Thoughts on Trump from NY Books.

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Thoughts on Trump from NY Books.

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Nov 09, 2020 4:54 pm

Moyn

Blocked institutionally on so many fronts, Trump nonetheless scored his most extraordinary victory imaginatively—by inhabiting every crevice of his audience’s consciousness, pursuing them even in their nightmares, and eliciting from them their own share of norm-busting. The consequences were, in part, the obstacles and obstructions placed in the way of his haphazard and ineffectual policymaking. But it is hard to argue that every last bit of Trump’s occupation of the political imagination—an extraordinarily compliant act by those who feigned resistance to him—was required to incite the right response in the right amount. No president has ever combined so much institutional weakness with such imaginative romp.

In case after case, Trump’s mainstream opponents directed their ire more censoriously against policies in which Trump was simpler to forestall, while ignoring ones in which he was making substantial transformations. He controlled and owned them, luring them into drastic mistakes of principle and strategy, like their over-investment in the Mueller Report and the diversion of impeachment. But beyond any specific reaction, what was remarkable was how far Trump created a vast audience in the mainstream media and social media that made a life of hating him, while ignoring the causes of his reign in which they had participated, and the real alterations in American policy he was making, even as they were locked in embrace with him.

What has differed in real terms over four years is the shape of the debate about the American past and future. Closing the false “end of history” in 1989 and opening a new epoch, Trump oversaw a total renovation of our sense of where we stand and what Americans might do in response. His successful work to advance neoliberalism—whatever his protests against it—and stock the courts, especially the highest one, were by no means new as a program. But he took them so far that suddenly both were revealed as fronts on which the American future will be determined. Neoliberalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy are long-term features of American life, but never has opposition to them been as popular in the last half-century as now.

The irony that Trump did more to advance neoliberal policies than arrest them—even in trade, where he promised to end them—cannot distract from the imaginative reset he achieved concerning their legitimacy. No better evidence exists than victorious Democratic Party politician Joe Biden’s campaign promises to make American manufacturing great again, which almost read as if Trump’s disgraced former adviser Stephen Bannon had drafted them. True, Biden could brag that he helped save the automobile industry in 2009, and his successor as Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, had already given up support of the East Asian trade deal under pressure from the Trump campaign in 2016. But nothing like Biden’s current promise to restore the cold war political economy, in which America made things, could have been imagined until Trump came along.

Of course, it is not credible that America can revive its “greatness” through a manufacturing strategy. But this hardly means that neoliberalism can easily return as an open policy orthodoxy under Biden, which is why Trump’s ultimate legacy is to have created a portal for all comers to search for alternatives beyond it, whether a right-wing nationalist one or a progressive internationalist refusal to reduce its creed to free trade and offshoring. The presidency’s most disturbing effect, abetted by how close the election was, is to have opened an even bigger opportunity for Republican Party to become the working-class party that the Democrats once were, before becoming so market-friendly themselves. That the Democrats will dither in pursuing a class agenda means the Republicans may well get there first.

Trump also crystallized a coming cold war with China, as a bequest even more certain than the search for an economic alternative to neoliberalism that both parties will continue to treat as a rhetorical focus more than a real necessity. Many analogies have been sought for him in the American past, but the most plausible for Trump may turn out to be Truman. Much as in the cold war Truman launched, Trump initiated a geopolitical struggle that Democrats may end up pursuing with at least as much enthusiasm as their Republican foes. We will slowly forget, for this reason, that—like his immediate predecessor—Trump came to office promising to end wars, and even tried to draw some down, over the protests of his staff, while escalating the shadow campaign against terrorism and preparing a new era of trans-Pacific confrontation.

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"I'm the only sane {person} in here." Doyle Hargraves, Slingblade
"Midget, Broom; Helluva campaign". Political consultant, "Oh, Brother..."


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Beinart on Trump and GOP Right

Postby Stephen Fox » Tue Nov 10, 2020 3:49 pm

But Trump’s most self-destructive acquiescence to the congressional GOP came this fall. Last month, after the Democratic-controlled House passed a $2.2 trillion relief bill, Trump’s Treasury Secretary proposed legislation totaling $1.8 trillion, which would have included $1,200 payments to individuals, higher unemployment benefits, and money for ailing businesses. After Trump said he “would go higher,” the White House and congressional Democrats appeared close to a deal. Then McConnell intervened. He declared that the Senate would not even vote on a package of that size. So Trump let the negotiations collapse, even though polling from The New York Times showed that more than 70 percent of Americans—and a clear majority of Republicans—supported a new, $2 trillion stimulus. A Pew Research poll found that a new stimulus bill was especially popular among lower-income Republican voters.

