mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“The White Entitlement Of Some Sanders Supporters”: If You’re Young, White And Privileged, You Don’t Expect To Lose

“Killary Clinton is stealing the nomination and the system is rigged against Bernie Sanders,” said the two young white guys standing behind me in line. They rambled incessantly about how she was cheating and could not be trusted. Superdelegates were their greatest frustration. Unelected delegates who could “decide” the nomination proved that the process was a sham that was intentionally set up to prevent Sanders from winning.

At first I tried to ignore the conversation and thought they were Trump supporters (“Killary” is usually a right-wing thing). But once it became clear that these guys were Sanders supporters, I had to jump in. For years, these guys had been “my people.” I have been a fan of Sanders long before his presidential run and have made many friends due to our mutual admiration of his policies. Surely, I’d be able to have a civil, rational conversation with these guys, right?

When, I chimed in it was evident that we were speaking different languages. We agreed on most of the substantive policy issues, and I told them how I even interned for Sanders about a decade ago. We should have been able to see eye to eye, but we could not. The main source of their frustration was merely the fact that they had lost. The fact that she is ahead in the popular vote, has won more primaries and caucuses, and has earned more delegates was to them a minor nuisance. They had their absurd talking points and were unwilling to deviate into reality.

The more I reflected on them, the more I realized the key point: They felt entitled to win, and a defeat meant that someone must have cheated or that their opinions did not matter, which of course couldn’t be true. They preferred to suspend reality and fabricate injustices rather than concede that Sanders has lost fair and square.

Essentially, we disagreed on what America supposedly promised or owed us. They felt success was promised to them. The entitlement to believe that you should always win allowed them to overlook how the system in many ways has always been unjustly rigged in their favor because they’re white. I brought up race during our conversation and how I’m very aware of how a system can be rigged against you. These guys acknowledged my point, but it was obvious that this reality did not factor much into their thinking. They felt aggrieved and cheated, and that was all that mattered.

They could not understand the perspectives of blacks, Latinos and other minorities in America who are regularly treated as threats to society before their voices can be heard. We are often silenced before we even have the chance to win. And as a result, we know that losing is a reality we will confront and that success can be a difficult and long process that may only show its face in the lives of our children or grandchildren who have more opportunities because we’ve spent a lifetime fighting for positive change.

These guys could not understand this struggle. They wanted immediate success and gratification, and they were not used to things not going their way. The issues and the lives of others had become irrelevant. All they wanted was for me to agree that they had been unjustly cheated, and that “Killary” and the DNC had rigged everything against them. I could not agree, so I had to walk away.

Sanders’s message has resonated mostly with a younger, predominantly white electorate like those two guys. Their message and frustrations have been heard loud and clear, but their electoral defeats have resulted in an intensified pack or tribalist mentality that unfortunately has similarities to the white tribalism that has guided Trump’s campaign. Sanders and Trump are mining similar disaffections amongst the white electorate.

On Face the Nation, Sanders recently attempted to pour cold water on some of the rage and rhetoric of his supporters, “I wouldn’t use the word rigged…I think it’s just a dumb process which has certainly disadvantaged our campaign.”

Trump on the other hand regularly feeds and emboldens these sentiments. He is speaking to voters like a commenter to The Atlantic whose perspective was so striking that the publication published his unsolicited comment in their Notes section, which regularly incorporates a more conversational and untraditional approach to covering the news. The commenter is a Midwestern, working-class white male in his late 30s who intends to vote for Trump if Sanders does not win the nomination because “if it is all going to be tribal politics, then well, I guess you have to go with your own tribe—if not for your sake, then for the sake of your kids.”

Sanders has broadened the Democratic electorate to include voters who may not normally participate in the primaries and caucuses, but now they need to combat the tribalism that could negatively impact Clinton and other Democrats in the general election. Sanders, unfortunately, has said that he has no obligation to convince his supporters to throw in with Clinton.

