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With the Never Trumpers' revolt defeated, we move into new, foreboding political territory

People protesting against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in PA
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
People protesting against President-elect Donald Trump as electors gather to cast their votes in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Monday.

As you have surely heard, the revolt of the Never Trumpers fell short on Electoral College Day yesterday. Far, far short. Just as it fell short in the primaries and on Election Day. More electors who were pledged by their party to vote for Hillary Clinton declined to do so than did Trump electors decline to vote for him. Anyway, it’s over. He’s fully president-elect and will be actual president one month from today, unless he gets a better offer.

Regular perusers of this space have perhaps detected roughly how heartbroken and horrified your humble and obedient ink-stained wretch feels about this. In truth, I’ve been holding slightly back the strength of my feelings out of some vestige of older-fashioned journo-norms.

Yes, I’m very concerned about his likely policies — although, in truth, he never seemed policy-driven and may not do much that he promised or threatened to do. The real horror is that someone of his egomaniacal character, ignorance, prejudice, cruelty and self-absorption could occupy the office that the first Republican president so ennobled. He is the unLincoln or the anti-Lincoln, whichever sounds right.

As someone who has scribbled his way to a living for 40-some years now, trained in the dark arts of informing the electorate through good and bad times, I had picked up more than my share of skepticism about the fundamentals of democracy.

But I didn’t see this coming. I don’t mean that the week before the election I believed the pollsters. I mean that via some uncorrupted core of optimism about my country and my species, I didn’t think that Homo Americanus could overlook this level of lying and shapeshifting self-dealing and lack of feeling for those who struggle in ways that he never had to. The lying was especially hard on me because my lifelong craft is so worshipfully in love with the idea of facts and rational logic, and the idea that they matter. But, apparently, not as much as I thought.

So, I don’t blame Hillary Clinton, I don’t blame James Comey, I don’t blame Vladimir Putin. I don’t blame Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or those who voted for them. I don’t blame the media, either, except that the new media landscape and norms have made it so easy for so many to imbibe only those facts and falsehoods that suit their hopes and their dreams, their emotions and especially their anger and their grievances.

It really creeps me out that in this country, where I gratefully abide thanks to the courage and pluck of my immigrant grandparents, so many of my fellow Americans have become so obsessed with whatever they feel is wrong with their situations that they have lost sight of anything that is right with it. And so they bonded with a foul, greedy fat cat whose slogan was based on the premise that America is no longer a great place to live. Maybe some people need to look around the world, and I don’t mean just at Finland.

I don’t really blame the president-elect, either, because — although he would’ve if he could’ve — he didn’t elect himself. He needed tens of millions of Americans to volunteer for the twisted Vulcan mind-meld he offered. Ultimately, this was done by those who voted for him and, to a lesser degree, by those who didn’t vote. I don’t believe he is the answer to their problems; I don’t believe he is going to make their lives better. I have no idea whether or when they might realize this or what might happen when they do.

And, of course, what difference does it make whom I blame? As if I am authorized to judge others for how they choose to exercise (or not) their precious franchise. I’m not so-authorized any more than you are to judge me. I’m just an old scribbler who is entitled, at least until the Constitution is amended to the contrary, to his opinion. And I hope the opinion I’ve just offered is in error. It wouldn’t be the first time.

MinnPost will soon be moving into holiday mode, so I’ll make this my last piece of 2016. Hope to see you in the Happy New Year.

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Comments (114)

Thank you, Eric

I know how hard you must have been holding this back, but frankly, I'm glad you finally just let it out. "Journalistic integrity" be damned - sometimes you just have to finally state that the emperor has no clothes.

And this is why I wear my safety pin. It may be a small thing. But to me, it is an important small thing.

I'm so disappointed in so many of my fellow citizens. I thought we were better than this.

It is really dispiriting to know that, apparently, we are not.

Have a peaceful Christmas. And know you are appreciated.

It's like the air we breathe,

It's like the air we breathe, unnoticed until it's changed or missing.

What does it say when "make America great" is dismantling and disrespecting the social and governmental institutions that are taken for granted? Perhaps all it does to take it down is to bypass and ignore historical norms.

There has been a lot of history where there weren't governments that matched the government of the US and the abnormal of the US appears to on the way of being diminished by the defeat of the norms that have accumulated in the history of this nation.

What does it say when a President requires their own cadre of security bully-boys? What does it say about the federal government when the people being put in positions of power are the very ones who will financially benefit from the crippling and dismantlement of the agencies ? What does it say when the apparent qualification for office is being a cable news face that happened to get the new President's eye ?

It's not making America great again. It's about clearing the road for a rapid looting of the country for the financial benefit of the top 1 %. Learn the word "kakistocracy"--you'll find out the true meaning of it over the next few years.

Thanks

I'd never encountered the term "kakistocracy," but now that I've looked it up, I'm afraid it will occur to me far too often in the near future.

So often that it's a word

So often that it's a word we'll need to have a 3 letter abbreviation for (like OMG, LOL). Perhaps "KAK".

Considering the definition . . .

Considering the definition, and the way one will want to choke it out when some unfortunate event brings it to mind, somehow the abbreviation "KAK!" seems quite apt . . . . . .

Real threat

I don't think Eric should be so hard on himself. Most of us have misjudged and Eric's comments have been insightful and helpful. I would, however, shift the major concern from policies to the underpinnings of democracy. Policies are important, of course, and I join those who fear the impact of bad policies. But we really don't know yet where Trump's semi-informed, transactional instincts will lead him. If a policy is bad, cries of protest are in order. But Trump's record suggest that some dangers are more likely and more dangerous. Trump repeatedly has shown that he tends to comment first and get information later — and then pretends that the past never happened. That debases the value of thoughtful leadership. He states falsehoods, and then doubles down or tries to shift the blame. This devalues the importance of facts. The same applies to his tendency to respond to those who question his actions with personal attacks, which again devalues fact-based debate and decision-making. He repeatedly discredits media reports he doesn't like, generalizing that "the media lies." This not only diminishes the importance of facts, but it undermines the basic benefits of a free press in a democratic society. And he has repeatedly threatens those who disagree with him. That may be only a negotiating tactic, since he can turn on a dime and praise those he has blasted, but it is a dangerous tool in the hand of a President. It may be extreme to think of Trump as a dictator at this point, but that is the slippery slope that I think should be our greatest concern and point of watchfulness.

