Voice of Trumplandia

knightTo put a Democrat back in the White House that party probably needs, among other things, to win about 5-10% of the blue collar white voters who voted for Trump. That isn’t such a tall order. While it’s true that racial bigotry has formed the core of Trump’s appeal, the critical key to his success was peeling away a small fraction of the blue collar white vote, especially in the Great Lakes region, that had gone to Obama in 2008.

These are voters who aren’t bothered by the idea of putting Muslims on a registry or unleashing a jackbooted “deportation force” on our streets. They possess no special sympathy for or understanding of the plight of minority voters. On the other hand, they were also willing to put a black man in the White House when they thought he was going to drop a hammer on Wall Street banks. Remember, Obama won Indiana and North Carolina the first time, but not the second time.

This bloc may be entirely comfortable with racism or even Fascism, but they’ll happily get behind a racially tolerant agenda that otherwise vents their frustrations. Race isn’t a showstopper for them one way or the other. You might like these folks. You might resent them. If you’re a Democrat you have to figure out how to win them or beat them. Either way, you better know them.

When you need to understand a culture that is remote or unfamiliar, two avenues offer a quick initiation: music and food. Both amount to a compressed history lesson. Both operate on an emotional level, helping to ease a transition from here to there. And music can deliver a message in subtle ways, with the potential to cross boundaries of experience and perspective.

All through this election season the music of Chris Knight has been echoing in my head. A Kentucky native and official, honorary Texan, Knight is probably the best country songwriter of our generation. He doesn’t sing about tight jeans and pickup trucks, so you’ll never hear his music on the radio. Knight is ignored in Nashville. Perhaps better than anyone else, Chris Knight has captured the voice of Trumplandia.

Just to be clear, I know absolutely nothing about Chris Knight’s politics. For all I know he’s walking around right now with a safety pin on his lapel. That’s not the point. Knight’s music is a unique window into the frustrations of a certain chunk of the white electorate. If you want to understand the emotions that would inspire support for Trump among white voters who could still, potentially, vote for a Democrat or a black man, then you should probably become familiar with the music of Chris Knight.

Here’s an introduction.

Mean Time

 

Dirt

 

Oil Patch Town

 

House and 90 Acres

 

Undone

 

Rural Route

 

William’s Son

 

Enough Rope

109 Comments

    1. You may find this interesting
      http://www.palmerreport.com/opinion/youre-not-just-imagining-it-the-hillary-clinton-vs-donald-trump-vote-totals-do-look-rigged/104/

      Quote
      In order to believe that the official vote tallies are legitimate, you have to accept that all of the above legitimately happened: African-Americans in the south went from turning out in droves for Hillary Clinton in the primary to not caring if she won the general election. Donald Trump got sixty-something percent of the same-day voting in Florida. The polling averages were wrong for the first time in modern history. Trump beat his poll numbers despite having spent the primary season tending to fall below them. Clinton fell below her poll numbers despite having spent the primary season tending to beat them. In every state where Trump pulled off a shocking upset victory, he just happened to do it with one percent of the vote. And in an election that everyone cared particularly deeply about, no one really turned out to vote at all. I can accept any one of the above things happening as an isolated fluke. I cannot accept all the above happening. And so for once in my evidence-driven career, I’m left to believe that the conspiracy theorists are right: the vote tallies are rigged.

      1. Duncan – From whence the statement ” [an election] everyone cared deeply about”? About the only “caring deeply” was that both candidates absolutely sucked. Don’t go all tin foil hat on us. Rigging a US presidential election and keeping it a secret is completely impossible. And to talk about polls in historical terms is to compare apples and oranges. Modern polls bear no similarity whatsoever to those even 50 years ago.

      2. Hi fifty
        The USA sends election monitors around the world – if we use their criteria then the recent US election would have been called “Questionable”

        Looking at the data I would tend to agree – and it would not need any type of coordinated effort – just a small number of people in critical states

        I find it interesting that
        Exit polls agree with the results when there is an auditable paper trail – but when there is no such trail AND there is a Republican governor they disagree

        Too many weird things happening – one or two of them OK but so many and ALL of them pushing the results one way??

      3. “In order to believe that the official vote tallies are legitimate, you have to accept that all of the above legitimately happened: African-Americans in the south went from turning out in droves for Hillary Clinton in the primary to not caring if she won the general election.”

        Bloomberg BusinessWeek posted an article about Trump’s campaign (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-27/inside-the-trump-bunker-with-12-days-to-go) where Parscal targeted African Americans across the political spectrum with links to Hillary’s comments in the 90s to ‘super-predators’ to depress turnout.

        Furthermore, the black votes mentioned in this text were in the SOUTH, which, you know, news alert, is pretty heavily red. The ‘black vote’ against Hillary and for Bernie was much greater in blue states by at least ten to fifteen points.

        “Donald Trump got sixty-something percent of the same-day voting in Florida.”

        I believe it. Early voting trends — mind you, trends, isn’t always, but trends — Democrat, whereas day-of voting trends Republican. If it were over 70%, maybe, but this falls well within expected range.

        “The polling averages were wrong for the first time in modern history.”

        The polling averages were off by normal margin of error. Even the people who got all pissy about 538 seemed to not pay attention to the literal article that they posted that spelled out, directly, “Hillary Clinton is within a normal polling error from losing this election.”: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-is-just-a-normal-polling-error-behind-clinton/

        You can’t take those polls as concrete fact, but as generalizations.

        Hillary’s polling error was smaller than Romney’s.

        “Trump beat his poll numbers despite having spent the primary season tending to fall below them. Clinton fell below her poll numbers despite having spent the primary season tending to beat them.”

        Two things: 1) In the general, there were a higher number of ‘undecided’ voters and independents. Firstly, independents trend Republican. Secondly, undecideds in general increase margin of error.

        2) Trump didn’t out-perform his polls. Clinton under-performed them. See below.

        “In every state where Trump pulled off a shocking upset victory, he just happened to do it with one percent of the vote.”

        That makes complete sense. Everyone said that if Trump won, his victory would be ‘marginal’. It literally was a one-to-two point swing that cost Hillary the election. It’s frustrating, but it’s true, and there’s lessons to be learned about those margins here.

        “And in an election that everyone cared particularly deeply about, no one really turned out to vote at all.”

        ‘Everyone cared particularly deeply about’ is not a fact, it’s an opinion. I don’t think it’s a stretch of your own bubble to point out that most people didn’t like either choice this election. It’s the not liking of this election that people cared about more than caring ‘for’ anyone in particular. And as it went, Trump technically did have a group of people (namely, fascists) who cared FOR voting for him, while everyone on Hillary’s team was basically running defense the entire last 18 months.

        “I can accept any one of the above things happening as an isolated fluke. I cannot accept all the above happening.”

