OUR RATIONALITY, OURSELVES: Can our tribe learn something from this?


How Uvalde voted: We start with a question about the pompous peacocks who pose as our blue tribe's "thought leaders."

The question we ask would be this:

Is it possible that Amanda Flores, age 43, knows some things our high-ranking thought leaders do not? More broadly, is it possible that we bicoastal blue tribe members might have something to learn from her recent comments?

Flores lives in Uvalde, Texas. Like 82 percent of that city's residents, her ethnicity would (presumably) be Hispanic.

In the aftermath of the Uvalde mass shooting, Flores spoke with the Washington Post's Bailey and Lott. She used a term we ourselves wouldn't use. But she also placed her community's extensive "gun culture" within a particular context:

BAILEY AND LOTT (5/31/22): As she sat at the memorial for the victims last week, Amanda Flores said she knew all 21 victims of the rampage, but still does not believe that the tragedy should turn into a debate over gun ownership. Flores, 43, said she and her family members own firearms and view them as essential tools to keep their family safe in “a border town.”

“With all of the problems we have right now with the immigrants crossing over, you don’t know how many fast-speed chases go through here, we need them for our protection,” said Flores, whose grandson was at Robb Elementary when the shooting began but escaped uninjured. “All of them coming in, they are coming in as illegals, they can have guns. And what are we supposed to do? Throw rocks at them?”

We wouldn't use the term "illegals" ourselves. But it's Flores who actually lives in Uvalde, and she said her family members own firearms to provide protection against (some of) the people who are involved in high-speed chases through her "border town."

In truth, Uvalde isn't exactly a "border town" in the most literal sense. The southern border is roughly an hour away.

That said, is it possible that we could learn something, or could at least find something to think about, in what Flores said?

Also this! Is it possible that we have something to learn from the way Uvalde voted? 

Uvalde County (population roughly 24,000) is 73 percent Hispanic. The bulk of the county's population lives in Uvalde City, the county seat (population roughly 15,000; 82 percent Hispanic).

Uvalde County is roughly three quarters Hispanic. We haven't been able to find reliable data concerning the way Uvalde City voted. But this is the way the county voted in the last two presidential elections:

Uvalde County, 2016 election:
Donald J. Trump: 53.9%
Hillary Clinton: 43.1%
Uvalde County, 2020 election:
Donald J. Trump: 59.7%
Joe Biden: 39.4%

In the 2020 election, Trump won the county by more than twenty points! The county is roughly three-quarters Hispanic. The math seems to do itself.

By all accounts, Uvalde City is "heavily armed." Also, Uvalde County went for Trump by a substantially larger margin the second time around. Is it possible that our self-impressed tribe can begin to learn something from this?

Just last night, MSNBC presented an hour-long report by Paola Ramos about the Hispanic vote. According to the leading authority, "Paola Ramos (born 1987) is an American journalist. Ramos is a correspondent for Vice and is a contributor to Telemundo and MSNBC. Ramos' work focuses primarily around Latino issues."

We'll have more on Ramos' background tomorrow. Most significantly, here's part of Willie Geist's interview with her from yesterday's Morning Joe:

GEIST (6/1/22): Premiering tonight on MSNBC, a new limited series called Field Reports With Paola Ramos explores the continuing rightward drift, in some places, of Latino voters ahead of November's midterm election.


One of the big themes of the piece in this limited series you've put together that will air tonight on MSNBC is not treating Latino voters and Latinos in America as this monolith, which frankly a lot of progressives, I think, have in the past, making assumptions about their views on issues like immigration and others. 

What did you find in your conversations?

RAMOS: Of course, I think that's the big story, right? Donald Trump did do ten points better in 2020 than he did in 2016, right? And I think many people dismissed that, right? 

I think many people just saw the banner of Joe Biden winning that 60 percent of Latino voters. But I think that ten percent shift is really important.

Even after all the hubbub served by Nicolle Wallace and the like, Donald J. Trump did (something like) ten points better with Hispanic voters the second time around.

Votes are peeling away from our tribe in ways we may not understand. Those votes are peeling away from our tribe among voters we may not understand, among voters we may not respect. 

