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on thin ice
Gallup: Race Relations Are Deteriorating

Donald Trump has made much of the fact that the economic trend lines since his election have pointed in a mostly positive direction. But here is an indicator, from Gallup, that has persisted in its sharply negative trajectory since the new President was sworn in:

After a gradual decline since 2001, concern about race relations began to tick upwards in 2014, following the shooting of Michael Brown and rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Today, racial and ethnic divisions are once again at the forefront of our politics more than at any time since the civil rights movement.

One possible cause of this, as Peter Beinart has noted, is America’s spiritual crisis, or what he calls the “empty-church problem.” The decline of organized religion has increased social atomization, reduced the space for common moral language, and accentuated tribal loyalties.

Fortunately, America is not yet experiencing the levels of racial violence and discord seen in the 1960s. But if the deterioration is not arrested, we could be staring into that abyss frighteningly soon.

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  • Gary Hemminger

    Both parties use race to create differentiation. they are playing with fire. As long as people don’t call out both sides for race baiting, then this will only get worse. The Republicans are bad enough, but the Democrats are even worse. They seem to think that their race baiting is good, while the Republicans are evil, white, bigots. As long as Democrats truly believe this, it will only make Republicans actually become less inhibited about saying and doing bigoted things.

    • FriendlyGoat

      Not every white person is an evil white bigot——-not by a long shot. BUT, when you do find those who are, they are voting Republican. Funny how a particular party manages to attract that spirit.

      • Proverbs1618

        And Black Panthers and members of La Raza vote Democrat. Do you find that funny? How funny do you find it?

        • FriendlyGoat

          That has always been the sensible thing for them to do. Still is.

          • Proverbs1618

            So let me get this straight. When racists vote Republican, it is funny to you how a particular party manages to attract that spirit. When racists vote Democrat, you are not only OK with it, you don’t even bother questioning why a particular party you belong to attracts that spirit. To you, racists voting for Democrats is just a sensible thing to do.
            Well, at least you are open about your complete lack of intellectual honesty. That’s something….

          • Gary Hemminger

            FriendlyGoat is a bigot Provers1618. He has proved it with his point about all racists being republican.
            Really sad. He and his ilk are the ones causing the problems. Hardcore racists are few and far between. but his kind of racism and bigoted thinking is what is growing and causing the problem.

          • Proverbs1618

            He is a bigot. But at least he is open about it.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You’re telling me that I can somehow STOP you from having balanced judgment and CAUSE you to get worse and worse——“growing and causing the problem” in your heart, mind and spirit. Sorry, dude, I ain’t that “uppity”—-AND, careful with personal accusations. You don’t get away with that anywhere in person.

          • Tom

            Says the man who basically called someone an emotional abuser on this board barely a week ago. Give over, FG. No one’s buying the act.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Dang. The posse showed up to reinforce each other—–as usual. .

          • Tom

            You walk into a place, insult everyone there, then get all upset when people pile on? Really?

          • FriendlyGoat

            I expect YOU to act like what you’re supposed to be. Why the heck don’t you?

          • Tom

            I am. I’m telling you the truth, even though you don’t want to hear it.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Yeah, you and Milo.

          • Tom

            The problem is that Yiannopolous doesn’t tell the truth, because he’s a collectivist.
            I’m describing your individual behavior. And I’m right.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The “problem” is that a great number of church people no longer know what church is for. You and several others have been driving that point home to me here for some time.

          • Tom

            I realize you think the church is about advancing your political and social preferences, or at least about instructing people not to stand in their way and render unto Ceasar what is God’s, but that isn’t my problem.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Church is supposed to be about making people more kindly, forgiving, humble, truthful, generous and fairness-minded IN REAL LIFE than our human natures otherwise would leave us. Any other purpose—–or effect—-is as bogus and as counter-productive as Islam.

          • Tom

            Right. So why did you vote for Clinton? Because neither her, nor her policies, nor the policies of her party, embody any of those things an iota more than Trump.

          • FriendlyGoat

            They do to me—-from health to education to labor relations to budget to judges to real religious freedom.

          • Tom

            “Real religious freedom” of course, meaning “the freedom to act in ways FG likes, and to be divested of one’s property if one acts in a way that he does not.”
            Never mind the actual results of those policies of Clinton’s.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Real religious freedom is a strict separation of church and state with freedom OF religion for all who want it and freedom FROM religion for all who don’t. It is the dream we have all had for Islamic countries where, for the most part, Islam influences and persecutes everything not Islamic—–from those of other faith (Christian) to civil law. There is nothing (nothing) to be gained from America moving even one inch toward this kind of model, even if our national majority is Christian, not Muslim. The deterioration of both state and religion is the same. Just bad news.

          • Proverbs1618

            We are just pointing out to each other what a douchebag you are. In our defense, you don’t make it particularly hard on us.

          • FriendlyGoat

            If it was so easy, you would have said it once and shut up. The fact of the matter is that you are such an emotional wreck, you have a need to go argue with someone every day. You couldn’t sell your comment-section blasts to your wife, your kids, your Rabbi, your neighbors or anyone else in real life. You can’t sell them to me either.

          • Proverbs1618

            I just enjoy exposing your hypocrisy, your duplicitous nature, your complete and total lack of understanding of basic economics, your hatred for those who dare disagree with you, your Statism, your totalitarian tendencies. The list goes on. The difference is that in real life I can make a conscious decision to avoid people like you. As a matter of fact, I have made that decision. But here, in the wilds of the Internet, I can’t do that. I mean, I technically could, but where’s the fun in that?

          • FriendlyGoat

            It’s not “fun”, JR. It is a form of mental illness.

          • Proverbs1618

            I agree. Only somebody who is mentally ill would advocate the positions you do and say things “Black Panthers aren’t racist”. But that’s what you do. Since this is the fact I cannot change, I chose to accept it.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I don’t see either Black Panthers or La Raza as racists.

          • Tom

            That says more about you than about them.

          • Proverbs1618

            I will echo Tom here. That tells a LOT about you. Namely that you are ready to excuse blatant racism as long as it suits your political goals. But like I said, at least you are not hiding your complete hypocrisy, lack of morality and basic common sense. You are willing to use everyone and anyone to get your political goals of taking away other people’s money. Like I always said, you are a terrifying Totalitarian and but for the Grace for God you have no power. I can only pray for members of La Raza and Black Panthers to show you personally just how non-racist they are. May God make it so. Let us pray.

          • Boritz

            I stopped reading at the third word.

      • Gary Hemminger

        You have proved my point. The more people like you out there that claim all republicans are racists are a major part of the problem. To brand all racists as republicans is simply racist. You are a racist. I assume you vote Democrat, which disproves your theory that all racists vote Republican.

        • FriendlyGoat

          Not all Republicans are racists. Nearly all white racists actually do vote right-wing, however, if they vote at all. That’s just the way it is——-and you know it as well as I do.

          • Proverbs1618

            What about non-white racists who vote left-wing. Do they deserve similar scorn?

      • Beauceron

        “Not every white person is an evil white bigot——-not by a long shot”

        That’s just a demonstration of your white privilege.

        All whites are racist. All whites owe everything they have to white privilege. All of them. A 5 year old, your sweet ol’ granma, me, you, WRM. Every last one.

