Candidate Clinton's lead keeps growing!


Big star can't figure it out:
Let's make this a day of data!

According to the Cook Report site, Candidate Clinton's lead in the popular vote has continued to grow:
Popular vote, 2016 election
Candidate Clinton:
64.9 million votes (48.2 percent)
Candidate Trump: 62.5 million votes (46.4 percent)
Oof! Candidate Clinton now leads Trump by almost two full points.

If Clinton got so many more votes, how in the world did the other guy win? Incredibly, the "wasted votes" in California now exceed four million:
Popular vote, California, 2016 election
Candidate Clinton:
8.34 million votes (62.1 percent)
Candidate Trump: 4.31 million votes (32.1 percent)
The "sorting" of the population has produced a giant cache of excess votes in the Golden State. As we noted last week, Obama only won the state by margins of roughly three million!

For reasons which strike us as blatantly obvious, we think the public should be told about these results. They undermines the impression that Candidate Trump won a walloping "mandate," even some sort of "landslide."

The Trumpist-elect doesn't seem to want people to think he lost the popular vote. One big cable star was utterly baffled by this fact Monday night:
UNNAMED CABLE STAR (11/28/16): Just in terms of what is going on right now, right, the president-elect is behind now in the popular vote by about 2.2 million votes.

That would be the largest losing margin in the popular vote by any incoming president in 140 years and that may be trivia to civics dorks at some level but that fact appears to be driving the president-elect a little bit nuts, to the point where he's now insisting that actually he won the popular vote. He says he won the popular vote, quote, "if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."

The millions of people who voted illegally? A, There's no evidence that that is true. B, Why would you say that if you're the person who won the election? Are you questioning the validity of the election that you just won?

I mean, who knows?
One day earlier he was enraged about the recount effort in Wisconsin, saying the results of the election should be respected instead of being challenged. That was Saturday. By Sunday, the whole election was a scam and it was millions of fraudulent votes.
This unnamed star just couldn't imagine why Trump would want to do that! Soon she returned to her mugging and clowning and the whole world seemed OK.

Concerning our hapless American kids!


They outscore miraculous Finland:
Last year, students from the developed nations took part in both of the world's major international testing programs.

We refer to The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (Timss), which is administered on a four-year cycle, and to The Program for International Student Assessment (Pisa), which is administered every three years.

Results from the 2015 Pirls are now available. Yesterday, the Washington Post offered this striking report about the new scores in its hard-copy editions. The New York Times has posted this AP report on-line, but has so far ignored these new results in its hard-copy editions.

We'll review the news reports at the end of the week. For today, we'll post some of the new results and link to the rest of the data.

The Timss tests students in Grade 4 and Grade 8 in both science and math. A larger number of nations take part at the Grade 4 level, so we'll show you those results. (We'll post links to Grade 8 scores below.)

Below, you see selected average scores in Grade 4 math. We're including the three Asian tigers and other large nations. We're also including miraculous Finland, star of our upper-end press.

We've "disaggregated" American scores to help bring our challenges into focus. You'll note that, in the aggregate, American kids (slightly) outperformed their peers from miraculous Finland:
Average scores, Grade 4 math, 2015 Timss
South Korea: 608
United States, Asian-American students: 605
Taiwan: 597
Japan: 593
Russia: 564
United States, white students: 559
England: 546
United States: 539
Finland: 535
Poland: 535
Germany: 522
Australia: 517
United States, Hispanic students: 515
Canada: 511
Italy: 507
Spain: 505
United States, black students: 495
France: 488
It's hard to reconcile those scores with the press corps' standard gloom-and-doom about our ratty American schools with their fiendish teachers unions and their hapless students.

Those scores don't seem to support those scripts. That said, American performance may have been somewhat better in Grade 4 science:
Average scores, Grade 4 science, 2015 Timss
United States, Asian-American students: 598
South Korea: 589
United States, white students: 570
Japan: 569
Russia: 567
Taiwan: 555
Finland: 554
Poland: 547
United States: 546
England: 536
Germany: 528
Canada: 525
Australia: 524
United States, Hispanic students: 518
Spain: 518
Italy: 516
United States, black students: 501
France: 487
Uh-oh! In Grade 4 science, Asian-American kids outscored the rest of the world! White kids outscored two of the three Asian tigers, trailing South Korea.

These test scores are hard to reconcile with preferred elite narratives—narratives which have been drummed into everyone's heads down through the many long years.

That said, those narratives form one part of the scripted "fake news" our big newspapers support and adore. Our newspapers love their own fake news. They just hate it from everyone else!

At the end of the week, we'll examine the way these test results have been reported in the American press. Of one thing you can be fairly certain; we liberals won't hear a word about this on our own "cable news" channel.

The stars of our own cable shows prefer to offer entertainment and suitable tribal porridge. Lawrence discusses the needs of children in Malawi, as he very much should. Our own students and teachers go undiscussed. They simply don't matter to our stars, with their well-schooled corporate minds.

Those test scores show the achievement gaps which lie at the heart of our public school challenge. As far as MSNBC is concerned, the kids on the short end of those gaps can just go play in traffic. On our fiery liberal channel, those kids' interests don't count.

(Unless someone gets shot and killed by a policeman. At such times, we'll invent false facts about the shooting. It's our way of showing we care.)

Why won't we hear about these scores, or about those gaps, on our cable channel? The suits don't think that Those Children produce good ratings. Given the very large sums at stake, our big stars do as they're told.

Lawrence discusses Malawi each year. This makes us liberals feel good.

For full data at both grade levels: Relative American performance is roughly the same at the Grade 8 level. It's just that more nations participate at the Grade 4 level.

(The Pisa tests 15-year-old students. For students in this general age range, some nations settle for that.)

For other Grade 4 scores and for Grade 8 scores, you should start by clicking here.

At that point, you're on your own. Everything we've posted is there.

LOSERS: How we liberals became such losers!


Part 3—Maddow and Krugman explain:
How did we liberals get to be such manifest, world-class losers?

We just lost a White House race to the craziest person who ever sought the office. This outcome will change history for generations. What forces conspired to make us such consummate losers?

You're asking a very good question! For today, let's consider the work of two influential journalists. We refer to Rachel Maddow, a consummate corporate "cable news" clown, and to Paul Krugman, the most important American journalist of the past sixteen years.

Let's start with our own Cantinflas. More specifically, let's consider the dumbness-delivering way she started last evening's program.

Good God! Our own Rhodes Scholar started her program with her favorite topic, the sex tape from Alabam'.

She took the throw from the great Chris Hayes. Within minutes, liberal brain cells were dying all over the land:
MADDOW (11/28/16): Thank you, friend. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

Of all the attractive and in some cases alluring governors that we have in these 50 fine states in our country—and honestly, they're an unusually handsome bunch of governors that we have in this country. Of all the governors that we've got in this country, you would not necessarily expect that the one governor of all the 50, the one governor who would be living through an ongoing, raging sex scandal right now, complete with sex tapes, you wouldn't expect that the one with the sex scandal would be this handsome devil.

But he is the governor of Alabama. And his ongoing lurid sex scandal continues to be one of the weirder sidebar stories in American politics right now. It's fairly lurid stuff.

His amorous discussions with one of his top advisers were published, were broadcast by the Birmingham News website earlier this week [sic]. They're all about what he'd like to do with her and how he hoped his secretary couldn't hear too much from outside the governor`s office door when they were in there doing. Yech.

You might remember the tapes. I don't really feel like playing them any more. But last night, we reported on a new wrinkle in this story, a new unlawful dismissal lawsuit that was filed against the governor and against his alleged mistress. This is a lawsuit that the governor is dismissing as street gossip and Internet rumors. But this new lawsuit from his former body man, his former chief of security, says that his former chief of security was basically fired from the governor's administration in Alabama because basically he wouldn't go along with the governor`s effort to cover up this affair and to cover up the illegal use of state resources that were being employed to perpetuate the affair.

The lawsuit alleges that one of the ways this alleged affair came to light is that the governor's staff had the bright idea that they should have Governor Bentley start using an iPad for some of his work. And the governor, according to the lawsuit, he didn't understand that his new iPad would be linked to his iPhone. And so, darn that Cloud, his sexy messaging with his alleged mistress ended up popping up in plain view on the iPad, which apparently other people had access to besides just the governor. He thought it was private and just on his phone, but it was not private.

Now, the governor's marriage is over. We know from his own words on the sex tape exactly what he likes to do with his hands even when he's in his office. The governor's facing possible impeachment in Alabama. He's facing a state investigation by the attorney general even as that same attorney general is trying to get the governor to appoint him to the U.S. Senate seat that's about to be vacated by Senator Jeff Sessions when Jeff Sessions goes to Washington to join Donald Trump's cabinet. Yuck.

So it's just this lurid story that continues to spin out in Alabama. It now has national implications because of its links to the Trump administration. And one of the truly strange lingering storylines in that whole sordid, ongoing story in Alabama is the question of how exactly the alleged mistress got into the governor's office in first place. Because by all accounts, she was the top adviser to the governor, traveled with him everywhere, was at all of his events. Multiple legal complaints that have arisen around this affair have described her as the de facto governor, described her as the person who was actually making decisions in Governor Bentley's office while Bentley was allowing her to run the place behind the scenes.

And all along through this story, there's been this interesting question of where exactly she came from. Who was paying her salary? Because it's undisputed that she was working with the governor's office every day, undisputed that she was his closest staff member, at all of his events, involved in all his high ranking decisions, but she was never a government employee.

It's really weird fact in this lurid story. The taxpayers of Alabama were not paying her salary. And whether or not she was shtupping the governor, that's kind of weird, right? To have somebody working in the governor's office every day who was not a government employee?

Well, the group that apparently was paying her is called the Alabama Council for Excellent Government. was their website. But when the alleged relationship between the governor and this mysterious aide became a national sex scandal, they disappeared their website. This is their website today. It's just nothing. It's just a little placeholder, in case you might want to build something at because there's nothing there now.

So in the middle of this raging story with national implications, there's this black hole, there's this group that was apparently paying this woman who was in the governor's office every day, this group does not answer its phones, they don't have a physical presence anywhere. You can knock on the door. They don't respond to requests for comment. If they were paying her that money, we have no idea where that money comes from, or what the group was trying to do.

We have no idea what gave them the right to pay somebody to be in the governor's office working full time alongside the governor, let alone allegedly shtupping him. We just have no idea, except for one thing—we do have one piece of information. We do have one thread to pull.

Because we can see, thanks to a bunch of do-gooder, modern-day librarians a thousand miles away, we can see today how this mysterious group that tried to disappear itself once the scandal broke, we can see how they used to represent themselves to the world before they suddenly went dark. We can see how they used to present themselves when they use to have a public face before this sex scandal happened and they decided that they better go away.

And we can see that because this is an old version of their website from before they took it down and tried to disappear it from memory. And these screen shots of their old website were taken by the Wayback Machine. By the Internet Archive, which is a nonprofit based in San Francisco that's been around since 1996. The Wayback Machine.

It is a national treasure. It's an international treasure. We've used it hundreds, probably thousands of times in the preparation of this show...
Maddow burned her first six minutes with this lurid, raging story about the sordid sex scandal. The sordid story involves the alleged mistress who may have been shtupping the governor, who wasn't handsome but liked to do things with his hands.

Brain cells were dying all over the country as Maddow killed time with the lurid tale she can't seem to stop discussing.

We'll advise you to ignore every substantive point she stated or suggested until you can confirm it. We'll especially note that this pretty much isn't a "national story...with national implications," except inside the very strange head of the person a bunch of corporate suits picked to serve as one of our liberal intellectual leaders.

Just so you'll know, this was the third time in the past two weeks that Maddow has discussed this sordid story. On Monday night, she started her report on the sordid topic by correcting a ridiculous error she made on November 18, when she offered the first in her latest series of pointless reports on this shtupping-inflected affair.

(On those first two occasions, Yuck! We were treated to excerpts from the lurid sex tapes all over again! BREAKING: He would put his hands on his girl friend's breasts! And he isn't even handsome!)

Liberal brain cells screamed in pain as Maddow burned time in this manner, as she endlessly did earlier in the year. Just in passing, might we offer some possible context?

In the past year, Maddow has begun to discuss her Catholic upbringing in an open way. We'll suggest this may provide some context for understanding her weirdly obsessive puritanism and her desire to see people get punished, especially people of whom she doesn't approve, if possible with their children dragged in.

That said, Maddow has been playing her "sex tape" throughout the year, seeking ways to justify her own obsessive behavior. Liberal brain cells wither and die every time she does this.

Maddow was picked by the corporate suits to serve as a star liberal journalist. Years ago, it was reported that she was being paid $7 million per year. When "journalists" are paid such huge sums, it rarely turns out well.

In the next few weeks, we'll explore the topics Maddow has ducked in the past few years as she kept scratching her various itches with her various gong-show distractions. How did we liberals become such losers? In our view, Maddow's first six minutes last night provide one tiny clue.

It's very hard for liberals to see this, but Maddow has turned out to be a corporate-selected disaster. By way of contrast, Paul Krugman has been the most important American journalist over the past sixteen years.

For unknown reasons, Krugman has missed the lurid sex scandal which Maddow can't stop discussing. Last Friday morning, he opened his New York Times column with the question every liberal, progressive and Democrat should be pondering:
KRUGMAN (11/25/16): Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than two million, and she would probably be president-elect if the director of the F.B.I. hadn't laid such a heavy thumb on the scales, just days before the election. But it shouldn't even have been close; what put Donald Trump in striking distance was overwhelming support from whites without college degrees. So what can Democrats do to win back at least some of those voters?
Did Comey the God defeat Hillary Clinton? There's a very good chance he did! But how weird! As we'll note next week, Maddow never so much as mentioned Comey's name all through the summer months and very deep into the fall. (Comey's intrusion on the election started on July 5.)

As we'll discuss in some detail, our own corporate creation is highly skilled at playing it very safe. We'll turn to this general topic with a focus on Comey next week.

In that opening paragraph, Krugman was asking a very good question. As we've noted, he has been the most important journalist in the nation over the past sixteen years.

That said, Krugman's vast strength lies in policy matters. To be perfectly honest, he has no comparable political insight. There's no reason why he should.

That said, we noticed his lack of political chops all through last Friday's column. How can Democrats win white working-class voters back? How can they do so in coal country—in struggling places like Clay County, Kentucky?

That was the subject of Krugman's column. The subject is very important, but yikes! The column ended like this:
KRUGMAN: Maybe a Trump administration can keep its supporters on board, not by improving their lives, but by feeding their sense of resentment.

For let's be serious here: You can't explain the votes of places like Clay County as a response to disagreements about trade policy. The only way to make sense of what happened is to see the vote as an expression of, well, identity politics—some combination of white resentment at what voters see as favoritism toward nonwhites (even though it isn't) and anger on the part of the less educated at liberal elites whom they imagine look down on them.

To be honest, I don't fully understand this resentment. In particular, I don't know why imagined liberal disdain inspires so much more anger than the very real disdain of conservatives who see the poverty of places like eastern Kentucky as a sign of the personal and moral inadequacy of their residents.

One thing is clear, however: Democrats have to figure out why the white working class just voted overwhelmingly against its own economic interests, not pretend that a bit more populism would solve the problem.
Truly, that's astonishing. White working-class voters imagine that they're looked down on by liberal elites?

Krugman says that two different times. It's one of the most striking political statements we've seen in a long time.

To his credit, Krugman acknowledges the fact that he doesn't understand this white working-class resentment. From Maddow, we liberals get a better deal—she'll never pay the slightest attention to any such voters, to their perceptions or interests.

Instead, she will continue scratching her itch by discussing "that whole sordid, ongoing story in Alabama." This may not be the greatest way to go after those wandering voters.

In our view, we liberals must face a basic fact—this month's appalling defeat says something quite large about us. We managed to lose to the craziest candidate who ever went after the White House.

We're skilled at blaming this outcome on Them, perhaps on the puzzling things they imagine.

We're skilled at blaming this outcome on Them. We're sorry, though. At some point, it has to come down on Us.

Tomorrow: Krugman gets it right

Trump hack explains what a landslide is!


This shit is allowed on the air:
To what extent has our journalistic and intellectual culture hit rock bottom? Check that:

To what extent has our culture been allowed to hit rock bottom? To what extent has our journalistic culture ceased to exist?

For a thought-provoking example, consider the "discussion" which aired last night on CNN. Don Lemon was asking one of his network's stable of Trump hacks to answer a basic question.

Why in the world is Donald J. Trump saying he won a "landslide?" He actually lost the popular vote, and the electoral vote was fairly close. Why, then, would Donald J. Trump keep saying he won a "landslide?"

Lemon discussed this question with Paris Dennard, one of CNN's stable of robotic Trump hacks. Before we show you the transcript, let's understand where the craziness of the transcript comes from:

In 2015, CNN signed a gaggle of Trump hacks. They became the channel's "minders."

No program would be allowed on the air without one of two of these minders present. And no matter what these people said, they would be back on the air the next night.

Nothing they said would be so dumb that CNN would let them go. In this way, CNN sought bigger profits. We're sorry, but that's the full explanation.

CNN threw every last standard away. Last night, we got a taste of what these greedsters purchased:
LEMON (11/28/16): I have to ask this. Paris, it's also false for Trump to say that the electoral college vote was a landslide. It was certainly an upset, but it was far from a landslide.

If you go back to 1980, his 306 electoral votes gives him a smaller margin than both the Reagan elections, the George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton's two elections, Barack Obama's two elections. He tops only George W. Bush's two narrow wins.

So can he call this a landslide? Why is he calling this a landslide? It's not a landslide.

He did very well. He did win. He got way more than most people thought. But you can't really call this a landslide.

DENNARD: Well, I think you can call it a landslide if you look at how much he—how better he did than Secretary Clinton.

LEMON: So you're changing the definition of landslide?

DENNARD: Well, I think it—

LEMON: You can say he did better because he won, but can you call something a landslide when it's not actually a landslide? Is that what you're doing?

DENNARD: I'm saying that if you look at how well he did against Secretary Clinton in the electoral vote, electoral college, it was a landslide. So you can go back and say—

LEMON: It wasn't a landslide, Paris. A landslide is only a landslide when it's the definition of a landslide. That's not the definition of a landslide.

DENNARD: Well, I think that—

LEMON: That's you changing the definition of a landslide because it's Hillary Clinton.

DENNARD: No, that— It's you not liking my explanation that I think it's a landslide.

