The 2016 Elections

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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby wilko185 » Sun Sep 25, 2016 1:14 pm

I just want to tell you ... good luck. We're all counting on you.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby hamlet » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:54 am

wilko185 wrote:I just want to tell you ... good luck. We're all counting on you.


Ironically, I said the same thing more or less to a number of folks across the pond in the run up to the Brexit vote. That went somewhere . . . interesting . . . really quickly.


Waiting on the debate tonight, which I will have to record and play tomorrow since they air it after my bedtime. I doubt greatly that it will actually sway my opinion at this point, I'm just deathly curious as to how this drama will play out. Personally, I'm rooting for a nicely sized meteorite to descend upon the stage splattering both candidates into a fine red mist on live television. It would certainly be in keeping with the tone of the entire campaign so far and it might pave the way to actual candidates that I can stomach.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby wilko185 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:27 pm

Yeah, Giant Meteor 2016 has strong support this year.

To be serious, I'm a bit dumbfounded at the whole "they're just as bad as each other" stance that a lot of Americans seem to be taking.

Clinton should be a reasonably competent president, who is no more or less slimy than any other president that has held office for the past few decades.

But Trump is an existential threat to democracy itself. He does not care for the Constitution, he has compromising ties to foreign powers, he is a compulsive liar, he denies basic tenets of science, he seems intent on making nuclear war more likely, he exploits the poor for personal gain, he is unacceptably racist and miogynist, he has no concept of diplomacy, he is wilfully and dangerously ignorant on many topics, his economic arguments are so shallow as to be frankly a joke ... by any measure I can think of, the man is unfit to hold any democratic office at all, let alone be a serious contender for the presidency.

And yet, here we are. I'm scared, even from the safe distance of another continent.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby hamlet » Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:39 am

Wilko, I personally don't recall having said they're as bad as each other. In fact, I plan to vote Hillary this year for . . . well . . . a lot of reasons, but most specifically because she's the less bad option.

However, there are a lot of reasons why she's not a good candidate or a good president.

Mind, these are all personal, so take them with a truck load of salt.

1. I, personally, don't like her. Her entire being irritates me. She has none of the charisma of her husband, though I think she's probably a bit smarter than he is in terms of political acumen. She doesn't have the oomph to pull it off in spite of that. Yes, that's a bit petty, but there it is and I think it's somewhat valid.

2. She's four more years of what we've already had 8 years of. No, I'm not going to sit here and throw out the old canards about how Obama has been an unmitigated disaster to the world. He's not. I genuinely believe he's done his best and had all the right intentions, but I do think that, all in all, he's made a LOT of big time errors and left a lot of things in worse shape than when they landed on his desk. A short list, but not complete: relations with Russia and former Soviet Republics, relations with Israel and Muslim nations as a whole (no, not entirely his fault, but still the buck has to stop somewhere don't it?), healthcare (it'll get it's own bullet below), native industry, partisan politics (again, not wholly his fault, but he's done precisely NILL to actually reconcile groups and just pointed fingers when things get ugly), the economy is recovering with all the alacrity of an Alzheimer's patient and is currently unstable especially if you're a little guy,

3. The email scandal. Blown wildly out of proportion by her opponents, but still, she committed a crime, or her underlings did so probably at her behest. No, she should not be prosecuted, no, even if she weren't a candidate no further action should be taken and seriously, people need to get past this, but here's the thing - it speaks of her character and her ability to handle sensitive and classified information appropriately. The rules exist for reasons, and yes, they do cover what to do when mistakes happen because they do happen. And the rules governing mistakes are actually quite easy. After the issue came up, all she had to do was say "if we've made a mistake, we'll have appropriate action taken to rectify that mistake, we apologize for any persons affected . . ." But she went into denial mode and, as I understand it, tried to cover it up. Wrong move. Not something I want a president to do.

Certainly, Trump would have done worse, but that does not exonerate her.

4. Affordable Healthcare Act. No, seriously, I think this is a big problem that folks really don't understand. It was a bad plan when originally proposed by Republicans in the way back times and it's a bad plan now. I tell you this now from personal experience with it. My wife was on one of the plans and working a part time minimum wage job at the time. The plan ran her $500/month and even with all the rebates offered was still paying somewhere north of $300/month for it not counting co-pays and etc. That's about as affordable as a new $70,000 Tesla is. And penalizing people for not buying healthcare with money that they don't have? That's just stupid.