        It doesn’t matter what you think of it, it doesn’t matter what I think of it. It’s the operating principle for the Left now. It’s taught at pretty much every college in the campus, it’s taught in many high schools, it’s even being taugh in elementary schools.

        All whites are racist; People Of Color can never be racist.

        That’s the rule. Disagreement is merely evidence of your racism.

        “This letter is a gift for you. Bear in mind, though, that some gifts can
        be heavy to bear. You don’t have to accept it; there is no obligation. I
        give it freely, believing that many of you will throw the gift back in
        my face, saying that I wrongly accuse you, that I am too sensitive, that
        I’m a race hustler, and that I blame white people (you) for everything… So, as you read this letter, take a deep breath. Make a space for my voice in the deepest part of your psyche. Try to listen, to practice
        being silent. There are times when you must quiet your own voice to hear
        from or about those who suffer in ways that you do not…

        Don’t tell me about how many black friends you have. Don’t tell me that you are married to
        someone of color. Don’t tell me that you voted for Obama. Don’t tell me
        that I’m the racist. Don’t tell me that you don’t see color.
        Don’t tell me that I’m blaming whites for everything. To do so is to
        hide yet again. You may have never used the N-word in your life, you may
        hate the K.K.K., but that does not mean that you don’t harbor racism
        and benefit from racism. After all, you are part of a system that allows
        you to walk into stores where you are not followed, where you get to go
        for a bank loan and your skin does not count against you, where you
        don’t need to engage in “the talk” that black people and people of color
        must tell their children when they are confronted by white police
        officers.

        As you reap comfort from being white, we suffer for being black and people of color. But
        your comfort is linked to our pain and suffering. Just as my comfort in
        being male is linked to the suffering of women, which makes me sexist,
        so, too, you are racist. That is the gift that I want you to accept, to
        embrace. It is a form of knowledge that is taboo. Imagine the impact
        that the acceptance of this gift might have on you and the world….

        White America, are you prepared to be at war with yourself, your white
        identity, your white power, your white privilege? Are you prepared to
        show me a white self that love has unmasked? I’m asking for love in
        return for a gift; in fact, I’m hoping that this gift might help you to
        see yourself in ways that you have not seen before. Of course, the
        history of white supremacy in America belies this gesture of black
        gift-giving, this gesture of non-sentimental love. Martin Luther King
        Jr. was murdered even as he loved.”

        https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/12/24/dear-white-america/?_r=0

        • FriendlyGoat

          Am I supposed to not approve of Yancy’s letter?

          • Beauceron

            Oh, I suspect you’re the type of guy who would drool over that idiot’s letter.

            Really makes you think, don’t it?

            You’re a vapid white Leftist– getting whipped by blacks sends you into paroxysms of delicious masochistic guilt.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Nobody is whipping me. I wouldn’t even know about Yancy’s letter, except that you sent it to me.

          • Anthony

            WOW! American Renaissance alert (you’re getting whipped and have paroxysms because you think differently – next you may be identified as a …servative).

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks. The collection of nincompoops here (not you) will probably be defending Gorka in every respect.

          • Anthony

            Groupthink is powerful and reinforcing; but what may really be at play redounds to rationalizing (defending the indefensible) or the self-serving narrative. 20th century social psychology identifies it as the “Moralization Gap” – the drive to present the self in a positive light. Two good references are: 1) Deceit and Self-Deception (Robert Trivers) and Why Everyone (else) is a Hypocrite (Robert Kurzban). You exposed it summarily (though briefly) in your last reply to WigWag. And, you’re welcome.

          • Joe Eagar

            It’s sick. Minorities (all of them) only make up 30% of the population. This sort of logic is nothing more than upper middle class status anxiety feeding off of itself.

            Usually this logic boils down to “white people should all live in fear, because of the past experiences of 14% of the population; whether their ancestors were personally involved is immaterial.”

            That is rank bigotry.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I read it as a call for us middle-class whites to try to imagine being born black or brown and poor in America and to act as though we understand that the circumstances of our birth are a matter of luck which some others did not share.

        • Gary Hemminger

          Yes all whites are racists. What a racist comment, uneducated comment. Classic definition of racist. And downright evil too

      • Josephbleau

        Not all numbers are prime… but all primes are numbers!!! Those prime numbers just don’t have the spirit of the real numbers. ( I actually won a state level high school debate tournament with a similar allusion years ago.) How about trying it with felons and the Democratic Party.

        • FriendlyGoat

          I would bet your debate win was based on something “similar” and that it doesn’t exactly fit here.

      • Joe Eagar

        What, how many of our voters must kill themselves before you people are happy? Is bigotry such a crime we must cull from the population all who suffer from it? How much is too much for you people? Will you be happy when the death toll reaches one million? Two, three? Or will you only be happy when every last poor white person in America is dead?

        • FriendlyGoat

          White people are not killing themselves because of blacks, browns or even illegal immigrants. A lot of them are killing themselves in despair because the culture of high-end tax cuts—–a Republican thing——left them completely behind and forgotten in the economy. Trump says he will lift them up, but his policies are going to do the opposite.
          You’ll see this play out as surely as the sun rises.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Once upon a time we had the notion that going to church would make people better. Over the past 35 years I have come to believe that going to church has made a lot of people worse.

    • Proverbs1618

      You mean, they don’t vote the way you want them to vote. And you hate them for that with all your body and soul. The idea that people who are religious will not vote for a party that constantly denigrates them and their beliefs seems to be incomprehensible to you. Perhaps the problem lies with your perception of reality.

      • FriendlyGoat

        You and several others here have influenced my thinking on this more than you know. I didn’t meet you guys in church or synagogue. I met you here—–AFTER church and synagogue had made you into mouthy meanies.

        • Proverbs1618

          My place of worship didn’t make me who I am. Living under socialism (real socialism) did that. It also instilled in me hatred for all Statists, Collectivists and Socialists. you see, I experienced socialism on my own hide. This is why I always encourage you to move to Venezuela. It is easy to be a socialist while not having to live with any consequences of socialism. I would really like for you to experience your theory in practice, on yourself. May God make it so. Let us pray.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Actually, you have told me that the Jewish folks who go to synagogue are all Trumpies, even though 71% of the whole demographic voted opposite. So I have to conclude if your reporting is correct that the “attendance effect” is negative. My original comment, however, was not directed at you—–but at the attendees of evangelical Christian churches who also happen to have mysteriously turned into Trumpies.

            As for you personally, I gather you have been in this country for more than two decades. There is no socialism here that is ruining your life.

          • Proverbs1618

            It ruined my childhood. Part of the reason why I’m psyched to give my kids things I could never have.
            Once again, you assume that not sharing your politics is a negative effect. To me, it is a positive effect. I mean, it saved us from Hillary, didn’t it?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Give your kids a Dad who is not a bitter nutcase day and night in the comment section.

          • nervous122

            Buddy, you’re the one who whines incessantly.

            “Everyones racist, waaaahhhhh”
            “Republicans and chuchgoers are meanies, waaaaahhh”

            Everyone else is just laughing at you until your inevitable break down.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Laugh away. I’m stickin’ with “the church went mean and stupid—–screwing most of its own people and everyone else in the process.”

            As for your allegation that I call others racists—–you need a reality check. It’s not my line of argument.

