Open Thread for The Day After, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016


Is Pence thinking, “Oh, my God, what have I DONE?” I hope so…

This is not going to be a normal Open Thread (just as we no longer live in a normal country), being election-centric. But as always, y’all are invited to introduce other topics.

  1. The worst major-party nominee in history will now be POTUS — Not to put too fine a point on it… Anyway, there are a gazillion aspects to this, and no doubt we’ll go into a few thousand of them.
  2. And Republicans retain control of Congress — But what will that mean? Seriously, most of these people didn’t want Trump; many were traumatized by his candidacy. So how is this going to work?
  3. What will replace the Republican Party? — Given what I just said above. And if you think the GOP just won a “victory” as a party, you are sadly mistaken…
  4. World gasps in collective disbelief — And can you blame them?
  5. And what about the Democrats? — Now that they’ve gotten through the “It’s Her Turn” election, how will they get their stuff together? Some party is going to have to address the vast middle at some point. It’s insane to keep having elections driven by Trumps and Bernies…
  6. Congratulate my advertisers — Excuse the commercial message, but I’m grateful for their custom, and happy for the ones who won. Micah Caskey won going away, Lila Anna Sauls was the biggest vote-getter in the Richland One School Board race, and Avni Gupta-Kagan is in a too-close-to-call contest for the second spot on that board. Only Frank Barron clearly lost, and he was up against insurmountable odds — running against a Republican incumbent in Lexington County.

And… that’s about it for now. Gotta go do some work. This should get y’all started… If that’s not enough, chew on this:

Intelligence community is already feeling a sense of dread — To quote further: “At some point today, a sober team of analysts will give the president-elect his first unfiltered look at the nation’s intelligence secrets.” Good thing he’s, you know, so discreet, and has such excellent judgment…

Oh, by the way, in case some of you are too young to get the headline: Possibly the biggest TV event of the 80’s was the film “The Day After,” which was about something all of us had tried not to think about during the Cold War — what the day after global thermonuclear war would look like. So of course, we all watched in morbid fascination.

Seemed like an apt allusion…


110 thoughts on “Open Thread for The Day After, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016

  1. Bryan Caskey

    So I guess everyone is counting on the actual conservatives to stand for actual conservative principles and rein in President Trump.

    It’s still really weird to type “President Trump”. It’s sort of like how you get that weird feeling writing the new year when the calendar flips over? Yeah, it’s like that, but a billion times more. I haven’t actually tried to say it out loud yet.

  2. Doug Ross

    Weird stock market today. IHE Pharma Indexed stock is up 7.3% right now and Phizer (PFE) is up 8.7%.

    Is this the market responding to the potential repeal of Obamacare?

    Whole Foods Market also up over 3%. Liberals rushing out to get doomsday prep supplies like kale chips and free range ostrich burgers?

  3. bud

    I’m trying to learn something here so I’ll pose a question, mostly to Doug, since you’ve traveled around the country discussing with people the state of the country what is it specifically that has folks so upset/angry? Is it their standard of living? Are they bothered by the 47% of those mooching off the government? How about social issues like gay marriage? Obviously 60+ % feel the country is on the wrong track but why? The Trump voters that I know are doing very well financially so it must be something more fundamental that I just don’t see. And please no general answers like “a need to drain the swamp”. Those kind of comments are really not helpful.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I’ve been trying to understand it for over a year now, and I really don’t think I’m any closer.

      I’m afraid that that’s because it can’t be understood in the way I mean the word. It’s not rational. Maybe someone will finally come up with the argument that convinces me it DOES make some kind of rational sense, but it hasn’t happened. All I can make out is a giant, unfocused destructive impulse.

      Michael Moore — a guy I cannot STAND, but maybe that’s the kind of guy you have to go to for something like this — maybe comes closer than anybody with his prediction awhile back that we were all in for a huge shock, because these people were determined to rise up and deliver the biggest “F___ You” in American history. To all of us — and by “us,” I mean people who look for logical answers.

      Which is another way of saying what Doug says when he says things like drain the swamps or whatever.

      You know, nihilism. People who are just against everything and want to bring down the house around their own ears.

      As I put it last night:

      1. Doug Ross

        Sorry, not a nihilist. But keep saying it even though I refute it every time. I want to replace corrupt politicians with good ones. I want the structure to remain but the characters to change. I want smaller, leaner, more efficient government – not destruction. Trump was a response to career politicians who do the wrong things, do things wrongly, and don’t do what they should be doing. I’d settle for term limits , a balanced budget, and a flat tax. That’s not “drain the swam” nihilism. That’s “do the right thing”.

        Trump won fair and square within the system. He didn’t cheat. He spent half as much as Hillary (another nail in the coffin of the “politicians buy elections” fallacy).

        As to bud’s question – all I can say is that the people I come across dislike Hillary across the country. Nobody was a cheerleader for her. I’ve spent most of this year in western PA. Each week I take a 45 minute Uber to the airport and chat with the drivers about all sorts of things. Most of them are younger people, many of them black. I think they are disillusioned with the government. Obama was supposed to be the change agent. He did little for them. Hillary doesn’t inspire many people beyond the whole “she’s a woman” thing.

        1. bud

          Doug, Completely unhelpful. People who want politicians to “do the right thing” is just another weasel phrase like drain the swamp. I understand people who are genuinely struggling. But most Trump voters don’t seem to be in that camp.

