How the Democrats Can Win Kansas

January 27, 2017
                            How the Democrats Can Win Kansas
 

2017-5

 

          &nb​sp;   Listen, Democrats, do you want my vote?   Do you WANT people like me to vote for you, or do you not?   Do you want to win elections here in the heart of the country, or are you happier losing them?    Because if you want to win back the center of the country, if you want to win elections in Kansas and Iowa and Texas and Utah, I know how you can do that.   You can do it without sacrificing any of your core beliefs.   It is not political beliefs that you need to change, to win Kansas over; it is behavior.  

              I am a swing voter.   Actually I usually vote with you, irritated as I have become by you.  I am not at all opposed to voting for your candidate—in fact, I just did.   I voted with the plurality in the US election; that is to say, I voted for Ms. Clinton.   I did it, but I wasn’t happy about it, and I understand those who did not.   I regard Donald Trump as a Con Man, a narcissist, and a pig—and yet I am 49% in sympathy with those who voted for him.   I should not pretend to speak for anyone but myself, but I do suspect that my view of your party is not really all that different from many others’ view of your party; you are free to reject this assertion or to accept it.   But it rather seems to me that you could and should have won this election by, oh, I don’t know, 538 to nothing or thereabouts, and that you can in fact win future elections by a wide margin if you will just do a few simple and almost entirely painless things.   "Painless" understates it; many of these remedies are things that will actually make your life more pleasant, quite apart from the fact that they will stop you from losing future elections to narcissistic pigs. 

              Ms. Clinton, in her gracious and eloquent concession speech, urged her supporters repeatedly to just keep fighting, just keep fighting for what is right.    What I have to say to you is, for Christ’s sake, stop fighting for a while.   This is not a moment that calls for you to fight on blindly.   This is a moment that calls for you to stop and take stock of what you are fighting for.   Give it a rest.    You need the break.   We need the break. 

              Politics is not supposed to be an endless fight; it is supposed to alternate between periods of conflict and periods of co-operation.   A war is a fight to the death; politics is a civilized alternative.   Some of what you are fighting for, much of what you are fighting for, and even most of what you are fighting for is good and right and justified, and let me address some of that first.   It was a great thing that you put forward an African American candidate in 2008, and it was a great thing that you put forward a woman as a candidate in 2016.   Keep doing that.   Nominate another woman in 2020, a black woman in 2024, and be the first party to nominate an openly gay candidate in 2028.   Go for a Muslim in 2032, and a transsexual in 2036.   These things have made it easier for me to vote for you in the past, and they will make it easier for me to vote for you in the future.   This is the role that you have chosen for yourself in our political debate, and good on you for doing that.    I will assure you none of this will hurt you with the Kansas vote; hell, we’ve been electing women Senators and Governors and Representatives all my life, and long before the coasts starting doing so. 

              I would be doing you a disservice if I went no further with that theme.   You have chosen the role of the advocate of minorities, and of the advocate of women, although women are not a minority except if measured by gross weight or hourly income.   There is still much work that needs to be done along this line, and I applaud your efforts to keep chopping at that.   We have not yet arrived at a racial paradise where the injustices of the past are no longer with us; far from it.   We still live in a world in which too many African Americans are in poverty, and too few have nice houses with all the latest junk.   By no means has that journey been completed—for Black Americans, or for gay Americans, or for women or for disabled people or for any other minority.    Kansas understands that as well as any other state understands it.  

              You have chosen as well the role of defender of the environment, and for this, again, I applaud you, and in this I will support you as far as I can.    We are crawling toward a global environmental disaster which it may already be too late to avoid.   You are doing all you can to prevent that, and I support you in this in principle.   The MANNER in which you are working on the problem is short-sighted and largely ineffective, but at least you are trying, and that’s a point in your favor; the Republicans aren’t even trying.  

              Your party has historically advocated for the poor, and for the more equitable distribution of wealth.   I agree with you here; I will support you here, and I will try to vote with you here.   I believe that it is an entirely appropriate use of the government’s power to insure that wealth is not TOO unevenly shared among the citizens.   I think that it is dangerous and destructive to allow massive concentrations of wealth in private hands.    I don’t wish that you had done less on this level; I wish that you had done much more on this level, and that you had been much more effective in this area.  

              Another area in which I am in general agreement with you, rather than with them Republicans, has to do with the use of military power.   The Democratic Party, in the last 40 years, has become wary of the international use of force and wary of careless increases in defense spending, preferring to believe that we can manage our international relations better by avoiding giving offense to the people of other nations.   While you may go too far in this regard. . . .well, to go too far in ANY direction is simply the nature of a political party; the Republicans go too far in the other direction, but, speaking for myself, I am more in your camp than theirs.   These ideas are as marketable in Kansas as they are in California.

              I am trying to speak to you as a friend, but not too good of a friend, not a friend who will go get drunk with you, but a friend who will tell you that you have had one too many and are making a fool of yourself.   I frequently find myself in situations in which everyone in the room is more liberal than I am.   I am what you might call a first-generation liberal.   My wife observed about Trump’s election that she was glad that her father didn’t live to see this.   My father would have voted for him.  It often seems to me that my friends have NO understanding of what just happened.   I am not celebrating what just happened, but I think that I understand it.   Will you please be patient enough to allow me to explain it to you as I see it?

              OK, point one, let’s talk about the concept of citizenship as property.    It is a valuable thing, to be an American citizen, or at least it used to be a valuable thing.    My citizenship is my valuable property.  

              Look, I understand that property is not an egalitarian concept.  It is not the best of all possible worlds, that some people hold valuable property and other people are excluded from that.   I understand that, but you have to understand this:  that we are not at the point at which we are ready to get rid of personal property.   We are never going to be at that point. 

              When you don’t enforce the borders, when you allow people who are not citizens to claim the rights of citizenship, you have been disrespectful of my property.   I don’t really care, myself; I’m well off, and open to sharing this little bit of my property—but I understand why other people ARE unhappy about it. 

              When you force people to share their property, their citizenship, when you force them to share this property not by community decision but by YOUR decision to be stop enforcing the laws, people will quite understandably resent that.    Of course I know that the Democrats are no more responsible for that than the Republicans are, but the point is that the person who promised to put an end to it was a Republican.    You didn’t get on board.   You dragged your heels.   You made excuses.  

              You didn’t get on board, because you were kidding yourselves about what a great thing this was going to be for the Democratic Party.   Just weeks ago, the liberal world in which I mostly live was certain that the Republican Party was about the self-destruct.   I pointed out:  The Republicans hold the Senate.  The Republicans hold the house.   The Republicans hold the great majority of the governorships.   The Republicans control the statehouses in most of the states.   The Republican Party has never been stronger in my lifetime.  

              Oh, but the Republicans have lost four of the last six Presidential elections, and they are headed into a Presidential campaign with a terrible candidate who will probably sink the entire slate and, best of all, the Republicans have lost the Latino vote for a generation, if not forever.  

              No, they haven’t.   Latino citizens are citizens.   Citizenship is property.   Citizens are going to vote for whoever is willing to protect their property—including their citizenship. I am not in favor of building a big wall—but I am in favor of treating citizenship with respect.   If that means shutting down businesses that knowingly hire people who are here illegally. . .well, shut them down.   If it means enforcing ballot security, enforce it.     

              What no one says very often about illegal immigrants is that if you drove them all out of the country you would cause a rapid contraction of the economy, and a rapid contraction of the economy would quite certainly trigger a serious recession.    I am not in favor of running all the undocumented fellas out of the country, not only out of respect for them but also because I am not in favor of having a big recession.   Let’s hope that Trump understands that; I don’t know.    He doesn’t seem very smart, but perhaps that’s just the way he talks.

              Your party has always. . . .not always.   Your party has long pushed for a constantly better America—for higher standards, new rules, more efforts at social justice.   It makes people queasy, frankly.   It makes me queasy.  

              Not for agreement, but just for understanding, making sure you are still with us. . . the Democratic Party, basically, pushes to eliminate smoking, pushes for cleaner air and cleaner water, pushes for the destruction of racist institutions and barriers to racial justice, pushes or has pushed in the past for a better judicial process with more protections for those accused and better treatment of those convicted, pushes for a more open and welcoming attitude for newcomers to our country, pushes for the elimination of barriers to international trade, pushes to get childhood obesity under control. 

              Frankly, many, many, many of the things that progressives have pushed for in the past have proven to be disastrous, and you never take responsibility for the disasters that you have brought upon the country; you either pretend that it was the Republicans who did this or insist that it wasn’t a mistake, we just didn’t do enough of it.    If you want a catalogue of your failures along this line perhaps we will do that another time.  (Prohibition, Lyndon Johnson’s great society, Bill Clinton’s trade policies, the Warren Court’s willy-nilly extension of legal rights, triggering a massive increase in crime, Obama’s health care initiative.)

              Because of these many, many high-cost failures of liberal policies, I am always leery of voting for Democrats, because I am always afraid you are going to push us into some new kind of high-risk venture that will turn out to be a time bomb with a 30-year fuse. 

              But I am not suggesting here that you should stop pushing for new ideas, because of this wariness that many of us have about your new ideas; far from it.   I am making exactly the opposite argument.   I believe that many of your plans and schemes from the past have proven to be disastrous; I recognize that you do NOT believe that, but this is about what I believe, not about what we agree on.  But while I believe that, I still feel that the Democratic Party represents me, in this area, more than the Republican Party does.    I WANT you to come forward with new ideas.    Your failure to come forward with new ideas, I think, is among the things which frankly has driven the Democratic Party to the edge of Irrelevance in the center of the country.

              This is what I believe has happened.   I think that before Reagan, by 1970 or certainly by the early 70s, the American public had turned against the kind of liberalism which dominated the agenda from FDR through LBJ.   The War in Viet Nam had undermined LBJ’s Great Society, which had a lot of dead weight on its own (although it had many successes), but, more particularly, exploding crime rates had made the nation deeply, deeply suspicious of liberal courts.  Us Baby Boomers, as young adults, looked like clowns, pushing our parents away from us as we pushed away from them.  George McGovern was really the last Democratic nominee who was an out-of-the-closet liberal.  After Nixon crushed McGovern, Democrats became afraid to openly say what was in their hearts.   Reagan solidified that barrier, effectively making "liberal" a dirty word.  Clinton won two elections by tacking toward the center, running against welfare and ignoring the unions.

              But the lack of confidence in the viability of their ideas, in a contest of ideas, has let in the kudzu vine of political consultants.   The invasive species.   Psst, they whisper.   Negative advertising works.   Raise lots of money—I’ll show you how—and spend your money driving up your opponent’s negatives.   Negative advertising really works.  

              It’s BS; it doesn’t work.   It works sometimes.   What it always does is, it always diminishes the candidate who uses it, and it always distracts from the policy debates which the Democratic Party should be leading and could be winning. 

              The Democratic Party has never really reclaimed its liberal heart or its progressive soul—and you need to do that.   The model I would recommend to you here. . . .belch twice and get ready to fart; you are not going to like this.   The advocacy model that I would recommend to you here is the most effective advocacy group in the United States:  the NRA.  

         &nb​sp;    I have no rooster in this cockfight.   I am not a gun owner or a hunter, but I also don’t believe that regulating guns is going to do very much to prevent violence, nor do I think it is going to happen, nor do I especially think that it SHOULD happen.   I’m neutral on that.   But the NRA does a sensational job of advocating THEIR position.   

              So liberalism is not currently popular. . …what, is gun ownership popular?   Surveys show that it is not.   But the NRA does not back away from what they believe, and they are not hiding in the closet.   They are not shy about participating in the debate.   They are right out front with their beliefs.   They run extremely effective advertising campaigns, and they do the most effective organized advocacy in American politics.  

              What I am asking of the Democratic Party is simply that you go back to boldly advocating what you believe in.  I think that Bernie Sanders proves that you can—and I believe that that will work in Kansas, it will work in Nebraska, it will work in Iowa.   Liberal ideas have decayed in the Midwest because liberals have ceased to advocate for them.  

              SOME liberal ideas; some liberal ideas are just losers, and you need to push them overboard and watch them sink to the bottom of the sea, but some liberal ideas are strong ideas and people will rally around them if you are bolder and braver in advocating for them.   Among those:

           &n​bsp;  1)  Strong limits on passing wealth from generation to generation.

              2)  Much, much, much more aggressive regulation of deceptive business practices by large companies.

              3)  Free college education.

            ​;  4)  Reform and repeal of many national drug laws.

              5)  Extensive targeted programs to help inner cities.

              6)  Better treatment of incarcerated people who have not committed heinous crimes.     

              And many others.  You are doing many things right, but I am trying to be helpful by working toward the root of your relative weakness here in the Midwest, which I believe that I understand, and which I believe that you do not understand.   The notion that large concentrations of wealth are destructive of democracy has exactly the same resonance in the Midwest that it has on the coasts.  Beyond that, I have five suggestions for you, three of which I urge you to consider, and two of which I believe are absolutes; you cannot and will not regain standing in the Midwest until you do these things.  

              1)  Stop pushing for National Health Care.  

              2)  PLEASE stop trying to tell us that you are making something more affordable when you subsidize expenditures on it. 

              3)  Stop conflating political beliefs with economic needs.  

              4)  Stop running against the Republicans, and go back to running FOR the office.

            ​  5)  For Christs’ sake, stop yelling "racist" at everybody who disagrees with you.  

              First, I honestly do not believe that our new President is either a racist or a fascist.   He is a narcissist, a sexist and a liar.    Sometimes he is not lying; sometimes he is living in a distorted reality in which he truly believes things which are obviously not true.   He appears to be a superficial thinker, he is crass and insensitive, and he is unworthy of the office that he holds, but these things are quite different from being a racist or a fascist. 

              Some of Trump’s supporters are racist, and some of Trump’s ideas are proto-fascist are quasi-fascist.    As to how many of Trump’s supporters are racist, I don’t know and you don’t know, and your guess is probably as good as mine.   I would guess that it is about 5%.  Racists now are probably 3% of the country, but, of course, the racists were not voting Democrat, so their percentage within the Trump vote would be nearly twice their percentage within the country.   

              As to Trump being a quasi-fascist. ..well, it’s a common thing.   All Presidents have a little fascism in them; it’s human nature. 

              Three or four years ago, our country made a sort of agreement among ourselves that it was improper to suggest that your political opponents were like the Nazis.   As long as I can remember people have been calling each other Nazis, but about three years ago we decided that was out of line, and we shouldn’t do that anymore.   

              This agreement has now collapsed; the left now openly screams "Nazi!" at Trump, and Trump responds by calling Nazi on whoever he is angry with at the moment.    And it is a good thing that this agreement has collapsed; it was a lousy idea to make such a rule to begin with.

              Why?

              Because we all have a little Nazi hiding inside of us.   To say that no one can be likened to a Nazi makes it seem that the Nazis were some different species, so wildly different from us that we share no DNA.   This is not true.   The Nazis were just ordinary people who invested in their prejudices, allowing their hatreds to grow from potted plants into a jungle.  They let their crazy side loose—but I have a crazy side, too, and you do, and you do, and you do.   I’ve got a few potted plants around here m’self.   We are better off to admit that we do, rather than pretending that we are a society of saints.   The political consultants who sell negative advertising to the candidates are working on the little Nazi in you.  To say that Trump has quasi-fascist ideas is not to condemn him, in my view, because I believe that all Presidents have quasi-fascist tendencies.  

              Is Trump more heavily colored by fascist hunger than other Presidents?   I don’t know.   Maybe.   He won the election.   There’s no Mulligan Clause in the constitution.   "Fascism" is not a description of one man; it is a name for a system of government or a system of thought.   Fascism is not created when a power-hungry man, insensitive to the pain he is causing, is elected.  All Presidents are power-hungry, and all people are sometimes insensitive.  Fascism is created when the rest of the system stops resisting.   I don’t really see much risk of that happening, and frankly, all of this "fascist" talk looks silly to me.  

              Trump has personal failings which may, on their own, lead to something of a comeback by the Democratic Party in 2018 and 2020, but I am not talking about THAT comeback; if that is all you guys get out of this, you will be in worse shape in ten years than you are now.   I am talking about recovering the power of your ideas.  

              When liberals write about this election, they write about it as if the center of the country

              1)  was blind to Donald Trump’s failings, and

              2)  had endorsed all of his worst ideas. 

              Neither of these things is true.     We are not blind to Trump’s failings, and we recognize that a lot of what he says is dangerous and destructive.   We recognize that many of his comments are crass and grossly inappropriate. 

              Trump won the center of the country because:

              1)  SOME of the stuff that he says is true, and

              2)  the Democrats nominated a candidate who is, depending on your judgment, (a) almost as offensive as Trump, (b) as offensive as Trump, or (c) even worse than Trump.

              The truth is not that we have blinded ourselves to Trump’s failings, but that you have blinded yourselves to Ms. Clinton’s failings.   She is as dull as dishwater, she is a criminal who should have been indicted for her careless handling of national secrets, followed by a long campaign of defiance of the law in covering up her crimes, and she is a corrupt politician who has sold out her values for power and money.   She is phony to the bone, and I wonder about the bones.

            &​nbsp; I voted for Ms. Clinton, but it was like eating rancid soup.   It was like being in a restaurant, you’re really hungry, and the waiter says "OK, we’ve got rancid soup, and we’ve got sandwiches with mold on the bread and rotten meat.   Which one do you want?"   Gee, I guess I’ll take the rancid soup; thanks.  Perhaps I’ll take the moldy bread for later.

              There is a lot of talk just now about Trump beginning his Presidency with low approval ratings.   Well, DUH.   If you give the public a choice between two people that they mostly despise, they will choose someone that they despise.   What you are missing is that, if Ms. Clinton had won the election, she ALSO would be beginning her Presidency with historically low approval ratings.   We had two bad choices; we made a choice that we are unhappy with.

              Trump, in his inaugural address, said that "For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have born the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed."

              CNN, in its coverage of this speech, focused not on how this sounded to the American people, but on how it must have sounded to the privileged people gathered around the podium.   One commentator after another said something very much like, "If I had been one of those former Presidents, I would have been tempted to get up and walk out at those words."   But if a politician takes $700,000 to give a speech to Wall Street, do you really think that politician is entitled to take offense at the suggestion that she has used her office to line her pockets?

              What Trump was saying there is true, and you know damned well that it is.   It is the point where Trump and Bernie meet.   If you add Trump’s supporters and Bernie’s supporters, you’ve got 65, 70% of the country, and this is the point upon which they agree.  

              The Democrats have as much ability to benefit from that message as the Republicans do—but to do that, they need to nominate candidates who haven’t been feeding at the trough.  And they need to stop covering up for the members of their party who ARE feeding at the trough.  

              So there are three things at the core of Trump’s message which are absolutely true:

              1)  That the citizens have a right to expect that their citizenship will be valued and protected,

              2)  That the trade deals of the 1990s and since were not well thought out, and have not worked in America’s favor, and

            ​;  3)  That the political class has been allowed for too long to put its own interests ahead of the interests of those who elected them.  

              I also agree with Mr. Trump, agree with President Trump, that large companies can be and should be intimidated out of careless decisions to ship jobs out of the country.   It is entirely appropriate for the President of the United States to go to the owners of a factory and tell them, "Look, you move these jobs out of the country, you’re not bringing the goods back in."    Whether it will work or not, we’ll see, but it deserves a shot.    "Free trade is good for everybody" is not a serious trade policy; it is just a slogan. 

              Many of the countries which are in NATO are the same countries which are in the European Union.   They want to have it both ways; they want to send one message when they act as the European Union, but a contradictory message when they act as NATO.     As the European Union, they want to be our rival or our superior.    It is entirely reasonable for President Trump to say "OK, you want to be our economic equal, step up.   Pay what you have agreed to pay."    There is nothing wrong with his doing that.  

              I can’t believe that I even have to say this, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with the American President putting American interests ahead of international interests.   Is it wrong for the Green Bay Packers to put the interests of the Green Bay Packers ahead of the interests of the NFL?   Is it wrong for Microsoft to put the interests of Microsoft ahead of the interests of the software industry?   Is it wrong for Hilton to put the interests of Hilton ahead of the interests of the hospitality business? 

              Of course there is a place for internationalism, but we are not electing the President to be the leader of the Free World.   We are electing him to represent America’s interest.   There is nothing wrong with that.  

              The Democratic Party does not need to abandon ANY of its principles to get on the right side of these issues with that little part of the country that runs from the western border of New Jersey to the western border of Nevada.   But here is what you really, really must do, my Democratic friends.

              I will not use the N word even for purposes of illustration, but let us pretend that the N word is "Nashville".   I am old enough to remember when the real racists could control those who started to leave to the fold by calling them Nashville Lovers.   It was a highly effective technique, in its day; if you supported Civil Rights legislation you were not being faithful to your group, you were not being true to your kind, you were being a Nashville Lover.   People did not want to betray their group, so they did not want to be called Nashville Lovers.  

              It was an effective technique, and then it wasn’t.   A point was reached at which everybody was just sick of that.  There was a sea change in 1963, 1965, and all of a sudden the backward, sweat-soaked rabble were left standing in the street yelling "Nashville Lover! Nashville Lover! Nashville Lover!" as the future paraded past them.   

              Well, it is every bit as despicable to call someone a racist who is not a racist as it is to actually be a racist; in fact, I would argue that it is more despicable to do this, since it both promotes racism and debases public discourse.    People have just gotten sick to death of that.  There has been a sea change, and now you are the filthy old creeps standing in the street yelling "Racist! Racist! Racist!" at everybody who walks past you and will not salute.  

              Why is it worse to call someone a racist who is not a racist than to actually be a racist?   Well, first, it’s the same thing, isn’t it?    If you call someone a (insert racist slur here) or you unfairly call them a racist or anything else profoundly insulting, isn’t that the same thing?    But beyond that, what happens if I and 2,000 of my close friends start calling someone that you admire a racist. . .let’s say, Bill Gates.   If 2,000 of us start yelling "racist" at Bill Gates, you’re going to think "maybe it is not so bad, to be called a racist."     When your turn comes, and you are called a racist, you shrug and say "OK, call me a racist, then."   

          &​nbsp;   You’re letting David Duke out of his cage.   If you call a million people racists, he’s just one of the millions, just another guy.    David Duke and you, you’re on the same team now.  To do this promotes racism, aggressively promotes it.   It’s not like putting fertilizer on a tomato plant; it is more like pouring fertilizer on a fire.  If you keep doing this, you are going to push America back toward overt racism.  This is not a theory; it is already happening.   You are pushing America back toward overt racism.   I beg you to stop it.  

              Mr. Trump is not a racist, Jeff Sessions is not a racist, and no one in Trump’s cabinet appears to be a racist.    Every time you call one of those people a racist, you might as well put $20 in an envelope and mail it to Rush Limbaugh.    You are feeding his fire.  

              Give it a rest.   Stop feeding the fires.  It is not your beliefs which are causing you problems in the center of the country, my Democratic friends; it is merely your behavior.   It is nominating a candidate who is very obviously corrupt, and then pretending that she is not corrupt.   It is trying to win elections by piling up money halfway to the sky, and using that money to demean your opponents.  It is tiptoeing around what you really believe, rather than asserting what you believe.   It is treating the rights of citizenship with disrespect.   It is making political battles out of all political issues.  It is yelling "racist" at people who are not racist.   If you will merely stop doing these things, I promise you that the center of the country will come back to you like a grownup son returning to his mother.            After she kicks the step dad out of the house.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         &n​bsp;    I will open this up to comments by readers in a couple of days.   

 
 

COMMENTS (142 Comments, most recent shown first)

OldBackstop
None of that emerged Nov. 9. Trump has done a yeoman's job of taking his issues and showing up to work every day to punch them through. If you expected all his personality disorders to heal with power then you will be very disappointed, at least until the midterm elections.
6:37 PM Feb 8th
 
Marc Schneider
There isn't a person that voted for Trump that is UNhappy with his performance..."

IF that's true, that's a sad statement about the lack of decency among Trump voters. Apparently, making up complete falsehoods, trying to intimidate journalists, and obsessing over any criticism is a positive for Trump supporters.

As for keeping his promises, so did Hitler.

8:25 AM Feb 7th
 
OldBackstop
orrection: "There isn't a person that voted for Trump that is UNhappy with his performance..."
2:08 PM Feb 6th
 
OldBackstop
I said somewhere down below the eradicating racism gtets to be like sweeping up sand...the final amount gets to be so little that you can't sweep and be productive, you have to pi8nch and then get a wet paper towel and then....you know what? I stops being worth the time, there being a few stray grains here and there.

Stopping racist actions, racist institutions, laws, regulations...important goals. But at some point you become the Spanish Inquisition, trying to wrench denunciations out of people who claim none in their heart. You become the crazy woman in the corner trying to wipe up molecular-level sand.

Raising the KKK as a boogeyman is akin to raising the spectre of Bolsheviks...to the extent they were societally-relevant, it was a past generation. Now they are merely politically relevant to the low information bumper sticker voters. There ain't no KKK anymore.

Sanders exploded in popularity because he was a revolutionary trying to advance the ball in one swell foop, a bomb down the middle. The Dems then handed the ball to a left tackle plunge lifer, who ran into another revolutionary bombthrower.

If Trump continues to do what he is doing --- which is exactly what he said he would do -- he will be very competitive in four years, barring a stupid war. There isn't a person that voted for Trump that is happy with his performance -- there is just the shock of the rest of the country that a politician is actually doing what he said he would do.

If in four years the Dems put up another political fullback centrist whose campaign consists of pinching up the non-existent sand, they will lose again....Elizabeth Warren, say, whose Q factor makes Hilary look like Laura Petry.






2:06 PM Feb 6th
 
Marc Schneider
LesLein,

If this is the way that conservatives feel, then the debate is pointless. You seem unable to get past stereotypes about liberals (and I concede that liberals do the same.) I just have make some points about the "race baiting for almost two centuries." Whatever you can say about today's Democrats, it's absurd to talk about the 19th century Democratic Party as if it's the same thing. It's akin to saying that the 1970s New England Patriots are the same as the 2017 New England Patriots. The fact is that, ultimately, the type of Democrats who started and/or supported the KKK became Republicans. For example, Strom Thurmond, who ran for president as a Dixiecrat in 1948, became a Republican. So it makes no sense to talk about two centuries of race-baiting. If you want to make an argument about today, ok, and there may be some validity, although you have to concede that it was primarily-not exclusively-the Democrats that pushed through the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. It's hard for me to see today's conservatives/Republicans supporting either of those bills.

The statement that, for progressives "it's all about control" is again, a stereotype. There are obviously progressives that are anti-market and some that tend to favor more government control than I would. But to say that those kinds of progressives are the majority of the Democratic Party or, for that matter, liberals is simply taking complex situations and ascribing a simplistic cause. It certainly doesn't advance any kind of debate-which think Bill wants.

After all that, you finally say that "I worry about Trump's authoritarian streak." Nice of you to acknowledge that, but that streak has been apparent since he began his campaign. It's not as if he woke up the day after the election and changed his personality.

Again, I don't see how you can come to any kind of middle ground if both sides see the other as simple stereotypes. I acknowledge that liberals do that to conservatives. Why can't you acknowledge that with conservatives.?
6:41 PM Feb 4th
 
Marc Schneider
As Sansho said, the violence on Inauguration Day had nothing to do with Democrats or liberals; the anarchists probably have as much or more contempt for them as they do for conservatives. ON the other hand, I think liberals need to recognize that there is a lot of censorship (or self-censorship) on campus and a lot of liberal students who think they should decide who should be able to speak. This is a problem.

I think there is a legitimate debate to be had on the scope and role of government in the economy and other areas. But conservatives today seem to think that government should have no role except, I guess, in national defense and foreign policy. I believe, and I think most liberals today, believe in a free-market economy. What I don't believe in is a completely unregulated market that has no rules. There are plenty of problems that can't be solved just by letting the market work; there are various kinds of market dysfunctions and externalities. I have no problem with market-based solutions, but I object to the idea that ONLY market-based solutions are appropriate. Conservative appropriately complain about liberals throwing around "racism", but in my experience conservatives do the same thing with socialism. It's patently absurd to call, say Barack Obama, a socialist, but I read it all the time. In fact, the Democratic Party is much more market oriented than it was in the 60s and 70s. If you look at George Wallace's platform when he ran in 1968 and, aside from the racism, it's far more left-wing economically than anything the Democrats put forth today, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. And I don't agree with a lot of what Sanders advocates. But it is difficult to find common ground with conservatives that think any kind of government intervention intervention is the "road to serfdom."

I'm uncomfortable with the "fighting in the streets" rhetoric, but at least some of it comes from Trump's unwillingness to even try to reach out or to accept any criticism.
5:13 PM Feb 4th
 
bertrecords
The second post that classifies degrees of racism is very helpful and strengthens the argument of the first post. Very nice thought process, Bill.

One thing, perhaps tangential, that bothers me. Why do people insist on saying, "Hillary is a criminal" or "Hillary violated federal law and I know that for a fact"?

It is one thing to cite factual evidence that says Hillary pushed the limits of ethical norms with the Clinton Foundation or that Hillary did not handle classified documents with enough care. It is quite different to say that she is a criminal. There first must be a charge, then a trial, then a conviction for her to be demonstrated as a criminal. At least, please tell me the specific charge where Hillary should tried and if you want to cite Federal law and tell me when that law was enacted, you get bonus points.

The degree of criminal that I believe Hillary has been shown to be:
Level 3-- violator of the Office Policy manual (multiple occasions, intent not demonstrated)

As someone whose responsibilities each day affected our nation's relationships with foreign countries, the allegations are extraordinarily trivial compared to her job responsibilities. Come on now, would we even blink if Rex Tillerson or Donald Trump leaked a document to the Wall Street Journal to make a point?

If the Left should stop labeling everyone a racist, which I think would be a good move, those more to the right should please stop labeling Hillary as a criminal. It just sounds ignorant. Chris Christie pretty much said so the day after the election.

A specific charge and strong evidence for that specific charge might change my opinion.





5:09 PM Feb 4th
 
sansho1
Also, the violence and crime during demonstrations have been almost exclusively the work of Black Bloc anarchists -- they're the people dressed all in black. I first saw them at the WTO demonstrations in Seattle -- they would run around and break stuff while the organized speakers and demonstrators fought a losing battle for media attention. Same as now. They aren't invited, and they aren't the point, but if you let anybody come anybody will. Interesting to note that the women's march in Washington resulted in zero arrests.
8:25 AM Feb 4th
 
sansho1
They do, as of 2015. But they'd never had one before.
8:16 AM Feb 4th
 
steve161
Just a little historical note: Germany did not and does not have a minimum wage.
7:39 AM Feb 4th
 
OldBackstop
@Les: Excellent post.
12:48 AM Feb 4th
 
sansho1
Wouldn't toning things down represent a lower level of offense as per Bill's racism scale? And so wouldn't the charge of liberal fascism in response be analogous to the unhelpfully shrill charge of racism that he condemns?
9:59 PM Feb 3rd
 
LesLein
While there's some good ideas here, they aren't likely to be pursued. For example, toning down the racism charge would be a big help, but the Democrats have been race-baiting for almost two centuries; they just changed the skin color to harass and toned things down quite a bit. One time Biden is saying that Romney wants to put blacks in chains. Obama helps start a war on cops when a witness lies about a cop in Missouri shooting an assailant in self defense ("Hands up. Don't shoot."). Now homicides are increasing again. If we have a color blind society Democrats will be a big loser.

In the late 19th century, when progressivism was getting started, there were no American schools offering advanced economic degrees. As a result, progressive economists went to Germany for training. Then, and for a long time later, German economic education was statist. This carried over in America for years. A prime example was the minimum wage. Its proponents openly stated that it was intended to keep minorities, recent immigrants, and women from finding work at the only wages where they were employable.

For progressives it's all about control. To see where they want to go, look at their cities. Places like Detroit and Chicago are basket cases. Leftists are in complete control on college campuses. They riot, assault, commit arson, and assault those they disagree with. Look at the recent behavior in Berkeley.

Even those who are supposed to be responsible can't help themselves. Tim Kaine called for Democrats to "fight in the streets." They've done enough of that. Since the election they cancelled college classes, rioted, and made threats against electors. On inauguration day they committed arson against a limo owned by a Moslem immigrant.

I worry about Trump's authoritarian streak, but people who stop speeches, riot, vandalize, stop speakers, and assault others are the last ones to be calling someone fascists.


7:34 PM Feb 3rd
 
Marc Schneider
I just read Bill's article on racism and I agree almost entirely. Along those lines, I am bothered when people talk about having a zero tolerance for racism (or for drugs or anything else). There will always be some racism, some prejudice and the effort to stamp out all vestiges can be counterproductive, as Bill suggests. That doesn't even address the definitional problem of what is racism. Pretty clearly, the term has been expanded to mean a lot more than it originally entailed. Is it racist to oppose affirmative action? I don't think so. But maybe there needs to be another term for actions that involve disinterest but not active dislike.
1:01 PM Feb 3rd
 
Marc Schneider
Old Backstop,

I misread what you wrote and recognize that it was not directed at me. My apologies.
8:42 AM Feb 3rd
 
Marc Schneider
Old Backstop,

I misread what you wrote and recognize that it was not directed at me. My apologies.
8:42 AM Feb 3rd
 
OldBackstop
So, when I say that the race hustlers are a big problem in the way of the final steps to a colorrblind society....check out this shaper of young minds, who I just saw interviewed. Professor Micheal Dyson of Georgetown U.

