blueollie

Thinking about poverty…

This was a 2014 Alternet article about poverty. That, plus reading some of the status updates of some of my friends helps me have a better understanding.

This is why: yes, there were times when I was short on money. But these were usually “between guaranteed jobs” times or “graduate student” times; one still had health insurance and still knew that a job was on the way. That makes a difference.

And of the poor people I actually know: well, many families have that “one or two” deadbeats that just mooches off of everyone else. They had the same parents, often had the same opportunities (and even got degrees in some cases) and even got the same inheritances …and blew it. Some sat by you in school. Others even had parents who made six figure incomes. And yet they failed and continue to fail, no matter how many times they are bailed out.

But this is the hazard of extrapolating from what one knows; it just doesn’t work that way for many of the working poor.

Workout notes: easy 5 mile walk at my “quick pace” outside. I felt yesterday’s leg workout.

March 19, 2017 Posted by | political/social, poverty, social/political, walking | Leave a comment

Understanding different types of Trump supporters

Yes, I admit that there are some Trump supporters that do fall into the “basket of deplorables”; there is no denying that. No, it isn’t half of them but it is certainly some of them.

I’ll focus on the more mainstream ones.

One group includes the poorly educated, “lower middle class to poor” Trump supporters. Yes, Trumpcare and many of Trump’s proposed economic policies will hurt them more than most. So what is going on? This appears to be the best explanation I’ve read.

This is my summary of the article: yes, the repeal of Obamacare and the cutting of safety-nets (including Medicaid) hurts them. Cutting “Meals on Wheels” hurts the elderly in the region as well.

But: what these people really want is for the long lost jobs to return; jobs with health insurance and retirement plans (both indirectly subsidized by the government in terms of tax breaks). Government run safety nets…those are yucky programs that “other people” rely on:

Why are economically struggling blue collar voters rejecting a party that offers to expand public safety net programs? The reality is that the bulk of needy white voters are not interested in the public safety net. They want to restore their access to an older safety net, one much more generous, dignified, and stable than the public system – the one most well-employed voters still enjoy. […]

ike most of my neighbors I have a good job in the private sector. Ask my neighbors about the cost of the welfare programs they enjoy and you will be greeted by baffled stares. All that we have is “earned” and we perceive no need for government support. Nevertheless, taxpayers fund our retirement saving, health insurance, primary, secondary, and advanced education, daycare, commuter costs, and even our mortgages at a staggering public cost. Socialism for white people is all-enveloping, benevolent, invisible, and insulated by the nasty, deceptive notion that we have earned our benefits by our own hand.

My family’s generous health insurance costs about $20,000 a year, of which we pay only $4,000 in premiums. The rest is subsidized by taxpayers. You read that right. Like virtually everyone else on my block who isn’t old enough for Medicare or employed by the government, my family is covered by private health insurance subsidized by taxpayers at a stupendous public cost. Well over 90% of white households earning over the white median income (about $75,000) carried health insurance even before the Affordable Care Act. White socialism is nice if you can get it.

The article also describes the tax breaks we get for our pension plans.

When Democrats respond to job losses with an offer to expand the public safety net, blue collar voters cringe and rebel. They are not remotely interested in sharing the public social safety net experienced by minority groups and the poorest white families. Meanwhile well-employed and affluent voters, ensconced in their system of white socialism, leverage all the power at their disposal to block any dilution of their expensive public welfare benefits. Something has to break.

And so, Bernie like populism will flop with that group.

The business CEOs
I remember my days in the submarine Navy. Both the officers and the enlisted men came from the top of their respective groups, at least in terms of intelligence. As far as the officers I worked with: typically A engineering students in college who has done well in Nuclear Power school They were very hard workers (16-18 hours a day at sea, 12 or more in port) were typical, and they knew the technology (e. g. nuclear power plant) inside and out.

But with those hours and that focus…let’s just say there wasn’t time to focus on the finer points of social policy or macro economics; whatever matched their intuition sounded good.

Business CEOs are probably similar: very smart people who know their business and their industry inside and out…but probably not that interested in this that don’t directly relate to their business in the short term. Hence, to them, Trump indicates and end to the “class warfare” that Obama waged..finally…lower taxes and fewer regulations! So attitudes like this are probably common.

Oh, there are long term problems. For example, if income inequality gets to be so great that few people have disposable income left, who is going to buy their stuff? If regulations made businesses so unprofitable, why did CEO pay rise so steeply? What will happen if/when Trump either gets us in a war or a trade war?

