February 28, 2016

Bernie cannibalizing campaign with identity politics instead of class (Good news for Trump turning blue states red)

I thought Bernie had a halfway decent shot at a majority of the pledged delegates, but after seeing how he ran things leading up to South Carolina, he looks to be finished. His forte has always been matters of economics -- class system, trade, inequality, debt, Wall Street, etc. -- and government -- campaign finance, corruption, revolving doors, etc. He represents the left's version of breaking away from identity politics and the culture war, to return to economic and political matters per se.

Hillary is continuing the culture war loud and clear, which mostly means race and ethnicity. (Women do not form a voting bloc, so only throwaway references are made to feminist topics. Homos are even smaller in number, and she isn't making a big stink out of sodomy.)

In the mostly-white early states, these two approaches to left-wing politics were not in conflict -- there were no minorities to pander to, so Bernie did OK and then won. Even in Nevada, with its larger share of minorities (Aztecs), Bernie did respectably. He was still focusing mostly on class issues.

However, once the huge voting bloc of blacks started approaching in South Carolina, he faced a crucial decision -- to continue emphasizing class, albeit by tailoring it to black economic concerns, or to put class on the back burner and take up identity politics. He either didn't want to appear racist, or got deluded into thinking he could compete in the culture war, or just plain choked. All of a sudden, he started talking about police brutality, institutional racism, driving while black, the prison-industrial complex, bla bla bla. And he lost SC big-league.

He allowed Hillary to dictate which arena the battle would be fought in, and he got slaughtered where he has no comparative advantage.

He might not have won SC if he had stuck to class issues, but he would've done better than a 50-point blowout. Not only would it have shown independence to his supporters and to the Democratic Establishment by hammering economics over and over, it would have forced a major choice among the black voters -- can we really afford the luxury of jerking off to the culture war anymore?

Sheeeit nigga, ain't nobody got time fo' identity politics -- I got biiillzzz 2 pay.

Unfortunately he seems to be writing off the black-heavy states going forward, rather than put that choice to them and bring over as many as possible. He's retreating into his comfort zone of economic-oriented whites in more progressive-friendly states.

Contrast this with Trump trying to win over every major group, including the Republicans' form of identity politics -- evangelical Christians. Trump's campaign has little to say to religious matters, or social and cultural issues generally. But by urging them to vote for the best President who can fix our mess of a country, rather than imagining the election giving us a Pastor in Chief who resonates the most powerfully with evangelical values, he's managed to win them over -- at least, back East of the Mississippi, where identity politics is weaker and folks are more open to class politics.

Bernie's doom will ultimately play to Trump's advantage, since the legions of Sanders supporters will most definitely not be turning out for Hillary in November. If she'd only won by a small amount, OK, maybe they suck it up and vote for whoever won fairly. But from what I've read from them, the Sanders supporters feel like she and her voters are robbing them blind. After getting so demoralized and disgusted, they won't vote for her in the general -- they'll either write in for Bernie, vote third-party, switch to Trump, or most likely not vote at all.

That will be even more true if Bernie ends up getting close to Hillary in the pledged delegate count, but gets swamped by her superdelegate spoilers -- a 15-point ace in the hole. Best case scenario for the Trump movement is Bernie wins 45% of all delegates (pledged), Hillary gets 40% of all delegates (pledged), but then adds her 15% of all delegates (super), and robs Bernie 55 to 45.

With a far smaller turnout of Democrats in the fall, Trump will have an even easier time of winning. More importantly, these demoralized Sanders supporters will be concentrated in the blue states that Trump is trying to switch to red -- New England and the Midwest. And in those regions, there won't be a huge pool of blacks to make up for the disgusted whites staying home. If there's record low turnout of Dems in South Carolina, that does nothing for Trump, since it will go Republican no matter what. But with record low turnout of Dems in, say, Wisconsin and Michigan, Trump is poised to turn them red (in addition to his courting their vote directly through class politics).

You can pursue identity politics, or you can pursue issues of economics and government. Not both. Sanders started out on the right foot, but through some form of personal weakness, surrendered his economic-oriented campaign and is trying to be everything to every Dem. Trump has steered clear of wading into the culture war, and he has already pulled away from the rest of the old-guard pack on the Republican side. In a time of realignment, you have to keep your eye on the ball.

