Fundamental checks

Two data points that make me fairly confident of November even in an alternate universes with a mostly sane Republican party:

TPM:

Fifty-percent of Americans approve of Obama’s performance as the country’s chief executive, the highest level since May 2013. This is an uptick from his average approval rating during his seventh year in office, which was 46 percent, according to Gallup.

And the latest unemployment claims filing:

Initial US weekly unemployment claims fell by 18,000 over the week ending on 5 March to reach 259,000, according to the US Department of Labor

We’re at peace, there are jobs, and the incumbent President is reasonably popular.  Those are good fundamentals for any incumbent party.

Open Thread

440 replies
  1. 1
    Chris says:

    All true. It would be a mistake to underestimate any Republican candidate, but I still think the Democrats have a very good chance at keeping the White House.

  2. 2

    @Chris: And taking the Senate. Gerrymandering has little effect on Senate races…

  3. 3
    Hildebrand says:

    You are never going to be accepted into the Villager club with that kind of calm, reasoned approach to politics. Where is the shrieking? Where is the apocalyptic fear-mongering? Where is automatic defensive crouch? Sheesh. I hate to break it to you, Richard, The New Republic will not be ringing you up any time soon. Hate to break the bad news to you.

  4. 4
    LAC says:

    @Hildebrand: and Richard will never have drinks with a media elite like WAPO’s Dana milbank. It is a shame. 🙄

  5. 5
    redshirt says:

    True, but have you considered that up is down? Right is wrong? War is peace? Freedom is slavery?

    If so, you might find facts matter little anymore. Only “The Narrative”.

  6. 6
    dr. bloor says:

    Americans can’t stand peace and prosperity. See: Gore v. Bush.

  7. 7
    daveNYC says:

    Great fundamentals, just like in 2000.

  8. 8
    dr. bloor says:

    @LAC: MILBANK: “I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe. Cocktail weenies at Sally’s…Klieg lights catching the sparkle in Kissinger’s eyes…Rummy and George Will playing rock, paper, scissors…time to go to makeup.”

    /Roy Batty

  9. 9
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    TPM just posted a link to this story, with a picture that shows PBO looking like he just stepped out of the screen of The Matrix. It’s almost like wrapping yourself around President Black Ninja would be the smart play.

  10. 10

    @Hildebrand: why are you destroying my dream, I like my delusions that wonkish analysis of major policy problems with an acknowledgement that things are complex and incremental solutions are far more likely to be implemented and also far more likely to work reasonably well albeit kludgish is the way to gain political power and influence.

    I’ll have my juice box in the corner now as I hug Mr. Bear and Blankie as soon you’ll tell me Santa Claus is not real….

  11. 11
    Patricia Kayden says:

    While President Obama is doing a great job as a “lame duck”, Trump’s racist supporters continue to pummel Black protesters.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/03/10/trump-protester-sucker-punched-at-north-carolina-rally-videos-show/?tid=sm_tw

  12. 12

    @daveNYC: I rather have 2000 fundamentals as an incumbent party than 2008 fundamentals.

  13. 13
    Hildebrand says:

    @daveNYC: I think the press was bored with prosperity in 2000. That, and Al Gore was simply never going to be much ‘fun’ to cover because he seemed a bit of a stiff – and the press can’t handle unexciting, competent people.

    Neither Hillary nor Bernie will ever be accused of being dull.

  14. 14
    Chris says:

    @dr. bloor:

    I do find it interesting that the three decades most associated with peace and prosperity in the last hundred years (that would be the Twenties, the Fifties and the Nineties) all also featured a reassertion of conservative politics, a big comeback for racial, cultural, puritanical, et al anxieties, and a spike in violent right activism. Peace and prosperity don’t calm these people down. At all.

  15. 15
    Hildebrand says:

    @Richard Mayhew: Make no mistake, I would gladly give up house or hearth to make your style of thoughtful, pragmatic journalism the norm – it would be one of the greatest gifts ever bestowed on this country.

  16. 16
    Calouste says:

    @dr. bloor: Time for the terribly accurately predictive Onion classic: Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’

    Bush swore to do “everything in [his] power” to undo the damage wrought by Clinton’s two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.

    During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

  17. 17
    Matt McIrvin says:

    We’re at peace, there are jobs, and the incumbent President is reasonably popular.

    I think all three of these things are only true relative to the dramatically reduced expectations we’ve come to have in the post-Bush era.

  18. 18
    gvg says:

    It’s not directly on target but my Sanders supporting relatives are extremely pessimistic about defeating Trump, whereas I just don’t think its a problem. Insufficient sample size, but I’ll have to look for more data. My sister is more pessimistic and gets depressed more than I do in general anyway.

  19. 19
    p.a. says:

    We’re at peace, there are jobs, and the incumbent President is reasonably popular. Those are good fundamentals for any incumbent party.

    Remember this?

    Damn you sir! (Calouste)

  20. 20
    Calouste says:

    @daveNYC: And just like in 2000, we could have a candidate who runs away from the popular incumbent president. Luckily for us, there is another option this time who’s doing better.

  21. 21
    Chyron HR says:

    @daveNYC:

    We should be okay as long as Al Gore’s campaign manager doesn’t start advising one of the Democratic candidates to run against their party’s popular sitting president.

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dr. bloor:

    Americans can’t stand peace and prosperity. See: Gore v. Bush.

    Well, 5 out of 9 Americans couldn’t stand peace and prosperity (and it was Bush v Gore). Actual voters gave Gore the edge by 500,000 votes.

  23. 23
    msdc says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne:

    It’s almost like wrapping yourself around President Black Ninja would be the smart play.

    I’m glad that one candidate has figured this out.

  24. 24
    hueyplong says:

    My son attended Cruz and Trump rallies this week in NC. He said the calm, midday Cruz crowd appeared to be made up mainly of mothers who home school their children while the prime time, packed Trump rally was a crowd of wannabe Nazis waiting anxiously for the expected security riot and then cheering it on when it happened. It’s like a wildness in the air at a Trump rally.

  25. 25
    lollipopguild says:

    We also have a GOP that is insane and an X-factor in Der trumpenfuhrer.

  26. 26
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Hildebrand: In fact, people frequently accuse Hillary Clinton of being dull. I found three good ones on the first Google page. Of course, they were Mark Steyn, somebody at The American Spectator, and somebody from Bloomberg View.

  27. 27
    Chris says:

    @Chyron HR:

    That’s what I’ve been thinking, but since the President whose accomplishments were being run away from was Hillary Clinton’s own husband, I don’t think she’s forgotten that lesson and I think she’ll be smart enough not to do the same thing to Obama.

    Also, there will likely be a 4:4 conservative to liberal ratio on the Supreme Court, so that part of the 2000 election is less likely to be reproduced.

    The thing I’d worry most about is vote suppression; that in Florida was the only reason George W. Bush was even close enough to Gore to get the Supreme Court involved. They’ve been going into overdrive with that stuff all over the country, and it’s a genuine concern.

  28. 28
    Matt McIrvin says:

    (On the other hand, if you Google “bernie sanders dull” you mostly get hits that mention that Hillary Clinton is dull, unlike Bernie Sanders.)

  29. 29
    The Moar You Know says:

    We are not exactly “at peace” but I suspect this will be as close as it gets for a few decades.

    We’re in decent shape with a couple of mediocre candidates, the GOP is in horrendous shape with the most dismal slate of candidates I have ever seen in my life. I like our chances for the presidency but we MUST get the Senate back as well or else all we’ll be doing is four years of vetoes and then we’ll be out the door. See GOP history, 2008-2016, for what happens when you become the party of “NO”.

  30. 30
    msdc says:

    @gvg: Al Giordano has been talking about how the angriest and most pessimistic progressives love to lose – it’s the foundation of their political identity. I can’t say this contradicts anything in my experience.

  31. 31
    Chris says:

    @hueyplong:

    So, one of them appeals to the rabble of Brownshirts who want to be out there smashing windows, burning shops and kicking Undesirables to death in the gutter, the other appeals to the middle class Good Germans who just want all the horrid messiness to be kept far away from their eyes and don’t care how it happens.

    … too early in the morning for a Godwinism?

  32. 32
    Anoniminous says:

    The demographics of 2016 versus 2000 are totally different. The percentage of white has fallen to (a projected) 69% versus 81% in 2000. Bush won whites by 13% – 55 to 42 – and that was all she wrote. In 2012 Romney won white vote by 20% – 59 to 39 – and lost.

  33. 33
    LAC says:

    @dr. bloor: LOL! Ahhh milbank… the asshole gift that WAPO keeps giving us.

  34. 34
    redshirt says:

    @hueyplong: That vibe has been happening for awhile – remember how increasingly heated Palin rallies became in 2008?

    We are so lucky to have ousted the Republicans in 2008 because we’ve been able to somewhat contain this demographic, rather than giving them full control of the country.

  35. 35
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chris:

    I agree — voter suppression is going to be critical, because under normal circumstances, the Republicans should get crushed based on the weakness of their candidates. People keep worrying about Clinton’s high negative ratings, but Trump’s are much higher and I don’t see those coming down anytime soon.

    I really think that if we work our asses off for massive voter turnout, we can crush the Republicans this year, but we’re going to need to roll up our sleeves and do it.

  36. 36
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @gvg: When it was first becoming clear, back around last June or July, that Trump’s candidacy was more than a joke, one of the guys I follow on Google+ said he was already reconciling himself to the fact that Trump was going to be President. He was horrified by it but he could feel that it was inevitable; Trump’s time had come and nothing was going to stop him.

  37. 37
    rikyrah says:

    From the Atlantic interview with President Obama:

    …Obama’s reticence frustrated Power and others on his national-security team who had a preference for action. Hillary Clinton, when she was Obama’s secretary of state, argued for an early and assertive response to Assad’s violence. In 2014, after she left office, Clinton told me that “the failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad … left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.” When The Atlantic published this statement, and also published Clinton’s assessment that “great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” Obama became “rip-shit angry,” according to one of his senior advisers. The president did not understand how “Don’t do stupid shit” could be considered a controversial slogan. Ben Rhodes recalls that “the questions we were asking in the White House were ‘Who exactly is in the stupid-shit caucus? Who is pro–stupid shit?’ ” The Iraq invasion, Obama believed, should have taught Democratic interventionists like Clinton, who had voted for its authorization, the dangers of doing stupid shit. (Clinton quickly apologized to Obama for her comments, and a Clinton spokesman announced that the two would “hug it out” on Martha’s Vineyard when they crossed paths there later.)

  38. 38
    bemused says:

    @hueyplong:

    I can’t imagine actually being at a Trump rally. I get freaked out just watching and listening to the frothing crowds from the safety of my living room.

  39. 39
    Cermet says:

    Well, glad of two things – Dad (President Obama) is still President and Scalia is still dead.

  40. 40
    gene108 says:

    @Chris:

    The people I communicated with on-line, who were glad voters were disenfranchised, because it let their guy win was disturbing.

    That’s when I realized right-wingers were basically supportive of a totalitarian state, as long as they are the ones in control.

    There’s no inherent love of “rights” other than how they can be exploited to further their goals.

  41. 41
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Mnemosyne: A bunch of the new voter ID laws that got stayed by court orders in 2012 (because they were enacted at the last minute and there was no time for people to get usable IDs) are going to be in effect this time around, and I’m not convinced that people are actually prepared for that.

  42. 42
    rikyrah says:

    These are the same muthaphuckas that voted for Kasich, and then were all shocked when he tried to ban unions.

    Phuck ’em.

    Ohio’s ‘dirty little secret’: blue-collar Democrats for Trump
    World | Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:14am

    If Donald Trump wins the Republican Party nomination, his path to the White House will run through this working-class city with a knack for picking presidents.

    No Republican has ever won the White House without Ohio. And nowhere better reflects the challenges and opportunities Trump faces in his 2016 presidential quest than Canton, a once-booming industrial city that, like Ohio and the rest of America’s rust belt, is going through profound economic and demographic change.
    […]
    Sitting in a steel workers’ meeting at their Canton union hall, Curtis Green, the chapter’s vice president, described Trump’s support among a growing number of members as their “dirty little secret.”

    “I view him as a radical and a racist and I don’t want to be affiliated with that,” Green said. “But if you say what you mean, a lot of guys see that in Trump and they respect that. He doesn’t dance around the issues, he takes them head on. There are a fair amount of our members who do support Donald Trump.”

  43. 43
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @msdc: that way they don’t have to sully themselves with the dirty reality of governing and can remain pure

  44. 44
    dr. bloor says:

    @Matt McIrvin: That’s a fair observation, but as for myself, I recall thinking it was going to take about twenty-five years to undo the clusterfuck that Bush created. We’re much better off than I thought we would be at this point.

  45. 45
    Hildebrand says:

    @rikyrah: Reading that article now – fascinating stuff. I don’t think a great many Americans are used to presidents actually grinding their way through the complexities of the big problems confronting the world. Nor do many Americans seem to have the patience to watch a president actually be willing to do the hard work of sorting out all that is going on.

  46. 46
    daveNYC says:

    @Richard Mayhew: As would I. However, fundamentals will only get you so far, and the American voting public has shown themselves to be quite skilled at voting against their own interests.

    Peace and prosperity only gives us a solid base to campaign on. Between an opponent who will say literally anything and a populace that is easily distracted by shiny objects there’s no reason to consider any election a slam-dunk.

  47. 47
    japa21 says:

    So the Chicago Tribune apparently doesn’t read Florida newspapers.

    It has endorsed Rubio in the GOP primary saying he has the best chance to create an effective presidency in reality.

    No candidate in this cycle has ridden more ups and downs than Marco Rubio. With so much attention paid to quirks — his debate repetitions, his perspiration, even his choice of boots — many Republicans seem not to have noticed his fundamental GOP message of opportunity and uplift. The nonpartisan Tax Foundation calculated that the tax plan Rubio floated with Sen. Mike Lee would raise after-tax incomes for the bottom 10 percent of earners by 44 percent, chiefly via expanded credits. Spending limits, line-item veto, a balanced-budget amendment — all Rubio policy pillars. Crucially, his foreign affairs expertise vastly exceeds that of his rivals. We like his youth, his bilingual fluency and the fact that he isn’t one more Republican who’s been standing in line, awaiting his turn to run.

    However they refuse to make an endorsement in the Dem primary. Why? Because neither of them are realistic.

    If you like window-shopping at the Lamborghini dealership on Sundays, when no salespeople are around to check your credit, then you’ll enjoy the bounty of Free Stuff that Clinton and Sanders promise to provide.

    Ending with:

    Agree or disagree with Marco Rubio on various issues, he offers Illinois voters the framework of a presidency that realistically could exist. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have not met this fundamental economic test. We’re keeping an open mind, hoping that whichever of them prevails will meet that test in the general election campaign. Because promises, pledges and policies mean nothing to a gravely indebted American government that can afford only to window-shop.

  48. 48
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @rikyrah: At this point, I think there are a considerable number of Americans who will support a candidate who announces that, if elected, he will come into their homes and murder them and their children. He says what he means! You know where you stand with that guy: brutally murdered!

  49. 49
    Anoniminous says:

    @rikyrah:

    This crap again.

    Rust Belt “Blue-collar Dems” or “Reagan Dems” or whatever you want to call them are part of the Republican coalition. They haven’t voted Democrat since the 80s.

  50. 50
    gene108 says:

    @rikyrah:

    Obama’s Syria policy is not a resounding success. To say any alternatives would be worse is logically incorrect, because things are far from good and seem to be getting worse.

    The U.S. provided air support and aid to Northern Alliance forces, after 9/11/01, and removed the Taliban from having control over Afghanistan.

    We also intervened in the Balkans, in the 1990’s, and ended the warfare there.

    To assume every use of U.S. military power will turn into Bush, Jr’s glorious misadventure in Mesopotamia, and the consequent unraveling it caused in Afghanistan, as the U.S. moved its attention and resources to Iraq, is not true.

    There have been uses of military power, recently, which did not get us bogged down into messy quagmires or should not have, if competent people had been in charge.

  51. 51
    Dork says:

    And when The Yungz dont materialize in November and the Cruz/Nugent ticket takes the throne, please send me real estate options available in Saskatchy……

  52. 52
    dmsilev says:

    @japa21: The Trib hates Democrats. Obama is the only one they’ve ever endorsed for President, going back over 100 years. I figure if it’s Trump running in the fall, they’ll just decline to endorse anyone.

  53. 53
    El Caganer says:

    @Matt McIrvin: “Tomorrow belongs to me!”

  54. 54
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Chris: In related news, eyeballing the most recent primary polls, it looks as if Ben Carson’s loyal 8-10 percent mostly divided themselves up between Cruz and Kasich.

  55. 55
    LAC says:

    @Anoniminous: exactly. They are just republicans who need some a’wooing, that’s all. “Just tell me I’m prettier than that Hispanic who is taking my (imaginary) job and I will let you go to third base”

  56. 56
    jonas says:

    @rikyrah: I read the Goldberg piece this morning and really marvelled at a couple of things: 1. the difference between Goldberg’s reporting and, e.g., Bob Woodward’s obsequious fluffing of everyone in the Bush White House and 2. the fact that even as they disagreed over some pretty big things, how lucky we have been to have had a group of intelligent adults in charge the past seven years. When you look at the likes of Kerry, Biden, Clinton, and of course Obama and compare that to the gaggle of idiot man-children and wannabes looking to replace him, it’s hard not to either laugh or despair.

    If a Republican wins in November, I give the country about 5 minutes until the buyer’s remorse sets in. Really, really hard.

  57. 57
    Punchy says:

    @japa21: The Trib has been moving right at an exponential rate. Odd for the newspaper of such a Dem town and reliably blue state.

    Nothing like throwing support behind a guy who’s almost certainly be outtie the race in less than 2 weeks.

  58. 58
    rk says:

    We’re at peace, there are jobs, and the incumbent President is reasonably popular. Those are good fundamentals for any incumbent party.

    Are you talking about the 2000 election? Because I believe we also had a surplus in addition to all the above. Americans decided what they really wanted was a dimwitted faux cowboy who they could have beer with. I wouldn’t put anything past this bunch. They’re quite capable of deciding that what they really wanted all along is a racist thug faux billionaire. After all once democrats have fixed a few things it’s time to blow up the house again.

  59. 59
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @gene108: There’s no inherent love of “rights” other than how they can be exploited to further their goals.

    like “religious freedom” means “free to force your kids to pray to my god in public schools”

  60. 60
    JPL says:

    @jonas: Cruz is running on a ten percent vat which is more like a sales tax, since it applies across the board. Big item manufacturers and the housing industry will be thrilled.

  61. 61
    Steeplejack says:

    @japa21:

    Chicago Tribune: “The nonpartisan Tax Foundation calculated that the tax plan Rubio floated with Sen. Mike Lee would raise after-tax incomes for the bottom 10 percent of earners by 44 percent, chiefly via expanded credits.”

    You mean the nonpartisan Tax Foundation whose board is salted with corporate whales, former Republican congressmen and Koch apparatchiks? The one funded by ExxonMobil, the Koch Family Foundations and other conservative groups? GTFO.

  62. 62
    Mike R says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Thanks for the laugh, but that is a little too close to being true.

  63. 63
    raven says:

    @Punchy: “Moving?

    Under the 20th-century editorship of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, who took control in the 1920s, the paper was strongly isolationist and aligned with the Old Right in its coverage of political news and social trends, calling itself “The American Paper for Americans”, excoriating the Democrats and the New Deal, resolutely disdainful of the British and French and greatly enthusiastic for Chiang Kai-shek and Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

  64. 64
    msdc says:

    @Just One More Canuck: I think it’s more about the moral superiority of being the one lonely voice cursing the darkness and bemoaning the ignorance of the American people, but the lack of responsibility is a nice bonus.

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:

    @rk:

    Americans The Supreme Court decided what they really wanted was a dimwitted faux cowboy who they could have beer with.

    Again, American voters decided — by 500,000 votes — that they wanted Gore, but the Supreme Court thought otherwise. I suppose you could argue that we should have had open civil war and blood in the streets over it, but Americans aren’t good at rioting over anything other than sports teams.

  66. 66
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @gene108: In their minds (if that’s not an oxymoron) the only “true” democracy is a Herrenvolk democracy. Starring them as the Herrenvolk.

  67. 67
    dr. bloor says:

    @Punchy:

    Nothing like throwing support behind a guy who’s almost certainly be outtie the race in less than 2 weeks.

    They were going to endorse Hoover until someone reminded them he’s already out of the race.

  68. 68
    Chris says:

    @gene108:

    Oh, yeah. They’ll go even further than that – I’ve seen them argue that voters should not just be de facto disenfranchised with cute tricks like restrictive ID laws, but actually legally banned from voting if they were below a certain income level, or if they were dual citizens, or… and in every case, the argument was quite clear that it is, in fact, because these people tend to be Democrats. I’ve even read one guy who said “I’m a dual citizen, but I’d be happy to be banned from voting, because most of us vote Democrat.”

    The conservative movement is authoritarian to the bone. Any significant amount of time in the wingnut blogosphere quickly does away with any pretense to the contrary.

  69. 69
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Punchy:
    Wasn’t the Chicago Trib where Roger Ebert worked for decades? Ebert himself, as I recall, was a liberal Democrat and sometimes uncomfortable with the Trib’s rightward inclination.

  70. 70
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @japa21: I love that Li’l Marco’s tax cuts, according to some I’ve read the most drastic of anyone in the race– total elimination of taxes on capital gains and fucking dividends! fercrissake– , don’t count as “Free Stuff”. Even while we double down on those costly military adventures in the MENA.

    Has the Trib gone further right in the last ten, fifteen years?

  71. 71
    kd bart says:

    @msdc:

    BINGO!!

    Why win when complaining is so much more fun.

  72. 72
    jo6pac says:

    That was your attempt at satire, right?

  73. 73
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    No, Ebert worked for the Sun-Times. And getting those two mixed up is like mixing up the Yankees and the Red Sox, FWIW.

  74. 74
    moderateindy says:

    @japa21: The tribune is and has always been a very right leaning Republican establishment entity. Do you know how many times they endorsed a Dem for President in the 20th century? zero.

