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Trumpism and the Politics of Distrust

Damon Linker’s latest column for The Week [1] is a lament for Trump’s absurdly high approval rating:

President Trump’s approval rating has sunk to historic lows [2]. No president has hit an average of 38 percent [3] this early in his first term. Those of us who are prone to despair at the disaster of the Trump administration are told to take solace in this fact.

This is dead wrong — a product of analysts insisting on judging the 45th president by the same standards that applied to previous occupants of the White House when no such comparison is warranted.

The politically relevant, and profoundly disturbing, fact is precisely the opposite of the conventional wisdom: After six months of unremitting chaos, lies, ignorance, trash-talking vulgarity, legislative failure, and credible evidence of a desire to collude with a hostile foreign government to subvert an American election, President Trump’s approval rating is astonishingly high — with something between one-third and two-fifths of the American people apparently liking what they see and hear from the White House. They approve of the constant ignoble churn and presumably want it to continue. This is the kind of politics they prefer.

That is simply stunning — and reveals just how precarious American democracy has become.

Linker goes on to ruminate on whether Americans have lost their “democratic habits” and become more authoritarian in orientation, and thereby become receptive to someone like Trump, or whether it’s the other way around. Either way, our republic is under serious threat.

I don’t minimize the threat myself, because I share much of Linker’s concern. We have lost some of our democratic habits — indeed, in many ways we are losing our very cohesion as a society. But I frame the question very differently.

I know a bunch of Trump supporters. Some of them are intellectuals who write for places like TAC. But most are not. Neither are any of them raving bigots or knuckle-dragging neanderthals, and all of them read the news, though with vastly less obsessiveness than people who work in the business.

None of them “like” things like “unremitting chaos, lies, ignorance, trash-talking vulgarity, legislative failure” or collusion with foreign governments. Some of them minimize some of these things at least some of the time — and I myself have been known to derive a kind of pleasure from the absurdity of a figure like Mooch. But this isn’t what the people who I know who voted Trump voted for, nor is it why they continue to be happy with their vote  — which, however unhappy they are with how the administration is conducting itself, most of them still are.

Rather, the commonality among those who voted for Trump is their conviction that the Democratic party’s leadership is utterly bankrupt, and, to one degree or another, so is the Republican leadership. And that assessment hasn’t changed one iota since the election.

I have a friend who was a big Ron Paul supporter who voted Trump with firm conviction that he was the only alternative to the final destruction of what was left of the republic. Is he happy with Trump? No — he’s especially unhappy with the number of Goldman bankers Trump appointed to senior economic posts, but more generally he acknowledges that the government is in chaos and that Trump is not bringing the change he hoped for. But he doesn’t regret his vote, and he prefers the chaos of Trump to business-as-usual under either the Democrats or the Republicans. And if Trump winds up discrediting the Federal government generally, that’s fine with him.

I have another friend who is a successful former Wall Street trader who always votes Republican, was a fan of Romney and looks back fondly on George H. W. Bush. He surprised himself by voting for Trump in the primaries because it was “time for a change.” He had no doubts about voting for Trump in the general election, and while he thinks the reality show shenanigans are ridiculous, he thinks government in general is pretty ridiculous. From his perspective, the administration hasn’t done much yet, but it also hasn’t done anything really crazy — and he retains his conviction that Hillary Clinton would have been a truly terribly president, much worse than Trump is.

I have yet another friend who is a strong immigration opponent and opponent of America’s interventions in the Middle East who, for obvious reasons, voted for Trump with enthusiasm, and who is very happy at the way Trump has changed the terms of the debate and punctured the pieties of political correctness. He agrees that Trump is a sloppy manager and that there’s way too much drama, but he also thinks much of the drama is because of the press rather than uniquely due to Trump. He thinks everybody should calm down.

I don’t agree with these friends of mine. I think things are much more serious than that, and that Trump is already proving to be a pretty catastrophic president. But my point is that these people aren’t frothing-at-the-mouth lunatics. Nor are they incipient authoritarians convinced that we need a strong man to wipe out the enemies of the state. They are, however, people who have lost trust in the individuals and institutions who are most alarmed about Trump: the political establishment, the press, etc. And so, on a relative basis, they’d rather continue to put their trust in Trump.

The challenge for those who oppose Trump isn’t to convince the American people that Trump presents a threat to democracy, or to wean them off the thrill of a reality show roller coaster in Washington. The challenge is to win back the trust of people who have tuned them out entirely.

