Dealing With a Trump Presidency

As scientists of many stripes have pointed out, it’s best not to rely on gut instincts. Our brains are wired a certain way thanks to evolutionary processes, thus, while our instincts were good for avoiding dangerous animals and eating poisonous plants, they are often ill-suited to understanding our modern world. That is why I’m not terribly upset that I trusted polls and logical explanations from people with established credentials when they predicted Hillary would win the election. My instincts told me Hillary would lose, and Michael Moore made a compelling argument as to why she would lose, but what would have sounded better- I trusted data and experts and they were wrong, or I trusted a hunch and Michael Moore and was wrong?

Of course I wasn’t alone in being wrong about the results of this election- it certainly turned out to be an upset. But I have to say it doesn’t impact me the same way. That’s the beauty of subscribing to a political philosophy that essentially wants to see the destruction of the entire existing world order (to replace it with something better; I’m not the Joker). A Hillary administration would have just meant more of the status quo. The dark reactionary side of America would continue to fester and grow and they’d get another shot at the White House in four years. If they didn’t win yesterday, they probably would have won then. And while I realize that this is going to impact certain groups of Americans far more than it would myself, even if I were living there, the simple fact is what’s done is done, and it’s time to start thinking about how to react. Without having much to go on now, here are a few observations.

In Defense of Putin

Already the Anne Applebaum-types are screaming about how this is a victory for Vladimir Putin. Do you know what happens when a Western liberal pundit does that? A Russian media source picks up on it and then they publicize it in Russia- “Look! The liberals are in hysterics! Putin does it again! We’re a great power!”  In short, when you do this, you are essentially indirectly creating Kremlin propaganda.

What is more, perhaps if the Hillary campaign and their partisan pundits had learned to shut the fuck up about Putin a few months ago they might have won this election. Trump, for all his terrible non-solutions, focused on domestic issues. Americans don’t give a crap about Putin or Russia. Droning on about how Russia is now a threat and Trump is a Russian agent makes most Americans think “Huh? What? Why are they talking about the Russians?” 

The thing about the Putin issue was that it was something like a sliding scale. There was a right way to talk about it and a wrong way. There were also limits to how much one should have talked about it. The Democratic Party went way into the red on both counts. Look what happened.

To all those lamenting the collapse of your precious liberal order and laying it at Vladimir Putin’s tiny feet, please shut up. Your liberal order collapsed because it was a rotten structure. Putin, and a whole host of other dictators and corrupt figures are by-products of your system.

You didn’t lose because of Putin, trolls in St. Petersburg, Sputnik or RT. You lost because you are defending a bankrupt system that needed change, and because you barred the way to positive change, you opened the door to reaction. This is a result of your Munich betrayal. Own it.

Taking Stock

After 2012 it was said that the GOP needed to do some serious soul-searching. While the GOP establishment might have been displaced in this campaign, it’s clear that the Democrats are the ones who ought to start asking question. Now would be a good time to start re-thinking the strategy of abandoning the white working class and rural whites which began in the 90’s, ironically under a Clinton administration.

What I really love now is that us radicals, including the Bernie supporters who constantly suffered condescending lectures from “reasonable” people with fancy degrees, now get to dictate terms to the Democratic party. Anyone would be stupid not to. These dipshits insisted that both Trump and Sanders were unelectable. Yeah, that turned out pretty well, didn’t it? Those polls that showed Bernie crushing Trump? They’re looking a lot better than expert projections just a few days ago. The Republicans ran an anti-establishment candidate against an unlikable, entitled candidate who shamelessly promotes the status quo. That means no more lectures from DNC people or their pundits. You keep your mouths shut, listen, and take notes.

Sowing and Reaping

Since the days of the Tea Party I’ve had a growing feeling that one problem with American right-wing populism is that these people never get what they are demanding. They want “small government” and “fiscal responsibility,” but they still end up with Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, farm subsidies, federal contracts, federal emergency relief, and massive military spending.

Trump won the primaries because in the past, the aforementioned people didn’t get what they wanted from their own candidates either. They listened to enraged carnival barkers but got mild, moderate conservatives peddling the same tired old rhetoric. Now they got what they wanted.

Personally I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump not only totally jettisons all his supposed “policies,” but actively denies he ever made them. I think that’s just fine. Let his supporters chew on that, since many of them won’t be able to afford as much food anyway. But even if he does attempt to follow through on some of his promises, the economic fallout would probably be even more devastating. Either way, his supporters lose.

Perhaps it sounds cruel, but sometimes these people need to learn the hard way. It certainly worked for me. What can you do when you tell a child the stove is hot dozens of times and they keep reaching for that red, glowing burner? Stop badgering people and let them have a life-enriching experience.

Some people will learn from this and be receptive to better ideas, others won’t do quite so well. Welcome those who repent with open arms.

Para Bellum

I’ll come right out and say it- America’s left is weak. It’s divided and dominated by idiotic identity politics theories cooked up in academia with very little application in the real world. While these theories aren’t entirely useless, yesterday showed us how truly incapable they are of transforming America for the better. Results are all that matters, and Trumpism got results.

