In which I get blamed for Trump’s victory

November 16, 2016 • 11:00 am

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been held guilty for Hillary Clinton’s loss for several reasons, including criticizing her too much as well as for not criticizing her enough before the primaries, which led to a flawed candidate being put up against Trump. You can’t win in this game!

David, whose email is below (name redacted to protect privacy ) took the time to chew me out for not doing enough for Hillary, and for criticizing both her and Islam. This is only one of several specimens I’ve gotten from butthurt liberals. (His first paragraph is a quote from my post referenced above.) I love the gracious salutation!


‘………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 […..] But me? Seriously? I am one individual among millions, and one who voted for Clinton……’

Some points:

1 You claim to be 1 in a million, but your blog reaches thousands of potential voters, and I think you have boasted on your blog of the # of your followers – you ARE an opinion-maker.

2 If you truly supported HRC, you could have donated $ to her campaign, or volunteered to knock on doors in the nearby swing state of Wisconsin – did you do any of this? Moi? I reluctantly donated $ to HRC to try to stop Trump.

3 Even while traveling in Asia, you could have called potential voters on your phone with a pro-HRC message. [JAC: LOL; I don’t travel with a phone outside the US!

4 I [and other Democrats] see the recent election as a fight between reality and an insane, racialized, right-wing fantasy – a zero-sum fight in which there is no neutral ground. Trump represents a return to the USA of a theory of white genetic superiority.

5 If points 1-4 above are true, then the following 3 points are also true:

5A Every time you criticized HRC, you depressed turnout among Democratic voters – which was an in-kind donation to Trump. Overconfidence in HRC and confirmation bias with opinion polls were a HUUUGE gift to the Trump campaign. You contributed to this.

5B Every time you criticized ‘political correctness’, you made an in-kind contribution to the alt-right.

5C Every time you mentioned the hijab and ‘muslims behaving badly’, you made an in-kind contribution to the alt-right.

These problems with the alt-right haven’t ended with the election – see, e.g., Steve Bannon.

Quick, where’s my hair shirt and metal cilice?

I’m sorry, but reader David is like a wounded bull in a corrida who wants to gore the nearest available human. People like this need to stop trying to find someone to blame for Hillary’s loss. The reasons are complex:  you can’t point at one thing as the culprit, but least of all at the person who was a Democrat but simply had opinions different from yours. As for criticizing Islam and hijabs, are we supposed to stifle ourselves lest we enable the “alt-right”? Yes, David is not thinking clearly, and that’s the most charitable thing I can say about him.

For more on the immature tendency to find anything to blame for a bad election outcome, here are Seth Andrews and Darrel Ray discussing some of the more angst-ridden responses and overstatements with respect to Trump’s election:

And here’s the podcast referenced by Ray in his capacity as a clinical psychologist. A quote that David should take to heart.

“Many people are expressing deep and strong, even debilitating emotions as a result of the election. In this special episode I wish to give listeners some techniques they can use to reduce their distress, while preparing to move forward in the future.”

379 thoughts on “In which I get blamed for Trump’s victory

  1. Prof Ceiling Cat:

    Of course I don’t think that you caused Hillary to lose, but I must say that I found your lukewarm support of her hard to take. It kind of hurt, because, on the whole, I find you and your love of cats…frankly…kind of adorable. And your science stuff, the part that doesn’t go over my head, is fascinating. I am almost back to my old self now and it’s only been a week or so. Keep up the cat talk and the science and say whatever you please about anything.

    1. I agree. I was disappointed by political coverage on this site, but then again, this is not a political site.

      I did agree with PCC opinion that making fun of Trump and calling him names was not necessary. One might argue that calling attention to his actual words and the hatred they inspired could have had a more prominent place here. Suggestions for effective response to Trump’s hate speech could have been offered, but organizations with larger membership did that without result. I think it is silly to blame Dr. Coyne for the election results.

      Certainly Hillary Clinton, or any candidate, should be scrutinized, but with all that was at stake in this election (the Supreme Court, preservation of public lands, women’s health, civil rights, social security and medicare, science education, public education, spearation of church and state, the list could go on) criticism of Clinton was, to my mind, probably misplaced effort. BUT … done is done. Can we stop rehashing and go back to work?

      What many of us would like from this site is a focus on what we do now that all three branches of the federal government are in the hands of the far right. But this is Dr. Coyne’s site to do with as he wishes. If the site just offers respite, that’s OK too.

      There’s a lot going on in my community out here in Nevada. There’s probably a log going on where you are. Stop whining and get to work!

    2. Truth is hard to digest.

      I can do an experiment, as is usually done nowadays, and report on some novel sensor and it gets published in a prestigious journal and all is dandy.

      But all is not dandy. Almost certainly I don’t tell people the sensor has serious limitations, will never be mass produced, has virtually no fundamental value even though it looked clever as a demonstration, and so forth.

      People in science can frequently see through quagmire and they don’t get too bothered by it. People in politics, and pedestrians in general, have no idea how to handle truth that might make them or their position feel insecure.

  2. Isn’t this one:

    5A Every time you criticized HRC, you depressed turnout among Democratic voters – which was an in-kind donation to Trump. Overconfidence in HRC and confirmation bias with opinion polls were a HUUUGE gift to the Trump campaign.

    … a bit self-contradictory? How would criticism of HRC make Democrats over-confident?

    As for this one:

    5C Every time you mentioned the hijab and ‘muslims behaving badly’, you made an in-kind contribution to the alt-right.

    Some have stated that the refusal of “the left” to criticise Islam, exemplified by Obama, contributed to their voting for Trump, who at least does recognise the defects in Islam.

    1. Personally, I don’t see how anyone’s support for Hillary could have been more than “lukewarm.” To prefer Hillary over Trump was sort of like preferring getting a tetanus shot over getting your teeth drilled on.

      But personalities and partisan politics aside, this election has restored my faith in the democratic process: when we the people, for whatever reason, get fed up with the government and want change, we can actually make this happen with our votes. I find this amazing. Also reassuring, since that process is the only way we’re going to get rid of Donald Trump.

      1. “To prefer Hillary over Trump was sort of like preferring getting a tetanus shot over getting your teeth drilled on.”

        No, it’s more like preferring to have a semi-reasonable Supreme Court to one that has the strong potential to set us back generations in civil society and equal justice and rights for the powerless.

        1. By “powerless” I assume you mean minorities and other “disenfranchised” groups. Problem is, you’re already at least a generation back. For decades or more the most disenfranchised group in this country has been the very men and women who finally got off off their duffs to turn out and vote in the greatest numbers—for Trump: white, working (and middle-) class, minimally educated, rural Americans. Whether I identify with them or not, whether I agree with them or not, I’m not unhappy to see them have their day. They earned it.

          1. I’m pretty sure he meant exactly what he said. You seem to be trying to put words in his mouth. Whether they believe it or not the evidence from the past 30 years or more very strongly indicates that the white, working (and middle-) class, minimally educated, rural Americans that voted for Trump and are having there day are going to see their lives get worse under a Republican presidency, Republican House and Republican Senate. And what is likely to happen to the Supreme Court won’t be good for them either, whatever they may believe.

            Being happy for them seems pretty damn cruel to me. Though I do have to admit that when I am at my worst it would be easy for me to ridicule them for being easy marks.

          2. “Being happy for them seems pretty damn cruel to me. Though I do have to admit that when I am at my worst it would be easy for me to ridicule them for being easy marks.”

            Now you’re putting words in my mouth: I didn’t say that I was “happy”; I said I was “not unhappy.” There’s a difference.

            But I do very much respect your admission, which I think applies to many of us. There’s an element of classism in all this.

          3. I think darrelle’s interpretation of what you meant by “not unhappy” is fair.

            Generally, one uses a term like “not unhappy” in the same sense one might say “the Queen is not amused” — as the rhetorical device ‘litotes,” that is, emphasis through understatement via the negation of the opposite.

            People are less likely to put words in your mouth if you use words according to their common understanding.

          4. Yes, let’s not forget, as PCC(e)has posted on the topic already, it is not just trump we are getting, but everyone else that comes with him! Chilling to say the least.

          5. Anyone who thinks Trump will help the white working class hasn’t been paying attention.

            He has proposed nothing that will help them. Throwing 20+ million off of health care certainly won’t; and that’s his promised first priority.

            The GOP has done its best to gut publicly-funded education for a few decades now — the only ladder these folks have to improve their lot.

            The GOP has enthusiastically promoted tax cuts for the wealthy, “trickle down” economics (which has been conclusively disproved as being a help to people low on the economic scale), exporting jobs overseas, etc. All the things that have hurt the white working class. What does Trump promise to change any of that.

            Oh yeah, build a wall! Stop international trade. Round up undocumented workers into concentration camps (I guess that would provide some jobs for camp guards!).

            Trump has never mixed with working class people, has cheated them assiduously whenever he could, imported illegal immigrants to work his projects, put all his brand production overseas, and has strained a gut to be part of the social and economic elite his entire life. And now, suddenly, at age 70, he’s going to change his spots? Right …

            The white, middle-aged, male part of the population is “powerless”? What planet are you living on?

            If you are talking about economic power, they had a brief period with some of that. But then the GOP cynically convinced them to vote again their own economic best interests (and to quit unions or bust unions) using the 4-Gs: God, Guns, Gays, and Blacks.

      2. It is hard to see how this election can have restored anyone’s faith in the democratic process. It was a triumph for bullying dishonesty. Trump’s electoral strategy was masterfully implemented but it was based entirely on smearing, lying and shouting down his opponents at every stage of the process. At no point did he put forward any credible or coherent policy arguments, just rabble-rousing slogans. The rabble-rousing worked and he swept all before him and now the World awaits nervously to see how much damage he will do.
        If any of that is what you would consider an advertisement for the democratic process then you have very different values to me.

    2. I think David’s point is that since Jerry’s confidence in a Clinton victory was mistaken, he was therefore also mistaken in his belief that pre-election criticism of Clinton would not work in Trump’s favor.

  3. Assigning blame is now Trump’s job, since the election was clearly rigged against him.

    If people are so easily dissuaded by a public intellectual who bet money that Hillary would win, while advertising his unambiguous (yet measured) support of her, there is no hope for the future of critical thinking.

    1. Given that quite a lot more people voted for Hillary Clinton than for Donald Trump, I’d say that the election was rigged (by the Founding Fathers) but not against Trump.

      1. “Dope slap” is pretty well established as metaphor, I think — and metaphorical violence is (if H. Rap Brown will forgive me) as American as cherry pie.

  4. Well, he got this one right: “your blog reaches thousands of potential voters, and I think you have boasted on your blog of the # of your followers – you ARE an opinion-maker.”

      1. I don’t understand, Coel. Sedgequeen* (and David) is not saying that all of Jerry’s readers are potential voters. Certainly a significant portion are, though.

        *(and David)

          1. Oh, *that* one. I think PCC is too dejected right now to even make a pro forma squawk about that.


          2. It would look rather odd if he did squawk: “Don’t tell me what I can or can’t say — and stop calling it a blog!”

    1. I’d bet money that that most of the people who read Jerry’s web site were never going to vote Trump anyway.

  5. I do think we all were misled & mistaken about Tr-mp’s popularity in the polls. And I think something needs to be done to prevent more harm. Jerry is not to blame for our population-level conundrum, though. He accurately named some of the negative feeling towards Hillary, which was ignored by many of us who wanted her elected over the terrible alternative.

    I will protest if that helps our plight. I’ll defend minorities until I’m too faint to type. And I want us to have public deliberation that involves many sectors of thought–not just politicians but people from all walks of life. We have to break out of silos. I’m in science silo. And an atheist silo. We need a verified forum for conversation. Not debate. Not at the point. Conversation and listening.

    I remain deeply saddened but I’m also hopeful that we can learn and come out better as a country and a world. We have to shift our understanding of what it means to survive, though. We need different strategies.

    1. You think we were mislead by the polls? In what way?

      I think pretty much everyone had some amount of confirmation bias, leading to a higher amount of confidence than was warranted by the analysis. But I don’t think we can blame the pollsters, or their numbers, for that.

      1. Some folks may have been misled into staying home by individual polls showing that certain states, such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, were supposedly safely blue.

        That’s a shame, but it’s hard to work up any concern for would-be voters who have such little respect for the exercise of their franchise that a poor excuse like that would keep them away from the voting booth.

        1. I expect you’re right, but I find that personally crazy. Even if I were supremely confident (or uncaring) about the presidential race, there were 10 other ‘things’ on my ballot, including State Constitution amendments and over $200 million in spending requests. And I doubt my state and local ballot was all that exceptional; all State ballots probably had lots of other stuff on them.

          Being “mislead” into not voting because you think your Presidential vote doesn’t count is sort of like being “mislead” into not exercising because someone told you it won’t reduce your chance of getting cancer. True or not, what about all the other good reasons to do it?

        2. Heard on the radio the other day that the actual number of voters favoring Trump over Hillary in MI, WI, and PA combined would not have been enough to fill The Big House (U of M football stadium).

          (Though that STILL wouldn’t have mattered if the US was really a one person/one vote country!!!)

          (Also, thanks for sticking up for the correct past tense of “lead,” something I fear we’re going to lose eventually.)

  6. The only people at fault for Hilary Clinton’s loss are the Democratic Party, they should’ve nominated her 8 years ago instead of Barack Obama. She’s yesterday’s candidate and she’s history now.
    It’s only politics and Trump’ll be out on his erky in four years, if the democrats can get over themselves and choose someone credible.

    1. The only people at fault for Hilary Clinton’s loss are all the people who didn’t vote for her. You, perhaps? Take some responsibility, people.

    2. The only people at fault for Hilary Clinton’s loss are the Democratic Party, they should’ve nominated her 8 years ago instead of Barack Obama

      So they could have lost the election 8 years ago and had another Republican president build on Bush’s legacy?

        1. Sure, McCain advocated a bellicose foreign policy. But next to Trump, he looks like a von Metternich-style statesman.

        1. She did lose eight years ago. Did people suddenly lose their memory here? Obama beat Hillary in the Democratic primary in 2008. It wasn’t like he was handed the DNC crown while poor Hillary watched on helpless and shut out of the process. She ran a campaign for president in 2008. She spent lots of money. She participated in several debates. She was, in fact, the early favorite to win. But she failed to win the votes sufficient to get the nomination.

