Michael Hudson: 2016 Is Wall Street and the Corporate Sector (Clinton) vs. the Populists (Trump)

Lambert here: Hudson’s views — working on the assumption that both Trump and Clinton are operating with some minimal degree of good faith in presenting their policy positions — look reasonably clear-eyed to me, especially compared to the hysterical and manipulative bloviation emitted by establishment Democrats and establishment Republicans, who seem to be adopting what William S. Burroughs would call the Liquifactionist Program, and merging themselves into a single quivering protoplasmic mass. Some readers may be troubled that Hudson passed over Trump’s Nixonian call for “law and order.” (My current views on the 2016 choice can be found here.)

Michael Hudson is a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He is the author of The Bubble and Beyond and Finance Capitalism and its Discontents. His most recent book is titled Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy.

Here’s the interview with Michael Hudson on the Real News Network:

And here’s the transcript:

SHARMINI PERIES, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, TRNN: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.

On Friday, just after the Republican National Congress wrapped up with its presidential candidate, Donald Trump, Paul Krugman of the New York Times penned an article titled “Donald Trump: The Siberian Candidate.” He said in it, if elected, would Donald Trump be Vladimir Putin’s man in the White House? Krugman himself is worried as ludicrous and outrageous as the question sounds, the Trump campaign’s recent behavior has quite a few foreign policy experts wondering, he says, just what kind of hold Mr. Putin has over the Republican nominee, and whether that influence will continue if he wins.

Well, let’s unravel that statement with Michael Hudson. He’s joining us from New York. Michael is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri Kansas City. His latest book is Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroyed the Global Economy. Thank you so much for joining us, Michael.

MICHAEL HUDSON: It’s good to be here, Sharmini. It’s been an exciting week.

PERIES: So let’s take a look at this article by Paul Krugman. Where is he going with this analysis about the Siberian candidate?

HUDSON: Well, Krugman has joined the ranks of the neocons, as well as the neoliberals, and they’re terrified that they’re losing control of the Republican Party. For the last half-century the Republican Party has been pro-Cold War, corporatist. And Trump has actually, is reversing that. Reversing the whole traditional platform. And that really worries the neocons.

Until his speech, the whole Republican Convention, every speaker had avoided dealing with economic policy issues. No one referred to the party platform, which isn’t very good. And it was mostly an attack on Hillary. Chants of “lock her up.” And Trump children, aimed to try to humanize him and make him look like a loving man.

But finally came Trump’s speech, and this was for the first time, policy was there. And he’s making a left run around Hillary. He appealed twice to Bernie Sanders supporters, and the two major policies that he outlined in the speech broke radically from the Republican traditional right-wing stance. And that is called destroying the party by the right wing, and Trump said he’s not destroying the party, he’s building it up and appealing to labor, and appealing to the rational interest that otherwise had been backing Bernie Sanders.

So in terms of national security, he wanted to roll back NATO spending. And he made it clear, roll back military spending. We can spend it on infrastructure, we can spend it on employing American labor. And in the speech, he said, look, we don’t need foreign military bases and foreign spending to defend our allies. We can defend them from the United States, because in today’s world, the only kind of war we’re going to have is atomic war. Nobody’s going to invade another country. We’re not going to send American troops to invade Russia, if it were to attack. So nobody’s even talking about that. So let’s be realistic.

Well, being realistic has driven other people crazy. Not only did Krugman say that Trump would, quote, actually follow a pro-Putin foreign policy at the expense of America’s allies, and he’s referring to the Ukraine, basically, and it’s at–he’s become a lobbyist for the military-industrial complex. But also, at the Washington Post you had Anne Applebaum call him explicitly the Manchurian candidate, referring to the 1962 movie, and rejecting the neocon craziness. This has just driven them nutty because they’re worried of losing the Republican Party under Trump.

In economic policy, Trump also opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the TTIP trade and corporate power grab [inaud.] with Europe to block public regulation. And this was also a major plank of Bernie Sanders’ campaign against Hillary, which Trump knows. The corporatist wings of both the Republican and the Democratic Parties fear that Trump’s opposition to NAFTA and TPP will lead the Republicans not to push through in the lame duck session after November. The whole plan has been that once the election’s over, Obama will then get all the Republicans together and will pass the Republican platform that he’s been pushing for the last eight years. The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement with Europe, and the other neoliberal policies.

And now that Trump is trying to rebuild the Republican Party, all of that is threatened. And so on the Republican side of the New York Times page you had David Brooks writing “The death of the Republican Party.” So what Trump calls the rebirth of the Republican Party, it means the death of the reactionary, conservative, corporatist, anti-labor Republican Party.

And when he wrote this, quote, Trump is decimating the things Republicans stood for: NATO, entitlement reform, in other words winding back Social Security, and support of the corporatist Trans-Pacific Partnership. So it’s almost hilarious to see what happens. And Trump also has reversed the traditional Republican fiscal responsibility austerity policy, that not a word about balanced budgets anymore. And he said he was going to run at policy to employ American labor and put it back to work on infrastructure. Again, he’s made a left runaround Hillary. He says he wants to reinstate Glass-Steagall, whereas the Clintons were the people that got rid of it.

And this may be for show, simply to brand Hillary as Wall Street’s candidate. But it also seems to actually be an attack on Wall Street. And Trump’s genius was to turn around all the attacks on him as being a shady businessman. He said, look, nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it. Now, what that means, basically, as a businessman, he knows the fine print by which they’ve been screwing the people. So only someone like him knows how to fight against Wall Street. After all, he’s been screwing the Wall Street banks for years [inaud.]. And he can now fight for the population fighting against Wall Street, just as he’s been able to stiff the banks.

So it’s sort of hilarious. On the one hand, leading up to him you had Republicans saying throw Hillary in jail. And Hillary saying throw Trump in the [inaud.]. And so you have the whole election coming up with—.

PERIES: Maybe we should take the lead and lock them all up. Michael, what is becoming very clear is that there’s a great deal of inconsistencies on the part of the Republican Party. Various people are talking different things, like if you hear Mike Pence, the vice presidential candidate, speak, and then you heard Donald Trump, and then you heard Ivanka Trump speak yesterday, they’re all saying different things. It’s like different strokes for different folks. And I guess in marketing and marketeering, which Trump is the master of, that makes perfect sense. Just tap on everybody’s shoulder so they feel like they’re the ones being represented as spoken about, and they’re going to have their issues addressed in some way.

When it comes–he also in that sense appealed to, as you said, the Bernie Sanders people when he talked about the trade deals. You know, he’s been talking about NAFTA, TTIP, TTP, and these are areas that really is traditionally been the left of the left issues. And now there’s this, that he’s anti-these trade deals, and he’s going to bring jobs home. What does that mean?

HUDSON: Well, you’re right when you say there’s a policy confusion within the Republican Party. And I guess if this were marketing, it’s the idea that everybody hears what they want to hear. And if they can hear right-wing gay bashing from the Indiana governor, and they can hear Trump talking about hte LGBTQ, everybody will sort of be on the side.

But I listened to what Governor Pence said about defending Trump’s views on NATO. And he’s so smooth. So slick, that he translated what Trump said in a way that no Republican conservative could really disagree with it. I think he was a very good pick for vice president, because he can, obviously he’s agreed to follow what Trump’s saying, and he’s so smooth, being a lawyer, that he can make it all appear much more reasonable than it would.

I think that the most, the biggest contradiction, was you can look at how the convention began with Governor Christie. Accusing Hillary of being pro-Russian when she’s actually threatening war, and criticizing her for not helping the Ukrainians when it was she who brought Victorian Nuland in to push the coup d’etat with the neo-nazis, and gave them $5 billion. And Trump reversed the whole thing and said no, no, no. I’m not anti-Russian, I’m pro-Russian. I’m not going to defend Ukrainians. Just the opposite.

And it’s obvious that the Republicans have fallen into line behind them. And no wonder the Democrats want them to lose. All of that–you’ve had the Koch brothers say we’re not going to give money to Trump, the Republicans, now. We’re backing Hillary. You’ve got the Chamber of Commerce saying because Trump isn’t for the corporate takeover of foreign trade, we’re now supporting the Democrats, not the Reepublicans.

So this is really the class war. And it’s the class war of Wall Street and the corporate sector of the Democratic side against Trump on the populist side. And who knows whether he really means what he says when he says he’s for the workers and he wants to rebuild the cities, put labor back to work. And when he says he’s for the blacks and Hispanics have to get jobs just like white people, maybe he’s telling the truth, because that certainly is the way that the country can be rebuilt in a positive way.

And the interesting thing is that all he gets from the Democrats is denunciations. So I can’t wait to see how Bernie Sanders is going to handle all this at the Democratic Convention next week.

PERIES: All right, Michael. A lot to continue discussing there. I thank you so much for joining us today and look forward to a report next week.

HUDSON: Yes, good to be here at this exciting time.

PERIES: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.


DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. ewmayer

    But, but … none other that Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi says

    With tens of millions of eyes watching, Trump the Beltway conqueror turtled and wrapped his arms around the establishment’s ankles. He spent the entirety of his final address huddled inside five decades of Republican Party clichés, apparently determined to hide in there until Election Day.

    Matt’s hysterical take couldn’t possibly be construed as being, um, just a tad tendentious now, could it? Someone give him a hug – he sounds like he is in dire need of one.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      “tendentious”—This is why I love NC: it forces me to look up words on the online dictionary. Like there are some words you KINDA know what they mean but you want to check the dictionary to make sure. But yes, Taibbi has made a living by bashing Wall Street but when you have a REPUBLICAN!! who says the trade deals suck and want to bring back Glass-Steagall, he can’t see anything to like there. I think people like him will reconsider as the campaign progresses, especially if, as I predict, Trump tears HRC into little pieces in the debates.

      Great interview with Michael Hudson who is able to give intellectual legitimacy to what some of us have been feeling on a not-that-smart level.

      1. casino implosion

        I can see the Taibbi/Ames/Exiled anti-libertarian axis going for a non-PC populist like Trump easily. Taibbi must be going soft since he hit it big.

      2. reslez

        The media will never let Trump win the debates. The spin coming out of them will be how great Hillary did and how dumb and racist Trump sounded. They’ll repeat it long and loud enough for everyone on Twitter to believe it.

        I wish I were as optimistic as Hudson is. Trump’s convention speech was long on security theatre and fear. He was the most equivocal I’ve heard him on trade. To me it sounded like a retreat into police militarization and surveillance, a soft-pedaled abandonment of economic issues. My take is that Trump now understands he won’t be allowed to color outside the lines when it comes to trade and financial issues. And he wants to be president anyway.

        1. Yves Smith

          Didn’t work too well with Hillary v. Sanders. I recall several of their later debates (one might have been a town hall) where the MSM insisted that Clinton won and a raft of online polls said otherwise, and the moves in the polling confirmed the online polls.

          The MSM can’t dictate the reactions of those who watch the debates. And Trump v Clinton isn’t just a political event. It will verge on a sporting event. It will get tons of viewers.

          And go look at Trump’s NBC interview on Sunday. He took even more strident positions, that the US would leave the WTO if he could not impose tariffs on China. Now I haven’t done the spadework to see if he needs Congressional approval to repudiate a trade deal. He probably does. But that doesn’t mean he won’t try (and even flail about) which is more than Obama would do.

          1. Auntienene

            My late mother was a politics junkie. For her, this year would have been the super bowl, the World Cup, the olympics of politics.

          2. Quiet

            He would need congressional authorization or he would lose in court. It’s essentially Truman and the steel mills.

        2. EndOfTheWorld

          That speech was made to the Republican delegates, many of whom didn’t like Trump. He had to be conciliatory. He was lucky to get out of Cleveland with his skin. He should say some interesting stuff in the debates.

    2. jgordon

      Warren and now Taibbi–Trump’s nomination has been really good at uncovering all the hidden partisan elitists who were playing at being good guys. We owe a debt of gratitude to Trump just for that alone.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        To be fair to Matt Taibi, he very much supported Sanders and has been pointing out HRC’S faults for months now. I think that he’s invested a lot of emotion into writing about the Trump phenomenon and sees the man only as a fraud and a huckster; looking closely at policy statements is hard to do through the dialogue he’s built in his columns. I would imagine that as things evolve (DNC convention and the debates, especially), Taibi will develop a more nuanced opinion on the choice in November — perhaps supporting Jill Stein? Interesting times for the US.

        1. juliania

          I will be surprised if Taibi supports Jill Stein. He was all about the lesser of two evils supporting Obama’s second term. Can’t fault him for the first one, but that one the handwriting was on the wall.

      2. Brindle

        I’ve tuned out Warren—she has become the “red meat” surrogate for Clinton. Just because Taibbi was excellent on exposing Wall St. doesn’t mean he really knows s**t about politics. I find the depiction of Trump as some kind of monster-buffoon to be simply boring and not very helpful.

        1. ian

          Her 15 minutes are almost up. She won’t be VP – but we knew that, didn’t we?
          She is in danger of damaging her own brand the longer she campaigns for the ‘Wall St candidate’.

      3. fresno dan

        July 24, 2016 at 7:27 am

        Trump got a lot of attention with his bombast. Trump understands that with news, if it bleeds it leads.
        Seriously, how many people actually watched a significant number of debates, read the speeches, have actually ever read a law?
        The MSM will never attribute to Trump or take seriously his view that social security should not be cut. Hillary can hide her support for “entitlement” reform behind thousand page position papers that justify anything she does, as well as her “brand” as liberal. To know what Hillary REALLY thinks about entitlement reform, you have to listen to her Goldman Sachs speeches….
        Likewise, any discussion that won’t fit the narrative or get ratings will not be covered…

        Trump is, if not actually racist, at least is purposefully provocative. For someone like Taibbi, this is an excommunication offense. Never mind defacto how Clintoon over the years has harmed not only minorities, but everyone in the 99%. It is the uniform worn by the modern cosmopolitan, and it brooks no deviation what so ever.

        The 1% aren’t stupid – they know how to divide and conquer….
        If you put the votes of Sanders and Trump together – they really aren’t that far apart on substance – but than that’s the rub, isn’t it? Funny how having two parties that say they disagree hides so much of what they agree on, which just happens to be making the rich richer…and funny how little of that is revealed by the media…

        In my view, Trump is a bad, terrible, horrible, no good man – who is the first serious challenge to neoliberalism in 40 years. How bad neoliberalism is, is the question every one will face in the voting booth…

    3. John k

      Hard for liberals personally doing well to overlook racism, no matter what other progressive positions are being discussed.