The fact is that liberalism has always been an elite rather than a popular ideology, and we shouldn’t panic that our democracy will collapse if large numbers of Americans want to restrict speech they don’t approve of. What we should worry about is the mutual alienation between ordinary Americans and the elites that inevitably man the institutions of the state and civil society. That’s what fuels populism, whether of the left or the right. And populism by its very nature cannot build institutions, cannot govern, even if the populist leader is more competent than Trump is.

34 Comments (Open | Close)

34 Comments To "Trumpism and the Politics of Distrust"

#1 Comment By SDS On August 1, 2017 @ 12:29 pm

“They are, however, people who have lost trust in the individuals and institutions who are most alarmed about Trump: the political establishment, the press, etc. And so, on a relative basis, they’d rather continue to put their trust in Trump.”

That last line does not follow….We have lost trust in all of the others; so would rather see what Trump does; not that we have any trust in him to do the right thing…
THAT would be ridiculous; especially after the last six months.

#2 Comment By Will Harrington On August 1, 2017 @ 12:37 pm

Hmmm. Populism can not govern or build institutions by its very nature? I can’t help but read that as saying the plebeians are so incompetent and stupid that only the elites are capable of governing. As for the American people taking a turn to authoritarianism. This is possible, after all, our Federal government has spent most of the last century increasing their control over many of the aspects of our lives and stretching the limits of the Constitution beyond any recognition. We have been prepared to accept authoritarianism. Increasingly we have had an authoritarian presidency that surveils its own people and has usurped regulatory and warmaking authority from the Congress. The Federal government has created, out of whole cloth, a role for itself in public education. Do not blame the populace for being what the elite has spent a century shaping them to be.
I am convinced that the saber rattling and fear-mongering concerning Korea, Iran, and Russia are not happening because we have any reason to be particularly concerned about these countries or because they threaten our interests. No, this is the way a corrupt and ineffective regime distracts its citizens from its own failings. Lets be clear, this would be happening even if She-who-shall-not-be-named had one the Presidency.

#3 Comment By Greg in PDX On August 1, 2017 @ 12:45 pm

Trump supporters are just like people who are outraged by something and show it by rioting and burning down their own neighborhoods.

#4 Comment By JonF On August 1, 2017 @ 1:20 pm

Whatever happened to “trust but verify”?
OK, a bunch of people did the political equivalent of a Hail Mary play in voting for Trump. But now that the ball has not only fallen short but gone way out of bounds and beaned some spectators in the stands shouldn’t they be revoking that trust and casting around for someone else to represent them? Why stick with a sinking ship?

#5 Comment By JessicaR On August 1, 2017 @ 1:25 pm

[4]

There is strong evidence to suggest that one factor in Trump’s victory was distrust of US foreign policy. The link above is to an article about exit polls showing Trump won the veteran’s vote 2:1 over Hillary Clinton.

Not long ago, a study by two academicians found that Trump carried counties with high casualties in the Iraq war: [5]

People don’t regret their votes for Trump because if they had voted for Clinton, they or their loved ones would be coming home in body bags–or minus body parts.

As bad as Trump is, his foreign policy instincts are less hawkish than Clinton’s–witness his decision to end the CIA funding of Syrian insurgents.

Trump’s behavior is certainly “unpresidential” and chaotic. It is also less horrible than war by many orders of magnitude.

#6 Comment By Kevin On August 1, 2017 @ 1:29 pm

“The politically relevant, and profoundly disturbing, fact is precisely the opposite of the conventional wisdom: After six months of unremitting chaos, lies, ignorance, trash-talking vulgarity, legislative failure, and credible evidence of a desire to collude with a hostile foreign government to subvert an American election, President Trump’s approval rating is astonishingly high — with something between one-third and two-fifths of the American people apparently liking what they see and hear from the White House”

But…George W Bush at his nadir averaged 26% approval, and that’s seven years in, during an epic economic collapse, a catastrophic war, and a host of other disasters. Trump is not THAT far away from that average.

There is simply a line beyond which a president can’t decline unless he murders and eats a puppy in public, and I see no reason to presume that we can judge that Trump hit his bottom six months in, when the economy is decent and no non-self inflicted crisis looming.

I’d also add that while all your friends have different reasons to stay aboard the Trump train, all of them sound like high information, fairly ideological voters. This is probably not the profile of Trump voters set to vote for The Rock in 2020…

#7 Comment By One Man On August 1, 2017 @ 2:15 pm

Will Harrington-good post.

Mr. Millman-I know several Trump supporters who ARE uneducated bigots whose only news source is Alex Jones. They have made poor life choices and blame others for them. When Trump came along and confirmed their choice to blame Mexicans, Muslims, China, etc. they gravitated to him for no other reason.

#8 Comment By c matt On August 1, 2017 @ 2:23 pm

Well, when a building is rotten to the core, the only thing you can do is raze it to the ground to start rebuilding. Our government has long passed its sell-by date. Really, expecting a political solution to arise from a government controlled system such as ours does not border on insanity – it completely crosses that border in leaves it miles in the dust. Witness our insane Congress voting by a 98% margin to inflict sanctions based upon absolute crock. But then the US has never let reality get in the way of statesmenshowmanship. We get what we deserve, good and hard.

#9 Comment By polistra On August 1, 2017 @ 2:57 pm

You’re OK until the last line. “And populism by its very nature cannot build institutions, cannot govern…”

You’re still using the Deepstate definition of populism. In fact populists want only one thing: We think the government of THIS country should serve the interests of the people of THIS country.

It’s perfectly possible to govern by this rule. FDR did it magnificently.

Why did it work for FDR? Because he was determined to BREAK the monopolies and forces that acted contrary to the interests of the people, and because governments BELOW the Federal level were still strong. When he closed the banks for several months, cities and Chambers of Commerce jumped in immediately to develop scrip systems.

Thanks to an unbroken series of evil judges and presidents after WW2, local governments and institutions are dead or dying. Even if a competent and determined populist tried to close down banks or Amazon or the “health” insurance system, there would be no organized way to replace them.

#10 Comment By Jones On August 1, 2017 @ 2:59 pm

What exactly did these people think a Clinton administration would do? What nightmarish dystopia did they see coming around the bend? And what do you think — were their perceptions of America’s future under a Clinton administration accurate, or at least close to the mark? And if so, why?

#11 Comment By Jones On August 1, 2017 @ 3:01 pm

Also, I get that people have lost trust in mainstream institutions. What makes them think that Trump is trustworthy in comparison? Why do they have more trust in Trump than in the institutions? And does that seem reasonable?

#12 Comment By Heyseed On August 1, 2017 @ 3:06 pm

I didn’t vote for Trump: His rhetorical style turns me cold; I don’t like his position on many issues, or his general governing philosophy, to the extent he can be said to have one. But, BUT, I sure as Hell did not vote for Hilary Clinton(I voted for Johnson and Weld, who were obvious non-starters from the word Go. I might possibly have voted for Trump if it had looked like the election might be close in Illinois, but since the Chicago Machine had already stolen it for HRC, I could salve my conscience and vote for Johnson.

Clinton was the status quo candidate, and since I did not desire “more of the same”, governmentally, Trump and his circus are preferable to Clinton and whatever cabal she would have assembled to run the country.

You claim that the elite “inevitably” run the machinery of government, but it’s worth noting that once upon a time in America, most of the people in government were political appointees who could be sent packing(along with their bosses) by the voters. Nowadays, the ‘elite’ which runs government is dug in pretty much permanently, and the same people will be, in practice, running the government no matter who wins the next election, or the one after that……

Hilary Clinton was forthrightly the candidate of the permanent, un-elected bureaucracy, and Trump, well, didn’t seem to be. The choice was between Trump, whose actual position on the size of government was not clear, and Hilary Clinton who was actually promising to make government bigger, more centralized, more expensive and less responsive. I’m not sorry Trump won however distasteful he and his henchmen are to me.

#13 Comment By Michael R Honohan On August 1, 2017 @ 3:57 pm

I too had a friend who was a huge Ron Paul supporter who not only backed Trump, but became a major apologist for him ever since. The man ran two back to back campaigns in Georgia for US Senate, the Ron Paul mold. Now, no on his original team will give him the time of day. Those who tried to get some sense into him, have been closed off.

As a libertarian, I am no more afraid of the left or the right. In fact, listening to the right rant about the left yields a lot of ignorance, disinformation and paranoia: stock in trade for right wing propaganda. But I am disturbed when people spend years fighting for liberty suddenly joined Cult 45 that has no sense of liberty Ron Paul or his followers would recognize.