LEMON: No, I'm telling you the truth. If you look at the definition of a landslide, this is not one. I just gave you evidence. Let me read this again.


LEMON: It is also false to say that the electoral college vote was a landslide. If you go back to 1980, his 306 electoral votes give him a smaller margin than both Reagan elections, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton's two elections, Barack Obama's two elections

He only tops George W. Bush's two narrow wins. It's not a landslide.

I'm just asking you the definition of a landslide. The truth about a landslide it's not. Yes, he won. He won by a big margin, but it wasn't a landslide. Why is he saying that?

DENNARD: Because it was a landslide.


DENNARD: I believe it was a landslide.

LEMON: Thank you, Paris.


DENNARD: The American people believes it was a landslide.

LEMON: We'll be right back.

DENNARD: It was a landslide.

Lemon wasn't great in that exchange. Paris Dennard wasn't human.

That said, Dennard will be back on the air tonight. In the face of CNN's greed, journalistic culture has essentially ceased to exist.

Maddow's show isn't hugely better. As liberals, we're unable to see this.

What kind of person is Donald J. Trump?


Kevin Drums asks, we answer:
Kevin Drum asks a good question today. Then too, he asks a dumb question.

Drum reviews the crazy behavior in which Donald J. Trump 1) insists that he won an electoral college "landslide," and 2) insists that he won the popular vote, once you eliminate all the illegal voters.

In the face of that craziness, Drum asks a good question. It's also a fairly dumb question:
DRUM (11/29/16): What kind of person is so unhinged that even though he won a presidential election, he goes nuts when he's reminded that he lost the popular vote and (a) demands that all his minions start writing sycophantic tweets about his historic landslide victory, (b) continues stewing about it anyway and fabricates an allegation of massive voter fraud perpetrated by the Democratic Party, (c) flips out at an anodyne segment from a CNN reporter about his lies, and (d) spends his evening hunched over his smartphone rounding up a motley crew of racists, nutbags, and teenagers to assure him that he's right?

What kind of person does this? And how easy is it to manipulate someone like this? We have a helluva scary four years ahead of us.
"What kind of person is so unhinged" that he engages in stuff like that? As you can probably see, Drum's question contains its own answer.

That said, we'll give two answers of our own:

First and most obviously, a crazy person does things like that. It's time to acknowledge an obvious fact. At least on the face of things, Trump seems to be diagnosable, something like "crazy." He seems to be something like "mentally ill."

That would be our first answer to Drum's question. A crazy person does things like this, and Donald Trump seems to be crazy. What makes this so hard to see?

That said, we promised two answers to Drum's question. Here's our second answer:

"What kind of person" does stuff like that? The kind who would make himself king of the birthers, as Trump did in 2011 in a highly visible way.

At that time, Trump began acting in ways which were visibly crazy. Unfortunately, his crazy conduct closely resembled a great deal of the conduct which had been journalistically "normalized" in the previous twenty-odd years.

Rather plainly, Trump was making up all kinds of shit back in 2011. He even claimed that he had sent investigators to Hawaii—that they couldn't believe the stuff they were learning about Barack Obama.

Our press corps didn't show any sign of knowing how to react to these fabrications, or even of wanting to. Truth to tell, the press corps had been engaged in similar conduct for several decades at that point. Our press corps had sunk itself in the culture of Trumpism long before Trump came along.

Chris Matthews was Trump before Trump. Because of his standing within the guild, everyone agreed that it was OK. To this day, it's still forbidden to discuss the way the mainstream press corps was Trump before Trump. But when Trump made himself king of the birthers, it was pretty much more of the same.

For ourselves, we had seen enough of this mainstream press culture by 1997. At that time, we started building the current site. Eighteen years later, Drum is asking what kind of person does stupid shit like this.

Our final answer: the kind of person with and for whom Drum works! As a group, they were Trump long before Trump. Trump merely upped their game.

Our gatekeepers are now almost totally gone, in the political realm and in the mainstream press. Party bosses can no longer keep the Trumps out. Cronkite and Brinkley were replaced by crazy people like Matthews (circa 1998-2008) and by the rest of the horrible brood.

Christopher Matthews was Donald J. Trump long before Candidate Trump came along. Drum's colleagues wanted to go on his show, and so they averted their gaze.

(David Remnick averted his gaze on Hardball in February 2000. Sixteen years later, Rachel Maddow says that Remnick's "a genius." For the transcript from February 2000, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/19/06. Remnick's cowardice in early 2000 explains where we are today.)

Christopher Matthews was Trump before Trump. Rachel Maddow is almost as bad. As liberals, we're unable to see this. We have almost no game.

At one time, a self-adoring hustler like Maddow wouldn't have been allowed on the air. Now she is allowed on the air, and our side thinks she's great. (Believe it or not, she was playing her "sex tape" again last night. It's why she gets mocked as "The Nun.")

Meanwhile, the craziness of Limbaugh and Matthews has been replaced by the craziness of Alex Jones. The crazy Jones is now the person from whom Trump gets his "ideas."

The gatekeepers saved us from ourselves for all those many years. Those gatekeepers are long gone. We've been left to our own devices. As it turns out, we aren't very bright, and we have no skills at all.

"What kind of person is so unhinged" that he does stuff like Trump is doing? Which part of the accurate word "unhinged" can't Drum make himself understand?

LOSERS: For starters, a bit of comic relief!


Part 2—Rachel keeps selling the car(s):
We liberals just lost a presidential election to the craziest person who ever sought the office.

How did we get to be such losers? Just to establish a bit of a framework, consider Paul Krugman's most recent column.

Yesterday morning, Krugman penned a valuable piece about the phenomenon known as "self-dealing." Focusing on education nominee Betsy DeVos, he discussed the types of grifters being selected for service under Trump.

He described the "self-dealing" in which they, like their boss, will likely engage. As he did, he drew an important distinction:

According to Krugman, the problem doesn't lie in the wads of cash these grifters may seize in the course of their service. According to Krugman, the problem lies in the bad policy choices their grifting is likely to cause.

Truth to tell, we aren't sure Krugman totally knew whereof he spoke in his remarks about charter schools. He seems to be accepting some research which seems quite shaky to us. (We expect to discuss this point at a later date.)

That said, Krugman is right on target when he discusses the way "self-dealing" can produce bad policy decisions. That said, the same thing is true of journalistic decisions. Just consider the self-dealing of our own corporate liberal star, the increasingly ridiculous Rachel Maddow.

Here on our sprawling campus, we tend to describe Maddow's self-dealing as "selling the car." Here's where that award-winning locution came from:

Maddow is an excellent salesperson, we constantly warn the analysts. If she were actually selling cars, there wouldn't be a single car left on the lot.

Unfortunately, the car which Maddow sells each night is most often The Maddow. Maddow is constantly selling herself. This form of self-dealing has helped produce years of bad journalistic decisions.

How did we liberals become such losers? Our loser instincts were well entrenched before the suits found Maddow. But for today, let's enjoy a bit of comic relief as we consider a couple of ways Our Own Rhodes Scholar keeps selling the car.

It was Monday evening, November 21. Maddow started by spooning us some porridge about a small white supremacist conference.

After that, she entertained us with video clips from old Saturday Night Live claptrap. piddle and bullroar. Did you know that President Ford was physically clumsy? As Rachel helped us recall, the giants at SNL did!

After this feeding and entertainment, Rachel was about to introduce her guest. Luckily, her guest this night wasn't just any guest! As she teased her guest'a appearance, can you spot the familiar way she was selling the car?
MADDOW (11/21/16): Since the election, there is one journalist who has spoken at length with President Obama about his plans, about the Democratic Party, what happens for the Democratic Party next, about Donald Trump, about Obama's meeting with Trump.

That journalist, who has had that conversation, is the New Yorker's David Remnick. He's a genius and he joins us here live, next.
Incredibly, David Remnick—he's a genius—was going to join us live!

Question: Is David Remnick a genius? Inevitably, it all depends on what the meaning of "genius" is. But the simplest answer is "no."

Let's be fair! David Remnick doesn't describe himself as a genius; he's too sensible for that. And no else describes Remnick that way, except when they're selling the car.

That said, Maddow is often selling the car when she introduces her guests. Or when she bids them adieu, as in this recent leave-taking after an interview with Jane Mayer:
MADDOW (10/31/16): Jane Mayer, staff writer for the New Yorker magazine and, in my humble opinion, a national treasure of a reporter.

MAYER: Thank you.

MADDOW: Jane, thank you for being here. I appreciate it.
Is Jane Mayer "a national treasure?" When Rachel starts selling the car, it turns out that she is!

How is Maddow "selling the car" in these effusions of praise? Actually, she's selling two different cars in two different ways.

Before we explain, let's enjoy a bit of comic relief as we review a more typical way Maddow heaps praise on her guests. Let start in the days after the recent election—the disastrous election we world-class losers somehow managed to boot.

The children, upset by the loss, almost seemed to be huddling together in their secret garden. Two nights after the election, Maddow introduced a guest:
MADDOW (11/10/16): Joining us now is the host of All In here on MSNBC, the great Chris Hayes, who stayed late to talk to me about that interview and watched it live as it happened. Chris, thank you so much for staying. I really appreciate it, my friend.

HAYES: Absolutely, any time.
She wasn't speaking with Chris Hayes—she was speaking with "the great Chris Hayes." (Two nights before, as results poured in, she had introduced him as "the great and good Chris Hayes.")

As the children huddled together, they agreed to interview each other more often. We were struck by the oddness of that pledge, but the analysts laughed and howled at Maddow's introduction.

Increasingly, Maddow deals with the greats. In the last few months, she has introduced "the great Tom Brokaw" and "the great and good Joy Reid." She has described the work of "my colleague and my friend, the great Nicolle Wallace."

On November 2, she introduced "the great Steve Kornacki," inviting him to waste everyone;s time at the map. When their utterly useless orgy of failed election predictions was finally done, she said good night to this great, good man in the same fawning manner.

(That made it "a double," the analysts cried; such "doubles" are quite uncommon. She had also introduced "the great Steve Kornacki" back in early August.)

Almost everyone on Maddow's show seems to be great these days. Dating back to the conventions, she has spoken with "the great Hallie Jackson," with "the great Rosa Brooks" and of course with "the great Dan Rather."

She has interviewed "the great and good E. J. Dionne." She has chatted pointlessly with "the great Garry Trudeau."

Last Wednesday night, Maddow introduced "the great Michael Beschloss, NBC News presidential historian." It was the third time she'd hailed "the great Michael Beschloss" just since mid-July!

When you see TV stars acting this way, you need to check your wallets. Rather plainly, this corporate scourge of progressive interests is selling two different cars when she toys with her viewers this way.

On the one hand, she's clearly selling The Maddow. Trust us! When TV stars say others are great, they're doing it so the others will feel the need to say the same thing about them. Just this month, several years of such effort by Maddow finally paid off in a way we'll share below.

Maddow is selling a second car when she praises "the greats." She's functioning as a company man, telling you that all her fellow NBC stars are great.

She assumes that we're too dumb to know that she's selling her company's car in this way. Based upon her ratings, her assumption may be correct.

Maddow has introduced many "greats" down through the years. That includes the last two years, during which her program has been massively dumbed down.

According to a search of the Nexis archive, she has introduced "the great Frank Rich" on seven occasions. She has introduced "the great Dan Rather" on six.

She has introduced "the great Andrea Mitchell" on five occasions, "the great Chris Matthews" on four. In this way, she constantly tells you that her company's product is great.

Her company's product isn't great. But the NBC car must be sold!

Maddow is constantly selling her company's cars when she hands you "the greats." But she's also selling her own car. Consider what finally happened just in this past two weeks.

As best we can tell, the person Maddow has praised most often is "the great Chris Hayes." She has introduced "the great Chris Hayes" on at least twelve different occasions down through the years.

As we mentioned, stars engage in this silly fawning assuming that they will be praised in return. Hayes deserves a lot of credit for resisting this pressure.

Hayes fought long and hard down through the years, resisting the need to reply. But just this month, in the wake of defeat, he finally succumbed to the pressure.

The children were huddled in their garden when Hayes finally succumbed:
HAYES (11/11/16): All right. Up next, the great Rachel Maddow joins me to talk about the massive conflicts in Donald Trump's transition team and the media's responsibility as the Trump presidency approaches. That's after the break.


HAYES: That is extremely well put as always. Rachel Maddow, my good, good friend, my comrade, my buddy. Thank you.

MADDOW: Thank you. Chris, will you come on my show on Monday? Can we just have to keep doing back and forth for a few days?

HAYES: Yes, let's keep doing this. Yes.

MADDOW: OK. Will do. Thanks, my friend.
As always, Maddow's remarks had been "extremely well put!" But on this night, it finally happened. After years of resistance, Hayes finally succumbed to the pressure.

By now, he'd been called "the great Chris Hayes" on twelve different occasions. At long last, after years of resistance, he spoke of "the great Rachel Maddow." Maddow had sold him the car!

We offer this as a bit of comic relief in the wake of a great disaster. But Maddow is constantly selling the car on her nightly program.

She serves us the types of porridge we like, cons us into thinking it's great. If Maddow were an actual salesman, no cars would be left on the lot.

Unfortunately, people who are selling a product may not have our best interests at heart. They will engage in relentless self-dealing. As in government, so too in "journalism;" this will produce bad decisions.

Over the next few weeks, we plan to look at the various ways we liberals managed to lose an election to a person who's visibly nuts. As part of that discussion, we'll spend some time reviewing the important topics Maddow refused to discuss over the past two years.

Maddow serves us the porridge we like. She stays away from the topics which may be dangerous. She has run and hid for many years. Unless we're devoted losers, it's time we discussed this fact.

Truly great journalists know what we need. Self-dealing hustlers like the great Maddow more typically serve what we want.

Tomorrow: Krugman says it three times

Trump's margin well over two million votes!


"Achievement gap" keeps growing:
As we all know, our president is picked by the electoral college, a lesser-known and less respectable branch of Trump University.

That said, we think it's news that Candidate Clinton has ended up winning the popular vote. According to the Cook Report site, this is where matters stand at this point, with votes still being counted:
Popular vote, 2016 election:
Candidate Clinton:
64.7 million votes (48.1 percent)
Candidate Trump: 62.4 million votes (46.5 percent)
As you can see, Donald J. Trump's victory margin now stands at a negative 2.3 million votes. We think that's significant news.

So does Donald J. Trump. That's why he's trying to misinform the public. But then, what else is new?

This morning, the Washington Post came out in opposition to such behavior by Trump. Many experts have called it a major flip on the part of the Post.

Observing the way Trumpism works!


Some bad acid's been going around:
As we noted in this morning's report, the Washington Post has now spotted, and denounced, the spread of false factual claims.

The Post was reacting to the claim by Donald J. Trump that "millions of people" voted illegally in this month's election. In its sudden rejection of the culture of fake claims, the Post has executed one of the biggest "flip-flops" in modern political history.

Our public discourse has been drenched in false claims for several decades now. Some of these bogus claims have involved candidates and office holders. Some of these phony claims have involved major policy matters and major substantive topics.

In the age of talk radio and the Net, it has become extremely easy to spread fake factual claims around. Consider an earlier version of Donald J. Trump's bogus claim about those "millions of people."

We heard an earlier version of Trump's fake claim in a replay of Sunday morning's Washington Journal. Clarence Page, the Chicago Tribune columnist, was C-Span's featured guest. A C-Span caller managed to beat Donald J. Trump to the punch:
CALLER (11/27/16): The biggest corruption that I see is the fact that most of the time, as far as I know, none of the states require any proof of citizenship when you do register to vote. And places like California and New York City, Chicago, a lot of these places where you have a large population of illegal aliens, there was one estimate that said half a million of the votes in California were probably from illegal aliens. So that's the problem. If we want to work on the system, we need to work on the system to make sure we don't have people who are illegal aliens here voting in our elections. Because you know they could have turned the election in some of these states.
C-Span's Washington Journal is a form of "talk radio." People are free to call in and say whatever they like.

Such claims will be heard by many C-Span viewers. The statements may or may not be challenged by C-Span's moderator or by his or her guests.

C-Span viewers then get on the phone to their Aunt Bess and start spreading the claims around, believing them to be true. Later in the day, a president-elect, without offering evidence, may tweet a larger version of some claim—may even parrot a "conspiracy theory" which has been "widely debunked!"

These are all versions of Trumpism, a noxious, destructive culture which is quote common now. That said, this noxious culture has been widely practiced for decades. In the political realm, Trumpism preceded Donald J. Trump by a good many years. Donald J. Trump has merely amped up this familiar, destructive old practice.

How has this noxious culture managed to flourish down through the many long years? Sometimes, big papers like the Washington Post have played the active role in initiating these bogus claims. Beyond that, they've routinely averted their gaze as influential figures—Jerry Falwell, Rush Limbaugh, Donald J. Trump—have pimped bogus claims around.

They've also vouched for the truthfulness of figures who pimp crazy claims around. Gennifer Flowers and Kathleen Willey both pimped Clinton murder claims for enjoyment and profit. But so what? Right through this fall's election, the Washington Post and the New York Times were vouching for the general truthfulness of these treasured, beloved accusers.

Yesterday afternoon, we heard the replay of that C-Span call as we returned by motor car from an undisclosed location. The initial broadcast occurred Sunday morning, Later, Donald J. Trump tweeted his larger version of this general claim.

In the case of the C-Span call, Page responded by saying "it's news to me that you don't have to prove your citizenship in Illinois to vote." Page went on to describe how many hoops he had to jump through to register to vote in the state.

To listen to the full exchange, click here, skip ahead to 12:30. Presumably, many C-Span viewers believed the caller's claims, despite what Page said in reply.

That said, phony claims have played a key role in our public discourse for decades. This very day, the Washington Post, in a major flip, decided to come out in opposition to this familiar cultural practice. Many experts are calling it one of our biggest modern political flips.

Back in the day, officials would get on the mike at these "rock festivals" and announce that there was "some bad acid going around." Our big newspapers have been slow to issue such warnings about bad information.

This morning, the Washington Post officially flipped on this point of culture. BREAKING:

It now seems that the Washington Post opposes the spread of fake claims.

LOSERS: "Millions of people" invented, denied!


Part 1—Trumpism spotted, denounced:
The Washington Post has spent decades inventing and spreading the noxious culture which is now known as Trumpism.

That culture is about to enter the White House in the person of Donald J. Trump. On that basis, the Washington Post has now announced its opposition to the culture it worked to create.

The Post announces its opposition to Trumpism atop the front page of today's hard-copy editions. As the paper announces its opposition, it finally spots the noxious culture it worked so hard to create.

The Post spots and denounces this noxious culture at the start of today's featured news report. In the upper right-hand corner of page A1, reporter Paul Kane starts us off with this:
KANE (11/28/16): President-elect Donald Trump spent Sunday ridiculing Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign for joining a recount effort in Wisconsin, ending his day on Twitter by parroting a widely debunked conspiracy theory that her campaign benefited from massive voter fraud.

As his senior advisers engaged in an escalating feud over who the next secretary of state should be, Trump focused publicly on Clinton’s tally of 64 million votes—more than 2 million beyond what he garnered—by suggesting without evidence that millions of people illegally voted in the election.
Fascinating! Let's review the Post's account of what Donald J. Trump said about "millions of people."

In his latest Trumpist adventure, Donald J. Trump issued a tweet about this month's election. But uh-oh! According to the Washington Post, Trump was "parroting" a theory about that election.

Actually, it's worse than that. According to Kane, Trump was parroting a theory "without evidence!" But hold on—Trump's conduct considerably worse that that.

According to the Washington Post, Trump parroted a conspiracy theory without offering any evidence! And it isn't just that Trump did that. The conspiracy theory the great man pimped had already been "widely debunked!"

In this way, we can see the Washington Post announcing its discovery of Trumpism—a culture the Post spent decades inventing. Beyond that, we see the Post signalling its opposition to the noxious practices which define this culture.

Alas! Kane backslides when he says that Donald J. Trump "suggested" that millions of people voted illegally in our recent election. As we see in Kane's next paragraph, Trump did no such thing:
KANE (continuing directly): “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump tweeted late Sunday, one of more than 10 tweets on the recount issue.

That accusation—spread by conspiracy sites such as and discredited by fact-checking organizations—gained traction among some far-right conservatives disappointed that Trump lost the popular vote.
As you can see, Trump didn't "suggest" that millions of people voted illegally in the election. He directly said that millions of people did!

Kane backslid a bit when he used the word "suggesting;" old habits will often die hard. Still and all, the Post was making an announcement in those opening paragraphs. The Post was announcing its opposition to the practice of inventing fake facts and disseminating those fake facts to people who think they're real.

The Post was announcing its opposition to the aggressive spread of fake facts. This reversal follows several decades in which the Post devoted itself to the invention of this culture.

(In Kane's text, the Post has even announced its discovery of entities called "conspiracy sites," one of which it names. For details concerning past practice, see below.)

The Washington Post performs a flip at the top of this morning's front page. In the process, it also announces a basic fact—the fact that Candidate Trump "lost the popular vote" by more than two million votes!

Transplendently, this means that Candidate Clinton won the popular vote by more than two million votes. In recent weeks, we have complained, on several occasions, about the way this significant fact was being tossed aside by liberal and mainstream players alike.

This morning, the Post has announced that the public ought to hear the full story about the way its members actually voted. Trump's aggressive, bogus tweet puts a basic fact on display—he regards the fact in question as a significant fact. This is the point we were making over the past several weeks.

In this morning's Post report, we see some remarkable flips. We also catch a glimpse of what we might call the long-standing "loser" culture of our own liberal world.

This "loser culture" helped clear the way for Candidate Trump's ascension to the White House, just as it did for Candidate Bush before him. In the next few weeks, we plan to review the way this "loser culture" has manifested itself over the past twenty-five years.

Left on our own, we liberals will be happy to trundle along in our accustomed manner. We'll be happy to consume articles—childishly, we call them "stories"—telling us about the way The Others are racists.

Happily, we'll tell ourselves that this explains the ascension of the current Trumpist-elect. Left on our own, we'll end the story right there. We'll ignore the ways our own laziness and cluelessness have kept us losing these fights.

In this most recent iteration, we managed to lose an election to the craziest person who ever ran for the White House. Left on our own, it will never enter our heads that this remarkable outcome may suggest something about our own massive lack of insight and talent.

Something about us!

We liberals! We've been happily losing these fights for a good many years. In the next few weeks, we plan to meander back through the ways we've managed to accomplish this task.

As we do, we're going to focus on one of the players the corporate world anointed as a high-profile liberal thought leader. Her mugging and clowning, and her high ratings, make her an obvious point of focus. But many players have played key roles in building the "loser culture" we've enjoyed down through these years.

The Washington Post has now spotted the culture of Trumpism—a culture it spent decades inventing. Left on our own, we liberals will never spot the loser culture in which we wallowed during those same destructive years.

We were never quite able to spot the process by which the Post and the New York Times were helping build the noxious culture now described as Trumpism. Left on our own, we'll never see what this fact says about us.

For that reason, we've volunteered to try to help our tribe's thought process along! The Post has now spotted the culture it made. Will we liberals ever be able to spot the culture which has emerged, live and direct, from the geniuses known as Us?

Tomorrow: Clownishly selling the car

Because we knew you'd ask: According to Nexis, the term "conspiracy site" (or "conspiracy Web site") had never appeared in the hard-copy Post before today's reversal.

Check that! Mike Allen quoted a use of the term long ago. The statement came from the Bush campaign. It was aimed at Candidate Kerry:
ALLEN (10/9/04): Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel, during a Web chat on, was asked if Bush wore "any kind of electronic device on his back during the first debate that allowed him to receive information."

"Senator Kerry? Is that you?," Stanzel typed back. "I think you've been spending a little too much time on conspiracy Web sites. Did you hear the one about Elvis moderating tonight's debate?"
People, we're just saying! To all intents and purposes, the term "conspiracy site" made its formal debut as part of today's reversal.

Direct discussion of such sites (and orgs) has been long overdue. Trumpism grew as big newspapers ignored such sites and orgs and failed to report what they do.

BREAKING: Seduced concerning abandonment!


Kaplan says Times got it wrong:
Reliably told that this is Thanksgiving, we're going out to clean the pasture spring. We don't expect to post again until next Monday.

That said, we want to offer an instant correction of our last award-winning post. According to Fred Kaplan, Donald J. Trump didn't tell the New York Times that he has changed his mind about torture.

Here's the shocker. According to Kaplan, the New York Times managed to misreport its own meeting with Donald J. Trump! Kaplan's report at Slate appears beneath these headlines:
Trump Has Not Changed His Mind About Torture
The transcript of the New York Times interview contradicts the paper’s own story.
Our intention to clean the pasture spring keeps us from reading the transcript ourselves. But Kaplan describes the Times' latest bungle thusly:
KAPLAN (11/23/16): There’s a notion out there that, after talking with Gen. James Mattis, who might be the next secretary of defense, President-elect Donald Trump is suddenly opposed to waterboarding. In fact, this isn’t true at all.

The notion arose from a story in the New York Times about Trump’s hourlong meeting on Tuesday with the paper’s editors and reporters.


However, the full transcript of the session, which the Times published on its website, reveals a different bottom line.
Trump is quoted as telling the same story about Mattis, adding, “I was surprised [by his answer], because he’s known as being like the toughest guy.”

But Trump then goes on, “And when he said that, I’m not saying it changed my mind.” (Italics added.) Let me repeat that: Contrary to the Times’ own news story, it is not the case that “Mr. Trump suggested he had changed his mind about the value of waterboarding.” In fact, he explicitly said the opposite.
According to Kaplan, the New York Times' transcript of the event contradicts its own news report. Trump didn't say that he'd taken a hike. "He explicitly said the opposite!"

We've tried to tell you about the depth of the New York Times' cultural / journalistic / intellectual dysfunction. People assume that we must be embellishing, joking around for effect.

"But dearest darlings," some are inclined to say. "It's such a wonderful brand!"

In the weeks to come, we plan to return to Kaplan's report about the Clinton emails and the assessment of same delivered by Comey the God. Last July, our mugging/clowning cable stars completely ignored that report.

Despite the intellectual brilliance and moral greatness which we of course all acknowledge, could that have been one of the three million ways we managed to get ourselves defeated in the recent presidential election? We think you should ponder the various things our self-dealing stars left unsaid.

Breaking! Despite the praise we heap on ourselves, our tribe just isn't especially sharp. The pass we took on Kaplan's report is one small part of a pitiful story which extends back many years.

On the brighter side, Rachel was very amusing last night, and ratings remain fairly good.

Mad dogs and apparently crazy men!


Trump advocates beer summit:
Kevin Drum beat us to it. Only in an administration like this could a guy with the name "Mad Dog" be a moderating force.

Apparently, Mad Dog Mattis told Trump the Gardener that torture doesn't work. Live and direct from the New York Times confab, Tom Friedman takes things a bit further:
FRIEDMAN (11/23/16): Trump said Mattis told him of torture: ''I've never found it to be useful.'' (Many in the military and the C.I.A. have long held this view.)

He quoted Mattis as saying, ''Give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I always do better'' than anyone using torture. Concluded Trump, ''I was very impressed by that answer.''
Not only has he abandoned torture. He's stolen Obama's beer summit!

Drum makes the more serious point. It's astounding that Trump the Gardener was willing to tell the New York Times that he abandoned his stance on torture because of what one guy said.

