Waking Up, Smelling the Coffee, and Wondering Whether that Trump Fling was Really Such a Good Idea

After sharing this thought from Congresswoman I-didn’t-get-any-love-from-Mia-Love, who clearly lost because she didn’t lick Trump’s boots with enough fervor, I direct your attention to Turnbull County, Ohio, where they have won so much that they are tired of winning:

Philip Bump, Turnbull County, Ohio, shifted 30 points to vote Trump. That didn’t save its car plant.

Also: GM’s Job Cuts Draw Angry Reaction in Heartland That Backed Trump.

But if you own lots of GM stock, you will be happy to know it’s up by 7.9 percent as a result of today’s news.

And helping the rich folks while screwing the workers, well, that’s really the whole point of the exercise, isn’t it?

**

I see that I have a reader in Moldova today. I believe that’s a first. Bună seara, and please feel free to drop by any time. And welcome back to readers from China and Australia.

A Postscript About Neo-Confederates, and About Some Comments by My Posse

holding your nose

I want to say a little more about the part of the preceding post relating to Max Boot and Martin Longman. One of Longman’s points is that Max Boot and others of his neoconservative ilk were happy enough to rely on neo-Confederate votes back in the Reagan and Bush eras, so long as they, the neoconservative hawks, were in control of foreign and military policy. And, by the way, Longman argues, Max Boot and his neoconservative ilk should feel really badly about their previous acceptance of votes from the neo-Confederates.

Now, I am not personally acquainted with Max Boot or with David Frum or with Jennifer Rubin. But even if I had dinner with them every Thursday, I would still not make it my business to ratiocinate deeply into which of their past decisions they ought to feel very bad about. It doesn’t bloody well matter what they should and shouldn’t feel bad about.

What matters a lot is this. A lot of Republicans have a self-image as sensible and respectable people. But every day that Trump does his movie villain act, there is more and more cognitive dissonance between your image as a Trump supporter and your image as a respectable person, fit to be in polite society. It’s partly about vile policies, but it’s mostly, I think, about the vile stench from his unhinged shit show.

Every day Trump rants and raves, every day his peeps fire tear gas at little kids on the border, someone just can’t take it anymore.

If you happen to be an attentive reader, you know that I have referred several times to the 2018 House Popular Vote Tracker. Well, as of today, the blue vector, pointing left, is up another one tenth of one percent, at 8.1 percent—exactly six percent better than Hillary did in 2016.

Yes, too many people are thoroughly enjoying the shit show, and too others are still holding their noses and supporting Republicans. But the existence and the size of the blue vector, pointing left, are matters of objective reality—fully consistent with the insight that if you go out of your way to be a jerk, then a lot of people won’t like you.

And, speaking of objective fact, remember that in spite of massive gerrymandering, we won the House, bigly.

In recent days, several of my posse have taken me to task, averring that their gut feelings tell them that Trump will probably win again in 2020. That certainly is a possibility. But I must respond that objective facts, not rose colored glasses, provide good ground for optimism.

Here is the nub of the matter. Trump has gaslighted about 44 percent of us. Earlier on, it was reasonable to fear that his gaslighting abilities might somehow grow more powerful and that he would expose the latent racism and gullibility of just a few percent more of us, and thereby keep on winning.

We may thank the Lord Buddha that that turned out not to happen. The reverse has occurred. The center has held.

dumpster fire

 

Today is Neo-Confederate Day

neoconfederates

Max Boot expatiates on the obvious: The GOP is now the party of neo-Confederates.

Martin Longman’s post, The Crocodile Tears of Neoconservatives, responds to Boot. Longman has much to say about paleoconservatives, neo-Confederates, and neoconservatives. There is a certain complexity to his explication. I won’t try to summarize it, but I think that if you read it, it will be worth your while.

Meantime, as we await the Mississippi rallies this evening, Politico tells us, Hyde-Smith has Republicans holding their breath and saying “We don’t want an Alabama.”

Well, I don’t think it’s likely there will be “an Alabama.” For one thing, it’s Mississippi. More importantly, though, Senator Hyde-Smith, is just a conventional down home girl casual, well-dressed racist. She’s no Roy Moore. I’ll bet she even has the politesse not to call her servants “darkies.” Sure, she has nice things to say about her Confederate heritage, but so does pretty much everyone else in her country club. And all of them will resent the hell out of the damn yankees’ trying to make something of it. And that resentment will be enough to make lots of white Mississippians come out and vote for her.

