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Post Clinton-Trump Debate, 9 October
Created by John Eipper on 10/10/16 5:02 AM

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Clinton-Trump Debate, 9 October (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela, 10/10/16 5:02 am)

Last night I watched the Trump-Clinton debate. I must confess it was hard for me to understand most of the arguments of both participants, not only due to my linguistic challenges as a Spanish speaker, but also because of the ambiguity, lack of clarity and objectivity, shallowness and confusing rhetoric and demagoguery. I consider myself to be informed on many of the affairs that were discussed, particularly economics, but none of the participants' responses were clear or added anything but doubts.

This political debate, like many others I have seen in other contexts, in Spain, Colombia, Venezuela, etc., was full of personal attacks more than proper treatment of political, economic or social issues. I believe these debates should be a means to educate, at least to inform, on specific issues more than to emotionally influence or manipulate the public with demagoguery, misleading partial truths, personal accusations and shallow arguments.

I value these debates less and less. My general opinion was confirmed.  They are just mass-media shows, as part of political campaigns, generally with a fixed format perhaps aimed to deceptively influence the public with dramatic gestures more than honestly discussed arguments and proposals. It is a pity they are intended to emotionally influence the public to vote for one or the other candidates more on emotions than on their true merits.

To make an assessment of who "won" and who "lost," I suppose there will be experts better qualified than me, but I did not sympathize with them. Nonetheless, Mr Trump seems to be an arrogant and disgusting person.

JE comments: José Ignacio Soler speaks for us all.  Review the transcripts from Lincoln v Douglas, contrast them with today, and you'll see an excellent illustration of the Decline of Western Civilization.

I was in the wrong time zone and missed last night's debate.  That's the perfect excuse--I think I would have tuned them out in any case.

Let's make an analogy with twelve-step "recovery" thinking:  has the US political system hit "rock bottom" with this election cycle?  Meaning, next time will politics (finally!) stop being reality TV or a circus sideshow?


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  • What Will Historians Call "Decision '16"? (John Heelan, UK 10/10/16 5:28 AM)
    Will some future historians term the 2016 US Presidential election as "Trump v Frump"?

    JE comments:  How about the Great Freak Show? Or Politics turn Desperate, but not Serious?


    Other ideas?  Gallows humor might take our minds off the grim reality.

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    • What Will Historians Call "Decision '16"? (Robert Whealey, USA 10/10/16 6:43 PM)
      In response to John Heelan (10 October), this contemporary historian calls Donald Trump a worse demagogue than Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R, Wisconsin). McCarthy exploited American ignorance about Communists, liberals and democracy.

      At least, McCarthy had no ambition to become President.


      The sad fact is that American democracy, outlined by the Constitution, is in decay. The English language is also in decay, as George Orwell and Noam Chomsky both knew. The uninformed majority are obsessed with sexuality and money-making.


      Trump is a talented salesman. He sells his name like PT Barnum. He is smarter than Barnum, because he fuses commercial sales with political propaganda.


      JE comments:  Another question for the Floor:  Has the Trump "brand" been irrevocably damaged?  Meaning, what will become of the hotels and sundry "towers" around the world?  Who would want to stay in one? 


      The above of course assumes that his candidacy is now damaged goods.  He still might be able to turn things around.  Might he have an (anti-Hillary) trick up his sleeve?

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      • What if Trump Steps Aside After the Election? (Francisco Wong-Diaz, USA 10/11/16 5:24 AM)
        One hypothesis states that Trump decided to run for office to get back at Obama after the latter humiliated Trump during a banquet where he disclosed his birth certificate.

        Trump might just want the chance to pay back Obama. We, the people, are in need of responsible, ethical, and effective leadership. The Wall Street Journal (10/09/16) presents an interesting solution should Trump get elected--e.g. have Trump resign so Pence can take over as president! This is bizarre, but are we not living in the era of Bizarro?


        On another topic, if you watch the recent New York street interviews about Columbus, you might want to give up. Some interviewees said Lincoln discovered America, others that Lincoln arrived on the ship "America," Columbus was from Colombia and other mental monstrosities.


        Do these people deserve the right to vote? If they do, is their choice a reflection of their ignorance and stupidity?  No wonder we have two bad electoral choices for president in 2016.


        Anyone here preparing to leave this country and move to... where?


        JE comments:  Won't happen; it wouldn't fit Trump's ego.  But there is sort of a precedent, in Argentina no less.  In 1973 Héctor Cámpora stood for the presidential election, with the general understanding that if elected, he would resign in favor of Juan D Perón, who was barred from running.  The next few years weren't pretty:  Perón died, being replaced by his wife Isabelita, and then the ensuing coup of 1976 led to the bloodshed of the "Dirty War."


