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Why the American Establishment Has Lost Credibility

Three Incidents Last Week Demonstrate the Problem

The 2016 Republican primaries were one big "f you" to the establishment. We all know that Trump won the nomination, but it's easy to forget that the second-place candidate, Ted Cruz, was also anathema to the establishment. Indeed, one reason Trump won the nomination was because most of the Republican establishment refused to rally around Cruz; he was considered by some worse than Trump, and other were sufficiently hostile to Cruz they thought it was better to lose (as they expected) with Trump than potentially win with Cruz.

Of course, Trump went on to win the presidency, even though virtually the entire establishment--and here I mean prominent, powerful or influential individuals from mainstream liberal Democrats to neoconservatives, from the "usual suspects" to conservative Wall Street Journal columnists, lined up against him.

Ever since, the establishment has been aghast, and rightly so. Someone with Trump's temperament, history of lies, casual prejudiced statements, and so on, should never have gotten near the presidency. Yet, despite the establishment's warnings of disaster, enough voters were willing to vote for him to make him president.

One could blame the result of the election on Hillary's unpopularity, and yet very few of Trump's voters have since abandoned him. A major reason, I think, is that the establishment that once served as a gatekeeper against the likes of Trump has lost its credibility among large portions of the population, and their attacks on Trump are simply discounted or ignored.

Why? Well consider how the establishment would react if George W. Bush were seated two seats down from David Duke at Willie Nelson's funeral, with Duke given a place of honor. Now consider that Bill Clinton sat two seats away from an equally odious hatemonger, Louis Farrakhan, at Aretha Franklin's funeral. Some Jewish groups expressed dismay, but Clinton acted as if nothing was amiss, as did the rest of the establishment. Former attorney general Eric Holder took a picture next to Farrakhan, and it sure looks posed. But wait, you will say, Farrakhan is black, and because of historical differences in power, black racism and anti-Semitism simply isn't as problematic as white racism as anti-Semitism. That's a fine argument to have in university seminar room. What your average person sees, however, is hypocrisy and double standards. So when the establishment says, "reject Trump, he associates with some dubious characters with dubious connections on the 'alt-right," the establishment makes a fair, if sometimes exaggerated, point. But to the average Trump fan, it sure looks like the establishment is much more concerned with bigotry when it can be connect to conservatives and Trump than when it involves figures who are aligned with left-wing Democratic constituencies.

What about the fact that Trump shows little interest in truth, and his supporters are too quick to dismiss expert and scientific opinion, that they try to bend the truth to their political agenda? As Gail Heriot has recounted on this blog, a psychology professor at Brown (and you can't get more establishment than the Ivy League) published a peer-reviewed article suggesting that at least some teens who claim transgender identity do so as a matter of social contagion rather than because they were "born that way." After complaints from transgender activists, Brown apologized for issuing a press release touting the study, and the journal that published the study announced it would review it further. Establishment voices that are usually raised very quickly at any hint of the politicization of science from right-wing political sources were notably silent. But can you imagine the reaction if the study had been one favorable to, say, same-sex marriage, and the same thing had happened after conservative evangelical Christian activists complained?

Finally, there is the matter of John McCain's passing. Deaths of famous individuals are often occasions for charitable assessments of someone's legacy. In McCain's case, however, the praise heaped on him made him out to be someone so far from the actual John McCain that he was virtually unrecognizable. Someone who always treated his political opponents with respect? Not really, but a useful way to implicitly attack Trump. More important, the politically aware recall that McCain was a hero when he took on George W. Bush in 2000, and again when he became an implicit member of the "Resistance" to Trump until his death. But in 2008, when he ran against the establishment's favorite, Barack Obama, the establishment turned on him with a vengeance. Sort of seems like the esteem in which they hold a prominent individual has less to do with his character, and more to do with whether he is serving a useful political purpose at the moment. So attacks on Trump's character, however well-founded, are considered in that light.

I should emphasize that I agree that Trump has at times promoted bigotry, is a congenital liar, and engages in demeaning and belittling behavior toward his political opponents. Indeed, I think these things are obvious. But much of the country isn't listening when the traditional gatekeepers point this out, and that is, at least in part, the gatekeepers' own fault.

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  • dwb68||

    There are two types of Trump voters: Type A see only hypocrisy and double standards among Trump criticism. A corollary to this is that "bigotry" and "racism" are thrown around so loosely these days that the terms have become virtually meaningless. If Rachel Dolezal can be a self identified black person, mostly because she agrees with Democrat policies, does that mean Ben Carson can be a self identified white person, since he's a Republican? Race appears to a a political disposition these days, not a genetic one.

    Type B see a lot of (melo)drama but also see that the way that Trump administration governs is pretty establishment beneath the melodrama. Kavanaugh is a pretty establishment republican pick for the Supreme Court. So was Gorsuch. Tax cuts and cutting regulation are pretty core establishment GOP policies.

    In the end I think Trump knows that the greatest weakness of any politician is vanity, and he milks it. Does Trump throw out dog whistles because he is racist, or does he do it because the "resistance" will completely overreact and destroy their own credibility. Maybe he is just the Troll in chief, and the sad part is people keep falling for it over and over. If the media and "resistance" would call his bluff and stop over-reacting, maybe we would know the answer.

  • ragebot||

    There are two types of people; those who say there are two types of people and those who know better.

  • nerdbert||

    There are 10 kinds of people: those who can count in binary and those who can't.

  • Rat on a train||

    What about the other e people?

  • nerdbert||

    They are completely irrational, naturally.

  • Vader||

    They're transcendental.

  • CptNerd||

    Or they're √-1.

  • SDN||

    And then there's type ABs like me, who see both.

  • Brightly||

    well thought out reply, dwb68

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    "Tax cuts and cutting regulation are pretty core establishment GOP policies."

    TALKING Tax cuts and cutting regulation are core GOP establishment policies. Actually cutting taxes is something their more radical members do, sometimes. Actually cutting regulation is VERY non-establishment.

  • M.L.||

    dwb --

    You're going to love this recent headline. It's on a new level in the "I Can't Believe It's Not the Onion" category, which I honestly thought wasn't even possible any more in September of 2018. What a time to be alive.

    Why Young Men of Color Are Joining White-Supremacist Groups

    Ooof! Huh, um . . . maybe it's because . . . they're not white supremacist groups?

  • ThomasD||

    There are two types of people; those who understand the difference between ancestry and heredity, and those who think race is genetic.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Trump went on to win the presidency, even though virtually the entire establishment ... lined up against him.

    More likely, largely because the establishment hated him so over the toply. When the elites get so foamy at the mouth over such a parody of themselves, it is just begging the masses to stick it to the elites who have sneered at them for so long as bitter clingers and deplorables.

  • David Nieporent||

    The masses voted against Trump. I wish people would stop forgetting that. Trump did poorly in 2016, and so coming up with reasons why he did well is inherently a fool's errand.

    If you want to argue about so many people refusing to support Hillary, you can construct some sort of argument. But there's no argument about why people voted for Trump; they didn't.

  • SDN||

    Only if you believe Hildebeeste actually won the popular vote in the face of 35% of Detroit precincts unable to be recounted.... and hundreds of precincts from NYC to CA with more votes cast than eligible voters or even population, or....

    The election system in this country is hopelessly corrupted, and has been for decades.

  • bernard11||

    Evidence? Or are you just a Fox News idiot?

  • VinniUSMC||

    Even if any of those things was true, none of them matter. Trump was a mere percentage point off of Hillary, based on actual votes tallied. Literally the only metric that matters.

    The only people to blame for not voting, are the morons who didn't vote. 200 million registered voters and only 130 million bothered to show up. Of those who did show up, Trump won what mattered, states with enough Electoral College votes to win him the Presidency. Any other pointless braying, like DMN:

    The masses voted against Trump. I wish people would stop forgetting that. Trump did poorly in 2016, and so coming up with reasons why he did well is inherently a fool's errand.

    is nothing more than idiotic virtue signaling. We get it, "Hillary should have won". It's old hat. Dry your eyes, blow your nose, and move the fuck on.

  • bernard11||

    Trump was a mere percentage point off of Hillary, based on actual votes tallied. Literally the only metric that matters.


    Actually, It was 2.1%.

    Trump got only about 2 million more votes than Romney did in 2012, and Romney, certainly an establishment candidate, got a larger percentage of the popular vote than Trump did.

    Big revolution against "the establishment?"

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Yes, a 2.1% difference, which means that if 1.1% of the voters had switched their votes to Trump, he'd have had a popular vote victory, too. So, yeah, a mere percentage point away from a popular vote victory.

    The 'libertarian' got considerably more of the vote than the difference between Trump and Hillary. The watermelons much less. If you allocated Weld's vote to Trump, and Stein's to Hillary, you'd have to say that the 'right' won the popular vote.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "Weld's vote"

    Johnson. Remember? "Feel the Johnson!"

  • NToJ||

    Why would you give the libertarian vote to the President? The libertarians I know voted for Hillary Clinton.

  • Vader||

    And, in 2016, to Obama rather than Romney. It's why I don't take libertarians very seriously.

  • bernard11||

    Yes Brett.

    Though that's not what "a percentage point off Hillary" means. Nor does it mean he didn't lose the popular vote.

    Still, we can play your games if you like.

    Gee, if only 57,000 Trump voters in FL had voted for Clinton instead she would have carried the state, and won the election.

    So what?

  • bernard11||

    I forgot to mention that that's about 0.625% of the combined Trump-Clinton vote.

  • Ed Grinberg||

    NToJ: "The libertarians I know voted for Hillary Clinton."
    The libertarians you know are idiots.

  • David Nieporent||

    Literally the only metric that matters.

    No. The metric that matters varies based on the question being asked.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Evidence? How about the Democrat Party's long history of vote fraud, coupled with their hysterical refusal to allow any level of investigation? Granted, that's largely inferential. For direct evidence we would have to insist on the reasonable measures, such as actual culling of the voter rolls for the dead and the moved, with the Democrats consistently refuse to undertake.

    Repeating "There is no evidence" every time somebody points out evidence like the precincts that tally more votes than they have recorded voters, is not an especially convincing tactic.

    Pretty typical of the Left, though.

  • bernard11||

    "Pointing out" is not evidence. It is an assertion. In this case a baseless one.

    What is typical of the right is lying about vote fraud, like you are doing, and using it as an excuse to keep minorities from voting.

    SDN claims that there were hundreds of precincts from NYC to CA with more votes cast than eligible voters or even population, or..

    Can you or SDN back that up? If not, it's time both of you STFU.

  • MikeR6||

    "Trump did poorly in 2016". This kind of stuff seems pretty silly to me. He got pretty much half the voters. So did Clinton. Did one get a percentage point or two more than the other? Wow. That may have some kind of relevance (not in terms of deciding the election, of course), but the fact that each got tens of millions of voters is much more important.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Trump won. 306 to 232.

    Hillary did poorly. She lost. She's the loser.

  • David Nieporent||

    He got pretty much half the voters.

    He got 46% of the voters. Which makes him closer to, say, Mike Dukakis than to Ronald Reagan.