And then there's the unintended consequences. Rightly or wrongly, it's the reason that the Insurance Companies have all but literally gone insane lately even if you're not involved in the exchanges. My insurance is repeatedly denying things left and right even after it has approved them and we are in a CONSTANT state of struggle with them and the hospital over recent bills to the tune of nearly $10,000. That we just don't have and shouldn't have to pay at all ($5000 for an ambulance ride because it was discovered well after the fact that the ambulance was out of network, that one's new to me) and the hospital is being hard-assed about it because they're just trying to collect anything at all.

No, the AHCA is not an improvement.

Well . . . I have more reasons, but I'm going to stop here. Long story shortened slightly, there are real and concrete reasons why Hillary is not exactly a great candidate and probably wouldn't be a good president. She's not as bad as The Donald, but she's not exactly an ace either.

No, I don't want her, but I'll take her instead of the other and just hope that she doesn't do too much damage in her time while Conservatives try to retake their own ground and get rid of the absolute lunatic fringe that has become synonymous with the Republican party which essentially leaves us with nothing.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby Storyteller » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:52 pm

I expect nothing good from Clinton, but electing her would at least not damage the global status quo further than it has been up until now. President Trump would mean a tremendous blow to the West as any kind of united force on the global stage.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby Aravar » Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:14 pm

hamlet wrote:3. The email scandal. Blown wildly out of proportion by her opponents, but still, she committed a crime, or her underlings did so probably at her behest. No, she should not be prosecuted, no, even if she weren't a candidate no further action should be taken and seriously, people need to get past this, but here's the thing - it speaks of her character and her ability to handle sensitive and classified information appropriately.


I am shocked that you dismiss criminal conduct so casually. One of the fundamental principles of common law constitutional thinking: even back to the Middle ages. there was an old saying: there is no-one above the King save God and the Law, for it is the Law that makes man King.

If the answer to blatant law-breaking among those in power is a simple shrug of the shoulders then God help us all.

Personally, I don't trust Hilary on foreign affairs. Some of the Western Establishment, including her new-found friend Bush, are too cosy with the Saudis (with their unparalelled record on civil liberties) for my liking. I fear that Hillary may try to face down Putin in a dangerous way.

Stiil, what would I know? I am one of the thick, deluded, racists who voted for Brexit.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby wilko185 » Thu Sep 29, 2016 3:03 pm

Going by the rule of law, guilt for a crime is ultimately a question for the courts. I guess Clinton is as much guilty of mishandling classified emails as, say, Trump is guilty of tax fraud - not at all, as yet. Of course, Clinton has been thoroughly investigated by the FBI who found the facts did not support a prosecution, so case closed. But for Trump the IRS are still investigating, the jury is out, and the evidence is mounting all the time.

One could say I'm being pedantic. Court verdicts don't mean much at a certain level of corruption - after all, Nixon was never found guilty, but no one doubts he was a crook (pardons are a perk of the job). But I agree with hamlet, in the scheme of things, this email scandal is not much at all.

Aravar wrote:Personally, I don't trust Hilary on foreign affairs. Some of the Western Establishment, including her new-found friend Bush, are too cosy with the Saudis (with their unparalelled record on civil liberties) for my liking. I fear that Hillary may try to face down Putin in a dangerous way.

Can I ask if you trust her less than Trump on this? Their respective relationships to the Russian dictator make me forget which of them is meant to be the conservative candidate here.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby Aravar » Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:40 pm

I do trust Hillary less on this because she has a history of bellicosity in office.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby hamlet » Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:24 am

Aravar: First, apologies if my opinion on the Brexit is strong and . . . shall we say "coloured" . . . by my general point of view. No insult intended, but I do feel that Britain exiting the Union is enormously inadvisable on the grandest terms. Even more so than, say, Texas voting to secede from the US or such like. The EU is, much like the US was in the old days, a grand social experiment as much as it is a economic and social association. If this precedent is set IMO, it loses a lot of what makes it strong now and suddenly folks who aren't happy with being told what they don't like to hear will just start backing out one after the other and the whole thing will fall apart. That's not a good thing, again IMO.

Second, I do not dismiss her actions casually or lightly, not least because she's made my day to day life specifically 2% more miserable because of her actions. (all statistics fabricated with no basis on any statistical method for the sake of illustrating a point) In all likelihood, she committed a crime. I would like if she were prosecuted, but that comes with a VERY BAD THING. It would be, in all reality, the deciding factor of the election by entities other than the voters. If the FBI had recommended prosecution, the election would have gone to Trump because of that, in effect deciding the whole of it if only because of the continuing scandal. It would be salacious scandal overriding the highest law of the US, which is directly to your point.

