January 24, 2018

Trump as the Jimmy Carter of the GOP? And Bernie as the Reagan of the Dems?

Peter Schiff has suggested only half-jokingly that the current administration could go down like the Carter administration -- a one-termer that gets blown out by a whole new movement from the rival party, akin to the Reagan Revolution only with the parties and values switched.

He's talking mostly about the effects of the financial crash that will happen sometime before Trump's first term is up. It will be far worse than anything we've experienced so far, because it has had far more air blown into it than previous bubbles. The Obama bubble was inflated by 0% interest rates for 8 straight years, plus trillions of toxic debt off-loaded from commercial banks' balance sheets and onto the central bank's balance sheet. If the coming crash is far worse than the 2008 recession under a Republican, it will propel a far more left-wing Democrat than Obama into the White House.

Although that dynamic may play out, it does not mirror what happened under Carter. However, there are a lot of similarities between the Carter and Trump administrations. To summarize, they are attempts to re-unite an old band for a tour with a whole new sound. The winds of fashion have shifted since their heyday, and they sense that and respond to it -- but they just can't pull off the new sound very well, and they quickly get replaced by a different band to whom the new sound comes more naturally.

In other words, they were the initial terms of a society-wide re-alignment, but they were not the natural party to execute this re-alignment, so they were quickly switched out for their rival party, who were more natural fits into the new zeitgeist.

For Carter, the shift was away from the New Deal coalition of Democrats, in which the Deep South was a constant, and the Northeast was the next most reliable member. The split stemmed from the Civil Rights movement, which the Northeast favored but the Deep South opposed.

After the Deep South had drifted away from the Democrats during the '60s and early '70s, the winner of the Democrat primary in '76 was a Deep Southerner himself who was conservative on social-cultural issues and wanted to deregulate the private sector from the government. He was a joke to serious observers at the outset of the primary, but overcame a very crowded field of more experienced candidates on a campaign of being an outsider untainted by Washington corruption (in the wake of Watergate).

In the 2016 GOP primary, the Rust Belt states had long left the Republican coalition that they had belonged to under the party's heyday during Reagan. The winner of the primary hailed from one of these states, who campaigned against his party's stereotype on social-cultural issues (ignoring them mostly, and being liberal on the major hot-button topic du jour -- homosexuals).

He went strongly against the economic orthodoxy of his party, preferring to re-industrialize through strong tariffs and exiting free trade deals, and favoring single-payer healthcare. He began as a joke candidate in the eyes of the serious people, but overcame a crowded primary field full of governors and senators, owing to his outsider status and promise to "drain the swamp".

In the general election, both '76 and '16 were close races in the popular vote and Electoral College, with Carter winning 297 and Trump winning 306. Re-alignments will not necessarily be wipe-outs, as the population may be cautious about shifting gears too fast. Carter did in fact win back the Deep South and the big prize of Texas, while Trump won back the Great Lakes states and the big prize of Pennsylvania.

For a brief moment on election night, it seemed like a long-lost chunk of the FDR coalition was back for Carter, and that a long-lost chunk of the Reagan coalition was back for Trump. By the very next election, most of those won-back states for Carter would be stolen back by the Republicans, and it seems likely that the Rust Belt states will be stolen back by the Democrats in 2020.

Even more promisingly, both administrations began with unified control of the White House and both chambers of Congress. The party looked invincible, and the possibilities endless!

But the honeymoon was soon over. Really, their second honeymoon, as these administrations were more like a re-marriage among members who had already divorced awhile ago. Quickly they remembered why they got divorced in the first place.

The following evaluation borrows from Allan Lichtman's 13 Keys to the White House, an election prediction model that has been right since it began in the '84 election, and fitted retrospectively back to 1860. It was one of the two historical models that I relied on to correctly predict that Trump would win in 2016, along with Helmut Norpoth's primary model.

The incumbent party's mandate in the House of Representatives fell in the '78 mid-terms compared to the previous mid-terms, and compared to the recent presidential year. No one believes that the Republicans will come out of the '18 mid-terms with more Representatives than they had in the previous mid-terms of '14, nor compared to the recent presidential year.

In the Senate, there were fewer Democrats after the '78 mid-terms compared to either the previous presidential or mid-term election. The Republicans will be lucky to come away with more Senators after the '18 mid-terms than either of the two previous years, since they've already lost one in one of their safest states during a special election (Alabama). They may not hemorrhage, given a map more favorable to them, but they won't pick up big numbers, if any.

The election of the re-alignment candidate reflected a dissatisfaction with the party as a whole, so while the presidential candidate scored a shock victory for his change-of-pace platform, the entire party in Congress suffered losses since not all of them were change agents.

The contradictions that came from re-marrying an old partner during a new stage of life -- trying to base something novel on something traditional -- led to a breakdown in the party's ability to get the government to work on a basic level. The Carter administration was wracked by multiple failures to fund the government, for the first three out of his four years -- despite the party controlling the White House and Congress. The Trump administration has been hit by its own funding failure during its first year, and the way things look going forward, there could be more in store for its second, despite Republican control of the White House and Congress.

These are the only two modern administrations to suffer from funding failures despite single-party control of the White House and Congress.

In the Carter funding failures, the contentious issue was federal funding for abortion (via Medicaid). The House wanted more stringent restrictions than the Senate did, and the House's stance reflected the change in the party owing to Carter running as a born-again evangelical Christian. In the Trump funding failure, the sticking point was immigration, with the House in favor of more restrictions than the Senate, and the House reflecting Trump's campaign as a hardliner on immigration.

Being pulled in two different directions, old and new, also meant there were no major changes to national policy under Carter. He did kick off the deregulatory mania that has reined since his term, but it was fairly limited in scope (targeting mostly transportation). But there were too many of the old school New Deal Democrats in his coalition to permit an unfettered pursuit of laissez-faire policies. That would have to wait until Reagan.

Given the schizophrenia of the current government, we can't expect to see major changes of a populist or nationalist sort either. Trump will probably score a noteworthy change here or there in the new populist zeitgeist, like Carter kicking off the deregulation craze, but nothing major. There are too many old school corporatist Republicans in Trump's coalition to permit a full-throttle populist transformation. That will have to wait until Bernie after him.

During their re-election campaigns, Carter and Trump benefit from being the sitting president (assuming Trump runs again, but his replacement would also enjoy incumbent party advantage). But that's as far as the incumbent president's advantage would go -- there will be major disruptions from other candidates, reflecting the schizophrenia of the initial term of a re-alignment based on a re-marriage.

The first disruption to Carter was a bruising primary challenge from a major figure of the old school, namely the New Deal Northeastern liberal Teddy Kennedy. He didn't like the strange new direction that Carter was taking the party in. Trump will certainly face a brutal primary challenge in 2020, from some major figure of the old school of Reaganite conservatism -- let's just say Mitt Romney -- who cannot sleep at night knowing the perverse direction that the president is steering his party in. These primary battles severely damage the incumbent during the general.

The second disruption will take place in the rival party, also falling along old vs. new lines. In 1980, Reagan was even more of a socially conservative deregulator than Carter. That provoked a third-party run from a member of the old school of Reagan's party -- John Anderson, who was a social moderate and not a hardliner toward government influence over the economy. His third-party run gave Carter's rival a boost, because now there were two choices splitting the non-Reagan vote. Reagan was the pure example of the new direction, so if you didn't want the new thing, you had two choices. That vote splitting was enough to give Carter's rival a victory in several states that he never had a chance at in a heads-up match (like New York and Massachusetts).

In 2020, Bernie will be even more of a pure populist than Trump, who by that time will have a far less populist appeal after the lackluster track record of his schizophrenic, start-and-stop term. Bernie's social-democrat campaign could provoke a third-party run from a Democrat in the older neoliberal elitist mold -- let's just say Joe Lieberman. If you want the novel thing, populism, you have a pure choice in Bernie, and if you don't want that, you have two choices -- a neoliberal Lieberman, and a quasi-populist but more conventional conservative in Trump. That would split the non-Bernie vote and make it not only easier for him to win, but to win states that a Democrat should never win. For example, if Texas gave 25% to Lieberman, 35% to Trump (for 60% non-populist), and the remaining 40% to Bernie, who wins a safe red state due to the splitter effect.

The triumph of the pure examples of the new zeitgeist will come as vindication to candidates who had previously run in their party's primary (and when it was incumbent) but lost to a business-as-usual candidate. Reagan ran in the '76 primary but lost to conventional Ford, and Bernie ran in the '16 primary but lost to conventional Hillary. They were both just a little bit ahead of their time.

Why doesn't the natural party for the new zeitgeist go with it right away? Probably because a major change is more likely to come from a party that is more desperate for a win, especially its voters. They're more willing to take a high-risk high-reward gamble -- Democrats on Carter in '76, and Republicans on Trump in '16. After being jolted awake from their laurel-resting complacency by these shock victories, the more natural party learns which way the winds are clearly blowing, and takes over its comparative advantage issue.

Deregulation was more fitting of the business-oriented Republican party, but it began with a desperate change election for an against-type Democrat deregulator. And populism is more fitting of the working-class-oriented Democrat party, but it began with a desperate change election for an against-type Republican populist.

So Trump supporters who voted for populism should not worry too much if little is achieved on that measure during his term. The larger winds of change are clearly blowing in a populist direction, and it will be no big deal if the other party is the one who ends up delivering the goods. It is a more natural fit for them, after all.

Like Carter -- or at least, Carter's administration -- Trump, or at least his administration, will probably be remembered as one of the worst due to the schizophrenia, paralysis, and general malaise that comes during the necessary initial shifting of gears during re-alignment. Neither will get credit from the general public for giving the first push in the new direction, although historians will point that out. In general, though, it will be the pure example who will command the most contemporaneous admiration, and nostalgia after the fact.

Carter was Reagan's opening act, and Trump will be Bernie's.

15 comments:

  1. My prediction is that neither Trump or Sanders runs in 2020 because both will simply be too old. Its embarrassing how old the American political class is getting, its like the late Soviet Union.

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  2. Some guy in Philly1/24/18, 8:22 AM

    Gotta agree with Ed, at least about Bernie. He's 76 now, will be 79 on Election Day 2020. Relative to Reagan 1980 and Trump 2016, he's a decade older. (Reagan turned 70 in February 1981, Trump in June 2016). But maybe left-populism will live on with another standard-bearer.

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  3. On the other hand, Reagan and Bernie would be the same age relative to life expectancy at birth in their election year, which has increased by 10 years since 1980.

    And not being a Boomer, Bernie hasn't subjected his body to a lifetime of degeneracy.

    That is the only age-related thing that is against him -- being from the Silent Gen, who got entirely skipped over in presidential successions. There were a whole bunch of Greatest Gen presidents, then with Clinton it leap-frogged into a whole bunch of Boomer presidents.

    IIRC, generations don't get skipped over and then make a fluke comeback later as presidents.

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  4. FYI, Corey Robin made a similar argument about a year ago (https://nplusonemag.com/online-only/online-only/the-politics-trump-makes/). I didn't take it seriously at the time I must admit, I had figured President Trump would be candidate Trump in office instead of President Cruz, but given the utter disjointedness of Trump's coalition I can see it.

    For example, in the paper I linked to in the Fire and Fury post by Thomas Ferguson among others ('Politics in the Age of Hunger Games' or something like that), they did an analysis of the sectors and businesses that donated money to Trump. Trump got substantial support from steel and similar industries, but private equity also gave Trump a lot of support. Steel would like to see protectionist measures against China and private equity wants access to securities markets in China. To put it mildly, those are two contradictory aims. And add up all the other examples of such within Trump's current coalition, and that these donors are very different from the donors that Congressional Republicans tap, and whether it be President Trump or President Pence or whoever else you have a recipe for dysfunctionality.

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  5. That's a must-read post at N+1 Mag. Great overview of Skowronek's theory of regime continuity and change. Hadn't heard of him -- or anyone, really, but it's strange how much the Trump supporters are independently re-discovering as they try to figure out what the hell has happened since Inauguration Day.

    The steel thing is even simpler than private equity wanting to invest in China -- the energy companies are a senior partner in the GOP coalition. After the process of extracting the oil or gas from the environment, the most important thing they do is transport it -- via pipeline, which is made of steel.

    Because that's one of the most important pieces of their capital, they are relentless about cutting the cost of its materials. That means third-world rather than American steel.

    The energy companies put the kibosh on Trump's "Buy American" program for steel, as long ago as May 2017. See "Trump's American Pipedream":

    https://www.axios.com/trumps-american-pipe-dream-1513301903-c7b18456-55f8-4ed6-8414-5310b5c68903.html

    Democrats must absolutely focus on adopting the steel industry into their coalition -- promise to enact tariffs, or give massive subsidies (at the expense of subsidies to GOP beneficiaries like foreign military bases or mega-farms). It wouldn't hurt the interests of their own senior partners (finance, media, tech), and it would lock down many crucial voting blocs -- especially the keystone of Trump's coalition in the Rust Belt, Pennsylvania.

    If they invest enough in steel, they could even win back Indiana or make it a swing state -- #1 steel state in the nation, after foreign steel wiped out Pennsylvania.

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  6. But why not play to our strength in energy extraction and production (and related industries like shipping) and let our competitive advantage in these industries allow them to flourish without any trade wars? After all, we want to be able to sell all our surplus oil and gas around the world...

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  7. Because we don't want to devolve into being Saudi Arabia or Qatar (not coincidentally where so much of the resident population is foreigners brought in as cheap labor), and want to stay and become even more industrialized.

    Industrialization is what raised the value of unskilled or semi-skilled labor, narrowing the inequality gap between top and bottom that had been in place since the adoption of agriculture, where teeming masses generate a massive surplus that feeds and enriches the elites.

    If we want the good ol' 1950s, we need strong industry.

    If that means that the energy companies will make less profit -- so what? The goal of society is not to maximize profit, let alone for specific sectors against other sectors. Oil and gas companies will still be rich, just not richer than God, and their lower profits will be linked to higher costs of materials -- coming from a healthy steel sector that generates profits, wages, and salaries for a whole other swath of Americans.

    Hyper-specialization spells doom. What happens if we prioritize oil & gas so much, and de-prioritize industrial commodities so much, and there's a sudden drop in demand for oil, or a glut of supply from other countries?

    It's a volatile commodity, so it's bound to happen sooner rather than later. When it does, we starve for a few years or decades, or jack up taxes, or whatever else.

    We need a diversified ecosystem, ideally where we can make everything from start to finish. Then we won't be at the mercy of other countries, who don't have our best interests at heart.

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  8. Fair enough, but even if Ferguson and company might miss some of the obvious about the Trump coalition, that paper does have their analysis of how industries, and the large enterprises within each industry, gave money during the 2016 election. Something I think that everyone around here will find extremely worthwhile. In addition to fun things like how Hillary's chances of winning the election declined in lock step with the chances of Democrats winning the Senate, which is at the very least very rare in American history.

    By the way, a question for the people here. I may be a lefty, but I do pay attention to Le Chateau Heartiste. And while I do think the writer/writers there are probably some of the smarter and more talented folks on the alt-right, looking through the archives raised what I think is an interesting point. I ended up stumbling on a post where le Chateau condemned, in fairly over the top terms, the ACA as the end of American freedom. The same ACA that was modeled explicitly after what Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts as Governor.

    I think it's fair to say that in politics le Chateau and others on the alt-right eight years ago would have considered themselves to be libertarians economically, or at least would have identified far more with the GOP than they would the Democrats or anything further to the Left. Now while they might have made an exception for questions of immigration, the point remains that they still embraced Republican orthodoxy in terms of economics.

    Now the question is this. Would it be fair to say that, given the unpopularity of Republican economics (Dems voted against NAFTA 3:2 while the GOP voted for it 3:1, the senior members of the Republican coalition were the ones that were in favor of immigration as a supply of cheap labor, etc), that that previous loyalty has hampered the alt-right's ability to actually mobilize voters? I know it's not at all universal, but I wonder how much of the problems the alt-right faces in mobilizing support is that they come from a fairly traditional Movement Conservatism/Libertarian milieu. Which is even worse for them given that the reality is that no one really cares about rants about how Hispanics will destroy America or whatever Ayn Rand wrote in Atlas Shrugged vs. what'll give them more money in their paychecks at the end of the day.

    By the way, if it ever strikes your fancy, might I suggest a deeper dive into the voting patterns of Texas vs. California. As you've pointed out, if any simplistic 'demography is destiny' routine was right, both Texas and California would be blue states. Or, if non-Hispanic whites entering into the minority provoked racial polarization with whites going to the GOP, California would have been a red state for the past two decades or so if non-Hispanic whites voted in California like they did in Texas. I already have a suspicion of what your answer would be, and it's what I've been mulling over in my head for a while, but I'd still love to read your thoughts on that given the chance.

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  9. Post on Texas vs. California disproving "demography is destiny" for partisan control:

    http://akinokure.blogspot.com/2018/01/electoral-map-reflects-patronage-not.html

    I wish the cultural conservatives would focus on real-world outcomes instead of whining about the poor GOP losing California.

    Getting flooded by foreigners makes you feel like a stranger in your own land, diversity corrodes social trust and destroys civic society (Putnam), and that massive influx into the labor and housing markets (beyond what intrinsic population growth could accomplish) is going to lower the standard of living -- lower incomes, higher housing prices.

    That dystopian outcome is true for both Texas and California, and no sane person would want to live there right now. If you grew up there, you might not want to uproot yourself, but actually moving there? Crazy.

    That's what they should focus on, not boo-hoo there will be fewer Republicans in Congress or the White House. That is the cheap-labor party anyway, and would only flood more foreigners into your state if they were in control.

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  10. As for the dissident Right ("alt-right" has become much more narrow by now, meaning mostly the identitarians / white nationalists), yes, having roots in libertarianism is a bad sign.

    I had roots in *left*-libertarianism from my college days, but that was still collectivist rather than individualist. That's probably the more important distinction. Individualism doesn't appeal to anyone beyond the Tea Party as a political force, and as a lifestyle choice only tells atomized people that it's OK to stay atomized and jerk off and smoke pot.

    The nascent re-alignment is mainly about bringing collectivism back, after the failure of mythological individualism / free marketeer-ism. Abundance allows for individuals to pursue their own path, while scarcity compels people to work together as a team.

    So if they were individualists, libertarians today won't have much to contribute to the re-alignment. But if they were "communitarians," they'll fit in and not sound so weird.

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  11. It's the "Bernie as the Reagan of populism" piece of the historical pattern that's missing from other articles about Trump being a "disjunctive" president who oversees the end of a tottering regime -- in this case, the Reagan regime of tax cuts, deregulation, free trade, and soaring military budgets.

    I only checked the first five or so articles drawing on Skowronek's model, but none of them mentioned Bernie -- or whoever will replace him on the Democrat side -- as the natural follower of a failed Trump administration.

    Why are lefties such downers? Here they are showing in painstaking historical detail how Trump is going to be a Jimmy Carter president, and then leaving it there -- without mentioning we're about to get a landslide populist president from the other party, ushering in a whole 'nother way of running the country that will last for several decades!

    Are they just partisans who can't tolerate the notion that Trump is Bernie's opening act, ewww icky, don't contaminate my Bernie with that Trump? They need to remember how hopeful they were that at least Trump was running "to the left" of Crooked Hillary on trade, foreign policy, and healthcare (which Trump kept secret).

    At least they should feel in a good mood for the society being in the last dying days of the Reagan regime!

    Shit's going to hit the fan, but it's just tough medicine needed to make us better.

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  12. Seems like its the dead-end identity politics that's keeping lefties -- even so-called class-oriented lefties -- from seeing Trump as Bernie's opening act.

    In their minds, and in the minds of some of Trump's strongest fans, the election was decided on immigration, which touches on race and ethnicity.

    That was only one plank of his platform, and did not even get him out of the GOP primaries -- he won a lot of his delegates in the Northeast, and lost big-league in the Plains (esp Texas) where the immigrants are over-turning the regional communities.

    He certainly didn't win the Rust Belt on immigration -- there's no immigrants here. Why would they want to come here, where the historical jobs magnet is historical? Plus all the snow in the winter.

    If you start with the premise that Trump's campaign was mainly about immigration, xenophobia, racism, bla bla bla -- then of course you won't see him as even the opening act for Bernie.

    But then you've lost the analysis and the strategy for how to win next time. You see your job primarily about championing open borders for all 10 billion of the globe's population, and amnestying the 10s of millions already here illegally.

    Nothing would come as welcomer news to the Chamber of Commerce than this confused leftoid push for maximum cheap labor. William Jennings Bryan, Joseph Stalin, Huey Long -- these lefties are not.

    If the Bernie people are serious about winning, they are going to have to accept that the election was about class, not racism, and that their strategy forward has nothing to do with distractions about race or ethnicity -- if voters wanted that, they'll go with a bona fide culture warrior like Hillary Clinton or Corey Booker, not Bernie Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard.

    They're going to have to accept that if they want to win back the Congress and White House, they're going to win back a lot of people who voted for Trump who don't want 10 billion cheap-labor immigrants dumped into the labor and housing markets.

    Maybe that won't be the mainstream of the new Democrat party, but it will be a substantial "wing" of the party. Disaffected Trump voters are going to crash their party whether they like it or not. We'll harmonize our policy goals with their rhetoric if that's necessary, but on the outcomes, we're not going to allow 10 billion immigrants to get waved on in by dinosaur liberal identity politicians like Maxine Waters.

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  13. "Seems like its the dead-end identity politics that's keeping lefties -- even so-called class-oriented lefties -- from seeing Trump as Bernie's opening act.

    In their minds, and in the minds of some of Trump's strongest fans, the election was decided on immigration, which touches on race and ethnicity."

    Back when I was keeping tabs on the MSM, I read stuff from Thomas Frank and Thomas Edsall (?), among others, who tried to keep the focus on economics and away from Orange Hitler crap. It's the Boomers who remember old school liberalism/populism. It's very difficult for X-ers and Millennials, who grew up in the culture war and high striving era, to even conceive of "pure" economic progressivism....With minimal distractions revolving around ethnicity or divisive cultural issues. There's also the fact that X-ers and Millennials grew up amid far greater diversity, and thus they feel compelled to shy away from anything that would make Tyrone and Jose feel upset. 90% of Boomers spent their first 20-50 years of their lives in communities where most or all people spoke English, were born in America, and were mostly white. Thus do Boomers feel a greater sense of kinship with their generational peers and countrymen, and they don't feel shame about patriotism and ethnic pride to the same degree that younger generations do.

    And it's become de rigueur for the Left to deride older time periods and generations. Why? Muh racism and nativism. To an ever growing degree (what with the rapidly growing non-white and non-Western populations, and Western countries now evidently beholden to such people), Dead White Male economic populism from a bygone era is a non-starter. Man, we sure have come a long way from oh, 2008, when Obama was marketed on his lack of racial connotations and he ostensibly opposed gay marriage.

    The Left now habitually crows about the demise of the last demographically traditional Western generation (the Boomers), as whites born since 1970 are fewer in proportionate number (in the case of 70's births, absolute numbers) vis a vis prior Western generatons. Moreover, whites born over the last 45 years simply don't have the same cameraderie and sense of belonging....To something, anything, that earlier generations did.

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  14. Agnostic, you recently tried to make the case that Dem elites were trying to pick up the pieces by entombing 2015-'16 rhetoric that denigrated lower class whites, but what's that....It's crooked dipshits like Dick Durbin saying that "chain migration" is offensive because blacks were brought here in chains. Gee, I'm sure that baggy jeans and ball hat wearing guys named Scott or Jeremy, who grew up listening to AC/DC and Iron Maiden, really want to be represent by such pandering oxygen thieves.

    It's really a cynical and low place we're in right now. The level of bad faith, the craven practices, among Right corporate/Pentagon apologists, and Left ID warriors, is astounding. Right now I just don't see a way out. As I've said before, the civil war was about one generation having it's biggest and worst dick measuring contest to the apathy and/or horror of younger generatons (some of whom are shameful quislings of the me generation), and right now it looks like the same thing is happening all over again.

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  15. One mention of Bernie as the Reagan of the Dems, in fact by Skowronek himself, just after the election:

    https://www.thenation.com/article/what-time-is-it-heres-what-the-2016-election-tells-us-about-obama-trump-and-what-comes-next/

    I agree that Bernie's platform of 2016 won't be the "reconstructive" major new thing. He'll have to mostly adopt Trump's platform, while ditching the old-era parts of it -- like the military build-up, the evangelical Christian topics, and tax cuts & deregulation.

    Populism and "nationalism" -- Bernie might re-brand it as "localism" or something. Trump had a much larger vision for the economy -- re-industrialization -- vs. Bernie saying those jobs are gone overseas, and everybody is going to find plentiful high-paying jobs as coders and graphic designers while going to college for free. Wrong.

    Re-industrialize the economy, shift education to prepare for that (high school apprenticeships, not pointless college degrees with tons of debt), close down foreign military bases and switch from an invasive to a defensive military posture, open a few new military bases back home to protect us and show goodwill toward military people and provide an end-point for some industrial activity.

    And yes, keep the American population at carrying capacity, rather than continuing to over-burden it with immigrants. Deport the foreigners, using progressive liberal rhetoric about labor market and housing market pressures, Malthusian rhetoric, whatever does not have an ethnic or racial tinge to it.

    The state of our economy does not, and never will, support more than a few hundred million people. Not without another revolution like the Industrial. The extra 50 million foreign-born people we have should leave, to put us at or below carrying capacity.

    That's the kernel of the would-be Trumpian re-alignment. Drop the other holdover positions from the Reagan era (including amnesty and importing millions of foreigners, which was part of the Reaganite strategy of cheap labor to boost corporate profits uber alles, and continued through the pre-emptive and articulative presidents as well, and now under this disjunctive one too).

    Basically, have Bernie pow-wow with Steve Bannon, and politely ignore anything that would've been received wisdom under Reagan and the Bushes.

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