would gladly seize any opportunity to remove him.

  73. @DC Spartan

    The reason I was arguing is because that particular senator has told his staffers to spread things that are factually untrue about the Affordable Care Act. Like, you call in and say you don’t want repeal without replace, please pass that on, or you call and say, I don’t like the way he voted to gut funding for the ACA, and then the staffer says, “Oh, don’t worry, [Lie], [Lie], [Lie], [Lie]”, where the lies are both factually untrue and violate economic theory. Example, “Premiums went up 18% last year in our state because of the ACA” which is factually untrue– premiums did go up 18%, but not BECAUSE of the ACA, for example, overall, in the absence of the ACA, premiums would have gone up much more (I think 30-60% more but don’t quote me on that). The ACA has dropped premiums. Or piecemeal replacement of universal insurance after repeal is possible when, no, economically you need to have comprehensive replacement because you need the things people don’t like to prevent an insurance death spiral. (I teach the ACA in my classes.) And don’t get me started on the lies they spread about why people are uninsured in our state or why rural hospitals are closing or what their plans for Medicare are. So I put on my professor hat and educated. Because A. the staffers themselves need to know that they are being told things that are incorrect and B. even if the staffers already know that they’re incorrect, they need to know that some people know that they’re telling lies and will not accept them.

    Then the guy told me that, “If you get enough people saying an opinion, it becomes a fact” (I wrote it down, asked if I could quote him, and he said yes and I can’t refute that). For anybody that knows regression analysis, he also told me that empirical evidence and research don’t matter because You can get any answer you want for regression analysis just by putting in more variables. This is also untrue (it is true in some cases, but not in peer reviewed economics research published in top journals– if it were true I would have a LOT more publications). And I suggested that the senator talk with (non-partisan) experts on the ACA at two of our top schools in the state and he said that they talk with experts whose names he doesn’t remember at schools I’ve never heard of most of which have the word “christian” in the title, and their experts say one thing and ours say another and it’s all opinions because facts don’t exist.

    So, sorry, you may not need to be argued with, but SOME STAFFERS DO.

    I haven’t argued with the staffers of the other senator because they don’t lie to me, they just take my comment. HOWEVER, the indivisible guide makes a good point that being a jerk does matter, and tying up the phone when you live in a red state is not actually such a bad thing.

    If it makes you feel better, I can never actually get through to people in the DC office for my senators, one of them because his phone number just hangs up if you pick to speak to a person rather than to leave a message. So these are all regional offices.

    For people scared about calling– don’t be! Most places you just leave a message or have a nice polite conversation where you say your script, they ask you for your zipcode, and then they thank you and say they’ll pass it along.

  74. There won’t be an impeachment hearing. At least, not while Republicans control the House — and the way districts are shaped, it’s unlikely they’ll ever lose control of the House in our lifetimes. If the current confirmation hearings show anything, it’s that Republicans are willing to put party ahead of governance and Constitutional separation of powers. Unless Trump is literally caught taking orders from the Kremlin, they’ll never move against their own. And even then, I give it only a 50/50 chance.

  75. I live in a blue state. So I wrote to my junior senator (My senior senator has everyone in the world writing to her.) and made encouraging noises, and a small suggestion or two. Then I wrote him again after he took part in a major rally, and did the same thing. This morning, I wrote my representative to suggest some things she could do tomorrow, instead of being cold, wet, and bored at the inauguration.
    I figure these guys need words of support from ordinary people. You can do this too.

  76. I’m not sure it counts as resistance, but I would love to lure the Democratic National Committee back to my part of the world (central Arizona). This was a purple-ish state (more conservative than liberal, yes, but still mixed) when I moved here in the early 2000s. Now it’s very, very red. I haven’t seen or heard any local, organized DNC action in in my neighborhood in years.

    I get it. My city and congressional district are probably unwinnable for a Democratic candidate right now. But ignoring people isn’t persuasive. If we’re going to win local elections we need to make an effort—not just a “sacrificial candidate” effort, but a real campaign that reaches out, talks to people, and reminds them that even very, very red districts include a lot of liberals.

    Now I just need to figure out how to do it.

  77. @Brian M: I hear your plight. There are a couple of things you can do. You can still speak out in forums or blogs under a pseudonym as mentioned by Rana. You can contribute to your favorite cause or political organization with no one the wiser. Become part of the underground resistance if you will. And of course, vote in the 2018 midterms.

    Don’t say a discouraging word and if you do you’ll be blacklisted. That was one of many thoughts that ran across my mind after the election. My family is predominately conservative and they know I am not. Politics is not mentioned at family gatherings. I guess I’m lucky in that respect. However, I plan to protest, speak out and organize for the 2018 midterms.

    @Kevin Hicks: Thanks for the link to the INDIVISIBLE guide: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/web/

  78. @Jason
    The one nice thing about Gerrymandering is that the lines become fragile as time passes– the larger blue pop you have, the closer to 49/51 they have to cut and the easier it is to flip. As we get close to the next census, it’s not going to take as much to push redpurple gerrymandered districts over the line.

    This is going to be especially true locally. Locally it doesn’t take as much for some vocal people to challenge because there’s just not as many people. But yes, definitely a good reminder that LOCAL action is extremely important, especially in red places.

