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President Trump? A message of hope in a truly bad week

REUTERS/Mike Segar

A couple of months ago I managed to resign myself to the notion of Donald Trump being the president of the United States. Now I’m trying to remember how I did that.

Paul Udstrand

I remember at that time a BBC report hit me like a bolt of lightning. It was just a typical campaign update, but like so many others it was dominated by story after story about Trump while Hillary Clinton was … well I don’t know where Clinton was. Trump dominated the headlines every day, so that wasn’t so unusual, but it was a clip from his speech that hit me like a ton of bricks.

All he said was something like: “If I’m elected I’ll always be for America and Americans.” That was it, simple, clear, positive, and who could be against being for America? When you remember the fact that the typical American voter doesn’t do or even know how to do any kind of detailed fact-based analysis it becomes frighteningly clear that a guy like Trump could win with that message if he stuck to it. The danger became all too real when you considered the fact that Clinton never did produce a clear agenda or campaign theme beyond simply being Hillary instead of Trump. In the end I think the Clinton camp simply gave up and chose a campaign strategy that assumed Trump would defeat himself and they could just show up and collect the votes.

Not really surprised

So here we are. Clinton lost. I wish I could say I’m surprised. The last few weeks I’ve allowed myself to hope for a Clinton victory — I mean what else can you do? I bought into the Nate Silver bandwagon even though I’ve always had my doubts about his statistical magic. The problem with complex predictive statistical analysis is you can’t know if you’ve got the right data set or how reliable the data are. When your predictions are right it looks like you’re a genius — until you’re wrong. Well, the predictions were wrong, the data turned out to be junk.

So here I am looking back to a time when I was actually less hopeful in an effort to scrounge together some optimism. What was I thinking back then and how does it reflect on Trump’s victory?

Take heart, dear liberals. Clinton’s loss is not an indictment of progressive liberalism or ideas. Clinton didn’t lose because she was too liberal; she lost because she failed to give progressive liberals and independents something to vote for, something to support enthusiastically. Clinton is basically a moderate Republican, so her loss cannot be an indictment of liberalism. Liberals still have the only workable and truly popular solutions. Liberals just need to find a party that will champion their agenda.

It wasn’t just sexism

Take heart, dear feminists. Of all the reasons I ever thought Clinton might lose, I never thought (nor do I now think) she’d lose simply because she’s a woman. To be sure, sexism is alive and well in America, but Clinton lost because she was a weak candidate with too many liabilities and too many people simply didn’t want to vote for her. Even if she’d been a man I think she would have lost.

Listen: Do you think a black man would have won back in 2008 if he’d been disliked and distrusted by more than 50 percent of the population? Obama campaigned on change. Bill Clinton said: “Change? Give me a break.” If Obama had been a hugely distrusted and disliked candidate who wasn’t offering something compelling to vote FOR, could we have said he lost because he was black? I think Americans are ready and willing to elect a woman as president, but she’s going to have to be a great candidate that sparks hope, energy, and enthusiasm, not a candidate that tells people their hope, energy, and enthusiasm are naïve and unrealistic. Clinton’s loss might give feminism the jolt it needs to re-examine its discourse and progress. I think it’s possible that Clinton’s loss might provoke a renaissance of feminist activism that goes beyond the celebration women in positions of power.

Take heart, dear Democrats. While this is a stunning and catastrophic loss, it’s also an opportunity to jettison the tepid neoliberalism that captured the party in the late ‘80s and has led to sooooo many other stunning defeats. Republicans don’t win because they’ve got great ideas and candidates everyone loves. Trump will be the most unpopular president to ever step into the White House, and the majority of people who voted for him actually said they didn’t really want to vote for him. Democrats lose because the conservative Democratic elite who have been running the party since the late ’80s refuse to nominate populist progressive liberals that people want to vote for. Obama barely got nominated and the elite clearly decided they weren’t going let something like THAT happen again.

A chance to rebuild a liberal party

This is a chance to rebuild as an honest-to-god liberal party. The myth that the Democratic elite know who’s “electable” and who isn’t has surely been exposed as utter delusion. That’s actually not a bad thing; it means Democrats have a chance to change their mentality and nomination process so that truly electable candidates can get the nomination in the future. Surely Democrats can’t conclude that Hillary was too liberal, so it’s time for a little revolution within the party. If Democrats champion, pursue, and enact liberal policies rather than function as a firewall against them, they’ll have popular candidates whom people want to vote for, and they’ll win elections, and that’s a good thing.

Take heart, America. Don’t forget that Trump is going to become the most unpopular and distrusted president to ever take the oath of office. Although Trump was elected, he actually lost the popular vote and he has no mandate. He also has no plan — and doesn’t seem to even know anyone who does have a plan — so his ability to actually govern, much like his “amazing” casinos, will probably never materialize. We know that his fellow Republicans have no idea how to govern either; they seem to think refusing to govern is a new form of governance. Furthermore, remember that Trump isn’t actually ideological. In many ways he’s not actually a Republican. While the Democrats managed to suppress their populist anti-establishment candidate, the Republicans failed. That means that Trump takes office in front of a party that’s so deeply dysfunctional, distracted, and toxic that they’ll likely continue to implode despite their electoral victories.

In many ways the nomination of Trump was a predetermined disaster for Republicans whether he won or lost. His loss to Clinton would have been a humiliating defeat, but his victory is a repudiation of their core strategy and values. It’s unlikely they’ll be able to unite behind Trump, and even if they do, Republicans have shown us over and over again that even when they unite and get into power, they can’t get anything done.

