Quick hits (part II)

1) It’s truly unconscionable how we treat workers in poultry processing plants.  What really kills me about it is that I suspect we would only pay a modest amount more for it if workers were actually treated humanely.

2) Ezra Klein argues that Democrats need to be an emboldened minority party after winning the popular vote.

3) David Remnick on Obama’s reckoning with a Trump presidency.

4) Now Trump isn’t so sure about torture because the last guy he talked to explained that he doesn’t actually work.  And he was especially convincing because his nickname is Mad Dog.  Sad.

5) Uwe Reinhardt’s headline says it all, “Republicans can repeal Obamacare. They can’t repeal the logic of health insurance.”

6) Of course we all talk to ourselves all the time (especially while writing blog posts, actually).  Had not really given it much thought till this fascinating piece in the Atlantic.

7) How to be better at persuading other people, based on science.  Short version, of what most smart people have already figured out– you have to rely on arguments that resonate with their approach to the issue, not yours.

8) So, maybe we are not politically sorting ourselves by where we live so much after all.

9) Damn straight, you should subscribe to a newspaper and support good journalism.  Yes, I’m talking to you.

10) The election’s most-alarming story– Russian influence:

Part of the Russian operation’s success is that we cannot measure the effect. Did the DNC emails depress the Sanders vote for Clinton? Did the Podesta emails turn off independents? Would voters have responded differently if major media had reported the email releases not as legitimate news but as an intelligence operation by a hostile foreign power aimed at undermining the integrity of U.S. elections? There are no clear answers. But there are certainties: The email operation increased negative stories about Clinton, fueled an immense propaganda attack and diminished coverage of actual issues. The large polling lead Clinton gained after the debates slipped significantly under this barrage of negativity — even before FBI Director James B. Comey’s bombshell.

11) Rather disturbing that Trump’s National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, is basically insane.  Or, if not insane, certainly only a tenuous connection to reality.

12) Brendan Nyhan on how Trump’s brand of identity politics could exacerbate our tribal politics:

Mr. Trump’s approach has the potential to transform the party system. First, the success of his campaign may encourage other Republicans to adopt his model. He has shown that the penalty for deviating from orthodox policies is minimal and that an ethno-nationalist style can have significant electoral advantages.

Second, though presidents cannot impose their will on most of domestic policy, they can help define the issues on the political agenda. In the choices that he makes, Mr. Trump may play down conflict over the size and scope of government and shift the political debate toward questions of national identity, immigration and culture.

Finally, few Republicans are likely to want to cross Mr. Trump and his energized supporters given the threat of a potential primary challenge in 2018.

Consider, for instance, Mr. Trump’s decision to name as his chief strategist Steve Bannon, the head of Breitbart, a website described in an article in the conservative National Review as catering to “a small but vocal fringe of white supremacists, anti-Semites and internet trolls.” Though the move lacked recent precedent, no Republicans in Congress objected, which made the issue into a partisan dispute with Democrats. Mr. Trump has also stirred emotions by promising to deport two to three million undocumented immigrants. By contrast, the fate of a tax cut — normally the top G.O.P. domestic policy priority — has received less attention (though the party will almost certainly pursue one).

Mr. Trump’s success is likely to provoke a response from Democrats that could accelerate this shift. They face an outraged liberal base that is likely to reject conciliatory messages intended to win back votes among the white working class.

The party might instead double down on cosmopolitan appeals to the minority voters and college-educated white voters who were the main target of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The strategy failed in 2016, but the incentive to try again is clear. Democrats came closer to winning several Sun Belt states where minority and college-educated white populations are growing, like Arizona and Georgia, than they did some traditional Midwest strongholds with higher numbers of noncollege whites, like Ohio and Iowa.

13) Peter Beinart on the electoral college, it “Was Meant to Stop Men Like Trump From Being President.”

14) Why Senate Republicans might actually keep the filibuster (judicial appointments aside, I presume).