        Here's the WSJ piece.  The authors don't understand how Trump works.  (Granted, perhaps nobody does.)



        http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-path-to-president-pence-1476050418


        Greetings from Munich; I got sidetracked on my way home.  Germany seems like a tidy and peaceful place, but airport looks can be deceiving.

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        • Another Failed US Geography Quiz (Harry Papasotiriou, Greece 10/12/16 6:03 PM)

          This is in response to Francisco Wong-Díaz's information (11 October) about New York respondents making basic mistakes on a geography quiz.


          In the 1980s, one survey determined that a majority of Manhattan respondents could not name the one state in the Unites States whose name ends with a k.


          JE comments: New Jerseyk?  Seriously now, Manhattanites can be zealously proud of their geographical ignorance. I've had more than one conversation with New Yorkers who would consider it demeaning to know the identities of the Flyover states.


          When you are the center of the world, why should you care where anything else is? Didn't the United Nations come...here?

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  • Hillary Clinton on the Middle Class (Massoud Malek, USA 10/10/16 8:45 PM)
    Hillary Clinton claims to be an outspoken advocate for social justice. Is she telling the truth, when she says, "I'm just like you?"

    Here is an excerpt from one of her 250 thousand-dollar speeches, published by WikiLeaks:


    "I'm kind of far removed from the struggles of the middle class; because of the life I've lived and the economic, you know, fortunes that my husband and I now enjoy. I am not taking a position on any policy, but I do think there is a growing sense of anxiety and even anger in the country over the feeling that the game is rigged. But I never had that feeling when I was growing up. Never. I mean, were there really rich people? Of course there were. My father loved to complain about big business and big government, but we had a solid middle-class upbringing. We had good public schools. We had accessible health care. We had our little, you know, one-family house that, you know, he saved up his money, didn't believe in mortgages. So I lived that. And now, obviously, I'm kind of far removed because the life I've lived and the economic, you know, fortunes that my husband and I now enjoy, but I haven't forgotten it."


    "You need both a public and a private position. You just have to sort of figure out how to balance the public and the private efforts that are necessary to be successful politically."


    "When I was a Senator from New York, I represented and worked with so many talented principled people on Wall Street and did all I could to make sure they continued to prosper."


    https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/927


    PS: Our next Commander-in-Chief by default wants you to know.


    JE comments:  Massoud Malek reminds us that Hillary will be taking a huge pay cut to move, you know, to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. At least the housing is included as a perk.

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    • Trump and Clinton: Frying Pan or Fire? (Nigel Jones, UK 10/11/16 5:50 AM)
      As Massoud Malek (11 October) correctly underlines, while Donald Trump is an utterly appalling person, his rival is just as bad and probably worse.

      To her record as warmonger, liar, Wall Street corporate slave, and amasser of a private fortune that would be the envy of Croesus, as well a danger to America's security and overseas personnel, must be added Hillary Clinton's sickening hypocrisy--the besetting sin of the so-called "Left."


      America's friends and well-wishers are as aghast as many Americans themselves at the choice facing US voters next month. How did this happen?


      JE comments: The corrupting power of money?  But in the meantime, does anyone in WAISworld have even lukewarm praise for Hillary?

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      • (Lukewarm) Praise for Hillary (Henry Levin, USA 10/11/16 7:51 AM)
        I am not a big fan of Hillary. But, she will have a steadier hand in policy decisions and will likely hire more capable advisors than Trump. Stability is important in moving forward rather than impetuousness and governing through unfounded rumors and threats. Mussolini Trump is not only unstable, but he has the language and personality of an authoritarian tyrant (arresting his enemies?).

        Trump and Hillary are both "deplorable," but they are not equivalent by any means.


        JE comments: The financial markets will be happier with the Hillary stability as well. One doesn't want to base one's decision on one's pocketbook, but who wants to lose several years of retirement savings?


        (Must board the flight--finally--for Toronto.  Pax et lux.)


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      • Europe Praises Hillary (Angel Vinas, Belgium 10/12/16 4:40 AM)

        Well, in response to JE´s question about Hillary Clinton, I will acknowledge that I support her. It isn't a matter of fire and frying pan. It´s a matter of who should hold the most important political and military position in the world. I´d be utterly ashamed if a guy like Donald Trump would run for office in any EU member state, and God knows that we have some unsavoury characters.


