Hey, Democrats! We still need you to get your act together!

Six months ago, I wrote Hey, Democrats! We need you to get your act together!, a plea to the opposition to get its act together.

A month ago, a Democratic activist attempting a mass political assassination shot Steve Scalise through the hip. Today, Gallup’s job creation index at +37 in July—a record high.

In my previous post I stayed away from values arguments about policy and considered only the practical politics of the Democrats’ positioning. I will continue that here.

In brief: Democrats, when you’re in a hole, stop digging!

How has the Democratic party’s self-destruction been pursued since Trump’s election? Let me count some of the ways…

The new party vice-chair, Keith Ellison, has a notorious history of anti-white racism and anti-Semitism, about which the Republicans are now carefully holding fire, is certain to be hung around the party’s neck in the 2018 midterms. A few quotes from his days in the Nation of Islam are all it’s going to take. Anyone who doesn’t expect this to tip the GOP the balance in a couple of flyover-country states is delusional.

At a time when 59% of Americans (including 74% of independent swing voters) favor President Trump’s proposed immigration restrictions, Democrats are doubling down on support for “sanctuary city” laws.

Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low; in late May, a Republican Congressional candidate who body-slammed a reporter won a special election less than 24 hours later. Yet Democratic reliance on media partisans to make its political case has been increasing rather than decreasing since Election Night, often in bizarre and theatrical ways (cue CNN co-host Kathy Griffin’s display of a mock severed head of the President).

Do you want more Trump? Because this is how you get more Trump.

Dammit, Democrats, your country still needs an opposition that is smarter than this! But every time you temporarily abandon one suicidal obsession (like, say, gun control) you seem to latch onto another, like hamstringing the ICE. News flash: even legal immigrants to the U.S. are overwhelmingly in favor of an illegal-immigration crackdown.

Whether that’s good policy by some abstract technocratic measure is not the point here; the point is that you are choosing to fight Trump on an issue where public opinion is already heavily on his side. You can’t win that kind of fight with him; he’s way too good at making you look like out of touch let-them-eat-cake elitists even when you have a case.

You need to reconnect with the Middle Americans that are on Trump’s train. If the election should have taught you anything, it’s that the way to do that does not go through endless establishment-media tirades and celebrity endorsements and moralistic scolding about the deplorability of anyone in a MAGA hat. Yet this behavior is the lesser half of your post-election mistakes.

The greater half is your embrace of radicals advocating and many cases practicing political violence. BAMN. BLM. Linda Sarsour. Antifa. The voters you lost think that these people and organizations are their enemies, and they’re not wrong, and even if they were wrong the perception is what matters. You can have By Any Means Necessary in your coalition, or you can have the kind of people who attend Rotary meetings in the Midwest. You can’t have both.

Related: Every time Democrats are seen screaming and cursing and acting out in public, Trump wins. It’s no good pointing out that Trump himself is vulgar, boorish, profane, and often infantile in his presentation; his voters think “he fights!” and have already priced in his visible character defects. When you fail to look like the adults in the room, you don’t hurt Trump; instead, you disqualify yourselves from being seen as a better alternative.

But there is a mistake that may be even worse (though subtler) than playing footsie with violent radicals. And that is believing that only your messaging needs to change.

Every time I near a Democrat saying anything equivalent to “if we’d just gotten our message out better…” I wince. No. You didn’t lose because the people of the majority of the states in the Electoral College failed to understand your program; given the spin of a largely Democratic-leaning establishment media, there is no way they can’t have seen its best possible face in endless repetition.

What you have to process is that they did understand…and rejected it. Continuing to believe that you merely suffered from bad messaging is an excuse that will only prevent the real self-examination you need to go through.

I have watched in vain for any sign of that self-examination. I’ve seen no more than occasional flashes of humility from the Democratic leadership, always rapidly sniffed out by a shrill replay of talking points that are anything but humble.

Given the friction costs of substantive change, you’re running out of time before the 2018 midterms. And, as I began this post by noting, Trump has seized the high ground by actually moving on pocketbook issues. You may not think “regulatory relief” is a big deal, but that and the high-profile commitments to in-U.S. manufacturing by outfits like Foxconn matter a lot to an electorate who has seen way too many blighted small towns and deserted malls.

Finally: in my earlier post I noted that you need to banish the words “racism” and “sexism” from your vocabulary, and take a strap to any Democratic partisan who uses the phrase “angry white man”. I observed that these tags are traps that impede your ability to speak or even think in terms Trump’s base won’t reject as demonizing and toxic. Well…in the ensuing six months, it has been easy to identify two more such labels.

Those are “nationalist” (especially in the compound “white nationalist”) and “alt-right”. As I’ve explained before, when you talk about the alt-right, you create the thing you fear. And in order to win against Trump, you cannot repudiate “nationalism” – that won’t fly. not outside the deepest blue of blue-tribe areas. No. To win against Trump, you need to take nationalism away from him..

121 thoughts on “Hey, Democrats! We still need you to get your act together!

  1. Eventually, someone will have to create a new party.

    Trump is being treated as Jesse Ventura was- the Republican party politicians don’t really consider him Republican and both parties are intending to let things go bad for four years.

    And the Democrats are even worse off. If I was a Democrat politician right now, I’d find a city to run (is their one without much debt?) and poach the white left from the less competent cities. The white left wants diversity- Whole Foods style, not Detroit style. So you have to play a very crafty game to keep them from voting to ruin a place, and then leaving when the place is is rubble. Still, they tend to have good jobs and assets that other people don’t, so you want them if you are trying to keep a city in the black.

    But both parties have no appeal, and we’ll probably see an increase in billionaires trying their hand at this stuff, especially if Trump can escape his foray into public service with his assets intact.

    • Still, the quality of President Trump’s Judicial Nominees and fairly aggressive approach to reducing regulations and actually talking about and working towards fixes (however incomplete or compromised) of Immigration, Healthcare and Taxes are going to hamstring both the Never Trump GOPe and the TDS DEM. Unlike Ventura and Schwarzenegger, Trump walked into a situation where a man with a pen and phone can undo a lot of the previous fecklessness he inherited.

    • The US is deeply and I mean really deeply invested in a two party system. If you want to fix things, I believe the best fix is to make both the GOP and the Democratic parties regional parties. This is done not by winning power per se, but by creating a party that is number two and displacing the current number 2 party. In New York, that’s the GOP. In Mississippi, that’s the Dems. The Dems would retain their strongholds but by being reduced to minor party status in several states, that might wake them up.

      New York is especially interesting because to punish the New York GOP, all you need to do is convince disgruntled Republicans to vote for the same candidate on line C, Conservative Party instead of line B, Republican party. At stake are hundreds if not thousands of patronage jobs that are controlled by the number 2 party in the county board of elections.

      • The two-party system is baked into the voting system. First across the post voting makes multiple parties almost impossible. Beyond that, the two parties themselves are deeply invested in the two party system. I would bet that a lot of Americans would like to see some real alternatives that don’t equate to voting for the party least like your third-party candidate.

        But voting reform will never happen, so we are stuck with what we have. Of course, while I appreciate Eric’s desire for real competition to keep the Republicans in check, the Democrat party as it exists now can only operate as an enemy intent on destroying the Republican Party, not competing with them, and as far as I’m concerned, they are doing the same to the country.

        Of course, even more than the Democrats getting their act together, we need the Republicans to get their act together. They clearly prefer to be the minority party where they can pose and gesture all they want without having to actually deliver anything. Despite having the White House and both houses of Congress, they are acting like a herd of cats, completely incapable to showing enough unity to get anything done. Despite running on repealing the ACA for 7 years, they can’t even get their house in order together to do that, and when they tried, they made almost all the same mistakes that the Democrats did when they passed it in the first place.

        If there’s one thing the Democrats do well, it’s party unity. The Republicans will squander every victory they gain by allowing perfect to be the enemy of good (or even tolerable), and people who want an alternative to the over-the-cliff Democrats have no other recourse.

        • ” First across the post voting makes multiple parties almost impossible.”

          Then explain Britain (8 parties represented in the legislature), Canada (5 parties), Nigeria (9 parties), Pakistan (13 parties), Indonesia (10 parties), India (35! parties).

          • The US has a national election for President, unlike the parliamentary systems you listed where the head of government is elected by the parliament. That allows the parties to establish bases of power in a subset of districts. Different subsets host different parties.

            • Actually, no. The US has 50 (51? DC, after all) simultaneous state elections for president. A national election would be basically a popular election, where the current system is more like a tournament system where the winner of the most games is the winner of the tournament, not the team scoring the most runs overall.

              • Since 5 of us tried to start the American Conservative Party we saw the state laws, blessed by both parties, made it very difficult to start a new party. And 5 middle class people didn’t have the money to alone organize the petitions required in each district; just one of the requirements. We finally gave up.

  2. On a tangental note, screaming over the mildest differences of opinion – say the latest google kerfluffle – doesn’t help either.

