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

Why Trump Won

It’s 10:50pm, EST and, as of right now, it looks like Trump will probably win. The Senate and the House will be Republican as well. Let’s lay this out.

Trump sold hope, Clinton sold the status quo.

Trump’s motto was “Make America Great Again.” Clinton’s said “America’s Already Great.” That told anyone who wasn’t doing well that Clinton was not their candidate.

Trump made the election about what he would do, Clinton made it about her.

“Make America Great Again” vs. “I’m with her.” Clinton’s entire campaign was predicated on “I deserve this, this is about me, you should identify with me.” Trump’s campaign was about what he would do for America and Americans.

Running Against Russia Was Foolish

It isn’t the cold war any more. A majority of Americans actually want better relations with Russia, not worse.

The Recovery Never Touched a Lot of People

Clinton and Obama told those people they didn’t care about them. All this bullshit about the unemployment rate when the percentage of jobs available compared to the population never recovered, and when only one year of Obama’s reign saw general increases in income.

Trump Ran Against Iraq

Clinton did not. He won against his fellow Republicans on this issue. Hillary wasn’t just a vote for Iraq, she was the Democratic Senator who rounded up other Senators.

The Greens Did Not Make the Difference in Florida

The polling I’m showing right now has them at .7 percent. That is less than Trump’s  margin of victory. Johnson got 2.2 percent, but Libertarians seem to take evenly from Republicans and Democrats, with a slight nod to Republicans.

Third parties were not the difference. (Edited: 7:35 EST 09/11/16 to reflect Libertarian party being about an even split.)

This Has Been Coming for Years

Various people, myself included, were warning that a huge populist backlash was coming, and that in the US, it would probably be right wing. We were saying this as far back as the early 2000s. Others were warning of this in the 90s, or even the late 80s, because they saw the inequality data and knew where it was leading.

Elites Have Taken Almost All the Gains for 36 Years

It’s just that simple. A lot of people have been left to rot for two generations now. The good jobs went away, they never came back, and yes, that was deliberate government policy. Neoliberal globalization was a choice, and it was a choice designed to destroy the future of many many people.

The DNC Chose the Worst Candidate

One thing the Wikileaks releases confirmed is that the DNC did try to make sure Clinton won the primary.  They succeeded. Sanders, a left wing populist, consistently polled better against Trump than Clinton. He did best amongst Independents, exactly the swing voters that Democrats needed in order to win.

The DNC Tried to Get Trump as the Republican Candidate

They thought he would be weak. As it happens, he has outperformed recent Republican candidates significantly AND he has lifted Republican down-ticket candidates to victory.

Democrats Lost the Election and Trump Won It

Despite all the self-congratulatory blather, Trump ran a better campaign than Clinton. More positive and upbeat, with far better messaging. Democrats chose a weak candidate with a weak message.

Further Reading

I want to strongly encourage you to read these articles, which I wrote during the election, so they are not retrospective takes.

First, if you’re feeling depressed, down and so on, please read these articles.

The Philosophy of Decline and Collapse

Your Responsibility for the American Election

Second, on Trump’s Positive Messaging. (Yes, it was).

Trump Pushes Hope While Clinton Pushes Fear

Third, on Trump’s economic messaging.


(Note, he may not follow it or execute well, but the message itself spoke to the fears and hopes of people who have actually lost the current economy.)

Fourth, on speaking to people’s actual experience of America.

The Logic of Trump

Fifth, Trump’s Convention Speech.

Despite what you were told, Trump’s speech was not insane.

Sixth, Clinton was no prize.

The Monstrousness of Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton is the worst type of leader (Guest Post by Hugh)

Final Comments

Let’s be clear, I don’t think Trump will be a good president. And Republicans controlling House, Senate, and Supreme Court is bad.

There are, however, reasons why Clinton lost against Trump. Part of it is that she was always an awful candidate, with sky-high negatives. Democrats knew this, and nominated her anyway, with Democratic operatives effectively cheating on her behalf.

Part of it is that despite his manifest weaknesses, Trump ran a more positive campaign with a better message, while Clinton ran a campaign based entirely on fear and with a message that said that “everything is basically fine.”

I do look forward to Democrats who covered for Obama’s wars, assassinations, mass deportations (far worse than Bush’s), and brutal torture of whistle-blowers, suddenly opposing all those things again.

Unlike last time, I won’t think this means they actually have principles, but I’ll still take their support.

In the meantime, contrary to the hysteria, it is highly unlikely this is the end of the world. Food is still tasty, there is still love and beauty in the world, and unless you were expecting a job with the Clinton administration, nothing bad has happened to you yet.

Do not make future possible problems which may never happen, and which even if they do, are not here today, ruin your enjoyment or happiness today (or tomorrow; grieve tonight if necessary).

If you enjoyed this article, and want me to write more, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.


Trump Pushes Hope While Clinton Pushes Fear


Mandos on Trump’s Victory


  1. Z

    I’m stunned that Trump is doing this well. I never thought he had much of a chance. I can hardly blame people for voting for him over that corrupt Clinton political machine.

    If she loses, most of the demo-zombies will see this as another sign of how fucked up the country is and how morally superior they are to the “thems”. But meanwhile, it was partly their steadfast defense of Obama … despite his continual betrayal of their so-called principles and his slavishness to corporate interests … that brought the nation to this point. They let him get away with it by maintaining their support of him … through all of it. And now here we are …

    It’s not the whole entire reason, but it’s a underappreciated contributing factor.


