Open Thread

The Open Thread for April 17, 2017

With North Korean soldiers standing less than 100 feet behind him at the Korean Demilitarized Zone, Vice President Mike Pence told CNN’s Dana Bash that Pyongyang should understand that the Trump administration’s approach toward the regime will be different than that of past US presidents.

“We’re going to abandon the failed policy of strategic patience. But we’re going to redouble our efforts to bring diplomatic and economic pressure to bear on North Korea. Our hope is that we can resolve this issue peaceably,” Pence said in an exclusive interview.  To achieve this new strategy, the administration is relying heavily on China, a country President Donald Trump spent his entire campaign railing against, but has since stopped as it became clear North Korea would be a top priority requiring China’s help.

“I know the President was heartened by his discussions with President Xi (Jinping). We’ve seen China begin to take some actions to bring pressure on North Korea but there needs to be more,” Pence said.

John Oliver: “Le Pen has already dangerously normalized the National Front. And one of the frustrating things about watching this unfold from America is this feels a little like déjà vu: a potentially destabilizing populist campaigning on anti-immigrant rhetoric who rages against the elite, despite having a powerful father and inherited wealth, even as all the experts reassure us that there is no way that this can possibly happen.”

Relatedly, the Washington Post reports that a communist is soaring in opinion polls: “In the latest plot twist in France’s highly contentious presidential election, Jean Luc Mélenchon — an outspoken 65-year-old leftist who often appears on the campaign trail via hologram and who has pitched his proposal to nationalize France’s biggest banks and renegotiate its relationship with the European Union via free Internet games and YouTube videos — is now soaring in the polls. With less than two weeks before the election, his meteoric and unexpected rise is already sending jitters through financial markets and shock waves through an increasingly anxious electorate.”

“The latest polls show him narrowly trailing Emmanuel Macron, long seen as the favorite, and Le Pen, expected to qualify for the final round of the two-round vote but to lose to Macron in the end. In the final days of a truly unprecedented campaign, Mélenchon’s unexpected surge is a reminder that radical change is in the air and that its extremist apostles — on the right or the left — may soon hold power.”

New York Times: “Justices interrupt one another all the time, and it may not be easy for the new justice to find his place and to raise his voice this week, when he hears his first arguments. But a new study suggests that Justice Gorsuch has two things going for him: He is conservative, and he is male.”

From the study: “Conservatives interrupt liberals at significantly higher rates than liberals interrupt conservatives.”

“And male justices, perhaps not surprisingly, interrupt female justices far more often than the other way around.”

Jonathan Swan: “As full-blown tax reform looks more and more like an unreachable stretch, there’s increasing conversation on the Hill about what’s being called a ‘candy option’ — all the goodies, with none of the pain.”

“That would mean lower personal and corporate rates, plus some limited repatriation, funded largely by deficit spending.”

“Speaker Ryan is still determined to go as big as possible and do real tax reform. But the White House needs to buy into it and get right behind it. Otherwise there’ll be the same disaster as healthcare.”

Meanwhile, Wall Street Journal: “Mr. Trump signaled last week that one of the reasons he has reprioritized health care is that he was relying on savings from the health bill to bolster the tax plan.”

“The budget reality isn’t that straightforward. Budgetary savings from a health bill don’t get plowed into the tax bill, so the lack of a health bill wouldn’t necessarily change the tax-bill math. There is also no requirement that the health bill come first. But the two pieces of legislation are interrelated because the GOP health bill would eliminate discrete taxes created as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, smoothing the process of passing a broader tax overhaul.”

David Nather: “Trump seems determined not to give up on the health care bill, so House Republicans keep plugging away in a desperate search for an agreement. As long as that continues, tax reform can’t move ahead.”

“President Trump has become a virtual homebody during his first few months in office, largely sitting out the honeymoon period that other presidents have used to hit the road and rally support for their priorities,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Trump, who dislikes spending the night away from home and has been adapting to life at the White House, has rarely ventured far from the Executive Mansion or his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida during his first 85 days in office.”

Jonathan Swan: “They’re playing tough in public — it’s called negotiating — but privately, senior White House officials are in no mood to get into a knock-down-drag-out fight over government funding.”

“The government runs out of money April 29, and the White House has less fire in its belly than it might seem from media reports. Around a week and a half ago, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney ‘came in a little hot’ in setting terms of negotiations with appropriators, according to a Senate source familiar with the meeting. Mulvaney said Trump needed language in the bill to cut funding to sanctuary cities.”

“The reality, according to three well-placed sources: These words are fairly toothless.”

Olivia Nuzzi: “Trump is dissatisfied and looking to assign blame for a first 100 days in office defined by humiliation and defeat, according to half a dozen sources I’ve spoken to in recent days. At any given moment, what irks him might be the death of the healthcare bill, or the early misstep on the travel ban, or, perhaps most painfully of all, the old media chatter that Bannon is, in the words of Time, ‘the great manipulator.’ Trump attempted to dispel the latter perception last week in a remark to the New York Post, denying Bannon credit for the election victory against Hillary Clinton (‘I’m my own strategist’)… Bannon also might be paying the price for press Trump believes, accurately or not, Bannon engineered: ‘He thinks Steve was leaking against Jared and Ivanka,’ the source said. ‘If I was trying to fuck Steve? That’s what I would do.’”

“White House sources tell me the ideological split with Kushner is real but not quite the point — Bannon’s primary ‘gunfight’ is with economic adviser Gary Cohn, a longtime Democrat whose influence has ballooned as Bannon has fallen out of favor with the president. The Goldman Sachs alums — Bannon was an investment banker there in ‘80s, Cohn was the COO until earlier this year — can comfortably ‘shoot the shit,’ but mutual suspicion looms beneath the superficial friendliness.”

A new Gallup poll finds just 45% of Americans say President Trump keeps his promises, down from 62% in February.  The public is also less likely to see him as a “strong and decisive leader,” as someone who “can bring about the changes this country needs” or as “honest and trustworthy.”


Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

12 comments on “The Open Thread for April 17, 2017

  1. “@thomasjwood analyzing @electionstudies data: Racism, more than authoritarianism, is associated with Trump votes”


  2. delacrat


    You’ll notice that graphs above indicate little or no change in level of racism during the years 2008, 20012 and 2016, which says there are “racists” in states like MI, OH and PA who voted for Trump in 2016 who previously voted for Obomba (twice).

    Trump is potus not b/c of any increase of racism, but b/c Clinton was a lousy candidate.

    • Racism was a clear factor in the Trump win:
      A pollster on the racial panic Obama’s presidency triggered — and what Democrats must do now”>

      Fear of Diversity Made People More Likely to Vote Trump

      Explaining White Polarization in the 2016 Vote for President: The Sobering Role of Racism and Sexism (pdf)

      There’s more and there’s more coming. When it is all said and done, the story of this election is going to be that Trump played into a lot of racial anxiety and promised these people a less open world and a world where brown, black and poor people would be sent to the back of the line again. And you can certainly see that in the policies being implemented by these people. HRC could have run a better campaign, perhaps< but you underestimate the appeal of white supremacy when the world looks like the people you are most opposed to are getting a better deal.

      • Your explanation, as before, does not explain why these racist blue-collar Democrats voted for the actually brown man in ’08 and ’12..

        The simpler explanation is that they hate liberals, and will oppose anything we are for and are for anything we oppose — including racism. They also hate equality for every other non-white-male group (because we’re for it), climate change (because we acknowledge it) — this trend persists no matter what the issue, and whether race or religion enters the equation or not.

        The evidence comes in the form of the polling on Syria. Democrats were just as opposed to it under Obama as they are under Trump, while Republicans went from 22% approval to 86% approval.

        Something else I noticed: the only Republicans who get elected president are the ones liberals really hate, the ones who are both stupid and venal — Reagan, W, now Trump. The ones that liberals think wouldn’t be quite so bad don’t generate the same enthusiasm among the base and fail to win.

        I do agree with you that these people are not persuadable. There are more of us than there are of them, and if we turn out to vote against them, we win. If we don’t, we lose.

  3. Your explanation, as before, does not explain why these racist blue-collar Democrats voted for the actually brown man in ’08 and ’12.

    Sure it does. There was nothing about the Trump appeal that wasn’t rooted in the usual demonization of poor black and brown people. The people who are getting all kinds of advantages that poor white people say they don’t get. White nationalism has been on the rise (see the first set of data). The only thing not mentioned was that both men ran as change agents. Trump’s change was to embrace the idea that poor people of color were really the problem. And Trump has been delighting some of these conservatives who see some of his moves as specifically cracking down on these people. cf the revival of the War on Drugs by Sessions, the increased deportation activity by ICE or even the lack of comment from the White House re: racial and religious hate crimes that they see as the lifting of the PC culture.

    Just because you can’t hear the supremacist talking doesn’t mean that he isn’t communicating every day.

  4. “There was nothing about the Trump appeal that wasn’t rooted in the usual demonization of poor black and brown people.”

    I disagree. There was nothing about it that wasn’t rooted in the demonization of The Other, but included in that group are feminists of all colors and any liberals who don’t belong to the previously mentioned groups — indeed, the anti-feminism might well be the strongest element in their litany of resentment.

    No matter how many incidents occur, it doesn’t mean that everybody who voted for Trump did so because they’re racist. The African-American and Latino voting percentages for Trump were virtually identical to the percentages for Romney.

    I think our apparent disagreement might be over how aware these people are of their racism. They don’t think they’re racists, and I think many of them would reject direct racist appeals. I know Atwater’s formula still holds, but remember, we’re 30 years on — the younger racists have grown up with these camouflaged appeals that talk about schools and taxes instead of people. This is a change from the racism of my generation. Today’s racists take offense if you call them racist. In the ’60s and ’70s, racists were proud of their racism. I wouldn’t call it progress, but it does require different strategies to combat it.

    These people aren’t wrong about being screwed. They have just been misled about who’s to blame.

    I agree with your point about voting for change agents; that’s what was behind Sanders’ appeal, too.

  5. speaktruth200

    Trump was a terrible candidate…but Hilary and the democrats refused the 50 state strategy and fake news on Hilary doomed her. Democrats better start acting like democrats before Bill Clinton or continue to lose.

  6. speaktruth200

    Sanders was the better candidate and could have won except for the corporate democrats, the DNC and media early on putting a knife in his back at every turn. Hilary was/is no progressive, her baggage was to heavy even for many democrats. The younger folks didn’t trust her (a warmonger) and stood with Bernie. While Bernies rallies garnered thousands, Hilary y could barely muster hundreds, the writing was on the wall but the polls didn’t prove it..

  7. No matter how many incidents occur, it doesn’t mean that everybody who voted for Trump did so because they’re racist.

    Which, of course, is how you move the goalposts of the discussion. Plus the “Not all Trump voters…..”. I certainly never said everyone who voted for Trump was racist. Nor does any of the data I presented (or in the WaPo article) claim that all Trump voters are racist. But this is how these discussions go — we end up having the racial discussion that white folks can tolerate. The one where you get to approve the inventory of racists.

    • One more comment —
      There was nothing about it that wasn’t rooted in the demonization of The Other, but included in that group are feminists of all colors and any liberals who don’t belong to the previously mentioned groups

      This is definitely true — he push back on political correctness etc. But part of the play here is that certain white people experience their economic distress as an attack on or just a loss of their privilege. So there is no doubt that there were other targets in the grievance parade. There will likely be studies on that too, but for now the data coming out certainly points to the racial discomfort of these voters.

    • Sorry, wasn’t trying to move the goalposts, but I can see where I did.

      The point I’m trying to make is that they don’t just hate the blacks, the browns and the women. They hate the white men who support them, and the corporations that embrace inclusiveness — they hate modern America, and can afford to because in many of the places that they live modern America doesn’t exist. In short, they hate damn near everything, and Trump demonized all of it for them.

      I think racism is a constant in this country, and attributing any individual election loss to it is undoubtedly true but also insufficient alone as an explanation, because sometimes Democrats win despite it.

      • Racism is not the sole reason the election was lost, but this is data that pretty much confounds the whole wringing our hands over white working class people. My theory is that Steve Bannon found the thread to be able to get the 77+K votes that flipped a few normally blue states. And the rhetoric that captured them was around working the open wound that is all of the white grievance. Democrats win in spite of it because the racism isn’t always front and center in a campaign. There are other choices being offered by candidates. Certainly, though, Reagan Democrats are a creation of Lee Atwater — who was skilled at largely dog whistling the politics of white grievance. Donald Trump didn’t need to dog whistle — it helped him find the tens of thousand of votes he needed to capture the Electoral College.

        And while Trump is busily getting on the agenda of the local oligarchy ( contra to campaign promises) he can keep enough of the nationalist bullshit to make these folks think that he is still on their side.

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