But Trump fit the bankrupt GOP. Lest we forget, those 49 GOP Senators who voted for “skinny repeal” (even the name is joke!) never gave a moment’s consideration to the bill written by Rand Paul that covers the conservative attributes of free markets and self-determination. Lest we also forget that Rand is not only one of the few legit conservatives, but a doctor and the son of doctor or former Congressman. Those credentials alone would have been enough if GOP was actually interested being conservative. Apparently, Trumpism is what the GOP is about and 49 of them proved it.

#14 Comment By ojc On August 1, 2017 @ 4:43 pm

I think that you have identified a problem that transcends Trump and his opponents. Vitriolic partisanship is one thing. At various points in our history, we have had some nasty spells of polarization. The deeper problem that the institutions of public life are now losing their very legitimacy.

Legitimacy is something deeper than mere approval. It relies upon the unspoken acceptance of political and institutional norms.

We are clearly in the process of publicly reevaluating and even rejecting these norms. The birthers questioning Obama’s background and “not my president” folks do not view their oppponents as legitimate, if mistaken. In the case of Trump and the radical left, they contest the legitimacy of the other side even participating in the process, a process by the way to which they owe no fealty.

#15 Comment By Whine Merchant On August 1, 2017 @ 5:42 pm

“We had to destroy the village to save it.”

Where have we heard that line before??

#16 Comment By Cash On August 1, 2017 @ 5:58 pm

Nothing wrong with America that couldn’t be fixed, one, by making voting mandatory, and two, by having top two vote getters in primary face each other in the general.

We’d have a moderate politics with elected officials clustering slightly right and left of the center.

#17 Comment By cka2nd On August 1, 2017 @ 6:32 pm

Speaking as a Commie Pinko Red, I still prefer Trump as President over Clinton, precisely because he is doing so much to undermine America’s “leadership” in world affairs. He’s still a murderous imperialist, maybe even just as much as she would have been, but there’s just so much more damage that she could have done making bi-partisan deals with the GOP for the benefit of Wall Street and the insurance industry.

The movement against GOPcare – Trumpcare wasn’t really a fair name for the wet dreams of Paul Ryan and Conservative, Inc. – probably couldn’t have been so effective or flew under the radar of the establishment tools running the Democratic Party and its media mouthpieces if a Democrat was in the White House and the various beltway “movement” honchos had had their precious seat at the table where they could have rolled over for the Democratic president of the moment.

#18 Comment By bt On August 1, 2017 @ 6:41 pm

The biggest problem is what comes after Trump for the GOP?

He’s kicked off a process for the GOP that will be very difficult to manage going forward. He showed that outright racism, sexism, continuous lying, even treasonous collusion with Russia to subvert our election is just fine with the Republican Party. How does the GOP sell family values to their ‘base’ after they all lined up with Donald j Trump, serial wife-cheater and money-launderer?

It will be hard for anyone to forget that any of this happened.

Consider this: 8 years of W Bush yielded the first black President – It really could not have happened if W hadn’t burned the house down. What comes after Trump?

#19 Comment By FiveString On August 1, 2017 @ 7:52 pm

I’m a very middle-class worker in the IT sector where most of my coworkers have been sensible, but my weekend hobby of playing music has put me in contact (largely via Facebook) with many Trump supporters who do happen to be knuckle-dragging neanderthals. They generally don’t read; their “news” comes from partisan demagogues on the radio or TV. If I give one the benefit of the doubt and share an article from, say, The American Conservative — “The Madness of King Donald” was a favorite — it’s been all too common to receive a childish/hate-filled meme in response. Bigots are legion: I’ve unfriended the raving variety, and unfollowed the milder dog-whistlers. These deplorables have in fact been emboldened by the current POTUS.

But I get your point. I abhor the current duopoly, but it could be fixed if thinking citizens wanted to put in some effort. So, it’s depressing in a different kind of way that so many thoughtful and well-read Americans are so cynical about state of US politics that they are fine with Trump wrecking it.

#20 Comment By Barry On August 1, 2017 @ 8:23 pm

“Rather, the commonality among those who voted for Trump is their conviction that the Democratic party’s leadership is utterly bankrupt, and, to one degree or another, so is the Republican leadership. And that assessment hasn’t changed one iota since the election.”

They are people who were full of it beforehand, and as the evidence rolls in, they just sink deeper into lies.

#21 Comment By MarkW On August 1, 2017 @ 8:38 pm

Linker’s quote “a desire to collude” you reference later as “collusion”. The first instance is an attempt to broaden the charge from collusion, the second instance is a (sloppy?) change in language.

