Take the first train to Factville…

November 21st, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Over at the WaPo. Not saying I have the answers, but I strongly believe this is an important question.

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9 comments in reply to "Take the first train to Factville…"

  1. Smith says:

    The central fact of the election was a still poorly performing economy for eight years. Clinton said “America is great, and we’re going to make it greater.” That rang false to enough voters to throw the election to Trump. If you look at the recent polls on issue after issue, people favored the Democrat’s position. But when you tell voters down is up, bad is good, and prosperity is just around the corner, they’ll tend to discount everything else. If they live in economic fear, they’re not ready to debate the finer points of climate change, immigration, and tax cuts for the rich. They just want change. Clinton promised them continuity. She actually campaigned on that theme. When she wasn’t promising more immigration, globalization, regulation and taxes, the central point she wanted to get across was four more years. Was Obama’s personal appeal, integrity, and identity worth enough to swing and additional 3.27% in 2012 compared to Clinton’s 2016 (51.1% – 47.83) Yes, but one other thing.
    Obama ran a barrage of ads in the rust belt during the summer of 2012 to define Romney as the factory closing job killing Bain Capitalist enemy of blue collar Democrats while Romney was short of cash to counter attack. His business experience and success was turned into a liability. For some reason Clinton decided Trump’s lack of qualifications, behavior towards minorities and women, and tweets were the most important issues.
    Instead it was Is the economy great? Do you want change? and even Who says what they think?
    Don’t confuse me with the facts, please.

    • John Densmore says:

      Poorly performing economy? nope. nope and more nope. this was a abortion/national security/terrorism election like 2004. you need to read the tea leaves. Much like 2004 as the housing bubble fueled that recovery, there was a large loss in “economic vote” volume in the mid-west that turned to gay marriage and terrorism instead. The main difference was, the Democrats ran a even more lamer candidate who had no message. My point? People in the rustbelt didn’t vote exactly because the economy had improved and the Clinton campaign gave them little reason to vote otherwards. That left huge deficits in turnout in the rustbelt of Democratic leaning voters. Ohio was a great example of this. 550,000 votes lost from Obama’s total in 2012 while Trump barely moved the pile from Mitten’s. Simply put, that is a one election blip.

      I am going to laugh while your nostrils flare at the government data lags catch up by next spring ala 1997. The media has been out to lunch as well.

      • Smith says:

        No the economy is in the doldrums, underperforming to put it mildly. The unemployment measures aside from U3 showing 5%, are closer to the economic conditions and employment levels of a 7%, and just as importantly, not a lot optimism for great improvement. Here are graphs showing the gaps, and this after eight year for a candidate promising more of the same:

        This was not an election about abortion/national security/terrorism as the polls say they were not the most important issue, though Trump did garner strength from those most concerned with terrorism, not a surprise owing to his alarmist stance appealing to those most concerned.

        2004 candidate John Kerry lost because he suffered the Gore, Romney curse of being pictured as an out of touch elitist, and was defined by Bush so well that two phrases entered the American lexicon, Swift Boated, and “He was for the whatever before he was against it”. Like Gore and Clinton, and even Obama in 2012, why was it even close? (yeah Obama’s underwhelming win of 51% in 2012 portended big trouble for 2016)

        You have a logic problem in your argument too. Both candidates support was low due to unprecedented negatives each carried with them. Saying the Democrats lost because of a weak candidate, and not because of the Republican’s message is not borne out by the facts. Just because Trump failed to gain more voters than Romney, while Clinton lost significant numbers compared to Obama, didn’t mean voters were satisfied with the economy so they stayed home. You’d have a much stronger case to argue that point if the Republican candidate was more like Clinton, or a generic Democrat, or generic Republic, or not in fact deemed an existential threat to the fate of the free world.

        • Smith says:

          in case my argument isn’t clear, I’m saying Trump had a great message, “economy is bad, I can make it better” which offset his negatives and landed him even with Romney, Clinton, had equivalent sized negatives and her message “America is great” didn’t match the economic reality, especially to those losing ground since (ironically) Bill Clinton was president (though he presided over rising inequality and financial deregulation).

          You’re trying to say this election was like 2000, good economy, bad candidate, Republican wins while losing popular vote. I’m saying no, because Trump was no likeable Texas governor son of a president likable fella, big negatives of Trump had to be offset by a bad economy motivating people to vote for change. Gore also suffered from Clinton fatigue, having been closely associated with him for some time.

      • Procopius says:

        I’m with Smith on this. You have good points, but median household income is still below what it was in 2000. People feel that. Bill Black says in a column over at Naked Capitalism that Hillary was promising more austerity. I didn’t read it that way, although strictly speaking that’s what continuity would have been. People feel the effects of government austerity, even if the government hasn’t been advertising it — which is what happened here. Overall government employment is ‘way down from 2008. Overall government spending is ‘way down from 2008. Inflation is still ‘way down from what it was as recently as 2004. Wages are increasing too slowly. People still have friends and family who are out of work. New unemployment insurance claims are at a record low, but it’s because people are not eligible to claim because they already used their insurance up. The people who are still in the middle class may not see this, but lots of people have a lower standard of living this year than they did in 2008. And Hillary promises more of the same.

  2. Raven Onthill says:

    Justice has to be seen to be done, as well as done. This strikes right at the heart of the problem Sanders pointed at when he campaigned against Clinton in the primaries: one cannot argue one is for the downtrodden when one has spent that last 25 years compromising with the people treading on them. It is like lying to children: the children simply do not trust you after a while. If the Dems and the policy liberals like you want the respect of standing for the masses, you have to be for the masses and be seen to be for the masses for a long time. Otherwise, why should they believe you?

  3. Mike T says:

    In your article I think you’ve got the play unfolding wrong. Step 1 is to create their own facts *and* force everyone to use them. How? Now that the Right controls all the branches (well, not the Supreme Court yet, but that’s just a matter of a few weeks) they will use their favorite tool. Dynamic scoring. Expect any budget proposal to show whatever it is they want to claim. The official projections will show the tax cuts miraculously lowering the deficit!

    This will extend to every Grover Norquist dream. Medicare? The projections will “show” privatizing it saves money and makes the elderly better off. Everyone wins! Same with privatizing Social Security.

    Now the actual numbers once they come in may be disappointing. Brownback in Kansas knows what to do about that. Stop printing the numbers! The Right has argued for years that the numbers are rigged, when they run the show they will stop producing the “unreliable and biased” numbers we’ve used in the past and replace them with their own version. Anyone who tries a bit can find some way to make the numbers come out the way they want.

    And this is just the pleasant version of what might happen. In Turkey the editors of the opposition newspaper were arrested and charged with “terrorism”. Editors who publish stories that don’t follow the official line might consider themselves lucky if they get off with an IRS audit.

  4. Kevin Rica says:

    Critical thinking isn’t about criticizing the other person’s thinking. It’s about criticizing one’s own thinking so that one doesn’t say stupid things.

    Take this:


    or the Wapo version:


    If you follow it back to the articles quoted, you get to the old “Americans are too lazy to take those jobs” nonsense. They don’t use the N-word, but it’s implicit. That is at the bottom of all those jokers dropped from a deck of crooked cards. I’m not saying that Peri is necessarily racist, but he needed to find a way around Supply and Demand and sat down and asked himself, “What do I need to believe to justify the conclusion that I want to believe?” He ruled out flying pigs and decided to call Americans lazy. It’s what he needed to do and he was willing imply racist things to get there.

    Who will bell this putrid cat?

  5. Raven Onthill says:

    My remarks above grew into a more extended socialist argument. People who want to read it can do so at http://adviceunasked.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-working-class-and-credibility-of.html.