Election Day hangover

November 10, 2016 • 10:00 am

I am not prepared to make portentous pronouncements about the election results, as I’m not a political analyst, and other people have already begun masticating the results to death. The consensus about why there was an outcome that so many (including me) see as disastrous for the U.S. seems to be that the strength and feelings of the disaffected white middle class weren’t appreciated by either the Left or by the press, and weren’t picked up by the polls. Those people who predicted a Trump victory, like Michael Moore or Andrew Sullivan, now look prescient. If you want to feel really gloomy, read what Sullivan says now, viz.:

This is now Trump’s America. He controls everything from here on forward. He has won this campaign in such a decisive fashion that he owes no one anything. He has destroyed the GOP and remade it in his image. He has humiliated the elites and the elite media. He has embarrassed every pollster and naysayer. He has avenged Obama. And in the coming weeks, Trump will not likely be content to bask in vindication. He will seek unforgiving revenge on those who dared to oppose him. The party apparatus will be remade in his image. The House and Senate will fail to resist anything he proposes — and those who speak up will be primaried into oblivion. The Supreme Court may well be shifted to the far right for more than a generation to come — with this massive victory, he can pick a new Supreme Court justice who will make Antonin Scalia seem like a milquetoast. He will have a docile, fawning Congress for at least four years. We will not have an administration so much as a court.

But hope fades in turn when you realize how absolute and total his support clearly is. His support is not like that of a democratic leader but of a cult leader fused with the idea of the nation. If he fails, as he will, he will blame others, as he always does. And his cult followers will take their cue from him and no one else. “In Trump We Trust,” as his acolyte Ann Coulter titled her new book. And so there will have to be scapegoats — media institutions, the Fed, the “global conspiracy” of bankers and Davos muckety-mucks he previewed in his rankly anti-Semitic closing ad, rival politicians whom he will demolish by new names of abuse, foreign countries and leaders who do not cooperate, and doubtless civilians who will be targeted by his ranks of followers and demonized from the bully pulpit itself. The man has no impulse control and massive reserves of vengeance and hatred. In time, as his failures mount, the campaigns of vilification will therefore intensify. They will have to.

Personally, I am of course shocked and immensely saddened. I trusted the polls and confidently predicted a Clinton victory, and bet money that she’d win. I was wrong. What bothers me almost as much as Trump’s victory is the vitriol I’m getting in both comments (the really nasty ones don’t go up) and personal emails, excoriating me for being responsible for Trump’s victory. I am told that by calling attention to Hillary’s flaws, I helped pave the path to a Trump win, as if somehow we should not point out the weaknesses of our candidates. On the other hand, I’m told that because I voted for a flawed candidate in the primary and final election, I also helped enable the Trump victory. (No matter that I voted for Bernie Sanders in the Illinois primary election.)

It’s as if people, like a bull in a corrida wounded by a picador, are casting about looking for someone to attack as retribution for their pain, and everybody has their favorite scapegoat. But me? Seriously? I am one individual among millions, and one who voted for Clinton. Spewing venom at your friendly host, however satisfying it may be for you, is both rude and misguided. But to those with whom I confidently bet that Clinton would win, I was wrong, I will pay off, and perhaps I should have taken more seriously your fears of a Trump victory.

But who could have known? As many did, I trusted the polls. The polls were wrong. Why? I don’t know. Some analysts say that people weren’t willing to admit they were for Trump. Others say that the working class electorate wasn’t properly polled because they had unlisted cellphones. But is that really the case for working class people?

Others, like the New York Times‘s Jim Rutenberg, blame the press, saying they missed the Big Story because they relied too much on either the polls or their liberal bias, and didn’t exercise due diligence:

In an earlier column, I quoted the conservative writer Rod Dreher as saying that most journalists were blind to their own “bigotry against conservative religion, bigotry against rural folks, and bigotry against working class and poor white people.”

Whatever the election result, you’re going to hear a lot from news executives about how they need to send their reporters out into the heart of the country, to better understand its citizenry.

But sending reporters out into the heart of the country produces anecdotes, not data showing national sentiment about the candidates. For that you need some kind of accurate polling about how people intended to vote. And maybe that’s not possible, especially if people lie. But listening to someone rant about immigrants in a Detroit diner isn’t taking “the pulse of the nation.”

Other people blame liberals for Trump’s loss—and on several grounds. We are told that we ran a flawed candidate who was too “establishment” and couldn’t begin to address the woes of working-class whites. That might indeed be the case: I remember when early polls—polls again!—said that Sanders had a better chance of beating Trump than did Clinton. But when I called attention to the problematic nature of Clinton, I was told in so many words to shut up—that she was a great and experienced candidate, and that criticizing her played into the hands of Trump.

Who knows? What I do know is that this election was not a referendum on or a rejection of the status quo. The status quo is the Obama Administration; and that was doing as well as it could despite Republican opposition. Obama’s approval rating was high, and he was hardly a “career politician” or a “Washington insider.”. If there was a “status quo” that people opposed, it was not Obama but Hillary Clinton and the thought of a Clinton dynasty.

One thing that does ring true is that the demonization of the Other Side by the Left (prime example: the Huffington Post) was not only divisive, but promoted a Trump victory. As Grania observed in her last post, demonizing the opponent doesn’t win elections. Understanding your opponents, and confecting a rational response to their flaws, seems a better strategy:

So when Clinton said this:

“You know,” Clinton said to a friendly crowd of wealthy donors this weekend, “to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.”

. . . she likely drove people right into the Trump camp.  As Grania noted, many of those who voted for Trump did so not because they were themselves xenophobes or misogynists, but in spite of Trump’s xenophobia and misogyny. The continuing clam that this election shows that misogynists and racists won will only continue the divisions in our country.

But do we really want to heal those divisions, as Trump—probably disingenuously—claimed in his victory speech? No, I don’t. I deplore the ideology of the Republicans and their agenda for this country. I don’t want to make common cause with Republicans. No, I don’t want to call the right-wingers and Trump-ites names, but I am prepared to battle their ideology in a way I haven’t done since the Sixties, up to and including civil disobedience. Back then, demonstrating in favor of civil rights and against war (issues likely to arise again), I was arrested, chased off campus by state police, and active in the streets. I think that, as this country begins to come apart, we may once again have to man the barricades.

As Andrew Sullivan said:

I see no way to stop this at first, but some of us will have to try. And what we must seek to preserve are the core institutions that he may threaten — the courts, first of all, even if he shifts the Supreme Court to an unprecedentedly authoritarian-friendly one. Then the laws governing the rules of war, so that war crimes do not define America as their disavowal once did. Then the free press, which he will do all he can to intimidate and, if possible, bankrupt. Then the institutions he will have to destroy to achieve what he wants — an independent Department of Justice as one critical bulwark, what’s left of the FBI that will not be an instrument of his reign of revenge, our scientific institutions, and what’s left of free thought in our colleges and universities. We will need to march peacefully on the streets to face down the massive intimidation he will at times present to a truly free and open society. We have to hold our heads up high as we defend the values of the old republic, even as it crumbles into authoritarian dust. We must be prepared for nonviolent civil disobedience. We must transcend racial and religious division in a movement of resistance that is as diverse and as open as the new president’s will be uniform and closed.

Amen. May Ceiling Cat preserve our Republic.

Lagniappe: A German newspaper, which appears to be real, hedged its bets above and below the fold:

15036647_10154847869750649_1213580574566434913_nh/t: Matthew Cobb

342 thoughts on “Election Day hangover

  1. I’m still drifting in and out of stages 1,2, and 3 on the Kubler-Ross model of grief.

    Here’s a news flash for “the forgotten man” voting bloc: The only white person Trump truly cares about is himself. Just wait until Sir Ryan unveils his austerity manifesto. The forgotten man will become socioeconomically extinct.

  2. There’s too much here to react to much of it but I’ll note this…

    “demonizing the opponent doesn’t win elections”

    Demonizing the opponent was the absolute core of Trump’s campaign. It won him primary after primary, and then it won him the presidency.

    My other comment is this… Here in Wisconsin Trump won even though he received fewer votes than Romney did in 2014. Democratic turnout was far lower, though. This gave Trump a narrow victory.

    There are two main reasons for the low Democratic turnout here. One was a less-than-inspiring candidate. The other was that 2016 was the first election in which the Republican voter-ID law was in effect. That, too, had its intended effect.

        1. Well, no. Not given winner-take-all Electoral College elections. Since a candidate’s time is limited it makes little sense to visit states that are either “in the bag” or “hopeless”. Better to spend that time in states where you can take the state away from your opponent or prevent it from being lost to your opponent.

          Remove the Electoral College and it becomes a bit different. But still, but then it would maybe not make sense to go to a rural state with few votes to be gathered.

    1. Yes, demonizing the opponent (an extreme way of negative ads) is a great American tradition. And they seem to work, at least in recent elections in the U.S. In 19th century America it was commonplace for the most scurrilous things to be said about opponents. Ask Andrew Jackson or Abraham Lincoln. For the last 25 years white working class America has had their low-information brains stuffed with total lies about the Clintons thanks to right-wing radio and television. To even entertain the notion that American elections can be a dignified exchange of views on policy issues reflects a lack of understanding how the system works. At one time American elections did have extended discussions of policy. Today, most Americans zone out after about 15 seconds discussion on any policy issue. For example, how much time in the last election did the candidates (on any level) spend on discussing whether the Federal Reserve should raise interest rates? Probably zero minutes. We’re in an age of personal, bitter attacks. Such a situation is unlikely to change anytime soon.

    2. I, too, was going to comment on the, “demonizing the opponent doesn’t win elections” quote, which was the one thing I disagreed with in PCC’s assessment. In the weeks before the election I closely followed comments on articles, and those of the Trump supporters ran from “HilLIARy” to “lock her up”, to she hates/is out to destroy America”; “She’s a witch; she’s evil; she’s a career criminal”…repeated, thousands and thousands of times. These sentiments did not emerge out of nothingness; they were encouraged by Trump and he added to, or created, some of these “memes” at every opportunity. Not that there wasn’t some “demonization” going on of him, as well, but at least much of it had some basis in fact. I think one of Hillary’s big mistakes was in labeling Trumps supporters, not HIM, as “deplorable”: for a candidate to insult (even if it’s true) a segment of our voting population is hardly election-winning behavior.
      I’m not going to spend a page going on about why the election was lost, as the reasons are many-faceted and include voter apathy, voter suppression, human nature, arrogance on the part of the Clinton campaign, etc. I WILL say that I firmly believe that religion played a big part in it: the “Our way or no way” attitude that characterizes the TeaOP today (and the Tea Party itself) springs from the religious right that emerged in the late 1980s. You’re either “saved”, or “unsaved”; Jesus said, “Those who are not with me, are against me”, and these people take this literally. After all, there can be no “negotiation” or compromise with your enemy if you think your enemy is Satan, and I believe the issues of abortion rights, LGBT issues, more “protections” and favored treatment for Xtianity (all of which relate to the SCOTUS opening)struck a deeper chord, flogged by years of shrill, made-up alarms about the “War on Xtianity” in a great many more people than anyone could have foreseen.

      1. Agree. Some of Trump’s strongest support came from the religious, especially Evangelicals. They didn’t care about a lack of character which would have enraged them in a liberal because they had a built-in apologetic for this situation. The Biblical god has a well-known history of choosing people with flaws to spread His message and implement His will. If the one-issue a one-issue voter votes on is “obey God in all things,” then if any candidate can reasonably frame the other candidate as disobedient to the God you know, then the choice is easy and clear.

        The simplest solution for all complex problems — economic, environmental, legal, etc. — is “In God We Trust.”

    3. You’re exactly right, low Democratic turn out elected Trump:

      2008: Obama 69.5M votes, McCain 59.9M
      2012: Obama 66M, Romney 61M
      2016: Clinton 60.4M, Trump 60M

      Republican turn out has been relatively constant the last three elections, whereas Democratic turn out has decreased about 13% since 2008. There are about 5 to 10 million Democrat voters who apparently didn’t find the merits of Clinton and the concerns of Trump enough of a reason to vote.

  3. My personal opinion is that the blame lies with the millions of Americans who didn’t vote in this election.

    I find it unconscionable to know that about 50% of eligible voters didn’t even bother…

    1. But that’s typical. In Presidential elections, typically 40-50% of eligible voters don’t vote. In midterm elections even less people vote. According to Pew Research, the biggest factor is that it’s takes work to register – 25% of eligible people are not registered. In most developed countries, registering is automatic, if you’re a citizen, you’re registered. Another big reason is simple laziness, combined with the feeling that one vote doesn’t matter. (After all, how many elections are decided by one vote?)

