SELF-RECOMMENDING!

Trump: A Setback For Trumpism

Donald Trump has been called a setback for many things. America. The global community. The environment. Civil service. Civil society. Civility. Civilization. The list goes on.

One might think he has at least been useful to his own cause. That he could at least claim to have benefited the ideas of populism, nationalism, immigration control, and protectionism. That if anything could avoid being devastated by Trump, it would be Trumpism.

But here are some polls from the past few years. They’re all on slightly different things, but I think together they tell an interesting story:

Support for global free trade mysteriously spiked around 2016.

So did moral support for immigrants.

…and, less clearly but still there, support for increasing the number of immigrants (though see here for an apparently contrary source).

…and opposition to deporting illegal immigrants.

So did belief in racial discrimination as a major cause of inequality, according to this chart with a completely unbiased title which is willing to let readers decide how to think about this issue for themselves.

And so did trust in the New York Times and other mainstream media sources.

The clearest example I can find of this effect doesn’t come from the US at all. It’s Minkus, Deutschmann & Delhey (2018). They find that a large European poll asked the same question about support for the EU the week before and after Trump’s election. Just after the election, there was a giant spike in support for the EU, “considerable in size, roughly equivalent to three years of education”. They conclude that:

The election of Trump as a right-wing nationalist with a declared aversion to supranational institutions including the EU — did not trigger a domino effect in the same direction in Europe. To the contrary, a rally effect occurred, in which Europe moved closer together, rallying around the EU’s “flag.” This indicates that an event that may at first sight appear to be a global victory for nationalism can immediately trigger measurable sentiments of resistance in another part of the world, actually leading to new impetus for supranationalism.

This kind of analysis is inherently vulnerable to cherry-picking, and I admit I’ve chosen some especially dramatic results. And polls naturally have a lot of variability, and none of these on their own constitute proof of anything. But I think when you put everything together you do get a trend. Some things have stayed the same, or are inconclusive. But there do seem to be a lot of cases where support for Trumpist positions show a sudden and lasting decrease as soon as Trump enters the national stage.

I want credit for predicting this. In my endorsement of anyone except Trump, I told progressives not to vote Trump because they opposed his policy, and conservatives not to vote Trump because he would cause a backlash that was worse than anything they might get from him. I said that the left thrives by imagining themselves as brave rebels fighting an ignorant, regressive, hateful authority, and that “bringing their straw man to life and putting him in the Oval Office” would be “the biggest gift” they could give the Democrats, and would end up pushing an entire generation further to the left.

I think this is a good broad theory of what’s happening, but it might be worth digging deeper to try to distinguish possible mechanisms.

First, maybe Trump is just such an offensive and aversive figure that people switch sides in disgust. This is a little weird; if you were anti-immigration before Trump, can’t you just say “I hate Trump, but I’m still against immigration”? But maybe people’s minds don’t work that way.

Second, maybe Trump made causes like protectionism and nativism so central to the Republican narrative that they became untenable for Democrats. That is, in 2010, it might have been possible to be an anti-illegal-immigration Democrat (remember, in the early 2000s Hillary supported a border fence), but in 2018, that would signal being a Republican, or at least someone of questionable loyalty to the Democratic Party. In order to fit in, moderate Democrats abandoned their anti-illegal-immigration stances. The graphs above seem to provide some evidence for this: they usually show the largest shift among Democrats, with Republicans merely staying where they are.

Third, and kind of opposite that, maybe Trump is such an offensive and aversive figure that conservatives feel a need to maintain their reputation by distancing themselves from him. Maybe in 2010, being anti-illegal-immigration signaled things that you wanted to signal, like patriotism and support for low-paid workers. And now, being anti-immigration signals things you don’t want to signal, like Trump’s particular brand of inflammatory divisiveness. This doesn’t fit the evidence from the graphs above, but it does sort of fit the European study, where further-right Europeans were more likely to switch opinions after the election than further-left ones.

Fourth, maybe Trump’s focus on certain causes shifted the focus of Democrats and the mainstream media to those causes, and Democrats and the mainstream media were better at opposing them than Trump was at supporting them. For example, since Trump the media has been focusing more intensely on negative aspects of ICE and Border Control practices which were less well-covered before his presidency. If this focus has successfully changed minds, that would explain a shift away from Trump.

Fifth, maybe Trump has shifted the goalposts. Maybe identifying as anti-illegal-immigrant before Trump just meant you thought there should be a little better border control, but now you think it means you want a wall and mass deportations, plus you think all Mexicans are rapists. If you felt like the anti-illegal-immigrant cause was getting more extreme, but your positions stayed the same, then you might stop identifying as anti-illegal-immigrant.

Sixth, there have been a lot of studies showing that peaceful protests may increase support for a cause, but violent or disruptive protests usually decrease it (1, 2, 3). It’s easy enough to analogize Trump to a “disruptive protest” – in the sense of an ideological cause getting associated with an unsympathetic proponent – and this would be compatible with any of the explanations above. But I notice that most of the research in this area was done on whites reacting to civil rights protests, adding an identity dimension: maybe disruptive racially charged protests by blacks increase the salience of race as a category for whites, causing them to shift their opinions more towards ones based on their race rather than based on other values. This would also explain the paradoxical Ferguson effect mentioned in Part III here. In the same way, we can think of Trump’s election as a disruptive Republican move that makes Democrats feel threatened and increases the salience of partisanship for them. This would cause a sort of unilateral polarization, where Democrats become more progressive but Republicans don’t necessarily become more conservative, and so the country as a whole shifts to the left. Like the second explanation, this is compatible with the party breakdown on the graphs above. It’s also compatible with this:

These show the familiar 2016 spike. But although Trump has taken positions against fighting climate change or regulating guns, I don’t think of these two issues as “Trumpist” in the same way as illegal immigration, and I’m surprised they seem to show a Trump-related change. This would make more sense if Trump caused a wider-reaching closing of ranks among Democrats rather than just a shift away from his personal hobbyhorses.

I think all of this should increase people’s concern about backlash effects. Contrary to what some of my conflict theorist friends seem to think, civility and honesty are not always pointless own-goals in politics. If you’re sufficiently repulsive and offensive, you can also end up damaging your own cause.

As I’ve pointed out before, backlash can sometimes be a necessary trade-off to energize your base. But as I’ve also pointed out before, people tend to overestimate the importance of turning out the base, and to underestimate the importance of not having everyone hate you. So if I were a Trumpist, I would be very worried right now.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1,001 Responses to Trump: A Setback For Trumpism

  1. Harmon Dow says:

    Will you please please please stop conflating “anti illegal immigrant” with anti immigrant “?

    • apollocarmb says:

      Yea I second this, I’m not right-wing but I like language to be correctly used so that gets on my nerve a bit. I’ve never heard Trump give out about legal immigration. His wife is an immigrant for gods sake! Does he hate his own wife?

      • rlms says:

        Off the top of my head, the Muslim ban is an example of Trump being generally anti-immigration.

        • apollocarmb says:

          Muslims are a minority in both America and the world so how can you say he is generally anti-immigration?

          Also that Muslim ban was meant to be temporary so I
          am not sure how that qualifies as anti-immigration

          • rlms says:

            I’m not saying Trump is against literally all kinds of immigration ever, just that he is not only opposed to illegal immigration. You said “I’ve never heard Trump give out about legal immigration”; I’m giving a example.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            I’m not saying Trump is against literally all kinds of immigration ever

            Clearly not.

          • Murphy says:

            I’ve encountered quite a few …. fervent… red-hat trump supporters who got extremely …. emotional… at perfectly legal refugees openly seeking asylum under US law at the border.

            The “but it’s illegal immigrants” seems to be the dress and lipstick. The pig inside the dress and wearing the lipstick appears to be generalized anti-immigrant and anti-foreigner sentiment.

          • albatross11 says:

            It’s pretty clear that there are, in the broad “less immigration/better control of borders” movement, people who actively dislike immigrants (maybe all, maybe just Mexicans or Muslims or whatever), and also people who think the current level of immigration to the US isn’t working out for us and want to decrease it, and people who want the laws regarding immigration enforced rather than having 10+ million people living here illegally, and probably many other groups.

            It’s reasonable to note the existence of the contingent who just hates Mexicans in that group, but it’s important not to assume that’s everyone or even a majority of the bigger movement.

          • The Nybbler says:

            I’ve encountered quite a few …. fervent… red-hat trump supporters who got extremely …. emotional… at perfectly legal refugees openly seeking asylum under US law at the border.

            Most of that group thinks the asylum claims are transparently spurious.

          • Temple says:

            Really hard to take right wingers seriously when they argue with such bad faith. The typical cry is that the right wing wants to lock down illegal immigration but is fine with legal immigration. But asylum is legal immigration. The RAISE act dramatically cut legal immigration. Refugees are legal immigration. The muslim ban (from the campaign) was about legal immigration. The not-a-muslim-ban executive order was about legal immigration. Proposals to cut welfare benefits to immigrants are about legal immigration.

            So then the goal posts shift. Either it’s, “yeah but those aren’t REAL asylum seekers” / “those aren’t the legal immigrants we want, we want MERIT BASED legal immigrants”. At face value, that contradicts the prior claim that right wingers are fine with the legal immigration system. But whatever, it’s a better slogan to say, “Anti illegal immigrant, pro immigrant”. They mean, “Anti illegal immigrant, significant reforms for immigrants”.

            Is it just a coincidence that all these reforms are in the fewer legal immigrants + worse life for legal immigrants direction? Are there no possible reforms right wingers want that would make life better for the legal immigrants that they claim to love? Are there no pools of legal immigrants abroad that right wingers want to bring into this country?

          • Doctor Mist says:

            Most of that group thinks the asylum claims are transparently spurious.

            Plus the fact that they were part of a mass that threw rocks and otherwise seemed intended to intimidate.

          • Vorkon says:

            Is it just a coincidence that all these reforms are in the fewer legal immigrants + worse life for legal immigrants direction? Are there no possible reforms right wingers want that would make life better for the legal immigrants that they claim to love? Are there no pools of legal immigrants abroad that right wingers want to bring into this country?

            Of course there are. You mentioned the pool yourself, earlier in this post: “…we want MERIT BASED legal immigrants.” The pool of legal immigrants they want are the ones who show the most merit, and in order to narrow down that group, they make the process tougher for those who cannot show this.

            Even more generally than that, though, the immigrants that right-wingers want are the ones who come to the country with the intention of becoming Americans, not just ones who come to the country for a better working environment, but who still maintain primary allegience to their home country. By definition, this implies you need to go through some effort to prove that you do, in fact, wish to assimilate. “Pro-immigrant” doesn’t necessarilly mean, “make life easy for immigrants.” It can just as easily mean, “give immigrants a chance to prove they really do wish to assimilate, and then treat them as you would any other citizen.” This is basically the conservative position on all social issues. Conservatives aren’t “anti-poor,” just because they generally oppose most handouts, or “anti-black,” just because they oppose affirmative action. They just have a different philosophy on how and when the government should help people.

            And yes, you might be right that “anti illegal immigrant, pro immigrant” isn’t necessarilly the most accurate descriptor for the position, but no pithy slogan that rolls off the tongue easily is ever going to completely accurately reflect the nuances of the position. “Anti illegal immigrant, pro immigrant” is MUCH closer to “anti illegal immigrant, pro legal immigrant with significant reforms” than it is to “anti immigrant.”

            I understand your frustration with people who you see as arguing in bad faith. I run into the same issue with people who argue for things like “we don’t want to take away your right to bear arms, we just want to implement some common sense safety measures.” But as tempting as it may be, the correct response to people who say that is NOT “you’re arguing in bad faith, I don’t believe you,” it is, “that may be true, and a significant number of people may agree with you, but the people who are making the decisions in your movement are arguing in bad faith, and I think your position is wrong because [insert argument that’s beyond the scope of this discussion here.]” I’m not foolish enough to believe that the majority of the people who espouse a belief are arguing in bad faith, even if they might be mistaken, and I don’t think you should be either. It’s always best to give people the benefit of the doubt, until they prove they don’t deserve it.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            Really hard to take right wingers seriously when they argue with such bad faith. The typical cry is that the right wing wants to lock down illegal immigration but is fine with legal immigration. But asylum is legal immigration…

            What you’ve enumerated here is partly arguing with different right wingers. Some oppose illegals and support legals. Some oppose legals, too. And yet others even support limiting legal immigration in light of the fact of illegals that they are forbidden to touch, often due to left-wing opposition.

          • Brad says:

            I wish we could have an actual debate on legal immigration. Credit where credit is due, the RAISE act was at least a serious proposal. But out there in the world I find a huge number of people that are quite passionate about immigration reform that know very little about how the current system works or what about it they would like to change.

            I suppose this must be what gun enthusiasts feel like when people that want to pass “assault weapons” bans don’t even know the difference between full and semi auto or how the former is currently regulated.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            I suppose this must be what gun enthusiasts feel like when people that want to pass “assault weapons” bans don’t even know the difference between full and semi auto or how the former is currently regulated.

            I’m pretty sure it is. Case in point was the Syrian refugee crisis last year. I have at least one friend who actually worked for that office for a while; it’s common knowledge to her and her coworkers that the process for vetting refugees takes around two years. To hear a lot of the “keep them out” side, they’re just shepherded in within weeks as an emergency procedure.

            I can sympathize with wanting to be very careful with refugees because of terrorists attempting to sneak in among them, Trojan horse style, just as I can sympathize with gun control advocates whose terminal value is preventing the casualties suffered from specific gun-related incidents. But it’s also clear that any argument against admitting refugees has to account for that long vetting period. To wit: the US is already very careful, and anyone bent on mayhem is probably going to find a different way in, so the default position should probably be to support or oppose taking Syrian refugees for utterly different reasons.

            Similar trouble with arguments that don’t account for the practicality of a physical border wall, and the issue of “illegal on account of sneaking over the border” vs. “illegal on account of expired H1B”, off the top of my head.

        • cryptoshill says:

          The “Muslim ban” also is inaccurately named. No one can claim that it was intentionally a ban on muslims unless they were being disingenuous. It was “a ban of immigration by Muslims from a particular subset of Muslim countries known to breed Wahhabist terrorists”.

          The best criticism of that policy, specifically is “fine, but why the hell is Saudi Arabia not on the list?”

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            The best criticism of that policy, specifically is “fine, but why the hell is Saudi Arabia not on the list?”

            Indeed.

          • Aftagley says:

            The “Muslim ban” also is inaccurately named. No one can claim that it was intentionally a ban on muslims unless they were being disingenuous.

            I’ll try and I’m not being disingenuous: during his campaign he spoke multiple times about banning Muslim immigration. It was clearly a priority of his, and he claimed it was a campaign promise. Very early on in his administration, he made this policy and claimed it was a fulfillment of this promise. Yes, he might not have banned all muslims, and yes, it was watered down from the original promise to appear more legal, but that doesn’t change the underlying motivation or rhetoric.

          • rlms says:

            Yeah, I’m pretty sure you can blame that one one Trump.

          • cassander says:

            @Aftagley

            And Barack Obama spoke about cutting government spending and (in 2008) opposing gay marriage. I don’t think anyone sincerely believed that those were causes near and dear to his heart.

          • DeWitt says:

            Did Barack Obama make not legalising gay marriage explicit policy of his, claim victory for it not having gone through in his first term, and then continue to claim defeat when they got the right to marry during his rule anyway? Did he?

          • dick says:

            The “Muslim ban” also is inaccurately named. No one can claim that it was intentionally a ban on muslims unless they were being disingenuous. It was “a ban of immigration by Muslims from a particular subset of Muslim countries known to breed Wahhabist terrorists”.

            Proposed ban would apply to ‘everybody,’ says campaign manager, including tourists and Muslims seeking visas. Memory is a funny thing, isn’t it?

          • albatross11 says:

            He talked about a Muslim ban during the campaign, but put forward a ban on immigration from a bunch of countries where there’s a lot of Islamic terrorism and from which we were already not taking many people (and subjecting them to a lot of paperwork and scrutiny) because we didn’t want to bring over some nutjob who was going to shoot up a gay nightclub for Allah or something.

          • Halfasperger says:

            I recall reading in some conservative media source that the list of “Muslim ban” countries actually came from a recommendation in a report generated by some part of the bureaucracy during the last year of the Obama administration. If it had been sent up in time to hit Obama’s desk instead of Trump’s, I’d bet it would have been approved and implemented without anyone noticing. But I suppose that since this report happened to land on Trump’s desk instead of Obama’s, first of all Trump couldn’t pass up the opportunity to seize credit for it as a Red Tribe issue and a fulfillment of his anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric, and then subsequently the Blue Tribe was forced to pile on in opposition to it.

            (Edited to add:) So if this is true, I suppose the reason Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be included on the list is that the U.S. bureaucracy thinks the security advantages from the U.S.-Saudi relationship dominate over the terrorism risks in the grand calculus of the U.S.’s overall interests.

          • John Schilling says:

            If it had been sent up in time to hit Obama’s desk instead of Trump’s, I’d bet it would have been approved and implemented without anyone noticing.

            You are demonstrably correct, because the list did hit Obama’s desk, was approved and implemented, and nobody much noticed.

            The Obama-era recommendation to which you are referring, was a recommendation that the United States require a visa for travelers from the specified nations of concern. The bit where the US government instead tried to absolutely ban travelers from those nations, was 100% Donald J. Trump, and the notion that Trump was merely implementing an Obama-era policy recommendation was one of those things that Mark Twain categorized as between “lies” and “statistics”. You should not have fallen for it, and you should not repeat it.

          • cryptoshill says:

            @Atfagley –
            I think it’s entirely possible to say things symbolically like “We are considering a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States (you know, like the one Obama did) because we still haven’t managed to figure out a way to properly vet people coming in” and then implement a policy that is very much like the above except “oh, and we figured that these other countries (with a lot more muslims in them, by head count) are fine, they don’t have the wahhabist death-cult terrorism-sponsoring qualities that we are concerned about” without your underlying motivation being “we hate those brown Muslim people and don’t want them in the country”.

            @dick –

            So what we see here is “someone making an outrageous statement in response to a terrible tragedy” – which is, actually quite common. There were *three* op-eds in major newspapers in the wake of Parkland saying that “it’s time to get rid of the second amendment”. Which is of course, ridiculous and equally outgroup triggering. Except the actual policy implemented here is quite sane.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            The best criticism of that policy, specifically is “fine, but why the hell is Saudi Arabia not on the list?”

            Because it’s ostensibly possible to vet people coming from Saudi Arabia in a way it’s not for nations that do not have functioning governments, like Somalia or Syria.

          • dick says:

            @ Cryptoshill

            So what we see here is “someone making an outrageous statement in response to a terrible tragedy” – which is, actually quite common.

            Politicians have been using trial balloons for a long time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Float a possible policy, let people argue about it for a couple of weeks, use what you learn from the arguments to decide whether to go with the plan and possibly to improve it. The unusual part here was doing it without an actual plan. Traditionally, when a president or candidate says, “If I’m elected, I’m going to fix the bridges!” his campaign releases something explaining what that means exactly – e.g. “$5B in state DOT matching funds over five years paid for by such-and-such”. In this case there was no policy paper or anything. He just said “total and complete shutdown” and let peoples’ imaginations run wild. How will they tell who is and isn’t a Muslim? Will we be compiling a list of known Muslims? Does the ban apply to tourists, foreign workers, permanent residents, all of the above? If a Muslim who’s here leaves to visit his folks, will we let him in when he tries to come back? Who knows! His campaign trickled out a few details over the next couple weeks but I don’t think there was a substantive update until he got in to office and issues his executive orders (which were much narrower in scope than anything he had previously proposed, and were further curtailed by legal wrangling).

            But yeah, I’m not saying this is illegal or uniquely bad or anything. Just correcting cryptoshill, who indignantly claimed that it was unfair to attribute a “Muslim ban” to Trump. And I certainly think that this – Trump supporters misremembering his initial position as being much more moderate than it was – is probably part of the point of using Barnum statements in the first place.

          • cryptoshill says:

            It is still unfair. Because now you are suggesting that someone with wide authority on immigration (he could literally ban all Muslims, constitutionally, per United States Code) was secretly in favor of a ban on all muslims, when the actual policy that was implemented (much stronger evidence than some stump speeches) doesn’t reflect that at all

            He was perfectly capable of a real Muslim ban, and did not do it. With that evidence in hand – I find the “Trump used some loud and boisterous rhetoric, and this reflects his true position” claim dubious at best.

          • dick says:

            @cryptoshill

            now you are suggesting that [Trump] was secretly in favor of a ban on all muslims

            I don’t think anyone has said this. I just defended calling it a “Muslim Ban.” I mean, that’s what he proposed, yes? It’s not like Trump went out there and said, “total and complete shutdown on terrorists” and I inferred that he meant Muslims. It was always a Muslim ban, it just took a long time to find out which Muslims he was banning.

          • LCL says:

            Intent matters. Here’s the injunction on enforcement of the first version of Trump’s Travel ban, from Virginia’s lawsuit:

            The question is whether the Executive Order was animated by national security concerns at all, as opposed to the impermissible motive of … disfavoring one religious group and … favoring another religious group.

            The court judges intent from public statements – Trump’s and, here, especially Giuliani’s. So it’s possible that a hypothetical executive order could be constitutional if issued by Obama, but unconstitutional if issued by Trump. Because there was a public record of Trump looking for a way to do a Muslim ban. The court says as much:

            Absent the direct evidence of animus … singling out these countries for additional scrutiny might not raise Establishment clause concerns; however … in Giuliani’s own account, the origin of this Executive Order was a statement by the President that he wanted a legal way to impose a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

          • The Nybbler says:

            So it’s possible that a hypothetical executive order could be constitutional if issued by Obama, but unconstitutional if issued by Trump. Because there was a public record of Trump looking for a way to do a Muslim ban.

            This was rejected by the Supreme Court when they upheld the travel ban.

            “Plaintiffs argue that this President’s words strike at fundamental standards of respect and tolerance, in violation of our constitutional tradition,” Roberts wrote. “But the issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements. It is instead the significance of those statements in reviewing a Presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility. In doing so, we must consider not only the statements of a particular President, but also the authority of the Presidency itself.”

            Justice Sotomayor complained in her dissent

            The majority here completely sets aside the President’s charged statements about Muslims as irrelevant

          • LCL says:

            I don’t think they’ve closed the door on examining intent!

            The majority distinguishes one precedent that didn’t meet the rational basis test because

            “its sheer breadth [was] so discontinuous with the reasons offered for it” that the initiative seemed “inexplicable by anything but animus.”

            This implies a correct analysis includes at least two factors, the breadth of the law and the reasons offered for it. The majority then provides such an analysis for Trump’s travel ban, detailing some limits of the ban (breadth) and some documents supporting its national security purpose (reasons).

            I think a correct reading would include a third factor, though – animus, aka intent. Deciding whether the breadth of a law is explicable by reasons other than animus obviously depends on the breadth of the law, but it pretty clearly also depends on the extent of the animus. Even a very broad law must be explicable by reasons other than animus if there is no evidence of animus.

            Overall, I read the majority as saying that the given reasons for the travel ban adequately support the scope of the travel ban, even if it was motivated by anti-Muslim animus. I’m curious how they might have ruled on one of the earlier versions of the ban, with a wider scope and less supporting documentation.

          • mtl1882 says:

            @LCL

            Overall, I read the majority as saying that the given reasons for the travel ban adequately support the scope of the travel ban, even if it was motivated by anti-Muslim animus.

            That is correct, but animus is still not really a considered factor. Earlier versions would probably have still been upheld. The factors are essentially whether the action is in the president’s sphere of authority, and whether some plausible reason can be given for it, even if everyone knows the actual motivation is different.

            Breadth also isn’t really a factor in itself, but it may indicate overreach (maybe based on fear) beyond what they can rationally justify. It mentions the Japanese internment case, which was a problem in part because it is not clearly within the president’s authority as foreign relations is, but also because the reason given was that Japanese Americans would be sympathetic to the enemy and I guess cause trouble, but they interned all Japanese Americans, despite the fact that many were quite possibly hostile to Japan, including those who were born in America to families who had lived here for generations. Trump didn’t argue that all immigrants were dangerous, but that some were and inadequate foreign procedures didn’t allow us to figure out who. We had the ability to vet people within our borders.

            The case you mentioned about the law singling out gay people was overturned because it sounds hard identify any state interest which would be served by choosing a specific group engaging in legal behavior to be discriminated against without recourse. I assume the reason given was that it would subject people to penalties for reasonable moral objections regarding homosexuality, but the Court didn’t list the reasons given in justification. It was almost certainly motivated by animus, but the extent of the animus doesn’t really matter.

            One of its points is that the the plaintiffs appeal to history in a way that is dangerous for them, as past presidents have implemented immigration policies with a highly doubtful connection to their stated rationale, usually for the fairly evident purpose of revenge against the decisions of leaders. The fact that this is a foreign relations matter gives the president exceptional leeway, but I thought it was interesting and kind of crazy, so I’m reposting it. I’m not sure how the answers they gave were deemed sufficient, but it just shows how much power they have.

            Presidents have repeatedly suspended entry not because the covered nationals themselves engaged in harmful acts but instead to retaliate for conduct by their governments that conflicted with U. S. foreign policy interests. See, e.g., Exec. Order No. 13662, 3 CFR 233 (2014) (President Obama) (suspending entry of Russian nationals working in the financial services, energy, mining, engineering, or defense sectors,in light of the Russian Federation’s “annexation of Crimea and its use of force in Ukraine”); Presidential Proclamation No. 6958, 3 CFR 133 (1997) (President Clinton) (suspending entry of Sudanese governmental and military personnel, citing “foreign policy interests of the United States” based on Sudan’s refusal to comply with United Nations resolution). And while some of these reprisals were directed at subsets of aliens from the countries at issue, others broadly suspended entry on the basis of nationality due to ongoing diplomatic disputes. For example, President Reagan invoked §1182(f) to suspend entry “as immigrants” by almost all Cuban nationals, to apply pressure on the Cuban Government . . . Plaintiffs try to fit this latter order within their carve-out for emergency action, but the proclamation was based in part on Cuba’s decision to breach an immigration agreement some 15 months earlier.

            ETA: Spite is probably a better word than revenge, because the need fight back could at least be given as a reason. But it seems unlikely these policies actually harmed the leaders or improved the position of America.

          • cryptoshill says:

            @LCL – do you think “animus” against Muslims is caused by random hating of brown people or potentially legitimate national security concerns?

            Consider that there are relatively frequent rallies in Muslim places where all sorts of things are said about how America should be destroyed. ISIS isn’t just made up. USS Cole and Sept 11, 2001 aren’t fictional events created by the CIA in order to disparage the Muslim religion. This is actually tricky business – because if you protect and defend the free movement of your enemy, then you are letting them win.

            Korematsu v. US was essentially correct, and so was the later decision to grant reparations to the affected parties.

      • bindubasketball says:

        The Trump admin has built a track record of going after legal immigrants. You may agree with these policies, but all of the people affected are here legally.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/08/07/trump-and-stephen-miller-are-now-targeting-legal-immigrants-and-it-will-get-uglier/?utm_term=.e496e0d3d776

        https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/economics/article/2175873/why-trumps-visa-plans-mean-desperate-housewives-india

        https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-administration-vietnam-war-refugee-deportation-push-2018-12

        https://www.afsc.org/blogs/news-and-commentary/trumps-attacks-legal-immigration-system-explained

        “Slowing lawful immigration processes: What used to be straightforward application processes – like applying for a green card (permanent residency) and citizenship – have been dramatically slowed down and halted. The backlog of pending green card applications had increased by more than 35 percent by the end of 2017. A new mandated in-person interview for all applicants for employment-based immigration applications has increased processing time and slowed applications to a crawl. These slowdowns leave thousands of people seeking to naturalize as citizens or become lawful residents vulnerable and in a state of limbo. A new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) policy allows officers to outright deny any visa or green card application that is missing evidence or contains an error without giving applicants a chance to fix it. This could mean people with valid visas who are trying to renew could be placed in deportation proceedings.”

        “Curtailing family immigration: … Legislation the Trump administration has supported would cut legal immigration in half by eliminating many categories of family immigration – in particular, this would reduce the immigration of people of color to the U.S.”

        • cryptoshill says:

          So the following is “going after legal immigration”:
          1. Reducing the ability of people to attain permanent residency if they consume taxpayer resources instead of producing for the economy.
          The article was extremely partisan as well, claiming that this is “white Nationalism”.
          2. Reducing the ability of workers to get H1-Bs, which has been one of the most *widely* criticized parts of our immigration program, by everyone including Blue Tribe Techie bros.
          3. Trump wanting to deport literal criminals. (Note: *any* criminal conviction in a normal situation is potential grounds for a green card revocation). Just because they were “war refugees” in the 70s doesn’t mean they are “war refugees” now.
          4. Actually holding hearings for illegal immigrants using the Asylum defense.

          These sources are all massively partisan. Including the last one that has a pop-up banner that says “DONATE TO LET US HELP THE MIGRANT CARAVAN”.

          • christhenottopher says:

            It doesn’t matter if the sources are partisan if they aren’t outright lies in this case. You may like every part of the changes to legal immigration. A limited point was made to counter the specific claim that the Trump administration and other immigration hawks are only anti-illegal immigration. This is a standard talking point that was brought up in this thread. If a single example of Trump’s actions is found to limit legal immigration, even if you think that limitation is good, then the argument he is against illegal immigration only is false. This is true even if you don’t like the source, as long as the source is providing a real example of opposing legal immigration…which they are.

            And everything I said was brought up by the post you’re attacking. So if you like those policies, fine. But you have completely failed to disprove the limited point being made by that post.

          • gbdub says:

            They are all examples of the noncentral fallacy, and the fact that their sources are partisan probably has something to do with that.

          • mdet says:

            “Reducing the ability of workers to get H1-Bs”

            I think H1-B workers are a central example of “legal immigrants”. Cryptoshill’s only rebuttal there was that many Blue Tribe people have criticized H1-Bs. That does not change the fact that reducing the number of H1-B visas == reducing the number of entirely-legal-not-criminal-productive-worker immigrants.

          • Jiro says:

            If a single example of Trump’s actions is found to limit legal immigration, even if you think that limitation is good, then the argument he is against illegal immigration only is false.

            Only Internet people speak in such a literal way.

            Regardless of whether Trump has affected at least one legal immigrant somewhere, the policies and policy positions that he’s widely known for, and which can be expected to affect public opinion in the polls described by Scott in the post, are about illegal immigration.

            I think H1-B workers are a central example of “legal immigrants”. Cryptoshill’s only rebuttal there was that many Blue Tribe people have criticized H1-B

            The context is that Trump’s attitude towards immigrants is pushing the public in the opposite direction. If both Trump and his opponents criticize a category of immigration, any change in attitudes from the general public can’t be blamed on Trump. And Trump isn’t mainly known for H1-B restrictions anyway; it may be a central example of “legal immigrants”, but it’s a noncentral example of “immigrants that Trump doesn’t like”.

          • cryptoshill says:

            @christhenottopher –
            I had to rewrite this a few times – but your claim that the sources partisan nature doesn’t matter unless they are outright lying. This is not true, because what is happening here is that these sources are deliberately using a number of extremely specific changes (and in at least two of the cases I listed – two non-changes from prevailing US policy) to determine that Trump has an overt problem with all legal immigration. Using the narrow examples to paint the broad picture doesn’t prove that Trump is “going after” legal immigration as well.

            Now, if I saw a policy that said “We are going to cease all new issuances of visas, daily work permits (I forgot the name of that form), and refugee status visas” that would be evidence that the broad-stroke claim being true.

            Also here’s a better article on the H1B rule –
            https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/nri/visa-and-immigration/trump-administration-to-propose-major-changes-in-h-1b-visas/articleshow/66269711.cms

            It seems like the primary concern here is economic and national security (from a corporate espionage sense) – not being antiimmigration. What is happening –
            – There is no change to the numerical limits of either H1B workers or their H4 family members.
            – I presume by “revising the definition of specialty occupation” the proposal is that we are going to slightly narrow who qualifies for the program (but combined with the fact that there are more H1B applicants than admitted, and no overall change in numbers, hardly makes me think this is a conscious choice to limit immigration.)
            – Implementing wage protections for H1B visaholders.
            – Not automatically granting spouses of H1B visaholders (H4 visaholders) automatic work permits.

            None of that particularly strikes me as “deliberately lowering legal immigration” even.

            @Jiro – It’s not even an example of “immigrants Trump doesn’t like” – Trump doesn’t make all kinds of overt comments about how those immigrants are bad and we should limit them.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            And Trump isn’t mainly known for H1-B restrictions anyway; it may be a central example of “legal immigrants”, but it’s a noncentral example of “immigrants that Trump doesn’t like”.

            It’s the reason I started supporting Trump, though. When he released his immigration whitepaper in the summer of 2015 and I saw he wanted an overhaul of the H1-B program I thought “wow, this is the first time I can remember seeing a presidential candidate offer something that’s in my direct personal interests. I’m in!”

          • Brad says:

            I have to imagine that the sturm und drang I see over H1Bs is a result of some kind of filter bubble. I mean if you aren’t in tech, and there are only so many of us, why would you be fired up about it?

            That said I’ve never heard anyone of any political persuasion defend the way Indian body shops* (Business Process Outsourcing) utilize the programm. The fact that this has been going on for more than a decade with zero open advocates is the best evidence I know of for the theory that policy really can be bought. It’s not like it would even be tough to fix, the law already has a concept of an H1B dependent employer, just ban them from filing more petitions until they fall below that threshold.

            *Accenture et al are frankly not much better. But the googles and facebooks of the world aren’t low balling. Maybe they are using it as a crutch for their broken hiring process that go way overboard in the direction of optimizing for low false positives, but they aren’t lowballing.

      • Frederic Mari says:

        Hahahahahaha. Of course, Trump hates legal immigration. IF it is done by brown/black people. He seemed pretty okay with Chinese/Eastern Asian immigrants and he’d definitely be okay with Norwegian ones.

        As to his wife, let’s just say he doesn’t love her. He just enjoyed fucking her and now probably just like the arm candy.

        • albatross11 says:

          Frederic:

          Yes, we’re all very impressed with how much you don’t like Trump. But did you have any actual content to add, or is it just chest-beating?

        • Scott Alexander says:

          Frederic Mari banned for three months.

          Albatross11, if you see comments like this, please just report them. Don’t feed the trolls.

      • Incandenza says:

        Well, as mentioned above, there was the Muslim ban. And the thing where he said he didn’t like people coming in from “shithole countries.” And the thing where he referred to a judge of Mexican descent as inherently biased. And the thing where he sent the army to the border to intervene in a legal asylum-seeking process. And this. And this. And this

        It would definitely be possible, in principle, to be anti-illegal immigration but not generally anti-immigrant. This, however, does not describe the Trump administration at all.

        (In regards to his wife, this is both the “one black friend” fallacy, and overlooks the fact that Trump is an ethnonationalist and probably has no problem with immigration by whites. See, e.g., those ‘shithole country’ comments.)

        • oppressedminority says:

          The problem with that judge is not that he’s Mexican, it’s that he’s a member of La Raza, which means “The Race” (i.e., latinos). But yeah, I’m sure nobody would say anything if a white judge was part of a white racial organization and making decisions affecting black people.

          • Incandenza says:

            This claim about Judge Curiel is not true. But even if it were true, advocating for rights and benefits for a historically marginalized population is completely different from advocating for the rights and benefits of white people, when white people have been socially dominant since this country’s beginnings.

            Furthermore, Trump’s original comment about Judge Curiel was that he was biased simply because he was of Mexican descent. By the same token any judge of white European descent should be biased in favor of Trump. Of course, the reason that doesn’t occur to Trump is that he considers whiteness to be the default, “natural” American identity. This is precisely the logic of white ethnonationalism.

          • oppressedminority says:

            Right. The judge is only a member of La Raza Lawyers of California. Not the National Council of La Raza.

            But my hypothetical white judge is not part of the KKK, he’s part of the Association of White Judges for Advancement of Non-Colored People.

          • hyperboloid says:

            There is a holiday in Mexico called La Dia de la Raza, you may know it as Columbus day. The concept of La Raza has never meant race in the anglophone biological sense, instead it reefers to a shared European (specifically Iberian) cultural heritage.

            In fact the word race in English used to have no connection to biology, it was not uncommon to say that the French, or the Scots, or the Swedes were as a race of men inclined to this thing or that. This was not because it was widely believed that there were irrevocable biological differences between different European peoples.

            Nobody is offended by Irish-Americans, or German-Americans, or Jews celebrating their heritage, and nobody should be offended by Hispanics doing the same. Unless of course you are the kind of person who is offend by displays of Jewish ethnic pride, In which case you can go fuck yourself.

            The recently remained National council of La Raza is a perfectly benign civil rights organization, and Curiel wasn’t even a member of that group.

        • gbdub says:

          “the thing where he sent the army to the border to intervene in a legal asylum-seeking process”

          “Legal asylum seekers” who:
          1) For the most part, are economic migrants who probably do not have justified claims for asylum
          2) Refused to apply for asylum in the first country that offered it
          3) Had already forcefully breached border barriers and (later) attempted to do the same against the border of the US

          “You’re a racist if you want to attempt to control a thousands strong mob intent on crossing the border illegally” is the sort of position that makes rightists call people “open-border advocates”.

          • Machine Interface says:

            “2) Refused to apply for asylum in the first country that offered it”

            I don’t get how this is supposed to be a “gotcha”. It’s perfectly reasonable for Venezuelan refugees to not want anything to do with an asylum offer from say, El Savador or Honduras.

            It would be like if, amidst a major crisis in Alaska, you’d accuse Alaskan refugees trying to reach Europe through Asia to be insincere and deceitful because they didn’t accept asylum offers in Belarus or Azerbaijan.

          • cassander says:

            @machine interface

            It’s perfectly reasonable for Venezuelan refugees to not want anything to do with an asylum offer from say, El Savador or Honduras.

            I disagree, especially when the claim, which is often voiced, is that these people are fleeing in imminent danger of their lives and refusing them means death, not settling in a somewhat less nice country.

          • bean says:

            It’s perfectly reasonable for Venezuelan refugees to not want anything to do with an asylum offer from say, El Savador or Honduras.

            Yes, but that’s not how asylum is supposed to work. Asylum isn’t a blank check to go wherever you want. It’s supposed to be based on getting away from intolerable persecution in your home country. Being in Honduras means that you’re not in Venezuela any more, which satisfies that criteria. (Just to be clear, I’m not advocating closing the borders of the US to refugees. But we need to be strategic about this, and give priority to people who go through the process. Which includes things like applying at embassies abroad, and not showing up on our doorstep and making a scene.)

          • aristides says:

            “Refused to apply for asylum in the first country that offered it” is a reference to the safe third party doctrine. Under international law, countries are allowed to make agreements that they recognise one another as a safe third party country, and then refugees are required to apply for asylum in the first country they arrive at. We have one with Canada, and the EU has one with all their states. We do not have one with Mexico, but this administration is considering creating one. The idea is if you are fleeing political persecution, once you are safe, there is no need to keep going. If you are going to another country when you are safe, you are likely an economic immigrant, and not eligible for asylum. Whether you consider Mexico a safe country is certainly a matter of debate. Heck, Canada is reconsidering recognising US as a safe country, so the standard is subjective.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @bean

            There is no requirement for asylum seekers to apply for refugee status at an embassy, and it appears the criteria for refugee status (sought at an embassy) are stricter than those for asylum (sought at a border).