        JE comments:  One of our colleagues, I believe it was Francisco Ramírez, sent a poll recently that Europeans would vote for Hillary at something like 90%.  A few more "Donaldgates" like last week, and the margin could approach the same in the US.


        My inner clock is also stuck between Europe and America.  Last night I rolled into WAIS HQ at 5 AM, after what turned out to be a 30-hour travel marathon involving three flights, five nations, and endless seat time in airports.  I may fall behind a bit on the Forum today as I attempt to readjust.  Also, I'm in the classroom.


        Next up with (lukewarm) European praise for Hillary, Carmen Negrín.


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        • Donaldgate (John Heelan, UK 10/12/16 9:21 AM)
          Donaldgates are exposing US politics and current presidential candidates to global mockery. This is not good PR for the worlds's most powerful political post.

          Take a look at HuffPost's take on today's offering by the UK satirical magazine Private Eye:


          http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/private-eye-trump-cover_uk_57fcbaa4e4b01fa2b9052478



          Further, inside there is a cartoon juxtaposing Donald Duck with a Trump-like "Donald Goose"!


          JE comments: Hope or Grope; times have changed.  But should it be Donaldgate or Trumpgate?  Google says the latter 10 to 1.  I prefer the sound of Donaldgate, although there is at least one real guy named Donald Gate who must be wondering why so many are visiting his Linkedin profile.

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        • Clinton v Trump: Is Trump the Problem or the Symptom? (David A. Westbrook, USA 10/13/16 4:39 AM)
          This is slightly funny: John E asked for reasons to support Clinton, and then Ángel Viñas simply says "I support Hillary. Trump is horrible." Carmen Negrín did much the same thing. These are not positive reasons, even if the position voiced may be compelling. And that's just the point.



          Like John, I too am just back from Europe, Belgium and Germany in my case. People (even some near strangers) brought up Trump apropos of nothing, and their worries about the election.



          Put it differently, how bad does Hillary have to be for somebody like Trump [list of vices] to be as plausible as he has been for so many and so long? Or put differently again: if you threw a dart at a list of elected American officials, what are the odds that you would hit somebody who would have run a more credible campaign on behalf of the Democrats? That is, one might argue that Hillary is the second worst politician we've seen in ages.



          But there is another way to frame this argument. People in the US, as in Europe, are confronting fundamental, existential, questions about the meaning of their polities, and so of citizenship and much of life. From this perspective, Trump is as much symptom or catalyst as anything else, and the press on both sides of the Atlantic devotes huge amounts of attention to his doings. But almost nobody believes that Clinton can address the questions of which Trump is a symptom.

          Saying "Trump is horrible" just doesn't get us very far.


          JE comments:  Faint damn is about as much praise as we'll get in this election cycle.  How depressing--but faint damn is sufficient to score a win.  For the mule, isn't the stick just as "incentivizing" as the carrot?


          Conscientious abstention is one response.  Massoud Malek is the first WAISer to go public with his decision to stay home on Tuesday, November 8th.  He will be joined by millions and millions of others.  We'll hear from Massoud later today.



          Bert Westbrook seems to share my "rock bottom" analogy.  The first step to recovery is admitting there's a problem.  Might we be at that point, now?

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          • Clinton v Trump: Is Trump the Problem or the Symptom? (Nigel Jones, UK 10/13/16 6:36 AM)

            I think |David Westbrook's post of October 13th hits several nails squarely on the head.


            Donald Trump is clearly a vile and ridiculous individual who should have been rejected comprehensively months ago. The fact that he has not been, and is even now given a faint chance of becoming President, to me says two things:


            A)  That there is a profound crisis in US democracy, probably equal or exceeding the Civil Rights battles of the 1960s, McCarthyism, and the Great Depression.


            B)  That his opponent, who should be a shoo-in, is just as vile, or even worse than Trump.


            The support for the ludicrous but probably well-meaning Bernie Sanders, and the massive abstention rate, suggests that I am correct in both these assumptions.


            Let us then consider what a more credible candidate than Trump might have looked like:


            My fantasy candidate would not be a squillionaire like Hillary-Trump and would be their opposite in every conceivable way. He/she would be in touch with the great wave of anti-Establishment feeling sweeping the Western world, therefore probably not a Washington insider. He/she would tell the truth, at least occasionally, and not be a habitual liar like Hillary-Trump. He/she would espouse credible economic policies and not the discredited creed of socialism à la Bernie. He/she would have a "normal" family life, not the sham marriage of the Clintons, nor the serial monogamy of groper Trump. He/she might be religious or not, but would stand up for the Judeo-Christian values of the West.