I don't dismiss it or lighten it. I am saying getting past it is merely the lesser of evils, and I hate it all the more because of that.



Wilko: You are technically correct, which as Hermes Conrad would point out is the best kind of correct. However, and there always is one, she's almost certainly done something wrong there if not criminal. It does not absolve her of any wrongdoing simply because the court of law has not convicted her. Just because a court of law has not convicted my neighbor of stealing my lawn ornament does not mean that it is still planted firmly in my lawn as opposed to his garden shed.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby Storyteller » Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:16 pm

Aravar wrote: I fear that Hillary may try to face down Putin in a dangerous way.

I fear that she won't.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby wilko185 » Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:12 am

Aravar wrote:I do trust Hillary less on this because she has a history of bellicosity in office.

Clinton is certainly more hawkish than Obama, say. There is a stark difference between the candidates on the idea of USA as world policeman. Trump of course has no record in office for us to examine, but his isolationist policy seems to me to be in the end more dangerous than Clinton's intervensionism. Trump explicitly encourages the proliferation of nuclear weapons among more countries, as his US won't be on hand to step in and defend them. He backs away from the US's NATO obligations, and neither knows nor cares about Putin's expansionist ambitions. However, Trump does seem open to attacking ISIS, and using military force in the US's financial interests ("take their oil"). His own nuclear philosophy is lifted from Jack Handey:

"Instead of trying to build newer and bigger weapons of destruction, we should be thinking about getting more use out of the ones we already have."

hamlet wrote:Wilko: You are technically correct, which as Hermes Conrad would point out is the best kind of correct. However, and there always is one, she's almost certainly done something wrong there if not criminal. It does not absolve her of any wrongdoing simply because the court of law has not convicted her. Just because a court of law has not convicted my neighbor of stealing my lawn ornament does not mean that it is still planted firmly in my lawn as opposed to his garden shed.

Sure. My point was more to Aravar's comment on Clinton being above the law. She isn't, any more than Bill was when he was impeached.

I should say, thanks hamlet for giving your view on some of the domestic policy stuff earlier. I expect that those issues will be more decisive to the election result than any amount of foreign diplomacy wrangling. (Or more important than either, the candidates' respective personal qualities).
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby hamlet » Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:26 am

wilko185 wrote:I should say, thanks hamlet for giving your view on some of the domestic policy stuff earlier. I expect that those issues will be more decisive to the election result than any amount of foreign diplomacy wrangling. (Or more important than either, the candidates' respective personal qualities).


Well sure. I suspect that domestic issues will be a much bigger factor in this election than many in the past simply because, no matter who's "fault" it is, there are A LOT of folks who find themselves worse off today than they were 8 years ago, myself included. The president that promises the most domestically to folks is likely to see a huge boost because of it. And that's another reason that I just don't care for Clinton: she's got this strange impression that things have been going well. I honestly disagree with her on that. From the perspective of someone in the middle class with not a lot of savings (living from check to check does that to ya!), things are unstable and frightening. If we get 4-8 more years like the ones we've had, the best a lot of folks can hope for is to simply tread water.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby MerriadocBrandybuck » Tue Oct 18, 2016 6:56 am

This is my first Presidential election as a US citizen eligible to vote. I can't in good conscience vote for either Trump or Hillary. I find both detestable and simply can't put my name behind either candidate.

Watching this election campaign is getting on my nerves.

Crips and Bloods. Our country has a need for us to not blindly follow crappy candidates like colors for gang members. While I believe in every one shutting up, privately pulling a lever and voting their conscience with zero explanation to anyone, actively schilling for a party is something I totally abhor. No party I know deserves the blind obedience they get. These parties have one goal--stay in power. They do nothing to improve our country. In fact they are all that's wrong with our country. Democrat shill. Republican shill..... Both just gang members and a huge part of the problem.

I've watched quietly for months as many friends of friends post nonsense after nonsense article designed to fragment our citizenship and designed solely to win an election with zero other goals. These candidates and these stories are absolutely reprehensible, yet the crips and bloods shill for them. They keep fighting the fight that will keep America crappy.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby hamlet » Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:40 am

That's how I felt last time and I sat out the election personally.