Now the left has a golden opportunity before it. It can go on an all-out attack and the Democrats can’t say shit about it. If they say something is too radical, remind them of 8 November 2016. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

At the same time, much of the American left needs to toughen up. I don’t want to sound like one of those millennial-bashing clickbait columnists, but yes, I’m sorry- the American left is too weak. I don’t mean weak in terms of numbers, but rather mentally, emotionally, and physically weak. There are simply too many leftists, even in radical circles, who fit the 4chan stereotype about “Social Justice Warriors.” I can tell you from experience that right-wing thugs and militia types aren’t going to give you any trigger warnings beyond the sound of a safety coming off.

If you just read that and you’re thinking: “OMG! Here he goes with cis-hetero-normative toxic masculinity crap!” you are part of the problem. This isn’t about masculinity. A Ukrainian woman, Ludmila Pavlichenko, killed roughly 309 men with a sniper rifle. I don’t care about your sexuality or your gender identity- you may very well need courage, discipline, mental fortitude, and emotional control to survive. Most fascists are basically bullies who prefer easy targets. Knowing that there’s a large, militant leftist movement that is also armed and trained will keep these people in check. The standard liberal toolbox surely didn’t. What you learned in college doesn’t work. Your intersectionality, call-out culture, and “solidarity” didn’t do shit.

On that note, it’s really time to start re-engaging rural and working class whites. Contrary to what the liberal elite will claim for the next few years, Trump’s victory wasn’t their fault. But he couldn’t have won without their support. Writing them off as racist and backward doesn’t help. You have to get to the root of that racism. Yes, you have to listen to them. No, you don’t have to accept everything or in some cases anything they say as true or correct, but a dialog needs to take place. For more on why this is the case, I suggest listening to David Wong on this Cracked podcast.

The bottom line is you can’t claim you’re for an inclusive equal society while writing off such a massive demographic.

Conclusion

The way I see it, you can either whine about this election or go out and do something about it. It’s no loss for me- I hated Hillary and this election has proven that instinct to be absolutely correct. Part of me is glad I won’t have to feel any responsibility for whatever bullshit she might have got up to had she won.

I’ve resigned myself to 2016 being utter shit worldwide. Bring on 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

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46 thoughts on “Dealing With a Trump Presidency

  1. AndyT

    Will this election finally be a turning point?

    These pundits keep accusing Putin – but how come this supposedly almighty man is able to disrupt elections and referendums abroad while struggling with his own Country’s weak economy?

    Last night, as soon as Michigan’s results were announced, the real roots of the problem should have been understood once for all…

    As far as I have read on your blog, I cannot say I agree with every and each of your positions (or all of what I perceive as such), but this post strongly resonates with me: populism wins because it at least deals with more concrete matters, with people’s real fears – unemployment, housing, etc.

    Regardless of labels, of how “liberal”, “leftist” or whatever we might be, we have to unite and offer a real alternative; “Intersectionality” isn’t bad per se, as long as it includes fighting against economic discrimination – which is often a source of further inequality.

    As usual I’ve ended up writing a sermon… but that’s what I wanted to say.

    Reply
  2. Sohryu_L

    Personally I’d be all for letting Americans choke on Trump, were it not the fact that it’s looking pretty grim right now for Ukraine.

    The vatnik victory going on in social media is also disgusting.

    Reply
  3. zephyrean

    > Already the Anne Applebaum-types are screaming about how this is a victory for Vladimir Putin.

    It absolutely *is* a victory FOR Vladimir Putin. Putin and his cronies jizz in their pants after a victory in the culture war AND have an easier way squirreling away stolen national riches. Russian oligarchs don’t like the chance of having the origin of their assets questioned, and now they won’t be.

    What it isn’t: it isn’t a victory OF Vladimir Putin, and it sure as fuck isn’t a victory for *Russia*, even if we assign positive utility to human rights violations in Russia that Russian citizens *favor*, because those weren’t going anywhere anyway. No matter what terrible things happen to the US economy, Russians are going to get hit harder.

    > start re-thinking the strategy of abandoning the white working class and rural whites

    It’s not the white working class. Trump won *all* the whites.

    > us radicals… now get to dictate terms to the Democratic party

    No you don’t. It’s been proven that white American voters hate brown people more than they like “radical” [leftist] policies like food security and healthcare.

    > You keep your mouths shut, listen, and take notes.

    Yes, they’re going to shut up and listen… to the few leftover moderate #NeverTrump Republicans, and those who will pretend to have been #NeverTrump after they’ll be inevitably scammed and betrayed by Cheeto Jesus. (And it won’t amount to anything, because scotus, redistricting, etc). Progressives will win when enough whites die out. It’ll be a glorious day, but we won’t be around.

    > Those polls that showed Bernie crushing Trump? They’re looking a lot better than expert projections just a few days ago.

    Polls with Bernie crushing Trump are no more reliable than polls with Hillary crushing Trump. He’s Jewish, FFS. Racist whites who gave Trump his victory are pretty much the opposite of progressive “radicals” and would never vote for (((Bernie))).

    > the economic fallout would probably be even more devastating. Either way, his supporters lose.

    They don’t lose. They get what they wanted all along: a de facto war on brown people. Sure, they’ll suffer too, but it’s only expected in a war.

    > Contrary to what the liberal elite will claim for the next few years, Trump’s victory wasn’t their [the white working class’] fault.

    Look at the demographic breakdown. It’s pretty fucking clear whose fault it is.