  4. Thank you for citing that awful sentence that did indeed light a fire under the Trump surge. I know of one family that put a huge basket on their front lawn with a sign “proudly deplorable.”

    However, more thumbs up to you for saying this: “. . . many of those who voted for Trump did so not because they were themselves xenophobes or misogynists, but despite Trump’s xenophobia and misogyny. The continuing clam that this election shows that misogynists and racists won will only continue the divisions in our country.”

    It’s true.

    My opinion of why the pundits missed it? The trump surge was invisible to them. They never imagined such a conceptual demographic could exist, period. Because it is outside their worldview.

    1. Neither Trump nor Bernie were in the worldview of establishment politics or news media. The media tried to beat up on them both. Only the Democrats (D. Wasserman Schultz, D. Brazile, R. Podesta, and the rest of the Clinton team) were in control and, emails show, tightly enough organized to cheat, shutting the door for those not on their team. That’s how Hillary lost my vote and apparently the support of at least one DNC staffer brave enough to speak out (http://origin-nyi.thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/305499-huffpo-dnc-staffer-screams-at-donna-brazile-for-helping-elect)

      1. I’m glad you’re proud of yourself for that and on behalf of sane America I’d like to thank you for valuing your principled stance over the welfare of your fellow citizens.

  5. Being labeled a mouth breathing, sexist, racist for questioning Clinton definitely had an effect on people. Too many sites and people made it seem like you had to be a moron to think the email scandal was anything but a sexist witch hunt. No doubt that Trump had a lot of ignorant racist/sexist supporters but I think that group that put him over the top were probably people that initially could have gone either way. The bad part about it is the lack of introspection after this loss. It has basically been framed as “the racists won, the sexists won”.

    1. Too many sites and people made it seem like you had to be a moron to think the email scandal was anything but a sexist witch hunt.

      Also, the Trump scandals themselves were way over the top too. It is really debatable to what extent even Trump himself is a racist and misogynist.

      I have been looking at lists of the wort things Trump said trying to find something that can really pin him down as a racist and misogynist and I can’t really find much of substance.

      The media got outraged by him calling individual women fat and ugly because it is oh-so-crass to say such things in polite company and equated that with misogyny, Even though those women were objectively fat and ugly. They also took the quote about Mexicans and Muslims and labelled that racism. Even though “Mexican” and “Muslim” are not races. I have no idea where the homophobia accusations came from — I can’t find anything he has said about gays.

      From then on the labels were self-perpetuating wisdom that got extended first to his supporters and then to people who did not support Hillary. Because it was seen as useful to do so. Well, people are naturally going to get pissed by that.

      1. ” . . . Even though those women were objectively fat and ugly.”

        I guess a blind person would just have to take your word for it.

        Like a middle schooler, Trump, – that self-regarding Narcissus/Adonis – is apparently compelled to spout out loud whatever pops into his mind.

        How sweet, kind, decent.

  6. I can’t believe you are getting abuse for Trump’s victory. You are one of the voices of reason – and that sometimes means pointing out faults (in people as well as in religion, scientific papers, and muddled thinking, as you do). Perhaps reason will be one of the casualties of this disaster, to be replaced by blinkered nationalism, self-advancement, and revenge.

      1. Agreed, to engage in an open-minded criticism of candidates is how we determine the sustainability of our convictions should either one hold office. This is the adult approach to sifting through the evidence (science — albeit political science — as it’s broadly construed). This is exactly Jerry’s point regarding all lines of inquiry as emphasized in FVF.

    1. I think any explanation and blame for the poor Democratic turnout lies not with people who said “vote for the lesser of two evils, because Trump is really bad,” but those who said “they’re both bad so I refuse to get my hands dirty by voting for either.” The message they sent out wasn’t “I’m not going to get dirty.” The message they delivered loud and clear was “I don’t care if Trump wins.”

      “It’s okay if that happens. It’s okay if the Supreme Court is stacked with conservatives — it’s okay if Muslims and people of color are deported or disenfranchised — it’s okay if abortion becomes illegal — it’s okay if gay couples have their marriages ripped apart — it’s okay if global warming and evolution are legally deemed ‘not true –it’s okay if a nuclear war is started because a megalomaniac got pissed off by something he read on twitter. I’m indifferent to all those things, they might as well happen as not. The real issue which matters is this: I didn’t get myself dirty.”

      Yes, you did.

      I have liberal activist friends who, before the election, announced that they would not be voting for Clinton because blahblahblahblahdirty. They explained their reasoning with that humble sort of smugness you can find in those self-righteous who consider themselves to be so steeped in inside information that they can see what the ordinary folk cannot: all sides are equal below the superficial surface. No, Trump would not really be any worse than Clinton. You’re so naive to think that. But it’s okay: you vote your conscience; I will vote mine.

      I am flirting with the idea of telling them that from now on, they have no right to complain about any of the fallout from Trump’s victory. Not Roe v. Wade, not the environment, none of it. They didn’t care if Trump won or not. That’s what all their noble babble concerning integrity came down to. They didn’t care if Trump won.

      So now have the integrity to live with that and shut the fuck up.

    2. I can’t believe you are getting abuse for Trump’s victory.

      I can believe it. In fact, it was my first knee jerk reaction that it was all Jerry’s fault for publishing a “Hillary Wins” post before the polls had even closed – he had “jinxed” the result.

      It’s totally ridiculous, of course, but I think it is a very human thing to lash out before thinking rationally about things.

    1. They did not say “Clinton will be ahead in popular vote”. They said “Clinton will win”, though someone commented here that the difference between the candidates was within the statistical error. Indeed, the US electoral college system complicates predictions. But US sociologists are expected to know the system and account for it.

  7. I don’t comment often but this blog is my home page. I believe I discovered it when I was searching for arguments against creationism. I’m almost 100% in agreement with all or your posts. I appreciate the great effort and energy you put into this blog on a variety of topics.

    I’m very concerned about the Trump presidency and a GOP controlled congress. The number one issue for me was climate change and I fear we will lose all progress on that front now that Trump is president. I feel this is the greatest threat to our very existence and I don’t believe most people understand the urgency needed to combat climate change.

    I’m also still in shock that Trump has won the election – I didn’t sleep at all on election night. I discounted his chances from the very beginning but somehow he just kept gaining popularity.

    I think at this point only massive peaceful protests can salvage any hope for positive change.

    Thanks, Jerry, for all your efforts.

    1. I slept fine on election night; I distracted myself with a novel and went to bed early. Like Jerry, like Ed Brayton, like the official pollsters, I wasn’t particularly worried on whether or not Clinton would win; I was more concerned about backlash depending how wide the margin was.

      I woke up at my usual time — 4 in the morning (yes, I know) — opened up my tablet, and saw that my homepage had been somehow been replaced by “The Onion.”

      No, the Onion had hacked Yahoo News.

      No. Neither.

  8. Voter ID laws and other voter suppression tactics did work in some states, and that could have made a difference. Going forward, I hope our congresspersons will give up on the idea of cooperating with the Republicans. They, and we need to be vocal about our opposition, and explain WHY. Not just opposing for the sake of opposing, but opposing anything that violates our principles. Democrats need to regain our position as the party of the worker, and stop letting Republicans control the narrative. Remember when the Republicans told Obama they would not support that ACA UNLESS the provision was included to include penalties for failure to purchase insurance. This was done to appease them. Then, they all voted against it anyway, AND screamed about how it was wrong to FORCE people to buy insurance! Because of their authoritarian nature, Republicans will lie and cheat in order to win. Remember that. And, yes, civil disobedience may be necessary. It’s going to be a long 4 years. And of course, as you say, the supreme court will have a far right majority for years to come. If I weren’t an atheist, I would say let’s pray for the health and well being of RBG and other sane SC justices!

    1. I help with election booths and to me requiring some form of ID is a must to keep things straight and efficient, and to help the folks running the booths. Some people have to be sent to the right polling center, other are simply not registered, etc.

      They can fill out an affidavit if they don’t have an ID with them (and massive penalties if false). They still need to be registered though. They can register on the spot if their registration needs updating.

      1. I didn’t mean to imply that ALL voter ID requirements are wrong. But,it should be easy for voters to get an ID, and there must be no attempts to weed out valid voters by excluding certain types of ID. Student ID’s for example. And we do know there were cases where citizens had to travel very far to a facility to get the ID, and the facility had very restricted open times. That is clearly wrong.

  9. Who to blame for this outcome? Why doesn’t anyone blame the people who actually voted for Trump first and foremost? They are the ones most responsible. Next, blame all the millions of people who didn’t vote at all. They’re apathy is a huge contributor. Third, blame the DNC for manipulating the process so the one person in America who couldn’t actually defeat Trump was the candidate. Finally, blame Clinton herself. She ran an awful campaign… basically, “you’re not voting for HIM, are you?” That was the same losing strategy Gore used against W.

    Who I do not blame: Third party voters. People who criticize HRC.

    1. “Who I do not blame: Third party voters. ”

      I don’t know why not. In Michigan, a key state, Trump won by a little over 13,000 votes, (out of 4.8 million). Jill Stein got over 50,000 votes. In Wisconsin, Clinton lost by about 1% of the vote – but if Stein’s supporters had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state. In Florida, Clinton lost by about 1.4% of the vote – but if Stein’s supporters and half of Johnson’s backers had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state. In Pennsylvania, Clinton lost by about 1.1% of the vote – if Stein’s supporters and half of Johnson’s backers had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state. Clinton didn’t even need all of these states to swing the election. I can sure blame third party voters. Along with the anachronism know as the Electoral College.

      1. All of that seems to be rather moot in my opinion. In 2008 69 million people voted Democrat, and 65 million in 2008. Trump only got about 60 million votes. In all three of 2008, 2012, and 2016, the Republicans only got about 60 million votes.

        When one considers that only about 50% of voters actually voted in this election, mobilizing the electorate is a much bigger force than getting a few percent to vote for the party you’d like.

          1. How dare anyone vote for the candidate whose policies and ideology THEY support, rather than the candidate whose policies and ideology YOU support! The unmitigated gall!

    2. “HRC”, is that Hillary Clinton?

      In that case I would disagree. Of course criticism would be negative, so you need to constrain to fair criticism (based on free speech but also without discrimination of various kinds).

      I don’t think I have seen much fair criticism of Clinton. Mots people criticizes her pragmatic view, which I consider a *good* basis for a politician. Others criticizes her for being accused of stuff without it being judged against her, which shouldn’t happen within a jurisdictional system (innocent until found guilty).

      She was careless about security at times.

  10. We can at least take comfort from the fact that more Americans voted for Clinton than for Trump, and that Trump will only enter the White House because of the archaic device of the Electoral College. In no other country in the world is the person who came second in an election declared the winner.

    As for low turnout – in many states this is clearly the intended result of Republican voter suppression.

    So the uphill struggle facing demcrats is, first, to defend the right to vote against the Republicans’ attempts to take it away, and second (and much more diffcult) to get rid of the Electoral College. Nobody else runs their democracy on the basis of rules drawn up at a time when black people were slaves, and women had no rights at all.

    1. I’ve been looking for state by state voter turnout statistics for the 2016 election – do you have a link to any?

      GOP voter suppression is certainly a possibility. So is Bernie supporters staying home. But before I blame anything on either of those two factors, I’d like to actually see some numbers, to know if they actually occurred or we just presume they occurred.

      1. That would have been 7 years ago, when the electoral college system helped Obama and before the republicans took both halls.

        Over the years, the system has been pretty neutral as to which side it helps, and is a known factor to all. I am less than thrilled with the result here, but the electoral college system isn’t the problem.

        There are any number of popular (or technical if you prefer) treatments of election system theory, but, to summarize, the definition of ‘fair’ is a key factor, and for any particular definition, there are multiple different, non-equivalent, fair systems.

        1. This is a puzzling comment. How did the EC help Obama? He won the popular vote both times. And what could anyone do about it no matter who was in power? It’s in the Constitution and would take an Amendment to change it.

        2. The electoral college blatantly favors small population states. An example (unclear which election these results were from):

          The electoral college is also part of compromises made at the convention to satisfy the small states. Under the system of the Electoral College each state had the same number of electoral votes as they have representative in Congress, thus no state could have less then 3. The result of this system is that in this election the state of Wyoming cast about 210,000 votes, and thus each elector represented 70,000 votes, while in California approximately 9,700,000 votes were cast for 54 votes, thus representing 179,000 votes per electorate. Obviously this creates an unfair advantage to voters in the small states whose votes actually count more then those people living in medium and large states.


