The assertions no voter heard: Six weeks back, Kevin Drum said that, contrary to conventional wisdom, 2016 was "the most policy-heavy election in decades."
He meant that the candidates, including Trump, had made a lot of policy proposals. Building a 20-foot wall along the southern border to keep Mexican immigrants out? That's a policy proposal, Drum correctly said.
(So is building a 30-foot wall along the northern border to keep potential migrants to Canada in. Based on recent events, Trump may have to build that northern wall first. East Berlin, here we come!)
One week before Election Day, Drum offered a clarifying post. Again correctly, he noted that policy proposals had received very little coverage on network nightly news shows.
Truth to tell, policy matters were barely part of this year's coverage at all. Consider Drum's all-new post about NAFTA.
Will President Trump take action on NAFTA? Drum includes a single-paragraph primer on the noxious trade deal:
DRUM (11/16/16): Trump almost has to do something, considering how central NAFTA was to his campaign. But in the real world, there's not much upside. The OECD estimates that NAFTA had essentially no effect on employment, and the International Trade Commission estimates that it had essentially no effect on wages. So withdrawing wouldn't do any good for all those working-class folks Trump appealed to, but it would cause plenty of upheaval for businesses that are tightly integrated with their Mexican supply chains.For starters, Drum is right. Demon NAFTA played a key role in Trump's bumptious campaign. Endlessly, his supporters heard all about the trade deal's demon effects.
Now consider a question:
How many voters of any stripe ever heard anyone advance the highlighted claims from Drum's post? How many voters ever heard it said "that NAFTA had essentially no effect on employment?"
How many ever heard it said "that [NAFTA] had essentially no effect on wages?"
Your answers: no one ever heard such things said. Very few voters for Clinton or Trump ever heard such propositions advanced, discussed or debated.
Let's focus on voters for Trump. As we do, let's think about Cal professor Arlie Russell Hochschild and her suggestions about building conversational forums between voters from different "enclaves." (More on her ideas tomorrow.)
Why is it that no Trump voter ever heard those propositions expressed? Why is it that no Trump voter ever heard it said that NAFTA had essentially no effect on employment and essentially no effect on wages?
In part, the answer is this: We the liberals make little attempt to communicate with Those People. We're full of explanations about how litle good it would do.
Do you mind if we make an obvious point? We're lazy and useless and nobody likes us! Add the word arrogant to the mix, and you're drawing a family portrait of our self-impressed floundering tribe.
In truth, we liberals just aren't real impressive. Unless you hear the story from us, in which case we're God's chosen people.
Hochschild wants to speak with The Others. Why would anyone want to do that when we can insult Them instead?