    Reply
    1. Your favourite internet writer

      It’s been proven that white American voters hate brown people

      Bullshit

      I am “leftist” in some key economic questions (healthcare, minimum wage) but I absolutely can’t stand what Hillary represents: Nutty identity politics.

      Instead of taking care of people, the “progressives” progressed into nutters territory the last decades. There’s a strong vibe there that “women are the better people” on principle, which is absolutely sexist bullshit (early MRA authors like Farrel and Vilar wrote some powerful books on this type of sexism), bizarre identity politics shoved down the throats (pronouns like xe,), forcing hysteria on campuses, mob and lynch mentality.

      Also all the unneeded unrest, all the bs culture war, like trying to replace Christmas with “holidays” (that effort was real in certain circles). Doesn’t matter if you’re an atheist or Christian, but a reality check is in order: Christianity today is the most peaceful religion, even the bible belt type. It’s also integral to the history of Europe and America. Fact. The effort by “internet atheist”-types to lump “I don’t approve homosexuality” together with “will cut your head off for drawing Muhammad” was disingenuous.

      Don’t like what I write? Tough shit. Trump 2016!

      People needed re-assurance that all their hard-work in life was not for nil, that they won’t be replaced by underpaid Chinese slaves, or that they won’t be driven off from their homes because hipster-types are suddenly moving in (gentrification).

      Instead they got BS all the time.

      I am glad Trump won. That was a much needed wake-up call for all the ivory tower asshats.

      Reply
      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “but I absolutely can’t stand what Hillary represents: Nutty identity politics.”

        She doesn’t, really. If anything Hillary represents cynical, power politics. She changed her position on various social issues based on what was useful at the time.

        “Instead of taking care of people, the “progressives” progressed into nutters territory the last decades.”

        According to some people on the internet, perhaps. You know when I was young I was being told the same thing. I was told that by the time I reached high school we’d have mandatory education on homosexuality, Christianity would be banned in schools, etc. None of that shit actually happened.

        “There’s a strong vibe there that “women are the better people””

        I’ve only got that vibe from a few feminists, and this is mostly on the internet. Sure, you might meet someone like that on a college campus, but outside? It’s not really an issue.

        ” (pronouns like xe,”

        You know there are millions, possibly tens of millions of Americans who have never even heard of this concept? I’m aware of it because of course the whole internet had to have a moral panic about it. I guarantee you that stupid ideas like this (gender neutral pronouns has no bearing on the inclusiveness or egalitarianism of a society) are a flash in the pan. Again, when I was younger, we were constantly bombarded with propaganda about words like “persyn, womyn, humyn, etc.” In my whole life, I NEVER encountered anyone in the real world who wrote like that. I knew exactly ONE person online who used those terms (and we constantly made fun of them because they are conceptually idiotic), and that was in a far left community.

        “Also all the unneeded unrest, all the bs culture war, like trying to replace Christmas with “holidays” (that effort was real in certain circles). ”

        Nobody is trying to replace Christmas. Businesses, which are PRIVATE property, started using Happy Holidays for several reasons, all related to their bottom line. It’s also not just about inclusiveness; since the Christmas season practically starts on Thanksgiving Thursday afternoon now, the “Holiday Season” now includes another holiday.

        How can you claim people need to toughen up when you’re hysterical about businesses saying “Happy Holidays?” Do you need a safe space, perhaps decorated with candy canes and reindeer.

        “Doesn’t matter if you’re an atheist or Christian, but a reality check is in order: ”

        I think a reality check is in order for you- America is a secular nation with separation of church and state, based on our Constitution. Nobody gives a shit what religion you consider to be more peaceful.

        “Christianity today is the most peaceful religion, even the bible belt type. ”

        Incorrect. Jainism would be the most peaceful religion and has been for some time. And I find it hard to believe your claim given the number of far-right groups that claim to be Christian. Not to mention Russia’s “volunteers” who claim they’re defending Orthodoxy…from other Orthodox believers.

        “It’s also integral to the history of Europe and America. Fact. ”

        So is paganism, genocide, etc.

        “The effort by “internet atheist”-types to lump “I don’t approve homosexuality” together with “will cut your head off for drawing Muhammad” was disingenuous.”

        Most people never made that claim. You don’t really have to “approve” of homosexuality. It’s just that the state in the US says you can’t discriminate against people based on things they have no control over (and a few things they do control, like religion).

        “Don’t like what I write? Tough shit. Trump 2016!”

        Wow! So edgy. Too bad you’re in Germany.

        The last couple paragraphs you wrote were actually quite accurate.

        But that brings me to another point, and I really wish you’d pay attention here.

        In your last point, you actually pointed to real pressing problems. All that other crap about pronouns and the War on Christmas are nothing but trivial or non-existent bullshit.

        Now since we know Trump isn’t going to do jack shit to address those REAL concerns you listed, why let those trivial things drive you toward supporting someone like Trump?

        If the problems are economic, and they are, then let’s work on that instead of pretending the problem is internet feminists and Youtube vloggers. Obviously Hillary would have just been a continuation of the status quo, but people could have used that time to organize.

        Of course now they have no choice. That’s why this election doesn’t bother me too much.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Oh yeah and let me say I’ve been willing to say tough shit to real “social justice warriors” for a long time now. I’m even more willing now. Many of those people are themselves privileged in one way or another. That’s why concentrating on the real issue, class, is so important. It’s much better than following a psychotic carnival barker.

