Archive for the ‘Election’ Category
Kevin Drum has a short and well-written post (with a chart) that shows how very wrong/uninformed Donald Trump is. Ignorance can bestow confidence, betraying the fool.
Emma Roller has a column in the NY Times about last night’s debate. From the column, quoting Mr. Lipina:
“Who do I hope will win? Donald Trump.”
He said that while his own political philosophy aligns more with Mr. Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, he wants anyone but Mrs. Clinton to win because he finds her untrustworthy.
I cannot understand how anyone could view Donald Trump as trustworthy. He lies constantly, changes his story frequently, hides his federal tax return, declare bankruptcy repeatedly, refuses to pay his contractors for work that they’ve performed, and so on. Those are not the actions of a trustworthy person. But Mr. Lipina doesn’t like the “untrustworthy” Clinton and so will vote for Trump.
Our country is becoming very weird, it seems to me.
Erica Edelson writes in Salon:
The only way to talk someone out of voting for Trump is to stop trying to talk them out of voting for Trump. To all my fellow progressives who’ve been busily browbeating supporters of this dangerous demagogue, you’re invited to become an early adopter of a far more rewarding, non-adversarial approach called “powerful non-defensive communication.”
According to most commentators, the prototypical Trump supporter is an uneducated, narrow-minded bigot with legitimate grievances against the faltering economy which Trump has skillfully alchemized into violent rage toward non-whites, Muslims and successful women. The Trump voter is a patriarchal authoritarian primed since early childhood to fearfully submit to a bullying father who always knows best. In the circular logic of the authoritarian mindset, might makes right — and so Trump, as the strongman, is necessarily the winner in a competition against losers.
While there is some truth to this profile, it doesn’t capture the nuances of experience, emotion and belief that are about to lead tens of millions of voters to pull the lever for Trump, including, as of July, 11 percent of Muslims, 13 percent of Latinos, 34 percent of women and significant numbers of professionals. Progressives tend to react to such information with groaning disbelief, at which point we either give up or rededicate ourselves to enlightening the ignorant dupes with scads of facts that contradict the false narrative spun by Trump.
As anyone who’s ever tried to reason someone out of their core beliefs knows, the mind filters out contradictory information, particularly the mind of an authoritarian whose panic button is stuck in the On position. Debating them and trying to convince them to dump Trump will make them dig in deeper — that’s what people do when they feel threatened. Also, as Newt Gingrich makes woefully clear in a John Oliver clip, everyone’s got their own set of “facts” these days, so flinging more facts back and forth is futile.
So what should we do instead? To answer this question, I contacted communication guru Sharon Ellison, creator of powerful non-defensive communication and author of “Taking the War Out of Our Words.” Ellison has trained thousands of educators, government officials and corporate and non-profit leaders, including me, in a novel, straightforward style of communication that avoids the pitfalls of the conventional adversarial approach. She was credited with turning around a trailing gubernatorial campaign by training the candidate in powerful non-defensive communication, and her website teems with testimonials from trainees who’ve achieved communication and relationship breakthroughs they’d never imagined.
I asked Ellison for tips on engaging Trump supporters in ways that encourage them to drop their mental defenses and rethink their position. The starting place, she says, is curiosity.
Instead of blasting Trump or insulting the morality or intelligence of his supporters, first, just get curious. You don’t have to agree; you’re simply gathering information and trying to understand where they’re coming from, even if you believe they’re deeply misguided.
Make it a dialogue, not a debate or an inquisition. No matter how true and rational your analysis is, force-feeding it will not go down well. . .
Kevin Drum points out that some things that are criticized about the Clinton Foundation is why it works:
When it comes to charity, Dylan Matthews is pretty hardnosed. To earn his approval, a charity better focus on truly important problems and be damn good at it. So how about the Clinton Foundation? After starting out as a skeptic, he says, “I’ve come to the conclusion that the Clinton Foundation is a real charitable enterprise that did enormous good.” In particular, he praises the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which helped lower the cost of HIV drugs and saved untold lives. But there’s a catch:
And—perhaps uncomfortably for liberals and conservatives alike — it is exactly the kind of unsavory-seeming glad-handing and melding of business and politics for which Bill and Hillary Clinton have taken years of criticism that led to its greatest success…. The deals made required buy-in from developing governments. The person tasked with getting that buy-in was a former US president with existing relationships with many of those people.Bill Clinton essentially used his chumminess with foreign politicians and pharmaceutical executives, the kind of thing about the Clinton Global Initiative that earns suspicious news coverage, to enlist their help in a scheme to expand access to HIV/AIDS drugs.
I don’t get it. Why should this make anyone feel uncomfortable? Lots of people have star power, but very few have star power with both rich people and foreign leaders. Bill Clinton is one of those few, so he chose a project that (a) could save a lot of lives, (b) required buy-in from both rich people and foreign leaders, and (c) was right at the cusp where an extra push could really make a difference.
