Thursday, August 04, 2016


According to The New York Times today, Democrats are looking at the polls and imagining that they can crush Trumpism permanently in November:
Democrats, prompted by Mr. Trump’s latest antics and the string of Republicans who have spoken out against him, have, perhaps prematurely, started discussing a loftier goal than just winning in November: a wide margin of victory, driven by a record turnout among black, Latino and young voters, that could help squash Mr. Trump’s movement.

David Plouffe, President Obama’s former campaign manager, proposed the idea in June. “It is not enough to simply beat Trump,” he wrote on Twitter. “He must be destroyed thoroughly. His kind must not rise again.”
I'm reading this after watching video posted by the Times of feral Trump supporters expressing widespread outrage at their political and cultural enemies (“Kill her”; “Trump that bitch!”; “Build a wall -- kill them all”), and after watching a Mother Jones video of Trumpite reacions to the Khizr Khan speech at the Democratic convention (Khan, we're told, is an "Islamic Brotherhood" enemy of America, and Hillary Clinton is a sociopath).

Is one election really going to make it possible to put this toothpaste back in the tube?

After the events of the past few days, I can imagine a Clinton victory as large as Barack Obama's in 2008 -- but that didn't exactly inspire angry Republicans to calm down, did it? I can't imagine a huge LBJ-in-'64 victory, not just because Republicanism is so ingrained in white America, but because it's quite likely that Clinton's poll numbers now are the best she'll have, given that it's right after a successful convention.

I don't think even a massive landslide would crush Trumpism. Goldwaterism didn't go away after 1964 -- it morphed into Wallaceism and, more significantly, the GOP's Southern strategy. David Duke lost badly when he ran for governor of Louisiana in 1991, but the GOP continued to appeal to its voter base with Duke's message translated into dog whistles; shortly after that Duke loss, a Louisiana politician named Steve Scalise declared himself "David Duke without the baggage." He's now the House majority whip.

The Republican Party is not going to abandon Trump's base -- without it, the GOP would be only a few sizes larger than the Libertarian Party or the Greens. After November, the party will seek to appeal to them without being Trump-like. If we're going to rid ourselves of Trumpism, it's going to take multiple elections, and a record of successful Democratic governance sure wouldn't hurt. Even so, Trumpism won't go down without a sustained fight.


Frank Wilhoit said...

Draw your own conclusions from your own statements, will you please?

The country is ungovernable and that is not going to change incrementally. Only a total break of continuity could, in theory, make a fresh start. But even that is not possible because the two factions have been made completely irreconcilable: unable to coexist or communicate. And that is not going to change until a human lifetime has passed; and even that only if no one alive today is allowed to pass the feud on to their children.

Rand Careaga said...

Somewhere out in this great land of ours is another character to aspires to greatness, a man (in all likelihood) as sociopathic and malignant, but slicker, smarter and more disciplined than Trump, who sees these knuckle-dragging fuckwits (I mean that in the nicest possible sense of the words) and recognizes how much more effective they would be with better organization and in brown shirts. This sclerotic polity of ours is, this year and forward, just one bad general election away from—but that way Godwin lies.

Knight of Nothing said...

@SteveM - I agree that one election isn't going to "break the fever." This is a decades-long project. But there are other encouraging signs besides Trump's slide in the polls, e.g., Kansas's Tim Huelskamp being primaried by a less extreme Republican.

@Rand Careaga - some have suggested that Trump has been successful not in spite of his lack of polish and discipline, but *because* of it. He's putting on a show in public as a crass jackass who thumbs his nose at everything and everyone, and that's what his followers seem to respond to.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Trumpism as an agenda is the ideology of Pat Buchanan and the fairly large segment of the right for which he has always spoken, watered down only a little here and there, and not very consistently.

But the profound mistrust of government – our government – , the two major parties, the establishment, the system, the media, corporations, banks, politicians, the police, the FBI, the CIA, the IRS, FEMA, the federal bureaucracy, the NSA, and so on, and the conviction that all of these are enemies of the people, that democracy is a fraud, that the system is corrupt and rigged, and that elections are a farce – these lessons have been taught by the left and the right for decades.

And they were both taught and bought by large tranches of the left and right in this primary season.

There is no reason to expect the teaching or the buying to diminish in the foreseeable future.

Maxwell's Demon said...

I think the key statement you make Steve is that good government by the Dems will go a long way toward breaking the fever. As Obamacare evolves and expands it will make some converts, if banks can be brought even a little to heel it will bring converts, if any progress is made on the issue of inequality it will make converts.

This off course requires some help from Congress so a sound thumping (trumping?) to bring in more D's and a few closer to sane R's will be critical. SO step on the bastard's neck, put him so far down that it depresses his vote and tar as many gopers as possible with the same brush and if that window does open next January dive the f*ck through it.

Victor said...

No, this hatred and bigotry won't ever be "cured," because being tribal is in our genes.