We’ll have more chances

Take heart. If we lose Obamacare, we’ll come back with single payer. If they try to privatize Social Security, they’ll be out in two years. If they try to stomp on women, GLBT’s, or emigrants, they’ll simply accelerate their own demise. Trump will be a bad president, but we’ve had bad presidents before, and we will have another chance to vote.

Maybe I’m being naïve but I don’t believe Trump’s election is about making America a bigoted and hateful safe harbor for sexism, racism, and anti-semitism. This is just another installment of American stupid. If anything, Trump’s America will reawaken the slumbering forces of peace, justice, diversity, tolerance, and reason. Americans can only try stupid so many times before they realize it’s always a bad idea. Perhaps now tepid liberalism will be jolted out of its complacency. In a strange way, maybe THAT’S how Trump actually will make America great.   

Paul Udstrand is a photographer and writer who lives in Minneapolis. 

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Comments (52)

  1. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 11/10/2016 - 10:04 am.

    Message lost in delivery

    Good words, Paul. Thank you. I think Mrs. Clinton gave it her best shot and was the better candidate. While I would have preferred Bernie Sanders to have lead the ticket, her embrace of his platform and message of a “political revolution” satisfied me that she would have tried to move the ball in the right direction. But Bernie’s message was a real change from the course Obama had lead the country for the past 8 year. Some commenters believe that people picked up on that message from Trump. True or not, Mrs. Clinton could not convey Bernie’s message at the same time as promising to carry on Obama’s legacy. People just heard Mrs. Clinton’s message as “4 more years of the same.” Not enough people in the right precincts were around to unscramble Mrs. Clinton’s mixed message. But, as you say, if there is reason for encouragement, it is that more people still voted for her than for Trump. So, in the end, we can take comfort in knowing that with every sunset there is a new dawn. We can hope a phoenix of progressivism and social democracy will rise from the ashes of this disaster.

  2. Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/10/2016 - 10:26 am.

    Keep hoping

    When the New Deal is eviscerated, when Roe vs. Wade is a historical footnote, when the EPA is abolished, when our federal land are sold to the highest bidder, when affordable healthcare is a memory to all but the wealthy, when the mininimum wage is gone, then and only then can the progressive world arise. Makes sense. Of course this presumes faith in a constitutional system to prevent Trump from simply silencing any opposition with force and effectively ending our Republic. Curious to hear who you think will stand up to prevent it, as it certainly won’t be members of his own party, you know the ones who just took absolute power over my life and your’s? Two years is a long time, yet its still odd to think how short it is in comparison to how long it took to enact all that two years will destroy.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/10/2016 - 12:09 pm.

      keeping hope alive.

      It’s important to remember that this is the country that actually survived a bloody Civil War… now THOSE were bad days.

      Perhaps some of the horror you describe will come to pass but let’s look at the long game, we’ve been at this for over 200 years and a chump like Trump isn’t going to end it unless we let him.

      I’m not saying things can’t get bad, or even really bad, so we have some difficult days ahead. But to answer your question: “Curious to hear who you think will stand up to prevent it, …” I for one will stand up. And I’m not alone. I suspect folks like Franken, Klobuchar, Obama, Sanders, Micheal Moore, and maybe even Taylor Swift will stand with us. We’re not alone, and we’re not powerless.

      I’m not trying to minimize the danger, I’m just saying: “Don’t despair. Prepare”. We’re going to have to get into this personally more than likely. But maybe that’s what being an American ends up being all about.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/10/2016 - 12:50 pm.

        Here’s the thing

        You are big on reality based thinking, right? I get the I am Liberal, hear me roar sentiment, but you, I, anyone unaligned with Trump and his minions are, really and truly, powerless to stop anything. Filibusters? They’ll be gone in hours. Pop icons? Oh no not that. Rioting in the streets? Tienamen Square comes to mind. I’m glad you referenced the Civil War, as this is about the only precendent that comes to mind for me. It took actual bloodshed to get change. Not that I expect anyone to have the compunction to follow through with that end, we’ve been cowed for far too long now. Words no longer matter. We no longer matter. I told you months ago what was to come and you brushed it off, you still are to a certain exent. The battle, at least in the form of words and votes, is over, we lost, and as the sytem is currently constituted will never win again. I guarantee you, a raft of voting restriction laws such as the world has never known are queued and waiting for approval from the court in the land. Nothing can prevent them. As for the long game, one must first survive the short one, my only hope is that I can spare my kids the worst of the misery that’s to come, and try my best to steer them away from the dark path that so many of their peers will be leading them toward. Good luck in your fight, you’ll need it.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/10/2016 - 01:19 pm.

          Seriously

          I hear ya, but listen: Women were powerless, they got the right to vote. Blacks were powerless, they got the right to vote, they got the civil rights act. The environment is powerless, it got protection. People were powerless to stop the Viet Nam War, they stopped it. You think this is bad? You think YOU’RE powerless? Seriously, it really has been much much much worse and people with a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the power you don’t think you have have prevailed from one end of the planet to the other throughout the ages.

          Again, I’m not minimizing the danger or the severity of the problem, I’m just saying we can handle this if work together. That’s not liberal denial, it’s actually an historical fact. Don’t give Trump MORE power than entitled to.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/10/2016 - 06:17 pm.