At last, a way to salve my white guilt over slavery ...set up a personal reparations account to give people of color my money. Guy got a book deal, too.....

www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jan/10/michael-eric-dyson-says-whites-should-keep-individ/

9:00 PM Feb 2nd
 
OldBackstop
@MarcSchneider. ""Can you at least respond to things I actually say rather than what you think I said?""

Don't know you, wasn't addressing you, won't be in the future.
7:42 PM Feb 2nd
 
sansho1
Well, there's no such thing as solutions that are good for all Americans. We sometimes live at cross purposes, and we have wildly divergent ideas about what constitutes justice and fairness. Unanimity is impossible in matters both personal and political.

Likewise, there is no utopia. No one person or party's vision will ever come to full fruition. What we're left with is the persuasiveness of our relative arguments, and our relative skill at applying political pressure.
6:14 PM Feb 2nd
 
MidnighttheCat
In the "What is Racism?" article you ask us to post comments in the place for comments on "the other article" - I think you mean here. I apologize if I have misunderstood and will repost this wherever it belongs if so.

It is a good article and I think you are right. I also think that a distinction should be made between "racism" and "prejudice" - which might help with the problem you raise of having to use the same word for different things . I would reserve racism mostly for actions and for institutional constraints - especially those in the latter category that have either some intentionality behind them or lead to highly predictable results that reinforce inequalities based on race.

Prejudice is mostly about opinions and ideas. Granted there is a gray area - expressions of prejudice directed at African Americans or other communities are a form of action. But prejudice is not the cause of the inequality of race, it is more likely either a symptom of it.

This leads me to a further distinction - between manifest and latent privilege. The problem with all of the attempts to get people to "own their privilege" is that most people don't really have any privilege. Many white people have little control over their own lives and little power, and don't make any decisions that affect Black people, or anyone else except maybe their family members. Many men live lives that are bounced around by more powerful people. White people, and men, have a kind of latent privilege, one that COULD potentially become real in some cases, but which most of the time does not. A latent privilege that never becomes manifest, like much prejudice, has little or no real world effect. It is real world effects, the real racist inequalities, which are mostly institutional, that we should address. I think the program for Black Lives Matters for economic and social change, like the Civil Rights, Anti-slavery and anti-Apartheid movements, addresses these, not poorly formulated comments, or lightly held prejudice.
5:59 PM Feb 2nd
 
jemanji
1. Trump did win very narrowly. The bigger picture is the Senate, House, Governorships, etc. 538.com has the Republicans with more power than at any time since 1920. It's a groundswell.

...

2. Done any social work? (I have.) *Clinical* narcissists and BPD sufferers are loathed by their adult children. If you're a narcissist, your 25-year-old won't talk to you.

Trump has a huge ego but he also has people skills.

Trump has failings, but they are exaggerated such that his critics can't predict him. Science means Observe, Understand, Predict, Control. Trump's critics are not observing him.

...

3. The biggest thing that the Centrist said, in the original article, was --- > "stop demonizing, and present solutions for ALL Americans." That is looking like a lost cause here. I mean it analytically, not emotionally.

Jeff


5:35 PM Feb 2nd
 
Marc Schneider
ksclacktc,

I would love it if Trump changed his behavior. I don't see it happening because this is the kind of man he is. But I don't want to fear the President of the United States. I realize that most politicians and successful businesspeople tend to be narcissistic to some degree and have extreme self-confidence. But, it seems to me that a little humility never hurt anyone. Unfortunately, I think a lot of his core supporters like him because he shows no quarter to his opponents.
12:48 PM Feb 2nd
 
Marc Schneider
I was just thinking about the theory that Trump would have won the popular vote if he needed to by changing his strategy. There are at least two problems with that, I think:

First, as I noted below, the sheer size of the gap-3+ million votes. He would have needed to win 1.5 millon or so (rough numbers obviously) to win the popular vote, about 50%. But that assumes that all of those 3 million votes would be contestable, ie, that Trump would have had a chance to get those votes. But, surely a lot, if not most, of those votes were either Democrats or others who would never have voted for Trump, campaigning or not. So, it’s probably a much smaller group of votes that would be up for grabs; Trump would probably have had to win, say 75% of the votes that were actually contestable. (Again, making up numbers.) And he won a bare majority of the votes, if that, in the battleground states that he did campaign hard in. Why would anyone think that he would win a huge majority of the votes that went against him anyway? And that, of course, assumes that the mere fact of campaigning in those states would have magically gotten him a lot of those votes. But, it’s not as if those people that did not vote for him couldn’t have; why would you assume that simply campaigning would turn that many people?

Second, if it had been a popular vote, Clinton might have changed her strategy as well to run up vote totals in her states. It’s not as if only Trump would have campaigned differently. I’m sure a lot of people in red or blue states don’t vote because they know who is going to win it. If their vote counted, they probably would. Plus, Clinton had the same strategy as Trump; she focused on the battleground states. If she had focused on her strong states, she would likely have run up more votes. Moreover, if Trump had focused more on other states, he would necessarily have had to focus less on the battleground states. So, it would likely be a wash.

It's certainly conceivable that Trump would have won the popular vote if he had run a different strategy. But, IMO, it's highly unlikely. Again, I am not contesting the legitimacy of his election; the rules are the rules and have been for 200+ years.

12:44 PM Feb 2nd
 
337
The recommendation that the Democratic party models its methods from here on in on the NRA contradicts Bill's other recommendation that they "give it a rest. Stop feeding the fires." The NRA has never been about showing its adversaries a shred of respect, nor making sensible compromises. It's been about sticking to their guns, relying on their core of fanatical supporters, and not budging an inch. I don't begin to understand how the Democratic Party might look to the NRA as a good model and also stop feeding the fires. Makes no sense at all to me.
12:27 PM Feb 2nd
 
steve161
Perception is everything. David Kaiser's remark got me thinking. My perception of the racism scale in California in the 60s is very much like his--and I gather that we are near contemporaries. I don't know if I'd go as high as 8--segregation was still a reality and the LAPD was a disgrace. Giving us credit for our activism, I think I'd go 6.

But isn't it interesting that Bill's perception of the world around him in white, middle-class Kansas, is a 2. What does that tell us about that world?
11:37 AM Feb 2nd
 
ksclacktc
@Marc

Fair enough. I think it is very important that we all begin to come together now that the election is over and that it's acceptance occur more rapidly. I agree that Trump is a narcissist of the worst kind, and I hope that those around him are able to at some point get him to realize we are all on the same team.
11:35 AM Feb 2nd
 
Marc Schneider
I recognize that he won under the rules. The only point in talking about the popular vote is that Trump claims to have won such a great, smashing victory, when he did not. Trump is the one that keeps bringing it up. It's another example of his egomania. Whether or not a different strategy would have made a difference is pure speculation; it's almost impossible for me to believe it would have made a 3 million vote difference. And, Trump is now blaming the loss in the popular vote on illegal immigrants.

You know, if Trump wasn't such a narcissist, he could say something like "I realize many people did not vote for me and they are concerned about my actions. It was a close election. I will work hard to win your trust." But, instead, he keeps throwing out these ridiculous arguments about how he really won. That is what I object to, his complete inability to see beyond himself. It's all about Trump.



Old Backstop,

Just who the hell are you to call people naïve? Is that all you can do is call people names? I And the issue isn't Islam, it's Australia, ostensibly an ally. Can you at least respond to things I actually say rather than what you think I said? What you call "respect" seems to be more like fear. Is that your goal, to make everyone, even our allies fear the United States? Oh, there's some great foreign policy. It sure worked well for the Soviet Union. Does it make sense for the president to browbeat a country that he might actually need for support some time? As for blaming myself for 9/11, that's the most ridiculous statement I've ever heard. I certainly am not blaming us for the attack. But Trump has no clue what he is doing. International relations isn't about about bullying everyone into submission because it doesn't work. No is saying we have to get radical Islamists to "love" us. The question is whether demonizing an entire region does anything to enhance our security. I don't think it does. But, again, the issue here is not Islam, it's Australia and Trump's apparent desire to intimidate allies.




11:06 AM Feb 2nd
 
OldBackstop
337, you are looking for love in international affairs when the goal is respect....which has dwindled to ashes under Obama.

You are never going to be anything more than an infidel in the holy land to radical Islam. It is a very human trait to look for reason in the face of madness.....if you blame yourself or your country for 911, you then can protect and control your future, right? I envy your naivete, because the reality is depressing.
9:44 AM Feb 2nd
 
ksclacktc
@Mark
Actually, I would say almost all the posters have implied that they think Trump's behavior is deplorable.

If I were you I'd lose the she won the popular vote. That argument sounds a lot like we outgained them 400- 300 yards....only problem is they had 24 pts and we had 17. Remember that when the objective is one thing (electoral votes) and not another (popular vote) that strategy changes. If the objective was to gain more yards and not score more pts the strategy would be different. It is very whiney sounding, and rings hollow with most people.
9:36 AM Feb 2nd
 
Marc Schneider
337,

At least if we have a war with Australia, the weather will be warm and the President can build a golf course there.
9:31 AM Feb 2nd
 
Marc Schneider
Here is the President of the United States, who many people are saying is better than Hilary Clinton attacking Arnold Schwarzenegger's ratings:

money.cnn.com/2017/01/06/media/donald-trump-arnold-schwarzenegger/

I guess, since Trump has solved the nation's problems, he has nothing better to do.
9:30 AM Feb 2nd
 
337
Also the US will earn over the next four years a near-global (probably a global) and entirely self-inflicted reputation among nations as a self-interested belligerent party with an agenda of "Us first, everyone else tied for last" that will destroy our standing, whatever is left of it, as leader of the free world. I can't imagine Australia ever again sending its troops to fight on our behalf, and that's only a few weeks in. Give him a few more months, and we'll be loathed throughout the world on a level that will make our standing on 9/11 in the Arab world look cordial. And forget about brokering a peace agreement between Israel and the Arab nations: why should an Arab nation ever want anything to do with the US, other than what we can force them to do, which isn't very much.
9:24 AM Feb 2nd
 
Marc Schneider
You know, people talk about what Democrats need to do and I agree they need to change their approach, but let's remember. Despite Trump's nonsense, more people voted for Clinton than for him. The election turned on a few thousand votes in a few states. It was hardly a landslide for Trump like he wants people to believe. Conservatives act as if there was some groundswell in support of their policies but, in fact, they won at least in part because of liberals that did not think Clinton was liberal enough and didn't vote. Of course, both sides do this-claim a mandate for particular policies which does not exist. But Steve Bannon has apparently decided that winning a squeaker of an election empowers him to impose a right-wing agenda on the country.

In general, this discussion discourages me more and more. I thought there would be some common ground; that even conservatives could agree that Trump's behavior was deplorable. But, apparently not; he's not Hilary Clinton and that's good enough. I guess, from now on, half the country will always hate the president, whoever he or she is.
8:42 AM Feb 2nd
 
sansho1
Thanks for your experienced perspective, OldBackstop, I'll do my best to incorporate it into my understanding. I can't say I won't read between the lines here and there, but we all do that, eh?
9:39 PM Feb 1st
 
FrankD
very interesting lecture on Global Trumpism ---- given before election. I don't agree with all of this but some of the points are very interesting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bkm2Vfj42FY

Was the last election mostly a referendum on economic policy in US with the have-nots in the south and center of US with the haves in the far east and far west?
9:19 PM Feb 1st
 
OldBackstop
I shouldn't have loosely said poverty, I was referring to the intractable welfare assistance core.

I won't get into the silly issue of how the Census classifies minorities, because everybody upsells, in the racist standards of our time, their self-reported bloodlines.
9:08 PM Feb 1st
 
kingferris
OldBackstop...

According to the US Census, approximately 42 million Americans live in poverty. 10 million are black (18 million are white, 12 million are Hispanic, 2 million are Asian). So your 75% number isn't close to accurate. Black Americans have a higher RATE of poverty but that's not what you said.

If you want me to take your personal experience seriously, at least be accurate with the absolute facts your argument uses. Initial lapses make language like "thugs" and reference to society celebrating drug dealers look really dicey. Every experience I've had is colored by personal bias, attitude, assumptions, fears, feelings etc. Good and bad. Maybe your account is dead on but you can certainly present it in more compelling terms.
8:48 PM Feb 1st
 
JackKeefe
Hi again Mike,

In general I agree with you. Where I would really like to see the public and the media tone it down is reactions to Trump's tweets. Look, it bothers me that the Leader of the Free World wastes his time on this garbage, but at this point I don't really care what outrageous things come out of his mouth. I wish everybody would just ignore it, so that when he does something awful, we don't get distracted by fake outrage at some moronic rant.
8:02 PM Feb 1st
 
OldBackstop
So, since I have already been called out on my investivityness :-), let me just speak truth to power.

I did three years as a communications consultant for the Giuliani administration on the workfare program, trying to train welfare recipients work ethics and place them in entry level jobs. (This was before Rudy went batshtt.)

We had no shortage of entry level jobs, and not just McJobs -- corporate entry level jobs, companies that wanted to help. This wasn't prejudice....these people would get 50 strikes when my kids would get two. What we had was thousands of people in the classes utterly, wholly disinterested in working for a living. I probably sat in on 50 classes of 40 each. They were sometimes third generation welfare recipients, used to the eagle flies on Friday. They were entitled, empowered, and mad as hell they had to be there.

And they were 98 percent African-American out of thousands. In fact, I'm lying for political correctness, it was 100 percent. Call me racist, but are we on the road to change if we don't acknowledge that poverty is largely an AA culture issue in the US? A culture that idolizes thugs in entertainment and drug dealers in the neighborhood and is at war with society, in the cloak of the criminal justice system (BLM). I haven't been to Appalachia, but I have to think the hard core is 75 percent AA in the US overall.

After that gig I went onto an inner city education reform project...Cory Booker was on the board. Again, the people caught in the cycle were AAs, and not because of a lack of opportunities. And I have also done a lot of charities in the inner city....same thing. This isn't intelligence. This isn't energy. Some of the greatest people I have ever met were the people in those communities trying to effect change...reverends, mostly. But it was fingers in a dike.

So, when limousine liberals or bubbleboy academics want to call Republicans names here, they should see the real problem here -- an underclass caused by a social safety net that became a hammock -- caused by patronizing liberals who give fish rather than fishing lessons. Caused by a party that would rather feed a captive underclass in order to turn them out in annual elections. Caused by politicians that lionize Black Lives Matter people....if you sat at a whiteboard with a roomful of geniuses you couldn't think of a stupider move if you goal was to mainstream black youth. They need a cuff in the ear and they are getting a pat on the head.

So when I hear people say that jobs are the issue...wake up. I moved from that to inner city education as the issue. A little, not really. Black families/culture is the issue. I'm starting a new 501c3 for that, PM if you are interested. I'll clear my box.

Before you line up to call me a racist, cite your resume in the front lines, please. For twenty years I have listened to clueless liberals whose humanitarian efforts are restricted to insulting people on message boards.
7:50 PM Feb 1st
 
sansho1
Les, please show where it has been seriously suggested to mandate a specific CEO-to-worker ratio. I think we all know that wouldn't work, so it sounds like a misrepresentation of the issue to say that's the goal. It's a useful data point to track along with other measures of economic security and the state of civil society. Broadly shared wealth leads to a more peaceful and stable system, and makes the citizenry less prone to extremism. The financialization of our economy has driven us away from that goal.
6:39 PM Feb 1st
 
jimmybart
jemanji - The "rainbow coalition" factor is important for Democrats, but definitely overplayed. Rather than rely on identity politics, Democrats need to communicate why their ideas would benefit ALL Americans. In that vein, I thought Obama was a great campaigner, but a HORRIBLE communicator as president. Reagan and Bill Clinton were much better at getting their main points across and connecting with Americans, without droning on and on about specifics (Hillary was also guilty of this). And I can't stand Trump, but he knows that slogans like "Build A Wall" and "Drain The Swamp" resonate, and are effective due to their simplicity.

So no, I don't think the problem the Democrats have had is with their principles, but with communicating those principles. Which is somewhat along the lines of Bill's point, although I think he'd like to see more changes than I would.

