Listen To Someone Who Knows Something About The Shitgibbon’s Mentor

Masha Gessen knows from vicious fascist dictators.  Here’s what she has to say under the headline “Autocracy: Rules for Survival“:

I have lived in autocracies most of my life, and have spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. I have learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy and salvaging your sanity and self-respect. It might be worth considering them now:

Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says….

Rule #2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.

[See Betty’s post below]

Rule #3: Institutions will not save you….

Rule #4: Be outraged

Rule #5: Don’t make compromises

Rule #6: Remember the future….

ozymandias_collossus-_ramesseum_luxor_egypt

This is one of those read-the-whole-thing deals.  Masha has lived what she’s talking about here.  I have had the good fortune to spend some evenings talking with her, and she is at once one of the sharpest, most un-bull-shit-able political thinkers I know and among the most courageous people I’ve ever met.

If you don’t have time, or, like me, have only a finite tolerance for looking straight at the beast looking back at us, here’s the short form, as stated in Rule 4:

If you follow Rule #1 and believe what the autocrat-elect is saying, you will not be surprised. But in the face of the impulse to normalize, it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock. This will lead people to call you unreasonable and hysterical, and to accuse you of overreacting. It is no fun to be the only hysterical person in the room. Prepare yourself.

That leads to the logic of Rule 6:

Nothing lasts forever. Donald Trump certainly will not, and Trumpism, to the extent that it is centered on Trump’s persona, will not either. Failure to imagine the future may have lost the Democrats this election. They offered no vision of the future to counterbalance Trump’s all-too-familiar white-populist vision of an imaginary past. They had also long ignored the strange and outdated institutions of American democracy that call out for reform—like the electoral college, which has now cost the Democratic Party two elections in which Republicans won with the minority of the popular vote. That should not be normal. But resistance—stubborn, uncompromising, outraged—should be.

I expect we will lose most battles for years to come. Perhaps all of them.  ETA: Fuck that noise.  The comments below decrying defeatism are right.  We’re going to win a bunch.  Not everything, and people will get hurt, badly.  But Republicans are already over reaching.  They’re fuck-ups and we’ll be able to take advantage of the openings they provide.  See this from David Cole for a little hope.  Which is why I keep coming back to Masha’s conclusion — say no, and keep on saying it — and see it as a pocket-guide-for-the-perplexed.

I’ve more to say, as I think towards what specific forms my resistance may take, but none of that’s really formed yet, beyond giving some money to some of the most obvious targets.  More later.  In the meantime, what Gessen says:  Trump will not last forever, and resistance is many things — but not futile.

Image: the Ozymandias Colossus — Raames II, mistakenly identified as the mythical king Ozymandias.  This ruin inspired Percy Bysshe Shelly to write this.

55 replies
  1. 1
    Jeffro says:

    I’m good with not normalizing and not compromising. We know where this is going; we have nothing to lose by working hard at this and fighting if necessary.

  2. 2

    I expect we will lose most battles for years to come. Perhaps all of them.

    Why the preemptive defeatism? If you think you are going to lose, you have already lost half the battle.

  3. 3
    Mary G says:

    I and a few other commenters linked to that the other day. I thought about linking and excerpting a rule every day, then forgot it in my scattered mind. It is scary and I believe we must fight and fight smart.

  4. 4
    Chris says:

    To be fair, “believe what the autocrat is saying” can be difficult given how often he’ll talk out of both sides of his mouth: I don’t believe a word of the man’s statements about preserving the safety net, for example.

    “When people show you who they are, believe them” might be a better formulation (i.e. he flip-flopped on a whole bunch of things like the safety net, but he was pretty consistent on and devoted to the white nationalist campaign). I’m not sure exactly what the best phrasing for this rule would be. I suppose mine is somewhere along the lines of “expect the worst.”

  5. 5
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I’ve been saying for a long time — I think I said it in one of the threads last night — that I want to be shocked and horrified at these outrages. I never want to get to that cynical, shoulder-shrugging “well-what-did-you-expect?” point. Glad to know that my instincts were, and are, in alignment with Masha Gessen’s. (Bookmarked her NYRB piece the other day, but haven’t read it yet, so thanks for the nudge.)

    ETA: Oh, FFS, FYWP. You turn “Masha” into “Mashable”?

  6. 6
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Tom, or anyone else, if you are on Facebook (I am not, but somebody showed me this piece) find Timothy Snyder, who knows a thing or two about fascism. He posted a similar list, 20 points of what to do now.

