Politics

Being an unhappy warrior

To burn it down, or not burn it down–that is the question. And increasingly, against my better nature, I’m starting to think the answer is incendiarism.

Why my flirtation with unbridled anger? It’s simple, really: Elite contempt for the hoi polloi has reached a fever pitch. Consider events over the past few weeks.

After much hand-wringing, the Brexit vote failed to topple the world economy. But that hasn’t stopped the elites from expressing their disdain over the little people taking back their borders. In a scathing piece for Foreign Policy titled “It’s Time for the Elites to Rise Up Against the Ignorant Masses,” writer James Traub openly calls for the crushing of the working class. “One of the most brazen features of the Brexit vote was the utter repudiation of the bankers and economists and Western heads of state who warned voters against the dangers of a split with the European Union,” Traub, the son of the former chairman of Bloomingdale’s, says sorrowfully.

Emily Badger of The Washington Post concurs, writing “Brexit is a reminder that some things just shouldn’t be decided by referendum.” Columnists and opiners in a variety of publications have taken turns denouncing the small-minded Leave voters, each employing clever metaphors to say the same thing: The people are too stupid for politics.

The contempt is not dissimilar to the bitchfest that is Trump opposition. Not content to take potshots at Teflon Donald, some smug critics have taken to excoriating his pea-brained supporters. Jonathan Chait of New York magazine explained Trump phenomenology by surmising, “The Republican Party turns out to be filled with idiots. Far more of them than anybody expected.” National Review’s Kevin Williamson infamously referred to wage-class Trumpites as white trash so trashy it doesn’t deserve to be picked up. “The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible,” he pronounced, with the grace of a utilitarian Maoist.

And you wonder why middle-of-the-road Americans are so damn angry. In the face of such open mockery, why shouldn’t they be? The coastal high-earners take great pleasure in ridiculing Flyover country, which is largely comprised of red state Bible-believers.

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Johnson’s Rise and Imminent Fall

Gary Johnson is a dimwit and the Libertarian Party once again proved its uselessness by nominating him as its presidential nominee.

That’s the premise of my latest Takimag article. An excerpt:

Polls right now show that Johnson could potentially steal support from both Clinton and Trump. But we’re still six months away from the general election. Last go-around, Johnson was polling at the same place he is now. In the spring of 2012, the governor, when included on the list of preferred candidates, came in around 7%. How did he do that November? A measly 1.2% of the electorate picked Johnson over Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

Not exactly a libertarian moment. And I’d bet a few slips of fiat currency that this fall will play out much in the same way. As the election nears and the stakes become more real, voters will make a choice between the two most viable options. The choice won’t be based on reason, compassion, or logic. It will be one of fear and disgust—the necessary ingredients of politics.

But supposing that America’s electoral system didn’t systematically make third parties irrelevant, the Johnson campaign would still be dead in the water. That’s because the candidate is a dopey ignoramus in a party full of punky agitators, drug users, cerebral loners, and just plain loons.

Read the whole thing here, and remember that only American-hating losers vote for the LP.

The socialist foreign policy tradition

The discussion about foreign policy of Bernie Sanders and the more broad socialist vision of international relations is the topic of my The National Interest piece today. An excerpt:

With the Democratic primaries coming to an end, the fate of Bernie Sanders is sealed. His insurgent campaign surprised everybody in advancing so far, and gave a good fight to a powerful establishment figure like Hillary Clinton. The question of whether he could have done better if he had focused on foreign policy is one that, while vital, hasn’t really been asked. The usual assumption is that Hillary is a hawk and that Bernie is to her left on foreign policy. That is a fairly honest answer, given their voting records; however, the fact that the first man to call himself a socialist in a Democratic primary has a foreign policy with not much difference from a mainstream liberal raises the question of whether there exists a socialist foreign policy in the U.S. context.

Read the whole thing here to know about the conflict between Bernie Sanders and historic socialist foreign policy tradition.

Why Bernie Sanders wants same day registration

The revolution is flaming out.

With Hillary Clinton’s decisive primary win the District of Criminals, the longshot bid of Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is coming to a close. In a video chat to supporters, the irascible socialist all but declared his candidacy over and announced he’s teaming up with Wall Street courtesan Clinton to defeat populist champion Donald Trump – just as I predicted.

Sanders isn’t walking away completely empty-handed, however. He’s demanding fundamental changes to the Democrat Party platform to make it “the most progressive platform in history.”

For a socialist, Sanders sure drives a hard bargain.

His list of demands include enacting same-day voter registration, more assistance at polling locations, a timely process for counting votes, and allowing registered independents to cast ballots in the Democrat primary. Increased measures to prevent voter fraud is not mentioned, because that obviously never, ever happens.

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Identity Politics versus Identity Politics

YALEPROTEST

Last week, Rod Dreher published two thoughtful articles on Trump and identity politics. In the first, Dreher argued that Trump is the champion of white identity politics. In the second, he argues that white identity politics is a result of left-wing promotion of minority identity politics. I agree with Rod Dreher’s take – he isn’t the first to connect Trump’s rise to a nascent white identity politics movement, but he’s by far the most clear.

Dreher says that minority identity politics alienated a part of the white population, especially if they were male, straight, middle-aged and rural. This, he argues, causes an equal and opposite reaction in the form of a new identity politics that alienates minorities.

