Is this why the Donald has not completely crashed and burned … yet?

Written By: - Date published: 8:31 am, October 16th, 2016 - 173 comments
Categories: International, us politics - Tags:

Thank you god for trump

Like most of you I cannot imagine how Donald Trump’s campaign for the Whitehouse has not imploded completely. Certainly it is tottering badly but given what has happened over the past few weeks it should be dead and buried. Nate Silver currently gives Trump a 14% chance of success and Clinton a 6% lead over him in the polls. But I keep wondering why the lead is not 60%.

One reason of course will be good old political allegiance. The more dedicated tea party aligned right will never vote for a Democratic President let alone a woman, but it is telling that the likes of former President George HW Bush has decided to vote for her.

Another interesting theory suggests that it has a lot to do with the makeup of the right wing brain, and how Trump very effectively pushes the correct buttons as far as right wingers are concerned.

Bobby Azarian, a US based Neuroscientist has posted this very interesting article suggesting that support for Trump may relate factors including the structural makeup of his supporters’ brains.

From Rawstory:

There’s no doubt that Donald Trump has said many things that would have been political suicide for any other Republican candidate. And almost every time he made one of these shocking statements, political analysts on both the left and the right predicted that he’d lose supporters because of it. But as we have clearly seen over the past year, they were dead wrong every time. Trump appears to be almost totally bulletproof.

The only thing that might be more perplexing than the psychology of Donald Trump is the psychology of his supporters. In their eyes, The Donald can do no wrong. Even Trump himself seems to be astonished by this phenomenon. “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s, like, incredible.”

Azarian offers four possible reasons.  First up is the Dunning-Kruger effect.

The Dunning-Kruger effect explains that the problem isn’t just that they are misinformed; it’s that they are completely unaware that they are misinformed. This creates a double burden.

Studies have shown that people who lack expertise in some area of knowledge often have a cognitive bias that prevents them from realizing that they lack expertise. As psychologist David Dunning puts it in an op-ed for Politico, “The knowledge and intelligence that are required to be good at a task are often the same qualities needed to recognize that one is not good at that task — and if one lacks such knowledge and intelligence, one remains ignorant that one is not good at the task. This includes political judgment.” Essentially, they’re not smart enough to realize they’re dumb.

And if one is under the illusion that they have sufficient or even superior knowledge, then they have no reason to defer to anyone else’s judgment. This helps explain why even nonpartisan experts — like military generals and Independent former Mayor of New York/billionaire CEO Michael Bloomberg — as well as some respected Republican politicians, don’t seem to be able to say anything that can change the minds of loyal Trump followers.

A second theory is that Trump supporters are Hypersensitive to Threat because of their likely brain structure and very receptive to Trump’s clearly targeted messaging.

Science has unequivocally shown that the conservative brain has an exaggerated fear response when faced with stimuli that may be perceived as threatening. A classic study in the journal Science found that conservatives have a stronger physiological reaction to startling noises and graphic images compared to liberals. A brain-imaging study published in Current Biology revealed that those who lean right politically tend to have a larger amygdala — a structure that is electrically active during states of fear and anxiety. And a 2014 fMRI study found that it is possible to predict whether someone is a liberal or conservative simply by looking at their brain activity while they view threatening or disgusting images, such as mutilated bodies. Specifically, the brains of self-identified conservatives generated more activity overall in response to the disturbing images.

So how does this help explain the unbridled loyalty of Trump supporters? These brain responses are automatic, and not influenced by logic or reason. As long as Trump continues his fear mongering by constantly portraying Muslims and Mexican immigrants as imminent dangers, many conservative brains will involuntarily light up like light bulbs being controlled by a switch. Fear keeps his followers energized and focused on safety. And when you think you’ve found your protector, you become less concerned with remarks that would normally be seen as highly offensive.

A third offered explanation related to hypersensitivity to threat is that Trump’s consistent invocation of terrorism swings people to the right.

Terror Management Theory predicts that when people are reminded of their own mortality, which happens with fear mongering, they will more strongly defend those who share their worldviews and national or ethnic identity, and act out more aggressively towards those who do not. Hundreds of studies have confirmed this hypothesis, and some have specifically shown that triggering thoughts of death tends to shift people towards the right.

Not only do death reminders increase nationalism, they influence actual voting habits in favor of more conservative presidential candidates. And more disturbingly, in a study with American students, scientists found that making mortality salient increased support for extreme military interventions by American forces that could kill thousands of civilians overseas. Interestingly, the effect was present only in conservatives, which can likely be attributed to their heightened fear response.

By constantly emphasizing existential threat, Trump creates a psychological condition that makes the brain respond positively rather than negatively to bigoted statements and divisive rhetoric. Liberals and Independents who have been puzzled over why Trump hasn’t lost supporters after such highly offensive comments need look no further than Terror Management Theory.

The last offered theory is basically that Trump is a much better performer than Clinton in terms of attracting and holding people’s attention.

According to a recent study that monitored brain activity while participants watched 40 minutes of political ads and debate clips from the presidential candidates, Donald Trump is unique in his ability to keep the brain engaged. While Hillary Clinton could only hold attention for so long, Trump kept both attention and emotional arousal high throughout the viewing session. This pattern of activity was seen even when Trump made remarks that individuals didn’t necessarily agree with. His showmanship and simple messages clearly resonate at a visceral level.

Essentially, the loyalty of Trump supporters may in part be explained by America’s addiction with entertainment and reality TV. To some, it doesn’t matter what Trump actually says because he’s so amusing to watch. With Donald, you are always left wondering what outrageous thing he is going to say or do next. He keeps us on the edge of our seat, and for that reason, some Trump supporters will forgive anything he says. They are happy as long as they are kept entertained.

Azarian concedes that these theories do not apply to all and realises that there is a minority of left wingers who for their own reasons prefer the Donald to Clinton.

Of course these explanations do not apply to all Trump supporters. In fact, some are likely intelligent people who know better, but are supporting Trump to be rebellious or to introduce chaos into the system. They may have such distaste for the establishment and Hillary Clinton that their vote for Trump is a symbolic middle finger directed at Washington.

And if you want an on the ground human description of the people attending a Trump Rally this article by Ben Stanley from this morning’s SST provides an interesting nuanced description of what happens at a Trump rally and suggests the motivation may be as much anti establishment as anything else.

The US Presidential election is a fascinating dramatic contest for all of the wrong reasons involving two candidates one of which is troubling and the other would be a complete and utter disaster for the free world.  Lets hope the good people of America get it right.

173 comments on “Is this why the Donald has not completely crashed and burned … yet? ”

  1. b waghorn 1

    yah a trump post , maybe all the bullshit can stay here today so OM will be worth visiting today.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      I have been thinking we should run a generic daily Trump-Clinton post so that OM and DR could be used for other purposes …

      • TheExtremist 1.1.1

        Good plan

      • weka 1.1.2

        Bloody good idea micky.

      • b waghorn 1.1.3

        cool . Quarantine would be a good title

      • Nic the NZer 1.1.4

        Its always the way that immediately when a new feature gets exhibited then there are a number of other suggestions about how that feature should be functioning. It seems that the ‘Move to Open Mike’ feature (recently updated, I noticed LPrent testing it) now needs to also be able to ‘Move to Generic Daily Trump-Clinton post’.

        • weka

          I don’t think this has anything to do with the move to OM feather, and I’m not sure that is technically possible to shift posts in that way. I guess Lynn could write the code, but it’s only for a limited time period (although I guess it will continue past the election for a while).

          If such a post were put up daily it wouldn’t take very long to get people to start using that instead of OM simply by asking them to (a note as the first and last comment of OM for a while would do it, as well as a general request in the post itself).

    • Yep we can work as a team and do it your way waggy

  2. Tamati Tautuhi 2

    Just don’t mention the cat word in relation to Bill Clinton or Trump on this thread otherwise everyone will go crazy, maybe the cat is interested in red herrings?