I can’t even imagine why anyone would consider this unsavory, unless they’ve lived in a cave all their lives and don’t understand that glad-handing and chumminess are essential parts of how human societies operate. Matthews may be right that many people feel uneasy about this, but I can’t figure out why. It sounds like Clinton chose to do something that his particular mix of experience and character traits made him uncommonly good at. That’s pretty smart.
Jennifer Rubin writes in the Washington Post:
A cottage industry of apologists for Donald Trump and his supporters has sprung up to excuse, justify, infantilize and pity his core group of white, non-college-educated males who lash out at immigrants and globalism more generally. Victims ignored by elites! The Emmy winners mock them! There are more than a few problems with this.
First, conservatives used to stand up for “creative destruction,” the rise and fall of businesses and entire industries, which is an intrinsic part of a dynamic free market. If you’re not a hard-core Libertarian, the average conservative has considered the solution to this problem to be a safety net and tax, education and other policies that allow workers to rebound; it has never been to halt the marketplace or shift to a government-planned economy. The latter has been tried and has failed, as conservatives are quick to point out when ridiculing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or other anti-capitalist wags. It also exempts these voters from responsibility for their lives. The coal town is depopulated? Yes, that’s sad, but why are they not moving — as immigrants do — to where the jobs are?
Second, the ills about which Trump and his apologists complain have little to do with the plight of many of their supporters (whose average salary is $72,000, much higher than that of the average Sanders or Hillary Clinton supporter). The things Trump demonizes — free trade and immigration — did not cause the decline of low-skilled manufacturing (automation did that); they have, however, contributed to the resurgence of high-skill manufacturing in the United States to such an extent that we have record numbers of unfilled manufacturing jobs. If Trump were railing about the lack of job training programs, that would be one thing, but he is not, of course. Constructive measures that do not involve attacks on others are of no concern to him. He’s simply casting about for targets for white, lower-class rage.
Third, Trump’s defenders seem to demand that we treat members of his base delicately for fear of ruffling their feathers and damaging their self-esteem. . .
Continue reading. There’s quite a bit more and she doesn’t let up.
Jason DeParle has an interesting review in the NY Times:
STRANGERS IN THEIR OWN LAND
Anger and Mourning on the American Right
By Arlie Russell Hochschild
351 pp. The New Press. $27.95.
Arlie Hochschild’s generous but disconcerting look at the Tea Party presents a likable fellow named Lee Sherman, who once worked for a Louisiana chemical plant where his duties included illegally dumping toxic waste into the bayou.
Sherman did the dirty work; then the company did him dirty. After 15 years on the job, he was doused with chemicals that “burned my clothes clean off me” and left him ill. But rather than pay his disability costs, his bosses accused him of absenteeism and fired him.
Sherman became a fledgling environmentalist and got his revenge after a giant fish kill threatened the livelihood of nearby fishermen. Company officials feigned innocence, but Sherman barged into a public meeting with an incriminating sign: I’M THE ONE WHO DUMPED IT IN THE BAYOU. Fast-forward a couple of decades and Sherman, still an environmentalist, is campaigning for a Tea Party congressman who wants to gut the Environmental Protection Agency. Sherman still distrusts chemical companies, but he distrusts the federal government more, because it spends his tax money on people who “lazed around days and partied at night.”
In “Strangers in Their Own Land,” which has been nominated for a National Book Award, Hochschild calls this the “Great Paradox” — opposition to federal help from people and places that need it — and sets off across Louisiana on an energetic, open-minded quest to understand it.
A distinguished Berkeley sociologist, Hochschild is a woman of the left, but her mission is empathy, not polemics. She takes seriously the Tea Partiers’ complaints that they have become the “strangers” of the title — triply marginalized by flat or falling wages, rapid demographic change, and liberal culture that mocks their faith and patriotism. Her affection for her characters is palpable.
But the resentments she finds are as toxic as the pollutants in the marsh and metastasizing throughout politics. What unites her subjects is the powerful feeling that others are “cutting in line” and that the federal government is supporting people on the dole — “taking money from the workers and giving it to the idle.” Income is flowing up, but the anger points down.
The people who feel this are white. The usurpers they picture are blacks and immigrants. Hochschild takes care not to call anyone racist but concludes that “race is an essential part of this story.” When she asks a small-town mayor to describe his politics, his first two issues — or is it one in his mind? — are welfare and race: “I don’t like the government paying unwed mothers to have a lot of kids, and I don’t go for affirmative action.”
In welfare politics, this is déjà vu all over again. It’s been two decades since Bill Clinton signed a tough welfare law aimed in part to end the politics of blame. “Ending welfare as we know it” would recast the needy as workers, he said, and build support for a new safety net. The rolls of the main federal cash program have fallen by 80 percent from their 1990s highs — in Louisiana, by 95 percent. But reverse class anger is more potent than ever.
Liberals have long wondered why working-class voters support policies that (the liberals think) hurt the working class. Why would victims of pollution side with the polluters? . . .