      3. Your favourite internet writer

        Jainism would be the most peaceful religion and has been for some time.

        Yeah, and it has a membership count comparable to Scientology.

        America is a secular nation with separation of church and state

        That’s why it has money with “In God we trust” printed on it.

        You’re in denial. America has a state religion: Americanism (“One Nation under God”). It’s Christanity mixed with founding-father worship. Most Americans adhere to it and are completely fine with it (and they are usually super-nice people). Retro-claiming it’s oh so secular bla bla bla is denial, really. Your bias is blinding you.

        That’s not a question about what you or I personally believe, it’s a question what the actual culture of the country in question is. And America, outside of hipster-county, is surely not Dawkins-Land.

        Russia has also a state religion, it’s called “Russia is great”. As long as Russia is great, it doesn’t matter what the actual ideology is. That’s why cross-wearing Orthodox separatists can wear Stalin tatoos with pride and would restore the Soviet Union in a heartbeat and give up their orthodoxy if needed when Russia would be great in return and build a Mars base before the Americans do it.

      4. Jim Kovpak Post author

        “Yeah, and it has a membership count comparable to Scientology.”

        Scientology has 4-6 million adherents or more? That’s beside the point. You were talking about peacefulness.

        “That’s why it has money with “In God we trust” printed on it.”

        That was added to the money after WWII. US law is not based on slogans printed on money. It is based on the Constitution and statute.

        “You’re in denial. America has a state religion: Americanism (“One Nation under God”). It’s Christanity mixed with founding-father worship. ”

        I’m sorry but this is demonstrably false.

        If you want to call it a part of the American ideology, maybe, but a state religion? No. Even if that were the case, it wouldn’t be good.

        “Retro-claiming it’s oh so secular bla bla bla is denial, really. Your bias is blinding you.”

        There’s a difference between having a religious population and a state religion or a religiously-based state.

        And by the way, look up the Treaty of Tripoli some time. The text that was unanimously passed by congress says that the United States was in no way founded on the basis of the Christian faith.

        “And America, outside of hipster-county, is surely not Dawkins-Land.”

        Sure, but I think once again you’re letting an internet phenomenon- in this case “new atheists” blind you to reality on the ground.

        Besides, it’s now clear that this was largely an issue of turnout. Trump won with fewer votes than McCain and Romney. This means that Zephyrean is wrong to say that poor whites voted against their interests because they hated “brown people.” First of all, most people under 30,000 voted Hillary. Second, and more importantly, if whites were that racist far more of them could have come out and crushed Hillary even harder.

        And no, I’m not going to blame those whites who didn’t come out to vote against Trump because the fact is that Hillary did worse with other groups as well, interestingly enough- Latinos. Ditto with white women. While that supports the white thesis, it goes against the women thesis.

    2. ComnCents

      zephyrean is quite the racist!

      “It’s been proven that white American voters hate brown people more than they like “radical” [leftist] policies like food security and healthcare.”

      “Progressives will win when enough whites die out. It’ll be a glorious day, but we won’t be around.”

      “They get what they wanted all along: a de facto war on brown people.”

      Reply
    3. alkeilani

      Trump did not win “all” whites, only a (not so extensive) majority in every generation and economic class.
      When Jim talked about “abandoning rural working class whites”, he isn’t saying that they are the majority of Trump supporters, but rather that “uneducated whites” in their majority were Democrats for decades, they voted for Bill Clinton, to a lesser extent they supported Obama, but this time their vote went for Trump. His victory would have been much less likely without their vote (see Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, which went red for the first time since 1988, and where the election was decided).
      You can’t blame “all Whites” and hope for them to “die out” and then complain about racism.
      That mindset of “safe spaces” and “we are victimized by other groups” is no different from the mindset of Trump supporters. Many of them also believe in “racial confrontation”, and people being inherently dangerous because of their ethnicity.
      Whites will never “die out”, nor will they even become a minority in the US. You will never win any election without the support of at least millions of whites.
      A huge number of people didn’t vote, including amongst “people of color”, and the people who were convinced that both candidates were “equally bad” don’t get enough blame in my view.
      More important, please don’t forget that one in ten afro-american voters, and at least one-in-four asian american and hispanic voters chose Trump. Why do they get a pass? Why should “Whites” who abstained or even went for third party candidates be more blamed than them ?
      It’s time to realize that in every day life, it’s not a confrontation between “oppressive white males” and “minorities”, and a coherent group of “minorities”. Afro-americans don’t necessarily want more immigration from Latin america. Many Hispanics and Mexicans identify as White, are actually White, and don’t feel any solidarity with Afro-americans. All those people don’t necessarily like Chinese, much less Muslims. Last but not least, misogyny is quite prevalent amongst all those groups, not to mention opposition to homosexual marriage.
      However I agree that Bernie wouldn’t have won, but not because he’s Jewish. They would have labeled him a “left-wing radical”, which had some truth in it. Many Dems would have stayed home, and Michael Bloomberg would have run and split the remaining blue vote.

      Reply
  4. Ivan Sorensen

    The concern I have is that last night was also a vote against pretty much every left-wing policy.

    People voted in droves for a candidate and party that is against minimum wage increases, anti-union, against holding wealth accountable and against civil rights.

    The notion that “if we just replace one person with another, it all goes away” is exactly the sort of thing Sanders was talking about, when he talked about building a change of consensus from the ground up.