A beguiling component of Sanders’s campaign is how the unintentional white tribalism that has been forged on shared economic hardships has boosted his campaign, while at the same time rendering him unappealing to the minorities he needed to win the nomination.

Sanders’s class-based, inequality and economy focused agenda was not intended to stoke racial divisions, but even progressives are impacted by the class and race-based structures that American society has been built upon. Minorities agree with Sanders’s commitment to crack down on big banks and Wall Street, but many of the economic and social injustices we face exist on Main Street and within the police precincts that are supposed to protect us. And while Sanders may see this distinction, some of his supporters appear not to.

As an African American I could not join the tribe of Sanders’s belligerent, incensed supporters. But I should not have to as long as both they and I are committed to working together to combat structures that disenfranchise Americans electorally and economically. The fact that we could not should be incredibly disconcerting to Sanders, Clinton, and the DNC.

White entitlement is shaping up to be a critical issue during this election for both the Democrats and the Republicans. Trump and the GOP are championing the entitled white life of yore. But the Democrats have another dilemma and must figure out a way for their diverse electorate to converse and unite around the shared goals of equity and progress without the archaic divisions and privileges of the past. Thus far it looks like the Democrats and the Sanders campaign still have a lot of work to do.

 

By: Barrett Holmes Pitner, The Daily Beast, June 5, 2016

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Sanders Supporters, White Privilege | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“President In Name Only”: There Are Presidential Duties Trump ‘Doesn’t Want To Do’

Paul Manafort, a controversial Republican lobbyist, joined Donald Trump’s team in late March, and at least initially, his task was to help oversee delegate recruiting. It wasn’t long, however, before Manafort worked his way up to effectively running the entire operation: less than two months after joining the campaign, he’s now Trump’s campaign chairman and chief strategist.

Yesterday, Manafort sat down with the Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman for a fairly long interview, and while the two covered quite a bit of ground, there was one exchange in particular that stood out for me.

The vice presidential pick will also be part of the process of proving he’s ready for the White House, Manafort said.

“He needs an experienced person to do the part of the job he doesn’t want to do. He seems himself more as the chairman of the board, than even the CEO, let alone the COO.”

This is no small acknowledgement. For months, it’s been clear that Trump has no meaningful understanding of public policy or even how government works at a basic level. By any fair measure, his ignorance and incompetence about affairs of state is unlike anything Americans have ever seen in a major-party presidential candidate. The question has long been when we can expect Trump to get up to speed.

And the answer is, he has no intention of doing any such thing. Day-to-governing and overseeing the executive branch apparently represent “the part of the job he doesn’t want to do.”

President Trump, in other words, would prefer to be more of a big-picture kind of guy who isn’t overly concerned about details and roll-up-your-sleeves kind of work.

As for who, exactly, might be the best person to “do the part of the job he doesn’t want to do,” Manafort added that there’s a “long list” filled with contenders who have “major problems.”

We should not, however, expect to see diversity on the Republican ticket. Choosing a woman or a member of a minority group to run as vice president, Manafort said, “would be viewed as pandering, I think.”

As for what else we learned from the interview:

* Manafort thinks Trump will be elected president easily. “This is not a hard race,” he said.

* The campaign chairman believes Trump may “moderate” his proposed Muslim ban a little.

* We shouldn’t expect to ever see Trump’s tax returns.

* Manafort believes Trump won’t budge on building a border wall: “He is going to build a wall. That is a core thing with him.”

As for the GOP candidate’s ability to demonstrate his preparedness for the Oval Office, Manafort added, “Does he know enough? Yes, because he knows he has more to learn.”

I’m honestly not sure what that means – it sounds like he’s saying Trump knows enough because he knows he doesn’t know enough – but in Trump Land, making sense is generally an annoyance that’s better left to others.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, May 26, 2016

May 27, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Executive Branch, Governing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Morning After Donald Trump”: The Slogan “Make America Great Again” Didn’t Spring From Untilled Soil

Donald Trump will almost certainly be the Republican presidential nominee, and I am afraid.