            All the things you mentioned

            Took generational change, with decades of work, mostly occurring during a period of unparalleled economic supremacy in this country. We are back to square one, but without the advantage of time. Time’s up on climate change, time’s up if you lose your health insurance, time’s up if you’re an immigrant, Muslim, or LGBT. You also discount the factor of societal inertia, while progressivism will attract converts now, while some of us remember what was lost, will it in 50 years time, after a couple of generations of conservatism as “normal”, and after education has been reduced such that the average citizen barely understands their present, much less the past? All this against the backdrop of a virtual economic caste system, akin to Victorian England, where the poor are assigned, and accept their roles as lesser citizens. Look, fight the good fight, but don’t ask me to trade in false hope and delusional optimism. I wasn’t an optimist to begin with, its all used up.

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/11/2016 - 07:54 am.

            All the things you mentioned, including emancipation, the 19th amendment, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the end of the Vietnam War, the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency – All accomplishments on the resume’ of the Republican Party. Three out of five of those came to pass in my lifetime; this is not ancient history. The Democrats have been coming down on the wrong side of history for decades. Let’s not pretend that the sky is falling because the Republicans have returned to power.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/11/2016 - 09:32 am.

              Sigh

              See Paul, this is what is in store, obvious factual error, disguised as truth. Mr. Rose is of course fully aware that all these policies were enacted by Republican party diametrically opposed to that of today, and that the Democratic legislators of that era by and large became the Republicans of today. You and I and every historically informed person knows that. But when they scrub the context from our children’s textbooks, or decide historical education isn’t required at all, who will be left to tell them, and their kids.

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/11/2016 - 01:33 pm.

                Historical Fact versus …

                Verified Historical Fact versus Rhetoric/Tired Talking Points/Facebook Memes.

                Verified Historical Fact:

                An 83-day filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was lead by Senators Albert Gore, Sr. (D-TN), J. William Fulbright (D-AR), and Robert Byrd (D-WV).

                (Proof positive that historical education is required)

                I know some Republicans from the 1960s; they are not Democrats.

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/11/2016 - 03:36 pm.

                  A simple test then

                  Would you, or any of the current constituancy of Republican party support such legislation today, had it never been enacted?
                  Also might you list for me the Southern Republicans who might have supported said legislation. Don’t worry, I won’t hold my breath. Strange though, to hear how the Great Society, which apparently you revere, was brought to us by those same staunch conservatives. I think Barry might rise up from the grave to strangle your tortured logic on this one.

                • Submitted by chuck holtman on 11/11/2016 - 03:59 pm.

                  Methinks

                  Your parenthetical should reference not historical education, but reading comprehension.

                  Matt’s point is that the ideological alignment of the Republican and Democratic parties at the dawn of the Civil Rights era is somewhat different from that alignment today. His comment and your response are mutually supportive.

                  What do you believe is more relevant today, that 52 years ago there were segregationist Democrats, or that Mr Trump’s victory this week rested in part on openly welcoming the nation’s armed & carrying white supremacists into the Republican coalition?

                  • Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/12/2016 - 04:42 pm.

                    Race & Class

                    The parenthetical was in response to Matt’s comment regarding historical education. I comprehend Matt’s point; even though I don’t agree with it, I get it.

                    In polling, much has been made of the uneducated white male vote. The term “uneducated” is the media’s way of saying stupid without saying stupid. Count among them Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Michael Dell. When will we stop parsing people by race? Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of a color blind society still proves to be a fantasy, because we just won’t let go of it.

              • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/12/2016 - 08:32 am.

                What’s in store…

                We don’t usually actually know each other on these comment boards; maybe I have a few years on you (I’m 54 years old).

                There’s absolutely nothing new about these fact challenged comments and the people making them are on a well established list of usual suspects. I’ve literally seen all this garbage many times before. This isn’t Trump’s new America, it’s who the republicans and conservative pseudo-intellectuals have been for decades.

                One of my observations is that the real problem with America has been the complacency of it’s liberals. If any of this really surprises you, and you consider yourself to be a liberal, I’m sorry but you just haven’t been paying attention for decades, THAT’S complacency.

                Frankly, the only thing that was ever going to “save” America is liberal activism. The problem is you get no real activism out of complacent liberals. Complacent liberals tell you that liberal agendas are nice dreams but unrealistic and naive proposals. Complacent liberals tell you we don’t have to worry about the fact that the feminist project has been stalled for almost three decades because we just nominated a woman for president. Complacent liberals tell you we don’t have to worry about racism because we just elected a black president.

                My hope once again, is that as awful as this is, maybe it will be the jolt that FINALLY yanks American liberals out of their complacency and forces them to demand a truly liberal party that fights for liberal policies instead of scaling them back in the service of false pragmatism.

  3. Submitted by Jim Million on 11/10/2016 - 11:16 am.

    K.I.S.S. Method Works

    One of the oldest and most valuable promotion principles of selling anything is the KISS Method:
    Keep It Simple Stupid.

    It works very well, especially for less sophisiticated target markets. That would be average voters, yes?
    Thanks, Paul, for bringing some in the audience to simple realities of known entities.

  4. Submitted by Sheila Ehrich on 11/10/2016 - 02:21 pm.

    Thank you!

    Thank you for offering a glimpse at some hope. My stressed out, sleep-deprived brain really needed someone like you to lay it out. We do forget that two years from now Congressional elections take place again. I was also strengthened by Hillary’s reminder that we do have the rule of law and the Constitution to try to corral some of what Trump thinks he wants to do.