    I dont know what the answer is right now, but simple solutions are usually wrong solutions.

    Reply
    1. sglover

      It’s not clear to me that **any** “left wing policy” was really on offer. That got squashed by the Clintonites. I mean, I guess you might consider Obamacare kinda sorta “left wing” by the bastard standards of today, but that Rube Goldberg contraption got spawned in the goddam Heritage Foundation, and midwifed by Mitt Romney. If Obama had ever grown some balls, prosecuted some banksters with at least as much zeal as he devoted to breaking up the Occupy movement (which basically consisted of people **camping out in public squares, for fuck’s sake!), or stood up for **real** health care rights, then we could talk about left wing policy.

      Reply
  5. Thorsten

    “Most fascists are basically bullies who prefer easy targets. Knowing that there’s a large, militant leftist movement that is also armed and trained will keep these people in check”
    Yeeeeeaaaah…sorry, but I have to disagree with you on that one. If anything, it (or much rather the inevitable, irrational fear and hysteria about the “Commie Army”) may drive the last remaining moderate middle-class voters into the arms of the fascists…Weimar is coming

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Well conservatives tend to believe in a weird type of Schrodinger’s Liberal. On one hand they’re a “union thug” or “urban thug” (WINK WINK!), on the other hand they’re limp-wristed SJWs who get panic attacks when they see a photo of an AR-15. Obviously they can’t be both.

      But as someone who has been in close contact with a cross-section of far right types, I can tell you that there are a few truly hard people, the types who don’t even flinch when someone pulls a gun on them, and then there are a lot of wannabes and fantasizers. This goes double for the so-called alt-right. The sort of boots I knew would smash your average alt-righter if they had a chance to talk to them in person for more than 15 minutes. Too much talk of memes and an appreciation of anime doesn’t mesh well with these people.

      Reply
      1. gunlord500

        Well conservatives tend to believe in a weird type of Schrodinger’s Liberal. On one hand they’re a “union thug” or “urban thug” (WINK WINK!), on the other hand they’re limp-wristed SJWs who get panic attacks when they see a photo of an AR-15. Obviously they can’t be both.

        I was joking around about that with a friend of mine the other day. His response was that the “effete weak faggots” manipulated either government authorities and/or bigger, stronger black people to do their dirty work. It wouldn’t surprise me if that was the standard conservative response to that sort of self-contradiction.

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Well a lot of people aren’t prospering. Wealth inequality is still a problem. See while David Wong isn’t entirely correct about Trump leading a rural white revolution, he’s not wrong about the county electoral maps. All that red you see is largely dead or dying America. Not all of it came out for Trump, but very little to almost none of it came out for Hillary.

      This is why Applebaum is part of the problem. People like Hillary are constantly telling America that the status quo is fine and nobody believes that.

      Reply
      1. Robert Radtke

        “Well a lot of people aren’t prospering. Wealth inequality is still a problem. See while David Wong isn’t entirely correct about Trump leading a rural white revolution, he’s not wrong about the county electoral maps. All that red you see is largely dead or dying America. Not all of it came out for Trump, but very little to almost none of it came out for Hillary.”

        The Democratic Party should try to reach out to those closely-knitted municipalities. I am thinking at the moment that they would accept government taking over industry, provided that if the government sits there and does nothing, the town would die.
        I’m sorta thinking that they are quite a bit similar to native american tribes. As the native tribes want to keep their traditions, so do these poor victims of the market want to keep their way of life from being perverted by outsiders.
        I would allow them to be prejudiced if they believe themselves to be defending against a foreign threat that will pervert their very way of life. For it is they who must make the decision, and it is they who will ultimately be impacted. I oppose State’s rights, and support Municipal Rights.

        Thanks for reading my little rant and I would appreciate your thoughts. I do have some other things I’d like to post, but I’d like to know what the average Russian layperson thinks of Donald Trump, or to be a little outrageous here, if Donald Trump (as Nikolai sees him) represents the Russian People far better than those idiots at the Kremlin. Donald Trump does seem to appeal to those who believe the government doesn’t represent them.

  6. Asehpe

    ” If you just read that and you’re thinking: “OMG! Here he goes with cis-hetero-normative toxic masculinity crap!” you are part of the problem.””

    Indeed. And here’s part of the problem: many Trump supporters are convinced that such people are the devil and cannot be compromised with. Which is the whole point. Yes, these people have to learn to listen to others — they’ve spent too long in their bubble, believing that “they are right and everybody else is wrong” — but the others have to learn to listen to them, too. And in the wake of a Trump victory, I don’t see this happening. Be sincere: do you think these whites will not only talk, but also listen? Do you think they’re ready for a dialogue — or will triumphalism simply make them be deaf to others?

    A lot of people have believed that their country was “taken away from them” by the liberal elite. They’re not going to change this opinion just because liberals start listening to them — they’ll think this is just because liberals are now scared shitless of Trump, which means they made the right choice.

    My impression is that things still have to get a lot worse before they can get any better.

    Reply
  7. sglover

    “You lost because you are defending a bankrupt system that needed change, and because you barred the way to positive change, you opened the door to reaction. This is a result of your Munich betrayal. Own it.”

    Yep. But “own it” is pretty much the last thing Dem hacks are capable of. They are going to blame everybody and everything but their own sorry, obtuse, overpaid selves.

