CURIOUS GAMBLE

If you feel like you've been in withdrawal from the pre-election "We talked to Trump voters and you won't believe the stupid things they say" pieces, Vox has you covered.

Despite the tone of the previous sentence, this Sarah Kliff piece is actually pretty good. It interviews rural Kentuckians who stand to lose their health coverage (which they gripe about in terms of price, granted) if Trump goes through on his promise to repeal the ACA. Two things stand out.

1. Contrary to the widely held view that Trump voters are low on information, these people (all of whom voted for him) appear to be well aware of his promise to repeal the ACA and "replace" it with…well, don't worry about that part. Whatever it is will be great. So a lack of information is not the problem here. They have chosen the curious strategy of assuming that even though he said he intends to repeal it on his first day in office, he will not actually do so. "Too many people depend on it" and "You can't just take insurance away from all these people" are the common themes here.

That is a really odd roll of the dice compared to the other candidate who promised to continue or expand the law. Personally, I wouldn't put a lot of faith in a man who literally craps in a solid gold toilet to care suddenly about some Appalachian yokels' subsidized health insurance. And anyone who thinks that the current crop of congressional Republicans "wouldn't do that" is somewhere between delusional and willfully obtuse. The people in charge of the GOP on the Hill right now are the son the rest of the family knows will unplug Mom's respirator when the time comes. As for the political fallout of a Republican president and unified Congress taking away health insurance from tens of millions of people, after what we have seen in 2016 I'm sure they will construct and successfully sell some narrative explaining how it is all somehow the fault of Democrats. The art and science of creating one's own reality is advanced enough to pull it off.

2. I know many people in the situation mentioned throughout the piece – working poor who pay a lot for very bad insurance because they are Not Poor Enough. Medicaid is better and cheaper than the bottom end of the private market. It's not even a close call. Rather than jumping on the resentment bandwagon and finding a way to take Medicaid away from people in poverty, we could, you know, find a way to improve what is available for people just over the poverty cutoff. The nihilism of "If I don't have anything nice, nobody else can either" is a race to a bottom that we are getting dangerously close to reaching.

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95 Responses to “CURIOUS GAMBLE”

  1. mago Says:

    Some mean spirited shit's been shat for sure, and wow, is it true that the T flushes his down a solid gold toilet? Well, I'll be damned flummoxed for sure.

  2. April Says:

    As has been pointed out many times before the whole Republican policy is to make government suck and then when people complain that government sucks promise to get rid of said government.

    Rinse and repeat.

  3. Isaac Says:

    I've had various forms of employer-provided health care for the last 5 years, and Medicaid is still way better than all of it, including the "Gold" plan my employer currently has me on. For two of the last four years, approximately 1/4th of my take-home pay went to medical premiums and bills, and we didn't even have anything big, just a couple minor ER visits and a complication-free child birth.

    Child care is another big one, and the income cutoff is brutal. Poor enough, and you can get, for free, what would cost me $1000-1500 per month.

  4. John Danley Says:

    Just look at what these schadenfreude-infused motherfuckers are doing in North Carolina right now.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/14/us/politics/north-carolina-governor-roy-cooper-republicans.html?_r=0

  5. Robert Walker-Smith Says:

    I worked for the Federal civil service for twenty four years. Now that I'm medically retired, my annuity goes to pay for my health insurance and I'm living on my SSDI. The full retail price of the prescription medications keeping me alive and well exceeds my mortgage payment – and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Losing my coverage would effectively kill me, and not quickly and painlessly.

  6. wetcasements Says:

    Krugman was better than usual recently writing about the so-called "culture gap" between effete latte swilling libruls and true, red-blooded Americans.

    Obama wanted lower income Americans to have decent health care and raise their minimum wages. HRC would basically have just improved upon what Obama built.

    But no, the Lying Bitch had to be defeated by Maureen Down noticed how out-of-touch she is from Real Americans. As opposed to, you know, the guy who has his own personal jumbo jet.

    I hate to say it, but fuck 'em. They're going to get what they voted for and they're going to get it good and hard.

  7. Redleg Says:

    It is a race to the f-ing bottom. We have been going down for some time now. Working class and middle class pay has been mostly stagnant for quite some time now, the gap between us and the wealthiest folks has been increasing at a rapid rate, health care costs are still rising, albeit somewhat slowed by the ACA, which will likely be neutered. College education is increasing rapidly in cost, very few people have enough money saved for retirement (partly due to the demise of pensions), unions are continuing to lose members and clout.

    These trends will just accelerate under Trump and the GOP. And to make it worse, the middle class will bear more of the burden for dealing with the various damages caused by the GOP elected officials. We'll have to bail out some more financial institutions who do stupid shit that is no longer illegal. We'll have to deal with cleaning up our water and air after companies legally dump their pollutants into the ecosystem. We'll have to deal with social costs of many people losing their health insurance or being chivvied by the Trump brownshirts for not looking sufficiently white or American.

    I just don't see any silver lining here. It's no fucking wonder that so many of us are contemplating whether it wouldn't be better to stay in an inebriated state for the next 4 years or so.

  8. Wim Says:

    I think that Trump cares about yokels losing their health insurance subsidies in the sense that it gives him pleasure to torment the weak and grind their faces into the dirt. He lives for that shit. That's what they get for being loser yokels. Serves them right.

    Of course the GOP will try to get some DINO cover for unpopular legislation. If the Democrats don't have enough spine and cohesion to oppose Trump and his cronies as they bust out the government, they will succeed. But it really doesn't matter. Everyone is free to find or invent the beliefs they prefer. Apparently.