    Also, thank you for giving voice to things I’ve been thinking, talking to few about, and not really acting on over the last 10-12 years. (And I can’t be the only one.) This business of the DFL elites and DNC elites thinking they know not only whose turn it is to run for Governor or President, but as you pointed out, who is or isn’t “electable”. As someone who was actively involved with the DFL all my adult life, I no longer consider myself to even be a DFLer. The games that are played at conventions to see to it that the “right” candidate is put out there for the rest of the party and state to vote on turned my stomach one last time when Hatch wound up as the candidate. Thankfully Dayton was willing to run against the party.

    How do we make the changes that need to be made? Do we need to find disaffected DFLers such a myself and organize to vote the elites out? Do we really need to form a new party? How could we make it and its candidates viable. These are issues that truly need serious discussion over the next year-and-a-half. As Paul Wellstone would have said, “We need to get organized!” Who will lead the way??

  5. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 11/10/2016 - 03:16 pm.

    Donald Trump by himself will not do the great damage. It is the Republican party elite that is ready and chomping at the bit to undo everything that was progressive about the Obama presidency, starting with Obamacare’s provision of healthcare insurance for more than 20 million people.

    The GOP will control Trump–if you don’t think McConnell is smarter than Trump, you haven’t been watching. They will “work with him” to privatize Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, destroy all environmental controls and pacts, pack the Supreme Court (and lower courts) with reactionaries for a generation, etc. The people who voted for Trump have no idea what they have done to the country. In that group of those who voted for Trump I include the smugly aloof purists of the Bernie camp who threw their votes away on somebody minor whose lack of entity made them feel superior and let them avoid making one of life’s hard decisions between bad and horrendous.

    This all will be very, very hard to counter. Most of us will not be alive when progressive forces are strong enough to “right” this ship. I wish I could be persuaded by your optimism.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/11/2016 - 08:52 am.

      Prepare don’t despair

      I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, and I’m not exactly optimistic, but I remain hopeful. I sincerely believe that Trump didn’t so much win as Clinton lost. There’s no denying this is a bad situation. But my whole life (54 years in December) I’ve been fighting liberal complacency and when I see people in the streets protesting for the first time after an election (among other things) I begin to hope that the bubble of complacency may actually have been popped.

      This isn’t really about Trump. You can’t seriously think that this all just happened in the last 9 months? The toxic polices and damage of republican and neo-liberal democrats and their policies have been damaging this country for decades and continuous liberal complacency has made that damage unstoppable until now? We got a brief respite with Obama but a seriously disfunctional and entitled democratic elite transformed that potential into a monumental defeat. Maybe now we will finally be able to transform that party back into the liberal bastion it needs to be? We need to do that, because the party that just handed us this unbelievable disaster isn’t the party that can save us in two or four years. And I think we make it happen.

  6. Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/10/2016 - 07:39 pm.

    The impending loss ..

    The impending loss was abundantly evident to anyone considering who was on the ballot.

    I called this outcome right here on MinnPost in November 2014.

    https://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2014/11/does-history-show-hillar

    “The next President may be a Democrat, but not this Democrat.

    I will comment on two reason this is the case. The first is that she is not a likable person nor a likable candidate. I am aware of the polls that have her winning the presidency in 2016. Those are the same polls that in 2006 had her winning the Presidency in 2008. Let’s get excited about those polls!

    The second reason is Bill Clinton, who was a likable person. Bill wore the Teflon suit that enabled him to shed the slime that he created. It did however get on those around him. Ask Al Gore. While not a likable person, he had spent the previous eight years to his presidential bid as the VP of a popular president. How did he parlay that resume’ into a loss? Some of the Clinton slime came to rest on Al; Hillary wears it too.”

    You didn’t bring your A game. Hillary was a deeply flawed candidate, carrying more baggage than an Airbus 380. Her opponent, arguably flawed too, was defeatable. But, not by her. You brought your C-game and you lost.

    If you want to break that glass ceiling, you will need to hit is with something hard. Senator Elizabeth Warren could have been that hard candidate, but this time it was Hillary’s turn. From Wikileaks, we know how the DNC colluded against Bernie Sanders to deny him the opportunity. Had Warren defied stand-down orders, the machine would have dealt with her too. Speaking of glass ceilings, Kellyanne Conway was the first woman to ever run a victorious presidential campaign.

    In large part, the Democrats, and in particular the DNC, are responsible for a Trump presidency.

  7. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 11/10/2016 - 10:02 pm.

    Do we want this?

    Eight years of progressive policies brought up terrorism, the world on fire, and arrogant powers abroad and less income, more poverty, race wars, and less people working in the country. Do we want more of that?

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/11/2016 - 08:51 am.

      Just a reality check

      My indictment of complacency and call to action compel a brief response.

      Our nation did not suffer it’s most deadly terrorist attack, biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression, middle class income stagnation, or racial oppression during the Obama presidency. THAT all happened under Bush. The world was on Fire when hundreds of thousands of US troops were fighting Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush started the fire and while Obama may have limited success putting that fire out, it was never Obama’s fire.

      In fact, During Obama’s presidency the deficits, debts, unemployment, and terrorist attacks that characterized the Bush administration, were dramatically reversed. More people are working now than were during the Bush administration, and millions of Americans have health care, and affordable health care for the first time in decades. I don’t think electing a black man as president constitutes a race war, but I know some racists who do. These are simply historical facts.

      To answer your question: Is an intelligent and effective president who improves conditions what we really want? Absolutely that’s what we really want.

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 11/11/2016 - 11:40 am.

