The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Month: November 2016 Page 1 of 4

Maybe It Is Time to Stop Underestimating Trump?

I keep seeing people talking about how stupid Trump is.

It is certainly true that Trump is not book-smart. He probably wouldn’t score well on an IQ test.

But by now, it should be clear, except to functional idiots, that Trump is very good at getting what he wants.

This is a man who shits into a gold toilet. Who has slept with a succession of models. Yeah, he’s a sleazy predator, but he gets what he wants.

He won the primary and the election. He won the election spending half as much money as Clinton did. Yes, she won the popular vote total; that’s irrelevant. He won where he needed to win to get the Presidency.

He played the media like a maestro, getting a ton of coverage, got the subjects he wanted covered, when he wanted them covered.

People laugh at him saying he would have won the popular vote too, except for fraud, but that idea is now out there and those who want to believe it have seen it repeated in the press. Even those outlets who said it wasn’t true repeated it, and Trump’s followers don’t trust the press.

Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, ran his paid advertising and also decided where the campaigns efforts should go. He fine-targeted ads, and he went for places Trump could win with the least money and effort.

Trump says he hires “the best.” I dunno, but his daughter married someone scarily competent, and Trump had the sense to trust him, take his advice, and get out of the way and let him do his job.

Trump just convinced Carrier to keep some manufacturing jobs in the US (by bribing them with tax cuts, it seems). That sort of high profile personal intervention will be remembered, and has already said to his followers: “I’m delivering for you.”

Trump is clearly a very flawed individual, with really questionable morals and ethics, but he isn’t incompetent by any useful definition of the word. He may well wind up betraying his followers, certainly many of his cabinet picks are of deeply dubious individuals who favor policies which will hurt the working and middle classes.

But that doesn’t make him incompetent, that makes him a politician and a sleazy, but very good, salesman.

Trump’s opposition will continue getting their asses handed to them if they keep assuming that he’s a boob, or that he can’t take good advice. He’s a very savvy operator, and the people he trusts most, Bannon and Kushner, are extraordinarily competent men who have proved their loyalty.

What Trump doesn’t have is very firm policy opinions, and wonkish centrists and lefties think that makes him stupid, and that that type of stupid is the same thing as incompetent.

Trump stands a decent chance of juicing the economy even as he chops away at is remaining underpinnings through his tax cuts. If he does so, he will be re-elected.

I’d be careful betting against him.

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Castro’s Legacy

Castro has died at age 90.

Despite the squeals, the bottom line for Castro is that he improved the lives for the vast majority of Cubans. Even after Soviet aid was cut off, Cuba under Castro was able to recover. Cuba, like all nations, suppresses some political dissent, but it has a far smaller percentage of people imprisoned than the US, and those prisoners are treated far better than US prisoners. Human welfare statistics are high, including lifespan, infant mortality, education, and so on.

One can qualify Cuba’s success, but it is, overall, a success–especially when compared to most Latin and South American countries.

As for Castro himself, he outlived pretty much all his enemies and many of their children, and died in bed. Can’t ask for much more than that as a revolutionary leader.

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Review of “The Economy of Cities” by Jane Jacobs

jane-jacobsI read this book in the early nineties, along with its companion, Cities and the Wealth of Nations. It struck me then as profoundly important and still does today–perhaps more important than The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the book for which Jacobs is better known and which has become seminal for much of modern urban planning.

Jacobs was an autodidact, and quite willing to challenge the status quo thinking based on her own investigation and research, and The Economy of Cities is perhaps the most striking example of this, with Jacobs starting the book by saying that agriculture was created in cities, not in the country.

Jacobs definition of a “city” is as follows:

A settlement where much new work is added to older work and this new work multiplies and diversifies a city’s division of labor OR a settlement where this process has happened in the past.

If a lot of new work is being created, a settlement is a city. If work is not being added, it is not a city–though there are cities which had this process in the past, in which it has largely stopped. Appropriately, Jacobs, publishing in 1969, spends a lot of time discussing how this process had stopped in Detroit, the results of which are now clear to see.

Jacobs observes that the countries with the most advanced cities have the most advanced agriculture, and that the productivity of agriculture, in modern times and those times about which we know, lags behind the productivity of cities. She uses Denmark as an example, which had backwards agriculture until Copenhagen began developing due to trade with London, and replacing imports by making those imports in London.

Likewise, refrigeration was developed in cities, factories started in cities and moved to the countryside, electricity started in cities, and on and on. Industries: Work, is created by cities and when it is codified enough to be vertically integrated within a single organization, it is then moved to the countryside.

Given this is the case for new work today, and in recorded history, Jacobs asks: Why do we assume it was not true for the invention of agriculture?

Archeologists in Jacobs time didn’t agree, and they don’t agree today, but I’m not sure they were right. A lot hinges on that definition: Settlements where a lot of new work is being added.

Still, there is some archeological evidence: As my friend Stirling Newberry once pointed out, the vast walls of stone age settlements, for example, make no sense as defensive measures. They cover too wide an area for stone age settlements to actually man them. But if you’re breeding crops, they make perfect sense: You need your new species to be protected from windblown seeds.

Still, whether Jacobs is right about agriculture in specific is less important than that she is right about what cities are today and on the historical record: Places in which new work is created.

But not all cities, not forever. Like Detroit. A city starts by exporting something and importing what it needs. It then replaces those imports by making them itself. Jacobs gives many examples, from medieval Europe to Los Angeles after the war.  As it replaces imports, it creates new work along with a vast ecosystem of suppliers of services and products. It also frees up money to buy new imports, which, in turn, it can then replace.

Because new work generates out of old work, the more work you have in a settlement, the more likely it is for new work to arise. New work doesn’t arise on the entirety of an old business, though, it arises on part of it. So the bra was the invention of a dressmaker who shut down her dress making business to concentrate on bras, which she had previously made one at a time and given to customers who bought dresses.

A startup business needs suppliers: It needs sources for everything it doesn’t make itself. When Ford, famous for the assembly line, made cars successfully, he did it by buying all the parts from other Detroit businesses and just putting them together. Only later did Ford start making everything internally. (One of Ford’s suppliers were the Dodge Brothers.)

A new business can’t do everything that business requires: accountancy, sales, making every machine for manufacturing. So a city with a wide variety of work makes it possible to add new work. Cities which produce the most new work (but not the most efficient) are cities like Detroit before the success of the auto industry–full of small businesses, none of which dominate the city.

If one industry or company becomes too successful, they make a city efficient and the small suppliers die off. As examples, Jacob gives Manchester (the heart of early British textile manufacturing), Detroit, and Rochester, NY. In all three cases, a successful mono-business strangled the prerequisites for new businesses to arise. In the case of Rochester, Kodak was extraordinarily vindictive in stopping anyone from leaving the company and starting a new one.

As an aside for the modern reader, this leads to one of the reasons for Silicon Valley. Famous for its startups, often created by people who just left another company, Silicon Valley exists because California law makes non-competes illegal. If you want to be “the next Silicon Valley” and you allow non-competes, it isn’t going to happen.

Which comes to the more basic point that people have to be able to start new businesses. Where they can’t, for whatever reasons (water carrying slaves in Rome are one example Jacobs uses), new work can’t be created. This strikes at the heart of questions of credit, of centrally planned economies vs. decentralized ones, at the massive loss of regional banks in the United States (large banks are worthless for starting new local businesses, as a rule), and so on. Jacobs has a long section on credit for new businesses, using as one of her examples, the tech boom in Boston after WWII, which was in large part the result of a single bank starting up which wound up specializing in funding such businesses.

This summary can’t really do justice to the book, and it’s worth your time to read. Jacobs, in this book, says she felt that the US was just beginning to slow down, which proved prescient; and in her next book, Cities and the Wealth of Natons, she declared it had happened. The archeologists may disagree with Jacobs about agriculture, but the economic macro-data is clear: The earliest you can see the US slowdown is about 1968, when she would have been writing the book, and by 1980, when her next book came out, it was clear.

Although Jacobs was writing before the internet, and before just-in-time shipping and near global supply networks, her book is interesting to read in light of these developments. Her conditions for new work creation and why cities are required, make it possible to ask: “Can those conditions now be met without living in a city?”

The answer would seem to be, “If I can order all the parts and services I need from anywhere in the world, why not?”

But…but, the fact is that the center of world manufacturing is now in a few cities in China. For example, the foremost electronics manufacturing center is Shenzen, and if you want anything made it can be made there, because, well, all the suppliers are there.

So, while the internet and global (fast) supply chains seem to suggest that perhaps cities are not as necessary as they once were, a few cities still seem to be the places where most of the new work is happening for particular industries.

This book really does need to be read along with Cities and the Wealth of Natons, it’s really part one of a longer book, which sets up the macro-circumstances under which cities can keep the necessary conditions for growth. They also deal, in detail, with the effect cities have on non-city areas. That book I will review at a later date.

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Marine Le Pen and the Problem of Nationalist Politics in Europe

(This post is by Mandos)

Now that French politics are heating up, and France is increasingly likely to put up a Thatcherite against the Front National in the upcoming presidential elections, folks, particularly non-Europeans, might start to wonder what exactly is wrong with the Front National if the worst sort of neoliberal is representing the system. Fillon embodies the worst of Thatcherism while simultaneously embracing a reactionary cultural politics. That said, it’s still likely that left-wing French voters will hold their nose and vote for him over Marine Le Pen. Americans especially, after they read the differences in what they stand for, may be aghast in incomprehension at this, because on paper, MLP is, in many relevant dimensions, better than Fillon.

The problem with the FN is not really MLP herself, and relative to their own politicians–even the left-wing ones–American left-wingers will find in MLPs own program lots to like. I find her domestic economic program and objections to the European system to be mostly in the right direction, even if I don’t necessarily agree with her on how to fix the European-level issues.

The actual problem is one of political context. MLP is only the tip of an ultra-nationalist iceberg that has historically sought a confrontation with France’s large Arab Muslim/North African minority whose presence is a direct result of French colonialism. FN supporters wish to direct and control the inner cultural and religious life of the minority community without concomitantly doing anything about the sources of discrimination, etc., provoking counter-reactionary tendencies in the minority community (e.g., alienated youth joining ISIS or putting on niqabs or whatever), in a cycle of escalation that could make the occasional American race riot seem like a kaffeeklatsch. Even Trumpist America just believes in more reactionary policing.

But aside from that, MLP has successfully and perhaps even genuinely practised a strategy of dédiabolisation, i.e., the adoption of what would, in other circumstances, be a mainstream left-wing program and distancing from some of the more virulent elements of her party–including the very public shunning of her own father, the party’s elder statesman and nationalist ideologue.

The danger you run with movements in Europe with left-wing dirigiste economic programs and nationalist cultural politics is that they will find it hard to follow through on the former and be forced to rely on the latter. This is likely what will face an MLP presidency:

  1. The Syriza Problem: Upon winning power, MLP will be faced with the problem that in order to implement her economic program, she will have to counteract European systems, particularly in the Eurozone. These systems have been tested against Greece, in that they are designed to punish deviants in a manner that maximizes short-term economic damage to the victim while minimizing short-term damage to or even benefiting the countries applying it (i.e. Germany). Even if there is damage done to the Eurozone as a whole by the confrontation, there’s considerable willingness to accept it in the short run to preserve the system in the long run (Americans underestimate this).
  2. The Syriza/Brexit Problem: Disengagement from Euro systems requires massive technical knowledge and specialized staffing–a fact which both the Greece and the UK have discovered. The problem is, as Greece especially discovered, the people who have this knowledge and ability are almost completely Europeanists and convinced neoliberals. Because the Brexit-UK is still very neoliberal, they may be able to get over this problem eventually, but France will not, if the purpose of leaving the EU or Eurozone is to implement an economic-nationalist policy.
  3. Parliament: The most likely outcome in which MLP wins the presidency is still likely one in which she does not control the Parliament, meaning, she will have a confrontation with Parliament that will likely frustrate her ability to bring any of her economic program at all. This is a problem that Trump likely shares to some extent, even if the Republicans control Congress. In this way, she would be forced to rely on her movement’s cultural-nationalist politics, which at the grassroots are still very reactionary.

That is the problem. What the FN says is in many ways less important than how they got there. Many left-wing French have basically no home in French politics, because they know that upon winning power, the FN will have to abandon the key elements of its economic program, while using the reactionary parts to stay in power. Think of the FN as somewhere between Syriza and (ironically) the Turkish AKP. My real-life left-wing French acquaintances believe that this condition risks leading very quickly to, effectively, civil war. Even if a crisis of this nature is eventually averted, the outcome would be a re-legitimization of the very systems in Europe alleged to be failing, a confirmation and return to the consensus of Europe.

You can think of all of this, from Greece onwards, as a stress test of the European system, and despite its economically inhumane outcomes and appearance of further instability, the system is proving resilient to nationalist attack. The loss of the UK is acceptable, as it was never properly integrated, and continental politicians believe that they can inflict sufficient cautionary pain and humiliation on the UK while removing an obstacle to further integration. It could be that Le Pen has the skills to buck the trend. It would be a huge risk.

I am starting to think that their strategy is probably correct, relative to their aims (whether their aims are good is another matter, although they genuinely believe they are). Nationalist politics as resistance to neoliberal economic ideology at the European level is certainly not a sure-fire success, and I still agree with Yanis Varoufakis’ approach, which requires pan-European solidarity to confront and reform pan-European systems, as difficult as that may sound. And there’s a reason why people in Europe are still afraid of the sort of cultural nationalism that the FN represents.

Trump on His Transition

Folks on the Left really should watch this. It doesn’t sound insane, even if I disagree with parts. Note that I don’t disagree with parts of it, for example, killing the TPP trade deal.

And…France Moves Hard Right

Here we go again:

Fillon, who has said he will cut public sector jobs and rein

Francois Fillon

Francois Fillon

in government spending, won 44 percent of votes in Sunday’s first-round of voting for the center-right’s nomination. He faces a second-round vote against another former prime minister, Alain Juppe, who trailed him by 15 percentage points.

Polls had him in third place. He came in first. Maybe pollsters should stop polling until they figure out how they keep getting it wrong. Customers might wish to demand refunds.

Fillon thinks Thatcher is the best thing ever and wants to cut 500,000 government jobs.

A neoliberal’s neoliberal, in other words, who is also socially conservative.

Assuming he wins the nomination, he will likely wind up head-to-head against the neo-fascist LaPen.

Here’s how that works:

  • If Fillon wins, his policies will hurt the French so much that LaPen will likely win the next election.
  • If LaPen wins, well, LaPen wins.
  • The left is not a factor because Hollande has betrayed everything they stand for and alienated the left-wing base completely.

Frankly, France should leave the Euro, at the very least, and quite possibly the EU. They are not winning from it any more. Because only LaPen will say that, and because the left continues to insist on irrelevance as they relate to real problems, LaPen is the future, whether Fillon wins this time or not.

This is the twilight of neoliberalism. As I have said for many years, what follows will be an age of war and revolution. This is where neoliberal policies inevitably lead, and we are now on the bleeding edge of that new era.

There will be a chance to do the correct, kind things starting in four to eight years, when the weight of demographics favors young people enough. In the meantime, the old will simply have to age out of politics.

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Why Many People Love Trump

Okay, you should read this entire article. I’m going to excerpt one piece but it’s all there: the trade, jobs, the rhetorical style, the anti-war message, and so on. Most of you have never heard this, and I haven’t been able to get through to a lot of people.

So read.

Or consider the particularly emotional exchange Trump had with a father from upstate New York. “I lost my son two years ago to a heroin overdose,” says the father from off camera.

“Well, you know they have a tremendous problem in New Hampshire with the heroin,” says Trump. “Unbelievable. It’s always the first question I get, and they have a problem all over. And it comes through the border. We’re going to build a wall. ”

Then, instead of moralizing anger, playing against type, come compassion and respect: “In all fairness to your son, it’s a tough thing. Some very, very strong people have not been able to get off it. So we have to work with people to get off it.”

At this point it becomes clear that the bereaved father has started to cry. Trump shifts to tough-guy reassuring. “You just relax, OK? Yeah, it’s a tough deal. Come on. It’s a tough deal.” And, in a veiled reference to Trump’s own brother’s death from alcoholism, “I know what you went through.” Then, to the audience while pointing at the father: “He’s a great father, I can see it. And your son is proud of you. Your son is proud of you. It’s tough stuff, it’s tough stuff, and it could be stopped.”

Trump did not campaign the way you thought he did. Or, not entirely. You only got half the picture, which is why so many people can only screech: “Racism!”

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The Historical Context of Clinton’s Popular Vote Victory and How It Shows a Constitutional Crisis

(This article is by Stirling Newberry)

The election was not stolen, but it was massaged. A majority of the voters in the United States preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, but that is not the way the election was decided. If we, the people, of the United States want a different system, then there are steps to get one. First we have to look back at the election of 2016, and see the many different avenues that converged to allow Donald Trump, who clearly did not win the majority of votes, to nevertheless claim the presidency. Again these are not suppositions, but facts that have two be dealt with, or in the future they will be used the same way to get a minority president. Remember that several times this has happened, and in some cases a good president has won out; for example, Lincoln won with only 40 percent of the vote.

It is also not the case that Trump was the only factor; this is why it is a constitutional crisis, but one that the elites can ignore, because they have the wherewithal to weather the storms, whereas a large number of the populace does not. In Rome, they called the elites “patricians,” and the populace were called “ plebes,” and it may be useful to recognize that in American society we are not that much different from Rome, but that there are important distinctions. Or as Orwell once wrote, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

The Division of the People

In a democratic government, all votes should be equal. Thus, the first step towards making an undemocratic government is to divide the people, so that the vast majority of them do not really have an effective vote. This is true for the majority of people in the United States–so much so, that it is part of the primer on presidential elections. A Democrat in Wyoming or a Republican in New York might as well stay at home, for all the good their presidential vote means. It will be counted, but it does not mean anything. It is, for all intents and purposes, a wasted vote.

What matters is that there are more wasted votes on one side than the other, and again, this is part of the system; states, not people, decide an election. In 1787, the states–not the people–were the ultimate arbiters of the presidency (this was modified by the 12th amendment, but still had the same thrust). This has remained true even though we would like to think that the people elect the president. And in most cases they do, but there are exceptions.

In the five times a popular vote winner has lost the presidency to another, the first time, in 1824, was different. In that election, no candidate attained a majority of the vote. Jackson won a plurality of the electoral college, and was also the winner of the vote, but it was John Quincy Adams who took the presidency, because if no one had won the presidency through the popular vote, the election was thrown into the house of representatives, which voted by state. The other four times however, 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016, the situation was much clearer. While the winner of the popular vote may not have commanded a majority, in each of those elections, the president-elect commanded more than the winner of the electoral vote system.

In fact, in 1876, there was a case of the presidential vote being “massaged.” On election day, the polls opened, and when they closed, Democrat, Samuel J. Tilden seemed to be elected president. But a single man looked at the results differently. That man is Daniel Sickles, and he is now no more than a forgotten footnote. But at the time, through sheer force of will, he pushed the 1876 election to a crisis point.

While there are many versions of this story, the upshot was that the election was not decided by constitutional means. The result of this constitutional crisis resulted in the passing of a law which would decide the presidential election. The law formed a 15 man committee, and that committee decided eight to seven in favor of the Republican, Rutherford Hayes, as the winner of all 20 disputed electoral votes. In reality, several of the states’ votes would not be treated “fairly” as we would define it, in that several decisions were made by an elected official, who somehow managed to make a decision which was in accordance with their party. Eventually, this incident heralded the end of the Reconstruction Period (the period during which Southern Confederate states were brought back into the Republican union).

In the past, there have been constitutional crisis points, this is not the first. But while these crisis points can happen, they require a spark – both a running spark and an ignition. Or to put it another way, there is an argument between the people deciding the Presidency, and the states deciding the presidency.

And 2016 is such a point.

The Deep Background

First, an election like in 2016 does not occur in a vacuum. The election of 2000 also featured an indecisive result. The important thing to remember is that if the result is thrown to the House of Representatives, the inevitable result is a Republican victory. This is because the result is not based on “one representative equals one vote,” but one state equals one vote. That is to say, Alaska has the same weight as California. Thus, the pressure on the Democratic Party must be that the election was decided by the popular vote, or George W. Bush would win any contest in the House of Representatives.