  9. Jestbill Says:

    The Republican electorate does not believe Republican rhetoric: they think it's all tribal symbolism.
    Remember the focus groups that wouldn't believe that GW would make SS a private investment fund?

    My own theory is that they are right. Not because their leadership doesn't want to cut social safety nets, but because said leaders are too disorganized and incompetent to do more than argue about it for 4 years.

    Then they'll claim they saved us all from the libral Armageddon. They are masters at making stuff up.

  10. HoosierPoli Says:

    All American politics is identity politics. Trump eats KFC so he'e "one of them", they voted for him but hope that he won't screw them too bad.

  11. doug Says:

    The nihilism of "If I don't have anything nice, nobody else can either" is a race to a bottom that we are getting dangerously close to reaching.

    Well, the rich can't get moar, unless we get less. And they want moar! The rich are not included in the 'we' above. 'they' are headed to a summit, not a bottom, for now….

  12. A Says:

    Reaping & Sowing has been going on for a long time. I'm with wecasements – fuck 'em.

  13. Frank Forchins Says:

    wet casements/Jaim is a whiny brat who can't handle losing and runs when the going gets tough.

  14. SeaTea Says:

    If there's a common theme among Trump supporters that I've seen on Facebook it's "He won't really do any of the things he said he'd do during the campaign." That seems like a SUPER risky way to vote to me.

  15. Emerson Dameron Says:

    That zero-sum bitterness goes straight to the top, folks, believe me.

    Somewhat OT, but here is a very smart guide toward political engagement in the Trump/Ryan era:

    http://www.trendolizer.com/2016/12/indivisible-a-practical-guide-for-resisting-the-trump-agenda.html

  16. Mike Furlan Says:

    Do they want Total War?

    Why yes they did and do.

  17. Matt Says:

    "The nihilism of "If I don't have anything nice, nobody else can either" is a race to a bottom that we are getting dangerously close to reaching."

    This is a remarkably optimistic sentence, Ed. I think a lot of white men reached this bottom a while ago. I've been calling it white fatalism. Maybe others have too, I don't know.

  18. Schadenboner Says:

    There's no such thing as the bottom, at least not in a sense of being bale to reach it. Trump is fractally shitty, endlessly getting worse.

  19. Noskilz Says:

    Perhaps many people are incapable of learning from anything other than their own mistakes, and no matter how obvious the warning signs, until it proves to be a serious problem for them personally, those warning signs are for other people.

  20. Linkman Says:

    The current GOP isn't the brother who will pull Mom's plug when the time comes, they're the brother who pull Mom's plug as soon as nobody is looking.

  21. DavidS Says:

    It may have some issues, but our "socialist" (yay!) single-payer universal health care programs (plural because there are some difference between provinces) here in Canada are sure better than what you have (soon to be "had"?) down south.

    (I lived/worked in health-care settings for 12 yrs in the USA, so I do have experience with both systems….)

  22. Oldscold Says:

    What I wonder is that if through some combination of GOP disorganization and Dem filibustering some crippled version of the ACA survives, the Trumpenproletariat will credit their Fuhrer and say, see, he really didn't mean it.

  23. Mo Says:

    The studies cited in Democracy for Realists make pretty clear the conclusion that voters do not remember events long enough to punish politicians at the polls. Short attention span theater.

    Especially when they're dead from liver cancer.

    Conventional democratic ideals, they assert, amount to fairy tales. “Hopelessly naive theories are a poor guide to
    policy, often distracting reformers from attainable incremental improvements along entirely different lines.” (p. 7) In
    the end, they argue that the primary sources of partisan loyalties and voting behavior are social identities, group
    attachments, and myopic retrospections, not policy preferences, ideological principles, or thoughtful assessments
    of government performance.
    –Thomas Mann

  24. Michael Says:

    "Obama wanted lower income Americans to have decent health care and raise their minimum wages."

    Yeah, no. Obama was not a proponent of #FightFor15, and HRC was straight-up lying when she reluctantly agreed to maybe 12.

  25. Mo Says:

    "Everything that is wrong with this country today, the people who are opposed to Donald Trump are responsible for!"

    62 million and change will believe this until they die.

    63 million and change believe the complete opposite.

    Now what do we do?

  26. Gerald McGrew Says:

    Mo nailed it. The underlying assumption behind the article and many of the comments are that these Kentuckians voted first and foremost on weighing the policy differences between the two candidates.

    But as the article indicates, the common theme from these voters is "It was time for a change".

    Keep in mind, most of these folks are very religious. They've been told for the last 8 years that Obama is the most anti-Christian president in history…he's the most pro-abortion president in history…he may even be a Muslim!!

    Basically to them, Obama represents everything they stand against, don't like, and/or are scared of. Hillary seemed to be a continuation of that. Trump represented "change". That's all it took.

    Honestly, I've settled on thinking of this election as sort of older white America's OJ verdict. Deep down they know it was probably the wrong thing to do, but dammit….they needed to win something…anything.

  27. Periscope Says:

    @Mo:
    In Trump's victory/thank you tour speech in MI he actually admits that he "played" those that attended his rallies before the election. At least he hasn't come out with a tweet where he calls them "suckers", but I'd bet he'd like to. While Mike's Goebbles clip is certainly chilling, it suggests that there may still be some ways to go before we hit the 'bottom'. I don't think the American melting pot can ever match the Teutonic nationalistic temperament required for a mass militaristic frenzy. (fingers crossed)

  28. Katydid Says:

    @Gerald; they needed to win…only now they're screaming that Trump wants to eliminate their gummit welfare…just like he promised he would on the campaign trail. And now they're panicking because they did a stupid thing, and demanding that we all treat them with kid gloves because they should never have to face the consequences of the stupid choices they make. This, THIS, is what makes me crazy about that type of folk.