Yes

This.

I have to hope that Bill Clinton was right...

One of your lines reminds of William Jefferson Clinton's, "There's nothing wrong with America that can't be cured by what is right with America."

Not to go into fetal position

Rallies can be good, but don't change many votes. Take the thoughtful advice of Ken Burns, the admired documentary filmmaker. Go to those in your reach who do not share your governmental views. Bring up your number one fear about the new D.C. administration. Make your very persuasive, very respectful case supporting your fear armed with the facts for and against. Do this along with the other 50 or so million Americans who feel just like you. This is very difficult. Also, don't forget about your local school district which during the past 90 or so years has managed to dim down public education to the extent that there are now about 2 million, high paying, computer science jobs not able to be filled by Americans, due to lack of skill and knowledge. Do none of these and suffer the likes of German society between the two world wars, or check out today's Poland, for a look into your future. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/in-poland-a-window-on-what-h...

Pick one . . . .

Boy, that's hard just in and of itself.

It's a thought provoking suggestion. Thank you.

Our only hope

Is a new reality TV show that features truth and makes heros out truth tellers and zeros out of liars. Tell the truth and you walk away with millions in valuable prizes. Lie and you leave with only the scorn of millions of viewers. No need to read anything, no study requirements, just sit back and be entertained by truth and soon you will know and believe the truth.

Sorry Mr. Black; but, your less ethical media brothers made this mess, from promoting Clintonian "truthiness" to the Bush/Rove "reality based community" to Trump just flat out lying. It has been a long slippery slope to get where we are today. And the next Walter Cronkite ain't gonna bail us out of this mess. It will take "the entertainer of truth". And the best part is, whoever fills that role will get to be President.

Trust

Eric's article is one of the three best I have seen on the subject. I've taken the liberty of posting the other links below. I kinda do think all of those that Eric does not blame contributed, along with Hillary's choice to run what she thought was a safe defensive but uninspiring campaign that turned out to have a major blind spot (which I and many other shared). Perhaps the most fundamental concern is loss of trust in our institutions, including government, the media, politicians, truth, facts, and even democracy as the links below examine. Democracy arose in the enlightenment that valued science, objectivity, truth. Is this the end of the enlightenment?

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/29/world/americas/western-liberal-democra...

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/16/opinion/sunday/is-donald-trump-a-threa...

Trust

Nice article!

Perhaps the loss of trust in our institutions – government, politicians, media – complements deevaluation of truth, facts, and objectivity. Democracy was born in the enlightenment that valued science, objectivity, facts, etc. is this the end of enlightenment? There are two New York Times articles that bear on this question. The first is called "how stable are democracies" and the other is called "is Donald Trump A threat to democracy?" Both give me the willies.

I do kinda blame all of those that Eric does not as contributors to the outcome of the election, along with Hillary's decision to run what she thought was a safe and defensive, if uninspiring, campaign that had a major blind spot (which I and many others shared)

Last look at the election

Thanks, Eric, for sharing your insightful thoughts. As for me, to those Americans who think that our president-elect will lift you from the burdens of government and make your life better: IT IS NOT THE GOVERNMENT'S FAULT FOR YOUR LOT IN LIFE. Yes - government can help when they truly want to. But to lay the blame for the life you have on the government and to think that our president-elect actually cares about you and will "fix" your ills, get real. Sadly, too many of our citizens would rather look for someone to blame for their lot . . . Thank you, government (our elected officials) for using our tax dollars for programs such as Social Security, the Affordable Care Act, plowed roads, . . . . the list goes on and on.

clarify

"I didn’t think that Homo Americanus could overlook this level of lying and shapeshifting self-dealing and lack of feeling for those who struggle..."

I thought you were talking about Hilary!

I thought he was thinking

Of Bush and the one-term.

What we can do

Trump won because he tapped into widespread feelings of fear and anger. The fear of falling behind economically, of losing our familiar all-white culture, of crime and terrorism is relatively easy to understand. Anger related to a sense of losing our American entitlement to a "good life" is a little trickier because most Trump voters do have good lives when considered historically or in comparison with other countries.

The task ahead is to make it clear as quickly as possible which policies will help (infrastructure spending?) and which will hurt (demonizing people of other races or religions, isolationism, restricting trade, dismantling our communitarian safety net).

This requires an understanding of history. I especially like the idea (a few comments above this one) of studying the rise of fascism in Germany after WW1 in response to draconian war reparations and the Depression, allowing a certain low-level politician in Munich to claim he would "make Germany great again". The internationalists (Churchill, Roosevelt, Truman, Marshall, etc.) avoided repeating this mistake during and after WW2.

So: Start a history book club. Know the details about policies that have been tried before and failed. Maybe your school district can offer a little less about the 19th century and more about the 20th century (immigration, the New Deal, civil rights for all, the paths of fascism and dictatorship). This curriculum needs to start in Middle School.

After all, it's today's young people who have the most to gain or lose by their votes. They deserve a level of education that will help them make informed choices.

I'm glad all you folks who voted for Hillary

know why Trump supporters voted for him. I'm amazed (amused) at how you know that the "all-white culture" folks are living the good life but just don't know it. Starting a book club to tell folks how good they have it while working 2 jobs 50 hours a week to make monthly payments should do the trick.... Here's a news flash for you, if a person is happy with their life she/he will let you know it, please don't be so pompous as to tell them how good they have it or how they should feel.

Why didn't he?

I have a question for everyone here: Why didn’t Trump run for president eight years ago, when everyone actually thought that Clinton would be a Democratic nominee? Here is my explanation: the last eight years made it possible for him to hope to win. And this should help with assigning the blame.

