Tag Archives: republican party

Matt Taibbi visits the GOP convention. We can learn from what he doesn’t see.

Summary: Matt Taibbi is one of America’s most acute political observers. His analysis of the Republican Convention shows his skills at their peak, but (like most on the Left) he cannot see the significance of what he sees — the radical changes altering the US political landscape. We can learn much from his essay, lessons that can help us understand what will happen in the next few years.

2016 GOP convention

Photograph by Carlo Allegri/Reuters.

Trump’s Appetite for Destruction:
How Disastrous Convention Doomed GOP

By Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone, 22 July 2016.
Republican National Convention made a joke of American democracy.

“It wasn’t what we expected. We thought Donald Trump’s version of the Republican National Convention would be a brilliantly bawdy exercise in Nazistic excess. We expected thousand-foot light columns, a 400-piece horn section where the delegates usually sit (they would be in cages out back with guns to their heads). Onstage, a chorus line of pageant girls in gold bikinis would be twerking furiously to a techno version of “New York, New York” while an army of Broadway dancers spent all four days building a Big Beautiful Wall that read winning, the ceremonial last brick timed to the start of Donald’s acceptance speech. …”

Liberals refuse to see the substance behind Trump’s campaign, just caricatures they invent — glitzy combinations of NAZI and racist imagery. It relieves them of the burden of responding to his issues. For details see Why they lose: the Left tells us that Trump is like Hitler.

“Thus the area around the convention feels like some other infamous de-peopled landscapes, like Hitler’s paintings…”

Not subtle. But Taibbi has some powerful insights about the convention.

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The GOP convention has done its job. Here are some highlights.

Summary: The Republican convention has served us well by showing us what we will get if we pull the level for GOP candidates on November 8. Here are some of the highlights.

Republican National Convention 2016 Logo

(1) GOP plans to build a New America

50 Shockingly Extreme Right-Wing Proposals in the 2016 Republican Party Platform” by Steven Rosenfeld / AlterNet, 18 July 2016 — “What Trump, a GOP Congress and GOP-appointed Supreme Court would do to America.” A cornucopia for corporations and the 1%; a horror show for the rest of us. Here is the full platform.

  • Tax cuts for the rich. Cut government salaries and benefits.
  • Dramatically increase Pentagon budget. Cancel Iran nuclear treaty and expand nuclear arsenal.
  • Deregulate the banks. Stop consumer protection. Start repealing environmental laws. Start shrinking unions and union labor. No change in federal minimum wage. Give internet service providers monopolies. Privatize government services to “fight poverty”. Replace traditional public schools with privatized options. Privatize student loans instead of lowering interest rates.
  • Appoint anti-choice, anti-LGBT, and anti-Obamacare justices. Make Christianity a national religion. Loosen gun controls nationwide. Pass an anti-choice constitutional amendment. Allow states to shut down abortion Clinics. Oppose stem cell scientific research. Replace sex education with abstinence-only approaches.
  • Loosen campaign finance loopholes and dark money. Repeal Obamacare. Privatize Medicare. Turn Medicaid, the poor’s health plan, over to states. No increasing Social Security benefits by taxing the rich. …

(2) Trump plans a purge if he wins

Governor Christie, who leads Trump’s transition team, told dozens of donors at the GOP convention that they were drawing up a list of federal government employees appointed by Obama to fire if Trump wins. Christie also said that “One of the things I have suggested to Donald is that we have to immediately ask the Republican Congress to change the civil service laws. Because if they do, it will make it a lot easier to fire those people”. Reuters reported this on the basis of a recording and accounts from two attendees.

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See how the Republican Party’s history brought forth Trump2016

Summary: The Republican Convention shows our dysfunctional political system at work. Understanding how we got here requires shining harsh light on the modern history of the Grand Old Party, born fighting against slavery — and dark actions in the 20th Century. From the archives.

Republicans Flag

Contents

  1. The GOP’s great betrayal.
  2. Cut food stamps, more $$ for agricorps.
  3. The GOP’s war on public health.
  4. For More Information.
  5. Tom Tomorrow explains the Class War.

(1) The GOP’s great betrayal

On19 June 1964 the US Congress passed the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, with majorities from both parties. But one of thee “no” votes was by Barry Goldwater, the Republican candidate for the Presidency. He saw an opportunity to redraw America’s political map and end the dominant position the Democratic Party had held since the Great Depression (see his speech). The price was betrayal of the Republican Party’s legacy.

Thus began one of the greatest betrayals in modern American history, an accommodation of evil in exchange for political power. Selling their souls for 30 pieces of silver, instead of allowing the South’s racists to either accept this progress or marginalize themselves with a pariah third party.

But this is consistent with the GOP’s behavior before and since, a too-often inimical role shaping America. Perhaps the reform of America should start with the part most needing reform: conservatives, heal thyselves.

(2) Cutting food stamps, but more dollars for agri-corps

The GOP shows its values clearly in their quest to cut the food stamp program while boosting subsidies for agri-corps. As explained in “Republicans: We Were Too Nice to the Hungry, But We’ve Fixed That” by Jonathan Chait in NY Magazine, 20 September 2013 — Excerpt…

Republicans hate domestic spending, but their hatred is not completely indiscriminate. Some programs offend them more, and others less. The general pattern is that social programs offend Republicans to the degree that they benefit the poor, sick, or otherwise unfortunate. The struggle over the farm bill is not the biggest policy dispute in American politics, but it is the one that most clearly reveals the priorities and ideological identity of the contemporary GOP.

The farm bill traditionally combines agriculture subsidies (which hands out subsidies to people on the arbitrary basis that the business they own produces food as opposed to some other goods or services) with food stamps (which hands out subsidies to people on the highly nonarbitrary basis that they’re poor enough to likely have trouble scraping together regular meals). Conservative Republicans revolted against the normally automatic passage, insisting that the cuts to food stamps — $20 billion — did not slice deeply enough. Last night the House rectified its failure by cutting food stamps by $40 billion.

The putative rationale for the food-stamp cuts is that eligibility standards have loosened, or that it encourages sloth. Jonathan Cohn makes quick work of these claims, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities makes long, detailed work of them. Click on those links if you want a blow-by-blow refutation. The upshot is that food stamps are a meager subsidy, of less than $1.40 per meal, for people either stuck in very low paid jobs or unable to find work at all. Their cost has increased because the recession has increased the supply of poor, desperate people.

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The five reasons Trump will lose in November

Summary:  Now that both parties have chosen their candidates, let’s revisit my prediction that Clinton will win. Here are the reasons experts will give on November 8 to explain why Trump’s defeat was inevitable. See the facts. Ignore the media hysteria (Trump is clickbait; they need the clicks).  See the For More Information section at the end, and the interesting discussion in the comments.

The gap begins its inexorable widening. From Real Clear Politics.
See the 3-way results here, including Johnson.

Clinton-Trump polls, 15 June 2016

Many people assume Trump’s success in the GOP primaries — against those odd far-right leaders — mean he’ll do as well against Clinton. That’s wrong. The media need Trump — he’s top clickbait — but the facts are against him. Here is my prediction, building on the available data.

First, the current polls underestimate Clinton’s strength. A large fraction of Sanders’ supporters will back her after she gets the nomination; Trump will push even the Left’s Clinton-haters to pull the lever for her. The former is a standard dynamic in US campaigns; the latter results from Trump’s high and rising “unfavorable” ratings in the polls.

Second, Trump’s power comes from long-suppressed populism. This includes dark elements, such as racism, and re-fighting old battles (such as sky-high rates of immigration). Trump stumbled into populism, and has poorly exploited its themes — instead he runs his mouth off over tangential issues. See Walter Russell Mead’s description of populism’s deep roots in America, and the power of populism to rally Americans abandoned by Left and Right.

Third, Trump has stepped on the big stage where he’ll face scrutiny on a scale greater than by the GOP’s clown chorus. Given his fondness for wacko conspiracy theories (e.g., Obama’s birth), and gullibility. Breitbart repeats the politically useful lie “Hillary Clinton Received Secret Memo Stating Obama Admin ‘Support’ for ISIS“. Trump jumps in…

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American politics isn’t broken. It’s working just fine for the 1%.

Summary: Political commentary often reveals more from its blindness than its insights. For example, a widely-cited analysis at Salon by journalist Andrew O’Hehir tells us some entertaining harsh truths — but avoids deeper, useful insights that would disturb his Outer Party readers (i.e., politically passive managers and professionals).

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Photo by Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx on 13 April 2016.

Two despised frontrunners, two dying parties & a deeply broken system
By Andrew O’Hehir (journalist) at Salon.

“How did we get here? Trump & Clinton may be the most hated frontrunners in history, dueling symbols of a duopoly in decay.”

He opens with some myth-making, the Left’s efforts to fit events into their standard narrative. It conceals the important dynamics of campaign 2016, things too disturbing for the Left to see.

So here’s what’s happening: Our political system is profoundly broken, and although many of us have understood that for years, this has been the year that fact became unavoidable. Both political parties are struggling through transparently rigged primary campaigns that have made that ludicrous process look more outdated than ever. Nobody cares about the Democratic vote in Wyoming and it’s not going to matter, but when Bernie Sanders dominates the caucuses in that empty, dusty and Republican-dominated state and wins seven of its 18 delegates, doesn’t that sum up the whole damn thing?

O’Hehir is making a purely emotional appeal in defiance of the facts. He gives no evidence that the GOP race is rigged; Trump’s votes have closely mirrored his poll results. As for the Democrats, several political scientists have shown that the results are not “rigged”. NY Times political blogger Nate Cohen has a model showing that “9 percentage points better in primaries than in caucuses“. More seriously, Alan I. Abramowitz (Prof of political science at Emory) has a model of the 2016 Democratic primaries

“This model uses three predictors from the Democratic primary exit polls — percentage of African-American voters, percentage of self-identified Democrats, and region — and it explains 90% of the variance in 19 primaries to date for which exit poll data are available, excluding Sanders’ home state of Vermont…”

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