But lots of 14-18 hour days doesn’t give one a lot of time to ponder things beyond their own narrow interest.

March 18, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, social/political | , | 1 Comment

Butts: less attention to hers, more attention to mine

Yeah, I’ve loved female butts for all of my post adolescent life. I still remember something from the 8’th grade, I believe. A female friend was sitting with me on the grass (she ran track and went on to be a Rams Cheerleader). She got up (in her tight jeans) and I teased her: “you’ve got grass all over your butt!” She said: “well, brush me off then…” and I about passed out. But I did my duty..and still remember it 44 years later.

I am open enough about it to teased about it by friends; from time to time my female friends send me joke memes about that.

But…all the while, I’ve neglected my own butt and the result is back pain, legs that get easily fatigued, etc. So I’ve been attempting to do something about it.

Today: I ran 6.07 miles in 1:05, doing a “5 minute froggy” for 50 minutes, then varying the speed after dropping back a bit, hitting 6 miles in 1:03:44. I was sweaty and out of breath and forced myself to do sets of 5 “goblet” squats:

0, 25, 45, 45, 50, 50, 60, 60. I made sure I “sat” below parallel then 10 x 270 on the leg press.

I was tempted to skip the final 2 sets with 60, but I saw the guy who won my AG in the trail half marathon (1:59, to my 3:02) and decided to finish all of them.

My back does feel better…we will see if this eventually translates into a better 5K run.

March 18, 2017 Posted by | butt, political humor, political/social, running, weight training | Leave a comment

Pitts: What if we just don’t like each other…

Today’s article by Leonard Pitts starts off as follows:

So this driver is stopped at an intersection. A pedestrian is dawdling in the crosswalk. Driver leans out the window and yells, “Get out of the street, you damned liberal!”

It’s been years since I read that in a magazine. I can’t remember if it was a true story, though I think it was. But even if only apocryphal, the picture it paints of American acrimony in the post-millennial years is true beyond mere facts.

As such, it leaves me questioning the likely impact of two recent well-intentioned pleas for ideological outreach. Joan Blades, co-founder of the liberal activist group Moveon.org, wrote an essay for The Christian Science Monitor, asking progressives to stretch beyond their left-wing comfort zones and “love thy neighbor.” And New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof warned the left against a tendency to “otherize” Donald Trump voters.

I’ve got no real argument with Kristof or Blades. It’s a noble gesture they’re making. It occurs to me, though, that none of this addresses a question that has come to seem obvious:

What if the problem is simply that we just don’t like each other?

As I’ve said often, our acrimony is not political. It’s not about tax rates, government regulation or even abortion rights. No, this is elemental. This is about the city versus the country, higher education versus a mistrust thereof, Christian fundamentalism versus secular humanism. And it is about social change versus status quo.

I recommend reading the rest.

That got me to thinking about some things I’ve seen and read.

1. Some time ago, a friend (fellow liberal) posted a photo of an old-to-middle-aged white guy with a restored antique 3-wheel vehicle …and talked about him being “a douche” though her only contact with him was, well that photo. Later I asked my wife if she had seen the photo….and she replied “of the creepy guy”?

2. I thought about my own reaction when I saw some elderly (ok, not THAT much older than I) men with a Trump hat or a Trump shirt. Yes, I felt a snarling contempt. I noted that I was in much, much better condition than they were…then I recalled I know some Trump voters who are my age (or slightly older) who can run and walk circles around me; in one case, his 100 mile walk pace would be a decent marathon walk pace for me.

But, yeah, I am as tribal as anyone else, though my “tribe” really isn’t purely political.

I have Republican friends, and by that I mean there are Republicans that I happily socialize with; one is a frequent, welcome dinner companion. I look forward to spending time with her.

BUT: she is secular, pro-gay rights, pro-choice, pro-science and very knowledgeable. She believes in public investment and knows that there is a time for a government to spend and at time for austerity (“basic macro”, she says). We have some disagreements on the degree to which businesses should be regulated and taxed. But we agree on quite a bit, especially on social values. Ok, ok, we disagree on some things too. 🙂

Then I think: what about the baseball and football games I attend? Almost every single time, I end up in a conversation with a fan about the game; I always enjoy these. And I can assure you, statistically speaking, at least some (most?) of those said fans vote differently than I do. But for the purposes of the game, we are in the same “tribe” (football or baseball fans)

I don’t know; maybe public events are a good way to bring different kinds of people together? After all, there really isn’t a black/white/conservative/liberal way to discuss the action in a football game.