Not of him. Not really. Trump is neither the first nor the last lying sociopath to walk the Earth — if America’s multitudinous anti-Trump forces do what we need to do between now and November, he won’t see the Oval Office. I will admit that I’m not unconcerned (I suddenly find that I intend to canvass just as hard for candidate Clinton, about whom I’m not particularly thrilled, as I once did for candidate Obama, about whom I was), but I’m not afraid of him. Not really.

Neither am I afraid (not really) of the campaign’s ugliness, though I know it will only get worse. The 2016 campaign is and remains appalling — but the campaign will end.

I’m afraid of the morning after. I’m afraid of what happens when Trump loses.

Trump is not (by any means or measure) the only misogynistic, bigoted xenophobe in the 21st century Republican Party, and in the process of winnowing its primary field, the GOP has given increasingly clamorous voice to a profoundly embittered, violently enraged, and often well-armed minority, in the process normalizing it.

Bitterness, rage, and violence have always been part of the American story, but since roughly the moon landing they’ve been at least nominally verboten in American politics. The dog whistles and code words with which we’re familiar came into common usage because Americans realized that it wasn’t always socially expedient to state their hate outright.

The head of the American Freedom Party (“arguably the most important white nationalist group in the country,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center) and erstwhile Trump delegate William Johnson (who has said “the skinheads thought I was too extreme to run the organization”) recently clarified our new political reality for Mother Jones: “[Trump] is allowing us to talk about things we’ve not been able to talk about. So even if he is not elected, he has achieved great things.”

Indeed. For the first time in the decades since the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK, we find that it is once again hip — or, at the very least, socially acceptable — to be awful. Supporters of the AFP told Mother Jones that Trump’s “honest discourse” has allowed them to feel “emancipated.”

We’ve seen in recent years how violent words once emancipated can lead to violent consequences — we’ve seen mosques attacked, women’s health care providers murdered, African Americans slaughtered with their Bibles open before them.

Many angry voters have legitimate grievances, and I certainly don’t believe the vast majority of Republicans seek violence — but they don’t have to. Chaos doesn’t require tens of millions of angry Americans. It only requires a few Americans who believe tens of millions support them. Those who commit politically motivated violence invariably believe they’re acting on behalf of people who are too afraid to do so.

Humans become more bold, not less, when they believe they’re not alone, and they’re particularly prone to bold violence when they find themselves backed into a corner. Trump’s supporters and fellow travelers have felt themselves to be backed into a corner for eight long years — as Trump’s former butler has made abundantly clear in a series of Facebook posts, one of which declares that Barack Obama “should have been taken out by our military and shot as an enemy agent.” The slogan “Make America Great Again” didn’t spring from untilled soil.

So what happens when the Great White Hope of angry, embittered, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic America flames out?

I don’t know, and that’s why I’m afraid. I think about the rage and resentment that are everywhere fanned, named, and given a place of pride in today’s GOP, and though I fervently hope Hillary Clinton is elected, I wonder where that rage and resentment will go if and when she is. I know my fear is a win for those who benefit from it, but I can’t do anything about that now. Here it is, rooted in my belly, climbing through my veins.

In truth I’ve felt something like it since the day President Obama announced his candidacy — though that fear has never been quite so amorphous, being laser-focused on a single life. I expect it will live in my belly until Barack Hussein Obama achieves a natural end to his days, or I achieve my own.

Many years ago, when I lived in a different country, I watched a minority of my fellow citizens demonize the leader for whom I’d voted. I watched as they and the opposition party wrapped him in Nazi imagery, I watched as they prayed publicly for his death. I wanted to believe it would come to nothing, that the peace he sought would be greater than their loathing of it, but then I watched as he was buried. It didn’t take all of Israel’s extremists to assassinate Yitzhak Rabin — it only took one.

The 2016 presidential campaign is ugly and appalling, but it will end. Then — if we’re lucky — America will find out what happens when the angry and the aggrieved are told to go home.