    The reason Trump is still in the race is most of the US people realize the system is rigged and Hillary and the global elite want a punch up with Russia.

    Looks like Jill Stein is the best alternative if we wish to avoid a military showdown, the US military want to try out their new toys somewhere?

    • rhinocrates 2.1

      Generals generally don’t want to try out their toys as they know first hand what war entails. (With the exception of Curtis Le May, who was the model for Jack D. Ripper and Buck Turgidson in Dr Strangelove.

      The military contractors and pet Congresscreatures on the other hand…

      The Americans even have a term for them: “Chickenhawk,” a warmonger likely to have financial interests in arms manufacturers and armies (Bush Jnr, Dick Cheney) or who just talks big about war (Trump) but who dodged the draft (all of them).

      • Sacha 2.1.1

        Manufacturers have to encourage using up the consumables so they can sell more. Just usually ways to do that without exposing their own military to risk. Maybe arming both sides in regional wars is no longer producing a big enough return?

  3. t 4

    Samantha Bee’s team interviews Trump supporters:

  4. I’d have to say that my read is that the Donald has already crashed and burned and the Republican party are now like the parent looking at the wrecked car and wondering why they ever let the bloody teenager have the keys.

    A good analysis of the fracturing of the Republican Party is in the morning’s Guardian. Their biggest problem now is not Trump, it’s his bitter legacy. With a bit of luck, they’ll split three ways, conservative, Randian and racist, and spend a generation out of office.

    • miravox 5.1

      “Their biggest problem now is not Trump, it’s his bitter legacy”

      The anguish of reflective Republicans.

      • rhinocrates 5.1.1

        Thanks for the links TRP and M. Fascinating. Glenn Beck (FFS, WTF, OMFG!) at the end, sincerely saying that he met with GLAAD and “I’m willing to talk to anyone who’s willing to listen and chart a new course for the country.”

        There’s a podcast I listen to regularly run by a fellow who makes no secret of being a Republican (the show happens to be about aerospace and is apolitical in intent). He’s a mild-mannered midwesterner, ex Navy, and his opinion of Trump is… not kind.

  5. Ad 6

    If Trump just had a banjo all the lefties would wet their pants.

  6. Bill 7

    …support for Trump may relate factors including the structural makeup of his supporters’ brains

    Left wing “biologically” smart. Right wing “biologically” dumb. Really!?

    This rubbish seems to cycle around on a fairly regular basis and really only serves to give an air of credence to quiet thoughts of eugenics. Note. I’m not saying the type of rubbish spouted in the post is eugenics. But if we take some of the assertions in the post seriously, and then at some future date someone attempts to justify a programme of eugenics, then where are we going to turn to in order to oppose such a thing if we’ve already endorsed the underlying principle?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2

      Left wing “biologically” smart. Right wing “biologically” dumb. Really!?

      No. Not really: that isn’t what the research says. I’m sure we can all think of people on the left who might be of interest to Drs. Dunning & Kruger, for example.

      • Nic the NZer 7.2.1

        Its not what the research says, no, its what the political statements based on the research imply. If the research is correct, and many republican voters are easy to pick based on their ‘brain structure’ then this still does not tell you how many and what the variance is in the ‘republican voters’ group and the group for which you can’t predict their voting because of their ‘brain structure’.

        But the implication was that a significant group of republican voters are inherently voting based on their ‘brain structure’.

        Climate scientists have been asked to debunk and reject miss-representations of their work in the past, maybe these researchers should be asked to debunk conclusions drawn from their research on the same basis?

        • Colonial Viper

          Lefties seem to like the idea of their innate physiological and neurological superiority as proven by scientific studies (I hear the Germans once had similar ideas), why not leave them to it?

          • aerobubble

            Why do you assume that? That its superior to not flinch to fear, not seek what you know when you are under attack, are you a liberal too?

            No, seriously, how is it superior that modern media know how to press the button of fear on those susceptible and in your mind thats bad, yet you have no analysis that liberals dont have buttons media are pressing too.

            Its not bad to want to work together with those you trust when fears present themselves, thats just healthy. Whats bad is media using its power to creaye fears that aren’t rational. Like small town US thinking they were nexted after the twin towers.

            Liberals and Conservstists are just two groups necessary for a health political nation. And therein lie the problem, its too easy, and geting easier, for big corp to know all our buttons, and diretly talk to us.

            So whose pressing yours to make Liberals other?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Selective reporting: the research also shows that Lefties are more likely to have an enlarged anterior singulate cortex – so we vote based our brain structure too.

          Kanai et al 2011 say:

          …it is possible to determine the self-expressed political attitude of individuals, at least for the self-report measure we used, based on structural MRI scans.

          Although these results suggest a link between political attitudes and brain structure, it is important to note that the neural processes implicated are likely to reflect complex processes of the formation of political attitudes rather than a direct representation of political opinions per se. The conceptualizing and reasoning associated with the expression of political opinions is not necessarily limited to structures or functions of the regions we identified but will require the involvement of more widespread brain regions implicated in abstract thoughts and reasoning.

          Do you think the Right will shy away from tailoring their messages to exploit these differences? Crosby Textor have been doing it for years.

          • Nic the NZer

            Now your doing it to, stop miss-representing the research. They even took the time to dis-avow such statements while writing their summary!

            “so we vote based our brain structure too.” – Anonymous

            “Although these results suggest a link between political attitudes and brain structure, it is important to note that the neural processes implicated are likely to reflect complex processes of the formation of political attitudes rather than a direct representation of political opinions per se”.

            Crosby Textor are not miss-representing the conclusions of researchers in what they do, you are. Also, how is telling a large swathe of potential voters that they are ‘scientifically’ inferior tailoring the message to exploit these differences? I know CT are not stupid enough to promote that strategy to their clients!

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              I didn’t say one thing about “inferior”, or “superior”, for that matter, although I note that it’s a common way that CV, for example, likes to try and shut down debate on the issue.

              To clarify my point about “vote according to…” it merely serves to demonstrate that whatever is said about the Right applies equally to the Left.

              If political attitude is affected by brain structure (and why shouldn’t it be?) we’re all affected.

              And no, I didn’t say Crosby Textor were calling anyone scientifically inferior either…that was all you.

              Other studies of the brain – for example of London cabbies – show that the environment – or behaviour – can cause physical changes in the brain, so any notion that eugenics is a consideration is just another attempt to shut down discussion.

              If Kanai et al is robust it will be strengthened by further studies, and if not we’ll still know more than we did before. Sticking your fingers in your ears won’t work.

    • I’m also quite uncomfortable with the use of “science” to explain things like political orientation. It plays into a lot of really shitty assumptions – as you said, Bill, “left wing smart, right wing dumb” – but it also means we stop looking at the genuine, valid factors influencing people to support extremist candidates like Trump.

      Disengagement. Media narratives (my god, the media in the US is partisan beyond belief for a Kiwi who thinks Mike Hosking is the worst it gets). Frustration with a two-party system. Fearmongering about terrorism. Cultural touchstones about American exceptionalism.

      It’s far too easy to say “their brains are just wired wrong”, and beyond that it offers no solutions – besides the usual we’re-smarter-than-you “jokes” about needing a licence or passing an exam to vote, which anyone with genuine progressive values should be able to spot the problem with …

      • One Anonymous Bloke 7.3.1

        It’s easy to say because it doesn’t bear any relation to the argument being made.

        Are we to simply ignore facts if they can be twisted into some negative connotation? Isn’t that precisely the problem?

        Valid research in this field can only increase our understanding of one another. If someone is more easily persuaded by an appeal to emotion, for example, is it immoral to choose arguments to suit?

