Getting Back To Work The Day After

So: Donald Trump, President-elect of the United States.

I said before that I think he's the worst Presidential candidate in my lifetime, a genuinely awful human being, and an existential threat to America. I'm not going to retcon that in a futile gesture towards cheering anyone up. Nor will I try to cheer you up, if you're upset about it.

But I'm going to ask what we're prepared to do about it, here in the aftermath.

Will we wallow, or fight? Will we proceed with campaign slogans, or with reflection and hard work?

Let's talk about it.

This is not the end of political or electoral history. To put Trump's victory in context, reflect for a moment how often you've been told that some election result shows a sea change in American politics. 1994 was the "year of the angry white man," touted as a new wave of white conservative power thwarting Democratic choices. Ask Bob Dole how that turned out. 2000 and 2004 were the years of "permanent Republican majority," sold as another end to Democratic chances. That lasted into Obama's victory in 2008, sold to us as the crest of a demographic wave that would crush the Republican party. Apparently not.

"This is the hugest change ever" is popular with media and pundits. It gets clicks. It hasn't been true so far.

America is equal to this: Assume the very worst about how Trump will govern for the moment, and then look at our forebears and what they endured.

Nearly three-quarters of a century ago my grandfather enlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor. He was a peaceable man — he didn't even like loud talk — but it was what his country required. He and my grandmother married quite quickly and moved to Boston, his hometown, so he could complete supply officer training. He stayed at Harvard (then used as a site to train officers) while my grandmother stayed with his parents, whom she had just met. When she went into labor with my mother, she forbade anyone to reach out to him on campus:

Judy was born at the Chelsea Naval Hospital on January 14, 1943. When labor pains began a week early, I didn't want Paul [my grandfather] to know, because he had a major test in the morning that would influence his assignment in the Navy. There was a blizzard going on, so I sent Mother D [grandpa's mother] home from the hospital in the taxi we came in. I always prided myself on my independence, but having a baby alone was something else. It was worth the struggle though — Paul got a good assignment, and we named Judy after St. Jude, the patron saint of the impossible.

Grandpa went on to serve honorably and quite effectively in the unglamorous position of supply officer on a seaplane tender in the Pacific, winning a Bronze Star for his effectiveness at the job but not seeing combat, not counting the time a kamikaze destroyed his room while he was off-ship.

When I look at my grandparents and the dangers and uncertainties they faced alongside their generation, I am filled with confidence in American endurance. I feel the same when I look at how America came through the hellish abattoir of the civil war. I feel it when I see how Jehovah's Witnesses persevered, and eventually prevailed, in their fight to exercise their conscience even in the face of widespread bigotry. I feel it when I see how African-Americans fought through lynchings and murders and fire hoses and dog attacks and beatings along march routes and explicitly racist laws to secure some measure of legal equality and an African-American President. I feel it when I see that Americans who believed that the state has no right to regulate whom we love fought from Bowers v. Hardwick to Lawrence v. Texas in less than a generation.

America has fought wars of every stripe, against ourselves and others. We've plumbed the depths of economic misery. We've survived race riots and nativist strife. And so we shall again. The task ahead isn't easy. It's daunting. But we're up to it.

America is our project: Donald Trump will be the President of the United States in January. I support and defend the United States of America. That means that, though I do not support Trump personally or based on policy, he is my President. He is the President delivered by the Constitution I love and want to defend. I wish him well — meaning that I wish for him the health and strength and resolve to meet the challenges he'll face. I do not wish him success on many of his stated projects, but I hope that he will perform his Constitutional obligations effectively and to the benefit of the country. I will not be saying "not my President" but "for better or worse, my President." Though I hope he will not succeed in many parts of his stated agenda, I do not wish failure on his Presidency, and I do not think that defeating him in the next election should be his opposition's top priority. Our top priority should be opposing bad programs and policies he proposes, making the case for the rightness of our positions, and trying to use what consensus we can find to better govern America.

Our values endure: Our values do not die just because you might interpret an election as rejecting them (more on that later). You don't hold on to your values because they're popular, you hold onto them because they're right and just and they make you who you are. America's history is full of popular fidelity to our stated values ebbing and flowing, and of Americans stubbornly holding on to those ideas in the dark times.

Salena Zito — one of the more perceptive journalists documenting Trump's success — famously said "The press takes [Trump] literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally." Some of the things Trump said — taken literally — should offend our fundamental values. Did he mean them? Will he try to make policy based on them? That remains to be seen — identifying Trump's stance is often like shoveling smoke. I think it's entirely possible that Trump won't even attempt to do most of the things he's said, or that he'll attempt them in extremely watered-down desultory ways.

We must be prepared to fight against policies that conflict with our values. But that requires, first, some soul-searching about what those values are, whether we have already compromised them, and whether we have been effective and credible advocates for them. The rule of law, the equality of all people (feeble or powerful) before that law, freedom of thought and speech and worship, strict limits on the power of the state over the individual — those are a few I care about. I've been arguing for a while that neither major American party is a reliable friend to those values. It may be a little late to speak out for them if we stood by while "our team" demeaned them. But as I believe in grace and redemption, I believe in the possibility of a renewed commitment to values and a new fight for them.

What makes us Americans? What core rights do we have that the state cannot violate? What are we willing to do to protect them? Now, more than ever, we need to be willing to ask those questions. When President Trump works on his agenda, we need to examine it clearly and honestly and fight what's wrong. It is essential that we persuade. We can't rely on asserting that a policy is wrong because Trump offers it, or because "everyone" knows it is awful. That was the argument against Trump's election, and it lost. We need to return to forceful advocacy of our values and how they apply to policy choices. It's not about popularity. Miscegenation laws were once extremely popular, but they were wrong and violated core American values without regard to their popularity. In striking them down the Supreme Court did not ride a tide of popular support (there wasn't much) but recognized fundamental values embodied in the Constitution. We need to return to using those values as our tools of persuasion and not rely upon the fickle support of culture or popularity or authority. We need to earn support, not assume it.

Charity and Malice: Claiming that Donald Trump won because 40% of the country is made up of irredeemable racist misogynists is not a sustainable path towards recovering political power or governing. It's not even a good way to endure the next 4-8 years. Premising your politics on the Other being horrible may bring short-term successes but not long-term ones. Governor Romney's infamous "47%" remark was so damaging because it conveyed that he viewed half the country as an impediment, as inherently not part of the right team. Hillary Clinton's comments about "deplorable" and "irredeemable" people wound up conveying the same sentiment. It would be a mistake to build an new opposition to President Trump on the foundation of hating a plurality of the country and considering it worthless and evil.

Of course there are racists and misogynists in America. Of course both those things continue to play a significant role in American life. (How significant? That depends on how much money you have.) Of course some of Trump's supporters are very explicitly racist and misogynistic, and of course Trump courted those groups as part of his base.

But attributing a Trump victory to racism and misogyny is a quick, cheap, easy way out. People aren't that simple. Americans didn't conclusively reject racism by electing President Obama, and didn't conclusively embrace it by electing President Trump. Trial lawyers know this: people don't make decisions like computers. People don't tend to weigh all the evidence or consider all the factors or evaluate every counter-argument to every argument. People tend, in small decisions and big ones, to latch on to a few main ideas, come to a conclusion, and then stop considering contrary evidence. A man sees what he wants to see, and disregards the rest. Obama's election didn't mean Americans were free of racism; it meant that Obama effectively communicated big ideas that connected and shut down the other voices whispering in our ears. Certainly some Trump supporters are avowedly racist, but some of them latched on to big ideas and stopped listening to the rest — like his troubling flirtation with evil.

Hillary Clinton won an epic, historic struggle to be the worst Presidential candidate ever. Ultimately she won that struggle — and thus lost the Presidency — because she did not persuade. She did not articulate her core ideas effectively enough, and so not enough people latched onto them and disregarded the bad things about her. Trump dallied with racism — hell, Trump nailed racism in the coat closet and walked out smirking — but Clinton still did worse with Latinos, African-Americans, and Asians than Obama did. It may be that she was doomed from the start — too much baggage, too many vulnerabilities. Or it could be that she lacked Obama's power to persuade. She couldn't get them to accept her simple pitch and shut everything else out. Trump could.

It falls to realistic Trump opponents not to crush the people who voted for him, but to persuade them. In this election the GOP showed that it could fight back against demographic change — not just by marshaling high percentages of white voters, but by persuading higher-than-expected percentages of minorities. The Democrats can't respond to that by writing 40% of the country off as irredeemable.

Hubris and Entitlement: The catastrophic polling failures of 2016 reflect the fatal pride of Clinton's team and what I'll call "the establishment."

Americans are stubborn and proud. They'll be persuaded, but they won't be told who to vote for like you'd tell a recalcitrant child to eat his vegetables. The media, childishly obsessed with Donald Trump (and frankly unenthused with Hillary Clinton) promoted a us-versus-them mentality. It was far more class-based than race-based — it was the message "isn't it unbelievable and hilarious that those people support Trump." The message was "of COURSE vote Clinton, you idiot" or "you're pretty dim but at least you can see how to vote on THIS one." Generally people can't be expected to embrace stories that demean them.

There was another way, but hardly anybody took it. There was the way of "let me earn your vote by persuading you why these policies are right," conveyed as part of an effective set of ideas. There were far too few forceful and effective advocates of how free trade makes us richer and freer. There were too few people willing to risk a genuine discussion of the costs of frequent military intervention. Everyone was too busy arguing what immigration policies they didn't support to debate specific policies that they did support.

The anti-Trump message was based too strongly on entitlement — based on who you are, we are entitled to your vote, by right. You can see that in the frothing rage at third-party voters after Clinton's defeat. You'll see it in the ugly backlashes coming at the minority voters who didn't vote "correctly." But voting isn't a matter of entitlement. "Vote for me because the other guy's horrific" is not an effective method to persuade or get out the vote. It's an idea that focuses on the other guy, not you. You've got to deserve victory. Clinton didn't. Clinton stank of entitlement to rule, the media conveyed that message, and that message fatally amplified Clinton's scandals, conveying that Clinton was entitled to follow the rules differently, to act differently, to be treated preferentially.

The apotheosis of hubris may have been the Huffington Post's imbecilic (and deeply humiliating in retrospect) attack on poll maven Nate Silver for not favoring Clinton's odds heavily enough. At common law, it was treason merely to encompass the death of the king — that is, to verbalize the possible circumstances. In the media's echo chamber, it was a sin to express doubt, and damn the actual facts. Clinton and the establishment relied on things being true because we wanted them to be and because there was a polite consensus, not because of facts.

Your Facebook Page Is Not The World: We were told that the internet would expose us to more people, different people, different cultures. In reality, 2016 helps show us how we can shape our own private internet to confirm our beliefs. People mistook all their friends hating Trump for the whole country hating Trump. People mistook the unanimity of those they had chosen to follow as general unanimity. The exceptions tended to prove the rule. Twitter was notorious for bigoted pro-Trump trolls, but their existence may have served to make pro-Trump sentiment seem extreme, isolated, not formidable, and easily noticed. The closer we look at the internet and how it touches us, the more we should be called to a healthy skepticism.

We Are Not All Equally Vulnerable: Not everyone feels the same way about a defeat, because we don't share circumstances.

This result is genuinely horrifying to many people, and reasonably so. We can hope that Trump does not pursue policies overtly hostile to minorities of all sorts, and we can fight like hell if he tries. But whether you think Trump is racist or not, whether you think the result was an endorsement of racism or not, Trump's campaign was accompanied by a groundswell of explicitly bigoted sentiment, one that I maintain he courted and did not effectively reject. Across the country, ethnic and religious and sexual minorities are afraid of what will happen to them. My daughter, like many, has heard talk about which classmates would no longer be allowed to stay in America. I know people who are genuinely afraid, and I don't blame them — I think Trump's rhetoric invited the fear, some segments of his supporters made it a realistic fear, and that there will likely be an upsurge in bigotry and violence. As a well-off white guy in the suburbs I'm lucky — my kids, not white, are somewhat less lucky. My friends and neighbors, of various ethnicities and religious and identities, are even less.

It falls upon all decent people of good faith to defend our friends and neighbors and countrymen. It falls to us to speak out at bigotry even in the face of sneers and shouts of "Trump Trump Trump." If falls to us to continue to call out bigotry even when we are told that we've lost that fight. It falls to us to monitor, and resist, individuals who feel that Trump's election is a green light for bigoted violence. It especially falls to us to stand up and do our part to resist any state-sanctioned bigotry that President Trump might possibly pursue. That fight may involve pro bono help by lawyers, financial contributions to litigation and campaigns, personal support to the targeted, and tireless advocacy in public. It could, conceivably but (I hope) improbably, involve a commitment to violence.

It's a big, complex country. There are a lot of issues. You won't be able to stand up for them all, nor should you try. I submit that every American appalled or outraged by President Trump's election should pick an issue that is important to them, educate themselves thoroughly about it, and come together with fellow Americans to fight for that issue — to defend people in various circumstances who cannot defend themselves. The First Amendment remains my issue, and I will continue to ask for help defending it. More on that to come.

As we prepare to fight against bigotry, we should keep three things in mind.

First, as I said above, the internet is not the world. The most vivid and aggressive bigots online are, for the most part, profoundly marginal people. They were marginal before Trump and they'll be marginal after Trump. They are shock troops for campaigns, but they lack the ability to participate meaningfully in governing. That's why they're trolls. In assessing how bad things will be with President Trump, do not conclude that Twitter trolls will suddenly be striding the halls of power. They'll still be misfits.

Second, the wave of genuine overt ethnic nationalist political candidates will come next, emboldened by Trump. We will fight them. We will take them more seriously than we took Trump.

Third, it might be a good time to reflect on how we talk about race, gender, and sexuality. Trump struck a chord by fighting "political correctness." I've argued that blasting political correctness often involves whinging that we can't act like a dick without being called a dick any more. But it would be foolish not to inquire why Trump's message resonated. The steadily growing social consensus against bigotry is a good thing. But people are flawed — okay, people are assholes — and the consensus gets twisted and distorted and expressed in foolish, counter-productive ways. Some of America's admirable opposition to bigotry has been filtered through human frailty to become obnoxious, counter-productive, petty, and sanctimonious, an obsession with form over substance. I'm not saying you shouldn't explain what pronouns you prefer. I'm suggesting that maybe the way you convey the message might have an impact on your audience's receptiveness to other messages. It's just possible that "we'll grind these bigots under our heel until they talk right" is ineffective and might actually be more about our character flaws than winning. I'm saying there may be a better way.

The Button: Oh yeah. And we may face the end of human civilization, if Trump acts as President the way he acted as a candidate. My fear of Clinton was that she'd start the apocalypse after careful consultant with advisers and based upon thoughtfully crafted policies. My fear of Trump is more that he'll Trump himself into a geopolitical corner and use nukes out of petulance. So. We have that going for us. Good luck, I suppose, with all that.

In summary: think about what values are important to you, think about how best to come together to fight for them, and fight.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

Comments

  1. Craig Steffen says

    Oh, and something like 40% registered voters didn't vote. WTF??!? Some have hardships, but that's 80 MILLION fracking people, and a few tens of thousands would have swayed a couple of key states. Non-voters are honestly the people I'm most upset at.

  2. BrownFreeSpeechGuy says

    I am a brown immigrant, who passes off for white. I loved America, I still do. In high school in Pakistan, I fell in love with the republican ideals of the American Revolution. I loved the freedoms that this country gave its citizens, most of all the First Amendment. I am an absolutist free speecher.

    I went to bed scared and worried about the future I had planned in this country. I dreamed of growing old here, continuing to live an intellectually enriching life, but I went to bed unsure if I will ever get to remain here or if I could remain in a place where I felt unsafe. At lunch today, alone at a fast food counter, my mother called me. I picked up the phone and started talking to her in my mother tongue. I caught some people looking at me. Perhaps all of those glances were innocent, but I felt under the spotlight and afraid for myself. I grabbed my food and went to eat in my car. I cried while eating, and afterwards for a while in the restroom.

    Unlike many other people of color, I had never faced overt racism or even any significant unkind event here. Today I felt scared and cried for an hour, scared.

    I know a lot of people did not vote for making me scared. They voted for many other things. But today I did feel scared because of their vote. I am not sure where I will go from now on, but I will continue to believe in democracy, free speech and what I believe were/are great American values. I just hope this country believes in me and makes me feel secure again.

  3. Aaron says

    Thank you, Ken. This helped me find sight of what to hold on to and of my resolve. It helped contextualize what I'm afraid of too.

    I'm still pretty shocked and disappointed, though.

  4. Scott Jacobs says

    not seeing combat, not counting the time a kamikaze destroyed his room while he was off-ship.

    Damn. Apparently St. Jude was grateful for the hat-tip…

  5. Ed says

    I ended up voting for Trump. Not with glee but because I really, truly believe that Hillary and Bill Clinton are fundamentally corrupt and evil human beings. While Trump is analogous to an unsightly skin condition, something that you cannot hide, that is right there in the open, the Clintons represent something more insidious. A malignancy whose presence you are not aware of until it is too late.

    I was uneasy about Obama getting elected. His absence of any relevant experience was an issue but my concern was a bit more subtle. It was reflected in Bush's remark about "the soft racism of reduced expectations". Could the nice white boys and girls who define our attitudes at our media outlets be trusted to come down on him with both feet if he fucked up? I doubted it.

    And so with Hillary. Since she was not Hitler, my fear was that the media, in a self congratulatory spasm for their yeoman service in getting her elected, would overlook the natural, unavoidable and predictable benefits that were bought and paid for in the board rooms of Wall Street institutions. And she owes people and owes them big time.

    Ken, your essay dwells on Trumps words, largely. But you did not reflect on the deeds of Hillary and Bill. Trump may be damn off color but I am not aware that he raped anyone. Can you say the same for Bill? Can you say that Hillary was not complicit in a coverup? Hillary is in the top 99.99 of humanity, never mind of Americans. She is regal. She is not answerable to the press or anyone else unless it suits her. How many press conferences did she give again? Two? That smacks of the imperialism of a Nixon. Would that really have been better?

    I am not a happy camper but, Ken, you spread too much gloom by not reflecting on the alternative to a skin lesion.

  6. Richard Smart says

    "She did not articulate her core ideas effectively enough, and so not enough people latched onto them and disregarded the bad things about her.

    Not that I have a dog in any of these fights, but it's far from clear that Hilary Clinton failed to communicate. Nor that any of her supposed sins were anything like as serious as those of candidates in the past.

    Rather, it seems from this distance that a substantial part of the electorate understood her core values all too well. Kindness? Piffle, it doesn't help in business. And pace your good self, I'm skeptical that any woman, at this or any stage of American history, can be elected. Jackie Cochrane was perfectly qualified to be an astronaut, but there's no way a woman would have been accepted as champion of the nation.

    It will never matter how qualified a woman is, a large fraction of your fellow Americans who will never accept a woman who is uppity enough to be effective.

    And yes, 40% of the country is indeed irredeemable. I could even cite the same statistics as "The Economist" to that effect. But we already knew that, and it doesn't matter, they still have a vote and you will simply have to live with such people making your rules.

    Of course, that's only the view of someone sitting at a comfortable distance. But I'm confident of the assessment. On the other hand it's also clear you're right about "Hubris and Entitlement":

    The catastrophic polling failures of 2016 reflect the fatal pride of Clinton's team and what I'll call "the establishment."

    But I would add that Trump uniformly overperformed in the polls precisely where it counted. This I would interpret as rigged polls, except I prefer a simpler explanation: people lied to everyone else about not voting for Trump.

  7. htom says

    I've heard it said several times this morning that this is a victory of the Republican Party, not of Donald Trump. The thinking seems to be that Trump was nominated by Democrats pushing him into the Republican candidacy by crossing lines and voting for him in Republican primaries, thinking he was the easiest candidate to beat. If that's what happened (and there was definitely cheering in my friends on that side of the isle when he was) those who orchestrated that plan have a very bitter meal before them for the next four years.

    (In Minnesota, I figured it didn't matter, and voted for Gary Johnson, an old family friend; neither Trump nor Clinton would have gotten my vote.)

  8. ivraatiems says

    Ken,

    You express beautifully the deep respect you have for this country and for our system. I admire it, but where I might have shared it at one point, I'm not sure I still do. I feel as though this election is sending a signal that this project might be available for white Christian men, but it's not for me – and I check two out of those three boxes!

    I don't know how to shake that feeling and hold on to the idea that the experiment is still worth something on its own. How do you do it?

  9. gekkobear says

    "And yes, 40% of the country is indeed irredeemable. "
    Ok Richard Smart; go with that.
    Double down on liberal hatred of the middle of the country, arrogant dismissal and attacks on Christians, and condescending insults on all who aren't in agreement with you.

    Maybe try to force more nuns to pay for birth control, or drive out some small business owners who are openly christian just to really stick it to them.

    Surely more of what caused the 2016 loss will create a win for 2020.
    Repeating and doubling down on failure will lead to success… it's a progressive-liberal truism.

    And hey, with this plan, in 2020 you'll have even more reasons to hate a very large percentage of the country.
    Won't that be nice?

  10. Canvasback says

    "As we prepare to fight against bigotry, . . ."
    In spite of your calm words and soothing manner you drop that clunker on us. Feed the fear. Maybe the blue-noses will win the next one.

  11. Draven says

    And I and about sixty million other people decided that Hillary was the worst US presidential candidate.

    I'm done here, I'm going to go find Clark.

  12. Aaron says

    @Draven, you apparently didn't read the article.

    Hillary Clinton won an epic, historic struggle to be the worst Presidential candidate ever. Ultimately she won that struggle — and thus lost the Presidency — because she did not persuade.

  13. says

    @Aaron – It is tacky – quite tacky indeed – to insert yourself into someone else's forum-quit melodrama. Be a dear and let poor Draven have his moment. He has, after all, earned it.

  14. guesting says

    "As we prepare to fight against bigotry, . . ."
    In spite of your calm words and soothing manner you drop that clunker on us. Feed the fear. Maybe the blue-noses will win the next one.

    Maybe Trump courted the bigots in order to get votes and is not a bigot himself, the problem with this is that it doesn't really matter.

    By acknowledging them, they already are embolden and even more so now that Trump is president. I do not think Trump will do as much damage(him personally) as many think he will but the bigots that are feeling high and mighty right now sure will think that they have power sure will do damage at one point.

  15. Richard Smart says

    And for those of you who hate everything I said above, may I commend this young lady to you:
    "You are welcome here…"

    Double down on liberal hatred of the middle of the country, arrogant dismissal and attacks on Christians, and condescending insults on all who aren't in agreement with you.

    Dear me. How deplorable are Trump people? Didn't take long to find out.
    And lookie here:
    How deplorable are Trump supporters?

    By the way: "Liberal" where I live means something else, but I'm happy to say I'm not one by either definition. As for condescending, damn straight; tu quoque. What are you going to do about it?

    As for attacks on Christians, I'm high church Anglican and my sister is a priest of that cult. And yes, I'm happily convinced that Islam represents an existential threat. That fork has two prongs: first, the attempt to avoid a free market of the spirit by making apostasy a capital offence, and second the chiliastic tendency to declare holy war. This is more or less unique among world religions. Judaism might have once been the same but their messiah would have to be a lineal descendant of David. Christianity seems to be over its religious wars – for now.

    None of that matters. Nearly every muslim worldwide, and especially in the US, doesn't give a damn for holy war; they are too busy surviving day-to-day, like all of us. I wouldn't stigmatise them for belief the way Trump did. That class of people who Trump or yourself despises is in the end formed by individuals who need to be judged on their own merits.

    And no, I don't think Trump will necessarily be a bad President. The vacuum of his experience doesn't bode well, but you have had other Presidents who never served in public office previously. However, like Grant or Eisenhower, they were military commanders of rank and repute. (Perhaps Trump will surround himself with effective advisors. My guess: Not.)

    Nor do I think that despite the demonstrably deplorable nature of 40% of the electorate, that this election is necessarily a bad outcome for your nation. If there was one thing Mr Trump was right about, it is that the smarter and better people will as a class tend to improve their lot at the expense of their fellow citizens to the point that the aggrieved deplorables are quite right to overthrow their system. This is simply classic Maoist theory, never mind Piketty. You are familiar with that name, right?

    This is evolution in action. Perhaps being nasty, ignorant, prejudiced and self-righteous is a bad thing for the future of the United States. Or it might simply make the US more competitive.

  16. Dan says

    Ed, go to hell.

    I was uneasy about Obama getting elected. His absence of any relevant experience was an issue but my concern was a bit more subtle. It was reflected in Bush's remark about "the soft racism of reduced expectations". Could the nice white boys and girls who define our attitudes at our media outlets be trusted to come down on him with both feet if he fucked up? I doubted it.

    So basically, you pretended it was about "experience" when you voted against Obama but the "subtle" true reason is simply because he's black. (Oh I'm sorry, it's not because he's black, it's because he's black and the "nice white" media would never say anything bad about a black man?)

    And then you turn around and vote for Trump.

    His absence of any relevant experience was an issue

    Really?

    but my concern was a bit more subtle.

    Yeah real subtle but I think we got it.

    This is why we liberals think you "conservatives" are racists. YOU FUCKING ADMIT IT. And you elected Trump, the least conservative guy on the menu, why? Because he blows the same dog whistles as you.

  17. Argentina Orange says

    Ed's version of the article was better imo:

    http://reason.com/blog/2016/11/09/why-donald-trump-won

    California must be a horrible place, if it gave you the lenses you see things through. I've visited, but never lived there. I lived for… 18 years below the Mason-Dixon line, and I met fewer overt racists than you had in your D&D group. I heard the N-word uttered fewer times than I did in a one-month construction gig (21st century even!) in NY state.

    Oh yeah. And we may face the end of human civilization, if Trump acts as President the way he acted as a candidate.

    Or to turn you into a human Daisy ad. Although I should appreciate the whole Goldwater-Hillary closing of the circle, I guess.

  18. aebhel says

    Thanks for this, Ken. So far, this is the just about the only post-mortem I've seen that's been worth the time to read it. I'm deeply saddened by the results of this election, but I think what you've written here is a framework for the way forward from here.

  19. robbbbbb says

    I've watched my fair share of elections over the last few decades, and I've heard the hand-wringing and emotions from both sides every time. I've learned a couple of key points:

    * It's never as good as you hope.
    * It's never as bad as you fear.

  20. says

    @ivraatiems – that's the joke. :)

    @Dan – thanks for providing us with an example of what Ken was explicitly warning against. I don't think we needed it, though.

    @Argentina Orange – I have lived for 42 years below the Mason Dixon line. and I've met way more local racists than Ken had in his D&D group. Perhaps Ken isn't the one wearing lenses, or the only one.

  21. albert says

    Ken,

    I recall Obamas for run for the presidency, and I have a picture in my mind; a man in a shirt and tie, sleeves rolled up, serious, seemingly accessible, sincere. I thought, man, this guy looks, talks, and acts -presidential-. He had really good speechwriters. Not too shabby as a speaker either. No wonder he was elected.

    Did we see anyone like this in this election? Seriously, did Don or Hil even come close?

    In many ways, Obama was an 'unknown', with a very limited background. This is true of Trump. Clinton wasted a lot of words on her 'experience', was is clearly no longer a requirement for the presidency.

    I don't think Trump is even close to being anti-establishment, but that's the perception. I'll bet lots of Democrats and Independents voted for him, and will never admit it as long as they live. So much for polls.

    The American political system is a joke, and folks are (finally) beginning to realize it. We've just seen the worst presidential candidates ever; the most hated Congress ever, the greediest Wall Street ever and the most pissed off citizens ever.

    I looks like Americans will get the President they deserve.

    Interesting times ahead…

    . .. . .. — ….

  22. Argentina Orange says

    @Grady

    I have lived for 42 years below the Mason Dixon line. and I've met way more local racists than Ken had in his D&D group.

    Congratulations, you have completely stymied me. A complete Buridan's ass situation.

  23. Castaigne says

    I have a better suggestion. Trump and the alt-right won; let us give them everything they asked for. Let it be given to them in spades.

    Make America Great Again. Build the wall. Down with political correctness. Put the Musloid scum in camps. Support Western culture only. Enshrine the 16 Points of the Alt-Right into law. Reduce America to pre-1965 racial demographics. End the rule of the Jewish corporate globalist masters over white America through their nigger soldiers. Put white back into the White House. Arrest the Clintons and the Obamas and execute them by hanging on the Capitol steps. If a feminist complains about treatment, grab that bitch by the pussy and give them some corrective rape action. Put women back to Church, children, and the kitchen. Electroshock the homogays and trannies back to sane heterosexuality. 35% tariffs on the corporations. Privatization of the federal highway system into toll roads. If they're brown, take 'em down; if they're white, you know they're all right.

    All of it. Give them all of it. Make America Great Again. Enact every jot and tittle they have expressed. Enact it with great vigor.

    And if they complain? Remember, disagreement with Trump is treason to America. Only LIEBERALS complain. And LIEBERALTARIANS.

    I absolutely believe in giving people what they ask for. They won the election, so it's only right to do.

  24. Argentina Orange says

    @Grandy

    dog,

    OMFG MISOGNY!

    Have you, by any chance, in your 42 years of living… well, anywhere actually… met more redheads than are in my weekly polka group?

  25. Argentina Orange says

    @Richard Smart

    Ah yes, the "SCIENCE PROVES my opponents are morally defective!" A classic.

  26. Laura Kellner says

    Thank you, Ken. This was helpful in a lot of ways. Goddess Bless you and yours. I can't help but find a horrible irony; my own great uncle served in the US navy during WWII. His son announced his decision to vote for Trump months ago and for all I know, that man, my cousin who I love and respect, did so yesterday.

  27. Richard Smart says

    Dear Argentina Orange,
    Indeed. (Happy grin.) Especially when it's true.

    It's even more classic when being morally defective actually has a positive effect on one's survival, and the nation's history.

    PS What did you think of Ms Rocha? Were she my daughter, I would be SO proud. Even though I don't think she would survive in the US.

  28. James says

    I ended up voting for Trump, but as I'm reading through this post, almost every single thing you've said rings true for me.

  29. Matt says

    No mention that the most likely early casualty of a Trump presidency will be abortion rights followed closely by ObamaCare. These are real, very likely policy outcomes that will affect millions. It's not all about the mean things people say.

  30. Castaigne says

    @Matt:

    No mention that the most likely early casualty of a Trump presidency will be abortion rights followed closely by ObamaCare.

    Don't worry, that just means that the white genocide caused by the beta cucks will stop.

  31. princessartemis says

    Thank you for this.

    The section on charity and malice should be required reading. It's dangerous to consider over fifty-nine million people irredeemable. Dangerous because if you consider them so, you will treat them so…and thus comes bigotry, hatred, and all its evils. A quote I saw from one person who despised Trump supporters ran to the effect, 'Anyone who dehumanize someone in that way is inhuman.' And only Sith deal in absolutes.

  32. Matt says

    The section on charity and malice should be required reading. It's dangerous to consider over fifty-nine million people irredeemable. Dangerous because if you consider them so, you will treat them so…and thus comes bigotry, hatred, and all its evils.

    Ah, the left is always expected to exhibit empathy, indeed it's central to our policy agenda. Then the right wins elections by eschewing it. I mean, I'm not sure I disagree, but it sure does feel like being conned.

  33. says

    @Argentina Orange – once. There were scores of them. They came in the night, and overran our sentries with ease. I. . . I don't like to speak of it.

  34. Michael 2 says

    "Our values endure" There is no "our". Norwegians from Minnesota likely do not have the same values as Cajuns in Louisiana or Mormons in Idaho. Some overlap, not a lot.

    "Our values do not die" There is no "our". This nations values were defined by an extremely small number of people, relative to the number about to be imposed upon with those values.

    "America's history is full of popular fidelity to our stated values ebbing and flowing"

    Now would be a good time to enumerate what you believe are "our" values and see if it is so.

    "We must be prepared to fight against policies that conflict with our values."

    That is true for everyone; but the method of fighting varies considerably. At any rate, this sentiment ensures that there will indeed always be *fighting* since there is no "our".

    "But that requires, first, some soul-searching about what those values are"

    It starts with identifying your values, my values, and who shares them.

    "we have already compromised them." There is no "we". I have compromised few, if any, of my values. On the other hand I seldom impose my values on others even where I am in a position to do so.

    "I've been arguing for a while that neither major American party is a reliable friend to those values."

    And yet each party exists because it *is* a friend to many people that create planks and platforms on their shared values which, almost obviously, are not to be found in the opposition whose numbers suggest maybe there's not actually much of a "we" in the United States.

    "What makes us Americans?"

    For most, it is an accident of birth. No other commitment or social contract is needed or expected.

    "What core rights do we have that the state cannot violate?"

    None whatsoever. The State violates whatever it feels capable of violating. It is hoped that the Declaration of Independence will serve as a guide to not trying conspicuously to deprive a citizen of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; but that's pretty much only if you believe in a Creator capable of defining inalienable rights in the first place. If not, then its your chemistry versus mine, may the strongest mitochondria win!

    "What are we willing to do to protect them?"

    That's somewhat variable. As a career military man my willingness is strong and not attached to personalities.

  35. rocketboy says

    Thanks for this Ken. I'm a long-time listener, first time caller. Great post, and part of it resonates personally for me – my father enlisted in WW2 right after Pearl Harbor as well. I find it useful to keep in mind that our institutions have in the past survived Civil War, WW2, McCarthy, presidential impeachments and resignations, etc.

    As an aside, since I was out of the country for work, this marks the first election I haven't voted in since I turned 18 in 1989. (My father had children pretty late in life.)

  36. Richard Smart says

    Dear Matt,

    You are right about the abortion issues, since SCOTUS will shortly be more or less a bastion of the arch-right.

    Obamacare is also certain to be skittled – a solidly Republican house and Senate would simply repeal the Affordable Care Act without fear of Presidential veto. The efforts in SCOTUS are no longer needed.

    But this may not be a bad thing even for those of a "liberal" (in US parlance) persuasion, for it was not working. It's defining characteristic was obliging insurers to offer so-called "essential" coverage (eg. mammograms). But this meant a hit to middle class wallets:

    That has made plans cheaper for the riskiest customers, at the cost of higher premiums for the healthy and young. Poorer folk, who receive subsidies, do not particularly notice. But those who are healthy and too well-off to receive subsidies are paying more for insurance. Since 2010 households with incomes over $50,000 have reported the greatest increase in spending on premiums, despite the fact that coverage expanded most among poorer people…

    – that's from the September 10 edition of the Economist. So, of course the greater US electorate wants out, and they will now get their wish. This means reversion to the Medicare status quo.

    That's bad news for you; the US now spends more than twice as much per head as Britain – not that the British NHS doesn't have its own budgetary problems, but US infant mortality and life expectancy figures are way worse than other Western societies, and that's just hitting the highlights. The only other comparable drain on your economy is the military.

    Too bad, because contrary to Trump's declarations, Obamacare actually made medical care in the US more thrifty. It needed to be: between 1980 (just before Reagan) and now America's share of GDP going to health care went from about 10% to about 17%.

    But hitting those who can actually afford the time and energy to vote is not the way to fix it. Better to let evolution take its course. The most vulnerable won't be in a position to complain, any more than cattle led to the slaughter. Sooner or later though, the medicare budget will be so huge as to foster a split even among the Alt-Right.

    Schadenfreude is a wonderful thing (Where's my popcorn?), but the way arch-conservative fundamentalist Christians eschew Darwinism in science yet welcome it in economics never fails to raise a chuckle.

  37. Castaigne says

    @Michael 2:

    It is hoped that the Declaration of Independence will serve as a guide to not trying conspicuously to deprive a citizen of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; but that's pretty much only if you believe in a Creator capable of defining inalienable rights in the first place. I

    Uh, the DOI is not a legal document, has no legal applicability, and does not confer any rights or anything on the populace. It's a dead historical document, like the Articles of Confederation and the Federalist Papers.

    You were meaning the United States Constitution, right? You know, what you swore an oath to in the military?

  38. william the stout says

    @aebhel – I agree that Ken did his usual fine job, but here's another one that's worth reading from Mr. Greenwald https://theintercept.com/2016/11/09/democrats-trump-and-the-ongoing-dangerous-refusal-to-learn-the-lesson-of-brexit/

    @Matt – As somebody who is more or less centrist (full disclosure – center-left socially and center-right fiscally, which I guess makes me more or less a small 'L' libertarian) I'm going to respectfully call bullshit on the left always exhibiting empathy. From the middle, my observation would be that there's just as much "hate" on the left as there is on the right. Branding 60 million people as obviously misogynistic xenophobic deplorable racists because you don't like the way they voted is pretty damn hateful. Not to mention all the cultural appropriation, all-whites-are-racist-by-virtue-of being-white, hate speech is not protected speech crap. And it's a worse look for the left because they're the folks preaching about inclusiveness and tolerance. Total hypocrisy.

    I detest Trump, but my prediction is that this won't be nearly bad enough to justify all the angst that's out there. Remember when JFK was going to turn the country over to the Pope (I was a baby so I don't, but a lot of people worried that he would)? Remember when Reagan was a senile old man that was going to start WWIII with the Soviets? I'm concerned that the Repubs controlling everything will cause them to fail to resist their worst impulses, but hopefully practical heads will prevail and if they don't then in two years they'll get skunked.

  39. Michael 2 says

    Castaigne writes "Michael 2:Uh, the DOI is not a legal document, has no legal applicability, and does not confer any rights or anything on the populace."

    I did not mis-write; you mis-read. I said it is a guide, namely "our" values; if there is such a thing. The Constitution grants no right to life, liberty OR pursuit of happiness. Little or no values are written into the Constitution. As to legal force, I suggest that the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have considerable force especially if a trial goes before a jury and it decides to nullify your attempt to render those concepts dead.

    "It's a dead historical document"

    It is not dead to me. Thank you for illustrating my point; there is no "we" and it seems your values are not mine but it's a bit of a stretch to glean that from so few words.

    "like the Articles of Confederation and the Federalist Papers."

    I consider the Federalist papers quite important and informative. I dare say they are frequently mentioned by bloggers.

    "You were meaning the United States Constitution, right? You know, what you swore an oath to in the military?"

    No; I meant what I wrote and I write what I mean. My oath is to defend the Constitution; not to grant (or deprive) anyone of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness or any other value that Ken White had in mind. I defend the social abstraction called the United States but that says nothing to the existence or lack of shared social values. It does say I have and must have allegiance to its President, legislatures and courts regardless of political affiliations and parties.

    One final point: Law comes from the people, is of the people, not the other way round. It is not necessary for the Constitution to enumerate all rights and values; for it is a reflection of the people. Thus, the principles or values of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are embedded or embodied in Public Law, inform Public Law, rather than the other way round.

  40. Richard Smart says

    Dear Michael 2,
    Stick to your guns. The Articles of Confederation are indeed relevant because they provide the justification used by Lincoln and succeeding authority to enforce the Union on the seceding states. And Lincoln observed that the Union "was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence".

    Those critical words 'perpetual union' are even in the full title. Not American myself, but even I knew that. I'm a little surprised Castaigne wasn't aware.

  41. En Passant says

    Ken wrote:

    I said before that I think he's the worst Presidential candidate in my lifetime,

    Perhaps due to age difference, I don't think Trump is the worst Presidential candidate in my lifetime. I'm older than Trump. I've lived through, and followed, three Richard Nixon Presidential races. He won two of them. I credit Nixon as the worst.

    Even so, I think Nixon is due credit for some of his policy initiatives, but infamy for his lyin' and cheatin' ways.

    I listened carefully to Trump's "victory speech". I was struck by its difference in rhetoric, and in tone of voice, from his campaign rhetoric. In content it was vague. It was all about healing political divisions, and doing good things for the good of the country. He sounded sincerely thankful to be elected.

    Is he an evil but consummately skilled actor who can successfully fake sincerity and decency? Or is he simply of a personality which shoots poorly from the hip when facing strong opposition in the heat of rhetorical battle? I don't know.

    I do think that if his "victory speech" is an indication of how he will conduct his presidency, he may not be nearly as bad as his opponents fear.

    And, no, I did not vote for Trump.

  42. Matt says

    I'm going to respectfully call bullshit on the left always exhibiting empathy. From the middle, my observation would be that there's just as much "hate" on the left as there is on the right.

    OK, that's fine. We didn't vote for a candidate who says clearly racist and misogynist things, but ok. And I was referring more to policy than rhetoric. But that's irrelevant to my general point: the lesson I take away is that empathy only hurts one's political cause. There seems to be every incentive to demonize your opponents and no real political price for it. A principled stance results in footprints on your face.

  43. Dorothy M. says

    I would like to know what happens if Trump is convicted of fraud when he goes to court in a couple weeks (charges stemming from his "university"). Does anyone know if that would mean he would have to resign the presidency? Or could he be impeached?

  44. william the stout says

    "We didn't vote for a candidate that says clearly racist and misogynist things, but ok".

    Probably true on the racist, but Hillary has been known to say some things that are arguably misogynist, particularly regarding women that came forward to accuse her husband of something. Don't know how old you are but do you remember the phrase that Team Clinton came up with to describe those episodes? "Bimbo eruptions"? If Trump had referred to his issues with women using that term the howl from the left would have been deafening.

    "There seems to be every incentive to demonize your opponents and no real political price for it".

    That we agree on. I live in Texas and am governed by bomb throwers like Ted Cruz and Dan Patrick. There's nothing those guys could say that is nasty enough to cost them with their hard core supporters. Likewise with the left. Frankly, I'm sick to death with being called a racist because I'm white and in my late 50s. Lena Dunham (a total dumbass) is celebrated on the left for posting a video extolling "the extinction of straight white males". Frankly, I'd like to put her and Dan Patrick on a rocket and blast them into space so that they can spend eternity bellowing at each other. The rhetoric that you complain about is basically why I've withdrawn from the political process – neither side merits my support. A pox on both their houses…….

  45. Julie Pascal says

    Just a short note:

    Romney's horrible 47% remark was and was ever only that 47% of the population will not be interested in a message about reducing income taxes. The negative connotations were almost entirely spin.

    Hillary said and meant that those deplorable people are irredeemable and unreachable. This required no spin to make it negative even if one generously allowed her to have not been talking about you in particular, but just all of your friends and relatives.

  46. OrderoftheQuaff says

    I was happy with the last two presidential elections, so rare to get three in a row, but I sure didn't expect this, I've been kinda subdued all day, and I fear that we all are well and truly, royally fucked. I have the option of building a small, comfy cell in my pasture, under 120 sq ft to obviate building permits, and living out the rest of my days in spiritual contemplation, but what about the other 99% of America?

    Supply officers help win wars too! My uncle was an Army Air Corps supply officer in WWII, Europe/North Africa, where he made a surprising, morale-boosting discovery. If you're ever responsible for loading as much toilet paper onto an airplane as you can, know that you can get 20-30% more on board by merely squishing the rolls down into an oval shape. His CO recommended him for a medal, but the brass decided that they weren't going to award a medal for that.

  47. Richard Smart says

    Dear Dorothy,
    Trump U may well have been a dreadful scam, but the standard for impeachment is "High Crimes and misdemeanors" – if I recall correctly from the Nixon fuss. I don't believe civil torts qualify. Ken might have more to say.

  48. Matt says

    Impeachments are brought by the House, which Republicans retain control of after losing a whole 8 members. It seems unlikely that the GOP House members would vote to impeach a President from their own party under almost any circumstance.

  49. Kevin Snapp says

    BrownFreeSpeechGuy — I hope you read this. You are welcome here! I am a 5th generation Anglo-American and I believe in America and people like you.

  50. Laura Kellner says

    "Our top priority should be opposing bad programs and policies he proposes, making the case for the rightness of our positions, and trying to use what consensus we can find to better govern America."–Mr. Ken White (sorry for obsessive source citation)

    I'd like to share something I learned pursuing my formal education in history. George Washington had to build an army form worse than squat. Those 'brave dashing militia boys' were dashing all right–everywhere but in formation. So he kept the Continental Army going by the barest thread for years. They did their best to function as a recognizable army to European eyes and perceptions. This is because he understood something: of course it mattered they kept losing, and getting their arses kicked. Still. For the new country to be taken at all seriously, Washington and his command staff had to insure that Britain could never say 'oh it's just a few rabble, local militias etc, nothing of consequence'. They had to insure that anytime a British diplomat or official said something like that anyone could rebut them with 'Really, old chap. Well, sink me! Do tell, then, what's this I hear about an ARMY?'–because discipline, rank and file, coordinated musket fire and uniforms were what the 18th century European elite recognized and understood.
    If we can object, formally with peaceful organized protests, demonstrations, petitions and documented communication to all our elected officials, over each and every policy that violated the country's core principles or values, I think it will be very hard for this man to pretend to the rest of the world that he does anything with an approving majority. And maybe we can make that haunt him.

  51. Joshua says

    I just wonder how long President Trump's honeymoon will last when the euphoria dies down. Sooner or later, the GOP will realize they elected someone who isn't a conservative, can't or won't deliver on his core promises, IS the government as opposed to running against it, and then finally that none of this can be excused any longer by his not being Hillary Clinton. Trump could always become a Democrat again, I guess, if he gets stuck.

  52. NeverOver says

    There's a hashtag that teachers are using to share ideas on how to talk to kids about the election results, because some are crying and others are bullying. Trump supporters have started to troll the responses. These people were enabled by a Trump victory and are nothing more than deplorable.

  53. Careless says

    Here's the thing, Ken: we have people who are basically respected, like Yglesias, seriously suggesting that this means that mobs of white people will be roaming the country, murdering Jews and people of color with impunity, and he's not being shoved off to a mental institution, but appreciated. [edit: exact quote: My guess is that in a Trump administration angry mobs will beat and murder Jews and people of color with impunity.]

    I had no idea at all that so much of the county thought that there was a Nazi waiting to burst out of most white people given half a chance. I really am disturbed at what this suggests about the Left.

  54. Careless says

    Now, this was actually a very difficult election for me, even though I didn't vote for a candidate who could win, like always: I had a cousin boasting on Facebook about having voted in a swing state, despite having lived in NY for 5 years. So I reported her to the state's election committee. That was tough.

  55. Eric Atkinson says

    Today I removed six anti-Hillary stickers from my truck.
    I left the Hillary For Prison 2016 sticker on.
    I am going to change the six to an eight.
    No SCOTUS picks by Hill Dog.
    My schadenfreude is having a kegger.
    NO REFUNDS!
    That is all.

  56. Cactus says

    It's the people going "I'm sure it was just rhetoric" that frighten me. It implies they're both fully aware of the things he's spoken of and that they're not planning on standing up to it.

    It'll be interesting to see what happens to Christie though, Trump seems like the person who might actually throw him under a bus when the protests get loud enough. Winning on a platform of being anti-establishment anti-corruption doesn't look good with him close.

  57. Dorothy M. says

    It seems that the electoral vote thing is undermining one vote / one person (the cornerstone of American democracy). We the people chose Clinton, but we got Trump. I signed a petition today to do away with the electoral vote system and elect by popular vote only. Is this possible? If it went to SCOTUS, wouldn't they have to declare electoral votes unconstitutional? As a voter who voted like the majority of Americans, I feel like I have been the victim of an awful bait and switch scam (not unlike the students of Trump's university). By the way, the first time I have laughed since the terrible shock of Tuesday was when my friend in Australia referred to Trump as "ol sucked mango head." Seems that all of Australia is in shock as well and cannot understand how Americans could have elected such a person. Our esteem as a nation the world over just dropped through the floor.

  58. EggheadMcmuffin says

    How did you buddy Egghead McMuffin do?

    On a side note: Usually this website pokes fun at people who need safe-spaces and such. You all sound like a bunch of pathetic losers in these comments.

  59. Argentina Orange says

    @En Passant

    Nixon is was the most progressive president since WWII. He gave us:

    -Normalized relations with China
    -The surrender of Vietnam to the Eastern bloc
    -The EPA
    -The Endangered species Act
    Freaking wage and price controls

    The only reason people hate him is because he had the wrong letter after his name. If it was a (D), his face would be on Mt. Rushmore.

    And to complain about his lying and cheating ways in light of this election is beyond absurd.

  60. Matt says

    we have people who are basically respected, like Yglesias, seriously suggesting that this means that mobs of white people will be roaming the country, murdering Jews and people of color with impunity

    Dude, that was Yglesias responding with arch hyperbole to a snarky remark that Ross Douthat made to Jamie Bouelle on Twitter. The tweet is long since deleted, because it took about 0.5 seconds for it to be sucked up, out of context, into the maelstrom of the opinionator pinball apparatus as evidence of libruhl unhingosity. So, no, he wasn't "seriously suggesting" anything.

  61. Henry says

    @Dorothy M: IANAL, but the Electoral College is written into the Constitution; it can't be ruled unconstitutional. In a way, it is worse than that for EC-haters: there are enough states that benefit from the EC's amplifying their political voice that an amendment to change it would likely be blocked. Getting rid of the EC would be the culmination of a major re-work of the structure of government in the US, a very large potentially painful project.

    Fortunately, it is rare for the EC and popular vote to disagree.

  62. Argentina Orange says

    @Dorothy M

    It seems that the electoral vote thing is undermining one vote / one person (the cornerstone of American democracy).

    You have been misinformed. Without the EC, there never would have been a US in the first place. With a true 1 man/1 vote system you have a situation wherein urban dwellers get to dictate the lives of everyone else in the country. You may find this idea pleasant. But it isn't a good way to keep food on your table. Is it a coincidence that New York, in which the (de facto) capital rules the hinterlands is called "the Empire state." (answer: yes, it's just a coincidence.)

  63. william the stout says

    @Dorothy – The Electoral College is specifically enshrined in the Constitution. Article 2, Section 1. So SCOTUS isn't going to find it unconstitutional. And the only way you're going to get rid of it is by amending the Constitution. Good luck with convincing the legislators of 2/3 of the states to give away their citizens' political influence.

    And it's probably a bad idea to do so, although I guess we'd save a bunch of money on presidential elections. We could just pay to have them in New York City and Los Angeles and not bother with the rest of the country.

  64. Matt says

    @william

    There's a movement to get around the Constitution with a National Popular Vote pact; states would allocate electors to the candidate who gets the most votes nationally. It doesn't take effect until enough states have signed on that they control more than half of the electors. At present, the legislation has been passed in 11 states, worth a total of 165 electors. It's been a little dormant over the last couple of years, but expect to see renewed interest after this election.

    http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/

  65. Terrence Koeman says

    Matt – I believe I read somewhere (in the context of a possible indictment of Hillary) that a president can't be impeached for things he did before his presidency, only for things during the presidency.

    Supposedly a president could just be indicted like everyone else, but I believe this isn't settled law. But then again, a president could just pardon himself.

  66. Dragoness Eclectic says

    Some of America's admirable opposition to bigotry has been filtered through human frailty to become obnoxious, counter-productive, petty, and sanctimonious, an obsession with form over substance

    No kidding–when the loudest leftist concern right before the election is "Halloween costumes are cultural appropriation!", don't be surprised that a lot of voter don't share your concerns. Or have their beliefs about "political correctness gone amok" confirmed. To put it mildly.

  67. Matt says

    No kidding–when the loudest leftist concern right before the election is "Halloween costumes are cultural appropriation!"

    Where are you getting this? Maybe part of the whole problem with American politics is misrepresentation; the idea that we understand what someone else thinks by reading the things that people who sort of think like us write about those other folks. I read left news sources and never saw this kind of story once. The left's primary concern right before the election was Comey and, you know, the election. Of course. That's not to say that cultural appropriation isn't a concern among some on the left, and that I'm sure there was discussion about it, but it was certainly not even close to the "loudest", any more than Satanic and witch costumes was on the right.

  68. EA5 says

    I'll never understand the worldview that looks at college kids overreacting to racist (yes many of them are racist) Halloween costumes and a political candidate advocating for discriminatory policies based on racist stereotypes and says, "those college kids are the real threat to our constitution."

    I mean, I guess I get how it can be annoying to get a ton of criticism on twitter for putting on your sombrero or headdress or taking all that time to get into blackface when "really guys, it was just a joke" and you certainly didn't mean that all Mexican's were dirty and all black people have 3 baby mamas and that Native Americans are a bunch of alcoholics or whatever.

    On the other hand, its not like those twitter warriors are telling the police to randomly stop and search you dozens of times a year, asking the FBI to infiltrate your church, subjecting your city to perpetual aerial surveillance, and planning to forcibly relocate millions of people.

    I guess the argument is that if those twitter warriors weren't so angry about the blackface, people wouldn't be so upset with liberals and would stop supporting racial profiling and other discriminatory policies?

  69. Noah Callaway says

    No kidding–when the loudest leftist concern right before the election is "Halloween costumes are cultural appropriation!", don't be surprised that a lot of voter don't share your concerns. Or have their beliefs about "political correctness gone amok" confirmed. To put it mildly.

    As a staunch liberal and leftist I wasn't even aware that a complaint had been made. Are you sure this isn't like when the left picked up and mocked the Satanist claims that some on the right were making?

    The left media is, of course, going to pick up and exaggerate the dumbest complaints from the right. I'm pretty sure that the "Halloween Costumeghazi" was the right media picking out and exaggerating some of the dumbest complaints from the left.

    I have no doubt that some did make this complaint. I just doubt that it was the loudest complaint, given that I spent about 1/2 my election coverage in a left-wing bubble and as Matt suggested, they were primarily raging about James Comey and mocking #SpiritCooking.

  70. Castaigne says

    @Michael 2:

    I did not mis-write; you mis-read. I said it is a guide, namely "our" values; if there is such a thing.

    I have other guides to values than dead historical documents. I recommend you to the doctrine of your church, or lacking that, your particular favored philosopher, for that subject.

    It is not dead to me.

    Then I shall assume you wish it to supersede the Constitution as law. I cannot agree with that.

    One final point: Law comes from the people, is of the people, not the other way round.

    I disagree entirely. Law comes from the Constitution. If law comes from the people, then the people could, say, nullify the 13th Amendment by acclamation and then enslave people again. Law from the people is fickle, subject to the whim of the mob.

    for it is a reflection of the people.

    I stand by the teachings of the Church, which states that the people, by default, are evil, cruel, and selfish. I don't want any law that reflects that. The law and the Constitution need to be better than fallen and damned mankind.

  71. I Was Anonymous says

    @Matt

    Regarding the Popular Vote Pact…. I *personally* think it's an "end-run" around the Constitution, but Article II Section 1 says

    Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors

    Emphasis is mine

    Seems to me that this is how the various Legislatures will direct.

    I think that if it's challenged, SCOTUS might uphold it.

  72. Daniel Weber says

    he may not be nearly as bad as his opponents fear.

    This is pretty much always true.

    I was a Never Trumper. But the election is over. Maybe for some kids this is the first time they ever were denied their preferred outcome in an election, or even denied something they thought was a sure thing. It happens. You don't get a do over. I myself still quite haven't come to grips that when my grandkids memorize lists of Presidents, "Trump" will be there at #45, so I'm sympathetic to people who are taking some time to get used to it.

    But he's the guy.

    Like any President, even ones I opposed, there are some things I am hopeful for. Like any President, even ones I supported, there are things I am scared about. This one has a few more of the latter. I always hope that there will be plenty of scrutiny about the Constitutionality of his actions. Often I feel like a lone voice here. I feel I will have more voices around me now. I hope they stick around for whomever #46 is.

  73. En Passant says

    Argentina Orange says November 10, 2016 at 6:27 am:

    Nixon is was the most progressive president since WWII. He gave us:
    … [list elided] …
    The only reason people hate him is because he had the wrong letter after his name. If it was a (D), his face would be on Mt. Rushmore.

    I distinctly recall writing (boldface emphasis added in case you missed the word):

    I think Nixon is due credit for some of his policy initiatives, but infamy for his lyin' and cheatin' ways.

    That word "some" means "not all".

    One Nixon policy initiative that I supported (and your list did not include) was supported by the late great Milton Friedman, who to the best of my knowledge was not a "progressive". I leave it to your consummate research and analysis skills to discover it.

    And to complain about his lying and cheating ways in light of this election is beyond absurd.

    I must endeavor to read news of current events more carefully. I missed the reports that either President Obama, or any presidential candidate, has ordered the burglary and wiretapping of the opposing party's national headquarters.

  74. Michael 2 says

    En Passant writes "I missed the reports that either President Obama, or any presidential candidate, has ordered the burglary and wiretapping of the opposing party’s national headquarters."

    So it seems :-)

    Snowden comes to mind.

  75. C. S. P. Schofield says

    "Americans are stubborn and proud. They'll be persuaded, but they won't be told who to vote for like you'd tell a recalcitrant child to eat his vegetables. "

    This. The thing that smug paternalists (or materialists) in both parties fail to realize more often than not is that the people of this country harbor a deep vein of "Fuck You".

    This wasn't a "Yay Racism!" victory

    This was a "Fuck you, nanny-state, fuck you anti-war candidates who get into every third world piss-up going, fuck you Ms. 'the Laws Don't Apply To Me' and 'I got a little careless with classified stuff, elect me', fuck you condescending jackanapes. Fuck all of y'all. Sideways. With a spike."

    America may well recover from its fit of 'Hillary Clinton? EWWWWW!' and regret Trump. But that won't be Trump's fault; that will be the fault of the Democrat establishment, which offered the voters a piece of spoiled skunk meat, and expected them to vote for it because they 'should'.

  76. Michael 2 says

    I do love a good argument! Keeps my mind young and sharp.

    Castaigne wrote "I have other guides to values than dead historical documents."

    Dead non historical documents perhaps? Maybe non-dead historical. I think I am starting to confuse myself!

    "I recommend you to the doctrine of your church"

    Thank you. You are only the most recent to make that recommendation of course.

    "Then I shall assume you wish it to supersede the Constitution as law."

    The Constitution isn't exactly "law" as I understand or use the word. The Declaration of Independence depends on natural law, or the laws of nature or God, to justify acts of treason against the King of England. That same foundation was laid also at the Constitution of the United States by the same people (more or less).

    "I cannot agree with that."

    What a surprise ;-)

    "I disagree entirely. Law comes from the Constitution."

    Which came from some people and was ratified by enough of the rest to become binding on those that didn't ratify it.

    "If law comes from the people, then the people could, say, nullify the 13th Amendment by acclamation and then enslave people again."

    Indeed they could, and the procedures for doing exactly that are spelled out in the document.

    "Law from the people is fickle, subject to the whim of the mob."

    Indeed! In 1960 it was illegal to marry someone from another race; it wasn't even imagined to marry someone of the same gender. Now, "gender" has no predictable meaning and you can marry anyone; a woman married a building up in Seattle. So a same-sex marriage might not actually be what was once considered same-sex anyway.

    "I stand by the teachings of the Church"

    An interesting phrasing; what does it mean? You might say "obey" or "heed" or are "vaguely aware of" the teachings of… what exactly? Nice touch not saying which of many thousands of churches you stand by.

    "which states that the people, by default, are evil, cruel, and selfish."

    Oh, well I don't know any church that teaches it except maybe Lutheran.

    "I don’t want any law that reflects that."

    There's rather a lot of law that I do not like. Maybe someday someone will seek my opinion. However, in forming the Constitution of the United States, consideration was given to the propensity of men to seek power. So the Constitution does actually "reflect that".

    "The law and the Constitution need to be better than fallen and damned mankind."

    Well, it isn't, because it was made by those you revile. How exactly can the damned produce something that isn't itself damned; fruit of the poisoned tree?

  77. kmc says

    This is beautiful.

    As always (always, always, always), the race was the Democrats' to win or lose and we lost it. And we lost it by being unable and unwilling to do the work to get each other excited about our chosen candidate. Instead, we negged Trump's supporters and the undecideds until they got sick of all the bullshit and either said, "Fuck it," and voted for Trump, or stayed home. Inspiring fear in a candidate doesn't get people out to vote for a different one, it makes them stay home, and we did that real well.

  78. Argentina Orange says

    @EnPassant

    I must endeavor to read news of current events more carefully. I missed the reports that either President Obama, or any presidential candidate, has ordered the burglary and wiretapping of the opposing party's national headquarters.

    And I must have missed the reports where R. M. N. did so.

    How many minutes do you think it would take to read off the destroyed documents that were under subpoena? More or fewer than eighteen?

  79. william the stout says

    Matt – Yep, that would do it. But it would still require the rural/smaller states to shoot themselves in the foot. I guess that suggests it'll be difficult for the idea to ever come to fruition.

    Another fix, or at least improvement, would be for state legislatures to decide that they will divide their electoral votes in some proportion closer to the vote in their state. Nebraska and Maine have some form of that now, don't they? Of course, California and New York and Texas would probably never agree to do this one.

  80. Michael 2 says

    Matt wrote "I read left news sources and never saw this kind of story once."

    Yes, the infamous echo chamber. The left is obsessed with the right; see the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth over at Huffpo right now. But leftists won't go to non-left sources to try to see things from the other side and it might not be possible; probably isn't possible because leftwing brains simply are not wired the same as rightwing brains. Same as me going to DailyKOS or Huffpo; it is incomprehensible, often "just not so" stories (reference to Rudyard Kipling) and even when true straining at gnats while swallowing camels or ignoring the elephant in the room like maybe people just don't LIKE Hillary Clinton (she's shrill and angry). I tend to agree with assessments that Bernie Sanders could have won against Donald Trump even though Bernie is a full-on socialist. He is what you see; same with Donald Trump.

    All media (IMO) is selective. Even when a thing is true, it will have been chosen from among a great many things that could have been published and it is in the choosing that you create the fabric of your stories.

    The problems of socialism are seldom reported by advocates of socialism and as such those in its embrace really do not see the other side of the coin they stand upon. This will likely be true of any particular outlook on the world but some people tend to turn over stones more readily (figuratively speaking) to see what crawls out from underneath the shiny stone.

    The right finds leftwing antics entertaining in a horrifying sort of way. Cultural appropriation? Really? From what orifice does the idea of "ownership" of culture emanate in the first place? That is so imperialistic, from the very people that decry imperialism!

    SJW's are great entertainment — Zarna Joshi comes to mind as the most recent and also most stunningly dramatic of the SJW's. From the time it was posted on YouTube it had about 2 million views in one day. What's amazing is that she recorded her own meltdown and posted it apparently thinking it was acceptable, maybe even normal or even proper human behavior. Perhaps you think it too.

    What is difficult (impossible!) to comprehend is whether, and what, the left consistently finds right and wrong. It's like a de-magnetized moral compass; it just spins and if it stops it points randomly. Each person is quite sure of the direction his or her moral compass points; it just isn't the same as anyone else's in a predictable way.

    I have never yet met a human of normal intelligence that wasn't as many kinds of "ist" as can be named: Sexist, ageist, smartist, racist, ableist.

    I am all of those and more! What matters is degree and behavior. I have a slight preference to be around Scandinavians because of shared culture (we can discuss the Aesir), or people of my age (where were you during the gasoline crisis of 1973?), or similarly abled so we can go hiking together. But I also enjoy seeking differences on these factors but that too is sexist, racist and so on; to make any choice that includes these factors in the slightest degree. I do it and so do you.

  81. Castaigne says

    @Michael 2:

    I do love a good argument!

    This isn't an argument.

    The Constitution isn't exactly "law" as I understand or use the word.

    Using plain English a law is:
    1) Any system of regulations to govern the conduct of the people of an organization, community, society, or nation.
    2) A statute, ordinance, or regulation enacted by the legislative branch of a government.

    The Constitution qualifies as #1.

    The Declaration of Independence depends on natural law, or the laws of nature or God

    I've always had issues with people's concepts of natural law. Again, back to plain-English legal definitions: Principles considered to come from nature and to bind human society in the absence of or in addition to human-made (positive) law.

    Thing is, no one is ever able to agree on what those principles are. Also, God only guaranteed three things:
    1) You are mortal and will die.
    2) You are born sinful and damned.
    3) You will go to Hell if you are not obedient to Me.

    And that's only the Christian variant. Hindus have entirely different principles. God certainly didn't guarantee us liberty, except in choosing whether we are damned or not. He certainly never stated we would be happy. In fact, the more you suffer, the more certain your reward in Heaven.

    Besides, I've never known natural law arguments to work in court, or referencing the DOI. You can correct me if I'm wrong on that.

    Indeed they could, and the procedures for doing exactly that are spelled out in the document.

    Except if law flows from the people, those procedures are only valid if the people want them to be valid. Otherwise, they just yell "NULLIFY!" and boom, it's done. Just like jury nullification.

    An interesting phrasing; what does it mean?

    Exactly what it says.

    Nice touch not saying which of many thousands of churches you stand by.

    There is only one Christian Church: the One True Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Rome, commonly known as Roman Catholics. All the rest are heretics and apostates.

    How exactly can the damned produce something that isn't itself damned; fruit of the poisoned tree?

    By accepting salvation previous to doing so.

  82. Matt says

    Oh goody! David Clarke and Joe Arpaio are on the shortlist for the head of DHS. Clarke was on Twitter over the last couple of days calling the anti-Trump protesters anarchists and saying that the protests need to be quelled. The next 4 years are going to be just AWESOME for civil liberties. This is your democracy America!

  83. En Passant says

    Argentina Orange says November 10, 2016 at 1:24 pm:

    How many minutes do you think it would take to read off the destroyed documents that were under subpoena? More or fewer than eighteen?

    You will have to ask Rose Mary Woods, although she is not available for comment.

  84. Dorothy M. says

    Oh God (no pun intended), did I really see something in these comments about the teachings of the Church being the natural law over constitutional law???? I'm having flashbacks of Sister Donna Rose slapping me across the face because I asked in honest innocence if we would all run out of food and starve if every pregnancy came to term and if there was no birth control.

  85. Dorothy M. says

    Well that is your opinion not my experience. My experience was that when I voted for Hillary Clinton it was the proudest day of my life as an American Citizen. I am grateful to her for that. I am disappointed in all the uneducated American men who mainly gave Trump his win. For them, it was an f-u to a strong female leader because they are so insecure in themselves it is pathetic. German men and British men are better educated and more secure (just to name two groups) — they are not afraid their penises will fall off if their country is led by a woman.

  86. Dorothy M. says

    Henry says, "Fortunately, it is rare for the EC and popular vote to disagree."

    I say the fact that it has happened at all is cause for changing the system!

  87. Michael 2 says

    Dorothy M. "The fact that it has happened at all is cause for changing the system!"

    Indeed; provoking someone else to make an observation on problems caused by your solution, and change it again (and again, and again…)

    Pure democracy is "mob rule". The majority tells the minority what to do. Ordinary government is rule by force; whoever has the guns makes the rules. Eventually it comes down to that anyway.

    Various systems exist to allow the minority *some* impact on government to avoid the endless cycle of violence that otherwise must exist. The "Time of Troubles" in France was a brief experiment in Democracy.

  88. Lurker says

    @Dorothy – I'm not American, but even I can see the value of your EC system. If you enjoy living in a country where there is no civil war, you'd be wise to keep it. Your voting system itself could use some improvements, but electoral college means that NYC, LA and other major cities aren't perpetually in power dictating terms to everyone else. That kind of long distance, detached governance has been done before. Rome tried it with its empire. Britain tried it with its empire. How did people living in Boston feel about being taken for granted by Britain? (One of the causes given for Rome's fall was that it became too big to effectively manage given the technology at the time. Right now inner city Americans would be experiencing a broadband revolution changing the way they interact with the government and receive their information. Rural Americans will be using more primitive systems because its harder to justify the infrastructure. See any paralells?)

    I also think you're wrong that the defining issue was H.C being a female. Certainly there was a margin in that, but there are so many reasons she was unliked and not examining them at all is kind of why this is such a shock to people. There would be so many slivers that all added up. Even stuff as simple as people not wanting to see another dynasty established. Americans are proud of their republic and love to give shit to those of us with a monarch. But Queen Elizabeth II has an elegance and dignity that no US politician can even come close to. When you've got 2x Bush, 2x Clinton (almost), multiple Kennedys all in a few decades, despite being a nation of over 300,000,000 people it starts to look like aristocracy. Probably only a fraction of a percent voted Trump for that reason, but enough slivers like that and she ends up losing for reasons unrelated to her gender.

    Continuing to blame gender btw, will make it take longer for another woman to run.

  89. Michael 2 says

    Dorothy M. wrote "when I voted for Hillary Clinton it was the proudest day of my life as an American Citizen."

    I've had many proud citizen days; I doubt I could so glibly choose the proudest. But up there would be the day I joined the Navy and swore my oath of allegiance. Another proud day is when I married my spouse; and on the birth of our child, and the milestones of that child graduating from high school.

    It is unlikely I will ever choose the moment of voting for a president (man, woman, or door number 3) as the proudest moment but I appreciate that your experience is not mine.

    "they are not afraid their penises will fall off if their country is led by a woman."

    That is a singularly sexist remark to make but what should I expect from the Left? The right was perfectly willing to vote for Sarah Palin. I would vote for my boss'es secretary to be President; she can handle muiltiple situations at the same time making each seem as the only thing on her plate and stays nice and polite to everyone no matter what.

    Why can you not see that many men and women just don't like Hillary Clinton? Why do you make it about being a woman? I think you seek the easy excuse rather than engage in a bit of introspection and study. That's okay, I expect little else and it is entertaining to see the stampede of reasons offered by the left most of which are equally simple minded.

    Are you really willing to vote for any woman just because she is a woman? You have answered it already; yes, it matters to you, the proudest day of your life to vote for a woman. Shall it be the proudest day of my life to vote for a man? What an absurd concept. I had 13 or so to choose from initially and my choice wasn't Trump but in my calculus there was one thing worse. You guessed it and it has nothing to do with my penis falling off and a lot to do with world war 3 and the emasculation of the remaining liberties in the United States.

  90. Michael 2 says

    To follow up to my last: Most politicians are puppets, more or less, with their strings being pulled by hidden forces with whom these politicans have made alliances and promises in return for power and money.

    Donald Trump probably, but not certainly, has rather fewer of these obligations and strings. That fact along scares some people since he's consequently "out of control" whereas HRC is "in control" — but who is the controller? Not you, not me, of that we can be reasonably sure.

    Donald Trump is what the left has been asking for — hope and change, revolution! Well, it's here. As the Chinese curse goes, "May you live in interesting times".

  91. Michael 2 says

    Dorothy M. wrote "did I really see something in these comments about the teachings of the Church being the natural law over constitutional law?"

    Impossible to say. Only you know what you saw. But in a sense, yes, all law emanates from people. If enough people believe a certain thing then it becomes law. So it is not that natural law is *over* constitutional law, it is that it *becomes* constitutional or legislative law.

    But if ONE person believes a thing, and she is head of a government agency or department, she alone writes law into existence and it appears in the Combined Federal Regulations (CFR). The number of laws that came into existence this way (no vote or representation by "the people") numbers in the millions.

    "I’m having flashbacks of Sister Donna Rose slapping me across the face because I asked in honest innocence if we would all run out of food and starve if every pregnancy came to term and if there was no birth control."

    The correct answer is that some people will, and do, run out of food and starve, but not all. The silver lining in abortion is that it seems confined to People of the Left. Natural selection will decide who inherits the Earth. It might not be the meek, but it will be the breeders.

  92. Michael 2 says

    Matt wrote "This is your democracy America!"

    Not yet it isn't (a democracy). With a bit of luck it won't become one in my lifetime.

    "The next 4 years are going to be just AWESOME for civil liberties."

    It is certainly an improvement over my expectations as recent as last week. Socialists do not do civil liberties or any kind of liberty.

  93. Michael 2 says

    Castaigne wrote "This isn’t an argument."

    And this isn't a comment ;-)

    "I’ve always had issues with people’s concepts of natural law."

    That's okay; but is also very different than insisting there's no such thing. Natural law is what brought the United States into existence.

    "Again, back to plain-English legal definitions: Principles considered to come from nature and to bind human society in the absence of or in addition to human-made (positive) law. Thing is, no one is ever able to agree on what those principles are."

    Incorrect as to the last clause. People DID agree on the three most important natural laws: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Beyond that your mileage will vary.

    "Also, God only guaranteed three things"

    Obviously it depends on which god you ask.

    "1) You are mortal and will die."

    Redundant but yes. Either means the other.

    "2) You are born sinful and damned."

    I was born without sin and wasn't damned. What I do in this life will decide my fate; not anything that came before.

    "3) You will go to Hell if you are not obedient to Me."

    In the meantime perhaps jail or prison for stealing, killing, lying. Adultery used to be pretty serious now it's just unlicensed polygamy. At any rate, I do not believe in the existence of "Hell" as depicted by some of the more dramatic and scary painters and story tellers.

    "And that’s only the Christian variant."

    Actually it is your variant. I am Christian without these particular beliefs.

    "Besides, I’ve never known natural law arguments to work in court, or referencing the DOI. You can correct me if I’m wrong on that."

    I would but I'm not sure it would convince you of anything. But it is worth a quick check of the Oracle. I gave you a hint on jury nullification; all you need is to convince a jury.

    [http]://www.nlnrac.org/american/u.s.-supreme-court "Decisions of the early Supreme Court were often forthrightly based on natural-law arguments."

    Abortion appears to rely on natural law: "The right to privacy was reaffirmed in the Court’s 1973 abortion decisions, but it gradually gave way to a more explicit substantive due process and natural-law justification. … [a]t the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

    [http]://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/01/when-judges-believe-in-natural-law/283311/

    [http]://www.heritage.org/research/lecture/the-case-for-and-against-natural-law

    "Except if law flows from the people, those procedures are only valid if the people want them to be valid."

    Precisely. Persuading courts to obey the Constitution we already have is difficult enough. If the people wish to change procedure, they ought to change to a new procedure by obeying the old procedure, and then with the new procedure change anything else. It is a two step process in that case.

    "Exactly what it says."

    Well there's a road that goes nowhere. You "stand by" the teachings of an unnamed church. At least nobody can hold you to it.

    "There is only one Christian Church"

    Actually there's about 7 thousand depending on how you slice it. Perhaps you are invoking the logical fallacy of the No True Scotsman.

    "The One True Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Rome, commonly known as Roman Catholics. All the rest are heretics and apostates."

    Ah so; filled with fire and brimstone, born in sin and damned. No thanks! If you want Christianity look for "Christ" somewhere in the name of a church and yours isn't it. Still, I wouldn't mind buying some indulgences, carbon credits nowadays :-)

    Children do not inherit the sins of their parents; all start life sinless thanks to the atonement.

  94. Richard Smart says

    Dear Michael 2,

    There are lots of churches calling themselves Christian. The largest single denomination is the Roman Catholic church, but I don't think either Castaigne or yourself was thinking in terms of numbers.

    In the past, most Americans in positions of political power were Protestant, but generally Episcopalian (or in early days, Anglican). The creed doesn't matter so much to that group, because the central holdings include the "Thirty-nine Articles" which assert that "error" has plagued and always will, any attempt at dogma. This of course disposes Anglican clerics to a tolerant and scientific view of the world and people in it, as Bronowski – a Jew – observed in "The Ascent of Man".

    Those habits of thought are one reason why your constitution is structured a little like a formal theory of government. It's also a reason the US constitution is so short! (This is a good thing.) And if you examine the "Declaration of Independence", the second sentence opens with the words: "We hold these truths to be self-evident…", which sounds exactly like the start of an eighteenth-century mathematical proof. The difference in mindset from today is an endless source of amusement to me.

    More generally, remember: for a church to be "christian" it used to mean that its members adhered to a particular creed.

    The Nicene creed brings most denominations under the umbrella of what's considered "christian". Adherence to that unites (for example) the Anglicans/Episcopalians, the Roman Catholics, the various Eastern Othodox churches, and even most Protestant denominations.

    But one of the basic tenets of the Nicene creed is belief in a particular version of the Trinity. This disqualified e.g. Sir Isaac Newton from Nicene christianity, whatever he might call himself, because he was a Unitarian. Similar heterodox "churches" include, say, Mormons or those people periodically bothering you with "Watchtower" magazines.

    So be careful. If you expand Christianity to include such groups you might as well go back to the middle ages, when even Islam was thought of (correctly, in my opinion) as a christian heresy. A better way to confine "churches" to a specific subset might be the "Apostolic succession", basically defining which set of priests have inherited the keys to the Kingdom from the original apostles.

    On that measure the most fundamental component of christianity is the Eastern Orthodox church, because eg. the Roman Catholic church recognizes that Orthodox priests are in the line of succession, but the Orthodox church does not return the favour (cf. the Russian orthodox saying, "Two Romes have fallen, a third stands, and a fourth there shall not be"). The Protestant churches (except the Anglicans) deny the need for Apostolic succession, but I don't think they are anywhere near a majority… yet.

  95. Dorothy M. says

    Michael 2 wrote: "The silver lining in abortion is that it seems confined to People of the Left. Natural selection will decide who inherits the Earth. It might not be the meek, but it will be the breeders."

    B.S. on so many levels, Michael 2. You have no way of knowing how many conservative women have had abortions and not told you about it. Epidemics and pandemics (an increasing threat as population increases) do not single out those on "the Left." Therefore, breeders have no more an advantage in who may inherit the earth than non-breeders (and with a new president who thinks climate change is a Chinese conspiracy, there may not be an earth to inherit).

  96. Dan says

    In January, 2013, Hillary Clinton's approval / disapproval was 63/28.2, or +34.8, taking the average of polls.

    True story. Do you blame Democrats for running with her? I would have, objectively speaking.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/clinton_favorableunfavorable-1131.html

    This after being in the national spotlight for more than 20 years, as first lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. She was a totally known quantity. And Americans liked her. A lot. This summer she bottomed out at -20. What happened?

  97. Dorothy M. says

    Lurker writes in response to my comment regarding doing away with the EC, "…electoral college means that NYC, LA and other major cities aren’t perpetually in power dictating terms to everyone else."

    NYC and LA are made up of individual Americans. The cities themselves are not going to dictate terms. The individual citizens in those cities will be choosing just like individuals in smaller cities. Without the EC, these combined and equal choices made by individuals will dictate who becomes president. And that is a good thing.

    Lurker writes in response to my comment about the gender issue in this election, :…you’re wrong that the defining issue was H.C being a female."

    It is no coincidence that uneducated, white males gave Trump his win. I agree with Aaron Sorkin who described the majority of Trump supporters as "men who have no right to call themselves that and who think that women who aspire to more than looking hot are shrill, ugly, and otherwise worthy of our scorn rather than our admiration." The fact is gender played a huge role in this election. To ignore that will not help get a woman in the white house nor will it help American women ever get close to equal pay for equal work. And excusing Trump's bragging about committing sexual assault and getting away with it will not make us safer.

    Lurker also writes, "Americans are proud of their republic and love to give shit to those of us with a monarch. But Queen Elizabeth II has an elegance and dignity that no US politician can even come close to."

    Good God! I do not see elegance and dignity in the British royal family! I see a great deal of training, lots of fine clothing, sexual shenanigans galore and a penchant for killing animals for sport! I find the notion of people being born to a high station in life rather than earning it to be a repulsive one. The Clinton's came from working class backgrounds and worked hard to achieve their success. The Kennedy's still had to be elected by the people. If anyone comes close to British aristocracy, it is Trump (being handed millions by his father).

  98. Damon says

    "She did not articulate her core ideas effectively enough"

    Yes she did. If you've lived any amount of time in the US, you knew what she stood for. Otherwise, a pretty good post.

  99. Dan says

    Dorothy M. wrote, "Therefore, breeders have no more an advantage in who may inherit the earth than non-breeders."

    There are only two variables involved in the whole inheriting the Earth thing. (1) Breeding, and (2) Not dying. Since the percent of people who die before childbearing age is basically zero now, we are left with (1) as the only variable in the great equation of life, for humans anyway. This fact makes me sick to my stomach, but nature never asked for my opinion when setting the rules.

  100. Dorothy M. says

    Michael 2 writes, " Most politicians are puppets, more or less, with their strings being pulled by hidden forces with whom these politicans have made alliances and promises in return for power and money.

    Donald Trump probably, but not certainly, has rather fewer of these obligations and strings."

    Fewer? Perhaps. But definitely more dangerous to the well being of America and the free world as his strings seem tied to the Kremlin. It is being reported today that he has more dealings with Russia than he owned up to during the campaign. Big surprise (not).

  101. Dorothy M. says

    Michael 2 writes regarding the EC, "Various systems exist to allow the minority *some* impact on government to avoid the endless cycle of violence that otherwise must exist."

    This is exactly my point, Michael 2. The violence that has taken place in the wake of Trump's victory is the perfect example of what happens when individual votes do not matter when choosing the president. The popular vote that included so many minority votes did not matter in the end because the EC trumped that (pun intended).

  102. Dorothy M. says

    Michael 2 wrote in response to my pride in having voted for Hillary Clinton,

    "I’ve had many proud citizen days; I doubt I could so glibly choose the proudest."

    Nothing glib about it Michael. You would not get it. You have always been able to vote for men for president. I have never in my life been able to vote for a woman for president.

    Also, there is nothing sexist (as you claim) about my observations concerning the fear of strong women by the uneducated white males that made up the majority of Trump supporters. I totally agree with Aaron Sorkin when he described these men as, "men who have no right to call themselves that and who think that women who aspire to more than looking hot are shrill, ugly, and otherwise worthy of our scorn rather than our admiration." The fear-based hatred of women so deeply a part of our society is a fact of life not a sexist opinion. Trump himself exemplified so well what women face every day when he bragged about committing sexual assault and getting away with it.

    Again, you would not get it.

  103. Michael 2 says

    Dorothy M. insists: "there is nothing sexist (as you claim) about my observations concerning the fear of strong women by the uneducated white males that made up the majority of Trump supporters."

    You are the most sexist person I have recently encountered. The proper counterpoint to "women" is "men", not "males". Additionally, you imply women have more education than men. These are sexist points of view; you cannot escape this judgment.

    Truth is largely irrelevant to any kind of "ism". I have no information that shows Trump voters are less educated than Clinton voters; but so what if it is? It's just another tribal call; something, anything, by which you can define "us" versus "them".

    What matters is that you consider sex (gender) in making value judgments, defining tribal boundaries, and you have clearly done so. In addition to sexism you demonstrate value judgments based on educational levels. Traditionally, uneducated persons vote Democrat! So what happened? Suddenly uneducated persons are voting Republican?

  104. Dorothy M. says

    Michael 2 is claiming I have said that women are more educated than men. Apparently he believes as Donald Trump does, if he says a thing, then it is true. Nowhere did I say women are more educated than men! As for Trump's supporters the polls and surveys did show he had a huge advantage when it came to one group — white men without higher education.

  105. Michael 2 says

    Dorothy M. wrote: "You have no way of knowing how many conservative women have had abortions"

    No one knows! However, it can be inferred by looking at abortion rates in areas and among populations that are strongly aligned politically.

    [http]://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2015/nov/25/cynthia-meyer/cynthia-meyer-says-more-black-babies-are-aborted-n/ "Black women terminated pregnancies at a rate of 67.3 per 1,000 women ages 15 to 49, a rate far higher than any other racial or ethnic group."

    So how many conservative black women exist in New York City? More than will admit probably, but not many. Democrats want not only to make abortion easy, but want me to pay for your abortions.

    I'm a libertarian; it's not government business but don't come to me asking for money so you can end life.

    "The breeders will not inherit the earth"

    Now who is denying science? Natural selection, evolution, is all about who breeds and who does not (for any reason or no reason).

    Hispanics will probably inherit North America simply by outbreeding everyone else.

  106. Matt says

    Dorothy, Michael 2 is a troll who has said in other threads that spousal rape is impossible and that if a wife declines sex because she's sick, that's grounds for divorce. I'd say that ignoring him is probably the best strategy, but your call. Just letting you know.

  107. Dorothy M. says

    Michael 2 — like Donald Trump, you love to take things out of context then comment on them. What I actually said was in the case of an epidemic or pandemic, the likelihood and severity of either increasing as the population increases, it really won't matter who the breeders were. The pandemic and epidemic won't spare those who had a great number of children (and it won't spare their children). In such scenarios, one can hardly say that breeders will inherit the earth (as you had claimed). Also, you cannot make the inferences you are making about conservative women and abortions. You don't know where they went to have their abortions (or where they had to go to protect their privacy and to find a clinic).

    Matt, thank you for the warning about Michael 2! I was beginning to suspect he was a troll, as they usually post very long comments not actually saying all that much. I will take your advice and ignore him. Thanks again.

  108. Lagaya1 says

    I read what I thought was a satire column this morning discussing the Trump cabinet. (It was not, it turns out) He is suggesting as possible members Sarah Palin as Secretary of the Interior! and Ben Carson as Secretary of Education!!! Ben Carson thinks the world is 6000 years old! Okay, so maybe he's one of the few persons of color who will go anywhere near Trump, but Secretary of Education?

    If my son was still a youngster, I would start today teaching him science with as much enthusiasm as religious people teach religion. And, no, I don't think science is just another religion. I just think that science-minded parents need to be more diligent. If we have kids who are young enough not to realize that their parents are squares, why not set aside an hour a week to watch "Mythbusters" and discuss it. Or "Bill Nye the Science Guy." Maybe when religious holidays come around tell them the real origin of the myths. Show them how to find answers about whatever they are curious about, and most of all to BE curious.

    We need to do something for the education of our children, because Ben Carson won't.

    And Sarah Palin? Well maybe that's the only woman who would come near him…

  109. GuyWhoSeesFacts says

    If a person looks at Candidate Donald Trump and Candidate Hillary Clinton, and concludes that Trump is the worst candidate for America, that person's mental faculties are impaired.

    But this person has already admitted that their mental faculties are impaired. So take their analyses with the appropriate level of skepticism.

  110. wysinwyg says

    Donald Trump is what the left has been asking for — hope and change, revolution!

    This doesn't seem to be the case. As many on "the left" predicted, Trump's cabinet picks indicate that his actual policies will continue to preside over the same neoliberal consensus as that of Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama.

    The right finds leftwing antics entertaining in a horrifying sort of way.

    It kind of seems like you're going out of your way to make bad-faith interpretations of left wing positions as a pretext for mockery rather than making a good-faith attempt to understand those positions to try to understand the political other. I gotta say, in the context of a comment section where Ken makes the case for losing graciously and trying to understand the perspective of you and those with similar views, this seems like a less-than-gracious attitude from someone whose views actually carried the day.

    Cultural appropriation: you can imagine (you may not even have to try to hard) a situation where the term "cowboy" once referred to a tough, resilient, self-reliant sort of person, but now refers to promiscuous, out-and-proud homosexuals, and you might lament and even vocally oppose such a change in meaning for the image. Or you can imagine a situation where Boston College changes their team names from the Eagles to the Fightin' Rednecks or some such, and their mascot is always perpetrating some stereotype about poor white folks. You might be able to reasonably make a case that such a move demonstrates some sort of disrespect for folks in more rural parts of the country.

    It's interesting to me in the context of conservatives complaining about how disrespected they are by liberals that they can't turn the same lens on the actions of themselves or those with similar politics. I agree that it's hypocritical of liberals to demand respect for all cultures except white US rural culture. But it's equally hypocritical for white US rural culture to demand respect for their culture while refusing to grant it to others.

    What is difficult (impossible!) to comprehend is whether, and what, the left consistently finds right and wrong.

    If I had to guess, a big part of your problem is that you insist on clumping "the left" together into a monolith. Since "the left" actually consists of a lot of different people with different values forming a coalition, this will inevitably give you the impression of hypocrisy, self-contradiction, etc. (The same is true of "the right" — the only thing libertarians and Christian dominionists agree on is that Democrats are the worst.)

    I'd bet another big part of your problem is that whenever you read anything about liberal moral values, you spend all your energy and attention looking for things to disagree with instead of making an honest effort to understand. That's only a guess based on your writing style, though. (Also, the fact that you try to "understand" "the left" by lumping everyone together and assuming they all have the same "moral compass" is a pretty good indication that you're not trying very hard to understand anyone else's perspective.)

  111. Michael 2 says

    wysinwyg wrote: "It kind of seems like you’re going out of your way to make bad-faith interpretations of left wing positions as a pretext for mockery rather than making a good-faith attempt to understand those positions to try to understand the political other."

    I approach that goal in many ways. I have learned that it is in defense of your point of view that you are more likely to try to persuade me; I must seem to be your opponent to generate responses such as you have here demonstrated. Conversely, it would be dishonest of me to suggest that I understand or approve of rather a lot of modern leftism; and yet, Democrats were forty years ago the party of liberty rather than compliance.

    I believe it is impossible to fully understand a concept that cannot exist in words anyway and yet I feel it important to TRY to map your thoughts and behaviors to my thoughts and behaviors. Some on the left also try, but the spectacular failure of polling shows that the left really does not understand the right and vice versa. Some observations can be made, maybe even predictions, but that is as close as you or I will ever get.

    For now it seems this difference is inherent and biological; limbic system stuff. The right seems motivated by reproduction and everything associated with it; the left is intensely social. Obviously both forces exist and must exist for human beings to exist; it is risky and foolish to try to deny half of what makes humans "human".

    "I gotta say, in the context of a comment section where Ken makes the case for losing graciously"

    I haven't entirely forgotten Obama's repeated insults about taking the car keys away from Republicans or Saul Alinsky's advice to the left wing that ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It doesn't actually work on libertarians so most of my life I ignored it but I do see its power not only to provoke responses when I see information, but to uncloak pretend libertarians.

    "Cultural appropriation: you can imagine (you may not even have to try to hard) a situation where the term “cowboy” once referred to a tough, resilient, self-reliant sort of person"

    It still does out west where I regularly see them. They wear Wranglers and wouldn't be caught dead in Levi's after Levi Strauss did battle with the Boy Scouts over homosexuality. I guess they made nice eventually but I still don't buy Levi's.

    "but now refers to promiscuous, out-and-proud homosexuals, and you might lament and even vocally oppose such a change in meaning for the image."

    Many words have changed for many people. They do not change for me. My middle name might as well be Pedantic.

    "Or you can imagine a situation where Boston College changes their team names from the Eagles to the Fightin’ Rednecks or some such, and their mascot is always perpetrating some stereotype about poor white folks."

    I can but it means nothing to me; yet I suspect I am missing something that is probably important to you. I really don't care what a college decides is their mascot or name. If the costume for the mascot is nicely made and brightly colored I would like to photograph it. I suppose there's a limit to my libertarian-ness; a big walking penis probably would not endear me to the team but I won't oppose it.

    "You might be able to reasonably make a case that such a move demonstrates some sort of disrespect for folks in more rural parts of the country."

    Pretty much anything can be a term of endearment or an epithet depending on your smile and tone of voice. Likewise, a person can infer disrespect where none exists and there's not much anyone can do about it.

    "It’s interesting to me in the context of conservatives complaining about how disrespected they are by liberals that they can’t turn the same lens on the actions of themselves or those with similar politics."

    Of course they can and it breeds a never-ending cycle of behavior. Turning the other cheek is NOT human nature! Not only do Republicans make note of disrespectful Democrat commentary (taking away the keys to the car for instance), but learn from it. The way one conservative insults another is largely ineffective on a Democrat; to insult a Democrat you must pay close attention to how a Democrat insults a Republican, for that reveals the things that matter to you but not probably to me. It seems to be a long list of words all ending "ist" and that means I can manipulate you by accusing you of being sexist, racist, and other such things. As for me, such accusations are merely descriptions; of course I am racist and sexist. I do not act on those things, but I am not brain dead; I observe that races exist and so do sexes and abilities and other things. If I am going hiking in the mountains I choose someone whose ability, gender and so on will make the trip enjoyable. After 20 years in the Navy I have learned not to exclude anyone from anything based solely on these factors, but as probabilities go, I am more likely to enjoy a day with someone whose culture is similar enough to mine to not argue; and yet different enough to provide some interesting conversation.

    "I agree that it’s hypocritical of liberals to demand respect for all cultures except white US rural culture. But it’s equally hypocritical for white US rural culture to demand respect for their culture while refusing to grant it to others."

    It is not exactly hypocrisy; it is human nature. That is to say, I agree that both are hypocritical behaviors, but observing that it is so is easy and also rather useless. ALL animals with any kind of brain demand respect for self and deprecate opponents and enemies.

    "If I had to guess, a big part of your problem is that you insist on clumping “the left” together into a monolith."

    While many axes of behavior exist, on any particular axis there is a simple coefficient, a value. The end points might be rival but maybe just one is dominant; as for example the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator. A person could actually be well developed in "T" and "F", or weak in both; but the MBTI seeks to illuminate which is dominant.

    So, the right and the left have been separating rather conspicuously and forcing people to choose one or the other when left to their own devices they wouldn't be so easily binned.

    My interest is to find the dominant axis, the one thing that can predict everything else. It won't even be conscious and it will be a thing a person cannot be argued into or out of. That means part of the Limbic System; the fight-or-flight response center, and the most immediately powerful trigger is FEAR. Saul Alinksky's Rules for Radicals pretty much all revolve around fear. Fear of ridicule, fear of being wrong, fear of being outcast — he wrote for community organizers, the opposite of outcast — incasting people! Those who refuse incast must be outcast.

    So it seems to me that the left/Democrats are those that sense fear and their response is the same as that of herd animals; bunch up into herds. As with herds, the ones in the center are safest from predators and push to the edge those that are not exactly in complete compliance with the herd rules. The Republicans, some of them anyway, ARE the predators and do not form herds. Small packs or prides out of necessity but no large herds.

    The libertarians don't really care about either the herd or the predator; keeping an eye on both depending on proximity and threat. Elephants maybe or any other relatively solitary animal species would be a metaphor.

    "I’d bet another big part of your problem is that whenever you read anything about liberal moral values, you spend all your energy and attention looking for things to disagree with instead of making an honest effort to understand."

    I don't really have a problem other than the age of my car (or of me); I'm not sure it is going to pass another safety inspection.

    There's not much purpose in studying things I agree with; utility is at the "'margins", namely the areas of disagreement. So yes, I seek specifically areas of disagreement to find out why it exists and perhaps I am missing something. Finding someone that disagrees, without also being disagreeable, able and willing to discuss this difference, has proven to be basically impossible. I am not you. I am trying to understand why my father was a communist or my brother is a cynical, sarcastic Democrat. We are very similar in many ways so why did he choose one path politically and I another? I speak frankly and truthfully, or so it seems to me, yet almost every word he utters does not mean the plain meaning of the words.

    "assuming they all have the same moral compass is a pretty good indication that you’re not trying very hard to understand anyone else’s perspective."

    I am pretty sure I explained their moral compasses are NOT the same. It is an endless and not very useful task to try to explore everyone's compass when no two are the same. How would it help me understand anyone else if I understand you?

    And the answer is the Borg Collective. There's the "real you" and then there's the herd compliant you. At election times in the privacy of a poll booth, you can be the real you; but when a pollster calls you on the phone, you know that he knows who you are since he called you, and you had better answer with the approved and expected Tribal Chant because there will be consequences of not.

    With regard to moral compasses; the herd can exert an aligning force. Religion used to serve that purpose on almost everyone nationally; its influence is considerably reduced. That means moral compasses on the non-religious would, left to their own devices, drift unpredictably. Saul Alinsky offered tools of moral compass alignment so that communities can exist; for they cannot exist with random moral compasses. God is just the magnet to align moral compasses; a human person must still declare "North" (thou shalt not kill, stuff like that). While I disagree with the accuracy of Catholic descriptions of God, I consider it indisputable that the aligning force of it created Western Civilization — but Western Civilization also influenced Catholicism in a self-reinforcing cycle.

    The Democratic Party Platform is revisted every 4 years or so, created by its followers but also shaping its followers. Since Democrats are by and large detatched from any recognizable magnet for their moral compasses, they align to each other and the entire herd drifts. Republicans, or at least a substantial portion thereof, is aligned to Christianity and there's a lot less drift — but instead is a schism since non-religious Republicans don't have that aligning force.

    That's a bit rambly but gives you some idea what you might talk about. Are you in a herd, is that good or bad or merely expedient?

  112. Michael 2 says

    Dorothy M. "In such scenarios, one can hardly say that breeders will inherit the earth (as you had claimed)."

    Well then add the caveat that IF anyone inherits the earth it will be the breeders. What it most certainly will not be is non-breeders for they extinct themselves.

  113. A Democratic Thinker says

    Wednesday my partner had a regular appointment with the psychiatrist, to monitor medication prescriptions. They naturally discussed the election the day before. Both were disappointed with the results.

    The shrink told Partner that she believed that from the first day Trump started bellowing about how if he lost, it would be because of "Rigged Elections" that the statement meant that Trump had just learned that the fix was in for HIS candidacy, NOT Hillary Clinton's. Because with Trump, everything is about projection.

    I'm believing that too. Math doesn't often lie. I guess that since people do, math about the behavior of people can be wrong easier than math about cosmic principles. But I firmly believe that Republican office holders and their minions rigged this election by shaving a few voters here and there, moving some precincts around, moving voting machines from over there to over here, in important swing states.

    Hillary WON the popular vote, by way more than Al Gore did, without the Florida recount stopped in its tracks by the Supreme Court. She didn't win enough electoral votes, as far as we know right now. The Electors haven't voted yet, and they can actually vote as they wish to, so, who knows?

    Maybe a firm belief in democracy and American principles will keep Trump from the Presidency. Because he really, truly is not qualified. He will never be this Democratic Veteran's President, ever.

  114. Michael 2 says

    Matt, sounding a tribal alarm call, advises Dorothy. To incite a fear response and establish boundaries he misrepresents the truth but hey, what is truth when a predator is threatening the herd? "Dorothy, Michael 2 is a troll who has said in other threads…"

    I am indeed a troll (reference to fishing; one trolls for commenters willing to engage).

    Is Dorothy too stupid to detect this? That seems sexist and elitist, that you have appointed yourself Guardian of Dorothy.

    Why would anyone deliberately engage a troll? I do it frequently. Engaging with a troll puts your words out there where Google can find them; it helps balance a presentation and discover meaningful questions that someone wants answered.

    If I am to accept you as any kind of teacher, guide or counselor you have to show me that you are smarter, or more knowledgeable, wiser, than me. I don't even demand peer review or "objective" knowledge; I am likely to accept that you believe something for no other reason than your claim of it, and I may believe it too if I lack reason otherwise, for there be many things I believe that I cannot show.

    I have a requirement of debate partners and church leaders: Tell me what you believe and why you believe it. If your argument is persuasive, then I will believe it too. But we are way beyond what will fit in a "tweet".

  115. Michael 2 says

    Dorothy M. wrote "As for Trump’s supporters … white men without higher education."

    Many things exist to talk about. You chose this one; except of course you put it "males" so I appreciate your restating it. So, if you didn't mean to imply the superiority of women, what DID you mean by focusing on this aspect of the election? What does it mean? It must mean something otherwise you are just spewing meaningless words you've heard somewhere and maybe that's as complicated as it gets.

  116. Lagaya1 says

    I think Michael 2 has found a way to have his own blog without paying server fees. Can we just ignore him to give him no further platform? He's like the guy at the bus stop who won't stop talking to you about his theories and when you walk away, he follows still spouting his "wisdom".
    This is my last post about him. Anyone else who would like to join in, please do!

  117. princessartemis says

    Dorothy M, my mother and my sister, both having master's degrees, voted for Trump. Roughly 47% of the women who voted in the US did the same. They self-evidently did not do so out of fear that their penises would fall off. Like every other voter, they had their own, individual reasons for making the choices they did, just like you.

  118. Dorothy M. says

    Not sure where that 47 percent figure referred to by princessartemis is coming from. There will always be some women who are afraid of change. There were even women who were against women having the right to vote (hard to believe, but true)! I am still seeing in report after report, that the group that turned the tide for Trump were white men without a college education. It is being called the "whitelash." Also, please keep in mind that the MAJORITY voted for Hillary Clinton (and that means the majority of women as well).

  119. Dorothy M. says

    To GuyWhoSeesFacts and who thinks one is crazy if they voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, see these facts: Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women and getting away with it, has declared bankruptcy numerous times, has used illegal Chinese steel in his buildings, has stiffed numerous workers out of their pay, ran a bogus "university" resulting in a class action lawsuit, was accused of rape by his first wife, is currently married to his third wife who posed naked being sexual with another woman, was accused of sexual assault by a number of other women, made weird comments about dating his daughter if she wasn't his daughter, is in favor of trophy hunting, thinks climate change is a Chinese hoax, is pro-Putin, hasn't paid taxes in over ten years (and, in FACT, believes paying taxes is stupid), and on and on and on it goes — too many dark FACTS to even list here. Then there is Hillary Clinton whose only "crimes" seem to be that she stuck by an unfaithful husband and worked hard for many years on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged, served her country in difficult times gaining hard won experience all the while paying her taxes!

  120. HandOfGod137 says

    Whilst completely agreeing with the observation that Michael 2 is just another goat-eater who has become slightly engorged at the thought that being a horrible person is suddenly fashionable again, one can't help but notice the similarity of his comments to the massively prolix pseudo-intellectual bigotry of one formerly of this parish. One who is now reduced to gibbering inanely with all his alt-right nazi "alpha" buddies on the desolation that is that part of Twitter reserved for the contemporary racist with delusions of adequacy.

    That you socking it up, Clark?

  121. princessartemis says

    @Dorothy M, I looked again at the link I found it at, and it was 42%. CNN Election results Based on exit polling.

    Before you continue calling the results of this election by racist names, and before you begin assuming millions of women, some highly educated, voted differently than you out of fear, may I suggest you read Ken White's excellent suggestions on what to do the day after? Sixty million Americans voted differently than you, and they all had their own, real reasons to do so. Thirty million didn't fear their dicks would fall off, and the other thirty million didn't fear change. All sixty million weren't uneducated. All sixty million weren't white. Many were immigrants. Some were wealthy. Some were poor. I know it's difficult to grasp that so many millions are actually individual human beings with their own individual hopes and dreams, but try.

    Also, look into the concept of "tyranny of the majority".

  122. Michael 2 says

    Dorothy M. "Not sure where that 47 percent figure referred to by princessartemis is coming from."

    It is the percentage of U.S. Citizens that do not pay federal income tax for various reasons. Romney mentioned it in the context of recipients of benefits unlikely to vote for a man whose marching orders include reducing government expenditures, of which various benefits are the largest single expense.

    "It's clear Romney is referring to federal taxes and his figure mirrors one from the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, which found that in 2011, 46 percent of tax filers paid no income tax, vs. about 54 percent of tax filers that did have some federal income tax liability. In 2009, the Tax Policy Center estimated the proportion who paid no taxes was 47 percent."
    [http]://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/sep/18/mitt-romney/romney-says-47-percent-americans-pay-no-income-tax/

  123. Michael 2 says

    Lagaya1 "I think Michael 2 has found a way to have his own blog without paying server fees."

    Well yes, it's called "WordPress". You too can have a free blog also instead of using this one.

    "Can we just ignore him to give him no further platform?"

    Probably not ;-)

    First you work out which of you is in charge of the rest. It is possible for a consensus to form but sooner or later one of you is going to want to poke the elephant (that's me) and offer your own wisdom. Once the consensus breaks it suddenly becomes a free-for-all as each of you demonstrate that your wisdom is not only superior to mine (easy) but superior your mates (that could be difficult).

    Still, the people here are more intelligent and better disciplined than most blogs so, who knows, maybe you will succeed.

  124. NickM says

    Aaron Sorkin has made a fortune because there are millions of Dorothy M's out there who will gladly watch any show that tells them they are brilliant and supremely moral. And the more poorly educated they are, the more they lap it up.

  125. Dorothy M. says

    princessartemis — I know it is difficult to grasp, but white men without college education gave Donald Trump the edge he needed to win the rust belt states, and wealthy whites overall gave him the election (with the help of the electoral college system). The people chose Clinton and got Trump. The majority of college educated women voted for Clinton, the majority of non-college educated white men (72 percent) voted for Trump. That is significant. To understand what happened necessitates an understanding of sexism and racism in the United States. I suggest you read Michael Moore's excellent prediction of what was going to happen (and why) in this election, and I have, indeed, read Ken's excellent piece as well as Aaron Sorkin's letter to his daughter that has gone viral.

  126. Richard Smart says

    Dear Dorothy and Matt,

    Perhaps Michael 2 is a troll, but he is an unusually grammatical one, showing fair general knowledge and a good grasp of current political facts, most of which are pertinent to the issues you raised. Also, his notions of law seem generally sound, not that I'm particularly well qualified to comment on US law. On the other hand, Michael 2's notions of science are dodgy and the conclusions he draws from them, even more so.

    As to the law, you are right to keep fighting your corner, especially regarding abortion, and opposing the canards regarding Ms Clinton. (Dispassionate non-US observer don't believe that her email peccadilloes represented anything more than technophobia, particularly given the sentiments and advice of Colin Powell. To suggest her behaviour was criminal simply beggars belief. But this 'scandal' is something millions wanted to believe, even women, a substantial fraction of whom still think no woman belongs in the Oval Office.)

    This does not mean it would be a good idea to continue engaging with Michael 2; from where I stand, his main motivation does appear to be causing pain and distress to those backing the side which lost. I guess that makes him a troll, and not in the fishing sense. But the same is true of many left-wing commentators who would be poking miserable Trump supporters had the vote swung just 1% the other way. Perhaps your best response is indeed silence.

    Of course, I am not so constrained (grin).

    Dear Michael 2,

    Natural selection will decide who inherits the Earth. It might not be the meek, but it will be the breeders.

    Oh, the meek will inherit the Earth, and a damned scorched legacy it will be.

    Of course, breeders have already inherited the Earth. Four of every five species are insects. A fifth of all terrestrial biomass is ants and termites, although it's hard to get a decent estimate when microbes make up at least half the biomass total and probably most microbial biomass is kilometres below the surface. This should tell you something about natural selection applied to human breeders. How much like an insect do you want your descendants to be, four generations from now? Or – forty thousand?

    To say human breeders will inherit the Earth in the traditional evolutionary sense is kind of problematic, if only because natural selection is no longer the only one in play. Cultural selection, where minds learn from mistakes, determines that; which is why rich nations have undergone a demographic transition, i.e. first world breeders did not inherit their Earth. And culture has no genes – yet – so Darwinian selection does not apply. Yet.

    In the long run (600 million years or so) the sun's thermal runaway will boil the seas and Earth will go the way of Venus. The only chance humanity has of escaping the fire is to escape the planet. Humanity has only a very limited window where technology can be deployed to make that happen, and the civilisation which manages the trick won't be one where breeders win out. Put another way, only the sons and daughters of the rich will attain heaven.

    Otherwise, to say breeders will inherit the Earth is not useful. In Canada, the Catholics tried to enforce a breeder strategy; look at them now.

    More generally, evolution selects genes, not phenotypes, let alone individuals. When you lose sight of that principle of natural selection, your mistake will take you strange places.

  127. Dorothy M. says

    Not sure what Aaron Sorkin "show" NickM is referring to that I have supposedly watched (he claims to know my viewing habits and educational level and is wrong on both accounts), but I certainly did find the letter to his daughter to be right on target about this election. Here is another quote from that letter,

    "Hate was given hope. Abject dumbness was glamorized as being 'the fresh voice of an outsider' who's going to 'shake things up.' (Did anyone bother to ask how? Is he going to re-arrange the chairs in the Roosevelt Room?"

    And he went on to say, "We've embarrassed ourselves in front of our children and the world."

  128. Richard Smart says

    Oddly, it's the Russians – not Putin's minions, but what passes for the opposition – whose analysis I remember best, of all those I've seen so far:

    In sum, the income patterns in America over the last 15 years made it inevitable that sooner or later an uprising would occur against the ruling establishment. Whether it drew from the left (Bernie Sanders’ supporters) or the right (Trump’s supporters) or both, an anti-elite movement was going to gain traction. Yes, there are bigots, racists, sexual aggressors and xenophobes among Trump supporters, given that Trump himself has shown these characteristics in his speeches and actions. But these are not the groups that pushed Trump to the Presidency. If not Trump, it would have been another populist who, sooner or later, would have overcome an opponent from the hated elites… The surprise should not be that Donald Trump (or someone like him) was elected president. The surprise should be: Why did it take so long?

    That's from RussiaDirect: http://www.russia-direct.org/opinion/why-trump-quick-primer-worlds-elite

    If accurate, it implies that bloc will evaporate when it becomes clear that Mr Trump won't deliver the reversals they want. That will leave the existing right-wing Republican elite in a very comfortable position, because they will retain control of all the branches of government.

  129. william the stout says

    opposing the canards regarding Ms Clinton. (Dispassionate non-US observer don't believe that her email peccadilloes represented anything more than technophobia, particularly given the sentiments and advice of Colin Powell. To suggest her behaviour was criminal simply beggars belief. But this 'scandal' is something millions wanted to believe"

    @ Richard – I don't think the private server was what did HC in. There's a belief – and I think it's a not unreasonable belief – that the Clintons have been getting away with it for years, "it" being Bill assaulting and harassing women with the cover of Team Clinton and both of them peddling their influence to get rich. If any email scandal hurt HC, it was the WikiLeaks dumps, which showed the Clinton camp cheating relative to the debates, making $250k speeches to Wall Street, and selling access by way of the Clinton Foundation. Just more of the same old shit that they've been accused of for 30+ years.

    Case in point – my mother. She was born in 1938, so her 20s were more or less the height of the civil rights fight. We lived in a small town in the Old South. Despite having small children at home, she left us with a babysitter (my dad was off working on out of town construction projects) and demonstrated along side civil rights protesters. Just because she thought is was right. And remember, this was in an era when people were being beaten and killed for doing so. Not to mention she risked the scorn of her friends and neighbors. She's got as much civil rights cred as anybody alive today that's under 50.

    She went on to detest Richard Nixon and voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 despite the fact that I knew Ross Perot personally (a story for another day, perhaps). Trying to fit her in some racist, xenophobic, misogynistic paranoid idiot bucket just doesn't work.

    Last Wednesday I was texting her on the Morning After and giving her shit about Trump, who I think (but I don't know) she voted for. Her response "I'm just glad the wicked witch is gone". She'd just had it up to here with Clinton corruption.

  130. Dorothy M. says

    Richard Smart — your comment regarding the Russians was incredibly informative (as are all your comments). What I don't understand, though, is how did people come to see Trump as not part of the "elite?" He didn't earn his money. He was handed it by his father (a racist landlord), and he manipulated everyone and everything, stiffing workers and clients and declaring bankruptcy numerous times. That doesn't sound like anyone who could be considered "one of us" among the middle / working class. Whereas, the Clintons worked hard to get where they got to. They studied hard and worked hard. Nothing was handed to them. His background was poor, hers was middle class. How did they become viewed as part of the "elite?" It does not make sense to me.

  131. Dorothy M. says

    William the stout — your mother is AMAZING!!! I certainly won't give her any sh– for voting for Trump. Based on her past, I will give her a pass and wish her a long and happy life! I do understand that Bill Clinton was a nightmare for women (possibly a sex addict). However, I don't understand why anyone would have a problem with the Clintons earning top dollar for speeches to Wall Street. She did say some things in at least one of those speeches that made me surprised her audience didn't get up and leave (calling for corporate accountability and so forth). When Trump rips off elderly people of their life savings with his phony "university," we say he is a great businessman. When Bill and Hillary get a great fee for speaking, it is criminal??? I don't get it.

  132. Dorothy M. says

    Richard Smart — your writing is amazing, and I read every word of your comments. If you don't already write for a living, you might want to consider doing so.

  133. Michael 2 says

    HandOfGod137 writes "Whilst completely agreeing with the observation that Michael 2 is just another goat-eater"

    Insults, if that is what that was, work better when the target understands WTF you meant.

    "who has become slightly engorged at the thought that being a horrible person is suddenly fashionable again"

    I suspect it will be a brief flash in the pan, but yes, it is interesting and in a way also amusing this unexpected turn of events. I was pretty sure Clinton would win simply by virtue of "the machine" and a tossup over which candidate was worse (not which was better).

    With every change of presidency there's a big change in media. There was certainly a big change in the demographics of commercial advertising starting in 2009.

    "That you socking it up, Clark?"

    Clark is dead some years ago but maybe we aren't thinking the same Clark. My handle really is my first name; it is the same handle I use on any and every blog. I do not use more than one handle at a time. Still, every three or four years I change it just to break a chain of Google searches. But I've only used this handle on blog comments (previous handles on Huffpo and a brief foray on Sci-Am and even briefer on DailyKOS).

    My personality type is rare but has distinct commonalities with others of my kind. Pedantic use of language is one hallmark.

  134. Dorothy M. says

    To brownfreespeechguy, I want you to know that my grandmother came to this country to escape an arranged marriage. She could not speak the language and when given a banana to eat by a kind person she promptly began eating the whole banana (she didn't know you are supposed to take the skin off). She lived to a very old age and saw all of her grandchildren go to college. This has always been a great nation (not a perfect one). And you, like my grandmother, add to its greatness.

  135. Michael 2 says

    Richard Smart wrote "showing fair general knowledge and a good grasp of current political facts, most of which are pertinent to the issues you raised."

    Thank you. I served in the Navy under both political parties; my allegiance is to the nation, not to a party or person. As such during that time I was negligent as to studying the particulars of either party since to me it didn't matter. I could at any time be required to return to uniform and serve whoever is the president. Still, I got out of the Navy rather than serve under Bill Clinton and his use of the military for social experiments. Republicans tend to use the military to win wars; Democrats tend to use the military as the world's police or to secure oil (Iranian hostage situation).

    "Also, his notions of law seem generally sound, not that I’m particularly well qualified to comment on US law."

    As this is a law blog I try to be careful in my representations. At my age one need not be a lawyer to have gone around the block a few times; been defendant in a lawsuit or two and recipient of records requests, email searches for discovery, things like that. So I don't doubt the FBI could search 650,000 emails in a few days and decide there's no smoking gun because *I* can do that.

    "On the other hand, Michael 2’s notions of science are dodgy and the conclusions he draws from them, even more so."

    This is a law blog and I do not mean to portray science accurately. My knowledge of science is broad-based rather than deep; it is not honorable to pretend to deep knowledge but it would also be disingenuous to pretend to ignorance (but is a pretty good tactic on a banhappy blog).

    "This does not mean it would be a good idea to continue engaging with Michael 2"

    It depends on one's purpose. If it is word battle, its fun and I never lose. I also never win. The point is to learn things and there is more learning at the margins of conflict.

    You measure a dinner plate at its edges, not its center. Find the edges.

    I have no interest in conversation with sycophants (those that love me, just in case any such exist). What can I learn from my peers and those that always agree? Nothing.

    "from where I stand, his main motivation does appear to be causing pain and distress to those backing the side which lost."

    Not deliberately but I suppose just a tiny bit of "back atcha" for many years of Obama taking the Republican car keys and treating half this nation as stupid children. There's a lot less of that here as compared to Huffpo.

    "Oh, the meek will inherit the Earth, and a damned scorched legacy it will be."

    I have not claimed otherwise and it is an eventual certainty.

    "Of course, breeders have already inherited the Earth."

    Indeed; and it can be no other way. Keep in mind I chose the word "breeders" carefully as it is an epithet hurled at breeders by non-breeders. This won't mean much to most people but to those who do this, it is a "dog whistle" and they must respond.

    "How much like an insect do you want your descendants to be, four generations from now? Or – forty thousand?"

    My wants will be irrelevant. My descendants will either exist in whatever manner the world then requires, or they won't. An interesting science fiction movie portrays children developing some sort of ultraviolet protective skin letting them go outside in sunlight and their parents cannot. [https]://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_the_Spheres_%28The_Outer_Limits%29

    "Cultural selection, where minds learn from mistakes, determines that; which is why rich nations have undergone a demographic transition, i.e. first world breeders did not inherit their Earth."

    All forms of natural selection have a small selection window; basically one generation. Natural selection does not look beyond the horizon, figuratively speaking. But to only look beyond the horizon is to fail to see the immediate danger. Humans can do both. Humans could transition to a sustainable future but it is as unlikely as a self-solution to the economic problem of the "tragedy of the commons". Unfortunately, the Democrats, while pretending to be the savior of humanity, really aren't all that different from Republicans in terms of concentrating wealth rather than preparing for a long and difficult road.

    "And culture has no genes – yet – so Darwinian selection does not apply."

    The word is "memes" designed to suggest that memes do for culture what genes do for biology. Both candidates used memes; the Democrats typically use the fear meme; it is powerful but short-lived. Trump used the pride and greed meme, "make American great". Not as powerful but it has "legs" and can survive voter fatigue.

    "The only chance humanity has of escaping the fire is to escape the planet."

    The best, most clever and succinct comment on that theme comes from the movie "Interstellar": We were not meant to save the planet, we were meant to leave it.

    "Humanity has only a very limited window where technology can be deployed to make that happen"

    Yes, forty years, probably a lot less. After that, we're doomed. Trump might revive an interest in space technology, perhaps a bit of friendly competition with Putin.

  136. Michael 2 says

    Richard, I have a more general thought about comments on blogs that is particularly relevant to this blog.

    American justice is established by an adversarial system where two sides argue a case to a jury. Each of these protagonists must argue from a rather binary, one side point of view. The jury expects to hear both sides argued well. If it is not so, it is not a proper trial and the judge should not allow it to proceed if either side is not adequately represented; and if he or she does allow it the jury should not accept the proceeding.

    Intelligent people of any world view can probably see that this is so and wish very much to hear opposing points of view presented with passion and conviction.

    When a blog becomes too much of an echo chamber it desperately needs an opposing viewpoint. Whether it is permitted is a testament to the intentions of the blog owner. The presenter of these viewpoints may not be as binary as all that; but in an adversarial system you are trying to persuade the jury, which on a blog is its readers.

    I depend on NOT persuading anyone here; I depend on everyone standing on their grounds and arguing their point of view with passion. It helps to be rational but only if the audience is rational, which rather a large portion is not. If you can be passionate AND rational you'll pull in almost everyone.

  137. Dorothy M. says

    Democratic Thinker — I totally agree with you on every point, and the psychological perspective on Trump is an important one. A man who brags about getting away with sexual assault is a sociopath. That makes Trump mentally unfit to be President. If you have not already signed and shared this petition, please do so.

    https://www.change.org/p/electoral-college-electors-electoral-college-make-hillary-clinton-president-on-december-19?recruiter=20406111&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

    The Electoral College has a moral responsibility to protect the country from such a mentally unfit person.

  138. Dorothy M. says

    So we now know that Russian government officials talked with people from Trump's team throughout the campaign. This fact can (and should) bring about an investigation into the Kremlin's role in Trump's victory.

  139. GuestPoster says

    Clinton did elaborate her plans, though. That's the frustrating thing – people keep writing about her sense of entitlement, and how she just rudely expected them to vote for her, and how her entire message was 'Not Trump!' but the reality was entirely different. This is the woman who had detailed plans to do everything, while Trump's generally came down to 'don't worry, leave it to me, it'll be great'. This is the woman who fought for every vote, who traveled constantly, who kept campaigning through freaking pneumonia – she didn't expect people to just vote for her, she worked hard for it. The narrative about her is still as objectively false as it's possible to be: even here we have the idea that she worked to be the WORST candidate in history. That's false – she simply lost to the person accurately described by that phrase. Yes, deplorables was a self inflicted wound – especially taken out of context. IN context? She was literally saying that many of Trump's supporters did NOT fall into that basket, and that they were simply willing to accept his awfulness due to other concerns, and that she wanted to talk to them and do better for them. She reached out to the people who WEREN'T the bigots and racists and sexual abusers, and asked them to let her know what they needed. And all they heard was what they were told to hear – that they were deplorables.

    And @Craig, re: the low voter turnout, we ALWAYS have low voter turnout in the US. It's sickening. But fun fact: most/all of the states which flipped to Trump had new voter restrictions in place that did not exist for Obama's second election. And, as has been conclusively shown, the purpose of those restrictions is to keep demographics that typically go democrat away from the polls. So while the low turnout is still embarrassing, there's the reasonable chance that many people wanted to vote, and were denied the franchise.

  140. Michael 2 says

    Dorothy M. "This fact can (and should) bring about an investigation into the Kremlin’s role in Trump’s victory."

    Naturally. After all, there's been investigation (by Wikileaks anyway) into collusion between HRC and the DNC. It would be only fair.

    So when are you going to get started or is this just something that someone, somewhere is supposed to do? Do you really need an investigation or can you simply decide that it is so, call it a fact and go feed the ducks at the park?

  141. Michael 2 says

    Dorothy M. writes "The Electoral College has a moral responsibility to protect the country from such a mentally unfit person."

    Why do you believe the electors are in your camp? I find this concept incomprehensibly fascinating. You, and a great many others, are so absolutely certain of yourself you cannot imagine a large number of people have their own reasons for voting as they did, and some of those reasons ARE moral reasons. Just not your morals. Is it possible that you have so little empathy that you do not see, feel or acknowledge that other people are different, and that different is not bad? Y'all talk about inclusion; now would be a good time for some of that extended to the other half of this nation.

    It is fairly well established (IMO) that neither candidate is popular or fit to govern a nation. But we must choose one or the other because we are going to get one or the other. Which is worse depends on your personal prejudices. You seem to favor a woman. It doesn't matter which one. Because that is the axis of your prejudice you place all other people on that axis; anyone voting for Trump must have done so because of misogyny.

    My prejudice is national security; protection of the Constitution of the United States. As I am career military I am more sensitive to the first and second amendments in particular. Democrats, more particularly Nancy Pelosi, are dangerous to the first and second amendments in particular, and aren't all that supportive of the 4th, 5th and 10th; abuse the 14th, and so on.

    Trump will (probably) win the vote of all gun owners pretty much automatically. He cannot be bad enough to change that. Just as Romney wasn't going to get the vote of the 47 percent, HRC isn't going to get the gun owner vote. It has nothing to do with being a woman (but I don't entirely discount that factor).

    I'm a bit nervous about a solid red government; I cannot decide whether that is actually more dangerous to my liberty than solid blue. Red isn't any more libertarian than blue, maybe less so.

  142. Dorothy M. says

    GuestPoster's information about voting access provides another piece of the puzzle. As each new piece is added, a very dark picture is forming. But what now? Well, there is always the 25th Amendment.

    As explained in an article by Ben Brenkert on thehill.com, "he 25th Amendment was ratified in 1967, as a clarification to Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 of the U.S. Constitution. The 25th Amendment deals with the succession of the Presidency, especially at a time when the sitting President becomes unable, incapable or unfit to perform the duties of his or her office. It also establishes procedures to fill a vacancy left by the Vice President. It is essentially a safeguard against a president who runs amuck, or who goes insane, or who cannot fulfill his or her duties as commander and chief and leader of the union of 50 states.

    To me, it is more likely than ever before that Article II Section IV of the 25 Amendment could be enacted during a Trump Presidency. Why? Two of Donald Trump’s remarks trouble me the most.

    First, Trump encouraged Russia to hack the private emails of the former Secretary of State, to produce for the media the 30,000 plus missing emails. He encouraged espionage by a non-ally and threat to the security of the United States. Essentially Trump called for a direct breach of his own government’s classified information carrying system. Some consider this type of speak treasonous. Later, Trump played it all off as 'sarcasm'.

    Second, Donald Trump has revealed a negative temperament, threatening violence: 'to hit' his opponents, e.g., the men and women who criticize him. He quickly calls the media dishonest, telling his supporters that 'we have to win' despite a 'rigged system'. He repeatedly tells the media to 'shut up', even openly mocking one reporter with a disability. He tells his followers that our country is 'going to hell'. "

    Things are by no means over.

  143. Michael 2 says

    Dorothy M says "Essentially Trump called for a direct breach of his own government’s classified information carrying system."

    Whereas you are calling for overturning the Presidency and HRC bypassed the governments classified information carrying system. Low level stuff I suppose but just the same you seem to be noticing the mote in DT's eyes (there's worse things in DT than inciting the Russians to do what they've been doing since there's been a Russia) while ignoring the beams in HRC's or your own eyes.

    But you have interested me in the 25th amendment so let's have a look.

    "Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President."

    In other words, his own appointees and party must declare him unfit. I trust you weren't expecting this to happen in your lifetime (or his).

  144. Richard Smart says

    Dear Michael 2,

    You discount the possibility that Trump's "own appointees and party must declare him unfit." No-one steeped in European history would make such an error.

    We have just experienced a different sort of disaster in my little slice of paradise and I won't have time for commentary for weeks, but I can squeeze in some predictions:
    1) Some sort of Night of the Long Knives is pending. Certain of Trump's aides will use the aftermath to further their own agenda. First victims: any Republican who failed to show sufficient enthusiasm.
    2) Expect a Thermidorian reaction in time for elections two years hence. Obvious repercussions will afflict not just Trump but his own party.
    3) The victor? Chaos in the wind. But a Republican party split is not out of the question – nor is eventual impeachment, once that central organising thread is cut.

    In short, expect that Pepe's revolution will, like Saturn, turn by turn devour all its children. That reminds me: gotta go rescue my daughters.

  145. Roger X says

    "do not conclude that Twitter trolls will suddenly be striding the halls of power."

    We got to that point pretty quickly though, didn't we?

  146. Dorothy M. says

    MSNBC is reporting that computer experts have found a seven percent anomaly between the paper vote count and the electronic in a cluster of states. They are advising that Hillary Clinton demand a recount in those states as it is an indication that hacking may have occurred. We were all wondering why the count would be so different from the exit polls. Now experts are saying there is this big 7 percent (not one percent or two, but SEVEN percent) difference in the electronic vote count over paper!? I am more convinced than ever that Trump actually did not win (not just did not win the popular vote, but DID NOT WIN PERIOD). I think Russia may have used electronic means to shove this buffoon down our throats for their own reasons, and we are going to have to just tolerate him for four years while he dismantles every protection that the environment and wildlife has, embarrasses us worldwide and quite possibly starts a civil war. They are quite possibly using him to wreck our country!

  147. says

    @Dorothy M.: Not exactly. Carl Bialik and Rob Arthur explain at FiveThirtyEight that demographics explain the seven-percent discrepancy without any need to compare how the votes were cast ( http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/demographics-not-hacking-explain-the-election-results/ ). Alex Halderman (one of the computer experts your comment alludes to) has explained that he's not saying there's any evidence that vote tampering occurred, he's just saying that it would be in our interests to audit the machines to make sure it *didn't* ( https://medium.com/@jhalderm/want-to-know-if-the-election-was-hacked-look-at-the-ballots-c61a6113b0ba#.7hdztex5l ).

    Our voting machines are certainly, inarguably, vulnerable to attack. I have not seen any evidence that they *were* attacked in this election, or that they failed or otherwise miscounted in any way significant enough to sway the election. If I see any evidence that an attack occurred, I'll evaluate it then; as of right now I haven't seen any.

    But those machines are vulnerable, they should be scrapped, and we should go back to good old-fashioned pen and paper.

  148. Michael 2 says

    Dorothy writes "They are advising that Hillary Clinton demand a recount in those states as it is an indication that hacking may have occurred."

    The machines produce the paper trail. If the machines have been hacked, which is certainly possible, so too will be the paper votes.

    I voted only by paper but naturally I have no way of knowing whether my vote was counted and neither does anyone else since the ballot itself is not identified to me.

    I consider MSNBC to be reliable source of unreliable information. In addition, they (or just you) seem not to be counting the machines hacked for Clinton.

    "The attempted intrusions targeted online systems like registration databases, and not the actual voting or tabulation machines that will be used on Election Day and are not tied to the Internet." [http]://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/red-alert-election-systems-20-states-targeted-hackers-n657036

    Perhaps you have a source of reliable information that voting machines have actually been hacked?

    It would be big news (I think) if there was so much as a single instance of provable hacking.

  149. Dorothy M. says

    In an amazingly short time, Jill Stein has raised the millions of dollars required to hold a recount in Wisconsin, and she is now raising money for recounts in the other states that had fishy results. Good for her! I will be donating. Some people (not experts) are brushing off the anomalies, but the security experts are very concerned about what they have seen so far. If you want to contribute towards the recount effort, please visit Jill Stein's website.

  150. Just another Fred says

    Hello, Ken,

    I hope it's not too late to join the conversation and congratulate you on a first-rate piece of writing and thought.

    "We must be prepared to fight against policies that conflict with our values."

    OK. How?

    Normally we'd write to our representatives. The House and Senate are now controlled by one party which votes in lockstep. So that won't work.

    We could try civil rights lawsuits. A lot of those policy changes may not leave anyone with standing, or will fall under the political questions doctrine. But there will still be justiciable issues. They will be heard by Trump appointees who will rapidly be confirmed to fill all the positions that have carefully been left vacant for this moment. If you like dealing with Reagan appointees you'll be thrilled with Trump appointees.

    We could appeal bad decisions to the Supreme Court. Many a true word is spoken in jest, and The Onion had a point with the headline "Supreme Court upholds Constitution in 5-4 decision". Today it would be 4-4. Unless Trump's nominees are as surprising as Earl Warren, the next will be 4-5, and then 3-6 and 2-7.

    The Federalist Papers imagined that state governments would protect us from national tyranny if need be. Something like 2/3 of states have Republican-controlled legislatures now. Remember how Governor Brownback reacted to a student who criticized him?

    We could fight in the midterms. That might help with the Senate, which gerrymandering doesn't touch, except for the problem of meticulously crafted laws and procedures to interfere with Democrats voting.

    I'm imagining organizing a Civil Liberties Caucus in key districts that would supply phone banking and general ground game to whatever local candidate of either party shows the most promise. That might work.

    We could fight for civil liberties at the level of city government, but notice who the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed. The same police would respond to anyone who tried to fight by marching and carrying signs. Come to think of it they've been pretty good about that — Dallas officers gave their lives protecting protesters. So there might be hope. On the other hand it's not working too well at Standing Rock.

    We could fight by trying to persuade people. Yes, we could preach about American rights to people who voted for an admirer of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. A friend thinks the bedrock decency of the American people will re-assert itself. Maybe. The world has changed — everyone had gay friends before, but now they know it. They may stand by their friends.

    The only check and balance I see remaining besides the remnants of the courts is the civil service. They're not designed to be used for fighting by citizens.

  151. Richard Smart says

    Dear Michael 2,
    The real problem is not finding provable instances of hacking. Surely you are familiar with some, for instances are legion, have been since at least 2003 through 2009 (possibly others later, but I lost professional interest then), and outraged the right wing as much as the left.

    Specifically, (foreign) hackers have been hired by US organisations who successfully hacked into various models of voting machine and circumvented not only the security but the recording subsystem which was supposed to provide an audit trail. (Were a US citizen to prove the point in such a fashion, they might be charged with a felony).

    Spokesmen for one company did not rebut one hack but fell back on asserting that a successful exploit would depend on existence of corrupt election officials – clearly an unreasonable hypothesis. Regardless, this became the subject of lawsuits which led to a multi-million dollar settlement by one voting machine manufacturer.

    There has been a lot of similar fudging of the significance. The upshot is, your nation is at the point where it does not know, and in fact can not know, whether voting abuses affect elections or not.

    Historically, other evidence came from embarrassing company memoranda leaked to various sites – which then found themselves hit with copyright claims by the guilty. That failed to work for various reasons, not least because congresscritters posted the smoking gun memos on their legislative websites. It also represented a clear case (OPG v Diebold) of copyright abuse that many first amendment lawyers will remember because the manufacturer was done for DMCA section 512(f) copyright abuse, thereby setting a precedent.

    Electronic voting fails have been around for ages. I can't spare time to illustrate the point further, beyond suggesting you will be able to find gory details yourself with google searches. Perhaps look up wikipedia pages for voting machine manufacturers (but when the heat grows too great those responsible either sell the company or change the name). Try Sequoia or Premier Voting Systems to begin with.

  152. Michael 2 says

    Richard Smart writes "The upshot is, your nation is at the point where it does not know, and in fact can not know, whether voting abuses affect elections or not."

    That is likely true of all democracies everywhere. Who is going to impose honor on the election system itself? That would be the current Chief Executive.

    The surprise election of Trump is all the more surprising since it has always been the Democrats with their "machine". The "left" is the herd, the herd is the machine. So for anyone to out-machine the machine is simply amazing.

    The enemy of my enemy isn't necessarily my friend, but at least it is interesting and the world is still here.

  153. Dorothy M. says

    Fred has given us a great deal to think about in his excellent comment. It is always darkest before the dawn as the saying goes. We may witness Donald Trump destroying Donald Trump (and the Republican Party as well). One can hope. In the meantime, sign the Change.org petition asking the Electoral College to vote the popular vote on December 12 and donate to Jill Stein's fund raising effort for a recount in that cluster of states where security experts spotted what they consider to be a rather alarming anomaly when examining electronic and paper ballot votes.

  154. Richard Smart says

    Dear Michael 2,
    Some societies certainly can rely on their electoral integrity – those at the top of Transparently International lack of corruption index. Switzerland, the Nordic nations, say (for a non-European example, New Zealand).

    Of course many or most are monarchies, not democracies, perhaps preserving your point. But as you earlier observed, the US is not a democracy either but a republic.

    While I do take your point about the Democratic machines, such as Tammany or Daley's Chicago, those are long gone. Neither they nor their descendants were never more than locally effective. So far as I can tell, Republicans have been more successful at vote redistricting, and getting out their vote in general. Notably, the four post-civil war presidents who won without a majority of the popular vote have all been Republican (Hayes, Harrison, Bush II, and Trump).

    The Republicans remain very clearly the party of those with something to lose – and the Democrats of those with nothing. Republicans might not have a centrally directed "Republican machine", of course. One would expect lots of mini-Republican machines defending different vested interests. The effect would be the same, though; and I'd guess the poor and unmotivated will remain disenfranchised so long as you have Tuesday voting, never mind the electoral college.

    More importantly, honour is not required of an election system; verification is. Perhaps Trump will indeed turn out well, and well able to reform it. Reagan had a coherent vision of where to lead the nation after all, to the shock of many, and as he might have said of the machines, "Trust but verify".

    For verification and secret voting are not mutually exclusive. Use a public/private key system. Publish a cryptographic hash for each vote, assign a secret private key to every voter for that vote. This is technologically very simple; it might be embodied in a USB key for each person, which they can update at will, or have updates done for them.

    Such a public/private key system allows each voter, and no-one else, to check each vote was counted the way it should be. Should any private key be compromised, only the corresponding vote could be faked. This makes mass fraud far more difficult.

    I've no idea whether such a system has been proposed, but I'd be shocked if it hadn't. Frankly it's obvious to a technician skilled in the art. Trump may not have the power to enforce any electoral changes, but as your champion in what one Roosevelt called the 'bully pulpit', he should at least be able to provoke debate.

    Interesting times, forsooth.

  155. Michael 2 says

    Richard Smart proposes: "For verification and secret voting are not mutually exclusive. Use a public/private key system."

    I'm a bit embarrassed to have not thought of that myself. It's relatively simple, brilliant and as foolproof as anything I cannot think of.

    The only tarnish on that is whether 350 million Americans know enough about PKI to have faith in it? Probably not. It would have been widely adopted already as a way to stamp out spam if people knew more about it.

    "Some societies certainly can rely on their electoral integrity – those at the top of Transparently International corruption index. Switzerland, the Nordic nations, say (for a non-European example, New Zealand)."

    My example requires honor to exist in the population. If honor exists and is nearly universal in the population, it will naturally exist in its government. If honor does not widely exist in the population, how will it exist in government? Worse, anyone with desires of power over others will gravitate toward government, thus honor is likely to be less in government, as a proportion, than in the population; and yet some honorable people will also gravitate to government out of a sense of duty.

    "While I do take your point about the Democratic machines, such as Tammany or Daley’s Chicago, those are long gone."

    Those machines are gone, new ones perhaps less dramatically effective must necessarily arise in the same environment that spawned those historical examples. At any rate, for purposes of faith in the system (or lack thereof), a perception of a machine is sufficient, and it is clear that Bernie Sanders was gently shoved out the door by something of a machine.

    "Neither they nor their descendants were never more than locally effective."

    That's all you need in any particular locale.

    "So far as I can tell, Republicans have been more successful at vote redistricting, and getting out their vote in general."

    Agree on the former, but suck at the latter. What brings out the Republicans is something really stinky (to them) put on the ballot by the Democrats.

    "The Republicans remain very clearly the party of those with something to lose, and the Democrats of those with nothing."

    Yes, the 47 percent. But included in the Democrats are the elite, the leaders of the 47 percent, the shepherds. The majority of wealthy congresspersons are Democrats.

    "One would expect lots of mini-Republican machines defending different vested interests."

    Which is how Trump came from behind a pack.

    "The effect would be the same, though; and I’d guess the poor and unmotivated will be disenfranchised so long as you have Tuesday voting"

    They weren't "franchised" in the beginning and I can see the reason. Those whose lives are to be affected by legislation (as in having to pay for everything) ought to be the ones voting. Imagine if *only* the poor and unmotivated (the 47 percent) voted.

    "More importantly, honour is not required of an election system; verification is."

    That way everyone is really sure that my dishonorable candidate rather than your dishonorable candidate was well and truly elected. ;-)

  156. Michael 2 says

    Just another Fred writes "Mayor DeBlasio says he will direct the NYC government to protect civil liberties."

    Better late than never ;-)

  157. Michael 2 says

    Fred writes "The same police would respond to anyone who tried to fight by marching and carrying signs"

    Marching and carrying signs does not seem much like a fight. Anyway, it isn't clear why the police would march and carry signs. (The same police would respond, to anyone who tried to fight, by marching and carrying signs!)

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