    • Google already canned the author of the memo that triggered all their SJWs, and I’m expecting them to stage massive red guard-style purges to remove anyone who fails to denounce him shrilly enough.

      Looking at my own twitter feed, I’m disappointed to see friends who should know better jumping on the virtue-signalling bandwagon, all parroting the same distortions of what the man actually wrote.

      I’m sure he’s going to sue Google, and probably walk away with a low seven-figure settlement and a gag order if Google is smart, or a high seven-figure judgement and a book deal if they’re stupid.

      As a business owner myself, frankly this gives me a very strong disincentive to hire anyone whose political views are divergent from my own, because these days they’re fucking landmines waiting to blow up if they hear anything they can possibly use to rationalize their outrage.

      • Yeah, but as an employer you (presumably) wouldn’t be wearing your politics on your sleeve, like Google does.

        Companies like Google are more and more making themselves into platforms for (usually) leftist politics instead of concerning themselves with the business they are in, and once you start politicizing something, you get drama. While politics is hard to avoid, Google was asking for this.

        I do agree with you that a lawsuit is likely, and if so the odds are in favor of the plaintiff, as least if the judge is impartial, which is not a guarantee.

        • The problem with the Social Justice Terrorists is that they don’t care if you’re wearing your politics on your sleeve, any passing comment that they deem politically incorrect – like saying that Damore had a point about sex-based differences in job preferences – is enough for them to brand you a heretic.

  3. > (cue CNN co-host Kathy Griffin’s display of a mock severed head of the President).

    In fairness, Griffin got the boot for that. On the other hand, CBS and NYT joined in this spirit of things with a mock head-on-a-pike of Stephen Miller, the President’s head advisor.

    > Finally: in my earlier post I noted that you need to banish the words “racism” and “sexism” from your vocabulary, and take a strap to any Democratic partisan who uses the phrase “angry white man”. I observed that these tags are traps that impede your ability to speak or even think in terms Trump’s base won’t reject as demonizing and toxic.

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention the recent diversity manifesto at Google in connection with this point. I imagine it perhaps wasn’t on the radar yet during the time most of this post was being written?

    • >I’m surprised you didn’t mention the recent diversity manifesto at Google in connection with this point. I imagine it perhaps wasn’t on the radar yet during the time most of this post was being written?

      Correct.

  4. I think hardcore Democrats are too far gone to change, and even too far gone to change others’ impressions of them.

    In addition to the aforementioned ideas that nobody likes being called names especially when the labels don’t apply, there’s this: Nobody likes getting ripped off.

    How that applies to impressions, here’s a brief and necessarily somewhat vague summary of my impression: It seems like every time I turn around I see news of a Democrat involved in a stealing-from-their-own-pet-charity scandal. Hell, even the “honest” Democrats are Marxists. If this is how they treat their own, then I’ll continue to vote anyone-but-Democrat.

  5. On second thought, maybe Democrats, establishment Republicans, and journalists would all rather lose with their friends than win with the help of blue collar Trump voters.

  6. Eric,

    How can a bunch of people who actively LOATHE their country even begin to conceive of how to “take nationalism away from Trump”…..?

  7. Back in 1990 through 92 I was in a Army National Guard[1] unit in a college town. One of my fellow soldiers had graduated with a degree in Russian Studies. Remember this is at the close of the Cold War. He asked me one day:

    Do you know the difference between Russian and Americans?

    When an American walks past the house of a rich man he says “Someday I will live in a house like that”.

    When a Russian walks past the house of a rich man he says “Someday I will burn that house down”.

    This is also like crab bucket joke. You know how you keep a crab from getting out of a bucket? You put more crabs in. As soon as one gets higher than the others they will pull him down.

    The left was funded by the USSR back during the cold war to destabilized and tear the US apart.

    They’ve never stopped trying.

    They’re about to succeed, and the way they’ve conditioned the public?

    Venezuela is the *best* we can expect. But compared to the US Venezuela is a mono-culture[1]. I think the Balkans in the 90s (you know, Clinton’s war) is a more reasonable expectation, except a very, very heavily armed Balkans with LOTS of sides whinging.

    Fortunately I (now) live in a pretty high-trust neighborhood that isn’t quite out of the city, but is away from the more interesting parts.

    [1] This is what the alt-right and the ctrl-left don’t get. It’s not race. It’s culture.

  8. When the dems let Ted get away with murder, he should have been thrown out of the senate, they lost me.
    Mr. B’Livion, this was my Russian moment.

  9. > How can a bunch of people who actively LOATHE their country even begin to conceive of how to “take nationalism away from Trump”…..?

    By redefining it.

    Convince people that it’s as American as apple pie (bear with me, I’m not American, so I’m reaching for the cliche box) to support compulsorily-funded social welfare (remember the New Deal?), foreign interventionism (Making The World Safe For Democracy), and so forth.

    • FDR could sell the New Deal because in his day, the USA had a very strict immigration quota; that ensured the money spent on his social programs went to American citizens, so the voters could feel that the programs were the nation working together. The modern Democratic idea that American citizens ought to pay the living expenses of immigrants, while the immigrants aren’t obliged to do anything in return, even obey the law of the land, is a much harder sell.

      It isn’t just immigration law that Democratic politicians are willing to let people flout, by the way. Some “sanctuary” cities have actually declared that they will let illegal immigrants commit crimes against their own residents rather than allow the INS to deport them. Which is obviously asking for a massive crime wave, but what does public safety matter compared to the praise of the Best People?

      • From what I can tell, most sanctuary cities are such because:

        1. Acting as ICE causes an increase in crime because illegals will then be afraid of talking to the police, so won’t help out in investigations, etc.

        2. ICE doesn’t pay the municipalities to hold suspects – so room and board (in jail) while the city waits for ICE to pick up the suspects is on the city’s tab. And it can apparently take weeks for them to get picked up. So cities just plain can’t afford it – there’s no budget for that.

        And as long as there are real reasons, playing it up in the media gets them sympathy an puts them on the side of the ‘little guy’, so they of course do that too.

        • If you’re implying that “Sanctuary Cities” are about selling the bleeding hearts on a policy which is mainly financial and practical, I wouldn’t argue much

          I think the other important sentimental factor I is that many people remember that their ancestors were also immigrants at one point – I can tell you all about mine if you want, including the prejudice they encountered, even unto the fourth generation!

          It’s also worth noting that there have been gigantic panics about immigration ever since the Irish Potato Famine brought the first big wave of Irish immigrants “…those damn Papists will put The Pope in charge of our nice Protestant country, we should throw them all out!” And no panic about immigration since has ever been much more rational.

  10. And you can build on it in subtle ways.

    “Look at that lady. She moved here a penniless immigrant (never mind that it was illegally), worked hard (at an artificially-pinned minimum wage, supported by compulsory taxation), and is now a pillar of society.”

    In that narrative, the ‘payload’ (“we should have a compulsorily-funded social welfare system to help people like her”, “we should have a minimum wage”) is attached to the hopefully non-controversial bits (“moved here a penniless immigrant”, “worked hard”, “became a pillar of society”)

    (On a side note, I’m in favour of open borders – only citizens of countries with which we’re at war should be prohibited from entry, and even then, I’m okay with refugees from same; consider dissident Soviet intellectuals. What I do _not_ understand, as a non-American, is how so many of your citizens and politicians seem okay with _illegal_ immigration. You are a nation of laws! If you want liberal immigration, then fix the immigration laws. What’s hard about that that I can’t see from my vantage point in Australia?)

    • The only logical conclusion from “Open Borders” is One World Government. When I run into people like you I tell everyone that they are in favor of One World Government. You can expect to experience this in the future.

      Now, if you *want* One World Government then just be honest about it and start explicitly advocating it.

  11. It’s neither race nor culture. It’s behavior, in all the ways that make one person want to be (or not be) around another.

    And I’d prefer that the Democrats stay stupid quite a bit longer. Or at least long enough to get another pro-gun vote or two on the Supreme Court.

    • >And I’d prefer that the Democrats stay stupid quite a bit longer. Or at least long enough to get another pro-gun vote or two on the Supreme Court.

      Point. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that Democrats abandoning gun control is a precondition for them getting out of their hole, so in a way that’s a self-solving problem.

      (I wouldn’t have felt this confident even five years ago. Culture has changed; the Democrats lost that war, and I think the smart ones know it.)

      • I think is is broader than gun control. I actually think that Trump, for all his detestable faults, is an amazing opportunity for America, especially with the 2018 elections tilted in his favor. If he can continue his considerable deconstruction of the regulatory state, if he can make a significant improvement to the tax code, if he can do SOMETHING on healthcare, and if he can continue his success with immigration, I could, for the first time in a long time, actually improve the USA via political action.
        Don’t get me wrong, Harry Browne he ain’t, but we should be thankful for small mercies.

        So the Democracts self indulgent whining is actually a good thing right now.

