Why Trump is Worse than Cruz

rallyJohn Boehner admitted, “I’ve never worked with a more miserable son of bitch in my life” and went on to describe Ted Cruz as “Lucifer in the flesh.” In the Senate, Cruz suggested that fellow Republican Chuck Hagel might be accepting payments from the North Koreans. In his campaign to establish theocratic rule he has enthusiastically pursued measures to oppress religious and ethnic minorities, persecute homosexuals, and subject everyone’s basic civil rights to his extreme sectarian religious views.

And despite these abhorrent policy stances, Ted Cruz was this blogger’s great hope for rescuing the Republican Party from Donald Trump. It’s not as crazy as it sounds.

Ted Cruz as President would be a waking nightmare. He is a man I would never support for any office and would be reluctant to leave alone with my children. Yet, if he had been the nominee I would have felt comfortable remaining a local precinct committeeman active in the Republican Party in Illinois. With Trump as the nominee, and my local party supporting him, I will resign my position and renounce any ties to the party.

Neither of these men ever had a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming President. Until the Republican Party is reorganized or reformed in a manner that renders it reasonably sympathetic to minority voters, demographic factors will keep the White House out of Republican reach. Ted Cruz would make a lousy leader, but he has limited himself to working within the democratic process.  What makes Donald Trump such a threat to the republic is that he doesn’t have to win the General Election to dim my children’s future.

By being accepted and endorsed as the nominee one of our major political parties, Donald Trump will accomplish the existentially dangerous feat of legitimizing white nationalism. Worse, the entire right half of the political spectrum will be burdened more or less permanently by this association. A ‘foot in the door’ compromise Barry Goldwater made with segregationists fifty years ago will finally have ripened into a lethal disaster.

Open expressions racial bigotry and hostility have always been considered low manners and generally avoided. Even Confederates made efforts to veil their racism behind evasive language. Since the Civil Rights movement we have made remarkable strides in our efforts to fully delegitimize racist rhetoric and violence.

Yes, Republicans have been pandering to racists since the Sixties. However, in light of Trump’s appeals, complaints of “dogwhistle” signaling from Republican candidates now seem quaint. When Republicans still felt the need to conceal any racism, we could credibly believe (sometimes with good reason) that appeals to racism were no more than empty posturing. Everyone understood that in most cases the dogwhistle was a cynical distraction. It is precisely that ruse, that failure to follow through on the veiled promise of white supremacy, that so many white voters are now rebelling against.

With the dogwhistle smashed we’re seeing something far more dangerous emerge.  In a pre-Trump regime, it still seemed possible to tackle the racism that infected the Republican margins. With Trump in charge, those margins have become the center. White nationalism is the only coherent policy Trump has outlined for the country. Under Trump, the Party of Lincoln is now the American White People’s Party. Participation in that political organization is a tar that will not wash off.

If this were some sudden departure from the norm, a strange temporary visitation like a meteor strike, it might make sense to stick around and wait it out. Our descent into open racism is not an anomaly. We spent decades building this monster. Trump is just the final, disastrous leap off the ledge.

Republicans’ comprehensive embrace of denialist politics was a loan we took out on our future. The interest payments are now bankrupting us. By rejecting any empirical understanding of reality we destroyed critical firewalls against extremism. Even before Trump, consistent signaling of sympathy toward racists was approaching dangerous extremes. What had been a cynical act was calcifying into a reality.

The GOP will not simply ‘fix the glitch’ with a few reforms somewhere down the line. Absorbing Donald Trump as a nominee means spreading a degree of moral corruption through the organization that is beyond any defensibility. With the dogwhistle tossed aside there is no more room for pretense. To remain in the party under Trump’s leadership means owning and defending white nationalism. Barring overt, public statements by party organizations farther down the chain, there is no way to evade this connection.

This problem extends beyond any simple difference of opinion on policy positions. Party members disagree over policy every day while working together toward shared institutional goals.

Donald Trump doesn’t have any policy positions.

Trump is challenging the basic legitimacy of our representative government. He is not so much a Presidential candidate as the leader of a violent political faction attempting to replace the organizing principles of our republic with a personality cult led by a TV celebrity. We have never faced a threat like this in our history.

If we make him our nominee, we will be supporting a leader who has clearly signaled his intention to disregard legitimate institutions and use violence and intimidation against his opponents. Never mind that he’ll lose. Once the institution absorbs that ethos it cannot be made whole.

One may equivocate and hedge, but there are some damning moral realities in this scenario. On a personal level, participating in Donald Trump’s Republican Party will mean using one’s personal political capital to support violence and intimidation against racial and religious minorities, and the pursuit of extra-legal and sometimes illegal tactics against critics. Save all the “but I don’t’s.” If Trump is the nominee it will be impossible to stop him from changing the character of the party. That’s how this works. For me personally to remain in and support the Republican Party will mean putting whatever personal political initiative I possess, no matter how insignificant, in the service of a political force determined to destroy our basic institutions.

cato

Trump supporters flooded Julia Ioffe with anti-Semitic threats after Trump’s wife complained about Ioffe’s profile of her.

Cruz is not a good leader. He’s probably not even a decent human being. And he’s pretty fiercely bigoted. He is, however, running his campaign within the bounds of democratic civility established and respected for generations. In short, he is keeping his rhetoric within defined norms and refraining from appeals to violence. By doing so, he retains space for others with different views to continue working inside the same institutions toward different goals. Cruz is preserving a basic respect for democratic institutions while pursuing his extreme and batty politics.

Ted Cruz may be Lucifer, but no one has been punched yet at his rallies. Journalists who write stories critical of Ted Cruz aren’t getting voicemails from someone claiming to be Hitler. Not one of Ted Cruz’s supporters, as batty as they are, have assaulted homeless Hispanics and used him as their excuse. Cruz hasn’t been endorsed by the KKK. None of Cruz’s rallies have been cancelled over violence.

Donald Trump is presenting us with a conflict that extends far beyond the kind of policy differences that have traditionally defined our elections. Trump is challenging the civilized norms that sustain representative government and protect basic civility. With Trump as the nominee this November, this won’t be a conventional contest between competing policy platforms. We have invaded foreign countries to depose leaders less reprehensible than Trump. Our 2016 Election will be a referendum on representative government.

A Republican Party with Ted Cruz as its nominee for President would not challenge my loyalty. I certainly wouldn’t vote to send Ted Cruz to the White House. I would, however, feel comfortable continuing to work toward sensible Republican policy goals here in Illinois and elsewhere.

For me there is no possibility of compromise with the party of Trump. The fact that he can’t win offers no shelter from the impact he will have on the party and on our politics at large. There are no “good Nazis.” As the party’s nominee, Donald Trump changes what it means to be a Republican in a manner that carries inescapable moral culpability.

Without a political party it isn’t clear what avenues would remain open for my meaningful political participation. There’s little reason to think that a Democratic “big tent” big enough to accommodate me could very long retain its structural integrity.  Future directions remain to be worked out, but this much is plain – the Party of Donald Trump will not include me.

There remains some possibility that Republican convention delegates will rebel against this outrage. Though unlikely, it makes sense to wait for the delegates solemnize this decision before walking away from a lifetime of political capital. The decision, however, is unavoidable. I can’t stop Donald Trump, but I won’t be culpable for offering him support in any manner.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Election 2016, Republican Party, Uncategorized
176 comments on “Why Trump is Worse than Cruz
  1. flypusher says:

    So exactly who would volunteer for this political suicide mission:

    http://theweek.com/articles/623232/kamikaze-conservatives

    By all means, GOPe, if you think Trump is a danger to the republic (he is), do what you can to take him down. But that is only the beginning of cleaning up the mess you’ve made. If you don’t clean it up, the next authoritarian type person to step into that vacuum could be far more competent and prepared than Trump (and therefore much more dangerous).

  2. rulezero says:

    Man, I can’t wait to endure six months of this:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/05/trump-clinton-florida-ohio-pennsylvania-222994

    I’ve said that this will be a turnout election. I’d wager a good many of Sanders’ supporters will just stay home. Then, you have Republicans closet voting for Clinton when no one is looking.

    Barring some scandal or faux pas out of left field that really tilts the race, it’s going to be like this until November.

    • flypusher says:

      Here’s a rightly who’s sitting this one out:

      http://theweek.com/articles/623403/why-wont-vote-november

      The thing is, the reasons he gives actually support voting for Hillary (the devil you know). As for all those “pro-life gains” you fear will be reversed, that’s good! They are are built on falsehoods and misinterpreted science, and they need to go. In the long run they would harm your cause.

    • johngalt says:

      State level polls don’t mean much this far out. It’s early days.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      I’d take those polls with a grain of salt, mind you. The Democratic primary isn’t even over yet, so wait until about late September or October and then see where things stand.

      And I’ll put it out there right now. Yes, Florida’s a notoriously close swing state, but it’s not going to go for Trump. It’s just not. He’s underwater with Hispanics and other minority groups by, likely, the most lopsided margin in a generation. You’re not going to win the Sunshine State with numbers like that.

      And Pennsylvania? Please. How many times do we have to go through this cycle of Republicans pretending that they can win the Keystone State before they inevitably lose it every time? You can set your watch by it.

  3. flypusher says:

    Hey look! An optimistic Republican:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/05/09/trumps-self-destruction-begins-early/

    Careful Ms. Rubin, the list of those who tried and failed in the Trump flameout pool grows ever larger…….,

  4. Gee, *GOP*Lifer, I thought we’d be seeing a post on why the Donald trumped Hillary. I’m shocked, simply shocked! Ah, well, don’t let the door hit your fanny on the way out… 😉

    Honestly, I think pacific northwest, left-of-center gun guy David “The Yankee Marshal” Atkinson has the best advice and most accurate (not to mention *TRIGGER WARNING* the most profanity-laced) take on the upcoming Godzilla vs. Gidrah match up:

    • 1mime says:

      That was real informative, Tracy.

      • texan5142 says:

        Agreed.

        Cooking tuna steaks on the grill tonight 1mime, grab Tracy and stop by. Place feels like family, I thank you for this place Mr. Ladd. Beer is on me if you are ever in the neighborhood and can spare the time. Your blog to me reads like a book that shapes itself by a unique cast of characters in real time….I was going to say a lot of other stuff that in my mind sounded profound, but hey, I got tuna steaks to cook.

      • 1mime says:

        Aw, great invite but I’m afraid the tuna steaks would get a little cold on the way down to TX (-;

    • objv says:

      A more appropriate term would be “humanure.” The permaculture place I visited outside of Cortez, CO had a place to compost human poop.

      Humanure is useful and can be used to fertilize crops. A biting, poop flinging monkey only spreads disease. (Another reason to vote for Trump.)

      For those of you in need of a backyard project …

      http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/build-compost-toilet-ladies-urinal-solar-shower-recycled-materials

      Enjoy your dinners, folks.