          Now, look at the maps of red vs. blue states…

  11. As many did, I trusted the polls. The polls were wrong. Why? I don’t know.

    I think that people can expect too much of polls. People do need to take seriously the quoted error margins.

    The polls were not far out, comparing the outcome to what was on Nate Silver’s blog the day before.

    Clinton: Actual, 47.7%; Nate, 48.5%. Pretty spot on.

    Trump: Actual, 47.5%; Nate, 44.9%, so a bit off.

    There are several types of error:

    1) Fluctuations from sample size: these can be 2% to 3% on a typical poll, though lower in poll-of-polls.

    2) Getting a representative sample: this really is hard to do, sampling people in exactly the same way to match the *voting* public. Any pollster will tell you that it’s hard to get that better than 2 or 3% (often they try to build in corrections, to account for it).

    3) People being hesitant to say who they will vote for, e.g. voters for one party being more likely to be a “refuse to say”, or to declare themselves undecided. This effect can easily be 2% or so.

    4) People genuinely changing their minds when in the polling booth, and faced with the reality of the decision. Who knows what size effect this is? It doesn’t take much for this to be 1 or 2%.

    Now, effect (1) will be reduced in polls-of-polls. But effects 2, 3 and 4 will not, they are systematic.

    Moral of the tale: don’t trust polls to better than 2 or 3%. Pollsters quote this sort of error range — they mean it!

    1. There’s a much bigger problem with polls. They ask a potential voter who he or she would vote for, but they do not tell us how likely the respondents are to actually get out of the house, stand in line for two or three or five hours, and cast that vote.

      To estimate that, pollsters use models often based on the demographics of voters in the previous elections. But the potential voters who actually vote in any election are a small subsample of potential voters, and the demographics of actual voters changes from election to election. It depends on political context, and the political context of this election was vastly different than in the past two elections. So the demographic models should not be re-used from election to election.

      In this election, Trump’s side was passionate, and smelled blood. The Democrats, on the other hand, were given an insider candidate, with baggage. Passion drives turnout. So you need to multiply a poll’s voter preference percentages by a “passion factor”. That’s why I took PCC(E)’s bet. One could predict that the turnout for Dems would be lower in this election than in the last two, and the turnout for Trump would be higher than that for past Republican candidates. I wish I had lost, but I think Trump’s victory should not have been so surprising.

      1. Lou, I believe some do, by asking respondents whether they voted in the last election and then weighting for that.

        Be that as it may, I think Coel is right in that you haven’t identified a “much bigger” problem because the final polls weren’t off by a big amount. Unless you’re claiming there were offsetting large errors leading to a coincidentally somewhat accurate result?

        Silver’s last day poll rollup had the two candidates’ national popularity within a margin of error of each other. The actual result was that their national popularity was within a margin of error of each other. So how do you figure his rollup had some sort of “much bigger” error?

        1. I think Lou is correct in this. To condense the argument:

          the pollsters extrapolated or estimated results based on historic data in a world that has changed significantly

          If this had been the first such instance, little or no blame could have been directed against them.

          But it was not, not even the second, but just the latest incidence in a long line of such disasters, from national elections and referendums all over Europe over the last 2 or 3 years.

          Brexit (no comments necessary…), English general election 2015 (the British Polling Council started an inquiry due to the huge variance between the polls and actual result), Greece referendum Yes/No 2015 (the pollsters missed the actual result with 15-20%)

          Swedish national election 2014, the pollsters average error between opinion polls just prior to election including exit polls and actual result for the populist Sweden Democrats, was around 30-40%. They got 12,9% of the vote and became the third biggest part.

          The same patterns can be seen in recent national elections in other Scandinavian and European countries over the same time period.

          I haven’t studied the result from Tuesday yet, but on average I would guess the polls were of by around 4%

          Nate Silver and 538 was among the the most cautious, if we exempt the LA Times web panel and IBD/TIPP

          And if you look at statewide predictions, the failure is (to my mind) painfully obvious, but as I noted above, we have seen this many times over the last couple of years. And, until these societal changes stop, and pollsters have an opportunity to validate their models, or change how conduct opinion polls, they will (I think) continue to fail miserably…


      2. Eric, I don’t think that voting in the last election is an adequate indicator to predict whether a person will vote in this election.

        The error in the predicted Trump vote is significant, especially considering that number is a poll-of-polls. I think that the difference is due to differences in voter turnout. The data do show a serious decline in Democrat voter turnout this year and a slight rise in Republican turnout.

        1. Each response to a poll should be weighted by an estimate of the probability that the respondent will actually vote. A question like “How many hours are you willing to wait in line to vote for your candidate” would be helpful. Of course this assumes people give honest responses, and we know they often do not.

        2. “I don’t think that voting in the last election is an adequate indicator to predict whether a person will vote in this election.”

          Especially these particular two (present and immediate past) elections. The Obama black turnout, for instance, was abnormally high.

      3. The errors in the polls are probably not random sampling errors. If they were, they would most likely have a mixture of signs (positive and negative) across states.l Instead the error has the same sign in almost all states. This suggests sytematic error.

  12. I am really sick and tired of my fellow leftists pointing the finger of blame everywhere but where it belongs. Hillary Clinton ran a horrible, uninspiring campaign. Can anyone tell me what she stands for? What is her message? Why should I trust her? I voted for her but only because I believe Trump is a monster. Apparently, a lot of people feel the same about her and she woefully failed to energize the base. Revealingly, her numbers among non-whites were significantly lower than Obama’s. Yet, despite her flaws she still won the popular vote. A solid candidate with fresh ideas would have smacked Trump. She lost it and now we all have to suffer the consequences.

    1. And I blame (and am angry about) the Democratic party, which annointed her despite her obvious flaws and baggage. Only Sanders had the gumption to challenge the conspiracy.

      1. That’s how it looks from up here, north of the border. It would have been quite a different campaign with Sanders running. And maybe, a very different outcome.

        As it stands now, we (myself & family & friends) are f’n terrified of what’s next.
        Civil disobedience may be the only way forward for you USians.

        A couple of months ago, a friend of mine, who lives in Scottsdale, said that he and his circle found Bernie’s ideas “shocking”. This made me laugh out loud. Ya, sure, universal health care is “shocking”. ffs.

        We’ll see “shocking” for sure now, with he-who-shall-not-be-named.

        Canadians (except for the extreme right perhaps – yes, we have them here too), are depressed and upset right along with you guys. I lost a night’s sleep Tuesday night and just can’t seem to shake a feeling of doom & gloom. My daughter says: “Let’s take the d*g and cat, and move to Iceland”. She may be onto something.

        1. As a fellow Canadian I think you overestimate our interest in US politics and underestimate our independence.
          I am certainly not depressed and neither am I of the extreme right, whatever that definition implies.
          Why would you think Iceland would want disaffected Canadians or indeed that Canada would want disaffected USians (viz run away to Cape Breton Island NS)
          The people of the USA have made their choice just as we (some, the majority) chose JT, for better or worse.
          Get on be happy and live your life in the best country on the planet.
          There is nought you can do about the US political situation anyway.

          1. 1. I wasn’t speaking for ALL Canadians. Just me and my circle of family & friends. I should have qualified that. And we are very interested in US politics, not least because we have a lot of family and friends down there. Plus, it borders our country and could very well affect us in some way. Not to mention, the rest of the world, just like
            Bush’s Iraq war did.

            2. “…whatever that implies” : read into it what you will. I have no comment. Suffice to say, I am happy with the outcome of OUR last election.

            3. I lived in Iceland, and they would not be unhappy to have me back!

            4. I would be happy to have “disaffected” USians here, if that what they wanted.

            5. I hate it when people say we live in the “best country on the planet”. It’s not true. There are plenty of great countries, and ours is one of them. I have lived in several other countries and they were wonderful.

            6. I will mourn the results of the US election if I want to.

        2. “My daughter says: “Let’s take the d*g and cat, and move to Iceland”.”

          There is some deep layer in our souls and culture that makes us to wish to go somewhere else when things turn bad. It starts with fairy tales, you know, the poor boy goes to search for happiness, kills a dragon, find a ton of gold, marries the king’s daughter… I long for other tales where the hero stays where he is, faces the bad circumstances, works hard, uses his grey cells and reaps moderate success. But there seem to be none of this sort.

          I have an online American classicist friend (I wish to give him a special prize, for he is the only US blogger I know who has, so far, kept silent about the president-elect.) We recently discussed the Choice of Achilles. I said that, to me, Achilles made the wrong choice; he should have stayed in his homeland. My friend replied that nobody did or would compose an epic about the Achilles who stayed. Well, maybe someone should.

          1. “My daughter says “Let’s . . .move to Iceland.” I hear this from liberals every election–“If the Republican wins, I’m leaving.”

            I never heard conservatives say this when Obama won [twice]. I didn’t hear any conservatives say that they would leave if Clinton was elected. They’re made of sterner stuff.

    2. I said this months ago: The only way we get a President Trump is if the dem.s don’t show up and vote. They didn’t.

      They didn’t because, for many reasons, they weren’t motivated enough to prevent a Trump Presidency.

      Hillary did run an an uninspired campaign.

      I wonder what all those who voted their conscience in Michigan, WI, etc. feel about those votes now?

      1. Hillz doesn’t do “inspired”; she does cautious and conservative, a dedicated follower of received political wisdom.

        1. Indeed. And it’s quite possible (and don’t get me wrong, I loved Obama, more than happily voted for him twice) she might have accomplished more and ended up with a less polarized country had she gotten the 2008 nod instead of Obama. She was the one who’d gained a positive reputation for working across the aisle; I doubt we’d have had the Tea Party without the racist hatred aroused by Obama. No one would have been as euphoric to have elected her, as we were of him, and it’d have been politics as usual, but it might not have been complete congressional shut-down, either.

          Reminds me of JFK vs. LBJ, for that matter. Charisma vs. experience with sausage making.

    3. I somewhat agree. Also remember that a few months ago she shifted resources out of the key swing states in order to try and win some non-swing states. Armchair quarterbacking in hindlight is always somewhat unfair, so I don’t want to beat up on her campaign staff too much for that decision. But in hindsight that ‘swing for the fences’ approach was clearly a bad move.

    4. Clinton’s policies were ignored because the press created an entire separate news category for her: emails.

      Thank Rudy, thank Comey, thank … wait, are these Trump’s reindeers?

  13. Part of the problem was that even liberal sites *cough* excoriated Clinton with the right-wing myth that she is exceptionally dishonest and, unlike other (i.e., male) politicians, too ambitious.

    1. With a significant level of subconscious sexism. I think many men, and women, in the states (regardless of party affiliation) didn’t want to break with the patriarchal paradigm. Of course, the GOP’s relentless lust for Clinton scandals kept many in a perpetual state of confusion. For others, the uncomfortable navigation problem of decision making forced them to decide without sufficient evidence to minimize the collateral damage of reversing a motivated bias.

  14. From what I saw, in that most of my long-time friends are evangelical Christians:

    1. They were willing to overlook EVERY flaw of Trump, in order to get anti-abortion supreme court justices.

    2. Their hatred of Clinton ran so deep, they were unwilling to consider the possibility that any other candidate could be worse.

    Ironically, much of their disdain for the Clintons stems from Bill’s philandering, but that didn’t seem to matter in the case of the current philanderer. That fact that they didn’t like the Clintons is what mattered.

    3. They were willing to believe every criticism of Clinton, even if untrue, because it fit their narrative.

    4. They don’t give a flip about climate change.

    5. They believe God is in charge so they aren’t particularly worried about any of Trump’s behavioral flaws. Everything will be OK.

    6. Any way, any discussion of issues can be dismissed because Bernie is a “socialist”, Clinton is “liberal”, the press is “secular”, scientist are “anti-god”, and Obamacare is just the first step to “single-payer”. Use of any one of those terms ends all discussion (and thinking).

    1. Hence the inevitable hypocrisy, compartmentalization, and cognitive dissonance of fantasy-based ideology.

      Lawrence Krauss made a great point about people not knowing the difference between reality and reality television.

    2. Many evangelicals truly believe that HRC was out to destroy “Bible believing Christianity”, ie True Christians, some even going so far as to claim that she is a lesbian satanist.

    3. Interesting. So, by and large, at least among your friends, social concerns weighed more heavily than economic ones? Getting Roe v Wade overturned was more important than getting the job-takin’ immigrants out?

      1. Abortion was certainly the one issue that persuaded most. Most could not even consider Clinton, so abortion was the justification for Trump. (And, I believe many are ignorant of their own history and how “abortion” was a drummed up issue to get Christians to side with political conservatism.)

