Science Explains Drumpf

Don’t know if you’ve seen the Vox video below, but you should. You also should check out Amanda Taub’s, “The rise of American authoritarianism,” in which she notes that a couple of political scientists—Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler—had “essentially predicted Trump’s rise back in 2009.” How? Taub explains:

That year, Hetherington and Weiler published a book about the effects of authoritarianism on American politics. Through a series of experiments and careful data analysis, they had come to a surprising conclusion: Much of the polarization dividing American politics was fueled not just by gerrymandering or money in politics or the other oft-cited variables, but by an unnoticed but surprisingly large electoral group — authoritarians.

Their book concluded that the GOP, by positioning itself as the party of traditional values and law and order, had unknowingly attracted what would turn out to be a vast and previously bipartisan population of Americans with authoritarian tendencies.

This trend had been accelerated in recent years by demographic and economic changes such as immigration, which “activated” authoritarian tendencies, leading many Americans to seek out a strongman leader who would preserve a status quo they feel is under threat and impose order on a world they perceive as increasingly alien.

These Americans with authoritarian views, they found, were sorting into the GOP, driving polarization. But they were also creating a divide within the party, at first latent, between traditional Republican voters and this group whose views were simultaneously less orthodox and, often, more extreme.

Over time, Hetherington and Weiler had predicted, that sorting would become more and more pronounced. And so it was all but inevitable that, eventually, authoritarians would gain enough power within the GOP to make themselves heard.

At the time, even Hetherington and Weiler did not realize the explosive implications: that their theory, when followed to its natural conclusion, predicted a looming and dramatic transformation of American politics. But looking back now, the ramifications of their research seem disturbingly clear.

Disturbingly clear, indeed. We know that the authoritarians now control the Republican Party. That fight is over and the surrendering is going on as I write. But it remains to be seen if they will control the entire country. It’s possible they will—and Bernie Sanders is out there flirting with that possibility right now by aiding and abetting Drumpf—but until the time comes to find out, at least we should understand what is happening to our country:

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41 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  May 24, 2016

    The article was interesting, but you suggest Sanders is “aiding and abetting” Trump. That is nonsense to any reasonable person, as Sanders has asserted Trump would be a disaster for America. Perhaps you meant he was too progressive and Hillary was just right progressively speaking now. Does she now choose Mark freaking Cuban (another narcissistic billionaire) as a running mate to counter the Donald, or as you suggested Brown or Warren who are more progressive than authoritarian. The election is Hillary’s to lose, as the article below suggests. To blame Bernie is not accurate.

    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/9848032

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    • King Beauregard

       /  May 24, 2016

      Any GENUINELY reasonable person would observe that Bernie’s actions these days seem to be less about winning the primaries or championing a progressive agenda, and more about trying to wound Hillary any way he can. Yes, Bernie has asserted that Trump is worse than Hillary, but that’s not where he devotes the bulk of his energy.

      Just like how he buried one half-hearted perfunctory line of “death threats are bad, mmmkay” in a lengthy screed about how his followers are justified in being angry at the Democratic Party … that’s not a denunciation of anger and threats, it’s incitement.

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      • Anonymous

         /  May 24, 2016

        “Aiding and abetting” Trump was the statement. I GENUINELY believe that to be bullshit

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        • King Beauregard

           /  May 24, 2016

          I don’t believe Bernie’s goal is to aid and abet Trump. I just don’t think he’s bright enough to grasp consequences that any ten-year-old could: weakening Hillary helps Trump.

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          • Anonymous

             /  May 24, 2016

            I like that you admit Bernie is not “aiding and abetting” Trump. That’s progress. It would be a sad state of justice where jurors could convict someone with such a ridiculously low bar on aiding and abetting. Bernie hasn’t hurt Hillary yet, and the only way he can, are listed in the article below. I’m sure your fear is misplaced.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/05/24/can-bernie-sanders-actually-hurt-hillary-clinton-on-his-way-out/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-b%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

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            • King Beauregard

               /  May 24, 2016

              I say he HIS aiding and abetting Trump, he’s just too stupid to realize it.

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              • Anonymous

                 /  May 24, 2016

                Let’s see, Hillary has effectively won the primary, Bernie states “Trump would be a disaster for America.” , and this means he is aiding and abetting the enemy. Genius! Do you not recall the more contentious primary of 2008 with the PUMAs? Only Hillary can weaken Hillary at this point. Trump is now her opponent, if you were as smart as you think you are, you would be focusing on him, not the primary loser. I’m sure Bernie hopes to embarrass Hillary in California, but that is effectively all he can do. I am going after a quarry tomorrow that doesn’t utilize such twisted logic, at Roaring River.

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                • I guess I don’t understand how you can say his intent is to embarrass her in California and then say he is not hurting her. That sounds like twisted logic to me.