            The fact that such a person--a Lincoln, a Coolidge, an Eisenhower, a Truman or a Reagan--does not exist speaks volumes.


            The massive disappointment and the eight wasted years of the Obama presidency have merely fuelled the crisis.


            America and Europe are passing through a very dark valley. Let us hope it is the dark before the dawn.


            JE comments:  I've been thinking all morning about David/Bert Westbrook's claim that Hillary is the "second worst" US politician we've seen in ages.  I infer from this that Bert considers Trump the worst.  I'm going to disagree:  that Trump has made it this far with no credentials whatsoever suggests exactly the opposite.  In a culture that celebrates soundbites, celebrity, and media saturation more than anything that would approach substance, Trump is the consummate master.  He's not a bad politician; politics rather have come around to "brands" of the Trump ilk.  America is holding its nose, but America caused the stench.



            Of Nigel Jones's list of preferable candidates, who could get elected in today's media environment?  I'd say none except Reagan.  Lincoln--too ungainly; Coolidge--too non-verbal; Eisenhower--overly avuncular, and bald; Truman--way too poor, and nothing but a failed haberdasher. 


             

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            • Clinton v Trump: Another Rebuttal to Nigel Jones (Tor Guimaraes, USA 10/14/16 3:35 AM)
              Once again I have to express my objection to Nigel Jones (13 October), for calling people names without providing an iota of evidence to back his aspersions.

              A few weeks earlier, Nigel engaged in useless name-calling against Bernie Sanders.  I asked what specific policies or positions Sanders proposes that Nigel is so vitriolic about. I detected no reply.


              In his most recent post, once again he called Sanders ludicrous without any reasoning to justify it. This is not the type of discussion we strive for in WAIS.


              JE comments: Nigel Jones has explained his position on Sanders, with a strident, even tautological, anti-socialist argument. Sanders is a self-proclaimed socialist, socialism is a failed ideology, therefore...


              Nigel's countryman John Heelan sees the paucity of "statesmen" as a global problem.  Stay tuned for John's post.



               

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            • Where Are the Statesmen? on Ochlocracy (John Heelan, UK 10/14/16 4:16 AM)
              Nigel Jones's comment (13 Oct) highlights the dearth of political talent worldwide (not least in the UK).

              PR is the new "politics" in this new media world. How many states(people) rather than "PR celebrities" can WAISers identify in today's global political world? Wikipedia reminds us that "Anacyclosis states that three basic forms of 'benign' government (monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy) are inherently weak and unstable, tending to degenerate rapidly into the three basic forms of 'malignant' government (tyranny, oligarchy, and ochlocracy)." Note that "ochlocracy" refers to mob rule, not the concept of democracy created in the late 18th century.


              According to the doctrine, "benign" governments have the interests of all at heart, whereas "malignant" governments have the interests of a select few at heart. However, all six are considered unworkable because the first three rapidly transform into the latter three due to political corruption.


              Perhaps the world is heading for either widespread dictatorships or anarchy?


              JE comments: John Heelan gives us today's WAIS WordPower!™ entry: ochlocracy.  Democracy at its messiest does seem like mob rule.  What present-day government best exemplifies ochlocracy?  Perhaps Venezuela?


              So where are the stateswomen and statesmen--the Wilsons, the Churchills, the De Gaulles, the FDRs?  Do you have to be dead to become one?


              Anyone want to rise to John's challenge:  are there any statespeople in today's political landscape?


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            • Is Trump a Good or a Terrible Politician? (Cameron Sawyer, Russia 10/14/16 4:38 AM)
              John E wrote on 13 October: "I've been thinking all morning about David/Bert Westbrook's claim that Hillary is the 'second worst' US politician we've seen in ages. I infer from this that Bert considers Trump the worst. I'm going to disagree: that Trump has made it this far with no credentials whatsoever suggests exactly the opposite. In a culture that celebrates soundbites, celebrity, and media saturation more than anything that would approach substance, Trump is the consummate master. He's not a bad politician; politics rather have come around to 'brands' of the Trump ilk."

              I disagree. Drumpf is a dreadfully terrible politician. Being able to attract attention to yourself is not enough to do politics, even on the lowest gutter levels. Let's put aside "substance," that is concrete policy, for a moment--because Hillary Clinton also utterly lacks substance, as we have seen from her leaked Wall Street speeches revealing her "public" and "private" positions, and especially, her leaked emails where she discusses cynically hitting Obama for pro-trade positions which are more moderate than her own. There is no "substance" at all in this campaign; both candidates are interested only in power and, in the case of Drumpf, more and more attention.


