Late Night Open Thread: Back to the ’60s Future!


Jelani Cobb, in the New Yorker:

Last summer, the A.C.L.U. issued a report highlighting the ways in which Trump’s proposals on a number of issues would violate the Bill of Rights. After his victory, the A.C.L.U.’s home page featured an image of him with the caption “See You in Court.” In November, Trump tweeted that he would have won the popular vote but for millions of illegal ballots cast. This was not just a window into the conspiratorial and fantasist mind-set of the President-elect but a looming threat to voting rights. Ten days after the election, the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund released a statement opposing the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions, of Alabama, as Attorney General, based on his record of hostility to voting rights and on the fact that he’d once brought unsubstantiated charges of voter fraud against civil-rights activists. But, with a Republican majority that has mostly shown compliance with Trump, despite his contempt for the norms of democracy, the fear is that he will achieve much of what he wants. Even if he accomplishes only half, the landscape of American politics and policy will be radically altered. This prospect has recalled another phenomenon of the nineteen-sixties: the conviction that “democracy is in the streets.”…

In that context, the waves of protests in Portland, Los Angeles, Oakland, New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., in the days after the election look less like spontaneous outrage and more like a preview of what the next four years may hold. Unlike the specific protests that emerged during the Obama Administration, the post-election demonstrations have been directed at the general state of American democracy. Two hundred thousand women are expected to assemble in front of the Capitol, on January 21st, the day after the Inauguration, for the Women’s March on Washington. Born of one woman’s invitation to forty friends, the event is meant as a rejoinder to the fact that a candidate with a troubling history regarding women’s rights—one who actually bragged about committing sexual assault—has made it to the White House.

The first Inauguration of George W. Bush, in 2001, saw mass protests driven by the sentiment that the election had been stolen. The protests that greet Trump will, in all probability, exceed them: some twenty other groups have also applied for march permits. Given his history with African-Americans, Muslims, Latinos, immigrants, unionized labor, environmentalists, and people with disabilities, it is not hard to imagine that there will be many more to come. The Congress is unlikely to check the new President, but democracy may thrive in the states, the courts, the next elections, and, lest the lessons of the sixties be forgotten, the streets.

29 replies
  1. 1
    Raoul says:

    As I’ve said more than once in the past few weeks, we had honest to god riots pretty regularly in this country for quite a while. No reason that isn’t coming back, when people figure out that Rump and his pals are ripping everyone off, suck at their jobs, and that the whole shebang of them in his entourage hate average joes far more than the dred ‘elites’ who used to actually run a decent little gov’t for the people.

    We’ll see if nightly reports of deaths, burning police cars, trashed business, etc, have an impact. Part of the unknown is how much our hyper-militarized police can tamp down the riots.

    In a way, I think the sustained sort of protest we saw at the Dakota Access pipeline (even if ultimately Rump gets his buddies the permit) will be what is needed, in so many locations that the sort of intergovernmental compact that sends riot cops around is far, far overstretched.

    As I saw earlier today, “Buckle up, it’s gonna be a shittastic ride.”

    -Raoul (fka RaflW)

  2. 2
    Mnemosyne says:

    I managed to write 1,700 words of my novel two nights in a row. Yay me!

    Back to work tomorrow after a week off. Oh, well. At least I (mostly) like my job.

  3. 3
    J R in WV says:

    What did President Pence know? and When did he know it? — that’s a great sentence to end the post! It has so many assumptions in it, about Trump, about Pence, about the next administration.

    We know Trump will have committed impeachable offenses within moments of taking office, because he will have income from foreign states. We know Pence will be aware of at least some of the offenses, although probably not all of them.

    We know there is more than just the foreign emoluments, because Putin owns him, for some strange reason. Video of the Donald doing things in Russia that you can’t do here and get away with, maybe. Maybe just because of the debt the Donald owes to the Russian Kleptocratic Banking groups? Lots of money changing hands, and how much of that money is unreported? We don’t know what IS reported, and the IRS doesn’t know how much that is reported is related to the amounts that should be reported.

    Money you don’t report to the IRS is money that doesn’t shrink due to legally due taxes. Money from business in foreign countries is that much harder to have a grip on, legally. We know that many foreign countries don’t have the strict legal frameworks built to track income, to ensure that proper tax payments are made on schedule. Is this why the Donald is doing so much more business out of the USA than he used to?

    Who knows? If Pence knows, he will go down too. Depending upon when he learned it, and whom he told about it when he learned about it. Don’t mess with do IRS, Mon! Ever’body know they will take you down if you try to mess wit’ dem.

