How the Left lost but can win again

Summary: So far the Left has talked of forming a resistance to Trump, a first step to pushing back the power of the 1% and rolling back the GOP’s gains in State and Federal governments. But they have shown little interest in building the broad coalition needed to do so. Here is a brief recap of how the Left got here, and how it can reform to win.

“United we stand, divided we fall.”
— From Aesop’s fable, “The Four Oxen and the Lion“.

Hand shake in alliance

The response was fascinating to my post The Left becomes a cult rather than gather support to oppose Trump. Most validated my observations about the Left. Contempt for workers, factionalism, in-group jargon (my favorite: I’m a “performative centrist“) — and a remarkable drop from the high intellectual standards formerly commonplace on the Left.

What went wrong?

The 1% has grown powerful since their renaissance began in 1964. Worse, as many people warned, American workers have drifted from the Left to Right as the Left shifted its focus from economic growth and income redistribution to them to the priorities of social justice warriors (starting the bathroom wars during the campaign was almost suicidal). Thomas Frank wrote several books about this, most recently Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? Also see Michael Hirsh’s “Why Trump and Sanders Were Inevitable: It was only a matter of time before we had a populist backlash to 30 years of flawed globalization policies that both parties embraced” in Politico Magazine, February 2016.

Most on the Left prefer not see the overlap in views of Trump and Sanders. Also see this insightful report by Working America: “‘Front Porch Focus Group’ Explores Appeal of Trump’s Right-Wing Message to working-class voters.”

All of this appears to have had little effect on the Left. The response to Trump’s election has been to double-down on failed tactics — obsession with the rumors about a Trump-Putin conspiracy plus lots and lots of name-calling.

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The Left becomes a cult rather than gather support to oppose Trump

Summary: Much will depend in the next four years on America’s ability to resist Trump. The Left could play a large role, but its response so far suggests that it will not be able to. Two recent articles show why this seems likely. Also, see the fascinating rebuttal posted at Lawyers, Guns, and Money!

Left Wing politics

People often characterize a political movement by looking at the odd and foolish among them, and examine their reactions to events for insights to the movement’s core beliefs. That’s foolish. Instead look to the best of them. For examples on the Left, look at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. See Erik Loomis’ (Asst Prof of History at the U or RI) essay “Dumbasses of America“, which illustrates why the Left has lost so much of its influence in America, and might be unable to effectively resist Trump.

“The genre of “let’s talk to idiotic white voters who support Trump even though he will decimate their lives” is already more stale than bread baked on November 8. However, it does lead to the occasional special anecdote that truly sums up the stupidity of many white people.

Many of these “idiotic white voters”, or their parents, voted for Democrats in the past — and can again in the future. Turn to another post to see what the Left finds objectionable in them: “Trump Voters. Again.” by Beth Spencer (aka vacuumslayer, an an artist). She comments on “I’m a Silicon Valley liberal, and I traveled across the country to interview 100 Trump supporters — here’s what I learned” by Sam Altman. Here are the excerpts from the interview, and Spencer’s comment.

“You all can defeat Trump next time, but not if you keep mocking us, refusing to listen to us, and cutting us out. It’s Republicans, not Democrats, who will take Trump down.”

Spencer: “In other words, “we’ll vote for someone we dislike and even find unfit for office out of spite.” INCREDIBLE.” Is it incredible that people will not vote for a party whose key people mock them and refuse to listen to them? No, it is not incredible. It quite natural. It’s politics.

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2016 revealed the true nature of America’s left & right. It’s bad news.

Summary: America entered a new era in 2016. The facades crumbled, revealing the true nature of America’s Left and Right. Their lies, the war against us (the big middle), and their madness. What comes next, how we react to this news, will reveal our nature.

Stop Extremism

Years ago, Chet Richards (Colonel, USAF, retired) told me that America’s hopes for reform rested with an alliance of the middle majority against predictors on the Left the Right. I following the lead of political scientists, disagreed — since much of US public is has centrist views only by averaging their extreme left and right beliefs (see WaPo articles here and here).

Time has proven Chet right and me wrong. Powerful elements on the left and right are moving against the rest of us. Worse, both have gone bonkers. This has put America on the fast track to disaster, although we cannot foresee details of the end. We trapped between them, like children with no team to choose — bewildered by the increasingly odd events around us.

We’re immersed in fake news, fake facts.

Our opponents on the Left and Right have seen our gullibility, and quote logically exploit it. The Right has done so more effectively. They have ensnared their followers in webs of fake history, fake economics, fake quotes, and fake news. Trump’s serial lies are the apotheosis of decades of the Right successfully building an audience that prefers pleasing lies to harsh truths.

The Left got into the game late, but has moved quickly to catch up. Their five decades of exaggerating (or ignoring) scientists’ work to create nightmares of doom for humanity — or the world — including a decade or so of exaggerating or misrepresenting the IPCC’s work about climate change. Their denial of climate scientists’ work on what they call the “pause”.

The election of Trump has pushed much of the Left into a delusional state (examples herehere and here).  The scale of exaggerated claims are difficult for me to imagine, let alone take seriously. Trump has a perverted attraction to his daughter. Trump is Hitler. The Republicans are Nazis. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) is the American Gestapo, per Erik Loomis (assistant professor of history at U RI). My favorite is “The American Gestapo and Its Slave Labor Force.” The exaggerated, even fake, stories about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ contacts with Russians (details here), Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee (details here), and the entire complex of Trump-Putin conspiracy theories (see this devastating deconstruction in the liberal NY Review of Books).

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New research predicts a just and logical result to violent anti-Trump protests

Summary: New research shows that violent protests decrease public support for that cause while peaceful protests can gain support. The Left’s increasingly violent protesters are Trump’s greatest allies. This reaction by the American public is logical and just, contributing to the long stability of our society.

Black Bloc “protests” at Toronto G20 Summit, 26-27 June 2010.

Burning police Car

Here is an important and timely article: “The Psychology of Effective Protest” by Olga Khazan in The Atlantic, 27 February 2017 — “New research shows why nonviolence works better than extreme tactics.” She quotes two papers (not yet peer-reviewed). Their conclusions should be obvious. Perhaps these papers will find interested readers on the Left, before they liquidate what remains of their political influence in America.

(1)  “Extreme Protest Tactics Reduce Popular Support for Social Movements” by Matthew Feinberg et al, 3 February 2017.

“Social movements are critical agents of change that vary greatly in both tactics and popular support. Prior work shows that extreme protest tactics – actions that are highly counter-normative, disruptive, or harmful to others, including inflammatory rhetoric, blocking traffic, and damaging property – are effective for gaining publicity. However, we find across three experiments that extreme protest tactics decreased popular support for a given cause because they reduced feelings of identification with the movement.

“Though this effect obtained in tests of popular responses to extreme tactics used by animal rights, Black Lives Matter, and anti-Trump protests, we found that self-identified political activists were willing to use extreme tactics because they believed them to be effective for recruiting popular support. The activist’s dilemma – wherein tactics that raise awareness also tend to reduce popular support – highlights a key challenge faced by social movements struggling to affect progressive change.”

Here is the money paragraph. This should be obvious, but it is not so to many activists.

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Analysis of Left’s mob violence at Middlebury, their fast track to irrelevance.

Summary: Another example of mob violence by the Left against their political foes. While not fascism, societies’ tolerance for political violence helped bring fascists to power. No volume of screaming “Nazi Nazi” at Trump can hide these simple facts.

“For many of the people who have turned out for the current protests, it has been a kind of group therapy, and already seem to be cementing new, cross-sectional liberal coalitions.”
New York Times.

Burning free speech
By Mike Wade in The Times.

Leftists were right! After Trump’s election free speech is under attack as mobs assaulting people for speaking out. The latest was at Middlebury College, Vermont. As usual, it was Leftist mobs suppressing speech of conservatives. This is not fascism, but was a tactic used by Nazis.

Charles Murray, a political scientist who has been criticized for his views on race and intelligence, was invited to speak on campus by a student group. He was greeted late Thursday afternoon outside McCullough Student Center by hundreds of protesters, and inside Wilson Hall, students turned their backs to him when he got up to speak.

“…As Stanger, Murray and a college administrator left McCullough Student Center last evening following the event, they were ‘physically and violently confronted by a group of protestors,’ according to Bill Burger, the college’s vice president for communications and marketing. Burger said college public safety officers managed to get Stanger and Murray into the administrator’s car.

“’The protestors then violently set upon the car, rocking it, pounding on it, jumping on and try to prevent it from leaving campus,” he said. ‘At one point a large traffic sign was thrown in front of the car. Public Safety officers were able, finally, to clear the way to allow the vehicle to leave campus. During this confrontation outside McCullough, one of the demonstrators pulled Prof. Stanger’s hair and twisted her neck,’ Burger continued. ‘She was attended to at Porter Hospital later and (on Friday) is wearing a neck brace.’” (Addison County Independent.)

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The Left steps across a line and embraces political violence

Summary:  People on the Left have become disoriented by Trump’s win, and become ever more dysfunctional. Now they take a big step to embrace political violence, from reformers of America to its enemies. It’s a small step over the line. Unless they rethink and pull back, expect more serious violence coming. It might be back to the future, back to the violence of the 1960’s and 1970’s — which contributed to the start of the Left’s long decline into political irrelevance.

“Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot of blowing up the White House, but I know that this won’t change anything.”
— Madonna at the Women’s March. Trump is fortunate that she didn’t calculate that it would change things! Transcript here; video here.

"No Violence" by shit2009
“No Violence” by shit2009.

America’s bien pensant leftists have gone quite bonkers at the rise of Trump. Before the election they condemned Trump for saying he might refuse to accept the election’s results as legitimate, and for failure to condemn political violence (some of which was by his supporters; most was by the left against his supporters). Now they refuse to accept the election’s results as legitimate (on the flimsiest of evidence) and advocate personal violence against those who disagree with them. Both are potentially destabilizing for the Republic; the latter especially so.

The latter is displayed and explained at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. Richard Spencer, a white supremacist, was sucker-punched by a good leftist — which they applauded. Daniel Nexen (assoc. prof of government at Georgetown) wrote “How is this Even a Thing?“, a tepid condemnation of “some dude {who} sucker-punched an asshole racist neo-Nazi (or post-Nazi or whatever) who was giving an interview.” The comments were mostly full Stalinist, cheering street violence against the enemy of the people.

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The Left sees President Trump and goes mad

Summary: Sometime in 2015 the Left caught fire. This fire still burns hot, with a flame pleasing to the Right. It shows that the Left is lost in their delusions, and will offer only loud but ineffective resistance to Trump.

The Death Of Humanity

Good liberals look at the American people and see themselves (i.e., the good and the wise). They see the loyal minorities. They see the deplorables. It’s a political vision incompatible with winning.

“But I think there’s an explanation {for Trump’s win} that runs more true to the facts and human psychology. These voters want to divorce themselves of responsibility for doing anything for the folks falling down the ladder. “They’re f**king assholes.”

— Once posted at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. I don’t see it now. Perhaps it was deleted.

Benjamin Franklin in the film 1776 gave a good reply to this.

“These men, no matter how much we may disagree with them, are not ribbon clerks to be ordered about – they are proud, accomplished men …And whether you like them or not, they and the people they represent will be part of this new nation that YOU hope to create. Now, either learn how to live with them, or pack up and go home!”

Many good Leftists explain the election results as a result of American’s racism. They have their own values, which they wish to impose on America.

“Speaking only for myself, I’m committed to open borders as a moral position rather than an economic one. So it doesn’t have a lot of relevance in discussions about the relevant economics.”
— Comment posted at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. I don’t see it now. Perhaps it was deleted.

How many immigrants would the US have with open borders? Could we culturally or economically absorb them without massive damage? No problem! Being a leftist means never having to say you’re sorry.

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