        PS. Glad to say I don’t think most of my friends fall into the racist camp, but many truly believe Christianity is under attack.

        1. yeah, it’s gettin’ so, a hard-workin’ white Christian male can’t hardly get ahead anymore. Just look how under-represented they are in congress and the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies.

      2. CBC Vancouver ran a spot last weekend in which they interviewed passers-by in Bellingham, WA, about who they were going to vote for. One woman said, “Well, I hate Donald Trump but I have to vote for him because I’m pro-life.”

    4. > 3. They were willing to believe every criticism of Clinton, even if untrue, because it fit their narrative.

      I have a coworker that outright said “He faced down an assassin with a gun a week before the election. She would have just run”.

      I shook my head and walked away. People believe the lies they want to believe, and reject the truths they don’t, no matter the evidence provided. I’d like to think I am one of the small minority that can, at times, be swayed by evidence, and I try to be, but I wonder if anyone can ever be sure…..

    5. My Christian friends and co-workers, whether evangelical or not, say that “God/Jesus will fix it” wrt climate change and environmental degradation (if they accept that these things are real). This would seem to be at odds with “God gave us dominion over the Earth,” which implies, at least to me, that humans have some personal responsibility to care for the planet. Maybe Christians interpret this to mean that they can do and take what they want. To be honest, though, most liberals and progressives who accept the reality of climate change aren’t willing to change their behavior significantly in ways that would mitigate it.

    6. Exactly what I was seeing and hearing here!

      My (atheist) daughter chose a Catholic HS as most of her friends went there; what an eye opener. They don’t even begin to pretend to stay out of politics, and abortion is their ultimate issue. Has nothing to do with the Bible, of course, but they’ve never found a better issue to both threaten dissidents with hell and keep women in their place.

      1. A couple days ago, I went to Physical Therapy, and heard one of the therapist say that his priest told him he has to ignore everything else about Trump and vote for him because “abortion”.

  15. I absolutely agree with you on nearly all of your points. You don’t deserve any blame for pointing out HRC’s flaws, and I applaud you for it. Not to mention, if we’re talking about being in a bubble, what’s the chance that an on-the-fence Trump supporter read your blog and change their mind? Are we supposed to suppress our opinions about candidates we don’t like so that candidates we don’t like more will lose? Don’t we want to have an informed electorate?

    You do say, however, that: “But do we really want to heal those divisions, as Trump—probably disingenuously—claimed in his victory speech? No, I don’t. I deplore the ideology of the Republicans and their agenda for this country.”

    I find it interesting that you use the word “deplore” after quoting Clinton’s use of the word “deplorable.” I understand the sentiment, but I also think that the Republican Party is equally fractured – it’s now a catch-all for Conservative voters with a wide variety of opinions, but who want their vote to matter – meaning that in their mind they have no option but to vote the party line.

  16. Look on the bright side. The recent election has proved that we cannot predict the future so it is pointless to worry about what might happen. Since Mr Trump as you say, owes nothing to any organised faction, the extreme right and the extreme left may find cold comfort during the new Presidency.
    America survived Senator McCarthy and will survive Mr Trump (who is no fool)and you never know, it might even prosper.

    1. “who is no fool”

      The fool claimed to have been endorsed by the military. Which is *literally* illegal according to the UCMJ.

    2. He picked Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich as his top advisors. I don’t know about you, but that about confirms my worst fears.

    3. America never put Joe McCarthy in charge of the executive branch of the federal government. So there’s that difference.

  17. To follow a bit on what Rob suggested: abortion and guns. Supreme Court vacancy. Put those together and I suspect that motivated at least half of Trump’s voters, maybe more. And clearly there was a strong push for ‘change’ from the electorate. On the Republican side Trump took that mantle and won the nomination. On the Democratic side Bernie lost and enough of his supporters said forget it and stayed home.

    But now the Republicans are in charge. So what, ISIS should be defeated by what, June? Federal budget should be balanced, after all, Obama ran up all that nasty debt. A year from now 100% employment and 6% annual growth. And of course we are going to get ‘something better’ than the ACA. So medical costs will be going down!

    When the above fails, it will be fun watching them duck and cover.

    1. ‘ducking and covering’ is the last thing they’ll be doing. As Andrew Sullivan is quoted saying, Trump will be blaming others and his supporters will be screaming in support of him. If you thought it was ugly now, wait till the promised land doesn’t turn up.

  18. Rather than incessantly polling what people say they would do, (and then reporting it back to the people and calling it news), it would have been more illuminating if the press had rigorously surveyed the public’s understanding of the issues, and make news out of that.

    Here in Germany the papers often run a “voto-mat” — where you answer policy questions and it tells who you should really vote for. (Though that does require parties to have actual policies.)

  19. Fair enough.

    You get the candidate you vote for. But who claimed that polls correlates well with the either the current tendency to vote or the voting result? I have seen plenty of warnings to only look for the long term trend as a predictor of elections. And Clinton was doing badly over the last few weeks, on top of a close call all the way. (Never mind the poll based election prediction models that depended on complicated election system dynamics. They are tested against historical elections, but that only takes you so far.)

    Besides that it was never a trusted 0 % chance of electing Trump because it was, well, an election.

  20. So wrong that Jerry should be taking any guff for a Trump win! I’m glad he’s willing to sort through the hate mail and continue to post.

    As someone else who voted for Bernie, who could have beaten Trump, and then voted for Hillary even though she and the DNC conspired to keep the Democratic nomination away from Bernie…I feel like I at least did what I could.

    Except that I know and am related to quite a few Trump supporters, and I didn’t begin trying to really engage with them on their issues until the last couple of years. Even then, only with a brother who is a Trump supporter. I should have spent more time trying to have civil conversations with all of them and showing them there was common ground, instead of just shrugging my shoulders and figuring there was no reasoning with them. It wasn’t a question of reasoning with them, but recognizing the common ground. When you acknowledge that, you take away the urge to demonize the other.

    There’s a reason some Bernie supporters went to Trump: they did have some commonalities. Bernie too recognized how both parties had never been working for the working class, for one thing. And like Jerry said–so very well–many of those Trump voters held their noses when they voted for him, and are not racists and xenophobes. When we assume that and call them that, it only makes it worse. Did some racists and xenophobes support Trump? Sure, but how many movements don’t have some extreme bad element? None that I can think of. Even when we support free speech and women’s rights, we have some rightwing, even racist/xenophobe people on our side.

    In the sense of demonizing the other, the regressive left is in part to blame for driving the Trump wave. And when Hillary used that “deplorable” line, I could’t believe it.

    Nothing to do now but be ready to oppose bad legislation. But personally, I disagree with people who demonstrated last night against the election itself, which includes my own kids. That’s what Trump supporters would have done. It was a fair election, and the one thing that is definitely right to do is respect the Constitution and recognize it.

    1. Well said, particularly the last paragraph. I also watched several thousand locals throwing an anti-Trump tantrum last night. Disgusting, childish, and yes, very Trump-like, never-mind counter productive.

      People from all parts of the political spectrum are ready to subvert or ignore the Constitution when it suits their purpose. They should spend time pondering how this works when their opponents try it.

      If there is anything that Americans can unite on, it is respect for the Constitution. Don’t be a fair-weather friend to what is says.

      1. The Constitution? Do you have respect for the part that says the candidate that comes in second should be declared the winner? The part that says some people’s vote should be worth more than others? That’s the result of the hallowed Constitution.

      2. Actually there is something important here, especially bearing in mind the website that we are all currently reading. We shouldn’t get too obsessed with the idea that one document is infallible and contains all truth, whether it’s the Bible, Quran, Constitution or whatever. That is a religious mindset…
        Perhaps it’s possible to accept the law of the land while admitting that there are some flaws that need Amending?

  21. I think you took the right approach with the election. Though I live in the UK and can’t vote, I saw your posts as encouragement to get out and vote to ensure a Clinton victory. Not to have mentioned Clinton’s faults would have made you appear delusional.

    Incidentally, I keep seeing the result being compared to Brexit. Similarities undoubtedly; Trump is definitely your next president but you can remove him in four years time (if you impeach him you only get Pence!). Brexit, however, hasn’t actually yet happened, is far from certain in fact, but once done can’t be changed in four years time.

    1. My guess is Trump’s judicial nominees (there will likely be two, not just the current one) will be on our SCOTUS longer than the UK’s reduced trade relationship with Europe will last. He could easily nominate people that end up on the court for 30+ years each.

  22. If THIS doesn’t get the dem.s motivated to get off their rumps and do something, then the party is dead.

    I haven’t felt this politically motivated in my life.

    (I have voted in every election I’ve been eligible for, except one when I was overseas for a long time.)

  23. As my wife commented: There’s no way Trump can deliver on his promises of the election. (I don’t think the GOP twerps in congress are that craven — but who knows?)

    So, when he doesn’t deliver and starts throwing hissy fits and sending the FBI after his critics, the opportunity will be open to strike back.

    1. Having observed the unprecedented stone-walling of anything Obama over the last 8 years I certainly have no reason expect the congress to get less craven.

  24. Sounds like you’re all gonna need a Gandhi like figure for the peaceful protests. But the US doesn’t have a good track record with those types (Dr King springs to mind).
    Failing that, move to the multicultural, free, liberal democracy that is Scotland. We have no guns and it’s the only country in the world where the leaders of 3 main political parties are gay.
    Maybe it’s time for mass emigration in reverse, back to the now peaceful old country.

  25. [Sullivan] He has won this campaign in such a decisive fashion that he owes no one anything.

    Sullivan is, IMO, wrong about this…though I hope Trump thinks he is right. Consider that the national popular vote stands at something like 47.&% HRC and 47.5% Trump. That is not an overwhelming victory. If his actions in office tick off even 1 or 2% of the people who voted for him, the mid terms or even 2020 could go badly for him.

    With a GOP President, House, and Senate they have an opportunity to get a lot of stuff passed, to look like they’re working, and it will be stuff that will make liberals cringe. All that is true. And Sullivan is right that the House and Senate will follow his lead where it doesn’t conflict with their interests. But I don’t think “overwhelming” really describes this. I would argue that the unexpectedness is overwhelming, but his margin of popularity is not.

    [JAC] But who could have known? As many did, I trusted the polls. The polls were wrong. Why? I don’t know.

    Not to beat a dead horse, but in the last few days leading up to the election the polls were not that wrong. 528’s roll up had Hillary ahead by the margin of error with a day or two left. Any scientist should recognize that when you have two measurements separated by the margin of error, they’re essentially the same. Sure you might lean towards saying the higher value will end up higher, but you would never ever look at two data points like that and claim high confidence that the measured high/low relationship was going to hold up. Objectively, then, it should be entirely unsurprising when it doesn’t hold up. The polls the day before predicted a dead heat in the popular vote. And the popular vote ended up pretty much a dead heat, with Hillary currently ahead by 0.2%.

    IMO the result was such a shock in part because of our own confirmation bias (“our” being Republicans, Democrats, and Independents – I think everyone was surprised). We were not really listening to the latest numbers. Our eyes may have been reading “HRC +3 +/-3,” but our brains were still interpreting it as “HRC +10”.

    1. Thinking a bit more on the confirmation bias angle, I wonder if we were all unconsciously doing a sort of ‘time-averaging’ in our minds. IOW thinking that Hillary’s (and Trump’s) final result should sit somewhere in the middle of their poll results over the last several months. This would explain the psychological surprise, because clearly the average popularity of HRC was much higher than Trump’s. The problem, of course, is that such a ‘time averaging’ is not at all predictive of a short-term trend, and for elections you’re trying to predict a one-day voting behavior, not the voting behavior would average out to be over a few weeks of hypothetical votes.

    2. You may have misunderstood Sullivan’s point (although you may have got it exactly right and I simply misunderstood your’s.). What Sullivan meant by saying Trump victory was decisive and he owed no one is that Trump didn’t sell his soul to establishment Republican’s for their support. He doesn’t owe a bunch of political favors to incumbent Republicans; therefore, he can do whatever he wants without regard to owing the establishment any deference.

      1. If that’s the case, Sullivan is still wrong. Trump must horse trade with the GOP Senators and House members to get his agenda passed, just like every other President. Since the GOP is now in charge of both houses, this will probably involve giving into GOP demands for social conservativism (rolling back ACA, nominating extreme conservatives to judicial positions, reducing EPA, etc.) in exchange for their support in deregulating and lowering taxes on his personal & business interests.