46 comments:

  1. I agree with rifleman. Barring any unexpected dropping of the gloves from Sanders, Hillary will see the prudence in making him VP. Losing the youth vote may be too costly. Hopefully Bernie has enough sack to turn her down and continue being principled. Either way Trump should take the win.

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  2. Sanders supporters are not naive about his power / lack of power as the mere VP -- no more than the Trump army would accept him as the VP to a Cuck in Chief.

    The wishy-washy ones would go along with voting for Hillary, but most of them are so against everything she stands for, they will refuse to reward her for robbing them of Bernie.

    "Remember they are White and live to hate "bad White people" as part of their basic identity. And it doesn't get badder and Whiter than Trump and Trump supporters."

    They won't vote Hillary even if they wanted an anti-Trump protest vote. They'd write in Bernie or vote Green Party or something.

    You don't understand how much the Sanders supporters have invested in his campaign -- emotionally, but also financially. Like hell they'll be turning out 100% to vote for their hero's slayer. I'd be surprised if she got half of them.

    Just ask what would happen if Trump were robbed of the nomination. We would not be voting for whatever retarded sell-out took his rightful place.

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  3. I have a hard time seeing a corporate Democrat like Clinton picking a democratic socialist like Sanders. Bernie does turn out the youth, but not like 2008 Obama as Dem turnout is down significantly in every state so far. There is also the age problem as he will be 75 this year and Hillary will be 68. She'll pick someone younger than herself.

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  4. I'd be skeptical that they have any formal spoils system in case she wins the Presidency.

    Did you see how shocked she was when he wiped out the email security topic in the first debate? If he were going soft on her as part of an understanding they had, she would've known, and looked smugly into the audience right on cue.

    I said before that he sees his role more as a prophet than a king, shaping or influencing the actual ruler. Once she smelled his fundamental weakness, she wrote off any need to make it worth his while with an appointment.

    Remember: she's totally controlled by Wall Street, who Sanders continually savages.

    He's old, Jewish, male. She'll get someone younger, ethnic, and either female or closeted homo (she'd probably have to poach a Republican for that). She'll still be running an identity politics / culture war / Obama third term campaign, and Sanders couldn't contribute to that.

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    1. You thinking Rubio will defect? I don't think she needs a defection for a closeted gay man, Julian Castro already fits the bill.

      Just like Obama picked an "old white man," I think Clinton needs to pick a man.

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  5. Whom do you think Trump picks as VP?

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  6. I don't know enough politicians to name names. Trump has said the most important quality is making a good replacement just in case anything happens to the President. So it'll be someone who's the most Trump-like as can be found.

    He also wants a Washington insider, so he can have a reliable guide through all the junk he'll be navigating. Someone who can make his plans happen faster. Probably a Senator, then, either former or current.

    He's said that after that, being able to bring in key states would be nice. I.e., Rust Belt / Midwest, New England, probably not Mid-Atlantic (Christie) since he's already got that locked up. Not someone from out West.

    Jeff Sessions is the only major figure who fits the most important quality -- being the closest to Trump on the main issues (immigration, trade), and being an experienced Congressional insider. Being from the Deep South, he wouldn't bring in any blue or swing states, but that's secondary. Trump can do that through Governors and Senators, like Christie.

    And from what I've read, Sessions is the only insider with whom Trump has been in contact for the past year, being mostly on the same wavelength the whole time. That's a pretty long-term and sympatico partnership, by the standards of Trump's campaign so far.

    I've heard others say Trump wouldn't want to remove a lynchpin of the populist / nationalist movement in the Senate, but is he really that irreplaceable as a Senator? He and/or Trump vet a replacement, run him with the official endorsement / stumping tour of both around Alabama, and boom, he's found a replacement.

    I think Trump would find him more valuable as VP than as an ally in the Senate. Trump will need someone who knows the immigration and trade laws inside-out, AND is populist and nationalist on those issues. Hardly seems like there's anyone other than Sessions to rely on.