          There’s an additional layer of irony here. We have (some) Bernie supporters bitterly complaining that the DNC primary process isn’t democratic enough (and that the unfair thumb on the scales in Hillary’s favor cost the Dems the Presidency). Meanwhile, we now have people complaining that Hillary “didn’t get to run” in 2008? Huh? If her 2008 chance seems unfair to you, that kind of implies you think the DNC should’ve pushed the thumb down on the scales even more in her favor. I don’t see how that would’ve been at all helpful, either in 2008 or in 2016.

  7. I admit I have felt some resentment towards several blogs and political sites I frequent for getting their election predictions so damn wrong. But this is ridiculous.

  8. Every time you criticized HRC, you depressed turnout among Democratic voters – which was an in-kind donation to Trump.

    In reality, voter turnout wasn’t way down from 2012. The numbers are still coming in (which means turnout estimates will continue to rise as the data gets more complete), but nationally, it was 58.1% (and rising) compared to last Presidential election’s 58.6%. Locally, from 538’s map it looks like the only place that meets both criteria of (a) significantly lower turnout and (b) a swing state was Wisconsin. And IIRC Wisconsin’s conservative governor instituted voter ID laws over the last few years, which explains that phenomenon MUCH better than blaming it on JAC.

    Overconfidence in HRC and confirmation bias with opinion polls were a HUUUGE gift to the Trump campaign. You contributed to this.

    I think pretty much everyone had that confirmation bias. Even Trump supporters were surprised at his win, which indicates they held the same bias. I doubt JAC’s overconfidence was a bigger influence on voters than their own overconfidence.


    In any event, I find it hugely ironic that some Dems (like JAC’s critic) are responding to this loss by telling dissenting Democrats they need to just get on board and not voice their problems. What do you think lost the support of blue collar Midwesterners in the first place?

    1. Exactly. It’s everyone’s fault, but those who vote for Trump. Or how about all the people who didn’t vote at all?

    2. Exactly. It’s everyone’s fault, but those who vote for Trump. Or how about all the people who didn’t vote at all?

    3. Well, that’s true of course; but the reason Trump won is because the democrats did not show up and vote.

      Year Dem Popular Dem %
      2000 51009810 48%
      2004 59027115 48%
      2008 69499428 53%
      2012 65918507 51%
      2016 60007707 48%

      If 69.5 million had voted for HRC, she would have won. If even 66 million had done sow, she would have won.

      Year GOP Popular GOP %
      2000 50462412 48%
      2004 62039572 51%
      2008 59950323 46%
      2012 60934407 47%
      2016 59736883 47%

      Click through to get the correct numbers for 2004:

      1. Ain’t it scary that there is only 50% turnout?! Fifty percent decide for the entire population. Wow!! Disheartening.

        1. And remember, Hillary got the majority of that 50% so Trump won with only something like 23% of the potential vote.

      2. I love the graph, thank you!
        But one thing worth noting is that the numbers for the present year are not yet the final totals. They will increase a bit… Hillary’s total was over 62 million last time I looked.
        Whereas I believe the previous years probably include all the late votes. So that might skew the numbers a bit.

        1. To follow up my own post: it is worth pointing out that according to those numbers, Hillary got more votes than any Republican candidate ever…

          1. And Trump got more than any Democrat in history, other than Obama. So what? In a country where the population is constantly increasing, such ‘gross number’ comparisons are meaningless. I’ll bet you a 2017 movie out-box-offices every movie ever made in history, too. For the same reason.

            And while I don’t like Trump and didn’t vote for him, I think his response to the popular vote question is spot on: if the US had used a popular vote mechanism for this election, he would’ve campaigned differently. So would Hillary. So assuming he would’ve lost under such a system simply because he didn’t win the popular vote under the current system is a mistake. He might have (lost), sure. But the current tally of votes is not any sort of strong clear argument that he would have.

          2. Actually Trump got less votes than Obama in both 2012 and 2008, and Hillary in 2016, even though the population might be ‘constantly increasing’.

            However, I was thinking of the raw vote total as mostly being an answer to the people who didn’t like Hillary as a candidate or complained that she didn’t excite the base enough.

            Of course, I don’t know of any constitutional reason why the Electoral College can’t go with the popular vote. 😉

  9. While I can empathize with David’s anguish at the outcome of this election, he is way off base assigning any blame for the outcome to Jerry. I note that none of his points claims that Jerry got his facts wrong. Jerry’s only fault, according to David, is having opinions and expressing them. Expecting someone to self-censor him or her self is to begin to normalize censorship. This is as bad as any of the odious things we fear Trump may do.

    1. O, quite ! +1

      And for having pre – election opinions and for my likewise expressing them then, I have been nearly literally made, in a size medium, to don thus and to self – flagellate with as many of these as I could be bound up: … …

      O, we are soooo .not. to have nor to express any slightly untoward (read that: “not the very same as my own”) opinions. Just ask any prelate !

      And for sure, one such as M Luther and his catechismal “THIS is most CERTAINLY TRUE” – ism !


  10. for what it’s worth, Malcolm Gladwell thinks trump will be in jail within a year. Hyperbole probably, but there are legal charges against him that will keep him very busy with lawyers according to Gladwell. We can hope. And we can hope that the FBI doesn’t jail all the lawyers
    The opinions, ideas, comments, offered by Prof Coyne in this most wonderful WEIT are always stimulating, provocative, worthwhile and do not deserve to be savaged by those with small,narrow, self-indulgent, foolish
    “minds”. Discussion, reasoned disagreement, sure. I am grateful for his fine ability and desire to share his thoughts with us.

  11. re “Quick, where’s my hairshirt & metal cilice?” = wh o o o oa ! I am going to remember this statement.

    Untold are the numbers of times at when this ‘ne will be my response. To the muck flung me. Untold are the numbers of persons believing that I am in immediate and deep and their pressuring need of my mortification, my humility (read that: humiliation) and my penance – payments !

    Thank you, PCC(E); and the only “advice” this ascetic (n o t !) has for you is IGNORANCE. As is “IGNORE ’em all.” .I E A.

    As Ms Mapes wrote in pencil upon her pad. Afore, some time a bit back, CBS’s “review” – of – her – panel of “TRUTH” – men: “.F E A. FEA. FEA. FEA.”

    (Only, though, of what I have read of your pad here, you are too kind. And have not and, likely, will not be writing that one — FEA — down here !)


  12. I’m not going to in hindsight criticize you, I did it to a degree with foresight, but I really do take issue with this “This is only one of several specimens I’ve gotten from butthurt liberals.”
    Yes butthurt liberals, many of whom’s lives livelihoods, and civil right are at risk. It’s easy to characterize their reaction as butthurt when firmly ensconced in your well-to-do, white, male, cisgendered tower. It’s not butthurt that’s motivating them, it’s fear, and empathy for the those in danger.

    1. I wanted to add that perhaps I’m being oversensitive, but over the past week I’ve been exposed to a horde of my fellow anti-regressives, particularly on youtube, who I thought were reasonable liberals, having a field day mocking, and laughing at the the understandably fearful reaction to Trump’s election by SJWs.

      1. I was looking for a place to drop this, and it might has well be here.

        Except for some details like the eyebrow raising naming of the chair of Breitbart news in his cabinet, how different is the Donald’s team from any of our recent republican presidential teams? We got white males who are far right conservatives, creationists, & global warning deniers. They are being put into positions to role back social programs, drill drill drill, and ‘get tuff of China’. Yep, Pretty much the same as before.

        8 years of Obama has made us not used to this.

        1. His kids? Trying to get them the highest level of security clearance while they run his businesses in secret?

          Anyone with national security experience is running away.

          As they say… what could go wrong?

        2. I’d say the difference is that the progress we have made is in danger. During R administrations in the past, Obergefell wasn’t in danger of being overturned because it hasn’t happened yet. But now it is. Same for other examples of progress.

        3. Well, let’s see…

          1. He’s not going to wall off his money in a blind trust. That’s different from every GOP and Democratic president in the recent past, probably going back to at least Reagan.

          2. He’s started talking to other world leaders without getting any briefings from our intelligence corps, state department, or defense department first about the interests and goals of those countries. That’s different from every other GOP and Democratic president in the past.

          3. He’s taken the advisory responsibilities typically given to the President’s most trusted advisor, and split them amongst two polar opposite people. That’s different from every other GOP and Democratic president in the past.

          4. He’s tried to get his children and in-laws TS/SCI clearances. And he’s named them formal (but unpaid) advisors. That’s different from any other President. Heck, just think of the Bushes. Bush I had children who were State Governors of two of the largest states of the union – which, on paper at least, made them very well qualified to be advisors – but he didn’t do that. Bush II had a brother who was a state governor, but again, didn’t do that. You might pooh-pooh it as no big deal, but nepotism of this level is really, really unusual.

          And those things have occurred in the first week since the election. We have 2 months to go before even the inauguration. So yes, I think this is shaping up to be an administration that will act very differently than any GOP administration we’ve seen in the recent past.

          1. “4. He’s tried to get his children and in-laws TS/SCI clearances. And he’s named them formal (but unpaid) advisors.”

            Could be a symptom that, unlike previous Pres’s, he doesn’t know that many people in the political scene and therefore his choice is limited. So he goes with the people he knows.

            I’m not sure if it’s a big deal or not.

            Of course that means his advisors are equally inexperienced politically.


    2. “fear, and empathy for the those in danger”

      Me too, despite the fact that I am protected from almost all this by just the sort of “tower” (or fortress) you describe.

      I am sincerely afraid for our future, out civil society, our democracy, our freedoms. And in particular, I am afraid for my fellow citizens (and non-citizens) who are in the gunsights of the Trump people.

      1. “Me too, despite the fact that I am protected from almost all this by just the sort of “tower” (or fortress) you describe.”

        I’m one of the no so well-to-do, who at 57, and already in poor health, will not be able to afford health care when Obamacare is repealed. In no possible world could my feelings about that be characterized as “butthurt”, I’m butthurt for when someone takes my last cookie, or doesn’t refill the toilet paper dispenser.

        1. Or when someone actually hurts your butt and you can’t get medical care because Trump took it away!

          I really hope that Trump finds it in his best interest to keep Obamacare intact, however he’s surrounded himself with people who feel differently. What a mess!

        2. I’m so sorry to hear that, Mike!

          At least that’s one area in which the SCOTUS isn’t so important. We can hope (dream?) that there’s a huge backlash against DT in four years and renewed demand for healthcare reform.

        3. Mike and jblilie, I have to tell you I was put off by the “butthurt”comment made here too. It is a sting for me and my tween who has looked at this site now and then. But, No matter how painful our butts are or will be, I have a thick skin and can take the name calling as I know you both can.

    3. Well said. The only thing of true importance that I’m likely to lose under Trump is my ability to marry my partner. And while that would be devastating, I’m more concerned for my more marginalized fellow citizens, who stand to lose so much more, including access to healthcare. I wish PCC would express a bit more understanding regarding our very real fears.

      1. The immediate danger seems to be coming from people who feel empowered to beat on marginalized groups: gays, visible minorities.

          1. In Toronto, there have been alt-right posters speaking to “white people” and there have been lots of incidents of anti-semitic graffiti and racist graffiti.

            I’m sure it isn’t going to be easy for women either but maybe not as bad as for everyone else that isn’t a white male.

          2. I stand with you and hope that we all realize that the minute one of us are at rusk, all of us are by default. We have to understand that just because one of us is in danger does not mean we are safe. Not as bad is not good. We can not settle just because we are women. We can not.

      2. I am cautiously optimistic that same-sex marriage is on solid ground.

        the SCOTUS has very little history of taking away rights once they have been granted. My fingers are crossed (so to speak).

        1. The Court has no authority to grant rights. The right existed all along, the Court only corrected past injustice by recognizing the right.

    4. David is male, almost certainly cisgendered, and more than likely to be white. And if he is motivated by empathy to others who he thinks are in danger, I find that he must express his empathy in more constructive ways.

      1. “I find that he must express his empathy in more constructive ways.”

        I agree, but I don’t see how that has anything to do with my opinion that it’s not particularly empathetic to refer to people who are motivated by empathy, and understandable fear for themselves, and others as “butthurt”.

          1. 1) Statistics. An American is more likely to be white than any other race. And, of course, the likelihood to be cisgendered is well over 90%.
            2) When belonging to a particular group is relevant to what one says, it is usually declared.

          2. Whites, while no longer a majority, are the most numerous group in the US population. Cisgendered people are an overwhelming majority.
            Or, if we are “discussing” at this level, maybe I should chew my words and admit that a person can be named David and still be female.

    5. It’s easy to characterize their reaction as butthurt when firmly ensconced in your well-to-do, white, male, cisgendered tower.

      You have any evidence that ‘David’ is poor, black, female and/or transgendered and not some spoiled brat no less well-to-do, white, male and cisgendered than Jerry?

      Have you learnt nothing from last week?

      1. “David’ is poor, black, female and/or transgendered and not some spoiled brat no less well-to-do, white, male and cisgendered than Jerry?”
        I suspect you completely missed my point Speaker To Animals. Whether, or not Dave is any of those things is irrelevant to it.

        1. I suspect you completely missed my point Speaker To Animals. Whether, or not Dave is any of those things is irrelevant to it.

          Much like Jerry then – except Jerry didn’t play the identity card.

  13. I may not agree with every thing you say, but in my book you’re still one of the good guys.
    Live Long and Prosper Dr. Coyne.

  14. There’s plenty of blame to go around. This is the culmination of a process that began decades ago when the Republican Party put their money on the “Government IS the problem” square and proceeded to make sure it was. Democrats went along with this nonsense and abandoned the working-person economic foundation that the New Deal was based on. Dems gave us the DLC. With luck, Hillary is the end of the DLC era.

    In a generation or two maybe things will be somewhat corrected. But I’ll be dead and Florida will be deep underwater.

    1. “But I’ll be dead and Florida will be deep underwater.”

      … and only one of those things will be an improvement. 😉

      (with apologies to any Floridians here)

        1. I was being a bit obscurely snarky about Florida, in view of the destabilising role it has been known to play in elections. I suppose its submergence could be characterised as divine retribution.



