Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Fwd: Last night

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From: "John Hemington" <>
Date: Nov 9, 2016 8:29 AM
Subject: Last night
To: "John Hemington" <>

The buzz before the election was that the nomination of Donald Trump would almost certainly destroy the Republican Party as it was torn asunder with dissention, division and rancor.  Now that Trump has prevailed it is fair to ask whether it is not the Republican but the Democratic Party which will fall by the wayside.  The elitists in charge of the Party have certainly managed to alienate many, if not most, of the traditional supporting bases for the Party as the New Democrats turned their Party into quasi-Republicans for the rich and powerful.  And while Trump certainly captured the racist, white power and anti-woman in power vote, there was a much larger coterie of angry frustrated voters who felt ignored and betrayed by the Democratic Party.  Below are a couple of prescient views on this issue.


naked capitalism

Voters Repudiate Clinton

November 9, 2016 | Yves Smith

Even if Clinton manages to come out with a lead in the popular vote when California's results are added to the evening's totals1, the results are a stunning repudiation to pollsters, the punditocracy, the mainstream media, professionals in both major parties, and most important, to Hillary Clinton herself.

I seriously considered shorting the market first thing yesterday morning, and have the e-mail record to prove it.  And this wasn't confirmation bias since I decided not to vote for any Presidential candidate.

It was based on the fact that every single bit of anecdotal information I had from real people ran against what experts and the polls were saying.  For instance, the overwhelming majority of Hispanics I ran into, once I gave them latitude to express their views by saying I hated both candidates, made clear they were seriously entertaining a Trump vote, including a van driver in Dallas.  The upper income, 30s to middle aged guys in my gym, all of whom save one had been Sanders voters, were voting for Trump (I added another one to that tally tonight).  A 70 year old college educated friend in Dallas, never married, who'd lived ten years in New York running a major department at Christies and joked that she was the only one of her girlfriends not to carry a gun in her purse, said apologetically that she thought both candidates were terrible but Trump might be a tiny bit less terrible.  The 40-ish partner from Apollo who sat next to me on the plane to Dallas (a rare sighting, private equity partners rarely slum by flying commercial) was reading the New York Post and checking Drudge on his iPhone and thus clearly not going to vote for Clinton.

So even though my sample was small (and I have more examples), it said the closeted Trump voter was a real phenomenon and likely bigger than anyone was allowing for.

The election outcome was based not just on Clinton being a terrible candidate on the merits, but on the abjectly poor conduct of the Clinton campaign.

Let us not forget that Clinton had every advantage:  Presidential campaign experience, the full backing of her party, a much bigger ground apparatus, oddles of experts and surrogates, the Mighty Wurlitzer of the media behind her, an opponent widely deemed to be world-class terrible – utterly unqualified, undisciplined, offensive, with a mother lode of scandals – and what historically was deemed the most important asset of all, a large lead in fundraising.

Yet Clinton was a lousy campaigner and strategist.  By all accounts, she was a micromanager who regularly overrode her staff's advice.  All the big-ticket Madison Avenue spin-meistering could not get the dogs to eat enough dog food.

You don't win voters by telling them they are stupid and beneath contempt.  That is tantamount to saying you have no intention of representing them

You don't win voters by failing to offer a positive vision and selling only fear

You don't win voters by trying to get them to believe you'll suddenly behave differently and take positions contrary to the ones you've held for decades to extract cash from the richest and most powerful

You don't win voters with a record of failing upward

You don't win voters by saying your opponent is a sleaze, even when undeniably true, when you are at least as sleazy yourself

And readers in Lambert's live blog last night read Clinton's defeat the same way:


The Red Wave is rolling across this country because
the Democrats won't listen to their base.


Trump's election is completely due to the incompetence and arrogance of the D elite.


It's really amazing to see how little of the blame is going to Clinton herself.  It was her decision to set-up a private email server.  It was her decision to serve as Secretary of State while accepting millions from foreign governments.  It was her decision to get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars while unofficially running for President.  It was her decision to call millions of Americans deplorable.