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                  • What is with this neverending parade of blaming Sanders for Clinton embarrassing herself?

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                    • What is obvious is that you have a hard time understanding one thing: Drumpf is using Bernie Sanders and his words, every day, to attack Hillary Clinton. I call that aiding and abetting at this point in the race, which is effectively over. You can call it whatever you want. But it is real and it is damaging her at the moment. And damaging her means helping Drumpf. I don’t like that. Maybe you do. Maybe you want a repulsive and dangerous authoritarian (that’s what this piece was about, by the way) in the White’s House. Not me. Or maybe you think Clinton is really the repulsive and dangerous authoritarian in the race. If so, that explains a lot of your responses.

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    • Nonsense? Well, that’s a strong word. It obvious isn’t nonsense, since so many people, people who know politics, believe it is happening (I could point you to some insightful articles, if I were on my home computer). And nonsense to any “reasonable person”? Tell that to Robert Reich, who felt compelled enough to write a Facebook post today explaining to Bernie supporters the logic of the Bernie or Bust bullshit, among other things. And he got what we would expect: a lot of noise from those who say they will NEVER vote for Hillary because she is so damned corrupt. Bernie has cultivated that idea with his innuendos and by not reigning in his more rabid supporters. He’s also laid the groundwork for many of his followers to say she isn’t “legitimate,” since the whole thing was, to use Bernie’s Drumpf prose, “rigged.”

      You can track her poll numbers and see them fall as this thing has gone on and on, with Bernie saying the things he has said about her and the process(and Drumpf using Bernie’s words in almost every speech he gives now). And while it is obvious that most of his supporters will go to her when it counts, there may be enough of them here and there that can make a difference in close state elections. You can read any number of articles that estimate how many of his followers will a) vote for Drumpf, b) vote for the Green Party candidate, c) write any Bernie’s name, or d) not vote. No one knows how many will do one of those pro-Drumpf things, but the percentage isn’t zero.

      This isn’t an ordinary election, obviously. Drumpf is unlike anyone this country has seen in modern times. I don’t like it that even a small number of people inclined to support Bernie would do something dumb like not voting for Hillary out of spite. But it will most definitely happen and Bernie will be responsible for some number of those de facto Drumpf votes, albeit not all of them by any stretch.

      My question to you is this: If Bernie isn’t hurting her, then why is he campaigning at all? Isn’t his point to lower her standing among the Democratic electorate so that they will turn to him? When you draw contrasts with other candidates you do so not just to elevate yourself, but to, by comparison, lower the other guy. That’s what he has been doing for some time now. He still suggests she is corrupt and that the process is corrupt and that he should be the nominee, despite not having enough votes. Now, will all this be fatal to her general election campaign? Probably not. But I don’t like probablies.

      Duane

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      • Anonymous

         /  May 25, 2016

        First off all these people you say know politics certainly tarnished their “expertise” on this election, didn’t they? I don’t think the party unity my ass folks with Hillary were any less shrill than Bernies. Bernie has certainly used innuendo as did Hillary saying on 60 minutes that “as far as ai know” Obama is not a Muslim. Bernie certainly didn’t air “13 minutes of Hillary lying”, or re-litigate her Tyson deals, or her e-mails,or her husbands affairs like her opponents (THE REPUBLICANS) are doing. If you feel Bernie possibly embarrassing her in California “hurts her” then I believe you are too sensitive. She has won and is focusing on the general, you should too.

        Answering your question, I suspect Bernie is campaigning because he owes it to the people that have stood for him, his staff, and possibly his own “gasp!” ego. Hillary’s standing among the Democratic electorate is as you have stated, “baked in” and drawing contest to the opponent is Politics 101. Peoples opinion of Hillary’s being corrupt is also baked in through years of media reporting. This has certainly been a less contentious campaign than Hillary ran against Obama. So for you or anyone to suggest that Sanders is aiding and abetting the enemy, Trump, is frankly, bullshit. I would hate the be the platoon mate of anyone that set the bar that low.

        If the party believed such bullshit, they wouldn’t be increasing concessions to him. He won’t get much, he has lost, but he won’t commit political suicide by not supporting Hillary. If you have any factual evidence, not opinion, as to how Bernie is aiding and abetting Trump, I would love to hear it, but you don’t. I’m just calling bs when I see it. I really think you need to do as I have, and let Bernie go, and concentrate on the general election.

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        • 1. “First off all these people you say know politics certainly tarnished their “expertise” on this election, didn’t they?”

