Beyond the edge of known politics

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 10.15.51 AMAncient maps often marked their blurry fringes with a warning, “Here be monsters.” Sometimes the warnings were illustrated with charming images of the menace that lurks beyond the reach of the known world. Never did those monsters sport an orange comb over. Time for an update.

We are starting to perceive the outline of the unknown lands into which Donald Trump is leading us. For months he called for and got violence against opponents at his rallies. He routinely dehumanizes not just his opponents, but also anyone who dares to question him. He has harbored racists and even Neo-Nazis. He has unleashed actual harassment and threats of violence on those who dig into his background.

Despite all this, Republican voters have made him their Presidential nominee. We have swallowed this pill. Trump has zero shot at the White House, but it doesn’t matter. Whatever political legitimacy the Republican Party currently retains has been placed in the service a man willing to use any means for his own political ends. What happened last night in California is just a hint of what’s coming.

Here be monsters.

The idiots who have lent their political capital to Donald Trump got what they asked for in San Jose. After threatening and occasionally meting out violence toward a few isolated, poorly protected people, they are getting a taste of what comes next.

For those who want to blame this nonsense on “Bernie supporters” or “paid left-wing protestors,” a comparison might be helpful. There isn’t a single political issue on which Ted Cruz took a moderate, considered, reasonable stance. Yet no one was punched at his rallies. His political gatherings didn’t feature a regular perp-walk of protestors being harassed and intimidated while led away by thugs. Remember all the “left-wing” violence at Romney’s rallies. Neither do I.

Trump’s supporters asked for this in the most literal possible way. Now they are discovering the depths of what they’ve launched. They didn’t realize that they needed those norms, these “PC” constraints, until they had destroyed them. Ask for violence and you’ll get it, but you can’t expect to control or direct it.

Trump’s presence at the top of a national party ticket is, by itself, a destabilizing force, a challenge to basic civic norms. By making him the nominee, we have incorporated a level of semi-organized violence into our political discourse.

Some are predicting that the counter-violence by anti-Trump protestors will help Trump at the polls. Good luck with that. The people who elevated Trump are some of the most hated figures in American public life. Don’t believe me? Ask someone who has a good job whether they have ever heard someone express support for Trump at work. Go looking for any remotely or subtly pro-Trump material on LinkedIn. The bulk of the public looks at that miserable Trump supporter with egg on her face and feels a pang of schadenfraude. That’s not good for the future of the republic.

It is unclear how we are supposed to contain what Republicans have unleashed in our politics. Here be monsters.

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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185 comments on “Beyond the edge of known politics
  1. David Frumm on the Donald! Not an endorsement by any means!

    As much as the GOP deserves this, the country is looking like a bunch of idiots! Hopefully something good will come of Trump’s nomination. But if I had to bet, I’d bet Trump, even if he looses the election, will be a big voice in the Republican party for the future, pulling the party more to his way of thinking!

    • johngalt says:

      That’s a good article. I am waiting for some GOP leaders to publicly acknowledge that Trump is so bad for their “brand” that they would rather deal with Hillary for four years than him. I suspect I’ll be waiting for a while.

      Trump has no interest in being a voice in the larger GOP. He has an interest in being the big man, the chief of the tribe. The GOP has no real interest in learning from its mistakes. Stunned by their loss four years ago, the convened a conclave that concluded they needed to attract younger and non-white voters. What did they get: someone whose appeal is more narrowly targeted to white male WASPs than any candidate in a half-century. The GOP has for years claimed that they needed a “true-believer” conservative like Cruz to carry the standards. Yet the voters picked a candidate who equivocates (to put it mildly) on abortion and gay rights. They want a strong position on foreign affairs, and have nominated someone who openly admires Russia’s dictator.

      There is not a single criteria under which Trump is more qualified to be president than Hillary Clinton. Not one. When major GOP figures start to say that, then I will believe the party can change.

      • Ken says:

        Thomas Friedman has an op ed that touches on many of your points and Chris’s regarding a new party in lieu of the GOP. He basically puts forward the notion that Trump is the symptom not the disease.

      • 1mime says:

        Great piece by Friedman….who you can always count on for intelligent, pragmatic analysis. This was more “pithy” than his normal prose, but on the mark. The “be careful what you ask for” from the GOPe is coming home to roost….let us hope that the best in the Republican Party form the “new Republican Party” he describes.

        “governing doesn’t matter — only attitude. And who taught them that?”

  2. Rob Ambrose says:

    Looks like FL has its own Trump U donation scandal, but this one seems even more obviously shady.

    The FL AG’s office publicly announced they were investigating Trump U. Several days later, Trump donated $25,000 to AG Bondis super PAC. The matter was then dropped.

    What are the chances the Justice Dept doesn’t officially investigate this? Seems like there’s enough smoke to reasonably suspect fire. At the least it warrants a full investigation.

    But sure, it’s Hillary that should be in jail because she used the wrong email server.

  3. Rob Ambrose says:

    The WaPo has done America a great service by being ceaselessly, unendingly critical of Trump once it became clear (well before he won the GOP nomination) he was dangerously unfit to be President.

    This one is pretty brutal. Has to be pretty unusual historically for a major newspaper to publish such a scathing op ed about one of the major parties nominees.

  4. Hmm. I guess sauce for the goose *isn’t* sauce for the gander.

    Ah, the hypocrisy of it all. 😉

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I’m not sure the point here Tracy. The article was anti rape, and the title is pretty clearly tongue in cheek.

      And the video is a disgrace, political violence is never acceptable, and both Dem candidates (and most GOP candidates) refute any and all political violence. Except for the GOP nominee, of course.

    • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

      I also don’t see your point, Tracy. Some assholes threw eggs at a women. I missed the part where anyone said it was her fault.

    • Kids, it’s the whole notion that anti-Trump political violence is somehow OK, because Trump and his supporters “asked” for it Well, they didn’t, anymore than the scantily clad hootchie mama (or even 11 year old girl) is asking to be raped. In a civil society we settle our differences at the ballot box, not via physical violence. The conduct of the anti-Trump “protesters” is simply unacceptable; there is no conceivable acceptable excuse or justification for their behavior.

      As a for instance, the other party’s presumptive nominee is publicly calling for the abolition of the 2nd Amendment as an individual right. So far nobody has tried to put a bullet into that candidate in “protest” of that particular policy position. So far. But the devolution in public political discourse and behavior invites *exactly* that sort of thing. Those who tolerate and even defend the reprehensible behavior of the anti-Trump thugs had best give a little thought as to how political violence tends to escalate. Eggs –> rocks –> Molotov cocktails –> bullets. Happens elsewhere, all the time, to the point of sheer banality. I’d just as soon it didn’t happen here.

      • flypusher says:

        You’re bitching to the wrong forum here. Plenty of the regulars have already decried anti-Trump protesters getting violent in previous discussions, in particular Homer and Sara.

      • Tom D says:

        Clinton: “If it is a constitutional right, then it — like every other constitutional right — is subject to reasonable regulations.”

        I do not think this can be fairly characterized as calling for the abolition of the 2nd amdt. as an individual right.

        “I condemn all violence in our political arena. I condemned it when Donald Trump was inciting it and congratulating people who were engaging in it,” Clinton said…

        So yeah, she’s blaming Trump for the violent actions of anti-Trump protesters. But that doesn’t mean she’s blaming the actual victims of the violence, such as the lady who had eggs thrown at her. Can you name a prominent Democrat who has blamed the victims of this violence? I certainly don’t know of any.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Rarely TT do you leave me with a WTF moment, but your link certainly does that.

        From what I have read, LIfer is the only person I’ve seen even come close to the Trump supporters “asking for it”, and he’s wildly wrong.

        Other than that line in the post above, you are imagining an argument that no one is making, at least no one here.

        Also, in general, the only thing you should compare to rape is rape. People aren’t raped by their taxes, and your second amendment rights aren’t being raped. Getting hit with an egg isn’t comparable to rape. I don’t think you were trying to make that argument, but I really don’t understand your point of posting that link, but whatever point you were trying to make is going to get lost when you are using rape as an example.

        Lastly, although you seem to have imagined (or otherwise have secret knowledge of) Clinton wanting to abolish your second amendment rights. This is not the first time you’ve written that you suspect (or at least would not be surprised) that someone would shoot Clinton because of this imagined threat. I would be very surprised if such a thing were to happen, but you might be closer to more folks who have that type of insane mindset. If so, I would encourage you to get new friends.

      • johngalt says:

        Political violence of any sort is unacceptable.

        Like Homer, I fail to see where Clinton has proposed any single thing that could be construed as “publicly calling for the abolition of the 2nd Amendment as an individual right.” This is right-wing conspiracy nonsense. Obama made the point at a town hall meeting in response to a question from your doppelgänger that he had the authority to put individuals known to be frequenting ISIL web sites on a no-fly list, yet had no authority to prevent known terrorist sympathizers from strolling into Walmart and buying an arsenal big enough to take over a Caribbean nation. This is batshit crazy. He also made the point that, despite the 35,000 deaths per year from firearms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is legally barred from studying this public health problem. This is batshit crazy.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Tracy if it makes a difference, I think the egg thowers should be arrested for assault. I would turn them If I had a chance.

      But, as for sauce for the gander, I think you are comparing applesauce to oranges.

    • rightonrush says:

      You might know that Abbott was involved with “The Donald’s” University scheme. Looks like he sold us Texas taxpayer out for a lousy $35,000 to his campaign.

      • flypusher says:

        RoR, I’m very, very curious to see how far a Trump domino effect could go- there’s a lot of GOPers in line to be knocked down.

        And of course they accuse Owen of being a Dem, even though he’s not.

      • Stephen says:

        This opinion article in my home town paper.

        It appears when Floridians approached Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi about being swindled by Trump U., Trump’s charitable foundation gave $25,000 to one of Bondi’s campaign committees. Needless to say Bondi dropped the ball on investigating this scam. Republican’s currently control state government and have for a long while. So Northern Cities under Democrat control are not the only corrupt government structures. And as Lifer suggested only by having two viable competing parties will limit such corruption. I sure hope Fair Districts being implemented will allow a competitive Democratic party to emerge in Florida .

      • flypusher says:

        The Trump-trolls have been trotting out the lame excuse that all the people scammed wanted something for nothing, so don’t blame Trump.

        Thing is, that’s how all scams work. You tempt your marks will the lure of easy $. If someone gets caught running a scam like the Nigerian Prince e-mail con, they get charged with fraud. The fact that the pigeons should have known better is irrelevant. If the Trump campaign is paying for that trolling, they’re getting scammed.

      • flypusher says:

        I agree 100% Stephen. It’s bad for TX and FL to have no counter for GOP shenanigans, just like it’s bad for IL to have no counter to Dem corruption.

        Abbot thinks it’s good enough to just run the con artists out of the state- no need for legal action. That’s such BS.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I said last week Fly, that Trumps unfitness for the presidency is so glaringly obvious now (and will be a million times more so in retrospect) that political careers will be ruined by merely endorsing him. I think Ryan probably lost his shot at the white house in 2020.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Fly, apparently he’s so insanely arrogant, he STILL thinks this is going to go well for him and he’s instructed his surrogates to call whoever questions his comments racist. That won’t go over well.

      It’s starting to look like this is what will finally do Trump in, and I think we’ll see that in the polls coming up over the next week or so.

      What a mind numbing amount of hubris here to think that his cult of personality can overcome such a controversy. Trump won the votes ofbracists by being racist, and he thinks that will somehow translate into the general? Clearly, he has absolutely no clue about he country he’s trying to lead. He’s surrounded himself with yes men in an echonhamber, and he is completely out of touch with what the average American thinks.

      I don’t know why he chose this hill to die on, but he’s going to get his wish.

      • duncancairncross says:

        You guys are American (mostly) – So I would like to ask you

        What will happen if the Donald gets the GOP nomination – looks like a sure thing – and is then arrested for a serious crime?

        Can he still campaign? – from a cell?

        What happens if he just picks his ball up and walks away? – “I don’t want to play anymore”

        Is there some sort of back-up plan in your system?
        What would happen if a candidate died a few weeks before the election?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        What happens if he just picks his ball up and walks away? – “I don’t want to play anymore”

        I think this is more likely then most ppl think. Obviously, it’s not “likely” overall. It’s just that it’s not zero percent, which is where it has been for every other presidential nominee in American history.

        When the polls show him 10, 15, 20 points down (which I firmly believe it will) I don’t know that his fragile ego is going to be able to handle it. He may just quit.

        I don’t know what happens then. It would be unthinkable.