        It all follows the overall conversation we’ve been having for 18 months straight: “I don’t like either of them, and it’s the establishment’s fault.”

        “And so for once in my evidence-driven career, I’m left to believe that the conspiracy theorists are right: the vote tallies are rigged.”

        What you should be looking for is stronger evidence than this paragraph. Look more into how voting laws in some states (like North Carolina) have affected voting patterns for certain demographics as compared to other similar or comparable states. Focus on those margins.

        Focus on the Russian influence and Wilileaks. Let’s start building a way of treating that sort of ‘transparency’ as a way of gaining insight into a person rather than looking for lines to trash that person by. Anyone who actually read ‘those damn emails’ learned that Hillary is a pretty awesome boss.

        Focus on the lack of accountability on Trump’s own lack of transparency. Aim to create rules requiring tax filings be made public and available (instead of suggested) and make rules allowing the House Oversight Committee to apply ‘conflicts of interest’ related oversight to the Executive Branch as well as its current oversight of the Legislative.

        And lastly, an even bigger task, somehow ‘the establishment’ needs to learn to communicate its value better, explain its policies more simply, get out the vote stronger, and compete against the noise and misinformation of fake news, Russian and Chinese hackers and propaganda, cynicism, partisanship, and good ol’ fashioned American contrarianism. The modern world is against ‘politics as normal’, so now the challenge is to steer politics toward being extraordinary rather than abnormal.

        And lastly, don’t be a conspiracy theorist. For Trump to have ‘stolen’ the election he would have had to break voter rolls across half a dozen swing states consisting of hundreds of independent counties. You enter ‘someone would have squealed’ territory here. There’s no direct way of doing all of that at once. This exact same logic disproves the hysteria of the rightwing lunatics who believed Hillary was gonna ‘steal it’.

        Everything that happened is consistent with a marginal win from unenthusiastic turnout. This situation only breaks reality if you were so certain of a Hillary win that you felt entitled to it or hinged your identity on it.

      4. Hi Aaron – all sensible stuff
        But there were a lot of weird things in that election – IMHO the best thing for you guys to do is as Dr Brin suggested
        You need a “Henchman Prize”
        You need to get together a large (crowdfunded?) fund to support some “Henchman” prizes – not third party whistleblowers but actual henchmen

        A prize in the millions of dollars if you dob your boss in for his/her illegal activities
        It would need to be a decent sum – give the henchman who might get a tiny twinge of conscience an extra reason to “do the right thing”

      5. “You need a “Henchman Prize”
        You need to get together a large (crowdfunded?) fund to support some “Henchman” prizes – not third party whistleblowers but actual henchmen”

        False positives.

        The whole point about ‘paperless trail Republican governor’ thing is that yes, votes in those regions have been suppressed due to highly documented reasons that activists are currently working against, but that is to say the voting itself is suppressed… not discarded.

        I think the biggest issue is seeing how far McCrory gets in his bid to undermine the popular vote in North Carolina. He might get away with it and if so, I hope there is hell to pay.

    2. I was struck by this comment in the Bloomberg article by Carter: “liberalism in its political instantiation, for all of its appeal, is so powerful a theory that it probably works better in opposition than in government. ” That’s an interesting approach but there’s nothing quite like being in the majority….I’m afraid I agree that Dems have a very long haul before them. Let us hope that Republicans will use their power wisely because they appear poised to have it for a good while.

  1. Hey Chris, I really enjoyed your selections from Chris Knight. They reminded me a lot of Woody Guthrie’s work. I know that I am dating myself, but many of the regular readers know that I am a late WWII baby. I agree that listening to Chris Knight’s music would be a window into a certain segment of the white working class. That is as Woody Guthrie’s music was a good window into the suffering of the depression era during the 1930’s. I come from a white working class background as you do, and Knight’s music is a good window into that.

    Fortunately, during the 1950’s, 60’s and early 70’s it was possible to move ahead with the help of good education for all, some social programs, and for those who served in the military, the various GI Bills allowing veterans to attend quality state universities without incurring tremendous debt. That is what built America. We need to recreate a similar milieu. It will not be easy to do, but we must try and if something does not work do something different. That was the approach that FDR took.

    1. Maybe an idea would be to start understanding how the current money system is responsible for the cycle of crises that has fueled a lot of working class ( and the so called squeezed middle and the anxious greys ) anger. And possible solutions ( no, I do not believe that the agitated orange has a clue, nor does his ridiculous cabinet ). It’ll apply to us in the UK too. I’ve started a thread in off-topics on money. Please join the two of us there at the moment

  2. Any ideas as to how Hurricane Trump might affect the rate of automation here in the US, particularly given his apparent disdain for regulation? Not to say that I believe he’ll actually implement his idea of putting a moratorium on ALL federal regulations, but then again… who knows?

    1. Ryan, I guess what drives me crazy about things like automation, offshoring, or “technological disruption” is that people act like these things happen by themselves, and there’s nothing anyone can do about them, and nobody is to blame for any collateral damage they cause.

      I’m not saying these things shouldn’t be done. But let’s do them with open eyes, and with acknowledgement that there is collateral damage, and a willingness to accept responsibility for it.

      1. Change is happening even more rapidly now that technology drives so much of the workplace, which makes education and skills attainment crucial. It may be too late for many workers to adjust, but what of their children? Are they seeking a different path than their parents? The evolution of the workplace is a continuum of progress and disruption a natural byproduct. There will always be those who are unable to adjust due to age and educational limitations, and those who didn’t prepare for the changes they surely saw happening around them. We must avoid a cyclical, generational perpetuation of these problems so that the young learn from the experience of their parents and prepare themselves for a different world.

      2. In many cases. the young are preparing themselves for the future. In many of those crucial mid-western states and in the rural areas many of the young have left. They are moving to the large urban areas, where there is opportunity. Of course our society needs to offer educational and other opportunities for those who are able to adjust to the new economy. In the cases where due to age, lack of education or other reasons, provisions need to be made for them to retain their dignity and feel they are still a valued part of society. Not being valued is one of the themes that was running through the selections of Chris Knight’s music that Chris Ladd posted. I believe that one of the key factors that made the WPA, CCC and other Depression era programs so successful is that they enabled people to retain their dignity and feel that they were contributing. They were not just a handout.

      3. Value and dignity in whatever job one performs….Respect for the person and their effort. So true. A Houston Chronicle business editor, Chris Tomlinson, had a good article about the need for young people to weigh cost of degree attainment with probable income from said job. Fifty famously argues this point about the soft sciences, but there are many other areas where the cost and benefits don’t correlate. Here’s a link to the Tomlinson article. He discusses websites and business groups that are trying to encourage young people to go into careers that both offer a decent paying position and for which there is demand. It used to be that parents and high school counselors performed that function…not so much anymore. We need more of this type of guidance. Note that in many cases, there are shorter programs for skilled positions that take far less time and cost far less money with greater opportunity.

        http://digital.olivesoftware.com/olive/ODE/HoustonChronicle/LandingPage/LandingPage.aspx?href=SEhDLzIwMTYvMTEvMjA.&pageno=NDk.&entity=QXIwNDkwMw..&view=ZW50aXR5

      4. Well, sorry link didn’t populate. Here’s the salient paragraph from the Tomlinson article, “Students Might Need To Rethink Dream Jobs”, Business section.

        “The Texas Association of Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hope to convince them otherwise. Offering some cold, hard facts, they’ve sponsored LaunchMyCareerTX.  org   to convince kids to rethink their dreams. The site shows how much time and money are required to earn a degree or certificate from a Texas college or university, and then collates that with average salaries and job satisfaction data and cost-of-living information.”

      1. Pardon my lack of subject verb agreement….can’t think and write right anymore (-;

        I confess I never made it that far into the article….It lost me with the initial examples of speech excerpts which were so far off the mark that I jumped right on them…Sorry about that.

        Trump insane? I have never thought that, just felt he is totally, obsessively self-focused and obnoxiously needy. I also think Trump has a mean core and is sexist, opportunistic, shallow and lacks empathy and generosity….all the qualities you don’t want in a president and would think would never be acceptable to the majority of Americans, but, they were. So much for what I thought was important.

        Posted this in Off Topic but it may have a place in this conversation. From the Tea Party leader, her analysis of the election and why she wasn’t surprised about Trump’s win as a continuation of the success the Tea Party “is” enjoying throughout government at many levels.

        http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/11/the-tea-party-movement-is-alive-and-well-and-we-saw-trump-coming-214469

    1. EJ

      I’ve said before that I have a low opinion of Scott Alexander, and this article is a good example of why.

      Alexander, like Yudkowsky and Hanson and many of the other people he keeps company with, feels the need to differ from mainstream academia when it comes to the study of human beings. In this case, this means that he has a definition of “racism” which differs wildly from the broadly accepted definition.

      When experts on racism discuss racism, they point out that it manifests broadly and unconsciously within society, and that most people who act in racist ways will not admit it, least of all to themselves. Many commentators, including Chris Ladd, have pointed out that racism can be seen in spheres as diverse as real estate development, minimum-wage policies, firearms law enforcement, Miley Cyrus’s dancing, and the funding of education.

      On the other hand, when Alexander uses the word “racist” he restricts it to a small coterie of Klansmen and /pol/ posters. If you are not one of these people, Alexander does not think that racism has influenced your actions – or, more accurately, he does not think that the particular feeling that has influenced your actions should be labelled “racism.”

      Therefore, what we have here is two entirely different definitions of racism. We can call these Mainstream!Racism and Alexander!Racism.

      When commentators such as Chris Ladd say that Trump’s speeches are full of Mainstream!Racism, they are right. When Alexander says that Trump’s speeches do not contain Alexander!Racism, he is also right. On the other hand, if someone were to suggest that because Trump is not an Alexander!Racist he must then also not be a Mainstream!Racist, they would be wrong.

      This is a problem of terminology.

  3. In today’s Houston Chronicle, there is a story (A8) about the NC governor’s race. The Dem candidate, Cooper, leads by 6600 votes over incumbent McCrory out of 4.7 million votes “cast”. This state was at the eye of the storm for voter suppression laws leading up to the recent election. The legislature is Republican controlled and McCrory, of course, is also a Republican.

    In the article, it mentions that when a margin is less than 10K votes, a statewide recount can be ordered. What is troubling to me is the second paragraph which states: “…they’re fighting now over whether to count 60K provisional ballots and thousands more absentee ballots that have remained sealed since election day. Since when are absentee ballots not always counted? Since when are provisional ballots not opened, examined and counted if found legitimate? What is the purpose of allowing absentee ballots and provisional ballots if they are not counted? Further, Republicans dominate the local and state voting commissions so that appeals through those bodies would automatically face a daunting task.

    I realize that McCrory runs the risk of provisional ballots hewing more for the Dem candidate, but why would these ballots and those absentee, not be opened and counted regardless of how tight the election vote is?

    Someone is gonna have to explain to me why this isn’t voter suppression. More background from NYT.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/19/us/north-carolina-governor-election.html

    1. I wondered the same thing when I read that story.

      I think, tho, that there are situations when mail-ins and provisionals aren’t always counted. For example, if one candidate has a lead much greater than the total number of mail-ins and provisionals, counting them for one candidate or another couldn’t change the outcome.

      But when it’s a close race, it seems to me that would have to be counted and not because they’re the subject of a lawsuit. Our system is very weird.

      1. Hi Bobo
        As a foreigner I am completely amazed that you don’t count ALL votes ALL of the time
        Even if they don’t make a difference they are still votes and should be counted and added to the record!

        I am used to NZ and UK elections when in an electorate of 50,000 we end up with about than 10 uncounted votes – because they simply cannot be made out –

      2. Do they?
        From the outside I keep hearing that provisional votes don’t get counted and you seem to have a -Yuge- number of “spoilt ballots” – each time – famously with the “hanging chads”
        Those would have been counted here as it was bloody obvious what the voters intentions were

      3. I’ve heard that provisional votes frequently get tossed without being counted.

        Provisional Voting
        Federal law (Help America Vote Act) stipulates that if a voter appears at a polling place to vote in an election, and for some reason his/her name does not appear on the official roster of voters for that polling place, the voter may cast a provisional ballot if he/she claims to be both eligible to vote in the election and registered to vote in that jurisdiction. (HAVA Section 302(a).) However, whether an individual is eligible to vote, and whether the provisional ballot will be counted, is determined by State law.” (HAVA Section 302(a)(4).)

        http://www.harrisdemocrats.com/elections

        Do some states NOT require that by law?

      4. So, if there were a close race in a state that didn’t mandate counting provisional ballots, what is the purpose of the provisional ballot? To move people out of the ballot area and have them think their votes will count, after standing in line for hours because there are so few voting sites and such limited hours?

        Why in the name of democracy would counting a provisional ballot be a state option?

      5. The provisional voting process requires the voter to visit the voter registrar’s office within six (6) calendar days of the date of the election to either present one of the above seven (7) acceptable forms of photo ID OR submit one of the temporary affidavits (e.g., religious objection or natural disaster) OR submit the required paperwork and sign the required statement to qualify for a permanent disability exemption as referenced above, in the presence of the county voter registrar, while attesting to the fact that he or she does not have any of the seven (7) acceptable forms of photo IDs, in order for the provisional ballot to count.

        The voter-marked provisional ballots are kept separately from the regular ballots, and the voter’s records will be reviewed by the provisional voting ballot board (the early voting ballot board), to determine if the ballot is to be counted or rejected.

        http://www.votetexas.gov/faq/

        So, a provisional vote may or may not be counted.

      6. I’m reading that differently, Bobo. “Will” in legalese has always meant certainty. “May” offers choice. The problems people go through to obtain a voter card, go through the voting process, and then their votes “may” count? I don’t care if a candidate won by a zillion votes, all provisional ballots should be studied and status determined if for no other reason than to have legal status confirmed for the next election.

        Geez! I’ve read that there are 35 known cases of voter fraud out of over 600 billion votes cast in a study that goes back ten years. I am coming to the opinion that the greatest fraud is the one being perpetrated against voters, not by ineligible, fraudulent voters!

      7. In the NYT article about NC, it pointed out that lawyers for McCrory challenged results in one of the strongest Dem counties in the state, where Cooper had a 90K vote lead! No small number here, yet undoubtedly because it is so Dem dominated, they challenged it….NC has some serious equal rights issues, of which voter rights are just one. The state lost a number of business investments, sports events over the shenanigan about the bathroom legislation. I hope business will continue to speak up but if they are doing so, it is because their rank and file employees are demanding it or their management is wonderfully enlightened. We need more of that across America. One wonders with a reinvigorated GOP, no checks on their power, plus Trump as POTUS, if business will be as stalwart about speaking out.

  4. “When you need to understand a culture that is remote or unfamiliar”

    This culture is where most of my family still are. In rural East Orange County Florida where I live, many people are still in desperate straits. Despite being near several major metropolitan centers rifed with educational and employment opportunities. There are several major Universities, many fine Community Colleges , public funded trade schools and Union and Employer sponsored job training. Many people like me seized the opportunities. Many more did not. Shockingly many of these people’s parents were high skilled Cape workers (space program). It is a puzzle to me what the heck these folk want. And why they think Trump is better for their interests. Hillary won Orlando hence Orange County but Trump won the rural areas. They often rail against minorities being takers and they are not, while many minorities pay the price of work , education and experience moving out of poverty.It would help if their leaders would tell them in their own lanquage time to get off your tails (politcally correct here insert un-proper word), stop being takers and start using the oppertunites provided to pull you and your children out of poverty. Quit expecting me and the despised minorities (insert politically incorrect terms for minorities) to keep carrying you. Sometimes angry works better than logic. I can see the thought process, you say they are better than me , I will show you. Unfortunately for many people emotion will work while logic and understanding does not. I still believe demographic change is relentless and inevitable. Myself and family have decided to blend into the new emerging culture. If my backward kin do not they will be left behind. This last election is maybe the last time they (blue collar whites) had the numbers to swing a election. And that was because so many people who voted Obama last time did not show up this time. If Trump does anything close to what he campaign on I expect a huge bigly backlash. The majority of us do not want any of that. We are overdue for political unrest the norm of our political system. The last 25 years have been unusually quiet.

  5. Hi Guys
    Trump said it – this election will be rigged!
    The problem is not the lost 4m democrat voters – I don’t think they were lost at all
    I believe that they voted and their votes were “lost”
    The American poll watchers said that the Ukrainian election was fraudulent because of a difference between the exit polls and the counted votes that was less than the US election
    We have now arrived at a position where a democrat candidate must win with such a large margin that the vote counters don’t dare to mess with the result

  6. Hi Chris, just out of interest, can you broadly explain for a quite naive follower of your blog why Trump is the least conservative, and least business friendly Republican president elect ever? I get your points about TPP, which worried me from the point of view of the SE Asian nations. Really because our public institutions, labour and environmental regulations are so lacking that I felt that trade deals like the TPP never actually benefitted the general population and sucked wealth up to the wealthy.

    I am very happy to learn. I’ve always been of the attitude that I’m better off in the wrong and learning from it then insisting that I’m correct at all costs

    1. It’s a long subject with two parts. What makes him something other than a conservative and what makes him a lousy advocate for business.

      On the conservative/liberal he was a Democrat until just a few years ago and a political ally (and donor) to the Clintons. He was pro-choice until, well, as far as we can tell, maybe still. His agenda, though vague and confusing, looks like a Fascist version of Roosevelt’s plans. Huge burst of internal spending of a kind that the left has been demanding coupled with massive tax cuts for the wealthy. Though details, again, are confusing, he has sort of backed a series of liberal economic reforms around parental leave and other benefits, though as always it’s tough to tell if he’s serious.

      On the business side, our economy has long depended on expanding trade, a growing workforce, strong enforcement to stop crime and rentiers, and a healthy capital environment. Trump’s business has always been on the razor’s edge of outright crime and fraud. He call himself a real estate developer, but he actually does almost no construction or development. He’s been shut down for a series of frauds or semi-frauds, mostly recently Trump U. His economic program will decimate trade, destroy the security arrangements that have allowed global capitalism to emerge, tear down the fraud controls and securities laws that stabilized the world after the financial collapse, and attack America’s role as a destination for immigrants.

      Along the way he has basically promised to take his shady financial dealings all the way to the White House.

      In the short run capital markets are going to love him, because the watchdogs will be muzzled and scammers can run riot. But the reason we try to control that stuff is that eventually destroys our ability to use capital to finance growth.

      Anyway, this is almost too depressing to talk about.

      There’s something you mention though that I’d be interested to hear more about. I’m very interested in your thoughts on development in Southeast Asia. We often compare the situation there to America in the early 20th century. Booming growth, unevenly distributed, with lots of abuse of labor and ecological damage. America and the west made a transition around the time of the Depression and WW2.

      How do you see this process playing out in countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia?

      1. You have pointed me in the way of what reading I must myself do, which is the current state of play of the reformation movements and where it might end up. I can tell you right now what the next four years looks like unless the electorate do end up organising successfully against it.

        Most of the SE Asians nations are ‘liberal democracies” in name. They’re really authoritarian states, with the appearance of a two party system. Massive in- your- face corruption, like you said, with the Malaysian Prime Minister being still engulfed in scandals involving outright theft from a sovereign fund ( 1 MB, that money is still missing ). Barisan, the incumbent party, lost the popular vote and won the electoral vote and have held on to power through:
        1. Outright jailing of opposition leaders through fake charges of sodomy and other rubbish
        2. Gerrymandering
        3. Pandering to the racial fears of a section of the electorate
        4. A state controlled media that spreads outright misinformation
        5. The appointments of incompetent cronies to Cabinet positions
        6. Control of the judiciary
        This is, by the way, what this current cycle of events in the States has looked like to me from the outside. Whatever happens, Americans cannot allow this to become normal, because I can tell you that it is an awful system to live within

      2. The mood in the world is ugly right now, hoonteo. America has more safeguards in place (I think!) to prevent some of what is happening in SE Asia, but the direction presaged by the people who will be in leadership is heading in the wrong direction. It’s very sad because our world has advanced in so many ways but in our ability to respect and secure personal rights, we appear to be losing ground.
        Stay vigilant and safe. Thanks for sharing.

      1. She wasn’t beaten by “any reasonable candidate.” She was beaten by a candidate who earned endorsements from the KKK and the American Nazi Party. She was beaten by a candidate who shouted from the stage for his supporters to beat up protesters. She was beaten by a guy who has already placed open white nationalists in senior positions.

        Everybody who voted for him was either enthusiastic about those stances, or decided it wasn’t something they cared about. Nazis are a bright line for me. Apparently not for everyone.

        Thank God our childrens’ futures were spared from a potential President who used a private email server.

      2. >] “Honestly, do you really think that racial bigotry is the core reason Trump won?

        It’s not the reason Trump won, but it is absolutely is the reason that he became the Republican nominee and by extension President-elect. Republicans have become entirely consumed by their racial politics and the results of that manifested in Trump. Had they not done that, you explain to me how such an abhorrently vulgar person could’ve skyrocketed to the top of Republican politics. I don’t believe he could’ve.

        As for the actual election itself, I don’t believe Trump won it so much as Clinton lost it. This was a man who himself believed he was going to lose. By all rights he should’ve been easy to beat and by not by a small margin either. That he actually won shows an astonishing lack of understanding on the Democratic side and the desperate need for reform.

    1. I mean no disrespect, but how do you account for Hispanics and Muslims who voted for MISTER Trump? (I’m finding it more and more difficult to refer to him as Mister. “President” Trump will probably be impossible for me to utter.)

      I had a sinking feeling that Mr. Trump would be victorious the day a Muslim Uber driver explained to me that he had taken a gamble and voted for Trump, mostly for the sake of change, and because he held former Secretary of State Clinton personally responsible for the deaths of his people in the Middle East.

      1. Our impressions are formed by who surrounds us, and who brought us up.

        Chris was raised in Beaumont and has seen the racism pervasive in East Texas, perhaps even in his own family, so he has seen it firsthand and knows how ingrained and powerful racist tendencies can be.

        Perhaps the occasional Muslim or Hispanic Trump supporter is nothing more than an anomaly.

      2. Trump got more Hispanic votes than Mitt Romney did. There was no Hispanic wave for Clinton – larger turn out but it didn’t all accrue to the Dems as had been expected. The figures I have seen (nationwide) were about 29%. Black voting was down in key swing states, women went for Trump 51% vs 49% for Clinton. That was a real disappointment and surprise. (These are nationwide figures, not broken out by education.) Rural voter turnout was huge which helped Trump but only in combination with these other voting patterns. Plainly, Democrats lost for a lot of reasons. It is now up to leaders and supporters to figure out what went wrong and fix it as fast as they can. Mid-terms are only 2 years off and Dems have to defend 23 Senate seats – an astounding challenge.

        I posted this article in Off Topic but it is relevant here as well.

        http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/11/how-the-democrats-can-fix-themselves

      3. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/31/donald-trump-wins-support-from-native-american-coa/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork

        Trump was endorsed by various groups of people – not just white supremacists. In my little corner of New Mexico, he won support from some of the Navajo. Trump Jr swung by Farmington and then Shiprock on the Friday before the election. He was enthusiastically received in both places. Our area has been hit hard because of coal and natural gas. With so many jobs being lost, people are upset no matter if they are white, Native American or Hispanic.

        A person who had a job making around $80,000 in the energy industry isn’t going to be happy being told that Hillary will provide funding to retrain them for a service job making $20,000 no matter what their race.

        I did not vote in the primary because I did not want to vote for Trump (our primary was one of the last), however, when it came to the general election, I cheerfully cast my vote for Trump, because the alternative was a greedy, corrupt, careless person who did not have the interests of my community in mind. Like most people who voted for Trump, racism wasn’t even a blip on the horizon.

      4. Mime,

        I think that should have been a blip on the radar … oh well.

        Good article. Democrats should have gone with Elizabeth Warren. She’d have won. Even Bernie would have probably had a good chance.

        I noticed some Bernie signs where I live during the primary season. Towards election day, some Trump signs started popping up, however I didn’t see one sign or bumper sticker for Hillary despite the fact that there were still bumper stickers for Obama peeling off the occasional car. 🙂

      5. For starters, Trump didn’t win more Hispanic voters than Romney. That’s a red herring. It looks like he might have won a slightly larger *percentage* of black and Hispanic voters than Romney, though those exit numbers are still being puzzled over by smarter people than me. Across the entire country, Trump scored about 250K more votes than Romney. Even without closely parsing the exit polls, Trump finished with the lowest percentage of minority voters of any Republican who wasn’t running against Obama in the history of exit polling.

        Meanwhile, Clinton will finish about 3m under Obama’s numbers, while still beating Trump by well over a million votes and about a full percentage point. the story of this election is not who voted for Trump, it’s who didn’t vote for Hillary. Adjusted for population that’s about 4m voters who should have been in the Democratic camp who simply failed to show up.

        You can skip all the talk about the remarkable coalition Trump built to win 46% of the popular vote. The real question is what caused almost 4% of the electorate to evaporate in a single election cycle. Right now I can’t answer that, though a constant drumbeat of bullshit about emails and wikileaks, which we now know was orchestrated by the Russians, certainly played a part. If you think they wouldn’t have worked just as hard, with access to much better material, to undermine Bernie Sanders, I think you’re kidding yourself.

      6. Figures have been all over the map. We agree on that. Whatever race/ethnic group voted for either of the candidates, the big difference appears to me to be critical lack of turnout for Clinton in the races that mattered in key swing states. I’m not trying to make excuses for Clinton’s loss…as you noted, far smarter people are digging into this and will, in time, coalesce with the definitive explanation. To quote Hillary herself: “At this point, what difference does it make?” For me the main value of knowing who voted where is to know where Dems need to work harder for the next race in two years. This campaign is history except for the lessons that we learn from it. I am disappointed in the outcome and worried about monolithic governance but elections have consequences and that’s that.

      7. “I cheerfully cast my vote for Trump, because the alternative was a greedy, corrupt, careless person who did not have the interests of my community in mind”

        Fantastic job of trolling. To write the above and present it to a group that watched the debates, read his tweets, a group that was present and listening. You are saying he is less corrupt, right? Less greedy? aaarrrrgh. He is more careful?? We don’t need the media to tell us which is more or less capable, honest, or even which one is the mush brain. We don’t need old tapes or articles. No digging into history. We experienced the campaign!

        So, I say congrats. That was a magnificent troll.

      8. Chris, I’m not fine with racism, but keep on telling all the people that voted for Trump that the only reason was because they were racist and you’ll provide more motivation for Republicans to keep voting Republican than you ever did with anything else you wrote on your blog.

        Don’t you get it yet? You may have had an upbringing where racism played a huge part and it may be a central narrative in your life, but you’ve got to realize that calling people racist that have completely different backgrounds rings hollow.

        I grew up in Cuyahoga County, Ohio in the rust belt. (Feel free to call me Rusty.) I grew up in a blue collar, union household in a community that was mostly Democrat.

        From my frame of reference, racism was on its way out while I was growing up. It seems from what you say your community in East Texas was seeped in racism. I don’t automatically think white people are racist. You seem to think so. That’s the reason so much of what you write doesn’t resonate with me.

      9. I’m not going to stop talking about what happened in this election just because it hurts some people’s feelings. If you felt like racism was on the way out, well, so did I and almost everyone else not so long ago. We were wrong. We can ignore it because it hurts our feelings, or we can confront it and try to make this country a better place. We all have choices to make. I’ve made mine.

      10. Chris, don’t get me wrong. I find it commendable that you want to fight against racism.

        The problem is that few people think that they are racist. Calling people racist does no good. It only alienates them further.

        When you have people in the rust belt who voted for Obama being told that the core reason they voted for Trump during this election was because of their racism, you seem totally illogical and the good rust belt folks get the impression that you have a screw loose.

        Far better to call out specific words and actions as damaging and generate sympathy for those who have been wronged. We’re all a mixed bag of good and evil. I feel that I am no exception. No doubt I’ve had some racist reactions to situations at points in my life. I’ve tried to recognize those as wrong and change the way I think. Call me an outrageous optimist, but I think most people (even those from East Texas) try to do the same.

      11. Well, Obj, you have my agreement on that. Here in this space the mission is not so much to shape an electoral appeal as to bang away on the ideas out of which that appeal might be forged. As such, I’ll go ahead and call a racist a racist, because clarity is more important here than persuasion. But your last paragraph is particularly apt and I agree.

      12. >] “I did not vote in the primary because I did not want to vote for Trump (our primary was one of the last), however, when it came to the general election, I cheerfully cast my vote for Trump, because the alternative was a greedy, corrupt, careless person who did not have the interests of my community in mind. Like most people who voted for Trump, racism wasn’t even a blip on the horizon.

        I’ll say this much, objv. As one who “voted enthusiastically” for Trump, you now own a piece of everything that happens on his watch, much in the same way as I own a piece of everything that happened under Obama’s watch. A vote for Trump isn’t a vote against Hillary, it’s a vote for Trump and you can count on being reminded of that every day for the next four years. Buckle up.

      13. We sure are a fine bunch of Monday morning quarterbacks. There were lots of reasons Clinton lost and as many reasons Trump won. Most here, if you are honest, predicted a landslide. Let’s start focusing on what Dems need to do to effectively deal with the Republican monopoly and plan for mid-terms and 2020. It would also be wise to pay attention to the appointments Trump is making, the history of these people, and the far right agenda we know is coming. There may not be much that can realistically be done to thwart the GOP, but we better start focusing on that. As disappointing as this election has been, there’s work to do. Nothing else really matters now.

    1. Everything you gain with Sanders you lose 2x elsewhere. Maybe you pick up another 100K voters in rural PA, but you lose 200K around Philly who voted for Clinton, including a lot of former Republicans.

      That said, probably the way somebody breaks this stalemate is with an aggressive pitch around extending the social safety net. They could do it in the ways that I have described, which would also be very friendly to business and feed a strong investment climate. Or they could do it in a Sanders way by just placing the brakes on technological disruption, jacking up tax rates, and trampling on trade. That way we’ll all be poorer and the inequality problem will be solved.

      With the GOP having careened off into gonzo-land we aren’t going to get my plans. So we’re probably looking at the rise of a more competent, credible version of Sanders. That scenario will suck less than Trump because that character probably (though not necessarily) won’t be an authoritarian grifter and racist. But it will be the end of a golden age of business. And an unnecessary end in my opinion. If Republicans had been smarter, and just a little less petty and mean, we could have had an alternative.

      1. We are primed for an enormous swing toward the left. Trump is the least conservative, least business-friendly Republican in, well, maybe ever. The parts of his platform that weren’t about venting rage on minorities amount to a kind of half-baked neo-leftist populism. It seems clear that if a credible candidate ran on a real leftist program they would probably win, and win big.

        That’s terrible news for me and for the business community in the US. It isn’t good news for our future in general. But we have probably just blown past any point at which the GOP can halt or divert this future.

      2. I certainly don’t have the creds to challenge your opinion that Trump will be “bad” for business; however, I simply don’t see the GOPe (and their big donors) allowing Trump to screw up their golden opportunity. If Trump gets in their way, they will find a way to shut him down. In the meantime, it appears all are sucking up big time so as to keep the man-child from interfering in their plans. Legislation is being written, budgets are being hardened, and legislative procedures being hammered out by the GOP in giddy anticipation of taking charge in January of 2017. Any confidence I had in the people of America – both the electorate and the business community – was obviously misplaced. I have always believed trade was a net positive but guess I was wrong about that too.

      3. My simplistic theory is that in this age of internet celebrity, Mr. Trump had the advantage over Mrs. Clinton because he was “exciting” and she was “boring.”

        People were willing to take a gamble on a blank slate, no matter how potentially insane, versus voting for 4 more years of sameness.

      4. The New York Times published a quote from a Clinton campaign worker who was actually relieved that Mrs. Clinton lost. She worked for Mrs. Clinton only because she was a loyal Democrat, but she was glad the cycle had been broken and said she had been dreading having to eventually support Chelsea for president some years down the road.

      5. >] “Chris why do you think Hilary lost? Lack of charisma or what? I have a theory of my own but would like to hear yours.

        You can probably sum up the reason in a single word: arrogance.

        Clinton and her campaign thought they had this thing locked up. In all fairness though, so did pretty much everyone else, myself included. Even Trump thought he was going to lose.

        That said though, that overconfidence may have led to decisions that the campaign might not have made against a perceived stronger opponent like Kasich or Jeb! Trump was and is such a vulgar person that it’s honestly hard not to want to take his words and throw them right back in his face, which is exactly what happened. Problem is is that Clinton did that much more than she should’ve and did so at the expense of her own positive vision.

        It’s easy enough to say this in retrospect now that it’s over, but that doesn’t make it any less true. You can’t unite people in disgust and inspire them at the same time. People and especially Democrats were depressed and, lacking any kind of a coherent positive reason as to why they should turn out and vote, they either stayed home or left their vote for president blank (see the roughly 90,000 Michiganders who did so).

        Having said all that, that’s not to say that racism and/or sexism didn’t play a role in this election (it absolutely did), but the more I look at it, the more I’m convinced that it wasn’t the deciding factor, at least not on Election Day. Trump didn’t win this election. Clinton lost it.

      6. >] “We are primed for an enormous swing toward the left. Trump is the least conservative, least business-friendly Republican in, well, maybe ever. The parts of his platform that weren’t about venting rage on minorities amount to a kind of half-baked neo-leftist populism. It seems clear that if a credible candidate ran on a real leftist program they would probably win, and win big.

        Question is who that credible candidate will be? Impossible to tell, though I am interested to see what the end of the Clinton Era brings to the fore in Democratic politics. With all the energy in the “progressive” wing, there’s almost assuredly going to be a free-for-all in the primary in ’20.

        What I’m concerned about is this growing sense on the left that along with Trump’s unconventional rise, what’s wrong with Democrats doing the same and running a celebrity of their own? You’re hearing people literally talking about running Oprah or Tom Hanks next time ’round as if it’s a serious idea and no one stands up to say that that’s nuts. Talk like that makes me dread the same kind of short-term politicking that I’ve come to expect from Republicans festering on the Democratic side now and, if it gains traction, that’s very bad news.

      7. Here’s an article in Daily Beast about the problems experienced this election in fake news on Facebook…other technologies would likely experience the same abuses. In an NPR program last week, fake news was discussed. The finding by those who have been studying it and trying to combat it is that it so fast and broad in its reach that in trying to refute it, people believe the fake news more! The old “say something often enough and it becomes true” mantra.

        http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/11/19/here-s-how-to-fix-facebook-s-fake-news.html?via=newsletter&source=DDAfternoon

      8. Uber, airbnb, lyft, Amazon. The left (outside of California) has been aggressively trying to protect incumbent industries against these innovations. Then you have factory automation which isn’t getting a lot of attention, but unions and their allies are one of the most expensive obstacles to deploying robotics. In fact, that single dynamic accounts for a large portion of manufacturing offshoring – the cost and political obstacles in the way of manufacturing upgrades. It far cheaper and faster to simply divest a US factory, make stuff overseas for a while, and then build a brand new (smaller) automated one in the US a few years later than to retrofit an existing factory.

        Democratic local government machines have virtually shut down Google fiber rollouts altogether. From digital technology to food trucks, the left has fought tooth and nail to slam the brakes on innovation.

      9. Chris, it is wrong to make sweeping statements like this, “From digital technology to food trucks, the left has fought tooth and nail to slam the brakes on innovation.” In doing so, it sounds elitist and presumes that only the “right” has been involved in innovation.

        Surely, surely, that is not what you meant to imply.

      10. No. Innovation hasn’t come from right or left, because the vast bulk of it has emerged from outside politics altogether. What’s clear from the past 20 years is the political block that has done the most to create obstacles for technological process (apart from research, big caveat there) is the left.

        This is not because the right loves innovation. They don’t. It’s because the usual political tools of the right typically leave less space for economic incumbents to leverage government to block competitors (innovation).

        Small, weak government may suck for a variety of reasons, but it leaves an environment in which progress from non-governmental sources can more easily spread. Republicans have been no more enthusiastic as a whole than Democrats about Uber, but these kinds of developments do far less to upset Republican than Democratic constituencies.

      11. Thank you for the clarification. I clearly understand that where money is concerned, the rules and the labels “bend” – especially as you describe. As much as possible, all of us need to avoid blanket statements that imply negatives by political affiliation. There’s enough pejorative floating around there without adding to it. I need to make a better effort myself and will work to do so.

      12. Hi Mary
        Chris is simply totally wrong here – the biggest political block to innovation has been big business
        They have (especially in the USA) used lobbyists to set up barriers to new entrants in all sorts of industries

        Unions (again especially in the USA) have also acted as barriers for the simple reason that they don’t trust their management – with good reason
        Compare that to Germany where the unions have much more power and more trust in their management

      13. Hi Chris
        “No. Innovation hasn’t come from right or left, because the vast bulk of it has emerged from outside politics altogether”

        How do you mean “outside politics” – the vast majority of innovation has come from state funded research – only a tiny percentage has come from the private sector
        And the “private sector” innovation has mostly been basically obvious with the benefits going to the first – like a horse race
        As opposed to the actual new stuff from the universities and government funded operations

        Take Microsoft – they won the race – but if they had not been there somebody else would have been there

      14. ***Take Microsoft – they won the race – but if they had not been there somebody else would have been there***

        Ugh. That’s the kind of thinking from the left that kept me locked up in the GOP for so long and still keeps me homeless.

        There is a million miles of gap between invention and innovation. Invention takes smart people, sometimes just tinkering, sometimes with hefty funding, discovering interesting things. For those interesting things to ever become an iPhone, you have to have a social structure that rewards investment and tolerates disruption.

        The steam engine was invented by the Greeks centuries before Jesus. They also invented computational devices of a complexity that we wouldn’t see again until late in the industrial age. Those inventions didn’t matter. They were toys of rich people. There was no capital environment that would allow someone to make investments and earn a return. And whatever governments existed would have squashed any attempt at change.

        The same problem afflicts innovation in Europe. That continent produces much more raw, well-trained and educated talent than the US. And almost every time a new innovative venture gains any size it stalls out, eventually being bought up by a US company on the cheap (if they are lucky). If they are unlucky they get scooped up by investors in China or the Middle East. The climate there is simply too hostile to change, there are too many rules and customs that thwart any new entry to a market.

        There is a cost for that kind of economic security.

      15. What about all the inventions that have come out of our Defense Division, and NASA, and FDA? Government has developed terrific innovations often in concert with academia…These may eventually lead to private investment but they originated with those dull bureaucrats…

        Isnt’ there ever a chance for government to get some of the credit for what it has contributed to the advancement of our world? Why does this always generate such a ‘well-but’ response? I know there are individuals and small start-up companies that do fabulous things from scratch, but there are other forces working out there. Why is it so important to elevate some and ignore the others?

      16. Hi Chris
        If not Microsoft then somebody would have –
        The difference between Europe and the USA is mainly in the big winners – you can win BIG in the USA and get noticed
        In Europe that is much more difficult – but winning small (or medium) is the same or easier
        So Europe does not have the -Yuge- successes – but what actual good are they?
        How much has Facebook actually contributed to our welfare?

        The USA is a larger single language and until recently much richer market –
        Most of the boom in US products dates from the time when the US consumer was much richer than the European consumer
        I suspect that that “boom” has now stopped – and the fact that the US consumer is now poorer than the European consumer is the main reason why

        As far as the Greek computers and Steam engines are concerned – you are obviously NOT an engineer!
        They did not spread and grow simply because there was nothing that they could do that could not be done easier and cheaper –
        It was only when a multitude of other developments were made that the first steam engines became useful
        The “capital environment” that could have used them may not have existed during the Greek hayday but definitely did exist during Roman times

      17. Creigh, let’s dig into your comment a bit. “If you leave enough of those people behind, they turn into Trump voters.” As I understood Chris’ point, he was speaking about innovation, not simply participation. Both are part of a functioning society via class and educational opportunities, but the large vote from rural, more poorly educated, frequently blue collar person are not the group that are launching innovative products, or am I missing your point?

      18. Hi Mary
        I spent about 15 years doing “process improvement” – after 8 years at the Darlington Engine Plant we were making nearly three times as many engines with the same (expensive) capital plant and about 10% more workers

        Many if not most of those improvements came from my “blue collar” shop floor workers

        Part of the problem is up until the 80’s the profit from those types of improvements were split between the workers and the company
        Since then 100% has gone to the company and executives – I don’t think I would get the same degree of buy in from those workers today

        This (to Chris’s point) is a major part of why unions now have a default setting of NO! – back when it was shared they helped with inovation

      19. I didn’t mean to infer that “no” innovation could come from uneducated people – after all, we have many examples of interrupted lives due to the Depression and WWII where people lacked formal education but had innate intelligence and the drive to acquire knowledge. But these are the exception rather than the norm. The rural White voter more often fell into the little or no formal education past high school. There are likely many factors that play into this, and it certainly doesn’t mean the raw intelligence wasn’t there, but for a variety of reasons, many people, particularly those in small towns, dominated by one major plant or industry, had never prepared themselves for life outside that they had grown up with.

      20. There’s luck, too. Ask just about anyone who has success building a company based on a good idea. It’s not all about innovation disrupting an existing industry.

        It’s even rumored that Uber is returning to Austin after its citizens asked Uber to fingerprint their drivers in the name of public safety. I guess you could say Uber was disrupted by a public want. Of course, Chris could blame it on unions or the liberal nature of Austin…:-)

      21. Sorry for the delay in answering, Mary, but the best way I can clarify this is to say that the point of an economy is to benefit people, not to benefit technology or innovation. Technological disruption benefits some people and can hurt others. If you only pay attention to benefits and ignore those who are paying costs you run into trouble. It’s way too easy to stir up resentment among people who think they are paying costs and not getting benefits.

      22. Yes, “little” people always pay the price, don’t they? I think that was Duncan’s point as well when he described the contributions of his blue collar floor managers when incentive was rewarded, not hoarded by management/shareholders. The more I think about unions, the more I understand their value to working people. Abusive union relationships no, but those who sought to provide support, training, and recognition of the working man in business, yes. The loss of the union structure may be a large part of the futility felt by the working class who feels no one cares about their needs.

  7. A good example of white working class Americana is the 1970s documentary Harlan County, USA, which follows a mining strike.

    The characters are ‘uneducated’, ‘rural’, and ‘anti-elitist’, but they’re not stupid, they do care about their livelihood and quality of life, they are aware how the world works and how to challenge those workings, and they do perform some great folk music.

    Nowhere in the documentary are they described as ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ or ‘reactionary’ or even Republicans or Democrats, nor do they complain about any of those specific entities.They’re more concerned with the faceless police officers staring down their picket lines and the meaningful and heavy absence of ‘the company’ and ‘the politicians’ in their debate with the organization that has taken their jobs and left them with poor health and no hope.

  8. I was just thinking that if Apple does bring its manufacturing back to the US and costs and prices double, how Apple products will no longer be disposable, with consumers more likely to keep their devices for longer periods and less likely to upgrade, to be more protective of their devices and more likely to have them repaired. I would think there would be a larger market for used devices as a result. It would lead to less waste and reduced damage to the environment, and a greater respect and appreciation for these items.

    1. There’s a degree to which I’m looking forward to this whole tariff experiment so that my Millennial friends will suddenly see how much they were relying on the selfsame ‘international conglomerate corporation’ system they so despise for cheaper prices and lower cost of living.

      But economic lessons are never so clearly learned while the pain remains real.

    2. It’s an interesting idea, and it sounds like it could work out, but there are some wrinkles.

      First, it reminds me of Trump’s claim about that Ford factory he “saved” in Kentucky. First of all, almost all of Apple’s manufacturing is already done in the US, especially the most lucrative part – creating the intellectual property. But that’s just the beginning.

      More to the point though, this is a recycled story from back in June when it was actually announced. Ironically, the collapse of TPP will probably torpedo that plan. Nobody ever talks about one of the most important reasons so many things, especially automobiles, are manufactured abroad – because that’s where the markets are. These trade deals would have made it possible to manufacture MORE in the US, just like NAFTA did, by removing a lot of present barriers to exporting products to other countries, especially the booming Asian market. That’s dead now.

      The entire Western Hemisphere accounts for only 40% of current iPhone sales and that figure is in steep decline. TPP was going to be critical to raising Apple’s market share in the lucrative Pacific Rim. It would also have made it easier for Apple to export products from the US. That, along with some unrelated cost and efficiency concerns, was what was driving that June announcement. With the trade agreement dead, Apple’s cost issues might still affect production decisions, but the US just lost one of the strongest potential drivers of manufacturing onshoring.

      And that’s not all. Political considerations are now going to accelerate the process of offshoring corporate management and marketing operations. We are a big market, but not enough of a market to drive global production decisions by ourselves anymore. With this election, we just sold off our last best leverage to stay on top of the growth of global trade.

      1. One thing that’s exacerbated this whole Politics of Crazy, I think, is Silicon Valley ‘libertarianism’ where an entire generation of skilled, white collar workers chose to basically ignore and dismiss communicating with governments local and federal entirely rather than spend time hearing about any other institutions’ concerns.

        This means tech company’s relationships to the government are relatively new and mostly reactive. They get involved whenever threatened, but haven’t really reached out to communicate their value (i.e., don’t hold as strong lobbies as, say, telecoms that’ve been around for a while).

        Well, they’re gonna have to get a pretty big civics education right quick, especially since Silicon Valley has been explicitly targeted by Trump as one of the problematic elites. The only ‘hope’ in this matter is that Trump is so short-attention-spanned and also so money driven that maybe these guys can get his ear and say, “Hey, there’s bofo money and jobs in this, trust me” and he won’t even bother to follow through.

        Problem is Silicon Valley also relies on good immigration policy, and there’s very little methods I see of them getting on Trump’s good graces there.

      2. Aaron, a little bit off topic, but your comment about Trump’s short attention span reminds of me a cute segment I heard on NPR about how kids would handle Mr. Trump, and one of the kids said, “Maybe we could get his mind off building a wall and we could help him focus on important things.”

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