        What we need

        The nation suffered the worst terrorist attack in half a year after 8 years of Clinton rule – obviously all the preparation and reasons for attack were derived during those 8 years, not 8 months of Bush. Consequently, under Bush, our country maintained its spirit and did not go into economic collapse after 9/11 which could have happened. Sure, economy nose-dived in 2008 but we all know that capitalist economy is cyclical so no surprise here especially considering that presidents have very little control of economy in general. There was no racial oppression during Bush times because, as you pointed out, Obama was elected twice and Bush himself had several African-Americans and Latino in his administration in prominent positions. And household income was not growing much under Bush, which may be attributed to 9/11 but stayed flat during Obama years https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States (recent trend chart). And of course you cannot reasonably claim that Syria civil war, total mess in Libya, Hezbollah governing Lebanon, Iran dictating events in the Middle East, and Russia meddling in Ukraine are the results of Bush’s policies.

        After 9/11 just a few people were the victims of terrorism in just a few attacks in the US while dozens while hundreds were killed and injured during dozens of attacks during Obama presidency https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_the_United_States. I don’t know what you mean by deficit but the national debt has doubled during Obama years (that is a common knowledge so I do not need a chart). And the number of people working as a percentage of total population has declined significantly http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12300000 in the last 8 years despite lower unemployment rate that can easily be explained by people not looking for a job meaning it doesn’t mean much. And it is hard to call ADA affordable considering huge premium and deductible increases in the last couple years (which could have been predicted from the very beginning). And of course, electing a black president was a show of anti-racism, as I pointed earlier while all recent events including attacks on police and many riots during Obama years show that we are moving in the wrong direction now.

        So yes, we do need an intelligent and effective president who improves conditions for most people. Trump may not be the one but for sure Obama was not the one and Clinton would not be the one either (and surely Sanders would be able to do that with his socialist policies). So let’s go beyond ideology and consider facts all the time first.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/11/2016 - 01:34 pm.

        An Alternate Reality

        Predatory lending was not invented by George Bush administration. High-interest payday loans and sub-prime mortgages took off under Bill Clinton. Remember his “National Homeownership Strategy”? By 1995, the subprime loan market had reached $100 billion, and it doubled over the next three years. Expanding sub-prime loan volume caused significant deterioration in loan quality. By 1998, the number of subprime lenders grew to more than fifty. Everybody was having a pretty good time; lenders, brokers, insurers, regulators, rating agencies. The Fed should have (likely did) seen the coming housing bubble burst, but chose not to be the downer in a thriving economy.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/11/2016 - 03:51 pm.

          Yes, Bill Clinton proved…

          That republican policies are a bad idea even when democrats implement them. That’s one reason Hillary had so much trouble gaining traction this time around. My hope is that we’ll transform the democratic party back into a liberal party.

  8. Submitted by Misty Martin on 11/11/2016 - 12:48 pm.

    Thank you, Paul Udstrand

    Thank you for a refreshing outlook on what has been a most depressing week for me. I normally don’t get very involved in politics (a serious character flaw, I know) I do vote every election day, but I am woefully ignorant of important facts and policies that other people seem to be politically educated about (I’m a bit of a dreamer, I guess) BUT, that all aside – even though I am a registered Democrat, I have been known to vote for a Republican candidate now and again, when I feel he or she (mostly males up to now) represent what I feel is best for this country. I am a Christian and ALL of my Christian associates and friends voted for Trump. I did not. I do like the character of Mike Pence, the vice president. I utterly DESPISE Trump’s character. We’ll NOT go into that right now. And I realize that character doesn’t entirely make up the skills necessary to run the oval office. Still . . . I chose Hillary for a number of reasons that I will not go into here either, because I feel those reasons have been stated and restated enough already. I prayed for her the night of the election, when I went to bed very sad, dejected and depressed, over election results that I never saw coming. I felt Hillary’s pain, and I have felt it very strongly all week. I never expected to feel this way over an election, even though in the past, I have been in the loser’s circle, when my chosen candidates lost an election.

    But . . . that all aside . . . I am not going to protest as are some Americans in this country, because I feel that is futile and we need to come together for the good of our country. I did sign a petition that was online for the electoral college to change its results, though I feel that will never happen, so I guess that is my one public display of protest. Privately, I’m protesting still, but you have given me something to think about, and new hope to maintain. As I stated before, I am a born-again Christian, and in the Bible we read about many bad kings that the country Israel had ruling over them from time to time, but what we need to remember is this: God is in control. With a seemingly godly man, like Mike Pence professes to be, by his side, and others in his cabinet as well, maybe Trump won’t be allowed to do as much harm as I feared he might. Maybe someone might even teach Trump the value of being polite and not to having to resort to bullying and insults. Because I feel our children deserve more than to be taught that being a bully or a seemingly misogynist ultimately pays off – in a big way. One might become President of the United States.

  9. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/12/2016 - 09:38 am.

    Debate gaming again, but lets move on

    Just a quick note regarding some of these pseudo-historical arguments claiming that republicans made the big liberal progress in America’s history etc. etc.

    This isn’t history, it’s debate gaming. A serious attempt to actually understand history with integrity would reveal that in terms of ideology, the two parties have flip flopped a couple time in the last 200 years. Lincoln’s republican party was the liberal party of it’s era for instance so associating the anti-slavery movement with contemporary American conservative republicanism is historically inaccurate. Not to mention that fact that concepts of “liberal” and “conservative” of Lincoln’s era were a little different than ours as well. Likewise anyone who wants to understand the republican role in passing or blocking civil rights legislation need only google: “Dixiecrats”. I could go on but the idea that republican’s of the 50’s and 60’s were anything other than staunch defenders of Jim Crow is simply fatuous.

