EMBRACE OF HATE: Loss of empathy for Those People!

FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 2017

Part 5—Loss of our brains and our souls:
In her column in last Friday's New York Times, Professor Fels described the varied effects of political hate.

What are the motives of "people who hate?" How are such people affected by their loathing of The Others? Today, we'll think about one possible motive, and about one effect:
FELS (4/14/17): The point is to hurt and humiliate. Those who hate want to make the objects of their hate suffer as they have. It is this that makes the attacks so personal and lends them their crude, violent and often sexual nature. The intent is not to challenge opposing beliefs but to destroy those who hold them.


People who hate can blame others for their losses, reducing doubts about their own inadequacies.

Hate converts a sense of helplessness into one of action. It can even be the impetus for the formation of new communities in which people share grievances and plans for retribution, relieving their sense of isolation or powerlessness. As a consequence, though, there’s a loss of empathy, and beliefs become simplified and rigid.
When we liberals swallow the type of stew served by Amanda Marcotte this week, we're being taught to hate. For background, see yesterday's award-winning report.

Let's start with that one possible motive. Does our gulping of this stew allow us to "blame others for [our] losses, reducing doubts about [our] own inadequacies?"

It's hard to know how to answer. On the whole, we'd say that we liberals are too clueless, at this point in time, even to consider the possibility that Candidate Trump's win last year reflects in some way on Us—on "our own [massive] inadequacies."

We're just too dumb to see things that way. But good God! Our tribal inadequacies are comically endless. Consider another recent piece which appeared in the new, improved tribal Salon.

In the piece, David Masciotra reviewed an embarrassing new book. Masciotra's review appeared beneath these thrilling headlines:
Hillary hatred, exposed: What drives America’s never-ending case against Clinton
Susan Bordo's "The Destruction of Hillary Clinton" is a vital but incomplete look at her strange political life
Could the ineptitude of our tribe be put on more vivid display?

Hillary Clinton has been demonized, in ludicrous ways, over the course of the past twenty-five years. Now that it's officially too late, our pitiful tribe has somehow managed to cough up a book which explores, or pretends to explore, these decades of demonization.

Could any political group or tribe be more hapless than this? Our biggest corporate stars—think TV's Rachel Maddow—have repeatedly run and hid in the woods rather than confront this phenomenon. Our biggest stars—think Rachel Maddow—report their admiration for their "dear friend," Chris Matthews, one the greatest and most misogynistic demonizers of Hillary Clinton over those many long years.

We liberals just sit there and take it! And now that it no longer matters, as if to amuse the gods on Olympus, a book has appeared which claims to discuss this phenomenon. In a similar vein, we liberals started our "resistance" against Trump on January 21, 2017—exactly one day too late.

We had twenty-five years to get off our ascots, stand on our hind legs and fight. We rose in opposition, and staged our march, exactly one day after Trump took office! (Because we can't stop praising ourselves, we've dubbed our pushback "the resistance.")

Truly, we must be the least competent bunch that ever drew breath on the earth. Despite this rather obvious fact, our tribal propaganda is replete with the claim—see Marcotte's report—that We are the very smart people, while The Others, the ones Over There, are "low information voters." Has any group, of any type, ever been more obnoxious than We?

On balance, The Others are low-information, of course—but We Over Here are worse. We're stupid and venal and nobody likes Us. We're also too dumb to understand these patterns. For that reason, there's no obvious way in which, in our gulping of hate, we're trying to cover the fact of our own inadequacies.

We liberals are tremendously dumb. But we're too dumb to know it.

On balance, how dumb are We in the end? Let's consider what Fels said about the "loss of empathy" which obtains among "people who hate."

At this point, lack of empathy for The Others is virtually our tribal calling card. We can't "feel the pain" of a 59-year-old woman who can't afford to go to the doctor. (Reason: she's rural, Southern and white.)

In a similar vein, consider a second book review, a piece by Jennifer Senior in yesterday's New York Times.

In our view, Senior has done tremendous work in this new role at the Times. In her review, she praises Amy Goldstein's new book, Janesville: An American Story.

Yay yay yay yay yay yay yay! Goldstein's book concerns Janesville, Wisconsin, Speaker Ryan's home town. As every good pseudo-liberal will know, this will likely let us smirk and snark about the ways of Those People, whose votes for Candidate Trump last November Marcotte so deftly "explained."

As we noted yesterday, Wisconsin was one of the midwestern states Marcotte sought to explain. Why did voters turn to Trump last fall, flipping these states from blue to red and sending Trump to the White House?

According to Marcotte, it was their "blatant racism" which led them to do it, full freaking tribal stop. When we liberals indulge our hate, this is the only answer we currently know. It's our answer to every question!

Before we look at Senior's review, a word about Janesville, Wisconsin. According to the leading authority, Janesville is "the county seat and largest city of Rock County and the principal municipality of the Janesville, Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area."

As of 2010, Janesville's population (63,575) constituted about 40 percent of Rock County's population. And good lord! Rock County supported Clinton over Trump by a significant margin last year:
Rock County, Wisconsin, 2016 election
Clinton: 51.7 percent
Trump: 41.4 percent
By Marcottian analytical standards, this might mean that we can't blame Rock County, or presumably Janesville, for what happened last year. Except uh-oh! Clinton ran five points behind Senate candidate Russ Feingold in Rock County last November—and this is the way the county voted in 2012:
Rock County, Wisconsin, 2012 election
Obama: 61.0 percent
Romney: 37.8 percent
Oof! Clinton ran more than nine points behind Obama. As such, Janesville seems to have been part of the general pattern across Wisconsin in which Clinton significantly underperformed Obama, producing a narrow statewide loss.

According to Marcotte, voters supported the black Democrat in 2012, then dumped the white Democrat in 2016, because of their "blatant racism." As noted above, this has become the only story our own tribe knows how to tell.

This brings us back to Senior's review of Goldstein's new book. Why might people in Janesville have flipped to Trump last year?

In our view, a vote for Trump represented an act of bad political judgment. But why might other people have judged it differently, as they're allowed to do?

Goldstein's book examines what happened in Janesville after General Motors closed a plant in 2008. Massive dislocation ensued. We'll let Senior tell it:
SENIOR (4/20/17): “Janesville” joins a growing family of books about the evisceration of the working class in the United States. What sets it apart is the sophistication of its storytelling and analysis.