          1. That’s the kind of thing that makes us “Florida proud.”

            Tilt the nation and give it a shake, all the scammers and dreamers and crazies wind up down here.

  15. Yes, Professor Coyne is an opinion maker. To be most effective he can’t dispense with his perceptiveness, honesty, and integrity and present a rosy, flattering picture of Hillary Clinton, or even remain silent about her flaws. Really, who would be swayed by someone either so uninformed or so disingenuous not to acknowledge what is in plain sight? Professor Coyne’s forthrightness only makes his case against Trump more credible and harder to dismiss.

        1. And I voted! So did my wife. I always vote.

          But that aside, Leigh’s question is spot-on.

          I hope that Trump himself will be a powerful motivator for Dems. the next time around.

          1. I expect Trump to be a disaster (and, thus, a motivation for the entire electorate).

            I’m making it even-money right now that, sometime in the next four years, Trump’s job-approval rating will fall below Richard Nixon’s record low of 24%.

          2. Me too. I mean, shit, if the Bush Jr administration didn’t significantly shift the scales, which it didn’t, what will? I predict that about the same percentage of the population will allow themselves to be conditioned by confirmation bias, wishful thinking and well aimed deliberate propaganda to believe that any bad things that happen because of a Trump White House are somehow the fault of Democrats / liberals. Just like always.

            Shit, plenty of people these days believe that our recent great recession occurred on Obama’s watch. And that was less than 10 years ago and during the information age where it is all a matter of easily-accessed-by-anyone record. That’s what has to be dealt with. Reality plays no significant role in too many peoples’ belief assessment process. How do we fix that?

          3. Or refuse to recognize it.

            Trump pulled the big con here.

            America is in terrible shape? By what measure? Where is this yuge, untapped source of economic growth and opportunity he is set to tap?

            But, as always, you can show people all the data you want; and they still plug their ears and cover their eyes.

            Are you better off now than you were in Q4 2008, the end of the W Disaster? There’s no one in the US (I’d guess) who can’t answer that yes.

            But, doesn’t matter: Gays, God, Guns, Blacks, and Browns (and now Muslims).

            But I’ll circle back to Leigh’s point: Why didn’t Dem.s show up? We did this to ourselves.

          4. Dubya left office with an approval rating (25%) barely above Nixonian depths — and he fell from a post-9/11 stratosphere that Trump will never reach.

            Trump has his hardcore supporters — the ones who would cheer if he shot someone on Fifth Ave (at least as long as the vic was brown) — and they’ll be the 20-something percent giving him their approval no matter what. I don’t think the rest of the American populace will remain so willfully ignorant.

            But as I said, I’m offering even-money odds on the proposition, if anyone’s interested. (Maybe Jerry can replenish the bankroll he dropped betting Hillary.) 🙂

        2. Diane, my state was not a problem either, but just because we had a good turnout this year, does not mean we will have a walk in 2018. We could easily loose everything we gained, like we did in 2014. If it is hard to get people to vote in Presidential years, it is much, much harder in the off years.

          I think I have been consistent in my comments here — we have a lot of hard work ahead of us. It’s time we started.

          I wasn’t taunting jbillie. It was more a call to arms. If you identify voter turnout as a problem, do something about it. I hope this clarifies my comment…and yes, people in my state are still working – so am I.

          1. I should qualify — I’m a pacifist. I’m non-violent. I had the privilege of living in a Quaker community when I was young. I believe we work best when we use our voice and our vote.

  16. Don’t worry the exact same thing happend to Bill Burr and probably many others as well. Everybody get’s blamed now. I think this might even be a troll.

  17. If I may sound one small (local, specific) note of optimism: The Ramsey County (Minnesota) Attorney, John Choi, announced a little over an hour ago that he will charge the police officer, that shot local resident Philando Castile, with manslaughter (criminal charge) in the case.

    After hearing him [Choi] describe the events (including high quality dash cam video that will eventually be released, after the trial, and another officer standing at the passenger front window during the incident), it seems like this is a correct judgment on Choi’s part.

    I give the police (who face death and injury in our places) the benefit of the doubt, generally; but this case seems clear.

    1. I don’t think it’s clear at all, without seeing the officer’s dash cam video. If you go strictly by the officer’s testimony, then it was a tragic but justifiable shooting. The officer stated that the victim produced a handgun, which will 99 times out of 100 get you shot during a traffic stop, permit or not. The question then becomes whether the prosecutor pressed charges because of political expediency or whether he saw definitive evidence in the video that contradicts the officer’s testimony.

      So much anti-cop rhetoric is going around currently and too many people are claiming that the police are shooting innocent people unjustifiably, when later it turns out the shooting was fully justifiable. Juries are either anti cop or cynical about the charges. Remember, it only takes one juror to support the cop’s defense and you get a hung jury, as in Ohio and Albuquerque.

      If I had to lay money on it, I’d say the cop walks…although he will most likely be unemployed and broke.

      1. The anti cop rhetoric is one reason the Democrats lost the election, by the way. I really believe that most liberals will never understand this.

        1. “The anti cop rhetoric is one reason the Democrats lost the election, by the way. I really believe that most liberals will never understand this.”

          Given that the difference was 107,000 votes in 3 swing states almost anything could have made a difference. That’s why I don’t think playing the blame game after the fact is useful. What we need to do now is figure out what major changes we need to make 2, or 4 years from now, but I don’t think hugging a cop is one of them.

          1. Hillary could have got that 107,000 and many more, had she played her cards right.

            Bill Clinton stated (and I mostly agree), that Hillary’s campaign staff completely ignored his advice to focus on the economy in the Midwest. These people are hurting economically and have been totally ignored by Democrats. Destroying manufacturing in this country may have been the right thing to do (I don’t agree), but you have to replace it with something else in the affected areas. More thought was put into stabilizing the economy of Mideast than that of the Midwest. It backfired. Now we have Trump.

            Most people in this country (both Dems and Repubs) support law and order and also the military. When you attack either, you will not fare well. Many people on this site don’t get that. They (and the elite of the Democratic Party) think that people should feel the way they do about the police, that criminals are victims and the police are brutal morons. They’re wrong and people don’t think that. Most Americans of both parties support gun rights also. The Democrats don’t care. They call law abiding gun owners “gun nuts” or “whackos”. White males are “uneducated” “deplorable” “racist”. Do you really think these people will vote for a Democrat any time soon? I don’t.

          2. Do you really think most Americans support gun rights? I have my doubts, but it really shouldn’t matter because the Constitution protects rights from majority opinion. Just like privacy rights, abortion rights, same sex marriage, gay rights, women’s rights, and the right to wear different colored socks. I wish people would get hopping mad when any liberty is threatened by either government or the majority, not just the ones they approve of.

          3. “the Constitution protects rights from majority opinion. Just like privacy rights, abortion rights, same sex marriage, …”

            I find this blind faith in the Constitution a little bit naive. I’ll bet it doesn’t mention abortion anywhere – if it protects abortion rights, that’s due to an *interpretation* of the wording. And what can be interpreted one way can be re-interpreted another.

            Suppose one day the Supremes were to interpret ‘right to bear arms’ as referring strictly and only to the types of arms that were current at the time the clause was written. IANAL but that would not in any way violate the Constitution – but it certainly wouldn’t make the NRA happy. Doubtless all the rest of the constitutional ‘rights’ are equally subject to interpretation.

            In exactly the same way as it took Moses five minutes* to write ‘Thou shalt not kill’ and people started dreaming up exceptions and ‘interpretations’ of it five minutes later and have been doing it ever since…

            * he was a slow writer

          4. I don’t have “blind faith” in the constitution – I would say a deep understanding and respect for it. I’m well aware that Justices won’t always see things the way I do, it has happened before and no doubt will again.

            I can only try to persuade others to adopt my viewpoint. Rights don’t have to be spelled out explicitly – the rights came first, then the constitution to secure those rights and limit the majority (or a minority) from trespassing on them.

          5. My point was that, as soon as interpretation is required (which is virtually inevitable with time), any written law becomes subject to the intentions of those doing the interpreting and (my cynical streak says) can be ‘interpreted’ to mean almost anything they like.

            I also don’t think there’s any such thing as an absolute ‘right’ – it’s always subject to the environment and – where it clashes with other ‘rights’ – compromise.


          6. Point well taken. I’m trying to express a theory of interpretation, which I believe is well supported by the Declaration, Constitution, Federalist Papers, other writings of the founders, and several supreme Court decisions. That theory is that rights are paramount. Unless something is explicitly forbidden, the sovereign citizen retains that right. For something to be forbidden, there has to be a damn good reason, and an even better one than that if it encroaches on an individual’s space, widely understood. I know this won’t rule out all interpretative disagreements and we can’t invent some algorithm to crank out the right answer. But as a general theory, I think people of good will have a lot less friction among them if they accept it. In my view, the major problems come when some faction thinks it knows best how other people should live their lives and try to take that freedom away, usually for the perceived best interest of the sheep under their care. But we are not sheep or children, and should be left alone to the maximum extent possible. If you look at all the rights that have been belatedly recognized since the founding, they all shine through within this interpretive scheme.

          7. I think that is easier to maintain in the middle of Montana than in the middle of Chicago. My right to express myself freely may conflict with your right to peace and quiet. The closer together people are, the more their rights bump up against each other and the more their interests intersect.

            I have much sympathy for being ‘left alone to the maximum extent possible’, but in cities that extent is, sadly, not very great.


          8. There are a few strands running through this thread on constitutional rights that could use a bit of explication.

            First, there are some rights guaranteed by the Constitution that are set out expressly and reasonably unambiguously in its text — the right to a jury trial in criminal cases, and the right to compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses, to name two.

            Next, there are other constitutional rights that are express but ambiguous as to their application — the rights to “due process” and “equal protection,” the right to be free from “cruel and unusual punishment,” and the right “to bear arms,” for example.

            Third, there are still yet other rights that are not set out explicitly in the Constitution’s text, but that SCOTUS has determined are implicit in the rights that are — rights that, as Justice Douglas famously wrote, emanate from the “penumbra” of our enumerated constitutional rights. The right to privacy, the right to travel, the right to marry, and the right to associate privately are all included in this category.

            Fourth, the extent to which any particular constitutional right is subject to judicial re-interpretation — and, thus, may be impacted by changes in the Supreme Court’s composition — depends, in large measure, upon which of these categories that right falls into.

            Finally, it should be borne in mind — though it too often is not — that the question whether a right is guaranteed by the Constitution is separate from the question whether recognition of that right is wise as a matter of policy. One can, for example, be a supporter of women’s reproductive rights without agreeing that a right to an abortion is guaranteed by the Constitution, or be a supporter of gun rights without agreeing that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to individual gun ownership. This is far too frequently overlooked in arguments concerning “our rights,” since people on all sides of an issue are wont to read into the Constitution their personal opinions on policy.

          9. I can go along with a lot of what you say, but I disagree with Douglas’s “penumbra” explanation of where rights come from, unless you stipulate that the Constitution casts a particularly broad shadow, blotting out all but the most explicit daylight.

            Whether “recognizing a right is wise social policy” is probably the root of our disagreement. I think Justices must recognize the right whether they think it is wise social policy or not. Their job is to determine what the law requires, not specify social policy. It is particularly dangerous for them to usurp this power. Do you disagree?

          10. “Whether “recognizing a right is wise social policy” is probably the root of our disagreement. I think Justices must recognize the right whether they think it is wise social policy or not. Their job is to determine what the law requires, not specify social policy. It is particularly dangerous for them to usurp this power. Do you disagree?”

            Yes, I do disagree, on two counts.

            First, your argument presumes that the ‘rights’ in the Constitution are specified precisely and unambiguously. But the Constitution is written in words, and words commonly not only have numerous shades of meaning, but their meanings change subtly over time and with circumstances. So the Supremes have to interpret what the original writers meant, and as soon as you start doing that, uncertainty creeps in. That, I think, is a fact of the Universe and cannot be avoided.

            Secondly, the original writers were neither infallible nor prescient. What they wrote was their best effort in the circumstances they wrote it in**. I think the Supremes *should* reinterpret the Constitution to suit present times, or what use are they? (And otherwise the Constitution increasingly ceases to be relevant).

            (**In fact they were faced with the universal dilemma of writers of regulations: If you make them precise and specific they rapidly become outdated and irrelevant; if you make them general enough to resist that, they are vague enough to be susceptible to a wide variety of interpretations.)


          11. Infinite,
            My argument most definitely does not presume the rights in the constitution are specified precisely and unambiguously. The exact opposite, in fact. We have many rights that are not specified at all. I explained this above in this same thread (Posted November 17, 2016 at 2:55 am ).

            And yes the framers were not infallible, but they were quite prescient. They included a means to modify the document, which has been used several times over the years.

            No one will dispute interpretation is difficult. But a correct theory of interpretation will help quite a lot, again as explained above. We rely to a great extent on the integrity of the Justices. The best ones will scrupulously follow the written law. Without that we are lost.

            What would be an example where reinterpretation is needed to suit present times?

          12. (This thread is getting a bit old and I’m not looking to extend it, so I’ll be brief)

            The ‘rights’ that aren’t specified in the Constitution – surely those are by their nature open to differing opinions. How could the Supremes ‘follow the written law’ on them?

            Reinterpretation to suit present times? Well, I would argue, the definition of ‘arms’, for a start. I realise you may disagree.

            (I think our positions are clear by now so, I think, I’ll leave this here).


          13. “… Justices must recognize the right whether they think it is wise social policy or not. Their job is to determine what the law requires, not specify social policy.”

            Oh, I agree, Carl; that’s a point I was trying to make. (And it works both ways, of course: Justices should not recognize a right not comprehended by the Constitution, even if they think it would be wise policy. No?)

            So you agree that if the Second Amendment was meant to establish only a collective right to gun ownership, it would constitute constitutional error to construe it to comprehend an individual right to bear arms, even if the Justices were convinced that that would make for sound policy?

          14. Yes, I agree Justices should not recognize a right because they think it wise social policy. That is absolutely a wrong reason.

