Reflections on what just happened.

November 9th, 2016 at 1:49 pm

Over at WaPo. Not happy stuff, and much to still be processed. But here are some thoughts after a very long and discomforting night.

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7 comments in reply to "Reflections on what just happened."

  1. Smith says:

    “at least I, don’t adequately understand what motivates so many people to make what I see as such a reckless choice.”

    Voters resented being told America was already great when economic conditions told them otherwise. Thus it was a change election and the continuity candidate lost. They rolled the dice because they were otherwise promised more of the same. They believed Clinton. Her campaign message was the same as Trump’s and actually helped him. It was only close because Trump was an unknown, exhibiting a public recklessness previously unknown to modern Presidential candidates. America bet everything on change.

  2. William Meyer says:

    The Republican’s chant of “Drain the swamp” signals a significant issue–a desire to disrupt the cozy relationship between elites and politics. I see this election, as well as the continuing losses the Democrats have seen in Congress and in statehouses, as chickens coming home to roost from Obama’s decision to prop up the existing order in the Great Financial Crisis. Once he continued the TARP program, and went on providing support with virtually no strings attached (and no executive heads rolling) to Wall Street, Obama ended up owning the swamp. While Obama was and is not suited by temperament to playing FDR or Andrew Jackson, the situation called for a much stronger cleansing of the sewers than he seems to have had the stomach for. Temporarily nationalizing the banks, jailing bankers, firing executive suites, and very aggressive antitrust enforcement explained from the bully pulpit would have forestalled Trump. I believe. By not taking such actions, he paved the way for an America that is more solidly governed by a single party (i.e., Republicans) than I can ever remember in my four decades of adult life. While Obama has done in many ways an admirable job as president, his strengths are not the ones needed for the historical moment that he encountered, and Hillary’s defeat was very significantly the result of Obama’s choices. Of course, this is not to ignore the impact of race, but in-fighting over which groups get the biggest slice of pie is going to be far more vicious when the pie isn’t growing healthily. Nor is it to ignore Ms. Clinton’s own issues–it is a real question exactly how lifetime civil servants like the Clintons have accumulated such a fortune.

    I am personally deeply unhappy with the outcome and frankly fear a Republican administration headed by Mr. Trump with a rather odious supporting cast of characters in Congress. But I think Democrats need to understand that they can’t keep this cozy relationship they have going with the professional classes and big business and the donor class and simultaneously retain the affection of the common man, especially while trying to force through a legal framework for various forms of social change.

  3. jo6pac says:

    This nails what the demodogs have become and it’s not the party for the people but the .01%

    Now the blame game starts instead of the Big fix.

  4. mclaren says:

    Jared Bernstein gets it partly right, but misses the global impact. When Trump abandons our allies and demands payment for military assistance, they’ll respond with trade sanctions. When Trump unilaterally cancels our trade agreements, other countries will slap huge tariffs on our imports in retaliation. Trump & a Republican congress will respond with our own punitive tariffs. That’s how the Great Depression got started.

    Once the global economy slumps due to the collapse in trade, America’s plunging GDP (due to that 12 trillion dollar tax cut for the rich Trump has promised on his website) will drag the world economy further down. It’ll become a self-reinforcing death spiral, and the Ayn Rand fans in a Republican controlled congress will only make it worse.

    When the riots start and cities burn in protest, the Republican congress will pass punitive legislation that makes the USA Patriot Act look like a mild zoning ordnance. Expect a bill allowing curfews in all U.S. cities, military
    checkpoints on all highways and streets, “targeted killings” of civilians inside America, and “internment camps” for people who get designated as domestic terrorists (labor union organizers, progressive newspaper editors, feminists, Black Lives Matter organizers, anti-war protesters). Anyone who imagines the U.S. military won’t go along with this gross violation of posse comitatus is dreaming. 2/3 of all military and police in America voted for Trump.

    It will spiral downward from there. As the economy worsens and increasing numbers of Americans starve and sicken and die without social security of medicare (both will be eliminated “for the duration of the emergency”
    to deal with catastrophic deficits due to the 12 trillion dollar tax cuts for the rich), desperation will induce more and more people to seek a strongman who will lead them out of this chaos. From Trump, we’ll move to an even more dictatorial authoritarian. Soon we’ll start postponing elections “for the duration of the emergency.”

    America just crashed, hard. Democracy is over.

    Every sensible person’s key priority now must be survival. Get the hell out now while you still can, or starve and die.

  5. Kevin Rica says:

    Jim Tankersly got it right today.

    The racism, sexism thing is an easy and self-serving explanation for America’s economic and cultural elites. Trump’s people (the lineal descendant of the FDR/HST rank and file) in the industrial and rural Midwest are no more racist or sexist than they were in 2008 when President Obama was elected (even if WaPo reporters can find tweets to the contrary). They are just angrier at the continuing distain and neglect shown to their economic interests. They voted their perceived self interests as American have every right to do. But they won’t be the primary beneficiaries if Trump takes a hard line on immigration. That will be the unemployed and under employed low-skilled workers of the inner cities.

    The people who took over the Democratic Party from them had 8 years to protect their interests and incomes. Instead the Administration worried about who could use school bathrooms.

    You get elected on promises and re-elected on outcomes.

    This election was a glass half-empty and half-full. The guy who won it didn’t deserve to win. But those who lost it (the economic, cultural, and political elites, including there Wapo and NYT) did deserve to lose it.

  6. Bill Miller says:

    Economists have misunderstood globalization. Offshoring is theft of public investments in intangible capital such as knowledge produced by public funded and tax exempt education, infrastructure, domestic and national security, and federal funding of R&D. Integrated Reporting, an international initiative, is measuring intangible capital (IC) which is much more than R&D. Since 1992, IC has been a larger part of business investments as a part of GDP in America than tangible capital. Theft of IC in offshoring creates a negative externality in economics that is legally similar to pollution penalized in environmental regulation.

  7. jonny bakho says:

    How much of the problem is trade and how much automation?
    Michael Moore made Roger and Me about GM leaving Flint in the decade prior to NAFTA
    The US economy is transforming away from jobs in manufacturing the same way we transformed away from agriculture in the early 20th century. Economic dislocations (think Okies) followed the mechanization of agriculture. No one today wants to bring back manual farm labor jobs.
    Manufacturing jobs are now done by robots and manufacturing workers program, service and monitor the robots. The US makes more stuff today with fewer workers than we did in the 1980s.
    This is the elephant in the room that is ignored. Voters are distracted from the real issues by politicians like Trump and Sanders scapegoating trade. They misidentify the problem and that delays solution
    Clinton told the truth about coal jobs not coming back and coal country voted to kill the messenger. The GOP and Sanders focus on trade will not help them. Only an investment and relocation program can help.
    Rural culture is no longer adapted to the modern economy and must change or whither. Since they are resistant to change and intolerant of “outsiders” and new ideas, they wither as their youth go the economic appeal of the cities. The racism and intolerance in the Sundown Towns make them unappealing to businesses that serve a multicultural market.
    US policy of the past 70 years that has subsidized home ownership and taking on debt has left small town residents unable to unload their homes and move to better economic areas. The suburban and rural infrastructure is more expensive to maintain than the ability of the tax base to support it. These area are unsustainable and their future is the same as thousands of former small towns that dot our rural landscape. Those people have lost hope and have voted for someone who wants to burn down what the rest of us have built.