The characters are especially memorable. This may be the first time since I began this job that I’ve wanted to send notes of admiration to three people in a work of nonfiction.


[P]erhaps the most powerful aspect of “Janesville” is its simple chronological structure, which allows Goldstein to show the chain reaction that something so calamitous as a plant closing can effect. Each falling domino becomes a headstone, signifying the death of the next thing.

Because the G.M. plant closes, so does the plant at the Lear Corporation, which supplied it with car seats and interiors. Because so many in Janesville are now out of work, nonprofits lose board members and contributions to local charities shrivel. Because their parents are out of work, students at Parker High start showing up for school both hungry and dirty. A social studies teacher starts the “Parker Closet,” which provides them with food and supplies. (Deri Wahlert: She’s one of the people to whom I’d like to write a fan note.)

The fabric of hundreds of families unravels, as an itinerant class of fathers—“Janesville Gypsies,” they call themselves—start commuting to G.M. factories in Texas, Indiana and Kansas, just so they can maintain their wage of $28 an hour. Those who stay home invariably see their paychecks shrink drastically. One of the men Goldstein follows, Jerad Whiteaker, cycles through a series of unsatisfying, low-paying jobs, finally settling in one that pays less than half his former wage and offers no health insurance. His twin teenage girls—to whom I’d also like to send awed notes—share five jobs between them, earning so much money for their family that they compromise their eligibility for student loans.

You will learn a lot about the arbitrary rules and idiosyncrasies of our government programs from this book. They have as many treacherous cracks and crevices as a glacier—and offer about as much warmth.
As has been widely noted, Candidate Clinton never campaigned in Wisconsin. Candidate Trump kept telling the victims of such dislocations that he was aware of their plight, and that he would be able to help them as president.

In our view, people who believed Trump's representations likely made a bad judgment. That said, they're nowhere near as dumb as we liberals are when we swallow ridiculous hate-driven essays such as Marcotte's latest.

Senior's review lets us examine our values. Are we able to empathize with people affected in the manner described? Are we able to understand that people can make judgments we consider faulty without necessarily being the most evil persons on earth?

Are we able to consider the lives of real people? Are we more than four years old?

We liberals get conned by our own big corporate stars every day. Are we able to live in a world where other people may get fooled by con men in different ways?

More and more, we liberals are unable to so such things. We're stupid and ugly and nobody likes us. But we're so sure of our manifest brilliance that we just keep pouring it on.

Tomorrow: The Maddow Show plays us again!


  1. In fairness, Clinton was scheduled to go to Wisconsin but didn't because of events that week (forget what they were). There was no plan to avoid Wisconsin.

    Claiming that Hillary Clinton has been destroyed is ridiculous. She is a happy, healthy, vibrant 65-year old woman with a full life. Her candidacy may have been destroyed but not her self. That is one of the things I admire about her -- her ability to separate the two.

    1. She canceled out of respect because there had just been a mass shooting in FL.

      Clinton, Obama postpone Wisconsin campaign appearance in wake of Fla. shooting

    2. Didn't she have months to campaign there?

    3. Hillary Clinton will turn 70 in October. (Trump turns 71 in June, Sanders turns 76 in September.)

    4. AC/MA, she had months to campaign everywhere.

      CMike, you left out Biden, who will turn 75 in November. Have you noticed how actively he is running lately?

    5. Jerry Brown just turned 79, he's another one who is too old for the job. Al Franken turns 66 in May, looks like I'm going to be stuck supporting him. The Clintons and Obama have wrecked the party.

    6. Franken is not a Bernie-type politician.

    7. Neither is Jerry Brown. He is kind of a hybrid and wouldn't pass a purity test either.

    8. Long way between now and 2019.

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  2. Somerby is strongly invested in blaming Clinton for her loss because he doesn't want to face that his guy, Sanders, caused too many Wisconsin voters to stay home or go third-party instead of getting behind our nominee.

    Somerby can rail at liberals endlessly and call us stupid and unlikeable because he doesn't consider himself one of us. He is safely in the Sanders camp -- among those holier than thou progressives who are looking for a revolution by tearing down Democrats (from within, given that Sanders is again pretending to be a Democrat with Perez).

    Trump not only told dislocated workers that he felt their pain, he blamed it on immigrants stealing their jobs, plants relocating to other countries, bad deals like NAFTA. He lied to them, conned them. Clinton didn't lie -- she got lied about, but she is the villain in Somerby's mind.

    Marcotte wrote an essay focusing on one aspect of the election. Somerby generalized it to her entire explanation. Marcotte is a big-time feminist -- do you think she doesn't know that sexism was part of the equation? It is ridiculous to suggest she is blaming only racism. But racism is definitely part of why some Trump voters supported him.

    Somerby has to have seen the analyses showing that score on a measure of racism is a big predictor of Trump support, whereas it is unrelated to support for Clinton. Not only did Trump court racists, they responded to his dog whistles, they heard his invitation.

    Trump comes from a family of white nationalists -- his father and grandfather were outspoken about it. His son is too. Trump himself is no less bigoted. Many Trump voters liked that aspect of their candidate. That is undeniable. Does it mean every Trump voter is a racist -- obviously not. But it does mean that every Trump voter was willing to tolerate that side of their candidate regardless of the other reasons they picked him.

    Many liberals would never be willing to vote for any candidate who expresses racist views and behavior the way Trump did -- even if he promised them everything on their political wish list. That is a major difference between the parties, and yes, I believe it does provide some moral superiority to those on our side.

    I don't hate Trump voters. I hate what Trump stands for. I hate it that people in our country would ever endorse that by voting for him. I especially hate it that Somerby has become an apologist for evil. I hate it that he is willing to call liberals names while excusing those on the right. What is wrong with Somerby?

    1. Nicely done.

      What some people seem to be missing is that Obama had almost a slam dunk in 2008 considering the 8 years of incompetence and embarrassing disaster that was GWB. Secondly, the extreme right racist hate mongers dominating the talk radio 24/7 couldn't stand McCain and to a lesser degree Romney. This in turn led a lot of the hatful racist bastards to stay home. But Trump, hey baby!!!! He got them to stand up and take notice. Yeehawww!!! He's one of us bubba!!!!