Those votes are peeling away from our tribe in the face of the cartoonized portraits our corporate-selected elite "thought leaders" have offered us down through the years. Within our cartoonized Storyline, we Dems were going to win every election once our nation's ongoing demographic shift put white voters in the minority.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. That said, our thought leaders are largely empty suits, with the always accomodating Geist possibly numbered among them.

Down in Uvalde, Flores' family members feel they need to be armed for self-protection. Flores fears the high-speed chases which come through Uvalde, high-speed chases involving people she presumes to be armed.

We can't speak to the accuracy of her perceptions. We can suggest that liberals and progressives should learn to respect the American people, humbling though the process may be. And we can tell you this:

As a general matter, our tribe has been very surprised by the way Hispanic voters have shifted away from our candidates and from our enduring wisdom. As a general matter, we blue tribals have been so thoroughly clueless that, when George Zimmerman was first described as a "white Hispanic," many of us were baffled by such a baffling term.

(Within the U.S. Census, large numbers of Hispanics identify as white. A substantially smaller number identify as black, or in some other manner.)

Here in our deeply self-impressed tribe, we tend to live within our cartoon portraits of the way the world works. Within those silly cartoonized portraits, white crackers are drawn to Donald J. Trump, and perhaps to "gun culture"—white racists and nobody else.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our tribe is often quite unimpressive, especially at the "corporate news" end. Our thought leaders give us our cartoonized portraits, which feed our propaganda. 

That propaganda is all around us; almost surely, it doesn't serve our interests especially well. Tomorrow, we'll look at some of that propaganda, starting with some peculiar passages in the portrait of Uvalde recently offered by Neil Meyer in the Washington Post.

Meyer is a good, decent person. We liberals are so deeply embedded within our cartoons that we may not be aware of the endless ways we push their pleasures along.

Tomorrow: Why is our blue tribe (sometimes) so loathed?


  1. The Hispanic vote in 2020 was the same as in 2000. Note the words "in some places" in the statement by Ramos. There have always been more conservative Hispanics in some places. The Hispanic Cubanos in Miami have always been conservative -- they are the wealthier people who fled Havana ahead of Castro, professionals and upper class Cubans. They have always been Republican. The main thing Ramos reminds us is not to treat Hispanics as a monolith, but Democrats have not done that, before or now.

    Somerby today joins the right-wing effort to convince left-leaning voters that there is a ground-swell among Hispanics toward Trump and the Republican party. The voting patterns from 2020 do not support that idea.

    Somerby keeps repeating "do we have something to learn," but he doesn't say what our take-away message should be. That's because he isn't talking about actual facts but attempting to create a false impression, spread conservative disinformation, about the Democrats losing traction among Hispanics.

    As Ramos notes, those people in Uvalde voted for Trump in 2020, before this shooting. They are not trending right. They were already conservative. But they do not signal that Hispanics in Austin are shifting, nor those in Calfiornia, Colorado, or anywhere else that isn't already a red area. And no one in Uvalde is claiming they need an AR-15 to protect themselves from border-crossers, when they are not even a border town. This one, 43-year old woman may or may not be typical of Uvalde political opinion among Hispanics (Somerby won't even say she is Hispanic), but her statement merits an entire essay today, as if she is evidence of a sea-change, and not simply one woman interviewed, with one opinion, her own. But look how quickly Somerby jumps on this right-wing bandwagon!

    At least he isn't smearing this female, Hispanic reporter. I guess he is willing to set aside her youth and inexperience when she is saying something detrimental to liberals.

  2. "(Within the U.S. Census, large numbers of Hispanics identify as white. A substantially smaller number identify as black, or in some other manner.)"

    Hispanics who "identify as" black are those coming from Puerto Rico (where they are born US citizens) or immigrating from the Caribbean, who are descended from African slaves. These are not the Hispanic people living in Uvalde, where there are a very tiny number of black people.

  3. "Tomorrow: Why is our blue tribe (sometimes) so loathed?"

    First, the blue tribe is not loathed, except by conservatives. Second, assuming that we are loathed, without evidence, makes Somerby's statement propagandistic. Third, the insertion of the word "sometimes" makes Somerby's statement meaningless. Fourth, and most importantly, why is a supposed liberal assuming that we are loathed and then trying to tell us how horrible we are, as he does today?

