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May 07, 2017

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So Marcon won, and Trump's soulmate** lost. Guess that just reaffirms the American far right's disdain for the French -- after all, they have an allergy to good sense. But, after all, the French did have a chance to learn from our mistake.

** "soulmate" may be a mis-/overstatement of the relationship of those who may merely share the active support of Putin and his tool Assange.

The meme about 25 % of ballots having been blank may be an information operation by "APT28" aka Fancy Bear aka GRU. It seems to have had no resemblance to reality, and would follow the typical pattern of Russian information operations: trying to sow confusion as much as possible is an aim in itself. The goal is to delegitimize institutions and such incorrect pieces of information will keep floating around for a long time, adding to uncertainty.

For Russians, it is a win if they get a Western person to conclude: "All information is equally unreliable, all parties corrupt, West no better than anyone else." A person having that kind of apathetic attitude isnalmostnas valuable as hard-line Putinist.

But, after all, the French did have a chance to learn from our mistake.

It's my impression (no data) that all round the world people have learnt from your mistake, although possibly not in great enough numbers to make a significant enough difference in every country. In the case of Brexit for example, if the referendum had been held after the US election, I doubt the Trump phenomenon would have dissuaded enough "Leave" voters to change their vote, but it would probably have got apathetic "Remain" voters to the polls, for whatever difference that would have made. But I think in Austria, the Netherlands and now France, the terrible spectre of the Trump effect loomed pretty large.

Here's the official statistics:

http://www.interieur.gouv.fr/Elections/Election-presidentielle-2017/Resultats-globaux-du-second-tour-de-l-election-du-President-de-la-Republique-2017

I think the "24.66%" abstaining is actually the proportion of people registered to vote who did not show up at the polling booth. It is the lower figures of "blancs" (6.5% of those registered or 8.5% of those who showed up) which express the true extent of protest voting, combined with the votes considered "nul" (2.2% / 3.1%), which would be any other "spoiled ballot" (which could be voter confusion or protest).

That *is* a significant increase on the rate of blanc/nul ballots from 2012, which recorded 4.6% / 5.8% -- but the Hollande / Sarkozy election was considerably closer, which tends to reduce protest voting. Wikipedia lists the spoilt votes for 2007 as 4.2%, and claims that's the same as 2002 and 1995.

On that basis, the number of spoilt ballots in this election was up significantly, but it was NOWHERE NEAR 25%.

LJ -- please can you note this in your post? Let's make numbers more accurate on the internet, not less!

Additional sources, in case this gets caught in the spam filter:

* https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%A9sultats_d%C3%A9taill%C3%A9s_de_l%27%C3%A9lection_pr%C3%A9sidentielle_fran%C3%A7aise_de_2012
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_presidential_election,_2007#Second_round

Just to support my contention above: per the Financial Times today (my bold):

Macron made huge gains, picking up the majority of first round supporters of the two leftwing candidates, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Benoît Hamon. More surprisingly, Macron won almost half of the votes of those who went with centre-right candidate François Fillon in round one.

For Russians, it is a win if they get a Western person to conclude: "All information is equally unreliable, all parties corrupt, West no better than anyone else

if only i didn't know several of these people.

So "'the West' is 'better' than everybody else"!?

Please elaborate.

context is a counterrevolutionary paradigm.

novakant, there is a serious difference between "no better than anybody else" and "better than everybody else." As is obvious, once you accept that not everybody (exclusive of us) is equally good.

Please elaborate.

Our vegetables are better.

I don't know, considering only the past 15 years - it's just got a bit hard to argue from a position of moral superiority of 'the West'.

But yeah, sure, Norway is better than North Korea and Finland is better than Russia, no question.

it's just got a bit hard to argue from a position of moral superiority of 'the West'.

there are plenty of countries where being skeptical about their lack of moral superiority could get you thrown in jail. the US and UK are not among them.

ok, so macron is now on my Facebook page inviting all the climate scientists and researchers who are getting screwed under trump to move to france.

we're not quite circling the drain, but you can see it from here.

3 years and 250 days to go.

I wasn't primarily concerned with how 'the West' treats its own citizens, but rather what it has done to people living in the rest of the world.

But with the highest incarceration rate in the world, while Trump and May are sounding more and more like Erdogan I wouldn't boast about civil liberties in the US/UK really. But yeah, I hear Norway is awesome.

And yet it is precisely how Erdogan treats his own citizens that reveals him most starkly for what he is. If you treat your own citizens with quite such brutality and contempt, what chance others? And I don't see anyone here defending Trump or May, do you? Nor the incarceration rates?

Trump and May are sounding more and more like Erdogan

"sounding like" doesn't exactly carry the force of law.

could you list a few of the - undoubtedly plentiful - paradises of the East that we should all aspire to be more like ?

remind me, who invaded Iraq?

" The West" is a propaganda term. I never see it used in any argument, whether praising it or condemning it, that would look out of place on a bumper sticker.

The US is better on civil liberties than a great many countries. It is also responsible in part for killing hundreds of thousands and displacing millions in the past 15 years. Its mainstream press is unreliable on some issues, tending to allow the Beltway types to set the agenda on what deserves coverage and how it should be covered. I could do a very long rant on Syria, for instance, if I felt inclined. Right now I don't.

On foreign policy we are arguably worse than Russia or anyway a case could be made. It would depend on how you do the bodycount. The difference is not so great that either country should strut around and act morally superior on foreign policy grounds.

And I don't see anyone here defending Trump or May, do you?

Nor Bush, nor Blair (at least as regards the Iraq War), do you?

well cleek seems to be defending the inherent moral superiority of 'the West' - or something.

This is ridiculous as Donald has made clear.

If you want to argue that, despite Trumo, May, Blair and Bush, there are nice people with great values like us in 'the West' that's fine, but that is rather begging the question, as there are lovely people like that in every country.

I can't speak for cleek, obvs, but as wj said upthread:

novakant, there is a serious difference between "no better than anybody else" and "better than everybody else.

Since the original comment referred to Russia, I will just ask you this: when did a US or UK (for example) head of state send assassins to another country (since poisoned cigars/Castro etc) to kill a domestic critic as Putin, for example, has done? Why does this have to turn into the same tired old dialogue I've been hearing all my life when someone criticises the actions of a foreign dictator and some lefty says "we're just as bad". I may be feeling tired and somewhat the worse for drink, but for God's sake, even so, are there no other tunes in the jukebox?

well cleek seems to be defending the inherent moral superiority of 'the West' - or something.

cleek asked you a question. What prevents you from answering it?

Plus Lurker, who made the original comment, is a Finn. If you think Finns don't have a more nuanced yet realistic idea of Russian methods and intentions than US or UK lefties, you've got another think coming (as my mother used to say).

there are nice people with great values like us in 'the West' that's fine, but that is rather begging the question, as there are lovely people like that in every country.

My theory is that there are nice and evil people in every country. I'm not thrilled with Trump, as I guess everyone knows. But our political system, while not perfect, has room to allow very good people to govern. Unfortunately, it has flaws, and it's not impermeable to hacking (both figuratively and literally). So we were screwed in 2016, and might well have a difficult time recovering.

I'm encouraged by France though. And the death march of the old white people continues!

OT:

my wife is the ground and center of my world and I would take a bullet for her in a heartbeat.

that said, I think I may have fallen just a little bit in love with Sally Yates today.

returning to programming in progress...

russell:

Yes. Damn, it was good to be reminded of true quality.

Donald: On foreign policy we are arguably worse than Russia or anyway a case could be made.

Remind me, which neighboring countries have we annexed territory from in the past few decades? (Yes, we did so in the more distant past. But I'm asking about actions in the lifetime of any of us here.)

This in addition to the question that GrtNC asks at 6:21.

also OT:

Kushner trading EB-5 visas for investments in family real estate projects?

why isn't that venal little bastard in jail?

C'mon russell, you know better than that.

There used to be a question on the form when one applied for a visa to enter the USA which asked "Have you ever attempted or do you intend to overthrow the government of the USA by force?", to which a famous English journalist whose name I forget answered "Sole purpose of visit." (He still got in).

This kind of self-enriching behaviour is the sole purpose of Trump's presidency.

I think I may have fallen just a little bit in love with Sally Yates today.

And she's from the south!

In the interests of accuracy, the actual quote is slightly different. It was Gilbert Harding, and although there is some controversy about the story, it does appear in his biography. Per Wikipedia:

"Asked on a US visa application "Do you intend to undermine the Constitution of the United States of America" he replied "Sole purpose of visit", a reply that many people in Britain felt was the only sensible reply to a very silly question. He was nearly denied a visa."

And to give a less flippant reply to your question, russell, we can only hope that in the end he and the whole sorry crew do end up in jail, or at least disgraced and a cautionary tale for the ages.

This kind of self-enriching behaviour is the sole purpose of Trump's presidency.

What's worrying/irritating is their apparent assumption that they can just go on doing what they are doing, with not the least need to dissemble. Like either nobody will care, or nobody will be able to do anything about it.

Here's hoping that they are wrong both ways.

Wj-- you want to compare Crimea with, say, the invasion of Iraq? My understanding is that the annexation of Crimea was illegal, but that most people there were of Russian background and didnt object. I have zero interest in defending Russia, but if I wanted to criticize them I would pick something much bloodier, like the bombing in Syria, where the Airwars site says they have killed more civilians via bombing than we have in the past few years.

Russia also supports Assad. We support the " moderate" Syrian rebels and it is the various outside forces which have kept that war going. I am not feeling up to a long rant on that subject, but there is a lot to rant about.

Then there is Yemen, which just keeps getting worse. That should be front page news. It isn't.

And Israel, where we support them no matter what they do. The 2state solution is a joke-- something people say to excuse the fact that our ally keeps in effect annexing more territory.

Libya is a disaster. We are just the gift that keeps on giving in the Middle East-- the dead and wounded combined from our various interventions to be in the million range and possibly millions. Refugees are in the millions.

What gftnc said sounded like a typical conservative response during the Cold War. We have spent the past 15 years or so spreading death and chaos under both parties. Yes, Russia murders people in ways that we don't. Yes, it is the same old tired dialogue on both sides, but you guys talk like critics of Putin are being suppressed. Not hardly. And the tired old dialogue will stop when we stop being accessories to mass murder.

Larison, criticizing McCain, but these days the difference between McCain and the Democrats on some issues are nonexistent.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/mccains-warped-morality-and-u-s-foreign-policy/

There is nothing in American behavior, including Democratic behavior, that suggests we learned a damn thing from iraq except that sending our guys overseas into a long bloody quagmire is a political mistake. The whole political class responsible for that and later fiascos should have been driven from politics. Frankly, in an ideal world many of them ought to be in prison alongside Putin. Then they can all have a tired dialogue about who was worse and their supporters outside can join in if they want.

Here's hoping that they are wrong both ways.

So far everyone has been completely deferential. Daughter and son-in-law as senior White House staff, both of them and Trump openly profiting from their association with the office. Not a peep.

That's just the abuse of office stuff. It doesn't even get into Trump's business dealings with Russian mafiosi, nor does it get into the possible exposure he may have to corrupt influence due to personal indebtedness. We can't explore that because contrary to promise he continues to refuse to divulge his financial situation in any detail.

Katherine Clark introduced a bill to roll back the conflict of interest exemption for POTUS and VPOTUS. She took Ed Marley's seat when he went to the Senate - MA-5. That bill is, as far as I know, dead and buried. Other than that, to my knowledge, nothing.

Nothing.

I'd like to know who, at the national level, gives a crap at all.

I don't really care how much money these creeps make. They're all going to exploit whatever situation they find in life to enrich themselves, just as they have done for their entire lives, each and ever one of them.

It it's not challenged, it sets a really horrible precedent.

What isn't going to be for sale by 2020?

As an aside, I'll say that when I mentioned that I was not a fan of Bill Clinton pulling Hilary into policy work when she was FLOTUS, folks here found that puzzling.

This is why. Precedents matter.

Ivanka ain't Hilary. Nor is Kushner. Neither of them have the policy chops Hilary had and has.

But it set the precedent for this BS.

Wj-- you want to compare Crimea with, say, the invasion of Iraq?

IMO this stuff would be a lot easier to discuss if it wasn't presented as a contest.

Some places are unalloyed horror shows. Some places are pretty much paradises. Most places are in the middle.

The US can claim great things, and we also have really horrible things in our history, and in our present state.

I'd rather live here than in Somalia. In many ways, I'd rather live in the Canadian maritimes than here. Quebec City is fabulous, Toronto would work just fine. All of that said, CA has their own issues, ask any Inuit.

Vermont would suit, but it's too freaking cold. Five months of winter is enough, half a year of winter would put me right up the wall.

What I'd *really* like is to fix the stuff in our own back yard that's FUBAR, and not worry about what everyone else is or does.

Donald: Libya is a disaster. We are just the gift that keeps on giving in the Middle East-- the dead and wounded combined from our various interventions to be in the million range and possibly millions. Refugees are in the millions.

Libya was in a civil war, and several countries intervened. They did so with the imprimatur of the UN. You can argue with the wisdom of that, of course, but it was the international community that acted, in a process that we should all be rooting for. To pretend that Libya would be Nirvana if the intervention hadn't occurred is crazytalk. And really, would it have been better or worse? Who knows.

russell: IMO this stuff would be a lot easier to discuss if it wasn't presented as a contest.

Yes. It would.

novakant: But yeah, I hear Norway is awesome.

Maybe Norway actually is awesome. But you still haven't risen to the occasion that cleek offered: Who's better?

I really don't think Russia is better. The Soviet Union was an empire, and Putin is trying to get it back. I know a family who escaped Czechoslovakia right before the Iron Curtain fell. Ask some folks you know (if you know any) who "escaped" (yeah, think about that - "escaped") how much they like Russia.

I hope it doesn't get like that here. I hope that "we the people" haven't betrayed our values so completely that we've handed the government over to someone from whom we have to "escape" in fear of our lives, like the family I know had to do. By the way, that family is extraordinarily worried too now about Trump.

remind me, who invaded Iraq?

the US, UK, Australia and Poland.

and when Iraq invaded Iran and Kuwait, was it an honorary member of the West? or was t just some kind of anomaly that has never been repeated because the only bad countries are in "the West" ?

also, answer my question.

novakant: Since I distorted cleek's question, I'll quote it:

could you list a few of the - undoubtedly plentiful - paradises of the East that we should all aspire to be more like ?

Please answer it.

Libya is a disaster. We are just the gift that keeps on giving in the Middle East--

oh for fuck's sake. not every goddamn thing that happens in the world is the US's fault. we did not cause Libya's civil war. they chose that path.

Cleek, you're overlooking the tautology that, if the US touched an area at all, probably at any point in its history but certainly since WW II, then we are necessarily responsible for anything and everything bad. (But not for anything good; that obviously happened in spite of our best efforts.) And everyone else who might appear to be involved is innocent, since we have a magic ability to control their minds.

See? Simple, once you grasp the basics.

But yeah, I hear Norway is awesome.

apparently, the swedes will say otherwise.

and anyplace where lutefisk is a staple has issues. just saying.

Well, Swedish surströmming is banned from transport by plane because it has been declared an explosive. And then there is of course Icelandic hákarl sold abroad only with an official piece of paper declaring the seller not legally responsible for any effect on the buyer.
Most Icelanders eat 'traditional' on a single day each year.

wj has opened my eyes!

wj's law.

I note that you all focus on Libya, obviously because you think it is your best chance to score a point. Your point sucks on multiple levels but I would have to write paragraphs to respond, along with relevant links.The imprimatur of the world means that some Arab governments and France and the usual humanitarian interventionist types thought it would be a great idea to jump in. Actually, I doubt the motives are humanitarian anyway. Nobody would keep making the same mistakes over and over again if they were driven chiefly by humanitarian goals.

I have seen responses on Yemen-- there are none that are worth anything. People in Yemen know what we are doing to them.


Touching a country at all? A funny word for bombing it and overthrowing the government, but Americans in general are so narcissistic we think stealing emails is a horrific act of meddling, while jumping into other people's wars, assassinating via drones, pouring billions of dollars into arming " moderate" rebels and assisting a theocracy as it plunges a poor country into famine is just not that big a deal. Normal, in fact. Not everything is our fault. Yeah, that's the ticket. But sure, focus on Libya. It is the least atrocious of our insanely stupid behaviors in the Mideast. The bar is extraordinarily low.

Maybe I will just give the greatly shortened ( believe it or not) version of what I would have said on Syria. What sane person, if alliances were different and domestic politics were different, would think it would be a good idea to pour billions of dollars of weapons into the hands of " moderate" Palestinian rebels? Oh, not Islamic Jihad, heavens to Betsy. I mean moderates like Hamas or the more militant factions of the PLO. What if they could fight the IDF to a standstill, killing tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers? (I am scaling down the death toll because Syria is larger. ). What would Israel's response be to an actual military threat, one that mighttopple their government in favor of Islamic rebels? What would they do to the West Bank or Gaza or any Palestinian suspected of helping their enemies? And if the rebels won, would nice secular democratic Palestinians take over? If not, maybe we could broker peace talks on the precondition that Netanyahu has to leave.

That's our Syria policy. This is not something you do if you genuinely have humanitarian motives. It is something you do if the motive is to weaken an enemy. If Assad is toppled, maybe things get better or maybe the get worse. And they could get worse. If he isn't toppled, Hezbollah and Syria and Iran are in a quagmire. I think that was the real goal. We wanted another 1980's Afghanistan. The idea that we could pour massive amounts of weapons alongside our allies the notoriously democratic Saudis and Qatar with mainly humanirarian goals in mind is too stupid for words.

Putin is a bad guy and Trump is likely to be the worst President in my lifetime and I have slightly more useful things to do than rant on this blog, so this is, I hope, my last rant at Obsidian Wings. At this point it is jut a matter of self discipline. I don't agree with you folks and it gets tiresome having the same tired dialogue when you would rather be talking about how bad the Republicans are. And they suck on every dimension. But mainstream liberals have basically zero credibility left to criticize Dubya's foreign policy. His big mistake politically speaking was getting thousands of Americans killed. But Saddam was a monster, so by wj's argument the rest of the criticisms leveled at the Iraq War are irrelevant. That is exactly the line Bush defenders ( including prominent Democrats) had to take to defend their position.

Kerry last fall on Syria. The interesting admissions begin around minute 25.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=e4phB-_pXDM

Putin is a bad guy and Trump is likely to be the worst President in my lifetime

People may disagree with some policies embraced by Democrats, but electing "the worst President in my lifetime" every alternate eight years (successively worse and worse) doesn't really help the trend towards enlightenment. We need to patiently elect good people every time, even if they're not perfect, and work for "good" to become the norm again, so that we have room to work for "better".

People expect that it's easy to achieve a perfect world if only we'd keep our military out of foreign conflicts. I don't necessarily agree, but we're certainly not going that direction under Donald Trump.

We need to patiently elect good people every time, even if they're not perfect, and work for "good" to become the norm again, so that we have room to work for "better".

Okay, but who's "we"? I (just by way of example) didn't elect Donald Trump.

I would guess Donald would like to work toward good as well, which is why he laments the bad stuff the US does in other nations.

What bugs me about this Groundhog Day conversation (one of several we have here), is that I don't see anyone claiming that the US is perfectly good and without fault or that the US is perfectly bad and without virtue. The question is where is the US on the spectrum, and what things push it in one direction versus the other.

focus on Libya. It is the least atrocious of our insanely stupid behaviors in the Mideast.

I think I would have given the laurel for "least atrocious" to our support for the Kurds. But I suppose that's just me.

I note that you all focus on Libya,

i focused on it because i do not believe that we are to blame for what happened there, no matter how many times you try to convince me otherwise.

His big mistake politically speaking was getting thousands of Americans killed

opinions vary on the nature of w's failings.

Actually, I doubt the motives are humanitarian anyway.

me too.

the way I square this circle is by recognizing that nation states are rarely in the position - some would say rarely have the luxury - of being able to operate from humanitarian motives. certainly not to the exclusion of other motives.

States act based on self interest. they must. the people who represent the state are not in a position to act purely, or maybe even mostly, from their personal sense of what is virtuous or right.

when Obama ran, Michelle apparently told him that what he was embarking on was not noble work. and it's mostly not.

the us does not have clean hands. no states do. any that seem like they do are simply enjoying a happy pause, a brief intermission, in their own bloody history.

can you think if a single exception?

the most you can ask from a state is that they only do harm when they must, and that they do no more than is necessary.

by that standard, the US does better than most nations with similar potential to do damage.

but it's still messy work. we're pretty violent. hopefully not arbitrarily so.

none of this is a justification, just an observation.

Putin is a bad guy and Trump is likely to be the worst President in my lifetime

At least this is something we can all agree on, although even then, when you look at the series Bush-Palin-Trump I fear that someone worse could still be nominated and then elected, if events conspire and a significant proportion of the electorate remain in their current state of ignorance combined with dissatisfaction/resentment (the latter is extremely likely, after all). Sorry to be so pessimistic, but it is a possiblility.

There seems to be some evidence that ignorance is not so much a driving factor as a supporting one. That is, cultural anxiety
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/white-working-class-trump-cultural-anxiety/525771/
is what is driving support for the reactionary (and it is reactionary, not conservative) right.

Which doesn't counter the concern that someone even worse than Trump (for whom that motivation is a tool, not a personal belief) is possible. But does speak to what approach is needed to reduce the threat.

cultural anxiety

aka: racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic...

seems Mrs Clinton wasn't so dumb after all.

I would like to note that Libya was not primarily an American operation. It was mainly a French undertaking. The US was actually quite reluctant to get drawn into the conflict, and the ground strikes that resolved the civil war against Gaddafi were started by the Fremch, with the US commitment initially limited to logistical support. In the operation, the French were heavily supported by Britain and smaller countries, e.g. Italy, Norway and Sweden.

The solution to intervene may have been stupid, but it was not a bad one. The Libyan Civil War had started domestically, and was getting prolonged. If Gaddafi had won, it might have resulted in a more stable, less Islamistically focussed government, but it would also have meant a flood of refugees to Europe. In addition, it would have meant once more allowing hopes for democracy in Arab world to be quashed on the altar of realpolitik. Third, and it is not a small point, Gaddafi had proven to be a really bad neighbour whose behaviour had crossed the lines of proper diplomatic behaviour several times durimg the last few years. So, I am quite satisfied that the fellow coumtries of European Union participating in the intervention were morally on a very solid ground. I have absolutely no regrets. The intervention shortened an already-existing civil war an probably limited the total suffering, and was done for a side enjoying wide popular support.

And considering Donald's hyperbole about arming PLO against the Israeli, I believe we should actually seriously consider doing that, if a Palestinian revolution would be as successful as Libyan opposition was in 2011 before intervention, and would be supported by the wide majority of the people living in Israel and Occupied territories. That is currently quite unlikely, as Palestinians make up a minority of that population, Israeli citizens are unlikely to support any Palestinian uprising and such uprising would be quashed far earlier than EU could seriously start internal debate on the issue.

hairshirthedonist: Okay, but who's "we"? I (just by way of example) didn't elect Donald Trump.

By "we" I meant the electorate. And people in the electorate, as a matter of strategy, need to figure out who's better and who's worse, then enthusiastically support the person who's better in an election.

It's my understanding that Donald voted for Hillary Clinton, although he worked very hard to let everyone know that "both sides are horrible" and "holding my nose" and "Clinton is loathsome" and "Democrats are war criminals", etc. That wasn't an effective way to encourage people to vote for the vastly better candidate. Rather, it was a way to make people apathetic at best.

As to whether we should have discussions about the wisdom of foreign policy when it means that we criticize Democratic administrations, sure. But I think we need to do so acknowledging that there's a meaningful difference, even there, between the policies of the two parties. For example, embracing torture or not.

Full circle to Lurker's original comment:

For Russians, it is a win if they get a Western person to conclude: "All information is equally unreliable, all parties corrupt, West no better than anyone else."

This is how Putin ("bad guy" that he is) helped to get Trump elected (which, IMO, makes Putin even worse of a "bad guy", responsible somewhat for the sins of our "bad guy"). And some of that dynamic played out right here, with people playing right into his hands.

cleek: cultural anxiety

aka: racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic...

seems Mrs Clinton wasn't so dumb after all.

She may not have been wrong, at least on our definition of "deplorable".

But phrasing it that way, and not making an effort to address the concerns of those people? I'd have to say that wasn't exactly brilliant. Their cultural anxieties can be addressed without simply pandering to them. But it takes showing some empathy to the folks involved . . . which wasn't in evidence.

and not making an effort to address the concerns of those people

i'm still not sure how anyone is supposed to address the concerns of people who are concerned that the gay Mexican Muslims are going to diminish the power of straight white men. what on earth was she supposed to say to them?

the people with economic concerns apparently understood her message.

Rather than try to deal with specifics, you agree that the culture is changing in some respects. Then talk about all the ways in which it is not changing.

Because, after all, overall the culture remains much the same. With immigrants, for example, adopting it, and making just a few changes around the edges. Gay marriage isn't an attack on the institution of marriage, it's an additional group adopting another part of American culture.

You see the pattern here?

and then they turn on Fox News and learn that the gay Mexican Muslims are beheading people in the next town over. and they believe it.

But they believe it, in no small part, because Fox News makes them feel like it cares about them and their concerns. (Which, IMHO, it does not in the least. Well, except as a lever for ad rates.) Give them a reason to think someone else does (someone who does not just dismiss them as "deplorables"), and their devotion to Fox drops.

i'm still not sure how anyone is supposed to address the concerns of people who...

tough question.

calling them deplorable ain't it.

telling them it's ok ain't it either.

But surely it is possible to say "I understand your concerns" without endorsing racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamaphobia, etc.

A concern that the world is changing, and that that can be scary. Nothing wrong with that. Taking it out on groups of "others"? Not OK, but not the only way to deal either. So work on showing, gently, those other ways to deal.

It is, admittedly, not a quick and easy way to go. On the other hand, it gives far greater chance of success. And sooner than just waiting in hopes that the bigots will die off -- which, judging from what we've seen with racism, isn't a particularly successful approach anyway.

Compare the full quotation containing the "deplorables" comment, to the "deplorables" snippet trumpeted by Fox and RWNJ media.

If the only that is heard is the snippets, there's nothing more than can be said, because it won't be heard.

Foxnews napalma est.

But surely it is possible to say "I understand your concerns" without endorsing racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamaphobia, etc.

it's possible to say it, sure.

i'm skeptical that it will sink in. and honestly, i don't want those people in the Democratic party.

(yes, that's bigotry)

Does not wanting them "in the Democratic party" mean not wanting them to vote for Democrats (and, therefore, likely for Republicans)?

Compare the full quotation containing the "deplorables" comment, to the "deplorables" snippet trumpeted by Fox and RWNJ media.

True. Clinton meant almost the opposite of what many people claimed. But it was still said in a manner that made it soundbite fodder. On the other hand, I don't really blame her for it. The lines politicians (and others), particularly at the national level, have to walk in our current media environment are so fine as to be humanly impossible to stay on.

Trump more or less ignored those lines, but he had a special audience, apparently.

he had a special audience,

Yes, that's who we're talking about here. Not sure we can convert them. We couldn't convert Nazis either.

We couldn't convert Nazis either.

Or maybe Jesus can. Or Donald can. Maybe that's a higher calling than bashing Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power.

Does not wanting them "in the Democratic party" mean not wanting them to vote for Democrats

it means i don't want them voting in primaries and electing candidates who will cater to all their -isms.

IMO, the best thing the Democratic party has going for it is that it works to be inclusive and tolerant and accepting. i don't want to sacrifice that for anything, even for votes. that's my own personal line in the sand.

Not that I condone facism; or any ism for that matter. Isms, in my opinion, are not good. A person should not believe in an ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, “I don’t believe in ‘Beatles’, I just believe in me.” Good point there. After all, he was the Walrus. I could be the Walrus, I’d still have to bum rides off of people.

I copied and pasted that without noticing the misspelling of fascism, darn it.

I have the same line in the sand, El Cleekarino. No catering to -isms suggested.

"telling them it's ok ain't it either."

I agree.

i'd go with explaining that the people they are afraid of are just folks like them. and, that the crap they want to drop on other folks going to bite their butts too.

my guess is you'll peel off about 10 or 15%.

that might be enough.

Even I don't think the USA is 48% Nazi. There are plenty of people in the middle ground to appeal to whose attitudes towards race, religion etc are formed from their background but who may be persuadeable if given good arguments. These are the people you can appeal to by "understanding their concerns" but disagreeing with the identified root of the problem.

There are plenty of people in the middle ground to appeal to whose attitudes towards race, religion etc are formed from their background but who may be persuadable if given good arguments.

I don't think Trump voters are persuaded by arguments. They might be persuaded by charisma, despite arguments.

There are a lot of things besides the "deplorable" comment that tipped the election. Putin, Comey, voter suppression, "progressive" purists. Focusing on that one comment, which was grossly mischaracterized (and accurate in its original form, and even in its mischaracterization) seems like the wrong tactic.

How about people who "get it" working harder to convince their friends to fight for the decent candidate?

I see even the vast oceans cannot protect us from lesser evilism.

"I don't think Trump voters are persuaded by arguments"

me either. IMO it will take a generation of calamitous suffering to beat their support for trump and guys like Trump out of them.

and for many of them, it'll only make them double down.

the folks I'm interested in are the folks who don't like trump, but voted for him.

10, 15% will tip it. 20% would be huge.

not yuuuge. huge.

There are a lot of things besides the "deplorable" comment that tipped the election. Putin, Comey, voter suppression, "progressive" purists.

You left off Democratic Party hacks who led us into the wilderness. /snark

I don't think Trump voters are persuaded by arguments. They might be persuaded by charisma, despite arguments.

If you define "Trump voters" narrowly enough, that's true. But doing so also reduces the category to the point where it ceases to be especially important. As sanbikinoraion notes, they are nothing like half of the population.

Just to take the most blatant example, consider the Obama-Trump voters -- the people who voted for Obama, and then voted for Trump. It's hard to argue convincingly that they voted for Trump out of raw racism.

As sanbikinoraion notes, they are nothing like half of the population.

strictly speaking, Trump voters are less than 19% of the total population.

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