  2. Z

    Obama’s signature “achievement” of a corporate-servile health care law also played an underappreciated role in this election.


  3. Z

    This also tells you that Bill Clinton is not nearly as popular as the mainstream polling tells us he is. Another crock of poll-shit …


  4. V. Arnold

    Holy shit; Trump is the president…

  5. Mary Margaret Flynn

    Thanks for you coverage from Canada Ian. I’ve known since President Obama chose his first treasury secretary–we had a neo-liberal, hawk in the presidency and would be the same with Secretary Clinton. Just hope we don’t destroy our earth in the process with famine, war, and pollution with oil spilling everywhere (Trump doesn’t “believe in” climate change). All that is a problem for sure. Since I see him basically as an active nihilist it just may “happen here”; eg fascism. (Even more chaos which we have been exporting for the entire 74 years of my life- American imperialism and neo-liberalism,) Glad I have more time behind me than ahead of me, We have joined he rest of “free world democracies” to populist nationalism at this time

  6. V. Arnold

    The Clinton dynasty crumbles; it’s over.
    Even as a win; the Trump presidency will be expected to deliver a lot.
    His acceptance speech was low key and fraught with social faux pas.
    Trump will be a great president or a tragic failure…
    If the latter, may the gods help Usians.
    I’m not hopeful and expect the worst.
    We’ll see…

  7. Lisa

    Sam, here, I thought that even if he got up it was going to be real close, down to the wire stuff.

    Bit this sums it up: “Democrats Lost the Election and Trump Won It”.

    I always said it was his election to win or lose and despite every effort he made to lose he did it. But without Dem help he wouldn’t have got there. Sanders would have won in a landslide.

    But the Dem campaign it was terrible on every dimension. Pissing off large amounts of their own supporters and very importantly activists, those people that get out there and get people to vote. Refusing to even throw a little bone towards poor and working class people.

    Chasing those unicorn ‘moderate Republicans’ that they love so much. It was a terrible campaign. In fact if Trump hadn’t made so many mistakes it wouldn’t even have been be close.

    The voter analysis I want to see later is how many potential Dem voters just couldn’t do it and didn’t vote (or even voted Trump). I suspect that was the key and maybe those last minute email issues were enough to chase them away (?).

    Anyway the later analysis will be interesting and revealing.

    And the US will now tear itself apart. And what will happen when Trump is shown to be as neo-liberal and neo-conservative as Clinton? Because the odds are he will, his support base are the religious and so called ‘alt’ right and they are as ‘neo’ as anything.

    Watch for the violence against women, LGBTI and minorities to spike.

    And it all could have been avoided if Sanders had got up as the candidate.

  8. sglover

    Dem ineptitude has brought us another disaster, and this one might make us **nostalgic** for the days of Bush the Lesser!!!

    Naturally, Dems being Dems, the most important thing is to blame everyone else. Check out Saint Krugman’s twitter feed. Early on he was smearing the Greens for Clinton’s loss in Florida. The really beautiful part is that Stein votes were maybe **half** of the margin between Trump and Clinton. Meanwhile the libertarians got about **three times** as many votes as the Greens — votes that almost certainly would have added to the Republican margin.

    So it seems like every believing Dem’s favorite “Nobel Prize” economist has a problem with elementary arithmetic. Not to mention basic integrity — this is all of a piece with his earlier Big Lie smears against Sanders.

    Clinton lost Pennsylvania, for God’s sake! It looks like she didn’t even carry Philly!!! How the hell do you pull **that** off?!?!?

    I hope this ends the Democratic Party and its hangers-on. They deserve it.

  9. bruce wilder

    For all the talk of how the Republican Party was cracking up, it was the Democratic Party that destroyed itself.

    It is remarkable to me how clear that is, now.

    I am not inclined to credit or blame the respective campaigns, per se, or their messaging. Trump did plenty to signal what he is, which ought to be repulsive to plenty of people, certainly enough to win an election. Clinton did not know how to be a credible alternative to Trump, and did not realize that she also needed to be a credible alternative to herself.

    Liberalism went wrong, when it gave up on fighting for the common man in his struggle against the bosses, the bankers and the grifters — when liberalism became left neoliberalism, aka the Third Way of Bill Clinton. The Dems kept some of their self-righteous virtue intact by continuing to support the evolution of a liberal culture of anti-racism and feminism, but the economics did them in when the righteousness of their remaining cause blinded them.

  10. markfromireland

    Interesting how the polling companies got it so wrong. I believe the only one that consistently got it right was the USC/LA Times tracking poll.

    From my point of view the result is a relief. I believe that prospect of America going to war with Russia has receded considerably.

  11. V. Arnold

    Ian, your comment section is dysfunctional.
    It tells me there are 3 comments and I know I’ve commented at least twice; but they aren’t there/here now.
    After I submit this they will likely show…

  12. Finally, the Clintons are dead.

    Now come the price we are going to pay, the is a reason for telling the working class what to do. remember they are the electorate, and the new Democrats has not gotten that.

  13. Ian Welsh

    The investors business poll got it right too.

