vimothy

yurp
Michael Brenden Dougherty's article on Trump, Buchanan and Samuel Francis is worth reading as as an alternative perspective to Kagan's: http://theweek.com/articles/599577/...t-buchanan-predicted-wild-trump-campaign-1996

Samuel Francis was a paleo-conservative intellectual who died in 2005. Earlier in his career he helped Senator East of North Carolina oppose the Martin Luther King holiday. He wrote a white paper recommending the Reagan White House use its law enforcement powers to break up and harass left-wing groups. He was an intellectual disciple of James Burnham's political realism...

To simplify Francis' theory [which he proposed Patrick Buchanan take advantage of in much the same way that Trump has]: There are a number of Americans who are losers from a process of economic globalization that enriches a transnational global elite. These Middle Americans see jobs disappearing to Asia and increased competition from immigrants. Most of them feel threatened by cultural liberalism, at least the type that sees Middle Americans as loathsome white bigots. But they are also threatened by conservatives who would take away their Medicare, hand their Social Security earnings to fund-managers in Connecticut, and cut off their unemployment too.

(...)

For decades, people have been warning that a set of policies that really has enriched Americans on the top, and likely has improved the overall quality of life (through cheap consumables) on the bottom, has hollowed out the middle.

Chinese competition really did hammer the Rust Belt and parts of the great Appalachian ghetto. It made the life prospects for men — in marriage and in their careers — much dimmer than those of their fathers. Libertarian economists, standing giddily behind Republican politicians, celebrate this as creative destruction even as the collateral damage claims millions of formerly-secure livelihoods, and — almost as crucially — overall trust and respect in the nation's governing class. Immigration really does change the calculus for native-born workers too...

The political left treats this as a made-up problem, a scapegoating by Applebee's-eating, megachurch rubes who think they are losing their "jerbs." Remember, Republicans and Democrats have still been getting elected all this time.

But the response of the predominantly-white class that Francis was writing about has mostly been one of personal despair. And thus we see them dying in middle age of drug overdose, alcoholism, or obesity at rates that now outpace those of even poorer blacks and Hispanics. Their rate of suicide is sky high too. Living in Washington D.C., however, with an endless two decade real-estate boom, and a free-lunch economy paid for by special interests, most of the people in the conservative movement hardly know that some Americans think America needs to be made great again.

In speeches, Trump mostly implies that the ruling class conducts trade deals or the business of government stupidly and weakly, not villainously or out of personal pecuniary motives. But the message of his campaign is that America's interests have been betrayed by fools.
 

Leo

Well-known member
safe to say if my father was still alive (and a bit younger), i can imagine him being one of the disgruntled unemployed white male trump supporters. he didn't go to college, spent time in the navy, worked blue-collar jobs in industries that no longer exist where he lived, and probably wouldn't have been successful in late-life skills retraining. easy to see why people like him are resentful of washington elites and willing to blow up the current political system. hopeless people have nothing to lose.
 
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trza

Well-known member
I've been to a bunch of towns that Trump won in already, the places where factories closed decades ago and he comes in and gives a speech about all the money he has made and how great America is. Then I have a neighbor with a confederate flag in his apartment window who I saw outside his house and he had a Trump sweater on, then a couple yard signs but not as many as the other guys.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Trump-Rubio ticket looks a bit less likely now :)

They do have something in common though - a propensity to mindlessly repeat the same stock phrases in place of anything of substance, usually banalities about America and the un-Americanness of Barack Obama. Granted, politics is soundbite central these days, but it's kinda embarrassing when someone (albeit himself an utter sleazebag) points this out, and you continue to do it:

e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9OZ8xHTX7c
 
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vimothy

yurp
Thanks for that.

Christopher Caldwell's recent article about the crises in France is also worth reading for its perceptive analysis of the rise of the populist right:

You might think France is sitting on a powder keg, that its heavily immigrant suburbs are about to "blow." But that is not exactly what is going on. There is a new political configuration in France...