However, this time around, I will hold my nose and vote for somebody I dislike simply on the premise of not wanting to have any chance that the other candidate will get the electoral votes for NJ. I find the premise terrifying enough that it would compel me to move out of the US just to get away from it. So I will vote to put the other candidate in office and deny the lunatic a seat.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby Frelga » Thu Oct 20, 2016 5:24 pm

Whether or not the two major parties are equivalent is an argument I have no time for today (but three words: Supreme Court nominations). But I doubt that Trump represents the Republican party as it stood even in the last election. This is a power grab by a demagogue not seen since 1933 and stopping it takes precedence over longer term fixes. Which, I agree, are urgently needed.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby hamlet » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:30 am

Frelga:

1) That the parties are equivalent is not the argument, or at least has never been mine. It's that they are both equally horrible, but in their own unique and special ways.

2) If you're comparing Trump to Hitler, I believe you've gone a bit round the bend. There's no comparison as far as I can tell, or at least no real comparison. Can we maybe leave the Nazi's out of things unless we're actively talking about WWII?
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby Storyteller » Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:47 am

If Trump is Hitler, he is Hitler from a Mel Brooks movie.
"...Their aim in war with Germany is nothing more, nothing less than extermination of Hitlerism... There is absolutely no justification for this kind of war. The ideology of Hitlerism, just like any other ideological system, can be accepted or rejected, this is a matter of political views. But everyone grasps, that an ideology can not be exterminated by force, must not be finished off with a war.” - Vyacheslav Molotov, ""On the Foreign Policy of the Soviet Union", 31 October 1939
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby hamlet » Wed Oct 26, 2016 6:45 am

Storyteller wrote:If Trump is Hitler, he is Hitler from a Mel Brooks movie.


That's not fair. At least Mel Brooks managed to get the costume and hair down. Trump looks like he's cross-playing a fascist tribble.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby Cerin » Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:04 am

I agree with Merriadoc, which, if memory serves, is kind of rare.

This over the top rhetoric regarding Trump is what upsets me. If people really believe Trump is an existential threat to democracy, then what must their response be should he win the election? Must they not then take to the streets, do everything in their power to subvert the results of the election and overthrow the government? Is this what you are advocating, Wilko? If not, then I wish you'd tone down the rhetoric to something that matches reality.

Yes, Trump is an awful man, and we have less real indication than we normally do, of how he would preside if he won the election (which really seems very unlikely). But the earth is not going to go careening off its axis if he wins. I think Clinton in the White House presents about as scary a prospect as Trump in the White House, albeit in different ways. In my view, the world is in a very precarious state, and will continue so regardless of the outcome of this election.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby hamlet » Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:38 am

I'm slightly baffled in that I agree with your post, Cerin, 100%. That happens very rarely.

I don't believe that Clinton is as big a danger (using the word "danger" fairly loosely mind) as Trump is, though I think that what she represents (another 4-8 years of what we just had under Obama) could be very bad for actual middle and low class people while the corporate and wealthy pile into their lifeboats and ride it out till friendlier times come to rescue them.

Trump, on the other hand, makes me actively fear for my family's safety on several levels.

I know I'd rather see Clinton in office if only because I have a hope of riding out her presidency more than Trump's and that we'd be in a better state after it than the other, but that's being damned with faint praise.


What I am moderately excited about is the possibility that the Republican (and possibly Democrat) party(ies) face a chance of detonating and breaking the 2 party stranglehold on US politics for at least a little while. If the Republicans and Democrats can eject their worst elements respectively and drag themselves back to center-right and center-left respectively and let the ejected elements form their own parties, things will actually become more interesting. The cynic in me, though, says that's unlikely to actually happen in the end.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby wilko185 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:15 am

Cerin wrote: If people really believe Trump is an existential threat to democracy, then what must their response be should he win the election? Must they not then take to the streets, do everything in their power to subvert the results of the election and overthrow the government? Is this what you are advocating, Wilko? If not, then I wish you'd tone down the rhetoric to something that matches reality.