  75. 75
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Amir Khalid: Sun Times. Ebert wrote a few directly political op/eds, including for the NYT, and they were great, witty and moving and written with an awareness of history and human nature. Kind of like Frank Rich without the self-satisfied above-it-all smugness. Ebert was one smart sumbitch, and very much a liberal.

  76. 76
    Origuy says:

    I hadn’t realized that no Canadian Prime Minister had visited the White House in twenty years.

    Harper’s relations with Obama were strained over various issues, notably the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, which the Obama administration rejected last year. The American ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman, could not get a meeting with Harper or his Cabinet ministers for months.

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Origuy:

    I was a little surprised that Bush had never invited Harper or his predecessor (whatshisname) to the White House. They are, literally, our closest allies, so it seems very weird.

  78. 78
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    @Mnemosyne:
    I sit corrected.

  79. 79
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Chris: I’ve heard it combined with the “47%/makers and takers” meme. Republicans imagine that government is basically a scheme by which lazy poor people steal industrious rich people’s money, so the idea is that to fix it, only the people who pay into the system (which they believe is them) should be allowed to vote.

    Season to taste with the old misattributed quote about how all civilizations collapse when the masses “vote themselves the treasury”.

  80. 80
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Matt McIrvin: IMHO the most important thing all of us, Hillbots & Sandernistas & others, can do between now & November is get as many people registered in as many states as possible. Do we need a national coordinating operation for voter registration that raises the funds necessary & forwards them to state & local organizations doing the hard work on the ground? Sounds like a good idea to me.

    And on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November, if not before, get them to the polls! TURNOUT! TURNOUT!! TURNOUT!!!

  81. 81
    Peale says:

    @japa21: @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I’m so glad the republican voters are rejecting Rubio. I look forward to Trump rubbing the noses of the moneybags in his own shit.

    As for Clinton, I think what they mean is no Democrat is running on taking things away from its party voters. Free Stuff now includes programs you already have, since I’m not quite certain what new “free stuff” Clinton is promoting. If she were proposing to eliminate social security or Bernie was proposing to take away children on WIC and put them into orphanages, the Trib might take them seriously.

  82. 82
    Chris says:

    @moderateindy:

    The tribune is and has always been a very right leaning Republican establishment entity. Do you know how many times they endorsed a Dem for President in the 20th century? zero.

    Jesus!

    That’s interesting considering the wide variety of people who’ve run for president over that time – Teddy Roosevelt is no Calvin Coolidge is no Dwight Eisenhower is no Ronald Reagan. I mean, I can’t even say with certainty that I’d never have endorsed a Republican candidate – none after 1932, but before that, I dunno.

  83. 83
    Chris says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    The attitude I’ve heard is that if you don’t pay taxes, you should have no say in the system. “Skin in the game.” They then decide that only income taxes count as taxes, because shut up that’s why.

  84. 84
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @japa21: Hilarious that they are nominating the GOP candidate who has zero chances of winning the Republican nomination. They should have declined to endorse any candidate instead of throwing away an endorsement on Rubio.

    @rikyrah: I assume that anyone who votes for Trump is a Republican and not really a Democrat. What would Trump’s appeal be to a Democrat who values diversity and tolerance? He’s the exact opposite of our current intelligent, well-spoken, and thoughtful President and would tear down all the achievements he has made (despite Republican obstructionism).

  85. 85
    Goblue72 says:

    @Just One More Canuck: wouldn’t be BJ without gratuitous hippie punching.

  86. 86
    Peale says:

    @Chris: Well, yeah, of course it is. It was founded as a reaction to protect the crown and church from those ghastly effects of democratization. It intellectual underpinnings are all about justifying walls to keep out the upstarts. Liberty was a privilege nobles had and it was bad when too many people had it.

  87. 87
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Amir Khalid: You were close. Gene Siskel, who was Roger Ebert’s co-critic on Siskel and Ebert until his (Siskel’s) death in 1999, was the movie critic for the Chicago Trib.

  88. 88
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @rikyrah:

    Phuck ’em.

    That’s how I feel lately about the whole “labor” interest group. In spirit, yes, I want the lives of unionized workers to be better. But if unionized workers decide that they’re an interest group supporting Republicans because of penny-ante “attitude” shit, cut them loose. Let them be the force that moderates the Republican Party, and let the Democratic Party deal with other important things.

  89. 89
    Peale says:

    @Chris: No representation without taxation!

  90. 90
    NonyNony says:

    @rk:

    Are you talking about the 2000 election? Because I believe we also had a surplus in addition to all the above.

    The 2000 election was a strange one – its the only election in my lifetime where the fundamentals were really, really good for an incumbent party to win the White House, but where the incumbent party didn’t win the electoral vote (though in the end the incumbent party did win the popular vote, which does us no good given the Electoral College).

    I place the blame for this squarely on Al Gore and his inability to understand the difference between the Village and the Rest of the Country. The Village was horrified by Bill Clinton’s affair (and honestly were horrified by the idea of a “bumpkin” from a “low class” family like Clinton being president in the first place) and Gore thought that they represented the consensus in the US – he distanced himself from Clinton, picked a VP who was pretty much most famous at the time for excoriating Clinton on the floor of the Senate, and tried to run from the man Clinton while still trying to embrace his record (and failing miserably at being able to do either).

    Meanwhile the rest of the country didn’t give a shit about Clinton’s affair – he left office with a close to 60% approval rating and had a more than 50% approval rating through the entire 2000 campaign. I mean all Gore had to do was read some polling numbers to realize that Clinton was much more popular with everyone outside of DC than he was in DC, and yet he didn’t do it. That election was Gore’s to lose and boy-howdy did he lose it.

    (Bob Shrum was running his campaign. Bob Freaking Shrum. He ran that campaign right into the ground. Still it was Gore’s fault – he’s the one who had the bad judgment to hire Bob Freaking Shrum and listen to his idiotic ideas. In an alternate universe Gore hired someone competent who looked at polling numbers and decided to embrace Clinton and run as Clinton’s third term. I don’t know what all happened in that alternate universe, but I bet at the very least we didn’t have a costly war with Iraq to deal with.)

    ETA: This is another thing that scares me a bit about a Sanders campaign in the general election. Sanders is running as someone opposed to the last 8 years, and yet Obama has a roughly 50% approval rating and has for a while. As the incumbent party, running an anti-incumbent campaign throws out the benefits of being the incumbent party, so it’s worrisome.

  91. 91
    Gex says:

    @Chris: Hell, in 2012 I believe I read a piece by a libertarian arguing that women’s franchise should be rescinded.

  92. 92
    gwangung says:

    @Goblue72: So basically, you’re confirming what they said.

    Idiot.

  93. 93
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @moderateindy: Rumor has it that the Trib was considering a name change when FDR entered the White House–until they discovered that Völkischer Beobachter was already taken…

  94. 94
    LAC says:

    @Goblue72: as opposed to the real punching going on at trump rallies. I keep forgetting to focus on the real cruelty in the world: hurt fee fees.

  95. 95
    aimai says:

    @gvg: The problem the Sanders’ supporters have–and its a problem for the rest of us as well–is that they have spent so much time demonizing HRC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the entire of the Democratic party that they 1) assume everyone else hates these people as much as they do and 2) can’t figure out a way to climb down off their high horse to support them in the event of a Sanders primary loss. Its the natural result of the kind of manichean good/evil thinking that they have done. Not only is Hillary irredemiably evil but the people who support her must be too because otherwise they’d be Sanders voters. The end result of this kind of rigid thinking is that people bounce from high highs (we’re winning and everything is great) to low lows (the end of the world is nigh!).

  96. 96
    Origuy says:

    In 1998, George Martin produced an album of Beatles covers called “In My Life”. The first track on the album was “Come Together” sung by Robin Williams and Bobby McFerrin. Here’s a video about how that came about.

  97. 97
    gene108 says:

    @dr. bloor:

    That’s a fair observation, but as for myself, I recall thinking it was going to take about twenty-five years to undo the clusterfuck that Bush created. We’re much better off than I thought we would be at this point.

    In some parts of the world that is still true.

    The sad part of the Bush, Jr. legacy are all the right-wing hacks paid to fluff his “legacy”. We really do not appreciate how far he set the America and the world back.

    Beyond the economy and the wars in the Middle East, there’s a decade plus lost in combating global warming, lack of proper family planning in parts of the world, because abortion could not be mentioned, and list goes on.

  98. 98
    Tom Q says:

    @msdc: I call them To Kill a Mockingbird liberals — they lose the case and their client gets killed, but they have the satisfaction of knowing no one in town has greater moral rectitude.

  99. 99
    Peale says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Yeah. I wanted to unread that article this morning as well. I think it was designed to make liberals go “phuck-em” so I’d be tempered in my response to it. When labor decides to vote for candidates because they are “refreshing” though, I don’t know what to do about it. But it was like reading a Dowd column.

  100. 100
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    A couple of differences from this year and 2000 are 1) Obama hasn’t been mired in a sex scandal for the past year, and 2) neither Hillary nor Bernie are openly disavowing him. So that’s a plus. As long as either one of them can avoid rolling their eyes or sighing when Trump goes off on another goddamned tangent, they should do well.

    But Trump is appealing to way more people than we want to admit, and not just the unreconstructed racists.

    I dunno. There’s a non-zero chance Trump could win the big chair, and if he does, that means the Senate and House stay solidly in Republican hands. Whether the numbers indicate it or not, we have to work as though we’re behind. GOTV like we’ve never GOTV before.

  101. 101
    jonas says:

    @JPL: I’m sure once people understand that he’s taxing them more on stuff they buy for their everyday lives so he can give millionaires a huge income tax cut, they’ll be totally cool with it.

  102. 102

    @gvg: I don’t get it, this wallowing in pessimism. Trump is a much bigger problem for the Republican brand than it is for us. There is no need to behave like he has already won the general election.

    * I see it in the comment section here too.

  103. 103
    Chris says:

    @Gex:

    Ann Coulter’s said that.

  104. 104

    @Peale: That’s brilliant. I’m stealing that.

  105. 105
    El Caganer says:

    @Chris: Up until the Civil War, only white male property owners were allowed to vote in many states. So I suppose the income thing is sort of a conservative position – a shitty position, but a conservative one.

  106. 106
    japa21 says:

    A quick follow-up in response to the responses to the Trib post.

    The Trib has always been a conservative voice in Chicago. The Sun-Times not as much.

    What I always find amusing is the logistical leaps and bounds they have to make to come to their decisions. They were a big Kasich fan but realize he is getting no traction (apparently they think Rubio is). But their comments n taxes is really interesting. As some pointed out, Rubio’s plan may be the most drastic in terms of blowing a hole in the economy and burgeoning our deficit, yet they totally ignore that and mention that it will help the middle class. They conveniently ignore that the middle class may save $100 per year but the 1% will save hundreds of thousands.

    And in terms of the two Dem candidates, they say their economic plans wouldn’t work because the US has no money to spend or ability to get credit, both of which are outright lies.

    The same thing happened in 2012 with our NW suburban Herald when they endorsed Romney. The convoluted logic, which ignores reality all over the place, is amazing to see.

  107. 107

    One observation…is it peace merely because we’re the ones not being on the recieving end of being blown up?

  108. 108
    gene108 says:

    @srv:

    To assume every use of U.S. military power will turn into Bush, Jr’s glorious misadventure in Mesopotamia, and the consequent unraveling it caused in Afghanistan

    I did mention Afghanistan isn’t all sunshine and unicorns.

    The U.S. had the support of the world behind it. Iran wanted to ally with us, but we spurned them. Pakistan was forced to curb its support of terrorism and could have been used to keep the Taliban down, because they was so much anti-Taliban pressure around the world.

    But we squandered all of the support with the Iraq war, use of torture and indefinite detention and left Afghanistan to fall apart again.

  109. 109
    Cacti says:

    After last night’s debate, the question is raised…

    Why, in 2016, can Bernie not acknowledge that communist revolution in Cuba was the god that failed, and that Castro’s primary achievement was swapping a capitalist dictatorship for a communist one?

  110. 110
    japa21 says:

    You know, I still haven’t seen a hippie punched around here.

  111. 111
    Chris says:

    @gene108:

    In some parts of the world that is still true.

    Iraq may never recover. And, by extension, Syria. Daesh and all the damage it’s caused in the current war can be laid squarely at George W. Bush’s feet. (Of course, they’ll tell us they had totally fixed Iraq and it was only once Obama was president that the jihadis came back).

    There’s an argument to be made that, at least as far as the Kurds in the north are concerned, this is the best possible outcome – they were spared the worst of the post-2003 ravages, are de facto independent and may one day be that de jure as well. (Of course, they were already de facto independent before 2003). For the rest of Iraq and now Syria, though, it’s been a catastrophe, and when or whether any kind of national government is ever restored is anyone’s guess.

    I’m less inclined to blame the state of Afghanistan on Bush, but that’s mainly because the decade of communist occupation, the half-decade of mafia wars, and the half-decade of Taliban rule had already destroyed the nation so completely that there just wasn’t much left to wreck.

  112. 112
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    There is no need to behave like he has already won the general election.

    Indulge a(nother?) flight of dickishness from me. You know why people are doing that? Because they think that only earthy white men really count. That’s who they picture as the default American citizen. That’s where they think the Mood Of The Country resides. Chris Matthews is particularly hung up on these things, but he’s not the only one.

  113. 113
    gene108 says:

    @jonas:

    Bob Woodward’s obsequious fluffing of everyone in the Bush White House and 2. the fact that even as they disagreed over some pretty big things, how lucky we have been to have had a group of intelligent adults in charge the past seven years. When you look at the likes of Kerry, Biden, Clinton, and of course Obama and compare that to the gaggle of idiot man-children and wannabes looking to replace him, it’s hard not to either laugh or despair.

    What gets me about the Bush, Jr. White House is how fucking self-centered Bush, Jr.’s underlings were. Cheney and Rumsfeld had their own agenda and they’d be damned, if they’d let the President get in their way.

    Rove had his agenda and he’d be damned, if he was going to let others push him out of it.

    There was no fucking concept of being on the same team and trying to advance a common agenda.

    It was people, who could grab power for the themselves in court, and their allies against other power centers their enemies

  114. 114
    Chyron HR says:

    @Goblue72:

    Apparently “I hate baby boomers, especially the ones who were against the Vietnam war” isn’t hippy punching because herp derp derp.

  115. 115
    Cacti says:

    @Goblue72:

    wouldn’t be BJ without gratuitous hippie punching.

    You hate Boomers, but love hippies.

    Oh to be young and unburdened by intellectual coherence.

  116. 116
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chyron HR: You noticed that too?

  117. 117
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    [I demand an end to the oppression by FYWP!!!1 I’ve tried to post this about a dozen times now… It just disappears rather than me being told it’s being held for moderation…]

    Those are two indicators that are certainly positive. While the economy is far weaker, and endured a huge recession longer than it should have, there’s nothing on the horizon that indicates another severe recession is in the caaads either.

    There’s an oil glut, so there’s little risk of prices spiking.

    The banks are still precarious, but they’re much, much stronger than they were in 2010 and 2012.

  118. 118
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    Ok, something in the first few lines is being marked as spam according to the editor when I try to edit the above.

    Grr…

    Enough attempts for now.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  119. 119
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cacti: No, Goblue loves “hippies,” not hippies. The kind of cool young activists of today who get _called_ “hippies” by squares who are 45 years old and up, not 44 or younger.

  120. 120
    Kay says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Well, part if it is Trump lies constantly. He says at every fake-press conference that he’s ahead of Clinton in polls. He’s behind her in 8 of 10 recently. He follows polls obsessively. He knows exactly where he is. I hope it keeps up because it will be fun to watch the person who based his entire candidacy on “people like me better!” be faced with shifting poll numbers. I don’t think he can bear it. This thing they’re doing is brutal. They’re putting themselves up there and asking millions of people to like them. So far, it’s been all affirmation for him. That won’t last.

  121. 121
    Linnaeus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    That’s how I feel lately about the whole “labor” interest group. In spirit, yes, I want the lives of unionized workers to be better. But if unionized workers decide that they’re an interest group supporting Republicans because of penny-ante “attitude” shit, cut them loose. Let them be the force that moderates the Republican Party, and let the Democratic Party deal with other important things.

    This would be a very, very wrong thing to do.

    Labor, on the whole, still provides crucial support for Democrats – maybe not as much as they once did due to declining numbers, but they’re still organizing rallies, endorsing candidates, doing door-to-door contacts, phone banking, etc. And unionized voters still vote for Democrats in majority numbers (even white men, by the way). Let’s not forget as well, that lots of union members are women, racial minorities, etc.

    When I see stuff like “cut labor loose”, to be honest, my classism alarm goes off a bit. To me, it’s often a soft way of expressing classism with a patina of progressivism.

  122. 122
    Mike R says:

    @Kay: Agree, still like to remember the crushed Mitt after 2016, almost like the dog strapped him to the roof of the car. Very few things nicer than seeing an entitled shit get his just deserts.

  123. 123
    FEMA Camp Counselors says:

    @Linnaeus:

    For me this comes back to something FlipYrWhig mentioned later: people assume that “earthy white guys” are a default and that extends to unions, and therefore labor consists primarily of the white working class.

    To an extent that’s still true, but labor is and to a certain extent always has been more diverse then “earthy white guys from Canton, OH” and it’s becoming more diverse along with the rest of the country. That’s something a lot of this “Unions for Trump” stuff is missing.

  124. 124
    Cacti says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    No, Goblue loves “hippies,” not hippies. The kind of cool young activists of today who get _called_ “hippies” by squares who are 45 years old and up, not 44 or younger.

    Everything Noclue72 throws up reads like the kid who’s lashing out at his Boomer parents, and letting them know that “you’re not the boss of me.”

    Any Boomer on BJ is just a stand in for Mom and Dad.

  125. 125
    The Moar You Know says:

    That’s how I feel lately about the whole “labor” interest group. In spirit, yes, I want the lives of unionized workers to be better. But if unionized workers decide that they’re an interest group supporting Republicans because of penny-ante “attitude” shit, cut them loose. Let them be the force that moderates the Republican Party, and let the Democratic Party deal with other important things.

    @FlipYrWhig: You cannot have a functional society without taking the needs of those who, y’know, do the actual work of said society into account. If union members are starting to support the GOP in large numbers it would be a good thing to figure out exactly why that is.

    If the sorry day should pass where the GOP is the party of labor, I will be a Republican. There’s a fair number of single-issue voters out there. Labor is mine.

  126. 126
    Kay says:

    @Linnaeus:

    It’s a remarkable sentiment from a Clinton supporter because Clinton has gotten the vast majority of labor endorsements.

    It’s a picture of “labor” as wearing a hard hat or working in an auto plant, which as you know is not accurate.

    The labor-funded and organized Fight For Fifteen campaign didn’t look like that stereotype at all. President Obama even invited them to the White House as an example of “worker voice” which is a way of saying “labor union” without seeming olde timey.

  127. 127
    Kay says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    It’s also one of the few remaining connections DC has to real, live working people. Without labor union heads they wouldn’t have a voice at all. That would be bad for them but also very bad for the Democratic Party.

  128. 128
    Princess says:

    @NonyNony: Gore was a terrible politician. I remember how everyone wanted him to run in 04 and 08, and how good he was on climate, and everybody loved him. And then I saw him speak at the 08 convention and all the reasons why he was so terrible in the 00 election came flooding back to me.

  129. 129
    Linnaeus says:

    @FEMA Camp Counselors:

    Bingo.

    I know anecdotes are not data, but as a union member myself, I’ve done a lot of work (in the past, not so much recently) with my county labor council, and it’s probably the most diverse space in terms of both race and gender that I’ve ever been in while living here (the past 16 years), and I live in a majority-white city, county, and state.

    The diversity of this space is substantial not only in numbers, but also in leadership. Women and people of color play very important roles both formally and informally in our council.

  130. 130
    Chyron HR says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    If union members are starting to support the GOP in large numbers it would be a good thing to figure out exactly why that is.

    If only somebody would figure out what makes “labor” go to Trump rallies and beat up black people!

  131. 131
    Chris says:

    @FEMA Camp Counselors:

    Doesn’t help that every white union member who so much as trips in the direction of a Republican candidate in the last decade or so has been breathlessly held up in the MSM as proof of “Obama’s working class problem.”

  132. 132
    JMG says:

    There’s a big difference between anecdotal tales of individual union members saying they’ll vote for Trump for, uh, cultural reasons and union members as a group and labor as an entity. Those stories seldom include the follow-up question, “who’d you vote for last time.” A certain percentage of union members are Republicans for their own reason.

  133. 133
    msdc says:

    @Tom Q: Nicely put.

  134. 134
    gratuitous says:

    Just on a whim, I checked George W. Bush’s popularity at this stage of his administration in 2008. Below 40%. I wonder if the popular media will mention that as they navel-gaze at the prospect of a new Supreme Court Justice? Obama’s at or above 50% approval, Congress is well below 20%, and the Senate leadership has the brass to yammer on about “the will of the people.”

    But the Republicans in the Senate can so yammer, secure in the knowledge that nobody in the popular media will utter a peep about the actual will of the people.

  135. 135
    goblue72 says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Exactly. Lets kick Labor out of the Democratic Party tent! Fcuk those Union guys! That’ll show labor who supports working people.

    Do you people even listen to yourselves?

  136. 136
    Linnaeus says:

    @Chris:

    Yes, and it’s remarkably shallow analysis.

    To the extent that Obama has a “working class problem”, it mainly resides in nonunion households, and is strongly regionalized. Here’s some Roper Center data on the 2012 presidential election. Union households, according to this survey, went 58 to 40 for Obama.

  137. 137
    Kay says:

    @Chris:

    Well, it would help if Democratic Presidents would stop willingly becoming the fall guy for GOP-backed trade deals. The TPP is a majority GOP deal. They backed it and they voted for it. Obama will be blamed for it, forever and ever, just like Clinton was blamed for George HW Bush’s NAFTA.

