Can it happen here?

No prediction I’ve made over my years of writing this blog has been quite as monumentally wrong as this one – Republican activists would not allow Donald Trump to take the nomination. I have yet to encounter anyone in that field who even liked Trump, much less supported him. He was phenomenally unpopular among Republicans who actually understand and participate in the process. Yet when presented with opportunities to step out of line and halt his momentum, with few exceptions they folded their hands in compliance. Only a small fraction of the Republicans repulsed by Trump were willing to make any clear public move in opposition.

I should have known better. Social science research on this subject is clear and voluminous. We are hard-wired to comply with social norms and apparent authority figures.

In a new post at Forbes I describe this election as a live action rerun of the famous Milgram Experiments.

Would you be willing to torture a test subject for no reason beyond the request of an apparent authority figure? Would you be willing to hand power to a dangerous demagogue who has promised to persecute minority groups simply to maintain compliance with a party identity or tribal norm? Milgram’s work suggests we should expect only about two-thirds of Republicans to comply with partisan pressures and support an outrageously unqualified and dangerous nominee. Current polling suggests that Milgram’s results may have been too optimistic. An overwhelming majority of Republicans will press a button to unleash mayhem on racial minorities just as willingly as Milgram’s subjects turned a dial to electrocute a test subject.

Milgram’s research also suggests that the party will not be able to reform itself. Having purged dissenters and shrunk to a culturally and racially monolithic core, there is simply no force capable of resisting its present dynamics. The party will break and re-organize, or be replaced. How long this will take is anyone’s guess, but the process can be expected to spread instability all across our system.

137 Comments

    1. What this election ended up being about………

      “issues that involve the fundamental arrangements of American life, issues of race and class and gender and sexual violence. ”

      That is what I hoped came across in my response to WX Wall. Many life and death issues swirl around us but we don’t see them via the media, yet they are there, wrecking lives, hurting people. If DJT did nothing more than pull the lid off the ugly interior of the real GOP, all this pain was worth it. We need to talk about these things – the things that ordinary people deal with day in and day out.

      1. Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters appear to be Blue State Republicans who probably feel like they’ve been ignored by the state establishment. I would not be surprised if some states like Michigan or New Jersey are closer than usual. Then again, Clinton is doing comparatively well among moderate, establishment Republicans (like the ones that populate the suburbs here in Atlanta) so some red states may be closer than usual as well.

      1. Mary,
        Under Ryan’s plan, people who have to save up to buy ammo for the Glock will pay more for medical care so billionaires can get a big tax cut! And i am sure that when it hits the fan, Republicans will blame all the added costs on Obamacare!

  1. And, so it begins……Wha, wha, wha, wha, whaaaaaaaa………

    Nevada – PA (having to go to paper ballots)….Any coincidence that the T campaign is focused on swing states? Of course we want voting to be flawless and unimpeachable, but let me just say that I think the T campaign is going to do everything it can to drag this out…..

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/trump-sues-nevada-county-over-poll-hours-extension-230944

    1. Also all the more reason to not have another Scalia or Alito on the Supreme Court. I don’t know if a new suit can be filed over these sorts of shenanigans that would overturn the ruling that gutted the VRA, or whether Congress must pass a new law (good luck there). But it’s obvious to me that the plaintiffs were 100% wrong in their arguments. There are still places in this country were you can’t trust the local/state governments to do right by all their citizens.

    2. Oh, but that’s just the point, VL. They impose voter suppression “because” there is voter fraud….Of all the reprehensible things the Republican Party does, voter suppression tops the list. Don’t forget, SCOTUS (under Scalia) struck down the VRA section that would have prevented voter suppression from running amok. I have read that the GOP was so sure of how the SC vote on this was going to come down that they had legislation to achieve suppression waiting to be filed in the battleground states. Which they proceeded to do. The courts blocked a lot of it but not all of it. If Republicans have such better ideas and candidates, why, I ask you, do they impose voter suppression? That is a rhetorical question, BTW. No answer needed.

  2. Ann Coulter goes full nazi:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ann-coulter-nazi-like-purity-pitch_us_58216286e4b0aac62486ba2e

    I would not be eligible to vote under such fascist rules, as one of my grandparents was born in Poland. But even more obvious is that Trump and his children would be barred too. Ann Coulter’s reply to that? “So what ? You are like “Politifact”, citing irrelevancies as if they detract from the blinding truth of my statement.” I’ll give you some blinding truth Ann, we’re a nation of immigrants.

    These professional trolls are just mailing it in now. Sad.

    1. V L

      What a pathetic person she is.

      She’s too stupid to realize that all she’d be doing is removing a ton of white people and their descendants from the voting rolls.

      Ironically it would also increase the voting power of many minorities because despite what people like her forget we’ve been in the US for a while.

      It would almost be worth it see Native Americans laugh themselves hoarse.

      1. She’s all yours, Chris. I’m not entertained or a fan. In fact, Coulter moving to communist China would suit me just fine. FWIW, I find Limbaugh much more insulting than an outrageous uncle.

        Guess my sense of humor just isn’t up to speed.

  3. After this is all over, there is going to be a ton of finger pointing! I doubt many in the higher ups of the GOP tho will be asking “How did we get so many KKK/White Supremicists/Neo Nazis/Davis Duke types in our party. The dems don’t have them!”
    From the Wall Street Journal asking why the party didn’t stand up to Trump:

    “What all this shows is that most conservative intellectuals have proved incapable of self-examination or even simple observation. Donald Trump is a demagogue. Period. The fervor of his crowds recalls Nasser’s Egypt. His convictions are illiberal. His manners are disgusting. His temper is frightening. It ought to have been the job of thoughtful conservatives in this season to point this out, time and again. If they can’t do that, what good are they?”

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/2016s-big-reveal-1478564830?emailToken=JRr8fvlyaH+VhtM2Z8xmjAR2dewCCuDMXF7JIXnOfxGQ6yyI/77xnP0=

    1. Stephens is one editor at the Journal who consistently writes well and straight-forward. I don’t always agree with him but his pieces are always well supported. I subscribed to the Journal earlier this year in an attempt to broaden my thinking, but have become so discontented with their milque toast if not outright ridiculous opinions that I cancelled my subscription yesterday. I predict their troubles (21% loss of advertising revenue) may in part be due to the changes Murdoch brought to this fine paper. (We subscribed for over 40 years so have a basis for comparison that is legitimate.) For the Journal to purport that they are “balanced” in their reporting on Trump is bull.

    2. For those who haven’t yet read this pithy piece by Brett Stephens, my favorite line was this: “You lost me at hello.”

      (to Paul Ryan who dithered in his support for Trump, casting around for a way to protect his current Speakership and future presidential run, while not “quite” being able to say what he really, really thought about DJT). That’s the problem with living with a lie in order to protect one’s pompous self…..

      ” “More common ground than disagreement,” was how House Speaker Paul Ryan justified his June endorsement of the GOP nominee, right around the time he described Mr. Trump’s slander of “Mexican” judge Gonzalo Curiel as a “textbook definition of a racist comment.” A smarter response by the speaker might have been: “You lost me at hello.”

      1. WSJ/STephens: Have to post Stephens final gauntlet to conservatives:

        “What all this shows is that most conservative intellectuals have proved incapable of self-examination or even simple observation. Donald Trump is a demagogue. Period. The fervor of his crowds recalls Nasser’s Egypt. His convictions are illiberal. His manners are disgusting. His temper is frightening. It ought to have been the job of thoughtful conservatives in this season to point this out, time and again. If they can’t do that, what good are they?”

        We’re about to find out.

  4. V L

    You can tell that the Republicans are in trouble and have no plan going forward because of all the alternate history fantasizing they are doing imagining Marco Rubio, Romney or whoever facing Clinton instead of Trump.

    I’m especially amused by the idea that Rubio would have won easily. Alternate histories are things that simply cannot be proven so it makes sense that they are popular. You can’t prove a negative.

    But the sad thing is that you actually have people using the fantasy about a Rubio candidacy that they’ve made up in their head as a starting point for a real movement to support the man in a real election.

    Fantasy Marco is still a viable candidate in a way that Real Marco isn’t after the way he embarrassed himself supporting/not-supporting Trump.

    The only reason that conservatives feel Rubio hasn’t been weakened is because Chris Christie, Paul Ryan and Ted Cruz are more pathetic figures.

    I’m not all that religious but I’ll pray today that the GOP is stupid enough to nominate Marco Rubio or any of the others that chose to kiss Trump’s ring rather than do what was right.

    1. I don’t see how Rubio can lose with the lead he has but he doesn’t “deserve” to win. His attendance and interest and comments about his Senate job should have been a disqualifier to all voters. A Murphy upset would be neat but I don’t think it will happen. My opinion of Rubio is that he lacks depth, conviction and principles. He is simply a good looking, affable male who is glib. He would never get my vote.

  5. Just took my disabled younger brother to his polling place. You think being a construction worker without a college degree he be Trump bait. In his own words Trump reminds me of a rabid dog foaming at the mouth. So Hillary has another vote. It is not that he is happy with Hillary but he understands the stark contrast here between her and Trump. So no being under educated is no excuse for voting for the narcissistic, con-artist want to be American Hitler. Just common sense should be enough to avoid that mistake.

      1. Anyone in Florida can ask for and receive a mail in ballot. He just never has voted that way. He walked in with his walker and got out in about 5 min. I may again try to talk him into a mail in next election.

      1. If elected, and (big) if Dems take Senate so she can get something done, I honestly believe HRC will surprise a lot of people with her competence and ability to get things done – well. We women know that we have to do jobs better in order to be recognized for doing it well. She won’t fail that test.

    1. V L

      I voted 2 Saturdays ago during Maryland’s early voting period.

      This year I realized I’d been kind of dumb waiting until after work on election day to vote when I could have voted early on a Saturday or Sunday.

      And I have no excuse because my polling place is within walking distance of my house. So I could even get some exercise in.

      1. V L

        Part of the reason I didn’t want to go is because my polling place is a madhouse on after 4pm on an election day.

        It’s a center for people with disabilities and so you have the folks who are going to the center, plus there is a cheap gym run by the center so you have that traffic and then there are the voters.

        It’s just too many people crammed into a small space.

        I voted on Saturday and was in and out in a half hour and went to breakfast afterward. 🙂

    2. Voted almost a month ago, by mail. In California vote-by-mail is almost a necessity – there are so many complex initiatives to research, and party-line is actually not a meaningful option with the initiatives and odd jungle primary outcomes. Not that it’s often a great option anywhere, but it’s not an option, period, here.

  6. A tale of two GOP pundits voting. One has the awareness to break free of the pressure to conform, one is a standard bearer for party over country:

    http://theweek.com/speedreads/660290/sean-hannity-explains-why-hes-voting-donald-trump-ana-navarro-explains-why-isnt

    If you put that toady Hannity in a Milgram type test, I bet he’d push the pain button before anyone commanded him. As for Clinton in the White House, damn straight I’ll own it, you fawning lickspittle, proudly and in your face!

    1. Hannity is a pompous ass. That he earns north of $20 million a year gives credence to the criticism of the excesses of capitalism.

      The Guardian has an outstanding retrospective on Donald Trump’s rise to power. It’s useful to remind ourselves of how this “thing” happened.

      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/07/who-is-to-blame-us-election-trump?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=198622&subid=20116704&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

  7. “The Trump supporters, by contrast, simply reject the polls, believing that they’re either rigged or don’t capture the true shape of his support.