          • Proverbs1618

            Just a certain type of Republican. You call those racists. But i like how you went all offended. To call people racists and then get offended by being called out on it is one of your many talents.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I don’t specialize in the “racist” argument at all. It does so happen that what few white people there are who really do believe in white supremacy as their main issue happen to lean Right in politics.

            But, racism isn’t “my” topic. The inappropriate USE of religion to dupe people is “my” topic.

          • Proverbs1618

            So to make it short, you will throw an accusation of racism there, but you only do it to whip up votes for your socialist State. OK, i buy that. I just feel that behavior makes you a real piece of shlt. You do what you do knowing full well how fraught with danger race relations are. So if I sound a bit harsh, well, what we do defines who we are.

          • FriendlyGoat

            To “make it short”, I didn’t “throw accusations of racism”, JR. You’d benefit from re-reading this thread.

          • Proverbs1618

            Yes you do. You state it as truth that some whites vote Republican EXCLUSIVELY for white supremacy reasons. You don’t think that’s an accusation of racism? Really? You don’t think so? How would you define racism then? And then you made a claim about virulently racist organizations such as Black Panthers and La Raza (Race in spanish, hint hint) not being racist. Now you are going full retard and claiming to have no idea of knowing what it is that you are doing.
            But you know what’s funny? What’s funny is that I expect something like this from you. Even your scummy techniques are becoming routine. You are just a wanna be dictator who will die as a wanna be dictator. Man, would your kids benefit from Dad that is not a doctrinate believer in Statism. Perhaps it is too late for them, I wouldn’t pretend to know.

          • FriendlyGoat

            OF COURSE there are some whites who vote Republican exclusively for white supremacy reasons. EVERYONE knows that, including you. I also offered the balance that those ARE NOT all of the white people or even very many of the white people.

            As for Black Panthers and La Raza, I doubt they would exist except for the seriously disadvantaged situations in which their respective populations have found themselves. I don’t deny the realities of American history. Why do you?

            As for my kid (one), he was raised in church and Christian school, is 20+ years married to one woman, is doing fine in free-enterprise employment and is now much more conservative than his old man.

          • Proverbs1618

            I’m not bitter and I consider myself to be materially smarter than you are. Not my fault you are a totalitarian Statist without a shred of morality.

          • Tom

            What, you mean the people who voted out of self-preservation, the same way you don’t complain about La Raza and the Black Panthers voting?
            Those entities are preferable to you–at least there one can get bigotry without the added stench of hypocrisy.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Self-preservation? You convinced a bunch of people to vote for themselves and their families to be dramatically diminished. Stay tuned for the show.

          • Tom

            Except for the part I was NeverTrump, as you should remember. But that would interfere with your narrative, so you’ve forgotten it.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Yes, I’ve “forgotten” that you warned me and everyone else against the social hazard of a Republican alignment achieved on the unique Trump shtick. I think I forgot that because it did not happen.

          • Tom

            Congratulations for complaining about me not doing something I never claimed to do.
            Try harder.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The problem is that “NeverTrump” did not mean anything of substance and still doesn’t.

          • Tom

            Tell that to all the actual Trumpists still whining about the fact that we didn’t support their boy.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Absolutely no Trumpist cares whether you supported their candidate or not. They won with 81% of the evangelical vote, even it not yours.

          • Tom

            Tell them that. They disagree.

          • FriendlyGoat

            They shouldn’t. The got everything they wanted. They just didn’t get it in the person of Ted Cruz——because he was unelectable. They got it in the particular combination of shtick and image which arose in Trump. He is big, rich, brash, outrageous, provocative via intimidation, attractive to alt-right, attractive to the Chamber of Commerce (as long as he didn’t lose) and attractive to evangelicals. We know this because so many of them voted for him and tipped an unlikely coalition barely (BARELY in three key states) over the top.

            But the result is the same. Evangelicals are getting what they wanted. Many of them are seeking to distance themselves from the embarrassing aspects—–BUT—–almost all of them are pleased as punch. This to me is a cause for sadness about the rising tendency of both our country and our churches to embrace “big, rich, brash, outrageous and provocative via intimidation” over other thoughts about what we should admire and other policy we should embrace. Decades ago, Jerry Falwell, Sr., had the Moral Majority. Bad as that was in some political respects, if you contributed you got a “Jesus First” lapel pin to wear. (My best male friend/coworker then had one and wore it a long time.)

            In recent years, the required lapel pin for conservatives is an American flag and the chant of conservatives is “America First”. This is not a small change and Trumpism in churches is not a small matter.

          • Tom

            They’re pleased as punch…that Hillary Clinton is not president.
            That is the long and short of it.
            Your party picked a lousy candidate, and she failed.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Typical dodge. The more the Republicans inevitably screw their own voters, the less well it’s going to work. And OF COURSE they are going to do just that, because it is now and has been baked into GOP “principles” for several decades—–NOTHING is to be conceded to workers, period. You will see this play out in spades, from Congress, from the agencies and from the Courts. The question is how much and how long until people notice.

          • Tom

            It’s not a dodge, it’s the truth–and watching you flip out as what you predict does not come to pass will be interesting.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Nothing but a series of take-aways from the lower half of America is even possible.

          • Tom

            Would now be a bad time to point that all of that happened under Obama?

          • FriendlyGoat

            All of that happened in the tax-cut culture from Reagan which has been in motion for three and a half decades. Did you notice that your tribe plans to double-down on it and further ruin the next several decades?

          • Tom

            We disagree on the so-called ruination caused by tax cuts. There’s your first problem.

          • FriendlyGoat

            My “first problem” is that you’re basically a kid who hasn’t seen enough to be making a constant pest of yourself.

          • Tom

            (Shrugs) Frankly, being considered a pest by someone who regularly engages in mendacity and stereotyping while complaining about how put upon he is an indicator that I’m doing something right.

  • Unelected Leader

    Years of minority identity politics and wedge issues has created majority identity politics (as it always does).

  • WigWag

    The biggest culprit promoting the deterioration of race relations in the United States is the press. Especially egregious is the way the press goes out of its way to encourage poor relations between African Americans and the police. No one suffers from this more than inner city blacks.

    The press really is the “enemy of the people.”

    • FriendlyGoat

      You do know you’re too educated to say that, right?

      • WigWag

        I guess it depends how you look at it, FG. I plead guilty to being hypereducated but being educated doesn’t really make you smart or dumb, it simply means you’ve had a lot of stuff crammed into your brain. Some of the dumbest people I know are hypereducated. Some of the smartest people I know are marginally educated. I suspect you agree with me about this.

        As to your main point, I think the mainstream press in particular has played a major role in inciting racial animosity in our country. The reason for this, I think, is that most reporters, editors and news executives are steeped in the identity politics that became prominent when you and I and they were coming into adulthood in the 1960s and 1970s.

        The commitment to identity politics, especially on racial matters has had a profoundly negative impact on African Americans. By way of example, the problems of the black community in Chicago don’t stem from a few bad cops even if these bad cops have inappropriately killed an innocent black victim or two. The problem facing the black community in Chicago and elsewhere comes overwhelmingly from black criminals murdering innocent black inner city residents.

        The press focuses disproportionately on misbehavior by police because it fits in with a narrative they’ve been locked into since they were young pups pining to be budding Woodward and Bernsteins.