            They should recognize a right because, the Constitution or constitutionally valid legislation does not proscribe it. So in your second amendment question, I say a right to individual gun ownership exists even if the second amendment is not there. It’s not a matter of social policy, good or bad. It’s a matter of recognizing a maximum amount of freedom. Our rights came first and existed before the Constitution, they are not granted by it. A right to self defense is fundamental, and so is owning and employing a reasonable means (a gun) to that end. On the other hand, barring individuals from owning say, rocket launchers, it could be argued, does not violate self defense rights. Nor does a requiring a not unduly burdensome background check to determine if someone has a criminal record.

          15. “A right to self defense is fundamental, and so is owning and employing a reasonable means (a gun) to that end”

            A right to feel safe from being shot is fundamental, so barring guns among the population at large is a reasonable means to that end. What supports this idea is that the number of gun shot victims in the US is much higher than that in countries barring uncontrolled gun ownership. It is just common sense. Remember the foreign student shot dead because he walked in error on someone’s property.

          16. The “right to feel safe” has never been a right anywhere. The idea is ridiculous on its face – a right to a particular state of consciousness. It’s up to you to achieve that on your own.

          17. About the right to feel safe:

            “It’s up to you to achieve that on your own.”

            Such as wearing a bullet proof vest?

          18. @Carl

            So a ‘right to self-defense’ is fundamental, but not a ‘right to feel safe’?

            And if the attacker has a bigger gun? I don’t see how anyone can guarantee a right to (successful) self-defense, with guns or not, since any attacker could be bigger, or better-armed.


          19. Infinite, of course you can’t be guaranteed a right to a successful self defense. That suffers, in common with a right to feel safe, the obstacle of impossibility. You can only make your best effort.

          20. “The “right to feel safe” has never been a right anywhere. The idea is ridiculous on its face – a right to a particular state of consciousness.”

            Wait. Upstream (?) you said:

            “They should recognize a right because, the Constitution or constitutionally valid legislation does not proscribe it.”

            These two ideas do not seem compatible to me.

          21. You have me there. I concede we do have a right to feel safe. But, like a right to be billionaires or run a three minute mile we shouldn’t expect the world to turn out that way.

      2. I am [convinced].

        I’m not sure where you live; but this was local and we got full coverage.

        I heard County Attorney Choi’s description of the events (which took into account the video of course). Locally, we mare probably getting much more detailed coverage than the rest of the US or national news. I listened to the entire press conference, live on radio.

        The Ramsey County Attorney’s office also hired more than one outside expert to review the evidence.

        One thing that may not be getting air at the national level: Mr. Choi described the testimony of a fellow police officer who was standing at the open passenger side front window watching the entire event. His testimony was: Castile never went for his gun (it was in the pocket on the right side: Where this cop was standing and looking in). And he was very surprised when the gunshots erupted; because he saw nothing to indicate that Castile was doing anything other than fully cooperating.

        The gun Castile had was in the 12-inch deep right-hand pocket of his shorts (and is was still there when they loaded him onto the gurney for the trip to the hospital). Castile had a permit to carry the gun. He also calmly informed the officer that he had the gun. Castile was buckled into his seatbelt the entire time.

        I generally give the police a big leeway in these situations*. But in this case, given the evidence described by Mr. Choi, I think manslaughter is exactly what happened. The cop effed-up big time.

        As Mr. Choi said: “No reasonable police officer would have used deadly force in this case.” And also: “Philando Castile did everything right.”

        Of course there’s no guarantee that a jury will see things the same as the prosecuting attorney does. There’s never a guarantee of that.

        On the other hand, in another local case, I listened to the County Attorney describe the evidence in the Jamar Clark case and I was convinced that it was a justified shooting.

        (* And I think the BLM movement destroys its credibility by lumping every shooting into one bucket and immediately and unchangingly calling every police shooting of a black man murder. As Sam Harris noted in one recent podcast, these incidents run the full gamut from: This cop should never have had a badge and gun to any sensible person would have used deadly force in this case.)

        1. This may indeed be an unjustified shooting, I haven’t seen all the evidence. I will say that perception is important in these situations. If the officer reasonably believed that the victim was going for a gun that he had stated he had, then case over. Generally, all it takes is that the officer tells the individual to keep his hands up or tells him “not to move”. Then the guy goes near his waistband. Game over.

          The problem, as I stated earlier, is that there is a feeling among some (including myself) that there is a movement to vilify the cops, even in cases where shootings are reasonable. If jurors feel this way, they’ll assume that this is just another case of the same and not vote to convict. I think currently it is harder to convict a cop than previously.

          1. I agree with your second paragraph and I am very concerned about it.

            As I noted, I think BLM is killing their own legitimacy by lumping all into one.

            I also think the Trump vote is a repudiation of the BLM movement and the recent lean towards assuming cops are “bad”.

            If you can access a podcast of Attorney Choi’s full press conference, please listen to it. I will look for a link. It was chilling.

          2. I completely agree with you about BLM encompassing questionable incidents under their umbrella. But there have been clear incidents (watch the vids!) that verify the negative way some cops treat minorities. (Not that we didn’t already know this, but the dash/body cams help prove it.) Good cops know their profession also attracts its share of bullies and those with axes to grind. I’ve had dealings with cops in which they were absolute heroes and I’ll be eternally grateful for them. I’ve also had a family member harassed repeatedly for no reason whatsoever.

            Mordacious, even black cops themselves are saying they face the same sort of suspicion when they’re off-duty and unknown to the cops who stop them. It doesn’t mean anyone’s decrying all cops when they bring instances of excess force and brutality, not to mention murder, into the light of day.

          3. “Then the guy goes near his waistband. Game over.”

            Or if the cop says the guy went near his waistband. What else would you expect him to say?

            In what other circumstances would a jury believe the killer in a criminal case?

            Sheesh. What a country. I cannot (in NZ) *imagine* having to be polite to a cop in case he shoots me. Polite in the hope he won’t give me a ticket, okay.


        1. Personal experience. All the male members (and a few female members) of my family are, or have been, cops. This includes myself many, many years ago. I guarantee you, that if you pull out a gun at a traffic stop (the cop will never ask you to do so), you will get shot. The other 1 time out of 100, is when a cop either goes against training or is diving for safety. It is an arbitrary number of course, it could be closer to 999 times out of 1000.

          Simple rules for staying alive during a traffic stop: Keep your hands where the cop can see them, don’t reach for anything unless the cop directs you to, if you have to argue with the cop, wait until the initial phase is over (you’ve showed the cop your id, etc). Don’t get overly agitated and (no matter what you feel about police brutality, the police state, guns, Nazis or Donald Trump) don’t get into a physical altercation with the cop. You will NEVER win. You’ll get your day in court, that’s how the system is set up. The cop may indeed be the most vile, corrupt asshole on the planet, but seeking justice on the side of the highway is a mistake.

          1. As a criminal defense lawyer, I understand the “rules of the road” for traffic stops (so to speak), and how vulnerable police officers can be in such circumstances.

            But I hope you comprehend how frustrating minority motorists — especially those who have been repeatedly subjected to pretextual stops for “driving while black” — find it to be under so much more than their fair share of such roadside pressure.

          2. “Simple rules for staying alive during a traffic stop: Keep your hands where the cop can see them, don’t reach for anything unless the cop directs you to, if you have to argue with the cop, wait until the initial phase is over (you’ve showed the cop your id, etc). Don’t get overly agitated and (no matter what you feel about police brutality, the police state, guns, Nazis or Donald Trump) don’t get into a physical altercation with the cop.”

            I fully agree. (And, as a white, male, middle-class professional, that’s what I was taught to do when I was young.)

            And I actually do do that, in full.

            Not only do I never argue with a cop (every time I’ve been pulled over, I’ve been guilty of whatever it was) but I agree with them: “yes, I would say you are correct, I’m sure I was going xx mph.” And I smile and am as agreeable as I can be.

            I think about it from the cop’s perspective: Imagine having to deal with assholes all day long, be lied to all day long, groused at, and on top of it, have to risk your life.

            So I am as nice as I can be.

          3. I think about it from the cop’s perspective: Imagine being an asshole all day long, being allowed to harrass innocent people, trying to scare them into driving infractions by following them around for no reason, lying about people’s guilt because you know the court in always side with you and on top of it, have to a one in a million chance of actually getting harmed.

          4. “Simple rules for staying alive during a traffic stop…”


            Simpler rule – drive anywhere in the world but the US or, possibly, Aleppo.

            (A rule I intend to follow conscientiously)


  18. David is obviously suffering from the same thing as most of the electorate – inability to see the forest through the trees. Case in point: everyone is freaking out about Trump. Why isn’t everyone freaking out that the Republicans control the house, senate and judiciary as well as the White House? The US President doesn’t actually have that much power when compared to other world leaders in their own respective power circles. It’s only when all houses align does a dangerous President become dangerous. Americans focused so much on a leader and forgot about the power base for the leader.

    1. Who says people aren’t? I see / hear talk of that pretty much everywhere. Yes, Trump is especially worrisome precisely because his party has the executive, the House, the Senate, and likely soon the Supreme Court. Many seem to be pinning their hopes on discord between Trump, an outsider and a wild card, and the rest of the Republican Party. We could only be so lucky.

  19. As counterintuitive as it felt in the face of the polls, I concluded in the week preceding the election that Trump would win. Before then there was no edge for me. Through lots of various research, I acquired some insights. The populace wanted change and wanted its promise presented in the style that most matches American popular culture: the hard sell, appreciation of business success/wealth, American exceptionalism, the bold, confident personality, etc.

    Narcissists are champs in reading what people want. When the narcissist gets what she wants, then comes the down-ward managing of expectations (what I saw on Trump’s face after his briefing by Obama, was boredom: he got his prize which is all he wanted). Through a very harsh lens, I see Trump winning as a matching up between a dysfunctional society and a dysfunctional individual. But something will give.

    As it has been discussed here, suffering will happened first before any improvement. But perhaps with America’s dysfunction personified in Trump, the country will succeed eventually at positive change, including embracing the perception of what America is now and what it needs to be and not what it was once was. America still has so much going for it; it just needs to slip out of the straightjacket of character distortion it has been wearing so it can exercise and strengthen its considerable limbs.

    For the wonderful people who live in America, please hang on. 🙂

    1. “As counterintuitive as it felt in the face of the polls, I concluded in the week preceding the election that Trump would win.”

      I don’t know that I had concluded Trump was going to win, but all along I viewed the 20% chance he could as I might if someone told me there was a 20% chance a tornado would hit my house on tuesday, so I reasonably I think, proceeded under the assumption he would.

    2. “. . . the country will succeed eventually at positive change . . .”

      Let’s not thrash ourselves too hard. The US has been making progress on positive changes. But yes, this is depressing and certainly seems like it has the potential to slow things down a bit.

  20. If your buddy David is right, somebody better contact the F.E.C. to work through the tax implications of your myriad “in-kind contributions” to the Donald’s campaign.

  21. Jerry did it exactly right. He wrote what he thought was correct at the time. The problem here is again the CTRL Left’s attitude of thought-policing. If not in this case, then in the next.

    It’s a mindset that demands total solidarity, in lockstep with their identitarian ideology and they are always most viscious with would-be allies, accused as gender traitors, or porch monkeys.

    Consistent also the total belief in authorities, who are beyond criticism, because that would help “the wrong side” in this holy war where they think they are “fighting the good fight” on the “right side of history”. I sometimes wonder which camp is the bigger fascist, the ALT Right, or the CTRL Left and then remember that actual Nazis drew from both ends, too.

    I hope they are now finally out of spoons, or in rage tears, or really can’t even anymore. Maybe they look for something “problematic” in their drawer for a change. Whatever it is, they should step to the side and leave the Democratic party to actual progressives, if it want to win any election.

    1. I’m writing with a UK perspective. You can make an argument that worthy progressive values have been the consensus for the last 40 years in the UK, and somewhat shorter in the USA. But a consensus can get too comfortable and the leading edge can propose or say things that are not sufficiently supported by the rest of the populace. You can *perhaps* tell when things have been stretched too far when you have extreme groups identified like Alt Right and Ctl Left *both* in existence at the same time.

      So protest votes, like Trump or Brexit, are not the end of the world, they are just a sharp readjustment to the ongoing consensus. Perhaps the progressive values will re-assert themselves, but with a little more humility and care for those left behind?

      1. I’m from Northern Europe, too. I agree in principle, but disagree on the situation right now. The framing is wrong:

        1) I dispute that CTRL Left are really Left, or progressive. In my view thy are a modern Third Way.
        2) I dispute that opposition to them has to do with reactionary or conservative attitude, which follows from 1.

        In my view, the Left candidate was Bernie Sanders, whereas Hillary Clinton was effectively a Republican already. The Democrats sent one watered-down Republican against another Republican candidate Trump, and lost.

        German knows the term “Klientelpolitik”. It means a style of politics designed to further special interests of a special group. Clinton’s and SJW “Left” are Klientelpolitik for special interests of minorities, further enhanced by identity politics which are the club membership card. Their interests aren’t left wingish, but it all takes places in a traditional, right wing context.

        You could design the same kind of politics and swap out silicon valley millionaires with more traditional industries, and instead of poor minorities take poor whites on board, and keep identity politics stuff of skin colours … wait a mintute! Isn’t this what Trump is doing?

        What this was was pitting different have-nots against one another, along the lines of identity, while the coroporate and capitalistic, military-industrial etc forces laugh and count the money. Left intellectuals like Chomsky pointed such things out many times.

  22. To reiterate what some others have already said, I read this site everyday and voted for Clinton even though my heart was with Johnson and Weld. Frankly, were I exposed to the condescension of this email writer on a daily basis I could have easily made the mistake of voting my heart.

  23. Jerry, I, for one, found your measured assessment of Clinton and the election refreshing and preferable to the breathless handwringing and ranting of [name of an otherwise admirable evolutionary biologist omitted].

  24. I expect that the vast majority of readers here (not just the commenters, the readers are left of center to begin with. I doubt that Jerry speaking his mind would have persuaded any of them to change their support from H to T in the last election.

    And c’mon, for every mild ‘I will vote for her, but…’ posting about Hillary put forth here, I think there was as much if not more blasting of Trump on these pages.

    1. “I think there was as much if not more blasting of Trump on these pages.”