    Nobody would construct an argument about how the masses were sticking it to the elites (or vice versa) by citing Dukakis's performance at the ballot box.

  • VinniUSMC||

    And Hillary got 48% of the voters, so awesome. Queen Hillary, yay!

    Oh wait, more than 10% of her votes were from 2 states that she would literally have had to nuke from orbit to lose. She lost. She is the only person to blame for her loss. She was too good to get out and try to win swing states. She knew that she was just going to win them all.

    You're as fucking stupid as she is if you think that "He got 46% of the voters" is a remotely cogent argument.

    306 to 232. She lost, and has only herself to blame, get over it.

  • bernard11||

    Actually, she got about 20% from CA and NY, but I guess you're too busy calling people stupid to do any arithmetic.

    Trump actually got about 12% of his votes from those two states as well.

    Why any of that matters I don't know. I guess you subscribe to the right-wing notion that people who live in CA don't count for some reason.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    We subscribe to the right-wing notion that the point of the Electoral college was to keep candidates who only have a regional appeal from ruling the entire country.

    That's basically the Democratic party's problem today: They're a regional party. They do absurdly well in city centers and within 50 miles of the coast, and badly everywhere else.

    I know Democrats ridicule this as claiming land is entitled to vote, but the simple matter is that the Democratic party's appeal is very localized, and that is a genuine problem if you want to rule an entire country. You can't do it just be doing fantastically well in some tiny pockets, and not care that the people in 79% of the the country don't like you.

    The Democratic party really needs to try to appeal to people outside of city centers, instead of just honing it's appeal to garner ever larger percentages inside the cities, and to hell with everywhere else.

  • Procyon Mustelid||

    Given the way the population of the cities exceeds everywhere else, why shouldn't it be "to hell with everywhere else"?

  • Mesoman||

    "To hell with everywhere else" says the big city dweller. Where does your food come from? How about the raw materials that your technology is built from? The fuel for you vehicles and the powerplants that supply your electricity.

    Yep - it doesn't come from the big coastal cities.

  • NToJ||

    Nobody is arguing that Hillary's vote collection is evidence of the establishment's dominance.

  • David Nieporent||

    Why are you bringing up Hillary in response to my comment, which did not mention Hillary at all?

  • David Friedman||

    "Nobody would construct an argument about how the masses were sticking it to the elites"

    Neither Dukakis nor Romney had most of the establishment, including his own party's establishment, strongly against him. The fact that a candidate who did managed to do about as well as previous candidates who didn't is evidence that a lot of people rejected the authority of the establishment.

  • ||

    If by "masses," you include illiterate third worlders who we were stupid enough to give citizenship to. If you only include real Americans, Trump won by at least 15 million votes.

  • Procyon Mustelid||

    But how many of those "real Americans" are past the age where death should be mabdatory and shouldn't get to live, let alone vote?

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    He did poorly in the republican primary,where he won a plurality. Usually systems where there are multiple candidates have some sort of run-off so this doesn't happen.

    In the general, Hillary spent a bunch of money turning out votes in states that didn't matter. Would the popular vote have been different if Trump had done the same thing? Who knows.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The fact that he did this while spending half what Hillary did is evidence he knew what he was doing: He only spent what he needed to win, and no more.

  • Seamus||

    Yes, but our betters have determined that runoff requirements are racist.

  • M.L.||

    LMAO. Just cause a historic realignment in the electorate and flip the blue wall and MI, PA, WI -- no big deal, bro!

    Anyone could have done it, if Trump was any good he should have won 400 EVs!

  • Leo Marvin||

    Trump did nothing others weren't able to, only what they weren't willing to, and for good reason. His campaign was built on attacking the principles that have made this country successful and admirable. Supporting someone who shamelessly erodes such foundational norms confers a moral stain that won't easily wash off.

  • bernard11||

    But in 2008, when [McCain] ran against the establishment's favorite, Barack Obama, the establishment turned on him with a vengeance.

    Huh? Are you saying "establishment" conservatives and Republicans didn't support McCain? That Obama was their favorite? Sure, Democrats "turned on" McCain. It was a presidential election, remember, and it featured the absolutely terrible decision, by McCain, to choose Sarah Palin as his running mate.

    And do you really have no examples of establishment misconduct on the right? I'd say that, with its embrace of Trump, it is engaged in continual misconduct. Surely you could find an instance or two if you tried.

  • ||

    No. He's saying that even a moderate, maverick, liberal Republican runs against the Democrat Party establishment, they'll malign him as a "bigot" and "divisive."

  • Macy's Window||

    Bernard1: "Sure, Democrats "turned on" McCain."

    LOL. Their message wasn't "We advocate better policies than Senator McCain, although we have great respect for him." Their message was "The Republicans gonna put y'all back in chains!"

    Bernard1: "It was a presidential election, remember, and it featured the absolutely terrible decision, by McCain, to choose Sarah Palin as his running mate.""

    LOL. (Again). Yes, I am sure that the only reason that the Dems vilified and slandered McCain was because his running mate was inexperienced.

    Sure. Go with that argument.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    They really, really don't want to examine their past behavior as a clue to their current predicament.

  • NToJ||

    I don't remember the 2008 election being especially uncivil (at least between the candidates).

    "And what is important is making sure that we disagree without being disagreeable. And it means that we can have tough, vigorous debates around issues. What we can't do, I think, is try to characterize each other as bad people. And that has been a culture in Washington that has been taking place for too long. And I think..."

    McCain wasn't at his best, but he had some very bright moments during the debates and on the trail. And I don't think Democrats were at their best, either. But it wouldn't even rate compared to the 2016 Republican primary, much less the 2016 general.

  • Leo Marvin||

    Moreover, the most vitriolic opposition to McCain came from the Right, not the Left. The Tribal Right's hatred for McCain -- see the Breitbart comment threads during McCain's funeral -- didn't begin with Trump. He was just the first Republican twisted enough to make it White House policy.

  • CE||

    Yet, despite the establishment's warnings of disaster, enough voters were willing to vote for him to make him president.

    You misspelled "because of".

  • Brightly||

    Not only that, but he hasn't been a disaster by any sane accounting. His economic policies served as a balm for the historically sluggish Obama recovery, I suspect he has successfully thrown his weight around as the Commander in Chief in projecting United States military strength without committing us to new engagements. His appointments outside of Chai and the NLRB have been decent to great.....

  • AmosArch||

    I'm generally okay with how Trump has been going so far. Like the above said, if you look past the tweeting and CNN meltdowns and social media firestorms things are (knock on wood) going about as smoothly as they've always done and a typical Republican should be well satisfied.

    If anything these past few years we've learned far more about the media and the establishment than we have about trump. If Trump has had a crowning success, its bringing his opponents 'down to his level' so to speak. From the blatant DNC monolithic press cheerleaders to the whimpering RINOs terrified of a relevant resurgent conservative movement they're as bad if not worse than he is. That even here so many supposedly heavyweight law professors are hypnotized like Instagramming teenage girls by the OCDing over halfstaff flags and mean Twitter posts in an alternate reality, while NAFTA is reformed and rockets to Mars are being tested, shows how little moral or intellectual high ground many of Trump's critics actually hold over him.

  • Slocum||

  • Slocum||

    "Like the above said, if you look past the tweeting and CNN meltdowns and social media firestorms things are (knock on wood) going about as smoothly as they've always done and a typical Republican should be well satisfied."

    Assuming that a 'typical Republican' never really gave a damn about free trade or balanced budgets (which, unfortunately, seems to have turned out to be the case)

  • SDN||

    Since we haven't had either of those things....

    Trump has actually proposed NO tariffs.... but only if EVERYONE has no tariffs. You just aren't used to seeing someone in the White House who puts actual Americans first.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    And he says he wants to throw out NAFTA, which did actually have zero tariffs for the most part.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    NAFTA was 1700 pages. You don't need 1700 pages for free trade.

  • NToJ||

    You do, however, need to not impose new tariffs to accomplish free trade. And there isn't any serious dispute that the President has imposed new tariffs.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    What is omitted is that he is imposing tariffs on polities that impose tariffs on us, or otherwise indulge in anti-free-trade practices.

    I will admit that I'm far from sure that his policy regarding China is the right one. But nuking them from orbit, as the only way to be sure, is probably not a popular option.

  • NToJ||

    What were Canada and Mexico doing to the US when he imposed the aluminum tariffs? Off the top of my head I can't remember what the EU was alleged to have done. And the steel and aluminum tariffs were universal, not targeted. We've won basically every WTO fight we've started, and the President initiated tariffs we're guaranteed to lose. The best evidence that the tariffs were just protectionist nonsense is that they were widely criticized by Republicans but praised by rust belt Democrats. Canada, the EU, and Mexico have already retaliated, and China will soon.

    Did the washing machine tariff have to do with South Korean tariffs? The President's views about KORUS were the same as the left's arguments in 2008. It's maddening. It's just protectionist bullshit for Whirpool. American consumers will not get South Korea trucks until 2041. Why?

    His proposed tariffs against GM (moving factories to Mexico) has nothing to do with punishing Mexico. It has to do with punishing American car manufacturers. Why?

  • rocks||

    Typical republicans used to be in favor of high tariffs to protect domestic industry, this was true from post civil war through the early 20th century. I suspect that after Trump is done with the GOPe that the Republican party will be back in favor of trade barriers and it will be the democrats advocating for "open" trade ("open" meaning completely unbalanced where other countries have access to US markets but US companies do not have access to their markets).

  • Seamus||

    It was true well into the 20th century. "Mr. Republican," Robert A. Taft (d. 1953) was pro-tariff.

  • nerdbert||

    I'm generally okay with how Trump has been going so far. Like the above said, if you look past the tweeting and CNN meltdowns and social media firestorms things are (knock on wood) going about as smoothly as they've always done and a typical Republican should be well satisfied.

    I'd argue that as far as implementing conservative policies, by all accounts Trump has been more successful than Reagan, and it's because of his erratic and combative behavior towards the press. Tell me that Trump would have been more successful if the press had been able to make clear that to an impartial viewer Trump was unstable and dangerous. As it stands, the press first promoted Trump as a maverick and then turned on him with such a blatant display of bias and bigotry that it destroyed what little creditability it had on political matters.

    Look, I don't like Trump personally and I detest his persona. But I'll argue that both have made him successful at governing as a conservative because and not despite of his unhinging of his opponents. There are all sorts of arguments that could reasonably made against Trump, but those trying to make them are being so unreasonable that it's hard to credit them as a reasonable alternative to Trump. Sure, Trump may be all they say he is, but his opposition is all that they say Trump is, too, and often worse.

  • Longtobefree||

    "I should emphasize that I agree that Trump has at times promoted bigotry, is a congenital liar, and engages in demeaning and belittling behavior toward his political opponents."

    Please explain how this is different from say the top three democrats.

  • Sam Gompers||

    Those were the good, approved kinds of bigotry, lies, and demeaning behavior you see.