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  7. The same goes for guessing who his Supreme Court picks would be.

    Other than not being a flaming liberal dipshit, the most important quality is to approve of Trump's plans -- all of them, in the broad outlines, if not in the specifics. Or if they're not totally on-board, at least they won't get in the way, and will wave the train through.

    Because Trump will be going heavily against the free trade orthodoxy, I doubt you'll find a standard "economic conservative". And wanting to deport the illegals, ending birthright citizenship, perhaps deporting the anchor babies and their families, and banning Muslims from entering -- definitely not a civil libertarian.

    The judge would have to be populist and nationalist, and there can't be too many of them out there.

    Trump does not care too much about the standard culture war issues when it comes to the Supreme Court, other than making sure they're basically pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, etc. They wouldn't have to have made those their main issues, or be zealous about them.

    Those are all secondary to the main concern: not getting in the way of his efforts to Make America Great Again.

    That would be pretty downstream -- one of his efforts going to the Supreme Court -- so he may not be thinking too much about it just yet.

    I know even fewer judges than I do politicians, so couldn't give examples of who it could be.

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  8. "I know even fewer judges than I do politicians, so couldn't give examples of who it could be."

    Don't forget he could also go into academia, a la Kagan, to find someone who wouldn't impede removing birthright citizenship.

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  9. General rule-of-thumb: we are leaving behind the era of symbolic politics and entering one of getting-shit-done politics.

    The VP will not be cast as a celebrity cameo to leverage their pre-existing brand appeal to draw in new demos on opening night.

    He's going to be the person who's best able to replace the President just in case.

    The Supreme Court nominee won't be a name-drop to signal what kind of ideological genres the President has in his jurisprudential playlist.

    It's going to be the person who will help the President get done what he wants to get done, acting in the judiciary branch.

    The end of symbolic spectacle politics -- courtesy of that casino mogul, WWE cameo, reality TV star.

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  10. "Don't forget he could also go into academia, a la Kagan, to find someone who wouldn't impede removing birthright citizenship."

    Good point. Now that you mention it, he's said that he wants someone who's brilliant, an impressive scholar, etc. He hasn't said so much about having a particular track-record on the bench.

    He may already have a short list of the leading legal scholars who have argued in the law journals against birthright citizenship, sorted by how impressive their credentials are / how prestigious the journals were that published the anti-anchor baby articles. Leave no room for the Senate to deny them.

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  11. Also about Sessions "not being in the Senate," as VP he would be President of the Senate and could cast a deciding vote. Not the same as being on all those committees, but the VP can still play a strong role in the Senate.

    McKinley's VP was very activist in the Senate, and since Trump is McKinley: Part II, it would only make sense for his VP to do so as well.

    Especially considering that the President pro tempore of the Senate, the highest-ranking and usually filling in for the VP in presiding over the Senate, is currently a hardcore pro-amnesty cuck from out West -- Orrin Hatch (Utah), proposer of the DREAM Act.

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  12. Speaking of which, do you foresee a wave of Gen-X Trump Republicans sweeping the Senate in 2018. The Democrats will have a lot of contested seats.

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  13. Just as insiders like Rubio and Clinton have more in common than not, people will begin to realize that politicians like Trump and Sanders serve different demographics of the same neo-populist movement.
    Identity issues are still an obstacle, but I can only imagine that some Sanders voters will begin to rethink their affiliations as they helplessly watch the black bloc destroy their candidate.
    Here's my take on it:
    https://colonyofcommodus.wordpress.com/2016/02/28/trump-and-sanders-are-part-of-the-same-political-movement/

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  14. Remember back in Kasich's first term when he was against birthright citizenship? Then he went full cuck. He would have been mildly useful as a VP given his budget committee experience from the 90s. Jim Webb would be fantastic, super duper fantastic.

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  15. I really thought Sanders would clean up with the minority vote with gibsmedat platform and his doormat persona (giving up mic to Shaniqua), but then again he did actually say 'no' to reparations the first time he was asked.

