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why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 23rd, 2019, 6:19 pm
by hyksos
In this article, I will describe the conditions that allowed for the rise and preeminent political victory of Donald Trump in 2016 election.

The danger is when you turn your TV on, or lift a copy of Newsweek from the news stand. Those are liberal media outlets (CNN, MSBC). They will saturate you in some bizarre narrative about the 2016 election was "stolen" from Queen Hillary Rodham-Clinton. Stolen by the interference of Russian troll farms and Russian hackers stealing and spewing DNC documents.

The election was not stolen. That's fabrication meant to enrage a certain bluehaired base. Donald Trump won the election duly. Me, being a staunch Bernie voter am in no shape or form happy about this. But this article is not about punditry or emotion. This article about listing facts. Here I expose and enumerate the causes of Trump's election victory.

Economic underpinnings of Trump
Andrew Yang and Michael Moore have already discovered what is going on. Yang is calling it the "4th Industrial Revolution." In essence, automation and high tech internet economy is destroying the ability of the businesses and companies to hire many young men.

Example from heavy industry. In the year 1981, it took a total of 30 workers to create 1 kilometer of steel wire. In 2019, it takes 6.

Example from high tech. Yahoo is a publicly-traded internet conglomerate. Its market cap is over $100 billion. "Yahoo" began as a website run out of a dorm room by two young men. Big name websites like Yahoo, tinder, instagram, and Amazon go public with traded shares over $200, which then goes up from there. But "tinder" is literally one building and 130 employees in a parking garage. That's it. That's all they are. These super internet websites (reddit) do not have branch campuses and do not operate manufacturing facilities. Their total number of people on their payroll rarely exceeds 500.

High tech does not hire many workers. High tech does not "provide good jobs" for the working man. When a tech company takes up office space in a city or town, it creates a little microcosm in the middle of the city comprised of overly-paid technocrats. Many mayors believe such companies are even a nuisance. Several mayors have tried to take steps that keep them out.

The following textbook is the ethics and legality of technology. The authors fully admit that technology is not a phenomenon in human life that "levels the economic playing field" by providing good-paying jobs. Instead, technology only speeds up the rate at which capital is driven into the hands of fewer and fewer.
Code: Select all
Ethics for the information age / Michael J. Quinn.—5th ed.
(c) 2013
ISBN 978-0-13-285553-2
ISBN 0-13-285553-4
ch. 10  "Work and Wealth"

Geography and demographics
We will examine the places where Hillary inexplicably lost electoral votes. There is swathe of land running from Minnesota to Pennsylvania. Hillary's campaign either visited there rarely, or not at all, under the belief that those areas were sewn up for an easy win. By about midnight of the night of the 2016 election, Jon Podesta walked out onto a stage that was oddly shaped like a giant star. Podesta told the crowd to "Go home" because it was "too early to call." Some midwestern states had gone deep red.

Michael Moore referred to these states as the "Brexit states", with all the requisite implications. When Donald Trump told the rural areas of these states that he would bring back manufacturing jobs, it was, in the words of Moore , " to their ears."

The key demographic that thrust wide victories of the Republican candidate in those states were white men. Your protoypical Trump voter was white, male, between the ages of 45 and 59, and had no college degree.

Why that demographic, though? If you do a little bit of math, these were men in the midwest who would have been teenagers in the 1980s. Some of the older ones were transitioning out of high school into the workforce. They remember when companies would hire people right out of high school, directly into a good-paying job, with benefits. By the time you were 26, you were putting a down payment on a house. Also, because many of the younger ones, not-quite-out-of-high-school would look back on the '80s Reagan Era with nostalgia and the rose-tinted glasses that a person's teenage years often creates.

The 1990s brought something other effect called NAFTA. NAFTA allowed, among other things, movement of uncertified Mexican shipping trucks across the border. Companies in Ohio that used to manufacture boots closed their doors and moved to Mexico.. wherein they basically hired teen girls to sew boots for $4/hour.

The meaning of MAGA

"Make America Great Again" does not mean a return to the 1920s. It does not mean a return to WW2, the 1950s, or leave-it-to-Beaver family values. Whatever was going on in America in the 1950s was wholly rejected by the Baby Boomers, who were at the time hippies and flower children. By 1976, a return to the alleged greatness of the 1940s/1950s was lost forever.

