Election 2020

Elections Can't Cure a Sick Political Culture

Letting America’s feuding tribes ignore each other might be the best medicine.

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With November 2020 looming, Americans look forward to the end of a seemingly permanent election campaign and perhaps some reduction in the raging fever of national tensions that ail the country. Dream on. Even if we have a clear winner on election night, the selection of next year's lucky White House resident seems bound to leave people more enraged than ever. Elections are no longer about turning out one officeholder and set of policies in favor of another with different schemes; they're existential battles between political tribes who see their enemies as dangerous and evil.

Which is to say, awful officials are only symptoms. America's divisive political culture is the disease and isolating the patients from one another may be the only treatment.

"Overwhelming majorities of both Biden and Trump supporters say that if the other candidate wins in November they would not only be very concerned about the country's direction, but that this would lead to lasting harm to the nation," Pew Research reported this month. "Fully 90% of Biden supporters say this about the prospect of Trump's reelection, while 89% of Trump supporters say this about the prospect of Biden as president."

Just over half (51 percent) of all voters told Pew that they "think about politics as a struggle between right and wrong."

"Right and wrong" is pretty stark, but it doesn't capture the full depths of antagonism between the country's political tribes. Last year, Louisiana State University political scientist Nathan Kalmoe noted that 55 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of Democrats said the other party is "not just worse for politics—they are downright evil." He added that 34 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of Democrats said the other party "lack the traits to be considered fully human—they behave like animals."

So, we don't have a modest disagreement over take-it-or-leave-it policies, but rather a Manichaean struggle (in the eyes of true-believing participants) for the fate of the nation. Which helps to explain why "among Americans who identify as Democrat or Republican, 1 in 3 now believe that violence could be justified to advance their parties' political goals," as Kalmoe wrote just weeks ago in an article co-authored with four other political scientists. "All together, about 1 in 5 Americans with a strong political affiliation says they are quite willing to endorse violence if the other party wins the presidency."

Just as troubling, 56 percent of Americans tell Braver Angels/YouGov that they anticipate "an increase in violence as a result of the election" and 61 percent of Americans fear the country is on the verge of civil war, according to another recent poll.

But anticipation of violence isn't predestination; it's just as likely to be an extension of seeing opponents as "downright evil," "like animals," and likely to do "lasting harm to the nation" if put in charge. That is, shuffling warm bodies among elected offices won't resolve the country's tensions, because the source of the tensions lies in the people themselves, divided as they are into hostile tribes fighting to wield power over each other. No matter who wins office, the people on the other side will still be there and represent a continuing threat in the eyes of opponents.

Recognizing the problem, Braver Angels, a pro-civility group that sponsored the poll finding a majority anticipating increased political violence, solicits signatures for a letter asking people to eschew tribalism:

We start with this commitment: We will not demonize or question the decency of Americans who vote differently from us. When we oppose their political views we will say so with vigor, but we won't castigate them as persons.

It's a lovely sentiment that seems too little, too late, by many years.

Still, there's a long distance between despising your neighbors and fighting them in the streets. The next few years could look less like Spain in the 1930s than like an exaggerated and more chaotic continuation of recent events (including, unfortunately, some degree of violence).

Among those events have been the tendency of localities at odds with federal and state authorities to go their own way, ignoring laws and dictates with which a majority of residents disagree. This isn't a new phenomenon—Norman Vroman, the Libertarian District Attorney of Mendocino County, California, drew national attention two decades ago for deemphasizing laws against marijuana. Recent years have seen the rise of the sanctuary cities movement of localities refusing to help federal authorities enforce immigration laws. Towns and counties opposed to restrictions on self-defense rights have similarly refused to enforce gun laws that are unpopular with their residents.

"The Second Amendment sanctuaries movement borrows from the language and rhetoric of the immigrants' rights movement. Insofar as the enforcement of state and federal law often depends on the cooperation of local officials, the movement also deploys some of the same strategies: passive non-cooperation, indirect resistance, and rhetorical disobedience," Richard Schragger of the University of Virginia School of Law wrote earlier this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic response has also aggravated tensions between levels of government, with two Team Blue multi-state coalitions actively opposed to their Team Red counterparts in D.C.

"The pandemic has reinforced the themes of polarization and punitiveness governing contemporary intergovernmental conflict," Greg Goelzhauser and David M Konisky wrote this summer in The Journal of Federalism. "The partisan divide continues to permeate most dimensions of American federalism. Positions on public policy and legal questions are ideologically divided." They describe state-level defiance and the federal government's retaliation in response as "punitive federalism."

The legal basis for ignoring commands from on-high varies, but that's a concern for law professors. For most people, ignoring the commands of governments in the hands of "downright evil" enemies isn't a legal question, but rather a matter of survival.

Beyond a matter of survival, though, local disregard for despised laws and policies might be a pressure-release mechanism and a potential curative. As a de facto way of decentralizing authority, ignoring dictates from state and federal governments in the hands of the "enemy" offers a peaceful resolution of disagreements and tensions that aren't going anywhere after the upcoming election. You don't have to fight "downright evil" opponents if you can ignore them.

Formally decentralizing authority in this country would be a positive development in many ways, but a hard sell to political victors unwilling to let their opponents off the hook. Informal defiance of central authority is bound to antagonize officialdom and upset legal experts, but it might be the best medicine for our sick political culture. Unsanctioned it may be, but a future of individuals and localities paying no mind to the powers that be offers a nonviolent means of resolving disputes that would otherwise be settled in much less pleasant ways.

NEXT: Utah Legislator: If You Don't Want to Be Attacked by Police Dogs, 'Stay Home'

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  1. It’s hard to ignore one of the tribes when they’re throwing a molotov cocktail through your front window.

    1. The cocktail was mostly peaceful.

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      2. “Mostly peaceful” is fine until it is your home or business, then “Mostly peaceful” really sucks.

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    2. Hey Diane, cool it with the anti-Semitism.

    3. That’s not how you both sides, Paul.

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  2. Amen. Majority rule is nice, but majorities can also decide to live and let live. A certain amount of tolerance and respect goes a long way to being a good neighbor. Likewise, over-reacting and controlling is very unneighborly.

    Democracy can give you your way, but it doesn’t necessarily make you stop being an asshole, and there’s consequences to that, no matter how the votes go.

      1. The greatest evils in the world are committed by those who are convinced that they know what is best for others, because they will burn the world down with a clean conscience.

        1. I don’t know if this is refined enough. Maybe I’m being pedantic – but can’t one know what is “best” or at least “better” while still recognizing you hold no authority over the other person?

        2. Been reading CS Lewis, have you?

    1. We can’t tolerate the intolerant.

      1. Yes we damn well can. The less sophisticated on the left like to use the so-called “paradox of tolerance” to justify everything from cancel culture to political violence. Karl Popper, who coined the term, seemed to advocate that a free society should reserve the right to suppress intolerance by force. But if you actually read Popper, he’s really talking about suppressing violence initiated by the intolerant rather than their speech. Furthermore, he says that the seeming paradox can be avoided by strengthening the institutions of liberal society.

        1. I seem to recall a certain billionaire who finances Karl Popper’s philosophy good and hard. You can’t say his name or else you get canceled. Perhaps we can just call him Beetlejuice.

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    2. The USA isn’t based on Majority-Rule; That is the sickness in the political culture.

      1. Except the tribes don’t care and think it should be. At least until their tribe is firmly in power.

        1. I’m trying to persuade the ‘tribe members’ into caring. 🙂

        2. You’re talking about Reason, aren’t you?

  3. I’m all for returning to a confederation or commonwealth. California and New York shouldn’t be dictating terms to Texas and Florida. A confederation can have a basic outline of settling disputes and agreements on civil rights. But if NY wants to be socialist progressive and high tax and also ban firearms so be it. That’s their problem. Good luck.