But the joker in the deck, metaphorically speaking, is The Donald. (And, may I say, “joker” is a damn fine metaphor, under the circumstances.)

The Donald started out nutty and he’s getting nuttier by the day. There will come a time, one of these evenings, when the men in the white coats will have to show up and drag him off stage.

That probably won’t be tonight. But it might be. I am pretty sure it will be a rant for the ages.

Our Glorious Confederate Heritage

Hyde_Smith_Confederate

Today we learn that “Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith pushed resolution praising Confederate soldier’s effort to ‘defend his homeland.’”

Seven of my direct male ancestors (six great-great-grandfathers and one great-grandfather) served in the Confederate Army. Two of the seven men deserted—both in 1865. I’d like to believe they repented of their service to the Confederacy, but it’s much more likely that they saw the South was losing and didn’t want to be the last man to die for a lost cause.

Thus, they exhibited the keen awareness of their environment and the insight into the steps needed to protect themselves that led our distant ancestors to survive the African savanna—a situational awareness that their descendants, marinating their brains in Faux News, have largely lost.

I am proud of the two Confederate deserters.

An Instant Apology for My Rash Statement

I would now like to offer my deep and sincere regret if any among you is so small-minded as to be offended by my paean to Confederate desertion. It grieves me beyond measure to realize I might have said something that would bring out the idiot in you.

Let me suggest this way of resolving the matter.

First of all, would you please sit down and write a short essay on your Confederate heritage.

Second, once you have completed your short essay, grasp it with both hands and fold it five ways.

Third, we can have a heart-to-heart discussion about the best place to insert the folded paper.

Trump, 149; Generic Democrat, 389

blue-tsunami-2018-678x381

In 2018 the Republican candidate for the House almost always won if he or she was running in a district that “leans Republican” by seven or more points. In a district that leans Democratic or leans Republicans by seven points of less, the Republican almost always lost.

Where the Trump Base is the Majority

Here is a list of all the states that lean Republican by seven points or more, together with the number of electoral college votes they have.

The Logical Result of Another Election Where Trump Revs Up His Base and Pisses Off Everyone Else

The R+7 or more states shown below have, among them, 149 electoral votes.

States that lean Democratic, or that lean Republican by 7 points or less: 389 electoral votes.

  Electoral Votes
Alabama 9
Alaska 3
Arkansas 6
Idaho 4
Indiana 11
Kansas 6
Kentucky 8
Louisiana 9
Mississippi 6
Montana 3
Nebraska 5
North Dakota 3
Oklahoma 7
South Carolina 8
South Dakota 3
Tennessee 11
Texas 34
Utah 5
West Virginia 5
Wyoming 3
Total electoral votes of states that lean Republican by 7 points or more 149

 

Pollyanna Looks at the Numbers

glad game

I took a look once again at the 2018 House Popular Vote Tracker, and compared what it shows as of this morning with fivethirtyeight.com’s daily tracker of Trump’s popularity.

Let’s begin with the latter, which shows averages of recent polls for “all adults,” “likely and registered voters,” and the two combined. Among “all adults,” Trump is under water by 10.7 points (the difference between the 52.7 percent who “disapprove” and the 42.0 percent who “approve.”

When we look at “polls of likely or registered voters,” the gap narrows down to 7.2 percent. (51.6 percent “disapprove” while 44.2 percent “approve.”)

Hold those thoughts, please, as we look at the data on the folks who actually showed up to vote in 2018 House races. (Even now, there are votes yet to be counted, but I’ll disregard that for now.)

The data show, as of this morning, that 53.1 percent voted for the Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives in their district, 45.1 percent voted for the Republican candidate, and 1.7 percent voted for an independent or third party candidate.

I conclude that the 45.1 percent 2018 Republican voters was made up pretty much entirely of Trump supporters. There is still a small group of people who vote Republican even though they “disapprove” of Trump, but at this point they are less than one percent of all voters.

Unless Trump receives a personality implant, he has reached his high water mark.

Now look at the Democrats’ share of actual 2018 voters: 53.1 percent. That’s significantly more than the 51.6 percent of “likely or registered voters” who told a pollster they “disapproved” of Trump.

Where did that extra 1.5 percent come from? Part of the explanation, one would suppose, is that Democratic voters had a greater propensity to vote this year than the likely voter models predicted. And I have to believe some of them were Republican women who, with their husbands listening in, told the pollster they “approved” of Trump, but then went to the polls and voted for the Democrat.

I’d also note that our 53.1 percent of actual Democratic voters even exceeds the 52.7 percent of “all adults” who “disapprove” of Trump.

So, don’t take it from Pollyanna. Take it from Politico: Warning signs mount for Trump reelection bid.

**

Over the last two days I seem to have acquired some readers in the Netherlands. Goedemiddag, y’all.

 

Some Say the World Will End in Fire

end in fire

Apropos of the big climate change report, the girls and boys over at Politico jump immediately to the burning issue. That would not be, how soon are we all going to die? Rather, the key point for the Politico pundits is that Trump’s dire climate report hands ammunition to Democrats.

So one might hope, but I tend to doubt it.

Ever since our ancestors climbed down from the trees and began to walk around the savanna on two legs, those who accurately perceived what was going on in their environment, and who took appropriate action based on their perception. tended to live, whereas those who could not grasp reality tended to get eaten for lunch.

More recently, though, some forty percent of our fellow ‘Mericans have been marinating their brains in Faux News, and seem to have lost the capacity to detect obvious lies.

Science has improved everything in the 21st century. Professional baseball players hit more home runs. We all have smart phones. And manipulators have perfected the art of manipulation.

As a consequence of the latter achievement, we have managed to reverse evolution, so that vast swaths of our population have embraced ever increasing ignorance.

Robert Frost proposed two alternative mechanism for the apocalypse. fire and ice. Permit me to add a third option: pig ignorance.

We’re Sorry We Met Ya, Says Aetna

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.11.20 PM

Though astonishing numbers of the deluded and the ill-informed still stand with the Baron of Bullshit, the big money is beginning to figure out that it is most definitely not in their financial interest to be identified with the shit show.

That is the clear, and clearly predictable, effect of Trump’s decision to rely heavily on the worst instincts of his worst supporters. He’s drawn a line in the sand. “You’re either with me or against me,” he implies. And Aetna and Walmart respond, “OK, we’re against you.”

If he had the sense God gave him, he would dial it down. Instead, he will reason like the person who thinks, if a little heroin makes me feel good, then a whole lot of heroin will make me feel really good.

Those Mississippi rallies will be a sight to see. Maybe he’ll curse out the Business Roundtable.

Why the Chief Justice Feel the Need to Mark His Territory?

dog peeing

Writing in the New Yorker, John Cassidy asks, Why Did Chief Justice John Roberts Decide to Speak Out Against Trump?

It’s a subject I have recently addressed, but Cassidy makes a couple of points that give some useful context. First, as he notes, Trump has previously had many vile things to say about the judiciary, and Roberts has kept silent. So why speak out now?

Second, it seems jarring for the Chief Justice to criticize Trump’s phrase “Obama judges,” when everyone knows that judges are chosen for their ideological leanings.

In short, both the timing and the content of the Chief Justice’s remarks cause the eyebrows to raise. So what gives?

Cassidy writes,

Ever since the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, and the solidification of a five-to-four conservative majority among the nine Justices, [Trump] has made it clear that he sees the Court as his political ally. He did so again in his comments on Tuesday, saying, “Every case in the Ninth Circuit we get beaten and then we end up having to go to the Supreme Court, like the travel ban, and we won.” Referring to the latest ruling, on his asylum policy, he stated flatly, “We will win that case in the Supreme Court of the United States.”

Read between the lines of Roberts’s statement, and he appears to be saying, “Not so fast, Mr. President. We are not your poodle.” After Trump’s riposte on Twitter, it is extremely unlikely that Roberts will make any further comments. But he has put down a marker.

I think that’s right. But I also think Roberts was trying to send a message to the more ideologically driven among his brethren and sistern on the federal bench: when Trump relies on you to overturn the rule of law, don’t do it. Just don’t bloody well do it.

And, by the way, if you think that the Supreme Court will support you in overturning the rule of law in America, you need to think again.

Oh Lord, Make Us Thankful for this Pissing Contest

contest

Chief Justice John Roberts said,

We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. The independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.

Today, one pundit inanely observed,

Now that Trump has decided to answer Roberts directly, the Supreme Court justice faces a difficult choice: Does he escalate the war of words (which would further corrode the court’s role as an independent arbiter) or does he abstain from responding (which leaves Trump unanswered). Neither choice is attractive.

I don’t think so.