        Personally, though, I think this special counsel deal is quite terrifying. Any person who thinks that a special counsel with unlimited power, budget and time couldn’t find a crime in their life is deluding themselves. My personal view is that the special counsel is nothing sort of an attempt at a coup d’etat. Beyond rumor, inuendo and provable made up nonesense, where exactly is the probably cause for such an investigation.

        It is only because Trump is so dangerous to the establishment that is sucking the blood out of the country, that the DC immune system is reacting so powerfully.

        A perfect example — private converstations between him and world leaders were leaked to, and published by the press. These are absolutely confidential and should be, and that action is profoundly damaging to the long term future of diplomacy in the USA. Where are the adults in the room? Frankly, they need to find the leaker and put them in jail for a significant portion of their lives. It is nothing short of an outrage.

        Of course, when talking about Trump one has to always add the caveat that he really is a loathsome man.

        • Of course, when talking about Trump one has to always add the caveat that he really is a loathsome man.

          Does one? Who told you about all about how loathsome he is? The same establishment he’s tearing apart.

          I don’t consider them a reliable source.

          When I put together the things I consider that I have reasonable evidence for, I don’t find a particularly loathsome person. Unless you can’t stand what high-powered business looks like, in which case you just wrote off the whole of Washington DC anyhow and he hardly stands out.

          He probably is someone I’d really rather my (hypothetical) daughter didn’t bring home, but that’s not a bar a lot of people can cross, let alone people in the public eye. Outright loathsome, though? I find that the people who tell us how loathsome he is are far more loathsome themselves, all in all.

          “But what about [these two incidents the establishment told us about]?” Well, what about the several incidents I’ve heard of where he helped people while just wandering the streets of New York, documented before he ever revealed any political aspirations? If we’re going to assume patterns on the basis of individual points in time, I’ve actually got numerically more incidents reported of him being a nice guy than a jerk.

          He’s not an angel. But this idea that he’s some sort of uniquely loathsome individual is, at the risk of sounding a bit conspiratorial, exactly what the establishment wants you to think.

          • Loathesome is too strong, but I don’t like what I have learned about Trump’s approach to business. He may have been bankrolled by organised criminals from ex-Soviet states.

  12. “To win against Trump, you need to take nationalism away from him.”

    The one thing the Democratic Party cannot do. The cadre of the Democrats – the campaign staffers, the major donors, the professional activists – have fully accepted the doctrine that the love of one’s nation is the root of all evil. That is their rock, the foundation of their politics, on which all else depends. For the Democratic Party to go back on that, it would have to unmake itself.

    We can expect, therefore, that the Democrats will not get their act together for the 2018 elections, or indeed for many years to come. No one abandons their first principle until they are wholly without hope, and the Democrats can still win some elections…

  13. Clearly the elephant in the room in this discussion is that in the foreseeable future, demographic trends will gradually but ineluctably erode and destroy the ability of Republicans to win national elections.

    Democrats may be living through some temporary setbacks right now, having gone further down the radical path in recent years than the electorate is willing to support (yet). However it’s pretty clear that the proportion of their safe vote banks in the U.S. population is growing, and it’s only a matter of time when Republicans will stop being competitive, first in presidential elections and then gradually in others as well.

    From this perspective, why would they compromise and moderate for short-term gain, when they can keep their ideological purity and just wait a bit more for the demographics to catch up?

    Even for things where the whole Overton window has shifted rightward in recent years and decades, such as gun control, I wouldn’t bet that these gains for the right will survive for long in the coming age of Democratic permanent majority.

    • That analysis assumed nothing would change going into the future. The “Democratic Permanent Majority” is, at the very least, greatly delayed if illegal immigrants end up deported rather than nationalized, and begins to actively recede if more people start self-deporting. It also assumed that Gen Z would remain at least as liberal and democratic as its predecessors, which doesn’t seem to be happening either. (Which is a shock to almost everybody. I only know of one political theory which would have predicted this outcome.)

      And it also assumed that the Democrats would remain sane and not shift so far to the left that people like Trump can basically just walk into the center unopposed.

      In a nutshell, that whole analysis is completely out of date, and if Democrat strategists are still operating on the assumptions it entailed, you can add that to the list of corrections they need to make before it’s too late.

      Further proof: The whole “permanent democratic majority” line, if true, implies that every election, the Democrats ought to keep doing a bit better and better than before, on average. Instead, we’ve got a record high number of states under full Republican control; Democrats are at record levels of poor performance in elections. The “permanent Democratic majority” theory makes false predictions about what was, at the time it was propounded, the future.

    • You are correct that the Democrats will achieve an advantage in Presidential elections. Although they thought they had that already and were proven wrong because in their, coalition of factions view, they abandoned one of their historical factions hard core. That mistake can be mad by them again in the future too.

      However, I don’t think they’ll gain a real foothold in locking up elections down ballot from President. I also think this means that the next President they get will be “damn the torpedos” lest eviscerate congress’ powers and make this a full on dictatorship!! See: Chaves and Maduro operated in Venezuela.

      That is what is really terrifying.

      So unlike Eric, I want the Democratic party to die, not get better. If they could be replaced by a reasonable party, that would be fine. But the reason nationalism is selling on the Republican/Conservative side is because the left will actually destroy any semblance of the concept of America to achieve their power, and some of the actual citizens of America have realized and are fighting against that…

      • “in their, coalition of factions view, they abandoned one of their historical factions hard core. That mistake can be mad by them again in the future too.”

        Democratic governance is always a negotiation between many competing factions. The unusual aspect of the American system, however, is that those negotiations take place before the election, not after. That is, the major American political parties really are coalitions of factions.

        The interesting aspect of the American system is that negotiations between the factions take place under great uncertainty. Factions in parliamentary systems (e.g., British political parties) know *exactly* many votes they need and which other factions can deliver those votes.

        But, despite that difference, the basic game is still the same. Different factions have different interests/priorities. The stronger factions in the coalition will make the necessary compromises to win control, but no more. Any further compromise is just leaving money on the table, so to speak.

        I think this means that:
        1) we’ll always be ‘closely divided.’
        2) as political science/technology gets better, the dominant factions will be less willing to compromise with the weaker members of their coalition.
        3) at some point, some faction will gain disproportionate power by being a swing vote i.e., switching coalitions frequently.

      • >You are correct that the Democrats will achieve an advantage in Presidential elections.

        Actually, that’s exactly where their road is most difficult. As long as the Electoral College is still a gear in the system, their demographic triumph (supposing it happens) won’t help them unless it’s sufficiently geographically dispersed into swing states. What happened in 2016 was that it wasn’t; Trump ran the table where the Democrats weren’t.

        I say “supposing it happens” because other aspects of the 2016 statistics bear out my longstanding suspicion that the Democrats’ coalition-of-the-ascendant strategy is based on several false premises. One way it could go wrong is that Hispanics lose their “non-white” identity and cease to behave as a manipulable ethnic bloc, same way the Irish and Italians did. I think this is in fact already happening.

        Another way it could happen is that whites start voting Republican/Trumpist as an ethnic bloc, pulling back into coalition with Joe Sixpack lots of female and younger voters who are now picked off by Democratic-leaning single-interest groups. I still think this is unlikely, but the demographics of Trump’s win makes it seem quite a bit less unlikely than I would have thought a year ago. A largest-possible “white” coalition would be upwards of 70% of the electorate.

        Yet a third way it could happen is if the Democrats lose the African-Americans. One of the odd features of their coalition is that blacks are the most socially conservative and traditionalist part of it. A fracture between the blacks and the gentry liberals is quite possible as the latter group shifts further left. There are signs of this in the 2016 results that ought to really worry Democratic strategists.

        • One way it could go wrong is that Hispanics lose their “non-white” identity and cease to behave as a manipulable ethnic bloc, same way the Irish and Italians did. I think this is in fact already happening.

          I also suspect this is in progress. More and more successful Hispanic business owners getting more professional prestige and moving in to nicer neighborhoods. Gotta give them the thumbs-up for that, pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and putting forth lots of hard work to get where they got today. Looks a lot like my Italian grandparents who came over after the war because of poverty, and made names for themselves.

          My theory on immigration is if you want to come here to work and be productive members of society, and you are unlikely to be a major threat, that’s fantastic — come on over. If, however, you want to bite the hand that feeds you, please stay out. Our current immigration system does disservice to us with regards to both types of people. For the good ones, it’s too onerous. For the bad ones, it doesn’t matter, because they don’t abide by the law. Much like gun control.

        • > Yet a third way it could happen is if the Democrats lose the African-Americans. One of the odd features of their coalition is that blacks are the most socially conservative and traditionalist part of it. A fracture between the blacks and the gentry liberals is quite possible as the latter group shifts further left. There are signs of this in the 2016 results that ought to really worry Democratic strategists.

          We saw that blacks did not like Sanders, and they were not too keen on Clinton in the last election. But this translated into reduced voter turnout, not Republican votes. For Republicans to gain a significant black vote, I think quite a lot would have to change.