      • rhinocrates 7.3.2

        Maybe not neuroscience, but what about quantum physics? This would explain why Killary defies classical concepts of time, space and causality and can simultaneously a lizard, a robot and dead. It would also explain how women are like some subatomic particles in being dependent on observer effects, as various Repugnicans tell us that they exist only by their relations with men.

      • left for dead 7.3.3

        Totally agree SR,…. Micky, I’m a bit disappointed in this clap trap. CV had a good post on this subject not to long ago but, then again I must be a bit thick. 👿

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Which “clap trap”? The fact that an MRI scan can tell you something about political attitude? Are you claiming that Current Biology publishes “clap trap”?

          • left for dead

            What, are you on about, take a longer run up at it OAB.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              I’m asking you which “claptrap” got you all bent out of shape, Hence my question: “Which “clap trap”?”

              Surely if you can categorise it you can name it. Please don’t fall back on citing CV, because CV has no expertise nor credibility on this or any other topic.

              • left for dead

                Is that according to you, and who do you thing you are, it appears too me, and others that you are a keyboard bully. I brought CV in at the first instant, you ignored my reference, that was the clue, but you tried to reel me in, with your hatred for of CV,( head nodding ) as I said the other day, try to focus on the facts. Stop baiting people.

                IF IT’S NOT CLEAR, I’m addressing OAB

        • red-blooded

          SR, I don’t see anyone here discounting the issues you refer to; there’s just some discussion about why different people who share the same environment, hear and see the same messages and have broadly similar experiences process them so differently. I’m interested in research like this. We’re only just starting to understand the subtleties of brain function and I think exploring links to political perspectives is fascinating.

          Nobody has said, “left wing smart, right wing dumb” or anything along those lines. I note a quote in the wikipedia article that said it could be in some situations that being more sensitive to threat is a good thing. I think about winston Churchill, for example, who was seen as scaremongering for years by those who wanted to negotiate and avoid war with Germany, and who (as eventual leader in a time of war) certainly prioritised his own people over others (“the enemy”, “the Hun”). Certainly not thick, and certainly not a liberal.

          Trump, though, is no Churchill.

      • Jan Rivers 7.3.4

        The post is a really thought provoking post and also Stephanie for the response!

        I think there is something refreshing and attractive when someone appears to ‘speak their mind’ ie. whose reality is in touch with their value system – even if the value system is rotten or the alignment is fraudulent. The careful triangulations of social democrats whose utterances are put under the microscope by the media are never going to be as attractive.

        Secondly we do seem to be hard-wired to believe the evidence of our eyes and ears including media coverage. It’s hard to unthink a lie even if we know it is a lie. In a UK example recent research shows definitively the effect of media undermining and misrepresentation of Labour’s “underperformance” in the UK Brexit campaign example triggered the challenge to Jeremy Corbyn.

        Finally however I think that there may be differences between right and left worldviews. I was convinced by psychologist Johathan Haidt’s TED talk. In brief his research shows that people on the traditional right of the spectrum appear to be influenced by 2 additional values that many on the left tend not to share. As I recall these relate to obedience – generally falling in with line the group for the maintenance of status quo and not challenging the “patriarch” as present in any setting.(These values do tend to be values that tie in with brain chemistry about keeping safe rather than rational however) My tentative observation is that these two provide a societal benefit (compliance) whereas on the left it tends to be the ties of social solidarity, good governance and an invitation to honest rather than safe thinking that we value – but under conditions of fear and threat these values can retreat easily and leave the space open for autocrats.

    • Nic the NZer 7.4

      I was thinking while reading those confident statements about how ‘science’ could predict how people would vote, with what level of confidence? I expect a ‘scientific’ prediction of the next president (based on prevalence of liberal vs conservative brains) would have as much accuracy as the forecasting technique of flipping a coin each election and so choosing either the democratic or republican candidate in this way.

      I don’t think having a very flat response to images of extreme violence should be equated with biological superiority, but the research can obviously be used to pander to the meme of liberals superior intelligence.

  7. Colonial Viper 8

    No need to over-intellectualise this like the left always does, with neuroscientists and what not.

    After 8 long years of Obama, seven out of ten Americans still can’t put $1000 into their bank account Mickey.

    That’s why Trump still has massive traction.

    That and the fact that Gallup says that Americans faith in the MSM is down to the 32% level and falling.

    While Hillary stays at home “prepping” for the next debate. (And does one or two fundraisers for her multi-millionaire supporters).

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      Here’s one now 😈

    • Bill 8.2

      After 8 long years of Obama, seven out of ten Americans still can’t put $1000 into their bank account Mickey.

      That’s why Trump still has massive traction

      Well,this snippet for what it’s worth…(the entire article is well worth the time and effort)

      Earlier this year, primary exit polls revealed that Trump voters were, in fact, more affluent than most Americans, with a median household income of $72,000 – higher than that of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders supporters. Forty-four percent of them had college degrees, well above the national average of 33% among whites or 29% overall. In January, political scientist Matthew MacWilliams reported findings that a penchant for authoritarianism – not income, education, gender, age or race –predicted Trump support.”

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.1

        Very interesting, thanks Bill. Not sure how that squares with national poll breakdowns which often seem to say that Trump voters are, in general, much less educated (either never finished College or never went to College) than Clinton supporters.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Yes, you’re not sure, although the word most people use is “wrong”.

      • I’d love to see that broken down by age group. I expect if you control for age group, Clinton supporters would be more affluent than Trump supporters, it’s just that Trump skews towards older voters, who haven’t been the victims of inter-generational warfare.

        And yeah, I’m not sure how they come to the conclusion that Trump supporters are more educated than the national average, as all the “by education” polling I’ve seen has him at or below the US average, unless it’s further broken down than that. (eg. college-educated white voters vs. white voters without a college degree)

  8. RedLogix 9

    A good write-up mickey. As I’ve said a couple of times, in a sane world Clinton should be 40 points or more ahead of Trump. But as Scott Adams puts it, people are irrational about everything all of the time. People are in fact NOT the ‘rational economic actors’ that neo-liberalism demanded. And if this is true economically, it’s even more so socially.

    And there lies the weakness of your post mickey. It has this underlying assumption that this election can be observed, diagnosed and some rational ‘fix’ can be applied. In this case you’ve made a lot of observations about Trump supporters, and essentially blamed everything on them being ‘irrational’.

    Maybe they are just people who don’t appreciate being condescended to and sneered at by intellectual ‘egg-heads’ who know nothing about their lives and rarely stoop to asking them.

    Because here is the really scary part … if Trump was a smoother operator, a little more measured, and with a past not quite so littered with unexploded hand-grenades, he would likely romp in past Clinton.

    Because what your post only tangentially touches on is much self-reflection as to why the liberal, educated, intellectual and ‘enlightened’ elites, have lost so much trust and respect of ordinary working people. The ones living hand to mouth, in shitty insecure, often demeaning jobs, day in and day out with no prospect of it ever getting better.

    I work in heavy industrial settings. If there is one habit which has served me very well over my career, it is to make the time to talk with the fitters, welders, cleaners, sparkies and tradies I encounter, listen to what they are telling me, and find some way of respecting what they are doing . My father once said to me “there is no such thing as unskilled labour”; and that stuck. Sure there are degrees of skill, and different ways of learning, but everyone is capable of something interesting if you look. What people respond to is a bit of respect, some decent expectations, trust and the agency to get on with making the best of their lives.

    Ultimately this is why Trump supporters have stopped listening to the left. They stopped listening when all we did was talk down to them, openly implied they were stupid, told them we knew best, and made empty claims about how we were going to help them. Claims that the so-called progressives in the USA have patently failed to deliver on. Bernie Sanders got this, and huge crowds responded. Clinton did not, and for this reason she is NOT double digits ahead. She will likely be President, but mainly because Trump’s blatant personal flaws will lose him the race.

    But I do agree with your last sentence. The USA is an incredibly diverse nation, every possible diversity of values, cultures and ideals lie within it’s borders, but for the most they are a people of good heart.

    • Scott Adams drew some funny cartoons, but he’s hardly a model of “rational” political analysis these days.

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        ummm …. I think that’s his point; “rational” political analysis in isolation from real people is deeply overrated.

        • rhinocrates

          A good read on this issue is Voltaire’s Bastards by John Ralston Saul. He doesn’t disparage reason – as exemplified by Voltaire – by any means, but its deification and practice by an elite class of disconnected and overspecialised mediocrities.

      • rocco siffred 9.1.2

        “Scott Adams drew some funny cartoons, but he’s hardly a model of “rational” political analysis these days.

        Your comment, and your link do rather prove what Adams is saying.

        • Colonial Viper

          Did you see the interview with Scott Adams on the Rubin Report where he describes how the big corporations he worked for told him that he would never be promoted again because he wasn’t a coloured woman.

          In fact, that is how he got into drawing cartoons.

          • rocco siffred

            Yes. I doubtful it was presented that way, but he saw the writing on the wall so to speak. I worked for two US corporations, both had clear policies to promote certain groups as a preference, so no surprise at all.

      • rhinocrates 9.1.3

        I read the Adams article. I can see why CV likes him. I suppose you know of “MRA Dilbert”?

        I actually found Dilbert a profoundly depressing comic with a bitter view of humanity. Addams is funnier. Morticia for President!

        • rocco siffred

          “I actually found Dilbert a profoundly depressing comic with a bitter view of humanity. ”

          You clearly have not spent any time in a large engineering organisation.

          • RedLogix

            Same here. If Dilbert is a character engineers identify with, Walter has to be my role model. 🙂

          • rhinocrates

            Oh, I worked in an office that exactly resembled Dilbert.

            As a rule of thumb, you can tell the morale of an office by the cartoons people hang up on their cubicles. If it’s a happy place, it’s Far Side or XKCD, but if it’s an unhappy one, it’s Dilbert. Mine was definitely a Dilbert place.

            Cynicism does nothing but hobble resistance and allows injustice to continue.

            Thanks to my union – of which Helen Kelly was the head at the time – at least I left with a substantial settlement.

    • rhinocrates 9.2

      Good points. You highlight the fact that America is a classist society in denial of the fact.

      Two minor points that highlight this that are telling because they are so casual:

      Trump’s support is largely in the midwest down to Texas, an area referred to condescendingly by those in the large coastal cities as “flyover states” – i.e., those you only see through an airliner window while on your way to somewhere that really matters.

      A review of Interstellar in which the New York area based reviewer spent most of his review mocking Matthew McConaughey’s Texan accent, referring to Howdy-Doody and saying that it denoted his character as “dumb” (I read his humour as being quite sly, like Irish humour, which many people also think is dumb).

      As I said, they’re two very small points, but they are tellingly symptomatic in their casualness, showing the prevalence of unconsidered attitudes.

      The Labour Party here has had, perhaps less extremely, the problem the Democratic Party has in the US of “aspirational campaigning” – chasing the people they want to be associated with. Captain Mumblefuck said as much in one of his barely coherent moments when he said that Labour should be chasing National votes and forget about the poor and working class and proceeded to shit on beneficiaries.

      I don’t see social liberal policy such as marriage equality as the wrong course BTW, because we can all walk and chew gum at the same time, I hope (perhaps the definition of a fanatic is someone who can’t, and thinks no-one else can either). Rather it’s been used as a facade for essentially selfish, classist policies.

      • RedLogix 9.2.1

        I don’t see social liberal policy such as marriage equality as the wrong course BTW, because we can all walk and chew gum at the same time,

        A very, very good point which needs shouting out more often. People can hold inconsistent, contradictory ideas in their heads and function perfectly well. ‘Irrationality’ is something humans are good at; our untidy emotional responses and intuitions serve most of us just fine when dealing with the innate messiness and imperfections of the real world.

    • rocco siffred 9.3

      “n a sane world Clinton should be 40 points or more ahead of Trump”

      Can I ask in what sane world would the choice be betweenr Clinton and Trump? It seems perfectly rational and sane to me that given the choice between Clinton and Trump, a high degree of uncertainty would exist.

      • Colonial Viper 9.3.1

        Clinton screams on TV – why am I not fifty points ahead!

        • red-blooded

          So, Clinton was a bit shouty? Get over it! Trump bellows all the time. Or is it only OK for a man?

          She had a good point about looking at how Trump treats contractors and employees, though. I don’t give a flying fuck that she shouted.

          • Colonial Viper

            People can watch the clip and decide for themselves whether or not Clinton’s facial and vocal reactions are normal.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Yes, although some of them will probably realise that they’re probably projecting and give up the exercise as a hateful farce.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              The bottom line really is that neither of the candidates’ body language is normal. Clinton is a typical manufactured corporate politician hiding her anger or glee when it’s inappropriate, and Trump is a narcissist authoritarian who can’t deal with her even entering “his” side of the stage, and has some weird permanent scowl going.

      • RedLogix 9.3.2

        that given the choice between Clinton and Trump, a high degree of uncertainty would exist.

        A point I’ve made a few times; this is still the chaos election. Even now when it looks like Trump is finished, part of me still cannot write off the chance of something entirely crazy happening which revives him like a zombie.

        In this election facts stopped mattering months ago. And while this is partially true of almost all elections, it’s now reduced to a cultural war in which policies and promises mean almost nothing.

    • Siobhan 9.4

      ” in a sane world Clinton should be 40 points or more ahead of Trump”
      In a sane world the American voter wouldn’t have to choose between Hillary or Trump.
      In a sane world you wouldn’t have the media and political parties telling the voter that they HAVE to vote for candidate A (Hillary) just because they are arguably less dangerous than candidate B (Trump).
      Well, at least Hillary won’t stick her tongue in your mouth.
      So, you know, that’s something.

      • RedLogix 9.4.1

        Well as a man can I just say I would sooner run the admittedly very modest risk of Clinton sticking her tongue down my throat, than have someone with her hawkish record threatening Putin with military confrontation to get some ‘leverage’ with him.

        I can understand if as a woman you prefer it the other way around.

        Of course it’s wrong to reduce this debate to such a farcically pointed pinhead; this election battle is a proxy for a much wider, far more interesting culture war.

        • Colonial Viper

          btw I think on Nov 8 Trump is going to do much better with women than people here might expect i.e. he will successfully hold the gender difference that Romney had with Obama in 2012. And I think he will garner that on the basis of law and order, immigration and national security issues.

          In other words, at least some women will decide that they are at very limited personal risk of being groped by Donald J Trump, while they also conclude that his law and order, immigration and national security policies will be helpful for their personal safety.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            A rape apologist says what?

          • RedLogix

            Frankly my radar on how the election numbers will play out is completely on the fritz. The polling strongly suggest the Clinton machine will win it, but anything could happen in the next few weeks.

            But as many people have said the underlying cultural tensions, visible in one form or another across most of the western world are not going to resolve with one election.

            You are right on this; the left needs a damn solid dose of self-reflection. The gap between high ideals and low actions is redolent of a decaying, decadent empire striving above all to protect the privileges of the already powerful with little regard for honour or truth. And Clinton more than anyone embodies this stench.

            Equally you might do better to acknowledge that Trump really is a noxious, narcissistic, sexually over-entitled throwback. His is the classic alpha-male ‘strong-leader’ appeal to the authoritarian personality, a regression towards the politics of fascism.

            Each is symbolic of something much wider than themselves, or their own personal flaws. Trump especially. By his own behaviour he’s made himself a highly visible target in a visceral gender war.

            I’m NOT just fence sitting when I say I can stomach neither of them. Our human future must find a way to repudiate BOTH these stereotypes. Only by reaching out to each other, learning to engage decently, respectfully and learning to trust each other again will we do this.