    • johngalt says:

      Wow. That was awesome, Tracy. Thanks for sharing. South Park did this rather better many years ago with a contest between a turd sandwich and a douche bag. I do like your guy’s rationale though: “I don’t like Hillary for reasons I can’t explain, so I’m going to cross my fingers and hope that a horrible human being bumbles his way into competence.”

      http://southpark.cc.com/clips/154582/debate-2004

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Cute video – Made me laugh. Mainly because at one point I passed an alleyway that that a bar backed into, and one day there was a monkey there. It was sitting there with a collar and the collar was attached to a chain. The chain should have given me a clue but as always, nuh-huh. In my mind, monkey cute, monkey playful. So I walked up, saying “Oh, what a cute monkey.” When I got to the word cute, it climbed up my leg, up my back and bit me on the shoulder and leaped back and sat in the same spot. Before I could finish the word cute.

      At least he didn’t go for my armaments.

  5. vikinghou says:

    Chris,

    Your post reminds me of the scene in “Casablanca” when Capt. Renault exclaims “I am shocked—shocked—to find that gambling is going on in here!”

    It’s clear that, for decades, the majority of Republicans have tacitly shared views that are congruent to Trump’s. But up to now, smart Republican politicians have known that their true motives must be hidden behind a mask of patriotism or religious piety, which gives them plausible deniability. They’re not hating gays, they’re condemning sinners. They’re not lavishing cash on the one-percent, they’re helping job creators.

    Trump appeals to the resentful masses, but without the finesse to hide his true motives. When Republicans look at Trump, they’re furious and frightened at what they see. But ironically, they’re only looking in the mirror.

  6. moslerfan says:

    Just a comment or two on Trump’s plan to “renegotiate” America’s public debt. It seems to be a play to present himself as “running this country like a business.” The premise of renegotiating the public debt is that it is unpayable, which is as much nonsense when Trump asserts it as it is when Cruz and so many others assert that the debt is “unsustainable and burdening our children.”

    Functionally, giving T-bill holders a haircut is just a tax on wealth, which is something we commonly do. In this case though, it might put a big damper on people’s willingness to buy T-bills, which are bought in large part because they are “risk-free.” It would also tax a lot of people we probably don’t want to tax that way. (Everyone thinks it’s “the Chinese” who hold all our public debt. Not so.)

    If I were a Democrat, I’d enocurage Trump to talk about this as much as possible.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      It’s not just the effects it would have on the T bill though. Literally EVERY financial instrument that pays interest is either directly or indirectly tied to the interest rate on US bonds. Every investment vehicle’s ibterest rate is based off the rate of the “risk free investment” that is US debt. If US bondholders take a haircut, every thing below it, from junk bonds, to municipal bonds, to mortgages, to stocks will see massive dislocation that will be worse then the last credit crisis in 2008. Companies will be unable to raise cash. It’ll be bad.

      And Trump was doubling down today, saying he wasn’t talking about “default” simply renegotiating debt to get a discount. This clearly shows his utter inability to understand the global financial system outside of private real estate companies.

      The entire global financial system is predicated on the assumption that US debt is the least risky investment in the world. If bondholders are even ASKED to accept anything less then 100% of their principal plus interest, that concept means nothing, and the US would be functionally in default.

      • 1mime says:

        It will be interesting to “track” how the bond market/treasuries responds to Trump’s pronouncement. Do other countries take him seriously and slow or stop investment in US Treasuries? The global economy is in enough turmoil right now without Trump adding this wild card.

        As Pres. Obama stated: being president is serious – everything you do or say is heard around the world in seconds. What must leaders of the free world be thinking about America now? For that matter, what are our enemies thinking – and, plotting…to take advantage of the instability that someone like a Donald Trump offers. This is when, like it or not, HRC becomes the most stable, best candidate in the field. Those who may detest her may appreciate the fact that she will do the least harm and with her boring, competent leadership, may actually allow some healing to occur in our government’s operation. Whether she runs again or runs again and loses to “the next best new thing”, is not the point. Right now, America needs stability and rational thinking.

      • moslerfan says:

        Yes, I saw where Trump claims he was just talking about buying back bonds when interest rates rise and bond prices fall, but that’s clearly not what he meant when he spoke about renegotiating the other day. He obviously has no idea how the Fed manipulates interest rates by buying and selling bonds in the open market.

      • 1mime says:

        Not only does he lack knowledge of the bond market and the federal reserve process, he really is motivated by “the deal”….The man thinks always about “controlling events” and is unable to grasp a world that does not respond to his dictates simply on his own authority. The full faith and credit of the American treasury is far more important than playing the odds and risking our nation’s financial security.

        Just imagine the executive orders a President Trump would exercise………I can’t even go there.

    • 1mime says:

      If I were a Republican, I’d encourage Trump to withdraw………(-;

    • Stephen says:

      http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/05/07/where-do-trumps-bad-ideas-come-from/

      This column shows a simple chart of how much of the GDP our national debt interest consumes. About 1.3% The high point in the mid eighties was when Reagan was on watch about 3% of GDP. Math does not lie. The whole debt lie is about cutting Social
      Security and Medicare not fiscal sanity.

      Here from another Blog I follow
      http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html

      Is mathematical proof that debt and deficits explode under Republican administrations and contract under Democratic ones. Basically the federal deficit has been plotted since 1940. Using basic calculus the first derivative tells how rapid a change is happening while the second derivative tells if the variable is declining or rising. It has since 1940 always rises when Republicans control the white house and declines when the Democrats do. I am a fiscal conservative and quite angry that Republican rhetoric does not match action. I would be very happy in the old GOP but not the abomination it has become.

      • 1mime says:

        Stephen – You approve of the old Repub Party under which the debt and deficit rise? Aside from all of the obvious problems manifested by today’s GOP, they represent themselves as the most efficient fiscal manager when, by the statistics you cite from historical record, they are not. I am assuming you were OK with the GOP fiscal record as long as they governed in a rational, tolerant manner…..

      • moslerfan says:

        The reality is that the debt is not going to burden our children and grandchildren. I wish I knew whether Republicans know this and realize they can use deficit spending on their priorities (military, primarily) when they are in power and then bash Democrats for spending on social priorities when Ds are in office. I suspect at least some Rs do know this, most just don’t care.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        The Rs use debt talk to make themselves sound fiscally responsible. Clearly, they’re not.

        Watching interest rates slowly rise without major investment in infrastructure and job training pains me.

      • Stephen says:

        @1mime If you go back far enough in time the party was not a spend thrift. It also had a progressive wing. But you have to go back many decades.

      • 1mime says:

        I know this is true, Stephen. This was the Republican Party’s “golden time” when they got most everything right….too bad the leadership changed directions in economic practice (rhetoric still asserted fiscal prudence), and picked up the religious right that propelled them in a downward spiral socially and culturally. I guess the fact we all have to accept is that these parties are composed of living, breathing people who are imperfect, and as they “evolve” so does the party they lead.

  7. fiftyohm says:

    I’m sure someone, and probably Chris, has mentioned this, I wonder about the effect of straight ticket voting on the down-ballot races with Trump at the top of one column. While this obviously affects only 8 States, the ‘Trump effect’ is going to suck for the GOP in that regard.

    • johngalt says:

      Straight ticket voting is the least of the GOP’s down-ballot worries. I’ve heard from a number of die-hard Republicans who will not vote for Trump but cannot bring themselves to vote for Clinton. Some might go third party, but many of them simply won’t bother to vote. Chris has previously written about the dynamics of this year’s Senate races, which never looked good for the GOP, and this will further weaken their prospects. At some point you would think McConnell would read the tea leaves and figure out that Garland is more palatable than anyone HRC is likely to nominate.

      • 1mime says:

        “Straight ticket voting is the least of the GOP’s down-ballot worries.”

        You’d never know the GOP had any problems….they continue to double down on the old tried and true…..and think it is a winning position…..Is it?

        http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/09/politics/north-carolina-hb2-justice-department-deadline/index.html

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s an expansion on the Gov. McCrory lawsuit against the federal government:

        “Basically, McCrory is taking the same path that Southern governors like George Wallace and Ross Barnett did during the civil rights era: calling for delay and invoking states rights.

        One possible way out is if the city of Charlotte agrees to repeal the LGBT-rights ordinance that HB2 was passed to undo. Then the state might amend HB2 in some way acceptable to the Justice Department. So far, though, Charlotte seems to be taking the view that they didn’t make this problem.”

        Charlotte, NC – stand your ground!

        https://weeklysift.com/2016/05/09/what-will-republicans-do-now/

      • flypusher says:

        McConnell’s still working on that plan to make Obama a 1-term President.

      • 1mime says:

        Interestingly, McConnell may be a “one-term Senate Majority Leader” ! The best part? His own party will have done him in with no help from the Prez.

      • Peter Gray says:

        Delicious irony! Let’s watch and enjoy. Thanks for pointing that out.

      • fiftyohm says:

        “At some point you would think McConnell would read the tea leaves and figure out that Garland is more palatable than anyone HRC is likely to nominate.” – JG

        Tea leaves are somewhat subtle. What we’re talking about here is a giant, flashing neon sign. What’s that saying about, “the devil you know?”

      • 1mime says:

        Good. The Justice Division has filed a countersuit to McCrory’s suit – same day. Asked and answered.

        http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/politics/read-the-justice-departments-lawsuit-against-north-carolina-saying-the-states-bathroom-bill-is-disciminatory/1981/

        Heard on NPR today that TX is considering a bathroom bill as well…..Like we’ve all noted, “lockstep legislation”….Is there not an original thinker among them? And, those who advocate strict construction of the Constitution….what part of this violates Title VII do you not understand? Guess we’ll find out if Justice has done their homework and if NC theirs as the case goes to federal court.

      • fiftyohm says:

        If you will kindly forgive me, this entire “bathroom” nonsense strikes me as a complete waste of time and attention. Listen: Nobody is going to check birth certificates at the door to the can. If you ‘used to be a male’, well, you can’t use a urinal, so you go in a stall in the ladies toilet. Presumably, you are also dressed like a woman, so who knows, and who the hell cares? If you ‘used to be a woman’, and you can use a urinal, fine. Otherwise you use a stall. Again, who’s to know, and who the hell cares? I guess if you’re bisexual, you demand a separate facility dedicated only to bisexuals? What a nonsense.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, I couldn’t agree more, but here’s the question: why is the Republican Party pursuing this policy/law in state after state?

      • fiftyohm says:

        My guess would be activism from the other side, as a point of fact. It’s just BS all the way around,

      • johngalt says:

        The bathroom issue is meant to solve a non-existent problem but, like so many other wastes of time, has become a symbol for both sides to fight over – basically a proxy for so many other issues. The side supporting ignorance and intolerance is not likely to be on the right side of history.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Agreed. But I wish both sides would choose their battles more carefully. There are plenty of substantive issues to debate – no proxies required.

        (And here I find myself talking about this foolishness!)

        If you go looking for a fight, you’re likely to find one. Somebody went looking, and found support from a sector that had very, very real issues. This is vexing. This stupid transgender toilet issue simply does not map on to the disgusting problem of intolerance of gay people. And sadly, does neither any favor.

  8. flypusher says:

    Ranking the GOP also-rans:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/republican-presidential-primary-biggest-losers-ranked_us_572ce0d6e4b016f37895a7a2

    What a long strange trip it’s been.

    And will continue to be.