  • santamonica811||

    The fact that you (Sam ) and you (Long) seem to see a sort of moral equivalency between Trump and Obama, H. Clinton, Biden, Warren, et al, is so bizarre...it makes me dump you immediately into the "far too stupid to engage in meaningful discussion" file.

    But when HRC starts bragging aloud about sexually assaulting and molesting young men/women, then I'm happy to keep an open mind and am willing to revisit this issue.

  • Michael Cook||

    HRC's husband did the actual raping and molesting of women young and old. She was only the enabler. In the criminal line her specialty was the appearance of impropriety on every business arrangement. It was also the serial ignoring of signification security regulations so that she and her husband could rapidly build the Clinton Foundation into a campaign workhorse.

    It will never be to late to send her to prison once the swamp at the DOJ is finally drained, and especially once the emails that Hillary the master criminal thought she erased turn up, which they may because many snoops were tapping her throwaway server. Those 33,000 emails likely hold the quid pro quos of a lot of selling access to government agencies. They are secret because they are valuable and being banked, by someone.

  • Michael Cook||

    You really asked for that shot, but I made a lot of typos because I am old and very tired.

  • santamonica811||

    I think the frenzy from the far-right towards HRC is a bit weird, and (totally my guess) largely based on her having the same last name as her husband. But she gets ZERO benefit of the doubt in terms of what her lost emails contain...that's what happens when someone destroys or conveniently loses evidence.

    But I am not a hypocrite. I treat Donald Trump as a colluder with Russia, since he lied about releasing his taxes, so I think it's perfectly fair to assume the worst about what's in those. Crooked deals with Russian oligarchs. Defrauding me and you (ie, other taxpayers) out of hundreds of millions in tax dollars that he should have paid. And so on. I assume that Trump supporters are outraged by (a) his failure to release his taxes, and (b) his repeated lies about him being totally willing to release them.

    (p.s. I think Bill Clinton was a sex addict, so it would not surprise me one whit if some of his dalliances were done without the consent of the women. A mostly disgusting man, in terms of personal behavior. But to blame Hillary for faithfully supported her husband???...on my 1-to-10 scale of outrage; a person reflexively supporting her spouse rates about a 2 at most. If Donald Trump were to go overboard to defend, let's say, his daughter Ivanka, I'd similarly be pretty sanguine about a father saying and doing just about anything to defend one of his children.)

  • Macy's Window||

    santamonica811:"I think Bill Clinton was a sex addict, so it would not surprise me one whit if some of his dalliances were done without the consent of the women."

    Aren't you aware of the several very credible allegations of rape and sexual assault made by women who were either friends of his or political supporters or both? This is in addition to Clinton's admitted self-exposure to Paula Jones?

    And that Hillary played a big role in quelling these charges by intimidation and slander?

    Spin, spin, spin, deflect and weasel.

  • KenveeB||

    I didn't actually have a problem with Hillary supporting her husband. But she did campaign on women's rights and actually directly said that every woman who makes an allegation of sexual assault deserves to be believed. Meanwhile, she ran a smear campaign against the very women she now proclaims to defend. Until she disavows her earlier comments and apologizes to those women, I'm going to blame her for it.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "so I think it's perfectly fair to assume the worst about what's in those. Crooked deals with Russian oligarchs."

    None of which will be shown by the returns which are a summary of his income and deductions/credits. Neither returns, schedules or K-1s show the other partners in a business.

  • M.L.||

    Dems are painfully stupid. Tax returns! LOL, ouch.

  • KevinP||

    Hillary Clinton enabled her rapist husband and threatened the women who he assaulted. Towards the end of this video interview, you can listen to the rape victim's description of how Hillary suggested she remain quiet. Remember, as Hillary Clinton herself says: Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.

    YouTube: Juanita Broaddrick Relives Bill Clinton Rape & Hillary Intimidation


    Excerpt:
    BROADDRICK:
    I was completely dressed. I had a skirt and a blouse. He tore the waist of my skirt. And then he ripped my pantyhose. And he raped me. It was very vicious. I was just pinned down… I did not know what to do. I was so frightened. I was only 35 at the time. And it was horrible. I just wanted it to be over with. So he would go away.

    KLEIN: He got up?

    BROADDRICK: No, he held me down for a long time. And then he did it again. I was so ready for him to leave me alone. When he started raping me again. And it was very brief… And he did get up and he straightened himself. And my mouth was bleeding and it was hurting. And he just straightens himself and goes to the door.
  • M.L.||

    You mean like when HRC yammered about the bimbo eruption and intimidated and threatened her husbands' victims? Or when she and Bill paid one of the victims $850k in hush money?

    Trump's private conversation that was surreptitiously recorded was gross, but it wasn't about assault.

  • David Friedman||

    "moral equivalency"

    Trump is crude and tells obvious lies. Obama is smooth--and got his signature legislation passed by telling a non-obvious lie. Is that a moral difference?

    I would not expect either Clinton to brag in public about sexually assaulting people and if Bill bragged about it in private, as Trump did, we probably wouldn't know. On the other hand, the sort of assault Trump bragged about is considerably milder than the sort Clinton has been accused of. And Hilary did, early in their political career, funnel a hundred thousand dollar bribe to her husband from a company doing business in the state he was governor of--at least, that's the only plausible explanation I have seen of her profits speculating on cattle futures.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Please explain how this is different from say the top three democrats.

    No difference. The top three Democrats would recognize Pres. Trump to be a lying, bigoted boor, too.

    To understand this point, read the Bob Woodward book.

  • Macy's Window||

    Kirkland: "The top three Democrats would recognize Pres. Trump to be a lying, bigoted boor, too."

    And Trump would return the favor and they'd all be correct.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Or, for that matter, the top three DOZEN Democrats. Hell, the Democrats are the Party of the Back Quislings like Al "I'm such a bigot I belong in the Klan" Sharpton.

  • Michael Cook||

    Proposition: A lot of trade agreements were labeled free trade but were in fact negotiated during Dem and Repub administrations for decades mainly by lobbyists for multi-national corporations. Our domestic smaller companies and workers finally wised up to this.

    Proposition: Trump went to Helsinki and pointed out that Germany not only is about to become much more dependent on Russia for natural gas via a new pipeline that skirts other NATO countries, but Germany has already been importing a lot of gas from Ukraine. Trump only hinted at it, but Burisma, the Ukrainian company with offices in Cyprus and Kiev, has its major gas fields in Eastern Ukraine, the part controlled by Russia's pals. For all anyone knows, the gas may come from Russia and is a cute way around sanctions. BTW, Germany is still way under-funding its military commitment for NATO.

    Proposition: Last Sunday, a snarky New York Times reporter sniffed on a morning talk show that she regards Angela Merkel as the real "Leader of the Free World." You can bet this reporter will not be wondering why Hunter Biden is on the board of Burisma, nor why Tony Podesta, one of the few Americans who probably really knows who actually controls that company, was granted immunity by Mueller.

    Proposition: The essence of Establishment Fake News is to completely black out, absolutely stonewall, that information which is critical to know, while amplifying all the distractions. But then the POTUS starts tweeting. . .

  • M.L.||

    It's disgusting. All of the political and media establishment deserves to burn and die and suffer complete and total defeat.

    Immunity for Tony Podesta? I'm starting to think the worst about Mueller. And the worst can get pretty bad.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Your disaffection dooms you, M.L.

    The bigotry doesn't help.

  • M.L.||

    Mmhmm, yes.

    If there's one thing we've learned, it's that we should always be satisfied with the people in authority and never question them.

  • GabrielSyme||

    >BTW, Germany is still way under-funding its military commitment for NATO.

    Speaking of, does Germany have any of their sub fleet operational again yet? And do they finally have more than a dozen combat-ready fighter jets?

  • D-Pizzle||

    On it's own, Germany couldn't airlift a single platoon to the Polish border with 72 hours notice. They don't have a military; they have bits and pieces of one.

  • John Galt Jr||

  • Martinned||

    Wow... that escalated quickly...

    But seriously, I've been seeing this "logic" in a number of different contexts lately. A group of voters do X, fast forward a couple of months, X turns out to be a disaster, and the voters' decision to do X is somehow the fault of the people who warned them not to do it in the first place.

    The 2016 election is what a Jacquerie looks like in 21st century America. No need to overthink it. Eventually all these voters will die due to lack of food and/or health insurance and then we can all go back to normal.

  • Michael Cook||

    If you study the latest statistics, the price of health insurance has not been skyrocketing as Democrats so direly predicted as Obamacare is dismantled. Not at all.

    As for food, my doctor doesn't allow me to eat enough anymore that I would know.

  • Seamus||

    That's Venezuela you're thinking of, not the U.S. under Trump.

  • Martinned||

    Sort of. In Venezuela the Jacquerie caused massive suffering because the people got what they asked for. The Trump Jacquerie will cause massive suffering through a combination of giving the people what they asked for when he shouldn't (import tariffs) and not giving the people what they asked for when he should (health care).

  • bernard11||

    The more I think about it, the worse this post gets.

    If you want to talk about voters defying the establishment, then start by recognizing that it was Republican voters who gave Trump the nomination by defying the Republican establishment.

    The GOP primaries had nothing to do with Democrats, after all.

    Yet Bernstein points out instances where, in his not exactly unbiased view, the Democratic, or liberal, establishment acted in ways he doesn't like, as an explanation of Trump's success.

    This is Chapter MMXXV of "Why Trump's ascendancy is everyone's fault but Republicans," which is as unconvincing as the first MMXXIV chapters.

  • zanctmao||

    Preach.

  • Macy's Window||

    It is an act of faith.

  • David Bernstein||

    In a sense you're right, b11. Establishment Democrats, and especially the news networks that gave Trump so much free publicity, dwarfing all his rivals, were corruptly rooting for Trump, because they thought he'd be easy to beat. Having built the Golem, they get upset when he destroys Prague.

  • bernard11||

    Yes, David.

    Trump got way more free publicity than he deserved, not all of it favorable, by the way, but never mind that.

    Still, the plain inescapable fact is that it was Republican voters who defied the Republican establishment and nominated Trump. And it is the Republican establishment which is now rallying behind him, despite the fact that he, "has at times promoted bigotry, is a congenital liar, and engages in demeaning and belittling behavior toward his political opponents," not to mention his allies.

    Yet despite all that, you focus your ire on Democrats. Do you truly not understand the problem with that, or why I and others might not take you seriously?

  • Ben_||

    Rather than asking "do you see the problem with that?", please tell us the problem with that. Thanks in advance.

  • m1shu||

    Perhaps it's because the GOP Establishment's favorite guy had to plead his audience to clap after giving what he thought was his money statement in a speech. It's even worse when that guy's from the same family that delivered two presidents already, one equally as uninspiring, the other highly controversial. Republican voters wanted something new. Someone who convinced them that actually likes the country and wants to undo the damage from the previous administration.

  • David Bernstein||

    None of my "establishment" examples is specifically about Democrats. For example, my Willie Nelson would surely provoke David Brooks or David Frum into yet another soul-searching column about what's become of Republicans/conservatives.

  • bernard11||

    Are you shitting me?

    You give three examples:

    1. Bill Clinton sitting near Louis Farrakhan.

    2. The reaction to the Lisa Littman paper, which, by the way, is certainly statistically idiotic.

    3. What you see as hypocritical praise for John McCain at his funeral.

    Do you have any self-awareness at all?

  • MikeR6||

    Bernstein answered you clearly enough. I thought it was clear from his whole post that he was attacking the "establishment". What are you still complaining about? "hypocritical praise for John McCain at his funeral" - from Democrats only?
    I think it's a good idea when you get a wrong impression of what someone meant, and they tell you what they really meant, that you accept what they say and go forward. Instead of insulting them.

  • bernard11||

    Bernstein answered you clearly enough.

    No he didn't. His Willie Nelson "example" is no example at all, since it never happened, unlike the Clinton situation he talks about.

    And he doesn't even defend the other two.

    Nor does he explain the relevance of the Democratic "establishment" to the whole business.

    Bernstein says,

    I should emphasize that I agree that Trump has at times promoted bigotry, is a congenital liar, and engages in demeaning and belittling behavior toward his political opponents. Indeed, I think these things are obvious. But much of the country isn't listening when the traditional gatekeepers point this out, and that is, at least in part, the gatekeepers' own fault.

    So the fact that 62 million people voted for a man who is a plainly bigot and a congenital liar, among other things, is "at least in part" the fault of some unnamed gatekeepers, and not those voters.

    As I said, yet one more effort to absolve Republican voters of their responsibility for electing Trump.

  • David Friedman||

    "is "at least in part" the fault of some unnamed gatekeepers"

    All of us form our beliefs in large part on second-hand information since nobody has sufficient first-hand information, whether on economics, climate change, or political candidates, to base his views on. If the usual sources of information behave in a way that makes people unwilling to trust them and voters end up with mistaken beliefs as a result, that is in part the fault of those sources of information.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "the Lisa Littman paper, which, by the way, is certainly statistically idiotic."

    How's it statistically idiotic? It uses a limited methodology, acknowledges the limitations, and draws limited conclusions.

  • VinniUSMC||

    You expect better from bernard? Really?

  • bernard11||

    It is statistically idiotic because the methodology is worthless, not "limited."

    An online survey of self-selected respondents is meaningless, and the conclusions are meaningless, not limited.

    She talks about how this "rapid onset" business might not always be actual transsexualism. OK. I'll buy that. Teenagers try out identities, emulate their peers. Duh.

    But putting any numerical estimates on that based on the survey is foolish. To be fair to Littman, she is probably more careful about that than some who have cited the study, but it's still dumb.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "She talks about how this "rapid onset" business might not always be actual transsexualism. OK. I'll buy that."

    OK, sounds like you buy the study, then.

    "But putting any numerical estimates on that based on the survey is foolish."

    The estimate she puts on it is >0. I'm still not sure where the problem is.

  • NToJ||

    Your Willie Nelson example is stupid anyway. If your position is that American voters think David Duke is cool, what the fuck is your point about the establishment anyway? If your hypothetical is true, the establishment died decades ago.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Why would Willie Nelson (or his family) invite David Duke to the funeral?

    You might have Willie Nelson confused with the average current popular country musician. There are several gulfs of distinction between them.

  • NToJ||

    No kidding. The hypo is stupid on like 10 levels.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Trump was elected by people who believe Barack Obama was a Muslim communist born in Kenya.

    Trump was elected by people who believe evolution is a Satanic plot launched from the pits of hell.

    Trump was elected by people who follow Fox, Breitbart, Stormfront, Gateway Pundit, FreeRepublic, and InfoWars.

    Trump was elected by people who avoid successful, educated, modern communities and reside in stale-thinking, superstitious, can't-keep-up communities.

    Trump was elected by people who believed he not only would rework economic fundamentals to enable unskilled, uneducated, rural white males prosper but also that he would do this in a manner tha also would produce this miracle at the expense of accomplished, properly educated, marketably skilled residents of successful communities.

    That these people elected Pres. Trump is, we are to believe, the Democrats' fault.

  • Macy's Window||

    It must be very loud and confused inside your head, Arthur.

    Must be like the kitchen of a diner where everyone orders off-menu, the service is constantly changing shifts and no one gets what they ordered.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    Trump was elected because a bunch of people who voted twice for Obama flipped in three key states.

    Not sure how those people suddenly became bigots and stupid.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Trump was elected by a base of backwardness and bigotry.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    By promoting bigotry do you mean advocating anything other than what the progressives and Democrat establishment demand? Can you put forward actual bigotry that is different from actual law and policy for the last 3-4 presidents?

  • aluchko||

    I think that's a highly distorted interpretation of events.

    Some Democrats were wondering if supporting Trump was worthwhile since he'd ban easy win.

    Media organizations were trying to figure how to cover him in a way that didn't sound biased or insulting.

    And the proof is the fact that they didn't really change their tone when Trump got the nomination. I remember because I was watching and waiting for the media to freak out and go "HOLY CRAP! WTF ARE YOU PEOPLE DOING?!?! DON'T VOTE TRUMP!!!"

    But the tone never really changed.

  • Gospace||

    If you want to talk about voters defying the establishment, then start by recognizing that it was Republican voters who gave Trump the nomination by defying the Republican establishment. Except, of course, the early open primaries where anyone can vote in any primary where Democrats were encouraged to cross over and vote for Trump. Why not? He was the weak candidate Hillary could beat with half her brain tied behind her back, and anyway, she had the nomination locked up. So he had an early few victories thanks to Democrat voters, and Bernie suddenly started being a danger to Hillary's coronation. And it turns out she couldn't beat him where it counted.

    I reluctantly filled the bubble for Trump in 2016 in order to vote against Hillary. In 2020 I'll vote enthusiastically for Trump regardless of the Democrat candidate. Some prospects will make the vote more enthusiastic.

  • bernard11||

    Chapter MMXXVI.

  • Mark Question||

    Not an argument.

  • bernard11||

    You're right. Gospace is making an unsupported assertion, not a coherent argument.

    It's one more version of "Trump is the Democrats' fault." Hence my response.

  • Allutz||

    Isn't one of the biggest problems for the "Republican base" that the "Republican establishment" had become indistinguishable from Democrats? Or at the very least Quislings?

    Like, look at Jennifer Rubin and GWB. They'd rather call Obama great than say Trump picks good judges. Look at what happened in the Senate when people like Rand and Cruz tried to block various insane spending bills. These guys had a fiscally conservative plan that would have worked, if implemented, but Boehner and McConnell surrendered before Overlord even started.

    Now, I think McConnell is still a fairly crafty fox, but that doesn't mean he is the craftiest fox.

  • D-Pizzle||

    "If you want to talk about voters defying the establishment, then start by recognizing that it was Republican voters who gave Trump the nomination by defying the Republican establishment."

    No it was actually crossover Democrats and independents who gave him the nomination, at least in the earlier primary states. If not for open primaries, there would be no President Trump.

  • John Galt Jr||

    Trump got the nomination with a mere 37% of the primary vote, roughly the same percentage that are Birthers, thus only because he had so many competitors.

    Anyone else believe that Democrats ignored the Hillary vs Bernie battle?

    (Trump won the Electoral College by a mere 39,000 voters, in three states combined, thus only someone who flunked 4th grade arithmetic can deny the Russians elected Trump -- and Donald Jr has already admitted that he conspired with the Russian government who wanted to help his father win.)

    Proven facts can be so inconvenient.

  • UVaGrad||

    I quit reading when the Princeton/Harvard grad who clerked for Rehnquist and worked for Chuck Cooper and an old-line east coast law firm was described as "anathema to the establishment."

  • aluchko||

    This is like saying, "it's ok to rob a bank since I once saw Alice take an apple from Bob's tree!"

    No political movement or subculture is going to be devoid of bad practises or individuals, but people on the left can still criticize Farrakan and even Clinton without being drummed out of the movement. Ever since the Tea Party days the GOP has been purging itself of moderates and ever since Trump it's fallen into self-satire, the wacky fringe has become the mainstream.

    The right has to stop looking to the left to justify it's bad behaviour.

  • Michael Cook||

    I can tell you exactly when and on what terms the right will cease to look to the left to justify our (alleged) bad behavior. We will stop when the left begins to be significantly punished for its bad behavior.

    As long as the two-tier system of justice and the double standards in investigations continue with the left getting away with misbehavior and profiting from misdeeds, a one-sided moral system makes no more sense than a one-sided trade deal.

    Is that explanation elementary enough for you?

  • David Bernstein||

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

  • bernard11||

    OK David.

    You've confirmed that I'm not wrong to consider you a pure right-wing hack.

  • Ben_||

    Wow, you really don't get it, do you?

    You say hack like it's a bad thing, but being a completely unprincipled partisan hack is richly rewarded in America. The establishment loves their hacks and lauds them endlessly, waving away any notions of any sort of right versus wrong judgements (as long as it's expedient). Why not be a hack? Why not [anything]?

  • librarian||

    The partisanship is really getting out of hand. Maybe if people listed to more uplifting music. Something like "The Greatest Showman" soundtrack, which I have to say I really like.

  • David Bernstein||

    You are misinterpreting the dings.

  • FlyerJack||

    We will stop when the left begins to be significantly punished for its bad behavior.

    Well, guys, you're in luck, because the right controls everything. What are you waiting for? Find actual evidence of crimes and prosecute them. What's the problem? Career prosecutors disagree with you? You run all three branches of federal government, and most state governments, and all you can do is whine? If "the left" is really so bad, then do something about it.

  • ||

    Because the "left" is composed of the intelligentsia, media, and corporate elite. I would love to use the power of the government to permanently crush these people, but most conservatives don't have the stomach for it. We need an Operation Condor style cleansing.

  • Sarcastr0||

    We will stop when the left begins to be significantly punished for its bad behavior.

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    Welp. Who cares what Trump has done, all investigations are illegitimate. Because 'the left' needs to be punished. This is what Bernstein is into these days.

    Something is going on regarding the embrace of radicalism on both sides, but I don't trust someone who embraces the politics of spite to figure out why.

  • David Bernstein||

    I'm not endorsing the sentiment. My 3 "dings" were that this comment reflects exactly the phenomenon my post is about.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Well, thank goodness! I do feel better about that; I was a bit shocked.

    I do still take issue with your generalization of that kind of attitude to both sides of the partisan divide, as well as your diagnosis, but at least we can talk about it.

    I don't know exactly why there's a hunger for sweeping change of all kinds on all sides now of all times, but I don't think calling right-wing reactionaryism the fault of left-wing reactionaryism (regardless of each's merits) gets at any kind of fundamental cause.

  • Ben_||

    You should endorse the sentiment, at least propositionally as an argument.

    When all standards of behavior and propriety are phony and only used tactically to attack one side, that means there are no standards of behavior and propriety. And abiding by or genuinely believing in any standards just ties a noose and hangs it around your neck for enemies to use at their convenience.

    The question remains: why not [anything]? The argument for Trump can simply be "anything goes". Because, doesn't it? And if not, why not?

  • ||

    Exactly. The left is allowed to lie, cheat, and steal, and no one in the "establishment" ever holds them accountable. Gun control is a great example. The left outwardly admits that its goal is to ban all guns, and the media still cheerleads for the people who mock those who point that out.

  • John Galt Jr||

    Just like the right.

    Left - Right = Zero

  • aluchko||

    You remind me of the drunk Uncle yelling at the TV that the Refs have it in for his team.

  • MarkW201||

    The only quibble to be made about your comment is that the GOP has been "purging itself of moderates" since far, far before the Tea Party days. It's a trend that goes back to the sixties, started to pick up steam at the beginning of the eighties, and has been going full-bore since the beginning of the Gingrich era in the early nineties.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "No political movement or subculture is going to be devoid of bad practises or individuals, but people on the left can still criticize Farrakan and even Clinton without being drummed out of the movement."

    The problem isn't that you can't criticize the likes of Sharpton or Farrakan on the left without being drummed out. The problem is that you can BE Sharpton or Farrakan without being drummed out. They're the left equivalent of David Duke, and they're welcome. They can sit down at public events, and the chairs around them won't be empty. The media don't expose their presence, they cover for it.

    The left has nothing to tell the right about morality, while the likes of them are welcome.

  • NToJ||

    Sharpton is not David Duke, take a deep breath.

  • Macy's Window||

    Hilarious. Exactly backwards.

  • Michael Cook||

    Please don't ignore the Democrat capacity for self-destruction. It wasn't just, as Colin Powell noted, Hillary's unique ability to monkey everything up (he actually used the F-bomb instead of the new "racist" no-no word)
    it is the Democrat's chronic over-playing of race cards and sex cards and poor illegal worker cards and their program of identity politics in general that is leading them into the electoral wilderness.

    This whole kneeling during the national anthem thing, for instance. Try as the dominant mono-culture media and Hollywood world might to re-label and re-cast this activity, Kaepernick;s protest gesture really continues to channel the original Black Lives Matter assertion that America is a flawed country because a very significant number of police officers in our land are looking for any excuse at all to gun down young males of color that they happen across.

    Somehow a majority of American citizens are tending to the Blue Lives Matter explanation. This simply pleads that most cops are trying to do an extremely difficult job in this legal and social climate and they want to go home alive to their families at the end of the shift.

  • M.L.||

    People get pissed when they tune in for a football game and get snotty MSNBC-style neo-Marxist nonsense.

    Somehow, our "elites" are confounded by this.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Just the half-educated, economically inadequate, diffusely intolerant, superstitious, disaffected yahoos, M.L.

    Modern, accomplished, skilled, tolerant, educated people can enjoy a football game without being distracted by a kneeling player.

  • Eggprd||

    Mr. Bernstein, you said, "I ... agree that Trump has at times promoted bigotry, is a congenital liar, and engages in demeaning and belittling behavior toward his political opponents." Mr. Trump is a better person than all of the "traditional gatekeepers". If you disagree, you have been out in the sun too long. Those bad things of which you accuse Trump, guilty three times more they are. I didn't vote for Trump because he is a nice guy. I voted for him exactly because he is NOT a nice guy - I want a president, not a male model. The economy is strong, America is feared again and will be feared more, someone finally told the Europeans that we insist that they play fair, the Israelis have our support (Finally!), universities are being forced to treat male students almost as well as female students, the courts are actually reading the Constitution (and all of the amendments are first-class), and maybe qualified immunity will be tempered and private property rights will be respected. It would be nice if we could shut off the illegal people coming over our southern border. Trump will make mistakes and I will be just as ticked as you are but ... he is at least trying to do the right thing and pretty much everything he has done so far has helped the country. And, by the way, finally made the "traditional gatekeepers" look like the feckless unprincipled boobs that they are.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Whining, disaffected, right-wing bigots are among my favorite faux libertarians.

  • Eggprd||

    Congratulations! You saw your target, set up your shot, aligned your sights, checked your position, pulled the trigger and completely missed. Not on the paper, not on the board, you missed the hill. I am not whining. I am not disaffected. I am not a bigot - 6 kids only two of them are white. I am a happy camper.

  • gormadoc||

    "[G]uilty three times more they are."
    - Rep. Yoda (R, Dagobah)

  • Eggprd||

    I could have done "are more three times guilty they" but it just didn't sing.

  • y81||

    A good piece, but, as some commenters have noted, Bernstein fails to note the volume of lies from the Republican establishment. For instance, remember how Prof. Volokh (law professor at a top 20 law school, i.e., part of the estabishment) assured us that the Iraq war would produce incontrovertible evidence of weapons of mass destruction? Remember how he and Andrew Sullivan assured us that the First Amendment would protect printers who did not want to print gay wedding announcements, or photographers who did not want to photograph them? (Though not cake makers, for some incoherent reason.) Does anyone still believe these things?

    P.S. It is possible that the Supreme Court will now protect printers, photographers, and cake makers. But that is due to President Trump, not the Republican establishment.

  • David Bernstein||

    I'm pretty sure that Eugene never said that (about the Iraq War), but if you have a link, please share.

  • Michael Cook||

    They had better not forget wedding singers, some of whom may regard it as a type of First Amendment-violating curiosity in which you are "compelled" to say words against your beliefs, if they are forced to sing love songs to a couple guys.

  • Gospace||

    You see that that Trump has at times promoted bigotry, and feel obligated to say it because that's what all the good people say. You'd be hard put to prove it. I especially find the charges of antisemitism hurled against Trump too be amusing. Since many previous presidents, all pure of heart and free of antisemitism, promised they'd move the U.S. embassy to the capitol of Israel, Jerusalem, but it Trump to do it. Against the advice of all the career diplomats in the state department.

    I'm happy with what Trump is doing, especially when it comes to enforcing the law AS WRITTEN. And appointing judges who will read the Constitution and make decisions by what it says, not by what they say it says.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Is your claimed inability to perceive Donald Trump's bigotry attributable to (1) homeschooling by substandard parents, (2) backwater religious education, or (3) disingenuousness?

    Carry on, clingers.

  • David Friedman||

    I can see lots of things wrong with Trump—I didn't vote for him and don't plan to—but bigotry isn't one of them and anti-semitism certainly isn't.

    I'm a Harvard grad and an atheist, so I suppose I must be disingenuous.

    Has it occurred to you that you come across as an extreme example of the establishment arrogance that makes people willing to support a candidate like Trump? Confidently claiming that the only reasons anyone would disagree with you are ignorance or religion may make you feel good but it hurts the causes you want to support.

  • Gospace||

    Wow, more ignorant statements by Arthur Kirkland. I can see the effects of homeschooling by substandard parents where I live now. Totally dysfunctional family. But won't go into details. I've also seen some outstanding home schoolers go on to be successes.

    I can see religious bigotry in your statements- it oozes out, but what you can't do and won't is- Explain how President Donald John Trump is a bigot. Is it his foreign born wives? (Ooops!- you forgot the other liberal charge against him- xenophobia. How did you manage to leave that one out?) His opening his country club to blacks and Jews? The moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem? His Jewish son-in-law, showing he raised religious bigots? What? What evidence do you have, aside from your delusions and own religious bigotry.

  • librarian||

    @OP: With regards to Clinton and Louis Farrakhan, I would suspect people are just yanking your chain. Its similar, though not the same, as Trump voters glee to "drink leftist tears". What Clinton objectively fails to realize (hopefully), is that Louis Farrakhan is no laughing matter. Traumatized people suffer emotionally when they pull these stunts, and it has to stop. It is divisive and serves no other purpose than to rip us apart as human beings, or potentially much worse.

  • librarian||

    I'd like to add, if "potentially much worse" were to happen, you have my word I will be defending you and yours to the death.

  • David Nolan||

    I'm paying attention, Here''s what I saw.
    Trump; won the nomination with 37% of the primary vote, the same percentage of Republicans who are Birthers, Without so many others to divide the vote, he'd have never been nominated.

    In the general, nearly 10 million voted against him. His Electoral College win was by a mere 39,000 voters, 0.0003% of the popular vote, How much influence was NEEDED by
    a) Russian interfernce
    b) Comey
    c) Wikileaks

    Is this why Trump's disapproval is in the toilet? Supported by fewer than 40% of the electorate? A large majority of voters want Mueller to complete his probe, including a plurality of of Republicans.

    Do the math. Russia elected Trump. 39,000 voters.
    His son has (witlessly) confessed to conspiring with Russia in the Trump Tower meeting, which the President lied about as a coverup, The "reimbursement" to Cohen was falsely reported. And he owes his entire fortune to Deutsche Bank, a convicted money launderer for Russia, when NO U.S. bank would lend to him after 4 bankruptcies and other business failures.

    Lock him up.

  • Gospace||

    Could you inform us where the voting booth the Russians used is? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • David Nolan||

    Non-responsive. And silly.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Hihnfection. Take your meds.

  • David Nolan||

    Cowardly evasion/
    Aggression .

  • M.L.||

    I used to say the Russian collusion conspiracy theory was about as bad as the secret Muslim or birther conspiracy theories.

    Now, it's MUCH worse! Since we have proof that HRC and Dems colluded with the Russians, and with each passing day it's more and more exceedingly unlikely that Trump did. Yet you lunatics persist -- and, now, it seems that you are nearly the entire left / Democrat party! You've doubled and tripled the conspiracy lunacy of the Republican side.

  • David Nolan||

    Now, it's MUCH worse! Since we have proof that HRC and Dems colluded with the Russians,

    Conspiracist.

    it seems that you are nearly the entire left / Democrat party! You've doubled and tripled the conspiracy lunacy of the Republican side.

    Tribalism.
    Libertarians are neither left nor right, for nearly 50 years.

    Trumpsters FAIL to challenge a single fact.

    Trump himself told us tp never believe a single word they say. They would lie, deceive and defend him, even even shooting someone to death on Times Square, with witnesses.

    GSAA
    God save America.Again.

  • DjDiverDan||

    The political establishment has forfeited any claim to credibility. The GOP keeps running for office on promises to cut government spending, to pass a balanced budget Amendment, to rein in excessive governmental regulation. Yet when they get into office, every one of those promises is promptly forgotten. The Democratic Party repeatedly demonstrates its corruption - see the DNC's rigging of HRC's nomination - its economic illiteracy and its general incompetence.

    I'm no fan of Trump, I refused to vote for him, and while I like SOME of what he has accomplished - his judicial nominations, tax cuts, and deregulation efforts - I also find some of his policy agenda, like his trade policy and his immigration positions, badly misguided, just plain stupid, or disgusting crony crapitalism. Yes, his Tweets are crude, unthinking, and embarrassing; his constant insults are beneath the dignity of what a President should be; he is unfit for his office. But for the fact that he was only the SECOND worst candidate on the ballot in November 2016, he would never have been elected. But, watching the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, NOTHING that Trump has done approaches the level of dishonesty, bad manors, or utter lack of ethics which was shown by Senators Leahy, Feinstein, Kamala Harris, et al. When will you bemoan THAT issue?

