MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

'Eat Mor Krow' and Other Signs of a Dangerously Politicized America

Twitter's Jack Dorsey apologized for eating at Chick-fil-A. What does that have to do with Donald Trump? Plenty.

Reason, Nick GillespieReason, Nick GillespieThings seemed so much more hopeful back in late 2000, just before what turned out to be an impossibly close election between Al Gore and George W. Bush. Throughout that campaign season, pundits and observers weren't overly concerned with hyper-partisanship and extreme polarization, like they are today. The big concern was that, relatively speaking, the American people really didn't give enough shits about a contest that was being hyped as "the most important" of our lifetime. Harvard's Kennedy School of Government created a "Vanishing Voter Project" and Rock the Vote warned second-wave baby boomers and Gen Xers that "Your vote is your voice" and "If you don't vote, it's just like voting for the winner." Even with the contest tightening in the fall, the presidential debates turned out to be "borderline ratings bomb[s]," as viewers refused to tune in.

To me back then, such "apathy" was nothing to be upset about and pretty easily explained. Politics is an ugly, zero-sum game. Who wants to fixate on that? Writing in Reason's December 2000 issue (which came out just before the November election), I concluded that the "AWOL electorate"—voter-participation rates had declined over the past 40 years—was a sign that something was right in America:

The center of gravity in American life has shifted away from partisan politics and into other areas of activity in which individuals (and groups of individuals) have far greater hopes for gaining satisfaction. The big story in American life over the past few decades is not the decline in voter participation but the ever-increasing proliferation of options, of choices, and of identities in everyday life.

At virtually every level and in every way, there are both more options and, as important, acceptance of more options than there were 20 years ago, 30 years ago, 40 years ago—something clearly evident from indicators ranging from rising interracial marriage rates to increasing acceptance of alternative sexual orientations to increased access to higher education to telecommuting to relaxed dress codes in the workplace.

Well that didn't last long, did it? Sure "the ever-increasing proliferation of options, of choices, and of identities in everyday life" has proceeded apace. Facebook offers more gender identities than Baskin Robbins has ice cream flavors. But over the past decade and a half, politics has come barking back to the center of our everyday life like a pit bull going to town on a chihuhaua. Despite winning just 46 percent of the popular vote, Trump has divided America into a dizzying array of confusing and mutually exclusive tribes. There's the Resistance, of course, but also the NeverTrumpers, and the MAGAs, and the anti-anti-Trumpers, and on and on. In less then 20 years we went from newscasters worrying over low voter turnout to tense debates over Nazi punching. Everything is political today, even what sort of fast-food chicken you scarf down. Witness the pushback against Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's recent purchase of a sandwich at Chick-fil-A (Boost is a cash-back program run by another Dorsey company, Square):

To paraphrase Chick-fil-A's advertising slogan: Eat Mor Krow, Jack. The entrepreneur's timeline quickly filled up with critics slamming him for, among other things, the sin of patronizing "a notoriously anti-gay company" during Pride Month. Dorsey quickly apologized, tweeting, "You're right. Completely forgot about their background." It's worth noting that it's not exactly clear that Chick-fil-A, though it gives to various Christian nonprofits that oppose gay marriage, is "anti-gay" in any meaningful way. But that debate is secondary to how quickly and extensively so many people now place political values on virtually every aspect of their private and public lives. Yes, there have been low-grade boycotts against fast-food joints (such as Domino's, for the anti-abortion views of its founder), but what was once a Seinfeld punchline is now standard-operating procedure at every office watercooler in the country:

Donald Trump didn't cause the return of politics to the center of everyday life, but he is exploiting the hell out of it. Part of this new normal is surely the fault of social media, so in a way it's only fair that Twitter's boss gets called out. Virtue-signaling, or publicly identifying with a particular cause at little or no cost to one's self, is a feature and not a bug of Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. The same hashtag campaigns and filters that show solidarity with, say, France after a terrorist attack also allow for everyone everywhere to be vilified or beatified through association.

But social media is far from the only, or even the most important, cause for the repoliticization of everyday life. The 2000 election, so close that it was essentially settled by a coin toss, introduced an unmistakable arbitrariness into the once-sacrosanct activity of voting for president. We'd all heard the stories of how LBJ cheated his way into his Senate seat way back when, or how Jack Kennedy's father bought him the 1960 election, but we didn't really believe it, did we, or take it so seriously? Even as we were still working through unsettling electoral epistemology, the 9/11 attacks plunged America and the world back into History with a capital H. Beyond all the invasive rules and regulations mandated by Congress and a new Department of Homeland Security, every stray utterance, wink, nod, or lapel pin was studied for occult meaning. Just days after the attacks, President Bush declared that you are "either with us or against us." Donald Rumsfeld welcomed "a new Cold War" that, just like the original one, was predicated on binary, oppositional thinking and clear-cut, uncomplicated allegiances. At the same time, vast swaths of our culture became politicized, just as chess matches, piano recitals, and the Olympics had been during the twilight struggle between the Soviets and Team USA. The results were often sadly hilarious. Who else remembers the time celebrity cook and talk-show host Rachael Ray* was accused of signaling her Al Qaeda masters during a Dunkin Donuts ad by wearing a keffiyah, the "the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad"?

And it wasn't just the right who went crazy looking for the enemy within. The prophet of hope and change, Barack Obama, passed his signature health care law on strict party lines rather than deal with the opposition and was known to symbolically exile large swaths of Americans as "bitter" folks who "cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them." If you're not with us, said Bush, Obama—and Jesus—you're against us.