    • flypusher says:

      Homer, this opinion piece is for you:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-j-reid-jr/elephant-graveyard_b_9863436.html

      Where I a member of the GOP, and I wasn’t resigning on principle, my strategy would be to minimize the damage from Trump in the short term, then actually working on not being the party of stupid in the long term (as in ditch the science denial and the xenophobia/ racism and the supply-side economic model, for starters).

      • Peter Gray says:

        Riiight… …but what would the donors think about that? Couldn’t it mean ditching all that cash, too? Sounds like a tough challenge for at least two reasons:
        1). The Rs have already made their own bed with Citizens United, etc.. Now they have to lie in it.
        2). Who’s going to be left to bootstrap the GOP’s way out of “party of stupid”? How many milliseconds passed between Jindal’s famous plea and his next round of pandering to the stupid? That guy has a biology degree, for Chrissake! And then he backs creationism in the schools. LA will closely follow FL as the first states to (deservedly?) go underwater, and – naturally – BJ adheres to the oil industry line on climate.

        Who DO you imagine will be on hand to carry out this destupidification project? Methinks it’s far too late for that.

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s the problem for the Republican Party:

        “Trumpentrauma is definitely hitting Republican elites harder, because it has exposed their denial about their party. As far back as the rallies for Sarah Palin in 2008 and the Tea Party in 2010, it’s been pretty clear to the rest of us that something ugly was stirring among the GOP rank and file. But Republican insiders ignored all the evidence of racism, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia, as well as the rumbles of potential violence. They told themselves they were seeing a patriotic protest against big government or rising debt or some other kind of liberal overreach. Now their bubble has popped.”

        The Weekly Sift goes on to state the obvious: “Trump has become the avatar of resentment”.

        The Republican Party seems to be unable to shift away from the nefarious, disingenuous tactics that they’ve perfected and implemented with great success…..only now, the veil is being lifted and the party is trying to appeal to logic and reason with a base that they have groomed to ignore such thinking. Such sweet irony.

        (See link above on What Will Republicans Do Now, Weekly Sift)

      • flypusher says:

        “Who’s going to be left to bootstrap the GOP’s way out of “party of stupid”? ”

        That would be people like Chris, but if they do have to end up leaving, then the GOP is doomed. If would be easier for them to keep the brand rather than build anew from scratch, but something is going to give. The current GOP has too many fault lines.

      • Peter Gray says:

        Yes, of course, that would be people like Chris, along with David Frum and a paltry handful of others. But who would listen to them? They’ve already been cast out as RINOs by the nutballs. Reform from within is a nice fantasy, but it would require cooperation and an ability to listen and learn on the part of those who have proven countless times lately that they’re incapable of both.

  9. Stopped in to visit mom yesterday for Mother’s Day. While there dad and I started talking politics. This is not normally a good idea. I am 52 years old. Dad and I have NEVER agreed on anything political. He is a life long conservative and I’m a life long liberal. Yesterday we agreed that Trump does not represent a republican party, but, a nationalist party. We agreed that Sanders was a run of the mill socialist. We agreed that the moderate, establishment candidate was HRC and we are both planning on voting for her. Of course, this is just one family’s anecdote, but still, what a strange Mother’s Day.

  10. antimule says:

    Chris, how do you think that Trump’s nomination will affect the senate and the house? Is house now competitive for the Democrats?

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I think the consensus is that the House is not in play but the Senate definitely is.

      • flypusher says:

        I think Sen. Kirk is a dead man walking. Duckworth would have been a very tough opponent even without things like Trump or the GOP’s temper tantrum over President Obama’s SCOTUS nomination.

      • antimule says:

        If Trump can’t shatter the House, what on Earth can? It really is gerrymandered to hell and back.

      • 1mime says:

        The only way to defeat gerrymandering is time and decreases in the White population. One would hope that the census and a “fair and balanced” SCOTUS would pitch redistricting plans that further this situation. To be fair, Dems did a good bit of gerrymandering as well, but their efforts “pale” in comparison to that of the Repubs.

        IMO, gerrymandering should be ruled unconstitutional. Maybe one day we’ll see that challenge met with a ruling that ends it.

      • The Anti-Portman ads have begun here in Ohio and they seem to hit a sweet spot. That seat is in play.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        The Democrats would have to win something like 30 of 34 competitive races for the House, and that just is almost impossible, even with a goofball at the top of the ticket.

      • Fair Economist says:

        The consensus is wrong. It would take about a 7% swing in the 2012 election to have flipped the House. Gerrymanders decay with time, so perhaps a 6% swing would do it today. Obama won by 4% in 2012, so if Hillary wins by 10% – 55% to 45%, the House is on the edge. That’s very plausible. Demographics alone is about 2%, the candidate being female rather than black could give another 2%; 2% from sane Republicans staying home and there you are.

        The conventional analyses of what seats are “competitive” simply doesn’t account for the likely large swing in party turnout. Ryan’s seat is only R+3 – he could easily be swept out in the kind of wave that we might see – but you won’t see his seat on a “competitive” list.

  11. Jmowa says:

    Chris. You have my admiration both for your vision of what the Republican Party should and could be, and for your clear sightedness about the meaning of a possible Trump nomination. Trump is no Hitler nor a Mussolini. However, you have put your finger on a resemblance that is extremely disturbing. Trump has no respect for the rules of the game nor of truth. However, if one operates successfully in that mode solely as a means for getting in power, any residual morality one might have started with dissolves as one’s ego forces one to more and more extremes to keep the game going. It is quite illuminating to enter “Adolph Hitler’s Rise to Power” in Wikipedia and read through it. One thought is that even after the publication of “Mein Kampf” which outlined Hitler’s agenda there was always a great deal of ambiguity about what he would do. There were compelling emotional reasons to think he didn’t really mean what he said and that he would become reasonable when the chips were down. Part of Hitler’s genius was to exploit this ambiguity.

    There is reason to hope that Trump would be soundly defeated in an election and that our country would come to its senses, because the situation in 1920’s Germany is vastly different than our current situation in the USA and because we still have a long political tradition of hewing to our constitution even in controversial circumstances. We in the USA have not just been defeated in a terrible war we thought to be thoroughly justified, suffered through hyperinflation that wiped out any remaining middle class savings, nor had crippling reparations imposed on our country; neither is our government as weak as Germany’s was in the 1920’s regardless of our congressional deadlock. In spite of what Trump says we are still as great as we’ve ever been (even if our greatness has its flaws.) Our job in the next eight years is simply to muddle through abroad and, domestically, to try remedy the weaknesses that have led to Trump and Sander’s appeal among people who think that a good living should be available to those who believe that intelligence and education should be unnecessary for such.

    What is troubling is that once people outside of Trump’s natural constituency become enchanted with his charismatic manner, their critical facilities may well decline. This decline, abetted by the ambiguity mentioned above, can then sway them to actually vote for him. It will be really disturbing to see people who should know better become Trump supporters. When one combines this possibility with the undeserved visceral hatred many feel for Hillary there is reason to be concerned that the unthinkable may actually occur. Trump keeps on going in spite of all the prognostications for his downfall. Each of us needs to do whatever we can to see that he falls flat, hopefully by even a wider margin than Barry Goldwater did.

    • Peter Gray says:

      “Trump is no Hitler nor a Mussolini.”
      That might be a comforting thought, but the rest of your history review suggests that those guys were not what we think of them as now – until they gained power.

      I see little in DT’s personality to distinguish him from Hitler. My first take was that he perceives only two measures of human value: money (or the appearance thereof) and applause (no matter how obtained). That alone makes him amoral and dangerous.

      But then I saw him deliberately stage a rally in NY (Long Island?), just down the block from where white nationalist thugs had recently murdered an innocent middle-aged Hispanic man. That’s not just pandering to the lowest of the low. That’s actively, gratuitously promoting lynch mobs. How exactly is this different from the beer hall beginnings of the Nazis?

      • Jmowa says:

        When I say Trump is no Hitler, I don’t imply that he is any better than H, just different. One hopeful difference in context is that Hitler had a united party behind him while Trump has a discordant Republican party, part of whom is wise to him. The hope is that this sinks him.

  12. StoryMing says:

    Just one question (hopefully not TOO much of a non-sequitur):
    If there are no “good Nazis”– then what was Oskar Schindler?

  13. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Trump doesn’t rule out the possibility that he might try and boot Paul Ryan from the Republican convention if he doesn’t “come around”. Would he do it? Well of course, but CAN he do it? Stock up on your popcorn, ladies and gentlemen.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-paul-ryan-feud_us_572fb8f5e4b0bc9cb04730c9

  14. duncancairncross says:

    Hi Chris
    Here is Dr Brin on the Donald – and his silver lining
    http://davidbrin.blogspot.co.nz/

    Will somebody tell me if this link doesn’t work – it’s the one I use all of the time but I know Dr Brin is in the USA!

    Quote
    “First a quick political note: many of you will recall that long ago – before it even seemed plausible – I forecast a silver lining to Donald Trump becoming the GOP nominee. (There are several, actually.) Despite his maniacal unsuitability, Trump has one advantage, that of being completely detached from the standard and utterly failed “supply side” narrative that’s been Holy Writ across the Bush-Murdoch era. He’s the one Republican who has ever told Rupert to go chase himself.”

    • flypusher says:

      I love this statement from Dr. Brin’s previous post:

      “Shame on all of you for quailing in hand-wringing fear! Reach out to sane-conservatives now, in their time of angst, and tell them that sane-conservatism will be welcome at the bargaining table. Offer friendship amid their stages of grief. Remind them that their first loyalty is to America and our shared Experiment, not Fox-induced rage.”

      I see this blog as a place for that.

      Also, if Trump is indeed seriously open to increasing taxes on the wealthy (and doesn’t change his mind again), I’ll admit that he would then be offering something more to his economically struggling blue collar constituents that just an opportunity to vent.

      But no way in this universe or any infinite number of alternative universes do I vote for him!!!

  15. Griffin says:

    Article from the National Review Online and a perfect example of how out-of-touch the religious right is as they fail to understand Trump’s victory. A long list of “moral failings” which make it abudentaly clear they do not care for many of the freedoms gained over the past fourty years. And an inability to stop with their doomsdayer mindset despite it being one of the reasons people voted for Trump in the first place.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/434850/dark-time-america?target=author&tid=900932

    I love this supposed moral failings:

    “According to a series of Harvard polls, 47 percent of Americans between 18 and 29 believe that food, shelter, and health care “are a right that government should provide to those unable to afford them.” That means that nearly half of our young believe they have a legitimate claim on the labor and earnings of others for life’s basic necessities.”

    • antimule says:

      And that POS calls himself a man of God? If Trump’s only achievement is that no one ever takes religious right seriously, I could almost forgive him all the crazy racism. Not really, but it is tempting.

    • flypusher says:

      Oh Yeah! Critique time! (thanks for the red meat, Griffin)

      ‘According to a series of Harvard polls, 47 percent of Americans between 18 and 29 believe that food, shelter, and health care “are a right that government should provide to those unable to afford them.” That means that nearly half of our young believe they have a legitimate claim on the labor and earnings of others for life’s basic necessities.
      More than half of young Americans do not support capitalism — the source of the prosperity they enjoy and the only economic system that has ever lifted mass numbers of people out of poverty.’