    4. Ed

      This wasn’t even a particularly good Matt Taibbi essay. Unlike most of his writing, it was cliche ridden and not funny. I couldn’t really make it through the whole article. It might as well have appeared in the Washington Post.

      I think its pretty obvious Taibbi had to write the article to keep his gig at Rolling Stone. The past version of Taibbi would have written a hit piece on the article and its author.

      The thing to understand about writers is that it is usually almost impossible to make a living by writing (there actually have been period in history when you could, but they are almost anomalous and we are not living in one of them). So if you are going to be a writer, you either have to have a second source of income and be writing pretty much as a hobby, or be a paid propagandists. This goes a long way to understanding why your favorite opinion writers always seem to lose steam after awhile.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I saw this piece compared to Hunter S. Thompson, and my reaction was “nowhere near.”

        I think Taibbi was affected by Democrat tribalism and his critical thinking skills were blunted, one can only hope temporarily. (He’s got a good brand — “Vampire squid!” — and could probably self-fund, so I think he could keep up a good head of steam for some time.)

        1. fresno dan

          I think many of us who write, read, and comment on blogs forget how much of people’s views are formed in their youth and very superficially, yet held tenaciously for no other reason than…..well, that’s just how most humans roll. Only after the great recession, when I challenged my own belief system, and critically looked at what I believed and why, did I come to the conclusion that my free market beliefs were built on an edifice of misinformation, nonsense, and deceit, carefully crafted and designed by those who benefit from such a milieu.

          Think in terms of the Catholic church and priests….how long before people would understand that priests have no special dispensation for child molestation?

          It takes a long, long time for people to overcome their indoctrination….dems are “liberal”…

    5. Escher

      Taibbi does seem to have gone a bit off his game lately in general, but yeah, that was… uncharacteristic.

  2. abynormal

    for all the run around Hillary, Trump’s chosen circle of allies are Wall Street and Austerity enablers. actually, Trump chaos could boost the enablers as easily as Hillary’s direct mongering. War is Money…low hanging fruit in this cash strapped era and either directly or indirectly neither candidate will disappoint.
    So I Ask Myself…which candidate will the majority manage sustainability while assembling to create different outcomes? (might be the Trump Chaos bc Hillary will strategically turn our war machine on us…can’t believe this is as good as it gets, sighed out)

    1. Norb

      War is only good for the profiteers when it can be undertaken in another territory. Bringing the chaos home cannot be good for business. Endless calls for confidence and stability in markets must reflect the fact that disorder effects more business that the few corporations that benefit directly from spreading chaos. A split in the business community seems to be underway or at least a possible leverage point to bring about positive change.
      Even the splits in the political class reflect this. Those that benefit from spreading chaos are loosing strength because they have lost control of where that chaos takes place and who is directly effected from its implementation. Blowback and collateral damage are finally registering.

  3. Betina

    As much as I appreciate Naked Capitalism’s very lucid commentary, this is getting ridiculous. I agree with Hudson – Trump is very cleverly playing to public sentiment, while the Democrats are so stunningly tone-deaf it’s embarrassing. Do I need to point out that most people of colour are labour? Do you understand what this means to them? The Democrats (like the Republicans) had been captured by an ideology that sees what we consider corruption to be realistic and politically expedient, except that consensus is fracturing already. You can pressure them with a well-organised movement – that’s what happened with the Republicans. Meanwhile, Trump wants to drop out of COP21 and appoint a fracking mogul as Energy Secretary. He wants to cut the corporate tax rate. How do you think he’s gonna respond to public pressure and climate protests? What about the rest of the Republicans, when they have the presidency and the houses?

    I don’t like Hillary either, by the way, and I know her shitty history with fracking. But this is downplaying Trump’s very serious flaws. I’m not saying to compromise – I’m saying you have a much better chance to pressure Clinton than Trump.

    1. pretzelattack

      we can’t even “pressure” her to adopt mildly liberal positions in the platform. there is no way we could exert meaningful pressure after the election. and the democrats would have to play at being actual supporters of the 99% during a republican administration, which would at least complicate their task of making the elites and themselves wealthier. the way to pressure these people is not to give them the carrots they want. vote for somebody else, vote green, libertarian, trump. anybody but clinton.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        There is a military saying “Don’t reinforce failure.” However, from the electoral standpoint, all the parties have failed, including the Greens (and for a very extended period). I think the question, then, is, where do you draw the line between “failed” and “not yet succeeded”? I really think the groupuscules and small factions on the left are not taking yes for an answer on the Sanders campaign: 45% of Democrats, overwhelming youth vote across all identities, new fundraising model, two new standalone organizations. What we get instead of “We can do better, here’s why” is ginormous whinging and claims of Sanders suckitude. And after all the frothing and stamping about Sanders voters going to Stein, Stein raised $500K. “Not even a million?” asked one of my friends. It’s exactly the same attitude that leads to Greens trashing Sanders as a sheep dog, but not bothering to set up tables at his rallies to attract new voters. (I keep saying this, because I’ve never heard of this done, and since nobody on here has corrected me with a link or an image, I assume it’s true.)

        So it looks to me like a question of reinforcing a large force still taking ground on a large and muddy front, vs. reinforcing a small force that wouldn’t know what winning tactics look like if they had them in a sack. AND I WISH THEY DID!

        1. Steve C

          And they wonder why disappointed Bernie supporters are drifting to the Libertarians, who are neoliberal utopians, not Stein.

        2. pretzelattack

          oh i think sanders succeeded beyond his wildest expectations. i just think we need to keep clinton out if at all possible. if she wins despite everything, we soldier on.

        3. johnnygl

          I suspect Lambert’s right about how bad the greens are at organizing. Their failure since nader ran has played into the idea that america won’t go left on politics. Suddenly, sanders buries that in one campaign and suddenly voting green seems SO ineffective as to be counter-productive. These guys cannot even stay on the ballot in massachusetts. Socialist alternative in seattle has ALREADY outperformed them. They got $15/hr done already. What have the greens ever done??? Lambert is the only one i’ve seen calling out the greens for org failures. I am getting convinced he’s absolutely right.

          1. Mike Mc

            ^x1000. Have been Independent – worked on John Anderson’s campaign in 1980 – then Democratic since 1984. Sanders is the REAL THING and the American version of the Green Party is not, pure and simple. The Seattle socialists will be worth watching pre- and post-election.

            For now I want to see what Bernie has to say tonight. Ted Cruz of all people made it okay to thumb your nose at the party – hope Bernie lays an old fashioned beat down on DNC, Democratic Party and even Hillary if he feels it needs to happen. As a practicing Christian (married to a minister no less), I appreciate the occasional fire and brimstone sermon to remind us sinners of what’s what. Here’s hoping Bernie brings a torch tonight!

          2. CogWheeler

            Working with them politically, what surprises is how many underneath the Green camp simply carry its water. They don’t question actual progress against things like CO2. No. That might get in the way of a jobs program, or the group over here who needs their slice. Natural gas is celebrated by Greens and the Left in power, because it gets rid of all that coal and nuclear, and greases fossil and tax-preference (wind/solar) profits. I read that Greens are unsuccessful, and think to myself their failure (or success) has been in becoming the Left.

          3. Polkageist

            I agree that the Greens have been a study in disorganization; however, with a large infusion of former Sanders people who are now politically, computer-social media, and fundraising savvy, perhaps the ineffectiveness can be overcome. If so, there may be hope.

    2. Plenue

      Trump may be a disaster. Clinton will be a disaster. One of these two will win. I won’t vote for either, but if you put a gun to my head and forced me to choose, I’d take Trump. He’s certainly not a fascist (I think it was either Vice or Vox that had an article where they asked a bunch of historians of fascism if he was, the answer was a resounding no), he’s a populist in the Andrew Jackson style. If nothing else Trump will (probably) not start WW3 with Russia.

      1. Betina

        Oh, I certainly don’t think he’s Hitler. He doesn’t need to be, and even if he did want to be Hitler I think it’d be impossible – how do you mobilise and intimidate 300 million ethnically diverse people in a huge territory the way the Nazis did? I’m judging Trump on his own terms, on the people he’s aligning with.

        And war with Russia doesn’t depend just on Hillary, it depends on us in Western Europe agreeing with it. Unless it’s on your mainland, I guess (I’m saying this with sympathy). Hillary can’t act alone on such a major move, whether she wants to or not, and the likelihood is that we won’t agree to it.

        However, Trump’s agenda on climate change will deal a fatal blow to ever solving the problem. He can and very likely will unilaterally ruin this. And it will lead to broad scale destruction.

        The internet isn’t great for grey areas, but rest assured that I am not dismissive of your concerns.

        1. Carolinian

          How about a new Cold War with Russia? Will the American people get a say on that under Hillary? Have they gotten a say on that so far?

          1. craazyboy

            Just pretending we have a threat (Cold War) vs. the nuclear hot war variety can be seriously dangerous to our health as well. People can talk about the “low probability*” of a nuclear war, but lets consider what the probabilities of being told we just don’t have enough money to go around** and “austerity” is necessary and they take the cost of Cold War out of our Social Security and Medicare payments. Do we want to starve in our old age ’cause the government wants to play make believe they are protecting us?

            * Shouldn’t it we make it zero anyway, if we have decided it’s all make believe anyhow? Just sayin’.

            ** Just so people around here don’t think I’m slow in the head – I know we are supposed to tell them about MMT at that point and that government is not like a household. But I’m holding out the possibility they may not listen to us about that either.

        2. zapster

          Unfortunately, Hillary is so tepid on climate change that the effect will be the same, inaction. So, no ‘lesser evil’ choice there, either. Green is the only way we’re going to head of global catastrophe.

        3. cm

          And war with Russia doesn’t depend just on Hillary, it depends on us in Western Europe agreeing with it.

          A laughable proposition. The official US policy, as you may recall, is fuck the EU.

          Where was Europe when we toppled the Urkrainian govt? Get back to me when you can actually spend 2% GDP on your military. At the moment you can’t even control your illegal immigrants.

        4. clarky90

          War is the single greatest threat there is to the Climate and to biodiversity. A nuclear war would send us into a nuclear winter and wipeout creatures from human down to viruses.

          “a period of abnormal cold and darkness predicted to follow a nuclear war, caused by a layer of smoke and dust in the atmosphere blocking the sun’s rays”.

          Conventional, non nuclear war, is a total disaster to the environment, as well. Just watch Al jazeera reporting on the mayhem in Africa. All those burning oil wells and explosions can not be good for limiting CO2 emissions?

          Peace and the environment are not two separate issues. They are one.

          Watching and listening to Donald Trump and family, themselves (not reading the hysterical accounts from the bought and paid for “Press”) convinces me that Trump is the Peace Candidate.

          Just the fact that Trump and Putin have good things to say about each other is wonderful news for life here on Earth, (IMO)

          1. mtnwoman

            Trump is not a believer in man-made climate change. It’s a “hoax”.

            The GOP platform proposes to get rid of National Parks and National Forests.

            I will not be a Hillary/ Dem apologist, but damn, the Trumpfest here is alarming. He’s a bigoted, small-minded narcissistic. And Pence– who will me managing the office of POTUS — is socially a Neaderthal — no cake for you if you’re gay! Sorry little lady, the govt says no abortion for you!

            1. pretzelattack

              no question, they’re awful. it’s just when you compare them to clinton that it becomes possible to hold your nose and think of roses.

          1. juliania

            The EU is allowing in genetically modified soybeans. I’d say Exit is the way to go, sooner rather than later.

        5. Skip Intro

          TPP would make any policy initiatives on climate change irrelevant indefinitely, rather than just for a presidential term.

        6. Plenue

          Ah yes, something depends on people agreeing to it. Which is why the massive, historic worldwide protests prevented the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Oh…wait…

          Official policy is ‘fuck the EU’. You have no say in the matter. Not only will direct antagonism of Russia continue, but it’s abundantly clear that Washington has no problem drowning Europe in refugees as a consequence of the continued destruction of the Middle-east and Africa.

        7. Yves Smith

          Western Europe is agreeing with war with Russia. Have you missed how NATO has been putting “defensive” nuclear silos all over Eastern Europe? That tips the nuclear balance of power decisively in the West’s favor. The West has, or soon will have, a first strike capability, since those lovely “defensive” installations will take out any Russian response to a nuclear attack on Russia.

        8. exiled off mainstreet

          The neoliberal Clinton view on “trade” pacts which eviscerate regulation reveal her position on climate change to be phony, thus, that is not an argument which can be made in her favor.

      2. Kemal Erdogan

        yes, indeed that is the line of my thinking. They are both terrible and I think Trump would forget everything he said about economic policy the day he got elected. However, I also think he is less likely to start a nuclear war thus would consider to vote for him (if I had a vote that is)

      3. ian

        The other thing I don’t get about Clinton: on what evidence to people think she’s going to a good job? It seems to me that everything she has ever touched has turned to shit – the Iraq vote, Libya, the Health Care task force, … Really folks, what hard accomplishments can she point to and say ‘this is why you should vote for me’?.
        With Trump (who I freely admit has lots of flaws) at least he has a whole bunch of premium properties with his name on them, all splendidly run. He got stuff done as a developer in an incredibly tough business environment – NYC, with it’s city government, unions, etc… As bad as he is, he’s got stuff he can point to.

    3. Aumua

      Agreed, it’s the downplaying of Donald Trump’s flaws, in the service of justifying doing “what we must” to vote against Hillary.

      I’m not voting for Hillary. Hell no. I’m also not voting against Hillary, in the sense of voting for someone I otherwise can’t stand just to hurt her chances. It’s the old: let’s vote based on who we are more afraid of that just sends the wrong message to the elites, in my opinion. I don’t think we should be voting from a place of fear. It says that we can be coerced into playing their game, on their field, with their rules, that they can change at will.

      I also do not agree with the characterization of Trump as a populist. Maybe it’s just a matter of semantics and different definitions, but Sanders is what I call a populist, at least in the Roman tradition. I understand that Trump appeals to a certain working class demographic, but I don’t see someone who really represents the interests of the people in Trump. He does not represent mine, that’s for sure. That’s how I define a populist: someone who represents the people’s interests, and someone who will advocate for the people’s greater good, against the rich and powerful, basically. That was Bernie Sanders. That’s not Donald Duck.