      I've seen plenty of Trump voters who couldn't be bothered to vote in years until Trump came along. So let's not pretend we didn't see what was happening in broad daylight.

    2. No, Somerby is not one of Them. It's called tough love. He's suggesting taking some responsibility.

    3. I voted. I campaigned for Hillary. I talked with friends and neighbors to persuade them (an easy sell in California). I got out the vote. What exactly am I supposed to be taking responsibility for?

      I never screamed "lock him up" at a Hillary rally. I never wore a t-shirt calling him a dumb fuck or even a pussy-grabber. I never said anything discourteous to a Trump supporter.

      What exactly am I supposed to be taking responsibility for?

      I'll bet Somerby didn't vote. His recent posts have all the earmarks of a guilty conscience. He needs to fess up, in my opinion, and I'll bet his biggest sin was lack of empathy for Clinton voters. I think he and his Bros delivered the election to Trump and they don't want to take responsibility.

      Prove he is not one of Them. Find anything to support that statement.

    4. How, exactly, did Sanders "cause" people to stay home or vote 3rd party?

    5. Take responsibility for your lousy Wall Street loser candidate.

    6. Marcotte argues that racism, not economic woes, drove people to support Trump. She is arguing against giving primacy to the economic arguments that Somerby emphasizes above, with his praise for the book about Janesville.

      Taking this a step further to connect the dots, Sanders argues that economics and class must dominate the political discussion, not identity politics (the right's derisive name for civil rights). Instead of arguing against Marcotte's claims with respect to racism, Somerby fights a straw man argument that Marcotte thinks racism is the only reason people voted for Trump. Diminishing the importance of economic motives doesn't mean they played no part at all, and Marcotte doesn't argue that, nor would anyone with half a brain. She addresses the continual bleating of those who claim Trump voters had a good reason for their votes because of their economic woes. That is a hard argument to make, so it is not surprising Somerby chooses to address his straw man instead. Meanwhile, Marcotte tweets about sexism every 10 minutes, as anyone knows who reads her outside of Salon.

    7. @1:19 is a comedian too! Is our troll unaware how many Wall Streeters Trump has appointed to his government?

      The Sanders people caused voters to stay home by doing everything they could to undermine Democratic activities after Sanders lost the primary, from disrupting the convention to clogging blog comments with conservative filth and lies about Clinton, to lobbying their friends (Hillary is sooooo uncool, bro). Sanders himself was the master of the non-endorsement endorsement, kind of like Kissinger's statement about Kushner. If you were with Sanders, you know what you did. Voter suppression works.

    8. No argument, Clinton was the least worst of the two. But what do Trump's subsequent appointments have to do with Clinton's own unsavory ties to Wall Street?

    9. All excuses aside, had Clinton voted against Bush's invasion of Iraq she would have been elected President, probably in 2008. It was that one act of political cowardice that cost her.

    10. Hillary Clinton lost to a presidential candidate with a minus 21 point favorable/unfavorable rating on election day 2016 [LINK]. She needed to run unopposed in the primaries and the general election to have a path to victory.

      Speaking for myself, I will vote only for a Democrat who unequivocally supports maintaining or making more generous the current Social Security benefit schedule and who supports, at a minimum, some sort of expanded Medicare-for-all health care plan. That's been my personal pledge to myself since 2009 which dates back to a time when Bernie Sanders was making weekly appearances on the Thom Hartmann Show excusing Barack Obama's failure in these areas. I became a fervent Sanders supporter in 2015 when he met my litmus tests for a candidate running in a Democratic primary.

    11. You're so pure CMike. I am blushing.

    12. So, CMike helped elect Trump. How does that feel, CMike?

    13. @2:59, that is total nonsense. First, Hillary did speak out against the war. Second, she and Obama voted identically on war-related legislation in the Senate. Third, Clinton didn't vote for any invasion -- she voted to give Bush options and she stated several times that she regretted doing that. Fourth, so did Bernie, but unlike Clinton he has never apologized for his votes. Wonder if his supporters know that.

      But why is there still anti-Clinton propaganda and lies being spread in websites like this one? She is not running for any office. Are idiots who believed the previous lies still flapping their useless lips? Or is this just trolling to interfere with coherent discussion on blogs?

      Next post, Somerby will be arguing that we should be showing more empathy toward trolls.

    14. Clinton represented Wall Street because they were her constituents, a major industry in her district in New York. Of course she represented them. That doesn't mean she was bought by them. Obama received more campaign money from Wall Street. Clinton gave a speech, but she enacted controls to address wall street problems and was endorsed by Elizabeth Warren. She did more to clean up Wall Street than Sanders ever did. This is just another smear that has little grounding in reality.

    15. Anonymous April 21, 2017 at 8:43 PM asks"

      So, CMike helped elect Trump. How does that feel, CMike?

      It leaves me feeling a hell of a lot more hopeful about 2020 than I otherwise would have been.

    16. Do you realize the cost others are already paying for your "hope"?

    17. With all the honesty a Clinton cultist can manage here's what Anonymous April 21, 2017 at 8:48 PM is claiming:

      [QUOTE] First, Hillary did speak out against the war. Second, she and Obama voted identically on war-related legislation in the Senate. Third, Clinton didn't vote for any invasion -- she voted to give Bush options and she stated several times that she regretted doing that. Fourth, so did Bernie, but unlike Clinton he has never apologized for his votes. Wonder if his supporters know that. [END QUOTE]

      Clinton didn't vote for an invasion? Maybe not, she was later quoted explaining that when she was cashing in by giving bank speeches from 2013 to 2015 she was the only person in America that didn't know during those years she was going to run for president in the 2016 cycle so I guess working backwards we might tend to believe she was the only person who didn't realize she was voting to give the reckless Bush/Cheney administration a license to invade Iraq regardless of what Saddam revealed or what was to be left unconfirmed.

      As to her apology for her 2002 AUMF vote, what year was it again when she realized making it was going to be an absolute necessity for her to compete in the 2016 Democratic primary without knowing she was going to be a candidate?