      2. Bill

        Here’s a stab at explaining the outcome of the presidential election: Many Americans are easily bored. They’re always looking for the next bright, shiny thing. Obama profited from this in 2008. But as most little kids quickly discover: that shiny new toy doesn’t bring them the endless joy they thought it would and after a short time they get tired of it. Then buyer’s remorse sets in. The same thing is likely to happen with the electorate now – after they discover that he’s not really “a guy like me” and didn’t get into the game for their benefit.

        In any case, what’s the message the bulk of American voters sent to the world – and to their own children? That merit doesn’t matter. The only thing that counts is a lust for money and power

    2. Claus

      If you’re thinking the Republican party is mostly upper-income white males, why did Trump carry the majority of non-college educated voters? How many people in Redbank or Swansee voted for Hillary Clinton? How many PhD owning voters making $60,000 at USC voted for Donald Trump? How many multi-millonaire NBA/NFL and Hollywood voters voted for Trump?

      Why is it liberal Democrats don’t get angry or upset at the 47% mooching off the government and the taxpayer’s dime? Why do you go to work and pay taxes to support the woman down the street who keeps pumping out kids by different fathers only to receive larger and larger supplement checks? That’s what I don’t understand.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Thanks for that insight into your thinking, Claus.

        But this made no sense: “If you’re thinking the Republican party is mostly upper-income white males, why did Trump carry the majority of non-college educated voters?”

        What just happened was not the work of Republicans — beyond the fact that they had cajoled all these non-Republicans into their party, to their regret.

        Sure, most Republicans probably voted for him, for two reasons: They don’t know how to vote for anything but someone with “R” after his name, and they hate Hillary Clinton.

        But if only Republicans had voted for him, he’d have lost. No, he won because of all those people who don’t fit ANY traditional definition of a Republican…

      2. bud

        Because they have a negligible impact on my life. People like Trump who don’t pay taxes for 18 years affect me much, much, much, much more.

    3. Bob Amundson

      bud, have you read “Hillbilly Elegy” yet? My wife and I are from the northern Alleghenies (in the Southern Tier of New York); 75 people were in our graduating class. Those who left like us are lucky; “But for the grace of God, there go I.” Many people in our rural areas have suffered because of the loss of manufacturing, and they are very concerned about the lack of opportunities for their children, many of whom suffer from various addictions. Some people just don’t adapt, change as well as others.

      I was living in Utah during the first BRACs, and a very large army depot (in a town, Tooele, were we still own a house) shut down. It was interesting to see some adapt and go to college, gaining new skills, while others complained how unfair it all was. Complaining is not right, but it is understandable. These are my people; it’s where some of us were raised, and we still love our families and our friends that weren’t quite so lucky.

      Because of our last name, people often ask were we are from (not many Amundsons in SC), and I say New York. Often I let people think this hillbilly is a city boy …

    4. Bryan Caskey

      Why are people angry?

      I’m going to answer your question, but you’re (1) not going to like it; and (2) not really going to process it. But you asked.

      I think lots of people are sick of being bullied. I think they’re sick of sanctimonious folks (who offer no actual achievements) coming up to them and telling them that they are louts, racists, sexists, morons, and otherwise inferior. The bullying is never-ending, vicious, and it’s been done with smugness for years.

      For example, the pizza people in Indiana were just going about their daily lives, making pizzas, and the smug journalist drives out to mock them for a theoretical defense of their belief system. The next thing they know, they’re absolutely attacked by the rest of the social justice “I have a college degree, so I’m smarter than you” mob.

      It’s that. You bully someone for long enough, and they push back.

      I think lots of people are sick of being told how horrible they were all the time. And so Trump came along and gives these all folks a big ol’ hammer to hit back with. So guess what?

      They picked up the hammer.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Yeah, Bryan, you’re talking about the thing I was talking about back here, when I referred to the one theory about what’s eating these people that makes sense to me.

        It’s about not being respected.

        I don’t really have time today, but I want to do a significant post about that. One feature of it — musing about how it feels to be mocked on SNL every week. Even if they don’t watch it, it’s kind of hard to miss the weekly “cold open” skit being passed around on social media…

        1. Doug Ross

          Did you see the Black Jeopardy skit on SNL a couple weeks ago with Tom Hanks. That might dovetail into your post. Hanks plays a white guy named Doug on the game show. It’s hilarious but has a lot of subtle truths in it.

              1. bud

                Great skit. What I took from this mostly was that inner city blacks and rural whites have way more in common than not.

        2. Bryan Caskey

          And it’s not just SNL. It’s constant mockery. It’s Jon Stewart, John Oliver, et al. who love to entertain their audiences (who like to think of themselves as morally superior) by mocking the rubes who “don’t get it”.

          I have some free advice for all the folks who say they feel “unsafe” now: Stop calling everyone who supports traditional values a bigot and deplorable. Stop trying to shame and boss grown-ups around. Stop forcing people to bake cakes for other people. And for Heaven’s sake, stop going around thinking you’re superior to someone because you went to college.

          Heck, I went to college and law school. Guess what? I’m still an idiot.