15) Excellent Scott Lemieux post on the Democrats’ post-mortem problem:

This isn’t to say that Democrats shouldn’t analyze and try to learn from the defeat. But it’s crucial to remember that the 2016 election is never going to be run again. We’ve learned for sure that Hillary Clinton should not be the Democratic nominee again, but I don’t think that’s something to worry about. Trump will presumably be on the ballot again, but as an incumbent with a record. What message and strategy the Democratic candidate should use will depend on who wins the nomination, what Trump’s record looks like, and what the salient issues are. The 2020 election will be its own thing and should be treated as such. As Hillary Clinton now knows all too well, what we think we know about politics can be turned on its head very quickly.

16) Krugman explains how Trump’s infrastructure plans get it all wrong.

17) There are no easy answers for the problems faced by working-class whites in Rust Belt America.  That said, Donald Trump certainly showed that you can win an election by pretending there are easy answers.  The reality, though, is tough:

But the question is what Democrats should say. The biggest problem Democrats face now, and will face in the future, is that there are no simple solutions to the economic crisis in the Rust Belt. Democrats have tried, with proposals like infrastructure projects, science and technology education, and tax credits for companies that offer apprenticeships, but few of the policy prescriptions that could begin the process of getting millions of white, working-class men back to work are very sexy. “There’s no silver bullet,” Ned Hill, a professor at Ohio State University and the faculty affiliate for the Ohio Manufacturing Institute, told me. “This is an adult conversation so easy answers aren’t there.”…

This underscores the grim reality that both parties have to face. There’s a very real possibility that no amount of investment or retraining can replace the manufacturing jobs that have been lost. It’s been decades, after all, since the North American Free Trade Agreement, and nearly as long since China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001. Despite both Democratic and Republican administrations since then, there has been no reversal of fortunes for the Rust Belt.

This is not the uplifting message that either party will want to embrace on the campaign trail. The most effective solutions to it aren’t going to be popular: They include helping people move to areas where there are jobs, and providing wage subsidies for those who can’t. And that may mean that they never come to pass.

18) Mostly, I love the headline, “Learning to love the secret language of urine,” plus I found this little tidbit pretty interesting.

Learning about the body’s many excretions, secretions and suppurations in medical school, I realized that each medical specialty has its own essential effluent. And I heard that some physicians choose their careers based on the bodily fluid they find least revolting. Thus, a doctor disgusted by stool and pus but able to stand the sight of blood might end up a hematologist, while one repulsed by urine and bile but tolerant of sputum might choose pulmonology.

Well, I guess that would make me a nephrologist.

19) This post arguing that liberals are largely crying wolf on racism and sexism got some good discussion in my comments.  Honestly, I think part of this is a problem that Ezra Klein has often mentioned in his podcasts, if not on Vox.  We have difficulties with the language around race.  That’s why I like to use racial resentment and white ethnocentrism.  In large part, these are fairly clearly-defined, measurable, social science terms.  And, I while it may be crying wolf to call Trump “racist” (though, I think there’s a plenty good case he is), it is absolutely clear that his campaign thrived on racial resentment and an appeal to white ethnocentrism.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

2 Responses to Quick hits (part II)

  1. Stefan says:

    Partisan sorting has interested me since I read Bill Bishop’s “The Big Sort.” There have always been questions about the effect of partisanship on residential choice. I find this article by Cho, Gimpel, and Hui makes the case that though other factors are very important in residential location, partisanship has a significant effect. I have noticed the same in Austin, where there are liberal neighborhoods and conservative neighborhoods. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0ahUKEwj2gN_Fk8rQAhUEsVQKHR6SA1kQFggxMAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.uky.edu%2FAS%2FPoliSci%2FPeffley%2Fpdf%2FSniderman%2FCho%2520Gimpel%2520Hui_UK_Dec10.pdf&usg=AFQjCNF8TXvxoilWZPuLGJFUdBdaeWj4fw&sig2=ywVMuZHfwhaCmxM1I7JD0A&cad=rja

  2. ohwilleke says:

    #9 just quit subscribing to mine (the Denver Post). I was the only one in the family who read it, the price has gone up a lot, and the quality of the product has declined precipitously on multiple occasions since it got a monopoly in our local media market.

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