Author Topic: The Trump Presidency  (Read 79960 times)

Offline gillianren

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1080 on: June 08, 2020, 12:29:57 PM »
Here in Washington State, the Republicans actually showed more sense than the Democrats in one area--for at least a few election cycles, the Republicans had a Presidential primary and the Democrats had a caucus.  Blessedly, this year, the Democrats switched to a primary.  This was in part because all the passionate people at the caucus four years ago--largely Sanders voters, many of whom had never been as involved in the process before--realized that caucuses suck.
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Offline jfb

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1081 on: June 08, 2020, 02:34:00 PM »
Good point.  You can't make good candidates step up, but you can certainly work hard to make unwanted candidates fail.  I think both of you are right about the national committees.  It's unfair of me to lay blame for candidate choices or success at their feet.  Regarding the DNC, I recall something in the hacked emails that suggested they favored Hilary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, and acted on that preference.  But that's not the same as wanting someone over Clinton who, for lack of will, didn't run.  Once the voters had selected Clinton as the candidate, they were stuck with her and all the baggage she brought with her.

To be fair, the DNC had legitimate reasons to favor HRC over Sanders as a party nominee:

  • The Clintons were leaders within the Democratic party and had been so for decades, whereas Sanders had never formally been a member until 2015 when he decided to run for President;
  • HRC had been a prominent member of the Obama administration;
  • Democrats, by and large, are not progressives.  There is a progressive wing of the party, but Democratic voters on the whole tend to be a quite bit more conservative than Sanders;

There were also not-so-legitimate reasons, but it's politics, you know?  There's always going to be dealing under the table and favoritism.
 
But yeah, regardless of just the general Clinton-ness and all that entails, she was an awful campaigner.  Awful.  Yes, she won the popular vote, but it's the electoral votes that matter, and her being an awful campaigner cost her states that Obama had won.  Twice.

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I think I'm soured over Utah politics and extrapolating that irrationally to the national level.  Briefly, the Utah GOP used to have a caucus/convention-only system for choosing candidates for the primary ballot.  When the Tea Party basically took over the state party leadership, they lobbied for far-right delegates to the convention.  Since then, the convention voting has skewed quite a bit farther to the right than the general GOP voting in the state.  Many Utah Republicans are surprisingly moderates, but they were given only arch-conservatives (cough, Mike Lee, cough) as credible candidates in the primaries.  Because of the circumstances of districting, it has become difficult to unseat these unrepresentative delegates.  Displeasure over this led to various initiatives resulting in, among other things, S.B. 54, a law that allowed candidates to qualify for any state-run primary by collecting signatures.  The Utah GOP literally bankrupted itself fighting this in court, losing finally when the Supreme Court denied certiorari for an appeal from the 10th Circuit.  Rank-and-file Republicans saw the law as one of only a few ways they could get popular moderate candidates like Mitt Romney on the GOP primary ballots.  (Romney came in second at the GOP convention but won the GOP primary in a landslide.)  Another result was the United Utah party, composed mostly of disaffected Republicans and a few moderate Democrats.

Heh.  Lemme tell you about a little state called Texas, or as Molly Ivins once called it, "The National Laboratory For Bad Government." 

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Sorry to bring up local politics so much.  It's where my understanding of politics comes from.  I realize this is a national-politics thread, centered on Donald Trump.

As Tip O'Neill once said, "all politics is local".  I think it's good for us to compare notes, because different states do things differently.  And, to keep beating the same drum, Trump is a symptom, not the disease. 

Offline Obviousman

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1082 on: June 08, 2020, 04:36:19 PM »
But yeah, regardless of just the general Clinton-ness and all that entails, she was an awful campaigner.  Awful.  Yes, she won the popular vote, but it's the electoral votes that matter, and her being an awful campaigner cost her states that Obama had won.  Twice.

Not having followed it, why do you say she ran an awful campaign?

Offline Peter B

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1083 on: June 08, 2020, 08:52:48 PM »
I note that Trump's former defence secretary has criticised him:

Even his (probably not much longer) current secretary disagrees with Big Orange;

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/03/us/politics/esper-milley-trump-protest.html

And now Colin Powell: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-08/colin-powell-endorses-joe-biden-democrat-republican-donald-trump/12332746

The thing is, watching commentary on the UM forum, there appear to be a few people so far down the rabbit burrow that any criticism of Trump is pretty much pre-emptively dismissed regardless of who it comes from. All critics in the media are Fake News and all critics in the Republican Party are RINOs. Therefore any criticism from either quarter can be immediately ignored as soon as these people open their mouths because these Trump supporters have already been vaccinated against them.