What Donald Trump was selling to white men in rural Michigan was a return to the 1980s.
+ You will graduate high school.

+ You will work at the local aluminum plant for good wages and benefits.

+ By the time you are 27,you will be putting a down payment on a house.

A demographic in the midwest, of just the right age, remembers this, even if the memory is slightly blurry and puffed up to a mythology. In any case, this is the true meaning of MAGA. Things were good -- (or they seemed like they were better) -- then something went woefully wrong in the 1990s. That's how one's blurry personal history remembers it.

The reality however, is what has already been exposited above. Automation is destroying the manufacturing economy, and destroying industry's needs for many working hands. High Technology is concentrating wealth into a tiny few, and increasing the rate of this concentration each year.

Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg will soon build an orbiting space station to live on , while the remnants of industrial civilization will eek out an existence on the dirty surface. There will only be a select few in the orbiting Cloud City, (or Elysium, or whatever they end up calling it ) just a few technocrat friends with their pumpkin spice lattes. They will walk around in futuristic gardens talking whimsically about "Front-end web development" and CSS version 6.0 But whatever they do , it won't involve hiring anyone.

We could address whether what Trump promised was even realistic. Is bringing back the "manufacturing base" of the 1980s even a realistic promise? Should we instead reshape our economies in the way Andrew Yang has suggested?

I tend to agree with many presidential candidates who spoke on stage at recent debates. While there are just still many of them on stage (the number fluctuates between 17 and 22) -- I will say I agree.

We cannot cure our current problems with the same kind of thinking that got us into them in the first place.

This is one of many reasons why Joe Biden is a terrible nightmare for a presidential candidate. This is not age-ism. It is time to pass the torch. Not to pass the torch to new people, but pass the torch to new IDEAS --- to new approaches.

Re: Precedent for President

PostPosted: October 23rd, 2019, 10:24 pm
by Faradave
Redistribution of wealth (taxation & entitlement) is a tempting pipedream. People need something rewarding to do. Staring at screens is ultimately unfulfilling. Growth demands being part of something bigger than one's self. The MAGA slogan conveys something very close to that.

I suspect that "being part of" involves applying one's talents and a sense of ownership. Anything that achieves that is a "good job". No one has to tell me to sweep my own sidewalk. If I'm a shareholder in Starbucks, I tend to walk an extra block to get my coffee there.

Socialism and communism seem to have the opposite effect as with common pastures which always tend to be over grazed and under cared for. People sense it.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 24th, 2019, 10:27 am
by TheVat
Nordic Model socialist democracy isn't as bad. Social science studies of those nations find high rates of happiness and employment. Yang's proposal would actually go more that direction, from what I've seen of it in the first debates. It would eliminate a lot of welfare bureaucracy, and just give everyone a buffer against destitution, but not so much that you wouldn't still be motivated to work for more income and the other more intangible goals of an occupational pursuit. Sure, a few people would stay home in efficiency apartments playing video games or whatever, or just be buddhists living a life of contemplating, but there are always people like that.

Interesting article - agree there is great need for fresh ideas, as some of the primary candidates are providing.

Trump did offer the illusion of change to the working class, including the pipedream of onshoring jobs already gone, of keeping out scary brown immigrants that some already feared (and could focus on as a way to place blame for their own problems), of rescuing a defunct energy technology already on its way out, and restoring some fantasy of a white christian culture that appealed to people buried in a Grievance Culture. Why people didn't notice he was a reality tv huckster with a history of mob connections, welshing on construction contracts, who had declared bankruptcy four times, who had repeatedly slandered a very popular president, who had Joseph McCarthy's lawyer for years, who hired tons of undocumented workers himself in his hotels, who had publicly extolled the ease of molesting women, who boasted on his talent for cheating, etc....was because so many could see just what they wanted to see, choosing social media and news media that helped keep blinders on at all times.

Good journalism isn't, as historian Howard Zinn once noted, getting ALL the facts. It is rather the ability to determine which facts are important and getting those facts before the public. And it also requires an educated populace (as Jefferson kept harping on) who actively DEMAND those sorts of facts. Let's face it, Trump is just a symptom of the ascent of "Idiocracy."

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 24th, 2019, 10:36 am
by TheVat
Due to the meaty topic Hyksos has provided us, I am promoting this thread to the Political Theory section.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 24th, 2019, 10:56 am
by Serpent
Instead of asking why the disaffected, underserviced populations of dysfunctional economies are easy to seduce with facile slogans, why not ask what went right with populations that have a high rate of education, tolerance and life-satisfaction?
Or you can glance back at all the historical instances of a demagogue persuading a population to act against its own best interest. All he has to do is offer to raise their self-esteem by designating a scapegoat to blame for all the troubles caused by the prevailing system.
Or you can go a little bit deeper and examine the operating principles of capitalism.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 27th, 2019, 7:55 am
by hyksos

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 27th, 2019, 11:53 am
by TheVat
Code bracket doesn't work. Img bracket does. Fixed it.

Any interpretive material to go with this? What are the actual proportions the color codings indicate?

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 29th, 2019, 8:47 pm
by hyksos
TheVat » October 27th, 2019, 7:53 pm wrote:Code bracket doesn't work. Img bracket does. Fixed it.

Any interpretive material to go with this? What are the actual proportions the color codings indicate?

Color indicates the predominant economic activity in that state during the year, where color indicates economy sector.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 29th, 2019, 8:49 pm
by hyksos
More data from the Brexit states.


Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 29th, 2019, 11:34 pm
by Serpent
We know what they did. We never hear about what was done to them.
It's not simply a matter of economics - people losing their jobs to technology and off-shoring.
There are several other important factors:
- a growing network of right-wing "news" media, which systematically spread distrust of their mainstream counterparts
- the browser feature that directs internet users to the sources that reinforce their prejudices
- blatantly non-factual reporting by those sources
- unbridled fear-mongering and scapegoating by right-wing pundits and candidates
- immense amounts of corporate money supporting right-wing candidates, causes and talking-points
- egregious election manipulating, fraud, gerrymandering and voter suppression by Republican state governments
- the systematic purging from the Republican party of moderate and reasonable voices since 1980
- poor to terrible social policies at the state level
- incoherent economic policies at the federal level
- inordinate amounts of money spent on idiotic wars, intrusive 'security' measures and international intrigue, to the detriment of infrastructure and public education

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: December 4th, 2019, 2:18 pm
by hyksos
I will put cherry on the top of this cake.

You turn your TV on, and there will be a woman in a black jacket vest (you know who). She will look into the camera and tell you that the election was "stolen" from Hillary Clinton. Stolen by the actions of Russian interference, troll farms, election manipulation or whatever new buzzword so invented. The implication is that Trump was not really elected and he is an illegitimate president.

You have the data. You have the maps. The American people elected him. For better or worse he is duly elected president.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: December 4th, 2019, 3:08 pm
by Serpent
hyksos » December 4th, 2019, 1:18 pm wrote:You have the data. You have the maps.

We have more data:
The American people elected him.

Not exactly. He lost the popular vote that was actually counted. Plus all the votes that were not counted, and all the votes that were not cast, because the voters rejected both candidates, and all the votes for someone other than those two candidates. In fact, only about one quarter of the "the people" elected him.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 25th, 2020, 11:21 am
by TheVat ... -know-who/

