Tumpocalypse – A Game of Blame


Some people dismiss playing “the blame game”. I’m all in favor of it. If we don’t pin down what went wrong and who was behind it, how can we possibly move forward?

There certainly is plenty of blame to go around in the wake of the 2016 election. Let’s start looking at our leading candidates, shall we?

The Republicans

Certainly these folk deserve a heap of blame for the current situation. Not only are they the ones who got Trump positioned to be our next president, but they soured large portions of America on the only person who could stop him.

ngi1ndkyyzzmosmvqw5vwm9oexduntzswjdkduvkcmtvwjrzvnnbps81n3gzndi6mjk0m3gymdcxlzeyodb4njiwl2zpbhrlcnm6cxvhbgl0esg3nskvahr0chm6ly9zmy5hbwf6b25hd3muy29tl3bvbgljew1pyy1pbwfnzxmvnmhxyzd1dhpsa3y3otvkdmx6ctvr

HINT: It wasn’t one of these guys.

At every opportunity, the Republican party failed to stand up to, and mount a decent resistance against, Donald Trump. They laughed at him and ignored him as he hijacked the party and turned it from a once-great political institution into a white nationalist mess of an organization.

The party stood back and allowed this, and even enabled it, toward the end. Oh, there was the “Never Trump” movement, which wasn’t nothing, but their efforts amounted to that. To make matters worse, when presented with a campaign of racism, xenophobia, sexism, and all the other deplorable moments that Trump engaged in, the party elite would, from time-to-time, decry what he said, and then stand by his side in support. This is not, perhaps, the best way to show disagreement.

Then there’s the other side of things: the Hillary hate machine. The Republicans have, since 1992, built an actual, honest-to-goodness, money-making industry based on hating Hillary Clinton.

In doing so they took the only person who did stand a chance of stopping Trump and painted her as the Great Satan; a force of evil that must be opposed at all turns, even if doing so involved elevating Donald Trump to the White House. Because of this, if nothing else, I shall never again have respect for the Republican party, and I gladly apportion blame onto them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Trumpocalypse – Winning Bigly


It seems like an easy question to answer. How did Donald Trump win the election? And the answer, on the face of it, seems easy also. He pandered to the racists, the sexists, the xenophobes. The anti-Muslim, anti-immigration, crowd who want to roll things back to their perception of the 1950s. The 1920s, really, if they can manage it.

And no doubt, Trump did indeed appeal to those groups. But despite what most on the left want to think, not everyone who voted for him fits so neatly into those categories.

What Trump really did was to appeal to a broad base of Americans-largely white, largely rural, largely poor-who feel neglected by the Democrats and the Republicans both. From the Republicans they got pandering, followed by promises of a bright future. This always fails to happen, because Republican policies are exactly the opposite of what many of these people need.

Democrats, though, tend to ignore these people, and when they pay attention to them, it’s only to mock them. Ever made fun of a certain subset of American by posting a Facebook meme like the following?

f61d57bfa24d251899e05ebd3817856d

If so, you’re part of the problem. This may come as a surprise, but people don’t like to be mocked or condescended to. Everything you say could be absolutely, 100% correct, but if you’re making fun of the way someone talks, or their interest in NASCAR, or the fact that they love their sister in a way best described as Lannisterian, then you’re part of the problem. Even I do these things; in fact, I did it just now, by assuming that everyone in white, poor, rural America talks like a Hollywood stereotype, loves NASCAR, and fucks their sister. Every time we on the left made one of these kinds of jokes, it was a small nail in the coffin.

Trump managed to present the image, accurately or not, of someone who was willing to listen to these people and who had a real desire to make their lives better. I doubt that he actually listened or has any real plans to make their lives better; steel manufacturing isn’t coming back and coal is dead for economic reasons more than environmental ones. But he did a good job of seeming like he listened. And that’s a good part of why he carried white people in rural counties at a 2:1 margin against Hillary.

People in impoverished rural America are desperate, and feel like no one is looking out for them. When someone comes in with an outsider’s siren song and promises them the moon, is it any wonder they listened and voted?

This doesn’t explain all of Trump’s success, of course. He somehow managed to carry the vote among college-educated white women in places like Florida (and let’s not make any Florida jokes here, either. That also doesn’t help). I’ll admit that one stuns me. but if they’re older, retired women, it makes more sense. And we can’t ignore the fact that, yes, there are people out there who voted for him out of racist, sexist, xenophobic beliefs. But this does explain why Trump won in places like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and North Carolina. These are places with large rural populations that have been left behind in the economic recovery, and have felt for decades like they’re being screwed.

People care about God, guns, and…other things…that begin with G, I suppose. But they really care about the economy, and more to the point, they care about whether or not they fed their family yesterday, can feed them today, and can expect to feed them tomorrow. Promising that you’ll strengthen relations with our allies and let trans* people use the bathroom they need to doesn’t resonate well on an empty stomach.

So if these people don’t have their basic needs met, is it any wonder they turn to someone who can promise them all that? It might not be true, but the experiences that too many have had with the Democrats and Republicans both have convinced them that those two don’t have the answers. Can you really blame them for turning to Trump?

You and I know that the plight of poor Americans is at least marginally better under Democrats than Republicans, but try telling that to an Appalachian family on their third generation of food stamps. They want out of that lifestyle, and don’t see anyone providing them the out. So maybe Trump, they think. Maybe Trump.

Next time: The Game of Blame

Trumpocalypse


A lot of us were surprised, even shocked, when Donald Trump somehow became our president-elect. The shock was made all the worse because we didn’t see it coming. We looked at the poll numbers, and at the overall campaign, and we felt good. We felt that Hillary had this in the bag.

hillary_clinton_official_secretary_of_state_portrait_crop

What might have been.

We were wrong. We were wrong on many levels and for many reasons.

In this series we’re going to discuss what went wrong, go into some theories about how it might have gone differently, and look toward the future and what we might accomplish going forward. The series should break down thus:

Winning Bigly” will be a discussion of exactly why Trump enjoyed the success he did. I’ll look specifically at the various issues he addressed, and why those resonated more than the ones Hillary addressed.

A Game of Blame” will be about appropriating blame. There’s plenty to go around. The Republicans, the Democrats, Trump,  Hillary, the American system, and the American people, among others, are all at fault. We’ll try to sort this out.

President Sanders” will look into alternate realities. What if Bernie had been the nominee? Would he have won? Spoiler: No.

Toward a Better Tomorrow“, the final part, will be a look forward. What do we do? Where do we go from here? How do we get this nation back on course?

I hope you all find this interesting!

Our New President


Well, then. I don’t think that too many of us expected that. And maybe it’s too our shame that we didn’t, because if we had, we might’ve prevented it.

483208412-real-estate-tycoon-donald-trump-flashes-the-thumbs-up-jpg-crop-promo-xlarge2

Number 45

First thing’s first. Congratulations to Donald Trump for winning. He’s certainly, absolutely, not the person that I wanted to have as our president, or even as much of anything, but he did win. That’s not easy to do. So good job him for doing so.

Second, much as I dislike the man and despise the way that he got to power, in power he is (or soon will be). He’s going to be the president for all of us, not just the ones who voted for him. He will be president for every American, so none of this, “he’s not my president!” nonsense, please. Because he will be your president, even if you don’t like that fact.

I’ll have more tomorrow on how we should best proceed from here. For now I’d like to just state that as Trump is indeed going to be my president, I will support him on the issues where he’s correct (and he’s so all-over-the-place that there’s at least one issue almost everyone will find to agree with him on), and I’ll fight back against the issues I disagree with him on. And I’ll prepare as hard as I can for 2018 and 2020.

In the meantime, I recommend everyone take a moment to read this article on Cracked, which provides some healthy perspective. Seriously, ready it. It’s very good. Read this one, too, to understand how this happened.

And let’s also all remember the monumental effort that  Hillary put forth. It’s an effort that did indeed get her the majority of votes in this country. It’s just such a shame that fact doesn’t really matter.

Election 2016


Yeah, I’d meant to be live-blogging this. But I’m glad that I didn’t. How does one blog vomit?

My thoughts are complicated, but none are happy right now. As I write this, it’s looking more and more unlikely that Hillary is going to win, and very probable that Donald Trump is going to be our next president (fun fact: it took my four tries to type that last part. My fingers are trying to rebel!). Florida is going for him. Ohio went for him, as did North Carolina.

I’ll publish my full thoughts on this tomorrow. In the meantime, I grieve for my nation. We are poised to replace our first black  president with a fascist. I had expected much, much better.

644e7d79ffd6f197a5d902cd9ee612fc06e16b4b7e12e4f4f2a52920e37c8b5d

The anger will, I assure you, come later.

At Last…


Tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow we, as a country, decide if we want Donald Trump, a former reality TV star, failed businessman, a racist, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, sexist, fascist anti-Semite to be our next president, or do we want Hillary Clinton, who, to be fair, mishandled some emails?

g8-pa5ka

I’m very much with her!

I urge all of you to go out and vote for Hillary for our president. I’d prefer that you also vote Democratic for the House and Senate, as well as for your state and local races. But I’ll settle for her being our president.

It really is important that we, as a nation, repudiate Trump in the loudest, most certain way possible. It’s vital that we drive a stake into the heart of Trumpism now, while we still can, because the next advocate of his beliefs will be someone outwardly sane. Someone who might get into office.

That’s really all that I have to say. That, and that I really hope the Republicans take the right lesson from this experience. They won’t; they’ll double-down on what happened and continue to morph into a white nationalist party of the sort that Britain First and Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging would find familiar.

As a final statement, I’ll suggest you all take time to read this fantastic op-ed by Fareed Zakaria. Then, please, go vote for Hillary. And tune in tomorrow, for my live-blog of the election results.

The Protest Vote


Let us now turn an eye toward Brexit.

_90076860_thinkstockphotos-526561176

Brexit was, and remains, a very stupid idea. The United Kingdom continues to be subject to a great many EU regulations regarding trade with the continent (their largest trading partner), and once they step away from the EU, they won’t have any control over those regulations. It weakens the UK on a fundamental level and will make the country poorer in about every way you can think.

Many people who voted for it, though by no means all, did so as a sort of protest. They were unhappy with certain things going on in the UK, often things involving immigration and a perception of job loss and wage cuts, and they believed that the only way to send a message to Parliament that they wanted some real change. They didn’t really want to lose all the benefits of being in the EU. They didn’t want to lose the right to travel and live where they wish within Europe, they didn’t want to lose the financial benefits, they just wanted to send a message.

Message sent. Within a couple of years, the United Kingdom will almost certainly no longer be a part of the European Union. The people who cast their protest votes protested so hard that they ended up getting something they didn’t really want.

So it goes in the United States. I’ve heard liberals who’ve said they dislike Hillary so much (usually because they view her as insufficiently liberal), that they plan to vote for Jill Stein as a form of protest. That’s just wasteful. The dangerous ones say they plan to vote for Trump as a form of protest.

The lesson we learn from Brexit, and to a lesser extent other “successful” protest votes, like the one against the FARC treaty in Colombia, is that a protest vote against Hillary could end with Trump being protested right into office.

Not only can a protest vote have a very negative outcome, it’s also a violation of your duty as a citizen to cast your vote sincerely. Throwing away your vote on a protest is a sad, pitiful waste, and you and your country deserve better.