            However, demanding asylum or $50,000 is definitely not a proper process, and those ~100 should IMO definitely be denied asylum. Not for violating the process, but because if they’re willing to go home for $50,000, they likely don’t meet the criteria. And also because people should be dissuaded from making stupid and unreasonable demands.

          • Randy M says:

            Heck, Canada is reconsidering recognising US as a safe country, so the standard is subjective.

            That’s a cheap signal to send if the refugees/asylum seekers themselves find the US sufficient. I don’t recall any “Canada or Bust!” signs held by the migrant caravans, but perhaps I missed them.

          • CatCube says:

            @Machine Interface

            Unless the Venezuelan refugees make the case that they’ll be persecuted in Honduras, there’s no particular reason that we should be their fallback. Asylum isn’t to give you the place you want, just to get you away from the strife in your own country. Once a closer country has offered asylum, the problem is solved.

            I do think that we should be granting asylum to people who are persecuted due to their active support of US foreign policy, no matter where they are. This would only include people in Iraq and Afghanistan, though.

          • The Nybbler says:

            If Canada declares the US to be not a safe country, I can see the Trump administration countering by offering refused asylees safe passage to the Canadian border.

          • vV_Vv says:

            However, demanding asylum or $50,000 is definitely not a proper process, and those ~100 should IMO definitely be denied asylum. Not for violating the process, but because if they’re willing to go home for $50,000, they likely don’t meet the criteria. And also because people should be dissuaded from making stupid and unreasonable demands.

            Also a flight from Tijuana to Honduras costs about $450. What would the other $49,550 be for?

          • dragnubbit says:

            “You’re a racist if you want to attempt to control a thousands strong mob intent on crossing the border illegally” is the sort of position that makes rightists call people “open-border advocates”.

            I think there is a middle ground that can say:
            1) Most asylum seekers are economic migrants, should be denied, and should have applied in the first safe country, and any that forcibly try to cross the border should be repelled with force,
            ..and…
            2) Sending the army down to the border was political theater designed to drive mid-term turnout, was unnecessary tactically, and was an unconscionable use of the military for political purposes.

          • quanta413 says:

            Sending the army down to the border was political theater designed to drive mid-term turnout, was unnecessary tactically, and was an unconscionable use of the military for political purposes.

            The U.S. military vs. whoever has been punching down for a while now. At least this time the military didn’t go somewhere else to throw a punch.

          • The Nybbler says:

            “Punching down” is preferred military doctrine whenever it can be implemented. Giving the enemy a fair fight or worse, an advantage, is to be avoided.

          • quanta413 says:

            Sure, I agree. I’m just don’t believe any of the previous punching downs since roughly Korea (which turned out to be not so down when the Chinese joined the war) were somehow morally or politically superior choices to sending military to the border.

            The U.S. military hasn’t engaged with a serious typical military threat for a long while. As long as it’s being used for purposes I view as kind of dumb or immoral, it’s an improvement to march them around within the country for show instead of shipping troops to Iraq to engage in regime change. Not that I think anyone chose one or the other option for moral reasons. I’d just rather we lucked into less stupid decisions.

        • vV_Vv says:

          Trump seems in favor of a higher bar for immigration. This doesn’t imply that he wants less immigrants, but that he wants “higher quality” immigrants.

          He’s in favor of a point system and he’s trying to reduce illegal immigration, refugees (probably because he thinks, or at least his base thinks, that they are mostly fake), family reunions (“chain immigration”) and “humanitarian” (that is, low-skill) immigration from “shithole” countries.

      • lazydragonboy says:

        I think there is concern that legal immigration has tightened under the Trump presidency. My wife is certainly concerned about it (she is Chinese), and I recall him vowing to stop chain migration and things like that. If you gave him a survey asking “would you support more immigration, less immigration, or about the same level of immigration from (south asia, east asia, southeast asia)?” I imagine he would pick “less immigration” for all three.

      • Rand says:

        Here’s Polifact on both Trump’s promises to limit legal immigration and his efforts so far to do so:

        https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/trumpometer/promise/1403/limit-legal-immigration/

        If you Google “trump restrict legal immigration” (https://goo.gl/yhRXba) you’ll see a number of additional examples of this.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Anywhere particular I do that in this post?

      • apollocarmb says:

        Here it seems.

        “That he could at least claim to have benefited the ideas of populism, nationalism, anti-immigrant sentiment..”

        • Scott Alexander says:

          Yes, I say Trumpism is suspicious of immigration in general, including legal immigration. I think this is true – see eg here, here, etc.

          I agree this is separate from his anti-illegal-immigration efforts, and that he may have different reasons for both, but I think both exist and it’s fair to say he is not a huge fan of immigration in general.

          But I will grudgingly add the word “illegal” to most uses of immigration in this post to avoid misrepresentation.

      • ItsGiusto says:

        Just do a search for “immigra” or “anti-immigra” in the post.

      • Don_Flamingo says:

        After “fifth” three times. You can use ctrl+f (command+f on a Mac) and just type the word you’re looking for, which will then be highlighted and allows you to jump from occurence to occurence.

      • gbdub says:

        You present a table showing results for the question “what should be done with illegal immigrants” and caption it “opposition to deporting immigrants”.

        • Scott Alexander says:

          I’ll change that, but I am kind of grumbling – who wants to deport legal immigrants?

          • Alliumnsk says:

            “White Nationalists”? who seem to support expulsion of blacks and Asians.

          • Scott Alexander says:

            Any evidence more than a lizardman’s constant worth of such people exist?

          • Caf1815 says:

            Uh, Scott, that’s the whole point… When Blue Tribe media report on immigration policy, they tend to leave out the “illegal” part – with the justification that it goes without saying. Their target audience then reacts: “Wow! Orange Man must be really bad! Who would want to deport someone who went to all the trouble of going through ten years of Kafka-like procedures and is statistically likely to be making a net contribution to the country?” Of course, when questioned, said media will acknowledge that Trump’ beef is with illegal immigration and some types of legal immigration which, for various reasons, have proven to be undesirable. A sort of motte and bailey, if you will.

          • acymetric says:

            @Caf1815

            Their target audience then reacts: “Wow! Orange Man must be really bad! Who would want to deport someone who went to all the trouble of going through ten years of Kafka-like procedures and is statistically likely to be making a net contribution to the country?”

            I’m not going to say that nobody interprets things this way, but it would take some evidence to convince me this is even a remotely common interpretation.

            Be a little charitable and at least consider the possibility that people are capable of differentiating between legal and illegal immigration conversations from context. I think you are making some assumptions about how most people interpret their news that aren’t really justified.

            Now, there are situations where significant groups are opposed to deportation of illegal immigrants who have integrated and are contributing to society (even paying taxes!) but that is different from what you are discussing above (this is where you get the DREAMers stuff and the like).

          • AG says:

            but it would take some evidence to convince me this is even a remotely common interpretation

            See the musical Hamilton: it takes potshots against anti-immigrant sentiment by pointing out how some of the founding fathers were immigrants, and both the creators of the musical and a majority of fans of the musical think that said potshots are a strong Gotcha.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            but it would take some evidence to convince me [that people interpret anti-illegal immigration policies as anti-immigrant] is even a remotely common interpretation.

            From Maxwell, further down in the comments:

            “anti illegal immigrant” is not a real position that anyone holds. I mean, somebody who wants to stop Mexican immigration could say they are against illegal immigration, but it’s not the illegality that bothers them – it’s the fact that the illegals are Mexican and they don’t like Mexicans. The actual position would be “anti Mexican immigrant”.

            Followed by Galle:

            Trump is, in fact, anti-immigration, as shown by his support for policies that make legal immigration more difficult. His concern for illegal immigration is almost certainly a direct consequence of his broader anti-immigration views. Saying that Trump is only “anti-illegal immigration” and not “anti-immigration” in general requires you to completely fail to connect the dots.

          • Galle says:

            I don’t see how my position at all matches up with Caf1815’s strawman. It is an objective fact that Trump has endorsed policies that would make legal immigration more difficult, such as the RAISE Act. I also think it’s logical to assume that people who support laws that make legal immigration more difficult would also support enforcing those laws.

            I do think Maxwell has something kinda-sorta resembling a point, although I wouldn’t say that “anti-illegal immigrant” isn’t a real position that anyone holds. I’d say that “anti-illegal immigrant” is very often a motte for the bailey of “anti-immigrant”.

          • Vorkon says:

            See the musical Hamilton: it takes potshots against anti-immigrant sentiment by pointing out how some of the founding fathers were immigrants, and both the creators of the musical and a majority of fans of the musical think that said potshots are a strong Gotcha.

            This was, by far, the most cringeworthy part of an otherwise fun musical.

            Trying to describe a British citizen moving from one British colony to another and a French military officer serving the interests of the French government, with no intention to stay in America permanently, as “immigrants” is stretching the definition of “immigrant” to an almost unrecognizable level.

          • Jiro says:

            There aren’t a lot of people who want to deport legal immigrants, but there are somewhat more people who will mischaracterize their opponents as wanting to deport illegal immigrants.

          • gbdub says:

            Basically nobody wants to deport legal immigrants, but that’s exactly why opponents of stronger anti-illegal immigrant policies will frequently try to blur the distinction and paint anti-illegal-immigration policy as anti-immigration period. Heck, there’s a bunch of discussion about that in this very thread.

    • Aftagley says:

      Hold up – There is significant evidence to prove that Trump is fully anti-immigrant, not just against illegal immigration:

      1. Trump’s administration has year on year reduced the number of refugees that the Us is admitting. Down from 111,000 allowed by the previous administration to 45,000 under the current one. This is a legal form of immigration that he is restricting.

      2. He has reduced staffing and dramatically slowed down the processing of asylum seekers presumably with the intent of making this no longer a tenable option for the asylum seekers forcing them either to go back to whatever situation they’re trying to get away from or immigrate outside the law. This is a legal for of immigration that he is restricting.

      3. His decision to drastically step up ICE enforcement against (admittedly) illegal immigrants who have been here for decades without problems makes the most sense from a generally anti-immigrant perspective. No one gains when someone who’s been in the community for decades is removed other than people who just don’t like immigrants.

      4. He’s constantly venting against family reunification policies. This is an form of legal immigration that he’s invested a great deal of energy into dismantling.

      Just because his wife is a immigrant, that doesn’t mean his words and the actions of his administration have revealed an anti-immigrant bias.

      • apollocarmb says:

        In your views why does Trump decreasing immigration make him anti-immigration?

        For context Obama has deported more immigrants than Trump per year and I doubt you would claim Obama is anti-immigrant.

        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bloomberg.com/amp/opinion/articles/2018-05-15/trump-is-deporting-fewer-immigrants-than-obama-did

        • FoxLisk says:

          In your views why does Trump decreasing immigration make him anti-immigration?

          Wanting less immigration, and working towards that goal, seems like the canonical example of an anti-immigration position.

          • oppressedminority says:

            Being anti-immigration means that you want zero immigration. I’m just arguing this from the point of view of the typical usage of the prefix anti. Anti-vaxxers are not in favour of a small number of vaccines, they want zero vaccines. Anti-drug education doesn’t say “you can smoke a few joints and it’s ok if you try acid once”, it says zero drugs, ever.

            Of course somebody who wants zero immigration may temporarily argue in favor of reducing immigration levels as an intermediary step. But since today even advocating for a small reduction in immigration will get you labeled a genocidal maniac, there’s not much point to it.

          • FoxLisk says:

            @oppressedminority

            Okay, that’s a plausible reading. Understand, then, that the phrase anti-immigration in popular political discourse does not mean “advocates for, and only satisfied by, zero immigration.” It identifies a spectrum of much weaker viewpoints that share in common the desire to reduce immigration significantly and sometimes dramatically.

          • oppressedminority says:

            @FoxLisk

            fair enough

          • disingenius says:

            Alice: “I am in favor of spending money on chocolate. In fact, I am willing to spend $12,000 of our household budget on chocolate, which is drastically higher than most households spend on chocolate; most other households only spend a few hundred dollars per year or less on chocolate. However, I notice that our current household chocolate budget is $15,000, so I’d like to change that to $12,000, and I’m going to take active steps to make that happen. That’s still way higher than our chocolate budget from a few years ago, when we only spent $2000 on chocolate.”

            Bob: “Hey! You want us to spend less money on chocolate, and you’re actively working to reduce the amount of chocolate coming into our household! That’s the canonical definition of an anti-chocolate position! Why do you hate chocolate so much?”

            It’s estimated that 1.8 million immigrants arrived in the US in 2016. If I think that a healthy level of immigration would be 1.2 million immigrants per year (closer to the level of immigration we had back during the Clinton administration), does that make me “anti-immigrant?”

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            @disingenius

            I’d say that rather depends on why you pick that number in particular; if you think that immigration seemed not to produce structural problems at that level, but that it does now, without providing a convincing causal mechanism to tie it back to immigration, I’d say that probably qualifies. So much has changed since then that trying to recreate the political context of that time by changing the immigration rate seems nonsensical unless it accompanies a vision of forcing the US to travel through time back to the Clinton years.

        • Aftagley says:

          1. Despite the, admittedly interesting first line of the article you linked,

          It’s a testament to President Donald Trump’s capacity for malice that his deportation policy has terrified more while deporting less.

          that Bloomberg piece isn’t really accurate. Look at the actual statistics from: ICE. While yes deportations are down in total, arrests, actions and interior removals all increased under trump. The decreased total number of deportations mostly were a result of less people at the border being deported, which is more a function of how many people were coming to the border.

          2. No, Obama also wasn’t especially pro immigrant. I’d argue no US president over the last 50 years or so has been pro immigrant.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            I blame the terrorization on the media, not Trump. This is the problem with the media constantly conflating legal and illegal immigration, and saying that Trump is “anti-immigrant.” The legal immigrants who have nothing to fear from ICE might get the wrong idea. But propagandists gotta propagandize, so here we are.

          • Brad says:

            I have immigration lawyers in my family and I don’t think it is accurate at all to say that legal immigrants have nothing to fear from CIS, ICE, and CBP. The number of unreasonable and extremely unpleasant secondary inspections is on the rise along with unduly burdensome requests for further evidence and arbitrary denials.

          • albatross11 says:

            Everyone I know who has had interactions with the US customs/immigration bureaucracy has horror stories about it. Like the DMV with less accountability and a lot more power over you. This includes a lot of highly educated people who are accustomed to dealing with bureaucracies and paperwork.

        • RalMirrorAd says:

          Deportations are a poor proxy without some extra information;

          1. Has the definition of “deportation” changed? — are there multiple ways to classify a deportation?
          2. Have circumstances changed where the portion of the population that could be deported at any time is smaller?
          3. Are there any identifiable policy or leadership changes for the relevant agencies to explain why deportations change?
          4. Are there any external pressures independent of government policy that make deportations more difficult/complicated (increased number of people using Asylum claims to remain in the court system longer)

        • Murphy says:

          I’m happy to take the position that the Obama administration was fairly anti-immigrant and anti-refugee.

          I believe trump’s administration is more anti-immigration and anti-refugee and is generally more anti-outsiders in general but Obama’s was pretty hostile.

          I’ve had this argument a few times where people assume that I’m making some kind of “both sides” thing, rather I’m of the belief that while it’s rational to choose the lesser of 2 evils, an eldritch horror that eats twice as many babies is significantly worse than the one it’s being compared to. So this is in no way an endorsement of trump.

          But I think Obama, while being charming and likable and charismatic … was also in some cold and logical ways a detestable monster.

          All the stuff about “kids in cages”?

          Those places were built under Obama and his policies paved the way for trumps later ones. Trump made it worse and gloried in it publicly but Obama did most of the same things, just with slightly lower numbers.

          https://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2018/jun/19/matt-schlapp/no-donald-trumps-separation-immigrant-families-was/

          In 2014, amid an influx of asylum seekers from Central America, the administration established large family detention centers to hold parents and children — potentially indefinitely — as a means of deterring other asylees.

          Those were mostly legal migrants, legally seeking asylum and the administration set out to make their lives so miserable as to make them an example to others to discourage other refugees.

          There’s something especially evil about letting your refugee-processing system become a den of rape and child abuse…. because you actively *want* refugees to see how you treated the people before them and look somewhere else.

          https://theintercept.com/2018/04/11/immigration-detention-sexual-abuse-ice-dhs/

          33,000 complaints between 2010 and 2016 alleging a wide range of abuses in immigration detention.

          sexual assault and harassment in immigration detention are not only widespread but systemic

          https://qz.com/1291470/photos-immigrant-children-detained-at-the-placement-center-in-2014/

          https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/07/07/us-deaths-immigration-detention

          people are shitty. They turn a blind eye to shit like this and even explicitly excuse it as long as the person responsible for it is charming and from their own side/party.

          Both trump and Obama should sit side by side receiving condemnation. One just has a better, more appealing skin suit than the other and eats less infant flesh per day.

          You can’t have perfection but when rape and abuse is systemic under a leader it’s because the people in charge don’t give any fucks to take action to prevent it. There was a reason guards could do whatever they wanted to detainees under both obama and trump: neither gave 2 shits about the welfare of the immigrants so nobody was going to do anything about it.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Those were mostly legal migrants, legally seeking asylum and the administration set out to make their lives so miserable as to make them an example to others to discourage other refugees.

            But they’re not legally seeking asylum. Or, they may be legally seeking asylum, but they’re almost certainly not legally entitled to asylum. If they’re not from Mexico but merely passing through, they should have stopped in Mexico where they were free from whatever persecution they were facing in Honduras or Guatemala or wherever. If they’re from Mexico…what exactly was the government of Mexico doing to persecute them that justifies refugee status? I was not aware the Mexican government was persecuting any racial, religious, or political minorities at this time (or really ever).

            These people are not refugees, they’re people abusing the asylum system. It’s not good for us, and it’s not good for the legitimate asylum seekers crowded out by the phonies.

          • Rand says:

            Conrad, asylum seekers are not legally required to seek asylum in Mexico rather than the United States. For the United States to require that, they would have to be confident that:
            a) Mexico would properly consider all asylum applications and grant them where appropriate and,
            b) Mexico is a safe country for asylum seekers.

            Such an agreement does exist between the US and Canada, it’s called the Canada–United States Safe Third Country Agreement. Even that has exceptions, including for people with family in the other country.

            And, of course, if either country loses faith that the other can fulfill the criteria above, they would have to withdraw from that agreement. This is a matter of ongoing debate in Canada, which is quickly losing faith in the US’s commitment to process asylum seekers.

            So it’s tricky.

        • keaswaran says:

          “why does Trump decreasing immigration make him anti-immigration?”

          Are you saying that it’s wrong to call someone “anti-X” unless they believe the optimal level of X is zero? I’m anti-carbon emissions and anti-gun and anti-zoning and anti-logging without believing that the optimal level of any of those things is zero.

          It seems to me that anyone who thinks the government ought to take action to reduce the amount of X is accurately described as anti-X. Even if they think the government shouldn’t completely ban X.

      • Le Maistre Chat says:

        1. Trump’s administration has year on year reduced the number of refugees that the Us is admitting. Down from 111,000 allowed by the previous administration to 45,000 under the current one. This is a legal form of immigration that he is restricting.

        2. He has reduced staffing and dramatically slowed down the processing of asylum seekers presumably with the intent of making this no longer a tenable option for the asylum seekers forcing them either to go back to whatever situation they’re trying to get away from or immigrate outside the law. This is a legal for of immigration that he is restricting.

        In the current context, these shouldn’t be legal forms of immigration, because “refugee” and “asylum seeker” are code words for Muslims. The administration needs to figure out some sort of law or administrative procedure for restricting those immigrants that won’t get struck down by the Supreme Court. This is actually more important than stopping immigration by Christian Mexicans that violates a law.

        • Randy M says:

          In other words, it isn’t about the rule of law (immigrant vs illegal immigrant) or strictly about the native vs foreigner, but about the type of foreigner?

          “We need to reduce even legal immigration from immigrants not like us” is a scissor statement for sure.

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            Nah, rule of law is good, but as a wiser Justice once said “the Constitution is not a suicide pact” and we’re not robots who should go “Halt, Mexican! You are a bad person because you broke a law! BEEP BOOP!” while supporting immigration by future jihadis just because current law says being a “refugee” or “asylum seeker” is totally legal.
            Current laws regarding immigration are bad and should be changed. “Rule of law” doesn’t forbid that.

        • INH5 says:

          A lot of Asylum Seekers are Christian Central Americans fleeing gang violence, and Trump doesn’t seem to be particularly welcoming towards them either. You may have heard about a migrant caravan in the news recently.

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            Yes, I’m well aware that there are contexts where asylum seekers are Christian Latinos fleeing violence. Last time I was in Mexico, I met a family that had moved there to escape what’s going on Venezuela.

          • INH5 says:

            Do you agree that Trump’s actions towards Christian Latino Asylum Seekers, which have gone well beyond just making things harder for Asylum Seekers in general, are evidence that he opposes letting Asylum Seekers in for reasons other than the fact that some Asylum Seekers are Muslim?

          • gbdub says:

            What percentage of those seekers actually have a reasonable claim to asylum? I don’t think “my country has a shit economy and high crime” is generally enough.

            And what exactly are you supposed to do when a crowd attempts to breach a border crossing by force?

        • albatross11 says:

          Le Maistre Chat:

          From this article, it looks like over the last few years, immigrants have been split about 45/45/10 between Christians, Muslims, and Other, so while lots of refugees are Muslim, that’s not the majority and may not even be a plurality.

        • Jiro says:

          In the current context, these shouldn’t be legal forms of immigration, because “refugee” and “asylum seeker” are code words for Muslims.

          You must be from Europe.

          “Refugee” in Europe is a code word for “economic migrant Muslim”. “Refugee” in America is a code word for “economic migrant Latin American”.

          People object to “refugees” in America because they’re economic migrants abusing the system, not because they’re Muslims.

          • acymetric says:

            I’m not sure that is totally true, I think at least recently that a lot of people think “Syrian” when they think of refugees, even when it is used to refer to folks coming from South America.

          • Aapje says:

            @Jiro

            Please don’t ascribe singular definitions to millions of people with diverse opinions and definitions.

            Just like in the US, different people in Europe use different definitions and there is quite a bit of motte-and-baileying going on, in both directions. For example, people who call economic migrants refugees and people who call refugees economic migrants.

      • gbdub says:

        I think part of the problem is the conflation of “anti-immigration” and “anti-immigrant bias”. Or rather, the failure to acknowledge/imagine the reasons anyone might prefer less immigration, even less immigration from particular places, for any reason other than naked bigotry.

        Trump has certainly made efforts to curb certain kinds of immigration without corresponding increases in other forms, so it’s fair to call him anti-immigration, at least in some sense. On the other hand, there are nominal justifications for these policies that do not rely on racism:
        1) Economic harm to current citizens
        2) Rule of law (straight illegal immigration and abuses of legal immigration policies)
        3) Threat of extremist terrorism

        Maybe you think all of these are fig leaves for bigotry, but you have to make that case. Going straight from “wants less immigration” to “hates immigrants because racism” skips a step.

        • albatross11 says:

          I think if you were looking for a spokesman for the “anti-immigration but not anti-immigrant” position, Donald J Trump might be the very last person on your list.

          • gbdub says:

            He’s a poor spokesman, certainly, but until a better one comes along and gets elected president, if you’re in that camp, I don’t see why you should oppose his policies just because he’s an uncouth ass.

            I’m not sure we should elevate style over substance to a virtue?

          • mdet says:

            I think Scott’s entire post on this page was an argument for why style matters.

            “There have been a lot of studies showing that peaceful protests may increase support for a cause, but violent or disruptive protests usually decrease it.”

        • lazydragonboy says:

          I run so hard into 1) all the time. I personally find the notion of importing many, many doctors and dentists and other important professions whose services are very expensive in the US because of restrictions on supply very appealing—yet I know that would certainly tank the wages of many US doctors, dentists etc who spent a lot of money to get their excessively expensive degree. Emotionally, my position is largely “um..well..fuck ’em?”, but I know that is not a well fleshed out nor really a good position.

          • acymetric says:

            It would probably be better for us to fix our medical training system, although that solution would take longer. I’m also not sure that doctors can just flit between countries willy nilly, I think there are some hoops to jump through for a foreign doctor to be licensed to practice here (this may vary by country or credentials, I haven’t really looked into it much).

          • Well... says:

            There might be something to be said for one of the most prominent well-paid professions being something critical like medicine, since well-paid professions might tend to draw unusually capable people who have a lot of options and can sort of write their own ticket.

            If other professions become comparatively better paid for whatever reason, such as flooding the labor market with doctors, medicine might then tend to get the “leftovers”, or the people who’ve figured out how to quickly use it as a launchpad to other professions.

            Or, if the price of labor is kept artificially high even after the market is flooded, then what pays for it?

          • Brad says:

            I don’t know about dentists but doctors very quickly make up the costs of their education in extremely excessive compensation vs other first world countries (yes even after taking into account malpractice insurance). We are in no danger of drying up the supply of applicants to medical school. In any event I’m not sure we should want the very most capable people to become doctors, at least unless we are talking about doctor-researchers. Most doctors are doing additive work, perhaps very important additive work, but nonetheless not multiplicative.

        • RalMirrorAd says:

          ‘there are nominal justifications for these policies that do not rely on racism’ — You have a very narrow conception of the term that doesn’t capture why immigration restrictionism as-such generates outrage.

          re-read 1-3 and ask yourself: What is the “Unit of concern” here? Who are these policies intended to benefit? — At least for now “Current Citizens” and in particular people who concern themselves with “The rule of law” are globally disproportionately represented by certain people.

          Representing the interests of these people, as opposed to at least nominally representing the interests of the whole of the global south, has certain problematic. implications.

          • eyeballfrog says:

            How about making some actual claims instead of vaguely gesturing at racism. Why should the US represent the interests of the whole of the “global south”? What are these supposedly problematic implications?

          • RalMirrorAd says:

            @eyeballfrog

            I’m not making a normative claim here.

          • InvalidUsernameAndPassword says:

            “Global South” has got to be one of the least useful geographic circumscription ever invented. Is the PRC part of the Global South? What about Kazakhstan? Turkey? Costa Rica? And so on

          • Don_Flamingo says:

            @RalMirrorAd
            What are the problems that you see?
            State them or don’t mention them, please.
            Nobody can read your mind.

    • dalemannes says:

      Even “anti illegal immigrant” goes too far. I support strict immigration restrictions, but I don’t hate or oppose the people who break the laws. Are exclusive universities anti-student for rejecting and excluding so many students?

    • Sigivald says:

      For that matter, also “So did moral support for immigrants.” is not reflected by the Pew question, “immigrants strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents”.

      One can without contradiction believe that immigration is moral but not that immigrants strengthen the country with hard work an talents; support for, say, refugee programs is not based on those predicates at all.

      This is remarkably sloppy thinking from our host.

      (Disclosure: I think the President’s a tool, and I want lots of immigration, under an enforced legal framework. But this? This is ludicrous.)

      • wysinwygymmv says:

        One can without contradiction believe that immigration is moral but not that immigrants strengthen the country with hard work an talents; support for, say, refugee programs is not based on those predicates at all.

        In context, “moral support” means something like “approval”. It seems reasonable to me that “immigrants strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents” is a fairly good proxy for “immigration is a generally good thing” even if they’re not logically identical statements.

    • JohnBuridan says:

      I’m pretty sure the Trump administration has greatly decreased the number of legal imm=migrants to the country and the number of asylum seekers.

      https://www.cato.org/blog/trump-cut-muslim-refugees-91-immigrants-30-visitors-18

    • finnydo says:

      The Trump Administration doesn’t. Trumpism is fully anti-immigrant, and any appeals to “the law” are fig leafs. A stated goal of the Trump administration is to reduce all immigration, and the stated reasoning is close to explicitly racist.

    • Maxwell says:

      “anti illegal immigrant” is not a real position that anyone holds. I mean, somebody who wants to stop Mexican immigration could say they are against illegal immigration, but it’s not the illegality that bothers them – it’s the fact that the illegals are Mexican and they don’t like Mexicans. The actual position would be “anti Mexican immigrant”.

      • Walter says:

        You are wrong about this.

      • eccdogg says:

        Yeah, this is not correct.

        I both think there should be more immigration including possibly more Mexican immigration and think totally ignoring our immigration laws is a problem.

        And I know quite a few folks who hold similar views.

      • nkurz says:

        somebody who wants to stop Mexican immigration could say they are against illegal immigration, but it’s not the illegality that bothers them – it’s the fact that the illegals are Mexican and they don’t like Mexicans

        I have to ask, what leads you to conclude this? Is it self-evident to you, or have you had experiences that lead you to this conclusion?

        Adding to the others, I’ll add myself as a counterexample. I am against illegal Mexican immigration to the US, but welcome legal Mexican immigrants. I support changing our immigration laws to be more welcoming to immigrants, but think it’s important to enforce the laws that we do have. I think that “law abiding” is an important characteristic to evaluate in potential immigrants, and strongly disprefer offering citizenship to those who would break the law to enter this country.

      • John Schilling says:

        “anti illegal immigrant” is not a real position that anyone holds.

        It is a position that I until recently really did hold. And I changed my mind only because I now believe this country is heading towards a place where we may need a healthy supply of ambitious, hard-working, mostly ethical criminals with experience evading government scrutiny.

        it’s the fact that the illegals are Mexican and they don’t like Mexicans.

        You are devoid of clue. And you are being annoyingly offensive about it, which is a bad combination.

        • Reasoner says:

          It is a position that I until recently really did hold. And I changed my mind only because I now believe this country is heading towards a place where we may need a healthy supply of ambitious, hard-working, mostly ethical criminals with experience evading government scrutiny.

          Why’s that?

      • “anti illegal immigrant” is not a real position that anyone holds.

        How do you know? There are quite a lot of people who see breaking laws as inherently bad. Most of them are not entirely consistent about it, inclined to make exceptions for drinking by someone who is nineteen or driving five miles an hour over the speed limit, but it is how they feel.

        • Maxwell says:

          Yes, such people probably exist, but they aren’t part of the immigration debate. They are bystanders.

      • johan_larson says:

        “anti illegal immigrant” is not a real position that anyone holds. I mean, somebody who wants to stop Mexican immigration could say they are against illegal immigration, but it’s not the illegality that bothers them.

        [Raises hand.] I believe that the current US immigration mess is bad partly because it features flagrant violations of the law on a vast scale. It is important to maintain the majesty of the law, the general sense that the law is to be obeyed and violations of it are consistently punished. That’s what maintains the rule of law, far more than the severity of punishments applied. And right now the US is failing in this important duty.

        Of course that’s not the only reason I think the current situation is crazy. There is also the question of who is arriving illegally, and in particular how well they are educated and trained. The US is a wealthy society with expensive institutions offering broad benefits to everyone, but it can only afford those institutions because it is generally highly productive, and it is highly productive in large part because it has a highly trained labor force. Dilute that by bringing in masses of poor uneducated folks, and it’s not going to work. You’ll be trying to run Norway with the labor force of Bolivia.

        I think the US is wise to allow fairly high immigration, and legal immigration could certainly be a less bureaucratic process. But immigration should be controlled and selective.

        • mtl1882 says:

          I would argue a good portion of Americans are not all that highly trained. I think about half have no college degree, and even those who do frequently work in paper-pushing jobs that don’t require or aspire to create highly trained employees. I should clarify that I don’t mean to imply that lacking a college degree makes one not highly trained – many fields that don’t require them may require a high skill level. It was in response to the word “uneducated.” Certainly we do benefit from our large number of highly trained people, but there are only so many jobs for them. Poor, uneducated immigrants can be quite productive — particularly so in certain fields that do not need and probably will not hire highly trained laborers, if many of those exist. I think threats to our productivity are much more internal, at least in my experience.

      • Brad says:

        I’m a democrat and I’m in the anti-illegal immigration camp. That doesn’t mean I support a wall—I think it’s security theater, or trying to deport 11 million people, but I think in general we should try to enforce the law. I’m all in favor of e-verify. If people think we should accept more immigrants, fine let’s do that. Let’s increase the quotas. Why would we want a system where priority goes to those willing and able to break the rules?

      • sentientbeings says:

        This idea is so obviously in bad faith, yet so commonly repeated, that I can point to as the exclusive reason that I end up spending more time criticizing “pro-immigration” talking points and their exponents than I do the anti-immigration (illegal or otherwise) side, despite the fact that I am generally in favor of maximally porous borders.

    • Galle says:

      I don’t think Scott is actually conflating “anti-illegal immigrant” with “anti-immigrant”. Trump is, in fact, anti-immigration, as shown by his support for policies that make legal immigration more difficult. His concern for illegal immigration is almost certainly a direct consequence of his broader anti-immigration views. Saying that Trump is only “anti-illegal immigration” and not “anti-immigration” in general requires you to completely fail to connect the dots.

    • googolplexbyte says:

      If you were solely anti-illegal immigrant and not anti-immigrant, then you could eliminate illegal immigrants all together by making all immigration legal.

  2. Jacob says:

    Does this mean we’ll have to suffer through 4 years of an identitarian president like Kirsten “Future is Intersectional” Gillibrand to get everyone to turn on identity politics? Oh well, if that’s the price we have to pay.

    • Juniper1 says:

      Half the time I have your take: Trump turned exaggerated idpol rhetoric into a living entity, and will enable a Tumblr presidency in response. (That idpol rhetoric can fit easily into a corporate-friendly ‘neoliberal’ framework is the direction I think this would take, more than some socialist type)

      But the other half of the time I wonder if Trump opposition and institutional power is the only thing holding up the enforcement of norms around ideas that look increasingly empirically shaky and are probably not that popular.

      The fact that opposition to political correctness no doubt at least helped elect Trump, and that the most mainstream opposition to identity politics in the Trump era is the ‘intellectual dark web’ sphere which is far from uniformly pro-Trump (and has plenty of anti-Trump figures), underlines this confusion.

      • Deiseach says:

        Trump turned exaggerated idpol rhetoric into a living entity, and will enable a Tumblr presidency in response.

        The way things are going right now, Tumblr itself may not exist in 2020.

        Also, that piece about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Is that serious? She hasn’t even taken her seat as a first-time member of the House of Representatives! How on earth can anyone say “Alex for 2020” with a straight face? Even 2024 would be really pushing it.

        I don’t doubt she’d like to run for President some day, but right now she has to see if her beginner’s luck holds and she survives attacking the established big beasts in the Democratic Party. For instance, I’m undecided if she has really managed to get Nancy Pelosi under her thumb, or if Pelosi who has been around long enough to know how best to play the game is just going along with the Hot New Movement as a survival tactic until the opportune moment to pull the rug out from under Ocasio-Cortez arrives.

        • Anonymous Bosch says:

          For instance, I’m undecided if she has really managed to get Nancy Pelosi under her thumb, or if Pelosi who has been around long enough to know how best to play the game is just going along with the Hot New Movement as a survival tactic until the opportune moment to pull the rug out from under Ocasio-Cortez arrives.

          It’s neither. While there are both leftists and centrists who are unhappy with Pelosi, most of the energy and votes for kicking her out were coming from the center. AOC has no incentive to oppose Pelosi if she’d be replaced with a more centrist Dem, and Pelosi has no incentive not to promise AOC (or any other Dem) votes on their pet issues; it’s not like the Senate is going to pass a damn thing.

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          She won’t be old enough to run until 2028.

        • Juniper1 says:

          My Tumblr presidency reference was tongue-in-cheek, the counterpoint to the similar suggestion Trump is the 4chan president. 😛

          Also, a part of me wonders if Yglesias wrote that stupid AOC take just so she could dunk on it.

    • Walter says:

      Can you explain what you mean by ‘identitarian’? I haven’t heard that usage before.

      I definitely think we are likely to get a Democratic president in 2020, if that answers your question. Left is very fired up.

      • oppressedminority says:

        I dont mean to speak for @Jacob but I think he means like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. Who is now presidential timber apparently. She does have impressive qualifications, I mean, she is Latina AND female.

        • Walter says:

          I feel like Mr. Yglesias is having a particularly fervent couple of weeks/months. Like, didn’t he just delete his twitter after he praised the goons that attacked that one reporter’s house?

          I don’t think dude ever came down from the BK confirmations. I have trouble believing he actually wants to jump a first term congress critter in front of the rest of the party, I think it is more like his blasting button is stuck down and he is steering the shots into anything that seems vaguely like a structural barrier.

        • Kestrellius says:

          She does have impressive qualifications, I mean, she is Latina AND female.

          I don’t entirely disagree with your point, but that seems…unhelpfully snarky.

          • Deiseach says:

            I don’t entirely disagree with your point, but that seems…unhelpfully snarky.

            Have you read that Yglesias article? I’m stumbling my way through it (mainly because my brain keeps going “this has got to be some kind of satirical piece along the lines of A Modest Proposal, right?”)

            If you think “Latina AND female” is snarky, what do you think of this suggestion by the learned gentleman?

            One good sign that AOC should run for president is that she has a nickname — AOC.

            Well. A nickname. From her initials, not from anything particularly witty or commemorating anything she’s done, just her initials which I’m pretty sure doesn’t actually count as a nickname? Never mind though, I’m convinced that proves she is presidential material, how about you guys?

            Oh yeah – and having old candidates is bad, becuase old people keep getting older. But a young candidate is better because not only are they young, they would also get older and that would be great because that would mean all the cock-ups would happen during their campaign before they got into office!

            (I swear I’m not making that up).

          • Plumber says:

            @Deiseach

            “…I swear I’m not making that up…”

            There’s been lots of press about Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, and it’s been exceedingly shallow, from all of it I learned:

            1) She’s the youngest women ever elected to congress.

            2) She calls herself a socialist. 

            3) She is pro immigration.

            4) She was listed with a bunch of other “aren’t they good looking” politicians along with the Democratic candidate for Texas governor (I really wish I was making that up).

            5) She connects with “her young supporters” by posting videos where she asks if some old expired food in her refigerator is safe (that was from The Washington Post!).

            6) The old guy she defeated in the Democratic primary had policies were very similar to hers (which are never actually detailed, besides that she’s “pro immigration” somehow).

            7) Her election is somehow a “harbinger”.

            8) Oops! It’s an anomaly instead because in other districts it was centrist Democrats that won.

            And that’s it.

            This is what the “fourth estate” has reported, just lots of ink and pixels like that.

        • Acedia says:

          For the record, Cortez herself said that article is dumb. Or at least approved of a social media intern saying it on her behalf.

        • keaswaran says:

          Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes actually seems to be remarkably *non*-identitarian for a contemporary Democrat. She is always talking about economic and environmental concerns, and not really very often about racial and gender ones.