      • Tom D says:

        I’m fairly sure about this, but hope someone will correct me if I’m wrong:

        Being arrested or even convicted of a crime isn’t a legal impediment to being elected President. And presidents have the power to issue pardons. So, in the vanishingly unlikely event that Trump is charged with a crime before the election, I think he’d certainly continue to campaign, and if he won, would pardon himself on his first day in office. If he were arrested, he’s rich enough to post bail, and would quickly do so and get back to campaigning. That a judge would deny bail altogether, or set it too high for even him to afford, is even more inconceivable than him being arrested in the first place. Remember, the whole Trump University thing is a civil fraud case, not something that would lead to him being arrested.

        What if he walks away before the election? Each state has its own deadline for putting names on the ballots, so if he does it early enough, the GOP can nominate someone else. If he does it too late, then he’s on the ballot whether he wants to be or not. If he then wins a majority in the Electoral College despite having quit the race, I think the electors from the states that voted for him would be free to all vote for someone else instead. So basically if Trump suddenly quits, the GOP would have to quickly figure out how to unite around someone else to be their nominee or even the President-elect. It would be some crazy unprecedented drama.

        Speaking as a Democrat, I hope none of this happens because it would be a chance for a Republican to ride in on a white horse at the last minute to save the day without having spent several months having their image tarnished by campaigning.

      • flypusher says:

        “What would happen if a candidate died a few weeks before the election?”

        That’s happened before, although not for President. If it’s too close to the election, the dead candidate remains on the ballot. Some of them have even won (MO Senate race in the early 2000s). Then usually the Gov of the State appoints someone to fill the office for 2 years, and there’s a special election for the rest of the term if needed (the term of office is more than 2 years). Happened with my state rep once too; she died a month before the election, but won anyway.

        “Speaking as a Democrat, I hope none of this happens because it would be a chance for a Republican to ride in on a white horse at the last minute to save the day without having spent several months having their image tarnished by campaigning.”

        You do have to wonder if he’s having an “OMG, this is for real!!!” moment and is looking for an out. It’s true that if he does flame out/ quit/ drop dead, it’s better for the GOPe that it happens before the convention. Then they could draft Paul don’t-throw-me-in-that-Presidential-briar-patch Ryan. But would Trump’s base be so outraged that they sit out the election? Very likely, and I don’t think the replacement GOP candidate has a chance without them. Some of them might also get violent.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      It almost makes one wonder if this is the entire reason he ran? To somehow affect this particular case?

      It’s the only thing that makes sense (other then that he’s so supremely confident in his ability to bend the nation to his will through sheer force if personality) for why he won’t leave this thing alone. Even if he was right, instead of horribly wrong, there’s no political benefit here.

      • flypusher says:

        There is the very entertaining hypothesis that he did this because he was mad over Obama making jokes about him at a White House Correspondents dinner a few years back.

        And then killing bin Laden as the perfect excuse to interrupt “The Apprentice”! Such nerve!

      • 1mime says:

        Remember: The Trump U. case is not going to trial until “after” the election. The fact that the judge has unsealed some of the docs doesn’t help him, but it’s just more attention which Drumpf has handled with equanimity thus far.

        What about this: Drumpf’s name is found on the Panama Papers List? How does that play with his “down and out” base?

  5. fiftyohm says:

    In the FWW department, the UBI was just soundly defeated in Switzerland, with 77% of voters voting against it, sayeth CNN. The amount was to be about 2,300 Swiss Francs per month.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Apparently one voter said that “once people just get their basic needs covered society doesn’t feel responsible anymore to look after the ones who can’t really handle the situation on their own.”

      Honestly, that’s a leap in logic that, frankly, I find presumptuous. Why the assumption that society would cease to look after people simply because their basic needs were being met? In a way, it’s actually rather dismissive of others in that it both confirms what a UBI is supposed to do and yet at the same time makes the claim that that’s, somehow, a bad thing. Talk about trying to have your argumentative cake and eating it too.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I think it’s a good idea fifty. I also think it’s probably about 20 years too early.

      Most ppl haven’t even heard of it yet. But it won’t go away anytime soon.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Rob,

        UBI is actually about 20 years too late – the expectation in the 40’s – 60,s was that it would be in place by 2000

        Then came Reagan and Thatcher

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I think it’s time will come when we have 20% unemployment due to automation while at the same time corporations are making historically large profits and revenues.

    • antimule says:

      As I expected. 2,300 is too much, I would be for something more like 800 per month. Also there has to be give and take, when you got UBI, you should eliminate minimum wage. Their proposal was unrealistic.

      • 1mime says:

        Good points, antimule…..One has to wonder if the proposal was designed to be so unrealistic that it would be defeated…..

  6. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    So apparently our robotic overlords aren’t satisfied with merely taking over our retail and manufacturing industries (to name a few), now they’ve set their sights on our legal system. WHATEVER WILL OUR ALWAYS HONORABLE AND ETHICAL LAWYERS DO NOOOOOOWWWWWW!?!?

    • duncancairncross says:

      Hi Ryan
      With the current state of robotics
      White collar jobs are about the only thing that robots can do!

      Any blue collar jobs other than a simple steady state assembly type job is beyond our technology!

      Did you see the latest DARPA competition?

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        I wouldn’t judge that as “it’ll never happen”, if I were you.

        A few jumbled thoughts

        – When DARPA held it’s first driverless car race, not one car finished, and that wasn’t too long ago. A year later, it was a proper race, and we have near human level driverless cars today. And apart from legal restrictions, which I have this hunch have a lot to do with legacy manufacturers not wanting the market open up before they’re ready, it’s probably good to go right now. Sometimes, I think this is how people who rode horses felt when those horseless carriages started taking over, but I’ll drive till they pry the wheel from my cold dead fallible hands. Side note: Public transport, in the traditional sense, is a dead end. Why bother when your robot chauffeur will pick you up and take you where you need to go from your doorstep with zero hassle.

        -Replacement tech doesn’t need to be perfect, or even as efficient as humans. It can be half as fast, but work 24 hours a day at peak capacity with no pay other than power, and those human jobs are a lost cause

        -Random anecdote. The last time I was at an airport, the lady who was supposed to be handing me my boarding pass was just a tiny bit unpleasant – just a tiny bit, maybe she had a bad day, who knows but I wasn’t in the mood for it just walked over to an machine that did the same thing and went with my life. It wasn’t really a big deal, but it was at that moment I realized that I’d be 100% happy if I didn’t have to deal with any humans at all during the entire process – and that’s probably true for many other things like fast food. I’ll bet most people will choose convenience every time, whether you are on the employee side or the consumer side.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi – I agree that it will come
        But we are a long long way from a robot being able to do a “manual job” – at the moment a robot can only do a small part of the job

        The DARPA challenge was million dollar robots – and they could not do 1/100th of the things a near moron can do easily

        White collar jobs however are much much easier to do as they normally involve moving information not actual real world objects

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Wow. I watched a video of the South Korean winner after watching the DARPA video. It seemed to me that entrant showed a completely different level of creative thought.

        For example, just because there was a requirement to step up or step down in some situations didn’t mean the robots had to take steps to navigate the whole course.

        The Korean robot stepped when necessary but dropped to its ‘knees’ — which are equipped with wheels — when stepping wasn’t required. It simply rolled to the next task.

        For the final climb up stairs, the ‘knees’ straightened somewhat and it climbed the steps — after its torso spun on its ‘legs’. Neat!

    • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

      “Beyond the tasks themselves, the paper also points out that machines can’t embody values and ethical codes, which apparently some human lawyers have.”

      😂 Lol. In any case though, all jobs where people don’t want or care about human interaction are in danger. I don’t, for example, think strippers are in any danger, sexbots be damned. That limitation is evolutionary – biological, and any alternatives will only appeal to outliers on the bell curve.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        I’m more or less inclined to agree with you on that, hence why I don’t think we’re headed down that route. I think more along the lines of a virtual sex service with AI attuned to your own personal preferences and desires. As long as your brain’s hooked up, it can’t tell the difference.

        MORAL QUESTION: If a married man or woman has sex with an AI, can one still consider that cheating?

        TRUTH PUNCH: File that under the category of “Duh”.


      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        I have far less optimism about direct brain-tech interfaces than I do about robotics and AI. I hate the brain – it is possibly one of most complex structures in the known universe and most of the scientific knowledge amounts to “it’s a mysterious black box works”.

        Touchscreens are terrible and I still just want to will my commands to my devices

      • vikinghou says:

        Your comment reminded me of a famous scene from the classic film “Dinner at Eight.”

  7. vikinghou says:

    This is OT, but I would like to hear Chris’ opinion concerning an op-ed piece in the NYT describing the higher education situation in Illinois.

    Prospective students are being offered financial aid, with the caveat that such aid may be rescinded depending upon upcoming funding decisions by the state legislature. In one case, a school dispensed financial aid, then asked students to give back the money they had already received. Apparently it’s due to a conflict between the GOP governor and the Democratic legislature.

    • goplifer says:

      Illinois is currently governed by one man, the Speaker of the State House Mike Madigan. He has governed the state since the ’90’s. He personally controls the entire budget process, a control so extreme that Illinois does not even create line items for most of its budget, instead just designating ‘bloc grants’ with no accountability. One man is able to single-handedly control the state’s government because Chicago, which delivers about 3/4 of the state’s votes, is still operating under a fundamentally corrupt 19th century patronage structure.

      The growing unpopularity of the GOP in the North over the past forty years has acted as a headwind, stifling efforts that were already underway to dismantle this miserable political structure. We are now locked beneath it. Democrats lack the will to resist it, though a few like Rep. Ken Dunkin, have tried. Republicans are too unpopular for other (well-deserved) reasons to act as a counter-balance.

      Illinois managed to elect a Republican to the Governor’s office in 2014 while rejecting every other Republican figure on the state ballot – for one reason – a desperate attempt to reform this system. That Governor has stuck to his guns while Madigan takes and executes more and more hostages.

      Democrats control a veto-proof majority in both houses. They can pass whatever bills they want. They haven’t broken this stalemate because they quietly hate Madigan. Thanks to Donald Trump, the 2016 election will probably deliver the handful of additional votes Madigan needs in order to defeat Rauner’s reform effort and continue looting the public sector in this state which already features some of the highest taxes and most corrupt, ineffective public institutions in the country. That’s what’s happening in Illinois.

      • Tom D says:

        Fascinating! Forgive my ignorance, but if the Dems in the state legislature hate Madigan, why is he still powerful? Are the Dems divided into warring factions?

      • goplifer says:

        How much influence does your boss have over decisions you make at work? How much is that impacted by what you think of her? Chances are the answers to each question would be “a lot” and “a little around the edges.” When you’re holding a supermajority by a one vote margin, that ‘little around the edges’ is enough to thwart some of your plans.

        Add in a Democratic Senate leader who would be quietly pleased if you died in your sleep, and you’ve got a tenuous situation.

        Of course, the Speaker of the House should not be the boss of anyone on the House floor. But when re-election is dictated by your ability to rally the support of a handful of powerful interest groups, and those interest groups have their income set to a large extent by the Speaker of the House, then he’s your boss and you’ll do what he says.

        This system is broken. It’s not a partisan problem. It isn’t even an ideological problem. If there were two healthy political parties in IL (in the US, really) then this situation would be gone already. This is exactly why we are working to organize a rebellion inside the GOP in major Northern urban areas.

      • Tom D says:

        If the Dems in your state are that dysfunctional, it sounds like you arguably don’t even have one healthy political party there at the moment. I can see why the Urban Republican vision appeals to you under those circumstances, even though I doubt its viability on a national level. I suppose if there are enough urban voters who feel their local Dem establishment is not working for them, then you do have an opening. I myself would prefer to simply replace ineffective or corrupt Dems with better Dems, but if there’s a whole corrupt system entrenched in place as you describe, then the GOP may be a necessary vehicle for change.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Tom D: Right now, you’re right in that there’s no way it could work on a national level. Even if Republicans are coming apart at the seams, the national party would still ruthlessly crush any open rebellion. That’s why Lifer’s called for building in an infrastructure at the local level devoid of any meaningful presence by the party. As long as the proverbial roots are strong enough, Republicans wouldn’t be able to destroy them.

        In a way, Illinois is probably one of, if not the single best place for a Republican revival. Gov. Rauner has already proved that a Republican can win there, and inept Democratic leadership and arrogance leaves the door open for a new breed of Republicans to begin chipping away at their down-ballot successes. It’s almost poetic that all this should be happening in the Land of Lincoln.

