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Sympathy for the Trump supporter

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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17 November 2018 10:20
 

Do you eat relatively often at a place like Texas de Brazil, then wander the courtyard storefronts of Talbots, L.L. Bean, J. Crew, and Nordstrom, having driven there in, say, a Subaru Outback from a house on two acres in a wooded neighborhood in the heart of town, where the professionals live?  Or do you eat out as a rare special treat at a place like Red Lobster, wandering the Mall afterwards, maybe getting an ice cream, having driven there in a Ford Focus from a brick ranch somewhere on the outskirts of town, in the county where the civil servants, middle managers, and laborers live?  These two nights out represent “class” in American, and though it makes no sense to define these two bodies as possessed of and subject to differential power, it does make perfect sense to understand them in terms of two widely divergent sensibilities, priorities, and—if you will—cultures.  For both nights out represent a world unto itself, one with a tremendous but largely unfortunate overlap the consequences of which get expressed on election-day.  And in 2016, we saw just how divided and different these two overlapping class-worlds are.

Voters in the Red Lobster demographic overwhelmingly voted for Trump in the primaries, and it is crucial to focus on the primaries in order to understand the Trump supporter because that is where the heart of the Trump supporter lays (for once Trump won the primary, the loyalty module kicked in and all Republicans fell in line, as they tend to do).  Anyway, Trump overwhelmingly carried this Red Lobster demographic—white, middle-income, rural and small-town, even suburban, sometimes urban; the very class that couldn’t possibly afford to eat at Texas de Brazil or shop at Talbots or L.L. Bean.  This demographic is the median to middle income crowd. Its denizens don’t (or rarely do) have college degrees, and they used to be able to count on high-paying, good-benefit manufacturing jobs, but now they count on managing the stores and restaurants that both they themselves but also the other class shops and eats in, or on working for less in the remaining plants, or on working on cars and fixing pipes and HVACs in both their own and all the nicer houses.  These two demographics thus live in entirely different worlds while inhabiting more or less the same economic geography; they interact daily, in fact, with one class—the Red Lobster crowd—making the world of the other class possible (or at least functional).  In any case, Trump overwhelming carried the vote of the Red Lobster class, and this is because, I think, of the class dynamics at work between the haves of the Texas de Brazilers versus the relative have-nots of the Red Lobsters.

Specifically, across the board—Republican and Democrat—the Texas de Brazil class tends to be either utterly indifferent to or implicitly contemptuous of the Red Lobster class.  This is reflected in more than just individual, personal attitudes, which for their part—when encounters occur—can be amicable enough.  It’s reflected in the cosmopolitan values that come with intellectual labor, which rub against the emphasis on local roots essential to small communities.  It’s reflected in the never ending emphasis in a service economy on a college degree; in the prejudice that to make something of yourself, you actually need to go to college.  It’s reflected in the status implied every time someone from the “upper” class takes a complaint to the store manager, or asks for an upgrade to a hotel room, or complains that the HVAC repair is just way too expensive.  It’s implied in the very structure of one strata being affluent and promoting its own affluence as the best way of life, with the other strata working to make that affluence possible without participating one iota in it. And it’s the implicit self-assurance that the Texas de Brazil way of life is the best way of life that daily represents to the Red Lobster class that its way of life is a settling for second best, at best, but more conspicuously that it’s a sign of failure—a failure to achieve in an economy that increasingly values intellectual labor as opposed to just labor.  This indifference or implicit contempt could be said to define the differences between the two American classes.