Same thing with running races: I KNOW that many of my running/walking friends have different politics than I do. But our experiences..our way of encouraging each other to bring out the best in each other really isn’t partisan.

Workout notes
weights then a 4 mile walk (28:00 first 2, 26:41 second 2: 54:41 for 4).

Weights: rotator cuff
pull ups: 5 sets of 10…very careful in the “recovery” motion to protect my arm.
bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 8 x 170 (very conservative)
incline press: 10 x 135
military presses: standing, 10 x 50 dumbbell, 6 x 50 standing dumbbell, 10 x 45
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine
squats: lots of free squats, then 3 x 5 with 45, 2 x 50 goblet, 2 x 60 goblet
leg presses: 10 x 250
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts
headstand: ok, but was distracted getting into it.

March 14, 2017 Posted by | Friends, political/social, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

The unpopularity of the Democratic Party

Yes, President Trump has historically low approval ratings (for it being this early in his administration).

That is undeniable. (this graph is via Gallup).

But ..the Democratic party...rates even LOWER

Of course, the Bernie Bros are claiming “see, you need to become more like Bernie” and they cite articles like this one:

But what this apparently means to the people who are calling for unity is getting behind the corporate, suit and tie, lobbyist-driven agenda of the establishment. But let me break it to you – the establishment has almost no grassroots momentum. Virtually every progressive grassroots movement in America right now is fueled by people outside of the Democratic Party establishment and this is a huge reason why the party is so outrageously unpopular.

Huge grassroots movements, made up of millions and millions of people, are fueling the fight for a $15 minimum wage, fighting back against fossil fuels and the Dakota Access Pipeline, fighting to end fracking, fighting to remove lobbyist money from politics, fighting to end senseless wars and international violence, fighting for universal healthcare, fighting for the legalization of marijuana, fighting for free college tuition, fighting against systems of mass incarceration, and so much more. But mainstream Democrats aren’t really a central part of any of those battles, and, to be clear, each of those issues have deep networks, energized volunteers, and serious donors, but corporate Democrats virtually ignore them.

In the past two months, I’ve spoken in a dozen states around the country and thousands of people show up. Wednesday night, in the freezing rain, lines were wrapped around multiple city blocks to attend an event I was hosting at a local Seattle high school. We literally formed the event a few days ago on Facebook and didn’t spend a single penny putting it together.

This is a breath-taking amount of ignorance. Yes, “activists” really love those things and have energy. But a tiny percentage of people can be a lot of people in a country of 320 million. That, by no stretch of the imagination, translates into something the electorate will rally around.

Riddle me this: how did left wingers do in the past election? Example: Russ Feingold lost by a larger margin than Hillary Clinton did in Wisconsin.

While left wing populism might be very inspirational to a small percentage of the population, it really isn’t a winning political coalition:

On November 20, less than two weeks after Donald Trump’s upset win, Bernie Sanders strode onto a stage at Boston’s Berklee Performance Center to give the sold-out audience his thoughts on what had gone so disastrously wrong for the Democratic Party.

Sanders had a simple answer. Democrats, he said, needed to field candidates who would unapologetically promise that they would be willing “to stand up with the working class of this country and … take on big-money interests.”

Democrats, in other words, would only be able to defeat Trump and others like him if they adopted an anti-corporate, unabashedly left-wing policy agenda. The answer to Trump’s right-wing populism, Sanders argued, was for the left to develop a populism of its own.

That’s a belief widely shared among progressives around the world. A legion of commentators and politicians, most prominently in the United States but also in Europe, have argued that center-left parties must shift further to the left in order to fight off right-wing populists such as Trump and France’s Marine Le Pen. Supporters of these leaders, they argue, are motivated by a sense of economic insecurity in an increasingly unequal world; promise them a stronger welfare state, one better equipped to address their fundamental needs, and they will flock to the left.

“[It’s] a kind of liberal myth,” Pippa Norris, a Harvard political scientist who studies populism in the United States and Europe, says of the Sanders analysis. “[Liberals] want to have a reason why people are supporting populist parties when their values are so clearly against progressive values in terms of misogyny, sexism, racism.”