          Because you did all this AND ran a horrible candidate you now get Republican control of:

          1. Presidency
          2. Senate
          3. House
          4. Majority of State Houses
          5. Majority of Governorships
          6. (About to be) Supreme Court

          So, Democrats are either going to learn from their past mistakes…or not. Not really my problem at this point. I didn’t think that people were mad/frustrated enough to actually go out and pick up the big hammer that was Trump, but they did. He was a truly awful candidate, but he was the conduit through which a great many people expressed their emotion of: Enough!

          That’s my take, anyway.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            He wasn’t “a truly awful candidate,” he was THE all-time champion awful candidate in U.S. history. Give the man some respect. 🙂

            But yes, the things you say all make sense. Especially the part about you being an idiot.

            SEE? I’m trying to do that thing you said about keeping a sense of humor…. 🙂 🙂 🙂

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              No, seriously, that was very thoughtful.

              There are two kinds of presumption about intelligence that drive me nuts:

              1. When people who are complete idiots are CONVINCED that their foolishness is supreme wisdom, and actual wisdom is foolishness. They’re downright arrogant about it, and it drives me up the wall. This category would include Trump.

              2. People who are a LITTLE bit smart, but their penetration isn’t NEARLY as good as they think. Their understanding is shockingly shallow, to anyone who thinks about issues at all. They know a few things, but they are seriously lacking in wisdom. This would include all those people you refer to who congratulate themselves for laughing at Jon Stewart, and look down on the “deplorable bigots.”

              About now, y’all are thinking of a third category: People who sneer at BOTH of these groups, certain that THEY, because they’re capable of churning out a lot of words about practically anything, are the wise ones.

              I accept service. But at this point, I don’t propose to SNEER at anybody. I’m just saying those two categories I described are pet peeves of mine…

          2. Mark Stewart

            Yeah, and just like with the Brexit voters, they are going to be surprised at what they have wrought. I don’t mean that positively, I mean the realization is going to slowly begin to dawn on voters that while they had the most miserable of choices, they probably chose the worst outcome. These were largely the voters who remember the industrial decline of the late 70s/early 80s (to say nothing of the textile decline in the 90s); they shouldn’t be surprised that the world is changing and that the value of education is growing exponentially. Make America Great Again has to be the most hollow and ironic campaign slogan ever. I grant there is a ton of inchoate fear out there – especially in the South and Rust Belt; but that doesn’t excuse responsibility for this outcome. Ultimately this is Hillary Clinton’s fault, however. No one ever wanted to see her in the White House – again – despite her record of accomplishment. I get that – I agree with it, too.

            Who knows? Maybe Trump will prove an adapt, skillful leader? His record gives no indication that’s going to happen, however.

            This was an election that was about nothing but overarching ego. The electorate had to chose. It was a lose/lose proposition. I don’t blame them for their animosity that our political system has come to this. I think we all share that feeling.

          3. JesseS

            What a dreadful, stinking evening. Went to a local bar to watch the results. By the end of the night several young Hispanic and black couples ran for the door in tears wondering why America hates them. There was a legitimate look of terror in their eyes, as if they just realized that the psychic muzzle was off the rabid dog that is white America. It was heartbreaking on multiple levels.

            By 2AM left leaning friends were messaging me, while choking down glasses of wine. How could America show her true racist colors and how could those colors be so bad? They wondered how we had just regressed 50 years in several hours? How would they tell their children about this in the morning? Hadn’t they shamed America enough to keep this from happening, by constantly reminding America that she is a racist whore of Babylon just under the surface? Hadn’t they brought enough awareness to the table?

            I hate to say this, but maybe the left needs some tough love right about now (to at least knock them out of chicken-little mode –man, they were doing that by 7:25 PM EST). It would be nice if they realized how toxic, divisive, and hyperbolic their own rhetoric and world view can be.

            Oh, it’s the “right” worldview, but they miss the fact that they all too often stake out every inch of moral high ground, to the point that there is no land left for anyone to approach them from.

            It isn’t just ideologically, it’s also cosmetic. When “pack of white guys” becomes a euphemism how do you expect “packs of white guys” to embrace you? You’ve already told the bouncer that you don’t want them past the velvet rope –if they want in they better lose the Oakleys and get some intersectional street cred.

            And don’t even get me started about academia.

            It’s why I’ve never been able to call myself a progressive, even if I have a few progressive ideas rattling around in my head that come from the far, far fringe. I know I’m a member of “the other” far too often for comfort, their comfort.

          4. bud

            Heck, I went to college and law school. Guess what? I’m still an idiot.

            We can finally agree on something. 🙂

            Bryan I don’t have these feelings of smug superiority about working class whites. That’s pretty much what I am. I’m pretty sure I make less money and struggle more than most people on this blog. In fact I’m probably the demographic bulls eye of the Trump voter. But I don’t see how people like me could ever find Trump as their champion. Sure Hillary Clinton comes across as an elitist but for crying out loud Donald Trump is far, far more of an elitist than Trump. It’s not even close. He looks down on people of all stripes with condescension and loathing like no one I’ve ever seen. And this is the guy that people want representing them? A man who lives in lavish luxury yet pays no income taxes? It’s just inconceivable that this man will suddenly start looking out for the people of coal country or the small farmer or businessman. Those are the kinds of people he’s cheated his entire life. His record is out there of the many, many times he’s cheated small business people.

