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It Is Better to Be Feared than Loved, if You Cannot Be Both

2017 January 27
by Ian Welsh

Contra Machiavelli, I prefer ruling through love, rather than fear.

But, if it can’t be love…

marcotte-begins-to-get-it

…then fear will do.

For a long, long time, centrist Dems have loathed, despised, and even hated the left-wing part of the Democratic base. (Obama was quite public about this.)

Republican politicians loathe, despise, and even hate their base, too. Be very clear about that. The difference is simple: Democrats weren’t scared of their base and Republicans are (as they should be).

If that’s changing, that’s good news.

Marcotte, of course, is deranged and essentially incapable of reason due to her strong personal identification with Clinton as the avatar of woman. Her understanding of why Sanders was popular and of why Clinton lost are both deficient, and that’s the point. It is precisely those people who cannot be reached through reason who must be reached through emotion; and because they prefer to despise the people, it cannot be love that motivates them.

And so, fear it is.

(Sanders, by the way, appears to be the most popular federal politician in America.)


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86 Responses leave one →
  1. Tom permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Too bad Sanders wouldn\’t fight the illegal voter suppression that cost him the nomination.

    He decided instead to play martyr.

    If the Democrats don\’t fucking get their shit together, the Republicans will win over the Rust Belt and rule for a generation or two.

    So far no leader is emerging who can win back the Rust Belt. They don\’t want excuses on why jobs are disappearing, they know why and they wanted the DNC to put a stop to it so they could live again.

  2. Webstir permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Ian, could you post a link to what has Marcotte so riled up? I don’t twitter, and I certainly don’t HuffPo.

    @Tom: +1

  3. Peter permalink
    January 27, 2017

    This Marcotte person is the exact type of feral Clintonite they need to lead them into oblivion. Strip off those nice liberal smiles and reveal the sneers and snarls that have always been there on more of these Clintonites than could be imagined before this election. Any so called leftist or even just a human must be nearly insane to think they can join with these creatures and represent anything ‘progressive’

    While the Clintonite elite and their minions are immune to learning anything the republican elite has a chance to show some respect for the working class people who stripped away their power and then returned it to them with a new CEO to guide them.

  4. Webstir permalink
    January 27, 2017

    @Peter

    I find it fascinating that you and so very many others — both left and right on the political spectrum — are so ready to ascribe malicious intent to people’s beliefs and actions. I honestly don’t believe this is the case.

    Rather, it seems to me that most people are just incapable of taking in the bigger picture, thereby allowing themselves to respond with compassion instead of ridicule. The “bigger picture” of which I speak is that we fail to realize how “conditioned” our responses to any given issue are depending upon the “in-group” we surround ourselves.

    I once had a psych professor describe the human brain as an over glorified simplification machine. Thus, the bulk of our responses are governed by heuristics. Historically the evolution of heuristic responses was evolutionarily adaptive by allowing us to respond rapidly to simple scenarios. Today, however, they consistently fail us when confronted with complexity.

    Here, to me, Marcotte is simply displaying a conditioned response to the stimulus constantly provided by her in-group. Then, she is rewarded by her “followers,” thereby reinforcing the behavior. A vicious cycle, yes. Malicious? I don’t think so. Short-sighted? Definitely.

  5. Willy permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Maybe it’s simple. She believes a female enemy of her enemy is better than a male enemy of her enemy. A woman who sugar-coats medicine she ‘knows’ is best for us, is better than a man…

    I’ve personally known some great women in power. But the rotten ones knocked me over to the compulsion to judge everyone on a case by case basis.

  6. Willy permalink
    January 27, 2017

    The academic who gets wrapped around the axle of a failed theory, because their livelihoods and reputation are dependent on it? It’s hard to say you were wrong and walk away from all that.

  7. January 27, 2017

    But this is all based on the idea that Trump’s election means what you think it means. Judging by the way that some people here talk very emotionally about Clinton and use the very imagery and language about women that Marcotte has devoted her life to fight, it’s hard to call her completely “deranged” or refuse to admit that she has at least a smidgen of a point.

  8. StewartM permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Hmm, maybe Marcotte (self-appointed defender of all those containing XX chromosomes) would prefer governance by Clintonistas and Obamacrats, under which the reproductive rights of (mostly poor, non-professional) women continued to be rolled back, as opposed to the governance of “purists” who might actually try to *do something* to regain those rights? Just a thought.

  9. January 27, 2017

    Hmm, maybe Marcotte (self-appointed defender of all those containing XX chromosomes) would prefer governance by Clintonistas and Obamacrats, under which the reproductive rights of (mostly poor, non-professional) women continued to be rolled back, as opposed to the governance of “purists” who might actually try to *do something* to regain those rights? Just a thought.

    She doesn’t think, for good reason, that she will ever see the government of such purists of which you speak.

  10. StewartM permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Mandos:

    She doesn’t think, for good reason, that she will ever see the government of such purists of which you speak.

    Then she has essentially given up on all womens rights save those of rich women? “Women’s rights” is now to be measured by the number of glass ceilings that rich women break through?

  11. January 27, 2017

    Then she has essentially given up on all womens rights save those of rich women? “Women’s rights” is now to be measured by the number of glass ceilings that rich women break through?

    She like many people is obviously an incrementalist. Whether that’s a good strategy or not is another discussion, but when faced between a binary choice of Clinton or Trump on election day, with alternative able to appeal to enough of the public to change the presidential binary, Clinton without question produces the fewest losses with regards to women’s reproductive rights across all classes, not just rich women.

  12. January 27, 2017

    er, “with *no* alternative”, it should say.

  13. January 27, 2017

    I mean, even under President Pence or President Pat Buchanan rich women will probably have safe abortions. That’s how it works. Under President Trump, a much bigger immediate retraction to lower class women (such as the global gag rule). Clinton would not have signed the global gag rule, so from a Marcottian perspective, Clinton is uniformly better, and that is a perfectly objective evaluation for her to make. To prefer Trump (or even, fail to prefer Clinton) is to say that there are reasons over and above reproductive rights that should dominate the decision-making process. Marcotte and others like her have never hid that they consider such a position evil in itself.

  14. Tomonthebeach permalink
    January 27, 2017

    I want another party in power that is neither Dem nor Rep, but that can fairly represent diverse but complementary viewpoints.

    I am not asking for a 3rd party. I think the Democrats have become too corrupt and opinionated (exclusive? elitist?) to motivate putting petty prejudices aside to restore a balanced governance.

    Meanwhile, Dems bikker and Reps are rolling back decades of civil rights and pissing off the entire globe. Roosevelt talked of bully politics, but I do not think he meant the kind Trump is exercising.

  15. StewartM permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Mandos:

    She like many people is obviously an incrementalist. Whether that’s a good strategy or not is another discussion, but when faced between a binary choice of Clinton or Trump on election day, with alternative able to appeal to enough of the public to change the presidential binary, Clinton without question produces the fewest losses with regards to women’s reproductive rights across all classes, not just rich women.

    I agree that rich women (or other minorities) will probably always keep their rights (or be the last to lose them).

    But no, this is not just an issue of how fast the ship goes down. New Dems like Clinton and Obama not only have presided over the declining fortunes of women and minorities and the poors that they claim to be oh-so-concerned about, they also go out of their way to stamp out movements or candidates who actually would strive to improve things (Sanders this year, Bill Halter in 2010, etc). They do this even in the face of polling that shows that the corporate New Dem polls worse than the more progressive candidate (or even will get obviously slaughtered in the general, like Blanche Lincoln in 2010). If we are using the sinking ship analogy, not only does the ship keep sinking under their tenure, the Clintons and Obamas shoot the people trying to man the pumps.

    This is not to say that Sanders would have won in 2016; far from it. He might have still lost because the Clintonistas and Obamacrats, no matter how horrible they say Trump is, would (like Tony Blair openly says about Jeremy Corbin) have rather seen the awful horrible Trump win over someone who might actually pursue a progressive agenda, and would have done what they could do behind the scenes to cause the progressive to lose (as I say, they’ve done it before). No matter how much they say they care about the poors, or women, or minorities, in reality preserving the wealth of their Wall Street donors and future employers is Job. #1.

    People like Marcotte likewise are part of the problem too, as they do not hold the Clintons and Obamas and their ilk responsible for their betrayals of the causes they supposedly advocate. Instead, they contort themselves into knots being apologists for them.

  16. StewartM permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Mandos:

    She like many people is obviously an incrementalist. Whether that’s a good strategy or not is another discussion, but when faced between a binary choice of Clinton or Trump on election day, with alternative able to appeal to enough of the public to change the presidential binary, Clinton without question produces the fewest losses with regards to women’s reproductive rights across all classes, not just rich women.

    I agree that rich women (or other minorities) will probably always keep their rights (or be the last to lose them).

    But no, this is not just an issue of how fast the ship goes down. New Dems like Clinton and Obama not only have presided over the declining fortunes of women and minorities and the poors that they claim to be oh-so-concerned about, they also go out of their way to stamp out movements or candidates who actually would strive to improve things (Sanders this year, Bill Halter in 2010, etc). They do this even in the face of polling that shows that the corporate New Dem polls worse than the more progressive candidate (or even will get obviously slaughtered in the general, like Blanche Lincoln in 2010). If we are using the sinking ship analogy, not only does the ship keep sinking under their tenure, the Clintons and Obamas shoot the people trying to man the pumps.

    This is not to say that Sanders would have won in 2016; far from it. He might have still lost because the Clintonistas and Obamacrats, no matter how horrible they say Trump is, would (like Tony Blair openly says about Jeremy Corbin) have rather seen the awful horrible Trump win over someone who might actually pursue a progressive agenda, and would have done what they could do behind the scenes to cause the progressive to lose (as I say, they’ve done it before). No matter how much they say they care about the poors, or women, or minorities, in reality preserving the wealth of their Wall Street donors and future employers is Job. #1.

    People like Marcotte likewise are part of the problem too, as they do not hold the Clintons and Obamas and their ilk responsible for their betrayals of the causes they supposedly advocate. Instead, they contort themselves into knots being apologists for them.

  17. StewartM permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Ian–sigh, delete the first comment. Sorry about that.

  18. different clue permalink
    January 27, 2017

    A few days ago on Naked Capitalism I saw a couple of Amanda Marcotte tweets excised and teed up for our consideration. NaCap prints too many words and I have too little time to go back and find it. It was within the last few days. The tweet revealed Marcotte as saying something like: ” if another woman is DemParty nominated, she will have to be brocialist approved.”

    Did you see that? “Brocialist”. Isn’t that clever? Its a ‘play’ on the Clintonite smear-meme “Bernie bro”. That Clintonite smear-meme has been analyzed at length over at NaCap, including the falsity of its original contrivance. But Marcotte’s sneering dismissiveness is typical of the Clintonite Shitocrat scum which makes up Clinton’s loyalist cult following.

    Way longer ago, a radical feminist wrote an article radical feminsplaining about how Clinton represents very strictly the Corporate Yuppieform elite women who con millions of non-elite women with cinder block ceilings of their own to identify with Clinton’s effort to break through HERRRRR final Tiffany glass ceiling between her and the Presidency.

    Maybe I will go visit NaCap and suggest the title to an article I would like to see somebody write. Here is the title if anyone feels inspired by it.

    Goldman-Sachs Feminism and the Tiffany glass ceiling.

  19. different clue permalink
    January 27, 2017

    testing . . . testing . . .

  20. Willy permalink
    January 27, 2017

    You’d think the field of economics would have been refined to a science by now. Even including the technology, limited resources, environmental catastrophe… variables. Maybe they don’t have supercomputers yet. It‘s still obviously quite the mess (as commentary about the Mexican tariff wall suggests). It isn’t like the PTB could ever influence such a “science”…

  21. January 27, 2017

    People like Marcotte likewise are part of the problem too, as they do not hold the Clintons and Obamas and their ilk responsible for their betrayals of the causes they supposedly advocate. Instead, they contort themselves into knots being apologists for them.

    This is the Punishment Theory I’ve even seen Ian advocate: that progressive politics loses material ground because it is unwilling to hold the political class to account. In the case of presidential elections, holding the political class to account means being willing to lose the election. For someone like Marcotte, you are asking her to willingly hand the reins over from someone who will do comparatively little damage (if some) to what she values most to someone who will do a great deal of damage, and gleefully and proudly.

    That might be worth it if afterward it could be assured that the next iteration of Democratic candidates would because of this be more likely to pursue the policy agenda of the progressive left. This assumes that the political playing field will be left relatively intact during, for example, a Trump presidency, so that politics can begin where it left off. Ian has himself been a proponent of the Punishment Theory, based on, as I recall, some rather econ-101ish theories of negotiation.

    History so far suggests that the Punishment Theory is false in practice as elegant as it seems on paper. It works somewhat for the right, because, to put it bluntly, since e.g. the moral outrage of unwilling women not being forced to stay pregnant by the state is already happening, they can surely afford a few more years or decades of it in order to wait for other stars to align in their favour. That doesn’t mean it will work for the left, because the progressive left has more hostages and less unwillingness to leave those hostages behind. The personhood of a fetus is, after all, merely an abstraction justified by morally coding scientific details that can’t themselves support moral claims, abandoning more fetuses for a few years is low cost. The liberty of a female body is less abstract.

    A “merit” of a Trump presidency is that we can see this in action in a more extreme case than we could under Bush. Ian’s original post up above is literally claiming that the Punishment Theory is starting to work over Amanda Marcotte herself. Certainly, Marcotte may alter her behaviour, but it remains to be seen how that will pan out in terms of implementing a progressive programme down the road. Will she be willing to sacrifice another election and adopt the Punishment Theory? Or will it be even more urgent for her to elect a Democrat, any Democrat at all, even a very conservative one, merely to have at least half an ear of someone somewhere?

    Like I said, Trump is shaping up to be an interesting experiment.

  22. January 27, 2017

    Oops I did it again: “less unwillingness” -> “less willingness”

  23. seltzer permalink
    January 27, 2017

    hows that incrementalism working for ya mandos ya dipshit?

  24. January 27, 2017

    hows that incrementalism working for ya mandos ya dipshit?

    I couldn’t answer the question, because I’m not an incrementalist. I’m also not an “anti-incrementalist” either. I think it’s the wrong question about the wrong distinction. The issue is about how to get and hold power, not at which rate to make which changes.

    And it’s really ironic that people here tend to ask me that sort of snide question, when the people most likely to post here are the people least likely to have had any influence at all. Yes, even under Trump. Unless you were deluded into thinking that you were on his winning team somehow.

  25. January 27, 2017

    “I find it fascinating that you and so very many others — both left and right on the political spectrum — are so ready to ascribe malicious intent to people’s beliefs and actions. I honestly don’t believe this is the case.”-Webstir

    When you label someone as evil/irredeemable you give yourself permission to totally ignore them. Its just a mental shortcut we use to manage interactions and information. You run the risk of cutting out vital interactions/information but it keeps you from being mentally overwhelmed by conflicting information and ambiguity.

    “Rather, it seems to me that most people are just incapable of taking in the bigger picture, thereby allowing themselves to respond with compassion instead of ridicule.”-Webstir

    Managing the “smaller picture” (the immediate problems and in-group status) takes more effort/resources than most people think it does. (Sometimes I find myself in awe of people who can manage in-group interactions and in-group conflicts with ease.) Additionally, big picture solutions are never a simple two-step linear process, so its easy to convince yourself they are too difficult to bother solving.

  26. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Mandos, you do come up with some gems:

    The personhood of a fetus is, after all, merely an abstraction justified by morally coding scientific details that can’t themselves support moral claims

    Progressives care deeply for victims that can deliver a bloc vote to Democrats. Other victims are “an abstraction”. (See also: white working class, women raped by “refugees”, targets of Muslim terrorism, victims of illegal alien crime …)

    This does point the way to a possible grand bargain though. Pro-lifers should give single mothers the right to vote for their fetus. In no time flat, we’d see reams of new Science! discovering that – thanks to ground-breaking new discoveries by disabled trans womyn scientists of color – life *does* begin at conception after all.

  27. Hugh permalink
    January 27, 2017

    If we are using the sinking ship analogy, not only does the ship keep sinking under their tenure, the Clintons and Obamas shoot the people trying to man the pumps.

    Great image. The Democratic party is a lost cause and a waste of time. You could stop practically anyone on the street and they would give you a better description of what is wrong with the party and better prescriptions on how to fix it than all of its leadership and its army of consultants. But all this would miss the point. The Democratic party is not broken from the viewpoint of those who run it. What we see as bugs, they see as features.

    They want to be the party of the status quo, of Wall Street and the rich They don’t want to fight for ordinary Americans. Rather than concrete programs and proposals, they prefer identity politics. Rather than fighting for people’s votes, they feel entitled to them.

    And the 2016 electoral disaster has changed none of this. The Clintons and Obamas remain Democratic royalty. They just finished installing Pelosi and Schumer, who represent everything that is wrong with the party (from the unimportant perspective of the electorate), in their top two leadership positions. They still have no 50 state strategy, but seriously why do you need one when you don’t stand for anything? Sanders remains marginal, and they’re still not listening to their base.