    My very favorite example so far, provided within **hours** of HRC’s loss, by uber-econo-theologian Paul Krugman — the guy all right-thinking Dems love to parrot when they want to sound like they know anything about economics. The Krugster put out a tweet blaming the Green Party for Clinton’s loss in Florida. Yet it turns out that the Green vote was less than **half** of Trump’s winning margin. Further, the libertarians got **three times** as many votes as the Greens, and it’s a sure thing that most of those came at Trump’s expense. The Krugster’s claims are mathematically ludicrous.

    So here’s our portrait of one of the most revered Dem mandarins: A “thought leader” who tries to pull a Big Smear out of his ass, and can’t even do that without embarrassing himself. A “Nobel Prize” (econ — heh) winner who stumbles over elementary arithmetic! Is it any wonder that Dems are such perpetual losers, when they actually defer to this is kind of pompous, smug asshole?

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Typical. Right now I’m watching for reactions blaming the working class, which we’re also hearing.

      I never said it was going to be easy making them own it. We have to ram it down their throats.

      Reply
      1. Asehpe

        Jim, is your point, in a nutshell, that progressives stopped hearing a certain group (call them “working-class whites”) and perhaps even demonized them, and so lost their support?

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        This is largely true. You can read all about it in Thomas Frank’s classic What’s the Matter With Kansas. It tells the story of how the Democratic party decided to abandon the working class in general and basically tried to appeal to upper class professionals. If you were rich but socially liberal- they wanted your vote.

        In this last election, there appears to be evidence that Hillary’s team encouraged pushing the Republicans to the right in order to occupy the political center and poach votes from suburban Republicans. Obviously, this didn’t work.

        It’s not true that the left in general has totally abandoned the working class and the white working class in particular, but oftentimes their attempts to deal with the issue of class comes off as patronizing.

        Let’s be honest, where are you more likely to find radical leftists with progressive social agendas? On a construction site or a university campus? Identity politics advocates always like to throw the word “class” in with race, gender, etc., but they really don’t seem to have a definition of class and they don’t seem to do a good job of articulating what is to be done about class.

      3. gbd_crwx

        Yes I thought Mr Frank wrote quite a good piece in the guardian recently. I also think regarding your last paragraph, that the left have had a lot of thinkers that kind of inspired the (for lack of better words) inspired some of the SJW-types (I don’t like to use that word really).

  8. gbd_crwx

    >Already the Anne Applebaum-types are screaming about how this is a victory for Vladimir Putin.
    >You didn’t lose because of Putin, trolls in St. Petersburg, Sputnik or RT

    Yes, whatever interference he had in the election it was more likely to make a future Clinton administration weak, rather than having a totally unpredictable Trump in charge. Not to mention with a republican congress if he chose to go “America, fuck yeah”, why would they stop him?

    Re:bernie, yes I think there will have to be some kind of realighnment but at the same time there is a need not to do the same as what has happened in the british labour party were “blairits2 are basically told to F**k off,we don’t want your vote any.

    >It’s divided and dominated by idiotic identity politics theories cooked up in academia with very little application in the real world. While these theories aren’t entirely useless, yesterday showed us how truly incapable they are of transforming America for the better.
    >On that note, it’s really time to start re-engaging rural and working class whites. Contrary to what the liberal elite will claim for the next few years, Trump’s victory wasn’t their fault. But he couldn’t have won without their support. Writing them off as racist and backward doesn’t help.

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. while the identy politics could have some use for demanding equal rights, it has let some truly horrible and racist people in it’s ranks and that taints the whole thing and probably push more people away than it attracts. I read an article where the plight of the white working class was dismissed with that the immigrants on the Mediterranean had it worse.

    Reply
  9. Trump2016

    Great post, Jim! Love your new “tough guy” act, “arm yourselves, train yourselves, hiyaaa!!” Stoked to see you become the first tough leftist militiaman, just don’t get shot in the face by a cop. You’re not black so there won’t be any BLM chimpouts after your shooting, so keep that in mind while you’re out there kicking those damn alt-right bullies!

    Reply
      1. Brian

        “I can tell you from experience that right-wing thugs and militia types aren’t going to give you any trigger warnings beyond the sound of a safety coming off.”

        Unless there be a privacy issue, please elaborate on this, if you haven’t already done so elsewhere. I think it would be edifying, and I’m sure that more than a few of us would be interested in reading your stories.

    1. Brian

      You might consider reading this article (excerpt below):

      https://nobsrussia.com/2014/02/18/dr-phil-visits-russia/

      “In my time I’ve met a few genuinely “tough” guys and a shitload of wannabes. One thing about the former is that you almost feel like you’re doing them a disservice by insinuating that they are “tough” because they are never concerned about appearing thus. I have a friend back in the US who was an ex-football hooligan. He was probably in more fights than he can remember, but he always remembered that he lost some of those fights. There was no shame in it because it’s inevitable that if you fight often, you will be beaten from time to time. You would never hear him talk about being “tough” or a “badass.” Actual “tough” people are not concerned about being or more importantly appearing to be “tough” to other people. Something about getting whacked over the head with so many bottles or having so many pool cues snapped over your back must do something to that part of the ego which feels the need to prove itself to other people. Every person I’ve known who I can honestly call “tough” was generally laid-back, easy going, and often humorously self-deprecating.