      But there’s a big unspoken premise in your worldview, the notion that all one need do to succeed is to work hard. That was never totally true, but it’s even less true now. While it is correct that capitalism can and indeed has lifted people out of poverty, that is contingent on capitalism placing a value on what they are capable of contributing. You may have somehow missed it, but there have been some major economic shifts going on. Why should a young American who doesn’t have anything to offer other than a strong back and a willingness to work have any reverence for capitalism if capitalism is telling him that he is useless?

      “The view that male and female are distinctive identities — one of the few unquestioned foundational views of every society in history — is being obliterated.”

      Actually what is being obliterated is the notion that gender, especially if you are female, should pigeonhole you into a limited number of roles, regardless of what your temperment and talents are.

      “The universities, outside of the natural sciences and math, are an intellectual fraud.’

      Right. Your ilk is very quick to also call scientists frauds if they draw conclusions that you don’t like.

      “The traditional family has become nothing more than one of many options open to Americans. For the first time in American history, there are more unmarried women than married women. The number of adults age 34 and younger who have never been married is nearing 50 percent. Twenty percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 are wedded, compared with nearly 60 percent in 1960.”

      It’s called freedom and prosperity. Women have an option for economic independence and don’t have to marry to survive. Nobody has to get married if they don’t want to. I wonder how many of those marriages in “the good old days” you are pining for were wretched, unhappy traps for people who didn’t have other options open to them?

      “Religious institutions, for most of American history the most important institutions in everyday American life, are becoming irrelevant. And a larger number of Americans than ever before do not identify with any religion.”

      Another consequence of freedom. The 1st Amendment includes the right to NOT worship and NOT believe. If more Americans are not identifying with any religions, then maybe the leaders of those religions need to think harder about why and do some serious self-examination. Protip: Rejecting scientific fact is a great way to get educated people to reject you.

      I peeked at a few of the comments. Some of them are quite good.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Indeed. Frankly, many of these things they posit are true, but actually good things.

        I think the fact that ppl do t feel pigeonholed to follow the “traditional path” re: family life and religion to be a great thing. It shows how far we’ve come and how much progress weve made.

        The fact that this article exists shows how far we still have to go.

    • 1mime says:

      I’m all in for health care….and food stamps can be a big assist….shelter – we have millions of children living in poverty in this great country. I don’t believe government is the answer to everything, but surely, surely, something is not right here. Surely kids in the age range you cited (18-29) should have different hopes and expectations for their personal opportunities to make their own way…..Why is a better question than the result of this poll finding.

      http://www.alternet.org/economy/numbers-are-staggering-us-world-leader-child-poverty

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      This article crstalizes both WHY voters are abandoning the Conservative .movement en masse (which, make no mistake, is exactly what voters are doing when they vote Trump) and explains why the conservative thought leaders are so beffudled.

      They don’t know the America they’re living in.

    • johngalt says:

      If dinosaurs could write, the Prager collection of laments is what they would write.

      I know little about Dennis Prager other than that he is a conservative talk radio guy. As I learned on Wikipedia, the guy lamenting the decline in marriage is on his third. The guy lamenting liberal arts education was an anthropology/history double major and is happy to use university-generated statistics to criticize what non-dinosaurs believe when those statistics fit his narrative.

    • flypusher says:

      One more critique:

      “The arts are as fraudulent as academia. Artistic standards have been destroyed. In music, art, and architecture, nonsense and ugliness have replaced the pursuit of meaning, edification, and beauty. The scatological has replaced the noble.”

      I’m betting that something like this was said about 10 minutes after the first cave painting was started. Art is an extremely subjective thing, and one of the things it has always done is push the envelope, to the dismay of reactionaries. Lots of music, art, etc is produced, but only the great stuff stands the test of time. There was substandard music written in the time of Mozart. The drek from this time will be weeded out too,

      • 1mime says:

        Beating up on the “arts” is easy…..another “soft” career choice….For those who lack talent, sure, but for those with passion and talent, their career choice may be quite lucrative. The arts are an integral balancing pin to the other career paths….just as legitimate. As noted, a lot of crap is produced under the guise of “art”, but the same is true within almost any field. I believe art rounds a person…expands an important aspect of each human called “awareness and sensitivity”….The ability to empathize is enhanced through expansion of awareness and sensitivity. That is lacking in many who espouse a pure economic model of success but it doesn’t have to be.

  16. Sir Magpie De Crow says:

    Oh my God!

    I just realized the GOP is re-enacting the hit weekend movie “Captain America: Civil War”.

    The young principled vibrant defender of classic Republican ideals and principles (Paul Ryan) versus an arrogant billionaire/occasional playboy who has becomes invincible courtesy of his armor of shamelessness.

    I guess Sarah Palin is Spiderman… swinging into the fray when least expected. Political slime-for-hire Roger Stone plays the role of Loki… duh! George Will is the Winter Soldier… cause he kinda seems like a really cold human being.

    Just saying.

    But in all seriousness this GOP intra-party fighting is a massive political calamity of biblical proportions. I don’t want a one party country simply because the one side can’t get their collective s**t together.

    I even hear Dick Cheney’s donated heart is rejecting him over his support of Donald Trump.

    Good call, donated heart. Good Call.

  17. Martin says:

    Whether on the right or on the left, how do you campaign for rational reasoning in an atmosphere of populism gone wild? How do you give the citizens, in this case working class white males, what they want and need to feel good in this country without resorting to empty slogans or lies? Creating an in-group focused on distributing the remaining pie among a specific group, excluding everyone else, will inevitably lead into what could become the darkest chapter of American history. But what else can you do? Hillary does not know and her advisers struggle with this very idea. Change is required, but how to do it and how to sell it to the people?

    We need an origin story that paints a different world. A simple narrative that articulates a future worth living.

    The only way this can work is by creating institutions that distribute America’s wealth more broadly and invest in the people. A political climate capable of making significant investments in our common good. We need to abolish our stance on punishment, whether domestically with our criminal justice system or internationally being the superpower of this world. We need to invest in ourselves, our people’s education, our infrastructure, and other services required for people to be able to live a decent life.

    This goes 100% against current GOP doctrine of ‘everyone is on his/her own’. It goes against the idea of no government, no taxes, no regulations, and instead an overwhelmingly strong military combined with religiously dominated social norms. People in this country cannot ‘eat’ the military or the strict social norms. We need bread instead. And we need to feel economically safe.

    Chris, with your talent to articulate, I think you should paint a picture of a future worth living in this country. A narrative that is both rational and can be sold to the public. I have very little confidence that the Democrats can figure this out, especially not under Hillary’s leadership.

    • flypusher says:

      I keep thinking of one if those classic lines from one if the greatest movies ever: “Life is pain [your Highness]. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.”

      For all that people say they want more straight talk out of candidates, when it comes time to actually vote, that mostly go with the best cheerleader type who tells them what they want to hear and makes them feel good about themselves. Straight talk would require saying uncomfortable things like “yes the coal industry is dying, and even though your small towns depend on it, it is very toxic to the planet and needs to go away.” Or, “You are basing your economic expectations on anomaly-a post WWII boom that arose due to unique circumstances that will not be duplicated.” That is the truth, not no candidate will dare say it. Why should they? It’s political suicide.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        When I think of the coal miners, I remember how the congressional reps of tobacco farmers pleaded for their right to continue their historical occupations despite the harm done by tobacco.

        I recall one saying something like, “growing tobacco is all they know.” If those farmers were not insulted, they should have been. (Most farmers know they have to change, sometimes as frequently as the weather.)

        Ultimately, I think the reason politicians can’t be honest is because the stories we tell about our country are not honest. We can’t acknowledge reality in the same way we can’t acknowledge the harms of slavery, of killing native Americans.

        Somehow, something akin to mindless booster-ism has infected the educational systems. Did it happen in the 50s, when ‘under god’ was stuck into the pledge? Earlier? Later?

        If this political cycle speeds up the demise of blind conservatism, I think that’s a good thing. Maybe we can all learn how to be up front with one another so we can create a plan of action — together.

      • Peter Gray says:

        I’m trying to reply to Bobo Amerigo’s question about boosterism in education. As a university lecturer, I face this, and think about it, a lot. This article about grade inflation explains the root causes: http://www.gradeinflation.com/. Look at how grades began their current inflationary spiral immediately after the start of the CA Prop 13-inspired indiscriminate tax-cutting spree
        Essentially, this dangerous and disheartening trend is proof, for anyone who doesn’t get it, that education should NOT be a private consumer good. Except, possibly, for purely trade-school or professional school cases, without positive externalities. Even then there’s an information asymmetry problem.
        Put yourself in an educator’s position, and think about the incentives. If your college is funded by tuition, can you afford to flunk any customers (I mean students)? Student “retention” becomes paramount, teaching assessment becomes a popularity contest, and soon you’re in a race to the bottom.
        Members of the unholy coalition of crony capitalists, anti-science/reason folks of all sorts, and religious nuts, are all served by undermining public education. The scariest part is that with extremely rapid dumbing-down of education, who will be left to even understand what’s happening to them, let alone oppose this trend?

      • 1mime says:

        I believe the current political climate is indicative of the dumbing of America. Critical thinking and independent research have been largely abandoned in favor of “quick media fixes” where others drive the discussion….and, often without substance. America has become results-driven and too often the wrong people are held responsible. As a public education supporter from waaay back, I have groaned at the ignorance that accompanies criticism of our educational system – from below as well as above. Undoubtedly, you are experiencing it in spades. America is special but it is not the only place on this continent that is. Exceptionalism has driven us to places in our expectations that are unrealistic and, in some case, undesirable. As one who values education above all, it is both our greatest hope and our biggest failure. Until the people of our country make it the priority it should be, I’m afraid education will devolve into elite programs and “everything else” for all the rest. Not a good formula for a “great” nation.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Peter
        I agree it looks like some grade inflation recently

        But – what about the Flynn effect?
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flynn_effect

        When I was at uni (Glasgow 74 – 78) it was noticeable that some of the stuff we learnt in 2nd year was taught in the 3rd year back ten years previously – and ten years before that was not taught at all as part of a BSc

        So long term there has been some “Grade Deflation”

        You can see this in the workforce – somebody who would have been considered “semi skilled” is now “unskilled” and somebody with the knowledge of a “Skilled man” 20 years ago is now considered “semi skilled”

      • Peter Gray says:

        Interesting hypothesis, and surely some explanators of the Flynn Effect are real. However, what I’m seeing lately is the opposite of what you describe. Anecdotal, yes, but when I took intro microeconomics in the ’80s, some knowledge of calculus was assumed. Now when I teach senior-level micro for majors, most of the class has never seen an equation describing supply or demand, and at least half find it very challenging to solve the simplest linear equation for one variable.

        The scary part is that, yes, our definition of “skilled” has increased along with tech advance and broader literacy. Numerous jobs or tasks that we saw recently as “non-routine” are now routine – and performed by machines. Computers can do tedious calculations at least a billion times cheaper than any human competitor, but only if a thinking human with math skills sets up the problems. We might only be seeing the beginning of a dramatic increase in income inequality.

