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August 22, 2018

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Michael Cain -- thanks for this. It provides a lot of food for thought and I'm going to reread it more carefully tomorrow.

One immediate question. This makes it clearer why you're thinking in terms of an east-west division. As I think I've probably said before, that idea struck me very oddly at first, because I tend to think -- as I see, rather carelessly! -- of the coasts as having more in common with each other than either has with the center, or the south (or maybe more accurately, the west coast and the northeast, vs the middle and the southeast).

You've made the origins of your east-west framework much clearer. So my next question would be: if partition were actually on the table, and starting to move forward, do you really think the current US territory would become just two new nations, rather than several? I mean, once the process got going, it's hard to see where it would end. Then again, I tend to think more in terms of culture than of concrete things like the power grid. So I'm probably far from imagining all the factors that would come into play.

Thanks for this from me too. To follow up from Janie, it seems that you have framed power generation/distribution as the opening argument? It seems to me that Americans, because they have a national consciousness, are going to have a hard time accepting partition, so they will lean on finding technical solutions and workarounds to these problems. For example, this

https://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/tres-amigas-superstation-could-connect-the-3-us-electrical-grids.html

This is also interesting to me because Japan has two power grids, one East and one West (thought foreigners tend to think of them as North and South)

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2011/07/19/reference/japans-incompatible-power-grids/

The article has this
Japan is the only advanced nation in the world with two separate power grids — one for the northeastern half of the country, which includes Tokyo and disaster-struck Tohoku, and another for Nagoya, Osaka and the rest of the southwest.

which doesn't seem to be the case, but I imagine that the US grids have the same frequency, avoiding the problems of the two separate grids in Japan.

Another technical fix might be towns and municipalites going off the grid

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-energy-revolution/quiet-energy-revolution-underway-in-japan-as-dozens-of-towns-go-off-the-grid-idUSKCN1BU0UT

Admittedly, this is just one aspect and the population, resource, and political differences may win out, so this doesn't undermine your theory, but I thought those observations might be of interest. Thanks again for sharing this with us.

Four comments :

Iowa's only nuclear power plant is now scheduled to be decommissioned by 2020.

Iowa already gets well over a third of its total electrical energy from wind power.

The deep ecologists have proposed simply buying out the remaining denizens of the nearly-unpopulated northern Great Plains, and establishing the "Buffalo Commons" in the Dakotas and eastern Montana and Wyoming, returning the land to bison grazing and wolves and elk and wapiti.

Until the millenium, the traditional line at which unirrigated row crops were replaced by grazing was the 100th meridian, which runs pretty much down the center of the Dakotas and Nebraska. In the last 20 years, climate change has moved that line at least 100 miles eastward. The interior West looks to get _much_ drier; the upper Midwest seems to be getting wetter every year, with "100 year" or new-record floods every four or five years.

Rats. That's what I get for posting before I finish the FP article.
"buffalo commons"
color me sheepish

Back when I was a budding EE, and before I flowered, sorta, into computers, the IEEE magazines were all into the promise and potential of ultra-high-voltage DC transmission as a way of sidestepping the losses and synchronization problems of long-distance AC transmission.

I've lost touch. I'll google in a bit,
but did that go anywhere ?

As long as we've divvying up the continent, perhaps we should think about the Canadians, too. Put British Columbia and Alberta with the West. Just FYI, they are already part of the Western Interconnect electrical grid. Similar water situation, too.

Looks as if Europe has more and longer HV DC links, and so does Canada, but there are six existing, one decommisioned, and three more planned in the US, and another in WA that will go to British Columbia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_HVDC_projects

Re HVDC, among several shorter links, the Western Interconnect includes an 846-mile link that runs from the Columbia River to Southern California and a 488-mile link from LADWP's Intermountain power plant in Utah to SoCal. The Transwest Express project will be (2021 or 2022) a 728-mile link from some massive wind farms on the east side of the Continental Divide in Wyoming to a point between Las Vegas and SoCal, and has received all of the necessary environmental permits.

As long as we've divvying up the continent, perhaps we should think about the Canadians, too.

Back in the 1980s there were multiple small political parties in Canada advocating for either increased western autonomy, or an independent Western Canada.

...but I imagine that the US grids have the same frequency, avoiding the problems of the two separate grids in Japan.

Same frequency, but not synchronized. Connections between the three grids are, as in Japan, AC-DC-AC interties of very limited capacity. Last year Xcel Energy proposed purchasing cheap wind power in Kansas to use along the Colorado Front Range. The proposal was abandoned once the cost of the additional AC-DC-AC intertie that would be needed was added in.

That was a very interesting time, because the Quebec referendum of 1980 put everyone on notice that further accommodations were going to be necessary, and the Western Provinces, which felt that too much ground was given to the Quebec separatists as well as feeling that they were being exploited (in part from the 1973 oil shock where the Canadian government froze oil prices and taxed exports, which Western Canadians deeply resented), a feeling that still exists today

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-western-canada-separatism-is-not-real-but-the-grievances-of-its/

And an article saying why the idea is fundamentally dumb
https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/why-alberta-separatism-is-the-dumbest-political-movement-in-canada-today

Most this has little, if anything to do with your post, but it's interesting the flashpoints there. and it kind of points to something that I think is necessary for a separatist movement/partition to take place, which is a spark or a clearly understandable grievance.

...do you really think the current US territory would become just two new nations, rather than several? I mean, once the process got going, it's hard to see where it would end.

There are "economies of scale" in a larger union. Kansas as an independent country, to pick an example, loses access to ports it needs for wheat exports, has to maintain its own currency, passports, etc. It probably lacks the means to enforce the terms of something like the Arkansas River Compact should Colorado decide to simply divert the entire river flow (see, eg, China vs the little downstream countries and the Mekong River).

OTOH, economists occasionally dabble with models about optimal country size, assuming some -- often cultural -- diseconomies when a country is too big. All of those I've seen suggest the US is far too large.

I wonder if those models say anything about Russia. Which, after all, is far larger geographically.

I also wonder if they allow for cases like Australia. Which is roughly equal size, but a majority of which is essentially uninhabitable and uninhabited.

I sometimes find myself saying, in casual conversation, that the country is too large. I have no scholarly or philosophical underpinnings to offer, just the sense that some of our problems are problems of the scale having become difficult to manage well.

But also, when I wonder whether consideration of a split in two wouldn't end up with a split into X, I don't think of X as a very big number -- not, for instance, an independent Kansas. More like, maybe five or six sectional divisions?

My biggest reaction is to the notion that if we split in two east/west, New England would stay with the deep South. That's certainly not a division I'd vote for.

Then there's the overall the rural/urban split, a division that I think is contributing heavily to our current dysfunction but is obviously impossible to turn into the framework for a set of new and smaller nations.

I am bemused. We have separated the country into 50 different partitions.

The only reason to divide the country up is to keep partition A from impacting Partition B? Yet our biggest arguments are over where states versus national policy should prevail.

In a partitioned country abortion wouldn't be policy set by "current" national government, yet we fight state level control of that tooth and nail. Guns rights same thing, pollution same thing, electrical grid, highways, its a long list.

Other than the ability to close borders and create some regional policy(which in many cases is legitimate today), partition is a recognition of states rights that would be better served by just pushing more down to the states and retaining the military and a few other truly universal goods.

Marty, I think you misunderstand Michael's point. He is not suggesting that anyone actually 'do' this, he is suggesting that future developments are going to make it look appealing for someone (singular or plural) to do this.

Thanks for this post Michael.

IMO the US is becoming ungovernable because it's full of people who don't share, at a fundamental level, a common set of basic values as regards what government should be and what role it should play in their lives.

I'm not sure there's a fix for that.

My own social and political values are much, much closer to what would be typical in CA or any of the western European countries, than they are to most (geographically speaking) of the US.

My own country no longer makes sense to me.

The US has played a generally constructive role in the world, it would be a shame to see that go away. And I think it would go away, or at least diminish significantly.

Maybe the EU would pick up the slack.

In any case, if we can't get along, I have no objection to going our separate ways. One thing I will say is that I'm sure as hell not going to war about it. I'll move to CA if it comes to that, because I've lost my personal sense that the US as it stands is something I'd die or kill for.

The nation, as it stands, has failed to earn my unqualified loyalty. So be it.

My two cents.

partition is a recognition of states rights that would be better served by just pushing more down to the states and retaining the military and a few other truly universal goods.

then I don't see the point of pretending we're "united". we wouldn't be. we arguably - more like, probably - are not now.

if we have that little in common, maybe it's time to call it a day. if we need to make agreements regarding trade or common defense, we can just do it EU-style.

you go your way, I'll go mine.

the serious cultural divides aren't between states. the serious divides are regional, geographical or related to things that happened before state lines were even drawn (ex. the settlement patterns of the various European colonial powers). and the rural vs. urban divide matters.

crossing a state line rarely amounts to more than a change in gas prices. there's almost never a meaningful change in how people live or think from one side to the other.

cleek's 12:50 and russell's 12:33 remind me of something I first heard on ObWi a long time ago, that Pennsylvania is Philly and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between. Having driven across a lot of northern PA a few times, I can't disagree. On the other hand (or maybe the same hand), I've driven across far far northern New England and NYS several times in the past three years and there's a lot of Clickbait country up there. In fact, there's Clickbait country a lot closer to me than that, since I'm on the edge of Maine's districts 1/2 divide.

One thing I will say is that I'm sure as hell not going to war about it. I'll move to CA if it comes to that, because I've lost my personal sense that the US as it stands is something I'd die or kill for.

wrs.

The fact that we're so divided, but not on easy geographical lines, makes it all the harder to imagine the possibilities, despite how compelling Michael Cain's presentation is. Mass migration...would not be pretty. I don't think I'd take CA first, it would be the Pacific NW for me. Or Atlantic Canada or Ireland -- neither of which is likely to want me at this point.

Oh well.

One thing I will say is that I'm sure as hell not going to war about i

It's hard to imagine that there wouldn't be a war about it, no matter what anyone's views are.

If avoiding war is the goal, we might want to try working with what we have, and empowering the majority of the people who live in the United States. Most people want a functioning national government that addresses the problems that we face. Unfortunately, we've empowered an authoritarian minority. This happened both because of the flaws in our system and because we let a foreign power interfere with our election.

It's interesting to imagine another configuration of our government(s). But we're assuming some kind of democratic solution. If democracy were prevalent, we'd already have a country (the United States) worth fighting for. The problem is that the majority is disenfranchised.

JanieM: Then there's the overall the rural/urban split, a division that I think is contributing heavily to our current dysfunction but is obviously impossible to turn into the framework for a set of new and smaller nations.

and

Sapient: Unfortunately, we've empowered an authoritarian minority.

Obviously, these two are related. It's getting worse, ironically perhaps, as the country continues to urbanize (or, rather, de-ruralize). Even without the hand of gerrymandering, you get natural vote-packing. On the state level, it kind of depends. Is the state a rural state people are leaving because there's no city to speak of for people to move to within the state, or is it a rural state containing a city that people are moving to from that same state's rural areas? In any case, the smaller your state's total population, the more your "national" (meaning in presidential and US senatorial elections) vote counts, as we all know.

Pennsylvania is Philly and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between.

Something often heard in political circles here is that the eastern third of Colorado is Kansas, the western third is Utah, and the middle third is California.

One of the things I sometimes talk about with my friend the archeologist (his degree says archeology, but he's really a professional ethnographer) is the ongoing California Diaspora in the West. When Californians leave their state, they are much more likely to move to another western state, and according to him, likely to increase the tolerance for moderately higher taxes, more regulation, and a broader set of government services.

For the first part of that, I fool around with cluster analysis using interstate migration data from the Census Bureau and the IRS. People leaving any western state are much more likely (using population-weighted measures) to remain in the West than to jump across the Great Plains. The second part is supported at least in part by the trends in ballot initiatives across the West, which have become much more progressive in the last 20 years. Eg, Arizona voters passed a higher minimum wage and guaranteed sick leave. Montana has passed medical marijuana twice, the second time by a larger margin after the state legislature gutted the law that was passed the first time.

partition is a recognition of states rights that would be better served by just pushing more down to the states and retaining the military and a few other truly universal goods.

"States rights"? Yes. But the public good? Less apparent.

Note also that, when gifted historically with much smaller units, Europe is building something that looks reminiscent of the US national government. It's still closer to the Articles of Confederation than the Constitution, but it's pretty clearly headed in that direction. They didn't do that out of a perverse desire to emulate us per se; they did it because they saw a need, and the existence of at least the outlines of a possible solution.

It's getting worse, ironically perhaps, as the country continues to urbanize (or, rather, de-ruralize). Even without the hand of gerrymandering, you get natural vote-packing.

I've mentioned here before that for entirely non-sinister reasons, our elected officials skew older, whiter, richer, more male, and generally more conservative than their constituencies. This is more true as you move up the hierarchy, at least on the legislative side. I've summed it up this way before: You know which two groups are the most underrepresented in state legislatures? Hourly wage slaves and young professionals trying to establish a career.

I don't think I'd take CA first, it would be the Pacific NW for me. Or Atlantic Canada or Ireland

CA = Canada, as opposed to California.

Ireland - I work with a guy from Dublin. He lived there for ~25 years, now he's lived here (US) for 25 years.

He likes the US, but will probably not retire here. He has an autistic son, and in his words nobody here is going to give a shit about his kid. So when he makes his pile, to his satisfaction, he'll go home.

Because, as a society, they'll give a shit about his kid.

Happily, I can stick with California regardless. Contrary to its (current) reputation, California actually isn't that bad for a conservative. You lose some political battles, of course. But the bulk of the population is moderate enough to be happy with a conservative approach to some issues -- it's just impossible to get a majority for a radical reactionary approach.

But if we're looking at places outside our current area, I think I'd go for West Australia. With South Australia as a second choice. I don't know how the local politics may have evolved in the couple of decades since I was last there. But the country as a whole seems less lost to reality than the US. And the climate is great.

I know the California diaspora has been going on for a long time.

I, however, have been going on for an even longer time, and I can remember when "California" was the most mythically aspirational place in the country.

Two sets of my aunts and uncles moved to California in the mid 1950s. I visited for a month in 1961 (11 years old, no parents along) and had a dream adventure. I visited again in 1972 as part of a summer-long backpacking trip out west. California was where everyone was going if/when they dropped out of school. "California Dreamin'" was epidemic.

Michael: I suppose I could google it, but do you know off the top of your head when that tide turned?

I suppose I could google it, but do you know off the top of your head when that tide turned?

"Don't Californicate Oregon" started in either the late 1960s or early 1970s -- I've seen both claimed -- but was more of a general complaint about development than about Californians specifically. When I went to work in Boulder, CO in 1991 the Diaspora was certainly in full swing, even though large numbers of people were still moving to California. People were complaining loudly about the Californians showing up and paying 10% over the listing price in cash for houses. I remember a history professor at the University of Colorado being quoted in the mid-1990s about the very large influx on the south side of the Denver metro area.

Just a quicky, Michael Cain, to say this was a very interesting post. Thanks!

When I put on my Western States conspiracy hat -- which I do from time to time -- I immediately note two things. First, this ain't 1860 and there's no way anyone wins a shootout with the US military. Second, it takes 38 states to approve the amendment, but those 38 don't have to have the same reason for thinking that each one of them will be better off after a partition.

To my surprise over the last year, this makes me a moderate in some circles. Seems like every couple of weeks there's a comment thread over at Lawyers Guns & Money with people who are ready to kick off a shooting civil war in order to kick certain states out.

First, this ain't 1860 and there's no way anyone wins a shootout with the US military.

True, but in what way that matters, or not, would depend on whether the military remained under one entity's command.

Second, it takes 38 states to approve the amendment, but those 38 don't have to have the same reason for thinking that each one of them will be better off after a partition.

Indeed, and that's why I think that if it gets that far, it won't stop with a 2-way split. States (which can't, by the way, think :-) will have a variety of reasons that, when thrown into the hopper, result in quite a thorough re-mixing.

We can't bet on it, since I agree with your time frame in the sense that I don't see a serious push for a split coming while I'm still alive, even if I follow in my mother's footsteps and live to be almost-95. Which, at the moment, she is.

ETA: italics fixed.

people who are ready to kick off a shooting civil war in order to kick certain states out.

Interesting, is it not, that even when speaking with those who intensely dislike the Federal government (at least as it now exists), what they wish is to throw others out. Apparently it is assumed to be less work (or more satisfying?) to rip down the old and rebuild. Rather than starting out fresh, without all accumulated baggage. Makes you wonder why companies ever do green-field sites.

Re ETA fixed
Too fast for me!

Too fast for me!

Well, since it was my own comment I had a head start. ;-)

I've mentioned here before that for entirely non-sinister reasons, our elected officials skew older, whiter, richer, more male, and generally more conservative than their constituencies.

Perhaps there are a lot of non-sinister reasons. We might also want to look at the sinister reasons.

In sum, we're not going to "decide" to partition ourselves, or do anything else, until we get democracy back. A few other people will decide for us.

One of those rare occasions when I am closest to sapient’s views in a thread. Talking about partitioning the US horrifies me, except as some fantasy or plot in a science fiction show. I liked Revolutions a few years ago, until the magic omnipotent nanites appeared. Hard to see how you fight microscopic gods. Show cancelled, plot problem solved. Anyway, in that show civilization had partly collapsed when electrical devices stoped working— it would have been better to make that the result of a coronal mass ejection and not tiny machines, but whatever. Anyway, the country fractured and there were wars. Low tech, of course.

I suspect sapient is right. Yugoslavia didn’t come apart easily.

Anyway, I don’t think we have to stay this fractured. In everyday life I know Trump voters. I might not like their choices, but we don’t hate each other.

Yugoslavia didn’t come apart easily.

From my perspective, Yugoslavia came apart quite easily. As soon as the external forces that kept the country together (Tito, Soviet influence) disappeared, it was going to happen and I don't think anything was going to stop it.

Interesting thought exercise. and fun. Thanks!

I...am very close to not wanting to be an American anymore. I do not want to live in a one party kleptocracy.

I know people who support Trump and I know longer like them except in a very superficial way: polite, of course and on the surface friendly in a neighborly way. But I do not respect them. In fact, I despise them. They are intellectually dishonest, entitled, selfish, more than a little bit stupid, and arrogant. I don;t like those qualities in people. ANd because of their defects of citizenship, nature is being destroyed, the rule of law is being undercut. representative government is being dismantled and they dont give a flying fuck about how global climate change is killing people and animals. In fact, when it comes to their political lives, they don;t give a flying fuck about anyone but themselves. So no I don't like them.

And I don;t want to live in the same country as them.

Republicans are killing America. The politicians are doing it for the money and the rank and file voters are doing it out of their baseless since of themselves as superior to everyone else.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/8/23/17773828/trump-fire-sessions-senate-mueller


From my perspective, Yugoslavia came apart quite easily.

"Easily," perhaps. But definitely not painlessly.

If the US even started looking at the idea, big fights would break out over:
- who else gets to break off?
- where exactly will the borders be?
- who inherits? For everything from the existing aircraft carriers to the UN Security Council seat with a veto. (Not to mention who, if anyone, get to avoid inheriting various obligations.)

Take a look at the Brexit operation. And they, at least, have both clear natural borders most of the way and a history of going it solo. Still messy, and looking like it will be painful as well. The only question is How painful?

“From my perspective, Yugoslavia came apart quite easily.”

Poor phrasing on my part. I meant they didn’t come apart in a nice peaceful way. They had a series of wars, though from what Inhave read the death toll was “only” 100,000, which is smaller than people said at the time. But not a model to be followed.

who inherits ... the UN Security Council seat with a veto

I would guess that the UN would have something to say about that, and the answer might be: no one.

I wonder if those models say anything about Russia. Which, after all, is far larger geographically. I also wonder if they allow for cases like Australia. Which is roughly equal size, but a majority of which is essentially uninhabitable and uninhabited.

I know nothing about the models Michael mentioned, and if he directly addressed wj's comment I've missed it. But it's interesting to think of the interaction of land area with demographics.

Russia, for all its geographical size, has less than half the US population, and Australia has 7-8%. Canada and China are roughly like the US in land area (as is Brazil, for that matter), but Canada has not much more than a tenth the population, while China has four+ times as many people and is phenomenally un-diverse compared to the US (est. 90+% Han Chinese). Canada and Australia would be interesting to compare because like the US their populations have been built by immigration, unlike China's (or India's, but without looking it up I have the impression that India is much more diverse ethnically than China).

No point to this, really, but wj's morning comment about size had me thinking about it all day.

India's partition wasn't pretty, btw....

India's partition wasn't pretty, btw...

For that matter, Pakistan's partition wasn't pretty. And they couldn't even get at each other -- which may be the only reason they didn't have a half decade long civil war.

In everyday life I know Trump voters. I might not like their choices, but we don’t hate each other.

same here. more than 'not hate them', I had the pleasure and honor of officiating at the wedding of the most rabid trumpies I know.

people are more than just who they vote for.

it's not a question of hating people, it's a question of having a shared understanding of what government is supposed to be and do. and of what we are supposed to be and do in relation to it.

we don't have that.

Some of my best friends are Trumpers. (I know that's a problematic formulation for a number of reasons, but it does have the virtue of being factual.)

I've kind of given up on figuring it out. I honestly believe that they're good people. They just have weird political notions and what I see as some rather strong and unacknowledged biases.

I don't claim to be free of bias, but that's but one area where, AFAICT, I differ from many of my Trumper friends. They seem quick to point out what they see as liberal bias in others, including me, (and it's the go-to explanation for any negativity toward Trump or other Republicans) but don't appear to even consider that they may have biases of their own. It's sort of Dunning-Kruger thing, in that they're so biased that they're biased against considering that they might be biased.

This is, of course, my own anecdotal experience - a strange conundrum I'm living through in a more pronounced way as of the last couple of years.

One thing the US has going for it is that the map lines weren't drawn about a bunch of Europeans intent on keeping the indigenous folks at each other's throats.

There's an interesting dynamic here, a few commenters feel like Michael is wishing for the US to be partitioned, but I just don't see this. To me, I feel like he's identifying possible fault lines on which a partition would take place. He can correct me, but I don't understand Marty's bemusement or Donald's horror at what is an analysis of potential problems facing particular regions in the next 20 years. Yes, it would be very very painful, but it seems like the stock in trade of the US is to ignore problems until they become too big to clean up.

part of the US tried to break off over slavery and the rest of the US said UH,NOPE!

slavery is surely a much bigger issue than anything that separates any of the regions of the US these days.

I don't see the upside of 2 or 4 groupings, or why we would have to make separate entities of them with one exception.

That being russells reaction of, I'd rather just split up completely than have any mutual interest relationship.

I understand the thought process, it's an interesting discussion. I submit we have a workable solution if you apply some open minded thought to returning to a more states rights view that would be similar to the regional rights view.

Europe is forming just such a union of equals, maybe like our regions could be.

First, I don't think partition will ever happen. Too many people have moved from one state to another. It's not an east-west-north-south California thing anymore. Shoot, I moved from Alaska to FREAKING CALIFORNIA!!!. Tax tax tax tax taxland.

And btw, russell, where in California? Because California has a serious political divide. As in "partition the state" political divide, as you may have seen (didn't make the ballot this year, though, but not because it lacked sufficient signatures). It isn't a microcosm, but certainly reflective in a way. People talk about the popular vote and the last presidential election. How about proportioning electoral votes based on the popular vote in California?

I'm with HSH on how to look at others that are far from you on political beliefs. I don't get the "move to New Zealand" attitude. And it seems decidedly one way. I don't ever hear conservatives, no matter how disgruntled, talking about moving to somewhere else. Why is that? No 2A? Realization that government no matter how bad is still more responsive than most places? A perception that the USA is still the best system the world has come up with? I don't know. I could certainly live in other countries, but fleeing the minions of Obama and Clinton is not a motivating factor.

There is a bunch of noise out there that makes the division seem much larger than it is. The election of Trump is more about, IMHO, rejecting the morass that is Washington (a pox on both the houses) than it is about him. But YMMV.

Interesting stuff on the electrical grid.

I don't ever hear conservatives, no matter how disgruntled, talking about moving to somewhere else. Why is that?

it's probably related to the notion that it's their country: the one they're going to "take back". the one where everyone who isn't them is an "identity" of some kind.

slavery is surely a much bigger issue than anything that separates any of the regions of the US these days.

To you (and me!)? Sure. But there are folks out there who think that their personal hassles in life are equivalent to the Holocaust.

Which is to say, a lot of people get really worked up about their current petty problems, to the point that they seem them a looking like far bigger issues of the past. Hard to be confident that they wouldn't sign up for something we would consider a ridiculous overreaction to a current situation.

There is a bunch of noise out there that makes the division seem much larger than it is.

That is one aspect of foreign (and maybe domestic?) efforts to undermine our democracy. Not all of it is that, mind you. Much of it is just same-old, same-old news-media sensationalization. But bad actors are turning up the volume, to be sure.

People talk about the popular vote and the last presidential election. How about proportioning electoral votes based on the popular vote in California?

Of course, in fairness you should do everybody at once. If we did (Constitutional amendment, I'm thinking), I suspect California would be OK with it.

Not as good as (also) getting rid of the extra electoral votes for Senators, however. As bc noted above, so many people have moved between states today, in contrast to the situation in our first century, that there really is no longer a good justification for that.

I'd rather just split up completely than have any mutual interest relationship.

my point here is that I see less and less evidence of mutual interest.

And btw, russell, where in California?

not california, canada.

the maritimes look fine to me, as does quebec.

the things that are of value to me, politically speaking, do not appear to be of value to a very significant part of the rest of the country.

those same things appear to be valued in other places. hence, the appeal.

i'm american, i will never be anything other than american. i don't think there is anything magical about canada. or, wherever.

the political and social values there simply seem closer to my own.

it's a hypothetical question, i'm pretty rooted in the place i live now, and i have no pressing need to leave.

it's just that the mood of the country right now makes my soul sick. it literally depresses me.

i'm not interested in a confederation of more or less sovereign autonomous states. if that's what it takes to get along, i'd rather just call it a day.

you're either in or you're out. if we're not a nation of people, in the daniel webster 'liberty and union' sense, then we're not a nation and there's no use pretending. whatever we would get out of pretending otherwise, we can accomplish just as easily via treaties or regional compacts.

i have no common ground with quite a number of people in this country right now. not such as will sustain a common public life. i don't want what they want, and don't want to want what they want, and am not particularly pleased to find myself obliged to share a common political bond with them.

as a practical matter, i'm highly unlikely to up sticks and go anywhere. as a not-practical matter, i feel no real social bond - no sense of common life or purpose - with probably 30 or 40% of the people in this country.

i'd be hard-pressed to motivate myself to go to really great lengths to hold it together.

my many cents.

we'll see what the next couple of years bring.

bon chance everyone.

it's just that the mood of the country right now makes my soul sick. it literally depresses me.

I seem to recall (not personally!) that the 1950s, with McCarthy and the John Birch Society, were pretty nasty as well. We got thru it. From another perspective, the late 1960s were pretty terrible. We got thru it.

I expect we will get thru this as well. Look back in 20 years, shaking our heads and asking "What were they thinking???" Even though, in many cases "they" was us.

There is a bunch of noise out there that makes the division seem much larger than it is.

lemme ask you this:

what the hell do I have in common with somebody who would vote for Clickbait (I'm adopting the JanieM convention)? I'm talking in terms of having a public life in common.

What's the common ground? What shared values unite us? What sense of common purpose?

I honestly can't come up with anything that's worth the candle.

what the hell do I have in common with somebody who would vote for Clickbait (I'm adopting the JanieM convention)?

As you have noted, people sometimes can't even agree on basic facts. But I think that doesn't necessarily correlate to not sharing values or wanting the same things. Just a couple of examples - gun control, immigration, and abortion (and Hillary Clinton).

If you were to discuss strictly policy preferences, you might not be all that far apart from some subset of Trump voters on these topics. The real problem may be that they believe that people like you and me (roughly speaking, liberals/Democrats) want to confiscate everyone's guns, have open borders (whatever that means), and abortion on demand right up the moment before labor begins.

They may well have voted for Trump as the lesser of two evils, except the greater evil is the imaginary product of Trump's P.T. Barnum sideshow - including the diabolical cartoon version of Hillary Clinton, people who love MS13, and whatever other boogeyman you can think of.

Think "Keep the government's hands off my Medicare!" You like Medicare, right? So does the person who said that.

wj,

"We" got through the Civil War too. But you have to admit it was a lot of fuss and bother. Also, it's not clear that "we" were the same people before and after.

And of course, the Civil War is still not over, mainly because many of "us" don't like the "we" who live in the US now.

Either "we" will stop pretending that those of "us" who voted for He, Trump to protest "the morass in Washington" were idiots at best, or "we" will become a different nation than "we" have been.

--TP

The real problem may be that they believe that people like you and me (roughly speaking, liberals/Democrats) want to confiscate everyone's guns, have open borders (whatever that means), and abortion on demand right up the moment before labor begins.

I don't think that is true. This is closer to the truth of why many voted for Trump.

And I note that the reason I came across that article is because Facebook censored it and I somewhat follow how Silicon Valley is censoring conservative speech. Perhaps another reason . . .

This is closer to the truth of why many voted for Trump.

Maybe many. Maybe only some. Not all. And I don't think anything in that article really contradicts what I wrote. They can go hand-in-hand quite well, IMO.

Think "Keep the government's hands off my Medicare!" You like Medicare, right? So does the person who said that.

can two people be said to have a thing in common if one of them has no idea what that thing actually is?

This quote from that article is, for those I know, the best understanding of what has happened:


This new conservative populist coalition is not the fluke the political class hoped it was. Donald Trump did not cause it, he is just the result of it, so no matter what he does, it continues. It is predicated on them, not him.
The coalition is a strike at not just tone deafness in both Congress and the White House but also high levels of incompetence, negligence and shoddy performance at agencies, as well as inept social services, a bloated and incompetent bureaucracy, endless wars and multinational agreements and treaties that don’t benefit average people.

It is why I vigorously disagree that we have nothing in common because, when we are not trying to blame the other guy, almost everyone actually agrees with the second paragraph. Unless their ox is getting gored.


Immigration is almost an entirely made up media issue. There are only three questions we disagree on, how many people should be let in, how do we decide who and how aggressively do we work to catch the people that didn't do it legally.


Every President in my lifetime has supported enhancing border security on the Mexican border, every one. So all that's left there is a budget question and a wall that isn't good policy. No one is for open borders. That is common ground.

Obama was aggressive in deporting people, Trump moreso, but with lots of pushback, even from his supporters. That is common ground.

This list goes on. Even the tax cuts are a policy to enhance the plight of the working poor and create upward mobility for everyone that has been missing for a long time. It is not the goal that we disagree on, its the means.

In the end if you blindly asked people what is most important to them I suspect the top 5 things, maybe ten would overlap significantly.


But, as Tony points out, it has become all too easy to just assume bad motives or stupidity when looking at the policy differences. Neither of which is true generally.

If you were to discuss strictly policy preferences, you might not be all that far apart from some subset of Trump voters on these topics

Policy preferences are not even close to the heart of it.

Do you even think government is a constructive institution? Start there.

Do you consider yourself to have any obligation for the well-being of the people with whom you share a political community? That gets closer to it.

IMO.

from bc's link:

She mentions the tax reform bill, the remaking of the judiciary, how he has repealed regulations that have improved the economic conditions in the state, both of his picks for the Supreme Court and his unflinching manner in taking on the establishment wings of both political parties as her reasons.

I don't want the tax reform bill, I think it sucks.

I think Trump's SCOTUS picks are horrible. Most especially Kavanaugh, the man is a life-long (R) hatchet man, he has no business whatsoever in the courts at all, let alone the SCOTUS.

IMO Trump's de-regulatory efforts are profoundly irresponsible and destructive.

The "establishment wings of both political parties" don't really keep me up at night. I find Trump's "unflinching manner in taking (them) on" to be irresponsible, degrading, self-serving, and generally reprehensible.

So, not a lot of common ground. I suspect the deeper you'd want to dig, the further apart we'd be.

I don't really know the woman who was speaking in the article, and I don't want to make disparaging blanket statements about Trump supporters, so I'll simply leave it as "I have nothing in common with them, as far as I can see". I can't imagine finding common ground with them on any issue touching on public life.

Maybe we could agree that the interstate highway system was, all things considered, a good idea.

Then again, who knows.

almost everyone actually agrees with the second paragraph.

I don't.

And I find voting for Trump as the antidote to be an act of extraordinary, irresponsible folly.

There are only three questions we disagree on, how many people should be let in, how do we decide who and how aggressively do we work to catch the people that didn't do it legally.

I'm trying to think of what immigration-related issues are left.

Even the tax cuts are a policy to enhance the plight of the working poor and create upward mobility for everyone that has been missing for a long time. It is not the goal that we disagree on, its the means.

If you make the "thing to agree on" sufficiently banal, I suppose you can find common ground.

Real life is not that banal.

From my point of view, the tax cut as a remedy for the "working poor" is a cruel freaking joke.

it has become all too easy to just assume bad motives or stupidity when looking at the policy differences.

I don't assume bad motives or stupidity. I assume a fundamentally different understanding of what it means to participate in a polity. I assume a fundamentally different understanding of how the world is supposed to work.

My values are not your values. I've been talking about this stuff with you for, what, 10 years?

My values are not your values.

If you were to discuss strictly policy preferences, you might not be all that far apart from some subset of Trump voters on these topics
....
Policy preferences are not even close to the heart of it.

Do you even think government is a constructive institution? Start there.

It may be worthwhile to bear in mind that the opinions and policy preferences (loudly) expressed by folks like Ted Cruz are actually nothing like the real policy preferences of most Republican voters.

Take one obvious example (yes, I know it's off topic); it's not the only one. You can get a clear majority of Republican voters, not just all voters but Republican voters in support of legal abortions in cases of rape or incest or to protect the health of the mother. But you get Cruz up there calling for ALL abortions to be illegal.

If you want to find common ground with Trump voters, you have to at least look at the former, and not the latter.

Except that whenever you express your values, rather than policy criticism, I mostly agree with them. Ten years later still do mostly.

That is different than a different understanding of how government can support those values. Being part of a community is different than being a part of a polity.

The basic disagreement is over which problems each level of government is there to address and then the best way for that level of government to do that. If government is the community tool to do that at all.

Those aren't different values, those are different approaches mostly to solve the same problems.

Russell, you might also want to consider this. Recall that, in addition to 8 guilty findings, the Manafort jury was hung (11 to 1 for conviction) on another 10 charges. But this came from one of the Manafort jurors:

Duncan, a self-described Trump supporter who was photographed for the Fox report in a red "Make America Great Again" hat, said she and 10 other jurors were prepared to find Manafort guilty of each count in the indictment. Duncan said she considered the charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller's team to be legitimate and considered the evidence "overwhelming."

"I did not want Paul Manafort to be guilty, but he was," Duncan said. "And no one is above the law."

"No one is above the law" -- I think you've got some common ground there.

IMVHO, the abortion issue is, by and large, bull. It's a flag that people rally around.

Most pro-choice people would rather not have an abortion, would rather not have members of their families have abortions, would rather that no abortions happen at all. Because abortions are, in general, sad affairs.

No small number of pro-life people are open the idea of abortion if their circumstances or the circumstances of someone close to them make ending a pregnancy a compelling option.

I am not, remotely, talking about abortion when I say I have no common ground with Trump supporters.

In the run-up to the roll-out of the ACA, I read a piece in the NYT about "people's attitudes" towards the law. They talked to some guy in MN who had a family member that was, basically, being kept alive via some government-provided health insurance program.

He was happy his sister was alive, but he didn't like the program. The government shouldn't be involved in that stuff.

I can't get my head around thinking like that.

Seriously, everyone appears to be trying to find some kum-by-ya moment here, but trust me. I've been talking, daily, sometimes hours every day, with conservatives and Trumpies and similar folks, for better than 15 years now.

My values are not their values. We don't want the same things. We don't think the same things are important.

We don't have a common understanding of basic stuff like what it means to participate in a polity. We don't have a common understanding of our obligations to each other as fellow-members of a society. We don't even have a common understanding of what "a society" is.

We have no common understanding of what is meant by such fundamental concepts as liberty, or what the privileges or limits thereof are regarding ownership of property.

We all want our children to be happy healthy intelligent and brave, and nobody wants to kick puppies. We may occasionally stumble across some point of policy or other that we can both accept.

But at a fundamental level, we *do not share a common view of what the world is about*.

Our values are not the same.

They are not. Trust me, I've been digging away at this for much longer than I ought to have been.

We don't all want, value, or believe the same things.

And that complicates sharing a common public life.

Upthread a commenter posted this link and said it stated the reason why people support Trump: https://nypost.com/2018/08/22/why-trumps-supporters-wont-care-about-cohen-and-manaforts-convictions/

The woman quoted in the article says she supports him because, unlike other politicians, he delivers. It is a common theme tha tTrump has kept his promises,

And that is utter hogwash. Off all the promises he made he ahs only kept one: he promised to be a mean nasty asshole and he is. But in terms of delivering services, meeting needs (other than his supporters' emotional need to be mean to other people) he has delivered nothing.

Cheap quality healthcare?
Infrastructure?
Good paying jobs?
Draining the swamp?

He is mindless nastily and pointlessly anti-immigrant, so perhaps thats' what the lady is referring to, but immigrants are not a threat. NOt a real threat.

I think it is quite likely that there is near consensus in this nation on a whole list of issues. However Republican voters don't vote on issues. They vote for Republican politician claims that they are superior to everyone else and those evil people over there area threat. It isn't a difference in policy, philosophy, or position on issues. It's a matter of thirty percent of the population being people who do not consider policy, philosophy or positions on issues when they vote and instead vote out of their assumption that life is a zero sum game and they are in competition with everyone else and the Republican politicians will protect them, the only good people, from all those other people.

And for that, for that sense of entitlement and paranoia, they are throwing everything away including the rule of law, that one jurur notwithstanding.

If there is one thing I have come to have less interest in than whatever antics Trump and his merry elves have cooked up du jour, it is understanding the motivations and thought processes of Trump voters and supporters.

I have ceased to care why people voted for the man. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

If they want common ground with me, they can come my way. If not, not. OK by me either way.

"The real problem may be that they believe that people like you and me (roughly speaking, liberals/Democrats) want to confiscate everyone's guns, have open borders (whatever that means), and abortion on demand right up the moment before labor begins."

Maybe then we roughly spoken liberals/Democrats should appeal to the right wing and the mp base by advocating the arming of fetuses to shoot brown people dead who cross the border illegally (and legally) and taking steps to abolish the "labor" unions that many pregnant women think they belong to. We could also take up republicans Betsy DeVos' and vermin brother Eric Prince's druthers to arm teachers using my tax money to accidentally shoot 15-year old fetuses in schools and privatize the war in Afghanistan so their Taliban fetuses can receive a piece of our unaccountable mercenary taxpayer-paid slaughter.

And if you think that is ridiculous, we haven't been listening to these cucks.

I have mp folks as friends and family too. We don't hate each other, but we avoid close encounters with political speech at face level.

But don't ever fucking think that if mp and the republican party ordered my killing that any of them would lift a finger or the English language in protest.

This ain't personal. Certainly not for them. They want it all and it's just fucking business for them.

Abe Lincoln's brother-in-law, Confederate Brigadier General Benjamin Helm, the traitor to his country, got a fatal Union bullet in the neck at Chicamauga, on which grounds I contemplated America a couple of summers ago.

Lincoln wept like a child, and meant it, but the fatal bullet had his imprimatur on it.

He ordered two more years of slaughter after that crying jag.

My problem with Michael's partition, as entertainment, besides who gets the nukes, is that in all three sectioned off provinces, the republican party would still be present.

republicans have busted the unwritten rule of law in too many malignant ways and their idea of the rule of law is to get rid of laws which protect the common good and the American people.

republicans are not fit to live with. Don't fucking dare tax me one cent or regulate so much as my jaywalking at any level of government. Don't ever fucking give me or any living someone a problem with their voter registration again.

No one is going to want you near them except your ilk.

I want the republican party to be like the racist Nazi piece of shit the other day who showed up virtually alone to protest the taking down of traitorous confederate monuments and whose Dad told him to clear out of the family basement as a bonus.

Completely unheard, irrelevant and if not that, then dead.

Find an island and call it Ilkland and the decent American remnant living in peace without you in America can patrol your waters in self-defense with a flagman on board flag signaling for you to Fuck Off forever.

Maybe Putin can provide you foreign aid.

A guy can dream.

Addendum:

"It may be worthwhile to bear in mind that the opinions and policy preferences (loudly) expressed by folks like Ted Cruz are actually nothing like the real policy preferences of most Republican voters."

I may also be worthwhile too to bear in mind that opinions and policy preferences "loudly" expressed by folks like Vladimir Lenin and Che Guevara are nothing like the rural policy preferences of Democratic voters.

We advocate neither for completely open borders, 100 percent taxation of income and capital gains, the nationalization of industries, forced abortions, the breakup of families, completely defunding the military, the federal government taking control of all state and local governments, or staffing the State Department with "fags and commies" but this is what we are accused of at every fucking turn by the republican/conservative juggernaut, with ever increasing fervor and falsehood, since the day of my birth.

If that's where the "conversation" starts, I'm fucking done.

Now we fight.


"rural" policy preferences.

Well, "urban" too, but let's call it "real".

Welcome back Laura Koerbur and what she said.

Hitler delivered as advertised too. In fact, he overshot the mark.

Pin a fucking medal on him.

"Not my circus, not my monkees"

Yes, but they are about to shoot you out of a cannon into the ring filled with big hungry carniverous cats.

"The real problem may be that they believe that people like you and me (roughly speaking, liberals/Democrats) want to confiscate everyone's guns, have open borders (whatever that means), and abortion on demand right up the moment before labor begins."

And it is a measure of just how nasty Trump voters are that they belive shit like that. I fact it is characteristic for them to believe defamatory bullshit. All the crap about Clinton, the current nonsense about the FBI and the DoJ, Obama was born in Kenya. Illegal immigrants are voting, killing everyone and using Food Stamps. Trump supporters will believe anything, no matter who stupid as long as it feeds their needs to feel superior to everyone else and to sneer at everyone else.

Yes, but they are about to shoot you out of a cannon into the ring filled with big hungry carniverous cats.

They're welcome to try.

I guess, like the Count doesn't discuss politics with his Trump-supporting family members, I'm going to stop discussing my thoughts on Trump supporters with my friends at Obsidian Wings. (At least for now. I could change my mind later. I'm very whimsical!)

Partitioning the country on other grounds is not a new idea:

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2018/08/24/late-night-eugenics-open-thread-why-are-there-so-many-skunks-at-every-conservative-intellectual-garden-party/

Why is the Claremont Institute surprised at this late date?

I guess, like the Count doesn't discuss politics with his Trump-supporting family members, I'm going to stop discussing my thoughts on Trump supporters with my friends at Obsidian Wings.

crap, am I suppressing dissenting voices again?

:)

Sick and uninsured human beings won't want to live anywhere near murderous republicans:

https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/08/24/media-portray-these-tales-perseverance-uplifting-and-inspirational-theyre-actually-horror-stories/221087

And murderous republicans will be gleeful about that partition.

This headline will be repeated, word for word, by mp within a few months:

https://www.eschatonblog.com/2018/08/ive-never-even-met-eric-and-don-jr.html

Last name seems familiar but never seen 'em before.

Losers by some other sperm donor.

What's in a name:

https://thinkprogress.org/whistleblower-reality-winner-prison-sentence-russian-election-interference-c213c8a79c42/

As so often happens, I'm with russell.

crap, am I suppressing dissenting voices again?

It's not just you. Everyone is being mean, like a twitter mob. The last hour of my life has been a nightmare. I don't even feel safe anymore.

To stop discussing politics with supporters of He, Trump is to leave the MAGA crowd in their Fox/Sinclair/Russian-troll bubble. This may be the most comfortable approach, but is it humane?

--TP

The word "chutzpah" is spelled wrong:

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a22822288/texas-oil-refineries-climate-change-taxpayer-money/

The last hour of my life has been a nightmare.

I'm looking for the snarky emoticon but I'm not seeing it, so I'm assuming the last hour of your life has actually been a nightmare.

So sorry to have contributed to that, I'm gonna shut up now for a while.

Peace out.

It's a crude measure, but looking at Electoral votes from 2016, the Republican voting states in the western partition would be outnumbered 3 to 1, Democrats in the east outnumbered 2 to 1 (throwing in Texas). If partitioning was in the works, I don't think either of those minority regions would sign up to being politically dominated by folks with the different values that Russell speaks of. And if new political structures were being created, then existing state borders would probably need to go - the folks in eastern Washington and Oregon would probably want to join the Idaho-Wyoming-Utah confederation, and so on. In my neck of the woods an Atlanta+DeKalb County union would sign up to join the United City-States of the South, or some such, with Birmingham, Memphis, Jackson, New Orleans, Tallahassee, and other similar places.

I hate to pile on in nightmare land, but this IS a fascinating post by Michael Cain.

As the other Michael Cain(e) once said: "I always have one impossible dream on the backburner."

Now, dere's not many people who know dat:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hY85a15n5QY

Sick and uninsured human beings...

This and russell's mention of his colleague who intends eventually to take his autistic child back to Ireland are a symbol, or distillation, of the core difference (for me, at least) that russell is citing as a difference in values so deep that it can't be bridged.

Two people in my family orbit have disabilities that make it impossible for them to earn a living, or in one case even to take responsibility for proper daily self-care. They can't go from one day to the next without help from the community at large, meaning, in my value system, to some extent from the government as the collective pooler of resources that no individual or specific family can necessarily hope to muster.

Meanwhile, there is a steady drumbeat from the voices across the chasm about the spongers and losers who want to take what's rightfully theirs (the complainants'). I am not even talking about Clickbait here, he's almost irrelevant to the topic except to the extent that he has given this attitude reinforcement, focus, and an amplifier. Both in the collective air (media, internet), and in my personal life, I keep hearing the voices that say, with a sneer, "I can't ever imagine going to the government for help."

Well aren't you lucky, you smug heartless bastard.

In a current example of real-life partitioning here in Georgia, the legislature has passed a bill authorizing/permitting an incorporation vote in November for a proposed city of Eagles Landing in the southern metro Atlanta area. The twist is that part of the proposed area includes a portion of the existing city of Stockbridge (which recently elected its' first black mayor, a completely unrelated development, I'm sure). The people who will be in the rump-Stockbridge have no vote on this, but the exiting areas do. The city has sued, unsuccessfully so far, to prevent the vote. The current holder of the city's municipal bonds is filing a Federal suit to prevent it because incorporation vote does not include any provision allocating a portion of the existing debt to the new city, so rump-Stockbridge would be left holding the bag for all the debt with a greatly reduced tax digest. Messes like this would be going on all over the country, so even absent organized violent civil war it's hard to see any partition(s) going smoothly.

I'm looking for the snarky emoticon but I'm not seeing it, so I'm assuming the last hour of your life has actually been a nightmare.

I thought I was being ridiculous enough that I didn’t need to indicate my lack of seriousness. Now I’m not sure if you weren’t kidding right back at me. We are living in strange times.

We are living in strange times.

We're sailing on a strange sea
Blown by a strange wind
We're sailing on a strange sea
Blown by a strange wind
Carrying the strangest crew
That ever sinned

I am now back in the land of more than steam broadband, so can post a link to my funeral song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-NXwRUQcmg

This conversation has certainly taken some strange and depressing turns, but I still don't feel that we're the strangest crew that ever sinned....

Clearly my own views are much closer to russell's, Janie's, hsh's etc, but in a way I do see what Marty means and I don't think it's just kumbaya. It's as if the intellectual frameworks that people have constructed to reflect their views (or even in many cases unintellectual, kneejerk, unquestioningly acquired attitudes) are a kind of superficial overlay on a deeper level of human intention and instinct. You see this sometimes when people happy to go along with derogatory racist stereotypes of groups they have never encountered finally meet members of those groups, and like them, and perceive a shared humanity with them that elicits kindness, generosity etc towards them. These things are possible, and do happen, despite the opposite phenomena also being frequent, so surely it must be possible to find a way to cut through the superficial noise to the common humanity and experience beneath.

I've gone on a lot in the past about the way we no longer have agreed-upon sources of factual information, and wondered if some kind of educational changes (e.g. teaching critical thinking) could make a difference. But I do see that in a society where you can home-school your kids to think that evolution is just a theory, and creationism is just as valid, this has obvious limitations. I was thinking about bc's link, and the frequent (mad) assertion that Trump "tells it like it is", and how there seems to be a yearning for truth and authenticity. I was thinking about Beto O'Rourke's answer to the questioner about the issue of athletes taking a knee, and I was thinking it's not impossible for people to talk straight, and tell people of differing views truths in a respectful, non-bullshitting way. I was thinking about Johnson's view that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, and I was thinking about McCain and how (like Cawdor) nothing in his life became him like the leaving it (although in his case, maybe one other thing did). As you can see, I've been thinking too damn much, and rather incoherently, so it's probably time to go to bed. But still, and this is coming from someone who is famously pessimistic, FWIW I don't think all is lost yet.

It's a crude measure, but looking at Electoral votes from 2016...

The question about more than a two-way split was raised above. Ignoring faithless electors, in 2016 13 western states (including AK and HI this time) went Clinton 98-30. 12 NE urban corridor states plus DC went Clinton 104-20 or so. In the rest of the country, Clinton got 30 EC votes (MN and IL). MN was close, about 45K votes. My own prediction is that AZ flips in 2024, based on the trend in how progressive their statewide ballot initiatives are becoming. To quote a friend of mine from Wyoming: "UT, ID, MT, and WY are going to be somebody's energy colonies. California is set up to make a much better offer than anyone else."

When I entertain myself trying to game some of this out, I note that in that particular three-way partition, the region that gets totally screwed is the NE urban corridor: money fairly quickly goes somewhere besides Wall Street (Brexit is going to be enormously instructive); much of DC's political power goes to wherever the new capitals are (and probably a lot of the people, too, looking for new staff/lobbyist jobs).

What hsh said. Again. And TP, lol. So with more than a bit of trepidation and at the risk of possibly making russell read more irrelevant dribble:

My point in that link was simply the point about the swamp in DC and "status quo politico" in the sense of a federal government out of touch. And, more importantly, the observation that the Democrats could run a populist with an "anti-DC" bent and out-Trump Trump on the one issue that really seems to matter across the spectrum of Trump voters. Shoot, it can't be that hard to find a "Ms. Smith Goes to Washington" type that has a bit more swagger with the sincerity of Stewart and close enough to the middle that he or she attracts those Trump voters.

Or, ignore trying to figure out Trump voters and lose again.

. . . Trump supporters will believe anything, no matter who stupid as long as it feeds their needs to feel superior to everyone else and to sneer at everyone else.

Just wow.

Or, ignore trying to figure out Trump voters and lose again.

I'm not so sure that happens again. Certainly not many more times, but probably not even twice.

And, be it noted, the Trump voters who are driven by fear of "them" (as opposed to tribal feeling, ideology, etc.) seem quite convinced, too. That was part of what was driving them 2 years ago: they perceived last chances.

This isn't to say that they don't also have some valid concerns. Those should be addressed. But failure to do so isn't electoral suicide going forward.

the Democrats could run a populist with an "anti-DC" bent

the mainstream version of that is warren.
the non mainstream version is bernie.

bc,

Which of my bons mots do you refer to when you write "And TP, lol"?

I mean, I'd like to reason politely with you so as to save you from error and embarrassment, but I gots to know: what tickled your conservative funny bone?

--TP

It's unfortunate that we've gotten off the track of the OP. I really don't want to post a 'let's talk about Trump voters' post every week as if it were a stent to allow the bile to flow somewhere else or a weekly Festivus post, and rather than that, I hope that people could take enough responsibility to keep things on track. However, this time, I've posted a very quick post now to let everyone air their feelings.

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