      “The untested tough guy wannabe is completely different. They’ve got to tell everyone they meet about their “street fight record”, which of course was always something-0. They’ve mastered one or more martial arts, typically traditional East Asian ones. They’re ex-military, almost always snipers, and of course they had to be Rangers, SEALs, or Force Recon because Lord knows an ordinary 11B in the 82nd Airborne or 10th Mountain division is just too ordinary. They’re always oversensitive, trying to intimidate people who are their own friends. You need to know that this guy is a stone-cold badass. The perception of toughness is everything. Strangely, it doesn’t seem to go away with age. Many top grade bullshitters do not “grow out” of this phase, which is why you can encounter people like this who are well into their 40’s. When one of these people gets called on their shit, often in the course of bragging to someone who has actually done some of the things they claim, the result is often ugly. The humiliation is so awful you often feel sorry for them no matter how much you hate them.”

      Reply
  10. Brian

    In other news:

    “Trump Named Honorary Russian Cossack”

    https://themoscowtimes.com/news/trump-named-honorary-russian-cossack-56070

    “Putin and Trump ‘Phenomenally Similar,’ Says Kremlin”

    https://themoscowtimes.com/news/putin-and-trump-phenomenally-similar-says-kremlin-56091

    “A Short-Lived Honeymoon: Russia Curbs Its Enthusiasm For Trump Presidency”

    https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/a-short-lived-honeymoon-russia-curbs-its-enthusiasm-for-trump-presidency-56087

    lol

    Reply
  11. Kvinton Benjaminavich

    Thinking about this bombshell and what it will mean for US-Russian relations, I wouldn’t expect much of a change. First, American foreign policy is a slow-moving machine that won’t change directions over night (unlike Russia and Turkey). It’s a question of leaders vs institutions, and there are issues that they can’t gloss over with a new hairdo.
    Next, the Kremlin probably won’t want a shiny new relationship with the Americans. Say you have a US president that lets Russia be “realist” and screw around with all its neighbors, then who will the Kremlin have to blame for all it’s social and economic problems? They will have to own up to their economic mismanagement and corruption, and finally do something about it.
    Like a dog chasing a car, the strategy to sew dissent and discord may have worked too well. I don’t think they will know what to do with it now that they got it.

    Reply
    1. Ericblair

      I agree with all of this. I think it was a major political error for the Russian media to come out so triumphantly supportive of Trump. The economy is going to get worse, and the foreign adventures are going to continue to fester. Who do they blame then? The Etch-a-sketch memory reset works pretty well on Russian viewers, but you’d think there are limits.

      I can’t link to the analysis here, but it looks like Trump won the white voters in the rust belt who made over $50k and lost the ones who made less. They look like America’s vatniks to me.

      Reply
  12. Ivan Sorensen

    And as the days roll on, we’re now seeing Trump float cabinet positions entirely out of Washington insiders and already talking about rolling bank the post-2008 bank regulations.

    I wonder how the “rural protest voters” that the tv is talking about will feel about having voted for the same guys that took their houses and farms in 2008?

    Reply
    1. sglover

      Looking at the cast of characters sucking up to Trump and Republican success in the Congress, the very best case I can see out of this wreck is that we’re in for a repeat of the era of Bush the Lesser — but with even **less** restraint and even **less** judgement. It’s difficult to imagine, really.

      I had a weird epiphany this week. I did a little bit for the Sanders campaign during the primaries — sent him money, passed out literature, met with other Sanders people. I wish I’d done more. But out of the blue I realized that even this little bit is something that will be something I’ll recall with pride until my last days. It’s not the first time I’ve volunteered on a political campaign, but it is the first one where I’ve known, with certainty, that it was the right thing to do, and an important thing to do.

      Reply
  13. NHP Row

    I saw your new site design, and I just have one request to make. Shut the fuck up about America. You’ve been living in Russia for ten years, so when you look at America you see it from such a distance that you are not qualified to talk about America in your blog. You’re like all the Putinists that talk about how great Russia is having only visited once or twice and read some RT; you don’t know America. You haven’t lived here since 2006, and you were, what, 20-something when you moved? How many 20-something Americans would you consider reliable voices for talking about America? As I recall, you consider yourself to have been extra-foolish at the time you moved. Anyway, keep talking about Russia and Ukraine. You’re fine talking about that part of the world.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Oh look, someone’s upset.

      First of all, your request is denied. I will however give you a free explanation as to why your points are invalid. You’re welcome.

      “You’ve been living in Russia for ten years, so when you look at America you see it from such a distance that you are not qualified to talk about America in your blog.”

      Ignoring questions of exactly how one is qualified to talk about America, your assertion is entirely without merit. Yes, I’ve been out of America since 2006, but in that time I’ve visited twice and furthermore, I never lost contact with friends and family members back home. I might be a bit behind the curve on the news cycle and often way behind with pop culture, but it’s still the culture I was raised in for most of my life.

      “You’re like all the Putinists that talk about how great Russia is having only visited once or twice and read some RT; you don’t know America.”

      No, I’m nothing like that. I am actually from America. I grew up there. I finished high school there. I worked there. American English is my native language.

      So no, it’s nothing like a Putinoid who doesn’t speak Russian going on a tour of Moscow and watching RT.

      “You haven’t lived here since 2006, and you were, what, 20-something when you moved?”