The problem is that a lot of data suggests that countries with more robust welfare states tend to have stronger far-right movements. Providing white voters with higher levels of economic security does not tamp down their anxieties about race and immigration — or, more precisely, it doesn’t do it powerfully enough. For some, it frees them to worry less about what it’s in their wallet and more about who may be moving into their neighborhoods or competing with them for jobs.

Yeah, left wing populism and a focus on the poor and economic injustice may have worked…in 1932 when unemployment was at 25 percent!

But the reality is:

1. Most do not care all that much about the Dakota Access Pipeline
2. Most have little in common with those who are at risk of losing their Obamacare insurance (and many of these ignorant jackasses voted for Trump)
3. Most of us earn well above the minimum wage
4. Most are not Muslim and most do not have Muslim friends
5. Most of us do not care whether someone is offended by someone else using the “wrong” pronoun.
6. Most of us did not go out and have a bunch of kids that we could not afford to raise.

In fact, much of left wing populism appears to be a transfer of money from those who have achieved to “the unworthy”.

Oh, there are many good reasons for those programs; I happen to believe that wealth trickles up through the economy and NOT down; when the bottom of the economic ladder is better off, the rest of us are are better off. Personally, I want more people to be able to afford to send their kids to my university and to patronize the neighborhood businesses. There is evidence that poor kids that get SNAP do better than those who don’t.

But that is a difficult sell, especially to people like me, who have been raised on The Ant and the Grasshopper.

But there is more from the Vox article quoted above:

When Corbyn took control of Labour leadership last September, UKIP — Britain’s far-right, anti-EU party — had been in decline, netting around 10 percent in the Britain Elects poll aggregator. By the June 2016 Brexit vote over whether to leave the EU, UKIP’s numbers had risen to a little over 15 percent.

Corbyn and Labour publicly supported staying in the EU, but didn’t campaign for it particularly hard. It may not have mattered: Eric Kaufmann, a professor at the University of London who studies populism, looked at what Brexit voters said were the “most important” issues facing the UK. More than 40 percent said immigration; a scant 5 percent said “poverty and inequality.”

According to Kaufmann, this reflects an uncomfortable truth: The kind of voter who’s attracted to the far right just doesn’t care a whole lot about inequality and redistribution, Corbyn’s signature issues. Tacking left to win them over, as Corbyn has, is “a bad idea,” he told me in a phone conversation.

Yes, this is the United States, not the UK. But:

This, they hypothesized, was not an accident. People are only willing to support redistribution if they believe their tax dollars are going to people they can sympathize with. White voters, in other words, don’t want to spend their tax dollars on programs that they think will benefit black or Hispanic people.

The United States is marked by far more racial division than its European peers. Poverty, in the minds of many white Americans, is associated with blackness. Redistribution is seen through a racial lens as a result. The debate over welfare and taxes isn’t just about money, for these voters, but rather whether white money should be spent on nonwhites. “Hostility between races limits support for welfare,” Alesina, Glaeser, and Sacerdote conclude flatly in the paper.

Now, it’s been a decade and a half since this paper was published, so it’s possible the evidence has shifted. I called up Sacerdote to ask him whether any subsequent research has caused him to change his mind. His answer was firmly negative. “It’s almost sad that it’s held up so well,” he told me.

And I see it as being grimmer than this.

Take public education. One would expect teachers to have to have a basic standard of literacy, right? Well, in New York, the public education establishment is about to do away with a literacy test for teachers because…too many minorities are not passing the test!

New York state is poised to scrap a literacy test for people trying to become teachers, in part because an outsized percentage of black and Hispanic candidates were failing.

The state Board of Regents on Monday is expected to adopt the recommendation of a task force to eliminate the exam, known as the Academic Literacy Skills Test.

Critics of the exam said it is redundant and a poor predictor of who will succeed as a teacher.

Backers of the test say eliminating it could put weak teachers in classrooms.

Just 46 percent of Hispanic and 41 percent of black test takers passed it on the first try, compared with 64 percent of white candidates.

The test was among four assessments for prospective teachers introduced in the 2013-2014 school year.

(note to conservatives who might be laughing: I hope you are equally outraged at attempts to give creationism “equal time” in science curricula).

And so it goes. It is bad enough that we have racism in our population, but then we go and lead with our chin with stupid stuff like this. Guess whose kids those illiterate teachers will be teaching?