    • Bugmaster says:

      My predictions for 2020/2024 are as follows:

      Chances of Trump running for re-election in 2020: 70%
      Chances of Trump winning if he does run in 2020: 99%
      Chances of Tumblr presidency in 2024: 70%
      Chances of Republican presidency in 2024: 25%

      • shakeddown says:

        I’ll take that bet at 100 to 1 odds

      • Galle says:

        Chances of Trump running for re-election in 2020: 70%
        Chances of Trump winning if he does run in 2020: 99%

        This is an interesting combination – I’d flip these, personally. I can’t see Trump *not* running for re-election short of him dying or being impeached, neither of which is very likely. And even if we assume that opposition to him is overstated, 99% is an absurdly high chance of victory. What’s your reasoning for this?

        • Bugmaster says:

          My reasoning for the low probability of Trump running is a combination of factors: potential bad health (he’s an old man, after all); potential impeachment (or sufficient political fallout that would preclude him from running in some other way); and Trump being Trump (he doesn’t seem to happy in his current role, and he acts on a whim all the time). While I agree that these factors are not very likely individually, they do add up.

          On the other hand, if Trump does run, he will have virtually no credible opposition.

          Theoretically, he could face a challenge from within his own party, but this is unlikely, since the Republicans are consistently good at party solidarity. It is unlikely that they will sabotage their own candidate and risk losing the Presidency for four years.

          The Democrats, meanwhile, are in total disarray. Hillary is their most likely candidate; however, she already failed to beat Trump once, and, from what I’ve seen, she hadn’t improved since then — at least, not among swing voters (her approval rating with the Democrats is irrelevant, since they were never going to vote Trump anyway). Meanwhile, the Democratic Socialists are making a strong push against the establishment, to the detriment of Democrats as a whole.

          I’m not going to worry too much about any independent candidates; they never had a chance to win anything substantial, and they never will.

          On the other hand, Trump’s popularity has been drastically underestimated in the polls, during his initial campaign. Furthermore, many “never-Trump” Republicans have since then abandoned their stance, and are supporting him as the least bad of multiple evils. On top of that, his level of support among swing voters (i.e., the only ones who matter) is likewise high, and the Democrats are unwittingly increasing it, by alienating swing voters with their increasingly incendiary rhetoric (and, in some cases, literal incendiaries).

          When combined, all of these factors add up to a very high probability of victory for Trump.

          • Galle says:

            I admit, I find it difficult to believe that Democrats could possibly alienate swing voters any more than Trump and his own incendiary followers already have. Republicans did just get pretty badly shellacked in an election – it’s clear that Trumpism is not popular.

          • John Schilling says:

            On the other hand, if Trump does run, he will have virtually no credible opposition […] The Democrats, meanwhile, are in total disarray. Hillary is their most likely candidate

            That’s not how this works. Admittedly, Presidential campaign season starts earlier each cycle, but we’re still two years out from election day 2020. If you’d tried to predict the most likely Republican candidate for 2016, in 2014, you’d almost certainly have predicted Jeb Bush. In 2006, you’d have predicted the 2008 election would have been Hillary vs Giuliani, or maybe Hillary vs. McCain. For 2012 you might have guessed Romney in 2010, but elections where you can predict the (non-incumbent) candidates two years in advance are historically unusual events.

            Hillary Clinton is not going to be the Democratic party’s candidate in 2020. I could give you a list of maybe ten names and have 80% confidence that the eventual nominee would be on that list, but that’s normal. The lack of a clear front-runner two years out from the general election is not a sign of a party in disarray, that’s standard operating procedure. Too much can happen in two years to make anything like commitment that early.

            And whoever gets the (D) after their name, will be a credible candidate with a good chance of beating Trump.

        • Paul Brinkley says:

          As a somewhat rejoinder to Bugmaster, I can offer my answer on Quora about Trump’s chances, based on Allan Lichtman’s Keys to the White House. I currently score him as having six out of eight keys held, one definitely lost (control of the House), three more probably lost, and three as tossups.

          In truth, I think Trump is at least 85% likely to get at least two of the three tossups. Given KttWH’s record (every election since Lincoln, and predicting every one since Carter), 85% ends up being my estimate, plus or minus 15% this far out.

          • dragnubbit says:

            There seems to be a tremendous amount of subjectivity in those keys, and ample opportunity for post facto scoring (e.g. you know a military success or failure qualifies as serious when it impacts an election, and the same applies to scandal).

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            I had the same reaction you did about subjectivity (I even mention it in my answer). But Lichtman used those keys to predict every election since 1981, so he seems to be handling the subjectivity right somehow.

            Can you name any military events in the last two years that you think different people would disagree on categorizing as election-affecting failures or victories? Or foreign policy events? A few straw proposals: backing out of Paris Accords; sabre rattling at NORK; trade war with China; Syrian policy; the Kashoggi affair.

          • dragnubbit says:

            The trade war with China and other protectionist policies will be latched on to explain the 2020 election whatever it happens to be. Democrats will campaign on how terrible the economy is and point to Trump’s policies and Republicans will argue how great the economy is and point to Trump’s policies. The voters will pick their preferred view of both the economy and Trump but it will not be based on any objective analysis of the outcome of trade policies and their true impact on the economy. It will be which candidate is able to ‘message’ their version of the story better.

            Overall I just don’t believe that type of exercise (tick X boxes and you win a prize) is very descriptive of how US elections function.

      • mtl1882 says:

        I think it comes down to who runs against him, which as of now, is not looking good for the Democrats. I don’t see a Trump presidency as 99% likely, but I do think it is more likely than not. I agree with your 70% assessment – Trump’s personality is such that I am confident he will go for it, and if he were younger I’d say 90%, but he’s older and probably not the healthiest guy, and it may just not be doable for another 4 years. I think becoming enfeebled in front of the cameras would be his worst nightmare, though I suppose he could modify his style while still retaining his basic personality and approach. The American people tend to prefer an incumbent.

        Also, the criminal investigations against him and anyone in his circle are unlikely to end while he is president, and could make him unwilling to run again, but I think little else could influence his decision. He loves a good battle, but this one is especially dangerous. I know he is more likely to be indicted if he’s out of office, but I think the interest in doing so would subside considerably and it’s unclear if there is even much of a case. But his associates will always be easy to go after, because most guys in power who don’t work in jobs that place any emphasis on ethics tend to do stupid, arrogant things like tax fraud, and are easy targets, so it’s a good way to make his life unpleasant while he’s president.

        Tumblr presidency is unlikely, in my mind. Most people don’t go for that, and many who do just like the talking points, watered down. It’s simply unappealing to most people. I think there is a reasonable change of a left-leaning populist type arising, who might be successful in 2024. I think the chances of a Republican winning then are low, but I don’t think the Democrat alternative will be Tumblr-ish. I think the 2016 election has opened the door for a much needed political realignment, but how it will play out is hard to say. I’m disappointed that few people seem to be excited by it. The worked up people on both sides are excited in a non-constructive way and making everyone else lose all desire to participate in politics. I think there is room for a new approach, but it is possible that the people will be offered the out of touch elites again and take it, wishing for civility. But the American people like change, even when it is pretty minor, so I think 2024 will go Democrat.

    • Doug says:

      One very under appreciated aspect of the US political system is that it’s strongly biased towards mean reversion. It’s very rare for the party that controls the government, particularly the presidency, to make sustained political gains. The president’s party almost always loses seats in Congress, falls in approval ratings over the administration, and very rarely wins a third presidential term.

      What the actual mechanism that drives this is somewhat of a mystery. I’d guess it has to do with the fact the intersection of presidential term lengths coinciding with the business cycle. It’s nearly impossible for a president to avoid a recession through a full two terms. Americans (erroneously) strongly ascribe short-term economic performance to the sitting president. Most likely because of the unitary nature of the office. Combined with term limits, means the sitting party gets all the bad shit after the president’s two terms ends without any of the advantage of running an experienced incumbent.

      Regardless, one of America’s strength is the pendulum almost always swings back towards the center. Populist mania of various left-right orientations may take the day for an election cycle, but tend to dissipate quickly.

      • CherryGarciaMillionaire says:

        Related: American historian Allan Lichtman’s The 13 Keys to the White House:

        “The Keys are statements that favor victory (in the popular vote count) for the incumbent party. When five or fewer statements are false, the incumbent party is predicted to win the popular vote; when six or more are false, the challenging party is predicted to win the popular vote.

        1. Party Mandate: After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than after the previous midterm elections.
        2. Contest: There is no serious contest for the incumbent party nomination.
        3. Incumbency: The incumbent party candidate is the sitting president.
        4. Third party: There is no significant third party or independent campaign.
        5. Short term economy: The economy is not in recession during the election campaign.
        6. Long term economy: Real per capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms.
        7. Policy change: The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy.
        8. Social unrest: There is no sustained social unrest during the term.
        9. Scandal: The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal.
        10. Foreign/military failure: The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs.
        11. Foreign/military success: The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs.
        12. Incumbent charisma: The incumbent party candidate is charismatic or a national hero.
        13. Challenger charisma: The challenging party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero.

        The Keys retroactively account for the popular vote winners of every presidential election from 1860 through 1980 and prospectively forecast the popular-vote winners of all eight presidential elections from 1984 through 2012….

        In September 2016, the Keys forecasted that Donald Trump would win the popular vote in the 2016 election, if and only if the main third party candidates (Gary Johnson) won more than 5% of the vote. The third party candidates reaching the 5% threshold would have dealt Clinton the critical sixth key necessary for her to lose the popular vote. Shortly before the first debate, when Gary Johnson was polling about 12 to 14 percent using the system, Lichtman cut it down to half making it about 7% so Lichtman issued a public prediction that Trump would win the election—one of the few election forecasters at the time who believed Trump would win. Earlier in the year, after the first debate, when support for third party candidates plunged nationwide, Clinton was left with only 5 negative keys, enough to win the popular vote according to Lichtman’s model.

        Lichtman’s keys are predominantly a predictor of the popular vote, however limited predictions can be made from the model about whether the electoral college outcome and popular vote might diverge. Specifically, while Lichtman’s model says (accurately) that any candidate with eight or more positive keys and five or fewer negative keys will win the popular vote, any candidate with exactly eight positive keys and five negative ones runs a serious risk of winning the popular vote but losing the electoral college. In these specific cases, campaign factors may actually matter. Candidates with exactly 5 negative keys who run stellar or at least highly competent campaigns, even when faced with the very real possibility of losing the electoral college (Truman in 1948, Bill Clinton in 1996) can seal an electoral college victory on top of their popular vote win. Candidates with exactly five negative keys who don’t campaign, run a poor campaign, or take their win in certain states for granted (Grover Cleveland in 1888, Al Gore in 2000, and Hillary Clinton in 2016) typically lose the electoral college, even if they do win the popular vote.”

      • Plumber says:

        @Doug

        “…mean reversion…”

        Yes.

        The presidential elections in the last 100 years that were “game changers” were F.D.R. in 1932, and Reagan in 1980, otherwise mostly reversion to the mean.

        Bush in ’88 is the only time that I remember a different candidate from the same party as the current occupant winning, usually it’s four or eight years (usually eight with a president of one party followed by four or eight years (usually eight) of th oher party’s canidate as president and two years after one parties presifential canidate wins that same party loses seats in congress.

        • cassander says:

          I don’t think that Reagan was much of a game changer, really. certainly in the same league as FDR.

          • Plumber says:

            Your probably right, I was thinking of the president who changed things the most in my lifetime, but in thinking about it more that might’ve been Johnson who was president when I wa too young to remember him (Nixon was the first President that I remember).

            If pattern holds Trump will probably be re-elected, had he followed a Republican he likely wouldn’t be re-elected.

          • cassander says:

            Johnson almost certainly had a much larger effect overall, though often for reasons that ran opposite to what he wanted. Reagan’s achievements are vastly exaggerated by both his detractors and supporters. the neo-liberal wave hit the US less hard than almost any other state, because the US was already more neo-liberal than average and because the american system is more resistant to change. Reagan changed the rhetoric of politics for 20 years or so, but little of the substance.

      • broblawsky says:

        I’d argue that 1876 was a game-changer, due to the end of Reconstruction; it ended any hope of significant African-American participation in politics for ~100 years. 1972 was also significant, due to the Republican party’s adoption of the Southern Strategy. Both of those elections dramatically changed the base adopted by one or both parties.

        • cassander says:

          the southern strategy is largely a myth. The south didn’t go republican in the 60s or 70s, it went republican in the 90s, when the people that were voting during the civil rights era started dying off. republican presidents did alright in the south, because republican presidents won an average of more than 40 states per election between 1968 and 88. They persistently polled lower in the south than the rest of the county, just not low enough to actually lose, except in 1976, when they did lose the south.

          • dragnubbit says:

            Disputing the Southern Strategy by pointing to persistence of southern Democratic house seats (and Democratic statehouses) for several decades is glossing over reality. Machine politics in the South was Democratic and had been since Redemption so it was particularly entrenched. As long as House and State Democrats in the South were given the freedom by their party to oppose federal civil rights implementation their machine/incumbency advantage was strong enough to support a generation of ‘split-ticket’ voters – GOP presidents and Democratic legislators and governors. The Southern Strategy forced southern states to remove or neuter ‘straight-ticket’ voting as an option to avoid getting cleaned out in presidential years. By embracing southern voters at the presidential ticket by adopting the lost cause and ‘law-and-order’ terminology, and exploiting the conflicts created within the Democratic party over civil rights, the erosion of the once invincible Southern Democratic state parties was put into motion.

            One by one the state Democratic parties in the South disintegrated as Dixiecrats either left for the GOP party, got coat-tailed out of office by GOP presidential candidates, or had their primary elections increasingly influenced by black voters (which the national Democratic party began enforcing fair participation for). This was a gradual process as state and local party machines had to be eroded over time and each local and state party flipped control at different times (and sometimes oscillated) due to local circumstances. But the end result was inevitable – a realignment of state parties to match the national party preference of most voters.

          • cassander says:

            Machine politics in the South was Democratic and had been since Redemption so it was particularly entrenched.

            Yep. that’s precisely my point.

            The Southern Strategy forced southern states to remove or neuter ‘straight-ticket’ voting as an option to avoid getting cleaned out in presidential years. By embracing southern voters at the presidential ticket by adopting the lost cause and ‘law-and-order’ terminology, and exploiting the conflicts created within the Democratic party over civil rights, the erosion of the once invincible Southern Democratic state parties was put into motion.

            Funny how it seemed to win votes everywhere else too. And not just votes, more votes in the south. Appealing to law and order wasn’t a southern strategy, it was a whole country strategy, and one that appealed LEAST in the south.

            This was a gradual process as state and local party machines had to be eroded over time and each local and state party flipped control at different times (and sometimes oscillated) due to local circumstances. But the end result was inevitable – a realignment of state parties to match the national party preference of most voters.

            No, it wasn’t. the south remained solidly democratic through 1990, then that bloc fell apart rapidly during the 90s, when the dixiecrats (almost all of whom were still in the democratic party) started dying off or retiring.

          • dragnubbit says:

            I think we are just using different language to describe the same historical effects. Democrat and Republican are not sufficiently descriptive terms for political allegiances in the South between 1972 and, say, 1992, because those were transitional years. The Democratic party in the south was predominantly opposed to Civil Rights in 1972, and fielded a mixture of Dixiecrats, Blue Dogs, and other liberals throughout the South during this time period that still appealed to solely white voters (black voters were reliable Republican voters for historical reasons but largely discouraged from registering and participating). Republicans had no way to convert most southern white voters without adopting a hostile attitude towards Civil Rights (it had to be a recognizable shade more hostile than that of national Democrats to permit identification). Nixon and Reagan did this very successfully at the national level and white voters in the south happily voted for GOP presidents over even a southern liberal like Carter. But state Democratic party candidates were mostly still hostile to civil rights and the state republican parties in the south had not yet realigned themselves to the national strategy (and were extremely weak anyway). So Southern white voters between 1972 and 1992 were mostly aligned with the national Republican party and their respective state Democratic parties, both of which were the parties opposed to federal protections of civil rights. There were lots of other issues besides civil rights, so the party apparatus at the state level in the South did not just realign themselves on a dime just because the national GOP flipped its position on civil rights. And the national Democratic party was only weakly imposing its civil rights agenda on southern Democratic state parties. The Dixiecrats were still stronger in their states than the national party and tried to keep their machines going as long as possible.

            Calling white southerners Republican or Democratic during this time period is both true and false simultaneously depending on whether you are talking about affiliation with national or state parties.

            While Republicans polled lower in the south than they did in the north, they still did FAR better in Dixie once they adopted the Southern Strategy than when they were the party of Lincoln. They could gain white southern voters faster than they would lose northern voters by flipping on civil rights (and embracing the religious right) and this laid the groundwork for a national GOP party. As political strategy it was brilliant – find a huge chunk of voters the other national party has just alienated and grab them (Democrats are doing this right now with suburban voters with college degrees). Backlash to civil rights was not just a regional issue – it is called the Southern Strategy but it was truly a national strategy to pick up voters everywhere who felt things were going too fast on civil rights and worried about where it would stop (e.g. Reagan Democrats in the Rust Belt).

          • idontknow131647093 says:

            drag

            To me it appears your defense of the theory that the Southern Strategy existed is, “well we can’t be sure, so it totally did.” In fact, your defense of its existence contains many factual inaccuracies such as:

            (black voters were reliable Republican voters for historical reasons but largely discouraged from registering and participating).

            Blacks had ceased to be a Republican voting block in the 1930s.

            by adopting the lost cause and ‘law-and-order’ terminology,

            These are unrelated. Law and order was universally popular at the time because crime was at insanely high levels. People also were angry about crime because they felt that it forced them out of their historical homes. One great example is the Chicago neighborhood of Englewood. Historically a German-Irish neighborhood, it hosted the Flagship store for Sears, when Sears was on top of the world in he 1930s. It was a natural counterpart to its Loop-based corporate HQ. By the 1950s the Germans and Irish had begun to flee as a result of rising crime, and by the 70s the neighborhood was almost unlivable.

            had no way to convert most southern white voters without adopting a hostile attitude towards Civil Rights

            Again, there is no evidence for this. There is little evidence of any voters changing their alignment, rather, the evidence is that there was demographic replacement of old white Dixiecrats by white Republicans who were immigrants from the north and/or the children of Dixiecrats.

            Indeed, I could make a stronger case that Barack Obama won his election based on an Anti-War-Veteran platform, based on voting patterns. He won a historically low number of the % of veteran voters based on the states he won/lost. I won’t make that case because it is equally stupid.

          • cassander says:

            @dragnubbit says:

            Republicans had no way to convert most southern white voters without adopting a hostile attitude towards Civil Rights (it had to be a recognizable shade more hostile than that of national Democrats to permit identification). Nixon and Reagan did this very successfully at the national level

            No, they didn’t, that’s my point. Nixon led the charge on bussing, and the whole issue was largely dead by the time Reagan was in office.

            While Republicans polled lower in the south than they did in the north, they still did FAR better in Dixie once they adopted the Southern Strategy than when they were the party of Lincoln.

            They also did better in the north, midwest, and west. From 1932 to 64, republicans got crushed in almost presidential elections more often than not, and from 68 to 88, they crush every presidential election but one. Again, if you want to attribute that change to a strategy, it wasn’t a southern strategy, it was a whole country strategy.

    • Vorkon says:

      Isn’t this basically exactly how we got Trump in the first place? Admittedly, it was 8 years, but still.

      (Note: This isn’t intended as a snipe against Obama, so much as an affirmation of Scott’s theory that, yeah, backlash to overreach by one side or another is driving a lot of our politics these days.)

  3. cryptoshill says:

    You yourself wrote a whole post about how “It is extremely improbable that Trump holds opinions like “all Mexicans are Rapists”. I find it interesting in the wake of that post that now you are putting “antiimmigration support” in the bucket with “I think Mexicans are rapists”. Is this just explaining the zeitgeist on the centreleft/left or is this a true assessment of what you think Trump and his supporters think? Some of this effect is due to the success at the mainstream (which I read as centre-left) in branding Trump as Mean. Democrats are *extremely good* at fighting people who can be successfully branded as Mean. One of the reasons I thought Trump was different is that he was an *unapologetic* Republican. Apologia have been the methods and means by which Republicans fought the “mean” branding for at least a few presidential administrations.

    My worry here (as it always was, and something I think you were right about in your post) is that pretty ordinary positions like “We need to have immigration control because the third world is Not a Nice Place, and it is largely that way because some Not Nice People live there – thus we need to ensure that the Not Nice People that live there do not wind up living here” have now been successfully branded as Mean. Trump has largely been successful (from right-ish libertarian-ish partisan view) at pointing out how absurd this branding is – but it hasn’t caught on with the mainstream.

    • moridinamael says:

      It seems obvious to me that “being anti-immigrant means you think all Mexicans are rapists” is what Scott thinks that non-Trump-supporters think other non-Trump-supporters think.

    • oppressedminority says:

      Also, ordinary positions like “we need to have a border to control who and what comes in to the country” are now deemed to be held only by racistnazihitlers. I hope this will lead to a simple devaluation of the george soros talking point opinions of progressives rather than a decrease in the revulsion at (actual) racistnazihitlers, but I cant say Im confident of that, specially for the younger generation.

      • mdet says:

        I think it’s incredibly silly that people try to attribute the popularity of progressive opinions to some George Soros scheme, as if A) there isn’t billions of dollars of activist fundraising on both sides of every issue, and B) “Sympathetic families are genuinely trying to escape poverty and make a better lives for themselves, but are doing so in a way that violates the law at the expense of those who go through the formal process, contributes to human trafficking, and might not be sustainable in very large numbers” isn’t the kind of thing that normal people would easily find themselves passionately disagreeing over.

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          So what’s George getting for his money, then? He spends billions of dollars of progressive activism. Surely some of that results in increased popularity of progressive opinions?

          • Statismagician says:

            The classic quote is ‘half of my advertising is useless – the problem is I don’t know which half.’ I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that fraction much is higher now than it was in the ’50s, and political spending in particular pretty consistently doesn’t have any real effect in the research*. Besides, there are plenty of very rich people doing the exact same thing on the other side, so I don’t really see the problem.

            *From memory and generally-speaking; I may have missed something.

          • Temple says:

            You do realize the difference between funding an endowment with billions of dollars and spending billions of dollars, right?

      • beleester says:

        Also, ordinary positions like “we need to have a border to control who and what comes in to the country” are now deemed to be held only by racistnazihitlers.

        Less strawmanning, please.

        I see someone saying that “What the left really wants is open borders, they’ll never settle for less” probably once a month on the subreddit, but the number of people I’ve actually seen advocating for that can be counted on one hand.

        (And this is SSC, where I’d expect offbeat opinions like that to be more common.)

        And if I had a nickel for every time someone made a claim along the lines of “The left thinks everyone to the right of Lenin is a Nazi” or “All the left has to do is say the word ‘racistnazihitler’ and you’ll be banished to the outer darkness!”, as if we were all evil wizards with a spell to invoke internet firestorms, I’d have enough for a nice dinner. The level of hyperbole gets pretty tiresome after a while.

        • cassander says:

          I see someone saying that “What the left really wants is open borders, they’ll never settle for less” probably once a month on the subreddit, but the number of people I’ve actually seen advocating for that can be counted on one hand.

          The complaint about the left is not that they openly advocate open borders, but that they condemn almost any efforts to actually enforce the borders as racist while loudly proclaiming that, of course, they don’t want open borders.

          And if I had a nickel for every time someone made a claim along the lines of “The left thinks everyone to the right of Lenin is a Nazi”

          I can get you a quote of prominent democrats accusing every republican president or candidate of being a fascist back at least to harry truman. I agree, this level of hyperbole has gotten tiresome.

        • Paul Zrimsek says:

          I see someone saying that “What the left really wants is open borders, they’ll never settle for less” probably once a month on the subreddit, but the number of people I’ve actually seen advocating for that can be counted on one hand.

          If you scroll down you will find a few examples that you can start counting on your other hand. By the time comments are closed you may need to take off your shoes. I admit it’s possible that some of these are from libertarians, not “the left”.

          • onyomi says:

            @David Friedman

            I used to be a “national borders are illegitimate” libertarian on the grounds that governments themselves are illegitimate, but then I changed my mind due to a combination of theoretical and practical concerns.

            Theoretical/ethical: I may not approve of how the police are funded, but that doesn’t mean I want to abolish the police first and wait for private security firms to pick up the slack later. Worse, unlike private security firms, I think the freedom to restrict immigration at e.g. the state, local, and neighborhood level is now much less than the freedom to hire a private security firm, meaning that embracing a policy of free immigration for e.g. the whole United States is arguably as unnatural/unjustifiable as a highly restrictive policy for the whole United States (because in either case it results in an unnatural uniformity): unilaterally restricting Americans’ freedom to e.g. sell their houses to Mexicans seems bad, but so too does unilaterally restricting Americans’ freedoms not to associate, politically or otherwise with e.g. all the many third world immigrants who might move into their neighborhoods given a uniform free immigration policy for the whole US.

            More practical, but related to the above: though I think open borders and free trade offer tremendous opportunities for economic growth and cultural interchange, I worry that third worlders will end up making the first world like the third world more than the reverse, especially if the transition is too rapid: in particular, that the politics will get really corrupt (as it is in most of the world) and the society really dualized and bifurcated into a small group of elites and a huge mass of poor and/or welfare dependents.

            As someone who holds the view I used to have (albeit maybe for different reasons), do you have any thoughts on objections like the above?

    • jonabar says:

      I don’t think that’s an ordinary position, except that in the sense that it appeals to the strand of theistic thinking that treats poverty as a moral failing, beauty as a sign of the gods’ favor, etc. The average person you meet in a poor country is no more or less likely to be “nice” than the average person you meet in a rich country (and is “nice”-ness even what we value? Are investment bankers “nice”? Do we come here to read the “nice” comments?). They’re poorer and have less secure property rights and whatever else because their countries have bad institutions. Not only is this the consensus view among economists, it’s a better view to promote because it makes it makes it easier to create the sort of cultural norms that allow immigrants to integrate into American society. It’s easier to be nice to someone if you think they’re unlucky and you’re giving them a second chance than if you think they’re bad and you have to put up with them.

      I would much rather take in fewer immigrants but be really really nice to them than what appears to be the equilibrium the administration has settled into, which is actually let in roughly the same number of people but drum up these panics about how they’re all secretly bad people and you have to watch out for them.

      • cryptoshill says:

        Do you think that the reasons that their institutions are failing is because it is all full of *wonderful* people?

        Do you think that living in a country with terrible institutions and no rule of law is going to produce nice people? Or mean people that survive?

        Do you think that importing large numbers of people from a culture with these problems isn’t going to influence our culture to be more like that culture?

        I think the “economic consensus” argument here is a motte and bailey. The motte is that “poverty and bad social norms create these problems”, the bailey is “These forces aren’t caused by the people living in third world countries, and don’t influence people living in third world countries – so if you point this out you are denying the reality that if you import them, they will just become Nice Westerners, just browner”.

        We have seen in Europe and the United States that this just isn’t true. See MS13, truck attacks in Europe, etc etc.

        I generally agree with you – I think the lack of restrictionism and the lack of decent treatment for the immigrants we do let in is pure Moloch in action between the two general party lines. I kind of liken it to abortion where the consensus is “23 weeks” on *both* the ethical and legal questions (as a compromise), but the compromise can’t be made openly because the option of a full victory has to be available to the hardliners.

        • Aftagley says:

          Do you think that living in a country with terrible institutions and no rule of law is going to produce nice people? Or mean people that survive?

          Right, but the terrible institutions and no rule of law is a direct result of massively powerful criminal organizations that have (relative to the local economies) infinite amounts of money to throw around as bribes or inducements. Even worse, this money comes from our country and our seemingly insatiable desire to consume their illegal product. We have directly financed the forces that caused their systems to collapse.

          • cryptoshill says:

            1. Latin America isn’t the only places I am talking about. I doubt American drug use (or American policy in general) has substantial influence over Nigerian or Congolese immigration.
            2. I think you are confusing “direct” and “indirect”. Directly financing would be “I am deliberately trying to pay these people to do bad things”. Indirectly financing would be things like “I buy Solar Panels, therefore indriectly I am poisoning Chinese people”. It is not the moral norm to morally criticize people for their externalities directly. It also isn’t like the US hasn’t made all kinds of efforts to lower the general base desire for that illegal product.
            3. There was very little rule of law in Central America *before* the war on drugs – I will admit that the war on drugs is a Bad Thing. But these “massively powerful criminal organizations” are *exactly the types of people* that immigration restrictionists are suggesting that we keep *out*. Security policies require suspicion to work, because the consequences of not being suspicious are potentially fatal. I think “allowing the importation of massively powerful criminal organizations because I am sad about the general state of the world in Latin America” counts as a fatal mistake on the national level.

          • INH5 says:

            I’m fairly certain that Mexican drug cartels already have a lot of agents North of the border. I would guess that the enormous difference in the level of drug trade related violence between El Paso and Juarez has little to do with border security so much as the cartels having learned, from previous examples such as Pablo Escobar, that shitting where your customers eat is bad for your business and health in the long run.

          • cryptoshill says:

            Maybe so – but the immigrants generally are the products and creators of the world they are fleeing. So at the bare minimum we should do the due diligence necessary to ensure that the Not Nice People that make the third world Not Nice stay in the third world. I think I generally agree with your bottomline position though.

            The weird argument against this is that this increases the overall density of Not Nice people in the third world, and could indirectly contribute to the third world staying the third world for longer than it would have to.

        • jonabar says:

          I’m not entirely sure how you define wonderful and not wonderful people. Wonderful people are ones who have lived in wonderful countries long enough? If you define it by wealth and good institutions then it’s circular, and anyway you get a chicken and egg problem of how did we get wealth in the first place. How much have you traveled and lived around the developing world? Of course, culture matters and changes people, in the way that Americans in the 1920s were different from Americans today (way more so, I would guess, than are, say, Mexicans today), but you can read novels written in the 1920s and the motivations of the characters are still pretty relatable. I would guess the more time people spend living in other countries, the harder it seems to make broad generalizations about other cultures.

          It’s weird that you pick Nigeria as an example – Nigerian immigrants are these days among the most successful immigrant groups in America.

          I definitely think taking on lots of immigrants can change the culture, and I’m not pro open borders. I think you can only take in as many immigrants as you can successfully integrate (admittedly a vague phrase) into your culture, but that this ability to integrate depends both on absolute numbers of immigrants and also the host country’s ability to integrate them. Given current rates of immigration, I think the latter is the rate limiting step, and that the US generally does a much better job of it than Europe, in part because our culture has a looser notion of what it means to “be from here”. I’d like to keep it that way by supporting the notion that anyone from any country is an prospective American instead of moving to an idea of people born in America are essentially and immutably better than other people. Neither notion is 100% true, but the former encourages Americans to work harder in creating an welcoming environment, whereas the latter encourages us to be lazy (no point working to change immutable characteristics).

          • cernos says:

            I agree that the rate of immigration and the nations ability to integrate, or as I think of it, create useful patriotic citizens from immigrants are the major determinants of whether a specific immigration policy is good or bad.

            My guess is that the nation that can do better at this than its neighbors will win at capitalism. At least if you are going for the culture victory.

            I am still unsure as to whether the US is unable to do the work or if it is a case of not wanting to do the work.

        • j r says:

          On the face of it, these seem like interesting questions. But quite frankly – and I don’t know you so I may be wrong – on deeper inspection, they look like the concerns of someone whose knowledge on these topics comes from purely ideological internet and cable news sources. These concerns don’t strike me as coming from someone with real knowledge or experience on the developing world or on immigration and migration patterns.

          For instance, this bit makes no sense:

          … so if you point this out you are denying the reality that if you import them, they will just become Nice Westerners, just browner”.

          We have seen in Europe and the United States that this just isn’t true. See MS13, truck attacks in Europe, etc etc.

          Why would you take a few extremely rare incidents involving specific groups of radicalized people and try to make a case about immigrant outcomes when there is all sorts of available data on immigrant populations that tell us pretty much exactly what kind of “westerners” they become?

          It’s possible that you have some familiarity with that data, but it doesn’t sound like it from your comments.

      • gbdub says:

        The flip side of “poor people are moral failures” is “poor people are noble savages who need merely to be brought into the light to become multiculturalist good citizens”.

        Lots of immigrants have lots of reasons to motivate themselves to do well, and lots of them don’t. Maybe they all recognize the flaws in their home culture and that’s why they left, but more likely not. Assuming they’ll all just slot peacefully into your culture, only browner and with more interesting food, is naïve when you not only make no effort to make this happen, but actively oppose it and treat “assimilation” as a dirty word.

      • albatross11 says:

        Bringing a lot of highly educated and successful people into the US seems less likely to trigger knock-on social problems here than bringing a lot of poorly-educated and so-far unsuccessful people into the US, even if the poorly-educated/unsuccessful people are that way because they’re from a messed-up country rather than because of any personal failings.

        More generally, bringing lots of people from countries with major problems seems more likely to import those problems than bringing lots of people from countries where things are going well. That includes Islamic terrorism, civil war, crime, ethnic hatred, corruption, etc.

        Now, some of those aren’t such a big issue when they get here–if you immigrated from Nigeria but were formerly interested in torching Igbo villages for fun, you probably won’t have much opportunity to pursue that hobby here, where nobody cares about your local ethnic hatreds and everyone just thinks you’re some black dude with a weird accent. But others might be–it’s not crazy to worry that immigrants from somewhere with a lot of Islamic terrorist activity might be affiliated with some Islamic terrorist groups and not tell you. It’s probably not a huge risk, but it’s there.

    • Temple says:

      “Mean” is a pejorative primarily when it’s intentional. Being intentionally mean is hated, but being unintentionally mean can often be forgivable if you’re reforming. But what people really hate is when someone tries to pull wool over their eyes – to make unintentional meanness look like intentional meanness.

      If you say, “Car makers are sending us the bodies of thousands of American children every year” you might be expressing the reality of car accident deaths in the country, but you’d get terrible reactions because clearly car makers are not looking to cause these deaths. But when Volkswagon is found to be manipulating emissions testing results, they are clearly branded as Mean.

      If you say, “Breakfast cereal companies are giving millions of our children heart disease and diabetes” you might be expressing the reality of the health effects of sugar, but you’d get terrible reactions from people. But when people read about campaigns that the sugar industry did to try to skew the scientific consensus, they get angry.

      Similarly, when Trump says, “Mexico is sending us their crime, their rapists, their Not Nice People” you might be expressing the reality that there are some Not Nice People in the third world and we don’t want those Not Nice People here.. but people are going to react negatively, because there’s no intentionality there.

      So what’s the right way to do it to get people to react the way you want? Well, if you were trying to bring about reform to reduce car accidents, you’d talk about how many car accidents they were and what your reforms could do to reduce that (seat belts will save X lives out of Y that die every year). You’d talk about balancing the gains of reducing car accidents with the tradeoffs (ie banning autos could reduce Z > Y deaths per year, but the tradeoffs are high). Does that sound like the approach Trump takes?

  4. Sambo says:

    “Sixth, there have been a lot of studies showing that peaceful protests may increase support for a cause, but violent or disruptive protests usually decrease it.” Yes—but see this new paper on the effects of the violent LA riots in 1992 that “caused a marked liberal shift in policy support at the polls.”

  5. ilkarnal says:

    Trumpists want to re-build and shore up defenses against illegal immigration, 2nd amendment violations, and other left wing attacks on their perceived interests. The right before Trump may have been more popular, but that was at the cost of failing to take some very important stands, both symbolic and practical.

    Trumpists want a coalition that is steadfast and unwilling to compromise, even if it is smaller than the previous coalition. Trumpists want to make left-wingers uncomfortable after left-wingers have made them uncomfortable. Trumpists instinctively understand that they are on the wrong end of a salami-slicing strategy by the left, and the only hope to stopping such a strategy is to oppose a sharp cost on the adversary.

    Before Trump, leftist victory was virtually assured. That’s what you seem to be missing. The only chance for the right is to start making plays that directly target the leftist initiative to change demographics and blend distinctions between demographics. Without tribalism, there is no right. Vague social and fiscal conservatism has no power to reverse or significantly slow leftist gains. It gets swept up in a tide of demographic and technological change. Tribalism has proven capability to slow leftist gains (putting it mildly) in the midst of the most chaotic situations imaginable.

    The right has to bind things up, and create a slim chance for victory, by radicalizing its base. A very likely outcome is continual drift in what the laws and norms are in red-controlled vs blue-controlled parts of this country. This sets up a scenario where the left can try to break the right’s fortress, and maybe engender a serious response which sets it back on its heels, or even reverses its gains.

    • 10240 says:

      and blend distinctions between demographics.

      I don’t see the left as blending distinctions between demographics, nor that it would be in their interest. It seems to me that the left likes to talk about different demographics, and benefit from identity politics; I thought that right-wingers often made this claim.

      Specifically, the fact that Hispanics tend to be seen as non-white in the US (which is weird to me as a non-American) probably benefits the Democrats a lot, as they are seen as the pro-minority party, which helps them get much of the Hispanic vote. Blending that distinction would probably be in the interest of Republicans.

      Or do you talk about some other kind of distinction?

  6. Anon. says:

    Given that politics is not about policy, things will look weird if you analyze it as if it is. “maybe people’s minds don’t work that way”, well of course they don’t, this isn’t some novel revelation.

    Second, I don’t know how relevant these polls are to actual policy. Trump has put two justices on the SC, which in terms of practical effects vastly overwhelms anything he has or will do in office (unless he nukes Iran or something). Is it a victory of “Trumpism” or generic conservatism? Eh…

    • Quixote says:

      Politics IS about policy. The statement “politics is not about policy” is a rather effective piece of propaganda produced by people that have particular policy preferences which they believe would be advanced by the meme “politics is not about policy” becoming more widespread.

      In general this meme is levied in support of policies that are unpopular and harm (or are perceived to harm) large numbers of people for the benefit of extremely small groups of people. Such policies would not be politically popular; so the meme’s sponsors say that politics is not about those policies.

      • Cliff says:

        Politics IS about policy.

        The evidence being?

        The statement “politics is not about policy” is a rather effective piece of propaganda

        In what way has it been effective? What % of people have ever heard of it? 0.001%?

        produced by people that have particular policy preferences which they believe would be advanced by the meme “politics is not about policy” becoming more widespread.

        What people? Robin Hanson???

        this meme is levied in support of policies that are unpopular and harm (or are perceived to harm) large numbers of people for the benefit of extremely small groups of people.

        What policies?

        Such policies would not be politically popular; so the meme’s sponsors say that politics is not about those policies.

        But this “meme” (not a meme at all) says that politics is not about policy in general

        • Sniffnoy says:

          I’m pretty sure that the two sides of this conversation (grouping Anon. and Cliff here) are talking past each other, meaning different things by “politics is not about policy”. Quixote’s comments don’t seem to make sense if the phrase is read in the Hansonian way that I’m familiar with. My suspicion is that he’s thinking of a different usage of the phrase. I could try to infer what that is, but I should probably just let Quixote explain themself…

        • albatross11 says:

          Robin Hanson: master manipulator of public opinion.

          I’m not 100% convinced….

  7. oppressedminority says:

    This poll gives Trump a 48% approval rating.

    Gallup gives Trump only a 40% approval rating but for Republicans the figure is 89%.