Well, as someone once said, "those who will defend authority against rebellion must not themselves rebel". I'm not advocating subverting the election result, but I am saying that Trump has given every indication that he will be the one doing the subversion. I think you're right, and that the consequences of a Trump rule will not actually be put to the test. But Trump's "reality" as it exists to date includes that he has:

  • baselessly questioned the citizenship of the first black US president
  • said that if elected he will seek to jail his opponent via a prosecutor he will appoint
  • cheered on violence from his supporters against political opponents
  • obliquely suggested that his opponent be murdered
  • indicated that he will not respect the outcome of the democratic vote, in the event it does not go his way
  • encouraged voter intimidation at polling stations
  • called on a foreign power to hack government systems for his political advantage
  • expressed admiration for the "strength" shown by China's suppression at Tiananmen Square, and Kim Jong Un killing off political rivals (not to mention his Putin crush)
  • repeatedly lied about everything and anything, poisoning the politcal discourse

.. and probably a bunch of other stuff I can't remember now. I'm going to stick with "Trump = threat to democracy itself".
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby hamlet » Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:51 am

Wilko, one could generate a list of Clinton's "sins" just as easily. Double benefit for the fact that she's actually been in a position of authority and has acted on them for at least the better part of a decade. it proves not a whole lot except that humans are horrible.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby wilko185 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:23 pm

hamlet wrote:Wilko, one could generate a list of Clinton's "sins" just as easily. Double benefit for the fact that she's actually been in a position of authority and has acted on them for at least the better part of a decade. it proves not a whole lot except that humans are horrible.

Everyone has a list of "sins", especially politicians with a long career behind them, but we're talking here specifically about attitudes that would undermine the democratic process. I would say the Trump list paints a picture of a candidate who is a threat to democracy. I don't know if you disagree with that, and think Trump's record is just standard party-politics stuff?

Or, do you think Clinton has a similar history of being anti democracy? If so, then (a) I have yet to see her list, and (b) if you think both candidates are essentially fascists, why aren't you doing as Cerin suggests, and advocating taking back control of the system by other means?
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby Cerin » Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:18 pm

Let's take a look at someof the itens on your list, Wilko, because I think it could illustrate what I feel has been a trend to blow everything Trump has said out of proportion:


  • said that if elected he will seek to jail his opponent via a prosecutor he will appoint -- I believe what he said was that he would appoint a special prosecutor to look into -- what, the emails, the foundation? I don't see that there is anything so terrible about saying that. Clinton has definitely done questionable things, and it appears that she has repeatedly lied when asked about them. I think it's reasonable to appoint someone to look into them; it's been reported that the State Department exerted pressure on the FBI about the emails, so clearly an independent investigation would not be out of order, historically speaking. That's quite different than implying that his opponent would be jailed because she is his opponent.
  • cheered on violence from his supporters against political opponents -- I think he did this in a joking way, which was of course extremely irresponsible and foolish, but I don't believe he really wants his supporters to hurt people. In fact, it has been Trump protesters that have engaged in incidents of violence and destruction of property, more than Trump supporters.
  • obliquely suggested that his opponent be murdered -- That remark was very cryptic, and it isn't clear enough for me to interpret as you have done.
  • indicated that he will not respect the outcome of the democratic vote, in the event it does not go his way - we have tremendous problems with our electoral process in this country. This notion that our process, that the results of our process can't be questioned is ridiculous. 80% of our votes are cast on machines that have no paper trail for verification, whose proprietary codes are privately owned by strongly partisan corporations. Partisan state officials are in charge of running the elections and counting the votes. Massive disenfranchisement goes on routinely. There is every good reason, and it should be our duty, to carefully look at the results of elections and raise questions about dubious results. So I think Trump is doing us a favor here, by bringing up this idea. There is great potential for corruption in our electoral process, and it desperately needs reform. But no one will talk about it.
  • encouraged voter intimidation at polling stations - I think what he encouraged was a watchful eye, though I don't know what sort of thing he had in mind that people should watch out for. But Sanders supporters did this during the primaries, and no one accused him or his supporters of being out of line. In fact, they documented an enormous amount of disenfranchisement. So I think being watchful and aware when voting is a good idea.
  • called on a foreign power to hack government systems for his political advantage -- He said that jokingly, and his remark wasn't even about hacking, it was about finding emails that Clinton had deleted.
  • repeatedly lied about everything and anything, poisoning the politcal discourse -- Clinton is an inveterate liar as well. I think they all lie routinely, though not as part of a pathology, as Trump does. I agree that Trump has degraded the political discourse, but I would say it is with his rudeness, sneering, mocking and generally dreadful public behavior.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for calling out Trump on his bad behavior. But what disturbs me more than anything Trump has said or done (because he is, after all, only one man), is this phenomenon of everything Trump says or does being reported with sensationalistic hyperbole, and the way that deliberate painting in the worst possible light feeds into a frenzied mob mentality. Nothing you've listed there can even begin to equate to an existential threat to democracy, in my opinion. And yet here we are, with normally rational people waiting for the sky to fall because a badly behaved man with a personality disorder might (but almost certainly won't) become President.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby Democritus » Thu Oct 27, 2016 10:20 am