France has been cut in two by the globalization of its economy. The urban upper classes of Paris and a couple of other cities... have never been better off... But the benefits have been poorly spread. The middle class is shrinking. The gap between rich and poor is growing... [In La France Périphérique, "geographer" Christophe] Guilluy changes it all by asking a bold question: Why would you expect Paris to have a middle class?

Paris's prospects have improved because it has specialized. The division of labor has become global. Paris is now a place for couturiers, writers, film directors, CEOs, and other "symbolic analysts," the people who design, direct, conceive, and analyze things. But the jobs the middle class used to do all over France — manufacturing, mostly — are best done elsewhere. You would not expect a middle class in Paris any more than you would expect one on a cattle ranch. That's not what Paris is for...

Even if Paris does not need a middle class, it desperately needs a lower class. Those symbolic analysts require people to chop their sushi, mix their cocktails, dust their apartments, and push their children's strollers and their parents' wheelchairs. This means immigrants — and increasingly it means only immigrants... The banlieues are an integrated part of the world economy. There is now an immigrant-descended petite bourgeoisie. Naturally, as rich people monopolize the private housing stock, poor newcomers monopolize the welfare housing. Far from being a drain on rich people's taxes, these projects provide subsidized housing for their servants...

The acute problem is the reconstitution, recomposition, displacement, and... eviction of the native working and middle classes from the productive parts of the urban economy. These natives are locked out of a France that they thought belonged to them. The rich have bid up the price of urban real estate to the point where those from outside the metropolis cannot afford even to rent it. Public housing is not an option because its inhabitants are almost never French and are very often Muslim. To move into it is to become a despised minority in one's "own" country...
Unfortunately the political elite is congenitally incapable of recognising, let alone ameliorating, these problems:

This reconfiguration of French society is not the immigrants' fault. But the most explosive potential problems in France have everything to do with immigration. The system's main beneficiaries defend mass immigration as if it were a matter of civilizational life or death... In a recent interview, the financier George Soros lauded German chancellor Angela Merkel for being "farsighted when she recognized that the migration crisis had the potential to destroy the European Union, first by causing a breakdown of the Schengen system of open borders and, eventually, by undermining the common market." This is rather a non sequitur: Isn't it her bad decisions, rather than the crisis itself, that are destroying the EU? If a Union's survival depends on the unexpected arrival at random intervals of millions of desperate foreigners, it's probably not terribly stable to begin with.

It is better in some ways to be an immigrant in a housing project in La Courneuve, outside of Paris... than to be cut off from the global economy in... "peripheral France." The people who live there are doing badly, and they are coming to see this as the outcome of a deliberate policy. In January, INSEE... announced that the life expectancy of French people of both sexes had fallen for the first time since World War II... [T]hose banished from the big urban economies are "the nightmare of the ruling classes." This is because they still constitute an electoral majority, and they have chosen the National Front as their vehicle. The two main parties are both built on shrinking bases. The electoral base of France's Socialists consists of those enriched by globalization and those protected from it (like public employees). The electoral base of France's Republicans consists largely of retirees. The National Front is the fastest-growing party because it is the party of globalization's losers, and globalization is producing more losers than winners...
This is at least partly because they have no access to views outside their frame, which is defined by a positive orientation to globalisation:

If Guilluy is right... we are using antiquated categories that make the most explosive social problems of our time wholly invisible to us... From the age of social democracy, when class was measured by one dimension, income, we have inherited the habit of assuming political issues will pit "the rich" against "the poor." But today's issues don't. The dividing line on most issues is whether people are being helped or hurt by the global economy.