            So maybe what’s going on is that people really want someone who identifies with them and they project those feelings onto Donald Trump. They are somehow seeing someone like Jimmy Carter. These are people that no one is talking about in the political world. These are people who used to be Democrats. Many could probably identify with Bernie Sanders. But I just don’t see any evidence that these types of people, however real their concerns, will be satisfied with Donald Trump.

            1. Bryan Caskey

              “These are people [Trump voters] who used to be Democrats.”

              When and why did these people decide the Democratic party no longer represented them? Or do you think they decided that Hillary didn’t represent them? I think the Democratic Party needs to try and figure out why so many people who voted for Obama refused to vote for Hillary.

              For example, Hillary lost Michigan by about 13,000 votes. Over 110k Michganders voted without casting a ballot for POTUS. There’s your election right there.

              1. Pat

                Newsweek put out information that the swing states could have gone blue if Clinton had gotten the 3rd party votes.
                And then there is the popular vote, which Clinton seems to have won.

          5. bud

            Stop forcing people to bake cakes for other people.

            This is a really interesting point that deserves a bit of empathy towards the other side’s view. The whole cake thing comes down to competing rights. Both sides have points. What it boils down to for me is a simple matter of common decency. If a baker really objects to baking a wedding cake for a gay couple because of some heart felt values then they should not be compelled to UNLESS there is really no reasonable option for the couple. I suspect there really aren’t many situations where this would be a problem. If a couple wants the cake and it is EXACTLY the type of cake baked for any wedding AND the baker is not compelled to deliver the cake to the service AND there really aren’t any good alternatives then as a matter of common decency the baker should bake the damn cake. That is not any kind of repudiation of their values any more than if they baked a cake for a couple not of their religion or race or a mixed race couple or a divorced Catholic couple or a million other possibilities.

            1. Doug Ross

              Remove the religious aspect from the scenario. Can I legally compel an artist to paint a picture of whatever I’d like her to?

              Any creative work (and that does include specialty cakes) should be open to the artist choosing not to provide the service regardless of her reason for doing so.

              Perhaps the Trump campaign should compel Phillip Bush to perform some ragtime music at the inaugural ball. As long as they pay his standard rate, he must do it, right?

            2. bud

              Let me take one more crack at the cake issue. Let’s suppose instead of a gay couple we have a big gun rights couple who want to get married in rural Montana and the only baker in town had their child killed at the Newton shooting and they are fiercely anti-gun. The next nearest baker is 200 miles away. The couple wants a cake shaped like an NR-15. Clearly anyone can see how offensive that would be for the baker and the couple should back off. But, if the couple comes in and merely wants a generic cake which they can later embellish themselves with a bride and groom brandishing guns then I would say the baker should bake the cake, provided he doesn’t have to deliver it to the ceremony. And if he still refuses? Clearly he is discriminating. Now what? Does the law get involved?

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                No, I don’t believe it should. Perhaps it’s true that, as you say, he “should bake the cake.” I’m not saying you’re right, but let’s suppose you ARE right.

                I still see no reason for the law to get involved. There’s a world of difference between what a person SHOULD do, and what the law should COMPEL him to do….

      2. bud

        No I don’t like it. Trump is the poster child for bullying those less fortunate. If you’ve even casualy followed the campaign you surely know that. So no counselor that just doesn’t really resonate.

          1. Brad Warthen

            In fact… and may I have a drumroll here…

            I think Bryan might be today’s Threadwinner. It’s not funny like Doug’s “fabulous” comment yesterday, but it was a thoughtful piece that moved us somewhat toward an answer to the burning question of the day (nay, the year — perhaps the decade): Why the hell did all those people vote for Donald Trump?

            I’m not ready to declare the question answered — I may never be there — but it was a fine step in that direction…

      1. Brad Warthen

        We already had the New World Order — back before most here had heard of Hillary Clinton. Its most dramatic manifestation was the coalition Bush 41 put together for the Gulf War, which occurred in the same year as the Soviet Union’s last gasp.

        But it slipped away from us…

  4. Bob Amundson

    I woke up my wife this morning saying “President Trump” and the next hour was spent calming her down. When will I learn. Then I heard how much stock futures were down, so I was doing some early bargain hunting. The market opened UP and is now up over 300 points. The good news is that when I didn’t see any real stock bargains I did buy the IHE Pharma Index Fund. Doug, thanks for making me feel smart!

      1. Claus

        Some people are content earning 0.4% on their money. I know people who complain about their broker taking 1%, when he’s earning them 6-10%.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yeah, uh-huh, OK. Is there something I’m supposed to sign, or what?

          Sorry. That’s the way I tend to talk when people start explaining finance to me…

      2. Doug Ross

        Well, that’s a little scary isn’t it? You don’t feel any obligation to understand basic financial concepts? I’m nothing close to an expert but I can at least grasp the concepts.

        Here’s a tip. Buy MO (Altria) and just sit on it. Nice dividend and when pot becomes legal nationally they’ll be well positioned to take advantage of it. Or buy ATT (T). Also a good dividend and my gut tells me that they will do well in the future as more and more computing shifts to the cloud which requires network bandwidth. Final tip – give me $100 and I’ll bet it on a slot machine next time I go to Vegas.

        1. Bob Amundson

          I own MO ( a great sin stock; Marlboro and booze), and it was down 2.76% today. But it is up over 112% since I purchased it (during the Great Recession; people need tobacco and booze when things are bad). BTW, it’s the only sin stock I own outside of my mutual funds. Diversity is the key!