Whether we recognize it or not, we remain on a sort of Cold War footing that attacks complexity, nuance, and engaged conversation and replaces it with simplicity, slogans, and shouting matches. It happens at pro football games, on college campuses, on cable TV, and, of course, in Congress and legislatures everywhere. Trump is an acknowledged master not just of being divisive but of fouling everyday life with politics.

How long can this continue is anybody's guess. As politics becomes more rancid and ubiquitous in all parts of our lives, the main parties are losing market share. In 2001, 32 percent of us identified as Republican, 36 percent as Democrats, and 26 percent as independents. In 2017, those figures came in at 26 percent, 33 percent, and 37 percent. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump came close to winning a simple majority of the popular vote. Political scientist Morris Fiorina has declared the first two decades of the 21st century a second "Era of No Decision," similar to the late-19th-century period when control of the White House and Congress flipped back and forth for years. Eventually, the parties will realign and reconfigure into more effective coalitions, or they will be replaced by groups that are able to represent shared voter interests on issues such as trade, regulation, lifestyle freedom, crime, and more. When domestic partisan political advantage is again stable, it will be easier for us to leave culture alone and allow for more differences within our political coalitions again. When the Democrats had a lock on Congress for decades, after all, they could allow for more types of Democrats. And as the ideological and policy legacy of 9/11 fades in the face of multipolar world order in which the E.U., China, Russia, the United States, and others wield less and less unequivocal power, international agreements and relationships will need to be humbler, smaller, and less overarching, thus reducing the stakes rather than constantly raising them to red alert, us-against-them levels.

Even as he personifies the toxic blending of politics and culture and demonstrates how to wield power by blurring the two spheres, Donald Trump also points to a solution and endpoint. He has had successes as president: passing a large and increasingly popular tax cut, reducing regulatory drag on a number of industries, and producing some real breakthroughs in foreign policy. Yet he remains stubbornly unpopular and, more to the point, resolute in showing how mostly ignorant he is when it comes to a basic understanding of how the government and Constitution function.

For many, such revelations are terrifying, the equivalent of opening the captain's room and finding a monkey manning the controls. But that's not the only possible response.

As Wired co-founder Louis Rossetto has said, Trump "is a refreshing reminder that the guy that's in the White House is another human being. The power of the State is way too exalted. Bringing that power back to human scale is an important part of what needs to be done to correct the insanity that's been going on in the post-war era, where you have these large institutions that control all aspects of our lives." The plain fact is that Trump is far more like other recent presidents than most of want to acknowledge. But as his tenure continues, we'll be forced come to terms with that revelation and how little we like living in a world where everything is, first and foremost, a political statement. As Jack Dorsey can tell you, that's no way to live, especially in an ostensibly free country. The world is very different from when I was writing in 2001, but it's a still a world of ever-expanding possibilities and identities. A rigid us-against-them mentality can't last forever.

*CORRECTION: Rachael Ray's name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I really want to know why he does these red lines in all of his images.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Listen... Nick paid for MS Paint. He's for-damn-sure gonna use it!

  • JWatts||

    "He's for-damn-sure gonna use it!"

    And by use it, you mean order an un-paid intern to do it.

  • Rhywun||

    I just assumed he was swiping all his images from Perez Hilton.

  • BYODB||

    I think it's the three-panel comic (and many other animation types) thing where wavy lines emanate from the head to show anger or distress.

  • lafe.long||

    No, it's elementary school drawing "stink lines".

  • Iheartskeet||

    My hypothesis, from previous threads, is its a Keith Haring homage/poor imitation.

  • damikesc||

    Nick, the hyper-politization is fueled, partially, by a recognition that everything will change to placate a loud minority. If most people do not care, then they will just go along because it does not matter.

    But when you see how much that has fundamentally changed this country, people are less likely to let things go by.

    We've seen governments try to ban Chic-Fil-A because they dislike the owner's politics (mind you, I have not seen this in reverse. Ben & Jerry's has shops in SC and, lord knows, we aren't fond of THEIR owners politics). This is not a path many want to see us go down and many, myself included, would rather not have to give a shit.

    But we are being FORCED to care.

    And many of us deeply resent that.

  • Tony||

    I don't particularly want to hear any more whining from Trumptards about the great nonexistent Mexican menace, yet they screech on.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Burritos?

  • damikesc||

    I think the arguments for open borders lack any common sense, yet they are made incessantly.

  • Tony||

    Open borders isn't a thing, it's a propagandistic buzzword meant to turn off your brain.

  • BYODB||

    It's not a thing because it's a political impossibility. That doesn't stop people from making those arguments, though, and the arguments notably do exist.

  • Tony||

    Arguments exist for why the world is run by lizard people. If it's not a political reality, why is it talked about so much? I mean other than Trump and Republicans are so lazy that the only political strategy they can come up with is to scapegoat brown people some more.

  • hello.||

    Trump and the Republicans aren't writing Reason's material for them I don't think. The morons are perfectly happy to loudly demonstrate their own stupidity. You are a case in point.

  • damikesc||

    Sorry. I will re-word it.

    I think the arguments for border security that opposes all means of securing the border and tend to be simple "let's do amnesty. Again. Because it has stopped the problem all of the times we did it before" are idiotic and lack common sense, yet they are made on this site and amongst the Left constantly.