    1. I mean, nor should Wyoming and other largely empty states be strangling states like NY, Texas, FL, California.

      I agree wholeheartedly with a confederation. Start lowering federal taxes and let states do what they please. I’m quite certain that places like California and Texas will do fine. Some of those other taker states? Not so much but hey- it’s what they vote for.

      1. Yeah, California is great fiscal shape..

        https://californiapolicycenter.org/californias-state-and-local-liabilities-total-1-5-trillion-2/

        Have you ever said something not out of ignorance?

        1. Yes but California can afford it. They have a GDP of 2562billion. Far more than any other state. The next two are Texas and New York. By comparison Colorado for example is around 300.

          That is some nice real estate there.

          Actually the big three would do just fine as independent countries.

          1. So you mean CA, TX and FL?

          2. Would they though? Most of California’s economy is domestic sales. If they were independent, the would have to deal with tariffs etc, and even without those, California’s economy has been shrinking as producers have been leaving the state for greener pastures.
            California’s economy is almost wholly a result of being a state and it is not at all self evident that they would do as well as an independent republic.

            1. I think the better point is that if they can afford it why aren’t they in fact doing so? They have massive unfunded pension liabilities which the highest state tax rate in the country isn’t making a dent in even though they dominate two of the highest profile rich industries in the world. They need a 50% increase in their tax rate just to pay for what they’ve already committed.

              What would they need in tax to afford the programs the left would enact if unrestrained? Double, triple? It’s interesting so called libertarians can make such foolish pronouncements as if massive increases to their tax rates wouldn’t massively reduce the economy.

              1. Detroit was booming once too …

                1. Not surprisingly both USE to be mostly Republican. Here’s a fun fact; CA illegal immigration population has MORE of a vote in the U.S. house than the ENTIRE state of Wyoming.

            2. Also, if not part of the US, tons of luck with water deals and all. Given that the “money” part is a fucking desert.

      2. “I mean, nor should Wyoming ”

        God you’re a stupid asshole, you simply restate his exact point for no fucking reason but to whine about people you personally hate Jeff.

        Your stupid fucking post added nothing, fuck off and go away.

          1. If by triggered you mean folks are tired of elitist urbanites who insult anyone who differs from them, you might be right. If you mean pointing out the hypocrisy of those who claim tolerance except for anyone from rural areas, you are correct.

      3. I mean, nor should Wyoming and other largely empty states be strangling states like NY, Texas, FL, California.

        Because if you read your agrippa on why the union was structured the way it is, it’s because states were seen as political territories, not just areas of land with amorphous blobs of carbon who vote. So the idea was that each ‘territory’ got an equal voice in the senate. Ie, 2 senators. However, Congress was the more ‘populous’ body which better represents the populations in total. The electoral college was created to dampen “the mischief of factions”… again, realizing that without it, every state would be stranged by (at the time) New York and Massachusetts.

        1. Clearly Wyoming and other empty states, by not conforming to the wishes of the truly important states, are strangling them.

          Like when a spoiled pre-teen girl threatens to hold her breath unless she gets what she wants is strangled.

          1. More like when a slave runs away from the plantation, he is strangling his master.

            1. Its all about slavery in one form or another with Democrats. They are the party of slavery.

          2. “…a spoiled pre-teen girl…”

            Entirely apropos when you consider that it is Jeff you are addressing.

        2. He thinks the Senate should be divided by characteristics the blobs of carbon have, race, gender, orientation, identification, etc.

        1. I say let them run with it. I’m perfectly happy to let them leave. I’ll take that bet.

          1. No. The people can leave—I understand that Germany has great trains and cradle to grave social welfare. The land stays.

            1. Go all Episcopalian on their asses, ay?

        2. Share of Recipients of each program that self-identified as supporters of Republican party in 2004-2007 Maxwell Poll:

          Gov. Subsidized Housing 12%
          Medicaid: 16%
          Food Stamps: 20%
          Unemployment Compensation: 21%
          Welfare or public assistance: 22%
          Disability benefits from government 25%

          Gov. Subsidized Housing 88%
          Medicaid: 84%
          Food Stamps: 80%
          Unemployment Compensation: 79%
          Welfare or public assistance: 78%
          Disability benefits from government 75%
          Average 80% of welfare goes to Democratic Voters…. Well beyond a “supermajority”…

          1. Conclusion: 4 out of 5 welfare recipients recommends government theft over individual justice. How can that be!!!??? It almost makes complete sense.

      4. I’ve been to New York; it DESERVES to be strangled. SLOWLY.

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    3. but the Civil War already set the precedent: call yourself a Confederation and someone will invade and conquer you.

      1. We should be called a “people’s democratic republic” because we are a democracy and a republic, in my opinion.

      2. Technically, the confederate states of america attacked the United state of America.

        1. Do you think the Union would have attacked eventually if the Confederates hadn’t started it?

          Real question. History lover, but I didn’t get that deep in the weeds on the war tactics and maneuverings and what they mean wrt intent.

    4. “ban firearms”

      well, except for that pesky codification of natural rights in the Bill Of Rights.

    5. Yes! But to do this, the states need some kind of means to protect themselves from people fleeing the consequences of their idiocies. Like limitations on local voting for some time after re-locating.

      1. I agree with this, but it should be up to each independent local government and most areas seem more than willing to allow people to vote immediately. I think a minimum 6 months should be required to establish residency in a state or municipality, personally. Keeps the vagrant/migrant types from having an impact on areas where they have no vested interest.

        1. Or make significant legislation require a super-majority of which the U.S. Constitution already set-up at the federal level ONCE-BEFORE if only the LEFT would honor the Supreme Law instead of break it.

  4. The Left side of the political spectrum makes no secret of its desire for totalitarian one-party rule and, increasingly, its desire for violence to forcibly silence any people that oppose them.

    There is no “both sides” to this debate.

    1. Sure….I forgot- it must be them installing a 3rd scotus judge after stonewalling for years (lower and then a scotus seat) when the other party was in power. Surely it is also them who are making it as impossible as can be to vote.

      1. To think… those rat bastards appointing a scotus judge when one dies. Both sides! Both sides!

      2. So impossible that 130,000,000+ people will succeed at voting.

        Stop making up dramatic lies about completely mundane, ordinary things.

      3. “Elections have consequences.” Barack Obama, January 2009.

        Trump won. Presidents are presidents for four years, not 3. Get over it.

        Don’t like the consequences? Run a better candidate.

        1. Don’t like the consequences? Run a better candidate.

          They ran the best candidate they had.

          1. And they’re doing the same with a crook this time.

        2. They only have consequences when YOU win. You have no respect when they win.

      4. – it must be them installing a 3rd scotus judge

        It’s revealing he has to pretend a fully constitutional exercise of power is just as illegitimate as political violence to support his both sides-ism. With leftists this unhinged there’s little wonder why they can’t contribute to society.

        1. Fuck all of you Trumpsuckers.

          1. Would you please not refer to them as “Trump suckers”. That political slur implies that homosexuality is somehow abnormal, unnatural, and something to be ashamed of. We should ridicule Rethuglicans without insulting our LGBTQ+ allies.

            1. Isn’t Rethuglican? Look out for the Exalted Cyclops over here.

              1. OMG! I’m so sorry if I offended any BIPOC in the comment section. I think the only safe slur against Republicans is “CHUD”. Cannibalistic humanoid underground dweller (“CHUD”) is a popular slur to use against conservatives on Reddit.

                1. Does that make Biden a HUD?

          2. Fuck all of you Trumpsuckers.

            That’s the extent of your intellect isn’t it? Don’t like having your stupidity pointed out? Get smarter.

            1. When is White Knight going to make up a stupid acronym for idiots like Raspberry and SPB and Chipper?

              1. Go for it.

                Th Reason comments section is dominated by an infestation of extremely rude Trump worshippers, so opposing their echo chamber clique is my focus.