    But yes, I need to take this lesson to heart and start ignoring polling that goes against my gut.

  14. Hugh

    Excellent round up. What I find interesting is that the Democratic leadership totally refused to listen to what voters were telling them. If you are in the lower 80% of the population, you know that the status quo is killing you. You see not just your future but your present slipping away while corrupt elites make out like the bandits they are. Your jobs are going to China and Mexico or have already gone. You see your healthcare premiums skyrocketing each year even as your coverage goes through the floor. You see millions of immigrants, both legal and illegal, coming into the country each year when you can see we can’t take care of our own. You want answers. You want a plan.

    So what did the Democratic Establishment do? They tried to force the most arrogant, corrupt, elitist defender of the status quo down your throat, someone so untruthful that their every statement has to be decoded and parsed to remove all the lies from it, and then they told you to STFU and vote for her because Trump.

    After Clinton and the party’s defeat, I think the party leadership will go through the usual rounds of “soul searching” from which they will draw, as usual, all the wrong lessons. Rather than go populist, they will turn even further to the right. Instead of listening to the electorate, they will try to come up with more effective ways of telling it what to do. Rather than returning to their New Deal roots which so energized the Sanders campaign, defective as the candidate was, they will continue to cling to their neoliberal, neocon values. Rather than fight and stand for anything, they will embrace the meaningless mush of bipartisanship even more.

    I have two take homes here. The first is that shit sandwich (R) beat shit sandwich (D). The second is that both parties deserved to lose but only one could.

  15. An excellent round up – but a large part of the problem is the disintegration of news media, and that will come back and haunt us for a very long time. trump does not make money, he steals it. since the poor do not have any money, and the middle class is shrinking – their is only one place to get money from – the environment. He could also throw in a couple wars, but that might be too silly at this stage.

    Also the supreme court is going to be a mess, just truly a mess. but this had to happen, because it is not just Clinton’s fault – there are a lot of neo-Democrats, some from when Clinton pere was even elected.

    But the real point is that the liberals need to reform the Democratic party – no other priority is as important as having our own political party.

  16. Tom

    When my home state Michigan went into play for Hillary, I knew she had done fucked up and was going to lose. Then Trump took Ohio and Florida and that was all she wrote. Pennsylvania was icing on the cake.

  17. Hugh

    Stirling, I agree about the news media. As a group, they jumped the shark in this election. There were a hundred pertinent issues they could have latched on to and investigated about both candidates, but instead they just went overtly partisan and propagandized for Clinton in the primary and the general.

    They were what Upton Sinclair described on steroids: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

    And boy, did they not understand it, smugly, condescendingly, and at incredible length.

  18. And when the night was over she sent her campaign manager to the party to tell her faithful the lie that it was not over and that they should go home and get some sleep while votes were still being counted, while she called Trump to concede the election and slunk out the back door with no public farewell.

  19. ks


    Good write up but where I think you drift off is the implication that this is the culmination of a long coming “populist” backlash. In fact, it’s just the latest backlash from the same group of people. From Nixon’s Silent Majority to Reagan’s Democrats to the Tea Partiers to Trump, this is the latest version of “taking “our” country back”.

    OTOH, I do agree that this is an inflection point. America has been in decline but now that is set in stone.

  20. Peter*

    I avoided the news last night and went to bed depressed but as the sun rose this morning into a clear beautiful sky with a slight breeze clearing the miasma of Clintonism forever from view things are looking up. Whatever Trump does as president I’ll have to deal with later but for now I can celebrate never having to listen to the Grifter Queen or her gloating quislings ever again.

  21. With his over-inflated ego and pompous personality the comedians should now have plenty of fodder to work with in the near future.

  22. ks


    Good write-up but, you wander off the mark when you imply that this is the culmination of a long coming “populist” backlash. In fact, this is just the latest backlash from the same group of people. From the Silent Majority to Reagan Democrats to Tea Partiers to now Trump, this is the latest version of the “taking “our” country back” backlash.

    OTOH, this is an inflection point as the American decline that was underway is now set in stone.

  23. ks

    Oops please delete my dupe post Ian.

  24. Z

    Uh-oh, and it looks like the stock price of the Clinton Foundation just took a big hit overnight …


  25. Z

    Hopefully, this will bring to the forefront what a failure that the Obama presidency has been for the vast majority of this country.

    They really ought to do a corruption investigation on mainstream polling. Obama probably isn’t nearly as popular as the polls keep telling us he is. And he’s not even all that popular in those polls.


  26. Z

    This is also another sign that the political acumen of the Clinton political machine is way overrated. The only reason they won the big corporate lapdawg’s first election was that Perot took almost 20% of the vote – he was the 3rd point to their triangulation – and the republicans are more independent-minded than the demo-zombies. Then in 1996 he ran against one of the most listless candidates ever: Bob Dole.


  27. Max

    Like Stirling Newberry said in 2006.

    >I’ve been working on this piece for sometime, so here is a summary. There are two possible realignments in American politics. One is the creation of a “perot pole”, which is would be rooted in a “close the doors consensus”. It has a simple policy plan: tariffs, a wall, get out of Iraq, strip mine for coal and liquify it. This is between 18% to 25% of the population, and would be the dominant partner in any coalition that it joined, since its members are active and they know what they want. The policies of a perot pole fit on a bumper sticker: everyone out of America.