    Why is Somerby talking and behaving like a red tribe member?

    This is a conservative talking point without any basis in election results:


    "The analysis of votes cast in 13 states is the most comprehensive look at how Latinos voted in the 2020 general election. In 12 of those states, Latinos supported Biden over President Donald Trump by a margin of at least 2 to 1. And in nine of the 13 — including the battleground states of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — the margin was at least 3 to 1. Only in Florida was Biden’s margin among Latino voters less than 2 to 1.

    Nationwide, Latinos cast 16.6 million votes in 2020, an increase of 30.9% over the 2016 presidential election. By comparison, turnout was 15.9% greater among voters of all races. The states analyzed in the report — Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin — are collectively home to about 80% of the nation’s Latino electorate.

    The authors write that Latinos played a key role in swinging election results in several battleground states. In Arizona, where Latinos represent 25.2% of all registered voters, the size and turnout of the Latino electorate helped Biden become the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since Bill Clinton in 1996. And even in Wisconsin and Georgia — where Latinos make up less than 5% of registered voters — the Latino electorate helped tipped the results in favor of Biden, whose margin of victory was less than a single percentage point in each state."

    It should be obvious that conservatives hope to sway Hispanic voters, but lying about their voting patterns in 2020 is just more Republican disinformation.

    1. "Why is Somerby talking and behaving like a red tribe member?"

      Because he wants the red tribe to fix its problems. The first step to fixing a problem is noticing that you have a problem.

    2. I assume you made a typo in your 2nd paragraph and meant to say "blue tribe".

      As noted below, the Democrats have not been treating Hispanics as a monolithic group, disrespecting their differences. How then, is Somerby trying to fix a problem on the left with today's essay?

  4. "Talk about the Latino vote surged after incumbent President Donald Trump picked up Florida’s 29 electoral votes early on Tuesday evening. Indeed, the Cuban-American vote in Florida was decisive, breaking 56-41 for the Republican incumbent compared to an even 49-49 split among non-Cuban voters. But the Latino vote in Florida is a singular one.

    Nationwide, Democrat Joe Biden got 66 percent support in national exit polls, on par with Hillary Clinton’s 65 percent in 2016. It was nevertheless a mixed bag: he performed 6 points better in California, for example, but 4 points worse in Nevada, where Latino men voted for Trump in particularly high numbers."

    and this: "Latino voters’ strongest showings for the Republican presidential candidate were in 2004 and 1984, and for the Democratic one in 1996 and 2012."

    This contradicts the assertion of a strong swing among Hispanics toward Donald Trump.


  5. Somerby could have looked up some statistics himself before writing today's essay, but he didn't bother. It took me about 2 minutes to find out that these Republican claims are untrue. Why didn't Somerby check before supporting this right-wing talking point?

    Perhaps he is demonstrating by example what it looks like when someone believes what they want to hear?

    Democrats involved in politics have not ever taken Hispanic votes for granted, nor do they confuse Puerto Ricans with Cubanos with Chicanos with Latin Americans. This lack of homogeneity among Hispanics may be new to Somerby, but it is very old in the Southwest, and especially among Hispanics themselves. There is no Democratic candidate who does not have someone on their staff who understands Hispanic voters and their local and national issues. So who is this appeal aimed at? Not Democrats.

    Talk about cartoonish! Somerby has never talked about NAEP scores among Hispanic students. He doesn't give a fig about them, except now, when the Republicans have decided to try to swing Hispanic voters in the midterms.

  6. "Why is our blue tribe (sometimes) so loathed?"

    A better question is 'who is our blue tribe loathed by?'

    Fox News has been teaching its viewers to loathe liberals for decades now. Is it surprising that Trump supporters in pickup trucks are driving through demonstrations or crowds on sidewalks? Is it surprising that Kyle Rittenhouse thought it would be fun to go shoot protesters? Is it surprising that public officials receive so many death threats?

    Is Somerby now going to join that group of brainwashed morons? He has himself been loathing "our tribe" since 2015. I suspect that is when he started receiving his paycheck to turn an ostensibly liberal blog into a mouthpiece for Trump and the right, if not Russia.

  7. "Uvalde School District Police chief Pete Arredondo, the officer who’s under scrutiny for leading the local police’s botched response to the elementary school shooting last week, refused to answer a CNN reporter’s questions on Wednesday."

    Is Somerby aware that Arrendondo is an Hispanic surname? Is Arrendondo likely to be a Biden supporter or did he vote for Trump? I would bet the latter. Amanda Flores is not the only Hispanic person in Uvalde. In a town that is mostly Hispanic, there will be Hispanic people occupying many of the niches of small town life, including the typically conservative ones, such as in law enforcement.

    Is Somerby so dim as to assume that liberals anywhere think that all Hispanics are like Cesar Chavez? Is anyone more of an asshole than Somerby?

  8. It didn't take Somerby long to lose interest in gun control or other efforts to stop school shootings, like the one in Uvalde. Today's essay really seems like an effort to distract from talk about gun control. Meanwhile:

    "No-compromise gun rights groups are preparing to mount an aggressive campaign against any red flag legislation in Congress as a response to the elementary school massacre in Uvalde, Texas."

    Could it be that Ms. Flores is being featured in order to show that Uvalde's town members do not want to see gun control? Her appearance on Field Reports may be in service of anti-gun-control efforts, not any concern about the rightward drift of Hispanic voters (ahead of 2024). She may have been interviewed solely to deliver her line about wanting to keep their guns despite the shooting. And Somerby is on board with promoting that line too.


  9. "We wouldn't use the term "illegals" ourselves."

    Yeah, dear Bob, this is extremely important to you and your tribe! Your tribe's main dogma, or so we've heard.

    So, which euphemism is authorized by your tribe's shamans? Is it "documently challenged"? "Differently documented"?

    Please enlighten...

    1. They're calling them "Part of the All Lives Matter" group, Right-wingers invoke when it's pointed out blacks aren't being treated equally by the justice system.
      Consider yourself enlightened.

    2. Could you name the statute being broken, please?

      Yeah, you can't.

      Unlawful entry is a misdemeanor, otherwise being in the country is not a crime, so "illegals" is the wrong word and it just makes you look ignorant of really basic knowledge.

      Furthermore, the crime rate among the undocumented is lower than US citizens' crime rate, and they add billions of dollars to our economy, and treasury as well.

      Right wingers are guided by a "feeling" they are right, regardless of the facts. Somerby's notion that with just some tenderness we can convert these right wingers to our side is utter nonsense, this commenter demonstrates the failure of Somerby's notion, daily.

  10. This article argues that the reason why Ramos was allowed into the school was because he was armed and thus a symbol of the Uvalde in-group of gun owners, not because police were scared. That seems implausible to me, but the entire Uvalde police swat team is Hispanic. Does anyone imagine they voted for Biden?

    The article argues that there is a town power hierarchy with gun ownership as an entry, a symbol of membership. Those with guns were included, not criminal or deviant outcasts. So Ramos was seen as "one of them" not a bad guy when the cops were waiting in the corridor outside that classroom. That is a disturbing thought.


    Today Somerby argues that we cannot perceive of Trump supporters as monolithic because Hispanics are not monolithic and some support Trump. But if the ones supporting Trump have accepted the values of MAGAs, then Somerby's argument is wrong.

    If Hispanics who support Trump are trying to become part of a white power structure in Uvalde, then their support for guns is not surprising, nor does it represent Hispanic culture among people trying not to be Hispanic in a town where being such puts one at the bottom of a social hierarchy, allied with poor people lacking in status. If buying a gun makes one less Hispanic and more white, higher class, then shooting the poorest brown kids is a way of rejecting one's place at the bottom of a social ladder.

    This seems more plausible to me than believing that there is a ground-swell among Hispanics toward supporting Trump, despite the lack of any statistics supporting that view.

  11. Paul Campos (a Hispanic name) at Lawyers, Guns & Money blog writes:

    "There’s a theory going around that, when people like Marjorie Taylor Greene say or tweet remarkably sub-literate things like mangling the metaphor of a petri dish by describing it as a “peach tree dish,” this is all just some very elaborate ploy to troll the libs, i.e., they may look dumb but that’s just a disguise...