Workout notes: home treadmill (snow outside): 10 minute jog, then 50 minutes of “quick walking”; 5 miles in just about 1 hour (maybe 1:00:20 or so).

March 13, 2017 Posted by | 2016, Democrats, political/social, politics, poverty, social/political, walking | Leave a comment

The capacity for introspection

I was reading a “vaguebook” lament by someone on Facebook and the person included the phrase “how do some people live with themselves”.

I thought about that.

I will not pretend that I don’t make mistakes; I happen to make a LOT of them. I’ve paid for some of these. And on occasion, my thoughtlessness or obliviousness might have hurt someone.

But one of the things I do reasonably well is that I examine myself: “what did I do? How could I have done better? What went well? What should I keep doing? How much of this problem that I am facing is my fault, and what do I have control over? What can (or should) I change?”

Now I won’t pretend that I’ve never faced unfairness; I have. But the vast majority of the unfairness that I’ve faced has been, in the great scheme of things, very isolated and trivial; I have to admit that the major trajectory of my life has NOT been significantly been affected by unfairness.

I also know that there are those who grew up in grinding poverty, faced abuses of varying degrees, were let down by those who should have protected them, been denied deserved promotions, faced racism or sexism, etc. Not of that applies to me but, sadly, it does apply to others.

BUT, I’ve noticed that there are those (e. g. our current POTUS, and yes, some people that I know personally) who seem incapable of even the least bit of introspection. They are good at describing at the wrongs done to them, sometimes embellishing them, and talking about how much they give to others.

But to examine THEMSELVES as for what THEY did wrong or the hurt they caused others: Not. Going. To. Happen.

There was a time I envied such people; after all, many of my errors continue to bother me; it seems as if I remember every failure, misdeed, dishonest act, etc. Ah…to believe that I’ve never done such things…wouldn’t that be great?

Well…yes our POTUS was born rich, but few are. Most have to endure the consequences of their lack of introspection…and surprise, surprise…many end up lonely and wondering “why don’t other people accept me? It must be that they can’t handle all of my positive attributes,”, “they cannot accept a strong, smart woman”, etc. Taking a look at themselves never even occurs to them. And it never will.

March 1, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | 1 Comment

Trump’s Bigly Address to Congress…

Well, the bar is so low that Trump got credit..for not calling anyone a loser or a hater. And yes, this speech was a 6’th grade version of what you’d expect Presidents to say, provided you didn’t want details, or if you overlook the lies and distortions. Here is a “Fact Check” via Factcheck.org (click the link for details).

In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Donald Trump stuck closely to his prepared remarks, but ran afoul of the facts in some cases.
Trump said the U.S. has spent $6 trillion in the Middle East and “with this $6 trillion we could have rebuilt our country.” The amount spent so far is $1.7 trillion, according to the Defense Department.

He cherry-picked the findings of a recent report, saying it found immigration costs U.S. taxpayers “billions of dollars a year.” The report said immigration “has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth.”
Trump said “94 million Americans are out of the labor force,” a figure that includes the retired, college students and stay-at-home parents. The vast majority — 88.5 million — said they didn’t want a job.

Trump said he would “promote clean air and clean water,” a vague claim that came hours after he had signed an executive order to roll back a 2015 “Clean Water Rule.”

And the president repeated claims we’ve fact-checked before on border security, welfare, job creation since he was elected, health insurance and crime. For instance, he said the U.S. left “our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross.” But the border patrol budget and number of agents have both doubled since 2001.

As far as goals: sure, some sound good (family leave, repair of infrastructure) and I hope he gives serious action on these. But how? Details were non-existent.

And as much as I want infrastructure repair, I remain deeply skeptical.

And I found his use of the widow to be disgusting. There are serious questions about that raid, and he has avoided taking responsibility.

But my guess is that this speech played well with those who supported him most strongly.

March 1, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Trump’s win: in part, due to sophisticated data mining…

No, I am not a fan of President Trump. I am not surprised that stuff like this is happening:

But Godat was surprised by the utter chaos that came with the president’s first month. He said it often felt like Trump and his staff were impulsively firing off executive orders instead of really thinking things through.

“I didn’t think he would come in blazing like he has,” said Godat, 39, who has three kids and works at the same aluminum rolling plant where his father worked. “It seems almost like a dictatorship at times. He’s got a lot of controversial stuff going on and rather than thinking it through, I’m afraid that he’s jumping into the frying pan with both feet.”