  • Tony||

    Amnesty, another code word meant not only to stop thought but to stop all practical policy from being made. Is the status quo (de facto amnesty for millions, except the ones being hauled into concentration camps) really so great? Sounds like you won't accept any reform that's not booting 10 million people out. Which apart from being a crime against humanity would be economically ridiculous.

  • damikesc||

    Sorry, but "trust me" is not working. We did trust you. You lied to us.

  • Tony||

    What do you suppose you're talking about here?

  • damikesc||

    Oh, every amnesty offer made from 1986 onwards, mainly.

    "Do this now and we will do that later"...yet later never happens.

  • Tony||

    But it's already one secured fucking border. The whole point to this nonsense is that as long as a single person can get across, it's not secure enough to you people. Meaning it's a perpetual wedge issue, not a real thing. Neither, of course, is the problem you want to solve with this infantile "build a wall" horseshit.

    Yes, Republicans used to have some compassion for the human beings you're treating as so much fascist scapegoating fodder. But that didn't reel in the votes after a while.

  • Tony||

    By not a problem I mean immigration is controlled by labor demand. And just as we have been putting the jackboot of big government down on migrants, all of a sudden there's an imbalance in the US labor market.

    So what's the problem you want to address here? Bonus points for telling the honest truth.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""But it's already one secured fucking border. The whole point to this nonsense is that as long as a single person can get across, it's not secure enough to you people""

    Really? One single person? If that's all it was we wouldn't be talking about it. And btw, if one person can slip through, so can other people, therefore it's not secure.

    The single person is dishonest arguing. You know damn well it's not about a single person.

  • damikesc||

    We have between 11 and 20 MILLION illegals.

    Borders clearly aint secure. And you oppose any limits on visas, any physical impediments on the physical border, any requirements of employers, any requirements on police....

  • Texasmotiv||

    The 11 million that are here didn't sneak across the border. The vast majority of entries are legal entries with illegal overstays.

    I don't disagree that we might be able to tweak laws to reduce the incentives for people to overstay their visa, I'm not opposed to that.

    What I am opposed to is spending large sums of tax money to build a physical barrier at the border that can not only be circumvented (and causes prohibition effects on moving across the border) but also doesn't address the real problem with illegal immigrants. If we stop 0.3% of illegal entrants for $18 billion I'm not sure how anyone would think that is a good use of money.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    According to this, as of 2014, only 42% of illegal immigrants in the US were "overstays", but 66% of illegal immigrants who had entered that year were "overstays".

    This could be read to mean that crossing the border illegally was once more popular, while overstaying is now the current preferred way of entering. Or it could just mean that "overstays" don't tend to be long term, while illegal border crossers stay for the long haul. Hard to say which.

    In any case, I don't think 66% is the "vast" majority.

    I do, however, think illegal border crossings are more a matter of concern, because "overstays" at least qualified for a visa, and so have been subject to at least a little vetting, while illegal border crossings leave us totally in the dark about who came in. So it would be worth a serious effort to suppress illegal border crossings even if they were otherwise going to remain only a third of illegals.

  • damikesc||

    The 11 million that are here didn't sneak across the border. The vast majority of entries are legal entries with illegal overstays.

    Note that I mention the physical border as ONE of the issues?

    Know why?

    Because it is not the ONLY issue.

    But you also oppose reducing visas or any real enhanced oversight of them.

  • Colossal Douchebag||

    Who do you mean, "you people"?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    it's a propagandistic buzzword meant to turn off your brain.

    That explains you.

  • Jgalt1975||

  • Jgalt1975||

    To clarify, this is intended as a response to Tony's statement, "Open borders isn't a thing, it's a propagandistic buzzword meant to turn off your brain."

  • MoreFreedom||

    The USA had open borders for over a century. But then we didn't have welfare or government redistribution of people's money either.

  • VOTE MILES||

    The USA had open borders for over a century. But then we didn't have welfare or government redistribution of people's money either.

    This guy gets it.

  • Mark22||

    Well, Tony, you will have to keep listening to libertarians who are tired of being robbed blind by the government just so you can satisfy your lust for cheap Latino boys.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""that everything will change to placate a loud minority""

    The same loud minority that keeps saying we live in a democracy totally failing to understand the cornerstone of democracy is that the minority loses.

  • See.More||

    The same loud minority that keeps saying we live in a democracy totally failing to understand the cornerstone of democracy is that the minority loses.

    They totally understand that cornerstone of democracy. What they do not understand is that they are the minority. They are firmly convinced that no one in their right mind would disagree with them and, therefore, they must be in the majority. And that is why they are so confused when they are the ones losing.

  • gormadoc||

    There have been conservative groups who've tried to organize campaigns against companies and mosques. I think the reason those haven't been as successful is that conservatives control fewer local governments, especially in big cities that can afford to do without individual companies.

    If censorious officials of any stripe have 200 opportunities a year to act on these impulses but only one is willing to act on it, most of the time it'll be a liberal. I think it's due more to numbers than inclination.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    It stems directly from government sticking its nos into so much of our daily lives.

    When government was small, it did not get in the way much. It did not control enough of our lives to waste time worrying over.

    But that was then, this is now, and government fucks up everything we do. It has gotten to the point where you are far better off trying to make government work your way than literally minding your own business.

    Rent too high? Nothing you can do about that, but government sure can.

    Ride the bus or a bike so much that cars just slow you down, get in the way, and are dangerous? Nothing you can do about that, but government sure can.