          I suppose if you underestimated the desperation of the GOP, that means you are forever discredited? Give me a break.  And “these people” include folks like Eugene Robinson (“Sanders’s scorched-earth campaign is a gift to Trump“) and Dana Milbank (“Does Bernie Sanders want to be the Ralph Nader of 2016?“) and Sally Kohn (“I Felt the Bern But the Bros Are Extinguishing the Flames“), the latter having been a very good defender of Sanders on CNN over the past months. Apparently they see something that I see and you don’t. Doesn’t make us right and you wrong, but neither does it make anyone automatically wrong because they didn’t see the Drumpf thing coming.

          2. “I don’t think the party unity my ass folks with Hillary were any less shrill than Bernies.”

          It’s not the shrillness. It’s the suggestion that she is corrupt and the system is rigged and corrupt also. That wasn’t Hillary’s message in 2008. Can’t you see how that is different? It feeds into the cynicism already out there, much of it created by the Republican Party on purpose. And, by the way, this isn’t 2008. There is no massive economic crisis to hang around the necks of Republicans.

          3. “If the party believed such bullshit, they wouldn’t be increasing concessions to him.”

          What? That is exactly why the party is giving him those concessions. They believe he is hurting the party and want him to stop it. And they’ve given him too much, in my opinion. He shouldn’t get a damned thing until he has committed to supporting the party fully and unequivocally, something he refuses to do.

          4. “If you have any factual evidence, not opinion, as to how Bernie is aiding and abetting Trump, I would love to hear it, but you don’t.”

          The evidence is in the polling, which I’m not going to take the time to demonstrate to you, mainly because it wouldn’t do any good. And it is in Drumpf’s speeches—some of his remarks straight from Bernie’s mouth.

          5. “I really think you need to do as I have, and let Bernie go, and concentrate on the general election.”

          Thanks for the advice. You may have noticed, I am focusing on the general election, which is why it is impossible to let Bernie go while he is still out there saying ridiculous shit to people, some of whom carry nasty and hateful anti-Hillary signs to his rallies without a peep from him. When Bernie exits the stage, if he does peacefully, then I will let him go. Until then, this is a weird year and he is, definitely, doing some damage. How much we don’t know because we don’t know what he will do when the primary season is over. Ain’t that a shame that we really don’t know?

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          • Anonymous

             /  May 26, 2016

            1. These people not only underestimated the anti-establishment desperation that nominated Trump, they underestimated Bernie’s support, Hillary’s assertion that her e-mail fiasco was “permissible”‘, and that Hillary’s unfavorabilty rating of 60% would hold against ant GOP nominee other than Trump, who’s ratings are in the upper 60’s. We got lucky there, or we would have certainly lost the Presidency. Conventional wisdom has no place in this election.

            2. 60% of the general electorate finds Clinton not trustworthy, this is not Bernie’s fault, this number is as you suggested, baked in from years of media reported scandals.

            3. For you to suggest the DNC is increasing concessions to Sanders because they believe as you, that he is aiding and abetting the enemy is preposterous. They are doing it because millions of Democrats supported Sanders’ policy platform, as Hillary is now doing.

            4. You have suggested to me polling that shows Sanders as he stronger candidate against all GOP candidates was flawed, but now you want to use polls to show Bernie is aiding and abetting Trump. Come on, Duane, you know better than that.

            5. If you think Sanders will commit political suicide by not endorsing Hillary, then you are absolutely incorrect. Sanders has made arrangements to debate the enemy, not aid and abet him, so let me know after that debate if you still hold the ridiculous view you have publicly stated herein.

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            • There’s no point in continuing our debate. We’re locked in. Except that you misstated my position on Bernie’s post-primary behavior. You said I have “publicly stated” a “ridiculous view” that “Sanders will commit political suicide by not endorsing Hillary.” I have said no such thing. Not once. Not ever. I fully expect Sanders to, in his own Bernie way, “endorse” her. The question is what that endorsement, if it does come, will look like. The fact that we don’t know what it will look like, bothers the hell out of me.

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              • Anonymous

                 /  May 27, 2016

                The ridiculous view I was referring to was that you saying he is aiding and abetting the enemy, which is nonsense.

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                • Anonymous

                   /  May 27, 2016

                  You’re qualifications for aiding and abetting do not meet a reasonable standard to a reasonable person. For you to suggest the DNC is giving concessions to Sanders because he is aiding and abetting Trump is laughable and deserves ridicule.

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                  • Anonymous

                     /  May 27, 2016

                    As I have stated numerous times, I will support the Democratic nominee. But you are the one that felt the need with this article to include more than Trump’s authoritarian position, and state Sanders is aiding and abetting Trump in the last sentence. Now you are effectively saying, I am doing the same by not agreeing with your assessment, that any statement that doesn’t support Hillary is treason. Wow, how democratic!

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                    • Anonymous

                       /  May 27, 2016

                      Answer this question, please. I would support the Democratic Party’s nominee if it was a yellow dog, because the party most closely resembles my own values. Does that mean I must like the nominee, or should I abstain from voting?

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                    • You can do whatever you want, my man. Nobody said anything about yellow dog voting here. I am a Democrat. Bernie is not. He doesn’t care about my party. Not at all. He actually hates the party. That much is clear. Thus, I don’t have a favorable view of his wanting to destroy it in order to “save” it; nor do I much care for his trying to undermine the credibility of its certain nominee. If that bothers you, I’m sorry. But it is the case.

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                    • And by the way, it isn’t Bernie’s criticism of the party that bothers me. The party, obviously, can stand criticism. It is his cynicism about the party that is troubling. His “rigged” nonsense. That can damage the party severely. It is truly amazing how breathtakingly stupid that charge is, given what we know happened during this primary season. He got fewer votes. He lost. Period.

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                    • “Now you are effectively saying, I am doing the same by not agreeing with your assessment, that any statement that doesn’t support Hillary is treason.” What the hell are you talking about? Jeezzus. Enough already.

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                  • What I said was that they are giving concessions because he is hurting her and they hoped he would stop. Didn’t work. And by the way, it is laughable that you think his campaigning against her is so ineffective. A lot of liberals, besides little ol me, believe he is hurting her. And some, like Paul Krugman, believe he is sort of doing it on purpose. Commenting on a NYT’s article, “Sanders Willing to Harm Clinton in Homestretch,” Krugman said, “Of course he is. Fwiw, I don’t think Sanders has gone off the rails; I think this is who he always was.” I suppose you can say Krugman is laughable and deserves ridicule, but you’d be embarrassing yourself.

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                    • Anonymous

                       /  May 27, 2016

                      The only reason I commented to begin with was the idiotic assertion that Sanders is committing the treasonous act of aiding and abetting the enemy. You were unable to come up with one fact to justify such nonsense.

                      Just because you don’t like or agree with Hillary on issues, doesn’t mean you are a traitor. Just because you think the primary process is a clusterfuck, doesn’t mean you are a traitor. That’s effectively what you are saying about anyone who has or is supporting Sanders criticism of Hillary and the process.

                      The superdelegates were created to protect the party. Not one of them could offer an alternative or persuade another candidate to run so that we weren’t left with a nominee that is to the right of the GOP’s nomineeon more than one issue. I blame them, not Sanders. You have admitted Hillary is not your dream candidate as well. I will support her as well, it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

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                    • Your use of the word “traitor” is such bullshit. But it ain’t worth the time to debate it. Suffice it to say you used the word, not me. Then there’s this:

                      The only reason I commented to begin with was the idiotic assertion that Sanders is committing the treasonous act of aiding and abetting the enemy. You were unable to come up with one fact to justify such nonsense.

                      Yep, everyone who thinks Bernie is hurting Hillary is an idiot. No one, not even the loftiest liberals in the country, can possibly have a good reason for thinking so. Thus, I bow to your intellectual superiority. I’m not fit to be in your ethereal presence. My bad.

                      But before I slink back into my padded cell, I will leave you with one last thing to consider. You may not think that Bernie’s rhetoric against her is harmful; you may not believe that his campaign has any effect at all (what a waste, then!); you may think his efforts are in no way a benefit to Drumpf, despite Drumpf’s adoption of his rhetoric against her. Fine. But what about the fact that by doing what he is doing at this late date and during this, as you admit, unorthodox campaign, he is wasting valuable resources—by which I mean money, although it isn’t limited to that—that could be better utilized helping other Democrats win tough races around the country? His aggressive finish to his clearly quixotic campaign is not only wasting his donor’s money, it is wasting her donor’s money. This is money mostly given to Democrats to beat Republicans. But it is being spent on primary television ads and other things in expensive California just because Bernie can’t take “no” for an answer.

                      And if you can’t, at least, see that such a waste of resources is helping Drumpf, then you are on an intellectual plane so high that I, being the idiot I am, can only dream of someday reaching it.

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  2. King Beauregard

     /  May 24, 2016

    We are fortunate that Bush / Cheney were big enough screw-ups that they could never convince the public that their efforts were necessary or successful. In the short term after 9/11, sure. But suppose they’d killed bin Laden and kept us out of Iraq, and showed just a little domestic finesse? They could have gotten that semi-permanent Republican majority.

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    • Fortunately, “finesse” was not a Cheney speciality. It’s too bad that Bush made the fatal mistake of picking him as his VP (or did Cheney pick himself? I forgot) because, along with Bush’s vulnerability to neocon nonsense, he was blind to, until it was too late, Cheney’s uncompromising militarism.

      But let’s face something else, related to your point. If the economy had not collapsed in 2008, there is a very good chance that people would have put John McCain in the White’s House, despite how badly the Iraq war was for the world’s stability. If the economy had stayed healthy, I’m convinced there would have been no President Obama. That scares me a little. No. A lot.

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  3. I buy the authoritarian thing about Trump’s appeal, but I think it’s more complicated than that. That he is an independently-wealthy political outsider, I submit, is an equal factor. It has been a long time since most Congress people gave priority to their constituents. That builds resentment.

    The most important men in town would come to fawn on me!
    They would ask me to advise them,
    Like a Solomon the Wise.
    “If you please, Reb Tevye…”
    “Pardon me, Reb Tevye…”
    Posing problems that would cross a rabbi’s eyes!
    And it won’t make one bit of difference if I answer right or wrong.
    When you’re rich, they think you really know!

    from Fidler on the Roof

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    • I agree it doesn’t tell the whole story, Jim. He has celebrity, which, for some reason, is a valuable asset in our culture. He has some wealth and some reputation for success. And, let’s face it, he is playing with racist politics, which doesn’t get enough attention. But despite all those things, without his authoritarian posture, he would never had won the GOP nomination.

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    • Love Tevye, by the way. What a great movie.

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  4. Duane,

    As I’ve posted on this blog many times over the years, John Dean got it right back in 2006. What I said back in September 2015, was, “the tendency for the GOP to have for a predilection for authoritarianism – in the sense John Dean describes it in “Conservatives Without Conscience” – and their worldview that puts guns before butter, the rich before the poor, and their almost universal lack of empathy and compassion – places them on the same level as the Imams and the Ayatollahs. Far right Conservatives tend to be militant, strident, and hateful. And when it comes to politics, they are hypocritical and hyperbolic.

    And I also compared the right wing nuts as the “American Taliban” and posted a quote from the mythical Will McAvoy on the equally mythical “Newsroom, where McAvoy says of Conservatives – “Ideological purity, compromise as weakness, a fundamentalist belief in scriptural literalism, denying science, unmoved by facts, undeterred by new information, a hostile fear of progress, a demonization of education, a need to control women’s bodies, severe xenophobia, tribal mentality, intolerance of dissent, and a pathological hatred of US government. They can call themselves the Tea Party. They can call themselves conservatives. And they can even call themselves Republicans, though Republicans certainly shouldn’t. But we should call them what they are– the American Taliban. And the America Taliban cannot survive if Dorothy Cooper is allowed to vote.”

    Those of us with half a brain saw this (meaning an authoritarian leader like Trump) coming for at least a decade. The tragedy is the Republican Party itself. They now line themselves up behind Trump like so many children following the Pied Piper to their political death. They are cowards. They lack maturity. They have no principles, no values. They praise God while they read Ayn Rand. I would hope they reap what they have sowed. Trouble is, if they do, they could bring the whole country down with them.

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    • Herb,

      Your comment ended up getting sent to the “trash” bin for some reason. WordPress is free and you get what you pay for I guess.

      In any case, I thought about Dean when I first saw that Vox video and read the piece. I think he deserves credit for calling our attention to it so long ago. I miss him on Keith Olbermann’s old show on MSNBC. He was the kind of Republican who understood the world and understood how politics was supposed to work. Where did all those Republicans go?

      I know what you mean about letting the nuts reap what they sow. But if and when the Drumpf harvest comes, we’ll all end up on the dinner table.

      Duane

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      • It’s really too bad you spent so long whining about Sanders you might have figured out the answer to this question because it really is pretty obvious.

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  5. Anonymous

     /  May 27, 2016

    Traitor is what you called Sanders. Aiding and abetting the enemy is treason, anyone committing treason is a traitor. In what political campaign ever, was the losing candidate committing treason by continuing his campaign to the end. I didn’t call anybody an idiot, I said it was an idiotic statement. Per Webster, that means a lack of common sense. In what campaign ever was rhetoric off limits? It is typical of many campaigns that the opposition uses primary challengers words against the nominee in the general election, so what?

    Bernie and his people have paid their own way, if they want to finish, fine. In a contested primary it is often necessary for the leader to spend money against the challenger, even if he can’t win. A typical political campaign except we now need to consider the harm it possibly might have on the opponent? So you see, I am not on a higher plane by any means, I’m just using common sense.

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    • First, we all can see this isn’t an ordinary campaign. We don’t have Mitt Romney on the other side. Or John McCain. Or George W. Bush. We have a man who is, by all appearances, unhinged. He is a real threat to our country’s, and the world’s, well-being. In that sense, common or otherwise, there is no room for Sanders to pretend he has a chance of winning the nomination and questioning the process and Hillary’s commitment to the working class and so on. It’s too damned important that Drumpf lose in November. Not a vote should be risked unnecessarily.

      Second, I did not call Sanders a traitor. That’s in your head not mine. And I did not call Drumpf “the enemy.” I don’t equate politics with real warfare, even though it is easy to slip into that mode. What I said was that Sanders was aiding and abetting Drumpf. Meaning, as most people are now seeing and admitting, that he is hurting Clinton in real ways, ways that even Drumpf is smart enough to exploit.

      Third, we both know when someone uses the word “idiotic,” they are meaning something much more than that they lack common sense, although that is damning enough in itself. By use of that word, the user is meaning to connect the target with idiocy“something that is extremely stupid or foolish : an idiotic action or statement.” So, give me a break.

      Fourth, it’s not a matter of Bernie finishing the campaign. That isn’t really the problem. He obviously has the right to finish it out (just like Hillary did last time) if he wants to. But the point is that there is a good way and a bad way of doing that in this dangerous election. He has sometimes chosen the bad way. And it has hurt her in the polls, as Chuck Todd took the time to demonstrate the other day. Now, will she recover? I hope so. But as I said, I don’t want to risk even one vote.

      For your information:

      Hopefully, some weeks after the primary is over, this is what the numbers will look like. But we can’t be sure. Much of it is up to Bernie and what he does post-primary.

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      • Anonymous

         /  May 31, 2016

        Lacking in common sense is how Webster defines idiotic. Obviously, you’re not an idiot, but Hillary or her campaign staff has certainly not stated Sanders is aiding and abetting Trump, nor should they. To suggest such, implies that Bernie’s supporters are aiding and abetting Trump as well, which is bullshit. I’m certain that Hillary would not approve of such a statement on her behalf by anyone. Thus, the statement lacks “common sense” if you prefer.

        Although you are apparently above it, I do compare this election to a war for the soul of American values. Trump would be the initiator of Armageddon. Clinton has hurt herself more with the e-mails, etc… than anything that Bernie has suggested of her. Her position on the Middle East (ala Kissinger), her position on trade (dependent on election year or not), her coziness with Wall Street, have hurt her with voters far worse than Bernie’s innuendo. Your innuendo suggests Sanders is a traitor.

        Sanders’ supporters are Democcrats also, and independents that will in the end support the Democratic platform by an overwhelming majority. But to say they, like Sanders are aiding and abetting Trump, is just wrong. Sanders has repeatedly stated Trump is unfit to serve, and would be a disaster for America in statements to the media and campaign events. If, after the convention, he does or says anything against Hillary, or in support of Trump, that would merit whatever you threw at him.

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        • I’m glad I’m not an idiot, even though “lacking in common sense” isn’t exactly high praise.

          Of course Hillary or her campaign can’t say Bernie is aiding and abetting Drumpf. That would be a politically dumb thing to say, even though it is true. And I guarantee you that she doesn’t mind people not connected to the campaign, people I see on television now and then, making the case that Bernie is helping Drumpf. Making that case helps her and hurts Bernie. So, why wouldn’t she, secretly, approve of it?

          I’ve never suggested that Bernie’s supporters are doing the aiding and abetting, if by “supporters” you mean the rank and file voters. It’s Bernie who is mostly to blame, although his campaign manager and various spokesmen deserve some of the credit. Bernie is still pushing the fiction that he can win the nomination, by the way. That would be a semi-tolerable argument to make if he was, say, 150 delegates behind. But he’s not. Almost twice that much.

          I’m not sure what you mean by “you are apparently above it,” when you say you “compare this election to a war for the soul of American values.” I guess you are referring to my unwillingness to use terms like “traitor” and “the enemy” when referring to my fellow Americans. I generally don’t mind the “war” metaphor in the context of politics, in the sense of “war on women” and “war on poverty” and “war on common sense” and so on. I have used it myself. But I draw the line when imputing treacherous behavior to folks who disagree with me politically. Treason is a good word and it has a force about it that I don’t think should be watered down by loosely using it. And even though you keep saying I suggested “Sanders is a traitor,” that still doesn’t make it so. The “aiding and abetting” criticism was not used in a war context. More that Bernie was aiding and abetting Drumpf’s politically criminal behavior. (The criminal context is where the idiom best applies.)

          Having said all that, whether you call it a “war” or anything else, I agree with you that “the soul of American values” is at stake. That is what, usually, any national election is about by the way, but this one more than any in my lifetime. Drumpf has assaulted nearly every American value I can think of, at least those worth defending.  Would he initiate “Armageddon”? Who knows. But is it more likely than not? Yes, that’d be my bet. Which is why it is so dangerous to flirt with him.

          As for Clinton’s own self-inflicted wounds, have at it. Her email choice turned out to be a bad one. But I understand why she did it. It was a handy way to keep the press out of her personal business. But it was a dumb thing to do this day and age. It may have worked for Colin Powell, but the press loved Colin Powell. They don’t much care for her. Her foreign policy positions and her position on trade is all fair game to criticize. But “her coziness with Wall Street” is a bit unfair. Show me how she has cozied up to Wall Street more than Obama did 8 years ago. He got fairly tough on them despite taking their money and she is quite tough on them in her proposals to rein in the “shadow banking” system. Thus, while it is a popular critique of her, in reality there isn’t that much there to chew on. 

          As for Bernie’s supporters being Democrats, of course many are. But most Democrats, by an overwhelming margin in most places, supported Clinton. Bernie gets a lot of his support from self-identified independents, like himself. But those are mostly independents who think the Democratic Party is as conservative as the GOP. I.e., they are to the left of most Democrats. Among genuine independents, the few there are out there who will vote for either party in a national election, Sanders doesn’t do any better than Clinton. Both do more than twice as well as Drumpf. That is part of the reason why Bernie’s argument, that he is the best general election candidate, falls flat. The other reason is that the GOP attack machine has been very, very good to him. They haven’t laid a glove on him.

          Finally, I don’t think for a minute, as I have said already, that Bernie will say anything “in support of” Drumpf. That would be a very dumb thing for him to do. And besides that, he doesn’t like Drumpf any more than I do. It’s what he might not say that has a lot of Democrats worried, me among them. If I don’t eventually hear a robust endorsement of her from him and if I don’t see him on the stage in Philadelphia doing what she did for Obama in 2008, then I will be pissed, if not surprised.

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          • Anonymous

             /  June 1, 2016

            Agreed that I interpreted your aiding and abetting comment as you were referring to what I refer to as a war between two parties, one of which is against American values like freedom from religious prosecution, etc…
            You say it was meant in the criminal context in which he was aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise…Trump. Any criminal defense attorney would love to take that case. It would be akin to the CEO of Dr. Pepper making slights or innuendo against the CEO of Coca Cola, and if Cokes sales slumped, and Everclear’s sales rose, then Coke could allege Dr. Pepper is aiding and abetting Everclear. Neither can be proven, just alleged.

            Hillary made $12 million dollars in speeches to Wall Street and banks since leaving office (and refuses to release transcripts) and we should accept the low bar under Citizens United, that it must be proven that a crime was committed, to accept that money buys influence to the donor? Unfair? Not in my opinion. The email issue was not as she stated “permissible”, it was against policy she had knowledge of and she didn’t report the emails to the State Department for 2 years. Colin Powell didn’t have a private server. This is entirely on Hillary.

            Sanders didn’t use the emails in his campaign, as Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post suggested he should have, “What Sanders should have done,” writes Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post, “was to begin to incorporate Clinton’s email troubles into his stump speech. using the ongoing investigation to raise questions in Democratic voters’ minds about both her trustworthiness and her electability.  But, time and again, Sanders turned away from that strategy — or anything like it.” He suggests Sanders could have possibly won doing that, so I don’t think he was out of line until the superdelegate hypocrisy.

            Let’s get real about Hillary’s endorsement of Obama in 2008, she did so because of political ambition. It allowed her to become Secretary of State, and the party stalwart for this campaign. Sanders has no chance of such and will probably suggest Clinton adjust her platform in exchange for his support. He will not be running for Presidency again, and his seat in the Senate is probably secure. The primary as I stated to you before, was over after New York. I am grateful to Sanders because he forced Hillary to tack further to the left on trade, fracking, Wall Street reform, and income inequality.

            His campaign has excited and energized the electorate. He has proven that the political elite are not required to be beholden to corporate donations to mount a primary campaign for the Presidency. As Tom Wolf, the Democratic governor (and Clinton supporter) said, “It does show a candidate like Hillary that we have to address these issues in a real way. Inequality, the distribution of income, was seen as something that was just sort of a liberal throwaway item.” He also said of Sanders, “He has brought some really good ideas into the race, and I think he has also brought an energy into the race that the Democratic Party needed.” I agree with Tom Wolf.

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            • I’m not going to argue with you about Wall Street speeches or emails or servers. That stuff is all out there for anyone to investigate and draw their own conclusions.

              But I will push back against the idea that she has moved that much further to the left because of Sanders. I don’t see it. Her policy proposals were pretty progressive from the start. They just weren’t radical like his was. And he has not pushed her at all on the single-payer issue, nor on the free tuition issue. As far as Wall Street reforms, as Paul Krugman has noted (and as I have pointed out before), her original reforms are to the left of his in some respects.

              Has he excited and energized the electorate? Not as much as 2008, which admittedly was a different kind of year, what with the collapse and all. But it doesn’t much matter if he excites and energizes the kind of voters who won’t come out in the general election and support Hillary Clinton or who will vote for the Green Party. I suspect that a larger percentage of his “new” voters will abandon ship than we want to admit. Whether that will be a crucial difference in some important states, we shall see. I hope not. 

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  6. Anonymous

     /  June 3, 2016

    Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, a Clinton supporter, has stated income inequality was “a liberal throwaway item” before Sanders campaign. Clinton supported TPP until October 2015 after she faced a challenger from the left. Hillary did not come out with “debt free college” until August of 2015. She had not came out against fracking until challenged by the left. Wall Street reform differences can be debated, but Sanders and Warren want Glass-Steagall brought back, I agree. Banks again today, are offering home equity loans up to 125% of home value. So I believe the case can be made Sanders did move her to the left.

    If Clinton had not had a competitive challenger to her left, do you really believe she would changed her positions on trade, or even spoken of income inequality, or upped her minimum wage position? I doubt it, seriously. For all that has been said of Sanders, he has made Hillary a better, more experienced candidate against Trump in the general election. I think your suspicion of the “new” voters abandoning ship for Trump, the Green Party, or abstaining against the possibility of a Trump presidency is misplaced. My only fear is a criminal charge being made against our nominee.

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    • I want to start with the first thing you mentioned: “Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, a Clinton supporter, has stated income inequality was “a liberal throwaway item” before Sanders campaign.”

      Oh, yeah? Besides the fact that Clinton, in various ways, has advocated for policies over the years that would help working class folks—things like raising the minimum wage, making healthcare available to kids and needy families, helping people in between jobs, fighting for equal pay for women, childcare, etc.—consider this: Bernie Sanders informally announced he was running for president on April 30 of 2015. The formal announcement was on May 26. But I quickly found an article from September of 2014 in which it explored what Clinton’s campaign message might be, if she were to run. Among other things:

      Clinton has also been enthusiastically putting a progressive and populist framing on these issues.

      “Americans are working harder, contributing more than ever to their companies’ bottom lines and to our country’s total economic output, and yet many are still barely getting by, barely holding on, not seeing the rewards that they believe their hard work should have merited,” she said at New America in May.

      “And where’s it all going? Well, economists have documented how the share of income and wealth going to those at the very top — not just the top 1 percent, but the top .1 percent or the .01 percent of the population — has risen sharply over the last generation,” she said. “Some are calling it a throwback to the Gilded Age of the Robber Barons.”

      So income inequality has been a big part of the message.

      So, whether this is “a liberal throwaway item” or whether it represents something she truly believes—and she has a history to back up the latter—that’s up to you to decide. But I do know that Governor Wolf was damn glad to have her campaigning for him. So, there’s that.

      Then the business about TPP. Obama is for it and Obama is one of the most popular Democrats in the country. There’s room for both points of view in the Democratic Party. Or at least there used to be. I don’t have the slightest idea whether she has always had doubts about it even when she was required to favor it as part of Obama’s administration, or whether she voiced her doubts in response to Sanders’ critique. Beats me what was in her head. And you don’t know either.

      As for her position on “debt free college,” I happen to think her plan is better than his. Why? Because it appears to me to be more progressive. His plan would apply to all, no matter the income. Hers seems to require that those who can pay, should. That is a big difference to me. Why should we, as she has said I think, subsidize Drumpf’s kids’ education?

      Her position on fracking is still not his position, as far as I can tell. She has moved some, but not, the last time I checked anyway, to a ban of the practice. And I’m not sure we should ban it completely. Regulate the hell out of it, yes (like prohibiting drilling into shallow deposits, which can contaminate aquifers). But I don’t know enough about the science behind it to call for a ban. I do know we get a hell of a lot of natural gas from it, which is cleaner than coal, oil, and gasoline. We need energy and it has to come from somewhere. Until we get a more robust system of alternative fuels up and running–and that won’t happen until we get rid of a Republican Congress–then we’ve got to have something to burn. Natural gas, as many have pointed out, may be a cleaner bridge to a cleaner energy future.

      In any case, we will see about those “new” voters (to be clear, I’m speaking of those folks who haven’t been Democrats or haven’t been involved in the process before). There will be plenty of polling, I am sure, to confirm where they ultimately end up. And, as I’ve tried to convince you for months now, there is almost no chance of a criminal charge against her. I don’t see any credible evidence (Drumpf’s protestations are ridiculous, of course) to support such a charge against her, Colin Powell, or anyone else in the State Department over the years who did essentially the same thing. The server issue may get her into some trouble, if she or someone else under her direction played games with it. That we don’t know. But no evidence so far suggests such a thing. Still, though, it remains a remote possibility, so I understand some of your anxiety. But she doesn’t seem to be too damn worried about it, so I figure I shouldn’t worry about it either.

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