      • Tom D says:

        Ryan, with apologies for rehashing arguments I made in earlier comment threads, I’ll just briefly clarify what I meant by saying I doubt the Urban Republican thing could work on a national level. I think Dem voters in most Democratic-dominated cities don’t have any reason to vote for Republicans, even if they call themselves Urban Republicans, given what the national GOP currently stands for. Even if the Urban Republican idea takes off in Chicago because of the specially bad situation there, that doesn’t mean it will spread to urban America in general.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Tom D: Let’s delve into that assumption. You’re right when you say that many people who traditionally vote Democratic don’t have any reason to vote for a Republican in so far as they represent the national Republican Party at large. African-Americans demand results and so voting for a party that, at least for the moment, would in turn turn back the clock and make life harder for them is ridiculous to the point of absurdity.

        But many minority voters also feel shafted by union politics that, in so many ways, favor the interests of white progressives. Would an Urban Republican, standing for real world reform and pragmatic solutions, be able to make a credible case to those voters as to why they should vote for him/her? I think they would.

        But let’s not see things strictly through the lens of a minority voter. We’ll take myself as another example. I’m a white so-called Millennial still in my twenties who, as the national party currently stands, would never consider voting for a Republican, either at the presidential level or on the down-ballot. They’ve completely put me off for the foreseeable future, so what would a Republican have to do to earn my vote again? Simply put, if someone like Lifer or someone similar were on the ballot, I’d seriously consider voting for them, and the reason’s simple. Frankly, in my heart, I don’t give a damn what party I’m voting for so much as the results that they can deliver. I demand satisfaction and results in my vote. Make the case to me that you can do things better than anyone else and you’ll have my support.

        And honestly and truly, I think that’s the case for a whole lot of people across the country. They’re starving for leadership and a politics that can see a way to the future. Maybe that will come in the form of Urban Republicans. Don’t know, don’t care. Just want someone to get the damn job done.

      • Tom D says:

        Ryan, if I put myself in the shoes of a talented urban politician who isn’t on the far right or far left ideologically, and who mainly wants to get elected to the city council and eventually become mayor, then here’s how my options look:

        First, I could run in the Democratic primary. In my city, the Dem primary winner normally goes on to win the general election easily, so this looks like the best way to get elected, unless there’s some reason why I absolutely can’t win the Dem primary.

        Second, I could win the GOP primary and run in the general election as a Republican. But the local GOP organization doesn’t amount to much in a city dominated by Democrats, so I’m not getting a lot of benefit from my association with the GOP. Meanwhile, a large number of voters are understandably suspicious of me because of my party label, and many will simply never vote for a Republican.

        Third, I could run as an independent. For that to work, I’ll need to somehow become well-known and persuade a bunch of people to come out and campaign for me when they might not normally do so – but I would have faced those same challenges while running as a Republican, and at least as an independent I don’t have to constantly answer questions about Republican issues like Donald Trump or whether the city’s bathrooms should be closed to transgender people.

        Conclusion: Run in the Dem primary if possible; run as an independent if necessary; but there’s no benefit to running as a Republican.

        Now, the above analysis may vary under local conditions; there may be some cities where support for Republicans is strong enough that it does make sense to run as a Republican; and a sufficiently talented individual politician may be able to overcome anything. But the above is why I generally doubt the viability of the Urban Republican idea.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Tom D
        Here and in the UK the majority of local level politicians are all Independents

      • WX Wall says:

        I largely agree with your assessment of Madigan, even as a Democrat. He’s a master tactician, with an iron control of Springfield, but unless you have some higher policy goals that you wish to accomplish with those tactical skills, then it just ends up being detrimental. Even after 20 years of following politics closely, I still don’t know just what Madigan wants to *do* for the state with his power. He needs to go. He should have retired in the last election and let his daughter run for Governor (probably would have won) but such is his lust for power that he even screwed over his daughter’s political prospects.

        But I think you give Rauner too much credit. He campaigned as a moderate Republican, and he came in to veto-proof dem majorities in both state assemblies. And yet the first fight he picks is about breaking public sector unions. Seriously? That was a bigger mistake than Clinton making gays in the military his first Presidential initiative (and he at least had a Congressional majority). Talk about poisoning the well…

        I honestly don’t understand why Republicans fear unions so much. They represent a small fraction of the workplace, even in manufacturing-heavy, non-right-to-work states like Illinois. The biggest problem facing IL isn’t public sector unions, it’s pensions (I understand those are related, but still…) And Rahm was quietly supportive of Rauner because he thought they could work together on fixing the pension crisis. Even if Rauner didn’t have Madigan, having the #2 Dem in the state on your side can make for a workable coalition.

        And this is why Dems like me open to moderate Republicans still won’t vote for them: if Rauner was a true moderate Republican, understanding that he was working in a Dem-dominated state, he should have started with bipartisan issues like pension reform, which will likely include cuts to pensions *and* tax increases. Instead, he started with a laundry list of typical Republican agenda items like breaking public-sector unions, demanding right-to-work status, and school vouchers, then started by saying he’d veto any budget that didn’t include these items. IOW, once he got to office, he began working like a typical conservative Republican. Is it any wonder that as much as Democrats despise Madigan (and they do), they now hate Rauner much more? If he’d played his cards right, he could have counted on Emmanuel and Cullerton, plus a whole bunch of Dem legislators as allies (not to mention the voters), and isolated Madigan. But he chose the typical conservative “shutdown the government until I get what I want” approach, which has led to… a shutdown government. If he’s the template that so-called moderate Republicans are using, I think you need to go back to the drawing boards.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Pension Crisis

        This is because the “employer” did not sock away the money in order to cover the pensions? – Yes?

        How in the name of holly hell is that a “Union Problem” ????

        Here (NZ) and in the UK as somebody does some work and has earned a future pension the employer HAS to put money into a pension account to cover that future cost

        This means that pensions are effectively paid for when the pension is earned –

        If the “Employer” does NOT do this that is NOT the union’s fault!

      • goplifer says:

        We may be on the edge of something productive here, Wall. Describe how Rauner has proposed *breaking public sector unions.*

        What element of Rauner’s agenda amounts to “breaking” the unions?

        Click to access CompiledPacket.pdf

        The only union-related term of the proposal would give voters the right to lift forced-unionization rules for a local area. That’s it. Workers can still form unions. Unions can still collect dues. Union members cannot be barred from employment. But no one can be compelled into union membership as a term of employment (as is the case in almost all trades here and in every government job). And in local areas that don’t want that rule they can continue to operate as before.

        Why is that proposal worth fighting over? It’s simple and it goes straight back to Madigan. Most blue collar jobs in the state and every public sector job is controlled at the entry point by an organization led by people who owe their position to their political leadership. No one gets those jobs without getting into the union (and staying in the union). That’s a lot of power and it trickles up, creating a powerful political machine, too influential to challenge. And it covers about 1/4 of the state’s economy.

        Blah blah blah workers, capital, wages, and so on. Bullshit. This is a political machine, plain and simple. It works great for the people who move up in the union hierarchy or go into politics. Meanwhile it bleeds the life out of the economy around it – as demonstrated on the ground.

        Without this machine, I sincerely believe that Illinois govt would look a lot like Iowa. And with a relatively cleaner govt, I think Illinois would have a shot at looking a lot more like California in economic terms, rather than like Ohio and Pennsylvania. LOTS of educated people here and Chicago remains a pretty vibrant city, though just holding on. Break this machine, and Illinois could have a very exciting future.

      • Tom D says:

        ***Most blue collar jobs in the state and every public sector job is controlled at the entry point by an organization led by people who owe their position to their political leadership. No one gets those jobs without getting into the union (and staying in the union).***

        …wait, what? Are you saying the union gets to decide who gets hired by the employer? I’ve never heard of that before.

        What I’m used to (and I’m a union member myself) is that the employer decides who to hire, but if you want the job then you have to either join the union or else pay a fee to the union for representing you in collective bargaining.

        This is only fair because without it, you have a free rider problem: every individual worker gets to enjoy the wages, benefits, working conditions, and job security that the union negotiated and fought for, without paying any dues or fees to the union. So if every individual worker makes a narrowly self-interested decision, then nobody pays dues or fees, the union collapses, the union contract comes to an end, and the employer is free to unilaterally cut wages and benefits and fire anyone without due process. The end result is that all workers are worse off.

        Unions really have no choice but to fight tooth and nail against any proposal to allow workers in unionized workplaces to be employed without paying union dues or representation fees. That’s ultimately a fight for the very existence of the union. This is not some kind of reasonable, bipartisan proposal.

      • goplifer says:

        You join the union and pay your dues, or you do not work. And if you express dissatisfaction – especially on a political level – you may find that your work environment becomes…let’s say…less lucrative.

        And part of your union participation here, even for teachers, means direct political activism. You are expected to be available for political gatherings, protests, GOTV efforts, etc. You get paid (which is amazing) but it is also noted when you are not…ahem… available.

        It is a corrupt system that benefits no one but the people in power. This is not labor protection or wage guarantees, it’s organized looting.

      • duncancairncross says:

        “It is a corrupt system that benefits no one but the people in power. This is not labor protection or wage guarantees, it’s organized looting.”

        This is only a method of partially balancing the problem of negotiation power

        The Employers have massively more power in any negotiation than the employees
        A union is only a way of partially correcting that imbalance

      • Tom D says:

        Without having the time to research it right now, I’m pretty sure that it’s already unlawful to force people to personally engage in political activism as a condition of their employment, or to penalize them for complaining about the union. I think a reasonable moderate mayor or governor could work to enforce existing laws so that workers have real freedom of expression, without trying to pass laws that pose an existential threat to unions.

      • WX Wall says:

        Lifer, you raise 2 different points: policy-wise, are unions good / bad, and process-wise, is it good political strategy for Rauner to push union reforms (and school vouchers, etc) right now? I’m only going to address the latter in order to keep this post short (although I still strongly support unions, your arguments, especially about public safety officers like police and fire fighters has changed some of my views).

        Even if you accept that unions are bad and support Rauner weakening them, walking into the governor’s office and expecting to be treated like a CEO of a company when the legislature is controlled by the opposing party with a veto-proof majority is sheer lunacy. It’s crazier than Congressional Tea Partiers who think Obama will cave if they just shutdown the government long enough. How are the results of Rauner’s first 2 years anything less than a full-on Tea Party outcome: Illinois has no budget for 2 years, the entire state government is falling apart, checks for routine payments (like social service agencies, Medicaid payments to doctors and hospitals) don’t go out, and students are now leaving the state because they can’t count on scholarship money that they’re due. Heck, the downgrades on state and city debt ratings even echo the effects of the Tea Party’s federal shutdown drama.

        Just look at the latest: Rahm wants to make a moderate pension payment this year and delay the rest. Everyone understands this is kicking the can down the road, but Rahm has made some good faith efforts on pension reform, and after passing a massive property tax increase last year, he deserves more time, rather than being forced to raise taxes again this year. The assembly passed the bill that would allow Chicago to do this, and Rauner veto’ed it. Last week, the House overrode the veto. Not only did Rauner manage to finally unite all the Democrats chafing under Madigan’s thumb, he got three Republicans to join him. At the end of the day, Rauner pushed for a bad policy (Chicago will not be making a $1bil pension payment this year, regardless of what the law says; there simply is no money), didn’t work with the assembly or the city for a compromise position on a pretty desperate situation, got overriden anyway, and in the process, pissed off a former friend and potential ally (Rahm), while potentially creating a nascent alliance between city Democrats and moderate suburban Republicans who are tired of the gridlock in Springfield.

        Even that sugercoats how badly Rauner lost: the bill only got 66 votes to pass, but managed *72* to override Rauner’s veto, i.e. people who didn’t like the bill still voted to override the veto (including a few fellow Republicans). Sounds like Ted Cruz and Tea Party politics to me. Note, it’s not that I don’t blame Madigan too; like I said, he needs to go. But Rauner badly underestimates the power of a man who’s outlasted 4 governors and a sterling Federal prosecutor who put 2 of them in prison (not to mention one vice president’s chief of staff) but couldn’t touch him.

        If the selling point of moderate Republicans is pragmatic, effective, nonpartisan, results-driven governance grounded in a reality-based worldview, how would you grade Rauner? At the end of the day, results are the only thing that matter, and myself, aside from the ranting about guns, God, and gays, I can hardly see a difference between Rauner’s results and Ted Cruz’s results in the Senate. Even that clown Blagoyevich was more effective than Rauner so far, and there was no love lost between him and Madigan either (I believe they weren’t even on speaking terms towards the end).

        (PS, if you’re wondering about my obsession with Illinois politics, I’m one of those raised-in-Illinois, currently working in a high-paid, high skill job in California people you mention. But at heart I’m still a Chicagoan and it pains me that half of Silicon Valley was started by Urbana-Champaign grads who had to leave the state to find their opportunities)

      • WX Wall says:

        “What element of Rauner’s agenda amounts to “breaking” the unions?”

        How about filing a federal lawsuit against Illinois public sector unions and then immediately stopping payment of their “fair share” fees even before any court decides whether his suit has merit? Especially knowing that the Supreme Court just recently declined to rule those fees unconstitutional in a similar case?

        And he filed that lawsuit within a month of being inaugurated governor. So much for pragmatic governing and working across the aisle.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Tom D: With all respect, Tom, let’s just get a few things out of the way first:

        1.) First of all, you’re placing too much emphasis on the “Urban Republican” title. Essentially, one of your core arguments is that long-time Democratic voters who, as things stand, would never vote for a Republican would also never vote for a so-called Urban Republican simply by virtue of said presumed candidate having “Republican” in their name.

        Okay, fine, we’ll call them something else. Label them a Neo Libertarian or a Progressive or an Independent or a Bull Moose, if that’s more to your liking. As long as they still fill in the vacuum of incompetent and/or absent Republican leadership and stand by the same relative ideas and positions, call ’em whatever you want.

        2.) I think you’re presuming a bit much about just how loyal people are to a particular political party. True, there will always be those will vote reliably Democratic or Republican no matter what anyone says to them, but that number’s a whole lot smaller than many would have you believe. Take Chicago as an example. Here we have an overwhelmingly Democratically-controlled city. The City Council alone has 50 seats and Democrats control 48 of them.

        So, what would it take to flip Chicago to Republican control? First of all, let’s say that a… former Republicans; we’ll call him/her a ‘Progressive’ for argument’s sake began making an honest, forthright case to minorities and particularly African-Americans that wasn’t stained by a national party’s transparent appeal to racism and white supremacy. We all know that the black community is the most reliably Democratic voting bloc and yet in Chicago they’re consistently plagued by unemployment, lack of housing and health insurance, etc, etc.

        Democrats don’t deliver for them, and yet they can’t bring themselves to vote for a Republican because Republicans are even worse. So what would happen if a new party could offer a realistic, hopeful message and vision that actually would raise them up? No one, including myself, is saying that radical change would happen overnight or over the course of one election or even several, but such a plan would begin chipping away at the Democratic coalition that is not nearly as rock solid as it seems.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Ryan

        I still don’t understand why you have parties at the lower levels?
        At the city and county levels we (and the UK) are mostly “independents”

        At these levels I just don’t understand how the “Party” is still so important

  8. Bobo Amerigo says:

    For the homies:

    “Trump University is something entirely different, and it’s not over yet; questions are now being raised about an investigation the Texas Attorney General’s office undertook of Trump University, which concluded that it was cheating Texans out of large sums of money; the investigation was dropped by then-AG Greg Abbott, who later got $35,000 in contributions from Trump and is now the state’s governor.”

    • flypusher says:

      Anyone who still rants about HRC’s e-mails but turns a blind eye to this scam is a flaming hypocrite.

      Probably they can’t prove anything in court about quid pro quo for Abbott, but it stinks to high heaven. And since when is running scam artists out of your state rather than charging them suppossed to be good enough?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “Anyone who still rants about HRC’s e-mails but turns a blind eye to this scam is a flaming hypocrite.”

        I was having a discussion with Mime the other day about how both have scandals and to not be too sure about Trumps inevitable failure. I typed a long reply but my phone died and I didn’t have the time to rewrite it, but the jist of it was that not all scandals are created equal.

        I mean, yes, we can say both have a scandal in the closet, Trump has Trump U, and HRC has the emails. But seriously, most humans (especially non Republicans) have the ability to weigh a scandal on its merits.

        I just don’t see anyway possible that most independents and moderates are going to consider a SoS using the wrong email server, with no known damage caused, to be remotely comparable to Trump telling his employees to “look for the single moms who need money for food” and “tell them to max out their credit cards”.

        I just don’t see how the average person would say ” well, both are equally scandalous ” based on those things.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Rob Ambrose: Trump U is a scandal. Hillary’s e-mails are a political witch hunt. Seriously. It’s giving Republicans WAY too much credit to even call the e-mails a scandal at this point.

    • flypusher says:

      Check it out, it’s getting even sleazier:

      Do all politicians have the part of their brain missing that helps you realize that cover ups are more likely that the original misdeed to completely blow up in your face? Even smart people like Bill Clinton didn’t get it.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      If this keeps up, we might yet see Trump’s media savvy put to the test.

      • flypusher says:

        In the name of equal treatment, he needs to be put through the same level of scutiny that HRC currently experiences.

        His whining would be epic.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “In the name of equal treatment, he needs to be put through the same level of scutiny that HRC currently experiences.”

        Agreed. So when is the 12 hour congressional grilling on live TV for Trump?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Trump said years ago that all press is good press. While that may be true for real estate magnates, I think he’ll soon find it isn’t true for presidential candidates.

    • duncancairncross says:

      Hi Bobo,
      I don’t find the idea that you can buy a politician surprising
      The idea that you can buy off a prosecution for only $35,000!!

      I had no idea these guys were so cheap

  9. Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

    For folks my age and older, Muhammad Ali may bring vivid memories (for good or for bad). There are still plenty of folks who dislike Ali for his stand about Vietnam, but 40 or 50 years (can you believe it has been that long?) these words make a whole lot of sense:

    “I ain’t draft dodging. I ain’t burning no flag. I ain’t running to Canada, I’m staying right here. You want to send me to jail? Fine, you go right ahead. I’ve been in jail for 400 years. I could be there for 4 or 5 more, but I ain’t going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people. If I want to die, I’ll die right here, right now, fightin’ you, if I want to die. You my enemy, not no Chinese, no Vietcong, no Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice. You my opposer when I want equality. Want me to go somewhere and fight for you? You won’t even stand up for me right here in America, for my rights and my religious beliefs. You won’t even stand up for my right here at home.” -Muhammad Ali

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Ali was amazing.

      I remember a white radio sports commentator dropping his voice to a whisper to say something like, “He shouldn’t do that.” when Ali was getting all shirty about his beauty and grace and skill. I wonder what the commentator thought would happen to Ali if he didn’t shut up.

      Ali was a person I hoped I would run into some day, even just to wave to across an airport. No chance of that, really, but he was immensely attractive and admirable.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Ali was a man of immense strength of character.

      And frankly, he would have been absolutely despise for it, had he not been a sports star , and a man of almost unthinkable charisma. Even still, there were haters.

      But overall, a black, draft dodging, Muslim, Black Panther sympathing man in the post Civil Rights era was fairly universally loved and admired. That is pretty impressive.

    • flypusher says:

      Thanks for posting this Homer. During the Ali’s career I was a very young child, and I saw him as a villian because that was the sentiment expressed by my elders. When I grew up and learned much more, I totally changed my mind. Ali was courageous and took a great risk and was fortunate that he didn’t pay a higher price than losing a few years from his boxing career. The aforementioned elders just don’t grok the differences between Black American experiences and White American experiences and still think he should have kept his mouth shut and did what he was told. I disagree, but my policy since 2000 with RW relatives is don’t-ask-don’t-tell.

    • 1mime says:

      Homer, I’ve been gone for a short bit, but wanted to thank you for the Ali quote. He may not be “every man’s hero”, but he was brutally honest and he was proud of who and what he was. There are not many who are that clear about what they stand for and are willing to risk going to jail by publicly stating their beliefs. Whether one agrees with Ali or not, he told it like it was, and that elevates his character.

  10. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Chris’ discussion below of decentralized authoritarianism makes me think feminist thoughts.

    He asks, “How do you combine libertarianism and Fascism?”

    You do so at the family level.

    White male head of household is the authority, an authority locally overarching and yet so frail that it can’t stand up to forms of cooperation other than repression of others.

    Repression spread across several governmental functions becomes lower-case fascism, if you will.

    [Infrastructure? If I’m not the boss, someone else will be the boss of me. I could use that road, dam, bridge but better not risk the loss of my authority.]

    • fiftyohm says:

      Libertarianism and fascism are on opposite ends of the plane of political thought. I have no idea how one would “combine” them.

      • Griffin says:

        It’s not really a very well kept secret that there are a whole bunch of white supremacists have “slipped into” the libertarian movement. Obviously not all (or even most) libertarians are racists but the ideologies have become increasingly friendly in recent years. A whole bunch of former “technolibertarians” founded the Alt-Right/neo-reactionary movement, Ron Paul, Alex Jones, Rand Paul, and other prominant libertarians seem to always have some Putin apologensia on hand, and I haven’t even gotten to Hans-Hermann Hoppe yet! Or Ludwig Von Mises’ defense of straight up fascism!

        The US libertarian movement has been on a crash course with reactionary white nationalism (the closest thing the US has to a “true” or at least dominant native Authoritarian Right movement) ever since Barry Goldwater decided to vote with the South against the Civil RIghts Acts, albeit for different reasons.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Griffin – I was speaking of libertarianism, and not the Libertarian Party. Furthermore, characterising a philosophy by the opinions of a few people on specific issues is an error. Finally, Von Mises’ “straight up defense of fascism”, was extremely tepid and temporal. If I were to say for example, that Iraq would be better off today under Hussein, very few would call that “straight up support of fascism”, would they? That was the context.

      • Griffin says:

        But there was an alternative to the fascist regimes, which was to continue being a liberal democracy, which the fascist movements helped overthrow in the first place! Iraq, on the other hand, has always been a dictatorship, so the choice was between Ba’athism or religious fundamentalism. In Europe their was not only two choices between fascism and communism because liberalism was a viable option, but fascists chose to help destabalize it. And the idea fascism is better than communism is extremely debatable.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Griffin – The liberal democracy ship had sailed. The choice was between fascism and communism – both bad choices. As you said, which one is worse is debatable.

    • goplifer says:

      ***You do so at the family level***

      That is a very interesting thought. And from there one level up to the community. You don’t even need a repressive government if you have a repressive family and community structure. Never considered that angle.

      • Kebe says:

        Anyone who’s moved to/from different regions of the country (and is not in the military… local military families don’t seem to have that problem, from what I’ve heard) feels JUST THIS at the community level. Even if you have all of your other privilege bits checked, your new-to-town or “otherness” is enough, sometimes.

        In The Politics of Crazy, you talk about community involvement. That’s HARD if you’re considered an outsider of any sort. It’s the dark side of “small town America” people (over)romanticize.

      • One of the issues I’ve encountered while doing activism is that “tight community bonds” often means that some members of that community have a very difficult time. The desire to close ranks and deal with issues within the community – and the desire of the rest of society to allow this – can create the sort of environment where exploitation entrenches itself.

        If you live in a small town or a cloistered community, the elected government is often far less relevant than the local “big man.”

        It’s a difficult problem to solve because intervention from outside may be well meaning but it’s also usually ignorant, and may end up causing more harm than good; and because all humans have the desire to close ranks with those like them, even if by doing so we support those who exploit us.

      • 1mime says:

        “You do so at the family level”…..Why is that such a novel connection? No disrespect intended, but, if you raise a child in an environment of hate and bigotry, how logical is it to expect that child to become an adult that is filled with hate and bigotry? From there, put a bunch of these yahoos on the same street, in the same community, and voila, you are looking at a movement……Then, these yahoos support candidates who represent their “views”, however racist, and pretty soon you have a city, county, and state government made up of people like this. It doesn’t take long for this group to matriculate up the political ladder to national politics….Why is it so hard to understand this?

    • n1cholas says:

      Libertarianism is essentially just a protest political position. Until the Libertarian gets in charge, and then uses the government to enact exactly what they think society should look like.

      A diverse society is great. Libertarianism as an ethos is great, in theory.

      One day, when we all have molecular fabricators and can live in space free from the constraints of other people, Libertarianism will be the default political position of all sane people.

      Until then, it’s a sci-fi fantasy political position.

      Or, as I like to put it, Libertarians are the toddlers of politics. They’re essential argument is that society shouldn’t exist, because “I don’t wanna”…with the I don’t wanna being used to bitch and complain about what makes a society functional. Taxes, laws, regulations, etc.

      So, Libertarians have an infantile/toddler-esqe understanding of how the world works, so you can definitely assume that they will use those “principles” to deny their family the same exact freedom from all authority, when that Libertarian is the authority.