As for the protests, yes it's a fine line that Democrats should be careful about. Any violence will be denounced immediately and be counter-productive. But a) the Democrats don't have much other recourse, and b) if done properly, would galvanize and energize the party, much as it did with the Tea Party in 2010.
5:54 PM Feb 1st
 
jemanji
Sansho - yes you did. Thanks. I understood you to say more of the 2016 approach, from a better face. If that's accurate, it is diametrically opposed to Mr. James' plan, but that's fine. I'm wondering whether the 'hard line' or the 'conciliatory' factions will win out for 2018, and you gave me a clear idea of where you vote on that.

Jimmybart - thanks much m' friend. To me, you have a fairly reasonable approach based on a very sound premise. "Hey, don't panic here, steady hand at the tiller; this is partly just ebb and flow." I wonder if that means you think Mr. James' ideas -- such as, stop with the racist card already -- are not necessarily the way to go. That would be +0 -2 to his plan, as I've got the count ... doubt you trust me on voter fraud though :- )

Yes, exactly, the President-Senate-House situation would serve as a wake-up call -- in the ideal.

Your idea is that it should wake Dems up to --- > protests with the danger of rioting? Don't mean it with disrespect. President Obama himself just encouraged the civil protests as the only reaction he has so far endorsed.

This also seems antithetical to Mr. James' recommendations from the Center. Doesn't mean it's wrong.

Best,
Jeff


5:17 PM Feb 1st
 
jimmybart
jemanji: You know, as bad as things are for the Democrats currently, one must remember that it was only eight years ago that they had a majority in the House and a super majority in the Senate...and that was only four years after Karl Rove talked about a 'permanent' Republican majority. So based on that recent history, how could the Democrats win Kansas? If 2006 and 2008 are any indicators, it may only take an incompetent and unpopular president to turn the tide. And that's already in place.

That Democratic majority was squandered pretty rapidly, in my opinion, due to focusing on the ACA rather than the Great Recession. And with the exception of the Obama win of 2012, it hasn't recovered. But Trump has given Democrats an incredible gift: a wake-up call. I saw on the local news last night quite a few protesters who said they'd never done anything like that before, and most interviewed were senior citizens. If Trump continues blustering through his administration like this, 2018 could be very troublesome for Republicans. After all, on many issues, as Bill has pointed out, a majority agree with Democratic positions. All the Democrats may need is a rallying cry to take back what was theirs less than a decade ago.


5:02 PM Feb 1st
 
LesLein
While we want prosperity to be widespread, there is nothing in the Constitution that enables the government to redistribute income or wealth. In fact, there is no agreed upon definition of an equitable distribution of wealth. In the 1970s or 1980s a magazine editor made an offer for someone to define what the ideal distribution of income should be along with the policies necessary to reach and achieve the ideal. There were no takers. The policies would be totalitarian.

Politicians rail against the top 1% out of demagoguery. Blaming the rich is as bad as blaming foreigners for problems. Politicians are in effect telling voters "Your problems are caused by someone else. We can give you what you want solely by raising other people's taxes."

Bernie Sanders is an economic crackpot, in a different way than Trump. (Hillary is hard to figure out; she's all over the place.) Sanders said "You don't necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country."

Progressive policies aren't likely to more equalize the distribution of wealth. In recent years the Census Bureau developed a new measure to calculate poverty rates that takes the cost of living into account. It's called the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). California is the worst state in the country, with a poverty rate of 20.6%. Considering that California has more billionaires than the rest of the country put together, it must have a very uneven distribution of wealth.

The same goes for another enclave of progressivism, the Washington, DC metropolitan area. According to SPM, 22% of its population live below the poverty level. The counties that surround the District are among the wealthiest in the country. Its distribution of wealth must be terrible, too.

Of course, expanding government creates more opportunities for graft.
4:50 PM Feb 1st
 
sansho1
jemanji, I posted my thoughts on your question.
4:36 PM Feb 1st
 
OldBackstop
@gfletch. Ok, I get your point about the Lincoln quote, I just don't think it is relevant, at all, because many of the bad actors I'm discussing are one tool people who would on the drive-thru window if their current gig collapsed.

As to your other comment, I don't seek influence.

Note: Did some doc fill 337 full of Prozac on November 9? He is getting very zen-like.
4:27 PM Feb 1st
 
jemanji
Any interest in --- > how the Democrats could win Kansas?

Couldn't resist. :- ) It's just such a riveting spectacle for a conservative: whether Democrats will come together and focus.

I guess these other issues are sucking the oxygen out the virtual DNC boardroom.

The title of the article. Not much interest in the "How"? Or, honestly, maybe I'm not catching the solutions as they fly by me?






4:27 PM Feb 1st
 
Marc Schneider
Even for me, worrying about martial law seems over the top. He has no basis for doing it; the courts would certainly stop him. I doubt the military would carry out an order to disobey the courts and even the most conservative Republicans (and I mean conservative, not the alt-right) would likely object to that. I'm pretty confident that Gorsuch would not go along with that. I can't imagine that even Steve Bannon would think that's a good idea. I suspect Trump would be impeached if he tried to impose martial law. Lincoln didn't impose martial law even during the Civil War although he did suspend Habeas Corpus. I don't even think there was martial law during the riots in the 60s.

My concern with Trump is not so much him abusing the official powers of the presidency-I think the Constitution is strong enough to withstand even him-as with a tone and attitude that suggests opposition is disloyal and that does not even recognize the concept of a loyal opposition. It's his willingness to stir up his supporters and create an us against them mentality in the country, which obviously already exists on both sides. And it's his unwillingness to even concede that the other side has a point.
4:11 PM Feb 1st
 
mikejenkins
Hi again Jack,

"It sounds an awful lot like he's getting ready to impose martial law in an American city for the first time since Reconstruction. Would you put it past him?"

I don't see it on the immediate horizon, but no, I won't put much of anything past him. I am worried that when (if) it does come, three years from now, his opponents will have lost their energy as well as their credibility. He is intentionally outrageous and a very bad person, but that does not mean that his every action is monstrous. If we describe every Executive Order and appointment as apocalyptic, how will we describe the Martial Law order that suspends elections? Or the air strike on Ecuador because their President insulted him? Who will be listening?

Mike.
2:57 PM Feb 1st
 
337
The scorpion: "Why do I sting? It is in my character to sting." And so both the scorpion and the frog drown.
2:00 PM Feb 1st
 
Gfletch
OBS: The relevance of the Lincoln quote is...even if you remove the apparent raison d'être of those you believe profit from fighting racism, this would not really impact their careers or earning power, because their real fight is against injustice, not solely against racism. As quoted, "There will still be business enough."

You know, OBS, I really appreciate your bias / point of view as you are mostly in the minority here and it is good to have some counter weight to what seems like majority opinions. I gotta say, though, that you'd be much more influential if you could drop the invective. I guess it depends on whether you want to provoke serious thought or just serious annoyance.

Enjoyed your last comment by the way, and mostly agreed with it.
1:22 PM Feb 1st
 
Marc Schneider
First, I agree that elements in the Democratic Party (and, even more, groups on campuses) exist to look for racism in every act and under every rock. There is too much hypersensitivity. Personally, I have problems with activists of all stripes, not just racial, because they see the world in black and white terms (no pun intended). Terms like racist and sexist are thrown around too easily. (As is, btw, the term socialist.) Having said that, when people say things like I don't see color, it's a color-blind society, I think that's either naïve or a bit disingenuous. I don't know if it's necessarily blatant racism that makes cops treat African-Americans differently, but there is plenty of evidence that they do.

The problem with the primary system in general is that they tend to attract the most ideological elements of each party, therefore producing more ideological candidates. At the same time, the candidates (like Clinton) who are more organized and start sooner have a big advantage. Challenging Clinton would have been very difficult. As for Trump, I think no one in the GOP took him seriously enough until it was too late.

To respond to 78sman, I'm not upset with him specifically because he is trying to honor his promises. I think his promises were stupid but what bothers me is how he has behaved, which I guess is in line with what he promised. But there are different ways to honor your promises; the point is that you don't have to treat the other side as your enemy to honor your promises. Unfortunately, I think one of the things that Trump's hardcore supporters like is that he does treat the Democrats or the media as his enemies. Trump has made it very clear that he won and he is going to try to steamroll over anyone that disagrees.

I think this is independent of what you think about Clinton. If you are a conservative, I can understand holding your nose and voting for Trump (although a number did not). Clearly, he reached out to conservatives and is giving what most want. What I can't understand is ignoring Trump's behavior. I would feel better if more Republicans/conservatives were expressing concern about Trump's behavior. (Some are.) But I'm afraid as long as he delivers what they want, most conservatives will fall in line.

I do think that emotions run high, especially in this election. In my mind, you don't have to love Hilary Clinton to be afraid of Donald Trump.
12:32 PM Feb 1st
 
78sman
I agree with the recent posts indicating that some comments on this article are too strident. Trump won the election, and his party controls both parts of Congress, for better or worse.

Let's see how Trump's policies roll out. Those people who are upset seem to be upset because Trump has been trying to honor his promises. It seems to me that is the way that Democracy should work: someone makes campaign promises and then follow-up on them.

The Democrats would be wise to nominate someone from Sanders' wing of the party next time, rather than nominating someone who is not trusted by workers.
11:59 AM Feb 1st
 
MattD1
I guess the reason we ended up with these two candidates is in the primaries not enough people challenged Hillary, while too many challenged Trump. For me the issue is not enough people voted. If we ever get to the point where 85% of the eligible people vote (seems like a pipe dream), Ill be ok with whatever happens.

Obama just became the 7th consecutive President to successfully complete the term(s) he was elected to, and the 9th consecutive not to die in office. And we haven't had a President fail to serve 8 years since HW Bush lost reelection in 92. We're due for some chaos, though obviously I don't wish for Trump or anyone else to die in office, just saying we're due for someone not serving 8 years.
11:31 AM Feb 1st
 
OldBackstop
How 'bout them Mets?
11:21 AM Feb 1st
 
OldBackstop
Hi Gfletch, I like the Lincoln quote, although I don't see its relevance here.

The industry of racial strife goes from the street level organizers to local politics to the White House, and its power is shown by the rapid rise of Obama, from a community organizer to the White House.

Erase racial strife, and the Democratic Party implodes, as currently constructed under its Identity Politics strategy. Al Sharpton's TV shows fades to static. Editors and journalists all across the country collapse like their crutch went rubber.

This isn't merely an overt financial decision, although reparations point out the lofty ambitions on that front. It is an ingrained pillar of some people's moral psyche...that there are bad people called racists, who, if they can't fire people or kill loan applications anymore, still have hate in their hearts, and we are better than them. Let the warmth flow over your soul.

Eradicating racism has gone through the battle of eradicating blatant racist actions, which a slew of laws and regulations and reverse racism...I'm sorry, Affirmative Action, has successfully tackled. Eradicating racism in the hearts of those last few percent is like cleaning up spilled salt...you have to switch to a wet paper towel, you can't pinch up the last little bit with your fingers....all you do is spread it around. A new tactic is needed.

Here is how you CAN'T eradicate racism....throw bricks through shopfront windows, loot stores, throw the accusation around loosely at innocent people until they start to sympathize with the few real racists left. It becomes counter productive. I think..I hope, that Hilary's campaign will be seen as the people who finally jumped the shark, and the benefits of race-baiting (I didn't say race-pimping, Rob) will start to be balanced by the downsides.




11:13 AM Feb 1st
 
Riceman1974
Bill:

You really opened up a Pandora's Box with this one. Only I think hope escaped as well.

I voted for Trump, because as a political conservative there three or four policy issues of his I agree with, whereas I have zero policy agreement with Clinton. That decided my vote.

I do not regard either person very highly. She may be a criminal. He may be a racist pig. Unfortunately those were our choices.

To 77: Welcome. I do hope the NHS improves, and whatever system is created here, may it never resemble the NHS.

Best of luck to one and all. Go Red Sox.
10:58 AM Feb 1st
 
ksclacktc
Oh my, just catching up on all this.

I will start out by saying that people are really emotional in their posts. And, before you say, well yeah of course I am....... I've been attacked, my feelings are hurt, people have implied or called me a racist, I'm worried about the country etc.

Does anyone really believe that by being so emotional that it is a good thing? I mean do you act your best, think your best, represent yourself best in that state!

At the risk of saying something controversial, that shouldn't be. No!!!!! your're not representing yourself, your family, your side of the issue or helping anything.

Emotion is best served in something like an athletic contest, in a positive manner to create energy and enthusiasm. Not in an argument, about very complex issues, with strangers on the internet. Or, for that matter, in a public forum that causes others to get defensive.

Gosh we have gotten so sensitive. We've got a vehicle (the internet) to express our views now. And, dammit if I'm not going to compete and win.

I want to win dammit! I've got news for you, there are no winners. There isn't 2 teams competing! We are talking about the country and the world.

We have issues and you can feel differently than someone. I include in that you can feel much differently than the party line.

For example, I favor abortion rights, I favor health care for everyone, I think Hilary was a very poor candidate, I think Trump is a buffoon, I favor doing more to control our borders and citizenship, I think we do have an unacceptable segment of society that is racist. I believe in separation of church and state, our trade policies have not been stellar.

I could on for ever, my positions don't match either party line. And, I make no assurances I am 100% right or won't change my positions.

And, unless your views match 100% with the platform of the parties, which I'm not sure how many fall into that category anymore; you are going to LOSE on some issues. You win some, you lose some.

My worry is we've gotten to a dangerous point where it is like a sporting contest. People, are very emotional and beating their chests. Where does this all go? Do anyone really believe refusing to even negotiate on some of these issues is a good thing? Does anyone really think it is a good thing to follow an extreme, comprehensive agenda with one side or the other refusing to even do things like even grant a supreme court nominee a hearing. All in the name of being part of the team. We want to win.

Well, one side may feel like they won a battle, but you know what, down the road the lack of civility comes back to bite you. You lose and most importantly the country loses.

Where are the leaders? We need rational, unemotional thought right now. And, Sadly I'm not seeing it.
10:50 AM Feb 1st
 
Gfletch
OBS: "2. There is an industry of high profile people who have crafted their livelihoods and political careers around this racism, and have no equity in a colorless society."

That's the same argument as saying that the police don't really want to reduce crime, or that cancer researchers don't really want to cure cancer.

Yes, there is a theoretical conflict of interest. But, remember this Abraham Lincoln quote:

"Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser---in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough."

Yes, indeed, and even if we mostly eradicate racism, there will still be business enough.



10:08 AM Feb 1st
 
OldBackstop
I think that one needs to acknowledge some things before reasonably people can discuss racism.

1. There is an entrenched prejudiced group of Americans who disdain AAs and embrace stereotypes.

2. There is an industry of high profile people who have crafted their livelihoods and political careers around this racism, and have no equity in a colorless society.

I think it is possible to eradicate the first...one friendship can often do so. The second is the largest dynamic in the way of progress....

9:42 AM Feb 1st
 
Marc Schneider
"Sorry, to add to that: I didn't vote for Trump. I'm not a fan of Trump. I don't agree with everything he's done so far.

Why do you have such a hard time understanding that people can oppose Clinton without supporting Trump? Or does it just completely blow your narrative. "

It doesn't blow my narrative at all. I have no problem with people opposing Clinton. She is certainly not my favorite candidate. What I have a problem with is (1) people misrepresenting what "liberals" advocate (and lumping all "liberals" into a single category; " (2) seeming to ignore Trump's behavior during the campaign and after; and (3) people whining about free speech whenever someone criticizes them, yet seemingly ignoring Trump's attack on the media.

I have no problem with people being more conservative than I am; lots of people are more liberal than me. As I think I have commented on Bill's blogs a number of times, I have real issues with liberals, although my politics are left of center.

But I think Trump is a danger to the country in a way that Hilary Clinton, whether or not she broke a law, is not. His utter disrespect for the institutions and traditions of American politics and government is, I think, far more harmful than anything Clinton could have done. And, this is not some sort of mainstream conservative government. This is a hard right government of the like we have never seen in this country. He has a close adviser who specifically courts the nationalist right. And everything Trump says is based on utter falsehoods. I mean, you can certainly argue about whether the ACA is a good system or not or whether health care should be more market-based or whatever. But how can you argue when someone makes up complete falsehoods like Trump does, either because he is a pathological liar who cannot stand to be wrong, or because he is so divorced from reality that he actually believes it? How can you accept someone who is such an egomaniac that all he can talk about in interviews is himself? Or who turns the nomination of a Supreme Court justice into something akin to the Heisman Trophy presentation? I can understand not wanting Clinton, but I can't understand voting for Trump (and I understand that you did not) because he never changed throughout the campaign. And I disagree with Bill James that Hilarly Clinton and Donald Trump are equally monsters.