#22 Comment By Mdet On August 1, 2017 @ 9:31 pm

@Will Harrington, “Populism can not govern or build institutions by its very nature? I can’t help but read that as saying the plebeians are so incompetent and stupid that only the elites are capable of governing.”

I read that statement as “Once you are governing, once you are the one(s) in a position of power, then by definition you have become ‘the elite’ and are no longer ‘a plebeian'”. Populists, by definition, are the people who call for the tearing down of institutions that make up the status-quo, and elites, by definition, are the people who build and maintain status-quo institutions. At least in my eyes, “being a populist” and “governing institutions” are mutually exclusive.

#23 Comment By Frank Lettucebee On August 2, 2017 @ 12:46 am

Since the conservative party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower was invaded by the right wingers and became the party of Jefferson Davis and John Wilkes Booth, the goal has been to tarnish all concept of a functioning a democracy and a government is built to work for the people, of the people, and by the people. The right wing main tactic is lies and just get people riled up so that they don’t realize and oblivious to the fact that America has slipped from capitalism to corporatism; from a capitalist democracy to a caste based plutocracy run for the sole benefit of the oligarchs who bought this country.

Don Trump is the embodiment and distillation of the right winger and their economic and social cultural policies. He is not an alternative or antidote to the Republicans or Democrats.

#24 Comment By Cal On August 2, 2017 @ 2:04 am

” Is he happy with Trump? No — he’s especially unhappy with the number of Goldman bankers Trump appointed to senior economic posts, but more generally he acknowledges that the government is in chaos and that Trump is not bringing the change he hoped for. But he doesn’t regret his vote, and he prefers the chaos of Trump to business-as-usual under either the Democrats or the Republicans. And if Trump winds up discrediting the Federal government generally, that’s fine with him.”

I didn’t vote this election because I didn’t like either candidate. I had been promoting ‘America First’ as a rallying cry for a candidate for years but Trump wasnt exactly the kind of leader I had in mind for it.
But I’m with the guy above—if chaos will bust up the musical chair dual monarchies of the dems and repubs and the corrupt status quo government bring it on.

#25 Comment By Pear Conference On August 2, 2017 @ 6:23 am

I think the Democratic nominee in 2020 should be O.J. Simpson.

The reason is that I have lost trust in the media and the elites that are most alarmed about O.J. Simpson.

#26 Comment By Kurt Gayle On August 2, 2017 @ 8:37 am

A somewhat related question, Noah: If you had been a young man living in China on August 1, 1927, do you think you would have joined the People’s Liberation Army?

#27 Comment By connecticut farmer On August 2, 2017 @ 9:50 am

Originally I wanted to sit out this past election but gave in to peer pressure. And I regret this. Trump? Clinton? Johnson? Stein? All were mediocre. Clinton/Trump were the two worst candidates that the “major” parties have ever produced in my lifetime. It was with fear and trepidation that I voted for Trump, notwithstanding that I fundamentally agreed with him on the issues of immigration and the need for a reduced American role in global affairs. In the end, I rationalized this (wasted) vote based upon the notion that not only had his opponent committed a felony (detouring government emails) but also because (as others have pointed out) she was the candidate of the status quo, the “permanent bureaucracy”, Big Finance etc. etc. The fact that Trump actually won surprised me, but only moderately, because as terrible a candidate as he was, his opponent was even worse.

What has transpired since his election comes as no surprise. Had Clinton been elected conditions would have only been mirror imaged, such being the state of things in this once-great republic. I continue to maintain that the two-party system is archaic and has to go. Whether a multi-party system would be better, I don’t know. Perhaps we have reached a point where the country is simply ungovernable. Perhaps more responsibility should be returned to state and local government (Jefferson would have approved). Again, I don’t know.

What I do know is that the current system is dysfunctional.

And that, my friends, is why we have a real estate/TV personality as President.

#28 Comment By wallysdaughter On August 2, 2017 @ 12:40 pm

i am neither an establishment voter, or a member of the media/press. i am deeply worried where the man (trump) is taking this nation. the gop is complicit in this chaos as they see trump as a rubber stamp for their plutocratic agenda. i don’t know what it will take to right the ship of state

#29 Comment By EliteCommInc. On August 3, 2017 @ 7:49 am

I don’t regret my vote. And I ave had issues with my choice before and after the election. The sky is not even close to falling as predicted. And the democracy you claim is at threat may very well be, but it’s from the current executive. And nothing thus far suggests that it will.