Why did Trump, who is often portrayed as dominating his party, cave? For the same reason he has caved to foreign leaders: because he lacks the knowledge and self-discipline to craft a successful negotiating strategy. Overcoming the congressional GOP’s deeply-embedded hostility to the social safety net would have required enormous effort and tactical skill. As Harvard political scientist Pippa Norris has detailed, based on data from the Global Party Survey, the Republican Party is far more hostile to welfare spending than culturally conservative, and even far-right, parties in other countries. Authoritarian populists in Poland and Hungary don’t have to contend with the Koch brothers, who spend vast sums making Republican domestic policy safe for plutocracy.

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Even a Republican president deeply committed to economic populism would have found it difficult to stock his administration with like-minded people since there are few major conservative think tanks or advocacy organizations that champion higher taxes or greater spending on health care. Trump didn’t even try. As a result, some of his key domestic policy advisers—from Vice President Mike Pence to White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price—were former allies of Ryan from the Republican House.

In the more than four years since he made it, Ryan’s bet has paid off. The Trump administration has redistributed wealth upward even more aggressively than Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush did. But for Trump, the political consequences have been dire. When he took office, more Americans viewed him as ideologically “moderate” than as “very conservative.” Last month, “very conservative” exceeded “moderate” by more than fifteen points. Some of that shift may stem from Trump’s cruel and bigoted rhetoric. But Trump’s rhetoric was just as cruel and bigoted four years ago. In fact, his attacks on
"I'm the only sane {person} in here." Doyle Hargraves, Slingblade
"Midget, Broom; Helluva campaign". Political consultant, "Oh, Brother..."


http://www.foxofbama.blogspot.com or google asfoxseesit
Stephen Fox
 
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Re: Thoughts on Trump from NY Books.

Postby Stephen Fox » Wed Nov 11, 2020 12:18 pm


But will, or can, ordinary leftists and liberals embrace it? Do they have the wherewithal—the stern stuff of ambition, the will to power—to adopt a new vocabulary and find common cause? Making an argument that is partly polemical and partly scholarly, the political scientist and Tufts professor Eitan Hersh casts doubt on this possibility. In Politics Is for Power, he argues that much of the uproar occasioned by the Trump presidency is mere political hobbyism.

Political hobbyists are people who devote significant time to keeping up with political dramas but almost no time “on any kind of real political work. It’s all TV news and podcasts and radio shows and social media and cheering and booing and complaining to friends and family.” Reading about political hobbyism is, of course, itself a sign that you are politically hobbyistic:

More likely than not, if you are reading this, this book is about you. It’s about me, too.

Political hobbyism is found in all circles, but it’s mainly a problem for people who are well educated and on the political center or left…. They will follow the news, join an email list, make an occasional financial contribution, or attend a one-off rally, but they will shy away from deeper organizational engagement.

Hobbyists satisfy “our own emotional needs and intellectual curiosities” rather than “seeking to influence our communities or country.” Hersh believes that political hobbyism turns politics into a circus and politicians into seals performing for their base: “Hobbyism is a serious threat to democracy because it is taking well-meaning citizens away from pursuing power. The power vacuum will be filled.”

Hobbyism implicates almost everyone, but it is more prevalent in men, who are also less likely than women to combine hobbyism with activism. “Independents are prone to hobbyism because activism does not fit well with the above-the-fray self-image that they want to curate.” Partisans are also implicated, as is partisanship itself: “Rooting for the team,” Hersh believes, undermines “commitment to the truth” and promotes counterproductive hostility toward the people on the other team. Watching The Rachel Maddow Show; leaving comments on news websites and Twitter and Facebook; phoning your congressperson with demands; signing online petitions; indulging in superfluous “knowledge acquisition” (like Paul Manafort’s prison identification number or Paul Ryan’s workout routine): all are instances of treating politics as a pastime or an entertainment. Even activity that gets you out of the house—joining a protest, say, or attending a fundraising event—is, in Hersh’s view, liable to be shallow and ultimately self-serving.

The real deal, Hersh suggests, is activity that has a “serious purpose.” To explain what he means, he offers studies of a series of exemplary activists who include liberal organizers working long-term in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, a very red county; a student organizer in North Carolina; an introverted New Yorker who practices “deep canvassing” (the goal of which is to have a profound and truly influential encounter with the canvassee); and a Ukrainian-American elder whose communal ties have given him enormous political influence in Boston. The most successful activism, we learn, involves making lasting, socially meaningful connections in the community. If you show people the Democratic Party cares about them, they may begin to vote for Democrats.