        This doesn’t have any consequences at all for you and me, FG; we’re fine either way. But the impact that this press-inspired animosity between the police and inner city blacks is literally killing innocent black kids, teenagers and adults.

        I’ve sited but one example; I could give many more.

        The press is the enemy of the people, especially if they are black, poor or marginalized.

        We have a free press; that’s a good thing. But it doesn’t mean the press shouldn’t be excoriated for all the evil that they perpetrated in our country.

        • FriendlyGoat

          The “mainstream” media is a collection of corporations trying to make a profit. It is not our enemy. Seeing as how we have now elected a national government bound and determined to suppress truth on nearly every issue, the media is about all we have at this moment. One way you know this is that Trump opposes their mission.

          • WigWag

            Do you think the press is responsible for increasing racial animosity in our country?

          • FriendlyGoat

            No. If stories about the plights of racial or ethnic or sexual minorities seem to have the effect of producing a negative over-reaction from the white evangelical church folks (who definitively tipped the national election), I blame the over-reactors, not the stories.

            The theme going around that the Right is a tad embarrassed about the Trump era, BUT the Left caused it because the blacks, Latinos, feminists and gays went “too far” is a NO SALE to me. The minorities didn’t “do” too much and the press didn’t “tell about it” too much. The used-to-be or might-have-been Christians in our country got tainted with two decades of Fox News and Talk Radio until a great number of them went dumb as rocks and mean as snakes. The Church, not the Press, is the political story of our times.

            A large number of the Trump voters are now going have their asses defunded in any number of ways—–and they’ll need the press to tell them how they screwed themselves and everyone else, since they were too rock-headed to otherwise predict the utterly predictable outcome of their own votes.

          • Joe Eagar

            What a fascinating viewpoint, FriendlyGoat. It truly becomes you. Why should the white Christian right feel threatened by an entire political party unifying itself in hatred of their malefolk? Total over-reaction!

          • FriendlyGoat

            Since you asked, first of all, let’s understand that the rich end of the “white Christian right” is gonna make out FINE, FINE, FINE from the Trump era. That’s because they are already well-to-do and about to become more so with tons of help from the governmental shift, not because they are Christian or claim to be Christian.

            But—–BUT—–they achieved this windfall by utterly and completely tricking the lower end of the “white Christian right” into voting for Chamber-of-Commerce Republicanism on issues such as guns, BLM and supposed freedom to reject baking gay wedding cakes. They lied up street and down alley about tax cuts “creating jobs” and how great health care is gonna be when the only insurance you get is that from which a profit is turned off of the policyholders themselves.

            Now, that lower economic end of the Church is going to be punished in dozens of ways for years-to-decades because they fell victim to the lies they were told by their supposedly-Christian “betters”. I say the top end is mean (for its profound and intentional lying) and the low end is stupid for biting the junk sandwich instead of having the discernment they are supposed to have.

          • Joe Eagar

            Funny how such discernment is never demanded from the nonwhite poor. Regardless, I think you’re overestimating the power establishment Republicanism has. Trump is basically a social democrat that leans right; he’s already forced the GOP to come up with a healthcare plan (as opposed to simply nuking the ACA), and I imagine he’ll continue to push them in a sane direction there.

            I’ve heard a number of conservative intellectuals openly discuss income inequality and its effect on their own electoral chances since Trump was elected. Hardly the sign of a confident party elite in full control of their officeholders.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Trump can’t simply “nuke” the ACA. The law is on the books and only certain parts of it can be repealed under “reconciliation” with a mere 51 votes in the Senate. The current approach is NOT because the president is a “social democrat”. It is because he has boxed himself into a corner promising people “something fantastic” that is undeliverable and also promising the Hard Right something else in repeal which is undeliverable without a 60-Republican Senate.

            As far as your “conservative intellectuals” discussing income inequality, did any of them give a damn about it except for how it affected their own “electoral chances”?

          • Joe Eagar

            “As far as your “conservative intellectuals” discussing income inequality, did any of them give a damn about it except for how it affected their own “electoral chances”?”

            That’s my point. They did not, and do not, care about the issue *except for how it affects their electoral chances*. If they were in charge they wouldn’t have to worry, no?

          • Anthony

            Additional background (integral) to your pungent point: inthesetimes.com/features/trump_pence_heritage_foundation.html

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks. Great analysis. I passed this on to Joe Eager, immediately above, (not that it will probably matter to him), in another reply I was “asked” to make and tried to make.

          • Anthony

            You’re welcome. Here’s a related item: https//www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/04/breaking-faith/517785/?utm_source=twb

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks again. Several good insights. Without regaling you with more of what you have already read from me before, I’ll just say that I’m glad the professional writers are starting to delve further into the religious angles of our politics. We’re in a bigger pickle with Trumpism than most people think and fixing religion is (to my way of thinking) the only way out. Even THAT may take a long, long time during which everything good goes backwards.

          • Anthony

            You know, FG, I don’t know what Trumpism is! But I do know when an empty vessel fills with the frustrations, resentments, fears, hatreds, and opportunism open for exploitation by the “nimbler wits” at the general societal expense. For me, country before party still has an appeal – Beinart notes the partisan clash of “us” and “them” becoming more primal and irreconcilable.

            The American work, as it always been, is to honestly address the unsolved American Nationality question – the secular, cultural, national, and racial issues raised by Beinart are reflective of the psychological malaise that manifests from the American Identity problem (it is not new and has been generally sidestepped for decades, if not centuries).

            So, where does that leave us (in addition to your regaling)? I can only paraphrase what a wise man once shared with me: social forces require the conscious guidance of men (women) who understand the different forces at work in all their essential qualities and differentiations. To that end, Trumpism, Right Wingism, etc. must be both understood and strenuously countered at all levels if one opposes its intents and purposes.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Oh Dear. You are inviting me to write a definition for Trumpism (since I don’t know what it is either or even what I “think” it is——-without writing.) So here goes.

            1) It is the enabled alignment of national Republicans to do everything they have dreamt about for 40 years (ala Heritage Foundation) from all branches of government at once.

            2) It emphasizes nationalism over virtually all other concerns.

            3) It pushes both wealth and power upward while claiming the opposite.

            4) It includes a personality in The White House who is almost certain to over-react in a crisis. (We haven’t seen any yet and can only imagine.)

            5) It includes a near-cult-like adoration from his followers who are totally opposed to any truth that is not endorsed by President Trump.

            6) It sets a new modern standard for the personal wealth and ostentatiousness expected in a president.

            7) It is increasingly propaganda on wheels (since any opposition inside government will be met with McCarthyist witch hunts, firings, mufflings, reprisals).

            There is probably more—-but all that is bad enough. The fall-out will last years to decades.

          • Joe Eagar

            You really think American liberals care about human rights, as anything other than a virtue signalling mechanism? I’ve met liberals that gushed about their plans to start charities but could not comprehend why the death by suicide of half a million white people should concern them. I predicted three years ago that nonelite white civil rights would be a huge political issue in five years, and with two years to go that looks to be the case.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Yes, American liberals care about human rights and those have nothing to do with charities. They are rights—–starting with strict separation of church and state at the top of the list in this country and in all countries.

          • Joe Eagar

            You think they still do? So, there are more women then men on college campuses, and that’s been true for decades. Around the time Obama was elected people started writing opeds on how the time had come for affirmative action for men in higher education.