I'm trying to work out who's left that these Trump supporters might listen to as a critic of Trump. Perhaps Steve Bannon? But otherwise all it seems to take is for Trump to tweet against a critic and straightaway the well is poisoned.

About the only thing that's otherwise available is for Biden to grab a few Trump policies - specifically those which overtly help white working class males - in the hope that this might drag some voters away from Trump.

Offline Ranb

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1084 on: June 09, 2020, 11:09:22 AM »
I've been banned from two forums for my obvious dislike of Trump and cautioned on another.  I hate having to curb my comments on a forum.  When I point out that Trump is the most prolific gun grabber (on a gun forum) since FDR, I'm told that it's okay because Biden will be worse.

Offline gillianren

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1085 on: June 09, 2020, 11:36:53 AM »
Honestly, from what I could tell, the worst thing about Hillary's campaign was that she took certain things for granted--like that she'd win those states that gave the election to Trump.
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Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1086 on: June 09, 2020, 11:43:26 AM »
I'm told that it's okay because Biden will be worse.

That's very much a wash-rinse-repeat rhetoric.  Every fear spoken among Trump supporters seems to be based wholly on supposition or prediction for what some other leader would have done, and assurances that it would have been so much worse.  A Clinton presidency, it is argued, would have been a swampy disaster for the economy, for conservative interests, and in response to the pandemic.  A Biden presidency, it is proclaimed, will be just a terrible continuation of the war on honest, hardworking joes waged previously by the Obamagate suspects.  Biden's scandals, it is argued, are just as far-reaching and compromisory -- if not more so -- than Trump's.

Obviously you're in trouble any time you have to pit supposition against observation.  The Trump administration is objectively bad.  But what's more disturbing is that the rhetoric fully admits the Administration's visible crapulence.  The side-effect of any pivot is tacitly agreeing with the thing you're pivoting away from.  Whether you call it "whataboutism" or ad hominem to quoque, it's just the same bad argument.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Jason Thompson

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1087 on: June 09, 2020, 01:05:03 PM »
I'm told that it's okay because Biden will be worse.

That's very much a wash-rinse-repeat rhetoric.  Every fear spoken among Trump supporters seems to be based wholly on supposition or prediction for what some other leader would have done, and assurances that it would have been so much worse.  A Clinton presidency, it is argued, would have been a swampy disaster for the economy, for conservative interests, and in response to the pandemic.  A Biden presidency, it is proclaimed, will be just a terrible continuation of the war on honest, hardworking joes waged previously by the Obamagate suspects.  Biden's scandals, it is argued, are just as far-reaching and compromisory -- if not more so -- than Trump's.

Obviously you're in trouble any time you have to pit supposition against observation.  The Trump administration is objectively bad.  But what's more disturbing is that the rhetoric fully admits the Administration's visible crapulence.  The side-effect of any pivot is tacitly agreeing with the thing you're pivoting away from.  Whether you call it "whataboutism" or ad hominem to quoque, it's just the same bad argument.

Small note: crapulence, while it sounds like it should mean ‘crappiness’, actually refers to intoxication and drunkenness.

But to your point, the phenomenon you described hit its peak here in the UK at the start of the pandemic, when shops were cleared out by panic-buying. Someone put up a picture of empty supermarket shelves and said this is how life would be in a Corbyn-led Labour government. Never mind that it was in fact the current reality under a Johnson-led Conservative government....
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Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1088 on: June 09, 2020, 01:45:14 PM »
Not having followed it, why do you say she ran an awful campaign?

There are many opinions on this.  Unlike engineering, this is something that may not have a distinct right or wrong answer, and it's not my area of expertise.  Those disclaimers in place, here's my take.