The liberal histrionics and gnashing of teeth (especially on twitter) are actually just making me mad now.  So, you sat out the fight from 2008 to the present and suddenly NOW the world is coming to an end.  Where were you when Occupy was scuttled by your precious Democratic administration?  Where were you when Secretary Clinton was negotiating away the last vestiges of labor rights in this country?  Where have you been while state after state has passed right to work laws?  Where were you when the current administration ramped up deportations?  Where were you when the DoJ pumped weapons into Mexico just to see what would happen?  Where were you when a sixteen year old American kid was blown to pink mist in Yemen?  And the list goes on…

I should make this into a card that I hand to every single person tomorrow who blubbers about the coming apocalypse.  The world was already on fire.  Now the veil has been lifted.  I'd hope to see these fresh discontents on the picket lines, but something tells me that's unlikely.

We have very little idea of what a Trump presidency will amount to.  My best guess has been that he will be a Jimmy Carter cubed in Berlusconi packaging.

Recall that even though Carter has been the best former President of the modern era, he came to Washington as an outsider with his Georgia team.  Despite having been a governor and thus knowing how to draft legislation and get bills passed, he famously got little accomplished despite having a Democratic Party majority in the House and Senate.

Trump is likely to spend his first year, and conceivably his entire Presidency, with all of the Democratic Party and enough of the Republican Party against him to stymie him, fighting for the right to govern.  And that assumes he has an agenda beyond the very few goals he has articulated consistently:  getting out of "bad" trade deals and entering into better ones; reducing immigration and deporting many undocumented immigrants (and building his famed wall); investing heavily in infrastructure; making NATO members pay their share of its budget (the theoretical level, 2% of each nation's GDP, is largely footed by the US); cutting back our involvement in overseas conflicts; cutting taxes; and repealing Obamacare.

The only initiatives where the Republicans might back him solidly are cutting taxes and ending Obamacare, and even then, given the lobbying power of Big Pharma and the health insurers, the Republicans might not be as willing to pull the trigger on Obamacare as all their kvetching would lead you to believe.

There is one more Trump campaign promise that will serve as an important early test of his seriousness as well as his survival skills:  investigating Clinton.  Even if Obama pardons her, as our Jerri-Lynn Scofield has predicted, it will be critical for Trump to carry out a probe of the Clinton Foundation's business while Clinton was Secretary of State.

If Trump is to cut the cancer of the neocons out of the policy establishment, he has to have them on the run.  It is a reasonable surmise that Clinton's enthusiasm for war was due at least in part to heavy Saudi support of the Foundation.  Showing that American's escalation in the Middle East, which Obama tried with mixed success to temper, was due in part, and perhaps almost entirely, to the personal corruption of the Secretary of State, would keep the hawks at bay, particularly if other prominent insiders and pundits were implicated in Clinton Foundation influence-peddling.

It will be hard for Trump to do much to alter the course of the military-surveillance complex unless he can hamstring the warmongers.  Just as Warren has argued relative to bank regulations, "personnel is policy."  If Trump is a fast learner, he'll see that that is just as true on the foreign policy front.

Finally, those on the left need to turn the blame cannon aimed squarely at them back on the professional hacks who are truly responsible.  Despite their tiresome chest-beating about meritocracy, these Acela corridor bubble-dwellers are constitutionally incapable of holding their fellow club member accountable.  Their preening self-regard repelled hard-working Americans who'd done the right thing, as in gotten an education, and if they were older, launched a career, bought a house and started a family, only to struggle harder and harder while seeing any vestige of security and hope of improved living standards erode.  And unless they were at the top of the professional classes, they felt defeated by not being able to pay for their kids to go to college and being uncertain as to how to advise them with their educations and job prospects.

The Democrats under Clinton and Obama abdicated the duty of the elites, which is to improve the conditions for, or at least limit harm to, the members of the communities they lead.  Even Bill Clinton did remember that the most important duty for a Democrat is to create jobs, even if he did so by presiding over a rise in household debt and a stock market bubble.

Young people, who poll well to the left of their elders, have inferred a lesson that the labor movement forgot:  the exercise of power includes being willing to inflict punishment in the form of withholding support.  Look at how diminished organized labor has become by casting its lot with the feckless Dems who've sold them out again and again.  Hillary tried the Clinton "They have nowhere to go" trick one time too many, kicking the left after she only narrowly beat Sanders.  And the left decided to return the favor.  She made clear she has no intention of representing them.  They heard her message loud and clear and acted accordingly.

As reader aab:

The big question to me is, take over the hollow shell of the Democratic Party, or crush it with a new party.  Is it possible to take over the Ds — as weak as it is now as a party — without being corrupted and co-opted?  I now hate my former party to such a degree, I find myself recoiling at having anything at all to do with it.  But given all the institutional constraints, it still may be smart to try; the answer is above my pay grade, as they say.

This is an important question to consider as we see how the Democratic Party responds to this well-deserved defeat.


1 As of 6:00 AM, the Wall Street Journal still shows Trump as leading in the popular vote, but only marginally:  58,728,425 versus 58,637,055.


The Liberals Didn't Listen: The Immense Cost of Ignoring Tom Frank's Warnings

November 9, 2016 | William K. Black

I am writing this article late on election night in my office at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, about a mile from the home in which Tom Frank grew up just over the state line in Kansas.  Beginning with his famous book, What's the Matter with Kansas, first published in 2004, Tom Frank has been warning the Democratic Party of the increasing cost it was paying by abandoning and even attacking the working class, particularly the white working class.  Some political scientists tried to savage his work, pointing to Bill Clinton's electoral success and arguing that the disaffected members of the working class were also less likely to vote.  Frank returned to the theme just in time for this election with a new book – Listen, Liberal – that documents in damning, lively narrative the New Democrats' war on the New Deal, their disdain for organized labor, and their antipathy for what they viewed as retrograde white working class attitudes.

Frank kept showing the enormous price the working class were paying as a result of the economic policies of the Republicans and the New Democrats, and the indifference to their plight by the leaders of the New Democrats.  Senator Bernie Sanders consciously took up the cause of reducing surging inequality and became a hero to a broad coalition of voters, many of them fiercely opposed to the New Democrats' embrace of Wall Street cash, policies, and arrogance.  Sanders set records for small donor fundraising and generated enormous enthusiasm.  Sanders knew he would face the opposition of the New Democrats, but he also found that progressive congressional Democrats would rarely support him publicly in the contest for the Party's nomination and even union leaders sided overwhelmingly with Secretary Hillary Clinton, the New Democrats' strongly preferred candidate.

Hillary did not simply fail to reach out to the working class voters that the New Democrats had turned their backs on for decades; she infamously attacked them as "deplorables."  This was exactly the group of potential voters that was enraged because it believed, correctly as Tom Frank keeps showing us, that the New Democrats looked down on them and adopted policies that rigged the system against the working class.  Hillary's insult confirmed their most powerful bases for their rage against her.  Her insult was an early Christmas present to Trump.  Her attempt to walk the insult back was doomed.

Hillary Clinton handled things so miserably that she allowed a plutocrat whose career is based on rigging the system against the working class to become the hero of the working class.  That is world-class incompetence.  Had she followed Tom Frank's advice she would today be the President-elect.  The real cost, however, of her failure will be enormous damage to our democracy, the safety of the world, and the damage that President Trump will do to the working class as he systematically betrays their interests.

The first test of whether the Wall Street-wing of the Democratic Party has learned any of the lessons Tom Frank tried to teach them is whether President Obama will continue with his threat to try to have the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) approved by the lame duck session of Congress.  Obama, who was elected on the promise that he would stop TPP, should listen to Senators Sanders and Warren and honor his promise to the voters to stop TPP.  He must begin the process of the Democrats winning back the support of the working class.

The leaders of the democratic-wing of the Democratic Party need to move forward assertively to retake control of their Party.  The current head of the DNC has been exposed as part of the effort to prevent Senator Sanders from winning the nomination.  She should resign tomorrow.  The Clintons should cease acting as Party leaders.

A period of enormous corruption and elite fraud is coming soon as the Trump administration brings its signature characteristic – crony capitalism – to bear to control all three branches of government.  Trump promises to deregulate Wall Street, appoint top supervisors chosen for their unwillingness to supervise, and appoint judges who will allow CEOs to loot with impunity.  Trump promises to outdo even the savage anti-media and anti-whistleblower policies of the Obama administration.  The House and Senate committee chairs will intensify their blatantly partisan use of investigations while refusing to conduct real oversight hearings revealing the elite fraud and corruption.

The progressive Senate Democrats will have to be innovative and stalwart in these circumstances to find ways to blow the whistle repeatedly on the mounting corruption.  Their challenge will be to lead despite having no real institutional power.  Democrats should start by doing what they should have done in 2004 – take Tom Frank's warnings deadly seriously.





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