 

By: Emily L. Hauser, The Week, May 13, 2016

May 15, 2016 Posted by | Domestic Violence, Donald Trump, GOP, White Nationalists | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“An Antagonistic Relationship To The Truth”: Donald Trump Is A New Kind Of Dissembler

Most partisans would probably tell you that while their own party’s leaders sometimes get a fact wrong here or there, the other side is a bunch of blatant liars, whose contempt for the truth leaves the public in a perpetual cloud of misinformation. We don’t have to settle who’s right on this question to acknowledge that in politics, there are ordinary tale-tellers and then there’s Donald Trump. As he has in so many ways, Trump has upended the usual operation of politics by refusing to play by its rules, written or not.

The presumption that politicians should at least try to speak the truth as often as they can is something most everyone shares, whether Democrats, Republicans, or the news media that cover them. It’s that presumption that establishes a basic set of behaviors for all concerned—for instance, that news media will call out lies from politicians when they notice them, that the politicians will try to avoid getting caught in lies, and that when they do, they’ll avoid repeating the lie lest they be tagged forevermore as dishonest.

So what do you do when a candidate makes it clear that not only does he not care about the truth, he doesn’t care whether everybody knows it? This is the dilemma of covering Donald Trump.

Trump is distinctive in more than one way. First, there’s the sheer breadth and character of his falsehoods. Absurd exaggerations, mischaracterizations of his own past, distortions about his opponents, descriptions of events that never occurred, inventions personal and political, foreign and domestic, Trump does it all (you can peruse Politifact’s Trump file if you doubt).

In this, he differs from other candidates, who usually have had one distinctive area of dishonesty that characterized them. Some hid things they were embarrassed about or thought would damage them politically, some deceived about their personal histories in order to paint a flattering picture of themselves, and others spun a web of falsehood to gain the public’s assent for policies they suspected might not otherwise gain public support. But there has simply never been a candidate who has lied as frequently, as blatantly, and as blithely as Trump.

Then there’s the fact that even when Trump gets caught lying, he keeps on repeating the lie. How often does he say that The Art of the Deal is “the number one best-selling business book of all time”? (It isn’t.) How many times did he claim that thousands of Muslim Americans gathered on rooftops in New Jersey to cheer the collapse of the World Trade Center, no matter how often he was told it never happened? He has said over and over that he was a vocal opponent of the Iraq War before it began, despite the fact that it’s utterly false. This is one of his most spectacular fabrications, because he even claims that “I was visited by people from the White House asking me to sort of, could I be silenced because I seem to get a disproportionate amount of publicity.” Although we know he got no publicity for his fictional opposition to the Iraq War because people have checked and he didn’t, I have to admit that I can’t prove definitively that the Bush administration never sent a delegation to plead with Trump to stop his nonexistent criticism of the war. But the idea is so preposterous that no sane person could believe it. And that was before he charged that Ted Cruz’s father was an associate of Lee Harvey Oswald and may have had something to do with the Kennedy assassination.

Unfortunately, as Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler notes, “Trump makes Four-Pinocchio statements over and over again, even though fact checkers have demonstrated them to be false. … But, astonishingly, television hosts rarely challenge Trump when he makes a claim that already has been found to be false.” Just yesterday on Meet the Press, Trump claimed that he wants to change the voting system so that undocumented immigrants will no longer be allowed to cast ballots; a visibly shocked Chuck Todd said, “Well, of course. That is the law as it stands already.” To which Trump replied, “No, it’s not. I mean, you have places where people just walk in and vote.” Todd moved on. Trump also said “We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world,” another falsehood he often repeats, and which Todd wasn’t quick enough to catch.

So does Trump’s antagonistic relationship with the truth matter? It depends what we mean when we ask the question. It certainly didn’t hurt him in the primaries. Perhaps that’s because of the overwhelming force of his personality, or perhaps it’s because Republican voters have been told for years that anything the news media tell them is by definition poisoned by liberal bias, so why bother listening to some fact-checker? Trump’s supporters may be particularly unconcerned about what’s true and what isn’t; they were more likely than supporters of Ted Cruz or John Kasich to believe in a wide range of conspiracy theories, among other things.