Too much rainbow, not enough mainstream.  The Clinton campaign wrongly believed that they could assemble a coalition of demographically dissimilar liberals that could outvote a homogeneous conservative base.  They failed.  It's a bit tone-deaf for me to say so under prevailing circumstances, but you simply cannot win a national election in the United States without broad appeal to white, working-class males who don't have college degrees.  The campaign's decision to court one group over the other produced an image of Hillary Clinton as a coastal elitist.  That doesn't play in Peoria.  Promising to stand up for minority rights, and even having a history of doing it, are always things America likes to see and hear.  Especially this month, where the long-standing problems are once again boiling over.  But it simply doesn't produce voters in sufficient numbers by itself.  It's amazingly difficult to craft a credible message of equality and the breaking down of barriers that resounds well enough with both the BLM types and the Peoria types to result in an American majority.  I'm not sure I could do it.  The problem with the Clinton campaign is that they didn't even try.

Too much faith in Obama momentum.  Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton identified as big-city folk.  President Obama's apparent economic success came largely in the sectors that voted for him -- big cities.  The view from Peoria was that while the economy improved by some metrics, it was due to stimulus and bailout payments given to large banks and corporations at the expense of the working folk.  They perceived comparatively little relief themselves.  Middle America was still hopeful that the Obama promises would pay off when they voted to re-elect him.  But by the time Clinton got around to promising a continuation of the supposed prosperity, it was already clear to most people that the trickle-down was going to be limited or non-existent  Clinton had no real economic strategy of her own.  Everything she had came from the Obama administration.  After a while, the rhetoric ran thin and she just stopped promising any economic growth or improvement.  Against Donald Trump's (failed) promises of middle-class economic revival, she had no chance.

Too much science and not enough campaigning.  The 2016 Clinton campaign relied on very sophisticated data-mining and analytics models.  Now -- with expertise -- I can tell you that this is a giant growth sector and it will revolutionize the way we make decisions.  The problem was that the Clinton campaign's model was wrong.  Just because you are taking a scientific approach to focusing efforts doesn't mean your science is valid.  The analytics model badly mispredicted the outcomes of the GOP primary in several states.  Rather than accept that their approach didn't work, and return to proven-but-intuitive campaign strategies, they assured themselves that they would be able to refine the analytics to assure victory.  This did not happen.  Again the model failed to accurately predict the outcomes of the battleground states that fell to Donald Trump.  It was telling them one thing, and seasoned campaigners were telling them aother thing, and the seasoned campaigners turned out to be right.  Had Hillary Clinton simply campaigned the way her husband had, I believe she'd have had a better chance of winning.

Not enough distinction from Donald Trump.  Hillary Clinton was perceived by many to be just as tightly entangled with Wall Street interests as Donald Trump, and therefore not any more likely than he to represent the "little folks" over big business.  The Midwest and the South, which weigh more heavily according to the algebra of the Electoral College, will then vote according to morality.  They will pick the socially conservative candidate over the social liberal if they see no other difference.  But at the time, corporate campaign donations were seen as essential to funding the campaign, as opposed to a grass-roots funding model we've seen arise in backlash.  Hence Clinton didn't risk alienating big business by promising to reign in corporations.  Conversely, they botched the Steele dossier.  By all means the Democrats should have raked as much muck on Donald Trump as they could -- because there's a lot of it.  But the Democrats are still trying to paint themselves as the last bastion of civility, so they really don't know how to do the kind of serious opposition research that would have more credibly distinguished Clinton from Trump.
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Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1089 on: June 09, 2020, 01:51:07 PM »
Small note: crapulence, while it sounds like it should mean ‘crappiness’, actually refers to intoxication and drunkenness.

True, but this historical etymology was almost entirely unknown to Americans, who today use it exclusively as defined in The Simpsons along with such other supposedly contrived words as "embiggen" and "cromulent."  Along your lines, "pissed" is also something you want to say carefully on different sides of the Atlantic.

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Someone put up a picture of empty supermarket shelves and said this is how life would be in a Corbyn-led Labour government. Never mind that it was in fact the current reality under a Johnson-led Conservative government....

Ditto.  I mentioned my Fox-News-addled father-in-law.  On the first, worst night of BLM protests, we got a text message saying, "Welcome to Bernie Sanders' America."  Except, of course, that it was literally America under Donald Trump and largely his fault.
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Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1090 on: June 09, 2020, 02:17:36 PM »
To be fair, the DNC had legitimate reasons to favor HRC over Sanders as a party nominee:

No argument there.  In fact, you could argue it's the job of a party's governing body to apply political expertise that members might lack.  It's the leadership's fiduciary duty to do what they can to produce the best candidate from their party that can be elected.  Not that they'll always be right, or honest about it.  But they're there for a reason.