That is clearly and indispensably right. But it doesn’t mean that hobbyism is a mischief that must be cured—if, indeed, it is curable. While it’s certainly the case that most supporters could contribute more efficiently to the Democratic cause, there’s no evidence (as Hersh himself acknowledges) that if they stopped obsessing about Justin Trudeau’s hair and gave up tweeting niche takes, they would turn to long-term voluntary work to heal polarized communities. And although so-called political hobbyists and slacktivists may not be civic paragons, over the last three years their small-dollar (and large-dollar) donations, not to mention their street protests and their inescapable electronic hubbub, have plainly succeeded in transferring a lot of power from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party—and indeed from Democratic officialdom to grassroots activists. What looks like an epidemic of political hobbyism to one person is another person’s idea of mass political engagement.

And while Hersh’s basic idea—that politics should be about pursuing power and not about “putting feelings ahead of strategy”—is valid, he yokes it to a second, befuddling idea, namely that the proper purpose of left-liberal power is to make tradeoffs with interests on the right, and that this purpose has been frustrated by the capture of Democratic officials by donors and other litmus-test hobbyists:

In the halls of Congress and on the campaign trail, politicians behave badly, even act against their own side’s policy goals and long-term political interests, because the people who pay the most attention to them demand that they behave like stubborn, outraged children.

This is befuddling because bipartisan norms have been strategically sabotaged only by the GOP. There are simply no Democrats who correspond to clownish but destructive Republicans like Devin Nunes, Louie Gohmert, Clarence Thomas, or Trump. The political endgame Hersh has in mind—empowering the likes of Schumer and Pelosi to make the best bargains they can with GOP counterparts—refers to a political system that stopped functioning at least a decade ago and cannot be unilaterally resurrected by Democrats. And as Dionne points out, “radicalized and deformed Republicanism…will long outlive the Trump presidency.” The denial of this reality is precisely what has undermined the credibility of the Democratic Party’s most senior officials. It’s as if they’ve forgotten that politics means working for their power, not the GOP’s.

The problem with political hobbyism isn’t that it’s too partisan. The problem is that it’s not partisan enough. It is in the nature of mass culture to focus on personalities rather than structures. A huge amount of outrage is trained on Trump and his supporting cast of arch-villains (William Barr, Mitch McConnell, Jim Jordan, et al.). The attributes of prominent Democratic figures are likewise subjected to magnified but personalized scrutiny. Political issues that are charismatic—essentially, those that involve violence or sex or antisocial or hateful behavior—generate a lot of excitement, but the excitement is confined to those specific issues. If your goal, as a Democrat, is to create a successful partisan movement, this distribution of emotion and eyeballs is not ideal. You want millions of political hobbyists directing their power in support of the Democratic Party and against the Republican Party.

Hersh tells a highly instructive personal story. In 2016 he approached his local Democratic Party organization in Brookline, Massachusetts, and offered to do year-round community outreach on behalf of the party. He was met with a “hard no.” The local Democratic committee focused exclusively on mobilizing voters shortly before state elections. Hersh persisted, offering to help raise turnout for municipal elections. Again, he drew a blank. Hersh writes:

For the Democrats to get their vote out even when their candidates are weak but the stakes are high, such as in that 2010 special election [when Senator Ted Kennedy’s seat was won by a Republican, denying Democrats a Senate supermajority], communities such as Brookline need robust, long-term party engagement. That’s what they lack in communities all around the state and country.

This is absolutely correct. But note that the difficulty Hersh ran into wasn’t political hobbyism. It was the inadequacy of the local Democratic Party—specifically, its refusal to confer agency on a volunteer itching to show ordinary constituents that the party cared about their concerns. This is a structural problem. A flurry of studies have shown that this kind of grassroots neglect has been devastating to Democratic electoral performance. You see a lot of discussion, especially on the left, about the need to implement policies that effect structural change. What’s often overlooked is that the two American parties are themselves structures, with extraordinary power. Change them and you change a lot.

All that Democrats can do to change the GOP is to defeat it. Reduce it to electoral rubble and force it to rebuild itself as a party that is basically competent and doesn’t pose a threat to organic and democratic life on Earth. But how do you change the Democratic Party into a partisan movement that is capable of inflicting such a defeat?

The difficulty, as Dionne and Hersh are well aware, is that an ideology of partisanship isn’t something you can exhort into existence. In order for Democrats to cohere around the principles of dignity and grassroots power—the two are closely related, if you think about it—commitment in the abstract won’t be enough. It must be embodied by party relations, structures, and deeds. Specifically, it requires appropriate action by the three main stakeholders: the Democratic Party apparatus, in particular the DNC; Democratic elected officials; and, finally, the (potential) supporters of the party who are ordinary civilians. Of these stakeholders, the institutional ones have the most immediate agency—the power to generate partisan coherence by action. It’s pretty clear what they must do: gain the trust and loyalty of the younger, more progressive cohort; keep the trust of the more centrist party faithful; and make swing voters trust Democrats more than they trust Republicans. The following steps must be taken.