    “He’s gotta,” Carol Mazurick said, when asked whether she thought Trump would [w]in. “I’m so excited. I could cry so easily,” she said. She’d been watching his rallies on the internet throughout the campaign season, and now she finally had her chance to see the man in person, just a few minutes from her home.”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/trumps-last-stand/506897/

    Would it be most appropriate to cry, laugh, or snort?

  8. I know Democrats are currently gloating about the Faustian bargain the Republicans are currently facing. But for one minute I ask Democrats to turn the mirror on ourselves. IMHO, we’ve already had our Milgram moment.

    Obama ordered the assassination of a U.S. citizen (Anwar Al-Awlaki) without any due process protections that are constitutionally guaranteed him. A week later, he assassinated his 16-year old child in a similar fashion. These were likely not isolated incidents. His attorney general (Eric Holder) delivered a speech, at a law school commencement ceremony, no less, justifying why the President had the power to do this. And yet Democrats who decried GWB for tapping phones without a warrant stood and still stand mum over this gross violation of our constitution.

    For me, a life-long yellow dog democrat, that was the last straw. I don’t care if I agree with 99% of everything else he does (I don’t, but even if…), that was my line in the sand. I didn’t vote for him in 2012. It was the first time I didn’t vote for the democrat since I could vote.

    To the Democrats on this blog, I ask a serious if admittedly inflammatory question: do you have a line in the sand that would prevent you from voting for your team? And is that line less extreme than the ones Republicans currently have that allows them to justify to themselves their vote for Trump?

    1. Of course there’s a line. But I think every vote you make or don’t make has to look at the totality of the choice, including who the opponent is.

      Many ppl would disagree, but given the “two choices and only two choices” nature of presidential elections, I think it is every citizens duty to compare both and vote for who they think is the “least bad” for the country. Obviously, that’s not very inspiring, everybody wants to vote FOR something, not against something.

      And in that context, given how truly terrible the Republican Party has become, how truly devoted to literally breaking the institutions of government in order to further their grip on power, who thinks that compromise is a weakness to be attacked…..there would have to be some pretty appalling reasons to make me not vote Dem. I think the greatest threat to the national security of America (and by extension, the world) is not ISIS or the Russians. It’s the current iteration of the Republican Party (along with the similar right wing authoritarian movements that seem to be gaining momentum in the Western world). I mean that 100%, and without hyperbole. Not metaphorically or anything. I think they are literally the greatest threat to global security right now.

      An internal threat is always far, far more dangerous to a society then an external one.

      1. To me, the greatest threat is all the damage we are doing to our environment. One party is willing to take that seriously. The other thinks it’s all a conspiracy to make scientists and Third World countries rich (looking at you Inhofe, you fool). Add to that the trading in of the racist dog whistles for racist contrabass trombones -a ton of crappy icing on that noxious political cake.

        Al-Awlaki should have been tried in abstentia for treason first. He was very openly aiding the enemies of the United States, and he had to know that he had a target on his back, so it’s not like a public trial is tipping anyone off.

      2. Excellent points, Fly. Denial of global warming is incredibly ignorant and will hurt our entire planet.

        Your suggestion about a trial in absentia has merit but not knowing more about the urgency of the decision to kill the two defectors, and the probability of greater risk of extraction, I just can’t make an informed decision. I’ll give PRes. Obama credit for choosing the least worst choice.

      3. Rob, you have answered WX Wall for me as well. I understand the anger and disagreement of the killing of the two ISIL figures. I am certain, if there had been a way to extract these two in another way, Pres. Obama would have ordered it done. How can one be critical of this decision and ignore the orders that sent so many Americans to their deaths in Iraq? I am also certain that all presidents have had to make similar decisions that resulted in the death of Americans who had made the choice to actively work to hurt America. We just don’t know what they are because they have been kept secret. Does that make it right? I honestly don’t have enough facts about this particular killing to answer that, but I will say that this president and this party has been loathe to put Americans in harms way.

        So, yes, there is a line in the sand. But for me, the Republican Party has operated in such a heinous manner across the board, that the choice is clear. I am not a one incident voter, I look more widely. In fact, I have voted many times for GOP candidates, but not in this election and possibly never until their party principles change. Valuing life is more than drone strikes – it is human rights – women’s right to choose, fairness in the justice system (ask yourself how many innocent people have been sent to jail irresponsibly? Voting rights – equality in marriage and home purchases and jobs. Are you aware that gay people can still be fired in the workplace?

        So, yes, Rob said it eloquently, but I do agree there is a line to be drawn and for me that line was not the drone strike killings of these two turned Americans, it is the thousands of people who suffer every day due to the oppression and suppression of their rights.

      4. @ Mary:
        “Are you aware that gay people can still be fired in the workplace?”
        Not in Orange County Florida and most other large counties and cities in Florida. This is one way to get around our do nothing congress or state legislatures. Do it locally.

      5. On ignorance in politics:
        “In addition to making little effort to seek out information, most voters also do a poor job of evaluating what information they do know. Instead of acting as truth seekers, they instead function as “political fans” cheering on Team Red or Team Blue, overvaluing any information that confirms their preexisting views while ignoring or downplaying anything that cuts the other way. This kind of bias is exacerbated by the intense partisanship and polarization that has descended upon American politics in recent years.”

        “Voter ignorance one of the most important weaknesses of modern democratic government.”

        Well, we’ve got proof of that in spades this election.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/11/08/time-to-take-political-ignorance-seriously/?wpisrc=nl_volokh&wpmm=1

    2. V L

      I am a registered Democrat but I don’t see them as my team. I am a Democrat mainly because I live in Maryland, a blue state where the Democratic primary is usually the election. Besides that I would not characterize my politics as pro-Democrat rather I am anti-Republican/anti-right wing.

      So I guess my “team” is broadly anti-right.

      You are of course entitled to your views and I agree with your criticism of killing of Al-Awlaki and his son.

      If I had more choices perhaps that would be a line in the sand for me but I am also a woman, gay and black.

      If I don’t vote/support the Democrats I will have no representation at all because the GOP/right is simply not and never will be an option for me and the average Green/Sanderista has the political nous of a rock.

      The Democrats are the only legitimate political party that will fight for me and listens to people of color. The left is populated by Bernie Sanders types who can’t be bothered to actually interact with someone like me unless they want something.

      There is no one else.

      So I’m a Democrat because I’m working within the limited means that I have.

      And yes if he could run I would vote for Obama for a third term even with my objections to drone warfare.

      1. “…I would not characterize my politics as pro-Democrat rather I am anti-Republican/anti-right wing.”

        That’s very close to where I am. I think of myself more as anti-authoritarian than anti-right wing, but that’s a distinction without a difference, these days.

  9. I’ve been chewing on this for a while so have to spit it out. In the Forbes Milgram post, you stated: “His opponent is, by any detached observation, a well-qualified and thoroughly ordinary political figure, with a common and unremarkable package of strengths and weaknesses.”

    It is inaccurate to describe HRC as a “thoroughly ordinary political figure” given her life history, personal accomplishments and public service. Further, to state that her strengths and weaknesses are common and unremarkable may play well with her detractors, but surely we know better. HRC has weaknesses as do all persons who seek the highest position in our nation. She is ambitious, calculating, political and has made some very poor decisions. What she is not is ordinary nor common. We agree she is well qualified and I thank you for acknowledging that.

    1. Not to go too off-topic, but I have my interview in the Pacific Northwest this past weekend. During my stay, I had a pleasant Uber ride whose driver was wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt. We had an adult conversation for the 20 minute ride from Federal Way. I told her I was up there for a deputy position.

      It was pretty nice to have a 20 minute cordial conversation without hearing banjos.

      1. The Uber was a ride back to SeaTac from Federal Way. I had my psych test down there. The department was nice enough to fly me up there, pay for my hotel room, and get me a light rail pass to go into the city.

        I figured I could spot 25 bucks for a ride after that.

        I think I did pretty good. They never tell you if you passed the psych test. You’ll just get a letter or email one day. So, I’ve got my fingers crossed.

  10. Viking

    Tangential to this discussion, there is an interesting article in the NYT about how, in their “sunset,” baby boomers have reawakened an old divide.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/07/us/politics/baby-boomers-voters-campaign.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=span-abc-region&region=span-abc-region&WT.nav=span-abc-region

    “…. the 2016 election has served as a rematch between two boomer factions: one candidate promising a 1950s-flavored throwback to an idealized postwar America at its most muscular, the other sounding the familiar liberal call to tear down whatever societal barriers still stand.”

    Concerning another Clinton presidency:

    “There is a kind of do-over quality to it,” said Landon Y. Jones, the author of the 1980 book “Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation.” “This is their last chance to get it right.”

    “Enlightened but self-centered, introspective but reckless, they are known among the cohorts that followed them — and even to some boomers themselves — as the generation that failed to live up to its lofty ideals, but still held fast to its sense of superiority.”

    1. I find this particular criticism of Clinton so disingenuous and frankly a very poor conclusion. Clinton is not “stuck in the past”, she has built on the past, but she is very forward-thinking. Now Trump definitely fits the “tear down everything” model, as much because that’s what appeals to his base and also because he hasn’t given any depth of thought to developing his own policies.

    1. I think the most likely (and most desirable) scenario is the racist southern vote just gets its own party that goes nowhere (but will possibly be the most successful third party in history, especially at the state level) and the GoP comes back center right. There has to be a ton of natural GoP voters (like Chris, for example) that are voting Dem, but would jump at the chance to come home to a sane conservative party.

      The Bloc that now makes up “the Deplorables” was basically the ones that were forced out of the Dem party in the 60’s when the Dems passed the CRA, knowing it would cause them to leave. Theyve been infecting the GoP ever since, but if they leave (or get booted), they have no place left to go.

      And frankly, the Dems in the 60’s provided a blue print for how to get rid of The Deplorable bloc: make unacceptable policy (to them) a central plank in the official platform. The Dems did it with the CrA, wjich they knew full well would cause them to leave. The GoP could do it with comprehensive immigration reform. Make that a central plank in the platform, and the Deplorables will see themselves out.

      1. Yes, the GOP does need to say buh-bye to the deplorables, and they will be better for it in the long run. But they have to accept that it will hurt them in the short run. 3 steps back before you can take a new step forward in a better direction. They had a chance this year. People like Rubio and Jeb and Cruz could have taken on Trump and his unacceptable statements a year ago, when it could have done some good. But they didn’t want to alienate the Trump cultists, and the GOP is where it is today because of that lack of courage and self reflection. They ignored the 2012 electoral autopsy, something that would have helped them. The 2016 version will be even harsher. Will they listen now? Or go with “If we just pick a REAL conservative this time…….”

      2. Fly, do you see ANY indication coming from the GOP that they have learned anything from this disaster? I don’t. I see more doubling down – no SCOTUS approvals for Clinton’s 4 years, even more voter suppression…etc. I think Chris has it figured just right- the GOP will have to collapse, and the sooner the better so that a true conservative party can emerge that is more inclusive and more accommodating to the needs of the other 99%. The GOP will undoubtedly claim that their loss was a “one-off” due to Trump, and while that didn’t help, they created the atmosphere that birthed this monstrosity and they have to take responsibility for it….Like Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace and Michael Steele and others who have their heads on straight are acknowledging. I don’t agree with Rubio being better than Clinton for reasons I’ve cited below, but she was definitely a weak candidate, both from her own deficiencies and those they successfully pinned to her.

    1. I want to understand this because you need to know the how and why in order to deal with it. Not for making excuses for them, or giving any sympathy where none is deserved, but for accurately diagnosing and treating the disease. Social stigma is likely going to be part of the treatment.

      1. Fly, don’t you think that Chris has explained the basis for this? The “Cracked” article and the book “Hillbilly Elegy” clearly depict the problem, but the sad part is that these desperate people continue to vote for a party that really doesn’t give a &u*k about them, yet they continue to vote Republican! I think Rob has a better answer in education, but I also believe that the desperation deserves immediate attention – sort of like FDR’s programs – sort of like a major infrastructure programs (proposed by O, blocked by Repubs)…It can be done but it has to restore dignity and it will cost money. And, that is where the rub really is. Spending money on the poor just doesn’t cut it with the rich.

      2. Honestly VL, I’m inclined towards pessimism myself. You cannot help people who refuse help. But they have to be dealt with somehow. I like to know everything I can. Even the excuses some people make can be informative. I hope out voting them will be enough, eventually.

        Speaking 100% honestly, I do not like these people, and I’d prefer to have nothing to do with them. My best outcome is that they get jobs or a UBI or whatever covers the basics, and they keep to themselves to create their own little 1950’s while the rest of us move on. That’s as optimistic as I can get right now.

    2. Just for the record, I am sad to report that I have zero sympathy for anyone who votes for Trump and either watches him lose or watches him win and destroy our country. ZERO. I’m not very forgiving and will have even less empathy or sympathy for the crap we know is waiting on the other side of midnight, November 9th.

    3. Well, here’s a viewpoint that is probably the most fundamental reason why people who “shouldn’t” vote Republican, do so. These voters are going to be impossible to reach through logic. Ever. To your point, VL, why try? That’s hard in light of this presidential election – IOW, own the choice you make. All the educated, affluent people who are voting for Trump because….SCOTUS….Hillary lies…..liberal budget busters? You will not get any sympathy from me even as I respect your right to vote for the candidate of your choice. That choice implies some thought and thus equal responsibility. Think we’ll see that if Trump loses? No, the GOP way is to fight back by obstructing the government the nation elected. Republicans have learned nothing.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/11/07/low-information-voters-are-a-crucial-part-of-trumps-support/?wpisrc=nl_cage&wpmm=1

  11. Very relevant to our discussion:

    http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/7/13532178/donald-trump-american-democracy-weakness

    “Trump will likely lose on Tuesday. But if he loses, it will be because he is a crude, undiciplined demagogue. The world also produces clever, disciplined demagogues. And they are the ones who truly threaten republics.”

    Amen. I hope that in 48 hours we will be discussing how we dodged that major bullet. But more bullets are coming. The fact that tens of millions of Americans will enthusiastically vote for a crude, undisciplined demogogue should by seen as a red alert. It can happen here. It will happen here if we fail to recognize that.

  12. Of course this is only one person’s views, that of the writer. But It feeds into what has been said for a while. How does a political party that has based so much on white anger put all this back in the box?

    From the New York Times:

    ““For racists in this country, this campaign has been a complete affirmation of their fears, worries, dreams and hopes,” said Ryan Lenz, the editor of the Hatewatch blog at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such groups from its headquarters in Montgomery, Ala. “Most things they believe have been legitimized, or have been given the stamp of approval, by mainstream American politics to the point now where it’s no longer shameful to be a racist.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/07/us/politics/donald-trump-extremist-supporters.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=span-abc-region&region=span-abc-region&WT.nav=span-abc-region&_r=0

    1. So true, Justhuman. It will require the GOP to die as it is presently configured. There is no way to “fix” it from within. I used to think that was possible, but with those within the party leadership rallying around someone they know is a despicable person and dangerous for our country, I have concluded the party simply has to destruct. The rigid, narrow, long-promoted bigotry, racism, control of women, homophobia, religious extremism and white nationalism, xenophobia, and rewarding the wealthy at the expense of all others, power, (did I miss anything?) is entrenched. It will take time, the old white voters going on to GOP heaven (you don’t think they’d consider mixing with all those gays, minorities, pro-choice, muslim, poor folks, do ya?) and enlightened conservative thinkers to build a more inclusive party. Boy is there going to be a lot of pain between now and then. I feel for America and for our grandchildren.

  13. This is a prime example of why I have never joined a political party (despite the advantages) and probably never will. I reserve the right to say “oh HELL NO! You people have lost your effing minds and I’m not joining your mad dash over the cliff.” I can resist people like Trump (despite being raised in a more conservative household) for several reasons. One, I’ve also got a bit of a rebel streak myself. Two, as I’ve mentioned in previous discussions, I deeply loathe bullies. Third, I am educated, so I respect facts and valid reasoning, and I have zero respect for people who don’t do their homework and then try to baffle everyone with BS. Lastly, I have a “live and let live” philosophy of live. I don’t care what you do, or believe, as long as you aren’t hurting someone else. Yes, I’ll argue with you if I disagree, even mock you if you’re being ridiculous, but unless your speech is going to incite violence, I’m not trying to shut you up.

    1. “This is a prime example of why I have never joined a political party (despite the advantages) and probably never will.”

      You and me, brother.

      When I signed up to vote for the first time, I knew which way I leaned but I didn’t want to declare an alignment. At the time my argument was “I don’t want a party deciding for me what to think.”

      In the end I got frustrated not having a say in primaries, so now I register for the side I like the least in order to vote for the least bad in that that primary, and then vote for the best in the general. I only vote ‘against’ in primaries; general elections are for who I vote ‘for.’

      This has done two things for me.

      One, it means I have to pay closer attention to both sides’ internal distinctions to know what’s different between their primary challengers.

      Two, it’s hardened me over time and now I’m adament: I’m not a liberal. I’m not a conservative. I’m not a Republican. I’m not a Democrat. I’m not a True Believer. I’m a human being and if you can’t argue for a solution to the problem, I don’t want to hear about your stupid ass ‘Well the ________ group did this so we have to defeat them.’ I don’t care.

      I honestly think if you set your identity within a political party, you’re an idiot. That’s pretty mean to say on the forum run by a guy who used to go by GOPLifer and I do sort of defer that having a platform and an infrastructure is more than useful, but necessary. I have learned from Chris about how you can consider a party as an institution built around principles, and if the institution doesn’t stick to its principles then it ceases to be relevant as an institution and begins to fall apart. I’ve seen this happen to businesses, groups, families, clubs, forums, and so forth.

      Further clarification, my parents worked in organizational behavior and management consulting and I’ve kept up with a lot of that literature over time, and by far the biggest work is getting individuals to reflect upon and define their own values. Decision making and leadership derives from that. Once you know your OWN values, you seek organizations that match those values; and once joining those organizations, it’s your responsibility to check in and make sure a) you’re still working by your values and b) the organization is still matching it. These things always shift over time. Relationships end.

      So committing your identity to an institution is foolish. It’s flat out stupid. I understand it’s psychological and not logical, and most people aren’t as versed in this sort of stuff as I am. Nevertheless, it’s not healthy for individuals to put an organization’s values before their own; and ‘joining’ a political party basically requires that.

  14. Well, as I posted previously, I felt a sense of relief once I voted early and somehow don’t have the same interest in the election.

    Tomorrow, on Election Day itself, I will take a personal media blackout and shut out all forms of live media. I don’t have it in me to endure the suspense over the results. I will just read a novel and listen to music.

    Wednesday morning, I will turn on the radio and find out who won, and whoever wins wins, and if there is unrest, I will worry about it at that time. This has been a wild ride, but I have made my peace with it.

  15. For me, one of the most depressing moral breakdowns in this whole sordid mess has been the silence or outright support of the evangelical branch of the church. They are willing to overlook and rationalize naked racism, misogyny, threats of violence, actual violence, cruelty, sexual assault, and every other disgusting display of their candidate’s character in order to get a few tattered promises to end abortion, given to them by someone who has been shown to never keep his promises. Truly disgusting and dismaying on every level.

    1. They are voting for the most un-Jesus-like dude on the planet, and rationalizing that it’s the only way to stop abortion. To quote Uncle Joe,”What malarkey!!” There are ways to cut down on abortion that are far more effective than packing the SCOTUS to overturn Roe vs Wade. Of course, they’ll have to give up their misogyny for that.

      1. I go to a quite-liberal Methodist church, and I’ve struggled to understand the right-wing evangelicals for a long time.

        I, myself, struggle with the teachings of Jesus. I donate to charity, of course, but I don’t give away all my wealth and trust in providence. I don’t want to turn the other cheek myself, and I’m not sure our nation always should, despite knowing that is what we are asked to do. I struggle frequently to reconcile practicality with higher moral aspirations.

        But it’s pretty clear, on most issues, what attitude Jesus would have bring to them. It’s all there in the Bible. And so much of the GOP attitude has, for so long, seemed directly contrary. All about feelings of fear, greed, shaming, contempt that are antithetical to the New Testament (well, maybe Paul would be more Republican-leaning).

        Mostly Trump has just showed what we already suspected, that the evangelicals had their eyes wide open to what worldview they were embracing all along.

      2. “I, myself, struggle with the teachings of Jesus”

        Jesus teachings are remarkably consistent. Its the rest of the Bible, specifically the OT, that’s contradictory. I used to struggle with the Bible die to these very contradictions. I never stopped struggling until my early 20’s when I realized it was all a sham. If there is a creator out there, it surely isn’t a personal God. To think that a being so powerful that it can defy the laws of physics (which is a huge red flag right there. Everything in the universe is subject tonthe universes laws, even a presumably God like figure) and create everything we see out of nothing…..and yet is so small and petty that he cares who we have sex with, and cares if our thoughts arw pure. It is the epitome of human centric arrogance that such a powerful being would be so obsessed with our personal lives. We would be lower then ants to such a being.

        Oh yeah, and he loves us soooooo much that he created the worst, most terrible place imaginable to throw us to be tortured for eternity just in case we didn’t love him back. Uhhhhh, wut? How can this almighty, omnipotent, all perfect being have the emotional maturity of a 5 y/o and the temperament of a psychopath? A human mother/father would be called a monster if they did the same (tortured their child if they didn’t live them). How is a “sinful, fallen” humans love for their child more pure then almighty Gods?

        On the other hand, it seems perfectly plausible to me that ancient humans invented religion as a way for a curious species newly sentient to explain the unexplainable. (” Whats that glowing ball in the sky that rises every day? It must be a God. Let’s worship it!”). And indeed, the first religions WERE sun worshipping. And it’s also entirely plausible to me that somehwere along the way, some deviant figured out that of you control religion and the oath to God, you control the world. There is no more efficient way to control large groups of ppl then by controlling their religious belief. And so, somehwere along the way, ignorance and curiosity that created religion gave way to charlatans and crooks who exploiited it. Im Not saying all religious leaders are crooked. Undoubtedly, most that I’ve met have been decent, well meaning ppl. But the entire concept of “my religion is the right one, not the other thousands of others out there, and you must believe mine or you go to hell” is, without doubt, the biggest con ever pulled on mankind.

        As with all things, follow the money. Nobody ever adequately explained to me why this all powerful, all knowing being that can create matter out of thin air ALWAYS NEEDS MONEY! I guess even God needs to get his cut.

        And yes I’m aware lots of churches do lots of good things. But frankly, so do lots of secular groups, and a churches good deeds are completely separate from the religious beliefs.

        Sorry for the rant lol. Sometimes I type a message and it just keeps coming.

      3. Fred the young rich man was asked to give away his wealth because he was putting it ahead of God. Jesus did not ask everyone to do this. My personal opinion, turn the other cheek means to not take vengeance. Read where Peter cut a ear off of the servant with his sword when Jesus was arrested. That sword had all along been with Peter during his time with Jesus. It is OK to defend yourself. The lord had the harshest words for the Pharisees who were self righteous without an ounce of love or charity for others. Many church people are walking in the way of the Pharisees. Something I check myself for all the time. And remember Evangelicals are a minority of the church. Don’t lose your faith brother. God has it all under control and he is not fooled about people’s motives and what is really in their hearts.

  16. Part of the problem is that Trump didn’t look that terrible when next to other clowns in the primaries. I felt (as a non-American) that the GOP deserves humiliation for blocking Obama every step in the way, so was happy with the prospect of Trump winning the primaries and then losing the general. Problem is he is acting far more authoritarian (borderline fascist) than I could have predicted.

      1. Turtles, you and I rarely disagree but we do here. Donald Trump was a jerk from the get go. Most of the other candidates handled themselves with decorum, whether I disagreed with what they said or not. Chris Christie (no surprise there) was as obnoxious as usual, and Rubio was such a little panderer that he disgusted me, but I thought Cruz (who I abhor), Kasich, Jeb!, Fiorina conducted themselves with dignity.

  17. V L

    An overwhelming majority of Republicans will press a button to unleash mayhem on racial minorities just as willingly as Milgram’s subjects turned a dial to electrocute a test subject.

    The Milgram Experiment 1962 Full Documentary

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

    Yep. And this is why the aftermath of this election will be important. Of course there will be a focus on the right but there has to be a focus on the politics of women, minorities and the youth that has been largely missing.

    In the experiment the “test subject” was someone that the tester could not see but, this is important to note, they could hear the person cry out.

    Watch the video. You hear people crying out in pain and it makes no difference. You see people who clearly know what they are doing is wrong go ahead anyway.

    This is why I get so angry when there is this talk about how Trump supporters are good people. No matter the intent, good or bad, they are still voting to harm us.

    I say this because there are many of you who are advocating for some sort of unity after this election or lament the idea that the country is fractured. I can’t agree. There will be no unity and there shouldn’t be.

    There may be an appetite for that on the right, but that is only because conservatives have been forced to consider it. On the left there aren’t going to be a lot of people interested in talking.

    How do you have a conversation with someone who is willing to kill you even when you beg them to stop?

    1. Stop begging and start voting. Hispanics have learned that lesson and have registered and turned out in huge numbers. Yet, this year, Black vote is lagging behind previous presidential elections. I udnerstand that Obama is not “on” the ballot, but this race is probably more important than the two previous ones. The fact that there could be as many as 3 appointees to SCOTUS which decides all the equity issues for our country, should be compelling enough.

      As for post-election coalescing, if Trump is elected, it won’t be an issue, it will be a steam-roller presidency. If Clinton is elected, as president she has a greater responsibility than each of us with our own personal concerns. She will be POTUS of the entire country and she understands she represents all people. She is also a skilled bureaucrat and I am certain will do all she can to help those she has promised – to the best she can given the certainty of House obstruction
      of any programs that require funding.

      This is not pay back time, there are a lot of serious problems domestically and abroad (which has received scant attention, btw) which will require the president’s attention. However frustrated and angry we may be individually, there is a bigger problem in simply getting government to work.

      1. V L

        Believe me we are voting.

        The black vote is lagging in NC because of voter suppression which the NC GOP is already gloating about. But that is about it.

        When it’s all said and done we will have done our part and have been joined by Latino and Asian voters who are flexing their political muscle. We’re good.

        Also I’m not talking about payback. I’m talking about moving on. We need to stop elevating Trump and his supporters, not pretend taking their “concerns” seriously actually matters and move toward doing what we can where we can to help the country.

        I think it will be difficult to do so but I also think that Clinton will benefit from a political environment that increasingly will hostile to GOP obstruction.

      2. On the voting issue, Slate has a piece that spells out just how important voter suppression is to the Republican Party. It’s heart-breaking and it makes me furious. There are a lot of ways to deprive people and to rig the game so only one can win. Targeting one of the most fundamental rights in America for manipulation is beyond my ability to forgive.

        http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/11/07/those_insanely_long_early_voting_lines_were_a_result_of_republican_voter.html?wpsrc=newsletter_slatest&sid=5388d1a3dd52b8417a011bf1

      3. And, it is no coincidence that NC is the one state that all pundits agree is pivotal to the winner of POTUS. Voter suppression was known as a looming problem…I don’t know how the GOTV apparatus could have resolved this problem, but they knew it was going to be a problem.

        One thing that isn’t getting much attention is that there is a city-wide transit strike in Philadelphia….a city that Clinton must have to take PA. So many election variables….

  18. Tribalism and being mistrustful of those not like us is hardwired into our DNA. It’s an evolutionary tool that served us well for a long time, and if left to its own devices, will overpower any rational thought of action.

    The “cure” is education, and that’s why a strong robust public school system and affordable post secondary is a national security issue. An ignorant and uneducated population unaware of its own biases is far more dangerous to the security of the nation then any external threat could be.

    As for the GoP, no there’s no way it can be reformed. Think about it: undoubtedly, the autopsy of 2016 will be the same as 2012, only mich more so. And yet, illegal immigration is pretty much the most important policy for the Trumpsters. How does one reconcile that? The base as currently constructed flat out will not allow the party to move towards immigration reform, and yet that (plus a whole lot more) is exactly what’s needed.

    The divisions are just too deep. Not to mention, the GoP is, at its most fundamental, the party of the 1%, in other words, the ultimate “elites”.

    A party whose main reason for existence is to push the agenda of elites but whose base universally despises “elites” cannot stand.

    Remember, the only reason the Trumpster bloc was invited into the tent decades ago was in order to get their votes and advance the agenda of no regulations/no taxes for corporations/1%. That’s it. They’re opinions were not and are not valued. Sure, the party was more then happy to pay lip service to abortion and guns and Jesus and hating gays/blacks etc. But that was all the cost of doing business in order to get all those Southern votes. It’s not like they VALUE those voters opinions, only their votes. So if that base no longer is willing to commit their votes towards the elites agenda (of which a huge plank is free trade and globalism), I don’t see why the base keeps them around.

    Or, more accurately, why they’re willing to stick around, because at this point indont see how they can kick them out. It’s the GoP elites that will have to move.

    1. Three points: Republicans are becoming the party of the small 1% and the masses of under/un-educated/”Milgramized” voter base. You correctly point out that the solution is improved education (which the right has no interest in “fixing” as they don’t want a “more” educated base, in fact, it would destroy their agenda. People might actually rationally walk away from the party.) The failed voucher concept was supposed to remedy this, and when that didn’t happen, charter schools were launched. Results are very mixed, taxpayer funded with little public or publicized accountability (which would show they are not much better than the public schools they compete with…only…no one knows because charter school results are hidden.)

      Your second fine point is that the true goal of the Republican Party has always been to benefit the elite. In this mess of an election, working class people have had an opportunity to open their eyes and minds to the fact that the GOP elite have nothing for them – never did, never will but were swayed through anger and frustration away from this unpleasant truth by a Donald Trump candidacy. The GOP has been successful in painting the Democratic Party as worse and ANY successfully elected Democratic President as not only incompetent, but in opposition to their needs while making it impossible for the POTUS to address their needs. What a conundrum, and hardly accidental. That challenging situation Dems can address with real, tangible results…”if” the Republicans don’t “obstruct everything” (so Dems don’t get credit for trying or succeeding). Dems will have to be better communicators and help this group understand the bait and switch the GOP has been foisting all along. Not an easy task, under majority rule at every level of government. Dems have to build a “Bluemap” to counter the GOP “Redmap”….a bottoms up approach which demonstrates to rank and file voters how they are trying to help and that they do have the working man’s backs.

      Finally, there are women, and how they are waking up and rebelling against the Republican Party because they want and deserve equal opportunities with men and more important, deserve to be treated respectfully.

      The immigration issue, treatment of minorities (even those here legally) is so obvious a problem for the GOP it hardly bears mentioning. We’ll just have to let the ballot speak for itself in sheer turn out numbers – and observance of GOP voter suppression laws. Black people are too tired of making the difference and they need some help. The strength of the Hispanic turn out this year didn’t just happen, it is the result of a lot of hard work and organization at the ground level. With any successes this year, that effort will grow in sophistication and outcome.

      Only a balanced S.C. can resolve – restore fairness of access to voting, and the Scalia court did a number on that by striking down that section of the VRA that eliminated the requirement for poll protection. That is why it is so critical to take the Senate so some of these changes that have been especially egregious can be righted.

      https://www.thenation.com/article/there-are-868-fewer-places-to-vote-in-2016-because-the-supreme-court-gutted-the-voting-rights-act/?ex_cid=newsletter

      1. Mary,
        My sense is the voucher experiment and charter schools were just ploys to wreck havoc on the public school system and the teachers union. I recognize there are a ton of problems with public education. But taking money from the system that, rightfully so, has a mandate to educate all students, even those that are disabled and difficult, and putting that money into elite schools, has not worked and probably never will. But it became a rallying cry of the right.
        Maybe i am wrong, but i just do not see the Republican Party really all that interested in educating the masses. After all, critical thinkers are not the Republican base.

        As an aside, the stock market , the S&P, is up 2.08% as we speak, obviously on the news Hillary is not under investigation. That in itself is a message to Republicans, not that they would pay attention!

      2. One wonders what today’s stock market would do if the FBI announced that DJ T was under investigation (-; Triple digit rally?

        Conservatives don’t care about public education for a lot of reasons. IN my years of public education advocacy, I tried to work with business through the local Chamber and state business organization. Everything was roses until it came time to pass a bond issue, then, “public education is a waste of taxpayer $$”. It made me very cynical for a genuine interest in improving public education from business interests. Sorry to say things haven’t changed much over the years in this regard.

  19. Other Republican politicians wanted Trump’s voters so did not oppose him thinking he would fall and and they would pick up his deplorables.

    A small percent of us are natural rebels who resist herd pressure. I have been that way always. Part of that comes I think from having high empathy. And part from a analytical bent combined with loving truth.

  20. Somewhere i read that the biggest problem with the GOP is they have told the base that “elites”, the media, can not be trusted. And with so many alternate sites to get what one might call “news”, anyone who does not believe one fact can go to get another fact he or she agrees with. So there is no one place or person to be either trusted or followed.
    Trump has opened up a huge can or worms for not only the GOP but the country. He has to some extent legitimized racism. No more GOP dog whistles. Now it is right out in the open where all can see.
    Just my opinion but the GOP could win almost no national or statewide election without the support of the people who want to be Trump-like! So for the Republican party to repudiate Trump, they would have to accept to some extent minorities, meaning not denigrate them, not keep suppressing their votes with all this voter ID garbage. The far right will not tolerate that.

    1. From a father/son blog, an appeal to common sense in a time of insanity. Each of us do have choices and choices have consequences. Tomorrow’s election will direct America down one fork of the road. Each is fraught with problems, but taking the Trump fork is simply unimaginable in the risks it promises, as the Carmadas enunciate. As Chris points out, millions of Americans will choose the wrong path for reasons that are just as concerning as the choice itself. That so many are willing participants in the destruction of democracy through manipulation and blind following, is where our nation is. There is another option, imperfect though the messenger is.

      https://fatherandsonconverse.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/imagine-president-trump/

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