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  16. Sailer has three recent posts on Clinton's advantage with blaq vote. Name brand appeal>promises of free stuff? Suppose this is similar to how blaq (and maybe Mex too) consumers don't care about authenticity and other qualities that fascinate white hipsters and nostalgists http://www.unz.com/isteve/why-bernies-free-stuff-platform-wont-carry-south-carolina-blacks/
    http://www.unz.com/isteve/blacks-hate-bernie/
    http://www.unz.com/isteve/did-south-carolina-blacks-interpret-bernies-single-payer-health-plan-as-a-racist-diss-on-obamacare/

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    1. Patronage is the most likely reason, Hillary is connected to those networks. Bernie isn't. Also blacks don't like weak white college students and other misfits, no respect for them.

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  17. Its over

    Who in academia will support Trump? Most academics are liberals or Straussian Neocons.


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  18. "They won't vote Hillary even if they wanted an anti-Trump protest vote. They'd write in Bernie or vote Green Party or something."

    Some will, but most won't. I won't, for one, although it doesn't matter who I vote for as CA electoral college votes will go to Clinton. But there are many former liberal idealists like me, all those Nader supporters, who learned their lesson during that election. Those of us in our 30s and 40s who actually vote. And I do think Trump will generate a lot of "anybody but..." votes for Clinton. It's gonna be close, will definitely be interesting.

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    1. All Bernie needs to do to help Hillary is say something along the lines of "We did well but the people have spoken and I for one will be glad to offer Hillary my full support. I hope you join with me on November to stop Donald Trump's racist agenda!"

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  19. @Derrick, I believe Sanders is already laying the groundwork for that, his recent tweet was basically "anyone but that Trump racist!" A cynic might say that his candidacy was sham intended to garner some youth support for Hilldawg.

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    1. I think it could work. The only saving grace if it does is that Democratic turnout in the primaries is pretty low this year.

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  20. "all those Nader supporters"

    I not only voted for Nader in 2000, I worked on his campaign in college. Only time I've ever voted. Had I been in my mid-30s back then, I probably would've voted for Buchanan. Both of them had warm words for each other, BTW, and wouldn't criticize each other.

    And Nader at least had the sense to not get derailed with identity politics. He's Lebanese (Orthodox Christian), and some supporters would try to get him to choose sides in some Arab / Middle East topic, but he always brushed it aside and said let's talk about something important like concentration of the media industry.

    Nader got 3% of the popular vote. Bernie is on track to get 0%, because he's refusing to take it to Hillary, and is even lowering himself to playing identity politics, where he can't win.

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  21. "Nader got 3% of the popular vote. Bernie is on track to get 0%, because he's refusing to take it to Hillary, and is even lowering himself to playing identity politics, where he can't win."

    I think he's run a near-perfect campaign, he's gone MUCH farther than anyone, myself included, thought possible. He's refusing to go personally negative and his total reliance on small donors is a major achievement. I'm not sure what else he could do to "take it to Hillary" without sacrificing the qualities that appeal to his supporters. He's done a good job of forcing Clinton a little leftward and surfacing core issues like campaign finance and Wall Street reform. And yeah, if he bows out gracefully and urges his supporters to fully support Clinton, it will be a boon for her.

    Nader didn't have nearly the support that Sanders has gotten. I bet if Sanders ran as a 3rd party candidate at this point, he'd get at least double the 3% that Nader got.

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  22. The climate is what's responsible for Sanders' numbers, not Sanders' choices. He not only dodged the question about Hillary's emails, but declared it to be a taboo topic altogether. That's not personal -- it shows how corrupt, duplicitous, and incompetent (got caught) she has always been, in her professional role as this little position we may have heard of... called Secretary of State.

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  23. As far as Hillary turning out droves of anti-Trump protest votes -- didn't happen that way in '08 and '12. Anti-Obama people were demoralized, had nobody to positively root for, and simply stayed home.

    The anti-Trump voters will largely stay home. If Mitt Romney turned off white people as much as he did, imagine how much worse Hillary will be for her side.

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  24. All the little 25 year old arty hipsters I know (in deep blue territory) are gung-ho Bernie, and are going to be seriously demoralized. I don't think they'll be in the mood for the shit sandwich that is Hillary.

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    1. Hey, I hope I'm wrong. However they value progressivism just a bit too much to let Trump win.

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  25. "Sailer has three recent posts on Clinton's advantage with blaq vote. Name brand appeal>promises of free stuff?"

    It's simple: identity politics still wins among blacks and other minorities, compared to class. Republicans have an identity politics faction (evangelicals), but that identity is "achieved" rather than "ascribed" (in sociology jargon). It's something they choose rather than something foisted upon them.

    Here's a recent post on why class politics is easier to switch to when your identity politics were achieved rather than ascribed:

    http://akinokure.blogspot.com/2016/02/switch-to-class-politics-succeeds-most.html

    Clinton's appeal is not her name brand -- else she would have won over Obama in '08.

    It's not in being the Big Woman who gets paid (and then the little guys get paid) -- else she would've won over Obama in '08.

    It's simple: she's the identity politics candidate, not Bernie. In '08, Obama was by far the identity politics candidate, so she lost to him.

    In identity politics, material concerns are, well, immaterial. Blacks who are obsessed with witchcraft-level hysteria about driving while black, police brutality, institutional racism, etc. -- they don't care about "I got biiillzzz 2 pay". In their minds, they face an apocalyptic conflict just around the corner, where they imagine themselves battling against the Anti-Christ.

    It's not so different from the evangelicals west of the Mississippi, whose apocalyptic cult leads them to fret more about the federal gubmint, black helicopters, etc., rather than losing their jobs and foreigners taking over their communities. The end of the world is coming, so the only material concerns they have are prepping for the aftermath, becoming neo-hunters and gatherers, survivalists.

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  26. That's been one of the biggest misunderstanding that folks on the right have about black or other minority voters -- it hasn't been about free stuff, not since the Great Society programs of the tail-end of the Great Compression.

    During the near civil war that the country came to during the '90s, did the black victors come away with higher incomes? More in welfare payments? Etc.? No, those were rolled back by the Gingrich Congress. And they more or less haven't come back since, including under Obama.

    They had a blip of prosperity during part of one of Clinton's administrations -- BFD. Overall, they've gotten poorer, less employed, and more uprooted -- the mass migration back toward the South, away from all the other places that are being swarmed with immigrants.

    Their spoils were obviously not material or economic, they were cultural. They managed to paint all police officers as racist over-killers (Rodney King), all whites as crypto-Nazis (Higher Learning), blacks as possessing wisdom above the white hicks (Bubba Gump, Morgan Freeman), and so on and so forth. Today's Trayvon, Ferguson, Black Lives Matter -- it's more of the same from the '90s. Culture war, identity politics.

    Fundamentally, what the culture warriors have fought for and won were greater cultural recognition and respect (pop culture, history books / Black History Month, school curricula, media reporting, etc.). That has mattered more to them than getting good jobs and being able to stay in their neighborhoods.

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  27. I think the right misread the black support for Dems over Republicans as being driven by gubmint handouts, which of course the Dems are more willing to hand out. But the amount they've given out has plummeted over the past 40-50 years.

    So why do the blacks still love Dems? It's not just that, relative to Republicans, they're still the party that's most willing to give minorities handouts. If that were the case, the black voters should've punished the neoliberal Dems by voting for the old New Deal Dems instead.

    Rather, what's driven the black support for neoliberal Dems has been their appeal to culture war and identity politics stuff.

    It's similar to working-class white evangelicals putting aside class matters and voting for neocon Republicans who give them what they want on cultural matters.

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  28. In fact, the psychological and intellectual sphere is more important than the material sphere. Lower class whites and blacks have gotten a raw deal, materially speaking, but which group has been told by the high priests of culture for 25 years that they're inherent greatness has been suppressed by a neurotic and weak other?

    Whites are like cultural and psychic vampires, needing to feed off of hapless "minorities" to sustain centuries of domination.

    When things went south in the 90's, how did whites and blacks react? Whites (especially kids and lower class people) started flirting with a depressed and detached persona, feeling, I guess, sort of unmoored from either the post depression/post WW2 reforms and optimism or Reagan era bravado.

    The blacks? Even blacks in the Reagan era tried to put their best foot forward and not bitch too much. But seemingly overnight, around 1992, blacks became extremely entitled, thuggish, and oppositional. Of course, there were a lot of black criminals (and white ones too) in the 70's and 80's. But you didn't see such brash glorification of thugs before the 90's. And you certainly did not see "mainstream" (e.g. white/Jewish) approval of black thuggery before the 90's. By the later 70's, studios were nervous about movies with too much "urban" content, afraid of alienating white audiences. By the 80's, on MTV and in the multi-plex, you rarely saw a sullen black face to the extent that you saw blacks at all.

    Clinton would change that. White kids started affecting a black identity, PC soared, Clinton was our "first black president", the NBA got big, the (by early 1990's standards) very black Dallas Cowboys were winning a lot while nobody noticed the changing demographics and sportmanship. The Bills infamously lost 4 straight super bowls with a team that looked, behaved, and planned whiter. Rap "music" began polluting the air waves, and it's post 1991 style has in general been even less agreeable than the 80's version.

    Even Axl Rose said in the 90's that cocky white boys like himself just couldn't "compete" with the likes of NWA. A far cry from the 70's and 80's when white rock acts were notoriously macho.

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  29. Blax took kindness for weakness in the late 60s and early 90s: "victory riots" as Sailer has termed the phenomenon.

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  30. Agnostic, so what's the theory behind why culture war campaigning won't work for Hillary this year in the general? Is it the finally Republicans would have a candidate who blows the whistle on the whole charade> Is it simply a general sense of economic/political crisis doom when "I got billz to pay" overrides all the other stuff?
    Has the culture war portion of the cycle played out?

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  31. One thing I had to add to the discussion of black culture of the early 90s is white culture of the 90s. It wasn't only that Axl was topped by NWA, he was also replaced by Kurt Cobain, and white macho was "out" within a matter of months. The underlying message of 90s culture was that macho was only acceptable for blacks.

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  32. "Has the culture war portion of the cycle played out?"

    If anything it's only increased. Black live matter, micro-agressions, etc. Some of it legit, some of it overblown. The fact that Sanders and Clinton have been made to directly address these issues by various protestors and commentators speaks to this. And of course, the Republican version is Cruz and Rubio proving their Hispanic bonafides. It ain't over by a long shot, it's only just begun. Regardless of Trump, the Republicans know their very relevance in nation elections is at stake.

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  33. Planet Nine3/1/16, 11:12 AM

    Let me rephrase that - could it be possible that Trump has caught on that the culture war portion of the cycle has played out before any of the others? Could it be the case that there is indeed a silent majority of economics-and-politics based voters (of all races) ready to be tapped in the general?

    After all, these things do tend to intensify right before they end.

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  34. This is hilarious:

    http://www.nytimes.com/live/super-tuesday-2016-elections/donal-trump-courts-ohio-and-insults-marco-rubio

    “He said I have small hands — actually I’m 6-3, not 6-2 — but he said I had small hands. They’re not small, are they?” Mr. Trump said, referring to a joke Mr. Rubio said on the campaign trail two days ago. He raised his hands, staring at them and turning them over, before waving them at the crowd. “I never heard that one before. I’ve always had people say, ‘Donald you have the most beautiful hands.'”

    Of course, he's lying. Graydon Carter taunted Trump about being a "short-fingered vulgarian" for years in Spy Magazine. Trump STLL sends Carter pictures of himself:

    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/01/donald-trump-short-fingers-baby-carrots

    "In an essay last fall, former Spy editor Graydon Carter revealed how much this pissed Trump off: To this day, the Republican presidential front-runner continues to mail Carter photos of himself, and "[o]n all of them he has circled his hand in gold Sharpie in a valiant effort to highlight the length of his fingers." The most recent one even included a message: "See, not so short!"

    It's all ridiculous, but it really illustrates Trumps effect on the level of discourse. I mean, it's never particularly high during campaigns, but this time around it's hit a new low. Hilarious. Good luck, Republican Party.

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  35. I think we were nearing the peak of identity politics -- no need to review how ridiculous the phenomenon had gotten during 2015 (Black Lives Matter, "Caitlyn" Jenner, sodomite marriage, hands up don't shoot, slutwalk, GamerGate, ad nauseam).

    Who knows, maybe it could've dragged on for another year or so -- there's always room for random variation around the deterministic trend. But once Trump came out announcing his take-no-prisoners campaign to get back down to serious business, it effectively ended the culture war on the early side of its eventual demise.

    Hillary already exudes "out of touch," and now that there will have been over a year of non-stop day-after-day shitlording from the Trump phenomenon, she will appear even more laughably outdated by the fall.

    "As the leader of our friends to the North has said, 'It's 2015.'"

    Newsflash grandma: it's 2016, ANNO TRVMPI.

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  36. You mean the snickering elite's effect on discourse -- Trump has stuck to bread-and-butter, do-or-die topics all throughout his campaign. It's only the low-T spindly-fingered cucks who think it's hilarious that Trump has lion paws for hands.

    I hope Rubio brings up the topic again at the debate, so Trump can demonstrate that his palm is larger than Little Marco's face.

    The cuckservatives and liberals have given up trying to argue on the issues -- trade treaties, tariffs, immigration, etc. -- and have reduced themselves to snickering about personality. Fine by us -- how much experience do their leaders have with the WWE and reality TV? Trump doesn't need to talk about superficial stuff, but he'll cream them at that game too.

    Our elites are too traitorous to have command over any issue, and they're too decadent to come out of a barroom brawl without getting crippled.

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  37. "Who knows, maybe it could've dragged on for another year or so -- there's always room for random variation around the deterministic trend. But once Trump came out announcing his take-no-prisoners campaign to get back down to serious business, it effectively ended the culture war on the early side of its eventual demise."

    Are you saying you've seen less of culture war type phenomena since Trump announced his campaign? I sure haven't, all of the stuff you mention in your comment has only intensified over the past year, while Trump was running. How about those Oscars, huh? That was 2 days ago. It ain't over by a long shot. Politicians can ignore or ridicule it all they want, to their peril. It may rile up the base, but that's about it.

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  38. The only elites talking about Trump's hands are/were Spy Magazine (a satirical publication), Rubio and Trump himself. And Trump doesn't shy away from unprovoked schoolyard taunts himself. Trump speaks almost exclusively superficially, whether it's taunts or vague generalities on issues. You can enjoy that style, but to deny its affect on the discourse is disingenuous, regardless of whether you agree with him on issues.

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  39. @JV, on FB I've been seeing blue-blooded long time party members fretting about Trump destroying the GOP if he wins, I'm not completely onboard with him, but it's another instance of him making the right enemies.

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  40. The Oscars had their lowest ratings, I think ever, but certainly for many years. Nobody cares about that crap anymore. They're more tuned into the GOP debates, which have been entirely free of culture war stuff (gay marriage, abortion, etc.).

    These legions of people will be turning out to vote on bread-and-butter issues in the fall, while the identity politics / culture war people will be bored. They aren't getting attention from the other side anymore, and they don't have a Wise Negro (TM) to vote for this time around. Just a woman. Maybe if she were openly lesbian instead of closeted, there'd be more catnip for the identity politics crowd. But such as it is, some crusty ol' white grandma is not going to turn out the culture warriors in droves like Obama did.

    And don't be a limpwrist by quibbling about the meaning of "superficial" -- a tariff on manufactured goods made by an American company that's off-shored production is not a superficial topic like making jokes about hair, hands, machismo, and other personality quirks. Neither is building a wall on the southern border "and getting Mexico to pay for it," ending birthright citizenship, and so on.

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  41. "And don't be a limpwrist by quibbling about the meaning of "superficial" -- a tariff on manufactured goods made by an American company that's off-shored production is not a superficial topic like making jokes about hair, hands, machismo, and other personality quirks. Neither is building a wall on the southern border "and getting Mexico to pay for it," ending birthright citizenship, and so on."

    Just mentioning crap you wanna do is not substantial if you can't point out how you might achieve it with something other than "I'll make 'em". I'm not talking wonky details, just...something. That's what I mean by superficial. Hey, I could be wrong, maybe using crazy demands as a starting point for a negotiation is a good strategy, one Obama sure could have implemented just a little.

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