Paving The Road To Trump

Politicians, pundits, political scientists and your crazy uncle all have their explanations for the election of Donald Trump, and most of those explanations have at least a germ of truth–or at least, plausibility.

Misogyny certainly played a role. Racism was a huge and undeniable factor. Hillary was a weak/divisive candidate. Bernie supporters voted for third-party candidates. The Electoral College overweighs rural votes. Russian disinformation was effective. Millions of Americans didn’t vote. Etc.

Whatever the merits of these analyses, it’s hard to argue with the observations in Alan Abramowitz’ new book, The Great Alignment: Race, Party Transformation, and the Rise of Donald Trump.” Abramowitz argues that Trump is the product of an ongoing multigenerational process that has reshaped American politics.

In his view, Trump is a striking result of that process. Like most other political scientists who concentrate on political party politics, Abramowitz sees the GOP as a conservative party in the sense meant by William F. Buckley: It is “standing athwart history yelling ‘Stop!'”

In a review of the book by Paul Rosenberg in Salon, Rosenberg says

Abramowitz writes that “while Trump won the election by exploiting the deep divisions in American society, he did not create those divisions,” and they won’t go away regardless of what becomes of his presidency. He provides an abundance of compelling, detailed evidence, most of which has been lying around in plain sight — in the American National Election Survey (ANES), the results of presidential and congressional elections, etc. But as with the story about Columbus and the egg, you can stare at something for a very long time before someone else shows you the obvious.

Most fundamentally, Abramowitz argues that the New Deal coalition “based on three major pillars: the white South, the heavily unionized northern white working class, and northern white ethnics” was eroded by post-World War II changes that have transformed American society. Those resenting the changes have become increasingly Republican, those welcoming them, increasingly Democratic.

Abramowitz asserts that racial polarization and the rise of negative partisanship were not only crucial to Trump’s election, but also explain his conduct in the White House “which can be described as governing by dividing.” The thesis of the book is that today’s strongly partisan electorate is deeply divided along racial, ideological, and cultural lines.

Rosenberg asked Abramowitz to identify the three most important–and misunderstood– realities of American politics today. His response:

That because of the rise of negative partisanship, we are in a new age of party loyalty and straight-ticket voting — despite the negative feelings of many voters toward the parties and the popularity of the “independent label.” That the divisions within the electorate are primarily racial and cultural rather than economic. That tinkering with electoral rules will not have much impact on partisan polarization because its sources are deep divisions within the society.

I find this analysis persuasive. And I realize that it is important to understand where we are and how we have gotten here. But the road to 2016 has now been pretty thoroughly plowed, and the more important questions are: where do we go from here? and how do we get there?

As a lawyer I once worked with like to say, there’s really only one legal question, and that’s “what do we do?” That axiom is equally applicable to politics and governance.

I’m waiting for the book that tells us how to resist and overcome the racism, misogyny and inequalities that drive our divisions–the book that tells us what we must do to build a better, kinder, fairer society.

The book that tells us how to calm the fears that make our fellow-citizens hate.


  1. We have recently seen in news reports that even Republicans are admitting to Trump’s many lies; they have also mouthed platitudes about disagreements regarding actions he has taken and bills he wants enacted…yet they vote with him with rare exceptions.

    Now we are dealing with thousands of immigrants with no roads leading to where many are being kept, their children are being routed around the country, many of them being too young to provide information to their “keepers” for identifications. Does anyone realize if parents are deported or simply forced back across the border that Trump is illegally keeping thousands of illegal immigrants here who happen to be babies and children? Trump now wants to end all “due process” in the courts for immigrants and simply send them back across the border. Will Congress continue following Trump down that road? Trump has unleashed racism, bigotry and hatred as being his accepted personal “social graces”; our outcries go unheard by this government but are being carefully followed by the world.

    Whatever you want to call the “road to Trump”; whichever route you take, they all lead to chaos and eventual destruction. Is all of the current attention to immigrants and their imprisoned children distracting us and the elected officials on all levels from Mueller’s Russia investigation and the nuclear issues with North Korea? Who is taking care of presidential duties and responsibilities as Trump campaigns for his chosen candidates? Whose minding the store in the White House? Have we taken side roads leading us away from the destruction of democracy and our government which is being done systematically and with deliberation? There is no road map for the roads we now travel; there never is within a maze. Whatever the reasons for Trump’s election; we need to concentrate on undoing the results. Assigning blame is not a solution.