I m not going to dismiss the caterwauling liberals have been making since the campaign or the election as major distraction to governance.

And by the way there remain not a twiddle’s evidence that the WH prior to the election colluded to undermine the US in any manner. It’s time to cease throwing that out as sauce for the goose.

I think I agree with all four of your “freinds”. I am very fond of the establishment, they have their place. What they provide in cohesion, stability and continuity is valuable to the state. But they appear to be want for any level of substance, depth thereof or moral consistency (if any at all). The double standards they hold themselves, their donors and connections on issues and accountability is unsustainable in a democracy as I think you understand it.

When I was laid out in the ER, I found myself wrestling with my own position on healthcare. The temptations are great to bend the guide as to my own conditions — but I don’t think I could so with a clear conscience. I am nor sot sure that what we haven’t lost is a sense of conscience — that sense that truth overrides immediate gain. I don’t think the US can survive as the US if the leadership is bent on holding themselves to a standard not available to the country’s citizens.

“Is he happy with Trump? No — he’s especially unhappy with the number of Goldman bankers Trump appointed to senior economic posts, but more generally he acknowledges that the government . . .”

And the discredited notions that

1. the rich know how to run an economy effectively and

2. that a rise in the market is a sign of economic health.

#30 Comment By Brendan Sexton On August 3, 2017 @ 10:48 am

Pear Conference captures perfectly the ‘thinking’ i have heard from more than one Trump voter. This is ‘reasoning’?
If there is one system in America that needs blowing up to start over it might be our education system. I am generally supportive of public ed, and i am impressed by some of the commitment and inventiveness i see among the proposers of various alternatives to public ed. So, some folks are trying, even sometimes succeeding, but we have managed to arrive at a point in our culture where we have elected a President whose election success depended more than anything else on a public who have lost the ability to think critically. (if they ever had it, of course)
Yes I know the other one got more votes, by a lot. And i know that this other candidate was oddly not at all an attractive alternative. I know all that, but still, a huge fraction of the voting population–a fraction large enough to make themselves now THE base the government is playing to–is a group who could not/would not see this con-job coming? There was every opportunity to use actual logic and facts to reach a voting decision, but these millions of voters chose instead to go with various variations on the theme of ‘they all stink, so i’m using my vote to poke a stick in their eyes.” Or, as Pear satirized, “I hate/mistrust the elites and they like almost anybody else other than my guy, so I’m gonna turn my country over to the most vulgar non-elite pig the system can come up with.”
There is talk now about the damage he can do to American politics and sense of community, but I think he may be more symptom than cause. We don’t value the things we thought were a standard part of the American process: truthfulness, kindness, authenticity, devotion to the common good. We value, it turns out, showmanship, machismo, crass shows of wealth and power, and…..I can’t go on.
I’m not sure how we got here, but I know the institutions held in high regard on this site, such as church, and some factors we all put our faith in such as increasing levels of education, turn out not to matter so much as we had thought. It is going to take some hard work and more than a little time to recover from this sickness in the country’s soul.

#31 Comment By Fran Macadam On August 3, 2017 @ 11:43 am

“Trump supporters are just like people who are outraged by something and show it by rioting and burning down their own neighborhoods.” – Greg in PDX

The antifas rioting and destroying in Portland also got very violent when some old folks held a peaceful rally for Trump there.

Oh, sorry. I forgot that when “progressives” disagree with someone, they consider that merely disagreeing with them constitutes “violence” against their “safe space” and they are compelled to go out and punch or shoot people.

#32 Comment By Fran Macadam On August 3, 2017 @ 11:47 am

“Nothing wrong with America that couldn’t be fixed, one, by making voting mandatory”

Right, and by making public disclosure of who you voted for mandatory as well!

Just don’t be the first to stop clapping.

#33 Comment By Fran Macadam On August 3, 2017 @ 11:50 am

Those calling for a soft coup to reinstate elite status quo leaders against the election results are the ones who are profoundly anti-democratic.

#34 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On September 5, 2017 @ 8:33 pm

No reason why populism couldn’t govern. Huey Long was a damn effective governor of Louisiana. Send the whole Acela Corridor élite to Saddam’s woodchipper and the country would noodle along just fine. I’m not for state violence, and yet the fantasy gives me a frisson. Forgive me, a sinner.