            What happened? Feminists invented a 100% fake rape scandal to distract from the issue and reinforce their status. And so men became even *more* persecuted on campuses, and this became “liberal” dogma.

          • Anthony

            The fall out (policy, ambiance, contention,etc.) may have duration but organization/mobilization (for both short and long game) to affect electoral change beginning in 2018 is where you ought to direct energy and talent (when you aren’t writing). Also, your list as normal focuses.

          • Joe Eagar

            A bit conspiratorial, don’t you think? And I find it rather hilarious when liberals panic over shrinking the federal government. That demographic future all of you love so much? If the country survives at all, it will be as something closer to the EU than the present USA. You should be cheering for that result; the weaker our central government becomes, the more diversity the country as a whole can tolerate.

          • Anthony

            No panic and nothing conspiratorial; read more and live curiously.

          • WigWag

            I’m not sure it’s accurate to say that Evangelicals tipped the election. After all in 2016, they did what they always do; vote for the GOP.

            Wasn’t it the white working class (which is increasingly secular) that turned the election? It seems to me that the election was tipped by voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin who voted for Obama twice but voted for Trump this time.

            If these voters were mostly Evangelicals they would have voted McCain in 2008 and Romney (despite the LDS thing) in 2012. They didn’t; most voted for Obama in 2008 and many voted for Obama again in 2012.

            I think these voters watched the obsessive coverage of the various police shootings (most of the cops were exonerated) and concluded that things were headed in a bad direction that Mrs. Clinton who famously said that “all of us are implicitly racist” would make worse.

            I would go so far as to say that between the hyperkinetic coverage of race relations and the fake news about the Clinto emails, the press is largely responsible for the election of Donald Trump.

            Considering what you think of Trump, doesn’t that make you think the press is the “enemy of the people?”

          • FriendlyGoat

            Much has been written about the white working class being (justifiably) upset and being supporters of Trump. I happen to think there is some considerable overlap between white working people and white evangelicals in much of the non-metro country. They might be identified as fans of a country song called “Way Out Here” from 2010 with these lyrics:

            Our houses are protected by the good Lord and a gun
            And you might meet ’em both if you show up here, not welcome son
            Our necks are burnt, the roads are dirt and our trucks ain’t clean
            The dogs run loose, we smoke, we chew and fry everything
            Out here, way out here
            [Chorus]
            We won’t take a dime if we ain’t earned it
            When it comes to weight, brother we pull our own
            If it’s our backwoods way of living you’re concerned with
            Well you can leave us alone
            Cause we’re about John Wayne, Johnny Cash and John Deere
            Way out here
            We’ve got a fighting side, a mile wide but we pray for peace
            Cause it’s mostly us that end up serving overseas
            If it was up to me I’d love to see this country run
            Like it used to be, like it ought to be, just like it’s done
            Out here, way out here
            [Chorus]
            Way out here
            [Chorus]
            John Wayne, Johnny Cash, and John Deere
            Way out here way out here
            Our houses are protected by the good Lord and a gun
            And you might meet ’em both if you show up here not welcome son

          • Anthony

            Though wanting to end this thread, I must share an essay definitely “in your lane” – https://newrepublic.com/article/140961/amazing-disgrace-donald-trump-hijacked-religious-right

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks. As I told you before, I’m glad the professional writers are beginning to follow this trail. This article paints it worse than even I have felt and written. The worst of these people are REALLY bad news and the best of them have become stupid as a rock in terms of their political actions.

          • D4x

            Many of those white working class voters are still Catholic. I noticed a change in the polls to Trump after that Podesta email about ‘reforming’ the Catholic Church was leaked. HRC’s “implicit bias” comment followed at the Oct. 19 debate. Still think that was more damaging to her than her deplorables moment of dripping condescension.

            from Oct. 13, 2017 “Outraged by the anti-Catholic bigotry displayed in leaked Team Clinton emails this week, the powerful Philadelphia bishop blasted both President Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton for their efforts
            to undermine church teachings.

            “But bad can always get worse. I’m thinking, of course, of the contemptuously anti-Catholic emails exchanged among members of the Clinton Democratic presidential campaign team and released this week by WikiLeaks. A sample: Sandy Newman, president of Voices for Progress, emailed John Podesta, now the head of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to ask about whether ‘the bishops opposing contraceptive coverage’ could be the tinder for a
            revolution. ‘There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages [sic] dictatorship,’ Newman writes. …”

            http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/catholic-bishop-blasts-clinton-over-emails-scheming-robotic-liar/article/2604480

          • Ofer Imanuel

            FG, this is only partially true. On one side, corporations (say MSNBC) do not report news, but opinion, to entertain like minded (say liberals). On the other side, some corporations (think Washington Post) are willing to lose money in order to trumpet the political opinions of their owner (Jeff Bezos in this case), for which this is small money.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Comcast owns MSNBC and it is neither a charity for liberals nor an indication that Comcast itself is liberal. It is a smaller niche business against a bigger Fox News. As for Bezos, he does what he wants. Unfortunately Murdoch does too at Wall Street Journal.

            But saying the only press we have is “the enemy”? There is a time when no one would have bought such a statement for five minutes. What the hell is WRONG with people?
            Do they really think Donald Trump will just “tweet” them everything they need to hear or what?

          • Joe Eagar

            Do you have any idea what the liberal press sounds like to working-class Americans? It sounds like a cartel of organized hate groups. Of course people are going to buy statements like “the press is the enemy”; to nonelite whites, the press *is* their enemy. Just look at this Politico article: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/boycotthawaii-social-media-liberals-236181

            “‘I can guarantee you half the people who want to #BoycottHawaii have never traveled further than their local WalMart,’ sneered a popular account dedicated to impeaching Trump.”

          • FriendlyGoat

            Saturday Night Live in the past had a recurring character named Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With At A Party. She was a master of raising completely disjointed strings of nonsense and drawing gazes of bemusement and understated astonishment from Seth Meyers who was supposedly interviewing her. You are striking me as a conservative version of her. I’ll be Seth. This my reply to all three messages you sent me in the last hour or two.

          • Joe Eagar

            Gaslighting: the go to tactic for entitled snobs. How disappointing.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You are simply sending me an onslaught of right-wing talking points on miscellaneous subjects —–some of which are rather off the wall. I think you are actually smarter than what you’re doing with me, okay? We need to get on that level or skip it.

          • Joe Eagar

            This is what I hate about liberals. You habitually the dismiss other people’s concerns and experiences as right-wing propaganda.

            You could entertain the thought–oh no!–that maybe I mean what I say. Perhaps I didn’t read this stuff on a far-right blog. Perhaps reality isn’t so comforting for me as it is for you.

            Have you ever thought that, just maybe, some people spout “right-wing talking points” because it reflects their own experiences, not because they heard it on Fox News?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Sorry, but “The Press is the enemy” strikes me as one of those things which only goes around via repetition. It is such an utterly absurd thing for anyone in a free country to say, one can only assume that no one says it unless they are just parroting something heard elsewhere.

          • Joe Eagar

            Try saying that after waking up one morning to discover half a million poor white people have died over the past fifteen years, a public health disaster that went unreported for all that time. Fifteen years is an awful long time for a “free press” to ignore the plight of so many struggling people.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Send letters to the editor to ask for what you want covered. Don’t ask me to despise a free press in a free country. You had your highly questionable talk radio and Fox. We also have several other networks and papers. The whole of it is NOT “our enemy”.

          • Joe Eagar

            Really? Where do the de facto speech codes we all live by come from? Who promulgates them? What institution most contributes to spreading fear among middle-class-and-below Americans? Why, it’s the press! I’ll even admit it isn’t a partisan thing. I’ve always loathed Fox News almost as much as MSNBC.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Well, I’m glad you don’t care for Fox and I don’t watch either it or MSNBC because I ditched cable six years ago. PBS is the best television we have for News or anything else, and, of course, your side is trying to either kill it or ruin it.

            As for de facto speech codes, you are at complete liberty to go about your workplace, your shopping locations, your kids events, your social occasions saying absolutely anything that does not get you into some kind of trouble at those places. Lester Holt will NOT be there to monitor or coach you.

          • Joe Eagar

            Really? Because that’s not how most of us feel. The biggest issue in America today is probably nonelite white civil rights. Do you have any idea how big of a taboo that is, even today, and how frightening it was five years ago?

            Besides, you people are always saying that hateful rhetoric has consequences for the victims. If that’s true of right-wing attacks on minorities, why isn’t it true of left-wing attacks on white people?

            Eh?

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’m a white person. I am retired and “okay” but neither rich nor elite. I don’t feel oppressed, limited, discriminated against, tread upon, over-run or persecuted. I don’t feel that blacks, browns, immigrants, Muslims, gays, transgenders, feminists, tree-huggers, or socialists are “doing anything” nefarious to me. What on earth are you talking about with nonelite white civil rights?

          • Joe Eagar

            “I am white and not mistreated, therefore no white person is mistreated” is frankly offensive, and shockingly uneducated.

            It comes across as bullying, more gaslighting. I find it deeply offensive.

          • FriendlyGoat

            If you are having a problem with some kind of persecution as a white person, it would be helpful to any serious discussion if you would describe what it is.

          • Joe Eagar

            I call it “privilege musical chairs”. Everyone assumes your privileged, and if they don’t help you when you need it, someone else will. Only, at least for young males, everyone thinks this way.

            It gets especially nasty in hiring; no one wants to be accused of favoring some pitiful looking white person for racial reasons, and besides, if they don’t hire him, someone else will because of “white privilege”. Or that’s the attitude.

            Another big problem is discrimination between white ethnic or sectarian groups. I’very certainly seen a lot of it. This seems to be pretty common in the upper middle class, where I’m forced to reside because, for reasons that escape me, society doesn’t let people with upper middle class skillets work in the middle class.

          • Joe Eagar

            I’d also argue that the norm that we must all get college degrees harms white people, since it creates huge barriers to employment for those of us who are partially disabled, couldn’t really handle college but educated ourselves anyway.

            I have a very impressive portfolio, but people tell me they can’t hire white men without college degrees, (even if their employers are patenting their work) because of a fear of civil rights lawsuits from people with degrees.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I would join you in any argument that companies may be at greater liberty to patent the work product of employees than they should be. I would join you in arguing that college degrees are not necessarily the best measured qualification. And I would certainly join you in any plan to offer a form of “affirmative action” to force fairness to those with partial disabilities who are nonetheless capable of employment. These are all real problems which don’t strike me as unique to white people.

          • Joe Eagar

            They may not be unique, but they are uniquely cruel to white people. Gaslighting disadvantaged white people is an unspoken part of our social constitution. The survival of liberal identity politics of the news in late 2015 that working-class white people are dying en masse is proof of that. For a population that is suffering health problems and “deaths of despair”, the fact that upper-middle-class liberals still feel free to bully them is awe-inspiring in its cynicism.

            As is the fact that so few people feel free to speak out against it.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Too many times and for too many questionable reasons, I have been called a communist, a Marxist or an evil-side socialist in these threads. So responding to you risks THAT again from someone or other.

            But you are correct that we err as a society in leaving certain segments of people behind and “gaslighting” them, as you put it, with bootstrap talk, or with the oft-repeated “the world does not owe anyone a living”. As a practical matter, we have now and WILL have increasing numbers of people who find themselves in despair that their realistic paths to self-sufficiency “ain’t what they used to be” because the world changes. I’m with the school of thought which would seek to recognize this and construct (small-a) “affirmative action” against it. This is a dilution of pure free enterprise which gets one (me) in trouble, but net, net—-we DO need to find a place with reasonable earning potential and self-esteem for ex-coal miners, ex-mfg assemblers, those with challenges, and those soon to be further displaced by automation and AI in all kinds of fields. These solutions, if we get any, will come from conscious and intentional social engineering, not from further worship of the “free market” which, as you know, can leave too much real DESTRUCTION in the wake of the economic concept of “creative destruction.” Sooo—-I’m not knocking your logic, even as I wish us to apply it to all races at once.

          • Joe Eagar

            I completely agree. That’s why I support a policy of less immigration for the poor, and more for the rich. Tight labor markets at the low end will raise the status of unskilled workers and force employers to invest in them. At the same time, looser skilled labor markets will make it easier for employers to do the R&D necessary for said investment. And all of this would be paid for by a healthy savings rate, preferably engineered through a public fiscal surplus.

            That was the center-left policy mix for, what, 200 years? “Tight labor, abundant capital”? And when I brought it up at a professional club last week, I was told “that’s what Trump wants!” I’m getting a little sick of constantly being told I’m right-wing for proposing the same policy mix Paul Krugman proposed during George Bush’s administration.

            One final note on free markets. Its important to understand that not all Republicans view free markets in an absolutist manner. I believe very much in free markets, but I view them as tools to achieve social goals. The purpose of a market is to delegate public powers to private actors in cases where traditional public-sector bureaucracies have proven incapable of providing certain goods. So long as the market achieve the results I want, I’m all for giving the participants a lot of flexibility.

            If the market fails, then it must be restructured. It has to be a full systemic reform: micromanaging a failing market will only make that market worse. A perfect example is the ACA (I know, I know, our behavior there is totally stupid, and I guess ‘we never thought we’d have the power to do any of the things we said’ isn’t much of an excuse now that we do). The prior health insurance market’s profit motive centered around attracting healthy people while repelling unhealthy ones. No amount of micromanaging could change that. Through systemic reforms with the individual mandate and new reinsurance infrastructure, the ACA moved the profit motive to center around the provision of quality healthcare to sick and healthy alike (or that’s the idea, anyway).

          • FriendlyGoat

            Well, I believe in (regulated) free markets too—–for those matters where they work, which is maybe in only half or so of real “matters”. They don’t do public safety, criminal justice, public education, public works and infrastructure, aviation, weather, communication, disease control, and they don’t do health care very well.

            As for the rhetoric of what the “hard” Republicans said negatively for years about PPACA, I write it all off as part of the shtick sold to get themselves in position to do high-end tax cuts—–their only real purpose for existence. Sooooo, we’re now headed into THAT season, where, with a little luck they will shoot themselves as badly with the push to “border adjustment” as they did with AHCA so that they can’t pass tax reform either. The notion that American consumers are itching to pay a trillion dollars in higher consumer prices at the proverbial Walmart so that Donald’s Alternative Minimum Tax and future Estate Tax can be repealed might (might) suddenly just become “objectionable”. We can only wait and see.

