Further proof, in case you needed it, that Trump supporters are anything but ‘conservative’

Donald_Trump_rally_in_Cedar_Rapids_(June_2017)_09

Warning: This piece contains the word, “nihilism.” That’s for Doug, who hates it when I use that word in this context. But it’s the right word.

That’s why it was included in the subhed to this Thomas Edsall story, as follows: “Political nihilism is one of the president’s strongest weapons.”

Bottom line is, while you might call Trump voters many things, no one with a respect for the English language would call them “conservative.”

The Edsall piece is about a paper presented last week at the American Political Science Association. Guessing that y’all probably did not attend (while this sort of thing is Tom Edsall’s bag, baby), I thought I’d bring the paper to y’all’s attention. The title was “A ‘Need for Chaos’ and the Sharing of Hostile Political Rumors in Advanced Democracies.”

We’ve all read elsewhere the assertion that people voted for Trump out of a deep-seated urge to blow up the system, but these two Danish political scientists, Michael Bang Petersen and Mathias Osmundsen, dug into the phenomenon more deeply that most. In short, they argue “that a segment of the American electorate that was once peripheral is drawn to ‘chaos incitement’ and that this segment has gained decisive influence through the rise of social media.”

Here’s the core of the piece:

How do Petersen, Osmundsen and Arceneaux measure this “need for chaos”? They conducted six surveys, four in the United States, in which they interviewed 5157 participants, and two in Denmark, with 1336. They identified those who are “drawn to chaos” through their affirmative responses to the following statements:

  • I fantasize about a natural disaster wiping out most of humanity such that a small group of people can start all over.

  • I think society should be burned to the ground.

  • When I think about our political and social institutions, I cannot help thinking “just let them all burn.”

  • We cannot fix the problems in our social institutions, we need to tear them down and start over.

  • Sometimes I just feel like destroying beautiful things.

Disturbing stuff. Like, “Helter-Skelter” disturbing. The piece continues:

In an email, Petersen wrote that preliminary examination of the data shows “that the ‘need for chaos’ correlates positively with sympathy for Trump but also — although less strongly — with sympathy for Sanders. It correlates negatively with sympathy for Hillary Clinton.”

In their paper, Petersen, Osmundsen and Arceneaux contend that “the extreme discontent expressed in the ‘Need for Chaos’ scale is a minority view but it is a minority view with incredible amounts of support.”

The responses to three of the statements in particular were “staggering,” the paper says: 24 percent agreed that society should be burned to the ground; 40 percent concurred with the thought that “When it comes to our political and social institutions, I cannot help thinking ‘just let them all burn’ ”; and 40 percent also agreed that “we cannot fix the problems in our social institutions, we need to tear them down and start over.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we’re on about when we use the word “nihilism.”

Note the bit about Bernie. Most of us sensed that his 2016 campaign was driven by some of the same destructive energy that drove Trump’s, but this provides some further evidence on that point.

Anyway, it’s an interesting piece, and you might want to read the whole thing

105 thoughts on “Further proof, in case you needed it, that Trump supporters are anything but ‘conservative’

  1. Doug Ross

    “We cannot fix the problems in our social institutions, we need to tear them down and start over.”\

    Not social institutions but most government institutions would benefit from a complete restart. The problem with government is the entrenched poor design. It’s too difficult to change anything.

    “Sometimes I just feel like destroying beautiful things.”

    There is nothing beautiful about government. It is supposed to be like a machine with inputs and outputs. It doesn’t have a soul or a beauty about it. It should be as small and efficient as possible and not a hair bigger. If that means tearing it down, so be it.

    If you don’t like the way the country is today, the government and, even more, the politicians who inhabit it are a big reason why. Trump’s presence has hardly made a dent in any of the way things don’t work. The inertia of big government is too strong.

    Hoping for something better to replace something bad isn’t nihilism, it’s optimism. I truly believe there is a better way for everyone. I’m nihilistic about government the same way I am about fireants.

    Reply
    1. Barry

      “most government institutions would benefit from a complete restart.”

      Human beings would still be in charge and they have different beliefs, morals, and approaches. That always creates issues and problems- and opportunities.

      “There is nothing beautiful about government. “

      Nothing about that question referred to government institutions being beautiful or the subject of the question. It was a generic statement. The answer indicated those that support trump were more likely to want to destroy “beautiful things.”

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        And that is complete and utter hogwash. Anyone who thinks that people who voted for Trump are more likely to want to destroy beautiful things is deranged. I dare you to say that to people you know who voted for him.

        Reply
        1. Barry

          Not hogwash at all. Not even close.

          The anger I see everyday from the people
          I know that support trump and the reasons they support him give me 100% confidence that many of them do want to burn everything down.

          One of them recently made a very vulgar statement on the Facebook page of a sandy hook parent that lost his daughter to that massacre.

          Yep- burn everything down fits.

          Reply
          1. bud

            Absolutely 100% agree. Hard core Trump supporters are the epitome of anger and vulgarity. They really are deplorables. Anyone who can’t or won’t see that is blind. Really the hardcore Trump supporters are the worst America has to offer. Time to stop apologizing for calling them deplorables. THEY ARE.

            Reply
        2. Harry Harris

          ” I dare you to say that to people you know who voted for him.”
          Why? Does that mean you think they have a penchant for violence?

          Reply
    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      “Trump’s presence has hardly made a dent in any of the way things don’t work.” Are you saying you expected things to get BETTER when we let this angry bull into the China shop?

      And there are few things more beautiful in human history than what the Framers came up with, improved upon over the years. They came up with an unprecedented way for free people to live together and govern themselves. It’s miraculous.

      It’s been tarnished over the last 30 years or so by the thing the Framers most feared — factionalism. The one thing that needs to be fixed is that. Of course, fixing it is beyond the power of mere government. This tribalism is a deadly sickness in the electorate itself.

      Which is one big reason we need a guy like Biden in the Bully Pulpit. He actually remembers what it was like before we got this way. Nobody else could set the tone that we desperately need…

      Reply
      1. bud

        Disagree. It’s the REPUBLICAN party that is the problem. Lumping people into tribes is an insult to tribes. I’m just so sick and tired of this false equivalency crap. THAT is what is enabling the Republican party to destroy America. Until we absolutely stop voting for ANY Republican the problem continues. Faulty though they may be the Democrats are our only hope of saving the country from the cancer of the Republican Party.

        Reply
  2. Barry

    This study corresponds well to what some of my own family members that support Trump say about society and people in general.

    It’s a deep anger at everyone and anyone. It borders on hate, and often embraces it.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      I hope if you believe that you are calling DSS on them if they are parents. Because obviously anyone with that much hate should not be around children. That would include 55% of SC voters, and 70% of residents of Lexington. If you are that concerned about the hate that surrounds you, you would probably be better off moving somewhere safer.

      This is a bogus study with an obvious agenda going into it. And it proves nothing.

      The eggheads who did the study also have one called: “Political ideology and precautionary reasoning: testing the palliative function of right-wing ideology on obsessive-compulsive symptoms” and “The behavioral immune system shapes political intuitions: Why and how individual differences in disgust sensitivity underlie opposition to immigration”… Gee, you think they are looking for anything that would suggest right wing people are anything but subhuman?

      Reply
      1. Barry

        The family members that I know that support trump don’t have children at home. They are angry, retired uncles and aunts that hate pretty much everything these days.

        Their study makes sense based on my experiences with them.

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          How many Trump voters do you know? How many do you think go through their days with a “burn it all down” and “destroy beautiful things” attitude?

          From my little world, the most angry people I’ve seen over the past 2,5 years are those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome… every single day is filled with anger.. profanity is the norm for Trump haters.

          There are lunatics in every voting group. Antifa idiots running around with masks on, screaming at people, harrassing them in public are not nice people. They too have serious mental issues.

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Doug, the only people who are not deranged are those who understand what an unprecedented, horrible thing has happened to our country.

            You say “there are lunatics in every voting group.” Which I suppose is the corollary of there being “very fine people on both sides.”

            If you choose to ignore the thing that is smacking most of us in the face, you can always wish a problem away. Antifa? Really? That’s your standard for judging opposition to Trump? That’s the brush you paint us with? I guess that if you went back to Germany in the 30s and looked really, really hard, you might find some people who didn’t like Hitler who were not the most pleasant people themselves. But that didn’t excuse Hitler, or the people who supported him.

            I’m going to make a suggestion, which you will probably ignore, but here goes…

            The people who best express my objections to Trump tend to be the conservative Never Trumpers. Extremely rational, intelligent people, not the hyperactive children of Antifa. The Never Trumpers come closer to saying what I think than any of the Democratic candidates do, with the exception of Biden — another reason I support him, and have no second choice among them.

            Try reading these conservatives, and see if they can open your ears and eyes to what has happened, since you are inclined to dismiss me as a deranged idiot.

            I’m suggesting such writers as Bret Stephens, Ross Douthat, David Brooks, David Frum, Max Boot, Jennifer Rubin and Bill Kristol. I would add George Will, but I believe you’ve expressed distaste for him in the past.

            And then get back to us on who you think is deranged…

            Reply
            1. Doug Ross

              The never Trumper crowd is still trying to recocile how out of touch they were with the American public in 2016. Their egos are as large as Trump’s.

              Anyone who blames Russian influence or cries “not fair” about the popular vote or electoral college is also off the rails. Never Trumpers are miserable people… Looking for reasons to be outraged..

              Obligatory note..I didn’t vote for Trump and don’t support him. I just don’t let his presence make me miserable every day.

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Doug, you keep saying some variation of this, and I haven’t understood you yet: “The never Trumper crowd is still trying to reconcile how out of touch they were with the American public in 2016.”

                How on EARTH do their views about what has happened to the country have to do, in any way, shape or form, with being in or out of “touch with the American public in 2016?”

                Do you think that a writer of commentary is motivated to try to be “in touch” with the public? What makes you think that? You do understand, don’t you, that for a writer of opinion, “being right” means taking the correct position as to who SHOULD be elected, not guessing correctly who WILL be elected? Because if you don’t know that, you don’t know me at all, and you don’t know these other people whom you dismiss.

                And are you asserting that they SHOULD have been “in touch” with such severe antisocial dysfunction? Is it a BAD thing that they aren’t deluded the way Trump voters are? How do you figure?

                And what, precisely, do you mean by “the American public in 2016?” Are you talking about the majority, which voted for Hillary Clinton? Is a large minority, which happened to clump into local majorities in some key states, somehow “the American public?” What are the rest of us, the actual majority? Chopped liver?

                I’ve ignored this sort of commentary from you many times in the past, because there are so many things wrong with it that I haven’t wanted to go down such a long detour.

                But today, I had to say something….

                Reply
                1. Doug Ross

                  “Do you think that a writer of commentary is motivated to try to be “in touch” with the public? What makes you think that?”

                  Seriously? Were you paying attention in the spring/summer of 2016? Here’s Mr. Thesaurus Genius George Will in June of 2016:

                  https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/06/19/george_will_political_amateur_donald_trump_thinks_his_large_crowds_represent_american_electorate.html

                  “WILL: A Republican governor. Jeff Flake, a Senator from Arizona, a Republican who is resistant to Donald Trump points out that Trump got 13 million votes in the primaries. He’ll probably need 65 million votes to win the presidency. Where is he going to get the other 52 million? That’s a lot of votes.

                  Donald Trump’s assumption clearly at this point is that running in a primary against 16 opponents is pretty much the same as running in a protracted general election against one well-funded Democratic machine. That’s unlikely because what the Democrats have is the get out the vote mechanism and that this is going to be a mobilization election and not a persuasion election. And there aren’t that many Americans waiting to be persuaded on either side.

                  So if he doesn’t have a get out the vote mechanism, what does he have? What he has is crowds. And like a real amateur in politics, he seems to confuse the enthusiasm of the crowds in front of him at the moment in the high school auditorium with the larger electorate. Whereas in fact crowds are definitionally not a representative selection of the American people.”

                  Ha ha ha.. what an egotistical buffoon Will was (and still is). He (and all the rest) were so wrong about Trump that their only course of action is to double, triple, and quadruple down on how bad Trump is. The alternative would require them to say “I was wrong.” Which, as you know, is a rarity in opinion writers. Always certain, occasionally correct.

                2. Doug Ross

                  Will’s own column in April of 2016: (does he get paid extra for using words like “quisling”?)

                  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/if-trump-is-nominated-the-gop-must-keep-him-out-of-the-white-house/2016/04/29/293f7f94-0d9d-11e6-8ab8-9ad050f76d7d_story.html?noredirect=on

                  “Trump would be the most unpopular nominee ever, unable to even come close to Mitt Romney’s insufficient support among women, minorities and young people. In losing disastrously, Trump probably would create down-ballot carnage sufficient to end even Republican control of the House.”