  7. 7
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    The thing is, Trump isn’t really smart enough to be an autocrat – he’s a narcissist who thought he deserved to catch the car, but doesn’t know what to do with it now and has absolutely zero idea of what he doesn’t know, he’s too stupid and self-obsessed to ask , and which are all the things that will bite him in the ass. I just don’t know what it all means, except lots of people will get hurt.

  8. 8
    WereBear says:

    WORRED SICK ABOUT YOUR HEALTH CARE?

    Yes, me too. So some of us set up a blog where people can share their stores.

    Could Happen to You

    Please join us.

  9. 9
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I’ve got a facebook account but I haven’t ever really grokked that ecosystem. I’ll see if I can dig that up, however.

  10. 10
    piratedan says:

    sorry, I had a pretty good idea about the future that the Dems were selling. Embracing the notion that we were all equal and all had rights within this democracy. That we were going to address debt, educational debt, by working to put our educational system on a set up where people shouldn’t incur massive debt getting an education. That we were going to tax the richest among us to help pay for the needed updates to our national infrastructure crisis and begin on ways to help save the planet.

    That plan was pretty apparent to anyone who actually listened to what she spoke to at her rallies and bothered to read her website. The idea that Dems were message-less about the future is bullshit. The problem still remains that our main means of disseminating information is in the hands of people who have no fucking interest in delivering said messages unless that message also buys them eyeballs and clicks. It shows that people would rather watch a dumpster fire of a campaign instead of having to do any work themselves to find out what is being proposed.

    I fear that both our media and the majority of folks that voted for Trump could give a fuck about people who happen to be gay, of any religion that isn’t protestant, wanting an education or would like to relieve themselves of the burden of debt or have concerns about income inequality.

    The scary thing is, a Trump Presidency still may leave a majority of these folks relatively unscathed (unless we start trading nukes) because they’re white and the system is STILL skewed to them and they’ll be the last ones to feel any pain.

  11. 11
    Chris says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Can you link the piece?

  12. 12
    Chat Noir says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Yeah, this constant negativity and defeatism around here is draining and counterproductive.

  13. 13
    Weaselone says:

    It’s a strong piece, but the 2nd part of item 6 is BS. Democrats have articulated an alternate view of the future, unless the whole dynamic, multicultural, society striving together thing doesn’t count.

  14. 14
    Mnemosyne says:

    @piratedan:

    I knew exactly what Hillary’s campaign was about: Stronger Together.

    The other side knew that, and chose division and hatred. That’s the ugly truth.

  15. 15
    Chris says:

    @piratedan:

    That plan was pretty apparent to anyone who actually listened to what she spoke to at her rallies and bothered to read her website. The idea that Dems were message-less about the future is bullshit.

    This. It’s becoming the narrative of this election and it is, indeed, bullshit. Negatives and all, plenty of people understood and responded to Hillary’s message – as we’re seeing with the ballot returns, more than ever responded to Trump’s.

    The problem is, at the risk of sounding like a sore loser, that the system is intentionally rigged against them, and it’s probably going to get worse and worse as it goes on. One event like this in 2000 was a fluke (especially since the Supreme Court intervened before the ballot question could even be put to rest). Another isn’t – and new vote suppression laws erected over the corpse of the Voting Rights Act are going to further weigh it against us.

    But yeah. Right wingers can lecture on and on about how “we’re a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC not a DEMOCRACY,” or they can argue that this election represents the repeal of Obama/Clinton’s policies by the American people. Pick one. (The first one is right-ish).

  16. 16
    Chat Noir says:

    @piratedan: Exactly. “Stronger together” was a positive message along with the policies to help as many people as possible.

  17. 17
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @piratedan:

    I had a pretty good idea about the future that the Dems were selling. Embracing the notion that we were all equal and all had rights within this democracy. That we were going to address debt, educational debt, by working to put our educational system on a set up where people shouldn’t incur massive debt getting an education. That we were going to tax the richest among us to help pay for the needed updates to our national infrastructure crisis and begin on ways to help save the planet.

    Yeah, that was my idea of the future under Hillary Clinton. Continued progress. I don’t know why that’s not a winning message, but then I’m just a dumb liberal who wants everyone to have nice things, and understands politics enough to not be naive about incremental change.