      Yes, 23. Even then I’d lived in several different regions of the US, held plenty of full-time jobs, and was even in the military at one point. Is that not American enough for you?

      “How many 20-something Americans would you consider reliable voices for talking about America?”

      I didn’t stop receiving information from America just because I physically left the country. My views have changed very much over the years, and when it comes to American politics that’s due to largely American sources of information.

      I’m sorry but this is a ridiculous argument.

      “As I recall, you consider yourself to have been extra-foolish at the time you moved. ”

      Pretty much all early 20-something males are foolish. I tend to be hard on myself.

      How about this- instead of making such a ridiculous argument about how I somehow don’t know America- why don’t you just come out and say what you’re so upset about and we’ll argue that point?

      Reply
    2. Jim Kovpak Post author

      I should also add that some time ago, I think last year, I actually wrote a post about why I don’t spend more time writing about American politics. Outside of certain issues, I might be able to provide some insight but because I’m not dealing with this stuff day-in day-out I’d be much less qualified compared to people who are there and especially if they have higher qualifications of some sort.

      But claiming I know nothing about America like I just got cut off in 2006 (the last time I was there was 2013 BTW)? No, sorry. That does not follow.

      Reply
    3. sglover

      I dunno, I’ve only started looking at this site, off and on, for maybe a year now, and it’s never seemed to me that the guy writing it is totally unacquainted with our exotic ways. Hell, I’m from Michigan, but now I live in the DC region. I know well-to-do Beltway residents who talk about Michiganders and Ohioans as though they’re some bizarre foreign tribes. (A big part of the glorious Clinton victory, that.)

      Reply
  14. Bruxellois

    Hi Jim,

    Interesting blog post as usual – long time follower of your blog, not much of a poster, though. I’ve been obsessively following the US election from here in Belgium, and am as shocked as everyone else and perplexed as to where to go from here.

    Your idea that progressives in the US should arm themselves is an interesting one, and I can see where you’re coming from. After all, there are a shitload of rightwing militias that are treated with kid gloves by the US authorities. However, don’t you think that a Trump administration would come down like a ton of bricks on any progressive militia, or anything like a renewed Black Panther movement? As far as I can see, he took power mainly by stoking fear amongst poor whites, fear of minorities, fear of the democrats coming for their guns, and a whole host of other batshit crazy fears. I just think that armed leftists would play into their hands. (On a side note, I’m just waiting for a new Reichstag fire – a black gay Mexican woman conveniently caught with petrol and matches in the Capitol building and used as an excuse to attack civil rights. I hope I’m totally wrong on that score)

    One of the big problems we’re dealing with in the current climate is a lack of basic human decency, and that’s where the acts of resistance should be focused. (Yeah, it’s a cliché, but Michelle Obama’s “when they go low, we go high” is more relevant than ever now that the thugs are in power). I think we need nonviolent acts of civil disobedience – people blocking roads used by construction equipment if the lunatic decides to build his insane wall, sheltering illegal migrants from Trumps deportation gestapo, etc. I think this would be more effective than taking up arms. In these dark times I think that repeated, zealous, all pervading decency is the best form of resistance, and more importantly one that doesn’t alienate the people who voted for Trump. They’re suckers who’ve been conned by the world’s biggest huckster, and when they realise it I hope they’ll jump on the decency bandwagon…

    Reply
    1. sglover

      I think there might be something a little more fundamental than that to consider. From my experience (such as it is) with the American left (such as it is), before you start taking up arms, you need to be able to get together in groups of more than three without getting sidetracked by squabbles about, I dunno, GMO’s or holistic medicine or any of the 10,000 other esoteric causes lefties get into. (This is an old problem. In one of his essays Orwell grumbles about vegetarians and anti-vivisectionists always ruining meetings of the local socialists.)

      Your remarks about decency are important — essential to a genuine left!! — and they also suggest another path to action. I’m essentially an atheist, but I keep thinking that many churches are, or can be, natural foci of egalitarian, local community action that is organized and **delivers**. The Republicans have known this, and **used** it, since at least the days of Reagan.

      Reply
    2. Jim Kovpak Post author

      I think it will be hard for Trump to crack down on armed leftists without simultaneously restricting gun rights for his base, which is one of the fastest ways he can lose support.

      But as far as the high road, I think that non-violent civil disobedience works only on populations with a conscience. I’m not sure America qualifies under that anymore, at least not for the time being.

      The main issue is not to provoke some kind of civil war, but just make sure the right people know that American leftists are armed and prepared to defend themselves, and that any attack on them is not going to be a cakewalk. This should be enough to scare off most of those people who might try something.

      Reply
  15. Brian

    Sideshow Bob may have said it best (about 22 years ago):

    “Your guilty conscience may force you to vote Democratic, but deep down inside you secretly long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king.”

    Reply
    1. Bruxellois

      Spot on. There’s no US social, cultural or political phenomenon that hasn’t been tackled brilliantly by the Simpsons during its good period (the 90s, essentially). I just hope that Trump’s presidency goes the same way as Homer’s stint as Springfield sanitation commissioner. After a post-fact campaign (even though the episode was made in the pre-post-fact era) against a competent establishment candidate, making the most ludicrous promises to all and sundry, Homer is turfed out when it becomes obvious he has made a mess of things. I’ll keep my fingers crossed…

      Reply

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