      1. Ger

        Agreed with exception: If Trump puts together a coherent, well thought out plan to rescue America’s working class, it will appeal to a broad demographic. When working class voters see Republican Organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and Koch Brothers lined up behind Clinton, they will realize the dark forces are now aligning against them. This election can easily come down to “class warfare”. However, I view it as an “awakening” in the making.

        1. jrs

          Wake me up when he puts together that plan (maybe we have to elect him first to see what is in it). Who exactly would even make that plan? Trump himself? Eh, he doesn’t have the chops, all he does is say stuff. His advisors? Many of them are mainstream Republicans, so you are asking reactionaries to become working class champions. Good luck with that. Is this the only country where leftists vote reactionary or what? (yes we do have two right-wing parties which is part of the problem).

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            The political parties that survive display adaptability, and ideological consistency isn’t a requirement for that. Look at the party of Lincoln. Or look at the party of FDR.

            If the Democrats decapitate the Republican party by bringing in the Kagans of this world and Republican suburbanites in swing states, then the Republicans will go where the votes are; the Iron Law of Institutions will drive them to do it, and the purge of the party after Trump will open the positions in the party for people with that goal.

            In a way, what we’re seeing now is what should have happened to the Republicans in 2008. The Democrats had the Republicans down on the ground with Obama’s boot on their neck. The Republicans had organized and lost a disastrous war, they had lost the legislative and executive branches, they were completely discredited ideologically, and they were thoroughly discredited in the political class and in the press.

            Instead, Obama, with his strategy of bipartisanship — good faith or not — gave them a hand up, dusted them off, and let them right back in the game, by treating them as a legitimate opposition party. So the Republican day of reckoning was postponed. We got various bids for power by factions — the Tea Party, now the Liberty Caucus — but none of them came anywhere near taking real power, despite (click-driven money-raising) Democrat hysteria.

            And now the day of reckoning has arrived. Trump went through the hollow institutional shell of the Republican Party like the German panzers through the French in 1939. And here we are!

            (Needless to say, anybody — ***cough*** Ted Cruz ***cough*** — yammering about “conservative principles” is part of the problem, dead weight, part of the dead past.) I don’t know if the Republicans can remake themselves after Trump; what he’s doing is necessary for that, but may not be sufficient.

            1. barrisj

              You of course are referring to the national Repub Party, surely, as at the state level Repubs rule in an outsized level to their actual popularity, thanks to gerrymandering, ALEC, Koch bros, all of it. The worst tendencies of the contemporary Repub Party are mightily entrenched in state legislatures, governors, and extending to a hard-right majority in Congress to this day. Now, whether this was due to the failure of Obama and the DNC to consolidate their gains prior to the disastrous 2010 mid-terms, or that in fact the resurgence of the hard-right was a direct consequence of the election of Obama, which proved to be an effective rallying point for Repub gains at the state level across the board since 2010.
              Whatever are the consequences of Trumpism on the Repub Party nationally, I really can’t see much if any trickling down, where – as we know – “all politics is local”.

              1. tegnost

                disaffected sanders supporters can have a big impact here by voting in down ticket races. This could be the most impactful aspect of his candidacy. I remain a “Vatch voter” at the presidential level, but will go case by case at the local level in tune with your observations, trying to get some representation by knocking out some third way dems from the left.

              2. Steve C

                Republicans won Congress and the states because the Democrats handed them to them on a silver platter. To Obama and his fan club meaningful power is a hot potato, to be discarded as soon as plausible.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  It’s the permanent smoke screen that hides their actual intentions: “we really wanted to do something Democratic but those bad old Republicans always blocked us”.
                  As Lambert said, Obama had his golden moment, in 2008 the entire Republican program was utterly discredited and on the stainless steel table in the morgue, then even before the inauguration he declared Little Timmy Geithner (of all people) for Treasury and I knew the fix was in. The next 8 years confirmed this for me across the board.
                  I think the tendency to look at everything through the lens of what this party or that party used to do or used to stand for twists us into pretzel logic, and I think Hudson slices through these dissonances very neatly. Seems to me that opposing the “Dem” today means you are opposing an end-to-end program of what used to be called “Repub” policies.
                  Unclear to me however is whether the old logic “party institutions will eventually migrate to where the voters are” still applies at all post-Citizens United.

            2. PH

              Agree that Obama 2009 was a missed opportunity, but it was virtually inevitable given Obama’s true identity.

              Obama was a machine politician from Chicago. The Senator clique he admired while senator was Baucus Bingaman crowd. When elected, he brought Baucus and Bingaman staff with him.

              But do not confuse the ideology — it is not reality driven. It is election driven.

              They think talking that talk raises campaign funds, and WINS purple states.

              They still think that.

              We need to win elections.

              Then they will pay attention.

              1. pretzelattack

                we need to stop the dinos from winning elections. if we don’t they will never pay attention. do all you want to reform the democrats, and vote for anybody but clinton.

              2. different clue

                I will partway agree with pretzelattack. We don’t necessarily have to win elections just yet. What we have to do is make the Clintonite Obamacrats lose their elections. Every single election. Every single time. Step by step destroy every Clintonite Obamacrat career in politics.

                1. PH

                  Your view is logical, but not accurate.

                  Blue dogs that lose think they need to be more Republican. If Progressive oppo hurts, discredit. Progressives.

                  They live in an echo chamber, convinced of their formula for winning elections.

                  Progressives must show they can win elections. Start with primaries.

            3. Treadingwaterbutstillkicking

              I think it makes an even finer point to note that the Germans didn’t invade France until May 1940, not 1939, 8 months after the start of WWII. Yes, they waited the entire Fall and Winter before entering France.

              Eight full months to digest the blitzkrieg of Poland, to reflect on the annexation of many parts of Europe and even time to study the tactics the Germans used to invade France in 1914…which was pretty much what they ended up employing in 1940.

              1. Yves Smith

                FWIW, a good book on military disasters, called Military Misfortunes, puts the French response to Germany in WWII in a special category of shame, basically “screwed it up on every strategic/operational level possible”.

                1. Indrid Cold

                  For an alternate view, read “Strange Victory” by John Mosier, who proposes the French weren’t as hapless as the story would have us believe.

    4. Older & Wiser

      Having the establishment, the military-industrial complex and Wall Street against him helps Trump a lot.
      Pro-Sanders folks, blacks, and hispanics will mostly vote for Trump.
      Having Gov. Pence on the ticket, core Republicans and the silent majority will vote for Trump.
      Women deep inside know Trump will help their true interests better than the Clinton-Obama rinse repeat
      Young people, sick and tired of the current obviously rigged system, will vote for change.

      You can fool part of the people all the time, and all people part of the time, but…
      Brexit won, so will Trump, politician extraordinaire
      Even Michael Moore gets it…

      1. backwardsevolution

        Yup. With Trump and Clinton, right is left and left is now right. Go figure! The Clinton’s (and Obama) hung their party base out to dry, as they’re only slightly left of the Koch Brothers. Well, guess what, Hillary? Your fake liberalism is now very much apparent, and these dried out little voters are going to send you to your political grave. Good-bye.

      2. Yves Smith

        Huh? Blacks will overwhelmingly vote for Clinton. Trump may do better with Hispanics than the pundits say, basically because (and I’ve had Latino men tell me this) men are leery of women leaders. They’ll never admit that in public, but what they do in the polling booth is another matter. And Clinton’s dishonesty sits particularly poorly with them. So he may get a lot of Latino male votes.

        Even if Trump wins, it will be with less than 40% of the popular vote.

        1. aab

          I’m not sure you’re right about black voters. I believe the polling and turnout in the Southern states where she got a massive percentage of the black vote in the primary also showed that the black vote was way, way down. I know some of that was Republican voter suppression, but I think there was additional polling backing up the idea that black voters weren’t, overall, dying to come out and vote for her. And Sanders’ support among black voters in the South (after they had voted) when up as the primary continues, IIRC. And wasn’t Bernie getting about 50% of the black vote under 40 all along?

          If black leftist Twitter is at all representative, I think that a significant percentage of Sanders’ AA voters will not come back to Hillary. They’ll either go to Stein or Johnson or some possibly to Trump, to stop Clinton. I’m sure she’ll get more than 50% of the black vote, but doesn’t she need like 90%? (You know, presuming we’re not including Diebold in the calculations.)

          I can’t imagine him getting to 50%, but I can actually imagine him getting fairly close. There’s a lot of anger in this country, and Clinton seems determined to fan it.

          1. Yves Smith

            Blacks historically vote 90% Democratic. Even though the Black Lives Matter contingent is very vocal and gets a lot of media attention, it’s not representative of black voters as a whole. Twitter skews to journalists, the sorta young, and the chattering classes. Twitter is not a good proxy for voters. If it were, you’d see Clinton polling vastly ahead of Trump, and not in a close contest.

            And remember, Sanders is endorsing Clinton. Where will BLM go? To Stein? She’s not got any odds of winning and she has no connections whatsoever either to the judiciary or law enforcement. I think a lot of BLM followers will see the Trump law and order talk as giving the cops too much rope (and that’s before all the racist dog whistling in the primaries, even if he tries walking that back, they won’t see that as credible) and will vote for Clinton to make sure he does not win.

            1. aab

              I know it’s a mistake to attribute too much general relevance to social media heat. But I do think that the polling I referenced would back me up, although I don’t have the links on hand.

              I disagree with you about BLM. I follow quite a few BLM leaders on Twitter and they are not voting for Hillary Clinton. I am also pretty confident they will vote; as activists, they are pungently aware that low voting rates due to despair leads to stuff like Ferguson. Again, that’s anecdotal. And BLM is not an organization; there’s no centralized decision-making. But there is such a thing as social culture dynamics. And with a group active on social media, social media reinforces group thinking and agreement very powerfully. The movement sprung up under Obama. These are not people who are naive about the racial politics of the current Democratic Party. Hillary’s mostly frequently caught “gaffes” on the campaign trail involved young black whom she treated with extreme disdain, at best.

              I was under the impression she really needs strong turnout among black voters. I think it’s going to be hard to actually turn out for her for a lot of people by the end, from a lot of traditionally Democratic groups. I’ve been wrong about a lot of things, so I prepared to be wrong about this. But I don’t think she’s going to get what she needs in terms of flesh and blood voters, and there’s evidence that will include a lot of younger black voters.

              1. aab

                Sorry. I didn’t catch this in time. That should be “Hillary’s most frequently caught “gaffes” on the campaign trail involved young black women…”

                I really hate talking about people in racial categorizes, for the record.

            2. notabanker

              It’s a great point and one that Hudson ignores.

              When I first read the headline I thought, why yes, exactly what I have been saying. But this is one of the weaker pieces from Hudson and I am a big fan. He’s right about Trump’s appeal, but doesn’t address the constituencies he completely alienates.

          2. Dave

            I work with a lot of older black men. The guys I know have a wonderful and unique way of cutting through the bullshit.

            Often their speech patterns and word choices make it appear a cultural thing rather than just common sense distilled to its essence. Point is, they all hate Hillary, seeing her as a phony.
            “I’m not voting for that freak!”

            What a refreshing point of view after listening to all the simpering, apologetic, tentative NPR listening white professionals who eventually get around to admitting disliking her in carefully guarded terms always with a shout out to hating Trump.

      3. Bobq

        You can’t possibly be serious…..

        Pro-Sanders folks, Blacks and Hispanics will vote mostly for Trump?

        You may be older but I generally don’t trust people who claim wisdom or say things like “I’m a genius.”

        1. Yves Smith

          I’ve argued with him before on this issue. I have no idea why he persists in that fantasy. Although more Latino men will vote for Trump than you think. Everyone I know, when I’ve told them I hate both candidates, have said as much. One is open, son of immigrant farm workers (and Stanford grad with an MBA, good relationship with his family so it’s not about rejecting them), Sanders voter who hates Clinton. Another said to me he does not trust Clinton and than many Latino men, in the privacy of the polling booth, will say to themselves, “I just can’t vote for a woman President.” I’m not saying this means a Latino majority, just better results from Latinos for Trump than pundits assume.

    5. afisher

      The problem with a “Trump” vote, is that it will translate into a GOP led Senate and House as well.

      Trump has intimated that he is not going to deal with the nuts and bolts of government, that will be Pence’s job. What does that do to help all those who Trump say he is going to help.

      Anyone believe Trump will shut down government by refusing to sign a defense bill, or privatization of healthcare and social security or taking away a woman’s right to choose how to manage her own reproductive health issues.

      1. cm

        Trump has intimated that he is not going to deal with the nuts and bolts of government, that will be Pence’s job.

        Given his family, a Trump presidency may look more like JFK’s, where Bobby had more power than LBJ.

        Also, given Trump’s negotiating expertise, I would certainly not believe any assertion of support he proclaims for the VP. I expect he had little choice in the matter, and that he also plans to send the VP to the hinterlands at the first opportunity. I’m unclear why so many appear to believe the VP has any influence whatsoever; I believe GWB was the only post-WW2 president who let the VP have any power.

        1. EndOfTheWorld

          By “nuts and bolts” Trump is acknowledging he has no experience in how the House works, Senate protocol, etc. Pence can help him understand the rules. Trump is not saying he will turn everything over to Pence.

          1. local to oakland

            I think he’s more likely to turn to someone like Sessions than Pence. His kitchen cabinet will no doubt wield a lot of power, but I don’t see strong evidence that Pence is part of it.

            Seeing that Adelson is funding him, I looked at the Citizens United policy agenda. In terms of lesser evils it is bad but better than the New American Century project imho.

        2. DarkMatters

          At least one (admittedly concealed) exception: Reagan’s VP, who did a whole lot of damage from the White House basement. HW never did get the respect (or blame) he deserved, but it’s likely he wanted it that way.

        3. Yves Smith

          Please stop pushing this “Pence will play a serious role” line. It’s sloppy thinking and just plain wrong.

          1. Picking Pence was a strictly political move to appease evangelicals and increase his odds in the Rust Belt, which he must win to cinch the Presidency.

          2. Trump used the Munch attack to delay the announcement, and there are plenty of credible reports that Trump got cold feet re Pence and wanted to nominate someone else, but his advisers told him “no”.