      Politico says:

      [QUOTE] During her 2008 campaign, Clinton defended her vote as a way to give President George W. Bush authority to deal with Iraq, which she said he then abused. She frequently followed up this statement by saying that if she had known what Bush would do with the authority she would not have voted the way she had, but declined to call the vote a “mistake.” [END QUOTE]


      H.J.Res. 114 (107th): Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002

      This was a vote to agree to H.J.Res. 114 (107th) in the House.

      107th Congress
      Oct 10, 2002

      YEA 69% 296
      214 Republicans 81 Democrats 1 Independents

      NAY 31% 133
      6 Republicans 126 Democrats 1 Independents

      NOT VOTING 1% 3
      2 Republicans 1 Democrats 0 Independents

      REQUIRED: Simple Majority source: house.gov

      Nay I Sanders, Bernie VT

    18. Selective quoting CMike. You don't quote what Clinton said at the time about Iraq and the AUMF and you don't mention Bernie's other votes. We've been over this ground before.

    19. You're quite the slickster @10:10 PM.

    20. Anonymous April 21, 2017 at 9:13 PM asks:

      [QUOTE] Do you realize the cost others are already paying for your "hope"? [END QUOTE]

      Yes, but it was inevitable. Clinton was going to lose in 2016 or, for certain, the Democrats were going to be smashed in the 2018 mid-terms and a lot more ruthlessly competent right winger than Trump was going to be elected president in 2020.

    21. Instead we get to go to war with North Korea. Great plan!

    22. Trump has been tamed by the deep state, an institution in which Hillary Clinton thinks she has a leadership role rather than being just another for-hire toady. In a way you almost have to credit Trump, he remained an outsider for weeks after being elected before falling in line.

    23. You're kidding, right?

    24. So her excuse is she was duped by George W. Bush? I, for one, would never need to make an excuse like that.

    25. She doesn't need an excuse. Your double standard Clinton Derangement Syndrome is noted. She was a sitting Senator from the state of NY, ground zero of the attack on 9/11. Any other vote by her would have been political suicide. Fascinating how you blame her and her alone for Bush's mendacity.

      The current Leader of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate is a gentleman by the name of Chuck Schumer, Senior Senator from the State of NY who voted identically to Senator Clinton. Funny how you dipshits haven't thrown him out on his ear in 2004, 2010, or 2016. Seems the only Senator that has to be crucified for that vote is Senator Clinton.

      You know another Senator who voted identically as Senator Clinton. You might have heard of him, Vice President Joe Biden. We all recall how you purity trolls bullshit artists organized a protest against President Obama for selecting him, right? Enough of this double standard horseshit.

    26. mooky mookster,

      The crucial idea of the senate is that its staggered six year terms leaves a majority of its members insulated from short run political concerns at any given moment in time. Clinton didn't have to face re-election until 2006, four years after the 2002 AUMF vote. By then it was going to be clear whether Iraq War II was a success or failure. Clinton anticipated it would be seen as a success and in doing so she blundered morally, politically, and as someone claiming to have a useful understanding of foreign policy and military matters.

      As for Schumer, in addition to his being on the wrong side of decency and history with his 2002 AUMF vote, he is among the worst of the worst when it comes to those legislators who enable Wall Street recklessness and defend financier greed. If you have any ideas as to, if not drive him from the Senate all together, how at least topple him from his Democratic leadership position I would wish you would share them with us purists.

      Both Joe Biden and John Kerry faced Senate re-election races in 2002, the former would win with 56% of the vote the latter with 80%. Each of them with presidential aspirations (remind you of anyone else?) thought they were being oh so clever in the short run with their Yea votes for the 2002 AUMF. We might not have deserved it, but Kerry definitely deserved the election day price he, himself, paid in 2004 for taking what he thought was the politically safe position on war in 2002.

    27. Schumer is rated as the senate's most liberal senator. Like Clinton, he represented Wall Street as his constituents. Does Bernie represent the NRA?

      I remember 9/11. I was living in NY at the time. I remember the way all of congress came together behind Bush, seeking a coherent response to the threat. I remember the shock and grief and that everyone around me either lost someone or knew someone who did. I remember the later debates over Iraq but also the larger context of bipartisan patriotism and the desire to support Bush in action. There were doubts but there was also a greater sense of national unity than has existed since.

      If Bernie fidn't feel it, he was (1) isolated in VT, (2) a self-exiled outcast in the senate, (3) with no prior military or foreign relations experience beyond visiting Russia, and (4) no shared sense of loss. You refer to cynical reelection concerns. That suggestion would have gotten you punched in 2002. 9/11 is history now but it was once very real and it affected people emotionally. Democrats too.

    28. @5:15 PM,

      9/11 refers to an event which occurred in 2001. The 2002 AUMF was voted on thirteen months later, with a majority of elected Democrats opposing it. Public anti-war rallies attended by huge numbers of demonstrators followed. The intent of the AUMF was to support the Bush/Cheney administration's plan for an for invasion of a country that was in no way responsible for the 9/11 attack. But keep on talking nonsense in defense of these people.

    29. I wouldn't have voted for it and I am as anti-war as you are, but I also know that decisions occur in contexts and you don't seem to understand this one much. Hillary is no more responsible for Iraq than Bernie and she didn't support it. Claiming otherwise is just dishonest.

    30. Way to completely dodge the point, CMike.

      Obama hammered Senator Clinton over her AUMF vote. He attacked her relentlessly over her "judgment". Then he proceeded to select someone with the very same "judgment" for his VP. Why?

      He needed Biden's national security and foreign policy "gravitas". I don't recall the purity trolls screaming about how unacceptable Biden was. You will notice, he didn't select Bernie Sanders.

      Then Obama picked Senator Clinton to be his Secretary of State. Cognitive dissonance anyone?

      It is almost funny that you come to this specific blog, where Somerby has spent the last 15 years writing about the tragic consequences of the 2000 election, where something similar occurred with Nader and his purity trolls taking just enough from Gore to deny him the presidency.

      Elections have consequences, just as this past one will. You don't appear to give a damn about the people you have purposely exposed to the capricious actions this administration is and will be taking that will cause real pain to real people.

      Let me help you out here, junior. Al Gore would have never launched a preemptive war in Iraq. Nor would have Biden, Kerry, or Senator Clinton or Senator Schumer.

      They may all, however, have asked Congress for the same authority as Bush did to strengthen their hand to get international UN inspections back in Iraq. There was nothing wrong with that, in fact the majority of the American people expect their president to protect them and precautionary measures such as UN inspections was just that. Nothing more.

      The vote they took was not for preemptive invasion, no matter how many times you try mischaracterize the vote.

    31. "...bipartisan patriotism and the desire to support Bush in action."

      And right there is the lesson. Stop supporting Republicans. They're moving the country backwards.

    32. Neither Al Franken nor Jerry Brown endorsed Sanders. They both endorsed Clinton.

      Sanders is behaving oddly. At a time when we should be striving toward unity within the Democratic party, he is endorsing people who don't support women's choice, ignoring important Democratic Party principles in favor of what? In addition to endorsing a prolife candidate, he neglected support for Ossoff who must now face a runoff with the woman who attacked Planned Parenthood via the Komen fund.

      Does Sanders even think about women voters when he makes these decisions?

    33. As to those who endorsed Clinton, perhaps it was because they, themselves, share her neo-liberal philosophy and hawkishness or perhaps it was because she seemed to be likely to win the nomination and the presidency and therefore it would be advantageous to have allied themselves with her early on.

      I, myself, won't be ever be voting for any Democrat who runs as a neo-liberal.

      In the Omaha mayoral race, looks to me like Sanders did not endorse Heath Mello because of that candidate's position on choice but in spite of his position. In dead red states apparently Sanders does not require a viable candidate to have a strong pro-choice position in order to get Sanders' endorsement, that or Sanders committed himself before properly vetting Mello and then found himself stuck.

      “While my faith guides my personal views, as mayor I would never do anything to restrict access to reproductive health care,” that's Mello's position these days, and that's pretty much the one Clinton's pick for VP, Tim Kaine, goes with.

      If Sanders were running for president this year, I'd still vote for him in spite of his endorsement of Heath Mello for mayor.

      Here's video of what Sanders says both about unity and his endorsement of Mello: LINK

      But you all, you keep riding on that Clinton/Obama train into electoral oblivion- at least those credentialed insiders you so admire will keep getting rich.

      If you're interested, beginning at 24:06, here are a few minutes of Thomas Frank summing up where Clinton/Obama-ism has left the Democratic Party: LINK

    34. Neither Clinton nor Obama is running again. I won't vote for a man who doesn't care about choice. How comitted can Sanders be to economic issues if he diesn't understand the connection between choice and women's employment, or choice and family prosperity?

      Sanders is as much of a narcissist as Trump, making similarly empty promises. It is hard to call Trump voters stupid when we have our own idiots on the left.

      You are the one who mentioned Franken and Brown as viable choices. They aren't Bernie fans.

    35. Brown is older than Sanders and therefore he is not at all viable as a presidential candidate. Brown though, does happen to have a history of being on the left back in the day. And come to think of it, I voted for Brown in the 1992 Democratic primary.

      Franken is bright enough to run a good campaign and be a good president. I'm hoping his moderate stances are due not to his convictions but due to the political demands of his Minnesota senate seat and the need to re-sculpt his image after his previous careers.

      (I didn't mention perhaps the most obvious possibility for 2020, Elizabeth Warren. I see zero evidence that Warren would stand up to the deep state in foreign policy and military matters but I probably could vote for her.)

      My point in mentioning Brown and Franken was not to bolster Sanders. I was pointing out how short the non-DLC Democratic bench is- the Democratic Leadership Council's legacy of the Clintons, Obama, and a host of lesser elders have left the Democratic Party in shambles. (spare me the correction, LINK)

      As for your poo flinging that Sanders is a narcissist, I understand you're arguing from weakness but talk like that just makes you sound like you're playing it false in the cheapest sort of way.

    36. You'll find out about Sanders. He always puts his own interests ahead of other considerations so I can count on him to reveal himself. Just keep watching.

    37. Well looky here, the ever consistent and always sincere Clintonian purists will have to put some more outrage on display and demand another excommunication:


      [QUOTE] Pelosi: ‘Of Course’ Democratic Party Has Room For Pro-Lifers

      There is "of course" a place for pro-life Democrats in the Democratic Party, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) told Chuck Todd on NBC's Meet The Press Sunday morning.

      The topic came up when Todd asked Pelosi about the controversial race to elect the next mayor of Omaha, Nebraska, in which progressive icon Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) has endorsed Democrat Heath Mello.

      Mello sparked a liberal backlash when news emerged that he backed "anti-choice" legislation while in the Nebraska legislature, and Sanders' endorsement attracted the ire of left-wing news site Daily Kos and abortion rights group NARAL. Mello told the Huffington Post he would not do anything in office to "restrict access to reproductive health care."

      Todd asked Pelosi to explain what should unify the Democratic Party, especially in light of the "back and forth" conflict within the left over Mello's stance and Sanders's endorsement. Todd read part of a statement from Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez where he said that he completely disagreed with Mello, but added that Mello had made "a promising step" in making clear that he would not work to restrict abortion.

      "Can you be a Democrat," Todd asked, "and [have] the support of the Democratic Party, if you're pro-life?"

      "Of course," Pelosi said. "I have served many years in Congress with members who have not shared my very positive, my family would say aggressive, position on promoting a woman's right to choose."

      Pelosi then pivoted to talking about what does unify the Democratic Party, emphasizing jobs and supporting the American middle class. [END QUOTE]

    38. Choice is a key principle of the party but individuals can believe what they wish. The party works toward choice. Sanders has shown consistently he neither understands nor cares about women's issues, hence his spport for Mello and not Ossoff. He is not a Democrat.

      He remains a divisive figure, a distraction. Some may still think he can deliver his base in future elections but (1) he showed in 2016 he cannot, (2) he doesn't want to, and (3) he is playing along for self-aggrandisement. You are a fool to be suckered into his game. So is Somerby.

    39. Whether Sanders can deliver his base makes no difference to me. Any Democrat who wants my vote will have to adopt Sanders' economic policies.

    40. Any Democrat who wants my vote will have to support Planned Parenthood and a woman's right to choose, and a bunch of other things that define our party. Do you see the difference between your statement and mine? That's why Bernie is not a Democrat, doesn't speak for Democrats, and is not capable of uniting Democrats.