First, embrace the principle of dignity as a central partisan theme. That will help unify and energize the party through this campaign season and provide a powerful and protective narrative for future partisan action.

Second, appoint figures trusted by the left to senior positions in the Biden administration and in the party organization. The progressive (younger) wing of the party is almost completely without representation in the congressional and DNC leaderships. That is a scandal, and must be fixed right away. The Biden-Sanders Unity Task Forces (entrusted with producing policy recommendations in a variety of areas) are a very good step in this direction.

Third, the Biden administration and its allies in Congress must take the strongest legislative and executive action possible to do what Democrats, younger ones in particular, want them to do. A Green New Deal—with a substantial jobs component, not a pro forma one—will be crucial. Taxing the rich a lot more will be essential, as will a historic leap forward in health care. Doing stuff that Democrats like will be much more powerful in creating partisan loyalty than saying stuff that Democrats like.

Fourth, substantiate the narrative of dignity by reforming the police and ICE, fixing voter suppression, and fast-tracking immigration reform. Such measures are supported by the majority of Americans and are urgently awaited by party loyalists of color. A narrative of dignity—which is also applicable to the economically progressive measures outlined above—will enable a wide range of liberals to support these measures.

Fifth, enact reforms that will correct the dangerous electoral advantages enjoyed by the GOP. Statehood for D.C. is a no-brainer, as is restoring the reach of the Voting Rights Act. Scrap the Senate filibuster rule if need be. Criminalize intentional voter disenfranchisement. Expand the Supreme Court as necessary.

Sixth, start thinking about the 2022 midterms on day one. Because midterms and special elections are won by base turnout, Democrats must internally rebrand their party as the party of grassroots organizers. That entails more than a PR campaign. It will require funding, empowering, and privileging grassroots organizations, and putting the DNC apparatus at their disposal. Primary challenges should not be discouraged. Factional disputes should be viewed as good-faith differences of opinion—unless they undermine the shared partisan purpose and the mutual respect that an ethos of dignity requires.

Finally, stoke negative partisanship. Americans—whether they’re swing voters or party activists—must go to the polls in 2022 and 2024 with a strong (and valid) fear of letting the GOP back into power. Thus, always be negatively branding the GOP in the eyes of swing, or persuadable, voters. Exactly what approach to take in a branding operation is a complex question, but suffice it to say that it must be undertaken, and that the master narrative is: The Republican Party can no longer be trusted with power. Repeat this at every opportunity, then verify this narrative by investigating and bringing to light all Republican misdeeds. Brand them as Republican Party misdeeds, not as aberrant Trumpist corruption.
Call the disastrous Republican economy that Biden will inherit “the disastrous Republican economy.” Call the Republican pandemic crisis “the Republican pandemic crisis.” Always be trumpeting the success of your initiatives, always be talking about the danger of letting Republicans back into power. On no account repeat the mistakes of 2008–2010, when Democrats apologized for the Affordable Care Act and took ownership of the Republican financial crisis. If Democrats comport themselves like the natural party of government, they will be perceived as such and win more elections.

Biden will be crucial in all of this. He has spent fifty years accumulating bipartisan political capital. He is broadly viewed as an exemplar of personal honor. If he responds to this moment of historic need and opportunity, there could be no more credible messenger of the demise of the GOP nor a more reassuring leader in an era of transformative and partisan legislative action. It will be challenging, of course. Many of the steps outlined above will not be possible without having both the Senate and House under Democratic control—but then again, many will be. The challenges can be overcome—but only if Democrats, from the president to the hobbyists, start thinking and acting as partisans.
"I'm the only sane {person} in here." Doyle Hargraves, Slingblade
"Midget, Broom; Helluva campaign". Political consultant, "Oh, Brother..."