          Dang Doug, you really are making me feel smart today!

          1. Doug Ross

            My friend who is much smarter than me said the drop for MO was due to the big cigarette tax hike passed in California. But imagine is pot was legal nationally – MO would have all the logistics in place to take advantage.

            Two others to buy and hold: JNJ and CHD. I rely on my friend to do the heavy lifting on the research and he shares his knowledge with me in return for beer.

            1. Bob Amundson

              Your friend is spot on. even though the real reason is more people wanted to sell than buy. The true free market ….

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          I don’t buy individual stocks. Never have. Oh, except that time I bought McClatchy at $39, just before it dropped to 39 cents. (This was just after McClatchy bought KR, and this was a few hundred that I’d had in KR stock and had to do SOMETHING with it.)

          I’m not as dumb as I let on — although I’m completely honest that I DO NOT LIKE TO SPEND TIME THINKING ABOUT IT.

          I have balanced investments, and what I DO is, as you say, “sit on it.” If it works for Warren Buffett, why not?

          It’s not all that much money, but what little I have, I like to be careful with…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            In my daydreams, one of the best things about being a billionaire is that I’d never have to spend time thinking about money. I’d pay some people to look after it, pay my bills, etc. And I’d pay some other people to watch THOSE people (regular audits and the like). And maybe pay some others to watch all of them.

            And then, I’d live my life, free of that boring subject…

            1. Doug Ross

              C’mon… how much time does it take to pay bills and move money around accounts these days? An hour a week?

              You don’t have to be a day trader.

              1. bud

                Doug, I find people that obsess over money to be addicts. Just a different type of drug. What difference does it really make if you earn 2% on your money or 15? It’s just not important to some of us how much money is in my savings account so long as I have enough. And whatever you do stop equating wealth with success. The 2 are NOT the same.

                1. Doug Ross

                  Saving for retirement is obsessing? Investing in large cap dividend paying stocks that you buy and hold for years is obsessing? Where the heck do you think companies get the money to build businesses that provide jobs for millions of Americans? From the tooth fairy?

                  I like that I can invest my daughter’s money for her so she can buy a home for herself. Isn’t that the American dream?

                  Money = freedom for me. It meant I could take two months off from work to travel around the country earlier this year. Or stay home for a week to walk my dog every day. Or give money to people who need it. Or give money to my church or to anyone who asks me for a donation. I don’t live in a mansion, don’t belong to a country club — I don’t even have a car of my own. But I sure like being paid what I am worth and using that money to make my family’s lives better. I won’t ever apologize for earning my salary.

                  You’ve got a very twisted view of the world. Regular people work, save money, invest, buy things they like. That’s not obsessing by any definition.

                2. Claus

                  bud, I don’t even know how to comprehend that statement. If money is a good thing, and you can put in the same effort to earn more or less of it, why wouldn’t you go for more? If you don’t like it you don’t have to keep it, you can donate all that awful money you don’t want or need to some worthwhile charity if you like. Or you can take that money and make even more money with it.

                  “Oh God, will you make it stop!!! I have way too much money and it keeps coming in no matter what I do!!!”
                  — said nobody

  5. Tim O'Keefe

    I am not surprised that he had his followers, people who obviously looked past his very apparent mental instability and sided with him anyway. What surprises me is the sheer number of followers. Because he speaks his mind? Because he isn’t politically correct? Because he speaks for the working stiff? Because he’s not Hillary Clinton?

    None of this really makes sense to me. He seems to offend almost everyone. On purpose. I get that Hillary Clinton wasn’t a great choice. Despite her experience on the world stage, she had truthiness issues. She can be caustic. She landed on the wrong side of the war in Iraq. There is a long list of ideas I can’t agree with and foreign policy blunders on record.

    But she is not mentally unstable.

    Don’t you hate it when an election comes and neither candidate seems appropriate? But this one for me was a no brainer. I love my country too much. I am a teacher of little kids. Saying the Pledge this morning? It just felt uncomfortable.

    Republican houses, Republican Supreme Court, certifiably insane Republican President. Whew! Think the undereducated white people are going to feel a great deal of relief from this?

    1. Norm Ivey

      Maybe, just maybe, when he’s unable to deliver on any significant policies that truly have any impact on those who voted for him, they’ll realize that drawing the swamp might be better accomplished by doing something about gerrymandering, and we’ll get a Congress that’s more responsive to the people.

      I don’t really believe that, though.

      1. Mark Stewart

        I was just having this conversation at dinner with shell-shocked Republicans.

        Trump pushing term limits is an epic nonstarter in Congress. But if he pivots and instead pushes for competitive districting he both gets what he wants and will gain wide bipartisan support. It’s a smart first play. Unite the people and put Congress on its heels. Win/win.

        If he goes head to head with an entrenched Republican Congress on term limits he will lose without question.

          1. Norm Ivey

            I think you’re right, and I was thinking a grass roots campaign at the state level starting with those who feel most disenfranchised, but if Trump were to embrace the idea, they would listen to him I think.

            But because I am unconvinced he has any ideas at all, and because I am convinced he will surround himself sycophants with their own agendas, drawing competitive districts will never be proposed by his administration.