Cerin - In terms of an "existential threat" to democracy, I am not sure if Trump is entirely there yet, but Wilko is right I think, Trump is not another politician, he has not operated within the confines of political discourse, or more importantly, operation, all through this election. I think he has proven to be more of a threat than any nominee for US President that I think of, in my lifetime. Perhaps Barry Goldwater is the last nominee who even felt as much of a harmful and damaging a candidate as Trump has proven to be.

- It is not normal for a presidential nominee of one of the two major parties, to openly collude and endorse the spying of a hostile nation (Putin's Russia) and hostile organization (WikiLeaks) on the opposition candidate.

- It is not normal for that nominee to threaten to jail his opponent if he wins the election.

- It is not normal for that candidate to state that if (when) he loses, he will not accept that result, and will claim it was rigged by his opponent, so that his supporters will not accept the result either.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg, of what would make that nominee a dreadful president in my opinion. Perhaps the worst American president since Andrew Johnson (1865 - 1869). However, it is the three examples I listed, that makes Trump a candidate for potential existential threat to American democracy, or at least the candidate most likely to become one, within living memory.

We know he is a buffoon, the "blowhard's blowhard", that mere blowhards like Chris Christie or Ted Cruz could not compete with, in this era of televized blowhards, brought to us by reality tv and 'info-tainment'. What we would have to find out, if he won, was just how much of a dangerous blowhard he is.

I think quite dangerous.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby wilko185 » Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:58 pm

Sorry Cerin, I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on the proportions of the Trump threat. It may be unfair of me to say "the thing with dogwhistles is you either hear them or you don't", but assuming we've both been paying attention to the same facts, maybe that's at least part of it.

I must say I find it strange that you identify the problem as "the way that deliberate painting in the worst possible light feeds into a frenzied mob mentality". Surely Trump himself is one who is feeding into a 'frenzied mob mentality', quite deliberately so. His influence on his core supporters is almost entirely unmediated. At the least, he has created such a bubble that any fact-checking or alternative views from the mainstream media or independent observers can be almost reflexively dismissed by his followers.

Trump's "jokes" are troubling, because he never clarifies, or backs down, or apologises, or spreads calm. Not all "jokes" are harmless. He just drops an ambiguous outrageous statement which is a dogwhistle to his worst supporters, and then moves on to the next speech, leaving his surrogates to flounder in his wake trying to recast or spin his statements into something halfway acceptable and so maintain his veneer of respectability as a credible major party candidate. One or two rash statements I could give him the benefit of the doubt, but this is a consistent pattern.

E.g., here's an example of how he apologises and backs down from saying something absurd and offensive, in this case that Obama and Clinton "founded ISIS":
"So I said "the founder of ISIS", obviously I'm being sarcastic, then-, then-, but not that sarcastic, to be honest with you"

He just can't bring himself to a clear disavowal, so his supporters can still go away with the dogwhistle wink and nod.

To pick up on some of those points I raised (I might have time in future to come back to this, but I think this is enough to be going on with :) ):

clearly an independent investigation would not be out of order, historically speaking. That's quite different than implying that his opponent would be jailed because she is his opponent.

The "lock her up" chants he condones at his rallies hardly speak to a clear-minded pursuit of impartial justice.

I don't believe he really wants his supporters to hurt people

Really? Some Trump quotes from his rallies:
"The audience hit back and that's what we need a little bit more of."
"Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do, I'll defend you in court, don't worry about it."
"If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously."
"I love the old days, you know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They'd be carried out on stretcher folks."
"I'd like to punch him in the face, I'll tell ya"


There are more. Having observed the atmosphere in the video of some of his rallies, I couldn't go along with the idea that these are all taken out of context. Do you have a similar list of counter-quotes where Trump calmed the crowd, or explained to his audience why violence was not the right answer, or to make it clear to everyone that he was merely "joking"?

