Two Weeks In

Original Photo by Gage Skidmore, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA 2.0). Click on the photo for original.

Two weeks since election day. Let’s get to it. Again, in the format of a Q and A, as this piece will contain questions I have been asked by others. Ready? Let’s begin.

Fucking Nazis, man!

That’s not really a question, though, is it.

Where are these fucking Nazis coming from?

If you mean the “alt-right” people, they’re coming from the Internet, and they’re under the impression that now that Trump is president-elect and Steve Bannon will be in the White House whispering in his ear, it’s their time to emerge from the Breitbart comment threads and go wandering around pretending it’s become cool to be a racist little shit in public. They’re pushing really hard to get people to believe that casual acceptance of their bigotry is the “new normal.” I suspect they’re going to be surprised by, and fundamentally unequipped to deal with, the response from the large majority of people for whom open racism and other bigotries are in fact repulsive and horrible.

There are also the actual KKK and actual “just call us Nazis” Nazis, who are delighted that the alt-right children are now venturing into the real world, the better to act as soft and easily thumped-upon shock troops while they do their thing in the background, as they have for a while now. The “alt-right” are basically those assholes from your college dorm who were always “just playing devil’s advocate” about the topics of slavery and women’s rights. The KKK and Nazis are the ones cooking meth and beating the shit out of people they don’t like. I’m guessing the latter groups are happy the former is out there being useful idiots for their ideology. I’m also guessing the latter would be happy to curbstomp the former if they ever got in their way.

But we’re clear that the “alt-right” really are fucking Nazis, yes?

Yup. I mean, let’s also be clear that the alt-right nonsense isn’t merely confined to the anti-Semitism that we typically (and erroneously) solely ascribe to the Nazis. They’re also broadly racist, sexist and homophobic, and before someone trots out the fact that one of the alt-right’s biggest celebrities is a gay man, let’s grant that every movement of bigots has its quislings and Röhms, or more charitably, those who believe that they’ve got a tiger by the tail rather than being in its teeth. But no matter how you define it, the alt-right are bigots and white supremacists and assholes, the whole lot of them. Call them “Nazis,” it’s shorter.

However, I wouldn’t worry about the phrase “alt-right” being a cover for these little turds’ white supremacist stylings. I think it’s becoming pretty clear what “alt-right” means, and quickly. It’s not actually fooling anyone.

Can I take a moment here to complain about the complicity of the press in normalizing these alt-right assholes by calling them “stylish” and “dapper” and also not just calling them fucking Nazis?

You may, and I would like to add that personally I’ve found that the bar for “stylish” and “dapper” is being placed pretty low here. A shitty bigoted youngish white dude puts on a pair of sunglasses and leans up against a wall, and suddenly he’s “dapper?” Reporters, please take a consult from your paper’s fashion staff, if such still exist. The one argument I can see for calling these assholes “stylish” is that typically bigots here in the US are not very fashion-forward; the bigot look has been locked into “skinhead punk” or “rural flannel” for a while now, with occasional forays into Ed Hardy t-shirts. Relative to that very low baseline, the ability to pop the collar on your Men’s Warehouse camelhair sports coat looks like the height of urbanity.

With that said, let me point out something less than entirely popular in some circles, which is that reporting on the alt-right (and the fact they don’t appear to entirely dress out of a dumpster) is not exactly the same thing as “normalizing” them. Look, these assholes are emerging out their collective basements to loiter in public places. They are under the impression they have the ear of the incoming administration and that their interests will be heard in the halls of power. And — acknowledge it, please — they’ve made not insignificant headway in attracting young white assholes and cultivating them, in no small part because they don’t look like Oxycontin cowboys or skinheads with swastikas tatted onto their foreheads, the universal symbol of “I will never have a white collar job.”

Their “dapperness,” relatively speaking, is part of their story. It doesn’t not make them assholes, or bigots, or Nazis. Reporting on it is not normalizing it. Writing a story along the lines of “Sure they’re bigots, but who can hold it against them when they look so great!” would be, not in the least because they don’t actually look great, they just look like they aren’t dressed like extras from Road House.

What about that fucking CNN chyron yesterday?

You mean this one?

Yes, I mean that one. How is that not normalizing fascism and anti-Semitism?

Well, a couple things here. First, Matt Viser, the fellow pictured in this image, is a reporter and not the “alt-right founder” noted in the chyron, so please don’t be angry at him (when this picture started going around Viser felt compelled to put up a tweet to clarify). Second, should CNN not note that this alt-right asshole, in a speech given to his followers in DC, following the election of a racist president who is appointing anti-Semitic and bigoted people to his administration and who has a noted homophobe as his VP, “wondered” if Jews were actually people, as opposed to “soulless golems”? I don’t know, that actually does seem to be the very definition of news to me. It doesn’t appear that CNN is endorsing the view, simply by reporting it. It’s not even putting it into a horrible question format (“Are Jews people?”). That asshole alt-right dude did question whether Jews are people. I’d rather have CNN covering that than not.

Again: Reporting is not the same thing as normalization, and I think folks need to have a conversation about this, because it’s going to get in the way if they don’t. The fact of the matter is, Trump’s been elected. He’s a bigot, he’s grifter, and he’s emotionally twelve, he surrounds himself with bottom-shelf bigots and hangers-on, and he got himself elected in no small part by appealing to both the active and latent bigotries of white people, and all of that is a fact, too. Whether you like it or not, what he does, and what his people do, and what the people who elected him into office do, is news. And I think people need to ask themselves which is more normalizing: Reporting on this stuff, or not.*

But the mainstream press has been generally terrible!

That’s painting with a wide brush, but I’ll allow it because it’s not wrong. The press, no less so than most of the rest of us, got complacent to a greater or lesser extent. It’s also had the compounded issue that the last decade has been horrible for it, economically speaking, and this election cycle, primarily thanks to Trump, has been a financial windfall for them. Make no mistake that Trump’s election has also been good for the mainstream media’s bottom line, in no small part because people in a panic have suddenly realized that a robust adversarial press is something this nation might actually need in the next four years, and rushed to get subscriptions. So, you know, that’s good for them.

Now the press, no less than anyone else, has to pay the piper. It’s time for the press to genuinely be adversarial. What we’ve already seen about the incoming administration is that it is likely to be opaque and mercurial and hostile to the press. Well, fine. That should make the question of whether to be adversarial an academic one. But even as it (hopefully) takes an adversarial stance, be aware that the press, which is not nearly the monolith you may think it is, is still going to disappoint you. This will be a combination of its needing to work hard to exercise flabby muscles, having to do more with less because of its economic realities, having to choose what things to prioritize, needing to do long-term strategy for access and reporting, and so on. You will likely never be happy with the press, and that’s fair, and it’s fair to criticize and complain. We need them anyway. This incoming administration is going to test this nation in ways it’s not been tested in a while. We need them, and we need them to be better.

It’s also fair to say we need to be better, too, in what we read as news and in calling out the fake news when it happens. It’s easy to think of the fake news sites as being part of a larger propaganda apparatus — and some of it is! You’re not wrong! — but a lot of it is also a bunch of people realizing they could get money by making shit up and getting credulous people to click. Yes, blame Facebook all you like for not catching up with the fake news sites until after the election (i.e., after they’d made a bundle). Again, you’re not wrong. But as long as the economic and/or political desire is there, the fake news isn’t going away. It’s up to each of us to do a better job of evaluating what we read that asserts to be news, even if it makes us happy, or gloriously angry. Especially if it makes us these two things.

Do you have any additional thoughts on Trump right now?

Not on Trump, precisely, because the only thing he’s done in the last week is to confirm what we already knew about him, i.e., he’s a thin-skinned narcissist who probably didn’t actually want to win the presidency (or more accurately, wanted to win the presidency but didn’t want to have to be president), easily swayable by flattery and distracted by slights, deeply incurious, and planning to leave the actual running of the country to others while he does other things. The only new thing, really, is I think it’s finally sinking in for him that he’s not going to be loved and adored, and it’s pissing him off.

I am still amazed that anyone was under the impression that Trump would be anything other than what it’s clear he’s been for decades now. Reading online, apparently people were still believing that there was a “pivot” in there somewhere. There’s not. I’m not blaming Trump for that one; that’s on those folks. I do think that if anyone is still waiting for the pivot now, or is hoping that Trump all of a sudden has a personality replacement, they’re a fool. Believe Trump is Trump, motherfuckers. Because he is. All his little party pals are exactly who they are too. None of the people who loiter in Trump’s wake are hard to figure out; they’re precisely as awful as they appear to be. The same can be said about his most ardent fans, i.e., the racists, the homophobes and the Nazis. Plan accordingly.

I blame the Democrats.

This is also not a question, but, okay. And?

Well, I have many theories about why they should have won!

This is where I once again remind folks that Clinton’s popular vote tally is significantly higher than Trump’s; indeed, she got more votes as president than any white man ever, including Donald Trump. If your theories are predicated on points that do not include the weirdness of the electoral college system, perhaps consider that first.

Also, look: The majority of Americans who voted were on board with Democratic policies and plans. I don’t think they are the problem. I think the Democrats do have problems, but their general message isn’t one of them. Its effective distribution may be. This may also be related to the fact that Democrats seem to have gotten complacent about state and local elections, which is why the large majority of state houses in the US are Republican-owned at the moment.

Do you think the electors are going to dump Trump?


Do you think audits of voting in battleground states should happen and will they show evidence of fraud?

Sure, and no.

What about —

You know, any scheme that involves Trump somehow not actually making it into the White House on a technicality I’m pretty sure isn’t going to happen. I think you need to reconcile yourself to that reality, or at the very least just plan for it.

But the whole point of the electoral college was to keep people like Trump out!

It didn’t keep out Buchanan or Grant or Harding or any other number of less than impressive presidents. I don’t think you or I disagree on the subject of whether Trump should be president. He shouldn’t. But if the electoral college decided that he shouldn’t be president, I would indulge in about ten seconds of maniacal laughter before I headed down to the basement to hide from a level of sustained white person rioting unseen since the days of Fort Sumter. The sort of person who can be swayed by fake news sites created by Macedonian stoner kids is not going to understand or accept the intricacies of the voting privileges of the electoral college.

You could be wrong.

I could be. I don’t think we’ll be in a position to find out. It’s my official position that Trump will be in the White House on January 20, 2017 and that everyone should plan accordingly.

What about that emolument clause?

Did you know what the “emolument clause” was before a couple of days ago?

What does that have to do with anything? 

Probably nothing. But again, I wouldn’t get my hopes up. This article from yesterday’s Washington Post explains why.

Gaaaaaaaaah I just hate Trump sooooooo much.

You’re not alone. But he’s going to be president, so you should work with that.

Do you think he’ll last all four years?

I think it’s prudent to assume he will. Alternate scenarios are possible, but you should plan on him having at least one full term.

But —

Seriously, you’re just going to make yourself unhappy — well, unhappier — hoping for a deus ex machina to take Trump out of commission. As much as I hate to say it, I have to say it: It’s time to get over it. He’s been elected. Assume four years. If it makes it any better, know that the next four years are likely to be the most miserable of Trump’s life. So at least you have that going for you.

Anything else?

Fucking Nazis, man.

Again, not a question. But yes.

* Update: Some folks have said to me via Twitter that the alt-right asshole was wondering if reporters were not people, not all Jews per se. I personally read the criticism as pertaining to Jews, both specifically and generally, so I continue to think the chyron was fair, but I also think there’s room for interpretation on that score, so if one finds the Chyron was off, it’s fair to ding CNN for it. But even without that, inasmuch as the alt-right asshole was also maintaining that the reporters were protecting Jewish interests and using Jewish-related terms to negatively portray the reporters (many of whom are known to be Jewish!), there’s still a whole lot of anti-Semitism going on in there, and that’s still worth being reported on.