            Fear and loneliness will only drive us into madness. As it does all creatures.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              When has the Left ever rejected self-reflection?

              Certainty is terrible, Let the Right have it.

              • RedLogix

                We strive for a society that can make people free. Judgement is an obstacle.

                Now where did I just read that? Someone with a very big brain.

                Maybe this will help. As Monbiot writes Of all the fantasies human beings entertain, the idea that we can go it alone is the most absurd and perhaps the most dangerous. We stand together, or we fall apart..

                Freedom is social connection, freedom is the interplay of generosity and obligation, of rights and responsibilities. More than anything else each of us is obliged to be compassionate, pure of motive and generous in spirit. Paradoxically the more connected we are, the freer we become.

                But neither can society survive without judgement. We must be able to tell the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. We depend on these shared values to trust each other, and we embody their expression and enforcement in our social, cultural and political institutions.

                Too often we get this mix the wrong way around.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Society is divided about the nature of good and evil, left and wrong,

                  The values we share have far more to do with love and kindness than they do judgement.

                  • RedLogix

                    Society is divided about the nature of good and evil, left and wrong,

                    Fair point. And lacking a shared common set of values, by default individuals revert to imposing their opinions on each other.

                    Instead of love and kindness.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                      Is articulation such an imposition, then?

                      PS: love and kindness aren’t shared? Do tell.

            • Colonial Viper

              Equally you might do better to acknowledge that Trump really is a noxious, narcissistic, sexually over-entitled throwback.

              He’s an extremely wealthy man born in the 1940s with a very privileged upbringing, ego the size of his business failures (and successes), an eye for beautiful women like his much younger wife, and a penchant for New York style celebrity and crassness.

              Basically he’s operating within the general parameters I would expect of someone like that.

              • rhinocrates

                eye for beautiful women

                Plus a hand and a tongue too.

                And another part, as some accusers are saying, with enough credibility to have a hearing set.

                Maybe “what you’d expect” of someone so entitled, but I expect ebola to make people disgustingly sick too. “Expect” should not mean “excuse” or “ignore.”

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                [RL: Deleted. Not needed.]

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  [RL Deleted. Take a week off until 23/10 (EDIT). You’ve made the point many times before, now it’s just become pointless abuse.]

                  Michelle Obama is right: it has to stop.

              • RedLogix

                Come on CV, rhino is right on this. Your description of Trump’s background is accurate, but your conclusion falls short.

                Leave Clinton out of this, she comes with her own baggage.

                • Colonial Viper

                  And finally, Trump hasn’t spent the last several decades polishing his behaviour, mannerisms and personal record for a White House posting.

                  • rhinocrates

                    No he’s spent decades bullying his victims and critics into silence instead.

                    His business practices and serial sexual assault and probable serial rape are not mere “lack of polish.”

                    Why try to minimise this when you pretended to be so outraged by Bill Clinton’s abuses for several minutes at least?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      According to a number of Bill Clinton’s victims, there was no bigger bully than Hillary Clinton trying to guard his, and her own, political future.

                      Why try to minimise this when you were so outraged by Bill Clinton’s abuses for several minutes at least?

                      Because it will take months or years for the truth to come out, and the timing of these new allegations against Trump ensures that will not happen before election day.

                    • rhinocrates

                      So he hopes… but the facts have come out of his own mouth.

                      That cuts to the nature of rape culture. Powerful men can bully and intimidate women into silence. Now they’re fighting back. Good on them for that.

                  • RedLogix

                    True. But leave Clinton out of it, leave the smear machine out of it, subtract off all the allegations, recent or otherwise. What is it that Trump represents? As JMG would say ‘what kind of magic’ is Trump playing with? (The exact word eludes me right at this moment, but you get my gist I’m sure.)

                    It brings to mind the very little Neitzsche that I can recall. (us engineers are not supposed to know about him.) Try reading this:


                    And get back to me about the morality play going on here.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Thaumaturgy. Not really my field. I do have a very slight idea of what Trump is tapping into, and how he does it. And why it drives rational analytical intellectual materialist lefties totally bonkers.

                    • RedLogix

                      Thanks … I knew it started with a “T”.

                      I know very little about it too, yet I guarantee that both of us have uncomfortable intuitions about it. How many Germans in 1933 imagined the Third Reich would turn out quite as catastrophically as it did? Did anyone have any idea the dark energies that would lead them to an abyss?

                      It’s trite to suggest history repeats, but it certainly has a way of rhyming. It’s been a theme here at The Standard in years past, observing the steps into facism that can be clearly discerned in the USA. And now arrives on the scene a great magician. His personal flaws (crimes even), flaws that would have incinerated any other man months ago, have (so far) failed to stop him. What power is he playing with?

                      I haven’t been playing cute when I sense this is the chaos election. Anything is possible. Just as no-one grown-up took Hitler seriously until too late, so it is entirely possible the same is true of Trump. As you say, he is tapping into something beyond just his massive ego.

                      But this is not the 1930’s. Trump has placed himself at ground zero in a new conflict, a gender war; and what gets unleashed there could be awful to contemplate. I fear him, not just for his vulgarity, his ugly bombast, his lies, his indiscriminate sexual entitlement … I fear where he might take us.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      And now arrives on the scene a great magician. His personal flaws (crimes even), flaws that would have incinerated any other man months ago, have (so far) failed to stop him. What power is he playing with?

                      I know you asked me not to but this is a perfect junction to bring Hillary Clinton into it.

                      She (and Bill) have definitely committed crimes. To note but a tiny selection – he was impeached as President, but is on the verge of returning to the White House (albeit not to the Oval Office).

                      She has demonstrably lied to Congress (under oath IIRC) as well as having defied a Congressional subpoena, destroying illegally handled classified and confidential information.

                      These events reflect personal flaws (crimes) that would have incinerated/incarcerated ordinary Federal employees years ago.

                      TL/DR there is more than one side in this fight utilising powerful thaumaturgy.

                    • RedLogix

                      OK but I am a little disappointed. Not that you deflected from my implied question about Trump, but because your attention is still fixed in the wrong place.

                      Clinton is best explained as a consequence of the machine behind her doing what it does best; working to perpetuate it’s existence. I agree that has it’s own important narrative. Trump by contrast is doing something in spite of the machine. That isn’t normal.

                      A great deal of your analysis around the left’s response to Trump has been insightful, provocative and sometimes bloody minded … but that game is just about played out.

                      I’ll phrase it like this, is Trump Chaos Good, or Chaos Bad? What does your gut tell you and why?

                    • Macro

                      Clinton was impeached and acquitted
                      If you are going to bring that up then you must tell the whole truth
                      Yes he will be in the White House – but not as President.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      From my old D&D days, I’d say that Trump’s background is Chaotic Neutral, but in his older years he is transitioning towards Neutral Good.

                      In contrast, I get a very bad, creeped out feeling with Hillary.

                      You asked why. To summarise in just a very few words. IMO Trump knows honestly exactly who he is, both the good sides and the bad. Clinton does not any more. Probably she used to. But today she has no idea.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Clinton was impeached and acquitted

                      Was Bill Clinton acquitted of massive abuse of his power over a poorly paid young woman intern who looked up to the Office of the President, Macro?

                      And Hillary’s aides all have immunity from prosecution. No wrong doing there.

                    • RedLogix

                      @ CV

                      lol… yes Clinton is sometimes odd. I’ve no idea why, it could be medical, but it would be interesting to meet her in person. Helen Clark was perceived by the public as stern and controlling, yet in private I know personally she was a quite different person. Warm, intelligent and quick witted.

                      The most benign explanation is that Hillary’s developed a similar split between a buttoned down, controlled public persona and private one that’s quite different. The relentless pressure of public life over 30 years is sufficient explanation. I can see why many people find her creepy. It’s there alright, but equally it’s wrong to project this into something malevolent on such a flimsy basis. It’s the sort of allegation that is impossible to defend in the circumstances.

                      I agree with JMG on this, she’s really a pragmatic Conservative pretending to be a Liberal. Which may explain a fair bit of dissonance.

                      As for Trumpy babe … I’ll accept your response at face value. I’m less sanguine. His “Let’s make America Great Again” meme is bluntly an appeal to glory days of empire that are never coming back. He cannot possibly deliver on this promise in any constructive manner. The resource and geo-political constraints alone render this a failed, stillborn dream. And the American people are no longer socially coherent enough to deliver.

                      Faced with reality in office Trump would respond predictably, when confronted with obstacles he ramps up his response. From Neutral Good I see an escalation into futility and desperation. Unlike say Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn or Helen Kelly, people who can call on firm, clear principles to guide them, Trump’s only apparent guiding star has been ‘what it takes to win’. You have to be able to see that stark contrast, surely?

                      I have deep sympathy with your desire for change CV. In this I know you are sincere. But I don’t see Trump as delivering the happy ending you hope for.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I recently read a foreign policy piece describing how the USA could remain first amongst equals in a multipolar world for many years to come.

                      Firstly by simply accepting the presence of other great nations in a multi polar world.

                      This would be done by performing a major reorientation of strategic goals away from global hegemonic exceptionalism, to ensuring that the country’s and the citizens’ national interests was being served by each and every military and diplomatic resource available to the USA.

                      The recognition being that most of the foreign interventions the USA has participated in over the last 20 years has done nothing more than drain the USA of money, resources, blood and prestige.

                      Between that and rebuilding the utilities and civil infrastructure of the US. Trump could get more done for the country than Obama ever did.

                      Having said that betting on Trump does mean that the bet could easily go either way. Betting on Clinton means that you know exactly what you are going to get (her and her neocon/corporate/bankster crowd) – which you are right in my mind is unacceptable.

              • miravox

                …an eye for beautiful women…


                and a penchant for talking about committing violent crime and then lying about it.


                Just wealthy white man privilege – not restricted to those born in the 1940s but.

              • What successes? It looks like he has less money now than he inherited, and the man was in gambling and real estate, which are businesses that are hard to lose money on if you know what you’re doing to any degree.

      • red-blooded 9.4.2

        Siobhan, different types of media are telling people different things; there is not conspiracy. Have a look at Fox News some time. The US media are very partisan, but they don’t speak with one voice.

        As for your “lesser of 2 evils” mantra:
        1) “JUST because”? Even if you see Clinton as evil (I don’t), let’s remember that the lesser of 2 evils is still better than the alternative (the worse of 2 evils).
        2) Your guy lost. Get over it – he has. He never expected to win, he got further than he thought he would and he managed to make an impact on the debate and to create some pressure on key issues. That’s what he wanted. He’s endorsed Clinton and wants people to vote for her.
        3) Clinton (unlike Saunders, Stein, or Trump) has a long record of serving at a high level of responsibility in government. She’s had to deal with hugely complex, morally challenging decisions and she’s had to compromise to get things done. All politicians in leadership positions have to (especially in the messy US system, with FPP, state and federal governments, two houses – and the opposing party in control of the Senate, really loose “broad church” parties, the unbending US Constitution…) You don’t like all of her decisions? Fine – I’m uncomfortable with some of them, too. That doesn’t make her “evil”.
        4) The world has never been “sane” and never will be. It’s messy. People are disagree, they espouse different values. Your idea of “sane” would be pretty much the opposite of someone else’s (I know mine’s the opposite of a Trump supporter, for example): whose “sane” view should win out? Well, guess what – that’s what democracy is for. Sorry to sound patronising, but the whole “sane world” thing is pretty shallow.

        • Colonial Viper

          3) Clinton (unlike Saunders, Stein, or Trump) has a long record of serving at a high level of responsibility in government. She’s had to deal with hugely complex, morally challenging decisions and she’s had to compromise to get things done.

          What good is Hillary’s extensive experience when it is all bad experience?

          Full of evidence of corruption, misjudgement, lies and fraud? From smashing her mobile devices with hammers, to lying to the House (pretending deleted emails were only to do with weddings and yoga classes) to contravening Congressional subpoenas to leading the disastrous charge into Libya to get rid of Gaddafi culminating in the disaster at the US embassy in Benghazi where her Ambassador was killed after she neglected multiple calls for help from him.

          That’s not even covering selling out the office of the Sec of State in her pay for play scam, accepting millions of dollars of money from foreign donors.

          Even her senior staff have required immunity from prosecution agreements from the FBI.

        • Siobhan

          Difficult to know where to start, but, how about Wasserman Schultz?? Any thoughts on her “resigning”…then being hired the next day by Clinton??

          By the way…”the lesser of two evils” is a saying…it’s not often interpreted as meaning literally that someone is Satans handmaiden…though now that you mention it…

  9. rhinocrates 10

    Jolly Sunday morning reading.

    Why democracies need graceful losers:

    Evidence of such, and dark signs for November 9:

    The awful, diabolical truth about Killary Klinton, that demoness she-devil robot satan lizard, all in neat chronological order, because it’s so hard to keep track of the conspiracy theories:

  10. Karen 11

    This analysis of Trump supporters suggests racism is a major factor:

    The majority of Trump supporters are white men without a college education, but the idea that they are are poor is a bit of a myth. This article doesn’t talk about misogyny, but I think it is also a factor.

    Documentary maker Michael Moore has been covering the Trump campaign and is suggesting in his twitter feed that he is working on an October surprise. Should be interesting.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Yes those Trump supporters are a basket of racist misogynistic red neck ignorant uneducated deplorables and irredeemables.

      I’m always fascinated by the left wing version of hate speech, it is quite fun to use.

      • rocco siffred 11.1.1

        The useful thing is, once you have characterised them as worthless racist, misogynistic, redneck, uneducated, deplorables who can never be redeemed, then you can safely persecute them without compunction.

        That won’t end badly at all….

        • Colonial Viper

          you’re not trying to tell me that the enlightened Left participates in “othering” just like the right wing does, are you.

          • Garibaldi

            Come on guys. The basic Republican voter has always been a crass piece of shite. Just ask the Dixie Chicks, or better still watch their movie- Shut up and sing.

            • rocco siffred

              What would you learn from the film? The fact the Dixie Chicks didn’t have a clue about their audience?

          • marty mars

            So you don’t think your trump mates are racist?

            • Karen

              Marty, I am sure you saw the maps comparing the election results if only women voted and if only men voted. Have a look at the outcomes if only white people voted compared to people of colour:


              Racism and misogyny are at the heart of Trumpism.

              • weka

                Post coming up with that soon 🙂

                The sad thing about this subthread (apart from CV’s blatant trolling and misrepresenting what you said), is that we lose the opportunity to talk about Trump voters as people and why we are in this situation.

                • Anne

                  … we lose the opportunity to talk about Trump voters as people and why we are in this situation.

                  Back in the 1960s my father used to talk about the gradual dumbing down of “the Yanks” through a poor education system. He believed it was deliberate. I can hear him saying it now from his heavenly cloud. 😉

                  He was spot on. Poor education delivers ignorance which in turn delivers racism, mysogyny and other deeply held prejudices.

                  • RedLogix

                    He believed it was deliberate

                    I can just hear CV say that too. 🙂

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Now let me find the wikileaks email where Democratic consultants admit that they too have been complicit (even conspired) with the Republicans in this helpful process.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Here it is – thanks wikileaks

                      Email to John Podesta from Bill Ivey (para breaks inserted for readability, also my bold)

                      JFK, Jr would be delighted by all this as his “George” magazine saw celebrity politics coming. The magazine struggled as it was ahead of its time but now looks prescient.

                      George, of course, played the development pretty lightly, basically for charm and gossip, like People, but what we are dealing with now is dead serious.

                      How does this get handled in the general?

                      Secretary Clinton is not an entertainer, and not a celebrity in the Trump, Kardashian mold; what can she do to offset this? I’m certain the poll-directed insiders are sure things will default to policy as soon as the conventions are over, but I think not.

                      And as I’ve mentioned, we’ve all been quite content to demean government, drop civics and in general conspire to produce an unaware and compliant citizenry.

                      The unawareness remains strong but compliance is obviously fading rapidly. This problem demands some serious, serious thinking – and not just poll driven, demographically-inspired messaging.


                    • It doesn’t mean what you said it meant, sorta not even close. Comprehension issues for you methinks. Poor education? ☺

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I read that email as saying that the loss of compliance from the citizenry is a serious political problem for the Democrats.

                      How do you read it?

                    • Anne

                      @ Redlogix
                      Yeah… he was a bit of a CT sometimes. 😈

                    • To cv – I think the bit you’ve bolded is a generalist statement not we as in democrats but we as in people, maybe political people but that is all. The rest of the email is about how to get Clinton into it as a media personality which they say she isn’t and trump, kardasians are. That is why they talk about the magazine.

                      It doesn’t seem sinister to me or show complicit or implied conspiracy with the republicans to dumb down the populace.

                    • joe90

                      I read it as an admission that they always though it was Citizens United/ big money influencing public opinion.

                      And while they, the party, were convinced big money was indeed the problem they took their eye off the ball and inadvertently conspired with the real culprit, the conflating of entertainment and celebrity politics with the electoral process, by their failure to recognise and decry the demeaning of government and the dropping of civics.

                  • I think deliberate misinformation added to poor thinking (often evidenced by poor education) contributes a lot to some people’s bigotry too. Often a trait of the righties I’ve found.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yeah I may be a poorly educated, redneck dumbarse marty, but I can still tell when someone hi-falutin, morally superior egg-head is sneering at me.

                    • I replied to Anne not you thanks but good your true colours coming out.

                    • weka

                      Red, you don’t strike me as being poorly educated, or redneck culturally (in the positive or negative sense), so are you being sarcastic to make a point, or have I missed something?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I think it’s a load of nonsense: this tendency to measure and judge people against their accomplishments, or intellect, or whatever.

                      We know, for example, that material wealth is a product of chance. Intelligence, ability, skill, wisdom, what makes us think that these are delivered differently?

                      We strive for a society that can make people free. Judgement is an obstacle.

                    • OAB do you mean that ‘poor’ is a judgment? If so that is a fair point thanks for that.

                    • Manuka AOR

                      OAB: We strive for a society that can make people free. Judgement is an obstacle.

                      Yip. and ‘The more we judge, the less we love’ (Dynamo)

                • rhinocrates

                  CV’s using wedge politics. You can’t talk about the issues without him turning up to try to turn it into Orange Mussolini versus She Devil – you have to embrace fascism (or have your points be appropriated as support for Der Drumphenfuhrer) or be caricatured as a corporate shill. It’s fundamentally dishonest and you mustn’t let him define the terms.

                  • weka

                    This a thousand times. Thanks for that succinct description.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      pfffft. Wedge politics was created, empowered, magnified and eventually fully weaponised by the identity politics left.

                      Redneck, uneducated, ignorant basket of racist, misogynist, gay hating, anti-semitic deplorables and irredeemables.

                      Ring a bell?

                    • weka

                      That’s the CV spin. Of course women gaining enough power to start addressing rape, or Māori gaining enough power to get the Waitangi Tribunal, or whatever it is that happens when groups of people start to improve their lot, makes some men uncomfortable, and some to the point of fascism, but those things predated your nasty, lying meme by decades.

                      This is exactly why I think you are alt-right. You want to blame feminists, radical Māori, queers, and any other politicised people who don’t support your economics is the god of politics identity for all that goes wrong for you.

                      Plus, you are too stupid to see that the people in Labour who do identity politics are appropriators, and so you reinforce your bigotry by inventing an identity politics pan-left instead of applying useful analysis to see where its useful and where it’s being misused. Handy I’m sure, because then you get to write it all off.

                      Redneck, uneducated, ignorant basket of racist, misogynist, gay hating, anti-semitic deplorables and irredeemables.

                      The only people using that kind of rhetoric are people who are themselves ignorant and prejudiced, plus yourself. What fine company you keep. But it’s just an outright Trump-esque lie to say that it is the preserve of identity politics or the left.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Well, if Clinton is the product of decades of feminism in action, and a Clinton Presidency is what we get as a result of women voters in November (i.e. your thesis), then quite logically the disastrous outcomes of her Presidency will sit squarely on the shoulders of her female supporters.

                      Good luck to them.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Kia kaha Weka.

                    • rhinocrates

                      will sit squarely on the shoulders of her female supporters

                      And selecting one example to stand for the whole is another typical racist, misogynist tactic and an excuse to hate them.

                    • RedLogix

                      @ rhinocrates

                      And selecting one example to stand for the whole is another typical racist, misogynist tactic and an excuse to hate them.

                      So how does this differ in any sense from using Trump as one example to label whole groups of people as racist, misogynistic and dump a whole lot of covert hate on them?

                      Seriously you are one smart guy, but surely even this plain to you?

                    • rhinocrates

                      economics is the god of politics identity for all that goes wrong for you.

                      Thanks Weka, that needs to be repeated as economic reductionism one of the basic sins of the old left and new right.

                    • weka

                      Well, if Clinton is the product of decades of feminism in action, and a Clinton Presidency is what we get as a result of women voters in November (i.e. your thesis), then quite logically the disastrous outcomes of her Presidency will sit squarely on the shoulders of her female supporters.

                      Good luck to them.

                      Lolz, thanks for proving my point so immediately about how much you like to blame groups of people improving themselves that you disapprove of. I’m pretty sure that post-election if Clinton wins we’re going to have to listen to you whine about how it’s all feminism’s fault that Clinton went to war. Because, you know, women should have just stayed home and stuck to their knitting and then there would be no wars.

                      Clinton isn’t a product of decades of feminism you numpty. She’s a product of the neoliberal and US political systems that are quite happy to have women and blacks as president to the extent that they can coopt them. If feminisms had had their way, we’d be looking at Stein about to become president.

                      Do us all a favour and either stop trying to make out you understand what identity politics are (you don’t and it just makes you look like a disingenuous liar), or just come out and be honest about your alt-rightness.

                    • weka

                      @OAB, cheers mate.


                      “And selecting one example to stand for the whole is another typical racist, misogynist tactic and an excuse to hate them.”

                      So how does this differ in any sense from using Trump as one example to label whole groups of people as racist, misogynistic and dump a whole lot of covert hate on them?

                      Can you be more specific? Who has said this? Do you mean someone saying that because Trump is racist/misogynist etc all his supporters are too?

                  • rhinocrates

                    Redneck, uneducated, ignorant basket of racist, misogynist, gay hating, anti-semitic deplorables and irredeemables.

                    The obsessive repetition (this guy would not pass the Turing Test!) of this is is a perfect demonstration of CV’s use of the wedge.

                    It’s meant to mean “If you dread a Trump presidency, you must hate the poor and love Killary Klinton.”

                    It is a caricature and a non sequitur. Also, it is a callous insult to the poor in trying to present them as having those values, but typical of CV in pretending to care for people whom he uses as mere rhetorical tokens.

                    Or, simply, a lie.

                    So thanks CV for being so quick to demonstrate my point so clearly.

                  • rhinocrates

                    Redlogix, Hi, you bring up a good point.

                    So how does this differ in any sense from using Trump as one example to label whole groups of people as racist, misogynistic and dump a whole lot of covert hate on them?

                    The ones who wear the swastikas, fly the confederate slavers’ flag, ones who wear “OJ should have married Hilary” T-shirts… because Trump is playing to them, as his recent use of Neo-Nazi code in his recent speeches, the yellow Star of David used as a background to Clinton’s face and so on.