  2. For quite a while, I used to think that “how to resist and overcome the racism, misogyny and inequalities that drive our divisions… what we must do to build a better, kinder, fairer society” was to simply wait until the old bigots died off…but damned if there aren’t crops of new, young bigots rising in their place. I’m always SO startled when I hear a teen or twentysomething cheering Trump, hating on gays or transgendered, espousing ‘racial purity’ – and even more so when the youngster in question has served in our military.

    What’s to become of us? I honestly do not know any longer.

  3. Abramowitz says, “That the divisions within the electorate are primarily racial and cultural rather than economic.”

    This should appease the Oligarchy. It’s not the economic-political system which oppresses the people, the oppressed are the problem.

    “I guess we’ll need to double down on our manipulation campaigns to straighten them out.”

    These sycophants always get published because they appease the rulers and gatekeepers. Just another charlatan.

    I believe JoAnne made a statement yesterday about “voting out the powerbrokers”. How exactly do we do that when the power brokers aren’t running for political office and never would?

    I do believe this is the magical point…or comical one if you listen to 5 minutes of George Carlin…we have the illusion of a democracy (choice). The government doesn’t work for the people – it works for the power brokers who write checks on behalf of the client(s).

    There are bright spots around the edges but “straight ticket voting” is the for the lazy, close-minded and uninformed voters who don’t want to research the candidates. In many counties, the party dictates who you should for but never explain why. It’s as though they have access to your ballot. 😉

    As for the axiom, look at Gar Alperovitz and the work he is doing. Others are working on what’s next…building a new system to replace the old one which is very broken.

  4. I do not disagree with you at all – this is a persuasive analysis… I do still believe, however, that Trump benefited from a “shortcut” to the Presidency. In three states, Trump won by a total of 77,784 votes giving him 46 electoral votes. That’s it. If you want to swing Florida and its 29 electoral college votes, you are only adding about a 112000 vote difference to the total. Under 190,000 people kept this from being a 307 – 231 win for the HRC. This is a short cut… and this is about a handful of voters (190k) out of 129 million cast for the two major party candidates. So in the end, for me, it will always be about voters… a very tiny fraction of voters, that for whatever reason, didn’t show up, or voted third party, or voted against their own interest. I just don’t think it is hard to figure out and solve. No heavy lifting required.

  5. Everything has within it the seeds of its own destruction. Systems that are stable do not stay that way forever, but gradually develop stresses and strains that bring them down. In quasi-physical terms, energy levels eventually reach maximum instability. The system crashes to dissipate the energy and reach a more stable configuration. Our political system is at the apex of this cycle. Trump and followers, and the reaction to them, are the final straws that break the camel’s back. I am now convinced our current republic cannot survive as we know it. Let it crash and burn. There will be a remnant that will rebuild a more stable society that eliminates the corruption of the current one. Then the cycle will repeat. Who knows, after several such cycles, humans may have evolved to the point that they understand themselves enough to control their worst impulses.

  6. Todd’s comments echo my sentiments. This is another excuse to allay pressure upon the systems that created Trump,those that manipulate those systems and also allows more blame to be placed upon the public that really didn’t create the systems that have taken over the body politic. Again,today’s post is dependent upon another apologist for neo-liberalism.

    As far as party partisanship….It’s never the fault of the party. Just look at the responses to yesterday’s post. Who needs to look at the real problems when it’s so easy,expedient,convenient and lazy to just blame Trump, the electoral college and Russians. What’s the usual remedy crowed around the forum? Vote straight Democratic Party ticket. As if that will do anything. Gee,having to put some genuine thought as to how we have arrived here might cause comfortable Caucasians (especially those living in gated communities) to become a bit uncomfortable….Especially Democrats.

  7. I think on the one hand patience is called for. Our generation of old white folks, the bastion of the Republican party, are going to die off. We will be replaced by a largely brown, urban, educated electorate that perhaps understands tolerance of the other.

    What worries me more are the forces that work to create intolerance. For example Fox News, Rush, and Beck. These are working hard to recreate partisanship and intolerance in the young. One of our core values is the freedom of speech, and so how does one check these voices teaching division and hate?

    Nic out

  8. Why are the Democrats of today unwilling to talk about class divisions?

    Could it be because talk of inequality leads to talk of Wall St manipulation/influence? Who does Wall St donate monies toward? Oh,that’s why the silence. I guess we could continue to play “Resistance Fighters’ whilst not willing to address the real problems within the US. Hell,it wouldn’t surprise me if the Democratic Party’s answer to Trump would be to run Jeff Bezos as president in 2020. As if that was a cure to the problem. I digress

    Back to the unwillingness of Democrats to talk about class divisions…They are aware that many minorities are within the working class,no? Are those people working those “menial’ jobs at the airport simply invisible to you?

    Go ask Alice.

  9. we havent come to a conclusion? we have our own party,you know,the one we belong too,but its sometimess falls into others ideals to. i listen,but as a working class with no wealth,and im not mocking here,i damn sure dont live to be even sustainable. ive walk a path with many others,listening,not only with words,seeing the aftermath. Ive become more involved,,and speak out more,inequality,wall streets greed,and a bunch of ceos running this game,mind you,you elected the seeds,the republican teaparty,and from there,little stopped them.think tanks dividing the people,and using simple ads,media hype,slogans and imperialism. stop and look around at the next stoplight,look at whos driving what,and where? look and find a diffrent route,take it,and look again,in your midst is the world you help carve out. now,stop and talk with the store clerk,the bag person,the taxidriver,the ones who,you missed last time out. did someone or some action,make you think,and state,why? im here in white bread world,north dakota,im glad to find some diversity finaly,like my old digs in newark n.j. i can relate,and find some new common ground,and,pass this onto the locals,who sometimes just stare. shake a hand,throw that smile,and that common ground out there. When we see how this present admin is functioning,look again,its design is what they planned it to be. trump didnt walk into the w.h. with this vast knowlege of politics,he is being groomed by the parties…thats plural.hes a fast talker,and a outright lier. and fair game for a teabagger type who,dosent give a damn about anything but not paying taxes,and freeloading on Americans freedoms,kinda like bush and trump who didnt see vietnam. but their game to starta war. with the outcry about children in detention,it was a firm reminder,and damn be anyone if this isnt a nazi way to think. right wing attitudes that have finnaly given way to thier intended purpose,take,keep,and warehouse those who wont,get the point,we are here,now,and its wall street running this game. and we continue to pour that money into a liars hole. immagine what all that money would do for education,from ground up? demand,no money again to be elected,make the media starve for a change, and most of all,get you heads out of this ideal we have to do this,this way.. if the politicians spend more that 10 minutes a day getting reelected,then obviously,were not paying atttention to what they do,all day,that would be alot cheaper than cheapining ourselves…Keith Ellison is finally running from congress and tom perez. hes going to run for AG minnesota. maybe a state office to defy this mass crap thrown by the elected people who,cant defy. im sure theres other reasons,but tom perez is the face of the demos corprate face,along with booker and the like. hietkamp,is running against a republican congressman,and shes a real dino. but we remain red,and i remain informed in this red state of affairs by people who just rant and rave at any trivial shit they dont like. they are informed,yea,kinda like reading a fortume cookie… good luck,take all the money out of elections,and donate it to the local education,and pot hole district.

  10. Oh yes,I’m going to go there.

    Hey,Mr. Smith. How come the ‘inclusive”,”care for everyone” and “open minded’ commenters of this forum never engage you in the comments? No approbations?

    Oh my,could it be?

    Class division? It carries itself into this very forum.

    Viva le McResistance!

  11. It seems like we got here basically because:

    Trump got 2 + billion in free media coverage – he was great for ratings and making money is way more important than “news”. Going wall to wall for a year (for free no less) has its advantages

    Media said 24/7 Trump couldn’t win and Hilary had it in the bag – depressing the democratic turn out (why bother voting?) and encouraging republicans (every vote counts!)

    To put it gently, Hillary was not a great candidate. Among many things, I have serious concerns about the still used dem policy of “give up the base (they’re not going anywhere) to secure the suburbs (we need those centrist republicans)!”. See WI, PA, etc.

    I’m not sure 3rd parties had much of an effect. I don’t think either Johnson or Stein ended up with any more votes than the 3rd party always gets. It seems like those 3rd party voters voted 3rd party because they always vote that way. YES, had they all gone for HRC, she would have won, by why assume people who never vote Dem or Rep are going to vote for you?

    I hate to be that guy (I’m a journalism major after all) but I think a significant amount of the problem was media related. I mean, yes. Trump really brought out the the racist/misogynist vote. But, that group wasn’t going to vote democrat anyway.

  12. I doubt if there are any new unprecedented personalities among Americans now. I think that our culture has always included in it every political perspective that it does now. Perhaps the mix has been different at different times, I don’t know.

