Author Topic: Thread split from Dems snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 2016.  (Read 746 times)

Brother Mythos

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Worth a read: https://medium.com/@emmalindsay/trump-supporters-aren-t-stupid-3d38f70f2a2f#.a8qam8qnu

That is also an interesting article.

I believe the “Last Place Avoidance and Poor White Racism” argument has validity. Although I had never thought to give it a name, I have observed and noted the kind of behavior described in that sub-article many times.

However, I do have a problem with the main author’s overall “Trump Supporters Aren’t Stupid” premise. She implies Trump’s support is coming from racist working class white people, and goes on to discuss the behavior of poor racist working class white people in particular. While I agree that Trump is, indeed, receiving support from racist working class white people, and poor racist working class white people, they are not his only supporters. Earlier in this thread I posted a link to a POLITICO.com article where the author, based on actual national polling data, found that support for Trump had more to do with “authoritarianism” than race, income, or education.

I don’t talk politics with very many people in real life. Nevertheless, a surprising number of enthusiastic Trump supporters have chosen to inflicted their unsolicited opinions upon me. Still, I have never sensed racism as being a factor in the choice of candidate of any of my would-be proselytizers. In fact, prior to the debates, a number of them told me they believed Dr. Ben Carson was also a qualified candidate. The first common denominator I picked up on from my personal list of Trump supporters is that they would never, ever, even consider voting for anyone other than a Republican. The second common denominator is that they are sick and tired of professional politicians, and they want to elect an outsider who they think can get things done in Washington. Further, most of the men who gave me their unsolicited opinions are doing well for themselves, and a couple of the women my wife has spoken with are doing very well.

I find the main author’s apparent premise, “that America needs to find a way to give its citizens dignity and meaning and then racism will go away” interesting. Along those same lines, however, I’d like to know what her recommended cure is for racist middle class white people, and racist upper class white people. After all, Trump himself is a one percenter. I’d like to know the author’s recommended cure for his racism. Somehow, I think it unlikely she would attempt to argue that America hasn’t given the Trumpster’s life enough dignity and meaning.

Getting back to the first common denominator I have personally noted in Trump supporters: why won’t they even consider voting for anyone other than a Republican? Well, many pundits have written they believe it’s because the Republican party has reduced itself to a tribe, or a small group of tribes, with their continuous “you’re either 100% with us, or you’re a RINO, or worse” rhetoric. (If you google “Republican + tribe”, you’ll find plenty of articles on the subject from plenty of pundits.) So, if you are a card-carrying member of the Republican “Tribe” in 2015-16, what were/are your choices for POTUS? Seen any really, really good ones?

Last, what single word would most people use to describe all of the following types of voters?

1) People who have lost high paying union jobs, their paid healthcare benefits, and a large portion of their potential company paid pensions, yet who always vote for a political party that’s blatantly anti-union, and the champion of unrestricted free trade polices that sent many of those high paying jobs overseas.

2) Middle-aged people with high incomes who do not have healthcare insurance of any kind, yet who always vote for a political party that strenuously opposes government sponsored healthcare they could purchase at a fair price.

3) Poor people who do not have healthcare insurance of any kind, yet who always vote for a political party that strenuously opposes government sponsored and subsidized healthcare that would benefit them.

4) People that say the USA needs lots of nuclear aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and a large standing army to be the world’s policeman, but who don’t believe the country needs to generate the taxes required to pay for that military. And, who always vote for a political party that borrows money to pay for that military, taxes the poor and middle class to pay the interest on the debt accrued to pay for that military, and yet always gives big tax breaks to the wealthiest of the country’s citizens.

5) People who claim they want a balanced federal budget, yet who always vote for a political party that has consistently run up massive budget deficits when in control of the White House.

I could go on, but this post is already too long. Anyway, those are some of the types of people I personally know who are Trump supporters. And, the single word I use to describe them all is STUPID.
             



     

Q. G. Pennyworth

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I think the author's assertion that "some things are more important than the practical" holds up across all of your points, though, and having values that you would suffer for is not the same thing as being stupid. They may  have their uniforms buttoned up way too tight, and their values may be different from yours (and potentially bad in their own respects, or bad in their logical outcomes) but to label people "stupid" is to give up on understanding their motivation and to give up on compromise, dialogue, and progress.

The republicans have done a very good job of making themselves into the storytellers, while the democrats have positioned themselves as the rational thinkers' party. People need stories. People need tribes. People need things to believe in and things they're willing to suffer and die for. I don't think its relevant to this discussion why or how we got wired that way, but it's a pretty universal part of the human condition. Republicans hacked it, democrats think they're "too smart" for it and don't bother. Then they call the people who are succumbing to basic human needs "stupid," and wonder why those people never vote for them.
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Aucoq

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Grey Area, you might be interested in this link: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/01/27/the-demographic-trends-shaping-american-politics-in-2016-and-beyond/

It concerns the whole "tribal" thing of both parties.
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Brother Mythos

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I think the author's assertion that "some things are more important than the practical" holds up across all of your points, though, and having values that you would suffer for is not the same thing as being stupid.

I agree that sometimes having values that you would suffer for is not the same thing as being stupid. But, I also believe that sometimes having values that you would suffer for really is stupid. Are values subjective? Of course they are. However, the old phrases, “Discretion is the better part of valor.” and “Choose your battles wisely.” sound like pretty good advice to me.

They may  have their uniforms buttoned up way too tight, and their values may be different from yours (and potentially bad in their own respects, or bad in their logical outcomes) but to label people "stupid" is to give up on understanding their motivation and to give up on compromise, dialogue, and progress.

I try, and often succeed, in understanding people’s motivations when forming my opinions. Still, as subjective as my opinions admittedly are, I have sometimes come to the conclusion that some people’s motivations are every bit as stupid as their actions. In any case, I’m almost always polite when discussing politics, and I often find these discussions quite humorous. But, there have been times (Not many.) when I sincerely believed (And still believe.) that the best course of action was for me to call out a close friend’s stupidity. (I don’t waste much time talking politics with strangers, or mere acquaintances with whom I can not have, what I believe to be, an intelligent conversation.)       

Anyway, I’ve had more than a few “dialogues” with Republicans who absolutely refused to compromise on a single one of their party’s standard talking points. So, no progress whatsoever. I believe the gridlock in Washington since Obama took office is the same “party line” behavior, only on a national scale.

The republicans have done a very good job of making themselves into the storytellers, while the democrats have positioned themselves as the rational thinkers' party. People need stories. People need tribes. People need things to believe in and things they're willing to suffer and die for.

I believe there are things worth suffering and possibly dying for. But, in a narrower sense, I don’t believe those things include unwavering allegiance to an American political party, or racism.

I don't think its relevant to this discussion why or how we got wired that way,

I respectfully disagree with you about that. And, I point out that the author of the article we are discussing made specific reference to “emotional motivations”.

but it's a pretty universal part of the human condition. Republicans hacked it, democrats think they're "too smart" for it and don't bother. Then they call the people who are succumbing to basic human needs "stupid," and wonder why those people never vote for them.

I concede that, in general, it’s not too smart for Democrats, or independents like myself, to call out Republican Tribalism as “stupid”. However, based upon my own experience, those people are not going to vote for anyone but a Republican under any circumstances.

Again, based upon my own experience, I don’t believe the typical diehard Republican Tribalist can be convinced to vote in their best “economic interests”. For that to happen I think the party itself is going to have to drastically change its priorities from the top down. Will that ever happen? I don’t know, but perhaps it will start happening after they lose the White House again, and congressional districts can be fairly drawn up after the next national census.

By the way, I’m enjoying our little discussion. It’s made me clarify my thinking and expand it to include possible solutions to the overall “economic interests” problem.

Brother Mythos

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Grey Area, you might be interested in this link: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/01/27/the-demographic-trends-shaping-american-politics-in-2016-and-beyond/

It concerns the whole "tribal" thing of both parties.

Thank you, Aucoq,

I will definitely take the time to give that article a serious read.