Damn Trump supporters

Or so says Charlie Pierce, who is ever more exercised than me at Trump’s appalling statement yesterday:

On Wednesday, in several venues, He, Trump accused “some people”—he never said who they were, nor will he, ever—of calling for a moment of silence for Micah Johnson, the mass murderer of police in Dallas, Texas. We have had some experience with this. Back when he was still considered something of a sideshow attraction, He, Trump said that he’s “seen” Muslim-Americans in New Jersey celebrating as the World Trade Center towers burned on September 11, 2001. He never said who they were, nor will he, ever. But at least there was a level of detail to the lie. There is in fact a state called New Jersey. There are in fact Muslim-Americans living there. And the attacks of 9/11 did in fact happen…

Emboldened because this and other whopping untruths did not immediately sink his campaign, He, Trump now has taken his truthless palaver to another level entirely. This is what he said on the stump in Indiana on Wednesday, when he was taking auditions for the men who care so little for their country that they are desperate to be on a ticket with a serial arsonist…

There is no evidence from any news source that this happened. By anyone. Anywhere. Nobody can find anyone who “called for a moment of silence” for the mass killer of policemen. Nobody has counted “11 cities” that are potentially on the verge of a racial holy war. RaHoWa, cry the white-supremacists. And now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has joined the chorus. That’s where his rhetoric has led him, and far too many people have followed along…

Damn them all now.

Damn the delegates who will vote for this man. Damn the professional politicians who will fall in line behind him or, worse, will sit back and hope this all blows over so the Republican Party once again will be able to relegate the poison this man has unleashed to the backwaters of the modern conservative intellectual mainstream, which is where it has been useful for over four decades. Damn the four hopeless sycophants who want to share a stage with him for four months. Damn all the people who will come here and speak on his behalf. Damn all the thoughtful folk who plumb his natural appeal for anything deeper than pure hatred.

Damn all the people who will vote for him, and damn any progressives who sit this one out because Hillary Rodham Clinton is wrong on this issue or that one. Damn all the people who are suggesting they do that. And damn all members of the media who treat this dangerous fluke of a campaign as being in any way business as usual. Any support for He, Trump is, at this point, an act of moral cowardice. Anyone who supports him, or runs with him, or enables his victory, or even speaks well of him, is a traitor to the American idea.

Damn, to name one, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from the state of Wisconsin, now exposed as the feckless political weakling he’s always been. On Wednesday, during an inexcusable CNN-sponsored informercial for himself, Ryan was asked the only question that mattered:

But the challenge facing Ryan was clear when he was asked a question by Zachary Marcone, a Republican who said he couldn’t support Trump because he is “openly racist.” “Can you tell me, how can you morally justify your support for this kind of candidate?” Marcone asked.

Ryan responded like the spineless careerist tool he’s always been.

“You’re going to help elect Hillary Clinton and I don’t think Hillary Clinton is supporting any of the things you stand for if you’re a Republican.”

In other words, if we don’t elect this authoritarian wild man, I won’t get to gut Medicare the way I’ve always wanted to.

If I were Ryan, I’d put that on a bumper sticker…

Here is the truth. Nobody called for a moment of silence for Micah Johnson. Eleven U.S. cities are not on the brink of racial violence. He, Trump just made that shit up so his followers can stay afraid and angry at the people he wants them to fear and hate. This lie was a marching order and the Party of Lincoln is right in step with him, straight into the burning Reichstag of this man’s mind.

Harsh?  Hell yeah.  Called for?  I’d say so.

Photo of the day

Love this photo of NC State’s (in)famous circular building, Harrelson Hall, being demolished:

A wide shot of the partially demolished Harrelson Hall at NC State.

Easily the most-hated building on campus for many reasons.  I cannot even imagine having an office there and needing to walk half-way around a circle to check mail or talk to a colleague.  The first time I taught there I hated it.  In part, because I did keep getting lost.  After being assigned my large lecture, Intro to American Government, in the building, I came to love it.  Harrelson 107 proved to be the best and most intimate classroom to teach a large lecture in by far.  Just a nice gentle slope to the back, which was not that far away due to a wide room.  Now I have to teach in classrooms that are like stadium-seating movie theaters.  I literally can hardly see the students in the back.  Anyway, this article has lots of interesting stuff about the design of the building (including the infamous circular restrooms in the nucleus)  Harrelson Hall, RIP.

Political ideology and childhood vaccination

So, when I did my recent post on ideology and GMO food, Itchy commented about the vaccine issue.  As it turns out, that’s addressed in the preceding chapter of the Pew report to which I linked.  First, some basic demographics:

Childhood Vaccines

Not all that many divides, but the most disturbing and notable one is that on age.  For once, old people get it right.  It’s honestly quite worrisome to see such a split among those under 30.  But, onto politics.

No, it’s not a bunch of “crunchy” Whole-Foods-loving liberals who most fear vaccination, it’s conservatives:

Trends on Childhood Vaccines by Party and Ideology

Now, these are, of course, pretty small differences as political matters go, but it is definitely conservatives who are most opposed to mandatory vaccination.  And, again, most disturbingly, is the partisan split since 2009.  We definitely do not need this being a partisan issue.

It’s also interesting that when you leave the original “very” categories, very liberal and very conservative are the least supportive– though very conservative dramatically so (67% for very liberal, and only 53% for very conservative).  Here’s my SPSS crosstab:


Again, Pew ran some regressions so that we can see these partisan and ideological effects hold up with controls:

Factors Associated With Views About Requiring Childhood Vaccines

Democrats and leaning Democrats are more likely than their Republican counterparts to say that childhood vaccines should be required, controlling for other factors (a difference in the predicted probability between the two groups of 9 percentage points). Political ideology, gender and education are not significant predictors of views on this issue. Race and ethnicity are not significant predictors of opinion, although there is a trend for Hispanics to say vaccines should be required, relative to non-Hispanic whites.

A separate analysis including religious affiliation and frequency of church attendance finds evangelical Protestants less likely to say that such vaccines should be required. Age and political party are significant predictors of vaccines, even when controlling for these religious factors.

The good news: A substantial majority of Americans still appreciates that vaccines should be mandatory.  The bad news– the issue has become more political.

The real race war in America

Loved this from Will Saletan:

This is the central thing to understand about what happened in Dallas: Black people who target whites are fundamentally allied with white people who target blacks. They’re on the same team: the race war team. It’s a lot like the global struggle over jihadism, in which Muslims who hate Christians collaborate, in effect, with Christians who hate Muslims. In the case of jihadism, the real struggle isn’t between two religions. It’s between people who want religious war and people who don’t. The same is true of race: Either you’re on the race war team, or you’re against it. [emphasis mine]

The attack in Dallas—allegedly committed by Micah Johnson, a black man—comes barely a year after a white man, Dylann Roof, allegedly shot nine black people to death in a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof told friends, and later police, that he wanted “to start a race war.” “He wanted it to be white with white, and black with black,” said a friend.

Roof’s manifesto echoed the ideas of Anders Behring Breivik, a white Christian nationalist who massacred 77 people in Norway five years ago. Breivik claimed to be defending “our people, our culture, Christendom and our nation.” He declared, “It is every European’s duty to defend their people and country against the ideology of genocide, conquest and destruction known as Islam.”

Nothing helps Roof, Breivik, Duke, and other white nationalists more than hate crimes by the people they vilify—blacks and Muslims—against whites, Christians, and police officers. No crime justifies such collective vilification. But as a social dynamic, haters and killers on all sides work together, by stoking feelings of group victimization and group vengeance…

This is the war Micah Johnson joined in Dallas on Thursday night. He didn’t join the side of black people, any more than Bin Laden or ISIS joined the side of Muslims. He joined the side of tribal enmity and vengeance. He joined the side of Dylann Roof, Anders Breivik, and David Duke. It’s the wrong side. Reject it.

Too good

Saw this on FB today (thanks, John F.)


Is Bernie the future of the Democratic Party?

In a nice interview in Vox, Political Scientist, Dan Hopkins, says… probably not.  Lots of good stuff:

JS: So when you try to make sense of what happens to the unbelievable energy Sanders has built up, and his massive support among young voters, where does that go? What happens to that movement if not to change the party?

DH: The question of what becomes of the Sanders campaign and the Sanders cause is a bit of an open one.

It may be that years down the road, we look back and see his campaign as the start of an increasingly vocal and influential left wing of the Democratic Party particularly dedicated to advancing large-scale, public sector solutions to problems.

But that requires some sort of momentum within the party that remains after the end of this campaign, and for this cause to be taken up by Democrats other than Sanders. It has to be adopted by some congressional Democrats and candidates in future elections to stay alive within the party — to pressure Democratic leaders to continue to advance those policies. I’m not terribly convinced that’s going to happen, but that’s what would need to happen.

There’s a temptation to assume that everything new in politics is a harbinger of the future. But lots of things are dead ends: They rise, and they go away. There’s no reason to believe just definitionally that Sanders represents the future of the Democratic Party more than anybody else.

JS: So why are so many commentators convinced that Sanders represents the party’s future?

DH: Sanders is a new phenomenon compared to Clinton, and he has younger supporters, so people make that assumption. But you could have said that about George McGovern [who was also extremely popular with young voters] — and then he lost, and McGovernism was not where the party moved at all after that.

I would be very careful in assuming Sanders represents the future. If he represents the future, there’s no inevitability about it. If people want a change from the Obama Democratic Party to the Sanders Democratic Party, that will require a lot of political entrepreneurship — and I’m not sure, at this stage, how that would happen.

I think it’s far more likely that at this point Democrats decide they need to pay a little more attention to the base than they have been, and be a little bolder than they have been on economic inequality. But most Democratic politicians are not going to become democratic socialists, and they’re not really going to sign on to the scale of the policy agenda and the scale of government activity that Sanders is proposing. I think there will still be a lot of resistance to that.

Pretty compelling arguments, I think.  When it comes to financing, though, and it’s implications for who the Democratic party represents, Hopkins is open to the idea that Sanders may have really changed things:

JS: What if we look at something like campaign finance? Sanders was able to raise enough from his small-donor army to not suffer financially against Clinton and do so in a way that also redounded to his political benefit. Could there be a lasting lesson there?

DH: I think there’s probably something to that. He showed that you can raise a lot of money from small individual donations without making nice with business interests within the party, and the Clinton fundraising strategy going back to the ’90s was to sell themselves to wealthier interests as being somewhat business-friendly.

So Sanders does represent another path, and he was certainly much better-funded than most of his liberal insurgent predecessors. He showed that you can use the internet and publicity to raise an awful lot of money. That’s certainly one place where future presidential candidates could change.

So, is Sanders the future of the Democratic Party?  Ask me in four years :-).

Sadly, we have become inured to Trump’s racial fearmongering

This is just horrible.  But it’s not even getting any news coverage.  Drum:

I can’t believe I missed this, but I did:

During two separate discussions of Black Lives Matters protests on Tuesday, Donald Trump claimed that people have called for moments of silence for
Micah Johnson, the gunman who killed five police officers in Dallas and injured nine others, without specifying who or where.

On an O’Reilly Factor segment….“I saw what they’ve said about police at various marches and rallies,” said Trump.“I’ve seen moments of silence called for for this horrible human being who shot the policemen.”

Trump repeated the claim Tuesday night, saying at a rally in Indiana, “The other night you had 11 cities potentially in a blow-up stage. Marches all over the United States—and tough marches. Anger. Hatred. Hatred! Started by a maniac! And some people ask for a moment of silence for him. For the killer!” [emphasis in Drum]

Josh Marshall:

This isn’t getting a lot of attention. But it should….There is no evidence this ever happened. Searches of the web and social media showed no evidence. Even Trump’s campaign co-chair said today that he can’t come up with any evidence that it happened.

….A would-be strong man, an authoritarian personality, isn’t just against disorder and violence. They need disorder and violence. That is their raison d’etre, it is the problem that they are purportedly there to solve. The point bears repeating: authoritarian figures require violence and disorder. Look at the language. “11 cities potentially in a blow up stage” … “Anger. Hatred. Hatred! Started by a maniac!” … “And some people ask for a moment of silence for him. For the killer.”

Trump’s explicit race baiting has been so normalized by now that we hardly notice this stuff. This kind of talk from a major-party candidate for president should be front-page news everywhere. Instead, it warrants a few words in various campaign roundups.

Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, foreigners of all stripes: they’re all grist for Trump’s crusade to convince white voters that they’re surrounded by rapists, murderers, terrorists, and assorted other predators who want to take their jobs away and impoverish them. It’s his whole campaign.

This is loathsome. For years it’s been clear that the Republican Party could only win by turning out an ever greater share of the white vote. But by 2012 they seemed to have done everything they possibly could: Fox News stoked the xenophobia, Republican legislatures passed voter ID laws, and outreach to white evangelicals had reached saturation levels. What more did they have on their plate? Now we know the answer: nominate a guy who doesn’t play around with dog whistles anymore. Instead he comes out and flatly runs as the candidate of white America,overtly attacking every minority group he can think of. That shouldn’t work. In the year 2016, it should alienate at least as many white voters as it captures. But so far it seems to be doing at least moderately well.

And more Josh Marshall:

There have continued to be protests. There’s no reason why there should not be. But every Black Lives Matter leader of any note has spoken clearly denouncing Johnson’s atrocity. Indeed, if anything the continuing protests have been tempered calls for an end to violence on all sides. For all the horror, the outrage has spawned moments of bridge-building, unity. So these are combustible times. But they’re not the racial end times Trump is describing. Indeed, what Trump said in the passage above is something verging on the notorious “big lie”. Micah Johnson didn’t inspire any marches. No one is marching on his behalf. Even the truly radical and potentially violent black nationalist fringe groups had apparently shunned him even before the shooting. No one called for a moment of silence on Johnson’s behalf or honored him in any way. This is just an up is down straight up lie served up for the purpose of stoking fear, menace and race hate.

These are the words – the big lies rumbling the ground for some sort of apocalyptic race war – of a dangerous authoritarian personality who is either personally deeply imbued with racist rage or cynically uses that animus and race hatred to achieve political ends. In either case, they are the words of a deeply dangerous individual the likes of whom has seldom been so close to achieving executive power in America. [emphasis mine]

First.  As said, this is so, so, appalling and beyond the pale.  It is sad and shocking that this is hardly even worth much news coverage any more.

Second, any person who it not an out-and-out racist should be ashamed and embarrassed to even contemplate voting for Donald Trump.

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