  18. 18
    JordanRules says:

    @piratedan:

    That plan was pretty apparent to anyone who actually listened to what she spoke to at her rallies and bothered to read her website. The idea that Dems were message-less about the future is bullshit. The problem still remains that our main means of disseminating information is in the hands of people who have no fucking interest in delivering said messages unless that message also buys them eyeballs and clicks. It shows that people would rather watch a dumpster fire of a campaign instead of having to do any work themselves to find out what is being proposed.

    Very well said!

  19. 19
    Berial says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I think she’s talking about the fight the Dems will have with Trump and the Legislative branch. Since the Republicans pretty much own all three places we can expect the Dems to lose any ideological battles there for at minimum 2 years, and with the way things look 4. I don’t think she’s talking elections.

  20. 20
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Tom Levenson: It’s worth hunting it down. Snyder is a smart guy.

  21. 21
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Chris: No, since I do not have a Facebook account.

  22. 22
    Weaselone says:

    The problem is that in too many states, the past looks more attractive than the future so the people vote for the politician that promises the past. I am not sure what we do about that.

  23. 23
    Chris says:

    @Weaselone:

    Point out what it is exactly that actually made “the past” possible, i.e. high unionization rates, high public spending, high taxes on the rich, and strong regulation.

    Of course, that’s not what a lot of the voters focused on “the past” miss about it.

  24. 24
    Mary G says:

    @Chris: @Gin & Tonic:Here is the link to Timothy Snyder’s FB post. It is public, so when FB asks you to sign in or sign up, just click “Not Now” and you can see the whole thing.

  25. 25
    Aleta says:

    I’d like to hear anyone’s thoughts on the data shown here, related to the vote counts in progress and rejected ballots and the unknowns in some key states. It was put tpgether by Melinda Byerley, who says she was a Repub. until this year, and supported HRC. She says this is all publicly available data that no one on news is mentioning so far.

  26. 26
    Mary G says:

    Timothy Snyder FB post. It’s public, so when FB asks you to sign up or sign in, just click “Not Now” and you can read it all.

    13. Hinder the one-party state. The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.

  27. 27
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Mary G: It’s such a great article that I had to bookmark it so I can read it over and over again. Gessen’s rallying cry that we mustn’t open our minds to Trump or otherwise acquiesce to Trump’s policies is very important. I love that she calls out our Democratic leaders, including President Obama and Secretary Clinton, for encouraging Americans opposed to Trumpism to give him a chance. Trump is too dangerous for this naivete.

  28. 28
    Chris says:

    @Mary G:
    @Mary G:

    Thank you. Very good read.

  29. 29
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Oh for the love of the FSM

    Believe the autocrat.

    The entire problems with Trump is he just talks crap the entire time. Even his own minons don’t know what the hell he wants.
    No one can even predict the current batch of delplorables he is hiring won’t just be give the plastic spork in the back come next quarter to pave make room for the next batch.

    If fact that’s something to consider – there’s been a big game in business during the Great Recession of hiring temps for six months and then canning them before they get to indispensable and the company has to compensate them to keep them around. Sounds like Trump is going to run his admin the same way.

  30. 30
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Aleta: This should be tweeted to someone at the DNC to see if they can do anything to investigate. If the facts were reversed, I assume the RNC would sue about the improperly rejected ballots at the very least.

  31. 31

    Not only are they fuck-ups, but they always lose their nerve. Yes, always, soon or late; sometimes so late that it’s not much help, but always.

  32. 32
    Chris says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    I agree.

    But I do think there’s an important point to be made about not writing off cartoonishly evil proclamations or implications simply because they seem too out-there.

  33. 33
    Aleta says:

    Some pieces of an article in the NYT by Landler, Lipton, Becker

    Mr. Giuliani’s business ties are a major red flag. … His firm, Giuliani Partners, has had contracts with the government of Qatar and the Canadian company that is building the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and Mr. Giuliani has given paid speeches to a shadowy Iranian opposition group that until 2012 was on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.

    In one year — 2006 — Mr. Giuliani reported in a financial disclosure report that he had made 124 speeches, for as much as $200,000 each, and had earned a total of $11.4 million. He often made extravagant demands in return for agreeing to make a speech, including that the private plane that flew him to the engagement be a certain size.

    ,,,This week, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, questioned Mr. Giuliani’s fitness for the job, pointing to his list of paid speeches, his work for foreign governments and his support for the Iraq war. Mr. Trump has long claimed erroneously that he opposed the war. “It is worrisome, some of the ties to foreign governments, because that was a big complaint about many of us with Hillary Clinton and her ties and the money she received from foreign governments,” Mr. Paul told CNN on Tuesday.

    His other clients have included a long list of prominent American corporations, including Bear Stearns, Uber and CB Richard Ellis, the real estate giant. Under contract with Purdue Pharma, the maker of the often-abused painkiller OxyContin, Mr. Giuliani used his clout with the Justice Department to press the federal authorities to offer a less onerous punishment to the company after allegations that security problems at its warehouses might have contributed to black market sales.

    But it is the lesser-known names that may draw the most scrutiny.

    TriGlobal Strategic Ventures, a company that aims to “assist Western clients in furthering their business interests in the emerging economies of the former Soviet Union,” according to its website, is among the more obscure clients.

    …Records show Mr. Giuliani has had ties dating to at least 2004 to TriGlobal, a company that has provided image consulting to Russian oligarchs and clients with deep Kremlin ties. They have included Transneft, Russia’s state-owned oil pipeline giant, which is the target of Western sanctions imposed after President Vladimir V. Putin annexed Crimea and began meddling in Ukraine.
    TriGlobal’s advisory board includes Ara Abramyan, listed on the company’s website as a “very close Advisor to the Russian Government’s inner circle including the President and the Prime Minister.” The company’s founding partners are Andrey Drobyshev, who claims to have strong relations with regional and municipal governments in Russia, and Vitaly Pruss, whose website profile says that he has focused on “international image development and PR for Russian & Ukrainian companies” and that from 2008 to 2011, he worked “closely with Giuliani Partners LLC.”

    Jeffrey Berman, one of TriGlobal’s managing partners, is also vice president of Berman Enterprises, a family-run company that worked with Giuliani Partners in 2008 to form a commercial and residential real estate investment vehicle called the Berman Opportunity Fund. Its purpose was to target foreign investors looking to take advantage of the weak dollar through real estate investments in New York and Washington.

    In 2004, for instance, the company arranged to have Mr. Giuliani come to Moscow to meet with the foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, as well as other prominent Russian politicians and business executives. That year, Mr. Giuliani visited Magnitogorsk, Russia, “for a series of meetings with Viktor Rashnikov,” a Russian billionaire who is the chairman of the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works.

    While Mr. Trump has vowed to bring back jobs in the United States steel industry, Russia has complained about American tariffs on steel that hurt companies like Mr. Rashnikov’s. TriGlobal also arranged for Mr. Giuliani to meet with executives from the Russian steel company in the next year in New York, where they dined at the St. Regis hotel at an event attended by Bill Clinton.

  34. 34

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne: “Trump isn’t really smart enough to be an autocrat”

    He doesn’t have to be smart, once he has the office. This is very much like monarchist politics, and Trump will be a weak king. And a weak king is at the mercy of his courtiers, people like retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who seems to have a grudge against Chris Christie. For this, the transition is in even more chaos. See http://talkingpointsmemo.com/e.....-bad-it-is.

  35. 35
    Peter H Desmond says:

    i’ve always liked this parody of Shelley’s poem:

    OZYMANDIAS REVISITED
    Morris Bishop
    I met a traveler from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings!
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
    Also the names of Emory P. Gray,
    Mr. and Mrs. Dukes, and Oscar Baer
    of 17 West 4th Street, Oyster Bay.

  36. 36
    trollhattan says:

    We’re going to win a bunch.

    Requisite follow-on, “We’ll get bored with winning.” Bigly.

  37. 37
    Aleta says:

    @piratedan:

    The idea that Dems were message-less about the future is bullshit. The problem still remains that our main means of disseminating information is in the hands of people who have no fucking interest in delivering said messages unless that message also buys them eyeballs and clicks.

    Case in point: this headline in New York Mag yesterday:

    Reminder: Clinton Did Virtually Nothing to Court White Voters in the Rust Belt

    In fact she offered them an improved health care plan, funding for education, equal rights for women, assistance for small business, focus on children, help with addiction, and ………. …… …….. ……… ………. ……… …… ………… …………. …………. …….. …… ……

  38. 38
    debbie says:

    That Snyder post was very good. I’ve shared on my FB feed in the hope it ticks off my Trumpster family members.

    I hope someone more enterprising than I is archiving Trump’s tweets. They should prove fun to throw back at him in the future.

  39. 39
    Chris says:

    @Aleta:

    Seriously.

    I hesitate to do too much cheering for her because clearly we need to figure out a way to win again and that’s not possible without examining what went wrong and where we could’ve gone better. But I don’t see how you can discuss 2016 without allowing a lot of room for the fact that

    1) Most everything the media is accusing Democrats of not having done, they did. The media just wouldn’t talk about it, and drowned it all out in an avalanche of “emails, emails, emails, EMAILS!”

    2) To the extent that people understood what the Democrats were offering, a very large portion of people simply aren’t interested in policy. At all. They want the feel-good identity goodies that the Trumps of the world offer, and they’ll pick it before promises of food on the table and a roof over their heads every time.

  40. 40
    Roger Moore says:

    @Chris:

    I’m not sure exactly what the best phrasing for this rule would be. I suppose mine is somewhere along the lines of “expect the worst.”

    Maybe something like “believe the terrible things the autocrat says he will do”, because they’re telling you their goals. Maybe they won’t be able to achieve what they’re proposing, but you have to operate on the assumption they’ll try.

  41. 41
    Aleta says:

    @Chris: ‘the feel-good identity goodies’
    That’s the part that reminds me of cult belief. I agree about the importance of examining.

  42. 42
    Roger Moore says:

    @Aleta:

    In fact she offered them an improved health care plan, funding for education, equal rights for women, assistance for small business, focus on children, help with addiction, and

    But apart from the health care, education, equal rights, SBA loans, child care, and rehab, what have the Romans Democrats ever done for us?

  43. 43
    NYCMT says:

    I posted this last Friday to my Facebook wall:

    “So, Booker ’20.

    We’ve had a national election in which the establishment candidate of long experience and heavy built-in negatives lost because meh. Not because of hordes of radicalized nazi white folk were hiding in the walls, but because Trump was 1) normalized by an uncritical media, 2) accepted by the establishment of the Republican party because to do otherwise would have meant instant party civil war,and 3) Clinton, while an excellent public servant, was not the candidate that could sufficiently mobilize disconnected voters.

    The next two years are not going to be good, but there are some things we should understand:

    1) Trump does not have a core cadre of people that understand the administrative state. He does not like outside people, and he is sharply at odds with the portion of the Republican party that is most connected to national security concerns. He doesn’t have a government standing in the wings. He’ll be more disorganized than Obama was going into ’09, and he’ll be surrounded with the NY altekacker brain-trust.

    Nothing is coming out of a Trump administration for a while. Who’s going to be writing the executive orders?

    2) Trump is, personally, the most fucking unpopular person to take office in the history of modern preference polling. He has NO upside to his popularity. Twenty percent of his own voters feel he is unfit – they voted for him because they are tribal and their preferences only dislodge when there is utterly clear evidence that their coalition is shitburger.

    3) The republican legislative coalition is shitburger. Ryan, and the Freedumb caucus is far more stupid than Hastert and the Republican caucus in 2004-6 – the ones who stepped in shit when they tried to privatize social security. We have a wave of under-saved boomers retiring now – and Ryan’s stated program-in-waiting involves destroying the part of the welfare state they need. The republicans are going to fuck up, and soon.

    4) Booker ’20. He’s personally clean, young, connected to money and has had a charmed political life. He’s charismatic – winning against a machine He’s lived in public housing and saved people’s lives! If he’s smart, he’s talking to Obama people now about putting infrastructure in place for a post ’18 announcement. He’ll have a lot of money getting ready for ’20 Senate, and the flexibility. And, hey, if Rubio can do the prez-to-Sen-escape channel, why can’t he?”

  44. 44
    CM says:

    I am getting really tired of reading statements such as this one: “Failure to imagine the future may have lost the Democrats this election. They offered no vision of the future to counterbalance Trump’s all-too-familiar white-populist vision of an imaginary past.”

    Really? “Stronger Together” is at least as much a vision of the future as “Make America Great Again.” Hillary’s slogan has all kind of familiar implications: we protect the rights of all, we combat growing inequality, we expand health insurance to all, and so on. We have a vision. And it got the most votes. Trump’s slogan is not a vision of the future; it is a vision of a return to a past in which white males were dominant, women were subordinate, racial and religious minorities knew their place, and gays were in the closet. It got fewer votes.

  45. 45
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chris:

    One event like this in 2000 was a fluke (especially since the Supreme Court intervened before the ballot question could even be put to rest).

    Let’s face it — the Supreme Court intervention in 2000 is what emboldened these assholes to do this.

    Thanks again, Sandra Day O’Connor, you asshole. You killed the United States of America because you found Al Gore icky. What an epitaph.

  46. 46
    SFAW says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You killed the United States of America because you found Al Gore icky.

    I thought it was because she wanted to get in Fat Nino’s good graces?

  47. 47
    Jeffro says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think that is correct …unless you want to go back to the Clinton impeachment . When that fell through they truly lost their minds and decided that no amount of “normal governance” was worth saving if it meant they lost power

  48. 48
    SFAW says:

    @CM:

    It got fewer votes.

    Well, only if you count the votes of those people. If you only count the votes of Real Americans, Trump gets, like, 600 EV.

  49. 49
    median says:

    Reminder: Clinton Did Virtually Nothing to Court White Voters in the Rust Belt

    She didn’t. White people only care about things that blacks and hispanics can’t have. If you offer healthcare and drug addiction services to white people AND minorities, then you really haven’t offered white people anything at all.

    So Trump offered whites a zero-cost policy: supremacy.

  50. 50

    @Mnemosyne: This. Only this.

    I knew exactly what Hillary’s campaign was about: Stronger Together.

    The other side knew that, and chose division and hatred. That’s the ugly truth.

    And not getting all conspiracy-theory here, but the ones on the other side were dumb enough to be simple tools. Yes, dumb. No critical-thinking skills, and consumed by hatred of anyone who wasn’t “them”. Easily manipulated. I don’t see “economic anxiety”. Hell, most of the couldn’t spell anxiety. I see hatred of “the other”, and that designation varies. And that inclination was used, even if the users didn’t actually know what would happen; they knew chaos would help their conquest.

    I am on a roller-coaster of should we try to make the best of things, or digging in my heels for what I know is right. Might take me a while to decide, but for now I’m leaning toward going down fighting, if down looks like the direction things are headed, and it does. But right now it seems as though the situation is at general clusterfuck, so that may be to our advantage, but we’ve got to keep that visible, and time is short.

  51. 51
    burritoboy says:

    “You killed the United States of America because you found Al Gore icky.”

    This happens far more than anyone wants to admit. Give you an example outside of US politics: think of how much 20th century British politics was partially driven by the Tories hating the verbal accents and fashion choices of many Labour supporting union leaders. Oftentimes, they would support essentially the same policies as proposed by Labour, but only if delivered by someone with the right accent or right background or using a different vocabulary. In the mouths of a guy running a Welsh mining union, they would absolutely flip out over the same policy.

  52. 52

    @Chris:

    Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization. This will happen often: humans seem to have evolved to practice denial when confronted publicly with the unacceptable. Back in the 1930s, The New York Times assured its readers that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was all posture. More recently, the same newspaper made a telling choice between two statements made by Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov following a police crackdown on protesters in Moscow: “The police acted mildly—I would have liked them to act more harshly” rather than those protesters’ “liver should have been spread all over the pavement.” Perhaps the journalists could not believe their ears. But they should—both in the Russian case, and in the American one. For all the admiration Trump has expressed for Putin, the two men are very different; if anything, there is even more reason to listen to everything Trump has said. He has no political establishment into which to fold himself following the campaign, and therefore no reason to shed his campaign rhetoric. On the contrary: it is now the establishment that is rushing to accommodate him—from the president, who met with him at the White House on Thursday, to the leaders of the Republican Party, who are discarding their long-held scruples to embrace his radical positions.

  53. 53
    the wesson says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne: Hmm, how smart do you have to be, to be an autocrat? I suspect you just have to have a good nose for loyalty and be ruthless about demolishing rival centers of power, whether those are people or insitutions.

    Anyhow, he’s not dedicated per se to extermination so at least there’s that.

  54. 54
    RaflW says:

    Looks like Chuck Schumer is gonna fuck up Rule #5 pretty horribly. Which means all of us need to pay close heed to Rule #3.

    It
    s lovely that my Rep, Keith Ellison will probably be the DNC chair. He is a very good guy. But he isn’t gonna right a listing Democratic ship.

    We need to be networking and building resilience and resistance, and that includes resisting Chuck Schumer’s bad, bad instincts.

  55. 55
    the wesson says:

    @Chris: Yes. Hillary did pretty well in the polls whenever she got some oxygen – like in the debates. Otherwise she was smothered by … emails.

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