Trump aims an old bigoted trope at Justice Democrats

As you know, “President” Trump issued some disgusting tweets the other day, telling the four Justice Democrats—Representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley (he didn’t mention names, but it’s clear who he meant— to “go back to where they came from”. Here is some of what he said, and the New York Times has a story about the fracas.

This is, as usual, completely unworthy of a President, and reminds me of the old, bigoted calls for people to “go back to where they came from” if they’re foreigners you don’t like. But not even foreigners! When I was an antiwar activist in the Sixties, a lot of us were advised, “Why don’t you just go over to North Vietnam?” The trope then about America was “Love it or leave it.”

And the racist calls for blacks to go back to Africa are a well known facet of this bigotry. When I was a kid, a friend and I mustered up our courage to visit the American Nazi Party Headquarters—a small house in Arlington, Virginia owned by George Lincoln Rockwell. It was way scary, but I wanted to see what a real Nazi looked like. They gave us a bunch of literature, and I remember one item: a set of “Coon-Ard Boat Tickets to Africa”, emphasizing the Nazis’ desire to kick out African-Americans.

These tweets, and this confrontation, are shameful and reprehensible: low even by Trump standards.  I feel that I must call this out here because, although my writings on this site should make my hatred of Trump obvious, some readers have faulted me for not being sufficiently anti-Trump. I’ve explained why: the entire left-wing media and centrist media are already going after Trump for this, and I’m not saying anything novel by adding my voice to the chorus. But I emphasize that I’m singing with them. And this episode was especially shameful.

I also decry the fact that almost no Republicans have condemned Trump for his latest episode of bigotry (CNN lists only 18, including Mitt Romney); that is equally shameful.  When Republicans can’t bring themselves to call out bald-faced bigotry, it’s time to write most of them off.

Yet as ashamed as I am of this President, and of an America who would elect him, I’m also pleased—pleased that this episode will, at least temporarily, unite the Democrats, who are rightfully supporting the four Justice Democrats against this Presidential tirade. Will this unite the party now? I hope so, but I don’t think so. For you also know that I see the Justice Democrats as entitled and inexperienced social-media mavens who would rather incite their followers to feed their narcissism than enact legislation. They engage in unproductive identity politics that, I fear, will help push support towards Trump.

I will continue to call out what some call the “progressive Democrats” if they do what I don’t much like. But, for the moment, I support them in fighting the bigotry of our “President”, who not only has once again shown his true colors, but may have eroded some of his own support.  After all, surely some Republican voters will be alienated by the “go back to your own country” mantra. And, of course, among the four, only Omar wasn’t born in the U.S. All are American citizens, who have the right (and the duty) to criticize their own country as they see fit. And, as Representatives, it’s their job to determine how the government, the legislative branch, is to be run.

176 Comments

  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    The leaders of the republican party, if we can call them by that name, are going to do something on TV in a short time. A press conference or something. They are in a very tough spot as most of them have remained silent during this round of Trump so we will see if anyone has a spine.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Really? That sounds both promising…and unlikely. What time is it happening?

      I can see it being the usual walking the line – ferocious criticism of the four women as ‘communists’ and ‘haters of America’ with some incredibly mild throat-clearings re. Trump’s racism.

      How often has there been an apparent tipping point for this party to stand up and say something? And how many times have they _actually_ said something?

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        They are doing it right now. But it is not what we might think. Instead of saying anything about Trump, they are attacking what they claim are the policies of these 4 women. More or less calling them racist. So that is it for the republicans really, no change, no spine, just the same old plan, whatever you call us we will call you. It is like watching 5 year olds on the play ground.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

          Every time you think they can’t sink lower the confound your expectations.

          I tried to find it on YT but from the look of the feed I found I might be too late. I’m not sure I could bear to watch it anyway.

          • merilee
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

            There was sone obnoxious Congressman or Senator from Kentucky bloviating on CNN how the presiDENT is not a racist. Heard the same guy saying the same bs on the PBS NewsHour last night. I couldn’t listen any more.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

              It’s amazing how few racist tropes turn out to actually be racist after people like Lindsey Graham and Matt Gaetz have finished giving their ‘analysis’.

              I heard someone saying that it can’t be racist to tell them to go back to their own countries, because he also said ‘…then come back here’.

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted July 16, 2019 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

                Trump wasn’t really saying ‘go back where you came from’ in the sense of we don’t want you in this country.
                He did say they should come back after all.
                It was a pretty pretty remark though and not worthy of a President but not bigoted and racist .
                Impolite and Ill judged yes.

              • tomh
                Posted July 16, 2019 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

                Impolite? Wow, that’s just mind-boggling. “Go back to the country you came from.” Amazing.

              • Pelmon
                Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

                The point tomh is that he did not say *just* that. He said, go, fix, return. That has a different meaning. And the go was not a command either, it was why don’t you go back and fix it if you’re so smart, then come back and explain it. That is a rude way of saying “physician, heal thyself.”

                Really a shameful clown show by all involved. What a dreadful political class you have.

              • rickflick
                Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

                These tweets and analyses aren’t necessarily policy white papers. They are more likely dog whistles. Deliberately open to multiple interpretations.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted July 17, 2019 at 6:05 am | Permalink

                @ Michael Waterhouse + Pelmon

                You are defending the indefensible. Simple as that. It just blows my fucking mind that the president can tell them to go back where they came from(AMERICAN CITIZENS) and you blame both sides.

                What planet are you living on?

              • Pelmon
                Posted July 17, 2019 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

                Saul’s comment is an example of what Jerry complained about. He is upset I criticize Trump AND Omar. Of course I blame both: Omar is a stone cold Jew hater. Of course I condemn that.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

                @pelmon

                You said it was a “shameful clown show from all involved”, as though the women he told to leave the country were involved at all. They did nothing. (And you tried to rationalise the most outright racist statement this already racist president has ever said.)

                You can say you don’t like them, and criticise their past behaviour, but this was all on Trump, and you’re evidently incapable of accepting that.

  2. Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Jerry. Note that Lindsey Graham called the 4 Congresswomen “Communists.” So much for courage from the GOP!

    • Historian
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      I have noted also Graham’s comments. He probably finds the 1950s very congenial and thinks that reviving McCarthyism is the road to political success. Prior to Trump’s nomination, Graham called Trump a kook. Now he is the number one toady. Lindsey never gives up in his quest to supplant Mitch McConnell as the most vile Republican senator.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        In 2015, Lindsey Graham called Donald Trump “a race-bating, xenophobic religious bigot” who would be the ruination of the Republican Party if nominated for president.

        Lindsey Graham is up for reelection in 2020. Back when he was criticizing Donald Trump, Graham’s approval rating in South Carolina was hovering around 30%, and he was likely facing a stiff primary challenge from a Trumpian. Since he’s become Trump’s lapdog, Graham’s popularity in SC has shot up over &0%, and he looks to be home free.

        Let Dr. Faust know we’ve fixed a firm value on the price of a man’s soul: 40 points in South Carolina approval polls.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

          over “70%”

          • GBJames
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

            I assume that percentage is within the Republican Party.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          That was really a great comment by Mr Graham. I’d vote for him anyday. Wait … what happened to Mr Graham? How is it possible that such a honorable Republican became arse-licker No1?
          I guess you’re right Ken, Dr Faust, but the other way round, Dr Faust got a lot of knowledge and judgement for his soul, Mr Graham dived into cultism and willful ignorance.

          • Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

            His job is under threat if he doesn’t back Trump.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted July 16, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

              As Upton Sinclair observed, “[i]t is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

              Or, in Graham’s case, not to un-understand something when his reelection depends upon his un-understanding it.

      • rickflick
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        Lindsey is so ridiculous the only think that would drive a human being to that ugly result is raw ambition. He probably wants to supplant McConnell as speaker and is trying to out-McConnell McConnell.

        • W.T. Effingham
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:18 am | Permalink

          At least we know he can’t out McKinnon McKinnon (Kate McKinnon on SNL). Sorry, but if I couldn’t laugh, I’d just go bezerkcovfeffe.

  3. Ken Pidcock
    Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    It’s what this says about the electorate that’s most distressing. There must be a massive white nationalist component for Trump to calculate that his comments would be politically expedient and for no Republican politician to judge that there is anything to be gained from challenging them.

    • merilee
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      That’s what most depresses me, Ken.

    • GBJames
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Trumpism is the monster that the Republican Party nurtured for decades. It won’t go away regardless of what happens to tRump himself. We are in for a long miserable political scene. I won’t outlive it, I’m afraid.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        The most alarming aspect is the unprecedented reach he has. He is directly affecting UK politics on a daily basis. People who say ‘it’s the US, who cares?’ are making a very big mistake. This is a new age: the internet and social media have changed everything so enormously, and because we’re in the middle of it we can’t even appreciate just how dramatically the ground has shifted.

        In a few seconds Trump can inject a little burst of adrenaline into the bloodstream of every one of his supporters, across the world. He can incite hatred in seconds, and the chemical rush of self-righteous outrage that people usually only got once a day while reading their copy of the Daily Mail over breakfast is now available 24/7. And those people can pass that rush onto others with a re-tweet, or a post on Facebook.

        • Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          +1

          Also he moved the ground such dramatically that actions that seemed extreme just two years ago would now seem normal, for years, if not decades to come.

          It also works retroactively, for instance, Obama is now a great guy, but actually unleashed Total Surveillance fully, and gave it to quite literally sinister, undemocratic forces. There was a brief historic moment after Snowden’s leak, which was not only squandered, but actively opposed. The next historical opportunity was to reign in ever-more menacing mega corporations, but Trump of course, again, helped cement their foundations. It looks to me that this was already the step over the cliff, but we’ll have a few years of Coyote time suspended in mid-air, and will see the consequences as soon as we are aware of what happened. That, on top of Sixth Extinction, storms and floods, tipping over climate, which also Trump and the Republicans will have helped become more dramatic, and deadly.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        If Trump loses in 2020 — and his only hope of avoiding that result is to go so relentlessly negative against his Democratic opponent as to drive that candidate’s approval below Trump’s own miserable numbers — he will not go gentle into that good night. Trump has a morbid fear of being labelled a “loser.” He will rage and fume that the election was “fixed” (as he had already begun to do when he expected to lose in 2016), and his hardcore cultists will follow suit. I think this will rip the Republican Party apart.

        • GBJames
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          I would be delighted to see the Republican Party ripped apart. But as many times as I’ve predicted just that in the past, I’ve continually been wrong. I’m afraid at this point they would try to follow him into some new form of the Confederacy. (You are right, he will not go gentle…)

        • rickflick
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

          If Trump, that slippery fool, loses, he will probably spin it as the biggest win of his life. He didn’t really want to win. He’ll be in position to make billions from his new contacts with cut-throat dictators around the world. Plus, he gets to play more gulf. 😎

    • Historian
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Approximately 42% of the electorate supports Trump per the latest polls. This number has barely budged for years. A large proportion of the Trump supporters are cultural conservatives, i.e., white, old and religious. These people fear demographic change and Trump speaks directly to their cultural anxieties. How many of them are actually racists is not as important as noting that they support racist policies, nor do they care about Trump’s erosion of democracy, supported by the Republican Party. Trump’s electoral strategy is a repeat of 2016: win enough votes in the battleground states to squeak through to an Electoral College victory despite losing the national popular vote by a large margin. I believe this strategy will fail (as I’ve outlined in detail previously), but time will tell. We should not expect Trump to change his ways. He is psychologically incapable of doing so, abetted by his cognitive decline.

      • Alexander
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        “win enough votes in the battleground states”

        The fact that “battleground states” exist shows that the democratic system in the US is flawed.

        • Historian
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

          The bizarre American electoral system grew out of a series of compromises that were made at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Without such things as the Electoral College or the 3/5 rule to placate the slave states, there may very well have not been a lasting United States of America. It is hard to imagine that the country could have stayed together under the then prevailing Articles of Confederation.

          These facts make me laugh at the constitutional fetishists, who view this document, almost a quarter of a millennium old, with something akin to the reverence that the fundamentalists have for the bible. The Constitution barely survived the Civil War and is on life support today. A new system is needed. Unfortunately, there is no consensus as to what that should be, so little is likely to happen. As a result, the country will limp along with the present constitution as it experiences even greater social and political unrest.

          • rickflick
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:54 am | Permalink

            If the Constitution is on life support, then we ARE screwed. There isn’t time to get things strait by the time global warming has had it’s way with our planet. Seems to me we need a quick change if we are to maintain adequate stability. I’m still counting on the fact that the nation as currently constituted should be able to muddle through somehow. With a little luck, the pendulum will swing the other way after the next election.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

            How weird would it be to have a system where the candidate who wins the most votes actually wins the election — you know, the way every other modern democracy conducts its elections to choose its leader?

            • phoffman56
              Posted July 16, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

              I’m not USian, so it is less my business than most here.
              However I cannot help having opinions re your politics, and do agree that many changes are desirable, some being what every other ‘western’ democracy does. For example, I doubt any others have a leader with the effective ability to pardon federal crimes all by himself–or who is apparently immune from criminal prosecution as long as he/she remains leader.

              However I think you are wrong when you say “the candidate who wins the most votes actually wins the election — you know, the way every other modern democracy conducts its elections to choose its leader”

              For example, in a parliamentary democracy like UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, .., it would be possible to win a majority of the seats, but most by razor-thin margins, and lose most others by huge margins. The Prime minister, who is the leader of the country, has likely then become that despite not being elected with the most votes.

            • Posted July 17, 2019 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

              I seem to remember there are other places with electoral colleges, but I cannot remember where.

      • Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        I agree with you until you state that Trump’s strategy will fail. Unless the Democrats nominate someone who old white straight Christian folks can vote for, expect another 4 years of Agent Orange.

        • Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

          I have to agree, dammit. There are many tea leaves and shapes within entrails that say that Trump has a good chance of winning.
          An incumbent president. Solid (very solid) support within his base. A strong economy. No strong and inspiring opponent. This checks all the boxes.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        Approximately 42% of the electorate supports Trump per the latest polls.

        That’s the exact number (give or take a single point) that Trump gets in potential match-ups against every Democratic contender. (I don’t think Trump could get over 43% against Charles Starkweather or Charlie Manson.)

        Trump’s only hope to win in 2020 is to go so grindingly negative (by stirring up fear and resentment) against his eventual Democratic opponent (likely again with the help of a hostile foreign power) that he can drive that candidate’s support below his own, or at least can demoralize a sufficient number of potential Democratic voters that they stay home come election day.

        This campaign is going to get ugly beyond anything previously thought possible in modern America.

        • Mark R.
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

          He went grindingly negative during the midterms to no avail. Using the same immigrant bashing, democrats are evil tropes, won’t produce any new voters- it will produce new opposition though. His hate and demagoguery stir up the Democrats at least as much, if not more so, than his basket of deplorables. And as everyone knows, there are far more people against Trump than for him. His is a losing strategy; his desperation is all too apparent.