    These are reasonably strong numbers, especially considering that the entire establishment from academia, media, and entertainment are incessantly promoting hatred of Trump and of Trump supporters.

    Meanwhile in Europe, nationalists have gained power in Italy, Hungary, Poland, etc… The yellow vests are mounting a revolt against globalism in France, Merkel is a lame duck, and the UK voted for Brexit only two years ago.

    Trumpism is not going anywhere because Trumpism is not about Trump per se, but is simply a rejection of the globalist neo-liberal world order. Trump is just a figurehead for this movement in the US. The rejection of globalism continues apace and is picking up speed.

    The only part of the analysis above that is correct is that Democrats need to signal their anti-Trumpism credentials ever more fervently, and so positions like having a border need to be abandoned in favor of virtue-signaling for Democrats who fear being shunned and rejected by their friends.

    • Edward Scizorhands says:

      Honest question: Are there any left-wing populist rejections of globalism?

      In a slightly different universe we may have had that in the US with Sanders, and I was wondering how different it (Sandersism?) would look. But maybe we already have some examples we can look to.

      Separately:

      The only part of the analysis above that is correct is that Democrats need to signal their anti-Trumpism credentials ever more fervently, and so positions like having a border need to be abandoned in favor of virtue-signaling for Democrats who fear being shunned and rejected by their friends.

      This explains some, but the first graph also shows Republicans strongly moving north on liking international trade.

      • JG28 says:

        Mainly unions, but particularly law enforcement unions

        • Aftagley says:

          Mainly unions, but particularly law enforcement unions

          I would agree that unions are likely the most populist of the leftist coalition, but I’d argue that the LE unions aren’t really in that tent. They might advocate for the protection of their members, but they don’t advocate anything resembling leftism.

          • Plumber says:

            Union member here (U.A. local 38 Plumbers & Steamfitters), and yes both union members in general and our officers tend to be protectionist.

            I read a bit of the SFPD’s newsletter a few years back and it described their membership as “Republicans with Democratic needs” which seemed apt, in many ways the Police and the Teachers unions advocate the same things for their membership though police tend to be Republicans and teachers tend to be Democrats.

            All else being equal the P.D. union probsbly does endorse protectionism as a favor to other unions just like my union asked us to vote for stuff the teachers wanted.

            I know my union was torn on who to vote for because, while we wanted a pro-union President, we also wanted a pro-pipeline President.

          • Brad says:

            Do the public sector unions have much solidarity any more with the private sector ones? Even across unions within the public sector it seems, from my outsider view, to be falling off. To me these unions look to have gotten very insular—no longer about the movement only really parochial issues of interest to their members, and even then moreso to the interests of their senior members.

      • oppressedminority says:

        I was going to say Sanders. A lot of Sanders voters probably voted for Trump as leftwing anti-globalists, and also because their candidate was robbed of the D nomination by the crooked Clinton camp.

        Sanders was famously asked what he thought of open borders and he correctly said that it was a Koch brothers talking point. Which it is. But the Ds figured out that you can import cheap labor for the Kochs as long as that cheap labor votes D. So globalist Ds and globalist Rs are pro-open borders but for different reasons, namely cheap labor and votes.

        But right now in the US progressives will destroy anyone who dares speak up for the working class because some of them are white males and therefore evil.

        I also think Marine LePen in France is pretty leftwing if you consider just her economic platform.

      • Quixote says:

        Q: “honest question: Are there any left-wing populist rejections of globalism?”

        A: The entire country of France

      • crilk says:

        The M5S in Italy has a lot of traditional left-wing policies in its platform, and it’s definitely populist and anti-globalist. Since the last election, though, I’ve seen a rise in the rise in the number of people calling it a right-wing party.

      • Frederic Mari says:

        Honest question: Are there any left-wing populist rejections of globalism?

        In the US? I don’t know. In Europe? Plenty! All left wing groups outside of the mainstream left are very dubious about globalism, seen as an expression of the neo-liberal economic order (laissez-faire capitalism etc). They also tend to dislike [most] [economic] immigration on the basis that it affects [some] native workers negatively.

        In France, that’s people like Melanchon : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_M%C3%A9lenchon

        They’re about 15-20% of the electorate so not so small.

      • yildo says:

        Are there any left-wing populist rejections of globalism?

        The UK Labour Party under Corbyn is pro-Brexit, giving them the same foreign policy as the Tories.

        Also, “globalism” or globalization? There’s a long history of left-wing anti-globalization stuff like the anti-WTO protests in Seattle in 1999, Naomi Klein stuff, etc.

        • crilk says:

          I wouldn’t call Corbyn pro-Brexit, though he and his supporters are more tepid about the EU than the more centrist Labour factions are.

          Plenty of Labour voters are clearly pro-Brexit, but they’re still voting against their favored party.

          • Tarpitz says:

            I think Corbyn’s private beliefs are strongly pro-Brexit; the EU is an institution of neoliberal technocracy and he’s an old-fashioned lefty. But he’s aware that that position is anathema to his supporters, so his and Labour’s public position is all waffle all the time, which they can get away with quite nicely due to being the opposition to a party in the midst of a civil war on the issue with no end in sight.

      • Erusian says:

        It’s difficult to be a full-on left-wing populist because the globalist elite is more accommodating of radical leftism. That doesn’t mean it’s completely accommodating: the Democrat establishment definitely shot Sanders in the foot. But there was no such thing as the Never Sanders movement. This means full-throated opposition to the elite and current order is more likely to be seen in right-wing candidates. Not because of any ideology but because left-wing candidates have the option of rapprochement with the elite. Right-wing candidates do not.

        Look at Sanders, for example. His initial position on borders was (imho) his true one. But once they dangled money and mainstream support in front of him, he ‘evolved’ on the issue. Trump might have evolved too, given the chance. But he wasn’t.

        (Side note: I don’t like the term ‘globalist elite’. It seems like accepting a framing I do not agree with. I acknowledge there is probably a minority of cosmopolitan minded, wealthy, powerful people in most countries. I don’t believe they’re in a knowing conspiracy. They’re just in a bubble and obliviously pursuing their class interests while believing their own polite fictions about how they’re not.)

        I’d posit that populism is not anti-international or inherently right wing. It’s instead a revolt against national elites. Democrats crow sometimes that Trump isn’t anti-elite because he helps out the wealthy. But that isn’t his mandate: he’s supposed to give a black eye to DC insiders, Wall Street Bankers, Hollywood Stars. People who are influential and elite on a national scale. Likewise, Sanders’ rhetoric doesn’t target local elites. The large farmer or the guy who owns twelve restaurants in a couple of counties. He targets Wall Street, Washington, etc.

        I’ve often wondered if this failure to understand the distinction between the wealthy, the millionaires, and the national level billionaires, politicians, etc, is willful or not. I’m inclined to think not because, cynically, I don’t think the elites at the very top of the pyramid understand the local elite class.

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          But there was never any reason to have a Never Sanders movement because Sanders was never going to win. The super delegate system and the Clinton machine made sure of that.

          And this was completely obvious to anyone who wasn’t enormously naive about the nature of the Democratic party (i.e., a college student, or an /r/politics subscriber). If Sanders had ever been any sort of threat to Clinton, there would have been a Never Sanders movement.

          • Erusian says:

            Just to be clear, your proposition is that opposition to Trump was not because he advocated for people and ideas the mainstream found unacceptable? It’s because he was a threat to (and ultimately beat) Clinton?

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            No, I’m only talking about why there wasn’t a #NeverSanders movement in the Democratic party. There never needed to be one because the Democratic party primaries are structured such that someone not approved by the party leadership (like Sanders) cannot possibly win the nomination, because super delegates. It’s all a farce, so the kiddos got to play like Sanders had a chance, but he never did. Trump was a genuine threat because the Republican party primary is far more democratic than the Democratic party primary.

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            @Conrad

            The superdelegates did not and now cannot have more than a marginal impact. Sanders lost because he didn’t have the people’s votes required to win. You can argue about the politics of that all you want, but the myth that Sanders would have had the nomination is only a myth. For which I’m very glad, honestly – it means there was a candidate with a sane platform in 2016, rather than an insane platform I somewhat liked (Johnson) and three insane ones I didn’t.

            (Not interested in debating the above, just saying that I wouldn’t have voted Sanders if he had the nomination, even though I voted Clinton).

          • Erusian says:

            My memory is that Never Trump started early on as an attempt to paint Trump as uniquely bad, before he was the front-runner.

          • John Schilling says:

            March 3, 2016, is a pretty good marker for when a serious NeverTrump movement emerged within the Republican Party. Coincidentally, on that date, Nate Silver’s aggregates had both Trump and Sanders polling at 38% with their respective parties’ primary voters.

        • Brad says:

          . But that isn’t his mandate: he’s supposed to give a black eye to DC insiders, Wall Street Bankers, Hollywood Stars.

          That might loathe him personally but I don’t think Wall Streeters are particularly unhappy with the Trump administration so far. All the tariff and trade war stuff predominantly hits non-FIRE industries. And volatility is in general pretty nice for bankers.

      • albatross11 says:

        I’m not sure I understand what you mean by globalism, but I’d think Podemos in Spain and Syrinza in Greece might be examples. Also Sanders’ campaign and the Occupy movement in the US.

    • Le Maistre Chat says:

      This. If Scott wants to make the truth claim that a Hillary victory would have been better for the Right in Italy, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, etc… I am skeptical.
      Europe is where the real fight is. In the US, the immigration issue is about driving down wages, English vs Spanish, and respect for legal proceduralism. In Europe, it’s about offering welfare checks to an existential threat to Western civilization.

      • oppressedminority says:

        there was a video of a syrian refugee telling a joke making the rounds on twitter the other day:
        -A syrian refugee in is walking around in Berlin and sees someone and tells them “thank you for your hospitality, Im so happy to be here instead of Syria”. The person responds, I am not german, I am an immigrant from Turkey. The syrian refugee sees another person and tells them the same thing but they again respond “I am not german, I am from Afghanistan”. A third time, the same thing happens “I am not german, I am from Libya”. The Syrian refugee then asks, where are all the german people? The guy from Libya responds “probably at work”.

        • rlms says:

          LOL! Brown people smell!

          • oppressedminority says:

            if you are making the implication that the joke is racist you may want to dial down the sneering tone and look at the actual video of the joke here. the joke is being told by migrants in order to make fun of germans.

            but your virtue signaling is duly noted. you are a good person who deserves praise and admiration, and I wish you luck in your career writing top 10 lists for buzzfeed.

          • rlms says:

            And as an “oppressedminority” I suppose you decided to post the joke here in its original German-mocking spirit? I’m not really sure how that would be relevant to the parent comment, but whatever. If that’s the case, I apologise for assuming otherwise!

          • ilikekittycat says:

            @oppressedminority

            Telling a joke that has not-racist origins doesn’t make it’s essential form not-racist forevermore in every possible retelling context. If I retell Chris Rock’s “there are black people, and then there are…” joke in exclusively white company, guess what it becomes?

            This is just the same as the “OK to be white” signs or posting the FBI crime statistics where you say you’re innocent because the first-order context isn’t offensive and pretend anyone looking into the second-order context being implied is reaching. Grow up, everyone knows what you’re doing.

          • oppressedminority says:

            @rlms:
            I was posted the joke in support of Le Maistre Chat’s comment that:

            In Europe, it’s about offering welfare checks to an existential threat to Western civilization.

            I was certainly not mocking Germans. I dont know why you think it would be ok to mock Germans whose hard work goes to fund the life of millions of migrants.

          • oppressedminority says:

            Telling a joke that has not-racist origins doesn’t make it’s essential form not-racist forevermore in every possible retelling context. If I retell Chris Rock’s “there are black people, and then there are…” joke in exclusively white company, guess what it becomes?

            To paraphrase Kevin Hart, if my son ever becomes a humorless joke-policing scold concerned with evaluating the “context” of jokes with “not[sic]-racist origins” …

            And as an aside, the It’s Ok to be White campaign was brilliant, and the proper response by the authorities would have been to ignore them. They played right into 4chan’s hand.

            And what about FBI statistics? What’s in there that could ever be problematic? please tell me.

          • wysinwygymmv says:

            I was certainly not mocking Germans. I dont know why you think it would be ok to mock Germans whose hard work goes to fund the life of millions of migrants.

            You posted an apparently racist joke, and when someone called it on being racist, you defended it by saying it was told by migrants at the expense of native Germans.

            It’s a little sad that you’re at the same time eager to tell the joke and unwilling to own up to what you meant by telling the joke.

          • Doctor Mist says:

            Sigh. OK, let’s review.

            Le Maistre Chat said:

            In Europe, it’s about offering welfare checks to an existential threat to Western civilization.

            oppressedminority relayed the joke he had heard, told by a migrant to Germany, which was apparently funny to the migrant because the Germans are stupid to be working when they could live on the dole like the migrants.

            This is not oppressedminority agreeing with the migrant’s point and laughing at Germans. This is oppressedminority providing evidence that Le Maistre Chat’s concern is real and obvious to everybody in the thick of things.

            If you want to argue that a joke told by a migrant to ridicule Germans for supporting idle migrants becomes a racist joke when I non-migrant quotes it — not even tells it, mind you, but quotes it — …well, go ahead. We have parted company.

          • Scott Alexander says:

            oppressedminority is banned indefinitely for making this joke. This is harsh but done in the context of this user’s other comments. RLMS is banned for two weeks for a maximally counterproductive response.

      • ItsGiusto says:

        In general, this argument of, “if your side wins, there will be backlash for your side’s policies, therefore it’s better for your side if they lose” is something that I encounter, and I’m not sure how accurate it is, or how to deal with it. I’m tempted to say it’s just a tactic to make people be okay with their side losing, but there’s also probably a small amount of truth to it as well. But there’s also truth that winning is often good for a side’s support as well.

        It’s hard to say, really. For example, Obama’s second term was the time that a lot of social justice policies really gained traction in popular culture. This simultaneously entrenched those positions as having real social capital, and started an underground movement of people despising them which ultimately contributed to Trump getting elected. It’s hard to know which force has more influence for any given event, the one ostensibly in power, or the underground one.

        • cassander says:

          There are definitely some times when this happens, Pyrrhic victories exist, but I think losing in order to win is generally a terrible plan, given how much inertia governs human, and particularly political, affairs.

      • JohnBuridan says:

        In Europe, it’s about offering welfare checks to an existential threat to Western civilization.

        Immigration of Muslim people is not an existential threat to Western Civilization.

        • Garrett says:

          Question for the commentariat: Has there been any element of what we would call The Enlightenment having taken root in the Islamic world? I’m thinking in the sense of Oration on the Dignity Of Man.

          • JohnBuridan says:

            Examples of Enlightenmentish Major Muslim Political Philosophers:
            1937 – Fahmi Huwaydi, Egypt
            1933 – Tariq al-Bishri, Egypt
            1928 – Mohammed Arkoun, Algeria
            1943 – Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, Egypt
            1945 – Abdol Karim Soroush, Iran

          • JohnBuridan says:

            Islamic Thinkers who believed in adopting European institutions:
            Rifa ah rafi al-Tahtawi, Egypt (1801-1873).
            Ali Suavi (Turkey, 1839-1878).
            Khayr al-Din al-Tunisi (Tunisia, 1822-1890).
            Muhammad Abduh (Egypt, 1848-1905).
            Qasim Amin (Egypt, 1863-1908).

            All this info is from my notes that I took for the Adversarial Collaboration. I didn’t get to pursue these thinkers very far, since our collaboration ultimately focused on political realities within Muslim majority countries. However, I think what you will find is that the conversation from 1800 was a dialectic between traditional and liberal institutions, post-1945 was a dialectic between nationalism and socialism, and post 1991 was a dialectic between traditional and liberal institutions again + many years of economic struggle, deep wounds, and military mistakes.

          • Vorkon says:

            Speaking of which, I really wish you had covered stuff like this more thoroughly in your adversarial collaboration.

            As it stands, it was an interesting comparative analysis of a bunch of different countries, but it didn’t really address the central question. This sort of data might have.

          • JohnBuridan says:

            @Vorkon
            It probably would have been a good idea to include a brief survey of Islamic thinkers since 1800 so readers would have a better sense of the diversity out there.

            However, it takes more than Enlightenment thinkers to have an Enlightenment.

          • Going back a bit farther, the Asharite/Mutazilite conflict in the ninth century. Unfortunately, the rationalist side lost.

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          Would the Lebanese Civil War have happened without the Palestinian refugees? Doesn’t that whole thing play out all over again when France is plurality Muslim? And then repeat for each nation in western Europe over the next 50 years?

          Wherever the Muslims wind up in large enough numbers, they eventually look around and wonder “why aren’t we running this place?” This seems to have happened often enough in world history that your declaration is lacking in epistemic humility.

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            Doesn’t that whole thing play out all over again when France is plurality Muslim? And then repeat for each nation in western Europe over the next 50 years?

            your declaration is lacking in epistemic humility.

            C’mon Conrad. Really now. The claim that Norway will reenact the Lebanese Civil War by 2070 doesn’t lack epistemic humility?

          • baconbits9 says:

            Is Norway now “The West”? Do you think that France has zero chance of significant ethnic turmoil between now and 2070?

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Okay, maybe not Norway. But France, Germany, Sweden? 50 years is a long time, with a lot of unchecked migration, high immigrant birth rates, and low native birth rates.

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            I will bet you at 100-1 odds that we will not see the French military or a migrant militia setting up minefields or making artillery strikes with literal artillery (or dropping bombs or shooting missiles) at population centers by 2070. This should not be interpreted as including terrorism; I am talking about an overt military campaign where both sides have the stated goal of partisan control of the country and are working to achieve it through conquest (rather than to destabilize the existing government).

            Edit: bet to be voided if a nation recognized at the time by the UN either declares war on, fires missiles at or bombs targets inside the borders of, or without permission sends troops across the borders of France.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            I would take that bet. France is already almost 10% Muslim and growing. It won’t take long to get that up to ~35% at which point good luck stopping it.

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            @Conrad

            I think Scott has offered to Escrow bets, but given the long timeframe I’m not sure that that’s prudent. If you can think of a safe mechanism, I’ll gladly take you up on an amount up to $20 (on your end) – though I have much better uses for $2000 right now, so I’d rather not let that money rot. We could do an honor bet, but I’m sure neither of us will be on this forum 50 years from now, and may well not have our current email addresses. We could make a crypto contract? But I have a feeling we’d end up betting $.02 against $2 by the time 2070 comes.

          • JohnBuridan says:

            I’ve never seen it argued that Palestinian refugees were a top three cause of the Lebanese Civil War. Any sources on that?

          • hyperboloid says:

            Doesn’t that whole thing play out all over again when France is plurality Muslim?

            No, and your understanding of Lebanese history is flawed to say the least.

            The problem in Lebanon was that the French colonial authorities created a government overwhelmingly dominated by a Christian minority. With most of the Lebanese population locked out of political power unrest began to rise until it spilled over into open civil war. When war came and state authority broke down the resulting conflict was by no means a simple ethnic or religious split. The confusing array of competing militias crossed ethnic and religious lines, and loyalties were often defined by ideology, or local patronage.The Palestinian refugees exacerbated imbalance between political power and demographic reality, but they couldn’t have been the main cause as the civil war ended without the Palestinian question being resolved.

            In anybody’s interested I could provide a more detailed data dump on the conflict, but it is a little beyond the scope of this discussion.

            Right now somewhere around five percent of the French population is of Muslim decent. Notice that I say Muslim decent, because poling indicates that only about a third of those people identify themselves as practicing believers. Even if we assume a a high level of immigration estimates indicate that by 2050 people of Muslim decent will constitute 14 percent of the french population. I don’t know how many will still practice the Islamic faith, but I kind of doubt that generations of living in a highly secular will inspire much piety.

            The fact is that there simply will never be a Muslim plurality in France, and as French Muslims enjoy the same rights as all other French citizens all but a tiny fanatical minority will have little motive for violence.

            How much of a problem will Islamic terrorism be? It’s hard to say. On the one hand while jihadis are a tiny minority, it only takes a few to kill hundreds. On the other hand Islamic terrorism wasn’t a problem forty years ago. Given that jihadis have no real solutions to the problems of the Muslim world I kind of doubt that there will quite as much of it in another forty.

          • baconbits9 says:

            In anybody’s interested I could provide a more detailed data dump on the conflict, but it is a little beyond the scope of this discussion.

            Its SSC, you can just assume that at least 10 people are desperately interested and that you will make their week by posting about it.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Please educate me, then.

          • albatross11 says:

            Yeah, in most places, we care mostly about the mean of the distribution or maybe the middle 95%, and we don’t care much about the outliers. In terrorism, the outliers are the only ones we care about–the guys who mutter into their coffee about the Zionist entity or the Great Satan but don’t do anything about it don’t matter much, even if they’re a big fraction of the population. But the one in a hundred thousand whackjob who sets off a truck bomb in a crowded place matters a whole lot.

      • Galle says:

        In Europe, it’s about offering welfare checks to an existential threat to Western civilization.

        The immigration issue in Europe is about offering welfare checks to nationalists?

    • Chalid says:

      This poll gives Trump a 48% approval rating.

      Gallup gives Trump only a 40% approval rating but for Republicans the figure is 89%.

      Don’t look at single polls. Any reasonable polling average gives him a lower than 48% approval rating.

      For the Gallup thing, the 89% approval among Republicans must be treated with caution, because if people dislike Trump, they stop identifying as Republicans.

      • bindubasketball says:

        “For the Gallup thing, the 89% approval among Republicans must be treated with caution, because if people dislike Trump, they stop identifying as Republicans.”

        Raises hand

      • mdet says:

        Came to say similar. FiveThirtyEight averages many polls and puts him at 42% (43% for “likely or registered voters”), and gives comparisons to other presidents at the same point in the presidency. To Trump’s credit, his net-approval rating has slowly ticked up into a more normal range compared to past presidents, but still isn’t exactly “good”.

        If you have an issue with FiveThirtyEight’s poll averaging, I suggest you take it up with their election predictions, which I believe have been pretty reliable (and is what we’re usually using “approval rating” as a proxy for anyway).

      • Conrad Honcho says:

        The same is true with polls showing increased opposition to border security / deportation of illegals among Democrats. When the Dems start saying “abolish ICE” people a decent number of people who think that’s a terrible idea stop identifying as Dems.

        • cassander says:

          yeah, but the media landscape ensures that calls to abolish ice get a lot less negative attention than “give ICE machine guns and napalm”.

        • Temple says:

          Shrug, I can sleep well at night knowing that “abolish ICE” is an exceedingly dumb meme but also that an exceedingly small fraction of dems would want to implement that policy. If I saw evidence that the latter point were false, then it would certainly change my view.

        • bullseye says:

          There have been a lot of leftist memes going around noting that ICE is only 15 years old and abolishing it would not mean open borders. I haven’t seen anyone calling for open borders.

          That said, I don’t know what abolishing ICE is supposed to accomplish. Maybe the idea is we’d patrol the border more humanely without ICE?

          • LadyJane says:

            I’ve seen some people actually call for open borders, but they’re all libertarians of the Cato Institute/Niskansen Center strain, not liberals or progressives. Though on the very far left, you get the IWW and anarchist types who don’t want borders to exist at all.

          • dragnubbit says:

            Abolish ICE is a slogan with as much meaning as Build the Wall.

            It is just signalling, not an actual policy proposal whose details are meant to matter.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Here we have it in Brookings Institute op-ed

            Others advocate for it just not in those terms. Like this. Or this: “Some may question who will perform the duties of Ice if it is abolished. But are those duties essential to sustaining strong communities? In my experience, they often do the opposite. ”

            As a more or less Cato-style libertarian, I’d be all for open borders but for three things. One, it’s been established that every poor person in America has a claim on my paycheck. I don’t want more people with a claim on my paycheck. Two, once they get here, they tend to vote to increase the claims on my paycheck, and otherwise change the laws to help themselves and harm me. And three, the end of the ideal of assimilation means they will make my home foreign to me.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            In this very thread are several people who claim all humans have a right to go where they want, not bound by invisible lines on maps. Oddly enough, I’m pretty these same posters would be pretty incensed about, say, rich westerners buying up land in third world nations. But why? Don’t those rich westerners have every right to do so? What right to the indigenous people have to refuse them? Man they must be SO MAD about the South African government seizing land from white farmers!

            Those who insist they are not for open borders oppose literally every policy proposal for enforcing the borders, like walls, military deployment, electronic surveillance, more Border Patrol, they oppose internal deportations (“Abolish ICE!”), support Sanctuary Cities, endorse or are fine with rhetoric like “No Person is Illegal!” and find it inconceivable that anyone might ever lie about an asylum claim.

            The whole thing is a massive bailey with a motte made of cardboard.

          • Galle says:

            I am genuinely pro-open-borders (and also have no particular problems with rich westerners buying land in third world countries) and can confirm that it’s not a popular position. It’s true that a lot of people say they don’t want open borders and then reject all the means of enforcing borders, but that’s mostly because it’s a lot easier to defend the idea of border controls when they’re an abstract concept and you don’t have to actually think about how horrible they are from a human rights standpoint.

          • LadyJane says:

            Oddly enough, I’m pretty these same posters would be pretty incensed about, say, rich westerners buying up land in third world nations. But why? Don’t those rich westerners have every right to do so? What right to the indigenous people have to refuse them?

            I have absolutely no problem with rich westerners buying land in developing countries. Neither do most of the other people I know who support open borders.

          • InvalidUsernameAndPassword says:

            It’s “abolish the IRS” all over again.

          • onyomi says:

            I really wanted to abolish the IRS…

          • Brad says:

            ICE was split off from CIS in the first place because the idea was that the missions of the two parts were too different to be housed together. Now there’s calls from inside ICE to split ERO and HSI. I sympathize with the HSI guys that want to be separated, but I wonder what all this splitting off does to the group with a narrower and narrower focus on enforcement.

            Maybe the steelman of abolish ICE is some kind of consolidation.

    • Bugmaster says:

      Does the term “trumpism” have a coherent meaning, other than “boo outgroup” ? To put it more charitably, what is the difference between “trumpism” and ye olde nationalism ?

      • hyperboloid says:

        Like Peronism it’s an ideology defined in large part by a cult of personality around a single individual.

      • Radu Floricica says:

        Somehow related, most people here are somewhat “Trumpists”, to the point where supporting right-ish positions on r/slatestarcodex feels like beating a dead horse. Including, I think, Scott.

        True, by proper definitions we’re “gray tribe” or “IDW”, but the main reason for Trump’s success was that he created a mirror in which all right could see themselves reflected. And for that, I’ll keep thanking him. In a Hillary presidency we’d still wonder if we’re a crazy fringe super minority, now we know we’re not – culture war is a legitimate war, with proper sides. Cat’s out of the bag and running around.

  8. JG28 says:

    Not a single study compiled here is even remotely convincing, for one reason or another.

    “immigration strengthens the country because of their hard work and talents.” c’mon, who designed that question?

    • FoxLisk says:

      Whether or not it’s a dumb question, it’s the standard one, and if we change the question we lose comparability to all the past polls.

      For more than 20 years, Pew Research Center has been asking whether immigrants in the U.S. “strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents,” or whether they “are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and health care.”

      Source, from Pew themselves.

      • gbdub says:

        It’s one of those questions that’s particularly annoying because it sticks together two things that ought to be independent. Also “because of their hard work and talents” can be read as begging the question.

        What if I were a person that believed that hardworking, talented immigrants strengthen America, but that too many immigrants are lazy and stupid. Or perhaps I believe that immigrants weaken America despite hard work and talent (or strengthen it despite being lazy and dumb). What do any of these three people answer?

        It asks the respondent to collapse a 2D problem statement onto a 1D axis in a way that is so obvious that it almost has to be by design.

        • Doctor Mist says:

          Yeah. It smells more like a psych-test question than like a poll question.

        • mdet says:

          If “their hard work and talents” is begging the question, then “take our jobs, housing, and health care” is also begging the question.

          I agree that this polling question, and most others, are way oversimplified.

        • dragnubbit says:

          They are presenting two opposing steelmen to try to divide the respondents. It is a better approach than presenting two opposing strawmen.

    • janrandom says:

      Let’s assume all the studies are well-chosen and actually point into the same direction that Trump is systematically failing Trumpism. But reverse intelligence is not stupidity. There are some plausible explanations of this:

      * the reported trend is systematically biased
      * Trump is not actually optimizing for ‘Trumpism’
      * What is reported a Trumpism is not actually what Trump advocated (but which seems to mean ‘What the average commenter thinks Trump is advocating’)
      * Something else we can’t figure out because we see only part of the system

      • albatross11 says:

        My guess is that “Trump isn’t optimizing for Trumpism” is the best explanation. You can find smart people who have a set of ideas that’s more-or-less describable as “Trumpism”–someone like Steve Sailer might qualify. But Trump is not and never will be an intellectual, and probably cares a lot less about his ideas than about personal power and ego and such. I mean, the guy’s been a playboy publicity hound his whole life–it’s not like he stopped being one in Jan 2017.

        • mdet says:

          Are you saying that what gets described as “Trumpism” by commentators and intellectuals aren’t Trump’s real policy preferences, or that Trump does a poor job of advancing his own goals? I’d believe both are true.

          • albatross11 says:

            I don’t think Trump has anything resembling a though-out ideology. That’s just not the kind of guy he is. He’s reasonably bright and reasonably well-informed in the sense that he watches TV news and has been around the block a couple times, but he’s not and is never going to be a policy wonk or an intellectual. He has a few core beliefs that he’s repeated over and over, which I assume are his actual beliefs (but it’s not possible to know that for sure)–like thinking mass-immigration and especially illegal immigration is a bad idea, distrusting Muslims, thinking the US could and should get better deals from our trading partners and allies by renegotiating things and leaning on them a little harder, etc.

            But that’s not a coherent intellectual framework, it’s some fairly broad policy ideas and some fairly broad directions for the executive branch to try to take things. And Trump is, from everything I can see, about a hundred times more interested in style than substance. If the choice is between making a better trade deal in private, or being seen to make a better trade deal while actually worsening the deal we get overall, I expect Trump to take the second option ten times out of ten. (Though to be fair, I expect that of nearly all politicians.) I think he’s enamored of symbolic stuff (the wall, sending the national guard to respond to a migrant caravan, the “Muslim ban” done in a pointlessly disruptive way that was guaranteed to bring legal challenges) that has little effect on the issues he claims to care about, and I imagine that’s probably just how he is about everything.

            And none of this was a surprise. If there was ever anyone on Earth that had enough media exposure and public visibility that the American people knew what they were getting when they voted for him, Trump’s that guy. He was the classic publicity hound for his entire life.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            I would call him “pragmatic.”

            I won the election in high school for class treasurer with the slogan “I’m for things that are good and I’m against things that are bad.” That’s basically what Trump is about.

            Are we better off with more illegal immigration, or less? Less. So do stuff that gets less illegal immigration.

            Could we get better trade deals than we’ve got? Yes, so let’s do that.

            This is vastly preferable to “we’re going to do things that are bad for you and the country but here’s a bunch of ideological arm twisting to get you to go along with it and please don’t notice it’s really all just in the financial interests of the multinational corporations and foreigners who are funding me” that we get from every other politician.

          • hyperboloid says:

            Trump’s actual agenda has always been to enrich himself and boost his own ego. His campaign for president began as a scam to get a Trump tower built in Moscow. It’s not surprising that he has little interest in convincing anybody outside of his cultish base of the merits of his policy ideas, to the extent that he has any

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Hasn’t worked out very well for him, then. Last I saw his net worth has gone down since election.

            He’s done an awful lot of work and garnered much hatred for negative return. If he just wanted cash he probably should have just done another season of the apprentice.

          • John Schilling says:

            Where have you seen any reliable measurement of Trump’s net worth either before or after the election? I don’t think the professionals have been able to pin that down to within a factor of two, and even that may be optimistic.

          • Brad says:

            I reported John’s comment above accidentally. I’m on mobile and the up arrow is very small. Sorry.

            —-

            I wonder if even the Trump Organization has a good sense of its own value. Appraisals of illiquid assets are difficult and expensive and if you aren’t selling or borrowing against them, what the point of spending that money?

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            I don’t know about “reliable,” but there’s plenty of articles gloating that Trump’s net worth has fallen since taking office.

            I just think of all the silly criticisms of Trump, “he’s just trying to get money and that’s the real reason he ran for President!” is the silliest. He already had a lot of money. He’s an old man. Nobody was calling him Hitler and holding up his faux bloody severed head for photo shoots. If there was some policy or another that…somehow enriches golf course and luxury condo owners he could have done what every other rich guys does: give a few million to each candidate for office and after the election call up the winner and say “hey, remember that dough I gave ya?” If he were just trying to get money, this is the riskiest, stupidest, most hair-brained scheme imaginable. And it didn’t even work!

            You may not think Trump’s policies will Make America Great Again, but he does.

          • John Schilling says:

            I just think of all the silly criticisms of Trump, “he’s just trying to get money and that’s the real reason he ran for President!” is the silliest. He already had a lot of money.

            The error bars on Trump’s net worth are large enough that his being on the verge of hard bankruptcy and needing to run some sort of big con to get out of it isn’t entirely out of the question, but it’s not the way to bet.

            It’s also not a necessary bet, even if you do believe that Trump didn’t expect to win when he joined the race. Stipulate that Trump has enough money to pay for his mansions and mistresses for the rest of his natural life. Stipulate that he’s an old man. Odds of Donald Trump being the sort of old man who is content to spend his remaining years sitting on even a gold-plated rocking chair on his mansion’s porch, with nobody paying attention to him and only half-remembering him as a caricature? About nil. He’d spend real money to avoid that fate. And, mission quite thoroughly accomplished, even if he is thrown out of office next year.

          • You may not think Trump’s policies will Make America Great Again, but he does.

            Up to that point I agreed with you. It’s possible that Trump really believes his policies are good for the country, but I don’t think one can be confident of that. The alternative is that he like attention, likes to be an important person, and being president with half the country hating him and a quarter loving him satisfies that desire.

          • mtl1882 says:

            As others have said, Trump has some broad principles he follows, and I see no inherent problem with that. I agree much of what he does is symbolic, but I don’t think that is unusual for presidents, he just does it in a bigger way. And I think there is a case to be made that a big part of a president’s job is that sort of symbolic thing. It doesn’t accomplish anything directly, but indirectly over time it can really frame an issue in a way that leads to major changes. It can be hard to trace such effects, but most Americans aren’t looking to Trump (or anyone, really) for detailed policy proposals. Half the time those proposals are unreadable and unrealistic, or circumstances change that render them impractical. A president should be flexible in most things.

            He doesn’t have an intellectual ideology, but I do think he has an approach to life with underlying values, which he has displayed throughout his life. I think his books capture this. I know they were ghostwritten, but I find it really hard to believe that someone could capture both his speaking style and personal fixations on weird issues so effectively if they weren’t talking to him about these things. I perceive a coherency, but I understand many do not. However, I think the type of coherency that is easily perceivable is unsuited to a complex world, and to practical politics. Many ideologies can be sincerely practiced by a president and used to make decisions, but it can’t be too specific and rigidly defined. It has to be built off of actual diverse life experience, which Trump has a lot of. Many people may say otherwise, but I think most Americans look to the president for a certain amount of flexibility and being able to rise to meet an unexpected crisis; an announcement that he has already committed to a specific plan of action before he has entered office makes me more worried than reassured. Especially when many things presidents hype are beyond their authority to implement (although executive orders do allow a lot).

            I do think it is beyond ridiculous to suggest someone became president for money, by accident, or solely for attention. There is no doubt Trump likes attention, as do all politicians. He has sought attention in many different arenas, but no one with the slightest aversion to attention becomes president, although they may dislike attention directed to certain things. Becoming president is grueling. Trump is old. He is a high energy guy, but it is not fun or easy. He had a hell of battle against the establishments of two parties. It is a tough job, even if you turn over everything to staff, which I don’t think Trump does. The scrutiny is overwhelming, and the lifestyle may be luxurious, but it’s not particularly comfortable in the sense that you can’t really feel at home. The responsibility is massive, and your friends, family and associates become massive targets. No one would be president if they didn’t feel some sense of duty or responsibility or calling to deal with America’s issues. That is not to say any of them don’t like attention, power, and all that. But you can get attention, power, and a heck of a lot more money, fun, and glamor in many other positions that don’t have the tremendous burdens imposed on even passive presidents. The people who are able to get through a presidential campaign are truly exceptional, maybe not as politicians, but in terms of endurance and some other thing. And I’d say he seems to enjoy the role as much as is possible with such intense opposition (the love of attention probably helps him there), despite the stories every day that say he has collapsed and is miserable. I’m really baffled by the idea he was accidentally elected or did it mostly for material reasons. That he did it mostly for attention is arguable, but he showed real relish for political and media games during the primary. He wanted more than air time – he wanted to win. Why he wanted to win and what he intends to do now are debatable, but it’s easier for me to take an argument that Trump is evil or equivalent to a brutal dictator of the opponent’s choice than it is for me to take that he thought his best chance at making money was to *become president*. I feel like that has to be repeated. *Becoming president* to accomplish things that can be easily accomplished without running a brutal campaign, winning it, and then living the exhausting, demanding, restricting life of a president. Maybe you wouldn’t want to call it duty or a desire to serve, but I think a love of challenges and big projects suffices.

            Reading presidential history puts a lot of this in perspective. I just finished a biography on Lyndon Johnson written a while ago, and it ends with the author’s concerns about how we would decide to remove a mentally unstable or eccentric president. He seemed to think this was a new issue – all of the presidents could be armchair diagnosed with quite a few things. People who seek that level of power and survive campaigns are almost manic personalities, even if they don’t always show it. You notice interesting consistent patterns in very different presidents, but none of them come anywhere close to a presidential ideal temperament that has never materialized, and cannot materialize, because the immense strengths of presidents have a corresponding weakness. (I dislike the strength/weakness dichotomy, but you can’t have all desirable traits simultaneously and in large quantities–they contradict, or are on the same spectrum.) Temperament has a big effect, but presidents have had very different temperaments. If you try to describe a standard, you’ll run into trouble fast.

          • albatross11 says:

            Everything about Trump’s life before he became president makes it clear that he really, really likes attention and publicity. And also that he’s really good at getting and keeping it–enough so that he’s managed to stay in the public eye pretty consistently for several decades.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Most of the questions are stupid, but they were equally stupid in 2015 and now; I’m only interested in the change.

      • Jacobethan says:

        My frustration with these kinds of questions isn’t just that they’re circular or leading or conflate different axes, it’s that they completely fail to capture anything about the basic terms in which I think about the issue.

        My primary intuition about immigration is that it’s on balance a destabilizing force. In itself, this is neither good nor bad: it can mean greater economic dynamism and artistic creativity, more rapid unraveling of institutions based on implicit consensus and long familiarity with local habits, or both at once.

        This is just an intuitive starting point for thinking about the holistic effects of immigration in particular contexts, not an essentialist assertion about what will necessarily happen in any given case. But my prior is that immigration tends to be an accelerant of whatever distintegrative tendencies there may be within existing social institutions, and that the degree to which this is the case depends much more upon the scale of the immigration than upon anything about the moral qualities of immigrants taken as individuals.