    Of course it is an economic disaster, since a third of our living standard or more is based on American leadership in finance, design, export and security.

    >The probable course is that the “perot pole” gets its day in the sun, gets the disasterous results that are going to happen with protectionism and isolationism – and then the energy pole will rise as it becomes clear that the only way out, is forward. This path will damage the US tremendously, because the rest of the world isn’t in as bad a position as it was in 1930. We will inflict Smoot-Hawley on ourselves, but the rest of the world will not want to play along. It will squander the last of the post-war position of the US, for no benefit.

  28. Bill Hicks

    As a Sanders supporter and someone who deplores Wall Street and what has been done to Libya, Syria and Yemen, every time I would read an article about the Clinton Foundation corruption, how the DNC rigged the nomination, Hillary’s kissing Wall Street’s ass or news of another atrocity committed by our military or their proxies I would get so furious that I would actually consider voting for Trump.

    Then I would calm down and that idiotic idea would pass (ultimately, I didn’t vote). But I’ll bet there were a lot of other people out there beyond just those whose livelihoods were destroyed by globalization who did vote out of anger, and that’s what likely turned this election.

  29. thepanzer

    It’s petty but i’m taking great delight in the suffering and lamentation on the many Hillbot and Obot sites. They ate up the neolib BS for 8 years, bought into GB’s 3rd and 4th terms, and gave the finger to any Dem that didn’t join them on the neolib bandwagon.

    The parties are in the midst of realignment. The post-Reagan system is beginning to shatter and the old guard in both parties and the media don’t seem to grasp how fast the world is changing. It’s now establishment vs non-establishment, populist vs elitist, local vs global.

    Schadenfreude’s a helluva drug.

  30. EmilianoZ

    None of this matters. Neoliberalism won. The markets are up. Neoliberalism was never in a position to lose. It would have won with Hillary. It has won with Trump.

  31. Some Guy

    Here is what I wrote on Ian’s prescient ‘Trump could win’ post back in May

    “Seems like independents don’t like Clinton or ‘the establishment’ much. There are a lot of independents.

    Seems like it is more likely that Democrats will vote Trump than vice-versa. Sure, moderate republicans will vote for Clinton – but there is only 100 of them and they are all in D.C. and environs.

    Seems like there will be more foot soldier enthusiasm on Trump’s side

    Clinton’s record in getting votes is lousy. Trump’s is very short, but so far has surprised to the upside on almost all occasions

    This will be the purest test in a while of how many people are willing to cast their vote based on nothing more than to placate the PC cries of racist, sexist, populist, fascist, misogynist, etc(ist) that will be blaring nonstop from the MSM from now until November. In the past couple of decades, this has always been a decisive tacic, but I’m not sure that’s true any more – I guess we’ll see.”

    We saw all right. So if you ignore all the other times where I said I thought Clinton would win, my crystal ball looks pretty good…

    As for the rest, everything you say is correct Ian, but I think you fail to note that Trump was the only politician of any type to come out strongly against (illegal) immigration. That was the tipping point in the Brexit vote as well, in my opinion.

  32. I feel satisfied about this outcome. It’s so rare to see someone get what they deserve these days, and Hillary Clinton got it good and hard. If she had voted against invading Iraq, she would be president right now, packing up to move out of the White House and reflecting on eight years of leading the free world. Instead she helped to throw millions of human lives to the wind, and now will go down as an embarrassment. Actually, that’s less than she deserves, but it is something.

    Now we’ll find out what Trump intends to do. I think we should remember the first nine months of George W Bush’s presidency, and how listless and ineffectual it was. He was universally believed to be a one-termer until, well, you know.

    Don’t look to the Democratic apparatus for answers. Instead, find good candidates and prepare to work for them. 2018 will offer lots of opportunities for the right people and ideas.

  33. Lisa

    Some numbers are coming out and the popular vote seems much closer, possibly even a small majority to Clinton but the electoral college system magnifies the effect.

    However the final numbers turn out they almost certainly will show the result as being very close in terms of votes.

    My original prediction made here so many months ago:
    Clinton vs Cruz, Clinton wins.
    Trump vs Sanders, Sanders wins.
    Trump vs Clinton, Trump wins.

    I have to admit I thought Trump had managed to self destruct (several times) and he nearly managed to do so given how close the popular vote is, if the Dems had ran even a quarter decent campaign to capitalise on that she would have got across the line (just) but they were too incompetent, too corrupt and too arrogant to even do that.

    Equally if Trump had half a brain and even a quarter decent (eighth?) campaign team he’d have won in a landslide.

    Pretty good analysis here:

  34. Hugh

    Site problems? A comment I made after Tom’s which showed up this morning is gone, and Tom’s is now the last comment that I’m seeing. It seems that somehow the refresh isn’t working.

  35. Lisa

    Another good analysis:

    “For instance, the overwhelming majority of Hispanics I ran into, once I gave them latitude to express their views by saying I hated both candidates, made clear they were seriously entertaining a Trump vote, including a van driver in Dallas. The upper income, 30s to middle aged guys in my gym,

    all of whom save one had been Sanders voters,

    were voting for Trump (I added another one to that tally tonight). ….

    So even though my sample was small (and I have more examples), it said the closeted Trump voter was a real phenomenon and likely bigger than anyone was allowing for.”

    “Yet Clinton was a lousy campaigner and strategist. By all accounts, she was a micromanager who regularly overrode her staff’s advice. All the big-ticket Madison Avenue spin-meistering could not get the dogs to eat enough dog food.

    You don’t win voters by telling them they are stupid and beneath contempt. That is tantamount to saying you have no intention of representing them
    You don’t win voters by failing to offer a positive vision and selling only fear
    You don’t win voters by trying to get them to believe you’ll suddenly behave differently and take positions contrary to the ones you’ve held for decades to extract cash from the the richest and most powerful
    You don’t win voters with a record of failing upward
    You don’t win voters by saying your opponent is a sleaze, even when undeniably true, when you are at least as sleazy yourself”

  36. Hugh

    Now that I made a comment I’m getting the comments up to that new comment.

    I agree with EmilianoZ. You look at Trump’s positions and, aside from free trade, the rest looks pretty standard neoliberal or conservative, there not being much of a difference between the two anymore. More than this, the Establishment was going to win no matter what: the Republican grotesques, Trump, Clinton, and even Sanders. They’re all members. Trump may be the bad boy, but it only took markets a couple of hours to realize he’s one of them.

  37. Bill Hicks

    It looks like for the second time in less than 20 years the winner of the most popular votes will be denied the presidency. Not that I had any desire to see Hillary win, it just amazes me that people just shrug and accept that the electoral college can effectively subvert democracy.

  38. Hugh

    Lisa, I keep coming back to saying, “Character is destiny.” The whole lot of them: Sanders, the Republicans, Clinton, and Trump had to act the way they did, and make the mistakes they made, because they were incapable of doing anything else. All of these people, like the rest of us, had the possibility, and in their case, the opportunity, to rise above, but they didn’t and couldn’t.

    From the start, as Ian notes, the Clinton campaign was never about us. It was about her and what she, as the consensus candidate of the powers that be, felt she deserved. Unlike Bill who could fake empathy with the common man and woman at the drop of a hat, Hillary never could hide or bother to hide her contempt and condescension toward those whose votes she needed. Rather than spend time among the people, she spent a lot of it raising money among billionaires, her people. Add to this the well-known Clinton greed and inordinate love of money, her corruption, dishonesty and penchant for legalistic lying, her sense of entitlement and that rules and laws that applied to everyone else did not apply to her, the Clinton habit of throwing people and groups under the bus the moment they had served their purpose, and finally Clintonian triangulation that left everyone with the feeling that she had no convictions, just a moving and everchanging group of interests. It just says so much that about the Democratic party that such a person could command the party’s machinery, its leadership, and the leaderships (as opposed to the rank and file) of its traditional allies in labor and among women, blacks, and Hispanics.

    I think Clinton’s view was both elitist and mechanistic. She seemed to think that if she garnered the support of leaders of some group that had x voters in it, she would get x votes from that group. Her math was no doubt impeccable but totally ignored the human element. The leaders did not speak for their memberships and many in these groups did not like her personally and even if they did, not necessarily enough to vote for her.

    Clinton ran against a dreadful Republican candidate but she could never see past herself to see what a dreadful candidate she was or how distrusted she was in the eyes of so many. Character is destiny.

  39. Hugh

    Bill Hicks, don’t you need a democracy before it can be subverted?

    We have had a republic, not a democracy. Those with the franchise, white male property owning adults, comprising less than 10% of the population, voted on the Constitution. The 17th Amendment which mandated direct election of Senators was only ratified in 1913. The Senate is an institution where half the population is represented by just 18 Senators and the other half is represented by 82. Buckley v. Valeo in 1976 equated money with free speech, and the more recent Citizens United merely confirmed that. So a billionaire has a right to thousands and tens of thousands times more free speech than you or I. Where is the democracy is in any of that?

  40. One of the most interesting analyses I’ve seen so far of why Trump won. Concise too. One thing I would add, though, is that while Trump did indeed sell hope, he simultaneously sewed seeds of fear. He frequently lied in order to paint America’s situation as much darker than it arguably is, and he demonized entire groups of people in order to create the sense of a bogeyman infiltrating/sullying America’s greatness. This reprehensible fear-mongering made his message of a beautiful future and/or a return to an idyllic past all the more impactful.

  41. markfromireland

    @ Ian:

    I do look forward to Democrats who covered for Obama’s wars, assassinations, mass deportations (far worse than Bush’s) and brutal torture of whistle-blowers, suddenly opposing all those things again.

    Unlike last time, I won’t think this means they actually have principles, but I’ll still take their support.

    Seriously Ian? Did you actually think they had principles? All they’ve ever had was partisanship, sloganising, and attitudes. What they don’t have and never have had are beliefs or principles or anything that even remotely resembles integrity. They have partisanship attitudes and a cynical amorality and that is all they have. I’m truly amazed you were ever taken in.

    As to taking their support, sup with the Devil if you must, but as you are now no doubt aware anyone who dines with that formidable host should first equip themselves with a long and heat-proof spoon. Have you got your spoon Ian?

  42. Lisa

    The numbers are starting to come out, looks like the non-voters made a difference.

    Voter turnout in 2016 looks low so far — and that may have helped Donald Trump
    ” But if those numbers hold, that would be the lowest turnout since the Bush-Kerry election in 2004.

    If so, that’d be unexpected. Many observers thought 2016 might shatter turnout records, with voter registration at all-time highs and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump attracting unprecedented news coverage.

    Turnout might have even cost Hillary Clinton key states. Voters in some Democratic strongholds who came out for Barack Obama in 2012 seem to have passed on Clinton this time around. And, as Domenico Montanaro of NPR points out, that could have been a difference-maker in Wisconsin and Michigan:”

    n case that tweet is hard to read, Clinton garnered 129,000 fewer votes in heavily Democratic Detroit than Obama did four years ago — and lost the state by around 61,000 total votes.

    She also got 95,000 fewer votes in heavily Democratic Milwaukee than Obama did — and lost the state by 73,000 total votes. This obviously isn’t the only reason Trump won, but it’s an important subplot.

    CNN has a more detailed breakdown of Clinton’s failure to hold together the Obama coalition: exit polls suggest she underperformed among African-American, Latino, and young voters ”

  43. markfromireland

    For those bereft and grieving souls wondering how could this have happened? This is how it could have happened:

    Donald Trump’s Argument For America – YouTube

    And when somebody tries to tell you that he ran a bad campaign – tell them to go and watch that video because it and advertisements like it were a major part of what turns out to be a remarkably slick and effective effort.

  44. cripes

    It is true that primary voters who rejected more than a dozen Republican hacks, including !JEB! and delivered the nomination to Trump handed a giant F-you to the Republican party.

    Also true that in the general slightly under half the electorate voted Trump, for the fifth time electing the numerical loser to office via the Electoral College, and delivered a giant F-you to the corporate Dems and the third way Clintonistas.

    In the absence of a left populist alternative (thanks Debbie Wasserman Schultz) they voted the right populist alternative.

    No one was more deserving of this defeat than Hillary and her feckless predecessor, Obama, who deserves much of the credit for this debacle.

    While loudmouth bigots and gun nuts have featured prominently in the Trump phenomena, the truth is a large number of suburban/rural counties that went Obama in ’08 and even ’12 went Trump this time around, putting the lie to the claim this election was driven by xenophobia and racism.

    Trump and the rest are surfing deeper forces of popular revolt, confused and inchoate as that may be, and pretending to lead the march they stumbled into and waving the the banner as if it belonged to them.

    But we should not be fooled for a moment that Trump-ism, if that’s what it is, will deliver anything to the people who have vested their hopes in his victory and the many millions who refused to vote Hillary or to vote at all.

    He is surrounded by a cabal of the worst retreads of 1980-1990’s republifascists and crooks, from Giuliani and Christie to Gingrich for God’s sake. Trump is no policy wonk and can’t be bothered with the details of legislation and governance, and the wrecking crew that will wash in with the wake of his spurious victory will move quickly to pack the court, rig the redistricting for 2020, demolish the tattered social net, purge the voting rolls, roll back already weak environmental, healthcare, reproductive choice and worker rights and privatize everything in sight.

    Expect Paul Ryan’s budget blueprint to be enacted.

    The betrayal will eclipse anything Obama, as bad as he was, could ever hope for.

    Don’t kid yourselves. But maybe, just maybe, there is an opening to build an opposition that will not be controlled and directed by the fatally corrupt Democratic party and their minions in the press and elsewhere. Where is our Jeremy Corbyn?

  45. You do realize we have taken this class before?

    The question is do we fall into line behind President Trump. The elites have, the young people have not.

  46. Bobby K

    After Clinton and the party’s defeat, I think the party leadership will go through the usual rounds of “soul searching” from which they will draw, as usual, all the wrong lessons. Rather than go populist, they will turn even further to the right.

    I was thinking exactly the same thing. What else will happen is they will consolidate even more power at the top and make sure a campaign like Sander’s NEVER EVER happens again.

  47. Steeleweed

    Trump didn’t win – the Democrats lost. They lost because they abandoned the 80% of the population that does real work for a living. After seeing Reagan’s reign, the Dems abandoned the underlying principles of the New Deal and became the Left wing of the Money Party (h/t Mike Collins). They co-opted, gutted and ignored any progressive movements within the party, assuring any economic pain would fall on the lower classes and any economic gain to the upper classes. Just as Trumps followers didn’t care about the truth or falsity of what he said, I doubt if they really think he can save them. They just want him to take down the existing power structure that has screwed over them all their lives. That class gave a giant middle finger to The Establishment – which well deserves it. For further analysis, read the late Joe Bageant, who must be alternately laughing and weeping in his grave.

    Given Trump is totally unprepared for the office, the Deep State will have even more influence than they might have had with a strong president. Given Trumps ego, his most influential advisors will be the best ass-kissers. Policy will now be decided by the sleaziest, slimiest scumbags money can buy.

    That’s the short term view. In the long term, it’s just one more event in the long collapse of the American Empire.

  48. Orbital Debris

    You forgot to mention the part about news media and bloggers (such as yourself) taking every opportunity to raise questions about Clinton’s honesty or ethics (“She’s a monster”…Ian Welsh), which apparently sowed just enough doubt (say, 1-2% of voters) to put Orange Mussolini in office.

    Thanks for your contribution. I hope you realize that whatever happens is partly on you.

  49. V. Arnold

    Ah, once again we are presented a political farce in the persona of Trump.
    He’s everything the MSM is not, not!
    Another shuck and jive presented as change.
    Fool me once, my fault; fool me twice, shame on you.
    There is nothing unique in Trump; he’s just the same old bullshit in new packaging.
    If he gets away with this; there is no possibility of any change in the U.S..
    Suck it up and suffer…
    I’m done…

  50. realitychecker

    @ Orbital Debris

    Pardon me for pointing this out, but do you realize that you left your head all the way up your ass?

    New poll just out says that it is all Orbital Debris’ fault.

    Morons abound, and are united in their certainty that none of it is Clinton’s fault. LMAO.

  51. Peter*

    It appears that the constant warnings made by the Clintonites about Trump bringing division, hate and violence was a self fulfilling prophesy and the Clintonites are busy fulfilling it around the country.

    Some of the comments made by activists, at these irruptions, although coded in liberal-speak are certainly reactionary and verge on Fascist themes. This is what happens when the leader of a cult of personality is rejected and humiliated publicly and permanently.

  52. Ché Pasa

    Let’s get this straight. “America” did not elect Donald Trump. Hillary got more votes that he did, just as Gore got more votes than GWBush in 2000. Donald Trump “won” — if he winds up winning the Presidency — because of the Electoral College, not because more Americans voted for him. They did not.

    We won’t know how many more votes Hillary got until they’re all counted– which may be never, knowing how cavalier some jurisdictions are with uncounted ballots once a “winner” has been declared.

    “Rural America” did not elect Trump; it can’t elect anyone to national office because not enough people — let alone voters — live in rural areas. I live in a rural county. 6,286 votes were cast for president, 58.78% for Trump, 28.16% for Hillary, 10.94% for Johnson, 1.05% (66 votes one of which was mine) for Stein, and the remainder for assorted others. It was much the same in many of the other rural counties. Nevertheless, Hillary won the state, 48.26% to Trump’s 40.05% and Johnson’s 9.34%. (Stein came in with 1.34% all told. Pitiful.) Hillary won because the urban areas voted consistently for her, and like the rest of the country, 80% of the population lives in urban areas.

    I have reasonable confidence that our Republican County Clerk counts the votes accurately and does her best to conduct as free and fair and accessible an election as possible (early and absentee voting are easy, there is no onerous ID requirement and no attempt at all to suppress voter participation. The county uses scanning machines and paper ballots), but I don’t have that confidence about any number of jurisdictions and alternative methods of casting and counting ballots. Even the scanning machines can be jiggered, but the paper ballots are retained, so it is at least possible to check.

    It is way too easy in too many places to jigger the results. Whether it was done, I don’t know, but I don’t have confidence that it wasn’t. What with all of Trump’s incessant whining about a rigged election, he could be right — that it was rigged in his favor, even though his vote total is less than Hillary’s.

    Demonstrations against Trump’s elevation to the Presidency have started, and I expect them to grow. During the 2000 recount, most of the demonstrations were by armed insurrectionists threatening mayhem if their candidate (Bush) wasn’t granted the Presidency forthwith. And when the Supreme Court lawlessly intervened, Gore and the Democrats caved, and the insurrectionists got their wish. Bush’s reign was an unmitigated disaster. But that’s what the insurrectionists, the courts, and the Democrats wanted.

    This time, despite all the calls for calm and “unity,” I don’t think it will go so well. I spent the day yesterday among a lot of Native American Indians. They were in mourning, deep mourning, many dressed in black and some were terrified of what would happen especially to the Water Protectors in North Dakota. Many wanted to go and help protect the protectors, and some will be headed up there this weekend with supplies and solidarity. 

    This sense of mourning and fear and solidarity is found in many other communities, especially those who have faced so much prejudice, oppression and hate from the Dominant Society for most of their history.

    Trump partisans and their fellow travelers discount that as unimportant or irrelevant, but it’s very real, and there are more such communities than Trump and his radicals realize.

    One person said to me yesterday, “I will not take one step backward to follow that man.”

  53. bob mcmanus

    But we should not be fooled for a moment that Trump-ism, if that’s what it is, will deliver anything to the people who have vested their hopes in his victory and the many millions who refused to vote Hillary or to vote at all.

    I don’t know, but I would not be surprised if Trump doesn’t actually deliver. Liberals and Democrats have too long thought austerity was an ideology, but it really was a tool to gain power. Neoliberalism died Tuesday. The ideology is fascism, which is not about austerity at all.

    It is possibly Trump and Congress enact Paul Krugman’s wet dream: inflation, infrastructure spending, deficit spending, millions of new jobs.

    And lock in legal power for decades.

  54. Peter*


    Now we get the lament of the loser and the butt-hurt whining about the unfair system that if the outcome had been reversed would have probably produced silence from the Clintonites. I recall the Clintonites bragging just before the election that they had the electoral college vote secured and they were very proud of using this system. The Clintonites couldn’t convince enough of their own people to come out and vote where it mattered but their apologists have to find external targets to deflect from their weakness, corruption and failure.

    Your Indian friends seem a bit dim or at least overly conditioned by Clintonite propaganda. The water protectors are being harassed, attacked and evicted by forces acting on policies Obama is responsible for not Trump. They may be evicted or frozen out before Trump even takes office.

    The Trump/Obama meeting produced mostly empty rhetoric but one statement was interesting. Obama is setting up a multi departmental security task force to assist the Trump regime in addressing the expected and already apparent national unrest. The Clintonite cult is disintegrating and spilling into the streets to vent their rage.

  55. Ché Pasa

    Peter, methinks you project too much.

    I’m not a Clintonite; I never was. I am deeply and fundamentally opposed to Trump and all his ilk for they will bring immense harm to the most vulnerable in their train. It is baked into who they are.

    Go find a list of his acolytes, advisers and proposed department secretaries. These are among the worst of the worst of the Clinton-Bush-Obama years. They’re monsters each and every one, and their intent is to wreak as much harm on the rest of us as they can as quickly and painfully as they can.

    I keep reading and hearing about all this “hope” he’s brought to the table, and all this “hope” progressives and others have that he won’t be as awful as every sign says he will be. There was the same “hope” that Bush 2 wouldn’t be as bad as every sign said he would be — no, he was worse. Same “hope” around Reagan. He was worse in spades.

    And no, I haven’t forgotten Clinton or Obama, both of whom ran on “Hope” and “Change” and both of whom hewed close to the same neoLibCon orthodoxy that Herself was running on, she with the motto “No, you can’t.”

    Trump is no savior. He’s a consumate conman who will suck you dry and spit out the husk.

    And yes, Clinton got more votes.

    The Indians are not as dumb as a lot of white privileged people who will find themselves in a world of hurt much sooner than they ever thought possible. At least the Indians are preparing for the worst; something they’ve been through more times than I care to count.

    Meanwhile, I expect the protests to grow. Noncooperation is a functional tactic we may see quite a lot of in the near term.


  56. Hugh

    Orbital Debris, don’t shoot the messenger. You are just setting up an analog to the “Gore lost because Nader” narrative. Both are false. Nobody forced her to be the godawful candidate she was, nobody forced the Democratic party to rig its process to select her, and nobody forced her to run the lackluster campaign she did. You are also ignoring how totally in the bag the MSM was for her.

    Being an adult is about taking personal responsibility. I’ll stand by actions, and I am sure Ian will stand by his. Why does this not apply when someone is a politician?

  57. Hugh

    Both candidates ran their campaigns based on the electoral college. So it is a little late now to reject it. The electoral college is highly anti-democratic, but then we don’t live in a democracy and never have. If we want a democracy, then we should start thinking about how to build one.

  58. Ché Pasa

    Hugh, the presence or absence of the Electoral College is not the point. The point is very, very simple: “America” did not vote for a Trump victory. More voters voted for Clinton than for Trump. Period. Full stop.

    Neither, by the way, received a majority. The plurality for Clinton is razor thin but it appears to be real. We don’t know what the ultimate margin will be — we may never know — but it is significant and it is growing as more votes are counted.

    This is the second time in 16 years that the presidency has gone to the loser of the popular vote, and the fifth time it has happened in our history.

    The Electoral College may be The Rules by which our presidents are (s)elected, but that is beside the point when one is contemplating who got more votes.

  59. Peter*

    I haven’t let the sniveling Clintonite losers harsh my mellow and every morning I wake with a smile knowing that there will never be the threat of the Red Queen or her quislings grasping power, ever!

    Closet Clintonites and others are desperate trying to remain something other than ‘ I’m with her’ has-beens but the true believers already seem to be atomizing with fewer munchkins in the streets whining into their sour grapes.

  60. Ian Welsh


    I came from outside politics and was naive. We started to learn in 06 – the House gets taken, and whoa, nothing we wanted gets done.

    Don’t get me wrong, I knew many were corrupt and worthless, but I thought we had some allies.

    I was right.

    But you could count them, in both House and Senate, on the fingers of one hand.

    Might need to take off your shoes if you included staffers.

    No point in pretending I didn’t have a learning curve.

    As for taking their support: you may be sure that it will be long spoon, no promises accepted, help from them upfront with whatever I’m doing after they’ve done their part.

    (But mostly I meant I expect them to scream about shit I despise again, and I won’t believe they mean it at all.)

  61. markfromireland

    @Ian – How fortunate that the count did not need to go over 20 or you could have been done on public indecency charges :-).

    H H Munro, who is one of my favourite writers* once wrote:

    “Nothing fans the flame of human resentment so much as the discovery that one’s bosom has been utilised as a snake sanatorium”

    or to put it another way, stabs in the back from allies hurt more and are far less forgivable. I’m delighted that you learnt the appropriate lesson and are acting upon it. Reading the comments here and other places the same cannot be said of many. When confronted with those who either refuse to learn or who are incapable of it I reflect upon the fact that those who survive the evolutionary weeding out process are the adaptable and not as commonly believed either the strong or the fleet of foot.

  62. markfromireland

    * Munro (who wrote as Saki) – had a horrible childhood which accentuated all his many unpleasant characteristics. He’s further proof of your thesis above about writers.

  63. tsisageya

    Yes, it’s complicated business that would make you late to your own party.

    Why Trump won? I don’t know that anyone knows why Trump won.

    Because he’s not killery?

  64. tsisageya

    Either way, Israel gets a pass, it seems. SURPRISE!!!

  65. tsisageya

    I can say that much more crude, if you want. But I bet you don’t.

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