          2. Mark Stewart

            Are you saying a state’s Congressional delegation isn’t in a position to influence the mechanism which holds them in power? Or that the state’s will likewise not be able to pressure the members of Congress to accept a revised protocol to draw the Congressional districts? To me, both could be in play.

            There is red meat here – and sharp knives to slice it. I see a deal to be struck; and if Trump gets anything it is how to work a deal.

  6. Norm Ivey

    It seems to me that the biggest difference between Trump and the rest of the Republican party is his willingness to speak openly against racial, ethnic and cultural groups. I have been viewing this outcome as a result as a consequence of latent racism, but while it’s related to race, maybe it’s not racism as we normally think of it.

    Are the Trump supporters feeling like minorities often have in our history? I don’t suggest that the evils of slavery or Jim Crow equate with the current status of some of these voters, but the feeling of disenfranchisement and the sense that they have been left behind and ignored by a government that seems to care more deeply about other groups–imigrants from our south and refugees from the middle east–can lead to the resentment that a virtually powerless minority might feel. That might explain the rabid backlash against political correctness.

    It’s not racism in the sense that “I don’t like those types of people,” but racism in the sense that “Our nation cares more about them than they do about me.”

    1. Bill

      Yeah, everybody wants to get in on the ”victim card“ game now. (White) folks on the right have complained for years about this or that minority group playing the “victim card,” but, really, if you look at what they say online and listen to them on call-in programs, they play it at least as much, and probably more. (For one example, just look back at the debate over the Confederate flag.) And often, their complaint about others playing the “victim card” is just their way of playing it themselves.

    2. bud

      Norm that is a good point and it fits into this theme of “I’m being ignored by the elites in Washington”. Perhaps because we just had our first black president working class whites just couldn’t see a woman as president, at least just not yet. I suspect that a lot of Trump voters, even apparently a lot of women, just feel more comfortable with a white man as their president.

    3. Doug Ross

      “Are the Trump supporters feeling like minorities often have in our history?”

      Not sure. But it certainly hasn’t helped to keep hearing “white privilege” over and over for the past year. The people in the Rust Belt, especially those whose jobs have disappeared, probably aren’t feeling a whole lot of privilege. It’s a tone deaf charge that puts many white people who don’t feel privileged or don’t feel they are prejudiced on the defensive.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            OK, I watched it.

            And they said nothing that I did not understand long before these young women were born.

            Which, frankly, is one of the things that irritates me about the phrase, “white privilege” — whether it comes from my good friend Kathryn or from these extremely young women. It seems to imply that there’s a lecture coming, one that will tell me things I already know, and do so in a patient, patronizing tone that will send me ’round the bend.

            It just seems to have so much presumption embedded in it…

            1. Bill

              If you heard a patronizing tone is this, you definitely went in with your back up, not with an open mind. And if I may add, the reference to “extremely young women” could be taken as patronizing itself.

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              Oh, it was intentional.

              There’s something extremely galling about having a person patiently explain to you something you understood before that person was born.

              That’s definitely going to bother me…

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                There are a lot of unpleasant things about getting older. We should at least be allowed the compensation of having younger people acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, we already knew the things that they have recently figured out…

              2. Bill

                So nobody’s been born since you? History ended when you came on the scene?

                There are SOME folks out there who may and do need to have this explained to them. So I really don’t know what you’re going on about.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  “History ended when you came on the scene?” Nope. Nor did it begin when these young women were born.

                  I was just explaining why age was relevant to the point I was making — since you said I was being patronizing.

                  Probably the BEST I’m going to be able to do with such young people explaining things to me is pat them on the head for being so earnest and all, and trying to work things out. But that would be MORE patronizing, so…

                2. Bill

                  Not everything is about YOU. But by continuing to come back again and again about this, you make it seem like you think it is. The original post wasn’t responding to a comment from you. So when you go and on, you start to sound pretty danged cranky.

        1. Doug Ross

          I’m not going to bother watching a video of someone explaining to me what I should feel about my white privilege. I don’t have it. I didn’t ask for it. And I don’t use it. Sorry if I won’t accept liberal’s projection of guilt and self-loathing.

          And all I said is that if you try telling a guy who has lost his career in the Rust Belt (or the textile mills in South Carolina) that he’s got some sort of white privilege, the response isn’t going to be “I did not know that! I should vote for Hillary to help me feel worse about myself”.

  7. Herb Brasher

    I haven’t really seen a discussion yet here on how the election is going to affect foreign policy. That is of course a formost concern for Americans living abroad, like myself. About 6% of Germans view Trump favorably. The DAWN newspaper is a pretty good paper and reflects well the thinking of the educated class in the country where I live now. This article pretty much sums it up:

    1. bud

      Herb foreign policy stuff came up quite a lot during the campaign. Many of us are just too much in shock to really to focus on policy. In a few days once we all adjust to the reality of what we are facing all kinds of issues will be revisited.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      And of course, what Herb raises is the main issue — the one that matters most, the arena in which the president acts more independently of checks and balances. The arena where a word, a glance, a misplaced gesture can have serious consequences.

      And it’s going to be HORRIBLE. This deeply vulgar, ignorant man will not have the respect of ANY foreign leaders, friend or foe. And neither will we, because we elected him.

      To begin with, the Russians and the Chinese just got exactly what they wanted — a complete boob running the United States, diminishing our country to where a vacuum is created for them, especially the Chinese, to move into.