                If you want to take on the minority of liberal trolls, I’m sure you can coin an acronym of your own.

                1. No it’s because you’re a lying leftist.

                  And it was a rhetorical question, used to make fun of your stupid acronym.

              2. You seem like a good, sincere person, but you have allied yourself with jerks like JesseAz, Sevo, Tulpa, Nardz. I have never seen you say a word about their asshole behavior.

                1. You receive no respect because you are a contemptible nitwit.
                  Your life doesn’t matter.

                  1. She’s a squawking bird named Dee. No one respects squawking.

                2. Then you haven’t read very closely. And I have hardly allied myself with them.

                3. And it is ironic that you call out others for being biased in their criticism when you insist in this very post that the site has been infested by Trump supporters, as if being a Trump supporter is itself a reason for condemnation. As for them being assholes, from my view it appears most of that is defensive as a result of condescension behavior by ” true libertarians” who are some of the most pretentious people I have ever seen.
                  Don’t lecture others about calling out assholes until you start calling out the true asshats like squirrelly, chipper, Jeff, DoL who have never posted without talking down to those who disagree with them, even the slightest bit.

          3. And that’s how we know you have NOTHING. You are shilling for a corrupt dementia patient, who you all thought was the best candidate you had, and you’re losing.

            You’re losing. You have no answer to the evidence that Joseph Biden sold his influence as Vice President, and likely as Senator, to the highest foreign bidder.

          4. Awwww! Does your butt hurt?

      5. Yes, it is a shame your beloved RGB stayed past her expiration date because she thought queen Hills was going to be crowned and the two of them would make history for the vag movement together.

        1. Don’t be a bigoted asshole. Not every woman has a vagina or menstruates.

          1. Does this mean prostate cancer is now a PINK cause?

      6. See, with the kind of gaslighting that you are engaging in, there is really no hope to rectifying the current political animus. Until people of differing viewpoints frame and discuss the issues fairly and honestly without the unrelenting amounts of hysteric and hyperbolic spin, there will be no ability to resolve anything.

        1. Which is what the article is about. Since I don’t have a dog in this fight it is just interesting to watch.

          I have lived through a lot of presidents. This is nothing new it is always the end of the world for the obsessed. None of them made all that much difference in my life. The local mayor does because someone needs to fix the traffic problem on Rt. 8.

          1. So much so. Every election I have participated in has been the “most important election ever.” Yet, at the end of the day, without someone telling you who the president was at any given time, no one would know as there really is minimal impact from president to president. And this is a good thing, this is how it is supposed to be.

            1. Yea, that Obamacare sure didn’t affect anyone’s life.
              You won’t even notice the Green New Deal and other facets of the Left’s planned totalitarianism.

              1. Congrats on missing the forest for the trees.

          2. Except that the political spectrum has steadily moved left and the federal government has only gotten bigger and more powerful. The Left has been “winning” for a long time now and it’s only a matter of time. Two steps forward, one step back or some nonsense like that.

          3. Echospinner
            I have lived through a lot of presidents. This is nothing new it

            Is that true? Which President before Obama created sex police on campuses?

            Dems have become both more extreme and more effective in implementing their agenda. This is largely because their institutions have embraced their specializations and learned to work together. So academia produces propaganda studies which allow the media to preach which Dem politicians and bureaucrats use to enforce new rules.

            So the 1 in 5 women on campus are sexually assaulted leads to bureaucratic redefinition of Title IX creating the sex Stasi. Elizabeth Warren’s propaganda study claims half of personal bankruptcies are due to medical bills. This helps minorly helps Obamacare but completely results in the creation of the CFPB. Bellesiles tries to create the same support for gun banning but luckily is so incompetent he’s discovered. Now we’re seeing critical race theory used to justify open racism in hiring and employment.

            Business as usual though.

            1. But none of that affects me very much and certainly does not justify the huge chunk of my income the feds take every year. The federal government is mostly smoke and mirrors. The “ issues” are created by the repubodemocrats to make us think they are vitally important.
              Meanwhile they play musical chairs every now and then but the real power doesn’t change.

              The federal government mostly exists to support themselves. Most of what really matters to us happens on the state and local level.

              Libertarians know this which is why we advocate for smaller government. Much smaller.

              1. But none of that affects me very much

                Of course it does. The CFPB is authorized to determine what products a business can offer. The campus sex Stasi and CRT are being exported to the broader culture placing you under their control. So every product available to you will first have to be approved by Elizabeth Warren’s ideological heirs, every relationship subject to post-hoc redefinition and punishment by grievance driven bureaucrats, and every job subject to racial and ideological discrimination.

                certainly does not justify the huge chunk of my income the feds take every year.

                It’s odd you don’t recognize the link between massive increases in regulatory authority and massive increases in funding to support its enforcement. Do you think the massive tuition increases over the last 4 decades are unrelated to the ever expanding political interests of university leaders? Funding for activist administrators came from tuition. As that model is recreated in government it will increase taxes – which is why Biden is already admitting he will massively increase taxes even if he’s still lying about who will be taxed.

                Libertarians know this which is why we advocate for smaller government.

                Which is why saying there’s no difference between massive government expansion and essentially the status quo doesn’t make sense for any libertarian.

      7. Nothing wrong with what they did. Republican majority senate was elected during Obama’s tenure to check his administration and keep him from doing something like getting another SCOTUS justice confirmed. Republican majority was maintained during Trump’s tenure to get his picks confirmed. Democrat voters should have turned out. If you don’t like it, vote. You don’t have to like the results, but don’t try to pretend this is “one-party rule”. That’s hyperbolic nonsense.

    2. there are really two different governing philosophies (not counting the small libertarian, green and other types). largely separated geographically. why not just call it a good couple of centuries and let them peacefully split up?

      1. Because the progressives/left are fundamentally totalitarian, and will not tolerate independent existence.
        They will burn it all down rather than live and let live.

        1. yeah, I could see the West Coast going their own way if Trump wins. But no way New York and Massachusetts would ever let the rest of the country go without the benefit of their wisdom governing everyone else.

      2. why not just call it a good couple of centuries and let them peacefully split up?

        They can’t. They learned from the Soviet breakup the mere existence of an economic model which significantly outperforms yours will eventually result in your being removed from power. But if everyone is under the same underperforming model they can blame capitalism or hoarders or whatever. They must have a monopoly.

        That’s why they don’t just move to Denmark, or France, or whatever model they claim is better this week.

    3. “There is no “both sides” to this debate.”

      Which is exactly why TooSilly had to make it a “both sides” argument.

  5. Good news for Biden – Vladimir Putin rebuts the suggestion that Biden’s behavior was in any way corrupt:

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-putin-idUSKBN27A0TA

  6. No matter how tame things are, Dems make up dramatic stories about bogeymen. They have mostly given up every other tactic. They only communicate in apocalyptic terms.

    So how can non-Democrats do anything about that? Reality doesn’t matter to the Dems.

    1. “We Democrats are the party of Hope, appealing to America’s higher aspirations! When they go low, we go high! Republicans can only stoke their voters irrational fears of people who aren’t like them!

      Now vote for us or the Nazis will get you!”

      1. If Sarah Good would only stop practicing witchcraft, the townsfolk of Salem could go on about their godly lives. Why won’t Sarah Good meet them halfway and stop cavorting with Lucifer?

        Both sides are at fault really. So speaketh the Reason staff.

        How much not practicing witchcraft is enough?
        How much not raping women was enough for Brett Kavanaugh?
        How much not colluding with Russia was enough for the Trump campaign?

        How do we ease tensions when they keep making up crazy apocalyptic stories and the news media goes along with it and promotes it?

        1. It’s not enough to not be a witch, we must be actively anti witch

      2. I recently saw someone, in response to a progressive family member denouncing all conservatives as racist white nationalists, throw out “They go low, we go high.” This was right on the heels of my family member suggesting that everyone to the right of her was an inhuman scumbag who deserved an ugly death. They just can’t hear themselves.

  7. The question isn’t whether people will be enraged regardless of the winner. The question is whether they’ll be justifiably enraged.

    Joe Biden is campaigning on eliminating all fossil fuels from power generation by 2035. He’s planning to do this inflicting the Green New Deal on us–and his refusal to promise not to pack the Supreme Court suggests that he will do that, having his environmental regulations inflicted on us with Supreme Court challenges set aside with judgements that will make the penaltax ruling look like a walk in the park.

    The purpose of the Green New Deal is inflict economic sacrifice on the American people in the name of the fight against climate change, and if the government purposely inflicting a sacrifice on our standard of living isn’t a legitimate justification for outrage, I don’t know what is.

    Joe Biden’s campaign promises to crush out gun rights is another entirely justifiable cause of outrage against him and the Democrats. On Joe Biden’s website, he’s promising everything from bankrupting gun manufacturers by lifting their immunity to lawsuits for things like deaths caused by mass shooters to banning “assault weapons” and banning the sale of both guns and ammunition online. He even wants to institute a national confiscation program.

    https://joebiden.com/gunsafety/#

    We haven’t even started to talk about the outrage over using $1 trillion in federal taxpayer money to bail out the states.

    Anybody who thinks similar outrage is appropriate for Trump’s status quo has a big argument to make.

    I think this is just bothsideism.

    Because their opponents are outraged regardless of which one wins, their outrage is more or less equal?

    Bullshit.

    The opposition to Hugo Chavez was absolutely correct to be outraged.

    And they were right to spit in the faces of Chavez’s outraged supporters.

    1. P.S. Joe Biden is a crook.

    2. Inflicting? I’m sure you’d say the same about Trump then no? Or wait- would it be inflicting if he was democratically elected by a majority of voters?

      Perhaps you just mean- the policies people voted for would go in place.

      1. “The purpose of the Green New Deal is inflict economic sacrifice on the American people in the name of the fight against climate change”

        —-Ken Shultz

        Maybe you think the voice of ballot box is a better approximation of people’s desires than market data?

        If so, you’ve got some learning to do!

        What people say and how they vote is no gauge of what people really want. To find out what people really want, it’s necessary to look at what people do. It seems like that would be a really hard thing to keep track of, but there’s actually a ton of real time data about what people really want–because markets are people making choices.

        The reason 4% of the cars on the road are electric is because 96% of the consumers out there care more about their money than they do about saving the environment by paying a premium to buy an electric car. If you believe otherwise, you are wrong. If they say otherwise, they are wrong. There are plenty of them who might pay a premium to buy an electric car–but not as high as a premium as it would require right now. In short, the best estimate of what people are willing to do is looking at what they choose to do.

        If you want to know how people standing in line at Walmart feel about trade with China, you don’t ask them. They’ll say all sorts of terrible things about China. Look in their shopping cart and see if they have any Chinese made products in it. That’s what they really think. The sad fact is that if they don’t know whether what’s in their shopping cart was made in China, it’s because they don’t really care where it was made!

        Meanwhile, the purpose of regulating a market is to inflict the will of the government on people who do not share your qualitative preferences and are unwilling to pay more for something because of its fuel source. If they care more about their money and their standards of living than they do about climate change, the purpose of the regulation is to force them to do what’s in the best interests of climate change against their will. If you imagine otherwise, it is because you are wrong.

        There are words for using the government to inflict the qualitative preferences of some people on the rest of the market. Those words are not “libertairan” or “capitalist”. They are “authoritarian” and “socialist”. If you believe otherwise, it is because you are wrong. The purpose of the Green New Deal is to use the government to inflict the will of environmentalists on us and force us to sacrifice our standard of living on the altar of climate change–that is authoritarian and it is socialist–and if you believe otherwise, it is because you are wrong.

        1. “There are words for using the government to inflict the qualitative preferences of some people on the rest of the market. Those words are not “libertairan” or “capitalist”. They are “authoritarian” and “socialist”. If you believe otherwise, it is because you are wrong.”

          +1000000000000000

        2. The reason 4% of the cars on the road are electric is because 96% of the consumers out there care more about their money than they do about saving the environment by paying a premium to buy an electric car. If you believe otherwise, you are wrong. If they say otherwise, they are wrong. There are plenty of them who might pay a premium to buy an electric car–but not as high as a premium as it would require right now. In short, the best estimate of what people are willing to do is looking at what they choose to do.

          That’s not even accurate. That relies on a lot of high level interpretation of low level activity. You only know what they are doing, not why they are doing it.

          Some people but hybrid and electric to avoid gas prices. Some people may even buy fuel efficient gas powered cars because they think that’s more environmentally friendly than toxic batteries.

          We just know the market doesn’t favor Green New Deal solutions.

          1. “That’s not even accurate. That relies on a lot of high level interpretation of low level activity. You only know what they are doing, not why they are doing it.”

            When consumers decide which cars to buy, 96% of them buy other than electric cars because whatever else it is they care about, they care about it more than saving the environment by buying an electric car.

            This is a fact.

            If you use the government to force them to pay extra for electric cars, you are using the government to inflict your qualitative preferences on them over their objections and against their will. There is no better indication of what people want within the boundaries of reality than the choices they make with their money within the context of markets.

            And if you believe otherwise, it is because you are wrong.

            1. I didn’t dispute that.

              Just the high level interpretation.

              It’s just one more reason not to engineer our choices. People who agree on principle still can disagree with solutions. It isn’t necessarily that people buying gas-powered care less about the environment than thos buying electric or hybrid.

              It was a pedantic aside that wasn’t really challenging your ultimate conclusion.

      2. Fuck off Jeff.

      3. If Trump was advocating for the Green New Deal, yes. You really are a fool.

    3. While I actually tend to agree with you, don’t you see why the left feels the same way?

      Green new Deal: Fracking is causing earthquakes and burning water and Global Warming, which causes the flooding of these peoples’ coastal homes. This is an existential threat to their lives.

      Gun Control: Absolutely bankrupt these companies because their guns are killing kids in schools. Guns are an existential threat to their lives.

      At the end of the day, very smart people have spent a shit ton of time elevating these issues to existential threats. By making them existential threats, they ensure that the only solutions will be zero sum. I can only stop global warming by taking away your cheap energy- because the entire theory is crafted perfectly, conveniently in that way.

      1. There problems with the bothsideism in both of your examples.

        “Green new Deal: Fracking is causing earthquakes and burning water and Global Warming, which causes the flooding of these peoples’ coastal homes. This is an existential threat to their lives.”

        Trump isn’t stopping them from installing a geothermal heat pump, moving to a more moderate climate, installing solar panels, using more blankets at night, or buying an electric car. They can do whatever they want. What they’re outraged about is not being able to inflict their qualitative preferences on others–and that amounts to being outraged that we won’t submit ourselves to their authoritarianism. Autonomy is both the substance of our rights and foundation of all ethics. They’re flunking both tests.

        Trump’s polices don’t inflict anything on them, so they are not equal.

        Simply but, using the ballot box to pack the Supreme Court so they’ll give you a green light to violate the rights of everyone who doesn’t share your qualitative preferences on a whole host of issues is not the same as more or less protecting everyone’s right to make choices for themselves. In fact, protecting our right to make choices for ourselves is the only legitimate purpose of government. We have police to protect our rights from criminals, courts to protect our rights from the police, a military to protect our rights from foreign threats, and a president and supreme court to inflict the qualitative preferences of a few on the rest of us against our will–and make sure the Constitution doesn’t get in the way?

        Does not compute.

        Bothsideism fail.

        1. I think it was sarcasm.

          PS: Joe Biden is a crook.

          1. It wasn’t sarcasm, it was expository – demonstrating how someone else’s freedom to choose gets repackaged as a threat.

            Whereby tragedy of the commons becomes a blank check for totalitarianism.

        2. ^Perfectly Said

          article, “fighting to wield power over each other.”
          ken post, “being outraged that we won’t submit ourselves to their authoritarianism”

          One-Side is lobbying for limited-government…. The other is lobbying for the EXACT opposite. That is the battle at hand.

          1. Hold up. Let’s not kid ourselves. No one in the political mainstream is lobbying for limited government. BoTh SiDeS have worked to expand the size and reach of government, and BoTh SiDeS want to impose their preferences on others. The difference is the extent to which one side is willing to subvert or weaponize the institutions of a liberal society and take the shortcut to authoritarianism.

            1. President Trump!!!! Repealing 25,000 pages of regulations…
              Yes it is rare; but the Trump Administration is doing it right now.

      2. They elevate these emotionally wrought issues, like climate change, abortion, Wu Flu, and guns, to existential threats in order to distract attention from the litany of small abuses and infractions that happen every day, outside of the notice of most people. People are too busy losing being whipped ontl a panic about some nonsense to give any thought to the constant erosion of rights that happen directly under their noses.

      3. “[D]on’t you see why the left feels the same way?”

        We do.

        The same way we understand why people believed, and some still do, that the Earth is flat.

        People are capable of very sincerely believing some very obviously incorrect things.

        1. …. that is usually based in a dishonest agenda of the selfish desire to TAKE without *earning*.

        2. Progressives believe they have a moral imperative to impose their will on other people. When the progressives I know begin statements with phrases like “I am shocked and heartbroken…” (which is every day), what follows is some variation on “and that is why I want to ram the most extreme agenda I can imagine down everyone’s throats, and the less they like it the better.” I don’t see this from anyone else.

          1. I’d summarize that to say; You can’t wish horrible things on other’s without hating them first and hating them for creating success and producing for their fellow man is rooted in the evils of envy instead of ethics.

  8. >> the raging fever of national tensions that ail the country

    overstated.

  9. As White Knight loves to shriek about, I’m not an American, but it’s perfectly obvious that American politics has a true Manichean struggle going on.

    Yes, the Republicans can be greedy, crass and ignorant; but the American left is at best misanthropic and often demonic. And, unlike the old left they’re also aristocratic and oligarchic, hating the proletariat and wishing to do them actual harm.

    1. Not american and clearly not of sound mind either.

      1. Fuck off Jeff.

      2. “Not american and clearly not of sound mind either.

        As if you were capable of making such a judgement.

      3. After the German fascists your philosophy is easily the most evil in the modern West, Jeff.
        Francisco Franco, Hoxha, Mussolini and Ceausescu had nothing on you.

    2. More like jibe you about, but sure characterize it as shrieking. It’s really bizarre that you are so invested in being a conservative partisan in issues in a country you don’t live in to the degree you do.

      1. I’ve explained why, but you persist in pretending it’s “weird” because your incapable of fashioning any proper rebuttal during discussions. Falling back on xenophobia is all you’ve got.
        It’s just more weaselly rhetoric on your part; “Oh help, I’m not going to give a proper answer because I’m so confused by furriners having opinions. It’s soooo weird”.

      2. Posts like this is why people treat you like an asshole. And no they didn’t start it, it was a two way street. You dish it out but then blame others for returning fire.

  10. https://twitter.com/RBReich/status/1317614803704115200

    When this nightmare is over, we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It would erase Trump’s lies, comfort those who have been harmed by his hatefulness, and name every official, politician, executive, and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this catastrophe.

    1. https://twitter.com/Wolveinsocal/status/1317648491405922305

      I am thinking more of using the postwar Nuremberg Trials as a template. Felonies were committed as were treasonous behaviors. The guilty should be arrested, tried, convicted and forced to do time.

      1. https://twitter.com/LoneDryerSock/status/1317616310512242688

        And hate to say it but we’re gonna need some extra “supervision” (i.e., laws to clamp down on aberrant behavior) of the Trumpanzee cult. Just as the Union had to act to curb the seditious states from continuing on their merry way w/slavery even after they lost & it was illegal.

        1. I’m on board with public struggle sessions for Drumpf supporters!

        2. So is Republicans re-imposing reconstruction on Democrat run states on the table now?

          1. Afterwards, maybe.

            Pretty telling about where the Left’s decision makers’ mindset is. Robert Reich isn’t a bomb thrower. And yet, he still wants the Right to go through a struggle session. For what, is a decent question. I suspect it is for daring to publicly express dislike for the ‘Luxury Automated Gay Space Utopia.’

  11. You can’t change a culture when the culture refuses to admit it has a problem.

    I spent my whole life, more than half a century, being constantly told that the current election would decide the fate of civilization. Every single one. It’s gotten more strident over the decades, to the point that I’m not expecting actual violence next Tuesday. But the culture is the same. The other side is the mortal enemy of all mankind.

    And I’m NOT talking about one side or the other. Both sides made this culture, and you think your side is blameless, you’re part of the problem.

    We get out of this mess when we stop demanding that our Leader get all the power to battle the forces of the other side. Because eventually the other side gets into office and inherits that power. Maybe you think Trump will win this election, but he is NOT immortal. Eventually a Democrat will get into the Oval Office, and then he will have ALL the power you willingly gave to Trump. Democrats should have already learned this lesson, but they haven’t, so if Biden wins they’ll demand ever more power for Biden.

    We have to start cutting back on Presidential power. We need to cut back on Congressional power. We need to cut back on State power. We need to cut back on ALL government power everywhere. Decentralize governments and put them on strict diets.

    A system that can only work when the correct people are in power is a system that is fundamentally broken.

    1. You’d have to be an idiot not to believe that the Green New Deal won’t be implemented if President Trump is reelected.

      1. And you are an idiot if you don’t think climate change is an existential threat. Scientists have predicted that sea levels will rise at least a foot in the next century if we don’t stop green house gas emissions. Do you know that a person lying face down can drown in less than 6 inches of water? Think about that before you spout off any more moronic opinions.

        1. “And you are an idiot if you don’t think climate change is an existential threat.”

          If you think squandering $2 trillion and the economy crushing regulation of Biden’s Green New deal is the only answer to climate change, then you’re an ignoramus.

          Have you never heard of Tesla or the greentech industry?

          https://www.greentechmedia.com/

          Educate yourself or please don’t call yourself an environmentalist. You’d be an embarrassment to environmentalist with freshman level fallacies like that.

          P.S. Joe Biden is a crook.

        2. Holy crap you’re stupid — Open the freak-en front door!!! You see a weather ’emergency’ going on outside you imbecilic. How do you leftards get so stupid?

          1. Oh FFS, guys. I can’t believe even Ken got taken in.

            Reread the Rabbi’s post, “sea levels will rise at least a foot in the next century… a person lying face down can drown in less than 6 inches of water”

            I know Poe’s Law and everything, but this one isn’t hard.

        3. sea levels rose almost a foot in the past century, most of it in the first 50 years of that century. no one notice.

          slightly warmer weather is not an existential threat. people have been moving to warmer climates for decades. now the warmer climate is moving to them, very, very slowly.

      2. Respectfully, I disagree. If the GND was even attempted there would be such a revolt from the states that the Democrats would never hold national office again. Not, it’ll continue to be the slow drip-drip of incremental policy change.

        Shorter, there’s going to be internal combustion cars in California for a long time to come.

        1. You mean like Obamacare? I don’t doubt that there would be a massive backlash, I just doubt that it will do anything to reverse the ratchet of more government.

          1. And that overwhelming backlash against lock downs that destroyed tens of millions of people’s lives…

        2. “Respectfully, I disagree. If the GND was even attempted there would be such a revolt from the states that the Democrats would never hold national office again.”

          I offer ObamaCare, the Drug War, and the Iraq War as examples.

          Just because something is outrageous expensive, wasteful, and incredibly destructive, that doesn’t mean the government won’t implement it and pursue it doggedly for years. The deeper we get into it, the more important they’ll imagine it is–like a sunk costs fallacy.

        3. “Respectfully, I disagree. If the GND was even attempted there would be such a revolt from the states that the Democrats would never hold national office again.”

          If we were living twenty years in the past and having this discussion, I would have agreed with you. But, today?

          Unfortunately, I think there are more than enough hard core socialists, “lite” socialists, and socialist sympathizing “I’m just trying to be a good person” liberals that would be on board with the GND without a second thought. The moment that policy proposals become inextricable from consideration of general morality is the moment it becomes possible to ram anything and everything down the throats of people. Most of them will swallow willingly.

        4. “If the GND was even attempted there would be such a revolt from the states that the Democrats would never hold national office again. ”

          Maybe. Be honest. 12 months ago, if someone had told you there was a moral imperative to shut down most of the economy for months at a time, over a disease that had mortality rates on par with a bad flu for everyone under 75 years of age: you’d have thought I was completely full of shit. And look what happened.

          I think there will be a few nasty mass shootings, should Biden win—maybe with bombs too—sufficient to give him leverage to go for an “assault weapons” ban on Spring 2021. It will only get more restrictive from there. The Court will be packed, States will be added, and then the fun will really begin.

          The Ruling Class aims to make us serfs, on our own land, until that’s taken away too.

      3. No Brandybuck is not an idiot because the Green New Deal is about more than government. Utilities, businesses, common people, even the military is preparing to deal with the changing economy to address climate change. People like you and I may say, we don’t care about climate change because will be dead before the major effects hit. That is not the case for the young and future generations.

    2. “Democrats should have already learned this lesson, but they haven’t, so if Biden wins they’ll demand ever more power for Biden.”

      Hell, Republicans should have learned this lesson. If someone is outraged that Obama tried to soft coup Trump with surveillance, then they are angry that Obama weaponized a bunch of 9/11-era changes to use against his opponents.

      1. It would be nice to see both sides actually work together for some LIMITS on Government; but I’m afraid the only ‘togetherness’ getting worked out is GROWING the Government’s debt. Termed “bailouts”.

    3. Cool story about giving Trump power. What power? How was it given to him? Pelosi and the Dem congress didn’t go out of their way to give Trump power.

      1. lol… Actually ironically they kind of did; when their party elected liberal judges to the SCOTUS and UN-Constitutionally passed legislation as precedence. But in the same ironic stance; Trump has rarely enacted those powers but has to the extend of the CARES Act, Farm Subsidies, Bump Stock bans, and a few others but nothing like the left does.

    4. Brandybuck, you are one of the most level-headed commenters here!

      “Both sides made this culture, and you think your side is blameless, you’re part of the problem.” Good summary!

      Recent POTUSes and candidates have been WAAAY reluctant to admit to the limits to their powers! I would like, for once, for a candidate to frankly say, “I am running to be a leader of yours; I am NOT running to be your boss, and to tell you what to do!” And-or, “I am not here to punish my enemies and reward my friends. I am here to do what is best for everyone.”

      Is Biden going to outlaw the internal combustion engine? Bullshit, he can’t do that!

      As a thought experiment to illustrate the limits to power, suppose the POTUS (or even a flat-out dictator in ANY nation) announced, “In the name of everyone learning diversity, and the other people’s perspective, all gay persons will separate from their partners, and find a straight partner, and all straight persons will separate from their partners, and find a gay partner. So I have written with my pen and my phone; so let it be done.”

      ANY “leader” anywhere, doing such a thing, would immediately be scorned out of office, and-or, hung from the nearest lamp-pole! There ARE limits to what our “leaders” can do in the real world!

      1. Fuck off racist.

      2. As a historical example of this, look at Caligula. Even as dictator-emperor of the Roman Empire, when he went too far, treating the Roman people like dirt, he got himself killed (for the good of Rome) by his own bodyguards!

      3. > There ARE limits to what our “leaders” can do in the real world!

        Yeah, but we don’t want to test those limits. Romania did, and look what happened there. Still recovering. The trick of modern governance is to give the people just enough slack on the leash so they think they are free.

        Or put in a more optimistic way, we get all the government we can afford.

      4. “reluctant to admit to the limits to their powers!”
        Luckily we have a rule-book on that; it’s called the U.S. Constitution.

        1. A republic, if you can keep it.

    5. no, the violence will be on Wednesday if Trump is reelected.

      if Biden wins the conservatives will regroup, wait for Biden to be committed to some care facility, then prepare to run against the least popular incumbent since Nixon.

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  13. https://twitter.com/anneapplebaum/status/1320703583206187009

    Worried about illiberalism on the left? Bothered by “woke” ideology? If you vote for Trump both will get worse. Don’t do it, argues
    @Yascha_Mounk

    1. Be nice to the woke, and they’ll stop being obsessed about it?

      No. They’re bullies. Bullies don’t stop when you appease them. They stop when they’re afraid to make demands upon you any more.

      Disappointing from Appelbaum. Her book on GULAG is outstanding, and one hell of a lot easier to read than the Archipelago.

  14. https://twitter.com/Oregonian/status/1320797028998414343

    Plan to be announced for policing potential unrest on election night, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler says

    1. 120 days later, he’s putting together a plan?

    1. Broke: Hitler was evil
      Woke: Hitler was right about the Jews

      1. And since we’re on the subject, it’s also instructive to look at the pattern here.

        The left protests, and anyone that doesn’t agree with the left gets assaulted and their property gets vandalized.

        The right protests, and anyone that doesn’t agree with the left gets assaulted and their property gets vandalized.

        Both sides, mirite?

  15. I only see one side rioting, looting, burning buildings and cars and assaulting people. So some of you are saying to prevent this from continuing we should give in to them? Really?

    1. “So some of you” — Maybe not in Reason comments but Reason editors, mass media, etc, etc, etc, MOST of them. “Bow to your lefty god…” seems to be the title mostly being pushed right now.

  16. “Overwhelming majorities of both Biden and Trump supporters say that if the other candidate wins in November they would not only be very concerned about the country’s direction, but that this would lead to lasting harm to the nation,” 

    Biden supporters say it like “nice country you’ve got here….would be a shame if something were to happen to it”

  17. Individualism can emulate socialism with contracts: you sign up with a socialist organization, turn over your property and income, and bingo, you are a socialist in standing.

    Socialism can’t even tolerate individualism, let alone emulate it.

    That’s the difference. The Dems right now aren’t advocating full socialism, but they are advocating socialism lite. The Republicans aren’t advocating full on individualism, far from it — but they are holding off socialism at least a little.

    Why should anyone be polite to the enslavers, murderers, oppressors? No, as long as the Dems want to control my life more than the Republicans, they are the enemy, and they can go fuck off.

    1. Kibbutzim are unironically a real thing.

      1. Don’t even need to go overseas. Plenty of voluntary socialist communes in US history. Most fade away because of weird sexual things (Shakers), or get busted because of weird sexual things (Oneida), but some manage to hang on. The Amana Colony lasted the longest, and only dissolved because FDR demanded they follow his NRA dictates. And STILL managed to make a go of it afterward.

        Get the new age drugs and the sexual hangups out of it, and voluntary socialism actually works. If it’s voluntary.

        1. And they kick out lazy people like Bernie Sanders.

          1. Nah he was just one of those young volunteers. He worked. They give you food and a place to live. Summer camp for young American Jews. Then you go home.

            If you are not working out in something they find you something else. Come help me out in the kitchen.

            1. Are you talking about Bernie in a kibbutz? I know nothing of that. I’m pretty certain the poster was referring to the American commune that kicked Bernie out for not working.

              1. Yes thank you.

              2. He was in one in the 60s.

        2. The kibbutz many of them were beyond socialist. They were radical communists. No private property. Communal everything. Kids raised communally. Communal food, work, defense.

          They worked at least for a while. Israel might not exist if it were not for them. Most are more like group corporations now. Some are very successful.

          1. It was not the socialism that kept them together, but the Zionism. For examples of non-Zionist kibbutzim, look at the development of Russian soviets after the 1917 revolution. In practice, each local soviet became a hellish world unto its own in a pyramid scheme consisting of shirking, thievery, corruption, massacres, arrests, etc. The boys at the top made out well, however.

            Socialist communities work – that is, until they begin to step on each other’s toes.

            1. Are you trying to imply that nation-states are more stable or united than multi-ethnic liberal democracies? Because if you are, that makes you a racist!

            2. Correct. They had secular Zionism. They also had an emerging nation state around them. They traded there and other surrounding communities. So they turned the Galilee and the north into productive communities.

              Eventually people wanted their own houses, cars, children living with them. It failed in that sense. Yet for a while it worked.

              Very interesting history there.

  18. This is what happens when politics takes the place of religion; you turn governance into good versus evil.

    I used to almost abhor religion, but I’m beginning to see that it has a place in society as it fulfills the apparent human need for religion and thereby prevents the inevitable turning of other activities into religions themselves.

    1. Do you not see that Trump is our Lord and Personal Savior?

      That’s sarcasm, by the way. But that doesn’t stop hordes of so called Christians worshipping Trump. It’s idolatry and they can see it.

      1. And there was sycophancy of the highest order for Obama. Remember the seas stopped rising and the earth began to heal itself.

        Unfortunately, one side has wrapped politics into its religion to protect it from those they believe want to eliminate the religion, and the other side has turned politics into their religion (humanism) and have hysteric freak outs at the idiots who believe in an all knowing ghost in the sky.

        This is the problem, politics is the center piece of the religious fervor and therefore has taken the throne as the inherent religion for both sides’ extremes.

        1. Leftists have always preferred the hierarchy of living gods. And, why not? Sky beings require acts of faith. Their posited existence is often difficult to reconcile with one’s everyday experiences. Living gods, on the other hand, can judge and extinguish one’s enemies here and now. Faith is easy. Punishment is real.

          The gods of the Left have flogged the skin of mankind more in the past hundred years than every torture dispensed at the hands of an imaginary man in the sky that came before them.

      2. “But that doesn’t stop hordes of so called Christians worshipping Trump.”

        Find me literally one example.

        Left-wing talking points are not facts.

  19. The sick political culture starts with the two parties caring more about their party and winning than America. Until the politicians change and try to actually work together for the good of America and their political media organs stop printing their propaganda lies, nothing is going to change.
    The first thing that needs to change is the Supreme court dealing with gerrymandering. A bi-partisan commission made up of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans should draw districts, not just the party lucky enough to win the election after the census.

    1. Agreed. Country before party. Republicans need to learn how to be gracious losers again. Where are the John McCains and Mitt Romneys of the GOP?

    2. “The first thing that needs to change” — Is everyone reads the U.S. Constitution; the “Supreme Law” and stops this ever growing treasonous cult to “fundamentally change America”.

  20. I think about Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock and about the way society deals with change and anxiety that it cause. I believe that we are in that heightened state by changes in technology, demographic, culture, and environment and all these feed into the way we feel about politics. Some want change, some want things to stay as they are or as they have been. The truth is that 2020 election is not the most critical election in our country it is just an election. Who ever wins most of us will carry on as we have in the past. We will do this all over again in 4 years. While that might sound bad, there are many countries where you don’t get a chance to change things up every 4 years. So in the end we are all lucky to have that opportunity.

    1. If not for Twitter and Facebooks recent actions I would agree with you, but it does appear that the next president is going to decide how freedom of speech applies to the internet and that decision will have major ramifications (though they’ll likely take a while to be felt fully).

      The cultural revolution happened 40-50 years ago, and China has not loosened the reigns of censorship. Once only one side is allowed to speak, its hard to back track from that authoritarianism.

      1. I think I feel the way I do because I don’t use either Twitter or Facebook for my news. I read a local newspaper each day and check a variety of sites for stories. And if I see a story I have questions about I go to alternate source for confirmation or a different take.

        1. A lot of people use Twitter and Facebook for their news. CNN has an official account, the New York Times has an account, the New York Post… just to name some random ones off the top of my head without singling out any source in particular.

          The idea that ‘news’ doesn’t exist on those sites is a fallacy. Even if you’re a total straight-edge square normie that only goes to 100% establishement sources such as your local daily, or a national daily or Television evening news such as ABC/CBS/NBC, all of those use facebook/twitter/google/youtube to distribute and highlight their content.

          So, for instance… and I’m just spitballing here… if one of those news sources were to say– and I’m reaching here, I admit– produce a story that was… let’s say “unfavorable” to a particular presidential candidate and YouTwitBook decided to block the account of that establishment source, that might suggest the reach of that news source is… diminished.

    2. The truth is that 2020 election is not the most critical election in our country it is just an election. Who ever wins most of us will carry on as we have in the past.

      It’s almost like you’re saying The Era of Trump can be met with a shrug.

      1. Not for the families of the dead.

      2. This country will have to deal with the legacy of Trump no matter, what I am saying is that we will carry on. I don’t see Trump as a lasting force, I see him as a thumb in the eye of the some groups, usually labeled the “left”. We will start picking up the pieces in 2021 or some time after that.

  21. “So, we don’t have a modest disagreement over take-it-or-leave-it policies, but rather a Manichaean struggle (in the eyes of true-believing participants) for the fate of the nation.”

    “Take-it-or-leave-it” policies? Fail. It’s “Take-it-or-else”. Using government power to micromanage every little thing a person does leads to conflict? Imagine my surprise.

    1. ^Exactly; “government power” — The real culprit.

  22. Letting America’s feuding tribes ignore each other might be the best medicine.

    I’ll be happy to continue ignoring both tribes as soon as they both GET OFF MY FUCKING LAWN.

    1. ^+10000000000000000; Support individual property rights – not the [WE] foundation’s ability to steal it.

    2. That lawn was taken from indiginous peoples and cultivated with the fruits of slave labor. Your Lawn will be reappropriated and redistributed according to a set of racial heierarchies to be determined once Joe Biden is in office and declared unfit.

  23. Except one side is running on a platform not of leaving everyone else alone but blatantly using the government to interfere in every aspect of our lives. While Republicans aren’t great at individual liberty they aren’t openly running on controlling every aspect of our lives.

    1. Cue the standard canards about drugs, abortion and Christian talibanism.

      1. And open borders (albeit most open borders people when pushed admit you need some form of control and monitoring, and thus some form of enforcement and therefore aren’t arguing for open borders just arguing about how much control you actually need).

        1. albeit most open borders people when pushed admit you need some form of control and monitoring,

          Most of them will claim to accept some limit. But since they describe any limit as racist their principles dictate support for open borders. Their insistence they support a limit is only to avoid admitting what their principles dictate and revealing their extremism.

    2. Yeah, but if silence is violence, then not letting the government control us must be genocide. Or something.

    3. Nobody is running on controlling every aspect of your life.

      One party is running on lying to you about and exposing you to a deadly pathogen. For anyone keeping score, this is insane and not normal.

      The other might make you wear a mask to reduce the spread of a deadly pathogen so the country doesn’t lose millions of lives.

      If that is your biggest problem in the world then you don’t have any problems.

      1. Green New Deal: controlling how people buy and use electricity, where it comes from, what car you drive, e.g. controlling my choices controlling my life. Socialized health care = controlling my life. The entire Democratic platform is controlling people’s choices thus controlling their lives. Period. Fuck you are an idiot.

      2. And you just admitted that they even want to go as far as making me wear a piece of cloth on my face. Every single plank in the Democratic platform is about regulating choices and thus controlling people’s lives. Period. You can’t implement universal healthcare or the GND without taking away people’s ability not decide for themselves and forcing them to choose you approved choices.

      3. Socialism is a much more deadly pathogen than COVID-19.

        And Trump is closer to the truth on COVID-19 than the Democrats are.

  24. They’re not ignoring each other. Letting America’s feuding tribes kill each other is the best medicine.

    1. There will always be feuding tribes. The problem is that we have segregated ourselves geographically, and much more so in urban areas. I know a number of urbanites who can truthfully say they don’t know any Republicans or Trump supporters. I have never met a single rural person who can say the same though about Democrats/progressives. And for the most part we are friends still because we know more about them than just their political leanings. Also, rural Democrats tend to be far less progressive than their urban counterparts and far more tolerant of differing views.

      1. I was making friends with a progressive – we would walk to pick up our kids together. I guess I didn’t give her enough sympathy or gung-hoism or my smile froze on my face when she told me about her very good deed in informing someone with a beard mask at the grocery that they weren’t wearing it properly.

        She hasn’t asked to walk with me since.

  25. “Which is to say, awful officials are only symptoms. America’s divisive political culture is the disease and isolating the patients from one another may be the only treatment.”

    No, a better metaphor is toxoplasmosis, which infects the brain and actually changes root behavior. Those who get infected with the partisan bug lose all ability to think rationally and turn extremely paranoid. Like toxoplasmosis depending on cats to spread infection, the vector for the partisan disease is politicians and activists.

    1. This applies to all partisans and is no less prevalent among libertarians (how many tribalist libertarians post on Reason, and denigrate anyone who disagrees with them). The difference, and the only difference is that libertarians have no real power, and for now, no real chance of gaining any. But I still voted for Jorgenson (but voted Republican in my states Senate and gubernatorial race because I really didn’t want the Democratic candidates winning).

  26. I think the “bogeyman” claims are the most accurate. If the left didn’t have anymore self-created (imaginary) “bogeymen” to chase the true authoritarian-power-grab principle would be all that was left in sight.

    The right has it’s far share of bogeymen too. The only base both sides SHOULD be aligned with is the U.S. Constitution which is suppose to KEEP BOTH SIDES from instituting their bogeyman army.

    Bring back the U.S. Constitution!!!!

    1. Bring it back by rewriting it.

      1. …As-if it even got enough attention in today’s political culture to even worry about that. The “rewrite” seems to be the burning of it entirely.

      2. “Right and wrong” is pretty stark, but it doesn’t capture the full depths of antagonism between the country’s political tribes. Last year, Louisiana State University political scientist Nathan Kalmoe noted that
        55 percent of Republicans and 44 percent…..Read more

  27. Tuccille’s premise is 100% wrong: Election’s can’t cure a sick political culture.

    Elections are the only way our sick political culture can be cured, ultimately.

    1. By electing the ones who ACTUALLY uphold their oath of office.

    2. Not when the choices are TWO, from the political party mafia machines.

      1. “…whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

        Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience has shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

        This is never a question of if, merely of when.

  28. What good are elections when there are TWO choices from the mafia parties? I mean seriously, the Clinton crime family, the Biden crime family, or the Trump crime family. Give us a break! When decent people run they get SLAUGHTERED because we as humans love conflict and hate. NEGATIVE ads are a thing for a reason.

    1. correction needed; The [WE] foundation loves to induce conflict and hate on “those” people but never on “us” people (generally rooted in a sexist, racist or envy driven [WE] group).

      Individuals really don’t enjoy receiving conflict and hate.

    2. The founders had a similar anxiety, but parties, usually only two of them, evolved anyway right from the start. Our system is not the best in the world in terms of handling political coalitions. At best we are a system that collects all the factions and deposits them into two predetermined camps. Instead of voting for one party among many, you have to choose between two and influence your choice from within. The more influence your ideas have, the more the party will adopt them. And the parties have changed radically over time in terms of political ideologies.

      It’s a fucked up system but you don’t get anything out of it by crying about it.

  29. I don’t vote because I’m a sovereign and refuse to transfer my authority away to others. I’m not naive or self-destructive.

    When elections are boycotted by enough that the govt. loses the “we have a mandate” claim, a govt. reverts to mandatory voting, so it can claim to the other countries that it is democratic. They gladly buy it because they are authoritarian also.

    Presently, all political systems are essentially immoral/impractical because they are based on the initiation of force, not reason, rights.

    1. You say sovereign, I say illegal immigrant.

      Whose reason and rights get to determine the rules for the rest of us? Yours? But your reason doesn’t even bring you to a place that recognizes modern society as we know it. Perhaps your reason is flawed and we should vote on the issues instead, just to be sure.

      Democracy does not solve all problems of consent, but nobody guaranteed you the right to consent to anything. That exists because we have laws. Without laws we just have sticks to hit each other with.

      Your consent is assumed upon birth by way of your custodians, usually your parents, and when you reached the age of majority you were perfectly free to renounce your citizenship. You’re not necessarily free to steal land and public goods from the entity the already claimed them, namely the rest of us via our government.

      1. Whoa. Is this a different Tony?

  30. ” . . . the people themselves, divided as they are into hostile tribes fighting to wield power over each other.”

    Frankly, I am less interested in wielding any power than I am in keeping others from wielding power over me. I am, therefore, voting Republican this November. They are going to leave me alone, and the Democrats won’t.

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  32. You have people who say they are socialists attempting to “fundamentally change this nation” and you trivializes this as a disagreement between two children’s tribes?

    You’re sick, Tuccille, in the self righteous, ignorant sort of way.

    1. I don’t agree with my political opponents, and I do not like that the Federal government has grown to become such a winner takes all situation. But calling the reality of politics “sick” especially as compared to the alternatives is really quite revealing.

      And not in a good way.

      Utopians suck.

  33. “Right and wrong” is pretty stark, but it doesn’t capture the full depths of antagonism between the country’s political tribes. Last year, Louisiana State University political scientist Nathan Kalmoe noted that
    55 percent of Republicans and 44 percent….Visit here for full details

  34. Preface:
    I DO NOT support any new gun laws, and I oppose any sort of confiscations/buybacks etc., and I do not want to ban AR-15s and the like.

    I SUPPORT lawful enforcement of laws and I think it is asinine to think people can only be “for law enforcement” or “against law enforcement.”

    I have a job and a family, and mostly just want the government to leave us alone.

    I understand that things like cancel culture make people want someone like Trump.

    Now with all that said:

    If your response to someone not wanting to vote (R) is to start a civil war, you are a fucking psycho. If you feel that your only two choices are “Trump wins, or else I buy an arsenal and gun down my (D) neighbors” then you are a fucking psycho. You are the living embodiment of why some people are screaming for weapon bans. I do not support bans or confiscation of AR-15s, but this insistence on pretending that because they use the same rounds as your hunting rifles, then they weren’t designed to quickly and efficiently kill people is absurd. The military requested just that and the design gave them just that. I don’t think owning one makes you a murderer…but how are people supposed to react when your whole identity is wrapped up in aggressive posturing around weapons that were designed specifically for that purpose?

    There are probably 100 million plus registered dems in the United States. We’re there 100 million rioters? Are you going to wholesale murder all Democratic voters and/or just non-Trump supporters because they didn’t vote for Trump? Can you not understand that there may be perfectly legitimate reasons to not vote Trump that do not equate to wanting to “enslave” you? Get a fucking grip.

    I am not a registered R or D and never will be. I don’t really like Biden but I simply cannot bring myself to vote for Trump. If you feel you need to murder me and my family because of that, or because some idiots rioted, you cannot possibly be considered sane.

    You can have Trump, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett and Mitch. But don’t ever ever again try to sell me your “family values” and “small government” BS again. You traded all that in for them.

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