Ilya...

Your 'last 8 years explanation" is vague......like Donald Trump's 'to do' list. Were you referring to the constant obstruction that the Republican Congressionals gave President Obama during his 8 years ?

I was referring to what

I was referring to what people usually don’t like more than anything: Being constantly insulted and called names… and no Congressional Republicans have nothing to do with that.

Irony

is appreciated.

Obstruction

There are partisan issues and there are bipartisan issues. On bipartisan issues, opposing sides work together on common ground. One current example is infrastructure spending.

On partisan issues, like the so-called Affordable Care Act, there will be little or no support from the opposing side. The new term for this seems to be "obstruction"; it is actually politics and business as usual. Looking ahead, I see a lot of what you call "obstruction" by the Democrats.

This October 2016 Time article regarding the ACA gives a clear picture of why obstruction was deserved, particularly for Minnesotans.

http://time.com/money/4535394/obamacare-plan-premium-price-increases-201...

Excerpt:

"Minnesota: 50% to 67%
“Rising insurance rates are both unsustainable and unfair,” Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said in late September, while releasing the details of individual health plan increases purchased on the marketplace. “Middle-class Minnesotans in particular are being crushed by the heavy burden of these costs. There is a clear and urgent need for reform to protect Minnesota consumers who purchase their own health insurance.”

He said that the individual marketplace was “on the verge of collapse,” and that the “rates insurers are charging will increase significantly to address their expected costs and the loss of federal reinsurance support.”"

Maybe So

The last eight years have shown us that the Republican Party has a tent big enough to welcome conspiracy theorists, misogynists, and racists. No government experience is necessary, because making a government work is not important: all that matters is winning elections. Mainstream Republicans may be genuinely shocked at his victory, but the new Republican Party fits him like a glove.

And yes, I know you are trying ever so obliquely to blame Obama, perhaps because of a backlash. Let's consiuder that responsible adults try to offer solutions better than "Destroy everything!" when things don't go their way.

RB, your last sentence: Precisely.

A vote for Trump was an act of pure nihilism.

Let me again state a very simple point that the regular MinnPost commenters from the Right seem utterly unable to grasp: The left doesn’t dismiss the weakening of the economic underpinnings of the middle and working classes and non-urban areas over the past several decades. For at least 36 years, the left has offered the most incisive critique of the forces causing this weakening (though of course the left critique has been almost entirely excluded from the mainstream discourse, precisely because it is incisive).

What we object to is these folks voting time after time to give even more power to these forces, and to make life worse for themselves and the rest of us. And this has culminated in their putting into the world’s most powerful office a pure sociopath who surrounds himself only with sociopaths, and who is focused so entirely on sating his ego and augmenting his net worth that in pursuit of this he will destroy the world without even noticing.

If you are so filled with anger that you can’t think straight, then by all means feel free to engage in self-destructive acts, so long as you don’t hurt others. But voting isn’t an act of self, it is a collective act of self-governance in which you cast your vote as best you can on behalf of the welfare of everyone in this society, including my daughters. You don’t get to vote ignorantly and you don’t get to vote nihilistically.

As Mr Haas says just below, respect must be earned. I don’t respect people who voted in favor of smashing civilization repeatedly with a battering ram to see if it can keep standing, or who after a year of looking at Trump didn’t understand that this is what they were voting for.

Eric Didn't publish it last time

"I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it."
Edith Sitwell
Seems most apropos along with

Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
JFK

Can you please reiterate what

Can you please reiterate what the left has offered… Is it Sanders’ socialism “like in Denmark?” Now, about anger… why do I have a feeling that Democrats are very angry right now? Also, do you respect people who ignore history when they vote? At least Trumpism has never been tried (and no, it is not the same as fascism).

No, leftism isn’t “Sanders’ socialism ‘like in Denmark.’”

I can’t speak as to “Democrats,” but indeed as a leftist I am angry, as for many years I have watched wealth and power do what it does unless restrained by a critically thinking and engaged citizenry operating collectively, which is to concentrate; have watched trillions spent on arms and militaries, millions killed and immiserated, and fanaticisms cultivated across the globe in the protection of this consolidation of power; have watched climate change and its myriad threats to human and animal civilization be ignored and denied so that concentrated wealth can continue to extract its rents from an always metastasizing global fossil fuel economy; and have watched ordinary folks with ways of life caught in the slow vise of this process fall prey to the distractions of social issues, the entreaties to be irresponsible and selfish, and the fomentations against an unending succession of false enemies, all so that they will continue to support those who are turning the vise.

And this manipulation was nowhere so distilled as in this election, where a broad demographic supposedly rebelling against “the elite” has elected an empty man who knows only unaccountable privilege, fronts transparently for the elite, and already is pledging to funnel vast new sums of social wealth into the usual pockets in the forms of “drill baby drill” and a vigorously resurrected global nuclear arms race.

Trumpism has never been tried? Trumpism is the fomenting of hatreds, resentments and grievances among people so that the pockets of an elite can be lined. It’s the oldest game in the book, and if it ever has turned out well, I’d love to hear about it.

Civilization is not a given. It rests on building and maintaining shared humanity and trust beyond the family and clan into the wide world beyond, and is hard won. If you look thru history and across the globe today, you can see how unlikely civilization is to establish, and how fragile it can be as soon as collective institutions, norms and bonds of trust begin to weaken. A force in our society has been swinging a wrecking ball against these institutions and norms for some time, for its own selfish purposes and without concern for the consequences. It now has ascended to near-unimpeded power.

Well said!

Maybe the best summary of the situation I've read anywhere.

Those being crushed by the vice unable to prevent themselves from being mesmerized and convinced it's in their best interest to promote, elect and further empower those who are tightening the vice really IS the "consternating riddle," isn't it.

Finding a way to crack THAT code -- short of all-out collapse (or worse) and a generation or two (or ?) of practical misery for almost all, right here in the USA -- would seem to be "the only real game in town."

It's looking like that, or the occurrence of a subtly amazing miracle, is what it will take for this part of the 240-year movie to end well enough for us all to be able to move on in a relatively smooth way to the next phase of that (tough enough as it is) "pursuit of a more perfect union" this country is supposed to be about.

Not all people who voted for

Not all people who voted for Trump are Republicans so his win does not prove that Republicans welcome racists. And there is really no proof that Trump himself is racist. And of course, Obama’s government experience was minimal in 2008… and he was the one who was blaming everything on Bush and saying that he would do everything differently. By the way, what is the position of Democrats now when things didn’t go their way: Destroy Electoral College?

Respect

Hillary did not just get beat, she was propped up by the DNC, had the most defectors in the electoral college vote this week, won the least number of electoral votes of a DFL candidate since the 80’s, and lacked the personality to draw the votes Obama did.

People keep thinking that Trump was chosen. No, the voters only had two choices. And they didn’t choose Hillary. I have nothing against either candidate, but people just didn’t have faith in her. It’s time to move forward.

But we can't. We have yet another reporter reduced to calling names. If you think you are not the problem, think again.

Learn how to treat others with respect, Trump, BLM, alt-right, alt-left, everyone. Treat people with respect.

Respect

Is earned, not given. When others show through their actions that they deserve it, they may earn my respect.

Respect

Its not about who won or how they won. It's about using respectful language when talking about those we disagree with, Hillary or Trump.

Someone may not have earned your respect, but does that mean you call them names like this author did with Trump? Where does it end?

The VOTERS

chose Clinton by a margin of 2.5 million.
It was the Electors who chose Trump.

Thank goodness for the Electoral College!!

When you exclude New York State and California, Trump won the popular vote by 3 million votes... I don't want to be governed by the nuts on the coasts...

The "Nuts on the Coasts"

The "nuts on the coasts" are Americans, and your fellow citizens. They are as much a part of the national fabric as the "real" Americans smoking meth and gobbling opioids in small town trailer parks.

Exclude Texas and trump was

Exclude Texas and trump was demolished

Show Your Math

Subtract the 36 votes Trump received from Texas from his 304 votes received: 268

Give all 38 Texas votes to Hillary plus the 227 she received: 265.

Neither received 270, so it goes to the House of Representatives which is controlled by Republicans. What is the scenario of Trump being demolished?

Losing

Hillary lost five electors to Trumps two, widening Trump's margin of victory, in a way that counts. No candidate in election history has had more electors jump ship than Hillary. She set a new mark.

We could talk how many more counties and states Trump took, but what would be the point? That is not what counts.

In the Michigan recount, it seems that 37% of Detroit (heavily Democratic) precincts counted more votes than there were ballots. In Wisconsin, Hillary lost votes in the recount. What other gems would have been unearthed had the recounts been allowed to continue?

Great turn of feelings and

phrase ... ".....so many of my fellow Americans have become so obsessed with whatever they feel is wrong with their situations that they have lost sight of anything that is right with it." Plenty of people have a right to feel they are short shifted. It seems to be the ones who were not who were saddling up to he who shall go unnamed. It just amazes me the crapped that this guy pulled and was still elected by electors. For those who insist on countering in explains his success of some Hillary diatribe that is nothing but being psychologically "oppositional!" What is being referred to are he who shall go unnamed boldfaced alteration of truth or what we thought of as American truth. Did this child not through the out all manners and respect for others. Of yea you must think others derserved his behavior. And her I return to Eric's quote.

"Forebodiing" ". yes

I would go one step further and say that our candidates for the big white house on Penn and Trump in particular lack one significant
sensitivity - plus those who voted him in -...they have no poetry in them which reflects in a most simplistic, quasi-romantic thinking.

"Defenseless under the night/ the world in stupor lies;/ yet dotted everywhere/ Ironic points of light/ Flash out wherever the just/ Exchange their messages"
Tom McGrath, the late, great plains poet...plus

..."and every battle, every augury;/ and if defeat itself/ Bring all the darkness level with our eyes-/ It is the poem that brings the proper charm/ Spelling resistance and the living will,/ to bring to dance the stony field of fact/ And set against terror exile or despair/ the rituals of our humanity" Tom McGrath

A Loss

This election belonged to the Democrats; it was their's to lose, and they did. You backed the wrong candidate. What should have been abundantly obvious to anyone paying attention, is that she was a loser from the start. Hillary was a deeply flawed candidate, carrying more baggage than an Airbus A380. Her opponent, arguably flawed too, was defeatable, but not by her. It was called and explained right here on MinnPost (link and excerpt below) two years before the election, before there was a Trump candidacy. It was her turn, and the DNC agreed, colluding against Bernie to seal the nomination. There was some isolated outrage, like Susan Sarandon, but for the most part y'all went along for the ride and arrived surprised at the inevitable destination.

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.”

Both Gore and HClinton

received more votes than their opponents.
It's the system that is flawed, not the candidates.

Was Hillary's goal to win the popular vote?

No.

They both campaigned to win the electoral college vote. Winning the most votes, the most states, the most counties are footnotes that are barely interesting.

Were it a popular vote contest, both candidates would have campaigned differently. Finding a win after the fact is loser-ism.

Still makes it hard to argue

that Trump has a popular mandate.

True

Nor would President Hillary, having earned less than 50% of the popular vote.

But nearly three million more

than anyone else.

Participation

And all she gets is a participation trophy.

Bring her back in four more years for an encore. If she was all that so many claimed, surely your party will run her again.

Future Shock

Spot on commentary. What worries me is whether or not this is the new normal. Will we continue on ignoring facts and/or conflating them with opinion? How can a nation survive with this sort of willful ignorance across such a large swath of the electorate? But I also believe this is a personal problem. These people choose to not find real evidence to inform their opinions. It has become true that a headline is enough, let alone the uttering of some angry, semi-deranged radio host or blogger. We just want to be right, even if we are wrong.

A woman was interviewed at a rally earlier this year and when preented with a fact about her candidate, she said she didn't believe it, and when they showed her the clip, she said, "Well, that is not my opinion."