    I think the important thing to establish is that debate gamers simply cannot be trusted to provide reliable information. We need to get to a place in this country where integrity and credibility determine who listen to and who we get our information from. That doesn’t mean that anyone is always right, but it means that credible people are those who care about getting it right rather than scoring points.

    • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 11/12/2016 - 07:51 pm.

      Let’s have a discussion

      Mr. Udstrand, will you please respond to my last post so we can continue an important discussion.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/13/2016 - 08:20 am.

        Debate games are not discussions

        Arguments based on false claims are not discussions. Simply repeating false claims and adding “links” does not convert false claims into reasonable claims. Circular arguments based on false claims cannot be productive Ilya. You made your false claims, I refuted them. Longer and more detailed refutations will only distract me from more important and productive discussions.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/13/2016 - 05:25 am.

      Debate

      If you are done with the discussion, by all means, move on. I think that the value of these comment boards, is the debate of the issues, and some accountability for the authors. Though the authors might prefer the “good job” comments, they are not of much interest for the rest of us.

      Net neutrality has played a part in this election outcome. Most of the major news outlets are all owned by six multi-national companies, and they once controlled the content; they ran the narrative. Here is an excerpt from the CBS News article by Bill Rahn, linked below in an earlier comment I posted, “It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that, with a few exceptions, we were all tacitly or explicitly #WithHer, which has led to a certain anguish in the face of Donald Trump’s victory. More than that and more importantly, we also missed the story, after having spent months mocking the people who had a better sense of what was going on.”

      The people mocked, the basket of deplorables, the white uneducated males, these are the people whose votes that you intend to capture for the next election? Tell us about the liberal activism that is going to do that. Is it the protest blocking I-94? What does this liberal activism look like in your life?

  10. Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/12/2016 - 10:15 am.

    This Presidential Election

    Great article from CBSNew regarding the ubearable smugness of the press:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/commentary-the-unbearable-smugness-of-the-press-presidential-election-2016/

    • Submitted by chuck holtman on 11/13/2016 - 12:18 pm.

      Yes, I agree with you.

      Now if we could mutually understand the full scope of the author’s commentary (which, incidentally, the author doesn’t appear to), we could start making some progress. The chief target of this smugness for my lifetime has been the left. What made Bernie Sanders surprising was his degree of success in surmounting this smugness, but ultimately it was this smugness that did him in.

      You (meaning the collective “you” on the purportedly non-establishment Right) need to get past the facile and false notion of a “liberal” media. What we have is an “establishment” media. One of the chief operating principles of the establishment media has been always to exclude the left from the popular discourse, because the left critique actually identifies the causes of the economic and cultural woes of the middle and working classes. Establishment Democratic liberalism – redistributionism, with its natural outgrowth of identity politics – is an excellent place to stop, because it mitigates the effects of the existing structures of wealth and power without altering those structures. Leftism – altering those structures – however must be kept off the table. Most of the commenters on this site from the Right believe that redistributionism is the left, and don’t even appear to know that the left exists. And for that we can thank the establishment media.

      The disaffected middle and working classes who went for Trump – rural, provincial and urban – know that their economic and cultural bearings have been pillaged for decades, and rightly are angry. Where they fail is in their understanding of the causes, the perpetrators and the course of correction, and that is principally because of the electoral strategy the Republican establishment has pursued since Nixon that is predicated on racial and all other forms of division. The vote for Trump doesn’t indicate that anything has changed, only that these voters are ready to swing even more wildly at their false enemies. There is, in fact, a hard-headed and desperate argument for why Trump was the better choice than Clinton for what ails us, but I certainly didn’t hear it articulated from any of the many ordinary Trump supporters interviewed throughout the unending campaign.

      If you wished to put the country on a course away from establishment control and back toward economic fairness and cultural stability, the choice was to elect Clinton, constrain the damage as much as possible during her term, and then join in support of a true democratic populist such as Sanders (but better, from a candidacy standpoint) next time. Not to blow up the nation and the world.

  11. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 11/12/2016 - 05:44 pm.

    Thank you for pointing out

    That the American electorate is too stupid to choose the correct candidate. Now I know where the term “liberal elite” comes from.

    And complacency? Occupy and Black Lives Matter certainly don’t qualify as conservative activist movements.

    Hillary is really a Republican and Trump isn’t a Republican. If only we had known before we voted.

    Crushing electoral college victory and complete congressional control not a mandate? Seriously?

    “is going to become the most unpopular and distrusted president to ever take the oath of office.” That would have applied no matter which candidate won, but at least the statement is somewhat factual.

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/13/2016 - 09:20 am.

    Mandates and intellectuals

    Informed people do know that Clinton is a moderate republican and Trump is not a republican. It’s not my fault if some people don’t know stuff.

    Clinton got 26% of the popular vote, Trump got 25% of the popular vote, and only 53% of eligible voters bothered to vote. That means 75% of America’s eligible voters did not vote for Trump. If someone wants to delude themselves that they have a clear “mandate” with that, go ahead, you’re in for a rude awakening. That IS however one big difference between republicans and democrats. Whenever republicans squeak into office, no matter how small the margin, they claim to have the big mandate. Democrats on the other hand immediately caution themselves, no matter how big or small they win, that they need to reach across the isles and seek support from the opposition lest they “over-reach” their mandate. This is how they always leave all kinds of unfinished business on the table that comes back to bite them when guys like Lewis and Trump show up. Whatever.

    Black Lives Matter has emerged out of frustration with white liberal complacency so I’m not sure how pointing to their existence can refute the exisence of that complacency.

    In her book: “The Age of American Unreason” Susan Jacoby does a really job of describing past and present era’s of anti-intellectualism, or what have been called: “Great Awakenings”. I don’t think there’s any question that the US entered another such era in 80s, signaled by Reagan’s election. I’ve always referred to this as: “The Great Stupid”. Maybe I’m a little less diplomatic, that’s a fair charge.

    The thing about anti-intellectualism is that it classifies being “smart” as an “elite” characteristic, and then promotes ignorance and magical thinking as a response to elitism. It’s a funky cultural slight of hand to be sure and if it didn’t do so much damage it would be fun to watch, but at the end of the day you still end up trying stupid as if it just might work.

    Electing Trump, although I maintain it might provoke a badly needed backlash to anti-intellectualism, was a stupid thing to do. Unless you think EVERYTHING American’s do en masse must be smart simply because a lot of Americans did it (A logical fallacy by the way), you must admit that I’m not making an “elite” observation, I’m actually making a mundane observation. If you voted for Trump, you own that vote, so if it turns out to have been a stupid thing to do, it’s not my fault, and you can’t blame the “elite”.

    I’ve been saying for months that this election isn’t about left and right, it’s about up and down. Americans across the spectrum were rebelling against a political system that has been of the elite, by the elite, and for the elite for decades. We had insurgent candidates in both parties and while the democrats put their insurgent down, the republicans were unable to do so. The fact that Americans were handed one of the bleakest fields of candidates in American history certainly explains the low turnout, and the result of the election. Clinton could not shake her air of elitism while Trump managed to con enough people into thinking he’s some kind of working Joe. When you only need 25% of the vote to win you only need to fool some off the people some of the time. And fooling people is a lot easier to do when those people aren’t being terribly smart.

    So here we are. Don’t despair prepare. We can come out of this on the other side a much better and stronger country if unite behind decency, tolerance, and yes… a little less “stupid” and more “smart”.

  13. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 11/13/2016 - 12:49 pm.

    Claims

    You are claiming that my claims are false without refuting them or giving any proof of that (at least I did not find anything of that nature in your posts). Of course, you can dismiss the links, statistics, and logic if they do not fit your narrative but that will not bring us any closer to finding the solution to real problems we all face.

  14. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 11/13/2016 - 12:50 pm.

    Who are informed people

    Of course saying that informed people know that Clinton is a moderate Republican is a circular logic because it assumes that you are one of those informed people without proof. And Democrats do claim mandate too: http://www.forbes.com/2008/11/04/election-mccain-obama-biz-beltway-cx_bw_1104prexy.html, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-creamer/obamas-electoral-mandate_b_2157708.html, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/09/obama-fiscal-cliff-speech_n_2102168.html.

  15. Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/13/2016 - 01:07 pm.

    Polling

    Neither the Clinton defeat nor the polls forecasting her election win are a mystery. When you label Trump supporters haters, racists, misogynists, xenophobic, homophobic, and then ask them who they support, they may not tell you. While this labeling may seem like a good way to win an election, it clearly is not, and this behavior is in itself hateful. How do you expect to get a different outcome next time? You might need some of those deplorables from the basket.

    • Submitted by chuck holtman on 11/14/2016 - 08:31 am.

      What you say about the polling

      May be somewhat true, though it’s also true that if one is comfortable in one’s views, one isn’t embarrassed to say what they are. The discomfort strikes me as revealing.

      Otherwise, I’m sure seeing in retrospect, as usual, a lot of psychological projection from the Right. All we’ve heard for the past several years is ridicule of political correctness, of college campus “words can hurt” and “safe spaces,” and the like. But the message now coming from every Right commenter is that the reason all these folks voted for Trump is because they’ve been suffering hurt feelings from the “smug” media and the liberals who think they’re so smart.

      And what if someone is a hater, a racist, homophobic, etc? In a crowd of 5,000 people at a Trump rally screaming “Trump that bitch,” I’m guessing there are at least two or three “haters” or “misogynists.” You’re saying it’s hateful to point that out, even if it’s true and even if coming to terms with it is essential toward any hope of overcoming our societal cancer. Isn’t that a little bit politically correct?

      What does it mean to you, for the path forward, that avowed white supremacists and neo-Nazis are a quite measurable minority of Trump’s support and quite openly and euphorically pointing out that their support was essential to Trump’s victory?

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/14/2016 - 06:55 pm.

      Good Point

      The good news is that the Liberals do not seem to be learning from their mistakes.

      They seem very interested in moving further Left and continuing to insult most of the voters who live in rural America. And they seem to be forgetting that ~30% of Hispanics and other races, and half of the women, voted for Trump. This bodes well for future elections.

      And thanks to the electoral college and the Senate rules, those voters still have a lot of clout.

      • Submitted by chuck holtman on 11/15/2016 - 06:03 pm.

        Mr. Rose did not care to answer my question.

        Would you like to? What do you think about the fact that the white supremacist/neo-Nazi contingent is openly prominent among the Trump coalition? What do you think about the fact that Mr Trump has appointed Steve Bannon chief of staff, giving these groups a direct connection to the policy and tactical nerve center of the administration? Did the vast proportion of Trump voters who are not racists, homophobes, anti-Semites, misogynists, etc vote for this? If not, do you expect that they will rise up in protest very soon?