9:04 AM Feb 1st
 
Marc Schneider
77 Royals,

This is such typical right-wing bullshit. First, I never said you had no right to say whatever the hell you want. And I certainly never attacked you personally. What I did say is that you completely misrepresented liberals position. You specifically used the National Health Service in England as an example of how "free healthcare doesn't work." But that's completely different than talking about what is essentially a government-subsidized insurance plan. If you recall, the ACA involves people actually paying premiums for their insurance. It does not involve "free" healthcare or anything like a national health service. It does, however, set up criteria for the kind of plans that can be offered. It's just a meme that you made up to attack, apparently, any kind of government involvement in health insurance. You have no evidence that "liberals" want free health care.

As for freedom of speech, how can you even talk about that when you hero Trump is going out of his way to say that people shouldn't disagree with him and attacking people that do disagree from his position as president. I never said you had no right and I never said you should shut up. What I did say was I am tired of conservatives making specious arguments about Democratic positions that have no relation to reality. And, in your case, making a completely ridiculous analogy to the National Health Service, which bears no resemblance whatsoever to the ACA.

So you know for a fact that Hilary Clinton broke federal law, even though the head of the FBI said that she did not. As for me being a "fanboy" of Hilary, that's absurd. My position is that, regardless of what she did, she is still better than that narcissistic asshole we now have in the White House. I don't see you even addressing comments about Trump; it's just, "what about Hilary." What I want to know is what you think about Trump's use of Twitter to attack people who disagree, about his obsession with the popular vote count and his willingness to simply make up "facts" to suit his purpose, about his firing of a public servant who was actually willing to stand up to him, about his courting (or at least acceptance) of extreme right-wing groups, of his demonizing the press. You don't say anything about that so I assume you approve of his behavior.

I don't for a minute deny that Clinton ran a bad campaign. I remember seeing one of her ads and thinking, "her whole campaign is simply about saying Trump is worse." And I'm not a "fanboy" for her. But, given the choice, I would vote for almost anyone over Trump. And I think his behavior since the election validates my position. Yes, I acknowledge that Clinton lost the election more than Trump won. But conservatives act as if Trump won the greatest electoral triumph of all time-even though most people didn't vote for him, despite his nonsense protestations about illegal immigrants voting.
8:42 AM Feb 1st
 
JackKeefe
Hi Mike Jenkins

When Trump says that he'll send in the Feds to stop the violence in Chicago, what does he mean? Here's a guy who disregards due process and ignores court orders, who believes that the stop and frisk policies of New York that targeted minorities saved thousands of lives, and who never met an authoritarian solution he didn't like. It sounds an awful lot like he's getting ready to impose martial law in an American city for the first time since Reconstruction. Would you put it past him?
8:33 AM Feb 1st
 
KaiserD2
I had been meaning to read this for days but hadn't gotten around to it. Then I read Bill's new post this morning and came here to post a reply. I see now that this discussion has gotten too long to read--my apologies. I do want to say two things about what Bill said.

1. I think the point about the left fighting level 1-2 racism with tactics appropriate to the highest level is a very good one and that this does explain a lot of the resentment of the Democrats. More broadly (and I've been a Democrat all my long life), I think the Democrats have convinced almost everyone that they only care about "marginalized" people, that is women, minorities, and gays. This is connected to big, and equally disastrous, trends in my own profession, academia. Trump is in the White House in part because he made it clear that he was not on board with this.

2. But while I agree with most of what Bill said, I must disagree violently with the statement that on his scale, the United States in 1960 was at about an 8. I think my different perspective is partly from age (I'm about 4 years older than Bill) but mostly because I grew up among the liberal elite (which was very different then from what is now.) Bill thinks most white people in 1960 were fairly hard core racists. But I knew a LOT of white people in 1960 and almost none of them were racists. Most of them were very strong supporters of civil rights, which was a mainstream liberal position. Jews (of which my father was one) tended to identify with the black struggle at that point. The national labor movement was pro-civil rights. In fact, I was taught that bigotry and bigots were the most contemptible people on earth. I think the US as a whole was probably at an 8 in the 1920s--but not in 1960. See Robinson, Jackie.

Now my personal experience isn't automatically more valuable than Bill's, but I would point out that both presidential candidates in 1960 supported more civil rights legislation and that frank white supremacy was no longer fashionable outside the Deep South. It was only three years later, in 1963, that JFK announced that we had to start treating Negro Americans like other Americans and introduced the big civil rights bill and only another year later that it passed.

I think it was easier, ironically, to make civil rights a mainstream view in those days, because the demand of civil rights leaders was simply to be treated like everyone else. That was a demand that most people could identify with. By the late 1960s new civil rights advocates were taking quite a different position, and that fueled the white backlash that is still very much with us.

David Kaiser
7:25 AM Feb 1st
 
337
from an op-ed in this morning's failing New York Times (tm):
'The word for truth in Russian that most Americans know is “pravda” — the truth that seems evident on the surface. It’s subjective and infinitely malleable, which is why the Soviet Communists called their party newspaper “Pravda.” Despots, autocrats and other cynical politicians are adept at manipulating pravda to their own ends.

But the real truth, the underlying, cosmic, unshakable truth of things is called “istina” in Russian. You can fiddle with the pravda all you want, but you can’t change the istina.

For the Trump team, the pravda of the 2016 election is that not all Trump voters are explicitly racist. But the istina of the 2016 campaign is that Trump’s base was heavily dependent on racists and xenophobes, Trump basked in and stoked their anger and hatred, and all those who voted for him cast a ballot for a man they knew to be a racist, sexist xenophobe. That was an act of racism.'

7:19 AM Feb 1st
 
steve161
So, Backstop, why does it matter that the sleazy politician who pulled the wool over your eyes is black?

Health care is a very complicated issue, and in some sense we are fortunate that the world offers a test bed of many different systems. The German system is the one I know best and it works very well. That the British system (which is actually four systems, as England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each has its own) has problems with timely access is well known. Just possibly they aren't spending enough: according to the OECD (via Wikipedia), "The total expenditure on healthcare as a proportion of GDP in 2013 was 8.5%, below the OECD average of 8.9% and considerably less than comparable economies such as France (10.9%), Germany (11.0%), Netherlands (11.1%), Switzerland (11.1%) and the USA (16.4%)."

There is a ton of information out there about healthcare worldwide for anyone interested in forming an educated opinion, rather than just hollering 'Socialism!' at a few dozen very different systems, each of which, compared to the American one, offers comparable or better outcomes at less cost.
6:34 AM Feb 1st
 
337
It minimizes the problem of racism to estimate that 5% of the country is racists. If that were so, maybe your point would have some validity. But if, as I believe, that 30-40% of the country is actively racist, and another 20-30% is passively so, then you've turned a real problem into a blip worthy of our dismissal. I think Trump is a racist just on the basis of his accepting the support of the KKK, but I'd think that even if he had denounced their support far more actively than he has. The best thing you could say of his views on race is that he doesn't care about minorities (or women, for that matter). Now it's true that he doesn't care mostly because he's a narcissist who resents their overwhelming lack of support for him, but it doesn't matter WHY he's a racist, if he is, which I think he is. He tolerates hard-core racists, at the very least, and that's a racist in my book, whether he's doing it for personal reasons, psychological maladjustment, ignorance, immaturity, political calculation or any other reason, and you're pleading for him not to be judged that way is like a slick lawyer arguing a technicality. Can I prove that he is an avowed card-holding member of the KKK? Of course not, but I don't need to have lock-solid proof of racism to know what my eyes and ears tell me. A majority of Americans have some racist beliefs, and Trump gets most of their support. That's good enough for me.
3:04 AM Feb 1st
 
Greg
First, I want to thank Bill for thoughtfully addressing our political situation. I certainly cannot argue about his perception of what political views a large portion of folks in the midwest have.

Second, I think there is a great opportunity for a genuine leader to emerge in the next presidential election. For many people, regardless of race or circumstance, Barack Obama represented the possibility that our nation could come together to address our real problems. Unfortunately, he was not capable of overcoming the incessant rhetoric and messaging by the Republican party that the programs he wanted to enact were bad for America. The Republicans are much better at rhetoric than the Democrats are and we all suffer for it. For the most part, I believe the policies pursued by the Dems are closer in line to what most Americans want but they are horrendous at countering the Republicans blather and fear-mongering. Example, people flocked to buy guns i record numbers when Obama was elected even though he never advocated taking away anyone's right to own guns. Anyway, I agree that people are upset that there was no real effort at financial or tax reform or the shrinking ability of the middle class to prosper as it once did. there is simply no doubt about that. that is why Bernie Sanders and, to some degree, Donald Trump were able to gain traction.

Having said that, these were two of the most unpopular presidential candidates ever. I am not going to debate the merits of their qualifications. In the end, a substantial number of Americans chose to roll the dice and elect Trump. But my hope is that there is a real candidate in hiding who can effectively relate to the large majority of Americans, who will resist fear-mongering and mud-slinging and who will actually address our issues in a way that we can all relate to and be proud of.

I do not see signs of that happening right now. There is no reason we cannot have tax reform. There is no reason we cannot have a more responsive, efficient health care systems for more Americans. There is no reason we cannot have a system that adequately tracks the owners of guns. There is no reason we cannot discourage CEOs from making 400x the salary paid to their average wage earners or to tax them heavily for that privilege. There is no reason that we cannot improve our poor educational system. I believe most Americans want these things.

The leader-in-waiting that can address these matters in a civilized way, that can stimulate debate without condescension, that can hold our political machine accountable, well, I believe that the conditions are ripe for that person to emerge.

I believe that we have elected someone who will prove to be the worst President ever, probably sooner rather than later, and that we will eventually come together and be a better nation after the political storm clouds have passed.

But we have to start now. And we can start here.
1:59 AM Feb 1st
 
mikejenkins
Hi JackKeefe,

"Trump's administration has declared war on Muslims, Latinos, blacks..."

I really don't like this guy either, but no, what you've said goes too far from what I've "noticed". I think that the weekend's Executive Order shows a lot of incompetence, but, had he not said his absurd stuff about preventing Muslims from entering the country last year, would not be too crazy. Six of the seven countries in the order are failed states; pausing while we figure out how to deal with immigrants from those countries is not insane. Did he really declare war on blacks? I missed that.

I believe he will do much worse than what we have seen. I worry that the 40% of the country who are screaming about the first ten days are being trolled. When the truly outrageous stuff happens, I'm not sure who will be listening.

Mike.
1:08 AM Feb 1st
 
JackKeefe
Re racism.
Right post, wrong time. This agument would have been useful to make last year, but ever since Donald Trump was inaugurated, such reasonable statements have become outdated. In case you haven't noticed, Trump's administration has declared war on Muslims, Latinos, blacks and essentially anyone who isn't a white Christian, preparing to use the full force of the government to stigmatize, marginalize and delegitimize targeted groups. There will be no lie too bold, no insult too brazen, actions heretofore unimaginable by those in power as this nation descends into a Hobbesian struggle between warring factions.

9:50 PM Jan 31st
 
evanecurb
I think Bill made some good points. I especially like and agree with his insights about racism, which he further explains in his Racism definition article.

In politics (as with most endeavors), people tend to become emotionally invested. Sometimes their investment comes in the form of identifying with a political party and/or the label of conservative or progressive; other times it comes in the form of a particular issue, such as immigration, abortion, climate change, healthcare reform, you name it. We need to be aware of our level of emotional investment and the effect that it has on our political discussions. Are we listening, or are we hearing what we want to hear? Are we disucssing ideas, or are we lecturing? Are our fears based on reality? Is our anger displaced?


7:22 PM Jan 31st
 
sansho1
I missed where Bill mandated the board progressives come up with a coherent plan. He had a lecture to give and he gave it. But since you asked relatively politely, I would say that any plan that presumes the DNC as its central locus of strategizing is doomed to fail, so I have no advice for them. We are seeing some positive outcomes from protests, so they should continue, coupled with voting drives. Whip the Dems into a coherent opposition party, as the Repubs have always been able to do, via a steady stream of calls and emails to their offices. Legal challenges to gerrymandered districts should be heavily employed. In the meantime, don't waste breath on state reps in Republican-controlled states, but make appeals directly to the governors in those states, as only the governors face any voter pressure whatsoever. Simple economic messages about wealth disparity, repeated until blue in the face. Bottom-up organizing. Wait for Republicans to overplay their hand, which they will do, because that's what parties with this much power always do. I dunno, what else?
7:08 PM Jan 31st
 
jemanji
Am honestly very curious what you all would DO -- relative to racism -- to get a Democratic majority back in Congress.

Mr. James laid out a plan for that - twice now. There was a lot of feedback as to what folks didn't like about his plans. But I haven't noticed many folks recommending this or that positive ACTION for the DNC to take.

Should I accept that no suggested actions for (say) Keith Ellison's benefit, are forthcoming? Would this board's lack of concrete ideas reflect the state of Democrats' confusion nationwide, or is that a non sequitur?

Respectfully,
Jeff

/signoff


6:44 PM Jan 31st
 
therevverend
A couple years ago I was waiting at a bus stop in Seattle. There was a group of people waiting with me, black people and white people. Across the street under the overpass there were homeless people living, there was quite a bit of trash there. The bus stop's garbage was overflowing and they'd piled up garbage on the ground.
A cop car pulled up as the bus was arriving. The cops scooted the black people off to the side and started berating them for the garbage. The black people said what anyone would say, it's obviously the homeless encampment, besides why would we be carrying that much garbage? Then he asked them for their IDs so he could run them to search for arrest warrants.
This all seemed peculiar to me so I decided to test the waters. I stepped forward into the lineup of black people and offered my driver's license to one of the cops. He politely smiled and waved me onto the bus. So I got on the bus.
The black people and the cops acted like it was all routine. Is this stop and frisk? I guess.
Sometimes I talk black friends and I start to think they sound paranoid. Like every white person they see is out to get them. When they go to the supermarket or the airport. But I see stuff like this and I wonder how paranoid I'd be.
There's a black guy who's been a politician in Seattle and the county, powerful in local politics for years. He said in a three year period he was pulled over 15 times. No tickets or arrests. In the same period I was pulled over once, for a traffic violation.
Are these cops racist? Are the people who train and hire them racist? I don't know but I didn't like what I saw. I don't know any white people who would put up with this without raising hell.
6:22 PM Jan 31st
 
OldBackstop
@racism. This is just a personal anecdote, I don't know the moral of the story, but maybe this is the headwaters of racism.

My town is upper-middle class and lily white, literally a handful of black families in 18,000 people. About ten years ago a black guy stepped forward to run for town committee as an Independent. Nobody but Republicans had been elected in 50 years. I was president of the Republican Club...didn't much like the alleged Republicans running that year (everybody was suddenly a Republican when they decided to run for office.)

I sat down with this guy, impressive credentials, said he wanted to cut taxes -- I endorsed him. I had a lot of stroke...he won, dropping my endorsement everywhere. As soon as he got into office he turned into, I kid you not, the most evil narcissistic power mad lunatic you have ever seen. He had Trump traits...it was all about the greater glory of him.

To give one example...a father of four, long with serious health problems, passed away. He was blue collar, worked at a place with severely handicapped kids, his funeral was packed, the four oung kids bawling away. There was a fund started to help the kids in college. This black guy, now a committeeman, wrote an article to the local paper that started, almost a quote "Why should we have to support the family of a man who didn't have the sense to have life insurance?" (The guy couldn't, because of his health and pocketbook). He then went on to recount his glorious bio from a poor upbringing to the Ivy League to a series of corporate jobs....(later, defending Affirmative Action, he revealed this was a great deal of his success.)

When I say the guy was Trumpkinian...this stuff happened EVERY WEEK. The next thing crazier than the last, always a brag point, an opening to cite his resume and IQ....with an EQ of zero. And like Trump, every imagined slight...right for the throat...wives, kids, vicious beyond belief.

So, I was real popular there for getting him in....but the point here is, sorry for the long walk, that he was the first extended exposure to a black guy, in real life, for many people, and many children. That feeling, that emotion at his horribleness...it didn't get waved away...it stuck with people, and his race, sadly but inevitably, was part and parcel.
4:06 PM Jan 31st
 
sansho1
The idea keeps springing up in this discussion, either overtly or by (my) inference, that this is not the time for congressional Democrats to push back against Trump. Thing is, the advise and consent power regarding Cabinet appointments represents the only moment in which Congress has much of any say regarding the workings of the executive bureaucracy. In this era of the unitary executive, it's imperative that this power be wielded. Once the department secretaries are confirmed, they're off to do the president's bidding. Those preaching patience I would suggest are themselves overanxious to see what will happen, and so to THEM I say relax, you'll have your run.
3:54 PM Jan 31st
 
OldBackstop
@Dave Fleming

You wrote: "It would be deeply pessimistic to say that Hillary Clinton at 18 or 20 or 23 was doing all of this charity work strictly because it would fill out her biography down the road...that she was only motivated by appeared to care about other people."

At 13, 18 and 21, Hillary was a political junkie, canvassing, searching out voter fraud in support -- and a Republican, working for Nixon and Goldwater --- working HARD, burying herself in voter lists and knocking on doors. Her move to the left supposedly happened when she was disenchanted at the 1968 Republican Convention.

In 1969 she went to Yale, meeting Bill Clinton in her second year. To paint where Bill's head was at that point, read this excerpt from a December 3, 1969 he wrote to the ROTC:

"I decided to accept the draft in spite of my beliefs for one reason: to maintain my political viability within the system. For years I have worked to prepare myself for a political life characterized by both practical political ability and concern for rapid social progress. It is a life I still feel compelled to try to lead."

Hillary didn't start any charity work until her second year at Yale, when she was 24-ish, the year she met politically viable Bill. She was a political junkie at 13, conservative to the bone, and then teamed up with the guy quoted above.

It is creepy to start building your resume for politics that early, when you should be dropping acid and getting chlamydia like decent people.

3:38 PM Jan 31st
 
jemanji
=== STIPULATED THAT TRUMP IS DEPLORABLE ABOVE THIS LINE ===

What do you guys think the Democrats should do to win back Congress?

;- )
2:00 PM Jan 31st
 
77royals
Sorry, to add to that: I didn't vote for Trump. I'm not a fan of Trump. I don't agree with everything he's done so far.

Why do you have such a hard time understanding that people can oppose Clinton without supporting Trump? Or does it just completely blow your narrative.

1:53 PM Jan 31st
 
77royals
Marc, you criticism of my comments under the basic tenant of freedom of speech (something liberals seem to be having a hard time with right now) would carry a lot more weight if you could actually address the issues I stated. Which are:

1) free health care systems don't work, and that's what Liberals in the US want in spite of all evidence to the contrary, and their preferred model of excellence is a disaster.

2) Hilary Clinton broke federal law and I know this for a fact

Now, if you could stop just being a fanboy of Hilary and actually address any of this, then I might pay attention. But right now, you're entire argument is: "stop calling me a Liberal" Try to looking at anything objectively for a change, instead of just following the party line.

All you are doing is just complaining because people dare not to like Hilary Clinton, one of the most obnoxious, unappealing candidates and individuals you have ever put forth for office.

As Bill, myself, and many others, have stated numerous times, the Liberals lost the election because you ran Clinton as the only option to oppose Trump. You lost, and it's your fault. Once you can bring yourself to admit that, and embrace the truth, you might be able to stop insulting me and move forward with your life.
1:52 PM Jan 31st
 
Marc Schneider
Here is just another example of what a laughable joke Trump is. He is claiming credit for "cleaning up" the F-35 project. How much of an ego maniac do you have to be before people notice?

foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/f-35-a-great-plane-now-thanks-to-president-trump-1791824958
1:38 PM Jan 31st
 
Marc Schneider
Re Royals 77: the inevitable response to any criticism of Trump is, well, Hilary is worse. It doesn't matter at this point. She isn't president. Trump is a vile, immature, narcissistic psychopath. The fact that you won't acknowledge this makes your complaints about Clinton utter hypocrisy. And I guarantee that Clinton would not be having twitter wars like a child with comedy shows. Frankly, even if she committed a crime, I would prefer her in the WH to this despicable demagogue we have now. As for the "crime," even Comey, hardly a liberal Democrat, said she had committed no crime.

Re racism: I agree that the term racist is thrown around too much on the left-as is the term socialist on the right. Obviously, whether someone is a racist or not depends on how your define the term. But I'm not sure how Bill can conclude that Rush Limbaugh, for example, is not a racist. How do we know? Because he has never used the n-word on the air? As for Trump, ok, I will accept the view that he is not a racist; he is simply a narcissist who blames everyone else for anything that goes against him and concluded that the only way a judge could rule against him was because he had some sort of prejudice. Does that make you feel better about the POTUS?

I'm quite willing to acknowledge that the Democrats have made mistakes and that Clinton ran a poor campaign.

Another thing is that people defending Trump (to some extent) seem to fall into two camps: (1) the Dems are all leftists who refuse to compromise with centrists; or (2) the Dems are really just Republicans in disguise who left the working class out. With respect to the first, it's hard for me to see how you can define the new government as centrist; it's hard right. I don't consider eviscerating environmental protection, eliminating health insurance without a replacement (regardless of what you think about the current system), planning for a needless and expensive wall to keep out immigrants (again, even if you believe that there needs to be more border enforcement), and treating the Supreme Court selection as if it were a game show as "centrism." I get tired of having people accuse Democrats of being some sort of far out leftists, while at the same time advocating the most extreme right-wing policies. As for the Dems not helping the working class, it's hard to see what more they could have done. For most of the last 40 years, even when in power, they have faced a conservative/GOP bloc determined to dismantle all remnants of the safety net and redistribute income to the rich. Yes, Democrats have gone along with it to some extent because how else could they get anything done. Basically, the Democrats have had to fight simply to hold the line as much as they could. The people who are supporting Trump because he "feels their pain" have been sold a bill of goods because all he is doing is empowering the same people he was supposed to be "draining the swamp" of. The idea that Trump gives a damn about working people is nonsense.
1:34 PM Jan 31st
 
Gfletch
Re: sayhey’s comment “…Trump, who was born rich and who has the same Ivy League education (the difference being that Trump was completely without distinction as a student), is supposed to represent a reaction against the Eastern elite. I don't get that at ll.”

I do, because where political figures come from is a relatively minor influence on how we think about them. Trump is the only one who spoke the language of white trash. I’m white trash myself, grew up on welfare, no post-secondary education, petty crime environment, disrespect for authority. These things are not limited to the southern United States.

Whether by design or sheer luck, Trump was a master of dog whistle politics. He got the message out to the white trash while giving the rest of the republican supporters enough qualifiers to allow them to believe he didn’t really mean it.

Anyway, the biggest problem for the Democratic Party is that they have an over-sensitized, knee-jerk reaction to everything Trump does. My suggestion would be for all of their spokespeople to refuse comment on anything for at least 24 hours. Convene, discuss, come out with a calm and reasonable critique of what the government is attempting to do, how effective or ineffective it will be. Stop letting Trump set the tone. This isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be the Jerry Springer show.

12:24 PM Jan 31st
 
MichaelPat
Is Trump at all comparable to former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi? I'd loved to see a knowledgeable analysis. In terms of public persona they do seem very similar...

While Dems have been noted for vilifying Rep presidents, I do seem to remember no end of Rep flogging of Barrack Hussein Obama (Is he Muslim? Is he even American?) and Bill Clinton (Ken Starr).

I guess that has to stop somewhere. Isn't the expectation that it should be the Dems who do it an implicit acknowledgement that they are the adults in the room?
12:12 PM Jan 31st
 
78sman
Bill, I agree with many of your points even though my politics are different from yours. Bush I, Clinton I, Bush II, Obama, and Clinton II all advocated similar policies, which benefit the top 10% (especially the top 0.1%). These policies are good for someone such as me, but they are not good for the working class. We are better off as a country if we have a more equitable distribution of income.

I have been reading and watching commentary by Thomas Frank, who is a Kansan, just like you. His recent book, Listen Liberal, Whatever Happened to the Party of the People", shows how the Clintons were able to pass much of Bush's economic agenda.

www.tcfrank.com/books/whats-the-matter-with-kansas/

The series of 12 articles that Gary Younge produced for the Guardian is also very good. Younge focused on Muncie, Indiana (known as "Middletown"), whcih has become depressed as many factories have closed over the years. CNN and the NY Times referred to many of these displaced workers as deplorables, but Younge said that he found people who were scared and worried about their future. Hillary Clinton promised to fight against many of the policies that Bill Clinton had enacted and against the TPP that Obama was supporting, but many of the people in Muncie did not believe her. Here is a link to Younge's last Muncie article, which summarizes his findings:

https://www.theguardian.com/membership/2016/nov/16/how-trump-took-middletown-muncie-election


10:56 AM Jan 31st
 
Fireball Wenz
jemanji: I am not saying Trump is "insane." I am not suggesting that the left try to unseat him with such a campaign. I merely believe that the country will recognize that there is something wrong with this man who needs to belittle not only his opponents but his would-be allies anytime they displease him - for example, talking about how unattractive Carly Fiorina is, and hinting around that Ted Cruz's father may have something to do with the JFK assassination.

I would be against Mike Pence because I don't agree with his positions, as I was against Reagan and the Bushes for the same. Trump is entirely different. He is the first president of my lifetime that seems to me completely lacking the temperament to be president. I think we need not campaign on it - I think it's pretty clear, and will become clearer by the day.





8:27 AM Jan 31st
 
MarisFan61
Maybe this will look like a similar nihilism as what I'm sometimes thought to hold about sabermetrics, but.....

Hillary's electronic wrongdoing never has seemed like much of one to me -- and "crime" feels absurd -- because I have so little confidence in security of any electronic info system, even a high-level-government system, maybe especially a high-level-government system *, that I haven't seen the big deal about using a different server. I would have been very tempted to do it myself, because then at least I'd be having more privacy.

* I say "maybe especially" a high-level-government system, not mainly as a comment on government competence but because I figure those are the systems that some peeps have the greatest interest and motivation to hack into.

In my own work, I haven't ever put any info at all on anything that's "out there." I have a separate computer (desktop), not connected to anything, that I use for work stuff. (Communications, I do the old-fashioned ways.) I shake my head about all the sensitive stuff, government and otherwise, that is seen fit to put 'out there.' If anything about this is a crime, that's the thing that feels like one to me. Please tell me, folks, is there any kind of 'high-security' governmental electronic info that hasn't been hacked? I'll be very glad to know if the answer is yes. Secondarily, was Hillary's private server(s) significantly less likely to be hacked than high-level government servers, considering the asterisked thing up there?

I realize that one can't argue that the government should eschew electronic communication of any sensitive info (and that the "old fashioned" ways, like phone, aren't secure either). But, admittedly not based on great knowledge, I don't know that there's much reason to believe that the official server was secure enough for it to be that much of a big deal for Hillary Clinton to have used her own servers.
8:22 AM Jan 31st
 
wovenstrap
RangeFactor/Marc: Trump is a good communicator and yet is often inarticulate. He left the door open for people to call him racist on Curiel, and perhaps that was intentional. What he "really" meant is separable from what he was saying, I think the point Trump was making that day was closer to "if you insult a man's wife, he'll probably take action against you" than it was to "we all know Mexicans do not have the capacity to behave normally in a court of law." His listeners may have gleaned the second point. We're in the land of interpretation now, as even you would admit. As far as "Mexico-bashing," so what? Yes, I noticed that he bashed Mexico. He didn't bash Argentina that I noticed and he also bashed Goldman Sachs lawyers. "Bashing" doesn't make you a racist.
1:40 AM Jan 31st
 
77royals
Sorry, not state.gov.uk. Used to typing addresses here.

It's state.gov

1:10 AM Jan 31st
 
77royals
I worked with the state department. I had one of those state.gov.uk e-mail addresses. I had to sign all the paperwork to have one, with all the rules and regulations, and what was right and wrong about using electronic communications.

Hilary Clinton broke the law. Federal law. It doesn't matter if she wasn't prosecuted. Lots of people break the law and don't get punished. That doesn't mean she's not guilty. She is.

The issue isn't whether on not she committed a crime. She did. The issues is the system that allowed her to get away with it, and the people who want to pretend it never happened when it most certainly did.
1:09 AM Jan 31st
 
sayhey
My Tom Joad comment was definitely flippant, and I usually try to avoid that. But I am genuinely baffled by the formulation whereby Bill Clinton and Barack Obama represent the Eastern elite--they're certainly well educated, but that's a tribute to them, not to their backgrounds; neither grew up in circumstances that could be considered even close to privileged--while Trump, who was born rich and who has the same Ivy League education (the difference being that Trump was completely without distinction as a student), is supposed to represent a reaction against the Eastern elite. I don't get that at ll.
11:54 PM Jan 30th
 
robneyer
When I see terms like "race pimp" I'm disheartened, and realize that even here, of all places, reasoned discourse is unlikely to last for long. Peace, friends. I hope to see you all on the other side.​
11:46 PM Jan 30th
 
mikejenkins
Hi Sokho,

I've read a lot of comment chains in the past couple of weeks. I don't disagree that some of the commenters here are talking past each other, but, overall, comments here seem respectful compared to much of the rest of the internets. If the rest of the country were as civilized as BJOL, you and I would have less to despair about.

Mike.
11:14 PM Jan 30th
 
sokho
And, crap, I'm contributing to the bullshit. I don't believe the writer of the "Your rant is frankly typical of conservatives..." comment lacks self-awareness any more than Rob believes the "All Democrats think the same way" guy is ignorant or vengeful. Those commenters aren't wording things precisely, but this is not an academic forum. Those comments are rhetorical, not literal, points, much like if a BJOL reader were to say "Anyone who think Jack Morris is a Hall of Famer doesn't know anything about winning baseball games." We get the sentiment and we know it's not literal

To hold that which is meant to be taken casually to a literal standard is discourteous. I've told my son more than once that when you start getting nit-picky in an argument, it's not looking good for your side--but here, I've gone and done it. My apologies to all.
11:13 PM Jan 30th
 
jimmybart
LesLein, back in November you cited "sources" of Hillary's violent behavior on election night without identifying them. Now you mention "watchdogs" regarding the Clinton Foundation's expenses that has already been debunked by another reader. I'm fine with you having an obvious axe to grind, but you should at least back it up with facts that can be substantiated.
11:04 PM Jan 30th
 
sokho
The group of BJOL commenters is diverse, drawn together because they enjoy reading about & commenting about baseball. It’s not the perfect group, but it’s generally respectful, reasoned, and articulate. This comment chain is deeply disappointing for me to me. Very few here seem to be approaching this discussion with humility and curiosity and the desire to reach a common understanding. Many, many posts seem to be folks talking past each other or addressing strawman points or tactically countering tiny side-issues with stupid dissents while ignoring the core what’s being discussed, and I am about as discouraged as I’ve ever been that the country can have productive dialogue.

Also, Rob Neyer (who did make an effort advance the discussion by asking for a definition of "racist") rightly points out that that “Anyone who says things like ‘all Democrats think the same way …' has either not been paying attention, or has a very large axe to grind.” To be fair, though, the statements “Your rant is frankly typical of conservatives in that you make these strawman arguments about "liberals" (which is, in fact, not a homogenous group.)… It's just another example of how conservatives misrepresent what liberals in the US stand for…” is so laughably short on self-awareness that it casts doubt on anything else that individual has to say. Let’s be clear that it cuts both ways. Well, it cuts MANY ways because there are a LOT more than two sides that appear to be on this thread—and I’m having trouble finding any that is covering itself in glory…
10:42 PM Jan 30th
 
sayhey
"Trump was a protest vote against this Eastern College Oligarchy as much as anything."

Donald J. Trump, a modern-day Tom Joad.
9:31 PM Jan 30th
 
bearbyz
I have a friend who is very liberal who I been telling for years how the Democrats have not been fighting the Republicans the right way. For one thing, they don't fight dirty as good as the Republicans and boy did this election show that. Bill comes up with different ideas and our liberal audience is only concern with arguing that Hillary is not as bad as Trump. I think the undecided voters knew that and Hillary still won the election. Tactics have to be changed.

By the way I was voting for Hillary but in the end could not do so in good conscience so I voted for a third party. She does have her problems. I also figured Hillary had our state won and she actually did win it.
9:10 PM Jan 30th
 
sansho1
The watchdog reports I've seen peg Clinton Foundation overhead at 12-13%. The word "Foundation" has led some to look only at grant money disbursed, which has amounted to about 6%. But the Clinton Foundation is a charity that funds AND runs projects in areas of the world where giving away money would truly amount to that -- just giving it away. But because the foundation is a working charity, the amount spent on works comes to about 87%, which is in line with most charities commonly considered to be well-run.

But I'm sure you have your sources as well.
9:07 PM Jan 30th
 
LesLein
Hillary Clinton did more than make a bad "call." She decided not to use the State Department's system for handling classified material and set up a private server. That is the criminal behavior Bill was talking about. It's a grave crime that exposed methods and information and endangered people. There are 22 emails that can't be released even with redaction.

Comey and Clinton said that she didn't intend to expose classified material. Lack of intent in this area is not a defense. It's like a driver going 90 mph through a red light at a busy intersection and saying he/she didn't intend to harm anyone.

Clinton has been a corrupt screw-up her entire adult life. When she was the wife of the governor a businessman with interest in government business set her up with an account in cattle futures. She should have been barred from entering that area given her then low level of wealth and income. On the first day she made a $5000 profit on a $1000 investment. Given the price fluctuations that day, this was mathematically impossible. At one point her account had a loss of over $100,000. The margin call she should have faced but never did would have bankrupted her.

It was the same story with her real estate ventures. She would have gone bankrupt but her partners looted a savings and loan. One of her partners went to jail for contempt rather than testify. Eventually Hillary's husband gave her a pardon.

In the While House she hid her subpoenaed billing records for two years. They turned up after a threat of indictment. Trump publicly abuses people and organizations. Clinton did this in private. Someone with contacts in the White House in the 1990s told me that contractor IT staff had to duck out of sight when they saw Hillary walking towards them in the hallway. Separately, she insulted and struck Secret Service agents. There is something fundamentally wrong with someone who abuses those pledged to take a bullet for her.

After Hillary Clinton left the White House she was gracious enough to return the furniture she stole.

Under federal law, the Secretary of State is responsible for embassy security. Clinton ignored warnings and turned down requests for additional security at Benghazi. She stood by the victims' caskets and lied to the next of kin about why the attack happened. Behaving responsibly and honestly might have jeopardized the claim that the terrorists were defeated.

A Russian company made substantial donations to the Clinton Foundation. It ended up getting State Department approval to buy much of America's uranium. By the way, according to watchdogs, the Clinton Foundation spent an inordinate amount of money on travel costs and salaries.

Like Trump, Clinton's main skills are self-promotion, shifting responsibility, and getting special treatment. Her ambition far exceeds her abilities and accomplishments.


8:48 PM Jan 30th
 
FrankD
Interesting article. Those that can't admit that HC was one of the most flawed candidates ever will run somebody like Elizabeth Warren - a race pimp who used fake Native American ancestry to game the system - and will lose again. Trump is no day at the beach, but, like Andy Jackson, he is doing what he said he would do. Now, I live in the mid-west, and we believe we can spot phonies. We are very tired of the Harvard/Yale Bushes/Clintons/Obamas ad infinitum 'betters' running the country. Trump was a protest vote against this Eastern College Oligarchy as much as anything. Reagan understood the heartland and was from here. Can the Dems get this area back: yes, and Bill has outlined some of the ways to do it. Will they? I doubt it, the Dems are too stuck in identity politics, wealth distribution, and telling people how to live while the Dem powers live in fenced in communities, with strict codes about who they allow to live near them ........ and Trump: is he even a Repub? At least not a Washington insider Repub. And, had the Repubs ran Bush, Cruz, LIttle Marco, etc., Hillary would be prez today ....... we live in interesting times....
7:36 PM Jan 30th
 
ventboys
If you are hiring a cook and one of your applicants has hep C and the other one runs a burglary ring out of the back of his truck, which one do you hire?

Hillary is a lot of things and I don't pretend she isn't just as beltway as the rest of 'em, but you can't hire a cook with hep C. There are deal breakers. Clinton's flaws were not deal breakers, in context, just annoying shortfalls. I wish I could say the same about our new president.
7:33 PM Jan 30th
 
garywmaloney
On prejudice . . . look at the word. Pre-judged -- decided beforehand. If you were raised white in Mississippi in the 1940s and 1950s, you were taught certain things about blacks. You also probably KNEW blacks (the maid in your house, the gardener, etc.) and they knew you.

Through their EXPERIENCES, then and over the next 50 years, many -- possibly most -- of these white people raised in Mississippi changed their minds. Yes, they started with prejudice, but they set it aside or abandoned it. Some didn't -- and a lot of those kept it to themselves in the new, far more equal Mississippi.

Now -- compare to something I saw, growing up in California in the 60s -- people whose parents did not use the N-word, the C-word (coon), etc. (In my own case -- I had a grandmother whose landlady was black! And she was a family friend.)

But kids raised white, in some older towns and suburbs especially, saw their neighborhoods change. And it wasn't that blacks moved in per se -- it was things that happened to them, that they saw, that they EXPERIENCED. A mugging, a gang fight, crimes committed, friends of yours hurt bad . . . The busing program in Los Angeles and countless other cities, transporting young inner-city toughs into quiet suburban schools. Little Jewish boys extorted for their bar-mitzvah money -- how could they defend themselves? Should they need to, at their previously quiet junior high? Nothing had prepared them for predators.

Those parents and the kids -- their attitudes hardened, through BAD experience. What do you call that, Bill -- "post-judice"? All I can tell you is -- those feelings and beliefs are much harder to change, maybe impossible -- because there was a clear reason for it. It wasn't just someone saying "That's the way it's always been" -- it wasn't ignorance, they KNEW something was wrong. They'd lived it.



7:13 PM Jan 30th
 
jemanji
++ All of this aside, the chief thing that matters now is Trump is not a mentally healthy person. That "trumps" everything else. ++

And, AGAIN our quarterback gets sacked for -11 yardage. :- )

If Hillary's elected, and we discuss solutions ... and then I go, "look, at the end of the day Hillary is just a gangster who has sold U.S. policy as SoS and had 60 people offed, including Seth Rich." Where do you go from there? Do you not just start ignoring me?

The country does not AGREE that Trump has a neurosis. He yelled from the rooftops what he would do, and now he's doing it. You don't get to charge him with insanity; the country does not stipulate that, any more than it stipulates that Hillary is a gangster.

Question is, will the left continue to run on a "Trump Is Insane" platform? Or will it announce Mr. James' 10-tier jail concept, and give the war-weary Center a rest?

Jeff

6:51 PM Jan 30th
 
Fireball Wenz
The biggest thing we liberals have to correct is assuming that people are driven to their positions due to racism and sexism and homophobia. Sure, it's there, and there is a significant bloc of votes that is driven by that stuff. But you can't win with them.

Some liberals say, "Make America Great Again" means let's go back to when gays, minorities and women knew their place, and white straight Christian men ran the show. But I think the real appeal of MAGA was: Let's go back to when you could graduate from high school, get a good job, keep it for life as long as you didn't screw up, and provide for your family, have a pension, etc. That's the Trump promise that made him a viable candidate.

Now, I happen to think that believing he can deliver that is the equivalent of believing the guy with the 800 number and his "NFL Lock of the Week," but Trump promised big. Hillary stood for incremental change. Trump and Bernie said - we'll shake stuff up. Hillary's late retreat from TPP and NAFTA were seen for what it was - political opportunism.

My joke response to how to make Kansas go liberal is: a big drought. The truism always was that the farm belt was conservative when there was a bumper crop and liberal when there were droughts and floods.

All of this aside, the chief thing that matters now is Trump is not a mentally healthy person. That "trumps" everything else.
6:17 PM Jan 30th
 
jemanji
... :: laughs :: But you guys have got me off track too! :- )

It wouldn't matter if Donald Trump WERE the -ist that Hillary spent a year characterizing. Mr. James' point is that the left is out of power.

From my standpoint, it seems drawn to the "hatred of the right" rhetoric like a moth to flame. The left hated W. Bush also, right? And it will hate Pence?

The question at hand: should the Left focus on love. Should it direct our attention to positive things that help people, and lay off the rage at its enemies?

Or should it not do that? Is hatred 'principled' and worth losing elections over?




5:56 PM Jan 30th
 
jemanji
Dave, love your writing. Thanks for your work bro'.

You're talking past me on the 100.00% selfishness claim, though. Did you see Ivanka's speech at the RNC? She relayed many things about Trump that were genuinely moving. People who MEET Trump also tend to speak differently than you are speaking.

Trump is narcissistic, no doubts there, and super cut-throat as is any CEO I have ever met. But to say he doesn't care about the little guy, Ivanka revealed he had a "rescue a pauper" project several times a week for many years.

There are many indisputable things to level at Trump without casting him as Sauron ;- ) ... the provable things against him give plenty of ammo.

Best,
Jeff
5:39 PM Jan 30th
 
DaveFleming
Well Those....your examples of Trump's altruism sort of prove my point. Some guy in NYC saves someone on a bridge, and Trump gives him a check for 100K. Doesn't come to the ceremony, doesn't call...but writes a check.

That is the absolute limit of Trump's compassion: he does something nice suddenly, because it pops into his head. Jennifer Hudson suffers a tragedy, and Trump hears about it on the news and gives her a free house....that's great, but it's not something that was thought out.

It's not altruism...not really. There is no foresight. There is no effort to be kind. He is offering a post-event gift, or a post-event palm. There is no foresight to his charity, because he doesn't think about other people. There is no effort, not really.

Becoming a lawyer, working social work cases...that stuff takes WORK. It takes a degree of commitment that should, at least in my opinion, be honored. That doesn't mean that we should ignore her later failures and her later crimes...but I believe that we should at least honor that she was once motivated by a desire to be of service to a wider world.

I am not blind to Hillary Clinton's many flaws: I would not have voted for her, or supported her candidacy, if she had been running against anyone else. And I am not trying to paint Donald Trump in some false light: I think that he deserves our sympathy. But the reality is that he has no friends. He has no confidences...no one whom he is open and honest and revealing to, no one who can speak to him directly and tell him to cut it out. And he no faith or ethics that he humbles himself to, no God whom he speaks to. He is an isolate surrounded by sycophants.

This is the gap I cannot cross: while I think that Hillary Clinton is miles away from being a perfect human being, there are dimensions of humanity that Donald Trump seems absolutely incapable of accessing. It is not his fault, certainly, but I cannot see how anyone could consider the arc of their two lives, and see in those arcs a parallel soul.
5:20 PM Jan 30th
 
robneyer
I've never met a Democrat who thought Democratic politicians were perfect. Not a single one. In fact, the single most famous thing ever said about Democrats is this: "I am not a member of any organized party. I am a Democrat."

Anyone who says things like "all Democrats think the same way and are unable to detect any flaws in their party's leaders" has either not been paying attention, or has a very large axe to grind.

Just to get some facts into the mix here...
5:04 PM Jan 30th
 
llozada
Bill, this is really your fault. How dare you suggest that the Democrats have done ANYTHING wrong?

During the campaign I said many times that we were choosing between poop with mustard and poop with ketchup. You may like one more than the other, but at the end you are still eating poop, in other words, your candidate choice (whomever he/she was), your choice was still a very flawed individual. People would jump to say that Hillary was a fountain of virtue. She isn't.

I guess most people missed the point the way Jim Joyce missed the perfect game final out call.
4:48 PM Jan 30th
 
sansho1
For me it was the surging gun sales after Obama's election, but we all have our flashpoints I suppose.​
4:15 PM Jan 30th
 
jemanji
'commie' below is supposed to read Comey, of course.

Scott Adams has an interesting column pointing out that many people would PREFER to see 'Hitlerian' moves by Trump now - that they are subconsciously hoping for them. Self-justification is a powerful thing.

The reason we bring it up, is Mr. James warnings about a U.S. Civil War.

The reaction to Trump's immigration ban -- which leaves 87% of world Muslims unaffected, and which is similar to Obama's ban on Iraqi immigrants -- was the FIRST MOMENT in which I realized that Mr. James might be correct about a Civil War.

blog.dilbert.com/post/156540315831/be-careful-what-you-wish-for-especially-if-it-is Very intelligent, well-considered warning about escalation.


4:07 PM Jan 30th
 
jemanji
CENTRIST: I just threw you Leftists out of office - Presidency, Senate, HOR, Govs, State Congresses. But! I'd rather have YOU in. Please consider changing these things: 1, 2, 3, ... 6.

LEFTIST: You are out of your mind about those 6 things. Here's why.

CENTRIST: :: blinks ::

STATUE OF LIBERTY: Announcing a 2018 election. 25 Dem Senate seats up, 8 Rep Senate seats up.

LEFTIST: :: fingers in ears :: LA DA LA DA LA DA russia LA DA DA LA DA commie LA DA DA LA not listening! not listening!

CENTRIST: Could you Leftists at least be a little more calm? I'm honestly scared spitless of a Civil War here, and it's you who are the meanest ones.

LEFTIST: Hey! We just landed a nut shot on Trump in the airport! Quick, everybody start stomping!

CENTRIST: :: heartbroken sigh ::

......

It would be truly interesting to see what would follow if --- > the Left were to actually LISTEN to the center, and to accommodate a LITTLE bit. The Right is praying, literally praying, for Ellison or Boynton-Brown.

But you can't seem to help yourselves. I mean it dispassionately.

Jeff


3:57 PM Jan 30th
 
those
Dave's comment below is a good illustration of hiw far people will go to villify Trump and make excuses for Clinton. It's EXACTLY the kind of thing Bill was talking about when he said it's not that Trump's supporters are blind to his faults, it's that Clinton's supporters are blind to hers.
Dave knows that Clinton did charity work literally 45-50 years ago, but he can't do a simple google search on Trump? He's never heard of "ANY" single instance of Trump showing altruism?
Read this. I do hear Republicans say Snopes is left-leaning. But they seem to believe it. And it's a hell of a lot more informative than Dave's psycho-babble ramblings.

www.snopes.com/so-you-think-you-know-donald-trump/
3:43 PM Jan 30th
 
Marc Schneider
DaveFleming,

Your analysis is dead on. I cannot for the life of me see how anyone could equate Hilary Clinton with Donald Trump, especially after seeing how Trump has behaved during the interregnum and since he has become president. I disagree to an extent on your notion that she is corrupt. She certainly has flaws and, perhaps, skeletons in her closet, as do most politicians. But, for the most part, her life has made a positive difference to the United States. She certainly would not be as divorced from reality as Trump is. Trump has done nothing except build a bunch of buildings with his name on them and have an obnoxious TV show. Before all this, one might say he is a harmless, colorful character. His venality and overall lack of character should be apparent to anyone now-but apparently it is not. Clinton might have made the perfect president, but she certainly would not have exhibited the utter disregard and disrespect for the institutions of government and for basic human decency that Trump and his cretins have.
3:42 PM Jan 30th
 
bertrecords
I really like the article and agree with most of the points. The discussion on racism and not reflexively calling people racist is very good.

I understand that Clinton was not a strong candidate. I kept hoping the Democrats would at least go through the motions of having a contested nomination. Bernie was fine and eloquent but seemed too far out of the mainstream to have a chance.

My disagreement is that you call Hillary a criminal without laying any foundation for why. I kept looking for this evidence. I never found it. I studied the ethics issues with the Clinton Foundation and understand why ethicists had issues, which still did not make her crooked or a criminal. A lot of people chanted to lock her up, including Trump. But what criminal act is she accused of committing? Even Chris Christie said immediately after the election that she wouldn't be locked up. This was blatantly obvious. No one made a rational argument about what precise crime she committed. Congress kept asking the FBI to fish for something, but no fish was ever caught.
3:40 PM Jan 30th
 
DaveFleming
You lose me when you suggest that Clinton is 'every bit the monster' that Trump is. Certainly, I recognize Hillary Clinton's many faults, and I understand the sentiment that she is a corrupt individual. But....she HAS worked in her life. She did not get into Wellesley College. She didn't fall into giving that commencement speech...she earned it. She did pro-bono work for poor families while she was at Yale, and she started a law firm for families and kids in Arkansas...surely, that did some good in the world.

At some point along the way she lost her compass, but I think that it is very evident that she is someone whose drive is at least partially external, at least partially aligned to something beyond herself. It would be deeply pessimistic to say that Hillary Clinton at 18 or 20 or 23 was doing all of this charity work strictly because it would fill out her biography down the road...that she was only motivated by appeared to care about other people.

Donald Trump seems as deeply self-focused as any public figure I've ever witnessed. I think it's silly to prescribe psychological terms to him, but I think that it is very evident that he cares for almost no one beyond himself. He has no friends. He has no confidences. His family seems to radiate a state of perpetual fear about falling out of his good graces...they are Lear's sniveling daughters. He is not kind: I have never heard ANY story of Donald Trump demonstrating a single instance of altruism.

I pity Trump. It is almost certainly not his fault: someone in his life, or some sequence of events, absolutely ruined him, and he is beyond salvation. He is a bitter, lonely, furious man. He is not a man with a broken moral compass; he is a man who was denied the parts to construct anything that might resemble a moral compass.

And he has never WORKED. He has never done anything hard. He has never put himself out on a limb and tried something, and failed, and internalized that failure. His bankruptcy's? That's a legal quibble...he's still eating over-cooked steaks. His failed casino? That was Jersey's fault. He has never failed at something, and had to face that failure.

Hillary Clinton was a good person once. She has worked. Maybe she lost her way in the decades of life in the public eye, and maybe she had lost her way way before Bill Clinton started winning elections in Arkansas. I have no doubt that she has skeletons in her closet. But to view her life as paralleling Donald Trump's seems a sizable failure of imagination, and of empathy.
3:08 PM Jan 30th
 
Bumphadley
Scholars who study politics don't really talk about racism. What they talk about is racial resentment. That is, they ask whether racial attitudes structure a person's opinions about other issues. One of the leaders in this research, Michael Tesler, has determined that they do. Here's a Washington Post essay that quickly summarizes the argument:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/08/22/economic-anxiety-isnt-driving-racial-resentment-racial-resentment​-is-driving-economic-anxiety/?utm_term=.9f57f0c66136
1:15 PM Jan 30th
 
bjames
Really good linguistic point from Sansho about the distinction between "prejudiced" and "racist". I had never thought of that before, but if you say that someone is prejudiced, you are saying that he has a prejudice. He is carrying it around; he can get rid of it any time he chooses. There is a flaw in his way of thinking about this issue, which he can correct.

"Racist", on the other hand, has not to do with his thought, but with his soul. He is an evil person who does not conform to the basic standards of decency. Once the two words become interchangeable, the opportunity for growth is lost.
1:07 PM Jan 30th
 
Marc Schneider
" think Trump got a bad rap on the Curiel thing, he was OBVIOUSLY saying that Curiel might biased because he would be prone to disliking Trump's history of Mexico-bashing, he did NOT say that he couldn't be a good judge because he was Mexican..."

That's nonsense. Trump was implying, if not saying, that the judge had made "unfair rulings" against him (not specifying what those rulings were) because he was Mexican and, therefore, prejudiced against him. You can sugarcoat that all you want, but it is effectively saying "I got screwed because he was Mexican." He is really saying that Mexicans are incapable of putting aside their personal feelings about the defendant. At the very least, he needs to show that the rulings were so egregiously wrong that they could only have sprung from some sort of animus. Of course, Trump's entire persona is built around the idea that anything that goes against him is because of some conspiracy or prejudice against him. Even if his statement is not specifically racist (ie, he didn't say all Mexicans are corrupt), the gist of the statement, in context, is that I don't trust a Mexican judge.

12:27 PM Jan 30th
 
robneyer
So Bill says 3 or 4 percent of Americans are racists. HRC suggested during campaign that it was more like 12 percent (or maybe that figure includes misogynists, too). And people on Twitter tell me that basically everybody who voted for Trump is racist, so now we're up to something like 20 percent.

I really wanna know, though? What's a racist? I mean, I get that David Duke is one. But seems like a lot of folks, including Bill James and Hillary Clinton and a lot of people on Twitter, throw that word around without defining it. And without a definition, I have no idea how I'm supposed to engage with any of their arguments.

Which is just one of the issues I have with Bill's essay, parts of which I enjoyed and parts of which I did not.
11:53 AM Jan 30th
 
jimmybart
Bill, I have to disagree with your comment that the Democrats "did nothing" and "dragged their heels" on immigration. Democrats desperately want immigration reform, but all of their proposals were shot down as "amnesty" because it offered long-time illegal residents eventual citizenship. This even after Obama increased border agents. The Trump solution: build a wall--does nothing about those already here. And if he tries to deport them all, the protests you saw this weekend will seem quaint by comparison.
11:50 AM Jan 30th
 
RangeFactor
Here's some logic in a previous comment that's impossible to argue with:

"...I think Trump got a bad rap on the Curiel thing, he was OBVIOUSLY saying that Curiel might biased because he would be prone to disliking Trump's history of Mexico-bashing, he did NOT say that he couldn't be a good judge because he was Mexican...
11:34 AM Jan 30th
 
sayhey
"For example, no Clinton ever won a majority of the national popular vote. Ever."

Very hard to do in 1992 (especially) or 1996 with Perot in the mix. I'm a much bigger fan of Obama than I am of Bill Clinton, but I recognize that Clinton's electoral wins (370/379) were both larger than Obama's (365/332). Which is then further complicated by the fact that Obama had to deal with a more polarized electorate...In other words, comparing 1992/96 to 2008/12 is difficult.
11:02 AM Jan 30th
 
those
First, this was a great article.

Second, to hermitfool, I also love what you are saying here, because it's eloquent and I agree with it. I have never understood that the way Democrats seem to state their case on social media is to claim that everyone who votes for Trump is a moron and supporting a racist. I'm not Democrat or Republican; I'm the kind of person you want to attract. Don't tell me how stupid I am to consider the other side -- tell me why I should support your side. The only difference of late is that the social media posts have gone from "How could you be such a freaking idiot to vote for this man?" to "This is what happened (or will happen) because you're such a freaking idiot, and because you weren't swayed by my bullying, browbeating, and name-calling."

Of course, there is bullying on both sides. I just see much more of it from the Democrats. Not sure why.
10:58 AM Jan 30th
 
Marc Schneider
77 Royals,

Your rant is frankly typical of conservatives in that you make these strawman arguments about "liberals" (which is, in fact, not a homogenous group.)

First, I don't know any liberals that are pointing to the UK as the perfect system. Many liberals do advocate the kind of social democracy found in western Europe. Most are aware, I believe, that the NHS is very problematic. But I haven't seen some great outcry in the UK to abolish it either. Second, none of the proposals that the Democrats have ever proposed involve a centralized National Health Care System. Certainly, you can't say that the ACA involves a government-run health care system. Many liberals do advocate for a single payer system but, again, that's not National Health Care. No one I know of is suggesting we have government clinics. So, what you are saying about that with respect to the American liberals is simply nonsense. It's just another example of how conservatives misrepresent what liberals in the US stand for, just as they call liberals "socialists" in total disregard of what the term means.


10:49 AM Jan 30th
 
wovenstrap
I'm as pro-Clinton as anyone here but I think Trump got a bad rap on the Curiel thing, he was OBVIOUSLY saying that Curiel might biased because he would be prone to disliking Trump's history of Mexico-bashing, he did NOT say that he couldn't be a good judge because he was Mexican or anything like that. I think 3/4 of my liberal friends and all of the liberal commentators regard Trump's remarks on Curiel as obviously disqualifying and racist but they are obviously NOT disqualifying and racist, just kind of feckless. I don't necessarily agree that liberals should stop pointing out racism etc. but that Curiel thing was a textbook case where it was very irresponsible to cry racism.
9:50 AM Jan 30th
 
hermitfool
To get away from soul sucking politics for just a moment (My motto: Politics will make you crazy), let’s say you were in charge of rebuilding the fan base and increasing attendance for a losing baseball franchise. Would your first order of business be to insult the fans you suspect might not be buying tickets? Would you call them deplorable? Would you call them racist? Would you call them Nazis? Would you sneer at them for clinging to their guns and Bibles? Would you phone your friends in the IRS and ask them to suppress donations to fan organizations presently backing other teams? Would you encourage those who advocate criminalizing the speech of those supporting your baseball competitors like the Wobal Glarmists are doing? Would you raise the price of all food, drink and team merchandise to pay for the free food, drink and team merchandise you’re handing out to people you designate as more worthy, whether they are long term fans of your team or not? Would you restrict your public relations efforts and advertising budget to those media outlets who kiss your ass and call you Sally? Would you not only refuse to speak to any sports reporter critical of your team’s decision making, which has led to the current losing streak, but you attack, not only the reporter, but the media outlet employing the reporter, as lying, racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, and most probably illiterate homophobes, too ignorant to recognize not only the truth, but their own self-interest? Just wondering.​
9:01 AM Jan 30th
 
Edward
Thanks, Bill.
7:19 AM Jan 30th
 
337
Skepticism is not criminality.
6:53 AM Jan 30th
 
77royals
Sorry, below is about the health insurance
6:52 AM Jan 30th
 
garywmaloney
337 -- The Clintons had a pretty good run. Government attorney jobs, fat law practice, State AG, Governor for 14 years, President for two terms, Senator for 8 years, Secretary of State for 4, hundreds of millions in personal and Foundation income . . . but no Presidency for Hillary. Boo. Hoo.

In all this, there was skepticism about them -- ever notice that? Even as the people were electing them, honoring them with service . . . For example, no Clinton ever won a majority of the national popular vote. Ever. Obama did that twice, even W (2004). When Clintons got into high office, (President, Senator, Sec'y of State) -- BANG -- within two years, voters elected a Republican Congress, every time -- as if to say, "Uh, let's put some brakes on these guys . . ."

There were REASONS for all those investigations -- it was not "smear campaigns." Those women, for example -- a dozen of them? -- were they really ALL lying about what Bill did to them?

I support Bill James's general skepticism -- and be it remembered, he pegged what was really happening in the country in February 2016, without supporting Trump.
6:50 AM Jan 30th
 
77royals
As someone who lives in the UK, which all Liberals in the US want to point to as the perfect system, I can tell you this:

It's broken, and it doesn't work. The only people you hear who like are the like-minded Liberals who use it for policy.

As an example, I hurt my leg on a run on a Friday night, but wasn't sure that it was that serious. So I let it go over the weekend, and gutted it out until Wednesday, when I couldn't stand the pain any longer. I tried to go to the ER, but was refused. Seems you can only go to the ER within a few hours of the issue happening. I was then told I need to call my doctor and get an appointment. Which I did, and was told it would be 4 weeks before I could be seen.

After making a complaint to the head of the clinic, I was finally seen and it was agreed I needed x-rays. So I took a taxi to the hospital and waited for 3 hours in the ER (the place I had not been allowed to go to earlier) before they finally told me they had lost the appointment my doctor made and I would have to go back to him and have a new appointment made. After explaining to them it was going to take the police to get me out there, they finally agreed to do the x-rays. So they allowed me to walk a half-mile to the x-ray clinic and then back to the ER, only to be told that the x-rays were 'inconclusive'.

So another appointment at the doctors, at 4 weeks after the injury. While sitting there after waiting a month, two new people came into the clinic to sign up. They were allowed to go see a doctor immediately to discuss any health issues they have. Seems here in the UK, the clinics get reimbursed by the amount of people on the books, regardless of whether they are seen or not. So getting new people in immediately is more important the treating existing patients.

So finally, another two weeks later, I got an MRI. Which was inconclusive. So a week later I got another one. And finally, seven weeks after my injury, they sent me to get a cast because I had fractured my tibia. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of doing this, I highly recommend it. This is not an aberration for the NHS. It is standard operating procedure.

If this is the kind of free health care you want, feel free to stuff it. If you continue to think the NHS is the model we should be looking at, you're wrong. If this is the kind of medical care you want your family to have to look forward to, by all means go ahead.

But for less than the cost of what my NHS deduction is , I could have bought private insurance and been seen the same day I first called my doctor, and been in a cast in 5 days, not 50. But I can't afford to pay both, and am required to pay one of them. Like the rest of the country. Only the rich can afford decent health care, while the poor don't get to it.

Isn't that the system in the states everyone is always complaining about? Which is cheaper for everyone involved.
6:47 AM Jan 30th
 
sansho1
The way the word "racist" gets thrown around these days is counter-productive. It forecloses on the possibility of bringing the target of the smear around to a different way of thinking (I believe in the credo of Rocky IV...people can change). It would be better to stick to the classic definition, and instead call actions like Trump's in re Mexicans as discrimination based on prejudice. "Prejudice" was a biggie when I was in school -- many filmstrips were dedicated to guarding against it. The central tenet being that a poor understanding is to blame for discrimination, as opposed to the conscious application of a racial theory. But the rabbit is out of the barn now, I suppose -- google racism now (which I did after writing the above) and there it is...prejudice, discrimination, and racism are "officially" interchangeable, and the definition I always thought correct has been relegated to second place....
6:19 AM Jan 30th
 
337
Well, that's what people in the middle of the country seem to think, which I attribute to the GOP's ability to demonize her record, which (other than a few years working in private practice in the 1980s) is all public record, as opposed to Trump's working in private corporations that he owns, disclosing nothing but committing fraud after fraud. Can you imagine what the GOP would have made out of Clinton University, if she (and Bill) had the effrontery to try to propose that scam? This is Trump's life, conning people out of their cash, stiffing creditor after creditor--and you say she is 99% as bad as him? I think you've been took, my friend. 5% as bad, maybe, 10% if you want to overlook his criminal behavior that is poorly evidenced. But 99% is just what the false equivalencers have been trying to get you to buy, so you say "It's all a wash, so let's take that topic off the table." If there was meaningful evidence against her, her lifetime of government work would have left them an opportunity for them to have prosecuted some kind of case against her successfully. There just isn't much beyond 30 years of a smear campaign.
5:53 AM Jan 30th
 
bjames
Hillary Clinton is every bit as much a monster as Trump. OK, 99%--but, like Trump, she has entire lifetime of gross, corrupt and unethical behavior to answer for.
4:44 AM Jan 30th
 
337
Terry is correct about this essay's central flaw, which falsely equates Clinton's dubious (at best) criminal actions regarding her "careless" handling of her e-mail server (and her reflexive refusal to give the GOP more ammunition to use against her) with Trump's lifetime of immoral, unethical and, yes, illegal actions, which would have been exposed in great detail (I'm pretty sure) in any releasing of his tax returns. The e-mails were almost as bad as Benghazi: the problem with both was not that Clinton had committed some horrible crime, but simply that she had made some calls, and if you make enough calls, some of them are bound to look bad in retrospect and some of them are poorly conceived in retrospect, but not necessarily (and in her case, not) criminal in nature.
4:40 AM Jan 30th
 
ventboys
I think it's a good essay. I shared it with my friends on Facebook as an example of what a centrist opinion is supposed to look like.

That said, it's hard enough to get people to stop calling the Clintons evil - and Trump's people saints by contrast - when even the center can't tell the difference between being demonized and being an actual demon.
12:29 AM Jan 30th
 
sansho1
Agree with the suggestion that Dems put forth a simple economic message and stick to it. Disagree that now is a time to quit fighting for just a second -- the airport protests have bent administration policy almost from the moment it's enacted. Trump is attempting to fundamentally change our relationship to the rest of the world with a flurry of fiats, and so the fight is on.
10:06 PM Jan 29th
 
MarisFan61
I think there's a split in the article, between (1) the basic message -- which I think is just about 100% right on (and yes, as was suggested in a "Hey Bill" post, I hope it will be widely disseminated); and (2) the specific suggestions, which I think are problematic, no less so than the specific things that the Democratic Party was putting forth.

I think that some of the things Bill says the Democrats could do which would be "rallied around" are controversial and could easily be made mincemeat of by opponents, and some of the things he's telling them to take and shove it are important and key.

Specifics are hard.
8:52 PM Jan 29th
 
schoolshrink
I have been thinking about what I think is my favorite Muhammad Ali's social contribution: Rope-A-Dope. That metaphor applied to the election, as well as court battles and anything where one side just thinks it has it won. Get the Dems complacent so they ignore middle America. In the meantime, speak to real challenges they experience. That is what happened. Like it or not, the little states have added value in our election and Hillary and the DNC seemed to forget that. She could have won three or four of those states, but stuck with a policy that she thought couldn't miss. Trump took charge of the policy. That is what mattered. What he said came from him, and he wasn't asking us to go to hillaryclinton.com for more information. Ad agencies cannot win a presidential election, the candidate has to win it. Instead of being honest about what Trump called evil Hillary, she should have owned up to the Iraq war vote, hiring a transition team that was led by a pro-fracking head, and spoke personally and consistently about her value as a candidate. That all stopped after the DNC convention. She allowed it to stop. She allowed Trump to win because she got complacent, and he rope-a-doped her. And own your positions just like the NRA. That example was my favorite part of your piece. Thanks for the essay.
8:24 PM Jan 29th
 
flyingfish
Hey, Bill, I appreciate that you tried. You did even nmake me look at some things differently. But you also pissed me off, mainly your comments about Clinton. So I think we're not there yet. Let me address just two points here, neither Clinton.

1. Calling people racist. Trump said, in the campaign, that Mexicans are rapists and criminals. Not all, he added. Then he said Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled against him because Curiel is Hispanic. Paul Ryan--no Democrat--called that a textbook example of a racist statement, and there were others. If those things don't make Trump a racist, then what is your definition of a racist? I don't think you were arguing that we shouldn't call people racists even if they are, because you specifically argued that Trump is not. So that one baffles me.

2. National health care. You tell us not to push national health care (why capitalized, by the way?) almost in the same breath that you tell us to keep talking about our progressive agenda. I am confused. Then you ask us not to call anything "affordable" that is subsidized by the government. Well, the ACA is NOT subsidized by the government. It does include a subsidy for poor people, who must demonstrate that they are poor, to pay for the premiums. But that's really unrelated to the exchanges and other aspects of the ACA. It's just a subsidy for poor people, like expanding Medicaid. And the increase in premiums has slowed since the ACA was passed. Why do Kansans hate it so? Would you also hate Medicare for all? Why?
8:11 PM Jan 29th
 
 
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