Is this our future? God help us.

Everyone ignores facts they

Everyone ignores facts they don’t like, Trump’s and Clinton’s (and Obama’s) voters alike. You may want to read alternative news sources to find that information

That's the problem

People who read alternatives to news and believe it.

The only way

By alternative I meant something other than people always read. Only by reading from both sides can a person have a full understanding of reality.

Stained mirror for a nation

Thanks for your words, especially these:

"... via some uncorrupted core of optimism about my country and my species, I didn’t think that Homo Americanus could overlook this level of lying and shapeshifting self-dealing and lack of feeling for those who struggle in ways that he never had to. The lying was especially hard on me because my lifelong craft is so worshipfully in love with the idea of facts and rational logic, and the idea that they matter."

Thank you for your words

I agree with that sentiment, as did Ron G. in an earlier comment.

It illuminates the point that these very words could have been written about Hillary.

"... via some uncorrupted core of optimism about my country and my species, I didn’t think that Homo Americanus could overlook this level of lying and shapeshifting self-dealing and lack of feeling for those who struggle in ways that he never had to."

Yes, those words could have been written about Clinton.

And in one form or another indeed during the campaign they were, a thousand times or ten.

But the difference is that one is true, and one is a pure fabrication, wielded in the campaign in the fundamental Rovian fashion of taking your own greatest weakness and smothering your opponent with it (a tactic that could not work without the intense connivance of the establishment media). Not 1 in 100 Trump supporters braying to put Clinton in jail could offer a cogent argument for what exactly constitutes her legal or even moral transgression. Emails, Benghazi, Clinton Foundation, &c &c, all a big zero inflated to somehow equate to, or indeed even absolve, the Apotheosis of Corruption and Self-Interest that is Trump.

There is indeed a deep critique of Clinton, and that is why those of us on the left supported Sanders. But it is a critique about worldview, not corruption. Calling these two figures equally corrupt is like insisting that Mercury has the mass of Jupiter and indicates a fundamental unseriousness of discourse.

Follow the Money

Claiming that every charge leveled against Clinton was pure fabrication reveals your "fundamental unseriousness of discourse"

If you want to know the truth, you follow the money. If you want to ignore the truth, you look the other way.

"It now appears that Norway, one of the most prolific foreign Clinton Foundation donors, is decreasing its annual donation from $20 million in 2015 to $4.2 million this year—a significant drop suggesting the foreign government had expected to receive benefits in return for its generous donation. Norway’s move also provides further evidence that the Foundation serves more as a front to sell access to the Clintons than as an organization focused on philanthropy."

http://observer.com/2016/11/foreign-donors-begin-pulling-out-from-clinto...

The interest doesn’t always follow the money

Sometimes the money follows the interest. That is the difference between a corruption claim and a worldview critique.

On the left, we object to the arms sales themselves and to those, like Clinton, who treat them as business as usual. That is a worldview critique. We don’t need to look past that to conjecture a quid pro quo between a Clinton Foundation donation and the State Department’s approval of the arms sale. Conversely, the source you quote feels the need to declare a quid pro quo, though he doesn’t have the seriousness to offer any evidence or reasoning for his conclusion.

It’s also interesting to see that your source is an opinion piece for the on-line media vehicle run by Trump’s son-in-law, but I don’t suppose that bears on anything.

Pay to Play

I take this Pay to Play example from the Atlantic, because Atlantic Media is owned by a Clinton donor.

"Hillary Clinton has gotten very lucky in the 2016 presidential election, on few items as clearly as the Clinton Foundation. And her spell of good luck continued again Wednesday night at the third presidential debate.

Moderator Chris Wallace pointed out that Clinton had pledged to avoid appearances of conflict of interest between the Clinton Foundation and her work as secretary of state. “But emails show that donors got special access to you. Those seeking grants for Haiti relief were considered separately from non-donors, and some of those donors got contracts, government contracts, taxpayer money,” Wallace said. “Can you really say that you kept your pledge to that Senate committee? And why isn’t what happened and what went on between you and the Clinton Foundation, why isn’t it what Mr. Trump calls pay-to-play?”

Clinton more or less avoided the question."

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/10/clinton-foundation-p...

As pointed out in the article!

There is no evidence of wrong doing: However there is significant evidence of Trump using his foundation as a personal piggy bank! So we have a great case of female convicted over innuendo, white rich elite male, with proven record of mischievous events walks away.
That is called cherry picking the data and a sexual bias from this end, by definition its Machiavellian.

Convicted?

Convicted? Hardly. There is ample evidence, including that in Chris Wallace's unanswered question, but no conviction. She promised to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. She clearly did not.

The Machiavellian charge didn't work in the election, just as it doesn't work as a defense of the Clinton foundation.

We're really beating a dead horse, aren't we?

First, a question isn’t “evidence” (even had it been asked by an honest interlocutor). In the article you linked to, the author agrees there is no evidence of a quid pro quo and falls back on the old chestnut about “appearance” of conflict. You yourself have quietly downgraded your charge from lying and self-dealing to "the appearance of impropriety."

Second, while Clinton may have pledged to avoid all “appearances” of impropriety and, in this instance, failed at least in the eyes of some, I would challenge anyone to cite a single action Trump has ever taken that wasn’t dishonest and/or self-dealing (outside, perhaps, of brushing his teeth, though if anyone could do that dishonestly, he could). It is not possible to support Trump and then, without hypocrisy, coherently critique Clinton on the grounds of dishonesty, self-interest or indeed any feature of character.

Quid Pro Quo

Support Trump? Find an instance of that and quote me. My coherent critique of Clinton stands alone.

Thanks for the opportunity on the last day of the year to link and excerpt a top ten list of Clinton Pay-to-Play allegations. I am certain that you will find each instance to be merely a coincidence. The fact that the Obama Justice Department has investigated none of them comes as a surprise to no one.

"7. Clinton State Dept. approved transfer of 20 percent of U.S. Uranium to Russian Government, as Clinton Foundation took in $145 million in donations from investors of the deal

According to a New York Times investigation, Mrs. Clinton’s State Department was one of nine agencies that had to approve the Uranium One deal to the Russian government, which it did.
“The sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States,” the Times reported. According to their analysis, $145 million in donations was given to the Clinton Foundation by uranium executives lobbying for the deal. Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock, the Times reported.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/24/clintons-top-10-pay-play...

The Trump Presidency

A coherent critique of Clinton is not Trump support.

The harsh reality that being not-Trump is not enough arrived late for Hillary, November 8th or 9th. Had she had something to offer, perhaps all her baggage would have gotten behind her rather around her. She believed the press and in her own destiny.

In an act of campaign malpractice, Hillary never visited Wisconsin in the general election, nor did the President or First Lady. Hillary won Wisconsin voters under 30 by just 4 points. Obama won them by 23 points in the last election. While the voters in the Great Lakes States know they are considered fly-over, they don't care to be treated like it. Hillary skipped Minnesota too, but won by a 1.5% margin.

The lack of a message for voters with economic concerns, not caring enough to show up, believing the polls, riding the not-Trump train into election day; all factors in a Trump presidency.

Perhaps

We should give the next President a chance to fail instead of automatically assuming that he will.

And now many readers and the "ink-stained wretch" know how about 50% of the population has felt the last 8 years. Store that feeling and remember it when you are back in the White House.

No offense, but no we shouldn't

If the "constitutional conservatives" who now control Congress are for real they will not allow him to take the oath of office unless he has resolved his (massive) conflicts of interest in a legally binding way before inauguration day.

If they don't do that they will prove themselves to be the constitutionally dishonest politicians many believe them to be because they will have knowingly allowed the next President of the United States to take office while being in clear violation OF that constitution.

(He SHOULD be forced to release his tax returns before then too, but, unfortunately, that's "merely an ethics issue.")

So where next?

All we had to vote for essentially were two power brokers,,,and in some selfish or ignorant act the people voted for the greater power broker and this nation is stuck with it,

The blame game says we have been so wrapped in our own small world too, too often with only a personal concern of Me/We over 'Them' ,,,and now we will have to live with it?

Racism comes back like the first bad omen...what will we compromise next in order to cling to the future and blind ourselves to the destruction we have voted into power?

'I'm okay, we are okay Trump's okay.'..I hear it coming out of a nation that one could say has its future laid out like a sick joke that isn't funny

We are a nation that once had hope yet we struggle now to place a band aid over a leader who smells like a tyrant ; whose family will rule also? Just could be; anything can happen now, who knows?So call them handlers for their father...like a three headed leader, like a monster ruling; distorting who we were and of such enormous potential that civil liberty, the right of privacy, due process so slowly being eroded and we will not even notice it. Sure words sustain us but there is no power and ever so slowly the rhetoric creeps toward more compromise?

Maybe there is no 'poet' left in us, nd this nation may destroy itself.. but will it. go down"with a bang or a whimper" ?

Change

People voted for change this time the same as they voted in 2008 so it is as reasonable to call Trump’s voters names and saying that they “lost sight of what is right” with America as as it would have been 8 years ago. It’s just that those who thought everything was wrong that time now think that everything is right and vise versa.

Collaboration

Isn't it fascinating how half of Americans support Trump Policies and half Obama's.

And each group would swear that the other is irrational and going to ruin the country.

I LOVE AMERICA !!!

Liberal complacency strikes again

I don't mean to pile on or attack Mr. Black but it's critically important that we understand a few things at this point because we may facing a very difficult and potentially dangerous era.

To wit:

"But I didn’t see this coming. I don’t mean that the week before the election I believed the pollsters. I mean that via some uncorrupted core of optimism about my country and my species, I didn’t think that Homo Americanus could overlook this level of lying and shapeshifting self-dealing and lack of feeling for those who struggle in ways that he never had to."

The primary feature of liberal complacency is denial. That "never Trumper" protest wasn't any kind of "revolt", it was simply denial. The decision to put Hillary Clinton on the ballot was wishful thinking pretending to be critical political thinking, another form of denial. The liberal rejection of the critical, popular, and aggressive liberal agenda that Sanders represented was yet another form of denial that such measures are actually necessary.

In short, if you didn't see this coming it's because you were living in a state of denial. You may have thought you were just being "positive" but pathological optimism is just one form of denial and pathological optimism has become a standard feature of complacent liberalism. Now you see just how far your "incrementalism" has really moved the needle... and which direction the needle has moved.

The truth is this IS America and some of us tried to tell you that, we've been trying to tell this for decades. It's critically important to remember that Sanders and his aggressive liberal agenda weren't kept off the ballot by conservative republicans, it was liberals who blocked a liberal agenda. Complacent liberals who didn't think a liberal agenda was necessary or worse, even realistic. Complacent liberals who thought mediocrity was good enough and that "tweaking" the status quo at a time when American's are demanding radical change would win an election. Complacent liberal who despite all available evidence decided to believe that electing a black man and putting a woman on the ballot proved that incrementalism had won the day against institutional and personal sexism, bigotry, and oligarchy. Complacent liberals just "brightsided" us into the most dangerous and incompetent president in American History at a critical time when we needed precisely the opposite.

The truth is that complacent liberal incrementalist mistakenly believed that they were making progress when in fact they've been incrementally pushing us toward a Trump presidency for decades. And it is critically important to recognize that if anyone is to blame it IS complacent liberals. Not because we want liberals to feel bad about themselves (god forbid) but because we need to form an effective response to the mess that's been dropped in our laps. If I've learned anything about complacent liberals after decades of dealing with them it's that they will return to their comfort zone of complacency like a moth to a flame and that tendency has the potential to doom our nation at this point.

A few word about the media, because Mr. Black is a media creature if ever there was one; to the extent that media is to "blame", it's important to understand that we have/had a complacent liberal media who's biggest sin in this election cycle to was completely dismiss Sander's and his campaign as irrelevant or unrealistic despite all available evidence. The guy came out of nowhere as a self described socialist and won 22 states and 48% of the primary vote while racking up deep and enthusiastic support that still hasn't dissipated, and all of this despite a hostile party leadership that actively sabotaged his campaign. Yet the liberal media decided he was a sideshow. The liberal media decided the main even was a lackluster candidate with no clear message, agenda, or popular support simply because her last name was: "Clinton". By the time folks like Mr. Black started worrying about things like Clinton's foreign policy credentials it was way way too late.

So the "liberal" media ignored or ruled out the only liberal candidate in the field and became obsessed with Trump. We ended up with the Trump show 24/7 because Sanders was deemed irrelevant and Clinton wasn't doing or saying anything noteworthy, she never did come up with a campaign of any kind other than "don't vote for Trump". I think the media felt comfortable spending so much time on Trump because A) It was making them a lot of money and B) They didn't think it really mattered because they couldn't really imagine him winning anyways. The horrible and undeniable truth is that all that coverage helped him win, and I'm sorry but there's simply no denying that.

So if you didn't see this coming, know that people like me don't want you to feel bad about yourselves, that's not the point. The point is you need to recognize you're denial and the role that's been playing not just in this election cycle, but in the continual drift towards these kinds of election cycles. Elections matter, and the only thing that will stop Trump at this point is an vigorous, passionate, and aggressive liberal response. You'll never get that complacent liberals or people like the Clinton's who you'll notice have pretty disappeared from view. So you have a choice, join the rabble while you may or sleep with the sleepers. (Billy Bragg, Waiting for the Great Leap Forward) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8M9DC2DFtGs

By the way, I must admit that in the beginning I didn't think Trump could possibly win, I wanted him to be the republican nominee because I figured he would be the biggest train wreck and either Sanders or Clinton would be able to beat him. That was my own complacency.

The Trump mandate wasn't just from

2016 election, it was GOP winning the House, Senate, 33 Governorships, and over a thousand state house seats since 2010 election. After America saw the results of Top Down tax and spend of Obama policies in 2009-10 they started voting out Dems at a historic rate. That is a mandate in anyone's book!!

Point of Information

The GOP lost seats in the Senate and the House in 2016.

"That is a mandate in anyone's book!!" Not if you count voters instead of counties.

RB, going into 2010 election

Dems had White House, Senate and House. Fast forward to 2016, the GOP have all three branches along with over 1,000 state seats and 33 Governorships, add it up and it equals MANDATE... Fairly simple.

Can you say "Gerrymandered"

We can see the Machiavellian result and be proud. Or we can seek to understand cause and effect. The majority lost in a presidential election. And perhaps in many other elections because of.

What I think

Everyone I knew and those I argued with who voted for Trump didn't listen to him other than to pick out what they liked about what he said, then they ignored everything else. From that point on they gathered together to talk about what they thought was going to happen or should happen and didn't hear what they didn't want to hear.

They are going to be in trouble. Trump will blame it on the Democrats when he passes legislation that hurts them. They aren't going to be able to place the blame where it should go, Trump and his administration.

Most of these people are living on the edge now. Social Security and Medicaid, Unemployment insurance, etc. and getting help from the 'food stamp' (SNAP) program. They think that somehow it's going to get better for them when Trump produces the magic they believe in. But they are the first in line to be hurt. They don't know it.

Most of them are hugely undereducated when it comes to our own History. Most can't tell you the political leanings of the countries who fought in the first and second world war, and forget about the History of the World. Most of them have told me that the Nazi's were Socialists rather than the Fascists the Nazi's actually were.

Our educational system has already put us decades behind where we should be. It's going to get even worse.

Paul, don't give up hope! Trump will still be the biggest train wreck yet!

Options

Jon,
You continue with the belief that these people want to be on the dole. (ie welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, heating assistance, etc) When the reality is these smart independent folks want good jobs. And as I mentioned before, Government, American History and World History are still required curriculum in all schools as far as I know.

As for the failures of our Social Services and Education Systems, it is possible that Trump etal may find a way to hold the parents,bureaucrats and public employees accountable for delivering excellent results that are aligned to the large amount of money we tax payers provide them to do so. I truly hope so since they have been leaving far too many kids behind for far too many years.

John...

Actually its YOUR belief that people want to be on welfare, and that welfare is unhealthy and bad for the economy. You and your brethren are always trying to label such programs as "entitlements" of some kind and eliminate them.

The rest of us simply realize that people who can no longer work, i.e. the injured, old, infirm, etc. still need to eat and have a place to live and they along with those who need medical care rely on these programs. So long as these programs exist they need to be properly funded.

You may see every living breathing human being on the planet as labor cog who sole purpose is to generate corporate profit as long as they can draw a breath, but that's not a universal belief. Social security and medicare are two of the most popular programs in the country, if you think seniors want the benefits they've earned over the course of a lifetime to end... you're are simply not in touch.

Please Note

Please note that I focused my comment on welfare, medicaid, food stamps, heating assistance, etc, I agree that social security and medicare are okay programs. The biggest problem is that we should be raising premiums (ie payroll tax) to be aligned with benefits.The refusal to do so has doomed the trust funds to going empty in ~15 years.

The problem I have with the other above noted programs is that they transfer the cost of poor decisions to people who are making good decisions. (ie not a good motivational model) Single parent households are the biggest recipient of those benefits, and I think it is important for kids to have 2 Parents in their lives whenever possible.

As for the disabled, they are handled via the Social Security Disability trust fund which has been underfunded via the payroll tax and is effectively empty because of it.

Please note...

"Please note that I focused my comment on welfare, medicaid, food stamps, heating assistance, etc, I agree that social security and medicare are okay programs. "

Please note you're making a distinction without a difference based on stereotypes. YOU and your brethren are the ones who think these programs exist because people want to be on them. The rest of use understand that these programs exist because they are necessary and the primary beneficiaries are actually the employers who aren't required to pay living wages or provide benefits. The majority of people using these services are working 40-60 hours a week, they'd rather pay for heat and rent with their paychecks but they're paychecks aren't big enough. "Welfare" programs are hidden subsidies for employers. not wish fulfillment for lazy people who don't want to work or make bad choices, that's YOUR stereotype.

So yeah, we know you don't understand these programs and don't like them, but liberals aren't the ones who think people "want" them, we simply realize that some people need them.

Want

Of course the Democratic Party thinks their voters want them, otherwise they would not always push to increase the funding and soften the work/ training requirements. Both parties pursue platforms that their voters support, that is how they encourage folks to vote for their candidates.

I mean GOP voters want lower taxes, abortion constraints, less government oversight, more work /training reqts, public education system accountability, etc... Therefore the GOP Party pursues these.

As for who public assistance subsidizes. Please remember that we consumers ultimately pay all bills. Therefore using progressive taxation to subsidize low wage workers actually transfers costs from all of us consumers to the successful / wealthy Americans. This helps the poor and fixed income folks the most.

Another swing and a miss

Wanting to provide a safety net and wanting to live in a safety net are very different things. Again, you're assuming that liberals and democratic voters share your dystopic and selfish motivations. I don't vote for school levies because I have kids in school, I don't even have kids. I don't vote for safety nets because I think people want to live in safety nets, or because I want to live in one myself, I vote for safety nets because we live in a reality where people fall through a variety of cracks and need assistance. I don't want to live in Somalia, I don't want to live in a country where people starve and freeze to death or suffer an die because they don't have health care.

You can champion a society where people starve and freeze and die without health care if you want, but don't expect us to be impressed with your morality or "values".

Selfish

My goal is for the USA to eliminate the educational achievement gap and generational poverty problems. Maybe that is selfish since it would make the USA a much better and stronger country for my children and someday grand children.

The challenge of course is that to do so, many people who are lacking knowledge, have self limiting beliefs, lack self discipline, make bad decisions, etc will need to learn, change and improve which is not easy.

Think of a good Teacher who is facing a child who is struggling to be successful in class. Should the Teacher who truly cares for the student let them continue the behaviors that are causing them to struggle and just give them passing grade?

Or should the Teacher pressure / motivate the Child to learn, change and improve in order to earn that passing grade?

If the child fails to change and improve, thus failing to learn the material adequately... Should the caring Teacher just pass the student anyway?

Most 'welfare' spending

goes to children.
Would you go back to Dickens? It's in season!

Premiums and payroll taxes

Health care costs in the UK are just under $4,000 per capita for complete cradle-to-grave care.

Cost in Canada for the same thing is $4,500 per capita.

Same basic situation in every other nation in the industrialized world.

Cost per capita in America? . . . $9,000

AND we get the worst health care outcomes of any industrialized nation on the list. (Shorter life-spans and more chronic disease.)

AND, overpayment percentage-wise, that was the case long before Obamacare came into existence.

Why is that, do you suppose? Top flight, world class, private sector execution of ultra-efficient, well-designed business plans?

Americans -- ALL Americans -- are already being charged an average of $5,000 per year more than necessary for an inferior (private sector-produced and managed) product and you think the fiscally responsible solution is to make people who pay payroll taxes (and single mothers, of course) pay MORE or get less so "good people" won't have to (pay more or accept lower returns on their shares)?

Merry Christmas

Travellers

I guess I never hear about citizens travelling to Canada or GB for the best healthcare. And here is an HP article explaining one downside to those systems.
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/bacchus-barua-/canada-health-care_b_9646872...

And I do agree that the US Healthcare costs are high... In part because we are funding a lot of the R&D for the rest of the world. (ie Medications, Implanted Devices, etc) Of course if we want to stop this good work that 7 Billion humans benefit from.

Most basic research

is funded by the NIH; not by private industry.
Most 'research' spending by pharm companies is the development of 'me too' drugs which duplicate ones already on the market treating common conditions. That's where the profit is. No benefit to consumers.
Of course, if most people paid directly for health care they -would- go overseas to get it (Costa Rica, for one, has a big medical industry). Since most costs are paid for by insurance companies or Medicare/Medicaid, people are not aware of what they are paying.

Mixed

I think there are many sources and they should likely all be included in the "high cost of American Healthcare numbers"... So yes we Americans are doing a great service for the rest of the world.

Yeah...

Most of the private sector drug and medical research is simply trying to develop new iterations of drugs that are marginally (and usually not even) better than existing drugs whose are about to generic. This is just one way profit motives and parasitic capitalism distort moral human conduct and waste collective resources.

You continue

John-
You continue to have a reading-comprehension problem to think I believe people want to be on the dole. Like Paul has said it's your belief, not mine or not Paul's.

What you want is for people to go hungry when there are no jobs available to them or the jobs that are available can't both house them and or feed them. Your belief is that all that has to be done is to throw them into the streets without any means of survival and they'll magically find work. Even when it isn't there to be had.

You start with holding the parents responsible for not being able to find work that provides them with the things that all people need. What comes in your dream next is for politicians and bureaucrats to pass legislation to cut them off all aid.

You hold poor parents responsible for their education even though they have no choice but to send them to the schools available to them. Your feeling is if we just cut all help and aid things will naturally fall into place and everything will be all right.

Magic doesn't exist John, no matter how much anyone wants there to be. Trump isn't a magician and he doesn't have the kind of plan that makes things better by reducing aid to the poor and to education. The one thing he will do is to deprive even many of his supporters of the aid they need to survive a lack of available work while saying "that's the way it has to be folks". If you've listened to Trump in the news and know who his advisors and cabinet are, you should understand his only concern is to help the wealthy and the Corporations pay less tax.

Checks and Services

Actually what I want is:
- for Americans to buy American (ie increase demand)
- for illegal workers to go home (ie reduce supply)
- Result = more jobs and higher wages for legal workers

And:
- Social policy to hold Parents accountable
- Education policy to hold schools accountable
- Result: All kids will be socially and academically capable

Now how to accomplish these worthy goals is the question. As you note, what we have been doing is not working.

Hope?