        Starting with Prop. 13 in 1978, the postwar generation that had gained to an incalculable extent from robust education with high standards, failed to pass that on to the next generation. The obvious symptom is the slashed funding for state schools, and escalating tuition. Less obvious is the intimate and causal connection with lower standards, as evidenced by grade inflation. The combination is devastating.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Peter
        I worked in the USA from 1997 to 2001
        The US education system was one of the main reasons I didn’t stay

        What I saw as one of the biggest flaws was that the kids decided what subjects they would study
        They tended to choose the easy ones – and didn’t choose the “hard” ones
        They also had “study periods” where they would choose what to do
        This was kids of 12 or less!

        I didn’t have that until I went to Uni at 18 – and the extra freedom then scuppered a number of my mates

        A 12 year old should NOT be choosing to do the easy subjects

        I helped our High School Solar car team – we won the “world championship”!
        But a lot of my kids did not understand ALGEBRA – not calculus – ALGEBRA!

        It was a “hard” subject and they had avoided it!

        One of my other big niggles with the US schools was sports –
        we had sports at schools – we didn’t have professional level sports with dedicated coaches and the like

        At Glasgow University (12,000 student) – when we had a big game (Rugby) it was in a park with no seating and about 70 spectators (unless it was raining)

        School and college/university is NOT the place for professional sports

      • Peter Gray says:

        Ahh… the good old days. In U.S. Uni now, it’s rare to find upper-division non-math majors who can do algebra. It’s all about going for the easy subjects, and punishing anyone who dares push them toward thinking for themselves or doing math.

        Of course, there are some exceptions, and for me those still make teaching worthwhile. It’s not the kids’ fault; I often remind myself (and sometimes them) about that. On some days, though, I feel a lot like Chris does now.

      • 1mime says:

        Kids taking “easy” subjects……assuming you’re referring to high school….I lay most of the blame here on parents. If a parent wants their child/children to pursue higher ed following high school, they have to set expectations accordingly. Our grandchildren are taking AP courses at the 9th grade (3) and at the 11th grade…I guess it is valid to wonder if today’s AP level would have been yesterday’s honor’s course, but at least they are pushing forward. The community influence comes next – if most parents in an area have college expectations for their kids, healthy competition and respect for achievement follow. It’ s “cool” to take tough curricula.

        The tragedy of course, is that this level of academia in the public sector is very neighborhood specific. Thus, a bright kid coming from less advantaged or outright poor circumstances doubtless has zero incentive from his parent (s) if the courses even exist in the school he/she attends. It’s very unfair but that’s reality. Thus the cycle of poverty very much includes educational deficiencies along with expectations that are well below that of higher income areas. Once all these students matriculate into your college classroom, the die has been cast.

        I, for one, am a big fan of meaningful, quality alternatives to college for those who either don’t have the preparation to do well in college or have an interest or skill that can be honed in a two year community college concept or a one year certification or a training program in a market relevant trade (HVAC, car repair, big equipment repair/operation, IT, etc. Traditional college isn’t “for” every person, but America has done a fine job of selling the concept that it is the “best” choice. Not for all students –

      • duncancairncross says:

        Alternative to college!
        Yes – we need more
        A lot of people are simply not at the correct stage in their development to take advantage of the School system – assuming that it is available to them –
        We need more of the old apprentice system BUT – with the spending five years making the tea bollocks taken out!
        We need much much more “Adult” education

        We need to use computer systems to provide a flexible reactive education to everybody that “learns” how the student is operating and adjusts to optimise for him/her

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Peter

        “it’s rare to find upper-division non-math majors who can do algebra.”

        Has it really gone that far? – Algebra is taught at about age 9 or 10 here (NZ) and the UK

        If you can’t manipulate numbers and values using Algebra what can you do?????

        I thought the kids I was helping were a minority – an unforgivable minority – but still a minority

      • 1mime says:

        I think of the large mid-western agri-businesses which now mostly plant corn for fuel rather than for food…..they have become so tied to fuel contracts that one wonders how they would ratchet down to their original purpose – growing corn to feed people rather than cars…….I have never been a fan of ethanol so it wouldn’t bother me a bit to see Congress move away from this additive as long as we’re moving towards a less polluting energy source….like solar collectors on car roofs, in road beds, battery and electric vehicles, etc. For all the conversation from the right about government subsidies, ethanol is a big one, just as tobacco enjoyed subsidies for years while the refined product was killing people.

        Farmers are an enduring, but endangered group – especially the small farmer. I don’t know how they survive weather, competition, and regulations. But the idea of growing an edible crop for fuel is abhorrent to me.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        The last presidential candidate to go on and win to say that was probably President Kennedy. It’s both humbling and a bit saddening to think that it’s been that long, much longer than this one’s been alive.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Hello, Peter Gray.

        As perhaps the world’s oldest graduate student, I’ve seen the keepers of my program lessen requirements for getting an MS. I can now achieve it with an exam. And they will tell me what topics to review in order to pass the exam.

        in discussions with faculty members, they are quick to point out the hazards of carrying out a research project. And a thesis? — so much work.

        I was a blue-collar kid who was the first in my family to go to college. I had and perhaps still do have a somewhat romantic view of education. First time around, I couldn’t imagine going to college and not picking up a language. i was working full time and four semesters of Spanish almost killed me. But I never regretted it.

        I think some of my faculty regret their occupations. People drawn to deep reading and research now must be marketers. They get hammered about retention rates.

        And tuition goes up every year. First time around, my tuition was a small part of my living expenses. I feel bad for younger students who graduate with debt.

        It never occurred to me to link grade inflation to a specific piece of legislation. I like it! It’s kinda like the economist who links crime rates to abortion availability.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Hello, Duncan.

        Since you’re living in NZ, I guess this means Edinburgh is not a good place to live on one’s savings?

      • duncancairncross says:

        Not at all – Edinburgh is a great place
        Not sure how expensive it is – you could be better outside the city

        My brother is still in Scotland and his kids are in Edinburgh

        I think NZ is better – but Scotland is definitely better than the USA –
        (unless you are very rich)

        I went to Glasgow Uni – the Glaswegians are a tiny bit scathing about Edinburgh
        In Edinburgh – “sex is whit the coal comes in”

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Duncan, without google, I would have been unable to figure out you were commenting on.

        http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/what-the-coal-came-in.762136/

        Scots can be opaque. 🙂

      • johngalt says:

        “in discussions with faculty members, they are quick to point out the hazards of carrying out a research project. And a thesis? — so much work.”

        Bobo, here’s why I tell my students (and prospective students) something like that. A Ph.D. in biomedical sciences takes 5-6 years. The students get paid, but not much relative to their classmates who got real jobs. Science is frustrating and tedious. It requires long hours, nights, weekends. About 90% of what you do will not work. Your likely contributions are incremental advances. The competition is fierce: we routinely get 150 applicants for a single faculty position and a friend at a highly successful biotech company in the Bay area says they sometimes get 2,000 applications. Once you get a job, funding rates have only slightly recovered from their lowest point ever. But, on the plus side, you get to be a scientist, to learn things nobody has ever known before, to discover.

        If I tell a student all this, and he or (more likely) she says, “Where do I sign up?” then I know I’ve got someone special, someone who wants this and can make a difference.

      • 1mime says:

        Sounds a lot like teaching in public ed, JG (-;

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        JG, I’ve always considered your students lucky.

    • TheMeansAreTheEnd says:

      Sir Magpie wrote “I don’t want a one party country simply because the one side can’t get their collective s**t together.”

      Historically in the US, when one major party self destructs, the other major party splits in two. The fault line in the Democratic Party has been made pretty clear during the primaries.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Absolutely, there are fault lines in the Democratic Party to exploit, but as Lifer and the rest of us already know, the Republicans are in no shape whatsoever to be doing the exploiting. That said, I stand by my previous assessment in that the Democrats are going to be more or less fine so long as they keep a hold on the presidency and begin expanding their hold elsewhere in the country, winning back seats in Congress and state legislatures. Ironically, the Republicans’ weakness in this respect is actually helping keep the Crazy within the Democratic Party at bay, at least for now.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Populism hasn’t gone wild so much as the energy behind it is being abused by figures like Trump and Sanders for their own ends. Take that coupled together with the economic frustrations felt by so many and it’s hardly a wonder why so many are talking of political upheavals and revolution.

      As far as distributing wealth, a UBI is, to my knowledge, the best way to make that happen. Of course, there are other ways to go about it. During his final years in office and with a budget surplus to make it happen, President Clinton proposed USA (Universal Savings Accounts), essentially making the argument that the nation’s excess wealth should be distributed in such a way that encouraged savings and long-term financial stability. It’s a good idea that should be revisited once we get our finances in order again.

    • Titanium Dragon says:

      The solution is denazification. It isn’t white working class poor – it is angry people who think that they deserve more than they do.

      That’s the real cancer here. Most of these people aren’t poor – an estimate put the average Trump primary voter living in a household with $72k/year of income. That’s not poor – that’s solidly middle class, above the national average.

      There is some white trash, but a lot of this support is angry people who have been conned into thinking untrue things about reality.

      The solution is better education of children to eradicate the culture which gives birth to these people at its root, as well as an attack on the media who misrepresents reality.

      We’re more prosperous than ever before in history, and yet people feel otherwise. That is the Big Lie.

      • 1mime says:

        But the “lies” have worked so well for so long that now that Trump is disrupting the carefully orchestrated narrative, the GOPe is trying to sell rational thinking and moral courage.

        HA HA.

      • Peter Gray says:

        You’re mostly right, but it’s not quite that simple. Look at the graph here: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/01/recent-history-in-one-chart/?_r=0, and notice how the deep notch in income gains coincides with Trumpsters and their close Euro counterparts. I saw one version that indicated slight negative income growth during the past ~20 years for those blue-collar workers.
        I fully agree that people think they’re going backward even when their lives are getting better and easier. When prices go down, people think they naturally deserved the windfall, but when prices go up, it’s seen as abuse. But that syndrome is particularly acute for those who see the populations poorer _and_ richer than them making big gains while they +/- sit still.
        I’d like to see more demographics on DT supporters – e.g., is $72k the mean or the median? There can be a big difference.

  18. Griffin says:

    I’m sorry about what the state of the GOP Lifer and that you felt compelled to leave. I also hate to be “that guy” right now but I caught an editing error:

    “By rejecting of any empirical understanding of reality we destroyed critical firewalls against extremism”

    Will you continue to blog here if the delegates confirm Trump or are you getting a new blog? I hope you don’t stop blogging after you’re finished leaving the GOP.

    • goplifer says:

      Again, thanks for the edit. I might have to create some kind of editing ‘bounty’ program.

      Don’t know what to do about the blog. Got a few months to work it out. Probably I’ll keep this one in place as an archive and start something new.

      The wildcard in this whole scenario is the community that’s developed here. It’s easily the most successful element of the project. Without that I might just spike the whole thing for a year and reconsider. But this is unique and interesting. I love being a part of it. Whatever comes next it needs to continue to foster this environment.