Uh, anyone who is surprised by Trump’s impulsiveness has not been paying attention.

However I have to give him credit for employing some very sophisticated technology to get his voters to the polls. This is a long read, but very interesting. In short, they could tell from my Facebook “likes” that targeting me would be a waste of time, but they knew exactly WHO to target for ads, and where, and what type of ads to use.

Give the Devil his Due: this was a very impressive operation.

February 28, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

The liberal way

There was a recent article about Fitbit and how its use did NOT seem to make people fitter, in general:

The trial took place at the University of Pittsburgh between 2010 and 2012, and it involved more than 470 adults between the ages of 18 and 35. All of them were put on a low-calorie diet, had group counseling sessions and were advised to increase their physical activity. Six months into the intervention, all were given telephone counseling sessions, text-message prompts and study materials online.

At that time, though, half were also given wearable tech devices that monitored their activity and connected to a website to help provide feedback. All participants were followed for 18 more months.

At the end of the two years, which is pretty long for a weight loss study, those without access to the wearable technology lost an average of 13 pounds. Those with the wearable tech lost an average of 7.7 pounds.

It’s hard for many to accept, so I’m going to state the results again: Those people who used the wearable tech for 18 months lost significantly less weight than those who didn’t.

You may rightfully point out that the primary reason to wear the devices isn’t to lose weight — it’s to be more active. But even in this respect, it didn’t work nearly as well as we might hope. In the IDEA trial, those who employed the technology were no more physically active than those who didn’t. They also weren’t more fit.

Now this is a very narrow demographic (18 to 35) and most of the people that I talk to or who use this are considerably older than 35 years old. And yes, one of the fans of the fitbit is ..my wife. Nevertheless, Paul Krugman weighed in:

Notice: instead of panning a study that gave a counterintuitive result, he looked for other reasons as to why HIS individual experience might have been different. That’s the liberal way.

Now about the other people: People have been showing up at town halls and letting their members of Congress, often Republicans, hear from them. Democracy in action, right? Uh..

no…

That’s pathetic, Mr. President.

Weather and workouts

Was it warm today, by “February in Illinois” standards. Evidently, we aren’t alone. We are having “April/May” stuff right now.

I took advantage to walk a hilly 5K at 14:27 mpm (Bradley Hill course). That was after weights:

rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, good), bench press (dumbbell) 10 x 70, 10 x 75, incline press: 10 x 135 (hips planted), military press: 10 x 50, 45, 40 (dumbbell), machine rows (10 x 110, 3 sets).
abs: 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, 12 twist crunches.

lots of free squats; then 5 x 45, 4 sets of 5 x 50 dumbbell goblet, 10 x 230 leg press. Butt is getting stronger.

Right shoulder: slightly sore; back; ache came back briefly while lying down.

February 22, 2017 Posted by | health care, political/social, republicans, republicans politics, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Is this storm here to stay?

1979:  The Great Red Spot, in the region of Jupiter which extends from the equator to the southern polar latitudes, as seen by the space probe Voyager 2.  (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

1979: The Great Red Spot, in the region of Jupiter which extends from the equator to the southern polar latitudes, as seen by the space probe Voyager 2. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

I know when there is a rainstorm, I think: “it can’t last forever”. Well, here is Jupiter’s “Red Spot”. It has been observed for 187 years and was thought to have been observed 350 years ago. Yeah, in terms of astronomical time scales, that is perhaps a nano-second. But it is a long time for a human.

And so I come to something that has been on my mind a LOT lately: our new “so-called” president.

Yes, in my bubble, Trump is an unmitigated disaster, headed for either impeachment, removal via the 25’th Amendment, or destined to resign because he wants to take his ball and go home.

Ah, I’d love that. But I really do not see that happening.

Yes, Trump’s numbers are at historic lows for someone this early into his administration. (40 percent by the Gallup). But he is at 86 percent among Republicans. And the reality is that many (most) who voted for Trump simply do not care about the things that we care about.