http://www.foxofbama.blogspot.com or google asfoxseesit
Stephen Fox
 
Posts: 9534
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:29 pm

Andy Stanley strays off Reservation in the Atlantic

Postby Stephen Fox » Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:23 am

Read the story, Here is my comment on Atlantic Facebook

Good article but overlooked a major historical story. Browns Bridge Church is in Forsyth County Ga where major lynchings of early 20th Century created a black diaspora for a hundred years. See Patrick Phillips Blood at the Root
· Reply · 3m
Stephen M. Fox
Stanley and Browns Bridge toyed with having Phillips come to the congregation but it didn't materialize, But Oprah was in the county in the early 80s with Coretta Scott King, which Phillips covers in the book. Forrsyth is squeezed in between the Hometowns of Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence two of the biggest names in NFL both of whom are against Trump, especially his twitter dustup with Drew Brees. Trevor told me himself June 13 at BLM march in Clemson SC
· Reply · 1m
Stephen M. Fox
Good Faith Media column by Georgia's Colin Harris on the need for a New Narrative can help Andy Stanley if he will engage the conversation and not be too proud to say President Carter was right with his New Baptist Covenant and Andy Stanley father Charles wrong in the fundamentalist takeover of the SBC
"I'm the only sane {person} in here." Doyle Hargraves, Slingblade
"Midget, Broom; Helluva campaign". Political consultant, "Oh, Brother..."


http://www.foxofbama.blogspot.com or google asfoxseesit
Stephen Fox
 
Posts: 9534
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:29 pm

Clemson facebook wall.

Postby Stephen Fox » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:58 am

How is Clemson trustee board gonna explain to these graduates their support of Lindsey Graham. I think it is clear there is no Lindsey Graham without the support of the trustee board. The lead on MSNBC this afternoon was a panel discussion of just how squishy a Barney Fife fixer Graham is seen to be right after a rail road job on the supreme court and a campaign for US Senate that in some aspects smacked of Lee Atwater and Willie Horton. Now Graham in interfering in Ga , the homestate of both Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence. And that is a point not lost on either of them as Trevor told me June 13 he came down with Deshaun and Drew Brees in the twitter dustup with Trump late spring. So letsl have gut wrenching conversation at Clemson early next year before the schmoozing with Lindsey tarnishes Clemson brand. Left unchecked I am confident it will effect Dabo with five star recruits. I hope it doesnt take that for Clemson trustees and alumni leadership to do the right thing and make themselves clear and distinct from the smarmy Lindsey Graham
· Reply · 19h
"I'm the only sane {person} in here." Doyle Hargraves, Slingblade
"Midget, Broom; Helluva campaign". Political consultant, "Oh, Brother..."


http://www.foxofbama.blogspot.com or google asfoxseesit
Stephen Fox
 
Posts: 9534
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:29 pm

Censored stifled Facebook comment.

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:12 am

think you and Willie ought to show up with Trevor Lawrence and Deshaun Watson at Andy Stanley Browns Bridge Church with Oprah and Isabel w
· Reply · 11h
Stephen M. Fox
Isabel Wilkerson, John Pierce and Steve Harmon to put Karl Rove and Perdue and Loeffler and their lies about Black Liberation Theology on their ass and get the Hell out of Georgia so John Lewis can let his Light Shine in the US Senate. That's what you and Willie should do. Bring Patrick Phillips who wrote the book and Oprah who showed up in 88. Come back and Finish like Nick Saban wants her too. Be Done with this crap and show the nations The Big Lie and tell the last vestige of Trump to SCOOT
· Reply · 11h
Stephen M. Fox
Also see the atlantic if you aint got the picture yet. Bring Kate and the Whole Kitchen sink cause John Lewis and Martin and Bonhoeffer didnt die so the Democratic experiment could be snuffed out by Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell. Lets all show up in Forsyth County and put the Devil on the RUN!!!!!
· Reply · 11h
Stephen M. Fox
John Lewis legacy can Shine in Ralphael Warnock in US Senate. And do it by Dec 10. My God what was the Baptist Covenant, in fact the Alliance and CBF about if not to show up in Georgia and take a stand!!!
· Reply · 11h


"I'm the only sane {person} in here." Doyle Hargraves, Slingblade
"Midget, Broom; Helluva campaign". Political consultant, "Oh, Brother..."


http://www.foxofbama.blogspot.com or google asfoxseesit
Stephen Fox
 
Posts: 9534
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:29 pm

Can Rome Ga and other progressives make a difference

Postby Stephen Fox » Sat Nov 21, 2020 12:40 pm

Posted Nov 11 in Rome News Tribune, and linked at Morning Joe and Meet the Press and several influential facebook sites including Bruce Gourley

http://foxofbama.blogspot.com/2020/11/w ... -make.html

The embedded link to Religion dispatches is priceless
"I'm the only sane {person} in here." Doyle Hargraves, Slingblade
"Midget, Broom; Helluva campaign". Political consultant, "Oh, Brother..."


http://www.foxofbama.blogspot.com or google asfoxseesit
Stephen Fox
 
Posts: 9534
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:29 pm


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