      • flypusher says:

        I’ll be presumptuous and speak for the community- that is very good news. There are so many horrible, troll-infested, downright juvenile forums out there, so one like this is the “pearl of great price”. At the very least we get the chance to hear other points of view, and to get some baptism under fire for our own opinions. At best we find some common ground and forge some friendships.

        Needless to say, if there were a GOP candidate with views like yours running in my neck of the woods, I would so be voting for that person, at a minimum. Probably even volunteering. But it will probably be a while until that happens.

      • 1mime says:

        We would all understand if you walked away from the blog. The time and effort you spend on your posts is obvious in their quality. You have a career and a family as well as obvious personal interests.

        You refer to “the project”. I’ve sensed that this blog had a deeper purpose than personal edification. Is this something you can share? I agree with you on the value of the “sense of community/family” that has developed among your followers. People are respectful and make a real effort to contribute thoughts, opinions, and information that support the general theme of the blog (not always the post (-; ) Trust and honesty are evident and we have grown wiser through your posts and the various comments by your followers. I hope you have grown in your appreciation of the liberal point of view and the frustrations we have with the current political discourse.

        There’s not a person who posts here who I wouldn’t enjoy having the opportunity to meet in person. That’s an achievement. And, yes, that includes the conservative(s) as well.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Yes, this is a fine community. Even when I have nothing to say, I check in here every day. I like to see what the posters here have to say. I would be delighted to meet everyone in person.

      • formdib says:

        I don’t really get it. You leaving or cutting ties with the party, or even ending this blog.

        The theme I got from this blog over the period of time I’ve read it (since about 2013 or so, only started commenting last week) is that you were waiting for the party to hit rock bottom before it could start purging the Dixiecrats and reforming. Here it’s about to hit rock bottom, and … you’re bailing.

        The concept I’m getting out of this is that you see the Dixiecrats as having purged the party, rather than vice versa. But wouldn’t you leaving make that successful? The GOP is where it is because people like you are leaving or getting kicked out.

        Just FYI, I did the opposite of you. I switched my registration from Independent to Republican. I did that to bleed delegates from Cruz and Trump (it didn’t work as I previously described, because voting against doesn’t work the same as voting for), but I also did that because it gives me access to down-ballot primaries where I can start choosing the next generation of Republicans. Surely that accounts for something. I would hate to see people like you gone, leaving the down-ballot primaries and infrastructure to, you know, ‘The Base.’

        Buddha sez ‘This too will pass’ (Buddha may or may not have said that). I really feel like if there’s any time to be a ‘Lifer’, it would be now.

        I guess my last thing would be this: in order for you leaving to have some sort of effect, is it at all possible to reach out to similar disassociating party members of any political capital across the US and do it more as a group / protest thing? Make it clear that the party itself is bleeding members of it’s actual infrastructure and platform up and down ballot in a highly visible way? That sort of move would be, I feel, more impactful than simply walking out the door and not talking about it here again.

        As you said, you have a few months to decide what you’re going to do. I fully admit I’m a political novice outside of staying aware and voting. But it seems like this period of time should be brainstorm session rather than commit and proceed.

      • goplifer says:

        ***in order for you leaving to have some sort of effect, is it at all possible to reach out to similar disassociating party members of any political capital across the US and do it more as a group / protest thing?***

        Or even better, to start working on some kind of parallel organization – an entity that could take the Dixiecrat playbook and run it in the opposite direction. Yes, that would be a very good idea…More to come hopefully in a few months.

      • Peter Gray says:

        Interesting points about reforming from within. I can’t totally disagree with you, but isn’t there some point where the party’s remaining majority supports policies and positions that are so abhorrent that you can’t in good conscience be associated with them? I know I risk the wrath of Godwin here, but how did those well-meaning Germans fare who tried reforming the Nazi Party from within?

        At some point it’s rational to give up on it, for one’s own sake, for the country/world, and maybe keeping in mind the judgement of History. When everyone with a functioning mind and a conscience has left, how exactly do you imagine you’ll use your “access to down-ballot primaries” to “start choosing the next generation of Republicans”? In what version of reality will you have any hope of influencing those results?

        Yes, when the Dixiecrats and their Koch/Adelson/ALEC enablers drive Chris and other decent members out, they will have “succeeded.” But keep in mind what their success entails. Let them have their shrinking crowd of angry know-nothing white male racists. I can understand tactical cross-registering, for what little good that will do. But how far will you go with that? Pro-GOP bumper stickers? Yard signs? When you discover you’re in a tiny, ignored minority, isn’t it time to leave the club rather than joining it?

        At some point it’s better to bail out, and use the opportunity to make a clear statement of repudiation. Several months ago Chris explained why Trump’s nomination would be the line he would not cross with what the GOP has become. Aside from opinions I share with him (many) or do not (some), I admire his clear thinking and his conscience. I hope he’ll continue to blog and discuss, and I don’t see why that should end.

        exgoplifer.com is STILL available…

      • 1mime says:

        Peter, welcome to the blog for as long as it exists! Your comments add greatly to our discussion.

      • formdib says:

        David Brooks on reforming from within: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/25/opinion/the-post-trump-era.html?_r=0

        “The first step clearly is mental purging: casting aside many existing mental categories and presuppositions, to shift your identity from one with a fixed mind-set to one in which you are a seeker and open to anything. The second step is probably embedding: going out and seeing America again with fresh eyes and listening to American voices with fresh ears, paying special attention to that nexus where the struggles of Trump supporters overlap with the struggles of immigrants and African-Americans.”

        That’s a longer view of what I’m saying in the shorter term decision of Lifer to stay or to go. Right now is not the commit and proceed phase. Right now is the brainstorming phase. Our assumptions have been excised from results, so we have to change our assumptions.

        “We” in this case is pretty much general to all Americans, encompassing to Republicans, and specific to Lifer blog and comment section alike.

        “I”, on the other hand, do agree that there comes a point where being a part of a group that simply doesn’t represent anything close to you as a person is at best a waste of time, at worst an enabling mechanism for that party’s power dynamic. I have no political experience with this but I’ve already had more than enough experience where I’ve had to leave a community after they start exhibiting ‘True Believer’ groupthink.

        If a) Trump wins the general AND B) the party starts stripping all mechanisms for dissent from their ranks, then I can see leaving, and leaving quickly. Where Chris and I would disagree, then, is whether we’ve reached that point.

        But the historical fuck of the situation is knowing where exactly that line is. How long can you keep a low profile and save what you can before you’re a part of the ‘banality of evil’ that disables dissent because you yourself won’t speak up? It’s like trying to time the stock market: easy to do in retrospect but impossible to predict the future.

        Frankly, as an Independent this has been my entire political life and I’m so much more comfortable and able to do this sort of thing than perhaps Chris is, whose neck is more on the line and is having who knows what sort of conversations on his side of the Internet connection.

        For me, lacking political capital and any ideological adherence, a party affiliation is literally nothing more than what I’ve called it here before: a check box on a registration form. What you choose to do with that checkmark is up to the individual. If I cease to see opportunities in the Republican party to have my own small amount of local influence, I’ll declick the dialog box and move on.

        And that’s why I find it interesting that you brought up the following:

        “Pro-GOP bumper stickers? Yard signs? When you discover you’re in a tiny, ignored minority, isn’t it time to leave the club rather than joining it?”

        This is where I admit that I’ve never even understood that behavior. Call me detached, elitist, condescending, or pretentious, but I literally consider people who advertise their political groupthink on their own property to be stupid. You’re only going to attract anger from opposition toward your own property.

        I know friends of both political parties who have gotten run off the road or accosted with shouting matches in parking lots for their bumper stickers.

        Since merely signaling your party affiliation does not illustrate the fullness of your political beliefs and logic behind it, I recommend against doing it at all.

      • Peter Gray says:

        So it doesn’t get lost at the bottom of a too-wordy reply… most commenters here should enjoy Trae Crowder, the Liberal Redneck. Here’s an epic sample: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVVbtkaMaiY

        Interesting observations, formdib, and I agree with you on most of your takes, esp. the ones about groupthink and wearing political affiliations on one’s sleeve (or bumper).

        Also interesting that you cite David Brooks. I used to find DB at least thoughtful and worth reading, but in recent years he’s shown himself to be little more than an upper-class twit (ref. Monty Python). He’s a great example of the tone-deafness that helped Trump take over the GOP. I read somewhere that Brooks stopped reading the comments section years ago because people were saying hurtful things. In any case, he seems to have a long way to go to follow his own advice that you quote.

        Good analogy with the stock market. Perhaps the best time to exit a speculative bubble market is when you first realize that that’s what it is. Otherwise, the gambling and I’m-smarter-than-the-rest temptations are likely to take over, and you’re more likely than not to end up in the large majority who won’t find a chair when the music stops.

        Is that part of the analogy apt for a political party that finds itself in several positive feedback loops, and too few stabilizing negative loops? Maybe so. Is the decision to leave tactical, strategic, moral? Some blend of all three?

        I see the fundamental problem of the GOP as the fact (as opposed to advertised objectives) that for 3-4 decades it has had a single goal of increasing the wealth and power of those who already have far more than they deserve. If unconstrained by a functioning social contract, wealth leads to power which leads to more wealth, ad infinitum.

        But that goal is hard to sell in a democracy, so the only way forward is to lie, cheat, and deceive. As that became dominant in the GOP and crowded out every positive contribution the Rs offered in the days of yore, I moved toward my current policy: in the absence of a compelling counterargument, I NEVER check a box with an R next to it. They’ve selected themselves into the crazy corner, and I don’t want any part of it.

        Chris has made a courageous, honest, beautifully written attempt to turn around the Titanic. But how many knuckle-dragging Fox watchers ever read his blog or his book? I don’t much care whether Chris formally leaves the GOP now or after the convention. In essence and in practical terms, he left it long ago.

      • Fair Economist says:

        I think it’s probably premature for you to *quit* the party. Obviously you can’t work to elect Trump, but maybe it’s better to look at this as a “strike” rather than a “quit”. If Trump drastically shakes up the Republican orthodoxy (he’s trying to force Ryan to abandon his/the party’s platform right now) but then loses there might be a really good opportunity then to realign the Republican party from within, with so much of the current orthodoxies and authorities discredited. OTOH if the Republican party fractures then obviously you’d be better off getting involved with a possible replacement ASAP.

        I don’t think you can know whether inside the party or outside the party is the better way to advance your political/philosophical goals until after the election.

      • Peter Gray says:

        Someone here made a good point about historical precedents indicating that when one party implodes, it’s the _other_ party that takes over, and then fractures.

        I’m trying to imagine how it would work out for a party that has actively alienated and chased out everyone moderate or sane, to solve its problem by splitting into even smaller warring tribes.

        I guess we still have a few months to see how this unity thing works out…

      • Peter Gray says:

        I’ll second the other positive comments about what a refreshing forum this has been, and it’s good to hear that you feel the same. I’ve worked for a wide variety of organizations in almost as wide a range of industries, and I have yet to see an exception to the rule that the all-important tone and attitude are set at the top. Even though we aren’t your employees, I suspect the same thing applies here.
        As I’ve mentioned several times half-kiddingly, last time I looked, exgoplifer.com was still open. Seriously, I hope you’ll keep at it, and let us know if you redirect to a different domain.
        It’s great that you’re finding this a good way to work out your ideas.
        I ordered your book, and anxiously await its arrival, even though you’ve shared a lot of it with us here.
        Totally by the way, I highly recommend Han Han’s book This Generation, a unique firsthand take on life and politics in China. Pay no attention to the negative reviews on Amazon. Those were posted by the “50-cent Party” that Han Han skewers in a couple of his brilliant, hilarious essays.

    • 1mime says:

      I must have misunderstood Lifer. What I understood was that he couldn’t stay in the party if it supported Trump, but would wait to make his move pending what could happen at the convention. Lifer, please correct me if I am wrong.

      • goplifer says:

        That’s true. there remains some possibility that the convention will rebel and refuse to nominate Trump. That would change things. However, that’s not very likely at this point. I’ve got to start making some plans.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Frankly, I’ve virtually no expectations to see a sophisticated attempt to try and deny Trump the nomination at the convention, but there is one silver lining out of it and that’s that it’s a grand stage to make a statement to America at large. If there could at least be a coordinated effort for some to walk out and say that they disavow Trump and everything he represents, that would be something. Give those disillusioned Republicans something to rally around in what is otherwise going to be laced with disappointment and despair.

  19. Fair Economist says:

    I’ve gone back and forth over whether Cruz or Trump is worse. I fully agree Trump is much more of a danger to our political system although Cruz, who supports voter suppression, isn’t entirely innocent. The flip side, though, is that Cruz supports worse policies than Trump, who really doesn’t seem to have coherent policies at all. In the end I came to the conclusion that Cruz would *probably* be a worse president but he doesn’t endanger the Republic, while Trump will *probably* be an incompetent buffoon but might threaten the existence of our political system, more or less as you say.

    In the end, though, it’s not my opinion that mattered for Trump winning the nomination.

    • I tend to agree with you here, as I’ve never understood moderate Republicans embracing Cruz as an alternative to Trump. To me, Cruz is the scarier candidate, because he’s smarter ,knows how to play the system, and is an extremist. While a Trump presidency would mostly be a continuous string of embarrassing buffoonery, a Cruz term could be much worse in terms of oppressive policy that actually gets implemented.

      • flypusher says:

        “While a Trump presidency would mostly be a continuous string of embarrassing buffoonery, a Cruz term could be much worse in terms of oppressive policy that actually gets implemented.”

        That sums up beautifully the rationale of those who view Cruz as the worse poison. But there are no good choices here.

  20. Alberto Rodriguez says:

    Maybe this time as you say you must have to hold your nose and vote for Clinton. But please don’t stay at home. Not NOW. Trump is absolutely unacceptable.

  21. Bobo America says:

    You wrote:

    Trump is challenging the civilized norms that sustain representative government and protect basic civility.

    As a woman, I don’t see how that is so different than other Republicans. In fact, it sounds like SOP for Republicans.

    Denying women medical care — of their choice — is not civil.

    Creating policies and procedures that restrict voting is not civil. Yet, it’s widespread in red states.

    Giving individual rights to corporations is not civil.

    Refusing to hold a hearing for a judicial nominee is not civil.

    While I respect your disappointment, Rump is not much of departure for your party. It’s just more jerk-like behavior.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      It’s one thing to launch a thinly veiled assault on Planned Parenthood. At the very least, doing so implies a begrudging acknowledgement that you know what you’re doing and that you can’t openly risk waging political war on a woman’s right to do what she wants with her body. Trump throws all of that out the window; openly degrading and demeaning women means nothing to him. He’s the proverbial match that lights a raging fire.

      The threat that Trump poses is that he’s the signal flare that declares open warfare. As long the GOP hid itself behind thinly veiled implications and assurances, there was always a chance, however small, that they might be reasoned with and forced to back down. Once you bring everything out into the open though, that’s no longer an option. That is what Trump has done and it’s what makes him such a monumental danger.

      • 1mime says:

        Thinly veiled and over time – more extreme. The veil has been coming down pretty fast the past few years but it was always represented as a principled stand which stood between those who took these bigoted positions and the public at large. What Trump has done is to strip away any pretense at moral justification and simply show it for what it is….unvarnished, plain.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I think being a poor woman faced with an unwanted pregnancy in Mississippi or Alabama would not feel as though her state government leaders have been practicing even the slightest bit of restraint.

  22. Stephen says:

    Things have been worst. Think Civil War. And we have had racist presidents before. Think Wilson and Jackson. This is why the founders created divided government.

    When the Normans conquered England it spelled their doom. The local people intermarried with them and their culture and ethnicity was over ridden . This is what the white supremacist fear. And why you hear about take our country back. But it is already too late. In my hometown, Orlando, we already are a minority majority county. People are intermarrying and cultures are being blended. As we are the country as a whole is not far behind. Until the mid sixties and being broke up by the FBI any leader in public office or business was also a leader in the KKK. Central Florida was a hotbed for lynching. The old white native population is still here but all bound up with other ethnicities. Orlando is known for its diversity and tolerance now. It is openly friendly to gay people. The battle is wage individual by individual. You have a change of heart when your grandchild, spouse, friends, church members and co-workers are one of those people. The fact so many Republicans are breaking with Trump and their party means that this minority of racist in the GOP are going to be isolated and I think power broke. The Democratic party use to have conservative blue dog democrats. That may return as disenchanted Republicans look for a new home. We need a party of business and commerce. Either the GOP finally reforms or a new party will be born. I am not as despondent as you Lifer. We will get through this rough patch.

    • flypusher says:

      It’s also true that the definition of “White” has expanded- it used to be just the WASP types, and not that rabble from Ireland and Southern and Eastern Europe. My Bloodlines are Slavic-WASP-Scandinavian (from family stories, but I really do need to double check with 23&me), so I’m amused by this redefining. But the best development is just to toss all that emphasis on “White”, and replace it with “American”.

      • Stephen says:

        Fly I think that is going to happen. The list of my ancestors place of origins that I know about is long. Which is typical of Americans and I am including North and South Americans whose family has been here for a long time. I may do genetic testing as there are stories in my family of having both Native American and perhaps African ancestry way back in pre-Revolutionary War time. But I am a hairy, fair complected red head . Nothing in my appearance suggests either if true. The mixing has gone on for a long time.

      • objv says:

        fly and Stephen, I’m grateful that JG recommended the 23andMe testing. After my husband and I got the test done, five other family members were also tested. Getting the results was worth it if only for the entertainment value.

        23andMe now shows test results for some traits and the carrier status for certain (mostly obscure) diseases and conditions which makes it a better value than the ancestry.com. 23andMe also provides results for Neanderthal ancestry and maternal and paternal haplogroups. (I got one of my brothers tested to get the paternal line.)

        I ended up being 76% Eastern European. The other regions that showed up were French/German, Scandinavian, Ashkenazi Jewish, Balkan, Finnish, and British/Irish.

        Ancestry.com was less specific. The amount of Eastern European in their test results was in the same range as 23andMe with the rest of my ancestry coming out as Scandinavian.

        My husband’s results showed that he had 1% Sub-Saharan, West African ancestry. I would not have thought that knowing about a small amount of African DNA would make a difference, but it does. Somewhere back in his family, he had at least one ancestor who came to the US as a slave and suffered some of the indignities and hardships as other black slaves. Knowing this puts family history in a different perspective.

  23. What next – Come back to Texas and run for office. I’ll volunteer to help your campaign. Whatever you do, I hope you keep up the blog.

  24. Peter Gray says:

    Thanks, Chris! I don’t see how anyone could improve on that essay. I’ll pass it on to some Rs I know and ask, likely in vain, “Tell us exactly where YOU draw the line.”

  25. ustabe says:

    Face it – the Republicans abandoned civility at the first State of the Union message, when Joe Wilson crassly yelled, “You lie!” at our President. It’s only gone downhill from there.

  26. […] The Progressive Republican League’s good friend and fellow exiled GOP blogger Chris Ladd just announced his official resignation from the GOP, in light of its Trumpian transformation into a white nationalist party. You should read the whole piece, but here’s Chris at length: […]

  27. duncancairncross says:

    Hi Chris
    Disagree entirely – Trump is merely bringing the GOP into the sunlight
    Cruz would allow the horrors to continue to fester in the dark

    Bring it out into the open – don’t leave any “I didn’t know” excuses

    Then if the American people still vote for the monster …….

  28. objv says:

    Who are trump voter? It seems their support has it’s roots in economics rather than racism.

    http://time.com/money/4318531/trump-middle-class-voters/

    “With some careful statistical work, Silver shows that the family income of the typical Trump voter is $72,000.

    That’s not wealthy, but it’s clearly a middle-class income, especially in the parts of the country where Trump gathers his most devoted support. The voters who made Trump happen aren’t, by and large, those who have been chewed up and spit out by the death of factory jobs. They are people who thought they’d met the requirements for success in the contemporary economy, and still find themselves losing ground.”

    • objv says:

      Excuse the typos. :/

    • antimule says:

      Revolutions don’t happen when poor people get even poorer. Shit usually hit the fan when middle class stats losing ground.

    • Titanium Dragon says:

      I don’t think these people are truly losing ground at all.

      Polls indicate that even when people are gaining ground, they believe they’re losing it.

      It is a pathological lie spread by the press to keep people scared and tuning in, and to keep people angry and upset.

  29. Seems to me deciding which is worse, Trump or Cruz, is exactly what Lindsey Graham was saying. Being shot or taking poison? In the end you are dead! Both men are horrendous. What is interesting to me is that so many of the Republican base chose one of those two as their choice out of the 17 running. Not that the 17 were anything great! All shares of right wing whackos. Even Kasich was far from a moderate. And each one of them favored big tax cuts for billionaires, were anti environment and pro war!

    • 1mime says:

      I still believe Trump sucked all the oxygen out of the room and the GOPe, thinking their base would Never buy his malarky, waited and waited, until it was too late.

  30. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Lifer – I started my read of this with a bit of rage that you think Cruz would be better than Trump, but your points about violence at the rallies and more overt racism are good points.

    Again, you have some clout here because you have been railing against the darker aspects of the GOP for a while.

    However, President Cruz is not better than President Trump if you are a young, poor woman facing an unwanted pregnancy. President Cruz is not better than President Trump if you are a gay couple looking to get married and wanting to do something with insurance and taxes.

    Now, if President Trump somehow breaks our pseudo-democracy and we devolve into chaos, then gay folks and pregnant folks may have a whole host of other things to worry about.

    I’m a wacky liberal, so I evidently see racism where racism doesn’t exist, but with Trump, I’m just no seeing a ton more of it with him than I see with “typical” GOP leaders. He’s not the first person to call people crossing the border criminals, he just went with rapists rather than drug dealing murderers like other GOP leaders would suggest. His ban on Muslims is simply not much different than the standard GOP line regarding refugees.

    I’m in the minority that sees this election going relatively normally. Trump is going to tone it down most of the time and then go off the rails at times. The poll numbers will normalize, Trump will gain on Hillary, and more and more of the GOP will fall in line behind Trump.