        Put another way, a “RINO Trump” leads to the same outcome as a “Conservative Trump.” The only scenario under which he doesn’t throw the entire USG onto a more conservative path is if you think Trump will actively fight against his GOP congress in order to defend liberal aspects of the status quo. Do you see that happening? I don’t.

    3. “Not to beat a dead horse, but in the last few days leading up to the election the polls were not that wrong. 528’s roll up had Hillary ahead by the margin of error with a day or two left. Any scientist should recognize that when you have two measurements separated by the margin of error, they’re essentially the same.”

      Exactly! I was taking no confidence from the polls at all!

  26. … the vitriol I’m getting in both comments … and personal emails, excoriating me for being responsible for Trump’s victory.

    Don’t you pay them no mind, Citizen Coyne. Those of us on the legitimate left had a moral obligation to criticize Hillary, to speak truth to consensus.

    I don’t want to trigger a round of recriminations, but if there’s any side that should do some self-reflecting, it’s those who urged Hillary on us on account of “electability.” Once she clinched the nomination, I went all in with her, but if we were gonna go down with the ship, I’d have preferred to have a real progressive at the helm. Plus, I always contended that Bernie could’ve whipped any Republican in the general, Trump included.

    1. Reading Bernie’s fine statement this morning, along with Merkel (who I know isn’t popular among some here) immediately telling Trump that human and civil rights will form the basis of any co-operation, I felt extremely sad that it was not Bernie who she was welcoming to the fold of great countries working for peace. Instead, she was carefully staking out territory against a destabilizing force and likely foe.

  27. Most people in the US (and in the world) live in a fantasy world where they trust anything they see on TV or in print. Polling companies/agencies are just businesses. They are not doing science and being careful with their data collection. They call or talk to bunch of people (IF they do) and extrapolate from there. Moreover, some of them serve as social engineering tools to create public opinion on different matters. I am surprised Prof. Coyne took them seriously. The US and the world in general is 50/50 divided on so many issues. Not hard to predict outcomes of elections especially in the US within a margin of error. They are there to make money not to be reliable. I hope people got their lesson and don’t fall into these traps in the future. You want polls? The election IS the poll.

  28. In highly polarized elections like this one, pollsters should have taken into account something like the Bradley effect:

    The Bradley effect (less commonly the Wilder effect)[1][2] is a theory concerning observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some United States government elections where a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other.[3][4][5] The theory proposes that some voters who intend to vote for the white candidate would nonetheless tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for the non-white candidate. It was named after Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American who lost the 1982 California governor’s race despite being ahead in voter polls going into the elections.[6]

    The Bradley effect posits that the inaccurate polls were skewed by the phenomenon of social desirability bias.[7][8] Specifically, some white voters give inaccurate polling responses for fear that, by stating their true preference, they will open themselves to criticism of racial motivation. Members of the public may feel under pressure to provide an answer that is deemed to be more publicly acceptable, or ‘politically correct’. The reluctance to give accurate polling answers has sometimes extended to post-election exit polls as well. The race of the pollster conducting the interview may factor into voters’ answers.

  29. I think you are attributing considerable malice to Trump that does not exist. Keep in mind that almost all mainstream media, and likely the circles you read in, were heavily biased against Trump. They do not paint an accurate picture of his temperament.

    Trump has consistently opened with crazy proposals (deportation, the wall) and then backpedaled after obtaining supporters.

    As far as I’m concerned, Trump is the least dangerous part of this republican landslide. The evangelicals and creationists not only talk crazy but have a long history of acting on that crazy.

    1. Bullshit. Did you hear the words coming out of his mouth? If every idea a candidate has is crazy and he has to backpedal, how does that not make them dangerous? The danger lies in the fact that there’s no need to backpedal anymore. Now that he’s got the power to implement whatever he wants with the full support of congress (and soon the Supreme Court), why should he backpedal anything.

    2. It makes no difference if Trump is a RINO. If he willingly gives in to House and Senate GOP demands for an arch-conservative justice, to rollback ACA, to cut the EPA, and so on in exchange for them legislating lower taxes on the rich (or whatever his real interests are), that’s exactly the same outcome as if he were a dyed-in-the-wool conservative like Pence.

      Its not going to comfort any gay person or woman to know that Trump isn’t really against them, he “merely” sold out their interests to get something else he selfishly wanted.

    3. “Trump has consistently opened with crazy proposals (deportation, the wall) and then backpedaled after obtaining supporters.”

      Like when he took out a full page newspaper ad requesting the reintroduction of the death penalty in NY so that we would execute 5 innocent teenagers who were incorrectly charged with the central park jogger attack?

      For New Yorkers, Trump isn’t the unknown that the rest of the American electorate thinks that he is. Which is why, even back when he was a democrat, he never attempted to run for mayor of NYC unlike legitimately successful businessmen like Bloomberg.

  30. An AI poll got it right; that’s the one I paid close attention to:

    Don’t underestimate the number of people who deliberately falsely answer polls. Trump’s people would have also made sure to use the element of surprise.
    Don’t underestimate the fact that even well-intentioned criticisms, documented online for perpetuity, have legs.
    Don’t underestimate the injustice of false equivalency.
    Don’t underestimate the cult factor and the influence of white supremacists.
    Don’t underestimate that once some people make up their minds, deluded or not, they don’t care about the facts anymore. They won’t abide with attempts to prove them wrong.

    1. Forgot to say that Trump’s supporters were extremely motivated and were voting for a big change, no matter if the messenger had horns.

      Today he looked like a meek little boy at the White House. It’s suddenly dawning on him that he doesn’t know how to do the job.

    1. The “swamp” was political insiders. We need outsiders. Trump knows Steven Mnuchin, he’s a great guy. Wonderful guy. You’d love him, the people will love him. And, like all conservatives, he’s also real tired of being downtrodden and disaffected.

  31. To me there is virtually no difference between what was done to Hillary and what is being done with global warming. The merchants of doubt are winning. You don’t have to buy the truth. You don’t have to buy the lie. All you have to do is doubt and do nothing.

    1. Someone also mentioned the very diplomatic, disciplined, and foreign policy literate Newt Gingrich to be Sec of State.

      Perhaps GM’s hoping if we have WWIII good and proper with total nuclear arsenals and environmental meltdown – technological civilisation and scientific thinking will be completely eradicated/impossible to maintain and we can go back to the supposed eden of the Stone Age like he wants?

      1. After all GM wants to get rid of all mining and industry. My statement regarding Trumps administration was completely over the top and there are a lot of economic drivers behind this but I stand by my reading that GM actually would prefer armageddon to return to some simpler age.

  32. Yes, I know, sanctimonious finger wagging doesn’t convince anyone and we liberals do too much of that. But which candidate speaks perfectly all of the time? (remember Obama’s “bitterly cling to guns and religion” remark?)

    I think that, while I like Hillary Clinton, she is a lousy salesperson whereas Barack Obama was an excellent one.

    And to think that Trump got fewer votes than she did …and fewer than Mitt Romeny got and fewer than John McCain got (as of today’s count anyway).

    Oh well, I just feel sick

  33. It’s as if people, like a bull in a corrida wounded by a picador, are casting about looking for someone to attack as retribution for their pain …

    Instead, like toros bravos, we must find our querencia, the spot in the ring a wounded bull returns to to recover its strength. (Then again, all I know of bullfighting is what I gleaned reading Papa. 🙂 )

    (Yesterday, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to type a smiley emoticon again. For the first time in decades, I was swigging bourbon from the bottle and listening to torch songs, including this one by the Walker Brothers, like kid going through a bad breakup.)

  34. PCC you may or may not have listened to this Sam Harris podcast
    The Lesser Evil. A conversation with Andrew Sullivan.
    It may assist you in not feeling too bad about your position or your vote.
    I personally hold you in high regard so please keep up the good work.

    1. At this stage, I’ll take her over many of the names being floated about for Trump’s cabinet nominees. Palin will merely be an incompetent who delegates all the real work to her civil servant underlings. We should be so lucky.

        1. Yeah, that guy came off as a nut-job dressed up in inspirational-story clothing at the RNC. Clothing looked like something out of Gilbert & Sullivan, too.

          The sooner he goes the way of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the better.

  35. This is what we get when the press deals in false equivalence. Forget Hillary is a ‘flawed’ candidate. She has been under a microscope for over thirty years and how many of us could survive that kind of examination. I believe it was far more the ‘normalization’ of Trump and the ‘demonization’ of Clinton. For all Trump has done, the major discussion was about Clinton’s emails…24/7, 365. That is all low information voters seem to be able to absorb.

  36. I’ve found great solace in skipping all news and instead watching nature cams – bears in Alaska, Bald Eagles in Florida. Also, watching train rides on You Tube while reading a mystery novel helps immensely. In between the spasms of fear and anger, I feel much better. If only the World Series was just starting!

    1. And I also contributed some money to the ACLU, in case the Dumpster follows up on his threats. That made me feel a little better.

    2. Yeah, I had to get away from the news and the doom and the chatter, so I l walked over to the local art-house cinema, caught a matinee for the first time in years. Saw White Girl, a worthy flick.

  37. Our host’s willingness to give credence to any right-wing BS the media was pushing against Hillary is not the same as pointing out her flaws. That makes you part of the problem, regardless of who you voted for. It doesn’t make you as responsible as the media, or as responsible as Trump voters, but the net effect of even semi-liberal citizens willing to parrot the GOP-birthed “conventional wisdom” is quite damaging

    Everybody needs to stop talking about how wrong the polls were. The polls were showing an increasingly tightening race. Even if they still predicted a HRC victory, the final polls were still predicting a close race, and the states that were expected to be close were still fairly close, they just tipped the other way. You know who loves all this talk about the polls being out of whack? Jim Comey.

  38. Trump got slightly less votes than Romney in 2012, but Clinton got substantially less than Obama, so I don’t believe her comments about deplorables drove people to Trump; we just don’t see a rise in his numbers.

    Really, from a nuts and bolts perspective, Democrats don’t need to heal a divide, they simply need to get out the vote.

    As for the contention that Republicans held their nose for Trump and don’t agree with his racism, misogyny, or bigotry, I don’t see any compelling evidence for that either. From what anecdotal evidence I have, it seems they loved this. By brother-in-law works at a large factory. Although a business Republican, he didn’t vote Trump, but he thought all the unionized workers would. Why? Because they are racist, Because Trump promised to build a wall and they thought keeping brown people out of the country would keep their jobs safe. Every comment I’ve read from people who voted Trump or people whose relatives voted Trump is the same. Sure, they’re not members of the KKK, but, if given the confidence to speak freely, something ugly will bubble to the surface.

    A while back, there was a thread on sexual harassment where you asked if there was any woman who had not experienced it to come forward and no one did. So I’d ask, does anyone have an example of a Trump supporter they know who didn’t display some degree of racism, misogyny, or bigotry?

    1. If it’s not explicit (i.e., the Tom Metzger acolytes and coal-rolling caucus), it unravels implicitly by supporting legislation that directly affects minorities, those who are socially ostracized, and the impecunious. Genocide via slow-motion economic suffocation. Of course, classism is on the same spectrum as racism when it comes to sustaining social inequality. Instead of addressing structural problems, the persistence of privilege is what’s ultimately protected.

      “The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end.” — Trotsky

    2. As people like Greenwald have pointed out, there’s a strong link between dire circumstances and extremism. The phenomenon Jerry’s talking about is fairly similar.

      Short version: When people get desperate, ugly sentiments flow more freely. The solution, however, is not merely to try to beat and guilt the ugliness out of them. Part of any solution is going to be finding the root cause of their discomfort and trying to deal with it. For Rust Belters, it’s their dwindling job prospects and falling incomes.

    3. The Trump voters I know best were Catholics afraid of hell. I think we need a fourth category to go with racism, misogyny, and bigotry. (Not that I don’t think the Catholic hierarchy’s pro-life stance isn’t misogynist, but that’s not how the parishioners see it.)

  39. I purposely did not watch any election coverage Tuesday night. I figured that Wednesday morning would be plenty soon for me to know the result, especially if Trump won. I remember firing up my computer Wednesday morning and staring at the NYT headline “IT’S TRUMP”. At that moment I actually thought about the multiverse theory and wondered if I had just missed the branch into the universe in which Trump lost. Uncomprehending Americans have elected the mirror image of Vladimir Putin, with all that that portends for American democracy. I predict that many, many Americans will live to regret their vote. They have placed their faith (yep, right word) in a dictator who promises to fix everything.

    1. With the affection and admiration Putin and Trump supposedly have for each other, do you think Putin might offer Trump Russian citizenship as he recently did actor, Steven Segal? I’m quite sure a Russian citizen can’t be president of the USA.