    • Democrats may be living through some temporary setbacks right now, having gone further down the radical path in recent years than the electorate is willing to support (yet). However it’s pretty clear that the proportion of their safe vote banks in the U.S. population is growing, and it’s only a matter of time when Republicans will stop being competitive, first in presidential elections and then gradually in others as well.

      That might be true in the alternate world where there was no Electoral College, or where the population statistics for each county in the US were the same (or very close to) those of the US as a whole; unfortunately, neither of those are the case. This map shows the 2010 census results, with one dot per person. Shockingly, the minority (non-White) populations appear to almost exclusively reside in metropolitan areas.

      Spending only a few minutes searching, I was able to find some 3D maps for the 2008, 2012, and 2016 elections to show both population density (i.e. rural vs urban) and party victory. This level of detail can obscure the state lines (which is what actually determines the president, through the Electoral College), but makes the urban/rural party divide quite clear. If that weren’t enough, we can also look at the list of state governors and see that there are currently only 15 Democrats at the highest level of state politics (plus one Democratic-aligned independent).

      Together, this means that unless something major changes in the political parties, changes to the national demographics won’t guarantee the elections of Democrat presidents, because the populations Democrats rely on will be too concentrated to guarantee sufficient Electoral votes. Worse, it looks as if those populations are so concentrated it is possible this prevents Democrats from winning significant “down-ballot” races, as well.

      • FWIW, I actually think this is incorrect. Republicans are the right of center party, Democrats are the left of center party, however, the center moves, and, unfortunately, it moves inexorably left. JFK, for example, would not fit well in today’s democrat party, and Coolidge would be considered a crazy radical in the Republican party.

        The votes stay the same, the policies move left. It is unfortunately the nature of democracy. People voting for other people to pay for their stuff. Which is why America was never meant to be a democracy, and why there are so many votes in pretending that it is.

        As an example, I live in Illinois, where the congress, overrode the Governor’s veto to enact a 60% increase in the state income tax. Illinois is already bleeding productive workers, and I predict that in five years actual tax take in Illinois at the higher income tax rate will be lower in dollars than it was last year. If my personal circumstances allowed it, I’d be out of this god forsaken, socialist hell hole in a second.

        Trump is a bit of an exception, because he isn’t a politician, which is why the political class loathe him so vehemently.

        • Jessica Boxer
          “People voting for other people to pay for their stuff.”

          Sorry, but this is not how it works. People vote for “a future”. People in most OECD countries are saying “you pay for what you get” and will pay the required taxes.
          https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/07/canada-america-taxes/533847/

          This includes welfare. Support for welfare is strong, even among those who do not need it themselves, or do not think they will need it. Because most will have relative that have needed one kind of welfare or another at some time.

          The last elections in the USa have shown that support for government intervention in infrastructure and labor markets is strong (that was Trump’s promise). The current problems with trying to get rid of state health care shows that support for some kind of state supported health insurance too is strong.

          @Jessica Boxer
          “I’d be out of this god forsaken, socialist hell hole in a second.”

          Illinois a socialist hell hole? A hell hole, maybe. Socialist? You’re joking?

    • “It’s pretty clear that the proportion of their [Democratic] safe vote banks in the U.S. population is growing, and it’s only a matter of time when Republicans will stop being competitive, first in presidential elections and then gradually in others as well.

      “Even for things where the whole Overton window has shifted rightward in recent years and decades, such as gun control, I wouldn’t bet that these gains for the right will survive for long in the coming age of Democratic permanent majority.”

      Then we will have secession, and if necessary civil war, at that point.

      There are millions of people in the US who will never accept permanent rule by SJWs, which is the outcome your are describing.

  14. “Finally: in my earlier post I noted that you need to banish the words “racism” and “sexism” from your vocabulary, and take a strap to any Democratic partisan who uses the phrase “angry white man”.

    Not going to happen. Have you seen what their leadership and frontrunners are saying? Think Kamala Harris (to name only one) is going to keep the race/gender card tucked away for use only in emergencies?

    The Left has gotten so much of what it’s wanted in the past seventy years that all they have left is identity politics. Everything outside of far Left orthodoxy is now full on oppression; therefore these nutjobs riot, burn, assault, no-platform, harrass (or tacitly support it all) with the permission of their diseased consciences.

    So all of the thought-terminating cliches like *ist,*ophobe, bigot, and intolerant are only going to be turned up to eleven. In fact, we’ll probably get a good dose of it here from the Usual Suspects.

  15. ESR wants the D party to smarten up. If they did, they’d lose today’s D party base. Feminist studies, African American studies, Chicano studies, etc- these are easy A’s for dumb girls, dumb blacks, dumb chicano, dumb etc. Recite intersectional loyalty oaths, get an easy A, be the D party base.
    Fifty years ago, the R party was the stupid party and the D party was the crooked party. Their bases have changed. Today’s D’s are dumb and proud.

    Meanwhile the establishment R party is hell-bent on keeping wages down by keeping a big pool of semi-illegal labor in America. This screws the R base, so the R establishment is openly crooked. Trump won’t be the last to back the R base against the establishment R party.

  16. > No one abandons their first principle until they are wholly without hope

    Indeed – and some people would rather die than abandon those principles. Whether they are monsters or heroes depends upon the correctness of those principles.

  17. I don’t think they’ll listen. They believe their own narrative: it’s just aging [fill in the blank]ists who’ll be dead soon, and then paradise will arrive.

    Their only obstacle is the secret ballot–you can’t be singled out and destroyed for voting what they consider the wrong way, at least not yet–and the electoral college.

  18. @Duncan Bayne

    >What’s hard about that that I can’t see from my vantage point in Australia?

    1. The institutional incentive – which is not the same as a conscious goal – of the Left is to spend money, largely because a large part of their voters and influencers are government employees and they benefit from spending, as money never just goes from the government to a recipient without a whole bunch of bureaucrats and experts participating in it. So for ever X dollar someone receives as a salary, they are basically working at spending I don’t know how much but 5X dollars as welfare or services which can also be adverse services like prisons, more about it later. The way to increase the X is to increase the 5X.

    2. The common and most popular justification for spending is compassion, that is, the purported fixing some kind of human suffering or dysfunction.

    3. Thus the institutional incentive of the Left is to generate or import human suffering or dysfunction to try to fix.

    4. Thus the institutional incentive of the Left is to operate a form of adverse or counter-selection with immigration, importing the neediest or most dysfunctional people, as opposed to productive ones.

    5. Illegal immigration is excellent for this. Certainly someone like me would not illegally immigrate, too high a risk. I buy a house then get deported who will sell that house for me and send the money after me? What happens with my family heirloom portraits? But there is a range of people from unskilled laborers to drifters to outright criminals who are less nervous about this. They don’t own much, they don’t earn much, they will likely rent and so on. It is not surprising that selecting for this range of people increases the dysfunction and neediness one can spend money to fix.

    6. It is not a conspiracy. As I said, incentives. It is more similar to the situation that the city wants to demolish a park in my neighborhood in order to build more much needed housing, some people oppose it for truly idealistic reasons, I think deep in myself and quite ashamed “Well, that can only make the value of my house go up” and sign their petition. Nobody is cynical enough to start the thing for these reasons, the starters are idealistic, but the head-nodders, petition signers, who make up the bulk of a political movement, not.

    7. Partially, some conservatives are in on it. Spending on dysfunctional people is not merely welfare or therapy. You can also wait until they commit a crime, pay the police to catch them, pay prison guards who guard them, and police and guards and similar watchdog people are often conservative, often on the law-and-order side of things. So this means when small government conservatives, libertarians try to fight it, fellow conservatives of a culturally similar mindset can be set against them, making it far harder. So you have this double whammy that basically when you have a bunch of dysfunctional people, you can pay liberals to be nice to them and help them out or conservatives to kick their asses but it both results in spending on dysfunctional people and hence the institutional incentives. This makes these adverse immigration selection processes so entrenched. (“Asylum seeking”, Europe’s bane, is also a good way to select highly dysfunctional immigrants, even when it is not their fault that they were traumatized to high heavens in some bush war, still it means they are imported because they justify spending.)

    7. Australia is not actually a good example of overly relaxed, gimme-your-huddled-masses immigration rules, rather it is a good example of legal immigration restrictions that make actual sense, meaning the point system here, it selects for people who will make a positive contribution, not consume spending.

  19. Do we really “need the Democrats to get their act together?” These people implacably hate my people. Every time they manage to get the slightest whiff of power or authority, they set about abusing it to destroy the lives and livelihoods of people like me. Why would I want them to ‘improve their messaging’?

    If they were led by virtuous, principled, intelligent, and cultured people who implacably hated us, why would that make them *better*, as opposed to more of a threat?

    My hope is that California secedes. I think it’s probably the only hope for my country in the long run, and the best: Both sides can get enough independence of each other so that national politics is no longer tribal warfare about who gets to be fed to whom, whose industries get to be looted for political plunder, etc. Maybe if that ever happened, the eventual two parties of the new state would allow us to sort out the dysfunctions of the current right without the existential threat of totalitarian fanaticism hanging over us.