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/16/2016 - 05:50 pm.

          Well… First you will need to convince us Trump Voters that Bannon is as bad as you say, and that is unlikely to happen based on the background research I did. It seems that it is only the Left leaning folks and publications who want to lynch Bannon without a trial. It looks like he has a pretty diverse background and education.

          Second, I voted against Hillary’s far left platform and was not excited to cast a vote for Trump. However since he is going to be put in office I will happily wait and see where things go from here. Not much sense protesting something that has not happened yet.

          What terrible actions do you see Trump and Bannon taking that are causing you so much fear?

          • Submitted by chuck holtman on 11/17/2016 - 03:20 pm.

            My regrets.

            I can’t dismiss a year of barely controlled excitement for Trump on every white supremacist/neo-Nazi site; his open acceptance of the endorsement of those groups; and his appointment as chief policy adviser of a man whose chief undertaking since taking over the scurrilous Breitbart site has been to launder white supremacist messaging. Nor can I conceive of a cogent concept of right and left pursuant to which Clinton’s platform could be classified as “far left.” So I don’t think we share a moral or analytical universe to an extent sufficient for meaningful discourse.

  16. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/14/2016 - 01:22 pm.

    Two things…

    First, yes, many of us pointed out that a Clinton campaign based almost entirely on attacking Trump and his supporters was not going to be effective. Candidates running as liberals have better results when they give people something to vote for rather than hound people with things to vote against.

    Moving forward let’s build a party that will champion popular agendas to vote for and candidates that reflect those agendas.

    As for polling and election predictions. Statistical predictions can never be better than the data they’re based on and polls give us really bad data for a variety of reasons. Folks like 538 claim they use fancy statistical tools to clean up the data (mostly by averaging as many polls as they can) but the problem with junk data is you can’t know how bad it really is, or how much junk will throw your models off.

  17. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/15/2016 - 05:56 pm.

    Methods

    What I haven’t seen is a discussion on methods: Seems that Mr. T used most every propaganda trick in the book that equates to Machiavellian and Fascism. ~ 5-6 months back a suggestion was made to fight fire with fire, however, it may have been you Paul, that suggested that the progressive not entertain that idea! So is it elitism, to try to play to folks logic, fact & intellect? Or; better to go the low road with the slogans, veiled realities, and UN-substantiated character assassination?
    Personally I think the low road: Got an in-law that was a CFO, did he check T’s numbers before buying? Not a chance Just let that one blow on by. Hate to say it but plenty of fascism to go around in America, sold out for a slogan.

    • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 11/15/2016 - 11:57 pm.

      Where

      So where exactly do you see fascism in America?

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/16/2016 - 05:56 pm.

        Facism

        Personally I think it is the Democrats who seem more interested in centralizing power in Washington DC… The GOP seems fine with keeping most of the power in the States…

        Interesting question…

        “Facism – Webster Definition – a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition”

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/17/2016 - 10:15 am.

          That’s not a question.

          The central point folks like Ilya and Appelen always miss regarding their argument that liberals are more prone to Facism is the reference to a “dictatorial” leader. We live in a constitutional liberal democracy wherein our presidents are elected and subject to Constitutional limits. No amount of hysteria changes that central fact.

          The reason people get worried about a guy like Trump and other republicans is historically dictators emerge from the right, or conservative ideologies, that’s simply an historical fact. There’s never been a truly liberal dictator, and the liberal preference for organized governance cannot be described as a latent tendency towards totalitarianism. And in fact republicans are more likely to tear up the Constitution despite their frequent claims to be “Constitutionalist”. Republicans are for instance on the record as Theocrats who think this is a “Christian” nation. They have typically been the quickest to exercise extreme police force, and militarized policing based on racial and cultural stereotypes, i.e. “rounding up” millions of people and deporting them, creating religious registries, etc. Republican executives are also quite a bit more prone towards violating the laws, ignoring Congress, and overstepping authority; i.e. Nixon- Watergate and the illegal bombing of Cambodia, Reagan and the Iran Contra affair, Bush and his “rendition” program, the Guantanamo prisoner, use of torture, etc. And of course there’s a plethora of policy initiatives from abortion to bathrooms where republican politicians are trying to regulate individual personal behavior in the service of their “values”, which is a standard claim of all dictators.

          Now some will point to the Communist model as an example of “liberal” dictatorship, and that’s a common confusion that conflates left to right political spectrum’s with discrete ideology. Marxism can be said to have emerged form the “left”, but there was never anything liberal about Marxism or communism. Marx and the communist hated liberals and claimed that their ideology transcending liberal vs. conservative political spectrum’s, i.e. it was all about the Dialectic.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/17/2016 - 02:57 pm.

        Sample:

        Anti Muslin Rhetoric, Anti Mexican Rhetoric, (in the 30’s of Germany it was the Jews. Stephen Banner, “Far Alt right (Fascism Land) Strategist for Trump!

        • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 11/18/2016 - 06:36 pm.

          No comparison

          Mr. Wagner your comparison of Trump’s treatment of Mexicans and Muslims with Nazi’s treatment of Jews is totally off the mark: Nazis wanted to KILL Jews, didn’t they? Anything similar is happening now?

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/16/2016 - 07:41 am.

      Wasn’t me but…

      Clinton’s campaign was almost entirely based on attacking Trump so I think they tried to fight fire with fire. A fire extinguisher might have had better luck.

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