    None of these problems are recent. I still remember how Nancy Pelosi dismissed critics of her limp opposition to the Iraq war with a “They are advocates. We are leaders.” That was from October 9, 2007. “STFU and vote for us” was operational even then. Nothing has changed since. And as StewartM says, if anyone does try to change the party, they are the first to be shot. My advice is to forget about them. They forgot about you a long time ago.

  28. January 27, 2017

    “For someone like Marcotte, you are asking her to willingly hand the reins over from someone who will do comparatively little damage (if some) to what she values most to someone who will do a great deal of damage, and gleefully and proudly.”-Mandos

    I haven’t interacted with powerful people much but my impression is that their primary motivation is incentive capturing and incentive keeping. Risk/punishment doesn’t appear to be on their radar so to speak.

    Of course I could be totally wrong since I lack the skills required to move smash through their well crafted persona and read them. (Its like they are encased in armor when they walk around a room. It makes me uneasy since I feel like they are geared up for a fight and I am not.)

  29. EmilianoZ permalink
    January 27, 2017

    The Dems dont have to do anything. They dont need to change. All they have to do is to let the Reps implement their full horrific program. By comparison they’ll like godsend saviors in 4 years. And they wont even roll back half of what the Reps are about to do, because they agree with a lot of it (like privatization of what’s left of SS). It’s irreversible.

  30. Webstir permalink
    January 27, 2017

    GH: “ Its just a mental shortcut we use to manage interactions and information.”

    You nailed it, and are describing exactly the “heuristic” technique I was talking about above. Our brain takes shortcuts which produce less than optimal outcomes.

    This, from wiki:
    A heuristic technique (/hjᵿˈrɪstᵻk/; Ancient Greek: εὑρίσκω, “find” or “discover”), often called simply a heuristic, is any approach to problem solving, learning, or discovery that employs a practical method not guaranteed to be optimal or perfect, but sufficient for the immediate goals. Where finding an optimal solution is impossible or impractical, heuristic methods can be used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution.

    Now, applied to Marcotte and Peter, one must inquire as to the result of such sub-optimal thinking. I can’t help but conclude that it increases our propensity for conflict. Hell, if we didn’t rely so heavily on heuristic thinking, out group compassion might be the norm. Seriously, when you get right down to it, it seems to me that the entire political mess we’re in right now stems from the fact that the true “out-group” — the 1% — is doing a remarkable job of creating division among what should be the 99% in-group by taking advantage of their lazy thinking, and promotes internecine in-group v. out-group divisions where none should really exist.

    Btw GH, do you have a psych background? It seems the bulk of my comments in this regard just sail right over most of the commentariat’s heads.

  31. Webstir permalink
    January 27, 2017

    EmilianoZ: “The Dems dont have to do anything. They dont need to change. All they have to do is to let the Reps implement their full horrific program.”

    If you believe that, it just so happens I have this lil bridge I need to sell.

    If the Dems can’t establish some coherent plan moving forward they will remain a failed party and the bloodletting will continue apace.

  32. January 27, 2017

    Progressives care deeply for victims that can deliver a bloc vote to Democrats. Other victims are “an abstraction”. (See also: white working class, women raped by “refugees”, targets of Muslim terrorism, victims of illegal alien crime …)

    The white working class is not an abstraction but a group of people in need of better economic policy like very many other people. Victims of illegal alien crime are similar to victims of all other crime. Women raped by refugees are victims of rape in the manner that women raped by non-refugees are. And so on.

    A fetus, on the other hand, is not a person until its body is no longer integral to that of the known-to-be-conscious human being gestating it. Theories of its personhood at conception are purely abstract philosophical projections designed to justify forcing an adult human to undergo physical changes that medical technology could help her avoid, if she wanted it.

    This does point the way to a possible grand bargain though. Pro-lifers should give single mothers the right to vote for their fetus. In no time flat, we’d see reams of new Science! discovering that – thanks to ground-breaking new discoveries by disabled trans womyn scientists of color – life *does* begin at conception after all.

    Science cannot prove where “life” begins, in the sense of “where and when a biological mass becomes a moral subject granted rights apart from other moral subjects.” There will be no ground-breaking discoveries on this point, because it is not a scientific question.

  33. realitychecker permalink
    January 27, 2017

    @ Webstir

    You are not alone, good sir lol.

    In addition to having a law degree in common with you, I have a double major in psychology undergraduate (intending to become a psychotherapist), with a minor in political science (courses in political statistics, minority group politics, pressure group politics, and protest and revolution), Phi Beta Kappa, Fall 1972-summer 1974, at New York University (at that time the world capital of the feminist movement).

    So, I sense and sympathize with your growing angst at the very severe difficulty of sharing your knowledge about things you have actually studied with the many know-nothings who hang around here and take advantage of Ian’s patience, tolerance, and good nature.

    My own patience, tolerance, and good nature are pretty much exhausted from dealing with the more obviously puerile participants here. How are you holding up?

  34. January 27, 2017

    I haven’t interacted with powerful people much but my impression is that their primary motivation is incentive capturing and incentive keeping. Risk/punishment doesn’t appear to be on their radar so to speak.

    Yeah, I think another way of putting this in practical terms is that politicians in a representative electoral system with a high degree of hierarchy are most clearly interested in who can offer them an upwardly mobile career. Because the progressive left has a lot of Punishment Theorists, effectively, it seems like a rather risky bet to entrust your career to alliances with them. The only way the progressive left can implement Punishment Theory is if it stops minding that the right will shoot the hostages, as it were. Since far right doesn’t mind so much if their hostages are shot, they can use Punishment Theory. Anyone else has to take into account how they’re going to offer some form of career.

    One of Jeremy Corbyn’s problems is that he doesn’t look strongly enough to other politicians in the Labour caucus that he can or even wants to offer them the political career they joined the Labour Party for. The problem is, can he offer anyone else that kind of career?

  35. Tom W Harris permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Webstir,

    If the Dems can’t establish some coherent plan moving forward they will remain a failed party and the bloodletting will continue apace.

    But the party apparatchiks will be fine. They’ll still get paid, especially when they decamp to the private sector. As an internship for Wall street, the Democratic Party is outasite. As a vehicle for political action, it ain’t nuthin’ but a hologram.

  36. Webstir permalink
    January 27, 2017

    GH:

    I’m holding up ok. I got pretty cynical and snarky myself there for a while, but realitychecker checked my privilege with a well deserved tongue lashing and helped me regain perspective. Ian does a remarkable job of helping me maintain that perspective as well, which is why come here.

    But, like all comment sections, one definitely has to separate the wheat from the chaff. Fortunately, there seems to be more wheat than chaff on here for now.

    Oh shit! Just realized I was replying to RC not GH. But hey, it’s all good … I really did need theat tongue lashing RC 🙂

  37. Webstir permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Tom W: “But the party apparatchiks will be fine. They’ll still get paid, especially when they decamp to the private sector.”

    Not so sure about that. I came across this on Naked Capitalism the other day: https://justicedemocrats.com/?utm_expid=138498668-0.DbzB_JSuQ6u6dZl0XxJRfw.0

    I’m in. I do have hope that “out of crisis comes opportunity.” And as this video indicates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5guXxPsdoYM&t=0s
    Saikat Chakrabarti has his shit together. If the Tea Party can do it, so can the Berniecrats.

  38. Peter permalink
    January 27, 2017

    @Web

    I don’t think I ascribed anything to Marcotte or other Clintonites I tried to described their public behavior as I see it. I might agree with you about the cult like conditioning displayed by many in this group but the leading voices using this rhetoric seem to be the conditioners not the conditioned. I don’t use evil to describe people and these Clintonites seem to me little more than dirty backstabbing liberals, writ large.

    Apologizing for the conditioned people who reject any offer to help them break through their conditioning doesn’t seem like a useful addressing of the problem. The best thing that people who think adults should take responsibility for what they say and do is to stay away from the conditioned and the conditioners both because these true believers smell of burnt wires.

  39. Ian Welsh permalink*
    January 27, 2017

    Of course Marcotte chose Clinton over Trump and given her priorities she should have, that’s not the point and it takes great cluelessness or dishonesty to pretend otherwise.

    The point is that she was viciously against Sanders, who is at least as good for women as Clinton, and likely better, especially since his chance of winning the actual election appeared to be rather better than Clinton’s.

    Marcotte is not capable of making that jump any more.

    The larger point was that if someone like Marcotte is scared of the purists, that’s good, and we can hope the same becomes more and more true of Congressmembers.

    As for “punishment theory” it seems to have won the Republicans both houses of Congress, the White House, the Supreme court and almost enough state houses to push thru constitutional amendments. What a terrible, terrible strategy. (Yes, caveats, blah, the tea party types have been terrifying Congress repeatedly, and Trump is their boy.)

    Marcotte style purism (and she has her type, too) was losing abortion rights even before Trump. The problem with the DNC centrist idea is that it just hasn’t stopped rightward drift on a whole raft of issues: a complete failure for economic populists, unions and women, with basically only gays winning. (Blacks are losing rights too, and their personal economics is getting worse.)

    What a wonderful world the centrists have created.

  40. V. Arnold permalink
    January 27, 2017

    (Sanders, by the way, appears to be the most popular federal politician in America.)

    That’s not surprising; but I personally lost all respect for the man when he kow towed to the Clinton’s.
    Usian politics is a dirty game; corrupt, vicious, and fit only for killers.
    Usian’s are already reaping the produce of seeds sown over generations…
    Beware what you plant.

  41. Webstir permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Curiously, after reading Peter’s reply I feel a need to go shower. Is it because I suddenly feel the need to rinse Suave from my hair? Or because I leave every interaction with him feeling grimy?

  42. realitychecker permalink
    January 27, 2017

    @ Webstir

    I could clearly see your intelligence before I knew anything about your credentials, so it was certainly worth it to me to try and establish a basis for respectful and productive exchanges between us. You’ve only made me happy with the results. 🙂

    It is more than clear to me that there is going to have to be a long and chaotic period of adjustment to the many new realities that came along with Trump’s election. Ian can be trusted to be a valuable guide in these times, but many of the disappointed losers will put all their energy into scorching the earth. I don’t find it all that interesting to brush yapping chihuahuas off of my ankles, so I’ll probably spend less time commenting for awhile.

    But I’ll still be reading, and hope to continue to see your name on these threads, making insightful comments that help to move things along the learning curve.

  43. realitychecker permalink
    January 27, 2017

    @ Peter

    I don’t agree with all your most rightish views, but often I dothink you get things right, and I have to agree with both your points in the two paragraphs above.

    IOW, not rushing to the shower this time. 🙂

  44. Willy permalink
    January 27, 2017

    I thought this one was about Marcotte’s Salon “Just say no…” post yesterday, where she states: “Under the circumstances, the safest political bet for Democrats — not to mention the high moral ground — is t0 simply oppose Trump in everything he does.”

    It’s establishment passé. The party of ideas is now the party of copying bad outdated political strategy trends from the other party. Sorry about the psychology stuff. I’m receiving therapy for it from a former lawyer via the ‘beat the living shit out of the fucking patient’ method (strangely, I’ve never gotten a bill).

  45. Hugh permalink
    January 27, 2017

    The problem with the DNC centrist idea is that it just hasn’t stopped rightward drift on a whole raft of issues

    Isn’t this more a feature than a bug? The Democratic Establishment simply doesn’t stand for anything that ordinary Americans can identify with. Progressives have a slew of positions on healthcare, education, Wall Street, wages, and jobs that large majorities in the country support. The Democratic party Establishment treats them like poison. At the same time, progressives won’t organize outside the Democratic party. So if the only choices the two parties allow are right and righter and progressives are a non-factor, what is left except a rightward drift.

    The Democrats have become a hollowed out party. They have become the New Deal party minus the New Deal. The party of civil rights which has turned its back on civil rights. The party of the worker which hates workers. The peace party which can’t find enough wars.

    I think the party continues to get as many votes as it does (despite all its losses) because people vote for it remembering the party it once was and not the party it is. It stands for nothing. It fights for nothing. All it has going for it is a certain inertia in voters voting habits.

  46. January 27, 2017

    “Btw GH, do you have a psych background? It seems the bulk of my comments in this regard just sail right over most of the commentariat’s heads.”-Webstir

    I don’t have a psych background, I just make it a goal to read few books on human behavior each year. Some of my recent readings include: Dan Ariely’s “The Honest Truth About Dishonesty”, Eric Fromm’s “Escape from Freedom”, and Gerd Gigerenzer’s “Gut Feelings”. (Of course fiction and the minds of fictional characters can provide me with insight as well.)

    I also set aside some time to reflect on my actions in the hopes of improving my self awareness.

  47. Webstir permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Nailed it Hugh. I’ve yet to read such a succinct and insightful diagnosis yet.

    That said, I think the party is ripe for a progressive insurgency.

  48. Webstir permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Hugh: “Progressives have a slew of positions on healthcare, education, Wall Street, wages, and jobs that large majorities in the country support.”

    Also, don’t forget the environment. It’s all for naught without establishing an economics that is tied to sustainability.

  49. January 27, 2017

    “The Democrats have become a hollowed out party. They have become the New Deal party minus the New Deal. The party of civil rights which has turned its back on civil rights. The party of the worker which hates workers. The peace party which can’t find enough wars.”-Hugh

    They are currently an impossible coalition of groups that have little to nothing in common. (Wall Street Bankers and OWS Protesters, Saudi Officials and LGBT leaders, War Hawks and Peace activists, etc…)

    It reminds me of what happens in a company when a senior manger is tasked with a project that he believes has no real chance of success. The first thing he does is assemble a huge team with subject matter experts from multiple fields/divisions (particularly ones that already fight each other on a routine basis). Then he asks for everyone to voice their opinion and offer as many ideas as possible. He doesn’t do this so he can sort the good ideas from the bad in the hopes of finding a truly great idea. No, he does it because the more ideas he gets the easier it is for him to deflect blame when the project fails. If everything goes to plan he can easily pin the blame on the members and still be seen as a hero for even making the attempt.

  50. Tom permalink
    January 28, 2017

    Mandos,

    Ar 8 weeks the major organs are formed in a fetus and it can hear and begin recognizing its mothers voice and relatives voices.

    They also start to feel pain.

    Your argument is thus invalid and horrid. Like it or not, once a pregnancy is confirmed, the fetus is already capable of moving limbs.

    Your argument also ignores the father of the fetus, who is just as invested in its fate as the mother and no less will feel devastation at learning a child of his was aborted.

    Therefore arguments for abortion must automatically be rejected as arguments for infanticide. If the mother doesn’t want the child, she may give said child up. If she doesn’t want to ever get pregnant again, then she should get her tubes tied.

  51. Gaianne permalink
    January 28, 2017

    The main–irredeemable (and deplorable ; ) )–flaw of Clintonism is its creation of a conflict between a woman’s sovereignty over her own body and economic justice in the nation–including economic justice for poor women. This conflict is crazy–it has no logic and it should not be. But it was very useful to Clinton’s corporate sponsors and that is why it was done.

    Call it poisoning the well. There is no cure but complete repudiation of Clintonism. Let Feminism give up corporate tokenism and return to the days of women’s liberation.

    Ian, I found your post very funny! Indeed! Let them fear!

    –Gaianne

  52. Webstir permalink
    January 28, 2017

    @Tom

    Maybe, just maybe, we men should let women decide this issue. Just a thought.

  53. Lisa permalink
    January 28, 2017

    There is no secret about this the elite ‘New Democrats’ from Bill Clinton onwards really wanted to create a ‘centrist’ party comprising ‘moderate’ Republicans and right wing Dems.

    Neo-liberal economical and neo-conservative in foreign affairs.

    That’s why they never really got fussed about losing the Senate (etc), it gave them the perfect excuse to put in the policies they really wanted, while ‘blaming’ the GOP (who they largely agreed with).
    It is also no secret they wanted to end social security and the ACA should better be called the ‘bail out the health insurers’ act.

    This was part of a worldwide co-opting of the ‘left’ parties, same in New Zealand, Australia, UK, Europe….

    Now the chickens are coming home to roost and what they have really done is open the door to the religious right, who apart from their extreme social conservatism (theocracy) are more right wing economically than the neo-liberals and more aggressive than the neo-conservatives.

    I am reminded of the Communists in Weimar Germany spending more time fighting the hated social democrats rather than the Nazis…

    So they have to be rooted out of the Democratic Party, they can go and join their true ideological home the Republicans. If you watch these headless chooks running around their instinctive response (after you strip away all the rubbish they spout) is that they weren’t right wing enough to win, if they had just dumped the ‘blacks/women/LGBTI/Mexican Americans/Muslims/etc/etc/etc’ they would have won. Total rubbish.

    I always used to characterise Bill Clinton, Tony Bliar/ Bob Hawke, etc, etc as ‘talk left, do right’ people, they were the real ones to bring neo-liberal economics into its dominant position. As time has gone by they don’t even ‘talk left’ any longer.
    The Hillary Clinton Dems didn’t even have the common sense to hide what they really thought and who they cared about (Wall st basically and F.O. everyone else).

    Even in the US survey after survey after survey has shown that the vast majority of the population is far more left wing than the so called ‘left’ parties (let alone the ‘right’ wing parties) yet right wing policies in virtually every area dominate politicians.

    Surveys shows that all those so called ‘deplorables’ would have voted for Sanders in droves. In the end those non religious right working class (the vast majority by the way) (a) don’t really care or get fussed about women’s and LGBTI rights but they are not against them or (b) are supportive of them.

    Accepting a few hard won wins for LGB people (trans and intersex are still way behind the curve in even basic rights) that is about the most so called ‘left wing” things the ‘New’ Dems have ever done in the last 30 years.. and they fought against them too.

    Women’s rights, wealth, economic opportunities, etc have been, except for a tiny number of elite white upper middle class, been going backwards for ages.
    You want proof of that in cold hard numbers ..look at infant and maternal death rates, skyrocketing.

    It is amazing to think that old phoney and swine Nixon was far more left wing economically than any Dem since him*, probably less racist than Bill Clinton as well.

    Yes there were lots of Dems fighting away against that, but marginalised and the always ‘fake news’ media (Have they ever been truthful? I sure can’t ever remember a time when they were) have always pushed neo-liberal/conservative lines. Catholic Murdoch anyone?
    A big left wing, some in the Dems some outside in activist groups all over the place fighting the good fight against war, TPP, Wall St and all the rest, against the full power of the Establishment.

    It wasn’t Trump that killed the TPP (and TiPP, etc) it was all those left groups that did it. he just bowed to the inevitable and took the credit (the only smart piece of politics he has ever done by the way, oh my that man is politically stupid).

    *As an aside there is wonderful Dr Who episode set in Nixon’s America, where the Doctor saves the world (again) with the help of an FBI officer. At the end Nixon says to him ‘how can I reward you” and the FBI guy says ‘I’d like to get married, but the rules in the FBI are against my partner’. Nixon replies ‘well times are changing, interracial marriage is becoming more accepted I am sure we can do something’ …and the officer replies ‘HE’S black’…..

    What a country though, the first interracial kiss on television was in Star Trek in 1970….

  54. January 28, 2017

    You forgot that there now old.

  55. Lisa permalink
    January 28, 2017

    “It Is Better to Be Feared than Loved, if You Cannot Be Both”

    Idiots only do one of them….

    Look the greatest politican the US ever had by a long way was Franklin Roosevelt, a class traitor. He saved the union and made the US a super power He was brilliant and an enigma to everyone, no one ever knew what he really thought.

    Very intelligent, creative and prepared to experiment. he was loved by so many, hated but feared by the elites (one response by the wealthy was to create the so called ‘religious right’…and that is a documented story all in it own) .

    Prepared to follow total war to the bitter end. Clever enough to force the Japanese (fortunately for the Soviets by the way) into war with the US (the book is out on that, that was the deliberate policy).

    Followed by ever lesser beings, like that clown Truman… the creator of the National Security State. It is unlikely that FDR would have done that, he was too smart.

    Tip on ruling, get loved by the masses and be feared by the economic elites… Do it the other way around (as so many lesser ones do) and the clock ticks….

  56. V. Arnold permalink
    January 28, 2017

    I think the precariat are starting to replace fear with anger, having grown weary of the Grand Guignol and the macabre theater it presents.
    There is growing evidence of fear spreading among the .01%.
    We’ll see…

  57. Daize permalink
    January 28, 2017

    Regarding Marcotte + the rest of the willfully deaf and blind corp. dems (small d):
    Hang ’em all by the god-damned lamp posts! Figuratively, or literally, if they keep on keeping on as they are now.

  58. January 28, 2017

    Of course Marcotte chose Clinton over Trump and given her priorities she should have, that’s not the point and it takes great cluelessness or dishonesty to pretend otherwise.

    No. Many of the “anti-Sanders” liberals chose Clinton because they thought that the commitment of Sanders supporters and, more broadly, “anti-neoliberals” to “identity-political” issues was low. Consequently, they thought they could play “double-or-nothing”, and win a symbolic validation of identity politics via a CLinton win, which, regardless of what Clinton did in office, it would have been, and a profound one at that. (Hint: very few blacks have the view of Obama of the Black Agenda Report even in hindsight, FCOL.)

    Sure, that’s purism too. But look around at your own commentariat. It’s really clear that a lot of them would shove e.g. transsexual issues into the firing line if they could get the TPP shut down, and in fact seem to have done so.

    The point is that she was viciously against Sanders, who is at least as good for women as Clinton, and likely better, especially since his chance of winning the actual election appeared to be rather better than Clinton’s.

    I happen to think that this is highly plausible (that Sanders had a better chance of winning), but people also quite reasonably thought that Clinton had an overwhelming chance of beating Trump — they were wrong, but it wasn’t obvious until close to the very end, and certainly not during the primaries. If so, then why wouldn’t Amanda Marcotte choose Clinton, who really symbolically validate Marcotte’s life and work?

    The larger point was that if someone like Marcotte is scared of the purists, that’s good, and we can hope the same becomes more and more true of Congressmembers.

    We’ll see. This is a sword that can cut both ways. Fear of purists can lead to more proactive attempts to exclude them from the conversation in the long run. Emiliano put a very plausible scenario out: that the Democrats need do nothing to return to the presidency, because the incoherence of Trump’s policies may well produce the opposite of his ur-promises — depending on numerous other external factors, of course. (I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s certainly plausible.)

  59. January 28, 2017

    As for “punishment theory” it seems to have won the Republicans both houses of Congress, the White House, the Supreme court and almost enough state houses to push thru constitutional amendments. What a terrible, terrible strategy. (Yes, caveats, blah, the tea party types have been terrifying Congress repeatedly, and Trump is their boy.)

    But I acknowledged this. Punishment Theory works if you are willing to let the hostages get shot. Right-wing ideology in the USA basically holds that the hostages have already been shot. Furthermore, the social-conservative right clearly believes that it represents a ground/natural state to which society will return eventually. Consequently, punishing your own politicians for non-compliance until the stars are right is (eventually) a winning strategy.

    Left progressives on the other hand view their victories as hard won against entrenched social orders, and the hostages are many and various and only loosely connected to one another. So immediately the question of using Punishment Theory resolves to the order in which you’re going to let the hostages be shot, and who is willing to step into the firing line first.

    “Marcottists”, so to speak, are suspicious that their hostage is going to be shot first, and it’s going to be a long long time before they can resurrect her again. They believe so, because they believe that the thing that their hostage is going to be shot for — an end to economic centrism, basically — is supported by people who aren’t really committed to resurrecting the feminist hostage ASAP. As Sanders was the principal champion of those people in the Democratic primary (regardless of his actual policy positions), Marcottists were opposed to a Sanders win, for that, and for the nontrivial symbolic/cultural reason of validating Clinton’s life story.

    Marcotte style purism (and she has her type, too) was losing abortion rights even before Trump. The problem with the DNC centrist idea is that it just hasn’t stopped rightward drift on a whole raft of issues: a complete failure for economic populists, unions and women, with basically only gays winning. (Blacks are losing rights too, and their personal economics is getting worse.)

    What a wonderful world the centrists have created.

    …ie, under centrism, the identity-political hostages have not been entirely shot, but merely their conditions of captivity have gotten worse — from cheese plates to bread and water.

    If you want social progressives like Marcotte, or, if she’s too far gone for you, many others to agree willingly to use Punishment Theory in a manner that is symmetrical with the Tea Party, you’re going to have to tell them which hostages you’re willing to see shot and in what order, and how you’re going to resurrect them, even though they were kinda sorta still alive-ish.

    Otherwise, as I said, the progressive left is going to have to figure out how to succeed without airless-world negotiation theories.

  60. January 28, 2017

    I mean people wave around the fact that “Sanders had better women’s rights policy book than Clinton” as though it were a particularly relevant fact about the actual politics of the situation. It wasn’t.

  61. Kfish permalink
    January 28, 2017

    Mandos, that’s correct. It should have been relevant, if the people voting for Clinton on the basis of women’s rights were acting in good faith. The fact that Sanders had better policies for women is evidence that a lot of the women voting for Clinton were not voting for women-friendly policies but rather for a president who looked like them.

  62. Peter** permalink
    January 28, 2017

    But this is all based on the idea that Trump’s election means what you think it means.

    Enough teasing, Mandos. What do you say his election means?

  63. Ian Welsh permalink*
    January 28, 2017

    Forward fit. In other words, I said “neoliberal policies and failures will lead to the rise of the authoritarian nativist right” and I said it first over 15 years ago (well, longer than that, that’s the earliest publicly.)

    I am not retrofitting, I am saying “wow, it’s actually happened.”

    Where I have a bad predictive record (short term electoral politics, for example) I have been quite willing to say so. Trump and Brexit; the rise of LaPen, etc… are all what I warned would happen. As far as I’m concerned they’re damned close to social physics. All that I got wrong in that is that it took longer than I expected (I have constantly underestimated inertia and people’s tolerance for pain.)

    There is no way to do this sort of thing but to say “does this fit the results model x suggests?”

    So far my model works quite nicely. Strangely enough it also predicts most of what happened in the 20s and 30s.

    This isn’t coincidental.

  64. Ché Pasa permalink
    January 28, 2017

    A Bourbon Restoration is less unlikely than some of you might think. But it won’t end well either.

    It’s long been fashionable to blame the ignorance and apathy of the voters and the arrogance and stupidity of the media for the work product of the political system. If only these elements (and some others) were reformed then the system would work properly and and a semblance of righteousness would reign.

    Alternatively, if only the right people were in office, the right kind of righteousness would ensue.

    No. That’s not how it works, much as we would like to believe otherwise.

    The system itself — decadent and corrupt as it is — produces the outcomes we witness; in that context, Trump is not an anomaly, nor would Clinton have been. Sanders, Stein or Johnson would have been anomalous, but they had no chance to ascend to the throne; it would be impermissible within the current political system and the system of rule.
    
    Why do you think those in office are so intent on validating the Trump regime, no matter the objections of the People? By validating the regime, they validate themselves in office. Popular objections don’t matter. If you’ve been paying attention for the past many years, then you already know that “governing contrary” to the interests and will of the People is how things are done within this system. To the extent the People have any say in their governance, it is on the margins, over things that don’t much matter to the ruling clique.

    The same would be true were Clinton in office and there were mass popular objections to her rule.

    Those outside the system who are protesting the elevation of Trump to the presidency — and also protesting the Republican dominated congressional intentions — will largely be ignored so long as the center of power can hold it together. The problem for them is that Trump has behaved about as chaotically as a president can be allowed to. Once chaos is injected into the system, as Trump has done, there’s no going back. But there’s also no way to rule from a foundation in chaos.

    In other words, the system is self-destructing.

    That may please the nihilists and believers in “creative destruction.” They may get their longed-for Apocalypse. But that’s hardly a positive thing for everyone else.

    What comes after the Apocalypse is almost always an attempted reversion to the status quo ante, now seen through an idyllic veil, but that doesn’t work, either.

    As Hugh has long argued, the key to correcting what’s wrong is to start with a serious consideration of what kind of society we really want. Is it a warlord society? That’s what’s in store if the current path isn’t altered.

    We have power to make that determination, but not within the systems as they are.

    Are we brave enough to make the changes necessary?

  65. StewartM permalink
    January 28, 2017

    @Lisa

    So they have to be rooted out of the Democratic Party, they can go and join their true ideological home the Republicans.

    That’s what I say is the ideal–the Clintons and Kaines and Obamas and Bookers and Bidens should all be Republicans in an ideal American political world. That really was the case up until the Goldwater/Reagan takeover (contrast Ike’s comment about government insurance programs (that people who want to abolish them are “stupid” to Paul Ryan today)). “Rockefeller Republicans” favored the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, “Goldwater Republicans” opposed them.

    As for the Democrats, Sanders should be in the Democratic center, if not its right. Even someone as “radical” as Jill Stein who favors the government automatically hiring the unemployed whenever the unemployment rate exceeds 3 % or so, to make chronic unemployment an evil of the past, is not that radical because New Deal Democrats like Hubert Humphrey were for the same thing! The America that I was born into was so much more liberal than that of today, not only in economic policy but on almost everything else (even with gay rights, the sole outlier, America was more liberal in the late 60s to mid-70s than it became afterwards with Anita Bryant and the rise of the religious right and Ronald Reagan). Republicans aren’t the only ones creating a false history, Democrats and their apologists do it too to cover up what America really was back when it was “great” and to cover up their poor recent performance as good (I’m looking at you, Rachel Maddow).

    Even in the US survey after survey after survey has shown that the vast majority of the population is far more left wing than the so called ‘left’ parties (let alone the ‘right’ wing parties) yet right wing policies in virtually every area dominate politicians.

    Surveys shows that all those so called ‘deplorables’ would have voted for Sanders in droves. In the end those non religious right working class (the vast majority by the way) (a) don’t really care or get fussed about women’s and LGBTI rights but they are not against them or (b) are supportive of them.

    FWIW, I live in a very red state. And yet there were as many Sanders signs as there were Trump during the primaries. Saw not one Clinton sign. Sanders would have given Trump a run for his money in this state where Clinton lost by 20-plus points.

    The reason I differ (at least some) with Ian about the overall guilt of the general American populace over what America has become is due to your latter point–because American politics has become not unlike someone frantically pressing keys on the remote to change the programing on their TV, yet no matter what channels they press, the same crap is still on.

  66. StewartM permalink
    January 28, 2017

    Mandos:

    Many of the “anti-Sanders” liberals chose Clinton because they thought that the commitment of Sanders supporters and, more broadly, “anti-neoliberals” to “identity-political” issues was low. Consequently, they thought they could play “double-or-nothing”, and win a symbolic validation of identity politics via a CLinton win, which, regardless of what Clinton did in office, it would have been, and a profound one at that. (Hint: very few blacks have the view of Obama of the Black Agenda Report even in hindsight, FCOL.)

    Because they don’t understand history. The origin of racism in the US (I suggest reading American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia by Edmund Morgan) goes back to America’s colonial era, where the English gentry tried to recreate their class system in the New World. But trying to do so using white indentured servants proved to be a problem, a problem “solved” by replacing them with African slaves. The paradox of the US was that the rising status of poor whites (“American freedom”) depended upon the sinking of Africans into slavery (“American slavery”). This historical memory is a long one, in a society where “there is no alternative allowed” where *somebody* had to be working on Massa’s plantations, poor whites knew that if it wasn’t blacks, it was going to be them.

    That is why poor whites who owned not a single slave were just as racist if not more, and were just as pro-slavery if not more, as rich whites who did. Rich whites weren’t being threatened with having to work in the fields, and could afford to entertain notions of freeing the slaves and of African rights (Jefferson Davis, for instance, allowed his slaves to self-govern), while poor whites were.

    African-Americans have been deluded, I think, into thinking that their gaining Civil Rights was due solely to their own efforts. That I believe mistaken. Sure, Dr. King was a man of great vision and talents, but so was Ida B. Wells, W. E. B. Du Bois and others who preceded him. The reason why the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s-60s was as successful at it was due to three circumstances: a) it got favorable press coverage; b) the leadership of the Federal government at the time was favorably disposed to its success, if for no other reason than saving the US from embarrassment in the Cold War; and lastly c) the US economy was governed by the New Deal.

    I think the last one was the key. The New Deal economy was one that lifted all boats, including those of poor whites. Because of that, it was hard for the opponents of African-American civil rights to make the argument “if they win, you lose” which had been made so many times before. Even in the South, there were plenty of white Southerners who were not opposed to civil rights or desegregation, if nothing more than business reasons (“all money is green”). It is also true that the white South had this false image of unity because of the terrorism by the Klan (if your business started crossing the color line, you might wake up one morning to find it had been torched in the middle of the night). Such business owners to actually relieved to see the Civil Rights Act become law–because now they had an excuse to do what they had always wanted to do, en masse. If you don’t believe my bit of history I will also share this–my state, being currently very red, during that time sent liberal senators and Congressmen to Washington who openly supported for the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. Because African-Americans couldn’t vote, they were getting elected with white votes.

    So what changed?

    Ian nails it–in 1968, white working class wages peaked. They’ve been in decline ever since. When that trend set in, when lower-class whites started losing out, then the old argument that “when blacks win, you lose” started again carrying weight. Losing the working class white vote was a catastrophe for progressive causes. The Clintonista-DLC alliance of Wall Street-friendly neoliberal policies plus tokenist identity politics (the latter measure of success being how many rich women become CEOs or how many rich African-Americans become NFL or NBA head coaches, rather than in enacting policies (like Sanders) that actually help the vast majority of women and blacks) replacing New Deal policies as the new standard of “liberalism” only fed the disaster. To echo Thomas Franks, if you want to know why Kansas despises “liberalism”, it’s because Clinton and Obama have replaced FDR as its face. Under New Deal liberalism, the Democrats had upwards of 50 % of the electorate claiming allegiance. Now it’s more like 25-30 %.

    The paradoxical solution to reversing these bad trends for minorities and women is for Democrats to reclaim the white working class vote. White working class voters are not intrinsically racist or sexist; history shows if you take measures to materially improve their fortunes history shows that poor whites will be ok with policies that help others too. But you have to dump the neoliberal Wall-Street crowd. That is the message that people like Marcotte are frantically resisting, what really gets her goat with Sanders is his candidacy showed that yes, one can forge a progressive coalition with the “deplorables”. She’d rather keep losing with neoliberal glass-ceiling purity.

  67. StewartM permalink
    January 28, 2017

    Many of the “anti-Sanders” liberals chose Clinton because they thought that the commitment of Sanders supporters and, more broadly, “anti-neoliberals” to “identity-political” issues was low. Consequently, they thought they could play “double-or-nothing”, and win a symbolic validation of identity politics via a CLinton win, which, regardless of what Clinton did in office, it would have been, and a profound one at that. (Hint: very few blacks have the view of Obama of the Black Agenda Report even in hindsight, FCOL.)

    Because they don’t understand history. The origin of racism in the US (I suggest reading American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia by Edmund Morgan) goes back to America’s colonial era, where the English gentry tried to recreate their class system in the New World. But trying to do so using white indentured servants proved to be a problem, a problem “solved” by replacing them with African slaves. The paradox of the US was that the rising status of poor whites (“American freedom”) depended upon the sinking of Africans into slavery (“American slavery”). This historical memory is a long one, in a society where “there is no alternative allowed” where *somebody* had to be working on Massa’s plantations, poor whites knew that if it wasn’t blacks, it was going to be them.

    That is why poor whites who owned not a single slave were just as racist if not more, and were just as pro-slavery if not more, as rich whites who did. Rich whites weren’t being threatened with having to work in the fields, and could afford to entertain notions of freeing the slaves and of African rights (Jefferson Davis, for instance, allowed his slaves to self-govern), while poor whites were.

    African-Americans have been deluded, I think, into thinking that their gaining Civil Rights was due solely to their own efforts. That I believe mistaken. Sure, Dr. King was a man of great vision and talents, but so was Ida B. Wells, W. E. B. Du Bois and others who preceded him. The reason why the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s-60s was as successful at it was due to three circumstances: a) it got favorable press coverage; b) the leadership of the Federal government at the time was favorably disposed to its success, if for no other reason than saving the US from embarrassment in the Cold War; and lastly c) the US economy was governed by the New Deal.

    I think the last one was the key. The New Deal economy was one that lifted all boats, including those of poor whites. Because of that, it was hard for the opponents of African-American civil rights to make the argument “if they win, you lose” which had been made so many times before. Even in the South, there were plenty of white Southerners who were not opposed to civil rights or desegregation, if nothing more than business reasons (“all money is green”). It is also true that the white South had this false image of unity because of the terrorism by the Klan (if your business started crossing the color line, you might wake up one morning to find it had been torched in the middle of the night). Such business owners to actually relieved to see the Civil Rights Act become law–because now they had an excuse to do what they had always wanted to do, en masse. If you don’t believe my bit of history I will also share this–my state, being currently very red, during that time sent liberal senators and Congressmen to Washington who openly supported for the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. Because African-Americans couldn’t vote, they were getting elected with white votes.

    So what changed?

    Ian nails it–in 1968, white working class wages peaked. They’ve been in decline ever since. When that trend set in, when lower-class whites started losing out, then the old argument that “when blacks win, you lose” started again carrying weight. Losing the working class white vote was a catastrophe for progressive causes. The Clintonista-DLC alliance of Wall Street-friendly neoliberal policies plus tokenist identity politics (the latter measure of success being how many rich women become CEOs or how many rich African-Americans become NFL or NBA head coaches, rather than in enacting policies (like Sanders) that actually help the vast majority of women and blacks) replacing New Deal policies as the new standard of “liberalism” only fed the disaster. To echo Thomas Franks, if you want to know why Kansas despises “liberalism”, it’s because Clinton and Obama have replaced FDR as its face. Under New Deal liberalism, the Democrats had upwards of 50 % of the electorate claiming allegiance. Now it’s more like 25-30 %.

    The paradoxical solution to reversing these bad trends for minorities and women is for Democrats to reclaim the white working class vote. White working class voters are not intrinsically racist or sexist; history shows if you take measures to materially improve their fortunes history shows that poor whites will be ok with policies that help others too. But you have to dump the neoliberal Wall-Street crowd. That is the message that people like Marcotte are frantically resisting, what really gets her goat with Sanders is his candidacy showed that yes, one can forge a progressive coalition with the “deplorables”. She’d rather keep losing with neoliberal glass-ceiling purity.

  68. StewartM permalink
    January 28, 2017

    I should also add that surveys showed young African-Americans narrowly favoring Sanders. But largely because of the disenfranchisement of blacks (a lot a result to Clinton crime policies) the African-American vote is disproportionately older and female, who instead of getting their news from the internet get it from CNN, relying on the admonitions of TeeVee black congresscritters (who as the Black Agenda report notes, take a lot of money from Wall Street!) telling them that people like HRC is really their one true friend.

  69. S Brennan permalink
    January 28, 2017

    Ian;

    This is just another chapter of the same playbook that DNC types have been using for decades:

    “Now that our idiotic neoliberal/neocolonial policies have driven us from office…we are all brothers. You lefties must lead the charge into the cannons! Once you have shed your blood DNC officers will resume command. Now onward against our common enemy. Trust us, this time we will not betray you like we always have in the past…hee..hee”

  70. January 28, 2017

    Forward fit. In other words, I said “neoliberal policies and failures will lead to the rise of the authoritarian nativist right” and I said it first over 15 years ago (well, longer than that, that’s the earliest publicly.)

    I am not retrofitting, I am saying “wow, it’s actually happened.”

    And I never disagreed with you on this, quite the contrary, but it’s besides the point. The point is is now to motivate and unify the resistance to it, and how to leverage electoral politics successfully. At this point the Marcottes of the world have fully concluded that when push comes to shove, anti-neoliberals are going to sit on their hands or vote for Trump rather than vote for Clinton and prevent the hostages from getting shot for another four years.

    I conclude the Punishment Theory will not work because you first have to get the Marcottes of the world on board with letting their hostages get shot in advance of when they really have to be. Instead, the opposite has taken place.

  71. January 28, 2017

    The paradoxical solution to reversing these bad trends for minorities and women is for Democrats to reclaim the white working class vote. White working class voters are not intrinsically racist or sexist; history shows if you take measures to materially improve their fortunes history shows that poor whites will be ok with policies that help others too. But you have to dump the neoliberal Wall-Street crowd. That is the message that people like Marcotte are frantically resisting, what really gets her goat with Sanders is his candidacy showed that yes, one can forge a progressive coalition with the “deplorables”. She’d rather keep losing with neoliberal glass-ceiling purity.

    What this means, and it is depressingly the case, is that the material rights of women and minorities is contingent on the mood of a majority identity group, and the goal of identity politics is ultimately to break that dependency in one way or another, because it is a thin rain on which to hang equality.

  72. January 28, 2017

    er, “thin rail”

  73. EatTheRich permalink
    January 28, 2017

    Stewart–

    People like Marcotte and Hillary Clinton are wedded to a very strict economic caste system in the US. That is, they see the white working class–actually, all of the working class–as urine-soaked peasants who should be ignored and left to die. I say this because I know the type–I’ve been around them. Elitist, college educated white women who despise those below them. You are NEVER going to change these people. They must be soundly defeated. They won’t hear our cries about “how we need socialism” or “inequality.” They honestly don’t care about helping the poor and disaffected. They don’t. They care about promoting their caste of upper class white women. They are hardcore right wingers., except for the identity politics bs.

    The Dem Party is full of these sociopaths. I don’t why anyone believes the party can be saved. The Sanders debacle is instructive. I can only hope young people will leave the party en masse. That is the only hope for Leftist change.

  74. January 28, 2017

    Enough teasing, Mandos. What do you say his election means?

    Actually, on second thoughts, Ian’s coinage of “ur-promises” is even more useful than I imagined. Ian thinks that Trump’s future election prospects will be based on whether he fulfills his “ur-promises”, which is not a given considering some of his cabinet and some of the promises he’s made. Which is the point. Trump has made an implicit, well, “ur-ur-promise”, which is that fulfillment of his promises will result in fulfillment of his “ur-promises”. The ur-ur-promise is the logical dependency between his promises and his ur-promises.

    Now, that ur-ur-promise is based directly off the claims that right-wing talk radio has made, that building a wall with Mexico, etc, will save American jobs and communities, etc. Part of this connection is sound — the way globalization has proceeded has produced losers — but other parts of it are not.

    So the real issue of the Trump administration is whether that ur-ur-promise matters. Because I actually don’t think that the fulfillment of the ur-promises is as important as Ian thinks it is. Rather, I think that if Trump fulfills his promises, and it creates a satisfactory feeling in the minds of his voters, rather than material improvement, it will suffice. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to decide what that satisfactory feeling is if not material improvement.

  75. realitychecker permalink
    January 28, 2017

    What the PEOPLE really care about is the ur-ur-ur-ur-ur-ur promises.

    That’s why they know they can always count on the straight-talking Dem geniuses to save them.

  76. Willy permalink
    January 28, 2017

    It’s hard for me to imagine that bizarreness such as Corporate Jesus just spontaneously happened after conservative think tanks succeeded at giving their benefactors more advantages.

    It’s easy for me to imagine that certain architects, expert at the dark side of social physics, knew how to put such forces into motion.

    Now how to reverse it all, without 99% of everybody having to hit bottom first.

  77. January 28, 2017

    What the PEOPLE really care about is the ur-ur-ur-ur-ur-ur promises.

    That’s why they know they can always count on the straight-talking Dem geniuses to save them.

    Who said I was writing about what the people care about? I’m pretty sure that what the people care about is not the defining issue of the Trump presidency. If by people you mean to include anyone who doesn’t think that Breitbart is a news site.

    I mostly agree with Che Pasa, anyway, on what Trump’s purported actions are really meant to do, regardless of whether they work or not. Trump is the “counter-Obama” and people are probably projecting on to him another, darker version of Hope and Change. But it’s only been a week, so far too early actually to predict or judge. I’d wait about four to six years myself, unless things fall apart really quickly.

  78. realitychecker permalink
    January 28, 2017

    ur-ur-ur-ur, I guess I lost track. I wound up thinking you were actually writing about what people really care about. (I forgot you only write to express yourself.)

    My bad. (I think.)

    “We don’t need no stinking simple declarative sentences”—signed The People

  79. StewartM permalink
    January 29, 2017

    Mandos:

    What this means, and it is depressingly the case, is that the material rights of women and minorities is contingent on the mood of a majority identity group

    By definition, any minority group in a democracy has to safeguard its position by making alliances to form majorities. Tying their fortunes to Wall Street and neoliberalism have led the causes of African-Americans, women, and Latinos to disaster (at least for those not-rich). So maybe an alliance with working class whites would be more fruitful?

    When the Democratic party was the party of the New Deal, and the white working class was onboard, not only did we have a more economic justice and equality, but also:

    a) the cause of women went forward;
    b) Civil rights and voting rights went forward.
    c) the cause of African-Americans went forward;
    d) the rights of the accused went forward;
    e) the rights of whistleblowers went forward;
    f) the cause of LGBT people went foward (though this was late in the tenure);
    g) the cause of personal freedom, including reproductive freedom and the free speech went forward.

    In short, all the causes that the New Dems today say is oh-so-important to them all went forward. The only thing that went backwards, to a limited extent, was the power of America’s rich. Since the Democratic party has tied itself to neoliberalism, all the above causes have gone backward, while the power of the rich has expanded manyfold.

    Yet the New Democrats want to continue the same strategy that has led all these causes (save LGBT) to grief. That either must mean that a) New Democrats are stupid (the definition of stupidity being doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result) or b) they don’t really care as much as they say they do about all these things, because protecting the power of the rich is job #1.

    Which is it?

  80. January 29, 2017

    When the Democratic party was the party of the New Deal, and the white working class was onboard, not only did we have a more economic justice and equality, but also:

    a) the cause of women went forward;
    b) Civil rights and voting rights went forward.
    c) the cause of African-Americans went forward;
    d) the rights of the accused went forward;
    e) the rights of whistleblowers went forward;
    f) the cause of LGBT people went foward (though this was late in the tenure);
    g) the cause of personal freedom, including reproductive freedom and the free speech went forward.

    In a nutshell, the problem that this generation of “identity politicians” has been trying to solve is this dependency itself, i.e., to find a way to insure that economic fortunes (which are fickle) don’t roll back social progress when they are going down. Otherwise, it means that every time there is a protracted economic downturn, such as when a theory like neoliberalism causes an eventual economic nadir, the same battles have to be fought again on the way up. In that sense, a vote for Sanders is a vote for identity-political improvement via economic improvement. From that perspective, a Clinton win would appear to some as a moment at which that dependency cracked a little further.

  81. bruce wilder permalink
    January 29, 2017

    In a nutshell, the problem that this generation of “identity politicians” has been trying to solve is this dependency itself, i.e., to find a way to insure that economic fortunes (which are fickle) don’t roll back social progress when they are going down.

    That is certainly flattering to “identity politicians”, but is it descriptively accurate? Is it even ontologically possible?

    I do not think it is. Conflicts of economic interest are politically perennial — up, down, they always exist, always emerge. The vertical conflict between elites and the commons is particularly problematic, and both acute and complex in a hierarchical society cum political economy, where the hierarchy is productive (and not just extractive and parasitic). It is more than “who will guard the guardians?” (as Plato had it)

    The notion that economic fortunes and fluctuations are like the weather and that trends in manufacturing employment or labor’s share of income are attributable to dimly understood impersonal forces is at the core of the neoliberal economics because it let’s the identity politician off the hook for managing the economy at a strategic level. Pay no attention to the Clinton who enacted Nafta or repealed Glass-Steagall. Pay no attention to the Obama that protected the banksters but threw those facing foreclosure to the wolves.

    The advances technological and organizational of the Second Industrial Revolution, which first emerged in the 1880s, forced political and social crises and the building of new institutions — the New Deal and the European social welfare states and an international order centered on the U.S. resulted. Building up that system enabled social progress. From a cynical perspective, the old divide-and-conquer strategies of the predatory rich, who nurtured class and race as a means to rule saw those schemes backfire, as the social balkanization became the basis for organizing from below. From the 1970’s, “social progress” was hijacked for the cause of disabling all mass-membership organization in opposition to predatory elite domination. Social atomization became a new means for the rich to monopolize political power while preserving rituals of democratic process, even as the economic institutions of social protection and countervailing power were dismantled.

    Disinvestment over the last thirty or forty years has delivered a lot of income to a tiny fraction of the global elite. But, by its nature, disinvestment runs out of society and political economy to dismantle. The neoliberals have done a remarkably good job of blaming the victims: the feckless Greeks or the deplorables among the white male working class or the abandoned English working class who voted Brexit.

    As elites become more parasitic and less interested in competent technocratic management, politics becomes more authoritarian and corrupt. I think you can count on the prophets of identity politics to derail any attempt to channel the eruption and rebellion from below in a positive effort to contain or punish elite parasitism or to restore a modicum of technocratic competence.

    A critical tell if you are trying to distinguish the neoliberal “left” from those trying to accomplish some good will be memory. The neoliberals will never be able to remember last week, let alone appreciate the long-run course of events forward or back.

    If someone is attacking Trump on emoluments, but remembers nothing about the Clinton Foundation, that’s a tell. It is a pattern that will repeat, as millions are mobilized as in the women’s march, but no one is politically organized.

  82. StewartM permalink
    January 29, 2017

    Mandos: Bruce replied to your point more completely than I. Kudos to him.

    Bruce’s point is excellent: the whole point of New Deal-type policies was precisely to *shield* the bulk of the population from “fickle” economic fortunes, if not to prevent economic bad times (recessions and hyperinflation) entirely. Remember, Hubert Humphrey favored guaranteed full employment. If this were true, if we had actually accomplished this and say truly universalist health care, why would working class whites then bolt the alliance?

    There is no democratic way to end what you call “dependency” of minorities upon the good will of the majority. None, nada, zilch. Yes, our current system has features (such as an independent judiciary) that can act as a brake upon short-lived outbreaks of hysteria directed at minorities, but these cannot hold up to a persistent, determined, decades-long onslaught. Minorities must make alliances with other groups to form majorities protect themselves and to advance agendas friendly to them. LGBT people recognize this best, as they know full well there is no way will ever compose 51 % of the electorate and win elections based on just narrow self-interest. You have to make alliances to form a majority.

    We have one model of advancing these causes, plus those of personal freedom and individual rights and press freedoms, that has been shown to work (the New Deal, Sanders model). We have one model of an alliance with Wall Street that has been shown to fail (the Clinton-Obama model). The kindest thing you can say about Marcotte is that she willfully ignores the historical evidence of what strategy actually works.

  83. Robert Mcneilly permalink
    January 29, 2017

    Webster gw
    Read flatland blog
    The unconscious rules
    The conscious rationalizes

  84. Webstir permalink
    January 29, 2017

    @ Robert Mcneilly —

    Always up for a good read. I googled and nothing came up. Got a link?

  85. Uncle Mark permalink
    February 1, 2017

    Webstir,

    I believe Robert is referring to Dave Cohen’s blog Decline of the Empire.

    http://www.declineoftheempire.com

  86. Webstir permalink
    February 1, 2017

    Thanks for the help Uncle Mark 🙂

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