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Jack Move

“Jack moves. Context, with Donny, seemed to indicate that these were either deliberate but extremely lateral, thus taking the competition by surprise, or, more likely in Donny’s case, simply crazy, same result. He’d never said what jack move, exactly, in a given situation, he was contemplating, and maybe that was because he didn’t know. Maybe it had to be improvisational and completely of the moment.”

-PATTERN RECOGNITION, WILLIAM GIBSON

 

Donald Trump, on stage at the first Republican convention for the ‘16 election, was considered a joke, something to make fun of regarding how bad the choices were for the conservative branch of American politics. Against all predictions, he ended up sweeping aside the other nominees while rushing headlong into the nomination. As he got closer and closer, more and more pundits predicted that groups such as #NeverTrump would prevail, saving all of us from the monstrous idea that is Trump.

But Republicans didn’t seem to want to be saved from Trump, and indeed to have been relishing his rise in the fight against Clinton that seems to be coming this fall. They pulled a collective Jack Move, and it seems to be working for them. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of conservatives who want nothing to do with Trumpism, including a few of OT’s writers and commenters.

But the Republican Party doesn’t seem to want those voters anymore; it may be happier without them. For they are the voters who brought out McCain and Romney, two candidates that the Democratic party and its friends in the media were in many ways designed to defeat. The candidates that the establishment wing was trotting out this year, Bush and Cruz, would have been destroyed in a similar vein. And when presented with a possible choice that obviously set off the nation’s elite, with cries of “How Could They!” and “He’s Vulgar! the right jumped at the chance, swarming en masse toward the billionaire with the funny/cheesy hat. Why? Why did they feel that they needed to do this? Well, let’s take a look.

 

Jack Move

They've got to stop the clock – Varsity Blues

Varsity Blues is an average teen movie, with average actors and a banal plot. But the above scene perfectly illustrates the jack move. The second string QB brought in at the last second needs to do something — and proceeds to stop the clock in a most unexpected and unplanned way.

There are also some good examples in history, such as D-Day. Because the most logical thing is to go right at your enemies strongest fortifications. Or in real sports, like the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. With possession just before halftime and only seconds to go, instead of going for the field goal as expected, Seattle went for a touchdown, tying the game. As for a jack move that failed, we have the unexpected pass that didn’t work at the very end of that same game.  

But why?

Conservatives believe, rightly or wrongly it doesn’t matter, that the media is biased against them. This shows up in such ways as: how any opposition to the ACA is painted as racist; accusations that even when the job they have is legislating, they aren’t governing; or, claims that if the branches of government that the Republicans have just taken back use the checks and balances that the constitution provides them, it must be because they aren’t serious senators. Couple this with accusations that every Republican running for President is akin to Hitler, and that opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants being solely motivated by racism. (A claim supported by the one of the party elite no less!)

Is it any wonder that the party rank and file would jump at a solution that both those very same party elites and the media (which contains very few members of the political background that motivates these non-elite Republican party members) find abhorrent? That the talking heads of our media couldn’t see nor believe the rise of it? That the rank and file instinctively know that the left have no real ability to counter? Finding someone who the media couldn’t counter was of utmost importance, for all the reasons listed above, along with the most salient reason of all: the simple fact that if they want to win, they cannot play the game as set out by a media who say things such as What’s the matter with Kansas?

A jack move allows the player to stop the clock, bust a fortress, get a touchdown instead of a field goal. It can also cost you a game. Different from a Hail Mary, it attempts to change the rules, to force everyone to accept a new paradigm.

 

A New Paradigm

To say that the Democrats have the Republicans number on the national level, in national politics, is to state the obvious. As linked to above, there are four Democrat reporters for every Republican. To keep playing a game that you are set up to lose (in your own eyes at least) is a fool’s errand. So you change the game.

This game is supported by so-called datadriven journalism, supposedly pointing out unequivocal, non-moral truths about how the world works. Often backed with statistics taken from polling data, it is exemplified by Jonathan Chait’s essay Fact-Finders, and Vox which “explains the news.” As Emmit Rensin said of the Chait piece:

     In other words, Liberalism isn’t an ideology, it’s just an adherence to Good Facts. In other words, what’s wrong with conservatism is that it has a moral philosophy. Not that its moral philosophy is wrong. In other words, liberals have a monopoly on reason. Liberalism, according to Chait, has no ideology. Only a desire to use data in order to produce “beneficial outcomes”. How do we know what outcomes are good? Unanswered. Irrelevant.

How does one fight that, how does one overcome such obstacles? Especially when there is an issue with the polling that makes so much of this journalism possible:

     Over the past two years, election polling has had some spectacular disasters. Several organizations tracking the 2014 midterm elections did not catch the Republican wave that led to strong majorities in both houses; polls in Israel badly underestimated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strength, and pollsters in Britain predicted a close election only to see the Conservatives win easily. What’s going on here? How much can we trust the polls as we head toward the 2016 elections?”

 

The Game

To say this is but a game belittles those whose lives are affected by politics. Those who have felt the sting of NAFTA personally, someone who didn’t get a job for being too conservative, or a fraternity falsely accused of rape.  Those are the people whom the Republicans feel they are helping, that they are standing up for. Whether or not you agree with them on issues such as these, the right feels that the stakes are high enough not to trust to the old system.

Frankly, I understand why they don’t trust that system, for all the reasons pointed to above, and also the simple fact that the old strategy got them Romney and McCain. Both of whom lost. Strategy gets you Rubio, whom the party saw as being wrong on immigration, strategy gets you Cruz, far too religious even for the right. Strategy is the old way of thinking, in which your opponent can deduce your moves the same as you can. Inspiration is what bedevils competition, gives them nothing to work with.

Inspiration is what gave the Democrats Obama.

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163 thoughts on “Jack Move

  1. Indeed.

    Just look at who’s been put up from the R’s side:

    McCain
    Romney
    Dole
    Bush, Bush, and Bush

    Yawn. Not one of them had an ounce of charisma. Couple that with their congress critters spending money like drunken leftists during the “republican revolution”. Screw them. Maybe folks figure as follows: Dems gonna screw me, R’s doing it to. Maybe Trump won’t or HE’LL SCREW OTHER PEOPLE FOR A CHANGE.

    That’s a change you can believe in.

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    • Bush Jr has charisma! (still does). That wasn’t his problem! You don’t get into a virtual political tie with the defacto incumbent in a year of unprecedented peace and prosperity without charisma?

      (And if Bush Jr was such a bad nominee, where was everyone else in 2000?)

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        • It goes to aaron david’s point about how Trump arose because people don’t trust the system.

          If there’s anything that has enabled Trump, it is the complete lack of ability for the entire Republican (so-called) Establishment *and* the conservative ‘base’ – on radio, on the internet, in churches and think tanks – to come to terms with George W Bush. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was behind him in 2000, doubled down in 2002 and 2004, kept fighting through 2006, kept the faith even after the obliteration of the midterms with the Surge debate – and now are trying to rewrite history that Bush Jr was never a true conservative. (And the thing is, it’s not the true conservativism that doomed him, it was his management style)

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          • Dubya still had a 70% approval rating among self-described conservatives as he left office in 2009.

            I guess the other 30% are the only people writing articles, tweeting things, or running campaigns in 2016.

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    • I found Primaries McCain charismatic. Enthusiastic, optimistic, conservative, the right amount of reminding us about his wartime experiences (without crossing the line into Giuliani-say-“9/11”-every-third-syllable territory).

      General Election McCain was sanitized, inauthentic, and too visibly and uncomfortably yoked by The Machine. His candidacy was stained by a flawed running mate gamble. After securing the nomination, he had exactly two classy, charismatic moments, and both of those were in praise of Obama. (The 30-second TV spot congratulating Obama on the night of his nomination, and the “No, ma’am, he’s a good family man” remark at a town hall rally.)

      So it’s not that Republicans don’t have charisma (I agree that GWB was, and is, charismatic in his own way). Trump has charisma too, as do several of his former primary rivals, although at this point it’s clear that Trump has managed to parlay his colossal and endlessly hungry narcissism into a facet of his public emotional appeal, thus adding a disturbing measure of pathology to the rhetoric we’ve been accustomed to hearing.

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    • There’s a certain dark humor to this. Because Republican voters are sick of sending politicians to Washington only to see them sell out and fail to fulfill their promises, they’re going to think outside the box and find a guy who they can really trust. Their pick? A serial liar who can’t keep his talking points on major issues straight over the course of an afternoon and who assures them that Mexico will pay for the wall.

      It’s like somebody complaining about a bunch of bad past relationships. You dated one asshole? Sure, love is blind and it can happen to anyone. You dated ten assholes in a row? Let’s ask about the common factor here.

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  2. Your preconceptions are increasingly irrelevant.
    When your assumptions are built on the past, you miss the present as it occurs.

    The nascent realignment doesn’t give two shits about anything you wrote above.

    If you can’t even tell me about the current deals “in the works”… well, you’re very out of date, and that spoils your entire analysis.

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  3. This piece doesn’t really engage the main non-ideological arguments that the #nevertrump crowd makes against him: that he’s too policy ignorant to run the federal government effectively, that he’s contemptuous of democratic norms and the Constitution, or that he’s actively courting racists and white supremacists. Is that because the Trump supporters you’re trying to explain here don’t think those critiques are accurate? Do they simply not care whether they are accurate or not? Or perhaps are those things a feature, not a bug?

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        • Personal interview with my friend who is “in the know.” I’d give a name, but he goes by enough of ’em that it would be irrelevant. [What, you thought I could pull a Secret Service agent out of my back pocket?]

          The gun wasn’t loaded, of course.

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        • Pretty much has to be figurative, seeing as there is an entire cadre of well-trained armed Secret Service officers designed to prevent guns out of their control being anywhere near the president.

          This is a good thing. I very much do not want there to be a President Trump. But if there is a President Trump, I very much do not want him to be assassinated. There are better, legal, peaceful ways available of keeping a President Trump from riding roughshod over the laws and institutions of our Republic.

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          • To be fair, the gun wasn’t loaded.
            To be unfair, the Powers that Be were basically explaining what would happen to Obama’s children if he didn’t play ball.

            The Secret Service has historically been unable to prevent the Powers That Be from assassinating presidents… I don’t think that they have improved much. There are limits to what you can pull off with public figures, after all. (Does the president even have a geiger counter on him?).

            Assassinations ought to be saved for massive breakdowns of civil order — and to deliberately go after the people responsible. I don’t trust the Powers that Be to have that level of discretion.

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            • I assumed figurative, but I don’t really doubt your story. Similar stuff happens in the Congress. And people think that their vote makes a difference. To quote and old paleo/libertarian radio show host from my area, “You wouldn’t be allowed to vote if it mattered”.

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            • I’m calling “bullshit” here. I don’t believe anything of the sort ever happened. The courtier’s reply diminishes rather than adds to the already-thin credibility of this extraordinary claim.

              If nothing else, I can’t imagine what Obama was going to do that would have triggered a need to resort to extorting a politician who has never in his career indicated anything other than an enthusiastic desire to play ball according to the usual rules.

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              • Courtier’s reply?

                Apparently the Powers That Be have a talk with every incoming president… (the gun was a new thing). The degree to which they threaten/bluster or simply explain “here’s the facts” is probably due to the larger political position they find themselves in.

                They were apparently concerned that he might bring criminal charges (particularly treason) against some of the banksters.

                It doesn’t need to be exactly probable in order to make people that tend towards paranoid incline towards the emphatic.

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                • Courtier’s reply: “Trust me. I know this.” Your reference to a friend “in the know,” not identifying this person in any way to indicate how she might have been “”in the know.” How do I know your friend wasn’t bulshitting you?

                  Again, I don’t see any need for that sort of thing here when prosaic corruption would have been so obviously readily available.

                  And, I don’t see this back and forth going anywhere further as between us, so I’m happy to leave it at a claim made by you and disbelieved by me, and let the others decide for themselves with no ill feelings because of the substantive disagreement.

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                  • Burt,
                    “not identifying this person in any way to indicate how she might have been “”in the know.””
                    I’m willing to provide such information (and have in the past), though you’ll continue to have no way of verifying it (as I’m not providing names).

                    That’s still no guarantee of “no bullshit!”

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                  • As the use of said gun was a new (unprecedented) thing, my friend alleged it was because Obama was black — and was to emphasize the situation. *shrugs*

                    (My friend, needless to say, is not one of those people who constantly reaches into the “race card” playbook).

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                    • Kim, you’re in “the moon landings were fake” areas of tinfoil conspiracy here.

                      I mean maybe the Illuminati really DID hold a gun to the President’s head, but the most likely explanation is, well, it’s clearly crazy BS that for some reason your friend believes.

                      Just like a friend of mine believes in that Sovereign Citizen crap. It’s no less insane because he’s my friend.

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                      • The Illuminati control a very small amount of land (like, um, one coffeehouse). The Knights Templar live in Monaco and play poker a lot. [How do I know this? I know a writer, they investigate crap like this.]

                        The Powers that Be? They got names, and addresses. Goldmann Sachs, Halliburton, plenty of others. You’ve probably heard them called “The Deep State” — but I prefer “The Powers that Be”, because they’re primarily concerned with holding onto power and nothing else.

                        It’s not hard to read a conspiracy when you’re helping to write it, or when you’re working for people who are writing it. (In this, I’m speaking more towards the astroturf people like to call the Tea Party).

                        Do you really think that the neocons don’t exist?
                        That neoliberals don’t exist?

                        What I say may come across as tinfoil, but that’s at least as bad.

                        http://billmoyers.com/2014/02/21/anatomy-of-the-deep-state/
                        Cited source.

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                        • You claimed a literal gun to the head of the President, Kim.

                          Not “Goldman Sachs has a lot of lobbyists” or “the neocons have a lot of influence” or “neoliberals exist and lobby to pull the Demos rightward” or anything like that.

                          You CAN tell the difference between those claims, right?

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                            • No, Kim. I meant can you tell the difference between the claim “People held a gun to the new President’s head to let them know he wasn’t really in charge” and “Goldman Sachs has a lot of lobbyists and is pretty influential with Senators because of it”.

                              Because one is tin-foil hat territory, and the other is a bland statement about how government works. The problem here is you seem to conflate them, and can’t seem to understand why we’re not wearing tinfoil hats despite the fact that we know about the Goldman Sachs lobbyists.

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                              • You know about Monkey Business. You know about the DC Madam (even if you don’t know all her names). That there is blackmail in halls of power shouldn’t surprise you.

                                If Bill Cosby can be blackmailed over some garden variety (unforced) rape allegations, how hard do you think it is to blackmail politicians over dope, crack, or dirty diapers?

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    • “Is that because the Trump supporters you’re trying to explain here don’t think those critiques are accurate? Do they simply not care whether they are accurate or not? Or perhaps are those things a feature, not a bug?”

      Yes.

      And I am not trying to be flippant, but many, if not all, of the things that animate you in this election are either things that don’t animate the VotersOfTrump or are things that they see quite (spectaulary) differently than you do. I can’t nail down each of them, firstly as I am not a Trump supporter and secondly as I, presumably, don’t see these things the same as you. But suffice it to say that what is precived as racism, contempt of democratic norms, etc, are things that many of the supporters feel that they are not able to express an opinion on due to that opinion simply being taken as at best as Just Wrong, or, even worse, made fun of for having that opinion. While at the same time, they see much that they feel is misogonistic and bigoted coming from their “betters” on bothe sides of the aisle, especially in the media.

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      • You keep discussing this as if it’s just another left/right thing, but I’m doing my level best to avoid the aspects of Trump where I think there’s a legitimate argument to be made. Do you and I not agree that banning Muslims from entering the US is a constitutional and ethical travesty? Do we not agree that it’s a bad thing for Presidential candidates to threaten to use federal agencies to harass the owners of media outlets that displease the candidate? Do we not agree that presidential candidates should condemn the KKK?

        This looks to me like an incredibly insulting version of the soft bigotry of low expectations. Because conservatives have hurt feelings from people on the internet calling them racist, that somehow makes it normal or acceptable for them to nominate someone manifestly unqualified for the presidency.

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            • Yes I did, but is Trump really Ramsey?
              Trump actually reminds me more of King Robert Baratheon (though it’s not a close match, by any means — and we’re well reminded to recall that Ned’s view of Robert is very, very biased). Something in the hedonism, something in the sheer brutality of solutions, and something in the “putting the outs on the in for once”

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                • Not the way Hillary is cracking up, she’s not.
                  Maybe she was Stannis… last year.

                  Cersei would cut an “ooga booga” deal with Trump.
                  Can you see Stannis doing that?
                  Under any circumstances?

                  (he tries to compromise with his brother… but with Stark’s son? Hell to the no.)

                  Yeah, I could see Trump as Renley — it fits, not neatly, but there’s parallels there.

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                  • Stannis…made a deal with the devil. Cersi made a deal with some religious fanatics evangelicals (which makes Trump more Cersi than anyone).

                    Overall, I’ve always found Cersi/Hillary comparisons facile, just based on gender and a little bit on who was married to whom, but not on essential character elements nor how each reached and maintains power. If anything, Hillary is more like Dany than any other woman on the show.

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                    • I’m not making comparisons to Cersei based on gender and who was married to whom.

                      Cersei is a vengeful (and by the middle of book 4 somewhat crazy) bitch who makes enemies at the drop of a hat and believes she ought to use military might to crush her foes.

                      Hillary’s getting compared to Cersei mostly because she’s cracking up. “Why won’t they love me?” turned to “If they won’t love me, then fuck ’em.” [I am NOT the only person scared about this. Joe Biden’s being quietly groomed as a backup plan. I’d vote for Joe, closet racist that he is.] And the whole “destroy the enemies” bit.

                      I’ll give you that Dany works pretty well too — but she’s a bit saner than Cersei, I think.

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              • Robert wasn’t a sadist. Trump is (as are all bullies).

                But, I could see a comparison to King Joffrey, too, in that the narcissism is based on a fear of inadequacy and manifests in imposing petty indignities as well as the more gross brutalities (his demeaning nicknames for his adversaries, as compared to his announced policy of deporting eleven million people and provoking a trade war with China for the sake of ameliorating pride).

                But I’d fear Ramsey more — he’s smarter than Joffrey and knows better how to use the tools at his disposal. Trump is more calculating and intelligent that way, else he’d have not survived in the world of high finance for so long.

                I’d take Cersei over either Ramsey or Joffrey.

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                • There are two types of sadists — one who honestly likes inciting pain, and the other that lives to stoke feelings — any sort really — in other people.

                  The way you write about King Joffrey has a certain ring of truth to it.

                  Trump hasn’t survived well in the realm of high finance. He’s the guy taking risks and going bankrupt.

                  A trade war with China is the least of my worries right now. That’s still civilized, even.

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                • Trump is truly a narcissist (it generally takes at least something of one to want the Presidency).
                  Do you think he’d not act like a bully if he thought that was what it would take to win the Presidency?
                  We’ve had ample true bullies in Christie and Giuliani that he could easily have said “this is my new persona”

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        • Again, I am not a Trump voter. This has very little to do with me in specific. I am simply trying to present what I see out there. Do I personally think banning Muslims is a bad/stupid thing? Yes. Could, and will, others make a distinction? Yes. Should they condem the KKK? Sure. Does everyone feel that way? I am guessing no. And frankly, whether you and I agree on these things is immaterial. I don’t think you or I are going to vote for Trump.

          ” Because conservatives have hurt feelings from people on the internet calling them racist, that somehow makes it normal or acceptable for them to nominate someone manifestly unqualified for the presidency.”

          OK, what is your theory?

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          • Again, I am not a Trump voter.

            Apologies, but this seems to be a dodge to what is asking.

            You may decide not to vote for Trump, but (unless I’ve been reading you wrong all of these months?) you do seem to be someone who is energized by Trump, and who sees him as a good thing for America. I would describe you (again, perhaps incorrectly?) as a non-Trump voter who is nonetheless pretty pro-Trump-the-Phenomena.

            That’s a very legitimate point of view, but I think the question D’Z is asking about how using those strategies can possibly be good for the country is one that can’t quite be dismissed with saying you’re not a Trump voter. Damon, who is also a non-Trump-voting Trump supporter, puts out the argument that he thinks the whole thing needs to burned to the ground. I strongly disagree with that opinion, but it’s still a response.

            (And obviously, if I have been misreading you these past few months, then the question is moot.)

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            • You have been misreading me

              I find Trump and his policies to be the wrong direction for this country, as I find HRC’s. They are both increadibly bad. Period.

              I consider Trump to be like a skull fracture, and HRC to be akin to bone cancer. Both bad, both very different. What I am trying to get at, with this post and the comments I have made, is what is motivating the Trump voters, and how the professionals totally missed this. And further, how missing this has a very good chance of costing HRC the presidency. Part of that is because she stinks on ice as a candidate, but also because the party machine, its prognosticators and participants, is so out of touch with a good chunk of voters, in my view.

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                • In my opinion, that’s why Sanders has been so insistent on taking the primary to the convention: he wants to expose the DNC and entire primary process – DWS’ shenanigans, super-delegates, money, etc – as being structured to prevent challenges from the left (or any direction, really).

                  And to that point, it’s funny to me how Clintonistas and Berners talk past each other on that topic, with the Clintonistas shouting “those were the rules and that’s how democracy works!” and the Berners shouting “you don’t even see that the policies you’re using to justify fair play are fundamentally anti-democratic!”

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                  • Maybe because they’re pointing out “Even setting aside super delegates and all the other rules you’re kvetching about Bernie still unambiguously lost. He lost by 3+ million votes.”

                    There is a candidate talking about having super delegates overturn the indicated will of the largest number of Democratic Party voters; the twist is that it’s not Hillary Clinton.

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                    • I think this dodges a fairly large component of what’s going on here.

                      For as long as I have been of voting age and was registered D (roughly 30+ years), the DNC sold the primaries to me as a vehicle for the People to vote and choose the candidate the People wished to see in the general.

                      So for most voters — especially the young or newly excited ones — to be smack dab in the middle of this process and then be told that, oh by the way, there are these things called Super Delegates, and they were awarded to Candidate A long before anyone went to a ballot box, and also there are all the Byzantine rules in place to make sure that if the People decide on someone the party heads don’t care for, they can “course correct,” but it’s OK because these rules were in place long before the primaries even started — well, it’s going to have a fairly predictable result.

                      Now, obviously, all of these rules were in place long before Clinton and Sanders faced off against one another, so on then hand, much like an Apple agreement, no one has a right to bitch about what they themselves used their trackpad to click AGREE. But on a different but equally important hand, that’s not really how you sold it to the people you encouraged to join and donate to your party.

                      That people might come out of such a thing feeling betrayed, and believing that the fix is in and that the primary has been stolen is both pretty predictable and pretty understandable.

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                      • Feeling it and it being true are two different things, my Todd. Have the super delegates ever awarded the nomination to a candidate who didn’t get the larger share of pledged delegates?
                        As I understand it the Super’s have always trooped dutifully along in the path of the pledged delegates.

                        For Sander’s in particular the complaint is particularly rich because they have lost the vote in raw numbers of voters and in pledged delegates. The contests Bernie has done the best in, caucuses, are by far the least democratic of the slate.

                        If the Sanders supporter says “I don’t like Super Delegates because they’re not directly elected and they don’t reflect the will of the people so we should move to get rid of them in future contests or even eliminate them in this one.” I’d nod in understanding, assume their concern is corruption or accountability or democracy and we could have a chat about the relative pros and cons of super delegates.

                        But if the Sander’s supporters follow up their distaste with a “And therefore we should use the Super Delegates to put my preferred candidate over the top instead of the candidate that got the most voters.” Suddenly we’re not talking about democracy or accountability or corruption; we’re talking about how they want Sanders to get the nod regardless of how and that’s a different conversation and a lot more skepticism.

                        Now yeah, HRC has an obligation- both morally and electorally, to try and reach out to the supporters of the candidate the defeated. It’s in her and the parties interest to try and make them feel better about how it turned out. But we’re not talking about some shenanigans or wily trick that she pulled here. Bernie got beat fair and square by every measure. His policies and his goals, even his very candidacy was predicated and dependent on a political revolution showing up. Well guess what, the revolution didn’t show.

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                        • “Feeling it and it being true are two different things, my Todd.”

                          They are in a court of law. In the court of public opinion, which is what an election is, not really as much.

                          It’s like AT&T.

                          AT&T can get me into their store with a commercial that says they will charge me $X a month, and get me to buy into a contract because the salesperson there tells me that yes indeed, I will pay $X a month. And when the bill comes and it’s [ X + $100], and the AT&T customer service rep tells me this is because I did not read the fine print, and that AT&T charging me [$X + $100] a month is perfectly legal, they will be 100% correct. But that doesn’t mean I won’t try to royally screw AT&T the very first chance I get.

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                          • Yeah I see that and obviously the Dems will have to address it but this still elides that the grievances that those newcomers (however many they may be above and beyond the normal outsider cohort) are feeling is not that they were told they’d get a pure democratic election and then didn’t get it but rather that their candidate democratically lost. In a system with no Super Delegates Bernie would be losing by the exact same amount he’s losing now.

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                            • North,
                              I haven’t heard one person bitching about the superdelegates. They’re bitching over the rampant arm twisting and culture of fear inherent in the Hillary Campaign.

                              1 in 3 people on Hillary’s campaign staff wants to quit, but is too fucking scared to do so.

                              Hillary and Barbara have more similarities than just being women.

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                              • I love how Kim knows all these things. She knows 1/3 of Clinton’s staffers want to quit, but are terrified to do so. (Apparently it’s less terrifying to work there than to stop working there).

                                She knows there’s a culture of fear.

                                She knows people literally put a gun to Obama’s head to make him perform as they wish as President.

                                We should trust her, because none of this sounds unlikely at ALL.

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                                • morat20,
                                  The Clintons have an enemies list. You probably don’t want to be on it.

                                  I have previously mentioned knowing someone who works for political campaigns — staffers talk.

                                  It’s not difficult to understand that Clinton is acting pretty Machiavellian (“be feared, not loved”) — it’s why she’s getting support from people where their district voted strongly for Bernie. It’s why she’s getting such heavy support in NY. It’s why Bernie keeps on scoring victories in states where the Party Apparatus is weak.

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                                  • Yes, and let me be clear, so you say.

                                    You, who I don’t know. You, who claim to have connections that I have no way to validate. You, who also claimed someone held a gun to the sitting President’s head.

                                    You can understand that between the wild claims based solely on “things or people you know” and unsourced otherwise, the actual conspiracy theories, and your noted antipathy towards the Clintons — I don’t really believe you.

                                    I don’t believe your sources exist. I certainly don’t believe your gun story. And why should I? Because “kim from the internet” is a reliable source for crazy claims?

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                        • Oooh! you just called Hillary immoral! Nice one, North!

                          If the superdelegates put Joe Biden on the ticket on top, all hell is gonna break loose. Ergo, they probably won’t do it, even if their backers want them to.

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                          • You, the gnomes and the illuminati may need to double check your math Kimmie me dear. There are 719 “super delegates”. You need 2,383 to win the Democratic Nomination. Since Joe has collected zero (-0-) pledged delegates even if every super delegate voted for Joe they still couldn’t put him on the ticket on top.

                            As to HRC’s morality, I don’t know her so I have no idea of her morality. I presume all politicians have a moral spectrum that runs the gamut somewhere from deranged ducks to used car salesman. I’d assume Hillary weights in closer to the latter and Sanders closer to the former.

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              • My horror that otherwise intelligent people can look at Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and conclude that Clinton is comparable, or in this case worse, appears to be well grounded. I guess there’s no point in debating this further; you can read the daily string of things Trump says and does that would be completely unacceptable in any other Presidential candidate as easily as I can.

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            • I think the point is making is that “good of the country” isn’t forefront in their minds, or perhaps they feel that none of the candidates are “good for the country”, but Trump is maybe less bad in a wholly different way?

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          • DZ: Because conservatives have hurt feelings from people on the internet calling them racist, that somehow makes it normal or acceptable for them to nominate someone manifestly unqualified for the presidency.”

            AD: OK, what is your theory?

            How ’bout this: that Trump’s rhetoric has allowed conservatives to express views they already hold by breaking down liberal-derived PC norms they’ve felt constrained by? They don’t have hurt feelings; they’re not acting outa trivial spite. They’re expressing their actual beliefs.

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          • If liberals didn’t call conservatives racists, they wouldn’t have to act out by nominating loony narcissistic loose cannons.

            I actually think there is likely some truth to this idea. It’s a pretty human thing to lash back at things you see lashing out at you.

            Especially now in the Age of Intertubes, I see a lot instances where life-long conservatives who are clearly moving toward a more pro-diversity mindset make an effort to reach across to the side of the aisle they are moving toward, only to be treated fairly shabbily by the people to whom they are extending olive branches. I’m not talking about the Steve Sailers of the world here, so much as I am the Mike Dwyers or the Tim Kowals.

            And I’m not saying that those pro-Trumpers have no personal responsibility for their own individual actions — they clearly do. But, hey, if you demand that people from outside the Tribe wear some kind of scarlet A on their chests as the price of admission to your club, don’t be surprised that some good number of them decide that everything your tribe stands for is something to be opposed.

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            • This is the place i note that a subset of conservatives have been calling liberals traitors and commies for decades. Rush has been hurling invective by the metric buttload for decades. Before him there was plenty of insult hurling about liberals and D’s hating america. Does that justify the nastiness the conservatives rail against: No. But it does sound like some pretty clueless whining. How many of those conservatives who don’t like being called racist have the boxed set of Coulter’s work in their den?

              Insults and such have been around for a long time sadly. For C’s to claim ultimate martyrdom and a ready excuse for their own behavior shows a serious lack of insight and memory.

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              • YEah, I agree greg. The idea that conservative voter’s petulant support for Trump results from backlash makes no sense to me. Those same folks have hated liberals for decades.

                I mean, I agree with a bit of the analysis: that Trump supporters are petulant. I just think we should pin responsibility for that squarely on the individuals so acting.

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            • This is one of the things I have been trying to get across, . And @greginak’s critisism is correct, at the same time. With the two things, those who want to move forward with things, well, they aren’t very likely to. Know what I mean?

              Something tells me this has been going on a lot longer than that, though…

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              • I think nasty trash talk has been endemic in our politics since, like, forever. We forget how nasty things were because we have all the pretty and classy speeches to balance out the sludge.

                To much of the “the lefties were mean to us” deal sounds like a rationalization for saying things that are embarrassing. I think plenty of lefties say or do stupid things. That doesn’t’ justify anything i do. When you are embarrassed by your own behavior or those of your allies, it’s wisest to look in the mirror instead of yelling at your opponent louder.

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      • In fairness the Trump contingent is utterly indifferent to a lot of things right winger and particularly libertarians hold dear too. Size of government issues, for instance, is something Trumpers seem utterly indifferent to, deficits very distinctly don’t matter to them and they are not just cold but very actively hostile to the libertarian projects of dismantling safety nets.

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    • Your bias is reflected in a significant portion of the populace. A portion of the populace who would rather elect Bernie Sanders, even if they disagree with every policy he’s got, because “at least he’s honest“.

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        • Bernie doesn’t have kids. What scares The Powers That Be kinda shitless about him is their gut feeling that he won’t play ball.

          He may not survive long in the office, but I like to think he’s a little more street-savvy than JFK was (He’d focus, rather than on denying money to the banksters, on destroying some of the Democratic/media alliance).

          There are some people who you can scare into doing whatever you want. Not everyone’s like that. Not that it’s relevant to this election or anything, but there are also people who will pretend to fall in line, and merrily stab you in the back later.

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    • I think it’s too early to gauge what exactly HRC is or isn’t going to do about Trump message wise. He’s not the formal nominee yet (neither is she) and she has to nail down her own base first.

      Even if she had some devastating stuff to throw at Trump she she’d be nuts to fire it before he’s locked in.

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  4. So we’re defining a “Jack move” as someone deliberately doing something unexpected and unorthodox to change the terms of the game that otherwise can’t be won. I’d have pointed you to Bull Durham instead of Varsity Blues for that, but that play also involved intentionally targeting an unsuspecting mascot. (IMO Bull Durham‘s hit-the-mascot scene was funnier.)

    I wrote above about McCain’s 2008 campaign. I recall that we were told his running mate selection would be a “game changer.” (So it was, just not the way McCain intended.) Would you call that a failed Jack move? Seems like that was the intent, at least.

    Are there any political examples of a successful Jack move we can look to as precedent? FDR running for a third term? LBJ’s “Daisy” commercial? McKinley picking Roosevelt as his running mate? The Garfield nomination in 1880, maybe?

    I don’t think history bears out a lot of tolerance for this sort of thing by the public. Maybe this time; every election adds something new to our political experience. That said, this sort of maneuver doesn’t seem to have a lengthy track record of success.

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    • Gravel’s campaign ad. Didn’t change the outcome, but still…

      The deliberate baiting of Romney until he snapped in open debate… when you’ve stopped trying to win points, and are instead trying to make the other side angry enough to look “non-presidential.”

      Convincing Romney (and, far more importantly, his backers) that he was going to win. Drained money from non-presidential campaigns, won Obama the House and Senate.

      Money trap called Corker’s campaign for Senate. Drained money from a lot of other races.

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      • Well, the Gravel ad was outside the playbook, sure. But we agree it didn’t change anything,mbeyond cementing opinions about the desirability of legalizing weed (because you’d have to have been stoned to have found that ad persuasive).

        None of the rest strikes me as being outside the playbook at all. Tricking your opponents to spend money where they don’t need to is clever, but well within the playbook. So is getting into your opponent’s head in a debate. IIRC, Romney thinking he could win wasn’t an Obama gambit, it was an unforced error by Republicans deluding themselves. They spent lots of time trying to tell themselves that every poll in the nation was biased because something something bias, when what was really going on was that they were suffering from Pauline Kaelitis.

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        • How much inside the “playbook” is infiltrating campaigns you don’t like?
          How much inside the “playbook” is calling in the FBI?

          Many things that look laughable from the outside, are quite a bit more complicated when you look at them more closely. See Darwin Awards.

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          • I didn’t see a reference to the FBI in your earlier comment, . That would’ve been Nixonian, sure. Which in itself wasn’t unprecedented: J. Edgar Hoover wasn’t above using his files to meddle in politics back when the FBI was his fiefdom.

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            • I am moving fluidly between instances of “oddball tactics”, yes (mainly as I think of them).

              FBI in this case refers to the Pittsburgh mayoral (among others), where Ravenstaahl was basically told “stop running for reelection or we throw the book at you, your choice.”

              Perhaps it was a mistake allowing the espionage artists into politics.

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      • Kim: Convincing Romney (and, far more importantly, his backers) that he was going to win. Drained money from non-presidential campaigns, won Obama the House and Senate.

        Maybe in the dimension you inhabit (is your dad named Jack?), but here on Earth-0, Obama never won the House (he inherited one from Bush, then lost it for good).

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    • Heh, totally forgot about Bull Durham…

      But, as far as jack moves, sure Palin was an attempt at a jack move. The main problem with is, aside from being a failure, was that it was a response to another jack move, Obama. And he absolutely was such a move. Going into the election of ’08 everyone expected it to be HRC vs. McC. And while I think that HCR would have won, I (still a D then) wasn’t going to vote for her. And I don’t think that sentiment was too uncommon at the time. She was just as unfavorable then, just as divisive. And when Obama put his head up as a feeler, the party jumped at the chance to vote for the first AA president. And when that happened, the R’s needed something, anything, to revitalize that campaign. And they choose… Poorly.

      Are there others? Undoubtely, but the main problem with trying to find them is often what is totally unexpected at the time, after 25-50 years is explained away.

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    • I don’t know Varsity Blues, so maybe I’m missing something, but what is game-changing about throwing the ball out of bounds to stop the clock? It is only unorthodox in the sense that it is clearly inferior to simply spiking the ball, since throwing it out of bounds has more ways to go awry, with very bad consequences.

      For that matter, the idea that invading Normandy rather than Calais was wildly unorthodox is, um…, questionable at best. You only attack the enemy’s strongest point if you are pretty sure that you have overwhelming superiority and can bowl him over. If not (and you usually don’t) you try to outflank him.

      The problem for the Germans was a long coastline and limited resources to defend it. In general, the further east the bit of coastline, the more strategically important, so the Germans concentrated their resources along the eastern end, tapering off the further west (then south) it got.

      The problem for the Allies was to figure out how far west to go to find the most strongly defended stretch that they were pretty sure they could successfully invade. They could have landed essentially unopposed around Bordeaux, but the problem then would be that they were in BF Nowhere (strategically speaking: an entirely different matter, viticulturally speaking). Normandy was the sweet zone: weakly enough defended that it could be invaded, but not ridiculously far from anywhere that mattered. There is this notion that everyone knew that of course they would invade at Calais, until Ike strode into the room and stuck his finger at Normandy on the map to everyone’s astonishment. It didn’t happen that way.

      You might be able to make a better argument for the whole Patton second invasion deception plan. This is hardly unorthodox, however. Such things go back at least to Sun Tzu. It also isn’t clear how effective it was. Histories written based on English-language sources wax orgasmic on the subject, but those based on German archives give it less weight.

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  5. Hmmm. Where to start?

    I generally agree with you that the things that animate conservatives/Republicans, liberals/Democrats, and Trump supporters are very different. I also agree with you that Donald Trump caught almost everyone off guard because who can really expect that a billionaire (maybe) developer, reality TV star, and WWE cameo actor could rocket his way to the nomination of a major political party.

    Though I strongly disagree with those who think that Trump is something to be nonchalant about. is right above. He courts or at least does not actively condemn racists, xenophobes, anti-Semites, raging sexists, homophobes, and others to his cause without any concern.

    I think Americans have a tricky relationship with ideology and I disagree with Resin about liberalism being non-ideological. Though there are wonky types in the Democratic Party who are seemingly uncomfortable talking about ideology and do hide behind facts, figures, and statistics. Though I associate this more with the Vox Crowd than Chait. Universal healthcare, paid parental leave, and any other welfare state policy can both be justified by facts but those facts can fall on deaf ears if someone is ideologically opposed to the welfare state.

    The GOP seems to be falling in line behind Trump. #nevertrump is now just a handful of politicians, journalists, and pundits. The question is how does Trump reshape the GOP agenda?

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  6. Inspiration is what gave the Democrats Obama.

    I enjoyed your essay so much that I’m going to disagree with a throwaway line.

    Obama was not the result of inspiration, Obama was lightning in a bottle. If the democrats were inspired, they’d have figured out a way to have a Clinton/Obama ticket in 2008 opening the door to a Obama/Castro ticket in 2016. As it is, they chose “let’s run down there and eat one of those apples” to “let’s walk down there and eat all of those apples”.

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    • I can agree with all of this, with the caveat that the inspiration is not always something you can hold onto the way you are describing it re: a Clinton/Obama ticket. We might see it, but that doesn’t make it happen.

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    • Holy agnostic Jebus can you imagine it??
      Clinton spends the last two terms trench warfaring with the GOP exactly as she was built to do and then Obama and his entire hope and change new way of politics stuff gets rolled out in 2016? Yeah that would have been ideal. God(ess?) damn Mark Penn to hell (though it was on HRC too).

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        • I am pretty sure HRC would have passed the ACA or something very much like it. It’s a very ‘her’ sort of policy, very center left.

          I agree that she’d have had more hawkish inclinations and that’s a reason to not relish the prospect of her at the tiller. Then again without that aura of hope and change one could hope the anti-war left would have held her feet to the fire.

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          • Oh, I think she would have attempted to pass something very similar to the ACA, but would have pulled the plug after Scott Brown’s special election victory, or perhaps would have had slightly smaller coattails. That would meant no senator Al Franken, no 60 votes in the Senate, and likely no ACA.

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            • Hard to say, possible of course, but equally possible she would have rammed something through sooner since she wouldn’t have had quite the same electoral promises restraining how much hard ball she could play with the GOP. Also after Scott Brown got elected it was basically Pelosi and Reid who pulled the ACA out of the fire. HRC would have just signed the legislation and she would undoubtedly have done so (the electoral consequences of denying her party a policy they’ve striven for generations is nakedly clear).

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      • Chewing on this.

        I think I disagree. We still hadn’t fully overcome the Bush hangover in 2012.

        The groups that turned out in record amounts in 2008 would still have turned out, though not in record amounts, in 2012. The opposition in 2012 was as inspired as humanly possible… would have have been even more inspired against Hillary?

        Hillary might have lost a state or two… but she would have had elbow room to lose a state or two.

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      • Who knows, all the interests go in different directions under the counterfactual. A 2008 President HRC would not have presented the GOP with such strong reasons for total opposition as Obama’s election did.

        And Obama certainly didn’t invent Romney’s image or make him make his 47% comment.

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        • @jaybird

          1) we were over Bush enough by 2010 to make Speaker Pelosi hand over her gavel by the next January. Reid only kept his job because of GOP own goals. (And Reid did his job very badly, while Pelosi did hers very well)

          2) The Republicans in 2009 had no reason *not* to go in total opposition to Obama or any other Democratic President. They were in the minority in the House – which is good enough – and one vote shy of a fillibuster proof minority in the Senate – which they eventually got. If one believes the opposition was especially vigorous because of the President’s race, it stands to reason it would also be especially vigorous because of sex, if Clinton were elected President in 2008.

          3) the vote that turned out in record amounts in 2008 would not actually have turned out in record amounts with Clinton leading the charge. She was have still beat McCain, but not with Indiana and North Carolina.

          4) Obama beat Romney because a lot of people like Obama. Clinton simply doesn’t have that same ‘it’ factor.

          5) based on what she was saying at the time and whom she was talking with at the time, I think she makes different, and slightly worse, personnel and policy decisions at the start of her Presidency. But even withdrawing that speculation and keeping everything else constant, she can’t *sell* the policy decisions as good as Obama did, even if they’re the same decisions (eg the decision to complete the withdrawal in Iraq doesn’t have as much resonance)

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          • But Clinton/Obama is a different beast than Clinton/Not-Obama. I think that if Hillary ran alongside… oh, I dunno… Biden… Clinton/Biden would work exactly as you’re talking about.

            Clinton/Obama? I think that we’d have seen the exact same 2010 and a downright similar 2012. Maybe we’d see one or two states flip.

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            • 1) I doubt 2010 was salvagable for the Democratic majorities by any measure. The fallout of the Great Recession was raging, the Dems were overexposed and the voters were pissed. ACA or no they were going to lose a lot of seats.

              2) I disagree. Obama expressly ran on “new politics” and bipartisanship. The GOP had the power to make him break those pledges simply by not cooperating. Hillary didn’t run on that platform, on that level at least the incentive wouldn’t have been quite as strong for lockstep opposition.

              4) Everything Obama beat Romney on Hillary had roughly the same. The Democratic Party saved the auto industry over the GOP’s loud opposition. Romney still made his 47% comment. The GOP was still in shrill deficit squeal while everyone could remember their hypocrisy up until 2008 on the subject clearly. 2012 was -not- a close election. Hillary could have done much weaker and still won.

              5) Too timey wimey wibbly wobbly to really weight in on. Eh, counterfactuals are too spongy.

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              • The Republican Party would have gone into total opposition mode with any Democratic President regardless of what that President promised on bipartisanship. Its part of the growing radicalization of the Republican Party. I honestly believe that most of them really see any Democratic officer holder at any level of American politics as illegitimate even if they get a clear majority of the votes. The Republicans are also acting more like a parliamentary party with very strong discipline. In a system riddled with veto points, this gives them a lot of incentive to go into total opposition because they can gum up the works. They would have the same incentives in a parliamentary system but less ability.

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    • In that world, there’s a fairly strong chance (somewhere between one-tenth and one-half) that the United States would currently be embroiled in a war with Iran, rather than having a negotiated agreement with them. And a much higher likelihood of the US being involved in a full-scale ground war in Syria.

      The political strategy also probably wouldn’t have worked. After 8 years of being involved with a Hillary Clinton administration, Obama wouldn’t be the hope-and-change figure that re presented in 2008. He’d have been tainted with many of the political fights of the last eight years, and be just another politician (as he is now).

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  7. I like your post… these are things to think on. Thematically “Jack Move” is helpful, but practically I think it suffers from the fact that you can’t have a “collective” Jack Move. Trump *is* the Jack Move, but unless this is a really, really cleverly disguised plan by the Republican Leadership, it’s hard to characterize it as a full fledged “move.” There’s no flopped mascot without Kevin Costner, and no Sarah Palin without John McCain.

    That said, I think you are right to call this, this, this…episode…a Jack Movement, or a Jack Moment. And it legitimately introduces new challenges to the Clinton strategy. Strategies for which only time will tell whether she and her highly paid team are prepared to face and to counter.

    So, in short, I don’t think what we’re going to see from Trump are discreet Jack Moves a’la hollywood, just that Trump itself is the move. Unlike hollywood, there are real-life counters to these things in business and politics… but on the other hand, not recognizing that you’ve been flanked is a very common way to lose.

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  8. The problem is when a party collectively says “Oh you don’t like me because I’m [BLANK], well let me show you how [BLANK] I can be” they are collectively doomed. And that holds when BLANK is racism or when BLANK is SJW privilege checking. There’s a reason civil rights activists put on their Sunday best and went to church before staging a sit in: an insurgency is effective when it highlights the commonalities, not the differences.

    What’s sad about Trump, however, is that Republicans haven’t chosen a Goldwater-type radical with a principled vision, who can at least inject all sorts of interesting new ideas into the debate. That would open up potential avenues for the party to restructure and become viable. Instead they’ve selected the personification of party resentment, with no guiding principles, who is perfectly happy to burn bridges if it means he wins the morning news cycle. And none of this really changes if he wins: he still has to deal with the establishment in Congress; he still has no interest in doing the hard work of building a party from the ground up; there’s no Trump farm system of local candidates waiting to take the Trump mantle; there are no Trump GOPAC strategy tapes teaching aspiring youth how to become local candidates; there’s just the man at the top.

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  9. Damon:
    Yah, if people don’t think this type of stuff goes on they are fools.

    So you too believe some actual people put an actual gun to Obama’s head on his first day in office?

    Because that’s what Kim said. Literally.
    (Not sure why this ended up at the bottom).

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    • morat20,
      And the gun’s just stagecraft (given that it wasn’t loaded). The threats were towards his daughters.

      I voted for Obama knowing this was a near certainty to happen. (the threats, not the gun. who expected they’d need that for emphasis?)

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      • I’m gonna go out on a limb here and be really clear: That gun thing? Never happened. No one is threatening Obama’s daughters.

        Given you believe that it DID happen, I’m gonna go ahead and file your opinions on “Clinton, Bill and Hillary” with the same people who believe they murdered Vince Foster and smuggled drugs in hidden airfields in Arkansas.

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  10. This is only tangentially related to the post, but it piqued my curiosity.

    “To say this is but a game belittles those whose lives are affected by politics. Those who have felt the sting of NAFTA personally,”

    You’re linking to an immigration affecting unemployment story there.

    How does immigration (legal or otherwise) have anything to do with NAFTA? Are you positing that NAFTA made it possible for US companies to run domestic jobs with imported labor easier, or is there a more complicated argument behind that?

    The reason why this twigged is that I have recently had a crazy exchange with a pro-Sanders supporter who insisted that NAFTA (which passed in ’94) was responsible for depressing her tech wage income in 1997, which (frankly) is dubious in the extreme, but she seemed pretty dead set on defending that position (albeit without any actual data and by claiming that I was denigrating her experience, which I found amusing)

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      • It got to the point where I just dropped the conversation, because the only reply left was, “There is no way to say this respectfully, so… if you lost 40% of your income in 1997 as a technologist, the very most likely explanation is that you’re terrible at your job and word finally got out. Also, the fact that you attribute your salary loss to NAFTA, which had nothing to do with technology, software licensing, visas, or anything else that might directly affect your technology sector, that is a piece of evidence that you’re an idiot, which makes that first sentence ever so much more likely.”

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  11. trizzlor:
    The problem is when a party collectively says “Oh you don’t like me because I’m [BLANK], well let me show you how [BLANK] I can be” they are collectively doomed. And that holds when BLANK is racism or when BLANK is SJW privilege checking. There’s a reason civil rights activists put on their Sunday best and went to church before staging a sit in: an insurgency is effective when it highlights the commonalities, not the differences.

    Why does this process only work on Conservatives, though? Liberals have been called godless heathens for decades and decades, yet you don’t see Democratic presidential candidates lining up behind Richard Dawkins on religion. The right has screamed about communism for decades, and yet Bernie Sanders is going to lose, and although he calls himself a socialist he’s not calling for nationalizing industries left and right. Why do liberals have thicker skin, and why isn’t it considered a problem that the R party is apparently run by people who have childish, self-destructive temper tantrums when people call them names?

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    • Because we control the media, academia, and now with Target opening the door for trans people to easily abuse young girls, corporate America as well. So, the GOP has to go as extreme to battle the ultra left wing Democratic party.

      (Note – this is basically the response you’ll get from Rod Dreher’s commenters on his blog.)

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