This notion that our process, that the results of our process can't be questioned is ridiculous. 80% of our votes are cast on machines that have no paper trail for verification, whose proprietary codes are privately owned by strongly partisan corporations. Partisan state officials are in charge of running the elections and counting the votes. Massive disenfranchisement goes on routinely. There is every good reason, and it should be our duty, to carefully look at the results of elections and raise questions about dubious results. So I think Trump is doing us a favor here, by bringing up this idea. There is great potential for corruption in our electoral process, and it desperately needs reform. But no one will talk about it.

But Trump is not raising any specific problems with the process. He is merely saying, very late in the campaign and when votes are already being cast [paraphrase]: "If I lose, this vote is rigged, for reasons I won't specify. But let's keep a close eye on those voting in predominately black areas". This not raising healthy concerns with the democratic process. It is laying the ground for a post-election mess, and possibly a crisis.

Also, are you seriously arguing that Trump is worried about voter disenfranchisement?

obliquely suggested that his opponent be murdered -- That remark was very cryptic, and it isn't clear enough for me to interpret as you have done.

I'm a bit curious as to what you thought he actually meant there, but it really doesn't matter. What matters is how that sort of comment would be interpreted by his audience. And there is no doubt in my mind that a substantial minority (at the least) would interpret it as "Hey, you know what, the Republican nominee is saying the Democrat nominee is such a threat to our rights that it would be understandable for someone to take up arms against her". If Trump didn't know that when he said it, he certainly knew it when people called him on it, and yet he did nothing to counteract the impression he was creating of violence being a legitmate response.

Maybe I should have paid closer attention to previous US elections, but all this isn't ok and normal, is it?


PS: Hi demo!
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby Cerin » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:58 pm

wilko185 wrote:I must say I find it strange that you identify the problem as "the way that deliberate painting in the worst possible light feeds into a frenzied mob mentality". Surely Trump himself is one who is feeding into a 'frenzied mob mentality', quite deliberately so. His influence on his core supporters is almost entirely unmediated. At the least, he has created such a bubble that any fact-checking or alternative views from the mainstream media or independent observers can be almost reflexively dismissed by his followers.

Trump didn't create that bubble, or the state of mind of his supporters. They've been meticulously cultivated for decades by right wing media. He's merely taking advantage of the work others have done. I see Trump as a symptom of a long-standing malaise, the eruption, if you will, of a volcano that's been simmering since the 1980s. People are distracted by Trump and mistake him as the event, but he is merely the expression of a long-term degradation.


The "lock her up" chants he condones at his rallies hardly speak to a clear-minded pursuit of impartial justice.

The form is vulgar, but the fact remains that a clear-minded pursuit of impartial justice could reasonably result in an investigation of Clinton.


But Trump is not raising any specific problems with the process. He is merely saying, very late in the campaign and when votes are already being cast [paraphrase]: "If I lose, this vote is rigged, for reasons I won't specify. But let's keep a close eye on those voting in predominately black areas". This not raising healthy concerns with the democratic process. It is laying the ground for a post-election mess, and possibly a crisis.

Also, are you seriously arguing that Trump is worried about voter disenfranchisement?.

Again, his approach is vulgar, but the underlying concept is sound. If people weren't so complacent about our system, perhaps we would never have had to endure the Bush years. As to whether Trump is worried about voter disenfranchisement, I don't know. But why not? It's a big problem. Voters can be easily stripped from the voter rolls. They'll cast a provisional (ha, ha) ballot and their votes won't be counted. For whatever reason, I don't automatically impute the worst possible motive to the things Trump says.

obliquely suggested that his opponent be murdered -- That remark was very cryptic, and it isn't clear enough for me to interpret as you have done.

I'm a bit curious as to what you thought he actually meant there, but it really doesn't matter. What matters is how that sort of comment would be interpreted by his audience. And there is no doubt in my mind that a substantial minority (at the least) would interpret it as "Hey, you know what, the Republican nominee is saying the Democrat nominee is such a threat to our rights that it would be understandable for someone to take up arms against her". If Trump didn't know that when he said it, he certainly knew it when people called him on it, and yet he did nothing to counteract the impression he was creating of violence being a legitmate response.

If I recall, he said something like, 'If Clinton picks the judges, the second amendment is toast, nothing you can do folks. Or maybe, second amendment people, I don't know . . .' I have no idea what he might have meant! I don't see a clue there, to base an interpretation on. I think Trump riffs constantly, and the face value meaning I see in that sentence is, maybe Second Amendment defenders could somehow save the amendment even if Clinton did pick the judges. But then, I'm rather a literalist. Jumping to the conclusion that he meant -- of course, folks, one of you could go and shoot her and then she won't get to pick the judges -- that just isn't the sort of leap I'm willing to make.


Maybe I should have paid closer attention to previous US elections, but all this isn't ok and normal, is it?

Yes, it is normal! That's what I mean by, Trump is a symptom. He is a symptom the vacuousness of our political system, of the superficiality and ignorance of our society, and of the general degradation of the democracy that has been going on in this country for years! This is us. This is what we have sunk to. If we had not, Trump could not have succeeded.

That will have to be it for me. I have no more time to give to Trump! Thanks for exchanging thoughts with me!

Democritus, I thought it was amusing that you cited Barry Goldwater, since Hillary started out her political career working for him. :)
Last edited by Cerin on Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby hamlet » Fri Oct 28, 2016 6:03 am

wilko185 wrote:I must say I find it strange that you identify the problem as "the way that deliberate painting in the worst possible light feeds into a frenzied mob mentality". Surely Trump himself is one who is feeding into a 'frenzied mob mentality', quite deliberately so. His influence on his core supporters is almost entirely unmediated. At the least, he has created such a bubble that any fact-checking or alternative views from the mainstream media or independent observers can be almost reflexively dismissed by his followers.


Actually, this is a huge part of the problem. Trump is not feeding into a "frenzied mob mentality." He's playing off of a large segment of the population of the US that feels that it's been ignored, left behind, and dropped into limbo. People who feel that they've been insulted repeatedly. And, to a certain extent, they're entirely correct.

These are not necessarily the people that folks like to imagine, hyper-white, hyper-racist, etc. They are the folks who, after 10 years, find themselves worse off and with no conceivable avenue to better prospects from any candidate and Trump is there telling them that he's going to make it all better. He's the only one actually talking to them and it's a HUGE failing of every other candidate.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby wilko185 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:38 pm

Hamlet: I read this Motherjones article a few weeks ago, by a journo who had spent extended time with what might be thought of as the Trump base. It was sort of heart-breaking. Trump likens his campaign to the Brexit one, I think he's more correct than he knows, in the sense that he commands a big vote from people being facilely promised something that is really not going to be delivered.

Cerin: sorry you don't have time to talk about Trump. I find your general attitude to be quite blase, but I sincerely hope he's just a footnote to American history.
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Re: The 2016 Elections

Postby hamlet » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:22 am

Wlko: Yes, there's some truth in that article, though I think it misses a lot when it's aiming at its point and determined to hit it. It misses a lot of things, like why, for instance, one of the more affluent counties in NJ which has traditionally voted Democrat for the last 50 years suddenly has a ridiculously strong showing for Donald Trump. Maybe they're just loud (I'll admit, that's a good explanation) but I think there's a point that a lot of folks are missing while they're going on like this. And that point is that the "anxious middle" as the author terms them are not a demographically definable group, really. It's not poor folks in Louisiana or Mississippi. It's not just manufacturing workers who live paycheck to paycheck. It's not just one group. Trump's appeal is broader than that. It's an appeal to a HUGE number of folks who either feel left behind or are being left behind (see the ENTIRETY of the coal belt for instance).

On some days, in my most cynical and depressed, I'm almost one of them. I live in northern NJ and make what by any rational measure would be more than enough to get on with and raise a family, but that's simply not the case. On my salary 35 years ago, my parents were able to raise me in a bigger home than I have now, take better and more frequent vacations, buy new cars every 10 years (I'll be lucky if/when my car finally dies a horrible death that I'll be able to replace it at all), and always have food on the table and make sure everybody went to the doctor regularly. That's a pipe dream now. Mrs. H and I are putting off children (perhaps entirely) simply because we know for a fact that we wouldn't be able to afford even one. Our insurance costs are jumping 25% in the new year and are still better than any plan on the exchanges. We'll be extraordinarily lucky if nothing comes along and upsets the very delicate equilibrium that's settled in. Living paycheck to paycheck in an educated white collar job barely scraping enough together each week to pay for food and gas and not being able to save anything except for the automatic deductions from my weekly paycheck isn't living. Having somebody promise to make it all better, no matter how thin his lies are, is extremely alluring, especially when I know the alternative is a large part of what put me into this position to begin with!

The article does hit at some truth, but really, it's a privileged and well to do white person going on safari to leer at the poor people and it only remotely approaches a very small part of the real situation.
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