New Forbes post: Bad news about the Blue Wall

Here’s an excerpt from my latest post at Forbes:

As the GOP has evolved into America’s party of white nationalists they have locked themselves out of the White House for the foreseeable future. The emergence of an Electoral College Blue Wall, consisting of states too diverse to be won with racist appeals and too populous for Republicans to overcome, has Democrats optimistic about the prospects of dominating national politics indefinitely. That development is not as positive for Democrats as it might seem. The Blue Wall casts a shadow that obscures the debate, discussion and compromise necessary to build sound policy.

Electoral College dominance by Democrats threatens a long, suffocating red/blue stalemate, with Democrats complacent in control of the White House and Republicans content to play a blocking role in Congress and red state legislatures. A new politics of racial resentment threatens to snuff out policy debates.

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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48 comments on “New Forbes post: Bad news about the Blue Wall
  1. elvispizza says:

    Any division, racial or otherwise, is played to the advantage of wealthy elites. Businesses content to indefinitely continue making just one more dollar before acknowledging climate change are in the majority. The inverted totalitarian state is maintained by the establishment that you suggest is soon to be legitimately represented only by the Democrats. I’d suggest the necessary change is unlikely to come plausibly wearing the hat that has more in common with a klan hood than the erstwhile party of Lincoln.
    Look to the Sandernistas and the Green Party. A new socioeconomic paradigm has to look new, because if there’s one thing Cheeto Jesus is right about, it’s that people don’t trust the same old politicians.

  2. 1mime says:

    This article looks at Trump’s foundation practices. There appears to be unanimous agreement that Trump is operating illegally.

    If this is so, why isn’t he being charged? Why hasn’t the GOP House Oversight Committee called him in to testify?

    • Kenneth Devaney says:

      The New York AG has opened an investigation and this article in WAPO makes some unsettling assertions. You owe me money but send it to my Foundation….should pay income tax on it but they don’t. Awards are clearly marked but there are also payments going out for services rendered by his companies.

      • 1mime says:

        Since you and I are tracking the Wells Fargo matter, I heard reported today that the WF Board is considering a claw-back of bonuses to Stumpf and the female executive who was responsible for the program that has caused so much controversy. Nothing yet about any fraud charges, but guess Board wanted to be “on the record” in case the DOJ decides to investigate.

        Grandstanding – Sometimes it works.

      • 1mime says:

        The Frontline Documentary tonight, “The Choice” was very well done. It tracked the lives of Trump and Clinton from adolescence to today. It spared no detail about their faults but it did help one better understand how they have become the people we see today. If you didn’t get to view it, you can probably access it online through PBS streaming. Trump’s diversion from real estate magnate to branding was laid out sequentially over years of public self-promotion, several bankruptcies, with little remorse for the people who picked up the tab nor any personal life lessons. Clinton was scrutinized for her early interest in politics after being exposed to MLK in Chicago, and campus leadership, to her decision to marry Bill, stand by him despite several infidelities, and decide to pursue her own career. Which she did as a Senator in NY and then her service as SOS and the two bids for POTUS. It did help “frame” the candidates progression over time. It wasn’t always pretty but it hasn’t changed my mind about voting for “her” vs “him”.

  3. Sir Magpie De Crow says:

    Speaking of white nationalism, here are some lovely comments from the Ohio camapign chair for Donald Trump. Her name is Kathy Miller. She had to resign for some reason(s). Also she was an official Ohio elector to the Electoral College. She has resigned that position too.

    “I don’t think there was any racism until Obama got elected. We never had problems like this … Now, with the people with the guns, and shooting up neighborhoods, and not being responsible citizens, that’s a big change, and I think that’s the philosophy that Obama has perpetuated on America,”

    “If you’re black and you haven’t been successful in the last 50 years, it’s your own fault. You’ve had every opportunity, it was given to you,”

    “You’ve had the same schools everybody else went to. You had benefits to go to college that white kids didn’t have. You had all the advantages and didn’t take advantage of it. It’s not our fault, certainly,”

    Miller also suggested African-Americans vote less because it’s “part of the way they’re raised” and she called the “Black Lives Matter” movement “a stupid waste of time.”

    Kathy Miller also insisted there was “no racism” during the 1960s

    The local GOP responded in an act of pure courage, or some would say an act of common sense. You be the judge.

    “The Mahoning chair for the Republican Party, Mark Munroe, said he contacted the Trump campaign immediately asking for Miller to be “dismissed” over her “insane comments.” The Trump campaign accepted her resignation Thursday.”

    “We should not let those really inappropriate comments affect the Trump campaign,” Munroe added.”

    The insanity reference was a nice touch. Chris Ladd for the win. “Politics of Crazy”… best book title, evah.

    Well with that out of the way the Trump campaign has been purged once again of all racially insensitive surrogates for…

    Ah crap! Mike Pence, not you too!

    “Pence: ‘Too much talk’ of institutional, racial bias in law enforcement”

  4. RobA says:

    I don’t think a stalemate such as we’ve seen the past few years can go on indefinitely. There just aren’t enough ideologues on either side who are willing to sink the entire ship based on some nutty ideas of ideological purity.

    There are enough pragmatists who actually want a functioning government that reside in the middle that will eventually swing one way or the other to break the stalemate. Every demographic, cultural, and historical trend thus far suggests it will be the GOP who will be blamed overall and will be thrown out.

    I keep coming back to voter apathy. It’s easy to be apathetic when things are going pretty good. If you looked at a graph of voter satisfaction vs political involvement, my guess is you would find a very highly correlated relationship. After 2008, most Dems felt pretty good about themselves, the county and the future. That is anathema to voter turnout. Meanwhile, most of the GoP base felt (and right wing media exploited heavily) feelings of impending doom, and hysteria. That is a recipe for very high voter turnout.

    It is undeniable that a clear majority of Americans arw progressive/liberal in their beliefs, if not always in their identities. When these ppl start to feel the same feelings of impending doom/anger, voter turnout will react accordingly. I think ppl are starting to realize that extremist ideologues (almost entirely concentrated in the GOP) are an existential threat to America, and these obstructionists will be vited out.

    It’s kind of already starting. Besides Trump himself, tea party/extremist types are starting to jump the shark en masse. Huelskamp couldn’t even win his primary, for crying out loud. Moderates ran the table on extremist in KS. Even Trump himself is downright liberal in some ways unthinkable for a GOP nominee even 12 months ago. His black and LGBT outreach, while doomed and insincere, at least pays lip service to these groups in ways that is hard to imagine not that long ago.

    With LGBT folks, it’s not even that the GOP has written them off, it’s that they actively dislike them and think they’re all immoral sinners destined for hell. To have the GoP nominee give ANY lip service to LGBT rights is pretty shocking.

  5. Griffin says:

    Patrick Buchanan is still alive and still pulling for Trump (!

    Also weird fun fact about the American Conservative is that Howard Ahmanson Jr is on the board of trustees.

  6. In one of the more repugnant, revealing comments in the wake of Charlotte, a NC GOP Congressman and Trump supporter (of course), Robert Pittenger, said on TV that African-Americans’ grievances aren’t because of any genuine racial profiling, unfairness, systemic racism or anything of the sort. No, he said, and I quote:

    “They hate white people, because white people are successful and they’re not.”

    And then, just because he felt like it, he went on a further rant about welfare, saying “I mean, yes, it is. It is a welfare state. We have spent trillions of dollars on welfare, we have put people in bondage so that they can’t be all they’re capable of being.”

    Perhaps someone should open a history book for Rep. Pittenger to give him a glimpse into what people being put into bondage is really like.

    Christ, these assholes are just coming out of the woodwork one after the one, aren’t they?

    • Griffin says:

      Get a couple drinks into that guy and I’m willing to bet my left arm he unironically uses the phrases “anti-racism is code for anti-white” and “I’m not racist but…”.

      • JK74 says:

        Much as I might like to have your left arm, Griffin (my son can use it in his anatomy study), I don’t think I’ll take that bet – because I don’t bet against sure things.

    • RobA says:

      The Trump effect is real, and it’s dangerous.

      Obviously racism was and will always be around. Most thought we had got to a point in society where overt racism is at least considered shameful enough that most of the deplorable have enough sense to keep their mouth shut in public, and even in private with friends (unless your friends consist of the local Klavern). Trump is making it ok to hate openly. That doesn’t bode well for social cohesion in a broadly diverse society.

      • flypusher says:

        Racism is an infection that’s been in our society since Colonial times. It’s never been completely eradicated, and there are periodic flare ups. This is looking to be one of the nastier ones.

    • 1mime says:

      Yes, they are, and it’s important that rational people in America actually hear what this segment of Republicans been saying behind closed doors for a long time. The veil is dropping, slowly. Obama’s election began the part, Trump’s ascendancy has accelerated it.

  7. Kenneth Devaney says:

    Looking at the shifting demographics and changes to the economic base makes me wonder if North Carolina won’t soon be joining Virginia in the BW. Public servants like Rep Pittenger asserting that Blacks hate whites doesn’t help…anymore than Mike Pence denying there is any institutional racism in law enforcement. The only benefit to a Trump candidacy I can see is he is accelerating the BW phenom. When you’re in a hole…stop digging or in Chris’s better analogy if you hate the BW stop building it.

    • RobA says:

      Pence is a tone deaf idiot. He’s basically telling black ppl that the discrimination they think they feel is all in their heads.

      Same song and dance: Something something boot straps…..something something welfare…..something something personal responsibility.

  8. Griffin says:

    So what would you advise normal people who want to be involved in politics to do? I don’t want to join the local GOP because they’re batshit crazy and I don’t want to be associated with or support white nationalists, so thats out. Im not even sure what the Dems stand for anymore apart from opposing the far-right and I don’t like many of the concrete policies they do support, but should I just suck it up and join the Dems anyways? Or is it just a waste of time to bother right now and we should just wait it out to see what happens if either of the parties collapse?

    • 1mime says:

      Griffin, which specific Democratic policies do you not like?

      • Griffin says:

        In our local area THE big issue is rent control. Basically the way Lifer talks about the connection between his local Democratic party and how their connection to corruption in public unions would ever stop him from really being a Democrat is similar to how I feel about rent control laws. The laws on rent control are VERY strict and one of the effects of this (on which economists of most stripes agree) is that it causes housing shortages, drastically slows upgrades in improvements, causes owners to attempt to look for a reason to get rid of tenants because that’s the only way they can really raise the rent, and lowers the amount of money taxed by the city (which could be spent actually building low-cost housing or otherwise actually helping lower income people).

        This might all be OK if it was actually helping lower-income people but to make matters worse the people who most benefit are usually already middle-to-upper-class and have the social connections neccessary to get these nice rent controlled apartments in the first place, or have just sat on the property for decades. The city is trying to build more housing but can’t come close to keeping up.

        However these well-to-do renters are well-organzied and do vote, so the local Democratic Party supports these policies despite it flying in the face of basic economics and causing numerous problems. It’s not corruption on the level Lifer talks about but it is very shady.

        However there is no prominent, sane local group to support to improve these policies (I don’t think rent control needs to be removed completely right now, just loosened up to allow more investments). Our home/property owners association was an arm of our Republican party and has become fully radicalized. To make a long story short today its pamphlets and leaders resemble latter-day Birchers more than anything.

      • 1mime says:

        Griffin, you state that the local Democratic Party does not oppose these onerous rent control practices. Not knowing where exactly you live (within CA), I can’t offer an informed opinion, but I assume Democrats control local government. From what I’ve read about rent-control, it has good and bad points, especially in areas like CA and NYC where housing is scarce and expensive. You have astutely recognized that modification is a better goal than elimination. Work towards that.

        Like Ryan, I agree that the best place to start is local and small. You will learn how to interact within the political process and will have the greatest potential to achieve success. I am sure others here have a great deal of experience to offer you, but here are a few ideas for you to consider from my “school of hard knocks”:

        There are a couple of avenues available for an individual to pursue political action at the local level: work within an existing group to achieve change or, work individually then associate with an emerging constituency. You don’t have to do this by yourself, and, in fact, on an issue such as rent control, I doubt you would be successful, solo. People will come forward to join you and you will also want to recruit representation from those you need as partners to advance your efforts (Chamber, community action group, etc). Critical to your success is that you study the issue from all POV. Do this first. You will find that issues are more complicated than you imagined and that consensus will be important to the change process.

        Attend local government committee meetings responsible for housing decisions. This is usually where decision-making begins (not always) where you can learn more about the subject AND “who” the various players are. Participate in an appropriate, positive, substantive manner. Don’t waste the committee’s time nor make yourself a target. There’s plenty of time to “do” battle, later (-; Meet with staff who are knowledgeable in housing area. They can offer a great deal of information and will help you – or not, but at least you will learn the history of previous efforts and who will likely support your POV. IOW, work from within the system to effect change – at least at the beginning. I think you will enjoy the process and be a terrific participant. Try it!

        Other than this one issue, in your posts, you seem to agree with “how” the Democratic Party supports equality of gender, race, ethnicity, For you, the answer may become which party “most” reflects your deepest beliefs in how government should treat its people. Neither party is perfect, but you will ultimately figure out which party you are most comfortable with – or – work to start a new party!

    • >] “Im not even sure what the Dems stand for anymore apart from opposing the far-right and I don’t like many of the concrete policies they do support, but should I just suck it up and join the Dems anyways?

      If you’re having to hold your proverbial nose and take the dive, you’re probably better off not doing it at all.

      Why not just start small and try attending some local political events to try and get to know people? Pick any number of particular issues that you feel strongly about and you’re likely to find at least some of them represented in your area.

    • RobA says:

      “Im not even sure what the Dems stand for anymore apart from opposing the far-right”

      Are there examples of this? I try to check my bias, but I genuinely can’t see how obstructionist accusations shouldn’t be near universally leveled at the GOP. Mitch “One Term” McConnel being the poster boy.

      As for concrete policies, Dems at least have some. Single payer healthcare, massive job creating infrastructure bill, investing serious resources in climate change/renewable energy, fully funding science/education again.

      I contrast that with GOP policies, which, as far as I can tell, consist of:

      -Tax breaks for the rich. Always tax breaks for the rich
      – crippling most regulatory bodies
      -eliminating environmental protections
      – spending ever more money on the military
      – Forcing women to use men’s bathrooms and vice versa
      – impeaching political opponents

      And now we can add “building a wall” and “isolationism” to those.

      One of these parties is at least offering real solutions to real problems. The other is not a serious, functioning national party.

      • tmerritt15 says:


        There are a couple of good books that show very clearly what is driving the Republican Party. In one word, it is “money”. Or expressed differently, “Less government in business, and more business in government.” These two books are:
        1. Thomas Franks, “The Wrecking Crew” – It was published prior to the 2008 election and details the GOP corruption during the GW Bush Administration.
        2. Jane Mayer, “Dark Money” – that has been discussed previously on this site and has been highly recommended. This book is of more recent vintage.

        I am in the process of reading Dark Money and re-reading “The Wrecking Crew”. Dark Money is more difficult to read. I was reading it on my e-reader, but set it aside, temporarily to go back to “The Wrecking Crew”, because I ran out of battery life and “The Wrecking Crew” is easier to read. Reading a heavy book while exercising is a little difficult. Both books make it clear that the main element that is fueling the GOP at this time is “money.”

      • Griffin says:

        What? By opposing I don’t mean they’re obstructionist just that the party is so big-tent it’s made up of every faction in US politics that is scared of Republicans, ranging from the Left to the center-right. That big tent nature makes them inconsistant.

        “Single payer healthcare” – Nearly half the party is not in favor of Canadian styled healthcare. Obama couldn’t even get a public option when Dems controlled Congress and Clinton is for expanding the ACA in direct opposition to the left-wing of the party that’s in favor of scrapping the current system entirely for single-payer.

        “massive job creating infrastructure bill” – The New Democrats and Blue dogs are not going to approve NEARLY as much spending as the Liberals and Progressives would, the difference between the two is pretty massive.

        “investing serious resources in climate change/renewable energy” – Ok all factions in the Democratic Party acknowledge global warming but this is the norm for pretty much any mainstream party in the Western world that is not the GOP.

        “fully funding science/education again” There is a massive rift in the Democratic Party over whether or not college should be free and how to pay for it.

        What about trade? Are they free-traders (Clintonites) or do they want to repeal trade deals (Sanderistas)? Keep welfare spending about where it is with mild changes (Clinton’s) or massively increase the welfare state (Sanderistas)? I don’t think I even have to go into Taxes or regulations. Heck it’s only fairly recently they could mostly agree on gay marriage.

        The Democratic Party is what would happen if, in the UK, the Conservative Party, Liberal Party, and Labour Party all joined a single entity because UKIP was growing so powerful it required their collective efforts to counteract them. They are an anti-far right party, so I will vote for them to keep the fringe right out of power but they as that tent grows bigger and bigger it becomes increasingly unclear what the Dems are in favor of as internal factions that are pretty wildly at odds with each other policy-wise compete for infleunce.

      • 1mime says:

        RAther than perceive the many factions within the Democratic tent as a negative, I see it as a positive. Would you prefer the lock-step, scripted follower who is gerrymandered if he/she veers from the mandated path? I think it is far more healthy to have open contention within a party even as I recognize it is more difficult to manage. That is really the biggest challenge. However, even with the Sanders/Clinton split, most Dems have come together for the election – not all, but most.

        As for single payer, this issue is so complicated that few understand it enough to say more than “it is an appealing concept because….” What I will say is that until the Dems introduced the ACA, with all its shortcomings, 44 million people were without health coverage at all. To me, that is unacceptable, to Repubs, meh………..

        Trade – I am for the TPP because it will help America export more goods to a region that is developing and because global trade is part of what is going to make our world better and more safe for more people.