    Democracy (or republicanism, or whatever) is a bandaid on a sucking chest wound, trying to hold us together with people who hate us, consider us subhuman, and want us to die.

    • Also, I realize that our new political mandarin class is spread out geographically, and that the epicenter is probably the east coast if it exists anywhere, not California. California secession is just more politically possible than east-coast secession. Some sort of break-up, wherever the line is drawn, might return the national politics of the new nations to serving the interests of the new nations as opposed to destroying the interests of the other tribe.

  20. As if on cue, Maxine Waters, one of the many flavors of neo-segregationists of the American illiberal left, chimes in about creating a black political party:

    https://youtu.be/j7cfrQNHme8

    Democrats have learned nothing, and are beginning another doubling down on their racist, sexist ideologies.

    Race relations have been set back decades in the US, and the Democrats only have themselves to blame.

  21. About a year ago I was working with a guy who was mid-late 20s and had graduated in 2012 with a degree in history. Pretty smart guy. Really honest. He was a new hire I was mentoring and we had spent a good deal of time relating on a personal level. During college he had been a very active Social Democrat/democratic socialist and had a good feel for what the institutional left thought about things, in general. One day we were shooting the shit and the following conversation happened:

    Me: you do realize that if you take the body of the left’s premises the only logical conclusion is One World Government, right?

    Him: (looks down, hesitates) Yeah, I know. I try to avoid taking leftism to its logical conclusion.

    Intellectually honest leftists will admit that if you take leftist premises to their logical conclusions the only possible just world is one that is ruled by a One World Government.

  22. My comments are again disappearing. New try.

    What the Democrats need are a young versions of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn. The much hated Hillary was able to win the popular vote, so a US version of Emmanuel Macron could easily sail through (Michelle Obama would be a good candidate, but probably later).

    With a narcissist psychopath* in the White House and a completely divded GOP, a modernized Democrat party should have easy shooting.

    * The Boys Scouts of America having to apologise for the words of the president, how bizarre can it get.

      • Making the Democrats into a copy of the Republican party gives the US two Republican parties. That leaves voters that do not like the Republican policies with no other choice than to start a new party. So why bother?

        Btw, whatever ails the US is to a very large part caused by GOP policies. They have been in power at least half the time, if not more.

        • Making the Democrats into a copy of the Republican party gives the US two Republican parties.

          No, it gives us a socially conservative party that understands math and economics and a socially liberal party that understands math and economics. Math and economics aren’t subject to votes, voters who dislike them need to get over themselves.

          Btw, whatever ails the US is to a very large part caused by GOP policies.

          No, what ails the US rests almost entirely on the New Deal and the Great Society. Get rid of those fantasy-based programs and life in the US becomes much, much better.

          • Jeff Gauch said:
            > No, it gives us a socially conservative party that understands math and economics and a socially liberal party that understands math and economics. Math and economics aren’t subject to votes, voters who dislike them need to get over themselves.

            WRONG, it gives us two parties who act as if they do NOT understand math and economics.
            Libertarian economic policies ensure the rich get richer and the poor get poorer (after inflation). Anyone think this is a good idea? Beuller? Beuller? Also, they slow down economic growth – income elasticity of spending drops with wealth.

    • I can think of no surer way for the Democratic Party to collapse into total irrelevance than for it to emulate Jeremy Corbyn. For that matter, I firmly expect Corbyn to reduce the Labour Party to rubble in short order, unless he’s removed by a leadership fight.

      • Under Corbyn, Labour got 40% of the votes, 9.5% up from 2015. The Conservatives got 42% of the votes. Does not sound bad to me after the carnage of the last decade.

        Trump and Sanders have shown that there is a large constituancy of voters who want more government involvement. Much more involvement..

        • “Trump and Sanders have shown that there is a large constituancy of voters who want more government involvement.” – Winter

          “One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.” – George Orwell

      • Corbyn is running on student debt forgiveness, thats the total reason why labour did so good.

        The big question mark is what he is planning to do afterwards: If he reneges on it, how will he keep power? If he follows through and crashes the economy, since student debt is doubling every five years, and now its a hundred billion pounds, how will he keep power?

        His closest advisors admire the Chavistas in Venezuela. That might be a clue.

  23. They didn’t listen to you last time. Do you have any reason to expect they’ll listen to you now?

    And, at what point do you decide to stop tilting at this windmill and just say, “F it, let the Democrats sink”?

  24. If you’re really trying to reach out to Democrats, you might drop Scalise shooting. The shooter was crazy, (look up his criminal record) just like the crazy guy who shot Gabby Giffords. As a matter of basic fact, crazy lefties will shoot right-wing politicians, crazy right-wingers will shoot lefty office holders. The whole thing reads like, “Democrats, give up your violent ways!” Not a good way to approach people you’re trying to convince.

    • >The shooter was crazy, (look up his criminal record) just like the crazy guy who shot Gabby Giffords.

      What, you mean the other crazed leftist shooter? There’s a reason the MSM didn’t want to talk about Loughner’s politics once that part of the frame emerged from study of his journals. To the limited extent his politics could be distinguished from his personal delusions, dude was pretty hard left.

      >The whole thing reads like, “Democrats, give up your violent ways!”

      It reads that way because it needs to. Democratic behavior since the election has a much stronger strain of incitement to violence than I’ve seen from either major party in my lifetime.

      • And Dylan Roof killed nine people after reading the Council of Conservative Citizens website. And we could trade accusations about which group is worse for days.

        The reason I’m suggesting you drop the bit about Scalise is because if you’re really trying to reach out you should probably avoid getting derailed on the subject of “who killed who.”

    • “The whole thing reads like, “Democrats, give up your violent ways!” Not a good way to approach people you’re trying to convince.”

      You think those rioters pre- and post-election that were smashing private and public property, committing arson, battering people, staging fake “hate” crimes, and calling for violence and “resistance” are Republican? There’s been no commensurate violent activity from the Right.

      Own it.

  25. esr’s analysis of the changes Democrats must make if we are to have a functioning two-party system seems right, but the national Republicans haven’t covered themselves with glory, either. Unfortunately, the kind of outcomes Nassim Taleb discusses in Antifragile seem more likely. I’m half-way through it and haven’t read his others, yet.

    I’m thinking of writing in “Donald Trump” for congressional races in 2018. It would be my first such vote.

  26. If the Democrat party does implode, that honestly might be what the Libertarian party needs to get off the ground and become a contender. Think about it. If the left fractions into two or three middling-left to far-left groups, the more centrist parts of their party could well drift over to Libertarianism. Plus, on top of that, there are a number of people – of which I am one – who live in a swing state and vote Republican for national offices, because the race between Democrats and Republicans is too close and a Democrat victory is too horrible to consider. These people, if the Democrats fractured, would be considerably more willing to vote Libertarian.

    • Not enough people in this country would be on-board with libertarian economics. Plenty are fine with social libertarianism, but not economic. People on both the left and the right are attached to their entitlement spending.

      I can’t see libertarianism proper ever gaining a major foothold. Libertarianism requires a fair bit of thorough, abstract, and systematic thinking that most people don’t do regularly. People, in general, are swayed by pathos more than ethos.

      • I can’t see libertarianism proper ever gaining a major foothold.

        It’s called technolibertarianism and its greatest strength is that it can utterly dominate the very terms with which everyone else thinks, without any of the supposed power brokers even being aware of its existence.

    • The real limit on libertarian popularity these days is their apparently non-negotiable “free movement of people” (a.k.a. open borders) plank. The fraction of the population that would go for that is mostly on the left, and they hate the rest of the libertarian agenda. The whole philosophy is too purist and contradictory to succeed in today’s world. (And I say that as a self-identified libertarian of long standing. I’ve come to think of myself as a libertarian nationalist, differing on immigration.)

      • >The real limit on libertarian popularity these days is their apparently non-negotiable “free movement of people” (a.k.a. open borders) plank.

        Probably true. I think, though, you could persuade a lot of libertarians to shift on this by talking up Robert Putnam’s work on erosion of social trust by diversity. That has certainly changed my thinking on the issue.

        • Combining open borders with relatively direct democracy is terrifying.

          A representative republic with firm foundational law (to limit democratic failure modes like Erdogan’s streetcar) and extremely strong institutions isn’t so scary combined with open borders.

          But we’re not that anymore. We’re currently one Supreme Court Justice away from having no foundational law at all.

          So yes, open borders are very bloody scary.

  27. @Greg Arnold
    If the Democrat party does implode, that honestly might be what the Libertarian party needs to get off the ground and become a contender.

    This makes the incorrect assumption that there are a significant number of Americans waiting to finally be given the chance to vote libertarian. There aren’t. The LP is far to radical for the majority of Americans. Even under the best circumstances they could maybe muster 5% of the vote. Ask most Americans if they would favor the abolishment of the FDA and they’d look at you as if you had two heads. Suggest the radio frequency be sold to private owners and the FCC abolished, they’d think about calling the cops, or the asylum.

    “Would you give up your favorite government program if you never had to pay taxes again?” Asked Harry Browne. Truthfully more than 90% of Americans would say no. In fact 50% of Americans already don’t pay taxes anyway.

    Regardless, your premise is wrong. The democrat party is the party of left of center, the repubs right of center. They always are and always will be. What moves is the center.

    • The problem with giving up the FDA is that you then have to do food safety yourself. While some of the regulations are inconvenient (for business,) do you really want to inspect vegetables yourself to make sure they don’t have e-coli or haven’t been sprayed with a weed-killer which causes cancer?

      Obviously, you could pay someone else to inspect your food. Perhaps you can shop at a market with a good reputation for not selling items which contain harmful additives or dangerous organisms. However, this will raise the price of your food considerably, because the business expects to make a profit on inspecting your food.

      The disadvantage of government is that it sometimes gets things wrong, as with drug laws, prostitution, or how campus-rape is handled under Dept. of Education rules.

      The advantage of government is that it offers “one-stop-shopping.” You can get “territorial defense” and “grants for technical innovation” at the same store where you get “meat inspection” and “street lighting,” which brings us to the other advantage of government, which is price: the government is not required to make a profit on, for example, meat inspection. (This is why I’m against outsourcing and public-private partnerships. We end paying for the “meat inspection” plus “profit on meat-inspection.” rather than simply paying for “meat inspection. Anyone who tells you that “private industry can do it cheaper” is almost certainly lying, because private industry insists on a certain level of profits, which means it costs more. Government is not a profit-making enterprise.)

      Keep in mind that “government is cheaper” requires auditing and oversight, but I suspect that’s less-expensive than the alternative.

      This is why I think that Libertarians and Democrats are a good match. Democrats love stuff like “meat inspection” or “grants for technical innovation” but they’ve gotten to be really bad at the “freedom” thing. Libertarians are really bad at “meat inspection” or “street lighting” but they’re great at freedom. If each side would give up their weaknesses and combine their strengths we’d be a mighty force.

      • >The problem with giving up the FDA is that you then have to do food safety yourself.

        No. Go read up on the way kosher certification is done.

        This is not a thread for general political argument. Please do not rathole it.

          • Given Eric’s instruction on the thread I won’t address your arguments directly. Suffice it to say they are not at all new and have been dealt with at great length by other libertarian sources. Your arguments are based on fundametally flawed assumptions that have been force fed to all of us since birth: big business is evil, and government is good; government does things more efficiently than business; people are too stupid to care about things like food safety; Government is motivated by egalitarian, philanthropic ideals, etc.

            But you do rather make my point — there isn’t a hidden groundswell of liberatarianism in America waiting for a mechanism to express itself. So, to the original point, the collapse of the democrat party is far more likely to bring about a competitive socialist party than a libertarian one.

            But I think neither will happen. Parties will adjust their politics to stay competitive, it is what they have been doing for 200 years. After all, the Democrats used to be the party of Jim Crow and the KKK, and were very popular for it. The sourthern states used to be guaranteed Democrat states, much as they are mostly guaranteed Rep states today. Somehow, the Dems have moved from being the party of the white supremacist to the party of the poor blacks.

            Change to survive. It is what all organizations do.

  28. @esr “The new party vice-chair, Keith Ellison, has a notorious history of anti-white racism and anti-Semitism, about which the Republicans are now carefully holding fire, is certain to be hung around the party’s neck in the 2018 midterms. A few quotes from his days in the Nation of Islam are all it’s going to take. Anyone who doesn’t expect this to tip the GOP the balance in a couple of flyover-country states is delusional.”

    I have to say that this would almost certainly _not_ happen. Not only because the Republicans often tend to be unprincipled political cowards, though this is certainly true, but also because midterms tend to be actually fought on local issues.

    And even more, because most of the interesting things happen in the Primaries in midterm elections, as incumbents who make it through all their Primary challenges are very likely to finish. Very damaged incumbents are often weeded out in the primary process, with the winner still having a substantial chance of losing anyway and flipping the seat over.

    And finally because primary and midterm voters are much more likely to be interested in politics than the average Presidential year voter, and they are likely to be fully aware of what a swamp the Democratic Party has become already. Conservatives and libertarians do better on mid-term elections often for that very reason.

    Just food for thought…

  29. @esr “The new party vice-chair, Keith Ellison, has a notorious history of anti-white racism and anti-Semitism, about which the Republicans are now carefully holding fire, is certain to be hung around the party’s neck in the 2018 midterms. A few quotes from his days in the Nation of Islam are all it’s going to take. Anyone who doesn’t expect this to tip the GOP the balance in a couple of flyover-country states is delusional.”

    I have to say that this would almost certainly _not_ happen. Not only because the Republicans often tend to be unprincipled political cowards, though this is certainly true, but also because midterms tend to be actually fought on local issues.

    And even more, because most of the interesting things happen in the Primaries in midterm elections, as incumbents who make it through all their Primary challenges are very likely to finish. Very damaged incumbents are often weeded out in the primary process, with the winner still having a substantial chance of losing anyway and flipping the seat over.

    And finally because primary and midterm voters are much more likely to be interested in politics than the average Presidential year voter, and they are likely to be fully aware of what a swamp the Democratic Party has become already. Conservatives and libertarians do better on mid-term elections often for that very reason.

    Just food for thought…

  30. eric why are trying to help the democrats? Are you not enjoying seeing Trump kick their asses? Are you not entertained?

    Besides the dems won’t listen, they view you as some kind of extremist don’t they?

    Seriously Trump has been a breath of fresh air we needed.

  31. Eric, aren’t you making a presumption of rationality in regard to the leadership of the Democrat Party (e.g. that they desire to make corrections that may lead to electoral success)? I’m not sure that’s valid. There have been a few sane voices in their ranks that spoke out as you have, and they were soundly beaten down. I see fanaticism more so than competence.

  32. Instead, we’ve got a record high number of states under full Republican control

    This isn’t because the Republicans have more votes; it’s because they’ve made a concerted effort at gerrymandering over the past few decades while the Democrats have not.

    • Gerrymandering doesn’t help you for governor or senator. And please, both parties gerrymander at every opportunity. Nobody gets to claim the moral high ground here.

    • Look at the district maps in Illinois, California, and New York, and then tell me the Democrats don’t gerrymander.

      Republicans do it too, but most of what they do is required by Federal law: creation of “majority-minority” districts, maximizing the number of blacks and hispanics elected. This is easily achieved by packing blacks, who are reliable Democrat votes, into a few districts that are 90% Democrat.

      • >Republicans do it too, but most of what they do is required by Federal law: creation of “majority-minority” districts, maximizing the number of blacks and hispanics elected.

        It’s actually a little subtler than that. Gerrymandering for majority-minority districts as required by Federal law does not necessarily maximize the number of nonwhites elected – what it actually does is create safely black and Hispanic seats where none previously existed. The long-term problem is that the same carve-ups necessarily create districts in which ethnic bloc voting will elect more whites. There’s a people-conservation law operating here; you can’t have any other result than that zero-sum without changing the ethnic/racial mix of the population on the ground.

        Put differently, the effect of this gerrymandering is to pull nonwhite voting strength towards a median; it effectively prevents a scenario where none get elected at the cost of limiting the upside potential of the nonwhite vote.

        Republicans figured this out more than thirty years ago and that they could, in certain circumstances, actually reduce Democratic strength in Congress overall by assisting Federal lawsuits to force reluctant Southern states into VRA compliance. And they did that!

        I remember reading about this at the time, thinking it was diabolically clever of the Republicans, and wondering why the Democrats didn’t seem to realize they were being snookered. Recently, like in the last six months, I notice that some Democratic psephologists have woken up to the long-term damage they took; this shows up as sotto-voice asides in a few analyses of the 2016 election.

        I suspect they might have noticed sooner, except that the deleterious (to them) effects of limiting the black upside were somewhat masked as long as black districts could be counted on to vote reliably for white Democratic candidates as well as black ones. Now that link is breaking, not because blacks have begun voting Republican but because they’re increasingly failing to turn out for any white candidates at all. See for example this analysis for 538.

        Now the Democrats are stuck. It’s politically impossible for them to say “Er, that Voting Rights Act gerrymandering we’re been enthusiastic about forever? Bad idea!” The black Democratic caucus would interpret this as an attempt to de-safe their seats and scream bloody murder.

        Me? I’m making popcorn.

  33. Does anyone else think that the libs, the one who obsess over diversity, hate whites?

    Diversity always means let’s have fewer whites. A company with all white employees is expected to view this as an abberation and a problem.

    Diversity plus proximity equals war. Love to hear people’s thoughts on this. I mean got damn I hope I’m wrong but…

    • Diversity means “the Civil War was over 150 years ago, get the fuck over it and start treating Black people like human beings (so we don’t have to fight the Civil War again.”) Diversity also means “Women got the vote a hundred years ago, and have been producing MDs and Ph.Ds since the 1940s. Get over that and start treating women like human beings instead of chattel.” And so on with regard to other well-known issues, such as religion or homosexuality.

      Diversity means “Stop being a completely moronic, gigantically fucked up asshole about people who are different. If you think you’re special because you’re white and heterosexual/male/Christian just get the fuck over yourself.”

      Diversity also means we can all work together at the same companies (the company I work for is very, very good at diverse hiring) and there’s nothing remotely resembling a war going on at my office because we’re all doing the same jobs and serving the same customers (and because none of us are remotely that stupid.) We’re focused outward on our jobs, not inward on minor differences in melanin content.

      Here’s the part you need to memorize and think about: If part of your identity is based on hating or behaving badly towards other groups of people, then you’re probably kinda fucked up, right? And claiming that someone else’s inferiority (or sinfulness) is a “fact” doesn’t save you from the part where you’re fucked up because you imagine that it’s OK to treat other people badly.*

      Why is this difficult to understand?

      * Obviously we don’t extend “diversity” to people like NAMBLA or ISIS, but they’re part of the tiny minority of people who are “evil” rather than “different.” I might want to put an ISIS fighter in jail for my own protection, but if events require such imprisonment it doesn’t save me from my moral obligation to make sure that the ISIS fighter isn’t tortured or raped in prison, and that he’s well-fed and gets decent medical care.

      • >Why is this difficult to understand?

        Because diversity doesn’t mean those things anymore. Now, was we’ve seen in the Damore firing, it means “conform to the cultural-Marxist party line; abase yourself or be destroyed”.

        • Like many of our discussions, this brings us back to the problem of assholes. Unfortunately, the first attempts to rein in the (racist, sexist, etc.) assholes didn’t work. Neither did the second. Or the third. So the rules about what’s considered inappropriate behavior have continued to become more draconian – they need to cover every imaginable point of assholish behavior rather than simply read “Please don’t be an asshole.” – to the point where I, as a Librul ally of all the poor and downtrodden and stuff live in as much fear of those rules as you. Kinda awful, really.

          Or the assholes could just stop being assholes. And everyone would calm down.

          This is one of those situations where there are two possible ways to live peacefully with the army of jerks we all wrestle with daily. One of them has every imaginable rule to cover every imaginable violation – your “Marxist Party line.” The other set of rules is much more relaxed, but it requires everyone to put in the necessary efforts towards non-jerkdom.

          • No, the rules do not need to cover every imaginable point of assholish behavior, firstly because that level of totalitarian micromanagement is assholish in itself, and secondly because I do not trust any set of legislators to pick a good stopping point between “every imaginable point of assholish behavior” and “every imaginable point of behavior the legislators strongly dislike”.

            Please, show an incorruptible spec for “assholish”. That emotionally heavy, denotationally light word seems to be doing a lot of the work in your argument.

            • I think my definition would include the act of mouthing off an issue, based on a key document which is the source of a controversy, without ever reading said document.

      • If everyone at your company is really focused on doing their proper jobs, it isn’t “diverse” enough to satisfy the Left. You are thus morally obliged to report your boss to the EEOC for discrimination. Hop to it!

  34. Why do people like Troutwaxer not understand that they are assholes, that liberals are assholes? Was Google not the real asshole here?

    Google is now the Burger King of search.
    This is Star Wars and Google is the Empire.
    i don’t know how to meme but imagine a poster of Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin informing you that “diversity is our strength.”

  35. As a lifelong Republican who turned in his card and switched to Democrat in 1998, I feel the pain.

    The pain of the vanishing Middle American Dream of good, decent factory jobs left the US due to deregulation – leaving towns like Wilkes-Bare PA and Detroit MI in a downward spiral from which they have never really recovered. The pain of families, who gave their Lives, their Fortunes and their Sacred Honor to employers like Allis-Chalmers of Milwalkee WI who found that non-unionized employees overseas can double profits and don’t demand a pension plan.

    The pain of the Global Supply Chain, whose reach made it cheaper to make goods _anywhere but the US_ because they could so at the peak labor/production rate. The pain of clock cycles that went from 4.77 Mhz to 1 Ghz in approx 18 years then to 2 Ghz in approx 18 months enabling faster real time data processing systems and lightning fast packet switching WAN’s on a global basis.

    The pain of thousands of low paid workers who will sleep in factory dorms more akin to slave quarters that actual housing because they won’t organize and go on strike out of fear. The pain of thousand of child laborers in Pakistan or India who will work for pennies in hazardous working conditions outside the reach of OSHA or the EPA.

    I’m not worried about what our duly elected President will do or take credit for in the next four years. I’m worried about what will happen when the millions of people in the US who expect the administration to provide factory jobs and great health care realize that it won’t come to them.

    Democrats didn’t make those lofty false promises – I hope the Republican Party can make good on its commitments – 2018 is just a stone’s throw away.

    • >good, decent factory jobs left the US due to deregulation

      This is dimwitted. To the extent any net deregulation had occurred, it would have lowered the cost of keeping manufacturing onshore and kept jobs in the U.S. In fact, the trend from 1970 was in the opposite direction – a progressively higher-tax, higher-regulation environment meant jobs were pushed to places with lower overhead just so companies could net a constant profit margin, let alone any increase.

      >Democrats didn’t make those lofty false promises

      No, Democrats just spent 50 years promising Americans the government could tax and spend and regulate our way to prosperity, and that backfired horribly by pricing American workers out of the market, and that failure is part of why the working class now spits on Democrats. Oh, and “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”.

      I don’t have to be a Republican to know the smell of this bullshit. You got Trump because you deserved Trump.

      • Eric wrote:

        “This is dimwitted. To the extent any net deregulation had occurred, it would have lowered the cost of keeping manufacturing onshore and kept jobs in the U.S. In fact, the trend from 1970 was in the opposite direction – a progressively higher-tax, higher-regulation environment meant jobs were pushed to places with lower overhead just so companies could net a constant profit margin, let alone any increase.”

        Skipping the first sentence and going to the second –

        “To the extent any net deregulation had occurred, it would have lowered the cost of keeping manufacturing onshore and kept jobs in the U.S.”

        Deregulation in the 1980’s dealt with the removal of government regulation and ease of doing business. This included a rewrite of the tax code .
        Among other things, Its changes permitted companies who chose to offshore assets and earnings to avoid paying the corporate tax rate of 35% after EBITDA for those earnings which did not enter back into the US. It also changed Capital Gains Tax Rates from ordinary income to Long Term (held greater than 1 year),
        Short Term (held less than 1 year) and the introduction of new tax rates Qualified Dividends (Held by both parties a total of 121+ days) as calculated by Cost Basis.

        Calculating costs in manufacturing is very simple – Cost = Fixed Costs+Variable Costs+Unit Materials Costs+Unit Labor Costs-Tax Incentives Credits (as applicable). It is well understood by economists and accountants that FTE costs in the US are much higher than overseas markets due several factors including mandatory overtime rules (subject to jurisdiction – compare California to Penn), Employer portion of FICA, SSI withholding requirements, Medicare withholding requirements, individual state withholding requirements (example California state SDI), Mandatory requirements for Unemployment Insurance, Mandatory Workman’s Comp requirements, OSHA, EPA and environmental impact studies. Costs to record keep and maintain compliance in all of these programs added FTE costs.

        Prior to 1981, standard contractual agreements and covenants were in place between Labor Unions and Corporations. These generally included Mandatory Pension Programs funded directly or indirectly by corporations (Example is GM’s Pension Program – I worked it on it when I was at Fidelity Investments). Future Unfunded Liabilities including Health Care to Retirees rapidly exceeded Net Present Assets during the late 1990’s. Also, rising costs in Health Care traditionally born by major US corporations picked up across the board during the same time.

        In fairness and complete transparency – reversing some aspects of 1980’s deregulation had the opposite desired effect. Two points:

        * The Affordable Care Act did not help the situation from a cost basis standpoint – in fact it has made the situation worse for Small Businesses (companies >100 employees).

        * One might ask why not use 1099 employees exclusively? One regulation that didn’t change was the lengthly calculation on how that is handled. And, rules regarding that change were amended for engineering & technology workers during the 1990’s – google Andrew Stack for an excellent overview of this issue. His
        letter prior to crashing his airplane into the IRS building in Austin provides a thoughtful analysis of the problem.

        The net effect of deregulation allowed for companies to rid themselves of punitive tax policies, gave them options to move operations overseas and avoid long term
        entanglements/continuing adversarial relationships with labor unions. And it didn’t help the situation when foreign governments offered tax credits and favorable
        legal environments. In real terms, deregulation helped lower costs of manufacturing by creating an incentive to _not keeping manufacturing onshore_.

        “In fact, the trend from 1970 was in the opposite direction – a progressively higher-tax, higher-regulation environment meant jobs were pushed to places with lower overhead just so companies could net a constant profit margin, let alone any increase.”

        You are correct that the trend from 1970 was towards higher-taxes and higher regulations – a famous example is the removal leaded gasoline in 1974. This alone
        added new costs (emissions requirements) and new environmental regulations to every car sold in the United State. For those who weren’t around, adding lead to gasoline will raise the octane by about 2 to 3 points, cushions the blow on valve seats and lubricates the valve stems of internal combustion engines. This changes engineering costs – adding fewer parts and reducing materials cost per unit. Deregulation attempted a remedy but in all cases was incomplete as noted above.

        And a further correction to your statement – Companies and their owners _do not_ want a constant profit margin – they want aggregate growth _all the time_. Pressure from Institutional Investors, Private Equity Placement and Hedge Funds and ordinary investors demand constant non-terminal growth every day and every minute. Companies who fail to act upon this demand with have board of directors replaced and their senior leadership removed. Even Carl Icahn, the activist billionaire investor, had things to say on this subject with regards to Apple – the darling of all companies on the NASDAQ. Quoting from his 2013 Tweet “We Believe the Company (Apple – mine) to be extremely undervalued. Spoke with Tim Cook (CEO – mine) today. More to come”.

        “No, Democrats just spent 50 years promising Americans the government could tax and spend and regulate our way to prosperity, and that backfired horribly by pricing American workers out of the market, and that failure is part of why the working class now spits on Democrats. Oh, and “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”.

        It was a Republican President named Ronald Regan who famously said in 1981 (36 years ago) “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”. It was a Republican administration who worked with congress to make all the changes to the tax code in the 1980’s above into law.

        It was a Democrat President named Barrack Obama who said in 2009 “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too. The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold.”.

        It was Republican President named Trump who said in 2017, “This will be a plan where you can choose your doctor. This will be a plan where you can choose your plan.”.

        “I don’t have to be a Republican to know the smell of this bullshit. You got Trump because you deserved Trump.”

        I didn’t vote for him – I don’t deserve him. None of us do. But we have him anyway. I think the smell is not as liberal as you indicate. Thank you for a lively conversation. I leave you the last word – with respect.

        Geoff

        • It was Republican President named Trump who said in 2017, “This will be a plan where you can choose your doctor. This will be a plan where you can choose your plan.”.

          And let’s not forgot that he said in 2016 “?I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not,” and “?The government’s gonna pay for it.”

        • “I didn’t vote for [Trump] – I don’t deserve him. None of us do.”

          In my experience, a people get the government they deserve. That experience included myself and my own governments. I suggest Americans do some soul searching to try to find out what they did that made Trump not only possible, but a reality.

          I often find that foreigners have a much better grasp of what went wrong than the natives. Something to do with the required distance.

      • @esr
        “This is dimwitted. To the extent any net deregulation had occurred, it would have lowered the cost of keeping manufacturing onshore and kept jobs in the U.S. In fact, the trend from 1970 was in the opposite direction – a progressively higher-tax, higher-regulation environment meant jobs were pushed to places with lower overhead just so companies could net a constant profit margin, let alone any increase.”

        In my view, if you try to compete with third world countries on deregulation and wages, you get a third world economy.

        Compare this to the history of Germany. In terms of high regulation of labor market, pensions, health care, labor and consumer protection, and everything else, they must lead the pack. Still, they are probably the only developed country that competes head on with China in manufacturing. They were able to do this by focusing on high quality capital goods. They produce the machines that are used in Chinese production.

        The difference with the US and others is, among others, a determined long-term effort to improve the quality of their work force with education.
        https://www.theguardian.com/global/2016/mar/30/the-uk-could-learn-a-lot-from-germanys-long-term-industrial-strategy

        • >In my view, if you try to compete with third world countries on deregulation and wages, you get a third world economy.

          Given a fixed budget, an employer’s money can go to pay a worker or it can go to tax and regulatory overhead. U.S. policy since 1970 (really since 1948) has been to demand an ever-increasing cut of employers’ revenues. Naturally, wage growth gets squeezed – it has to, employers have no magic money trees.

          I don’t want the U.S. to compete with third-world countries by lowering wages. I want it to compete by lowering that overhead.

          • @esr
            “Given a fixed budget, an employer’s money can go to pay a worker or it can go to tax and regulatory overhead.”

            Indeed. So, the money can go to investing in infrastructure, education, and public health, or it can go to increasing profits and lowering prices or increasing wages (although the US has a bad track record keeping wages in line with productivity growth).

            So, if it does not go to infrastructure, education, and public health, how are these paid for?

            Historically, the free market has a very bad track record with these factors as they are to a large extend “public goods”. The quality of the infrastructure and labor force are benefits for the whole economy, not just the laborers.

            • I don’t expect to make any impression on you, but …

              A public good, in economics, isn’t a good that benefits the public – nearly everything that can be provided is a benefit to the public. A public good is something that cannot be provided at all, except by being made freely available to the public – and thus can’t be sold.

              By this definition none of “infrastructure, education, and public health” are public goods. All three can be, and in past centuries were, paid for by their direct beneficiaries: schools by students, hospitals by patients, roads and railways by travelers. Most everything that qualifies as “infrastructure” still is paid for that way in the USA; public utilities are heavily regulated, but very seldom subsidized. Schools and hospitals have also been supported by charitable contributions in the past – in fact I believe most hospitals in the West were founded that way. There are a few examples of public goods in these categories (vaccination programs are the only one that comes to mind) but the vast majority of them are not.

              • A public good, in economics, isn’t a good that benefits the public – nearly everything that can be provided is a benefit to the public. A public good is something that cannot be provided at all, except by being made freely available to the public – and thus can’t be sold.

                Infrastructure, public health, and education for all, at a QoS expected by the average European, at reasonable prices and under reasonable terms and conditions, cannot be provided except as a public good and cannot be sold. Read Kenneth Arrow’s 1963 paper Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care for why this is in the health-care scenario. Infrastructure and education are different in that they tend to form natural monopolies and, if left entirely to the private sector, become subject to predatory pricing and/or slipshod quality.

                Paying for these things is indeed like getting your vaccines: maximum benefit for everyone can only be had if everyone does it. It’s a classic prisoners’ dilemma. One of the harsh truths about humanity is the efficacy of the “snitches get stitches” strategy in the prisoners’ dilemma; that is to say, ensure everyone cooperates by force and punish defectors severely.

                All three can be, and in past centuries were, paid for by their direct beneficiaries: schools by students, hospitals by patients, roads and railways by travelers.

                Those were the era of robber barons, the first of whom were railroad tycoons who built out infrastructure, and then charged out the wazoo for access to the rights-of-way they monopolized. If there’s not an opportunity to charge out the wazoo or otherwise exploit the users of the service, the infrastructure just won’t get built or maintained. Fun fact: I once completely lost internet service that I was paying for. Verizon just couldn’t be arsed to keep the copper wires maintained anymore, and they couldn’t be bothered to offer FiOS service to my area. This is why American infrastructure is in a constant state of decay.

                We’re witnessing the same forces at work in the net-neutrality kerfuffle. Comcast and Verizon would just love to charge service providers for access to their customers as they charge their customers for access to their service providers. In Europe, the government would step in and say “you can’t do that”. But with Trump stacking his cabinet with his business buddies and the current head of the FCC being in Verizon’s pocket… well, it’s going to get real bad for American internet users.

  36. What the USA needs is an actual left. Here we have a center-right party, the Democrats; and a far-right party, the Republicans. The major parties are both doing the corporations’ bidding; no one is actually standing up for the little guy.

    Well, a few are. One of them, Bernie Sanders, probably would have been President if it weren’t for Hillary’s active sabotage of the Democratic primaries.

    • Excuse me while I giggle.

      Where and when have socialists ever stood up for “the little guy”? Since the French Revolution, which was when socialism became a conscious movement (and was first called “the Left”) that movement has consistently stood against traditional customs and social mores; but the one thing it’s consistently stood for is the unrestricted rule of normal people, that is “the little guy”, by philosopher-kings who supposedly have intellects far exceeding the ordinary. It’s no accident that the first Leftist government on Earth ended up crowning Napoleon Bonaparte as Emperor of France, and obeying him as slavishly as their grandparents had obeyed King Louis XIV.

      • but the one thing it’s consistently stood for is the unrestricted rule of normal people, that is “the little guy”, by philosopher-kings who supposedly have intellects far exceeding the ordinary.

        Under the American system, the little guy is just as much under the rule of a governing elite, except he’s been tricked into thinking that he chose for himself what the elites have decided for him.

        Without a solution to the “temporarily embarrassed millionaires” problem, American politics will not change, and more Trumpism and a nerfed opposition to Trumpism (as the present-day Democrats are) is what we have to look forward to.

  37. except he’s been tricked into thinking that he chose for himself what the elites have decided for him.

    What you call the “American System” is simply one of the many, many failure modes of democracy.

    Without a solution to the “temporarily embarrassed millionaires” problem

    You call this a problem, I call it a healthy culture.

    I suppose that would be considered a problem though…..

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