    One of the terms you read a lot about in child rearing manuals is impulse control and how it takes awhile for each of us and much longer for some of us to develop that muscle. Some of the foolishness which is typical growing up is due to underdeveloped impulse control. “I don’t know why I did that”. I certainly have done more than my share of regrettable things learning that most of them were in fact a choice and my judgement at those moments just wasn’t up to the task of sorting out the consequences.

    When I left home at 18 to go to school in the South I was appalled by the degree of racism that I came across 600 miles from home when white boys were in groups of white boys. I was floored. However that hatred was below the surface typically otherwise. In other words impulse control kicked in in general public and even the worse racists among my friends acted civilized when they had to. I assume that every “deplorable” instinct is the same way, incipient, but tamped down when in public.

    TV took over our lives in the 50s, civil rights and Vietnam consumed the 60s and 70s and during those decades TV became the 800 lb gorilla in the room. During the 80s it was discovered that Archie Bunker was funny and later that Rush Limbaugh was also entertaining but in a different way. He got wealthy telling people that all of those negative “feelings” that they had kept under wraps in public were really patriotism and the yearning to be free and were what the founders were thinking about in designing our country.

    Much of what got us here was the turning of those cranks endlessly and publicly and privately in our living rooms where TV had moved the soap box. “Be deplorable and whiney and angry and afraid because it not only feels good but it’s American.”

    Of course that was terrible advice but apparently compelling. The only question is what can we do now that we’ve been led to this spot that’s not working for anyone but those with most of the wealth that we created?

    As I have said seemingly endlessly first things first. We have huge cultural problems to fix now but by far the most urgent action is to restore government from the bull in the china shop. Nothing will progress until that force is under control.

    How? Think simple. This isn’t the time for sophistication. Vote out R’s at every opportunity in every election. Think of them all as deplorable even though only a majority of them apparently are. We only have a few months to mobilize the resistance. We can’t change the entire country in the time we have but we don’t need to. In two years we’ll have a bigger opportunity to do more sophisticated diagnosis and treatment but we’ve got to get there first. IMO unless we surround and contain Agent Orange for the next two years we won’t get there with our democracy intact.

  13. Oh, also Trump said the right things to a lot of people. He told desperate, working class people “you’ve all been screwed. I’m here to fight for you!” He was lying, but those people had been screwed by the wealthier set. So, they grabbed on. Democrats hadn’t been massive help to working poor recently, so they thought “what the hell?” and “worst case scenario, I just threw a grenade into the room with people I hate, best case scenario he helps me. It’s a win/win”.

    Trump is absolutely a charlatan. Maybe the worst type. One who sometimes stumbles on and uses the truth to push himself further at desperate people’s expense.

  14. Here’s a hint for those of you unwilling to grasp facts. Go ahead,blame those for voting for Jill Stein and Bernie because you are afflicted with a short memory, short attention span,ascribe to hive mentality,blind party fealty and only join the crowd when it has attained permission from the gatekeepers to express outrage.

    Want to know why so many voted for Stein and Bernie instead of the “chosen” candidate?

    Perhaps a good number of those well informed folks were aware of Hillary’s influence into the coup in Honduras? So,what has that got to do with anything? Oh,it’s now very convenient for some to express outrage of caged babies, but what brought those babies and their families here? Violence in their home countries. Of course,it’s now ok to “use” these people when it’s “politically” expedient to do so. Just like Republicans who will not hold Trump accountable for his actions,to hold our”chosen” leader (Clinton) accountable for her role in the coup is verboten!

    Hell,Google Berta Cáceres and this blog. No one at this forum wanted to read anything about her prior to the election. I received a lot of nasty responses from folks on this very forum when I brought her up. There is plenty of racism within the confines of this very forum masked by faux outrage over the other party and their “warts”.

    No one wants to address the problems if by revealing the source(s) of those problems will tarnish their favored “personality”. Too much cult of personality on both sides. As Carlin has mused,”We’re F%$#@!ed!.”

  15. Here is the first chapter to that book, and it seems fitting for today’s stream of comments:
    Don’t Play His Game


    Vern Turner

    Yes, we progressives despise everything that comes from Trump and his White House. Yes, the Republicans are doing their worst/best to destroy the public safety net for the sake of their donors. Yes, the despicable Stephen Miller is doing HIS best to emulate Heinrich Himmler with his attacks on asylum seekers, aka immigrants. Yes, the administration of Donald Trump is fundamentally corrupt at all levels and seems to REALLY like despotic dictators. It’s true that Trump has called our beloved Constitution inconvenient. It IS inconvenient to a dictator. Trump has just violated the Constitution by calling off due process for the incoming asylum seekers. Yes, he continues to violate his oath of office, fire everyone and anyone who doesn’t agree with his draconian outbursts, otherwise known as thoughts.