      But the lack of respect will manifest itself in countless other, more subtle ways…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        And Bud and Doug should definitely read that piece, since it’s by a guy who despises George W. Bush as much as they do, explaining how much worse Trump is…

  8. Phillip

    There are a million “fathers” to the ascendency of Trump—maybe some of what Bryan said (though sorry, Bryan, real racism and bigotry are always things worthy of being mocked, derided, criticized), definitely some of what Norm said, and other factors including even just the disorienting speed of technological (and other) change in our society resulting in a feeling of displacement or “left behind”-ness by millions in our country. And we can blame whomever we like, but we have to deal with the now.

    The reality is that, whatever the sources of these resentments, Trump A) brilliantly tapped into those feelings around the country to become the most powerful person in the world, B) has never really shown that he has ever given a rat’s behind about the concerns and aspirations of the segments of the population that ended up electing him, C) in the course of achieving “A”, amplified some worrisome sentiments among large portions of our nation who would like an authoritarian figure to “fix” our problems quickly, without the interference of pesky factors like a free press, and with some villains on hand (Mexicans, Muslims, etc.) to scapegoat for all our problems, and D) retains a colossal (if fragile) ego and relentless tendency towards self-aggrandizement that will not be satiated even by gaining the Oval Office.

    So what we all need to be on guard against are not the policies that Trump may pursue, but rather, any kind of chipping away on any fundamental aspects of our actual system of governance. It’s going to fall to those who might like the “ends” of some of Trump’s policies but worry about the “means” of getting there to sound the alarm if Trump begins to chafe at the harness of limitations on executive power. I hate to say it because I disagree with them on so much (mostly foreign policy) but this is where McCain and Graham may end up playing very important roles, may even become people in whom we all need to place great trust and faith.

    1. Herb

      Bud, I was referring to this thread in particular. I haven’t been reading this blog for months now, especiay being in South Asia with a new language, courses, and surroundings to deal with. No doubt there have been many foreign policy discussions here; it was the shock of the result that led me back here, to look and see who’s still commenting and what was said after the actual results came in.
      Despite Brad, can we get rid of the Electoral College? It serves no function anymore, certainly not the one that was intended. Electoral college representatives do not provide any kind of representative kind of governance. When the agrarian economy ceased, and with it the inability of the average American to really be engaged with, and educated about the issues, the need for this outdated system ceased. Everybody in the world is wondering why on earth we hold on to such a bizarre and outdated system.

      1. Doug Ross

        California and New York should not decide the election. It would be too easy for a candidate to make promises that would benefit those two states.

        1. Claus

          One question I have is are absentee ballots even counted? In the past I believe that they were stored and only counted if there were numbers that could affect the outcome of a race.

          For example, if Candidate A gets 500 votes, Candidate B gets 200 votes. Absentee ballots only number 100, so even if Candidate B gets all 100 he still loses… so there is no point in counting them.

          Of course, if we eliminate the electoral college, every vote counts.

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          I assume you meant that as a defense of the Electoral College. I agree with you.

          It has been very disturbing to me to look at those red-blue maps the last few elections and see how LITTLE of the country is blue — even in elections in which the Democrat won. It seems to be a situation bound to cause deep resentment in “flyover land.”

          And it REALLY has to be galling if you’re a Republican.

          Basically, without the Electoral College, there wouldn’t have been a Republican elected president since 1988. Which would really have flipped off most of the country, considered geographically instead of as a function of population density.

          Should the nation REALLY ignore what Kansas wants just because so many more people are packed into New York?

          Many would say, immediately, YES! I do not.

          The Electoral College is far from perfect, and really falls far short even if you consider it as Doug just described. But what should replace it? If you say direct democracy, I’m going to have some concerns. I think the Framers were REALLY wise to make sure the various parts of government were chosen by different constituencies. The only part of the national government that was supposed to be directly elected by majorities of people (by the passions of the mob at a given moment, if you’ll allow that) was the House.

          I think they got the other parts right, but the Electoral College DOES need work….

      2. Bryan Caskey

        “Everybody in the world is wondering why on earth we hold on to such a bizarre and outdated system.”

        Short answer: Federalism.

        The United States is a country comprised of states. Electing the federal executive should result in someone who has broad national appeal. If you did away with it, and went straight to a popular vote, you could get a candidate who is simply a regional candidate. The founders of our country didn’t want that, so they set up a system that balanced out the smaller states with larger states. No one region of the country has enough votes to elect the President on their own. So there’s a leavening effect.

        If you’re a baseball person, think about the World Series. It’s the same reason why we decide the World Series by games won, not by aggregate runs scored over 7 games.

        But hey, I get the argument for doing away with it if I were someone who lived in an urban big city. In such a system, the candidates for President would cater towards big cities only and advance all the ideas that big city dwellers want. That’s the Democratic Party’s base. Unfortunately for the big cities, the electoral college is in the Constitution, so you can’t get rid of it unless you get most of all the small states to agree [Ratify an Amendment] to give up their ability to have a say in the election.

    2. Doug Ross

      Executive orders like those wielded by Obama may come back to haunt Democrats. The precedent is there. It’s going to be a tough sell for Democrats to say “You can’t do that!”

      I also expect Democrats to use all of the same techniques Republicans have used over the past eight years to hamper Trump’s agenda. But now it’s okay. Hypocrisy is job one in politics.