141 Comments on “Two Weeks In”

  1. Notes!

    1. Political post, Mallet, be polite to each other, you know the drill.

    2. For the sake of clarity, remember my position that not every Trump supporter is an active bigot, Nazi, homopohobe, etc, so if you’re a Trump supporter come to tell me these things, yes, I know. However, do remember my Cinemax Theory of Racism.

    I’ll probably think of more things to add as we go along.

  2. Thanks for continued sense.

    If I could add one Q to the Q&A, it would be “Why has there been so much silence from many Democrats/POTUS? [Or, “Why are the Harry Reid and Cory Booker the only ones I can see speaking up?”] Thoughts would as ever be most welcome.

    And good Ghu, I need to stop spending my life on this stuff and get some actual work done..

  3. Please, please make this a recurring weekly feature, at least for a little while. We need more voices of sanity nowadays, man.

  4. I can only hope and pray that the Democrats are cooking up ways they can gum up the works as the minority party, given that the first thing Mitch McConnell will do is nuke the filibuster. Which I would expect him to do. I would have expected the Dems to do the same if Hillary had won and the Dems had 52 Senators, because otherwise they wouldn’t have gotten to appoint anyone, much less a SCOTUS judge.
    I will settle for every Democratic Senator and Representative standing in front of a camera or microphone every day and saying, “Paul Ryan and the GOP will take away your Medicare and Social Security unless you call him right now, and here is his office number in Wisconsin, and here is Mitch McConnell’s in Louisville.”

  5. Don’t coddle Nazis.

    Don’t give Nazis free space to spread hate.

    Don’t normalize Nasis.

    Learn to listen to Jews, POC and other groups targeted by Nazis when they tell you someone’s a freaking Nazi.

    Teach yourself to recognize Nazis.

    If you ignore Nazis, you’re enabling Naziism, and are being useful to them. Remember that. It makes you a Nazi enabler. Oh sure, YOU aren’t a Nazi. Not all Trump voters are Nazis, but boy howdy do they ever turn a blind eye to actual goshdarn Nazis.

    If you know someone who’s coddling Nazis, or even just denying that they’re a growing problem, call them on it. Stopping the normalization of Nazis starts with you.

  6. It is also worth mentioning that overturning the election results in any way, including the highly improbable faithless electors, would result in an armed rebellion. Period, end. A genuinely stolen Presidential election would send “the second amendment people” into the streets.

    There are pragmatic, as well as legal, reasons to abandon this scenario.

  7. Sometime back in the mid-seventies, when I was what they then called a newspaperman, the media began to slip into a long, long sleep where they dreamed they were just another part of the entertainment industry, instead of a vital function of democracy. Now Trump has come along and planted a real pussy-grabbing wet one on their unsullied lips — with tongue — and suddenly the media are waking up to find that the kingdom has grown wild and woolly indeed.

    Question is, do they haul themselves out of the sack and go back to work? Or roll over and slide back into dreamland?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  8. Thank you, Mr. Scalzi, for a well-written post on the reality we find ourselves in. It is a terrifying reality, to be sure, but your level-headed analysis helps me to face what is to come with some stoicism and some action on my part for the causes I believe in. We all knew the Nazis were there, now we can see who they are and declare that they are not the kind of people we want in charge in the next elections.

  9. So far, 90% of what the cheeto said he would do during the campaign has been forgotten. So far, the cheeto refuses to respect the news media … he wants to talk to the American Public through Twitter only where he never has to actually converse with anyone. His narcissism is beyond contempt.

    He lied. He lied continuously throughout the campaign, and he will lie as this administration goes forward. He will lie and lie and lie in order that he can do whatsoever he pleases. It was always about nothing other than him winning and bragging about winning. Because that is who the cheeto is.


  10. Thanks, and it’s everything I want to say too. Thanks also for giving attention to alarming developments while deliberately not naming at least two people who don’t need more attention.

    About the democrats though… While there is some futility in going on about why they could’ve / should’ve won, and while I agree it’s wasted effort to discuss changing the results (Trump won by the rules we had in place), I do think it’s worthwhile to hold the Democrats’ feet to the fire in general and to dissect why they lost until we are all collectively blue in the face. Right now is the time to refocus the Democratic party. Also we need to attack the alt right’s (and the old school conservative) bigotry where we find it, but I don’t think there is much we can do from the outside to sway those people. Strategically, we need to be refocusing our own base and reaching out to the disengaged. All of that requires extensive thoughtful (and not just bitter) criticism of the DNC / Hilary etc.

  11. NETWORK feels more prescient than ever. Except now Arthur Jensen is going to be president, with Nazis looking to the main chance. Even Paddy Chayefsky didn’t think of that.

  12. And even if some string of events were to come together that DID mean Trump was out in less than four years, that leaves us stuck with Pence, and frankly I think that is worse.

  13. I was rooting for the fraud case against Trump to actually go to trial, find him guilty, and send him to prison. The President-elect being incarcerated would be sufficient cause for the Electoral College to decline to choose him without serious backlash. But that’s pretty much what it would take; any lesser scenario will result in riots.

  14. It’s not so much the reporting that CNN did around Spencer’s comments that angered me; it was the forced calm and civil discussion of the reporters about it. Where was the outrage?

  15. Yup. We are stuck with him for 4 years – unless the GOP decides to impeach him.

  16. Assuming the electoral college does indeed fall in line, then y’all had better flipping well pray Donald is president for the next four years. The man may have no shame, but there’s a chance he may not go along with some of the evil crap that the Republicans are planning on unleashing. Okay, it’s a very small chance, given that he doesn’t want to bother with the actual presidency business and would, based on what we’ve seen thus far, rather see about lining his own pocket as much as possible. But if Trump is removed and Pence is given free reign, it’s going to be ugly.

  17. I wonder if it’d be better to have Pence as president, just like I wondered the same thing about Cheney. Better to have the evil front-and-center than lurking in the background.

    If anything, I suspect that Trump has even less interest in — and understanding of — the day-to-day responsibilities of being president than Dubya did. Which leaves a big opening for shit to happen behind the scenes.

  18. With that said, let me point out something less than entirely popular in some circles, which is that reporting on the alt-right (and they fact they don’t appear to entirely dress out of a dumpster) is not exactly the same thing as “normalizing” them.

    Up to a point, Sir. Up to a point. Newspapers and cable news shows aren’t put together by magic elves who work when everyone else has gone home to bed. People make choices to euphemise Steve Bannon as an “alleged racist”, or publish puff pieces about what the stylish fascist — sorry “alt-right think tank” — is wearing this season. At the same time, decisions are made to give the usual talking heads unchallenged platforms to rave about a Broadway actor reading a statement directed at the Vice President-Elect during the curtain call as some existential threat to free speech and the Republic itself.

    And where I come from, Mr Scalzi, choices have consequences — ALL OF THEM.

  19. For me at least, the issue with the CNN segment isn’t that they reported on it, it’s how they reported on it–the same kind of faux “balance” that contributed greatly to us getting into this mess. The headline could have been better–“Alt-right leader gives anti-semitic speech,” for example–but the real problem is what the talking heads were saying: the question the moderator asked and the others discussed was “should Trump denounce this?” rather than “why hasn’t Trump denounced this yet?” As if the question of whether to cuddle with Nazis is a matter of political strategy as opposed to a moral failing.

  20. “I suspect they’re going to be surprised by, and fundamentally unequipped to deal with, the response from the large majority people for whom open racism and other bigotries are in fact repulsive and horrible.”

    I also suspect that they will have a very, very hard slap of reality when they look for their first job out of high school or college and find that the hiring manager or HR rep has placed them on a blacklist within their company. They are going to be very surprised when they get rejection after rejection because of all of the horrible things they have said on social media that no respected company wants to deal with.

  21. A similar thing has happened in the UK, the side of the pond I am currently on: anti-Brexit media tended to label pro-Brexit people as racists and xenophobes. Some were, no doubt, but many weren’t – people voted for all sorts of reasons. Since the pro-Brexit side won, the racists now seem to think they are the majority and don’t have to hide under rocks and rotting logs (along with other creepy and slimy things) anymore. I can’t help thinking that the common connection in both cases was the extent of mud-slinging on both sides, which lowered the tone of the debate to prehistoric levels. A proper debate of the real issues, from both sides, might have prevented this apparent slumping of civilization.

  22. While I don’t disagree with your general assessment, saying, “But Hilary had more votes” only seems to come off as “whiney loser that is hung up on a statistic that is not relevant to presidential elections.”

    This election has a projected lower voting turnout than 2012[1]. HRC’s margin of victory for popular vote is only within about 1%, which is hardly “significant”[2].

    If this is what makes Clinton supports feel a little better about the election, I’m not sure they should.

    If you want to blame anyone for Trump winning more electoral votes, it’s really each individual state legislature’s fault (Except maybe Maine and Nebraska). Most states have legislated away their electors power to choose the best candidate instead going for a winner takes all.

    While I don’t like how our current EC in most states is set-up, I do appreciate the idea. Each state having a say in the presidency is what it was designed for. But the heart of the design where the electors could make educated decisions on candidates has been summarily removed. I would really not want to see the popular vote deciding the presidency. That would be stripping our government of its Federation foundations which I really appreciate.


  23. It’s nice to find someplace on the internet that’s not hyperventilating over politics in general and the election in specifics. We’ve survived an All Republican Majority before, we’ll do so again.

    The nice thing about seeing all the _______phobes coming out of the woodwork is that it’s easier to ID them and stop the hate (so, yes, shock troops, but decimation is still decimation). The smart haters will still be with us and still using social camouflage, but them loosing allies is still loosing resources and ground.

  24. @Shirley Marquez, the fraud cases against Trump were civil lawsuits, not criminal charges. He was not going to be “convicted” of anything. The settlements, which still must be approved by the judge, are less about money per se than they are about keeping Trump off the witness stand. He would have been a piñata, and if he didn’t know it, his lawyers damn well did.

  25. Just as an aside, and I completely agree about the horrible joke that is the term “alt-right”, it’s important to remember that these are also not “white supremacists”. They are actually “a-certain-_kind_-of-white supremacists”. It’s a lot easier just to say “Aryan supremacists”, although the definition of “Aryan” seems suspiciously close to “Germanic”. After all, Jews aren’t “white”. Liberals aren’t “white”. Slavs aren’t “white” (other than Vladimir Putin, of course, who is an honorary Nazi). All those “Mediterranean types” aren’t white, although as with Prince Vlad, some of them can become honorary Nazis. And so on. Personally, I’ll stick with “Nazis”. I don’t hold with this silly political correctness that so many of us nowadays seem to need so desperately*. I believe in calling a spade a spade.

    *And, note that “being polite” is not the same thing as “political correctness”, no matter which [offensive identification label] tries to redefine the term to suit his own purposes.

  26. John A:

    Meh. Nowhere do you see me suggest Trump did not win the presidency fair and square. At the same time, it’s not irrelevant that Trump lost the popular vote. In point of fact most people who voted, did not vote for him. It does, for example, make it more difficult for him (or anyone else) to suggest he has a “mandate,” although to be honest I don’t expect that to stop him any more than it stopped Bush in 2000.

  27. These are going to be miserable years for Trump, but his ego is too big to let him step down. It’s even too big to let him not run for re-election, even miserably. Then, he’ll either lose, and be a loser, or he’ll win again, renewing himself for four more years of misery. At the end of it all, he’ll be 78, exhausted, and much less able to enjoy the fame his ego has won.

  28. From a UK perspective it seems strange that few people are commenting on the terrible 54% turnout, though looking at wikipedia it’s not that unusual. Why do you think that is?

  29. Two points, one to a commenter:

    1) POTUS really isn’t in a position – yet – to say what he may really think of the situation. He pretty much has to act like everything is normal, else seems to be skirting the edge of his term-limiting. January 21st, though, he’ll be a private citizen again, or as close to it as former presidents get.

    2) We’ve seen how easy it is to distract him from what he should be doing. Can we not just all spend the next 4 years driving him crazy, to keep him from imploding everything? We could set up a rota. ;-)

  30. We happened across All the President’s Men on cable over the weekend. Ladies and gents, this is what old-school, fact-finding, hard-hitting journalism looks like. Please get to it.

    We see a few whackadoodles on a regular basis at the library; generally mostly harmless and related mainly to library use, but I and my staff will be keeping our eyes and ears open for more egregious behavior. Libraries should be safe spaces, and I’m bringing in my stash of safety pins.

  31. @John S. I was probably extrapolation from other people I hear stating the same thing except actually expecting it to mean something. Point taken.

    I’m also hoping that it does make it more difficult for him to do anything stupid. But somehow I feel like he won’t care and will do stupid things anyway…

    Here’s hoping for an uneventful 4 years…

  32. While I agree with your overall premise–that the vulgar talking yam (h/t charles pierce) will be installed as president and we need to plan for that–I also think that
    1a) There is a non-trivial chance that the vote was hacked.
    1b) Even if the vote wasn’t hacked, it is also clear that the Republicans have made suppressing the vote and gerrymandering districts part of their strategy (because they know they can’t win in a fair fight).
    2) Given that HRC got 2 million more votes, if you accept 1a) OR 1b) above, then it’s not at all clear what the Democrats “need to do.”

    I have this sense that many commentators are acting like this is a McGovern-size loss, when it fact it was not. Two million people is a lot of damn people. For that matter, more people voted for Democrats for both the House AND the Senate, I believe–it’s that the Republicans have managed to draw districts so those voters are clumped together in ways that make it easier for Republicans to win actual seats.

    In short: while we may very well want to think about our message, and how to deliver it, IMHO the Democrats also need to think and act seriously to make our governing bodies more representative. it may be the case that the actual message doesn’t need to change all that much!

  33. Any deus ex machina action would have to come from Deus Itself, and Deus is probably still laughing.

    Thanks for this, JS; I’m still grinding my teeth, but also trying, over considerable inertia, to prepare for nastiness. (Also practicing the pronunciation of “Nazi” that annoyed Franz Liebkind [The Producers] just in case.)

  34. Two more thoughts:
    1. One of my biggest fears right now is for all of the women who went public with their stories on how Trump assaulted them in the past. He clearly has issue letting things go with petty stuff like the theater. How will he treat these women when he actually has power behind him to do something?

    2. With all of the talk about how Trump is using his properties for financial gain, I wonder if he will go all the way and make all of his properties official (and permanent) consulates/embasies. That way in many countries he can permanently attach the Trump name to the US and make a ton of money at the same time by charging ridiculous rent payments that the government would have to pay.

  35. Reporting is not the same thing as normalization

    –>When the reporting continues to, as it has for some years, try to be “balanced” by putting the mewlings of know-nothings on the same level as the highly researched knowledge of experts, then YES, it is normalizing bullshit.

    “Asshole says hateful thing” with no rebuking commentary attached is not reportage. It is normalization.


    As for the prospect of an armed rebellion should circumstances work out to keep Tromp out of office (which is not the same as Hillary getting into office, mind you):

    SO WHAT.

    At this point, massive scale violence is all but inevitable. Whether it is armed semi-coordinated rebellion by frustrated racists, or freewheeling random violence by racists who feel unrestrained by law, or active violence of the State against vulnerable citizens, violence is coming. It is only a question of scale and timing and who bears the brunt of it.

    We like to talk of the arm of history bending toward justice. Sometimes it breaks off and everything goes down the shitter for a while. The length of that “while” is a minimum of decades. We have just fallen down a hole in the curve, and how deep or how long it goes is anyone’s guess.

  36. From a UK perspective it seems strange that few people are commenting on the terrible 54% turnout, though looking at wikipedia it’s not that unusual. Why do you think that is?

    I can only speak for myself, Danny, but here goes. I don’t think the turnout is worth commenting on too much because:

    1) At this point, it doesn’t really mean bupkiss. Elections get decided by the people who turn out, and that’s the same whether the turn out is 54%, 94% or two people and a cocker spaniel.

    2) I live in a country where our general elections are held on a Saturday, generally in Spring or early Summer. (Unlike the United States, New Zealand does not have a fixed election date.) They are managed by a single non-partisan agency, and New Zealand law makes registration, early/absentee voting and doing the deed on the day MUCH easier than, generally speaking is the case in America.

    So, yeah, I tend to avoid giving side-eye to people who might not be able to take a work day off in Winter to stand in line for half a day. Let alone people who have had it made clear they’re the targets of explicitly and unapologetic racist efforts to put barriers in their way.

    3) And let’s be honest, how many times have turnout discussion degenerated into curled-lips at the stupid plebs? Every damn time, in my experience, and the only way to win that game is not to play.

  37. Victoria

    There is a very substantial difference between Trump and previous Republican Presidents; that has been covered more or less ad nauseam in mainstream media, so there’s little point in rehashing it.

    There is one point which makes this completely different: climate change. There isn’t time to wait for the return of saner government; the most recent research – modelling the last 748,000 years – suggests that we may have failed to grasp the fact that temperature rises much faster in periods when it’s already warm.

    In the absence of other planets suitable for human habitation we need to face up to reality; Britain has just signed the Paris agreements, knowing that Trump will resile, because science still matters in my country, even if we were dumb enough to sign up for the Ponzi scheme otherwise known as Brexit. I think that unless the US grasps that time is running out we really are screwed…

  38. From your final thoughts…

    As much as I hate to say it, I have to say it: It’s time to get over it. He’s been elected. Assume four years.

    I think it’s also helpful to add, this doesn’t mean “do nothing.” If you follow our host on twitter, you likely follow some of the same people he follows or interacts with (I know I keep finding incredible people to follow through his retweets). You’ll have seen plenty of ways you can act in meaningful ways.

    Call your representatives. Red state or blue, your Senators, U.S. Representatives, and state legislators all have offices and phone lines – and direct calls often have more impact than letters, certainly more than email. Not every republican is happy with what’s going on either, but they’re going to be afraid to speak up if they don’t have support from their base. So, tell them what you think about Trump’s staffing picks among the alt-right. About your concerns over his business interactions. About anything.

    And are you a Democrat? Or, at least wishing you’d had Bernie in the race? The Democratic Party is about to undergo some serious reevaluation and evolution in the loss of this race. They’re looking at a new DNC chair right now, and they’re going to have to evolve their strategy going forward since what they followed in this election failed so spectacularly*. You may have always declared Independent, you might not want to be part of any party…but right now, it’s the best time to induce some change in one of the major parties. Bernie supporter? Look at who he’s endorsing for DNC chair, at the changes he’s pushing for in the party platform. Now’s the time he could use some support.

    Again, it doesn’t always take a great investment of time or energy. Phone calls and letters can do quite a bit. Or perhaps donating to the groups you feel will be most at risk under a Trump presidency, like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the Trevor Project, and more.

    *And by failed, I don’t just mean that HRC lost…but that it was so incredibly close when no one expected DJT to have a ghost of a chance.

  39. I would be very interested to see what everyone thinks of this article. This guy makes is a psychologist dealing with the effect of this election. It is very much related to this Scalzi’s post though. He is NOT a Trump supporter.

  40. The majority of Americans who voted were on board with Democratic policies and plans.

    This, to me, is the real buried lede in all this. More Americans voted Democratic, and despite that, our Federal government is to be dominated by Republicans. If this doesn’t demonstrate there are fundamental flaws in our election system, that our position as the “shining city on the hill” is eradicated, I don’t know what’s what anymore.

    Regarding the electoral college: I do want electors to flip. I fully acknowledge that there’s no way this results in a Clinton presidency (or as some pie-in-the-sky thinkers are positing, a Sanders presidency.) The electors who would ned to be convinced are dyed-in-the-wool Republicans: it’s one thing to convince them not to vote for Trump, it’d be another altogether to convince them to vote for Hillary. But perhaps enough could be convinced to simply deny Trump 270 and kick it to the House. The House, of course would still probably give it to Trump, unless the electors give them a moderate Republican they could stomach as a third option (a Romney or a Kasich, for example). However, the point is less to deny Trump the White House itself (because, you know, armed insurrection would happen), and more to make it crystal clear to every elected official: this administration is starting on thin ice. Every member of the House who puts their vote in for Trump could then be held directly accountable. That’s my ideal (plausible) scenario.

  41. People complaining about media using “Alt-Right” instead of “Neo-Nazi” should remember that “Nazi” isn’t German for “Evil”. It’s short for the rather innocuous sounding “National Socialist German Workers’ Party.” Hitler chose the name for much the same reason Spencer chose “Alt-Right,” but it didn’t take long for everyone in Germany to figure out “Nazi” meant guys who go around beating up Jews, not a progressive social movement concerned with worker welfare.

    The Alt-Right is a unique form of white nationalism, just like the KKK, and it’s helpful to have a name for that specific strain to distinguish them from skinheads, guys in white hoods, and Idaho militiamen. If you always point out what the Alt-Right believes, and mention that they are a white nationalist fascist movement, it won’t be long until people calling themselves “Alt-Right” will be just as shunned as Klansmen.

  42. As satisfying as an electoral college flip might be for many, it sets a precedent that would make elections a much, much bigger mess. Don’t think for a moment that there wouldn’t be folks on the right dreaming of an electoral college flip if HRC had won the electoral vote. They would feel just as strongly as folks on the left might today, maybe more so.

    To set a precedent where the electoral college flips the election night results would cause a bunch of problems going forward. The largest of which is the uncertainty from election night until the electoral votes are counted. Uncertainty is bad under these conditions. The MSM would love it! More election intrigue for another several weeks? Bring it on! The post election campaigning, whatever form that might take, would be crazy. Can you imagine CNN doing elector profiles night after night with pundits evaluating how they will lean? Ugh. No thank you.

    Just because it might be objectively the “right” thing to do this time around doesn’t mean it would be at all the right thing in the long term.

  43. Yeah, Trump is going to be “President Trump,” no doubt about it. Ugh. It is what it is. At this point it’s ‘observe, orient, decide, act.’

  44. With regards to a Trump impeachment, and a President Pence? I’m in favor. It’d do the damage this election should have done to the Republican party for standing behind a Nazi enabling bribe taking racist misogynist con man.

    It’s not like he’s trying to play anything safe. In the past 2 weeks, he’s

    1) Met with indian business interests who’re also de facto agents of the government there

    2) Succeeded in convincing british government officials to work to ban wind generators that might hurt the view on his golf course in Scotland

    3) Invited his daughter onto what should have been secure calls with foreign heads of state, in countries where he has business interests

    4) Been alleged to have wheedled the President of Argentina to fast-track a real estate deal for him

    5) Lobbied for one of the abovementioned brits (a known racist( to get a job as the UK ambassador to the US

    6) Revealed that his charitable foundation used money that should have been tax exempt to buy himself expensive gifts, and that he used it as a way to get out of lawsuits by using charity money to settle his personal legal entanglements.

    7) Settled for $25 million on a fraud case with regards to Trump University

    That’s a major scandal literally every 2 days. Most of these are just as impeachable as Clinton lying over not having had sex with Monica Lewinsky.

  45. I do absolutely think the media should be covering all of this.

    I also, though, think they need to make a point to link Alt Right with White Nationalism* in headlines and short bits. The name is nonindicative of what they ARE (which is Nazis) not sinister sounding on it’s own, and not that well know, yet, to the general public.

    I’ve been emailing every media outlet that I see use the term in a contextless headline. I’m going to claim responsibility, but several have edited their headlines since, so I think I’m not the only one doing this. And, obviously, I think it’s a thing worth doing.

    *Why white nationalist and not white supremacists or Nazi? Well, I think they are those things, but their beliefs are grab bag enough that they could (and I’m absolutely sure WOULD) argue “I believe X, so I’m not a Y’ but they are inarguably white nationalists, so I’m just cutting out some crap. But I ain’t gonna complain if others call them Nazis.

  46. Everybody please keep in mind that the major media outlets are owned, along with most everything else, by the wealthy right-wing. There no doubt is lots of news we’re not getting, because they won’t publish it. Net neutrality is now more crucial than ever.

  47. I hate Illinois Nazis.

    President: racist, islamophobe, sexist pig, might very well usher in internment camps.

    Chief stratetist: alt right racist fascist

    Attorney General: says KKK is OK, called white civil rights lawyer a race traitor.

    Defense Secretary: raging islamophobe, conspiracy theorist, nut job

    This administration is setting up to be the biggest clusterfuck in the history of the US.

    I wont hold my breath for a Electoral College flip, but seriously, if they dont revolt, if the US ever ditches the EC, they will be citing Trump and all the damage he does as a reason for why the EC is a firewall made of kindling.

  48. Techgrrl1972 – I agree. I think the Democrats need to be front and center, loudly and clearly, at every opportunity. It will be deemed boring and predictable by some. So what? Repetition works.

    So for every Trump/GOP proposed legislation or action that would not be good for us, the Democrats need to be out there saying “We oppose action X because it will have bad effect(s) A, B, and/or C.” Do I expect this to occur most or all of the time? Why, yes, because I think Donald and his people have lousy instincts.

    If and/or when there is decent legislation or action proposed, I again want the Dems out front saying they support it, and why.

    What I do *not* want is the Dems to support shitty legislation/actions because they are afraid of being called “obstructive.” If you’ve been making your opposition clear for good reasons, the obstructive charge will only stick with the ones who hate you anyway (I hope).

    I also do not want the Dems supporting shitty legislation/actions because Donald has promised them something good in return. Please. The man’s MO since forever is to not do whatever he thinks he can get away with not doing, which is pretty much everything.

    I still have hope the Electoral College will do the right thing and vote HRC in, as the candidate with the plurality even *with* all the cheating the GOP and Russians demonstrably did (plus, I think GOP people jiggered the votes in a few key states, but that’s my opinion based on their past behavior). I say hope. I do not expect it, as I judge the chances of that happening are slim to none. As for the armed insurrection that would surely trigger, yahoos were going to do that even if HRC won the popular vote and the Electoral College by landslides.

  49. I rarely have anything to say on political threads because of religious political neutrality, but an exchange on, I think, the Trump-era novels thread (which I only saw today) made me realize something kind of related. It was Craig Ranapia’s comment about Shostakovich, one of my favorite composers (or perhaps I should say, the composer of my favorite symphony). I usually think immediately of the Fifth Symphony when I think of him — and yes, I know about the political subtext and its timing, but I encountered it purely as music first and formed my emotional associations with it without any knowledge of the context — but what came to mind immediately was the Seventh, the Leningrad. This probably won’t be a surprise to Craig or anyone else familiar with it, because the first movement is specifically written as a portrayal of the rise of the Nazis and their invasions. And that increasingly harsh and strident motif has been ringing through my head every time I read anything about… well, anything, including today’s entry. If you’re not familiar with it, I suggest listening to it. I think I will later today, in part to hopefully get my brain past that part of the first movement and on to the fourth.

    The Leningrad was also my grandfather’s favorite symphony. I’m kind of glad he didn’t live to see this.

    P.S. Have wanted to say hello to Craig and that it’s good to see you around here again, if for a very unfortunate reason.

  50. Well if you are not happy with the result, I hope you at least voted. John warned you…

    Regardless, if you are not happy, you should be planning effective change, like voting midterm to change control of Congress; not to mention in 4 years to change who will be President then. Incidentally it works for either party, but if you are Republican your work is really cut out for you to toss out Trump [& there a few Republicans who would love to toss out Trump and his henchmen].

    If you are not happy still, there are protest rallies, You can write lots of letters too.

    A Democrat equivalent to the Tea Party for a movement for progressive change has potential, maybe you should help.

    In other words, don’t just stand there, wringing your hands. Do something. Whinging does nothing but foul the air.

    My horns are showing!!!


  51. Thank you kindly for the giggles which occurred at the idea of you giving fashion commentary. It was much needed relief. I’m not quite sure your political acumen carries over very far to expertise in the style section, but I don’t really want to argue against the swastika being a universal dress code for “I will never have a white collar job.” These two weeks appear to be moving that “fashion don’t” a bit closer towards “fashion neutral” if there is such a thing.

  52. Probably solid advice, to deal with it that Pres. Trump will likely have at least 4 years.

    There is a real risk that the first non-ideological President in a long-time could really do a lot of things that are unexpected and cause problems within both the major parties for several cycles. Trump being moored by any type of fixed ideological grounding, ethical basement, or moral system is vastly interesting.

  53. I suspect they’re going to be surprised by, and fundamentally unequipped to deal with, the response from the large majority people for whom open racism and other bigotries are in fact repulsive and horrible.

    I hope that’s how it goes down. I increasingly fear and suspect that for the large majority of people, open racism and other bigotries are, if not actually appealing, at least something they’re basically OK with and can easily get used to if it’s all around them.

    I think that’s almost certainly the case for the vast majority of white Americans.

  54. Two weeks in and Trump is just showing how much everything in government is over his head. He doesn’t know how to distance himself from the cockroaches. They have always been there and always will because they pander to people who want to blame someone else. Those folks never really go away. With luck they will scatter now that the lights are on.

    In some ways it might be better that Trump was elected now. I didn’t vote for him and am comfortable with that decision. It is just that it might bring up some of the problems that have caused it to rise as high as it has right now.

    It isn’t that Trump will be able to do anything to fix those problems but they will be noticed. The rural people in this country deserve that and I don’t think the Dems even realized they were out there.

    Now they can get pissed at Trump and we can eventually all get back on track. The scary part is in guessing how much oversight the Trump will give to the assholes he is appointing. There are broad powers out there and they need someone to reign them in. Trump is not that person.

    I am leaning more to his running being a marketing ploy. His brand reached new heights when he did the WWE thing. That is how he ran his campaign and I think that he did it to build his brand. I also think his ego is strong enough that it will force his to do better than most of of expect.

  55. I think looking at the proposals for advisers and formally-named cabinet secretaries gives ample reasons for terror. Now, it may be that the Senate will find reasons to reject some of secretary nominations, but I would not count on it. So if, for instance, Sen. Jeff Sessions becomes attorney general, goodbye to Federal civil rights enforcement. And what do we do when we get an anti-abortion Supreme Court majority?

    The public response is one of the best things about the reaction to this election. In many places, bigotry has become unpopular. However, it is going to be hard to maintain this, especially with both government and private harassment of people critical of the fascists of the alt-right.

    The sheer corruption of the incoming administration, even before Trump is actually inaugurated, is astonishing; we are back to Warren Harding days with much larger amounts of money.

    And, finally, the Koch Brothers connection is also troubling. Trump originally promised to protected Medicare and Social Security and is now promising to sign legislation dismantling them both.

    BTW, Josh Marshall over at Talking Point Memo is all over this. Could do worse than to pay attention to him, at least before Trump sues TPM out of existence.

    Some TPM links:
    Appointments —
    Corruption —
    Koch brothers influence —

  56. Lovely article, but one small quibble — the point of the Electoral College was not to keep racists like Trump out, but rather to keep them IN. The Electoral College was part of the same bucket of steaming pig-shit that the 3/5 compromise was — a way to allow pro-slavery states to have their cake and eat it too.

  57. First, turnout is not down in any meaningful sense; it may not even be down. One of the general problem with the internet age is that people get news factoids before the facts are even known. The factoids are digested by the public at large and almost no one goes back and updates. Even the people who do update their knowledge are swimming upstream against what has become “common knowledge.” From what I have seen lately (and see above: this is not set in stone) overall turnout is about the same as 2012. It is even possible that Democrats in the Rust Belt did not switch much, but a few more stayed home and people who never bothered to vote before emerged because they finally vote for their kind of guy.

    HRC got more votes than any white guy ever. Trump got votes than any other white guy ever. The population grows every four years; the absolute numbers are only interesting to a point. It’s hard to say what the political intentions of the (90 plus Million) people who did not vote are. They could be “on board” with Hillary, but did not show up for whatever reason. They could be actively against one or both candidates, but not comfortable with any of the alternatives. They could be p-zombies whose main purpose is to make up the numbers for commuter lanes, but who have no interior monologue or inherent impetus to emulate voting behavior.

    In order to know how best to move forward, other than resisting overt RSHD behavior, it is necessary to know what actually happened. And we don’t know that yet.

    On a lighter note, did you ever think you’d be sitting at home thinking “I hope they pick Romney for State”?

  58. This article has an alternative view of Bannon:

    We need to avoid derangement syndrome that will prevent us from fighting what the Republicans will actually be doing. Nothing would make Trump and Bannon happier than the left shouting “Nazis!” for the next four years while the camps and gas chambers fail to be built.

    Trump’s victory is built on the left’s inability to moderate its stridency over things many people find reasonable. Such as – people who are in this country illegally don’t have standing to demand to stay, have actually broken the law, and can be made to leave. Such as – forcing people by law to do things against their religious sensibilities is wrong, at least in approach. Such as – rioting, even by people who have been manifestly treated unjustly by the police, makes it feel like the police are in fact justified. Such as – the vast majority of people have the same gender by biology and identity, and people get uncomfortable when nudity and opposite visible gender are involved. Such as – there are some Muslims who are involved in large- and small-scale internecine slaughter, who have killed non-Muslims, Americans and otherwise, in various gruesome ways, and who have been proclaiming their hatred of America for decades, so why should we treat all Muslims as absolutely beyond suspicion until proven otherwise?

    But the officious left does not like it when such things are said. Instead, people are expected to toe the line or be drummed out of the corps. So when a candidate gleefully does say all of these things, the left gets blindsided – surely no one can be believing such things, surely such a candidate must be rejected by all right-thinking people. And then we get President Trump.

    It isn’t so much that the left shouldn’t regard the right as enemies, especially on important subjects where there isn’t really a middle ground, like abortion. But policing speech and declaring ideas and points of view forbidden does not in fact banish such speech and views.

  59. Well, CNN host Brooke Baldwin just threw someone off the air for quoting critically Jeff Sessions saying “nigger.”

    Guess they’re going to bury it.

  60. I think this is what it’s going to be like. We’re going to be drowning in racism, and television will be throwing people off as impolite for mentioning it. In the last decade, the New York Times couldn’t say “torture,” even when torture was Bush Administration policy. In this decade, I guess we can’t quote Trump Administration figures saying “nigger.”

  61. In the immortal words of Jello Biafra, an intellectual giant compared to President Trumpleforeskin and his ilk, “Nazi punks F*** off!”

  62. (1). I still think that Trump is looking for a way out of being President. Or at the least, he wants to be “President Trump” but not actually have to BE the President. Remember that one of the Trump kids said they’d contacted Pence about being responsible for all that stuff.
    His selections for various Cabinet posts are directly from Pence and his cabal.
    He wants to spend part-time in his New York home.
    Melania isn’t moving to the White House (just imagine the screaming from Limbaugh and his ilk if Michele Obama had announced that).
    He’s refusing to put his assets in a blind trust.
    He wants his kids to administer that trust.
    He wants them to have high security clearances–gee, wonder why?
    (2). It’s too soon for the Dems to be making big changes. There needs to be some actual thinking on this. So far, what I’ve seen is that there’s now a push to go further left/progressive. Some of that is being pushed by Bernie people who are still carrying an unreasonable grudge over the campaigning. A major purge in the Democratic party isn’t going to help.
    They need to think about just how their message is being received. One thing that drives me bats here in SF is that every time a progressive candidate or issue is defeated, there is this large wailing that the voters didn’t understand or were fooled by the other side. Telling someone that they are too stupid to understand what you were trying to do isn’t real helpful.
    (3). I’m seeing a push to quit calling them Alt-Right and call them white nationalists instead. Sorry, too many syllables. People always shorten stuff. I’d say stick with Nazis or Nazi assholes when feeling really festive.

  63. PrivateIron:

    “On a lighter note, did you ever think you’d be sitting at home thinking ‘I hope they pick Romney for State’?”

    In point of fact, as the GOP goes, Romney is very close to who I would want in that position. I might slightly prefer Jon Huntsman, who I think has slightly more relevant experience, having been ambassador to China, but Romney is perfectly acceptable to me.

  64. The first questions my then 19 year old daughter asked the day after the election was when the electoral college voted and whether or not there was a chance they would vote for someone else. I had to explain to her that, since the electors are selected from among the partisan in each state’s party when they build their slate of potential electors. So it’s pretty rare for an elector to vote for anyone other than their party’s nominee and virtually zero chance that enough would do it to change the outcome. As someone above mentioned, I have fantasized about enough GOP electors in some of the marginal states being disgusted enough with Trump to vote Romney or some other Republican instead and throwing it to the House. That would be interesting to watch. But it is a fantasy. I don’t pretend it has any meaningful basis in reality.

    Still, my 19 year old daughter was so horrified by the results she was delving into some of the more arcane elements of our system. That’s an interesting side effect.

    A constitutional change to our electoral college system won’t happen. And I’m not fond of the proportional approach for assigning electors (nor would that change outcomes like this). I thought reform in any meaningful sense was impossible, but then someone posted about states that have changed their laws so that the party which wins the national election gets their state’s electors. Currently states accounting for 163 electoral college votes have apparently done that. That’s an achievable reform. It can be tackled on a state by state basis and you don’t have to get all the states. You just have to get enough to account for 270 electoral votes. (Though once that threshold is achieved, the rest will likely fall in line pretty quickly so they aren’t rendered irrelevant.) Of course, it will mean winning enough state houses back from the GOP since their approach to winning elections is to limit turnout and do everything possible to ensure they can win with a minority of votes. But that should be an important goal anyway.

    Doesn’t help us now, but would provide hope for the future.

  65. I would rather have Trump than Pence. I like the devil’s horns to be clearly showing.

    Not a big fan of the USA. And to think – if my lottery number had been low I would have been in Canada. Life is random.

  66. hyrosen said, “We need to avoid derangement syndrome that will prevent us from fighting what the Republicans will actually be doing. Nothing would make Trump and Bannon happier than the left shouting “Nazis!” for the next four years while the camps and gas chambers fail to be built.”

    The New York Times carried a most insightful op-ed on this very subject by Luigi Zingales: “The Right Way to Resist Trump.”

    Snippets: “The Democratic Party should . . . not do as the Republicans did after President Obama was elected. Their preconceived opposition to any of his initiatives poisoned the Washington well, fueling the anti-establishment reaction (even if it was a successful electoral strategy for the party). There are plenty of Trump proposals that Democrats can agree with, like new infrastructure investments. . . . Some details might be different from a Republican plan, but it will add credibility to the Democratic opposition if it tries to find the points in common, not just differences.

    And an opposition focused on personality would crown Mr. Trump as the people’s leader of the fight against the Washington caste. It would also weaken the opposition voice on the issues, where it is important to conduct a battle of principles.”

    Of course, Zingales’ approach require emotional discipline and restraint, which is in short supply at the moment. . .

  67. I know it’s a bit beyond appealing to the electrical college and all but…

    “The group, which includes voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, believes they’ve found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked.”

    I don’t believe it myself, and for similar reasons that I don’t believe most conspiracy theories – that they posit a level of competence from a group of people that has never come close to one-tenth of that level of competence in all their other endeavours. But one thing I do wonder is, how many Democrats, or Democrat voters, would rather the subdued, NYT-chatting Trump remains president-elect than risk the utter shitstorm that would occur if it was proved and the results were overturned? Would a late change like that, if based on actual proven hacking, be better or worse for the republic?

  68. I never thought I’d see the day, I’m am hoping Romney will be nom for SOS. I was alarmed to see the hands held up Heil at the rally were those of young people…where are we going and why doesn’t someone stop us?

  69. You say Trump is waking up to not being adored, but based on what? His approval ratings are going *up*…

  70. From way up here what I can see is that the Dems appeal is mostly urban and the Republicans a mix of rural and urban – and thats where the Dems lost. The rural vote did them in.
    While they may have more individual votes that doesn’t equate to more electors.
    And with the legislated cap on the sizes of both houses voters in California don’t have anywhere near the influence of a voter in Wyoming etc.

    The message the Dems had was not particularly strong with rural voters and certainly not those in the rust belt – they basically said “life sucks and the best we can do is make it suck a little less”.
    Trump promised them jobs – and they bought this without much thought.

    Sucks but thats the electoral system you have.
    Seems the real work is in making the Dems messages more relevant to the rural voters so they don’t get side swiped next time around.

  71. @Canucklehead: The Democrats, today, never do well with rural voters, so they count on that. I think a lot of the difference vs. 2012 and 2008 was actually with suburbanites in the northern Midwest.

  72. Please, everyone, listen to, promote, and donate to

    The best news show out there. They work on a shoestring, and often at personal risk. (Amy Goodman charged with “rioting” at DAPL for simply doing her job and reporting, although the charge was later dropped.)

    Someone on my FB wall as all, “What gives? I read NY Times and listen to NPR.” NYTimes etc. publishes useful stuff but is fundamentally corporate; NPR only slightly less so.

  73. I’ve spent time teaching youngsters about respecting each other and recognizing bias, hate, dehumanization, etc. the past few weeks while working with World War II and Holocaust teachers. Today I reiterated the basics that lead from bias to genocide (anti-defamation league has a great pyramid graphic that’s simple enough for students to get), and one of the big ones I stress is to keep their ears open. One constant seems to be that somebody who has a heavy prejudice will say “Those people…” I’ve asked students that if they’ve heard those two words together, did ANYTHING good ever come after them? The answer I always get is “no.” A certain candidate on the campaign trail was fond of using “those people…” in rallies, and it infuriated me each time I heard it. I’m telling kids to keep their ears perked up when they hear and pay attention, because who and what is the speaker trying to lump together, and why? That’s out of Hitler’s playbook, so to speak. Hell, maybe it actually was, but I’ve never read Mein Kampf–and I’ve been told not to bother by those who have (who then went in search of Tylenol afterward, so that could be telling in itself).

  74. @hyrosen: “Such as – there are some Muslims who are involved in large- and small-scale internecine slaughter, who have killed non-Muslims, Americans and otherwise, in various gruesome ways, and who have been proclaiming their hatred of America for decades, so why should we treat all Muslims as absolutely beyond suspicion until proven otherwise?”

    Because we’re the United Fucking States of America, and “innocent until proven guilty” is one of the cornerstones of our judicial system?

    I get that years of Both-siderism from all the Very Serious Pundits have destroyed people’s ability to understand these sorts of things, but sometimes people are just WRONG, in both the factual and moral sense of the word, and when they are, they need to be told so, and if they don’t like it, too fucking bad.

    Also too: Anyone who says that [insert religious group] has bad people in it so we should treat them all as suspect needs to explain why we only really get worked up about Muslims. Because believe me, right wing Christian fanatics have done more damage to the USofA than Muslims ever have, and yet somehow, we don’t immediately suspect every Christian of being a danger to the country.

  75. Victoria said, “We’ve survived an All Republican Majority before, we’ll do so again.”

    Um…the problem is that a lot of people didn’t survive those years. That is, in fact, the major concern for queer, disabled, and other marginalized populations. The AIDS crisis *got* to crisis levels because of Reagan’s administration. In the last few years in England, over 2,000 disabled folks *died* after being declared “fit to work” and taken off benefits. If Roe v Wade gets overturned by a Right-leaning Supreme Court, thousands of women will die seeking abortions and having to resort to unsafe practices.

  76. “Lügenpresse”, German for lair press, was used by the Nazi’s particularly against Jews. Throw in the use of “golum” a Jewish myth of a man made from mud and the little Nazi’s meaning was perfectly clear. This was just slightly in the dog whistle category Nobody should mistake what he said, what he is or what he hopes to do as in any way reasonable or benign. .

  77. Erm, I understand commenters and John are being good sports with the “Dogpile won fair and square” stuff, but (hello?) are you just trying to make yourselves feel better? Or what?

    There are weighty computer, voting process, and statistical experts saying that if the concatenation of weirdnesses we had here happened in the Third World, the US would be making stern noises about recounts. (See, eg, dkos for a summary and links to sources.)

    No, we do NOT know whether the election was stolen. Given the indications, the rational reaction is to find out.

    Instead, as in 2000, we’re getting the it-can’t-happen-here, it-can’t-happen-here, no-it-can’t-happen-here reaction.

    It can, you know. I’m betting John is right and we’re stuck with the autocrat and his nasty white grubs for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean we have to start pretending it’s right when we do not know that.

  78. Quixote:

    As noted in the entry, I’m all for auditing the elections and asking for recounts. I don’t think they will change much, however. It’s not me trying to make myself feel better; it’s about knowing it’s pretty difficult to rig an election. But I’m fine with being proven wrong. Hell, I’ve been wrong before, recently, about other things.

  79. We’re into the reality show now. The pilot was the primaries and the election; the network liked it and picked up the series. We’re seeing episode 2, “the Transition” now. Episode 3, “The First Days” will certainly be interesting. But to expect Trump to act as anything else other than the star of a reality show, and his producers to do other than edit it to show him at his best, is foolish. And with the editing he’ll be incapable of understanding why people don’t just fall in line–it’s such a great show!

    Attended my HOA meeting tonight. We have a new Board of Directors who are a bunch of amateur doofuses. The core of the meeting was a lawyer (one of the homeowners who was a key figure in putting the Declaration and CCRs together) explaining to them why what they were doing was patently wrong and would not survive the slightest legal challenge, but their response was along the lines of we’re the Board and no, we don’t need to run our decisions by the Board’s attorney for advice because we don’t want to spend the money and besides, we’re the Board! I’m looking for the Trump Administration be be basically the same–a bunch of doofuses with strong preconceived agendas who in actuality have little clue about that they’re doing but charge on with passion fingers, screwing everything they touch.

    But it’ll be a hell of a reality show.

  80. I’m less disgusted at the result than I was just after the election. Mostly because I’m still so insulated from all of this (what with being out of the country and thousands of miles away). What is most frustrating is wanting to help and not having any direction to take that. Sure I can call my national reps, but they’re all from Kansas and are part of the problem in some cases, though less so than the state “leadership” there. And I know there are people who are in the US who feel the exact same way.

    The Democrats have a leadership vacuum and it’s hard to say who will step in to fill that once Obama leaves office. Hillary never filled that and neither did Bernie, who is still technically an Independent and will keep doing his own thing. The bench is exceptionally thin because of the lack of local representation in much of the country as well.

    I guess the best thing to do is keep an eye on this, enjoy the holidays and get ready to raise these issues starting in January when all of the bad ideas start popping up in Congress.

  81. True, John. Point taken. It’s not just the flat-out rigging, though. Definitely, the system has lots of checks against that, but is not foolproof. (Eg the WI counties with >100% turnout.) There was also, for instance, a fairly successful effort to target people with hispanic- or black-sounding names for dumping from voter rolls. The list of anti-democratic (small “d”) machinations, all tending to the same outcome, pro-Repub, is something we shouldn’t, ever, gloss over in any way.

    And, yes, I’m feeling fairly podium-thumpy about the whole thing. My “why are you in denial” was brought on by some of the comments more that the actual post. Sorry about that. But, really, just like the CNN reporting: no, it is not okay to treat any of this as normal and worthy of discussion in a calm and detached spirit. It’s not. We have to remember that. Trying to salvage normality from situations like these is how autocracies start. They count on that reaction.

  82. CS Clark: These are not cranks; they’re respected faculty at a respected major university computer science department. What they are reporting: “The academics presented findings showing that in Wisconsin, Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic-voting machines compared with counties that used optical scanners and paper ballots.”

    That sounds credible, and it’s possible to hack a few hundred computers, or even a few thousand; the NSA pulled that off in Iran with the nuclear centrifuges; many organizations have the resources.

    On the other hand, there has been no public announcement from the academics themselves, so the accuracy of this report is questionable. Still, if we can’t count votes accurately, we are no democracy.

    What a mess!

  83. It’s interesting to note that as (AFAIK) the word “anti-antisemitism” was coined by Jew-haters to describe Jew-hating in a more scientific/respectable way, so too is “alt-right” coined by Nazis to describe Nazism in a more scientific/respectable way.

  84. I’d disagree with your statement that the main problem Democrats had during this election was with marketing their message as opposed to the message itself. I get the sense that the Democratic platform has drifted away from paying attention to the working class and instead focuses on the poor (health care; minimum wage reform) and the coastal progressives (gay rights; transgender rights; identity politics). Whether this is right or not (and I think there’s nothing wrong with this message), it’s left the working class feeling ignored, condescended to, and generally marginalized. I think this article summarizes this idea quite well:

  85. On National Socialist styles of clothing, see Goering, whose uniforms were the ultimate in bling. Funny coincidence, that.

    C W Rose

  86. If the working class hadn’t been willing to be distracted by the Republicans from their own economic self interest to cultural issues like flag burning, saying the pledge, non-existent gun control laws, abortion, etc. etc. etc., they’d be better off today. And I’m getting more than tired about being lectured about how I should be thinking of the working class post-election, about how they have to be coddled because they were looked down on and all that nonsense. They were not ignored – they were in fact the most pandered-to electoral group in the country. But they chose meaningless cultural division over their own good. Meh. Sucks to be them.

  87. “I suspect they’re going to be surprised by, and fundamentally unequipped to deal with, the response from the large majority people for whom open racism and other bigotries are in fact repulsive and horrible.”

    It looks like you be missing an “of”, right between “majority” and “people”.

    Also, apologies for the off-topic question: your site used do HTTPS at , but now that just redirects to . Was that deliberate?

  88. Commenting at random. I’m one of the freakishly pedantic few, who knew what the emolument clause is. The stories behind why it is in the main body are interesting (corruption galore). But it is a clause without teeth. It is also part of the reason some sites were accusing the Clinton presidency from stealing from the White House. None of the presents they were given from foreign entities belonged to them. Enforcing this on a business owners is significantly more difficult.
    The problem with recounts is, even if Wisconsin flips, Trump still wins. I have no doubt that there was voter suppression, but even in the best case scenario for Clinton, the electors vote for Trump. It’s over.
    And, at this point, Romney may be the best choice available for Secretary of State.
    But just because I think the election is over doesn’t mean I’m giving up. Like the guy said, “I’ve been to jail before. It ain’t that bad.”
    I’ll keep dancing(badly). Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be a part of your revolution.”.
    Keep writing, please.

  89. Can we please stop the circular firing squad bullshit? The Democratic platform was not a failure. It was not that Dems failed to include white working class people. It was not that Dems were “too wrapped up” in “identity politics”, or that they were too concerned with diversity. If you forward that idea, you are blaming the rape victim for wearing too short a skirt, rather than blaming the rapist.

    The last 8 years could be summarized as a democratic president who did his damndest to work with repubublicans (sometimes to the horror of dem voters: not prosecuting torturers comes to mind) and republicans who obstructed everything he did because he was *black*.

    And who did these obstructionist republicans elect as president? the one candidate who was the loudest mouthpiece for the birther movement ever. A racist. A sexist. A homophobe. An islamophobe. A cad. a narcissist. A bigot.

    Bigotry got Trumo elected. It wasnt that Dems failed to address the needs of the rural, the poor, the blue collar. The biggest Dem failure was underestimating just how bigotted America is.

    Trump has bragged about sexual assault, is accused of sexual assault by roughly a dozen women, is accused 0f literal rape by at least 2, he is a serial adulterer, he abused his charity organization, he likes russia and putin, he was sued by justice department for racism, he is an islamophobe. And you seriously wanna stand there and tell me that he won because *policy differences*???? Are you fucking insane????

    Look, if you’re into self flaggelation, go hire a prostitute to fulfill your kink. But stop bringing that kind of bullshit into the democrat party.

  90. You say “I think the Democrats do have problems, but their general message isn’t one of them.”

    But I think the places that overwhelmingly voted Obama and then voted overwhelmingly for Trump might disagree. That’s what really cost Hillary the election, it was the Democrat’s message not resonating where it should. Where poor whites voted for a demagogue who falsely told them he’d bring their jobs back.

    Workers who believed a lie that unions were anti-worker. That the very laws that protected their jobs were bad and “right-to-work” was best for them.

    Workers who believed immigrants were coming in and taking welfare (they’re not) and even vote for parties that want to take away welfare, food stamps and medicaid, programs they are likely on.

    Sure, you could blame their stupidity. But you must also blame the Dem’s messaging. Democrats used to be the party of blue-collar workers. They’re clearly not anymore.

    Or at least the PEOPLE don’t think so. That’s message problems.

  91. Liberals need to stop putting Nazis on TV. You are giving them the publicity that they crave. They want you to talk about them. They want you to be afraid of them. If you want them to go back to the fringes you ignore them or you find an excuse to cave their skulls in and have witnesses who swear it was self defensive, and go ‘he started it’. You don’t give them publicity.

    This is the same thing you did with that stupid Star Wars protest. Some fringe group (that I can’t even name) put out a stupid tweet about boycotting Star Wars and liberals did them the favor of spreading their propaganda. Virtually NO ONE heard about this ‘protest’ from the source or can even NAME the source. Virtually everyone heard about it from liberals who acted noble, but in reality were stupid and spread their propaganda. Great job guys… To keep them on the fringe, you ignore them. You don’t put them on TV.

    By liberals I don’t mean Scalzi pointing out CNNs stupidity. I mean liberals in general. There are not enough of these racists to be worth being afraid of them. If they show their faces you know who to go after.

    Now 2 obligatory responses. I am jewish. They hate me too. If I am lucky enough to have them come to my house, I would look for any excuse I can find to claim self defense. I have guns. No I am not kidding. Stop being afraid. There are not that many of them. We outnumber them. Also remember that if someone is on trial for assaulting a klukie, you can vote not guilty for any reason you choose. Its called Jury nullification. Don’t say you are doing this or they will kick you off the jury.

    Second Obligatory point, I voted for Gary Johnson.

    One last point. Your arch nemesis the Hillary Clinton endorsing Koch Brothers want to reform the criminal justice system and get rid of mandatory minimums. They want to revoke the Clinton Administration laws that threw too many poor people in prison for minor offenses. Its right on their website. Liberals talk a good game about Criminal justice reform, but you never do anything about it. The red state of Nebraska just outlawed civil forfeiture. What about your liberal bastion of California following suit? I detest civil forfeiture. I dont want them stealing my stuff either.

    How about allying with the Koch brothers to reform the Criminal Justice system? You dont have to ally on other issues.

  92. @Tom Combs: I’m not sure I buy the “people voted for Obama and then voted for Trump” theory. Wisconson is the state I looked at the data for (because it was so important to the election) and it looks like Trump only got about a thousand more votes than Romney did in 2012. The difference is that Hillary got nearly 250000 fewer votes than Obama did in 2012. It looks to me like the problem is less that people were fed up with democratic policies and more like Trump maintained Republican turnout and Hillary lost Democratic turnout. I don’t KNOW why that’s the case but best guess is it’s some combination of Dem voters seriously disliking Hillary (whether that’s justified or not, to forestal that discussion again) and voter suppresion tactics by the Republicans.

    If that’s the case, then the problem is the same one the Democrats have always had for midterm elections: low turnout. You can say that’s because they didn’t like the Dem messaging, but that doesn’t make sense because Hillary ran as “Obama’s third term” and Dem voters turned out for him in a landslide.

    My personal opinion? A combination of 25 years of Republican attacks against Hillary suppressing moderate voters, and the whole Bernie thing and her stance on Lybia and Syria supressing harder left turnout.

    I hate to say it, because it will give the diehard Bernie Bros ammunition, but Hillary was a very weak candidate (and that’s mostly not her fault). If it had been literally any other high visibility Dem against Trump they might have had better odds.

    Not that rehashing the Democratic primary gets us anything now.

  93. Tom,

    Democratic candidates have not won the white vote since the 1960s. I’m sure that’s about “economic anxiety”. Please recognize that the rationale people report for voting the way they do does not necessarily align with reality. And it’s often a complex mixture of motivations, some of which a person may or may not fully grasp themselves. The overall percentage of the white vote that Clinton won was pretty much identical to what Obama won in 2012 (according to initial exit poll data, it will take a while to firm that up). She did better among college-educated whites than Obama and worse among those with some or no college, but lost both groups. And some or no college does not mean either unintelligent, “working class”, or poor, which seems to be a mistake many make. The median income of the Trump voter was well above the national median. As with much else in our history, this race was fundamentally about race. (Sexism also played a role and was at the root of some issues Clinton had with a subset of male black and hispanic voters.)

    The “working class” voted pretty strongly for Clinton. It’s just the whites who voted for Trump, often against their own economic self-interest. And that’s nothing new in our country. Whites have long chosen racial self-interest over economic self-interest here. If we keep pretending there’s some other sort of problem, as we have for decades, we won’t get anywhere.

    I read an interesting blog post this morning by Richard Beck, a psychology professor at Abilene Christian University. He was reflecting on his experience of the German national reaction to the Holocaust and its deep impact there. And he compared the German reaction to symbols of Nazism with our own reaction to the symbol of one of our own Holocausts, slavery and the slave trade. The Middle Passage was no less brutal than any Nazi concentration camp. And plantations weren’t much better. Yet people proudly display and cheer the Confederate battle flag. It’s incorporated everywhere in my part of the country. Similarly, we’ve never come to grips on a national level with our other Holocaust, the genocide of Native American peoples.

    I’ll excerpt a few sentences from his post.

    “America has a Holocaust. And truth be told, America has two Holocausts: Slavery and the genocide of the Native Americans.

    And yet, America has never morally reckoned with either slavery or the genocide of Native Americas as Holocausts. The Confederate flag is not moralized in America the way Germans see the swastika.”

    Those of us who are white Americans are the Holocaust deniers and that creates a vast moral chasm.

    “When that Confederate flag goes by in a parade, our African American friends and neighbors see that flag as the symbol of America’s Holocaust. The hulls of slave ships were the American concentration camps, the Auschwitz and Buchenwald of the Middle Passage.”

    I don’t know how we reach a point where we can even begin to heal our nation, but it has to begin by accepting our moral culpability. And Trump is decidedly a step in the wrong direction. But let’s not pretend the underlying problem is anything other than what it actually is. We’ve tried to sweep it under the rug too long already.

  94. Tom Combs

    I have yet to see a statistical analysis of the votes in all of the states, presumably because there are still votes being counted: can you point me in the direction of your sources for claiming that people who had voted ‘overwhelmingly for Obama’ voted ‘overwhelmingly for Trump’?

  95. Southe,

    And voter suppression had a very real impact. Given the narrow margin in a number of critical states, voter suppression alone probably did account for the difference.

  96. @Scott Morizot: I did mention that, yes, but it deserves more attention than I gave it. This was the first election in a long time without the VRA in effect.

    And of course with the GOP in control of all branches of the federal government and many of the state legislatures, you can bet voter suppression will only get worse. As demographics shift it’s their only real way of maintaining power. (Not like you can expect them to actually do serious outreach to communities of color. That would alienate their base of scared old white people.)

  97. Guess: “Liberals need to stop putting Nazis on TV. You are giving them the publicity that they crave. They want you to talk about them. They want you to be afraid of them”

    Saying Voldemort’s name out loud is not giving free publicity to the dark lord, nor is it encouraging people to be afraid of him. In fact it is entirely the opposite intention on both counts.

    Perhaps you might want to reexamine why you dont want people saying his name on TV.

    “Second Obligatory point, I voted for Gary Johnson.”

    It wasnt obligatory. But if nazis cause you harm and you are unable to make good on your dirty harry tough guy fantasy, dont come crying to me. You helping Trump into office was FAR MORE FREE PUBLICITY for naziz than criticizing nazis on tv ever did.

    The fact that you felt the need to flip reality on its head is pretty funny.

    “Koch Brothers want to reform the criminal justice system ”

    Yeah? So? German Nazis started the worlds first significant anti-smoking campaign, linking smoking to health issues. Should any sane person vote for the Nazi Party in the 1930’s because they are against smoking?

    I have yet to meet a third party presidential voter who didnt lack perspective of the overall cost/benefit of their vote. They always find one or two positives to justify their vote and they ignore all the negatives. You are no different.

  98. @John A

    Currently, Clinton has a lead in the popular vote of more than two million. That’s expected to grow substantially since there are still something like 5-6 million votes outstanding, most from areas that favor the Ds. Also, currently, the turnout is 4.5 million votes MORE than 2012.
    So no, the margin was not statistically insignificant, and no, the turnout was not lower than 2012.

  99. There’s an article from the other day at the Washington Post that says that the 500 counties that went for Clinton generate 2/3rds of the country’s GDP, vs. the 2600 counties that went for Trump, and for the most part, this is a urban vs rural divide. I don’t know if the Democrats will ever get the rural vote as they are usually focusing on urban issues, like gun control, mass transit, the environment, and the rural voters are mostly gun owners, have no need of mass transit, view environmental regulations as job-killing and unnecessary, and a majority of them are probably pro-life. I personally don’t expect Trump and the Congress to be able to bring back the old manufacturing and mining jobs to the rural counties. I can’t predict whether Congress go for Trump’s infrastructure plan, but they probably will since they only seem to hate deficits and debt when there’s a Democratic president, so there will probably be some jobs for the rural counties there. I don’t know if the Democrats can make inroads in the rural areas, but if they do, it’s because of a focus on jobs, infrastructure, and cutting back on some of the urban issues that are an anathema to the rural voters.

    I still don’t know what to think about what a Trump presidency will be like. I still think he’s a BS-ing con man. He used to be fairly liberal, and he’s already started walking back from some of his campaign rhetoric, so I’m still wondering if the Trump voters are really going to get the right-winger they thought they voted for. I don’t have high expectations, though.

  100. Halderman speaks on his concerns about the balloting: “Were this year’s deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyberattack? Probably not. I believe the most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked. But I don’t believe that either one of these seemingly unlikely explanations is overwhelmingly more likely than the other.” —

  101. Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, the white supremacist who murdered the Member of Parliament, Jo Cox, has been found guilty of her murder; it was, as the judge noted, an act of terrorism.

    He has been sentenced to life imprisonment; he can spend the rest of his life congratulating himself on the patriotism which led him to shoot and stab a woman who, in her last moments, told her friends to run away because it was her the murderer wanted to kill.

    So, the next time someone tells you that white supremacism really isn’t that bad, please remember Jo Cox, who died because of her belief that we are stronger together than when we are divided.

  102. @Bruce: We might indeed have more luck getting out the vote in urban areas.

    I think it’s important to address jobs and infrastructure, and not just for the purpose of getting votes. I don’t, however, support giving up on issues like gun control (seriously, conservatives, nobody is going to make it illegal for anyone to own a Colt .45 or hunt with a Winchester), environmental regulations (we want a planet in a generation, thanks, and also science is a thing), or civil rights, including reproductive rights. Winning by throwing important issues and people under the bus wouldn’t be winning.

  103. @hyrosen: You’re making the error of taking your list of pet-peeve issues and ascribing them to the majority of the electorate. For example, you’re flat wrong that there is “no middle ground” on abortion, at least where most Americans are concerned; the majority of people believe that abortion should be legal with limitations, such as only during the earliest part of pregnancy, or only when the pregnancy was the result of rape. “But that’s inconsistent!” Indeed, just like Americans’ view on another issue that gets under your skin – making people do things that violate their religious beliefs.

    The idea that good people just got tired of being scolded is the same mentality that drives abusers: it’s not my fault I hit you, it’s because you wouldn’t stop nagging me, you made me do something I wouldn’t have done except for your reactions.

  104. I’m not betting on the press. As noted above, the press is conditioned to balance, which doesn’t adapt well when one side is so extremely imbalanced. Case in point, after one of the Trump kids had done something (white supremacist tweet? I’m not sure) one of the major papers reported on it, then added that Of Course the Clintons have been embarrassed by their relatives too. Comparable examples: none.
    I suspect we’ll also see lots of weasel words like “widely considered” applied to the extremists.

    Now, hyrosen: “Trump’s victory is built on the left’s inability to moderate its stridency over things many people find reasonable.” True. Many people think Christian theocracy, white supremacy and patriarchy are eminently reasonable.
    “Such as – rioting, even by people who have been manifestly treated unjustly by the police, makes it feel like the police are in fact justified.”
    I agree rioting is bad. But given the number of times I have seen right-wingers predict waves of black rioters assaulting innocent white people while Obama stands by, I think the fear of black rioters isn’t based on black action as much as blackness itself.
    And as noted above, if we don’t treat Muslims as above suspicion, we shouldn’t treat the white right wing as above suspicion. Because they’ve plotted or attempted a lot of terrorism. When I’ve written about this I’m always amused (in a black-humored way) at how the right wing shrieks that No, No, We Aren’t Terrorists (even if I point out that there’s a history of left-wing terrorism too). Can’t say I blame them, I’m sure they imagine the security state they’ve voted for would never be turned their way.

  105. @Elgion, thanks for the “You are still crying wolf” link. For whatever reason the left is stuck on “Trump and his supporters are racists”. I don’t know why that is, but any thoughts to the contrary seem to get zero traction here.

    I think HRC lost because of an enthusiasm gap.

  106. @trebuchetguy
    “Don’t think for a moment that there wouldn’t be folks on the right dreaming of an electoral college flip if HRC had won the electoral vote. They would feel just as strongly as folks on the left might today, maybe more so.”


    There are two basic schools of thought about the Electoral College. One: to have a deliberative body to moderate the risks of pure democracy; the Founders thought that there was a risk of a dangerously unqualified joke of a candidate being voted into office by a well-meaning but misled populace just because they were popular. Under that theory, this election is what the Electoral College is for and it has a duty to not make Trump President. The second school of thought is that the Electoral College as we know it was created to protect slavery: slaves could count towards apportionment of electors without doing any voting. More generally, this would reward or at least fail to penalize people for making it hard to vote and encourage candidates to appeal to states as such while ignoring the will of actual people. Under this theory, the Electoral College is a dinosaur at best, and there’s just no democratic principle supporting it.

    FWIW, I hold the second belief, personally. And I’m well aware that the odds are less than 1 percent at this point that the Electoral College would actually vote for anyone other than Trump, and arguably it actually shouldn’t due to the backlash, as the OP says. But the point is, the less legitimacy the EC has, the better.

  107. Bruce: ” I don’t know if the Democrats can make inroads in the rural areas, ”

    The current rural worldview is self reliance, independence, self sufficiency, dont ask for help, tough it out, suck it up, no pain no gain, mentality. (Never mind that most rural/republican states get more federal funding than they pay in taxes, and never mind that the biggest chunk of food stamp recipients are white rural republicans.)

    The core belief of being a progressive is that we are all better off if we help one another. Free college means your educated, have skills for a higher paying job, and will pay more in taxes, which also strengthens the economy because you ahve more to spend, etc, etc.

    The only way dems are going to make inroads there is is folks give up their fantasy that they pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, or if dems stop being progressive.

    Hyrosen: “the left’s inability to moderate its stridency over things many people find reasonable.”


    What followed was a Fox News version of the Left’s positions. You might want to consider how biased your information is.

    “Such as – forcing people by law to do things against their religious sensibilities is wrong, at least in approach.”

    In reality, religious reasons have been given and used vigorously to defend slavery, jim crow,segregation, and thats why in reality the “approach” you talk about (or in theory) is regulated to prevent abuse. You can be a raging bigot if your religion demands it, right up until you get a public diner, or public store, or public commercial space, at which point, cut the shit and treat people equally. Dont like it? Dont open a public, commercial business.

    If your religion insists that gay marriage is immoral, then you should not take a job handing out marriage licenses. Get a different job that doesnt inhibit gay marriage. If you own a public commercial bakery, then be prepared to bake a cake for a gay wedding, or get out of the bakery business. If you own a public restaurant, you better be able to rent to a gay wedding reception, or you should find a different business.

    You can be the biggest bigot you want in your private life. But if you are taking on a public, comercially licensed, store front of some kind, leave your bigotry at home.

    “Such as – rioting, even by people who have been manifestly treated unjustly by the police, makes it feel like the police are in fact justified.”

    Right, because if someone silently protests by kneeling during the national anthem, their right to free speech would totally be respected. If you wear a “I cant breathe” t shirt during basketball practice, your quiet protest will be respected.

    No, wait. Huh. Its almost as if it doesnt matter HOW people draw attention to racism, the fact that they point out racism exists is enough to piss people off.

    Tell you what. When there is a general acceptance of silent protests like Kaepernick kneeling, you let me know, and we can discuss riots.

    “people get uncomfortable when nudity and opposite visible gender are involved.”

    I just have to ask: have you ever been around bigots in real life and in various situations? Racists get uncomfortable around black people. Homophobes get uncomfortable around gays. If we start using the measure that no one should ever have to be uncomfortable, no matter how messed up their views are, then we should burn the constitution.

    ” why should we treat all Muslims as absolutely beyond suspicion until proven otherwise?”

    Again, this reads like a weak version of Fox News. We vet very carefully all immagrants from Syria for example.

    If you support having all muslims register because you’re afraid of muslims, then you are using your fear to determine what is right/wrong. And fear is what had America intern Japanese Americans during ww2, but not German Americans. Which is to say, fear can be abused to hide bigotry the same way religion can be abused.

  108. George: “For whatever reason the left is stuck on “Trump and his supporters are racists”. I don’t know why that is”

    Gosh. I dunno. It is a mystery. I mean, Sessions who migh become Trumps attorney general said the KKK is an okay bunch, called a black lawyer “boy”, and called a white civil rights lawyer a traitor to his race, but I mean, come on, that doesnt mean he or anyone in the Trump administration is really, in their heart of hearts, deep down, in their immeasurable soul, a fucking racist. Right?

    Trump was leader of the birther movement, a movement driven to question the legitimacy of the first black president in america. And Trump was sued by the justice department for refusing to rent to blacks. But COME ON. To go from there and jump to the conclusion that he wants to bring back slavery? Thats just rediculous.

    Chief strategist is ceo of Breitbart, the propaganda arm of the alt-right, and the alt right is basically KKK minus sheets plus suits and ties and tinfoil hats. But saying that makes the administration “racist”? Thats just crying wolf.

    Trump named a conspiracy theory nutjob islamophobe to national security advisor. But to go from there to a general label of “bigot”??? Nah, man, thats too mean.

    When you put it that way, George, that whole “for whatever reason” really does shine an irrefutable spotlight on just how the left lives in a land of make believe.

  109. On the subject of dapper Nazis– I’ve developed a theory over the years that the better looking a regime’s military uniforms are, the more of a problem it is. The Soviet Union and, subsequently, Russia, have never worried me as much as Nazi Germany, because despite rather good looking uniforms and smashing boots, they lumbered the officers with those big goofy hats. When one speaks of dapper, Panzer SS field dress is pretty hard to beat.

    I guess the point is– it does suggest a bit of an escalation in the problem presented by neo-Nazis if they’re shifting to half-way decent suits from the flannel/punk look. For the next four years, if active-duty members of the US military stop looking like unmade beds, things have gone far downhill indeed.

  110. Why “fake news” – surely an oxymoron? Your “making shit up” is a better title!

  111. Hi Greg, The US is steeped in racism. Our original sin,
    here it is on full display. What should we/you do?

    (Now put yourself in a Trump voters shoes. )
    I don’t know, but to talk.
    To me, calling names, stops any talk.
    (except amoungst your own group.)

  112. George, It is really hard to buy the “lack of enthusiasm” argument for Clinton’s loss when she has the lead in the popular vote by (currently) over 2 MILLION and the turnout is higher than it was in 2012, DESPITE the GOP’s best efforts at voter suppression. It’s also hard to buy that this was entirely about economic insecurity except inasmuch as it was about women and people of color taking the jobs white men think of as theirs.

    If it were about bringing jobs back to the US, the folks who voted for Trump would have punished him for off-shoring every manufacturing job he had control over, including buying Chinese steel.

    No. This was about wanting to go back to the days when white men ruled their country, states, towns, and homes. When raping your wife wasn’t a crime, and copping a feel on the subway didn’t get your picture taken and put up on Hollaback.

    And whatisface’s use of the word “golem” is totally about anti-semitism. The golem was a clay statue brought to life when a rabbi in Prague put the name of God in its mouth.

  113. This is taken from the Judge’s sentencing remarks following the guilty verdict on the man who murdered the British Member of Parliament, Jo Cox:

    “It is clear from your internet and other researches that your inspiration is not love of country or your fellow citizens, it is an admiration for Nazism, and similar anti-democratic white supremacist creeds where democracy and political persuasion are supplanted by violence towards and intimidation of opponents and those who, in whatever ways, are thought to be different and, for that reason, open to persecution.”

    Please remember this; much of the media really seems to be trying to ‘normalise’ Trump’s attitudes: the ones which put Steve Bannon into a very powerful position.

    And then look again at the reality of what a white supremacist with a gun and a knife did in murdering a woman simply because she thought that diversity helped us all, and that we would do better to remain in the EU. That is what they are like, clinging to their Nazi beliefs, and that is why we have to fight it every step of the way.

  114. JS said, “But no matter how you define it, the alt-right are bigots and white supremacists and assholes, the whole lot of them. Call them ‘Nazis,’ it’s shorter.”

    Yes, but “bigoted, white-supremacist asshole” rolls so nicely off the tongue. ‘Nazi’ sounds too much like a generic insult. If I were going to use “Nazi” at all, I’d prefer to dress it up some, like “bigoted, racist Nazi asswipe” or some such, even though there may be some redundancy involved.

  115. How do we get out of this if so many seem to have left reality-testing far behind, yelled ‘Good riddance!’ at it, and showed no suspicion at all on being told exactly what flattered them most?

  116. > forcing people by law to do things against their religious
    > sensibilities is wrong, at least in approach.

    This has already been said, but I’ll emphasise that there are a few religions that hold inter-racial marriage to be an abomination (or ‘impossible’ in ‘reality’, that is to say ‘Our faith refuses to recognise such a union.’). My own marriage to a non-Jewish woman is viewed so or similarly by not a few rabbis. At least in theory, they and the Catholics and the Southern Baptists and the ‘Identity Christians’ are on an equal footing.

    > [paraphrase] Since some Muslims have done terrible things in the name
    > of Islam, why give any Muslim the benefit of a doubt prior to exoneration?

    Beside decency and the law, look at the wrongness of any anti-Semite’s litany of Jews who’ve exercised financial or political power in ways they dislike’s segue into a further claim that this exercise reflects or is motivated by something intrinsic to Judaism or Jews, for a read on why. ISIS’s murders have about as much to do with Islam-as-lived as Baruch Goldstein’s had to do with Judaism, and those of random nuts who decide their massacres ought to be tied with a ribbon labelled ‘Islam’ even less.

  117. I’m pissed as hell and ready to fight tooth and nail against every Nazi pig who thinks he can have a go at anyone because of his bigoted bullshit. I’ve joined my school’s Communist group, am helping to plan protests, and am considering getting some pepper spray. My Finland evacuation plan is still an option on the table, but tbh I’m more ready to fight for my fatherland against the fascist pigdogs than I am to get out to relative safety in a place so cold that not even the Russians really want it.

    I bet that in 4 years, the people will be so tired of obnoxious racists and massive amounts of graft that they’ll vote Trump out of office. And I’m going to move heaven and earth to make sure that that happens.

  118. Poor Hillary Clinton. She didn’t take into account that it’s all about the white working class. And when it’s not about us? We’re gonna damned well make it about us, aren’t we? So she’s taking lumps for that, I guess.

    But the Democratic Party knew at least 16 years ago that the Electoral College gives some goofy results, and that the Republican Party had its successful experiment with voter suppression in Florida. What exactly have they been doing for those 16 years? They wait until three months before election time to start minority voter drives, and wring their hands when R state legislatures continue to stack the deck. They continue to do sweet F.A. about getting state laws re: EV vote allocation changed or moving away from first-past-the-post voting (Maine being the most recent spark of hope on that front). And they continue to buy the defeatist bullshit that keeps them home during midterms, i.e. “But I live in a deep red/blue state!” and/or “But it’s so gerrymandered!” when, if enough of them were to turn out, those assumptions could get turned on their heads. Unfortunately, both the party and the voters are consistently a day late and a dollar short, and they won’t get motivated. I hope that the Orange Lardsack’s win is the kick up the ass they finally need, and that they manage to throw roadblocks in his way in 2018.

  119. Hyroson, I’ve told myself that same thing. Then I go to Breitbart and look at the articles about women that are published while Bannon has been in charge. My personal fave is the one titled “How to Make Women Happy: Uninvent the Washing Machine”. It’s about how much happier women were when they did not have birth control and could spend all their time cleaning house. Seriously. There are loads of articles like this about women- many of them attacking birth control. Now Bannon is also advisor to a president who says that he wants to appoint a judge to overturn Roe. And the VP is Pence who has spent his career attacking women’s reproductive rights.

    As for racism, Breitbart has published plenty about the alt right, including the Establishment Conservative’s guide to it which you might want to read since it’s trying to make a claim similar to yours. Basically, it’s saying, “sure there are nazis in the alt right, but they aren’t the majority of us and they won’t have real power”.

    So, sure. I don’t know if Bannon is a racist in his heart of hearts. I do know that he’s comfortable promoting a political movement of which they are a defining part (the article I mentioned above – published in Bannon’s own Breitbart – says they are one of four main groups that make up the alt right). I don’t see how anyone can be comfortable with him as advisor to the president.

    Aside from that, I’m concerned by how little the media seems to be covering the alt right’s misogyny. It’s the one thing they all have in common.

  120. As always, a very thoughtful and well written post (sorry, I really don’t have anything to add, either as a talking point or as a complaint. It’s all been covered here). Politically for me, the national scene simply doesn’t concern me as much as the state scene does. The state scene is what hurts me personally & economically the most.

    To be honest, the only time that the national scene hurts me is if the pols on the state scene try to ape the economic policies of the national scene. Then the disastrous results are magnified by a factor of 100.

    And honestly, if you think the Democratic party is the party of the working class & those struggling with poverty, you check out my state, where the Democratic party, who control all three branches of the guv’ment, attempts to balance the budget on those exact same people.

  121. George: “Now put yourself in a Trump voters shoes.”

    First, you pondered loudly that the left was obsessesed with the idea of Trump and his voters being racist, but gosh if you could see any evidence that would support that accusation. So I point to several of Trumps first few administration appointments that as dripping with racism.

    Rather than admitting that yes, trump and his voters are racist, you try to change your tack by ignoring rampant racism in Trump and his voters, and channel your inner “all lives matter” by pretending all america is racist. No. It isnt ALL racist. Racists very clearly voted Trump, and not racists voted for Hillary.

    Rather than admit that yes, Trump is a flaming racist, you change tactics and implore me to put myself in the shoes of a Trump voter, as if I dont understand their point of view.

    Except, I grew up in what is now Trump country. I get to talk to people on a regular basis who say there is no systemic police racism, all lives matter, BLM is a terrorist organization. Every time the news reports a black man killed by police, I get to hear how it was the black man’s fault for getting shot. Kaepernick is just a thug. If there is racism in america, it is from Obama creating reverse racism against whites. It is a bleached white america that likes to thump a bible once in a while. Jesus loves you if you are the right sort of person. Fire and brimstone, and may god have mercy on your soul if youre the wrong sort of person. I didnt see a black person except on TV until I was 18 and had left the state. And they all voted Trump.

    You cant fix the problem if you refuse to acknowledge what the actual problem is. And the problem is that Trump and his voters are racists, they deny they are racist while holding a bible as proof, and then folks like you want to dance around their racism, and bemoan how “maybe they’re not racist” doesnt get any “traction” here. Well, it doesnt get any traction because its not true, thats why.

  122. I would like to add that conservative, rural counties in the Midwest are not exactly known for their enlightened attitudes about women and their role in society. Especially powerful women. I am getting really tired of this narrative about how the white rural working class has been ignored by the Clinton/Kaine campaign. When she got the nomination the first thing Clinton and Kaine did was get on a bus and go on a campaign tour through the white, rural, working-class counties that they didn’t end up winning. I was there, in Youngstown, when Hillary Clinton was talking about better broadband access, and supporting small businesses, and vocational education to train blue-collar workers for jobs. She sent that messaging out all over the Midwest.

    I really believe that the voters in the Rust Belt didn’t, and couldn’t hear the messaging coming from HER, because she is a powerful woman, and that is not the way things are supposed to be. There has been so much misogyny and sexism all over this campaign, including the primaries, and now we have a President-elect who believes that women are pieces of ass and a Vice President-elect who has long had a platform of limiting women’s reproductive rights. Too many people, men AND women, in this country, believe that women should be happy homemakers, back in the kitchen, supporting their wage-earning husbands.

    I’m with you, EMMA, I find it deeply troubling that the response to the election has been very vocal about racism (and don’t get me wrong, that conversation NEEDS to happen) and the misogyny that has been clearly promoted by the President-elect, the Vice-President-elect, and now some Cabinet appointees is not getting the attention it should be getting if we’re going to move forward as a society.

    Hillary Clinton lost the EC vote because she was running as a powerful woman candidate in a very misogynistic society. That may sound overly simplistic, but sexism really is not a simple thing. I wish we would talk about it more.

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