Metaphorically speaking, the Chief Justice has lifted his right hind leg and peed on the tree he needed to pee on. He marked his territory. He has said what he had to say, and what he needed to say.

Now, the game of chicken begins. Will Trump, placing his hopes on the “Trump judges,” test whether he can overthrow the rule of law in the United States and get away with it?

Probably, he will do that very thing.

And then we will see how many “Trump judges” there are on the Supreme Court.

After Wednesday’s Trump-Roberts pissing contest, the answer would appear to be, no more than four, at most.

For that, O Lord, make us truly thankful.

The Legal Community: a Bulwark of the Republic

ignorantia

In my previous post I described how the things that shape the careers of successful lawyers and judges differ dramatically from the incentives that shape the careers of Republican politicians.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that successful lawyers are better people than successful Republican politicians. It just means that there are big differences between the two categories, in respect of the kinds of people who get promoted and the the kinds of people who get chewed up and spit out. For example, some of the partners in big law firms are terrible people, but they are almost never the kind of terrible people who bring poor judgment to bear on important decisions involving their clients’ affairs.

I believe this is the fundamental reason why we’re seeing ever-increasing signs of resistance to Trump’s nonsense on the part of the legal community—even that part of the legal community that would like to vote Republican.

I could give you the example of Wachtell Lipton’s George Conway. Or the numerous legal decisions that are beginning to go against Trump. But let me point specifically to two straws in the wind.

One is the New York Times November 21 article, Why Big Law is Taking On Trump Over Immigration.

The other is the remarkable new pissing contest between the President and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. This, it seems to me, is a very hopeful development. On Thanksgiving Day, Lord, make us thankful for righteous pissing contests.

Perhaps I read too much into Roberts’ statements, but it seems to me that this is the memo he is sending to his fellow right-winger judges:

Listen up, we sold our souls to this guy to get all those Federalist Society judges that now have their butts planted on the bench. But the guy to whom we sold our souls is circling the drain. If we don’t want to circle the drain with him, then we had damn well better draw a line between us and his banana republic nonsense, and we had best draw that line very quickly.

 

A Constitutional Right to Lie

artofthelie-social

In this point I want to describe, and call attention to, an important anomaly in our political economy.

I choose the neutral word “anomaly” because I don’t mean to express or imply an opinion about whether this anomaly is an unequivocal good, or an unequivocal bad that needs somehow to be fixed, or a necessary evil. I have an opinion on that, but I won’t share it here. Here, I only wish to describe the situation.

Consider the rules that apply to lying and truth telling in connection with four activities: one, vying for public office; two, commercial sales of goods and services; three, sale of securities; and four, advocacy by lawyers before a court.

The central point I wish to make is that, in the United States, the second, third, and fourth types of activity all have one important thing in common that is not shared by the first activity: severe legal consequences for mendacity and fraud.

Commercial Sale of Goods and Services

People who are in the business of selling goods and services on the open market are no better than the rest of the human race. Some of them have a natural tendency to lie and deceive, if they can get away with it. And others, to whom lying does not come quite so naturally, would begin to prevaricate out of necessity if all their competitors were lying and getting away with it.

And, moreover, be it said, a fair amount of lying and misrepresentation occurs.

However—however—deceptive sales practices are a serious violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act, similar legislation in all fifty states, and other legal principles. Multiple enforcers can and do sue for redress. Consumer class actions are common. And competitors have wide latitude to sue for trade defamation, unfair competition, and other legal offenses.

In the commercial sale of goods and services, the consequences of consumer deception are severe enough that it generally does not profit a seller to deceive.

Sale of Securities

Likewise, federal securities law places severe restraints on telling lies in connection with the sale of stocks and bonds, as does state law.

Securities fraud still happens, but it is generally not a profitable course of conduct.

Advocacy Before a Court

Attorneys who say things to a court they know to be untrue, who suborn perjury, who destroy or withhold relevant evidence, or who engage in other similar activities are likely to find themselves disbarred, if indeed, they escape jail.

Like stock brokers and salesmen, attorneys are not all paragons of honesty and ethical behavior. But the law hems in and heavily disincentivizes any inclination they might have to bend the truth.

And law graduates who cannot grasp the distinction between permissible and appropriate advocacy, on the one hand, and fraud on the court, on the other, are likely to find themselves pursuing another line of work.