    When we called our local representatives about a truly horrific bill coming up the state pipeline, I got told they had not shared their opinion yet. When my DH called, he was told by one of them that the person had not formed an opinion and was planning to go with which side got the majority of calls. So calls can make a really big difference, especially in gerrymandered areas.

    If we GOTV, and do the best we can at registration and getting people to be able to vote, we can make some strides. Especially as traditional republicans become disgusted with the corruption and incompetence in Washington and start primary challenges or start backing the kind of blue-dog dems that used to represent my district before they got gerrymandered out. We can’t give up.

    Even if we don’t “win” it is still the responsible thing to do what we can. Because it isn’t useless. We’re pushing a needle and preventing as much damage as we can. I’d rather know that I did what I could than feel guilty I didn’t do enough, like I do with the presidential election. Because I don’t know that my effort wouldn’t have tipped things. And there’s so much more political will now than there was when we were 90% sure HRC would be the next president. Lots of people who were lazy in November are active now. And I bet you that Tea partiers are going to start to feel complacent now that there’s no longer a black man in office and they start to feel some of the downsides of Republican promises.

    @Sign Ahead– the DNC has similarly deserted my state. The dems groups are disorganized and not very active or are just focused on one thing, even as we have growing blueness in population. However, the indivisible group for the most liberal city in our state is really promising. Does Arizona have an indivisible group that has its act together? If so, they may be a great clearinghouse for connecting different AZ groups and focusing on how you can most make a difference.

  79. I’m less worried that Trump will gut the infrastructure of government; what’s scary is his desire to strengthen it: raising tariffs, building border walls, strong-arming private companies and stifling critical speech.

  80. For those of you who are reluctant to make phone calls, I can share this. I hate talking on the phone. I have a mild phone anxiety that I manage to suppress because I have be on the phone all day for work. By the time the day is over I’m wrung out and exhausted. I don’t talk to friends on the phone, hell I don’t even talk to my boyfriend on the phone. We text or chat online if we’re not together in person.

    That said, I make it a point that the very first thing I do every single morning when I sit down to work with my cup of coffee is call my Senators and my Congressperson. I use this number: 202-224-3121. I have it programmed into my phone.

    It’s an automated line. You press 1 for Senators and 2 for House Reps. You enter your Zip-code. You select your Senator and it takes you straight to a voicemail. I’ve never, in 6 weeks of doing this now, ever had a real person pick up. And I leave my message. I stick to a variation of the same script every day and I follow up with a Tweet to each person I left a message for. Something like this:

    Senator/Congressman [name], My name is [name] and I live in [city]. I’d like to know when you plan to issue a statement condemning President-Elect Trump’s comments about our state of Georgia, the city of Atlanta, and John Lewis who is a Civil Rights hero. If you don’t plan to issue such a statement, I’d like to know why not? My phone number is [phone] and my email is [email]. I await your response. Thank you for your time.

    I add my name, phone and email, but you don’t have to. You could simply say “I’m calling to ask you to do X, Y, and Z” and leave it at that. I do this every single weekday morning and it takes me 5-6 minutes.

    90% of my calls have been the same text about the ACA, but every once in a while I mix it up like the one above about John Lewis or lately I’ve been calling asking for votes against Betsy DeVos and Tom Price for their respective cabinet positions.

    The first time I did it, I was scared that I was going to have to talk to someone in real life, or that I was (worse) going to get into an argument with someone. Or that I’d be tongue tied and make a fool of myself. Any of those phone-phobia things. :) But I didn’t. And the more I do it, the easier and more routine it becomes.

    I hope that helps someone who might be feeling weird about making phone calls. :)

  81. Adding on to Kara’s post– Here’s a guide to dealing with phone anxiety that a lot of people have told me that they’ve found helpful: http://echothroughthefog.cordeliadillon.com/post/153393286626/how-to-call-your-reps-when-you-have-social-anxiety

    I know the anxiety doesn’t go away for some people, but for me calling politician offices regularly has gotten me more able to do things like call up a bookstore to buy a gift certificate for my mom’s birthday, or you know, order pizza. Which has been a surprising benefit for me.

    My sister has also been doing practice calls with people who have anxiety and they’ve reported it to be really helpful. Because when you do get a person instead of VM, most of the time they just ask for your zipcode, thank you for calling, and say that they’ll pass along your information. So if you have someone who can practice with you that may also help.

  82. I’m an old guy (76) and I have many friends who are in their 80s. One of them said to me a couple of days ago, “I’m afraid that Trump will be the last President in my lifetime.”

    I’m afraid that may be true for a lot of younger people as well.

  83. @nicoleandmaggie: I am not a Congressional staffer. I work for a non-profit lobbying Congress, and have done so for the better part of 20 years.

    When you call an office, you are not talking to someone in the decision-making chain. You are talking with someone whose job is (among other things) to tally calls in order to assist decision-makers in understanding the dynamics in their District. If they are lying to you, they’ve been told to lie. You aren’t going to stop them from lying to the next person; this isn’t a case where a better education makes a difference. They are doing their job, as odious as that might be.

    Arguing with them might make you feel better, which is certainly worth something. But you are doing it for you, not to impact the issue.

    I don’t agree that tying up the phone when an issue is hot it a good idea; the side with the more intense partisans is usually making calls, and anger/ fear is the better motivator.

    But most of the time the staffer isn’t going to try to argue with you. They are going to thank you for your input and get off the phone as soon as possible to answer the next call coming in. I’ve been in offices when the phones are blowing up, most recently during the House ethics imbroglio on the opening day of this Congress. They want to log you and move on.

  84. Mostly, we need courage and fortitude. I think most commentators here underestimate how bad it can get, and how fast. Hyperinflation, mass unemployment, hunger, disease, these were all things good government shielded us from for 60 years. A Trump administration might bring any or all of them back.

    We can fight domestic disasters, but if, for instance, the fascist faction of the Trump administration succeeds in breaking up the European Union (http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/trump-has-a-plan-to-break-up-the-eu), or they default on the national debt or adopt other diasterous economic policies (http://adviceunasked.blogspot.com/2016/12/econodisaster-ahoy.html), or the extensive cuts in government spending and employment (http://thehill.com/policy/finance/314991-trump-team-prepares-dramatic-cuts) that Trump has promised lead to an economic collapse, there is little we can do.

    As far as health care, I am now a supporter of states rights. (https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/01/18/1332-juiced-up/) For you people in red states (sarcasm) my thoughts and prayers are with you (end sarcasm).

  85. (since the links that buttress this post apparently sent the original version of this into moderation, here it is without the links.)

    Mostly, we need courage and fortitude. I think most commentators here underestimate how bad it can get, and how fast. Hyperinflation, mass unemployment, hunger, disease, these were all things good government shielded us from for 60 years. A Trump administration might bring any or all of them back.

    We can fight domestic disasters, but if, for instance, the fascist faction of the Trump administration succeeds in breaking up the European Union, or they default on the national debt or adopt other diastrous economic policies, or the extensive cuts in government spending and employment that Trump has promised lead to an economic collapse, there is little we can do.

    As far as health care, I am now a supporter of states rights. For you people in red states my thoughts and prayers are with you, because that is all I have to offer you.

  86. Cat, Van. Personal finance: avoid debt. There appears to be a long-term policy goal of making it impossible to get out of deep debt, once one is in it (student loans, bankruptcy “reform,” etc. etc.) and with Mnuchin the likely Treasury Secretary this will only get worse. I think there will probably be an explosion in the national debt and, at the same time, possibly inflation, so that most financial assets will lose their value. Ownership of useful property is probably valuable; if you can buy your own house or capital property without taking on debt that might be wise. Insured bank deposits are not a bad bet but do not expect the government to make good on bank deposits should the banks be brought down again: the FDIC and NCUA may run out of funds, and these may not be replenished.

    It is like dodging bullets. Many will miss, but it only takes one hit.

  87. @DC Spartan–
    You don’t think staffers say, “Hey, these lies we’re telling aren’t working”? Or ask their direct boss questions? Or even maybe, “Hey, when I tell these lies, I get an unpleasant response so maybe I’ll be less pushy on the script with the next person?”

    And what about that staffer whose twitter thing went all around early on (explaining box checking) that said that that her beliefs had been changed from talking to constituents? She argued that it’s important. Even if we don’t change a politician’s mind don’t the staffers themselves matter?

    And why do the indivisible people say to argue and be unpleasant? They say it works. They provide scripts. And while correlation is not causation, it sure seems to have worked for tea partiers.

    Are staffers really just cogs who don’t talk with their bosses? Theirs is not to reason why? They don’t actually do anything but parrot party script without giving any input to anybody?

    I mean, I believe that you believe what you’re saying, and I feel bad that you’re saying that I was wrong to do something that was hard and unpleasant for me to do which makes me less likely to want to make any more phone calls (but I will anyway) in case I get told more lies, but I’m also seeing all these other people who have worked as staffers and in other positions who are saying exactly the opposite of what you’re saying. That staffers do talk to their bosses, that arguing and being generally unpleasant as the opposition does matter, and so on. That staffers themselves are changed by the experience.

  88. I ran across this article recently.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-12-20/manufacturing-matters-even-if-it-doesn-t-create-many-jobs

    This article tells me to things:
    1. Trump opponents are correct that most jobs were lost to automation
    2. Economic analysts are living in another world if they don’t think that the loss of about 1 million manufacturing jobs to outsourcing isn’t a big deal. In other words, Trump supporters have every right to be angry that they lost 1 million jobs to other countries.

    http://blog.cnccookbook.com/2013/04/01/the-decline-in-us-manufacturing-is-more-recent-than-you-think-and-turning-around/

    Now, that graph ends in 2010 or 2011, at the bottom of the job market. Since then, the US has added about 0.8 million jobs, almost compensating for the loss of outsourcing jobs.

    http://www.factcheck.org/2016/12/obamas-record-on-manufacturing-jobs/

    What do you guys make of this?

  89. “At 12:01 p.m. Friday, Donald Trump’s aides will deploy a team of temporary political appointees into federal agencies to begin laying the groundwork for the president-elect’s agenda while his nominees await Senate confirmation, sources familiar with the plan told POLITICO.

    “Trump’s team has long worried that career federal workers and President Barack Obama’s political appointees will seek to undermine the president-elect’s agenda. The transition sees the beachhead teams, named after the line of defense that the military constructs as it lands in enemy territory, as a check on existing agency officials.” — http://www.politico.com/blogs/donald-trump-administration/2017/01/beachhead-teams-agenda-inauguration-day-233774

    It’s a coup. Expect things to get very bad, very quickly.

  90. Theophylact @ 1.49:

    I live not far from the US/Canadian border; all of my local friends either hold dual citizenship or are employed by a company located outside the US (as my spouse is). On the private expats forum I read, there’s a lot of conversation along the lines of “Don’t panic; prepare”: if minor children in the household are dual citizens, make sure their citizenship is attested/they’ve got current passports in their other nationality; get all legal matters in order; clear off as much debt as possible, diversify financial holdings if you’re lucky enough to have them, and try to have at least some cash on hand. The attitude is “well, it’s probably not going to be a peaceful four years, and if you’ve got serious health issues/are LGBTI/aren’t Christian/aren’t white, you might want to evaluate how secure you are in your employment and neighborhood, and whether you’re sufficiently committed to staying in the States long-term to be willing to ride things out.”

    Anecdata, so worth what you paid for it, and some of it is good advice no matter what your citizenship status. It grieves me to think of my friends leaving — one’s already said they’re discussing whether to wait for the summer school break, or go as soon as she’s found a new job in Canada: lesbian couple and their children are mixed race — but I don’t have to live with the potential consequences of their guessing wrong on the personal convictions/safety graph.

  91. @wiredog If you think that being “politically opposed to abortion” doesn’t make you an enemy of women, you are wrong. Anyone who believes the government should control women’s bodies is by definition NOT a feminist. Go ahead and march, but not sure what you’re marching for if you believe women are brood mares and not human beings.

  92. This particular quote from “Personal Finance in a Deflationary Period” strikes me as especially relevant:

    Bartering personal services in this period is a way to conserve cash. So is making things for oneself or trade—but watch the cost of supplies! A new craft economy is likely to emerge in the lower and middle classes. If one has tradeable skills, polishing them has a good chance of paying off; if one does not, this might be a good time to start learning them. Buy tools as needed, rather than in advance; chances are they will cost less in the future.

  93. Perhaps the best summary of this election cycle is over at the Onion, where a recent “American Voices” person-in-the-street feature asked what people thought about the fact that the states with the highest 2016 ACA enrollment all went for Trump, to which one (fake) interviewee responded, “Sometimes you have to vote against your own interests if you want to vote against the interests of everyone else.”

    So that’s where we are. Strap in for a bumpy ride, and do what you can to impede the bastards in power. As Jerry Garcia once said, “Somebody has to do something, and it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.”

  94. @nicoleandmaggie: This’ll be my last comment on this; I fear we’ll strain our host’s patience if we continue this back and forth.

    I just looked back at the Indivisible guide, because I didn’t remember anything about them advising being unpleasant to staff or tying up the phones. And I’m still not seeing it.

    In my experience, most staff are simply interested in getting you off the phone; the point of a mass call-in day (which is what Indivisible advises) is to get a ton of calls in. I don’t think that there’s anything about getting into it with those staff. Rather, the Indivisible guide pushes constituents to seek discussion with the more senior staff (Legislative Assistants, Legislative Counsel, Legislative Directors) that actually do have an impact with the boss.

    If you get those folks, then give it your best shot. Those folks’ jobs are to compile the arguments for and against a policy, usually through the lens of the Member’s ideological perspective. They deal with people like me and my industry counterparts for the most part, although constituent service is also a part of their gig.

    MOST people calling in are going to be talking to college kids/ recent grads, and I always find that being pleasant is more likely to pay off.

    The same is NOT true of activists facing off with a Member of Congress. In those instances, creating cognitive dissonance for them between what they think their District is like and what it is actually like is ridiculously important. Save your unpleasantness for them.

    But really, the key is to DO SOMETHING. Speaking at a town hall is really amazing, but almost as good is going and showing support for those that are speaking. Cheer or jeer, as appropriate. Call. Organize a group call-in day. Write a letter to the editor. Email. Tweet at your Member in response to their tweets. (they love/ hate that.) If all you are up to is sending a mass email, SEND IT. This is an all hands on deck situation, and we need everyone to do what they can.

  95. @James said
    Actually de-regulation causes long-term economic growth, so don’t play coy.

    You mean like it did in leading up to the financial meltdown in 2008 ?
    Or maybe the huge growth during the Clinton era (when more regulation was instituted) ?

    Proper oversight & regulation, which I’m not sure you have, is just as important as NOT over regulating.

    Just note the differences in how the US banking system faired vs say the Canadian one (which is consistently ranked very highly) during the 2008 debacle.

  96. “And an index fund isnt? Past performance is no indicator of future outcome. Its all a risk, just different levels. An index fund is seen as lower risk than taking on an individual company stock. Lower risk usually equates to a lower payoff. High risk usually equates to a higher potential payoff, but also potentially higher loss.”

    So a lower risk, not a big risk. Huge difference, in your own words. Everyone takes “risks” in life. Hell you take a risk just getting out of bed in the morning. Fine, then the distinction is Trump took risks instead of playing it safe, which is exactly my point.

    “Of course its a business decision. Do you have any concept of how actual businesses run? Corporations have to juggle their cash on hand, outstanding loans, capital equipment, and various other forms of value and debts. Sometimes a company will invest in the stock market, sometimes they buy out another company. Its all business. My point here was that over the course of DECADES, Trumps high risk business ventures paid off far worse, much less, than a low risk index fund. Which says, he is a lousy business man and a lousy assessor of risk management.”

    Just putting all your inheritance (your words) into an index fund, isn’t a business decision, it’s an investment decision, and that’s a key difference. Trump isn’t an investor, he’s a businessman. In other words he created jobs and not just enriched himself.

    “Clearly youre peddling some sort of “trump can do no wrong” religion. Probably want to preach to a right wing site if youre looking for agreement about that.”

    Which is clearly why I repeatedly say he could well fail. He could indeed, and in fact that is a real possibility. However, on the other hand you seem not willing to give him even a modicum of a chance of success.

    “You just keep assuming the number of jobs remains constant as automation increases. This is reaching the conclusion you believe in, not the one the facts point to. Because, as you yourself said:”

    “It took hundreds of years for the family farm to die out,”

    So you admit where things are headed, you just want to be coy enough to hold onto your religion a little while longer. Manufacturing is dying out, because automation is allowing a few people to do what used to take hundreds or even thousands of people. Just like the small family farm died out over the course of about a century. We went from 50% of the population to 3% of the population are farmers in a hundred years. Thats dead. We are already down to 12 million manufacturing, which is already single digit percentage of the population. In 1970 about 25% of US workforce was in manufacturing. Now its single digits. They’re never coming back, because they’ve been automated out of existence.”

    Indeed, automation in the long-term may be inevitable. However, in the short-term those jobs still need to be filled. There is still a large segment of the population that can be defined as working class, and they need work. It was not hard to transition workers from the farm to the factory in the 19th century, however from the factory to the IT desk,, it will take some doing. This is the third time now I am asking you for your suggestion as to what to do with the working class in the event “retraining” doesn’t work.

    “But you gotta sing that hymnal, and worship your gods of yore. Pretend Trump can bring back the “good old days” when manufacturing was a labor intensive business, and just handwave away all the technology that changed the industry.”

    My initial comment, which you latched on to like a dog with a bone, was a revitalization of American manufacturing is possible. I did not say it was guaranteed, or even likely, or probable. I said possible, which is true. You think, however, that it is impossible. All I am saying is we will see.

    If you’re so confident, perhaps a wager should be in order? A big businessman like you could surely afford it- say 10,000 dollars to your favorite charity if manufacturing jobs do not see an increase in four years time, using BLS stats. I’d be happy to donate to a good cause.

    @Steve

    “Actually, an increasing number of items manufactured in China are Made by Robots. The shrinking population in China means businesses there have had to increase wages – minimum wage rates almost doubled between 2010 and 2012 – but even then there aren’t enough, so the Chinese are doing what everyone else is doing: building robots.

    I suspect that Trump and his supporters don’t know this…”

    I think you’re thinking of Japan as China’s population is still growing at a rate close to the US. In Japan there are as you say lots of robots, but Japan doesn’t enter into this discussion.

  97. Democrats are sore losing cry babies. Stay home from inauguration as if it matters.
    Clinton sucked and lost get over it dumbasses. Ha ha ha

  98. You mean like it did in leading up to the financial meltdown in 2008 ?
    Or maybe the huge growth during the Clinton era (when more regulation was instituted) ?

    Proper oversight & regulation, which I’m not sure you have, is just as important as NOT over regulating.

    Just note the differences in how the US banking system faired vs say the Canadian one (which is consistently ranked very highly) during the 2008 debacle.”

    I was thinking of the 1980s and yes the 1990s, in which there was indeed deregulation that led to long-term economic growth. I did not say that that economic growth was sustainable forever.

  99. Epiphyta at 3.41:

    As a Canadian, I hope any Americans with dual citizenship thinking about relocating to Canada are planning to be here for the long haul, not just until their preferred party gets back in again south of the border, when they’ll wave as they head back across the border and say ‘So long and thanks for the free health care.’

  100. Whoswhat: I live in DC. The streets are pretty empty, as was Trump’s pre-inaugural concert on the Mall. We’re taking your “advice”.

  101. Barack Obama Inaugural Concert Attendance: 400,000. Donald Trump Inaugural Concert Attendance: 10,000

  102. A word of reassurance for nicoleandmaggie and DC Spartan: When I call my Senator’s office in Washington, DC, the phone rings several times and then goes to voicemail, with the following message: “Our office staff are speaking with other constituents – please leave us a message.” So, if someone with a lot to say is tying up the line, there is a system in place to ensure that my voice is heard also.
    (If the voicemail box fills up and isn’t emptied, as has reportedly been the case with some of the Republicans, that’s another matter.)

  103. There are so many different fronts and so many different groups that will be targeted and harmed, so many evil actions already in motion, it’s overwhelming. Here’s one that doesn’t get a whole lot of attention.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2017/01/12/donald-trump-is-waging-a-war-against-autistic-people/

    It’s also hard to know what to do. I’ll write physical letters, of course. Phone calls, even phone calls to voicemail, are … a challenge, but I’ll try. I have the resources to donate some and will likely do that. I’m one of those who is still struggling to just keep juggling life and responsibilities after the election. And I did not expect it to hit me hard personally and thought I was mentally prepared for him to win. (It wasn’t really a surprise to me. I’ve lived in the South, with eyes fully open, my whole half century of life. I hoped for better from my fellow whites, but doubted I would see it, even from white women.) Turns out I was wrong on both counts.

    I hope the people around him really do turn out to be incompetent at authoritarianism. I fear that’s the one thing they’ll be good at. I’m not sure people realize just how much of a blank check the powers of the presidency are. A president who does not abide by conventions and ignores the rule of law has virtually no real checks, especially if the military supports him. I think the GOP and current GOP base projected onto Obama the authoritarian desires they had and what they knew they would do if they had real power.

    I guess we’ll see. Once again I find myself hoping I’m wrong, but fearing I’m right. So far, my fears have been realized every time.

  104. Nebuly @ 8.17:

    The couple I’m referencing are mixed: one holds Canadian citizenship, the other US; their children are dual citizens. This isn’t a casual decision for them: they’ll still be dealing with the “fun” of filing US tax returns on behalf of their kids, trying to reestablish ties . . . .

    I do agree with your point, though. And this may well have wandered too far afield, so I’ll apologize to OGH in advance.

  105. “I was thinking of the 1980s and yes the 1990s, in which there was indeed deregulation that led to long-term economic growth. I did not say that that economic growth was sustainable forever.”

    I think Silicon Valley and the mass deployment of the internet had something to do with that. Also in the 1980s, the major deregulation of financial markets began, which led to the crash of 2008.

    In other words, what are you talking about? Have you studied this? In what context?

  106. @James says:
    January 18, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    James, your post is filled with misconceptions and wrongness. The biggest error is your statement that China’s GDP passed the USA GDP a decade ago. Just no. China is way in third place, behind the USA and the European Union, which are pretty close at 18 million million dollars of economic activity and 17 million million dollars respectively. China is way back at 11 million million dollars, according to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank. and the United Nations.

    You really think Trump is worried about North Korea’s 4 or 5 nuclear devices, which are not deliverable? Trump has already expressed his enthusiasm about using nuclear devices in a war, I think he is convinced that will put him into history as a great leader – about the level Kim of N Korea acts at. Trump wanted missile launchers and tanks on the DC streets for tomorrow’s inauguration parade, just like North Korea and Russia. Didn’t happen.

    Of course, next time he wants a military parade, he can fire generals until he finds one willing to do it.

    I’ve been pretty tense about things – I grew up in the 1950s, and the Cuban Missile Crisis was the defining moment of my geo-political awareness. I tried to dig a bomb shelter with a pick, a shovel, and a wheelbarrow at 11 years old. With 12 inches of top soil over hard sandstone caprock. I din’t make much progress. My parents worried about me, I’m sure, but it was good exercise, and years later my work was a start on space for a new furnace under the house.

    Later I was about to be drafted into a stint in Viet Nam, and joined the US Navy, where training for nuclear disaster was regarded as elementary. It was so good to see the Cold War end in my 30s and 40s, and to see the number of deployed special weapons drop to 1,700+ for the US and 1800 or so for Russia, from tens of thousands not so long ago. France and the UK also have some, along with Israel, Pakistan, China and India. There’s an interesting web site that shows every one of the thousands of nuclear detonations from 1945 til the Test Ban Treaty, like fire for a few years. Different colors for different national tests! Google it.

    Recently I ground off the chewing surfaces of two crowns, the back molars on my right side. The teeth don’t hurt, they were removed and replaced with noble-metal and such years ago – but my face feels it some.

    I’m contributing monthly to Planned Parenthood, we have done that for years. Also to Organizing For America, formerly Obama For America. I’m planning to join the ACLU, and contribute to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks white supremacist groups of all kind all over the country.

    Wow, this is long… but it is important to keep a grip. I’m still OK, BP not spiking, so far. Not going to watch live tomorrow. May look at it online in the late afternoon. I have no kids, but I do have young friends, nieces and nephews, cousins’ kids, etc. I would rather live 20 more years and know that they were going to have a decent world to live in.

    Oh, yeah – Climate Change. Read the recent piece in the Washington Post about that. There is a tipping point in the world’s ecosystem at which we will not be able to slow an accelerating change in the Earth’s climate. No one knows exactly where that tipping point is, but most experts think we are very close, just a few years away if we continue to emit greenhouse gases at the rate we do today. I try not to think about these things late at night, but I only sleep a few hours a night, like 2 am til 5 or so. Sometimes I can go back to bed after a couple of hours and nap – retirement is good that way.

    John, if this is too bleak, just take it down. You’re near a big AF base, Wright-Patterson, but the big one up wind of us is near St. Louis, Whiteman AFB, home of the 509th Bomber Wing, which flies B-2 stealth bombers capable of delivering special weapons anywhere in the world, and (maybe) flying back, too. As the 509th Composite Group they were created to deliver special devices to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a very long time ago. Still doing that job today. Probably one of everyone’s special targets.

    Peace – Love Trumps Hate !!

  107. “What would you say to the people who are still in oh shit oh shit oh shit mode?

    “Leaving aside the folks who are genuinely depressed and focusing on the ones who are just merely wringing their hands at this point: Time to get over that shit now.”

    Heh. I’m beyond depressed and into terrified; my income is Social Security, which they want to privatize. Without Medicare, if coverage is cut or if my medication co-pays go any higher, I’m dead in a couple of months (and all my medications are generics). 52% of my rent is paid by a Section 8 subsidy, and I’ve read several (reliable) sources saying they want to gut *that*.

    I’m useless at letter writing, especially when stressed – anomic aphasia does that to me. I’m even worse at making phone calls – am phone phobic enough that, aside from very close friends, calling anyone – even just phoning in my prescription refills every month – means I have to take anti-anxiety meds about a half hour before I call.

    Again, useless. And of course that piles on to the other anxieties. (Yeah. Anxiety. I’ve been having PTSD nightmares again, several a night, and that *had* been under control, thanks to EMDR therapy.) (And I can’t find a local therapist who takes Medicare and is accepting new patients; there are a couple of therapists within a 15 mile range who accept Medicare, but they’ve got very long waiting lists.)

    /whine

    At least my fears are only economic; I’ve got friends who are LGBTQ, who have far more reason for fear. Other than disability and poverty (and gender) I’m not in a demographic that’s in danger; I’m white and I still manage to appear middle class, so I’m not lacking in certain sorts of privilege.

    This all sucks.

  108. “James, your post is filled with misconceptions and wrongness. The biggest error is your statement that China’s GDP passed the USA GDP a decade ago. Just no. China is way in third place, behind the USA and the European Union, which are pretty close at 18 million million dollars of economic activity and 17 million million dollars respectively. China is way back at 11 million million dollars, according to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank. and the United Nations.”

    Again, problems with reading comprehension. Seems to be common here. I never said anything about GDP, I said drivers of world economic growth. Here, read this article:

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-is-poised-to-be-the-second-largest-driver-of-global-growth-in-2020/articleshow/56642000.cms

    “You really think Trump is worried about North Korea’s 4 or 5 nuclear devices, which are not deliverable? Trump has already expressed his enthusiasm about using nuclear devices in a war, I think he is convinced that will put him into history as a great leader – about the level Kim of N Korea acts at. Trump wanted missile launchers and tanks on the DC streets for tomorrow’s inauguration parade, just like North Korea and Russia. Didn’t happen.”

    Heh, are you sure North Korea hasn’t miniaturized? They claim to have, plus they have ballistic missiles that can reach Okinawa, and Seoul is really, really close. No, an invasion of North Korea isn’t going to happen. Even Trump won’t risk it even with the remotest possibility of nuclear war. The rest of your post was too rambling to respond to.

  109. I doubt that Donnie Putinobitch is going to achieve much of anything, simply because he has spent the last thirty years screaming loudly and running as fast as he can to get away from the debt-collector. He has no ideas of substance, which is why he contradicts himself multiple times in the space of an hour, never mind a day, and his only priority is self-enrichment, at which he has proven to be relatively incompetent as well. I suspect he’ll grift away as long as he can, then pardon himself and resign to spend more time commissioning pictures of himself visiting Danae/the American people in a shower of gold. The GOP try and exploit him to make their most idiotic fantasies come true – and will, if they are very unlucky, succeed in this beyond the dreams of avarice. At which point they’ll be in the position of cosplaying the dog that caught the car. Yes, we should resist the kleptocracy of the fiscal terrorist party, but let’s do so from a recognition that those who don’t want Trump are the majority already – and that majority is only going to increase. As a legitimate American president once said: the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Trump may bluster as much as he likes, but deep down he’s much more frightened of us than we need to be of him. Let us give him even more reasons to fear the consequences of his fraudulent presidency.

  110. NicoleandMaggie, it would be worthwile to document what you encountered about the lies and send the info to Talking Points Memo. Josh Marshall (who John may vouch for) and his crew would be VERY interested in this.

    James, may I ask what country that you live in? I haven’t seen you comment here before but I may have missed you before.

  111. May I also add the following Twitter accounts as people to look to, both red and blue:
    @sarahkendzior, @radiofreetom, @summerbrennan and @rickwilson as part of the #resistance.

  112. “I was thinking of the 1980s and yes the 1990s, in which there was indeed deregulation that led to long-term economic growth. I did not say that that economic growth was sustainable forever.”

    There was indeed deregulation which led to the expensive S&L bailout (and ultimately to the housing/banking collapse that almost caused a second worldwide depression in 2008). Under Reagan through the 80’s there was a massive, deficit-funded defense buildup which our system of counting calls economic growth. Under Obama’s administration, government and deficits have been consistently shrinking which cost jobs, almost sunk the recovery, and put a lid on GDP growth. (much of the shrinkage happened at state and local levels.)

    Did Obama get re-regulation right? Not perfectly. In some places, regulation took precedence over the deterrent effect of punishing malfeasance. Thus, Dodd-Frank is probably too onerous on community banks, where a lighter hand might enable more funding of entrepreneurship, and too kind to massive banks, which are too big and too oligopolistic.

  113. Regarding communicating with your Congress-critter, MP or other representative: Some surveys and anecdata suggest that actual written letters *still* carry a lot more weight than phone messages or e-mails – the representatives see them as more ‘real’. In many countries letters to your rep are postage-free too. So write/type a letter, even only a couple of lines, with a real signature on it. It may have more effect than many anonymous phone messages.

    Also, your reps are human; saying thankyou to them for voting a way you agreed with (even if only partly), and especially if it surprised you, goes a long way too.

  114. Others have mentioned Sarah Kendzior. She’s actually studied authoritarian states for a decade, so her warnings have credibility. As with everyone else who has watched this unfold, she would rather be wrong. I do recommend everyone read this article, in particular.

    https://thecorrespondent.com/5696/were-heading-into-dark-times-this-is-how-to-be-your-own-light-in-the-age-of-trump

    You don’t have to be good at governing, good at business, or really good at much of the normal things one expects from those in a modern democracy to be an effective authoritarian. Don’t underestimate what Trump can do.

  115. @mike
    Other than the staffer’s lack of belief in reality, I don’t need to because my senator tweeted them out last night. He’s gone official.

    Does this mean I shouldn’t call his office and complain about his spreading misinformation? Because I think I should.

  116. @DaiKiwi: The thing about letters is that they’re slow–especially if you send them to DC (where they have to be held and checked for things like anthrax contamination) rather than to the local office, which is better. When people issue calls to flood the phones they’re usually going for an instant mass effect that can’t be ignored, to affect a vote or a hearing that’s happening today or tomorrow, and nothing works for that like phones ringing off the hook.

  117. @Scott Morizot: The thing about Kendzior, and to a lesser extent Masha Gessen, is that when I read them the sense I get is just an overwhelming hopelessness; it may not be what they intend to say, but the message they end up conveying is that we’re doomed, democracy is already dead, our feeble political efforts are ridiculous and nothing, nothing at all is going to help, short of some distant revolution generations away. All we can do is try to survive and not let our beliefs be contaminated.

    It strikes me as something Trump would very much like us to believe.

    Their experience is with post-Soviet autocracies (Russia, Uzbekistan) where there was never really much of a tradition of democracy in the first place. I wonder how applicable it is. My guess is that it is 100% applicable when speaking of the behavior of the autocrat himself–Trump is in the mold of those guys. The question is how applicable it is when talking about the behavior of the wider society.

    Based on my memory of the eras of Reagan and the Bushes, I honestly expected American popular and political culture to roll over for Trump and grant him normality and gravitas to a much greater extent than it has, and to some degree I’m favorably surprised. The question is whether that continues into the period where he actually has power.

  118. @Matt. Hopefully. However, she (and others) simply articulated the very things I already saw in play from my own personal study of politics and history as well as my own life experience and observations. I didn’t get my understanding from her. She merely articulates it better than I can. Our institutions and conventions were already crumbling before Trump. Had they been strong, he wouldn’t have had a chance. The rot has been slow, but had been going on much of my life, and has been picking up steam since the mid-90s. The GOP has been repeatedly rewarded rather than punished for violating norms of governing in our country. It’s little surprise they were overtaken by an authoritarian this year. They were ripe for it. And they’ve made this country ripe for it. The demagogue has always been a weakness for democracies. That’s not just true in the modern era. That’s been true throughout history.

    Again, hopefully those of us who see a particularly dark period are proven wrong. None of us suggest that people stop resisting. I think we do believe that most will adapt and normalize things. It’s what people usually do under authoritarian rule. And maybe Trump and the people around him are as lousy at authoritarianism as he has been at business. But right now, that looks like wishful thinking to me. And even if Trump is lousy at authoritarianism, Putin certainly isn’t. And Trump has already demonstrated he is learning from Putin and repeating his views.

  119. And again, I hope I’m wrong. I hope I can look back in 2 years and see that all my fears were overblown and that things are on track to some sort of normalcy.

    But then, I hoped I was wrong when I thought Trump would win the GOP nomination. And I wasn’t.

    I hoped I was wrong when I thought he would find a way to win the election. And I wasn’t.

    I hoped I was wrong when I thought he would install the worst sorts of people in positions of power. And I wasn’t.

    I’m actually really, really tired of being right. I want this country to finally prove me wrong.

  120. @Scott Morizot

    I think you badly underestimate the very real weakness of Trump’s position and the resources America has to resist, exhaust and ultimately break him. Trump’s never successfully run a real business in his life and shows no sign of being able to handle anything complex or demanding over the short-term, never mind four years. Rather than demanding that this country prove you wrong, why not set a goal of proving yourself wrong and serving your country at the same time?

  121. Trump or no Trump, the Republican Congress is already taking steps to give away Federal lands, strip away the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, defund the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, and fast-track the destruction of the Affordable Care Act. Trump will veto exactly none of this.

  122. The disconnect between well meaning people on the left: some think of Clinton and Obama’s terms as the “good days” and some of them think of them as the “could have been worse days.” I get that Trump may be so bad that we have stuff all our precious resources into resisting/defeating him, but even if we succeed, we are not going back to where we were.

    It would probably be a good idea if we started planning on what we want/need ahead of time. Are we going to finally say No to the Drug War? Are we going to try basic income as jobs shrink? Are we going to stop creating an underclass of illegal immigrants by either doing the scut work ourselves or making them citizens? Are we going to take in lots of funny talking refugees or are we going to pull up the ladders? (Serious question, taking the refugees will probably mean real economic, social and environmental pain in the glorious new future.)

    Assuming no major disasters (large scale warfare, large scale famine/epidemic, etc.), I think political tactics can get the Democrats back into the White House and Senate in 2020. Then they will lose the 2022 mid-terms and so forth. Sometime in the late 2020s we will get some major realignments as demographic and economic realities become too large for anyone to ignore. What those will be, I don’t know because I don’t know how badly Trump is going to fuck up this country and I don’t know how bad things will get in other parts of the world.

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