  138. 138
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @Kay: I still don’t understand why Obama’s so gung-ho about the TPP. Maybe he really wants that alliance with Vietnam.

  139. 139
    SFAW says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    No, Ebert worked for the Sun-Times. And getting those two mixed up is like mixing up the Yankees and the Red Sox, FWIW.

    No, it’s like getting Man City and Man U mixed up, if the only sport you associate with the word “football” is the American version.

    Or, for the more pedestrian: it’s like getting the NY Post and the NY Daily News mixed up.

    Amazingly enough, the only people who give a rat’s ass about the “finer points” of Chicago “culture” live within about 15 miles of Hyde Park, or were raised thereabouts.

  140. 140
    The Moar You Know says:

    Well, it would help if Democratic Presidents would stop willingly becoming the fall guy for GOP-backed trade deals. The TPP is a majority GOP deal. They backed it and they voted for it. Obama will be blamed for it, forever and ever, just like Clinton was blamed for George HW Bush’s NAFTA.

    @Kay: Goddamn right. Fucking dumbest thing Bill Clinton ever did. TPP will be the dumbest thing Obama’s ever done.

    You never want to be the player famous for making an own goal.

  141. 141
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    People keep worrying about Clinton’s high negative ratings, but Trump’s are much higher and I don’t see those coming down anytime soon.

    This does not mean much right now. Trump’s negatives are not preventing him from kicking ass in the primaries. Negatives don’t necessarily affect how a person decides to vote when they are deciding between specific candidates.

    I really think that if we work our asses off for massive voter turnout, we can crush the Republicans this year, but we’re going to need to roll up our sleeves and do it.

    This will be interesting. There is not a strong correlation between primary turnout and general election turnout, but the Trumphenomenoma has resulted in more enthusiasm and a higher turnout. If this continues heading toward the general election, the Democrats will have problems.

    @Anoniminous:

    The demographics of 2016 versus 2000 are totally different. The percentage of white has fallen to (a projected) 69% versus 81% in 2000. Bush won whites by 13% – 55 to 42 – and that was all she wrote. In 2012 Romney won white vote by 20% – 59 to 39 – and lost.

    Gender as well as race will be a larger factor in 2016. And, as noted, turnout will be critically important.

  142. 142
    Peale says:

    @Kay: Yep. Just swear off the TPP. There is no case to be made for the urgency of the TPP. Even lying about the benefits isn’t going to be convincing at this point. But I haven’t heard good reasons why signing off on the TPP this year or the next or the next is just so critical for the future of trade that Obama needs to get it done. OMG, imagine if Malaysia and Indonesia traded with each other and the US wasn’t involved? What would happen next?

  143. 143
    Linnaeus says:

    @Kay:

    To carry this point a bit further, let’s consider the 2010 Senate election in Nevada. Harry Reid was fighting for his political life and what was critical in his victory was labor union support, from unions that represent a lot of service workers who are people of color.

  144. 144
    Chris says:

    @gratuitous:

    Just on a whim, I checked George W. Bush’s popularity at this stage of his administration in 2008. Below 40%.

    I’m actually surprised it was that high. I thought I recalled his approval ratings being pretty much in the toilet from late 2005 onwards (Iraq War fatigue + Katrina), but maybe the liberal undergraduate environment I was living in at the time is exaggerating my memories of how anti-Bush the country was.

  145. 145
    Bob In Portland says:

    We’re at peace, there are jobs, and the incumbent President is reasonably popular.

    We have military detachments in what, a hundred-forty, hundred-fifty countries in the world. We periodically bomb somewhere, Americans are still dying in Afghanistan. We’ve begun to line up military units all along the Russian border. Our armies of the night are still regime-changing. We destabilize around the world for profit. You may have a job, but lots of kids don’t have jobs. People who used to work at union factory jobs are working at Walmart’s. Salaries are stagnant. The working class can no longer afford property.

    And while half the country likes Obama, there is a huge group out there who hates him because of his race. And he’s not running anyway.

    People are fed up with the direction of both parties. That’s why Trump gets votes and Dems stay home.

    We may live in different worlds.

  146. 146
    NR says:

    @Princess:

    Gore was a terrible politician.

    Hillary isn’t much better, and is arguably even worse. At the very least, her history of turning 25+ point “inevitable” leads into nail-biters and losses should be a major red flag.

    Good fundamentals plus a bad candidate can easily result in a loss.

  147. 147
    Gardenfli says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I read a quote on twitter last week from an interview with a lady who said that nothing Trump did, short of killing her granddaughter, would cause her to stop supporting him…

  148. 148
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    You know why people are doing that? Because they think that only earthy white men really count. That’s who they picture as the default American citizen. That’s where they think the Mood Of The Country resides.

    That’s a pretty valid point, but I think there’s also a calibration problem: we really don’t know what power the Earthy White Man demographic holds in 2016, other than being sure they won’t get fucked over by voter suppression efforts in their (GOP-controlled) states.

    Of course, the impression isn’t helped by every fucking campaign reporter looking for a thick-set middle-aged white man with a moustache, light brown Dickies coat and trucker cap to interview.

  149. 149
    SFAW says:

    @NR:

    At the very least, her history of turning 25+ point “inevitable” leads into nail-biters and losses should be a major red flag.

    No worries, she’ll bring Martha Coakley on board, who will fix things.

  150. 150
    goblue72 says:

    @Cacti: Thanks Gramps. My folks aren’t Boomers. They’re older (of the one who is still alive) – “Silent” Generation. I don’t got a problem with those over age 45. I got a problem with those over age 45 who can’t be bothered to look at the voting trend data and accept that voters in the Silent/Boomer cohort are largely responsible for the 20+ plus years of mostly GOP control of Congress and the states – and the shredding of the social welfare safety net. Instead its just mostly “young people need to show up, blah blah blah”

    Me – I’m 43. Not “young”. Middle aged, married, peak earning years, upper middle class professional who is most decidedly not a “hipster”. Not that it would be a bad thing – but I am far too uncool to be able to pull that off – and I certainly can’t fit into a pair of skinny jeans at this age. (And P.S. – those Millenial “hipsters” are entering their 30s and raising kids at this point)

    So you see, my paycheck is paying for the Social Security and Medicare benefits for cranky Boomers, given the financing structure of SS and Medicare – and the degree to which the SS budget was used to accounting chicanery by Boomer elected politicians opposed to raising anyone’s taxes. I fully expect my taxes to go up at some point in the future – likely when the full cohort of Boomers are retired and thus insulated from any increase in payroll taxes. Which increase I will gladly bear as I’m not a liberal, but a socialist.

    And in terms of voting trends, the demographic group (the under 45s) are far less allergic to the word “taxes” than the over 45s. Which is why I get pissy about blind criticism of certain things being “unrealistic”. They are only “unrealistic” from the perspective of SOME generational demographics not going to vote for certain things (as a whole). They aren’t unrealistic from the perspective of other age demographics – which generational demographics are going to form a larger and larger portion of the overall electorate with every election.

    Young people aren’t responding to Sanders because he’s an old hipster. They are responding to him because he’s pissed off at the same thing they are pissed off about generationally. And the Party infrastructure would be wise to start listening. Because at some point, the Republicans will figure out a way to respond well enough to capture it (even if they won’t actually do anything about it)

  151. 151
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Paul Martin.

  152. 152
    Chris says:

    @Kay:

    Well, it would help if Democratic Presidents would stop willingly becoming the fall guy for GOP-backed trade deals. The TPP is a majority GOP deal. They backed it and they voted for it. Obama will be blamed for it, forever and ever, just like Clinton was blamed for George HW Bush’s NAFTA.

    Yes, and rightly so in both cases. As you say, the key word is “willingly.” There’s no evidence that they were ceding to the tide of history – everything Obama did seemed to indicate that he really believed in the thing.

  153. 153
    Van Buren says:

    Wait, you mean the last 8 years haven’t been a disaster and the whole world doesn’t hold us in contempt for our weakness? I’m going to have to think about this.

  154. 154
    Punchy says:

    @Peale: I agree. TPP just spins this country into a new direction. They need to cap the debate, file it into its circular location, and close the lid on the whole idea. Regardless, it may result in a layered society, with all the 1% at the bottom and the remaining 99% clear to find new sources of material goods.

  155. 155
    Brachiator says:

    @Chris:

    Iraq may never recover. And, by extension, Syria. Daesh and all the damage it’s caused in the current war can be laid squarely at George W. Bush’s feet.

    Bush ain’t running for office. The judgement of history is not really relevant to the upcoming election. Voters tend to hold the current office holder responsible, no matter what.

    There’s an argument to be made that, at least as far as the Kurds in the north are concerned, this is the best possible outcome

    International relations are tough. The Iraqi Kurds are about to be betrayed. They have been the most reliable and effective fighting force in the region. They have been reliable US allies. But Turkey wants to see the Syrian Kurds and Iraqi Kurds crushed to make sure that Turkish Kurds don’t gain power. And Turkey is in NATO and a major US and European ally.

    A President Trump would just do something foolish. A President Sanders seems to have a serious isolationist or non-involvement jones that would likely let most allies fend for themselves. Right now I am not sure what a President Clinton might do.

    – they were spared the worst of the post-2003 ravages, are de facto independent and may one day be that de jure as well. (Of course, they were already de facto independent before 2003). For the rest of Iraq and now Syria, though, it’s been a catastrophe, and when or whether any kind of national government is ever restored is anyone’s guess.

    I’m less inclined to blame the state of Afghanistan on Bush, but that’s mainly because the decade of communist occupation, the half-decade of mafia wars, and the half-decade of Taliban rule had already destroyed the nation so completely that there just wasn’t much left to wreck.

    The Soviet puppet regime was actually originally fairly stable. And aside from the players you have mentioned, Pakistan (indirectly bolstered by US support) has been a major malefactor.

  156. 156
    goblue72 says:

    @NR: Yup. And good candidates with bad fundamentals can do the opposite. Obama heading into the 2012 re-election was not facing all that great fundamentals. His popularity numbers were down and the economic performance numbers weren’t great. The economic numbers were trending up, but still crappy. The UE rate in March 2012 was over 8 percent nationally. And on the same two data points Richard is quoting, based on purely on those two data points, Obama’s re-elect chances were not that great at all. He had incumbency as a third data point, but it was still dicey – at the time.

    But he was/is a great campaigner, a charismatic politician, and one of the parts of the Democratic coalition that would crawl on broken glass to re-elect him (African-Americans).

    So yeah, the fundamentals are in favor of the incumbent party. But strange stuff can happen – and 21st century politics has been showing that the old metrics don’t always apply anymore. The GOP top two candidates are a screaming hairpiece and a lizard alien with no lips.

  157. 157
    Kay says:

    @Peale:

    Rob Portman in Ohio is desperately running away from it. That should tip off Democrats they might want to do the same, I would think.

    Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is reaching out to Ohio labor unions to defend his record on trade.
    Portman, who faces a tough reelection campaign next year in a state that twice voted for President Obama, is casting himself as a fighter for U.S. workers who has sought to improve trade deals

    It’s fundamentally dishonest. Trade deals aren’t about “improving conditions for US workers”. That part only comes about as an afterthought, as mitigation for the anticipated harm. If they really wanted to “improve conditions for US workers” they could do it without a trade deal, but it’s always presented as one creates the other. Free traders are not actually willing to defend the policy. They defend the mitigation for the adverse effects of the policy.

  158. 158
    chopper says:

    @Cacti:

    aint that the truth. all this anti-boomer shit smacks of some serious underlying shpilkes about mom and dad.

  159. 159
    goblue72 says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    The working class can no longer afford property.

    Excellent overlooked point. The U.S. homeownership rate is 63.4 percent currently. And it continues to fall. This is the lowest homeownership rate in the U.S. since 1967.

    It is also skewed by age. Boomers and Silents have much higher homeownership rates. Gen X and Millenials have been hardest hit in homeownership rate declines over last 10 year. (Get X impacted more than Millenials as Millenials until recently were too young to be owning a house to start with. )

    Per the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies 2015 Report, homeownership rates for Gen X (35-44 age) and (45-54 age) have been more highly impacted than any other generation. And are 4-5 percentage points LESS same-aged households were 20 years ago. It is unclear if Gen X will ever catch up to Boomer and Silent homeownership rates. This is critical as an owned home is the single largest asset owned by working and middle class households – and the critical determinant in whether those households will have a secure retirement or not.

    There’s a reason voters in younger generational cohorts are upset and feeling that NEITHER party is doing enough.

  160. 160
    goblue72 says:

    @chopper: You have absolutely no clue. But love the Internet armchair pyshcobabble. Keep it up. Its entertaining as hell.

  161. 161
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Fifty-percent of Americans approve of Obama’s performance

    Imagine if a white Republican had ably brought us through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, ended two wars, passed legislation that gave health insurance to 20 million Americans, presided over the ideological transformation of the Supreme Court and gas was a buck fifty a gallon.

    They’d be putting a second story on Mount Rushmore for that bitch.

  162. 162
    Cacti says:

    @goblue72:

    Thanks Gramps.

    LoL.

    You’re older than me.

  163. 163
    Brachiator says:

    @goblue72:

    And on the same two data points Richard is quoting, based on purely on those two data points, Obama’s re-elect chances were not that great at all. He had incumbency as a third data point, but it was still dicey – at the time.

    Actually, Obama was leading on almost all of the more reliable polls. That his chances of re-election were dicey was a GOP delusion.

    But he was/is a great campaigner, a charismatic politician, and one of the parts of the Democratic coalition that would crawl on broken glass to re-elect him (African-Americans).

    You are largely incorrect here as well.

    So yeah, the fundamentals are in favor of the incumbent party. But strange stuff can happen

    I kinda agree with you here, but not for any of your observations. Trump is a wild card. But it would be very strange if the Democrats lost against Cruz. But yeah, strange stuff can happen.

  164. 164
    goblue72 says:

    @Kay: That has been my experience. Crap, 15 years ago, my incredibly bright, otherwise quite liberal (and from Canada!) international trade law prof would devolve to a bunch of hand-waving when it came to the effects on domestic labor from GATT 1994 (creation of WTO) and NAFTA. The answer was “well, domestic governments need to implement workforce transition programs….wage insurance….yadda yada yadda”.

    Basically, it was an afterthought “somebody else’s problem”.

  165. 165
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @gratuitous:

    Just on a whim, I checked George W. Bush’s popularity at this stage of his administration in 2008. Below 40%.

    Remember, that was before the markets collapsed.

  166. 166
    Cacti says:

    @Brachiator:

    Actually, Obama was leading on almost all of the more reliable polls. That his chances of re-election were dicey was a GOP delusion.

    I don’t think Obama’s reelection odds ever went below 60% on FiveThirtyEight.

  167. 167
    NR says:

    @Brachiator:

    You are largely incorrect here as well.

    What? Are you seriously saying that Obama isn’t a great campaigner and a charismatic politician? I’m not Obama’s biggest fan by any means, but even I would never try to deny those things.

  168. 168
    Cacti says:

    @goblue72:

    Young people aren’t responding to Sanders because he’s an old hipster.

    Says the 43-year old hipster.

  169. 169
    NR says:

    @chopper: Yep. The Kids Today have absolutely nothing to be upset about. Things are great for them and it’s their own fault they never got over being whiny, angsty teenagers. I hope Hillary takes that message and runs with it. I don’t see how it can possibly lose.

  170. 170
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    It’s difficult to read Jeffrey Goldberg without being aware of his own preferences — and willingness to namedrop in order to show his own importance — but this feels on the money:

    By 2013, Obama’s resentments were well developed. He resented military leaders who believed they could fix any problem if the commander in chief would simply give them what they wanted, and he resented the foreign-policy think-tank complex.

    And here’s where I have significant qualms with Hillary, because her foreign policy team is very large and Very Serious, made up of a lot of people who have been somewhat frozen out of Obama’s second term and see a Clinton presidency as a route back towards influence. ‘The only way to do something is to do something’ has not proven a good look in the past 16 years.

  171. 171
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @goblue72: If “working people” don’t vote for Democrats because they’d rather flail around expressing their rage at the darkening of America, good-fucking-bye. Let them go fix the Republican Party, rather than puling and moaning about how Democrats don’t respect them. The party that looks out for fossil fuel companies, gun enthusiasts, and bigots is over there. Enjoy.

  172. 172
    tam1MI says:

    @NonyNony: Bob Shrum was the guy who steered Kerry’s campaign into the ditch. The campaign manager for Al Gore was none other than Tad Devine, currently advising Bernie Sanders to run away from a popular incumbent President.

  173. 173
    Cacti says:

    @NR:

    Yep. The Kids Today have absolutely nothing to be upset about. Things are great for them and it’s their own fault they never got over being whiny, angsty teenagers.

    Nah, you’re right.

    The cost of college for middle and upper middle class white youngs is the existential issue of the 21st century. So far it’s resulted in a “political revolution” that has netted 1.5 million fewer votes in the primary race to date.

  174. 174
    PaulW says:

    We’re not at peace. Don’t we still have troops in Afghanistan and various parts of the Middle East? Are we not engaged in Syria and the Ukraine?

  175. 175
    goblue72 says:

    @Brachiator: I didn’t say he was losing in the polls. I said the two datapoint that Richard looked to were not great for Obama at the time (March 2012).

    His approval numbers were 46% in March 2012. It was even lower in the immediately preceding summer months. In March, he was just starting to open up a gap with Romney. The polling immediately prior to March was much tighter and had been for many months. (I am looking at Gallup right now for example.)

    And I may not follow but you saying Obama was NOT a charismatic campaigner and that he did NOT have a high level of AA support, regardless of any underlying econ fundamental???

  176. 176
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @goblue72:

    And in terms of voting trends, the demographic group (the under 45s) are far less allergic to the word “taxes” than the over 45s.

    Ain’t it convenient that the group JUST BARELY younger than you is the cool one and the group JUST BARELY older than you is the uncool one? This is pretty pathetic.

  177. 177
    SFAW says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Remember, that was before the markets collapsed.

    But as any REAL American knows, they collapsed because they anticipated The Blackity-Black Black Guy winning the election. So, obviously, it was not Bush’s fault, but Obummer’s.

    Must I ‘splain everything to you?

  178. 178
    NR says:

    @Cacti: Not the only issue young people today are upset about, of course, but I’m not at all surprised that someone as dishonest as you would try to pretend it is.

  179. 179
    Ridnik Chrome says:

    @NonyNony: I think that picking Holy Joe Lieberman as his running mate was the alpha and omega of what Gore did wrong in that campaign. The man built his career on being Every Republican’s Favorite Democrat. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if Lieberman was acting as the GOP’s mole inside the Gore campaign.

    @Chris: What the reasoning behind that statement? Did she even have any reasoning behind it?

    ETA: I seem to remember that Lieberman was one of the people saying Gore shouldn’t contest Florida. Bad for the country or some such thing…

  180. 180
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Brachiator: I remember there also being a bunch of political scientists who kept insisting that Obama’s chances of reelection were low to mediocre, because they were using fundamentals-based models that didn’t incorporate polls at all.

    Huffington Post just relayed some political scientist’s announcement that Trump was a near-lock for the presidency on the basis of his model. Turned out the model was based entirely on who did better in the New Hampshire primary. He’d fit this thing to past elections and determined that it was almost never wrong.

    You can do this trick with all sorts of variables, of course; another one that keeps coming up is Lichtman’s “Keys to the White House” model which is almost completely fundamentals-based. He claims that is almost never wrong (and I think says things look pretty good for Hillary Clinton right now, barring some catastrophe). But Lichtman’s “Keys” are so subjective that you can retroactively make them fit a lot of things, and different people are currently trying to apply it to 2016 and getting different results. It’s also hard for me to believe that his Keys all have exactly the same amount of weight in determining who wins, which is what his model does.

    In 2000, Lichtman said that Al Gore was going to win, and of course he argued afterward that his model only predicted the popular-vote winner so it was still correct. If it had gone the other way, and Gore had taken the presidency with a popular-vote minority (as some people were actually predicting), would he have counted that as a failure? I kind of doubt it.

  181. 181
    Brachiator says:

    @NR:

    What? Are you seriously saying that Obama isn’t a great campaigner and a charismatic politician? I’m not Obama’s biggest fan by any means, but even I would never try to deny those things.

    Huh? You misunderstand me.

    My point is that Obama was not in danger of being re-elected. The Republicans had no realistic chance of winning in 2012.

    And yes, Obama is a great campaigner and charismatic politician.

  182. 182
    SFAW says:

    @goblue72:

    (I am looking at Gallup right now for example.)

    That’s nice, but Gallup hasn’t been accurate for awhile — at least four years, probably more.

  183. 183
    SFAW says:

    @Brachiator:

    My point is that Obama was not in danger of being re-elected.

    Might be missing a word there.

  184. 184
    Kay says:

    @goblue72:

    Trade Adjustment Assistance. It just bothers me that none of them will say “that’s for when you lose your job as a result of this trade deal”.

    The Obama Administration went further. They sold it as a kind of jobs program, like it’s a net gain.

    It was the most dishonest presentation I have ever seen Obama give. Everything Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown said about that deal was absolutely correct. Obama Administration could have come back with a pro-deal argument- “there will be disruption, some sectors and regions will lose but others will win and we’re looking for ‘long arc”gains so we don’t really care about YOUR job or YOUR region”- that’s the pro-deal honest argument. Instead they decided to attack Warren and Brown. I have absolutely no sympathy for free traders. They aren’t willing to sell these things on the merits.

  185. 185
    rk says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    People are fed up with the direction of both parties. That’s why Trump gets votes and Dems stay home.

    I have no idea who you are. I’m assuming you’re a white guy but apologies if you’re not. But let me tell you as a woman and non white how much I loathe, hate and despise Trump and how much I’m going to be personally affected by Trump. I see black kids being pushed and shoved and punched (today) by old white men, and hate directed at non whites. All the media can do is show concern about “OMG what happened to the poor whites so that they became Trump supporters (must be Obama’s fault)”. Guess what? There’s a lot to fear if you’re not white and Trump is the president. I can see that someone can get punched in the face and the person being punched is the one pushed to the ground by security. So you can bitch and moan about Hillary and democrats all you want and the horrible things they’ve done and how depressed or down you are, but I’m going to go vote for her and drag as many people as I can with me. Because at the end of the day the only people who I can ever count on are the democrats. They may not fix things, but at least they won’t kill me. Now I expect you to fully come back with some comment about how they don’t hesitate in killing non whites in foreign countries.