      1. Claus

        There’s speculation that today’s meeting between Obama and Trump will include Obama reminding Trump of the tradition of retaining executive orders by former presidents… except Obama will not talk about the executive orders of Bush’s that he repealed and began the repealing process before he even was sworn into office. Obama will likely not use his favorite phrase “elections have consequences” during their time together. Obama likely knows Trump is going to do everything in his power to make sure Obama’s legacy consists nothing but failure and will likely go down as being the President who accomplished the least while in office.

    3. Brad Warthen Post author

      Of course, Phillip, I have long “placed great trust and faith” in McCain and Graham — for some of the reasons you have not.

      But I’m kind of ticked at both of them right now.

      They’re part of that large group of Republicans Who Knew Better — and failed to lead.

      These are guys who have exhibited a lot of courage in the past, but that was not in evidence this year. They both failed to do the one thing that might have helped — stand up and declare that they were voting for Hillary Clinton, which was the only way to stop this guy, and urge others to do the same.

      I know why they didn’t — they wanted to keep getting elected, and a Republican most likely can’t do that after saying he’ll vote for someone the party despises so much.

      But as much as I want both of them in the Senate, stopping Trump was more important. I suppose it’s human nature — human weakness — that they didn’t see it that way.

      At least they had an excuse, though. What’s the excuse of the two President Bushes? Their political careers are over. Both probably DID vote for Hillary. They should have come out and said so. What stopped them? A desire to protect Jeb’s political future? WHAT political future?

  9. Claus

    Prediction – The Republicans will hold the White House through 2028. Trump will not run for a 2nd term, he’s made his point and will be tired of slumming in a smaller house and less luxurious modes of transportation. Mike Pence will get the Republican nomination and be elected to two terms.

    In 2028, the Democrats will run Chelsea Clinton as their candidate.

    1. Claus

      As a side note, how crazy do you think Inauguration Day will be? I know people who could care less about politics who are thinking about attending. We’ve seen how Trump pulled people into his rallies by the tens of thousands. I believe this will be larger than Obama’s first inauguration when black churches from around the country bused people into Washington.

  10. Harry Harris

    I go to church with a lot of Republicans who voted for Trump. It’s an affluent church with mostly upper and middle income folks. They did what the Christian right-wing media and folks like Franklin Graham told them to – vote against abortion, for guns, against gays, for a government run on Christian values against Islam. These are not uneducated struggling, white folks afraid for their jobs. They are mostly well-off white folks who think their country has been taken over by “blacks,” latinos, gays, and “liberals.” They mean well for the most part, but like the Pharisees of Jesus’s time, they only see the wrong in others, ignore the divine demand for justice and mercy. and go around blaming. But they feel they are doing the Lord’s work. People will die needlessly because of this.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I didn’t realize that’s what you were talking about.

            I have a slight handicap in reading comments — I read them in the dashboard, where they simply appear in reverse order of when they were written. Unless I click over to another tab to see what the person was responding to (which I usually do), I can misunderstand the context.

            I didn’t click over that time…

      1. Harry Harris

        Yes, it is (herd mentality). Often it is a question of whose sin the pastor or his closest followers choose to blame. I vote based on the direction my faith guides me, but I try to not promote my religious beliefs being codified into law or promoted by public dollars. If I can’t make a civil case for a position (eg turn the other cheek, resist not an evil one, do good to those who hate you) though supported, I believe by the prophets and Jesus, I choose to render unto Caesar (not advocate it as public policy). If I can make a civil case for its effectiveness as public policy (eg a living wage -same Biblical supporters), then I support it tend to support its adoption and encourage my Christian friends and acquaintances to do so also.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been a member of a congregation where the pastor in any way instructed people on how to vote. And of course, that’s exactly what a lot of non-Catholics think Catholic clergy do. But it’s completely outside of my experience.

          Interestingly, at the Bernardin lecture recently, during the Q&A, someone asked our speaker (a priest, and president of DePaul University) why pastors DIDN’T offer political views more.

          He was a good speaker, but he didn’t really answer that question adequately.

          I have no idea how my fellow parishioners voted, but I’d guess mostly for Hillary — if they were eligible to vote. Remember, I generally attend the Spanish Mass… At English Masses, I don’t know… I’m a bit out of touch with those portions of the congregation.

          I used to know sort of where my pastor was politically — he was a liberal Democrat, but fairly quiet about it. But he retired, and I really don’t have a read on my current pastor….

    1. Claus

      I wonder how the majority of white churches near the trailer parks in Red Bank and Cayce voted? For Hillary??? From your comments that’s what I’m suspecting happened. Because only rich white folk vote for Republicans.

      1. Harry Harris

        I’m relating my experience in a new church I’ve moved to since a recent move. In my former church, somewhat more diverse, I’m certain most of the white members voted for Trump. There are a few Republican political activists in that congregation and several outspoken “conservative” members. My post was in response to the seemingly prevailing idea that most of the groundswell Trump support came from white folks in economic jeopardy – it didn’t. Much of it is from what i would call cultural and religious bigotry among well-off and educated people.

        1. Harry Harris

          Most I know voted straight down the line Republican. While Trump certainly is a maverick among Republicans, the votes were more against the Democrats and Clinton than for Trump.

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