        I am not scared of Republicans, I am offended by their message, their tactics, and their exclusionary policies. I think there is a big difference between choosing a party on the latter basis than on fear. Do I “fear” a presidency under DJ Trump? YES, because he is not a good man, is not prepared, and will threaten America’s security, economy and relationships. That is a considered “fear” not an emotional fear. Big difference/

  9. 1mime says:

    Leadership and “tone” are so critical to how people react to difficult situations. Here is a telling article on what Muslim Americans are experiencing and how Trump’s rhetoric is fanning the attacks against them.

  10. JK74 says:

    Chris, would it be possible to get some kind of post here whenever you put up a column at Forbes? I get notifications when you post here, and I don’t want to miss any of your musings. I haven’t looked at the comments section there, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the comments generated here are of a higher quality, too.
    Much obliged.

  11. 1mime says:

    It’s unfortunate that this campaign has not been about policy, as this excellent read on Clinton’s ambitious policy agenda reveals. Here’s the Hillary you never knew….in a year when (except me?)

  12. irapmup says:

    So who is holding the pillow above the sleeping face of our apparently moribund democracy?

    Fingerpointing won’t help stem the slide of electoral politics, but term limits will.

    There is no need and less use for any office holder to serve more than eight years in office. Like the President, once they have served, they should retire with their dignity or shame and never be allowed to return except as tourists guided through the halls by matronly doyens.

    The gridlock we face is due to people who have an agenda which is at odds with what the citizenry (we) need. Their interest is not in JQ Public, but in themselves and those whose vests they inhabit. Allowing them unlimited time and a revolving door does a disservice to all of us and the rest of the world

    Naive perhaps, but government should be free of special interests. We know what needs to be done and how it works. Why we need to go through the gratuitous process of a beauty pageant only makes sense to the entrenched class of professional weasels.

    These guys are clearly showing just how little they are needed. The sooner we get rid of them and their patronizing network the better. I am disgusted with most all of them and if they had any bones anywhere in their spineless bodies they would share my view.

    Mr Trump may sound as though he is my perfect candidate, but he is far from it and the one reason I will vote for Ms Clinton is the fact that as a woman she knows far better than any man just what sort of jerks we can be and more often are.

    If she is elected and proves to be no better than the lackey lickspittles who are blocking any progress in our hallowed halls of Congress a move to live among the penguins may be in order

    • Fair Economist says:

      We installed term limits in California. It just makes the lobbyists even stronger because they’re the only ones who really know what’s going on.

      Term limits = more power for special interests.

      • Stephen says:

        Same thing here in Florida. Was a big mistake.

      • Kenneth Devaney says:

        I agree and it would create a bias on Committee assignments and Chairs of Committees against states that had term limits vs those who do not. I know one remedy is to fairly tackle gerrymandering and end the practice. Its ridiculous that states slant the voices that make it to Congress by amplifying their numbers. It would stand to reason that a state’s electoral vote should come close to matching their congressional delegation.

      • 1mime says:

        There are some other consequences of gerrymandering. Witness: the rise of the Freedom Caucus. Tea Party members who vote as a block and support opponents within the Republican Party to run against moderates. They prove that when you design a system to “stack” the deck, it can backfire. Voting within the House, they basically hold the Speaker and the non-FC Republican members of the House, hostage. They’ve been very quiet of late but will come out of the woodwork for the budget negotiations.

    • 1mime says:

      At her absolute worst worst, Hillary Clinton can’t come close to this man’s greed and arrogance. Is “making money” on a campaign at the expense of the taxpayer really how we want our campaigns to be financed? Are campaign reimbursement rules abused? Is Trump abusing campaign finance rules by seeking reimbursements for these expenditures? Is there a conflict of interest? Does anybody care?

  13. In a previous Forbes’ post, you mentioned several elections that might determine whether the BW’s power is actually increasing. Depending on just how true that holds in this and future election cycles, just how much might that embolden Democrats to marginalize Republicans in Congress? A minority in the House already holds very little real power and the filibuster is almost assuredly on the way out in the Senate in the near future. It’s not that far-fetched to see a future with a Democratic Congress and a Republican minority effectively left toothless.

    Really though, that shouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, and no, not just for partisan purposes. To a mind-numbingly frustrating degree, obstructionism can be a very effective political tactic, letting Dems and Repubs alike toss the political football back and forth while the issues and the people suffer the consequences. If that’s taken away though, then where do you go?

  14. flypusher says:

    OT, but I had to share this. I’m not certain if this is serious, but this appears to be Trump crowd sourcing his debate prep:

    Yeah, I got your suggestions right here!

  15. 1mime says:

    Chris, did you see my suggestion for a correction?

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