HOW WE GOT HERE: Creating Trump!


Part 1—Liberal and mainstream denial:
We'll grant you, it was only one vote. That said, it might start us on a shining path—on the road toward understanding how we managed to get here.

The vote was cast by Angie Hartman, a 50-year-old Pennsylvanian. Margaret Sullivan describes the vote in today's Washington Post.

Sullivan interviewed voters in Luzerne County, Pa. Located in northeastern Pennsylvania, it's part of the Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Disaster struck in that statistical area. Here's the way Hartman voted:
SULLIVAN (2/13/17): Angey Hartman, 50, lives about an hour away in Benton, where every day she walks to the newspaper box to buy the Bloomsburg Press Enterprise.

An antiabortion Christian, Hartman voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. But she flipped from blue to red after deciding that Clinton was untrustworthy and weak on national security.

“I didn’t want to feel like she’d be lying to me,” said the stay-at-home mother,
whose autistic son attends Luzerne’s community college. Her husband, a laborer at Girton Manufacturing in Millville, voted for Trump, too, she said.

Hartman is not on Facebook and doesn’t watch cable news. Like many others, she relies on her local newspaper and on broadcast TV: Channel 16 and ABC’s “World News.”
Sullivan offered an underwhelming piece about where voters get their information and what they think of those news orgs. Along the way, she offered that profile of one of the votes which sent Donald J. Trump to the White House, dragging Bannon and Miller behind him.

Hartman's vote was just one vote. That said, it may not be a bad place to start if we want to figure out how we managed to get here.

According to Sullivan, Hartman voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. This time, she voted Republican. She voted for Donald J. Trump.

“I didn’t want to feel like [Clinton would] be lying to me,” Hartman is said to have said. Hartman's vote was one of the votes which turned Pennsylvania red.

Hartman's explanation for her vote strikes us as highly striking. Imagine! Candidate Clinton was running against the greatest dissembler the political world has ever seen. And yet this voter, like many others, was so concerned about Clinton's perceived lying that she says that this perception helped determine her vote.

Clinton was running against Candidate Trump—but she was seen as the troubling liar! On the one hand, this can be seen as a wondrously comical fact—as the latest practical joke engineered by Homer's Olympian gods.

It could also be a starting point for the "autopsy" our own team needs to conduct, but almost certainly won't.

How can a person run against Trump and get rejected for lying so much? The answer to that remarkable question takes us back many years.

How can a person run against Trump and be perceived as the liar? The answer involves decades of lazy, inept, self-dealing behavior by the mainstream American press, and by the career liberal world.

Just think of it! The liberal world lost an election to Donald J. Trump because its candidate was perceived as the liar! Let's offer the analysis you're likely to see almost nowhere else:

A political movement has to be completely inept to lose an election that way. Who could possibly be that inept?

We liberals come to mind!

Eight years ago, the Republican Party conducted an "autopsy" in the wake of its election defeat. Dems and liberals badly need to conduct a such a study now.

We aren't likely to do that, of course. Almost surely, our vast, overweening self-regard will keep us from even imagining a fact which is blatantly obvious:

We got here through acts of laziness, incompetence and fraud—acts committed by Us Liberals, not by Them Over There.

These acts stretch back twenty-five years. Our mainstream press corps was deeply involved in this misconduct too. Like us, they're currently plowing ahead in a state of self-dealing denial.

We liberals love to blame The Others. Like dumbkopfs through the annals of time, we're very strongly disinclined to take a look at ourselves.

Somehow, we managed to lose Hartman's vote. Over the course of the next few weeks, we're going to review a few of the ways we amazingly managed to do that.

Tomorrow: Let's start by taking it slow and easy:

Stanford Law School professor speaks out—concerning the look of Trump's ties!


  1. Based on the campaign, if a voter thought of a single characteristic or policy for each candidate, what would it be? I think it might have been:

    Hillary - liar
    Trump - anti-illegal immigration

    On reflection, perhaps Hillary's most significant characteristic was being female. But, for some reason, "First Woman President" didn't work as well as "First Black President".

    1. I'm thinking Hillary = least corrupt major-party Presidential nominee in at least 4 decades. Of course that is due to the 8 official, and 2 dozen more "unofficial" investigations of her, which turned up that she's a bit sloppy with her emails.
      ""First Woman President" didn't work as well as "First Black President"
      That's because of timing. Remember that when Obama ran for POTUS, the GWB Administration had just proven how disastrous GOP policies are when enacted (a $2+ Trillion war---which kicked over the hornets nest in the Middle East, the crashing of the world's economy due to Wall Street malfeasance, the drowning of an American city, etc). It was so bad, Republicans changed their names (but not failed ideology, financial backing, etc) to "The Tea Party". Not so much because they were ashamed of what the GOP had done, as much as not wanting to be blamed for the calamity.

    2. The Tea Party: As driftglass says, they changed their name to the Tea Party, just like nazis at the end of WWII, shucked their uniforms so they couldn't be held accountable for what they had done.
      And, BTW, since this is a "media blog", the media was culpable as well, making believe the Tea Party really was something different than boiler-plate Conservative nonsense with a tri-corner hat on it's head.

    3. No, DinC, Secretary Clinton's most significant characteristic was her competence. She kicked Trump's ass in three straight debates. If the last was had been a prize fight, Trump's trainer would have thrown in the towel long before it ended just out of sheer humanity for the ungodly beating he was taking. By the end of that third debate Trump was so shaken he was paralyzed for about 10 minutes after standing there with the flop sweat rolling off him unable to move his feet away from the podium.

      It's funny that you would assign the characteristic "liar" to Clinton when it reality it was your candidate who set world records for shameless non-stop lying.

      But we know now that his lying didn't matter to his supporters. As it turned out all of us fact-checking his open sewer of lies just didn't understand that we weren't supposed to take his vulgar claims literally. We now understand that LYING by the GOP candidate is not a disqualifying sort of behavior. Whatever it takes to win, right Comrade?

    4. David says:

      "First Woman President" didn't work as well as "First Black President"
      That's because of timing.


      How can it be because of timing when the first Black President ran against the first Female President in 2008?

      I think it is pretty obvious that being male is preferred to being female, even when race is a factor. Remember that African American men got the vote half a century before women got the vote. Black men were appointed to the Supreme Court long before the first woman was appointed.

      In the historic head-to-head contest between Clinton and Obama, the historicity of his achievement was extolled while hers was not (her success was even awarded to her husband). Examples of sexism were carefully ignored or denied.

      This time around, she was sabotaged and everyone blamed her for it.

  2. Yes, thanks to the media narrative for the last 25 years.

  3. Yup, ad infinitum, Bob, we're to blame, we get it.
    And yet. Conservative friends I've known for decades have ceased to credit what are commonly understood as facts, science, and statistics. Which means we can no longer even have a discussion about possible solutions to the problems that threaten us all.
    I'll give you a single example of this phenomenon: five or six years ago, a farmer pal from the eastern (and overwhelmingly conservative) side of Wash. State called me up late one night and confessed that he was seeing earlier Springs and later Autumns on a consistent basis. A very smart guy, he'd been watching climate patterns change demonstrably in his lifetime. He asked me if, as a liberal, I actually believed that climate change was real. I replied that I didn't believe it as a liberal, but as a human. And the unspoken truth was that my friend couldn't have this conversation in his own community, so he turned to me for a late night chat/confessional. A couple months ago, I dropped in for a visit and he told me in certain terms that I was a member of the "liberal elite" and that he would never exchange cordial visits with me again. This from someone I've know for nigh on two decades and come to value as a real friend. This and several other similar experiences tell me that something fundamental has changed here. Trump has given permission to his followers to release their inner demons - a kind of right-wing Turrett's syndrome in which all the forbidden words can and must now be spoken irretrievably.
    So blame us "elites" for our reality-based universe all you want, Bob, it doesn't quite erase the rather astonishing and irrational anger on the part of the Trump electorate, an anger I've felt repeatedly first hand.
    Now, on a completely different note, I've been gobsmacked at the absence of U.S. media in covering "the dossier" - no evident investigations on the part of government or media; virtually no mention of the suspicious disappearances (and deaths) of a number of Russians connected to that dossier and those mentioned in its pages.
    Weeks ago, The Telegraph printed a piece about the odd death of Oleg Erovinkin (former KGB chief) that has been widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and the world - except in the U.S. media where only two dailies (the Kansas City Star and, last week, the WSJ) have seen fit to mention it.
    Whether "the dossier" is genuine or fake - and I have no idea which - wouldn't it behoove us to know? Why has all news concerning it been disappeared in this country - I mean, seriously, talk about normalization!
    Here's a link to a pretty thoughtful Huff post compendium of what's transpired:
    Unnerving to say the least - but why NO follow up investigation?

  4. Kevin Drum wrote and reviewed the nonsense in the press,
    mainstream and otherwise, about Hillary Clinton.

    Bob has a big problem with Kevin Drum.

    Bill O"Reilly was the fist person I saw endorse Donald Trump,
    specifically over Hillary Clinton. Obviously, the main propaganda
    arm (though there were others) in defaming Hillary Clinton for
    news consumers like the woman Bob mentions was Fox News.

    Bill O"Reilly gets a pass.
    Fox News gets a pass.

    You don't have to discount the massive wrongs done against
    Clinton by the likes of the WP and NYTs to see that Bob is unable
    to sum up the Press as a whole, that he obviously has his finger
    on the scale and has a score to settle.

    So the hell with him.

    1. It was smart of you to notice that Somerby focuses on the so-called liberal press, not conservatives. No amount of writing will cause Fox to become less conservative. There is a small chance liberals will be able to pressure the liberal media to make MSNBC a better vehicle for liberal views.

      O'Reilly gets a pass (a chance remark Somerby made years ago) because he, like Limbaugh, is a lost cause and isn't going to change no matter what Somerby or anyone else says to or about him.

      Maybe you are a lost cause too.

    2. Yes,I believe Greg may be a lost cause as well. Reading comprehension (or lack thereof), and a failure to connect the dots, are major indicators.

    3. That's what his mom has been saying, anyway.

    4. Somerby's job was once to critique the media and its effect on our lives. That's what he used to do. I don't know that his goal is to get journalism to actually change. There is nothing, despite what the fools on this thread are pimping, that I have failed to comprehend. 15 years ago, in what seemed like a tantrum of bitterness, Bob stopped critiquing right wing writers almost completely. "O"Reilly gets a pass" was in a headline, on an opinion he was condemning everyone else for having. So it goes for all of Fox News. So the overall picture is distorted by the dots the few defenders Bob has left cannot connect. Why not just leave Trump alone? You are never going to change him. Great logic.

    5. Greg, there are plenty of sites where O'Reilly gets pounded. TDH gives a different perspective, sometimes he nails it where no one else does, e.g., the inept MSM coverage of the Benghazi "scandal." He does deserve some of the criticism, e.g., his epistemological ruminations about what a "lie" is, and a lot else. You shouldn't take it personally, that he criticizes liberals, like you seem to do. If (a) liberals are right on the issues; and (b) tea party type republicans are now in control of the presidency, the congress, most state governments, etc. it would follow that Liberals are doing something wrong. TDH makes valid points about that.

    6. Bob doesn't criticize liberals, he blames them.
      Bob criticizes corporate-owned media (i.e. not at all "liberal" media), but makes believe they are liberal so he can feel he's being even-handed.

    7. The point is that it is normal for the political opposition to demonize, what is abnormal for us democrats is how our own party demonizes our own candidate or at least goes along with the demonization. Sanders people were calling Hillary the Man and the NYT and others kept the email bullshit up to the end.

  5. What I love about Bob he puts the blame where it should be.

  6. Hillary lost because the country isn't ready for a female president. As long as no one wants to discuss sexism as a cause of her loss, that isn't going to change.

    People don't like to face the fact that they are biased so they fixate on other reasons to justify their lack of enthusiasm for her. It doesn't matter what those reasons are. Examining them as if they were real is just another way of avoiding the issue.

    It is just as ludicrous that Hillary should lose to Trump as that an ancient Socialist with no concrete policies and no record of achievement should be preferred by so many liberals.

    1. "As long as no one wants to discuss sexism as a cause..."

      No one wants to talk about it?

      Frankly, anti-Hill sexism is /all/ that a certain class of fool wants to talk about. Doesn't make it any less specious however.

      But you just keep punching. Left. And, down. You've got it!

    2. Obviously, you don't want to talk about it.

    3. anon 1:20. I don't doubt that many voted against Clinton in part or entirely because of her gender, and this may have accounted for her electoral college defeat. I do think you are being faultily reductionist. Her gender was not the only reason. There probably were many reasons. (I would question, however, whether any explanation, gender or otherwise, can be arrived at without a degree of speculation). Another probable reason I believe is that so many claimed to "distrust" her. A lot of (sexist?) women, I think the majority of white women, voted against her. The trust issue no doubt was pounded into peoples' consciousness by unrelenting right wing propaganda - but the NYT and Wapo, and other main stream media (NPR) abetted it, as explained repeatedly by TDH (e.g. by their inept discussions about Benghazi, the emails, the Clinton Foundation, etc. and going back to the bogus scandals during the presidency of Clinton's spouse.

  7. How did Obama gain Hartman's vote? The mainstream media was massively supportive of Obama and critical of Hillary, just as they were critical of her this time. There seems to be a cloud gathering over Trump that is already producing real media opposition. If the media had behaved that way before the election, Somerby wouldn't be chiding us now. Why didn't it? I think it was because the fix was in -- no Hillary.

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