    41. Sanders has always supported Planned Parenthood and a woman's right to choose LINK. Sanders would be the first one to tell you he is an Independent, I'll remind you the Senate Democratic caucus has chosen Sanders to be their chair in charge of "outreach," and if the Democratic Party does not unite behind his message they will go the way of the Whigs.

    42. The Whigs were rivals of the Democrats. They are gone. Bernie is supposedly a Socialist. How is that party doing these days? He can't build his own party so he tries to co-opt ours. The best way for the Democrats to strengthen our party is to get rid of this divisive loser.

    43. Sanders would be the first one to tell you he is an Independent,...

      Sanders' campaign says he'll stay a Democrat after election

      Lying is kool when you're a Bernie-bro.

    44. Let's try this again Mooky Mookster with actual quotes. Bernie Sanders would be the first one to tell you he is an Independent. Here Sanders is on the 04/17/2017 All In with Chris Hayes show LINK:


      Chris Hayes: Senator, let me start with you. You're relationship to the Democratic Party is an interesting one, you sort of famously have been an Independent, you registered as a Democrat, you went back...

      Bernie Sanders: No, I didn't. Chris, in Vermont we don't have party registration.

      Hayes: O.K. I'm sorry...

      Sanders: What you do do is take your ballot in the Democratic primary, which I do.

      Hayes: Right. So I guess my question is to you. You've been talking- you're on this road trip now with the DNC, you've been talking about transforming the Democratic Party, do you consider yourself a Democrat?

      Sanders: No, I'm an Independent and I think if the Democratic Party is going to succeed, and I want it to succeed, it's going to have to open its doors to Independents who are probably- there are probably more Independents in this country than either Democrats or Republicans - it's going to have to open its doors to working people and young people and create a grass roots party. That's what we need.

      And what the party has to focus on is the most important issues facing working people, that's the decline of the middle class, that's the need to take on the billionaire class and Wall Street and the insurance companies and bring people together; A. Against Trump's absolutely reactionary agenda and B. Fight for an agressive agenda which includes among other things a Medicare-for-all single payer program.

      [END QUOTE]

      mm all you Clinton dead-enders are just getting sleezier and sleezier.

    45. CMike, nothing you have just quoted from a recent Chris Hayes show contradicts or rebuts what I wrote about what he promised during the Democratic primary, in which he categorically claimed he would remain a Democrat. He went back on his word immediately.

      Talk about entitlement. By reverting back to Independent he pretty much guarantees a true Democrat will not run against him in his next election with the real probable expectation that they would split the progressive vote and let a Republican take the seat. Yeah, that Bernie, he's a real warm bucket of guts.

    46. You're lower than a worm these days mm.

    47. Being an Independent lets Bernie attack Democrats in ways other Democrats wouldn't do, just like he did during the last campaign. He is bad for Dems.

  3. It is odd how no one mentioned that these economic dislocations have their biggest impact on older workers. A guy with 2 teenage daughters is not a spring chicken. For these guys, they have worked up to a higher wage and don't want to take a cut to start over. They are also less likely to be hired elsewhere because they are more expensive to employers and because of ageism. All the charts showed that they took longer to find new jobs during the recession, were more likely to drop out of the job market, to go on disability.

    Neither candidate presented any plan to deal with age-related discrimination in the job market. But middle-aged white guys did find a better reception at Trump's rallies. They saw a white older guy railing against all of the losers and promising big wins -- so much winning you will be sick of winning so much -- to other older white guys having a hard time in life. No mystery why that worked.

    When people get past 50 and find themselves made redundant, their only alternative is often to start their own business or work freelance (consult). In larger cities there is more opportunity for that to succeed. Not so much in smaller towns and rural areas. I assume such workers don't connect with talk about the "gig economy". To the extent that they see their stop-gap efforts as temporary and not something they commit to, as they would a business, they won't resonate to those proposals. I think Clinton did miss that, but Trump never addressed it either. So why is he getting any credit for empathy?

    1. I live in an isolated (Canadian) town that is a microcosm of the rust belt. Over the past 35 years we have lost 85% of our manufacturing base. What made our community wealthy in 1980 is a shadow of what it was today.

      It is true that older workers who lost their job have the biggest trouble adapting but that was the issue years ago when technology really started having an impact on the industry. The town is still actually fairly wealthy because it is still full of people with savings and drawing a good pension from the good old days. In the US, these people were Trump voters. (Average income of Trump supporters was $72,000)

      The real problem for our community was in the subsequent generations. The kids who left the town to get an education or at least for greener pastures are doing fine. Some have come home to apply their education as a teacher or nurse or vet or mechanic but most have left for good. The ones who stayed? Wal-Mart, right? That's the angst Trump exploited. People around here are not angry like Trump voters because we know we lost our jobs to technology. But we are sad about the fact that our kids have to leave to have a future. Trump's political genius (if you want to call it that) is that he managed to scapegoat immigrants and trade. He turned sadness into anger.

      Do we really have anything to complain about in 2017? Our population is falling, so there is slow steady decline in economic activity. What can anyone do about it?

      When the problem first reared its head, I was working in labour market economics. It was obvious in 1970 that the days of high wage, low skill work were numbered. The semi-skilled 50 year old made some bad choices 30 years ago and will pay for it today if he becomes redundant. The same is not true for 50 year olds with skill.

    2. The few Trump supporters I communicate with are all small business owners. They are united in the belief that all their woes are caused by liberal do-gooders in Washington.
      What they don't see is the do-gooders are out of power. The environmental protection laws and worker safety policies were bipartisan. Most of the policies that hurt them were written by lobbyists working for corporations. They didn't vote for Trump, they voted against the God damned socialist Liberals that fucked up this great country of ours.

    3. Ding ding ding. We have a winner!

  4. I will never understand the hostility that some of you have here towards Bob and his arguments. So many objections that miss the point. Some of you waste time arguing over what "team" he's on, as if that makes a difference.

    The important thing is whether or not he is correct, not what tribe he belongs to. Why do people insist he balance a criticism of liberals with a criticism of conservatives? Do you understand the mission of this blog? Bob is not trying to be just another liberal voice in the wilderness who is bitching about how awful Trump is. He wants to win.

    Preaching to the choir isn't a winning strategy. Somerby is sending a message to his own team - you don't bother discussing strategy with the other team. When the coach of a football team reviews game footage, he doesn't waste time criticizing the opposition. He's telling his players what they can do better, so they can win the next game. Some coaches will even berate their players for bad decisions and poor execution. Bob is that kind of coach.

    The only thing I'd take issue with in this column is to say that liberals are far worse than conservatives. I think that's simply inaccurate, and moreover, as I said, a comparison isn't really useful, here. I believe that Somerby risks proving his critics right when he says stuff like that. Regardless, I agree with the substance of his critiques. Without question, I believe that he has correctly identified certain serious problems on the progressive side of the table, and these can be fixed if people are willing to be honest with themselves.

    The best part is that progressives don't need to change their values to follow Bob's advice. In fact, it would mean living up to those values better than we already do. Unquestionably, progressives look down their noses at the white working class. They would be better off considering those folks to be another group that is subject to structural disadvantages. Sure, they don't have it as bad as certain other groups, but progressives really shoot themselves in the feet when they play "who is more oppressed?".

    1. well said, thanks for saying it

    2. Oh, that makes me feel so bad, I think I'll write a long angry comment about it questioning your membership in my tribe. My sense of self has been obliterated by your criticism and my fragile ego cannot handle it.

  5. Again, I note what is left out of the stats - the third parties. Dave Leip makes you pay for county statistics, so I perhaps cannot get them, but I notice the totals for the two years for the big 2.

    2016 - 93.1
    2012 - 98.8

    Clinton's losses were more significant that Trump's gains. More of her losses seem to have gone to 3rd party candidates, who picked up an extra 5.7% of the vote in a state Clinton lost by less than 1%.

    To me that is less about the hurting white working class of Janesville than it is about the Bern victims who went to the 3rd parties (although that does not explain Feingold's loss). It was three stories, as I think more about it that enabled that.

    1. corporate Democrats (like Hillary) are evil (and we are sick of voting for the lesser of two evils)
    2. Hillary stole the nomination from Bernie
    3. even though a Trump Presidency would be horrible Clinton is going to win anyway (so it is safe to vote for a 3rd party protest candidate).

    I base that somewhat on my own experience. In 1996, even though I definitely did not want Dole to win, I felt safe in casting a protest vote, for a sixth party candidate, because I was assured by the media that Dole was going to lose.

  6. Yesterday Howard Dean tweeted "Hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment." High-ranking Democrat progressives are the most dangerously stupid people in the country.

    1. Although different scholars view unprotected speech in different ways, there are basically nine categories:
      •Fighting words
      •Defamation (including libel and slander)
      •Child pornography
      •Incitement to imminent lawless action
      •True threats
      •Solicitations to commit crimes

      Some experts also would add treason, if committed verbally, to that list. Plagiarism of copyrighted material is also not protected.

      From First Ammendment FAQ

    2. You should pass that information on to the former head of the DNC and major Democrat presidential candidate, who was identifying Ann Coulter's speeches as violations of the First Amendment.

    3. Ann Coulter has free speech. The rest of us are free to fight facism.

    4. Coulter tells as many lies as Trump. Universities are places for learning truth. I don't mind her opinions but I think her lies should make her unsuitable as an invited speaker on any campus.

    5. Other than provocation, what else she got? Smarter to let the head of Al-Quaeda speak on campus.

    6. Let's not be sexist 8:53 PM, or did you mean fascism?

    7. "I think her lies should make her unsuitable as an invited speaker on any campus."

      By unsuitable you mean prohibited, right?

    8. I mean that the purpose of a university is to educate students. It is true that part of education is exposure to controversial ideas. That doesn't mean exposure to idiocy, garbage, bullshit, lies and partisan/biased crap. Coulter has nothing to contribute -- not because she is right wing, but because she lies and has no purpose to her writing except to be inflammatory and make money. That makes her unfit to speak at any university, because she is wasting student time and university funds (or donations, however she is being paid). I think she should be prohibited on that basis and this is not a free speech issue but a matter of judgment on the part of students and the faculty and administrators who are supposed to be furthering their education and protecting them from their youthful ignorance.

  7. Bob today:

    "According to Marcotte, it was their "blatant racism" which led them to do it, full freaking tribal stop."

    Bob yesterday:

    "It wasn't just racism which gave us President Trump. It was blatant racism, the pleasing Salon headline said.

    Briefly, let's be fair. Marcotte never refers to blatant racism in her actual text. We'll assume the extra word was added by an editor at the new Salon."

    See how Bob embellishes the truth. Kinda reminds me of what the media did to quotes of Al Gore. Or Rachel Maddow.

  8. As a Democrat working to elect Democratic candidates, it is not my job to feel empathy or hate toward Trump voters. I treat every person as a prospective voter for my candidate and act accordingly.

    When discussing the results of past elections, I do not owe any kindness toward the people who mistakenly voted for the wrong candidates. This idea that I have a responsibility to show empathy for them is ridiculous and it just isn't going to happen.

    There are many people in this world who I dislike, do not respect, avoid as much as possible, and believe are doing bad things that hurt our planet. I have no responsibility to exhibit kindness toward them, excuse or understand them, or spend any time concerned with them. They are on their own and with luck, they will be arrested if they break the law, punished socially or legally, and will be prevented from continuing what they are doing. Many Trump supporters fall into that category.

    Somerby is arguing the wrong things about them. He thinks we should be turning the other cheek, empathizing, even seeking their good opinion. That is nonsense. It is the kind of foolishness that gets idealistic kids killed (Bergdahl is an example). Somerby is old enough to know better. You don't mess with psychopaths, felons, stone cold racists and white supremacists, misogynists of the wife beater variety, and gang-involved drug dealers. There are large segments of our society you do not approach if you are smart. The overlap between those categories and Trump voters is distressing, just as the overlap between the categories of political operatives and outright traitors in Trump's government is distressing. I will not pretend this is not so. Reality is what it is, and Somerby is not in touch with it.

    1. The overlap between Hillary voters and racists, violent criminals and drug dealers, radical man-hating feminists and terrorist sympathizers who are destroying the country is distressing.