  29. sluggo Says:

    @ wetcasements

    The trouble with your take 'fuck'em, they voted for Trump' is that people like Robert, gulag (where is he?) and my wife will all be affected as well, so the damage isn't just Trump voters.

  30. Mo Says:

    …and now, something to cheer us all up

  31. Gerald McGrew Says:

    @Katydid,

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the GOP and Trump promised….PROMISED that they would not just repeal Obamacare, but they would replace it with something much, much better.

    So if you're one of the people in the article who is stuck in Obamacare's gap (not poor enough for Medicaid, not rich enough to afford better plans) and is looking at a $6,000 deductible, well "something much, much better" sounds pretty good. Throw in some white identity, promises to reverse the trend away from Christianity ("we're all going to say Merry Christmas again"), and promises to bring coal jobs back, and suddenly these people's votes aren't at all surprising.

  32. Skepticalist Says:

    Presidents elect are supposed be shaking hands with campaign contributors at dinner parties (not rallies) while having have a little fun with the press along the way. After January 20th, things will be different and they know it.

    Instead our thing will still enjoy being followed around by his goofball sitcom style comedy pals but it won't be the same. It's no fun not being allowed out of the house: "I'm bored!"

  33. Skepticalist Says:

    Count me in.

    I'd have be dead several months ago without Medicaid.

  34. Aurora S Says:

    @sluggo:

    WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER.

    I would absolutely LOVE to be able to say that the Trumpers can choke on their goddamn votes and get fucked, but it's ultimately a privileged stance. They can get fucked because *I'm* going to have to choke on their goddamn votes, and a solid half of them (maybe more) won't.

    I'm in a similar boat to Robert, and I remember the bad ol' days prior to the ACA. Maryland had a "High Risk Pool" contracted to BCBS, for those of us that *just* made too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but actually needed to use the health insurance we were paying for, and the health insurance companies (and they are nothing more than banks) wouldn't be able to make a buck off of our misfortune. The HRP was basically the state taking pity on us, yet we were still being skinned alive.

    We still make the mistake of thinking 90% of Trump supporters are impoverished Appalachian yahoos with black lung, type II diabetes, and raging opiate addictions. I would venture a guess that nearly all of the aforementioned Appalachian yahoos *did* vote for Trump, but their population is actually quite thin overall. They're an entertaining spectacle for the media to cover. The motherfuckers whose nuts we need to nail to the wall are the upper middle class white guys with a chip on their shoulder. We don't see them because they are the self-styled Objective Default to which every other population is compared.

    Fuck those guys. They are content to see me dead. They need to sacrifice the Others on the altar of Capitalism because they think our blood will please our Rich Overlords enough that they can be initiated into the Order Of The Obscenely Wealthy. This will never happen, but it's nice for the oligarchs that they have trained a little band of sycophants to hunt their dinner for them.

  35. Aurora S Says:

    @Gerald:

    "Honestly, I've settled on thinking of this election as sort of older white America's OJ verdict. Deep down they know it was probably the wrong thing to do, but dammit….they needed to win something…anything."

    This is probably the best thing ever. I agree, this was all about the feels for a lot of people.

  36. April Says:

    Losing health care might not be the worst that happens. If Rump keeps needling China over Taiwan, to save face – which is even MORE important over here than you've heard! – China will HAVE to invade it and take it over. Because the 40 year diplomatic stance the world has maintained – "Sure, China, Taiwan belongs to you, uh huh uh huh…now please leave it alone, ok?" – is a "bargaining chip" to the ignorant asshole cheeto.

  37. April Says:

    Oh, goody.

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/12/15/1611387/-China-adding-weapons-to-artificial-islands-increasing-tensions-in-South-China-Sea

  38. Davis X. Machina Says:

    "HRC was straight-up lying when she reluctantly agreed to maybe 12"

    How do you know this? Just curious.

  39. Pat Says:

    @Mo,

    You're leaving out critical numbers: 70 million and change believed the opposite when Obama was running for the office and actually promised people Hope and Change.

    The Democratic majority is there; the campaign this time just totally failed to activate it. (Yes, Bernie would have won. So would Martin O'Malley, and probably Jim Webb. Not sure about Linc Chafee. But any barely credible Democrat—Warren, Franken, one of the Castros, maybe Kaine in his own right—would have pulled this off and can pull it off next time.)

    @wetcasements,

    This is the crucial dividing line. Are you going to look at poor and working class voters—white, black, brown or whatever—and decide that no, these ones don't deserve help or a better life because they're racist, or sexist, or voted Trump, or still use the word "tranny" or whatever cultural litmus test you have, and that you can thus safely say "fuck 'em"?

    Or are you going to look at those people and see part of the working class coalition that can win the next election? Do you see parts of a movement that can accomplish what Democratic technocrats have failed to do?

    Because only one of those options offers any hope for the future and can deliver real change.

  40. democommie Says:

    Pat:

    Bernie would have been crucified by the GOP's useful idiots.

    Allow reality, it works for the rest of us.

  41. Procopius Says:

    @periscope, 3:23pm: There's a video called Psyops that gives the history of propaganda. It's worth watching, because the schoolbooks don't talk about the frenzy that took place after we entered World War I. I was in high school during the McCarthy Years. We tend to suppress these memories after the event, but having been reminded of them I am very pessimistic about the next four/eight years.