          3. Pence’s experience as a governor doesn’t bear on Washington. Look at Jimmy Carter.

          4. Trump is famously detail oriented and meddling when he is interested. It’s the Cabinet member that will fill the vacuums, not Pence.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Do you have any evidence that Trump has coat-tails? I don’t see why a Trump Presidency means that the Democrats can’t win the Senate, although the House would be much harder.

        (My goal is gridlock with a crippled President no matter who wins. We will certainly get a crippled President with Clinton and a Republican House, since they will, and rightly, impeach her.)

        1. HBE

          My worry is to the extent of the crippling (it will undoubtedly happen), but a hillary presidency would likely last 8 years (no guarantee but very likely, with rampant tribalism and all).

          If she escapes the first 3 years of impeachment proceedings and gridlock, the next 5 could become my worst nightmare.

        2. craazyboy

          Wish I could be sure of that. But when you see the Stars align behind Hillary, this is a scary group. Murdoch, Bezos, MSNBC, NYT, Univision…just for the media megaphone. Then Kochs, other “philanthropists”, “responsible biz leaders”, and of course our friends the neocons. Not to mention our minorities, for some color commentary. And all our wimins will be empowered, of course.

          I wonder if all them may just get a couple hundred R congressmen (even Senators) to STFU.

        3. EndOfTheWorld

          If Trump does try to enact some of the stuff he’s talking about it will be gridlock. You’ll have a nominally republican prez with a republican house that will be fighting him. Can he persuade them?

          1. backwardsevolution

            Trump is the type of person who will negotiate first. If unsuccessful there, he will take to the airways. He will tell the American people who is holding up passage, why they’re doing it, who they’re really working for. If they want to keep their jobs, they will listen to him.

        4. Escher

          I’ll bet Clinton and the Republican House could find a way to come together for a Grand Bargain!

        5. Yves Smith

          I see no evidence that either Trump or Hillary will have coattails. Look at their monster disapproval ratings. Obama had negative coattails and he is much better liked.

    6. John k

      Minorities will benefit at least as much as whites with infrastructure spending, which trump says he wants to do… It would make him popular, which he likes, why not believe him? And if pres he would be able to get enough rep votes to get it passed. No chance with Hillary, who anyway would rather spend on wars, which are mostly fought by minorities.

      What is a populist? Somebody that tries to do what the majority want. Current examples:
      Less wars and military spending.
      More infrastructure spending.
      Less support for banks and corps (imagine how many votes trump would gain if he said ‘as pres I will jail bankers that break the law’… And how that repudiates Obama and both parties.)
      Gun control (but not possible from within the rep party)

      What is a fascist? Somebody that supports corporations, military, and military adventures.

      1. jrs

        “Minorities will benefit at least as much as whites with infrastructure spending, which trump says he wants to do…”

        And that’s the only issue that matters? Yes of course the economic problems that especially hit minority communities but not just them need to be addressed. But what about the a hateful factions that Trump is empowering? What about the fact that cops are murdering black people right and left? Hillary may not fix it (it’s hard to tell with her, she might even make positive moves, she probably cares more about race than poverty, but on the other hand she is pretty status quo and has taken a lot of status quo money). But regardless does anyone think Trump will address that problem?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          ideally, we can’t say we are not going to address the issue. We want some one to do something. Hillary may not fix it. Trump will not address it. What to do, ideally?

          Practically, some one has to occupy the White House. The decision, for some one who is not an idealist, or maybe even an idealist, would have to be based on something else.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > What about the fact that cops are murdering black people right and left?

          The problem here is that Obama hasn’t done squat either (although, to be fair, Clinton has used some mothers of the dead as props).

          It speaks volumes, and was noticed on black twitter, thatObama went to Dallas for a memorial service for the policemen, but didn’t for the murdered black people.

          To your larger point, I agree with you 100% that an exclusive focus on economic issues isn’t enough.

          1. Steve C

            But none of this can be addressed without first addressing economics. If we had a full-employment economy, none of these problems would be the crisis they are today. They would be tractable.

            1. backwardsevolution

              Steve C – I agree with you. Having people employed (instead of 50 million on food stamps) would go a long way towards cutting down on violence.

        3. Big River Bandido

          Republicans certainly do not have a monopoly on racism, and Democrats have no credibility whatsoever vis-a-vis killer cops. The prosecutor who declined to press charges against the goons in Ferguson is a right-wing Democrat, and so are the governor and senior US Senator who gave him political cover. The mayor of Chicago is a right-wing Democrat who owes his political career to Bill and Hillary Clinton. Indeed, the entire Democrat family history going all the way back to the late 1970s has been to take a page from the Nixon Southern Strategy and demonize people of color: between policies like “three strikes you’re out”, welfare “reform”, militarized police and for-profit prisons, and rhetorical violence like the Sistah Souljah moment (and many others since then), the Democrat Party is just culpable, if not more so, than the Republicans.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Dems prefer to murder brown people at a distance, like, say, in a MSF hospital, in support of their insane “nation building”. Which BTW Trump vehemently opposes.

            1. pretzelattack

              there’s been a whole “next hitler” series, used to justify aggressive wars or gutting the new deal, whatever’s topical. putin was going to be the guy, but now trump’s the “next putin” which makes him hitler in waiting.

    7. Norb

      Being white and lucky not to be born into poverty, places my life experience outside the realm of most impoverished people worldwide. I attribute this life experience with not getting the obsession with lesser of two evil voting. It is not rational to me in the sense of being a mechanism to improve your life. Only the fear of ones situation getting worse seems to support that view. It is understandable, but so easily manipulated. The current political class has only the fear button to push.

      With the current democratic record of betrayal, the rational of lesser of two evil voting is further degraded by adding the cynical time element. The democrats will slowly impoverish the working class so that is better. This is the oppression of short term thinking. If the FBI cannot pressure change in Clinton, it is delusional to think individuals with no collective power will change anything once she is safely ensconced in the presidency.

      The democratic party has betrayed the working class-period. The efforts taken to deny Saunders the nomination this election lay bare party insiders true loyalties and evolution as a political party. The real question is whether the democratic party is beyond saving or not. It is all a question of time and energy.

      Expending time, energy, and resources outside the existing system seems the way to go. Quelling fear is another.
      The best pressure applied to Clinton and her like is to deny them the ability to have any say in public policy.
      That is what representative democracy and voting is all about. The system is short circuited if there are NO representatives for your particular interests.

      Working people must have a political voice and the party they support must be built on the foundation of supporting their interests above all else. The democratic party is not the party of the working class. Class warfare is once again coming to the forefront of political consciousness as the promises of the neoliberals fall apart before our eyes. Will capitalists once again be able to pull the rabbit out of the hat and convince the masses that they are living the best possible life? Hard reality is about the long term. The long term is the only thing that really matters. Hard reality will win out in the end and it doesn’t look good for the capitalists of either party.

      It is like we are all trapped in an airplane high in the stratosphere and all the engines have flamed out. The passengers have noted the silent engines even while the pilots and crew are frantically exclaiming over the PA system that all is well. The passengers have also noted that the nose of the plane has just tipped over and the downward decent has begun. Clinton is the pilot putting on the parachute while confidently exclaiming to the frightened passengers that all is well. Trump is the reluctant co-pilot who can’t believe his luck at finally getting the chance to “fly” the big plane. The question is what will the passengers do next.

        1. Norb

          My struggle has been one of time and resources, and trying to figure out how to deploy them to the best effect. We need a political class of compatriots that can be trusted. Seizing existing structures seem the most common sense and logical path forward, but without trusted foot soldiers the effort will be futile.

          I am reminded of Yves great description of the Greek crisis resembling unprepared foot soldiers facing Panzer tanks. The outcome is foregone.

          Building local organizations of trusted individuals is a start. Building up proper defensive positions against the neoliberal order the second. Its about learning and exercising the power of political action. Seizing control of our places of work is another powerful idea that needs more exploration. This is not advocating forceful takeovers of existing businesses. It is the realization that without control over your workplace you are lost. The very notion that workers deserve that control is something that needs repeating.

    8. Uahsenaa

      I’m saying you have a much better chance to pressure Clinton

      Sorry, but this argues from facts not in evidence and closely resembles the Correct the Record troll line (now substantiated through the Wikileaks dump) that Clinton “has to be elected” because she is at least responsive to progressive concerns.

      Except she isn’t, and the degree to which the DNC clearly has been trying to pander to disillusioned Republicans and the amount of bile they spew every time they lament how HRC has had to “veer left” shows quite conclusively to my mind that, in fact, the opposite of what you say is true.

      Also, when NAFTA was being debated in the ’90s, the Clintons showed themselves to be remarkably unresponsive both to the concerns of organized labor (who opposed it) as well as the majority of the members of their own party, who voted against it. NAFTA was passed only with a majority of Republican votes.

      I have no way of knowing whether you’re a troll or sincerely believe this, but either way, it needs to be pointed out that the historical record actually contradicts your premise. If you do really believe this, try not to be so easily taken in by crafty rhetoric.

    9. fajensen

      Really? Debbie Wassermann Schultz kicked out over provable allegations of sabotaging Bernie Sanders campaign *immediately* hired by Hillary Clinton.

      *Before* the great “let’s make up and look forward”-event to persuade the Bernie people to at least not vote Trump.

      This is either naked arrogance (or blind stupidity). I read it as Hillary saying: “Mind over matter. I don’t mind and you don’t matter”.


  4. EndOfTheWorld

    RE: fracking—the only anti-fracking candidate is Jill Stein. You have no chance to pressure HRC on fracking, or anything else. If she wins the election, she will triangulate furiously.

    1. Betina

      This just isn’t true. The idea that she can be pressured isn’t based on ideas on the quality of her character or her ability for goodwill, but on the ability to change what’s politically expedient and which of the candidates is most sensitive to certain pressures. The climate lobby is becoming very powerful in the Democratic party, while there simply isn’t one among the Republicans.

      That being said, I am going to see what happens during the debates.

      1. pretzelattack

        the oil lobby seems to have more influence. what she views as politically expedient is making some vague gestures to progressivism and then pushing more neoliberalism and aggressive foreign policy. i dont get where all this pressure is coming from when she won’t even throw a sop to progressives during the election process. where has she really compromised?

        1. EndOfTheWorld

          Right, you have to acknowledge the fact that she takes money from fossil fuel companies, and they will call the tune she will play. This was one point that Bernie Sanders hammered home in the primaries. Now, what she can do, is ACT LIKE she might do something about fracking, shrug her shoulders, and say “we tried—God know we tried.” That’s the dem style.

          1. Ger

            Clinton says she believes in “incremental changes” as a political process. That is code for setting on ones hands while the world goes to h… in a hand basket. In the meanwhile, Hill and her husband incremented themselves into the 1% establishment zone.

      2. HBE

        “The climate lobby is becoming very powerful in the Democratic party”

        I think we might view powerful differently, the climate lobby is unorganized, ineffective, and it doesn’t (unfortunately) have a block of organized voters, which can be used to influence policy. Their are local/regional movements that do have influence (see Keystone xl) but nothing in the national arena.

        And Clinton has been bought and sold by the oil industry just like bank’s.


        Not to mention I have almost zero respect for green lobbyists who push the mythology of green/clean energy, which does not exist.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          It would have been nice if the People’s Summit in Chicago had been able to create a deliverable unifying themselves. If you want to drag Sanders left, which is not a bad thing, that would have been the way to do it. Oh well.

      3. Vatch

        Sure, it’s easy to induce Hillary Clinton to change her position on an issue. Just donate a few million dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Piece of cake!

  5. EndOfTheWorld

    “And the interesting thing is all he gets from the Democrats is denunciations. So I can’t wait to see how Bernie Sanders is going to handle all this at the Democratic Convention next week.” Yes, Bernie is inconsistent when he refuses to acknowledge that Trump advocates some of the same things that Bernie wants. It’s always easy to say “Trump doesn’t really mean it—he will flip-flop when he gets in office.”—-of course, you can say that about any politician. But it’s my understanding that The Donald has been consistently against NAFTA, GATT, TPP etc. in that he understands they are deals in which the US got screwed.

  6. allan

    On any policy question of note, Trump has at various times made statements taking virtually all possible positions and tossing them when they become inconvenient, which is a continuation of his record as a `businessman’ (and `husband’). Given this history, basing a rationale analysis on his statements and thinking that it says anything about the reality that would ensue after Jan. 20 seems not only silly but dishonest, and I’m surprised Hudson went there.

    The horrifying fact is that our system has failed so badly. A sociopathic grifter with no policy track record, one who will quickly become a puppet for the permanent GOP class, vs. the end product of decades of DNC betrayal of the base, with a long policy track record as a bankster-friendly, neocon true believer, who has already set significant parts of the world aflame and might very well blow up the rest of it. It might be a relief to think that some advantage would come from one or the other winning, but I don’t believe it.

    1. Carolinian

      But what if he does mean it? He’s a 70 year old rich guy. Maybe he can simply do what he wants.

      Your certainty about what Trump is lacks evidence. But yes all voters will have to make a decision about who means what. Perhaps we should give candidates polygraphs.

    2. EndOfTheWorld

      BTW, I’ll take Trump’s record as a husband over HRC’s record as a wife. He loves a woman, then they break up, and he finds another one. This is not unusual in the US. Hillary, OTOH, “stood by her man” through multiple publicly humiliating infidelities, including having to settle out of court for more than $800,000, and rape charges. No problem with her if her husband was flying many times on the “Lolita Express” with a child molester. Could be she had no idea where her “loved one” was at the time. Do they in fact sleep in the same bed, or even live in the same house? I don’t know.

      1. allan

        “He loves a woman, then they break up, and he finds another one.”

        If you look at the chronology of his marriages, affairs, pre-nups, etc., the picture is ugly.
        Example: he divorced Marla Maples just before a 10 year threshold written into their pre-nup.
        I’ll let you do the Googling.

        Believe me (as Trump would say, but I actually mean it),
        I’m not holding the Clintons up as any kind of a model.

        1. low integer

          I’ll let you do the Googling.

          Marla Ann Maples (born October 27, 1963) is an American actress and television personality, best known for her six-year marriage to celebrity businessman Donald Trump.

          1. allan

            NYDN, 1999:

            Marla Maples threw in the towel in her slugfest with Donald Trump yesterday, giving the billionaire developer a divorce under the terms of a prenuptial agreement that leaves her a paltry $2 million. The Georgia peach then turned bulldog and ripped The Donald for failing to provide her and their 5-year-old daughter, Tiffany, with a better deal. …

            The union reportedly faltered when Trump’s interest in business and society overwhelmed Maples’ attempts to create a traditional home life. The couple separated May 2, 1997, months shy of a milestone in their prenup that would have upped Maples’ settlement. She battled for two years to break the prenup that she says she signed under duress two days before their Dec. 23, 1993, wedding at The Plaza hotel. She had given birth to Tiffany in October. …

            One of the Topics listed in the NC sidebar is Ridiculously Obvious Scams.
            Trump is a Ridiculously Obvious Scam.

            1. EndOfTheWorld

              He was playing the divorce game. He wanted to win. I seriously doubt if Marla Maples is now working at McDonald’s to make ends meet.
              This is an example of picking at straws to try to find something that can be construed as derogatory re Trump.

              1. craazyboy

                Ok. Call me curious. Per wiki:

                Marla net worth: $20 million USD (2016)
                Ivana (#1) net worth: $60 million USD (2016)

                Wherever that all came from, sure beats working!

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              They separated in 1997.

              Is ‘separated’ the same as ‘divorced’ in any pre-nuptial?

              Was that separation by mutual consent or did Trump declared that by himself to get the favorable timing? Could she not agree to separate/divorce?

            3. Yves Smith

              So you are blaming The Donald when:

              1. As any second wife should know, divorce risk is high

              2. If she didn’t like the pre-nup, she should not have married him at all

              3. She is the one who initiated the divorce, because she wanted him to give up his lifestyle, which she had to have know about when she married him.

              And how is this his fault?

              BTW divorce lawyers have good success with getting pre-nups overturned that are coercive, like sprung on the wife-to-be a couple of days before the wedding.

          1. ekstase

            When they sell themselves to us as paragons of “traditional” virtue, (which has tended to prop up patriarchy and homophobia,) then I think we should look at it. I think we should look at the whole thing they’re selling us.

      2. ambrit

        That phrase, “He loves a woman…” is one of the sneakiest backhanded slaps at H Clinton I’ve seen in a while. This general campaign is going to be one of the dirtiest ever.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I’m waiting for Yoko to do another interview describing how much she enjoyed Hilary’s tender ministrations back in the day. Not that it matters one little goddam bit to me, but it would to quite a few ‘Murkans.

    3. Dirk77

      Your description of Hillary I suspect is a reason the market is doing so well now. Which means if Trump wins all the money that was holding it up (which probably includes the Fed as why should Obama stop there) will drop out. Would I had money to short the market with an expiration date of Nov. 10.

        1. Dirk77

          I just meant that people vote their pocketbook as Mike Ryoko used to say. The health of the economy is thought to be reflected in the stock market. Hillary as a dem and former member of Obama’s cabinet is identified with the present administration. Everyone thinks the president is responsible for the state of the economy. So if Hillary is indeed owned by Wall St. as the title of this article declares, then the simplest way to help get her elected is to jack up stock prices. I don’t doubt Obama is willing to help out with a call to Yellen to buy some too. No matter who wins they will cash out the day after the election, Nov. 9. So I set the expiration date of my shorts to the day after that, Nov. 10.

          1. EndOfTheWorld

            Dirk, sorry I made a mistake. I meant I didn’t understand ambrit about “backhanded comment”.

    4. GlenO

      Trump will certainly demagogue issues to get elected, but only issues he doesn’t care that much about. These (unfortunately) include climate change, and also identity politics issues. The core issues he never waffles on are anti-corruption (it is not hypocrisy to participate in a corrupt system and still want to reform it), pro-jobs (for Americans), anti-globalization, and anti-foreign-military-adventures. That is not to say he would be effective at advancing this agenda if elected, but I really worry about Clinton’s eagerness to confront Russia militarily, and I don’t think he would do that. His missteps are more likely to be unintentional.

    5. Whine Country

      “It might be a relief to think that some advantage would come from one or the other winning, but I don’t believe it.”

      allan – I fear that you are absolutely correct on this point and like the issue of actually fixing our economic problems (policies now in place make the ultimate repairs much more difficult and painful), so to is it with our political problems.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        We spend hundreds of billions blowing up bridges in faraway lands and then rebuilding them, we could skip the “blowing up” step and the “faraway lands” part. One of the two candidates has stated this as their intention, and he also happens to have a background in construction. I personally do not care which rest room he would allow people to use.

    6. John k

      Please indicate the basis for ‘he will become a puppet’.
      Certainly isn’t how the primaries played out…
      Seems more independent to me than any other politician, including Bernie, who I passionately supported, given the early concession. I see his motivation as to become more popular, kind of different from throwing 4/9 of the dem party under the bus.
      I see no indication he is dependent on, or has any debt to, anybody. Hillary, on the other hand, seems deeply indebted to every Corp under the sun.

      1. jrs

        If you want an independent politician look at Kasich, unlike Bernie did not fold on endorsing, and was apparently offered a powerful vice presidency (although who can trust Trump?) and turned it down.

        Isn’t the fact Trump has to raise money from donors evidence that he is indebted?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Some one commented that Trump has always done business with other people’s money, taking little risk himself.

          That made self-funding in the primary phase quite unusually for him, unless he knew it was going to be a sure thing, which I doubt he knew.

          Why did he spend that much money then? Simply because he was angry at Hillary?

          1. clarky90

            Because he is a Patriot? The kind of person that we write books about and make movies of? Because he loves his country and it’s citizens? The simplest explanation is often the best. (Occam’s razor)

            1. jrs

              I think the simplest explanation is because he’s a narcissist personally. Although I think I am replying to sarcasm here.

                1. low integer

                  I personally think Trump is preferable to Hillary, yet your posts are hard to swallow imo. I note you mentioned you live in New Zealand (I live in Aus. btw), and I’m also thinking you are fairly young (born in 1990? I may be wrong here). There are many people here who have closely watched and experienced US politics for decades (not me) and I think you should pay attention to their more nuanced opinions. Just because Hillary is bad doesn’t make Trump good by default.

  7. EndOfTheWorld

    RE: calling Donald Trump a “sociopath”—this is another one of those words that is thrown around carelessly, like “nazi” and “fascist”. In the Psychology Today article “How to Spot a Sociopath”, they list 16 key behavioral characteristics. I can’t see them in Trump—you could make a case for a few of them, but not all. For example: “failure to follow any life plan”, “sex life impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated”, “poor judgment and failure to learn by experience”, “incapacity for love”—–you can’t reasonably attach these characteristics to The Donald, who, indeed, has a more impressive and loving progeny than any other prez candidate I can think of.

    1. edmondo

      Actually, it sounds a whole lot like a different candidate from a different party, doesn’t it?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Is his style to delegate?

        What does it mean he alone?

        Does he mean, without advisers? Or without special interests? Or without my co-president, my spouse?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        He didn’t say “I can fix this alone.”

        It’s “I alone” in the context of a choice of candidates (and a thoroughly corrupt political class).

        Not buying this particular bit of Democrat heavy-breathing (again, see the link up top for my views).

        And isn’t Clinton really conveying the same message, with more words and a different definition of “fix”? Surely a Presidential candidate ought to be conveying the message that they’re uniquely suited for the role?

  8. PH

    The pro-Trump sentiment in the comments has astonished me. I have visited the site for years, but never read the comments.

    The anti-Hillary stuff I expected, and I can sympathize with. The pro-Trump stuff was a shock. Over night, I wondered why.

    Politics is about a sense of identity, but in a tricky way. Us v. Them at one level, but wrapped in a cocoon of nationalist identity that we are all united by some common bond. For me, personally, I have a sense of international identity as well: we are all brothers and sisters.

    Tricky. And not everyone feels the same way, but for most voters there is either a strong tribal loyalty (Dem or Repub) or a weaker sense of “us” guiding the voter on that day.

    Mad as I am about the Blue Dogs, I strongly identify with the Dems. Still, I do not hate Repubs; they are my family and friends.

    Two things struck me about the foray into the comments yesterday. First, the level of bitterness and hate (not to mention arrogance and self-righteousness). I have seen it at RedState and Daily Kos — why was I shocked? Second, the naïveté about what party identification means to people in our society at large, and on Capitol Hill. It does matter.

    Our sense of self and values are vague but part of a large vague cultural struggle. Who are we? What do we want?

    On Capitol Hill there are lots of smug twits who fall for corporate lines and Free Trade in both Dem and Repub circles, but the allegiance is thin. The dirty secret about Capitol Hill is that most do not care about policy much. They just want to win elections, and march around. You would be surprised how fast policy consensus can change. In short, the idea of Inevitable direct rule by Wall Street is wrong. Instead, it is mostly gullible people following what they think is the winning path.

    But the Repubs and Dems see Wall Street issues through different cultural prisms. Republican are more reflexively pro-business. It matters.

    On other issues, the differences are more stark. Environment. Abortion. Labor.

    Trump is an opportunist and a gifted propagandist. He is racist, and so he knows how to push ugly buttons. He does not really care about any issue, just the greater glory of Donald.

    He is terrible for the country for two main reasons. First, he will govern with the Republicans. Republican judges, TPP, military spending, environmental rollbacks, etc. Trump will not overrule Repubs in Congress. Second, his reckless racist rhetoric and actions will encourage anger and violence. That is a dark road, and a difficult journey to come back.

    You should not vote for Trump. Your fevered imagination of how it might be a good thing is deluded. Your anger is clouding your judgment.

    And no, no great Left populist party will ride to the rescue. The populist tradition (identity) is mostly rightwing and racist in our society.

    People do not change political identity like their clothes. The left tradition in the US, such as it is, is in the Dem party.

    Deal with it honestly.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      You said “you should not vote for Trump.” I say to you “you should not tell somebody,anybody, ever, who to vote for.” BTW, you are the one who is naive about party indentification. It doesn’t have to be a life-long prison sentence.

    2. HBE

      “I have a sense of international identity as well: we are all brothers and sisters.”

      Neoliberal “Goodthink” flag. What this means when neoliberals say it is not let’s build a better global society for all it means Corporations and our military should be able to run roughshod over the world and the people’s of other countries. Exploit their citizens for cheap Labor, destroy their environment and move on. These are the exact policies of Hillary Clinton (see TPP, increase foreign wars etc.). Hillary globalism is not about global Brotherhood it’s about global economic and military exploitation. Trump is nationalist non – interventionist, which leads to less global military destruction than hillary and less global exploitation. So who is a better for those outside the US, hillary the interventionist OR trump the non-interventionist?

      “And not everyone feels the same way, but for most voters there is either a strong tribal loyalty (Dem or Repub) or a weaker sense of “us” guiding the voter on that day.
      Mad as I am about the Blue Dogs, I strongly identify with the Dems.”

      So you recognize you are a tribalist, and assume all the baggage and irrationality that tribalism often fosters, but instead of addressing your tribalism you embrace it. What you seem to be saying (to me)is that we should leave critical thinking at the door and become dem tribalists like you.

      “But the Repubs and Dems see Wall Street issues through different cultural prisms. Republican are more reflexively pro-business. It matters.”

      Hillary Clinton’s biggest donors are Wallstreet and her dem. Husband destroyed glass-steagall. Trump wants to reinstate glass-steagall, so who is more business friendly again?

      “He is racist, and so he knows how to push ugly buttons.”

      This identity politics trope is getting so old. Both are racist just in different ways, Trump says in your face racist things, which ensure the injustice cannot be ignored, where hillary has and does support racist policies, that use stealth racism to incrementaly increase the misery of minorities, while allowing the majority to pretend it’s not happening.

      “First, he will govern with the Republicans. Republican judges, TPP, military spending, environmental rollbacks, etc. Trump will not overrule Repubs in Congress.”

      These are literally hillarys policies not trumps.
      Trump: anti TPP, stop foreign interventions, close bases use money for infrastructure.
      Hillary :Pro TPP, more interventions and military spending

      “And no, no great Left populist party will ride to the rescue. The populist tradition (identity) is mostly rightwing and racist in our society.
      People do not change political identity like their clothes. The left tradition in the US, such as it is, is in the Dem party.”

      So what you are saying is quit being stupid, populism is bad and you should vote for hillarys neoliberalism. The democrats were once left so even if they are no longer left, we must continue to support them if another party or candidate that is to the left isn’t a democrat? Your logic hurts my head.

      1. PH

        Trump has no policies; only slogans.

        Do you seriously contend that we should predict his administration based upon his slogans?

        I do not judge you that way. Instead, I think you are just rationalizing your reflexive hatred. But maybe you believe in Trump’s slogans. If so, allI can say is that I think you are mistaken.

        I do not have a good sense of how you think government works. I have some experience in that area. But whatever: even people with experience have wildly inconsistent opinions. Opinions are plentiful in this world.

        Judicial appointments. Administration appointments. Rule making. Rule rollbacks. Budget decisions. Occasional legislation beyond budget riders.

        The day to day machinery of government will be Republican or Bluedog Democrat. Those are our options for the next four years. (You can opt out and make a protest vote, but indirectly you will influence the outcome. So you will ultimately choose Trump or Hillary.)

        I am offering my informed opinion that the difference matters.

        If you want to argue for some long term utopian result from undermining Democrats, that much might be intellectually honest, I think. Deluded, but honest.

        But the suggestion that Trump will govern as an anti Wall Street, anti trade agreement populist based upon his campaign slogans is not honest for you. I judge you too smart to believe that.

        As for my intellectual limits, I leave that for blog readers to judge for themselves. But I will point out that our political choices today do not exist in an abstract vacuum — there are existing traditions and legal structures.

        Some electoral systems give incentives for multiple parties, and the societies have traditions of multiple parties. Neither is the case here. And it is unlikely to change soon.

        In the near future, the PRACTICAL opportunities to influence policy is through the Dem and Repub parties.

        The opportunity to move the needle left is through the Dem party.

        As my many comments yesterday demonstrate, that is what I propose.

        1. tegnost

          ok so you’re an expert and you know us sillies can’t have utopia, and we need to be practical. You’re selling incrementalism. I think your “move the needle left” is uninformed. Look at the policies made by the blue dogs and republicans, not in the next four years, but for the past 16 or 20 or more years. They and you in your expertise have gotten us where we are. The policies you support have led to the extremely unpopular hillary. We don’t want her or the policies you are in favor of. Maybe you’d like to put forth the policies of hillary, all I see in your comment is trump, what will hillary do that should inspire us to support her? You claim to be an insider…”I am offering my informed opinion that the difference matters.”…without any reference to what your expertise is, just listen to me and do what I say. I found HBE’s to be very cogent, your’s on the other hand not so much.

          1. PH

            What has changed is experience.

            The Bluedog ideology emerged from a time and place.

            The Sanders movement emerged from different circumstance — circumstances that discredited Bluedpg ideology.

            The challenge now is to keep the Sanders movement going and to capture the Dem party. That cannot be done by simply scorning the Dem party.

            1. HBE

              But it can be done by supporting hillary Clinton the “bluedog” antithesis of everything Bernie stood for?

              Think about what you are saying, do you really believe that?

              Scorning the dem. Party is exactly what is needed.

              Your plan amounts to capturing the dem. Party by electing someone who through action and words will do everything in her power to ensure it cannot be captured. That’s like giving a child a candybar each time they hit their sibling and thinking they won’t hit anymore!

              Ridiculous is all I can say.

            2. tegnost

              Sorry, I must not have been clear…the policies of hillary are….? It seems the challenge now is gathering the sanders supporters together in some sort of corral and delivering them to her highness. How do you propose to capture the dem party while at the same time recommending sanders supporters turn themselves into captives (incrementalism, you can’t have utopia, we’re the best you can get, you have nowhere else to go, be realistic, etc…) Scorning the democrat party will most certainly work, sorry. And they totally deserve it.

              1. PH

                My recommendation was to build an organization to sponsor successful primary challengers. That will work.

                Currency on Capitol Hill is winning elections.

                Mere good ideas are disdained.

                As for punishing Bluedog pols: we will be punished under Trump/Republican rule.

                1. Arnold Babar

                  Look, the Clintons are criminals, and their affiliate entities, including the DNC, could be considered criminal enterprises or co-conspirators at this point. Those who haven’t realized that, or worse, who shill for them are willfully ignorant, amoral, or unethical. The fact that that includes a large chunk of the population doesn’t change that. I don’t vote for criminals.

                2. Steve C

                  That was the point of Bernie. Like Lambert said, the Dems can’t be saved but can be seized.

                  I was raised in a D family, worshipping FDR and JFK. Obama broke the spell. The modern Democrats are worse than useless.

                  Vote Green.

    3. John k

      Populism (support for popular issues) is, well, popular.
      Fascism (support for corps and military adventures) is, at least after our ME adventures, unpopular.
      Commenters are expressing support for the person expressing popular views, such as infrastructure spending, and expressing little support for the candidate they believe is most fascist.
      Btw, Most on this site are liberals, few are reps, so to support him they have had to buck some of their long held antipathy regarding reps.

    4. cm

      I have visited the site for years, but never read the comments.

      You certainly have waded in full bore in the past few days.

      I guess the many times Yves & Lambert have mentioned comments as the impetus for an article never piqued your interest?

      Or are you just yet another paid shill?

      1. PH

        I am not anyone’s puppet. No one hired me to comment here. And I am in no way affiliated with Hillary or the Dem party.

        My sympathies are with Bernie. And the common man everywhere.

        Why not? I am no one special.

        I am educated and opinionated, with an iconoclastic streak.

        I understand why you would worry about paid shills. I think they exist. But I am not one.

        1. HBE

          If your not, I’m sorry I would be surprised.

          Each of your comments ignores mention of any of Hillarys clear and extremely negative attributes and when you do agree with something that is one of Hillarys negatives you conveniently leave any mention of her out of your responses.

          “The war stuff and shilling for Wall Street are black marks. I am no fan of the Bluedogs.”

          You try to shift anger and disgust away from hillary onto these mythical “bluedogs”. Hillary = “bluedog” quit trying to conflate them as two different things.

          I can strongly disagree and dislike someone’s policy and political views and still respect where they are coming from if they are genuine, your comments however, reek of something else.

          “My sympathies are with Bernie. And the common man everywhere.”

          Comments like this just bleed disingenuousness, your with Bernie but somehow manage to wholeheartedly and without hesitation support hillary Clinton? Who is clearly less of a friend to the common man than anyone, if you hate bluedogs so much why aren’t you voting green instead?

          1. PH

            My loyalty is to ordinary Americans and moving forward successfully.

            I will vote for Hillary only to avoid Republican rule.

            It is not that complicated.

            1. Synoia

              I will vote for Hillary only to avoid Republican rule.

              Really? You should consider Hillary’s very carefully. You might be surprised.

            2. sd

              You do realise that your statement makes absolutely no sense. Clinton is currently endorsed by a large bevy of hard core Republicans who are refusing to endorse Trump.

              Did you miss that part? You might start by googling Robert Kagan just for beginners.

            3. Deloss Brown

              I agree with you, PH.

              And I cannot imagine that anyone would seriously consider voting for Donald Trump (or for any third party). When I read comments about his “policy positions,” I am afraid my eyes glaze over. Some of his stated policy positions are:

              1. The minimum wage is too high.

              2. He will build a wall along the Mexican border and get the Mexicans to pay for it.

              3. More countries, including Saudi Arabia, should have nuclear weapons.

              4. Global warming is a Chinese hoax.

              5. Black people are lazy.

              6. Vladimir Putin is a great leader.

              7. The U.S. should pull out of NATO.

              8. All Muslims should be banned from entering the United States. Muslims already here should be tracked in a database.

              9. Women who have abortions should be punished.

              10. You also have to consider his amazing record as a businessman, including his many bankruptcies and the great success of Trump University.

              And what I’ve listed above are merely the things he has said he favors, and the things he has actually done. He himself is so unhinged that there is no guarantee he won’t attempt to do worse.

              “But his advisers”–

              11. His advisers so far have been people of the ilk of Corey Lewandoski. His VP candidate is Mike Pence (who says that even rape victims shouldn’t be allowed to abort, because then women would claim to have been raped just so they could get an abortion).

              That any intelligent human being could contemplate a Trump Presidency with any reaction other than loathing, contempt and fear is a source of wonder to me.

              Bernie Sanders has endorsed, and intends to work for, Hillary Clinton. I’m with Bernie.

          2. Bobq

            Probably doesn’t want to flush their vote down the toilet.

            See Nader, 2000, for a good example of this.

            Go ahead and “vote Green”. But you’re flushing your vote down a toilet.

            1. Yves Smith

              I disagree. Harry Shearer has argued for what he calls a “third strategy” as opposed to the two party choice, which is to make sure whoever wins has less than 40% of the popular vote (no way will any third party candidate cinch as state). Lambert and I have separately discussed that, in what we call the “gridlock” strategy, of focusing on having the Dems recover the Senate (very attainable given the seats up this year; holding a majority after 2018 if they do get it back in 2016 is much dodgier). That is a completely rational strategy, to do your best to assure the President is weak when most voters loath the choices of the two major parties (over 60% disapproval ratings in most polls).

              Lambert and I personally are not Green fans due to their unseriousness as a party (he can do a better job of describing its many dysfunctions, although it is probably OK in some states). But there’s an argument to be made to use the Greens this year to undermine the major party candidates (although the Libertarians are pulling even more voters).

              Plus people have the right to make protest votes. You have no business telling them not to.

    5. jrs

      “And no, no great Left populist party will ride to the rescue. The populist tradition (identity) is mostly rightwing and racist in our society.”

      that could change, it was NOT always thus, it took decades and decades of repressing the real left to get there. Although whether the populist tradition is rightwing really has little to do with whether a Left populist party will ride to the rescue, why we will not get there has to do with the voting system and how winner take all non-parlimentary systems work.

      “People do not change political identity like their clothes. The left tradition in the US, such as it is, is in the Dem party.”

      I don’t think the left tradition in the U.S. can be solidly rooted in the Dem party. The Dem party was good on some old left issues somewhat for awhile. But that was because there were real left movements then. The Dem party meanwhile has never been good on other issues (they are very pro-war). And in the last 20 years they haven’t even been good on the old left economic issues either. I don’t think a reactionary party (the Republicans) will be what leftists want but then neither will the other right wing party.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Right, what is changing with Trump is the Republicans are going back to, say, the Eisenhower era, when Ike started the interstate highway system, a socialist program if there ever was one.

        1. PH

          The highway program was supported for military preparedness reasons in the 1950s. Eisenhower hated socialism.

          Repub commitment to infrastructure is sharply limited. They want to cap spending for budget reasons. And they violently oppose trains, subways or water infrastructure that benefits mostly cities.

          Rural/urban issue, largely, but intensely held.

          Trump will have faint commitment to infrastructure once elected (like all his promises). And his Republican base will vehemently oppose the spending — except for highways in rural states and levees in Louisiana (oil companies need them).

          1. tegnost

            My democrat, hillary supporting tech friends think that we should not fund public transportation and instead invest in replacing all autos with self driving cars, making themselves extremely wealthy in the process…thoughts?

            1. PH

              At eschaton, years ago, Duncan made the case for really nice buses. I found that convincing.

              1. tegnost

                I am a huge and unabashed fan of public transport, and regularly travel from from seattle to the far side of anacortes for the princely sum of $6.75 and as you might imagine it makes me feel like the smartest guy on the highway.

          2. EndOfTheWorld

            PH, you don’t know what Trump will do if elected. Nobody does. We are all just taking our best guess, but you alone come on with a know-it-all arrogance (“I am offering my informed opinion”,etc.) your self-recommendation as an intellectual, etc. Your style is very unusual on this board—that’s why everybody assumes you are a paid shill, as do I.

            Yes, the interstate highway system was sold as a military project so they could get it through Congress. The military does use it a lot. So does everybody else in the country. A successful socialistic project.

      2. PH

        Fair points.

        The war stuff and shilling for Wall Street are black marks. I am no fan of the Bluedogs.

        The Balkan stuff in the 1990s was a tough call for me. The one time I might definitely wanted to intercede was Rwanda. But by sending my son or daughter?

        Gulf I was Bush. And Iraq was W. The Dems went along out of electoral fear. Cowardly and disgusting. But not more warlike than the Repubs. The Surge myth — Republican.

        Obama played politics on war — to my disgust. But Repubs push hardest for GWOT and big defense budgets.

        Dems are the easiest to move to pacifism, now, but not easy.

        Dems are better on immigration. Which should be a priority in light of the chaos we have caused.

        Republican have anti Wall Street populism at the grass roots, but not on Capitol Hill. And Trump will stick with the ruling elite on this and most things.

        Many Repubs on Capitol Hill want to too back the new deal and all environmental regs. This became a huge priority through think tanks and campaign contributions. It has become self-righteous dogma. A huge rationale for voting for Hillary is to hold back that flood. Trump would enable it. Dems in Congress are mostly loyal to New Deal programs; less reliable on the environment. But Repubs are rabidly anti-environment. Trump would be a horror on the environment.

        I hope I responded to your points.

        We need a much better Dem party. But the Repub party will far worse.

        1. tegnost

          what makes dems better on immigration? Not enough H1b’s? Not enough cheap labor? Not enough warzone refugees?

            1. tegnost

              Grand Bargain? Third Way? I notice the EPA is extra powerful now that we’ve been led by democrats…(not). Be more specific. What will hillary do to change the direction of the country which as it is now going serves only the interests of banksters and the political class that delivers to them.

              1. craazyboy

                google “russia uranium”

                She sold our uranium to Russia. Prolly to keep it out of Neocon hands?

              2. PH

                EPA is cowering from constant assault by Repubs on Capitol Hill.

                It will be worse under Trump/Republicans. Rollbacks will astound you.

                Dems favored Wall Street during 1990s bubble. So did homeowners while the bubble rose. The Black community has fond memories of Clinton because employment gained during the bubble.

                Now there is uncertainty in society at large, and in Dem circles.

                The Sanders critique is powerful and has resonated. But no consensus on what to do next has formed.

                Another financial crisis may hit. We need a plan by then.

                1. tegnost

                  Another financial crisis could knock rents down considerably as should have happened in 2008. Neither hillary nor trump will do anything to reduce global warming because of the economic crises that would engender. The uncertainty you reference is in the general population, the ruling class with the protectionist TPP, mark to model, and the telegraphing coming from the Fed all instill certainty in the ruling class. Uncertainty is for us little people who, being confused, should gather in the safety of the corral, and allow ourselves to be led, wouldn’t we be happier?

            2. pretzelattack

              yes obama and clinton want to roll back the new deal. trump, being less ideological, would be less consistent in pushing for that, vote trump if you can’t vote green or libertarian.

              1. tegnost

                There are plenty of conservative latinos, and plenty of racist ones as well, I know this from working with and living among them. Identity issue. You and the other professional class hucksters who colluded to get hillary as the nominee now have the difficult task of applying make up to disguise the truth behind your candidate. Not easy , I guess, considering how difficult it is to get you to make some committed policy statements, instead relying on name calling and fear mongering to fill the void.

                    1. Bobq

                      Uh oh, somebody outside of the “our gang” clubhouse made a comment! Must be a paid troll!

              2. craazyboy

                Maids, gardeners and a Democrat vote. Provided being a maid or gardener for a democrat doesn’t cause them to vote Republican. In which case they are sent to the veal pen and must seek employment with a Republican. Until they are reformed, and working as a maid or gardener for a Republican causes them to vote Democrat.

                1. tegnost

                  From the google, clicked on top choice which was the pew survey
                  “Today, half (50%) of Latino registered voters say the Democratic Party has more concern for Latinos than the Republican Party, according to the new survey. Meanwhile, about a third (35%) say there is no difference between the parties, and just 10% say the Republican Party has more concern.

                  But the share of Hispanic registered voters who say the Democratic Party has more concern for Hispanics than the Republican Party is down from two years ago. In 2012, 61% of Hispanic voters said Democrats had more concern (Lopez and Gonzalez-Barrera, 2012). Meanwhile, the share of Hispanic voters who see no difference between the parties on the measure is up, from 23% in 2012 to 35% today.”

                  So you are correct to some degree, but notice the decline and the large number of no difference between the two and your claim, while barely standing, is doing so on thin ice

        2. clarky90

          Donald Trump Acceptance Speech At The Republican National Convention 21/7/16

          Go to 36 minutes and 40 seconds to watch Trump morn the deaths of “49 wonderful Americans” in Orlando. The entire convention cheers rapturously for the LGBT community. See for yourselves.

          Maybe the Republican Party is the Party of Abraham Lincoln again? It once was

          1. local to oakland

            This is part of a switch from moral majority to nationalist messaging. The Trump reddit website and Breitbart have championed openly gay Milo.

            After the Orlando attack, Trump’s reddit site went crazy in support of gay victims. Statements like the US is great because we allow freedoms for gays. Islam is bad because it persecutes gays. American gays are the best gay community in the world. Simple minded, jingoistic, obnoxious but an organic shift in the party that had condemned the gay lifestyle.

            They also made political hay out of the fact that the administration and news were covering up the moslem identity of the shooter in the first 12 hours. Suggested that the administration wanted to protect ISIS from legitimate anger.

            Trump’s audience includes a lot of veterans. After 15 years of war against Islamic adversaries, the propaganda against negative traits in moslem cultures is going to bleed through and change how we see ourselves.
            It’s not all good but definitely different.

    6. ChiGal

      We (mostly) don’t do as much straw manning or ad hominem stuff as the pro Trumpers here but there are plenty of us with more skeptical and balanced views who recognize there IS NO SAVIOR in the running.

      I for one appreciate your comments and hope you will continue speaking truth as you see it.

    7. Lambert Strether Post author

      > he knows how to push ugly buttons

      You mean like smearing 45% of the Democratic electorate as racist and sexist #BernieBros? That kind of ugly?

      Look, I came up in the Democrat Party too. Several generations, in fact. So I know all about tribal loyalty. (And heck, I supported Clinton in 2008, because I thought she was slightly to the left of Obama on domestic policy, especially on health care, my hobbyhorse, and also foreclosures, felt that foreign policy was a wash, and hated the misogyny of the Obama campaign at the online level.) But I think this particular incarnation of the party has completely lost its moorings. Trump is a Russian agent of influence? Really? (These views do not imply that the Republicans did not lose their moorings long ago, or that the Greens would know what a mooring was if somebody handed them one.)

      NOTE You’re also confusing liberals and the left.

      1. PH

        Not completely.

        Sanders showed that.

        Sanders is reviled among most Dems on Capitol Hill — because he is a threat.

        A year ago, Bluedogs were very smug that they only knew the secret of electoral success. They are still smug, but a little worried.

        Build a machine for primary challenges. Win a couple.

        Conventional wisdom will rapidly change.

        1. pretzelattack

          yes and it will change faster if we derail the clinton presidential campaign. the conservatives masquerading as progressives, such as clinton, will become very worried.

          1. PH

            As I said above, your view is logical, but not accurate.

            Hard to convey the smug bubble these people live in. If they lose, they will think they need to be more Republican.

            1. tegnost

              and then they will lose again. As I have said before, the dems and their elite supporters in the alleged meritocracy, which considering dws means “better at cheating” have conspired with their corresponding elite repubs (koch, bloomberg, etc…) to create the unequal society in which we now live. The problem that for some odd reason is too big to grasp is that as fewer and fewer people in a democracy take all the winnings (ok steal the loot and hide it offshore) they will have trouble getting people to vote for them, but they think (as do you yourself as in spite of me asking you why to vote FOR hillary you have nada zilch nothing because she doesn’t and is not going to represent the people she expects and needs to vote for her), that they are so much smarter than the rest of us that we can be nudged one way or another with your cleverness, but I have not met a hillary supporter, including you, who can make an intelligent case, so how smart are you really? A smug bubble indeed. Vote the bums out.

  9. Robin Kash

    Michael Hudson seems far too credulous in taking Trump’s statements at face value. Trump is all over the map. Bashing here, bashing there, inconsistent everywhere.
    Whatever he may actually believe, a safe bet is that he will continue saying contradictory things.

      1. Murph

        Yeah, I think Hudson was pretty clear that this was an exercise in taking Trump’s statements at face value while explicitly acknowledging that who knows what the hell he’ll really do if elected. I mean, even while operating under the assumption that Trump is a liar, the bulk of what we have at our disposal in assessing the situation is what he says he’s in favor of vs. Hillary’s actual, very long record in public office. And, like EOTW says, Trump is talking Glass Steagall, Dems are definitely not.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think Ivanka is a little more believable than her father.

      Mabye we get her to second his statements.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It’s a good article; this is a general observation. Sorry!

      “Hate” seems to be a continuing Democrat meme, and heck, who can be for hate? So it makes sense rhetorically, but in policy terms it’s about as sensible as being against @ssh0les (since as the good book says, ye have the @ssh0les always with you). So we’re really looking at virtue signaling as a mode of reinforcing tribalism, and to be taken seriously only for that reason. If you look at the political class writing about the working class — modulo writers like Chris Arnade — the hate is plain as day, though it’s covered up with the rhetoric of meritocracy, taking care of losers, etc.

      Strategic hate management is a great concept. It’s like hate can never be created or destroyed, and is there as a resource to be mined or extracted. The Clinton campaign is doing a great job of strategic hate management right now, by linking Putin and Trump, capitalizing on all the good work done in the press over the last year or so.

      1. local to oakland

        Just my opinion, but I think the Dems are grabbing hate as a meme because in a rough spoken executive from the building industry it partially fits.

        Trump may be personally racist or not. I think he is, but not vicious about it. But his tough on crime statements and raw nationalism leave room for the national id to unleash itself on poor communities of color. And I say this as someone who will probably vote Trump against Clinton. Did the Dems pay David Duke to endorse Trump? It reinforces their meme.

        1. Aumua

          It doesn’t matter to me that he is not vicious about about it. He sets an example. He sets a mood for the nation. Honestly I am more concerned about Trump’s more extreme alt-right supporters being validated and empowered than I am about Trump being president per se.

          1. pretzelattack

            im worried about the kagans and goldman sachs becoming more influential. we know what clinton stands for, we don’t know about trump.

        2. Michael fiorillo

          Take a look at the paid advertisements Donnie took our in all of the NYC papers about the Central Park Five, and the rape they were falsely convicted of; you might change your mind about how “vicious” he can be.

          1. Bobq

            Great point. Watch the documentary or read their tale….very depressing that lynch mobs still roam the modern US.

  10. Pat

    For years we have been told that government should be run like a business. In truth that statement was used as a cudgel to avoid having the government provide any kind of a safety net to its citizenry because there was little or no profit in it for the people who think that government largess should only be for them.

    Here’s the thing, if government had been run like a business, we the people would own huge portions of Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Chase today. We wouldn’t have bailed them out without an equity stake in them. Most cities would have a share of the gate for every stadium that was built. And rather than paying nothing to the community Walmart would have been paying a share of their profits (much as those have dropped over the years).

    I do not like Trump’s business, but he truly does approach his brand and his relationships as a business. When he says he doesn’t like the trade deals because they are bad business and bad deals he is correct. IF the well being of the United states and his populace are what you are interested in regarding trade deals, ours are failures. Now most of us here know that was not the point of the trade deals. They have been a spectacular success for many of our largest businesses and richest people, but for America as a whole they have increased our trade deficit and devastated our job base. When he says he won’t go there, this is one I believe him on.

    I also believe him on NATO and on the whole Russian thing. Why, because of the same reasons I believe him on Trade. They are not winners for America as a whole. They are bad deals. Europe is NOT living up to their contractual agreement regarding NATO. For someone who is a believer in getting the better of the deal that is downright disgusting. And he sees no benefit in getting into a war with Russia. The whole reserve currency thing vs. nukes is not going to work for him as a cost benefit analysis of doing it. He is not going to front this because it is a business loser.

    We truly have the worst choices from the main parties in my lifetime. There are many reasons Trump is a bad candidate. But on these two, he is far more credible and on the better side of things than the Democratic nominee. And on the few where she might reasonably considered to have a better position, unfortunately I do not for a moment believe her to be doing more than giving lip service based on both her record and her character.

      1. tegnost

        Is it your opinion that to have globalisation we must marginalize russia to the extent that they realize they can’t have utopia and make the practical choice of allowing finance capitalism to guide them to realistic incrementally achieved debt bondage?

      2. Pat

        Interesting. So one more reason to believe Trump on not wanting WW3 with Russia, corrupt though that reason might be. I might not like how he got there, but I’ll still take it as an advantage over Clinton.

  11. DarkMatters

    World turned upside down.

    The Democratic Party has been inching further and further to the right. Bernie tried to arrest this drift, but his internal populist rebellion was successfully thwarted by party elite corruption. The Democratic position is now so far to the right that the Republicans will marginalize themselves if they try to keep to the right of the Democrats.

    But, despite party loyalty or PC slogans, the Democrat’s rightward position is now so obvious that it can be longer disguised by spin. The Trump campaign has demonstrated, the best electoral strategy for the Republican Party is to leapfrog leftward and campaign from a less corporate position. This has given space for the re-evaluation of party positions that Trump is enunciating, and the result is that the Trump is running to the
    left of Hillary. How weird is this?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hillary is moving the D party rightward.

      Is Trump moving the Republican party to the left?

      Is there a Great Reversal going on? Wasn’t the R party, the party of Lincoln the party of the left?

        1. DarkMatters

          I meant to use right and left to refer generally to elite vs popular. The issue is too big to discuss without some simplification, and I’m sorry it has distracted from the main issue. On the face of it, judging from the primaries, the Republican candidates who represented continued rightward drift were rejected. (Indications are that the same thing happened in the Democratic Party, but party control was stronger there, and democratic primary numbers will never be known).

          The main point I was trying to make is that the Democratic party has been stretching credulity to the breaking point in claiming to be democratic in any sense, and finally the contradiction between their statements and actions has outpaced the capabilities of their propaganda. Their Orwellian program overextended itself. Popular recognition of the disparity has caused a kind of political “snap” that’s initiated a radical reorganization of what used to be the party of the right (or corporations, or elites, or finance, or “your description here”.)

          Besides confusion between which issues are right or left for Republicans or Democrats on the national level, internationally, the breakdown of popular trust in the elites, and the failure of their propaganda on that scale, is leading to a related worldwide distrust and rejection of elite policies. This distrust has been percolating in pockets for some time, but it seems it’s now become so widespread that it’s practically become a movement.

          I suspect, however, there’s a Plan B for this situation to restore the proper order. Will be interesting to see how this plays out.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Democratic party has been stretching credulity to the breaking point in claiming to be democratic in any sense, and finally the contradiction between their statements and actions has outpaced the capabilities of their propaganda.

            This may be true. That’s why I say “Democrat Party” now. They need to earn back the “Democratic” moniker.

            1. DarkMatters

              Agree 100%, but I despise originator Rush Limbaugh too much to use the term myself.

              1. nimzo2

                Words, and their (mis-)use are important tools in the battle of political ideologies. Surely you remember the sneeringly drawled out libraaaal, while “left”, as in Left Coast in reference to blue CA, is another. Clamored out over and over again over a long enough time, the meanings get changed and they obtain hot button associations that go far beyond anything found in Mr. Webster’s opus. Until recently the Right had almost a complete monopoly on this tactic. The “left” (ensconced in their east coast and CA ivory towers) had lots of charts and graphs, but the wing-nuts had the words. It turns out (who knew!) words have much greater propaganda value. There seems to be some adoption of this for liberals now, “fascist” probably gaining the most currency, but I am not convinced this is more than a lashing out as compared to the intentional push of the Ailes’/Roves/Norquists on the other side. Trump is a master at it of course, and he isn’t limited to using only the standard anti-minority/women/muslim/etc. hot-button terms, and has coined a few of his own. The debates should be interesting in this regard if not in terms of policy discussion. I’m guessing The Donald will eat Hillary the Crook alive, but I suppose it could rebound. For myself, I am happy to appropriate a term/phraseology if it is useful in emphasizing a point. Democrat Party is fine by me, as is neolibraaal in some circumstances (e.g. conversations with Shilleryites or demobots).

              2. Bobq

                I wonder what all those “patriots” over at Fox “news” would say if it had been President Clinton or President Obama having a private dinner with Saudi Prince (aka “Bandar Bush”) Bandar on 9/13/2001?

                The same Prince Bandar whose wife was sending money to the 9/11 hijackers as mentioned in the 28 redacted pages from the 9/11 Report?

                Hmmmm. I wonder what they would be saying….

                1. Yves Smith

                  Yes, I have not read those Saudi e-mails since they are off our core beat, but I gather they are way more damning that the headlines would have you believe. I gather Prince Bandar’s wife was also a major player.

        2. Vatch

          It’s worse than that: the left/right dichotomy has two directions, but only one dimension.

  12. Vatch

    I have difficulty understanding how a Presidential candidate in 2016 who refuses to release his tax returns could be considered “populist”. We justifiably criticize Clinton for refusing to release the transcripts of her speeches to the giant banks; isn’t a refusal to release one’s tax returns an even greater sign of elite arrogance?

    1. Vatch

      Sorry, I should have pointed out that Trump is the one who has so far refused to release his tax returns. I’m sure most people understood, but I still should have been clear about this.

    2. Norb

      The striving for American empire has so totally confused the political order of the country that up is down and down is up. The idea of government for and by the people is a distant memory. Covering for lies and contradictions of beliefs has blurred any notion of principles informing public action.

      If there is any principle that matters today, it is the pursuit of money and profit reigns supreme. Trump is populist in the sense he is talking about bringing money and wealth back to the working classes. Not by giving it directly, but by forcing businesses to turn their sights back to the US proper and return to making their profits at home. In the end, it is all nostalgia and probably impossible, but working class people remember those days so it rings true. That is hope and change in action. People also could care less if he cheats on his taxes or is found out lying about how much he is worth. Once again, fudging your net worth is something working people care little about. Having their share of the pie is all that matters and Trump is tapping into that.

      Clintons arrogance is worse because the transcripts probably clearly show her secretly conspiring with bankers to screw the working people of this country. Trumps misdeeds effect his relationship to other elites while Clintons directly effect working people.

      Such a sorry state of affairs. When all that matters is the pursuit of money and profit, moving forward will be difficult and full of moral contradictions. Populism needs a new goal. The political machinery that gives us two pro-business hacks and an ineffectual third party has fundamentally failed.

      The business of America must be redefined, not somehow brought back to a mythical past greatness. Talk about insanity.

      1. Skippy

        People need to contextualize history in an accurate manner e.g. “We the People” was a different matter for most of history, only changed after the great depression and the socialist – commie scare – with the New Deal. Post the mid 70s when the currant dominate economic system its with ratchet like effect attempted to revert to the more classical state.

  13. cnchal

    Positions are hardened and no amount of logic or persuasion will change anybody’s vote.

    It’s emotional now.

    Well, being realistic has driven other people crazy. . .

    Lots of broken steel, aluminum and carbon fiber rice bowls will do that.

    Cartoonists must be rooting for Trump to become president. When he wants to make a point, his hands go up like a double stop order from a cop. In his speech, wouldn’t it have been nice if he could just put two and two together and directly connect radical Islamic terrorism with the long term wars there? He came close, but couldn’t quite get it over the hump.

    1. ewmayer

      “In his speech, wouldn’t it have been nice if he could just put two and two together and directly connect radical Islamic terrorism with the long term wars there? He came close, but couldn’t quite get it over the hump.”

      I thought this part of his speech connected the dots fairly well – left out Dubya’s role in the Empire of Chaos legacy, but he did blast Dubya over that loudly and repeatedly in the primaries, so I take this as simple training his sights on his current opponent:

      In 2009, pre-Hillary, ISIS was not even on the map. Libya was stable. Egypt was peaceful. Iraq had seen a big reduction in violence. Iran was being choked by sanctions. Syria was somewhat under control.

      After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region and the entire world. Libya is in ruins, and our ambassador and his staff were left helpless to die at the hands of savage killers. Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim Brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control. Iraq is in chaos. Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons. Syria is engulfed in a civil war and a refugee crisis that now threatens the West. After 15 years of wars in the Middle East, after trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, the situation is worse than it has ever been before.

      This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: Death, destruction and terrorism and weakness.

  14. hreik

    We have 2 thugs running for president. One obviously so, the other also obviously so who just wears lipstick better. This is a frightful choice and I won’t choose either. I find them both equally dangerous, one predictably so, one unpredictably so.

    They are both narcissistic ego-driven, repulsive trash. As Bob Herbert said about the Clintons but also applies to Trump,

    The Clintons are a terminally unethical and vulgar couple

    1. John Wright

      Thanks for the mention of the Bob Herbert editorial.

      I found it by searching for your quoted statement at http://www.nytimes.com/2001/02/26/opinion/in-america-cut-him-loose.html

      I was published Feb 26,2001

      Herbert has some advice for the Democrats.

      “Bill Clinton has been a disaster for the Democratic Party. Send him packing.”

      “There’s not much the Democrats can do about Mrs. Clinton. She’s got a Senate seat for six years. But there is no need for the party to look to her for leadership. The Democrats need to regroup, re-establish their strong links to middle-class and working-class Americans, and move on.”

      “You can’t lead a nation if you are ashamed of the leadership of your party. The Clintons are a terminally unethical and vulgar couple, and they’ve betrayed everyone who has ever believed in them.”

      “As neither Clinton has the grace to retire from the scene, the Democrats have no choice but to turn their backs on them. It won’t be easy, but the Democrats need to try. If they succeed they’ll deserve the compliment Bill Clinton offered Gennifer Flowers after she lied under oath: ”Good for you.” ”

      Amazing how the New York Times has “evolved” from Herbert’s editorial stance of 15 years ago to their unified editorial/news support for HRC’s candacy,

      In my view, it is not as if HRC has done anything to redeem herself in the intervening years.

      Herbert left the NY Times in 2011..

  15. Sound of the Suburbs

    It takes liberals to create a refugee crisis.
    What country are we going to bomb back into the stone age this week?

    We are very squeamish about offensive language.
    We don’t mind dropping bombs and ripping people apart with red hot shrapnel.
    We are liberals.

    Liberal sensibilities were on display in the film “Apocalypse Now”.
    No writing four letter words on the side of aircraft.
    Napalm, white phosphorous and agent orange – no problem.

    Liberals are like the English upper class – outward sophistication hiding the psychopath underneath.
    They were renowned for their brutality towards slaves, the colonies and the English working class (men, women and children) but terribly sophisticated when with their own.

    Are you a bad language sort of person – Trump
    Or a liberal, psychopath, empire builder – Clinton

    The only crime Trump has committed so far is his language.
    Liberals like Clinton, Blair and Obama drip blood.

    1. Daveq

      But who was it that “blew up the Middle East”? Oh yeah, Dick Cheney and his frat-boy puppet!

      I’m an Independent but even my Republican friends recognize the most recent blood bath is on the hands of the Neo-Cons. It’s really quite simple: The 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia (14/19), Bahrain, UAE and Lebanon. There were no Iraqi hi-jackers. There were no WMDs.

      Baby Bush the Lesser, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, etc….they blew up the Middle East. At least give credit where it’s due.

  16. Jim

    Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter for Trump’s “Art of the Deal” ( claims to have spent 18 months observing Trump in the mid-1980s). In Jane Meyers recent New Yorker article he charaterizes Tump, based on that experience, in the following ways:
    1. Schwartz doesn’t believe the Donald has any ideology
    2. Schwartz says “…the problem was Trump’s personality which he considered pathologically impulsive and self centered.
    3. Schwartz says “Trump doesn’t fit any model of human being I’ve ever met. He was obsessed with publicity and he didn’t care what you wrote.”
    4. Schwartz says “Trump only takes 2 positions. Either your a scummy loser, lier, whatever or your the greatest.”
    5. Schwartz says “Trump wanted to be seen as a tough guy and he loved being on the cover.”
    6. Schwartz says “Trump has no attention span.”
    7. Schwartz says “Trump was driven entirely by the need for public attention.”
    8. Schwartz says “Trump lied strategically. He had a complete lock of conscience about it. Since most people are constrained by the truth Trumps indifference to it gave him a strange advantage. “Its a lie but who cares.”
    9. Schwarz also says that Trump “has a willingness to run over people, has an absolute lack of interest in anything beyond power and money, has a basic need to prove that he is richer than you, and is driven not by deal-making but by an insatiable hunger for money, praise and celebrity.”

    But if all this is accurate how is Trump also capable of radiating, on an emotional level, a type of authentic working-class resentment that could propel him to the Presidency?

    Does the Donald really only identify with the Donald?

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      It looks to me like Trump has matured a lot since the ’80’s. But even that list of stuff Schwartz said is really not that bad. He liked publicity. It helped his business career. Was he accused of rape, like HRC’s dear husband? Have to settle a sexual harassment case for over 800 grand? Break the rules of the federal government to set up an illegal private e mail system? No.

      1. Daveq

        Don’t for get Bhenghazi!

        And don’t forget that when those 241 US Marines got killed in Beirut, the Democratic party didn’t try to blame it on Reagan or the GOP. Scummy politicians? Yes, but by the modern GOP standard, they were absolute angels. They viewed those dead people as a tragedy, not an opportunity to make political points. You forgot Whitewater too! Please man……don’t stoop so low.

        Ever notice we spend more to investigate Whitewater ($250K deal) than 9/11? Interesting huh?

    2. aumua

      4. Schwartz says “Trump only takes 2 positions. Either you’re a scummy loser, liar, whatever or you’re the greatest.”

      Yes exactly. And if you are the former, by the consensus of ??, then you are fair game for a boot to the ass (or the face). And that’s what makes America great: a boot to the face of the weak, and/or different.

    3. jrs

      Parsing who is more evil is intellectual churn. It may get a great deal of attention, what the latest horrible convention speakers say, who the latest terrible financial backer or VP pick is, or so on in parsing who is a tiny bit more evil.

      But it is largely a waste of time period. They are both awful truth be told.

      It all arises in the left out of not knowing WHAT TO DO.

      So what do we do about the major problems we face all over the place? Well I don’t know, but I think most informed people lack anything resembling a true political education. I don’t mean a piece of paper from some school, and I don’t mean understanding good systemic critiques. Many of us have learned for years to arrive at the point of actually being able to grok good systemic leftist critiques. Good! But that is not enough informal education.

      I mean people do need to go to their city council meetings and see how they work, they need to go to radical meetings and see what the radicals are up to – they can join or not join the radicals depending on their lights (I’m not saying they are *all* worth joining) but they really should see what sympathetic people who want real social change are up to, join a protest (it has mostly convinced me protest is little more than advertising). And so on and so forth. I think perhaps we are not teaching people how to educate themselves on anything more than a theoretical level, so of course they have no plan to change things. And so much energy is wasted in utter and complete futility.

  17. Richard

    Lambert strether said: my view is that the democrat party cannot be saved, but it can be seized.
    Absolutely correct.
    That is why Trump must be elected. Only then through the broken remains of both Parties can the frangible Democrat Party be seized and restored.

  18. VietnamVet

    The 2016 election cannot be looked at in isolation. The wars for profit are spreading from Nigeria through Syria to Ukraine. Turkey was just lost to the Islamists and is on the road to being a failed state. The EU is in an existential crisis due to Brexit, the refugee crisis and austerity. Western leadership is utterly incompetent and failing to protect its citizens. Globalization is failing. Its Losers are tipping over the apple cart. Humans are returning to their tribal roots for safety. The drums for war with Russia are beating. Clinton / Kaine are 100% Status Quo Globalists. Trump / Pence are candidates of change to who knows what. Currently I am planning on voting for the Green Party in the hope it becomes viable and praying that the chaos avoids Maryland.

  19. backwardsevolution

    Fake liberals and progressives are set out well in this article, “Feel the Hate”:

    “Obama’s time in the White House office has been a big wet kiss to the super-rich and powerful (whose wealth has concentrated yet further under his presidency) combined with a raised middle finger pointed in the direction of the party’s progressives and the nation’s working class majority. As the investigative researcher Eric Zuesse noted last summer, “Under Presidents G.W. Bush and Barack Obama, economic inequality in America has been more extreme, for more years, than under any Presidents in all of the previous U.S. history. But, at least, Bush didn’t pretend to care about it. Obama does. He pretended to a concern for justice which he never really had; he was always merely faking liberalism.”

    Faking liberalism while serving the wealthy few was also a defining aspect of Bill and Hillary’s first two terms as co-presidents. During their first eight years atop the executive branch, the Clintons advanced the neoliberal agenda beneath faux-progressive cover in ways that no Republican president could have pulled off. Channeling Ronald Reagan by declaring that “the era of big government is over,” Bill Clinton collaborated with the right wing Congress of his time to end poor families’ entitlement to basic minimal family cash assistance. Hillary backed this vicious welfare “reform” (elimination), which has proved disastrous for millions of disadvantaged Americans.

    Mr. Clinton earned the gratitude of Wall Street and corporate America by passing the arch-global-corporatist North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), by repealing the Glass-Steagall Act (which had mandated a necessary separation between commercial deposit and investment banking), and by de-regulating the burgeoning super-risky and high-stakes financial derivatives sector. He knew the score from day one of his presidency. As the famed Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward noted in his 1994 book The Agenda, Clinton said the following just weeks after winning the 1992 election: “we’re Eisenhower Republicans here…. We stand for lower deficits, free trade, and the bond market. Isn’t that great?” Clinton added that his post-election policy direction would “help the bond market” and “hurt the people who voted us in.”


    The whole article is a good read.

    1. Yves Smith

      I hate to say it, but we are not of the “any stick to beat a dog” school of writing. While it has a lot of good information piece has some errors I saw upon a fast reading, and it is not as if I’m an expert.

      1. It quotes Bill Clinton as saying he was governing as an Eisenhower Republican as if it was something he was delighted to do. In fact, this was widely reported as an embittered remark, that he’d wanted to govern in a more leftist manner but was constrained politically. It would be fair to say that Bill got over his ideological preferences with remarkable speed and became a neoliberal tout.

      2. David Himmelstein was never a Harvard professor. He was a Visiting Professor at Harvard in 2012, when the article says he was a Harvard prof in 1993! See his bio here: http://avoidablecare.org/about-the-conference/moderators-and-panelists/ and http://www.pnhp.org/states/massachusetts

      1. pretzelattack

        i’m not sure he was ever sincere about having other preferences. he certainly was quick to turn during the campaign in 92.

    2. Stephen Rhodes

      I shouldn’t be astounded at this late date, but I am:

      Not to mention Bill Clinton’s signing the Republicans’ massive tax cut on income from wealth (long term cap gains rate cut from 28% to 20% etc). The Republican party is a monolith on taxes. And Trump, of course, after the blather about taxing the rich signed on to a huge giveaway. (There’s plenty of time for him to meander in the meanwhile. . . )

      I don’t expect television personalities (journalists) to keep track of any of this.

  20. Fiver

    Not that anyone will see this now, but:

    Hudson, and a surprising number of people here it appears, did not see the same Trump speech I saw. He did not make an appeal to, or move to ‘the left’ of Clinton. He did not say re Russia, or much else on the foreign policy side, what is attributed here. He did say he would ‘re-build the military’ (as if building up the military was not a constant), destroy ISIS ‘very fast’, and put US interests first and foremost in a world where the US is ‘respected’ again – respect being respect for US power and the American Empire of course.

    Trump did knock TPP and the sort of corporate power that ‘rigs the system’ and costs jobs, but these rhetorical swipes at corporate globalization are aimed not at appealing to people to ‘the left’ of Clinton, but rather at those independents for whom these particular issues resonate – and who can simultaneously stomach Trump’s doubling down on anti-immigrant/anti-Muslim rhetoric. Trump is not anti-war, not against militarization of the police, not against the supremely fraudulent ‘war on terror’, not against the rich becoming richer, not against a rogue Supreme Court, nor the US running the world as it sees fit, the US of course being entitled to do so by virtue of its singular Greatness.

    Trump’s job was and is to make this look like a real contest that Clinton wins – and if there was any doubt as to whether Clinton fears losing or not, the fact she made that ghoul DWS her campaign manager after being outed for gross misconduct ought to set doubters straight. There is no chance Trump is going to win this absent some revelation so damaging just the smoke from the gun is fatally toxic to her prospects.

    Having said all of that, I remain of the opinion Clinton is by far the more dangerous as she is fully committed to the US financial/corporate global empire project that is for so many evident reasons an absolute disaster in the making.

    1. Science Officer Smirnoff

      Very good points (for the few who will see them).

      But I will reserve judgement (and most should) on who’s more dangerous until all the major facets of presidential power are accounted for. What can a president accomplish legally, given the makeup of the other branches and the recent history of such delightful devices as budget reconciliation, “nuke options”, executive orders, . . . before we get to illegal, secret orders “justified” on cherry-picking legal opinions of one’s lawyers and on such transcendent bosh as the Unitary Executive?

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