"A game plan to repair some of this!"

MONDAY, MARCH 13, 2017

Best ways to speak to The Others:
In this morning's Washington Post. E. J. Dionne discusses the ways liberals and Democrats might approach those Trump voters who are potentially persuadable.

How many such voters are there? How should they be approached? We think these remarks make sense:
DIONNE (3/13/17): Liberals who rightly condemn demeaning stereotypes of African Americans and Latinos must also oppose stereotyping Trump’s white working-class supporters. The Trump camp was not monolithic. Many of Trump’s ballots, after all, came not from blue-collar strongholds but from precincts dominated by well-off conservatives who routinely back Republicans.

And the decisive votes for Trump were not cast by the passionately committed. The media exit poll found that only 38 percent of those who participated in the 2016 election had a favorable view of Trump. That’s the base. The contest was settled by those who viewed both Trump and Hillary Clinton negatively. These pox-on-both-houses voters made up 18 percent of the electorate, and went 47 percent to 30 percent for Trump over Clinton, with most of the rest opting for third-party choices. These are the Trump agnostics. They are central to our political future.

Moreover, an important minority of white working-class Trump voters in the election’s three key states (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan) favored Obama four years earlier. They are not right-wingers. For example, in 2012 in Erie County, Pa., Obama prevailed over Mitt Romney, 68,036 to 49,025. But in 2016, Trump carried the county, 60,069 to 58,112 for Clinton.
In our view, those remarks all make sense. By the way:

According to that presentation, almost nine percent of the electorate (47 percent of 18 percent) voted for Candidate Trump even though they didn't have a favorable view of him. They just disliked Candidate Clinton more.

Twenty-five years of demonization played a key role in that part of the story. For the record, Dionne is one of the many major journalists who didn't resist that demonization down through the many long years, when it was aimed at Clinton and Clinton and when it was aimed at Gore.

In the beginning was the end! The remarkable notion that Clinton was a bigger liar than Trump was several decades in the making, permitted by relentless group silence on the part of many liberal journalists.

Other such journalists played active roles in building the narrative according to which Clinton, Gore and Clinton were history's biggest liars. Twenty-five years of story-telling put Donald J. Trump where he is.

Past failure to serve to the side, Dionne makes a a good point at the start of that passage. We liberals need to stop turning to "Those People" and "Them" when we picture Trump voters.

Those 63 million Trump voters aren't all exactly alike. Nor are we encouraging you to try to imagine what percentage of Those People really are deplorable after all.

Dionne's comments made us think of something we saw yesterday on C-Span, live and direct from the Tucson Festival of Books.

A genial woman from Wisconsin posed a question to Wisconites David Maraniss and John Nichols, who seemed to know her. After some initial jesting, this is what she said:
WOMAN FROM WISCONSIN (3/16/17): I just remember the gut punch, the terrible evening that the returns came in, and I'm increasingly concerned that people get their news from people who agree with them only. I've had friends cut me off on Facebook, I would never do that to anybody, because of political discourse.

To resist is important and maybe there are enoiugh people to resist, but to resist evokes counter-resist. What is the game plan to talk to one another again? What is the game plan to talk to people who vote against their own economic and, at best—interest? How have we lost the discussion about what's good public policy? Why is our politics all about "get power and maintain power at all costs?"

Can we start talking about a game plan here to repair some of this?
This woman was well-intentioned, and very upbeat. She wanted to know how we can start to talk to each other again.

That said, we were struck by the first thing she said after that. We'll simplify her construction:

"What is the game plan to talk to one another again? What is the game plan to talk to people who vote against their own economic interest?"

We liberals tend to be like that! This woman wants to talk to people who voted the other way. But she almost seems to start with the assumption that she, not they, is the best judge of what their interests are.

That may not be the best way to start that discussion. It seems to us that we tend to be like that Over Here in our own liberal tribe. We tend to be prepared to instruct, perhaps not so much to listen.

That woman is very well-intentioned. She poses her question right at the end of this C-Span videotape.

We always recommend this poem: "No people are uninteresting." Or so Yevtushenko said.


  1. Bob,

    I'm sure you don't read the comments, but if you do I'd love to hear your suggestions for how to approach this. I have many family members and close friends who supported and continue to support Trump, and I've concluded that it's actually not possible for me to say anything that would persuade them to change their minds. If their minds are going to be changed, it will have to come from within as they see what's going on in the world.

    1. I have to agree with this. I have no idea how to talk to persons who watched Trump campaign for over a year and decided to roll the dice on the country and hand the keys to someone even they acknowledge was unqualified. I don't want to interact with anarchists.

      When the subject comes up with persons in my family who supported Trump, they usually just cast a devilish in my direction. They are too smart and know me well enough to not defend their position on its merits. There are none and they know that.

    2. What does it say about your candidate that she was worse than a roll of the dice? Some looked at her and wondered how she and her husband amassed as many millions as they did. Some decided recycling the same old names and families wasn't good for America. Jeb found out the same thing.

    3. It tells me that the minority of voters who voted for the corrupt flimflam pervert fraud are stupid fucks who thought they were playing a fucking video game while watching a reality tv shlockfest. Are you reading comprehension impaired? I just told you they knew with certainty that he was totally unqualified for the job, and every day the evidence mounts to prove the point. I've seen polls telling me more than 25% of Trump voters voted for him with the conscious understanding that he was not qualified for the job. We are not talking about Mayor of a small town in bumfuck Egypt. We are talking about the most important job on the face of the planet. These are people I will cross the street to avoid accidently speaking to.

    4. "... I'd love to hear your suggestions for how to approach this."

      From what I can tell from reading this blog, that's not his ouvre.

  2. All the 1-25 percenters are enjoying all the praise and approval for not "voting against their own economic interest."

  3. It wasn't the 25 years of demonization that doomed Clinton, it was the recent stuff. Cogent analyses point to Comey's intervention especially. But the release of those emails via Wikileaks helped portray Clinton negatively, as did the Russian campaign on social media to flood voters with anti-Clinton fake news. It is amazing the election was as close as it was -- a testament to both her likeability and her strength as a candidate.

    I am sick of Somerby pretending that he and his Sanders buddies didn't contribute to taking down Clinton. If they had not voted 3rd party, she would have won in those key electoral college states. There too, the Russians intervened to spread conservative propaganda against Clinton, but they lapped it up and repeated it, well past the Democratic Convention and right up to the end. They are still doing it.

    I understand that Somerby is very concerned about those Trump voters, but why does he never talk about healing the rift in our own party -- the one between those young, stupid Sanders voters and the adults? As long as they believe they were right, we have a major problem coming into the next election.

    1. Sir, you are deluded; your "interpretation" is defective.

    2. anon 2:56, you are really poor, reasoningwise. It is so disappointing to see such stubborn dumbness, over and over from you. Comey and the leaked WikiLeaks material certainly hurt her, but to the extent it did, it wouldn't have had the impact if had hadn't been for the 25 years of demonization. Don't you know that the majority of voters already "distrusted" her before Comey and the email leaks? Whatever criticism might be appropriate for TDH, being a "Sanders buddy" is not one of them. There was a perfect storm of factors that led to the outcome of the election, but one thing we can be 100% sure of is that one of them was not TDH, as a Sanders buddy or not. I'm pretty sure no one agrees with your loopy viewpoint. Give it a rest.

  4. Had Hillary Clinton been elected she would of led the Democratic party to a worse collapse in 2018 and 2020 than the party finds itself in today. The totally out-of-touch Clinton/Obama/Pelosi insiders are the leadership of a totally failed governing regime.



    As to going forward, I've made two edits to the text here but I think Michael Kinnucan is largely on target [LINK]

    [QUOTE] The odd notion that a conservative small business owner from South Carolina who voted for Trump because he’s Republican and conservatives who vote for Republicans “should be a natural ally” of liberals trying to defeat Trump nicely encapsulates a model of US politics with a great deal of influence in the mainstream media and the upper echelons of the Democratic Party.

    Under that model, the trick to winning at politics is to find moderate, reasonable people whose views are located approximately halfway between the Democrats’ views and the Republicans’ and then convince them, through dialogue, that you, too, are a moderate and reasonable person. In this model, having a base that does things like have vociferous protests is a major weakness for a political party: it makes the whole party look immoderate and unreasonable....

    If you’ve been following the news in the past few months you may have noticed that this didn’t work. Clinton’s campaign strategy centered on portraying Trump as a crazy person in order to convince reasonable Republicans not to vote for him—and, you know, he kind of is a crazy person. But the overwhelming majority of Republicans voted for him anyway.

    Why? Well, because they’re Republican. You know? They like Republican stuff. Tax cuts, welfare cuts... immigration restrictions, banning abortion, boiling the oceans, stuff like that. They really love those things and think they’re great ideas, and they’re not going to sell them out just because the Republican candidate has some personal issues, “uncomfortable” though they may feel.

    To put it more bluntly: the vast majority of Trump voters voted for Bush in 2000, McCain in 2008 and Romney 2012 and will be voting for Trump in 2020, Palin in 2024 and Milo in 2028. Swing voters, to a fairly close approximation, don’t exist....

    Where, then, should the Democrats look for votes? Not to small business owners in South Carolina, but to the 40% of American eligible voters who didn’t vote in 2016. Those voters are significantly younger, poorer and more liberal than the 2016 electorate; getting them to turn out in significantly higher numbers would tilt the US to the left hard and fast.

    What would that take? The Democratic Party leadership and liberal pundits have tended to see low turnout among Democratic demographics–particularly in midterm elections–as an unalterable fact of nature to be bemoaned; in fact, it’s a problem of... organization [and, especially, a lack of an explicit and constantly repeated six or seven point policy agenda]. [END QUOTE]

    For instance, here's a policy and the arguments for it that members of the Democratic wing of the Democratic party should be using going forward both to defeat the Clinton/Obama/Pelosi corporatist wing of the party and to build the party's electoral base: *LINK*

    1. mm,

      Looks like the Clintons have reduced your mind to the same state of rubble they've helped to leave the country's economy and democracy in.

      Let me help you there mm, "We were saved from a dedicated hard working neo-liberal" who knows from her own family's financial holdings that, "America never stopped being great," and it'll stay that way because actual progressive ideals like universal health care "Will never, ever come to pass." *LINK* *LINK*

    2. Ooooo. You called her a "neo-liberal". Well there you go. End of story. You win.

      And of course, our former president Clinton, who worked his ass off bringing peace and prosperity to the country while having to deal with fucking rabid GOP jackals locked onto his ankles the entire time, is obviously not entitled to reap the rewards that naturally follow leaving office wildly popular. You go ahead and let President Clinton know how much money you think he's entitled to earn.

    3. Funny how the faithful never bat an eye over how rich their televangelist of choice is.

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