  • Sarcastr0||

    The political establishment has forfeited any claim to credibility

    The thing about populism is how it always thinks it's some novel time.
    I mean, this could be the Bull Moose Party talking.

    Your sober discussion of how you on balance just manage to be okay with Trump's substance somehow ignores the main thing the left is criticizing him for, which is his methods.

    Notably, you do attack Democrats for their methods (though you don't bother to specify what they are).

    Again, this is not a new attitude; this is a flavor of populism that I can trace back to Cicero, probably farther. DJDiverDan's blind embrace of radicalism is a symptom. (It's funny seeing even Brett slowly left behind)

    Historically, this cycle is a crucible; countries survive it or they do not. We shall see.

  • VinniUSMC||

    "Blind embrace of radicalism" coming from the guy who is only capable of seeing the bad in 1 side. Hi partisan hack.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Oh, I see the bad on the left, from campus speech to Antifa to some of their gun control rhetoric. Funny how many of you conservatives never seem to understand that I can be clear eyed about my side, even as I think the other side is worse.

  • DjDiverDan||

    Sarcastro, you are an idiot.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Sarcastro is an idiot.

    DjDiverDan is a bigot.

    Where is the hope?

  • Sarcastr0||

    Dj, if you want an echo chamber, there are better blogs for that.

    In the meantime, your engagement strategy is quite disappointing.

  • Karl_L||

    I think a lot of Trump votes were cast by people who were saying "Oh yeah? Well deplore this!"

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    That is a dependable approach for someone who wants to be a half-educated, diffusely intolerant, backward, superstitious, gullible, economically inadequate loser residing in a shambling, rattlesnake-juggling, stale-thinking backwater.

  • David Nolan||

    ^^ This

  • Doug Huffman||

    Is deplorable the opposite or anathema to elite. So pleased and proud to be deplorable, everything the establishment elites are not, and now with ageism added for more good taste.

    The Civil War is over. The uncivil war begins.

  • David Welker||

    "What your average person sees, however, is hypocrisy and double standards."

    No. Just no.

    In fact, the "average person" does not know who these people are, and they really don't care. The "average person" has something much more important to think about, namely, themselves.

    The "average person" is not ideologically motivated. They do not care. The reason that Trump was popular with so many "average" people was because he is a celebrity and because his campaign was entertaining. Not because they would care or even pay attention to who Bill Clinton happened to sit near at some event.

    The ideologues, on both the left and the right, are not "average" people. It is not "average people" that are driving our divisive politics.

    In fact, these apparently strong divisions have always existed. They just did not get the same "play" before, because network news really did once primarily cater to "average" people whose interest in politics was strictly limited, just as it is now. Now, as information sources have proliferated and competition has increased, news has moved from catering to a general audience to more niche audiences.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to the new media landscape. I happen to believe that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. It is true that some people now bask in an ideological bubble of agreement. But, on the plus side, nearly every conceivable argument about issue, pro or con is easily accessible.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Spot on.

  • Sarcastr0||

    The "average person" is not ideologically motivated. They do not care.

    I'm not sure that's true anymore.

  • apedad||

    Not sure I agree with Prof. Bernstein here.

    if we define the "Establishment" as the rich and powerful (and that's really just the Wall Street billionaires, CEOs, investors, and bankers), then they're doing pretty good under Trump and would have done just as well under Clinton.

    I don't think they really cared and were most likely just as surprised as everyone else when Trump won.

    If anything, I think they saw Clinton as an intruding, suck-up, wantabee hick from Arkansas who rode Bill's coattails and never accomplished anything by herself. (That's my opinion of her anyway.)

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "we define the "Establishment" as the rich and powerful (and that's really just the Wall Street billionaires, CEOs, investors, and bankers)

    You conveniently forgot labor leaders, academics, lawyers, Big Media and other liberal power centers.

  • Michael Cook||

    The average voter, they claim, can not name one Supreme Court justice. The median voter can probably recognize, in a dull sort of way, the difference between a 1.5% rate of economic growth (POTUS 44) and 4.1% (POTUS 45.)

    Even the ordinary sort of citizen may comprehend that we are not actually at war with the Russians, or the Chinese. We were at war with some pre-medieval religious fanatics for quite some time but that seems to be subsiding to the point we can almost declare victory. Of course, we have thought that before. All it takes is one or two humongous incidents and we will be completely disrobing in airports and avoiding visiting any city with building more than five or six stories tall.

    I will conditionally predict that Trump will win re-election in 2020 because history is about mood, swings, luck, and Kharma.

    Democrats like to proclaim that the inevitable tide of history is in their favor. The harder left they be, the more arrogant and insistent on this point they become. Residual Marxism I guess, conscious or not.

  • apedad||

    "Democrats like to proclaim that the inevitable tide of history is in their favor."

    Actually it's real events which prove which direction the tide of history is moving.

    Magna Carta
    Martin Luther
    1776
    Civil War
    Constitutional Amendments
    Civil Rights Act
    Gay marriage
    There are less major conflicts, more elected governments than ever.

    It's not a linear movement and there have been and will be set backs.

    But the inevitable tide of history only has one direction and it's in the progressive, left-leaning direction.

    But the

  • mad_kalak||

    Looking at that list and not entirely seeing the connection between some of them. An advance of individual rights maybe and a diminution of the state? Not always the outcome of those events. What's the endgame, if any?

  • Sarcastr0||

    There is no endgame; it's a process.

    It's an expansion of justice equality under the law. Seeing via a state-individual paradigm is incorrect, since oppression needn't come just from the state so the government can be both friend and foe to the effort.

  • mad_kalak||

    Since you're answering for apedad, I will respond to you. The marvel of liberalism is the creation and then expansion of individual rights against the capaciousness of the government. But when state action is used to impose "justice equality" in social arrangements you end up undoing the work of liberalism that got you to that point in the first place. As for no end game...that is an even bigger problem. The low hanging fruits have already been plucked, so we see an ever increasing desire to use the state for "justice equality" (or social justice, in other words).

  • Sarcastr0||

    History has shown again and again that free markets alone don't get the job done.

  • gormadoc||

    "Martin Luther"
    A movement against the excesses of the Catholic Church which was supported for political reasons by Northern princes shows what?

    "Civil War"
    How does a war to demonstrate our eternal Union fit in?

    "Gay marriage"
    This seems a lesser magnitude than rebellion against tyranny and a guarantee for everyone of basic rights, no matter their person.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Protestantism democratized religion, and the Catholic Church had to reform to conform to that as well.

    The Civil War was about slavery, dude. Certainly the result was expanding America's democracy.

    Gay marriage is another expansion of basic rights to about 10% of Americans.

  • gormadoc||

    I wouldn't say Martin Luther had much to do with the democratization of Western Christianity. He was the first in a line of guys in which the last bunch did so. His philosophy of salvation was centered around Divine Grace rather than Good Deeds. Religious doctrine was still decided by church leaders.

    Emancipation is the good thing; the Civil War was a terrible cost. Trumpeting the Civil War as an advancement is as wrong as trumpeting WWII for the receding of colonialism. I'm not entirely sure how "democracy" was advanced: the enfranchisement of former slaves took many decades and power became more centralized and bureaucratic, not less.

    Isn't 5% the total LGBT number in the US? Not all of whom are gay? While it's a good thing it pales in comparison to emancipation or the recognition that a king's power is not available.

  • gormadoc||

    *is not absolute.

  • David Friedman||

    "There are less major conflicts"

    Given that you are looking at a time scale that goes back to the Magna Carta, I'm not sure that's the trend. The 20th century world wars were bigger than any previous conflict, with the possible exception of the 19th c. Taiping Rebellion. Going back a little farther, I think the Napoleonic wars and the thirty years war were larger than any medieval conflict, even relative to population.

    If you define "progressive" as "the way things have changed," your claim is true by definition. If you define it as "improvement," it's unclear—some of the worst governments we know of occurred in the 20th century.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    History has expressed preferences, especially in the United States of America.

    Education over ignorance.

    Modernity over backwardness.

    Tolerance over bigotry.

    Science over dogma.

    Diversity over insularity.

    Reason over superstition.

    Liberty over authoritarianism.

    Merit over unearned privilege.

    People who can't perceive (or who claim they don't perceive) the right side of history mostly don't share those preferences.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Basically the establishment have lost credibility because they are no longer representative of the general population. The political establishment have become a self-perpetuating political class with systematically distinct views on a variety of issues, different from mainstream America.

    And on any issue where the political establishment agree, democracy stops working, because it doesn't matter who you vote for, you get the establishment's preferred policy. Illegal immigration has been a great example of that: No matter who you voted for, the policy remained to continue permitting it.

    Trump is a reaction to that. If he's removed, it won't solve the problem, the pressure will just continue building.

  • ||

    Strike illegal and it's still true. The average American supports immigration that does not disrupt our budgets, neighborhoods, or culture. What we're getting does all three.

  • ||

    Strike illegal and it's still true. The average American supports immigration that does not disrupt our budgets, neighborhoods, or culture. What we're getting does all three.

  • Michael Cook||

    Progressive Establishments in Germany and Australia are in a bit of a bind because the man-made global warming ideology at the end of the day results in ruinously expensive kilowatts and there is no way to disguise it. This throws Germany into the arms of Putin for natural gas. Worse yet, more and more the "settled science" on the issue looks merely like a great big fashionable bandwagon that became a political cottage industry for a lot of crony lefties while taxpayers get drained of their lifeblood.

    In the meantime, a strong case is building to attribute the latest cycle of natural warming of our planet underway since 1840 to the unstable radiation activity of the sun over centuries. Who'd have thunk it?

    Notice how the monoculture Establishment "mainstream" media stonewalls or savagely attacks that breaking science story. But there are many other interesting development out there getting the blackout treatment as well:

    The ominous drift of things in South Africa with the outright seizure and redistribution of white owned property to the original "owners" of the continent.

    Swelling evidence that the Deep State made up in-house the entire case it needed to try and take down a president elect and all his allies while turning a Blind Eye on Glaring Democrat crimes.

    The increased questioning of those oft-repeated official statistics which claim that illegal immigrants do remarkably little crime and have little connection to the heroin epidemic.

  • David Friedman||

    "natural warming of our planet underway since 1840"

    NASA has a web page with global temperature data back to 1880. Looking at it, the trend is cooling until about 1910, warming thereafter.

    https://tinyurl.com/j76l5gd

  • bernard11||

    Facts don't trouble Michael.

  • NToJ||

    "Now consider that Bill Clinton sat two seats away from an equally odious hatemonger, Louis Farrakhan, at Aretha Franklin's funeral."

    Why would that be odd? Aretha Franklin and Louis Farrakhan were friends.

  • NToJ||

    "What your average person sees, however, is hypocrisy and double standards."

    They see a double standard based on a hypothetical world you've invented involving a living person's funeral, and what happened at an actual funeral? WTF are you talking about? Does the average person even know who Louis Farrakhan is? Approximately 1/3rd of Americans don't even know who the Vice President is.

