Donald Trump

The Liberal Postmortem on 2016 Is Not Going Well

Lack of reflection.

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It's been two weeks and counting since the larbord side of the country lost a can't-lose election to the worst presidential nominee in American history. Since then, in between the cry-ins and riots, liberals have paused to catch their breath and ask how it could have happened. The answers they are coming up with are not encouraging.

One school of thought insists that the left needs to understand what Trump voters think and what they want. But so far there doesn't seem to be much chance of that happening. Even those who ascribe to this thesis approach the subject with the mindset of an anthropologist, or perhaps an exobiologist: "Who are these alien creatures? What do they want?" (Not to be viewed as a strange and repulsive species of semi-intelligent bug, would be one guess.)

To aid with the anthropological project, The New York Times recently was kind enough to provide befuddled liberals with a reading list to explain the trumpenproletariat.

The list begins with "The Unwinding," in which the New Yorker's "George Packer took a wide-angled look at this country's institutions and mores and was appalled by what he found. The book begins like a horror novel, which to some extent it is." Yes, that's just the thing to build empathy and rapport with the folks in flyover country: "America: The Hellhole."

The reading list also includes works by Thomas Frank, John B. Judis and other liberal stalwarts. Hmmmm. Say you want to understand the mind of the liberal academic. Whom do you ask for insight? If you answered "an Iowa beet farmer," you have a bright future as reading-list editor of The New York Times.

Then there's a second school of thought, which holds that liberals don't need to learn to understand the typical Trump voter—they already do. As the New Yorker put it, "The unexpected election of Trump is suspected to owe debts to both niche extremism and rampant misinformation." This is the effete way to call someone a brain-dead bigot.

"Niche extremism" means the alt-right, which conveniently held a convention in Washington last weekend and about which the media have been telling an endless series of ghost stories. The alt-right is a neo-fascist, white-identity movement whose members like to throw around Nazi-era terms like lugenpresse when they aren't menacing Jews, Muslims, Latinos, and other minorities.

The movement is dangerous and needs watching; as C.S. Lewis put it in The Chronicles of Narnia, when there's a wasp in the room you want to know where it is. But attributing Trump's election to the alt-right is like giving credit for Barack Obama's re-election to Rhode Island: Yes, it helped—but much bigger forces were in play.

The "misinformation" meme is just plain funny. Real journalists are suddenly fascinated by the ostensible problem of fake news—writing front-page profiles of its purveyors, "view-with-alarm" editorials and self-important condemnations and whatnot. But as explained at greater length in this column on Wednesday, fake news is not a sudden epidemic and it is not at all new. Only the direction it comes from is.

For the liberal establishment, however, the fake-news meme is a dangerous self-deception. Behind the notion that "misinformation" elected Donald Trump lies this assumption: People wouldn't have voted against Hillary Clinton if they knew the truth.

This is a seductive delusion not unlike the one conservatives tell themselves when they lose elections. A candidate could stand to the right of Attila the Hun and a certain segment of the American right would insist that he lost because he just wasn't conservative enough. Conservatism is never at fault, in this reading—only the inadequate application of it is. (Ideologues are all alike: Somewhere out there is the world's last Communist true believer, plaintively insisting that real Communism never actually failed because it was never actually tried.)

Six months of fake news stories about Hillary Clinton didn't doom her election chances; two decades of real news stories did. But the fake-news meme provides Democrats with an excuse to avoid self-reflection; it clears Clinton (and them) of any responsibility for the loss.

Unfortunately for Democrats, assuming there are no lessons to be learned only increases the odds that Democrats will nominate another flawed candidate next time.

In a splendid review of a work by Norman Podhoretz some years ago, Leon Wielseltier wrote, "this is a dreary book. Its author has a completely axiomatic mind that is quite content to maintain itself in a permanent condition of apocalyptic excitation. His perspective is so settled, so confirmed, that it is a wonder he is not too bored to write. The veracity of everything he believes is so overwhelmingly obvious to him that he no longer troubles to argue for it. Instead there is only bewilderment that others do not see it, too. … (T)he refusal of others to assent to his beliefs is portrayed by Podhoretz not as a principled disagreement that is worthy of respect, but as a human failing. … He has a philosophy. They have a psychology."

That passage describes vast swaths of the American electorate, of every persuasion. (You might have noticed that Trump voters do not exactly relish having their own biases challenged, either.)

The prescription for the ailment is the "Ideological Turing Test," invented by Bryan Caplan, an economist at George Mason University. It's simple enough: If you truly understand your political adversary, then you should be able to write an essay explicating his or her point of view well enough that a neutral judge cannot tell the difference.

How many of us, do you think, could pass it?

This column originally appeared at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  1. I really need to record the things my prog friend says. Yesterday it was about how “I’ve learned that the arguments over economic systems are like with religions, it’s not one is bad and one is right, it’s just a different way of doing things”, right after he praised Castro.

    Me: “You don’t have people risking their life to escape from Capitalist countries. People would take tire and plywood rafts to try to escape Cuba, and people would be shot trying to cross the Berlin wall”

    Him: “Well, capitalism just happens to be on top right now”

    Michael Savage is right. Liberalism is a mental disorder

    1. Michael Savage is right. Liberalism is a mental disorder

      (T)he refusal of others to assent to his beliefs is portrayed by Podhoretz not as a principled disagreement that is worthy of respect, but as a human failing. … He has a philosophy. They have a psychology.

      1. To be fair, it seems like they have a philosophy, but also are backing it up with some fantasy (a little political fantasy is to be expected, but ‘capitalism is just on top now’ is beyond that) to the point that maybe there is a psychological component.

      2. Well we’re libertarians, right? I can look at a Conservatives view point and see it as a principled disagreement. Conservatism is nothing but taking past experience and applying it to policies. Problem with it is that past experience is not always a correct indicator, but it makes sense to me why they think that way, and I have no problems talking to them about my view point, which usually they will take into consideration even if they do not change their own.

        Then I look at a Progressive view point and not only is it not based on experience, it has fucking millions of deaths, poverty, and hate behind it proving how fucking horrible and flawed the ideology is. Yet they still stick to it with religious devotion.

        Sorry, it is a mental disorder. More accurately, it is the product of brainwashed masses who idiotically spew ideas that make powerful people more powerful. Fuck them.

    2. Michael Savage would know all about having a mental disorder. The man is certifiable.

      1. No, on the contrary, he’s remarkably sane. He has created a successful persona and milks it for everything it can give. If you call him by his name rather than that of the character, you’ll be off the air instantaneously, and your utterance bleeped.

        1. Why did he change it in the first place? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I wouldn’t mind having my frothing rantrums on the virtue of Israel delivered by “Michael Weiner, Doctor of Botany.”

          I guess I’m the weirdo.

          1. For what it’s worth he isn’t the only Weiner on the air, or wasn’t back when I listened to him. Other guy is a doc or something.

            Also, as someone with a dorky last name, I totally understand wanting a cool one as well.

          2. I worked with a man with the God given last name Savage. He lived up to it. Proved to everyone he wasn’t immortal.

    3. Is Michael Savage that gay sex columnist? I kid, I kid, I know it isn’t, I just like to imagine he loathes being mistaken for the other Savage.