                  As Trump would say, “WRONG!”

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  “Quisling” is a perfectly fine word. I’ve used it myself. I see nothing wrong with it. It’s so much more evocative than “traitor” or “fifth-columnist”…

                  Anyway, regarding languages, you and I seem to be speaking two different ones.

                  Oh, and as it happens, Trump WAS the most unpopular major-party nominee in history. He squeaked by because his opponent was the SECOND least popular in history…

                4. Doug Ross

                  Just watch the first 20 seconds of this moron Rachel Maddow clip from three years ago if you want to understand why so many liberal and out-of-touch commentators/writers are still so enraged about Trump. There is a record now of their stupidity out there for all to see. They can either admit they were totally wrong or else make up lies to cover their enormous egos.

                5. Brad Warthen Post author

                  “if you want to understand why so many liberal and out-of-touch commentators/writers are still so enraged about Trump”

                  Doug, I understand why thinking people are upset about having Trump as our president. I understand it inside and out. I’m afraid you do not, and I have failed utterly to help you do so. And I’m still scratching my head at the odd reasons you put forth…

                6. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Do some writers sometimes engage in the foolishness of trying to predict what will happen in the future? Yep. And if their predictions don’t pan out, then they deserve it for having been so indiscreet.

                  But what in the world you think that has to do with the fact that Trump is by FAR the most grotesquely unfit creature ever to hold the office of the presidency, or the fact that these people understand that, utterly baffles me.

                  There’s just no connection between the two things. I can’t even see the ghost of a connection.

                  Oh, and if you’re going to judge people’s wisdom by such predictions, you might want to go back and see that I’m the guy who was telling Bud and others NOT to hope that Trump would be Hillary’s opponent, because ANYONE who has a major party nomination has close to an even chance of being elected.

                  Not that that has ANYTHING to do with Trump’s gross unfitness for public office…

                7. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Actually, speaking of predictions…

                  In the first few years of my blog, I actually DID make some predictions about election outcomes. I did it precisely to help readers understand the difference between endorsements — which are about who SHOULD win — and predictions.

                  After years of TELLING people they weren’t the same thing, I did the predictions so they could SEE they weren’t the same thing. For instance, as you’ll see in that link I just provided from 2008, we endorsed McCain, but I predicted that Obama would win the election (while McCain would easily win SC).

                  My biggest prediction mistake — AND endorsement disappointment — that time around was predicting Republican Mike Montgomery would keep his Richland County Council seat. He didn’t. I was giving the voters too much credit…

                8. Doug Ross

                  The Maddow clip has everything you can expect from political parties — a Democratic poll showing a close race (sound familiar) — bought and paid for polling. She actually uses the term “legit poll”.

                  Fabrications and exaggerations… the lifeblood of political consultants.

                  Jamie Harrison shows up to make up stuff as well. Gotta keep selling the fairy tale in order to get more money coming in.

                9. Doug Ross

                  “But what in the world you think that has to do with the fact that Trump is by FAR the most grotesquely unfit creature ever to hold the office of the presidency, or the fact that these people understand that, utterly baffles me.”

                  It’s pretty simple. Trump won. That suggests that a very large portion of the country does not believe he is grotesquely unfit. Likely many of the people who voted for George Bush or Mitt Romney or (egads!) John McCain. You keep trying to pretend that Trump voters are awful, weird, hateful, destructive people — they’re not. There is likely a HUGE overlap between McCain 2008 voters and Trump 2016. Do you disagree? Were they idiots in 2008 too or is it possible that they saw a worse candidate in Hillary?

                  George Will didn’t make a prediction. He boldly stated that he knew what the electorate would do. He said Trump would lose in a landslide. His level of incorrectness says everything about him and his actual disconnect from the real world.

                10. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Yes, he made this prediction, in the lede: “Republican quislings will multiply, slinking into support of the most anti-conservative presidential aspirant in their party’s history.”

                  And that’s what happened.

                  But this is not a productive conversation. You don’t understand what’s wrong with Trump, and I’ve demonstrated over and over that I’m not capable of explaining it. That’s why I suggested you read some of those other people, in the hope that they would succeed where I have failed.

                  I’ll only say this: Yes, it’s true that “a very large portion of the country does not believe he is grotesquely unfit.” And they are horribly, tragically, profoundly wrong. If anyone sees what’s happening and understands it, he or she knows that. It’s not a “some people think this and some people think that, and all views are equally valid” kind of thing. It’s just a fact.

                  Every day, we are smacked in the face by this fact. This image alone should be enough to make everyone run screaming for the exits. But it’s just daily life in Trump’s White House…

                  map

                11. Mr. Smith

                  Here’s just a small example of the state of American “greatness”:

                  This week we learned that the US State Department has been alternately offering bribes and issuing threats to individual ship captains to try to dissuade them from delivering Iranian oil. I suppose to folks who support this administration and who really have no idea of how diplomacy should work that may seem like skilful innovation. But it isn’t. It’s what a former great power acts like when it loses all direction and, more importantly, has no allies to turn to. It simply flounders around pitifully.

              2. bud

                No reconciliation necessary. Here’s how the American public voted in 2016:

                Hillary Clinton – 65,853,514
                Donald Trump – 62,984,828

                What Doug is saying is false, wrong, incorrect, untrue, bologna. The American public voted, by a wide margin for Hillary Clinton. But I guess in the age of Trump any idiotic falsehood can be passed off as truth. All it takes is a good sharpy to change the facts.

                Reply
                1. Doug Ross

                  She won a game that nobody else was playing. Trump won the game, fair and square. She knew the rules, she thought she had it in the bag and didn’t try hard in blue states, and she blew it.

                  It’s like awarding a football victory to the team that has the most rushing yards.

                  Two million of Hillary’s “margin” came from Los Angeles and San Francisco counties. She won the state, won the most electoral votes (by far) you can get from any state (1/5 of her entire electoral count). But she couldn’t be bothered to try and win Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania — which had she won, ,she’d be President. Her fault, her loss.

                2. Barry

                  “She won a game that nobody else was playing.“

                  If that were only true……. Trump was playing it so hard that he’s been obsessed with the fact he lost the popular vote to her.

                  He created a fake government commission on voter fraud that even some republicans said wasn’t a serious effort, and has totally ignored (along with national republicans) the very real voter fraud that happened in the GOP primary in the 9th district in North Carolina.

            2. bud

              I’m suggesting such writers as Bret Stephens, Ross Douthat, David Brooks, David Frum, Max Boot, Jennifer Rubin and Bill Kristol.

              Pretty much the hall of fame of political writers I strongly disagree with. Mostly big Iraq war cheerleaders. Right there they’ve lost my respect. Stephens is the worst of the bunch. He is just reprehensible. Rubin and Boot have their good days.

              Reply
          2. Barry

            Most people I work with and talk to on a regular basis are trump supporters (enthusiastic or hold their nose types).

            The workplace trumpers I know don’t really discuss their personal feelings in-depth on political issues. For example, I don’t have any idea if they post on social media or not.

            The family members that I know that support trump talk about him constantly – so much so that last year during the holidays, my 18 year old son asked me if we could not go to his grandparent’s house for Christmas because he didn’t want to hear their pro trump, anti immigrant talk for 3 straight days while we tried to focus on what Christmas is supposed to be about. (We went anyway because we had a part to play in a church presentation and I advised him to ignore them when they started talking bad about other people).

            All but one family member, I believe, would be very happy if the entire city of Washington DC (and California, can’t leave out Cali) was hit by a nuclear bomb today. I say that based on the seething anger they show and the types of incredibly vulgar and incendiary things they say about other Americans.

            Members of Antifa don’t seem nice. Of course millions of Americans don’t support them like they do Trump- a man who has also encouraged violence, but who is also an elected leader.

            Reply
  3. Bryan Caskey

    Whenever I look for insightful political analysis of Americans and American politics, I always look to Danish political scientists. :)

    But seriously folks…

    There’s certainly a part of the American electorate that has seen our established institutions (federal government, state government, local government) over the last thirty years or so start to fail them and they have started to lose faith in these institutions (I’ll call these people “Red Sox” for short.) They have seen these institutions run by ordinary politicians, from one party of the other, but more or less ordinary.

    Over this time, the Red Sox have seen an immigration system that allow in large numbers of relatively low-skilled workers. This is good for the immigrants who are certainly better off in the USA than in their country of origin, but it drives down the price of unskilled labor and Red Sox who lack skills are hurt by this. However, more prosperous, well-educated Americans (I’ll call them the “Yankees”) are relatively untouched by any negative effects of immigration, and actually benefit from it.

    The Red Sox also see our standard institutions resist any effort to allow public funds into private schools for vouchers or similar programs. Accordingly, the Red Sox have no choice but to send their children to a public school system with virtually no competition and therefore little incentive to improve. Meanwhile, the Yankees can send their children to expensive private schools the Red Sox could never hope to afford.

    These are just two examples, but there are plenty more reasons the Red Sox have been slowly becoming fed up with the status quo. Accordingly, there has been a growing number of Red Sox who are just fed up with the political institutions we have and are attracted to a non-traditional politician who also claims to share their grievances. You can see how some of the Red Sox would be fine to see some institutions be torn down and “start over”.

    It’s not a scary, Manson-ish “Helter-Skelter” thing. It’s dissatisfaction. It’s frustration. It’s vainly wanting things to be better/easier/different for so long, that the idea of reform is replaced by the idea of just starting over.

    Is there some “nihilism” in there? Eh, maybe from the point of view of some Yankees. Perhaps something has gone wrong with the country to produce such a frustration that the Red Sox are ready to “start over” on certain institutions.

    Reply
      1. Bryan Caskey

        I certainly wasn’t asking you to hold with that manner of thinking. However, I believe you might agree that there are some other people across the United States with differing views from yours, and it has more to do with economics or financial gain. I am never again going to try and convince anyone to change their mind of anything related to politics. That’s utter folly. I was not attempting to change your mind. On the contrary, I was offering another viewpoint. I apologize if it came across as an attempt to persuade.

        Reply
        1. bud

          That is just sad. Bryan you’ve helped me take another look at an important issue in the past so minds can be persuaded. I’m a liberal for sure. But I mostly view the world in pragmatic terms. Or at least strive to.

          Reply
        2. Bryan Caskey

          Brad, I do very much agree with you that such views of “burn it all down” are not conservative, as they conserve nothing. Such views are not to be conflated with the principles of modern conservatism, which I believe you point out.

          Reply
        3. Brad Warthen Post author

          All my life there have been “some other people across the United States with differing views from” mine, and God bless them.

          Until 2016, that was a fine thing, a healthy diversity of opinion. Sure, there had been a good bit of partisan nastiness over the preceding couple of decades, but there had been no complete break with our tradition of disagreeing with one another while sharing a certain respect for our country’s institutions.

          But madness struck our country in that year. It hit on the left as well as the right (I speak of Sanders), but the disease was far, far more virulent among Republican primary voters, and again in the fall.

          It was an urge to rend and destroy, without any practical concern for what would replace that which was destroyed. It was extremely alarming.

          It’s one thing for people to vote out of their own selfish economic concerns. We’ve seen that for all of our history. It’s another to take a torch to the country and its institutions (or to harbor a wish to do so). I share this Edsall piece because it illuminates that problem, and I think it’s something we all need to face and understand. Because whatever caused it is likely to be there still when Trump is long gone. And this is extremely alarming…

          Reply
          1. bud

            But madness struck our country in that year. It hit on the left as well as the right (I speak of Sanders), but the disease was far, far more virulent among Republican primary voters, and again in the fall.
            -Brad

            You should be ashamed of yourself for this vulgar false equivalency crap. It’s disgusting and dangerous. Bernie Sanders wants national health care, free college and an increase in taxes on the wealthy to pay for it. It is grotesquely wrong to suggest those things are a “madness” destroying American institutions. A far better example of “madness” destroying American values is when that disgusting excuse of a human being George W. Bush lied us into war. But you defend that! Yet you want to say free college is nihilistic? Really? Health care for all is madness? You should be ashamed of yourself. And you wonder why Trump is president. Go look in the mirror. You and the Bret Stephens of the world created this false narrative that the two parties are equally wrong and THAT is what paved the way for Trump. It was easy to say Hillary Clinton was just as bad as Trump because YOU put that idea into their heads. It’s the damn Republicans who are to blame. Period. Given that the Republican party is attempting to deport seriously sick children, is there any doubt any longer who is the true evil in this country? And don’t just blame this on Trump. Republicans in the senate haven’t lifted a finger to stop it.

            Reply
    1. Mr. Smith

      “I always look to Danish political scientists.”
      Let’s cut the snide, provincialist narrow mindedness. In his day, SWEDISH Nobel laureate Gunnar Myrdal, for example, wrote An American Dilemma, one of the most highly regarded and influential studies of US race relations. You don’t have to be an American to understand American problems. And it can be beneficial for an outside observer to provide a more non-biased view. On the other hand, the study at issue here is directed at a problem that is international in scope, not exclusively American.

      “a public school system with virtually no competition and therefore little incentive to improve.”
      This is an ideologically blinkered view that believes market-like competition should be applied to practically every aspect of public life. Apparently the commentator believes that school teachers and officials do not and will not have students’ best interests in mind unless pressured to do so by battling with teachers and administrators operating an alternate school universe for resources and “customers.” A look around the world suggests that the best-performing public school systems do not embrace this kind of market-based competitive model.

      Lastly, the commentator’s diagnosis of the problem addressed by the study is off target. The phenomena examined in the study are not an outgrowth of government not adequately serving people’s needs or smug Americans failing to appreciate the problems of the less comfortable. While individual motivations can be complex, it is essentially an expression of multiple resentments over social changes and trends relating to identity, status, sex, race and religion, together with a deep-seated distrust of public (and large private) institutions driven by anti-government and conspiracy-mongering media.

      Reply
    2. Barry

      It’s interesting to see the folks that scream “leave me alone” and loudly proclaim how much they dislike those that don’t go it alone and pull themselves out of their own ditch want government institutions to work for them to help them out.

      Reply
    3. Barry

      “Whenever I look for insightful political analysis of Americans and American politics, I always look to Danish political scientists”

      Maybe you should reconsider given the quality of political analysis I read everyday provided by Americans.

      Reply
    4. JesseS

      Immigration and wages, yes, but honestly, I’ve yet to encounter a single “Red Sox” fan who brought up school vouchers.

      Reply
  4. Thomas Jefferson

    “I hold it that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You seem to be quoting Jefferson at his most immature, Jefferson the political dilettante. I prefer Adams to Jefferson based on that quote as much as anything else. It was a reckless thing to say.

      That said, there is a universe of difference between a revolution led by a Jefferson and one led by a Trump.

      Finally, don’t you think this is the wrong week to extol the virtues of storms in the natural world?…

      Reply
      1. Thomas Jefferson

        My Dear Sir:

        I made that statement in a letter to James Madison dated January 30, 1787. By then, I had been a delegate to the Continental Congress, the second Governor of Virginia, and Minister in France for three years. In three more years, I would be the first Secretary of State.

        You go too far in blackguarding me as a “political dilettante” at the time. Perhaps, I was a bit swept up by the revolution in our colonies and the beginnings of one in France where I was posted at the time. You must remember the times in which I wrote this letter. I also said that “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery” in the same letter, and to make the same point. I stand by my words then, and now.

        I humbly entreat you to read my entire letter to Mr. Madison. I remain,

        Your most obedient servant,

        TJ

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Sir,

          Your enthusiasm (if you’ll forgive me for using such a dismissive word) for the nightmare that was taking shape in France is another source of my considerable unease with your approving attitude toward revolution in general.

          I say this in the interest of clarity and meaning no insult to an esteemed gentleman who I simply believe has failed to consider the potential dangers of his revolutionary infatuation…

          Yr most humble, etc.

          Reply
  5. Mark Stewart

    Trump – or one of his minions to placate the President – drew on a National Weather Service map with a sharpie to “prove” to the country that his comments about this hurricane hitting Alabama were true. That isn’t “pathetic” as one of the current candidates called it today, that is a clear sign of a mental illness.

    This isn’t really funny anymore, this man has is finger on far too many triggers. there is a reason people have been Never Trump from the get go. It is amazing that it is so hard to convince normal, everyday people that what we have witnessed is not, in fact, politics as usual. That is not what we are experiencing and we should all be sobered by what has occured.

    Mitch McConnell appears to be the last person to realize that this may not be the moment for his furtive brand of highly partisan politics; that he might actually have a Constitutional oath to uphold at this moment. He is a cockroach of a man for sure, but I wouldn’t call him a Quisling quite yet. He does have some decisions to make, however; his legacy is on the line here

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      The moment he appeared in the Oval Office with that map is a moment when members of his entourage should have draped a robe on his shoulders and helped him off the stage, a la James Brown…

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        So you’re telling me the hurricane was going to stop and die out when it hit the end of the white line if it followed that track?

        Which was worse? Trump’s sharpie or McMaster shutting down I26 East for days? Which had a greater economic impact?

        Reply
        1. bud

          Good heavens Doug. I really, really, really don’t like Henry McMaster. He’s a slumlord and Trump sycophant and a really awful governor. But damn he did the prudent and proper thing by reversing the lanes.

          Reply
          1. Barry

            Agree. McMaster did the exact right thing- the thing he was encouraged to do by public safety officials in various counties.

            Reply
          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            Last year’s hurricane was not only physically rough on SC — all those flooded communities for all those days — but it was politically rough on the Smith campaign. It came at the worst possible time, with polling showing us gaining and within the margin of error. The hiatus knocked us back, and we never recovered.

            But as frustrating as that was, James — as a Guard officer called up for duty — showed nothing but loyalty to Henry. He urged everyone to do exactly as the governor advised. He said that not because Henry was some kind of expert in this area, but because he was taking the advice of people who were.

            And when a Trump supporter, of all people, listens to the experts and acts accordingly, he deserves praise, not condemnation…

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              And Doug, this “Trump’s derangement doesn’t matter and has no effect on the real world” kick is getting ridiculous.

              Instead of reaching for some “What about?” point about what someone else has done, why not take a good, hard look at what is right in front of your face?

              Trump, having said something wrong, tried to justify it by appearing before the public with a map that looked like it had been altered by a toddler with a crayon. How demented do you have to be to think that might persuade the world that you were right when you were so obviously wrong?

              Any normal grownup would have said, “Sorry, I misspoke about Alabama. That happens to everyone sometimes, including me.”

              But no. He engages in this childish attempt to deny reality, and apparently (we don’t know, but it looks like it) leans on the NOAA to back him up — something that is leading to an internal investigation of an agency we rely on for critical public safety information.

              Bottom line, you’re looking at a president of the United States who is seriously unbalanced. Why do you always try to excuse that away?

              Reply
        2. Barry

          No.

          The outer edges of that path was where the experts had the last confidence level.

          Trump said the predictions were “near a 95% chance” of it impacting Alabama. That was a lie.

          Reply
  6. bud

    Here are some good examples of “nihilistic madness” from our country’s past. Thankfully the false equivalency warriors of the day did not have their way then:

    Slavery was the legal norm of the day in much of the country for decades. Through the nihilistic process of war and the madness of constitutional amendment that hideous practice was eliminated.

    Women’s suffrage only became the law of the land because institutional norms were destroyed in a form of social madness to shake up the status quo. I’m sure the Bret Stephens of the day would have found a way to make the suffragette movement an overly harsh way to achieve change.

    Legal discrimination of African Americans was ended through a largely peaceful form of nihilism. David Brooks would have argued that lunch counter protests were overly provocative.

    Interracial marriage became the law of the land once age old traditions and norms were destroyed.

    Gay marriage is now legal across the country because brave men and women successfully fought against time honored legal constraints. Nihilism at it’s best.

    Marijuana can result in harsh penalties for people if they were caught enjoying this benign substance for recreation or even for legitimate medical reasons. Still a long way to go but so far nihilism has destroyed old, harsh traditions and laws in much of the country. Anyone remember Reefer Madness?

    And there are many other examples where nihilistic madness helped defeat legal, but immoral traditions. So if health care for all, free college and an end to overseas adventurism can be brought about by nihilistic madness then call me a nihilistic madman. It’s high time.

    Reply
      1. bud

        Here’s dictionary meaning:
        the rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless.

        Brad you really missed my point. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so subtle. You have been projecting the term nihilism onto various people and institutions that you disagree with, especially Trump and libertarians. But also Bernie Sanders. You have been accusing Bernie of a sort of nihilism for years. He’s a socialist, which I interpret in your world view is the same as a nihilist. I was just using the term the way you’ve been over using it. Bernie is most assuredly NOT a nihilist or a madman or crazy. You have this itch that must be scratched any time you want to criticize a Republican that requires that you also criticize a convenient Democrat.

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          I’m not a nihilist either. I want things to be better. But sometimes you have to take drastic steps to eradicate the bad stuff when it becomes systemic.

          Reply
        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          Fellas, reality check time.

          I’m using the term “nihilism” in a very specific way, to refer to people who check the “yes” box to these statements:

          • I fantasize about a natural disaster wiping out most of humanity such that a small group of people can start all over.

          • I think society should be burned to the ground.

          • When I think about our political and social institutions, I cannot help thinking “just let them all burn.”

          • We cannot fix the problems in our social institutions, we need to tear them down and start over.

          • Sometimes I just feel like destroying beautiful things.

          I’m further noting that the study showed a correlation between people who agreed with those statements and people who supported Trump — and, to a lesser extent, those who supported Sanders. The story about the study said these things (“Petersen wrote that preliminary examination of the data shows ‘that the “need for chaos” correlates positively with sympathy for Trump but also — although less strongly — with sympathy for Sanders’.”), and I’m reacting to them.

          This is about as far as you can get from Brad just applying the term “nihilist” to people Brad doesn’t like.

          Argue with me about what I have to say. But don’t waste energy arguing against things I’m NOT saying.

          That’s not too much to ask…

          Reply
          1. Bryan Caskey

            Argue with me about what I have to say. But don’t waste energy arguing against things I’m NOT saying.

            For some reason, that line made me think of this:

            Maj. Major Major Major : Sergeant, from now on, I don’t want anyone to come in and see me while I’m in my office. Is that clear?
            First Sgt. Towser : Yes, sir. What do I say to people who want to come in and see you while you’re in your office?
            Maj. Major Major Major : Tell them I’m in and ask them to wait.
            First Sgt. Towser : For how long?
            Maj. Major Major Major : Until I’ve left.
            First Sgt. Towser : And then what do I do with them?
            Maj. Major Major Major : I don’t care.
            First Sgt. Towser : May I send people in to see you after you’ve left?
            Maj. Major Major Major : Yes.
            First Sgt. Towser : You won’t be here then, will you?
            Maj. Major Major Major : No.
            First Sgt. Towser : I see, sir. Will that be all?

            Reply
            1. Bob Amundson

              Did you or Brad watch the Hulu Catch 22 miniseries? Colonel Cathcart was played by Kyle Chandler, who was Coach Eric Taylor on Friday Night Lights. We are in the fourth season; started watching because of Bryan’s recommendation.

              Reply
              1. Bryan Caskey

                I haven’t started the Catch-22 series. Is it any good?

                Friday Night Lights is one of my favorite tv series. Glad you’re enjoying it!

                Reply
                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Yes, I am! I’m in season 4 now.

                  As for the new Catch-22 series: Meh.

                  I watched, I think, one episode and forgot to watch any more of it.

                  I’m sorry, but Alan Arkin was the definitive Yossarian. And Bob Newhart a great Major Major. And how do you top Orson Welles as General Dreedle? The Mike Nichols version towers over this effort and keeps me from enjoying it. Some more name-dropping: Art Garfunkel as a very convincing Nately, Anthony Perkins as the Chaplain, and Buck Henry as Colonel Korn!

                  Of course, the TV series TRIES to give you some star power here and there, but the casting is awful. George Clooney is too old even to be Scheisskopf’s father, much less Scheisskopf himself.

                  It’s ridiculous.

                  As for Yossarian, I can’t even think what his face looks like, he’s so anonymous and uninteresting…

                  Say “Yossarian” to me, and I’ll always see this guy:

                  catch_22_02-678x381

                2. Bob Amundson

                  We “enjoyed” it; stayed close to the book. It is very graphic – the scene where McWatt “buzzes” the squadron is tough. The fear from flying through the flak was portrayed realistically. The series made me grateful I was not a WWII pilot.

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  It occurs to me that some might think I loved the movie because it had all those stars from my youth in it.

                  That’s not the case. For instance, I’d never heard of Alan Arkin (if you can believe it) before he appeared in Catch-22.

                  Also, although I can be pretty dismissive of today’s pop music, I am impressed by a LOT of actors on the scene today: Bob Odenkirk, Norman Reedus, Jesse Plemons, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, Olivia Colman Damien Lewis, Anton Lesser, and I could go on and on.

                  But Mike Nichols matched the right name actors of the day with the right parts, and that made all the difference….

                4. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Actually, you know what?

                  I SHOULD have bad associations with the Nichols film.

                  After I had waited impatiently for months and months to see it — I was particularly excited because I had read the novel for the first time that year, and it knocked me out — I went to see it with a girl who was in the English class in which we had read it.

                  In fact, she and I went to see it twice in a week. (We also, that same week, went to see the new film adaptation of Wuthering Heights that was out then — which we had also read in that class.) This was after she called me out of the blue and made small talk until I asked her out, making me feel like I was some hot property that the babes were chasing…

                  Then I found out that she was having trouble with her real boyfriend, and that she was going out with me to make him jealous. I learned this from another girl I was friends with, who the boyfriend was going out with instead of the first girl — she was loudly declaring that no matter what girl A did, she wasn’t getting the boy back. She said all this not know I was the stooge being used to make the other guy jealous.

                  After they got back together, our literary film fest came to an abrupt end….

                  But I still enjoyed the movie…

                  Anyway, yet another reason why I was happy to get married when I was 20 and put all that dating insanity behind me…

                5. Brad Warthen Post author

                  By the way, in that 1970 version of Wuthering Heights, Timothy Dalton — who later became James Bond — played Heathcliff.

                  Which I would have found pretty cool if I’d know he was going to play Bond.

                  But back then, we only knew of ONE Bond…

              2. Brad Warthen Post author

                Oh, and I like Coach Taylor, but he’s not the type to play Cathcart. Martin Balsam was. I see Kyle Chandler, and automatically I want to trust him. Balsam and Henry were perfect for Cathcart and Korn:

                catch22_balsam_henry

                Reply
            2. Bob Amundson

              The first episode is weak, and there are weak segments throughout the series. The series is paradoxical, weak and strong – much like the novel. “The Texan turned out to be good-natured, generous and likable. In three days no one could stand him”, and “The case against Clevinger was open and shut. The only thing missing was something to charge him with.”

              The book is a classic, the mini-series is not. I agree with the final lines in The Atlantic review: “Catch-22, again, isn’t perfect, because Heller’s book is far too prickly and paradoxical for an easy interpretation. But it’s almost always faithful to what Heller wanted to communicate and—in its finest scenes—transcendent.”

              Reply
              1. Bill

                Good call.
                My favorite Heller book is ,”Something Happened”(a masterpiece).It’s a much smoother read than,”Catch-22″…

                Reply
  7. Karen Pearson

    I have recently found to my suprise an increase in civility in political discourse. More people are willing to listen to each other. More are asking questions in a less combative way. Probably most people still haven’t, but I think the yeast of civility has begun to work.

    Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        Everywhere except on blogs. Rarely do I come in contact in the real world with people who talk about Trump. And if they do it’s not with anger but bemused resignation. The existential crisis you keep talking about hasn’t permeated into the majority of people’s lives. They’ve been hearing about the end of the world for 30 months from some people and it hasn’t happened. Much like the Hurricane Dorian overkill, they aren’t buying the hype any more.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Then there’s no hope for America. Absolutely none. If America is that oblivious to and apathetic about what is happening, then we might as well close up the country and let the last person turn out the lights…

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            Or maybe you should get around a bit and see more of the world. Go down to Soda City tomorrow morning and walk around in the crowds who will likely all be smiling, enjoying themselves. Start yelling “The End Is Near!” and see if you can convince some people to join you in your misery. If it’s so obvious, you should be able to get plenty of people to go back home to ponder the coming destruction. But maybe don’t mention that Joe Biden is the only solution yet. Baby steps.

            Reply
        2. bud

          Rarely do I come in contact in the real world with people who talk about Trump.
          Doug

          You say that a lot. It’s pretty rude for people to talk politics to acquaintances in a casual setting. My guess is Germans didn’t talk much about Hitler in 1935. But people do think about this stuff. Millions are horrified at what he says and does. Polling confirms that.

          Reply
          1. Barry

            Most don’t talk about it in casual conversation, just like they do not talk about a disease they might have,

            But people talk about it all the time.

            Reply
          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            To what Bud says, allow me to add…

            It’s never been terribly polite, in most social and work situations, to wear one’s politics on one’s sleeve.

            Now, the bar to doing so is much, much higher.

            The majority, folks who are opposed to Trump, really, really don’t want to get involved in a conversation about politics with anyone who voted for him or would consider voting for him. The gulf is too wide. The chance of there being a meeting of the minds is too slim — basically nonexistent — and the chances of the conversation getting ugly are so great, that most people would rather not go there.

            All my life, I’ve felt fine chatting with people about their political choices when they differed from mine — until 2016. Trump wants to erect a wall, but he’s already built one between those who support him and those who see him as anathema. People on each side see little hope of persuading anyone on the other. Even yours truly. I’ve always believed in the power of reason for influencing my fellow citizens in SOME way, if I only try in good faith. But this situation has put me in foreign territory.

            I don’t bring up politics with family members who I suspect MAY have voted for him. I don’t see how the conversation could lead to anything but bad feelings.

            And I certainly don’t do so in work situations.

            I let the world know what I think via my blog and social media. If anyone wants to discuss that with me personally, I’m willing to try to have a civil conversation. But I’m not going to put people on the spot personally. I’m not going to initiate a confrontation with someone whose views are unknown to me. I take each person as I find him or her, and if they want to bring up politics, that’s up to them…

            Reply
            1. Bob Amundson

              “But I’m not going to put people on the spot personally. I’m not going to initiate a confrontation with someone whose views are unknown to me. I take each person as I find him or her, and if they want to bring up politics, that’s up to them…”

              I am following the same approach while staying in rural New York State. If people mention that they dislike Trump, I will speak in length with them about my concerns. Otherwise, I just say I am more interested in economic development than politics.

              Reply
  8. Doug Ross

    “My guess is Germans didn’t talk much about Hitler in 1935.”

    Well, there you go. Once you get to the Hitler analogy, you win the argument.

    Maybe it’s just that most people have better things to do than worry about what Donald Trump is doing. Because, shockingly, life has gone on pretty much as usual for most of us no matter who is in office. The worst days of my adult life were during the Bush administration and we haven’t come close to that in 2.5 years. There isn’t a better day to be alive in America than today (unless you are an old white male).

    Reply
    1. bud

      There isn’t a better day to be alive in America than today.

      Given the soaring suicide rate that statement is pretty Pollyannaish. From Wiki:

      Suicide is a major national public health issue in the United States. In 2017, there were 47,173 recorded suicides,[2] up from 42,773 in 2014, according to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).[3][4][5] On average, adjusted for age, the annual U.S. suicide rate increased 24% between 1999 and 2014, from 10.5 to 13.0 suicides per 100,000 people, the highest rate recorded in 28 years.[6][7] Due to the stigma surrounding suicide, it is suspected that suicide generally is underreported.[8] In April 2016, the CDC released data showing that the suicide rate in the United States had hit a 30-year high,[9][10] and later in June 2018, released further data showing that the rate has continued to increase and has increased in every U.S. state except Nevada since 1999.[11][12] Surging death rates from suicide, drug overdoses and alcoholism, what researchers refer to as “deaths of despair”, are largely responsible for a consecutive three year decline of life expectancy in the U.S.[13][14][15][16] This constitutes the first three year drop in life expectancy in the U.S. since the years 1915-1918.[15]

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        Yeah, its a lot of old white men committing suicide. 4400 more out of a population of 325 million plus is not exactly a leading indicator of the state of the country. Lots of factors involved. Lagging effects from the recession probably started a lot of people down the path.. Veterans of useless wars are probably a big chunk too. it didn’t just start in November of 2016.

        If you were a black female, age 25, which year would you like to be transported back to?

        Reply
        1. bud

          4400 more out of a population of 325 million plus is not exactly a leading indicator of the state of the country.

          ?? Of course it is. 4400 is just a teeny tiny tip of the iceberg. Millions of Americans are in despair over their plight with finances, opioids and chronic health issues made worse by our disfunctional health care system that allows insulin prices to be unaffordable. Yes we have Obamacare but that has been torpedoed by Trump and his minions. Over the last 10 years we should have been building on this initiative not tearing it down.

          Reply
  9. Harry Harris

    Since this thread has moved toward rehashing the last election, I want to make a couple of statements.
    Democrats face still the same key factor that cost them the electoral win in 2016 – white “evangelical” voters. They voted in nearly historic percentages last time and overwhelmingly for Trump. They have been sold a caricature of Democrats that is false and misleading, and Democratic leaders and candidates have done almost nothing to correct the deception. I live among this group of voters. I go to church with them. In my church, maybe 25-30 of 600 voters voted for Democrats. In a megachurch nearby, having 3000 members, the percentages are that high at least. The conversation and discussion is loaded with Fox News and internet-circulated talking points. Very few are actually versed in more than one issue or policy, and most have been mislead on those. Only Buttigieg and Booker among the presidential candidates have bucked the narrative. Numerous conservative “evangelical” leaders have sold out to Trumpism, but that’s another discussion.
    News media covering politics have spent time on the “can’t believe what he said” and little coverage on the implications and effects of President Trump’s actions. He wants us thinking about sharpies and daily peccadillos and ill-versed or unversed on people losing insurance coverage or the future threats of climate change. The distribution of the tax cuts, their impact on social security, and the irresponsibility of building an economy on debt are barely covered.
    Given a large block of what I call “lazy” voters, the Democrats need to sharpen their message and speak to the highly-mislead conservative religious voters about who they really are and what they believe that underlies what they support.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      I agree. People who want to focus on Trump’s tweets or his latest stupid statements are missing the entire point. Let’s talk about Medicare for All, let’s talk about cutting defense spending, let’s talk about legalizing marijuana…. forget about the buffoon in the White House and do something. But Democrats, led by Pelosi and Schumer, aren’t interested in solutions. Certainly not for another 20 months…

      Reply
      1. bud

        Come on Doug. That statement is just ridiculous. Sometimes I think you stay stupid stuff like that to get attention. Well I guess it works. Doesn’t make it accurate though.

        Democrats absolutely ARE talking about issues. Health care, caging children, infrastructure, income inequality, college affordability, guns, election reform, trade and on and on are featured prominently among the leading Democrats. Chuck and Nancy have repeatedly tried to get some traction for infrastructure and immigration only to get humiliated by the president. Remember the president’s government shutdown over the wall meeting?

        Not sure why these evangelical types are voting Republican against their interests, in such large numbers but they are not a majority of Americans and their relative numbers are shrinking as minorities and hipster types are growing by leaps and bounds. The 2018 elections showed that a large majority of Americans are not interested in Trump’s caging children and taking away healthcare for pre-existing conditions. They are fed up Trump’s sharpy antics even more now. Can Trump win the electoral college again? Absolutely. Maybe there will be another James Comey moment. The economy may continue to hum along a while longer. There could be a rally round the flag moment like 9-11. Joe Biden’s eye could pop out in the debate. But it’s extremely unlikely a plurality of Americans will vote for this terrible man.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yikes, that’s a scary observation: “hipster types are growing by leaps and bounds.”

          Are we talking about the ones with the Nazi haircuts or the ones with the man buns? Or am I mixed up about my types?

          Reply
    2. bud

      The white, evangelical churches are and have been a major part of the Republican base for decades. And they vote. Go to a comparable black church and you’ll likely find an equally high percentage who will vote for the Democrats. But they don’t always turn out in high numbers. They did for Obama and seem likely to support Biden. (I know I just gave Biden some shade). But I think the really important demographic for the Democrats are young people. These are Bernie folks. Not sure any amount of sharpening their message will make any difference with evangelicals. Beto tried that approach in Texas and came up short. Then again maybe he was close because of that strategy. With Democrats pouring into Texas a couple more years and the right strategy might tip the scales in the Lone Star State.

      All of this strategy stuff is all well and good and I enjoy it as much as anyone. But I stand by my estimation that the state of the economy will determine the election. Everything else is pretty much just an academic, and fun, exercise.

      Reply
      1. Barry

        My son is 18 and likes Bernie and so do his friends. I made sure ,y son was registered to vote as soon as he turned 18 but I’m not sure (I just don’t know) any of his friends are registered.

        I’ve told him he needs to encourage all of them to register now, encourage all their friends to register, and then actually vote.

        Reply
      2. Harry Harris

        My observation of the voting patterns among white religious voters has seen a big shift since the George W Bush days has shown a sizable shift toward more voting and more Republican fervor. Much of it was spurred by fear of Muslims, resentment of increased gay rights, misleading abortion claims, and demonization of Barack Obama. In my view, a more pointed discussion of abortion views (“safe, legal, and rare”), a clear statement of the moral and economic benefits of healthcare coverage for all, and a concise presentation of the unfairness of our tax laws that favor higher incomes and non-wage incomes would win a few over and diminish the voting fervor of a good deal more.
        When Franklin Graham can hijack his father’s ministry during election years and promote Trumpism with Decision America rallys, the Democrats need to do much more to combat the disinformation, disguised partisan campaigning, and off-base theology being promoted.

        Reply

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