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Heh.  Lemme tell you about a little state called Texas, or as Molly Ivins once called it, "The National Laboratory For Bad Government."

Yes.  I've been to Texas.

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As Tip O'Neill once said, "all politics is local".

He's right.  But local politics are often also idiosyncratic.  Utah's especially so, for obvious reasons.  So I continually fall into the trap of interpreting national politics in the Utah idiom.  I've actually lived in several other states, and several other countries.  I just wasn't as politically involved there as I am here.

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Trump is a symptom, not the disease.

Right, that's the banner concept.  All this started before Trump, and sadly much of it will persist when he's gone.  Donald Trump is a terrible president and a horrible person, but he's merely the nucleus around which a lot of criticism of modern American government must be leveled, and currently the figurehead of a larger corrupt body.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Jason Thompson

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1091 on: June 09, 2020, 04:14:54 PM »
Small note: crapulence, while it sounds like it should mean ‘crappiness’, actually refers to intoxication and drunkenness.

True, but this historical etymology was almost entirely unknown to Americans, who today use it exclusively as defined in The Simpsons along with such other supposedly contrived words as "embiggen" and "cromulent."

A fair point. Honestly, the way you colonials mangle the mother tongue... ;)

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Along your lines, "pissed" is also something you want to say carefully on different sides of the Atlantic.

Indeed. Over here we use it to mean 'drunk' (this is why 'Brahms and Liszt' is the cockney rhyming slang phrase for drunk, Liszt rhyming with pissed). We say 'pissed off' to mean what I gather from TV shows most Americans mean when they say 'pissed'. 'Fanny' is another one to be very careful with....
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Offline Jeff Raven

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1092 on: June 09, 2020, 04:54:35 PM »
If I may offer my 2 cents on why I agree that Hillary ran a poor campaign, I would expand on what Jay wrote.  She definitely didn't pay enough attention to the middle of the country, either in time spent on the ground or in her speeches and approach. As Jay said, she was speaking the language of 'city-folk' and not the blue collar workers. This just emphasized how "elite" she was seen to be by those voters. 

She also failed to provide details of her plans, at least not in a way that the average voter could relate to or understand. She had details on her websites, but in terms of "I'm going to do A, B, and C" type language, it was often lacking in her speeches and platform. There are a lot of people with the TL/DR mentality today, and making them go to a site to read what she was going to do for them backfired. 

The last thing I will say is that she spent too much time using the "You can't vote for him. Can you just imagine what a nightmare that would be?" approach. Instead of putting out a positive message, she relied too heavily on just saying that it was obvious that Trump would be bad, that anyone who backed him was bad (read: deplorable), and so of course people should vote for her. And many people didn't buy that. A number, for example, assumed that taxes would go down if Trump was elected, that controls and regulations on business would be relaxed, that we would toughen up on crime, immigration, drugs, trade, etc., and that would improve the quality of life. And she wasn't really giving them a good answer as to why that wouldn't happen, or why Trump was the wrong person to have in place even if such things did happen.

Offline Jeff Raven

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1093 on: June 09, 2020, 05:05:24 PM »
And now he has put out that ridiculous Tweet about Martin Gugino, the 'information' of which he got from OANN (One America News Network). I would love to point out to him how ironic it is that a president who complained some time ago about the media using unnamed sources and not fact checking is, himself, one of the biggest perpetrators when it comes to unsubstantiated information and the use of innuendo. However, I don't think he has the capacity to see past his own narcissism to recognize the hypocrisy.

I also noted that almost to a person, every Republican in Congress that was approached for reaction about the tweet ran away from giving comment or gave some lame excuse if they did reply. Even with such a softball question as that one, they couldn't show any kind of moral backbone. 

Offline LunarOrbit

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Re: The Trump Presidency
« Reply #1094 on: June 09, 2020, 05:40:04 PM »
A fair point. Honestly, the way you colonials mangle the mother tongue... ;)

I sometimes watch Coronation Street with the subtitles on... so I'm not sure we're the ones mangling the language. ;)
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