All that, plus Formula 1 and the Nazi orgy story: Last night, on the Maddow Show, Bernie Sanders asked a very good question.
Let's start with Sanders' question. It appears in bold type below:
SANDERS (12/8/15): Let me give you my perspective on what's going on. It's a different perspective I think than other people have.When Sanders saw people at a Trump rally, a good question came to his mind. "How do we get to those people?" he asked. How do we get those people to favor progressive reforms?
I think you have an enormous amount of fear and uncertainty in this country. And it's not just from San Bernardino or from Paris.
I think what you've got are millions of people who are in trouble today. They really are. They're confused. They're working longer hours for lower wages. They're seeing productivity going up but their kids are worse off economically than they are. They're looking at a campaign finance system in politics and they see corruption, big money buying elections. Nobody in Congress is listening to them.
They're out there alone. Who's listening to them? They're in trouble. They need help.
What's the cause of their problems? Is it Wall Street? Is it big money? Is it massive inequality in terms of wealth and income? Well, no one talks about that really.
And then have you demagogues like Trump come along. He says, "I know what the cause is." Remember, a few months ago, the cause was that Mexicans who are coming to this country, well, they were criminals or rapists. Today, it is Muslims.
You all remember how many years ago, we were younger, it was uppity women who are trying to take our jobs as men. It was those gay people who wanted to make everybody homosexual in our school system. It was blacks wanted to take white jobs.
That's what demagoguery is about. It is to obfuscate the real problems facing our society and find somebody you can blame and rally the American people. That's what it is. It's the immigrants or the Muslims. We've got to take them on.
And I think my main concern is--because I worry about this, it's real. You see the people standing up there and applauding [on videotape at a Trump rally]. How do we get to those people?
How do we say, why do you keep voting for people who are giving more tax breaks to billionaires, who are going to send your jobs abroad, not going to let you form a union, not going to allow your kids to go to college? Why do you keep voting for these guys?
Some people might think there's no point in trying to pursue Trump voters. For our money, Sanders' instinct is much better regarding that point.
We think he was asking a very good question. But uh-oh! As he continued, we think his instincts were suddenly working less well:
SANDERS (continuing directly): Because they pick out a victim, whether it's blacks, whether it's gays, whether it's women, whether it's immigrants, whether it's Muslims who we can pick on.Oof. We think that answer is about as tone deaf as an answer can be. To our ear, it's condescending and insulting. In the short run or the long run, approaches like that don't seem likely to work.
And what our job is, and I think hard about these things--How do we get those people to begin standing up for their own interests?
And I will tell you is, the antidote to Trump is a very strong progressive agenda that says, "Yes, I know you're angry. And you know what? You should be angry, because you're working longer hours for low wages. You have a right to be bitter and you have a right to be that.
"Don't take it out on the Muslims. Don't take it out on Latinos. Try to help us work together to create a country where your kids and you can have a decent standard of living. It has to be a bold and radical agenda. No more same old same old.
I don't mean to be political here. People are hurting and angry, and they want something to be able to stand up and fight for. That's what I believe the antidote is to Trumpism.
What's insulting about that answer? It's insulting to announce a judgment like that—to announce the judgment that Trump voters are trying to "pick out a victim, whether it's blacks, whether it's gays, whether it's women, whether it's immigrants, whether it's Muslims, who we can pick on."
It's insulting to assume that people are voting for Trump as a way to "take it out on the Muslims." You aren't likely to change a lot of minds if you start with assumptions like that.
We also don't think that such conclusions are obvious on the merits. Let's return to that topic tomorrow. For today, let's start to record Maddow's approach last night.
Maddow opener her program is the usual slightly odd way. There were a million things to discuss—but so what? She started with a lengthy discussion of the world's various motor sports, along with a Nazi-themed sex romp:
MADDOW (12/8/15): Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.By now, the salacious Nazi orgy story had roughly burned five minutes. We turned to the analysts and offered this thoughtful remark:
If you are into cars that go fast, there are a lot of different kinds of auto racing in the world. There is dirt track racing which is exactly what it sounds, racing on a dirt track.
There is rally racing, which is car racing out in the world, sometimes on regular roads that you might otherwise drive on as a normal person.
Of course, there's drag racing. We all know what that looks like.
There are sprint cars, some of which look like souped-up go-karts with that giant wing on them. And some sprint cars don't have the giant wing so they just look like souped-up go karts.
Same goes for what they call midget cars. No offense.
In this country, the most popular form of car racing is the huge multi-billion dollar industry that's called stock car racing. That`s what NASCAR is. That's what the SC stands for in the middle of NASCAR, Stock cars.
In the rest of the world though, particularly in Europe, the most popular form of racing is not stock cars. It's not NASCAR. It doesn't look anything like NASCAR. It's Formula 1.
Formula 1 is the racing of these purpose built mega-aero dynamic single-seater basically spaceships with wheels that Formula 1 drivers regularly get up to over 200 miles an hour.
Formula 1 is a huge international phenomenon even if an otherwise car-racing obsessed American public has always found Formula 1 to be a little weird. And every popular zillion-dollar sport has its share of personal scandals around the sport and its leadership.
But Formula 1 racing had a personal scandal right up at the top of its governing body a few years ago that was so weird, that was so flagrantly salacious and bizarre, that I think it not only reassured American racing fans that Formula 1, yes, really is kind of weird.
I think it also probably attracted more American attention to Formula 1 than anything else in American news in decades. And that's because it was a sex scandal, a particularly lurid sex scandal involving this guy [photo appears on screen].
His name is Max Mosley. At the time, he was the head of the international car racing organization that governs Formula 1. And a few years ago, in 2008, a British tabloid called "News of the World" got their hands on what they said was a five-hour long videotape showing Max Mosley and what they described as a sado-masochistic dungeon in London having a protracted and, by all accounts, very satisfying several hours-long paid encounter with five women at once.
British tabloids are not known for their restraint. "News of the World" went ahead and uploaded the video and then published this subtle, sensitive, very reserved British tabloid headline: "F1 Boss has Sick Nazi Orgy with Five Hookers."
In the video, the chief of Formula 1 racing was seen shouting in German while whipping some of these women who were dressed up in striped concentration camp style uniforms. Other women on the tape were wearing German military uniforms. There was an unfortunate scene that reportedly involved Mr. Mosley being trussed up and picked over by a German speaking woman as if we were being deloused.
Ultimately, the "News of the World" had to take down the video and pay Max Mosley, they had to pay the head of Formula 1 racing $120,000 roughly, plus his legal costs when a British court found that tabloid paper had violated his privacy with the Nazi orgy story.
And despite Max Mosley winning that legal case, the videotape and the tabloid allegations about his Nazi sex orgy created a fairly long-standing image problem for Formula 1, as you might imagine, not just because the sport's chief executive had this particular part of his private life and private interests made very public, but it was also specifically because of who that executive was...
"We're so old that we can remember when Maddow would pretend to be embarrassed to discuss such matters." Remember? She would book Ana Marie Cox, night after night, to discuss such topics for her!
At any rate, Maddow wasn't done with the Nazi orgy yet. If you watched the program last night, you may recall the long and winding road by which she rode the Nazi orgy back to the doings of Candidate Trump.
"Watch this space!" We almost thought we could hear her say it as her story rolled on. As you know if you watch the show, "Watch this space" has become the mantra of Maddow's nightly program. It may explain why we get gifted with long-form, sexy-time, Nazi-themed orgy fare.
Why did Maddow start our engines last night with Nazi orgy fare? We don't know, but it led to an evening of bombs from Maddow.
In Maddow's case, an array of F-bombs were flying last night. As with Williams Saletan's B-bombs, so too with Maddow's variety. We don't think they provide an especially good approach to the problem at hand.
We're inclined to think that these various bombs are lazy, paint-by-the-numbers tribal fare. Tomorrow, we'll examine Maddow's bombs, and we'll return to Sanders.
Tomorrow: More from Maddow and Sanders.
We'd like to link you to last night's transcript. As we type, the channel's ten days behind.