But there was a hidden feature: The Republicans had rigged the vote through a variety of means, and they knew how it was done. But the Democrats did not have this information, so they had to guess which votes in Florida needed to be recounted, and they guessed wrong. The result was decided in the US Supreme Court as Bush v. Gore. While the people thought that the election was theirs to decide, in actuality it was between the Democratic presidential candidate and the Republican presidential candidate. The difference is that if the election was the People’s to decide, every length to correctly determine the winner would have been pursued. As in this case, it was a struggle between the two presidential candidates, thus, there is an agreement, and that agreement will be rubber stamped by Congress. The agreement, though never put in to words, was that the Democrats would have one chance to contest the election in Florida, and no more than that.

Gore thought that counting the “undervotes” would be enough. But in fact there were three sets of problems with the ballots. The first was that Florida was run by Republicans, and officers of the Republican party would often go into a county election board, and would fill out Republican voters absentee ballots. In one case, some 5000 of these ballots were submitted. The problem with this from the Democratic party, is that these votes were all legitimate, and one could say that the Republican party was correcting the voting rolls. And this is true in so far as it goes, thus these votes were counted. The problem is that Democratic votes were not counted, and thus Democratic voters had no such help in getting their absentee ballots counted.

The next problem was with “undervotes.” These were ambiguous votes which could not be decided by machine. Much of the time, the voter had made a clear decision, but often it was the voting equipment was unable to determine what the decision was. In Florida, the “under votes” needed to be counted by hand. This gave rise to an additional problem: There were multiple kinds of voting equipment. So in one county, one vote would be registered, and in the next county over, one would not be recorded. The problem is, “How do you know?” and in many cases, it comes down to a point of diminishing returns. If a human vote counter cannot tell, then a vote should not be counted. When totaling up the human counted total, there is a slight difference from the machine-counted total. But this, alone, did not give Gore the additional votes that he needed. So under the elite agreement, the winner was Bush.

The final problem is with the “overvotes,” that is, a person wants to be sure that their vote was counted, and so not only did they punch the ticket for whichever candidate they selected, they also wrote it in. Again, the machine throws the battle out, however the law says that the vote should be counted if the name in the writing section is the same as the punch section. And this is important because, with overvotes and undervotes both counted, Gore would have won.

But the key factor is this: Who is deciding who wins the election? And the subterranean decision was that the two parties would decide the election, not the people.

However, this is not the end of story. Because at the end of his presidency, Bush basically wrecked the economy, not as in a recession, but The Great Recession. The problem was that the elites thought that it was up to them to decide, and the decision was 50-50, one would be acceptable whichever one the people chose. But that was not the case. Bush ruined the economy, and brought America into two wars which, while it did not lose, it was a struggle to see them to their conclusions. In other words, the elites picked Bush, and the elites were wrong. There was a difference between the two candidates, and it resembled catastrophe theory in its result.

The Big Sort

There was however a deeper problem. Americans were sorting themselves in to Democrats and Republicans. This was documented by a book: The Big Sort, by Bill Bishop. In this book, Bill Bishop lays out the way which the two parties sorted themselves, and how the Republicans came out the better for it. This means that any election could be the trigger–only an overwhelming Democratic surge keeps this in check. And in 2008 and 2012, this surge quieted the undercurrent of “the big sort.” The other problem is that before the sort, their were many more democratic counties which could be described as “landslides” and afterwards there were many times more Republican counties that could be described the same. This meant that the Democrats relied on a few large counties to offset the overwhelming majority of likely populated Republican counties.

This meant that in 2016, a problem emerged – a few razor thin Republican states, could overwhelm the popular preference for a Democratic candidate. Thus, Hillary Clinton is winning by some 1.43 million votes.

But “the big sort” is not the only problem, because on the ground level, the Republicans have twisted the election system so that many people who wanted to vote for Clinton, were purged from the rolls. This made a difference in the rust belt states. Again, legally they had the power to do this, but ethically it is questionable for one side to skew the results – because not only did Trump win the states, he won by a lot. Also remember, there is always the chance of cheating at the local level – after all the results are going to be enormous – and people who count the votes are often intertwined with their candidate. Again, this happens in most elections, it is just that with the Presidency of the United States, the consequences are tremendous.

Some examples of this can be seen from the number of polls in 2012 vs. 2016. One came to an 868 count in The Nation magazine. There were also purges of voters in key states, such as Michigan. Enough so that the result could quite probably have been different. While many commentators talk about GOTV (“Getting Out The Vote”), at least as important is “KITV” – Keep In The Vote. This has been done in almost every election, it is just that at the presidency, the results are larger than in any other form. Is also true that KITV largely does not matter. But this time it did.

The other problem was with the Democratic party – almost all of the officeholders wanted Hillary to be their president. In hindsight, this was bad, because Hillary did not mobilize enough voters to score the “down ballot” races. In Indiana and Wisconsin, the “sure thing” Democratic candidates lost, because of the low turnout on the Democratic side. Sanders was clearly a better candidate, because the electorate wanted change, and Hillary was not a change candidate. The problem with Sanders is that he was overwhelmingly not the favorite of the Democratic party establishment. So much so, that he was an outsider. This is a problem, because if had been only a slight outsider, he might well have persuaded the Democratic party to nominate him on his merits. But just as Trump was not well liked in side the party, Hillary was overwhelmingly the insiders’ choice–even though they knew that she was widely disliked among the electorate. It may not have been fair, but that is not the point. Changing the public’s perception of a candidate takes years, or you can go with someone lesser known.

The other problem however is the media almost no media outlet gave Trump their support and, much more importantly, no media outlet forecast Trump as the winner even on the day of election. So this was not just a matter of the Republicans stealing the election, it was the Republican, Democratic, and media spheres which were involved.

Remember, the public was crying out for a different form of priorities, ones with which Obama and Hillary did not seem aligned. Obama was not on the ballot, and thus Clinton could not count on the African American vote in the same way they he had. This is documented: Hillary did not turn out the African American vote the way Obama did.

But still in all, she won the popular ballot. The problem is there is more than one piece of the electoral puzzle – imagine that a candidate could score a small victory by counting on a few counties, such as New York, and leave the rest alone. In other words, imagine that the positions were reversed – a Democratic candidate who got just a few more votes in a few more cases, but the over whelming majority wanted a Republican. So it is not just the case that we have to juggle the system so that the popular will of people determines the vote.


A great deal of the media wants Election 2016 to be swept under the rug, primarily because they are mostly for-profit companies. In the mid-20th century, there was an agreement that the news was treated as an public service, not a center for profit. Those days are over. One also used to be able to make a case that the Democratic Party was the People’s Party, and that time is also over. Instead, with a new generation of political thinkers, some who were there before Bill Clinton came in to office, the Democratic Party became a means for enriching its members. Again,this is not unusual. LBJ enriched himself as Senator.

The problem is that enriching oneself came second in the mid-20th century, and this ethos was reversed in the early 21st century–one first figured out how to enrich oneself, then asked how many people did one need to do this. Unfortunately, Hillary Rodham Clinton miscalculated, and Donald Trump already had money, so he could massage the election to his advantage.

Under neoliberalism, getting rich became the reason for winning, not the side benefit, and this was one of the reasons for neo-liberalism. Instead of making a few industries open to trade, it became a mantra among Democratic party economists to open everything. The problem with this is that a great deal of the trade deals outside the US rely on a lower wage scale for their competition. And in this time much lower wage scales.

So the massaging of the 2016 election rests on a large problem, namely the big sort, which the government should have realized was a significant problem. It then filtered through a corrupt Republican party, which spent years on stacking the deck, even though a single election might be out of reach. Finally, these factors converged in 2016, when the big sort filtered through the Republican party – and the Democratic party and the media were not aware of just how large their mistake was.

I wish I was telling the story of a great person who was brought down. But that is not where the facts lie. Every person involved, even some of the greatest, had disadvantages which meant their ruin. The next time, I will talk about what we have to do, and it is more complicated than most people realize–and even though many media outlets understand the problem, they do not comprehend the solution.

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