                    Those people are the real deplorables, and Trump knowingly encourages and uses them.

                    I’ve not condemned those millions who have real hardship – and who have been rejected by the Democratic Party* – without being fascists and there are many, but Trump has made it impossible for them to be represented without invoking fascism, and CV is trying to make it impossible to oppose fascism without victimising them. They are effectively made into ideological hostages by a demagogue and his apologists.

                    Do not play his game.

                    As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once wrote, The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man. Sadly, history has shown that anyone can be made to do evil, and most easily en masse. Good people held hostage can be made to lend their strength to evil when they believe they have no other choice and then be honestly horrified by the consequences… too late.

                    Stanley Milgram’s experiments on obedience are enlightening, as is Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison experiment and Ron Jones’ The Wave.

                    *I am getting sick of having to reiterate that I am no fan of Hilary Clinton, Neoliberal economics or the Democratic Party. Anyone who insists on saying otherwise is deliberately misrepresenting the case. Opposing fascism does not mean support for any of these.

              • Yep very striking graphic indeed. Thanks for that Karen.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Wow Karen. It’s that obvious.

        • weka

          The useful thing is, once you have characterised them as worthless racist, misogynistic, redneck, uneducated, deplorables who can never be redeemed, then you can safely persecute them without compunction.

          That won’t end badly at all….

          The fucked up thing is that Karen didn’t say that, and CV did and then CV implied that left wing analysis of class, ethnicity, gender etc is hate speech.

          Which isn’t to say that there aren’t people on the left engaged in bigotry (that’s hardly news). It’s to say that Karen isn’t one of them and the people who want to stand up for Trump voters on the basis that they deserve a voice (they do), would do better to not make shit up about natural allies.

          • Macro

            Thank you for saying that weka.
            It is more a case of pity and astonishment at the voter base of this now seriously dysfunctional society called the US, brought that way by its materialism, the negation of egalitarianism, and pursuit of happiness at the expense of all else. NZ is headed in the same direction.

            • RedLogix

              Dysfunctional yes. Monbiot gets very close to the heart of the matter here:

              Anyone can see that something far more important than most of the issues we fret about has gone wrong. So why are we engaging in this world-eating, self-consuming frenzy of environmental destruction and social dislocation, if all it produces is unbearable pain? Should this question not burn the lips of everyone in public life?


              We can parse and finely graduate the symptoms of this dysfunction all we like; we can attach labels of racism, materialism, misogyny to anything that doesn’t move fast enough, nothing will improve.


          • Colonial Viper

            The fucked up thing is that Karen didn’t say that, and CV did and then CV implied that left wing analysis of class, ethnicity, gender etc is hate speech.

            So what the left does is “analysis” is it?

            How objective and sanitised sounding. Harmless, really.

    • Bill 11.2

      The majority of Trump supporters are white men without a college education…

      Again, for whatever it’s worth (bold added).

      Earlier this year, primary exit polls revealed that Trump voters were, in fact, more affluent than most Americans, with a median household income of $72,000 – higher than that of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders supporters. Forty-four percent of them had college degrees, well above the national average of 33% among whites or 29% overall. In January, political scientist Matthew MacWilliams reported findings that a penchant for authoritarianism – not income, education, gender, age or race –predicted Trump support.

      • Karen 11.2.1

        Yes, I read that article Bill. I also read the research that it was based on. Quite interesting to go back to the original article:

        “Class in America is a complicated concept, and it may be that Trump supporters see themselves as having been left behind in other respects. Since almost all of Trump’s voters so far in the primaries have been non-Hispanic whites, we can ask whether they make lower incomes than other white Americans, for instance. The answer is “no.” The median household income for non-Hispanic whites is about $62,000,4 still a fair bit lower than the $72,000 median for Trump voters.

        Likewise, although about 44 percent of Trump supporters have college degrees, according to exit polls — lower than the 50 percent for Cruz supporters or 64 percent for Kasich supporters — that’s still higher than the 33 percent of non-Hispanic white adults, or the 29 percent of American adults overall, who have at least a bachelor’s degree.”

        It should also be remembered those figures were based on exit polls from the Republican primaries not general election polling.

        I do not equate working class with white men or with racism or misogyny. Racism and misogyny are found in all classes and within all income groups. At no stage have I suggested that Trump supporters are predominantly working class. They are certainly more likely to male and to be white however.

        Have a look at this analysis of supporters.
        It could be argued that it is a rural/urban split.

  11. rhinocrates 12

    Just a note, the militia movement first peaked during the Presidency of Bush Snr, along with a lot of conspiracy theories about the “New World Order” with which he was supposed to be a major conspirator – lots of talk about secret societies at elite colleges and so forth.

    This was in the wake of the 1987 stock market crash. He was of course a Republican (and a lot more competent than his son), but followed the very populist Reagan and was seen as representing the moneyed elites.

  12. Tamati Tautuhi 13

    Hopefully all the Bernie Sanders supporters will see logic and vote for Jill Stein, 47% of people in the USA said they would vote for niether Clinton or Trump so there is a captive market there if she can capture it? US politics needs a change of direction.

    • red-blooded 13.1

      Tamati, there’s no chance at all that Stein will win. Current polls have her hovering between 1 and 3%.

      Besides, while she’s clearly a person with a strong history of activism, and I don’t doubt her commitment, the fact is she’s never had any experience of government. She hasn’t been a councillor, a mayor, a senator… She’s a complete novice – not a realistic choice for President and I’m sure she knows this. She’s trying to build up the Greens brand; good on her for that, but until the US moves away from FPP (and that’s not happening any time soon) each vote for Stein is NOT doing anything to stop Trump. I guess we’ve just got to be grateful that he’s doing such a good job of that himself. (One thing he IS qualified for!)

  13. Colonial Viper 14

    8 years into Obama’s Administration, 35% of Americans have debts overdue by 6 months or more

    Along with 7 out of 10 Americans unable to put together $1000 in a savings account you have this – a large proportion of Americans in severe debt arrears.

    Perhaps this also helps explain why Trump has traction?

    More than a third of all Americans can’t pay their debts. I don’t know about you, but to me that is a shocking figure. As you will see below, 35 percent of the people living in this country have debt in collections. When a debt is in collections, it is at least 180 days past due. And this is happening during the “economic recovery” that the mainstream media keeps touting, although the truth is that Barack Obama is going to be the only president in United States history to never have a single year when the economy grew by at least 3 percent. But at least things are fairly stable for the moment, and if this many Americans are having trouble paying their bills right now, what are things going to look like when the economy becomes extremely unstable once again.

  14. Valerie Coulson 15

    Trump understands the only thing important is jobs, jobs, and jobs – the trade deals have been discredited with the prove of jobs going elsewhere, we cannot save the world but we can easily work to save our own well paid jobs in our own country – nothing more, nothing less. This is Trump and I admire him for it.

  15. BM 16

    Personally I couldn’t give a fuck about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and the whole American election.

    I will be very happy when it’s all over, the amount of in depth tribal shit written on this election across all blogs by so many people who can’t even fucking vote in this election almost make you want to slit your wrists.

    I agree with Bwaghorn have a daily post on this dross so the same dullards can repeat and argue the same shit till their hearts content.

  16. Sabine 17

    I came across this today 🙂

    but maybe Trump has just found that million or several of non voters that never had a reason to vote for either party and now has found their champion. And should the guy loose, well then they can always burn the country down. Cause why not. 🙂

  17. rsbandit 18

    I suspect it’s something more simple.

    Clinton comes across as a political establishment puppet. You really have no idea who she is as her words and mouth seem disconnected from the rest of her face.

    Trump is not the political establishment. Like or hate him, everything about him lines up to form a singular, coherent package. What you see is what you get.

    Many in the US don’t trust the talking puppetry of the political establishment, and they’ll use Trump to disrupt it.

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