      1. Article 2, Section 1 of the United States Constitution states that only natural-born citizens may serve as president. While the clause prevents immigrants who become U.S. citizens through naturalization from becoming president, it does not affect those with dual citizenship.

  40. Who knows how it came about Jerry: no doubt there were many reasons. However, my abiding memory of election night (and something which really brought home to me that some Americans are just not on the same planet as most of us)was a conversation between a bemused BBC interviewer and a guy who held some sort of official position in Cleveland, Ohio’s campaign for the election of Trump. In reply to a question about what Trump would do for the area, he said that God would guide Trump. When it was pointed out that Trump did not always act and speak like a Christian, he said that he could not know whether Mr Trump was saved since that was between him and Jesus but he felt sure that God was using Mr Trump in His plan for America. Wow, just wow!!!

  41. The alt media gained my great respect during this election cycle for its diligence in focusing on simple, confirmable facts in the face of the constant barrage of mainstream media biases. I avoided getting a big election result shock by paying serious attention to the alt media while keeping an eye on the MSM during the presidential campaign. There are many truly reliable alt news & analysis sources on the Internet. They’ve put in a huge amount of work completely voluntarily because they care deeply about the United States and western culture. I am more in tune with the antiglobalist movement and so have been heartened by the reportage of a variety of alt sources such as this one: http://ow.ly/h9LA3063kFt

    1. The trouble with a link like that, to a YouTube video with no information whatsoever about the person speaking, is how could we possibly know who this person is and what qualifies him to warrant our trust?

      I’m all for alt-media–I think they did a great job disputing W’s contention that Iraq had vast stores of WMD’s, for instance, though no one listened–but there are also plenty of alt sites with ideological axes to grind that are equally as groundless as those of the MSM.

  42. Posting before complete reading:


    Move to a red state to improve the democrat count.

    Better yet : declare residence in a red state – somehow. Live where you like.

    Have some children. They’ll pick it up.

    tgeres some numbers floating out there from Max Tegmark : something at least 20% of registered voters abstained. Clinton won the popular vote. Trump criticized the electoral college a long time ago.

    Thanks- back to reading.

    1. Trump criticized the electoral college a long time ago.

      I don’t see how one could be a soi-disant “populist,” yet support the electoral college. I’t an anachronistic hold-over from our democracy-wary founders, inimical to the modern principle of “one person, one vote.”

      1. And designed in such a way that it’s virtually impossible to imagine any circumstance under which we stand a chance of repealing it.

        Unless, somehow, we can go back to having the Democrats be the party of the working class…

  43. On a slightly positive note — we have the most likely atheist president in history, isn’t that a cause to celebrate 🙂

    1. Mmmmm. Isn’t that why he chose Pence? He certainly delivered a full on nauseatingly religious speech when introducing the President Elect.

    2. At least we can;t have WWIII now, right? 🙂

      Oh, wait, he’s going to invade Iran and Syria. But maybe not until 2019 in preparation for the 2020 election.

    1. What Tim said.

      From the last article:

      If every adult living in the United States turned out to vote on every Election Day, and was forced to choose only between the two parties, it is almost certain that the Republican Party in its current form would lose not only the presidency but every state legislature and congressional race.

      The problem though is that affluent people show up on Election Day with a lot more frequency than the less affluent. The Republican-backed voter suppression laws have had a huge effect. But this predates that. Over the years the policy preferences of voters and nonvoters have diverged sharply, particularly when it comes to class-based issues. Voters are far more conservative when it comes to things like the welfare state, wealth inequality, and labor unions than nonvoters are. So if more of these nonvoters began to show up at the polls, we would suddenly have an electorate dramatically more supportive of the kind of social-democratic program favored by Sanders and his supporters.

      But by all means, lets keep blaming Hillary.

  44. Dropped in to see Dr. Coyne’s take on the election. Shocked to see how deranged so many of his commenters are. Folks voted for Trump throughout the Rust Belt including Pennsylvania (my home state) because they perceived that his policies would be better for them. We’ll see. I suspect that they (the policies) will have a net positive effect on the economy and under-employement, esp. in the inner cities. Most grad student types have no better idea of how blue collar voters think than they do of the perspectives of visitors from Planet Neptune.

    As far as Jerry “taking it to the streets”…well…there are certainly some issues worth doing that for. Though I don’t recommend chaining yourself to the doors of the Chicago Merc to protest the renegotiation of NAFTA.

    1. Folks voted for Trump throughout the Rust Belt including Pennsylvania (my home state) because they perceived that his policies would be better for them. We’ll see. I suspect that they (the policies) will have a net positive effect on the economy and under-employement, esp. in the inner cities.

      He had policies? I didn’t hear them if he did. All I heard is: It’s going to be great, Buh-leeve me.

      Unemployment is at 4.9%. We’ve had one of the longest recoveries in history up to now. Fuel prices are rock-bottom. The GOP policies of un-taxing the rich are exactly what has put blue collar folks in the predicament they are in (where has Trump said he’ll vary from that?). He’s going to (apparently, maybe he’s lying again) send the Federal budget into massive deficits* by cutting taxes with no other plans except “it’s going to be yuge, the biggest thing you’ve ever seen — buh-leeve me!”

      Where are these magical levers he has to pull to make things so wonderful?

      * Anyone who counts on a GOP president to reduce deficits had best look at the data (red shaidn is GOP admins, blue is Dem. admons.)


    2. I did go to grad school but didn’t finish.

      I know working class people well. I have many friends there and family members.

      As I’ve said many times before, the GOP has convinced them to vote against their economic interests by cynically using: God, guns, gays, and blacks.

  45. More general thoughts:

    Trump is putting forth a 100 day “contract with the American voter.” I observe he has already broken two lifetime contracts – his marriages – already, and that’s no ad hominem. I like to think that’s favorable for the people who didn’t vote for him but of course not.

    The election is over and so is any concern of voting fraud. Absolutely nothing will be done about it.

    …boy that Sullivan article is well written.

  46. If it is any consolation, in a deterministic universe the outcome of the election was determined by the state of the universe at the time of the big bang, so it is no one’s fault really. 😳

  47. One thing you will never run out of on this event are opinions. I do not have time right now to read through all of them but will say one thing that many overlook. The narratives seem to say time and again that this somehow came sneaking up on everyone overnight. This is not correct. The political shape simply does not happen that quickly. It has been going on at least since the 80s or before. The other point is that both parties caused this, not just one. It was most obvious that a failed Democratic and Republican party are to be blamed for the Trump rise. This is the anti-candidate and everyone can surely see this.

    I thought he was a joke and still do. Problem is half of those who voted, damn near, did not think him a joke. He was the regular but not so regular, obnoxious, low mentality rich guy that many people were looking for and he promised lots of BS to top it off. The underestimation on my part was giving the voters too much credit, at least more than they deserved.

  48. There was a question of what party the abstained votes (?) were – I think they were republicans because many – not all – as leaders, chose to essentially throw their vote away. This may have led “two evils” voters to simply not vote.

    Another thing: Penn Jillette – a libertarian- chose to swap votes with a blue state resident – or something like that – so that the essentially throw away vote in the blue state helped the libertarian party, yet a Clinton vote – who he objected to – would count exactly where it would count – Nevada, in his case.

    1. Yes, there is that. Sam Harris has been warning about this for a while.

      The left has lost its mind about what constitutes being liberal and liberal values.

    2. So, what’s the answer? Ban Muslims? Kill their families in retaliation? Torture? (All of which Trump has advocated.) Burn down mosques (as some of his followers have done)? Detention camps? Death camps? Or should we cancel the First Amendment, which permits Muslims to be Muslim, and atheists like myself to be atheists? How far down the slope do we want to slip? Because there’s always a reckoning when we carry our antipathies too far. Islamophobia in the US is primarily allied with the Christian Right’s advocacy that this is a ‘Christian’ nation – including implications that we should have theocracies, at least in individual states.

      No, I think I’ll let the Muslims be Muslims. The argument between atheism and any theism should remain an intellectual discourse. Fanatics – of any religion – commit evident crimes and need to be confronted on that basis.

      1. So, what’s the answer?

        Facing up to the flaws in Islam, rather than pretending that the violent, oppressive and totalitarian aspects are “nothing to do with Islam”, would be a good start.

  49. I’ll post, later, a nice graphic I pulled together this afternoon.

    It clearly shows how Trump won: The Dem’s didn’t turn out. It’s crystal clear when you plot the popular vote.

      1. Oh yes, that’s it exactly.

        I think it was:

        — Clinton fatigue
        — Bernie hangover
        — HRC did not do a good sales job, she just didn’t. I was: Anyone but Trump and gleefully marked my ballot for HRC. She simply did not close the deal with Dem. voters or get them enthused.
        — The perfect laying waste to the good (votes for Stein, Johnson)

        But maybe it’s exactly what the left needs — a smack in the face to wake us up.

      2. “I keep hearing about this “enthusiasm gap.””

        Even if people weren’t enthusiastically pro-Clinton, there were plenty of reasons to be enthusiastically anti-Trump.

        1. Perhaps anti-Trump enthusiasm doesn’t motivate people to turn out when they don’t expect he is going to win anyway. Enthusiasm for a candidate might motivate more because people want to be part of the win.

      3. “Which raises the perhaps more important question: Why didn’t the Dems turn out?”

        No one has yet mentioned the obstructionist GOP interventions to discourage/prevent the working class vote. Eliminating polling places, requiring specific ID’s, onerous registration procedures, polling dates and times that interfere with people’s working hours and childcare arrangements, not allowing everyone the option to vote absentee, or by mail, etc.

        In close elections the depression in turnout that results makes all the difference.

  50. “But me? Seriously? I am one individual among millions, and one who voted for Clinton.”

    I would never blame you, first of all as you said you’re just one individual, but as an objective observation I think millions of people who didn’t enthusiastically, and relentlessly support Hillary as a group, given the danger of Trump being elected, share some share someone of it. Along with those who voted for 3rd party candidates to “send a message”. The point of voting is to elect the best candidate not send as message, unless I suppose, you don’t care who wins.

    “But who could have known? As many did, I trusted the polls.”

    I didn’t KNOW either, but the potential danger of a Trump victory was too great for me to trust the polls.

    1. And the polls were far too close and inconsistent to trust, especially the closer and closer it got to the election. (And especially after Comey’s ultimate, well-timed final intervention.) IMO.

      1. “And especially after Comey’s ultimate, well-timed final intervention.”

        Yeah, even if the polls were to be believed I knew we were just one incident like that away from a complete reversal of fortune.

  51. The magnitude of the error in the poll results this year was ordinary. As fivethirtyeight warned on Nov. 4 Trump Is Just a Normal Polling Error Behind Clinton. Most election forecast models do not properly take the true uncertainty in the polls into account, and were consequently giving a Trump victory unrealistically small chances: probabilities in the range of 0–10%. Fivethirtyeight, the only prominent forecaster to model polling uncertainty realistically, was the outlier, and the only model to give Trump a realistic chance (28% on election eve) of winning.

  52. … the disaffected white middle class weren’t appreciated …

    One of the myths we American Dreamers perpetuate is that we live in an essentially classless society — only the very rich, the very poor, and a vast, fluid “middle class” in between. We like to pretend that (unlike the Brits, say) we don’t subdivide along narrower class lines. But the disaffected voters in this election weren’t actually much middle-class, so much as working-class.

    One of the big points of pride with Donald Trump among this group was his refusal to kowtow to “political correctness.” So out of respect for them, let me call this group just what it is: the ill-educated, resentment-filled formerly-working class. That’s the wave of voters Trump rode to the White House.

    It pains me to write those words, as a proud product of the American working class — as one who grew up in a working-class family, in a blue-collar neighborhood, in a proletarian town. I can’t go all nostalgie de la boue about it, though, since the working class of my youth no longer exists in this nation. Gone is the American industrial base, and gone with it, the unions that represented these workers. Part of what those unions did was to educate the rank-and-file on politics and nuts-and-bolts economics. Those workers understood that their paychecks got bigger when the union signed a new contract, even the guys who worked in the non-union shops down the street. They knew who had to sweat and bleed for there to be a minimum-wage and a forty-hour work-week, knew whose strife had won them a paid day off called “Labor Day.”

    Sure, the working class of those days could sometimes vent ugly cultural attitudes, racism the worst among them. One saw it in the George Wallace bumper stickers that started showing up on Buicks and Chevys and Plymoths in factory parking lots, in the muttered N-word one heard when black teams from across town came to the playground for ballgames, saw it when hard-hats beat up on hippies.