  42. Sean B Says:

    To all the people saying "fuck 'em" to all the people losing their insurance I will remind you that those of us who make our living working for small businesses feel we're very much in the basket of deplorables you're summarily casting to the fates. My adult working life has been spent not surrendering to working for a large bureaucracy. I have been blending and grinding spices and tea for well over a decade and moved from Milwaukee to Oakland to further my career

  43. evodevo Says:

    " Keep in mind, most of these folks are very religious. They've been told for the last 8 years that Obama is the most anti-Christian president in history…he's the most pro-abortion president in history…he may even be a Muslim!! "
    Yes. This. The Church Lady who is a co-worker of mine is steeped in this idea, and anything else that leaks out of Rush Limpbough's … and Bill O'Reilly's mouth. And I am sure, her preacher drips poison in his flock's ears every chance he gets. And she is not a total right wing nutjob, either. So if the "moderates" think this way, what chance have we to re-educate them?

  44. April Says:

    Or maybe not war….

    http://qz.com/861507/charted-taiwans-economy-is-more-dependent-on-china-than-ever-before-making-trumps-threats-dangerous/

  45. wetcasements Says:

    "Are you going to look at poor and working class voters—white, black, brown or whatever—and decide that no, these ones don't deserve help or a better life because they're racist, or sexist, or voted Trump, or still use the word 'tranny' or whatever cultural litmus test you have, and that you can thus safely say fuck 'em'?"

    Short answer: Yes.

    Longer answer: It's the "What's the Matter With Kansas?" issue. If white working class voters can't even be trusted to vote in their own economic and medical self-interest, fuck 'em. Until they wake up they are not worth courting for votes. They are literally too stupid to be taken seriously as any part of a 50-state electoral strategy. They want to be written off and live in their own post-reality bubble, so let's do them that favor.

    It's obviously beyond horrible that so many of us are going to suffer for the decisions of white male voters, but the answer is not to play nice with them. The answer is not, a la Sanders and Michael Moore, to somehow "learn" to appeal to these fuckwits and "speak their language" and start watching Duck Dynasty and wearing camo or some shit.

    The answer is to resist and move left.

    I think HRC would have made a fine president. I think we're doomed if anybody to the right of Elizabeth Warren is the Dem nominee in 2020.

  46. NickT Says:

    Clinton ran a pretty incompetent campaign, by all accounts, so I am not convinced she'd have been a great president. Better than Donny Putinobitch, sure, but that's a mighty low bar. The good news is that the GOP overreach is going to be spectacular and the votes are there for a good Democratic candidate. The bad news is that the Democrats are currently wasting time mythologizing Clinton as a great candidate denied by evil and ill-luck, rather than punching the Fakefurian Candidate at every opportunity. Time to stop with the Clinton myth and find better candidates and actually organize and fight with strategic intelligence, rather than the centrist bumbling of the DNC.

  47. Katydid Says:

    @NickT; Clinton's campaign was not incompetent. It goes back to the "basket of deplorables" and the topic we've been discussing for most of this thread; what do you do with people who will only believe the crazy sources feeding them misinformation, the other deplorables who want to burn down the world because their preferred candidate didn't get the votes from the party he crashed, the people who choose to vote against their own interests and then insist we all respect them and coddle them because somehow they're just so much purer and nobler than the rest of us who took the time to evaluate the difference between Candidate "sure, okay, fine" and Candidate "OMG, absolutely nuts". The Democrats had several options that would have worked fine (and worlds better than the Angry Cheeto), but Clinton had the boots-on-the-ground experience and the solid working relationships with foreign leaders that we're going to need to work with if this planet is going to survive.

  48. Katydid Says:

    @SeanB; I get it, I really do (am considering a move to a startup with absolutely horrific insurance and I suspect I would be better off under the ACA, which is shortly not to exist). However, the people to focus on are not the people who voted for the candidate who vowed to make the ACA better. The people to focus on are the idiots who voted for the guy who vowed to get rid of the ACA…and now are all butt-hurt and shocked–SHOCKED!–that he's said he's going to do just that. As I said above and as others have said; why should we have to love-bomb the idiots who did a really stupid thing, and if we coddle them, they're not going to learn anything from their colossal mistake. I suspect many of them made that mistake because they've been carefully swaddled and protected from their own stupidity their entire lives.

  49. NickT Says:

    @Katydid

    "Clinton's campaign was not incompetent."

    The evidence coming out of Michigan of detached central command ignoring the worries and requests of the folks on the ground, plus their failure to visit Wisconsin after April, plus Clinton's failure to make any sort of pitch to evangelical voters looks like incompetence to me – incompetence of the sort that sank her in 2008. When you fail to get your strategic priorities right and you don't execute tactically, you don't get any awards for your performance.

  50. Arjun Jobil Says:

    There's one factor in the election that everyone seems to be overlooking. I knew the Dems were in trouble as soon as it became clear that Hillary would be their candidate.
    Although Obama was hardly a radical reformer, he was half black and had a tenuous connection with Islam. Electiing him was a radical choice for many Americans. It's very common to see a "safer" person elected after such a radical change, and unfortunately, that meant an old white man. (Nothing wrong per se with being an old white guy.)
    So, rather than taking the radical step of electing the first female POTUS, voters went for the "safer," or at least more conventional candidate.

  51. geoff Says:

    RE: Clinton Campaign Competence

    “How Clinton lost Michigan — and blew the election” [Politico]. “The anecdotes are different but the narrative is the same across battlegrounds, where Democratic operatives lament a one-size-fits-all approach drawn entirely from pre-selected data — operatives spit out “the model, the model,” as they complain about it — guiding Mook’s decisions on field, television, everything else. That’s the same data operation, of course, that predicted Clinton would win the Iowa caucuses by 6 percentage points (she scraped by with two-tenths of a point), and that predicted she’d beat Bernie Sanders in Michigan (he won by 1.5 points).” This is must-read. Clinton had one job. This piece shows how she approached it. Here is an amazing detail:

    The only metric that people involved in the operations say they ever heard headquarters interested in was how many volunteer shifts had been signed up — though the volunteers were never given the now-standard handheld devices to input the responses they got in the field, and Brooklyn mandated that they not worry about data entry. Operatives watched packets of real-time voter information piled up in bins at the coordinated campaign headquarters. The sheets were updated only when they got ripped, or soaked with coffee. Existing packets with notes from the volunteers, including highlighting how much Trump inclination there was among some of the white male union members the Clinton campaign was sure would be with her, were tossed in the garbage.

    (I boosted this from noted Commie Front site Naked Capitalism, which I highly recommend to all you Deep Cover Russian Moles out there.)

  52. geoff Says:

    As for Mrs. Clinton, her attempt to reach out to (mythical) "Moderate Suburban Republicans" by bashing Trump but not really offering much besides "I'm not that guy" was a losing strategy to begin with. I'm also seeing a lot of anecdotes about Bubba getting the brushoff from the campaign whenever he said anything about reaching out specifically to working class voters. The campaign was so sure they'd win WI they never even visited the state.

    More importantly, like it or not, the Presidential race is a personality contest/ reality show. You can blame it on 25 years of public smearing by the GOP, sexism (and you'd be right), or whatever, but Clinton had the second highest unfavorable ratings of any Presidential candidate ever. And she lost (insert asterisk) to the guy with the highest unfavorables.

  53. Pat Says:

    @democommie:

    Sure. The most unpopular candidate the Dems have ever nominated won the popular vote against Donald Trump, but he would have "crucified" the most popular U.S. Senator.

    That's "reality."

    In the same way you're a "commie." Plenty of commies were thrilled Hillary beat Bernie….

    @wetcasements:

    If you REALLY think "resist and move left…. we're doomed if anybody to the right of Elizabeth Warren is the Dem nominee in 2020" means anything other than a working-class campaign—I mean, I don't at all know what to say. I mean, what are we supposed to do? Resist and move left… and nominate another Wall Street candidate who will stifle any working-class campai…

    Ohhhh. I just got it. You're Cory Booker, right?

  54. Pat Says:

    @geoff:

    Tovarish! Be careful; Naked Capitalism is a Trotskyite cesspool. I'm sure you wouldn't want to compromise your good Stalinist credentials?

  55. Madmax Says:

    Pat:

    It's easy for Sanders to be popular when almost nobody outside of the Northeast knew him before last year. You really think that a self-described socialist* would've been palatable to the Obama/Trump crowd? Because that seems like a tough sell. Sure, Sanders *seems* like a popular candidate, but there's a lot of negatives in his history (e.g., unemployed until his 30s, associated with Sandinistas, voted in favor of the same '94 crime bill Clinton got nailed for, etc.**) which could've quickly changed how he was perceived by folks in swing states.

    Does this mean Sanders was doomed to fail? Not really. But his victory was no more certain than Clinton's, and to claim otherwise is to engage in evidence-free counterfactual thinking. Fun, but not particularly helpful.


    *Yes, yes, Sanders is technically a democratic socialist not a socialist. If you think the average American (and more importantly, the average American voter) cares for that distinction, I got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell ya.

    **Source: http://www.newsweek.com/myths-cost-democrats-presidential-election-521044

    (See point #2: The Myth That Sanders Would've Won Against Trump.)

  56. Mo Says:

    April – China today: "We stole your drone. Tweet that, Cheeto Benito."

  57. J.P. Says:

    "The nihilism of 'If I don't have anything nice, nobody else can either' is a race to a bottom that we are getting dangerously close to reaching."

    In my years of debating politics, that is the major difference I see between liberals and conservatives.
    Liberals say: "I never got to have that thing, so I'm going to work really hard to make sure that other people can have that thing, otherwise it wouldn't be fair to them."
    Conservatives say: "I never got to have that thing, so I'm going to work really hard to make sure that nobody else can have that thing either, otherwise it wouldn't be fair to me."

  58. Katydid Says:

    @MadMax; you left out the fact that Sanders was a deadbeat dad and voted against a number of women's issues.

    As for Clinton–so, she didn't suck up to the fundagelical dirtbags–so what? She was never going to win that crowd over because 1) she's a woman and 2) the 30 years of rightwing batshit nutbaggery against her. So she focused her energies on the average voter, and sadly, the average voter believed the lies, as well.

  59. Aurora S Says:

    Come on, guys…falling into the trap of "what Clinton did wrong" is intellectual masturbation. It's the classic beltway media response and the "shoulda" game is easy to play when you have no chance of proving those theories one way or another.

    The Dems always get bogged down in self-deprecating hand-wringing and the GOP jumps on it like piranhas on a pork chop, using it as a chance to call the Dems ineffective pussies. We need to break ourselves of the tendency to say, "What did we do wrong?" (and, wouldn't you know it, the Republican answer is *always* "because you aren't us and you didn't cater to us enough, losers!") after things don't work out in our favor, while the Republicans say, "How can we make this the Democrats' fault?" They're sore losers and sore winners.

    And so…the Dems capitulate and move to the Right under the assumption that Playing Nice with these assholes is going to get them anywhere. The GOP says, "NO, MOAR", and it happens over and over and over. It. Doesn't. Work. We need to quit operating on their terms, under the assumption that these guys actually want to do their jobs, act like adults, or care about anything at all except Winning. They will easily sacrifice their constituents in the name of Winning.

    If there's anything we can learn from the Republicans at all is that caring about nuance and issues and "putting people over party", "reaching across the aisle"–all the things you should be doing if you care about the people you represent–doesn't really work. Digging in your heels, marching in lockstep, and doing what you want after you obtain your majority does. This seems to be the only thing the American people respond-to.

  60. c u n d gulag Says:

    Sluggo,
    Mom – 84+ – went in the hospital early last week, and just got home.
    She's very weak, and I've curtailed my commenting. I still READ this site and you great commenters, it's just that I haven't been in the mood to write.

    Plus, I'm still in MONDO depression state after 11/8 – 'a day that will live in infamy!'

  61. Skepticalist Says:

    Nice people are no longer able to win even national elections. If they are nice, they gotta hide it. They need daily to turn every little thing Trump and Co. does, says, or doesn't say into a Benghazi affair. Never shut up about the incredibly illegal, disgusting things he does. "Let's see your taxes" should be the first story on cable news every day. When it comes to Jesus Jolly types, make sure they know that Trump behaves in an Un-Christian manner. Too, for a successful national politician his language isn't what they'd like their squeaky clean offspring to hear.

    How come we don't do this kind of thing? We're nice and are willing to believe that the Republicans, after they hack away at the New Deal, Medicare and Medicaid, will come up with a super health care system. Can't wait.

  62. geoff Says:

    @CU, genuinely sorry to hear that and best of luck to you and your mom.

    @Pat, I'll make sure to use my Tor browser over at NC.

    As for the subject of the post, since my Red State refused the FREE MONEY for Medicaid expansion, it looks like we're out of luck for health insurance next year. I don't want to give the GEB any credit, but his no doubt uninformed but nevertheless correct comment that having health insurance determined on a state by state basis is just ridiculous seems legit to me. How about Medicare (or VA Care) for all? If the Pentagon can waste $125 billion a year (OK, A LOT MORE THAN THAT), I don't see why we can't take care of everybody.

    Doctors Not Bombs?

  63. quixote Says:

    (Hi c u n d gulag! Thanks for letting us know you're around!)

    Two things.
    "If I don't have anything nice, nobody else can either" isn't actually evidence of any special stupidity. It's a common (universal??) trait in social vertebrates. Members of those groups, whether they're dolphins or crows or monkeys or humans, have similar social rules that they enforce. Evolution in those animals favored social groups because it helps them survive, and it's only worth it for individuals if their particular survival is equally a priority with everyone else's. So the social rules can be very roughly summarized as one for all and all for one.

    The problem is the enforcement. Monkeys will smash the treat of a monkey that stole somebody else's treat. Crows likewise. The reaction is very very very deepseated. The difference is that monkeys and crows are, generally, smart enough to learn that stealing others' treats is Bad. (Well, and their groups are small enough, and oversight is rather consistent.)

    The problem isn't the badly expressed desire for justice. It's the lack of justice.

    The second thing is about the weirdness of voting for a sexual predator racist who'll take your health care away because you don't think he'll really do it.

    Actually, it makes perfect sense. People didn't care about the facts of what he said or did because what they were hearing was "I for da White Guy. You'll do well under me." So just as they figured it didn't matter that he couldn't really afford to build a wall, the same assumptions made them believe he wouldn't really take their money and laugh.

    I gather it's a saying among con men that nobody can be conned who doesn't want to be.

  64. NickT Says:

    @Aurora S
    "Come on, guys…falling into the trap of "what Clinton did wrong" is intellectual masturbation."

    Those who do not learn from experience are doomed to repeat their mistakes. Better to recognize the fuck-ups of Clinton and cronies and make sure we don't repeat them next time around. Pretending otherwise is just immature and foolish.

  65. Katydid Says:

    @Nick T; you're absolutely right. Hillary Clinton is guilty of the crimes of existing while female, being a Democrat, and studying and working really, really hard for the benefit of women, children, and families for about 40 years. It's inexcusable.

  66. Katydid Says:

    Hey, Gulag, you and your mom are in my thoughts. I wish the very best for you, and I'm sorry it's so hard right now.

  67. Katydid Says:

    @AuroraS, you are absolutely right. I suspect we've been overrun by the "ZOMG, St. Bernie 4EVA" bros.

  68. Wim Says:

    AuroraS for the win.

  69. NickT Says:

    @katydid

    I wish you joy as you cuddle the imaginary Clinton that exists in your head. I've got better things to do than indulging fantasists and those who refuse to recognize what is perfectly clear to anyone who has followed the career of HRC. We need better leaders and better organizers. Sit in the corner with your blankie and sulk, if you like. I am not going to join you.

  70. Katydid Says:

    lol, Nick. In other words, you've got no 'there' there; you're just flinging out shit and you're sorry you're being laughed at. Don't think nobody's noticed that you have no actual facts, you just stomp your feet and yell "No bueno" but you can't say why. Maybe your mommy will give you a cookie to make you feel better. Come out of the basement and ask her.

  71. Madmax Says:

    NickT:

    I'd generally agree that campaign post-mortems are generally a good idea. But just as we should "recognize the fuck-ups of Clinton and cronies," we should also acknowledge that there were aspects of this election (the Comey emails, Wikileaks, the lack of attention to substantive issues by the media in general) which are generally beyond the ability of a campaign to control.

    Similarly, positing evidence-less counterfactuals ("Sanders would've certainly won") means putting oneself at risk for another loss because you fail to acknowledge the possible risks of switching strategies.

  72. Skepticalist Says:

    I really think Trump believes he can repeal the ACA immediately. Congress will after a time but it's not equivalent to a stroke of the pen thing. If I'm right, watching Trump's reaction to this should be interesting. No fun watching Trump if he keeps his mouth shut.

  73. April Says:

    @cu – Sorry to hear about your mom. Sending good wishes your way.

    @Mo – yeah. It may be war AND economic punishment. You guys have NO IDEA how angry China is about this. To understand even a little bit you have to realize that China feels like the world has disrespected them for a long time, even though they consider themselves to be the best country in the world. Seriously. White nationalists got NOTHING on your average Chinese person with respect to love of country. Ask any Chinese (ok, sure, out of 1.4 billion people there will be exceptions, but they are few and far between) "What's the best food in the world? Where are the most beautiful women? What is the best government system? What is the best education system? Who are the smartest? Who has the greatest history?" etc, etc, etc, and the answer is ALWAYS "China". I suspect the Chinese gvnt is just waiting for the cheeto to take office before they let the shit hit the fan.

    @aurora Exactly! The thing that pisses me off the most about Dems. We never fight back. Rude has a really good post about this. https://shar.es/1DnI5W "Def-con Monica" indeed.

  74. Lless Says:

    Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry were perfectly subject to post mortems because they lost. Hillary was robbed. If you look back at those past loses, Hillary did everything that her predecessors did wrong. Wooden and aloof in a pantsuit is still wooden and aloof. But, of course Hillary was robbed. Anybody seriously propose Hillary in 2020?

  75. Justicia Says:

    Hilary was the wrong candidate, with the wrong record, who ran the wrong race. That being said, the dysfunction of the Democratic party certainly contributed to the loss — see, Thomas Mills article on this
    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/12/how-the-democratic-party-lost-its-way-214514

  76. Mo Says:

    April – yep. Never Forget National Humiliation

    Occasionally I wonder what will become the Archduke Ferdinand incident, and then I remember that I'm still trying to dry out from the alcohol soak the week after the election.

  77. Pat Says:

    Wow, @Madmax, you've persuaded me. Guess there was nothing the Democrats could have done differently, and Trump was pre-destined to win this election!

    I mean, I would have thought that Trump getting a lower percentage than Romney (who was, recall, easily defeated) tended to mean that Trump was even more beatable. But you're right: the word "socialism" is like "abracadabra." Nothing you could have done!

    (Christ, now I'm resenting you for causing me to replay the rapping scene in Bullworth… "Say that dirty word!")

  78. Ormond Otvos Says:

    I reflect on HRC's career, including this election, and I'm drawn to the Peter Principle. Yes, she worked hard, but never as a real leader. More like a very competent lieutenant. Maybe being president isn't in her makeup. She couldn't beat Obama, either, and he had weaknesses.

    How many times did descriptions of HRC mention her self-admitted lack of charisma?

  79. Isaac Says:

    I'll vote for Hillary holding a rifle in 2020. I don't care how bad her pneumonia is. But she won't come back. She cares more about the bankers than us blog comment writers. Hell, she wouldn't know WordPress from LiveJournal if her life depended on it. And Obama is going to literally disappear for the next decade. Not a peep. Swift/West 2024, eh?

  80. NickT Says:

    Let's just remember the glorious record of Clinton H:

    1) Attempts to lead healthcare reform when her husband is president. Achieves nothing and contributes to losing the House for the Democrats. On the way, accumulates a reputation for being secretive, controlling and, alas, unable to lead.

    2) Votes for the Iraq war. Not exactly a moment of stellar judgment.

    3)Loses a primary in which she had massive advantages to an almost unknown Senator from Illinois. Along the way, decides to opine that said Senator has a problem with white, blue-collar workers. Also compares Michigan and Florida losing a chunk of their delegates to an election in Zimbabwe. Tells a remarkably stupid lie about landing under sniper fire in Tuszla.

    4) As Secretary of State, is apparently clueless about modern technology and makes a hash of security issues and handling of documents. Does relatively little of note, but does succeed in conveying a vague impression of competence.

    5) After leaving the State Department, decides that the best choice of possible future activities would be to do a little buck-raking by giving speeches to Wall St. Is so proud of those speeches that she steadfastly refuses to tell anyone what she said and so stores up more trouble for herself.

    6) In the course of another Democratic primary, manages to embarrass herself by letting an old, not especially charismatic Senator from a small state kick her ass on a number of occasions. Meanwhile, the DNC, staffed by her cronies, manages to look utterly deceitful – storing up more trouble for Clinton. Clinton apparently learns nothing about organizing a campaign, much less finding a way to handle a number of glaring weaknesses relating to her past career.

    7) Succeeds in losing the presidential race to Donald Trump. Yes, that Donald Trump – the candidate she and her campaign had wanted to go up against all along. The old weaknesses (Wall St, NAFTA etc etc) resurface and Clinton still has no answer to them. She has apparently learned nothing about how to run a campaign and fails to campaign in Wisconsin after April, for reasons known only to herself, ignores cries for resources and volunteers from the people on the ground in Michigan, for reasons known only to herself, and, for reasons known only to herself, does little or nothing to reach out to evangelicals.

    This is the record of Clinton in national politics: lots of failure to learn, lots of self-inflicted harm and, oddly enough, lots of disasters.

    You'll note that I haven't mentioned the accusations sponsored by the GOP – this is all Clinton's doing. But sure, tell yourselves it was all the fault of the wicked GOP, Russia, the evil Bernie Sanders, the bad, naughty American people. Hell, it was such fun this year, why don't we run her again in 2020? What could possibly go wrong then?

  81. Katydid Says:

    Wow, Nick, congratulations, you copied and pasted all that out of the Republican Playbook of Misinformation! Control-C and Control-V certainly work for you!

  82. Madmax Says:

    Pat:

    Your amazing rhetorical skills have humbled me. Clearly if the Dems had elected Sanders, the US would look like Sweden by February 1. My bad.

    NickT:

    Re: #4. A lot of the ground work for the Iran deal was made during Clinton's tenure as SecState. Given that the sanctions involved required both Russia and China to play along with the US and the EU, I wouldn't call that "relatively little of note."

  83. proverbialleadballoon Says:

    NickT: The bad news is that the Democrats are currently wasting time mythologizing Clinton as a great candidate denied by evil and ill-luck, rather than punching the Fakefurian Candidate at every opportunity. Time to stop with the Clinton myth and find better candidates and actually organize and fight with strategic intelligence, rather than the centrist bumbling of the DNC.

    What we all need to be doing is be focused at the point of attack. Russia tampered with our election, to Trump's benefit. Talk about this. Republicans are going to try to replace Medicare with a voucher system. Talk about that. We need to start pinning the bad shit that happens to the bad people that do it. Start planting the seed of distrust, because we can't lose in 4 years. Every American aged 35 and older was indoctrinated from birth to fear and not trust Russia, this would be some next-level doublethink to pull; there has to be a weak spot, and this may be it.

    Trump is shady. Russia is involved. The Republicans want to break the government. Question the patriotism of Trump. They didn't think that anything would really happen if Trump won and Republicans had control of all branches of government? Every department head Trump has named is most likely to break that department. Detail what really happens. Because it's happening, in a month. We have to start framing the issues, rather than allowing Republicans to frame them. Be ahead of it, on top of it, point-of-attack, and on point.

  84. Gabriel508 Says:

    @Katydid I get that a lot of the criticism of Hillary is not terribly honest.

    But I can't get past the failure to set foot in Wisconsin at all during the general election. That one is on her.

  85. April Says:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DzOz3Y6D8g_MNXHNMJYAz1b41_cn535aU5UsN7Lj8X8/preview

    This. THIS.

  86. Pat Says:

    Jesus, Madmax, you really can't keep from changing the debate. We weren't talking about turning America into Sweden.

    We were talking about keeping the nuclear codes, the veto pen, and the Supreme Court vacancy out of the hands of Donald Trump.

    Which is something any Democrat running on the economy and jobs could have done. O'Malley could have done it. Warren could have done it. And yes, Bernie could've done it.

    (You know the percent of Clinton paid ads to even mention the economy? 8%. The other 92% was "Dangerous Donald" and "I'm With Her." Or hell, another Lena Dunham video.)

    Bottom line, HRC fucked up an election I would've said was un-fuck-up-able. You can wave your hands around all you want and try to make it about whether Sanders could have gotten single-payer in his first term instead of whether he could've just won, or pretend HRC was really a genius and ignoring the upper Midwest was really super clever, but either way the ending of that is still that picking Clinton gave us Trump.

  87. Madmax Says:

    Gabriel508:

    Yeah, it seems pretty clear that the Clinton campaign was overconfident on their odds of winning Rust Belt states. While understandable (since Obama managed to hold them in both '08 and '12, it nevertheless represents a gross miscalculation based on the flawed assumption that party matters more than the candidate.

  88. Periscope Says:

    @ Proverbialeadballon:
    That the DNC was hacked by the Russians is one thing, but the necessary and sufficient condition for the election to be disqualified is for the hacked and released content to have proven influence on the outcome of the election. That condition was not met. The president, congressional leaders and the intelligence community have (more or less explicitly) determined that the content of the hack did not influence the election. How this event influence future relations is frightening, especially with someone like Trump at the helm.

  89. Skepticalist Says:

    Isn't it great NickT that we had Donald Trump around to save us from HRC?

  90. DavidR Says:

    From the article:

    "The woman said she had insurance before the Affordable Care Act that was significantly more affordable, with $5 copays and no deductible at all. She said she paid only $200 or $300 each month without a subsidy."

    Is it me, or are all the people who make claims abotu their pre ACA insurance… LYING?

  91. Aurora S Says:

    @DavidR

    She's absolutely lying, or the whole story isn't being told. I can think of about 100 circumstances right off the top of my head as to why her insurance premiums would've risen irrespective of the ACA and/or how this can be successfully bullshat to make the ACA look bad to people who desperately need a reason to believe it.

  92. Aurora S Says:

    So now that we're all done with the self-flagillating and have hopefully atoned for the sin of voting for HRC as the primary nominee (any of you sore losing assholes who want to say it was stolen from The Bern can take this opportunity right now to accept it and shut your fucking gob), what about this Trump fellow, hmm?

  93. Brian M Says:

    Aurora S: Why, the America under Trump will be Great Again. It will be Yuge. You will shout this at the top of your lungs, or you will be…punished.

    It's 8:00 p.m. LOTTO hour. Even with earthquakes, New Zealand is sounding good. Or Uruguay, I hear. And no, Trumpalos, I am not serious.

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