The consequence of this defining difference is expressed in the rise of Trump.  Despite all his reprehensible qualities, he represents a complete revolt against the self-infatuated, self-congratulatory Texas de Brazil class.  In other words, there is no reason to presume that most Trump supporters love Trump because of his reprehensible defects, that they share his bigotry, his xenophobia, or his misogyny, etc.  Some of them of course do, but no one says Clinton supporters love Clinton because she’s a sleaze and a liar.  Instead, what the majority see, I suspect, is that more than any other candidate in the history of modern candidates, Trump represents a wrecking ball of the established order, a wrecking ball of the order that they—rightly so—feels neglects and even disdains them.  Liberal culture, political correctness, Republican elitism, the welfare state, cosmopolitanism—Trump is mocked and/or despised by all who value these things, even as he mocks and despises these values and those valuing them.  And that, I think, is heart of Trump’s appeal.  He says—never mind his sincerity; voters are universally gullible—that he’s going to “Make America Great” again, and they hear in that a validation that a special night out at Red Lobster and a trip to the Mall because you couldn’t possibly afford “better” is nothing to be ashamed of.  Like the appeal of Clinton who said, in effect, “I feel your pain,” they see in Trump—wrongly, of course, but again, gullibility is universal—someone who hears theirs; someone who will relate to their feeling of neglect and the implicit shame in their daily commerce with the Texas de Brazil class.  And Trump is so bereft of all the sensibilities and mannerisms of the Texas de Brazil class—remember, both Democrats and Republicans make up this class—that the Red Lobster class believes in him; they believe he speaks for them.  Never mind that he doesn’t.  Of all the candidates in the primaries he was the only one who talked the talk, and the fact that he is the antithesis of both the liberal and the conservative denizens they see as either indifferent or disdainful of them sealed the deal.  The rise of Trump is the expression of an indifference and implicit humiliation of one “class” in America being left behind, neglected, and forgotten in a changing economy that increasingly—and irrevocably—benefits another class, through highly educated, intellectual labor, not just labor.  And with this all the cultural, economic, and society trappings that come along with that transformation.

So, why hate on the Trump supporter? Why not have sympathy with them?  Most of them are just your rural and small town neighbors, or even your urban and suburban denizens, who live more a less a month to month existence filled with uncertainty, economic hardship, and daily reminders of not-having what those whose comforts their labor makes possible have.  The Trump supporter lives in an entirely different world than the Texas de Brazil class, even as they inhabit the same geography and have to live with daily economic and cultural reminders that their way of life is second best, a settling, or even a failure.  Who, in this state, wouldn’t vote for a wrecking-ball of the established order, despite his defects?  Who would instead vote for one of the other candidates, who without exception were just another liberal or conservative degree-toting establishment elitist whose rhetoric and promises have nothing to do with them?  Trump is reprehensible as a human being, but more than that he’s a politician, and as a politician Trump represents to his supporters hope—hope that someone will listen to their needs, that someone will make their lives easier, and minimally, that someone will offset the implicit denigration of their way of life by those who benefit most from it.  That hope is obviously misplaced, and it is just waiting to be picked up by someone who genuinely does care (are you listening, Democrats?).  But either way this hope explains why Trump supporters support Trump.  He’s hope against an established order that they think (accurately) has forgotten and dismissed them.

[ Edited: 18 November 2018 04:43 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
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17 November 2018 13:25
 

While the above analysis may describe many Trump voters, the situation is much more complex.  Most of the Trump voters I know personally are well-to-do evangelicals who could afford to eat just about anywhere.  Another is a wealthy iconoclast type.  Yet another is an aging rock musician who listens to too much Alex Jones.  Logically, the idea that white lower and middle class voters resent the wealthy seems as if it would work against Trump.  After all, he is flamboyantly rich, the owner of expensive exclusive clubs, as well as a graduate of an business school at an ivy league college.  He just talks like an unpolished character. 

But yes, Democratic candidates can only win if they focus on issues that help working class voters.

[ Edited: 17 November 2018 13:47 by hannahtoo]
 
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17 November 2018 15:11
 
hannahtoo - 17 November 2018 01:25 PM

While the above analysis may describe many Trump voters, the situation is much more complex.  Most of the Trump voters I know personally are well-to-do evangelicals who could afford to eat just about anywhere.  Another is a wealthy iconoclast type.  Yet another is an aging rock musician who listens to too much Alex Jones.  Logically, the idea that white lower and middle class voters resent the wealthy seems as if it would work against Trump.  After all, he is flamboyantly rich, the owner of expensive exclusive clubs, as well as a graduate of an business school at an ivy league college.  He just talks like an unpolished character. 

But yes, Democratic candidates can only win if they focus on issues that help working class voters.

Oh no doubt there are affluent Trump supporters.  Some just because he’s their man—a Republican, so they fall in line; others because they too are disillusioned and want a wrecking ball (a friend of mine, a physician, who yes, could eat anywhere).  And three in my wife’s office (all highly paid professionals) are also evangelical Trump supporters.  I by no means want to imply that my analysis and the motives I lay out cover all Trump supporters.  Just those it describes.  There are plenty of evangelicals and others who embrace him because they think he will support legislation they like, and so forth.  But I am guessing this faction of his support is for Trump’s political identity as a Republican, not so much his identity as a revolt against the Texas de Brazil class.

Regarding his wealth, yes, that could go against him, but it could also work for him as well.  By his gaudiness Trump is a poor person’s idea of a rich man, and I’m sure his supporters want to be as rich as he is, and they are not going to hold it against him if he’s clawed and worked his way to wealth (Trump’s self-portrait, however false).  And they are not going to resent his wealth especially if that same man is a revolt against the self-satisfied affluence they do resent (and resent because that class seems to ignore or disdain them).  In other words, the Red Lobster Class does not resent wealth per se, or wealthy people; they like wealth.  What they resent is the self-satisfied wealth that tacitly diminishes their way of working towards it, in whatever portion they can eek out.  So on balance I think Trump’s wealth is far less an issue for the Red Lobster Class than, say, Hillary Clinton’s, which is far less but in their eyes earned by sleazy political means.  And it may even work in his favor, as an emblem of being a success they admire—in short, a winner.

As a food for thought, I put it to you this way: which Trump supporters characterized by those among the leftist elite are said to be supporting him because they are bigots, racists, misogynists, xenophobes, and what not—the white physician Christian wearing Nordstrom clothes who lives in a nice neighborhood, or those working class Americans who wear Walmart and attend his rallies?  Or better yet those obvious imbeciles paraded around by The Daily Show, who obviously come from the Red Lobster class and who come to represent the whole class by proxy?  That’s the image that gets called, denigratingly, “the Trump supporter,” not the nuanced reality of those who support him.  So in the end I agree with you completely that the phenomena is complex.  Now if only the leftist elite would see it that way, as though they were anything but ordinary Americans with hopes for a better life, just like anyone else. 

 

[ Edited: 18 November 2018 05:51 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
Cheshire Cat
 
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17 November 2018 15:15
 

You’ve made many good points.

However, you neglected to mention the importance of Bernie Sanders. Bernie appealed to many of the same voters who voted for Trump: blue collar, lower-middle class voters who are struggling to keep up with the increasing cost of healthcare, housing and just about everything else.

Many of these voters hated Hillary because Bill Clinton had signed NAFTA which basically eliminated manufacturing in the US, but they would have voted for Bernie. Of course, the Democratic Establishment, the Hillary Clinton political machine and the news media itself, all did their best to marginalize Sanders. And it worked. I remember watching the Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC, a so-called liberal network, and seeing a live camera at at Trump rally showing an empty podium for ten minutes. WTF. I barely remember any coverage of Sanders’ rallies, on MSNBC or anywhere else, and I voted for him and would have liked to have see it.

The media, both liberal and conservative, gave Trump millions of dollars worth of free air time because Trump got ratings and made their sponsors happy. Trump is the bastard child of the news media itself, even though the Frankenstein monster they helped created has turned on them.

 
 
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17 November 2018 15:21
 
Cheshire Cat - 17 November 2018 03:15 PM

You’ve made many good points.

However, you neglected to mention the importance of Bernie Sanders. Bernie appealed to many of the same voters who voted for Trump: blue collar, lower-middle class voters who are struggling to keep up with the increasing cost of healthcare, housing and just about everything else.

Many of these voters hated Hillary because Bill Clinton had signed NAFTA which basically eliminated manufacturing in the US, but they would have voted for Bernie. Of course, the Democratic Establishment, the Hillary Clinton political machine and the news media itself, all did their best to marginalize Sanders. And it worked. I remember watching the Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC, a so-called liberal network, and seeing a live camera at at Trump rally showing an empty podium for ten minutes. WTF. I barely remember any coverage of Sanders’ rallies, on MSNBC or anywhere else, and I voted for him and would have liked to have see it.

The media, both liberal and conservative, gave Trump millions of dollars worth of free air time because Trump got ratings and made their sponsors happy. Trump is the bastard child of the news media itself, even though the Frankenstein monster they helped created has turned on them.

Thank you.  I don’t know anything about a crossover between Sanders and Trump voters, so I defer to you on it.  All I can think of on that is that Sanders too promised to give them something, he spoke to them; thus they would have voted for him, had he been a candidate. 

Also, what you say here goes even further than what I said to paint the Trump supporter in a positive light.  For those that supported Sanders could hardly be called misogynists, bigots, xenophobes and what not.  So, to my mind, any crossover between Trump and Sanders voters testifies to their sincerity of just wanting a better life, as opposed to admiring all the deplorable traits in the man.

[ Edited: 17 November 2018 15:31 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
hannahtoo
 
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17 November 2018 15:55
 

AP:
As a food for thought, I put it to you this way: which Trump supporters characterized by those among the leftist elite are said to be supporting him because they are bigots, racists, misogynists, xenophobes, and what not—the white physician Christian wearing Nordstrom clothes who lives in a nice neighborhood, or those working class Americans who wear Walmart and attend his rallies?  Or better yet those obvious imbeciles paraded around by The Daily Show , who obviously come from the Red Lobster Class and who come to represent the whole class by proxy?  That’s the image that gets called, denigratingly, “the Trump supporter,” not the nuanced reality of those who support him.  So in the end I agree with you completely that the phenomena is complex.  Now if only the leftist elite would see it that way, as though they were anything but ordinary Americans with hopes for a better life, just like anyone else.

I agree with you that the dregs of the Trump supporters are very often portrayed as the norm.  Yet both sides generally demonize each other, to be fair.  Democrats are portrayed as wanting “open borders” and socialism, with Antifa as the vanguard. 

I just visited with a dear friend from San Francisco and her daughter.  I spent some time trying to convince her that Trumpers weren’t overall dumber than Democrats. The problem stems from the top.  Trump continually says very stupid things stupidly.  Today I heard him commenting from CA on land management to reduce fire danger, and his solution was literally about raking leaves.  Then he vaguely compared the situation to forests in Norway, which of course have completely different weather patterns and plant communities than California.  It’s like Trump can’t get his thoughts together to make coherent points.  Argh…

I tend to bristle a bit at the term “elites.”  Yes, there are educated people who look down on others.  But being college educated doesn’t necessary translate into being wealthy, nor condescending.  Many have a bend toward social justice or just progressive ideas.

[ Edited: 17 November 2018 16:04 by hannahtoo]
 
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17 November 2018 16:32
 
hannahtoo - 17 November 2018 03:55 PM

I tend to bristle a bit at the term “elites.”  Yes, there are educated people who look down on others.  But being college educated doesn’t necessary translate into being wealthy, nor condescending.  Many have a bend toward social justice or just progressive ideas.

Fair enough.  I tend to use it pejoratively for those who have education and elevated social status but who abuse both by looking down on others, not as a descriptor for the educated and well-off as such.  I am educated and well off but I am no elite.  My sympathies and sensitivities are (as far as I can tell) almost entirely contrary to my “class,” as measured by education, SES, and career choice (though social work, I suppose, is hardly a prestigious profession, even though it requires in my case an advanced degree). 

Yes, Trump does his supporters no favors by the example he sets.  The man is singularly stupid, and this fact alone took some soul searching on my own part in order to sympathize with those who support him.  I mean, it’s so obvious to me what he is, so how, I presumed—errantly—could anyone else really see him otherwise and still be rational? Mea culpa on that error.  There is more to political identity than rationality (which is hard for me to understand because I identify politically no more than I identify religiously, which is to say, not at all).  Yet I try to sympathize with both.

Yes, both sides demonize, and it seems, sadly, to be getting worse. This thread is my attempted antidote to one of those demonizations.  The defenders of the opposition are so common—and to my mind obvious—that they need little reiteration.

(As a personal aside, this is the first time you have replied to me directly.  May I note how pleased I am?  I have admired your posts here as enviously sensible without all the rigamarole I have to put myself through to get to a similar place.)

[ Edited: 17 November 2018 16:35 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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18 November 2018 05:25
 

We should all behave with dignity. Nobody should be shamed for their dining choices. I’ll concede that much. That said:

I’ve had grave reservations about Barack Obama and Bill Clinton during their respective terms but at no point was I tempted to blame Republicans for provoking people into vote for them. Responsibility for the elevation of elected leaders rests upon the caucus that nominated them and the citizens that voted them in. Everything else is, in my opinion speculative and retrospective psycho analysis. Inexpensive. Interchangeable. Both sides play that game. I think it cancels out without too much reflection. Pardon if that’s too abrupt.

Trump made his case by blaming everyone and everything but himself and he still does that. I’m not inclined to add fuel to that tank. He is responsible. The people who put him into power are responsible. As am I, respectively. As are we. I think we absolutely have to start there. All else is backpedaling.

 
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18 November 2018 05:40
 
Brick Bungalow - 18 November 2018 05:25 AM

We should all behave with dignity. Nobody should be shamed for their dining choices. I’ll concede that much. That said:

I’ve had grave reservations about Barack Obama and Bill Clinton during their respective terms but at no point was I tempted to blame Republicans for provoking people into vote for them. Responsibility for the elevation of elected leaders rests upon the caucus that nominated them and the citizens that voted them in. Everything else is, in my opinion speculative and retrospective psycho analysis. Inexpensive. Interchangeable. Both sides play that game. I think it cancels out without too much reflection. Pardon if that’s too abrupt.

Trump made his case by blaming everyone and everything but himself and he still does that. I’m not inclined to add fuel to that tank. He is responsible. The people who put him into power are responsible. As am I, respectively. As are we. I think we absolutely have to start there. All else is backpedaling.

I don’t think it’s too abrupt, but I don’t know what you are saying, so I don’t know how to reply.  If you are linking responsibility for the conduct of civic leaders to the calculus of consent that put them there, sure, that’s a point of view, but I don’t see much utility in assigning blame or credit to swaths of anonymous voters based on their voting preferences.  Since there is no practical connection between consequences and a remedy, what would be the point? 

By the logic of democratic governance all citizens are responsible for their elected leaders in a tautologically political sense.  But can they then be indicted for war crimes if their leaders conduct an unjust war?  Are they therefore legitimate targets for bombing by an enemy combatant?  Just what real consequences are you assigning to this rather abstract partitioning of responsibility, and what real remedy emerges for doing something about it, save voting differently next time around and having the same apportioning of “blame” and “credit” assigned—again, to no apparent end?

 

[ Edited: 18 November 2018 05:53 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
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18 November 2018 07:44
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 17 November 2018 04:32 PM
hannahtoo - 17 November 2018 03:55 PM

I tend to bristle a bit at the term “elites.”  Yes, there are educated people who look down on others.  But being college educated doesn’t necessary translate into being wealthy, nor condescending.  Many have a bend toward social justice or just progressive ideas.

Fair enough.  I tend to use it pejoratively for those who have education and elevated social status but who abuse both by looking down on others, not as a descriptor for the educated and well-off as such.  I am educated and well off but I am no elite.  My sympathies and sensitivities are (as far as I can tell) almost entirely contrary to my “class,” as measured by education, SES, and career choice (though social work, I suppose, is hardly a prestigious profession, even though it requires in my case an advanced degree). 

Yes, Trump does his supporters no favors by the example he sets.  The man is singularly stupid, and this fact alone took some soul searching on my own part in order to sympathize with those who support him.  I mean, it’s so obvious to me what he is, so how, I presumed—errantly—could anyone else really see him otherwise and still be rational? Mea culpa on that error.  There is more to political identity than rationality (which is hard for me to understand because I identify politically no more than I identify religiously, which is to say, not at all).  Yet I try to sympathize with both.

Yes, both sides demonize, and it seems, sadly, to be getting worse. This thread is my attempted antidote to one of those demonizations.  The defenders of the opposition are so common—and to my mind obvious—that they need little reiteration.

(As a personal aside, this is the first time you have replied to me directly.  May I note how pleased I am?  I have admired your posts here as enviously sensible without all the rigamarole I have to put myself through to get to a similar place.)

(First, thank you for your kind words…)

Another anecdote to illustrate the point discussed here:  My brother-in-law has a CV which seems to fit an elite.  He came from a wealthy family, with father a successful businessman, and mother an Ivy League professor.  He attended Ivy League colleges himself and became a doctor who also innovated medical tech, which made him a multi-millionaire.  He lives in a very upscale area, owns electric cars, and recently installed solar-electric panels on his roof.  He also owns properties at a resort in the mountain west.  He is definitely a Democrat. 

Interesting to me recently was his reaction to the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic of Freddie Mercury of Queen. After enjoying the movie with relatives, including me, we got into a discussion of homosexuality.  My BIL and I agreed that we’d hardly known about the topic in grade school, certainly never met any homosexuals until college or later.  BIL stated that he was uncomfortable watching the men kiss in the movie, though he definitely felt they had every right to express their desires and live their lives as they did.  As a matter of fact, BIL was one of the physicians who was willing to treat AIDS patients before the virus was confirmed as the cause.  Some of his colleagues had refused.

So here is a man who is an “elite” in his CV, a progressive in his voting, yet he admits to a personal discomfort with picturing gay sex (even the chaste kisses in the movie).  I venture that this is due to nature as well as nurture.  What is different in social conservatives versus liberal is their nurture.  Their conservative social group reinforces any natural distaste they may feel. 

My point is that the US is dealing with multiple deep-seated emotional issues at this time—sexuality and gender, in-group vs out-group, rights and responsibilities, long-term vs short-term benefits, etc.!  The way forward is unclear, but certainly talking and, especially, listening and reflecting is needed for any positive outcomes.

 
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18 November 2018 10:53
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 18 November 2018 05:40 AM
Brick Bungalow - 18 November 2018 05:25 AM

We should all behave with dignity. Nobody should be shamed for their dining choices. I’ll concede that much. That said:

I’ve had grave reservations about Barack Obama and Bill Clinton during their respective terms but at no point was I tempted to blame Republicans for provoking people into vote for them. Responsibility for the elevation of elected leaders rests upon the caucus that nominated them and the citizens that voted them in. Everything else is, in my opinion speculative and retrospective psycho analysis. Inexpensive. Interchangeable. Both sides play that game. I think it cancels out without too much reflection. Pardon if that’s too abrupt.

Trump made his case by blaming everyone and everything but himself and he still does that. I’m not inclined to add fuel to that tank. He is responsible. The people who put him into power are responsible. As am I, respectively. As are we. I think we absolutely have to start there. All else is backpedaling.

I don’t think it’s too abrupt, but I don’t know what you are saying, so I don’t know how to reply.  If you are linking responsibility for the conduct of civic leaders to the calculus of consent that put them there, sure, that’s a point of view, but I don’t see much utility in assigning blame or credit to swaths of anonymous voters based on their voting preferences.  Since there is no practical connection between consequences and a remedy, what would be the point? 

By the logic of democratic governance all citizens are responsible for their elected leaders in a tautologically political sense.  But can they then be indicted for war crimes if their leaders conduct an unjust war?  Are they therefore legitimate targets for bombing by an enemy combatant?  Just what real consequences are you assigning to this rather abstract partitioning of responsibility, and what real remedy emerges for doing something about it, save voting differently next time around and having the same apportioning of “blame” and “credit” assigned—again, to no apparent end?

I may have misunderstood. I thought part of your OP was the trope about how liberals are elitist and look down their noses at conservatives and therefore conservative voters are, in some sense justified in voting for someone like Trump. If that wasn’t implied I apologize.

 
EN
 
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18 November 2018 16:29
 

I’ve been to Red Lobster, and I’ve been to Texas de Brazil.  Texas de Brazil is better.  Same for the politics.

 
hannahtoo
 
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18 November 2018 16:36
 

Maybe I need to try that Texas place.  But there’s only one in my state, and it’s 70 miles away.  We do have Red Lobster close by…

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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18 November 2018 17:40
 
Brick Bungalow - 18 November 2018 10:53 AM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 18 November 2018 05:40 AM
Brick Bungalow - 18 November 2018 05:25 AM

We should all behave with dignity. Nobody should be shamed for their dining choices. I’ll concede that much. That said:

I’ve had grave reservations about Barack Obama and Bill Clinton during their respective terms but at no point was I tempted to blame Republicans for provoking people into vote for them. Responsibility for the elevation of elected leaders rests upon the caucus that nominated them and the citizens that voted them in. Everything else is, in my opinion speculative and retrospective psycho analysis. Inexpensive. Interchangeable. Both sides play that game. I think it cancels out without too much reflection. Pardon if that’s too abrupt.

Trump made his case by blaming everyone and everything but himself and he still does that. I’m not inclined to add fuel to that tank. He is responsible. The people who put him into power are responsible. As am I, respectively. As are we. I think we absolutely have to start there. All else is backpedaling.

I don’t think it’s too abrupt, but I don’t know what you are saying, so I don’t know how to reply.  If you are linking responsibility for the conduct of civic leaders to the calculus of consent that put them there, sure, that’s a point of view, but I don’t see much utility in assigning blame or credit to swaths of anonymous voters based on their voting preferences.  Since there is no practical connection between consequences and a remedy, what would be the point? 

By the logic of democratic governance all citizens are responsible for their elected leaders in a tautologically political sense.  But can they then be indicted for war crimes if their leaders conduct an unjust war?  Are they therefore legitimate targets for bombing by an enemy combatant?  Just what real consequences are you assigning to this rather abstract partitioning of responsibility, and what real remedy emerges for doing something about it, save voting differently next time around and having the same apportioning of “blame” and “credit” assigned—again, to no apparent end?

I may have misunderstood. I thought part of your OP was the trope about how liberals are elitist and look down their noses at conservatives and therefore conservative voters are, in some sense justified in voting for someone like Trump. If that wasn’t implied I apologize.

Oh no need to apologize.  I think your post was well within the bounds of a civil reply.

And no, absolutely not on the trope.  In fact—and perhaps I should have stressed this more—both liberal and conservative Texas de Brazil classers are indifferent to or look down upon the Red Lobster class.  That is why I focus on the Republican primaries.  Even within their own party the Red Lobster class’ embrace of Trump as a revolt against the (bipartisan!) “elites” shows through.  So by all means we are not talking about liberals as elites looking down their noses at conservatives.  It’s about both liberals and conservatives in looking down their noses at the Red Lobster class.  That’s why they embrace Trump.

 

[ Edited: 18 November 2018 18:17 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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18 November 2018 17:43
 

I like both.  Red Lobster because I was raised in the Red Lobster class, and it was a special treat on our birthdays (that was the only time we ate out).  Texas de Brazil because it’s some damn good steak and one whopping good cold bar.  Our nearest is much further, but we go there on the way home after an annual race we run (our treat to ourselves).  It’s just too expensive for anything regular.  Fortunately it’s also too far.

[ Edited: 18 November 2018 18:19 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
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18 November 2018 18:01
 

hannahtoo Posted: 18 November 2018 07:44

My point is that the US is dealing with multiple deep-seated emotional issues at this time—sexuality and gender, in-group vs out-group, rights and responsibilities, long-term vs short-term benefits, etc.!  The way forward is unclear, but certainly talking and, especially, listening and reflecting is needed for any positive outcomes.

Exactly.  The political thymos is complex, always more complex than the abbreviations we transact in to understand it in the public sphere.  For my part I am unclear how to even bring the required nuance to the discussion.

 

 
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