    We may live in different worlds.

    You most certainly don’t live in the world I live in.

  186. 186
    Brachiator says:

    @goblue72:

    I said the two datapoint that Richard looked to were not great for Obama at the time (March 2012).

    His approval numbers were 46% in March 2012. It was even lower in the immediately preceding summer months. In March, he was just starting to open up a gap with Romney. The polling immediately prior to March was much tighter and had been for many months. (I am looking at Gallup right now for example.)

    I’m sorry. Everything you write here is a faulty analysis.

    For example, you cannot make any substantive comparisons between approval numbers and voting.

    Early polling is meaningless.

  187. 187
    Tom Q says:

    @NR: To presume to speak for another: of course he’s not saying Obama wasn’t a great campaigner. He’s saying you’re wrong that the fundamentals argued against Obama’s re-election. The direction of the economy, not the simple unemployment rate, is what matters — otherwise neither FDR nor Reagan would have been re-elected, let alone by such margins. Obama had a growing economy and a dropping unemployment rate, along with incumbency, personal charisma, no foreign policy crisis — Lichtman’s Keys system had him an easy winner in 2012.

    As to Bush’s ratings: by election time, he had the lowest ratings of any president since polling began — under 30 percent in the worst surveys, barely over in others.

  188. 188
    Cacti says:

    @rk:

    I have no idea who you are. I’m assuming you’re a white guy but apologies if you’re not.

    He’s a middle aged, white, hipster male “socialist” who’s advancing the cause of proletariat revolution by helping to gentrify Oakland.

  189. 189
    goblue72 says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I remember there also being a bunch of political scientists who kept insisting that Obama’s chances of reelection were low to mediocre, because they were using fundamentals-based models that didn’t incorporate polls at all.

    That’s all I was referring to. That the economic based models were saying X things, and those X things didn’t bear out. Such that just looking at those same X things in 2016 isn’t necessarily wholly predictive and something to just rely on.

  190. 190
    Chyron HR says:

    @Cacti:

    LoL. You’re older than me.

    BOOMER LIES REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

    We need another Vietnam to thin out your ranks, grandpa.

  191. 191
    Brachiator says:

    @SFAW:

    Might be missing a word there.

    Ha! You are absolutely right!

    I guess I have to retract my misclarification.

  192. 192
    goblue72 says:

    @Cacti: Again, you are a moron with no clue. Your armchair psychobabble is just hilarious. But please, keep it up. Makes me laugh.

  193. 193
    Cacti says:

    @NR:

    Not the only issue young people today are upset about, of course, but I’m not at all surprised that someone as dishonest as you would try to pretend it is.

    What’s especially persuasive about the demands of the campus and suburban “revolutionaries” are their promises to hold their breath till their face turns blue if the majority of the Dem party doesn’t cede to their every demand.

    The fruits of a lifetime of participation trophies, I suppose. For that, I do blame the Boomers.

  194. 194
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @PaulW: Not “the” Ukraine. You don’t say “the France” or “the Sweden”, do you?

  195. 195
    Chris says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    By 2013, Obama’s resentments were well developed. He resented military leaders who believed they could fix any problem if the commander in chief would simply give them what they wanted, and he resented the foreign-policy think-tank complex.


    And here’s where I have significant qualms with Hillary, because her foreign policy team is very large and Very Serious, made up of a lot of people who have been somewhat frozen out of Obama’s second term and see a Clinton presidency as a route back towards influence. ‘The only way to do something is to do something’ has not proven a good look in the past 16 years.

    Yeah. I have to say that I’m generally wary of people in the White House not listening to life-long experts… but I also think that the foreign/defense policy establishment has become so mired in neocon-influenced worldviews that the skepticism’s more than warranted. (“The Vulcans” in the eighties was the last big generation of foreign policy thinkers to come in, and so far as I can tell nothing new’s appeared since).

    Like I said yesterday about Sanders’ high numbers among Arab Americans: his foreign policy may just be frustratingly vague and generic dove-ishness, but as far as these voters are concerned, that’s probably still the best thing on the menu. Ditto Obama’s “don’t do stupid shit.” I’m not sure they’re wrong.

  196. 196
    NR says:

    @Brachiator: Oh, okay. You said the poster you replied to was incorrect in response to those specific points, so it was a bit confusing.

    I’m not sure I agree with your larger point, though. Obama’s popular margin of victory in 2012 was half what it was in 2008. If Romney had had more charisma and hadn’t made some of the gaffes he did (like “47%”), I don’t know for sure that Obama would have won.

  197. 197

    @rk:

    They may not fix things, but at least they won’t kill me.

    Quoted for truth! Preach it, sister friend.

  198. 198
    Cacti says:

    @goblue72:

    Again, you are a moron with no clue. Your armchair psychobabble is just hilarious. But please, keep it up. Makes me laugh.

    Says the 43 year old who knows the minds of all of today’s youngs.

    Since you’re a socialist, when do you propose the proletariat should seize the means of production?

    Or do you use the term “socialist” the same way you use “hippie”?

  199. 199
    Ridnik Chrome says:

    @Ridnik Chrome: Yeah, I was right about Lieberman, sort of. He didn’t come out explicitly against the Florida recount, but he did his bit to undermine the Democrats’ strategy. See here.

  200. 200
    Brachiator says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    In 2000, Lichtman said that Al Gore was going to win, and of course he argued afterward that his model only predicted the popular-vote winner so it was still correct.

    Are we talking about the total national popular vote? This number is an absolute irrelevancy, since this is not how the electoral vote is determined. What a maroon?

    Also, I say and will keep saying that one of the variables for 2016 is how white males vote. And they tend to vote more conservative when there is a strong ideological clash in a national election. Strangely, some models I see insist on looking only at the white vote, and does not make gender distinctions.

    The Latino vote will also be important in states like Ohio, Florida and Illinois.

  201. 201
    NR says:

    @Cacti:

    What’s especially persuasive about the demands of the campus and suburban “revolutionaries” are their promises to hold their breath till their face turns blue if the majority of the Dem party doesn’t cede to their every demand

    Which isn’t happening, but hey, what’s one more lie at this point, right?

  202. 202
    goblue72 says:

    @Kay: Yup. And if I recall TAA gives workers something around 2 years or so of supplemental UE assistance, with job training. (Never gets mentioned as to if there are any jobs to train for it in the locations where factory workers are losing their jobs) After that, tough luck.

  203. 203
    PST says:

    Obama’s approval on the daily Gallup tracking poll is now up to 52% against 44% disapproval. Apologies if someone already pointed this out, but I missed it.

  204. 204
    Chris says:

    @Ridnik Chrome:

    IIRC the “reasoning,” if I may so abuse the word, was that women vote Democrat and therefore prove that as a whole they don’t have the common sense to be trusted with the vote.

  205. 205
    Gex says:

    @rk: (applause) Whenever someone says there’s no difference between the parties, I’d put good money down that it is a cis-het white man saying that. If the argument is that liberal white men would rather stay home than do something to protect the interests of minorities, women, and queers, that says a lot about them. And it’s the exact sort of thing that is making people like me look at Bernie’s camp with some serious side eye. Basically they are saying that if they don’t get what they want, they will take my ball and go home.

  206. 206
    Chris says:

    @Kay:

    It was the most dishonest presentation I have ever seen Obama give. Everything Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown said about that deal was absolutely correct. Obama Administration could have come back with a pro-deal argument- “there will be disruption, some sectors and regions will lose but others will win and we’re looking for ‘long arc”gains so we don’t really care about YOUR job or YOUR region”- that’s the pro-deal honest argument. Instead they decided to attack Warren and Brown. I have absolutely no sympathy for free traders. They aren’t willing to sell these things on the merits.

    Obama’s reaction to the TPP honestly did more to convince me it was crap than anything else. It was the reaction of a guy who had nothing, was furious he was being called on it, and reacted by reflexively attacking the messenger.

  207. 207
    Cacti says:

    @NR:

    Which isn’t happening, but hey, what’s one more lie at this point, right?

    Sure thing, boss.

    It’s not like the Bernfeelers routinely stamp their feet and make noises about if the rest of us don’t stop being so mean by not voting for Grandpa Goodness, and questioning his ideas, they totes won’t vote for Clinton in the general.

    Oh wait…they do that all the time.

  208. 208
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @SFAW: On this particular subject Gallup isn’t that far out of line with other polling firms. Their Obama job approval does seem a couple points higher than the consensus, but they’re tracking the same variations.

  209. 209
    goblue72 says:

    @Cacti: Well that’s surprise. So you’re a middle aged arse and not a senior citizen arse. Got it.

  210. 210
    Tom Q says:

    @Brachiator: Two things about this:

    I read Lichtman’s book in 1992, and he was always specific in saying his system predicted who’d win the popular vote; it wasn’t as if he concocted it specifically to cover 2000,

    I think dismissing the popular vote as complete irrelevancy is going way over the top. 1888 is the sole presudential election since the two-party system began in 1860 that the Electoral College didn’t match the popular vote (from which you may infer that, yes, I think FL went for Gore in 2000, despite the Supreme Court pretending otherwise.). Unless you’re expecting a paper-thin margin (which is pretty rare, and nothing close to what I expect this year), figuring the popular vote winner is an excellent indicator of who’s going to win the election.

  211. 211
    Cacti says:

    @goblue72:

    Well that’s surprise. So you’re a middle aged arse and not a senior citizen arse. Got it.

    And you’re that creepy middle-ager who still shows up at college-age parties, because he’s sure the cool kids still like him. ;-)

    They’re laughing at you, not with you, gramps.

  212. 212
    NR says:

    @Cacti:

    It’s not like the Bernfeelers routinely stamp their feet and make noises about if the rest of us don’t stop being so mean by not voting for Grandpa Goodness, and questioning his ideas, they totes won’t vote for Clinton in the general.

    Oh wait…they do that all the time.

    Yawn. Your lies are actually tiresome at this point. Get some new material, at least.

  213. 213
    Kay says:

    @goblue72:

    as to if there are any jobs to train for

    It isn’t so much that as it’s that they have to start over. They have to get hired as “older” (that’s difficult enough) and then work their way into an entirely new sector and job. They won’t really recover. They won’t have time. The only mechanism working class people really have is money increasing gradually over time. They have to build security steadily over periods of years. They can’t weather risk like better-off people, which, unsurprisingly, is why they are risk-averse. They should be! It’s not at all irrational.

    Every time I read Tom Friedman with his “5 ‘careers’ over a working life! Disruption!” I think “God, you are such a dangerous moron”.

  214. 214
    Technocrat says:

    @goblue72:

    There’s a reason voters in younger generational cohorts are upset and feeling that NEITHER party is doing enough

    They could also interpret that as political parties reaching the limit of their ability to mitigate inevitable structural change. No amount of voting or combinations of votes will bring back the 50’s.

    I live in Pittsburgh, where the steel mills propelled a generation to the middle class. I know what it looks like when the mills go away. But steel tariffs didn’t solve the problem, they just fucked up more shit:

    Economist Laura Baughman, who has studied the steel industry for 20 years, testified that eight times as many jobs will be lost in steel-consuming businesses as may be saved among steel producers. She predicts job losses in the middle range of projections in a study she coauthored with economist Joseph Francois for the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition, a group of steel consumers.

    Baughman and Francois estimated that 5,000 to 9,000 steel industry jobs might be saved by the tariffs, but cost around 36,000 to 74,000 other jobs – including 15,000 to 30,000 jobs in manufacturing. They estimate the economic loss of each job saved in the steel industry at more than $400,000

    In 1950, we were the world’s sole functioning economy, and there were a handful of computers on the planet. Anyone comparing current conditions to then is ignoring the blindingly obvious:

    The period of time in which someone is born can also have a dramatic effect on their wealth compared with other generations. The winners of this historical jackpot appear to be those who were born between 1930 and 1945 and came of age after World War II, who are sometimes called The Silent Generation.

    Both the Silent Generation and the generation that came before them, called The Greatest Generation because they fought in World War II, benefited from America’s rapid economic growth after World War II. (As Thomas Piketty describes in Capital in the Twenty-First Century, this was not necessarily a happy story: The U.S. grew so fast after World War II because it was the only place in the world with manufacturing capacity – Europe had literally been leveled.)

    It’s not that we need a political revolution, as much as we need entropy to reverse.

  215. 215
    Brachiator says:

    @NR:

    I’m not sure I agree with your larger point, though. Obama’s popular margin of victory in 2012 was half what it was in 2008.

    How is this (popular margin of victory) important? Obama kicked ass in electoral votes.

    I remember going to an early dinner in California and was getting set on going home and watching the results later. The election was called for Obama while I was still eating.

    If Romney had had more charisma and hadn’t made some of the gaffes he did (like “47%”), I don’t know for sure that Obama would have won.

    Surely, you jest. The Robotic Mr Romney made Al Gore look like A Wild and Crazy Guy. All during the campaign, I kept reading about Romney going to fundraisers where plutocrats were in attendance. His 47 percent gaffe was almost inevitable.

    And again, the most important point is that the data indicates that Romney was always playing catch-up. And always tripping himself up.

  216. 216
    Cacti says:

    @Chris:

    Obama’s reaction to the TPP honestly did more to convince me it was crap than anything else. It was the reaction of a guy who had nothing, was furious he was being called on it, and reacted by reflexively attacking the messenger.

    And Sherrod Brown then made the level headed, policy based argument that Obama was a big old sexist meanie for disagreeing with Elizabeth Warren.

  217. 217
    Cermet says:

    Sanders does not get it – yes, young voters and many “low on the economic” ladder white males are worried (correctly) about their future; current good economic indicators don’t translate into confidence when all you see are declining incomes (in real terms). That Sanders thinks is the sole issue to win isn’t gonna cut it against tRump. Frankly, tRump has a far larger group of white males, and woman that already feel that way and are deep red so they are in the bag for tRump.

    It is far more complex for a party that really does represent all of Amerika – read democrats. Sorry but there are a lot of 1% in that group and even corporate types besides really large numbers of non-whites, and many other interests besides. Sanders will not appeal to them.

    Hillary gets a lot of it, isn’t single issue dependent and knows her shit – she crushed that thug committee in congress and those ass wipes had years of experience cutting people down. Sanders can’t even admit he was wrong on Cuba and will be crushed as a socialist; you can’t believe how that would be used – Hillary’s problems pale compared to that once the thugs see he is the nominee. Worse, he doesn’t appear to support ACA and isn’t exactly claiming Obama as a model. Hillary wants to be Obama’s clone. She has the best chance since no young blood was chosen in the early primaries (read O’Malley.)

    Hillary, DEm’s take the Senate back, and win the Presidency; Sanders, could lose both.

  218. 218
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Kay:

    It’s fundamentally dishonest. Trade deals aren’t about “improving conditions for US workers”. That part only comes about as an afterthought, as mitigation for the anticipated harm. If they really wanted to “improve conditions for US workers” they could do it without a trade deal, but it’s always presented as one creates the other. Free traders are not actually willing to defend the policy. They defend the mitigation for the adverse effects of the policy.

    It’s not, though. That’s a conflation of two trends, one of which is outside the scope of trade and one of which is inside.

    Everyone was being warned back in the 90s and before (I got it in the late 80s in business class) that the great disruption to labor was going to be technology, that low-skilled workers were about to get fucked over hard by technology-based efficiencies. But the US was well positioned to handle such a transition because our economy compared to almost all others was much more heavily dependent on high-skill workers – information workers, creative workers, IP-generation, tech, and so on. Microsoft and Intel if you would, but also Hollywood and a number of other large sectors – all of which could be exported around the world in a way that automobiles couldn’t be. It is far easier to sell US movies in India than it is to sell US cars.

    Rather than fight against an inevitable technological upheaval, business leaders in the US embraced it – they transitioned businesses in favor of high-skill labor, they chased after that very technological efficiency and sought to own the high ground on it. Every nation that would replace secretaries with word processors would create jobs for Intel and Microsoft and a long tail of businesses behind it – Oracle, HP, then Google, Apple. But in order for the high skilled US markets to succeed they needed IP and market protections and that’s what these trade deals were really designed to do. The US was giving up something (low skill labor) that it was going to have to give up anyway, in exchange for greater access to markets that the US was better positioned than anyone to dominate. Of course it wasn’t that cut and dried, but that’s the basic contour, and mix in the usual graft and self-serving actions that invade any political activity.

    And that plan has been working very well. The markets we got access to have paid off for the nation as a whole. It paid off for millions of workers that could go into high skill jobs rather than the low skill jobs that defined the previous generation. It put the US as the commanding economy for the world for the next generation. Look at the top global brands right now – it’s Apple and Google and Facebook. Tech is now a larger economy than the auto industry, and worker conditions are better, pay is better, and there are almost no serious regional competitors to this economy – it’s long-term stable for the US. And with this plan came a dramatic collapse in global poverty. We’ve added a billion new consumers to the planet that are now increasingly able to buy US products created by US workers.

    What got lost in all of this is that the low-skill workers got fucked over and that large geographic regions of the country stubbornly demanded that the inevitable would not happen. Regions that should have been investing in education programs and new industry didn’t – they fought for their old industries instead and they lost. And they will continue to lose and the reason is that the industrial cycles which used to take half a century (longer than a person’s career) to play out now happen in 5-10 years. You could be on the cutting edge of the next big industry and by mid career be a dinosaur with no relevant skills. Workers – particularly older workers and workers in industrialized areas haven’t come to grips with this. They haven’t figured out that this economy demands that the workers who will drive value constantly train and adapt.

    That’s part of the promise of China for business – they anticipate. Their workers are training faster than our workers, and they are training ahead of business need where the calcified US education system isn’t changing nearly fast enough. And they have government saying ‘go build these factories so that when someone needs one, you have it ready to go’, where the US will wait for that request to arrive, then do 2 years of studies and permitting and then give permission to build. You could maybe wait 3 years for a new auto plant to open up in the 1940s, but RIM went from the top of their industry to irrelevance in 3 years. You can hire 20,000 industrial engineers in a few weeks in China – that would take years in the US.

    Yes, this is a failure of government, but the trade deal wasn’t the failure, the failure was the inability (or disinterest) in helping the US workers get to the future that everyone else knew was coming. It’s not that these were afterthoughts because they were inevitable – this trend is what drove the need for the trade deal, not the other way around. And the unions were complicit in this failure because all of their motivations are to protect their workers *in their industry* and not to help prepare them for a completely different industry. So they fought just as hard against this inevitability as other groups, like the small government groups and so on.

  219. 219
    SFAW says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    OK. I was thinking of their election polling, which was worse than Dean Chambers’s. Thanks for correcting me.

  220. 220
    Calouste says:

    @Chris:

    Iraq may never recover. And, by extension, Syria.

    Europe recovered after the 30-year war. And WWI. And WWII. China recovered after the Mongol invasions.

  221. 221
    Cacti says:

    @Technocrat:

    They could also interpret that as political parties reaching the limit of their ability to mitigate inevitable structural change. No amount of voting or combinations of votes will bring back the 50’s.

    And when a Sanders or a Warren talks about how generally terrific the 1950s economy was, their racial frame of reference shines through like the morning sun.

  222. 222
    Brachiator says:

    An interlude.

    My inner geek is going wild over the latest Marvel: Captain America trailer.

    Oh, hell, yeah!

  223. 223
    NR says:

    @Brachiator:

    How is this (popular margin of victory) important? Obama kicked ass in electoral votes

    The reduced popular margin reflects similar reduced margins in swing states. Florida, Ohio, Colorado, etc. Almost all his swing state wins were narrower in 2012 than they were in 2008. And North Carolina and Indiana turned red again.

    4% is a victory, it’s not recount territory or anything, and it’s better than GW ever did. But it’s not a slam dunk by any means.

    The Robotic Mr Romney made Al Gore look like A Wild and Crazy Guy. 

    That’s why I said if he’d had more charisma, it might have been a different race.

  224. 224

    @Kay: Globalization has not worked very well for labor because labor is not as free to move as capital is. IMF and World bank has mandated that countries lower their barriers to the flow of capital in return for any loan, since the late 70s. However, you still need work visas and the like to work in another country. So its not a great surprise that people with large amount of capital (your 1%) are doing very well under the current regime and almost everyone else is not.
    This is true all over the world, not just here.

  225. 225
    Peale says:

    @Kay: Honest points on the trade deal:

    *if you work in _____ industry, it is likely that your company will have more sales in ____ country because currently it is difficult for us to send exports to that country.

    *If you are middle management or higher in ____ industry, you will likely be working for a more profitable company as it will be easier close your US factories and manufacture goods in _____ country and send those goods back to the US more cheaply than you can manufacture them now. Hopefully that increased profit will be shared with you as a bonus.

    *If you make movies in the Vietnam, you will be flooded with American Movies as the restrictions against the number of foreign films shown in theaters this year will be lifted. However, the censors will still be cutting out all the good parts, so it may be a wash as the films flooding the market won’t make any sense.

    There. Obama should just list those out. The truth is the industries in point 2 will always be longer than those in point 1. Management and above in global companies will do fine. They always do.

    They would be better off selling this as “screw those Chinese fuckers who took your job! We’re gonna ship those jobs that are now in China to Vietnam and Mexico! Screw the Chinese and our Fortune 500 companies will get even bigger!” Cause at least there’d be some emotional satisfaction with that.

  226. 226
    SFAW says:

    @Technocrat:

    as much as we need entropy to reverse.

    Funny you should mention that — part of my doctoral thesis involved development of a machine which does just that. And, interestingly enough, my first big investor (when I started the commercialization process) was Donald Trump. He believed, as did I, that the upside was Yuuuge.

  227. 227
    goblue72 says:

    @Kay: Sorry – in my abbreviated reply, meant to include what you outline. That slapping on some “training” doesn’t automatically result in displaced workers picking up where they left off. Instead, its the start all over at the bottom with much diminished likelihood of getting back to square one with what they have left in their working life. This kind of job displacement is in some ways a guarantee of permanently diminished economic prospects.

    But the free traders just see a perfectly efficient, frictionless labor market.

  228. 228
    SFAW says:

    @NR:

    That’s why I said if he’d had more charisma, it might have been a different race.

    Absolutely! And if pigs had wings …

  229. 229
    Fake Irishman says:

    @Linnaeus: This. And remember that many people in unions — especially the large service unions like the SEIU (and to a lesser extent large public sector unions like the AFT and AFSCME) are people of color.

  230. 230
    goblue72 says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: And, you know, the ability to speak another language. And “uproot your family from Ohip and move to China” is not a plan.

  231. 231
    Technocrat says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    I agree with everything you wrote, but especially this:

    Everyone was being warned back in the 90s and before (I got it in the late 80s in business class) that the great disruption to labor was going to be technology, that low-skilled workers were about to get fucked over hard by technology-based efficiencies

    Yes. I’d argue that from the mid-eighties through about 2000, every corporate computer program written was primarily intended to replace someone’s job.

    @SFAW:

    I gotta be honest here…can I be honest? it will reverse SO much entropy, you wouldn’t believe.

  232. 232
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    No, Ebert worked for the Sun-Times. And getting those two mixed up is like mixing up the Yankees and the Red Sox, FWIW.

    Exactly–just like with the Yankees and Red Sox, you should despise both the Trib and the Sun-Times.

  233. 233

    @goblue72: Even if you know the language, there are still barriers to entry. Market for labor is not perfectly competitive.

  234. 234
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Fake Irishman: Right, that’s a good point, and undercuts my grousing earlier — I made the same mistake I called out earlier about assuming that “earthy white guys” were the default.

  235. 235
    SFAW says:

    @Technocrat:

    I gotta be honest here…can I be honest? it will reverse SO much entropy, you wouldn’t believe

    And in a very classy way. And he’ll make the Laws of Thermo pay for it. Or something.

  236. 236
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @Gex:

    So, #BernieorBust doesn’t make you #FeeltheBern?

  237. 237
    Paul in KY says:

    @Hildebrand: The ‘elite’ press had it in for VP Gore, supposedly because he repeatedly stiffed them on interviews, etc.

  238. 238
    Peale says:

    @goblue72: Wouldn’t be uprooting the family. That’s what remittances are for. It’s not the best solution to the problem, but it might be worth considering making sure that American labor is considered when companies currently scout offshore for labor visas. It is horrible and exploitive to, say, work as a pakistani construction worker in Korea or a Filipino factory worker in Japan, or a Somali tomato picker in Alabama, but right now, that kind of arrangement isn’t available to US labor.

  239. 239
    chopper says:

    @goblue72:

    oh, something’s entertaining all right.

    ETA: if you think “shpilkes” is ‘psychobabble’, you’re even more of a buffoon than i thought.

  240. 240
    Paul in KY says:

    @Chyron HR: VP Gore was the idiot who employed him & took his advice.

  241. 241
    Paul in KY says:

    @hueyplong: Tell him that’s probably as close as he will get to experiencing the 16th century London mob.

    Edit: Have started reading that big biography of you. Lots of pages, but an interesting subject.

  242. 242
    chopper says:

    @NR:

    exactly, to the word, what i said. you have a knack for this.

  243. 243
    Brachiator says:

    @NR:

    RE: How is this (popular margin of victory) important? Obama kicked ass in electoral votes

    The reduced popular margin reflects similar reduced margins in swing states. Florida, Ohio, Colorado, etc. Almost all his swing state wins were narrower in 2012 than they were in 2008. And North Carolina and Indiana turned red again.

    4% is a victory, it’s not recount territory or anything, and it’s better than GW ever did. But it’s not a slam dunk by any means.

    But he won, and that the popular margins were narrower, is interesting. That the margins were never really in Romney’s favor is determinative.

    And we can ask Karl Rove about Ohio.

    And as long as electoral votes matter, a narrower win counts as much as a huge win.

    RE: The Robotic Mr Romney made Al Gore look like A Wild and Crazy Guy.

    That’s why I said if he’d had more charisma, it might have been a different race.

    But he didn’t have more charisma. What might have happened in an alternate universe doesn’t really matter.

    I’m not even sure that it makes for an interesting theoretical discussion. Romney is so stiff, if he had more charisma, he would still be stiff. Consider his ridiculous attack on Trump. He is exactly who should NOT have been chosen to attack a more natural guy like Trump. Wait. I know. They should bring back Jeb! to attack Trump.

  244. 244
    Elie says:

    @NR:

    Actually knowing some real data on the internals of MI might help you. From the Detroit News, 69% of the exit polls were Democrats. 31% (!) were Independents or Republicans. Even with that, Bernie won in a tight contest where its not clear that a significant proportion of the voters actually want him, or were just meddling in the Democratic selection process.

    Whether a primary is open or closed or some hybrid makes a difference in interpreting the results.

    I will vote for Bernie if he is the nominee but to me, he is a much weaker candidate who would be extremely vulnerable and unaccustomed to the beating that Hillary has had to face over the last 20 years. All that smooth sailing he is experiencing at the hands of the media and Republicans will evaporate immediately and then what we are left with is an old guy who has never had to deal with a torrent of lies and mischaracterizations, attacks on his wife and family. That is what would await him — and us. For all of Hillary’s flaws, she is a warrior and is used to battle.

  245. 245
    Paul in KY says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I have run into a couple of ‘liberal’ Democrats who are thinking like that.

    Both of them do not like Hillary very much at all. they will vote for her (I think), but are dispirited by Trumpmentum.

    I think they are FOS.

  246. 246
    chopper says:

    @goblue72:

    keep it up, gramps. are you cranky cause you need a nap? i say this as a younger person who is interested in finding out what life will be like at your age.

  247. 247
    Cacti says:

    Got to say that I find it more than little funny that the many of the resident “TPP is teh evil” crowd are cuckoo for Coco Puffs over a Sanders single payer plan that would displace almost 500,000 insurance industry workers.

    But it’s different, because of reasons.

  248. 248

    @Cacti: Re litigating healthcare so soon after ACA is moronic and would be politically suicidal.

  249. 249
    Peale says:

    @Cacti: @Cacti: Evil people tainted by working for evil corporations. They’re souls will find themselves at peace. Maybe they’ll join their brethren in finance in the new more robust craft and artisanal banking industry or work at one of the Big 40 accounting firms.

  250. 250
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled:

    I still don’t understand why Obama’s so gung-ho about the TPP. Maybe he really wants that alliance with Vietnam.

    Because it builds a trade wall around China. The protections for US exports to these countries (tech, IP, services which are helping drive the trade deficit lower) will limit China’s capacity to undermine them. This is largely about building trade alliances against China to force China to the table on trade. Right now China has no incentive to come to an agreement with the US, but an alliance with all of China’s regional markets will help put pressure on China by eliminating some of their gray and shadow markets. A growing middle class in China is increasingly demanding more US goods.

    What’s so bothersome about this argument to me is the deep pessimism that rising wages in other nations isn’t ultimately beneficial to the US, because that’s really what this argument is about. Can the US be ‘generous’ and export its low-skill jobs to poverty-striken nations in exchange for more stable governments and a new class of consumer for US companies to sell to (and US workers to work for). That’s really the vision here, and a shocking number of Democrats oppose that vision in favor of an isolationist one with a seeming notion that the global economy is zero-sum, when it very, very clearly is not. It is possible for both China and the US to come out ahead economically.

  251. 251
    Bob In Portland says:

    @rk: How much money does your family make? Do you own your own house? What kind of car do you drive?

    Announcing that you live in a different world from me is probably accurate. My comment was directed to Mayhew’s post. His post asserted that everything is good because jobs, happiness and Obama.

    But that’s not what’s happened to America. Since Reagan the working class has gotten squeezed. You may have missed the last thirty-five years.

    Mayhew’s post is whistling past the graveyard. Two choices: Rebuild the working class or turn to fascism. Whistling doesn’t work.

  252. 252
    chopper says:

    @Cacti:

    apparently when you hit middle age and realize you aint got what you used to (“i’m tired and i can’t fit into skinny jeans anymore!”), you try to feel young again by attacking older people for being ‘out of touch’.

    it’s better to start exercising so you can fit into those skinny jeans again.

  253. 253
    El Caganer says:

    @Gin & Tonic: But you do say….The Donald! (As opposed to The Mickey or The Goofy.)

  254. 254
    Cacti says:

    @Peale:

    Evil people tainted by working for evil corporations. They’re souls will find themselves at peace. Maybe they’ll join their brethren in finance in the new more robust craft and artisanal banking industry or work at one of the Big 40 accounting firms.

    You can’t make an omelette without breaking a half million middle class jobs.

  255. 255
    Kay says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    Oh, Martin, Apple doesn’t have any more interest in “US workers” than Ford or GM do. They sell all over the world. They don’t care who is buying. The myth starts with “US companies” and goes from there. These companies aren’t negotiating these deals as “American companies”. They’re negotiating them as worldwide brands.

    You know how the US Secretary of Commerce was selling the trade deal? Popcorn. She went to Chicago and told people they needed to export specialty popcorn. This idea that it’s all about “skilling up” and super-duper US workers who will be paid more than anyone else because they have advanced skill sets is not true.

  256. 256
    goblue72 says:

    @🌷 Martin: You have an MBA don’t you?

  257. 257
    goblue72 says:

    @Cacti: So the argument against universal health care is that is might cost insurance company jobs? Jesus Christ.

  258. 258
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Peale:

    Evil people tainted by working for evil corporations.

    Ironically, in the battle of “Which is more evil,” I’m not sure insurance companies outdo mining or steel.

  259. 259
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Rebuild the working class or turn to fascism

    Define ‘working class’. If you equate it to manufacturing, it’s effectively impossible. Even China’s manufacturing base is in decline. Everyone’s is. Automation is killing even the $3/day jobs.

    What everyone refuses to deal with head-on is that low-skilled labor is either dead or soon will be (within the next career cycle). The only answer is ‘how to we build a nation of high-skill workers’. That doesn’t need to mean college, but it needs to mean something.

    Alternatively we could decide that even fewer people should work (that’s what child labor laws and compulsory high school actually did) or that workers shouldn’t work as much. Expanding maternity leave, mandatory sick and vacation, living wages – all of these things help shape people’s decision about how much labor supply they are willing to provide, which inevitably will make room for other workers.

  260. 260
    Linnaeus says:

    @Cacti:

    You can flip that around in the other direction, though. If it’s okay for workers in other areas of the economy to lose their jobs due to efficiency or whatever you want to call it, why isn’t it okay for insurance company workers? Can’t they just adapt and find other jobs, like everyone else is supposed to do?

  261. 261
    Bob In Portland says:

    @rk:

    Guess what? There’s a lot to fear if you’re not white and Trump is the president.

    As if Obama protected Sandra Bland.

    You know, if Trump is elected cops will shoot blacks in the street. If Trump is elected unemployment among black youth will be over fifty percent. If Trump is elected we will be deporting record numbers of people.

    Figure it out.

  262. 262
    El Caganer says:

    @goblue72: No, that’s an argument against single payer. Many countries manage to provide affordable universal health care with a system based on insurance.

  263. 263
    Steve in the ATL says:

    Man, can’t believe I went to lunch and missed the Kay and Peale show.

    So, we know that many low skilled jobs are either being done by machines or by brown people in other countries, and we have argued supra that trade off for getting better paying high tech jobs was losing those low skill jobs. But most extruder operators can’t become system engineers or IT managers no matter how many government-sponsored training classes we send them to. So what do we do with that part of the labor force? Seems like Universal Basic Income would at least keep people from starving to death, but it won’t create jobs for them.

    What to do?

    ETA: Martin, who learned to see the future from mclaren, answered while I was still typing

  264. 264
    Cacti says:

    @goblue72:

    So the argument against universal health care is that is might cost insurance company jobs? Jesus Christ.

    Who’s arguing against universal healthcare? The argument is about the Sanders single payer plan.

    Why are Bernfeelers in the habit of using single payer as an interchangeable term for universal healthcare? Ignorance? Dishonesty? Both?

  265. 265
    Gravenstone says:

    @japa21: GoBlow won’t be happy until someone walks up and clocks him right in his persecution complex.

  266. 266

    @chopper: Skinny jeans are so last season.

  267. 267
    Elie says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    This:

    Yes, this is a failure of government, but the trade deal wasn’t the failure, the failure was the inability (or disinterest) in helping the US workers get to the future that everyone else knew was coming. It’s not that these were afterthoughts because they were inevitable – this trend is what drove the need for the trade deal, not the other way around. And the unions were complicit in this failure because all of their motivations are to protect their workers *in their industry* and not to help prepare them for a completely different industry. So they fought just as hard against this inevitability as other groups, like the small government groups and so on.

  268. 268
    Technocrat says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Seems like Universal Basic Income would at least keep people from starving to death, but it won’t create jobs for them

    Why do people need jobs if they have their living needs met? Maybe we’re 60 years from another Renaissance.

    Basic Income is a must though.

  269. 269
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    I think a great proposal would be lowering the retirement age to 62. It would be a great counter to the GOP as a campaign point, with the added benefit of being hugely attractive.

  270. 270
    Elie says:

    @Linnaeus:

    They can of course — its how fast…If its too fast for these many thousands of people to transition to other jobs, it will have a real impact on the economy that in turn will impact others. Its all connected, right?

  271. 271
    rk says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Mayhew’s post is whistling past the graveyard. Two choices: Rebuild the working class or turn to fascism. Whistling doesn’t work.

    There are two parties in this country. Only one has the ability to do anything about the situation. That would be the democratic party. But for me there’s another concern which supersedes your working class concerns and that’s staring me in the face every single time I look at a Donald Trump rally. The brutalizing of non whites by a rabid lunatic created by a monsterous party. If my kids are to have any degree of safety and live in peace then I don’t have the luxury of staying home because I think the democrats have not done everything for the working class. You can choose to do that, as well as a whole bunch of Bernie supporters. All I can say to you lot is: good luck, I’ll be going down first in Trumpistan, but y’all will be right behind me.

  272. 272
    Linnaeus says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    I have a few disagreements with your comment.

    Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that “everyone knew” that technology would be the main disruptor in the coming years. It’s less clear to me how that connects to specific jobs in specific areas that politicians can sell to their constituents. We can talk about these jobs generally, but it’s much harder, IMHO, to be able to tell voters where they live what kind of jobs they will see.

    And once you do see them coming, you’re also dealing with erosion of your tax base which undermines your ability to do the things you suggest doing, given also that there are a number of other commitments that governments have.

    I’m also inclined to be a bit kinder to workers than you seem to be in your comment. Telling workers that they just don’t understand what’s happening to them won’t go over well. They do see what’s happening, and if they they are inclined to defend what they have, that’s understandable. They’re going with the devil they know instead of the one they don’t. They’re not setting the rules of the game and they don’t control the – dare I say it – means of production. So they have to react to what the business leaders who do run things are doing – many of whom are the same business leaders who work to undermine the very resources those workers will need to adapt as you recommend.

  273. 273
    Bob In Portland says:

    @🌷 Martin: I’ve never made more than 40k in a year. Now I’m retired and make considerably less. You can start there to define working class. You can include childcare workers, store clerks, etc. I would mention the guys who pump the gas, but only Oregon and New Jersey do that anymore. Another entry level job gone. The people who demonstrate for $15 an hour. The jobs left when the unionized jobs left the country. The middle class is approaching grim. You may not notice it where you’re perched.

    I suspect most of the regulars here at BJ are better fortified for the next bubble bursting than the average citizen of the US.

    Fascism or socialism. We’ve reached that point.

    I think your cheerfulness about the state of the nation is blinded by your class, which appears to be higher than my class.

  274. 274
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Kay:

    Oh, Martin, Apple doesn’t have any more interest in “US workers” than Ford or GM do. They sell all over the world.

    But there is no reason why Apple’s engineering base couldn’t be in India or China, and yet it remains in one of the most expensive markets on earth (bay area) and they are growing it there incredibly rapidly. Why do that?

    And look at what Apple is doing on the retail side. The have well paid retail workers in the US and a high labor density for retail. Apple is almost unique among US retailers for seeing their floor employees as value-add to the product. The retail staff are essential, are hired and paid as though they are essential, rather than as a cost center to be eliminated. Now, that doesn’t suggest that Apple cares about them as individuals any more or less than anyone else, but Apple’s treatment of retail staff (50% of their employees) is illustrative of how they view those jobs. They pay an average of $14/hr for retail staff and provide benefits even to part time workers. That clear view that these workers have direct value to the company creates a virtuous cycle for workers.

  275. 275
    Linnaeus says:

    @Elie:

    Yes, it is connected. And I’m not disagreeing with Cacti so much as pointing how the analogy she/he is using is flawed.

  276. 276
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Cacti: Why are Bernfeelers in the habit of using single payer as an interchangeable term for universal healthcare? Ignorance? Dishonesty? Both?

    GoBlue? Ignorance. Bernie himself? Dishonesty.

  277. 277
    NR says:

    @Cacti: Yep. And we definitely shouldn’t stop locking up nonviolent drug offenders and incarcerating non-whites at higher rates than whites for the same crimes, because that would put thousands of corrections officers out of work. Great argument.

  278. 278
    Paul in KY says:

    @Punchy: The Trib has always been a Republican newspaper.

  279. 279
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Linnaeus:

    So they have to react to what the business leaders who do run things are doing – many of whom are the same business leaders who work to undermine the very resources those workers will need to adapt as you recommend.

    And when you have one candidate who is a business leader and one who is beholden to business leaders, and who leads their wars overseas, well, where do you turn?

  280. 280
    Bob In Portland says:

    @NR: Think of all the hangmen who’ve lost their jobs. We should still be hanging people, you know, to keep them employed.

    No, instead of making the F-35, with which everyone in Congress is complicit, maybe we should be building bulldozers et al to rebuild the roads here.

  281. 281
    Linnaeus says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Well, you have to go with the choices that are available to you. Some are better than others, even if they’re not ideal.

  282. 282
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: The current healthcare system still bankrupts families. It still charges too much for prescription drugs. No confusion on that.

  283. 283
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Kay:

    That’s kind of Flip’s point, though — in MSM terms, “unions” means “working-class white men” and doesn’t reflect the reality of labor unions today. Looking at what predominantly white, predominantly male labor unions do is missing at least two-thirds of the current labor picture.

  284. 284
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Linnaeus: True. And if the megamerged media that you listen to blames the world on immigrants, women’s uteruses, gays and not having a sufficient stockpile of weapons, what do you think you’ll choose?

  285. 285
    Elie says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Bob — its not the now, its how we prepare for the future that very certainly will be high tech oriented and require our children to get prepared starting now. There are other issues as well. We have to be unsentimental in the assessment of what is needed. We would not be able to sustain an economy based on redistribution of what would be a shrinking income base if we do not keep up with China, South Korea and others. This is a scary and emotional issue for all of us, but that doesn’t change the reality of it one whit. We can’t sit tight anymore without costing ourselves even more 10 – 20 years out. Take a trip to S. Korea for a peek — seriously… Our middle aged workers are hurting now — do we want to extend that to their children?

  286. 286
    The Lodger says:

    @Cacti: I think it dipped below 50% once, right after the first debate with Romney.

  287. 287
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Congratulations, you’re the only one who got the underlying joke about the quality of both newspapers. You win the internets for the day.

  288. 288
    Paul in KY says:

    @Chris: I think Teddy Roosevelt would have been most recent Repub I would have voted for.

  289. 289
    Linnaeus says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Hell, I’m not even convinced the MSM does a good job looking at what predominantly white male unions do.

  290. 290

    @Paul in KY: He was pretty gung ho about war

  291. 291
    Bob In Portland says:

    @rk: I’m not arguing against Democrats. I’m arguing against the status quo. Right now the 98% have been squeezed. They’ve been squeezed through the last 35 years, which includes eight years of Clinton and eight years of Obama.

    Give us something sweet to lubricate the lie.

  292. 292
    Cacti says:

    @NR:

    Yep. And we definitely shouldn’t stop locking up nonviolent drug offenders and incarcerating non-whites at higher rates than whites for the same crimes, because that would put thousands of corrections officers out of work. Great argument.

    How facile is the above analogy, where do I begin?

    Well, first there’s the comparison of minority lives with a commercial product.

    Then there’s the fact only about 9% of the total US prison population are Federal prisoners, placing the remaining 91% out of the reach of anything the Congress or a President could do about them. As opposed to the purchase and sale of insurance, which is firmly in the Federal government’s power to regulate commerce.

    And we’ll follow that with the fact that there are multiple, real time/real world examples of countries that achieved universal healthcare without a single payer model and a major workforce disruption.

    If you have a point to make, try to make it not stupid. Kthxbai.

  293. 293
    Timurid says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    You might be able to build a nation of high skill workers, but there won’t be jobs for all of them.

    Traditional agriculture, heavy industry, brick and mortar retail and even earlier versions of white collar work (anyone remember typing pools?) were all labor intensive. The new “high skill” businesses are all very labor efficient. The companies you cited like Apple, Google, Facebook, etc. are all famous for being crazy selective. They don’t need large workforces (at least inside the US), so they can afford to cherrypick the best and the brightest.

    If we train everybody to be rocket scientists, only the few who are the most talented, most driven, best connected and able to give the most incisive answers to funky interview questions about the roundness of manholes will actually get to science some rockets. All the others will still be screwed…

  294. 294
    PST says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    In 2000, Lichtman said that Al Gore was going to win, and of course he argued afterward that his model only predicted the popular-vote winner so it was still correct. If it had gone the other way, and Gore had taken the presidency with a popular-vote minority (as some people were actually predicting), would he have counted that as a failure? I kind of doubt it.

    I think he would have. I’m not a big fan of the 13 keys model. Some of the variables are a bit subjective, as someone else pointed out, and more importantly, the whole model looks to me like a classic example of overfitting. However, it was developed based on retrodicting a century of elections, and the only “miss” was Benjamin Harrison, who lost the popular vote. For that reason, Lichtman always positioned his model as a predictor of the popular vote, he didn’t just come up with that to excuse a failure in 2000. For what it’s worth, I knew Lichtman when he was a young grad student, so I may have a slight bias in favor of his integrity, but as I say, I’m skeptical of his model. That kind of thing works until it doesn’t and then we all forget about it.

  295. 295
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Linnaeus: What labor unions are now predominantly white and male? I’m not even sure such a thing exists anymore.

  296. 296
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Linnaeus:

    Oh, they don’t. But as far as the MSM is concerned, you look at white male unions to take the temperature of all labor just like you did 30 years ago when there was still a lot of discrimination, because the MSM is comprised of lazy assholes like that.

  297. 297
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Technocrat:
    Jobs do serve needs other than having a wage to live on. Like social interaction, the need to feel useful and productive, pride in accomplishment, and self-esteem.

  298. 298
    Linnaeus says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Good point – I probably should have specified union locals.

  299. 299
    goblue72 says:

    @El Caganer: There may be perfectly good arguments in favor of having 100%, guaranteed, universal health insurance in the U.S. via a private health insurance. But “think of the insurance company JERBS” is not one of them.

  300. 300
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    What labor unions are now predominantly white and male?

    CWA and IBEW

  301. 301
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Linnaeus:

    I’m also inclined to be a bit kinder to workers than you seem to be in your comment. Telling workers that they just don’t understand what’s happening to them won’t go over well. They do see what’s happening, and if they they are inclined to defend what they have, that’s understandable. They’re going with the devil they know instead of the one they don’t. They’re not setting the rules of the game and they don’t control the – dare I say it – means of production. So they have to react to what the business leaders who do run things are doing – many of whom are the same business leaders who work to undermine the very resources those workers will need to adapt as you recommend.

    I’m inclined to be kinder to them as well. My ire is directed at the people who proclaim a motive behind these trade deals for not doing their homework better. Demanding manufacturing jobs flow back from Mexico and China when manufacturing in Mexico and China is also in decline is to miss the obvious point – the share of global GDP attributed to manufacturing is collapsing, and has been shrinking for almost half a century. Chasing a declining market is foolish no matter what that market is.

    People need to fucking come to terms with the fact that making shit is now the job of robots, not people. It’s hard, its impact is hard, but it’s not some diabolical plot by a group of politicians to deny people work. It is simply unavoidable (though it doesn’t mean we can’t help people transition through it). And on the other side is the rise of a whole new economy with better wages and better working conditions, but that requires a lot more education. Getting the first group into the second group is hard – particularly when you have a class of workers with high community assets lowering mobility, but we shouldn’t deny that the second group is not just pretty good but it’s growing rapidly. This is Trump’s argument in a nutshell – that America is doomed because we cannot preserve a perfectly stagnant economy and way of life, that we should ignore all of the growing parts of the economy and the opportunities they present and instead bitch and complain that we haven’t preserved a perfectly stagnant and increasingly pointless economy.

    Yeah, I get that life for the guy who has been sand-casting drain covers in Ohio for the last 20 years is getting a raw deal, but that’s not new. We went from an economy that was 95% agriculture based to one that is 2% agriculture based – and we grew our agriculture exports in the process (so obviously we didn’t lose that industry – it grew). Can we seriously not see that efficiency gains happen to every industry and have been since humans went upright? People need to stop acting as though this is a unique failure in our history. This is our history. It always has been. This is normal.

  302. 302
    Elie says:

    @Timurid:

    I don’t think you are seeing all the opportunities. Not everyone literally would be employed by Apple or Google! Its that much of the new products would need various supports accesories and supply chains or even repairs — There would need to be trainers and quality control people… Yes, the labor force might be smaller — but the economics might allow us to have more people in earlier retirement, or subsidized during maternity and paternity leaves, etc. Our frame cannot just be what exists now….

  303. 303
    goblue72 says:

    @Timurid: Technocrat MBA’s buy into the neoliberal lie that all we need to do is become a nation of super educated workers and we will live in job nirvana.

    Wage gains do not accuse to labor merely because they get higher skilled. We have a larger percentage of the workforce today with college degrees than 20, 30 years ago – and wage gains have STAGNATED, and in many cases, gone down.

    Negotiating leverage at the table between labor and management is how wage gains get accrued. By working people having negotiating POWER with their employers to force the ownership and executive management to SHARE part of the spoils of those magical technology fueled efficiency gains.

    The problem isn’t competitiveness. The problem is that as a labor has lost its power, a larger and larger share of the total gains of business enterprises have accrued to the ownership class.

    THAT is why Martin is wrong.

  304. 304
    goblue72 says:

    @🌷 Martin: Germany utilizing 2 – 3 times as many robots per worker hour than the U.S. and yet the percentage of their workforce employed in manufacturing is roughly double that of the U.S.

    Its more complicated than your neoliberal MBA fantasies.

  305. 305
    Kay says:

    @Elie:

    Take a trip to S. Korea for a peek — seriously… Our middle aged workers are hurting now — do we want to extend that to their children?

    Elie, what they supposed to train to do? Coding? Can they all be coders? Processing payments for insurance companies? Part of the giant health care industry? Okay, but that’s part of why we pay so much for health care- we have millions of middle class health care workers that depend on a for-profit health care sector. Not everyone is an engineer, nor should everyone be an engineer. That isn’t even a guarantee. They lay them off and replace them with cheaper labor too.

  306. 306
    Technocrat says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Hobbies and causes can do that, Amir. And you could still find people willing to pay you for things. You just wouldn’t starve if you declined to do them.

  307. 307
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @SFAW: The thing about polling national X vs. Y in a presidential election is that if you’re systematically 2% off it makes all the difference.

    In 2012, national polling (not just Gallup) pretty consistently overestimated Romney’s popular vote share by a small amount, but enough to give him the lead when he wasn’t leading in the electoral-vote estimates from state polls. Those turned out to be right in the end, just like they were in 2004 and 2008. I don’t think anyone really knows where this discrepancy between national and state polling came from; the obvious things like landline phone or age-group biases would affect both equally.

  308. 308
    LAC says:

    @rk: thank you for this. Boob from Portland is a waste of space but thank you for trying.

  309. 309
    Kay says:

    @Elie:

    These are the top job openings in the US. It’s nurses and teachers and then a bunch of jobs that don’t require college at all. It’s not that they’re stubbornly refusing to train. It’s that they don’t have a whole lot of options. Compete with South Korea on what and for what?

  310. 310
    Cacti says:

    @goblue72:

    There may be perfectly good arguments in favor of having 100%, guaranteed, universal health insurance in the U.S. via a private health insurance. But “think of the insurance company JERBS” is not one of them.

    And gramps concedes that he has no argument: TPP bad because it will cost jobs, but single payer costing jobs not bad, because of reasons.

    Go change out of your skinny jeans. They look ridiculous on a 43-year old.

  311. 311
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    The jobs left when the unionized jobs left the country.

    But only certain classes of jobs left the country. We have more demand for nurses than ever before, a traditionally unionized working class job. We added half a million nurses during the period when we lost half a million manufacturing jobs. And nursing isn’t regional, demand is pretty uniform across the country requiring relatively little relocation. And training for nursing jobs is fairly modest – a 2 year degree, offered at many community colleges for low cost will get you in the door. An RN (usually more training, not exactly entry level) earns $69K on average in this country.

    But I would be willing to bet anything that most of those half million manufacturing workers never considered a career change to nursing, because it required a different skill set that they refused to embrace, that it was ‘women’s work’, that it was beneath them, and so on. It’s bullshit to say that there are no opportunities out there when the reality is that too many workers are simply demanding to have their old job, with no retraining, no relocation, no changes. Yeah, that’s not an option when you’re 60 and yes, the safety net needs to be there for those workers, but 40? Yeah, they can still do it.

  312. 312
    Elie says:

    @Kay:

    I don’t want to oversimplify the complexity of what we have now and how to transition. I don’t think that our educational system does an even fair job in defining what the needs are going to be making it very difficult to get ourselves ready. That said, the solution can’t be, “keep everything the same” then, can it? How do we stay out of world markets and the changes that clearly our competitors are going to be driving? Without a doubt, it is and will be challenging, but it is unavoidable.

  313. 313
    NR says:

    @Cacti:

    If you have a point to make, try to make it not stupid. Kthxbai.

    Coming from the person who made the brain-dead idiotic argument that “We can’t do single-payer because it’ll put people out of work!”, that’s fucking comedy gold.

    Since those people you mentioned are employed in an industry that drains 20% of the money from the health care system while adding no value, I don’t give a flying fuck if they lose their jobs. If that’s the price we have to pay to achieve a better, more efficient health care system, then so be it.

    Just like I don’t give a flying fuck if corrections officers lose their jobs. If that’s the price we have to pay to achieve a justice system that is fairer, more just, and more compassionate towards the most vulnerable in our society, then so be it.

    Sorry, but you don’t get to pick and choose with the “It’ll put people out of work!” argument. If lost jobs in health insurance is bad there, it’s bad everywhere. You can either accept that sometimes people have to lose their jobs if their jobs are detrimental to society as a whole or you can’t. You don’t get to have it both ways.

    But of course, you aren’t interested in honest debate. The fact that you draw a distinction between federal and state prisoners when the idea of lost jobs applies just as much at the state level, proves that this is just another dishonest line of attack aimed at progressives from you. Why am I not surprised?

  314. 314
    Cacti says:

    @NR:

    I don’t give a flying fuck if they lose their jobs. If that’s the price we have to pay to achieve a better, more efficient health care system, then so be it.

    Thanks for finally being honest about it.

    So why does the above logic not apply to every other class of worker?

    ETA: I would also add that the above shows a fairly Stalinist vibe at the heart of the “revolutionary” tendencies of internet fauxgressives.

    Members of the counterrevolutionary class (aka middle class insurance workers) deserve to suffer for the “greater good”.

  315. 315
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @goblue72: In my experience, which involves dealing with unions every day, unions have not thought at all about what either you or Martin has said. Their only concerns seem to be (1) slowing down/stopping terminations whether for performance or misconduct, and (2) bitching about, without stopping, work moving out of the bargaining unit, whether it’s going to robots or India.

    I think you have to get to the International level of these unions to find anyone thinking strategically, and even they don’t seem to have a plan.

    As always, YMMV.

  316. 316
    Elie says:

    @Cacti:

    LOL — good reply….

  317. 317

    @🌷 Martin: What about the adjuncts that are hired in your university, suckers should just get a job selling iPhones because benevolent Apple is benevolent. Or should they retrain for
    nursing?

    ETA: Because there is a reserve army of the umemployed, we are just supposed to be happy that we have a job, no matter how crappy. That’s what your argument boils down to.

  318. 318
    Tom Q says:

    @PST: I agree that Lichtman wouldn’t have suddenly switched his criteria in 2000. I read his book in ’92, and he very specifically said in that edition that he was predicting the popular vote. (Which, except in blue moon situations, will give you the election winner — I’d argue the mistake in 2000 wasn’t PV vs. EV, but which votes were counted.)

    As to how good his model is — yes, some calls are subjective, but he tries to be pretty rigorous about them. And he keeps getting elections right even in contravention of popular wisdom — like saying Bush I would win in spite of Dukakis’ alleged 17 point lead, touting a tight race in ’92 when pundits thought Clinton dead-via-scandal, never losing faith in Obama ’12 even during the post-debate freakout. I wouldn’t bet the rent money on a five Key decision, but fundamentally I think his look at elections is sound (especially compared to the media, which sees every election as a jump ball right up to voting day).

  319. 319
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Technocrat:
    No, too glib from you. Not everyone has a hobby or a cause they can take up. And that sort of thing can cost money if you’re living on that fixed universal basic income.

  320. 320
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Timurid:

    They don’t need large workforces (at least inside the US), so they can afford to cherrypick the best and the brightest.

    Apple has 100,000 workers inside the US (half of what Ford employs, Google has ⅓ of Fords workforce). Nearly half of those are in retail. They are not that selective in retail – all backgrounds – and they don’t mind if you have green hair and tattoos, or disabilities, etc. They want hard workers, sure, but there’s no training/degree requirement. They pay well for retail including benefits even for part-time workers.

  321. 321
    Cacti says:

    @Elie:

    I wonder who else comrade NR would put up against the wall for the betterment of society.

    Middle class insurance workers and prison guards are obviously up there.

  322. 322
    NR says:

    @Cacti:

    So why does the above logic not apply to every other class of worker?

    I just got through saying it did. Try to keep up. You’re the one saying that we can’t implement single-player because it’ll cost jobs in the insurance industry. So by extension, we also can’t end the War on Drugs because it’ll cost jobs in the corrections industry.

  323. 323
    Technocrat says:

    @goblue72:

    Wage gains do not accuse to labor merely because they get higher skilled

    Take a barista, train him as a physician, and he will accrue no wage gains? WTF.

    I’d like ONE example of increased skill not equating to higher wages. Shit, even master electricians earn more than apprentices. One example, please.

  324. 324
    redshirt says:

    @🌷 Martin: Thank you for the fantastic and well written posts in this thread. Hopefully you’ve shown a different perspective to some people.

    In sum, we’re going through another worldwide transition in technology. Apart from global catastrophe, there’s no stopping it. So, is it better to look and word towards this future, or fight to hold onto the past? I think history answers that question quite clearly.

  325. 325
    Cacti says:

    @NR:

    I just got through saying it did. Try to keep up. You’re the one saying that we can’t implement single-player because it’ll cost jobs in the insurance industry. So by extension, we also can’t end the War on Drugs because it’ll cost jobs in the corrections industry.

    Sorry, must have missed it. Got a little word salad-y there about halfway through.

    But let us work together to rid the country of the scourge of prison guards and insurance workers.

    Hasta la Victoria!

  326. 326

    @Technocrat:Adjunct with a PhD making less than a grad student.

  327. 327
    NR says:

    @Cacti: And now you’re just babbling nonsense. Whatever, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at this point.

  328. 328
    Elie says:

    @Kay:

    Yep, I am a nurse. Baccalaureate and Master’s degrees. I have worked in both clinical, government and health business areas. People assume nursing is confined to hospitals — it is not. There were quite a few other jobs on that list Kay… and like nursing, have spin offs that can’t be easily identified on the list. Didn’t see programmers but I can tell you, some of the best start out in other areas. The best programmers for say health care applications, have health care backgrounds of various sorts. Not on that list also are physical therapists and PT assistants who make good money. Easy training? no. Return on investment — excellent. There are other high tech workers in various areas of programming from web applications, web design and maintenance,, I dunno.. lots. I don’t have all the answers, but certainly you don’t think that means that staying where we are is a solution. In S Korea, there is an explicit statement of intent that they are branding their country to be THE IT master country all the way through music entertainment. Their educational system is geared towards that. Excellence and competitiveness. When was the last time you heard any school system in the US target those goals?

  329. 329
    Cacti says:

    @NR:

    And now you’re just babbling nonsense

    Funny, I thought the same thing when I got to this:

    The fact that you draw a distinction between federal and state prisoners when the idea of lost jobs applies just as much at the state level, proves that this is just another dishonest line of attack aimed at progressives from you.

    Was there some point in that chunky puddle of verbal diarrhea?

  330. 330
    🌷 Martin says:

    @goblue72:

    Germany utilizing 2 – 3 times as many robots per worker hour than the U.S. and yet the percentage of their workforce employed in manufacturing is roughly double that of the U.S.

    They dropped from 40% of workers in manufacturing to 22% since 1970. The US dropped from 27% to 13%. Pretty similar decline, and they weren’t part of NAFTA.

    And Germany is holding on slightly better than most because they and Japan make most of the robots. But manufacturing represented 27% of global GDP in 1970 and that’s down to 16% today. We just don’t buy as much physical stuff (in dollars) as we used to and globally that’s having an effect on the number of people we hire to make that stuff. Manufacturing jobs are down in Taiwan, India, China, and so on – everywhere. We spend a fraction as much of our income on food, clothing, durable goods and so on as we did in the 1970s. That opens consumers up to spending on services, which has been booming.

  331. 331
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Steve in the ATL: I was a shop steward and occasional union officer for the National Association of Letter Carriers. At our old union hall there were pictures of members posted on the wall. You could look at the faces and see in the fifties they were almost entirely white men, with a black face or two. Today the majority of the people in my branch are people of color, male or female. Letter carrier salaries have not kept up with the standard of living. The majority of our officers are women and minorities. Things change.

    There are a lot of communications workers on their website that are women and people of color.

    It may be that the people you deal with, officers and negotiators, are still mostly white, but that changes too, as the members rise up in the rank and file. Unions can and have been sued for discrimination, under federal labor laws.

  332. 332
    El Caganer says:

    @NR: There’s something I’m probably not getting here. If the USA can implement a system that provides affordable universal health care and retain 500,000 jobs, why is it preferable to implement a system that accomplishes the same thing and loses those jobs? I don’t understand.

  333. 333
    Bob In Portland says:

    @🌷 Martin: Whenever I hear “consumer” it’s as if “consumers” are detached from working. That their money magically appears. I noticed at some point, maybe the 70s, that Republicans and the media switched from talking about workers to consumers.

    It also reminds me of the old Nazi term about “useless bread gobblers”. So we’re all either useful bread gobblers now, or we’re useless, depending on who’s paying for the bread.

  334. 334
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Bob In Portland: Even the members of the locals I deal with are mostly white, but I know that that varies a lot by industry and geography.

    Back in the 1990’s I used to deal with longshoremen. At the port in Savannah there are two ILA chapters–one for white longshoremen, one for black. i used to ask them about all the time. Everyone said, “You can join either one; there’s no rules about it. We just like being in the one with people who look like us!”

  335. 335
    Technocrat says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I’m not being (intentionally) glib, we already have a model for what that would look like – Retirement. I’m sure some people just sit in the house and slowly die, but lots of them don’t.

    I grant you that young people in that situation are probably different than oldsters. A nation of bored 18-year olds sounds a bit sketchy. And if Basic Income equals poverty, it’s going to suck. But I don’t see what the alternative would be. Making them come to work to bury and dig up bags of money?

  336. 336
    NR says:

    @Cacti: That it’s dishonest for you to draw an artifical distinction between federal and state corrections jobs. Both types of jobs would be lost if we reform our justice system to be fairer and more compassionate, so there’s no point in only talking about the federal ones.

    At this point, I think even you must have realized that your argument is insanely stupid, and so you’re trying to back away from it without looking like you’re backing away from it. That’s the only explanation I can see for what you’re doing.

  337. 337
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @El Caganer:

    Many countries manage to provide affordable universal health care with a system based on insurance.

    They don’t require billing staff in every provider’s office or massive central processing facilities.

    For some reason, whenever I pay a medical bill I’m completely sanguine about the prospect of lots of those people having to find new work; I’d gladly shell out more in taxes if it paid for them to play Minesweeper all day instead.

  338. 338
    🌷 Martin says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    What about the adjuncts that are hired in your university, suckers should just get a job selling iPhones because benevolent Apple is benevolent. Or should they retrain for
    nursing?

    Look, I’m not saying there aren’t big fucked up parts of the economy, and you pointed directly to a big one, I’m simply saying that demanding that manufacturing return to the US to lift up the middle class is like asking for JFK to come back from the dead and lead us through a new race to the moon. It’s a romantic idea with no basis in reality.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t help these workers (though it might help if they stopped voting for idiots who make the problem worse or resisting career changes) and I’m all in favor of living wages, retraining programs, expanded worker benefits, better retirement safety nets, and all that. There are a million things we can do to help these workers who get shafted due to economic shifts, but Tinkerbell wishes that it would all come back if we just stopped trading with Mexico is fucking counterproductive. At best it distracts from working toward real solutions and at worst it gins up asshats like Trump who will demagogue our way into a new set of race wars.

  339. 339
    Technocrat says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I never did postgraduate study, so I defer to your experience. Is that a thing in a specific field? I work with PhDs making quite a bit more than grad students.

  340. 340
    NR says:

    @El Caganer: Because those jobs are part of what makes the system non-affordable. Every dollar that goes to pay an insurance company bureaucrat is a dollar that doesn’t get spent on actual health care. Same for insurance company CEOs.

    Insurance companies add no value to the health care system. They take 20% of the money and give nothing in return.

  341. 341
    redshirt says:

    @🌷 Martin: Agreed. I challenge anyone to list a reasonable plan to “bring back” manufacturing jobs to the USA. Tariffs? Import restrictions? Elimination of free trade deals? I’m sincerely curious how you can make a company that produces socks, just for example, bring back a factory from Mexico to New York.

  342. 342
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR:

    Since those people you mentioned are employed in an industry that drains 20% of the money from the health care system while adding no value, I don’t give a flying fuck if they lose their jobs. If that’s the price we have to pay to achieve a better, more efficient health care system, then so be it.

    Just like I don’t give a flying fuck if corrections officers lose their jobs. If that’s the price we have to pay to achieve a justice system that is fairer, more just, and more compassionate towards the most vulnerable in our society, then so be it.

    What about coal miners and timber workers? Should we give a flying fuck if their industry and their jobs cease to exist or not? Are they hardworking, dignified salt-of-the-earth types or are they hastening the destruction of the planet? Which is it?

  343. 343

    @🌷 Martin: I agree, manufacturing jobs are not the magic bullet but salaries that went with those jobs are. For the past 30 years our economy has served those with capital, who Keynes called rentiers far more than those have to work for their living. Wages have been stagnant while the top 0.1% have made out like bandits.

    Even if one has a good job with benefits there is a sword of Damocles hanging over your head, all the time.

  344. 344

    @Technocrat: Sadly common in most fields. When husband kitteh was between jobs (sequestration ended the grant he was on, as a senior research fellow) he taught a junior level physical chemistry class for chemical engineers and was paid a pittance. He now works in industry.

  345. 345
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @redshirt:

    I challenge anyone to list a reasonable plan to “bring back” manufacturing jobs to the USA.