      It’s why saying Trump isn’t a fascist is kind of missing the point.

      Authoritarians are people who recognize an authority as being inherently right, and will do whatever that authority figures says. Whether or not Trump gives a shit about Medicare policy, or public sector labor unions doesn’t matter, if Trump recognizes that his followers are authoritarians, and will use them explicitly and implicitly to get what he wants.

      Or, to put it another way, there are authoritarians, who are followers, and social dominators, which is what Trump is. Trump has the best of everything, and he’s going to lead his brigade of Trump’sChumps™ (who would still vote for him even if he shot someone…HIS words).

    • formdib says:

      I put forth the portmanteau ‘fasciochlarchy.’ Ochlarchy is mob rule.

      Trump will windmill around passing executive order after executive order, largely centered around his own interests and punishing enemies real and perceived. This will tie up Congress even more and the federal government will simply be to ineffective and log jammed to deal with…

      … regional, largely state specific violence against ‘immigrants,’ ‘refugees,’ ‘terrorists,’ and ‘gang-members.’ In short, people of color. Pres. Trump will explicitly turn a blind eye to it, ‘my people are passionate, and besides, they were thugs’ style.

      Individual state governments will have to deal with it themselves. Poorer, more rural, mostly Southern, Southwestern, and Midwestern states will lack the resources to deal with it. Many will lack the will. A couple will endorse it. Only a couple-three. Georgia, Mississippi, maybe.

      The Trump base won’t be displeased with the failures of leadership from the top. All they’to looking for is the blind eye anyway. In fact, if I were the movement’s graphic designer, that’s the symbol I’d choose. A blinded eye.

  11. duncancairncross says:

    Your description of the south is not a unique American issue,

    You are describing an Oligarchy – One of the “states” that Machiavelli describes in his books

    The “Aristocracy” is all powerful and will conspire and kill to prevent a King (central government – or State government) from taking over

    An old old social model

    Although the slavery/white supremacy on top does give a uniquely US flavor

    • fiftyohm says:

      C’mon, Duncan – “uniquely US?”? I’ve spent more than a bit of time in NZ. And Oz, too.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Yes – We have racism – as far as I can make out EVERYBODY has racism! – it is just the whipping boy that changes

        But in the USA you have the slavery and the very recent lynchings not to mention the ongoing problems with police violence and guns

        Your racism problem is uniquely bad – because it is bad and it effects so many people

      • fiftyohm says:

        Oh nonsense. Guns have not a thing to do with racism. And lynchings? Really? Police violence is real, but very, very rare. Societal racism is not in any way unique to the US. Methinks you misspoke, good sir. In fact, racist remarks are tolerated in NZ and Oz in polite company. They aren’t in the US. (Your comment sort of pissed me off, as a point of fact.)

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Fifty
        We can leave guns out of the argument
        But in my lifetime thousands of negroes were lynched in the USA,
        and even today an African American needs to be much much more careful about any interactions with the cops than a white man

        Racist remarks are more common here – but that is because they simply don’t mean as much
        There is too much of “real life” in a racist comment in the USA

        We are not yet at the stage where racist remarks are meaningless here – but we are moving that way
        That won’t stop the remarks – just make them harmless

        I mean is somebody calling me a bloody tight Scotsman being racist?

      • Tom D says:

        ***Guns have not a thing to do with racism.***

        Guns being widely available makes it easier for racists to murder people. Trayvon Martin and like a bajillion others throughout US history, from unremembered slaves to famous activists.

        If two countries are equally racist, I’d rather live in the one where it’s harder for the racists to own guns.

        ***In fact, racist remarks are tolerated in NZ and Oz in polite company. They aren’t in the US.***

        Sure they aren’t. Who’s the Republican nominee for president again?

      • Tom D says:

        Actually, here’s a more thought-out answer on what guns have to do with racism. In the US, there’s a long history of federal vs. state government conflict over racism, going back to the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the civil rights movement. And the federal government has generally been on the anti-racist side. Because of this, racists who want the federal government to leave them alone have often subscribed to political ideologies that are opposed to a strong federal government. It sounds classier to say you believe in a strong form of federalism, or that you are a libertarian, than to openly say you want the feds to go away and stop enforcing the 14th amendment.

        I hasten to add that I don’t think all small-government types are racist; but I do think racism is one factor that motivates a significant number of people to adopt small-government ideologies.

        Small-government ideologies tend to include support for strong gun rights, because the right to bear arms is a right to simply be left alone by the government (as opposed to other rights, such as the right to a fair trial, which have to be actively provided by the government).

        In short, racists are attracted to libertarianism for historical reasons, and libertarianism includes strong gun rights, so it ends up that racists tend to be pro-gun.

        But there’s more to it than that. There’s also the fact that the strongest forms of racism that exist in the US (and probably everywhere) are, and have been throughout history, the prejudice held by the most privileged and powerful racial group against the more oppressed racial groups. And it’s a lot easier and safer for the privileged group to engage in unofficial (that is, non-state-sanctioned) violence, than for oppressed groups to do likewise. That’s why lynch mobs, the KKK, and any number of gun-wielding vigilantes and assassins have been white. So there’s a history of white racists finding private ownership of guns to be very useful in the long (hopefully losing) campaign to maintain racial hierarchy in the US.

        Again, I’m not claiming that all NRA types are racist. But the US has a long history of white racists supporting strong 2nd amendment rights, both for ideological and practical reasons.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Hey Duncan – “Real life” racism is pretty hard to spot. Attitudes that lead to it aren’t. Racist comments in everyday conversation are an indicator of underlaying attitudes. And they are not “harmless” as much as you might wish them to be so.

      • fiftyohm says:

        TomD – Try to keep up here. Trump is an asshole, OK? He’s got squat to do with historical racism in America.

        Racism has about as much to do with guns, or maybe much less, than European technology that produced ocean going ships. You might see the world through some fun house mirror that reflects everything you personally object to as responsible for everything else. Like conservatism and racism. Or guns and racism. Or Trump and small government. I could go on, but you’re wrong on all counts. Issues stand largely on their own. To think otherwise is facile.

      • fiftyohm says:

        And Duncan – Unless you are far older than I think you are, there have not been “thousands of lynchings” in America in your lifetime. That’s hyperbole.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Yes you are right
        I had a quick look – about 10 actual “lynchings”
        Probably over a thousand “quiet lynchings” like the guy who got dragged behind the pick-up

        Tongue in cheek – there have been no known lynchings of Maori –

      • Sara Robinson says:

        It’s also true that in the South, the Second Amendment was never intended to apply to black people, or women. There’s a terrific book called “That Nonviolent Stuff Will Get You Killed,” which is a history of African-Americans’ relationship with firearms.

        It points out that guns (particularly shotguns used in home defense) really were serious equalizers in the Jim Crow South — black householders routinely ran off the Klan with them, and very often would quiet down their entire towns for awhile with one or two well-armed confrontations. The author, who was in MLK’s inner circle, says that this is the reason King’s house was usually bristling with guns.

        But the other side of that was that whites were terrified of black men with guns; and this is the main reason the military remained segregated for so long. They didn’t want the black guys to pick up combat, leadership, and marksmanship skills, for fear of what would happen when they got home.

        And this fear was well-founded: the book’s author makes a strong case that the Civil Rights Movement was led by men who saw combat in WWII, and came home with both the tactical training and the leadership skills that enabled them to build a movement that could seriously challenge white power. It was an old Southern nightmare come straight to life.

        Reading this book made it clear that there is an inextricable link between guns and racism — and that equalizing their ability to use force to defend their rights was one of the necessary preconditions for the more general equalizing of African-Americans.

      • Tom D says:

        ***Trump is an asshole, OK? He’s got squat to do with historical racism in America.***

        hahahahahaha OK, sure, dude… the nomination of an overt racist as this year’s GOP candidate is unrelated to the history of racism in the US? Just an inexplicable coincidence, then?

        That makes as much sense as saying that Rand Paul has nothing to do with the history of libertarianism in the US. Or that Steph Curry has nothing to do with the history of basketball in the US.

      • Tom D says:

        Sara Robinson, that’s a very interesting comment. A good reminder, perhaps, that although nonviolent tactics can be really effective, they aren’t the whole story of how social change happens.

        MLK may have had guns in his house, but I submit that it wouldn’t have been an effective tactic for civil rights protesters to march with those guns. Letting the TV cameras see unarmed people getting attacked by white police and mobs was how they appealed to people’s consciences and ultimately got effective civil rights laws passed. Then, starting around 1966, there started to be riots in several cities, and these more violent expressions of protest did not win popular support and probably contributed to Nixon getting elected on a law-and-order platform. And of course MLK himself was assassinated despite however many guns he may have owned. But then again, maybe he’d have been killed years earlier if he hadn’t had guns at home for protection?

        I don’t really have a point here… just trying to appreciate the complexity of it all.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Sara – The Bill of Rights in general was not intended to apply to Black people or women – not just in the South. I don’t think that made it sexist, either. But your larger point is a good one – that guns gave the means to resist racist mayhem.

      • fiftyohm says:

        And TomD, we know you don’t really have a point here. No need to say it.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Duncan – For what it’s worth, you’re OK in my book.

        BTW: is that you I see on Quora?

      • duncancairncross says:

        BTW: is that you I see on Quora?

        Probably – there are not many Cairncrosses and I think I’m the only Duncan

      • WX Wall says:

        Sara Robinson-

        That’s why I’ve always said (only partially tongue-in-cheek 🙂 that the BLM movement should ask the NRA to join them in promoting gun ownership among black people seeking protection from the violation of their rights. I mean, if a white “patriot” arms himself to the teeth and starts a militia because he believes the black helicopters are on the way, then why shouldn’t an African American similarly buy a gun and stand-his-ground against a much higher threat of unjust state-sponsored violence?

        I bet plenty of those gun-rights activists will turn out to be the most ardent gun control supporters if non-whites ever start exercising their 2nd amendment rights as well…

      • Tom D says:

        ***why shouldn’t an African American similarly buy a gun and stand-his-ground against a much higher threat of unjust state-sponsored violence?***

        This reminds me of the Bundy militia standoff a few months ago, during which many people commented that if a group of heavily armed African Americans had taken over a federal govt building, they would have been treated as terrorists and raided and killed within hours. Whether or not this is true, I think it’s safe to say many African Americans believe it and would thus be unlikely to try such a move.

        More generally, if an African American carries a gun for purposes of standing his ground against law enforcement officers, he/she may end up needing to actually fire that gun at them. Police departments respond with overwhelming force to people who shoot and/or kill officers. And after the gun-wielding African American is (likely) killed by the police, the fact that he had the gun will be enough to convince most of the public that he/she had it coming. All the recent killings of African Americans that have provoked the most public outrage have involved unarmed victims. (Well, Freddie Gray had a knife but it was taken from him when he was unlawfully arrested, well before he was killed.) So carrying a gun, and especially pointing or firing it at cops, ends up giving the cops a green light to use violence without any political repercussions.

        So that is why African Americans shouldn’t, and generally don’t, use guns to try to stand their ground against wrongful police actions.

      • WX Wall says:

        Tom D-
        Agreed. That’s why I said tongue in cheek 🙂

        So you agree, that we should get rid of guns from *both* black and white Americans? What other conclusion is your oft-cited fact supposed to lead us to?

      • Kebe says:

        I can’t find the precise place to put a response to Tom D, but remember (and Chris has pointed this out somewhere) that California’s gun laws were first introduced and signed by Ronald Reagan as a direct reaction to the Black Panthers – who certainly used their 2nd amendment rights.

        Of course, and I think Sara says it below, using your 2nd amendment rights plays into fears and therefore into fear-mongering.

      • Tom D says:

        WX Wall, you did say only partially tongue in cheek, but I’m sorry for underestimating you!

      • fiftyohm says:

        WX – I’m sorry, to which ‘oft repeated’ statement are you in reference? (A genuine question this, as I have no idea what I may have said that would lead you to that conclusion.)

      • WX Wall says:

        fiftyohm- this one:
        Far more black kill black people with guns than white people kill black people.

    • fiftyohm says:

      TomD – Bullshit. Far more black kill black people with guns than white people kill black people. Bullshit.

      • Tom D says:

        ***Far more black kill black people with guns than white people kill black people.***

        I don’t have the numbers, but I’ll assume you’re correct about this. It doesn’t really affect my point. The easy availability of guns makes it easier for people to murder other people in general, and it also makes it easier for racists to murder people for racist reasons. So I’d still rather live in a country where it’s harder for racists to own guns.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Like I said, bullshit.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      I recall reading a research paper about Freedmen Bureaus in Texas.

      The scholar who wrote it said that gun control laws in Texas were initially designed to keep guns from black people. She (may have) cited a legislative history to make her point.

      Is it a sign of less or more racial prejudice that the push is on for fewer gun control measures for everybody, race be damned? Head exploding.

      If I can find that article again, I’ll post a link.

  12. fiftyohm says:

    When asked the ubiquitous question up here in Canada, “What are you going to do if Trump wins?”, I can only deny the possibility. While some may call it wishful thinking on my part, I really do think it’s true – he can’t possibly win. I’d appreciate everyone ringing in on this if you have a chance. Thanks!

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I don’t think he can win either fifty. I think it’ll be the most anti climactic election ever, in that the winner will be known long before the actual election. Trump is not just unsuitable for Pres, he’s so obviously unsuitable that I think in many instances political careers will be ended for their support of him. I think Ryan recognizes this and that’s why he was unprecedentedly slow to endorse him and when he did yesterday, it was about as tepid an endorsement as you can get.

      Ibsaw an interview with Jake Tapper where he quoted Hillary’s speech about him having “very thin skin” and his response was a shocked “I’ve got very strong, tremendous skin. Very thick skin.”

      It’s like a parody of himself.

      This is the nonsensical kind of way he talks literally all the time. Anybody with a toddler can recognize that kind of speech.

      This new judge “Mexican” thing (despite the judge actually being American) is outrageous.

      I just don’t see how Trump has anybshot whatsoever among: women, blacks, Hispanics, independents, moderates etc.

      He’s going to lose in historic fashion, and I think the polls we see about a week from now (after all this stuff going on now gets digested) is going tobshowbthat pretty clearly.

      • fiftyohm says:

        I’m with ya, man.

      • n1cholas says:

        Don’t count on it.

        I can’t imagine Trump getting any less than 40% of the vote. While that isn’t a majority, all it takes is a plurality of Electoral College votes.

        That son-of-a-bitch’in Electoral College…I tell you what.

        Sometimes I loathe the hell out of it. And sometimes I’m glad the Framers of the Constitution designed it that way…not that it couldn’t be updated and tweaked to be more representative.

        A few twists and turns, this way and that, and I can see Trump winning. Personally, I’m not sure why he hasn’t come out in favor of legalizing cannabis. If he did that…I could see that as the point that would either force HRC to do the same, or give him a large swath of Sanders voters that he needs to win.

      • fiftyohm says:

        N1 – Do you know a single person that is going to vote for Trump? I don’t. Really, I don’t.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        50—sadly, my sister and her husband would vote for Trump. Fortunately, I suspect they aren’t registered to vote and will neglect to do so until it is too late.

      • n1cholas says:



        I was born and raised in Cincinnati Ohio. I now live in Atlanta Georgia.

        My parents were both hippies. My mom was definitely a solid liberal, and my dad is a center-left Democrat…for the most part.

        My brother, though, is conservative. He’s not religious, and lives in a rural area outside Cincinnati. He’s doing fine for himself and his family, but I’m sure he’ll vote for Trump or stay home. I’m not sure, as I haven’t asked him, and don’t plan to.

        That said, my girlfriend is from the panhandle of Florida. Parents are southern Baptist, dad is in the Airforce. They’re definitely Trump voters, and have been since before the primary season. Her one younger sister is also a Trump voter.

        That said, it’s a relatively small town where she is from, on the coast. It is still very “Traditional Conservative”, where Dad’s political views are moms, and kids political views. All except my girlfriend, who i’ve…reprogrammed…into actually paying attention to reality, instead of what her dad tells her, or what Fox News tells her dad to believe and then tell her. She, like me, voted for Sanders here in Georgia, and she’ll vote for Clinton, like I will. Not because we think Clinton is awesome, but because neither of us are fucking insane.

        I don’t see Trump getting less than 40% of the popular vote.

        Some of the voters will vote for Trump because they’re imbeciles. Some will vote for Trump because everyone they know will vote for Trump, and they don’t pay attention. Some will vote for Trump because they believe that anyone that Mammon has touched should be worshipped and put into power. And some will vote for Trump because they think he’s going to burn it all down.

      • fiftyohm says:

        HT – Good news, bad news I guess.

        N1 – Well, a small sample for certain, but I understand. I do believe you overestimate though. 40% is a very big number. Scary big, really.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        There is no doubt in my mind at all that Trump gets 40% of the popular vote. Easily.

        Keep in mind a 60-40 election is a historical blowout, but it won’t be that big. Trump gets 43% without even trying.

        Pick any random foursome.
        Folks who run companies, operate on patients, and practice law: “Well, I sure as hell won’t vote for Hillary, so I’ll vote for Trump.”
        Homer: “You guys are just insane”

        Four and eight years ago, I generally kept quiet when talking politics with these guys. It would invariably come up, and my stock answer was, “I’m a wacky liberal who can survive a 3% marginal tax increase and thinks gay folks should be able to get married”.

        Then I would be regaled with stories about how all these wealthy successful people would never have been successful if their taxes went up, and then we would just talk about golf.

        The only silver lining with Trump is that I can now say, “You guys are just insane”, and they really can’t disagree.

      • I run into a number of people who say “Anyone but Hillary!”

        But in the end, when it comes time to vote, I think they will pass on Trump and the presidential race! These people are basically Republicans to the core and could never pull the lever for a Democrat. So they will not vote for president!

        The more republicans do not vote at all for president, the more each vote for Hillary will mean!

      • flypusher says:

        Any GOPer who votes for Johnson, or leaves the President spot blank, is essentially 1/2 a vote for HRC.

        For those of us who don’t want that unqualified, spoiled, vulgar man-child in the Oval Office, every 1/2 vote helps!

  13. Sane, reasonable people have to make sure the only trip Trump ever makes to the White House is as a tourist. The only solace we could take if he got in would be a near immediate impeachment. No way he makes it past the first year in office, but why let it even get that far?

  14. flypusher says:

    I posted this in the last thread, but it fits better here:

    The GOP integrity test: Chris aced it, the Bushes managed a passing grade, Ryan is the latest to flunk it. Next up, Gov. Martinez of NM:

    If you tell the thin-skinned vulgarian where he can stuff that endorsement, you get bonus points, Guv!

  15. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    In any relevant sense, there is no containing it. To do so would’ve meant stopping Trump before he got as far as he has, but even then that might very well have been just kicking the can down the road.

    What would help is if we were having a much more open, national conversation about the forces behind Trump’s rise and what to do about it. Clinton, for all the rhetorical punches in the teeth she laid out in her speech yesterday, doesn’t seem particularly enthusiastic talking about white supremacy or the grievances of a declining bloc of white people that have felt economically squeezed in recent years.

    Trump has pulled back the curtain and unleashed forces that have been bubbling underneath the surface, but we need another voice to be an appropriate counterbalance and bring people together in a well-measured acknowledgment and resolve as to what to do about it. Think like RFK’s speech in the aftermath of the King assassination.

    Frankly, if the Democratic and Republican parties won’t do it, then we’ll need something else to fill that void. In the aftermath of violence and the frustrations felt by so many, there’s surely no shortage of those who would look to genuine leadership and vision on the economic anxieties felt by so many and the issues of racism and white supremacy. I believe that that leadership is out there, somewhere, and we just need to find it.

    • n1cholas says:

      The Democratic party has spoken about this time and time again. Obama has spoken about this, multiple times.

      Typically, Obama received the “teleprompter” rebuttal, or “stuttering mess” rebuttal. Or the, “why does he have to make it about race” rebuttal.

      No, we don’t need a 3rd party. We need a sane 2nd party.

      A solid 30% of the Republican party base is made up of absolute lunatics with no discernible attachment to objective reality. None. They imagine a world, and then project their own fears and lusts and hatreds onto it. And cognitive dissonance is there to comfort them when they get confused about what it is they’re supposed to believe, this week, never mind next week.

      Goldwater, Powell, Nixon, Reagan, Limbaugh, Gingrich, Fox News and Bush Jr. built the ever-loving shit out of the Modern GOP. They’ve designed it from the ground up. Dogwhistle racism and communist/socialist/libruuul baiting. Non-whites and Democrats are the two main enemies of the Republican party. Everything else is negotiable. See: Putin, Admiration of.

      Trump is simply a Strongman, walking in to fill a void.

      The base has been promised a lot in the past 60+ years, and it continues to fall behind, with minorities and libruuls blamed for it.

      What I see in the Republican base attaching itself to Trump the Strongman, is akin to the grief process.

      The Republican base can see that the Republican party has never really given a shit about it. They say the right things, get them scared of Others, and then use their votes to slash taxes on the richest people, decrease regulations so the richest people can move their companies offshore and become even richer, while they get nothing. Meanwhile, the gays are getting married and ruining marriage for everyone…or something. And now? Now transgendered men are using the women’s bathroom. Sure, they’ve been doing that since forever, but now, it’s allowed. There are probably lots of hurricanes and tornados of God’s wrath heading to a southern, Republican state as we speak, because of it.

      So, the past couple of election cycles, the Republican base was still in denial. They flirted with outright lunatics, but were still in denial about the Republican party donor class/establishment. So, they went with Rmoney and Ryan. And were told it was going to be a Rmoneyslide! Sure, the guy wasn’t some super ultra mega conservative in reality, but he talked the talked, and he was electable! And then…nope.

      Now, the Republican base has moved past the grief stage.

      They are now Angry, and Bargaining. Angry that the Republican donor class/establishment has shafted them, and Bargaining that Trump, an outsider, not from the donor class of the Republican party, who shouts and screams about the darkies and libruuls instead of playing the dogwhistle like the rest of the Republican party, will either…Make America Great Again…or at least burn this fucker to the ground as payback for Trump’sChumps™ being taken advantage of their entire lives.

      Depression is the next stage. Assuming that Trump loses the General Election, or gets blocked from doing anything as President if elected, the Republican base will become depressed. If Trump wins in 2016, I see him losing big time in 2020 after he fails to do a damn thing.

      After Depression comes Acceptance. Not for everyone, but for the more highly functioning Republicans. They’ll come to realize that not only were they lied to and used for their entire lives, but that they’ve actually been hurting themselves in the process, and hurting others at the same time.

      This is the point where I’d hope that the sane Republicans would begin to take control of the right wing of the Democratic party, as us lefties get a proper progressive party that we can break off from the left wing of the Democratic party, so we can be the outsiders, slowly dragging the conservative Democratic party to the left. You know, as lefties have been doing since the beginning of politics.

      So, no. The Democratic party isn’t functioning very well. But it isn’t because granola-farming anti-vaxxers are in charge of it.

      It’s because it has to house the sane lefty progressives, sane liberals, sane centrists, and sane conservatives.

      The damn thing has to break into pieces. It’s being tugged on from too many directions to hold. But that’s ok.

      We have to wait for the Republican party to crash and burn. And good riddance. Sane Republicans need to realize that they can and should grab the right wing of the Democratic party, that is entirely sane and center-right already(!!!) and run with it. Almost literally, run with it. Make it your own. Please.

      Because us progressives would love to have our very own party. GOPLifer thinks Sanders is just as insane as Trump, just from the left, but he’s incorrect about that. Sanders has the right ideas.

      Sanders ideas…his long-term goals, paired with a sane conservative party that looks like what Hillary Clinton wants to do, would be absolutely workable.

      Because, again, we need two functioning political parties. Not three.

      Right now, we have one. And that’s the major problem.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Solid post.

        The acceptance stage will come for many after Trump loses the worst landlslide in a century.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        With all respect, and to the best of my knowledge, I’ve never heard President Obama go into detail about the politics of white supremacy or how they’ve played a role in Trump’s rise. Not saying he hasn’t, but whenever I hear him talking about Trump, the topic never seems to come up. And, to be frank, that’s a problem.

        If the best Obama and some Democrats can do is to go at the issue with kids’ gloves or to mention it off the cuff when the opportunity presents itself, that’s not leading a national conversation. That’s just letting people know that you’re not an idiot.

      • n1cholas says:


        Who, exactly, is Obama going to be addressing?

        Liberals who already know what Trump’s rise means? Preaching to the choir.

        The Media, which grows rich and powerful acting as a stenographer? Obama has already spoken about race multiple times, pointing at Trump and saying he’s just a big fat racist isn’t going to help, and it gives the media, which loves the BothSidesDoIt™ BigLie, the ability to say, sure Trump says stupid shit, but Obama is saying all Republicans are racists! BothSidesDoIt™!!!!!!!