    O.K. We all get this. Trump and the Republicans are the worst thing to happen to our government since 1859. No question. We really screwed up. By “we”, I mean the people who voted and allowed this juvenile delinquent to become president. Now, we have work to do, and it is not about how many ways we can descend to the depths of Trumpisms, rage or threats. That’s what the orange schoolyard bully is doing and he LOVES it when we thinking people play with him in his cat litter sandbox in that schoolyard known as the nation’s capitol. I’ve been just as guilty as those on Facebook who publish all sorts of stuff that shows their outright disgust and hatred for Donald Trump. It’s time for doing something else.

    Maxine Waters, (D-CA) just went off the rails in her outrage by calling for harassment of Trump true believers. So, naturally, Trump jumped on that with a passel of lies and threats. His base LOVES it when he dumps on flaming liberals like Waters. He went on to accuse Nancy Pelosi of being a supporter of MS-13 gangs, open borders and a promoter of crime. That’s his game, people. His game is one of hate, division, bombast and disharmony. His pathetic ego cannot stand peace and harmony, to say nothing of actual governing. His base, being base, has no idea about governing either, so they’re perfectly happy with the angry dumb show in the Tweeterverse.

    November is coming. Democrats must speak to the voters in rational terms, not the divisiveness of Trump’s game. In fact, Democrats should stop addressing Trump altogether when running for office. Bashing Trump, as good as it makes one feel, does not impact the independent or undecided voter as much as the kitchen table issues of education, health care, taxes, jobs and infrastructure. Our college graduates and students are still wading through over $1 trillion in loan debt. The Republicans are hard at work destroying affordable health care, social security, medicaid and medicare so they can keep the country from defaulting while their donors reap the benefits of a tax cut. Those items alone should be sufficient to get somebody’s attention.

    Progressive Democrats already have the solutions to these issues and polling shows that over 60% of the voters approve of the Democrats’ plans and ideas in those areas. In 2013 a bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill passed the Senate vote, but the gutless Republican House “leadership” wouldn’t even bring it to a vote. Why? Because the Speaker at that time, was afraid of the Tea Party caucus dividing the Republican party into the fragments we see today. The point is that the legislation is already available, but Republicans and this president aren’t interested in looking at it due to the base’s lust for more racist and xenophobic red meat.
    We progressives and Democrats (often not the same thing) already have a model for winning a major election during times of great need. In 1948 Harry Truman was the prohibitive underdog to Thomas E. Dewey of New York. What President Truman did to win that election in a dramatic upset was get on the train and whistle-stop his way across the country speaking about the same kitchen table issues we have mentioned and are still viable today. He spoke to crowds large and small, friendly and hostile. He went to the people and campaigned as if the country’s future depended on it. It did then, and it does now.

    It is a disgrace that less than 50% of our eligible voters vote during mid-term elections. Not only that, but of those eligible, nearly 30% are NOT REGISTERED to vote. In 2016, only 52% of our eligible voters voted. That translates to Trump winning only 26% of the votes from eligible voters. How big of an axe handle do we need to be hit with to see that getting out and voting gets us the representation we should have and the representative government that actually respects and defends the Constitution. Look, if we the people don’t repudiate the Trump fiasco, we are doomed to a fate of despotism and dictatorship. That much is clear.

    So, the game must be our game, not Donald Trump’s. Nothing scorches a mindless egomaniac more than being ignored. We must have record voter turnout and we will repudiate the Trump administration in the best way possible. Put progressive Democrats back in charge of the House and the Senate as well as unseat Republicans in state houses across the country, and watch how fast all this rubbish coming from this president turns to meaningless noise. Impeachment is a bad idea to push, right now, but if we win back both houses of the legislature in Washington, we won’t have to drag ourselves through that sort of broken glass. Trump will be neutralized and we can then begin the painful task of repairing his damage, both domestically and with our friends in foreign lands.

    Get to work supporting a progressive Democrat for office. Write to them and tell them how you want them to represent you and how we can defeat Republicanism everywhere. It’s become our sacred duty to our country and our Constitution to do this work. Too many of our ancestors have died defending these things for us to be lazy or unknowing about how to save our country from outright fascism.