  • NToJ||

    "But can you imagine the reaction if the study had been one favorable to, say, same-sex marriage, and the same thing had happened after conservative evangelical Christian activists complained?"

    Wouldn't that depend entirely on the substance of the criticisms from transgender activists?

  • NToJ||

    "Not really, but a useful way to implicitly attack Trump."

    Your thesis is that people praising a dead person for a lifetime of civil service must be doing so to implicitly attack the President, because John McCain once snarled at a person and called them a bully? It's John McCain. Of course there was going to be lavish praise. It's the Nirvana effect. You can't be surprised by this.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    Yes, yes. The praise of LiteralHitler who will reinstitute slavery isn't because he stood against LiteralHitler in his waning years it's because they have always respected LiteralHitler for his public service.

    You'd be correct if they weren't so fawning and over the top in praise and instead simply recounted the "good" pieces of his legacy.

  • NToJ||

    He's a war hero who died of cancer after a lifetime in civil service. Not everything is about the President. You're the one who is reading the world in a strange way. You're a fucking dorky culture warrior, get a grip.

  • M.L.||

    Some of my liberal colleagues were lamenting Trump the other day -- his hostile posturing toward foreign allies, his mercurial antics, the general air of disruption and craziness.

    I chuckled and told them, Just think -- all of this could have been avoided if the Democrats and Republicans had simply enforced immigration law.

    All they had to do was to simply do what Bill Clinton, GWB, and Obama all said they were in favor of doing.

    And it's not even a difficult thing -- it's very simple compared to something like health care, and it's also politically popular! Tougher immigration enforcement is even more popular with blacks and Hispanics than it is with whites.

    Yet for some reason, they insisted on encouraging and permitting as much illegal immigration as they could get away with for decades, a nearly de facto open borders policy. In direct contradiction to large bipartisan majorities of the American people. Why is that?

  • NToJ||

    "In direct contradiction to large bipartisan majorities of the American people. Why is that?"

    Because you're just a liar. Overwhelming majority of Americans support path to citizenship for illegals. See here.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    But didn't want them admitted in the first place.

  • M.L.||

    LOL, you dumbass. Trump supports a pathway to citizenship, too!!

    But at this point we have dozens upon dozens of polls showing that Americans also support stricter enforcement going forward, and even lower legal immigration levels by wide margins, especially in connection with job market issues, even while recognizing that immigration generally is a good thing.

  • NToJ||

    "...Americans also support stricter enforcement going forward..."

    Well what could be clearer than that!

  • M.L.||

    Here you go. This poll with varying particular questions has been done every month for years, and each and every result shows I'm right. Many other polls as well.

    Top issue - Immigration (38%) (2nd place is health care at 32, then economy at 26)

    "Would you favor or oppose a Congressional deal that gives undocumented immigrants brought here by their parents work permits and a path to citizenship in exchange for increasing merit preference over preference for relatives, eliminating the diversity visa lottery, and funding barrier security on the U.S.-Mexico border?"

    Favor - 63% (including 67% of blacks and 64% of Hispanics, 63% of Democrats and 64% of Clinton voters)

    "Stricter or looser enforcement" - Stricter 70%

    "Should cities that arrest illegal immigrants for crimes be required notify immigration authorities they are in custody or be prohibited from notifying immigration authorities?"

    Required to notify - 84%

  • M.L.||

    More. The poll asked:

    Current federal policy automatically adds about one million new legal immigrants each year giving all of them lifetime work visas. Which is closest to the number of lifetime immigrant work visas the government should be adding each year — none, 250,000, half a million, one million, one and a half million, two million, or more than two million?

    Twenty-seven percent of all voters and 27 percent of Hispanics told the polls that immigration levels should be set at zero. In contrast, just 22 percent of whites said immigration should be set at zero.

    More broadly, 77 percent of Hispanics preferred immigration be trimmed to 500,000 people per year, down from the 2016 score of 1.2 million legal immigrants. In comparison, 64 percent of blacks and 58 percent of whites want immigration reformed down to a half-million per year.

  • M.L.||

    Gallup: The 22% of Americans in July who say immigration is the top problem is up from 14% in June and is the highest percentage naming that issue in Gallup's history of asking the "most important problem" question. The previous high had been 19%.

  • Sarcastr0||

    As I said below, there's no actual causal connection made. We don't even know how much of the raise in top problem is due to bandwagon effects in the GOP.

    This isn't how you get Trump, it's just how you get ML heated up. And oh, how heated up.

  • M.L.||

    I mean, it's very obvious that immigration was the biggest policy issue in the election. You only need a basic familiarity with the campaigns to see that, and only a fool would deny it. The hundreds of polls going back to 2015 proving this to be the case are just icing on the cake.

  • Sarcastr0||

    It's not actually obvious to me, since it wasn't very much of a policy election.

  • NToJ||

    It's not obvious to Gallup, either, since immigration as nation's "top problem" was lower in the election year than it was in 2015, 2017, 2018, etc.

  • NToJ||

    "We don't even know how much of the raise in top problem is due to bandwagon effects in the GOP."

    We do, because the timing of the poll (he's citing) was right around the big child-detention story. The increase in people naming immigration as the biggest problem included large increases in Democrats (increase from 10->18% month-to-month) and Independents (13%-17%). The question doesn't indicate pro or con views on immigration, so it's what you would expect when there's a controversial policy being talked about on a daily basis. (The "problem" for many respondents was the detention centers themselves.) When the policy ended, immigration fell to 2nd place. See here. Behind "Dissatisfaction with government/Poor leadership". Or third place if you group "Economic Problems". ML is just interpreting the data poorly.

  • M.L.||

    If not immigration, what then was the biggest policy issue of 2016 in your opinion?

    Whether it was "much of a policy election" is irrelevant.

    Immigration was clearly the biggest issue, when you look at the campaigns, narratives, and news coverage. This is primarily because of the stark differences among the candidates -- first, vis a vis Trump and all of the others in the Republican primary, and then in the general -- and the drastic break with the bipartisan status quo establishment. Second biggest issue was probably trade. Polls of "top issues" are pertinent here, but on most issues there isn't a dime worth of difference between what Republicans and Democrats actually do. I was actually making a different point with these polls, which was to show the particular position of the American people on the issue.

  • M.L.||

    So, I agree there are bandwagon effects on these polls of course, and obviously concern over an issue includes both sides of that issue (however, this only bolsters the point that an issue would be very pertinent to an election). Nonetheless, I think we can conclude and history will conclude that immigration was the biggest issue of the election regardless of these polls. It was the biggest issue from when Trump descended the escalator. This doesn't mean that immigration is "more important" than much broader category such as "the economy" (which includes immigration), it just means that it was pertinent and meaningful to the selection between the candidates, relative to other policy issues, given their clear differences on the issue, and the way in which it was front and center to all of the dialogue and media coverage.

  • NToJ||

    "...what then was the biggest policy issue of 2016 in your opinion?"

    For whom? Are we focusing on rust belt voters because the post-election story was that is what carried President Trump to victory? Focusing on the primary because without that, President Trump isn't front and center?

    The answer is I don't know. It's too fucking complicated, and anyone selling a "biggest policy issue of 2016" is projecting their own views about what is important. I can't tell if it was Hillary's email server, normal culture war shit (which would include immigration as a component), protectionism, heroine, the schism in the Democratic party over Bernie Gate, and on and on. I don't think you are capable of reducing a 100M+ election into just one issue. It might not even be theoretically possible that there is a "biggest policy issue" in an election, given Arrow's impossibility theorem. It is definitely not the case that immigration was "clearly the biggest issue".

    You have not at all demonstrated a clear consensus of "the American people on" immigration. The polls are all over the place. In June, the number of people who wanted immigration to increase or decrease was virtually the same. It matters how you ask the question. Again, anyone claiming a definite answer on these issues is selling something.

  • M.L.||

    Some fair points. Not trying to reduce the election to a single issue at all. But this election sure seemed to have a much clearer contender for "biggest policy issue" than most elections. I think even you would have to concede it was top 3. But yes, it's very complicated and there are infinite factors as well as numerous other major important issues facing the country which are relevant to elections.

    The polls are pretty clear that a majority of Americans want DACA folks to be able to stay, and also support measures to address illegal immigration such as e-verify, and support a compromise along the lines of what Trump suggested in his SOTU address. There's not much getting around that. Reducing total legal immigration levels is less clear, but there's many, many polls showing majority support for that and zero showing support for increasing immigration levels -- yet increasing is what the most powerful special interest influences over our establishment politicians of both parties want.

  • NToJ||

    When you reduce the issue to specific, uncontroversial measures (like e-verify) you're going to weaken the claim that the biggest election issue is immigration. I've never seen a protester with a sign that said "I WILL DIE FOR E-VERIFY". Immigration is a complicated issue because it raises identity and culture questions, security, it feeds to tribalism (for both sides), etc. I doubt the rank and file know what they want, which is why you get very different answers to questions if you ask them slightly differently.

    "...and zero showing support for increasing immigration levels..."

    That's just not true. See here.

    More importantly, the polls also consistently show that Americans don't even have a sufficient baseline understanding of legal versus illegal immigration to make policy decisions. It might be that the Chamber of Commerce Republicans are ignoring their base when they support more immigration, but they're at least leading from a place of knowledge. They understand job markets, demand for construction labor, etc. better than their rank-and-file.

  • M.L.||

    That poll shows 32% supporting an increase in immigration levels. My point was that you won't find a single poll showing majority support to increasing immigration levels, but you'll find many valid, properly conducted polls showing majority support for decreasing. And that poll is definitely an outlier anyway.

  • Sarcastr0||

    This wasn't a policy election, as your own zealousy shows.

    Search your feelings. That might be closer to an answer.

  • M.L.||

    It wasn't a policy election, true. The real "closer to an answer" you are looking for is obviously the first post in this thread by dbw. But the biggest policy issue was immigration, because it served as a flash point for the underlying issue of "bigotry" and "racism" being lodged dishonestly and wielded as a political cudgel against the unwary.

  • NToJ||

    The poll shows more people want more immigration than want less. Re: outlier, it's roughly consistent with this one from around the same time period (which showed a slight favor towards decrease).

    But if you've got them showing a majority supporting a decrease, I'll put eyes on them.

  • M.L.||

    "When you reduce the issue to specific, uncontroversial measures (like e-verify) you're going to weaken the claim that the biggest election issue is immigration. "

    Uh, no. These "specific, uncontroversial measures" are exactly the kind of thing I am talking about under the umbrella of immigration. Tell me, if e-verify is so specific and uncontroversial, then why hasn't it been done? Is it perhaps because Congress refuses to pass it, despite the fact that nearly everyone supports it and virtually nobody seems to have any reason to oppose it? Same question goes for increased border security and immigration judges, higher penalties for businesses that hire illegals, voter ID,
    ending chain migration and the visa lottery, etc. Even the wall has majority support.

    Thank you for proving my point.
    Thank you for proving my point.

  • NToJ||

    "Is it perhaps because Congress refuses to pass it, despite the fact that nearly everyone supports it and virtually nobody seems to have any reason to oppose it?"