      As I recall, (playing devils advocate here), PCC at one point said ‘Stop slamming Trump, I’m tired of it’ (or words to that effect) and consistently went after PuffHo and others for ‘demonising’ Trump. The blasting of Trump on these pages was by commenters.

      Now whether PuffHo’s demonising of Trump had any helpful effect or the contrary is obviousy arguable and not easy to establish. And the same can be said for PCC’s criticisms of Hilary. Personally I felt it was unhelpful to criticise Hilary and potentially offer ammunition to the Trump campaign, even if marginally. Holding ones nose and voting for Hilary is of no advantage if the nose-holding is so conspicuous as to persuade someone else to not-vote. To paraphrase a comment by Churchill – “If Hitler invaded Hell I would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons” (I seem to have very indirectly compared Trump to Adolf and Hilary to Stalin – does that count as a Godwin?)

      I know it sounds like being wise after the event but as Trump failed to fade away I started to feel horribly unsure that he would lose.


  25. Gotta love the calculated insouciance of “Hey.” Not. I see it not infrequently in e-mails from students, as in “Hey Dr. First-Initial-of-My-LastName.” Wish I could see what happens when they try that with an attending or chief resident during their clerkships.

    1. I hate “Hey” I know its hip but sounds rude and its an ignorant affectation of refusing to say the more polite “Dear …” on the false and lazy premise that “Dear …” is hierarchical and stuffy
      “Hey ….” followed by stupid comments

      1. I say “hey” a lot over text at work and when greeting my coworkers. I think it’s probably just more casual.

        1. And, in many cases — such as the email in this post and student emails that Barn owl describes — intentionally showing a lack of respect of deference.

          I can’t imagine addressing one of my professors as “Hey Dr. X”, unless we happened to be close friends. In which case I probably shouldn’t be taking credit classes from Dr. X.

  26. I think there is a tendency to want to blame allies for their failures rather than put the blame where it mostly belongs, with the opposition. Hilary lost for so many reasons. Complacency certainly paid a huge role, though. Many liberal voters stayed home because they were turned off from Hillary not merely because of legitimate criticism but as a result of decades of conservative smears and because of how the media disproportionately covered her vs. Trump.

    I think my main question for you is not your criticism of Hillary, some of which I agree with, but your confidence level that she would win given the narrow margins and unique circumstances of the election. That seemed odd to me.

  27. Reader David – Hijabs are a form of oppression. Maybe on some other planet they represent beauty or fashion statement, but not on this planet. Muslims created them to purposefully put women down…beneath men.

    Women might look beautiful in a hijab, that’s because they are beautiful. Hijab represents ignorance and prejudice and sexism. And the left lost its way on that front.

  28. Well you know Coyne really IS responsible. He convinced millions of Americans that they have no free will and their actual vote is determined so they closed their eyes while voting — makes no difference after all. Plus the thousands upon thousands of voters who sat at home reading cat posts rahter than voting. Oh, he is responsible for sure.

  29. May I respectfully point out that while David disagrees strongly with Jerry’s criticism of Clinton, as far as I can see he has done so without resorting to personal insults. So I have to say I’m disappointed that Jerry chose to respond by calling David “butthurt” and “neuronally challenged” — terms that would surely earn a demand for an apology and the threat of a ban if any commenter directed them at Jerry.

    1. +1 to Gregory

      ‘David’ put his case quite strongly – some points are arguable, primarily the amount of influence PCC’s pronouncements had, which is obviously impossible to establish with any accuracy – but I can’t see where he was rude or lacking in intelligence.


        1. You do not consider it rude to tell your host that he is at fault for Trump’s victory because he should have been ringing doorbells in Wisconsin or calling voters from his cell in Asia? Wow. If it is against the roolz to tell PCC he posts too many cat pix, surely this must be.

          1. He’s making a point. It’s a dreadful point, he’s completely wrong, his entire approach is silly, but he’s not being personally abusive.

          2. I find it amusing, and insulting, to castigate PCC for not traveling to Wisconsin to knock on doors when HRC did not deign to set foot in the state during her campaign.

    2. Yep, I violated my own dictum out of anger and I apologize. I’ve removed the offending terms. Howover, I don’t see “butthurt” as a nasty ad hominem crack; it refers to someone who’s been spanked on the butt.

      1. As you can see, it (your post, not the particular terms referred to) has certainly sparked a considerable and wide-ranging discussion. (And no, that’s not a euphemism for ‘brawl’, it’s been remarkably civil on the whole)


        1. “… it’s been remarkably civil on the whole”

          I disagree with this. I received a couple of the most offensive and unwarranted insults possible in my view.

          1. “I disagree with this. I received a couple of the most offensive and unwarranted insults possible in my view.”

            I didn’t see anything particularly offensive, or insulting, but I did see one instance where I can see why you felt offended, and insulted.

          2. When someone accuses me of condoning or enjoying reports of group bullying a child because of his race or appearance, and making that child’s life miserable, I find it very offensive.

          3. I did say ‘on the whole’, Carl, it’s not all about you, and the insult was probably not directly intended in that way.


          4. Sorry, sounded a bit snarky there. But I do think the comment you were offended by was, in fact, just pointing out that the event you saw some good facets to, also had bad side-effects, I don’t think it deliberately accused you of them. (Can’t find the comment now to check that)


  30. I cannot conceive of how Professor Coyne’s series of posts regarding Hillary did anything but hurt her. My thoughts at the time were that fence-sitters reading them would have justification for voting for Trump, a third party, or not voting at all. How many such people were actually influenced it is impossible to say. To the extent that there were many other similar posters throughout the county that at best gave Hillary a lukewarm endorsement, Trump may have garnered enough additional votes he would not otherwise have gotten in the closely contested swing states to win them.

    Trump has won only for a week, but already the future is ominous. His current actions were quite predictable before the election. He has appointed as a chief advisor Steven Bannon, the alt-right guru. It appears that his administration will be staffed with anti-science people. Trump’s authoritarianism will only grow greater. Under no circumstances should anyone think things will get better if Trump should somehow leave office and be replaced by Mike Pence. Most readers of this site should be deeply concerned that Pence is an extreme right-winger and an ardent religious fanatic. If he should become president, he will attempt to reverse many of the secular gains made during the Obama years. With Trump or Pence as president, I will be so bold as to predict that those people who did not work their hearts out for Hillary will rue that decision.

    1. +1

      Based on this article from Sept., I’m worried as I’m not sure who’s really in charge. Whose ass is now in a sling? Seeing Trump riding the waves of power with his children reminded me of the the movie The Firm, but now I’m not so sure who is really in charge. Trump might suddenly find himself in an uncomfortable alliance. He could well have unwittingly placed his family in harm’s way.

    2. I agree.

      Last week we were told that enthusiastic Clinton supporters who worked hard to get her elected are largely to blame for her defeat.

      Now we’re being told that unenthusiastic Clinton supporters who took every opportunity to criticize her could not possibly bear any responsibility for the outcome. I fail to see how these two claims can be reconciled.

      1. I can reconcile it for you. Both claims are false. That Clinton was a truly awful candidate is the main thing. Trump could not have beaten anyone else (and I’m not so sure that isn’t literally true).

        Personally, while I wanted Trump to lose, I can rejoice in other things: Neither Clinton, Sanders, Carson, nor Cruz will be the next president. A small consolation, to be sure, but it cheers me up.

          1. Wrong, I did vote. Why would you think otherwise? And so smugly?

            I also spent months arguing with three friends and finally convincing them that Trump was even worse than Clinton. They despise Clinton, as do I. Without that inside track, I would have gotten nowhere.

          2. I was thinking about this today. Is it better to have Trump than Sanders, Cruz, Carson and some other Republicans that ran? It may be. Trump is such a buffoon, that he may not be effective. Ted Cruz is a total lunatic that may have actually caused more harm if people supported him.

            In the end, it is what it is and we’re going to have to deal with the devil at the top of the heap. I’m sure we will get through the next 4 years, this country has survived worse.

          3. I’m suspicious of you – you sound too sane. I still think Trump is the worst of the lot, but there is an argument to be made.

            There were a couple promising items in the news today – Trump is barring any major aides from working as lobbyists for 5 years and Nikki Haley is being considered for Secretary of State.

          4. Haley is certainly intelligent, but she has practically zero experience related to being Secretary of State. I have to say though, that she’d be head and shoulders above most of the other candidates proposed so far…with the exception possibly of Bob Corker.

          5. I’m not absolutely positive the cabinet position mentioned was state, but I think it was. With little more seasoning, she’s a likely prospect for being the first woman President.

        1. Well maybe this’ll cheer you up further. A comment this evening from a gay friend in the red, central part of a [redacted state]:

          “My endocrinologist Dr K is a wonderful woman, I’ve been seeing her for 7+ years now. She’s Muslim American, born here and has two children 8 & 13 y/o. I asked how they were doing since the election and she hesitated then shared, “My son now hates school, he gets harassed and called names everyday. He asked her the other day “Where was I born?” She said “I told him “[the local} hospital why?” He said the kids at school keep asking him “When are you going back to where you belong?!” Your’e going to get kicked out of our country.” Please all my friends and relatives who are Trump supporters tell me this isn’t the country you envisioned?
          Trump’s not even in office yet I’m sadder than I can say for what’s coming for us minorities….”

          Think that’d be happening if Hillary had won?

          1. How utterly vile to make such an accusation. I have to conclude one the labels Professor Coyne applied to Dave must also apply to you if anything I wrote could be twisted into the charge you level at me.

          2. “I can rejoice in other things: Neither Clinton, Sanders, Carson, nor Cruz will be the next president.”

            That didn’t take much twisting.

          3. Seriously, I challenge you to explain how being glad none of those four individuals will be President, in any way can be interpreted as me not being totally disgusted with the abuse being laid on that boy. If it happened near me I would do more than write letters to put a stop to it.

            Obviously there is some unwarranted premise in your mind, or your reasoning is at fault getting to such a nasty conclusion.

          4. This is happening in Canada too now that Trump has won as even in countries outside the US, the bigots feel empowered and legitimized.

    3. Perhaps all of those folk who voted for Trump or didn’t vote at all because of something Jerry said could chime in on how influenced they were.

      Personally, I think that this is hogwash. If there was lack of enthusiasm for Hillary one must ask the question “Why was that the case?” Pointing at someone who wasn’t enthusiastic and saying “because you weren’t enthusiastic” doesn’t really make much sense, does it?

      The Democratic Party, my party, put forward a candidate because she was “inevitable” and didn’t bother to think about how uninspiring that was. In 2016 the electorate wasn’t all that interested in what felt like a 90’s re-run. Too much emphasis was placed on identity politics. These reasons, and others, are the place to look for why Hillary lost. Blaming Jerry is silly in the extreme.

      FWIW, I voted for Hillary after I voted for Bernie in the primary. But I wasn’t an enthusiastic voter. I just couldn’t envision that the country could survive a Trump presidency. I hope I was wrong.

      1. “Pointing at someone who wasn’t enthusiastic and saying “because you weren’t enthusiastic” doesn’t really make much sense, does it?”

        Why doesn’t it, we’re all influenced by what people we respect have to say, and as far as your previous question I doubt anyone who frequents this site voted for Trump because of what PCC had to say about Hillary, but I would bet that many people were less enthusiastic supporters as a result.

        I don’t even have a problem with criticisms of Hillary’s policies, my problem was the character assassination by innuendo many engaged in, that played into the right wings “crooked Hillary” narrative. There is, and never was any evidence that, because the Clinton foundation accepted charitable contributions from problematic sources, or she sold her time to speak to problematic groups, or said politically expedient things to certain groups in her speeches, that she had been bought by them. I think it was perhaps that narrative more than any other that lowered people’s enthusiasm for her, and caused them to stay home on election day.

        1. “Why doesn’t it”

          Because enthusiasm is earned. It is a currency that one doesn’t manufacture for strategic reasons. What you are asking for is false enthusiasm. “Lying for Hillary”, if you will.

          My lack of enthusiasm can not be attributed to PCC, or to any other nay-sayer. It was the product of watching my party for the last fifty years and being aware of the nature of the candidate they (we) produced.

          Your final paragraph seems unconnected with the previous one. We’ve had decades of right wing character assassination. No doubt about it. And anyone with any sense would conclude that perhaps a candidate with that unfair baggage would not be the best candidate. It makes no difference if the baggage is unfair as long as it remains baggage.

          Hillary, IMO, was the wrong candidate for the times. She was a steady-as-she-goes good manager of a system that a very large segment of the electorate has lost faith in.

          And confusing the lack of enthusiasm by Hillary voters like me (and PCC, presumably) with character assassins by right wingers is simply not right. (I don’t believe you actually intended that, but it derives from the juxtaposition of those two paragraphs.)

          1. “Because enthusiasm is earned. It is a currency that one doesn’t manufacture for strategic reasons.”

            Of course it’s earned, but it can be increased by other people’s enthusiasm, and decreased by other people lack thereof.

          2. Yes. But you can’t complain that the fault lies with those who weren’t enthusiastic. You’re asking people to exhibit false enthusiasm.

          3. “Yes. But you can’t complain that the fault lies with those who weren’t enthusiastic. You’re asking people to exhibit false enthusiasm.”

            Perhaps I wasn’t clear, or misspoke. My problem was never that he wasn’t enthusiastic it was that he was the opposite. He, and many others in the media who loudly expressed their lack of enthusiasm had a negative affect on the enthusiasm of others. That seems self evident.

          4. “What you are asking for is false enthusiasm. “Lying for Hillary”, if you will.”

            I meant to add what I was arguing at the time was essentially, unless you have something positive to say it’s best to say nothing. I never suggested he lie.

            “And confusing the lack of enthusiasm by Hillary voters like me (and PCC, presumably) with character assassins by right wingers is simply not right.”

            I would have had no problem with silence, it was the criticisms based unevidenced speculation, the repeated claims that the media was being unfairly critical of Trump, and the argument that continuing to bash him was overkill, which it clearly wasn’t.

        2. It seems a little presumptuous to tell someone they need to be more enthusiastic about a candidate. Seriously, why should he be expected to lie about his true opinions?

          If one of his main goals in life was influencing how his readers voted in the election, then that might be a reasonable criticism. If he is someone who highly values open and honest discussion then you are saying he should have sacrificed the principles he cares most about.

          1. “It seems a little presumptuous to tell someone they need to be more enthusiastic about a candidate. Seriously, why should he be expected to lie about his true opinions?”

            I’ve never tried to tell PCC how enthusiastic he should be, I’ve only explained why I thought he should be moreso. And he didn’t need to lie about his opinions to keep them to himself. That being said I’ll repeat I’m not here now to criticise him for what he did or didn’t say, I tried that when it mattered.

          2. I think it telling that you could not refute Coyne’s criticisms, but instead had to resort to trying to get him to just stop making them.

          3. “I think it telling that you could not refute Coyne’s criticisms, but instead had to resort to trying to get him to just stop making them.”

            Except I did, and you’re obviously clueless as to the refutations I made, but in addition to that I pointed out that I felt if was counterproductive, once the primaries were over, to continue to criticize her.

          4. “Counterproductive” is exactly what I said (politely) and what got me unFriended on FB and called a finger-pointer on this site. Water under the bridge…

          5. I’m with Mike on this one. Considering the barrage of accusations being flung by the Trump side, much of it blatantly untrue or exaggerated, considering also the awful possibility of a Trump win, PCC’s criticisms, no matter how well-founded, were not helpful.

            Just as Comey’s statements were, doubtless, 100% true but also not helpful. (I’m not saying the two were of equivalent effect).

            ‘Honesty’ does not necessarily demand, or absolve from criticism, injecting oneself into a debate, especially when the facts are almost certainly liable to be misinterpreted.

            It’s entirely PCC’s prerogative what he puts on his site, of course.


          6. The comments on this site have been troubling me for months now, and they’ve become even more troubling since the election results came in. I’ve been reading this site for years, and to see people say, “if you didn’t like HRC, you should have just shut up about it and kept it to yourself,” on a site they know is dedicated to intellectual honesty and open discussion, is frightening. Are so many of us really this desperate to find someone to blame for something that has myriad causes, all of which were far greater in effect than PCC(e)’s expressions of his own opinions on his own blog?

            The other reason it’s troubling is because, as this site has discussed many times recently, it is a reflection of a current strain of frightening thought on the left: if you don’t agree, shut up and get out of the way.

          7. Trump is an authoritarian; I would go so far as to say he is a proto-fascist. This was obvious prior to the election. The election has confirmed my belief. He is a danger to enlightenment values and among the already many frightening things he has done is surround himself with anti-science people who have questioned climate change.

            No matter how many reservations you may have about Hillary, they are totally trivial compared to the threat of Trump. As the old cliché goes, politics have consequences. Millions of lives will be affected quite negatively by Trump. The purpose of politics is to get the people you like elected. It is not an ivory tower forum discussing the pros and cons of the candidates. So, yes, in an election of this importance, people who realized the danger of Trump should have kept quiet about the relatively minor flaw of Hillary. The factors that resulted in Trump’s very narrow win are many. But, no person who opposed him should have contributed to a Trump win, as minor as that contribution may have been.

            Now that Trump has won we’ll see how well people can express intellectual honesty and open discussion. We’ll also see what kind of country and world this will be in four years. I don’t think it likely that I will be happy with it, particularly if the threat of climate change has reached the tipping point due to the actions of President Trump.

            Finally, it should now be clear to those people who profess to be liberals that the dangers of the “regressive left” are of minor concern now that the far right has taken over this country, as manifested by Republican control of all branches of the federal government and the overwhelming number of state governments.

          8. There is a world of difference between “shut up” and “it doesn’t seem prudent.” I’m sorry to learn that this is supposed to be a community of political sycophants.

            (Obviously we expect more agreement on the subjects of evolution, new atheism, religious criticism, and the rest of the core themes here.)

            I resent you calling my tactical opinion a product of desperation. What troubles me is the way we dissenters are characterized as butthurt, desperate, against intellectual honesty. Another strawman used frequently was that we extolled a “Saint Hillary,” something I don’t remember ever seeing in these discussions. I got the impression that a lot of the rhetoric Jerry was posting about came from social media rather than WEIT.

          9. +1 to Diane. I think you’ve mischaracterized the comments of dissenters on this site. I don’t recall anyone telling anyone else to “shut up”. There have, however been differing opinions and that is a good thing and part of healthy discussion.

    4. I think your fears are overstated especially with regard to an anti-science future. Also, I have read nothing on WEIT that would have kept me from voting for Hillary. But I do agree, that there are many shallow, shifty individuals out there who could be persuaded to believe in anything or against anyone…I call them religious people. But I would have thought none of them would read WEIT.

      1. Years ago I came to this site as a believer, loosing my faith. I did not know you secretly thought I was shallow, shifty and could be persuaded to believe in anything or against anyone…
        I felt bad enough having doubts that had started at an early age..
        I am sure after Jerry’s last book there are people who were like me that ended up here.

        1. Hang in there, HH. We don’t think religious people are all shallow and shifty, or even that most of them are, just honestly mistaken. (Kevin can speak for himself, of course, but I doubt that he does, either; it was probably just a bit of hyperbole on his part.)

        2. I think you understate your own capabilities. I suspect you have a much stronger resilience to being persuaded by claims that lack evidence. And you probably always did.

    5. I do not hold PCC(E) responsible for the loss (HRC, her team, and the Dems. who did not vote are holding the bag there).

      However, as I have pointed out before (and maybe I’m edging up to a roolz violation here): Having prominent people on the left spend the entire election proclaiming that HRC was a piece of shit and stole the nomination from Bernie, etc., was probably not the bet get-out-the-vote strategy.

      I think that was very effective voter suppression by the Dems. on Dems. and it had its effect.

      We have met the enemy and he is us.

  31. For what it’s worth, I just want to say how much I appreciate your ongoing efforts to share and educate, Professor Coyne. I find your blog to be an island of intellectual sanity, even if I don’t fully agree with your political views. That’s fine. I learn from you, and take emotional comfort from the wonders of science.

    When I was going through the emotional upheaval of losing the faith of my childhood, I found the world of science as taught by yourself, Dawkins, Sagan and others to be capable of filling the emotional void.

    As for Tr-mp, I find the realization that humans are basically just upright-walking chimpanzees whose brains evolved to their present state on the plains of Africa, and were never designed (so to speak) to handle the technology of deception and manipulation that has emerged in our day, to be oddly also comforting. I can say of so many people now rushing to political suicide, “they know not what they do”. They are not my enemy. I can still love them. And in this I also take comfort.

    To be honest, I take comfort wherever I can find it nowadays. Please continue doing what you do, Professor.

  32. Actually, David, I think some of the opposite phenomena helped Trump- a democratic knee jerk expression of contempt for anyone who slightly disagrees with them.

    Now there are some conservative institutions and people that I do have utter disdain for. These include: FOX/Faux News (especially Sean Hannity), Ann Coulter, Karl Rove, and as a distant 4th, Dinesh D’Souza. (Maybe also S Palin and M Bachman.)

    But it is wrong, wrong, wrong to extend the same level of loathing and contempt to conservative Republicans generally. When you can have simply principled disagreement (George Will, David Brooks), then by all means go for the latter!!! When you do NOT do this, you are creating a blowback effect, which in fact aids and abets Republicans.

    If memory serves, Bill Maher pointed this out in a recent segment, though I am unable to find the video quickly.


    Seth Andrews’ “thinking atheist” is just about my very favorite rationalist/humanist/atheist podcast.

    1. Good points. I would add that the loathing and contempt often leads to attributing the meanest of motivations, rather than addressing an opponent’s actual reasons. For example, Republicans will repeal Obamacare because they don’t care if poor people get health care.

  33. Obviously I do not think Dr. Coyne is not responsible for HRC’s loss. What I do think is that we lefties spent far too much time prefacing anything we said about HRC with the phrase…”we know she is a flawed candidate…but”. Thirty years of hate mongering, false accusations and needless and endless investigations have led us down that path. All politicians are flawed. She is no more flawed and maybe less so than many others who have not been put under the microscope. How many politicians have websites dedicated to their “murder scorecard”…think Vince Foster. I also think that the media and the FBI really turned this campaign against her in the last few months. I wonder what Andrea Mitchell will talk about now that she hasn’t got emails to grouse about anymore. There are reasons why both Andrea Mitchell and Maureen Dowd have been nicknamed “mean girl misogynists.. They of course are not alone is turning what should have been a runaway election into a horse race. We are our own worst enemies.

    1. My concern about the FBI is were they so distracted by investigating Hillary, that they failed to protect all of us from terrorist attacks.

      I haven’t looked up the details, but I recall that many of the recent terror incidents were done by people the FBI investigated and dismissed. Is the FBI protecting us?

      I agree – Hillary Clinton is human, therefore flawed, but certainly qualified to hold office.

      1. I remember well the claims by some (some fairly respectable people even) that the Republican Party’s diversion of intelligence and justice department resources to go after the Clintons during the later part of Bill’s term and the early part of Bush Jr’s term could have significantly contributed to missing many opportunities to have prevented the 9/11 terror attacks.

        Though I really don’t know enough to offer a worthwhile opinion on that or your similar concern it is certainly plausible that if you misuse, for example unwarranted witch hunts, and compromise, for example via partisan political shenanigans, the agencies that are supposed to be protecting the country that they won’t be as effective as they otherwise would be.

  34. Enjoyed the “traumatised by Trump” video and the suggestions on fear, catastrophising, ideology and negotiating disagreements with relatives (though it doesnt affect me). As Darrell mentioned, there is very real fear, as well as the distorting lens of ideology involved – although he said the fear is more distorted by the Trump voters. I suspect the shift to the right of both parties since the 70s has set up much of this – the Repubs obsessed with low taxing – especially the rich and no regulation and wont countenance essential safeguards like a vaguely rational, cost effective (i.e. not exponential price charging) single national health care service like everyone else in the western world has – (e.g. health care costs at LEAST 10 times those in Europe and elsewhere). The democrats likewise moved away from their social democratic roots to economic liberalism and low spending and free trade. In such a system the very poor are uncovered and the middle classes pay disproportionately (for tax and non tax expenses) whilst the working class lose jobs. So everyone is afraid and blames the other side/blames minorities but cannot see clear to change the system

  35. David is convinced that Prof. Coyne’s criticism makes a candidate unelectable. To test the hypothesis, one has to dig through the site’s archives to see posts related to previous elections. David of course is too lazy to do this; he will just sit and rant. But let’s say someone finds a pattern. Then, instead of blaming PCC, we could convince him to use his newly found supernatural abilities. We could provide him with names of candidates to be criticized, accompanied by donations (I guess he would agree to criticize the worst ones pro bono). Unfortunately, for me it is one week too late. Mr. Radev, the gentleman whose name I’d gladly give to Prof. Coyne, has already become our president elect.

    (This is of course tongue in cheek.)

    1. If Coyne can tip an election, why didn’t his harsh words for Trump doom the man’s chances?
      This criticism is nothing but a purity test.

  36. Dr. Coyne,

    It’s good to step outside one’s bubble so that we don’t become guilty of what David did. In addition to checking out conservative sources, perhaps more progressive voices than Verizon-owned barely center-left HuffPo are useful. Here’s just one suggestion:

    I think you’d really appreciate his discussion on the failure of identity politics and his takedown of Clinton liberals playing the blame game in this episode.

  37. You seriously weaken your argument when you use terms like “butthurt liberal”. Butthurt, of course, implies having been anally raped … something that one shouldn’t really wish on anyone, metaphorically or otherwise.

    Your blog of course, you can use whatever vulgar metaphor you like.

      1. Your link led me to one of those sites that tries to scare you into ransoming your computer from a virus it just acquired.

        The urban dictionary gives this as one entry:

        Use of this is an instant way to let the entire online world that you’re a complete idiot. Originally a crass way to make fun of someone who is irrationally upset about something, is now used by total douchebags who don’t have a creative or original bone in their body to troll on someone who expresses the slightest displeasure in anything. See also: You/u mad bro?

        which is the impression I formed on seeing the term in the past.

    1. I always understand “butthurt” as having been spanked. You should examine your own biases before you attribute anything to others.

      1. Knowing the meaning of a word is not evidence of bias. I have only ever heard furze to mean one thing, and if you tell me it means something else I do not see how that shows either of us are biased. Same goes for the word butt-hurt. But by either putative meaning it was used belittlingly. Which is after all the objection.

    2. You may want to explore with one of Doktor Freud’s successors why it is you drew that unwarranted implication.

    3. Butthurt, of course, implies having been anally raped

      You are confusing an implication with an inference.

      An implication is when someone, for instance, attempts to smear someone as homophobic when their actual history demonstrates precisely the opposite.

  38. Methinks that had Hillary voters been slightly differently geographically distributed, and she had won (the preferable option — *obviously*) then many of those who have been stupidly griping at Professor Ceiling Cat would instead have been crowing about how their side had defeated bigotry in the USA.

    Fact is, the result is fucked and either a disaster or an unspeakable catastrophe (time will tell) for the rest of the world, and the US has in fact exactly the same proportion of idiots and turncoats as it had before this stupid election.

  39. I like Jerry’s site because I value intellectual integrity and I value truth over tribal loyalty. I prefer people that tell me their actual opinion even when I vehemently disagree. I think David misses that this is why many readers come here.

    I don’t like overbearing judgemental people who demand obedience to orthodoxy. People like David might appeal to some fraction of the left, but he is very offputting to many others. I suspect for many young people, the alt-right appeals as a way to rebel against the overbearing orthodox left.

    I voted for Hillary and think Trump is an embarrassment. However, the new orthodox left makes me despair even more than Trump because I think Trump is a temporary development. I am worried that the new overbearing left might be a long term problem. I worry they will fracture the left coalition and drive people away.

    I think the new left largely ignores class issues. We have upper middle class educated elites telling lower class whites that they are privileged. It isn’t completely false, but it is mostly false. It is galling when someone who is much much more privileged than you gives you a condescending explanation of how privileged you are. I’m guessing it is no coincidence that rust belt areas with high rates of unemployment and high rates of death due to opioid addiction went for Trump. The left offered them no understanding or empathy.