    ...I suspect what’s going on here is somewhat multi-faceted. I think Donald Trump, MGT, et. al. are genuinely dumb people, who more or less unintentionally make silly linguistic mistakes of various types. For example I doubt that Trump’s random capitalization habits are some sort of ploy: it’s just the way somebody who can’t really write and has never bothered to learn tries to convey emphasis or importance or something.

    On the other hand, Trump, MGT, and the rest of the army of right wing trolls realize on at least some feral level that it’s good publicity when their various malapropisms are called out by the snooty elite coastal brie and cream cheese-munching (remember that one? That one never made any sense at all to me. What do brie and cream cheese have in common, and why would anyone combine them? But for years it was the “brie and cream cheese” elites making fun of the common clay of the West etc.) grammar nerds, because engagement is the bitcoin of the Internet realm.

    Analogously, I don’t doubt that one reason Yglesias does his well actshually contrarian schtick is because it generates engagement, even when it’s of a purely negative kind. But here again I suspect some complex factors are at work. Yglesias et. al. play at being contrarian truth speakers because they actually believe, at least to some extent, what they’re saying, and hey it’s not their fault that people get upset when they encounter the counter-intuitive truth.

    There’s a spectrum here, that runs from completely legitimate social criticism that upsets people precisely because it’s correct, through hey look at me sort of true but annoyingly tactless contrarianism, (Yglesias’s asshole tweet on the day of the Uvalde murders), to pure trolling (pretty much the entire right wing “engagement” apparatus).

    Asking whether the linguistic mistakes of people like Trump and MGT are intentional seems like the wrong question, or at least too simple of a question: These mistakes are, I think, both unintentional and intentional, in different ways.

    Asking whether Yglesias is being sincere in his asshole contrarianism also seems like the wrong question: in one sense he’s being sincere — he believes what he’s saying is true — but in another he’s insincere: he says what he believes in a way and at a time that he knows will upset people, because as Lindsay Beyerstein points out, that’s his business model."

    I suspect the same is true for Somerby. He can't be as stupid as he comes across, and often the timing of his crassness seems too cruel to be anything other than trolling the libs.

  12. Now that there is finally the ability to study mass shooters, here is a preliminary sketch of their motives:


    1. Saved you a click.

      They no longer think it's notoriety, more just a way to commit suicide.

      I believe it's both. Suicide can be achieved without killing a bunch of people. They obviously intend to "go out with a bang."

    2. I would also add the motive of revenge, or lashing out at those perceived to be at fault or caused the perp's current life situation to be in the bad place it is.

  13. If anyone can explain what the hell this
    town going for Trump has to do with
    The massacre I’m all ears. The best
    can do is that gun ownership lulled them
    into a false sense of security. Beyond
    that, all I can think is that Bob would
    rather write about that then those
    dead kids he had zero interest in.

    1. Could it possibly be a link
      between gun ownership
      and voting?
      Words are hard.

    2. I'm sorry, are you suggesting that Dems reversing course and supporting gun ownership would gain them votes from right wingers?


      If this is the case, you woefully misunderstand the electorate.

    3. It just means that and overwhelming majority of the people related to the murdered children are totally cool with bigotry.

    4. The parents?

    5. If there is a link between gun ownership and voting, what does that have to do with the massacre?

  14. Conservatives don’t seem to concern themselves with the anti-semites in their midst.
    That might be why Jews vote for Democrats.

  15. Hey, David. You know the guys marching with torches chanting "Jews will not replace us"? They're on your team. This might explain your confusion. Just a thought.

  16. American Jews enjoy a culture of strong and healthy familial bonds and of wealth, so the root cause of right wing values is generally missing - unresolved childhood trauma.

    The Zionist movement started in the 1800s, the Jews that colonized Israel since then have been highly educated and wealthy. They used their education and wealth, and their ability to steal land with little remorse, to create an empire based on oranges. Later, they diversified, particularly by being extremely strategic to the US, which garnered them billions of dollars every year, something Palestinians were not privy to.

  17. I agree with 11:26. Jews hate the bigoted Mexican family members of the murdered children in Uvalde.

  18. Bob usually hates reporters for what he's doing here. A high speed chase.... Ok. Everyone being chased by the state police etc are presumably guilty, right? Oh Bob. Oh honey you really didn't even try.