Politicians and the Constitutional Right to Lie

In stark contrast, it is generally understood that politicians either have an absolute constitutional right, or at least a near absolute right, to lie through their teeth. (The case most commonly cited is United States v. Alvarez, 567 U.S. 709 (2012), but other Supreme Court cases have pointed in the same direction. See, for example, Eastern R. Conference v. Noerr Motors, 365 U.S. 127 (1961) and New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964). In the remote event you wish to delve more deeply, you might begin here.)

The Constitutional Right to Lie: a Key Consequence

Lawyers, commercial sellers, and people pushing stock are all faced with very substantial legal disincentives to engage in outright falsehood. Freed of such restrictions, the only restraints on politicians are (a) their consciences and (b) the fact that the press and their political adversaries will call them out for their lies.

But what if they are catering to an audience that has been brainwashed not to believe the fact-based media and to disbelieve any claim by the other tribe? If their audience would not believe a Democrat who told them that Tuesday is the day after Monday, then a politician of the other party is free to declare that in fact Sunday is the day after Tuesday. In such a circumstance, the constitutional order is challenged. It has been claimed—inaccurately, I’m sure—that “The Navy is a master plan designed by geniuses for execution by idiots.” Whatever may be the case with respect to the Navy, our republic was not designed for an electorate made up of idiots.

There is always conscience and self-respect. But the problem is that when the incentives to lie become powerful enough, and the disincentives to truth telling become reach a certain level, anyone with a conscience will be chewed up and spat out.

Actually, I forgot to mention a third factor, (c), that constrains lies in the long run. When your lies lead to ruinous public policy, some of your gullible base will wise up.

Take, for example, those large blue arrows, pointing left, some of whom I mentioned in my recent post on developments in the House races.

The Crumbling Red Wall

brick wall

This evening the 2018 House Popular Vote Tracker shows that our lead in the overall popular vote increased by yet another one tenth of one percent, to put us an even 8.0 percent ahead of the Republicans in the nationwide popular vote.

In a nation that is evenly divided politically, a solid majority have repudiated Trump and his enablers.

As of this evening, Republicans have 200 seats in the new House of Representatives, and Democrats have 234—40 more than their number in the current Congress.

Down in the seventh district of Georgia—Atlanta’s eastern suburbs, chiefly Gwinnett County—we improved 6.2 percent over Hillary’s 2016 performance. This was a little more than the nationwide average of 5.9 percent. But Hillary lost in the seventh district by 6.4 points, so the 6.2 movement back toward the Democrats fell just short of the margin of victory. The race has been called for the Republicans.

By contrast, New York’s 22nd district was called this evening for the Democrats. In Georgia 7 the swing back and forth was dramatic. In New York 22 it was dizzying. Clinton lost that district by 15.3 percent, but the blue wave in this election moved the needle back toward the Democrats by a whopping 16.6 percent. Kind of like watching a tennis match from the front row center seat.

One race, the 27th New York district, remains uncalled, but it looks as if the Republicans will take that one. Trump carried that district by 24.3 points, but it appears that the 2018 Democratic pushback this year “only” got as far as 23.7 percent.

Tennis, anyone?

Brave and Pure Thy Men and Women, Better This Than Corn and Wine

This morning I looked again at the 2018 House Popular Vote Tracker, and received the happy news that our aggregate margin has increased by one tenth of one percent. The Democratic advantage is now 7.8 percent, of which 5.7 percent represents an improvement over Clinton’s popular vote margin of 2.1 percent.

In an earlier post I mistakenly implied that this extra 5.7 percent Democratic margin is made up entirely of previous Republican voters who decided to vote against Trump’s enablers in 2018. In fact, that, of course, accounts for only part of the change. Additional factors would include Republican voters who decided to stay home in 2018, and, most importantly, normally Democratic voters who were unenthused by Hillary Clinton but who, by 2018, had come to see the reason to show up at the polls. But whatever the sources of the change may be, a 5.7 percent shift is still a 5.7 percent shift.

But what about the blue shift in red country? Was there one, and what might it portend? Let’s look at Alabama, whose seven congressional districts are shown on the map below.

Liberal Hands and Spirits Free

Alabama’s legislators segregated as many black citizens as they possibly could segregate, into the seventh district. The Republicans didn’t bother putting up a candidate for congress there, the white folks didn’t bother to vote, and the Democratic candidate for Congress won with 97.8 percent of the vote.

Make Us Worthy, God in Heaven, of this Goodly Land of Thine

So let’s disregard the seventh district, and look only at the six white people’s districts. According to the Cook Political Report, these six Alabama districts normally lean Republican by margins ranging between a low of 15 percent and a high of 30 percent.  So of course all these districts will be represented in the next Congress by Republicans. (All over the country, Republicans reliably won in districts leaning Republican by more than about five points, while a lot of the districts leaning Republican by five percent or less flipped to Democratic control.)

Nevertheless, I find it heartening that, even in Alabama, some fraction of my white brethren and sistern are beginning to wake up and smell the coffee.

To Thy Northern Vale Where Floweth Deep and Blue the Tennessee

The fifth district, which is located in the Tennessee Valley and includes Huntsville, saw a 10.7 percent shift in the Democratic direction, as between Trump in 2016 and the Republican congressional candidate in 2018—well exceeding the national 5.7 percent difference.

Broad Thy Stream Whose Name Thou Bearest

The second district comprises an irregularly shaped portion of southeastern Alabama. and includes Montgomery. There the Democratic candidate’s margin exceeded Trump’s margin by 8.6 percent, again materially more than the national average.

Fair Thy Coosa-Talapoosa, Grand Thy Bigbee Rolls Along

In the third and the sixth districts (east central Alabama) the 2018 Democratic gains—5.5 and 5.3 percent—were almost the same as the national figure.

From Thy Southern Shore Where Groweth by the Sea Thine Orange Tree

In the first district (Mobile and surrounding territory), the Democratic pickup was significantly less than the national average, but that was the Alabama district where Clinton did best (that is, least badly) in 2016.

Goodlier Than the Land that Moses Climbed Lone Nebo’s Mount to See

But there is good news for Trump. In the fourth district (north central Alabama, south of the Tennessee River). There Democrats were only able to improve by 2.8 percent on their crushing 62.5 percent loss in 2016.

Little Little Can I Give Thee, Alabama, Mother Mine

I mention these things not to prognosticate the 2020 Alabama Senate race. I assume my Alabama sources are right in predicting that Senator Jones will be looking for a new job in 2021.

But I do think we need to keep some things in mind.

First, even in darkest Alabama, significant numbers of folks are already getting out of the clown car.

Second, Doug Jones’ victory over Trump-endorsed Roy Moore demonstrates beyond doubt that there are some things up with which some of the white voters of Alabama will not put.

And, thirdly, it’s entirely possible that some of the things white Alabama voters won’t tolerate might occur between now and 2020.

Folks who put their money on Trump’s criminality and stupidity haven’t lost a bet yet.

Alabama_Congressional_Districts,_113th_Congress.tif

 

White People

White Supremacy

Two articles with contrasting viewpoints bear reading:

Joshua Alvarez, How Trump Adopted Nixon’s Southern Strategy

Joan Williams, The Democrats’ White-People Problem

The thrust of the former article is simple: Trump, like Nixon before him, just grasped that there is a great treasure trove of votes to be had from the racists among us. Alvarez writes,

Nixon recognized that a huge chunk of Americans was incurably infected with racism. They were overflowing with gnawing resentment toward the coalition of college students, urban liberals, intellectuals, and black activists who dared to fight white supremacy. Understanding this reality, Nixon saw a clear path to the White House. He coined slogans that the Republican Party has routinely used since: law and order; the silent majority; states’ rights.

Here’s the uncomfortable truth: Nixon was absolutely right. His two successful elections are evidence of that. Appealing to the prejudices and resentments of the Confederacy’s grandchildren works as an electoral strategy. And no Republican presidential candidate has ever forgotten that.

Professor Williams’ essay is more complex and nuanced, and makes some good points. I highly recommend that you read it for yourself.

Professor William argues, among other things, that the Trump base may be divided into distinct categories, that some are much more racist than others, that class inequality and geographic inequality are a big part of the problem, that white racism is a white people’s problem, not a white working class problem, that there is a big potential market for actual populist programs, and that progressives are unlikely to prevail when they exhibit “smug condescension” toward the Trump base.

I believe that each and every one of these points is accurate. We have already moved the country 5.6 percent of where we were in 2016. I believe we can and will do somewhat better than that next time.

As for the smug condescension point, I, personally, plead not guilty. When I consider that, after everything that has happened, 45.3 percent of the voters supported the Party of Trump, I am not smug and I am not condescending. I am horrified.

Like the day when I was a little boy and the termites swarmed out of the little house in which my family lived.