    But that working class at least understood its own economic interests well enough not to vote agin ’em. And the old working class would’ve seen right through a phony, self-proclaimed savior arriving in the form of a gilded Republican billionaire — one who’s spent his whole life catering to, and hobnobbing with, nothing but other rich folk; who’s never done a damn thing for the working stiff; who’s employed scabs and illegal immigrants to build his big towers; whose chi-chi clothing is made in third-world sweatshops by peasant labor, for chrissake.

    All of us will have to swallow four very rough years ahead, but these Trump voters will be taking theirs with a side of bitter disappointment.

    1. The death of this tawdry salesman won’t come quickly enough when the working-class whites realize their vote was the most overpriced and overrated lottery ticket this country has ever purchased.

    2. I will plus that comment as well and old enough to do so. One other bit I would add to it. The working class (middle class) once had jobs that not only gave them a living, they had one more thing that was very important. They had this thing called a pension. Yes, companies and lots of them had pension plans for their employees. Those are all gone now. I do not hear the likes of Donald the Trump promising any return of those. You will hear of no one doing that. And that folks, is a big part of the problem. No pensions, no health care, no insurance for these people and a job that does not make it. Both parties in the family working and sill not making it. That is the voter for Trump and I have no idea what he is going to do to help them and I will not hold my breath.

        1. I was thinking more of a PT Barnum type because that is similar to a Trump character. Also I think the circus fits a Donald Trump term of office. But you could be right – Windrip ended up in an invasion of Mexico or something like that. In any case, survival will require a hell of a sense of humor.

          1. I could see that, but with an edge of hideous instability (some character from a Rob Zombie film). Let’s keep in mind, there were so many national clown sightings during the months prior to election day.

    3. People can complain about the working class being stupid as much as they want, but they have figured out one crucial thing: No mainstream party has cared one whit for them for close to 40 years.

      Blaming the proles for being driven into the arms of a demagogue might salve the egos of the elite, but it will do nothing to win them elections.

      1. You got a plan for the re-industrialization of the Rust Belt?

        The remnants of the old white working class are mired in low-paying service-sector jobs; they’re greeters at Walmart, some of them. Their drop-out rates, their levels of addiction to meth and crack and hillbilly heroin, their birthrates for baby-mamas, now rival that of our inner-cities.

        These are buddies of mine I went to high-school with, and their kids — and, soon to be, their kids’ kids. I see it and hear it when I visit the old neighborhood.

        If anyone’s got a solution to this, the byproduct of globalization, I haven’t heard it yet. Sure-as-shit, a Trumpian trade war won’t do it.

        Far as I can tell, the “good” jobs ain’t coming back anytime soon. In the meantime, this new white working class longs for good old days that never really were, back when they didn’t have to take any lip from anyone except for other white people who were their betters and bosses.

        1. “It pains me to write those words, as a proud product of the American working class — as one who grew up in a working-class family, in a blue-collar neighborhood, in a proletarian town.”

          The very same background from whence sprang Michael Moore. And until the world changes*, his arguments for good old-fashioned social programs, including safety nets, are the best we have. Even if it takes some FDR-like government job-creation.

          *Because nothing is going to really change until we have international unions to stand up to the multinational corporations. It’s no longer something we can redress with tariffs and whatever. And if history’s any guide that will be a long and blood-spilling process.

  53. “many of those who voted for Trump did so not because they were themselves xenophobes or misogynists, but in spite of Trump’s xenophobia and misogyny.”

    I don’t know that it’s much worse to be a racist, sexist, xenophobe, or to be willing to turn a blind eye to it. The former think they are right due to ignorance, the latter know it’s wrong, but apparently just don’t care care.

    1. Indeed, the “I’m not a bigot,” but “I don’t mind supporting a bigot” mentality.

      Indifference under the guise of personal freedom motivated subconsciously by the fallacy of relative privation.

    2. Similarly, it may be that Trump is not himself a thorough-going bigot. That makes it even worse that he cynically played to such bigotry in his pitch for popularity. (I don’t think he ever actually believed Obama wasn’t an American citizen, for example, yet he cynically pushed his insipid “birther” nonsense anyway.)

    3. And some of them voted for Trump precisely because they were deeply xenophobic, misogynistic and racist.

      In the three weeks prior to the election, I took a trip from the west coast (Oregon, Washington)through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Kansas, Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. There were Trump/Pence signs all over the place. I read local newspapers. I overheard people talking at gas stations, restaurants, and motels who were pro-Trump. And, held long conversations with family members and friends who were pro-Trump. I heard more virulent hatred expressed openly than I’d heard in the recent past, or thought possible. And, Trump was to be the answer for these people. A strong man (something immigrants from the former Soviet Union seem to greatly admire). A man who says what he thinks (whether he thinks before he speaks or not). (Who can tell what he truly thinks?)

      The “deplorable” comment was brought up a lot in re educated vs. uneducated, city vs. country, liberal vs. conservative, etc., etc.

      The division in our country present from the very beginning has never been resolved or healed. We continue to fight the issues of north vs. south, nation vs. state, wealth vs. poverty, equity for all, etc. It gets worse, not better.

      1. Your comment is right on the mark. The overwhelming white working class Trump supporter (non-college educated) so fear that “the other” are getting benefits that they don’t deserve that they will vote for the party that has screwed them over for decades as long as it provides them with the delusion that they are superior to all the inferiors that are “invading” the country. The country is rapidly changing demographically and socially. This has created for the Trump supporter unbearable “status anxiety.” These people might deserve our pity if they had not been so actively working to destroy this country, which in their blatant ignorance is beyond their ability to understand.

        1. True. The refusal to accommodate and assimilate is a two-way street. The “why do I have to dial 1 to speak in English” crowd will never understand the inevitability of diversity or appreciate some of its long-term cultural advantages. To paraphrase Mark Twain, travel is the death of prejudice. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, there’s no way a society of 319 million citizens is going to suddenly become a Thomas Kinkade postcard (which is aesthetically terrifying).

  54. seems you’re out of touch with culture.

    if you really want to understand it, then I suggest you start following Milo and really understand Milo’s raison d’etre.

  55. “I love the smell of aviation fuel in the morning”
    Apocalypse Now

    Prof(E)I find it laughable that some find you had a hand in this defeat. It could be a backhanded compliment of your influence on the universe.
    Since we downunder have no say we can only but watch the unfolding of ‘something’ that will perhaps impact on us all and already i see Ben Carson maybe about to negotiate science and US policy back to the dark ages of ignorance.
    My skeptical mode is on high alert.

  56. I think Trump is already hating being the next president.

    I think he would have preferred to have narrowly lost.

    Now he has to take the time and energy to actually learn something about foreign policy, constitutional law, budget process and everything else he couldn’t be bothered to learn about in the past year.

    Look at his expression when he met with Obama today. That’s not the look of a man who wants to be there.

    1. That was my thinking exactly. Kinda like a dog chasing and car; what does he do with it, when he catches up. It’s dawning on Trump that bluster, lying and bravado alone ain’t gonna cut it.

      1. What if this has all been an elaborate act to get elected? Does this mean he’s been strategically used by the GOP as a Trojan Horse (aka Trojan Trump). Who in the hell is this guy? I’m starting to think that anything is possible after 11/9.

    2. “Look at his expression when he met with Obama today. That’s not the look of a man who wants to be there.”

      I had the exact same thought! He actually looked kind of pitiful the way he was sitting there, like he was realizing what he actually did (and didn’t really want it).

    3. Indeed. It will take time away from time spent pussy grabbing, filing for bankruptcy, fixing his greasy pompadour, and mirror gazing. Plus, his advisers will have to find tutors to improve his reading level beyond second grade.

    4. … everything else he couldn’t be bothered to learn about in the past year.

      That presupposes Trump has any interest or ability to learn. From all available evidence, he’s never read a book, including the handful of ’em he’s credited with writing. His only pastimes seem to be television and Twitter. He went in dumb to the Wharton School, came out dumb, too.

      He does seem to have a keen animal sense for pressing his leverage and clout. But he’s not much for the book learnin’. Plus, policy bores him; it’s all about what happens to other people, the ones not named “Trump.”

    5. Nah, I’m sure he’s already thinking, no big whoop, I’ll just put Rudy in charge of this, Newt over there, Christie on infrastructure, Ben on H & HS, yada, yada, and if they screw up I’ll just blame them.

  57. How could anyone write, “He has won this campaign in such a decisive fashion that he owes no one anything.” when Trump lost the popular vote?

    Of course, he doesn’t owe the GOP apparatus much and he wouldn’t think he did anyway. but a decisive win???

    1. Exactly. As of now, Clinton has 1.5 million more votes. What other country declares the second place finisher the winner?

  58. I don’t understand the argument that a vote for Trump was a vote against the government itself, and yet the Republicans won Congress again. They were the obstructionists for the past few years, so why not oust them as well?

    1. This is because the great mass of Republican voters have no idea how the system work. Their knowledge of American government is appalling. Right-wing media has convinced them that Obama is the blame for everything and that the Democratic party stands for some sort of tryranny. They have no idea that the Republican congress has obstructed Obama at every turn. In short, the right wing is the master of the “long con” and once again the white working class has been their mark as it continues to vote against its best interest. It has no idea that the Republican party works against climate change amelioration, environmental and workplace safety regulations, the minimum wage, and healthcare for all. If P.T. Barnum were alive today, he would say, “What’s new?”

        1. Nice analogy. I can’t picture Donald and Melania spending a romantic evening at Teatro alla Scala either.

          “Let them eat steak” says the Orange Man after leaving Hotel Bellagio with his escort.

  59. I am saddened to find that Asra Nomani voted for Trump, apparently because she found Obama too soft on radical Islam and was annoyed by the Clinton Foundation’s relationship with Qatar and Saudi Arabia. She seems to have confidence that Trump’s vast knowledge of geopolitics will be put to good use to end the radical Islamic threat.


    1. Yes, I know Asra and am deeply saddened at her decision and deeply disappointed in her article. It was all about how Trump will be harder on Islam than was Obama (or than Clinton would have been). But that’s only one issue among many, and Trump will also be harder on Muslims themselves. It ignores the many other things Trump said he would do and what he stands for.

    2. Wow! I’m stunned. She seems to be transfixed by a couple of issues which I agree with her on. But she’s ignoring the big picture. Sad.

  60. “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.””
    -Isaac Asimov

    … on another note, go listen to Sam Harris’ 30-min podcast if you still need some help with election hangover.

  61. It is kind of not funny that a guy who pays no taxes is going to be living off of us for at least 4 years. How about getting this bill past right away. If you have not paid taxes for the past 15 years you must return any federal pay you get. The housing will also not be free and you will be paying rent and utilities for the white house. Fuel for the airplane will be on you.

  62. A question I have not yet heard : what could Trump do that his fan base would object to? I can’t imagine anything!

    The second-hand Fox News I get – don’t ask – the viewers despise Obama. And really close to personally. The personal labeling of individuals as communists, liberals, shuts down debate and follows through all the individuals they excoriate and they practically look like enemies…

    … I was sent a message from a Trump supporter – it said “we won”.

  63. I strongly believe that many were just unwilling to admit they voted for Trump. A friend of mine shared with me in confidence that he voted for Trump, making me promise that I wouldn’t tell anyone. That’s just one person, but I find it likely that many acted accordingly. So, why this shame/guilt over the person they chose? This friend of mine happens to have many minority friends that were vehemently against Trump. Perhaps they didn’t want to feel ostracized in their social circle? It seems apparent that there were many in-the-closet Trump supporters.

    The most troubling part, and the thing that concerns me most, was the complete disregard of policies that many voters may have had. I think many voted for emotional reasons instead of actually considering the important issues and stances either candidate had. Also, too many were concerned with personal faults of each candidate rather than again, the policies.

    When I asked why he voted for Trump, he admittedly shared with me that policies were not on his mind at all while voting. In fact, he was a Sanders supporter (as was I), and casted his vote as a sort of retribution toward Hillary for “screwing up the primaries for Sanders”. He perceived Hillary as responsible for sabotaging Bernie’s campaign.

    This confused me greatly, as he liked Sanders policies, and yet you couldn’t get further from a Sanders-like president with Trump. Hillary at least would have been closer to what Sanders would have been as President.

    The most concerning aspect is that I really feel that many, like this friend of mine, just voted “out of their ass”. I remember kids doing the same in high school. The teachers would give us a paper with different students running for class president or whatever it was, and many students literally did not know any of the people running and hadn’t the slightest clue of what their policies were, they just voted based on a name they liked or some vacuous reasoning. It was basically random.

