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2016 Election Analysis - Part 4: The Big Con

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 12/08/16 01:32

by Dave Mindeman

This election was based on a big con.

The economy has been moving upward. Unemployment has been moving down. Corporations are continuing record profits. The stock market is at all time highs.

But some people have not been benefiting and those people are concentrated in the "rust belt" - the areas of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin that have been the victims of the decline of the manufacturing base in America.

Trump convinced them that it was trade policies that moved their jobs to other countries. The government didn't protect them from those low wage countries that stole their manufacturing plants. Trump told them that he would stop this migration. He was their champion - he would be their voice. He would bring back the glory days of steel and coal and assembly lines.

But it is one of the biggest cons ever perpetrated on the American people. And the people who desperately want to believe that those jobs can magically be transported back to their home towns hung on every word Trump said.

There is no question that some of these jobs were lost to free trade policies. Worker protections have been weak. But that is not why the rust belt has been declining. No, corporations found a new way to get cheap labor - they automated. Robots and machinery took those jobs away. Studies have shown that 85% of manufacturing jobs have been lost to automation...and human resources are just not going to come back.

Trump knows this. He has participated in moving his own product manufacturing overseas. He knows that automation is the key. But that didn't matter to him. He found the words that could draw big crowds of people...saying the things they wanted to hear, that they wanted to believe...and conning them into thinking that he was the one person who could fix it all.

In a way this is cruel. This is cynical. But when you don't have to deal with facts or real policy, it would seem that it can work to win an election.

Combined with a media that allowed the fantasy to grow, Trump managed to con his way to an incredible victory.

Will reality set in? Of course. But Trump is working on other ways to continue to dupe those loyal followers. This idea that he can threaten and cajole one company at a time to keep those jobs here is nothing more than a publicity stunt. Another show. Visual optics. This is not a way to fix a systemic loss of jobs to automation. It is just another cruel hoax.

Trump has shown us how fragile our democracy can be. He has pandered and lied and taken conflicting positions to the point that no one really knows what his actual policy is - it is an intentional moving target.

And every single institution in this country fell for it. The Republican Party establishment, union workers, the donor elite, the media...but most of all, it was the left behind, working class Americans willing to latch on to the first campaign promise that said what they needed to hear - even though it was a cruel, false, shameless hoax.

This country will be tested to its very core in the next four years. Let's hope we can survive that test.

2016 Election Analysis - Part 3: The Electoral College

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 12/06/16 18:43

by Dave Mindeman

Because of Hillary's big number in the popular vote, there has been a lot of speculation about ending the electoral college.

That would be a logical conclusion, but I doubt that it will make a difference for Democrats in the long run. That's because I think this will be the last election that Republicans can count on any kind of electoral advantage.

Frankly, they did not have that advantage in this one until the rust belt made the mistaken conclusion that Donald Trump knew how to bring back manufacturing. That same manufacturing that is being automated beyond human job existence. Trump has no plan. Never had a plan. He just put on the mask of "understanding their plight". Fraudulent but effective.

But going forward, once this fraud is exposed, I think the blue wall will come back - but in addition to that, the demographic change in this country will finally put Republicans at an electoral disadvantage for a long time.

Remember that the GOP made little effort to reach out to minority groups. The Trump campaign believed that they could tap into a long dormant group of white voters, which, I have to frankly say, I did not think was possible. I thought, at the very least, white women would not succumb to such a tactic.

I was wrong.

But, again, this fraud will be exposed and politics will, once again, depend on normal demographics and majorities that are coming into place.

The Blue Wall will be back. Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida will be swing states going forward - and Texas will come into play. If Democrats break into that southern strategy, the GOP will be left scrambling - much the way they think Democrats are now.

If you think the electoral college is obsolete and unnecessary, I can agree that you have a legitimate case. But in the larger scheme of things, the electoral college is soon going to be in sync with the popular vote anyway.

2016 Election Analysis - Part 2: Enough Of The Hand Wringing

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 12/06/16 16:59

by Dave Mindeman

Democrats are hand wringers. It's just a fact. They nit pick and squabble in the primaries. Get uppity about platform minutia - and then start the blame game when the Party loses the election.

With Obama as President, the Democrats still had a vital say in policy for the country. But, the fact is, we have been on a losing streak where it really counts....in the states and in the legislatures.

Republicans have manipulated how we vote, who gets to vote, and in drawing the lines for voting districts. It has been systematic. And it has been effective.

Democrats always seem to be under the false impression that policy and issues are what drives elections. They are only about 30% right in that regard.

While Democrats obsess about climate change, and income equality, and foreign wars....Republicans work the district lines, voter suppression, and purging the voter rolls.

And it works. Clinton is winning the popular vote by over 2.7 million votes, but lost the electoral college because of 1% losses in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. WI and MI have Republican governors and legislatures. PA has GOP Senate and House.

Votes for Democratic Congressional candidates exceeded votes for GOP candidates, yet the Republicans have a big majority in Congress.

And the Senate is still held narrowly by the Republicans.

But the clear problem with Democratic strategy is the continued losses in the state houses. This is where the Congressional lines are drawn - this is where the legislation that most affects people's lives happens.

Hand wringing and assigning blame may be cathartic in a personal way, but it is useless when it comes to solving our problem.

Democrats have concentrated on urban populations and they have been effective in persuading urban dwellers that the Democratic Party is their party. But in rural America, the Democrats have failed. Not in policy...but in getting out a message regarding what the Democrats have done for them. Republicans have not done anything, policywise, to improve the lot of rural America. In many ways, they have fostered the policies that have obstructed their progress. Net neutrality, broadband, agricultural trade, and transportation policies of the GOP are working against rural development.

Democrats have spent so much time on voter ID, technology, and polling, that they have lost the basic elements of any campaign....

Message, narrative, and responsiveness.

Democrats need to focus their future endeavors on building the party from the ground up again. Local races matter. Legislative majorities matter. Governors matter.

Enough of the hand wringing. Enough of the blame.

Fix what matters and begin again.
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