  4. 4
    Anya says:

    I’ve read a JD Vance NYT piece about how he’ll miss Obama’s decency. I’ve seen this guy on CNN and I thought he was reasonable and even handed in his critique. I was even considering buying Hillbilly Elegy, untill I read this piece. This guy who sees himself as a champion of the forgotten Appalachia wrote this:

    On Jan. 20, the political side of my brain will breathe a sigh of relief at Mr. Obama’s departure. I will hope for better policy from the new administration, a health reform package closer to my ideological preferences, and a new approach to foreign policy.

    Is he stupid? Did he actually listen to any of Trump’s policies? To my knowledge, Trump has 3 clear policies: “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims,” build a wall, and repeal Obamacare. How will any of that help his beloved Appalachians?

  5. 5
    Mnemosyne says:


    How will any of that help his beloved Appalachians?

    Vance thinks that Trump will prioritize helping poor white people over helping poor black and brown people. He’s totally wrong, because Trump isn’t going to help any poor people of any color, but that’s what he thinks. And that’s what Trump’s voters think, too.

    They’re all in for a very bad surprise that the rest of us saw a mile away.

  6. 6
    J R in WV says:


    Obviously he IS stupid. Probably stupid to have voted for the Donald, without figuring out what the Donald was promising to do and not promising to do.

    Repealing Obamacare will close most of the rural hospitals in the country, driven into bankruptcy. Many of the Doctors, whose wealth and income keeps many small businesses in the black, will lose their practices to a lack of insurance payments – the actual patients won’t be paying for those Beemers!

    Surely the Republican business managers of Amurrica won’t allow Pete the Car Thief to shut down the flow of government money to the for profit hospitals and thriving medical practices?!?!

    The staff that wear scrubs, they can afford car payments and rent. People selling makeup and magazines at a CVS can buy food for their babbies with the salary that comes from prescription coverage payments.

    Without insurance, who among us can pay those bills? No one. So these small businesses, run by doctors and pharmacists, will collapse. Thanks, Pete Ryan, thief of taxes!

  7. 7
    Anya says:

    @Mnemosyne: When were poor blacks ever prioritized over poor whites? The only reason some poor blacks might fair better is because they live in blue states. Vance is as dumb as any Trump voter if he believes Trump will help anyone but himself.

  8. 8
    Oatler. says:

    Don’t Ever Antagonize The Halfwit.

  9. 9
    TriassicSands says:

    It’s 2017. With the year only 2, almost 3 days old (where I am), the New York Times began an editorial (not an Op-Ed) with this sentence:

    Every election year, politicians of both parties portray Washington as a Gomorrah of influence peddling, goldbricking and waste, funded by hardworking taxpayers.

    The editorial is about Donald Trump’s profound ignorance of how the government works, yet for some reason the Times’ editorial board found it necessary to lead off the editorial with a sentence boldly proclaiming “both sides do it.”

    It’s going to be a long four years.

  10. 10
    fuckwit says:

    you have to keep in mind that troll wants and intends to actively cultivate riots. he has said this several times. crisis capitalism.

    but what’s the outcome? easy, study your history: brutal authoritarian crackdowns.

    every revolution that descends into chaos and anarchy ends up as a fascist state; people are scared and need order at any cost.

    i am not excited for riots. i think organization and measured but steady and dignified resitance might work, in the african american civil righs style and the work of LBGTQ activists over the last 15 years or so.

    will white people summon that level of self-discipline? i’m not hopeful

  11. 11
    James Powell says:


    He’s clearly crazy or stupid. When has any Republican introduced a change in foreign policy that was good? When has any Republican foreign policy move made the world better? When has any Republican administration produced good policy on anything at all?

    We are talking about an unbroken record of dismal failure since Reagan. Sure, their already wealthy and powerful supporters got more wealth and power, but what policies did they ever enact that made life better for ordinary people?

    Anyone who believes that the Republicans are going to do anything for those hard-working white folk of Appalachia is too stupid to be on any TV show other than cable news.

  12. 12
    Emerald says:


    Only non-violence can work, and that will take time and produce many casualties. It doesn’t have to be from a nationwide organization. Small local groups who take the time to plan and train themselves to adhere to strict non-violence, however, eventually will wear the oppression down. The lunch counter sit-ins started with ten people. They trained for six months, deciding what they would wear, that they would march in silently, and put themselves through “rehearsals” so that they could take whatever was thrown at them, including beatings, and never lift a finger to strike back. Tough to do, but that’s what it takes. (All this from Al Giordano)

  13. 13
    Anne Laurie says:


    The editorial is about Donald Trump’s profound ignorance of how the government works, yet for some reason the Times’ editorial board found it necessary to lead off the editorial with a sentence boldly proclaiming “both sides do it.”

    If the Trickster God were a better novelist, the NYT owners booting “prickly feminist” Jill Abramson in favor of “so much more reasonable” Dean Baquet back in 2014 would’ve been… foreshadowing. The Sulzbergers have a history, and they’re proud of it, and they’ll be defending their PROUD! REASONABLE! CENTRIST! credentials even as the Trumplodytes greet them with pitchforks and nooses.

  14. 14
    celticdragonchick says:


    That’s what frightens me. Trump will use demonstrations and riots as an excuse to attack free speech and set federal law enforcement to harass, investigate, jail and prosecute his opponents and various leaders in BLM etc. That doesn’t me we can or should stop. It does mean that we may well have to adopt a true resistance mindset, tactics and willingness to use alternative means of communication if the FBI begins COINTELPRO style operations against us.

  15. 15
    rikyrah says:

    Congratulations on the writing 😄

  16. 16
    p.a. says:

    “What did Pres. Pence know, and when did he know it?” Probably won’t be asked without the aid of a non-supine media. Soooooo….

  17. 17
    RedDirtGirl says:

    I got a button maker for xmas. My first one says, “This Pussy Grabs Back: Nasty Women March, DC. 1/21/17”

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    I, for one, look forward to the masses assembled for the Trump inauguration chanting in unison: TRAITOR! TRAITOR! TRAITOR!

    It’ll set the tone for the next four years, I’m sure.

  20. 20
    Applejinx says:

    This would have happened either on the left or on the right. We may be the lucky ones. Most likely a lefty uprising would not take the terrorist form that a righty uprising against Clinton would have done.

  21. 21
    Denali says:

    A woman came into the fair trade store where I volunteer wearing a button saying Make American Kind Again. She gave out buttons to both of us volunteering, and I am now wearing it on my jacket. A small statement, hard to argue with.

  22. 22
    cmorenc says:


    I’ve read a JD Vance NYT piece…
    Is he stupid? Did he actually listen to any of Trump’s policies?

    Vance may nevertheless be worth reading because he can articulately explain, from an insider’s perspective, the factors which create the seemingly perverse mindset of red-voting Appalachian residents – which is more complicated than the simple racism and stupidity we tend to see in these folks. True, Vance himself may not have adequately escaped the naive political conservatism of his fellow Appalachians, but his articles and book are not designed to forward any conservative ideological agenda – they’re valuable as accessible works of sociology that may help progressives someday regain some political traction with these folks, even if they are a lost cause in the short run.

  23. 23
    glory b says:

    @cmorenc: I’ve listened to a few interviews with him, haven’t read his book. I’ve read some pushback form others who grew up like he did re: the complete lack of a racist bone in anyone’s body (according to him).

    They say that Vance glides past the extent to which racism and hatred of the “other” animates the way these people believe and why they vote the way they do.

    A little while back someone posted an editorial cartoon from the post civil war era showing a white farmer choosing to drown rather than allying with a black man.

    LBJ (who knew them well) said as long as you were telling them they were better than the black man, they’d never notice how their pockets were being picked, and if you were good enough at it, they’d just reach in and give you the wallet.

    They’ve thought this way for hundreds of years. Stupdiity and racism explains a lot.

  24. 24
    cmorenc says:

    @glory b: I am personally familiar with the sorts of folks Vance describes, through blood, community, and marriage with both Appalachian (wife’s side) and coastal-plain eastern NC (mother’s family side, community I grew up in). On a face-to-face interpersonal level with folks they are personally connected to via family or friendship, they can be some of the best people you could ever hope to know – the sort who, when you’ve got a bunch of stuff to move, will show up with their pickup truck and spend an afternoon helping you, or whom you can count on when you’re sick to come around and bring food to you (though it may be fast food from KFC) and so on. But let the relationship of people involved become more indirect, abstract, and removed from their immediate circles – and the perspective quickly changes to shortsighted us-versus-them, IGMFY type conservatism..

  25. 25
    Steeplejack (tablet) says:


    Pure tribalism.

  26. 26
    stinger says:

    @Mnemosyne: Congrats! That’s about my own one-day max, and I’ve only done it once. Sounds like you’re on a roll–I hope “work” doesn’t intrude on that!

  27. 27
    EBT says:

    @Mnemosyne: Maybe people named “Vance” don’t know shit about what is good for NC. (The joke is that Zebulon Vance was the governor who talked the lege in to joining the confederacy, then WNC said fuck that and unioned up)

  28. 28
    cmorenc says:

    @Steeplejack (tablet):


    Pure tribalism.

    That’s certainly one valid way to describe it from a macro perspective, but fails to adequately capture the nature of the critical interpersonal interactions which, in aggregate, create a tribalistic perspective on the world.

  29. 29
    jharp says:

    My pitchfork is ready.

    Count me in.

    See you in the streets.

Comments are closed.