Such a phenomenon existed prior to Trump, but with him it has taken a new path. Even left-wing blogger Freddie De Boer was surprised over an Indiana job post written in Chinese. Yes, maybe De Boer was trying to make a joke, but think seriously about a middle age white jobseeker coming across something like that. That’s part of why Trump has the support that he does. Dreher puts it more precisely:

Crude as he is, Trump seems to get in ways that no other senior Republican gets is the degree to which American politics, cultural and otherwise, have become about raw racial and demographic power. I suppose you could plausibly argue that they always have been, but at least most of us tried to argue in classical liberal terms for a more fair and just society. What Trump seems to be saying is, “And look where that got you, white people.”

It’s not just economics. Demographics are the key of Trump support, such as with in Peter Thiel, whose politics are fairly more libertarian than the average Trump supporter – it’s in opposition to the culture of political correctness where he aligns with the candidate.

It’s strange to me that the devotion to PC culture and the promotion of diversity that seems to be the main goals of American liberalism is strange. I was shocked when I listen about the Gay Victory Fund a PAC that gives money to LGBT candidates, and I was shocked when I discovered that they didn’t give money to David McReynolds, the Green Party candidate for US Senate in New York despite being an icon of American radical left for being two times an openly gay presidential candidate in the Socialist Party ticket. I guess sometimes some people think partisanship is a secondary effect of identity politics. I, however, think that partisanship is the cause of identity politics.

In a bipartisan country, how can someone think beyond outside such a box? Identity politics is nothing new. The New Left was certainly more open to diversity, as exemplified by Democratic coalition that formed around George McGovern in 1972. The Southern Strategy of the GOP alienated black voters, with the payoff of winning them more white voters.

In the 90s, when Ralph Nader appeared as a presidential contender for the Green Party, people missed the opportunity to the fact that identity politics fuels neoliberalism. When Nader was critic of South Africa, Paul Krugman accused him of being a racist. When Nader was critic of Israel, Krugman accused him of being an anti-Semite. Even in a Fox News interview, when he suggested that Obama maybe an Uncle Tom, the host suggested that Nader was a white supremacist.

If a Fox News anchor is buying left-wing talking points on the matter, it’s clear that shows the country was doomed to accept group grievance politics and ethnic patronage as the norm. Nader was accused in his several runs of being dismissive of poor minorities. The funny thing is that Nader himself a minority – he’s an Arab American Orthodox Christian, but he has never made it a part of his politics platform, unlike, say, Al Sharpton.

When I say that identity politics fuels neoliberalism I’d invite the reader to look at the case of Bernie Sanders. In the Democratic primary, the liberal establishment has tried to the use the same arguments that they did with Nader, but even though he has a strong showing in very diverse states. Sanders has an appeal to some of the same supporters that Donald Trump working class whites. But unlike Nader, Sanders seems to have embraced the PC discourse on diversity.

One of the critics of Sanders’ embrace of identity politics is Glenn Loury a Professor of Economics from Brown University. Glenn is the host of The Glenn Show on Bloggingheads.tv and is a fierce critic of political correctness. Being a black liberal, however, he sounds very different than Donald Trump. He recognizes that immigration has hurt black workers, that broken families are a great source of misery for the black community, and that affirmative action deserves a critical reassessment. If he was white, he would had been accused of being something along the lines of a Nazi. Being black gives him a sort of PC teflon to such attacks, but it remains to be seen how long that will last.

I’m a Latino left-libertarian who supports open borders, women’s rights and gay rights, but even I worry that the PC machine is becoming a monster. Diversity is good, forcing such an ideology onto society bears some characteristics of totalitarianism. Free speech should be defended, and fashionable talk of tolerance should extend to the toleration of dissenting opinions. Otherwise, we could see the United States slide into something nightmarish.

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Dear Sanderistas: Your candidate is a pushover

Burn it down, Bernie!

Liberal allies turning on Bernie Sanders after Nevada donnybrook,” ran a Washington Post headline. After a public snubbing of Bernie supporters during the Nevada State Democratic Convention, the senator’s groupies are learning a hard lesson: The Democratic leadership hates their guts.

The animus was on full display last week when, according to NPR, “Sanders supporters allege they were denied being seated at the convention and that the state party chairwoman, Roberta Lange, was slanting the rules in favor of Clinton.” This led to a violent uprising, as Hillary was awarded five more delegates than the Vermont socialist, even though she narrowly won the state.

The Bernie Bros. weren’t having it and reportedly created a ruckus after being slighted by party leadership. When Hillary proxy Senator Barbara Boxer got on stage to woo the crowd, the Bernie Brigade let loose a torrent of boos and jeers.

A few thrown chairs and death threats later, the Nevada Democratic Party filed a formal complaint, accusing Sanders of initiating violence. DNC Chairbitch Debbie Wasserman Schultz called the senator’s response to the mayhem “anything but acceptable.”

To his credit, Sanders didn’t take the charges lying down. “At that convention, the Democratic leadership used its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place,” he shot back. Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver accused Wasserman Schultz of “throwing shade on the Sanders campaign since the very beginning.” Bernie even endorsed Wasserman Schultz’s primary challenger – sparking headlines about the senator going rogue and threatening the ability of the Democrats to unify behind Queen Hillary.

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