        To the extent that I have any general intuition about the character of immigrants as a class, it tends to be highly positive, regardless of place of origin or level of skills. But that has so little to do with how I think about immigration as a policy issue that I feel like my replies to questions framed in those terms are going to be so nearly random as to be essentially useless.

        • Steve Sailer says:

          The big event in recent world history was Merkel’s 2015 decision to invite a million men to march into Europe. This was extremely eye-opening to many voters in multiple countries.

  9. Clegg says:

    I voted for Clinton, disliked Trump, and dismissed his appeal. I have come around to supporting Trump and Trumpism.

    For me, this involved being persuaded initially by Michael Anton, the most outspoken and erudite defender of Trumpism (“Flight 93 Election”), whom I already liked and respected for his wonderful book on men’s clothing.

    From having read things like Untitled, I had a sympathy for the woes of men struggling with sexual irrelevance. In light of arguments like Anton’s and e.g. Nicholas Eberstadt’s “Our Miserable 21st Century,” I came to see Trumpism as a very practical platform for redeeming the sexual relevance of the sort of angry white men Michael Kimmel doesn’t take seriously.

    Living as I do a rather traditional family life, despite my progressive commitments, it was not too difficult to accept the new appreciation for traditional gender roles which came with with my new appreciation for Trumpism.

    So given my own experience of coming around to Trumpism, I am not surprised that the change is uncommon.

    • Statismagician says:

      I’d like to clarify a few things, if you don’t mind – what precisely do you mean by Trumpism, what do you think of the man personally and of his personal life, and how relevant do you see the latter as being to your support for the former?

      • Clegg says:

        By Trumpism I mean the political platform dedicated to improving the lives of Americans, particularly in contrast to neoliberalism and particularly those whose lives have not been improved by free trade, immigration, interventionist foreign policy, and regulation.

        Mostly I don’t care about Trump’s personal life. But I do think he is unabashed about wanting certain things, which makes me believe he recognizes that other men want these same things. These include success with women as a consequence of his economic success, and a robust family legacy.

        • Statismagician says:

          Thanks. Just to add one more thing, how well do you believe those political aims are being accomplished presently, and who do you feel is responsible for that success or failure?

        • Temple says:

          Just curious, can you rank order which liberal policies have decreased the life quality of Americans in your view? Can you apportion that decrease between: the free trade/immigration stuff (call it “globalization write large”), regulation (“things republicans don’t like”), and the sex stuff (feminism / women entering the workforce etc.)?

          • Clegg says:

            For the Americans I’m thinking of, I think globalization has been the worst, regulation has made things a little worse than that, and feminism has had negligible impact.

            Even if that’s not the correct order of effect sizes, I think it is definitely the correct decreasing order of social costs to reversing the changes. If the underlying problem is that men find themselves with nothing to offer to women, then better jobs for the men seems like the best possible solution. It need not undermine the freedoms of women who have benefited from increased opportunities, and the costs are distributed somewhat progressively.

          • Radu Floricica says:

            > feminism has had negligible impact

            Up to second wave sure. But consider multiculturalism in universities. You already have a generation of voters inclined to go with different flavors of socialism.

    • cuke says:

      Would you please explain what you mean by this a bit more? “I came to see Trumpism as a very practical platform for redeeming the sexual relevance of the sort of angry white men Michael Kimmel doesn’t take seriously.”

      What is meant by sexual relevance in this context and how do you see Trump accomplishing this? How would our collective circumstances look differently such that they would indicate to you that this thing called redeeming sexual relevance for angry white men had been accomplished?

      • veronicastraszh says:

        Yeah, I don’t get it either. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking “supported Trump” is an absolutely perfect indicator of someone I would never ever ever ever date, not in a million years.

        Currently there is a lot of right wing energy trying to harness the frustrations of the “loveless men.” Sure. But I see this in the frame of Hoffer’s True Believer: a mass social movement is successful precisely in how much it stokes the flames of frustration. It is not successful to the degree it offers a sensible solution to such frustrations. In other words, the far right probably won’t get many of these guys laid. It will, by contrast, give them an avenue to express their rage, which of course always involves a nice supply of token victims.

        It really is fascism.

        • Acedia says:

          Yeah, I don’t get it either. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking “supported Trump” is an absolutely perfect indicator of someone I would never ever ever ever date, not in a million years.

          And you’re not alone, but you’re also not representative of white women nationally. Trump won a majority of white female voters. And so did Ted Cruz in the recent midterms, suggesting there hasn’t been a sea change in white womens’ preferences since 2016.

          • Statismagician says:

            Do you happen to have a source handy for that? I thought I’d heard differently, but I could be conflating different demographics.

          • Clegg says:

            @Statismagician 53% of white women voted for Trump.

            Also, I believe I answered your last follow-up question above in my next reply below.

          • Statismagician says:

            @Clegg

            So you did, and thanks for both that and the link – found the article name off the image address and went from there.

          • Clegg says:

            Hilariously, when I googled for an actual source, this was the first thing that came up: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/09/white-women-vote-republican-why

            The article begins:

            For the past two years, the American left has been haunted by a number: 53. It is the percentage of white women who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

            Reading the article, I thought to myself that the women who write articles like this never seem to have the empathy or the leg-work that Andrea Dworkin put into Right Wing Women. But then the author cited this very book! Her citation was superficial though, citing only the most dubious of Dworkin’s reasons why women support the Right and quoting only her assertion that it won’t work for them.

            Incidentally, Dworkin’s book is the best example I have ever encountered of someone with strong views trying to understand the people who disagree with them, and I recommend it to anyone.

          • veronicastraszh says:

            Yes Trump got a (narrow) majority of white women. However, the question is about young, unmarried women, who I should add, remain free to choose who they want to date.

            The kinds of men I am referring to are largely the men who spend a lot of time getting “radicalized” on right-wing YouTube. They start out with Peterson videos, convincing them that the reason they can’t get dates is that they’ve been cockblocked by the chaos dragon of feminism. They proceed from there to videos that convince them that the international Jewish conspiracy puts soy in food to lower their T.

            Yes, middle aged midwestern women, many of whom are evangelical, married, or both, did go strong for Trump. However, the Trump-voting women who are young and single are, in my estimation, unlikely to go for shlubby online guy who spends his time playing Captain Edgelord on his favorite MMO.

            His Tinder profile will look mostly the same.

            #####

            Let me add, responding to some of the follow-up comments. I was not talking about the economic hardships faced by working class men. That’s a very different issue, and certainly I don’t have a good answer. That said, I don’t believe Trump will actually help [insert predictable reasons]. Furthermore, I stand my citation of Hoffer. Mass movements grow not by addressing real concerns. They instead grow by psychologically reinforcing frustration and providing scapegoats.

            Men are indeed frustrated. Economics is hard. Blame is easy.

          • Clegg says:

            @veronicastraszh Your comments suggest an explanation for why Trump’s approval ratings have stayed flat during two years of growing peace and prosperity. The disapproving segment seems to include many intelligent, open-minded men who are generally willing to buck trends and take controversial stances, yet cannot speak about Trump without including a laundry-list condemnation of the sort SA began this post with.

            If supporting Trump makes any man indistinguishable—to a large swath of his potential sexual/romantic partners—from a basement-dwelling edgelord who has been radicalized by YouTube videos, they had better avoid that!

            On the other hand, the guys I see Trump helping are the ones for whom a manufacturing job makes the difference between being a broke loser with no potential, and being an eligible bachelor.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            However, the Trump-voting women who are young and single are, in my estimation, unlikely to go for shlubby online guy who spends his time playing Captain Edgelord on his favorite MMO.

            That’s a tiny minority of the ~35 million men who voted for Trump. Those might be the only ones visible to you, though. It’s probably the “shlubby online guy” part of the Venn diagram that is more likely to overlap with the “doesn’t get laid” circle than the “voted Trump” part.

          • baconbits9 says:

            Your comments suggest an explanation for why Trump’s approval ratings have stayed flat during two years of growing peace and prosperity.

            Trump’s approval ratings haven’t been flat, they started out in the low 40s, dropped to the mid 30s (under 37%) which is a significant drop and rose back up to the low 40s. The fact that they are at a similar level now to his first few months in office doesn’t mean they have stayed flat.

            His disapproval ratings are at their best mark in the last 22 months as well. Things have been shifting quite a lot.

          • veronicastraszh says:

            @Clegg — I don’t think I claimed that men are “indistinguishable.” I’m claiming that “going right wing” won’t ease their frustration much. Instead, it feeds their frustration by providing a “you’ve been robbed of what was rightfully yours” narrative. That message resonates.

            @Conrad Honcho — My analysis doesn’t include the “angry old white guy” set, nor the “posh white guy who votes R no matter what.” Nor for that matter does it include evangelicals. That said, I think it includes a lot of the young men who feel energized by the alt-right.

            Enough to swing elections?

            I don’t know, but a sizeable body of angry young men receptive to fascist messages — that is a thing to be concerned about.

          • Clegg says:

            @veronicastraszh my “indistinguishable” comment was based on these comments:

            I don’t think I’m alone in thinking “supported Trump” is an absolutely perfect indicator of someone I would never ever ever ever date, not in a million years.

            The kinds of men I am referring to are largely the men who spend a lot of time getting “radicalized” on right-wing YouTube. They start out with Peterson videos, convincing them that the reason they can’t get dates is that they’ve been cockblocked by the chaos dragon of feminism. They proceed from there to videos that convince them that the international Jewish conspiracy puts soy in food to lower their T.

            It really doesn’t sound like you distinguish between Trump supporters and unloveable basement dwellers.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            Again, I think you’re looking at an extremely tiny minority that is unusually overrepresented in media reporting and assuming that’s representative. The alt-right is practically no one. Richard Spencer came to my town and I think 20 people came to hear him speak (and they looked like they came with him) and 2,000 people came out to scream obscenities at those 20 people.

            What’s the big lefty convention? Like where you might find actual tankies? I read about one of these things recently but I can’t remember what it was. But it got high hundreds or low thousands of people. How scared are you of a communist revolution seizing the means of production in the US and liquidating the capitalist class? Probably not very, even though the tankies vastly outnumber the alt-right. It’s just that the media likes to pretend the alt-right is some kind of threat because scaring people about nazis makes them turn out against Trump.

            ETA: I’m just saying that if you look at normie-ville, where the vast majority of voters are, I’m pretty sure it’s the Chad Trump Voter vs the Virgin Hilldawg.

          • LadyJane says:

            @Conrad Honcho: Realistically, Normieville is 25 reluctant Trump voters, 25 reluctant Clinton voters, and 50 frustrated independents who decided not to vote because they’re so fed up with the whole damn system.

            Regarding the alt-right, you may be right about them being smaller than the far-left, but they have a lot more influence over the Republican base than the tankies and anarchists have over the Democrat base. From what I’ve seen, Trump conservatives are a lot more likely to buy into alt-right sentiments, to read alt-right blogs, and share alt-right memes than Bernie progressives are to buy into tankie or anarchist propaganda.

          • cassander says:

            @LadyJane says:

            Regarding the alt-right, you may be right about them being smaller than the far-left, but they have a lot more influence over the Republican base than the tankies and anarchists have over the Democrat base

            .

            Really don’t think this is a sustainable claim. the hard left is getting legislation passed. Wake me up when muggle realists are anything but immediately hounded out of polite society.

          • LadyJane says:

            What do you consider the hard left? Obamacare and an $11 minimum wage in some blue states? Communists and socialists certainly aren’t getting anything passed; you have a few wingnuts yelling that we should nationalize Amazon, but the majority of liberals and even progressives look at them like the crackpots they are. And even the few quasi-socialists in Congress like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aren’t getting us any closer to universal healthcare, free college, a guaranteed jobs program, a basic income for all citizens, or any of the other social democrat pipe dreams.

          • cassander says:

            @LadyJane

            What do you consider the hard left? Obamacare and an $11 minimum wage in some blue states? Communists and socialists certainly aren’t getting anything passed; you have a few wingnuts yelling that we should nationalize Amazon, but the majority of liberals and even progressives look at them like the crackpots they are. And even the few quasi-socialists in Congress like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aren’t getting us any closer to universal healthcare, free college, a guaranteed jobs program, a basic income for all citizens, or any of the other social democrat pipe dreams.

            No, but they are getting yes means yes laws, transgender rights, and ever increasing social spending. Now, if you don’t want to count Sanders & co as hard left, fine, but then Ted Cruz doesn’t count as hard right either. the Alt-right is an utterly marginal group with no one in power who exposes their ideology (which isn’t particularly coherent) or endorses their positions. At best, they’re comparable to literal card carrying communists in terms of extremism. In terms of influence, which do you think has more potential to generate problems for you, getting photographed next to a hammer and sickle or pepe the frog?

        • Reasoner says:

          Currently there is a lot of right wing energy trying to harness the frustrations of the “loveless men.” Sure. But I see this in the frame of Hoffer’s True Believer: a mass social movement is successful precisely in how much it stokes the flames of frustration. It is not successful to the degree it offers a sensible solution to such frustrations. In other words, the far right probably won’t get many of these guys laid. It will, by contrast, give them an avenue to express their rage, which of course always involves a nice supply of token victims.

          It really is fascism.

          I could say the same about the left: stoking outrage in ways that are making society more discriminatory, token victims, etc.

          • orin says:

            Would you have said the same thing about the left during, say, the 1950s/60’s civil rights movement? Why or why not?

            I worry that Trumpists have their heads in the sand when it comes to the far more objective, predictive, and canonical signals of fascism, such as calling the press the enemy of the people, calling for political rivals to be prosecuted, undermining confidence in the “deep state” of democratic institutions such as the judiciary and justice department, telling lies so boldfaced and frequent that they muddy/desensitize the very idea of truth, positioning to delegitimize the results of an election if it is lost, and so on.

          • albatross11 says:

            I am no fan of the Trump administration or its rhetoric, but it sure seems like all that is common among Democrats, as well. The people questioning the legitimacy of the elections in 2000 and 2004 weren’t Republicans. Similarly, since Trump’s election, we’ve seen plenty of attempts by Democrats to undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s election because of Russian meddling, and calling for his prosecution[1]. I’ve been hearing about “Faux news” for years now, as well as hearing about how the Murdoch media empire is a threat to the country with its biased and partisan slant on the news.

            I think Trump is just a more flamboyant corrupter of norms and public confidence than the average politician, and his corruption of norms is amplified by the utterly screwed up media ecosystem we have right now doing political coverage.

            [1] Trump has lived a pretty corrupt life, so I’m pretty sure there will be some basis for prosecuting him, but I continue to doubt that anyone will produce some kind of hard evidence for Trump colluding with Putin. I don’t think people on his staff colluding with Wikileaks is any more sinister than people on his staff colluding with the Washington Post on getting incriminating stuff released about the other side.

          • orin says:

            @ albatross11

            As with everything it is a question of degree. There is a world of difference between Gore accepting without animus the party-line decision of the Supreme court to stop counting votes in Florida in the context of an election in which he won the popular vote. That many democrats were frustrated and questioned the decision is pretty reasonable, but Gore and the democratic party establishment went nowhere near where Trump has gone. It’s a patently false equivalence.

            Regarding the legitimacy of Trump’s election, this is on him. Democrats are concerned that Trump is obstructing the lawful probe into whether election tampering occurred, for which there appears to be actual evidence. It’s not “fascist” or even fascist-adjacent to follow up on actual real evidence of electoral interference. The dynamic is that the more Trump obstructs and sides with Russia over our own intelligence agencies, the more guilty he looks, to the degree that it begins to strain credulity to not soberly address some serious questions about what is going on. It is another thing entirely to just undermine electoral credibility because it is convenient.

            Similarly regarding “calling for Trump’s prosecution.” You can always find some people to act as straw men for this sort of whataboutism, but the fact is that both the media and the democratic party establishment have been calling for the protection of the Mueller probe, not “calling for Trump’s prosecution.” Trump on the other hand lead chants of “LOCK HER UP.” Context also matters. Trump is the President, and it’s an order of magnitude worse when in that position of power to seemingly direct the justice department to pursue cases against political rivals. Again, it’s a patently false equivalence.

            Regarding “Faux News,” this is another false equivalence. Putting aside what I think is demonstrable systematic bias that is distinct from a population-level selection-bias effect, it is critical to understand that Fox News is just one news source, not “the mainstream media.” This (maybe apparently subtle distinction to you) is the canonical difference between historical fascist propagandist undermining of the media, and mere criticism of a news source, which is totally mundane.

            Regarding “collusion,” I’m far more concerned, given Trump’s obstruction and siding with Russia over US intelligence agencies, that his incompetent pre-election entanglements or money-laundering for oligarchs generated Kompromat that is influencing his policy decisions. Or given what we are learning about regarding the Moscow deal, he may just be corrupt and emoluments for foreign business interests are biasing his decisions. This sort of thing is so much worse than Hillary sending emails over a less-than-secure server I don’t know what to say.

          • azhdahak says:

            the far more objective, predictive, and canonical signals of fascism, such as calling the press the enemy of the people

            Is Fox News the enemy of the people? There are plenty of people who think they are. If Fox News can be, why not the Washington Post?

            calling for political rivals to be prosecuted

            You mean like how Democrats call for the prosecution of, sanctions against, or mob violence targeted at Trump, Trump administration officials, and institutions like Facebook that they’ve decided are responsible for Trump’s election?

            undermining confidence in the “deep state” of democratic institutions such as the judiciary and justice department

            That’s not what “deep state” means. I would expect confidence in the secret police and the intelligence services to be something fascists would want to increase. And, again, what if the DoJ is openly working to advance a specific political agenda, or otherwise doesn’t merit confidence?

            telling lies so boldfaced and frequent that they muddy/desensitize the very idea of truth

            Russia hacked the election. Gun violence with assault weapons is a problem with white people. And so on.

            That’s just the stuff that comes from institutions that have to claim to be respectable. I have personally seen upper-middle-class white leftists share posts on Facebook about how Europeans did not know how to make fire until they crossed the Atlantic and got it from the Africans who were already there.

            positioning to delegitimize the results of an election if it is lost

            The Electoral College is undemocratic. Like and share if you agree.

          • orin says:

            @azhdahak

            Is Fox News the enemy of the people? There are plenty of people who think they are. If Fox News can be, why not the Washington Post?

            I would be equally concerned if a Democratic president called Fox News the “enemy of the people.” Further, there is a distinction between calling out a single news source and attempting to delegitimize the “the mainstream media.” The latter tactic has the historical precedent I am referring to.

            You mean like how Democrats call for the prosecution of, sanctions against, or mob violence targeted at Trump, Trump administration officials, and institutions like Facebook that they’ve decided are responsible for Trump’s election?

            “Democrats”… like who? We are talking about the behavior of the President of the United States. You can always find a few legislators or talking heads saying wacky things. I’m not sure what the relevance of that is to the discussion other than as a rhetorical deflection. Is Democratic leadership suggesting these things?

            That’s not what “deep state” means. I would expect confidence in the secret police and the intelligence services to be something fascists would want to increase.

            That’s not how it works, historically, or in theory. A fascist wants to undermine the political independence and cultivated expertise of agencies in order to get away with replacing their ranks with loyal hacks. Fascists want the police and intelligence services feared and working for them, not respected; do you think there was widespread confidence in the fairness and independence of Stalin’s secret police?

            And, again, what if the DoJ is openly working to advance a specific political agenda, or otherwise doesn’t merit confidence?

            The problem is that there doesn’t appear to be any evidence to support that theory (in the direction you are implying). The FBI for example is historically right-leaning, drawing its ranks e.g. from military and law enforcement. The current and former leadership of the FBI and DoJ are Republican, as are Mueller and the republican-appointed FISA court judges. Comey’s undermining of confidence in the FBI famously helped Trump, not Hillary. He did not publicly mention the investigation into Trump campaign associates. The list goes on. It’s a classic Fascist tactic to turn a fox-guarding-the-henhouse situation in which every single quarter of government and investigative power is controlled by Republicans, who are all supporting Trump as a party, and sow a conspiracy-minded fiction that a “deep state” coup is at work.

            Russia hacked the election. Gun violence with assault weapons is a problem with white people. And so on.

            That’s just the stuff that comes from institutions that have to claim to be respectable. I have personally seen upper-middle-class white leftists share posts on Facebook about how Europeans did not know how to make fire until they crossed the Atlantic and got it from the Africans who were already there.

            And we are at war with Eurasia. Fascists sure do like to get people riled up about what a few (sometimes even made-up, see below) people on facebook say, in order to excuse the President of the United States, as though that were a reasonable equivalence. Look at the recent report about the Russian disinfo campaign and the tactics they used.

            > The Electoral College is undemocratic. Like and share if you agree.

            You don’t see the difference between people discussing the unfairness of losing elections despite winning the popular vote, and the President of the United States calling into question the actual vote tallies based on flimsy evidence, because it is politically convenient?

          • Brad says:

            Enemy of the people has a revolutionary France flavor to it, doesn’t it?

          • Paul Zrimsek says:

            Trump’s lies aren’t boldfaced– they’re randomly capitalized.

            When a ruler has little enough control over the press that he feels the need to call it an enemy of the people, you’re at a pretty safe distance from fascism.

          • Aapje says:

            Well, the rhetoric can be part of an actual campaign of suppression, but I don’t think it can be reasonably argued that there is any serious oppression of the press in the US. When the press screams murder when one of their own doesn’t get special privileges from the government, it’s not even close to freedom of the press being truly harmed.

      • Clegg says:

        Sexual relevance here means something like, a viable pathway to a fulfilling sex life, defined by either the exclusive commitment of one woman or access to sufficiently many women.

        Having a good job is a huge component of this, and Trumpism is largely about creating more good jobs.

        I think the short-term progress already shows up in low unemployment, rising wages, and increasing labor force participation. If successful in the long term, I would expect it to show up in increasing marriage rates, decreasing illegitimacy, and higher civic engagement.

        • cuke says:

          What an interesting argument that Trump talking up job creation will lead to men having more fulfilling sex.

          Without diving into how effective Trump’s policies have been for creating good jobs, I’m interested in understanding more about the mechanism through which you see good jobs providing men with more fulfilling sex.

          I think it was one or two discussions below in which a number of people were bemoaning the fact that women’s growing economic independence — through rising wages, increasing labor market participation, lower unemployment, etc — is leading men to have less, rather than more, access to fulfilling sex.

          What is the missing ingredient, do you think, that would ensure that more good jobs translate into more, rather than less, fulfilling sex for men?

          • Clegg says:

            I should perhaps have been more clear, what matters here are good jobs for men. Manufacturing is the obvious example (70% male), and this has been a major focus of Trump’s rhetoric and policy. During the campaign he complained that “we don’t make things anymore” in America, while a lot of people like me had accepted the shift to a service economy as a foregone conclusion.

            I’m not going to say women’s economic independence is bad, and I do think there is tremendous social value in women having opportunities to pursue whatever careers they like, as well as having the freedom and safety that come with economic independence. At the same time, I’m in my mid-thirties, and I know a lot of women who are finding that economic independence isn’t all that fun after all. I know others who left promising careers to raise families, an opportunity they had because their husbands had…good jobs.

  10. jeff_phys says:

    This phenomenon really isn’t unique to Trump. Backlash against the incumbent president is the norm.
    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-probably-wont-defy-midterm-gravity/
    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/voters-like-a-political-party-until-it-passes-laws/
    It makes sense that Americans might lash out against a President who lacks the popular vote and narrowly won over an unpopular opponent, but apparently this is the pattern generally. I think it’s that the losing side rallies hard in the face of electoral defeat and actually succeeds in getting their message out to undecideds. The media also takes on a role of scrutiny of the president.

    But you are right to point out that this is well beyond the norm. Trump is an unusually terrible president running on unusually shallow ideas. This was all perfectly perceptible before the election – so we might think it would have been baked in – but I think for a lot of people uncertain of what to make of the hyperbolic media environment, they had to see it play out in reality.

    • sourcreamus says:

      Generally Americans hate politics. The whole process of it. So any politician who attempts to do anything will be unpopular. Nancy Pelosi is more unpopular than Trump as is Chuck Schumer. Congress is one of the most unpopular institutions in the country.

      This is why we keep electing neophytes like Obama and Trump. There is this hunger for a charismatic outsider who will sweep into Washington and clean things up. Yet the process of actually governing means making decisions that piss people off and making deals with the enemy. Trump is a worse politician than most so he is especially unpopular but anyone who gets in the muck and tries to govern will be unpopular.

      The only president who managed to be effective and popular was Reagan and much of that had to do with sympathy for being shot.

      • jeff_phys says:

        In many ways I am inclined to agree.

        Everyone says they hate negative campaigns, but there is a reason why politicians go there. Socially, criticizing something just doesn’t require to put yourself out there like proposing something. Negative partisanship (hating the other party) is often a stronger motivator than positive partisanship (loving your party). 2016 was the apotheosis of this.

        But I also think it plays out differently in the long-term. The Republican healthcare messaging was dominated by opposition to Obamacare, rather than articulation of an alternative. But then when they actually got power in 2016, they found they were lacking the groundwork needed to build popular support for their actual proposal. So they didn’t do it. And now Obamacare is more popular than ever, about a decade later.

        The American political system, especially lately, makes it hard to do anything. So then it’s also hard to demonstrate the value of good governance to voters, because that feedback mechanism is weak. But since what you do can be enduring, it means political will has to be built up carefully and spent wisely like a currency. In 2018, I think Democrats were wise whenever they turned their anti-Trump tailwind into a campaign for their policy priorities like healthcare, income and carbon policy.

    • sandoratthezoo says:

      Yeah, it’s important to note that Presidents generally lose popularity throughout their terms (at least until they have a singular opponent with flaws to contrast them with) and that people tend to be broadly for stuff until it comes time to actually get actual work done on making that stuff happen and then its flaws become more evident.

      Obama’s signature policy achievement was massively unpopular during and after implementation, and 2010 was a disaster for the Democrats.

      I don’t know if Trump is better or worse than trend on this, but I think this post implicitly believes that the trend for this is flat, and it’s not.

  11. dalemannes says:

    I told […] conservatives not to vote Trump because he would cause a backlash that was worse than anything they might get from him.

    This is a weak argument. Don’t vote for what you want because there will be a backlash. Gee, should everyone vote for the opposite of what they want?

    • oppressedminority says:

      This is Scott’s actual advice:

      To Republicans: Vote for what you dont want to avoid a backlash against your side and create a backlash against your enemy. When Ds wins, there will be a backlash against Ds and everybody will want Ds out of power. And then all these anti-Ds will vote D to create an even bigger backlash.

      To Democrats: Vote for Democrats.

      • Aftagley says:

        You’re (deliberately?) misreading him: Trump is unique and is going to cause a massive backlash because the people who hate him REALLY hate him. Hate him enough to mobilize against him, hate him enough to make them care about issues they were previously ambivalent about.

        Scott isn’t addressing any average Republicans in this piece; most republicans don’t result in this level of backlash, but trump will.

        • ItsGiusto says:

          I agree that that’s what Scott is trying to say. I’m I’m not sure if it’s advice that people should take seriously. Every single Republican candidate is basically called Hitler during the time that they’re the face of the party, until a new one comes along. Do you remember how hated Bush Jr was, and John McCain was? This was then followed by them being treated like saints once others took their place. If you hang around lots of progressives, like Scott does and I do, they’re always going to be calling the latest Republican candidate the end of the world. And this is only getting worse with the rise of increasingly effective outrage machines in the form of the news and social media.

        • oppressedminority says:

          Thanks Democrat I’m sure your advice to Republicans is sincere and well-intentioned. I’m old enough to remember John McCain being compared to Hitler. And 4 years later, Mitt Romney was also compared to a nasty historical figure. You’ll never guess which one. (yes, you are correct, Hitler again).

          And in 2016, the Democrats used all their super-advanced Ivy league brain power and had supercomputers running the top AI software in the world to come up with the strategy to compare Trump to….. Hitler!!!

          so yeah, Trump is uniquely bad, blah blah blah. Thank you for your insight it’s truly mind blowing.

          • Cliff says:

            He’s right though. Democrats are always going to oppose Republicans, but opposition to Trump is much stronger than previous Republicans. Many Dems are now huge into politics, donating their time, etc.

          • Ghillie Dhu says:

            Just to be a gadfly, the law of diminishing returns applies to donations & political action as well. Perhaps Trump is actually enticing the Democrats to burn themselves out by overinvesting in the short term.

          • oppressedminority says:

            Yes but there’s really no point in voting for a RINO like Bush, McCain or Romney either. For Americans who (for obviously very racist and evil reasons) dont want their country “fundamentally transformed” and who dont want to become racial minorities, you have only one option and it’s Trump. There is no difference between a Clinton or a Bush/McCain/Romney.

          • gbdub says:

            I have sympathy for this point but it would come across better / clearly with a bit less FOX pundit snark.

          • wysinwygymmv says:

            Obama was also frequently compared to Hitler. I’m going to guess I could find a few comparisons of Hillary Clinton to Hitler if I cared to look. Some Republican hack wrote a book trying to make the case that liberalism is the same thing as fascism.

            The fact that it bothers you that someone somewhere compared McCain and Romney to Hitler demonstrates nothing whatsoever except maybe providing some insight into your personal biases.

          • Civilis says:

            Some Republican hack wrote a book trying to make the case that liberalism is the same thing as fascism.

            Do people ever bother to actually read books before commenting on them?

            [Added:] To emulate our host, this really deserves a more thoughtful response.

            I’m constantly astonished at the number of people that have no idea what their opponents arguments actually are, which makes civil discourse with them impossible. The ‘Republican hack’ that wrote the book in question is derided by the Trumpist right as a never-Trumper. One of the reasons he’s derided is that despite his opposition to Trump, he’s never going to be accepted on the left because of that book, which doesn’t say anything like ‘liberalism is the same as fascism’.

          • wysinwygymmv says:

            @Civilis:

            Do people ever bother to actually read books before commenting on them?

            I didn’t read the book (it didn’t look very good). Here’s some quotes from the Amazon synopsis, though:

            Liberal Fascism offers a startling new perspective on the theories and practices that define fascist politics. Replacing conveniently manufactured myths with surprising and enlightening research, Jonah Goldberg reminds us that the original fascists were really on the left, and that liberals from Woodrow Wilson to FDR to Hillary Clinton have advocated policies and principles remarkably similar to those of Hitler’s National Socialism and Mussolini’s Fascism

            it is hard to deny that modern progressivism and classical fascism shared the same intellectual roots. We often forget, for example, that Mussolini and Hitler had many admirers in the United States. W.E.B. Du Bois was inspired by Hitler’s Germany, and Irving Berlin praised Mussolini in song. Many fascist tenets were espoused by American progressives like John Dewey and Woodrow Wilson, and FDR incorporated fascist policies in the New Deal.

            The modern heirs of this “friendly fascist” tradition include the New York Times, the Democratic Party, the Ivy League professoriate, and the liberals of Hollywood. The quintessential Liberal Fascist isn't an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.

            Based on that, I think I can be forgiven for –apparently mistakenly! — thinking the book might be about liberalism being in some sense the same as fascism. “Liberalism is the same as fascism” may be slightly too glib, but then I was trying to condense the message of the book to a six-word phrase.

            if you have a better six-word phrase, giving it would probably be a more useful contribution than this:

            The ‘Republican hack’ that wrote the book in question is derided by the Trumpist right as a never-Trumper.

            Goldberg’s opinion on Trump is not even slightly relevant to my argument (that conservatives also like to make Hitler comparisons).

          • Civilis says:

            Goldberg’s opinion on Trump is not even slightly relevant to my argument (that conservatives also like to make Hitler comparisons).

            Someone openly disagreeing with his party is unlikely to meet the definition of a political hack, which implies party above all.

            Based on that, I think I can be forgiven for –apparently mistakenly! — thinking the book might be about liberalism being in some sense the same as fascism. “Liberalism is the same as fascism” may be slightly too glib, but then I was trying to condense the message of the book to a six-word phrase.

            Reducing nuanced political opinions to bumper-sticker sized slogans to make simple, catchy arguments is one reason we’re in this mess. I have enough problems with people on the left reducing the opinions of the right to fascism (or even Nazism) to let a complicated, nuanced argument be simplified to ‘the right thinks the left is fascist’.

            “Liberalism is the same as fascism” shuts down the entire debate, by reducing both sides to opinions they don’t actually hold and aren’t up for rational discussion.

          • wysinwygymmv says:

            @Civilis:

            Someone openly disagreeing with his party is unlikely to meet the definition of a political hack, which implies party above all.

            The question of whether or not Goldberg meets some exacting, rationalistic definition of “hack” does not interest me. If it makes you feel good, then assume I am appropriately chastised for mislabeling him as a “hack.” Either way, whether or not Goldberg qualifies as a “hack” is still not relevant to my argument.

            Reducing nuanced political opinions to bumper-sticker sized slogans to make simple, catchy arguments is one reason we’re in this mess.

            Reproducing Goldberg’s book word-for-word is not a reasonable approach. Obviously I must paraphrase it to some extent.

            Is whatever nuance I lose by paraphrasing relevant to the argument I am making? Let’s recall that the book is entitled “Liberal Fascism” and features a smiley face with a Hitler mustache on the cover, and that my argument is merely that conservatives also sometimes compare people to Hitler.

            So no — there is no reason to get into a lengthy discussion on the nuance of Goldberg’s book if I only need to mention it briefly in order to support the argument I’m making.

            “Liberalism is the same as fascism” shuts down the entire debate, by reducing both sides to opinions they don’t actually hold and aren’t up for rational discussion.

            But I didn’t argue that “liberalism is the same as fascism”, so it is clearly not me who is “shutting down the entire debate”. Instead, I argued that conservatives like to make Hitler comparisons too and used Goldberg’s book as an example.

            If you think it’s not fair to interpret Goldberg’s book as comparing liberals to Hitler, then you should probably get around to making that argument sooner or later.

            (You may also want to clue in the publisher, who clearly wants me to believe that the thesis of the book is “liberalism is the same as fascism”.)

          • mdet says:

            Thanks Democrat I’m sure your advice to Republicans is sincere and well-intentioned. I’m old enough to remember John McCain being compared to Hitler. And 4 years later, Mitt Romney was also compared to a nasty historical figure. You’ll never guess which one. (yes, you are correct, Hitler again) … so yeah, Trump is uniquely bad, blah blah blah.

            Yes, Democrats have regularly criticized Republican candidates for being idiots, bigots, etc. There may or may not have been more of it with Trump, but I won’t fault you for not trusting Democrats’ opinions.

            What made Trump different was that countless *Republicans* spent the campaign openly criticizing Trump, refusing to endorse him, discussing whether or not it was possible to restrain the “worst” parts of Trump once he was elected, etc. Nearly every newspaper that endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012 declined to endorse Donald Trump in 2016, including many newspapers that hadn’t not-endorsed the Republican candidate in 30, 50, 100 years.

            Now, you also complain that the past three Republican presidential candidates before Trump were RINOs who were no better than the Clintons, so I imagine that the lack of endorsements for Trump doesn’t phase you. But note that Democratic candidates ALSO tend to be less partisan and ideological than many Democratic voters want, with many on the Left lamenting that electing Hillary would basically be the same as electing Bush. That’s because “Run / Endorse candidates that appeal to the median voter, rather than appealing to the extreme partisans and alienating everyone else” is general advice that applies to both sides. And indeed, Scott ends his post above by saying “People tend to overestimate the importance of turning out the base, and to underestimate the importance of not having everyone hate you” and explicitly linking to his blog post where he recommends this exact same avoid-backlash strategy for Democrats.

            So maybe don’t interpret Scott’s recommendation for avoiding backlash as if it applies to every Republican and no Democrats?

          • I don’t know what the arguments are in the recent book being discussed, but the claim that the First New Deal was in large part patterned on Mussolini’s fascism and that many of those involved were admirers of Mussolini is old and, I think, well supported. A little googling turned up a 1991 article on the subject from a Yale Law School professor.

        • psmith says:

          Well, sure, there’s not a lot of backlash against regular Republicans because they’re not meaningfully different from regular Democrats.

          Is there a nativist/populist politician that Scott thinks wouldn’t cause a backlash? Would be a bad idea to vote for purely on merits? If not, it’s mighty hard to read this line of argument as anything other than an attempt to enlist the meta level in object-level propaganda.

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            If not, it’s mighty hard to read this line of argument as anything other than an attempt to enlist the meta level in object-level propaganda.

            Ding ding!

          • 10240 says:

            That’s a reasonable argument if and only if nativism, immigration reduction etc. are by far the most important conservative values for one.

          • azhdahak says:

            That’s a reasonable argument if and only if nativism, immigration reduction etc. are by far the most important conservative values for one.

            Yes, immigration reduction is the most important thing. It is straightforward and obvious that immigration reduction is the most important thing.

            If a government makes a bad decision in tax policy, the bad decision can be reversed. If a government makes a bad decision in immigration policy, the demographics of the country they rule are permanently changed. The decisions a government makes with regard to immigration policy will be detectable in the demographic composition of the territory it rules for, barring the return of Genghis Khan, as long as that territory remains inhabited by humans. Since the consequences of bad decisions in immigration policy are effectively irreversible, it is especially important to avoid bad decisions in immigration policy, and proposals for increased immigration should be held to the highest possible standard to ensure that they are not bad.

        • veronicastraszh says:

          @oppressedminority — I’ll take you at your word and suppose that you cannot distinguish the feelings left/liberal people have toward Trump versus McCain. Maybe you really cannot see a difference. After all, if you perform a text search for “hitler” on leftist writing, for either candidate, each will return multiple hits. So of course, no further thought is necessary. We used word X, that settles it. You’ve learned all you can learn of our feelings.

          • oppressedminority says:

            Yes, I know the difference. McCain was a globalist shill and was compared to Hitler for show, to give voters the illusion of a difference between Obama and McCain. Trump actually opposes the globalist agenda and is called Hitler with more sincerity.

          • Civilis says:

            For all that I voted for him (and if trends continue, will likely do so again), I don’t like a lot of what I see in Trump.

            My biggest concern is that he strongly resembles a certain authoritarian leader that came to power in the 1930s.

            It’s a very easy comparison to make:

            – Turns away refugees fleeing violence
            – Concentration camps
            – Trade protectionism damaging the US economy
            – Policies formulated based on populist emotion
            – Racism
            – Striking deals with repressive foreign governments
            – Aggressively nationalistic foreign policy
            – Ignoring limits on executive power

            Then again, the political left generally seems to think being compared to FDR is a good thing.

            The fact that I can switch any of the examples used to compare Trump to Hitler to apply to FDR as well shows how poor the comparison is. It’s nothing more than causing vulnerable and ignorant people to catastrophize the situation. If you’re using it, you’re either a demagogue trying to dehumanize your political opponents (just like Goebbels) or are mindlessly going along with the crowd.

          • Doctor Mist says:

            – Turns away refugees fleeing violence

            Hitler did that?

            – Concentration camps

            Trump did that?

            – Trade protectionism damaging the US economy

            Hitler did that? All right, I’m joking about that one; I presume you meant Hitler’s protectionism damaged Germany’s economy. And I’m a free-trader, so I do believe that protectionism hurts everybody’s economy. But as near as I can tell Trump’s comparatively mild protectionism hasn’t done much to hurt us so far — unemployment is low and GNP is growing nicely. What do you mean precisely? For that matter, I can’t say I’ve ever heard of trade protectionism listed among Hitler’s sins: Germany was a basket case after him, but surely his trade policy was in the noise compared to waging a continent-wide war.