    Why should we expect anything different from the masses? I’m not trying to sound elitist or anything, but it’s a known fact that we have some of the worst test scores in this country of all first world countries. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the stats on faith based beliefs, evolution denial, climate change denial, etc.. There are a strong number of people in this country that are simply uninformed and perhaps don’t possess the critical thinking necessary to adjudicate between a good policy and a bad policy. People vote on emotions without really thinking in through. Maybe when Trump says something like the infamous quote where he states “I would bomb the shit out of ISIS”, perhaps it sounds persuasive at first glance. It’s an impulsive action to just fix a problem immediately. But people don’t consider all of the effects that would come with it. We are not a country of murdering innocent people or civilians. I don’t need to go into the problems with that statement in this audience. You already know.. But I just think the average person doesn’t think enough about it. They hear something and it appeals to their emotions or impulsive drive and they just don’t put in the time researching the issues or the side effects of different actions. We just need to educate the public better..

    1. “People vote on emotions without really thinking in through.”

      You’ve hit upon something important here. Trump played to the fears and feelings of his supporters. His campaign was virtually devoid of discussion of substantive policy issues. Hillary had many detailed proposals that would have helped the white working class. But they didn’t care about that. Trump’s appeal to the worst in people was quite effective. Hillary had a slogan that love trumps hate. Unfortunately, the truth is that hate trumps facts.

    1. I’ve reviewed it briefly. It’s basically an anti-science, nationalistic, task-force infused, isolationist agenda filled with extra benefits for the ultra rich with some courtesy legislation to appease the masses.

  64. People, we now have a president-elect no more qualified for office, by dint of experience and temperament, than would’ve been Soupy Sales.

    Somebody, please, stand guard outside our Reichstag equivalent, watch out no one starts a fire between now and inauguration day.

    The horror, the horror …

  65. The GOP’s obsession with deregulation is the same type of ideology that eventually led to the bubble economy and recession of 2008. Greenspan started the fire and it’ll be Trump who will reignite an orange blaze of Vegas-style pyramid schemes in the marketplace. Society will be economically re-segregated as a side-effect of deregulation (deregulation that almost exclusively benefits the donor class).

  66. I’ve read the early comments but have not had time to read all. So, I apologize if I repeat what someone else has posted.

    With the above said, let’s all remember that in two years we have a chance to begin to correct what was done this week. The next Congressional elections will be our opportunity.

    1. I predict that even this debacle won’t energize the majority of voters to pay any attention to House of Reps contests.

  67. Although I read this blog, I haven’t commented for many months. But I read through discussions here with some bewilderment. This blog is dedicated (in part) to the propagation of science, and I know many of its commenting readers are themselves scientists. So I came here the past couple days wondering how they would respond to the coming Trump administration which is clearly devoted to shutting down funding of science, funding of science education, denial of science in matters concerning climate change, environment, or health issues, and which intends to advocate the teaching of creationism and Christian historicism in public schools. But I see little discussion of this in the comment thread here. Curious. The government is about to take a great leap backwards regarding science, yet scientists do not think this will have impact on their practices? Am I missing something?

  68. His support is not like that of a democratic leader but of a cult leader fused with the idea of the nation.

    So, that’ll be the 22nd Amendment up against the un-marked wall, smoking a final cigarette.
    (Not being a USian, I had to research which amendment I meant. It’s the one that limits the number of times a person can hold the presidency.

  69. Just as theocracy allows the religious to act on sadistic urges with divine warrant while being granted legal impunity, Trump has essentially given our society permission to express the very worst forms of human behavior towards one another. It’s disgusting how a malignant narcissist could only appease his ravenous ego via inciting social unrest while promoting indelible polarization among citizens that may last for years. All this and the GOP has the audacity to rapaciously take legislative advantage of the final Trumpian product from their populist propaganda machine that began in 2009. For what? So that the entitled can avoid paying estate taxes?

    Unbelievable, and yet here we are.

  70. Grief. Dissonance. Huge disappointment. Concern over the future. I hope these two items are true: more Americans voted for Secretary Clinton than for reality-TV star Donald Trump. Millennials voted in higher numbers for Secretary Clinton than for Trump in about 85 percent of the states.

    I must say that I though Trump would win all along – especially after Brexit and the Columbia vote on FARC. But I was still looking for a Clinton victory Tuesday.

    No way did Professor Coyne influence the outcome of this race, IMHO

    1. I don’t think even those of us who were uncomfortable with PCC’s stance reacted so much to his individual resistance as to the fact that he was far from alone in the Democrat dissing of Hillary, while we felt the stakes were so great that that was not a risk worth taking. (And, contrary to the strawwoman proposed by so many, few if any of us felt or implied that she was “Saint Hillary,” either.) (Although my opinion of her improved enormously over the course of the campaign.)

  71. The take home of this election (for me) is the right can get their people out to vote, they have a very efficient propaganda machine, hate gets people out to vote and people can rationalize their decisions, regardless of their political stripe.

    The polls were right, it’s just that many on the left never bothered to vote. That’s the problem with the left about every other election, the Democrats is a big tent party with a very wide and diverse set of views. It’s followers don’t automatically follow. They need to be persuaded, each and every election. This has long been the lefts problem, even when the consequences are very poor indeed.

    Many talked about checks and balances in the system and that Trump couldn’t do too much damage. We will see, but that is likely wrong. People think Republicans will be a moderating force, but according to Pew Research over half of Republican supporters believe the Republican party is not far enough right! The Republican party can’t even moderate itself, and neither can Trump.

    One problem is many Americans see the Republican party as being normal when it’s not. Not just the people who watched Glenn Beck and listen to Limbaugh either. Lots of Americans have become acclimatized to the lunacy of the right, the anti science, the propaganda, the end justifies the means, the Obama is a secret Muslim anti-Christ communist and is building concentration camps with FEMA and is going to take away all thier guns. To many this is normal, to lots in the middle and lots on the left. So they decide to pick and choose between the candidates on the left and right. That worked when Republicans voted their minds, but the Republicans work like a parliamentary system now where those who don’t follow the party get primaried.
    Many voters haven’t figured that out, or think the party is normal when it isn’t.

    Nate Silverman’s site (which was predicting a Clinton win) pointed out that the polls could easily be off by 3 percent which would swing the vote to Trump. It turns out it was only off 1 percent. And once again, Clinton got the popular vote.

    I certainly don’t blame you the host for pointing out Clinton’s flaws, even as I argued with you about them. Nor do I believe that Sanders could have won. Lots in the independent center believe Clinton is a communist, as do many on the right. Which is how absurd US politics has become. Would those on the right who distanced themselves from Trump have endorsed Sanders, or just chosen the third party?

    It’s all navel gazing. There is no way to know. The problem with US politics could fill a set of Britannica encyclopedias at it’s heyday.

    Those who chose to not vote or vote third party because of Sander-anger or Clinton’s “hawkishness”, Republicans will have the US supreme court for decades, if not longer. Will they invade or bomb Iran now? We will see. Sanders proposed policies are dead, including those Clinton agreed with.

  72. I have been concerned for some time at the direction the US is taking with respect to science. As a retired chemist, I find the Republican party view of climate science, medical science and education frightening. I also cannot abide by their overt and over the top view of religion. I fear we are heading for a future theocracy aided and abetted by a dumbed-down populace. This was only confirmed by a cousin of mine who called us today. His religious friends truly believe that this election result was ‘god’s decision’ and that he will work out the details. It doesn’t get much more depressing than that.

    1. Hopefully this history lesson will serve as an astonishing wake up call about the importance of defending the values of the enlightenment—no matter where they are being violated. I am beyond despondent and the only thing that keeps me from succumbing to nihilism is the realization that this administration is the quintessential embodiment of unsustainability.

      1. I’m always surprised that anyone thinks there’s still hope for enlightenment values prevailing since they’ve already had 3+ centuries to do so and arguably the “smarter” we’ve gotten the farther they’ve receded.

  73. I’m very late to the funeral, but then this one is only just starting. To my Republican acquaintances–I have no Republican friends–I shall be sending this sonnet by Shakespeare:

    Th’ expense of spirit in a waste of shame
    Is lust in action; and till action, lust
    Is perjured, murd’rous, bloody, full of blame,
    Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
    Enjoyed no sooner but despisèd straight,
    Past reason hunted; and, no sooner had
    Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
    On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
    Mad in pursuit and in possession so,
    Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
    A bliss in proof and proved, a very woe;
    Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
    All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
    To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

    They foolishly laid the bait; now they may poison themselves upon it.

    1. I loved his final comment: “The Democrats can rehabilitate themselves only by offering an inspiring progressive alternative to Republican policies and building a grassroots movement.” YES!!!

        1. Yeah, but…when I look at much of the pro-Trump crowd I see a lot of despicable thought, hatred, expressed opinions, and anger.

          It’s very left-wing to think we can try to sympathize with them and somehow bring them around by trying to reframe their outlook. I doubt that would make much of a dent if any; more likely the world will change with or without their cooperation. The left could help its own by being more united itself, rather than splintering into so many single-interest factions worrying about hurt feelings or their particular in-groups’ demands, at least until the overall ship is righted.

  74. I am still trying to grapple with this, especially to see it from a Republican viewpoint.

    Let’s imagine 2012 Romney up against an equivalent Trump-like personality on the Democrat ticket, however impossible that seems. However, let’s suppose the current Supreme Court vacancy is transposed back to that time period. Now I ask if I would have voted for Romney. No. Because by now I have learned that, when I “just don’t like” a candidate, that the candidate is still tied to a political party. Therefore, I would vote for a political party because I expect the candidate to go along those lines. For a scenario I described, we’d have every reason to expect the Supreme Court nominee will essentially be a Democrat. In our reality TV world now, it is almost guaranteed to be a Republican. We can only hope the new justice will be a David Souter-like “imposter”.

    … This stuff takes years to learn – if no one shows you. You have to see the patterns develop over years, and you have to read, think, repeat – in any order. I guarantee that I learn in giant steps at every election, and the superficiality with which I cast votes for President before Obama 2008 & 2012 is astonishing at best. A young me reading what I said above about the SC would not get it. What I would not get is that the SC justices are lifetime appointments, and are tied to party ideals. Then there’s the issues. There’s so much to this.

    special thanks to WEIT and PCC(E) for allowing way-off-topic (“it got out of hand”) stuff on the site. Some lists are quite strict, and there’s a reason for that, but a little bit of politics has to come up at some point.

  75. another thought if I may, getting closer to “on-topic” for WEIT, anyways:

    identifying and losing religion for the better is an overarching goal here. We generally say we can be “good without god”, and that Atheist churches are not what we are talking about.

    From my viewpoint, and related to this election – I think – is the question of what else can take the place of the religion-shaped hole in a person’s mind? Well, why not politics/government? This is a known thing, and a significant problem that til now seemed solved, or we have moved on. On a personal level, let’s say, the power of politics-as-religion is strong enough to cause real damage.


    1. I’ve always said that personal politics is applied philosophy. In addition to involvement with government, aligning oneself with any of the human rights-/human welfare-oriented organizations is another way to get involved. They may not be atheist* per se, but when they bring about positive change they position us to be in that situation Jerry so often describes (with Scandinavia as an example)–of how religious affiliation tends to be negatively correlated to the overall well-being of a society.

      *Of course these days there are openly atheist charities, government lobbyists, disaster relief organizations, etc. I’m just not very social, myself, so more of a check writing, letter-to-the-editor writing, letter-to-congress writing sort. But those looking to replace church like communities can find all sorts of opportunities.

      1. I’m not talking about those nice things – I’m talking about when there’s North Korea, the state operates as a religion. I forget the term. Hitchens made this point that in totalitarian regimes, the atheist leaders imposed atheism because religion would then directly compete with the state. Or something like that. But what prevents citizens in a democracy from taking up the same approach – government/politics becomes their religion especially when they aren’t religious, or a void has been made?

        1. Ah, I see. Just what we need this week, more pessimism & dire predictions. 😉

          Happily, examples like North Korea aren’t prevalent. Maybe people aren’t as dumb as we think.


  76. A technical comment on my participation on this site – just for the record.

    I would like to admit that a comment I made here:


    … should have been made on this post because : it was as if I was writing my own blog and sort of ranting and some ideas got confusing ; it was not directly related to the topic ; it is more consistent with this post as part of a “hangover” – leaving me exasperated, seeking an outlet for it all – this election has left me at my wits end. Having recognized a mis-step, I should do better in the future. Thanks.

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