        Is Obama supposed to address the Republican base? Because they don’t care. They are lunatics, and are not living here among us in observable reality. The Republican base basically has a Rush Limbaugh/Alex Jones/Glenn Beck translating device in their ears. All they’ll hear is that Obama once again says that he supports Sharia law, Islam over Christianity, and hates America. No, really.

        So, no, there is no reaching the Republican base. And the sane “centrists” out there, who are apparently brain dead enough to not see the Republican party for exactly what the Republican party screams they are about anytime a camera or microphone is put in front of them, might as well continue sitting at home until election day and then picking a candidate based on brand name.

        No, the Republican party needs to die, as soon as possible. Obama can’t “lead” the lunatics back to sanity, and he can’t lead the apathetic democracy-failing know-nothing centrists to critical thinking.

        No amount of Leadership™ is going to save this country. Only people who realize that one political party is very, very far from perfect…while the other one is batshit insane and should not be allowed within a thousand miles of the levers of power.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        Great post, Nicholas. I’d add one other consideration to your mix.

        That’s the fact that when the left resorts to violence — as it did in San Jose last night — it plays straight into the hands of the GOP’s worst people…and usually ends up getting them elected.

        Reagan became governor of California after taking a strongly authoritarian pose after the Watts Riots. Nixon became President in the short shadow of the 1968 anti-war protests, and the Democrat’s fracas in Chicago. It goes like this, over and over: the left never ever ever wins by getting ugly, because it tends to send even sympathetic voters scurrying back to someone who is seen as offering them security.

        This rioting shit Has. To. Stop. Now. If there’s anything the left could do to guarantee Trump the White House, this is IT.

      • n1cholas says:

        Oh, I agree.

        It’s why local police forces around the country shipped homeless and criminals to Occupy rallys back in 2011.

        It’s why the “anarchists” who are only there to burn shit down come out with bandanas over their faces, and the lefties they surrounded themselves with get blamed.

        Trump will continue holding rallys because violence is his “in”, and whether or not liberals start, maintain, or finish the fight, they’ll of course get blamed.

        My advice to anti-Trump supporters is to let Trump continue saying stupid shit, rather than giving Trump and his authoritarian followers something to point at so the media has the ability to keep up the BothSidesDoIt™ B igLie.

      • n1cholas says:

        Wow, I read a blogger named Driftglass, who just posted to a piece you wrote in 2009.

        Here are the links to the originals.

        That was brilliant. I read through it, and I think that Donald Trump and his authoritarian followers are driving the car and have spotted a place to park.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Sara Robinson: I understand what you’re trying to say, but the caveat in all of your examples is that the opposing side, as Trump is in this case, was NEVER the one that incited the violence in the first place. Nixon and Reagan were both reactionary in how violence helped to lend a hand in their respective victories. Trump is the exact opposite and so we shouldn’t be comparing apples and oranges here.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        It really doesn’t matter who incited it. The Nazis started the Reichstag fire, and their opponents ended up getting blamed for that, too.

        In fact, that’s my central point: no matter who starts it, the left always ends up getting blamed. Doesn’t matter who threw the first punch; it’s the hippies who will hang. Which is why MLK was never seen endorsing that strategy, and in fact worked very very hard to keep his folks on the right side of that equation. The Civil Rights movement crashed and burned when he died, and other leaders encouraged them to abandon the nonviolent strategy.

        This stuff never, ever works for the left. Even being seen standing on the same street corner with it, even if we had nothing to do with it, costs us. Which is why Rule 1 of being a progressive is that you never throw a punch — not the first one, not the last one. Jesus knew this. Gandhi knew this. We forget it at our peril.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Sara Robinson: Even granting that you’re right, it isn’t some divine providence that the left is always blamed, rightly or wrongly, when shit like this happens. When people see stuff like that on TV, do they think that this is what just happens with liberals or do they see a Trump rally spun out of control, yet again? Place your bets.

        I would only say that we’ve seen so many so-called ‘conventional’ standards thrown out the window this year and so we shouldn’t be surprised if one more gets added to the proverbial bonfire. Of course that’s no reason for overconfidence or complacency, but let’s take solace in the fact that prominent political figures like Sanders have already come out in immediate and swift dismissal of any and all forms of violence.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        Sanders will get no props for that. The right will say that he’s lost control of his people (which is probably true). The protesters will see a wink that probably isn’t there: they’ll assure themselves that he has to say that in public, but he secretly thinks what they’re doing is right.

        So everybody projects their own story into it. And Sanders set himself up for this when started talking about a revolution: his followers are now primed for it, and some of them are determined to bring it about with or without him — either by protesting Trump, or joining him
        . There’s no way he can get that horse back in the barn now that he’s let it loose.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Sara Robinson: You’ll get no argument from me on that. I’ve thought that Sanders had unleashed forces that he never had any hope of controlling for a while now. That said however, I’d rather have him making a statement condemning the violence rather than not.

        In any case, thankfully no one has been seriously hurt thus far. Of course, we’re going to have to wait for Cleveland to see just how bad this could and will get.

    • All you have to do is listen to Alex Jones’s show, Infowars to learn what is out there. They vote and they multiply! Alex Jones is making a fortune selling lies and fear to the gullible. The militias probably love the guy!

      i remember the 1990’s when Bill Climton was president. Hannity was just coming up! Had a radio show in NYC. He would talk about Clinton having murdered Vince Foster! How Bill Clinton was a heavy coke user and had nostril implants because of his addiction! The 2000 election, McCain lost the South Carolina primary because of the rumor going around that he had a black baby with a prostitute! Of course George Bush claimed to have nothing to do with that rumor!

      The Republican party has been flirting with the insane for decades. The only difference now is Trump has figured out how to go mainstream with the lunacy!

      The only question in my mind is what happens to the party after trump looses! I will bet $10,000 of Mitt Romney’s money Trump looses and becomes a big voice in the party. Blaming the Republican “elite” for the loss. Pulling the party further over to the right!

  16. DFC says:

    Chris, I admire your commitment to the integrity of the GOP and your efforts to protect it against the threat it faces. But you’re wrong when you say “We are starting to perceive the outline of the unknown lands into which Donald Trump is leading us.”You’re not just starting to diagnose this problem, and being flummoxed by it for another day won’t do you or the Republicans any good. The party passed a tipping point long ago. Republicans saw it happening.

    It seems like a good idea that time. Here’s the problem: the Republican Party explicitly represents the idea facts are determined by power, not by empirical observation. They fight now for the right to say what truth is, as they see it, and to force the nation to comply with their aggressive subjectivity. They want to nullify reality. This isn’t accidental disorientation into terra incognita. They’re burning your map.

    The blooms on the X-Ray were detectable spots back when Newt Gingrich sat in Congress. His version of the illness was itself nothing new; all he did was reintroduce an even older idea that was debated here starting at the Founding. They’ve openly made this policy for years. They insist that belief, not empirical investigation, is the basis for reality. They insist that power ought to determine facts. They want truth itself to be not self-evident, but situational and expedient for the ones it serves, even if those ones are a small minority.

    The Bush White House said as much when a high official, presumably Karl Rove, told Ron Susskind, “The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ … ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’”

    There it is. Reality is a matter of belief. Based on the insanity that there are alternatives to reality in the first place, elevating the alternative to it is possible by sheer force and speed. And that overthrow is only aided by people who judiciously seek and weigh evidence, failing to understand that the people you’re examining here have overthrown the very idea of evidence. Now they just act.

    Rove is wrong, of course, because he and the GOP haven’t created any new realities. They’re content to vandalize yours.

    This goes only one way, and we can see it in Donald Trump’s candidacy. The very bedrock of law, science and capitalism is the idea of fact. Trump attacks it all by example and explicitly in what he promises to do. He is the supreme nullifier, 21st century secessionism on the march. He wants to secede from finance by destroying the faith and credit of the United States. He wants to secede from science by simply believing something else. He wants to secede from law by convicting without trial. He wants to destroy every constraint a democratic republic requires from its leaders and rule with the mob at his back—and he is saying so. He’ll take the GOP ahead into the future it has been creating for itself for decades: he’ll make it a brand; he’ll make the brand a religion; he’ll install himself as its Supreme Leader; and he’ll make the faith into an absolutist power that can wipe out the past, lock the present into its vision, and extrapolate that iron vision forward. If that all sounds hyperbolic, consider the evidence you already see of this, and remember the most daunting thing about it: he’s making it all fun. People are enjoying this. People like Paul Ryan who ought to know better are rationalizing it and acquiescing to it. The press is mulling and navel-staring at a Nuremberg rally. And millions of Americans are prepared to shred their own Constitution to make it happen—because it’s fun.

    You’re wrong to say that “Despite all this, Republican voters have made him their Presidential nominee.” It’s because of this that he leads the GOP. The ground was prepared for him years ago by the Southern Strategy and by the deification of Ronald Reagan and by George W. Bush’s looking-glass White House, by Gingrich’s “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control” and by Frank Luntz’s focus groups and by Fox News and talk radio. Trump doesn’t have the energy or the imagination to lead anything like this. All he needed to be was an opportunist.

    You’re wrong too to say that “whatever political legitimacy the Republican Party currently retains has been placed in the service a man willing to use any means for his own political ends.” Legitimacy is still there for the taking, if Republicans remember that this is a nation where there are self-evident truths and recommit the GOP to upholding that idea. All the political power afoot right now can’t change the fact of fact, and the utility in our lives every day of empirical reality. In a 21st century capitalist economy that relies on facts, Trump might as well be fighting to repeal physics. He’s insisting that if enough people—other than Trump—jump out a window in their sincerely held belief, they can make gravity go away. We’ve seen this scam a million times. It drove secessionism here in the 19th century. It drove Nazism in Germany in the 20th. It might have been stopped had people not deliberated so long. The disorientated deliberation of good people is what Trumpism needs now. Trump’s hurricane is all hot air if you stop diagnosing and start responding. You can choose to purge or be purged by Trumpism and willful ignorance. That “Trump has zero shot at the White House” isn’t so, and it sure as hell does matter, because here’s the future of the party if you let him be that: Trump has hijacked the brand. From now on, if you permit it, the GOP will have no voice but his: ugly, terrified, and vindictive. The party’s deep purpose now is pure nihilism unless the remaining good Republicans retake the party of Lincoln. He would have recognized this. His version of this war was fought for the same things: that we have to be a reality-based community and that the reality of facts belongs to us all.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Also a very solid post. Good stuff on here today.

    • DFC,

      We will know the Republican party has made a turn for the better when they say Global Warming is not a hoax, that anti-vaxxers are nuts, that voter suppression has no place in the Republican party, That education is good, that when 99 out of 100 scientists believe something we should listen, that everyone walking around with a loaded gun is not a good idea, that tax cuts do add to the deficit!

      i am not holding my breath waiting for the moment. No Republican today will take the chance of loosing his/her seat by saying what any normal person already knows.


    • antimule says:

      to be fair, the whole “we create our own realities” BS was originally concoted on the left in a form of postmodernism. in fact I would say that a lot of right wing BS is coopted and enlarged lefty BS.

  17. Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

    “The bulk of the public looks at that miserable Trump supporter with egg on her face and feels a pang of schadenfraude. ”

    Don’t count me in with the bulk of the public then.

    The protesters were chasing, threatening, and assaulting Trump supporters based on their support for a politician.

    That is fucking bullshit, and they need their happy asses put in jail.

    I don’t like Trump, but I like these protesters even less.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Can’t really disagree with what you’re saying, though it’d be a lie to say it’s easy to feel sorry for Trump’s supporters. Part of me despises their weakness and their support for such a racist demagogue like Trump, even if the other part of me can understand why.

      • flypusher says:

        It’s the political equivalent of rolling coal for the ignorant masses. For people like Ryan, it’s worse than a deal with the Devil. At least the Devil always delivers, even if the price ends up being higher than you originally thought. There’s no good reason to believe that the thin-skinned vulgarian will support the causes Ryan wants. Selling your soul for nothing is the ultimate stupidity. The ignorant masses at least get their dose of stigginit.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        I found Mark Halperin’s rationale for Ryan’s endorsing Trump particularly infuriating. In a nutshell, he said: “Well he’s the Speaker of the House and he has to think about protecting his majority. He’s the most prominent Republican in Congress and blah blah blah blah”.

        Bull. Freakin’. Shit.

        That Ryan is as powerful as he is is all the more reason that he, perhaps more than anyone else, should’ve come out in defiance of Trump. The Speaker may have been the last proverbial domino to fall, but he sounded off the loudest. So much for the so-called “man of principle”

      • flypusher says:

        ‘So much for the so-called “man of principle”.’