          • Joe Eagar

            I actually think markets would work pretty well for public education. And if not, they would produce political support for a professional civil service based system (like South Korea has), as opposed to our current system that merely pretends to be professional.

            I don’t know why you think markets don’t work in communications and aviation, they both experienced innovation and falling prices after the waves of privatization and monopoly-breakup (one does have to have *competitive* markets) during and after the 1980s.

            Public safety, justice, weather, disease control, and infrastructure are all public goods, though infrastructure is something of a special case (I do think privatization is warranted if a government is bankrupt, but it’s kind of tragic. I’d feel pretty terrible if my town was so poor it had to sell the water system to foreign investors, as happened to a German friend of mine).

            Healthcare is an odd case. Its true that individual countries can run quality socialized healthcare systems, but the bulk of global R&D happens in the private sector. So there’s cross-subsidization going on.

          • Joe Eagar

            On the border adjustment tax, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Americans are so bad at saving that it limits our fiscal policy; at the same time, our tax code is a bit too favorable to imports. This would solve (or at least improve) both problems.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The way I view the “border adjustment” is as an “assault by distraction” on the whole concept of income tax. It is intended to get most people thinking about import and export while the tax code is mostly destroyed by stealth. Worse, it is intended to actually raise a lot of revenue which can only come from consumers instead of from those who already are out-trading most of the citizens. It’s hard for me to see how not taxing income from the export of oil and gas while raising the price of most consumer goods is going to make Americans into better savers, for instance.

          • Joe Eagar

            The idea of a consumption tax is that it makes saving more attractive relative to consumption. Restraining consumption is used by lots of governments around the world to propel investment forward.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Great. Let’s sell this THAT way. Let’s tell people out in flyover country that THEY need to pay more for every imported thing they buy at Walmart, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Dollar General, Payless Shoe and Harbor Freight Tool——BECAUSE——there is never enough cash sitting around in America to properly subscribe Wall Street’s initial public offerings.
            Let’s not tell them some malarkey about supposedly making shoes in America again, since we won’t need to do that anyway when the disclosed goal of our economic theory is to get people to buy fewer shoes in the first place.

          • Joe Eagar

            By the way, if the GOP does nuke healthcare, we will deserve the total wipeout we’ll get in 2018. I think our leaders know that. So far, they haven’t (imho the AHCA was designed to go down in flames). But we’ll see; the idiot libertarians aren’t being as slavishly loyal to Trump as we were all hoping they’d be.

          • Joe Eagar

            By the way, I don’t really agree that America is a free country. I’ve faced too much employment discrimination for that. A free country wouldn’t have let so many hundreds of thousands of people die from social exclusion, and it certainly wouldn’t have scapegoated them as evil.

          • FriendlyGoat

            We are indeed becoming less free all the time. I maintain that we have been going downhill in that regard for decades—–but it’s almost certain we would not agree on the reasons why. Mine would include the high-end tax cuts which set finance (and its masters) far (FAR) above most of the citizenry, the loss of collective bargaining, the rise of “fine print” everyone is coerced by our corporate overlords to sign when we shouldn’t, the national and state redistricting games which skew political results, outside money in local elections, the politicization of churches and Christian ministries, the continuing militarization of police, older people becoming less mature instead of more mature, and a general voluntary willingness on the part of too many of us to be under-informed and dumb.

          • Joe Eagar

            Well, of those the only one I disagree with are the tax cuts; I do think the 1986 cuts were too much, but even Bush didn’t take them back to that level. I believe in the redistribution of capital, not income, which means I support mildly progressive tax rates and prefer things like (non-adversarial “Nordic-style”) collective bargaining, immigration restrictions, better K12 schools and vocational training for the poor, etc. What matters is inequality in capital-to-worker ratios.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Wow, that’s actually impressive. I too believe in collective bargaining which tries to make the workforces into NON-ADVERSARIAL PARTNERS–but not with their unions merely outlawed or thwarted from the management side.
            As for tax cuts, if we wonder why CEO’s, pure financial trading, trial lawyers and some entertainers (including sports and the coaches who are the highest-paid public employees in the country—-bar none) are making monkeys out of the entire lower-middle class and why medical costs are at the moon, we need look no further than our continuing giveaway of the controls we once had on these pockets of excess.
            There is NO reason for us to be ruled from Wall Street, from the executive suites, from Davos, from the Cayman Islands, from Silicon Valley or from the oil patches—-EXCEPT that we haven’t the guts to say OF COURSE we will tax a billion-dollar income at 90%, and OF COURSE we will tax a million-dollar income at 60%. People have this nutty idea that low taxes at these levels will “create (living-wage) jobs”. The actual result is the opposite and workers have been suffering the damage in waves from this error since 1978—–not to mention the accumulation of federal debt. The challenge of our time is to prevent Republicans from totally and finally ruining our country with dramatically more of this misdirection in 2017.

          • Joe Eagar

            Surely functioning unions would more than compensate for upper crust power. I don’t think the wealthy are inherently powerful, otherwise Jeb or Hilary would be president. I don’t mind their compensation, so long as they fulfill their social responsibilities, which better unions would force them to do.

        • Joe Eagar

          Have you read Francis Fukuyama’s book, “Political Order and Political Decay”? He basically argues that the American civil service arose from upper-middle-class kids wanting to go into government, but were unwilling to go through the old party patronage system. They resented the way government jobs went to working-class party loyalists.

          Fukuyama makes a fascinating argument: the so-called “spoils system” that predated 20th century America was just as legitimately democratic as the post-Progressive state, only less efficient at implementing what the public wanted. This isn’t exactly how the spoils system is taught, and it’s an interesting point. Do we really need our government staffed by upper-middle-class snobs with guild mentalities? Perhaps the old system had more value than we give it credit for.

          • WigWag

            Joe, I haven’t read Fukuyama’s book but I’ve heard about his thesis. It sounds logical to me.

            During the election campaign, Bernie Sanders railed against “the millionaires and billionaires.” His thoughts were echoed by Pocahontas, the Senator from Massachusetts.

            What Democrats don’t get is that it’s not the hyperwealthy who are ruining the lives of working class Americans, it’s the upper middle class that’s the culprit.

            The reporters purveying fake news are upper middle class. The pundits bloviating about how terrible populism is are upper middle class. The professors promoting political correctness and insulting American values are upper middle class. The doctors driving the costs of healthcare into the stratosphere are upper middle class. The government apparatchiks who keep bungling us into wars we never win are upper middle class.

            To make matters worse, even workers in the middle of the middle class are arrayed against working class people. How do you suppose the disabled worker on SSI or SSDI feels about the hack government employee who treats him rudely every time he walks into a social security office? How did he feel when he was a high school student about the teacher who lambasted him for smoking in the boys restroom?

            A large percentage of the upper middle class votes for the Democrats. Working class voters are increasingly drifting to the GOP. The idea that Bernie Sanders could have beaten Donald Trump is just another in a long line of Democratic fantasies. Working class voters don’t hate the hyperwealthy; they respect their success. The reality is that few working class voters have ever met a multimillionaire or a billionaire.

            These working class voters understand who’s ruining their lives. It ain’t “millionaires and billionaires.” It’s their arrogant and often obnoxious upper middle class neighbors. And it’s the political party those upper middle class neighbors often vote for.

          • solstice

            Actually, it is the millionaires and billionaires. Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and big business were largely behind Hillary Clinton. Many of the “never-Trump” Republicans like Romney, the Bush family, Krauthammer, Bill Kristol etc. are in the top one percent, and the median annual income of Trump voters was $70,000. Many middle- and upper-middle class Americans voted for Trump because they too have been hit hard by anemic economic growth and the heroin and suicide epidemics. Many of them have also reacted negatively to the destructive identity politics of the Left and are just as fed up with political correctness, the higher education system, corruption, and useless wars as everyone else.

            I agree with you about the mainstream media, and I appreciate your sentiment that the most educated members of our societies are often the dumbest, but I think you are characterizing matters too much within the framework of class animosity and class warfare. Many working- and lower-class Americans voted for Hillary because they are dependent on the government or are members of Democratic Party interest groups.

          • WigWag

            Solstice, I think you’re right that it’s too simplistic to say that all upper middle class people are Democrats and all of the hyperwealthy are Republicans. Clinton had more billionaire supporters than Trump did. Practically all of Silicon Valley and Hollywood and approximately half of Wall Street were Clinton supporters. Many upper middle class Americans voted for Trump. I acknowledge this.

            But the point I was making was somewhat different. The class that’s ruining the prospects of working people is not mostly the hyperwealthy; it’s mostly members of the American clerisy who are almost all upper middle class.

            Escalating health care costs which are destroying the working class are driven almost entirely by the greed of upper middle class doctors and hospital administrators and the guilds that protect them.

            Out of control tuitions at American universities are the fault of overpaid and underworked professors and administrators who are all upper middle class.

            Out of control drug costs can be blamed mostly on the labyrinth of arcane and unnecessary regulations that middle class government bureaucrats impose on pharmaceutical companies.

            Working class soldiers who come home from our senseless wars in body bags or with their limbs blown off were mostly sent to those wars by upper middle class government officials who are completely clueless if not venal.

            The trade officials who negotiated NAFTA, TPP and America’s other ridiculous trade bills; what class do you suppose they’re part of?

            Certainly the rich share their fair share of the blame. It was members of the hyperwealthy financial community who insisted on the deregulation that led to the most recent financial collapse. It’s the hyperwealthy in Silicon Valley who are destroying the last vestiges of privacy.

            But I still think the Democrats are making a huge mistake by adopting Bernie Sanders’ blame the rich philosophy.

            Working Americans who’s votes the Democrats need to win back are not going to blame the rich for their predicament. The working class is smarter than most hypereducated Americans give them credit for. They’ve correctly identified their real adversaries. It’s not the rich, it’s their upper middle class know-it-all neighbors who have created the system that is destroying their prospects.

            Superimpose on this reality the fact that the gentry liberal social values that many working people reject are mainly a creation of the upper middle class clerisy and you have a volatile situation that makes it increasingly unlikely that the white working class will ever support the Democrats in large numbers again.

            The Democrats may be able to resurrect their past success in presidential races by appealing to minority voters in huge numbers, but they will never win the Senate, House, State Houses or State legislatures this way.

            The press is not only the prime driver of racial hatred in our country, they are luring Democrats into a morass from which they may never emerge.

          • solstice

            I don’t disagree that a significant percentage of the middle- and upper-middle classes match your description, but I think you are understating the percentage of millionaires and billionaires who are like that and overstating the percentage of the middle- and upper-middle classes that are like that.

          • Joe Eagar

            This isn’t a matter of proportions. There are far more upper-middle-class people than there are millionaires, and that gives them a level of power the truly wealthy can only dream of (as the GOP’s and the Democrat’s donor bases just discovered).

  • Andrew Allison

    Let’s not beat around the Obama, er bush. The Obama administration set race relations back to the sixties.

    • f1b0nacc1

      No, at least in the 60s the curve of progress was pointed towards better relations….that is no longer the case. And the cynical race-baiting of Obama is, if not the entire cause, at least a major proximate one….

      • Andrew Allison

        I agree that, thanks to Obama’s race-baiting, the trajectory is toward worse rather than better race relations, but my point was they are as bad, if not worse, than in the sixties. This, and the dramatic increase in crime which has resulted, is Obama legacy.

  • Anthony

    Hmmmm, “Race Relations” remains a curious phrase and always has from my estimation. Just what are we obliquely referencing here in Gallup’s Poll – so called “white men attitudes” toward other Americans perhaps. A better predictor (beyond the identity politics, political correctness, ideological distinctions, etc. arguments) may be who benefits from racial stigma. The meaning and significance of Race in America entails what psychological/social racial bargain.

    “Here, in America, the idea of race emerged as a means of reconciling chattel slavery – as well as the extermination of American Indians – with the ideals of freedom preached by whites in the new colonies….Racial division was a consequence, not a precondition of slavery, but once it was instituted it became detached from its initial function and acquired a social potency all its own.After the death of slavery, the idea of race lived on.” So now euphemistically, we couch (when we do at all) our continuing racial bribe in the phrase race relations and wonder at our bedeviling human relations.

  • Beauceron

    I never used to think about race much, mine or anyone else’s.

    Now I think and read about it a fair amount.

    As identity politics have swept the country, and we’ve become race conscious about the minutest things (even park benches are racist, my friend — http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2016/4/6/it-is-about-race/) how could one not focus on race more and more? It’s a natural reaction to the times. It is thrust into your face everywhere now– at school, at work, on the TV, on the radio. Your skin color and ethnic background is now more important that at any time since the 1950s. It affects what school you’ll get into, what scholarships you might get, what job you’ll get. There’s no escaping it.

    It’s why, more and more, I want out.

  • Boritz

    Has there ever in history been a society that collected racial statistics as avidly as we do today?

  • ——————————

    Race relations will never be good. It is against basic human nature. Humans are tribal….

  • Stephen

    Fortunately, America is not yet experiencing the levels of racial violence and discord seen in the 1960s. Or, discrimination and racism. I’ve lived long enough to know. And anyone who denies that is a liar or a fool.

    Funny that you failed to note that “little” difference between now and the ’60’s. I would suggest that lack of frank acknowledgment has been a contributing cause as well and is nothing less than an act of extraordinary bad faith.

    • Joe Eagar

      Nothing says that all groups in society can’t hate and discriminate against each other simultaneously. It’s very easy to imagine a situation where support for ethnic and religious pluralism collapses because everyone starts hating everyone else. If everyone is a bigot, then bigotry ceases to be a socially-punishable vice and in fact becomes a virtue (signal of loyalty).

      This is historically how large multi-ethnic empires meet their end.

  • Josephbleau

    “But here is an indicator, from Gallup, that has persisted in its sharply negative trajectory since the new President was sworn in” There is a sharp change in slope in 2014. It looks like the graph does not have any new data since 1-1-2017. Seriously, why is this Trumps fault? I don’t like the “Fake News” meme but you guys are making it a reality. Are you statistically blind?

  • Proud Skeptic

    Our president made the mistake of taking sides on this issue. No problem being in favor of justice. Most of us support that. But to further some of the harmful narratives like he did was counterproductive. I guess as a black man he just couldn’t help himself.

  • stevesailer

    Ferguson.

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