              To do politics, you have to be able to put together coalitions, exercise leadership, and you have to be able to move people towards something, if only towards voting for you. Drumpf is unable to do any of this; he's nothing but a bag of wind. Hillary goes around transparently telling different groups exactly what she thinks they want to hear, without a thought about the fact that these messages are all in violent conflict with each other. This doesn't really work, because people don't believe it.  What they respond to would be a clear and coherent vision that is truly her own, and which the interests of the broad spectrum of society fit into--Ronald Reagan being the most brilliant example of this. This is leadership. But at least she tries--at least she has some concept that these different constituencies have certain interests; also she knows how to trade horses.


              Drumpf is not even capable of pandering--the best he can do is to, for example, tell African Americans that they "live in hell" and, "what do you have to lose?" And for all his self-promoted supposed deal-making ability, he is not capable of trading horses, either. As a politician, he is completely tone-deaf, alienating every possible constituency one after the other, and then alienating every possible political ally.


              As to substance--the best Drumpf can do with policy is to suggest solving our fiscal problems by writing off our debts (destroying the full faith and credit of the US government--the most astonishingly stupid policy suggestion ever made in the history of presidential campaigns, as far as I know), and building his idiotic wall at the expense of the Mexican government by blackmailing the Mexicans by blocking remittance payments. These things were accurately lampooned by Borowitz in the New Yorker ("Christie Calls Trump Genius for Plan to Burn Down White House and Collect Insurance"; http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/christie-calls-trump-genius-for-plan-to-burn-down-white-house-and-collect-insurance ). Drumpf has the mind of a juvenile delinquent; 9 out of 10 high school sophomores could come up with more serious policy platforms.


              So I agree with Bert--Hillary is a dreadful politician who is not the worst we have ever seen only because she is running against a scarecrow. She is the embodiment of the complete decay of American politics--the death of policy, the death of real political leadership, and the triumph of cynicism and corruption. Many, many things in her record rise to the level of actual crimes, more and more of which are coming out of the Wikileaks files. The only thing coming out of the Drumpf campaign which I can agree with is "Lock Her Up!"


              I hope she is impeached and in jail before her first year of office is over, and in my opinion, there is every chance of that. President Kaine will be far, far better, and that is the happiest outcome we can hope for.


              JE comments:  The British tried the Burn down the White House trick back in '14.  (That's 1814.)


              My point was not that Trump is adept at doing politics they way they should be done, but rather that he has mastered the vile game of politics today.  His winning the Republican nomination over a field of opponents is proof of this.  (Francisco Ramírez, who is next in the queue, argues that Trump succeeded in destroying the entire Republican party.)  Politics today are like sausage-making...today.  But dirtier, and far less tasty.


              Nonetheless, I'll applaud Cameron Sawyer's astute "unpacking" of the two candidates, and their substance or lack of it.


              Today on WAIS we've heard from at least three of our Board members:  Cameron Sawyer, Paul Pitlick, and Francisco Ramírez (next).  And me:  that makes four.  A happy coincidence.



               

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              • More on Trump as a Terrible Politician (Cameron Sawyer, Russia 10/15/16 5:06 AM)
                JE wrote on October 14th: "My [response to Cameron Sawyer is] not that Trump is adept at doing politics they way they should be done, but rather that he has mastered the vile game of politics today."

                But he has not! Anyone "adept at politics" is adept at building up coalitions and supporters, both at the level of political elites and donors, as well as at the level of different constituencies of voters. Drumpf has hardly raised any money, has no real support from any part of the political establishment, and in fact was nominated by default, out of an exceptionally weak field of candidates, and with the Republican party leadership in a catatonic state. He has not managed to mobilize any political forces at all; the Party itself only grudgingly even accepted his candidacy. A certain, rather small, and exceptionally stupid part of our society actually likes him; all the rest who have said they will vote for him are only doing it because they think Hillary will be even worse. They are only doing it for the sake of the Supreme Court, or whatever other concrete thing which they know Hillary will ruin.


                I guess that in the event, Drumpf will go down in a landslide, despite the exceptional weakness of his opponent. That is because that part of his apparent supporters, who are only planning to do it with their noses held, will not bother doing it at all when it becomes obvious that he cannot win. They will stay home in droves and spare themselves the emotional distress of pulling the lever for that clown, once they see there will be no effect from their doing so.


                I'm predicting that Hillary will win by a landslide, and this will be the first landslide by default in our history. Unless someone can persuade him to step down in favor of Pence, which would be the smartest possible thing he could do. Even I would vote, if I could vote for Pence, as against that evil witch.


                JE comments:  Cameron Sawyer, like Massoud Malek, will choose conscientious abstention next month.


                I've been doing a poll of yard signs in Adrian over the last few weeks.  Trumpists outnumber Hillaryites about 50 to 1.  I found the lone Hillary sign in a yard on my street.  It belongs to a colleague of mine, a History PhD from Princeton.


                To my mind, the interesting thing is how the world's intellectuals/Brahmins have repeatedly underestimated Trump.  Call it White Man's angst (Francisco Ramírez), an existential crisis (David A. Westbrook), or even exceptional stupidity (Cameron Sawyer).  But there's something there, there.

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          • How Do We Explain Trumpism? (Francisco Ramirez, USA 10/14/16 11:41 AM)
            In an earlier e-mail I identified what I thought were some of the important issues in this presidential election and indicated why I would vote for Hillary Clinton. It is simply not true that I merely consider her the lesser of two evils. The Washington Post endorsement echoes my assessment.

            I too think of Trumpism as a symptom of a larger set of concerns. In the American context there is Globalization and Its Discontents (to coin a phrase) and there is White American Men coming to terms with the fact that whiteness and maleness are no longer unchallenged elements of what it means to be American leaders. Not only have there been demographic changes that add up to a system shock, but those who are not white men enjoy greater standing than they once did. The Black Man in the White House was the final straw in the erosion of white male privilege. From the outset his legitimacy was challenged, and this is happening as the country is reeling from its worse economic downturn since the Great Depression. If the 1988 to 2008 period constituted the era of high globalization (as The Economist contends) we are surely in a time when anti-globalization movements soar. The Black Man in the White House fueled fears and anxieties that the economic downturn would have generated anyway. But now there was the sense that other certitudes were also being undercut--more rights for more of "them" as "we" endure economic hardship no longer softened by a sense that at least "we" are the real deal. This indeed is an identity crisis.


            You can read all about it in the late Samuel Huntington's Who Are We? His main thesis is that cosmopolitanism (he does point to human rights discourse as indicative of cosmopolitanism) and multiculturalism are undercutting a sense of common national identity, that which binds people to one another. What we need is a return to rugged Americanization, a project the schools and other institutions promoted with greater effectiveness. Catholics and Jews, he asserts, ended up with Anglo-Saxon Protestant Values (and in the process were imagined to also be white, something he does not assert). Huntington rejects two alternatives: building a wall (not his words, but almost) or just drifting along.


            Huntington, Samuel. P. 2004. Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity. New York: Simon and Schuster.


            Huntington (better known for Clash of Civilizations) wrote this four years before the surprising election of Obama and before the Great Recession (2007-08). Both of these shocks to America exacerbated anxieties that had been percolating for decades. One reaction to the election and then the re-election of Obama was the idea that the GOP needed to reach out to not white Americans. The party leadership said so, and so did WAISer Richard Hancock. This idea would have led some to believe that having a Mexican wife and speaking Spanish would be an asset (Bush) or that having Hispanic heritage would be a plus (Cruz and Rubio). But it turns out this was too late. The election of Obama gave rise to the birther movement and to the Tea Party, and right-wing shock radio and TV got normalized. To his credit, McCain told a supporter who said Obama was an Arab, not an American, that she was wrong. McCain said that Obama was a good American with whom he had strong disagreements on virtually all sorts of policy issues. To their discredit, many GOP leaders looked the other way as the anxieties gave rise to the he is really not an American ("us") narrative, the ultimate delegitimization narrative.


            The desire for Rugged Americanization is a collective response to the cultural and economic shocks that have left many fearful that we no longer are what we used to be. Now some will argue that what we used to be was God-fearing families and communities and others that we used to win wars. My contention is that Make America Great Again is really Make America White Again, and what is pined for is Rugged Americanization in educational and other institutions. The more nuanced Huntington turns into Rush Limbaugh and now Trump's army. They believe: He is authentic. He talks like one of us. He says things we feel. And now we can feel it is OK to say these things and to do some things. And if you call us racist or sexist we can just say you are just politically correct. She is weak (no penis) but dares to act like she has one (wicked).


            I have a paper called "The Valorization of Humanity and Diversity." It is based on an analysis of textbooks over time and across countries that finds evidence of growing valorization of humanity (human rights) and diversity (more groups are recognized favorably.) The time frame is 1970 to 2008, the end year for the high period of globalization (?). The national does not disappear, but co-exists with the cosmopolitan and the diversity frames. Perhaps what we shall subsequently find is a resurgence of the national and a diminution of the frames Huntington feared.


            I know that Bert Westbrook (13 October) is also thinking about globalization and its impact on things like national identity. We have shared papers re globalization and universities and I would like to hear more about what he thinks underlies Trumpism. He correctly predicted the implosion of the GOP sometime back.


            PS:  For the record I am a White man with a Spanish surname with roots in the Philippines and the USA.


            JE comments:  I'd like to make Francisco Ramírez's essay required reading for...everyone. If Trump is the maximum articulation of the Post-Globalization period, and assuming that he will be defeated in three weeks, what then awaits us--next?

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            • How Do We Explain Trumpism? (Francisco Wong-Diaz, USA 10/15/16 5:32 AM)
              In response to Francisco Ramírez (14 October), long before Huntington there was historian Arthur Schlesinger, a JFK advisor, who predicted and warned about the ill effects of multiculturalism on the ties that bound America together.

              Likewise, some of his contemporaries predicted the penetration of lower-class values into middle-class society through the media and entertainment mediums. This too has happened. The result is today's America and the race to the bottom, in my humble opinion, is highlighted by the scumbags running for and serving in high office.


              Have you seen the video of Obama parading an erection to women on board Air Force One? Go Google it and then tell me that I am wrong.


              JE comments:  Francisco Wong-Díaz sent the link in a separate e-mail.  It wasn't filmed on Air Force One, but rather on a campaign plane in 2008.  I have no "position" on Obama and erections, but it's impossible not to notice how much he's aged in eight years.


              Are we seeing a "race to the bottom" in politics?  There hasn't been a non-Ivy Leaguer in the White House since Ronald Reagan.  If Hillary wins, it will be five in a row.


              https://news.grabien.com/story-video-2008-campaign-appears-show-obama-flaunting-erection-fe


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            • Trump Meltdown? (Leo Goldberger, USA 10/16/16 7:53 AM)
              Admittedly, it is with a good bit of Schadenfreude that I await the demise of the Trumpian scourge. As more and more Republicans are distancing themselves from the egomaniacal poseur, it seems unlikely that he will have the support beyond his fanatical supporters who seem unable to resist his demagoguery and his "celebrity" status.

              As someone who personally experienced life under the rule of a demagogical egomaniac, I feel a sense of relief--while still troubled by the obvious societal problems that enabled him to reach this far in light of his so obvious lack of fitness for the job as president.



              The big question soon to be faced is how venomously he will respond to his downfall--a topic touched on in this timely Op-Ed piece by Timothy Egan (New York Times, 10/15/16).


              JE comments: Here's Timothy Egan's essay:


              http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/14/opinion/burning-down-the-house.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0


              "Burning Down the House," or "Total Meltdown"? Tomorrow you can purchase the latest issue of Time magazine, which shows Trump's caricatured image and hairdo transformed into a molten puddle of Donaldial Ooze.  But--I'd say don't count him out just yet.



              http://creativity-online.com/work/time-donald-trump-total-meltdown-cover-animation/49472

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      • More (Lukewarm) Praise for Hillary (Carmen Negrin, France 10/12/16 5:08 AM)
        Hillary was not my first choice, but at least she has experience and knowledge and, yes, a slight left-wing political programme concerning taxes, health, education, preserving Obama's legacy, guns and so on. In addition she has self-control and common sense, all qualities unknown to our Donald the Bully!

        Not only as a woman but simply as person, I find it insulting even to compare the two candidates.


        JE comments: Yesterday (or the day before yesterday--the days mix together), The Globalist ran a piece on Trump and the "H-word" (Hitler). The conclusion: they, and their respective national contexts, are oh so different, but...


        http://www.theglobalist.com/trump-united-states-ideological-territory-adolf-hitler-germany/


        I prefer Carmen Negrín's characterization: Trump the Bully. The "Trump Effect" is starting to show up in schoolyards nationwide: After a generation or so of anti-bullying efforts in American schools, picking on the weak and the "different" has turned fashionable again.


         

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        • Ric Mauricio on Decision '16 (John Eipper, USA 10/12/16 12:51 PM)
          Ric Mauricio sends his thoughts on the US election:

          Just when I thought Trump had insulted nearly everyone, he manages to insult another demographic group. Who's left? He has insulted women, Muslims, Mexicans, the handicapped, American POWs, and veterans with PTSD . Add to that athletes or those of us who work out. Having been in the locker room through high school and college and now in the gym, I can tell you there is very little of that talk in the locker room. I would estimate that I've run into Trump's "locker room banter" less than 1/10th of 1 per cent of the time and it wasn't even in the locker room. I myself am no saint; my friends and I do make observations about the attractiveness of women, but it never degrades beyond admiration. In fact, the few times that I've run into the braggadocio of sexual conquest, I noticed that in fact, the participants are making it up ... fantasies in their head. And the more they bragged, the more the fantasy existed.


          They have even attempted to include me in their circle of talk, but I adroitly avoid the subject, by telling them that I didn't want to embarrass them. Since Donald Trump loves to brag about his sexual prowess, I could only surmise that he is making up for an extreme lack of self-esteem. His bragging of his wealth and his ostentatious show of it illustrates to me that he lacked self-esteem, especially in front of his father, who repeatedly had to bail him out.


          I am surprised that some of WAISdom's early supporters of Donald Trump didn't take note of his misogynistic overtones early on, as well as his racist ignorance (Donald, not all blacks live in the inner city). Being a bully, talking over people, calling people names are all overt signs of an unstable personality trying to cover up the fact that he really isn't who he says he is: a genius in finances. His filing with the election officials shows his net worth to be only $1.5 billion (OK, so $1.5 billion is still a substantial number) rather than the $10 billion that he claims. Is he lying?


          My personal experience with his Trump University (remember, they threw me out of the sales presentation) shows that Trump is a liar and a crook. He points at Bill Clinton's dalliances, but forgets that the reason his first marriage with Ivanka ended in divorce was because of his affair with his second wife, Marla.


          I am finding that many Trump supporters, despite all that has been exposed, still refuse to acknowledge that they are supporting a despicable human being. I do agree, though, that Hillary is not a stellar choice, but now we are choosing between evil and lesser evil.


          By the way, we do know that Bill and Donald spoke before Trump announced his candidacy. I am still wondering if this isn't a Clinton plot to get her elected. Imagine if Romney had chosen to run?


          JE comments: Bill C is a political virtuoso, but could he possibly have envisioned Trump winning the nomination?  I know of no member of the pundit class making such a prediction.


          We haven't yet observed on WAIS that Billy Bush, who conducted the 2005 "locker room banter" interview with Trump, has been suspended from NBC.  Sources say he will be fired.  So...the remarks were too outrageous for television, but not necessarily for the White House?


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    • The Clintons' Income (David Duggan, USA 10/12/16 9:07 AM)
      Nobody's going to take a tag day for Hillary and her male consort Bill, who receives a $200,000 per year post-presidential pension. (And Hillary gets a pension as a former senator and Secretary of State, roughly $38K/yr.)

      Hmm, $238K/yr jointly: just below the $250K where the "progressive left" wants to hit the "millionaires and billionaires" with 50% or more graduated income tax rates.


      JE comments: The Clintons will be "triple-dipping" in the government feed trough if she wins in November. Another $400K in presidential salary sweetens the deal. For Hillary, though, who will have to leave the paid speaking circuit, the $638K will mean something else: belt-tightening.

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      • The Clintons' Income (Carmen Negrin, France 10/13/16 6:08 AM)
        One comment in response to David Duggan (12 October): Is there anything wrong with the "progressive left" making money? Or do you prefer non-progressive extreme right not paying taxes?

        JE comments: The implication is that The Donald is guilty of many vile things, but hypocrisy is not one of them. He's proud to have (presumably, legally) stiffed the US Treasury.  As he said in the first debate:  they would have squandered the money anyway.  I'm not sure where the military, infrastructure, the environment, and education fit into this scenario.


        Remember the late, great Leona Helmsley?  "Only the little people pay taxes."  I just found this Leona quote from 1990:  "I wouldn't believe Donald Trump if his tongue was notarized."


        http://www.notable-quotes.com/h/helmsley_leona.html


         

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    • More Lukewarm Praise for Hillary (Robert Whealey, USA 10/13/16 5:04 AM)
      Hillary's Wall Street speeches are one of the major reasons I voted for Bernie in the Ohio primary. I would rather have an honest Jew concerned with the fate of the working class, the dependent--old, children, women and blacks. As a liberal Methodist, Hillary has done more for heath needs of the poor and underprivileged than the Republican Party, devoted to profits. Trump's so-called Presbyterian claims are either lies or stillborn at the age of 18.

      JE comments: I would venture that not one voter in twenty could tell you the professed religions of Hillary or Trump. Of the two (Methodism and Presbyterianism), the latter is more Calvinist. What might The Donald's views be on predestination? Can you "Make America Great Again" if the Divine Plan says otherwise?


      I ask the above in sincerity, but I don't think theology will help us parse Decision '16.  The god here is Mammon.

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