Interview with Edmund Fawcett, on how the hard right emerged and took over conservative political parties and created you know who. Gives me a sense of how, as the world the past decades, the ideology of the hard right became more incoherent even as it seemed to appeal to more people.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 25th, 2020, 2:05 pm
by Serpent
He's very gracious.
Maybe the book hits a little harder.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 25th, 2020, 10:18 pm
by Forest_Dump
Well, to be fair, the same kind of stuff has been around in postmodernist stuff for quite some time. Lately I have had to read some native anticolonialist manifestos that struck me as "make Native America great again". Same old politics and religion for old angry people who want the world to go back to some mythical golden age that never was. I think I am slightly left of centre for Canada but I find the alright and altleft to sound virtually identical in their unwillingness to seek or accept compromise. So although I kind of agree most with Bernie's policies, I also know he would have been as much of a disaster as Trump. But too many today are just no longer willing to get along - on both sides.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 25th, 2020, 11:12 pm
by Serpent
I don't think that's ^^ entirely accurate or fair. I can't imagine Sanders enlisting foreign interference or coal-mining in the national parks or staffing the white house with his family or chivvying extremist gangs to violence or ... No, I really can't.
And there is no palpable far left presence in America. There may be a number of disaffected interest groups that might, given a chance, coalesce into serious opposition to the conservative status quo (a conservative status quo which includes the majority of Democrats), but nothing at all compered to the militant religious right, science deniers and white supremacists.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 28th, 2020, 2:26 pm
by charon
This very good. Objective and clear. ... s-12115987

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 31st, 2020, 1:22 pm
by charon
And now the ghastly little creep is blaming the doctors. Is there no end to it?

But at least when the fall comes it shall be mighty. Hopefully.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 31st, 2020, 3:03 pm
by Serpent
The whole world is hope-fully holding its breath.
Every other country on earth has to deal with the ramifications of what's happening now in the U.S. But beyond those consequences, there's another question for every other democracy: how do you make sure your own country doesn't end up like that?
I don't think Americans ever before thought of themselves as the country not to end up like. In spite of the big apology for Bush.2.2, the system wasn't fixed; indeed, was allowed to be torn down even further. And now this. And quite a lot of Americans still don't know or don't care or don't want it fixed.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 31st, 2020, 3:27 pm
by charon
Are you in the US, Serpent?

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 31st, 2020, 4:51 pm
by Serpent
No, but much too close for comfort....
That's why the CBC article was addressed to me. There is a lot of spill-over; Trump sympathizers and white supremacists over here, aspiring demagogues, bigots, greedbags, zealots and entrenched regressives, as well as the usual basket of deplorable jetsam.
.... then again, there are no comfortable places on this planet anymore.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 31st, 2020, 5:29 pm
by TheVat
Your Westminster model has given you some buffer against the kind of polarization we've seen here. I think your writer (the CBC article) identifies some of the contributing factors, and I think the Four Threats referenced are all in play atm.

Time to bring civics and social studies back to the forefront of our school curriculum in the US.

Re: Nobody's Perfect

PostPosted: October 31st, 2020, 8:05 pm
by Faradave
The media always want us in a frenzy. That's what keeps people glued to their screens.

Nevertheless, I've found the political system in the USA to be highly resilient. I think it's actually good that it gets stressed now and again. Have you ever seen so many people awake and aware of what's happening. It's especially important that the party in charge not always be the same. Otherwise, we're asking for rigidity to set in.

Now Biden may actually be in some cognitive decline. But I believe Regan was in last two years or so and USA and the world still came through OK. Importantly the office commands highly talented advisors.

I don't actually believe Trump is a racist, but that's not really my concern. What matters is are is policies racist. We're not going to get a saint no matter who wins. Similarly, Trump might well have been a womanizer but do his policies reflect that? (I imagine womanizers tend to be pro-choice for purely selfish reasons.)

And it seems disingenuous to both blame Trump for coronavirus consequences and then not credit him for the remarkable drop in carbon footprint associated with it. He's not a doctor because we didn't elect a doctor as president. And if it's that important why didn't either party chose one as candidate? Doctors are too focused on one kind of outcome (personal health). I expect a president has to take a much broader and more difficult view.

I hope we all get a chance to have our votes and then decide not to burn the place down if we don't get who we want. I've been through enough of these to realize it's never as bad as the other side said it was going to be.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 31st, 2020, 8:25 pm
by Serpent
Except for Trump, who turned out a lot worse than even "the other side" feared.
Trump is an unprecedented disaster of a president.
American military and economic power holds unprecedented sway over the international relations of the world.
Climate change is an unprecedented existential threat to every population in the world.
A pandemic is an unprecedented challenge to every government in the world.
The confluence of all these factors can destroy the world.
This election is for more than just the soul of America: it cannot recover from four more years of Trump. This is not a question of his intellectual fitness or his beliefs or his morals: it's a question of the harm he's capable of doing. I'd wager more than half of the American voters are not even aware of the harm he's already done - its scope and consequences.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 31st, 2020, 8:41 pm
by charon
I'd wager more than half of the American voters are not even aware of the harm he's already done

Why do you think that is?

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 31st, 2020, 9:34 pm
by TheVat
FD -- you might be interested in the link, posted today, to a New Republic piece which is somewhat optimistic about the resilience of our democratic institutions. It's in my post with two contrasting views from scholars....both worth a look.


Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: October 31st, 2020, 11:09 pm
by Serpent
charon » October 31st, 2020, 7:41 pm wrote:
I'd wager more than half of the American voters are not even aware of the harm he's already done

Why do you think that is?

The breakdown of public information broadcasting. There were several steps in that process, which is too complicated and off-topic to detail here. The end result is that different parts of the population get very different versions of events, that little or no thoughtful analysis ever becomes available to the general public and that bombast, drama, fireworks, scandals and outrage displace mundane statistics regarding the gradual loss of biodiversity, child welfare, civil liberties, constitutional safeguards, democracy, education, foreign relations, government services, infrastructure, justice, public lands, trade, voting access, water quality, worker's rights.... and all those other boring things that don't feature burning buildings and kinky sex.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: November 1st, 2020, 2:22 am
by charon
Well, I'm in the UK and personally I access Sky News, the BBC, ITV, all the UK papers, CNN, MSNBC, the US papers, and radio, of course.

I see no breakdown in public broadcasting here. In the US it might be a different story, if that's what you're suggesting, although I'd be very surprised.

You say you think a large number of voters might not be aware of the constant criticism, ridicule, and disenchantment with Trump. I don't see how they could miss it, frankly.

Re: why Trump is President

PostPosted: November 1st, 2020, 12:05 pm
by Serpent
charon » November 1st, 2020, 1:22 am wrote:I see no breakdown in public broadcasting here. In the US it might be a different story, if that's what you're suggesting, although I'd be very surprised.

It is a very different story. Have you not noticed how many American posters, even on this very moderate board, pummel MainStreamMedia every chance they get? It seems as if nobody trusts the commercial networks for news coverage - even though they're fairly accurate, as far as they go, which isn't very deep. Why? because they're commercial. Experts are boring; thoughtful analysis doesn't sell nacho chips; controversy frightens the executives; a principled stand makes the corporate lawyers break out in hives; an unpopular opinion could piss off Head Office. You can bank on a bombing, a stabbing, an overturned bus full of choristers or a president chewing up the podium - or a mayor falling off one - to fill the time-slot, sell the ads and get nobody into trouble. There is no chance for a wide range of views and interests to be represented. Noise and flames are reliably newsworthy, and you cannot step out of line. What is considered in the US as left-leaning is actually moderate liberal - there is no left anywhere close to as extreme as the rabid right.
I watch PBS - but I very much doubt any republicans do. They watch FUX news, which I won't touch with a barge-pole. And that is only the central, mainstream divide in information sources - the far right has a vast, dedicated network of propaganda outlets
And, of course, the same agencies have tentacles throughout the print media and internet. Most of the time, when people think they're getting an independent POV, they're reading yet another subsidiary, echoing one of the media giants' message. The centre left has a handful of indie websites and no money.

You say you think a large number of voters might not be aware of the constant criticism, ridicule, and disenchantment with Trump.

No, I do not say that!! What i said was that they're unaware of the extent of the harm he's already done and still intends to do.

Re: The Feeling is Remarkably Mutual

PostPosted: November 1st, 2020, 1:26 pm
by Faradave
I've been blessed with good neighbors at my current location for 30 years. I don't expect much could change that. On one side is a die-hard republican, on the other a die-hard democrat. I have to say, each feels exactly as you do about the other party's platform. Honestly, I hear identical phrases from each. One likes PBS and feels Fox is crap, the other feels the 3 major networks are conspiring with big tech to lie to the public.

It's enough to make mischievous adversaries of the USA grin. Perhaps they desire discord regardless of who wins. But I don't think its going to work. When the dust settles, my neighbors are all still fine people that I'm happy to live with.