But like Trump’s support more broadly, what didn’t hurt him in the primaries did hurt him with the general electorate. Trump may have triumphed in the GOP contest, but along the way he acquired unfavorable ratings in the 60s, and one poll found only 27 percent of Americans rating him as honest and trustworthy.

But the electoral effects of Trump’s blizzard of baloney are only part of the story; we also have to ask what his untruthfulness tells us about the kind of president he’d be. Unfortunately, we in the media don’t always go about assessing honesty in ways that help voters understand its implications for the presidency. For instance, in 2000, George W. Bush was portrayed as a man who, though a bit dim, was positively brimming with homespun integrity. Only a few observers noted that Bush regularly dissembled about his record as governor of Texas and the content of his policy proposals, which suggested that even if he might be faithful to his wife, as president he might not be honest about matters of policy. And he wasn’t, with some rather serious consequences. His predecessor, on the other hand, saw all kinds of questions of honesty raised about him during the 1992 campaign. And it turned out that like Bush, Bill Clinton’s prior behavior provided a good preview of what he’d do in the White House: As a candidate he tried to cover up his extramarital affairs, and as a president he, guess what, tried to cover up an extramarital affair.

In Trump’s case, though, his whoppers are so wide-ranging that it’s almost impossible to find a topic area about which he wouldn’t dissemble. He lies to foment hatred against minority groups. He lies about the condition of the country. He lies about what his opponents have said or done. He lies about his own past. It’s hard to foresee that a President Trump would act any differently than candidate Trump does, and what would it mean if no one could trust anything the president tells them?

People who live in dictatorships with a captive press often assume that whatever the government says is bogus by definition. Needless to say, that kind of relationship between the government and the governed is not conducive to popular legitimacy or any kind of problem-solving that requires public involvement. With Donald Trump in the White House offering a daily delivery of fibs and fabrications, it isn’t hard to imagine that the public would conclude that the government is nothing more than a second-rate reality show, worthy of little attention or regard. Imagine what he could get away with then.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect, May 8, 2016

May 10, 2016 Posted by | Conspiracy Theories, Donald Trump, Media | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“He’s Eliminated Any Margin For Error”: There Aren’t Enough White Dudes In America To Elect Donald Trump President

It’s not a secret that Donald Trump is not very, and is not likely ever to become, popular among minority voters. He’s also given women a lot of reasons to dislike him for his porcine ways, and they have reciprocated with some terrible favorable/unfavorable ratings. A recent ABC News–Washington Post survey showed Trump at 29/68 among white women, a demographic group that only one Democrat (Bill Clinton in 1996) has carried since the 1960s.

Yes, of course, Trump is reasonably popular among white men, and some would argue that his piggy-piggy baiting of women could help him push his margins in his honky-bro base even higher, especially in a race with Hillary Clinton where the Democrat would likely self-identify strongly with the offended. But there are only so many voters, and when you write off too many of them you eliminate any margin for error.

Ron Brownstein shows how narrow Trump’s path to a general-election victory will be unless something fundamental changes:

[I]f Clinton matched the usual Democratic performance with non-white voters and also carried even half of white women, Trump would then need to win more than three-fourths of white men for a national majority, a daunting prospect.

“A daunting prospect” is one way of putting it. “Impossible” is another. Ronald Reagan won two-thirds of white men in his 1984 landslide victory over Fritz Mondale. Is Trump supposed to beat that? Seriously?

No, Trump’s not going to carry all of the white men in America, particularly since he strikes many of the younger bros as a cartoon-villain representation of everything they dislike and fear about the baby-boom generation. So he’d be wise to explore ways to kiss and make up with the majority of Americans he’s disrespected.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, May 5, 2015

May 6, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Election 2016, White Men | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

%d bloggers like this: