“I know I said I’d meet you,
I’d meet you at the store,
But I can’t buy it, baby.
I can’t buy it anymore.
And I don’t really know who sent me,
To raise my voice and say:
May the lights in The Land of Plenty
Shine on the truth some day.”
- “Land of Plenty”
Leonard Cohen dies.
Vogue celebrates our Leonard.
His last interview.
And I'd been worrying about Ilya Kuryakin.
Not to mention Hillary's best friend, Henry F. Kissinger.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ _ _Despite all the discussion of demographic forces that doomed the G.O.P., it will soon control the presidency as well as both chambers of Congress and two of every three governor’s offices. And that’s not just a function of James Comey, Julian Assange and misogyny. Democrats who believe so are dangerously mistaken.
Other factors conspired in the party’s debacle. One in particular haunts me. From the presidential race on down, Democrats adopted a strategy of inclusiveness that excluded a hefty share of Americans and consigned many to a “basket of deplorables” who aren’t all deplorable. Some are hurt. Some are confused.
Liberals miss this by being illiberal. They shame not just the racists and sexists who deserve it but all who disagree. A 64-year-old Southern woman not onboard with marriage equality finds herself characterized as a hateful boob. Never mind that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton weren’t themselves onboard just five short years ago.
Political correctness has morphed into a moral purity that may feel exhilarating but isn’t remotely tactical. It’s a handmaiden to smugness and sanctimony, undermining its own goals.
From our knowledgeable reporter at Econospeak:
For what it’s worth, on the morning after the election my students wondered how the election of such an “anti-establishment” candidate would pan out.
But media persona is one thing and actual politics another. Practically the moment he was elected, Trump’s demeanor changed. Suddenly he was just another Republican, preparing himself to govern with the support of a Republican house and senate, a soon-to-be Republican supreme court, and Republican control of a majority of state governments. Rather than shaking things up, the American people had just elected the mainstream hard right to full-court political dominance. I don’t know how many miles of wall will be built on the southern border, but I expect Paul Ryan’s agenda to fly straightway to signing ceremonies before daylight savings time rolls around again.
To put it as clearly as I can, following the election the mask came off — but instead of revealing a monster it was exactly the other way around. The monster mask was dropped and behind it we saw the normal, unremarkable class politics of modern Republicanism.
It’s important to emphasize that, while the pre-election show put on by Trump was despicable, its appeal was based on the message it conveyed that Trump was outside the system, a loose cannon who just might turn things around where others had failed. Bigotry mattered not because the agenda was to push bigotry, but because talking like a bigot seemed to show that the standard constraints on politics were being upended. It’s like the role the confederate flag has played for much of the white working class, north and south. Yes, the flag is reprehensible because it represents the cause of unrepentant slavery, but for many people that only adds to its luster as a symbol of the “rebel cause”. It’s a middle finger shoved defiantly in front of anyone who wants to tell you how to speak, think or act. Trump was a living rebel flag, right down to his courting of the alt-right, which, needless to say, ended the moment the last vote was cast.
So it’s like this: Trump as candidate was guaranteed most of the Republican vote through sheer partisanship. His strategy was a bet that, while he would alienate some support through his calculated acts of outrageousness, he would attract even more from working class voters desperate for a champion, even only a maybe champion. It was intentional, and it worked.
If this analysis is correct, Clinton’s strategy was the exact opposite of what it should have been. Her campaign was based on the argument that Trump was a monster, not a normal, respectable Republican. He had the wrong temperament. He wasn’t serious. Voting for him would be a lark, whereas she represented predictability and competence. The more successful she was at painting him as “special”, the better his ruse worked. Win or lose, her best chance was to say something like, “Yes, Trump has quite a mouth, but behind it he’s a regular Republican like all the rest, with the same agenda too. He’ll cut taxes for the rich and gut social support for the poor. He’ll do all he can to crush labor. He wants low wages and high profits. He’s like a used car salesman, acting like a lunatic, but it’s all about getting you to buy the car.”
Of course, Clinton was the worst possible messenger for attacking faux populism.
So now what? Just as Trump has pivoted, so should we. Yes, there are plenty of jerks who will interpret this election as a permission slip to insult or even attack women and minorities on a random basis. That behavior is as ugly today as it was before Tuesday, and of course we should not put up with it. From a political point of view, however, that’s secondary. We can’t re-educate all the jerks among us, at least in the short term. Moreover, I do not expect Trump to encourage crude displays of bigotry going forward. The necessary political pivot is to be as clear as possible, as quickly as possible that this was a bait-and-switch election, and the immediate task is to stop the relatively well-behaved Republican leadership in Washington from gutting what remains of the few inhibitions on the rich and powerful. Try to take the side of the Trump voters who were deceived. Point out that Trump was not elected, at least not by many who voted for him, to simply set the table for Paul Ryan. Scream about duplicity and betrayal. This means not monolithically demonizing Trump voters.
If Trump returns to rude and crude, he’ll prove me wrong. We will see.
Charles Hugh Smith in Of Two Minds fleshes the skeletal beast out:
Real Progressives see jobs and community as solutions, not welfare and central planning. Real Progressives see the eradication of warmongering Imperial pretensions and corrupt pay-to-play grifting as the essential projects of liberty and democracy.
Our seer at Moon of Alabama provides even more insight and statistics concerning voter preference:
My "not Hillary" hunch for the election was right. That is, I believe, how Trump won. No so much by gaining genuine votes but by taking them from the crappiest candidate the Democrats could send into the race. This was not a "white vote." Trump did better with black (+5) and latino (+2) voters than Romney. Racism does not explain that. Clinton promised more wars. Those who would have to fight them on the ground rejected that position.
. . . I for one feel mightily eased (with a not-so-small dose of Schadenfreude). The U.S. voters knocked over a chessboard that brought war and misery to many people. We do not know how the new game will look, but I think there is a fair chance now that it, in total, will be somewhat less devastating for the global good.
Digby finds the nub of dissection:
A white man might have been able to walk that line. Putting up a woman after the first African American was just too much and she got caught in the vortex.
She won the popular vote. But she lost in Real America, where just enough of the new Democratic coalition couldn't bring themselves to vote for her - mostly men of all races but not enough college-educated white women too.
It was too soon. Even the prospect of the fascist demagogue Donald Trump wasn't enough to overcome it.
. . . Agreement with the statement, "What we need is a leader who is willing to say or do anything to solve America's problems" is 53 percent among all voters, 68 percent among all Republicans and 39 percent among Democrats. Trump backers agreement is highest with 84 percent.
That's Donald Trump. And it explains why they like him. He is a nasty piece of work who will say and do anything. But they have confused Donald Trump winning with "solving America's problems." He's a con man who tells his marks whatever they want to hear - and they are the marks.
I believe he's almost a perfectly clever piece of work (who learned through his vast show-business background exactly the buttons to push to gain his desired results - and how to fool the eager-believer crowd of onlookers, making them beg for MORE!).
A perfect launching pad for the nasty piece(s) of business his right-winger troops have planned for the rest of US.
The Agonist agonizes:
It is now 48 hrs after the election results were declared. The pollsters are still making apologies and offering convoluted defenses for how good their models were but how unconventionally Trump and voting public behaved. They don’t say “black swan”, but that is what they hint.
Republicans who once shunned Trump are donning his puppet strings (if he will let them). Those already in his thrall are in the queue for the next installment of The Apprentice. He is the piper who calls the tune, the DJ who sets the beat.
The Democratic Party is still trying to put a good face on a candidate and a campaign that was outmaneuvered and rejected for being both artificial and smug.
Then there is the “Why do we have an Electoral College between the Oval Office and popular vote anyway?” refrain which seems to come up after every election I can remember.
Recrimination and self-recrimination have to burn themselves out. The panic and the fear promoted by this extraordinarily bitter campaign will burn out despite the demonstrations in the streets. The post mortem is already reflecting the smoother, soothing sound I heard today: “Oh, you know voters always vote against an incumbent president’s party if he has been in office for two terms–regular as clockwork! They just want change! It’s just the way Americans are.”
I predict the Democrats will eventually retrench but the result will be to become more Republican. There is no mystery in this. They have to. They are subordinate, have no imagination, have compromised their power and their principles, and are the subject of intense ridicule. They are far from home and whistling in the darkness.
On the other hand, the new President is going to age rapidly like all presidents before him because he is going to do something he hasn’t done in 50 years: on-the-job training. I expect Trump will delegate the hard work to Pence as a result and reserve any glory to himself. His Administration will test the checks-and-balances. As the Manager-in-Chief, he will have more hands on the various levers of government power, but he does not have a mandate. That will present some issues.
Our governmental architecture is capable of withstanding a lot. ‘A lot’ includes a Civil War, Whether or not our nation was great, is great or will ever be great again I do not know, but it does have a pretty durable structure, a strong constitution so-to-speak. We may survive, but we may not thrive.
Wall Street on Parade wields the final word (blow):
Writing about the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in September, the "U.K. Telegraph"’s Tim Stanley noted:
“Do not assume that America is a country where politicians battle over ideas in a neutral marketplace with an objective, largely centrist audience choosing between them. The well has been poisoned by TV. Increased partisanship means people are tuning in to see characters they already hate get eviscerated, not arguments well made.”
On Germany’s "Deutsche Welle" digital front page today, Michael Knigge has a savage assessment of what the Trump victory means for America. He writes:
“Trump’s success is a victory for an inflammatory, partly dehumanizing, vulgar populism. It is a sharp slap in the face to the establishment and the political elite in the United States and its representative, Hillary Clinton. As an opponent, Clinton was almost equally as unpopular as Trump. Through her own carelessness, her use of a private email server provided her critics with the ammunition they needed for their constant attacks. But Clinton’s unpopularity alone does not explain Trump’s dramatic election victory.
“Trump’s victory brings to light a long-term and deep dissatisfaction — if not actual hate — present in large sections of the populace. It is a hatred of the status quo, of globalization and the political system in Washington. In numerous polls, many Americans have repeatedly stated that they believe their standard of living and future prospects are worse than they were in their parents’ generation. Trump was the right vehicle and outlet to harness such views, which were especially held by the white working class. And Hillary Clinton was the right opponent.”
Ireland’s Independent newspaper was worrying about economic backlash from Trump, with writer Philip Ryan expressing this concern this morning:
“Mr Trump has used Ireland as an example of a foreign country taking advantage of US tax policy and stealing American jobs. It is safe to say Mr Trump will not be welcoming of the efforts of Enterprise Ireland and the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) to attract US business.
“The worst case scenario would see US tech and drugs firms who employ thousands of Irish workers decamp back to the states, the best would see a reduction in US foreign direct investment.”
Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders was quoted on the front page of the digital DutchNews.nl stating that Trump will be “judged by his deeds.” In a short statement released by Koenders, he added “The American people have spoken.”
Both European and U.S. newspapers were writing this morning about the likelihood that Senator Bernie Sanders could have defeated Trump. (A Federal lawsuit has been filed by Sanders’ supporters against the Democratic National Committee and its former Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, charging that they rigged the primary battle against Sanders in violation of the DNC Charter. Since the filing of the lawsuit, WikiLeaks has released emails showing that the current Interim Chair of the DNC, Donna Brazile, a contributor to CNN at the time of the emails, was feeding CNN debate questions to Clinton but not Sanders in advance of the primary debates.)
Andrew Buncombe writing this morning for the U.K.’s Independent revisited the excitement and passion of Sanders’ supporters versus the dull thud of expectations surrounding Clinton. Buncombe writes:
“At rallies for the 74-year-old across the country, there was a sense of euphoria and excitement that simply did not exist at those for Ms Clinton. Ms Clinton’s supporters said they had made a calculation to vote for her as they believed she would be the best candidate to lead the country, but there was no sense of the passion witnessed at her rivals events, or those of Barack Obama eight years earlier.
“But it was not just anecdotal evidence. A series of polls suggested that Mr Sanders — with his calls for free college tuition, the removal of student debt, a national health service and the removal of big money from politics — would stand a better chance against Mr Trump than Ms Clinton.
“A poll by NBC News-"Wall Street Journal" on May 15 said Ms Clinton would beat Mr Trump by three points, but said Mr Sanders would win by 15 points. A CBS News-"New York Times" [poll] on May 3 gave Ms Clinton a six point advantage over Mr Trump, but said Mr Sanders would win by 13 points.”
"The International Business Times"’ writer Chris Riotta noted this morning:
“Sanders would have bested the business billionaire in a landslide, while Clinton was projected to lose to Trump by at least two percent, according to polls conducted in May.”
Jesse Yomtov, writing for the U.S. newspaper, "USA Today," notes this morning that “Sanders’ popularity among white working-class voters might have been the difference in this election; voters that Trump ultimately won. Sanders defeated Clinton in both the Wisconsin and Michigan primaries, two of the states that Trump surprised in on Tuesday.”
What the Wall Street Democrats and the DNC establishment ignored was that Americans wanted meaningful change – not more lip service from the Clinton dynasty that is shackled through labyrinth money ties to Wall Street. President Obama also overplayed his hand by encouraging Hillary Clinton to promise to deliver his third term when Americans were overflowing with seething anger at the status quo.
The question now is whether corporate media will continue its efforts to marginalize the non-Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party: voices like Sanders, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown and Jeff Merkley. New York Times – we’re talking about you.
The most important facet of the 2016 election?
(Which we'll be reminded about for decades to come . . . .)