    2. 8:52,
      I think you mean Democrats and racists, not Hillary voters and racists. Whether you're a Democrat, Republican, or neither, if you're a racist, you voted for Trump. Why wouldn't you? He was speaking directly to you, and showwing you empathy.

    3. 8:52 is a troll. There is no thought behind his comment

    4. It's important not to mislabel Trump voters racists when they (rightly or wrongly) voted for him for other reasons. We have to be careful of sweeping accusations. This is not really turning the cheek as much as it is not being massively stupid.

    5. As a Democrat working to elect Democratic candidates, you've been doing a shitty job.

    6. As a Democrat working to elect Democratic candidates, maybe you should examine your beliefs and tactics. Maybe you should try a little harder. That's the whole point. Maybe you should look at yourself and your own party. As a Democrat working to elect Democratic candidates, you're ineptitude and rationalizations are boring.

    7. Democrats should work together to support candidates who address the trade issues that affect these people's lives and motivate them to support demagogues instead of candidates who, in speeches in New York City, call them deplorable racists. I mean really, talk about dumb . That has to take the cake.

    8. "It's important not to mislabel Trump voters racists when they (rightly or wrongly) voted for him for other reasons."

      Any idea what any of those other reasons might be?
      Almost all the "other reasons" can be traced back to "my hard earned tax money shouldn't be benefitting those (fill in the stereotype of minorities here)."

    9. Some Trump voters have said they supported him because he is honest. What they actually mean is that he appears to say what he really thinks.

      Trump has no filter. I think that is a reflection of his cognitive deficits -- it takes extra brain resources to filter for social appropriateness while also forming coherent sentences. I don't think he has that ability, due to dementia of some kind.

      The people who like this quality in him don't seem to care much what he says or that he is dishonest in the way he treats others, especially in his business.

      So there is oddity in the reasons Trump voters give for their choice. Because of this oddity, it is natural that others would discount these "reasons" on their face and assume they have ulterior motives for supporting Trump.

    10. 1144

      Other reasons are trade deals that have left small towns weakened. A lack of jobs. A sense that Democrats had abandoned the working class, no support for unions, the Democrats being a party that didn't listen to the working class and the working poor and often looked down on them and sometimes, wrongly, accused them of being racists. The biggest is trade - which Trump spoke to - he spoke to those people with respect. I break bread with these people for my job. I'm regret to inform you, they are not racists. Their lives suck and the towns they live in are dying as described in this post. Do those complaints about the factories closing sound unserious to you? Your second graf is completely false. Please provide a source and a basis for the claim. All the best,

    11. Maybe it’s time to consider whether there’s something about shrill self-righteousness that turns people away.You don't know any of them, you refuse to speak to any of them and you are sure they are all dumb mother fucking racists! Hey, why should they complain? Democrats wanted to raise the minimum wage! They are all minimum wage McDonalds workers out there in the sticks right!? (and you call them dumb, lol) Hey, mm - if you want to know what made made Trump prez, get up in the morning and look at your mirror. You will be looking at the reason why. And I will post here whenever I want. Sorry if you want to stay in your bubble of ignorance.

    12. I love that! Damn, why wouldn't they vote for Clinton? She was going to address their problems by raising the minimum wage!!! Hahahah. What a saviour! Bob is right we are tremendously dumb.

    13. Anon 1:49: I know plenty of Trump voters. Not a single one of them have any "economic anxiety" asshole. Not a single one of them voted for Obama in 08 or 12. NOPE. I didn't call them racists (although all those Confederate flags at pussygrabber's rallies sure are interesting) but they certainly are dumb mofos who had no problem with it. This is now a matter of historical record.

      Plus you're an idiot. Minimum wages raise all wages. It has a ripple effect. You're making excuses for these people decision based on bullshit. There is no logic to it.

      There was absolutely no difference between that guy and Hillary Clinton.

      LOL! there you have it. Dumb motherfucker, Exhibit A.

    14. She's not any better for them!! Neither of them give a shit. Trump just lied about his apathy. I'm sorry, raising the minimum wage doesn't cut it. Doesn't matter if I am an idiot. We are as we were. We are all stuck wth Trump. They will vote for him again. Hey, sucks for you. Guess you're just a genius stuck in a world of dumb mother fuckers. Haha. You don't see me crying like a bitch.

    15. She's not any better for them!! Neither of them give a shit.

      Did you ever put your balls and neck on the line working to collect evidence of racist white academies in the deep south that rose up in reaction to Civil Rights legislation and the elimination of separate but equal doctrine? Well, Hillary Clinton did, so fuck you with your "neither of them give a shit". Her whole life is a catalogue of her working her ass off because she gave a shit, you fucking moron. Why don't you hang out at alt-right sites like Breitbart? I'm sure your deep political wisdom and insights will be appreciated more there.

    16. Oh. You're a true believer. That's cool. I get it now. Thanks for your input and insight man! All the best to you outside all this political hubbub.

    17. Yes, I see. No, the true believers are the morons who listened to a guy say this:

      Trump: I'll replace ObamaCare with ‘something terrific’....

      and then watch as he proceeds to demonstrate time and time again that he hasn't the furthest fucking clue about it and is too fucking lazy and unqualified to find out, my BS detector goes off at full maximum volume. Dumbfucks who can't be bothered to think, cheer wildly and vote for the flim flam con man.

      And then they watch him fall flat on his face, while blaming everyone else but his own ignorant incompetent lazy fat ass, they still wildly support pussygrabber.

      I have to apologize for using my brain going on the factual record and BS detector when evaluating politicians.

    18. Cool brutha. You're doing great. All the best man.

    19. lol, it's damn hard to come up with a rational explanation for the morons voting for a billionaire real estate flim flam man from NewYawkCity, who defrauds hard working Americans, has a long trail of screwing the construction contractors who did honest work for him while bragging about not paying them and then walking away stuffing millions into his own pockets, brags about not paying taxes, and trades his wives in for newer Eastern European models more often than I change automobiles.

      Plenty of irrational reasons, hard to come up with any rational reasons.

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  10. "The Maddow Show plays us again!"
    Speak for yourself. Only an idiot would expect anything but corporate propaganda from a corporate-owned media.

    1. Just curious, do you consider most adults to be idiots?

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