        I have probably never rooted so hard for something as I am currently rooting for his sellout to bite him in the ass, hard.

        That and McConnell being forced to do a 180 turn on Garland’s nomination to obstruct President elect Clinton.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        This is *exactly* what I was talking about upthread. Those protestors are creating sympathy for Trump and his followers, which is the very last thing this country needs right now.

    • flypusher says:

      For you, Homer:

      I agree. Protest against Drumpft, sure. Better yet, go vote against him and help others vote against him. But punching, burning, throwing things, etc.? No. Cut that crap out.

  18. Stephen says:

    While history may not repeat it certainly rhymes. Andrew Jackson was racist, white nationalist, practise ethnic clransing and destroyed Hamilton’s central national bank.
    The sixties were pretty violent with war and civil right demonstrations. And Nixon tried to set up his version of Big Brother. Also the environment movement got going against heavy opposition. Most of it’s goals eventually got accomplished. Yes Trump is a dangerous demagogue. But we have trodden this road before. I maybe naive but think the majority of us are smart enough not to vote this guy into power. You always have people who rather be ruled my a strongman than think for themselves and take up the uncertainty of self rule. But thank God they are the minority.

  19. way2gosassy says:

    As if anyone needed reminding, Hillary Clinton, using his own words, reminded everyone what a completely inappropriate candidate Trump is. The fact that Paul Ryan used her speech yesterday to hide behind while expressing his support for Trump tells us just what a sad state of affairs the GOP finds it’s self.

  20. antimule says:

    well one bright spot is that the politicians are more likely to listen to white people complaining than to minorities. Trump has shown that there’s now many dissatisfied whites. How to direct that disatisfaction towards something constructive, eg UBI, I dunno.

  21. vikinghou says:

    I would say the monster is fascism, pure and simple. And Trump has plenty of kindred spirits in European politics too.

    • A Non Mouse says:

      I hesitate to agree fully with this. I think fascism is very much a product of a particular place and time (early 20th-century Europe, of course), and, as such, isn’t really found in modern American politics. It’s certainly authoritarian in nature, though, and I agree that this is the ‘monster’ referenced.

      • goplifer says:

        Trump isn’t a Fascist. We have our own unique demons. Like Fascism, the disease infecting the Republican Party is of the right-wing authoritarian variety, but there are some weird shades to it. Our Confederate ideological heritage (older than our independence) stands out along with the unique role of white supremacy in our culture. This is uniquely our own and hasn’t really been named.

      • A Non Mouse says:

        White supremacy is a fairly straightforward facet of authoritarianism, being a form of tribalism. Could you elaborate on the Confederate ideological heritage angle a bit? I’m aware of Civil War history at a high school level, but, given that you noted that this predates our independence, I gather that Civil War era events may be related to earlier history. And, being a northerner, I haven’t been steeped in Confederate heritage in the way someone native to the South might be.

      • Griffin says:

        I think the biggest difference is that Fascists use a highly centralized national government to carry out their goals, whereas “Neo-Confederates” and their ilk use state/local politics and generally try to weaken the Federal government, because they view it as a threat to cultural supremacy. In Europe their are more traditional “Nobles” who have seen the government as a tool on their behalf and have taken up the bulk of reactionary right politics, whereas the US lacks traditional nobles and instead reactionary right politics is more reliant on local groups carrying out their will against minorities without the Federal Government trying to stop them.

        Then of course you have little differences, like neo-confederate politics being generally more steeped in religion than European Fascism (European fascists were often “just” very conservative Catholics, but Neo-Confederates are Protestant Bibical literalists).

        I think this American Reactionary phenomenon that is popular in the South (paleoconservatism?) and its somewhat different Northern counterpart, the ideology of “pseudo-conservatism” (only Richard Hofsteader has really tried to pin it down) both remain very understudied. A lot of people think all radical righties are the same but their are different factions with different values, which makes it tricky to study.

      • goplifer says:

        What he said.

      • goplifer says:

        What makes Confederate politics so awkward is the strange overlap between authoritarianism and decentralization. There was practically no central government in the Southern states before the revolution, after the revolution, or up until the point when the federal government started to assert itself after the 60’s. Yet those states operated under stiflingly oppressive, violent, authoritarian regimes, more familiar to the Caribbean than to the rest of the US.

        Every form of central authority was rejected and repressed in the Southern states, even though that blocked them from building roads, rail lines, canals, ports, and other infrastructure that could have supported wider wealth (and allowed them to compete militarily when it mattered). Even militias, which were critical to maintaining the compliance of a slave population, were locally organized and funded by plantation owners, blocking state governments from gaining too much authority. Allowing the growth of a meaningful state power would have created a mechanism by which the masses could have constrained the influence of large property owners.

        It was a sort of decentralized Fascism, which in other words means it was not Fascism at all.

        This economic and philosophical heritage was not limited to the South, though it was never dominant anywhere else. Much of what we call ‘libertarianism’ today has its older roots in a cleaned up version of what these folks were promoting.

        Jim Crow was a cultural phenomenon much more than a legal framework. Go back through a century of records and you’ll struggle to find one instance (before the late 50’s) in which its terms were enforced through an official exercise of power by a public employee. How do you combine libertarianism and Fascism? I’m not sure I know, yet that’s the political framework the South lived under until…well, until sometime hopefully in the near future when that horrible legacy weakens beyond relevance.

        White nationalism in the US is entwined with Confederate political thought to an almost inseparable degree. That means that this approach to politics is not limited to the South. George Wallace won a third of the Democratic primary vote in Wisconsin in ’64. Many parts of the Ohio Valley and the industrial belt were deeply sympathetic to the Confederates in the Civil War and retained some of that legacy. And this way of approaching economic life and social regulation has thoroughly infected the GOP, basically defining it in our time.

        It is not Fascism. It is our own unique, American disease.

      • A Non Mouse says:

        Thanks! I find the, for lack of a better term, “meta” aspects of politics (the cultural and historical norms, and mental processes which lead to actual political views — maybe there’s an accepted term for this that I’m not aware of) to be fascinating, and actually more interesting than the politics themselves.

      • A Non Mouse says:

        Thanks, to you, too, goplifer (I wrote my previous reply after Griffin posted his response, and before I saw your elaboration). The way I read both of your responses, the concept seems logical enough in its own way: a large landowner was a big fish in a small pond due to the relative level of resources he controlled, and a state government or other authority with similar scope had the potential to constrain the activities of that landowner, and therefore posed a threat to his perceived freedom.

        I’m reminded of the affair with Cliven Bundy a while ago, specifically his contention that he recognized no governmental authority higher than that of a county sheriff. Perhaps this is a surviving strain of the cultural impulse?

        It also makes a certain amount of horrifying sense that this particular breed of authoritarianism would be closely intertwined with white supremacy. After all, the concept of one’s own ‘tribe’ being superior to another one, and therefore having something of a controlling stake in the subjugated tribe, is quite viscerally authoritarian.

        By extension, too, I suppose it was, in a way, inevitable that this impulse would become concentrated, over time, in the GOP after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, as the Democratic Party adopted racial equality as a party plank, which would be fundamentally hostile to Confederate politics as you describe them.

        I quite like reading your site, by the way. You are able to connect issues to history and current events in a way that makes sense to me, in that I can connect the things you write about to my own experiences. I’ve not found that before; most political writing is reduced to matters of opinion, which I can either nod along to, or not, and is, ultimately, not especially interesting. Additionally, you seem to foster good community discussion on a touchy subject, which is becoming increasingly rare on the internet.

      • Fair Economist says:

        At this point, I think Trump *is* a fascist. He’s threatening to use executive power to punish political enemies, calling for harassment or worse of a judge, talking about waterboarding Hillary, and entering a rally to the Ride of the Valkyries. Seriously! This is no longer “he’s a little like a fascist” or Hungarian-style neofascism.

      • Stephen says:

        “Allowing the growth of a meaningful state power would have created a mechanism by which the masses could have constrained the influence of large property owners.”

        Same thing today from rich white right wing billionaires and their allies. They want to defunct the government, strip off regulations, write laws and regulation which gives them unbridled marketing power. When they fail to achieve that they paralyze government waiting for a more opportune time.

        The one problem these bogeymen have is the one person one vote rule. They have gotten around that by manipulating ignorant fearful voters. End that and the people will discover they really do have the power.

      • flypusher says:

        Trump may not technically be a facist, but he sure does have a few pages out of Hitler’s playbook.

      • WX Wall says:

        I understand your conundrum Lifer, re: American authoritarianism vs. decentralization, and its difference from European fascism, but I think there’s a far easier explanation: American fascists support authoritarianism only as high up the political chain that they can control, and then support decentralization for everything above that.

        And I disagree that Southern confederacy wasn’t authoritarian to the core. Your key sentence was this one: “Allowing the growth of a meaningful state power would have created a mechanism by which the masses could have constrained the influence of large property owners.” Which is why authoritarianism could only be established at levels below state-wide, and protected with a veneer of decentralization. But that doesn’t mean there was any actual belief in that decentralization. That’s sort of like saying the Nazis weren’t fascists until they won the national elections. They sure were: they just didn’t have the power to implement it yet.

        Take North Carolina and transgender bathrooms: the authoritarians control the state, and so they pass a law overriding decentralized municipal control of local bathroom restrictions. Their colleagues then simultaneously declare the sanctity of local control in Congress to avoid Federal overrides of state statutes. Is there any overarching philosophical debate about authoritarianism vs. decentralization? Not really, at least nothing that’s logically coherent. Call it pragmatic (or hypocritical 🙂 authoritarianism…

        The unfortunate truth (for authoritarians) is that America, so far, has never had a majority who support centralized authority: our entire founding myth is based on overthrowing central authority, and the outlaw rebel is still our revered archetype. But whenever pockets of like-minded authoritarians can be found (or created through common interests), it’s quickly organized around principles no different than centralized fascism. And then protected with a veneer of decentralization that’s applied by reminding the majority who disagree with your policies to at least support the American founding ethos which you’re secretly trying to destroy.

        You can see this all over: the abortion debate. Pro-choice at the Federal level turns into circumventing the law at the state level, overriding local (and even medical professional) efforts to provide the service. In education, when fundamentalist Republicans want to teach creationism, they first take over school boards and, arguing for local control against state and federal mandates, redesign the curriculum. However, as soon as they gain state power, they quickly turn around and establish state curriculum guidelines to overrule any local school board that still wants to teach evolution, regardless of how “sacred” local control was before the last election. The Republicans famously want to abolish the Dept. of Education, but Ted Cruz only wants to do that because he’s not the President. If he ever becomes one, I’ll bet good money he’ll *increase* their budget and use it enforce his views on education throughout the land. This is why the biggest admirers of Putin in America aren’t lefty commies, but right-wing authoritarians. Decentralization is only a headfake used when you don’t yet have enough political power.

        At the end of the day, the only reason there’s no national fascism in America (yet, although orange may be the new brown this election…) is simply because they’re not yet the majority. Aside from that difference in power, I don’t see much difference.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        The master scholar of fascism, Robert Paxton, would heartily disagree with all of you. In Paxton’s telling, the first proto-fascist movement of the modern era (and fascism is specifically a pathology of modernism, so what this means is “the first fascism ever”) happened right here in the good old USA — the rise of the KKK in the decades after the Civil War.

        The Klan worked out the basic themes that are common to all subsequent fascisms: palingenesis, nationalism, purity, definition by opposition to a hated other (always immigrants or racial minorities; in Trump’s case, both), overt sexism centered around fetishization of the white home — it goes on and on, but you get the gist. Perhaps their most important contribution was the development of a specific aesthetic of violence, which is pretty faithfully replicated in all fascisms. (The fact that they’re now playing Wagner at Trump’s rallies is chilling for those of us who understood that that music was also the soundtrack for German fascism.)

        Hitler was a careful student of the KKK, admired them openly, and borrowed vast swaths of their strategies, narrative, and aesthetic in building Nazism. There’s nothing about Trump’s movement that doesn’t fit the same tight definition of fascism. It may have 21st-century trappings, but the basics are all present and accounted for.

    • vikinghou says:

      I would add that Trump is not a “small government” guy.

      • goplifer says:

        He’s not really a big government guy either, so to speak. He hasn’t described any coherent policy positions at all. So far he’s run a whole campaign based on nothing but racist insults, incomplete sentences, and rants.

        So far if you ask people what they like about Trump, you hear them describe their racist fears. Let him continue long enough, and the political system in which he’s operating will eventually box him into the spot where he fits – northern Neo-Confederate.

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