    Because it's complicated. Because there are a small number of people who are very motivated against it, and since (as I've already told you) e-verify is not some major issue that the public gives much of a shit about, even bipartisan agreement on an immigration bill with it is insufficient to overcome the special interest opposition. Agricultural Republicans, like Tom Rooney, oppose it because of the burden it places on his constituency. Steve King opposed the latest effort to make e-verify mandatory because it accompanied an agricultural bill that would have allowed foreign workers to be employed below minimum wage--and he's protectionist, or something. And Cato hates it.

    But that's the point. Americans aren't itching for e-verify. They may support it but the overwhelming majority of Americans don't really know what it is, and don't care. When they speak about "immigration" they're speaking to a larger cultural issues, not some specific wonky policy solution.

    Why do you think Republicans can't pass an e-verification bill?

  • M.L.||

    Right. So what you're saying is that Congress won't pass e-verify, for various reasons, despite the fact that 85% of people support it. That's what I'm saying, too. The "why" was merely a rhetorical question - systemic dysfunction, gamesmanship, special interest influence, corruption, and even some rational objections all play a part.

    The point is that the disconnect between the will of the people and Congress' actions characterizes immigration more so than any other policy topic.

    Yes, of course the average American is not focused in on the specifics of the policy solutions, and immigration is all about larger cultural & economic issues -- societal fragmentation, lack of assimilation and cultural cohesion weakening the country, the all-time high level of immigration, concern over the rule of law, effects of labor supply on job market and wages and distribution of wealth, and the leftist strategy of racial identity politics and importing more suitable voters to replace the Americans who won't vote for their radical agendas.

    I'm not sure why you are stating these obvious points. As you know, these factors drive the public debate into new heights of intensity -- and in the process, the salient policy points become elevated in the public discourse. The number of voters who have even heard of "chain migration" has probably gone from 10% to 80% in the last 18 months. Same thing with sanctuary cities, visa lottery, etc. Welcome to what democracy looks like.

  • Sarcastr0||

    *Trump nukes New York City*

    ML: 'I blame Congress for not being cruel enough to illegals!'

    [The reason why 'This is how you get Trump' is dumb is because it's contentless; all it does is reaffirm the posters' own view of how non-Trump voters are bad.]

  • M.L.||

    The complaints weren't about nuking New York City. They were about disruptive foreign policy maneuvers and mostly just general unease with Trump's style and demeanor.

    It's a very pertinent point to make. You have Obama, Clinton, Democrats and Republicans saying for decades that we need to do this and that about immigration. But for decades they just lied and gave empty promises. Why? Poll after poll shows that immigration become THE top issue for Americans and remains so today. Well of course it did. And more than any other issue by far, this issue was responsible for Trump getting elected, because he was the only guy who made clear he would actually be willing to do it.

  • Sarcastr0||

    The issue is that your reasoning is way overinclusive, and can be used to let Trump off the hook for anything, including nuking NYC.

  • M.L.||

    What does Trump need to be either blamed or let "off the hook" for? I'm not letting Trump off the hook for anything, nor do I even concede that he needs to be left "off the hook." I could have argued with my colleagues that Trump is right and they're wrong, but I didn't. For example I could have argued that is there IS a point to and a benefit of creating a sort of superficial level of hostility and distance between us and our allies.

    Instead, the point I'm making is "You don't like this, I get it. Well, here's the biggest way that the people who share your perspective could have avoided it."

    You can "blame" Trump for whatever it is you don't like, while also looking at the things your side can do or the things actually in your control to prevent him. One has nothing to do with the other.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Your response to liberals being unhappy with something Trump has done is to point to immigration.

    Whether you're substantively engaging or changing the subject to the election, that's functionally letting Trump off the hook.

  • M.L.||

    They were unhappy with the general circumstance of Trump being President. You can blame Trump and his voters for him becoming President -- please, go ahead.

    But, when it comes to evaluating the failures of the establishment uniparty, in particular those which contributed to their stunning rebuke by the American people in electing Trump as President, there is no single issue more glaring than immigration.

    Now, if you're alleging that by choosing to make this entirely valid point instead of saying something else, I was trying to "let Trump off the hook" . . . well, OK, if you say so. But on the other hand, this valid point seems vastly underappreciated and rarely spoken, and that's good reason for making it.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Uniparty isn't a thing. Dems and Reps are quotes far apart by all measures. There Ian zero proof they are conspiring; they have different lobbyists they are beholden to even.

    As noted above you're theory about immigration is not supported.

    Whatever is going on, you and I may be too close to it to have a good analysis.

  • M.L.||

    So you don't think immigration was a big issue in the 2016 campaign? LOL

  • M.L.||

    If Hillary was President there is a good chance she would have started a new war in Syria by now.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Hell, if you're going to use counterfactuals as proof why not say she'd have nuked Texas by now?

  • M.L.||

    Sarcastro, You're very confused and ill-informed. Here's how Glenn Greenwald put in a very good recent interview, I'd highly recommend reading the whole thing.

    "You could make a very strong case that if Hillary Clinton won, there would be countries that we would be bombing which we are not currently bombing, like Syria. . . if you look at the Syria debate, I think that was the most clarifying, because what got overlooked is that Hillary Clinton had an ongoing, sustained critique of Obama's foreign policy, which was that he was insufficiently interventionist—in particular when it came to confronting Russia, both in Ukraine and Syria. . . Trump in both instances essentially sided with Obama. . . I think Clinton probably would have been more militaristic about involving the U.S. in Syria. She said she would, and I take her at her word for that."

  • Sarcastr0||

    Oh, I know Glenn's take. It made a splash in some of the other forums I read.

    It's dumb and speculative for the same reasons yours is. Because counterfactuals are by their nature dumb and speculative.

  • M.L.||

    Most things are speculative. That's why it's not a certainty but a "good chance" or a "good case" and we're "taking her word on that." That's what you do whenever you vote in an election, for example.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Most things are speculative.

    And saying 'a good chance' doesn't actually make it any more sure than 'I'll bet.'

    Arguments about how much worse things coulda been aren't actually proving anything; they're imagination wearing the clothes of rational analysis.

  • M.L.||

    Wrong. It's the same probabilistic logic necessarily used to vote in elections.

  • Sarcastr0||

    You cannot have probabilistic logic about something that will never happen.

  • M.L.||

    Wrong. If you have a pro-war and an anti-war candidate, for example, electing the pro-war candidate is more likely by some margin to result in war. If you elect the anti-war candidate and no war results, then it is still true that electing the pro-war candidate would have been more likely to result in war. That's an extreme example, but in Clinton and Trump's case their campaigns and statements indicated that Clinton would be more likely (by some margin) to undertake military intervention.

  • Sarcastr0||

    No. We have no way of knowing or predicting things that have never and can never happen. You just have an empty vessel to put in whatever you want.

    Have you noticed all your counterfactuals end up proving how right you are? Maybe it's because they are conveniently unfalsifiable.

    See, too, 'if this were the opposite party doing this the media coverage would be different!' It's just self-reinforcement and that's it.

  • Sarcastr0||

    No. We have no way of knowing or predicting things that have never and can never happen. You just have an empty vessel to put in whatever you want.

    Have you noticed all your counterfactuals end up proving how right you are? Maybe it's because they are conveniently unfalsifiable.

    See, too, 'if this were the opposite party doing this the media coverage would be different!' It's just self-reinforcement and that's it.

  • M.L.||

    Not "knowing", just identifying probabilities. Your replies continue to be non-responsive.

  • Smooth Like a Rhapsody||

    why not say she'd have nuked Texas by now?

    ..or demonized your opponent by saying he'd support Trump even if he nuked NYC.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Come on, Smooth...I wasn't saying Trump would nuke NYC, or that he was likely to. That was a hypothetical to show how ML's reasoning wasn't falsifiable.

    ML is positing actual substantive things about how things would be under President Hillary to prove Trump isn't so bad relatively. That's no hypothetical pointing out a fallacy, that's a fallacy used to make a substantive argument.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The 2016 Republican primaries were one big "f you" to the establishment.


    This seems true.

    The Republican Party, struggling to maintain an electoral coalition for stale thinking and objectionable insularity, has managed to make disaffected, left-behind, poorly educated, gullible, pessimistic, backward citizens an indispensable element of its political base.

    American have encountered successive waves of ignorance and intolerance -- the targets have included Italians, Asians, Catholics, blacks, Jews, gays, the Irish, Hispanics, Eastern Europeans, women, agnostics, and others -- before. Racism, misogyny, xenophobia, gay-bashing, and the like have not been successful movements over the medium to longer terms in America, however, and our latest batch of bigoted malcontents seems nothing special to me.

    People generally did not get to be Trump voters by exhibiting good judgment, acquiring strong educations, developing marketable and modern skills, or being part of more than a half-century of American progress. Pining for good old days that never existed seems a poor plan. When the method of communication you have left is a middle finger, what is a reasonable expectation for accomplishment?
  • Tall Paul||

    Well said.

  • Michael Cook||

    If the pathway to ridding America of Trump and all us under-educated goobers who love to vote for policies that actually benefit us runs through the current Senate hearings on the SCOTUS nominee, Democrats are off to a suspect start.

    Those Handmaids Tales costumes--now those are game changers, politically. So is all the screeching.

    In Real News, Amazon became the second Trillion dollar company.

    Mueller will accept Trump's statement in written form.

    Kaerpernick's ads probably last as long as the International House of Biscuits or whatever-the-hell-it-was name change.

  • NToJ||

    "Kaerpernick's ads probably last as long as the International House of Biscuits or whatever-the-hell-it-was name change."

    Sure. Nike's core demographic of over 70 white people is going to flee their products in spades. I guess Nike will just have to switch its customer base to urban youth for a change.

  • Sarcastr0||

    You are on fire today NToJ

  • ||

    Bernstein writes:

    "Why? Well consider how the establishment would react if George W. Bush were seated two seats down from David Duke at Willie Nelson's funeral, with Duke given a place of honor. Now consider that Bill Clinton sat two seats away from an equally odious hatemonger, Louis Farrakhan, at Aretha Franklin's funeral.... Clinton acted as if nothing was amiss, as did the rest of the establishment. Former attorney general Eric Holder took a picture next to Farrakhan, and it sure looks posed."

    Um, most the population would think acting with poise and composure at a funeral is admirable, not something to turn into a political football. Are you surprised that former presidents act "presidential" at a funeral?

    Funerals are not the time to start political fist fights.

    Bernstein continues:

    "But wait, you will say, Farrakhan is black, and because of historical differences in power, black racism and anti-Semitism simply isn't as problematic as white racism as anti-Semitism. That's a fine argument to have in university seminar room. What your average person sees, however, is hypocrisy and double standards."

    No. What every person who is remotely reasonable thinks is "It's a funeral. It's not the time to cause a ruckus because because of someone a few chairs down."

    FFS, social decorum is not a bad thing for either conservatives or liberals.

    Sometimes people can be decent, respectful people and it's *not* about politics and *not* about race and *not* about religion.

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