Is that what actually happened? We have no idea. But Trump felt free to attribute this state of super-cluelessness to himself, right there in public.

Let's get clear on the nature of our new historical epoch:

With the ascension of Trump, the gatekeepers are totally gone. Gone with them are all previous standards, assumptions, expectations, boundaries, safeguards and practices.

At one time, party gatekeepers wouldn't have let a person like Trump become a major party nominee. Nominees were picked in smoke-filled rooms. Whatever you may have thought of the practice, the people in those smoke-filled rooms refused to pick a nominee who may, simply put, be crazy.

Slowly, primaries replaced the bosses. During the same era, Imus, Stern, Limbaugh and Jones began replacing Cronkite and Brinkley. (Later, after Jones, along came Bannon.) Craziness is an industry now. And there are no bosses in smoke-filled rooms to protect us against our bad judgment.

American voters never had to evaluate a person like Trump. American voters were never exposed to such a nominee. It simply wasn't allowed.

Something else is true. There was a time when American weren't asked to evaluate the ridiculous claims of people like Limbaugh and Jones. It was hard to hear crazy or ludicrous claims. For the most part, such lunacy wasn't allowed. Crazy people and ludicrous hustlers weren't allowed on the air.

As it turns out, we the people are susceptible to these new viral strains, against which we have no defenses. By the way, our own tribe's deeply limited judgment has been playing a key role in this far-flung cultural breakdown.

We liberals! We used to laugh at the way the ditto-heads would swallow whatever Rush said. When Thanksgiving break is done, we'll focus on all the things our own tribe's cable stars have done, and have refused to do, in the run-up toward our strange new world under our President Trump.

We'll focus on what our own favorites have failed to do. Because she's our most celebrated corporate star, we'll focus on Rachel's work.

Trump the Gardener abandoned torture this week. By the time Thanksgiving is done, he may have spoken to someone else, and it may be back on his rake.

THOSE NARROW MARGINS: A moral and intellectual illness!


Part 4—And it belongs to Us:
The person who wrote today's letter is only one person, of course.

As with all persons, her judgment is imperfect and her wisdom is limited. "Not people die but worlds die in them/Whom we knew as faulty, the earth's creatures..."

That said, the person in question wrote a letter which appears in today's New York Times. Should the Times have published her letter? We're not sure how to answer that.

That said, the letter may be instructive for those who want to understand us liberals better. Should the Times have published the letter? Here's what the letter says:
LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (11/23/16): My nearly 99-year-old father has voted for a Republican president every election since he could vote. Despite our differing politics, I have always loved and admired my father. With this election, however, I feel he has crossed a personal line that I’m unsure I can forgive.

I believe that by voting for Donald Trump, he has rejected my core family values
of inclusiveness and civic responsibilities. At last year’s Thanksgiving table, we talked about the plight of the Syrian refugees; this year I fear that it will be reduced to the weather—without the part about climate change.

J— M—
New York
Whom we knew as faulty, the earth's creatures.

Based upon our extensive research, the writer seems to be a legal recruiter, a position she had held for over 25 years. She says she "has lived in Greenwich Village for over half of my life–a neighborhood that reflects my interests in culture, politics and diversity."

Based upon her date of graduation from college, she seems to be a bit less than 60 years old.

Her father is 98 years old—apparently, 98 and a half! This time, though, he's gone too far. She's not sure she can forgive her father for this thing he has done.

Should the Times have published that letter? We don't know how to answer that. Does the letter say anything about Us? We wonder if maybe it might.

How did we liberals manage to lose this year's presidential election? How did we manage to lose to a man who is visibly disordered in an array of ways?

This election was lost by narrow margins in three decisive states. When elections are lost by narrow margins, you can explain the defeat a million different ways.

In this recent post, Kevin Drum stressed three major reasons for Clinton's defeat. According to Drum, we lost the election because Bernie Sanders turned millenials against Clinton. We lost the election because Comey the God staged a three-act intervention in the ongoing campaign.

Finally, we lost the election because working-class voters deserted Clinton in droves. According to Drum, the evidence "strongly suggests that the working class was primarily motivated by economic concerns and only secondarily by racial issues. This is the opposite of what I thought during the campaign, but I was wrong."

Drum goes on to cite other reasons for the loss. But those are his three major reasons.

We don't know why Drum has flipped regarding the motives of working-class voters. We don't know why the evidence he cites convinced him to change his mind about the motives of those voters, who number in the tens of millions.

We see nothing in the evidence Drum cites which lets us assess the question of motive. Incomparably, though, we'll stress that one key point:

We're discussing millions of voters!

In the early years of TV, there were "eight million stories in the naked city." We'll suggest there are also many stories among the nation's Trump voters, whose number now stands at 62,206,395 and counting.

(Clinton's popular vote now stands at 64,223,958. As such, Candidate Trump's victory margin now exceeds minus two million!)

Are there millions of stories among Trump voters, who we know as faulty? Almost surely, there are—until We, the all-knowing losers, start explaining Their votes.

When we liberals explain their votes, one explanation tends to conquer all. In our view, our instinct to behave this way is probably one of the ways we managed to lose this election.

Why did people vote for Trump? We'll assume there are many reasons. That said, when journalists speak to Trump voters, one complaint often emerges.

During the campaign, The New Yorker sent Larissa McFarquhar to speak to Trump supporters in West Virginia. "The perception that people in West Virginia are voting for Trump because they are racist or ignorant is significant," McFarquhar wrote, "since it’s one of the reasons they’re voting for Trump in the first place."

According to a local professor, Trump voters in West Virginia "envision people in New York City making fun of them and calling them stupid. Every time you leave the state, you get it—someone will say, Oh, you’re from West Virginia, do you date your cousin? Wow, you have shoes, wow you have teeth, are you sure you’re from West Virginia?"

Elsewhere, McFarquhar fleshes out the idea that Trump voters in West Virginia resent being dismissed as racists—an insinuation she says they were hearing from Candidate Clinton on down.

That's part of what McFarquhar says she heard in West Virginia. Years earlier, Berkeley professor Arlie Russell Hochschild had gone to the wilds of Louisiana to study the outlook of Tea Party members.

Rachel Maddow had spent two weeks bombarding them with teabagger jokes. This is part of what Hochschild says she heard from one of those people:

"She explained that, actually, she saw Rush Limbaugh defending her against this hail of epithets that came, she thought, from Liberal Land. You know, that she was seen as fat and homophobic, and sexist and racist. And she saw him as defending her from that."

Are Trump voters sexist and racist? How sexist and racist are they? In the wake of our defeat by those painfully narrow margins, the New York Times sent Nikole Hannah-Jones to her native Iowa to investigate the thinking of Trump voters there.

Hannah-Jones focused on Trump voters who voted for Obama at least one time. She zeroed in on one such voter, helping us discover the obvious—that she is secretly racist.

In fairness, no one can challenge Hannah-Jones' skill at proving a preapproved verdict. After she spoke with that one Trump voter, she reported this:
HANNAH-JONES (11/20/16): When Obama was elected, she hoped he would “bridge race relations, to help people in the middle of Iowa” see that black people “are decent hardworking people who want the same things that we want.” She said people in rural Iowa often don’t know many black people and unfairly stereotype them. But Obama really turned her off when after a vigilante killed a black teenager named Trayvon Martin, he said the boy could have been his son. She felt as if Obama was choosing a side in the racial divide, stirring up tensions. And then came the death of Michael Brown, shot by a policeman in Ferguson, Mo.

“I’m not saying that the struggles of black Americans aren’t real,” Douglas told me, “but I feel like the Michael Brown incident was violence against the police officer.”

The Black Lives Matter movement bothered her. Even as an Ivy League-educated, glamorous black couple lived in the White House, masses of black people were blocking highways and staging die-ins in malls, claiming that black people had it so hard. When she voiced her discomfort with that movement, she said, or pointed out that she disagreed with Obama’s policies, some of her more liberal friends on Facebook would call her racist. So, she shut her mouth—and simmered.
We liberals told her she was racist. This complaint is widely heard when Trump supporters speak.

Is that Trump voter racist? Remember, she's just one person out of the 800,942 Iowans who voted for Candidate Trump. At least in theory, we can't learn about all the others just from reinventing her values in a way we like.

It may also seem strange to think that the person who voted for Obama is being diagnosed as a racist. But that's the insinuation which emerges from the omniscient Hannah-Jones, who shows no sign of understanding how the Martin and Brown cases looked to many people who don't live inside Our Own tents.

(Among other things, it looked like we were inventing facts about these cases, as we plainly did. In the face of morality as impressive as ours, the truth must sometimes give way.)

Why did people vote for Trump? It's hard to answer such a sweeping question. We can, however, tell you this:

Over here, within our own tribe, we love to denounce The Others. It's a moral and intellectual illness of an egregious kind.

It also constitutes an unforced political error. It may explain how we lost an election, by narrow margins, to a deeply disordered man.

What's the nature of our moral/intellectual illness? We see it played out when Hannah-Jones crams that one voter's remarks into our preapproved story-line.

We also see it here, when Charlie Pierce says "we finally come to the nub of it" in the published remarks of one working man in eastern Ohio or western Pennsylvania.

This man's published remarks concern racial banter where he works. They alerted Pierce's racial sensors in a way he doesn't attempt to explain. We have no idea what transpires at that man's work site. Neither does Brother Pierce.

By now, it's obvious to everyone else, even if it isn't yet plain to us. When We talk to Those People, we always seem to find a way to uncover The Story We Like.

We love to loathe and denounce The Others, in a way which extends from prehistory. You can see (and hear) the same instinct at play in yesterday's piece by Michelle Goldberg at Slate.

Goldberg says she spoke to "women who voted for Trump" on a major radio program. Her statement is technically accurate. She quickly sees through one caller's deceptive remarks:
GOLDBERG (11/26/16): The Friday after the election, I was a guest on the Brian Lehrer radio show, speaking to women who voted for Trump. One caller, a mother from Connecticut who’d worked in automotive and construction management, insisted: “Most women that have to deal with households vote for the economy. It’s economic issues that drive us.” But when pressed on Trump’s economic policies, she shifted to a denunciation of oversensitive college students who needed time off to process the election results. “It grieves me that these college students are all being given passes out of classes for an election,” she said, the heat in her voice rising.
This woman claimed that many women "vote for the economy." But uh-oh! "When pressed on Trump’s economic policies, she shifted to a denunciation of oversensitive college students."

Goldberg omits this woman's backstory, which involves the fact that her daughter died of a drug overdose last year. She omits the way she baited this woman about her dumbness before receiving this prickly response in reply.

That said, this is part of our standard play, in which we catch Those People misrepresenting their actual views and motives. Goldberg catches this woman seeming to say that she voted for Trump because of the economy. Goldberg was skillfully able to see that this isn't the case.

In fact, Goldberg spoke to exactly two "women who voted for Trump" on that Lehrer radio program. Fascinated by her essay, we clicked the link she provided and listened to her 38-minute segment, in which she and a second liberal guest displayed our tribe's appalling inability to listen to people who fail to say the things we want to hear.

The first Trump voter on that program presented a striking case. Identified at Patricia from Bayonne, she turned out to be a Peruvian immigrant speaking accented English.

This woman said she voted for Trump because he said he'd create lots of jobs. Citing her sister's nightmarism experience, she also said she voted for Trump because Obamacare is a god-awful mess.

Fascinating! Here was a person who might start to flesh out the basis on which 29 percent of Hispanic voters voted for Trump. It also seemed fairly clear that this voter was a "regular person," not a wealthy elite, the kind of person a liberal pundit ought to know how to respect.

Goldberg and her fellow pundit showed little ability to listen to this woman's explanation of her vote. Rather than draw out this voter's story, they quickly began making it clear that this woman was wrong in her assessments.

Lehrer made his disapproval fairly clear as well. The interview ended after the woman said this:
PATRICIA FROM BAYONNE (11/11/16): You know what? And I want to say something....Poor people, they almost cry because this Obamacare. They have to pay the penalty, which is now gonna be, the minimum penalty, gonna be like $650, like that, if they don't have insurance.
At that point, the interview ended. Lehrer moved to his second (and last) female Trump voter, whose story Goldberg finessed in her piece for Slate.

We'll suggest that you listen to the three liberals as they speak with Patricia from Bayonne. (Her sister had to return to Peru for an operation, Obamacare is so bad.) Her phone call starts around 14:30 of the Lehrer audiotape. It continues for a bit less than four minutes.

"Oh boy," Lehrer says at one point, as his caller's pitiful cluelessness becomes clear to his superior mind. When he throws to Goldberg, her own disapproval is quickly made apparent.

The caller's views and experience are disrespected. Our own tribe's heavily scripted wisdom must, and will, prevail.

To state the obvious, we can't learn why 62 million people people voted for Trump by speaking with two such women. That said, we were surprised by the arrogance we heard from the liberals on that audiotape. Meanwhile, Goldberg recorded that same old complaint in her piece for Slate, though she sanitized things a bit:
GOLDBERG: Over the course of the presidential campaign, I attended Trump rallies in the Northeast, the South, and the Midwest. Among the dozens of Trump supporters I interviewed, not one mentioned NAFTA, but many—perhaps most—complained about political correctness. Again and again, people told me how much they resented not being able to speak their minds, though none of them wanted to articulate what exactly they were holding in. They said they hated being shamed on social media, though they usually didn’t want to say what they had been shamed for.

The spasms of unchained bigotry we’ve seen post-election suggest that some Trump supporters were simply longing to howl NIGGER! KIKE! CUNT! FAGGOT! Among those I spoke to, however, some felt bullied for violating more arcane speech rules they neither assented to nor understood...
"Some [Trump voters] felt bullied for violating more arcane speech rules they neither assented to nor understood?" Delicately, Goldberg is saying that these voters didn't like being called racists.

Goldberg is delicate as she sanitizes this familiar complaint. Earlier, though, she's happy to list THE CAPITALIZED WORDS those other Trump voters longed to howl into the night.

She also sends dog whistles to us liberals when she says the Trump supporters with whom she spoke didn't want to say what they had been "shamed" for. In comments, us droogs knew how to interpret this statement:

They didn't want to explain what they'd said because what they said was racist!

Our liberal tribe is in the grip of a moral/intellectual illness. It leaves us barely able to reason, eager to call people names.

We interview a handful of voters, then let the few represent the all. No matter what those voters say, we find a way to discover the evil we seek.

This leaves us behaving like tribalists from a prehistoric age. Did it leave us losing three decisive states by very narrow margins?

We love to call The Others names. It often seems like our only skill, our only political pleasure. It sinks us in a well of deeply unintelligent conduct. Everyone else can see what we do. Our illness is invisible only to Us.

Donald J. Trump is going to change the history of our nation and world. Considering those narrow victory margins, does our own ugly, avoidable conduct explain how we got to this place?

In coming weeks: Extensive discussion of Drum's question: How did we lose to that guy?

Another poet is wrong: "No people are uninteresting," Yevtushenko foolishly said.

He never heard three liberals speak with Patricia from Peru!

The New York Times promotes some fake news!


In fairness, it's for a good cause:
Kate Zernike covered "Bridgegate" for the New York Times.

Rather, she pretended to do so.

This morning, Zernike penned a report about the way Donald J. Trump has let Chris Christie twist in the wind since Election Day. She offered various theories as to why this has occurred.

Displaying the newspaper's famous Dowdism, she said Christie's leave-taking from Trump this weekend involved "a 10-second handshake that looked almost like a tug of war."

Please note. It looked almost like a tug-of-war, not exactly like one.

In this morning's report, readers got to enjoy their favorite "Oreos" jibe again. They got to hear, for the second time, that Christie "voted in the dark" on Election Day.

Right at the start of her report, Zernike suggested that Christie is being punished for having said, on Charlie Rose, that he wasn't involved in the Bridgegate misconduct. Eventually, she made the highlighted statement shown below.

We'll focus on one key word:
ZERNIKE (11/22/16): Mr. Christie publicly said he hoped to be Mr. Trump’s vice-presidential nominee. And he was said to be bitterly disappointed when Mr. Trump’s children and campaign manager prevailed on the candidate to instead choose Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana.

Mr. Trump made Mr. Christie chief of the transition. But the governor was still struggling with the scandal, after revelations on the stand that he had known about the lane closings even as they were happening and did nothing to reverse them.

On Election Day, Mr. Christie voted in the dark of early morning, a contrast to earlier years when he invited cameras and reporters along by indicating on his public schedule what time he would go to the polls.
Good lord! Were there really "revelations" on the stand that Christie knew about the lane closings "even as they were happening?"

Actually, no—there were not. And as Zernike knows, but assumes you don't, that isn't really the issue.

Let's start at the beginning. Were their "revelations" during the trial that Christie "had known about the lane closings even as they were happening?"

Actually, no—there were not. David Wildstein, confessed mastermind of the plot, certainly made that allegation. And as you may know, allegation counts as revelation when a targeted figure gets accused—or at least, that's the rule of thumb at the New York Times.

Wildstein testified that he told Christie about the lane closings on September 11, the third day of the closings. He said that he and Christie and Bill Baroni stood around laughing about it.

Baroni, who was on trial, testified differently. Zernike was suitably fuzzy in her own report that day. But here's the report by Paul Berger for the Bergen County Record:
BERGER (10/18/16): Baroni also contradicted a claim by Wildstein that Christie, Wildstein and Baroni had laughed about the traffic problems when they attended a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the World Trade Center site that was held at the time of the lane reductions.

The three discussed the closures, Baroni said, but only in relation to what Wildstein described as a traffic study.

"Was there any mention of political retribution?" asked Jennifer Mara, Baroni's defense attorney.

"No," Baroni replied.

"Was there any mention of punishment?"


"Was there any mention of political endorsements?"


Showing a photo of the three men laughing on Sept. 11, Mara asked, "Are you laughing about the Fort Lee lanes?"

"Absolutely not," Baroni replied.
Baroni said they discussed the lane closings that day. But he said there was no suggestion that the lane closings were being done for political reasons. Absent some such confession about the motive behind the closings, there would have been no reason for Christie to "reverse them."

Zernike understands that part of the story. She's assuming her readers don't.

There's no way to know who was telling the truth—Wildstein or Baroni. There's no way to know if either man was telling the truth. Each fellow had reason to lie. Either one may have been telling the truth, though even Wildstein didn't assert that he told Christie about the political motive.

(Christie says he doesn't remember the lane closings being mentioned that day.)

For that reason, there's no "revelation" here, unless you work for the Times. That said, Zernike has had her thumb on the scale for several years concerning the Bridgegate matter.

(In fairness, Zernike's work starts seeming good when Maddow starts telling the story.)

The New York Times is routinely a mess. The newspaper helped invent fake news. It plans to go down with its ship.

Brooks imagines the best Trump voter!


She hates her kids' teachers and schools:
In this morning's New York Times, David Brooks initiates a project.

In principle, he has a decent idea. That said, his headline and his opening paragraph seem to announce different goals:
BROOKS (11/22/16): Fellow Trump Critics, Maybe Try a Little Listening

I’ve been thinking a lot about the best imaginable Trump voter.
This is the Trump supporter who wasn’t motivated by racism or bigotry. This is the one who cringed every time Donald Trump did something cruel, vulgar or misogynistic.
In his headline, Brooks seems to say that he wants to listen to Trump voters. In his opening paragraph, he says he wants to imagine one such person.

He wants to imagine the best Trump voter. What could be wrong with that?

Here's what:

When journalists start "imagining" things, things tend to go off-track. In this case, when Brooks imagines the best Trump voter, she seems to hate her children's teachers and their predictably crappy schools:
BROOKS (continuing directly): But this voter needed somebody to change the systems that are failing her. She needed somebody to change the public school system that serves the suburban children of professors, journalists and lawyers but has left her kids under-skilled and underpaid. She needed some way to protect herself from the tech executives who give exciting speeches about disruption but don’t know anything about the people actually being disrupted.

She is one of those people whom Joan C. Williams writes about in The Harvard Business Review who admires rich people but disdains professionals—the teachers who condescend to her, the doctors who don’t make time for her, the activists whose definition of social justice never seems to include the suffering people like her experience.

This voter wants leaders tough enough to crack through the reigning dysfunction...
When Brooks imagines this best Trump voter, he suddenly starts to channel Michelle Rhee.

This imaginary person "disdains" her children's teachers. According to Brooks, these imaginary teachers "condescend to" this imaginary parent.

As for her children's imaginary school system, it "has left her kids under-skilled and underpaid." She hopes that a President Trump will "crack through the reigning dysfunction."

Later, Brooks starts imagining this Trump voter again. Once again, just like that, he's spouting standardized cant:
BROOKS: Those of us in the opinion class have been complaining that Trump voters are post-truth, that they don’t have a respect for expertise. Well, the experts created a school system that doesn’t produce skilled graduates. The experts designed Obamacare exchanges that are failing. Maybe those of us in the professional class need to win back some credibility the old-fashioned way, with effective reform.
For ourselves, we've always been unimpressed with the general caliber of our "educational experts." That said, no experts ever "created a school system." This is simply another free-form attack on our ratty public schools.

Brooks has some decent ideas today. That said, he himself might "win back some credibility" if he would train himself not to be such a shill concerning a sector he probably doesn't know a great deal about.

Presumably, this best Trump voter is white. We recently spent five weeks detailing an unmentionable fact:

Brooks is reciting standard elite scripts derived from two international testing programs (the Pisa and the Timss). But uh-oh! On those tests, our white kids score roughly as well as the amazing, show-stopping children found in miraculous Finland.

We'll guess that Brooks doesn't know such facts. Concerning our ratty public schools and their fiendish public school teachers, he does know how to recite approved script in a heartless, disdainful manner.

Ironic, ain't it? Brooks praises the way his imaginary voter recoiled from Trump's more loutish statements. Immediately, he launches into a set of loutish statements himself!

As is routinely the case with Trump, Brooks probably doesn't know a huge amount about this subject. But he does know the standard guild-approved scripts about our public schools.

Our public schools could be much better. Then again, so could our New York Times columnists.

Brooks hates it when Trump launches into the ugly. No sooner has he repeated this claim than he launches the ugly himself.

THOSE NARROW MARGINS: Defeated by rather slender margins!


Part 3—How American history changed:

Based on appearances, the Washington Post has stopped updating its account of the Trump/Clinton popular vote.

Its "Live Results" site remains. But round the decay of that colossal wreck, incomplete vote totals seem to be frozen in place.

The New York Times has shown even less interest in reporting the popular vote totals from this year's election. For what it's worth, this seems to be where matters stand as we type:
Popular vote, 2016 election:
Candidate Clinton:
63.8 million votes (48.0%)
Candidate Trump: 62.0 million votes (46.7%)
We've gathered these data from the vote count site at the Cook Report. Even there, few explanations are given, in keeping with the basic impulses of modern press corps culture.

As far as we know, votes are still being counted, though the Cook Report site doesn't say. The site seems to say that it was last updated on November 16, a claim which would seem to be wrong.

Regarding the question of "wasted votes," we'll also update the data we posted yesterday. According to the Cook site, these were the largest vote margins recorded by any of the fifty states:
Largest statewide victory margins, 2016 campaign:
Clinton won by 3.51 million votes
New York: Clinton won by 1.51 million votes
Illinois: Clinton won by 882,000 votes
Massachusetts: Clinton won by 880,000 votes
Texas: Trump won by 815,000 votes
Are votes still being counted in some of these states? We don't know, and our journalists and liberals don't seem to care.

(Our journalists care about nothing at all. Our liberals care about nothing except accusing The Others.)

Those victory margins may change. That said, for the second time in the past five elections, the Democratic candidate won the popular vote but won't be reaching the White House.

To us, that fact seems quite significant. We liberals prefer to revel in the delivery of vote-losing lectures to Pence.

Candidate Clinton won the national popular vote by a fairly substantial margin. Beyond that, she piled up a ton of "wasted votes" in the state of California.

As you can see, Clinton's victory margin in California exceeds the size of her victory margin in the nation as a whole. This means that she lost the popular vote in "the other 49."

For good or for ill, our 18th century system for choosing our president has begun to produce odd results. The candidate who received the most votes from the most people will not end up in the White House.

Our history will change as part of this bargain. Today, we want to focus on the narrow margins in a few states which brought this result to pass.

Below, you see the statewide margins in three well-known states. This states decided this election. If Candidate Clinton had won these states, she'd be on her way to the White House.

Instead, Candidate Trump won these states. But uh-oh! While Clinton won California in a rout, Trump won these states by rather narrow margins:
Statewide victory margins, 2016 campaign:
Trump won by 68,000 votes
Wisconsin: Trump won by 27,000 votes
Michigan: Trump won by 12,000 votes
As far as we know, the outcome in Michigan is so close that it hasn't been certified. At any rate, these three states will cast a total of 46 electoral votes next month when a branch of Trump University called the electoral college actually picks our president.

If Candidate Clinton had won those states, she'd be on her way to the White House.

Let's get clear on the contrast. Clinton won California's 55 electoral votes with a victory margin of 3.5 million votes. She lost the 46 electoral votes of those decisive states by a total of 107,000 votes.

She lost those states by relatively narrow margins. This creates an important question:

Where do such margins come from?

Where did those narrow margins come from? As a handful of cloistered Irish clerics know, when an election is lost by a narrow margin, that narrow loss can be explained a thousand different ways.

None of Clinton's statewide losses were as narrowly decided as Candidate Gore's loss of Florida in Campaign 2000. (Officially, Gore lost Florida by 537 votes.)

Still, Trump's victory margins in those three states were fairly narrow. He lost the national popular vote by a fairly substantial margin. But he narrowly won those three states.

Quite possibly, American history will change for generations based on those three narrow margins. As such, the following question becomes quite important:

What caused those narrow margins? What explains those narrow losses?

As noted above, a narrow loss can be explained a thousand different ways. Many factors can be said to have caused such narrow losses.

We continue to think that Clinton's win in the national popular vote constitutes an important news event. The liberal world's failure to stress this part of the election constitutes the three millionth time, in the past thirty years, we have, quite predictably, "failed to take our own side."

In our view, the public needs to be told that Clinton won the popular vote. Beyond that, liberals need to consider a possibility:

Is it possible that we did something which produced those narrow margins? Is it possible that many things we did explain those narrow defeats?

Yesterday, Kevin Drum published a post which bore this headline: "The 3 Big Reasons Hillary Clinton Lost."

"There are other things that probably made a difference," Drum wrote. But he offered his idea of the three most important explanations for this history-changing loss.

We don't understand some of what Drum wrote. We're inclined to agree with other things he said.

Tomorrow, we'll probably start by taking a look at his assessment. But we'll leave you today with a basic distinction, and with that important question.

Here's our basic distinction:

You can always blame an election loss on errors by the losing campaign. Presumably, every campaign makes errors in judgment. Presumably, such errors are an unavoidable part of every campaign.

Especially in the case of narrow margins, such errors can be said to have caused defeat. But those are unavoidable errors. Other causes of narrow defeats can be seen as avoidable. Sometimes, defeat can by caused by conduct which is flatly improper.

Here's our question again:

In the face of those narrow margins; in the face of the assault on history those narrow margins will likely produce; did we liberals commit avoidable errors in the course of this campaign? Is it possible that we did things which produced those narrow margins?

We rarely consider such possibilities Over Here within our tents. We're skilled at saying that Donald J. Trump won because The Others are racists and bigots. Tomorrow, we'll ask a question which rarely seems to enter our heads:

Is it possible that those narrow margins derived from conduct by Us? May have derived from conduct by Us which could have been avoided?

Tomorrow: So many ways to explain