    4. “I’ve learned that the arguments over economic systems are like with religions, it’s not one is bad and one is right, it’s just a different way of doing things”

      Oh, cool! So if that’s his viewpoint, he would be OK with strict separation of economy and state so that everyone could form their own voluntary communities and have whatever type of economic system they want?

    5. the only time capitalism wasn’t on top was? Never, except where outlawed but even there black markets flourish

    6. Wrong. Socialism is a mental disorder bad enough to generate communist genocide. Drown it in Jesus-myth superstition and it transubstantiates into National Socialist genocide. Both mind-rotting forms of altruism from the interwar period soaked into These States from Germany and Russia. Gemerica.com is a German Expats website crawling with fans who, unlike the ku-klux ‘murrican conservative press, actually understand German. These people are not libertarians but they at least can and do read the original looter screed written by and about Germany’s Jesus Christ (Hitler of Bavaria) and his mystical conservative party-buddies.
      Bonus: there is a 1905 letter there from The Don’s grandpappy (who married Elizabeth Christ!) begging Bavaria to take him back. –No way could I make this stuff up if I tried to!

  2. Hopefully the Democrats can get back to the work of the American People and vigorously debate what the 33rd gender category should be.

    1. I vote for Quender-Jeer!

      Or the retro, once-size-fits-all “Hee-shee.”

      1. Excuse me, I meant to say “Shim.”

        1. And for those who just like to watch them, “gender-leer”.

  3. Did anyone post about the gun car and knife attack in OH?

    1. Situation: Person attacks students with a Machete and/or Car. Policeman shoots and kills him

      Media: OMG SHOOTING ON COLLEGE CAMPUS.

      Fuck the Media, you lying sacks of shit

      1. FAKE NEWS!!!!!

        1. If they keep lying, it gives us another pretext to examine the troubling unamerican activities of various leftist organiztions

          1. THAT’S RIGHT GHOST OF JOE MCCARTHY ALL UP IN YO AZZ YOU COMMIE BITCHES

            half j/k

      2. Could be worse. If they followed the template of How to Report Things That Happen in Israel the headline would read “On Campus Religious Intolerance Leaves Immigrant Student Dead.”

  4. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that many more libertarians and probably conservatives could write a fairly accurate summation of the progressive viewpoint than the other way around.

    Maybe it won’t be varnished with the same euphemisms and emotive buzzwords, but it’ll be far closer than anything the typical prog can come up with for our beliefs.

    1. “A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it … gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”
      ? Milton Friedman

      Talking to my prog friend:

      – Companies should not be open on Thanksgiving
      – Well if people didn’t buy anything on Thanksgiving, they wouldn’t be open. They are just giving people what they want
      – You can say that about anything. What if a company wanted to sell dog meat, people would buy it (seriously, I’m not making this up)
      – So you should decide for people right?
      – I’m saying companies should take a moral stand and not exploit their workers on Thanksgiving
      – So what if someone has different morals than you? What if they think it’s immoral for anyone to shop on Sundays? Should they force that choice on to you?

      I remember seeing a clip with Milton Friedman in the 80s where he said ‘one day the supreme court could be very conservative, what would you think about their power then?”, to which the host laughed. Seriously these idiots never believe other people will ever be in power, it’s always THEM that will be making the decisions. I didn’t vote for Trump, but I’m glad they are finally getting what they deserve.

      1. – You can say that about anything. What if a company wanted to sell dog meat, people would buy it (seriously, I’m not making this up)

        You responded that dog meat isn’t that tasty and the market would be limited, right?

        1. dog meat isn’t that tasty and the market would be limited

          Nonsense! Fidosteak is full of anti-trioxidants and riboflavones. It is the Kale of meats

          1. What do you call a Vietnamese walking a dog? A vegetarian.

            What do you call a Vietnamese walking two dogs? A rancher.

      2. I hope you also said something about some workers wanting to work holidays.

        1. Impossible. No one would work thanksgiving willingly without a Walmart manager putting a gun to their head and carting them in in chains.

          1. Or the fact of the matter that most people working retail on Thanksgiving either get a really early shift (off to have dinner that night), or a really late shift (have a lunch time Thanksgiving meal).

    2. Some Democrats and “liberals” are doing a good job. But you have to cut through the noise to find or hear them.

    3. “I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that many more libertarians and probably conservatives could write a fairly accurate summation of the progressive viewpoint than the other way around.”

      Agreed.
      We get this stuff as the constant background noise of existence, so riffing on it in a believable manner probably isn’t real hard.
      Look what Sokal did the PM crowd; hook, line and sinker.

      1. Also, because many of us went to college (and some of us spent a long time there), we’ve already had to write about liberal politics as if we believed them.

      2. Dr. Sokal is a goddam hero.

    4. many more libertarians and probably conservatives could write a fairly accurate summation of the progressive viewpoint than the other way around.

      Jonathon Haidt agrees.

      1. Also, Bastiat (sort of) – circa 1850:

        A Confusion of Terms

        Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

        We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

      2. Judging from most comments coming from libertarians, I don’t think libertarians or conservatives are capable of accurately portraying liberals’ viewpoints.

        Frankly, I find libertarians very confounding. They seem to want an inconsistent list of items to be publicly funded. I cannot find rhyme nor reason as to how they determine whether a particular potential expense should be publicly funded. Roads, firefighters, police, soldiers, airports, shipping docks, churches, airwaves. To my ears, when a libertarian is talking, I just hear “screw you guys, i think government should spend money on this list of things, because they benefit me. And I don’t think government should spend money on this list of things, because they don’t benefit me at all”.

        So yeah, I would fail your test to accurately write down a libertarian viewpoint.

    5. This is only true to a certain extent. Yes, libertarians could write an essay explaining a typical prog’s point of view. However, I believe most would fail at explaining the deep thinkers, the philosophers, that came up with some of the ideas which progs have adopted and bastardized without understanding, such as the writings of the left wing anarchists. How many libertarians have really read Proudhon, for example? Not many.

      1. Fair enough.

      2. You sound like someone with an interesting reading list. Got any recommedations?

      3. Most liberals haven’t read them either.

        1. This.

          One thing I’ve observed is that even the seemingly well-read leftists often rely on summaries or snippets rather than source material.

          Libertarians are the only people I’ve known who will enthusiastically read the dense and lengthy works of Mises, Rothbard, and Spencer.

      4. Is it really accurate to say that proggs “adopted and bastardized” Proudhon? Sure they are all fruit of the same tree, but I don’t see mainstream proggs as being descended from his line.

        And, to be certain, with his emphasis on free association and rejection of authoritarianism, many modern proggs would deem his ideas to be ‘on the right.’

    6. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that many more libertarians and probably conservatives could write a fairly accurate summation of the progressive viewpoint than the other way around

      The difference is that ‘libertarians and conservatives’ can accurately summarize the “best” of left wing viewpoints.

      a la the Krugman’s or Tom Friedman-style rhetorical jabber

      The thing liberals can ‘accurately summarize’ are something like “ranting REAL AMERICAN commenters with an eagle/american flag avatar” bitching about Feminazis and fags taking over the country.

      They’ve got their Colbert-Report, we have South Park.

      The difference is really that conservatives read all “their stuff” all day long. Whereas the people who read Gawker do not compare notes with National Review or American Thinker, or whatever.

  5. His perspective is so settled, so confirmed, that it is a wonder he is not too bored to write.

    That’s beautiful.

    How many of us, do you think, could pass it?

    By ‘us’, do you mean libertarians? Because I think they would have an excellent chance of passing it, as they seem to consume a great deal of both left and right rhetoric.

    1. I think there was some study that determined exactly that. Progressive types failed miserably while conservative and libertarian types mostly got it right. I can’t find it right now.

      1. Look up there ^^ its three posts above….

  6. I think White middle class people were being oppressed by political correctness and they decided to DO SOMETHING! Hurray for them. This will change things.

    1. Fuck off, asswipe.

      1. Its “Oz-Wee-Pay”!!

        1. I always pronounce it “Az-Wee-Pay” but I love that skit.

    2. Shouldn’t you be busy running the blockade again in order to self-immolate on the grave of El Commandante?

      1. We could GoFundProg a can of gas and a plane ticket?

        1. I was thinking more “raft made of styrofoam coolers” than “plane ticket,” but i’m down with the general idea.

          1. Sean Penn’s leaky boat? Red Solo cup for bailing not included.

    3. Well it’s white *working class, not middle class. Keep working on it.

  7. If you truly understand your political adversary, then you should be able to write an essay explicating his or her point of view well enough that a neutral judge cannot tell the difference.

    How many of us, do you think, could pass it?

    I’m sure I could make a passable attempt, but I’m afraid of permanently damaging my brain in the process.

    Let’s put it this way, just as the AI can’t deal with oxymorons in their CPUs, I can’t deal with logical inconsistency in my brain. It damages the hardware and hurts like you wouldn’t believe.

    1. You are not a computer. Humans can deal with paradoxes just fine, unless you are on the spectrum.

    2. Hell, I was raised a Unitarian and understand the liberal/progressive mindset very well. I could probably write an essay correctly explaining the point of view of just about every flavor of the species.

      1. You and me both. The really fun one would be to do a point of view from the moderate center of each of the three closest congregations to where I grew up. My church (Hippie, live and let live), One downtown Church (Absolutely bat poop leftists, were totally on the whole SJW wagon long before it became mainstream), the other downtown church (Cult of Hillary).

  8. Four words-“Your candidate sucked more.” Any questions?

    1. This. Trump basically got a small uptick in voters than what Romney had. Hillary couldn’t get people to show up. Like they say, folks thought Trump was the only candidate Hillary could defeat. Turns out, they were just off by one.

      1. This is the explanation I tend to favor.

      2. The Clinton campaign thought Trump, Carson, Cruz, and a couple others would be easy to defeat.

      3. Most bookies were laying 4 to 1 odds the Dem/CPUSA faction would beat the GOP/NSDAP faction. Odds can be shifted by, f’rinstance, heavy betting on Hillary to win. Looting the US economy with asset-forfeiture, income tax, tariffs, fines and confiscated dope recycled into the black market is profitable enough to make sacrifice betting worthwhile. By shifting the odds and lulling the other looters into smug complacency about the election outcome, the GOP/NSDAP may have managed to reduce opposition turnout. Arnold Rothstein, also a New York Don, handled a lot of betting on the election between Liberal/Libertarian Al Smith versus GOP/NSDAP Herbert Hoover in 1928… Rothstein was shot to death right after the election, so he’ll never tell who placed those bets.

  9. The alt-right as cause takes care of a few things for the left. It shows that America is still racist, which means their are still victims that need a champion. (And additionally there’s great power to be mined from victimhood.) And this and the fake news angle means that no introspection is necessary (or wanted). The problem is not within, it’s that voters are too stupid (possibly to be trusted with the vote).

  10. lost a can’t-lose election to the worst presidential nominee in American history

    Generally speaking, the loser to a loser is the bigger loser.

    Perhaps the worst Republican nominee is more realistic, huh? The left vomited up a hell of a stinker themselves. Then there are all the minor party candidates to contend with. Pinkos are still pinkos and still picking candidates.

    1. Is Hinkle social signaling for cocktail parties again? Or am I getting the wrong message? To elaborate on what I was saying below, by 2004 we all basically knew how badly either a 2nd Bush term or a Kerry term would’ve turned out for the country. We have no idea how good to decent or bad that Trump will be because he has never been a politician before. Therefore, how can you make the argument that he was “the worst nominee in presidential history”? Especially since he won in states that the GOP doesn’t usually win!

      1. Trump and Clinton were both historically awful nominees.

        1. We both agree that Clinton was a historically awful nominee, and there are two decades of paper trails and political track records to prove that on the spot. On the other hand, you think that Trump was a historically awful nominee, but you don’t know for sure. That’s the part that I’m trying to point out; he has absolutely no experience with being a politician, and you can only make a decision on how good, decent, bad, or awful a president that he will be based on an educated guess.

          Based on how effective his campaign was at getting out the vote in states such as MI, OH, FL, PA, and WI, he was a very good nominee. Based on his electoral results relative to how little that he spent on the campaign compared to Hillary, he was a historically good nominee. Based on his ability to be president, we have absolutely no idea. I’m guessing that he likely won’t be that great, with a small chance that he will be quite good relative to recent presidents. But again, that’s a complete guess; he could be utterly awful as well.

      2. Is Hinkle social signaling for cocktail parties again? Or am I getting the wrong message?

        Its just a new Honorific Title.

        Trump will forever be known as “worst presidential nominee in American history”, regardless of his winning the election, regardless of being the first to flip certain blue states for the first time in 30+ years, regardless of the fact that on a handful of issues he is actually proposing things libertarians should be encouraged by, regardless of the fact that his opponent was actually facing potential prosecution for Federal crimes, … and so on.

    2. lost a can’t-lose election to the worst presidential nominee in American history

      I mean, I get that some of Reason’s writers are young and/or historically ignorant, but how on earth is Trump worse than George Wallace?

      1. how on earth is Trump worse than George Wallace?

        he’s not a democrat.

    3. The PA Communist Party endorsed Clinton.

  11. Democrats should probably take a step back and realize THEY were the ones that nominated the worst Presidential candidate in history.

    1. Hey now! Can you imagine if we were given the high energy candidate selected from on high by the GOP? jEB! At least another shinty six million voters would have showed up to vote JEB!

  12. “It’s been two weeks and counting since the larbord side of the country lost a can’t-lose election to the worst presidential nominee in American history.”

    Not quite. There was one candidate who was even worse than him.

    1. In my mind at least, Bush and Kerry were far worse nominees back in ’04 than Trump was this year. He may not be all that libertarian, but he’s too much of a blank slate ideologically to really be considered the worst nominee that the GOP has ever put up.

      1. Very much this. A blank slate is a great way to describe how people are reacting. There’s really absolutely nothing to base any kind of guess on. To some extent people always only see what they want to see, but trump’s inexperience means that’s all there is to see.

        1. I don’t think trump is a blank slate, so I disagree with you there: I think he was pretty explicit in what he said he wanted to do, and his nominees that he’s chosen so far give a lot of indication that he’s going to do what he said he’ll do. Historically, what a candidate says in the campaign in the best guide to what they’ll at least try to do in office. Trump is no different.

          But that’s not even the real discussion I want to have, this is: How is a blank slate comforting, at all? If you worked for a company where you disagreed pretty strongly with most of what the current CEO did, but you still were payed pretty well and it was a decent job, and he/she was replaced with someone with no prior experience running a company and who’s views you didn’t know, would you feel good about that? Would it be enough to tell yourself “I have no idea how they’ll handle this incredibly difficult job with vast consequences, ergo it might be decent!”

          I find that situation alarming, not comforting.

          1. This may not apply to you, but when faced with a choice between a CEO/president that you know is awful and will continue to be awful at that job and a “mystery box”, a large percentage (including myself) would much rather have the mystery box. If my choice for president was Hillary or Jeb, two candidates with bad paper trails I would’ve just stayed the hell away and voted for Johnson or wrote-in Mickey Mouse. Trump, on the other hand, has a decent chance of being average-to-below-average as president with a small chance at being either good or awful.

            1. As an idea, I guess I agree; if a leader was bad enough, rolling the dice on an unknown would be preferable. The judgement of What’s Bad Enough is where we differ – I think Obama generally did a decent job (there’s loads to improve and criticize though, don’t get me wrong there), and I think Hillary would’ve largely continued on.

              In my mind, this was “Acceptable if underwhelming” vs “Mostly unknown with scary indications of horribleness.”

              1. Anyways, to make a more debatable point: I guess I just can’t fully understand how someone could look at modern America, or the current Democratic policy platform, and say “this is the most horrid thing ever and it’s worth putting a complete unknown in to office OF THE PRESIDENT just to not have another stone-walled 4 years of this.”

                In my example, I tried to emphasize the idea that despite the CEO being an asshat, your job was both reasonably enjoyable and well-paid. This is to say that largely speaking, the overwhelming majority of Americans have a pretty good life. Like, what was so utterly intolerable that it become preferable to put Trump in office.

                I don’t know, this isn’t a very well thought-out thing. I just really struggle to see how so many people made that calculation.

                1. A lot of the sentiment that drove Trump’s win in the Rust Belt was a long time coming for the Democrats. Many of the worst-hit cities from the steel/auto exodus, such as Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, have experienced decades of stagnation under one-party Democrat rule, and while few of the potential Clinton voters in those cities voted for Trump, many of them stayed at home this election, allowing the rural counties that were also hit by economic stagnation to influence the election in favor of Trump. Much of this backlash was further enhanced by the liberals continuing their pursuit of using identity politics to alienate and antagonize as many wrong-thinkers as they possibly can. If they keep doing so and don’t change this tactic within the next decade, they IMO may not be able to get back in power for a very long time.

                  On a much, much smaller note, there is also a sizeable group of libertarians, including myself, that believe that their lives would improve as a whole simply from the deregulating and the slashing of executive orders that would result from the end of an Obama-style executive branch, even if all of Trump’s campaign promises about big-money infrastructure came true (they likely won’t, at least not to the extent that he believes).

                  1. The voting record is certainly in line with this. At a basic level, Trump got the usual amount of votes and Clinton got less.

                    I disagree with your (and others) narrative around identity politics though. Liberals are massively associated with identity politics, but “identity” is the core of politics in general. Republicans play to their bases, Democrats play to theirs, and it’s identity politics all the way down. In fact, Trump is rather unique among Republicans in to the degree to which he explicitly used an identity politics platform – Republicans are usually more subtle.

                    Identity Politics as a phrase has become an insult, something to describe a cheap or underhanded play for votes used by “the other side.” But identity politics is very nearly just Politics: it’s telling a particular group what you can do for them.

                    1. I actually fully agree with you that identity is the core of politics. The whole reason that the liberals’ use of identity politics are failing so badly now, however, is because unlike Romney or McCain, the Trump campaign discovered a way to successfully fight against it through targeting working class and rural identities. A vote for Trump became an equivalent to a lion’s roar for people in these groups. That’s why I say that if the Democrats don’t change their strategy that they will not be in power for a very long time.

                    2. In response to you saying that you think Trump might be beneficial to you: I’d like to know more about this. Like, do you think things he may do will benefit you on a personal level, or you think he’ll do things that you agree with on a more ideological level?

                    3. Identity politics is more than just playing to your base, and it’s not just “nearly just Politics”.

                      There is a certain amount of dishonesty in politics, but most political parties revolve around the core of a shared ideology. When it comes to this core, dishonesty is generally not necessary. There is only one real identity there.

                      Identity politics is the attempt to create a larger base, composed of sub-groups with different (usually superficially defined) identities based on the coherence of each group. Those practicing identity politics often need to isolate individual sub-groups and tell them things that conflict with what other sub-groups are told, in order to create a larger voting bloc. This is very different than just telling a group of people “what you can do for them.”

                      This divide-and-conquer tactic is often used by psychopaths to juggle the lies and half-truths they tell people in their lives, and people have a visceral reaction to this pattern of behavior when they observe it from the outside.

                      With the advent of new media and the internet, a Christian coal miner from Pennsylvania can finally see how their candidate talks about them at a LGBT rally in New York city. And vice versa.

                      This is why “identity politics” is an insult.

                    4. See, what you’re calling identity politics and framing as an insult I’d call coalition building and call it necessary.

                      If we lived in a Parliamentary style system, this wouldn’t be necessary at the voter level. Each group would vote to their interests and coalitions would be formed in the houses of government.

                      But in a majority system, it is necessary for voters of different interests to find commonality, build an alliance, and vote for the candidate that will approximately represent ALL of them. Conversely, a politician must be able to deliver messages to various interests and convince them that they have the correct ideas and intentions.

                      What you seem to be arguing for is 1) voters to have much more homogenous interests generally, and/or 2) for politicians to define their campaigns much more narrowly, and hope that it appeals to enough to win. Neither is realistic in the slightest.

            2. I don’t see how Trump is a mystery box. It’s a big gold plated box full of graft and self-enrichment sold to rubes watching QVC.

              1. Trump is the definition of a mystery box because he has never been a politician before. You can believe that he is a gold plated box of graft, but nobody actually knows if this is the case since he has never held office at all. The one main danger that I can see with Trump is that he made his fortune in New York real estate, which is the definition of a horrifically regulated and distorted market where you can only survive with the right connections. If he truly believes that New York City is a free market and uses the same principles when making economic policy, then we libertarians may have a problem.

              2. “…sold to rubes watching QVC”

                Your jealousy shows.

          2. And presidents always do what the candidates said they’d do, right?

            1. They do, actually. They at least try to – a president isn’t a dictator after all. This is true historically, and insofar as we know what Trump’ll do based on his appointees, it’ll be true for him too.

              1. M-
                Really? You don’t remember how candidate Obama was going to end the war(s), deschedule weed, close Gitmo, etc., etc.?
                Candidate Obama at least had a couple talking points I liked and none of them came to pass. All of the terrible things breezed through, unfortunately.

              2. mortiscrum|11.28.16 @ 1:34PM|#
                “They do, actually. They at least try to – a president isn’t a dictator after all.”

                Man, you ARE full of it:
                “Promise Broken rulings on The Obameter”
                […]
                “Eliminate all oil and gas tax loopholes”
                And 122 more.
                http://www.politifact.com/trut…..en/?page=1

          3. I do. At least when the alternative brings a thousand years of darkness with her.

    2. HItler?

  13. I just want them to get on with the “Persecution of the Innocent” phase.

  14. The prescription for the ailment is the “Ideological Turing Test,” invented by Bryan Caplan, an economist at George Mason University. It’s simple enough: If you truly understand your political adversary, then you should be able to write an essay explicating his or her point of view well enough that a neutral judge cannot tell the difference.

    I’ve proposed this to some of my progressive friends. Almost to a person, they responded with insults to any worldview but their own.

    1. Progressives are closeted commies who want to force businessmen to violate their consciences at the behest of the collective, to disarm gun owners, and to abridge first-amendment protections for speech they find uncomfortable. What else is there to understand?

        1. I probably could not sit down and write an honest, earnest apologia for progressive ideals without descending into pure snark after the first paragraph. Instead, I like Arnold Kling’s “three languages of politics, which explains why the left, the right, and libertarians talk past each other: because we really do. Progressives prioritize equality, conservatives prize conservatism, and libertarians advocate for liberty. The ranking of each is simply different, which is why progressives can justify dismantling the first amendment if it furthers their crusade against “hate speech,” why conservatives can justify harsh drug laws to ensure social harmony, and why libertarians are right about everything.

          1. conservatives prize conservatism

            D’oh. Conservatives prize security.

            1. Excellent point, and exactly what I worry may be a growing and impassable gulf. Talking about another ideological group isn’t so much understanding an opposing position and offering countering ideas, it’s examining another’s values through a lens of your own values, leading to a gross mischaracterization of that position, and laughing at how stupid/misguided/evil someone must be to believe it.

              The entire “conversation” is a long series of Straw-Men.

              1. I spent a brief time working as a door-to-door vacuum salesman (I know, I know). The regional manager/recruiter was exactly the kind of walking sleaze you’d expect to have carved out a successful 30-year career as a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman, but he gave me a great piece of advice about sales that I have tried to incorporate into my political discussions, especially as I’ve gotten older and more pragmatic about actually seeing my party win a damn election once in my life. He said “you’re not there to debate your customer, you’re there to agree with him.” Instead of telling him what you like about the product, find out what HE wants the product to do, agree that this is an admirable goal, and then explain why your product is the best option fir achieving this goal. “Oh, you want to help the poor? Great, me too! Now here’s how a free market is actually the best way to go about it.” Needless to say, I’m not much more successful at convincing leftists to buy libertarianism than I ever was at convincing house wives to buy vacuums, but it’s a promising strategy nonetheless.

                Watching old YouTube videos of milton Friedman giving lectures at colleges, he was truly a master at this.

            2. When talking about ‘equality’ with liberals vs. libertarians or conservatives, keep in mind that it could mean equality of treatment or equality of outcomes. Just like you should always define ‘rights’, or “shall not be infringed”. Ok, I kid I kid.

          2. I love how you closed up the argument….

          3. I think it’s more about what people include in their definitions of equality and security. Outside of the crazy hippie fringe, most progressives are conservative first too. They live in safe white neighborhoods and push for cautious change within the system, and which doesn’t upset the apple cart too much. Even to the degree their stupid ideas do hamstring the economy, they don’t really believe that they’re doing that, thinking they’re having their cake and eating it too via demand side economics or whatever.

          4. Unable to portray conservatism, which prizes limited government, free markets and individual liberty. You’re confusing conservatism with the Republican Party.

            1. I’m honestly curious how many self-identified conservatives would define conservatism this way, and leave out any moralizing or religious identification. That’s an intellectual definition of conservatism people would use twenty years ago, but ideas get diluted as they spread through the population, who take those ideas and project their own values onto them.

    2. Yep. Either they know your position better than you yourself do (it’s pure hate with a thin veneer of intellectual justification smeared on top), or they are certain they’re right and have zero interest in understanding the viewpoints of people opposed to justice and righteousness.

      1. Of course the progressives know how racist I am, after all when they look at me they can tell by my pasty white skin!!

        1. So………if we go get tans, do we become incrementally less racist as our tans get darker?

          1. That’s just cultural appropriation.

  15. For the liberal establishment, however, the fake-news meme is a dangerous self-deception.

    Not to mention a very convenient lie, since it unshackles them from any obligation to remain even facially objective. Consciously or unconsciously they’re excusing themselves in advance for the next four years of publishing whatever it takes to oppose Trump.

  16. The Turing case for Hillary:

    1) She’d preserve Democratic achievements like Social Security and Medicare, which conservatives oppose at the time and now claim they’ll “fix.” Contrary to people like Reason staffers, these programs protect people who would otherwise be sick and miserable in the most vulnerable years of their life. As Hubert Humphrey said, the government should protect people in the dawn of life (children), the twilight of life (elderly) and the shadows of life (the disabled). It’s Democrats who enacted this insight into law, and Democrats who can be trusted to make necessary reforms without being destructive.

    2) Her Wall Street connections protect the Democrats from turning into fanatical socialists. Wall Street has been under attack since it was first built as a Dutch defensive wall, but it serves a function beloved of conservatives – communicating price information. Wealthy Wall Streeters aren’t threatened by a certain degree of redistribution, so there’s no reason for the poor and the middle class to feel threatened.

    3) Traditionally the party of religious freedom, Democrats keep religious issues like abortion out of the public square, focusing on science and evidence based policies, speaking of which…

    4) Global warming is a danger recognized by Democrats and denied by Republicans

    PLUS

    5) Trump is crazy an irresponsible

    How did I do?

    1. PLUS

      6) Trump would retreat from America’s international commitments and let aggressors (like Putin) throw their weight around while country after country falls prey to terrorist and anti-American regimes. Better to get your hands dirty and engage with the world than walk away from our responsibilities, build walls, and watch everything go to hell.

      1. Yeah I think that is a reasonable defense of Hillary. Certainly better than the “SHE’S PURE EVIL!!!!!!” crapola from the Trumpbots trying to force us to make a false binary choice.

        1. I’m not much of a Trump guy, but Hillary IS composed of Pure Concentrated Evil…….

          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=F6X9KcrXHwg

      2. You’ve convinced me to vote for her xD.

        I was already convinced about 12 months ago though, so you had an easy audience.

        Seriously though, thank you for making an honest attempt at what the article was talking about. The majority of these comments are not doing that, and merely displaying a breathtaking lack of self-awareness in their rush to bash those who think differently than themselves.

        1. Despite my response to you, I actually do understand the financial logic of some libertarians or quasi-libertarians (like Cuban) that may have voted for Clinton, especially when using the second point about her Wall Street ties preventing the Democrats from becoming a younger version of the Bernie Party. It’s pretty funny to me that I find her secretive, WikiLeaked political positions to be more palatable than the ones that she campaigned to progs about.