            – Striking deals with repressive foreign governments
            – Ignoring limits on executive power

            Unlike every other President we’ve had over the past hundred years? Now you’re just being silly.

          • Nornagest says:

            Hitler did that?

            No, FDR did. (The refugees were from Hitler’s regime.) That’s the joke — Civilis is doing a bait-and-switch between authoritarian populist leaders in the 1930s.

          • Doctor Mist says:

            D’oh. I should have noticed that (a) it was Civilis and (b) he didn’t actually name Hitler, which the sort of commenter I thought I was reading would have made sure to do.

            Got me!

        • Civilis says:

          You’re (deliberately?) misreading him: Trump is unique and is going to cause a massive backlash because the people who hate him REALLY hate him. Hate him enough to mobilize against him, hate him enough to make them care about issues they were previously ambivalent about.

          The flip side of this is that the same applies to Hillary Clinton, with all the massive baggage she uniquely brought to her candidacy (the Clinton Foundation, Benghazi, rigging the DNC primary, Anthony Weiner, classified emails, blatantly defying subpoenas, and the plentiful baggage left over from her husband’s administration). The fact that people think Trump’s flaws are somehow uniquely disqualifying renders me unable to trust them on anything.

          I can accept that some people voted for Hillary despite her flaws because they prefer the Democratic policies to the Republican ones, but I can’t compromise with people that can’t grant me the reverse.

          If you want a functional American society, the left needs to accept that for his flaws, Trump is president, and almost certainly neither the worst president of all time nor ‘a setback for America [and] civilization‘ and definitely not the next Hitler. That American government can deal with lousy presidents is a testament to how well the country works, and destroying the foundations of American society because their lousy candidate beat your lousy candidate will harm us all in the long run.

          [Added:] If you don’t like Trump, vote for someone else to win the next election. Just don’t tear down American society by demonizing and dehumanizing him and his voters.

          • jw says:

            Great comment.

            After the Democrats burn the country down because “they couldn’t even” deal with Trump under the longstanding rules, don’t ask me to follow the rules when they get back in charge, because I’m going to say “what rules?”

          • CatCube says:

            Agreed. I didn’t vote for Trump, despite the fact that I hate Clinton. However, almost everything that I hate about her (the shady dealing, surrounding herself with a rogues gallery of disreputables, disregarding security rules meant to apply to everybody for good reasons, the mockery of family values that her personal life represents, etc.) are mostly found in Trump as well. Trump had an advantage in that his policies weren’t entirely objectionable to me–though some are–but character matters. You can’t vet a president on everything that you might want because you don’t know what the future holds, nor will you see everything they do due to the necessary secrecy of some of their work, so targeting somebody who’s at least approaching a decent person is important.

            The policy advantages weren’t enough to overcome the personal disadvantages to make me hold my nose and vote for Trump, but admittedly this was pretty easy decision because I was in a state that was going to go for Clinton if video of her murdering a drifter turned up two days before the election. I felt free to vote my conscience.

            My feelings on the current state of the parties are exemplified by this Babylon Bee article: Christians Face Clear Choice Between Party That’s A Hypocritical Mockery Of Their Faith And One That’s Openly Hostile To It

            I’ve been pleased with the President’s judicial appointments, but he’s made a dog’s breakfast of most everything else, largely because he Just. Cannot. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

            As somebody pointed out on the OT, he has put Canada into something of a bind regarding extraditing Meng Wanzhou, because he’s bragged about using her arrest to put the screws to China. If he had just mouthed the appropriate pablum in public about how we appreciate our ally’s actions in arresting a malefactor who has broken our laws regarding fraud, it would have been relatively simple for Canada to extradite her. However, now that he’s made a public statement regarding using her as political leverage, it’s going to make it more of a political battle for Canadian leaders to actually go through with extradition. If he had even just waited until she was in US custody that still would have been better, but he seems unable to not say whatever pops into his head on Twitter.

          • Brad says:

            [Added:] If you don’t like Trump, vote for someone else to win the next election. Just don’t tear down American society by demonizing and dehumanizing him and his voters.

            He and his voters seem to spend a lot of time dehumanizing my latte sipping, Manhattan living, multiple degree having, NPR listening self. Am I supposed to turn the other cheek? That’s supposed to be their God.

      • Randy M says:

        It’s valid advice given the binary choice at the time of the final election and the belief that Trump will bring catastrophe that discredits him and Hillary will be status quo, giving Democrats some marginal future advantage but allowing Republicans to try again should they find a strong candidate.

        It is quite suspect advice coming from someone who doesn’t share your goals, though.

    • Aftagley says:

      The argument isn’t just that he’ll cause a backlash; as you point out, everything causes some kind of backlash. It’s that Trump, by virtue of his nature, is going to cause an especially significant backlash. That’s only going to be worth it if you believe you can count on him to actually make significant progress towards your own goals greater what will be reversed by the coming backlash. Personally, I haven’t seen any evidence that he’s got the ability to do that.

      • jw says:

        Funny how switching from less than 2% economic growth to nearly 4% economic growth per quarter counts for nothing.

        Apparently “its the economy, stupid” no longer applies if a Republican delivers a good economy?

        • bindubasketball says:

          It’s not that it doesn’t count – it’s that it counts less than it could for Trump because he cannot stop tweeting and putting his foot in his mouth at every turn. If he literally left Twitter for a quarter, I think you’d see his approval jump by 10 points (I’m not joking).

        • Thomas Jørgensen says:

          Most of the (western) world is running far too restrictive fiscal policies. Trump spends money like a drunken sailor, badly, and with abandon. This, it turns out, is better than not spending enough money. Its not good policy – Good policy would be to spend money with abandon and wisdom, but it is better policy than “fiscal rectitude”.

          However, given his general lack of competence, I give it very high odds he will find a way to fuck up the economy before 2020. So.. No, not going to help the conservative cause long term.

          • baconbits9 says:

            This is nonsense. US government expenditures as a percent of GDP are down from the Obama Administration average.

          • Thomas Jørgensen says:

            The effect of government spending on the rate of economic growth does not depend on the absolute size of the government, but on the difference between tax take and government outlay.

            You can have an enormous government, and be strangling the life out of the economy by having an equally enormous tax take, or have a ridiculously tiny night-watchman state and be running enormously expansive fiscal policy by entirely deficit funding your “only ten percent of the economy is the state” thought-experiment of a government.

            Trump is running an enormous deficit. This is expansionary. It is especially expansionary because there is a fair amount of labor available to be mobilized into the economy.

            He is not doing this well – Targeting his tax cut at the top of the income distribution means it is a whole lot less efficient than it could have been, but scale matters, and when the government is pouring more money into the economy than it takes out on this scale, things move.

          • baconbits9 says:

            Trump is running an enormous deficit

            No he’s not. As a percentage of GDP the Federal deficit in 2017 and 2018 are not particularly remarkable, and lower than the average for the Obama administration (though higher than the long run average).

            This is expansionary. It is especially expansionary because there is a fair amount of labor available to be mobilized into the economy.

            Not there is not, the UE rate is below the “natural rate” of UE and has been for almost 2 years now. In the US this is the tightest labor market in 17 years. And you can’t argue marginally attached people etc, the LFPR has been flat since 2014, with no increases. Workers are not being pulled into the economy, and total hours worked has either staying on the 2010-2015 trend or slowed if anything.

            Not only is your statement about potential labor mobilization false but your overall statement is false. Spending is ONLY expansionary when there is slack in the economy by the models that claim it to be so, not always expansionary and then especially expansionary when there is also slack. Spending in these models is actually typically contractionary when there is little to no slack in the economy.

          • Thomas Jørgensen says:

            I do not actually disagree with the point that spending is only expansionary when there is slack.. I am just of the well settled opinion that most estimates of how much slack there is in an economy are catastropically overly pessimistic, because the way the so called natural rate of unemployment is calculated is a bad joke, since what is actually done is to measure the way things have been over the last decade, and then proclaim that state of affairs an unalterable law. Which is, very, very wrong. Proclaiming that the NRU is higher or lower because you have had high or low unemployment for a while is just a way to abdicate political responsibility for employment.

            Basically, “Is your labor force participation at swiss or swedish levels?”? No? Then you have slack.

          • baconbits9 says:

            I am just of the well settled opinion that most estimates of how much slack there is in an economy are catastropically overly pessimistic, because the way the so called natural rate of unemployment is calculated is a bad joke, since what is actually done is to measure the way things have been over the last decade, and then proclaim that state of affairs an unalterable law.

            None of this matters because your claims would require that Trump’s spending would lead to greater labor utilization. There is no evidence of this, trends for jobs gains, hours worked, labor force participation rate all are either in the same line as the last year’s of Obama’s reign when spending was lower, plus when there was even more slack and even more spending there lower, not higher, growth.

          • azhdahak says:

            Basically, “Is your labor force participation at swiss or swedish levels?”? No? Then you have slack.

            I’m not an economist or anything, but I think it’s likely that the percentage of the population that’s too, what’s the technical term, fucked up to be a productive employee is higher in the USA than in Sweden or Switzerland.

    • John Schilling says:

      This is a weak argument. Don’t vote for what you want because there will be a backlash.

      Don’t vote for an extraordinarily offensive and incompetent implementation of what you want, because the extraordinarily offensive part means that there will be a Yuge backlash, and the extraordinarily incompetent part means you won’t actually get the things you want in compensation for that backlash.

      • Le Maistre Chat says:

        But there was no option of “no more Muslims entering our country, make life better for native workers in general even if it means reducing immigration in general” less incompetent or tacky than Donald Trump. And like I said, I don’t see how a Hillary victory would have helped the Right in Europe, where they probably have more Christian and competent nationalists.

        • oppressedminority says:

          If Trump only has one accomplishment to his name, it will be to show that you can win the Republican nomination and the presidency by standing up against illegal immigration and muslim terrorism. Shocking, I know, but it’s true.

          And that is more than enough of a reason to vote for him.

        • gbdub says:

          Yeah, that’s the problem. Donald Trump is the champion they had, even if he’s not the one you’d want ideally.

          Other than supporting Trump, what should average protectionist / populist / anti-illegal-immigrant voters have done? Neither party was going to be receptive to those views unless forced, and Trump was the only one with the resources and willingness to force them. Sanders kind of tried but lacked the pull to unseat Clinton.

          John you yourself posted similar thoughts immediately after the election – both parties tried to force an unpopular candidate on their bases while ignoring, or seeming to ignore, serious issues held by many of their voters (immigration in the GOP, economic leftism / anti-globalism with the Dems). Neither Bernie nor Trump were ideal flag bearers, but better options were not available.

        • John Schilling says:

          Ted Cruz would almost certainly have taken some effective measures against illegal and/or dangerous immigration. Bernie Sanders also was no friend to open borders. Hillary Clinton would have left behind a United States in which the next President could have effectively argued for and implemented very substantial anti-immigration measures.

          Instead, you all are going to be stuck with de facto open borders, and there is nothing you can do about that, nobody you can vote for in 2020 or 2024 who will change that. And that’s not what I want, but I can’t change it either. Thanks to Donald J. Trump, and all the people who voted for him.

          More generally, if the choice is between your avowed enemy, and a nominal ally who will do your cause more harm than the enemy, you hope that your enemy wins and turns out to be less than competent as well.

          • gbdub says:

            Cruz probably would have been okay for that crowd (he did end up second after all), but I think he had too hard a time separating himself while Rubio (and then Kasich) were still getting pushed hard by the RNC establishment. Plus it was as much about being anti-establishment as it was about immigration per se, and Cruz was in an awkward middle ground of being too insider for the Trumpers and too outsider for the bigwigs.

            And given the Beto O’Rourke coverage / Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer memes, I don’t think the backlash from the left would have been that much more muted against Cruz anyway.

          • Civilis says:

            Hillary Clinton would have left behind a United States in which the next President could have effectively argued for and implemented very substantial anti-immigration measures.

            Hillary Clinton would have left behind a US in which the next President would be her handpicked successor to carry on her legacy, and that wouldn’t include substantial changes to her policies.

            There’s a story making its way around the right-wing punditry about a college freshman named David Krupa who managed to get enough signatures to be on the ballot for district alderman in Chicago. He needed 473 signatures. He got 1703. And in response, the Chicago machine got more than 2700 people to sign revocations of their signatures under penalty of perjury. That’s more than a thousand people committing a felony. Any bets on how many will be prosecuted?

            The Clintons were on the verge of leading the Democratic party as it established a national-scale political machine like the one in Chicago including the people charged with enforcing the laws and the media (including the big tech companies). Every challenger to that machine will have problems running against it. Perhaps it will be the leak of divorce records, or tax records. Perhaps a carefully timed accusation of sexual harassment. Perhaps it will be a corruption investigation where exculpatory evidence is ‘lost’ by the prosecutor or the FBI. Even if the investigation goes nowhere, enough juicy details will leak to the press. And, of course, the leakers won’t ever be prosecuted, even if they lie to the FBI or Congress. Every little law will be used against the challenger to the letter, while machine pols get a slap on the wrist in the unlikely event they get caught, and the story will get buried. And if all else fails, call them Hitler and kick them out of social media (and all their defenders, too).

            The political establishment knows (or, at least, thinks) that it can do whatever it wants if it is stubborn enough. People vote to leave the EU in a referendum? Intentionally botch the process until you can call another referendum. Congress asking too many questions? If you answer ‘I can’t remember’ to everything, there’s nothing they can do. Even if two different people get tricked into different answers, you can’t prove which one lied, and if you control the prosecutor, nobody gets charged anyways. You can indefinitely ignore subpoenas and FOIA requests, especially if you trickle out a few documents here and there, and if all else fails, hard drives and backup tapes fail all the time.

            This is where I see the backlash is slowly building, because none of this changes the opinions of the public at large. If it gets big enough, that backlash could easily be worse than Trump, worse than anything else that the US has seen (because it would take that much to overcome the machine) and it scares me.

          • John Schilling says:

            The backlash against Cruz would not have been more muted, but it would almost certainly have been less effective because independents would see it as just more partisan whining by losers. The more people see Trump as uniquely offensive or dangerous, the more his opponents look like heroic leaders of La Resistance rather than whiny losers.

          • Paul Brinkley says:

            Ted Cruz would almost certainly have taken some effective measures against illegal and/or dangerous immigration.

            Cruz was objectively a frontrunner until near the end, but I get the sense that he was considered just inside the Beltway, and that cost him. In the end, he had a king-high hand in “big changes to Washington”, while Trump had ace-high.

            Or to paraphrase a pundit I recall shortly after the primary, I think: Cruz had been talking for months about how someone needed to flip the table of US politics, because it wasn’t working for Americans, only to have Trump walk in, shrug, actually flip the table, and walk back out.

            That said, I agree that Trump will likely slow the immigration reform movement.

          • John Schilling says:

            Cruz was objectively a frontrunner until near the end, but I get the sense that he was considered just inside the Beltway, and that cost him.

            No, that saved him. Ted Cruz had the advantage of enough practical government experience to know what is and is not possible for the President to do, and so didn’t say and do things that even as a candidate would have made it impossible for him to ever be an effective President. Which means, he still has a better chance of someday becoming an effective President than does Donald Trump.

      • Conrad Honcho says:

        And I voted for Pat Buchanan back in the 90s but he didn’t win then and wasn’t on the ticket in 2016. I should have voted for “Illegal immigration is an act of love” Jeb Bush, instead, because that would totes get me my wall and better trade deals?

        • A Definite Beta Guy says:

          You’re not getting a wall and you’re not really getting better trade deals under Trump. Generic Republican Replacement would have argued for more border control funding, would have also delivered a tax cut, would also have gotten 2 supreme court justices, and also would have curtailed the refugee program significantly. Generic Republican Replacement would not have passed Amnesty, because he would’ve been torched by his own party (and that’s been the case since 2006).

          Jeb! won’t win over most Democrats. But Jeb! will be less offensive to 10-15% of Democrats, which is all you need to go from a massive 48-49% coalition that hates the GOP to a more tepid 40-45% coalition that hates the GOP with a few hanger-ons. That’s a biggggggggg difference, and gives Jeb! a lot more wiggle room than Trump. It also means he is much more likely to win in 2020, and getting 2 solid terms instead of what’s likely to be 1 term.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Generic Republican Replacement would have argued for more border control funding

            And let the whole migrant caravan in when the news called him bad names.

            would have also delivered a tax cut

            Like GHWB? Not convinced.

            would also have gotten 2 supreme court justices

            He might have abandoned Kavanaugh at the first sign of trouble, and gone for a safe (i.e. more acceptable to Democrats) pick.

          • Conrad Honcho says:

            +1 to everything Nybbler said.

            And the left would still be calling Jeb! Hitler and everyone who supports him a Nazi, anyway.

          • A Definite Beta Guy says:

            This is bizarre. GHWB was President decades ago. There is a more recent President, from literally the same exact family, who delivered on two large tax cuts, despite the fact that it blew holes into the budget. There was another member, again from the same exact family, calling for another large tax cut.
            Tax cuts are not a Trump idea, we’ve been doing them since the 1960s.

            There’s no reason to think that Jeb! or Rubio or Kasich would have backed down on Kav. One of them is actually a Senator, and his vote was never in question. Most GOP moderates came down hard against leftist intimidation because it was so beyond the pale.

            We can’t speak to the caravan, because there’s not a lot of relevant counter-examples since they are recent, but given that even Obama’s treatment of the caravans is less than a welcome mat, I have a hard time believing that Rubio or Cruz or Jeb! is just going to immediately cave, and it’s going to take a lot of convincing for me to think otherwise, particularly when the other two guesses are way off the mark.

            Seriously, you guys underrate the fortitude of the Republican candidates. These guys are lifelong politicians and they take and continue to take stands against the sitting President. You seriously think they are going to buckle just because someone on the news calls them names? Did you SEE Lindsay Graham’s response to that one protestor?
            Dubya was personally willing to torch his entire legacy and burn whatever political standing he still had with his party to get TARP passed. You might not like the choice, but to say either Dubya or HW lacked the courage to actually follow through on their convictions is insane. These are not triangulating losers like Clinton or Obama, they believed in what they said and they acted on what they believed, and they were willing to personally lose their own capital if it was important.

          • CatCube says:

            @A Definite Beta Guy

            And, I’d add, Lindsey Graham is the reason that whoever the Republican winner was in 2016* was able to pick two Justices, rather than one. He stood up to people saying mean things about him on TV just fine.

            * I phrase it this way to push against the demented notion that the Republicans won in 2016 because of Trump. I thought the day after Trump won the nomination, “The Republicans just nominated the only candidate who could possibly lose to Clinton.” The day after the general election, my thought was “OK, apparently the Democrats nominated the only candidate who could possibly lose to Trump.”

          • The Nybbler says:

            I’ll add appointing Betsy DeVos and repealing the Obama administration’s Title IX and race-based preference policies to those. Another Republican probably would have taken down the race-based preferences but not Title X.

            But at this point we’re talking about irresolvable counterfactuals. Yes, Lindsey Graham stood firm on Kavanaugh. But he wasn’t a candidate in 2016, and he had Trump backing him up.

            I think any other Republican would have lost to Hillary. None of them had the ability to fire up the base, nor to snatch away the white collar working class vote, that Trump had. And I think had some other Republican won, shaming tactics would have resulted in them caving in on Title IX, on the migrant caravan, and on Kavanaugh. And probably on the tax cut too.

    • Jaskologist says:

      If Scott doesn’t admit that he should have endorsed Trump the first time around, doesn’t that indicate that he doesn’t really buy the backlash theory either?

      • Thomas Jørgensen says:

        Deliberately “heightening the contradictions” has a really long and vainglorious history of being the worst idea ever. So, no, there is no good case for the left to back Trump.

  12. gbdub says:

    The hard shift in Democrat positions makes it seem likely that at least some of this is partisan signaling and/or increased highlighting of Trump’s actions in certain areas. There have been a number of stories related to immigration where anti-Trumpers are shocked and appalled at Trump’s policies, but were ignorant of similar Obama actions or policies (e.g. previous and ongoing use of tear gas at the border, Obama’s deportation numbers, previous holding of asylum seekers) – some of that blame probably goes to the media, which is highlighting everything Trump does in ways optimized for maximum outrage. This is basically your option 4, but I suspect that the focus will go away again as soon as a Democrat is in office again. I’m less convinced this is a permanent shift in opinion. Yes yes yes the argument over media bias is an interminable one, but honestly I think it’s really hard to argue at this point that the CNNs and NYTs of the world are much more interested in holding Trump accountable for abuses of executive power than they were for Obama. I’m skeptical that this sudden revitalization of the press as opposition is going to last beyond Trump.

    I think you miss a potential flip-side of your option 3 – maybe the increasingly extreme opposition to Trump is pushing Democrats out of their party. Before you could be a “pro-immigration Democrat” just by opposing the wall and making occasional noises about a “path to citizenship”. Now “pro-immigration Democrat” means sanctuary cities, abolish ICE, and ignore immigration / asylum laws for anyone in the vicinity of a photogenic kid.

    Overall, could just be a reshuffling of the big tents as the key issues go from health care, taxes, and war to immigration, protectionism, and identity politics.

    • Randy M says:

      Centrist democrats moving Republican would show up as a progressive shift in both parties despite being overall a conservative shift for the country. For this reason, the charts would be more informative if the showed both positions of the parties, and the aggregate.

      Note that I’m doubtful that this is actually happening.

      • gbdub says:

        I’m not saying there was an overall conservative shift, I’m saying that people’s views probably held much the same, while immigration centrists could find themselves put off by the extreme rhetoric from the left post election, and stop identifying as Democrat.

        Probably not the largest effect, but it should probably be on Scott’s list.

  13. Sniffnoy says:

    Hey, your “apparently contrary source” link goes to a Google Image search rather than to the actual source. The image itself is here: http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/shared/npr/styles/x_large/nprshared/201805/583493923.png

  14. Incandenza says:

    I think this is mostly thermostatic public opinion, but I’m intrigued by the cases where public opinion seems pretty steady for a long time and only shifts noticeably post-2016 – e.g., on trade and maybe somewhat on immigration (though there seems to be a clear long-term trend in a pro-immigrant direction).

    • gbdub says:

      Trade seems like one where the “backlash” theory makes the most sense, since Dems, GOPers, and independents are all moving together.

      Maybe there were some folks pre-Trump who favored protectionism in theory, but flipped when they started getting worried about a trade war with China.

  15. Pingback: Rational Feed – deluks917

  16. Frederic Mari says:

    “the left thrives by imagining themselves as brave rebels fighting an ignorant, regressive, hateful authority”.

    Do we? A long time ago (pre-1968), maybe. These days, often enough, we ARE the authority.

    It’s libertarians and alt-righters and neo-fascists who, these days, think of themselves as rebels. Regardless of the fact that Rs control all 3 branches of the government and have managed to gangrene most US states’ juridico-legal apparatus.

    • Scudamour says:

      This is an essential insight.

      Not sure how many here saw that video from September 2016 in Miami of Trump walking into a rally to the tune of the revolutionary theme from “Les Miserables.”

      The nominal Left has become the party of the elite — education from practically every public school to Harvard and Yale, the media, the entrenched administrative state including *the internal and external Federal intelligence services*…and most of the big capitalist corporations and their owners.

      Also, many of the biggest organized churches, synagogues, and mosques, those purveyors of opium to the people.

      Trump got support from Americans who, in European socialist literature from a century ago, would be called proletarians, workers and peasants.

      I think I might quibble with you on some of the implications of this insight (or maybe not so much), but it’s essential nonetheless.

    • John Schilling says:

      The fact that libertarians, alt-righters, etc, see themselves as rebels, doesn’t mean that the far left or even mainstream liberals don’t also see themselves as rebels.

      American culture has always been predisposed to see the rebels as the good guys and the good guys as the rebels, since 1776 (and see also 1977). People want to claim that mantle whether it is properly theirs or not.

      • Scudamour says:

        I agree with this.

        But here’s a little thought experiment for anyone reading this comment. On this forum, we’ve sometimes divided contemporary American culture and politics into “red tribe” and “blue tribe.” Answer this question honestly and quickly to yourself:

        Be honest with yourself.

        In which tribe are the elite?

        • acymetric says:

          Well, it is used as a pejorative. For red-tribers, the “elite” seems to mean highly educated and high-profile media/entertainment personalities (which trends blue-tribe). For blue-tribers, the “elite” would tend to be used to describe the wealthy (which trends red).

          So, depends on who you ask.

          • Statismagician says:

            +1. Attempted scissor question fails because both sides hear it in very different ways, and we all already knew which side we were on.

          • Scudamour says:

            …the wealthy (which trends red).

            That’s the stereotype, but I don’t think it’s nearly as true as it used to be, even at fairly modest levels of wealth.

            In any case, it’s certainly not true at the plutocrat level, where most of the wealth is. I’m thinking Bezos, Gates, Zuckerberg, Buffet, et cetera. The Koch brothers are libertarian, but they were anti-Trump. Even Michael Bloomberg is going back to being a Democrat.

          • Doctor Mist says:

            Sure, but while the left would concede that Bezos, Gates, Zuckerberg, and Buffett are wealthy, they would not call them “the elite”. That pejorative is reserved for folks like the Kochs.

          • albatross11 says:

            Scudamor:

            Is there data somewhere about the political beliefs/leanings of the billionaire class?

          • acymetric says:

            @albatross11

            In my (brief) search, everything presented data in the super-rich in terms of donation amounts to parties, not in terms of number of people. That is certainly useful data, but doesn’t help with the question at hand here. If anyone can find actual population data on the political leanings of that group I would definitely be interested.

          • crilk says:

            @Scudamour

            >That’s the stereotype, but I don’t think it’s nearly as true as it used to be, even at fairly modest levels of wealth.

            I think it’s still true, but nowadays you’ve got extreme geographical sawtooth effects on top of that. Less than 10% of voters in Manhattan and San Francisco went for Trump. In DC it was less than 5%. Even if the rich in these places still vote disproportionately Republican, a substantial majority now votes Democratic.

            Consider Oakland, CA (where 4.8% voted for Trump) and its ultra-wealthy enclave of Piedmont (11.4%).

          • Brad says:

            Is an assistant professor of sociology at UPenn still paying off her student loans more or less elite than the college dropout owner of 7 car dealerships in the greater Cincinnati area?

          • idontknow131647093 says:

            Is an assistant professor of sociology at UPenn still paying off her student loans more or less elite than the college dropout owner of 7 car dealerships in the greater Cincinnati area?

            That is, in fact, on critique of “Elites”, that they are credentialed, not elite. The Assistant professor is more likely to sometime in the future be part of a presidential administration, or become a CNN contributor on random topics. The critique thereby says this is a bad choice to make as a society, because credentialism results in important teachings being left out of the public space (such as how to sell enough cars and manage people well enough to own 7 car lots).

            Indeed, probably even more importantly, the car guy probably knows more veterans that served in combat than the professor, and a major split in the US since Vietnam is that people increasingly have either quite a few vets in their social circle, or none. Thus, we have a foreign policy “elite” that interact with no military personnel below the rank of Colonel, and more typically only Lt. Generals +. This makes them much more interested in adventurism, less likely to understand the human costs, more likely to tighten the rules of engagement (thereby greatly increasing the chances of PTSD in soldiers), more likely to try and tinker with things such as basic training, and less likely to accept the accumulated wisdom of the enlisted ranks (currently this is manifesting most obviously with respect to gender integration and transgender issues in units, despite almost no one actually in a combat unit thinking those are good ideas).

          • albatross11 says:

            The assistant professor may one day become quite influential, but may also end up spending the rest of her life being an adjunct between four different universities to stitch together some kind of a living.

          • idontknow131647093 says:

            The assistant professor may one day become quite influential, but may also end up spending the rest of her life being an adjunct between four different universities to stitch together some kind of a living.

            And the car salesman might end up bankrupt as he leverages too hard to expand.

            I don’t see why we would care about either for this particular conversation.

        • veronicastraszh says:

          Lou Keep wrote an interesting take on this question: https://samzdat.com/2017/02/01/on-social-states/

    • LadyJane says:

      The fact that Republicans now control all three branches of government is pretty damning proof that liberals are not the authority. The liberals might have been the majority for two brief years, from 2009-2011, when they had the White House, both houses of Congress, and a supermajority in the Senate. Then we had six years of perpetual stalemate as neither side could get anything done, and since 2016 we’ve had outright domination by the Republicans. I don’t really see how conservatives can see themselves as the anti-establishment party. A decade ago, I could at least see the populists complaining that the Republican Party is too accommodating to the Democrats and doesn’t do a good job of representing their interests (much as modern progressives complain about the Democrats being spineless sell-outs). But they can’t even say that anymore, because the Tea Partiers and Trumpists basically control the party now. They’ve gotten their tariffs, they’ve gotten their immigration control, they’ve gotten the country out of trade deals, they’ve made it harder for women to get abortions, they’ve made life significantly harder for LGBT people in general, they’ve made it easier for businesses to discriminate on religious grounds, no one is coming to take your guns away. What more do you want? What are you rebelling against?

      • 0oQ3jS2o says:

        I would think that they could continue to make the claim that they are the “anti-establishment party,” with quite a lot of justification, until the Overton windows on those issues have permanently shifted in their favor and they feel like their ideology has made meaningful progress over the competing ideology. Regardless of whether they have won these victories now, if their positions keep being regarded as “bizarre” and “horrifying” and “fringe” and “to be undone immediately as soon as their power slips,” and if such a reverse would be inevitable, then they’ve stalled the establishment, not overcome it.

        This is especially true if they have good reason to believe that the Overton windows on many of those issues have been untenably shifted in favor of the aristocratic faction (“blue tribe”), even based on what “victories” they’ve allegedly earned. That is, they have to keep struggling to drag things back to “neutral.”

        A good example of this could be the “gun issue.” Your characterization of the issue is that they should be grateful that you are not going to steal their expensive personal property in a fit of pique… for now. (“No one is coming to take your guns away.”) But, of course, you might do it later. The overall debate, then, is still “they get a highly-mutilated version of the right to personal firearms ownership” versus “you take their stuff and laugh at them.”

        Thing is, though, there is what amounts to (or at least appears to amount to) an objective standard in the “gun debate,” since it largely focuses on the interpretation of a rather simply-worded Constitutional provision, with the only real ambiguity being whether to read a positive right into the “militia clause” or not.

        If you don’t read a positive right into the militia clause (the “left” supportable position), then you’re essentially left with the Heller decision — the “right to bear arms” as understood at the time of drafting applied to bearing arms in self-defense and to serving under arms in an armed force, and so no state or federal government institution can restrict you from bearing arms in self-defense (against criminals, against paramilitaries and secret police that must necessarily be used in order to effect any state tyranny, and what-have you) or from purchasing appropriate arms suitable for that purpose. (Everybody seems to be politely ignoring the latter bit for the transgender ban case, which in turn seems to reinforce that the window hasn’t even shifted to this point yet — though certainly these arguments would function as scissor statements if raised.)

        If you do read a positive right into the militia clause, based on militias being “necessary” (the “right” supportable position) such that the Second Amendment represents an actual devolution of some responsibility for national self-defense into the hands of popular militia, things get a little more interesting. Not only does this create an affirmative duty on behalf of the government to make weapons suitable for military service (i.e. whatever the Pentagon is buying these days, full-auto M4s and the like) readily accessible to the public, but also (in keeping with the other big positive right, the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel) might actually obligate the government to send military personnel to you, on your terms, to train and drill (“regulate”) your personal militia.

        Of course, it’s entirely possible that they might not be fully convinced that they themselves are the “establishment” until the overall debate involves an equally-untenable Red Tribe position — “republicanism requires stratocracy and all citizens must drill in the militia,” for example — even if it is not actually adopted.

      • LadyJane says:

        On fiscal/economic issues, the Overton window has been shifting rightward since the 80s, to the point where the Clintons and Obama were further to the economic right than most Republicans during the Cold War era. If Eisenhower came back and started proposing the same policies he’d implemented back in the 50s, he’d be run out of Washington by the Democrats for being too far to the left; his fellow Republicans would call to have him hanged as a commie.

        On social issues, the Overton window isn’t going to shift back, and will probably continue moving further left. 50% of the population supports trans rights, 65% of the population supports gay marriage, almost 90% of the population supports interracial marriage, over 95% of the population is accepting of premarital sex and contraception. People aren’t just going to change their minds about these things out of the blue, and the younger generations seem to be especially progressive on social issues. (Of course, any kind of social change could happen given a long enough time frame, but I’m talking about within the next few decades.) You can’t force people to change their minds, but if you win enough elections in enough districts, you can force through policies that the majority doesn’t support. You’re right that such victories will probably be temporary, but such are the drawbacks of unpopular sovereignty.

      • cassander says:

        @lady jane

        On fiscal/economic issues, the Overton window has been shifting rightward since the 80s, to the point where the Clintons and Obama were further to the economic right than most Republicans during the Cold War era. If Eisenhower came back and started proposing the same policies he’d implemented back in the 50s, he’d be run out of Washington by the Democrats for being too far to the left; his fellow Republicans would call to have him hanged as a commie.

        Eisenhower presided over a government with no medicare, no medicaid, no OSHA, no EPA, virtually no welfare, no food stamps, and a vastly less generous social security. It was a government that spent 10% of GDP and half of the federal budget on the military. It was, compared to the modern government or the 90s, cartoonishly right wing. Not even Ron Paul called for returning social spending to 50s levels when he ran in 2012.

        The right is NOT winning on economic issues.

        • LadyJane says:

          @cassander: Yes, LBJ hadn’t instituted any of the Great Society programs yet. But the Eisenhower era was also a time of 90% income tax rates on the highest earners and 70% estate tax rates, when the political influence of unions and labor organizations was at its apex. Eisenhower himself presided over one of the biggest federal budget increases in U.S. history, nearly doubling the budget to invest in jobs, education, infrastructure, and scientific research, while cutting the military budget – could you imagine a modern Republican doing all of that? Could you imagine the outrage from the economic right if tax rates were raised that high again?

          The Overton window in the U.S. was heavily slanted toward the economic center-left between the FDR era and the Carter Presidency. It was during the Reagan administration in the 80s that unrestrained neoliberalism became the prevailing status quo. Obviously that’s a simplified narrative, and it’s debatable how much Reagan himself was responsible (probably not that much), but the broad strokes of it are still very much true.

          @DavidFriedman: People can see themselves as all kinds of things, doesn’t make it true. Which of the following narratives do you consider more accurate, given the current political circumstances?
          1. Conservatives are rebels struggling against a liberal/leftist socialist establishment that’s dominated the government and the media.
          2. Left-liberals are rebels struggling against a right-wing corporate establishment that’s dominated the government and the economy.

          • cassander says:

            @LadyJane

            Yes, LBJ hadn’t instituted any of the Great Society programs yet.

            Yes, that’s my point.

            But the Eisenhower era was also a time of 90% income tax rates on the highest earners and 70% estate tax rates, when the political influence of unions and labor organizations was at its apex.

            top marginal rates tell you almost nothing about the progressivity of a tax system. For one, that top rate applied to an incredibly tiny fraction of earners, and an equally small share of their overall income, while the top rate today applies to a much larger range. Also, that tax code had much higher rates, but also many more exemptions. effective rates were, if anything, lower. The top 1% made 9% of income and paid 13% of taxes. Today the figures are 20% and 38%, actually more progressive.

            >Eisenhower himself presided over one of the biggest federal budget increases in U.S. history, nearly doubling the budget to invest in jobs, education, infrastructure, and scientific research, while cutting the military budget – could you imagine a modern Republican doing all of that?

            No, he didn’t. Spending under Ike rose from 76 to 97 billion, about 30%. And if you look at inflation adjusted dollars, spending actually went DOWN during his presidency. As for the military budget, it was 52 billion in 1953, and was 48 billion in 1960. that’s a 7%, which is not huge considering that a massive war ended in 1953, and that’s not counting the huge military impact of a lot of his nominally non-military R&D spending.

            As for modern republicans, bush presided over overall budget increase of about 2 trillion dollars to 3, not counting stimulus spending in 2009. He also doubled the budget of the department of education and passed a large expansion to medicare. And those increases are piled ON TOP of the increases that Eisenhower, and every other preceding president had already made. So yeah, I can see modern republicans doing that.

            It was during the Reagan administration in the 80s that unrestrained neoliberalism became the prevailing status quo. Obviously that’s a simplified narrative, and it’s debatable how much Reagan himself was responsible (probably not that much), but the broad strokes of it are still very much true.

            The neo-liberal wave had less impact in the US than in any other developed country. In part, this is because the US was already more neo-liberal than most, and in part because the US system is more resistant to change. Reagan did not fundamentally transform american politics, he transformed political rhetoric for about 20 years, and did some good work in a few areas, like interstate transit on taxes, but the vast majority of the US state remained unchanged.

          • PeterDonis says:

            Which of the following narratives do you consider more accurate, given the current political circumstances?
            1. Conservatives are rebels struggling against a liberal/leftist socialist establishment that’s dominated the government and the media.
            2. Left-liberals are rebels struggling against a right-wing corporate establishment that’s dominated the government and the economy.

            I don’t know DavidFriedman’s opinion, but I don’t think either of them are accurate, because I don’t think either conservatives or left-liberals are rebels. They are both trying to gain advantage within the system, not trying to rebel against it. I think the system as a whole is skewed more left than right, but I think the primary motivation of the “establishment” is to preserve its power and privileges.

            The most dangerous trend I see on both sides, though, is an increasing tendency to be willing to distort facts, if not outright lie, in order to advance one’s position. Trump is the most egregious example of this right now, but certainly not the only one, and it’s been going on for much longer than he’s been President.

      • The fact that Republicans now control all three branches of government is pretty damning proof that liberals are not the authority.

        To begin with, “control” is an overstatement. Republicans control the legislative branch, but only for another few weeks. They control the top level of the executive branch, but it takes more than two years to translate that into control of the branch as a whole. They control more of the judicial branch than they did a few years back, but by no means all of it.

        Beyond that, it’s possible for the struggling rebels to have a few victories but still see themselves as fighting against the odds.

  17. Marklouis says:

    Seems almost silly to try to poll such a complex issue under the guise of a single word: “immigration.” I literally have no opinion on “immigration.” I would take 100% of the legal, educated, hard-working, non-criminal people who want to come here. I would take almost none of the rest (except perhaps legitimate asylum seekers…i stress legitimate). Where does that leave me on “immigration?”

    • jw says:

      Well I think the post tiptoes around the point that most lefties consider that OMG Trumpist!!!!

      Basically you’re evil for that nuanced take on immigration, racist!!

    • I would take almost none of the rest

      What do you have against hard-working, non-criminal, uneducated people? That would describe most of the early 20th century immigrants, who seem on the whole to have worked out pretty well.

  18. Well... says:

    What makes you so sure Trump actually wants the things it seems like he wants prima facie?

    His whole life he’s been pretty left-wing, on social stuff at least. To me it seemed pretty obvious he was putting on the “I’m against immigrants and I’m vaguely courting white right-wingers” act merely in cynical pursuance the Sailer Strategy, which worked and got him elected.

    Suppose you wanted to raise America’s support for illegal immigrants, women, etc. Isn’t doing what Trump did probably one of the best ways to do that?

    • Statismagician says:

      I believe this falls pretty firmly under ‘extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence.’ It’s an interesting thought, anyway.

      • Well... says:

        Wasn’t Trump’s own sudden claim, in 2015, 69 years into his life, to be a champion of various right-wing causes at least as extraordinary?

        • Statismagician says:

          Only if you think there’s ever been a deep commitment to any particular political ideology at work. I think the parsimonious explanation is ‘hypocritical self-aggrandizing businessman does something hypocritical for self-aggrandizement.’ On the other hand, I’ve never met the man, so perhaps there are hidden depths.

    • DragonMilk says:

      I literally thought he was a Democratic agent sent by Hillary to destroy the Republican party…

      …until he won.

      • Well... says:

        Why does winning mean he didn’t destroy (or isn’t still successfully destroying) the Republican party?

        • DragonMilk says:

          It just means that he wasn’t personally sent by the Clintons since they personally were negatively affected.

          • Well... says:

            Oh, hah. Right. Well, you could argue that but it’d mainly be for fun. Also even if you want to say they sent Trump, it’s hard to say their plan went off without a hitch (which would have been Trump winning the election but the Clintons’ favorability going up as a result), because I’m pretty sure it didn’t. The emails, the B.o.D.s, etc…

    • Joseftstadter says:

      Trump has never been “left-wing”. He has consistently held positions that until this election were considered “cranky old man” kind of politics that had no strong constituencies on either the right or left. For example, Trump seems to have always believed in tariffs and protectionism, going back to his attacking the Japanese in the 1980s. He has consistently been alarmist (and arguably racist) about crime, at least judging by his public stance on the “Central Park 5”. Trump’s position on social issues like abortion or homosexuality are probably driven by expediency. He seems to have no strongly held moral or ethical beliefs, so probably has a hard time caring about those issues. In Trump’s world you are either winning or losing. Allowing illegal immigrants in is “losing” because it is a sign of weakness. I don’t think Trump thinks any more deeply than that.

      • Well... says:

        I agree in general but I think if you look more closely you see it’s not quite that simple. If he merely thought allowing illegal immigrants in was losing, he’d have cared more about whether illegals were employed in his hotels. And maybe he’d have married an American beauty queen instead of a foreign one. So clearly he has different standards for “winning” and “losing” depending on the scale/context, not to mention who he thinks is looking.

        Which ties back to the fact that there isn’t really a coherent ideology you can say he had, and certainly not a right-wing one. I say he was rather left-wing because some of the important things he supported in the past happened to be left-wing things, and he failed to really align himself with the right until recently (and I think Conquest’s Laws can fairly be applied to people, right?).

    • mtl1882 says:

      I had hoped this might be the case – that strategy is not unheard of. I don’t know if I’d say that he fabricated his immigration stance, but I do think he could have used it to win and then backed off it.

      I know people don’t take his books seriously, but I don’t believe they could be replicated by a ghostwriter not in close discussion with him. He uses this strategy over and over again, but he sets it up and spins it in a way so that it isn’t really hypocrisy or lying–he just ends up in a different position. He kind of lets the enemy hang him or herself or get stuck in a trap. Then he reframes the issue. He could pursue immigration reform in a constructive way. So far he has mostly disappointed me. It’s clear he was far more associate with liberal beliefs for decades; that being said, the way the lines are drawn are not reflective of reality, and certain right or populist ideals have also been embraced by him for a long time. He can use both to come to a constructive solution, which is different than a partisan victory. I was hoping that his independence would allow this, as I believe many Americans are questioning their party affiliations, and are looking for a more constructive option that doesn’t hold them to what a specific party thinks the issues and positions are.

      It’s not looking good so far, although I really thought he’d take that approach, at least at first. I don’t mean he’d cave and become moderate and looking for friendly, safe deals. But he loves turning tables, surprising people, driving hard deals, playing people against each other – predictable partisan politics aren’t a fun or interesting enough game for him. He was never a particularly narrow, unmovable guy – he liked new fields, new arguments, pushing limits. He was ruthless, but not rigid. The intense opposition and investigations may have derailed this, but there’s also a good probability that I was naive and he didn’t intend have any intention to be constructive. I do think in some ways the failed healthcare reform was constructive–he didn’t talk in circles about it to allow them to kick the can down the road and evade responsibility. Then it became clear they didn’t have the goods. This was a good thing, not a mere partisan failure. Without some mythical alternative to the ACA constantly dangled before us, we can focus on other things – actually coming up with a workable alternative, or realizing that the ACA is currently good enough. Disparaging it constantly without anything else to offer was, to put it mildly, irresponsible. If Trump’s hard-charging style forces us to confront some of these issues, it will be a good thing. We have to choose, and not get distracted by nonexistent easy alternatives.

      I know this sounds crazy, but I’ll confess it has been my hope since late 2015. While he may have strong feelings on immigration, his history, I do think he likes to see underdogs succeed, and appreciates eccentrics, and we need some of that as well. He likes to suddenly praise people thought to be his enemies. I would like to see him pursue that more, and he has done it, it just doesn’t get much coverage. It helps us break the partisan mindset. He is not predictable in the way people insist. His exchange with Bill O’Reilly shortly before the election was interesting.

  19. idontknow131647093 says:

    Is it irony when you try to hide “culture war” issues by relegating them to hidden threads and then make a 100% culture war incitement post?

    Asking for a friend.

    • Randy M says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but comments on Scott’s threads aren’t intended to be “no culture war” but rather stick to the topic at hand while adhering to the comment policy. For example, see nearly every comment on this thread.

      The front page open thread is intended to be free of culture war topics.

      • idontknow131647093 says:

        Right, but the “topic” of this thread is basically just a wide ranging set of graphs and discussions that encompass all of international polity.

    • quanta413 says:

      Yes.

  20. DragonMilk says:

    Anecdotally, I personally know of no Trump supporters who have turned away. If anything, they’re digging in their heels.

    Republicans who never really liked him anyway may slightly shift, but I imagine most of the trend as the charts show above is from non-Trump supporters.

    So he’s not winning converts, but there’s still a minority opinion who supports him strongly.

    • jw says:

      Trump supporters are either digging in their heels, or hiding.

      Those hiding are getting more an more pissed that if they are found out, it has become a near certainty that their lives will be destroyed.

      This creates an extreme amount of resentment. The left is sowing the wind here. The backlash that may be coming isn’t a leftist one. The leftist “backlash” has pushed well beyond what is acceptable, and people are getting really pissed off, but have not yet crossed the threshold to bite back against the violent lefties.

  21. nkurz says:

    Maybe identifying as anti-immigrant before Trump just meant you thought there should be a little better border control, but now you think it means you want a wall and mass deportations, plus you think all Mexicans are rapists.

    We talk here about avoiding strawmen, and this feels like one.

    Are there really a significant number of people who consider themselves “anti-immigrant”? I’d guess there are lots of people who are against illegal immigration, a fair number who think the rules for legal immigration should be stricter, a few who might go so far as to call themselves anti-immigration, but I’d be surprised if those who “identify as anti-immigrant” are a large enough group to be influential.

    Following this up with “all Mexicans are rapists” makes me think this is intended as a caricature, but other than the illogicality, I don’t find much support for that reading in the text. Am I wrong? Is there anyone present here who self-identifies as “anti-immigrant” without qualifiers? If so, could you explain your position? If not, can this phrase be avoided in the future?

    • I don’t think Scott is saying people actually believe “Mexicans are rapists”. I think Scott is saying the way people interpret the phrase “anti-immigrant” has changed while their beliefs haven’t.

      So, for instance, maybe Alice supports a little better border control and formerly identified as “anti-immigrant”. Now, her interpretation of what “anti-immigrant” has shifted to “thinks all Mexicans are rapists”, so she no longer classifies herself that way.

  22. Nabil ad Dajjal says:

    One factor that, surprisingly, I haven’t already seen in the comments:

    Trump’s election has made it significantly riskier to your employment to publicly hold Trump-adjacent political opinions.

    If I had, in 2015, spoken out against illegal immigration I wouldn’t have made many friends in academia but that would be the end of it. If I, in 2018 speak out against illegal immigration there’s a small but non-zero chance that I would be drummed out of my graduate school. The administration, the faculty and the students are all in full #resist mode and there’s no way I’d take the chance even on an “anonymous” poll.

    In the last few years, we’ve seen people lose industry jobs, faculty positions, college admissions offers, even getting kicked off payment processors and web-hosting services for conservative statements that would have been considered innocuous just a few years ago. That’s not even mentioning the highly visible political violence directed against conservatives, with the mainstream media cheerleading for said violence.

    • Le Maistre Chat says:

      In the last few years, we’ve seen people lose industry jobs, faculty positions, college admissions offers, even getting kicked off payment processors and web-hosting services for conservative statements that would have been considered innocuous just a few years ago.

      Finance and tech corporations are SJW, not just academia. This put the January 2016 Republican Party that just wants to give big business blowjobs but wants conservatives to vote for them in an awkward position.

    • Conrad Honcho says:

      While I agree with this, I expected a more pronounced demonstration of this effect in the midterm elections. I expected Republicans to outperform polls, and they did, but not by near as much as I expected. I’d say the “shy Trumper” effect is ~2%, and not the 5-10 point shifts in the graphs.

      • Dan L says:

        I expected Republicans to outperform polls, and they did, but not by near as much as I expected. I’d say the “shy Trumper” effect is ~2%, and not the 5-10 point shifts in the graphs.

        I challenged you on this before the election, and you specified that you were looking at a post-2017 change. Perhaps that made it unfalsifiable then, but what data are you looking at now to substantiate it? The more elaborate cross-correlational work might still be in progress, but it doesn’t look good for that theory (especially if you’re looking for a contrast to 2016 results).

        Alternatively, are you now referring to a “shy Trumper” effect that extended back to 2016? In that case, the rebuttals given then still apply.

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          I’m looking at things like the Democrats predicted to win Florida and Georgia by 2-3 points when instead they lost by less than 1. I expected the Republicans to win by 2-3 instead, for about a 5% underpolling of Republicans and instead it’s only 2%. Yes, there are a lot of Republicans/Trumpists who relish hanging up on or lying to pollsters, but it’s not nearly as big an effect as I thought.

          • Dan L says:

            A few points:

            1) Trying to extrapolating from a small number of unusual state-level results to a national trend is a Bad Idea. Letting those states be chosen by narrative factors* is a VERY BAD IDEA. Then using that to make a case about changing trends without referencing the previous cycle is an obvious non-starter.

            * D +1 -> R+1 is less meaningful than R +3 -> R +6, but use shitty heuristics and you’ll get that reversed every time – one of many such failure modes.

            2) That said, where on Earth are you getting that Georgia prediction? Assuming you’re talking about the topline race, RCP had R +3.0, 538 had R +2.2. Actual result being R +1.4 seems to argue against your theory. Clearly within anyone’s margin of error, but if you’re going to call it out…

            3) Florida specifically is the state that’s going to need the most time to decipher (I called it out as such immediately after the election), but there are plenty of already well-supported factors simultaneously in play there without inventing more (decreasing incumbency qua incumbency benefit, increasing partisanship, underperfomance of the progressive wing, take your pick).

            All told: your evidence is insufficient for your claim even before the veracity of that evidence fails. You’d be hard-pressed to even claim Bayesian evidence.

      • Brad says:

        CH: I’m not sure if you’ll see this since I’m very late to this thread, but kudos on updating. Respect++

    • That’s not even mentioning the highly visible political violence directed against conservatives, with the mainstream media cheerleading for said violence.

      Examples? My impression is that the mainstream media are generally negative on Antifa riots and the like, even if perhaps less negative than they should be.

  23. MB says:

    The left will still be fighting right-wing strawmen long after the last such opponent has been sent to the concentration camps. It’s easy to find right-wing deviationists to keep the threat alive.
    https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/11-year-old-boy-had-to-change-trump-last-name-after-being-relentlessly-bullied-at-school/
    Even an 11-year-old boy can be made into a threat. The teachers’ half-hearted intervention can also be interpreted along these lines: “the left thrives by imagining themselves as brave rebels fighting an ignorant, regressive, hateful authority”.
    These bullies are left-wing heroes now, just like their grown-up counterparts in Berkeley, SF, Oakland, LA, Portland, and Seattle.
    Indeed, the left takes a particular satisfaction in targeting the weak among their opponents and especially the children and the young:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_XVII_of_France#1794:_Illness
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlik_Morozov
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patty_Hearst
    Every generation of leftists “discovers” this tactic, since they are historically ignorant.
    According to SA’s logic, there’s nothing one can do, because it will only invite justified left-wing retaliation. The best is to hunker down and let the revolution run its course. One just has to pretend to agree to everything and not make waves, lest one should become a target.
    But the problem with this approach is that there is no point at which the left says “Enough is enough. Maybe we should reconsider some of our more extreme positions, now that we have run out of opponents. We were only doing what we were doing out of resentment against Nixon (or Reagan, or Trump, or the tzar, or Louis XVI)”.
    On the contrary, what they say is “Now our time has come”.

    • oppressedminority says:

      But the problem with this approach is that there is no point at which the left says “Enough is enough. Maybe we should reconsider some of our more extreme positions, now that we have run out of opponents.

      This happens when the left inevitably summons a Stalin-like figure. If you’re younger than 50 you will see the US version of Stalin within your lifetime.

      • MB says:

        Yes, I’m pretty sure I’ll see the US versions of Rosa Luxemburg, Thaelmann, Mussolini, and Franco (no, neither Hitler nor Lenin) within my lifetime and I’m not looking forward to either.
        One can easily see the differences between the circumstances that produced Hitler and Lenin and current US circumstances. But the future of the US will still likely be unpleasant enough.

    • Paul Zrimsek says:

      You can piss and moan about strawmen, or you can indulge in persecution fantasies about your outgroup sending you to the ovens. I don’t think you can do both.

      • MB says:

        What strawmen? Both the Red Terror and the White counter-terror were real enough.
        Or are you saying it could never happen here? Americans are too decent for that, is that it?
        Germans were widely considered the most civilized (or among the most civilized) people in Europe before WWI. Look at what came out of it.

        • Statismagician says:

          Look, if you think there’s an analogous situation to WWI, Versailles, and WWII coming up, I’d love to know about it in advance, but extraordinary claims -> extraordinary evidence.

          • MB says:

            Franco happened without Spain being involved in WWI at all, Italy (Mussolini’s country) was on the winning side. Salvador Allende and Fidel Castro happened at times when Chile and Cuba’s economies were doing just fine and without any (hot) war taking place.
            Hitler and Lenin are not among the possibilities I foresee.

          • Statismagician says:

            You can’t just allude vaguely to $bad_guys from $country; if you’ve got serious enough concerns to make things like

            The left will still be fighting right-wing strawmen long after the last such opponent has been sent to the concentration camps.

            not themselves strawmen, lay them out. We’re supposed to do better than this here.

          • cassander says:

            @MB

            Franco wasn’t a 73 year old reality TV star in a country with more than two centuries of stable democratic tradition.

          • MB says:

            “You can’t just allude vaguely to $bad_guys from $country”.
            OK, here is the connection: the so-called “moderate” left can never stand up to the extreme left, nor does it really want to, because they are always more extreme than they try to let on.
            Even after a thorough drubbing, like Reagan and Thatcher gave them, which made it possible for “moderates” to rise into power, they were in it only for the power and the money and lacked any courage of their convictions. See the recent left-wing articles stating that there was never any “Sister Souljah” moment, it was only a pretense.
            Thus, if the left is not checked by the right, as Trump is currently attempting to do, there literally is no limit to their ambition. See: the last two years of President Obama’s term, the current goings-on on US university campuses.
            The veneer of moderation goes away when they get into power. This will likely end up like Kerensky or Fanya Kaplan.
            Hence the examples I gave become relevant, with the caveat that extreme cases like Lenin are unlikely to happen.
            My point is: one has to fight the left. It’s never going to stop itself. The worst-case scenario is quite bad indeed.

          • Statismagician says:

            … And that’s what you came up with when asked to be specific and non-strawman-y?

          • Anonymous Bosch says:

            OK, here is the connection: the so-called “moderate” left can never stand up to the extreme left, nor does it really want to, because they are always more extreme than they try to let on.
            Even after a thorough drubbing, like Reagan and Thatcher gave them, which made it possible for “moderates” to rise into power, they were in it only for the power and the money and lacked any courage of their convictions. See the recent left-wing articles stating that there was never any “Sister Souljah” moment, it was only a pretense.

            We can debate the extent to which Tony Blair is a genuine centrist or an unprincipled mercenary, but I don’t think either is particularly compatible with extreme leftism. If he’s a mercenary, well, corporations can usually outbid the proletariat. If he’s genuine, the fact of his coming to power is proof of the thing you claim is impossible. Corbyn didn’t spend 25 years on the backbenches because he wasn’t left-wing *enough*.

          • MB says:

            To me, this is a sufficient reason to support Trump’s stance. Once you have seen it happen in enough countries, you know America is not necessarily an exception.

          • MB says:

            Right, Tony Blair is not an extreme leftist, but he lacked the courage of his (presumably centrist) convictions and his supporters . In my view, he’s akin to the Kerensky who prepared the ground for Lenin.

          • MB says:

            Right, Tony Blair is not an extreme leftist, but he lacked the courage of his (presumably centrist) convictions and his supporters deserted him once a more extreme left-wing alternative came along. In my view, he’s akin to the Kerensky who prepared the ground for Lenin, in more than one way.
            Yes, I can sympathize with both Kerensky and Tony Blair, while at the same time being aware that they are not a real solution, due to their weaknesses.

          • Anonymous Bosch says:

            Right, Tony Blair is not an extreme leftist, but he lacked the courage of his (presumably centrist) convictions and his supporters . In my view, he’s akin to the Kerensky who prepared the ground for Lenin.

            Let’s assume Tony Blair is a principled centrist rather than a mercenary, then. In what sense did he lack that courage? He certainly didn’t adopt a Kerensky-esque “no enemies to the left” policy. He infuriated leftists by repealing Clause IV, adopting tuition fees, introducing work requirements for welfare benefits, and refusing to reverse several of Thatcher’s privatizations and union reforms. Some leftists such as George Galloway were outright expelled for opposing the war.

          • MB says:

            Just like the Clintons, Tony Blair was an unprincipled, mercenary centre-leftist, who sold out for financial gain. His fortune is in the hundreds of millions. Since he did not earn that much as a public servant, some compromises may have been involved along the way.
            However, you are right that, as opposed to the Clintons, he has stuck to his political principles so far. Let’s see what he does when he runs for reelection, though, as HRC did 🙂

          • MB says:

            Aside from facile word games, what I actually meant was that neither Kerensky nor Blair (nor Hollande nor Macron) derived any strength from their convictions, nor were they seen as strong leaders.
            Kerensky’s convictions left him vulnerable to Lenin. In the long run, he made no difference. His supporters melted away and were mostly absorbed by the extreme left, though some were purged later.
            Likewise, I don’t see any reason, in Britain, in France, or in the US, to be a Social-Democrat politician, except if: the atmosphere is very right-wing and one is afraid of consequences for being overtly left-wing, or one is interested in a sinecure in public administration and bribes from lobbyists.
            Either way, the consolation for such a betrayal of principles is pushing left-wing interests as discreetly and as often as possible.
            There is no “there” there, in the centre-left (not sure about the centre-right either). It’s mostly opportunists and weak people with weak convictions. They have no natural defense against the extremes. Left-wing intellectuals like a winner just like everyone else. When Lenin came to power, they all rushed to his side and forgot about Kerensky.
            There is no actual basis for opposing the extreme left within the left, only for timid collaboration and subordination. The organized opposition to the extreme left, once it was time to be counted, had unpalatable (or worse) leaders such as Denikin, Krasnov, Franco, Pinochet, or Chang Kai-Shek.
            Trump, as cartoonish and immoral as he seems, is worth supporting to avoid this possibility. He is no worse than Roosevelt. I could easily get behind that, for the time being.

          • LadyJane says:

            @MB:

            Likewise, I don’t see any reason, in Britain, in France, or in the US, to be a Social-Democrat politician, except if: the atmosphere is very right-wing and one is afraid of consequences for being overtly left-wing, or one is interested in a sinecure in public administration and bribes from lobbyists.
            There is no “there” there, in the centre-left (not sure about the centre-right either). It’s mostly opportunists and weak people with weak convictions. They have no natural defense against the extremes.

            What if you genuinely believe that centrist policies are likely to produce the best outcomes for the greatest number of people?

            For instance, your stance might be: free-market capitalism is great and has produced enormous economic and technological gains for everyone, but it’s not right for some people to be starving in the streets while others have iPhones, and those conditions will lead to crime and possibly violent revolution in the long run, so let’s implement some new taxes and a social safety net; that way, inequality will at least have a minimum threshold that’s somewhere above extreme poverty, and people won’t be dying of starvation and exposure.

            Or your stance might be: democracy and rule of law are great, they’ve resulted in greater amounts of peace, stability, and personal freedom than any other system, but people on the far-right and the far-left tend to oppose democracy and rule of law in favor of authoritarianism and/or radical populism, so we should oppose far-right and far-left movements like fascism and communism.

            I happen to hold both of those stances, so I don’t know why you think it’s impossible for people to genuinely believe in centrism.

          • MB says:

            Both of these are reasonable, but weak stances. They do not prescribe any specific course of action. A person holding these stances could easily be influenced into supporting extreme measures. It’s hard to make an argument, based on these stances, e.g. why it is bad to harass a person with inconvenient political views, or shoot a bunch of politicians who just happen to be in the way.
            So, again, I don’t think that Social Democrat principles are very strong or preclude a sympathy for extremism. In fact, history shows otherwise.
            Moderate stances are moderate. It’s more likely that a moderate is moderate due to an overall lack of concern, because one hasn’t thought things through, rather than due to carefully weighing the issues and coming down straight in the middle.
            How many people died for Communism or Fascism? How many people died for (some other) religion? How many people died for Social Democracy?
            Relatively few, compared to the first two.
            And there is nothing wrong with that. Not everyone should have to take a strong stance or make choices. But I’m under no delusion about the efficacy of simply refusing to do it.
            Besides, there is a difference between private citizens and politicians. Most moderate people are moderate because they simply want to get along. I find it hard to believe that holding such moderate stances is a sufficient motivation to get involved in politics, let alone lose sleep and spend every waking hour working for the success of a political campaign. Nowadays I usually suspect some ulterior motive. Thus, I doubt politicians who claim to be Social Democrats due to principle, especially if they have risen above the city councillor level.

          • MB says:

            “Franco wasn’t a 73 year old reality TV star in a country with more than two centuries of stable democratic tradition.”
            So who says that Trump will be America’s Franco? This is an absurd comparison. He’s not even in the military.
            As I wrote elsewhere, I rather think that Trump is America’s chance, a poor imitation Roosevelt. Or, in the worst case, Napoleon III.

          • LadyJane says:

            Both of these are reasonable, but weak stances. They do not prescribe any specific course of action.

            “Keep the market mostly free but implement a social safety net” is a pretty specific course of action.

            A person holding these stances could easily be influenced into supporting extreme measures. It’s hard to make an argument, based on these stances, e.g. why it is bad to harass a person with inconvenient political views, or shoot a bunch of politicians who just happen to be in the way.

            Supporting democracy and rule of law seems incompatible with just going around murdering everyone who disagrees with your views.

            Moderate stances are moderate. It’s more likely that a moderate is moderate due to an overall lack of concern, because one hasn’t thought things through, rather than due to carefully weighing the issues and coming down straight in the middle.

            ‘Moderate’ is a relative term, a lot of different stances can be described as moderate. But I don’t see it as particularly unlikely that people might think over the issues and decide that centrism is the best option – especially if centrism actually is the best option, and all the historical evidence shows that it works better than the alternatives.

            How many people died for Communism or Fascism? How many people died for (some other) religion? How many people died for Social Democracy?

            Quite a few, judging by the statistics.
            American military deaths during WWII: 407,300
            British military deaths during WWII: 383,700
            Canadian military deaths during WWII: 42,000
            Australian military deaths during WWII: 39,700

            Not everyone should have to take a strong stance or make choices. But I’m under no delusion about the efficacy of simply refusing to do it.
            Besides, there is a difference between private citizens and politicians. Most moderate people are moderate because they simply want to get along. I find it hard to believe that holding such moderate stances is a sufficient motivation to get involved in politics, let alone lose sleep and spend every waking hour working for the success of a political campaign.

            Again, you’re conflating “taking a centrist stance” with “refusing to take a stance” and “taking a deliberately vague and malleable stance to be agreeable to all sides.” Those aren’t the same thing.

          • MB says:

            “Keep the market mostly free but implement a social safety net” can serve as a description of policies pursued by everyone from Reagan to Hugo Chavez. The details matter.
            This principle does not prescribe how one should have voted in the recent elections. This principle does not prescribe one’s stance on gay marriage. In fact, both Clintons and Obama were against it before they were for it. This principle does not prescribe one’s stance on illegal immigration. This principle does not prescribe when a country should or should not go to war. This principle does not even prescribe who should have the right to vote.
            This is what I mean by weak principles.
            Yes, during WWII many people died for Social Democracy. You are right and I apologize for unthinkingly dismissing their sacrifice. But now they have Social Democracy. Would they die to protect it? Would they die to oppose a Communist takeover? Or would they rather join enthusiastically, as they actually did when given the choice?
            “Supporting democracy and rule of law seems incompatible with just going around murdering everyone who disagrees with your views.”
            Yes, indeed. But it does not prevent one from being sympathetic to people who go around murdering everyone who disagrees with your views. And what about just sending them to re-education camps? What about merely harassing them?
            Is there anything about “the greatest good for the most people” that precludes one from harming people one disagrees with? Isn’t Social Democracy in favor of social progress and against antiquated traditions?
            Is there anything about Social Democracy that should prevent one from admiring what Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, or Communist China did, in spite of disagreeing with some of the more extreme methods they used?
            And, to be clear, I am not offering a better set of principles. But putting one’s trust in Social-Democrat principles seems misguided.

          • LadyJane says:

            This principle does not prescribe how one should have voted in the recent elections. This principle does not prescribe one’s stance on gay marriage. In fact, both Clintons and Obama were against it before they were for it. This principle does not prescribe one’s stance on illegal immigration. This principle does not prescribe when a country should or should not go to war. This principle does not even prescribe who should have the right to vote.
            This is what I mean by weak principles.

            I have strong stances on all of those issues. The two points I mentioned were examples, not the totality of my political beliefs.

            Yes, during WWII many people died for Social Democracy. You are right and I apologize for unthinkingly dismissing their sacrifice. But now they have Social Democracy. Would they die to protect it? Would they die to oppose a Communist takeover? Or would they rather join enthusiastically, as they actually did when given the choice?

            Judging by the Cold War that immediately followed WWII, I’d say that most of them were indeed willing to take a hard stance against authoritarian communism and fight for democracy. I’m not sure what you mean by “as they actually did,” since there was never any real communist uprising in the West. And if there had been one, I find it unlikely that the majority of Americans or Western Europeans would’ve supported it.

            Yes, indeed. But it does not prevent one from being sympathetic to people who go around murdering everyone who disagrees with your views. And what about just sending them to re-education camps? What about merely harassing them?
            Is there anything about “the greatest good for the most people” that precludes one from harming people one disagrees with? Isn’t Social Democracy in favor of social progress and against antiquated traditions?
            Is there anything about Social Democracy that should prevent one from admiring what Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, or Communist China did, in spite of disagreeing with some of the more extreme methods they used?

            Is there any answer I could give here that would actually satisfy you or change your mind, or are these basically rhetorical questions? If your point is simply that you can’t trust laws and institutions alone, that’s been true for all of human history, hence the fact that crime and war and revolutions happen. If enough people say “fuck what the official rules say, we’re doing things differently now,” then no, it doesn’t really matter how the system works, but that’s a flaw with literally every system known to man, not just democracy.

          • MB says:

            You are right. After reading more about it, I conclude that many Social Democrats were decent individuals and behaved admirably during the Cold War.

          • Tony Blair was an unprincipled, mercenary centre-leftist, who sold out for financial gain. His fortune is in the hundreds of millions.

            The second statement does not appear to be true. Googling around, estimates of his wealth range from thirty million dollars up to sixty-five million pounds, with the latter I think including property owned by other family members.

    • Hoopyfreud says:

      These bullies are left-wing heroes now, just like their grown-up counterparts in Berkeley, SF, Oakland, LA, Portland, and Seattle.

      Do you really believe this?

      Serious question.

      • MB says:

        Yes, I firmly believe this. These people are now heroes among their (cool) left-wing classmates and teachers for bullying Trump and for standing up to the (uncool) teachers.
        And here is evidence in support of my thesis (from Wikipedia):
        “And Patty Hearst, you standing there in front of the Symbionese Liberation Army flag with your legs spread. I was wondering: were you gettin’ it every night from a black revolutionary man and his women?”
        “Before the fadeout, Smith sings in the voice of Hearst angrily repudiating both her privileged upbringing as well as the mainstream society which has condemned her as a spoiled, vacuous “pretty little rich girl” who became a terrorist.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Kilgore
        So yes, I believe there exists a widespread desire among leftists of doing terrible stuff to the children of their right-wing enemies and/or converting them to their cause in the process. The people who do it are praised as heroes and romanticized by mainstream leftists, like Patty Smith.
        It mostly works. That child called Trump who was bullied will probably either commit suicide or grow up with left-wing sympathies, just like Patty Hearst converted.
        This stuff was already well-known to Orwell, who noticed how the Party uses children for its own purposes: recuperating the children of their ideological enemies, brainwashing them, and specifically using them against their parents.
        Some leftists have already announced an intent of doing the same to Trump’s children.
        Now do you have any opposing evidence, that these sorts of leftist tactics, which have reoccurred over a span of more 200 years, are not going to be used this time?

        • Hoopyfreud says:

          Now do you have any opposing evidence, that these sorts of leftist tactics, which have reoccurred over a span of more 200 years, are not going to be used this time?

          What would convince you?

          I could go with the kind of rhetoric that you’ve used to advance your position, which, as far as I can tell, relates almost entirely to Kilgore and nobody else, but I have a feeling you wouldn’t find it convincing. Do you want an example of people telling bullies that they’re bad for hurting white people? I doubt it – it happens every day. So, what do you want?

          • MB says:

            Well, for once, I’d like you to acknowledge that a pattern that has recurred over more than 200 years exists. Why go to the trouble of listing so much actual evidence, otherwise? Just for you to tell me that this thing I’m noticing (and Orwell noticed) is not a thing, or even if it exists it no longer happens nowadays, so there is no reason to have an opinion on it, one way or another?
            If you have examples of important leftists loudly condemning the kidnapping and brainwashing of Patty Hearst, the killing of Louis XVII, the legend of Pavlik Morozov, or the public threats against Trump’s children, please tell me. I am willing to listen to opposing evidence.

          • Statismagician says:

            None of those are reasonable questions, and you either know it or should know it. It didn’t become standard practice for politicans to issue public statements saying that self-evidently awful things are, in fact, awful until the 90s; the ‘left’ didn’t exist in any (modern politically) meaningful sense during the French Revolution, everybody and their goldfish acknowledges that the Soviet Union did some objectively horrible things, and when you show me an actual public figure making such a threat rather than some random idiot or internet personality, we can discuss that last thing.

          • MB says:

            If one can retroactively condemn Columbus or the practice of slavery, one can also condemn the killing of Louis XVII, let aside the almost contemporary official Communist practice of making children denounce their parents or the kidnapping of Patty Hearst.
            So how is it unreasonable for me to ask for evidence of such condemnation? Is this an impossible demand?
            “Everybody and their goldfish acknowledges that the Soviet Union did some objectively horrible things”. One: no important left-wing figure has, to the best of my knowledge, publicly recognized that. Not even Clinton or Blair. They only change the subject. Two: this particular horrible thing is a consequence of left-wing ideology, according to which there is no natural connection between parents and their children and if such a connection exists one must try to weaken it, because the family is a locus for abuse and reactionary ideas. Three: far from condemning it, leftists are more likely to use this particular tactic, as the historical record shows.

          • LadyJane says:

            @MB: I mean, yeah, if you’re just going to conflate [really bad stuff] with modern center-left liberals, then it’s pretty easy to argue that they’re [really bad].

            I could just as easily say that Trump followers are the real modern-day French revolutionaries, willing to tear the country apart just to spite the distant and cosmopolitan elites of their time. Or that Trump is a modern-day Caesar, a rejected Patrician who used to support of the Plebeians to undermine the lawful and democratic institutions that the upper class had built. Both of those make more sense than comparing establishment icon Hillary Clinton to Robespierre or to Patty Hearst’s kidnappers.

            It’s bad enough when people simplify the current political environment to two opposing sides. When you try to simplify all of human history to being one binary conflict, you wind up drawing some really weird conclusions. And since modern ideologies don’t really match up to ancient ones, you’re pretty much guaranteeing that the lines are going to be drawn in bizarre and arbitrary ways, typically with everyone a person likes on one side and everything they hate on the other.

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            @MB

            Yes, it’s rather unreasonable to demand that Barack Obama denounce the abuse of Louis XVII.

            Blair on the soviet union, though – sure.

            We regard the United States as our allies and partners. We are proud of what we have achieved together against tyranny and in defence of freedom, most recently in Iraq. Let me speak frankly about the dilemma Europe faces over the United States. You know the value of the American alliance. When you welcome President Bush tomorrow you welcome him as President of a country that stood by you in your years of Soviet repression, that was a beacon of freedom amidst the darkness of the police state.

            – Tony Blair in a speech in Warsaw, 2003

            https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/may/30/eu.speeches

            First thing that came up on Google.

            If you want to call him out for calling the USSR a repressive police state but not talking about the Soviet story of a boy murdered by his parents for tattling, be my guest. I don’t think it’s reasonable for an official to make a public statement on that either.

          • MB says:

            “I could just as easily say that Trump followers are the real modern-day French revolutionaries, willing to tear the country apart just to spite the distant and cosmopolitan elites of their time. Or that Trump is a modern-day Caesar, a rejected Patrician who used to support of the Plebeians to undermine the lawful and democratic institutions that the upper class had built. Both of those make more sense than comparing establishment icon Hillary Clinton to Robespierre or to Patty Hearst’s kidnappers.”

            The first comparison makes no sense. A large proportion of the French elite of that time was sympathetic to the Revolution, at least until the Terror began. The French revolutionaries weren’t some sort of disaffected peasants, as you seem to imagine Trump’s supporters are. On the contrary, the French countryside by and large resisted the revolution, just like in Russia 100 years later.

            The second comparison makes a lot of sense to me and I have thought about it often. Except that Caesar’s opponents were as corrupt and brutal as he was. At the point when he took over, and then again when he was assassinated, there wasn’t much to save, unfortunately.

            Hilary Clinton has nothing whatsoever to do with Robespierre. She’s more like the Duke of Orleans, if you want to make such a far-fetched comparison (and remember you suggested it, not I).

            Yes, there are lessons to be drawn both from the French Revolution and from the downfall of the Roman Republic that apply today. No, it’s not absurd to want to draw lessons from history, despite your attempt to make it seem so.

          • MB says:

            I note that, in Blair’s version, Soviet repression simply happened and had nothing to do with left-wing ideology or any policy they implemented, except for having too many police.
            Not coincidentally, this is the semi-official left-wing position on the Soviet Union, that its failures have nothing to do with left-wing ideology. We just need to try harder next time.
            Still, this reminds me why I used to like Blair. Even a half-hearted non-apology is better than none.

          • LadyJane says:

            Yes, there are lessons to be drawn both from the French Revolution and from the downfall of the Roman Republic that apply today. No, it’s not absurd to want to draw lessons from history, despite your attempt to make it seem so.

            I don’t think it’s absurd. On the contrary, I think we can and should take lessons from history. What’s absurd is thinking that the lines of conflict are still drawn along the same lines that they were hundreds of years ago, as if there’s any kind of meaningful continuity between the French revolutionaries and the modern centrist establishment. You can draw parallels, of course, but you could just as easily draw parallels between the French revolutionaries and the alt-right, or the communist far-left, or the anarchist fringe, or between the modern centrist establishment and the monarchy that the revolutionaries fought against. Is Putin the ideological descendant of Tsar Nicholas II or Premier Joseph Stalin? Trick question, he’s both and neither.

            I note that, in Blair’s version, Soviet repression simply happened and had nothing to do with left-wing ideology or any policy they implemented, except for having too many police.

            Do you really think that Blair’s belief is “the USSR was totally fine as a system, the only reason it turned out poorly is because the individual people in charge happened to be bad people, if it just had less police and nicer folks in charge then it would’ve gone great”? If so, your model of Blair’s mindset is ridiculously uncharitable and wrong-headed, to the point of absurdity. What on Earth would lead you to believe that a staunch supporter of capitalism and democracy would be even half-supportive of authoritarian communism?

          • MB says:

            As centrist, honest, and clear-thinking as Blair was, he still had to manage a rather diverse coalition and this is the most criticism of the Soviet Union he could afford, in public.
            I wish him all the best in private life, am not troubled by any of his foibles, have no curiosity about the origin of his fortune, in spite of snarky remarks about it, and hope that he never has to run for election again and “modernize” his stance accordingly.
            The Iraq war was a tragedy for all involved. Still, he was a better man than his party and England deserved.

          • Statismagician says:

            Right, I’m calling nonsense; in just the next subcomment up you, @MB, say:

            Just like the Clintons, Tony Blair was an unprincipled, mercenary centre-leftist, who sold out for financial gain.

            So, pick a lane. And, before you do that, explain what possible connection there’s supposed to be between Tony Blair and the French Revolution, such that he, or his equivalents over on this side of the Atlantic, ought to have to personally apologize for its excesses. Unless you know something more than you’re saying – possibly involving secret Templar cults, I don’t know – this is just bizarre conspiracy theory, and very, very obviously so.

            EDIT: And, moreover, how in Christ’s name doesn’t ‘the Soviet Union was an abusive, repressive police state’ count as sufficient condemnation for a politician speaking well over a decade after it was dissolved?

          • MB says:

            I am not bothered by Blair being mercenary — or the Clintons, for that matter. I was bothered by HRC’s new political stances, which contradicted her old political stances. I hope that Blair doesn’t run again for elections, so that I don’t have to learn that he is in fact much more “progressive” than he let on initially or that his opinions have “evolved”.
            How does my statement that Blair is mercenary contradict any previous statement? On the contrary, this supports my assertion that there are few principled Social Democrat politicians. How charitable should I be toward him, anyway?
            I’m not actually expecting an apology from any leftist leader concerning the practice of bullying opponents’ children in order to turn them against the parents. The world is waiting with bated breath for any sign of dissent within Trump’s family. I don’t see this going away anytime soon.
            But still, I was asked about a convincing sign that this tactic has been officially abandoned and this was my answer. What would another reasonable answer have been? How does one tell that this tactic is no longer officially approved?

          • Statismagician says:

            There is no Grand Leftist Conspiracy Traversing All Bounds of Space and Time, very obviously to everyone except, apparently, you. The only way any of your historical issues make any sense whatsoever for consideration is if there is, and that rather demands more evidence than you’ve shown.

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            @MB

            The goalpost was, “important leftist loudly condemning” something. If Blair loudly and unqualifiedly condemning the USSR doesn’t count, I’d say the goalpost moved. Set a new one if you want, but there’s a reason I asked what would convince you. Please don’t waste my time.

          • Machine Interface says:

            Side note: Louis *XVII* died of illness at the age of 10 while imprisonned. His father Louis *XVI*, was executed by the revolutionaries, just 2 years before that. Louis XVII has a number because in the eyes of the royalists he was legally king for two years.

          • I’m not actually expecting an apology from any leftist leader concerning the practice of bullying opponents’ children in order to turn them against the parents.

            In my history as an opponent’s child, I have observed no such bullying. So perhaps the practice is less common than you suppose.

        • MB says:

          “as if there’s any kind of meaningful continuity between the French revolutionaries and the modern centrist establishment”.
          The modern centrist establishment is more like the reformist nobles who, while firmly in control (or so they thought), encouraged prudent talk of reform, supported dissident thinkers, and sympathized with revolutions abroad (US, Poland, Holland). Lafayette comes to mind, of course, but there were many like him. Louis XVI was a hero of the American revolution too! They probably got a frisson from cavorting with real revolutionaries, but weren’t revolutionary per se.
          Most would have been happy with a constitutional arrangement like in England, following the Glorious Revolution.
          Under the Ancien Régime, their lives must have been rather dull. Playing at revolution must have been quite exciting. And, best of all, they were innocent victims. Who could have known that encouraging Rousseau would lead to Robespierre? It was all just a terrible misunderstanding.

          • Most would have been happy with a constitutional arrangement like in England, following the Glorious Revolution.

            That seems to have been about what Talleyrand wanted.

            And he managed to play an active role in French politics from the Directorate through the revived Bourbon monarchy.

        • And here is evidence in support of my thesis (from Wikipedia):
          “And Patty Hearst, you standing there in front of the Symbionese Liberation Army flag with your legs spread.

          I cannot find any of that in the Wikipedia page you linked to. The source seems to be this page.

    • Viliam says:

      Indeed, the left takes a particular satisfaction in targeting the weak among their opponents and especially the children and the young

      The part “among their opponents” seems like an unnecessary detail.

      Looking at the three links you provided: Louis XVII happened to inherit a crappy situation. It was not his enemies’ desire to have a child in a position of a king. But there was a child in a position of a king, and that is the situation they had to deal with. Pavlik Morozov and Patty Hearst seem like selected evidence. Yes, Bolsheviks tried to brainwash the children of their enemies, but they also tried to brainwash the children of their allies. Terrorist groups are likely to abuse everyone they can.

      I think a stronger case can be made about greater disregard of children (unless we are talking about educating them, which always includes values) among the left. Like, unborn children are basically just a meat to be chopped when necessary; if someone tries to make pedophilia a respected sexual alternative, they will almost certainly approach the topic from a left-wing position or at least use typically left-wing terminology; and if hypothetically there would be a religion whose prophet mumble mumble something mumble mumble a six years old girl, non-members insisting that the religion deserves great respect and its criticism should be considered a crime would almost certainly be left-wing.

      The parallel for the right wing is that they are more likely to approve physical punishment for children; and marriage (sometimes forced) of underage (but still way older than six years) girls. Right wing wants to teach children (e.g. about Biblical values and the evil lies of evolution), too.

      On a second thought, none of this seems obviously connected to Trump.

      • and if hypothetically there would be a religion whose prophet mumble mumble something mumble mumble a six years old girl

        According to the traditional account, Mohammed married Aisha when she was six but she remained in her father’s house and the marriage was only consummated when she was nine or ten. That still seems odd to us, but not quite as odd.

        As of 1880, the age of consent in most U.S. states was ten or twelve–in Delaware seven. In England in the 18th century it was ten.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Banned indefinitely under true, kind, necessary policy

  24. jw says:

    Scott, You should go back and re-read your critique of tribalism, also re-read your post on murderism.

    I think, since moving to the left coast, you’ve slipped comfortably into the far left tribe, and are now doing things you used to see as bad, but now deem your “moral duty”. There has been a growing leftist bias in your posts of late. I’m pretty sure we’re not to far from a future post from you about “we must round up conservatives for the good of the country because they are not sane” post that will surely be coming….

    • JohnBuridan says:

      Scott prefers free-to-leave asylums for the “insane.”

      Also, FWIW, I do not think Scott’s views have shifted very much in the past 5 years.

      • Doctor Mist says:

        Scott’s steelmanning of reactionary philosophy was good enough to convince me that Moldbug was worth reading further. He does not seem interested in extending the same service to Trumpism. Perhaps he could summon the strength to attempt the former because it was clearly just an intellectual exercise.

        • The Pachyderminator says:

          That’s because there is no Trumpist “philosophy” or coherent worldview. There’s just Trump raving like a drunk, while those trying to construct a philosophy out of his ravings scramble to keep up.

          • Doctor Mist says:

            Perhaps. But Scott seems to have some notion himself of what Trumpism is, or his article would make no sense.

          • 0oQ3jS2o says:

            Drunk-ocracy *is* a coherent worldview, and a perfectly respectable one, just like machine learning is a perfectly valid approach to solving problems. Both essentially operate on the same principle of “rapid a/b testing against an external decision-making apparatus” (the external environment in machine learning, the general public in drunk-ocracy), and are thereby viable for the same reasons.

            Drunk-ocracy is quite frankly a heck of a lot more compatible with democratic decision-making than the “pick le best experts to make le right policies” meme (which is laughable at the best of times, and would be suspect even if it did somehow start producing reliable results) or the conceit that democracy should be a series of alternating dictatorships with different pet causes.

        • Galle says:

          To the extent that Trumpism can be steelmanned, it gets steelmanned into reactionary philosophy.

    • Well... says:

      I never sniffed closely enough or pondered hard enough to decide exactly what Scott’s politics are. I think a vague leftward shift since moving to CA is plausible, but I couldn’t say whether or not there’s been one. But I think most of what you wrote seems over-wrought and even paranoid, especially the last sentence.

      • Walter says:

        I sort of thought he was a progressive? Like, he criticizes their excesses because he wants them to be better progressives.

    • Nornagest says:

      Scott does seem to have gotten more Berkeley since moving to Berkeley, but I don’t think his views on Trump have shifted that much; this particular post seems weak to me, but just weak, not out of character. The posts on NIMBY were more of a tell.

      • Eternaltraveler says:

        Scott does seem to have gotten more Berkeley since moving to Berkeley

        This seems to be true and I’ve thought the same.

        However I also agree with the his present take on Trump being harmful to his own cause (or the cause of his supporters, his own cause seems largely based on supplying the needs of his personality disorder) and don’t view this post particular evidence of a “Berkeley” shift either.

        Maybe it’s not Berkeley, but Trump that is driving the shift, and the perceived need to push back against him. Maybe it’s both. I do hope the shift doesn’t continue. It is good to have a place in on the internet where those from different tribes can discuss anything civilly, and I suspect that will go away if Scott decides he needs to take too much of a stand. Maybe that is already happening with the policy of only banning troublemakers on the right unless they are particularly extreme.

        My own view is that the Red and Blue tribes have gone largely insane, and we here should fight back very hard to remain sane ourselves and celebrate nuanced views. I think Scott tries to do this. I think we all fail, but lets keep trying.

  25. Yaleocon says:

    There’s been a lot of talk on how to characterize people who answer “no” to immigrants strengthening the country. I think a lot of the criticism of Scott on this is off-base; for the average person , this question is a proxy for their moral opinion of immigrants, not a considered belief on their economic or social impact. I’m inclined to think more people answering “yes” probably does represent increasing “moral support for immigrants.”

    With that said, that “moral support” is probably still very ill-informed. The average person who says “yes” doesn’t want immigrants moving into their city. They’re just in favor of immigration as an issue, not as a reality. In other words, it’s a vapid statement of opposition to “racism” that they perceive in their enemy, but not themselves. The average “yes” is in opposition to a “no” that they’re attacking and ascribing to at the same time.

    How one answers that poll question is a question of identity, not policy. Actual immigrants hardly come into it, except as an unrealistically constructed prop (either all bad or all good) used to shame the enemy. And that applies to average people on both sides. Confronted with an actual immigrant, their reaction depends on whether the poor sap is being paid to clean their house, or wants to move in next to it.

    Obviously, you can and should have better reasons to support or oppose immigration. And from the comments here, many people do! Wonderful! But when Scott is discussing polls, those policy questions are hardly even relevant to what he’s talking about. He rightly treats that question as a barometer for social opinion of immigrants, and I think he’s right to be happy about the direction it’s trending, even independent of policy changes that does/doesn’t produce.

    • bindubasketball says:

      Given the left wing lean of most major cities, this strikes me as likely to be untrue:

      http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2018/05/22/urban-suburban-and-rural-residents-views-on-key-social-and-political-issues/psd_05-22-18_community-type-02-05/.

      Without parsing the data aggressively, I would guess that something like 65-70% of city dwellers and maybe 50% of suburbanites are in favor of immigrants moving into their city

      • Yaleocon says:

        Splitting hairs, they’re in favor of the status quo. And this is still representative of people answering a pollster asking about their opinions, so I would expect the same bias to be present; to get a better idea, you’d have to look at actual behavior on the local level when confronted with the threat of a new wave of immigration.

        That said, this is an important counterpoint, if not a conclusive one. I’ll try to look into it more.

    • Confronted with an actual immigrant, their reaction depends on whether the poor sap is being paid to clean their house, or wants to move in next to it.

      For what it’s worth, the actual immigrants I am confronted with in the Bay Area include people who clean my house and mow my lawn and drive cabs but also many, perhaps a majority, of the doctors and nurses I encounter plus a civil engineer/faculty member. Also, of course, lots of techies.

  26. Walter says:

    I…agree, but I feel like maybe you aren’t really putting yourself in our shoes and grokking what stuff is like for us? Like, back in the day I’m sure California Republicans made roughly as compelling noises about income tax or whatever as California Democrats did. Then the other side imported a new electorate, checkmate.

    Like, I agree with your argument that electing Trump is great for the Democrats. I agreed at the time, and it hasn’t stopped being obvious that that is true.

    But, like, imagine the reverse world, yeah? Say we elect Hillary Clinton. Things trundle along for four years. Now it is 2020, is it ok to elect an anti immigration candidate?

    Let’s say we get another Trump situation then, not unreasonable, we’ve been the Party Of No for 12 years at this point. So we wait for 2024, where some genuine conservative statesman comes along, someone who could implement our policies without letting the liberals use their cultural monopoly against him (He is the Mule, I guess).

    Time to elect him, let’s do this. Oh wait. Texas is blue now. The Demorats own (in the sense that the voters necessary have a non political stake in their victory and are thus not persuadable by politics) Texas and California. No more Republican Presidents until the Democratic party splits.

    Like, dropping the hypotheticals, the pro/anti for Trump is pretty clear.
    Pro : We get 4 years of trying to shore up the SC to weather the coming decades of Democratic dominance
    Anti: Their cultural power increases even more, they double win every public debate forever.

    You are pointing out that the Pro is pretty garbage, but what I’m trying to point out is that the anti was already gone. Anyone turned against us by the left’s coverage of Trump would have been turned against us by their coverage of Mitch McConnell as he resisted Hillary’s agenda and was made into a Trump figure. That money was on the ground whenever they got around to picking it up.

    We weren’t/aren’t going to let the fact that we will ultimately lose stop us from picking up the points that we can get while we can get them.

    Like, I didn’t enjoy pulling the lever for Trump. I figure he is probably a rapist, definitely a crook of some kind. I just wanted an SC justice and for us not to attack Syria. I got 2 who seem to be pretty ok, and we haven’t attacked yet. I’m satisfied thus far.

    • finnydo says:

      It is not really about his policies. The point of the post isn’t “his policies are terrible and thus backlash”. It’s that he is terrible, and he’s so terrible that he’s had a negative impact on support for his policies. The point was “Voting for this specific terrible person is bad for your policy priorities, even though (and likely exactly because) he is the most solid proponent of them on the national stage in a generation”.

      It’s not a judgement statement on trumpist policies. It’s pointing out that Trump has been particularly bad for the public approval of Trumpist policies, in a way Clinton wouldn’t have been. There was no particular comment on the rightness or wrongness of Trumpist policies, and the fact that this entire thread is full of Trumpies bleating about Scott being a leftist is weird. And I think it says a lot, on its own, about the relative importance of the policies and the cult of personality in Trumpist thinking. An attack on the man, specifically referring to his negative impact on support for the policies is immediately and fully perceived as an attack on the policies.

      • Walter says:

        I feel like I granted that? Like, yes, electing Trump hurts anti immigration policies. He will mess them up, and his anti halo will taint them going forward.

        Regardless, if I didn’t make that clear at the start, I’ll own up to it now. Scott was right when he posted, and is justified in this victory lap. Trump getting elected hurts every cause that Trump espouses.

        I do think, though, that Scott was wrong to urge us to betray our party, because Trump was still better (despite the fact that he is terrible for our causes) than Hillary would have been.

        Like Scott’s argument is that Trump is -2, and I am nodding along. And I feel like you are calling me out for not admitting that -2 is worse than 0, and if I didn’t before, this is me admitting that. But I feel like y’all aren’t admitting, in turn, that Hillary would have been minus 10 for what we care about.

        I mean, sure, Trump botched the border thing as hard as it is possible to botch it. Border control now equals racism in the minds of every being that the media can broadcast to. But if we switch our viewpoint to a country where the election went the other way, it looks like Angela Merkel didn’t do such a bang up job of border control either, in that she deliberately invited in and welcomed the people we want to keep out.

        Similarly, Trump is a disaster for being pro life. Do you think Hillary would have been better? Are we likely to be able to save more babies with her justices instead of Goresuch and Kavanaugh?

        And so on. I didn’t vote for Trump in the primary. I would have preferred an establishment Republican president. But I didn’t get that choice in the general, thus Trump. Scott’s article was pointing out one of my pain points, and I can’t hate on a progressive for dunking on his opponents, but if you put yourself in our shoes you can still see that if you actually care about Republican issues vote Trump in the general.

      • Civilis says:

        This assumes the attacks on Trump are justified.

        Partly, it’s circular logic. Trump is a terrible president, and this is bad for the policies he supports. And he’s terrible because he supports these terrible policies, which are framed in the most terrible way possible.

        It’s also partially he’s terrible because he’s Hitler, and any policy Hitler supports is bad. Of course, any Republican is Hitler when they’re running for or are in office, and great before and afterwards. Trump wasn’t terrible back when he was a relatively non-political and hob-nobbing with the elite.

        All the stupid things he says (some of which really are bad) get lost in all the other criticism he gets for terrible policies that weren’t terrible when done by a Democratic president and criticism for being Hitler because he’s a Republican president. And the people making substantive criticisms get lost in the noise. Democratic presidents say stupid things too, but because the media doesn’t cover them like they cover Trump’s stupid sayings, it doesn’t have the same effect.

        The lesson the right is taking from this have less to do with politicians and more with the power of the media to frame the narrative.

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          +1

          If the media treated Trump the way they treated Obama he’d have a 70% approval rating.

        • xq says:

          Democratic presidents say stupid things too, but because the media doesn’t cover them like they cover Trump’s stupid sayings, it doesn’t have the same effect.

          Most of the stupid things Trump says get almost no coverage because the media is bored of it. They cover some of it but the sheer volume of false claims, incoherence, made up stories, etc. is underplayed by the media.

          To pick an example at random from Daniel Dale’s (the only person who does try to actually cover all of it, AFAICT) twitter:

          Just tuned into Trump’s Hanukkah event. He was in the middle of his lie about how the move of the embassy in Jerusalem, which will cost at least $21 million, cost “right around $400,000.”

          Based on some googling, this got some attention in Israel but almost no American reporting. The president getting the cost wrong by 50-fold is just a non-event.

          When Ocasio-Cortez, an incoming freshman congresswoman, made a false statement about pentagon accounting in a tweet, it got a full article in New York Times, Washington Post, Vox, Yahoo News, The Hill, a bunch of factcheckers, local news sites…and basically every right-wing source, which do actually count as media.

          It’s really hard for me to see how this situation is unfair to Trump.

        • dragnubbit says:

          When past non-Trump politicians (on both left and right) said something stupid (such as “basket of deplorables”) they can be found pretty quickly walking it back and doing damage control. There is an acknowledgment of common norms that should be respected by everyone, or at least a desire to avoid open conflict where the facts obviously favor one side.

          Trump is completely different, and this is nothing to do with right or left. He just doubles down, repeats and gaslights everything. He literally acts as if there is no underlying reality that his statements need to conform to, and that as long as he is delivering the right signal to his base there is no need to stick to facts or accepted history. This drives the media (and his political opponents) crazy. First because he thinks he can get away with completely ignoring easily disprovable facts when they have always had to correct themselves or at least add clarifying language, and then it drives them even crazier because his own party and base loves it and supports his loose relationship with reality, especially because it drives the media and ‘libs’ crazy.

          This brazenness extends to his relationship with the FBI and the intelligence community. He creates the reality and they have to conform to it. Failure to do so is not perceived as an effort to ground public debate in common facts and information in which Trump will gracefully retreat from mistakes and stupidities, but instead any effort to correct his statements is viewed solely as a personal attack on Trump and he doubles down on stupid every time. It helps him identify who is really loyal to him and who is instead loyal to any other principle.

    • Anonymous Bosch says:

      Time to elect him, let’s do this. Oh wait. Texas is blue now. The Demorats own (in the sense that the voters necessary have a non political stake in their victory and are thus not persuadable by politics) Texas and California.

      Bush won the Texas Latino vote in 2000 and 2004. To the extent the post-2008 split in Presidential elections (which is about 65-35, still way more even than California Latinos) is a problem, it’s a self-inflicted problem. And it’s one driven mostly by national Republican messaging. Statewide candidates still split pretty closely. Greg Abbott only ran 10 points back among Texas Latinos in his gubernatorial race against Lupe Valdez.

      Moreover, it’s not at all clear that is the problem. Beto didn’t give Cruz a scare in last month’s Senate election because Hispanic turnout was especially large or friendly to him. The non-white vote was almost identical between 2016 and 2018. He gave him a scare because all the white college grads in the cities and suburbs went from 60-40 to 50-50. And even if we consider both the post-Bush shifts among Latinos and post-Trump shifts among whites to represent a new normal, Texas’ overall white vote is *still* skewed more red than Texas’ Latino vote is skewed blue.

      Despite incessant hype from all sides, demographics are not inherently a mortal danger for Republicans. They only become so when their concerns are treated as somehow specially “non-political” and voters as specially “non-persuadable,” at which point politicians decide they’re better off using them as an outgroup to gin up nativists. I don’t pretend to know California as well as I know Texas, but I know enough to recognize that “imported a new electorate” is a glib cover story. Even if demographics were destiny, demographics are slow. California is a huge state and first-generation immigrants barely vote at all. The electorate doesn’t shift that much in 20 years without something happening to piss off existing Latino voters and a good chunk of whites besides.

  27. MB says:

    These polls are not saying anything about support for illegal immigration.
    From 1994 until now, the proportion of US residents born abroad among poll respondents has increased significantly. Of course many such people would be in favor of increased immigration (though not necessarily of the illegal kind). This by itself suffices to explain the poll results.
    Concerning the “seeing discrimination for what it is” poll (what an Orwellian name), Trump’s election was in part due to a voter realignment, so Democrats before his election are not be the same as Democrats after his election.
    More generally, in the past few years people have become more aware that they live in a surveillance society, many have experienced censorship, search engine result manipulation and poll manipulation have become public knowledge, and many have drawn the corresponding conclusions.
    People’s responses to polls and attitude toward poll-takers may be quite different now from what they were 4 years ago, even for this reason alone.
    We really live in a DemoPol now, as foreseen in the “Dosadi Experiment”, with all the attending consequences.

    • Conrad Honcho says:

      People’s responses to polls and attitude toward poll-takers may be quite different now from what they were 4 years ago, even for this reason alone.

      I wish this were more true than it is. Very few normies (the vast, vast, vast bulk of the electorate) have experienced censorship, understand the surveillance society, or are aware of search engine result manipulation and poll manipulation.

      • azhdahak says:

        I was on a Greyhound the other day and there was an old guy a few seats away who was complaining about getting a three-day ban from Facebook for a mildly off-color joke about men and women.

  28. Artyoan says:

    Your first two paragraphs are purely attempts to shame people out of position. Trump may have become a lightning rod for all the woes befalling the entirety of the West but that doesn’t make it true. The symptoms of dysfunction will continue regardless of whether Trump remains in power or not. He could disappear tomorrow and the sentiment remains. He’s just a vehicle latched onto to get closer to where people want to go.

    I myself have been a Democrat and a leftist most of my life. But I’m also introverted and a bit of a hermit. Any pull on me to conform to the latest trends is not particularly effective. I’ll give you my piece from my vantage point from the midwest.

    I’ll get to my point and its tie in with your topic. Trump has certainly hurt any viewpoint that conservatives were principled in their values. They’ve compromised a lot to ‘win’. But I can’t blame them. Even as I voted for Obama in 2008 I would have readily admitted to anyone that the mainstream media and an enormous number of left-wing advocates were shilling to get him elected. The euphoria around him was bizarre and it was the first time I realized how powerful a good story can be over what is actually going on. I then proceeded to watch narratives override facts for his entire presidency. And not just about him, almost every topic became laced with a need for conformity, usually around lines of identity.

    That opinions are shifting and hardening isn’t news. Few people hold to any real principles. The left has been on a single minded mission that whatever hurts Trump is fit to print. If it doesn’t hurt him, then downplay it. I consider the media to be thoroughly compromised and I think so do most. They still shape opinions by relegating which topics are the important ones to discuss even if their slanted opinions are irrelevant to most.

    But I’ve changed my thoughts on a lot in the last few years. And a lot has changed around me. But the central topic that continues to amaze me is immigration. I do not understand the left’s position on this whatsoever. Or on multiculturalism at this point either. The idea that wildly different people will come together under one government and there will be peace and understanding is insane. Not to mention that no strategy could possibly undermine the notion of a multicultural society more than constantly, without fail, emphasizing tribal differences that override facts. The very people that tell everyone that the future is global multiculturalism are kicking the pillars out that might have made it work. When minorities are being openly shamed to vote their identity, when you’re told that foreigners are more deserving of being called Americans than actual Americans, when you watch governments in Europe doing everything to can to downplay crimes of migrants, how do you credibly claim that its gonna work out in the end?

    Trump is a horrible example of what people should want in a President. But Trump doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The choice people are given is between a horrible egomaniac constructing a rigid but functional future for us, or a typical politician kissing babies on camera while advocating for a position that will lead to increasing dysfunction, loss of trust, and more than likely bloodshed on tribal lines?

    So I watch day in and day out as people villify him with zero attempts at understanding why people like him are a self-inflicted tidal wave by an out of touch ruling class. We replaced helping the American working class with a purely narcissistic play at helping the rest of the world instead. Thats the evolution of thinking globally. I could not believe it when large swathes of people on the left were insinuating that ‘America first’ was a racist viewpoint.

    If too much nationalism led to a murderous instability then it would appear that a complete absence of nationalism has led to a suicidal march to the depths. The national body is reacting accordingly to keep itself alive. Call out his faults but do not succumb to Trump Derangement Syndrome and understand the choices people are being given.

    • MB says:

      I really liked Obama and was sold on his story, even signing up for “Organizing for Action”. Still like him, in fact, as a person, and strongly agreed with his reform of the medical system, at the time.
      But the last two years of his presidency have been eye-opening for me, showing that there is no point at which the left would just proclaim victory and go home. There is no reasonable compromise. There is no moderate wing. There was no “Sister Souljah moment” or, if there was, it was only a tactical feint in a moment of weakness. Actually, I have read articles stating this for a fact (in support of HRC’s candidacy).
      Just as in the 1930’s, the goal of establishing “popular fronts” against “fascism” is always a Communist takeover. Yes, there is a niche for almost everyone in this coalition of the oppressed (the young, the women, the marginalized minorities, the immigrants, the gender-nonconforming individuals, the vegans and environmentalists, etc.), but the leadership is never in doubt.
      The machine just keeps going.

    • gbdub says:

      It’s weird, I started more Right and am on many topics drifting Left, but I share your same frustrations with the media and many of the loudest voices on the left. I’m becoming increasingly disillusioned that anyone has coherent principles, or even particularly tries to. It’s “hooray for our side” all the way down. As you note, Democrats simultaneously pushing “multiculturalism” and “vote with your melanin/genitals” is so obviously contradictory. Even “science” has become a wedge issue, even though neither side listens to it in anything more than a superficial way.

    • Joseftstadter says:

      “The idea that wildly different people will come together under one government and there will be peace and understanding is insane”

      The history of the US appears to demonstrate just that. Liberals and Libertarians may well be deriving the wrong message from a short span of time, but the evidence available from the past 200 years of immigration to the US would suggest that it is hardly insane to conclude that the US is a melting pot that actually does create a generally peaceful society out of vastly different constituent peoples. The US has incorporated people from every major race and religion, managed to share power and resources among them and is still the most prosperous society on earth. The US has done an amazing job in breaking down peoples’ ethnic and racial identities and creating “Americans.” US success is particularly dramatic compared to the failure of a place like the Soviet Union to create “Homo Sovieticus” out of a far less diverse population.

      The idea that the success of the US can be replicated in places like France, Sweden or Germany has far less evidence behind it, and may well be “insane”.

      • RalMirrorAd says:

        US Assimilation of immigrants, even pre Hart Cellar has been exaggerated in my opinion.

        1. A significant portion of those early immigrants returned to their home countries if they didn’t make it in the US. No modern country would tolerate the absence of a social safety net that made this incentive structure possible.

        2. The reaction against mass migrations during the late 19th and early 20th centuries lead to the national origins quota system which reduced the quantity and kinds of immigrants that could come to the US. It was more stringent and arguably more racialist then the “free white men of good moral character” standard erected by the founders in 1790.

        It’s likely that the assimilation of European ethnicities that occurred between 1920 and 1965 was due to the absence of new immigrants plus the differences between these groups being overshadowed by European – African racial tensions at roughly the same time The great Migration and subsequent white flight may have dispersed ethnic enclaves in US cities.

        Today, There’s currently no plan nor any desire on the part of anyone to replicate the legal, social, or economic conditions that existed in the past that made assimilation somewhat feasible, quite the opposite.

        • Statismagician says:

          I hadn’t considered things in quite these terms; thanks for the thought material.

        • Jacobethan says:

          Today, There’s currently no plan nor any desire on the part of anyone to replicate the legal, social, or economic conditions that existed in the past that made assimilation somewhat feasible, quite the opposite.

          One idea to which I’m delusively attached but nobody’s actually going to push politically would be explicitly linking a “pro-immigration” appeal (whatever that might mean) to bringing back the draft.

          Treat “assimilation” as a real issue and a legitimate aim, and explicitly say that assimilation worked better when Americans shared more common binding experiences. But don’t make it about obligatory respect for cultural signifiers like the Pilgrims or Christmas or whatever, tie it instead to the practical experience of working in a unit with Americans from all walks of life, and make it powerfully clear to new Americans that they’re both trusted and expected to take on the gravest tasks of civic life.

          Not *everybody* is going to like that at all, but I suspect as a proposal it could have a lot more resonance than political elites tend to assume.

          • RalMirrorAd says:

            IIRC there are already programs in place giving certain perks for immigrants who enlist, [2 decades of war they’re running out of recruits I suppose] But that’s not really what you’re talking about.

            Without a legitimate casus belli a draft would basically be [feel like, be perceived of] a prison sentence for non-criminals. — The closest thing the constituent groups have to a common foe is a hatred for the founding American stock and I don’t mean that as a dark humored joke.

          • Statismagician says:

            Yeah. The thing to do would have been to change the military draft to a non-military civil service one instead of abolishing it after Vietnam; you can’t just introduce something like that without an underlying cultural tradition supporting it.

          • The Nybbler says:

            It would have had to have been after WWII. The draft for Vietnam was far too hated to pull anything like that off.

        • dragnubbit says:

          Today, There’s currently no plan nor any desire on the part of anyone to replicate the legal, social, or economic conditions that existed in the past that made assimilation somewhat feasible, quite the opposite.

          1) Civil Rights legislation and gradual public acceptance of it’s principles.
          2) Interracial marriage has reached the tipping point of social acceptability and continues to increase.
          3) Red-lining is now (mostly) eliminated in suburban and urban areas providing for much higher levels of immigrant assimilation and acceptance in those areas. Migrants/minorities are still heavily stratified (and rare) in rural districts.
          4) Cities since 1980 have retaken their original prominence as engines of economic growth leading to higher levels of ‘white return’ and public investment.
          5) Nationalization of cultural American identity has accelerated with internet and increased levels of inter-state migration.

          Assimilation is going on extremely well in urban and suburban districts, even in the South (cable news reporting notwithstanding). Conditions for assimilation have deteriorated in rural areas, even in the North. But the population share is trending heavily away from rural areas. Where you live (and how likely you are to personally encounter immigrants as peers in your daily life activities) can have a big impact on how you perceive the process of immigrant assimilation. As can your media consumption habits.

          • Statismagician says:

            In re: 3 – My impression was that this was supposed to happen, but hasn’t actually due to [everything in The Two-Income Trap], and housing is basically just as segregated now as it was several decades ago. I don’t recall where I read this, so it could just be a local thing.

          • dragnubbit says:

            @Statismagician

            After looking at some more sources I tend to agree with you and would retract the redlining point.

          • educationrealist says:

            “how likely you are to personally encounter immigrants as peers in your daily life activities”

            If you mean that living in heavily immigrant areas makes you deeply skeptical of high immgration, then sure. But your whole post seems to suggest the opposite. There is no evidence that living around immigrants makes you more aware of their benefits, and lots of evidence suggesting otherwise.

            In most high immigrant areas, whites–the ultimate swing voters–are at least roughly split 50-50 GOP Dem. Cities are predominantly Dem not because of whites, but because of the tremendous boost caused by minorities living in these areas.

            “Cities since 1980 have retaken their original prominence as engines of economic growth leading to higher levels of ‘white return’ and public investment.”

            To the extent this is true, cities have “retaken” that growth by booting out blacks and working class whites while bringing in lots of illegal Hispanics and family chain immigrants who are often exploiting labor. Moreover, housing prices explode, often because immigrants are being funded from back home. And oh, let’s not forget all the tent camps.

            Assimilation is far worse. There’s a constant stream of new immigrants making it unnecessary, and people who live around immigrants aren’t terribly enthusiastic about it. Unless, of course, they’re rich enough to want the cheap labor for their yardwork and child care of kids who will be put in safely tucked away public districts or private schools.

          • dragnubbit says:

            Taken from this Pew report:

            While there are racial and ethnic differences in the makeup of rural, suburban and urban areas, this overall pattern of geographic divergence is also seen among whites. Among rural whites, the GOP enjoyed a roughly 10-percentage-point advantage throughout much of the 2000s; the GOP advantage among rural white voters is now 24 percentage points (58% to 34%). At the same time, while urban white voters were roughly evenly divided in their political preferences for much of the last two decades, in recent years the Democratic Party has enjoyed a double-digit partisan advantage: Today, 54% of white urban voters are Democrats or lean Democratic, while 41% identify with the GOP or lean Republican.

            Attitudes towards immigrants are more positive in urban and suburban areas than in rural areas, while the population of immigrants is the opposite. See this other Pew report for more details.

            Anecdotally, of course, there are staunch anti-immigrant views in cities. But even Republican whites in urban and border states are more supportive of immigrants and immigration than Republican whites in rural areas.

        • INH5 says:

          The number of French speakers in Louisiana declined 80% over the past 50 years despite official government efforts at language preservation. Racial intermarriage rates are at an all time high. Anecdotally, the second generation Indian immigrants that I’ve worked with seem pretty assimilated to me.

          Everything that I’ve looked at indicates that, contrary to claims that America can’t assimilate immigrants anymore, assimilation is now happening faster than ever before. Sure, there may be a bunch of loud people saying that assimilation is a bad thing, but 15-20 years ago there were a lot of loud people saying that porn is unhealthy and addictive and obscene at the same time that the internet was making porn more widely available than ever.

          What is different now is that there isn’t anything resembling a unified American culture to assimilate into anymore. I wouldn’t expect a child of a typical Bay Area H1B Indian immigrant to turn out much like Bobby Jindal.

  29. Bugmaster says:

    I think you might be missing some plausible explanations for the poll results:

    * The social climate creates a strong chilling effect on any statement that could be construed as pro-Trump, or perhaps even as insufficiently anti-Trump. This creates a bias in the polls.
    * The anti-Trump Democratic base is extremely vocal, and is more likely to return pollster’s calls, once again creating a bias (from the other side).
    * (unlikely, but not impossible) Trump supporters are more willing to also support traditionally Democratic positions (international trade, legal immigration) now that Trump is in charge (i.e., they wouldn’t trust Hillary to do it right).

    • finnydo says:

      Silent Torries!

      • CatCube says:

        You do remember that Trump was not projected to win up until the day of the election, right? There’s some precedent for questioning poll results where he’s concerned–the surprise Brexit results are also relevant here.

        That said, I agree there’s a swing against him. I’m pointing out that acting like somebody is crazy for questioning it isn’t warranted. Make the argument, don’t just sneer.

        • Statismagician says:

          I think that’s more a precedent for knowing what margins of error are. He did not win by any sort of landslide, and the actual vote and electoral totals were well within the margin of error of well-designed polls.

          If you want to say that the media coverage of those polls was stupid and mathematically illiterate, and/or that said coverage probably had a significant effect on the actual outcome of the election, I’m completely with you.

        • finnydo says:

          The poll results were close. There’s a reason FiveThirtyEight gave him a 1/3 chance to win. Everybody else was wishcasting.

    • dragnubbit says:

      * (unlikely, but not impossible) Trump supporters are more willing to also support traditionally Democratic positions (international trade, legal immigration) now that Trump is in charge (i.e., they wouldn’t trust Hillary to do it right).

      Based on the results of progressive ballot questions in red states as well as other opinion polling, there is evidence that plenty of GOP voters are in favor of increasing the minimum wage, legalizing marijuana, non-partisan redistricting, felon voting rights, increased background checks for guns, Medicaid expansion, etc. and would probably readily vote for any GOP candidate who supported those positions. But since GOP candidates do not need to support any of those positions in order to earn their votes in general elections, and adopting any of them would doom them in their primary elections, they will never do so.

      GOP general election voters as individuals are actually becoming progressive on many issues. But that won’t lead them to vote for Democrats until they believe the Democratic candidate is on ‘their side’. And the GOP primary voters are moving steadily in the opposite direction.

  30. fluorocarbon says:

    I’d like to move up one meta-level and talk about how the Slate Star Codex commentariat is pretty right-wing and somewhat hostile to non-right-wing posters. This topic has come up before (a lot?), but this thread is a pretty good example of it. At the time I’m writing this post, there are 24 top-level comments. Out of them, I’d characterize 14 (58%) as right-wing or pro-Trump, 8 (33%) as neutral and 2 (8%) as left-wing or anti-Trump. (I’d be interested in other people’s numbers, since I’m of course not 100% unbiased myself.)

    There are also a number of comments that I can’t interpret as being made in good faith. I don’t know the etiquette around calling out other comments, but I’m going to quote sections of the comments below without including usernames:

    The only chance for the right is to start making plays that directly target the leftist initiative to change demographics and blend distinctions between demographics

    From having read things like Untitled, I had a sympathy for the woes of men struggling with sexual irrelevance.

    That’s not even mentioning the highly visible political violence directed against conservatives, with the mainstream media cheerleading for said violence.

    Indeed, the left takes a particular satisfaction in targeting the weak among their opponents and especially the children and the young

    I can’t really imagine someone on the left wanting to participate in discussions stated this way. And that’s 17% of the comments! I also can’t imagine that any of these points couldn’t be made without casting the left-wing as The Evil People Trying to Destroy Our Way of Life. (Maybe the second comment? But I still think it could be phrased better.)

    On the subject of post itself, I wonder if some of this can be explained by a switch from conflict to mistake theory. This is anecdotal, but a lot of people I know have changed from being mistake theory center-leftists to conflict theory must-defeat-Trump-at-all-costs-ists; I sort of fall in that boat myself too. That could explain why Trump gets much more extreme pushback than other politicians with similar policies. (Preemptive counterargument: claiming that all Republicans are called Hitler at some point is missing the forest for the trees; the opposition to Trump is much stronger and from a different group than opposition to other right-wing politicians).

    • gbdub says:

      This is a very culture-warry topic that Scott covered in a (for him) unusually superficial, culture-warry way that’s not particularly hard to read uncharitably (Rightists are dumb for voting for someone that claimed to support their preferred policies in an uncouth way!). I’m not surprised the comments are more partisanly low quality than usual, not that that excuses it.

      • Walter says:

        I mean, Scott WAS correct. Dude owns up to his mistakes in big ole posts. What’s wrong with him doing the same for when he gets it correct?

        • gbdub says:

          I don’t have a problem with him taking credit for a valid prediction, I just didn’t think this post had his usual level of care or nuance in examining the evidence. These are kind of Vox-like charts that he takes at face value / reinterprets to fit his point, without poking at whether the underlying data is any good.

          I certainly don’t think it was meant this way, but I think the post can, without being extremely uncharitable, be read as dunking on “Trumpists”.

      • fluorocarbon says:

        I can see why some commenters might feel that way. But it feels to me like there’s misplaced aggression–a lot of right-wing commenters probably live in pretty lefty areas and feel like they or their views aren’t treated fairly. They might (totally fairly) be on the defensive for bad arguments or sensitive to criticism.

        However I think Scott’s shown himself to avoid making a superficial or bad-faith arguments. Even if this post is culture-warry, I would argue that it’s making a good point about how choosing the wrong figurehead for a cause can end up doing more harm than good to that cause. It’s also speaking to a prediction he made in a previous post.

        • gbdub says:

          I think Scott usually does to go out of his way to be extra careful about superficial and bad-faith arguments when covering culture-war topics, but that’s precisely why I was a bit surprised by this post.

          For example, the fact that he was apparently completely surprised that anyone might be bothered by the conflation of “immigration” and “illegal immigration” speaks to a level of care and thoughtfulness below his usually very high standard.

      • Brad says:

        That may well be true, but it doesn’t explain the partisan mix. This post and years worth of others show that Scott is firmly left of center. Even though untitled and the like are what—almost half a decade old at this point?—his active commentariat keeps marching rightward. It’s something of a puzzle.

        • quanta413 says:

          I’m not seeing the rightward march. There used to be significantly more deatheaters here.

          It’s more a slow drain of left-wing people leaving than a shift in right-wing behavior.

          • Brad says:

            I was thinking more of the direction and pace of change at the median then the number of people way out on the right. Agreed that death eaters are far less common (and consider that a welcome change).

          • quanta413 says: