• Saphsin
    157
    http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/the-working-class-wounds-hidden-behind-trump-voters-racism-20160630

    Also:

    Robert Reich: What I Learned on My Red State Book Tour

    http://robertreich.org/post/132819483625

    Noam Chomsky: We Shouldn't Ridicule Tea Party Protesters

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=mWs6g3L3fkU

    ____________

    Thoughts? Is it wrong to ridicule them, should we place more responsibility on liberals and the Left?
  • unenlightened
    5k
    I'm struck immediately by the similarity of Brexitry and Trumpery. It seems to me that the Left has died. This is the neo-Marxian analysis; that the power base of the left has always been the factory floor, where labour has the opportunity to organise collective resistance to the dictates of capital. Robots do not have such interests, and so the 'liberal left' has become in practice a rhetoric without content. The left is now the right with added sentimental nostalgia. No one is responsible, it's all determined by historical necessity.

    I would supplement this gloomy view with a psychological concept due to David Smail - of a personal event horizon. One looks to explain one's life in order to improve it, but one has recourse only to one's own experiences. Thus if one suffers loss of job, status, power, stability, one looks for the causes in one's own life and one's own community. Whereas the real efficient causes often lie far beyond the horizon on individual experience. One has no experience of the games of fund managers and the like, and it is hard to see how they result in one self-employed carpenter finding less work and less pay for the work he does. It 'must' be factors within his experience, or there is no hope for him. Hence the idea, readily endorsed by those 'efficient causes' that the migrant worker is responsible.
  • Saphsin
    157


    How did you get to the conclusion that the rise of Trump lead to the Left to die? I have the opposite perception with regards to the election, largely due to the Sanders phenomenon. Trump only brought to the surface what was always there, which is why if you look at the other Republican candidates, they're all similar or worse than he is. They just use rhetoric that doesn't appear as offensive to the mainstream press.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    2k


    The Left in the sense of the political force which has the lives of working class at its heart. Nowadays the Left appeals to the rich/elite/comfortable with a social conscious more so than it does advocate for the economic well-being of the working class. Even Sanders is more or less of this category. He might talk about some socialist economic policies, but these a distant from the lives and identities of the working class who's livelihood have disappeared with globalisation and mechanisation in the last forty years.

    Strictly speaking, the Left isn't dead. It's just stopped being an expression of the working classes like it used to. Now it speaks in terms of the socially conscious (e.g. issues racism, sexism, even the "capitalist system" ) rather than in terms of worker's identity and livelihoods (e.g. provision of services, worker's rights, protecting the economic means of the working person).

    Trump has only brought out what was more or less already there, but the point is many of the people he appeals to were not being served by the Left anyway. Not even with promises of "socialism," because the economic and political conditions have severed the link between "socialism" and the livelihoods of sections of the working class. Trump isn't leading the Left to die. In this context, the Left is already dead and has been for decades.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    No, Trump supporters should not be ridiculed; neither should Clinton nor Sanders supporters. The objects of support, Trump, Clinton, Sanders, and every other politician, richly deserve ridicule, confrontation, and severe criticism for their campaigns of convenient silences, lies and misinformation.

    The overarching cause of the economic malaise from which at least 75%*** of The People are suffering, now going on some 40 years, is the upward redistribution of economic resources. Workers are keeping less and less of the wealth they create, the top 5% is gaining more and more for themselves. Greedy behavior is to be expected and at various times Congress has restricted it's blatant operation somewhat. During those times, and when the economy was expanding, most people felt like they were getting a somewhat fairer share of reward for their labor.

    When greed gets a green light (in the form of favorable tax law and loose financial supervision) and when the economy isn't expanding very much or is contracting, the average person loses even more of what little they have.

    NAFTA and existing or proposed trade pacts do not exist for the benefit of most people. They are structured to benefit the wealth-owning classes. Indeed, a lot of the laws on the books are there to benefit the wealthy.

    The average Joe may not have economic theory in his back pocket, but his personal experiences (personal event horizons or not) are real. Most people are not negatively affected by free movement of labor. Their jobs are not threatened. Those who fill jobs at the bottom of the job market, though, are immediately and negatively affected.

    What affects more people above the lower layers of labor are automation, robotics, off-shoring production to areas of very cheap labor, and unfavorable restructuring of jobs. In the US, white and black guys who used to do roofing for a living were displaced by illegal immigrants who undercut the going wage. Automation displaces the factory worker. Outsourcing displaces the customer service worker or production line worker. Computerization eliminates white collar jobs. Selective hiring of skilled immigrants can reduce professional opportunities for citizens.

    Those who have reasonably decent incomes can buy more stuff for less. Those who can't buy food don't benefit from ever cheaper cars, TVs, washing machines, or phones.

    So no. Don't ridicule the people who are earnestly searching for someone who will represent their real interests. Is Trump the One? Oh, maybe for some he will deliver a little. Clinton? She'll deliver a little here and there. The Republic and Democratic Party? Don't hope for much; they sleep in one single bed. They're busy fucking... you.

    ***If 25% in the US are doing OK, that's 80 million. 240 million are not doing so well.
  • swstephe
    109
    Is Trump really a Republican? If so, the party doesn't seem to be supporting him as one, (and most supporters keep saying he is an "outsider"). If not, then the Republican party might actually be sitting this election out and we are looking at essentially a no-contest election, (which is usually considered a sign of dictatorship in other countries). That means the Right is dead, and the "Left" has simply taken up the "center".

    I agree that the media is making a big mistake by considering all of Trump's followers as racists, or as CNN keeps claiming that they "angry". But it even though the article points out that the number of followers are too complex to stereotype, The best you can pin down is that there are a lot of different dreams that people think Trump is going to bring about. I've heard from Evangelicals who think he is going to bring about a Christian theocracy where the Constitution is overthrown in favor of the 10 Commandments, (even Pat Robertson has declared him an true born-again Christian). Those people in the article think he will get rid of immigrants, but his policy is impossible to pin down or seems to be possible to implement without declaring martial law and suspending civil rights. I don't think people are sad or angry, but frustrated by a lot of confused emotions -- and probably a lot of "projection" of those feelings onto some objectification of that confusion.
  • unenlightened
    5k
    How did you get to the conclusion that the rise of Trump lead to the Left to die?Saphsin

    Other way round. The end of heavy industrial work leads to loss of power for the working class, which leads to the take over of left political parties by corporate interests. And that lack of political voice leads to Trump. The irony is that to the extent that capital still needs labour at all, if the wall prevents the migration of labour, capital will simply migrate to where there is cheap labour.
  • Saphsin
    157


    Eh, I disagree very strongly some of what you said. I think a far better account of what really happened is that there has more recently been a collapse of the neo-liberal consensus and that has what resulted in the resurgence of the new left movement as well a friend has called neo-nationalism from the right regarding Trump. I think you're ignoring the rise of Corbyn, and the treatment of Sanders I find very unconvincing. Sanders' plan is to create a massive jobs program in response to deindustrialization, and is absolutely about "[the] provision of services, worker's rights, [and] protecting the economic means of the working person" His comments about Democratic Socialism were marginal and off to the side in most of his speeches if hardly mentioned, except when the media brings it up. In any case, his version of Democratic Socialism was more like Social Democratic Reform rather than Socialism as it pertains to Leftist's concerns about Capitalism.

    If you were talking primarily about the decline of the labor movement, I think there would be more truth, but even there the story is more complicated. Labor is weakened, but it's not dead yet.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    to the extent that capital still needs labour at allunenlightened

    This is a perplexing problem from a couple of angles.

    Clearly, massed labor is not needed in many places, though it is needed in some. Per-unit cost is much lower in regions where still-necessary labor is relatively inexpensive (Asia). Efficient transportation (big container ships) tie production and consumption together. Manufacture in the US still exists, but it tends to be in high-end areas like tool and die cutting, design, and the like. We also still mine, and farm--but with automation. Administration (bureaucratic functions) is abundant.

    The US is a big economy, so is Japan, Europe, China, India (growing), and the rest. Increasingly, economies produce goods (and services more often) through computerized, automated, mechanized methods. A lot of people around the world are economically superfluous.

    My dated understanding of economic functioning is that the foundation of an economy is production and consumption. If very large portions of the population are not involved in production, they cannot consume very much. "We haven't any money so there is nothing we can buy." (Candide the musical)

    Where are we headed? It seems like we are already in a world of extravagantly wealthy and privileged world elites sitting on top of an extinct (or merely 'inactive') volcano of surplus people who have no function or power.
  • photographer
    67
    Marx already envisaged such a post-labour environment, in which meaningful work ceases to be a burden and becomes a need. I'm inclined to read the communist maxim he popularized "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." as rooted in the Aristotelian tradition of the polis as the place in which truly human life emerges as opposed to one particular political project (communism). Neo-liberalism can be broadly characterized by the maxim "To each according to his abilities.". Broadly speaking what is described in America today as the left is concerned with fostering those abilities, while the right is concerned with maximizing what the individual can take (and keep) through the exercise of those abilities. This is the contradictory American dream. Obviously the expansion of government required to foster abilities is here pitted against the individual's "right" to take and keep as much as possible. The right's disillusion with the Republican establishment has much to do with their apparent inability or unwillingness to shrink government.

    The typical Trump supporter finds himself with a marginalized life, and what scraps of meaning his life retains is threatened by change, especially globalization and immigration (at least in his mind). I think Obama is largely right here in that the ultimate cause of these disruptions is technology, although I don't think his singling out of automation is warranted. Regardless, these people - especially the middle-aged whites - are not thriving, and in many cases really need help: just not the kind that Trump can deliver. Trump's promise to hit the reset button - "Make America great again." - is of course an empty promise. Given their often dysfunctional lives and lack of critical thinking skills I find it hard to muster any democratic respect for their leaning.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    Excellent post.

    I'm about to start reading "White Trash: The 400 year untold history of class in America. Nancy Isenberg. I don't know if it will be good; one reviewer said yes, one reviewer said no. It's not about early trailer parks; it's about how working class whites have been managed since Europeans started settling North America. It's apparently not a pretty picture, leading one to think not only America isn't great right now, for a lot more people than we thought, it was never great. A lot of the ancestors of todays Trump supporters were, of course, the kind of riff raff they'd probably rather not associate with. Mayflower type ancestors are one thing, indentured scullery wenches and wood choppers are something else.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    Labor is weakened, but it's not dead yet.Saphsin

    Man, how far from dead do you think it is? It hasn't shown much life, lately. (Granted, there have been a few twitches, suggesting that the soul and body have not yet parted.)
  • The Great Whatever
    2.2k
    The view I take on this is that the Democrats are the leading cultural force in America, and the left is the leading cultural force in the world. The right, and Republicans, in America, hate their opponents with resentment, while the left, and Democrats, hate their opponents with snobbery. The condescension in the article, and in this thread, speaks to that -- whatever the disagreements, the leftists do not see rightists as genuine people capable of thinking in the same way they are. That's the bottom line. And once in a while you get populist revolts against that sentiment, which are promptly put down by the ruling class, and their 'plantation voters' (ethnic minorities). I don't think economics has that much to do with it.
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    435
    Perhaps a bit off the topic or maybe prior to the topic, I simply chalk it up to the Dunning–Kruger effect when it comes to understanding Trump supporters as well as Donald Trump himself. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

    The song from NOFX... "The Idiots Have Taken Over", applies just as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kqLVeP7iHA

    Either or... I sort of think that the election has fought upon the foundation of negative evidence against a candidate rather than positive evidence as to why someone should support a candidate.

    I still keep thinking the mantra in our society is "where is the lie which means I've been lied to", which serves as a means to an end of playing the blame game; thus feeling self-justified about one's self and out sourcing all problems, as all problems are attributed to the supposed lie one is searching for to justify that one has been lied to and so on...

    As for ridicule...

    ... it's allowed only if what is presented is ridiculous.

    The question is now, just how much of this election has not been ridiculous?

    Meow!

    GREG
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.1k
    To understand Trump supporters it is only necessary to consider what it is to be envious, jealous and xenophobic.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    To understand Trump supporters it is only necessary to consider what it is to be envious, jealous and xenophobic.Ciceronianus the White

    No, that's too simple.

    Xenophobia, racism, sexism, elitism, homophobia, and like terms may describe features of some people's thinking, emotional reactions, and behavior, but they have been emptied of most of their descriptive utility by intense over-use. The terms have become the means for dismissing the dissatisfactions of those who do not match the biases of the term-dispensing person.

    To envious and jealous one might also add frightened, angry, disillusioned, disappointed, confused, misinformed, and so forth--which they, we, individually, might or might not be.

    Trump's, Sanders', and Clinton's supporters, and all those who feel they have no real stake in the parties or the election are all, really, at the same difficult point: We all have got to come up with some good answers to what seem like insoluble problems, and soon: How are we going to actually redistribute concentrated wealth? Or even, should we? How are we going to reduce CO2 emissions a lot and soon without crashing the economies we all depend on? Or are we? How are we going to reduce individual and large scale violence in a world as well armed (pistols to ICBMs, bullets to hydrogen bombs) as this one is? Or, will we? Is there going to be anything left over for us, for me?

    We've all been jacked around by the media, the politicians, the business interests, labor interests, an infinity of well-organized and narrow special interests, and so on. It's damned hard to know who to trust.
  • Hanover
    5.7k
    I'm a Trump supporter, so let me tell you why I support him. Hillary's a liar. The left's general plan is to give stuff away. We have no consistent immigration enforcement, yet we have very clear laws setting out what our immigration policy is supposed to be. Wanting to remain a sovereign nation is not equivalent to being xenophobic. No one is as sensitive in their daily lives as the media demands everybody be. And the biggest reason of all: there are no other Republican choices. I was a Kasich supporter, but he's not around anymore.

    You guys sitting around trying to figure out why anyone would support Trump is like me sitting around trying to figure out why anyone would support Sanders. It's obvious. You guys are just wrong about everything you believe in.
  • Arkady
    762

    Immigration from Mexico has been zero (or negative) in recent years, so you would elect a buffoon with fascist tendencies (who's as big a liar as Hilary, if not moreso) over a competent politician with decades of experience in public service in order to address a non-problem.

    Republicans: the party of absolute conformity. For all their bluster of being the "patriotic" party, they never fail to put party over country, which is exactly what a vote for Trump would be.

    (BTW, I fully agree that a sovereign nation has the right to enforce its borders (in a humane fashion), but Trump has offered no plan for border enforcement which is remotely realistic. The main points of his "plan" consist of building a wall which somehow Mexico will be made to finance, and then rounding up and deporting the 12 million or so illegal immigrants who are already here. Good luck with that.)
  • Hanover
    5.7k
    The question was why people vote for Trump. You think those reasons are stupid, but that doesn't address the question. You're not saying that's not why they vote for Trump.

    By analogy: People pray to God so that the sick will be healed. You think that's stupid. Nevertheless, that's why people pray.

    I concede Trump's buffoonery to a large extent, but I must choose between two evils, and I've picked my poison.
  • Arkady
    762
    The question was why people vote for Trump. You think those reasons are stupid, but that doesn't address the question.Hanover
    No, it doesn't. I wasn't in fact responding to the OP's question, which was ably answered by others on this thread. I was responding to your post, in which you demonstrated that, like so many other Republicans, you put party before country, despite all of the declarations of being an unapologetic "flag-waving American," or whatever your motto is. (The old joke is that Democrats fall in love, and Republicans fall in line, and the Grand Old Party hasn't disappointed this time around, either, which is to say that they remain a disappointment.)
  • Saphsin
    157
    I'm not voting for Hillary (largely because I don't live in a swing state. I strongly dislike her so no point in calculating the lesser of two evils.) but there's hardly a reason to suspect that Trump is any less a liar or flip flopper than Hillary is.[1] They have the same or similar financial & foreign policy advisors.[2] Trump wants to build a border wall, Hillary wants to build a border fence.[3] Trump is likely to also support the TPP because his connection with TPP lobbyists despite his previous rhetoric.[4]

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnpO_RTSNmQ

    2.
    http://www.rawstory.com/2016/05/trump-names-former-partner-at-goldman-sachs-as-new-national-finance-chairman/

    https://theintercept.com/2015/12/18/beacon-global-strategies/

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/30/president-trump-us-war-machine-rolls-on/

    3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KE8DD6q6EF0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uXJ1mgkyF0

    4. https://theintercept.com/2016/06/29/trump-team-tpp/
  • S
    11.8k
    I'm a Trump supporter, so let me tell you why I support him. Hillary's a liar. The left's general plan is to give stuff away. We have no consistent immigration enforcement, yet we have very clear laws setting out what our immigration policy is supposed to be. Wanting to remain a sovereign nation is not equivalent to being xenophobic. No one is as sensitive in their daily lives as the media demands everybody be. And the biggest reason of all: there are no other Republican choices. I was a Kasich supporter, but he's not around anymore.

    You guys sitting around trying to figure out why anyone would support Trump is like me sitting around trying to figure out why anyone would support Sanders. It's obvious. You guys are just wrong about everything you believe in.
    Hanover

    Yes, Hilary is a liar, and she has other serious faults too. But Trump is worse. He's like a more extreme, less intelligent Nigel Farage. I'm not sure I could bring myself to vote for Hilary as the lesser of two evils, hypothetically speaking of course, since I'm not American and can't vote. America is in a lose-lose situation. Voting for the lesser of two evils is one thing - and I can relate and sympathise with your position to the extent that the candidate that you favoured was better but didn't make it, because I'm in the same position - but to actually support Trump should leave you feeling dirty.
  • Hanover
    5.7k
    but to actually support Trump should leave you feeling dirty.Sapientia

    The American system is a rigid two party system, and with the internal Senate rules requiring a 60% supermajority to bring anything to a vote, it will be impossible for anything much to pass. Add into the mix that the House will be Republican and the Senate likely Democrat, nothing will ever pass. That means that whether it's Trump or Clinton, it will be 4 years of gridlock, which is the way the system was set up. It intentionally protects the status quo, especially in times of great disagreement.

    The big issue is who will be placed on the Supreme Court. The judiciary, an entire branch of government, hangs in the balance, with the current split being a 4-4 conservative/liberal. So, for that reason, I'll vote for Trump so that the courts will remain conservative. The appointments made by the next President could affect the country for decades.
  • S
    11.8k
    The American system is a rigid two party system, and with the internal Senate rules requiring a 60% supermajority to bring anything to a vote, it will be impossible for anything much to pass. Add into the mix that the House will be Republican and the Senate likely Democrat, nothing will ever pass. That means that whether it's Trump or Clinton, it will be 4 years of gridlock, which is the way the system was set up. It intentionally protects the status quo, especially in times of great disagreement.Hanover

    How depressing. Why isn't this a bigger issue for Americans? Have they been placated? Turned docile and submissive? Or did it never enter their consciousness to begin with?

    The big issue is who will be placed on the Supreme Court. The judiciary, an entire branch of government, hangs in the balance, with the current split being a 4-4 conservative/liberal. So, for that reason, I'll vote for Trump so that the courts will remain conservative. The appointments made by the next President could affect the country for decades.Hanover

    Hmm. Okay, that sounds more reasonable than voting for Trump based on his policy proposals or Trumpisms, but it still runs the risk of backfiring if Trump gets his own way on some important issues. In any case, the courts remaining conservative can't be a good thing for a nation that's already so backwards. Guns, religiously motivated prejudice, death penalty, cops killing blacks left, right and centre without punishment...
  • Arkady
    762
    The American system is a rigid two party system, and with the internal Senate rules requiring a 60% supermajority to bring anything to a vote, it will be impossible for anything much to pass.Hanover
    It's misleading to say that Senate rules require a 60% supermajority to vote on a bill. It only requires such a supermajority if the opposition party opts for a filibuster. The fact that this maneuver seems to have become increasingly common in recent years doesn't mean that it's a de rigeur fact of the Senate.
  • Arkady
    762
    The judiciary, an entire branch of government, hangs in the balance, with the current split being a 4-4 conservative/liberal.Hanover
    Yes, because Senate Republicans have refused to even vote on an Obama nominee, once again (and I repeat) putting party before country. I would love to hear the howls of protest from the right which would ensue if Senate Democrats had pulled such a maneuver based on an invented rule of procedure in which election-year judicial nominees are not brought to vote.

    Just another instance of the double standard which conservatives allow themselves: the same way that the right can crow about patriotism, and yet still support a man who denigrates the record of a war hero (John McCain), and makes misleading statements about having donated to veterans' groups, whereas if Hilary Clinton had done such a thing, it would merit an endless loop of coverage on Fox News.
  • Hanover
    5.7k
    How depressing. Why isn't this a bigger issue for Americans? Have they been placated? Turned docile and submissive? Or did it never enter their consciousness to begin with?Sapientia
    Once upon a time, so the story goes, we were ruled by a tyrannical leader, who cared little for the rights of the people and who governed with an iron hand. Through the force of violent rebellion, we broke free from our shackles, but remained forever skeptical of our leaders. Through careful thought, we devised a system that checked the power of anyone who was granted power so that never again would we be subjugated. These rules, among other things, divided the power of our legislature into two houses, provided an executive the full power to veto, and a court to review everything to be sure it complied with our lofty principles.

    It is ironic that you describe this system as one that leads to submissiveness, because it does the opposite: it weakens the government and leaves the power to the people. It is for that reason that Republicans decry an increasingly central and controlling federal government.

    This system is not at all depressing. It leads to great stability and certainty. It has provided the world with its greatest economy and a protector of all that is just and right in the world.
    In any case, the courts remaining conservative can't be a good thing for a nation that's already so backwards. Guns, religious prejudice, death penalty, cops killing blacks left, right and centre without punishment.Sapientia

    The Court's ruling on guns is based upon the 2nd Amendment. That is but one of the checks on the federal government designed to weaken the power of the federal government (for what it's worth). The US is extremely religiously permissive. You guys still have a national religion don't you? Racial discrimination by police officers has nothing to do with the Supreme Court. It's illegal to kill the innocent already and the courts haven't said it's ok, so I'm not sure how that concern fits into this discussion.

    I can say that the US has at least figured out how to spell center.
  • Hanover
    5.7k
    Yes, because Senate Republicans have refused to even vote on an Obama nominee, once again (and I repeat) putting party before country.Arkady

    How would the country benefit by voting on a bad nominee?
  • Arkady
    762

    First, Merrick Garland (the candidate specifically at issue here) was not a "bad nominee" by any reasonable measure of the term. He is a federal judge with decades of experience who has won praise from both conservative and liberal sides for his judicial acumen and even-handedness. You may not like him, but of course you wouldn't: he's an Obama nominee, and so must be bad.

    Secondly, what does it say about the country when the majority party simply disregards procedure in order to stonewall a President from making the judicial appointments which it is within his power to make? That in and of itself constitutes a harm to the country (and I'd be saying the same thing were the roles reversed). Whether you like it or not, elections have consequences, and one of them is the ability to make judicial appointments. If the Senate finds him so problematic, they can vote him down.
  • Arkady
    762
    It is for that reason that Republicans decry an increasingly central and controlling federal government.Hanover
    Sorry, this is just conservative pablum. Republicans aren't in favor of actually shrinking or weakening the government: they're for doing away with programs and regulations which they don't like (e.g. labor standards and environmental regulations) and building up those which they do (e.g. our already-bloated military).

    Republicans love "state's rights" until the states do something they don't like, and then they're all too happy to use the power of the federal government as a cudgel (e.g. the Bush administration's attempting the squelch Oregon's Death With Dignity Act, or butting into the Terri Schiavo case in Florida).
  • Arkady
    762
    Racial discrimination by police officers has nothing to do with the Supreme Court.Hanover
    This would seem to fall pretty squarely within the purview of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, which is indeed a matter for SCOTUS.
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