Now, I disagree with some of what is in this Isaac Simpson blog post, but there are some good observations here:

Here’s a fact you that might surprise you: most Trump voters do not care if he collaborated with Russia to take down Clinton. If that was what was necessary to destroy Washington, then it was worth it. Trumpians, many of whom have had their lives destroyed by Wall Street and by an establishment that, fairly or not, they connect directly to the MSM, are so angry that they’ve entered means-to-an-end mode.
To put yourself in the mind of a Trump voter, a good analog would be if a country known for meddling in American politics, let’s say Israel, had hacked the RNC on Hillary’s behalf, then exposed some corruption-containing RNC emails to the public. These emails were then used to defeat Trump. As a Hillary supporter, would you care? Would you really call for Hillary’s head?
The point is, if you think Trump supporters are going to be like Nixon supporters and lose faith in their candidate if it’s proven that he acted nefariously, think again. They won’t care. They’ll interpret a Trump impeachment as a nothing but a usurpation.

And many have lost trust in the mainstream media:

In Trump’s case, you have a paradigmatically anti-establishment candidate versus a powerful and brazenly biased media known to be as corrupt as the politicians it covers. The New York Times has admitted that it ignored Trump supporters during the election, and has essentially acknowledged its own bias. The people funneling money into politics are often the same ones who own the media companies that are doing the reporting, i.e. George Soros. It’s not a stretch to believe that MSM was so threatened by Trump that it spent tens of millions of dollars trying to find a way, any way, to take him down. By being outwardly hostile to the MSM, Trump, the ultimate outsider, baited them into this battle. If the MSM takes down Trump, it’s hard to see it as anything besides Goliath defeating David. And, no matter what the facts are, it will be Goliath defeating David in the mind of the Trump voter.

As incredulous as it sounds to me (and to most of my friends), Trumpkins view Trump as “David” rather than Goliath! (wrap your head around that one).

And Trump supporters really do think that he is doing a great job and simply do not understand what the problem is.

But less than one month into Trump’s term, many of his supporters say they once again feel under attack — perhaps even more so than before.

Those who journeyed to Trump’s Saturday evening event on Florida’s Space Coast said that since the election, they have unfriended some of their liberal relatives or friends on Facebook. They don’t understand why major media outlets don’t see the same successful administration they have been cheering on. And they’re increasingly frustrated that Democrats — and some Republicans — are too slow to approve some of the president’s nominees and too quick to protest his every utterance.

“They’re stonewalling everything that he’s doing because they’re just being babies about it,” said Patricia Melani, 56, a Jersey native who now lives here and attended her third Trump rally Saturday. “All the loudmouths? They need to let it go. Let it go. Shut their mouths and let the man do what he’s got to do. We all shut our mouths when Obama got in the second time around, okay? So that’s what really needs to be done.”

And hey, things have changed.

At last night’s Peoria Democrats Presidents Day Dinner, I hung out with a lot of like minded friends, and was shocked to learn that Trump carried MY OWN CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT (IL-17); one that Cheri Bustos won easily. Yep, it is true: Trump won 47.4-46.7 in a district that Obama carried by 17 points.

Bustos warned that Democrats appeared to be indifferent to those affected by the loss of manufacturing jobs; not showing up in areas hit by factory closings and the like. She noted that she was the only Midwestern Democrat on her committee.

Now of course, I do not approve of lying about those lost manufacturing and good paying blue collar jobs; they are NOT coming back (example). And there is a reason that liberals migrate to the coasts; I sure wish I could too! Hell, I was at a Democratic dinner, and it was opened with a highly sectarian prayer (FATHER GOD, “In Jesus Name”)…it seemed like an Onion parody of the Bible beaters.

So, that is my gripe. My solution? From what I’ve read, right wing populists in Europe have been taken down by ordinary, hum-drum politics. Oh, we won’t win that 40 percent the consistently approves of Trump. Forget about that. But by holding President Trump accountable for the outcomes of his policies, we might just pick off enough of the “mushy middle” to win it back in 2020.

Yeah, screaming about Trump’s noxious personality and his social sins might feel good to us, and while that won’t actually help Trump, it won’t win the election for us. The professional politicians have their work cut out for them.

Upshot: I’ll continue to vent with my friends, but I also realize that my venting, while being a nice stress release, is NOT part of the hard work of winning the next election. I have to ask myself: do I REALLY want to do more political walk routes in “broken sidewalk” neighborhoods? (If you are a Democrat, you will always do walk routes in the poorest neighborhoods…it would be nicer to be a Republican!) I did these from 2004-2012 and I have NOT done it since…hmmm…

Oh well, the gym and academic work calls…

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Cheri Bustos, Democrats, IL-17, political/social, politics, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment