POSSIBLY WIRED FOR LACK OF SOUND: Trump supporters state their views!

TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2018

Part 2—"Who cares what they think?" we reply:
We hate to be the ones to say it, but quite a few members of the public still support Donald J. Trump.

In the Washington Post's new poll, 36 percent of respondents said they "approve of the way Donald [J.] Trump is handling his job as president." The current Gallup tracking poll puts the number at 38 percent.

Judged by historical norms, those are low approval numbers. So is Trump's latest "favorability" rating, which stands at 37 percent, as measured by CNN.

Judged by historical norms, that favorability number is low. That said, Trump's "favorability" wasn't much higher in the months before the November 2016 election. In CNN's final two measures before the election, the future president's favorability stood at 39 and 41 percent.

Our view? Like nostalgia, historical norms possibly ain't what they used to be. Donald J. Trump's poll numbers may seem to be low—but a fellow can win an election today with numbers like that.

Presumably, he can also stave off impeachment and/or removal from office, even if Democrats gain control of the House and/or the Senate. Numbers like those make it hard to oppose Trump within the Republican Party.

It was within this context that the edutors of the New York Times engaged in a radical act. Last Thursday, they published letters from fifteen Trump supporters, leting the miscreants try to explain why they still support Trump.

You can read those letters here. As presented online, the first letter goes like this:
To the Editor:

Donald Trump has succeeded where Barack Obama failed. The economy is up, foreign tyrants are afraid, ISIS has lost most of its territory, our embassy will be moved to Jerusalem and tax reform is accomplished. More than that, Mr. Trump is learning, adapting and getting savvier every day. Entitlement reform is next! Lastly, the entrenched interests in Washington, which have done nothing but glad-hand one another, and both political parties are angry and afraid.

Who knew that all it would take to make progress was vision, chutzpah and some testosterone?

S— S—
OAKDALE, CALIF.
Oakdale is part of the Modesto Metropolitan Statistical Area. According to the leading authority on the small city, Oakdale goes by the slogan "Cowboy Capital of the World!"

Despite its humble point of origin, that letter from that Trump supporter rattled off quite a few points. The letter from the second supporter picked up where the first one let off:
To the Editor:

I voted against Hillary Clinton more than I voted for Donald Trump. That said, President Trump has exceeded my wildest expectations. Yes, he is embarrassing. Yes, he picks unnecessary fights. But he also pushed tax reform through, has largely defeated ISIS in Iraq, has named a number of solid conservative judges, has prioritized American citizens over illegal immigrants, has gotten us out of several bad international agreements, has removed a number of wasteful regulations, is putting real pressure on North Korea and Iran, has reined in a number of out-of-control agencies, and so on and so on.

I loved George W. Bush, but he failed on policy over and over again. If it takes putting up with Mr. Trump’s brash ways to see things get done, that is a deal I’m willing to accept. To be honest, I’m not sure he would have accomplished what he has so far without being an unrelenting public bully.

J— P—
HOLTSVILLE, N.Y.
That letter came from Long Island. It presented an even longer list of policy claims, and it started with a chastening point:

The writer says he voted against Candidate Clinton more than for Candidate Trump. Indeed, her favorabilities before that election were almost as low as Trump's! This may be the way the game will be played in the years to come.

Thirteen more letters followed these two. The letters expressed similar views about Trump's tenure to date. The writers voiced support for the "tax reform" which Trump's detractors tend to hate. Concerning that and many other points, we wondered what a discussion would sound like—a discussion between these Trump supporters and regular, run-of-the-mill average folk Over Here in our tribe.

Why do those Trump supporters favor Trump's tax reform? What was "bad" about the international agreements he has removed us from?

Which "wasteful regulations" did that second writer have in mind, and what made them "wasteful?" We wondered what the writers would say to such questions. Beyond that, we wondered how well members of our own tribe would be prepared to discuss such complex topics.

Alas! Those writers are part of a fairly large group who still support President Trump. Because so many people still see the world the way they do, Donald J. Trump remains the master of his political fate—and possibly of his legal fate, even if Robert Mueller ends up issuing ugly claims.

Under our system of government, those voters hold plenty of power. At some point, people who want to defeat or undermine Donald J. Trump may well have to change some of those peoples' minds.

How exactly could our tribe go about achieving that end? If we sat down to debate those writers, how would we seek to change their views?

How might we change Trump supporters' minds? There's a good chance that we'll never find out! Just consider the letters the New York Times ran the next day.

Last Friday morning, the editors let us Trump detractors fight back. They published seven letters from our crowd, letters in which we were allowed to reply to the Trump supporters. You can read those letters here.

Let's be clear—the seven letters the Times ran that day were not a "scientific sample" of current anti-Trump thinking. They are simply the seven letters the editors chose to run.

Still and all, we were struck by the attitudes and viewpoints expressed in those seven letters. They did express views we often encounter Over Here in our tribe's liberal tents.

We were struck by the very first letter, which came from "a former newspaper editor" way out in the Hamptons. Starting off with a now-famous term, he quickly delivered a form of the D-bomb.

We'll look at his striking letter tomorrow. But good lord and holy mackerel! The fifth letter, from liberal Austin, Texas, started off like this:

"Why do you keep asking questions of Trump voters? Who cares what they think?"

That's how that letter began. The third letter stated a similar view in a more insulting way.

Trump voters hold a lot of power, but this fellow down in Austin doesn't care what they think. Beyond that, he wants the New York Times to stop talking to them altogether.

We were struck by that fiery suggestion. We thought of what Gene Brabender said, so many years ago:

"Where I come from, we just talk for a little while. After that we start to hit."

That's what Brabender said, long ago, sitting out in the bullpen. The fellow in Austin holds similar views. He brought an award-winning thought to mind:

Could our species perhaps be wired that way? Wired for lack of sound?

Tomorrow: Missives from liberal tents

66 comments:

  1. You can't trust anything associated with WaPo or CNN obviously (or rather: one must distrust them), and Gallup switched to weekly tracking, so it's not accurate.

    Rasmussen gives him around 45% approval, which sounds realistic.

    As for Trump's achievements - making lib-zombies squirming is the greatest one so far.

    Killing the TPP, ending US support for ISIS, new tariffs today - those are good, but still rather modest.

    Let's wait and see what happens to NAFTA; that'll make everything clear. If all we see is cosmetic changes, then we know that he's turned into an establishment puppet. Kill NAFTA, Trump. Don't disappoint. That's your road to greatness.

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    1. Mao faithfully repeats his Kremlin masters as usual

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    2. A rational person distrusts all the organs of power: the press, the Congress, the president. Even, or especially if, any of them claim to be populist crusaders against those organs of power.

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    3. "organs of power", eh? Now, that really does sound like google translation.

      Not that anything's wrong with that; unlike lib-zombies here, I'm perfectly happy to talk to anyone.

      The idea is, comrade, that there's also the entrenched elite, the establishment, the 'deep state' that controls all those 'organs'. Once in a while, very rarely indeed, one of the 'organs' gets loose and out of control, and then, well, then amazing things can happen.

      Hopefully this is one of those interesting times now. But like I said: we'll see.

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    4. It's pretty clear that Trump has already caved in to the Republicans. He has ceded any input into shaping policy to the Congressional Republicans. He merely servers as "signer-in-chief" for their tired "policies." Too bad. He sounded like a different person on the campaign trail about healthcare and entitlements, but that's all dust in the wind now. The fucking grifter.

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  2. Trump didn’t win the election. It was stolen by actions of Comey and Russian interference that undermined our Democratic process. Every time someone interviews a Trump supporter it suggests this was a legitimate election. It was not. That’s why there is no point interviewing Trump supporters. No one wants to hit. We want our presidency back. Mueller is working on it.

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    1. You should go scream that on a street corner. Bring your play pen.

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    2. Watch what happens after Mueller finishes his work.

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  3. Liberals believe that they are much smarter and wiser than Trump and his supporters. Yet, the pro-Trump letters were considerably better reasoned than the anti-Trump letters. If these letters were submitted as a homework assignment, the pro-Trump letters would get higher grades. Is this an example of cognitive dissonance?

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    1. Liberals are smarter. Trump voters showed their stupidity when they voted for an admitted pussygrabber, liar and crook.

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    2. If it's a competition for stupidity and naiveté the Democrats win it running away these days. They don't know how to reason and they're dumbed down further in our elite higher ed institutions.

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    3. Wow. Such an intelligent discussion. "Liberals are..." etc, in response to a post complaining about weak argumentation and stereotyping.

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    4. Liberals are smart about some things but politics and power are not among them. They get played time and time again. They are getting played now so hard. They behave like the biggest dicks politically and for that, they get what they deserve. They wonder why they get sabatoged. You have to laugh. I emphasize with this blogger. The last thing liberals consider is that they are anything but the smartest and sharpest around but they are so foolish and inept politically they lost to fn Trump! Oh vey. But they are kinda smart about a few things. Most artists and musicians are liberals. I would hate to have a world full of conservative artists. I mean right, left, center we all bow down to Bowie right?

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    5. @AnonymousJanuary 23, 2018 at 4:42 PM
      Agreed about creative people. But saying that liberals "deserve what they get?" Liberals try to play fair and not engage in dirty tricks. It's not liberals' fault if they have been slow to believe that their fellow citizens could embrace fascism and criminality so vehemently. Hard to fight a militant authoritarian insurgency with traditional democratic measures.

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    6. Thanks for response 4:46. Yes, in this world being slow to believe dirty trick are coming your way and being slow to believe powerless citizens could fall for pleasing demagogue's claims is what I mean when I say they are not smart about politics and power. Being slow to believe dirty trick are coming your way and being slow to believe powerless citizens could fall for pleasing demagogue's claims in this day and age and on this level of power is downright crazy and so, so, so dumb. Oy vey. What is the matter guys? It's hard to understand the level daftness. But I will listen to Black Sabbath IV or Motorhead, that second album, and see that yes, liberals do get some things right and when they do, it fn rocks!

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    7. Lemmy may be a Nazi though. Not sure.

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    8. Liberals still point to the "hypocrisy" of Evangelicals, as if they are the last people on Earth to figure out the religion of Evangelicals is bigotry. It's hard not to believe Liberals are playing dumb.

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  4. It is unremarkable that Trump voters rationalize their support in terms of policy instead of admitting racist motives. Liberals do not engage the rationalization because it is just a screen. This isn’t about hitting and it isn’t about policy either.

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    1. Try to understand and sympathize with these desperate folks who lost to Trump. They get bitter and cling to their pussy hats and their faith in racism as a way to explain their frustrations.

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    2. AnonymousJanuary 23, 2018 at 12:14 PM hit one one difference between liberals and conservatives. Liberals give more weight to motives. This leads them to support policies that signal their virtue, but which don't work very well. Perhaps the most current example is Angela Merkel's decision to admit a million refugees into Germany. This was a blunder from which the country may never recover.

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    3. @David: You seem to be ascribing motives to liberals here while claiming that liberals are the ones who do that.

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    4. Merkel isn't a liberal.

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    5. Very good point, David in Cal. Their focus on motives and not efficacy or outcomes is one of the many ways liberals show us they have forgotten how to reason.

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    6. Liberals believe incremental progress is worth pursuing.

      Immigrants rebuilt Berlin after WWII. Some Germans remember that.

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  5. Trump's low ratings remind me that his media coverage is unique. Never in my 75 years have I seen such unrelenting, biased news coverage. Watch a White House press briefing.(available on youtube) The White House reporters don't even pretend to be unbiased. In fact, most of them don't even pretend to want to know the news. Most of them are looking for gotcha points.

    Here's an example I just came across
    Trump overstates missing texts involving FBI agent
    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/trump-overstates-missing-tweets-involving-fbi-agent-52547625

    It's true that Trump got the wrong number, but that's relatively unimportant. Thousands of messages that were supposed to be saved are missing. If the FBI was incompetent, that's very important. If the messages were deliberately deleted, that's corruption, and it's even more important. Either way, Trump mis-stating the exact number should not be the point of the story.

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    1. Never in my 45 years have I seen such a dishonest, selfish, venal person as president. Nor have I seen such mind-numbing bias coming from right-wing mouthpieces like Fox.

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    2. Wow. Such an intelligent discussion. "Liberals are..." etc, in response to a post complaining about weak argumentation and stereotyping.

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    3. Mussing Emails?
      Why, in the name of the Bush/ Cheney Administration, would anyone think that's a big deal?
      -----
      $100 says David waved away any concerns about the missing emails from the Executive branch between 2001-2008.

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    4. As an entrepreneur, Trump was a dishonest, selfish, venal person. It seems to me that as President, he has continued those traits, but on behalf of the US. E.g., he pressured other NATO countries to pay more for common defense. He pressured the UN to reduce its budget. These things did nothing for Trump personally, but they made the US a little wealthier.

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    5. Not was, is.

      He's continued on behalf of himself and his Russian shotcallers, all on behalf of the very wealthiest eg.he blustered about paying more, but the return commitment has been negligible and certainly not what Trump's groupies make out to be. Same for his UN bullshit. This did little if anything for our country's bottom line, but instead made his base and his handlers a little happier.

      His fronting for the GOP tax cut for the rich made his handlers and the middle-class hating GOP much happier. This made the very wealthy more than a little wealthier at the expense of the rest of us.

      Your doggerel is tedious and repetitive, but that's to be expected for commenting in a D-league blog with D-league trolls like you and your fellow travelers - @2:57, @12:25, @6:30, @4:42, @12:20, @12:26, and last but not least, @1:43 and @11:36.

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    6. Hi Artie,
      I enjoyed your comment, but I'd like to see more foam at the mouth, please.

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    7. Not pro-Establisjhment enough for Mao's taste, I see.

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    8. Mao's a delicate snowflake and finds this blog a safe space.

      There, there, Mao.

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  6. To Somerby, those liberal rebuttal letters expressed "views we often encounter Over Here in our tribe's liberal tents."
    To me, those Trump apologia letters are atypical for that side.

    And what one encounters is dependent upon what one seeks out. If you were to judge political thought by its worst examples, say Fox News and MSNBC, then you will judge both sides as reprehensible.

    The fact that I encounter more nuanced discussions of issues from a liberal perspective isn't accidental.

    And the Times didn't print my letter.

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    1. I agree. There was something terrifically manufactured-seeming about those pro-Trump letters. Way too manicured and phony.

      Example: no "28-year-old" uses "Mayberry" as a cultural reference. It's a posture.

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  7. The whole "deep state" pejorative is the latest catch phrase that parrots the disdain conservatives have for selective "elites." Seems like "deep state" is just dog-whistle for "career politician" or lifetime government official. Fascist regimes have always hated/feared the intelligentsia. To dent this is to be willfully, historically ignorant. "Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative." - John Stuart Mill

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    1. Smart conservatives are smarter than smart liberals.

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    2. There is no such thing as a unicorn.

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  8. The whole "deep state" pejorative is the latest catch phrase that parrots the disdain conservatives have for selective "elites." Seems like "deep state" is just dog-whistle for "career politician" or lifetime government official. Fascist regimes have always hated/feared the intelligentsia. To deny this is to be willfully, historically ignorant. "Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative." - John Stuart Mill

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    1. Whoa, lib-zombie bot gets lib-zombie talking points confused again: politicians and bureaucrats are miraculously turned into 'intelligentsia'. Two times in a row.

      Call your techsupport, dear, and report malfunctioning: you need a reboot.

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    2. Intelligentsia: (noun) intellectuals considered as a group or class, especially as a cultural, social, or POLITICAL elite.
      A zombie of any stripe, such as a Trump-zombie, has no business calling someone else a zombie.

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    3. If your dictionary insists that a ""career politician" or lifetime government official" represents intelligentsia - that's gotta be a lib-zombie dictionary.

      Here, in the world of the living, it'd be a mere curiosity.

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    4. Mao,
      Isn't there a Wall Street Trump cabinet member who's shoes you should be polishing?

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    5. Listen to the guy whose dictionary defines "anti-Establishment as "Businessman, who has stiffed this contractors for 4+ decades".

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  9. "Who cares what they think?"

    Well, sure, I "care." But if their views are fundamentally at odds with mine, what should I do? Try persuasion? Fine. I notice, Bob, that you yourself don't attempt any discussions of issues. You just like to find purported examples of liberal failure and promote the idea that that's how "our tribe" is.

    First of all, if perhaps you might ferret out some positive examples of discussions of issues, or provide some yourself, that would help your supposedly feeble-minded liberal readers with their argumentation skills.

    Second, I invite you to try your hand in deep red Southern US (where I live), where my local Republican state house politicians publicly view the destruction of liberals as a priority and use their public power to shame those they disagree with. Some of my family members are Trump voters. I know they aren't racist, and I love them, but I think they are wrong for supporting Trump. Family get-togethers are tricky.

    The stereotyping that you so bemoan amongst liberals is being enacted by Republican legislatures all over the country against liberals, who are often in a distinct minority. You must be aware of the tactics used by Republican politicians to silence opposition and entrench their power. Remember Merrick Garland? Remember Ken Starr? That latter was a bona fide attempt to criminalize a political opponent. Benghazi? Same. Can you imagine if Obama had been found to have paid hush money to a porn star? I think you realize what the reaction from the right would be. And yet you have pretended to ascribe this kind of behavior to the Democrats. (I won't quote the Yay!Yay!Yay! stuff).

    The measured criticism of liberal journalists and pundits is welcome, and important, especially if done with an eye towards improving "our tribe." The melodramatic, unfair generalizations and facile snark, not so much.

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  10. Under normal circumstances it would make sense to have the kinds of discussions Somerby calls for. These are not normal times and Trump is not a normal president. I will not pretend he is normal by pretending to engage in political business as usual.

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    1. Note, however, that most Trump supporters seem to recognize his personal short-comings, but they claim that his achievements compensate for his style. Do we need to respond to such arguments?

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  11. I agree with Bob that arguments presented in the pro-Trump letters need to be addressed -- but not to change the minds of the letter-writers or other ardent Republicans. The letter-writers were not, are not, and never will be up for grabs. However, there are plenty of people who are, and they will be presented with the arguments similar to the ones presented by the letter-writers. Democrats had better have a set of cogent talking points. The arguments in the letters are (a)vague (b) emotional (c) plain wrong. Now, let's explain why.

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    1. agreed, elections are won by the reasonable people in the middle, and I see more and more of them parroting the republican line

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  12. I saw a video of a Trump supporter on CNN who claimed that 3 million illegals in California voted because Obama said they could.So how can one have any empathy or an intelligent discussion with this person.So yes, I look down on people who don't use their brains.

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    1. The more interesting question is why can't you empathize with a person like that? Democrats should all ask themselves exactly that question because attitudes like yours and the inability to empathize with someone like that is exactly why you lost to Trump and you will lose to Cruz in seven years. It's a key, major question that you should ask yourself and all Democrats need to figure out if they want to stop getting beaten my crazy fools. It's a key question because it Is something the crazy fools understand and for some reason, liberals it don't.

      Can you explain to me why you cannot empathize with a person like that? Can you explain that rationally and logically?
      You are saying the level of intelligence is so low that an argument can't be made and therefore empathy is impossible?

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    2. Huh. Frankly, I don't see a huge problem with people suspecting that large numbers of non-citizens have been voting in California. After all, California doesn't require to provide any ID, you see. So, who can tell?

      And what about those lib-zombie true believers who know for sure that the only reason Mr Trump is president is that Mr Putin tweeted something that hypnotized millions of voters in the US? Can one have an intelligent discussion with that person?

      Thanks in advance for your reply.

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    3. Empathizing isn’t the problem. Communicating is. If Democrats can find a candidate who can stand on stage and fart at will, they will have the next election won.

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    4. Nah, wishful thinking.

      See this, for example:
      J.P. Morgan chief Jamie Dimon told CNBC on Wednesday that the tax cut will drive wages higher and spark an economic boom.

      And in addition to that, if Trump has the balls to kill NAFTA, Democrats are done for, for a decade at least, and hopefully forever - to the garbage bin of history.

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    5. VODKA BREATH quotes the great all American populist, Jamie Dimon.

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    6. For the Democrats to have any success they will have to empathize with the white middle and lower class and the way they feel about their "place in line" within the current American economic and political system. Sanders could have done it. If they don't do it, someone like Trump and then Cruz will come in and engage these constituent's deeply psychological need for empathy by creating straw men in the form of immigrants and bad trade deals. There's no other way for the Democrats to win. And by not doing it, the ensure more losses. This Democrat whoever they may be will have to walk a fine line between showing empathy for these people and engaging their core base of unempathetic, ignorant, snobbish urban Heathers.

      I personally would like to see a third-party come along like happened in France. And totally wipe out the Democratic party for good. (The Republican party is toast either way.)

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    7. The old "tax cuts will spur such growth that they will pay for themselves" card is coming out again. We should pass a law that you can't cut taxes unless the federal budget is in balance. I will take my tax cut and save it for my son cause when all of this reckless spending over the past several decades finally comes home to roost and we go the way of Greece, i'll be dead and it will be his generation that will pay for it all. I am sure Donny Jr will be ok though...and Jimmy Dimon's kid

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    8. "For the Democrats to have any success they will have to empathize with the white middle and lower class"

      If you want someone to empathize with you, go to church. Politics (to rational people, anyway) are about material interests, not listening to empathizing clowns.

      "The old "tax cuts will spur such growth that they will pay for themselves" card is coming out again"

      No. This is a completely new card, old man: in this globalized world capital flows freely across the globe. And cutting corporate tax rates makes your country more attractive.

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    9. The orangutans empathize with the material concerns of the masses Captain Rational.

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    10. Lib-zombies yearn for a hug from their beloved thieving cocksucker-politician. Please, please empathize with me. Feel my pain.

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    11. All the zombies do. Be a part of something great again. It will feel so good.

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    12. The notion that tax cuts will create economic growth greater than their costs is a baseless assertion. There is zero evidence for this, indeed the evidence points to the opposite. An appeal to authority - especially authorities with a vested interest in the tax cut they created and pushed - is a fallacy. Those who push this notion are nothing more than a con.

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  13. These are the same people who couldn't understand how insurance works, during the ACA debate.
    Seriously, way too many time these idiots would tell me how unfair it is that the money they put into the system might help someone other than themselves.
    Are they morons, or just arguing in bad faith?
    At the end of the day, does it matter?
    Fuck 'em. Let Trump and the rest of the GOP hang them out to dry. We'll live without their bigotry.

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  14. Took me ages to read all of that !

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