    The two theories I have heard this election cycle are (1) shame them with million man marches outside their windows, or (2) start trade wars.

    But you asked for “reasonable” and I know of no such thing.

  346. 346
    Cacti says:

    @NR:

    That it’s dishonest for you to draw an artifical distinction between federal and state corrections jobs.

    State and federal corrections jobs are entirely separate from one another, based on actual, constitutional differences between the enumerated powers of the Fed and the reserved powers of the States. Far from an artificial distinction, State corrections and Federal corrections are very much different beasts under basic principles of federalism.

    That’s why Bernie was talking out his revolutionary rear end when he said he could reduce the U.S. prison population to less than China’s during his administration. Even if he pardoned or commuted every Federal inmate, he has no authority to do the same for State inmates, and would be some 400,000 prisoners short of what he promised.

    Brush up on your civics.

  347. 347
    Elie says:

    @NR:

    Those “bureaucrats” encompass a lot of middle income jobs that keep things working in health care right now. Those people are members of our communities. They have children, buy things and support local economies –you know, like the one you live in. They are not evil — they got jobs that were fairly available and do not think of themselves as assholes. They include nurses and other clinicians that help patients with chronic disease to adjust and get services. Do you understand economics? Why do you live in a black and white world where some workers are evil and expendable? Reminds me of the Khmer Rouge…. Oh and by the way, a single payer or whatever system will need some of the same workers to administer the program. Get real.

  348. 348
    redshirt says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Timber can be a good renewable resource if done correctly, which I believe it is in the US. Indonesia, Brazil? Not so much.

  349. 349
    NR says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Are they hardworking, dignified salt-of-the-earth types or are they hastening the destruction of the planet? Which is it?

    It’s not an either/or. They can be both.

    But to answer your question, yes. Coal is highly destructive to the environment, and I rate the future of the planet more highly than coal miners’ jobs.

    Now let me pose a question to you. Since you are so concerned about the jobs of coal miners, can we assume that you vehemently oppose any and all research into renewable energy? Because the more renewables people use, the less coal they burn, and therefore that means coal miners lose their jobs.

  350. 350
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Elie: The sad reality is that one man’s wasteful inefficiency is another man’s “job.” Just about every line of work involves a lot of people in offices doing not much and getting paid for it. Just about every product is something the world doesn’t _really_ need. How many of us can truly say that our employer needs us in particular rather than someone younger and cheaper, or that our employer needs to exist and would be missed if it disappeared?

  351. 351
    NR says:

    @Cacti:

    State and federal corrections jobs are entirely separate from one another, based on actual, constitutional differences between the enumerated powers of the Fed and the reserved powers of the States.

    Which is completely irrelevant to what we’re talking about, namely the idea that incarcerating fewer people would mean corrections officers lose their jobs. That will happen at both the state and federal level.

    Stick to the topic and quit going off on irrelevant tangents. Do you support reforming our justice system so that we stop locking up non-violent drug offenders and stop incarcerating non-whites at higher rates than whites for the same drug-related crimes? Because this will cost thousands of corrections officers their jobs.

  352. 352
    Timurid says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    “Pays well for a retail job” is the equivalent of “pretty nice guy for a serial rapist.”

    And if Apple, Google and the other companies that will be the Ford, GM and US Steel of the New Economy have workforces only a third to a half the size of their predecessors’… that’s going to be a big problem.

    I agree with the general Friedmanite consensus that the old industrial economy can’t be recreated, Average is Over and so forth. What I disagree with is the idea that if everybody just goes to school hard enough, the end result will somehow look more like Mary Poppins than Masque of the Red Death.

  353. 353
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    that Republicans and the media switched from talking about workers to consumers.

    There’s a real reason for that. Half a century ago the average US household spent ⅓ of their income on food and another almost 15% on apparel. Necessities made up about 85% of the average household spending. Today we spend 12% on food and 4% on apparel. Necessities are now only about 65% of spending. What that means is that the amount of money that households have to spend on things that they have more choice about roughly doubled. So where the old economy was really structured around a relatively fixed set of demands, the new economy isn’t. One unexpected impact is that when Apple and Samsung took over and grew the smartphone market, they took money out of the apparel market. People that used to spend some of their extra money on new clothes now spend it on a smartphone. The new economy is more fluid than the old one because people have much more and much broader consumption choices.

    It’s not that consumers are detached from workers, it’s actually that it was seen as virtuous that if we put more money in the hands of workers (old economy) they would expand their buying habits and enable new industries to develop (new economy). Consumers are workers + wealth. It just didn’t quite work out that well.

    And I want to push back gently against some of the above statistics particularly on jobs and wages. Unemployment for the college educated didn’t really fall that much during the recession. It peaked about about 5% – that’s considered full employment – college educated workers more or less breezed through this period. For workers with no college, it peaked at closer to 12%, and more like 16% for no high school diploma – they got massacred. Wage growth for college educated has been going up (faster for more education), but it’s going down for non-college educated and the two together make the overall wage picture appear flat.

    There’s always been a gap between the two, but in 2009 that gap simply exploded and there’s not much evidence it’ll go back. People without a college degree are now where high school dropouts were 10 years ago in terms of job prospects. Bernie isn’t wrong in calling for more education opportunities. Now, the situation isn’t so bad if you look at age. People in their 40s that didn’t go to college are much better off than those in their 20s or 30s. If you established your career before this change you’re in somewhat better shape as you probably have some skills to carry forward. But young people without a college degree are really, really fucked, and we’re not doing a goddamn thing to build out capacity.

    So its incorrect to suggest that everyone is suffering here. They aren’t. The insistence from my parents and guidance counselors to me and my generation in the 70s and 80s that we go to college were correct. And those of us who did are statistically (not necessarily individually) better off as a result.

    Look, we’re never going to come up with solutions to these problems if we keep insisting that some other thing is the real problem, when there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. There is no magical Germany manufacturing idea to save us. Tariffs aren’t going to save us. Education should help. Pulling workers out of poverty so they can be consumers should help. Immigration should help.

  354. 354
    NR says:

    @Elie:

    They are not evil — they got jobs that were fairly available and do not think of themselves as assholes.

    Nice strawman. I never said those people were evil. I said they are part of an industry that takes money from the health care system and provides nothing in return. Which they indisputably do.

    But since you’re so concerned about these poor people’s jobs, I’ll pose the same question to you that I did to Cacti. Do you support reforming our justice system so that we stop locking up non-violent drug offenders and stop incarcerating non-whites at higher rates than whites for the same drug-related crimes? Because this will cost thousands of corrections officers their jobs.

  355. 355
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: OK, so, stay with me for a moment: much of the debate about “trade” has to do with a lot of resource-extraction and other coal miner-like jobs. That’s why it’s a tricky issue rather than an easy one. I don’t know how to answer it. From a labor and working-class perspective, there should be lots of coal miners and timber workers. From an enviro perspective, there should be fewer. Which makes for a better future? I don’t know what’s supposed to happen to people who get displaced by new technologies and new processes other than retraining and so forth, which tends to get sneered at as an insufficient band-aid on a gaping wound. And IMHO all of these things would be happening in the absence of “Wall Street.” They’re things that happen because profit exists.

  356. 356
    Technocrat says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Fair enough, and I did only ask for one example. But if a PhD pays less than a grad student, why would someone spend the time and money for a PhD?

  357. 357
    Cacti says:

    @NR:

    But to answer your question, yes. Coal is highly destructive to the environment, and I rate the future of the planet more highly than coal miners’ jobs.

    The terrific irony here is that the decline of coal in the US isn’t due to the rise of renewables, but rather the increased availability of cheap natural gas extracted by fracking. Reduce fracking, as some would wish, and the alternative becomes what? More coal.

    Sometimes, the solution isn’t just a matter of “let’s stop everything I disapprove of and the world will be a better place”.

  358. 358
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    Today we spend … 4% on apparel.

    Is that the average, because, uh, I have a wife, and two daughters in college….

  359. 359
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @🌷 Martin: This is overly schematic I’m sure but it definitely seems to me that replacing jobs in for-profit manufacturing firms with jobs in public-good infrastructure projects would use many of the same people doing many of the same difficult but learnable activities (operating heavy machinery, etc.). I would love to see a radical expansion of the public sector.

    ETA I would also love to see a radical expansion of public health and primary-care providers.

  360. 360
  361. 361
    Timurid says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    Of course their are necessities today that were not as essential back then. For instance higher education, which you just made a compelling argument for. That is brutally expensive and only getting more so. Good luck putting kids through college working at the Apple Store…

  362. 362
    J R in WV says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Well, IBEW ( electrical workers in bucket trucks fixing the Grid after storms, building new grid where development is underway, hard physical labor in many cases) Boilermakers, in power plants and such, UAW, on the assembly lines.

    CWA, building the network, some women, mostly men. Most heavy construction, where infrastructure maintenance is going on. I’m not an active union guy, although I was a member, but I could go on with just a little research, if I cared to.

  363. 363
    Technocrat says:

    Because the more renewables people use, the less coal they burn, and therefore that means coal miners lose their jobs

    This is a perfect example of the technical obsolescence dynamic.

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I’m not judging. My daughter is a Fine Arts Major. I meant more in the economic context of this thread.

  364. 364
    PST says:

    @Tom Q:

    As to how good his model is — yes, some calls are subjective, but he tries to be pretty rigorous about them. And he keeps getting elections right even in contravention of popular wisdom…

    Agreed. Lichtman’s record of success using his model is a good argument in his favor. And I agree that he is fair about applying the keys. He makes his calls in advance, so why fudge? That’s mostly a temptation when you are trying to explain the past. Subjectivity isn’t a killer objection. Some factors simply cannot be measured with rigor, but it is still helpful to have a framework for analysis even if it cannot be applied mechanically and requires fair-minded judgment. Nevertheless, I wonder if the 13 keys isn’t like some other, simpler rules of thumb (like “as Maine goes, so goes the nation”) that work for a while, but lose their value after some fundamental shift in the political winds. Can Lichtman’s model account for the Drumpf? Even Hari Seldon didn’t foresee the Mule.

  365. 365
    NR says:

    @FlipYrWhig: There are two additional points to consider with regard to coal mining. The first is that coal is a finite resource. Those coal mining jobs will go away at some point. It’s only a question of whether it happens sooner or later. And second, there are also jobs in the renewable energy industry. So if we cut off the renewable industry to save coal miners’ jobs, well, other people lose their jobs instead.

    But regardless, we’ve drifted from the original point here. Can you at least agree with me that “We shouldn’t do X because people will lose their jobs” (regardless of what X might be) is a profoundly stupid argument?

  366. 366
    Kay says:

    @Elie:

    I don’t want to oversimplify the complexity of what we have now and how to transition. I don’t think that our educational system does an even fair job in defining what the needs are going to be making it very difficult to get ourselves ready.

    But everyone in government does this same dance. They end up laying everything at the door of public schools and walking away. Needs of what? Companies like Apple? Is there some shortage of Apple workers? Are public schools just training facilities for the private sector? My eldest son works for a big tech company. He says there’s no shortage of skilled tech workers in Chicago. They have plenty of programmers and developers from which to choose.

  367. 367
    Kay says:

    @Elie:

    Elie I think nurses and teachers are great, but that’s not “growth”. People can’t get access to health care or improve schools if they can’t pay for it. I would hope there won’t be huge growth in health care professions, past replacement of existing people. That would mean more people needed more health care.

  368. 368
    Cacti says:

    @NR:

    Which is completely irrelevant to what we’re talking about, namely the idea that incarcerating fewer people would mean corrections officers lose their jobs. That will happen at both the state and federal level.

    Actually, it’s entirely relevant. Incarceration levels are not an issue that can be addressed on a national level. On the contrary, it’s about as fragmented a problem as it could be, since the overwhelming majority of prisoners are incarcerated for State-level crimes, and we have 50-different State penal systems, based on 50-different sets of State laws. Federal incarceration is a drop in the bucket of the aggregate problem, and the national prison population is one of the problems least amenable to Federal action.

    In short, it’s a bad analogy.

  369. 369
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Timurid:

    “Pays well for a retail job” is the equivalent of “pretty nice guy for a serial rapist.”

    I think that’s a bit ungenerous. Nearly ⅓ of the US workforce is retail. I can agree that wages should be higher, but Apple’s are already right around the vaunted $15, and they provide rather good benefits. Let’s not declare that labor’s most ambitious asks are actually completely shit.

    And if Apple, Google and the other companies that will be the Ford, GM and US Steel of the New Economy have workforces only a third to a half the size of their predecessors’… that’s going to be a big problem.

    No, I agree here. The bigger problem is that we have taken the 40 hour work week as some kind of cosmological constant. In an era of massively increasing productivity, there are going to have to be some trade-backs to workers in terms of wages, but also in terms of lower workload. I would not mind working later in life if I got August off, or a 30 hour work week. At the end of the day, the demand for Social Security from the right is that all workers much book 80,000 hours of labor to be eligible (40 wk/ 50 wks/ 40 yrs) but that 40/week is just an arbitrary number. It can be changed. It can be changed in other ways as well – parental leave, vacation time, etc. Lots of ways to reduce the labor supply that is pretty friendly to workers.

  370. 370
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR:

    Can you at least agree with me that “We shouldn’t do X because people will lose their jobs” (regardless of what X might be) is a profoundly stupid argument?

    Actually, no, I don’t agree with that. And the people who vote for Bernie Sanders over issues related to trade sure as hell don’t agree with that. But it’s an incredibly complicated balancing act. No one mourns the lost spermaceti industry. But people still have a romance for auto parts (I’m thinking of the movie Tommy Boy), for example. Seems to me instead that anything that costs jobs needs to be offset with things that make jobs, hopefully better jobs, and not on net but for the same sorts of people being displaced. How do you do that? I dunno. Maybe a creative politician will come up with something.

  371. 371

    @Technocrat: Economically, you are right it makes little sense. At least for husband kitteh the story ended well. He was in that untenable situation only for one semester.

  372. 372
    NR says:

    @Cacti:

    Actually, it’s entirely relevant.

    No, it’s really not. The argument about jobs always applies. Reform the justice system at the federal level to treat drug offenders more fairly? People lose their jobs. Reform it at the state level to do the same? People lose their jobs.

    So I will ask again: Since you are so concerned about people losing their jobs, do you support reforming our justice system so that we stop locking up non-violent drug offenders and stop incarcerating non-whites at higher rates than whites for the same drug-related crimes? Because if we do that, regardless of whether it is done at a federal or state level, lots of corrections officers will lose their jobs.

  373. 373
    Cacti says:

    @NR:

    I understand it’s tough to admit when you’re wrong.

    Bernie and his Bernfeelers have a particularly hard time with it.

  374. 374
    🌷 Martin says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    And IMHO all of these things would be happening in the absence of “Wall Street.” They’re things that happen because profit exists.

    Oh, it’s been happening long before that. A hell of a lot of this happened to eliminate the risk around subsistence work – domesticating animals so that you could farm faster, and therefore have more of a food reserve when winter hit.

    This isn’t profit driven – it’s a function of social evolution. It is how we improve as a species. The advent of writing eliminated a lot of labor, and then paper, and then printing. Each of these things allowed for education to spread which lifted up other people. Robots are threatening if you are an autoworker, but bigger picture they open up the possibility for people to have more leisure time, to avoid dangerous activities, and so on. And the reality is that automation has created more jobs than it has destroyed because every time we get more discretionary income or free time, we demand a use for it and we invent selfie sticks and build yoga studios and expect better healthcare, which inevitably (big picture) turn out to be better jobs than the ones that were automated away.

  375. 375
    NR says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Seems to me instead that anything that costs jobs needs to be offset with things that make jobs, hopefully better jobs, and not on net but for the same sorts of people being displaced.

    And what about cases where this simply isn’t possible?

    Coal miners, you might be able to argue that they could transition to some other sort of mining (though there are a lot of problems with this). But prison guards? What kind of “similar” jobs could we transition them to if we reform our justice system to be fairer and more just? And are you really willing to use the specter of them losing their jobs as justification for continuing the egregious and discriminatory practices of our justice system?

  376. 376
    Tom Q says:

    @PST: I think the toughest Key for him to figure this year will be whether Trump qualifies as charismatic. He clearly stirs up crowds with a bastard form of showmanship, but can anyone be charismatic with negative numbers at 60 percent? (You probably could have asked similar questions about Jesse Jackson, had he ever won the Dem nomination — not to equate the two morally, but to say each had fervent supporters and a high level of resistance.)

    As I said, I wouldn’t swear by the Keys, but I find it comforting to have them in my favor. (Which is why, contra many here, I want Hillary to clinch this nomination pronto — a prolonged, too-close primary fight forfeits his Contest Key, which to me is an own-goal against the Dems.) A growing economy, lack of scandal or foreign policy quagmires, and the Iran/Cuba deals make me feel like the odds are in the Dems’ favor this year, regardless of the opponent.

    The big question I’d ask him is, what happens if an incumbent-disfavoring set of Keys runs across a truly frightening candidate ( a 1990s David Duke, say)? Would he be confident in his formula then?

  377. 377
    redshirt says:

    @NR: What are you actually arguing for?

  378. 378
    NR says:

    @Cacti: LOL. I’m not the one who’s not even trying to defend my argument anymore. That’s you.

    In any case, I accept your empty, substance-free reply as evidence that you are conceding the point. I suggest you try to come up with a more intelligent argument next time.

  379. 379
    NR says:

    @redshirt: I’m arguing against the idea that we can’t do single-payer because people in the insurance industry will lose their jobs.

    Sometimes, things that better society result in people losing their jobs. I’m arguing that we shouldn’t let that deter us from implementing those beneficial reforms.

  380. 380
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    (1) Agree with you about retail, and there are lots of workers who aren’t qualified for sophisticated work who can do that. And some retailers, such as Costco and QuikTrip, provide decent pay and benefits for the work.

    (2) Would love to see a reduction in SS retirement age. That would move out a lot of baby boomer deadwood and give us young folks (!) growth opportunities.

    (3) Would love to see a reduction in the 40-hour workweek norm as well, even though my time spent reading and posting on BJ is arguably not working even though I’m getting paid for it.

  381. 381
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Timurid:

    That is brutally expensive and only getting more so. Good luck putting kids through college working at the Apple Store…

    Two points here:

    1) higher education is one of the very few appreciating assets you have in life. Like a house, it’s worth borrowing for because you are almost invariably going to earn more than enough to pay for college than had you not gone. And the vast majority of the affordability crisis is private and for-profit schools. I work at one of the top universities for low-income students. Half of my students are considered low-income, and the leave with an average debt load of $17K. That degree bought them an average of $11K in income, so they are well head just 48 months after graduating, and that will pay benefits every year until they retire. And if your parents work at the Apple Store, you’re going to get both federal and state grants and an attractive loan package. They won’t need to ‘put you through college’. You put yourself through college. Only high earners, or parents that demand their kid go to a $50K private really need to put them through college.

    2) That said, higher education is a disaster. It’s half a century outdated, the financial incentives are completely wrong, there are untold opportunities to lower costs that go ignored because of the perverse financial incentives, and all of this is wrapped up in the problem of insufficient public funding to expand opportunities which force us to be unnecessarily competitive for students which drives a whole other set of bad incentives. The underpaid adjunct is a byproduct of all of this. It’s still valuable in some respect, but it needs to be burned down and rebuilt from the ground up.

  382. 382
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @NR:

    But prison guards? What kind of “similar” jobs could we transition them to if we reform our justice system to be fairer and more just?

    Torturer? Bum fight promoter? Professional asshole?

  383. 383
    redshirt says:

    @Steve in the ATL: The world needs thugs too, Danny.

  384. 384
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR:

    And are you really willing to use the specter of them losing their jobs as justification for continuing the egregious and discriminatory practices of our justice system?

    I never said anything remotely related to this.

    Sometimes hardworking people lose their jobs due to no fault of their own. Sometimes it has to do with trade or manufacturing policy. Sometimes it has to do with shifting opinions about, say, whaling, or slavery. Sometimes we meet their complaints with pity and sometimes with derision. When is each appropriate? It’s difficult. Sometimes “we” (whoever “we” are) decide it’s worth the sacrifice. That should prick the conscience and often does. I’m not sure a lot of the Bernie Sanders supporters enjoying lashing Hillary Clinton about “trade” have really given this a ton of thought.

  385. 385
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR:

    Sometimes, things that better society result in people losing their jobs.

    Sometimes that thing that betters society is “less coal mining” and the result is “white people in Appalachia resenting all Democrats for the foreseeable future.” The thing that bettered society was politically harmful. Now what?

  386. 386
    Linnaeus says:

    @Timurid:

    What I disagree with is the idea that if everybody just goes to school hard enough, the end result will somehow look more like Mary Poppins than Masque of the Red Death.

    I’m with you on this. Education is, of course, a good thing for both material and nonmaterial reasons, but there’s a lot of magic bullet style thinking regarding education these days.

  387. 387
    redshirt says:

    @NR: I don’t think loss of jobs should ever be the determining factor for choosing something better. Will alternative energy eliminate some coal jobs? Yes, but that’s overall a good thing. Probably not for the specific coal miners, but we don’t think of society solely by its individual members.

  388. 388
    Linnaeus says:

    @redshirt:

    At the same time, we should be honest about the full costs of doing something better and be prepared to pay them.

  389. 389
    Elie says:

    @Kay:

    I was over simple in what should be a very complicated answer. I said “educational system” and I did not mean just the public schools but possibly other training programs sponsored by government or even the private sector.

    Kay, the solution is not easy but I am not sure what you suggest as alternative to the various suggestions that I made… yes, nursing IS growth because many are acting in expanded clinical wellness roles — not just taking care of more sick people. Many are involved now in IT related jobs — and business — not just as clinicians. Can I list for you all the jobs that will exist? No. Does that mean that we should just try to keep the jobs that exist without thinking ahead and learning as our economy changes? We can’t do that and you know that. If my answers seem to pat or poorly laid out, what do you recommend instead?

  390. 390
    redshirt says:

    @Linnaeus: Absolutely. Which speaks to Martin’s overall point about the change in the technological landscape and how there’s no going back to “the good old days”, but only the future. Dealing with that is what we should be focused on. Not getting shoe factory jobs back to Maine.

  391. 391
    Cacti says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I’m not sure a lot of the Bernie Sanders supporters enjoying lashing Hillary Clinton about “trade” have really given this a ton of thought.

    I’m dead certain that 20-something college kids who complain about NAFTA aren’t doing it because they were deprived of the chance at 40-years on the local factory floor.

  392. 392
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @redshirt: But framing it this way is very much in keeping with the pro-trade-deal position, no? Nobody who supports trade deals relishes the displacement they’ll cause. They believe that on net the conditions after the deal will be better than those before the deal. IMHO it seems like Clinton and Sanders (and Obama, and Trump for that matter) think there’s a way to arrive at a super excellent trade deal if you negotiate it properly, but Sanders thinks Obama and Clinton don’t negotiate properly, and Trump also thinks Obama and Clinton don’t negotiate properly. How do you negotiate a trade deal that keeps Detroit looking spiffy? I’m not sure you can. And _not_ negotiating a trade deal might leave things even worse, because of opening up foreign markets and so forth. I think Bernie Sanders needs to own up to that.

    P.S. I can’t believe I forgot to adduce the tobacco industry as a deleterious line of work. And people in China LOVE American cigarettes, don’t they? Is tobacco ever covered in trade deals?

  393. 393
    NR says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I never said anything remotely related to this.

    You sort of did, when you disagreed with the idea that saying we should never do something, regardless of what that something is, because some people will lose their jobs, is a profoundly stupid argument.

    If you believe that sometimes lost jobs are inevitable and acceptable in order to make broad positive changes, then we have no disagreement.

  394. 394
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cacti: I’m not sure what kinds of jobs college kids are frustrated by not having. If all the colleges I’ve been associated with are any indication, they tend to want to do investment banking, consulting, and “brand management”/marketing.

  395. 395
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: It’s not a profoundly stupid argument, though. It’s just not a sufficient argument. “Who will be harmed by this?” is kind of a basic ethical consideration.

  396. 396
    NR says:

    @redshirt:

    I don’t think loss of jobs should ever be the determining factor for choosing something better.

    And neither do I. But Cacti apparently believes (I say apparently because he’s backed away from the argument now even though he hasn’t admitted how stupid it was) that we shouldn’t ever change anything if people will lose their jobs as a result. I take issue with that idea – as I hope most people would.

  397. 397
    Linnaeus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Is tobacco ever covered in trade deals?

    Funny you should ask:

    For many years, there was no doubt that tobacco was a product like any other in U.S. trade policy. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the United States used trade measures to pry open emerging Asian economies to imported cigarettes. Those countries were unprepared for intensive marketing by the tobacco industry, particularly to women and youth. According to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report, after multinational tobacco companies entered South Korea in 1989, smoking among teens rose 11 percent and quintupled among girls in the first year. A public outcry ensued. In 1997, Congress conditioned the appropriations of several U.S. government agencies on those funds not being used to promote tobacco internationally.

    An uneasy compromise over tobacco and trade emerged. U.S. trade officials refrained from tobacco-specific initiatives and, despite occasional, significant congressional pressure, declined to bring trade cases against other countries’ tobacco control measures. Meanwhile, nearly every U.S. trade and investment agreement negotiated over the past decade has reduced tobacco tariffs and continued to protect tobacco investments like those of any other U.S. industry.

  398. 398
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Linnaeus: Interesting…

  399. 399

    We’re at peace, there are jobs, and the incumbent President is reasonably popular. Those are good fundamentals for any incumbent party.

    Well….that was the case back in 2000, but then the press started being lapdogs to the GOP’s frontrunner, Al Gore distanced himself from Clinton (a bad move, but due to the press still wanting Clinton’s hide and spewing out the “Clinton fatigue” bullshit), and a certain person named Ralph ran on a third party ticket and was bellowing about how both candidates were the same (and he was so, SO very wrong). Add to that mischief in Florida that lead to long voting lines or people being turned away and the Felonious Five on the Supreme Court…

    …which means that we cannot be complacent, even if things look “good”. Hillary or Bernie are both way better than the current GOP creeps, but if we spend more time locked in a circular firing squad while spewing out GOP talking points that should have been dead and buried in 1999 then we will lose everything.

    Just my 2-cents, of course.

  400. 400
    NR says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Well sure. The consequences of any course of action should always be considered. No argument there.

    But the notion that we shouldn’t ever change anything if it might result in lost jobs is dumb. We’d still be making buggy whips by the ton if that were the case.

  401. 401
    chopper says:

    @NR:

    But the notion that we shouldn’t ever change anything if it might result in lost jobs is dumb.

    good thing nobody’s actually making that argument.

  402. 402
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: Well, I mean, “we shouldn’t sign Trade Deal X because it will cost people their jobs” is exactly that kind of argument you’re deploring, isn’t it? I suppose it should be something more like “we shouldn’t sign Trade Deal X because it will cost people their jobs without helping them to the necessary degree to find other ones.” But that’s what the trade debate always is, so we’re not really any more enlightened about what a good trade deal would look like or what the right amount of help would be. And “this deal sucks for the workers of Industry Y” is pretty much always going to be true, and always going to pack a political punch.

  403. 403
    Larv says:

    @NR:

    Christ. He wasn’t arguing that at all, he was pointing out the contradiction that while many anti-TPP types cite job losses as a primary factor for that opposition, many of these same people will happily accept massive job losses as the result of things they favor.

  404. 404
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: And the International Buggy Whip Makers Association spokesperson is probably always going to say that politicians are giving his union brothers a royal rogering, and he’ll be right about it.

  405. 405
    NR says:

    @chopper: Cacti, in comment 247:

    Got to say that I find it more than little funny that the many of the resident “TPP is teh evil” crowd are cuckoo for Coco Puffs over a Sanders single payer plan that would displace almost 500,000 insurance industry workers

    AKA “We can’t implement single-payer because insurance company workers will lose their jobs.”

  406. 406
    🌷 Martin says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    IMHO it seems like Clinton and Sanders (and Obama, and Trump for that matter) think there’s a way to arrive at a super excellent trade deal if you negotiate it properly, but Sanders thinks Obama and Clinton don’t negotiate properly, and Trump also thinks Obama and Clinton don’t negotiate properly. How do you negotiate a trade deal that keeps Detroit looking spiffy? I’m not sure you can.

    My complaint with their arguments is that their measure of failure is always some anecdotal report of a company sending jobs to Mexico or China, and never whether the trade deal allowed for 10x that many jobs to be created elsewhere in the economy. They view trade deals as ‘worker protection programs’ when the two largely stand apart. A 10% tariff isn’t going to stop labor from flowing to a place with 90% lower wages. A better use of that negotiation is to argue for better wages and working conditions in developing nations to turn them into buyers of US products rather than tariff protections for Americans and helping keep a few hundred million people in poverty.

  407. 407
    Larv says:

    @NR:
    If that’s your takeaway from that comment, you have serious reading comprehension problems.

  408. 408
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @NR: The argument has been getting bounced around here for a while, and it’s not just about the jobs. To a lot of Sanders supporters, “single payer” is a mecca of sorts. Unfortunately, “single payer” and “universal coverage” are not the same thing at all, although they get conflated a lot in sloppy arguments. And what others try to point out is that a single-payer system essentially eliminates an industry. Now you can argue that the industry is inefficient or unnecessary, but the effects go far beyond the half-million or so jobs tied up in it. Insurance companies, whether life, health, or property-casualty are major stores of capital, because they’re all about paying for something in advance of need. So they are a major portion of the investment portfolios of pension and annuity funds, meaning that to approach the Sanderish nirvana you have to be OK not just with eliminating the aforementioned jobs, but also decimating the retirement funds of lots and lots of Americans. That may be a tradeoff you’re OK with, but the retired teachers may not. It’s all part of a calculus that tends to get hand-waved away by many Sandernistas.

  409. 409
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Marc McKenzie:

    We’re at peace, there are jobs, and the incumbent President is reasonably popular. Those are good fundamentals for any incumbent party.

    Well….that was the case back in 2000, but then the press started being lapdogs to the GOP’s frontrunner, Al Gore distanced himself from Clinton (a bad move, but due to the press still wanting Clinton’s hide and spewing out the “Clinton fatigue” bullshit), and a certain person named Ralph ran on a third party ticket and was bellowing about how both candidates were the same (and he was so, SO very wrong). Add to that mischief in Florida that lead to long voting lines or people being turned away and the Felonious Five on the Supreme Court…

    …which means that we cannot be complacent, even if things look “good”. Hillary or Bernie are both way better than the current GOP creeps, but if we spend more time locked in a circular firing squad while spewing out GOP talking points that should have been dead and buried in 1999 then we will lose everything.

    Just my 2-cents, of course.

    Well said, and worth more than 2-cents.

  410. 410
    Cacti says:

    @NR:

    But Cacti apparently believes … that we shouldn’t ever change anything if people will lose their jobs as a result.

    But that’s not near as bad as the time you said that your mother still cries when you try to seduce her.

  411. 411
    Linnaeus says:

    @redshirt:

    If the “good old days” won’t be back, then let’s at least be honest about why that is and take more seriously people’s concerns about that. That’s something I just don’t see happening – people who want the shoe factory want it because they know it will employ people like it used to years ago. What they often get instead is scorn and neglect.

  412. 412
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @🌷 Martin: Agreed. I’m not sure a world without trade deals would have any fewer plant closings. Isn’t one of the major components to how international manufacturing works the development of the multi-modal shipping container? If you can ship stuff easily and cheaply you can keep finding poorer and poorer people to make it. Maybe we need to make shipping riskier. More pirates? :P

  413. 413
    redshirt says:

    @NR: Yeah, he was mocking your argument, not actively proposing it.

  414. 414
    NR says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Well, I mean, “we shouldn’t sign Trade Deal X because it will cost people their jobs” is exactly that kind of argument you’re deploring, isn’t it?

    The benefits of these kinds of trade deals are not nearly as clear as the benefits of a single-payer system. In fact, you could argue that they’re harmful in other ways beyond the lost jobs (working conditions in other countries, for example). This isn’t the case with a single-player system.

    There needs to be a clear benefit to justify the lost jobs.

  415. 415
    redshirt says:

    @Linnaeus: Agreed. But only one side can be relied on to even touch on that subject, and even then it will be couched in politics because surely you cannot outright say “Those jobs are not coming back. We need to do something else.”/

  416. 416
    NR says:

    @Cacti: I’m coming to believe that you’re actually a sociopath. No one else could lie as frequently without conscience as you do.

  417. 417
    chopper says:

    @NR:

    and now explain how you jumped to “we shouldn’t ever change anything if it might result in lost jobs”.

    sounds like a big fuckin’ straw man to me. it would be like me boiling your argument down to “there isn’t a job in this country that shouldn’t be sacrificed on the altar of progress”

    look, all the talk about buggy whips is cute and all, but the buggy whip industry wasn’t the better part of 20% of GDP like health care is. i think cacti’s point here is that switching to single payer would be a major kick in the balls to our entire economy. you know, “the consequences of any course of action should always be considered” and all that. whereas there are other options for universal coverage that aren’t so ball-kicky.

  418. 418
    Cacti says:

    @NR:

    I’m coming to believe that you’re actually a sociopath. No one else could lie as frequently without conscience as you do.

    You mean it’s not nice when people falsely attribute things to you that you never actually said?

    I guess you probably shouldn’t have gone down that road then.

  419. 419
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Linnaeus: My wife tried her hand at the handbag business a few years back. She made every piece herself. They were beautiful. But who’s your customer? Price them at $50 and people go to Walmart or TJ Maxx to buy stuff made in China and the Marianas. Price them at $500 and they’re unaffordable. It’s pretty hard verging on impossible to have American-made, well-compensated, _and_ low-priced. The people who made shoes in Maine were dealing with a marketplace that wasn’t glutted with cheapos. Once your customer is _aware_ that cheapos can be had, there’s no going back to the Arcadian past.

  420. 420
    chopper says:

    @NR:

    uh, he’s making fun of you. and apparently winding you up like a yo-yo.

  421. 421
    Linnaeus says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    A better use of that negotiation is to argue for better wages and working conditions in developing nations to turn them into buyers of US products rather than tariff protections for Americans and helping keep a few hundred million people in poverty.

    Funny thing is, when you point to poor wages and working conditions in developing countries, the response you get is often along the lines of, “well, they can’t raise them because then the people in those countries won’t have jobs.”

  422. 422
    Linnaeus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Maybe not. But then don’t tell the voter who wants the shoe factory that they’re stupid for wanting it. Tell them instead what you’ll do to replace the shoe factory they no longer have.

  423. 423
    NR says:

    @Cacti: Which I didn’t do, of course. Another lie.

    You made a brain-dead stupid argument, and when you got called on it, you went off on irrelevant tangents and started lying about what I said.

    Just own the fact that you said something stupid and move on.

  424. 424
    Cacti says:

    @NR:

    You should listen to chopper. ;-)

  425. 425
    NR says:

    @chopper:

    and now explain how you jumped to “we shouldn’t ever change anything if it might result in lost jobs”.

    You don’t get to say we can’t change one industry because jobs would be lost and then turn around and say that it’s perfectly okay to lose jobs in another industry. You can’t have it both ways.

    Also, the insurance industry is not 20% of our GDP. A switch to single-payer would not be nearly as disruptive as you claim.

  426. 426
    Linnaeus says:

    @redshirt:

    Sure, the messaging is challenging. But we know that “everyone wins” won’t work anymore, because enough people saw that they didn’t win.

  427. 427
    redshirt says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Or there’s a small niche market for people who are willing to pay a lot more for American made stuff.

  428. 428
    chopper says:

    @Cacti:

    i’m just pissed cause my great-grandfather was a buggy whip maker, you insensitive clod!

  429. 429
    redshirt says:

    @Linnaeus: Yeah but politics almost makes it impossible to say the truth when running for election. “You’re all going to lose your jobs but the country will be better off for it!” will never play, unless Trump says it.

  430. 430
    chopper says:

    @NR:

    Also, the insurance industry is not 20% of our GDP

    i didn’t say it was. insurance, however, is a pretty big chunk of the health care industry. as G&T points out above it’s a big part of the S&P as well as retirement portfolios all across the country. it’s pretty fucking big.

    obviously single payer is not the only feasible route to universal coverage. there are plenty of examples world wide of universal systems that are not single payer, that we can aim for realistically. so what’s with the obsession with single payer people have?

  431. 431
    Kay says:

    @Elie:

    I just think it’s too easy to write all these people off as not competitive enough. I have noticed the attitude changes when it’s white collar jobs that are losing value. Go read the NYTimes story about the laid-off Disney tech workers who trained their replacements. The comments are full of horrified and outraged middle and upper middle class people. THEIR jobs weren’t supposed to go! They did everything RIGHT. They’re all vowing to boycott Disney. All of a sudden the rough and tumble marketplace doesn’t look like “opportunity” for them, it looks like insecurity.

    College adjuncts marched with the Fight for Fifteen workers. They’re making 20k a year at what is a temp jobs. Are they not educated enough? What is it they’re supposed to do that they’re not doing?

    We have a community college here that added two year degrees in health care. It’s the “switch” from manufacturing. They have a glut of 2 year health care techs. They’re making $14 dollars an hour for 32 hours a week. That’s after two years of college and a licensing exam.

    I can live with lower wages and a lower standard of living for lower middle class. I just want people to admit that this is not their fault and it isn’t a matter of “loading up on science on math” or “learning to code” or “embracing disruption”. They are trying. They don’t even want that much. They want 40k a year with benefits. If that’s impossible, well then let’s admit it instead of insisting they’re “clinging” to something and causing this themselves.

  432. 432
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Linnaeus: Then you lose votes to the candidate telling them they’ll save/bring back the shoe factory.

    Late to the thread, but this, from Nancy LeTourneau, addresses an aspect of this question I’ve been wondering about, specifically wrt Detroit and the auto industry.

    Both Danielle Krutzleben at NPR and Steve Chapman at the Chicago Tribune did some fact-checking on the role of trade deals in the challenges faced by cities like Detroit and Flint. Krutzleban begins with a chart showing that the migration out of Detroit started around 1950 and that since then, it has lost more than 60% of its residents. That started long before the trade deals Sanders suggested as the cause of all those abandoned buildings.
    Chapman identifies several factors that are not accounted for if we simply look at things like NAFTA to blame. He points out that Michael Moore’s documentary “Roger & Me” about the shut-down of the General Motors plant in Flint came out four years before NAFTA took effect and that the challenge to the auto industry back then was coming from Japan (not China or Mexico), where they were producing more reliable and fuel-efficient cars.
    The other issue that hurt Detroit was the migration of auto plants – not overseas – but to states (mostly in the South) who adopted so-called “right to work” laws that undermined unions. Another factor was automation – which reduced the number of workers required to produce cars by a third.

    and yes, I know about Stephen Chapman’s politics

  433. 433
    chopper says:

    @NR:

    You don’t get to say we can’t change one industry because jobs would be lost and then turn around and say that it’s perfectly okay to lose jobs in another industry. You can’t have it both ways.

    of course you do and of course you can. depends on the number of jobs lost and the fallout from gutting the industry. things have side effects, dogg. sometimes people decide things based on them.

  434. 434
    🌷 Martin says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Isn’t one of the major components to how international manufacturing works the development of the multi-modal shipping container? If you can ship stuff easily and cheaply you can keep finding poorer and poorer people to make it. Maybe we need to make shipping riskier. More pirates? :P

    Yep, but it’s actually a bit worse than that. Apple moved their manufacturing to China because thats where the component manufacturing (which they don’t control) is located. The time to package up components and ship them across the Pacific to the US was nearly 2 months and quite expensive. The shipping was fairly cheap, but the packaging was expensive – it’s mostly physical handling. And then it needed to be unpacked in the US. That’s all busy work. It’s labor without purpose. When they brought their first product assembly to China, they set up shop in the same building that two of their components were being made, so they literally just needed to move them from one side of the building to the other.

    What would have taken 2 months and required probably 6 people touching the product was cut down to maybe hours and one person. That’s 2 months quicker getting the product to the consumer, and it also means less warehousing (another 2 people touching the product), and a smaller environmental footprint. Apple has no warehouses. They ship straight to retail or to the consumer. They carry an average of 6 days of inventory, so they have less waste and packaging (more people).

    In Apple’s case they weren’t after cheaper labor, they were after quicker time to market because they are in a very competitive marketplace with product cycles of no more than 12 months. Dedicating 2 months to crossing the Pacific is a huge problem, and moving assembly to where the components were made was pretty key. And that’s not a new problem. Detroit is there for a reason. Ford moved manufacturing to the intersection of coal, iron, and shipping and he built the equivalent of Foxconn in River Rouge – shoving raw materials in one end and cars out the other and eliminating the logistics of shipping components in the middle.

    The US could in theory do these things, but we can’t get our shit together as is most evident in large defense procurement projects. Congress could set up enterprise zones and do shit like that, but which state would get the benefits? No, they’d need to carve it up across the country, with one part of the iPhone made in one state, and another part in another state and another part in yet another state. Congress couldn’t possibly pass something that favored one state over another – that would be madness.

    There are a few benefits of an autocratic regime. But Shenzhen where much of this work is done had 30,000 people in 1979 when it was designated a special economic zone. There’s 18 million people there. There’s a level of worker mobility in China (easy when you are dirt poor) that allows for industrial flexibility that the US can’t match. It’s that flexibility that brought so many US tech companies there. It’s nearly impossible to duplicate in the US.

  435. 435
    redshirt says:

    @🌷 Martin: I went to Shenzhen twice and it amazed/depressed me. I saw a museum exhibit showing the rise of the city – it went from fishing village to metropolis on par with NYC in 25 years. Amazing.

  436. 436
    Linnaeus says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    My point, though, is that if we’re convinced that saving the shoe factory is a bad idea, waving away people’s concern about that is also a bad ides

  437. 437
    J R in WV says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I have watched my home state (WV, big secreet) slide from a reliably Democratic place to live to a Republican place to exist. Mostly I think this started when Obama was elected – I think many WV Democrats were shocked by the amount of racism that showed up during that election.

    Of course, it wasn’t native racism, it was fomented by Republicans using racism as a tool to – hopefully – put down the Democratic party. That didn’t work out so well for them, thanks to President Obama’s skills and luck. I’m surely hoping that the extremist Republicans don’t make any headway in the upcoming elections.

    Coal miners are mostly losing their jobs because of market forces. The fact of Global Climate Change is another part of that market shift. But here in WV there is another reason – when the coal in the hole is gone, the mine closes. Out west you see this pretty often, hard rock mines, mining for gold or silver, reach the end of profitable ore more unpredictably than coal mines, generally.

    Coal seams often run for miles, with well understood thicknesses and quality. So a mine with a contract to supply coal will be in business for at least as long as that contract – if the buyer stays in business. Power plants, though, are changing to natural gas as that market changes. And steel mills, the other big market for high-quality coal, are being shut down by foreign steel producers.

    None of this is the fault of devious plans by President Obama, but the Republicans are willing to spend millions of dollars claiming that it is exactly his fault. And people who were never going to have a career underground are willing to believe the worst about that black guy in the White House.

    A Damned Shame it is, but there it is~!

    Have I mentioned that I hate the Republicans today? I do, and have for years. They are un-American, evil, power hungry, greedy monsters.

  438. 438

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Yes I do, when it comes to The Sweden.

    /From the frozen tundra of The Florida.

  439. 439
    a a says:

    @Gin&Tonic
    “The” Ukraine is perfectly good English. It may not be what Ukrainians say but then the French don’t say “France” either – they say “the France.” So I’d say the example is ill-chosen and the attitude is excessively prescriptive. Are we allowed to say “Russia”?

  440. 440
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @a a: @a a: The Ukranians actually had a fit about this a couple of years and demanded to be called Ukraine rather than the Ukraine. As a compromise, they are now called Putin’s Bitch.

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