          • EdwardM
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

            This is the straw I will be clutching as we go through through the next election.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

            I have every single crossable part of my body crossed* for you lot. Please, for the sake of everything unholy, get this fucker out.

            *not while I was typing this, obviously.

          • Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

            There wasn’t one person to aim at.

            Trump’s MO is to target one of his competitors with some negative but easy to remember slogans and keep repeating them until they sink in. That’s how he won the Republican primary: he picked off his competitors one by one. Then he employed the same tactic against Hillary Clinton.

            It didn’t work in 2018 because there was no single obvious target to go for. There will be in 2020.

            We had better pray to Ceiling Cat that it doesn’t work.

            • rickflick
              Posted July 16, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

              He called Biden sleepy already. Warren is Pocahontas. These are not very creative and impactful if you ask me. Maybe he’s run out of bile.

              • merilee
                Posted July 16, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

                I feel quite confident that he has plenty of bile left to spare😖

              • Posted July 16, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

                They don’t have to be creative. They have to be something he can report time and time again until people believe it. Crooked Hilary, remember.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          “likely again with the help of a hostile foreign power” that is the crux of the matter. The Russian trolls are very active on social media, and will greatly increase their efforts close to the election.
          On the other hand, I think many that didn’t vote, or voted for Md Stein, are not likely to make the same mistake again. In 2016 it was a ‘given’ that Ms Clinton would beat Mr Trump. I think (well, hope) many of those non-voters have learned their lesson.

          • Mark R.
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

            Our military supposedly stopped Russian troll farms during the 2018 midterms by cutting off their access to the internet. This wasn’t covered in much detail by the media, but it offers some hope for 2020.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

              It’s an arms race, as real as missile gaps and throw-weight disparities during the Cold War. Problem is, our intelligence community can have no confidence that our commander-in-chief isn’t rooting for the other side.

              This nation has never come close to having such concerns before.

              • Mark R.
                Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

                Remember when the outrage was Obama and a beige suit? Don’t even want to hyperlink. beeachass! Pinkman …

          • Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

            On the latter point especially: I strongly agree that a big factor was that for weeks the media, from the news to late-night entertainment, was predicting and joking about how Hillary was going to beat this clown. So yes, many would-be voters stayed home. Other factors are true as well, but that was a big one.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        “Approximately 42% of the electorate supports Trump per the latest polls. This number has barely budged for years.” That is indeed amazing. Mr Trump’s approval rating has never surpassed 46% and never went lower than 36%. Generally hovering around 40-42%.
        There is no president in recent history that has had such consistent approval (and disapproval) ratings. From that pov, he’s quite a phenomenon.
        The fear is , of course, that this 42% or so approval rating will be enough to win a second term. It will be a tight battle.
        The Democratic party should have 2 priorities:
        1 – Get the voters out in the swing states, winning the EC.
        2 – Get the Senate. Get good candidates and support them to win back the Senate.
        All other squabbles should be subordinate to these two goals (at least for the time being). Even if the candidates are not your first choice.

        • Mark R.
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          Regarding your second point. I wish, wish, wish some of the good candidates running for President would drop out and run for Senate. And instead of Steyer spending millions on his own Presidential bid, how about spending that money on Senatorial candidates; especially Amy McGrath’s campaign to unseat the odious McConnell.

          • merilee
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

            Agree re: Steyer.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

            In a way, I’ve come to loathe Mitch McConnell more even than Donald Trump. With Trump, there’s a feeling he cannot control his amorality; it’s who he is. McConnell, OTOH, knows the evil he does and revels in it anyway.

            Did you see McConnell dodging and dancing today to avoid answering the question if someone told his wife — Transportation Secretary Elaine Chow, who immigrated to the US at age eight — to “go back to where you came from,” whether he would consider it racist? Priceless.

            • Mark R.
              Posted July 17, 2019 at 12:30 am | Permalink

              During a point in his tenure, he wanted to limit Obama to one term. He couldn’t. Yet his bullshit antics proved most effective at the time and afterwards. Has there ever been a politician in our system with so much power (willing to shatter norms) and so much cynical wrath against a sitting President? Frank Frazetta should have put turtle’s face upon the “Death Dealer” or some such.

            • darrelle
              Posted July 17, 2019 at 6:50 am | Permalink

              I’ve been saying it for years. McConnell is the worst person in the country. I rank him as far worse than Trump. Lindsey is on the same short list and is doing his best to take the top spot from Mitch.

    • Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      He knows what he is doing. He has succeeded in ennobling the squad within the Democratic party making it harder for the party to quarantine them. Trump wants to run against their extreme and odious (Israel) positions.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        Yes, I think this was a part of his thinking. He’s trying to split the Democrats down the middle. And these four women, while utterly blameless in every way in this instance, are not easily likeable or electorally appealing. Making their brand of pugnacious intransigence the default for the Democrats would be a huge win for Trump.

        I’ve said it before – he is an absolute master, Jedi-level weasel. It defines him. His entire life has been spent weaseling out of things. By hook or by crook(the latter usually) he gets himself out of a pinch, and in 2020 he sees that he’s in trouble.

        This furore about his comments is an example of his weasel mind turning and twisting the playbox to see how he can sneak a win next year; to see what tactical approach needs to be deployed in order to flop over the finishing line ahead of his maimed opponent.

        • Historian
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          The four women are electorally appealing to their constituents in their districts that put them in office in 2018. These districts are not typical of the nation. The “squad” has more much more influence than they deserve. This is because they are outspoken, get a lot of media attention, cheered on by the far left of the Democratic Party, and condemned by the right wing. Most of the new elected Democratic representatives in 2018 are much more moderate than the squad. Pelosi needs to get the latter in line, thus denying the right wing an attack point. To the extent she succeeds will play a big role In how the Democrats fare in 2020. Unity is essential.

          • GBJames
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

            Well, no district is representative of the nation.

            The question, I think, is the shift that occurred in these districts is similar to nation-wide trends or if they are anomalous. I suspect the former, but I don’t really know. Time will tell. In any case, there is always a distribution, so there will always be someone on “the far left”. The label doesn’t really say much. Most policy positions within the Democratic Party are held across the spectrum of the party.

          • alexander
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

            “unity is essential” in a party

            This is another problem with democracy in the US and UK. Both countries are ruled by party politics in a bipartisan system. Finland has eight parties represented in parliament, so party politics is pushed in the background and “honest” opinion of parliamentarians prevails.

      • Roo
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Totally agree. If his base wasn’t concerned about the “sh**hole countries” and “p*** grabbing” comments, little chance that this will be the straw that broke the camels back. In the meantime, it keeps focus squarely on the portion of the Left who make swing voters the most nervous and *off of policy proposals among the dem candidates that have more popular support. I think Trump has a bit of a sixth sense about these dynamics. I think he’s setting up a “Trump vs AOC” pop culture image in people’s minds, in framing 2020. As opposed, again, to addressing the more popular proposals among the candidates. Also think it’s no coincidence that he started trying to roll back asylum at the same time – I think his instinct is to find his opponents weakest (as in, with low popular support in the case of an election – of course I 100% support asylum, but I think the open borders proposals are a huge vulnerable spot for dems) points, bait his opponents into making the entire conversation *about those very topics, and then framing himself in stark opposition.

    • Roger Lambert
      Posted July 17, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      The total electorate is a minority of all citizens in the U.S., so its not quite as bad as one might think.