    When it was just businesses messing up your life, you could change where you shopped, buy different brands. You had choices. But government is one brand, one store, and you don't get a choice. Voting is it, and that's a waste, because no matter who gets elected, they are in charge of that one store with one brand, and no matter how much you like some of their decisions, they make so many on your behalf (whether you like it or not) that you know in advance you will not like the vast majority of the choices they make for you.

    That's why politics has become so partisan.

  • perlchpr||

    Yeah. And it's not going to get any better any time soon, since lots of people are seemingly incapable of grasping how continually increasing government regulation of everything only provides more incentive for people to try and buy it.

  • hello.||

    And yet here you are every day arguing the "bake the fucking cake" position and insisting that collectively owned spaces are effectively no man's land except when you want to use them for your exclusive benefit.

  • RPGuy16||

    "Ben & Jerry's has shops in SC and, lord knows, we aren't fond of THEIR owners politics"

    Unilever?

  • SimonP||

    You may not give a shit about Ben & Jerry's, but I'm going to guess that you take the right not to bake a cake very seriously.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Well, as long as the story involved gay people. There are literally hundreds of non-discrimination lawsuits every year that don't include gay folk, but all y'all talk about are the same half-dozen cases for years on end.

    Revealed preferences and started preferences, right?

  • hello.||

    It could be that the SCOTUS has already sold out freedom of association as it regards other protected classes and the emphasis on this one is the novelty since it is not a legally settled issue yet. You know, kind of the whole reason why faggots are suing Christian (but not Muslim or Jewish) businesses en-masse in order to trigger court rulings on the subject in the first place?

  • JD Will||

    ^ this

  • AustinRoth||

    As long as the Left smears everyone on the Right as deplorable, racist, etc., things will never get back to normal.

    And they just cannot see how badly these group gates hurt them, regardless of the fact that Republicans control the House, Senate, Presidency, the large majority of governors and state legislators, and the Supree Court is majority conservative as well.

    They Left thinks for some reason they are the majority, even in the face of incontrovertible facts proving otherwise.

  • Tony||

    And the Right is so nice and friendly to the Left.

  • damikesc||

    How often does the right "no platform" the Left?

  • Tony||

    I don't think they ever actually listen to anyone on the left speak.

  • damikesc||

    Clearly we do.

    Given the whole "not being no platformed" thing.

    It seems the Left, though, has serious emotional difficulty listening to the Right.

  • Tony||

    It's just so hard to tell if there's an actual epidemic of this or if the anecdotes simply add up to yet another in an infinite line of whiny right-wing grievances.

    Think Barack Obama is gonna get invited to a platform at Liberty University?

  • damikesc||

    Bernie Sanders was.

    Just sayin'.

    Not a single protest about it, either.

    No massive costs to keep militant students from disrupting it.

    So, yeah, if Obama wanted to go, theyd politely listen.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Why not? Bernie spoke there.

  • Tony||

    And everyone was surprised by it. I wouldn't dream of accusing Liberty of an ulterior motive in promoting Hillary's only rival.

    Ahem:

    "I must inform you that the College Democrats club is no longer going to be recognized as a Liberty University club. We are unable to lend support to a club whose parent organization stands against the moral principles held by Liberty University."

    --Liberty U, definitively not intolerant snowflakes

  • damikesc||

    Yes, it was a giant conspiracy to let Bernie talk.

    They also pulled recognition from Republicans.

    Hell, Carter spoke about a month ago there.

  • VOTE MILES||

    Tony was heard. His question was answered. His point was clearly and definitively refuted.

    Will this exercise in dialogue have any impact on his beliefs?

  • Rev. Arthur Ꮮ. Kirkland||

    You've got an embedded false premise. The correct phrasing is:

    Tony was heard. Its question was answered. Its point was clearly and definitively refuted.

    Will this exercise in dialogue have any impact on its programming?
  • Sevo||

    Tony|6.13.18 @ 2:43PM|#
    "I don't think they ever actually listen to anyone on the left speak."

    NYT, LAT, WaPo, Chron, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS NBC, etc
    Nope, never hear or read any lefty bullshit at all.
    What a fucking imbecile.

  • Mark22||

    I don't think they ever actually listen to anyone on the left speak.

    A lot of the right is former leftists, actually.

  • albo||

    The Right thinks the Left is wrong. The Left thinks the Right is crazy.

  • Tony||

    "Lock the bitch up."

    Easily in the top 3 policy priorities of the modern-day right. Not nice people.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Funny, because when I hear it or see it today, It's a liberal talking about Trump.

  • Tony||

    I like him right where he is considering that Pence would take his place and seem reasonable by comparison. But justice does demand that we investigate and respond to potential treason nonetheless.

  • BYODB||

    Potential treason, like say sending a ton of cash to one of the leading terrorist sponsors in the world?

    Rather than, say, vague allegations of unsubstantiated rumor that have persisted for a year sans any actual evidence of any actual treason?

    You'd be taken more seriously if it wasn't for all your years of carrying water for tyrants.

  • Tony||

    From an American perspective, the most important sponsors of terrorism would seem to be the Saudis, our great friends and definitely not a tyrannical repressive society. Democrats are refusing to take money from Big Oil going forward while the GOP is essentially their political arm. So let's not get loosy-goosy with the definition of treason. I'm talking about conspiring with the Russian government to harm America.

    You have to be really in the fucking bubble to be bitching about the Iran deal yet think the Russia investigation is a hoax. Ever consider that you're the problem this article refers to, because you refuse to engage facts that aren't shat out of some right-wing shill's mouth?

  • Fats of Fury||

    So I take it Russian Facebook ads convinced you to change your vote to Trump and you deeply regret it.

  • Tony||

    I think the fact that I don't spend any time on Facebook is the same kind of good judgment that prevented me from voting for Trump.

  • damikesc||

    Yet Democrats will still buy products from those evil companies.

    So, will take no money...but no change in what they are spending on it.

    Shocked to know that NOT hating the resource that made modernity possible is "treason". Seems rational.

    Obama tried to illegally give iran access to our financial markets. It being illegal isnt even disputable. Yet he did it.

    See? A concrete crime. Now do Trump and Russia. Specifics, please.

  • Tony||

    Want me to list the indictments already made or do you want me to guess at what's coming down the line?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Want me to list the indictments already made"'

    Sure and be sure to include the ones that Muller is trying to usurp the right to discovery by filing a motion to not provide evidence to the defense.

  • damikesc||

    Please. The indictments that TRUMP did anything.

    I gave you at least one illegal act by Obama (he also used Hillarys quite illegal email server...so that is two).

    Wasnt one of the indictments for lying to FBI agents who felt he didnt lie to them?
    And doesnt one involve a non existent company?
    One involve actions years before Trump?

  • damikesc||

    From an American perspective, the most important sponsors of terrorism would seem to be the Saudis, our great friends and definitely not a tyrannical repressive society. Democrats are refusing to take money from Big Oil going forward while the GOP is essentially their political arm.

    Umm, the USA is on the verge of becoming the largest oil producer on the planet. And Arabia is showing SOME signs of modernizing. Iran? Still a shithole stuck in the 13th century.

    So let's not get loosy-goosy with the definition of treason. I'm talking about conspiring with the Russian government to harm America.

    I gave you a SPECIFIC thing Obama did to help Iran. You've provided literally nothing Trump has done to help Russia. Increasing fracking hurts them. Arms deals with E Europe harms them.

  • VOTE MILES||

    Iran? Still a shithole stuck in the 13th century

    Look at this guy show off his vast geographic and historical knowledge!

  • mhuitt||

    That wasn't all that was allowed in order to appease Iran:

    "In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation."

    "The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook," Josh Meyer, Politico (link trips the 50-character one word rule - but punch in name of article, author, and publisher should come right up)

    But as you said, Russian Facebook ads warrant more attention. This was one of those "blink and you miss it" stories with little air-time.

  • damikesc||

    Tony, coming out to protect the powerful from punishment that average people would suffer for the EXACT same offenses.

    FOR LIBERTY!!!

    Nothing promises liberty like the powerful being unaccountable for their actions.

  • Tony||

    I agree that we shouldn't let Trump get away with pardoning everyone who could implicate him in high crimes.

  • damikesc||

    Who has he done it to?

    And what are the legal limitations to pardons?

  • Tony||

    You guys are so impatient.

    I still haven't figured out the logic in the argument "He hasn't been charged with a crime yet, thus he never committed one."

  • damikesc||

    I still haven't figured out the logic in the argument "He hasn't been charged with a crime yet, thus he never committed one."

    We're asking for specifics on what he did illegally.

    It's been 20 months since the election. You'd think you'd have SOMETHING by now.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""I still haven't figured out the logic in the argument "He hasn't been charged with a crime yet, thus he never committed one."""

    Yes you do. It's the same logic that Hillary fans use to think she hasn't committed a crime.

  • hello.||

    You guys are so impatient.

    His term is halfway over already. In 10 years when we're facing the midterms of his successor and the Mueller investigation is still ongoing will your patience have worn out?

  • Sevo||

    "I agree that we shouldn't let Trump get away with pardoning everyone who could implicate him in high crimes."

    You lose, but regardless, you've been beating the 'high crimes' bullshit and lies for, what 16 months? And you've got bupkis, pal: Zero!
    But lefty losers aren't about to let facts get in the way of their idiotic stories, are they, lefty loser?

  • DenverJ||

    Who's "we", and how do you plan on stopping the POTUS from exercising his constitutional powers? BTW, he could even pardon himself and it would be legal. Your hatred of the man does not negate the law.

  • Mark22||

    "Lock the bitch up." Easily in the top 3 policy priorities of the modern-day right. Not nice people.

    You don't think Hillary is a bitch?

    You don't think she has committed felonies?

  • Azathoth!!||

    The Right thinks the Left is wrong. The Left thinks the Right is evil.

    FTFY.

  • Eric||

    The Right thinks the Left is wrong. The Left thinks the Right is crazy.

    When both sides are comparing eachother to Nazis, we can safely say that each side thinks that the other is evil.

  • hello.||

    How dare the right compare the people who are beating peaceful protestors in the streets and suppressing speech for their opponents to Nazis! See, it's totally the same that the left compares the right to Nazis for existing.

  • KevinP||

    Leftists and progressives are so concerned about racism because it thrives the most in their own midst:

    Bernie Sanders' Own Black Press Secretary Was Profiled and Stereotyped By His Staff, Event Hosts


    Quote:
    There were multiple instances. There were places where I literally I couldn't get in. I would go to the door, the staff entrance, and people would say, "This is staff only." I'd have to explain to them that I was staff, and they would question me. I would have to say, "I'm the national press secretary. Did you watch me on the news the other day?"
  • Rhywun||

    She quit Bern to join Hillary and is spinning this tale to "Elle" magazine. I have serious doubts any of that actually happened as described.