A journalist or sociologist or businessman looking only at Paris, with the best faith in the world, cannot form an objective view of whether France is doing well. You talk to rich and poor, old and young, black and white, male and female, immigrant and native .  .  . but these are all people for whom France is "working." What is more, the mainstream sources from whom one might absorb alternative information — journalists, television broadcasters, comedians — all inhabit this same world. Those who do not are so absolutely invisible that they cannot even be analyzed. You wouldn't know, for instance, that 64 percent of working-class people in France favor the death penalty.
The same dynamic is also at play in the US:

Surely something similar is at work in our own politics. Consider the Democratic primaries. Whether one likes the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders or not, everyone will agree that he has a more coherent political program than Hillary Clinton. But everyone is wrong. Sanders's textbook socialism makes sense for an industrial proletariat of 100 years ago, but this proletariat is an imaginary friend. In fact, Sanders is using a program designed for the wretched of the earth to appeal to the party of globalization's winners. Not all Democrats are winning the same way... but it is improving for all of them. For these groups Hillary is the better ideological match... Similarly, if one uses Guilluy's model to think of the Republicans as the party of those, from the top of the social scale to the bottom, for whom globalization has made things worse, one can see that Donald Trump... has been winning primaries because he has thus far been the best candidate, with "best" not meant in any condescending way. His success rests not on demagogic tricks but on a truth about the global division of labor that has eluded other candidates. Whatever that truth is, it has something to do with the word "again" in "Make America Great Again."
 
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droid

Beast of Burden
Sanders is far from a 'textbook socialist'. Hes a new deal Democrat, less radical even.
 

trza

Well-known member
Donald Trump's middle initial is J, making him DJ Trump. And Dj Trump has carefully curated a playlist that is repeated at extremely high volume at least three times before each live event. The playlist of seventies and eighties pop has the effect of building his crowd into a giant angry mob of psychopaths bent on violence and destruction. Songs like Rocket Man and Uptown Girl are replayed until the crowd starts to chant Turn It Off or people start punching the person next to them. This is a musical phenomenon.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Has any else seen friends or friends-of-friends sharing this bloody damnfool Avaaz petition calling on Mr Trump to please, if he wouldn't mind, stop being such a mean old poopyhead?

http://secure.avaaz.org/en/deartrump/

I honestly can't imagine what they think they're going to achieve by this. Reactionary populists like Trump (and Farage, le Pen etc.) thrive on opposition and on a carefully cultivated sense of being 'excluded' and 'oppressed' by 'the liberal elite'. Trump, in particular, has made an entire career out of promoting the idea that white, straight, Christian, working-class and lower-middle-class Americans are somehow the victims of exactly the sort of people who sign Avaaz petitions.

So I think this effort is going to have no effect on his campaign whatsoever in the best case, and could even strengthen his position. Fucking gesture politics, clicktivism and virtue signaling, honestly.
 
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Leo

Well-known member
agreed...and yes, that petition is horseshit. having a bunch of europeans oppose him is only a plus for his campaign. remember, this is the guy who claims he's not sure NATO has any value, doesn't want to take the use of nukes in europe off the table and thinks the rest of the world should take care of their own problems instead of always expecting the US to do it for them. of course, he probably doesn't actually believe much (most?) of what he says on the campaign trail, but it sounds good to his hardcore followers.

luckily, there are signs that his campaign is imploding from the inside, mismanaging delegate recruitment and, as Politico says, having their own version of "hunger games" between three competing internal factions. there's no stopping him if he gets 1,237 delegate before the convention, but that's looking much less likely to happen now after his big loss in wisconsin. the convention will be nuts if he doesn't have to delegates going in, both he and his supporters will be batshit crazy if he collects the most votes but doesn't end up with the nomination. it's a conspiracy, he was cheated!!! the thing is, delegates are requited to vote as their districts/states voted on the first ballot, but then free to vote for whoever they want on subsequent ballots.
 
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Also worthy of a mention is that 10s of thousands of people tried to support having guns at the RNC. Even if the Secret Service "doesn't allow it" you know there will be guns at a contested convention.
 

Leo

Well-known member
Also worthy of a mention is that 10s of thousands of people tried to support having guns at the RNC. Even if the Secret Service "doesn't allow it" you know there will be guns at a contested convention.
that "guns at the GOP convention" petition was great because it totally called their bluff, not one republican backed it. all these blowhard conservatives who always push for allowing open carry in Starbuck's, churches, schools, etc., were suddenly revealed as chickshit when it came to their own party supporters packing heat on their convention floor. so much hypocrisy.
 
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