Fareed Zakaria is a savvy observer of both domestic governance and international relations, and he makes a very good point in a recent Washington Post column.
It has become a (tiresome) truism that many Americans “vote against their own interests.” This assertion has always annoyed me, because it embodies a couple of arrogant assumptions: first, that the speaker/writer knows better than those voters where their “true” interests lie; and second, that voters’ interests are limited to economic issues.
Zakaria uses the negative financial consequences of the GOP’s tax “reform” bill for Trump voters to make his point:
Congress’s own think tanks — the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office — calculate that in 10 years, people making between $50,000 and $75,000 (around the median income in the United States) would effectively pay a whopping $4 billion more in taxes, while people making $1 million or more would pay $5.8 billion less under the Senate bill. And that doesn’t take into account the massive cuts in services, health care and other benefits that would likely result. Martin Wolf, the sober and fact-based chief economics commentator for the Financial Times, concludes, “This is a determined effort to shift resources from the bottom, middle and even upper middle of the U.S. income distribution toward the very top, combined with big increases in economic insecurity for the great majority.”
The puzzle, Wolf says, is why this is a politically successful strategy. The Republican Party is pursuing an economic agenda for the 0.1 percent, but it needs to win the votes of the majority.
Cue the chorus: why would the people in Trump’s base continue to support him, when his actions (in concert with his party’s) are inimical to their interests? Wouldn’t they desert him if they realized that he is pursuing an agenda that privileges large corporations, wealthy families, and well-positioned rent-seekers? When will they come to their senses and see that Trump and the Congressional GOP are putting in place budgetary policies that will be devastating to the predominantly rural people who voted for him?
Is it that the Republican Party is cleverly and successfully hoodwinking its supporters, promising them populism and enacting plutocratic capitalism instead? This view has been a staple of liberal analysis for years, most prominently in Thomas Frank’s book “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” Frank argued that Republicans have been able to work this magic trick by dangling social issues in front of working-class voters, who fall for the bait and lose sight of the fact that they are voting against their own interests. Both Wolf and Pierson believe that this trickery will prove dangerous for Republicans. “The plutocrats are riding on a hungry tiger,” writes Wolf.
I fully agree with Zakaria’s rebuttal to that analysis.
But what if people are not being fooled at all? What if people are actually motivated far more deeply by issues surrounding religion, race and culture than they are by economics? There is increasing evidence that Trump’s base supports him because they feel a deep emotional, cultural and class affinity for him. And while the tax bill is analyzed by economists, Trump picks fights with black athletes, retweets misleading anti-Muslim videos and promises not to yield on immigration. Perhaps he knows his base better than we do. In fact, Trump’s populism might not be as unique as it’s made out to be. Polling from Europe suggests that the core issues motivating people to support Brexit or the far-right parties in France and Germany, and even the populist parties of Eastern Europe, are cultural and social.
This is a much more tactful way to explain what the data shows, and what I have repeatedly argued: the majority of Trump’s supporters are White Nationalists (aka bigots), for whom the indignity of Obama’s eight years as President was simply a bridge too far. The real “interests” of these voters aren’t economic; they’re tribal. They are desperately clinging to the white privilege that is diminishing in a rapidly diversifying society. That desperation overpowers any other “interest.”
As Zakaria writes,
What if, in the eyes of a large group of Americans, these other issues are the ones for which they will stand up, protest, support politicians and even pay an economic price? What if, for many people, in America and around the world, these are their true interests?
So long as they see Trump normalizing and justifying racism and misogyny, these voters aren’t going anywhere. Polls suggest that they represent around 30% of Americans voters, a depressingly high number.
Getting that other 70% to the polls has never been more important.
35 thoughts on “Voting One’s Interests”
Desperately clinging to white privilege is a problem that many people will never admit to.
I’ll accept as fact that 30% of us fear the 70%, or at least that portion who are not white, not (their kind of) Christian, and the other characteristics alien to the 30%. What I don’t understand is why the .1% demand more wealth. Is it just insatiable greed? Do they fear being like us; not the homeless, but us who make only $75K? Its always been so. Why?
An excellent essay today. I thought in 2008 when the whole economy was collapsing that we would see another Great Depression, and thus the need for another New Deal. But, of course, it didn’t happen. In trying to answer the ‘Why’ of this, I concluded that the First New Deal effectively ended the chances that people would starve, that unemployment would soar, and the whole economic/social house come tumbling down. It had ended the possibilities of all that through, social security, unemployment compensation, and the limited welfare they had left us.
All this mean’t the economic factors were no longer the primary issues , and this freed us up to concentrate on who to blame rather than where to get food.
Sad to say, Ryan, Rand (Ayn), and the Republicans may actually be doing us a favor by making it possible for voters to again actually see and feel the immediate effects of the policies they vote for. As it is now, they are too insulated from that.
And, sadly, that was a factor in the New Deal, too. Did you ever read about FDR’s reluctance to act in the field of Civil Rights? The Segregationist South controlled things then, too. Then, though, they were more under cover.
Thank you Sheila.
I agree about the Trump appeal to White Nationalist, but there is another group that he and Republicans pander to. That is the self employed who buy or bought the dream of financial independence. That is a much larger group than most think. Farmers and small business owners make up a larger circle and when you include the larger business owners this voting block becomes powerful.
As I look at this horrible tax bill it seems to penalize those who work for a wage, living or not. The hourly worker is left out of the American Dream and this process has been happening with Republican policies for at least 30 years.
So now including the White Nationalist with the group that sees no reason to give the hourly worker anything you have a group that may well surge to 50% of the voters.
To underline this point of view look at the Labor Department encouraging business owners to take the tips of employees.
The current Republican administration has moved itself, and in the process of moving the entire country, back into the 1960’s and “instant gratification” with this tax bill and “free love” with the acceptance of sexual abuse and child molest from those in the party. What appears to be an instant windfall regarding tax cuts will lead to a rude awakening when they cannot afford their medical care and deduction of taxes paid can no longer be deducted from their IRS yearly filing, resulting in much higher income level to pay taxes on. If their determination to cut Medicare funds has not been passed and enacted, why did my monthly Medicare deduction from my Social Security check increase by $18 – the exact amount of my promised COLA?
Two years ago my grandson, then 16 years old, watched and listened to all parties and compared their campaign foundations and promises. He watched and listened to those attending the rallies to support their chosen candidate and reached the conclusion that those following Bernie Sanders were realists, looking at lasting results over the “long-haul”. He quickly realized “…the majority of Trump’s supporters are White Nationalists (aka bigots), for whom the indignity of Obama’s eight years as President was simply a bridge too far. The real “interests” of these voters aren’t economic; they’re tribal.” He summed up the Trump supporters as believing he would quickly resolve all of their “problems” but what they would get in actuality will be WAR.
And here we are; the end of Trump’s deliberately tumultuous first year and into the holiday season with many religions celebrating their beliefs with doom and gloom on all sides. Yesterday I ended one of my comments stating I wouldn’t be wondering IF Trump would pull another stunt before the end of the year, but WHAT it would be. Well; insulting and threatening the United Nations who voted against his personal choice regarding the capital of Israel, setting off the escalation of riots between factions who have not seen peace in decades, gave me the answer. We still have have NINE days left in this year. WTF is next? Carrying out his threats against North Korea who refuse to bow down to his monumental ego?
Einstein told us in the 40’s that all major US institutions are owned and controlled by the Plutocrats, so voters couldn’t decipher what’s in their best interest.
After living in the South over a two year period, I’d say much of their culture and belief system still remains. It doesn’t take a brilliant propagandist to spin the news and info to cater to this crowd.
The Koch’s spend close to a billion dollars annually to mobilize their ground forces. Have you noticed the media no longer uses the Tea Party verbiage?
They now reference the organization, Americans for Prosperity.
It’s all propaganda because the free press doesn’t exist. Truth-seeking takes backstage to maximizing profits.
If Americans aren’t informed of the truth, how can they make an honest assessment of their best interests?
What’s even funnier is these whacky folk even blame liberals for lying. Anything resembling liberal thinking is shunned.
The master propagandist was Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud. Do a little research on Edward…he was pivotal in using psychology against us and convinced our government that humans couldn’t be trusted with making the correct decision. “Look what the German people were capable of doing!”
Post WWII, we became consumers versus citizens. 😉 The government no longer wanted informed citizens, just consumers of products and services. And ideas. 😉
The white racist hypothesis and the idea that somehow Obama was a bridge too far no doubt is true for some who seem to be voting against their economic interests. However, it does not explain the fact that many Trump voters voted one or more times for Obama. Personally I am convinced that there are plenty of voters who vote more on social than economic issues, but to chalk it up to simple racism oversimplifies what seems to be going on.
I agree the Homo Economicus is grossly oversold by lazy, not-so-bright pundits. I have a couple relatives in dire straights who won’t move because of the extensive support network they have where they are. If a think tank can calculate how many times someone needs to reuse a plastic bottle to render it carbon-neutral, certainly it’s possible to attach a dollar amount to free baby sitting, handyman jobs, and rides to/from medical appointments. But why mess with a pet theory when it’s so rhetorically useful?
And you’re right to call “white nationalism” exactly what it is – bigotry. Giving it a fancy title is unwarranted, because it suggests that there’s some consistent, rigorous ideology behind it. There isn’t. It’s latter-day Archie Bunkerism and the only distinction made is between “like me” and “not like me.” These are people whose development is arrested somewhere in Middle School.
It doesn’t matter that they are racists and misogynists. They are still shooting themselves in the foot, and every year that these regressive policies are in place, they are sinking deeper into the mud. The next generation is going to do the heavy lifting and reject the Troglodytes their parents elected – if, and only if, they resent their place in society enough to reject their parents’ mindset.
im in a place that is the foundation of anti tax in modern today,the upper plains,NoDak sodak mont,wyo.ive been up here since 1985. ive mainly lived rural,ranch,farm,small town conservitve. under the blanket, a hatred of goverment,though one would think how so,when they are so comforting to look and here about their views on puritan clean. drop into convesation at a local cafe,bar,gun show,truckstop,walmart. listen to the passby talk. seems trump is a god. some sort of he,ll get us out of this mess. whatever that is. when i have joined in conversation,one is wise to,let them rant abit. get the message as they are telling it.then rebuke.
damn they hate that. someone who voted bernie,or demo. those damn tax em all to extiction gang. the ones who see nothing but regulations,laws,dictating their masive tax hikes.geeezzz. what you have here is people who believe because they work,make a needed commodity,(food) their above taxing. its o.k to,have a 7.25 minimum wage,thats good. i can hire cheap under service wage,farm wage even cheaper. no regard for exploiting people,thats just a norm here. they feel the working class can pay all,the taxes,becaause they want sooo many entitlements,even that has been 20 years cut away,but any is against their principle,. going to war,no,problem,weve always sacrificed our own,so you owe us.underpinning im sure,but you have to look at them in the eye in further conversation. this so called hometown America is a farce. its a anti tax,anti worker,anti progressive quagmire.Working for someonemup here gets you nothing in reconition for your work as an employee. the boss gets the cudos,you get the finger. When i do get to join in the conversation,its always welfare,obama,wages,arabs,jews,anti something. I leave em like this,to the boss,how many living wage jobs did you create today?(at 7.25 in thier world) when you say tax tyem,no, we want our money back,from wall street,tax wall street,quitblaming it on the demos,,,the side you just elected,just taxed you,1.5 trillion dollars into your life,now,whos fooling who? fact fox news here is the,legislature,the reason why they “want”America to be wrong so they can complain about how damn misserable their life is. guess when the 2018 farm bill is done,they wont be laughing anymore. those so called entitlements just went into trumps pocket and the scam tax bill,for wall streets elite.now they can acuse the rich of taxing them to death..kinda sounds like the tea party just voted themselves a,,, tax hike.lucky them. now dig your self ahole and climb in with the rest of us America……
Ron; I lived in Florida for 7 years, was surprised to learn after only a short time that Florida is a southern state. Due to pleasant vacations on the beaches, I thought this country was divided into the North, the South and Florida. I had to learn “my place” in their social system but…in Pasco County (a major retirement area); prices of everything and tax rates were lower than across the county line into tourist areas. Pasco County Center for Hearing and Vision Impaired provided many services and needed devices free as well as information.
The most vital “recycling” in Pasco County came in our free weekly newspaper which offered news and listings of retirees who were still able to work in their special fields and wanted to stay active as well as earn a little income and help those who needed their services but lived on low income. Recycling of humanity is the highest form of service; physically, emotionally and financially. I looked for the same help when I moved back to Indianapolis by contacting community-service centers; found none till the administrator at C.A.F.E. on the northeast side offered help. I was asking for someone trustworthy and capable to do a minor repair job, and wanted to pay for the work. She sent a contractor to give an estimate to replace 6 styrofoam ceiling tiles; then called me back for their offer. The city would pay for the work, $1,300!!!!! When I told her it was a rip-off she got angry, said it wasn’t my money so why was I refusing to sign the contract. I told her it is my tax dollars being ripped off and walked out. Later, a friend picked up two 4-packs of the tiles for $8 each pack and spent less than 1 1/2 hours removing, cutting and replacing the tiles and reloading his equipment. Having worked for the city monitoring those centers; the waste and the attitude still makes me angry. That was the “support network” under Ballard, the people got what they voted for – Republican rip-off of hard earned tax dollars in the name of “community services”.
Closely held beliefs are impervious to facts. That’s how it became so easy to tell people, “They’re coming for your jobs.” Or that, “Mexico isn’t sending their best, they’re sending murderers and rapists.” The expectation was that, after the vote, the voters would cower in fear while, “I, alone, can fix this,” passed their agenda. Instead, “I, alone” turned the tables on his party and made it okay for the fearful to take to the streets and wave their Confederate flags and display their swastika tattoos. They’re happy now. They can say what they think. “I, alone” now controls their party and Republicans don’t know how to take it back.
If we’re going to play a blame game, let’s start by blaming the hundred million who didn’t vote. What’s that famous quote from the Kenyan who ran our country for a few years? Oh, yeah, “Don’t boo. Vote!”
As commentators to this blog know, I view the passing scene largely through an economic lens with an emphasis on wage inequality. However, I am familiar with the tribal problem and deep-seated political views that follow as a result. I am reminded of a fellow high school graduate who told me last year at a class reunion just after Trump had been nominated that she was voting for Trump for one reason – abortion. She is an evangelical and Trump’s moral and business records have no relevance to her political position. My arguments to her were in vain.
Speaking of those who vote against their own interests, such a vote is not necessarily a bad one. A few days ago I was treated to a rundown of rich Democratic senators who voted against Trump’s tax monstrosity. Senator Warner led the pack, followed by senators Feinstein and Blumenthal. Based on their holdings and investment schemes, all three should have voted for Trump’s bill. They didn’t; they nobly voted for the people they represent and not themselves. Such a choice reflects the views of Jefferson and Madison who considered public service to be noble and not self-serving.
Compare that view of nobility with the bribed and trickle down views of McConnell and Ayn Rander Ryan, those paragons of public virtue who are leading a Congress with a single digit popularity rating, or with Trump, who will make a bundle with his signature on the monstrosity just passed. Tribalism has served them well and, as Sheila advises, gives us all the more reason to show up at the polls next fall to bring reason and justice to America and its people.
“They are desperately clinging to the white privilege that is diminishing in a rapidly diversifying society. That desperation overpowers any other “interest.””
White privilege is diminishing, so the reasoning is this: We have to take CONTROL now before it’s too late. Based on that reasoning, the figure is much more than 30% and thus DEMOCRACY is the real enemy. This line of reasoning was there way before Trump/Bannon and is what makes even a MIKE PENCE attractive.
Wayne Moss asked why the 1% crave more wealth– “Do they fear being like us; not the homeless, but us who make only $75K? Its always been so. Why?”–
The rich do not fear being like us; they fear us looking like them, as the following conversation reveals. Apologies to those who read this yesterday.
DRIVING MR. JOE
My job was to do the driving. My aging millionaire friend wanted to make one more road trip around the United States. His failing eyesight required a driver, and he selected me. It was a good opportunity to get inside the mind of a wealthy man. Here’s one of our conversations. It started with me asking Joe an innocent question.
Me: Joe, you have millions, why do you like policies that turn middle class people into paupers ? Hell, some of the policies you love make poor people absolutely destitute.
Joe: The way our society works, kiddo, money don’t get you what you want.
Me: That doesn’t make sense, Joe. Lots of money gets you anything you want. Beautiful women. Jets. Yachts.
Joe: You’re missing the point. Buying those things doesn’t get me what I want.
Me: So, you want a tropical island all your own; buy it. You want a politician in your pocket; buy one.
Joe: Yeah, I got all that, but that don’t get me what I want.
Me: My God, what else is left?
Joe: Yeah, difference. When John Smith of the middle class can drive a Cadillac, my driving a Jaguar doesn’t set me off from the crowd.
Me: Christ, Joe, buy a Rolls. Your Leer jet certainly sets you off.
Joe: Nope, when John Smith can fly to Florida on a jet airliner for less than my nightly bar bill, my jet means very little. The good ol’ days John Smith couldn’t afford to fly, took the bus, the train, hitchhiked. Distinguished him from me.
Me: Gotcha. We need to invent higher class cars, higher class planes; we need a whole new set of luxury items, ostentatious stuff that no one in the middle class can afford. Me, I can book a vacation at a resort that for a week, a moment in time, every few years, I can loll in the trappings of wealthy leisure. I see what you mean.
Joe: No you don’t see a damned thing. Inventing new luxury stuff that distinguishing ain’t going to happen; too slow, anyway. Besides, if it did, this country, this government would come up with a way for John Smith to get his hands on replicas and things similar to what I have, only cheaper, even if for only a week.
Me: So, you’re out of luck? Must be frustrating. Guess you’ll just have to suck it up and…
Joe: Hell no, I ain’t sucking it up. We know how to get the job done. The distinguishing factor, we like to call it, is right there waiting for us. See? I can buy a Rolex, wear it everyday, and some John Smith has enough money–ten dollars–to buy a Rolex replica, and Abracadabra, the American system enables some loser to look like me and my Rolex. See? The answer is to make sure John Smith never has ten dollars he can use to imitate me. When we have that beautiful thing worked into the American system, then we’ll be great again. It’s easy; all you have to have is the disappearance of the middle class, more poor people. Then, we’ll have the distinguishing factor. Being rich will be worth it again. That’s what I love about third world countries. When you’re rich in Somalia, it shows up in a distinguishing way every second of the day. No one truly respects the rich as much as a starving man. No one feels the distinguishing factor as much as some skinny creep dying of AIDS. See? All we got to do is change a few laws. Fire the Constitution. Put a new kind of government in place. Hell, we don’t even have to invent a new system. There’s plenty of models available. Venezuela, Gambia, Haiti. It’s happening, too. Right now. Our new president will make us great again.
Me: I see, Joe. “Difference”, “distinguishing factors”. Gotcha.
Note: See? Driving Mr. Joe was as illuminating as I thought it might be.
The only argument the Republicans are going to understand is to successfully make a case that going to WAR against DEMOCRACY in America is no answer. It is not only SOCIAL/ECONOMIC SUICIDE, but also…. FUTURCIDE.
Yes, it’s the culture/race thing. When trying to discuss the economic impact with true believers, they immediately deflect to Obama hating. Or, it’s Benghazi. Or, it’s Uranium one.
Oh, and anyone thinking that Trump cares about their own tribalism or class identity hasn’t been paying attention to anything. Trump doesn’t give a damn for anything or anybody but himself. When that finally sinks in, most of that 30% will stick their fingers down their throats and still vote Republican. That’s how good a job the Republican propagandists and framers have done.
Ignorant people are an easy sell.
Thank you Sheila and also Fareed for a deeply thought provoking and paradigm challenging piece.
Given what Nicki Haley and Trump had been doing and saying in regard to the United Nations General Assembly regarding American financial support to that organization reminds me of several conversations that I’ve had over the years with close friends over foreign aid. These are not uneducated, unintelligent people but they have deeply held the ideas on this subject and they wonder why we continue to support the United Nations when they read all the time about its membership ganging up on either us, Israel, or both of us at the same time.
I then try to explain to them our motivation for such foreign aid either directly to the United Nations for its programs or our direct aid to countries scattered all over the earth. It’s hard for them to understand that we’re planting seeds by doing so and that it underpins not only our foreign policy but also strengthens the goodwill toward this country which it needs to be able to implement that foreign policy successfully. They’ve had no exposure to all the information that I had thrown at me when I was in school studying international relations by professor after professor trying to teach us all how the world works and how the United States interacts with it while trying to be a positive influence.
In the absence of such information my friends have drawn their own conclusions which, without knowing that type of information, seems eminently logical to them. In the long run we don’t understand the impact of our own xenophobia because we’re too close to it, we think it, it’s part of us. It’s basically human tribalism which we have yet to outgrow if that’s even possible.
They also like to say how much money we give away to countries that work against us either in the United Nations or on their own when in, in reality, it’s an infinitesimal amount compared to all the other various outlays by our government’s annually. Again, they don’t read that information and when one takes into account the rampaging propaganda that pushes the idea that it’s a large amount of money on them they react accordingly.
This country at the end of World War Two, actually before it ended, worked in partnership with other countries to establish a world order that would not only prevent such a catastrophe from occurring again and would strive to eliminate the causes that led the we peoples of the earth to resort to armed conflict because of the great economic disparities that exists that affect them directly.
So far, we haven’t had a conflagration of the scope of the last great war even though it’s not that we haven’t tried to. The interlinkages that we have with the world via the world order that we, for the most part, have underwritten are now under direct attack from this Administration and then Legislative Branch which works in lockstep with Republican majorities that exist in both houses. For us to be in the position where we are so self defeating is absolutely horrendous and will only grow worse if it isn’t stopped. Before that can be done, however, those that clearly do not understand the benefit of foreign aid and all the other various outreaches this country makes every year to the other countries of the world will have to be brought to the position where they understand those benefits. I’m not going to hold my breath since the army of knuckleheads that want to keep that from happening seem to be everywhere.
Two thoughts if I may: first off, when considering how people vote one cannot dismiss the fact that the Democrats in the last election offered no compelling message to those in middle America. The polling data are clear that the Trump voters were not just a bunch of loons as evidenced by the white female vote as well as the college-educated white male vote. And by the way, Trump’s strategy is not new. The Republicans have been employing these tactics since well before Dick Nixon and Spiro Agnew were calling youngsters names, i.e. it works.
Second, if you want to get a better answer to the ‘best interests’ question, consider reading “Strangers In Their Own Land”, by Arlie Russell Hochschild.
WORLD ORDER AND ITS EXPENSE IS FUNDAMENTAL WISDOM…no other data input is needed beyond what a simple caveman knew.
Caveman Gorf: About that attack last night, why didn’t we anticipate that the Ooga tribe would try to take our cave dwellings. And now they have taken our path to the great water and access to plentiful salt fish.
Caveman Ung, head of security: We didn’t know because we didn’t know. We cannot know unless we have friendly eyes and ears within their tribe, or at least many walks from our cave.
Gorf: Well, I don’t want it to happen again. What do you suggest?
Ung: We should make friends with the Buka tribe. Their caves are near the Ooga, and friends there might send a runner to warn us of attack. The Buka are in need of beshee plant for medicine. We could secure their cooperation by supplying them with small amounts of beshee. I also recommend we post sentries at night at least one walk from our cave that way, that way and that way, so they too can give us early warning.
They could careless about order, whether it be local, nationwide, or international. All they care about is their tribe. They have no conscience. That part of their brain is dead.
Tom Lund @ 10:29 am said “This country at the end of World War Two, actually before it ended, worked in partnership with other countries to establish a world order that would not only prevent such a catastrophe from occurring again and would strive to eliminate the causes that led the we peoples of the earth to resort to armed conflict because of the great economic disparities that exists that affect them directly.”
“So far, we haven’t had a conflagration of the scope of the last great war even though it’s not that we haven’t tried to.”
>>> You are correct “we” here in America have not felt the conflagration. We export death. Read – Then the Americans Came: Voices From Vietnam by Martha Hess.
Really?? The USA has invaded more countries and provoked more coups than any other country on the face of the earth since 1945. Back in the 1930’s and 1940’s the Mafia had it’s hit squad for hire labeled as Murder Inc. The USA since 1945 has become Murder Inc – ask the people of Latin America, Vietnam and the Middle East.
Tom and Motonous – You are both right. We have had numerous conflagrations since WW II but not of the scope of that war, a war in which I happened to serve. I am not writing about good or bad wars, oil wars etc. – just wars. Most of such post-WW II wars, coups etc. were ostensibly fought to stop the spread of communism and to protect oil supply and access for us and our allies. What the real rationale was for fighting such post WW II wars I leave to your imagination. My guess is that the flag was waved by big business interests who wanted nothing to do with disturbance of the status quo, but what do I know? I have never been invited to Davos.
An idea that’s been kicked around here is that the “sides” now are liberal vs authoritarian. Last night I engaged a couple of them who tried to sell the idea that liberals were the ones always trying to make them do things, so they were on the side of freedom and I was authoritarian. Ok I said, what’s the difference between freedom and power? Silence. So I suggested that to be freedom it must be for everyone if not it represents power, the ability to impose what you want on others. I also defined freedom as everyone self actualized a la Maslow. Anger. I had upset their tidy little world of heroic freedom fighters.
As the conversation ensued it became more and more apparent that they had been led to a totally fictitious place where liberal democracy was authoritarian and their desire to impose their lives on others was heroic freedom fighting. Real anger came out when I suggested that the de facto defining document for liberal democracy was our Constitution. That was unbearable for them even though they were obviously very short on what Sheila calls civil literacy but absolutely positive that they were Constitutionalists.
All in all very revealing and just reinforced my belief that weaponized media was aimed at authoritarian personality types and taught them that their fear and anger were righteous indignation against the threat of liberals who, everyone knows, are almost always Communists.
Richard Cieslak’s comments are right on. Of course,they’ll be ignored within this crowd.
Pete:”All in all very revealing and just reinforced my belief that weaponized media was aimed at authoritarian personality types and taught them that their fear and anger were righteous indignation against the threat of liberals who, everyone knows, are almost always Communists.”
Today’s meme is similar. Progressives not going along with the DNC and Clintonites are now considered Russian spys.
Oh, another propaganda load those two gentlemen were infused with: government is the only threat of the power to impose in the world and therefore more freedom requires less government as the Constitution clearly says. As freedom fighters therefore they must be on the side of small weak government.
I had to be impressed at the success weaponized media demonstrated in brain washing the two guys.
Don’t get the idea though that this morning the two are newly minted liberals. In fact they probably are even stronger in their authoritarian roles as my logic load defined me as merely a extra seductive subversive.
We have so far to go to get back to normal.
What do we all expect in a FASCIST country. There’s no need for the goodwill of the United Nations as long as we have a stockpile of nuclear weaponry.
So we’re being controlled by 30% of Whites whereas South Africa under Apartheid was probably controlled by 10% or less of Whites. What’s the big deal?
I’m beginning to think we are just a bunch of “cry babies.”
Onward to Victory, Go Trump!
Fo the tribalists who vote based on cultural and racial fears, their economic stagnation feeds their tribal instincts. They need to blame someone for that stagnation, so Trump gave them scapegoats who are blacker, browner, and of other than the Christian faith.
The Koch brothers will form their PACs and independent committees to buy large blocks of TV time to convince the poor and middle class that those who bow to the the Kochs are really friends of the common man and woman. That’s why we need to get rid of the Citizens United campaign finance shenanigans and gerrymandering which have given the Kochs and their purchased politicians the power to overcome common sense.
Our only chance to overthrow this regime is to move right now. The original oligarchy plan was to move 2 Steps forward and 1 backward toward a theocratic/fascism. It was a well orchestrated, slow moving coup. Then along comes that great mastermind Steve Bannon who finds just the right person in Donald Trump to HIJACK the original plan and move overnight toward Fascism.
“The boiling frog is a parable describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.”
Boiling frog – Wikipedia
Bannon has used the BOILING WATER approach. That’s Trump’s ACHILLES HEAL if it is properly exploited.
William @ 12:39 pm, I happen to agree with Richard’s comments also. Here in Indiana we had the choice of Hillary, John Gregg and Evan Bayh at the top of the ticket for Democrats. It was 2016 but the Democratic Party’s candidates were from the Disco era. Who is the top Democrat in the House?? Nancy Peolsi, so much for moving along with the times.
Pelosi should have been sacked from her leadership post and the entire DNC should have been cashiered.
There is a race to be run. If there’s one thing that we cannot afford as a country it’s to divide the slight majority liberals have into warring factions. In fact I guarantee doing that is part of both the Russian and Republican campaign strategy.
Whatever the DNC does it has to be towards unity not divisiveness.
Unity? Give me a break. The DNC demands total allegiance or else. Who needs Putin? Hell,this blog has become nothing more than a succession of DNC talking points whilst the responses do nothing more than resonate with suburban,white-privilege and to further the divide. How often are the entrepreneurial/suburban/Repub voter excoriated? Not much. This blog has become the Two Minutes of Hate against the less fortunate–the working-class. If I were a member of the working-class,I would ask myself;”Why would I surround myself with these people? Why would I vote for their choices,and to my detriment?”
I’ve had pleasant discussions with the so called “Deplorables”…However,the nastiest individuals I’ve had discussions with pertaining to current events have been from my supposed brethren whom grace this very blog.
The majority of white-America consists of racists. This includes liberals. Minorities have been used as window dressing and have had their votes taken for granted for too long. It’s time for the Democrat Party to start earning those votes. Let’s be honest,the folks on this blog do not want the underclass–including minorities– to have an even hand and opportunity. How do I know this? Just read between the lines of what is said/typed and discussed–plus, what is not discussed. Also the concerns expressed and how they’re expressed. White affluent America–Repub and Demo–are flexing their muscles,expressing their need to be dominant,demanding of everyone to support their cause,demanding of allegiance and votes….even if their cause is detrimental to one’s life and livelihood.
Anyone who doesn’t watch Fareed Zakaria on Sundays on CNN is missing some of the best insights of the week.
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