  16. Experiencing “DOWNFALL”, viewing Hitler surrounded by a score of uniformed generals, I could see Trump’s cabal of obedient toadies and feel a rush of terror thinking that if he weren’t such a nutcase he could use his carrot and stick to cement the blind loyalty in his “base” needed to overthrow our government in a banana republic-type coup.
    Just imagine a camarilla, a cabal, a coven made up of the Trumps, Kushner, Sessions, Pruitt, Pence, Gorsuch and too many others (you name them) and then imagine living under their supervision.
    You’ve seen the word “fascist” often applied in these posts. BEWARE!
    We will be like the lost children in this latest catastrophe being carried out by these feckless amateurs.
    Watch DOWNFALL to see what life will be like.

  17. OMG; thank you for your comments. “Downfall” was definitely NOT a Hollywood production as we have seen so often; and NOW is the time to watch “Downfall” and, as you said, see our future. And it is coming closer much faster now; SCOTUS just agreed to Trump’s selected list of countries to be admitted across our borders. SCOTUS was busy while we were watching those only from the south be sent to American concentration and internment camps.

  18. William @ 9:13 am: “Oh,it’s now very convenient for some to express outrage of caged babies, but what brought those babies and their families here? Violence in their home countries. Of course,it’s now OK to “use” these people when it’s “politically” expedient to do so.”

    You could take also the long view, almost every country in Central America has felt the wrath of American Imperialist Foreign Policy, whenever there is slightest threat to the ruling oligarchies there. The list is long and goes back to 19th Century. It has been a bi-partisan effort.

    These pundits that continue to write books and columns on the rise of Republican Party, fail totally to account for the long slide of the Democratic Party since the election of Bill Clinton. The pundits fail to see the other side of the equation. Why has the Establishment Corporate Democratic Party lost so often?? Oh yeah. FOX News, Right Wing Radio, Social Media, Russians, Ralph Nader, Bernie Bots, Jill Stein, Evangelicals, gerrymandering, etc.

    A good example is taken from the above: “Those resenting the changes have become increasingly Republican, those welcoming them, increasingly Democratic.” A completely elitist statement. Resenting change sounds so innocuous, like preferring VHS to DVD. People lost their jobs, pensions, homes and heath care during these “changes”. The elite see this De-industrialization effect on America as collateral damage to be ignored.

    Back in during the 1992 presidential debates there was not a bit of daylight between Clinton and Bush the Elder on NAFTA – they were both for NAFTA. It was Bill Clinton who paved the road for Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China back in late 2000. Per WIKI US imports from China more than quadrupled between 2000 and 2015, increasing the decline of US manufacturing jobs.

    The Unions were opposed to both of these Neo-Liberal trade Policies, but Wall Street was not, and Wall Street was all that counted. The betrayal of Main Street and Unions by the Corporate Establishment Democratic was complete.

    The Corporate Establishment Democratic offers nothing of substance to Americans: and instead focuses it’s efforts on telling us what is wrong with our President Agent Orange. The Donnelly attack ads are against his opponent fit this theme – We see, and hear nothing about what Donnelly is for.
    Some people have said the Democratic Party has warts – look closer that is Small Pox. Do you really think Nancy Pelosi will lead the Party out of the Wilderness???

  19. ML,

    Take a deep breath and read my posting today. You want fixes? Start there.

  20. It seems to me the the diversity of the people who will be spending a little time in voting booths across the country in Nov is not as great as the diversity of the entertainment media that informs them. That media goes from extreme liberal to extreme authoritarian and contrary to what authoritarians sell the sweet spot, if defined as what has traditionally given America success in the past, isn’t in the center. What has worked for our liberal democracy for the greater good and the most people most of the time is much closer to middle of the liberal half of the spectrum.

    While complaining about Agent Orange may or may not be an effective campaign strategy the truth is that pretty much the opposite of what he has been doing is the most functional governance based on past experience.

    We who blog here will not impact the campaigning strategies of all of those who will be running in November significantly. They will determine the most effective strategy for them on these times and that will be as different as the candidates and situations are.

    I feel what we can do to contribute are two things: get out the vote and convince who we can that to save our society all D’s this time is a necessary defense. Let the candidates themselves figure out their best offense.

  21. Jerry,

    Thanks. Also, Pete is right about his blog being pretty insular and dominated by like-thinking people. The role we must play is to spread the word to our own individual networks. Do the research, avoid demagoguery, speak simple truths and appeal to peoples’ values when doing so.

    THAT is how we’ll get the energy to get rid of irresponsible representation.

  22. All right, it’s time to make United Fruit in Central America, Benghazi in Libya and other flashpoints in history go away or at least not divide our attention from our most compelling task today, i.e., to save American democracy. All of us can show off our academic prowess by blaming our plight today on such as the phony Mexican War, Big Sugar’s blowup of the Battleship Maine, etc., but we shouldn’t blame Trump for using such anomalies of historical conclusion twisted in support of his rush to dictatorship and the end of our democracy? We shouldn’t blame the underlying racism and economic fears that led to his minority win? We should always blame ourselves and our pasts for today’s problems? The Teapot Dome did it. Hoover did it? Reagan did it? The “Trail of Tears” is responsible?

    Bologna! Retrieving and publicizing all our past shortcomings and mistakes to blunt the desperate need today to save our teetering democracy, or what is left of it, is a tragedy in waiting akin to the in-fighting of the Greek city-states which made them easy prey for Rome’s legions, because if our democracy fails and after a short interval of dictatorship, we, like the Greeks in a disorganized and brawling state of affairs, will be easy prey for China, Russia or some other authoritarian state. We will then be relegated back to the colonial status from where we started and all of our institutions, including even those of Wall Street, will be passe.

    Our greatest need for the moment is to preserve our fragile democracy from the forces of those who would destroy it, foreign or domestic, whether by Putin, Kim or Trump, and criticism of Trump in such connection is not to be muted but rather elevated. We had “Good Germans” who backed off complaining about Hitler’s antics, and we all know how that turned out. As I often write, let’s be guided but not enslaved by history. Tomorrow is history in the making; let’s use yesterday’s history to improve making a better one for tomorrow, starting with the protection and expansion of our most precious asset held in common and, as I often write, one of the last few things worth dying for – our democracy.

  23. I am in total agreement with Gerald particularly in regard to the last paragraph of what he posted. To do otherwise is merely wasting our time and allowing us to needlessly hemorrhage the energy we are going to need to stop this blight on our country in its tracks and that’s exactly what’s going to have to be done. We cannot accept what some have said here today where they’ve concluded that this country has no future. That is absolute and total balderdash and they should know better than to think or key anything along those lines because it is a total and complete cop out. We must stand up to what is happening and what is behind it and face it down and we need to do so for ourselves but also for our children, our grandchildren, the future of this country and the future of this planet because all of that, all of it, is on the line whether or not we want to accept that or not. It is all on the line.

    The naysayers are wrong, flat wrong, and what they spew forth, well intentioned or not, needs to be avoided like the plague just like everything that is spewing out of the Trump camp and from their supporters right now. We all need to be focused on whatever courses of action are necessary to drive this virus back into the hole where it came from. Whether that is vigorous use of our normal electoral process, or through mass protests where the people take that to the streets to uphold traditional American values and those that we aspire to as a people and as a nation, so be it. Our friends overseas around the world are very likely expecting us to do these very things and they are counting on us to do them both for our sake but also for theirs as well.

  24. “I’m waiting for the book that tells us how to resist and overcome the racism, misogyny and inequalities that drive our divisions–the book that tells us what we must do to build a better, kinder, fairer society.