      • rickflick
        Posted July 17, 2019 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        I had to check: From Business Insider – 138 million Americans — 58.1% of our voting-eligible population (those American citizens over 18) voted in 2016.

    • Posted July 17, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Might this be giving Trump too much credit? I dare say he doesn’t show much evidence of calculating anything – he just says what he wants to, period.

  4. Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I’m oscillating between a number of ideas what is going on. (1) Just Trumps personality (2) Calculated to keep his base energized and perhaps even more bound to him (3) Calculated distraction from various problems this administration is creating, so that the future, looking back, doesn’t remember clearly who created these problems (4) Testing the waters for a more radical form of politics as suggested in this Oped in the Irish Times.

    (Or some combination thereof. Trump could be entirely selfish, but drive forward other things to enable himself, or shield himself from consequences that would occur otherwise).

    • darrelle
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      It’s always seemed clear to me, long before he became president, that Trump is just a rather shallow, not particularly smart, thug. The only thing that has prevented him from pauperdom, on numerous occasions, is daddy’s fortunes and the organized crime network he created to amass and protect it. I guarantee dad was well aware that his boy Donnie was a thuggish idiot.

      I don’t think one ever needs to consider that Trump may have some sophisticated plan behind his blithering twitterings. I think it very likely that they are simply the result of habitual behavior developed over his life as a thuggish failure who severely stunted daddy’s fortune time after time while scripting a public image of himself as a brilliant super-businessman by appealing to that segment of the public that thinks that gold plated toilets are awesome. He doesn’t put any deep thought into it. It’s just what he’s always done. Stirring up as much shit as he can. He does have a certain cunning when it comes to appealing to the lowest aspects of humanity. But he does it autopilot. There’s no plan beyond the daily, relatively mindless struggle to be Trump.

      • rickflick
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        That’s been my take as well. Nothing complex or noble to see here, move along.

      • Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        Calculation doesn’t mean brilliance. A troll calculates a response. I don’t believe any minute he plays 4D chess, but I find that many on the Dems side underestimate what he is doing at the same time.

        It so happens that his various talking points, while sounding completely inane on a factual side (being anything from impractical to completely bonkers) just so happen to tap into highly specific sentiments. Why would Mexico pay for his border wall? What was that bizarre episode with the Space Force? In both cases, they do effectively communicate Anti-Immigration (even towards actual aliens) and American Exceptionalism. And that is what many people hear, and that undeniably works. Somehow.

        Trump still has a comparatively high approval rating in the US, for someone that inane, boorish, uneducated, and dim.

        It also just so happens that his tweets are spaced out just enough to always grab the next set of headlines. For example, he could, at random, start six fires in different directions on a single day, but it tends to be one issue at a time. Then, when the news cycle ebbs again, there’s the next thing.

        It’s also quite bad that, apparently, Americans won’t see that they now have a Reich style propaganda ministry in their own country. He can tweet anything he wants, and is known to completely fabricate something, and that is effectively getting picked up and spread by right wing media, and still sets the agenda for the other media (who treat this in a “fair and balanced” way). Even if it was “just” Goebbels tweeting his alternative reality, who says that’s actually the case. The USA is a major country, and the president’s actions have billion dollar consequences. I am not quite ready to believe that interests simply sit there and allow a toddler do whatever he wants with their assets.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          The große Lüge technique; it’s been around since a certain someone dictated his memoir to that Hess fella at Landsberg prison.

      • Harrison
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think the guy who spells it “Alcaida” is much of a mastermind, myself.

        The argument above that this was a calculated move to force these women into the spotlight could just as easily be spun as a completely accidental undoing of the “Democrats in disarray” narrative. After all, Pelosi and the gang of four were at each others’ throats, and now they’re working together. Typically your enemy being divided is more useful than them being united.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          He’s no mastermind but he does have good instincts for manipulation and bullying. He excels at those things.

  5. uommibatto
    Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this, well put as always.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      +1

  6. BJ
    Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I wonder if Trump wanted to change the conversation on the Dem side to something good for the “woke” Dems. The story of his entire life has been manipulating the media and public perception into making everyone think he was many things he isn’t (smart, a great businessman, a man who knows how to get deals done, a Democrat, then a Republican, etc…). But, if he thinks his best chance is running against a “woke” candidate, he just pulled the story of Dem infighting out of the news cycle and instead planted a story about the the great “woke” young Dem women of color congress members under attack from all sides, and this time really for their religion or color.

    Or he’s just an ignorant schmuck. I mean, it can be two things. Or just one. If it’s just one, it’s schmuck.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      I think he wants to start some sort of kerfuffle with these women. It’s a distraction from the issues they raise. A big fat ad hom.

      • BJ
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        I think it’s more likely a distraction from the issue he just raised: basically doing away with the idea of asylum. Nobody’s talking about that new policy because they’re too caught up in this spat.

        Plus, I don’t think most of the country agrees with these 4 members of Congress. I think it’s more likely he’s just managed to distract everyone from his asylum policy change. He’s done this over and over during his time in the White House: start some silly spat by making outrageous remarks while his administration quietly institutes a new and highly controversial policy.

      • BJ
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        The media’s voracious appetite for Twitter and public fights rather than reporting on policy really helps Trump and his administration. He knows they’d rather report on what basically amount to political soap operas rather than on actual politics. It’s like the old “announce the policy late Friday afternoon so people don’t see it in the news cycle” trick, except it can be done at any time and, rather than just try to keep people from hearing about the new policy, it’s a 10X magnification of the idea by obscuring the policy with something in which the media and public have far more interest: people yelling at each other.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      It is all politics and the plan by the president and his party in congress is to paint the far left socialists as in charge of the democratic party. They can sell this to the base and therefore, make it look like the democrats are even more extreme than they are.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        So I should say, it is a divide and beat plan. They know the demos have the numbers so they will attempt to split them come election time.

        You also have the senate refusing to let a bill that has already passed in the house to provide the necessary weapons to keep the soviets out of our election. The republicans are basically saying, come on in Russia and screw up this election for Trump.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink

          The United Nations should observe the next US election….that would really annoy Trump for so many reasons.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:10 am | Permalink

            Richard Clarke has a brand new book out called The Fifth Domain. This one is about all the cyber stuff and what is going on. I saw him briefly a day ago but he did not get much time to talk about it. He said specifically, the republican senate would not let the bill even come to the floor that is need to protect our next election. His book covers much more in detail so I need to get the book. There are over 4 thousand counties in this country that manage public elections and they do not have the resources to stop the Russian attacks without help from the fed.

          • Pelmon
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

            To me that looks like you are advocating a deliberate abuse of an important process to score grudge points. Doesn’t that undercut the criticism that Trump is the immature and spiteful one?

            • rickflick
              Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

              No undercutting here. I suspect the UN is very close to wanting to observe US elections. Nothing immature and spiteful, just worry about a loss of democracy. And it would cause DT quite a bit of angst, and many of us a surfeit of Schadenfreude.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted July 17, 2019 at 8:57 am | Permalink

              To me it looks like you’re being a troll all over this thread and took my partly tongue-in-cheek partly “Jesus, it’s gone this far!” comment to be much more than it is.

    • darrelle
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      “But, if he thinks his best chance is running against a “woke” candidate, . . .”

      I am not sure but it has seemed to me for a while now that there is some overlap between a category of Trump voter and supporters of “far left” politicians. There certainly was between Bernie and Trump. Apparently some percentage of people who couldn’t get Bernie voted for Trump instead. Not all merely in protest but some because they felt that Trump truly was closer to Bernie than Clinton was. An “outsider” who wasn’t captured by the system and who would do some of the things they think really need to be done and that no main party politician would ever do. Of course, they were wrong about that. And the evidence was so overwhelming long before the election that I have to wonder about their abilities to form reasoned judgments.

      But back to the overlap. I’m still seeing evidence that there is some. I’m not so sure that some of the further left leaning Democratic candidates would be the best opponent for Trump to choose to go up against. Though some of their ideas are likely extreme by most people’s standards there are many Democratic and Independent voters who like many of their other proposals, and even some of a more libertarian bent. And I also think they would be likely to draw some support from among those people I described above that previously voted for Trump.

      But who knows? Way to early in the game.

      • GBJames
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        In a large population there are always going to be such overlaps. The question isn’t whether they exist but whether they are significant. I don’t see much evidence for significant overlap between Trumpsters and what passes for “the far left”.

        • rickflick
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          No significant overlap on policy, but a significant overlap in appeal to those who want to shake up the system. Out with the Clintons, Obamas and Bushes. In with some disruptor who can make our tedious, entrenched, government at least entertaining. There’s always a chance with a rogue president that things will improve for the aggrieved working class.

        • darrelle
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          I agree, probably not a particularly large number. But then, Trump didn’t win by a particularly large number of votes. He just squeaked by in a few key, by Electoral College vote reckoning, states.

          • alexander
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

            In fact, in absolute numbers, there were more votes for Clinton than for Trump. So far for democracy.

      • rickgilpin
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        I think there is some amount of overlap. The common denominator seems to be the degree to which a particular individual feels “aggrieved.” In 1972, polls indicated that, among a small but not insignificant portion of the electorate, McGovern was the second choice of Wallace voters, and vice versa. The anachronistic nature of the electoral college can, of course, translate even relatively small numbers into total victory for a minority preference. Trump is, by most measures, not very bright, but he has a kind of cunning, and, because he has himself been, throughout his life, aggrieved by his failure to win acceptance by a certain segment of New York society, he knows instinctively how to project that sense of victimization. The message of MAGA is, just as it was from Joe McCarthy, that you, the real Americans, have been betrayed. Democrats, historically, have opted to use the lofty rhetoric on aspiration and inspiration. That is surely preferable, and in years like 2008, it was obviously a winning approach. These days, it may not be sufficient.

    • Mehul Shah
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Some great commentary to that effect on Vox,

      https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/7/16/20695031/trump-ocasio-cortez-omar-pressley-tlaib-pelosi-squad

    • Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Odd how in the run-up to 2016, and shortly after, it was commonly said that his reckless eruptions was Trump being crazy. Unhinged. Now much of what we hear about these things is how canny he is in doing these things.

  7. Matt
    Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    But Jerry, don’t you care about jobs? Don’t you love your country? You should be more appreciative! Smiley face!

    The lower Dennison goes the more his cult loves him for “speaking his mind” and “telling it like it is” but especially for “triggering the libtards.” Dennison supporters are a cult of deplorables, plain and simple.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      What’s the Dennison reference? I haven’t heard that before.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        DENNISON

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

          Thanks for that. I do remember it now.

          This is a guy who pretended to be his own p.a. in order to spread pathetic, ego-boosting lies about himself to NY gossip rags. How in the name of the multiverse did he end up POTUS?

          They actually have him on tape, talking(in 3rd person, as his own p.a.) to the 80s equivalent of Perez Hilton about how Madonna was, like, rilly rilly into “mr Trump”, but he was like ‘nuh-uh babe, I’m a wild stallion, can’t tie me down’, and Madonna’s all like ‘oh Donald, please’, but he’s like ‘sorry babe, the open road calls’ and she’s like heartbroken and if she says she’s never even spoken to him then that’s because they promised they’d never like speak of how like strong their love was cus it’s for their ears only, etc.

          It’s one of the most mortifyingly ridiculous things I’ve ever heard – if I’d been exposed as having done that I’d melt into the floor in shame. He just says it’s not his voice and moves on.

          ‘Who you gonna believe? Me or your lyin’ ears?’

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

          The Donald’s nom de NDA.

      • Matt
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        Saul,

        I call him “Dennison” because the circumstances of that name capture his essence:

        1. Adulterous liaison behind backs of wife and infant at home,
        2. paying hush money weeks before election,
        3. lying about his knowledge of the payments,
        4. turning against his fixer Cohen for telling the truth.

    • Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Sadly the cult of deplorables is quite large.

  8. tomh
    Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    It seems an odd criticism of these four that they would “rather incite their followers to feed their narcissism than enact legislation.” Aside from the fact that in the six months they’ve been there, they have sponsored and cosponsored a number of bills, many to do with reforming government, that while it is useless to impeach because the Senate won’t convict, it is also useless to bring progressive legislation because the Senate won’t pass it.

  9. Historian
    Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    “For you also know that I see the Justice Democrats as entitled and inexperienced social-media mavens who would rather incite their followers to feed their narcissism than enact legislation.”

    There is no doubt that the “squad” has created discord within the Democratic Party. This is not good, but it is a reflection of the fact that the Democratic Party is composed of many interest goods, each pushing for its agenda. The Republican Party does not face this problem because its main component, “the base,” consists of aggrieved white people. I agree that the unity of the party created by Trump’s racism is probably temporary. Infighting will make it harder to elect a Democrat. But, even if the Democrats in the House of Representatives were in total harmony, they cannot pass legislation that will become law. The Republican Senate will make sure of that.

    • BJ
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      “The Republican Party does not face this problem because its main component, ‘the base,’ consists of aggrieved white people.”

      Sorry, but I find this absurd, like something you want to believe rather than something that is true. You’re focusing solely on the race of most people in the Republican party (and the talking points of only their most recent President) and, on that criteria alone, concluding that they don’t have constituencies with entirely different interests, and those constituencies are often disgusted with the only one you point out. I’ve known and know Republicans who are socially liberal but vote Republican because they want tax cuts and less social welfare programs/money for said programs; I’ve known and know Republicans who are part of the Party because they are social conservatives/highly religious Christians and are anti-abortion or anti-many other social or political issues related to their religion; I know and have known many Republicans who vote for the Party because of the 2nd Amendment; etc. I haven’t known any of the “aggrieved white people” ones who vote Republican because they want white people to win or something, but that’s probably a function of where and in what socio-economic class I live, as they’re clearly one faction.

      The Republicans are simply better at sticking together and focusing on winning, and it’s always been that way in the last few decades.

      • Historian
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        Thanks for calling my comment absurd. You called two previous ones dumb. I must be getting better. At least with using the term “absurd” you are not in danger of violating any of the rules for this site.

        I don’t give a damn who you “know” or any other individual knows. You offer the classic logical fallacy of trying to prove something by anecdote. Trump knows what he is doing when he attacks the four women. He is appealing to his base, which is culturally conservative. This doesn’t mean that all Republicans fall in that category, but Trump knows that the cultural conservatives, those that are largely white or old or religious, are essential for him to win again.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:22 am | Permalink

          I thought it was self-evident that you were talking in general terms.

          Perhaps in an ideal world everyone would lard every sentence with caveats and provisos and ‘while-I-acknowledge-that…’s, but in reality we speak in general terms and trust that the other person does not assume bad faith on our part.

          • darrelle
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

            Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been compelled to try and explain just that. It’s a common failing among the righteous no matter what part of the political spectrum they’re from.

        • Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          BJ actually makes the case for “aggrieved white people” by listing the many reasons white folks feel that they are being attacked and even persecuted by the left. Trump plays them like a fiddle, with his anti-abortion, anti-immigrant, anti-foreign powers, anti-minority, anti-women of substance, anti-Muslim, etc. rhetoric.

          • Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

            I forgot an important anti: LGBT.

          • Historian
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

            Yes, exactly. Cultural conservatism is at the core of the Republican Party, at least in terms of the numbers of voters. Although Trump’s economic policies, such as the tax cut, deregulation, and the desire to end healthcare for millions help only a small sliver of the party, his base prioritizes these actions much lower than the cultural measures he has taken or proposed. This is why Trump emphasizes the cultural, not economic issues. He knows what will rile up the base. The heart of Trump’s message is this: the country is demographically changing and only he can prevent it, which is what most of his supporters want to hear, although I suspect many of them know that this is a pipe dream.

          • BJ
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

            That’s fascinating. Any policy that makes someone vote Republican must, by extension, be all of the other things you think every Republican is. Every thing they believe in must be, somehow, racist, sexist, and all the other things you said, and connected to their white identity.

            It’s amazing, the pretzels people can make out of these things. Most rich people don’t like paying taxes, no matter what color or sex they are. Oh, and guess who is more likely to hold misogynist and anti-gay views between black and white people, especially when it comes to religion? Do you think the facts that black people overwhelmingly vote Democratic means they support everything in the Democratic platform? If not, then I don’t know why you would think that of Republicans.

            But, this is just like what I was talking about yesterday. Everyone here wants to make out like everyone who don’t support what they support must be some kind of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad person. There’s no empathy, no attempt to understand others.

            And I’d love to see Historian’s reams of data on his claims. If my anecdotes aren’t good enough, neither are his proclamations. Back them up with polls showing that all the things I talked about are really just white ID politics or you’re on the same footing I am.

            • Historian
              Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

              You want empirical data, fine, here it is, just for you. The Hill reported in March the results of a survey:
              —————–
              A significant majority of Republican voters, 75 percent, said that white Americans are subject to discrimination. Most independents, 55 percent, agreed.

              Democrats differed strongly with only 38 percent saying that whites faced discrimination. Sixty-two percent of Democratic respondents said that European-Americans face almost no discrimination or none whatsoever.
              —————–
              So, yeah, Trump knows who to appeal to and what to say. Do you “know” any of the 75%. I’d love to hear more of your anecdotes. But, what do I know? I am dumb — you told me so.

              Curiously, 78% of Republicans think that African-Americans face discrimination and 72% believe Hispanics face discrimination. So, most Republicans believe that three major racial groups face discrimination. I wonder who they think is doing the discrimination.

              https://thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/433270-poll-republicans-and-democrats-differ-strongly-on-whether-white

              • Pelmon
                Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

                Your numbers do not support your argument. The numbers for belief in discrimination are nearly unvarying over the groups you mention. An example will illustrate. I am willing to bet that nearly 100% of republicans think white people prefer surgery with anesthesia to that without. The same number I am confident would say the same thing about Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, 28 year olds, plumbers, carpenters. That the number is unvarying shows that the 100% they ascribe to whites has no effect. They are not motivated by their belief whites prefer anesthesia.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted July 17, 2019 at 6:17 am | Permalink

                @Pelmon

                If I understand your argument it’s a completely bogus analogy.

                The percentages with which you quibble are not about a consistent figure, eg. the fact that everybody wants to avoid the pain of surgery without anesthetic.
                Rather, the percentages represent opinions on the degree to which different groups experience prejudice. And any reasonable person would acknowledge that white people do NOT suffer just as much prejudice as black people, latin-Americans, etc.

                The fact that the figures are “unvarying” is the whole problem.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

              It’s easy to pull someone up for generalisations, and it’s something anyone could do with your or my comments too. We all speak in generalisations as a shorthand, and to just assume that everyone who criticises Trump supporters writes ‘oh and by the way I’m talking about every last one of these fuckers’ in invisible ink in the margins is absurd.

              I’m capable of recognising that there are plenty of people who voted Trump for reasons other than racism. The fact that former Obama voters voted for him is obvious evidence of this. I know people here in the UK who like Trump, and I like them as people.
              I don’t nudge them into traffic or hide their medication just because I disagree with their political views.

              But it is also an unavoidable fact that this man is a disgusting, bottomless abyss of horribleness, and that his base don’t just put up with it, they cheer him on. They like that about him. I do not have empathy for them.

              And by this point we know everything there is to know about him. Is there any responsibility on these supporters that you’re friends with? Should they be exempt from criticism because they say they only support him because he’s anti-abortion or whatever?
              I don’t see why. That’s like saying you only support Mussolini because you’re a single-issue-buses-running-on-time voter.

              It’s a mitigating factor that they don’t actually approve of him as a person, but their support is still propping him up and enabling the most dangerous leader in the history of the postwar west.

      • Jeff Lewis
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        Per this Vox article, https://www.vox.com/identities/2017/12/15/16781222/trump-racism-economic-anxiety-study

        “Contrary to what some have suggested, white millennial Trump voters were not in more economically precarious situations than non-Trump voters. Fully 86 percent of them reported being employed, a rate similar to non-Trump voters; and they were 14 percent less likely to be low income than white voters who did not support Trump. Employment and income were not significantly related to that sense of white vulnerability.

        “So what was? Racial resentment.

        “…We found, as he has in a larger population, that racial resentment is the biggest predictor of white vulnerability among white millennials. Economic variables like education, income and employment made a negligible difference.”

        And another article, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/10/16/17980820/trump-obama-2016-race-racism-class-economy-2018-midterm

        “The results were quite striking. First, attitudes on race and immigration were crucial distinguishing characteristics of both Trump and Clinton switchers. The more racially conservative an Obama or third party voter was, the more likely they were to switch to Trump. Similarly, the more racially liberal a Romney or third-party voter was, the more likely they were to switch to Clinton.

        “Second, class was largely irrelevant in switching to Trump. Keeping racial attitudes constant, white working-class voters were not more likely to switch to Trump. The white working-class voters who did switch tended to score about as highly on measures of racial conservatism and anti-immigrant attitudes as wealthier switchers.

        “Third, the correlations between measures of economic stress and vote switching were either weak or non-existent. There’s just little evidence supporting the “economic anxiety” or “economic populism” explanations for the Trump surge.”

        There are plenty of other articles and studies indicating that racism was one of the main factors that led to Trump’s election, but I don’t want to risk this comment getting held up in moderation due to too many links.

        • BJ
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          “There are plenty of other articles and studies indicating that racism was one of the main factors that led to Trump’s election”

          Emphasis mine.

          Of course it was because, when you take any poll of all the people who voted Republican, there will be a sizeable amount of racism in there.

          But I didn’t even mention anything relevant to what you posted. What I mentioned is that the Republican Party itself does, in fact, have many different constituencies, not just “racist white people.” There are tons of single-issue voters, like people who don’t want abortion (almost evenly split down the middle between men and women, and women are more likely to vote based on it), gun rights people, people whose religious leaders tell them they need to vote Republican, etc. And that religious base, just like Muslims taught to hate Jews or Nazi soldiers, are people I still have empathy for, because they didn’t choose to believe those things They were born into them.

          People who hate Trump (as I do) seem to largely want more empathy, but have none for the other side themselves. How do they expect to engender empathy without offering any?

          And Vox’s narrative that economics has nothing to do with it goes against so many previous articles, even from their own site, that it’s crazy. I guess there are a million ways to break down his election, but I guess they all come down to lies, damn lies, and statistics, because that’s the only way I can explain the studies showing how each and every explanation is correct and not correct.

          • darrelle
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

            I don’t see how it’s not relevant, at all. You are disparaging people who are pointing out a significant characteristic among a significant percentage of Trump voters because you want to stress that not all Trump voters are racist white people. Except, no one you are disparaging here has argued that all Trump voters are racist white people. And in their responses they’ve clearly said so. And it has been argued quite clearly by Saul above how what you’re doing here isn’t arguing in good faith.

            What are people supposed to think? It sure seems like you think that the significant racist issue among Trump voters isn’t very significant because every time someone mentions it you tell them how stupid they are and lament about how attitudes like that are going to get Trump elected again, and how you wish everyone could see the obvious as clearly as you can. That’s what it looks like so, yeah, it seems a perfectly on point response to point you to some information that strongly supports that the racist issue among Trump voters really is real and significant.

        • Historian
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

          Thanks Jeff for providing additional empirical data showing how racism is a major factor in Trump’s support. Of course, people have many different concerns, but some are more important than others. In a changing country, many, if not most Trump supporters, see him as perhaps the last bulwark against demographic change. Cultural factors, with race being number one, rather than economic ones explains Trump’s racist remarks.

          Throughout my decades of studying history, I have come to realize that economic explanations of events can only partially explain what happened, despite what I was taught. Cultural factors probably play a bigger role. Here is one example. Why in the pre-Civil War South did most whites support slavery, even though relatively few actually owned slaves? The answer is that the presence of slaves gave them a sense of dignity and value. Today, the Trump base craves the same thing. Racists do not come to their views by a dispassionate review of the literature on race. Rather, they are what they are for deeply human psychological needs that they expect the culture to satisfy. These needs are not necessarily met by being in a certain economic strata.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        The traditional Republican Party was made up of disparate parts — monied capitalists, pro-business main-streeters, national defense hawks, social conservatives, small-government libertarians, etc.

        But since Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” — when the GOP opened its arms to the racists disaffected with the Democrats by the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — the Republican Party has been on an ugly trajectory. That trajectory continued with Ronald Reagan’s embrace of evangelicals, with Poppy Bush’s Willie Horton ads, with the neocon folly in Iraq, with the Tea Party, and with many other missteps among them. It culminated with Birtherism and the rise of Donald Trump.

        There may still be some good old-fashioned “cloth coat” Republicans in the ranks, but if so, they have an extremely high tolerance for blatant bigotry and xenophobia and demagoguery in their midst. I don’t know what more it might take to drive them to leave. Donald Trump is in the process of destroying their Grand Old Party, root and branch, and of salting the fields such that nothing salutary might grow there again.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        The Republicans are simply better at sticking together and focusing on winning, and it’s always been that way in the last few decades.

        They’ve managed to lose the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections. More often than not they also lose the overall total popular vote for the senate and house. Yet they cling to congressional power through ruthless gerrymandering and the inherently undemocratic nature of the US senate.

        • tomh
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

          Exactly right. And now, with Republicans firmly in control of the Supreme Court, gerrymandered districts are set in stone for the next 10 years at least.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    This is but a taste of what we are in for with Trump’s campaign to hang onto the presidency. The man has no bottom — there is nothing so foul he will not say it, nothing so underhanded he will not do it, especially as his desperation rises.

    Donald Trump is corrupt, immoral, and incompetent. He is ruining the Republican Party, and the conservative movement, for the foreseeable future.

    I had been hoping, since that day in June 2015 when he rode down his gilded escalator into our presidential politics, that decent Republicans would rise up and cast him off. But the Republican Party of Calvin Coolidge and Dwight Eisenhower, of Barry Goldwater and Everett Dirksen, of Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush, is gone. Fini.

    In its place is a cult of personalty willing to follow Donald Trump anywhere, no matter how low the road. Even now, with this latest abomination, none but a handful of Republicans dare upbraid Trump even mildly; over 90% of the GOP remains in lockstep behind him.

    I’ve had it with these people and with hoping they will ever come round to demonstrate any moral courage: If you cannot call out Trump as a racist, you are a racist. If you cannot recognize Trump as an idiot, you are an idiot.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      “The man has no bottom”

      Metaphorically speaking obviously. You can see his actual arse from space.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        You mean this thing, with its own gravitational field and zip code?

        https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CslWbvOWgAAPz8K.jpg:large

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:37 am | Permalink

          That’s the one. Thanks for that Ken…always on cue with the horrifying links.

          I like that your immediate thought was ‘this horrible mental image needs to be illustrated with a photographic example’.

        • merilee
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

          🤮

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

            I was too afraid to click the link. From your reaction, I see I made the right choice.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      That’s pretty good, if you cannot recognize an idiot, you are an idiot. Simple but true. So if the demos want to know, the plan is this – Trump plans to do the divide and conquer on the democrats. They are saying the crazy gang of four have taken over the party and they also plan for lots of help from Russia. It is really just a version of the 2016 election.

    • Steve Gerrard
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Bill Kristol came down on Trump:

      “The president has once again (but even more obviously than usual) made clear his unapologetic bigotry, nativism and racism. Are GOP leaders, donors and voters still fine with re-nominating Donald Trump for president? Do they really believe the Republican Party can do no better?”

      The thing is, it doesn’t get much attention when a conservative pundit or politician comes down on Trump. There have been some, but not enough to capture the interest of the media. It would take something like a censure passed by the McConnell senate to actually change the narrative.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        It’s the Trump Party now, lock, stock, and ballot box. There’s nothing left of the Grand Old Party of the Bill Kristols and the David Frums and the George Wills of the world. Nada.

        • Historian
          Posted July 16, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

          Strange, isn’t it, how easy it is to pine away for the good old days under George W. Bush? 😎

          • merilee
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

            A veritable statesman in comparison…

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted July 16, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

              Pericles in the Golden Age of Athenian democracy, by comparison. 🙂

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted July 16, 2019 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, watching the recent footage of immigrants crammed into cages at the border, it hit me: as much an asshole as Dubya could be, he wouldn’t have done THAT.

            Trump and his people don’t even pay lip-service to “compassionate conservatism.”

            • Pelmon
              Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

              He didn’t. Obama did. The cages were an Obama innovation.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted July 17, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

                Right, here ya go. Thanks, Obama:

  11. bapu@arekapudi.com
    Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Well said! Jerry,

    Admire your courage.

    Bapu

  12. Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I totally agree. I’m not a fan of the Congresswomen in question, but I suppose the one unequivocally good thing they’ve done is show (well, for the bazillionth time), that the current POTUS is colossally unfit for public office.

  13. Jon Gallant
    Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Sen. Lindsay Graham’s conversion to a Trump lapdog, (and the resulting huge recovery of his S. Carolina mass support pointed out by Ken Kukec) illustrates the working of Nixon’s “southern strategy”. All the hand-wringing about “battleground states” and the white working class vote in PA, MI, and WI passes over the fact of the GOP’s lock on the states of the former Confederacy—without which the Donald would not be POTUS and Mitch McConnell would not control the Senate. One has to scratch one’s head over how the ghost of the Stars and Bars prevailed, a century and a half after seemingly losing the Civil War.

    • GBJames
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      That’s a very interesting subject… I recently read Tony Horwitz’ Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War. You might find it worth reading. It is a bit depressing but also funny. And relevant.

    • Historian
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      It is incontestable that since the earliest days of slavery in the colonial South that whites in the region were obsessed with maintaining their dominance over African-Americans. This is why the slave states seceded in 1860 and 1861. That attitude has prevailed to the present day, although there are signs of incipient change. Until Lyndon Johnson, the Democratic Party was more sympathetic to the southern segregationists or at least willing to leave them alone. When Lyndon Johnson pressed for civil rights legislation, an act of rare, extraordinary courage, and Nixon’s southern strategy emerged, the transformation of the white South from overwhelming Democratic to overwhelmingly Republican began. The white South acted in what it perceived to be its best interest: racial hegemony.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        We can only hope that some generation soon we will finally trample out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.

      • Jon Gallant
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        The reactionary instincts in southern white culture include racial hegemony, to be sure, but also seem to go back to even earlier matters. The Virginia Colony remained faithful to the monarchy in the English Civil War, and after Charles 1 lost his head, it offered the post of “King of Virginia” to his young son. During the Protectorate, there was an exodus of Cavaliers to the Virginia Colony—at a time when there were as yet relatively few African slaves there. According to Wiki, Cavalier emigrants to the Virginia Colony included the ancestors of George Washington, James Madison, and James Monroe—so Nixon’s “southern strategy” could perhaps be renamed the “Cavalier strategy”.

      • XCellken
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

        What about the slave states that did NOT secede ?

  14. Mark R.
    Posted July 16, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this post Jerry, I wholeheartedly agree.

    Did anyone see/hear the press conference of the 4 yesterday afternoon? I thought it was spectacular…repeating his “shithole countries” reference and “grabbing women by the pussy”…it entered FOX viewers’ homes as well. They did a good job pushing back at the bigot in chief.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      They did great — articulate, calm, and all business. They avoided saying anything divisive among Democrats or off-putting to independents.

  15. W.Benson
    Posted July 16, 2019 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    “Immigrants’ Employment Rights Under Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws . . .
    “Harassment Based on National Origin
    Ethnic slurs and other verbal or physical conduct because of nationality are illegal if they are severe or pervasive and create an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment, interfere with work performance, or negatively affect job opportunities. Examples of POTENTIALLY UNLAWFUL CONDUCT [my caps] include insults, taunting, or ethnic epithets, such as making fun of a person’s foreign accent or comments like, “Go back to where you came from,” whether made by supervisors or by co-workers.”
    Source: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/immigrants-facts.cfm

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Good catch.

  16. Pelmon
    Posted July 16, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    I was in a Tim’s donuts here in Canada when this American who moved here started telling me how awful Canada was, especially how it was controlled by Jews, because our politicians were all about the Bordens. Then he started bad mouthing our leaders, calling them crude, and conceited and immature.

    I wanted to tell him, maybe he should go back to the USA for a while, and try to fix the politicians there, and then come back and tell us about it.

    But of course I didn’t say that, because it’s just pointlessly rude.

  17. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted July 16, 2019 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    As an aside –

    “When I was a kid, a friend and I mustered up our courage to visit the American Nazi Party Headquarters”

    I’m impressed. And just mildly curious – did they realise you were Jewish?

    cr

  18. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 16, 2019 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Four Republicans joined the Democrats today in passing a resolution condemning Trump’s racist remarks. I think they deserve a name-check here — Fred Upton, Brian Fitzpatrick, Susan Brooks, and Will Hurd (the only black Republican in the House of Representatives). They were joined by Justin Amash, the Michigan congressman who left the Republican Party last month after reading the Mueller report and coming out in favor of Trump’s impeachment.

    Not much to go on, I know, but the faintest glimmer, perhaps, of some small shard of decency.

    • Pelmon
      Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

      No. The house should not be passing resolutions based on interpretations of tweets. That is just not what the legislative process is for. It is a trumpification of the legislative process in fact. What next, pass a resolution he has cooties? That his comb over is ugly? Condemn him on twitter and TV.

      • rickflick
        Posted July 16, 2019 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

        I wouldn’t worry too much about the resolution. I think it is really just a finger in the breeze and an indicator of the tone of legislators. They may need quite a few more before the axe falls.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 17, 2019 at 6:44 am | Permalink

        The house should not be passing resolutions based on interpretations of tweets. That is just not what the legislative process is for.

        You’re clearly unaware of what the United States congress actually does. Voting on resolutions constitutes the bulk of its work. Take a look at this list of resolutions introduced this year. So far, the 116th Congress has passed 248 resolutions, but enacted just 29 laws.

        • Posted July 17, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

          I take it that the passing of a resolution to condemn the behaviour of a president would be one “check or balance”.

    • Roo
      Posted July 17, 2019 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Among Republicans in general, his comments seem to have actually given him a slight boost in his approval rating.

  19. JB
    Posted July 17, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    The Squad (the four progressive congresswomen) are deeply unpopular among non-college-educated white males, who are a key swing demographic for 2020. If Trump attacks the Squad and gets moderate Dems to defend them, he can paint all Democrats to be just like the Squad. Devilish, no?

    • Pelmon
      Posted July 17, 2019 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      Their unpopularity extends far beyond your characterization, it’s not about “white males” or education level. For example, Omar polls at 9% amongst the undecided.

      • tomh
        Posted July 17, 2019 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        I guess it’s a good thing she’s not running for anything then, isn’t it? Of course, Congress in general polls between 15-20% approval rating, so it’s not so astounding.

        • JB
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

          She’s not running for anything, true. But, what if you’re Joe Biden (or whoever the Dem frontrunner is) and you’re forced into defending her because Trump is calling her names? Do voters then associate Biden with Omar and he pays some of that cost? Trump is betting “yes”.

  20. Bruce Morgan
    Posted July 17, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    You may find it amusing to learn that about the same time you visited the American Nazi party headquarters I was working for a nascent “computerized student search” firm (back when computers were yooge!)I rigged the results to preferentially send young black males who had recently been released from prison to apply in person for a high paying job at the ANP Headquarters. There was no indication that it was the American Nazi Party. Shortly thereafter I was fired.

    • Pelmon
      Posted July 17, 2019 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      I guess my sense of amusement is off. It sounds to me like you betrayed your employer’s trust, just as you would have had you “rigged” any other search. Why you rigged it is irrelevant.

  21. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted July 17, 2019 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    These tweets, and this confrontation, are shameful and reprehensible: low even by Trump standards.

    I’m pretty confident that he’s got to continue escalating the intensity to get the outrage response he needs. And at some point either he’s going to have a Porterhouse Blue, or something is going to break in the American “body politic”. I think the Porterhouse has the higher odds.

    • phoffman56
      Posted July 17, 2019 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      I liked that last line in the ‘Porterhouse’ video, when the force feeding College academics at the feast said (of the porter, actor David Jason):
      “He might not have been born with a silver spoon, but, by God, he’ll die with one!”

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        It’s been that long since I read the book, I can’t remember the details. Apart from the eponymous “Blue”.
        I was in Oxford last week, which probably put me in mind of it.

        • phoffman56
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

          Scullion, working-class of course, had unexpectedly come into big money, via some very old college stocks IIRC, but suffered a non-fatal stroke, i.e. a Porterhouse blue. This was caused by the shock of the money, maybe also the shock of being elected head of the college because his money would then keep it afloat (after a fatal Porterhouse blue from overindulgence for the previous ‘evil’ academic college boss). So at the final scene college feast, he was more-or-less gaga in a wheelchair (politically incorrect these days perhaps), so the other uppity academics were force-feeding with that silver spoon. (There was no indication that he would not be nursed along in that state for as long as possible–I think David Jason was just as excellent in that role as in ‘..Frost..’ the detective and in ‘…Buds of May’.)


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