    Trump’s is going to start talking more about small government, trade, and taxes and less about Muslims.

    If Trump loses, the GOP losses the Senate but keeps the House. Things go back to normal and the midterms in 2018 go heavy GOP lead by a pro-Ryan and anti-Hillary movement that gets the Senate back and solidifies the House once again.

    Alternatively, the country is going to go off the rails, Trump is going to ratchet the rhetoric up and up until his is spitting and screaming into every microphone, and the American people will eat it up and elect him king.

    • antimule says:

      For things to return to normal it would be necessary for base to become receptive again to “vote for us and we’ll cut rich people’s taxes” message. I just don’t see that ever happening again. Not now that Trump has shown the alternative in the form of European-style nationalism.

    • 1mime says:

      Why be king when you could be god?

      I’m not as pessimistic about mid terms as you are Homer. Cautious, yes. I believe that if Democrats hit the ground running and have the votes to accomplish some of the major issues as voiced by ordinary people – jobs, income inequality, infrastructure, too big to fail – all of which “some” progress can be made “if” the Clinton/Sanders team launches a plan right away. Remember, O’s first year was totally consumed by the financial crisis then morphed into the ACA before the GOP successfully turned this act into something heinous and the 2010 mid-term defeat. I don’t think H is as naive or patient as O was initially. After all, Willie is in the kitchen too. I think Ryan will wait until 2020 to run and he will face Warren. And, that, my friend, will be a horse race!

      • antimule says:

        Wait, 1mime, what makes you think Warren will be democratic candidate in 2020? Why not Hillary again?

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t know why, but I think H will have had enough, and, if she pursues and achieves the issues that are most important to her, I think she will be happy. She has been in public life since forever. I certainly could be wrong, I just don’t see her seeking a second term. Even if she has a great first term, the Republican Party which I don’t see changing its spots, will have made her life miserable. Think O had it rough? Humph. Let me say this in another way: I hope that we see a Ryan/Warren match up in 2020. I’m not sure Warren even wants to be President but I am certain Ryan does. He’s groomed his whole government career in this direction.

      • antimule says:

        Still given that the Democrats are beholden to 1% too, why would they give the steering wheel to someone so liberal?

      • 1mime says:

        I see America drifting inexorably left, more consistent with that of Europe. ” … population estimates released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau…show that Millennials, …those ages 18-34 in 2015, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69). And Generation X (ages 35-50 in 2015) is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028. ”

        (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/25/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/)

        The younger the group, the more liberal they appear. In raw numbers alone, millennials and Gen Xers will probably elect our next president – if they vote. Together, this cohort will play a huge role in politics in the decades ahead. This helps younger candidates such as Ryan as one of the big beefs of the millennials is that so much of America’s budget is tilted in favor of the old. They are correct about this even as this smaller, older group will diminish due to shorter life expectancy than the younger generations due to advances in health and technology.

        “Roughly a quarter of the world’s people—some 1.8 billion—have turned 15 but not yet reached 30. In many ways, they are the luckiest group of young adults ever to have existed. They are richer than any previous generation, and live in a world without smallpox or Mao Zedong. They are the best-educated generation ever—Haitians today spend longer in school than Italians did in 1960. Thanks to all that extra learning and to better nutrition, they are also more intelligent than their elders. If they are female or gay, they enjoy greater freedom in more countries than their predecessors would have thought possible. And they can look forward to improvements in technology that will, say, enable many of them to live well past 100. ”

        http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21688856-worlds-young-are-oppressed-minority-unleash-them-young-gifted-and-held-back

        I simply don’t think you can turn back the clock. Having said that, look at how millennials in America have embraced Sanders as their standard bearer. I attribute this fealty due to Sanders having genuinely and astutely represented millennial and Gen X concerns to a degree that no other candidate has embraced. Drowning in college debt with a sluggish economy and jobs not paying what they hoped, there is plenty of angst.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        Warren is never going to run for president. She’s the same age as Hillary, more or less; and by 2020 she’ll be almost as old as Bernie is now (which, IMHO, is just about too old). I have a couple of close friends who are part of Warren’s innermost circle, and they are absolutely emphatic that this is something she will simply never do.

        And that’s a good thing. Because sans presidential ambitions, she can sit in the Senate for the next 20 years, serving as the spiritual leader of the progressive movement and quietly growing its power in much the same way that Teddy Kennedy (whose seat she holds) did. In her mind, that’s a far greater and more enduring service to the nation than anything she might accomplish in the Exec Branch.

        And I think the idea that Hillary would quit after one term is just silly. Her entire life (and her partnership with Bill) have been about the acquisition and exercise of power. There’s no way that she’s going to claim the biggest prize of all and then just walk away from it. The only way that happens if there’s a health issue — and it may not happen then.

      • 1mime says:

        You certainly bring a more studied, experienced view to politics than I can offer, Sara. Warren is such an interesting woman and will be invaluable in the Senate. Boy, it’s too bad that you feel she’s too young….what an interesting president she would make! Dems aren’t doing a good enough job developing younger candidates thus we keep looking at the best and the brightest that are active now. Hopefully, that will change.

        As for Hillary seeking a second term….most presidents “want” a second term as the effort to win the first term is so laborious. Their donors probably want them to serve a second term due to their investment in them! Plus, there is added incentive to “finish” one’s agenda, which may take more than one term.

        You’ve been kind of quiet on the candidates. Do you have a horse in this race that you’d care to share?

      • antimule says:

        1mime, yeah it is true that America is drifting toward left, but that seems to me to be mostly SJW left. It is all about fighting (or to be seen fighting) real and perceived misogyny, gay rights, trans rights etc. Economically I don’t really see much leftward drift.

      • 1mime says:

        I guess it depends upon how you “couple” services and the economy. I used to think of myself as a fiscal conservative and a social liberal; however, upon deeper reflection I realized that if you are a social liberal, you support government services which require funding. These services would include: social safety nets – SS, Medicare, Medicaid; unemployment; food stamps; housing assistance – to name a few. Obviously, funding these programs and services require taxation. I’m fine with that even as I want programs and assistance to be efficiently delivered. One could also argue that FEMA and other government services in times of need fall under the same broad umbrella. I do not fear or resent government involvement in my life. I see its abuses but I see great value. Conservatives have a polar view.

        A fiscal conservative doesn’t want to pay for these programs, or, they want the budgets to be very narrowly defined – in a way that makes them unworkable. Thus, I realized that I couldn’t have it both ways and have accepted that I am a social liberal with fiscally conservative interests but not at the expense of funding the above.

        Americans in poll after poll agree with government provision of services. Sure there are differences but the majority of people want retirement and health security and other services government provides. This trend is not shrinking; it is expanding. There is a cost and people have to be willing to pay taxes to enable this support. Wealthy people want lower taxes and less government which can most assuredly happen, but not without a major hit to the programs and services needed and wanted by the majority of people in our country. How one prioritizes our national budget depends largely upon their view of the role of government in our lives. As someone who worked and contributed and now is benefiting from government income (SS/Medicare), I am grateful to have it and hope it will be there for our children in their retirement.

        Clearer?

      • antimule says:

        Yeah it is clearer. Thanks.

  31. flypusher says:

    To play devil’s advocate- one reason I find Cruz to be scarier: the vacant SCOTUS seat. I think there is zero doubt here that Cruz would pick another Scalia or someone even more RW than Scalia. Trump admittedly is a wild card, but I can’t see his pick being worse, and there is a chance (however small) that it could be better. I could also see a GOP majority Senate (which would be more likely if the GOP got the Presidency) being more linclined to rebel and reject a crazy Trump pick than a holy-warrior Cruz pick.

    • 1mime says:

      Good points. Even Republicans are mobilizing around the SC vacancy in trying to rally the party’s base. It’s that important. And, I agree, Trump’s election would produce a more interesting dynamic in both houses of Congress from a governing vantage. This election is sooo important.

    • Sara Robinson says:

      Trump says he’ll turn his SCOTUS selection process over to the Heritage Foundation. This does not make me sleep easily at night.

      • 1mime says:

        I have not heard/read that! Heritage Foundation – ye gods………

      • formdib says:

        Source?

      • 1mime says:

        ” Trump said he will make a list public in the next week of 10 conservative judges that he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court. If elected, Trump said, he would only pick from that list, which is being made in consultation with the conservative Heritage Foundation.
        “I’m going to submit a list of justices, potential justices of the United States Supreme Court, that I will appoint from the list,” Trump said. “I won’t go beyond that list. ”

        http://time.com/4266700/donald-trump-supreme-court-nominations/

        Note: Think Progress, The Advocate and other sites have also reported the same quote by Trump.

      • formdib says:

        Thank you.

    • flypusher says:

      “Trump says he’ll turn his SCOTUS selection process over to the Heritage Foundation. ”

      That’s what’s he’s saying this week. What happens next week or next month?

  32. antimule says:

    On a bright side this all shows how weak the “libertarian” strain really is. People have no problem with government intervention when it is about something they want e.g. wall building. Wonder if we can get them to support something sane?

    • 1mime says:

      “People” need to vote. People need to insist that instead of building walls, we repair bridges, and roads, and airports. 2016 offers one of the best, clearest choices voters in America have had in a long time. We don’t need SCOTUS deciding who will be our president and what our agenda should be, we, the people, need to send a clear message by who we elect.

  33. RobLL says:

    Almost 25 years ago I was suggesting to my Republican friends that rather than leaving the party and becoming Independents or Democrats they form a dissident Republican group and vow to vote for Democrats until the party returned to something closer to its roots. At the same time I predicted it would likely not take more than two election cycles before that began happening.

  34. flypusher says:

    Chris, unlike Romney, or any of the others of the GOPe who were fine with the bigotry as long as it wasn’t too overt, you actually have the moral standing to make this criticism. I hope this gets wide distribution, because it is totally righteous truth to power and needs to be heard.

    • flypusher says:

      Also some of us have stated that we found Cruz scarier than Trump, but that really is a subjective “pick-your-poison”. Your choice of arsenic over cyanide has validity.

    • 1mime says:

      The only bone I have to pick with your post is: which is worse? Closet racists or public racists? This is not to deny that Trump is a disaster, but to point out that Republicans have both harbored and “used” racism. To now have to confront the monster that embodies their deepest feelings is too little too late for me.

      Hiding behind the cloak of pretension has damaged the ability of the Republican Party to confront truth across a wide range of issues. As abhorrent as it is, many people believe Trump is being more honest about these views than the Republican Party. Hypocrisy has been called out. Those principles the Republican Party “used to stand for”? Gone. Instead, they use legislation and when that won’t work, stacked courts to achieve the outcomes they want.

      I am certain there are some fine members of the Republican Party serving in Congress, but from where I sit, not one could hold a candle to your principles. To be left with either of these two candidates tells the tale. To accord any value to Cruz’ abuse of our democratic process when it’s been so wrongfully applied, is to grasp at straws. It’s time to end this and go your own way. There have to be like-minded Republicans (and independents) who share your frustration, disappointment and concern who would join you in a new party. It won’t be easy and critically, it will take time, but the good news for you is that more and more Democrats are moving in the direction you espouse. Find them. Coalesce. Build.

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