    1. Nobody can predict with any degree of certainty what this country will look like in four years under Trump-Spence. However, there is no indication that things will be better in the areas of the environment, economy, health care, science, foreign affairs and secularism. Trump may indeed be a temporary player on the political scene, but the damage he will do will likely last long after he is gone.

      I do agree with you that the Democratic Party “establishment” has made the big mistake for many years of ignoring class issues. They fell into the right-wing trap of being accused of committing class warfare, which, of course, is what the Republicans have been practicing all along. Bernie Sanders raised the class issue and his campaign demonstrated that many liberals agree with him. I think that Sanders and his views will now have more influence in the Democratic Party. This is a good thing and may result in significant numbers of the white working class returning to the party after they experience the horrors of the Trump administration.

    2. I agree with danstarfish – there are plenty of things that Jerry writes that I don’t agree with, but I appreciate that he writes about them openly and honestly, and I enjoy reading for that reason. By raising issues he influences me to think about them, for sure, but that’s not the same as causing me think in a certain way that would somehow make him open to blame (assuming he’s not using some kind of subliminal messaging that none of us have cottoned on to).

      The blame seems to suggest that discussing certain things – encouraging people to think about them – is necessarily bad. In other words, it suggests that the election would have come out better if liberals had thought less, or at least encouraged others to think less. It seems a strange argument.

      Well, I didn’t have a vote, but I’m a U.S. resident and definitely affected by it – but I can’t even blame the Trump voters or the non-voters entirely. If Clinton didn’t manage to persuade them, then there was something lacking that definitely can’t be laid at the door of anyone’s website. After months of hearing about the two candidates on NPR and reading about them in the NYT until I was sick to death of the whole thing, I still didn’t have a sense of what Clinton intended to do other than to stop Trump from getting elected. I’d love it if she could have done so, but something more concrete to rally support would surely have helped.

      I should note that I’m sure Clinton had plenty of good and worthy policy ideas. My point is that I never noticed them amidst all the other noise. If the election could have been won, it would surely be by this rather than by Jerry toeing the party line…?

      Thanks for continuing to write what you think, to both Jerry and the many interesting commenters here.

      1. “After months of hearing about the two candidates on NPR and reading about them in the NYT until I was sick to death of the whole thing, I still didn’t have a sense of what Clinton intended to do other than to stop Trump from getting elected.”

        “I should note that I’m sure Clinton had plenty of good and worthy policy ideas. My point is that I never noticed them amidst all the other noise.”

        I have heard these criticisms quite a bit, but I don’t think they are accurate. At least if they are accurate in anyone’s experience it isn’t HC’s fault. She talked about specific policies frequently. Take another look at the debates. HC spent a large percentage of each debate relating specific information about specific policy plans and directing people to her website for further information. And she spoke well about them. She talked about them in TV ads. Hillary has plenty of faults, but talking about her policies isn’t one of them.

        And many of the policies were aimed to better the lives of the very “lower income, less educated, working class white males” that so many people on all sides are claiming were disregarded by HC and the Democratic Party, thereby ensuring a Trump victory. If people didn’t hear about her policies it’s because of selective hearing / memory or perhaps because the media that they frequented for election news weren’t interested in reporting on her policies.

        HC talked plenty about her policies. Unfortunately talking about policies doesn’t win elections. Propaganda targeted at base emotions does. Heck, another common criticism of HC’s campaign is that she talked too much about her polices and thus did not appeal to enough voters. HC isn’t despised by so many because of her policies or because of reasonably well evidenced alleged scandalous incidents. Much (not all to be sure) of the hatred of HC is a result of a concerted propaganda effort by the Republican Party and its sponsors lasting decades and costing tens of millions of dollars, much of it tax payer money, for the specific purpose of engendering a strong negative emotional reaction to any mention of a Clinton in as many people as possible. And that effort has been fairly successful.

        1. HC talked plenty about her policies. Unfortunately talking about policies doesn’t win elections. Propaganda targeted at base emotions does.

          I agree. I’ve said before that polices, facts, and truth don’t matter much to voters (even those voters who think they do). It’s almost a heretical thought but people decide to vote on sentiment and then retrospecively select the ‘facts’ that suit their sentiments.

          This makes a sort of sense – you vote for people who you think will make the decisions you would like when unknowable future events happen.

          In your US elections you had the arch sentimentalist Trump vs the unsentimental Clinton. Trump played to his strengths and Clinton’s strengths could work against his.

          And still nobody will ever know who would have made the best President (because of future events) – only hold opinions driven by sentiment.

          1. “This makes a sort of sense – you vote for people who you think will make the decisions you would like when unknowable future events happen.”

            Yes indeed. And it does make sense. I think this type of evaluation is largely an assessment of the candidates’ ethics / morality. Which is a valid criteria to consider. The issues arise in the process of how people arrive at their conclusion. GIGO.

        2. Yes, I hoped to express by my comment that I have no doubt that Clinton talked plenty about her policies, and that they were probably good policies and worth getting behind. My point is, though, that these just didn’t reach me, and that seems problematic. If I had gone looking for them, I’d have known more – but I didn’t. If I were a voter, I probably would have done – but doesn’t a good campaign have to do more to catch people who aren’t greatly engaged, like me (the ones who do have votes)?

          You may be right to blame this on the media outlets, but the media outlets I mentioned are NPR – liberal=leaning though purportedly neutral = and the NYT = staunchly behind Clinton. NPR just plays in my ear as I drive to and from work, so I’m not really selecting my coverage. If those two sources didn’t report more on the policies, who else should I expect to do so?

          I do agree that policy doesn’t win elections, absolutely – but I think Obama did an excellent job of presenting policy a strong propagandistic wrapping that got people excited, and that got onto the news and engaged people. It didn’t seem to work for Clinton.

          1. I do think that the press these days, generally speaking, is pathetic. Most of the most influential press entities have long since abandoned their responsibility to the public. But no, I don’t blame the press alone for the typical citizen not hearing much about Clinton’s policies. Plenty of blame to go around and many, including you, have made points regarding that that I agree with.

        3. I agree with most of that, darrelle. But I still fault the Democratic Party for pushing her as the inevitable candidate. All those years of Clinton hate mongering along with a handful of bad judgments made it easy for the opposition. (An email server in the basement? Anyone with an ounce of technical common sense would know that was a bad idea.)

          Just because you can talk about (mostly good) policy positions doesn’t make you a good candidate.

    1. If they suspend some high profile alt right goons can only be a good thing; these people make stuff up and are vile in their exchanges with others as a normal mode of communicating

      1. That they are vile and untrustworthy is indisputable. But that would never provide a basis for them to be censored by a government entity.

        Private corporations, of course, are a different matter. It may be a closer and nicer question where a private corporation essentially has a monopoly due to conditions created by the government.

  40. The clearest distillation I can come up with for the results of this election:

    Democrats/Progressives will say, “I do not endorse or support X candidate” and then actually follow through and NOT vote for that candidate.

    Republicans will publicly say, “I do not endorse or support X candidate” and then proceed to vote for them anyway.

    Dems/Progs/Liberals can look at a candidate who is 93% aligned with their favored candidate (comparing Clinton’s and Sanders’ voting record in Congress) and say “Not good enough.”

    Conservatives can whine about the erosion of “Christian values” and “Bible morality” and then look at Donald f-ing Trump and say “No problem.”

    1. Dems/Progs/Liberals can look at a candidate who is 93% aligned with their favored candidate (comparing Clinton’s and Sanders’ voting record in Congress) and say “Not good enough.”

      Conservatives can whine about the erosion of “Christian values” and “Bible morality” and then look at Donald f-ing Trump and say “No problem.”

      This is true. But if liberals are prepared to concede power to someone 100% opposed to their views rather than support someone 7% opposed they can spend the next few years yelling at people on Twitter content in the knowledge their virtue has been well and truly signalled.

      1. Kurt Eichenwald of Newsweek Magazine wrote a series of articles that exposed Trump’s sleazy business deals. He has now written an article in which he reveals his frustration at liberals who didn’t support Hillary because she was not pure enough. This quote from the article mirrors your sentiments, which I agree with.

        “If you voted for Trump because you supported him, congratulations on your candidate’s victory. But if you didn’t vote for the only person who could defeat him and are now protesting a Trump presidency, may I suggest you shut up and go home. Adults now need to start fixing the damage you have done.”

        1. Thanks for the link. That article should be read by everyone.

          I think the thing that has dismayed me the most about all this is how many Democrats and liberals have been polarized, to varying degrees, against Hillary by the Republicans’ decades long misinformation campaign against the Clintons. Much of it seems pretty analogous to blaming the victim. There is plenty to criticize Hillary for, but much of what even her liberal critics do criticize her for ranges from straight false to significantly mischaracterized.

  41. Prof. Coyne:

    This site was a place I could come to, before the election, for reliable even-handed information & opinions. I continue to come here post-election to help with the trauma it has caused me.

    You just keep up the great work here, and pay no-never-mind to those, like “David”, who are looking to lay blame wherever they can.

    Also, I agree with Mary in comment #3: “I find you and your love of cats…frankly… adorable.” Sorry to steal that Mary, but it, in itself, is an adorable comment.

    The shock of this election is beginning to wear off, just a little. I have never, in all my years, had such a visceral effect from a political event.

    Thank you, PCC for being who you are and for the opportunity to talk on this site. I have learned a lot, it has sent me in search of things I knew nothing about, and even when the science sometimes goes right over my head, I love the challenge.

    1. “I have never, in all my years, had such a visceral effect from a political event.”

      Exactly the same for me. I really wasn’t expecting anything like the phyisiological reaction I experienced. My reaction was not premeditated in any way. I was just sitting there experiencing my reaction and thinking, “Wow, this is interesting.”

      1. It’s something people who favour logic over emotions often find themselves perplexed by. People who are more inclined to favour emotions over logic are used to experiencing these things.

  42. I would like to hear your thoughts on Al Gore so we can figure out if you are responsible for his loss. It is a good thing you voted for HRC or he might have been really upset.

  43. I would like to hear your thoughts on Al Gore so we can figure out if you are responsible for his loss. It is a good thing you voted for HRC or he might have been really upset.

  44. I would like to know your thoughts on Al Gore so we know if you are to blame for 2000 also! It is a good thing you voted for HRC or you might have upset him.

  45. Dave seems to be a troubled person and may need some advice that he is unlikely to take. But remember Dave, my advice is just an opinion and you can ignore all of it or part of it. This is very much like PCC’s political postings on Hilary or other candidates. You can agree with them or not agree with them. You even get to comment right there on the posting and say what you think.

    So here is the problem Dave. You may be overloading on line. Too much twitter, to much facebook and just too much. It is kind of like watching CNN for 8 hours a day and then taking it all too seriously. Try to diversify as much as you can, where you get your politics from. Try getting more from newspapers and less from on line sites. Try reading some books on political science or history and elections of the past. Better yet, try to read up and grasp the changes in economics and culture in the U.S. over the past 40 or 50 years. Changes in the rust belt has played a big part in this election and will make PCC’s influence look like something you may have imagined but now you see was really misplaced.

  46. I was tempted to put a few hundred on Trump, but didn’t want to impoverish you.

    The fault lies with Hillary (for not puting the party ahead of her own ambition, and her many failings) and the Democratic Party for not choosing Sanders, or someone else who could have whipped Trump. If Clinton supporters want to blame someone they only need to look in the mirror.

    1. Historians and political scientists will be analyzing this election with an intense scrutiny for centuries. There may never be a consensus to explain what happened. There were a mountain of variables that helped decide this election and to focus on just one of them as THE cause of the result reflects a lack of understanding of how society and politics work. Certainly, Hillary’s background played a role as did tactical mistakes made by her campaign. Lack of support or tepid support by those on the left are but a few of the other ingredients in the stew.

      On election day, everything broke in Trump’s favor, which allowed him to very narrowly win the swing states and hence the election. Remember, Hillary won the popular vote, which, when all the votes are counted, may be by a two million vote advantage. If just one of the key variables had been different, Hillary could have won.

      1. One thing I don’t see mentioned much is the drop-off in black voting. I can understand them not feeling especially strongly about Hillary, but wish they’d realized how much a Trump win will destroy Obama’s legacy.

        Of course, they were also especially targeted by the GOP suppress-the-vote measures…

        1. Suppressing the minority vote has been a key Republican strategy since even before GOP hardball operative Ed Rollins bribed black preachers to shut up during Christine Todd Whitman’s campaign in New Jersey. (Yes, that, Christine Todd Whitman — the one who now seems like a paragon of RINO moderation in today’s GOP).

    1. Things would have turned out very differently if the system of electoral colleges were abolished. However, the French vote two times, and this makes complete sense. Brexit would not have passed if there had been two votes, with a couple of weeks interval, and Trump would have been out in the second vote. You need this reflexion time, this is a vital self-correcting element in elections.

      1. There are advantages and disadvantages to the electoral college system (and First Past The Post constituency system in the UK). They sometimes throw up results contrary to the ‘popular vote’. The best reason for these systems is that they crystalize the vote into a clear winner. Political certainty is highly desirable (even if the politics themselves are not).

        The wrong time to criticise these systems is just after they failed to deliver who/what you wanted to win because people may think that self interest is involved. Would you have been as upset if Clinton had won but Trump had won the ‘popular vote’?

        1. I didn’t notice Alexander being particularly upset.

          But it’s quite true that a truly regrettable result (such as almost everyone here agrees that Trump’s win is) does throw the deficiencies of the system into sharper relief.

          The FPP system does also have major defects, the biggest of which is vote-splitting. That is, a third party can take away votes from the other party on its ‘side’ (i.e. right or left) and throw the election to the opposite side. It also entrenches a two-party system whereby a third smaller party will win far fewer electorates (districts) than its proportion of the popular vote would entitle it to. Oh, and it does also, on occasion, allow one party to win more seats even though its opponent gained more votes.

          That’s why I much prefer proportional representation where parties receive a number of seats in proportion to their total votes. It allows small parties to exist and – assuming closely-aligned parties can work together as coalition partners – it avoids the travesty of one party gaining power even though its opponents may have received more votes. And as a voter, I don’t have to fret about ‘voting strategically’ and my vote is worth exactly as much as everyone else’s.


        2. “Would you have been as upset if Clinton had won but Trump had won the ‘popular vote’?”

          No, if the voting system made any sense, I wouldn’t. But now, the electoral colleges are larger per inhabitant for states with mainly rural populations, such as Idaho, than the states with large populations, such as NY State. In the current system this translates into the fact that your vote weights less if you live in NY State than in Idaho, it’s simple math. The current outcome is the proof of the pudding, and this is not the first time in US voting history.

          So you can say that the voting system has been rigged against Democrats a long time ago, simply because rural populations in sparse populations are much more conservative than in NY state and other states with large cities and professional populations.

          1. Here are the numbers:

            State – Electoral College Votes – Persons per Electocral College Vote – Compared to WY
            Wyoming 3 187,875 100%
            DC 3 200,574 94%
            Vermont 3 208,580 90%
            North Dakota 3 224,197 84%
            Alaska 3 236,744 79%
            Rhode Island 4 263,142 71%
            South Dakota 3 271,393 69%
            Delaware 3 299,311 63%
            New Hampshire 4 329,118 57%
            Montana 3 329,805 57%
            Maine 4 332,090 57%
            Hawaii 4 340,075 55%
            Nebraska 5 365,268 51%
            West Virginia 5 370,599 51%
            Idaho 4 391,896 48%
            New Mexico 5 411,836 46%
            Nevada 6 450,092 42%
            Utah 6 460,648 41%
            Kansas 6 475,520 40%
            Arkansas 6 485,986 39%
            Mississippi 6 494,550 38%
            Iowa 6 507,726 37%
            Connecticut 7 510,585 37%
            South Carolina 9 513,929 37%
            Minnesota 10 530,393 35%
            Alabama 9 531,082 35%
            Oklahoma 7 535,907 35%
            Kentucky 8 542,421 35%
            Oregon 7 547,296 34%
            Colorado 9 558,800 34%
            Washington 12 560,378 34%
            Louisiana 8 566,672 33%
            Wisconsin 10 568,699 33%
            Tennessee 11 576,919 33%
            Maryland 10 577,355 33%
            Arizona 11 581,092 32%
            Indiana 11 589,437 32%
            Massachusetts 11 595,239 32%
            Missouri 10 598,893 31%
            Georgia 16 605,478 31%
            Virginia 13 615,463 31%
            Michigan 16 617,728 30%
            New Jersey 14 627,992 30%
            Pennsylvania 20 635,119 30%
            North Carolina 15 635,699 30%
            Ohio 18 640,917 29%
            Illinois 20 641,532 29%
            Florida 29 648,321 29%
            Texas 38 661,725 28%
            New York 29 668,210 28%
            California 55 677,345 28%

          2. The variance is stunning, a Wyoming vote is worth nearly 4 times a New York or California vote! Never realised it was that great a difference.

        3. “Would you have been as upset if Clinton had won but Trump had won the ‘popular vote’?
          A very pertinent question. It would depend from the angle I would be looking at it.
          -From an angle of foreign policies, civil & constitutional rights, SCOTUS and the like, I’d say no, I would indeed be much less upset.
          -From the angle of ‘electoral democracy’ I would be about just as upset.
          -From the angle of the vote rigging, voter suppression etc., let us say the moral angle, I would be *more* upset if the side I feel is more deserving on policies had resorted to these tactics.

      2. Actually, no. The French system for choosing a president makes little sense. It suffers from the same problems FPTP has. Just look up the results of the 2002 election.

        The system could easily be “repaired” if single tranferable vote were used. Incidentally, in that system the presendential election would cost only half of what it now costs.

      3. It is not really about the electoral system, but about FRAUD.
        In always wondered why in all civilised democracies exit polls are very close to the final result, generally within one or two tenths of a percent, but not in the US. We have the answer now…..
        I must say I’m deeply shocked, electoral fraud on a significant scale in the world’s, maybe not largest, but definitely leading democracy.
        Does anybody know more about Greg Palast?

    2. If that reporting is even remotely true, it’s quite shocking really. I mean, if Hillary could still win the popular vote, even with all that going on, then the whole thing about her just not being popular enough to win goes out the window. From what I’ve seen (admittedly as a non-American outsider) gerrymandering of districts is also heavily in favour of the GOP. Quite possibly the USA is a much more “left-wing”, progressive country but this is simply not reflected in election results. Partly this is to blame on the Democratic party, but when the system is already rigged against you they are fighting an uphill battle from the start.

      1. Well if Palast is right, she did not just win the popular vote (which she did), but also the electoral college. And hence she should be your next president, not the Donald.
        For a Dem to win (s)he needs not just to be better than than a GOP candidate but very, very much more popular, like Obama, overwhelming the fraud.

        For the legal experts here (again, if Palast is right), is it still possible to get down to this fraud in states like North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Florida? Can a Trump presidency still be stopped?

      2. Any system that lumps all votes from an area into, let’s call it a ‘bin’, and then puts that entire bin on one side or other of the scales, is liable to distortions from uneven distribution of voting patterns. And also susceptible to gerrymandering.

        The electoral college system of giving all a state’s votes** to one side or the other is an extreme example of this.

        (** in most cases)


    3. What’s that saying about victory having a thousand fathers, but defeat being an orphan?

      This election is the baby in the basket left on the front porch that nobody wants to claim.

  47. Contrary to the assertions of the complainant, I really appreciate the fact I can visit this blog and read the opinion of well-educated, thoughtful and considerate individual.

    If Jerry got up each morning and said to himself “here is something that people must be encouraged to believe and I will pretend that it is my opinion so that they do”, this blog would have no value.

  48. It is the job of the candidate & the campaign to inspire voters. HRC has numerous problems and it is her own fault for not addressing them effectively, relying instead on identity politics and demographic gains among minorities, without speaking to the crisis of a disappearing middle class. The DNC fatally ignored signs and warnings that their strategy would fail; the DNC engaged in corruption by (among other things) undermining Bernie’s campaign. Think about it.. if a candidate has to cheat to win a primary that’s a sign they know their own weakness, yet the HRC campaign and the DNC plodded on in self deception. Can Jerry, or any of us, really be blamed for not cheering her on? The critic above should examine his or her own unrealistic expectations of such a flawed candidate.

    Besides, what would have come of a Hillary win? What would have changed? The Democrats would have smugly boasted of their victory and no introspection would follow, only a parade of gifts to Wall Street, gridlock in Congress, and investigations on scandals both real and imagined. But the Democrats need to change; it’s just unfortunate that the change could not have occurred 8 years ago, or even 4 years ago. Now we all must pay a terrible price for DNC intransigence, and the mistaken belief that history and fate had converged to give us the inevitable candidate — that it was Hillary’s turn! If what I am saying makes no sense to you, please take a look at Thomas Frank’s recent book “Listen Liberal”, which should be required reading for everyone who is wondering what the hell just happened.

  49. I think what saddened me most was the statement you made about how you would be coming back to a country you don’t recognize..or something close to that.
    There has never been a point in time that one could not lament the state of the country for whatever reason. To think otherwise is to buy into the “make America Great again” as if there was a point in time that rights were accessible to all. When was that time? I recognize this country to have taken very tiny slow, painfully slow steps to just try to allow some people a seat at the game here. Some got the seat from birth.

  50. We must not forget the role of the republican party in allowing Trump to be the republican candidate in the first place. The pathetic clown-car of candidates they put forward was ridiculous. They share as much responsibility as the democrats who finagled the nomination away from Bernie Sanders.

    The plain facts are: any democrat candidate should have been easily able to beat Trump. Any republican candidate should have been easily able to beat Clinton. But no such candidates were chosen. This is what you get after decades of democracy as a spectator sport left to players who have no business being on the field and fans turning out every few years then going home and forgetting about it until the next big match.

    If people are this unhappy they need to get involved and not leave the government of the country in the hands of panderers and rent-seekers.

    1. “We must not forget the role of the republican party in allowing Trump to be the republican candidate in the first place. The pathetic clown-car of candidates they put forward was ridiculous. They share as much responsibility as the democrats who finagled the nomination away from Bernie Sanders.”

      Very well put.

      When you see the spectacle of a large chunk of the party recoiling from *their own candidate* then there’s something very wrong with their selection process.


  51. A tremendously frustrating and angering development, on this site and elsewhere, has been the propensity of many to choose their favorite bogeyman — Hillary Clinton, criticism of her by tepid supporters (like PCC(e), the Democratic National Committee, the racism and misogyny of the Trump creature and his supporters, the Trump creatures who may not be racist or misogynist themselves but didn’t mind Trump and other Trump voters exhibiting these traits, the neglect of poor people and much of the middle class by the US government, international neo-liberalism, among others — and assign all the blame for last week’s ghastly event solely on this or that favorite.

    Maybe this or that favorite can validly be said to be guiltier than another favorite or all other favorites. But surely a perfect storm of all of them, however differently each may be weighted, is closer to an accurate way to try and think clearly as we can about the current dreadful state of affairs (yes, dreadful, contrary to the normalizers) that now afflicts all of us — including those who do not yet realize that it afflicts them, too.

    1. I think that’s an absolutely accurate summation.

      Not that it absolves any particular person or thing.


  52. “In which I get blamed for Trump’s victory”

    In your defense Gad Saad, and Dave Rubin for example, are orders of magnitude more to blame. :p

    And adding insult to injury Gad did a live stream on Youtube with Sargon of Akkad 3 days ago, where he essentially spent 90 minutes making fun of people who are upset about Trump’s victory, and Dave argued Trumps victory is good thing that he’s excited about.

    1. The left is a coalition with many different subgroups. They have similar values, but they aren’t exactly the same. There are reasons why people like Gad Saad, Dave Rubin, and Sargon are feeling alienated from the left-wing coalition even though normally they would be more affiliated to it.

      For some on the left, they highly value open and honest discussion. They value it more than other left-wing causes. They still value the other causes but their higher priority goes to open and honest discussion. For many they believe it is the foundational principle that allows societies to obtain the other values and that without it, everything falls apart.

      I think others on the left value safety, caring for people, and protecting others from harm more than free speech and open discussion. They may place a high value on free speech, but see it as playing a less crucial role.

      For the coalition to hold together, I think we need to find ways to reduce friction between the subgroups. These subgroups have similar values but prioritize them differently.

      I think the subgroups sometimes talk past each other when they say something like ‘In this case we need to sacrifice the lower priority value to support the higher priority

      1. This is not an either or issue. Supporting free speech, even if you value it more than other left-wing causes, does not necessitate throwing those causes under the bus, or mocking, and ridiculing marginalized groups, and those that care about them. You can, and PCC has mostly shown, both care about the plight of marginalized groups, and care about free speech.
        I have no little more respect for Dave, and Gad at this point than I do for the worse of the SJW’s. I have more respect for many millions of those who voted Trump out of self interest, but are at least showing empathy for people on the left who are frightened by it.

        1. I think if we disenchant and demoralize this subgroup in the left’s coalition then we won’t have enough people to win elections in the US.

          I don’t think it is fair to characterize them as throwing people under the bus. I don’t know where that is coming from. They don’t oppose marginalized groups, they oppose those who are overbearing and authoritarian and use support for marginalized groups to justify their behavior. If left-leaning subgroups who have moderately different values can’t have some understanding of each other then we can’t form larger coalitions to oppose those with massively different values.

          I saw some of the video with Gad and Sargon and I do think they let their exasperation with SJWs take them a little too far, but I don’t think it was that extreme compared to all the other post-election stuff flying around lately.

          1. “I don’t think it is fair to characterize them as throwing people under the bus. I don’t know where that is coming from.”

            Listen I follow both them, and while they might, if you twist their arms, depending on who’s listening, or who’s asking, admit racism, and sexism are still problems in this country, they are pandering to large audiences who don’t, just take a look at their comment sections. They are both so concerned with growing those audiences, which more and more include right wingers that they walk on eggshells to avoid alienating them. By pandering to these people rather than attempting to educate them they are throwing women, minorities, and liberal, and moderate muslims under the bus. Dave, and Gad have become useful idiots for the right in the eagerness to grow their audiences.

          2. I wanted to add that people like Milo Yiannopoulos don’t go on Dave’s show because they are looking for an open and honest exchange of ideas, they go because they recognize it as a perfect opportunity to spread their propaganda without any meaningful criticism.

          3. I think you are right about Dave Rubin. Not just Milo, but all his guests can expect a low level of criticism. It’s not Dave’s style. He wants to get along with everyone. He also fails to ask the pertinent questions that will illuminate a guest’s position, left or right. I haven’t watched him since before the election for this reason.

            However, if you think Gad Saad is doing what he’s doing for money or fame, I think you are wrong. Why on earth would you think he is so lacking in integrity?

          4. “However, if you think Gad Saad is doing what he’s doing for money or fame, I think you are wrong.”

            Maybe I’m wrong about Gad where that’s concerned, but they both seem to be following the same trajectory. Perhaps they both are becoming more extreme in their anti-sjw rhetoric, because they are both surrounded by echo chambers, and are likely inundated by messages from people pointing out every insignificant sjw incident to the point that they think that it’s a more urgent problem than Trump’s victory.

          5. I don’t even think there is an echo chamber effect with Gad. After all, he’s a college professor and gets an alternate viewpoint from students and colleagues all the time. I think he sincerely opposes the direction taken by much of the left, identity politics in particular.

    2. Yes I stopped looking at them a long time ago, but its very depressing if Rubin is actually saying Trumps victory is a good thing

        1. I am not a big Rubin fan, but this video looks perfectly sane and rational to me. He is not happy with the election result, but is trying to make the best of it and find bright spots where he can.

          If you like treating people by the group they fall into, rather than as individuals, I can see why you might not like the video, but that has been Rubin’s position from day one.

          1. “He is not happy with the election result, but is trying to make the best of it and find bright spots where he can.”

            Maybe I’m just far more pessimistic, or realistic than Dave is. At the risk of breaking Godwins law, his making the best of it, sounds like someone saying, “Hitler as chancellor might be a good thing, he wants to build an autobahn, a volkswagen, and he’ll make the trains run on time”. I’m obviously not saying Trump is as bad as Hitler, but their is no bright side to a Trump presidency in my opinion.

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