Some people - liberals/progressives can look out for others who are different, and care about them, and want them to be equals.
And some people - conservatives/Authoritarians - want to eliminate everyone who's not like them, claiming that they are by nature inferior, and can never be equals.

So, tRUMPism and his tRuMPeteers, will be with be with us a long, long time. Possibly forever - or, until they gain power, and destroy humanity.

I said it years ago, and it still holds:
As long as one conservative/Authoritarian is alive, if he/she can stand on the rubble and graves of the Earth, and claim victory with their last breath, they will die happy.

Anonymous said...

This is what makes Republicans Republicans. It's not a temporary phenomenon. When people say they want Democrats to find a way to appeal to these voters I say, no, they're Republicans, they're going to vote for Republicans, they're going to believe in what they believe in until they're dead and they'll try to teach their children to believe what they believe with all the effort they can muster. It was always out there and it will always be here. There was a temporary aberration when America was hung over from winning WWII and so afraid of Communists that we acted like we all believed in decency and tolerance. No Communism, no wartime sacrifice, no baseline American decency among this unsubtle, hate-filled bloc.

Gerald Parks said...

white supremacist ideology is the foundation and source of American racism!

After the assination of POTUS Lincoln by a white male Christian domestic terrorist, many parts of this Nation put laws into place that became known as Jim Crow Laws. They lasted 100 years ...and many other parts of the Nation adopted the ideals and practices of these laws, if not the laws themself.

Social Security, Medicare, GI Bill, etc all in their original form and practice excluded AMERICAN Citizens of African decent.

All of this AFTER a Civil War that lasted 5 years and killed 600,000 Americans ...

I write all of this to say this ... this virulent ideology must be uprooted root and branch ...that will take time, active participation in civic life, laws on the books, voting and Americans interacting with one another!

Some will ...some won't...NEXT!

Pragmatic Idealist said...

This is the smart thing to say in order to drive voters to the polls to elect down ballot Dems.

Yastreblyansky said...

Two factors that could work against the traditional tightening of the race from the high point just after the Dem convention bounce: (1) Trump will get worse, "decompensating" for his mental illness, as he has been doing for months, which won't lose him any votes he already has, as we've been seeing, but may prevent him from picking up any new votes; and (2) the bandwagon effect, where voters like to jump on what starts looking like a rout.

AllieG said...

One of the largest bits of social capital the Republican party has had since the 1870s was that it was the party of the "respectable." Not just the wealthy, but the middle class suburban strivers. Being a Republican was a means of communicating one's status as a genteel member of polite society. Democrats were the party of the retrograde South and distasteful big city machines. Trump has pretty much shattered that illusion. Outside the South many respectability Republicans remain and they are the ones in agony over this election. I'd love to know what suburban women's book groups in suburban Cincinnati and Milwaukee and Denver, etc. are saying when the topic of the election comes up. I know what they're saying in Boston.

Swellsman said...

Is this such a terrible thing, though? I kinda subscribe to the theory that black, brown, and white liberal voters now constitute a majority - and a growing majority, at that - of this country. The GOP's policy ideas are terrible, but Drumpf's campaign is fairly strong evidence that GOP electoral victories have been driven for the past 50 years not by those terrible ideas but by riling up white resentment. (Drumpf clearly doesn't care about right-wing ideology, and neither do his voters; they care about venting their many, many resentments.)

Let 'em continue to bank on this ever-smaller contingent. It's going to mean a long-ass war of attrition, I know, but the argument made by our side - that the US is a country that welcomes and includes everybody, and must be made to work for everybody - should eventually win out. With that long-term win we should see most (if not necessarily all) of liberal economic/foreign policies prevail as well.

If the GOP cannot bring itself to surrender this one effective way to win elections (hopefully nowhere but in the House - their last redoubt) by divesting itself of the white supremacy beliefs of their constituents, then doesn't this at least bode well long-term for moving this country in a much more progressive direction?

Look, riling up white supremacists is awful, awful stuff . . . but it is also losing stuff. I'd love to believe the GOP can recognize this and wean itself away from this terrible shit, but - if it cannot - then at least let's remember that there is a silver lining: the GOP and their ancillary terrible ideas might well be doomed to extinction.

Ebon Krieg said...

I am convinced your audience is delusional.

Ebon Krieg said...

I will read what you say with a bit of vinegar now.

Ebon Krieg said...

To think that the GOP will self implode is as fantastical as ponies for everyone.

Unknown said...

After Goldwater lost in 1964, a popular bumper sticker was "26 million people can't be wrong", an odd argument for the losing side.

I'm optimistic, perhaps because I'm Californian. We have so many people here from every corner of the world that we have no choice but to make it work, and our kids are growing up thinking diversity is normal.

Ebon Krieg said...

California has Orange County and the northern areas. San Diego may be the next stronghold of racism.

California is not immune.

San Berdoo is the home of the wayward cowbay...