    The book that tells us how to calm the fears that make our fellow-citizens hate.” – Me too, Ms. Kennedy, me too – in the sense that I have found ONE. And I have been working on explaining it for some time now. It is something overlooked for nigh on 3 millennia.., and all due to the misaligned thinking of – lawyers – in the Biblical sense for the sake of some land and to annul a birthright of a Son of Abraham .
    There is in the Hebrew Torah a set of images, they are found by a mathematical arrangement of the 304,805 letters of those five books bound into a scroll. There are 5 cube roots with 3 letters remaindered – when you start with the first letter and work backward through the extraction you get (if you do what I did and put each one under the other as grids) firstly the 3 remaindered 1st letter 2nd and 3rd one under the other, then 3x3x3, 5x5x5, 8x8x8, 15x15x15, and finally what I call the tapestry section from letter 4043 to 304805, the largest extraction of 67x67x67 totaling 300,763 letters in grids. (all running in order right to left top to bottom.) You then find the center column, of each line; and proceed one letter at a time to either side and find the pairs that match: you highlight them. When you are done you will have found the inner book of the Torah! And become a Son of God. (This is what I posit was the initiation for the selected tyros among the High Priesthood to join the ranks of the Intelligentsia. BUT – the last part had to be intuited! that how to map it part.) ANYWAY: to cut to the chase, thank you for your patience if you read this preamble; What you find FIRST UP: The Tarot image known as the High Priestess. But she is really the embodiment of the Law. This is the first of a set of large images that were once the original set of pictures that we have in bastardized form today – as a fortune telling deck – the Tarot!.. SHE starts it all. SHE is the Law – SHE speaks peace between men – She is the FIRST thing that was taught to us by people you will come to meet in the image set should you do the actual experiment – P.S. YES, the image set answers some of humanity’s deepest questions. Where we came from – Who we are as a sentient race – and how we have to be watchful. Our end goal is something that comes to light once you really understand what you are looking at. But I wrote this to you to make you aware, to allow you to know – that just as you are a scholar of Law – The Law is the symbol of what makes us ‘human.’ We are a species that without laws are lost and uncivilized, no matter the level of development there is LAW. There is so much more I wish I could write in this note but I am hogging space and time. Just be aware, Ms. Kennedy: THERE IS A BOOK it was written a long time ago it underlays Judaism, Christianity and even Islam; and has gone through some interesting things along its history – but Ms. Kennedy — Know this, Law, and the proper execution of it is the key to keeping us, and enlightening us, to our humanity and our proper places in society and the social contract. Yeah, it’s really there. Gimme a write if you want to see the text as well as the image produced. ~8) P.P.S. It does deal with things like misogyny and bigotry and all the symptoms of an ignorant people. And this is not ‘preaching’ – I have been working with this for 21 years this year. And it is time to make it known.

  25. Rev. Hernandez,

    That book is titled “Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and Capitalism”. It is available on and The Kindle Store. Oh. It was written by yours truly three years ago.

    Governing by dividing???? That’s Trump’s strategy???? I disagree. I view division as an unintended but-who-cares side effect of Trump’s real strategy … if what he does and says should possibly qualify as anything so lofty as strategy.

    Trump “governs” by INVERSE DEFINITION, a technique vitally in debt to insult. Sounds silly?


    Here’s how it works: I may not be smart enough to define myself as strong; so, to the extreme by which I call an opponent’s proffered policy soft, a meaningful part of the public will believe I and my policy are that extremely strong. To the extreme by which I call an opponent dumb, a good part of the public will infer that I am that extremely smart.

    See, Trump is not capable of defining who he is or what his policies are or what his grand vision is or why we must do this or that, so he stabs at it by defining what he is not; by defining his opponents.

    He governs as Michelangelo sculpted marble — by chipping away what is not part of the outcome.

    Obama governed like Rembrandt painted — by addition, each brushstroke adding to his vision.

    Editorializers have pointed out repeatedly that defining others is Trump’s STYLE, but I know of none who say that he GOVERNS BY INVERSE DEFINING. That Trump understands his style or his strategy is doubtful, but his faith in it is as blind as Abraham kneeling with a knife across his son’s neck. The difference between Trump and Abraham is that Abraham was wise enough to linger over other possibilities long enough for sanity to return.

  27. The analysis sounds reasonable, but I disagree about the Republican Party. They were that kind of conservative, but now (somewhat since Reagan) they have been reactionary – not “stop”, but “rewind” back to the “good old days”, before the new deal — or back to the Articles of Confederation.

    Jane – last 4th of July I was in Nashville (TN). There was a young woman checking IDs at a bar with a tee-shirt that read “America Uber Alles” — OK, actually “America Over Everything”. My initial reaction was “Does she understand the significance?” – sadly I think she did.

    nsteussy – wait for them to die off may be good for you, but as a senior, unrepentant, bleeding-heart liberal, I would like to see some change before I am gone.

    Gerald Stinson – YES

    I like to view elections as an exercise in Pragmatism, a very American school of philosophy. If I don’t vote this year, or vote for anyone other than the Democrats (no, I don’t LOVE Joe Donnelly), we will end up with a judicial branch that is likely to allow this country to be controlled even more by the rich, sanction hatred, promote conservative social values, and possible even read The Constitution to say that this is a white Christian country and Jews and others should just accept their second class status – not to mention allow Trump to define himself as being above the law — or I can vote for the Democrats and have some chance of beginning to reverse direction. Clinton said liberals are bad and shouldn’t be listened to; Obama said liberals were well meaning, but foolish and shouldn’t be listened to. I hope the next President will be a Democrat who thinks that liberals may have some good ideas.

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