          1. I love her “secret” positions, and…I don’t know, maybe not run on them, but not tried to fake a more progressive-populist campaign.

    2. You forgot to mention her vagina.

      1. Girls rule. Women are funny. Get over it.

        1. It’s true. Whenever Amy Schumer talks about her vagina, it’s the funniest thing in the world.

    3. You didn’t put global warming as the number one issue, therefore its easy to tell you are a faker….

    4. 1) Preserve how? By her typical political talk? No-one is getting rid of Social Security or Medicare. No-one has said to. But it is broke and needs to be fixed. What is your fix? She never said one.
      2) Haha, Obama has been all about redistribution. Hillary was running on Obama has a 3rd term. Hillary was only in if for Hillary and what money she could make (as seen by her Foundation). The poor and middle class feel left out by her.
      3) Unless you are Catholic right? Abortion is always front and center with Democrats. Trump will repeal Roe vs Wade remember? Or Abortion Barbie in Texas. Science and Evidence based policies…like Philly, Chicago, Detroit…we are going to tax soda because it makes you fat even sugar free and juice!

      1. 4) Michael Mann said so right? Oh wait, he fudges his data. Yet other data shows the Earth hasn’t been heating. Honestly, the case isn’t global warming it’s man made global warming (which is arrogant). I;m sure you typed this on the bike you were pedaling for power.
        5) Maybe…I mean he has been in government for 30 years and had secret servers, trashed the white house in 92, treated the White House as his celebrated haven, tax player vacations, pay for play…wait that was Hillary and Obama. Trump was a business man that used every loophole in the book. I know business man are evil!
        6) Like Obama right? Where are allies hate us and he wanted to hang with dictators. I seem to recall Obama and the media mocking about Russia being out enemy. I know we need another reset button.

        You are delusional on your defend of Hillary. The problem with Trump is people don’t know what he will do. We know what Hillary will do.

        1. My Monday bad, I see your Trump below. Carry on…

  17. The dems could probably have picked anyone else (Bernie, Martin O’Malley?) and they could have beaten Trump. The GOP could have picked any one of their other sadsacks and they would have lost to Hillary.

    1. I strongly doubt that this would’ve been the case; in my personal opinion, Trump was the perfect GOP candidate for this particular year (maybe only this year?) because he was able to capitalize on the backlash against progressive identity politics among important demographic groups, and was able to do it at the fraction of the cost of a traditional presidential campaign. It’s for this reason that I hate to call Trump a bad nominee even though I don’t agree with about 65% of what he campaigned on.

  18. It’s paywalled, so a summary will have to do:
    “We must take Russian propaganda seriously”
    http://www.sfgate.com/search/?…..propaganda

    See, the Russkis used “sophisticated propaganda software” (sic) to convince the rubes to vote for Trump, therefore we must do something or other (and you’d be forgiven if you imagine the “we” to be the government).
    It wasn’t that bent, venal piece of shit the Ds offered up like some humungous hair-ball! Nope, couldn’t be that the rubes saw what the proggies were hoping no one would notice.
    Gotta be them evil Russkies!

    1. you’re kidding.

      that link didn’t work. You’re saying that the Chronicle is now assuming facts not in evidence? Treating the ubiquitous speculation that “somehow Russia was involved”… as de-facto proof that voters were swayed by…. what?

      i don’t think i’ve seen anyone point it out, but the left’s reaction to the Wikileaks dumps is very much like the right’s reaction to Snowden’s disclosures of NSA surveillance = shoot the messenger, and ignore the clearly-problematic material exposed.

      1. Actually, the link worked but it only took you to the index listing the article; the link to the article gives you a black page..
        But yeah, lefty rag inventing all sorts of reasons for lefty losses, so long as they don’t include a candidate who COULDN’T BEAT DONALD TRUMP for pete’s sake.
        And then inventing reasons the government should ‘take steps to keep that from happening’.

  19. I believe you’ll find Trump to be the *second* worst candidate, after Herself.

  20. If you truly understand your political adversary, then you should be able to write an essay explicating his or her point of view well enough that a neutral judge cannot tell the difference.

    How many of us, do you think, could pass it?

    “How do you write liberals so well?”

    “I think of a man and I take away reason and accountability.” …

  21. “The Liberal Postmortem on 2016 Is not Going Well”

    The findings are simple but not what the left wants to hear so of course it isnt going well.

  22. the worst presidential nominee in American history

    The progressives are still trying to figure out why people voted for Trump, without, you know, actually asking any of us.

    “Dear progressives; it’s simple. We didn’t vote for Trump. A whole big deciding bunch of us voted against Clinton.

    If you truly understand your political adversary, then you should be able to write an essay explicating his or her point of view well enough that a neutral judge cannot tell the difference.

    Progressives believe that most people are incapable of running their own lives. Therefore people need to depend on progressives in Washington, D.C., who do know what each individual anywhere in the country needs, wants, and can provide, to make each important decision for every individual. This will be much simpler once each individual is categorized into appropriate ethnic groups, members of which share all major values, wants, needs and abilities.

  23. The first time I encountered the term trumpenproletariat was here at H&R. Well-done, people.

  24. The Turing case for Trump

    1) His experience is in business, not crooked dealmaking

    2) He rejects the ideological straitjackets of some Republicans and proposes to represent all the people

    3) He frees the Republican Party from its free-trade, open-borders fetish which harms Middle America – he is the only one who actually focuses on protecting their jobs.

    4) He’s not a fanatical interventionist like Hillary

    5) He’s allied with the prolifers and will put good judges on the Supreme Court

    6) As a professional dealmaker, he will work with adversaries if they have good ideas, unlike his opponent who would seal herself off into an ideological bubble and regard everyone outside as an enemy

    7) His election is in and of itself a rebuke to the suffocating political correctness which harms this great country

    1. Not bad, not bad at all.

      However, I think 5 should be number 1. It is generally underestimated how important that was to people IMHO. Although maybe that’s libertarian bias…

    2. 8). Trump refuses to bankrupt the country over ‘global warming’.

  25. “the worst presidential nominee in American history.”

    Hyperbole much? Trump broke the stale script that’s been played out like clockwork every four years on the national scene. Trump deviated from the standard Republican playbook and everyone freaked out.

    Voters pick their nominees, judge them on their policy proposals, not their personalities. Trump is a RINO, but for some reason people aren’t tuned in closely enough to realize it.

  26. The Turing case for Jill Stein

    1) She’s the natural successor to Sanders

    2) She believes in the democratic variety of socialism, which is the form of socialism applied by many of America’s NATO allies – showing that there’s a significant difference between democratic and totalitarian socialism

    3) Said allies don’t have people worried about falling off health insurance

    4) Wall Street has wrecked the country and Stein is the only one who will take away their power

    5) Stein will end ill-advised foreign wars, sparing the blood and treasure of Americans – the savings can go to fixing things here at home

    6) She is for women’s rights and women’s reproductive health care

    7) She will make college free even if you don’t have a rich dad and a trust fund

    1. Honestly, what in the main is terribly different about American republicanism and our socialist democratic allies? Our government already involves itself in the bulk of healthcare spending. It taxes and spends gobs on welfare, a universal pension system, universal mandatory schooling, tremendous infrastructure undertakings, and labyrinthine regulatory schemes. It doesn’t do any of that especially well, and it’s corrupt and self-dealing to boot, but it’s stupid to think Swedish-style socialism would work in a country as diverse as ours. So what, in particular, do progressives bring to the table that we don’t already have? Single payer, that’s a given. More debt-financed welfarism, of course, but we’re getting that anyway. Direct elections of presidents? National greatness programs?

      1. Hobbling speech protections and tax sheltering for religious groups and other deplorables. Confiscating guns. Regulating disfavored industries out of business. Defederalizing public schools and crushing the insurgent charter movement along with private schools. Hell, maybe just end state sovereignty altogether. Further entrenching abortion rights.

        I guess we do have a ways to go before fully emulating our European betters.

        1. Further entrenching abortion rights.

          Speaking of which, i think its interesting how over the years i seem to have gone from “very liberal” on the subject, to “very conservative” …

          … all without changing my opinion at all.

          I recall being part of a high-school debate in 1990 where i argued that there should be no restrictions on a person’s right to choose what to do with their own body – and that no one should be able to interfere with them (provided they are an adult).

          But also that taxpayers should never be required to pay for someone else’s abortions – party because reliance on taxpayer-funded clinics would give political oversight to what should be an individual health choice. At the time, the fear was that the Religious Right might one day win-office and im

          I remember the most left-leaning people applauding my high-mindedness.

          Somehow over time this same position has become arch-conservative.

          1. Question Authority went out the window about the same time the left realized they had become the institutional authority.

    2. Sadly, its a trick question, there is no rational case for Stein. She’s a total wack job near commie, whose simplistic ideas for utopia would require a massive re-education effort.

      1. And you fail the touring test my friend.

        1. And I fail the typing test.

          1. Mavis Beacon shakes her head.

  27. Dammit – as an Iowa farmer, I feel I need to tell Hinkle that there are no “Iowa beet farmers”. We grow corn, beans, some oats, alfalfa, pigs, layer hens and cattle. C’mon! ***mumblemumble east coast elitists mumblemumble***

    1. According to the USDA, there are 72 beet farmers in Iowa.

      1. He’s a hick from flyover country what do you expect?

      2. I shudder to think how much that factoid cost us.

  28. I would actually be very interested in trying that Ideological Turing Test

  29. I don’t think many progs are at all interested in why someone voted for Trump or Johnson or Stein instead of Hillary. I think they’re more interested in figuring out a way to discourage or neutralize such voters. For example, agitating for elimination of the Electoral College, suppressing “fake news”, etc.

    1. ………eliminating voting, in favor of oligarchal socialists choosing for us as they ‘know what’s best for everyone’.

    2. Hey, Democrats aren’t the ones rolling back the Voting Rights Act and aggressively running through the hole it created.

      And just for the record, the electoral college is crap. Yes, a liberal making noise about it just after their candidate lost because of it can rightly be called sour grapes, but that doesn’t change the electoral college being a load of BS.

      This swing-state, only a few people’s votes actual matter system we have is fairly indefensible.

      1. “And just for the record, the electoral college is crap”

        Imagine my surprise that a lefty is in favor of mob rule.

        1. It’s not mob rule, not in the slightest. The House and Senate would still exist. I do find it fairly indefensible though that voters from some states have nearly 4 times the voting power of other states, and many voters essentially don’t have a vote because they aren’t lucky enough to live in a state with roughly equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats.

          But go ahead, continue to attack my position while offering no defense of your own.

  30. Of course the left has one advantage in this; Their candidate actually did loose, and they are pretty much locked out of power in most places outside the bastions of liberal power. While the press will put on a show of what went wrong that may be amusing to watch, the people at risk of loosing even more power, will take a harder deeper more serious look at the landscape.

    The right however is convinced it won the election, as opposed to the Democrats and specifically Hillary loosing it. Considering the uphill battle the democrats faced this should have been a landslide victory on all counts. Instead it was likely only a win because enough people stayed home rather than vote hold their nose so they can vote AGAINST Trump. As a result the right is motivated, and nearly convinced it practically has a mandate. If they are not careful, they may find that in 4 years time they are hanging their head wondering what happened. Since the vast majority are so excited about their narrow victory in what should have been a can’t loose election, they will not even be bothered to take a moment of introspection of what nearly happened. Being over confident is a recipe for loosing big time.

    1. To summarize you worry Trump will become exactly like Obama?

    2. I disagree to an extent…it should have been an easy victory for the dems because come on look at trump.

      1. But, c’mon……look at Hillary Clinton. With the exception of Rand Paul, the entire crop of candidates for this year’s election has been THE WORST I’ve seen in my voting lifetime. The liberal left is just stunned because Hillary was “inevitable”. Bernie Sanders was a plant to make it APPEAR as if Hillary Clinton had to EARN the nomination. Unfortunately for the DNC, Sanders started polling better than anyone expected so, they sabotaged his campaign. Oddly enough, Sanders is the only person who wasn’t upset about it. Curious, don’t you think? Then again, what is even more curious is that so many of his “angry” supporters STILL voted for Hillary Clinton. Apparently, they really don’t care as much about “election integrity” as Jill Stein purports.

    3. I’m going to be charitable and assume that you saying the Democrats loosed the election, you are cutely saying it ‘got away from them.’

  31. For the kids watching at home: “ascribe” =/= “subscribe”

  32. RE: The Liberal Postmortem on 2016 Is Not Going Well

    I think we should get a collection up for all these snowflakes so we can give them all a box of depends since all that pant shitting that has been going on since the election.

    1. As a Libertarian, I am against this subsidy for pants-shitters!

  33. Inb4 2020 DNC is lauding their nom as Saint compared to Clinton.

  34. Is this the same Richmond Times-Dispatch that endorsed Gary Johnson for president? They gave very good reasons for their decision.

    The polls were hugely influenced by where people got their news. I was in a state (California) that had very little television advertising for presidential candidates, probably because of a foregone conclusion. Most people don’t get as involved in politics as Reason readers do (I would have been an elector if my candidate had won), even with the advent of the Internet and social media. Luckily, there are signs that a Libertarian can gain traction among those who go outside the old media, so all we have to do is keep the ‘net decentralized and wait.

    If I were in charge of government schools, I would teach children not to vote unless they do their homework, first, although I admit I became a Libertarian based on the ballots and the occupations of the candidates listed under their names: D’s and R’s were all incumbents or former officials, and the Libertarians were physicists, math teachers, programmers, economists, and engineers.

  35. You might have noticed that Trump voters do not exactly relish having their own biases challenged, either.

    Bah! Challenge away, pansies.

    What I’ve noticed is that no Reason writer has yet stepped up to the plate to answer a simple question:
    How will importing Big Government voters make the US more free?

  36. From the article:

    ” Somewhere out there is the world’s last Communist true believer, plaintively insisting that real Communism never actually failed because it was never actually tried. ”

    There’s a shitload of them still, actually, primarily in N. Korea and then also professors at USA college campuses!

    1. I actually here the “communism didn’t fail because it was never tried’ line from garden variety progressives (not even particularly extreme ones) fairly often. It’s rather annoying that sometimes even moderate Dems aren’t willing to let communism go on the pyre of bad ideas.

      I remain disturbed at the lack of a real effort by moderate Dems to actually rebut Sanders during the primary. All they ever seemed to say was “full on socialism isn’t politically practical at this time” or some variation of that. That sort of tacit admission that socialism would actually be desirable even if it were practical is very, let’s say, problematic.

      1. Well…for the sake of debate I’ll say there is a grain of truth to the position. The thing is, I don’t think communism is something that can be implemented in any traditional government sense like democracy or whatever. The Communist Manifesto I think is more accurately described as philosophy than political theory – Marx saw communism as the end stage, natural progression of society. Humans would essentially evolve emotionally and intellectually to the point where they didn’t need a State to keep them in line, and greed would be a footnote of history. Under this interpretation, communism can’t be implemented forcefully, it must happen naturally. Forcing it to exist before that will be doomed to failure because people are not ready.

        This is me making the most charitable case for communism, and it of course bears no resemblance to any communistic state we’ve had so far (thus, it’s never been tried!). I also think it’s a load of crap – my faith in the goodness of humans is not nearly high enough to think it’s ever actually possible to make the system work, and the idea can be safely put in the same category as “ageless, hyper-intelligent, benevolent king.” Well, yeah, monarchy can be great if that king was in charge, but since that king doesn’t exist, monarchy kinda sucks.

        1. Karl Marx is given far too much credit for his insight and understanding of human psychology. Supporters of his beliefs are guilty of the same.

          1. And their absolute failure to note just how much Marx actually got wrong. He has to go down as the most over-regarded failure in the history of ideas.

            Mostly he’s a testament to wishful thinking.

  37. Tucker Carlson interviewed Jim Webb about why the Democrats got clobbered yet again. I think Webb nailed the explanation of the white, working class vote pretty well.

    In a nutshell Webb said the Democrats have played the “identity politics strategy” and they have ignored the white working class. Webb is correct. How many “Are you a white racist?” editorials from the left media can you see published before you begin to realize that the left media (and therefore the left) hates you because of the color of your skin? How many times do you have to hear that Hillary’s strategy was to get out the Hispanic vote, and the black vote before you have to ask yourself, “what am I, chopped liver”? How many times do you have to watch the lefty pundits gleefully observe that America is barreling toward becoming a “majority minority” country before you realize that they want whitey (i.e. you) to get its come uppance?

    After Trump’s victory, all I have seen are comments that the white racists won. Democrats are incapable of recognizing that working class white Americans feel frozen out of the Democratic party.

    Why is it racist for working class whites to vote as a block, and not racist for blacks to vote as a block? Democrats chose that game and it backfired. Stoking racial resentment is a dangerous strategy.

    The election wasn’t entirely about race but that was part of it.

    1. What’s funny is that many of the people who voted for Trump are the same people who voted for Obama – working class (and mostly white) people who were tired of the lack of economic opportunity.

      In 2008, they were praised to high heaven for helping to elect the first black president. Now, they’re lower than whale shit because they didn’t pull the blue lever.

      1. Funny how that worked out, isn’t it. Well…..maybe not.

      2. ‘people clinging bitterly to their guns and religion’

        Did you experience some election I never heard about?

        They were told they were racists, and would remain racists unless they voted for the first black president.

  38. You call it a turing test, I just call it being a cynic.

  39. “But the fake-news meme provides Democrats with an excuse to avoid self-reflection…”

    Vampires don’t “do” self-reflection…

  40. “But the fake-news meme provides Democrats with an excuse to avoid self-reflection; it clears Clinton (and them) of any responsibility for the loss.” That’s the point of “liberalism”: to absolve oneself of any and all personal responsibility…..which immediately precedes the loss of all vestiges of human dignity. Dignity is not to be confused with “pride”. A lot of people have a lot of “pride” but little, if any, dignity. We’ve been watching this play out for decades.

  41. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who noticed, since the media definitely isn’t talking about it, but I remember just a week or so before the election when Trump made his “if I win” statement. Hillary, her supporters, and the media all jumped up and denounced Trump for “denigrating our democratic system”. They made it clear that if you lose the election you are supposed to take it graciously and bow out.

    But ever since Hillary lost the election a major and ongoing discussion within her supporters and in the media is how to turn Trump’s victory around and change the outcome – which is 180 degrees out from what they were saying when Trump made a pre-emptory statement in the same vein.

  42. That Ideological Turing Test is awesome. It’s not just a great test, but it’s a great exercise to try yourself. You could Go to some ideological site that is the polar opposite of your viewpoint (Democratic Underground is a great one, Huffpo, Free Republic, whatever) and write some essay about why the other side is wrong and here’s why.

    I do notice the “if only they understood what I understand they would agree with me” philosophy here a LOT, but not as often as I see it among progs. It’s either that, or the person is evil – ignorant or evil, there is no other reason somebody could disagree with them.

    I do think on average, the right understands the lefts argument more than vice versa simply because the culture/media (movies, tv news, tv entertainment, print media etc) is disproportionately left of center, it’s harder to avoid for those who try to avoid the other side’s argument (I seek it out – reading Mother Jones, The Nation etc).

    I’ve found you can be MUCH more successful interrogating any sort of suspect by truly understanding their motivations, background, etc. Working undercover was method acting. You don’t ACT the part. You ARE the part.

    Again, this Caplan thing is awesome

  43. I’m curious why I, or anyone else, should care about the “post-mortem”. If 2016 taught us anything, it’s that while partisanship is high, party strength is low.

    So even if the “party” was able to extract the “right” lessons from the election… what could they do? The parties have given up control over candidates, given up control over nominees, and given up control over message. The Democrat Party are as incapable of making their next round of candidates in 2018 acceptable to Trump voters as the Republican Party was incapable of making their 2014 and 2016 candidates more immigrant-friendly and less hostile to minorities.

    So yeah. Can’t I care. The parties lack the strength to make a post mortem useful.

  44. Barton here is a classic example of the looter press trying to cross-dress into libertarian drag to sell an ideological equivocation imported from Mein Kampf. National Socialist orators and scribblers all hated “liberals,” by which they meant a sort of gelding proto-libertarian majoring in economic freedom. They also hated “Bolschewismus”, the non-Christian Stalinist form of socialism favored by those who now cross-dress into proto-libertarian-ACLU drag in order to dissemble their true identities.
    Both the Hitler an Stalin looter ideologies are relics of the interwar period in which Herbert Hoover, Treasury and Justice destroyed the US economy in an effort to keep light beer a felony. That they wear libertarian masks to trick fools into mistaking them for the real thing is the best proof that the 4 million presidential votes cast for the libertarian party platform were really worth at least 24 million law-changing votes up to possibly as many as 144 million. Soth looter Kleptocracy candidates together only suckered 123 million voters into choosing National and Soviet socialism, you can expect the LP to loom large in the minds of looter lawmakers for having the law-changing equivalent of at least 20% of the total vote clout.

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