  • Rhywun||

    She quit Bern to join Hillary and is spinning this tale to "Elle" magazine. I have serious doubts any of that actually happened as described.

  • ThomasD||

    If you are correct I'm not sure who that reflects more badly upon, Hill or Bern.

    Sounds like they deserve each other.

  • SimonP||

    And the Right thinks they've somehow won all those seats through fair dealing and not, say, careful gerrymandering and voter suppression.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Actually, they won most of them by simply undoing earlier Democratic gerrymandering. But let me guess: You're one of those people who think that not drawing districts specifically designed to neutralize the disadvantages Democrats suffer from being highly clustered in cities is "gerrymandering", right?

    Republicans don't need to gerrymander to have an 'unfair' advantage. (Though they do anyway, sometimes.) In most states, just drawing the districts without paying any attention to political consquences will give Republicans an advantage, just because of the way voters are distributed on the ground.

    Turns out living in cities where you get 90% of the vote is inefficient.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Great points. Allocating Senators based on states amplifies the votes of low population states also.

  • ThomasD||

    Because nobody else gerrymandered.

    Ever.

    And you forgot the scare quotes on 'voter suppression.'

  • hello.||

    Remember in 2008 when white supremacists sat outside Philadelphia polling places in military gear wielding nightsticks and ranting and raving about the niggers?

    Oh wait, that was Black Panthers ranting and raving about crackers. Oops.

    But uh yeah. Those Republicans and their voter suppression! Next thing you know they won't even let dead people vote anymore! See how much Republicans hate democracy?

  • Eric||

    The left is worse right now. But I remember the right being pretty awful during the first six or so years of the aughts. Any public official caught not wearing a flag lapel was immediately branded anti-American. Anyone who questioned the war was branded a traitor. Celebrities were blacklisted if they spoke out against the war or the current administration. Out of that shitshow, we got the Patriot Act, Medicare Part B, a strangled 4th Amendment, a bloated MIC, and jingoist military worship to last for an entire generation. That overreach is why we have so many former-republicans-think-they're-libertarians posting stupid right-wing garbage on this site.

    Maybe a lot of people on here are young and haven't seen the pendulum swing. The left is truly awful right now, this is true. But nothing is permanent, and the current right-wing backlash WILL go too far at some point.

  • hello.||

    Celebrities were blacklisted if they spoke out against the war or the current administration.

    Yeah I remember how many Hollywood war protestors lost their jobs over that. It was like the 50s all over again!

  • Fancylad||

    "Any public official caught not wearing a flag lapel was immediately branded anti-American. Anyone who questioned the war was branded a traitor. Celebrities were blacklisted if they spoke out against the war or the current administration."
    Yeah, I remember when absolutely none of that happened. But you're right that the pendulum swing is going to be horrific.
    Instead of Boston 1776, the backlash will be Paris 1789.

  • Siegzon||

    I pray it does not, but the over-inflated sense of justice over small issues has the feeling of the persecution of the royals and the Church. The hatred seems to be libertine versus libertarian more than the reverse. I would hope that a strong Christian ethic (render unto Ceaser what is Ceaser's) would prevent the right from going THAT far. Even Japanese internment camps were not an equivalence to concentration camps by the fascists after the collapse of the Weimar Republic. Perhaps those dots are too far apart to be connected, but a well-grounded, well-educated people should be able to prevent fascistic minorities from seizing power.

  • Fats of Fury||

    Hey Fonzie! Were you wearing the leather jacket when you water skied over this shark? To blame Trump for this ChikfilA is severe TDS. maybe a fatal case.

  • gormadoc||

    "Donald Trump didn't cause the return of politics to the center of everyday life..."

    He didn't blame Trump. He's saying that Trump's success and political actions are a symptom.

    l2r

  • Fats of Fury||

    Yeah I read that and I also read the rest of the sentence.

    ", but he is exploiting the hell out of it."

    and

    "Despite winning just 46 percent of the popular vote, Trump has divided America into a dizzying array of confusing and mutually exclusive tribes."

    and

    "Trump is an acknowledged master not just of being divisive but of fouling everyday life with politics."

    This is a story about Twitter, Dorsey, and the douchebag SJWs who inhabit twitter, why bring Trump into it at all? .
    Tribalism didn't go into hiatus in the Obama years and twitter was weaponized long before Trump came along.

  • CDRSchafer||

    Obama was the most intentionally divisive President in history by far and somehow the author avoids mentioning anything about him.

  • ThomasD||

    He was only divisive towards people who needed divising.

  • Brandybuck||

    So Nick is saying this ISN'T the libertarian moment?

  • ThomasD||

    Free minds are not free to express themselves in manners that Pleather Jacket finds problematic.

  • BYODB||


    But that debate is secondary to how quickly and extensively so many people now place political values on virtually every aspect of their private and public lives.


    One obvious reason for this is because socialism is on the rise in America and socialism doesn't differentiate between the social and the political thus, as government is the de facto god of the United States, this necessarily means that everything is viewed through the lens of the cudgel we can and should wield against each other.


    I don't agree with that worldview, but it would seem obvious to me.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Yeah... One tries to be oblivious and not politicize. But everything - from the us soccer team's gay pride jerseys, to the diversity riders in Hollywood movies, to rap concerts, to delicious chicken sandwiches - is up for grabs in the political arena.

    Dad always said vote with your dollars. (Which is better than the Supreme Court's interpretation). Sadly, perhaps, with social media we can all see what should be under the covers (dad also said never discuss politics and religion), and sign or oppose accordingly.

  • Jerryskids||

    But that debate is secondary to how quickly and extensively so many people now place political values on virtually every aspect of their private and public lives.

    One obvious thing you missed is that the article starts off referencing Twitter's CEO. I'd suggest if you're on Twitter and Facebook and the like, it's because you have no private life. For these people, their entire life is a public display of preening. Political, moral, intellectual, materialistic, it's all the same desperate "Look at me!" as a drunk fat chick at a frat party and about half as coherent. It's not as if they're only now placing political values on every damn thing, it's just that now they've got a public platform from which to screech about their political values.

  • Texasmotiv||

    I think this is 100% the right analysis. We (as a nation) have become so enfused with statism that we can't tolerate anyone anymore.

  • Dadlobby||

    I made it to the "Blame Trump" point in the article for a polarized electorate and stopped reading it. The most centrist of the Republican candidates portrayed as "Alt-right", even by Libertarians? Maybe "Alt-left Libertarians" see the center as the "right"? If I wanted to hear an anti blame Trump rant I could turn to a left leaning rag (then again, perhaps I did?).

  • gormadoc||

    Did you read the right article? The only time "alt-right" occurs on this page is in your comment.

  • Tony||

    I'm very curious about something. Trump's support is being described as a cult of personality. Do you guys simply have no use for other Republicans? If Trump were to leave office early for whatever reason, how upset would you be?

    Or are you just sort of waiting around and longing for the day when a normal human with an adult brain takes his place, which will be a great relief?

  • Sevo||

    Tony|6.13.18 @ 3:29PM|#
    "I'm very curious about something. Trump's support is being described as a cult of personality."

    I'm very curious too; did you drag that strawman all the way from home, or find it on the way?
    Fuck off, imbecile.

  • Tony||

    Joe Scarborough hath declared it. And he's one of you people.

  • DenverJ||

    "you people"? Uh oh, Tony, that's racist.

  • damikesc||

    Yes, MSNBC is known as a home for "us"

  • Nardz||

    Tony,
    You're awesome.
    Don't ever change.
    You just keep being you.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|6.13.18 @ 4:10PM|#
    "Joe Scarborough hath declared it. And he's one of you people."

    So you justify your bullshit since someone else said it?
    Fuck off imbecile.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""I'm very curious too; did you drag that strawman all the way from home, or find it on the way?""

    He found it next to the red herrings.

  • Dillinger||

    beautiful. Jack Dorsey, meet your baby.

  • Empress Trudy||

    Considering the political bent of Twitter and Jack Dorsey, he should set himself on fire.

  • Rockabilly||

    Never apologize to a commie, they take it as a sign of weakness and will constantly nag you

  • TGoodchild||

    "Wired co-founder Louis Rossetto has said, Trump "is a refreshing reminder that the guy that's in the White House is another human being. The power of the State is way too exalted. Bringing that power back to human scale is an important part of what needs to be done to correct the insanity that's been going on in the post-war era, where you have these large"

    This

  • MoreFreedom||

    "Even as he personifies the toxic blending of politics and culture and demonstrates how to wield power by blurring the two spheres, Donald Trump also points to a solution and endpoint. .. Yet he remains stubbornly unpopular and, more to the point, resolute in showing how mostly ignorant he is when it comes to a basic understanding of how the government and Constitution function."

    This article about the dangerous polarization of America is supposed to help? Gillespie seems to have gone off the rails. I see Trump as plain talking compared to typical politicians. He has higher approval ratings than Obama or Reagan at this time in office. And I fail to see any ignorance regarding his "understanding of how the government and Constitution function" as I'm sure he's been listening to his lawyers.

    Trump's plain talk has upset the politicians' game of screwing us while lying and telling us, using all proper decorum, what they want us to hear. As for "Trump is More Like Recent Presidents Than Anyone Wants to Admit" Gillespie skips a lot of important facts like Trump put a no tariffs for anyone option on the table, but the G7 pols rejected it. The way I see it, is that the establishment is trying to polarize the country against Trump. And some Reason authors seem to have TDS. I write this as a Reason supporter, and voter for Johnson. As a libertarian, I've found Trump much better than expected, and the most libertarian president since Reagan.

  • Joe Emenaker||

    "...it's not exactly clear that Chick-fil-A, though it gives to various Christian nonprofits that oppose gay marriage, is "anti-gay" in any meaningful way"
    Umm... until the SCOTUS decides to let corporations just go ahead and vote, what more meaningful way *is* there for a company to persecute some group than to offer hard cash to people who vow to deprive them of civil rights? I mean, sure... they could offer a bounty for gay scalps, but, assuming that they're a little concerned about PR blowback from that, giving hard money is about as substantive as you can get.

  • Sevo||

    "Umm... until the SCOTUS decides to let corporations just go ahead and vote, what more meaningful way *is* there for a company to persecute some group than to offer hard cash to people who vow to deprive them of civil rights?"

    Ignoring your bullshit about SCOTUS "allowing" stuff, your point is taken.
    Except that corporations cannot contribute at all, so I think we need clarification on what the sentence actually means.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Of course "corporations" can't contribute. Only anonymous shell corporations can. Everyone knows that.

  • Sevo||

    "Of course "corporations" can't contribute. Only anonymous shell corporations can. Everyone knows that."
    Tin foil hat or sarc?

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Adjusting response for your point of view, definitely tin foil hat, worn proudly. Your assertion depends on a pretend distinction, which never actually mattered, but which is now also outworn by custom.

    The question about money in politics is twofold: 1) can it affect election outcomes, and 2) does it result in corrupt government (and especially government unresponsive to non-contributors)? On that basis, result No. 2—the more important category by far—is readily mobilized by so-called independent expenditures, which are made for the purpose of doing it, via anonymous shell corporations. The result has been measured, and the data come out just as any sensible person would expect. When deciding policy, officeholders favor the folks who spend money to support them, whether directly, or "independently." And officeholders spurn the policy preferences of those who can't pay, even when they comprise large, bi-partisan majorities.

  • Sevo||

    Go ahead, make up new definitions and a separate reality.
    Lefties are so much fun to watch!

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    2004 is really when everything went haywire. Bush should never have been re-elected after invading and mismanaging two wars and every election since then has been tainted by the mistake we made in that election. I supported McCain in 2000 but I will never forgive him for not endorsing Kerry in 2004 and I honestly believe McCain is the worst senator in history other than Jefferson Davis.

  • Sevo||

    "...I supported McCain in 2000 but I will never forgive him for not endorsing Kerry in 2004..."
    So we now have an influx of fucking idiots?
    Or sarc?
    Which is it?

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    The political left is alarmed over Trump mostly because they think he is pushing the nation toward a Constitutional crisis. The left is mistaken. Trump—and others on the right—intend a sovereignty crisis if they can get one—they work to put in question the notion of popular sovereignty on majority principles—without, however, having reached agreement among themselves on what to replace it with.

    "Others on the right," encompasses especially the libertarian right, which has always opposed popular sovereignty anyway. But now, with Republican corporatists willing to make what they can out of Trump's backers' politics of resentment, the nation drifts not specifically toward a Constitutional crisis, nor specifically toward a sovereignty crisis, but instead toward the panoply of various formless crises which attend political chaos.

    History suggests that fits this nation among the usual patterns of political collapse. I suggest a reassertion of the nation's customary foundation on popular sovereignty is overdue. If it's coming, it will probably have to come from millennials—the foregoing generations being politically played out. I don't see much sign that millennials are organizing, or even noticing, but sometime during the next two or three election cycles, I hope to hear from them.

  • Sevo||

    OK, tin foil hats on aisle #6.

  • thisbrucesmith||

    "Eventually, the parties will realign and reconfigure into more effective coalitions, or they will be replaced by groups that are able to represent shared voter interests on issues . . ."

    Or, it'll finally dawn on them that they're really not that different from each other, and we'll REALLY be screwed.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Yet he remains stubbornly unpopular

    More lies from Gillespie. Trump's popularity ratings are higher than Reagan or Obama's we're at the same point in their presidencies. I don't recall Obama ever being labeled an unpopular President.

  • vek||

    You dick! I was going to be lazy and only reply about that bit, but you beat me to the punch!

    Yes. Trump is more popular than Reagan or Obama at this exact point in his presidency. I see the rage machine losing steam, and more people realizing he's doing a pretty okay, if not especially impressive, job of doing things. I still maintain he's been the best president of my lifetime so far. Not that that's saying much...

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Are you guys sure about that popularity stuff? The report I heard said he was more popular among his base than those others were among theirs—not that Trump was more popular overall. Overall, Trump is an unpopular president, with majorities disapproving of his job performance.

  • Cloudbuster||

  • Sevo||

    I still don't like the guy, but I sure do like a lot of what he's done.

  • Harry Callahan||

    It is humorously ironic that Jack Dorsey failed to realize the power of his own invention.

    Just as the printing press enabled the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago, the web is enabling our contemporary transition to a new cultural epoch.

  • wreckinball||

    WTF article of the day,
    Radical LGBT crowd trys to ruin someone's life because of the political beliefs of the CEO of the restaurant he ate at.
    And it's got something to do with Trump?
    Nope
    It does have something to do with the permanently offended LGBT crowd
    Holy crap what a dumb article
    Nick daily falls all over himself with the both sides donit argument
    Just dumb as shit

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    How does this differ from Congressional Republicans choosing to eat Chick-fil-A products precisely because they like the company's backwardness and bigotry?

    It's a free country, one in which you can pick Jesus Chicken if you like gay-bashing, or you can criticize people for patronizing the company if you wish.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Why does it matter that the electorate doesn't agree on anything substantive, or that or government is at war with itself?

    If the government is truly in tatters, money will be allocated toward more productive ends then disfunctional government.

    I'm far more worried about a competent big government type like Romney getting elected than I am about a madman like Trump or an SJW amateur like Obama being elected.

    Though Trump has a hint of the 'that's just crazy enough it might work' thing going that occasionally worries me.

  • mtrueman||

    " how little we like living in a world where everything is, first and foremost, a political statement"

    We can't help ourselves. Just wait a week or so until the next school massacre. We love our kulturkampf.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    It's fine for bigots to refuse to bake cakes or sell hardware, and dandy when Republicans spend public money at Chick-fil-A because they like Gay-Hating Jesus Chicken (or when foreigners and lobbyists seeking presidential favors drop massive cash at a Trump hotel or club) . . . but it is unacceptable for people to criticize King Tweeter for buying Bigoted Messiah Chicken, and intolerable when the Top Twitterator says 'my bad' in response to such criticism?

    Got it . . . libertarianism, wingnut-style.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online